Sunday, September 27, 2009

Kennedy the Kindergartner

I had hoped I would be better prepared
when this day arrived; but ready or not
it came. Kennedy didn't miss a beat,
and was fearless regarding all things
school related. She LOVES riding the bus
to school (when only the other Kindergartners
are on) and wishes I would allow her to ride
it home as well.

I am prayerfully considering this wish,
and the jury is still out. In the meantime,
Macy, Max and myself all take an afternoon
walk across the street and down a bit,
to the cul-de-sac that has enough room
for the bus to turn around since Kennedy
is the last to be picked up for the afternoon
Kindergarten run. While we wait, she daily
picks me flowers, finds me bugs, and gives
me beautiful leaves for safe keeping. We all
enjoy a moment in the fresh air and our little
walk to and from the bus stop. We share a
prayer and some kisses, and she is off!

She loves her teacher, and has made
MANY friends. On Friday I had my
first opportunity to volunteer in her
classroom for a writing workshop, and
got to put faces with all the names she
so frequently mentions.

About a week before school started,
we had a good rainy day. The drizzly
weather was too inviting to resist for
my sillies, so they suited up in their
rainboots, pettiskirts, and raincoats
for some good fun. They have vivid
imaginations, and are the best of friends
most days.

I'm so thankful everyday to be
their mother and pray for the
wisdom, love, humility, blessings,
spiritual power, and strength of
character to be equal to the task.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Last days in San Diego

I have never lived near or in a city with a navy presence,
so I was unaware of the practice to stand at attention
and in formation when coming into harbor.

For me it was a patriotic moment; made me count my
blessings and thank Heavenly Father once more that I live
in America, home of the free & the brave.

My heartfelt gratitude goes out to all the men and women
who courageously and selflessly serve their country and their

so that you and I can enjoy our day to day lives, relatively
untroubled by the threats that are made daily on America
and our way of life, at home and abroad.

so that we can have a peaceful and carefree
family vacation like the one we enjoyed

playing in this pool,

I just saw the press coverage of the man from
Colorado who was arrested on terrorist charges.
I accept it as a fact that there are enemies at home
and abroad who are resentful and bitter because
of the lifestyle broadly enjoyed by the American people.

It is a terribly frightening and stark reality that the
blissful ignorance widely enjoyed today, could be gone

As I write the world is trying to decide how to respond
to the newly publicized knowledge of a secret nuclear
facility in Iran.

The world is in turmoil. I guess it always has been...
The freedoms enjoyed today are threatened not only
by the threat of terrorism and nuclear arms, but also
by our own misdeeds as a nation; the refusal to continue
to acknowledge God as the Founder of our freedom as
our forebears freely did, the notion that believing in right
and wrong and the universal application of truth
makes one a bigot---narrow-minded, an
ignorant religious zealot, pop-culture in general which
rejects anything Godly and embraces all ungodliness,
enthrones it really, the way in which we busy our lives
with doing so much of the meaningless that we have NO
time left for the meaningful, hurt children who grow to
become embittered and violent adults, a general
permissiveness in society that has led to the abandoment
of virtues and opened the floodgates to a host of destructive

Our freedom hangs in the balance, but many Americans
can't be troubled to consider the implications of
their own inertia.

We need to get our acts together; the wake up calls
have been frequent and many.

I pray we will make changes to correct our course
and preserve our nation and freedoms for my
children, and yours too.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My stinkin' camera is broke(n)

Sorry no pics of the cloth diaper stash yet; my camera is giving me fits and I really haven't had the time to fiddle with it and try and figure out if it is something minor or major.

In the meantime, I have officially run out of disposable diapers, and am experiencing life without them. Today was my first full day. It is a little tricky with such a small stash (only 8 diapers) to try and figure out when to do the laundry to keep the ball rolling. I've been using them for a couple of weeks now, but I was sneaking in a disposable or two when it was time to launder. Now I have to figure out how to manage without that crutch. I have been through many big, NASTY poops (did I mention I keep my babies on a veggie and cereal ONLY diet for the first year of life?) and used the diaper sprayer I purchased on several occasions. It is definitely a must for me. If I had to swish or concoct some other means of getting the sticky poops off, I'd have thrown the towel in after the first day. It does sometimes get water all over the toilet, but it is efficient and effective at poop removal.

