Now Available in Paperback – As We Wait: A Family Advent Devotional

As We Wait: A Family Advent Devotional is now available from CreateSpace in paperback! Advent starts this weekend so order your copy right away. A


To Keep Him Dry and Sleeping Part 2: Nighttime Diaper Reviews

In the my last post I noted that there were several combinations of nighttime cloth diapers in an effort to keep our son leak free, feeling as dry as possible (or at least not soaking wet) and hopefully sleeping longer too. Below are my reviews of the combinations we have tried so far.

Option 1- Thirsties Duo Fitted with Baby Kicks Joey Bunz Hemp Premium Inserts and bumGenius Stay Dry Liner in a Thirsties Cover: This still works for us a in a pinch, but it is tough to go all night. We’ve been known to do it when our other options are in the wash. But it leads to a very wet diaper in the morning.

Cons: You will battle stink with Duo Fitted diapers when using them regularly at night. This is just a reality of using microfiber overnight and pocket fitteds (as they are sometimes called, though not by Thirsties) are harder to get clean because of the tunnels and layers.

Pros: Except for the most heavy wetters (trust me, I have one) used with a hemp or other super absorbent insert and the right cover, these will keep it all in. We find that the best leak proof solution is to use a traditional Thirsties cover, rather than a Duo, not sure exactly why this is, but we have always gotten better coverage and fewer leaks. I think the snaps on Duo covers make them prone to dipping too low in the front.


Option 2-Flip Insert Stay Dry Insert, Hemp Insert with Hiney Liney cover: This is a great option. I’m not sure the liney itself is as stay dry as my bumGenius Stay Dry Doublers but it works pretty well. I like that I can reuse the cover with a second liney, so that it lasts more than one night.

Cons: I had a little trouble getting both inserts under the liney because we still have the cover snapped down, but it did work. I think this will work well as he gets a little bigger. This option also works better when he doesn’t nurse at night.

Pros: I love that this cover can be reused with a new stay-dry liney. I wouldn’t try more than two or three nights though. Mine started to stink after just a night or two (nighttime urine really reeks). I was pleased with the fit of this cover for the most part and I had very few issues with red marks on my son’s thighs.


Option 3- Baby Kicks one-Size Organic Fitted: I’ll admit that I can’t decide what I think about this diaper. I’ve never used it alone because of my son’s great dislike for feeling wet. I’ve used it stuffed the one-size hemp insert it comes with and a bumGenius Stay Dry Doubler on top. At first I loved it, and under a Thirsties cover we had no leaks to speak of. But I’ve never been a fan of snaps. After an unfortunate experience with both Kissaluvs fitted diapers and Fuzzibunz pocket diaper, I decided to give BabyKicks a chance. At first it was OK, but ultimately it was still a pain. My son always ended up between sizes. The fabric also got rough after a few washings, especially when wet. With a proper cover this is a good diaper for nighttime, it just isn’t really one of my favorites.

Cons: Fabric gets rough after multiple washings and it can get stinky as well, though that seems to happen to almost any diaper that gets frequent nighttime use at my house. This diaper should definitely be stripped periodically. It is also rather expensive, but but it is one-size.

Pros: If you like snaps, this may be the diaper for you. The side snaps are nice, and definitely easier to use than other snap diapers I’ve used. I was also pleased with the absorbency of the included insert and there is probably room in the pocket to stuff another inside in as well, if needed.


Option 4- : At first I didn’t know how I would like a diaper without any fastenings. I’ve never been a pin person, but fortunately this diaper worked fine with our snappi. For nighttime, I used both included inserts and a Flip insert or Stay Dry Doubler on top. Either worked well. This diaper is incredibly soft and still stayed soft through many washings. I know from experience that night time urine is tough on diapers long term, so I don’t expect it will stay so soft and squishy permanently. Price was definitely a bit of a deterrent with this diaper. I really wanted to try their wool covers as well, but thus far wool is out of my price range.

Cons: This is another expensive choice, but it is a one-size diaper and it seems as though the structure and stretch of the diaper would make it truly one-size. The diaper is a little bulky, but I didn’t have any issues with it.

Pros: This ended up being my go-to option for night time for a while. The diaper was soft and easy to fit onto my son. When paired with a Thirsties of Thirsties Duo cover we had no leaks. With an extra stay dry liner on top, it kept our son dry all night and he almost always slept through the night when wearing this diaper.


Insert and Doubler Reviews

Baby Kicks Joey Bunz Hemp Premium insert: I have been incredibly impressed with these inserts. They were the most absorbent we could afford and well worth it. They are not super soft, but since I usually use them under something else that has never been a concern of mind. The two layers are held together only at one end, allowing them to wash cleaner and dry faster. These typically do dry in one cycle in the dryer and if slightly damp will hang dry easily the rest of the way. They are still when completely line dried, but this is typical of most hemp and other natural fiber products.

 bumGenius Stay Dry Doublers and Flip Stay Dry Inserts: I tried these in desperation but not expecting much. These are very similar except that the Flip inserts have folds in them to make them adjustable to size, where are the bumGenius Stay Dry Doublers are just one size, on the small side, a little bigger than a bumGenius newborn size diaper insert. But they fit nicely in most fitted diapers, where as the Flip is better by itself. (Though I do love it as a doubler in the sustainablebabyish fitted).

