Saturday, June 16, 2012


Amazima means truth in Luganda. Katie Davis, Ugandan expat, Mommy, and founder of Amazima Ministries says in her book,

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I have been working and working on our Real Food/Weston A. Price diet, but I think the Barnett house is about to take a different approach to food budgeting. In Katie's book she tells a story of being home on a fund raising trip, in her parent's suburban home with abundantly full pantries, when her newest daughter said to her over the phone, "Thank you for food, Mommy. Today I am still alive." What if we all ate the same types of simple meals people eat all over the world, not starving, just simpler, and gave the difference in our food budget to those who don't have any at all. It's just a baby step in living simply, so that others can live.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Lucy's Birth Story

You know when you keep having all of those symptoms you had with your past pregnancies, and even though it's improbable, and you know your paranoid self took four pregnancy tests before you were actually expecting the last one, you can't quit thinking you may be pregnant, and you can't take a test yet, so you just have to live in limbo? That's where I have been this week, and also tired and sick, and with a lot of toddler screaming.

So even though I have spent the last two weeks hoping to start trying again in August, just because I need a baby to hold so much, and it would make Lucy's place in our family so concrete if there was the same spacing as we've had so far, I have been on a real roller coaster with trying to wrap my mind around everything that would be involved with actually being pregnant again right now.

In the midst of that I swear I have come across like 6 birth stories this week, and I have been so emotional. You know when something makes you feel so strongly, and you can't quite put your finger on it until you are trying to figure out how to explain it to someone else? That is why I am writing this tonight. Because RJ is exhausted (like I am too), and I will cry less and get less of a headache writing it than talking out loud anyway.

I keep thinking of my births. How special it really is. Sometimes I think people like my friend Tori are so crazy to get excited even about other people's births, but for the first time I keep thinking about how amazing those moments are. Working so hard, and then right when it is more than you think you can stand, it's over, and you are holding the most amazing thing you will ever experience, and no matter how many you already have, your family is completely new all over again.

I keep thinking that, and just being so angry that all of that was ruined with my special girl. I just want to scream at the injustice of that moment turning in to, the panic in RJ's voice begging and pleading with our daughter too breathe, begging God to help her, to help us, the neighbors rushing in to see me completely exposed, and the paramedics taking Lucy and RJ away from me, and the boys screaming as Mary Beth and Leah, who just showed up to relax and watch tv, closing their to try and protect their innocent hearts from the horror going on around them, and the police questioning Betsy and I, and the endless minutes setting up an IV and heart monitors on me, a perfectly healthy person before they would follow my baby, and knowing every minute I got to hold her that it would never be enough…

As I read these amazing birth stories, and think of those moments I shared with Lucy. I never really got what these women who advocate unassisted birth were going on and on about. How it made them feel so empowered as women. I thought they were just arrogant, and extreme, and wanted to do everything themselves, because they felt they needed to prove something. But completely not according to any plan I had an unassisted birth, and for a few moments, I understood where they are coming from.

Even though Lucy's one and a half hour birth was so intense, and completely unexpected in so many ways, I felt so much more present than with the boys. I don't know if empowering, is the word, but what an incredible experience. In those moments of the last few pushes I suddenly realized that the baby I hadn't been sure I was having real labor with 15 minutes ago would be here in seconds. I reached down and felt the top of her head only an inch inside of me, in one push it was out, and I felt the cord and unwrapped it, and caught her tiny body in the next push. All By Myself. Just the two of us. For the first time I wasn't a passive, barely conscious, bystander in the act of my child's coming into the world. That was the most incredible moment of my life. A moment that should have been life.

Instead it was death, and I am still not really sure what to do with that. I am so angry that I don't get to have her, to know her, that every precious stage my sons go through is one of hers I will never see. I want her more than I want anything. I still feel some times like I can't go on living without her being a part of my life. But some times, most of the time, I am completely numb. I can't feel like it is real any more. I can hardly remember holding her. And that is so much worse than all of the pain when I miss her. That's why I'm telling this, and one other reason.

All this week, as I've thought about our birth together, Lucy's and Mine, I've so bitterly resented the way the enjoyment of that moment has bee so utterly destroyed for me, but tonight, as I lay next to my husband, exhausted, yet unable to sleep, it occurred to me, not to think of it as a moment that was ruined by what followed, but as a gift. The only thing Lucy could give me, something God gave me to salvage what I could of her cruelly short life. It doesn't bring her back. Sometimes, when I reach an important moment like this in my healing, just for a moment, I feel as if I have won, I have arrived, that was the point of all of this, so I can have her back now right? Unfortunately it doesn't work like that, and my arms are still empty, but I have a few things to hold onto, and even in her death, Lucy has given me, through this memory, one more thing to hold on to, even though it is just a moment.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Myth of Expensive Cloth Diapers part 2

Spend your money on what shows. If you have $2500 to spend on cloth diapers, go for it. I talked about in the last post why I don't think that that is a waste. But most of us don't have that kind of money.

