Monday, August 30, 2010

It's Not Easy Being Green...Or Is It?

Having our son this past February has caused me to step back and really evaluate my consumer ways. This little baby so precious and small had begun to create waste even before he was born and doubled our household garbage within weeks of his birth. I remember sitting on the couch about a week before my scheduled C-section pulling tags and sticky labels off baby clothes in preparation for washing. I couldn't believe the packaging and even after I sorted through what could be recycled I was left with a pile of trash.

I have to admit though that when it came to shopping for my soon to arrive baby environmentally conscious products and packaging didn't matter to me. I was a mama on the prowl for the cutest, softest, most adorable, and lush baby swag I could find. I even spoke to several mamas during my pregnancy about CD'ing but I was convinced that even though disposables were not optimal they were what was best for me. But the irony is that most parents including myself would say they value the environment and want to do what's best for it and best for their children. Of course actions speak louder than words and I was well on my way to leaving little Magnus a legacy of trash.

Once I delved into CD'ing a greener way of thinking began to creep into other areas of my home and life. As we were unable to use fabric softener with our CD's I began to read about the long list of unnecessary and even harmful ingredients in dryer sheets and now we do without for all our laundry. We use wool dryer balls and yes our clothing isn't as soft as it once was but that is something we can live with. Also we now use cloth baby wipes for Magnus's little tushy. Cloth baby wipes only made sense as we throw them in the hamper with the CD's and no longer need a garbage in Magnus's room. We line dry more clothing and of course our CD's. I am thinking about cloth napkins, and researching greener cleaning and beauty products. A few days ago I ordered some Mama Cloth (yes, insert any eye rolls here, lol) as the waste from sanitary pads was bugging me. Ladies, just think about the waste we have each month multiplied by our "child bearing years"and then some. I'll let you know how it goes.

I encourage everyone to take the time to research and investigate some greener options for yourselves. Really, I'm not a modern hippie, just a convenience loving, sometimes lazy, chubby little mama that wants to be a better parent by greening up her lifestyle and home.

Green Mama...well trying to be ;-)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Making Waves!

I just don't know where the summer has gotten to - it seems like just a week ago that the weather started to get nice, now we are mere weeks from school starting. Some great memories of summer were made this year with Magnus - he loves his inflatable frog pool and anything that has to do with water.

I hear these horror stories of children who hate the bath but Baby Magnus loves it! that is not to say that teenage Magnus will be so inclined. ;)

Splashing outside in his pool was something that comes naturally to all children - they don't enter you life and make ripples they take over your life and make waves!

the expression "don't rock the boat" doesn't apply to kids. They will find a way to flip the boat, splash all day and make you laugh till your stomach aches everyday.

Get out there and enjoy the last few months of good weather!

U.S.S . Martens is about to set sail, so captain daddy best report to the poop deck, and change those diapers!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I Like Doing Laundry?!

Before Magnus, Jay and I were like frat boys when it came to laundry. Really I didn't mind washing/drying our clothes but what I lacked was motivation when it came to folding, hanging, and putting away. We lived out of the hamper mostly (hamper full of clean clothes and a dirty pile on the floor). I kinda hoped I'd do a complete laundry turn around once Magnus arrived. Thankfully I have as I've come to the realization that babies continually create dirty laundry and if you don't wash and put it away fairly quickly it will lead to some pretty frustrating situations.

Aside from a few weeks between the end of spitting up and starting solids we've been doing laundry almost every day since Magnus's arrival. On top of our regular household laundry I now do a load of CD's every second day.

