Friday, 25 May 2012

What A Rainbow

If you read my post Just A Little Stripping you would know that I was putting Miss E back into her cloth today after a brief hiatus to heal the sad bum. She went into a disposable first thing and by the time her morning nap was finished so would the diapers be done drying. Before she woke up I was able to get them all stuffed and ready for use.

Luckily I had a little time and the rare opportunity of my entire stash being fresh and clean. I mean every last one was there. Usually no matter how many are clean there are always a few that are in the dirty bag or clean in the diaper bag. Therefore I carpe diemed the chance to get a few pictures of the whole shebang. Just as the title of the post reads my first thoughts were, "Wow, what a rainbow". There are blues and browns and pinks and reds and yellows and pinks and greens and purples and pinks. Yes, there is a lot of pink. But overall I think I have done a semi decent job at representing a wide variety of colours. 

So without further ado I give you a few pictures of my stash and also a bit of a breakdown of brands and patterns.

So as you can see this is my rainbow. Is it bad that when I look at this I think "this doesn't seem like enough, I must need more"?

Here are a couple more close ups of the whole layout. 

Now for a bit of a breakdown of what I am currently running through.

In this picture we have all my wraps. I use these with the Thirsties Stay Dry Duo Insert. Starting at the left of the top row: Blueberry Wraps in Baby Bloom, Pink Lemonade and Butterflies. Second row are Thirsties Duo Wraps in Alice Brights (L) and Warm Stripes (R). Bottom row are two Rumparooz covers in Amythyst (L) and Lux (R). If I were to get any more wraps I would probably have to get one more of each as I really like all of them. They are soft, fit well and are nice and trim (especially the Rumparooz).

Above are my four Charlie Bananas. I really like these. They are very similar to a Fuzzi Bunz but I find them easier to stuff. Starting top row left and going clockwise I have Royal Blue, Red, Butterfly and one of my all time favourites is the "goodbye disposable hello cloth" in white (I do have a thing for white diapers). 

Ah, the BumGenius Pocket diaper. These are a fantastic diaper and are a favourite of many mums including myself. Clockwise starting at top left are: Blossom, Ribbit, Zinia, Sassy (amazing colour) and Zinia again. If I were to get another BG pocket it would definitely be in Dazzle which is an awesome deep purple.

Above are a few more BG items. The bottom is a BG Elemental in Grasshopper and the top two are the new BG Freetime in Lovelace and White. If I had to choose one pattern for all my diapers the Lovelace would be it. I preordered and waited MONTHS for that beauty. 

My TotBots. I love my TotBots. While I have favourite patterns the Totbots would be one of my favourite diapers all around. They are soft and fit fantastic. While they are an all in one diaper I like the way the insert pulls out yet stays attached. I would always like more of these. They have just released new patterns that I have on my wish list (specifically the Jubilee, Chicken Little, and Hansel & Gretel.)The patterns I have (starting clockwise top left) are: Cherrylicious, Toadstool, White, and Flower Power. 

I must admit I bought these Soft Bums Echo specifically because I fell in love with the top one which is called Sugar and Spice Giraffe. I didn't want it to feel lonely so I ordered another in Chocolate. These are a very trim fitting diaper so I like using them under the tights and leggings.

These Fuzzi Bunz were given to me by a dear friend. I'm not even sure what the colours are referred too as they are a few years older and companies are always changing their colours and patterns. They are all size small which will only fit a little longer but luckily I have a small and a medium in the adorable pink gingham one (that pattern makes me giddy).

Happy Heinys I really like. Especially with the snaps. Overall I have found the velcro to be stiff and kind of ripples oddly. That sounds bad, it's not THAT bad but I do like the snaps much better. Anyways...I have two in this brand which are the Groovy Circles on top and the Blue Hibiscus on the bottom. 

Apple Cheeks diapers are ones that I like to use as a night time diaper. I have them in size two and the way they fit now I find I can easily put a doubler in them. Top to bottom are: Delicious, Wild Child, and Purple Rain. 

