Monday, May 20, 2013

On Breaking New Ground- again.

We've recently undergone quite a few big life changes this year. 2013 has been anything but boring. Even just keeping up with our littles is enough to make for a busy life.

Since December of last year I started to feel God calling me away from my job. I wasn't sure how that would work, or if I was hearing him right. Perhaps I was just overwhelmed with my current workload and the stress of the holiday season.

In January some changes at work caused quite a stir which led Ben and I to really examine my role as an employee and our membership at the church. We had a LOT of deep and quite emotional conversations and we prayed incessantly. For a long time we waited to see what God wanted us to do. It was painful to be in that place, not knowing what God desired of us or had in store for our future on quite a few levels (personally, professionally, and overall spiritually). We continued to wait and pray.

I started to think that it would be nice to have Kai's last year before going to Kindergarten to focus on him and Desmond solely. It felt like a daydream, but I thought about it a lot. I loved my job and frankly, we needed the income to even get by.  We have done a lot to slash our budget. We don't eat out, go to movies, buy toys or even clothing really. We've switched to cloth diapering and use baking soda and vinegar to clean just about everything, just to name a few things. So it didn't seem doable for me to stop working and still be able to survive (buy groceries, pay for gas, and you know...our mortgage). Still, the desire lingered in my heart.

Things at work got even more difficult, but nothing worth leaving over. I found a way to simplify my work tasks which REALLY helped for a while. Then we tried out having me do lesson planning and volunteer scheduling late at night after the boys had gone to bed. Long gone were the days when both boys napped and I could get 2-3 hours in each afternoon. Still, I found it wasn't enough time and I didn't much like missing out on one on one time with my husband to be working in the other room at 8pm. When I tried to preoccupy Kai so I could get things done while Desmond napped, I felt like I was neglecting him. Working from home has been one of the biggest challenges I've ever faced. I've work outside the home and for a short time I was solely a stay-at-home mom, but balancing both roles at the same time has been the hardest by far. Even with a well-timed schedule the kids pull rank, as they should.

Ben and I talked and prayed. My dream of leaving in the fall turned to the summer. Next thing I knew, the desire to be home full-time weighed so heavily on my heart that I knew without a doubt that God was calling me to leave my job, not in the fall, not in the summer, but right then. It was hard to swallow, but I knew I had to be obedient and trust in Him to provide for our family. That Ben and I both had to lay our pride down and recognize that we weren't the ones providing for our family in the first place, not alone anyway.

I drafted a letter. Prayed about the timing, and submitted my resignation mid April. It was both painful and freeing. I had to clarify often to staff, friends, and volunteers that we weren't leaving the church and that my leaving my job was strictly in response to God's call on my life and had no bearing on any leadership or co-workers.

May 2nd was my last day and on that day we were gifted $500. It was our first tangible affirmation that we had made the right decision and that God would provide for us in unexpected ways. While the last month has been met with some uncertainty, I'm constantly reminded that God will take care of us and I believe it, deeply. I've even had job offers and suggestions for earning additional income. I know that is not God's plan for me, to leave one job for another.

I will miss my jobs directing the Nursery + Toddlers and Preschool age ministries, but there is no doubt that this was the right move at the right time for our whole family. God is orchestrating the perfect people to take over and I'm exciting to watch these ministries flourish under their leadership as a church member and a parent of children in both age groups.

I'm so enjoying being at home with no outside deadlines pulling me away. No emails, texts, or phone calls. It's glorious. I can tell my kids are enjoying it as well. I've found a joy in fulfilling a dream that God put in my heart just 5 months ago and I look forward to seeing how He'll continue to grow and bless us through this new journey.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

back to cloth diapering + a discount code!

I've had a lot of response from friends and family wanting to know how I like cloth diapering. I have to say, that after being without cloth diapers for a week I actually MISSED IT! I didn't like using disposables again and I couldn't wait to get more diapers to get back into it.

If you read my last post, I did have a hygeine issue, but I loved them despite it. I came up with a simple solution. Just sew off the tabs so that "lint" cannot gather around the unreachable areas behind the snaps.


My wonderful "other mother" brought her sewing machine to instruct me on the best way to do it, and then we worked side by side to sew all 40 of our Just Simply Baby pocket diapers. In the time I did 15 she did 25...she probably could have done this project with her eyes closed. Meanwhile, my machine kept binding up on me. Anyway, we did it, it was SIMPLE and now the diapers we adore are back and being put to good use.

For those interested, we used a "stretch stitch" but a single line would work just fine, maybe not as durable though. Now any lint that gathers in the corners can easily be washed away by turning the diapers inside out. My "germaphobe" side is quite happy now. And just an FYI, the whole lint issue with pocket diapers isn't just one brand. We tried a handful of brands and they all had the same issues where the snaps attach to both layers of the diapers.  From what I've read in my online research, most people don't mind having to pick out the lint by hand every once in awhile. I have zero time or patience for that remedy. Having used our modified diapers for some time now, I am quite happy with the solution.

The diapers we use are the usual PUL outer, fleece inner, and our inserts are a blend of microfiber and bamboo. Previously I had been using microfiber inserts. In the couple months I've been using cloth diapers I have found there are pros and cons to each. The microfiber are quite bulky and we double them up for overnight. No leaks, but REALLY bulky diaper. The "micro boo" are thinner and seemingly more dense, which makes for a more trim fit. However, they are smoother and sort of "floppy" which means that when we put Des in a new diaper we have to flatten out the insert first. We learned that after an unexpected leak. I haven't noticed any different in absorbency between the two but I've read the bamboo is much more absorbent than microfiber.

Aside from a few learning moments (aka user error) we have had no leaks, even overnight. I'm also using wet bags from JSB and we did try out some of their cloth wipes. They are a little too thick for us, made from two layers of flannel. We are also using their cloth safe diaper cream, which works great!

We have also tried Fuzzibunz brand diapers-which I like, but don't see much reason to spend so much more on them, Knickernappies- which we didn't like. I think part of that was a sizing issue, but we also weren't a fan of the front snapping around the sides (reverse from most diapers), and a couple other brands, one of which had a PUL outer and a cotton "prefold" type inner which we didn't like at all.

The Just Simply Baby diapers that we are using are by far our favorites. The diapers are all "one size" with plenty of snaps to adjust from newborn to toddler.  They are almost always running a fabulous daily deal. Not to mention, if you "like" their page on Facebook, you'll be sure to catch their awesome giveaways and contests. I actually won a recent contest with these two pattern entries. When they print new patterns I'll receive a free diaper in each of these!

I've also joined their affiliate program, which is good news for you because I have a 10% discount code good for your first Just Simply Baby order! Using this code means you'll receive 10% off of your entire order, even if you're purchasing already discounted items or a package deal.

{EXPIRED 11/2013 please shop with this link for diaper deals}

Be sure to enter my referral code at check out and you will receive your 10% as a refund after your order is processed. Pretty easy! Best of ALL is they have 30-day money back guarantee, even if you've used the diapers. That's better than any other deal I've seen out there. All you are lost on is shipping costs (FYI they do not take returns on cloth wipes or opened diaper creams).

That's the update on where we are in our cloth diapering journey so far. We have been experimenting with different types of cloth wipes and last week Ben installed a diaper sprayer. More on how those things are going for us when we've had a little more experience. Number one, we are saving money every month!

Although I am part of Just Simply Baby's affiliate program, this is a non-sponsored review. I did not receive any items nor perks for posting this review of their product. I did contact Just Simply Baby and received their images/logos and permissions to use them for this post. 
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