For those who might wonder this is my wash routine (keep in mind it's not set in stone as I'm still experimenting). I keep the soiled cotton soakers (the absorbent part on my CD's) in a plastic garbage with a hands free foot pedal. Some of you might be surprised to know that there is no odor (I keep the garbage can in Magnus's room and I have no complaints as of yet ;-). There is no need to soak or prewash the CD's prior to wash day unless poop's involved. As Jay mentioned a few blogs back we have a front load washing machine (HE) and therefore washing CD's is a bit trickier. I do a cold wash no detergent on delicate (delicate as it uses more water and cold as not to set in any stains). I often add a few liters of water at the beginning of the detergent free wash. If Magnus cooperates and I remember I try to cancel the cycle before the final spin so that the CD's are still nice and wet for the next part. Next I do a heavy duty wash with a small amount of CD friendly detergent on warm cold rinse with an extra rinse. I often try to add a few liters of water to one of the rinse cycles during the heavy duty wash. Because it's nice and hot in the Okanagan these days I've been line dying the CD's (my most wonderful husband put one up just for me, check it out in the pic above).

I know this whole process may sound like a lot of work but once you find a routine that works for you it's not bad at all. Yes, I also realize that it doesn't seem very green to be adding extra water but if you look at the big picture our household is using less water overall since we started using our HE machine. The big problem with HE machines is that they really don't use enough water to rinse the CD's clean (I know there are some who CD and have no issues with their HE machines too). Any leftover soap residue can lead to stink issues, repelling (a loss of absorbency) and rashes for the little ones. I honestly love my front loader but if I knew three and a half years ago that I was going to CD I probably would have bought a top loader.

Feel free to share any HE CD'ing tips you may have. Like I said I'm still experimenting.

The Laundry Lady aka Mommy

Monday, August 16, 2010

Fathers Day #1 - In the Bag!

This past Father's Day was the best ever!

I will be honest I didn't really know what to expect on my first Father's Day, but it was a special day. And now I get to celebrate it each year with Amy and my special little guy -Magnus.

Before you think that I have gone all soft and mushy I gotta tell you one thing: Father's Day is not without it's swag!

Amy got me quite the surprise gift - a Diaper Bag!

Now as exciting as that sounds I must say that Diaper bags have come a long way since I was a kid. This ain't your Momma's old diaper bag! - this diaper bag is awesome!

This Diaper Bag was not just fashionable, but functional and customizable!

This leather bag is the Cadillac of diaper bags! There is a laptop pocket which comes in handy for Magnus and my Saturday hangouts, and the removable bottle pockets on the outside are super for bottles when you need them and snap off for when you don't. The bag has 2 full inserts that snap in with different pocket configurations and you would expect nothing less from the "famed" Petunia Pickle Bottom brand. (The guys may need to Google that one! or click here)

These great bags are great for anyone who just wants a cool looking bag that has some "diaper type options". Everything that is diaper bag specific can be snapped out leaving you with a great looking bag.

I used the bag without the inserts when I went on a 2 day work trip and it was great!

Thanks Amy and Magnus for making my first Father's Day great - and the bag will last a lifetime!

Till next time - Magnus's Proud Dad!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Epic Diaper Adventure of 2010

So any CD loving mama will tell you that there are very few things that compare to free fluff or really good deals on fluff. In saying that I and hundreds of other GroVia fans had the awesome oppertunity to purchase highly discounted GroVia/GroBaby's at a seconds sale a few weeks ago.

The sale was held on GroVia's parent company's website www.thenaturalbabycompany and was announced on GroVia's Facebook page. I tell you the presale frenzy was palpable. Swarms of fans crowding GroVia's FB page with posts of excitement in the days preceding the sale. I was one of them ;)

I have to admit the night before the sale I was awake lost in my CD'ing thoughts. What would be offered, what would I buy, would it be worth it to drive all the way to Washington to pick up my purchase (2 hours away)? I live in the southern interior of British Columbia, Canada and unfortunately The Natural Baby Company does not ship to Canada :(

The sale began a little bit after 09:00 on a Monday morning with a major glitch. I think the Natural Baby Company highly underestimated how many CD loving mamas there were waiting to pounce on the bargains and boy were there bargains to be had! Pages were taking minutes to upload or timing out, items went missing from checkout carts, and mamas went crazy hitting the refresh button over and over.... Needless to say after 40 minutes I finally managed to buy "seconds" soakers and shells at about a third of the cost. Now traveling to Washington state wasn't looking so bad.