I really like AMP diapers. At first I was a tad dubious then I found I liked them more with an AMP bamboo insert. The other AMP inserts I found too bulky and made the diaper seem too hard. The bamboo is softer and more flexible (to me anyways). These patterns are high on my list. They are a brand of diapers I initially tried solely for the cute patterns. In my stash I have (clockwise starting top left) Later Gator, Grunge, Ooga Booga, and Happy.

These are the last of the pocket diapers. I like these as a nighttime diaper as well, they are rather bulky and don't fit a lot of the day time pants but go nicely under sleepers. These are also the most luxurious of my diapers. My sister upon feeling one for the first time said she wished she had underwear this soft. These my friends are Blueberry Minky. Patterns are (clockwise starting top left) Winter Sage, Raspberry Truffle, and Paisley Blues.                                


This is a particular diaper that I only have one of (I think it is lonely though so another is on my list). The insert simply snaps into the cover and voila. They are a brand called Best Bottom and this one is Strawberry Shortcake.

Since I had the stash out I set out a few out my accessories too. These are my doublers. On the left are Thirsties doubles, AMP doublers in the middle, and Grovia doublers on the right. 

Cloth wipes are amazing. I use them for not only bums but faces, hands, noses, etc, etc, etc. The coloured ones are Thirsties, the middle are the ultra lush Fuzzi Bunz wipes and on the bottom are the BG (which I'm sorry, are like sandpaper compared to the others). 

Last but certainly not least...WET BAGS!!! Many cloth diapering ladies such as myself hoard, I mean collect, these like they collect their fluff. Wet bags can be a stash unto themselves. It wasn't long until I realized I had fallen down this rabbit hole too. Nevertheless this is my amassed collection of wet bags. On the left side are all Rumparooz. These are great with a handle and a half moon shape to fit more in. Starting at the top are Spring, Kangarooz, Eco-Owl, and Gumball. On the right are Planet Wise wet bags. The top is a large two sided hanging wet/dry bag in Pink Daisy/Stripe. The smaller two are a wet/dry bag in Outer Space and a wet bag in Fiesta. At the bottom is the mother of all wet bags (because this mamma is massive). It is the Bummis Fabulous Wet Bag, sized large, in green. 

Now that the strip is out of the way. It's taken me all day to write this (so many interruptions) and Evelyn has been through three cloth diapers now and so far so good. No horrible smells and thankfully no rash. Hopefully the length in a night time diaper doesn't set her back too far. The fluff has redeemed itself and the love has blossomed once again. I only had to stuff a few pockets to get that fuzzy feeling about them all over again. 

Phew, I don't feel defeated anymore. I don't like feeling that way. I really am keeping my fingers crossed that with some tweaking of the wash routine I'll be able to continue on the journey of cloth diapering :)

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Just A Little Stripping

You wanna know something? I can handle the pee. I can handle to poop. I can handle the spraying. I can handle the process of regular laundering. But what really gets me, is stripping the diapers. It is a time consuming pain in the behind and seems (to me anyways) to completely offset the balance of making cloth diapering kind to the environment. 
If you don’t know what stripping diapers is let me enlighten you. Basically it is a process of repeatedly washing and rinsing your cloth diapers with a WIDE variety of cleaning agents or household items. I’ve done some investigative googling and have found that everything under the sun (or your sink) can be recommended. Here is a list of the few things I have read that are supposedly good to strip your diapers with: Blue Dawn, Bleach, RLR, Calgon, Vinegar, Baking Soda, Oxy Clean, Funk Rock.............................

