Monday, August 23, 2010

What's up with Vampires?

(This is supposed to go under my Faith page, but I can't figure out how to get it there.  Until then, I'll leave it right hear because I really wanted to tell you about it!)

This summer the pastor at our church did a series called "Let's Talk About It."  They took suggestions on what tough issues Christians are faced with, and gave a message about each one of them.  Some of the topics included Hinduism vs. Christianity, can you be a Christian and be gay, what our real purpose is, marriage, and the last one was about Vampires.

I must say that I have not delved into the Twilight series at all...I had no clue of the plot, why people liked it, and really have no interest in watching or reading anything that has to do with vampires.  So, I didn't really think this message would appeal to me.  Well I thought it was just great, so I wanted to share what I learned from it.

First,  the pastor gave some background information.  Where the idea of vampires came from and why, and the story of Twilight.  In a nut shell, there's a girl named Bella who falls in love with a vampire named Edward and is continually trying to get him to sleep with her.  He knows that if he does, he will be tempted to bite her, which will kill her - somehow he has the willpower to always turns her down.

These books are geared toward young women and here are the two main concepts they teach that are untrue about girls, men, and relationships.
1)  It is natural for a young girl to want to sleep with her boyfriend.
This is not natural and young girls who read this are convinced that this is the next logical step to their relationship.  If they weren't considering it before, they are now wondering why they aren't feeling that way and figure they should want to go further. 
2)  Men have the ability to say 'no' repeatedly when tempted by a girl.
The characters in this story are constantly going to the edge without going all the way.  Some parents think the stories are great because Bella and Edward do not have pre-marital sex - really, it teaches kids that it's okay to do everything else, and it is easy to stop when it's getting to far.

The last part of the sermon was the most powerful.  Some parents think these stories are great because Edward is a "Christ-like" figure for Bella.  He is constantly saving her life and taking care of her.  In one of the books, Bella and Edward get married and Bella gets pregnant.  The baby inside of her is half vampire and half human, and is sucking the life from her.  Edward decides to bite Bella so she can become a vampire as well and they can live happily ever after.

Similarity between Jesus and Edward - blood.  Edward sucks the life from Bella in order to benefit himself.  Jesus shed his blood FOR us in order that we might have life =)  He also had the ability to become human and be a living sacrifice for us.  Very powerful.

There were so many other powerful things that were talked about, but these were the ones that stuck out to me.  He finished the sermon by saying that if you're going to allow your daughter to read these books and watch the movies, you need to commit to reading and watching them yourself so you can talk through the books with her.

I'm just super thankful for a church that addresses real issues and reaches out to the youth!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Current Diaper Count!

As many of you know, I haven't actually gotten to try out the cloth diapers yet because our baby isn't due until September 23.  We chose the Rumparooz G2, One-Size diaper and registered for 25 of them.  Along with the diapers, we also registered for 36 cloth wipes, one bottle of wipe spray, a small wet-bag, pail liner, and detergent.  So far we've gotten two diapers, (root beer and platinum colors), one package of detergent, and one bottle of wipe spray.  I am so excited that our collection has started, and I can't wait to have everything we need for when the baby comes.  It is really nice to get some of it from showers.  We will start with what's given to us and add to the collection as funds allow. =) 

Monday, August 9, 2010

Recommended Accessories

After deciding what style of cloth diapers you are going to purchase (or register for), you should look into the accessories that help the system run a lot smoother.  None of them are 100% necessary, and a lot of them you can make yourself or find a close alternative. 

Wet Bags
There has to be a designated spot for the dirty diaper before it's washed and there are a few options to choose from.  One is called a wet bag.  Wet bags can hang from a hook and store about 16-17 diapers.  They have a zipper on top where you put the diapers in.  Then, when you are ready to wash, take it off the hook, hold it over the washer, and unzip the bottom so they all fall out.  Throw the wet bag right in the wash as well and you are golden.  Wet bags come in a medium size (holds 8-9 diapers) and a small size (holds 1-2).  Most moms carry a small on in their diaper bag.  Several brands of diapers also make wet bags.  The price can range anywhere from $9.00-$30.00. 