I'm going to continue using what I have through the end of September, at which time I will decided with diaper(s) I like best so I can augment my supply. I wish I could insert a picture here of those I currently'll just have to wait. The jury is still out on my reviews of each product, so I guess I'll post a picture when I tell you about their performance, trimness, and ease of use.

I am enjoying this experiment and have firmly placed both of my feet on the road to conversion; barring any major derailment, I believe I am going to take the leap permanently. The last major part of the experiment I must undergo before giving my full commitment is to cloth diaper away from home (i.e. a weekend trip). I really don't know quite how that will go...I'm very curious to see. Away from home I will have to experience poop removal sans the diaper sprayer; it could present a real dilemma. It's my last major hurdle; wish me luck! As far as what I do away from home for errands and such, I carry a small wetbag with me and bring the whole stinky thing home to tend to it. It really isn't bad at all. I feel very organic and happy about this little change. I recently came across a new term that I feel is aptly applied to my chosen lifestyle. Flexitarian. It generally refers to someone who eats mostly from the the abundance of the earth, but doesn't shun meat entirely. I'm applying the term broadly to all aspects of my life with regards to going green & organic. I really feel like extreme lifestyles usually lead to an imbalanced and unhealthy person. Therefore, I take a hybrid approach to most things. I try and do what I feel good about for my family without branding myself. For instance, while looking for diaper laundry solution for my very hard well water, I came across a site recommending its products for all the earth loving, cloth diapering, environmentally responsible, crunchy, co-sleeping, attachment parenting mommies out there!

I don't even know what attachment parenting is, and I'm not a co-sleeping momma (preferring to have my bed reserved for my husband and myself only), and I only recently gained a vague understanding of what "crunchy" means in this context. I wouldn't even go so far as to say I'm environmentally responsible, though I do aspire to be a good steward insofar as is reasonable. BUT, I do love the earth. I try to recycle whenever possible, am being more consicous of my water consumption, and am becoming more savvy when it comes to chemicals and my family. However, I still have an arsenal of cleaning products I'm not ready to part ways with, and don't spring for every organic product the supermarket carries. I DO try to wash my produce thoroughly, and OCCASIONALLY treat my family to organic produce if it's an item that is particularly vulnerable to pesticides, etc.

So now you're saying to yourself, WOW! Where the heck is she going with this post? Well that's a great question. I didn't set out to come full circle with this, but it appears the point of all my rambling is that cloth diapering just became a natural next step as I have been taking steps to become more self-reliant in my family and a little kinder to the earth to. I'm not a vigilante. I guess that is also one of the points I'm trying to make. There are plenty of those out there; I'm intimidated by them and a bit turned off by their all or nothing approach. I'm not consumed or defined by these changes we're making, just feeling a lit bit better prepared than before and little bit more responsible as a steward of the earth and my family.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sea World San Diego

I'm sure you're getting the picture that we had quite
a whirlwind of a summer this year! It seems like
we were gone long enough to miss Connecticut's
summer almost entirely! The final leg of our So. Cal
trip was spent at Sea World before we drove to Sac.
for our trip home. Above the girls are enjoying a
frozen lemonade...very refreshing on a HOT SoCal

We LOVED all the exhibits and shows at Sea
World---especially the Shamu and dolphin shows!

Shamu going for a jump,

and the splash that followed!

If you look closely, you can see the trainer in
the air ABOVE the killer whale. This guy was a
phenomenal swimmer and the whale was a
phenomenal showman. Can you imagine how
fun this job would be?? One of my childhood
dreams was to take care of dolphins. I've
always had a fascination with them....and horses,
but that's a story for another day (:

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Cloth Diapering Update

Just in case you're oh so curious...

