Thursday, July 26, 2012

tips of the trade: cloth diapers

I am no expert at cloth diapering but I do get asked from time to time about doing it and any advice I have for those trying CD's for the first time. So, I thought I'd write out all of my tips in one place.

And can I just say, I had no idea how many moms actually cloth diaper, either part time or full time?! It's really quite encouraging. If you're considering it, don't listen to the nay-sayers. CDing has definitely come a long way from the 1950's. And it's worth a try, right?

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First: you will never know what you are doing until you do it! I can give you as much advice and as many tips as you'd like, but you won't be comfortable with it until you jump in and try it for yourself. Don't be afraid to make mistakes, try different types of diapers, think outside the box and get creative!

I decided to cloth diaper before Isaac was born. If you know anything about me, it's that I'm frugal and often times, downright cheap. Cloth diapering is a major money saver. Like, big time. And you don't have to worry about running to the store if you are low on diapers.

While I was pregnant I attended a cloth diapering class. It wasn't anything extensive or too detailed, but the instructor outlined all of the basics for us. A good resource for that is the Amazon Mom website. You can read about all the different kinds of cloth diapers and the pros and cons of each (be prepared. it can be very overwhelming at first). I would also suggest finding a CD introduction class if there is one offered in your area. They are often free and can at least give you a place to begin.

If you are even the least bit interested in cloth diapering, I say do it. Give it a try. Try it for a month and decide if you like it or not (like really, a whole month). And these tips will definitely help:

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boil to strip or use dishwasher then hang dry outside to sun bleach
When you first purchase your diapers (prefolds or nappies, covers can simply be washed) you will need to strip them. I prefer to boil then in a big pot. Simply bring a good amount of water to a rolling boil, put a few diapers in at a time, let sit in the water for 5-10 minutes and then pull them out. If this isn't appealing, you can run them through the dishwasher (with no detergent of course) on the hottest setting possible. Then to dry them, I recommend hanging them outside to sun bleach. You can use the dryer if you like, but not dryer sheets! You'll also want to do this again with your diapers once every 1-2 months to be sure you are keeping them as absorbent as possible (when detergent and hard water build up on the diapers, they become less and less absorbent over time)

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skip the diaper sprayer
If baby is just breastfeeding in the beginning, you can simply rinse poopy diapers in the sink because it's water-soluble. Once baby starts eating food, however, you'll have to move to the toilet. You can spend extra money and time installing a diaper sprayer to clean off the diapers. But it's cheaper to simply use your showerhead (if it's removable and next to the toilet). But honestly, I found it easiest just to keep a pair of gloves next to the toilet, put them on and dunk those diapers right into the toilet water. Gross? Eh, you get used to it. And they get cleaned off much faster than trying to aim and spray.

try prefolds and covers- they are cheaper and more versatile
Once you do your research, you'll learn that there are a bunch of different types of diapers now. In trying them all out, my favorite ones are the old fashioned prefolds and a good cover. Here's why: if baby poops while wearing this type of diaper, you can just switch out the diaper (so long as poop didn't get on the cover), continue to use the cover and move on. If baby poops in an AIO (all in one) or a pocket diaper, the entire diaper has to be retired until laundry is done. Therefore, you have to have more diapers or you have to do laundry more often! No thanks.

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That's not to say that I don't like pocket diapers. They are good for a husband who doesn't want to take the time to fold diapers or for a babysitter who is new to this whole concept or if you are out and about and need something in a snap. In those cases, it's good to have a few on hand. Oh, and don't forget that you can use prefolds in pockets as nappies!

stick with wet bags- one next to the toilet, one next to the changing table, one to go
I was not a fan of the pale for CDs. We had once for disposables (because we used those at night). But I love wet bags! One next to the toilet is the most convenient. When it fills up, just carry it into the laundry room, dump it out, wipe it out, let it dry and it's ready to be used again.

try part time if it's overwhelming
We stayed part time because I didn't want to invest in night time CDs. But my advice would be that if it all seems too much, then just do it while you're at home. Use disposables while you're out, if the babysitter is coming over, and at night. Once you get a hang of it, you can always move to full time!

buy 1 or 2 of each type you think you'll like. test them out and then invest in more
Each mom has different preferences and so does baby! Not to mention, there are a ton of different brands to chose from. Ask friends for recommendations about what worked best for them. And then try out a few different types and brands. This is the best way to know what you are going to like best. If you plan to buy a giant starter pack, wait until you know for sure which ones you want to use.

skip the snappies and diaper pins
If you decide to go with prefolds and covers, there is no need for diaper pins or snappies! If your cover is snug enough, it will hold that diaper in place, no problem! I have a whole container full of pins and snappies that I never used. It's just a waste of money.

use old t shirts
If cloth diapers are just too expensive at this point in time, then get a couple covers and use some old tshirts as diapers! Make sure to strip then first. And check out this website on how to do it (they are no-sew!). I used these with Isaac for a little while when I was still getting the hang of all this. My only complaint is that they were a bit bulky, but they were free!

