eK-3zmjBImBHOZjRJYEZVBw4ZWs Shaky Mommy: May 2011

Monday, May 30, 2011

What I Learned During the Flats & Handwashing Challenge

Well, I finished the Flats & Handwashing Challenge. It was easier and harder than I expected, if that makes sense. Using flats was easier, handwashing was harder. I ended up using a total of 5 covers throughout, but I never used more than 2 covers in one day. My covers were a mix of Econobum, Applecheeks, Thirsties, and GroVia. I used Econobum and Thirsties for the majority of the challenge.

My stash consisted of one Snappi, one drying rack, 8 flour sack towels, 12 Ozocozy birdseye cotton flats, 2 Econobum covers, 1 Thirsties duo wrap, 1 Applecheeks envelope cover (I only used this one once), and one GroVia cover.

The cost of my stash:
Snappi $4
Drying rack $5? (bought this forever ago)
Flour sack towels $8
Ozocozy flats $19 (supplied for this challenge by Cotton Babies)
Econobum covers $18 (supplied for this challenge by Cotton Babies)
Applecheeks envelope cover $18.20
Thirsties duo wrap $12.25
GroVia cover $16.95

Total Cost: $101.40

I won my Applecheeks diaper on a giveaway. If I were diapering for low cost, my pick would be Econobum or Thirsties covers for ease of use and for their low cost. Applecheeks and GroVia are cute, but the others work just as well and they are also easier to wash. You could easily make a stash of 12 diapers, 4 covers, and a Snappi for less than $60. 

What I learned: 

1) This can be done. Would I do this full time? Maybe. It would depend on my circumstances. I feel pretty strongly about using cloth for baby boy so I know I would try. I don't mind using the flats. I put baby boy in a flat tonight, even though the challenge is over. But handwashing was not fun and I'm not sure I would do this full time. If I did handwash, I would want to machine wash them once every couple of weeks or so, just to make sure all the soap was getting out. I felt like my diapers were getting clean. They smell like nothing, which is good. They look white, which is good. I can see that they are white, but I can't see if any soap is being left behind. So I would feel better if I machine washed every once in a while. If I had no washing machine, I would drive them to my mother-in-law's or my sister's or a laundromat, if I could find one. I do plan to handwash on vacation. I will take a stash of flats on our next vacation simply for the reason that they dry so quickly and are also small and easy to pack. 

2) Though this can be done, I wouldn't expect everyone to do it full time. As I mentioned before, if I worked full time, I wouldn't want to handwash. Also, if I had multiple babies in diapers, it might get overwhelming. 

3) Everyone should have a stash of flats and covers and know how to use flats and handwash, even if you don't plan to do this full time. If I had owned flats when our power went out during the tornadoes, I would have been able to wash my flats in the sink with no issues, instead of packing up three days worth of dirty diapers to take to my mother-in-law's house to wash. At the time of the tornadoes, even I wanted to switch to disposables for a couple of days, it wasn't an option because there were no stores open to buy from. So even those who normally use disposables could benefit from having stash of flats and covers and the knowledge of how to use them. I know when my first two kids were in disposables, I sometimes ran out of diapers and had to make a sometimes inconvenient run to the store. This would prevent that. For those who struggle to have enough money for diapers, this would provide a cushion for when the budget didn't allow for disposables. A backup stash could start with one pack of four flour sack towels and one cover (about $13) and be added to as finances allowed. 

4) If you have to handwash, have a large stash so you don't have to do it every night. 

5) If you have to handwash, get the proper tools. I found the sprayer in my sink to be very helpful, but I'm sure a diaper sprayer would have worked even better. It would be worth the investment if you had to wash your diapers by hand year round. I also read on other blogs that the bucket/plunger method of washing worked well. If I was doing this full time, I would try that. 

All in all, the flats challenge was helpful to me because I would love to see our food pantry give away cloth diapers to those families we help instead of disposables. Now that I've done the flats challenge, I feel like I can easily show others how to use them and even like using them. Since most families we serve have washing machine access, convincing them to handwash isn't an issue. So I think I learned some very practical applications for this challenge as well and I look forward to using this knowledge to help others! 

