Monday, December 28, 2009

BabyLegs Time!

Okay. So first off, for Christmas a lovely friend of mine sent me two diaper covers that I am totally unfamiliar with. I look forward to getting some Snappis and eventually using the damn things, but I'm terrified of doing so without said Snappis.

Anyway, on to the point!

So I've been reading a blog called My Boho Baby Is Hippie Chic for a while now. And on that blog, she provides a lovely step-by-step instructional manual on how to make BabyLegs at home out of socks you either already have, or buy yourself. I thought this was absolutely fascinating, but didn't have the gall to attempt it before now. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that's right - the person who has made her own skirts and garb was too afraid to make a pair of BabyLegs. Don't laugh too hard. I also thought that I wouldn't be able to because I couldn't find a pair of socks that I liked and simultaneously disliked enough to follow through with the required cutting and sewing. Well, I just happened to find a pair of interesting old toe socks of mine, and I have just finished fixing the top hem and snipping off the toe portions! The sad thing is that I don't have any decent matching material, so the fleece that will make the thigh portion will be bright, pastel-ish yellow (a big difference from the sparkly light blue and the dark blue that make up the remainder of the sock). Will it match? I don't know. I can hope, though.

My hatmaking has increased. I've since made a hat with a bird on it (sucked), a hat for the daughter of a friend of mine (that, thanks to money restrictions, probably won't get to her while said friend's daughter can still wear the damn thing), and another hat for my youngest. That hat has a button on it, dammit - a big, totally mismatched yellow button. And yes, I'm proud of it.

I was also gifted (by the same friend mentioned above!) a bag of Rockin' Green laundry detergent for usage on our dipes. This totally blows my mind, since I've never used powder detergent before. Normal powder detergents are too rough on my skin, and leave my psoriasis screaming for mercy. I was thrown off by the fact that the stuff doesn't sud, but it smells amazing and even leaves old, used diapers (don't ask) smelling fresh and looking BRIGHT. I absolutely love it, and will be stocking up at tax time.

I will also be stocking up on new diapers to try. First and foremost, I will be getting myself a mountain of Snappis (probably six of them, just in case). This is obviously a requirement at this point, because if I'm going to go into this to a point where I feel safe and secure, I need to have something to use on prefolds! Second, I'm trying to figure out what covers to use. On one hand, I'm leaning toward the Thirsties Duo Wrap (available from Cotton Babies here) because I am obsessed with OS dipes and I think that in the long run they're the most economic for someone like me. They have good reviews and others have obviously used them with prefolds the way I intend to, so I don't think that it would be too big of a problem. On the other hand, I've heard a LOT about the BSRB (Bagshot Row Bamboo) collection and the ladies on the cloth diapering board on BabyCenter seem to be gaga over them. They're decently priced and they're organic. They come in AIO versions and "ultimate fit", although I'm still not sure exactly what that is, after having read the whole informational section (I get it, but I don't). However, I've heard some nasty things about bamboo, so I think if I were to attempt to get some, I'd only get a couple - that way I could easily resell them if I found they were too much hassle for us, or just not what I was looking for, and I wouldn't be out much.

So that's what's been going on so far. Other than that, Alex has begun munching on solids (bananas and sweet potatoes, yay!). I'm pretty impressed. Way to go, kiddo.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


So today I was talking to a friend of mine, and it was basically decided (and shaken on!) that I will be serving as her unofficial doula during birth. I AM FREAKING STOKED. She feels as though the baby will arrive in February and is hoping for a drug-and-intervention-free birth, which I totally hope I can help provide for her. From the information I learned from MY doula (Becky, you ROCK) and the things I've learned from research and experience, I really hope that I can help her achieve this goal. It'll be her first child, my first experience, and the first birth I've been present for that wasn't happening for my family! I'm so excited I can't even begin to tell you about it! So now I'm seriously considering taking classes to become a certified doula if I really do enjoy this experience with her - perhaps I can ask for payment to go to Chicago to take the classes for my birthday in April. That would be amazing. So I fired off an email to my doula and I hope she doesn't feel I'm stepping on any toes by asking her about becoming a doula.

