Monthly Archives: April 2011

More than enough drama for one day

So this morning I wake up feeling like a total zombie, just like I have for the last three weeks since the sickness came to our household.

Two cups of coffee and a shower later, I am still feeling completely dysfunctional, but whatever I have to attempt to get going because we have things to do today.

Bean tells me not so gently, “Mama! You need to go in your room and get dressed, OK!”

Yeah, taking orders from a 2.5 year old.

A 2.5 year old that has had five potty accidents that morning already. Oy!

So I am getting ready in my bathroom and boom, Sprout trips on the bathmat and goes head first into the shower door tracks.

There is screaming. Then he’s fine.

At first I’m like, OK the kid falls and hits his head all the time. But then I figure I need to take him in anyway because he needed to give a urine sample so I might as well just call it in and see what they say.

Head injury? Bring him in. Head injury with broken skin on metal? Definitely bring him in.

So I do.

As soon as we get there Bean goes into panic mode and clings to my legs the entire appointment even though I explained repeatedly that she wasn’t even the one being seen.

The doctor says he doesn’t have any signs of concussion and that he needs no stitches. He has the nurse tape up the bit of gash. Tells us to wake him once tonight to be safe.

Oh and the three weeks of sickness (oh yeah, forgot to mention, kids have it too)? Low grade sinus infection. The kid has been on antibiotics too much though so he wants him to fight it off on his own if possible.

Get home. Bean has two more accidents while Sprout takes a short nap on the floor. It’s his new favorite.

We all have lunch. Sprout projectiles his. I freak out. Call the doctor back. One vomit is fine, apparently.

I go to change his diaper and realize we forgot to leave the urine sample bag.

Load the kids back up. Back to the doctor’s office. Leave the sample.

Farmer’s market. Kids sample our half flat of strawberries. I realize I didn’t bring wipes. Strawberry juice is everywhere.

Bean pees her pants while standing on the reusable grocery bags in the van. I guess of all the places to have an accident that is a good one. Luckily I do have an extra pair of undies and shorts for her in my purse.

Grocery store. The kids are quite the sight with the strawberry juice and the head injury. Bean touches everything. “Mama, look at this!” “Mama, did you see these?” Or when we were in the bakery section and she had to give every single bag of tortillas a hug.

Home.

Kids eat dirt.

What a day.

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Soap. It explains everything.

So after our initial post-use wash with the new diapers, I was a little disappointed when we dried them and they smelled better, but still not completely like fresh, clean laundry.

It was definitely better though and when they were dry they didn’t stink.

So anyway I was looking around again for answers and someone recommended this cloth diapering detergent called Rockin’ Green. She said she uses the Hard Rock as well as the Funk Rock Ammonia Bouncer for combating ammonia in her diapers.

The website doesn’t really have an about section or a huge amount of information. It is mostly just a store front with some reviews, but there are a couple youTube videos that they put up about soap buildup in diapers and how they compare to other brands.

After watching the videos I decided to pay attention to the rinse and agitation part of our wash cycle and see if we had soap bubbles.

Well, I have been running back-to-back soap-free wash cycles since 7:30am. I have listened dutifully to the machine and checked in on every rinse/agitation portion of the cycle.

Sooo much soap!

This picture was taken two hours ago. And these are the new diapers, mind you.

It is now 1:30pm and I just checked in again and saw the same thing. Lots of soap bubbles on the surface of the water.

It completely explains everything. No wonder the old diapers stunk. They probably had so much soap in them after two and a half years of washing like I used to wash.

Then I got to thinking about our clothes and how much soap is probably on them too. No wonder Stephen and the kids battle with eczema even though we use a free and clear detergent!

I never really trusted the diaper sites before when they would say that most detergent manufacturers recommend that you use 2-3 times the amount of soap that you really need. I had tried to use less a couple times, but felt like things didn’t get as clean. So I have to figure out a balance now between too much and too little soap.

Edited to add: As of 4:30pm we are still seeing soap bubbles! Ahhh! When will this end?