To accompany this fine array of diaper stripping agents are a few different methods of getting these suckers clean. You can boil them in a pot on the stove (yes, really). You can put them in your dishwasher (yes, really, again). You can soak them in your tub. You could use the machine at the laundromat. And obviously you can certainly use your own washing machine. If you are really desperate (or stuck in the 1800s) you can even strip by hand. Now, what seems to be the trick with the boiling water and the dishwasher is the heat. That hot water can help with blasting the nasties out. In other processes hot water seems to be a key element as well so you will often see turning the hot water tank right up as a recommendation. 
Another important step in stripping is to RINSE! You have to rinse like crazy. The reason is that in most cases detergent build up or that of other cleaners, and even what you use to strip your diapers with, can be a culprit and therefore lead to more stripping. You need to rinse and rinse and rinse until there are no bubbles left or no more smell of bleach or vinegar or evidence of any kind of what you used. Then just to be safe you should rinse and rinse again. 

Now that I've said all that keep in mind that all over the internet you will find different recommendations for laundering and stripping your diapers. Some of it will outright contradict itself (such as differing opinions of bleach). Some of it will make you go “ah ha” (when you learn about hard versus soft water and how mineral buildup is involved). Some will leave you scratching your head yet adding Blue Dawn dish soap to your shopping list. It is important to do a little bit of research but I have found that experimentation is really the only way to figure out what works best with your diapers and water. 

WHY on earth does one want to strip a diaper?  Well that happens to be a simple answer. To get rid of buildup. What kind of buildup? That isn’t so simple. Buildup can be caused by minerals, enzymes, ammonia (from pee), bacteria (from poop), oils from diaper cream and anything else that comes into contact with that diaper. What is causing your buildup seems to also be key in how you go about stripping the diapers. If you have hard water and need to get those minerals out then using vinegar is going to just set you back time and water but if you have soft water vinegar away. Vice versa could be said for Calgon. 
How do you know if you need to strip your diapers? Oh believe me. You will know. If it’s ammonia your eyes will water and your nose will burn (I’m a tad dramatic but really not that far off). I’m guessing the awful poop smell when I open the dryer door is possibly related to bacteria buildup (which could be a water temperature issue). If your diapers are leaking then possibly there is buildup preventing absorption or you have a repelling problem. Or if your baby suddenly develops a horrible looking bum out of the blue it is quite possible a diaper strip is in your future. 
So in case you are wondering, yes, I am stripping diapers today. Yes, that is what brought me to this post today. I am in fact mid strip. While stripping your diapers is part of regular cloth diaper maintenance the strip I am currently doing is a heavy duty one. My poor dear Evelyn developed the saddest little red bum (rash/ammonia burn, very very sad). And people when you’re baby’s bum makes you go weak in the knees (and not in an awe cute kind of way) it strikes out any cute factor of a fluffy bum and has me ready to start collecting those dang Pampers Points again. 
To be honest the only reason I am stripping today is because the pack of ‘sposies I was working through while helping her get over her rash (so I could slather on the zincofax) is almost finished. I could either buy another pack of diapers or strip my fluff and give them another try. I am not giving up on cloth yet. Yet. I’m a few more red bums away from that. But just a few. 
At this point I am only stripping inserts. I have been focusing on my regular detergent (Purex Free and Clear), Blue Dawn and Bleach. I am part way through the “rinse the hell out of them process”. Once they are done I will be moving on to the covers. I’m not sure how extensively I will wash those yet. They seem benign enough, like how much can a pocket cover buildup HOWEVER I have read that sometimes it is the pockets that can give you the most trouble. I’m leaning towards some strictly detergent washes for those with the multiple rinses. 
By tomorrow morning Miss E should be back in cloth. I am crossing my fingers that we don’t have anymore stinkies (ammonia and poopy). There also certainly had better not be a red bum either. I’m also thinking of adjusting my wash routine up a bit. I’m questioning the water temp and will fiddle with that slightly. I way to get some Rock N Green in Hard Rock as well because I have been using the Classic Rock and where we live has hard water so I should account for that. Once I have them in good shape then regular mild stripping and adding an extra rinse to every wash routine should keep me from having to go heavy duty. Right??? RIGHT???
While the cute fluffy bum makes me happy the work involved is a bit draining. A bit daunting. And a bit annoying. Nevertheless I do what I do and I will continue to do just that and I'll just have to be happy about it (dammit).

