Wednesday, September 29, 2010

14/14 week 2

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What is up with two weeks of no scale progress?!  I added exercise to my routine, (about 30 minutes of treadmill walking each day, at 3 - 3.5 mph, 0 incline.)  I know that's not a whole lot of calories burned, but surely a half a pound, maybe?  Perhaps I increased my food intake by little bits without even realizing it, such that my burned calories are being counteracted.

All told, last week was a bust in terms of numbers on the scale, but a total win in terms of getting exercise to be part of the routine!  During week 2, I exercised all 5 week days!

Food was a challenge during week 2.  I did reasonably well during the week, but we were traveling and visiting family over the weekend, and I ate mindlessly.  I think I had something like 4 oreos, 2 chocolate chip cookies, 2 pumpkin pie bites, a few handfuls of candy corn, meatballs, cheese and sausage and crackers as I walked by the food table....Oh, and I finally "bit it" and had a caramel apple, just to prove to myself that my teeth would not be pulled out upon taking a bite! Maybe all that eating is where my pounds went!

I can already see that this fall will be a mine field.  I love desserts. And sweets. and breads and muffins, and cookies.  T'is the Season.  For something like 3 months.

This week: I'm kicking up the intensity.  I'll be increasing the incline substantially, since that really gets my heart going, and the "glow" flowing.  I'm also going to be focusing on intentional eating - not blind snacking, or taking seconds without pausing for a while, or stuffing myself because there is food handy.

If I were in the military, I'd say something like "ooo-ah"  or "boo-yah."  But I'm not.  So I won't.

Funny exercise stories -

Nathanael likes to try to get on the treadmill with me.  Not safe.  But so far, all he does is sneak up beside me, hold on the the rail, and slide one toe on to the belt.  Sometimes he likes to challenge me by throwing a ball at the top of the belt, just to give me an additional target. 

Elizabeth usually asks me if I'm going to exercise when she sees the shoes and the clothes.  She says exercise in a way that I can't really phonetically transcribe. Then she wants to exercise with me.  Unfortunately, the treadmill is not a place for kids to play.  However, about part way through my walk, I sometimes will slow the speed to the lowest setting - .5 miles per hour, and hold on the kids as they take turns walking, or sitting, or whatever on the belt. Gets them of my back (belt?) for a enough time to finish out the workout.

I keep a glass of water with me, and N will approach me, and point repeated at my water until I hand it over, where upon he will take a sip, and then take it to E, so she can have one, too.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Nathanael: 18 months

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A few days ago, Nathanael hit his 18 month birthday.

Here's a report on the boy:

21.25 pounds
31.5 inches tall
He has 16 teeth

Eating: still breastfeeding. When he thinks it's time to nurse, he uses The Word - "Ba!" He also lays down on my arm and makes a fake laugh/haha/anticipation sound. I don't often take the hint during the day. Doesn't like the things E loves - PBJ sandwiches, oatmeal, turkey and cheese, bread. Totally loves the things she doesn't - vegetables, soups, non-plain meats, pico de gallo (raw unions, tomatos, jalepenos, lime, cilantro). He is very good at feeding himself with spoons and forks. Sometimes he gets tired of chasing his food with utensils and uses his hands. He is very good at drinking from a cup. He does not like food on his hands.  Or dirt, or anything else.

Sleeping: Co-sleeping - when we get a bit more space he'll be moved into his own bed.  We might be trying to find space before then, though - the boy is bed hog!  He takes one or two naps each day.

Traveling: He likes to "go" for a ride in the car, as long as it is short.  And as long as Mom is in the back seat with him on longer trips. He likes to ride around in baby carriers, and has been known to bring one to me when he wants a ride. Like the 4 wheeler, and climbs on any time we are in the garage.

Language: He says more than 30 words. He is quiet around new people, but flirts with them from the safety mom or dad.
Motor Skills:
Knows how to fuss. When he doesn't want to do something, he plants his feet, bends a little at the waist, and screws up his face in a fuss.  I hope to get the fussy face on camera at some point.

Knows how to open doors.  He likes to escape to the back yard and eat the strawberries and parsley from the planter.

Has figured out how to hit is sister.  They both love the spaceship grocery cart with two kid steering wheels. They both are constantly getting in each others face when riding in it, and there's much hand-flapping/girl fighting.

He also understands "no" and the 1-2-3 count.

He enjoys driving cars on things and people. He likes phones  -"lo" and putting a phone to someones ear.