I'm participating in the Flats & Handwashing Challenge with Dirty Diaper Laundry. You can see a full listing of the rules and requirements of the challenge here

****Thanks to Cotton Babies for providing me with Ozocozy flats 
and Econobum covers so I could participate in the challenge!****

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Final Day - Flats & Handwashing Challenge

Today was long and exhausting. But the house is fairly clean, and all the laundry is done, except for the flats soaking in the sink downstairs. Tomorrow is my last day to handwash! I won't miss it. 

Jaxon is asleep in his flats. I pad folded one and then placed it inside my little invented fold. 

Okay, so here is my little invented fold. It's a combo of the neat/alternative kite fold and the diaper bag fold, with a little twist of my own. 

Start by bringing the top down and the bottom up, as shown. 

Then, fold in the sides - I fold each side towards the center, then fold it again, to make it look like this.

Next, create the "poo fence" in the back. (sorry this pic is sideways!)

If you want a liner or extra flat (pad folded) inside, this is when you add it. Make sure you insert it under the poo fence or else the poop will go straight up baby's back!

Now, lay baby on top. Roll each side towards baby to create a sort of wall that will contain the poop. The end product looks like a V.

After you roll each leg, then pull it up between baby's legs and Snappi shut. I can get a very snug leg fit with this fold, which is what helps prevent leaks and saves my covers from the runny poops!
This is the finished product! If you have questions, please let me know and I would be happy to answer them!

I'm participating in the Flats & Handwashing Challenge with Dirty Diaper Laundry. You can see a full listing of the rules and requirements of the challenge here

****Thanks to Cotton Babies for providing me with Ozocozy flats 
and Econobum covers so I could participate in the challenge!****

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Day 6 of the Flats & Handwashing Challenge

Jaxon slept 14 hours last night. Okay, so not 14 hours straight. He went to bed at 9, then woke around 4, when I brought him into bed with us. He nursed, and fell back asleep. I think he nursed again after that, but I was so out of it, I’m not really sure. Our older kids are gone for the weekend, so we were able to sleep in. And apparently, we were all three exhausted. We slept til 11! I could not believe it, and I think Jaxon only woke up because we woke up. What a great baby, and a wonderful sleeper! I’ve never had a baby sleep so well before!

As for the flats he was sleeping in (two flats, pad folded), they were wet, but not soaked, and had not leaked at all. I was shocked, since he had been in the same diaper for 14 hours. Another thing I’m loving about these flats: absolutely no ammonia smells, even after HOURS of being worn. It’s great.

Jaxon surprised me with a poop today! He was in a pad fold, so that cover was out of commission for the rest of today. I was wishing I had used my new little invented fold to catch it all!

I was going to post pictures of my new fold today, but it will have to wait til tomorrow because I didn’t get a chance to take pictures of it today.

 I'm participating in the Flats & Handwashing Challenge with Dirty Diaper Laundry. You can see a full listing of the rules and requirements of the challenge here

****Thanks to Cotton Babies for providing me with Ozocozy flats 
and Econobum covers so I could participate in the challenge!****

Friday, May 27, 2011

Day 5 of the Flats & Handwashing Challenge

I'm participating in the Flats & Handwashing Challenge with Dirty Diaper Laundry. You can see a full listing of the rules and requirements of the challenge here

It's day 5 and today I came up with a new fold. I was expecting Jaxon to poop and I was trying to preserve my cover. So I took my favorite parts of the diaper bag fold and the alternative kite fold (also known as the neat fold) and then added a little something else of my own. I put it on him and waited. And he pooped. And…it didn’t get on the cover at all! It stayed right on the flat! I will post pics/instructions tomorrow of the fold. It really is great for that runny breastfed baby poop.

I washed today, without issues, since there were no messy diapers yet. My least favorite part of the washing is the wringing out of the diapers. I feel like my hands aren’t really strong enough to get the diapers wrung out as much as they could be. I try to always start the drying outside so they can drip on the deck instead of my floors. There are usually some small puddles on the deck when I check them later! I think they would dry much faster if I could wring them out better.

I am enjoying using flats. It’s been fun trying to figure out different folds. I would be willing to use flats full time.