Pail Liners
Pail liners do essentially the same job as wet bags, except you put them in a 13 gallon trash can instead of hanging it.  These are also designed to be thrown in the wash with the diapers.  These tend to be a little cheaper than the large wet bags, rangin from $5.00-$14.95.

Diaper Sprayer
We didn't register for one of these because I thought the water would spray everywhere.  I'd love to hear what other people think of them, though.  A diaper sprayer looks like a shower head that hook on to your toilet.  It is used to spray off a messy diaper into the toilet before putting it in a pail liner or wet bag.  BumGenius and Fuzzibunz make sprayers that cost about $40.  I'd heard that if you really want to try these, you should just buy a sprayer that you would use on your pet for about $10, and it works just the same. 

Diaper Liners
I talked about these in the Just What I've Been Looking For post.  They come in a roll and you rip them off to set in the lining of the diaper to catch and contain the mess.  Just flip the diaper upside down over the toilet and the whole liner comes out.  The best part - you flush them =)  I bought a roll of 200 GroVia liners for $10.

Other accessories include cloth wipes and spray for the wipes.  Those are explained in Wipes - Cloth or Disposable. 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Wipes - Cloth or Disposable?

If you decide to use cloth diapers, you might find yourself wondering whether you should use cloth wipes, or stick to the disposable.  Before actually going to a store and talking to someone about the wipes, my husband and I assumed we would use disposable.  You can buy a box of 700 wipes for about $8, they are already moistened, and you just throw them away.  Easy peasy. 

So, after getting the tutorial on all the different diapers, I asked the lady, "You don't really use cloth wipes, do you?"  Sure enough, she does!  If you think about it, when you use are changing a disposable diaper, where do you put the wipes?  You fold them up with the diaper, right?  Everything stays together and you throw it away.  If you use a cloth diapers you wouldn't do that.  You'd have to remove the dirty diaper, clean up the baby, (and if you're like me, you use about 40 wipes ;) and then put on the new diaper.  After everything is taken care of, you'll probably need to clean off the dirty diaper into the toilet, and the used wipes need to be picked up and thrown in the trash. 

Here are the few reasons we chose to use cloth wipes. 
1.  My husband likes to go big or go home.  If we say we're doing cloth diapers, we should be advocates of cloth wipes for the same reasons =)
2.  Instead of throwing away the wipes and then putting the diaper in the wet bag (which will be explained in an upcoming post), you can throw the diaper and the wipes into the wetbag together and wash them all together. 
3.  Like I said earlier, I go through a LOT of wipes with a dirty diaper.  Partly why is because they are so thin and I'm not good at folding them over and using the other side.  Cloth wipes are more like a soft rag - much thicker.  For some reason I just feel like I'd use less of them.
4.  The overall cost of cloth wipes is relatively cheap.  Just like cloth diapers, it will cost more upfront, but overtime it will be cheaper.  A 12-pack of BumGenius flannel baby wipes costs $11.95.  We are going to start off with two packs - $24.  Even if we end up getting two more packs before the baby is potty-trained, we will only have spent $48.  That's equivalent to six boxes of disposable wipes.  I don't think that would get me through two years. 
5.  Finally, you can make your own cloth wipes!  Buy some flannel or some receiving blankets, cut them into wipe-size squares, and sew them back to back.  I haven't done that yet, but I'm planning on it. 

Only one more minor issue to clear up...don't the wipes need to be wet?  Indeed they do.  You can buy special spray for the wipes, or you can buy cubes to dissolve in water and put in your own spray bottle.  Applecheeks, Thirsties, and Happy Heiny's all make spray that costs between $6.50 and $16.00.  This is one of those times when I wish I could tell you from experience how long they last, but I plan on experimenting with lots of different products.  I've heard that you can make some yourself, too.  That's on the list of things for me to research.