That's about all there is to report for now - dear hubby has to work at 4 AM tomorrow (Black Friday) until 2 PM, and Gabe is grouchy beyond all compare, so tonight is REALLY not ending well. Sigh. It's always something, isn't it?

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and got to spend it with friends and family, eating good food!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Clothies And Hats

Well, first of all, I have my official first shipment of BG 3.0 OS dipes. So here's my review after about a week of usage:

Microfiber inserts hold a LOT of liquid!
Not as bulky as I expected
They fit a 2 1/2 year old on the biggest setting
The colors are true to the website
They didn't bleed color when washed in hot water
Don't hold stains or smell at all
Aplix holds well
Inserts tumble dry quickly

Bulkier than sposies for sure
Newborn insert addition makes dipes VERY bulky
Six is so not enough (haha)
Covers take FOREVER to dry (must hang dry)
Stuffing dipes can be time-consuming and awkward/difficult
Doubling the front later will be awkward and lead to lots of bulk
Poop sticks pretty hardcore to the dipe

So far, I think it's about even - I'm liking them, but since I only have six to use (and about a billion Indian prefolds that do me no good without covers) it's really difficult to keep up with the diapers when it comes to washing. I feel like I'm wasting a lot of water and electricity trying to wash them constantly, so that is my only big complaint thus far, but that isn't the fault of the diapers. I think I'm gonna like this.

Also, I'm making HATS.

I made this for Alex for Christmas. I have no idea if it'll actually fit or not, but I've hand-sewn the entire thing. Thus far I think it looks pretty awesome. I'm a little worried that using the fleece will prove to be a bad idea because it stretches so much, and I worry that the stitches will stretch right out, but we'll just have to see - if it ends up not working, so be it. I'm not out much in the long run, and I won't be entirely heartbroken if my first attempt at a hat doesn't end up picture-perfect. As it stands, I think that's a pretty good hat, considering I didn't hem the bottom (the fabric rolls and doesn't fray so I didn't see the point in taking an extra half an hour to do that by hand, too) and didn't use a pattern (which is why it's a bit off-kilter). I figure, for my kids, I'm not too bothered by a little lean, and that makes it more unique, right? Ha, ha, ha.

Now, here's the thing: If this hat ends up lasting, I'm seriously considering making more of them. The cloth that the spots came from literally cost a dollar for a 18" x 20" piece, the fleece was a HUGE yard for almost $3, and of course I honestly don't factor in the cost of thread as it's minimal at best. The yellow felt was left over from a Halloween costume Colin made YEARS ago that somehow floated with him from apartment to apartment, and I found it and decided it needed to be used. So here we have it, the finished hat. I suppose there would be a good market for these, as the cost would be little and the hats would be FREAKING CUTE. The best part is that if I chose to make these and sell them, and used my sewing machine to make the hats themselves, I could make these in like 15 minutes flat, from cutting to the last stitch on the polka dots. I could do stripes of the felt, I could do just about anything anyone wanted, and it would be pretty easy all things considered.

So, my nonexistent not-so-loyal readers, what do YOU think? If it were a little better made, would YOU buy these from a WAH momma?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Desperate for Diapers

I've recently decided (see last post) that I will probably be going with Thirsties diapers instead of the BumGenius diapers. The price was a big factor, however, a little research had also brought up the fact that apparently the BG dipes have a tendency to unravel far faster than what it's worth - which is leading me to the Thirsties route instead. I am slowly saving up bits and pieces of my paychecks, although at this route it will undoubtedly be a very long time (read: several months) before I can even begin to order the six dipes and 20 prefolds that I had originally wanted. I've considered getting a smaller number of each - maybe three dipes and 10 prefolds to start out, as that would halve my spending - but I would no longer qualify for the free shipping, and I would hate to start out on the path to cloth diapering without some sort of stash set up that's big enough to actually make continuing worthwhile.