I am not enjoying handwashing. I'm not grossed out by it. But it’s so much easier to just throw the diapers in the wash and then come back an hour later and hang them out to dry. Right now, since I’m using our downstairs sink to wash, I’m down to put the diapers in one side of the sink in cold water. Then I’m back later to rinse them and put them in hot water with soap. Then I scrub them and “agitate” them for a few minutes and leave them to soak for a little while. Then I come back to rinse and wring them out and then it’s back upstairs to hang them out to dry. If I did this full time I’d have to wash upstairs because going up and down the stairs several times a day is not easy for me. To be honest, if I didn't have a washing machine, I'm not sure I would cloth diaper full time unless my baby had a reaction to disposables or something like that.

What about you? Would you handwash full time so your baby could wear cloth?

****Thanks to Cotton Babies for providing me with Ozocozy flats 
and Econobum covers so I could participate in the challenge!****

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Flats & Handwashing Challenge Day 4

So I didn't blog yesterday - there were several reasons for that. Yesterday was our 3rd anniversary. Since we had kids here, and no babysitter, we just went out to a little local place we like -nothing fancy. But the main reason I didn't blog was that my right shoulder was hurting so badly. Jaxon was fussy and wanting me to hold him which means I was one finger typing. That normally isn't so bad. But when I moved my right arm certain ways, like to the left so I could type on the left side of the keyboard, my shoulder was hurting so bad. I gave up.

But this morning I went to the chiropractor who fixed my back, which was causing my shoulder to lean funny. He also pulled a loose tendon back into place. It felt weird while he was doing it, but afterwards I felt about 75% better. Still some pain, but not anything like it was yesterday.

Ok, so flats challenge. For those who don't already know, I'm participating in the Flats & Handwashing Challenge with Dirty Diaper Laundry. You can see a full listing of the rules and requirements of the challenge here. Yesterday was Day 3. Nothing exciting happened. No washing, no leaks. Just a plain old day.

Today, we had our first leak. My fault, I believe. Jaxon took a nap and when he woke up, I didn't change him like I should have. I was in the middle of making lunch and then I nursed him once I got the big kids settled in to eat. I never even thought to change him until after he finished and by then the flat was soaked. But his outfit was only a little wet, so it wasn't a bad leak. Anyway, my fault. Morning is already his wettest time and I had waited about 4 hours to change him. I'm going to pretend I meant to do that...that I was testing out how much a single flat will hold!

So here is what he is wearing now: flat, pad folded, inside an Applecheeks. I realized this morning I've been alternating between only 3 covers so I decided to try out two more since I can have up to 5. Since I love Applecheeks and since they are so versatile, I decided to try it out. Very cute! I'll let you know tomorrow how it held up to leaks (he's sleeping right now).

I didn't wash yesterday because of my shoulder. I did soak the diapers in a water & Bac Out solution. There were two poopy  diapers yesterday, so they needed soaking! Woke up in the middle of the night and we had no power. Two thoughts went through my head: first, we're going to lose all our food AGAIN. Since we moved in at the beginning of April, we've had all the food in the freezer/fridge go bad twice due to power outages. And my second thought was that I would have no hot water to wash my flats with if the power stayed out. Thankfully, we woke up this morning and it was back on!

So I washed this morning and found I had too many flats for the drying rack. Set 8 out to dry, plus covers and wipes and liners, and left the other four in the sink. A few hours later half were dry, so I brought those in and put the 4 wet ones out. I've been hearing thunder all day so I was hoping the storms would hold off long enough for those to dry. But it was not to be! Just heard the rain start while I was blogging and had to go get the flats in. They're under the ceiling fan in our bedroom now. I woke Jaxon up running to bring them in from the deck. So I'm now happy to report he soaked that flat and the Applecheeks did not leak.

Right now, I'm trying the alternative kite fold shown on Knocked Up and Nursing.
I'm also going to try a different cover a little later. I'm realizing that almost diaper can function as a cover for a flat, so I'm trying to decide what diaper to use next. I think I'm going to try my itti bitti bitti tutto. He's not due for a poop today, so today is the day to experiment with covers. I'll be sticking with my Thirsties covers for the poop days because I know they will not leak!

I noticed others complaining about their flats being stiff. Mine have not been. Another blog mentioned that if they blow up against each other while drying, they won't dry stiff. That may be why mine are not drying stiff - it's been very windy this week and so the wind whipped them all against each other while they were drying.