Last thing, if you're traveling, put a handful of wipes and a little spray bottle in a container that looks just like the disposable boxes. That way you can keep it in your diaper bag and use them everywhere. =)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Pocket Diapers

A Pocket Diaper is one that had a slit where you stuff an insert to absorb all the wetness.  They come in One-Size, Two-Size, and Perfect-Size.  All styles and brands are similar, but each of them has a unique feature.  The inserts vary in size, texture, and thickness.  Below are a few of the most popular Pocket Diapers and their special features.

Rumparooz - One-Size Diapers.  (See Newborn Diapers post for info about their "Lil' Joey" diapers.)
Price - Each diaper comes with a lifetime guarantee for the snaps and two inserts.  They are $23.95 for solid colors and $24.95 for prints. 
Claim to fame - Double Inner gusset.  This is an extra elastic liner that is designed to hold everything in.  Comes with two Microfiber 6•r soakers - One is thinner and contoured to fit a newborn.  The other is longer, thicker, and can be snapped to make three different lengths.  You can also snap them both together for overnight or for a heavy-wetter.  The bottom of the diaper can snap up to make four different sizes.  
Rump•a•rooz® Microfiber 6•r soakerRump•a•rooz®  G2 One-Size Diaper with Snaps

FuzziBunz - Come in One-Size and Perfect-Size.  They both look exactly the same, except the Perfect-Size diapers do not come with adjustable elastic for the legs.
Price - One-Size diapers come with an extra set of elastic and two inserts. They are $19.95.  Perfect-Size diapers come with one insert and are $13.95-$16.95.
Claim to Fame - One-Size diapers have adjustable elastic around the legs instead of snaps to fold up.  I don't have a diagram on how they work, but each leg has a strip of elastic that can be tightened and fastened based on the size of the baby's legs.
apple green
FuzziBunz Pocket all in one cloth diaper
Bum Genius - Come in One-Size - snaps or velcro.  They also make a Perfect-Size diaper that is not a pocket diaper.  The insert is sewn right right in.  (See New Find post to learn about the Bum Genius Flip diaper).
Price - One-Size diapers come with two inserts and cost $17.95.
Claim to Fame - The smaller (newborn) insert can be snapped to the larger insert.  The larger insert can snap down to become three different lengths.  Each diaper has a one-year warranty.  The bottom of the diaper can snap up to make four different sizes.
bumGenius 4.0 One-Size Cloth Diaper

Happy Heinys - Come in One-Size and Perfect-Size diapers - snaps or velcro.
Price - One-Size diapers come with two inserts.  Solid colors are $18.95 and prints are $19.95.  Perfect-Size diapers come with one insert and are $15.95.
Claim to Fame -  Inserts are made to last up to 12 hours at night for most babies.  The bottom of the diaper can snap up to make four different sizes. 
Happy Heinys One Size Pocket Diapers with Snaps
Well there you have it.  These are the most popular brands of Pocket Diapers.  Other brands include GroVia, Knickernappies, Katydid, and AppleCheeks  The companies I featured make other styles of diapers as well.  If you're getting serious about cloth diapers, I would highly recommend finding a store where you can see first-hand how each of them fasten, how soft they are, and what the inserts are like.    

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Diaper Covers

Question #2 - What styles of diaper covers are there and how many do I need?

In general, there are two styles of diaper covers...One-Size and Perfect-Size.  A One-Size diaper has several ways of adjusting to fit babies from 10-40 pounds.  A Perfect-Size diaper is specific to the weight of the baby.  For example, a newborn Perfect-Size diaper is for babies weighing 4-9 pounds.  If you buy One-Size, you will not need to buy any more sizes until your baby is potty-trained; however, the cover will probably not fit your newborn until he/she weighs about 10 lbs.  If you choose Perfect-Size covers, you will have to buy 2-3 different sizes before your baby is potty-trained, but they will be a little more snug and accurate.  The great thing about any cover is that you can use the same one a few times until it gets dirty.  (Less laundry!)  For the most part, the pre-folds are the only part of the diaper getting dirty.

