Monday, March 23, 2009

Moving Forward

We are in a really paradoxical place right now as a family(it is so exciting that we are a fmily, not just a couple). While we are still stuck in Brownwood for another 9-14 months, welcoming our child is an amazing opportunity to move ahead into the simpler life we feel called to. Every step is a baby step, but hopefully we aren't taking any backward. I read and read, soaking up knowledge of how to live responsibly, and deliberately, prayerfully, seek the best balance for us.

Some decisions are clear, although not always easy, such as homebirth and cloth diapering. Others like energy consumption are more tricky. While it is very important to me to minimize our waste of materials, it is a lot harder for me to measure everything's "cost" in terms of energy footprint. Just minimizing waste is a monumental task. Our main sources of waste are food packaging, and paper cleaning materials. I would like to start with the food packaging, because paper towels, facial tissues, and toilet paper are very highly biodegradable.

I am sure it would be beneficial for us to have a combined effort to decrease our food packaging disposal and also make an effort at recycling. Recycling is difficult because I am not certain that Brownwood has a center. I have heard both that there is and isn't one from various sources. Those who say there is say that is is on an outside edge of town down a very long dirt road. Even if this is so I know that the effort is worth it, and it is time to stop making excuses.

The other front at this point is to decrease our possessions. I need to make a detailed sweep of the house, and also we need to adopt a zero gain policy-meaning that while we minimize our consumption we do not buy anything new without giving the old away, we maintain, rather than increase our store of possessions. This is of course difficult while we are waiting on a baby, but since we are due for a major purge, I hope the balance will turn out favorably. We would like to have a garage sale with a lot of our possessions. Since we are going to be increasingly tight financially in the coming months, it is important to use what we can for income.

I haven't decided yet whether the best way to go about this is to plan very carefully ahead of time what we will keep and what we will let go of, or just to dig in and let my intuition guide me. My main idea would be to make a list of purposes for our family, things we want and need to accomplish, and keep only things that serve those purposes. I have been very careful with our Baby Wish List to keep things to a minimum, and choose only good quality things that we really need.

These physical things are of course what we get cought up in. It is easy to focus on what we can see. The big questions are; where does our ministry flow out of this? How do we simplify our time? How do we find a balance between frugality and nutrition? The biggest questions are; where are we going from here? how do we minister and support our family? how do we devote the right amount of time to each of the different things that are important to us?

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Friday, March 20, 2009

hah, the tuesday post never came. I forgot that even though it was my day off i wouldn't be free. We went to Austin, shopped, went the nutritionist's, bought fabric at hancock for my two fave vintage maternity patterns. hopefully i will have finished dresses to post on here soon. Old Navy Maternity was dissapointing. There was only half a section with like 8 garments. so, even though i really prefer to try things on first, i ordered stuff online. i can't wait for it to come. after we got back home we had staff meeting, small group, and nick & nicky's st. patrick's day bash. i was so tired, and my allergies have been out of control since.

wednesday and thursday flew by and i just forgot.

Here is the promised post on somethings i chose for baby and why.


I have gone on such a journey to choosing cloth diapers. When I first found out my mother-in-law used them, as well as having her babies at home, i felt like i would never measure up to her super mom status. Now we are doing both. i'm not really sure when the homebirth thing happened, maybe when my friend Siobhan had hers at home. Our friends Mitch & Rochelle Senti inspired us that cloth diapering was a feasible choice when we spent three days with them and their fifteen month onld last January and they didn't seem insane or overwrought.

Originally I looked at all-in-ones, since they were more like the disposable diapers i was used to using, but they are SOOO expensive, i had almost given up on the possibility. After reading the website i linked to last time, it seemed like prefolds, might not be too much of a pain, and after more research we decided on the following plan.

3 dozen unbleached prefolds, 3 or so prowraps covers (they are the cheapest and simplest, good for around the house), gdiapers little gpants (these are still only 10.95 a pair and are really cute and leak-proof), and gdiapers flushable inserts for when we go out.

There are a few benefits of this plan over all-in-ones. 1. the cost of course. Pre-folds are a dozen for $20 instead of $17-20 each. Also, they come in fewer sizes since they adjust more easily, so yuo have to get new ones fewer times. 2. other moms say that all-in-ones do not hold up well, because after multiple cleanings the thickly layered crotch wears out. Prefolds will quilt and only get more absorbant after many washings. 3. the gdiapers are a great altenative to regular disposables for when we are out, and have they best covers i have seen for a really reasonable price. The flushables are just that flushable, and they are highly biodegradable as opposed to regular disposables. they will spend about a month decomposing to a disposable's 500 years. also did you know that throwing away poop is illegal? it contaminates groundwater. flushing diapers sends poop to the water treatment facility where it belongs. The covers are great because they are made of cotton which is softer on baby's skin than nylon or plastic pants, but they have an eco-friendly waterproof liner that has elastic on four sides like a traditional disposable to keep moisture from leaking. the velcro closures go toward the back instead of over baby's belly so they are harder for little hands to take off on their own. All that in cute colors and still half the price of an all-in-one diaper. I'll take it.