He likes to slide down the steps on his belly, feet first. He dances, he tries to jump.

Personality: a funny guy.  Usually he does something during meal time that causes everyone to laugh.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

14/14 week 1

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My first week has been... average?

I missed one day of exercise last week. That was a bad day.  That day, I shared ice cream and fries with my kids for lunch. Bad mommy day. I felt like a high school student. 

I'm on track for this week's exercise. I was on the treadmill for 30 minutes, and during those 30 minutes I did some intervals running.  Running is so not my favorite thing, but it really gets the heart thumping!

My weight is pretty much where I started last week, but that's okay - there won't always be pounds lost every week.  I just need to keep plugging away, and work on the food side of things.

I'm looking forward to The Biggest Loser starting up this week.  In the past, I have watched the show while walking the treadmill.  It might be a bit more of a challenge this year, as the show time coincides with bedtime for kids.  I have no TiVo, just plain ol' over the air TV, so I just watch it when it is being broadcast.

I'm also being totally inspired by several online friends from over at the NFP board. Those ladies are kicking it!  I'm a little late getting in on the game, but I fully intend to meet my 14/14 goal. I also recently found out about a vacation we're hoping to go on next summer... I want to be in a healthier place long before we go.

I'm ready to hit it this week.  Are you!

Monday, September 20, 2010

he moos!

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all photos copyright Jude Vickery

Nathanael has had an explosion in language this past week. He just hit 18 months yesterday - happy birthday, boy!

He began with breakfast. His first two-syllable word where the syllable are different (as opposed to Mama, Nana, Papa) Although, I guess he says Da-dee, and Balloon (baoon) was his first word, but everything else has been monosyllabic. Now he's adding them to his regular repertoire.

He has been attempting words if you ask "Can you say ____?"

His words:
Breakfast (beh-fa)
Banana (ba-na)
Pizza (Pee-sa)
Hot Dog (Ha-da)
Elizabeth (garbled -beh)
Grandma (garbled - ma)
Grandpa (garbled -ba)
Randy (dan-dee, sounds like daddy sometimes)
button (buh-uhn)

He is labeling body parts - peen, bom, beh-bun, but I'll refrain from indicating the official two-syllable designations in an effort to avoid unfortunate search engine results.

I know there are other words, but I keep forgetting them.

Animal sounds:
I asked what a cow says. "MOOOOOOO!!!"
He neighs like a horse, but doesn't do so when asked what a horse says.

It is an adventure to see and hear all the new things that he does. He is a joy!

The Simple Dollar

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Hi to everyone coming over from The Simple Dollar!

For my readers who might not read Trent's blog - I've had a few mentions in the past, and the most recent one was about Trent and family making homemade vanilla extract.

Previous mentions and links to this blog:
Cloth Diapers
Sunday Conversations

There have been a few other random mentions, too, but nothing major.

It's kind of fun to see my stats spike whenever Trent links over to me. :)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

hard water

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I often read people mentioning their hard water. I've assumed I had hard water, but wasn't really sure. What scale does one use for water hardness? Is it really "that hard"?

Turns out it probably is. I did some looking around the web and discovered water hardness maps. According to the map below, I should fall in the "Hard" category, between 120 and 180 mg/L. No wonder I have trouble with build-up on faucets and trouble cleaning the diapers!

(Thanks, USGS, for the image!)

The USGS has a great site, with links to a great deal of information about water and through them, I was able to find info about my local water system. After cruising through some public water system reports online through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, I was able to locate some information that was a few years old. Looking through the file (entitled Census of Missouri Public Water Systems), I learned a lot about my local water! I know the mineral content of the water, and I was able to discover the hardness of the water at last report.

My water system rings in at 195 mg/L. Wikipedia tells me that water hardness is generally broken down in to 4 categories -

Soft: 0-60 mg/L
Moderately hard: 61-120 mg/L
Hard: 121-180 mg/L
Very hard: >181 mg/L

Aren't I the lucky duck? I have "very hard" water. Apparently not as hard as those poor souls in Kansas and down through Texas, but still. "Very Hard."

I thought it was interesting that the map average indicated above was not accurate for my particular location.

I started looking into water hardness because I was looking for a cloth diaper detergent that was suited to my water. Rockin' Green detergent has several formulations, as do some other detergents developed with cloth diapers in mind. I have the right formula for my water.