Second edit and update: I stopped around 10:30pm that first night and picked up again sometime the next morning. I did more washes as I could, but had a lot going on that day with the crazy injured child and grocery shopping that needed to get done. I did my last wash around 5:30pm. I was still getting bubbles on the surface when I checked in, but they were dissipating pretty quickly so I decided to give it up and put them in the dryer. Good news is they did not stink in the dryer and the fabric felt super clean when I pulled it out. Think squeeky clean, but with fabric.

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Tutorial: Turning BumGenius 3.0 diaper cover to training pant (PullUp)

I feel like we have been potty training with Bean for forever. I know it hasn’t been that long though. It started with what was essentially a little EC (elimination communication) where she would make a certain face or tell us when she was going and we would take her to the potty to do her business.

At some point she started really wanting to use the potty rather than go in her diaper. Then at another point she hated using the potty. At another point she was too distracted to use the potty regularly. Then she was mostly accident free so long as I prompted her to go. Lately she has been telling me she has to go while running to the bathroom and she is mostly accident free.

However, that is only with me. Lately she only wants me to help her with potty stuff and throws a huge fit if I am busy and Stephen has to take her instead. She wants nothing to do with help from her preschool or Sunday school teachers. So I usually just have her try before and after and she wears a PullUp to class. We also use PullUps for trips, days where we are out of the house all day doing errands or activities and for naps and at night.

My original plan was to use a cloth version of PullUps. I searched out a few different options and eventually settled on the Happy Heiny trainers. The reviews said these were trim and I liked that you could order them with snaps on each side so that if there was a poop accident it would be much easier to clean up and deal with. Besides, the actual PullUps brand training pants also open at the sides, so that is what I expected and was used to. No one wants to drag a training pant full of poop down their toddler’s leg and then try to have them navigate their feet out of that training pant without making a mess.

When my order got here though I was so disappointed. They are so bulky. When we stuff them with even just one insert, it is like she has a balloon between her legs. People always made fun of me because of our kids’ giant cloth diaper bums, but believe me there is worse out there than the BumGenius. BumGenius and now our Flip diapers are actually really trim comparatively.

So anyway we’ve been going through a lot of PullUps lately, especially since Bean started preschool. And I hate buying them. I hate worrying about if we have enough to get us through this or that. I hate throwing them away and creating so much trash. I hate that Bean gets rashes from them all the time. I hate that they are plastered with Disney Princess crap (I know, slightly silly of me). I just hate them. Period.

I have asked around though and there really doesn’t seem to be a much better alternative in the cloth diapering world that matches up to an actual PullUp.

So, I have been getting crafty the last couple days. I have all the BumGenius covers that we are no longer using. I also have something like 300 snaps that I ordered for when my plan was to replace the velcro on them. I figured the worst that could happen is that I could wind up permanently ruining something that we are probably going to wind up throwing away anyway, right?

I did a search to see if there were any tutorials on how to go about converting a BumGenius cover to a PullUp or training pant. One blog had a picture, but her training pant did not open at the sides. She basically just removed the tabs and sewed them shut.

So I had to come up with my own plan.

The first thing I did was take an actual PullUp and lay it down open and flat against one of my diaper covers to figure out where I needed to make alterations.

Pretty much other than the fact that the BumGenius is more bikini cut than the PullUp (which actually we usually wind up folding the PullUps down a bit because Bean is her mother’s very sensitive daughter and if it touches her wrong she is uncomfortable and whines), the only difference is that the elastic and Velcro tabs extend beyond the PullUp.

So yesterday I made my first one. I used a seam ripper to remove the Velcro from the front, the elastic tabs and the laundry tabs.

Then I flipped the back part where the elastic tabs used to be inside out and made a seam there.

The result pretty much lines up with the PullUp.

Then I used my snap pliers to attach some snaps on the sides and I had a cloth PullUp. So I had Bean try it on and model it for me. She wasn’t super cooperative. First she didn’t want to put it on at all because, “No, I’m a big girl now! I don’t wear diapers anymore!” And then she didn’t want to hold still for the picture.