For now, we're back in the dreaded disposables. We've gone from the moderately expensive Pampers dipers to their same-brand counterparts, the Pampers BabyDry dipers. I absolutely hate disposables - we go through so many that we need a separate trash can for them and the damn thing reeks no matter what I do to it - but Alex has basically outgrown the gDiapers at this point, and I have no ability or desire to waste money I could be using on buying AIOs or OS dipes on more gDiapers that will only last so long anyway. I would have to order online either way, as no local stores carry the gDiapers anymore, so at this point the wait isn't what concerns me in the least.

I do still intend to take a stab at making a couple of diapers, as I do still have the materials, although I'm aware that in order to use them I'll need to pre-wash all of the fabric still, pre-shrink it, and then buy some of those evil plastic covers. That is the cheaper route in the long run than buying premade covers online; they would look better, for sure, but expense is a problem at this point and I cannot afford to put any more money into this than I am already planning to. All I want is to get a decent number of dipes built up so after this I am free to experiment with whatever diapers and combinations of covers/prefolds/inserts/dipes that I please without feeling concerned about their quality affecting the number of diapers I have in my stash (ie buying just one or two now and teasing myself with the idea that I can use these diapers long-term without wearing them out at all).

In other news, we've begun the slow transition into organic and natural food. I have to say, I thought natural peanut butter would taste crappy, but I prefer it hands-down to its processed sibling! A few things I am currently skipping: organic eggs (price), organic milk (oh my GOD that is expensive), organic meats (I know, I know, but damn, that's a lot of money), organic ice creams (most of it seems to be lactose-free and none of us are lactose-intolerant). We did, however, get some vegetarian powdered egg substitute, as a $10 bag is actually cheaper in the long run to use in baking and such than an actual egg.

Will we make the full transition? I have no idea, but I do know this is a GREAT way to start working more fruits and veggies into our diets. One step closer to a better lifestyle.

Friday, October 30, 2009


I would be lying to you if I said I at all liked, appreciated, or wanted to continue using gDiapers with flats. I suppose that in retrospect the whole system would be much more efficient if I had more of the actual diapers to use; I have four snap-in liners, a decent number of foldable flats, and an entire unopened package of the biodegradable, flushable liners that I could use if I wanted to.

The problem is that I DON'T want to use the liners. I might be acting like a stubborn animal about this, but to me the point of going cloth was to actually use cloth, not to use a mixture of the two. I'd consider it if necessary but at home, with easy access to a washer and dryer, I don't see the point of not going all-out. But the flats, well, pardon my French but the damn flats don't hold a damn thing! This child pees once and it's over. It bunches itself up a billion times over and he squirms and gets uncomfortable. It doesn't matter how I fold them, although I've found a method that has so far worked rather well for poop (there's a detail I know you wanted), at least, which is progress:

And that would be it. I'm sure there's a name for that fold, like "the pocket" or something, since I knows I saw it somewhere and didn't just make it up all on my own, but I forget. This seems to work relatively well, and to a degree it even almost fits in the gDiaper's liner. Unfortunately, it doesn't absorb well for a boy, and I worry that if I try to fold it almost any other way I'll regret it, because it'll either be too thin in the back and poop will soak through, or it'll be too thick in the front and it will be uncomfortable for him. I don't really want to put him through any undue stress. I just can't find a fold for flats that I like - and at this point I'm pretty much thinking that after this, these damn things are going back to being burp rags. I am soooo finished with them.

In other news, I've been doing a lot of looking online as to how to construct my own cloth diapers. This poses two problems for me: 1) I would have to buy very expensive outer cloth from a few exclusive online stores to use as an outside cover to keep the diapers waterproof, and 2) if I decided NOT to do that, I would have to buy plastic diaper covers that would end up ruining my hard work and wouldn't be see-through anyway!

So I have to ask, that being said: how do moms who don't use waterproof diapers work with this problem? Is there a website that sells special covers that are see-through? Do you just not use covers while you're at home and risk the aftermath of wet floors, clothes, etc? I could see this being an option for a mobile baby, but for my little three-month-old ("Little," she says! Ha!) this seems .. I dunno. Nobody will ever see the diapers, you know? It seems counterintuitive. But I'm still curious. So if anybody has an answer for me, that'd be great.