If you are on a quest to figure out your water hardness, there are several tools out there - If you are on a public water system, you can contact your water department. They should have this information on file. The receptionist said she didn't know, but I'm sure the water operator would haven known, had I thought to ask. That's the guy(gal) that has to fill out all those reports that are submitted to the state! Anyway - failing that (or in the event of a phone phobia) you could search using the EPA link to local water information. The map above can certainly by be a starting point, but as in my case, you can't rely on the map to be accurate for your situation.

If you have a private well, you can purchase kits to test total hardness. You could also contact your local university extension office, and they might be able to recommend test kits, or have testing companies that are reliable to recommend.

Checking into your water is a great idea if you are concerned about the chemicals you might be ingesting. Although it's not available online, I know I can call the state to get reports on VOC's in the water (think pesticides, fertilizers and the like) and other harmful materials, such as lead, arsenic, cadmium and other inorganics. This information would be especially helpful if you are trying to determine what kind of water filter you want for your home.

I'm glad I finally ferreted out the information about water hardness. It gives me some confidence that I'm on the right path to permanently resolving some washing issues.

Friday, September 17, 2010

did you know it's friday?

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When I woke up this morning, I was convinced it was Thursday.

Much to my dismay, I discovered that it is Friday. Why am I defying popular culture in my wishing that it was Thursday? Because my house is a mess, that's why. And my husband gets home from work tonight (yay from the helloooo-lover! point of view), and who likes to come home to a messy home? Nobody.

We were out and about yesterday, and so by the time we got home, and did supper and bedtime, it looked like the shelves, cupboards, and boxes vomited their contents onto the floor. Not a pleasant look for the house.

Today needs to be a much more productive day, and already, I'm behind schedule. It's 8:15, everyone is still in pajamas, the kids are watching PBS, and I'm sitting in front of the computer reading email, blogs, and of course, contributing to the enlightenment of the world by adding my own blog post this morning. Can we rewind the clock for this morning, and make it 7 AM again?

Looking at the clock really has me itching to do something, so, goodbye for now!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

NTDI episode 9 - smell that funky diaper, mommy

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Things have been going well here for night time diapers. For a couple of months in a row, I've had nothing remarkable to report! I've been using Rockin' Green Cloth Diaper Detergent. Very rarely do either kids wake up with ammonia burn (although sometimes it's a powerful stink). I would attribute the stink to body chemistry, and not to something wrong with the diapers. It's pee, you know? It's going to smell when it sits around for hours without some fragrance covering the smell. I've rocked a soak a couple of times when I was trying to do the initial de-stinking of the diapers.

Now a different problem is popping up. There's a different stink. Maybe this is the Funk that I've heard about. They don't smell like pee, but they don't smell clean, either. I'm working on some solutions. The best result I've had so far is that I ran inserts/prefolds/wipes only through the sanitize cycle on my front loader, and they came out smelling fresh. I can't run the covers through that cycle, as the heat could damage the waterproofing and the elastic. I'm thinking maybe it's time to Rock a Soak again?

Even if I need to Rock a Soak every once in a while, it's a vast improvement over the hours of washing and rinsing that were never totally satisfactory.

I will admit, I've been tempted to experiment with the highly debated Tide. My diapers are out of warranty, so it's not like I'd be voiding anything there. The thing that pulls me away from that is the environmental aspect of it. I switched to environmentally friendly detergents before I ever had kids, before I knew that some people think you shouldn't use Tide on diapers. My house is old, and we have a gray water system - If it's not from the toilet, it pretty much washes out into a drainage ditch in front of our house. I used some bleach to clean my washer (I know, not very planet friendly, but right now it's what works for my needs), and after it rinsed out of the machine, I could smell it when I was out walking on the driveway. Clearly my water isn't just disappearing in to some treatment facility. Considering all of that, I'm especially sensitive to having detergents and cleaners that are safe for plants, animals, and waterways.

Anyway. For now, I think Rockin' Green is working okay for me.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


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Today is the 14th. There are somewhat more than 14 weeks left in the year (maybe 15, if you don't count this week, but we're not counting.) I have about 14 pounds before I reach one of the rungs on my weight loss goal ladder. I'm aiming to have a BMI of less than 25, and at 14 pounds lighter, my BMI would be 24.9. I said less, but I didn't say by a lot! According to my current BMI, I'm overweight. At a BMI of 25, I would suddenly fall back into the "normal" range.