Here are some examples of One-Size diaper covers.  Remember, all of the diapers need a pre-fold inside of them to soak up everything.  The cover is waterproof and helps keep everything contained.  If you choose to only use One-Size diaper covers, you will want about 6-15 covers, depending on how often you'd like to do laundry.
           Kissaluvs Marvels One Size Diaper Cover                  GroBaby Shell Set
               Kissaluvs Marvels                                   Grobaby Shell Set
                       $16.95                                                 $17.49-$19.47

Here are some some Perfect-Size diaper covers.  You will want about 6-10 covers per size.  It is best to start with about 6 size extra smalls to fit your newborn.  Then, when those are getting too tight, move up to the next size.  That way you will be able to experiment with how many covers you really need to last you a few days.  Most girls go through two different sizes before age 2, and boys go through 3 sizes.

          Thirsties Diaper Cover                    Bummis Super Brite Diaper Cover
                    Thirsties                                                      Bummis                 
                     $11.25                                                         $12.50                   

And of course there are a few diapers in their own category.  The following diapers are Two-Size Diapers.  The first size covers 6-18lbs, and the second covers 18-40 lbs.  You will probably want about 10 of each size.
          Thirsties Duo Wrap - SNAPS                   AppleCheeks™ 2-Size Envelope Cover

              Thirsties Duo-Wrap                                     Applecheeks
                  $12.75-$13.75                                               $19.00

I would start with 6-10 covers and 15-25 pre-folds.  With this supply, you would most likely be doing laundry every day for the few several weeks.  You can always add to your supply if you want to be able to go a few days without washing.    

Check out Back to the Basics:Pre-folds to learn how the pre-folds and covers work together.  Also check out New Find to learn about Hybrid diapers that consist of inserts (not pre-folds) and covers.

Back to the Basics: Pre-folds

After talking to some readers, I've realized that some of the things I'm talking about do not make sense if you are first starting to inquire about cloth diapers.  Trust me, when I first started researching, I had no idea what anything was.  My next few posts are my attempt to clear those things up for you, too!  Please comment and ask questions and I'll see what I can do to help.

Question #1....What is a pre-fold and how do you use it?

Prefold Cloth DiapersThese are pre-folds.  They are the same as burps clothes and come in numerous sizes to fit babies from newborn to potty-trained.  The middle is the thickest, most absorbent part.  This is the most economical way to cloth diaper because they are low in cost, can be used as burp clothes, and can be used as inserts in a pocket diaper.  (See Pocket Diapers post for more info).  One pre-fold costs between $1.50 and $2.50.

There are two common ways to fold a pre-fold.  The simpler way is is called the Newspaper Fold.
1.  Fold the outside rectangles over the middle to make a long rectangle.
2.  Place rectangle in the diaper cover. If the rectangle is too long for your baby, fold down the front and back to fit comfortably in the cover.  (Covers are explained in Diaper Covers post).
3.  Fasten cover just like a disposable.

The other way looks more like the "old-fashioned" idea you might have in your head - minus the pins =)  It is called the Angel Wings Fold.
1.  Start by folding into a long rectangle, but leave the top out for the wings.
2.  Place the wings under the baby.
3.  Pull the bottom up through the legs.
4.  Fasten with Snappi.
5.  Put on the cover.

The last step to this method is fastening with a Snappi.  As you can see below, each end of the Snappi has teeth that can hook anywhere into the diaper to hold it securely until you are ready to change it.  Start by hooking it into the left side of the diaper, pull across to secure the right, and then fasten bottom comb to make it a tight fit.  A 3-pack of Snappi's costs $7.50-$8.00.

However you decide to fold your pre-fold, you will need to put a waterproof cover over top of it.  The next post, Diaper Covers, will explain the purpose and the different types of covers.  It will also give suggestions as to how many pre-folds and covers you will need if you choose this route of cloth diapering.

Oh, and I'd like to thank my assistant Monkey...he did a great job =)