We used the prototype last night with a pre-fold and had no leaks or issues. However, though it fits, it is a little snug. There is no way she’d be able to get it on and off by herself.

So I made another today and instead of completely removing the elastic tab, I cut just before the velcro tabs and then repeated the process.

Bean is napping right now so I haven’t actually tried this one on her, but I think it should be a slightly better fit and easier to get on and off. Also, success at nap today, when presented with a disposable PullUp, “I don’t want to wear a sposable, Mama, I want to wear a cloth PullUp.” She was very disappointed I didn’t have more. I told her I had to make more.

Edited to add: The second attempt seems just a tad too big. It stays on, but starts to sag. I will have to adjust again. Overall I have it mostly figured out though.

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Boy or girl?

This baby is a complete mystery to me.

Bean’s prediction is strongly for girl. This moring: “Where is my little sister? I want to see her! I want to make something for her.” She always refers to the baby as little sister.

I, on the other hand, feel like I am not even allowed to go there and get excited about the possiblity of another girl. After my “meltdown” last time, I don’t want to be disappointed.

Not that boys are bad. Sprout is great and sweet and I love him, obviously. It’s just hard to explain.

I’ve been waaay less sick, so maybe that means boy. But they also say it gets easier morning sickness wise each pregnancy. Like your body gets used to it. Or at least my mom said one time to me that it did. But sometimes she remembers things differently from time to time. So her opinion may have changed if I ask her about it again.

The heart beats per minute myth is also a mystery at this point. At all my appointments up until the halfway mark this baby was in the 150-160s which is the “girl” heartbeat range. Bean was always in this range. But the last couple appointments the baby has been in the 130s, which is the “boy” heartbeat range, which is what Sprout always was.

I don’t feel like I am carrying this kid any different. My cravings and aversions aren’t different. Although the Sour Patch Kids candy phase didn’t last nearly as long this time as it did with the other two.

At the ultrasound appointment with the backup OB he made us close our eyes at the beginning until he knew what he was looking at and could safely navigate away from that area. Then he said, “OK, you can open your eyes. I saw the bbb-ladder. Oh, haha, you guys thought I was going to say ‘boy’ didn’t you?” So then I’m like. OK, does that mean it is a boy, but then if it was why would you joke that it was? Or is that just his standard joke to parents not wanting to find out what they are having?

Then there was the whole thing in the ER with the ultrasound tech which turned out to be the umbilical cord.

So I don’t know.

What do you think? Because it is fun to speculate. I’ve got until August to wait this thing out.

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Bean gets a room all her own

Well with a third on the way we were not going to be cramming all three kids into one room just so we could maintain a craft and guest room. Especially since we use the guest room for guests about five times a year at the max.

So we got rid of the queen bed in there (given to some friends about to become newly weds) moved in a full size futon we got from Stephen’s sister to become Bean’s new bed and room.

My friends came Thursday to pick up the bed and they moved the futon up there too. Bean had to take a nap in there that afternoon as soon as it was in place. She was so excited about her new big bed!

We did some rearranging that night when Stephen got home, he was pretty inspired and ready to get going at this point. The bulk of the purging, reorganizing and rearranging was done yesterday.

I also made up some art for Bean’s room based on some that I saw at Target. Only this uses scrap fabric from her quilt and so coordinates perfectly with her bedding. The sheets we got also came in a little matching fabric bag so I was able to cut that up and incorporate it into the art too.

I cut fabric into shapes to make up larger objects like the owls and trees and I also cut out flowers and birds from the quilt fabrics to use in the art.

I covered some canvasses I already was using as decor in that room with quilt batting (so the old design wouldn’t show thru) and then the fabric. I’ve always thought of hot gluing things as kind of half assed (sorry for the language, but that really is the best way to put it), but I think in the case of something like this where in a few years she will out grow it and something that isn’t going to get a lot of wear and tear being up out of reach on the wall, it is fine for. Plus I just wanted to get it done and really couldn’t think of a better way.


I printed up a page of inspiration images including old blog logos and screen captures of the art that Target had.