So we are nursing primarily, but it is always good to keep bottles and a pump around just in case. we got a free Playtex naturalatch bottle from motherhood maternity, which i really liked the nipple on(I gave it to Elliott one time when he was over for a visit and he put the whole thing in his mouth like they are supposed to do with nursing. What i didn't like is the disposable liner. Then i got an e-mail from one of those random pregnancy websites that sends me a dozen a week, announcing Playtex's introduction of the new "wide nipple" for their vent-air bottles. These bottles curve in the middle, which really does make them easier on your arm to hold for a long period of time, and have a venting system in the bottom to prevent air bubbles without a liner, so you aren't throwing away anything. The new wide nipples look just like the naturallatch to me, but are made for this bottle. Perfect.


We are using mostly babys bliss and burt's bees for washes, diaper cream etc. because we like it natural, and of course baby bliss makes the ever praised gripe juice, which all mothers in washington told us was a lifesaver.

We do want a boppy pillow, and a bumbo seat, but will look for used, since the brand names are so expensive new.

I think Puj's go sling is the best sling it seems to distribute the weight more evenly so yuo can use it with a bigger baby, it comes in pretty fabrics, and is $48 instead of the other brands which are $70-90. Mom says we should get one and then make more like it. My other favorite carriers are meitais, which are also expensive, but i am lucky because i am getting my friends hand-me-downs she got on etsy.

We are using a port-a-crib, because I think the regular ones are ridiculously huge, and baby is going in our room. Ours is dream-on-me two way from babysrus because it will work with an older baby, it is very inexpensive, and it comes in the pretty dark wood color we wanted. It just came and I can't wait to put it together tonight with RJ.

most of the clothes on our list are from the gap. they have really well made cute stuff, adn their neutal things have a lot of brown instead of pale yellow and green which are unflattering on most skin types, and just not very cute. they don't have a neutral section, so you have to look through boys and girls, but we like kind of androgynous stuff, so we do that at most websites anyway.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Confession: I am a terrible blogger

My second trimester started yesterday. We are one third of the way from "Let's take a chance" to "It's a ..." and I haven't blogged since the announcement. We are both working, and settling into a schedule. It seems like each semester it takes us 2 or 3 months to figure out the routine, and then it's over and we have to start again.

Baby is growing like crazy. I know this because even when Iam hungry i have no room for food, and my stomach is very sensitive to pressure. I keep forgetting NOT to lean up against bathroom cabinets to get a closer look at my make-up. ouch. I am mostly uncomfortable all over as my muscles stratch and move to make room for our baby dinosaur (this is what my tummy sounds like).

I have studied and learned so much, and should have been blogging it all, but I didn't. Maybe I can go back and cover some things. Having friends and a cousin who are great mothers has helped so much in knowing how to make a home for little one.

Today i will just post a few links that have been really helpful to me.

For godly mom advice:
particularly this post with links back to old posts. Jessica's writing has been so helpful to me as I prepared for this new part of our life over the last six months.

Old Navy has the cutest affordable (affordable as opposed to Isabella Oliver) maternity clothes, hands down. Gap has the cutest baby clothes, especially for us since we won't know Baby's gender until he or she arrives. Universal Wishlist has been my best friend. I can search all over the web to find what is best for Baby at the best prices, and save it all in one list. Also I can have several lists. I have Baby Essentials Registry, Baby Clothes, Stuff For Later, Books, and Mommy Clothes. It has helped me organize our spending, and gift lists so much better than I was able to do with my wedding registry.

Until I read this website, I really wanted to use cloth diapers, but had no idea where to start. It gives information about all the different kinds, and helped me to make an informed decision, and feel more confident about my ability to cloth diaper.

Last, but not least, Texas Midwives helped us to find a wonderful midwife. I had looked and looked and until I found this website I was desparing that we would ever find a midwife who would work in Brown County. Our Midwife, Betsy Robinett, also has a lot of usefule information on her website.

Tomorrow (hopefully) I will start explaining some of my choices and why I went with them.