I also noticed that others are complaining that their hands hurt, are raw, red, or burned from the washing. Mine are not. It makes me wonder if I'm doing something wrong. Honestly, the first time I handwashed, my hands felt softer. I thought it was the Rockin' Green. It seemed to make the water feel almost silky to me. But I know I'm not using scalding hot water, so that makes me a little concerned that my diapers aren't clean enough. But they smell fine, and the water is clear when I rinse them. So I feel like they are clean. How much does water temperature matter? I know at the end of the week I can go back to my washing machine and be able to know they are clean. But if I was handwashing full time I think I would boil them every week or so to ensure they were getting clean. Do you feel like your diapers are getting clean?

***Special thanks to Cotton Babies for providing Ozocozy flats and Econobum covers***

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Flats and Handwashing Challenge - Day 2...The First Washing

Today is day 2 of the Flats & Handwashing Challenge with Dirty Diaper Laundry. For a recap, here is a link to the rules of the challenge. Things are going very well for us. No leaks, no issues, and really, no problems at all. The nighttime diaper from last night held up very well. It was not even soaked like I thought it might be. So either he wet less or the diaper is just that absorbent. 

I washed diapers this morning in our extra sink (it's in a downstairs kitchen that we don't use). That allowed me the use of the sprayer on the sink, which was helpful to add some pressure when rinsing, but not really necessary, I don't think. 

Yesterday I read that someone was soaking their diapers in water with Bac-Out, kind of a wet pail solution. I thought that seemed like a good idea. So yesterday, I filled one side of the sink with cold water and a few drops of Bac-Out. I left the diapers from yesterday in there overnight. Judging from the color of the water, that saved me from having to do some washing. So today, after I finished homeschooling the older kids, I rinsed those diapers in cold water first. My little helper was in the sling watching.

Take a look at this...see that one diaper near the front left that is kind of yellowy looking? That was from a massive explosive poop that Jaxon had yesterday. Classic exclusively breastfed baby stuff - nice and icky. Wait til you see what that diaper looks like when I'm done washing. 

So then I filled it up with hot water and 1 tsp of Rockin' Green. I wasn't really sure how much detergent to use. But since I was washing less than what my machine would normally wash, I thought I should go easy on the detergent. 

I didn't see a lot of bubbles, but I could feel the detergent in the water. I tried to do some rubbing on each diaper and swished them around in what I thought could be a substitute for machine agitation. I left them down there for about 20 minutes while I went and made lunch. Then I came back, agitated again, and drained the water. I then rinsed each diaper by laying it in the bottom of the sink and using the sprayer. Then I wrung everything out and went back upstairs to hang things up to dry. 

I use a drying rack. Normally that works well for pockets, prefolds, and inserts. But for flats, it's not the best. There's not enough room, really. 

And, since today was windy, it fell over about 4 times before I finally brought it inside and put it under the ceiling fan. If I was using flats full time, I would invest in some sort of clothesline, for sure. On a clotheline, with the wind and heat being what it was today, those diapers would have been dry in a couple of hours. But here's the really cool thing about the handwashing. Check out that diaper right on the front of the drying rack. 

That was my extra dirty diaper that I was sure would not come clean. I felt like it came as clean or cleaner than it would have in the wash! There were still a few small spots, but the sun got those out within the first hour of drying. 

So all in all, I'm declaring day 2 a success.I did notice one thing that I'm concerned about, but it is not really an issue with the flats, more like an issue with my pockets that the flats have alerted me to! The nighttime diaper didn't smell when he woke up. At all. That's a good thing. But usually when baby boy wakes up in the morning, there's an ammonia smell. I attribute it to the time spent in the diaper (usually it's 11-12 hours). But there was no smell this morning. So now I'm wondering if my inserts are funky and causing the smell. Any ideas?

***Thanks to Cotton Babies for providing Ozocozy flats and Econobum covers for me to use during this challenge***

Flats Challenge - Day 1

Day 1 of the Flats Challenge (rules here) started out with a bang. Jaxon has recently started pooping only every other day. So today was scheduled to be his poop day. With that in mind, I folded the flat like a prefold. Then I wrapped him up, old school style, and Snappied the diaper to him. I thought that might contain the poop a little better and save my cover.

Wrong. I still had to change the cover. I tried to swish and dunk the diaper to get some of the poop off in the toilet. Apparently, breastfed baby poop is a little sticky or something….it doesn’t rinse well without lots of help from mommy hands! Next time I will take the diaper straight to our downstairs sink and use the sprayer and see if that works any better.