This is about midway thru the project. Bean and I worked on this one together after her nap one day. In the upper left corner you can see what the old canvasses looked like.


So excited about her new room.


The owls which are pretty much a rip off of the Target piece. I even traced the owls from her Target Pillow to do them.


I made this one last night while Bean was asleep. This morning she came out of her room and said, “There’s a tree with apples in my new room!” The apples are from apple fabric I used in her quilt, the birds are also from her quilt fabric, and the flowers too.

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An update on my cloth diapering adventures

We made some recent changes in the cloth diapering department, so I decided an update post was in order since I’ve blogged so extensively about the subject and I know I have many followers that have been converted to cloth from reading my posts (Haha, funny moment this weekend at our cousin’s baby shower, one of her friends came up to me and said, “Hi Lisa. You don’t know me, but I read your blog. And I started cloth diapering because of you. It’s been so great for us.”).

Well, after 2.5 years, and 2 kids worth of use, the microfiber inserts that came with my BumGenius 3.0 diapers had had it. They were still intact, they were still absorbent, but they stunk. And they stunk bad. Much of the “hook and loop” (Velcro) closures were also pretty worn (you may remember I’d started converting my diapers to snaps, but I only got a handful of them done). Changing diapers was an olfactory experience that I could not really deal with anymore. Then washing and drying them, P. U. It would stink up our whole house!

I tried so many things. Soaking. Bleaching. More soaking. Anti bacterials. Oxi Clean. Baking soda and vinegar. I scoured the Internet for “microfiber stink solutions,” “stinky BumGenius solution,” you name it I probably Googled it and tried it on my diapers. Nothing worked.

I had pretty much resolved to get rid of the inserts and either make or buy my own cotton inserts. Until I could get around to it, I had started using Huggies Pure & Natural Diapers or Seventh Generation diapers for Sprout and Pull-Ups or the Seventh Generation brand training pants for Bean. Stephen and I both noticed quite a spike in our budget during this period. So he started trying to be more proactive about the diaper laundry and using cloth. It was nice, but I was still sick of our microfiber.

Then my aunt called out of the blue one day and said for a combined Mother’s Day, birthday and new baby present this year she wanted to get us a cloth diapering service. She had researched it out, found three companies that serve our area and was surprised it wasn’t as expensive as she’d thought.

So I called up the companies next to find out a little more. I had a nice chat with one of owners of a Santa Clarita based company about cloth diapering and my cloth diapering problems. She told me that microfiber can only be guaranteed a year or a certain number of washes which is why diapering services can’t use them. She was surprised I made it 2.5 years with mine. She said they use cotton pre-folds because they can get the stink out and they last longer. This is basically what I had read on the Internet too, but it made more sense hearing it from someone who’s entire business revolves around cloth diapering.

After looking into it a little more though, I was disappointed to find that the diapering service only takes care of washing the pre-fold inserts and not the covers. To me, this didn’t really seem all that helpful. I’d have to keep two separate pails for the covers and inserts (which cloth diapering stuff already takes up enough room in our place), and I’d still be doing some diapering laundry.

So I talked to my aunt a little more about it and she said she would replace our old diapers instead.

Overall I still felt that my BumGenius diapers were a good investment and a good quality product. But I knew I wanted to go with cotton and not microfiber this time. I also had fairly good experiences with the distributor/parent company (I think that’s what they are?), Cotton Babies, so I did not hesitate to go back to them.

BumGenius does make an organic cotton version of their diapers, but they are all one piece. Plus, the new ones come in your choice of snaps or hook and loop. I actually liked that we could stuff our other diapers because I could control how much we needed to add or subtract for absorbency. I still wanted the flexibility of a pocket diaper or just a cover. I knew I would also go with snaps over hook and loop this time.

Since I bought/was gifted my BG 3.0s over 2.5 years ago, Cotton Babies has come out with two other kinds of diapers, the Flip System and the EconoBum.