Friday, 11 May 2012

Be Gone!

Wouldn't it be awesome if there were a magic wand you could point to all your trouble zones and just utter the words Be Gone, and poof, the trouble zones would disappear? Be Gone back fat. Be gone thunder thighs. Be Gone belly. I'm sure I could go on and on. The inventor of this magic wand could sell it for a pretty penny and make quite a fortune.

Sadly, there is no magic wand. Losing weight and working on those trouble areas takes a long time. A very long time. Even once the weight is gone then there is the maintaining. Without diligence the weight can slowly creep back on and before you know it you are tucking away those skinny jeans and actually considering if you can get away with your stretchy maternity pants.

So, where does that leave me? Working hard, that's where it leaves me. In another month or so it will have been a year since my big weight loss journey began. Today specifically marks the start of the 4th round for the biggest loser group I am in. In honour of that I thought I should give an update of my progress so far and how I have gotten here.

Recap: I started out at 247.2 lbs. My starting weight today is 191.8. That means to date I have lost 55.4 lbs. Just to put that into perspective, my strapping almost six year old weighs in at 49 lbs. I've lost a whole six year old!! I can barely pick him up and when I do I can't believe I used to carry that around and thought really nothing of it.

My overall goal is still 175 however I will not limit myself to that either. I am hoping by mid July to hit that goal and seeing as how the 4th round doesn't end until mid August I may make even more progress than I initially thought.

How am I accomplishing this? Damn hard work that is how. I'm not using any pills or shakes or things of that nature. I don't believe in that. Weight loss is meant to be hard for a reason. It is so you can truly appreciate your new form. The result is so much sweeter the harder you work for it.

For the most part I am diligent with portion sizes and journaling my food intake. That is key. I have made peace with the fact that for my whole life I will have to keep an eye on what and how much I eat. To do this portion control etc. I am following the weight watchers plan. I've done it before so while I am not actively a ww member or going to meetings I have the materials from prior programs and my biggest loser group is providing me with all the support I need.

As far as exercise goes I must admit I am a tad on the lazy side. However now that I have broken the 200 lb mark I know that I have to kick up the metabolism to stay on course. I have been doing some of the 30 Day Shred, some Pilates and lots of walking. I also heard that getting some lovin' burns lots of calories (so.I.have.heard).

A word on Tea. I'm not drinking any special weight loss teas but just drinking a lot of tea in general. It's a nice flavourful way to get my water in. Lots of teas have tons of antioxidants. My morning tea is half the points my morning coffee is (I like lots of cream and sugar in my coffee while some teas I don't even need anything). Drinking a lot of tea is also keeping me from chugging back the Coke Zero.

Purging the fat clothes. I made a decision the other week to go through my closet and take out every piece of "fat" clothes and get rid of them. When you keep those in your closet they are too much of a fall back. When your pants feel snug it is too easy to reach in for some looser pants if they are there. If there aren't there it forces you to re-evaluate. I can proudly say that a few of my former skinny pants are even now in the fat clothes bag.

So here I am. Geared up for round four. I sure hope I win this time. I don't need a magic wand to say Be Gone! I have my motivation and enthusiasm to do that.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Evelyn Turns One!

A year ago today I received a most amazing Mother's Day gift. On this day I was holding my brand new baby girl in my arms. Cuddling her. Loving her. Taking in every little sweet detail of her. Family and friends trickled in and out of my room and it pained me to have to relinquish her to anyone else. Daddy brought the boys by and it felt perfect having my little family together. A few days later we were released to go home and start a new kind of normal as a family now of five.

