Sunday, May 27, 2012

Wash Day for Cloth Diapers

Washing cloth diapers was something I spent way too much time researching.  I started out thinking that having an HE front loader would be a major help with diapers.  Well, it turns out that HE washers are not as great as older washers, because they don't use as much water.  Great - the perk of HE washers for my utility bills is its downfall for diapers.  To make matters more complicated, different washers have such a variety of wash settings.

Wash day is usually triggered by one of two things: out of diapers for day care (aka minimally stained velcro diapers) or the diaper pail stinks to high heaven.  Our "diaper pail" is actually a step trash can lined with a Wahmies pail liner that can be washed with the diapers.  Since we still use disposable wipes much of the time, we actually have a trash bag in half of the pail.

Yes, I'm literally putting my dirty laundry on the interwebz
I make sure velcro is on the laundry tabs (it's not a guarantee from the day care, but hey - they're using cloth, so I can't complain) and remove inserts if need be.  I've found that my BumGenius, Ones  & Twos, and nighttime megastuffed diapers don't unstuff in the wash.

Clearly I'm a professional photographer

When it's time to wash diapers, I take the whole bag o' diapers down to our laundry room and dump them all in the washer.  We have a Samsung WF350, which has a spin and rinse cycle.  I turn on the spin and rinse on cold and "no spin," which I guess then just technically makes it a rinse cycle.  My thinking behind the no spin is to get some water in the diapers to a) help rinse out what's in the diapers and b) increase the weight for the next cycle so it'll have more water too.  I don't use any detergent for this cycle.

Once the rinse and spin is done (it takes 9 minutes), I use the heavy duty cycle on warm/cold (and sometimes hot/cold depending on how bold I'm feeling).  I use a scoop of Charlie's soap in the wash.  The heavy duty cycle takes like 2 hours.  Oy.  Once it's done, that's it for washing.

I either put the diapers in the dryer on low using the timer setting (the sensor always thinks they're dry before they really are) or put them out on the line.  Any stains that have persisted through the wash cycle (there seem to be more since C started on vitamins, but I could just be imagining that's the cause) have always disappeared in the sun.

The best piece of advice I've ever heard about wash routines is once you find one that works, stick with it.  I have been tempted by the siren song of other detergents or others' wash routines, but then I remember how easy mine is and how well it works for me and my washer and my water type and all those other variables that come into play.  I know it's perverse, but I kind of love diaper laundry.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

My Favorite Cloth Diapers

Hands down, my favorite diapers are Tots Bots Easyfits.  They're one size, so C can wear them until he starts popping a squat on the toilet.  They're a hybrid of a pocket diaper and an all-in-one, in that the liner is sewn in, but it agitates out in the wash.  They're sooo soft, and we've yet to have a leak.  And the icing on the cake is that they're easy as all get out to use.  They're the diapers that I primarily send to day care and the ones that S gravitates toward.  I tend to use them less so that they're available for day care and S, but then I saw that Diaper Junction is giving away 2 of the NEW Tots Bots.  I'm seriously so excited about the new Tots Bots.  They are so cute, and many of the patterns are based on fairy tales, like the 3 Little Pigs and Chicken Little.  Adorbs.

Cloth Diaper BLOG @ Diaper Junction

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I Love Modern (Diaper) Technology

Many CDing parents are taking part in the Flats Challenge this week - using old-school flat diapers and washing them by hand.  As gung-ho as I am about cloth diapering (which is pretty gung-ho; I've been having to do a lot of middle-of-the-night bedding and baby changes in the quest for a good nighttime cloth solution.  More on that later...), I passed on the challenge.  Personally, I'd much rather use my Tots Bots and HE washer.  I feel sorry for parents of yesteryear who had no choice but old-school cloth.  I'll still keep using my Amish-style clothesline, though.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Time Flies When You're Sleep-Deprived

Today I looked down at C while I was feeding him, and tears welled up so quickly that my eyes hurt.  It wasn't that long ago that we saw the little embryo we didn't think would be there:

Then he became Cletus the Fetus:

And entered this world as an almost stranger to us:

Now he's the love of our lives and totally looks like a big boy:

 I can't imagine how I'll feel when he's a toddler, or a tween, or a teenager.  I'm sure future-self will laugh at the naivete of present-self and how little perspective I have on the passage of time.

It's kind of like how Fatty went from this:

To this:

I guess some people dogs just get creepier with age...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Dealing with Infertility at the Ripe Old Age of 25

We tried for over a year and a half before getting pregnant. I never would have imagined that I'd have trouble getting pregnant. After all, sex ed teaches you that "it only takes one time." Plus infertility is reserved for older parents, right?  Clearly, I was wrong.

I've wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember.  I always thought the actual parenting would be difficult, not just getting pregnant.  I think it started getting frustrating at about 6 months of trying.  And by "frustrated," I mean that it was pretty much all I could think about, and I ended up getting really depressed.  About 9 months in, I went to see a doctor for an unrelated issue, and mentioned that we were trying to conceive unsuccessfully (okay, I'm already getting irritated with the terminology...).  Since my insurance coverage was about to change and a specialist visit would go from being free to having a 10% coinsurance, my doctor referred me asap to a reproductive endocrinologist who gave me a workup.  He even referred to a speculum as a crowbar.  Yessss.  Everything went well, but he mentioned offhandedly that I had a pretty sweet goiter.

Yet another misconception that I had - that goiters were issues related to developing countries.  You have first world issues?  That's cute.  I have third world issues.