I am now the proud owner of 6 cloth diapers, and 2 still in transit

This should be about one 24 hr. period's worth of diapers. I have heavily researched (have I mentioned I am a research nut when it comes to products I am considering purchasing?) and selected 8 different brands to try. Pictures and descriptions to follow...

I have experienced my first trial run, and am not yet deterred, though I had some setbacks. Lots of leaks on that first day, so I did some more research and contacted a few companies and am now armed with the information needed to hopefully overcome the leaks. I am now going to summarize all of my research in a lengthy, no pictures included, post. This is where you might want to stop reading and go back to your blogroll for other updates if you are entirely uninterested in the world of Cd'ing.

Okay, here goes:

Cloth diapering consists of several different diapering strategies/options. The choices run the gamut of very economical to high-end couture (yes I used that word to describe a diaper) options. In a nutshell the very basic nuts and bolts of cd'ing are your grandmas prefolds and flats with the old-fashioned pins; today you can also use a device called a snappi to hold your diaper in place. These dipes require a waterproof cover, most of which are made out of institutional grade PUL (polyurethane-something or other), the other options are wool & fleece. Beyond the basics your choices are contours (like prefolds only shaped like your baby's bum), fitteds (with cover), pockets, AIO, and AI2 dipes. I didn't really look into the very basic options b/c they sounded like more work and hassle than I was interested in. I can tell you that if you were to choose that route, there are higher quality prefolds available online than what you will find at your local Target.

My research led me to choose mostly pockets and AI2 dipes, with a few AIO for quick convenience during the day. I thought this might also work for nighttime diapering; however, my initial trial run has caused me to second guess that. Every choice beyond contours are more fitted and sized to baby's proportions and come with the fasteners sewn in. The two fastening options beyond a snappi are aplix (generic velcro) and snap. I have read the velcro doesn't wear as well as snap, and I personally have a disdain for velcro as it tends to snag everything it comes in contact with in the wash, so I chose snap diapers (with one exception b/c of the rave reviews). Pockets/AI2/AIO goes a step beyond the fitted by having a waterproof barrier sewn into the diaper, so you don't need an extra cover over it. I appreciate this type of simplicity, especially for daytime when I'm on the run! AIO diapers are the most complete option, but not the best in my mind. They have the soaker sewn into the diaper and eliminate the option of customizing absorbency, other than adding more bulk. Pocket diapers consist of a PUL outer/fleece or other soft fiber inner, with a "pocket" near the rear or front of the diaper where a soaker is stuffed. These are customizable to the amount of absorbency your baby requires...I like that. There are so many types of soakers/doublers/inserts
on the market. Which leads me to one of my aha moments with my trial run. Several of my soakers are hemp. Hemp is supposed to be very absorbent, rivalled only by bamboo, but hemp has to be primed before use. I didn't know this, and therefore experienced a lot of leaking. Priming a hemp soaker consists of washing it in HOT water and drying it 5-10 times. I won't go into the scientific reasons why this is necessary, but I can assure you it is! I am now in the process of priming and preparing my dipes and soakers, a step I didn't do before the trial run and something you must do if you want optimal results the first time. AI2 are like pockets only the soaker snaps into position and is a point of contact with baby's skin. The jury is still out for me if I prefer AI2 or pockets. I plan to use my minimal stash for about a month before I make any product judgments and boost my supply. Ideally, a full-time cloth diaperer requires about 12-24 diapers to get into a 2-3x a week wash cycle. I'm aiming for 18 because pockets and AI2 outers can be reused before washing if they are aired out between uses ( I have read between 2-6 times) and used with clean soakers.

Now for another revelation from that trial run. Daytime diapering and nighttime diapering are not the same when it comes to cloth. You can wing it during the day, but you've got to have a game plan for nighttime diapering. This is serious stuff when you're goal is about twelve hours in a single diaper without any leaks. So I have realized that because Max is such a heavy wetter, I will probably have to have some fitteds w/ covers or fleece soaker diapers for nighttime. I won't say definitively until I've primed and reused everything, but the first two nights weren't acceptable. He needed too frequent changing of clothes and diaper for my preferences.