We celebrated her birthday this past Sunday with a lovely tea party. A few close friends, my parents and my sister were in attendance. I put on a spread that is reminiscent of a high tea with sweets, breads,  sandwiches, and some fruit and veggies to round it out. I had three teas offered (Organic Breakfast, Birthday Cake and Life Long Ooling) all from Davids Tea. Evelyn received some very lovely gifts including some very pretty outfits, a ball, a ride on toy and a tea set (got to get them young).

Yesterday my husband and I reminisced about the day I spent in labour. That day we started out with some shopping at 9 am for things to put in my hospital bag. After dropping off our boys at their Granny's we went to Babies R Us and ended up making a registry for the free bag of goodies (yup, that's procrastination for you, making a registry WHILE in labour). We walked around and popped into various eclectic stores (something you can't do with two rowdy boys). Then we had a lovely afternoon lunch date with each other to eat some spicy wings and chimichangas then for dessert I had a massive Dairy Queen Banana Split Blizzard (that's all some serious labour fuel there). After a bit more shopping and then a warm bath I finally decided I had walked enough. Only for the hospital to tell me to walk more. Evelyn was born May 8th, 2011 at 12:29 am at 6 lbs 11 oz. I had an amazingly easy labour (med free/intervention free) and was no worse for wear. I couldn't have asked for a better experience.


My how this year has gone by. Too fast in my opinion. I have enjoyed my time at home so much. Even to the point where I made the decision mid mat leave that I would not be returning to work. The dynamic of my family shifted and the bond with my children became greater and I was feeling a stride I hadn't felt in years. I don't mess with the Universe. When in line, I don't shake it up.

So fast forward that year to now. Evelyn has grown. She walks! She babbles. Shakes her head no. Points to what she wants. Loves music (listening to and making it). Equally loves dancing. Wraps everyone in this family around her little finger every single day. What a little personality she is developing. A lot of sweet with a little bit of sass in there too. What can I say, she is like her mamma! We continue to be amazed by her every day.


Besides walking and almost talking Evelyn is getting a nice set of chompers (4 on top and 1 on the way, 3 on the bottom and 2 on the way). She is quite a little vacuum with food. Evelyn continues to enjoy nursing for food and for comfort but baby girl can pack away a meal of steak and corn and potato when she wants. She is also now figuring out the sippy cup so I am foreseeing in a few months that we will begin to wean out full nursing sessions. I don't think about that though. We will cross those bridges when they come.

Evelyn has had a few adventures over the past year. She has been to our favourite lake several times. Visited my parents' farm on a number of occasions. Attended a homeschool conference with Daddy and I. And most recently Evelyn and I jetted off to Toronto to meet some exceptionally amazing friends.

Over the past year her and I have made some discoveries together. Like how awesome baby wearing is. I invested an Ergo carrier which is amazing, then I added a gauze wrap and most recently a Baby Hawk Mei Tai. LOVE BABY WEARING! We also stumbled into cloth diapering (well more like fell into the gaping black hole of cloth diapering). While it has it's drawbacks I am still happily spraying poopy diapers and washing and drying and stuffing them. It's the fluffy bum, either you get it or you don't.

We also discovered Baby Legs, knock off Robeez, Amber Teething Necklaces, JuJuBe diaper bags, Liv & Lily, Kalo Clips, Boogie Wipes and so so so so much more. Really, I have no idea how many fun and interesting things I have found, maybe it's having a girl or maybe it's having an online village of mothers that enable purchases of every kind. I guess I'll never know.

So here we are now. That first year is behind us. A year of many wonderful things. I can only anticipate on the edge of my seat the things my family will experience from this point forward. We have done some wonderful celebrating so far. This past year deserves it. Not only did baby girl grow but our family did as well, physically, mentally and emotionally.

Today, Evelyn's actual birthday, Daddy's parents are coming over for a BBQ and cake. Which means I need to tidy the house (again) and actually make a cake. Greek (one of my favs) is on the menu tonight. There will be laughter and celebrating. YAY Evelyn is ONE!!! On this day I am very very very happy.