I had a whole thyroid workup, and while my TSH was normal, my antibodies were super high.  Like off the charts.  But both my primary care doctor and the reproductive endocrinologist said that even though I have something called Hashimoto's thyroiditis, I should just sit and wait.  The reproductive endocrinologist explained it thusly: I should just sit and wait while my body attacks my thyroid, and when it degrades enough that it effects my TSH levels, then I could be treated.  Did I mention that my hair was falling out, I was gaining weight in spite of exercising more than I had been, I felt constantly worn down, and I HAD A GOITER?

Well guess who went directly to PubMed to find info about Hashimoto's?  The same person who has no patience for sitting and waiting, that's who.  And it turns out that Hashimoto's has a pretty decent link with not getting knocked up.  Some studies showed treating the symptoms rather than the TSH levels reversed the infertility.  But my doctor still refused to treat me.  So I went to a nurse practitioner who looked up the studies, called endocrinologists to make sure the Synthroid used to treat the symptoms wouldn't have adverse effects, and decided to prescribe me Synthroid.  I am so grateful to her, since I felt like I was slamming up against a brick wall - like I had found my answer, but no one was listening.

We luckily had a happy ending to our story, and I got knocked up about 3 months after starting the Synthroid.

And yes, please notice my creepy photobombing dog.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Underage Betting

Today is Derby Day!  We had C pick his bets:

He ended up picking Optimizer and Hansen.  I picked Daddy Long Legs, Prospective, and Gemologist.  I use the very scientific method of how much I like the name to pick horses, plus I throw in the horse with the longest odds at the time of our bets.  S made his much more educated bets, and we got my parents' bets to place for them.

We drove out to Keeneland to play the ponies.

The little miser wouldn't let anyone else hold/eat his tickets.  

One of the great things about Keeneland is that it's relatively small, and we were able to interact with some horses.

It seemed like all of the horses were more interested in the empty mint julep cup than they were in the baby.

We left Keeneland to go pick up a jogging stroller I found on Craigslist - an Instep Safari TT.  I've started to run a bit again, and I figured a jogging stroller would give me more flexibility in terms of scheduling a run,  plus S would be able to come with me if he wanted.  Coincidentally, my first race post-baby is on my birthday - at Keeneland.

Then we puttered around at home while waiting for the race to start.  The race always seems to go by so quickly!  Unfortunately, there wasn't much in the way of winnings.  Both S and my mom got the show bet.  I had considered betting on I'll Have Another, but the newspaper said that no horse has ever won from the 19th post.  Next year, I'll have to avoid reading the racing page.  And probably revert back to my original betting plan: whatever horse's name sounds the dirtiest.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Why I Cloth Diaper

I'm cheap.  I'll admit it.  I use coupons, I keep an eye out for deals, and I cloth diaper.  I decided I wanted to cloth diaper before I was even pregnant.  The overall cost savings were my biggest push.  But that wasn't the only reason.  I didn't want to be throwing out tons of diapers every day.  I also think that cloth diapers are more gentle on baby nether regions.

We actually started out with disposables, since we had to use vaseline on little man's business, and vaseline causes cloth diapers to repel.  Once we were done with that first week, we started to gradually move to cloth, and he was fully in cloth around 4 weeks.  There have been a few nights where I've been scrambling to get diapers gathered for daycare or where I have to dump a load in the laundry when I'd rather do nothing.  But  I persist, because I'm really sold on cloth.  I think he can better feel when he's wet, and I kept finding these gel crystals on him when he was in disposables - and they gave me the heeby jeebs.  I hear a few groans from S every once in a while, but I keep some disposables available for him.  But every time he changes C, the little guy comes down in cloth...

I know, I know.  All of my zero readers want to know more about cloth diapering.  Well never you fear, nonexistent ones!  I'll be posting more about my new obsession.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Why I returned my Kindle...twice

I went back and forth about getting a Kindle.  I thought it would be too similar to my iPhone, but I've been spending a lot of time reading while I feed the baby (and have minimal ability to go to the library and browse thanks to the baby).  S's wanting to get me one for Mother's Day pushed me over the edge.  So I ordered the the Kindle Touch and started to get really excited about it.

When it came, I busted it out and downloaded way too many books.  I started reading excitedly, but then as the sun began to set, S pointed out that it just didn't make sense to have something without a backlight - or to spend that much money on something only to clamp on a booklight.  There were lighted cases, sure, but the well-rated ones were $50.  For that amount of money, I could upgrade to the Kindle Fire.  So I returned the Touch and ordered a Fire.

I hadn't originally ordered the Fire because I was concerned about the battery life and the potential glare.  I don't know why I was more concerned about the glare than no backlight, considering much of my reading is done in the 3-5am range.  The Fire seemed pretty slick, but the romance started to fade when I realized it had no 3G access.  I don't know why I hadn't realized it before, but it was a disappointment.  The other major issue is that that sucker is heavy.  It was hard to hold the baby in one hand and hold it in the other.  This difficult maneuvering was not just to to weight, but also to its size.  I have long fingers/man hands, and I couldn't hold the thing comfortably.  The same applied to the Touch.  I had a case with a hand strap, and it didn't help much.  Certainly, the text was bigger in books, but I also spend a good amount of time reading Google Reader, and Google Reader is no bigger on the Kindle screen than it is on my iPhone.  And my iPhone is way easier to grab when I'm awoken by a crying little man.

So I think my initial assessment of the Kindle stands - that it's great for someone who rides a train to work or flies frequently.  I was really looking forward to using it while traveling.  But for now, I'm going to stick with the Kindle iPhone app and download books from my library.  And I'll spend the money that would have gone to the Kindle on the new coke-bottle glasses that I'll need from having my eyes glued to my iPhone at odd hours of the morning.