So, starting this week, I have a 14 in 14 goal. 14 pounds, in 14 weeks, or more precisely, by the end of the year. 14/14 sounds better. I can do this. I did it after my first kid was born, but I'm aiming higher (lower?) than I did last time around. I'll certainly do a happy dance and celebrate when I hit my pre-pregnancy weight, but that's only halfway to my next stop. So, I guess no celebrating with a bowl of ice cream.

My goal for these first few weeks is to exercise every weekday. Yesterday is lost to me, but today, I already hopped on the treadmill for a 35 minute walk this morning.

I have some food issues that I seriously need to address. (Can we say self-sabotage?) I am working on these, and I'll likely need to air them to the public so they aren't a secret. If they're out there, then it's harder for me to pretend no one will know.

Anyway. Today I've taken a step on a path from which I have wandered. I look forward to seeing you all at the end, even through the desert-infested waters of the holiday season!

Thursday, September 09, 2010


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At this moment, N is sitting on the floor playing with a flashlight, and E is playing with binoculars.

E is quite the chatterbox.  Seriously.  You might not know it if you're new to her.  But at home? Constant stream of sound emerging from her mouth.  Singing, playing outloud, asking the same question repeatedly. Shrieking as she runs down the hallway playing with her brother.

Unfortunately, I find this obnoxious half the time, especially when she's pestering her brother.  I love her, AND she's 3.  My tolerance for noises has always been pretty low.  My mom can testify to that.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

balance; or, do you know where your scriptures are?

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I've lamented in the past that I spend too much time on the computer.  Unfortunately, it still proves to be true.

For a while, I spent a lot of time on some online forums.  I've wasted countless hours daily, playing around on facebook, and even back in the day, MySpace (does anyone even use myspace anymore?)

My current online obsession is entering giveaways.  I've won some things, but really, I don't think the time investment is worth it.  Yet, I still enter into these giveaways on other people's blogs.

I need to find balance in my life. Being on the computer can be okay (like productive blogging, right? Or purposeful research.) But it certainly should be moderated.

I have occasionally imagined deleting accounts and ditching my over-wired life. I vacillate between canceling my cell phone service, and getting an awesome new smartphone that would allow me to be connected wherever I am.

In my jaunt across the blogosphere, I've come across some blogs of women whom I want to emulate. They seem to have it together - they are Godly women, raising their families, being awesome homemakers, and telling their readers about it all.  I know that can be misleading. I mean, I could talk like a person who's all connected with God, but that would be pretty fake.  I barely ever pray anymore. When I do pray, it's that awkward kind of prayer  - 'um, Hi God. So, like, it's been a REALLY LONG TIME since we've talked.  I don't really know what to say.... Cause, uh, you know what's going on already. So.... um. Yeah. Hi."

My scriptures are packed away in a box, and even if they weren't they'd be sitting on a shelf.

Check that. They are on the shelf.

See? I didn't even know where they were.

I've struggled with this awkward relationship for several years.  I think people that know me might get the impression that I'm supertight with Jesus, but sometimes I'm thinking that he'd be all "Did I know you?" I can talk a good show, because clearly I've picked up on scripture and theology, but not because I've personally studied.  I'm just good a regurgitating quotes and other people's thoughts. I know things in my head, but I don't really keep it in my heart.

I don't want to fail my kids, either. What kind of example have I been setting? All they hear about Jesus is from a picture bible.  Jesus is just one more make-believe character in the stories that we read.

At various times in my life, I have made efforts to improve my relationship with the Lord.  I try to read scriptures daily.  I make efforts to pray regularly.  But it has always fallen apart before.

How can I make it stick?  I want the relationship with Christ that I see expressed by others.

Friday, September 03, 2010

hello autumn!

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On Wednesday, I was driving down the highway and it struck me: Summer is over.  Autumn is here.  It was cool, overcast, the corn in the fields is no longer green.

That is what fall feels like for me.  I always think of overcast days.  Oddly enough, I don't smell the change of the season in the air just yet.  I'm sure that will be here shortly.

So many things to look forward to:

Preserving food: apples, grapes, and whatever else
Eating food: pumpkin muffins!
Cutting and hauling wood: I love the sound of a chainsaw at 7 am, the smell of fresh cut wood
Leaves crunching under my feet.
Jeans and t-shirt weather.
High school football. Marching bands.
Fall Festivals for the next two months.

So many wonderful things.

If I could have gotten married in the fall, I would have - October 8 was my ideal day.  I got December instead, but that's alright, since it was the man I married that mattered most.

I love the upcoming season! 

