You know what’s tough? Finding time to write with a newborn. I gave myself a goal to write twice a week, but ta-da! It’s been two weeks. Last week was basically sleepless (at one point, my husband took off work just to get the baby out so I could sleep a couple of hours in the afternoon), and now, both me and Charlie are sick. (The NoseFrida is our new best friend.)

So, in honor of the little time thief, I thought I’d talk about cloth diapering.

While he was in utero, we decided cloth diapering was a good choice for us. Less waste, cheaper, pretty cute and reusable for future children.

At our first baby shower, people were like —> :-O Whaaat. Cloth? How does that work? (Except my grandma, who was all, NBD guys this is way better than what it used to be.)

There are so many kinds of cloth diapers. Fitteds, flats and prefolds, all-in-ones, all-in-twos, pockets. A local baby boutique has a nice blog explaining the different types. After research, we decided bumGenius 4.0 pocket snap diapers were right for us.

While these dipes are one size fits all, Charlie was too skinny to fit in them at first. So for the first month, we used disposables. Now we’re in cloth diapers 90% of the time. And so far, so good.

These have vertical and horizontal snaps for adjusting the fit. As he grows, we can let out the snaps. (There’s also a velcro option, but we read the velcro ages poorly.)

The cover is waterproof. Inside, there’s a fabric pocket for a cloth insert. The diapers come with a newborn and regular insert (the regular is thicker and absorbs more). The fabric pocket is made from a material that wicks the wetness away from the baby’s body.

Gratuitous naked baby shot. He’s totally horrified.

It all sounds fine and dandy…but what about dirty diapers?

Enter, this guy. It’s a Bumkins cloth diaper sprayer, and it’s connected to the toilet’s water line. So when we have a poopy diaper…

…we just spray off the solids and flush it down. (We also have a Spray Pal splatter shield, but it’s cumbersome and more work than it’s worth, in my opinion.)

From there, I separate the insert from the diaper and both go in a wet bag, which has a waterproof liner.

I know what you’re thinking. That diaper still had some serious yellow stains on it. Not to worry though! Breast milk is water soluble, and it comes right out in the wash.

The cotton inserts usually come out of the washing machine with a little yellow on them. The power of the sun takes care of that right away.

We have enough diapers in our stash that we can do laundry every other day. We’re not using any special detergent, just homemade stuff (Borax, Fels Naptha and washing soda). The wet bag gets washed too. We have two of them, so when one is being washed, we have a bag to use. Plus we have a small travel wet bag for when we’re on the go.

We’ve had a couple of leaks, but heck, we have leaks with disposable diapers. Disposable diapers have a handy wet indicator that I kind of miss. The cloth leaks happen when he saturates the pad. No blow outs yet! Overall? We’re super happy with the cloth diapers and can’t imagine using disposable diapers all the time. And Charlie? He’s pleased!

We still have a stash of Pampers though, for night time. I avoid changing his diaper in the middle of the night, but if he has a giant poop during a 2 am feeding, I change it. And tossing a disposable into the trashcan next to our bed is much easier than getting up and putting the diaper in the wet bag.

Conclusion: cloth diapering is not scary. I’ll keep you updated on how it goes when we introduce solids and he starts going to daycare!

Anyone else cloth diaper? What’s your experience? Favorite covers?

When I was a teenager, I worked as a lifeguard. It was a great gig, especially since North Carolina summer weather is so volatile. Almost every afternoon, there was thunder and the threat of rain. That meant kicking everyone out of the pool and playing cards with fellow guards while on the clock. Oh yeah.

As an adult trying to stain her deck, that weather has been very annoying in the past month.

Everyday, 30% chance of scattered thunderstorms. Everyday, drought (or an errant three minute downpour.)

Last Wednesday I looked at the forecast. Open skies for SIX DAYS! As soon as Hurricane Arthur got out of town on Thursday, we were set.

Friday, we prepped by cleaning the deck. Before:

After, significantly brighter:

It looks so easy in before and after pictures. But it wasn’t great.

I bought a gallon of no-scrub deck wash that was supposed to cover 300 square feet. Halfway into spraying our 12′x12′ (144 square feet) deck, I realized I was almost out of wash. Ugh! Luckily, it takes four minutes to get from our driveway to Lowe’s. Husband went and picked up another bottle.