I think that about covers it. Can I just encourage you once more time? Don't be afraid to try something new. I was really hesitant but wanted to try. I let all the diapers I had received as gifts run completely out and then I was forced to use them (unless I wanted to run to walmart at 10pm). And it turned out, they weren't as scary as I thought!

*if you want recommendations on brands that I use, leave a comment below and I will respond via email.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

vlog: begin, accomplish or change

Today I'm linking up with Ashley and Lindsay for The Girl Behind the Blog. (You can see my other vlogs here. Warning: they are awesome). The prompt for today's vlog is:

What is one thing you are hoping to Begin, Accomplish, or Change?
Why is this goal important to you?
What are your plans to achieve this goal?

I have a serious list of goals and unfinished goals that I could have pulled from for this prompt. But one specific goal has been in the forefront of my mind ever since a conversation that my husband and I had last week. It's something that I'm incredibly passionate about and it's the biggest goal that I've ever set for myself, and for my family. For those reasons, I decided to share it with you today. Enjoy!



ps- Sorry I went a little over time. It was really difficult to share even in the time I used!

If you want to see more vlogs, please check out the link up here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

23 weeks pregnant and my thoughts on legalized abortion

note: this post may seem a little crass, but hear me out.

I believe God when He says that every single human being is made in His image.

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

I believe Him when He says that we all have value,

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Matthew 6:26

And that He has personally and intimately knit each and every single one of us together while we are in our mother's womb.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:13-14

And that He cares about each one of us so much that he knows how many hairs are on our head.

Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Luke 12:7

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This week marks my 23rd week of pregnancy with baby Elijah. He has been growing in my womb for 23 weeks; that's 161 days; that's 3864 hours; that's 231,840 minutes.

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What you may not realize though, and what saddens me to my core, is that legally, in the state in which I live and probably the one in which you live (all state laws are very similar, but not identical), I could walk into an abortion clinic today, tomorrow, and technically for the next 6 days, and have him aborted. Too harsh? Sometimes truth can be that way.

But before you get too angry with me, can I tell you a little bit about Elijah?

His gender, eye color, hair color, and several personality traits were determined at conception.

All of his limbs are present and functioning very well and haven been for months.

His heart, brain, liver, intestines, stomach, pancreas, kidneys, pituitary gland, spleen, and gonads are all formed and many have been functional for months.

His heart has been beating for 139 days and it sounds incredible!

He already has more tastebuds on his tongue than he'll need at birth.

He has a firm hand grip and has muscle strength, coordination and reflex action.

He has every necessary apparatus to breath! And if he were to deliver today, he would try to breath on his own, but would need support to do so.

He reacts to loud noises and music and I can feel it when he does.

I've been feeling him move for almost 2 months and it's like he's doing summer-saults in there!

Other babies have been born at his age or earlier and have survived!!


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[me on the left, a baby in the womb at 23 weeks on the right]

But what you need to know is that the above list of items is not unique to Elijah. These are true for all babies at 23 weeks gestation.

What this means is that every single baby who has been aborted at this stage in pregnancy was just as developed as he is right now. Each and every single one had just as much value on his or her life as he does. Each and every single one was and is loved deeply and known intimately by their Creator, our God.

And yet, not only are babies just like Elijah aborted every single week in this country, but it's legal, allowed, and defended by many. The murder of the most innocent and precious of our human race is all too common a practice in this country. And every single life that has been ended by abortion since January 22, 1973 has been legal. That's 54,559,615 innocent babies.

I know what you're thinking: abortions at 23 weeks aren't nearly as common as those taking place earlier in pregnancy. But that doesn't matter. Why? Because a child aborted at 3 days, or 5 weeks, or 12 weeks, or 40 weeks still loses his or her life. And that is a human right's issue. That is something worth standing up and speaking out about.