So, diaper 2: pad folded inside the Grovia Seaside shell.

Then, a bright light in our day – a package is delivered from Cotton Babies!! Woohoo! One dozen Ozocozy birdseye flats and FOUR Econobum covers! Wow! So excited to try these out! And since we only had 8 flour sack towels, this means I won’t have to wash every day.

I did pad fold the rest of the day until bedtime. Here's a picture of a pad folded Ozocozy flat inside our new Econobum cover. Nice and trim!

Ozocozy in a Econobum

We had no leaks all day. I also noticed something. I forgot to put fleece liners in Jaxon's diapers a couple of times. He HATES prefolds without liners. I thought he didn’t like feeling wet. But I think maybe it’s a texture issue. Even when wet, these flats are not rough on his skin, and he didn’t cry when wet or seem to be bothered by it.

Additionally, he often gets rashes when I use our prefolds (they are organic cotton). I thought it was from being wet, but that didn’t happen with the flats. So maybe it’s the organic fibers?

At bedtime I had planned to try one of the folds highlighted on Dirty Diaper Laundry. But he was fussy and I had a headache. And I knew I’d need to follow the directions step by step with the video or pictures to get it right. So I just made my own little fold using two flats. One was pad folded and laid inside the other that was triangle folded and then triangle folded again and then brought up between his legs and Snappi’d. One thing about flats is that they are highly customizable! It was bulky, but I think it will work.

Not the best job. And I told you he was fussy!

I used an Econobum cover for bedtime and I did remember to add a fleece liner this time!
He was not happy about me taking pictures instead of nursing him!

No washing tonight since I don’t feel good. But I’ll have to wash in the morning or I’ll run out of diapers tomorrow. It’s supposed to be hot and sunny tomorrow so they should dry quickly outside.

If you are participating in the challenge, how did your first day go?

***Thanks to Cotton Babies for providing flats and covers for me to use during this challenge***

Friday, May 20, 2011

Flats Challenge Practice

Test run. Gerber birdeye flat that’s about 10 years old and has always been used as a burp cloth. Pad folded inside a Thirsties cover. If you don’t have a Thirsties cover, get one. They’re amazing. Jaxon had a massive explosive poop and it contained it all. But both cover and flat needed washing. I did this in the bathroom sink. Not too terrible. I could not get the color out of the diapers even once the water started rinsing clear. But the sun took care of the staining.

Since Jaxon doesn’t like to be wet, I used a Bummis fleece liner. It was very hard to get clean. I think disposable liners would definitely be a plus (when you are expecting a poop) if you used flats full time.

Things to do:

1) Get better flats. (update –grabbed a pack of flour sack towels at Target today. 4 for $3.99. They are much larger than the Gerber flats and should allow for different folds.)
2) Figure out how to do a different fold that might keep the cover clean.


1) Flats dry quickly, especially outside.
2) Washing one diaper took longer than I thought it should.
Wishing I had gotten the bucket/plunger method, but since I would like to try to use flats on vacation, a bucket/plunger won’t be feasible, so I need to learn to get them clean in the sink for those times when a washing machine isn’t available.

Looking forward to Monday! This will definitely be a test of my resolve because I really love my washing machine. The flats aren’t that bad. The handwashing is a little icky.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

How I’m preparing for the Flats and Handwashing Challenge

If you didn’t read my previous post about the challenge, check it out here.

So here are the rules of the challenge:

Here are the rules:
You MUST use Flats.
You MUST handwash them.  How is up to you.  (bathtub, sink, large wash tub, portable non electronic washing machine, or camp style washer (bucket and plunger- think churning butter)
You MUST air dry them.  (indoors or outdoors, makes no difference)
You MUST limit your number of covers in rotation to 5 or less.
You can use any detergent you want.  (Keep in mind that you still want cloth safe detergents)
You can still use your nighttime diapers but I ask that you try to make flats work.  Maybe try a prefold wrapped in a flat.
You can use disposable liners.
You CAN’T use a diaper sprayer.  I thought long and hard about this one, but at an average cost of 40.00 this is one diaper accessory that is out of range for many families.  Dunk, swish, flush, or scrape!
You MUST start the morning of May 23 and end the evening of May 30.