The Flip diapers are pretty similar to G Diapers in that they have cloth or disposable inserts depending on your need. You can reuse the covers until they get gross, so you just keep replacing the inserts otherwise. They also have two cloth options, microfiber and cotton. Another good difference between the Flip and G Diapers is that like the BumGenius diapers they are one size and you can get them in snaps or hook and loop closure. They also come in all the fun colors that the BumGenius diapers do. And from what I could tell of the pictures, they looked like they fit just like the BumGenius diapers do, which is one of the things I really liked about those diapers.

So after a little contemplation and calculating, I decided to go with Flip covers. However, the Flip cotton insert pretty much looked like a cotton pre-fold to me and since I knew from my conversation with the diapering service that pre-folds last the longest, I decided to go with unbleached cotton pre-folds instead of the official Flip insert. Besides, the pre-folds were much cheaper!

The hardest part for me was trying to figure out how many inserts and covers to get. With the BumGenius I had 40+ diapers that I just ordered all together and all their pieces got worn and tossed in the diaper pail together. With these I knew I wouldn’t need as many of the covers since I’d be using them for more than one diaper change. I was slightly concerned about the absorbability of the cotton versus microfiber and whether I’d be doing more changes or doubling up to get that same level of absorbency that I was used to. So in the end, I decided to go with 20 covers and 60 pre-folds.

I know it sounds like a lot, but now that we are using them (well, we have been since Sunday anyway), I think I made the right decision for two kids in diapers. It is a little much for mostly just Sprout though (I had to plan ahead, Bean is pretty much in undies except for naps she wears a cloth diaper, but for preschool and at night we put a disposable training pant on her because she needs the extra absorbency). So a person with one kid in diapers could probably get away with a lot less.

I am also pleased to report that the cotton pre-folds are really absorbent and stand up to what we were used to with the microfiber just fine. I haven’t really noticed any extra diaper changes and we haven’t had any leaks, even overnight. The diapers fit pretty much the same as our BumGenius diapers did. The snaps work great and are easy to use.

I know it may be a bit premature since we are only a few days in, but I am really happy with the change.


My new diapers arrived in the mail last week along with a new Ergo carrier. I was so excited!


A Flip cover and a pre-fold insert after I had pre-washed everything. My initial excitement over the diapers was kind of put on hold when I read that the new Cotton Babies recommendation for diaper prep was SEVEN washes and dries! With our BG 3.0s I distinctly remember that we only had to do three.


Open Flip cover with the pre-fold in place.


Closed up Flip diaper all ready to go.


Bean wearing a Flip diaper with cotton pre-fold for nap today. I love the snaps and the fact that I can put my kids down for a nap sans pants and not worry that they will get bored and take off their diaper. This will be great during the summer when their rooms get a little warm even with the air on because of where they are positioned, getting the afternoon sun and being upstairs where heat rises.

Anyway, that about sums things up. Special thanks to my auntie for the new diapers. I am so happy with them!

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Thinking about food allergies

I have been thinking a lot more about my kids, my family and food allergies lately.

My thoughts feel sort of jumbled and there is so much information to wade through.

I guess the beginning of this was a few months ago when I was just tired and dealing with morning sickness, not that bad mind you, but bad enough that I didn’t want to do anything.

And that despite how careful we are with our kids and their diets, they still have eczema and runny #2 diapers and poor growth on the growth charts sometimes. So not a giant difference in their supposed allergy “symptoms”.

And I have talked to other moms and read them too (Emery and Olive Oil come specifically to mind) about how they tried to make the same changes that we had, didn’t notice much in the way of symptom changes, did notice it was a lot of work and did notice that it was really hard to get their kids to eat that way.

I’ll admit that part of me got a little high and mighty. Part of me said, “Well, I am doing it and there is SOME difference and HOW can you just DO that to your child knowing what you know?” And part of me felt their pain and burden and frustration. Part of me understood the high rate of false positives in these allergy tests. Part of me saw the conflicting advice out there. Part of me heard about continual exposure eventually helping people to overcome their allergies instead of complete avoidance.

So anyway, back on track with the story. A couple months ago when I was tired and not feeling like it, I let my kids have regular old oatmeal at a bagelry. And a few other times I let them have blueberry muffins because Bean saw the muffins in the display case and really wanted one.