This past weekend my husband, Magnus and I traveled down to Washington to pickup our new GroVias. We had a great mini vacation and no glitches CD'ing for the first time out of town. When I opened the box I was really impressed with the quality of GroVias "seconds" and can't tell why they were considered to be seconds. Thanks to this sale I was able to increase my stash enough so that I will be able to CD using GroVia exclusively through to my next baby.

Unfortunately, due to the technical issues some mamas were not able to have their orders fulfilled or had to make changes in quantity or color but The Natural Baby Company worked very hard to honor as many of the orders as possible. GroVia announced on their FB page that after the experience of this past sale they don't plan to offer seconds sales to the public anymore and I hope they change their minds.

Bargain loving Mommy!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Some Assembly Required

Cloth diapering is all about being organized and prepared - the actual execution isn't that bad at all.

There are a few things that Dads (or Moms) can do to make the transition easier:

String up a clothes line
This may seem a bit "Old School" but the sun is really the best chemical free way to get out the stains! For less than $15 I got all the needed bits at the hardware store. Just ensure you hang it high enough that other youngsters or pets can't reach the diapers, but not too high that you need a ladder to dry some diapers!

Buy a portable "Wet Bag"
These are great for transporting used diapers back to home base if you go out - they are quite inexpensive, but don't cheap out! A good quality Wet Bag will ensure that the dirty diaper payload and odor make it back home without leaking over everything.

buy a Jumbo "Wet Bag" for the change table
I would also suggest using this wet bag in conjunction with a "Foot Pedal" type of garbage can so it is hands free and odor locking. We have used the larger wet bag inside the garbage bin and it has been great at trapping odors and being easy to open when you have your hands full of wet items.

Make some Dryer Balls!
See our post on how to make your own dryer balls here!

Keep everything in arms reach
Having a consistent system whether it be drawers or shelves will save you from the "Baby Brain" nightmare of accidentally mistaking the Kleenex for baby wipes and toothpaste for bum cream!
Hey - it only happened once and it was 2 am!
Consistent placement of essentials such as wipes, extra wipes, diapers, shells, creams, lotions, bibs and outfits really makes each change smooth.

This really isn't something that you can make yourself and it does come fully assembled - but it will change your life. Once your little one can hold up their head pop them in the Bumbo and "Presto!" they can now see what is going on!
Set the Bumbo on the table when you eat, set the Bumbo on a counter while you do your morning routine, take the Bumbo to the park...Endless Possibilities!

And Many More...
These are some of the items we have found useful - there are plenty more, I will save them for another post.

"If the Women don't find you handsome they should at least find you handy!"

Daddy Red-Green

*please note, while a Bumbo may change your life it is no replacement for adult supervision which should be present at all times while the Bumbo is in use. Please read and follow all manufacturer's guidelines when using any product.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I'm Beginning to Enjoy Cloth Diapering !?

Magnus has been in his GroVia's for 3 weeks now and things are going great! I have to admit though, after a couple of soggy nights in CD's I put Magnus in disposables at bedtime until recently. He sleeps so well and is only up once or twice to nurse which is fine but the thought of wrestling with wet crib bedding at 0300...well I'm sure you get my point.

Daytime use was going well and we had no leak issues. The AI2 system contained even the messiest of messes. I found that changing the soaker every 2-3 hours worked well for us (Magnus isn't a heavy wetter) and at times we managed going 4 hours between changes. His skin was nice and clear with no signs of irritation but unlike some Magnus had no problems with his skin when wearing disposables either.

The one funny thing I should mention but never considered beforehand is how CD's may affect clothing size. Magnus was still in 3-6 month clothing which was getting snug. Once we made the switch to CD's we had to make the jump to 6-9 month clothing(at 6 months he is 15.5 lbs and 24.5 inches).

I can now say and I know I'm not alone on this one, that I'm loving CD'ing. Sure it does take more time, organization, and work but it's something I feel good doing.

Cloth diaper loving Mommy!