It’s been a while…

4 09 2012

It’s been a year… and not because it’s been boring at our house…

A is a busy three year old. He still hasn’t figured out he isn’t grown up, he loves to help and might boss his sister around a *little*. He is super smart (what mom doesn’t think that about their kids) and we are having fun with letters and numbers these days.

E is almost two and our princess. She loves anything pink and sparkly. So basically the opposite of her mom. She is obsessed with babies, which is good since…

We are expecting our third… and fourth… sometime this month. After finding out we were pregnant in January, I experienced a very difficult first and second trimester. Then at 22 weeks my midwife found I was measuring significantly larger than expected, but only felt one baby. We ended up with an ultrasound and found there were. two. babies.

Since then life has been a roller coaster. At 26 weeks I got pulled out of work, we moved, we stressed, B got a job (Praise the Lord!), and we are settling into our “new” normal… which will be rocked by two babies sometime in the next few weeks.

Maybe I’ll update more now that I’m at home with the kids. I still have more thoughts in my head. But will they make it into word form? Hmm…


Hard Water. Soft Water. Slippery Water.

16 08 2011

As a kid I never thought too much about our water. I turned a tap and it came out. I knew there was this noisy blue tank in the basement. This one time a guy in a blue truck came and put it there. I remember Mom and Dad talking about how expensive it was. I also remember thinking that if it was so expensive it couldn’t possibly be necessary. (Yes as a child, if things were expensive I assumed they were not necessary.) I did know softened water tasted gross.

That was the extent of my softened water knowledge until around 2 years ago when we started cloth diapering. B and I had a water softener in the basement that we occasionally threw salt in, but we never really worried about it. When A was around six months old we ran out of salt. Within a few weeks his diapers stunk! I tried everything I knew about at the time, Dawn, vinegar (which made things 100x worse), I washed and washed and washed. Dawn would help for a few days, but they always ended up stinky. Finally it dawned on me that we were out of softener salt and had been for several months. We added salt, stripped with Dawn, and added Calgon and bleach. It was night and day. Those diapers didn’t stink at all. And I felt rather dumb for not figuring it out sooner.

What I learned is that water softeners matter.
What is hard water?

Hard water is measured by the calcium carbonate (CaCO3) content in the water, but it also is characterized by high magnesium, iron, or other mineral contents.

  • <60 mg/L is considered soft water
  • 60 – 120 mg/L is considered moderately hard
  • 120 – 180mg/L is considered hard water
  • >180 mg/L is considered very water

This map will help you determine if you have hard water (in the US). However, even if you are shown on the map as having hard water you may have soft and vice versa. The best way to determine hardness is to call your city water department or purchase test strips. 

If you do have hard water you will notice scale and scum buildup in your shower, sinks and coffee pot. If you have a water softener system the mineral compounds are broken down into cations and anions in an ion exchange system compromised of a material called zeolite. Cations are positively charged ions, anions are their negatively charged counterparts.

As an example calcium carbonate (CaCO3) breaks down into a cation (Ca+) and an anion (CO3).

CaCO3  →  Ca+ +  CO3

The zeolite is charged with sodium (Na­+) cations. The sodium bonds freely with the carbonate anion and the calcium, magnesium, and other minerals are left behind bonded to the zeolite. After a period of time a saline (NaCl) flush is done. The mineral ions are wasted and the zeolite is refreshed with new sodium cations ready to replace incoming minerals. This flush typically is on a timer and occurs overnight on household systems.

Why soft water matters.

Minerals interfere with soap and actually bond with your soap and detergent making it less effective. Minerals don’t rinse the same way that the sodium compounds do and end up bonded to your clothes, washing machine, tub, sink, coffee pot, dishes, etc. This is why soap scum and scale is more prominent if you have hard water.

Hard water and my diapers.

Hard water is notoriously bad on diapers. The easiest thing you can do is soften soften your wash water. There is this beautiful product called Calgon. When we run out of softener salt I start to notice our diapers smelling within a few weeks. But half a capful of Calgon in our diaper wash keeps the stink and build up away. Some people end up using a mainstream detergent for their diapers because the detergents have water softeners in them, and that keeps their diapers cleanest. I am wary to use a mainstream detergent because I really really really hate voiding warranties. (I’ve only ever returned one diaper on a warranty issue, but I’m paranoid.) One thing you will need to do no matter what, is increase the amount of soap you use, the minerals are going to eat up your soap and detergents (If you have hard water you know it is hard to get soap to foam as nicely as it does in soft water.)

Happy Dance

12 08 2011

I was accepted to go to Bradley Instructor Training! I can’t even begin to express how excited I am about this opportunity. I’ve wanted to go and start teaching since A was born over two years ago. But there was always something in the way of me attending. Finally there is nothing holding me back this year, in fact it feels like the right time!

It also means I get to buy more birth books guilt free, and talk about babies, and birth, and all sorts of fun things like that. Oh, and teaching women about how amazing their bodies are.

Seriously, I can not wait.

Stash Shot!

11 08 2011



I shall take this opportunity to show off my current stash. 🙂

2 Rumparooz
1 BumGenius 4.0
2 Happy Heiny’s
1 Itti Bitti Tutto
1 Blueberry
2 Bum Cheeks
24 BumGenius 3.0
12 Premium Prefolds
8 Thirsties Duo Size 2
2 S’bish Snapless
2 S’bish Snap Fitteds
1 S’bish Wool Cover
6 Kissa Contour Hybrids
1 BumGenius Bamboo Fitted

Not shown are my
18 Preemie Prefolds
24 Infant Prefolds
3 Newborn Pro Wraps
4 Thirsties Duo size 1

56 diaper changes in rotation and 99 in all. Maybe I have a problem… in my defense it is for two in diapers… ok, I have a problem.

Propagating the Fear

10 08 2011

I was at a social event a few months ago and overheard two women discussing home birth and how it is “so extremely dangerous”. I smiled internally and moved on. Later it came out that I had a home birth with our youngest and there were at least two sets of eyebrows raised.

The women having this conversation were medical “professionals”. I always wonder what they are basing this information on. Most likely the severely flawed studies that include unplanned home birth. Out of hospital birth must be relatively safe since a couple weeks ago a statement from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the UK was released saying that too many babies were born in the hospital*. They admitted that there were risks to delivering in the hospital and that a third of babies could be born under a midwife’s care.

I certainly don’t think that home birth is right for every woman. We have introduced a lot of fear concerning birth into our society, for some women they need to be in a hospital to not have that fear, for other’s the fear of the hospital sends them home, for others, people like myself, view birth as a normal event in life and not one to fear. This event doesn’t require being sent to a bed in a small room with bright lights and a cold floor. It means embracing labor, working through labor surrounded by people who love me and bringing my children into the world in their own home.

I’ve had a hospital birth. It was ok. I love my son, he is brilliant and amazing. His birth was stressful. It wasn’t right.

I’ve had a home birth. It was peaceful. I love my daughter, she is brilliant and amazing. Her birth was calm and relaxing. It was right.


And Then There Was an E

9 08 2011

It’s another birth story! Enter at your own risk…
Read the rest of this entry »

In Which A is Born

8 08 2011

The following is A‘s birth story, it’s a birth story so it talks about, well, birth. It isn’t graphic, but I understand some people aren’t interested in reading all about it. However, I know I enjoy a good birth story from time to time. So, if you are interested….  Read the rest of this entry »