The majority of the fanciest diapers on the market today are what are called fitted diapers. They snap or velcro on like a disposable diaper, but they don't have a waterproof layer. So you spend $28 on what is a really gorgeous diaper, and then you put a cover on it. Only mom or dad sees it. It's job is to be absorbent, that's it.

So here's my philosophy of diapers. Choose what you put on the inside (the absorbent part) for what it FEELS like, and splurge on what will show.

A lot of people do this by using wool covers. Wool is natural, breathable, and can be dyed, knitted, and crocheted into the craziest pants you've ever seen. It also has to be hand washed. That alone is not bad, and don't hear me saying here that wool is a bad option at all, but using knit or crocheted wool pants as a diaper cover is just not for us. I'll post another day about wool interlock, but in general this is not a convenient option for a lot of people.

Most people need to use something with a PUL waterproof layer that can be easily laundered, and used again and again- something that can survive jumps in a mud puddle, sliding down the concrete stairs, running through the weeds- something that looks like a diaper.

So why, when people are spending as much as $45 on elaborate fitted diapers, are 99.99% of the PUL covers on the market something utilitarian, with white edge binding, bulges from poor fit, snap down adjustable rises, and basically ugly and boring?

Why don't we spend out money on something that shows? That's what Diaper Circus is here for.

We make fabulously soft, trim, and absorbent diapers. They fold in easy peasy, and then you put them in a cover that is a riot of color.

I am very picky about the fabric selection for our covers. If it is only cute because they are a baby, it will not make the cut around here. And as far as custom goes, the sky is the limit. Those hand dyed fitted diapers in the last post are beautiful, but what if that was on the outside? I will hand dye your bamboo velour or jersey, for rich vibrant solids, or a rainbow, and then we can add a pocket, or ruffles, or a monogram, or Alabama Chanin style appliqué.

I want your baby to be wearing something really special!

Remember when everything a baby wore or slept with was lovingly hand made by family and friends? Most of us don't have the time or skill to do that any more, but we can share the work with one another. There is an enormous network of work at home moms, who can make just about anything you dream up for your baby. Doesn't your baby deserve the best? And you can do it for less than you would be spending on trash.

Cost of Diapers, A Second Look OR The Myth of Expensive Cloth Diapers part 1

A while back there was a thread on called "the prettiest diaper you've ever seen", or something to that effect. There were dozens of opinions on what makes a cute diaper, but one particular post got a lot of attention.

A mama had had 24 diaper cuts dyed in custom colorways by talented textile dyer, Tickety Bu. The smallest of Tickety Bu's items range from $14-20, so I'm guessing that she would normally charge $10-12 for a diaper cut without any sewing done to it. Then the mama had these cuts sewn into fitted diapers. Now, a lot of WAHMs are charging around $28 for this type of fitted, but even if she chose someone on the cheaper end of the spectrum that is about $18 each. Both of these artisans may have given her a volume discount, but we are probably talking about $670 dollars on a diaper stash, and she still needs to cover these with something waterproof, and they are sized, so she probably needs two more sets. I'm guessing that someone who orders this fancy of a diaper is covering it with wool, not some tacky mass produced PUL cover by bummis or thirsties, so that is like $40 each for 4-6 covers per size. Overall you are looking at $2500 birth to potty cloth diapering stash.

When I first did this math, I am coming from the perspective that you can build an adequate diaper stash for a tenth of this, much less if you are on a budget, can sew, buy used, etc. Don't people use cloth diapers to save money?

But, think about it. The average family will spend that much or more on disposables for one child. At the very least she is breaking even, only her money is going to moms, to artists, allowing them to stay home with their kids. Her child is wearing the best of the best, and every piece was given hours of care, and attention to every detail. Aside from that, she can use these for multiple children, she will probably get half of her money back selling them used, and they will probably never end up in a landfill.

With accurate averages I can show you that cloth will save you around $2000 per child, but it really doesn't have to to be worth it.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Grand Reopening Party: You're Invited!

Product Distinctives

A friend asked what makes our diapers great and unique. These are the product descriptions I have typed up for our system that will be going up in the shop in a few days, but I thought I would post them here first.

At Diaper Circus doing the right thing for your baby, your budget, and your planet is fun with beautiful designer prints, vibrant hand dyed bamboo velour, simple care routines, and a great fit.. I want your baby to be wearing something really special. Diaper Circus began because I believed I could make a better diaper than anything I could buy, and I still believe that our diaper is the best. I believe you will find in our products a fit you never thought possible with popular commercial diapering brands, a no hassle system that takes the stress out of cloth diapering, and a beautiful garment that demonstrates the love and care you put into meeting your baby's needs.