Thursday, September 02, 2010

cloth diaper life expectancy

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When I first began doing diaper research (lo, these many years ago!) I came across lots of people claiming that their diapers were lasting through "all their kids," and other claims of nearly immortal longevity.  This, even with pocket diapers, which people claim are less durable than prefolds.  Lots of people added caveats to that statement - it depends on your routine, it depends on how many diapers are in your stash, the kind of diaper, your definition of "worn out," so on and so forth.  But all that stuck in my brain was people saying that I should be able to diaper 2 or 3 kids with my initial stash of BumGenius 2.0 diapers. I even told my husband (in an effort to mentally justify paying $17+ dollars per diaper) that once we bought this set of diapers, we shouldn't have to buy diapers for a long time!

I was wrong.

Now,  as I read through sites, I'm finding more and more references to expecting to get 150-200 wears/washes out of any given diaper. This makes a lot more sense than claims of lasting "forever."

My personal experience with the diapers certainly back this up.  I've beaten up so many diapers in the past few years.

A bit of my dead-diaper history:

I had a batch of bumgenius 2.0 pocket diapers that died (elastic failed) after about 8 months of use. They were replaced at no cost to me, since they were under warranty.

I had a batch of cotton prefolds that also died an untimely death after about 6 months of use, for no clear reason, but there might have been a bleaching accident of some sort.  I never did figure it out.

My replaced set of bumgenius diapers (a mix of 2.0 and 3.0) lasted for about 2 more years. Before 2 years was up, I was lamenting the bad elastic, aplix, and some leaks coming through the cover on the green 3.0 diapers (this was failed PUL, but I didn't mess with trying to get them replaced, since I felt I'd gotten fair use). I used these less and less until I finally gave in and bought a new batch (oh, the joy!) of bumgenius 3.0 and fuzzibunz one size diapers. The appear to be going strong at a year of use (2 kids simultaneously in the same set of diapers). Lest you think these are miracle diapers - I liberally use prefolds and covers during the week, so the pocket diapers aren't in constant use.

The replacement batch of prefolds that I mentioned above are starting to die.  I used these diapers on E from about a year old (I'm guessing) until 3 years old. I bought some new (better sized, organic) prefolds for N, and they are still in great condition.

On the upside of lasting - I have a couple of bummis covers that  I still use after 3 years.  The elastic is a little stretched, the velcro is curling, and the leg seams wick if I leave a diaper on too long, but they work well enough that I keep them for use at home. I don't think I've had a problem of leaking onto clothing since N started wearing them.

I also have newborn/small diapers that have been used on 3 kids - I loaned them to a relative between my 2 babies. That might sound impressive, but really, they've been used for about 10 months total. Babies don't stay in the little sizes very long!

If cloth doesn't last, how can I save money?

Remember my post from a few years ago, evaluating the cost of diapering (as featured over at The Simple Dollar)?  It still applies - it was still cheaper for me to go with cloth, because I certainly got lots of use out of them.

I've calculated that for a BumGenius onesize pocket diaper to pay for itself, I'd have to get about 112 uses out of it.  So, if a diaper lasts 150+ washes, then one diapers pays for itself and then some (based $17.95 per bum genius diaper/ $.16 per premium brand diaper)

If you do some other calculating -
If all you had were 12 onesize diapers, and you only changed diapers 6 times a day, then over the course of a week, one diaper would be washed 3-4 times. Even if it was washed 4 times in a week, after 150 washes, you would be at about 38 weeks.  At 200 washes, you'd be at 50 weeks - nearly one year.

With just 12 diapers, washing every other day, you could reasonably expect to get a solid year of use before they be at the end of it's life span. That is certainly not "lasting forever."

However, most people I know who cloth diaper full-time have a much larger stash than 12 diapers.  I certainly do! My stash is large enough that any given diaper is washed about once a week (with one kid in diapers).  At that rate, it is certainly reasonable to expect the diapers to last through 2 years.

So what can I conclude from all of this?

Don't expect diapers to last forever.  Don't expect them to last a certain number of kids, or years.  It's much more reasonable to expect a certain number of wears/washes out of a diaper.  I think 150-200 washes is reasonable.

Here are some places that mention this very issue:

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

scenes of summer

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Treats at the pool

Enjoying the dirt in our yard

Preparing to go out on a paddle boat

Enjoying their first ride

She found and set this up all by herself.  Go Elizabeth! Hit that ball!

"Shopping" for school supplies
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