For simplicity's sake, I've also purchased a roll of disposable diaper liners (looks like dryer sheets in the packaging) for thos times when I know I'll be away from the house long enough to need a diaper change. These liners allow moisture to penetrate, but keep solids from coming into contact with the diaper; I'm sure you can guess why that's a nice feature on the run...

Should you choose to look into the cloth option which is economical, eco-consious, self-reliant, and actually quite fun on some levels I recommend the following sites in your quest to find the perfect diapering strategy:

From there you learn about different types, brands, etc. and you can google what you're looking for beyond that. There is a whole community of people who LOVE cloth diapering and feel very passionately about it; I haven't decided if I'm joining them yet, but the prospects are good!

A final word,

Cleaning cloth diapers is also an art. If you don't want to swish your diapers in the toilet (ick), then you can invest in a handy gadget called diaper sprayer. It looks like the dish sprayer mounted on your kitchen sink, only it attaches to the water line on your toilet and is used to spray messy diapers clean! What a great idea!

Cloth diapers require some TLC in the laundering process for optimal performance. NO softeners, optical brighteners, etc. can be used and some of your average detergents aren't okay for cloth diapers. There are several lists out there of detergents generally viewed as safe for diapers. Why all the fuss? Because you don't want your diapers to repel; you want them to absorb. If they get all bogged down under additives and such they won't do their job well. There are all kinds of schools of thought on the best procedures for cleaning diapers, and most of them include a prewash/rinse of some sort to remove debris, a HOT wash to thoroughly clean and sterilize with 1/4-1/2 the recommended detergent for a regular load of laundry, followed by a second rinse to ensure no detergent has set up camp in the diaper. Some people hang their dipes to dry (which can take quite some time) and some dry them. I'm going to take a hybrid approach on this for two reasons: 1) it is recommended that you dry on HOT any diapers containing PUL because the heat seals the pores (something I didn't know or do before the trial run) and makes the waterproof barrier more effective. 2) do this too often can eventually break down the elastic prematurely, hence the hybrid approach.

I have found learning this new skill very rewarding, and yes, Fun! We'll see if the charm wears off...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

La Jolla Shores

On our visit to sunny San Diego, we took a lazy
day to soak up some sun and enjoy the beach.
We asked around and were recommended La Jolla
Shores, a small beach just north of San Diego. The
girls had a great time burying Daddy in the sand...

watching the new surfers try their luck or hone
their skills,

watching Daddy grow an awesome
six pack in a matter of minutes,

and rollicking in the very gentle waves
with their hero, Daddy.

We borrowed the hotel's pack'n'play and Max slept
for a little over two hours on the beach! When he
woke up, he was in great spirits! He has one
of the most expressive little faces. I can't decide
what he is thinking here.

The only drawback for us at this beach was the shores
were riddled with huge seaweed drifts...I don't know
if it's always like that here, or if it was a fluke caused
by the tides. Parking is also slim pickins', but we
managed to find a good place relatively close, so
we must have had Jonny's good karma that day...
he claims to be a good luck charm for finding VIP
priority parking spots.

The weather was oh-so-perfect and it was a nice
treat to have a leisurely day without rigid scheduling.

Next stop...Sea World San Diego!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Temples & Kisses & such

During our sojourn in San Diego, we couldn't pass
up the opportunity to take our children to see the
lovely temple there.

One of the sr. missionaries on site was good enough
to offer take a picture of all of us in front of the

Max gave me lots of loves & hugs & kisses...

There aren't words to express how much I love
him...and my other babies too!

The San Diego temple is so stunning, even an
amateur can take postcard worthy pics.

We thoroughly enjoyed strolling the breathtaking
grounds, smelling the flowers, holding hands,
giving and getting kisses, and feeling of the spirit

Just gave me yet another reason to love San Diego!