Bamboo Easy-Fold

This is a plain and simple diaper in the very highest quality of fabrics. Organic bamboo fleece is naturally sustainable, silky soft, and extra absorbent. Two layers of heavy fleece wash and dry thoroughly, but fold in thirds for 6 layers of absorbency that fit perfectly in to Diaper Circus waterproof covers. Stitched in fold lines make stuffing a breeze. Two sizes will fit most babies from birth to potty learning.

Small, 11x13", 7-18 lbs
Large, 14x15", 11-36 lbs

Waterproof Diaper Covers

Designer cotton print on the outside, and wipe clean PUL on the inside. Even babies deserve good design. We pair bright, beautiful patterns with colorful matching PUL. No washed out pastels, or cheesy themes.

Hand dyed organic bamboo velour on the outside, and wipe clean PUL on the inside. This cover combines squishy softness with rich delicious color. Semi-solids match more outfits than a print, and add a little luxury to your diaper stash.

Our covers have elastic across the front for boys, skinny babies, and tummy sleepers. This sits under the belly, instead of at the belly button for a more comfortable fit, less skin exposed to wetness, and no rubbing a newborn's umbilical cord stump. Our angled pattern design requires less bulk to hold the same insert on the same size baby. Two sizes will fit most babies from birth to potty learning.

Small, 7-18 lbs, 10-18" waist, 4-10" leg, 14" rise
Large, 11-36 lbs, 13-20" waist, 8-15" leg, 18" rise

Turned and Topstitched covers with cased elastic mean that only wipe clean fabric is on the inside of your diaper cover. Easier to clean cover have fewer stains, and do not have to be washed as often. That means you don't need to buy as many!

Snaps are arranged with studs on one side and sockets on the other. This allows you to roll the diaper up to contain messes, and uses snap parts evenly which saves you money. Choose snaps for low maintenance laundering. Snaps don't stick to things in the wash, or get filled with lint.

Hook and loop have laundry tabs to avoid sticking together in the wash, and soft loop fabric on the tummy which is more flexible than tape. Choose hook and loop for an easy fit at change time. Hook and loop sticks exactly where you need it to, instead of at set increments.

Friday, March 30, 2012

keeping me humble

I've been absentee on here for a while. There comes a point where enjoying the beautiful things in your life means you don't have time to write about them. The same goes for enduring the tragic.

However, as we do our best to reopen the shop, and build our business, after losing Lucy, I should be posting on here a little more regularly.

This is what's happening today:

When my boys break out in a rash, all it takes to start clearing it up is wearing disposable diapers for a while. This is infuriating. Both boys had rashes at bed time Wednesday. Yesterday morning, after sleeping in disposables, they woke up looking much better, so they wore cloth for the day, as usual, but by evening they were fried again.

Now, all the time on there are threads where a mom says she is using disposables for one reason or another, and the community tells her, don't feel guilty for using disposables, the whole point is to do what's best for your family and your baby, etc. But it's a lot different when it's you. It's different when you are always telling people how cloth is best. It's different when you are attempting to make a living based on the concept that cloth is best.

I feel like a hypocrite.

Now, I know that a lot of people use cloth because their baby breaks out every time they are in a disposable diaper. I know there are a lot of other reasons cloth is best. We use cloth all of the time, and only have rashes on occasion. We spend extra on special brands of disposables that don't have the bad chemicals in most disposables.

I know that I am not lying when I say cloth is best, but maybe God gave me the boys he did, who's bottoms heal when they are wearing disposable diapers, just to help me say that humbly, just so I'll leave room for everyone's individual situation when I do.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The No Stink, No Complications, Diaper Laundry Solution

This post was written by, and is used with permission of Sarah Beth at

Let's face it. If you've been cloth diapering for a while, you've probably, somewhere along the road, run into the dreaded "stink."

If you've considered cloth diapering in the past, but talked yourself out of it, it was probably because of what you've heard about the dreaded stink.

I've been there. I've done the research. I've tried it all.

And I've heard it all:
  • Your diapers stink because they have build up and you need to strip them.
  • Your diapers stink because you used too much detergent.
  • Your diapers stink because you used the wrong kind of detergent.
  • Your diapers stink because you were using vinegar in your wash.
  • Your diapers stink because you were not using vinegar in your wash.
  • You need to bleach your diapers to get rid of the stink.
  • Never bleach your diapers to get rid of the stink, you'll ruin them!
...It goes on and on. It's enough to make your head spin.

When did diaper laundry become so complicated?!

When I first started cloth diapering, I used mostly microfiber inserts, one of the toughest fibers to get clean and stink-free. I was told by the experts to wash my diapers using no more than 1/4 the amount of laundry detergent I would normally use on a load of laundry. Not only that, but I needed to use a special kind of detergent that is considered safe for cloth diapers, if I wanted to prevent problems and build up, whatever that was.