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Proverbs 31:8

Ever since the day I learned what abortion was, I knew deep in my heart that it's wrong. And ever since that day, I haven't shut up about it. God has clearly spoken into my heart what I am to do with the life He has given me: save babies and minister to their mothers. I won't be quiet until abortion becomes unspeakable, not only in the United States, but across the globe. Innocent lives are depending on me, and you. Are you ready to step up and rescue them?

Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. Proverbs 24:11
If you are interested in getting involved in pro-life ministry and ending abortion, you can find a list of do-able actions here.

*all developmental information taken from
From Conception to Birth: The Drama of Life's Beginnings
*photo of baby in the womb above from
this site on prenatal development

Monday, July 23, 2012

thick skin

If there's one thing I've learned from hitting "publish" on this post, it's that you better be ready for the attacks and negative feedback when you write publicly about your beliefs; especially when you stand for something that is so counter-cultural, like purity. And you better have thick skin. Luckily, I do.

In an effort to be transparent, because I want you, my readers, to know that I stand firm on what I believe, and because I want to encourage others to do the same, I have left all the negative anonymous comments up. I have also answered each one in the comment section.

I'm not afraid of a challenge. I'm not afraid for someone to question my stance on an issue. Because I know what I believe: the truth. And I know why I believe these things to be true.

At the same time, however, if someone does show me where I am wrong, based on scripture, I'm not afraid to reconsider. Perhaps that's even more difficult than standing up for what you believe in.

He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise. Proverbs 15:31

How can you let those rude comments and attacks roll off your back so easily?, you might ask. Here is why I don't take attacks personal, and how I can stand my ground when my beliefs are questioned: We can have thick skin when we stand on the Word of God. Don't rely on your own strength or arguments when someone questions or challenges you. God has already given a solid answer. Stick with it. Know His word. Stand on it. Present it clearly and confidently.

And never take it personally.

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

I think one problem in the Christian community today is that we don't take the time to learn the basic theological groundwork for what we believe. And if we don't have a strong foundation for what we believe, then when challenged, we start to question why we even believe it to begin with. Not only that, but we have a hard time communicating why we believe it. So it's not surprising that 7 out of 10 students walks away from their faith when they leave home and enter the university setting; when their beliefs are questioned at every turn.

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15

But we don't have to be discouraged when our faith is questioned. We can stand strong when we know what the truth is. If your faith lies in the redeeming work of Christ on the cross, then you can have a humble confidence in His words and His promises. He is faithful and He is true. His word will stand up to any challenge. Not only that, because it is alive and God-breathed, it can change hearts in the process. And that isn't your job; it's the job of the Holy Spirit. All you have to do is tell others the truth. Talk to others about the good news. Live your life in a way that is holy and pleasing to the Lord. Encourage your brother's and sister's in Christ to do that same.

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. John 17: 17-18

And while I'm not suggesting that we all become scholar theologians, I am begging you to dig in to God's word. Study it. Know it. Seek Jesus through the truth of scripture. And when you know Him, you'll know the Truth, and then you'll have thick skin, because your strength and confidence will lie in the Lord alone.


Monday, July 16, 2012

our life right now in a word: random

A good theme for our life right now: random. Our belongings are in 3 different locations. We are living in a tiny bedroom at my parents' house. I'm 22 weeks pregnant and starting with a new midwife in Vegas. Ben is looking for a new job and will be attending a new school in Fall. Isaac wasn't sure what was going on for a good 2 weeks but seems to be settling in okay now. We have no idea what is going to happen over the course of the next few months, even years.

I thought that in keeping with the theme of our life, I would post some random photos from the past few months. They've been collecting in our phones and our cameras and I just haven't had the time to sit down and post them.

15 and 16 weeks
These were taken the last week of May and the first week of July.

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The photo on the left is obviously me at 16 weeks. The photo on the right is taken from the book From Conception to Birth: The Drama of Life's Beginning (amazing book, so informational, written in the 1970's by doctors and details life in the womb from conception to birth like few other books have. Everyone should read it). It is an actual photo of a baby, in the womb, at 16 weeks. Can you believe how developed that baby is!!? Incredible.

isaac at hooters
The last couple of weeks in Texas, we ate out alot. It was just easier then trying to cook with the limited food and cooking supplies left. After one particular long, very hot day of packing, sorting and pricing for our yard sale, we decided to go for a relaxed, early dinner at Hooters. Ben could enjoy a cold beer, we could eat some chicken and relax in the air conditioning. Isaac loves their curly fries and discovered how to dip them in ranch!! He is now an expert dipper (ketchup, ranch, honey mustard, you name it!)