Option 2 (Hiney Liney cover with Flip Stay-Dry insert and Joey Bunz Hemp Premium insert) is our current favorite though I’ve also experimented with using a Flip cover with an organic and stay-dry Flip insert which I also like a lot. I know that we may have to make adjusts to fit and absorbency as our son gets older, but for now these work for us. If your are diapering a heavy wetting child it can be frustrating, but you just have to try to tackle it with patience and a process of elimination until you find an option that works for you.

To Keep Him Dry and Sleeping Part 1: The Quest for the Nighttime Diaper

Up until recently, the hardest challenge I faced with cloth diapering was keeping my toddler daughter dry at night. Her usual double or triple stuffed bumGenius 4.0 wasn’t doing the trick anymore. We ended up with Thirsties Duo Fitted diapers with an extra microfiber insert and Thirsties hemp insert under a Thirsties size large cover. (When super stuffed the Duo Fitteds didn’t fit under a Size 2 Duo cover anymore). Unfortunately, those diapers really took a beating. Apparently toddler pee really takes it out of those beautiful plush Thirsties fitteds. Now that our daughter is mostly night time trained she wears trainers to bed and even those are getting really tight.

But then our son was born and around four months we began having serious nighttime diaper issues. He is a heavy wetter like I’ve never seen. It wasn’t just leaks that were the problem. He also woke up and refused to go back to sleep because he felt wet. Our usual bumGenius 4.0’s didn’t work. Neither did Thirsties Duo Fitted size 1. Then we added Joey Bunz Premium inserts to our stash. These stemmed the tide for a while but I quickly concluded that pocket diapers were no longer a good night time choice for us. Sometimes they even failed during the day, such as our unfortunate foray into FuzziBunz territory.

Eventually only a Duo Fitted with a Joey Bunz Premium insert had any hope of lasting him through the night. But he was still waking up feeling wet.

Enter stay dry doublers. I started adding a bumGenius Stay-Dry Doubler to his night time diapers. Some nights he actually went all the way through with the same diaper. (He didn’t sleep all night, but that is another issue for another time.) But yikes, was he drenched in the morning and the smell would burn my eyes as I took the diaper off. The Stay-Dry Doubler did feel damp by morning, but at least his bottom wasn’t dripping like before.

After doing tons of research I came up with a few other possible solutions to our nighttime woes:

Flip insert, hemp insert (We already owned some larger Joey Bunz Premium inserts) in a Hiney Liney cover with the special snap in Liney.

Baby Kicks One-Size Organic Fitted

Sustainablebabyish Snapless-Multi Fitted Cloth Diapers

EcoPosh Recycled Organic One-Size Fitted Pocket Cloth Diaper

We have tried all of the above except Ecoposh, due to the expense. I did consider going to disposables at night, as much as I hated the thought. Disposables every night over the course of a couple of years could cost more than a few high quality nighttime fitted diapers. But when we used traditional disposables (a combination of Huggies and Pampers) during our post-Sandy power outage, we had even worse night time leaks. The problem was finding which cloth diapers did the job in our situation, without spending a lot of money on failed attempts.

Stay Tune for my reviews of our nighttime attempts in Part 2.

Not Just Today but Everyday

Yesterday many Americans celebrated Thanksgiving and hopefully amid all of the food and early black Friday shopping we actually found time to give thanks. It was a fun day, but also a stressful day for me as we assembled the kids and the food and headed out to my sister’s house for the day. The day ended with our three year old melting down and crying most the way home. By the time both kids were in bed I was finding myself feeling less than thankful. Which reminded me that while it’s good to have a day set aside to give thanks, we also need to remember to give thanks every day and in all circumstances; whether things are good or bad, whether we can afford the Christmas gifts we want or not, if our kids are well behaved or difficult, in all things give thanks.

Introducing For the First Time On My Baby’s Bum: Wool Covers

So I have finally taken one of the final challenges in the cloth diaper world. I’ve begun using wool covers. I’d been wanted to experiment with wool again recently because my son seemed to get diaper rashes so easily. Wool breathes so it seemed like a natural choice. But wool covers are also super expensive and most are sized. So you are looking at $30-$50 a cover, needing at least three in each size (in my opinion). I had a few handmade wool covers a friend gave me as a baby shower gift when my daughter was born and I had tried my hand, only semi-successfully at knitting two others. None of them seemed to work right. So I started researching what I could do to make them work better. I partially felted the two I had knitted since the stitching seemed too open and I was having leakage issues. Then I lanolized all of my wool covers using instructions I found online. I dissolved some Lansinoh lanolin in my bathroom sink and then immersed the covers. After they soaked for fifteen to twenty minutes I rolled them in a towel and then let them air dry for a day or two (they took a long time to dry in my semi-humid basement). I slowly started using the covers. Mostly it’s been a good experience. My son definitely gets fewer rashes but when I go too long between diaper changes, his clothes do sometimes get a little damp. But I use these even more now that my son is starting to crawl. He has developed terrible chafing rashes from his PUL covers and even some of his fitted diapers and pocket diapers. So at home during the day we mostly use prefolds and these hand knit wool covers.