So I finished spraying and started rinsing. As I was spraying, I noticed this pulpy, cellulose-like layer peeling off. Hmmmm. When it dried (you can see it best near the bottom of the broom, the white stuff):

And the same happened in places where I walked:

So I ended up sanding the railing and a few spots on the decking. Word of wisdom: bleach-filled deck cleaner will eat. wood. up.

I looked online at product reviews and others had the same issue. Most of the positive reviews were associated with composite decks. Oh well. In the end, we got it clean and ready for stain.

We waited two days for the wood to dry, and on Sunday, started staining. We tackled the hard part first, balusters.

I couldn’t imagine doing this alone. Two people made it so much easier. I’d paint one side, he’d do the other.

Then we’d wipe off the excess.

Rinse and repeat in the hundreds of nooks and crannies.

Our handy helper. (Side note: went for his first peds visit. He gained 10 oz in one week and is in the top percentile for length at 23.25″!)

There are several spots that don’t look great, but my parents, deck staining veterans, assured us that as soon as the sun hit it for a couple of days, any splotches would blend.

Yesterday, I stained the decking in four staining sessions during Charlie naps. I need to move the furniture back today, but Charlie is having one of those needy mornings where he cries as soon as I put him down. So it looks like I’ll have to snuggle him today. Poor me. :)

One of the most frequent questions I get: how are your spray painted door knobs holding up? I thought I’d do an update on that project and a few others.

Living Without Paper Towels

Two years ago, we gave up paper towels. Instead, we bought a pack of plain cotton towels to cut down on waste. So how’s it going? Are we still at it?

Yes!

The cotton towels are so basic. They’re perfect to use at meals and to wipe up little spills. Cleaning them is easy too. They go in our weekly laundry load of whites (an hour long hot cycle with a scoop of oxiclean.) The pack came with 14, which was plenty, but we got another pack in December to make sure we never ran out in a week. We got 14 for $17. Now, it’s only seven going for $21. So yeah, just an FYI – you can probably find them cheaper somewhere else.

As for regular cleaning, we use rags made from old dish towels and t-shirts. I didn’t like the idea of wiping down a bathroom sink with the same towels we use during a meal.

So two years without buying any paper towels? We’ll consider our towel investment a success.

Spray Painted Door Knobs

I did a brief update on this project last year, but I recently got a question about it, so here’s another update!

The interior spray painted door knobs are in great condition. The only nicked paint is on the latch plate in the door frame, from the latch moving across it. It’s so minor, it doesn’t bother us. Someone told us their store-bought bronze latch plates did the same thing and recommended clear bumper pads.

The front door handle is a different story.

It’s not great. Obviously, the lock has had a key jammed in it several times a day for two years. So that makes sense.

But the handle? Boo. Not sure what’s going on there. A huge chip appeared at some point last year (we think moving furniture scraped it) and it’s slowly spread.

I definitely want to repaint these (and coat them with a clear enamel) but I recall installing the lock being a huge pain. So I’m avoiding it for now.

Rustoleum Countertop Transformations

Remember when our kitchen looked like this?

The riskiest project we took on was Rustoleum’s Countertop Transformations. It was a relatively new product and we weren’t sure how it would turn out or if it’d even last.

Good news! They look as good as new. We treat the counters nice – using cutting boards and trivets – so we expected them to stay in good shape. (Full disclosure: this is an old picture. I didn’t take a new one because I didn’t feel like cleaning off the counter!)

One day we’ll invest in new counters, but until then, we’re very happy with this.

No TV In The Bedroom

Last summer we ditched the TV in our bedroom. Instead, we started reading before bed. Definitely a good change. After all, less technology in the bedroom is better for sleep and…other things. Wink wink. (But maybe not?) (Sorry mom)

But it didn’t last. Well. It did. But when Charlie was born, I found myself sitting in bed all morning for feeding sessions. It got boring, and I really wanted to watch the news.

So the TV is back. But only for the morning news (and World Cup action.) It’s still banned at night, to keep the environment lazy and quiet to get us all ready for sleepy time.