I was new and completely clueless about cloth diapering, so I took the advice, purchased some special detergent, and went my merry way. Fast forward to a few weeks of following this standard cloth diaper laundry protocol, and my microfiber inserts were disgusting. They stunk every time I got them out of the wash. They never seemed to get clean. I made it my mission to figure out why the things could possibly stink so badly after following all of the advice I was given to the letter.

I learned that "build up" is the fear of all cloth diaperers. We are so afraid of it, that we will do everything we can to prevent it, to the point of using as little detergent as possible, or even NO detergent in our wash routine. (Yes, I've had people tell me to just use hot water and maybe some baking soda in the wash.) The worry is, if you use too much detergent, or detergents that are not considered cloth diaper "safe," you could end up with so much residue built up in your diapers that they won't be able to absorb anything else, and they'll leak the next time you use them on your baby.

So I thought, well, maybe I have build up. So I "stripped" my diapers and my washing machine and washed my diapers.

It didn't work. They still stunk.

So I tried switching to a different detergent. I tried many "cloth safe" detergents, both store-bought and home-made. I tried soaking them in the detergents overnight. I tried changing my wash routine. I tried hotter water, more water, less water, more rinses, less rinses. I tried boiling my inserts. I tried vinegar. I tried it all. Sometimes, boiling or vinegar would seem to work at first, but then my diaper inserts would come back with a stinky vengeance a few days later.

Then, one day, an old cloth diapering pro told me to try more detergent. They told me to go to the store and buy some Tide, use the amount recommended on the bottle for my load size, and never look back.

I was worried about everything I had heard about "ruining" my diapers. But I was desperate. So I tried it.

I scrapped all the fancy wash routines and complicated laundry solutions I had heard about and washed my diapers in a hot wash with a whole cap full of Tide.

My diapers came out of the wash smelling like sweet nothing for the first time ever!

And I never looked back.

So, what is the "No Stink, No Complications, Diaper Laundry Solution?"


Our babies are pooping on these things. We should be using more detergent on our diaper laundry, not less. It's counter-intuitive to use 1/4 the normal amount of detergent on your dirtiest laundry.

Diaper stink means diapers are not getting clean. Plain and simple. If a diaper comes out of the laundry and still stinks, it needs to go back into the laundry with more detergent, more hot water, and maybe even a little bleach.

Don't be afraid of "ruining" your diapers. I know how much we all love our cutest diapers, but never forget that they are just diapers. They're not made of lace. They can handle it. If you're worried about something made with elastic or delicate materials getting "ruined" in a normal wash cycle with plenty of detergent and the occasional bleach, by all means, take that item out before washing. But remember that these are just diapers. Eventually they will wear out and need to be replaced. We can't prevent that and prevent stink at the same time. They need to be washed.

If your baby pooped on your favorite shirt, what would you do? I'll bet you'd make sure you got that sucker good and clean. Why do we treat our diapers any differently?

It's not about which detergent you use. That's a personal family decision. Lots of factors may affect your choice of detergent: your concern about the environment, the type of water you have, your desire to buy from small businesses instead of big businesses or visa versa, your desire to buy at a certain grocery store, price, allergies, sensitivities, etc. But, in my opinion, which detergent you use is not as important as how much detergent you use.

Don’t spend too much time researching the “best” way to care for cloth diapers. Remember that:
They are cloth, just like everything else. They are washable. They don’t need special treatment unless they're made from delicate or special materials, like wool, or elastic. Even then, be aware that diapers will wear out eventually, just like everything else.

Deal with build up as it occurs, not the other way around. Some cloth diaperers have been using Tide, bleach, and the like for years and have never had build up. Others have dealt with it several times. Either way, it's not something to fear. It won't break your diapers. It's easily remedied with stripping and lots of rinsing. I'd rather have build up once in a great while than stinky dirty diapers every day.

Having problems with ammonia? This is a very informative and helpful article.

Look, I realize that this is a bit of a controversial topic, and that I'm in quite the minority with this kind of advice. (Although, from those that I've talked to, it seems that there are lots of closet Tide, bleach, and more-than-recommended detergent users out there!) I certainly don't mean to imply that I know everything, or that all of the other cloth diaper laundry advice out there is wrong. There are lots of unique situations that account for the large variety of washing advice circulating around out there. I know nothing about allergies and sensitivities, for example, and I'm aware that rashes and allergies and sensitivities can add a whole new level to the laundry debate. But, I do believe that "more detergent" is the answer for many cloth diaperers who are dealing with stink and confused about what to do.

Bottom Line:
If your diapers stink, they aren't getting clean enough. Try using a stronger detergent and plenty of it, before trying the more complicated remedies out there.