But that hasn't stopped me from making the attempt:

Yes, I know, I haven't done anything with any of it yet, and none of the cloth I bought will provide for one of the one-size-fits-all diapers that I've been longing for and that are my ideal diaper. I also know that metal snaps are a no-no, but it's all Wal-Mart had at the time, dammit.

I can't promise that I actually have the intention of following through with this. At the very least, it'll likely be a while, because I don't have an answer to my plastic covers issue (Wal-Mart only sells opaque white covers), and at the moment my sewing desk is covered in baby clothes that haven't yet been properly sorted from the move.

I know I was also going nuts over the BumGenius 3.0 diapers - because they've gotten some good reviews and also because they're one-size-fits-all (OS) diapers. I'm kind of big on the idea of only having to get a few actual diapers during my baby's lifetime, and then only have to replace the prefolds occasionally, but I'm starting to lean toward looking through the Thirsties diapers. They offer an OS dipe, although it isn't TOTALLY OS because there are two different diapers to buy - but the latter diaper goes up to 40 lbs! That would still fit Gabe! They're also slightly cheaper than the BG 3.0, and the Thirsties diapers go up another five pounds.

Why do I freak out about this? Well, I don't want to make my own plastic covers. Yes, I am lazy. No, I do not want to have to cut up a shower curtain (nor buy a shower curtain, for that matter). I can't sew all that well as it is and I don't really think I want to fail even more on a bunch of vinyl.

So I'm going through all this in my head. I've decided I want to go with Indian prefolds for now, and 20 of those is about $35 from Cotton Babies. So that much is pretty set in stone. The same site sells a "kit" of BG 3.0 dipes, 6 for $104.70 (or $105 for the sake of making more sense in my head). Plus the prefolds, that's a one-time expenditure of about $140 without shipping, since Cotton Babies would offer free shipping on an order that large. Six Thirsties diapers from the same store would retail at $12.75 each, so $76.50 - and the free shipping would still qualify. Add in the prefolds and that's $111.50 - a savings of almost $30 on diapers. That $30 I would've spent on buying the BG 3.0 dipes could be spent instead on a bunch of things: more prefolds, or maybe one of the Thirsties cloth diapers and one of their covers to see how I like that combination. Or I could save the $30 in general.

Ooh, options. I love saving money and the Thirsties diapers have gotten pretty good reviews, too. We shall see where this all takes me.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Cloth Diapering Extravaganza!

Whew, I haven't updated in a while. Apologies for that. Life here has been absolutely insane!

So, on the home front, I have finally begun my official exposure to the cloth diapering world. Before Alex was born in July (by the way, he was three months old yesterday!) we found some gDiaper starter kits and disposable liners on sale at County Market. I had wanted to start cloth with Gabe, but had never gotten the opportunity as we had no easy access to a washer and dryer, so at half off the regular price we swooped in and bought the last starter kit and second-to-last package of inserts. I washed them once and promptly forgot about the entire thing, a victim to the lazy-ass disposable trend.

Fast forward to yesterday. We were running low on disposables and I knew it would still be a few hours before my mother would be taking me shopping and providing me with more. My dear husband looks at me and calmly points out, "You know, we still have the gDiapers." Boom, I'm off.

I stripped the few cloth flats that I have and immediately figured out a do-it-yourself folding method that involves the little "butt pocket" for poop. I'm proud to say that even with incredibly flimsy flats, we have made it through an overnight, one poop, and several pee diapers with no huge complaints! Of course it isn't as convenient as disposables in a lot of ways: baby needs to be changed more often because he's more aware of when he's wet. But at the same time, every time I put him in cloth, he grins at me. He's a happy baby and I know it!