Ok, so the flats part is not that hard (except I probably need to get some flats). I read on Dirty Diaper Laundry that you could use flour sacks towels as flats. I couldn’t find any at Target last week, but I’m hoping to go this week and try again. Target is 45 minutes away, so this is easier said than done, lol! But, as of right now I plan to participate using my old Gerber birdseye cotton flats that I normally use as burp cloths.

Covers-  I only have a few so limiting to 5 shouldn’t be hard. Actually, just thinking off the top of my head, I only have 5 that I can think of: two Thirsties Duo Wraps, one Bummis cover, and two GroVia shells. However, I don’t like the way my Bummis cover fits my little guy, so I will probably use one of my Applecheeks envelope covers instead. I typically stuff my Applecheeks but I can use it as a cover, too. So that will put me using two Grovia shells, one Applecheeks envelope cover, and two Thirsties covers.

I don’t use disposable liners so no big deal there. Baby boy does like to feel dry, so I have an old fleece baby blanket I will cut up and use for liners. I think I might can use my Bummis fleece liners, too, but I need to check the Q & A on DDL and make sure that’s okay.

I always air dry so again, no big deal there. Detergent- I’ll just keep using my Rockin Green. It is a powder so I need to look and see the best way to use it without being wasteful with the amounts I’m using. Since I have a HE machine, I usually just use one scoop per load, so I don’t want to be wasting detergent during the challenge.

I don’t use a diaper sprayer, so that’s not an issue. I am glad that baby boy is still exclusively breastfed and has only runny poop…I’m hoping a quick dunk & swish in the toilet will take care of most of it! I’m not scared of this as I used to do this with my brothers diapers years ago! The only bathtub in our house is in the hall bath, and has one of those obnoxious sliding glass doors on it. It makes it difficult for me to lean over into the tub. So my plan is to wash in the sink. I may use the bathroom sink because my laundry area is off the master bath and my deck for sunning diapers is off the master bedroom. But, it’s small…and that might get annoying. So I will probably use the kitchen sink.

Now before you get too grossed out at the thought of me washing poopy diapers in my kitchen sink, let me explain! The house we live in has a mother in law apartment downstairs. We use the bedroom area as our girls’ bedroom. We use the “living room” area as the playroom. But the kitchen sits empty and unused. So there is an extra kitchen sink downstairs (complete with a working sprayer!) that I think might work perfectly for washing diapers! The only downside for me is going up and down the stairs (stairs are not fun for me because of my PD). But it would probably only be once a day. So I can probably handle that.

So that’s my plan. What do you think? Any comments or suggestions? What covers are you using for the challenge?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Flats and Handwashing Challenge May 23-30

For the week of May 23-30, I’m participating in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge with Dirty Diaper Laundry!

Sounds intimidating, doesn’t it? Even if you don’t know what flats are (I’ll explain in a minute), in the age of dishwashers and washing machines, handwashing anything sounds like a crazy thing to do. And yeah, my husband looked at me funny when I first mentioned this. I think he wonders why I would take on handwashing when I already feel like I have too much to do! Well, here’s what first caught my eye about this challenge. Dirty Diaper Laundry posted an article about parents who were letting babies sit in too wet or dirty disposable diapers because they could not afford to change the babies very often. Some of these babies became ill from this practice. It broke my heart. Those poor babies. Because we work with low- income families giving out food through our food pantry, this story hit home with me. We often provide disposable diapers to people who have told us they cannot afford diapers. I have been trying to figure out a way to help these people start cloth diapering on a limited budget and this seemed it might offer a solution. What if I could set mamas up with a cloth diapering starter kit for the same price I could provide them with a couple of packs of disposables? But I need to be able to tell them that they don’t need special tools (diaper sprayer, special washing machine, etc) and I need to be able to show them how to use the flats.

Okay, so what’s a flat? A flat is a large square of fabric, usually birdseye cotton. Flats can be folded in many different ways to fit inside a waterproof cover. You can pin the diaper or Snappi it on the baby, or simply fold it pad-style and place it inside the cover.

The challenge is to give up our "fancy" cloth diapers for a week and use plain old flats and covers and handwash them for a week, proving that anyone can cloth diaper if they really want to. Cost need not be a concern to get started with cloth. Access to laundry facilities doesn't even have to be an issue!

