Monday, July 23, 2012


What is it inside of us that makes us flexible within our circumstances? Why are some people high achievers who thrive despite many obstacles, while others merely survive? I have really been pondering this recently. There are a number of things which have made me think about this. Further, why do some people retreat and wither away? I am convinced that there must be more to us than being victims of our own circumstance. 100 years ago, heartaches were much more numerous and people were expected to just move on. By all accounts, it seems like Americans were much more resilient in prior eras, as are other cultures' people today. So why have we become weak? I, personally, have endured numerous challenges in my life which were barriers to success but I have pushed on. "What other choice does one have?", I have always asked myself. From a far less-than-idyllic childhood to weathering the heartache of divorce from a cheating husband, I have learned time and again - life is hard. The older I get, the more I learn about others' pasts and there are a lot of people with very real pain, from both past and present issues. Suffice it to say, most people have at least something which still haunts them many days. Maybe their mother beat them or an uncle molested them. Or they were raised by a parent who regularly did drugs or abused alcohol. Maybe they had wilder younger years and birthed a child they couldn't care for, so they placed them up for adoption. Or they "simply" had an abortion. Or they may have tried desparately for years to have a baby, without success. Maybe they've had to endure the heartache of burying a spouse or child. I personally know people who have lived through each of these grueling scenarios. But most of the people I know dust themselves off and get back to life. Are they ever the same people after experiencing these huge knocks? No, I tend to think that they aren't. But they don't throw in the towel, either. These are largely college-educated professionals who are raising children of their own today. So why can't some people seem to continue getting up? Personally, I credit my faith in God for my ability to continue to get up when I know I didn't have the strength. The Lord really does carry us through some eras in our lives, I am convinced. But what about the Aethists of the world? How do they continue to live and even thrive? What other qualities deep inside push people to bounce back? These are all questions I have really been pondering recently. I also cannot help but wonder who is quietly hurting right in front of me. God has really placed this on my heart. I've heard it said before that we should all be kinder than necessary because you never really know what others are facing. I suppose this is ultimately the lesson I take away as well. That, and to not be a slave to the bad decision or circumstance of yesterday but to get up, dust myself off and pray for the strength to always face tomorrow. What or who do you credit for your own personal strength? What do you think drives people?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Flats Challege - Final Thoughts

First of all, I apologize that this post is painfully late. Still, I really want to write my final thoughts regarding the Flats Challenge, using flats and hand washing diapers. So, onto those thoughts!

I was surprised at how much I actually liked my flats. My son pees a lot when he goes and they certainly aren't our best option as I ended up with a couple leaks during the week. I have to change A every two hours on the dot when using a single large flat or I am tempting fate and risking leaks. Still, I am convinced that my son is a heavy wetter (the term cloth diapering mamas give to kids who pee more than average). We use heavier duty diapers for day-to-day which work great but I believe that flats would work well for most babies, including mine, if I didn't have the resources to buy other diapers. If I used flats daily, I would definitely use something else as a doubler for him, such as small flats, flour sack towels, preemie or newborn prefolds, etc. As I've mentioned before, flats are extremely economical so I was very pleased to discover how versatile and easy they are to use. It excites me to think that many mamas truly could diaper their baby from birth to potty training on a very limited budget!

I was also very surprised that hand washing wasn't that bad. Don't get me wrong, I still use my fancy washing machine and I have a whole new appreciation for it. (I know I'm a spoiled mama!) But hand washing in my camp bucket was very doable. I think it could be done long-term but one would really have to be dedicated. And it did take me 20-30 minutes a day to hand-wash the diapers and covers and hang them to dry. Finding the time for hand washing was certainly the toughest part of the challenge. It also was physical work to wash the diapers. If I did this all the time, I would definitely have some buff arms! I frequently hang my machine-washed diapers to dry, inside or out so the time spent hanging them and taking them down didn't faze me. Line-drying is a great way to decrease your utility bill and, when dried outside, the sun keeps your diapers fresher, helps sanitize them and gets rid of many stains.

There were several things I learned from hand-washing, which included the following:
  • Flats truly are the easiest diapers to wash by hand. They are very thin and you can really move water through them, which is important for getting a diaper clean. They will also dry very quickly since they're thin. Thicker diapers can also be hand-washed and it isn't the end of the world (I hand washed Flip organic inserts during the challenge without any issue). Sure they require a little more work (which would, admittedly, get old if I were doing this every day with no known respite). Yet, it wasn't a big deal for just one overnight diaper a day. If I were hand washing every day, flats would certainly be my diaper of choice, though. They're so thin that it's easy to move water through them and really get them clean. Plus, they dry super-fast! I definitely can't argue the drying point with my Flip organics, which took 3-4 times as long to dry.
  • The camp-style washer was/is worth it's weight in gold. It got the diapers so much cleaner than I expected and I didn't have to touch them while washing! The fact I didn't literally wash them by hand meant that I could use our hottest water too, which I prefer to do when washing diapers. 
  • I only needed a teeny bit of detergent to wash. I used my regular detergent (original liquid Tide) and I quickly learned that I was using way too much. Rinse, rinse, rinse. We also have soft water, so I really should have known better. Still, lesson learned.
  • Again, it really wasn't that bad! If I didn't have power or my washer was out of commission for a few days, I wouldn't hesitate to grab my flats and use this system for diapering. 
All in all, I am very glad I completed the Flats Challenge! It gave me great insight into the most basic forms of cloth diapering and really made me think about how things used to be done before modern cloth diapers and washing machines.  I would love to use my experiences to help others, in particular, less fortunate mamas looking for economical diapering solutions.