So now we're discussing purchasing a six-pack of the BumGenius 3.0 diapers, along with 20 Indian prefolds. I'm excited about the prospect of using prefolds instead of flats, especially since supposedly they're more absorbent (I bet they are)! I'm also happy about trying out one-size-fits-all diapers, because while I do like the gDiapers, I'm not particularly excited about spending almost $18 on one diaper when I know I'm going to have to replace it with a bigger size. However, I've also heard that some people find the BG OS to be flimsy and have noticed that people are reporting that it doesn't always hold up that well, so we shall see. Either way, I'm pretty sure all of our future prefold orders will be coming from the same site I plan on ordering the BG diapers from, because 20 Indian prefolds are only $35! Woo hoo!

In other news, I've recently been made aware of a WAHM momma who is getting herself all ready to go with a cloth diapering business. She's also working on some "momma cloth" style tampons that looked positively ADORABLE. I highly suggest everyone check out Clever With Cloth as she makes the transition into a home business. She makes receiving blankets into cloth diapers - how adorable is that?!

For now, I leave you, my nonexistent followers, as I have a screaming, unhappy baby who currently needs to be fed.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Some Background

I think the urge to crunch came with finding out we were expecting our first child. I originally anticipated a lot of things about his birth and how we would raise our first child: I wanted a "natural" (read: intervention- and drug-free) birth, even though it was my first child, I was intent on breastfeeding, we weren't going to circumsize him, we were going to use cloth diapers (without easy access to a washer or dryer, by the way), we were going to make our own baby food .. The list went on for a while. I had taken on the idea that being a crunchy family would be easy.

Naturally, Fate had other ideas. Our firstborn proved a stubborn creature, and it took 36 hours of labor, the maximum dose of pitocin I could be given, and a lot of frustration for all involved to bring the little bugger into the world. The whole thing was a badly-managed battle further confused by my inadequate, ill-educated "support team" (my mother, a medically-minded LPN who fully believes in the power and purpose of modern medicine, and my dear, sweet husband, who knew exactly as much as I had told him and nothing more). Our first few weeks at home were the rollercoaster ride from Hell: the baby was severely jaundiced and my milk never came in enough to sustain him, our cloth diapering dreams were destroyed by our extra four days in the hospital (our minds, as new parents and confused twentysomethings were admittedly elsewhere), and the first month or so was generally unpleasant. We ended up the stereotypical American parents, feeding formula after being told breastfeeding wasn't a viable option, using disposable diapers left and right, and trying to come to terms with when and why everything stopped going according to plan. I resolved, then, to try to do things differently the next time around, if I was destined to be given a second chance.

Unexpectedly enough, two years after the birth of our first child, we found out that we were expecting again. During the pregnancy we resolved to do things differently, and in homage to the spiraling economy we played our parts as irresponsible consumers and moved (albeit by force; our apartment was being torn down) into a small house we can't afford. We reacquired the washer and dryer my husband had been keeping in storage in his brother's basement, made a few new commitments, and started over again.

So who are we and what are we doing? Well, my name is Kayleigh (or Kay). I've been with my husband, Colin, since February of 2000, although we've been married since April of 2007. We met over the Internet in 1999, and in 2002, Colin moved 1600 miles from his home state of Maine to live closer to me here in Illinois. Our first child, Gabe, was born in March of 2007, and at the end of July of this year, we welcomed our second child and second son, Alex. I am 23 and celebrate my birthday on Earth Day in April; Colin is 25 and will continue his journey toward middle age (he hates it when I say that) in September. We seem to constantly be in the midst of financial turmoil, although that isn't the focus of this blog. Mostly, I note this as a warning, in case anyone notices that I seem to mention our financial problems a lot. The bad thing is that we have extremely limited resources when it comes to what aspects of our lives we can "crunch". The good thing about this is that we're not alone in this aspect, and I hope that I not only give ideas on going crunchy (which can sometimes require a sizeable initial investment before you see the eventual return) on a limited budget, but that other crunchy moms share their ideas with me as well.

So, for now, join me in the journey to being crunchy, and even if you're just along for the ride, I hope you enjoy the trip. I know I will.