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Back in May Isaac was not feeling very well. It was probably only the 2nd or 3rd time he's ever been sick. And other than a fever, he seemed to be okay. He was just feeling achy and having a hard time falling asleep. We are very strict CIO-ers and never let him stay up past his bedtime, rock him to sleep or go in to check on him once he's gone to bed. But this was a special occasion. He'd been asleep only for a couple hours and woke up around 11, crying his eyes out and with a high fever. We stripped him down, gave him some Motrin and let him cuddle with daddy for a while. And while we waited for the Motrin to kick in, we decided to let him hang out with us in the living room, eat popcorn and watch late night tv. He was so cute! And within an hour he was tuckered out and slept the rest of the night.

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I came home one day with a Jamba Juice. This little guy wanted a sip, so I was kind enough to share. Next thing I knew, he had stolen the whole thing from me and was running away with it.

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One restaurant that we had not tried our entire time in Texas was Pappasitos. I know that's probably blasphemy for Texans, but we just aren't huge fans of Tex-Mex. But, we decided that we needed to at least try it out before we moved. This is what I had for lunch: chicken chimichanga with chicken soup. It was good. It wasn't fabulous. And we decided that we really hadn't been missing out on anything by not eating there (sorry guys!)

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We rarely get to see Isaac sleep. We don't have a video monitor. I mean, $100+ for a baby monitor, are you kidding me?!! We all survived just fine and our parents didn't have that technology. (In fact, our baby monitor broke a while back so we haven't used one at all since Isaac was about a year. I honestly don't see the point). Back to what I was saying. This was one of those rare mornings where Ben was able to creep in and snap a photo of him sleeping before he woke up. This kid is the lightest sleeper I've ever met! You put your hand on the doorknob and he usually wakes up! Isn't he just adorable??

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Ah yes, the yard sale. The week before we moved we held a 2 day yard sale. And we learned something: Friday is the best day to have a yard sale in Texas. I already knew it was a good day to go out, but I didn't realized how much more traffic you get on Friday than on Saturday. We sold a good chunk of our stuff the first day and slowly got rid of more on Saturday. By midday the second day, it was so hot and humid we were just done. We piled what was left at the edge of the driveway and stuck a huge FREE sign out there. I think everything was gone within 3 hours.

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Isaac helped his daddy wash the truck so we could sell it before the move. He loves being outside and he loves water. By the end, he was sopping wet and covered in soap and happy as a clam.

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Isaac's new favorite place to sit and play: inside his Swedish Fish box.

How was that for a photo drop? And actually, these are just all photos from Ben's phone and my mom's camera! I haven't even pulled photos off of my camera recently. Note to self: do that soon. Hope you're all having a great start to the week!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

our last meal in Texas: bbq of course!

Last Friday night was our last night in Texas. We were all exhausted from cleaning and packing the entire week. We had just finished our walk through with the landlord and were ready to celebrate having just received back our entire deposit. All we wanted was a good, filling meal. And so we picked barbeque. So fitting, right?? And it was delicious!
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ps- as you can see above, Isaac is now feeding himself. That kid learned how to use a spoon (and now a fork) in a matter of days. I am so impressed with how quickly he learns!! Oh, and he's really good at it. Like, hardly any food ends up outside of his mouth.


Friday, July 6, 2012

update on our move

Wow. Moving is exhausting!! And time consuming. My computer is still packed away with most of my clothes. I've bascially been wearing the same 4 outfits over and over again. The only one who has his dresser together and all of his clothes is Isaac. But his toys are still packed away.

Isaac and I arrived in Las Vegas on Saturday, June 30. Ben rolled into town early the next morning. He drove "the Penske" with his brother while Isaac and I flew here with my mom. After a week of packing and cleaning, the 6 hours that we spent waiting at the airport and on the airplane with a 17 month old were way more exhausting!! That child cannot sit still. ever.

Needless to say, we are here. We are getting settled.

I'll post more details soon and the next few parts to Why Vegas? For now, here are some photos from our last couple weeks:

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packing. cleaning. playing "fluffy birds" on grandma's kindle. "the Penske". ready to go! hanging laundry (my dryer broke the day before we moved). last bath in the Texas house. our home for the past year. orange juice at Waffle House.