So my goal is to not only do this but also to be good at it so I can share this method with others. Maybe offer a flats and handwashing class at the church one night or something?

But I also have a selfish reason for participating. We travel a few times a year. Baby boy is 3 months old and has already been on 2 week long trips and 2 weekend trips. Each time, I pack up my entire stash and wash several times while we are there. The last time we thought our room had a washer/dryer and it didn’t. I was walking to the laundry room down the hall a bunch to do laundry. If I had brought flats and covers I could have washed in the sink in the room. Also, prefolds and inserts can take a while to dry when laying over chairs in a hotel room. A flat is thin so it can dry quickly, in just a matter of hours. So this could make traveling easier. And I wouldn’t have to pack as many diapers either if I washed each night.

Check out my post coming soon about how I’m preparing for the challenge.
Are you taking the Challenge? What is your motivation for participating?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Devastating Effects of Tornadoes

On Wednesday, April 27, tornadoes hit our little town and left us with complete devastation. Thankfully, our house was unharmed and we are all safe. But many of the people in our town were not so lucky. People were injured, and in my state of Alabama, the death toll is highest, having reached 250, as of today. If you look at this link, you'll see the long list, complete with names and ages for many of the victims. It's terrible to see entire families wiped out by these storms. There were over 2000 injuries reported. Thirty-six counties in Alabama are considered disaster areas.

There are many trees on houses and some houses are just gone. There are church buildings that were demolished. Businesses were destroyed. There are blocks in town where there is just nothing. Power was out at our house for 5 days, and many in our county are still without power. The National Guard is here and a curfew was imposed to stop looting. It's been unreal. 

As we drove around town yesterday, I was shocked at the level of devastation that the tornadoes left behind. The pictures you see online are bad, but honestly, the pictures really do not do it justice. I saw the same buildings up close. Believe it or not, the real life damage is so much more intense than what the pictures show. I kept asking my husband, "How did anyone live through that?" and saying things like "I hope they were not home when that hit." The historic district of our town is demolished. It is crazy to think that buildings that have been standing for more than a hundred years were wiped out in a matter of minutes by this powerful storm. Pictures also do not show the extent of the damage. Only a few houses are shown in pictures, but in reality, there are hundreds that were damaged and many are damaged beyond repair.  I have always loved the historic district and when we moved to this town I was wishing we could have found a house in that area to live in. I can't even think about what might have happened to us if we had moved there.  

 This huge tree was uprooted and fell across a police car driving down the highway 
in front of our church's building. 

This week has made me think a lot. I don't deal well with change and I must admit I was thrown off by all the craziness of not having power for several days. Because nothing in the county had power, you had to travel 25-30 miles just to find hot food or a cold drink. I didn't like packing up all the dirty laundry to wash it at my in-law's house 50 minutes away. I love traveling, but I plan those trips for weeks before we leave. So throwing everything haphazardly into the van and heading out is just not my style. I know I'm spoiled, I really do. I appreciate and love my washer and dryer and hot water and Internet access and all the other modern conveniences we sometimes take for granted. But as we drove through town yesterday and I saw all of the devastation, I realized that I'm beyond spoiled. At least I had clothes to pack up, even if they were dirty. Some houses were so destroyed that I don't think they'll even be able to find their clothes in the rubble heaps that were left behind. And forget the clothes- what about pictures of their family? Important documents like birth certificates? So many people are going to have to start over. 

And finally, I still have my husband and my kids. My mother-in-law works at Children's Hospital and told us some very sad stories after she finished her shift Thursday evening. There were two toddlers brought in that day. Both were found, alone. One lived and was later claimed by a family member. The little girl had been staying with her grandmother, who was keeping her while her mom was in the hospital giving birth to another child. The tornado came and the grandmother got in the bathtub with the toddler and covered her with her body. But the tornado's pull was so strong that the little girl was literally sucked out of her grandmother's arms and dropped blocks away where she was found and taken to the hospital. The poor child is almost catatonic because she's so traumatized. I can't imagine how confused and terrified she must have been. The other little girl died...and hadn't been claimed. My mother-in-law said that means her family is probably hospitalized or hurt as well. Such sad stories. 

It's all so very heartbreaking and I'm so very sad for the people who lost loved ones or their homes or businesses when the tornadoes came. And I'm so incredibly grateful that the tornadoes left our house still standing and our family safe.