And nothing happened. The oatmeal was probably mostly fine. Oats can become contaminated by wheat fields and mills so that is why you have to buy the special gluten-free kind. But they are probably mostly fine, most of the time. The muffins were likely a triple threat cocktail for Bean. I am sure they had butter (dairy), wheat and eggs.

And like I said, nothing happened. I noticed no difference in skin or output. There was no throwing up, no diarrhea no rash. Just nothing.

But then I felt terrible.

Plus, Sprout’s last few appointments the doctor has been increasingly alarmist with regards to his status on the growth charts. Did those muffins and oatmeal lazy moments cause it? Was I really a terrible mother?

So then I read more stuff about allergy testing and how some fringe doctors believe the most standard blood test that Bean had is not enough and how there are other bodily reactors we can test against that can show a wider spectrum of food sensitivity and intolerance. But then how other doctors think these tests aren’t accurate either and have way too many false positives.

Then there are others who say that the best way to figure out food sensitivities is thru elimination diets or by introducing them back one at a time. Still others say this too is inaccurate because a lot of times food sensitivities and allergies don’t have super noticeable side effects like rashes, skin disorders, or gastrointestinal function problems and yet there are still insidious things going on in the body because of these foods.

And basically the medical community, as usual, can’t get their act together and agree on anything and just make things a little easier for us parents.

Fast forward to last week and I fed my kids and I a plate of vegetarian nachos from Baja Fresh because I just didn’t feel like having a bunch of leftovers from all of us to cart around and I also can’t bring myself to throw away that much food. Plus, I knew that Bean was coming up on the magic age when children for some reason outgrow their food allergies and that as an introduction to dairy, cheese was probably one of the safe bets because it is easier to digest than whole milk.

And again, nothing happened.

And again I felt huge amounts of guilt and questioning of myself.

Because really is this just me being selfish? I don’t have to tell those of you that have to deal with even one food allergy how much easier my life would be if I didn’t have to deal with food allergies. Even just eliminating one of Bean’s would be so incredibly helpful to me and a bit easier for me.

And for those of you that don’t know this life, imagine all of the typical toddler foods being eliminated. Imagine every time you eat out as a family being a big worry fest as to whether your kids will be inadvertently exposed to a poison. Imagine dinners and potlucks with friends often being incredibly awkward because you can’t find anything your child can eat. Or imagine telling that child that no, they really can’t enjoy all the other yummy foods that their friends are enjoying. Other kids’ birthday parties with no cake or treats for your kids. Having to make everything on your own from scratch all the time because usually even if you can find something that doesn’t have one of their allergens, it has one or two of the others. Having to pay so much money for alternative foods and supplements. The list could go on and on.

And then I start reading this book on the 4-A epidemic in children: autism, ADHD, asthma, and allergies. And once again I am freaking out and thinking that maybe there is more that my kids are up against. And I need thousands of dollars in testing to be sure. And how maybe that explains how small my kids are or any other host of little things I can pick up on in my kids.

So then the kids have a check up today and I talk to my doctor about some of it. The good news is that Sprout is growing again and Bean is doing pretty good too. We’ve avoided a trip to UCLA with “ten thousand dollars worth of testing all day long” (as he put it), for now.

He says he doesn’t put much faith in the allergy tests. Too many false positives and negatives. He did say that Bean’s original tests back when she was a year old showed only a mild allergy to wheat and dairy and a moderate allergy to egg. He said that low on the spectrum he usually sees kids grow out of and that she may have grown out of them by now. Plus, he said over half the things she was tested for were a complete waste since she hadn’t even been introduced to them and they would have had a false negative. Since he doesn’t really put much into the allergy testing he thinks we should just start trying to reintroduce stuff.

So I don’t know. I still feel confused. Like what if I reintroduce this stuff and maybe there isn’t noticeable eczema or yucky poops. Does that really mean everything is OK? Am I just being paranoid? A hypochondriac? But oh gosh would life be easier and less expensive if we could eliminate some of these things!

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