I’ve looked for thicker wool covers, but I can’t find anything in my price range. Cotton Babies carries a partially recycled wool cover for $21 which is the cheapest I’ve seen, by far. I also found an Etsy seller who makes one-size wool covers that are secured with snaps and I’ll admit that I am sorely tempted to try these. Yes, they cost $20, plus shipping, but they are one-size. My main issue with wool covers is that you must buy so many different sizes. So for now I’m going to try knitting and crocheting a few others of my own, now that I have a better sense of what I need. I have some wool yarn left and even if I bought more yarn, it would still be cheaper than buying a $40 cover.

I haven’t been brave enough to let him wear these out of the house yet so we are constantly battling the chafing created by a day out in pocket diapers. Wish I knew why this chafing is so bad (same thing happened with my daughter at this age), but the positive result is that it has pushed me to try something new that I probably wouldn’t have attempted before. Do I love wool? No, I’m not a complete convert, but I do find that there are a lot of advantages and I can see why some people swear by it. But my son is also an older baby. I wouldn’t trust anything to hold in those newborn poo explosions except for a PUL gusseted cover. If you haven’t given wool a try, it’s worth it if you can do it inexpensively. Try searching for some good sales at big online cloth diaper retailers or check out Etsy for sellers making repurposed wool diaper covers; these tend to be much less expensive options.

All for the Kingdom: Rejecting a Culture of Envy and Choosing Gratitude

Sometimes I get frustrated with the culture of envy. Even among people of faith it has become fashionable to comment if not harp on disparities in wealth in America. Why do the poor have so little and the wealthy so much? Shouldn’t something be done about that? (Or perhaps even worse, shouldn’t the government do something about it?) There are ways of making jealousy and envy look righteous, when really, in our deepest of hearts our problem lies more with what we don’t have than what others don’t have. Yes, we care about the poor, but in our human frailty, we also wish for certain things for ourselves. It may be the dream of American affluence with multiple vehicles, big house and large disposable income. Or it may be the desire to own land, live on it and from it, and raise a family on your own terms. Whatever our dreams are it’s hard to look at someone else who seems to have what we want without feeling a twinge of envy.

It’s easy to look at those who have more than you and categorize them as wealthy or too wealthy. But for every person who has more than we do, there are many more that have less. My father is quick to remind me that most Haitians would find Americans living in poverty to be living lives of luxury by comparison. Lives some Haitians would envy.

So maybe when we sit around getting on our high horses about how some people have too much we’ve missed the point. It isn’t about what others have or what they do with it (which is something we mostly don’t know and is none of our business anyway), it’s about what we do with what we have. I’ve known people of wealth in my life and people with nothing, or next to nothing. But in either case I witnessed great generosity. I don’t know why God has blessed me with what I have, but I know that with it comes great responsibility. Whether I have little or much, it is all for the kingdom.

By American standards it feels like I have little. When I see a need it is easy to automatically say, “There’s nothing I can do about that. That will have to be someone else’s problem, someone wealthier, smarter, more well connected, etc.”  or “I can’t possibly help. I can barely take care of myself and my family.” Our pastor gave a sermon a while back about Elisha and the widow. She came to him saying that her sons were going to be sold into slavery to pay her husband’s debts. Elisha asked her what she had in her house. She said, “I have nothing. I have a small jar of oil.” That small jar of oil was supernaturally multiplied and filled every jar she could borrow. She sold it to pay her debts and redeem her sons. (I’ve always wondered, what if her friends hadn’t loaned her the jars?) Our pastor encouraged us to look for the resources in our own lives, even when we think we have nothing, and ask God what he would have us do with them. I need to say to God, “God I feel like I have nothing. Show me what I have and what I can do with it.” As we head into a season of consumption on the heels of what is supposed to be a day of gratitude, I’m going to try to keep reminding myself, “Don’t concern yourself with what others have that you don’t. Whatever you do have, whether it be little or much, is all from God and all for the kingdom.”

Stay with Me: Five Minute Friday

“Stay!” I yell to my daughter as she advances across a parking lot.

“Stay!” I call to my son as he crawls toward the fireplace.

“Stay,” I coo to my husband when he climbs out of bed to go to work on cold mornings made for cuddling.

“Stay,” I ask my daughter when she is finally calm enough to cuddle, but only for a few moments before heading off the play, her boundless energy impossible to contain.

“Stay,” I say to my baby son as I hold him in my arms, realizing how big he is getting and that he won’t be a baby much longer.

“Stay.” I want to beg a good friend as we exchange pleasantries after church or in the grocery store, wanting more than just our casual catch up.

“Stay.” I hear him say to me, as I mumble my prayers before falling asleep, rush through my devotions or abandon a quiet moment of reflection in pursuit of my to-do list.

“Stay with me. Just be with me.”