Cloth Diapers: A Matter of Opinion

June 14th, 2010

Take yourself back with me about five years – 2005.
I’m pregnant with Markus. The thought of cloth diapers has never entered my mind. I don’t know anyone who uses them. I don’t know anyone who talks about them. I know babies need diapers, and that means hundreds and hundreds of Huggies that get tossed in the garbage. That’s what everyone does. Any parenting magazine I pick up is filled with ads for Huggies and Pampers.

Now take yourself with me to last spring – 2009.
I’m pregnant with Bailey. Here’s what I think about cloth diapers. They’re old fashioned, inconvenient, and honestly…gross. The very thought of them makes me wrinkle my nose in distaste. My opinion is largely shaped by misconceptions and lack of knowledge. I make assumptions about them, but don’t have any real information from real people. The few people I know who use them don’t really talk about them, and I honestly am not interested in asking. I think that if most people stopped using cloth when disposables came around, then sposies must be the better choice. Cloth was for our grandmas and moms, when they didn’t have any other option. Presented with the option of disposables, nearly everyone chooses them. Why wouldn’t I? With disposables you can just throw the mess away, no washing required. I figured cloth diapering mommies must spend a load of time on laundry. Gross laundry. And what in the world would you do with a dirty diaper when you’re out of the house, or even a wet one for that matter? I don’t want to know. I figure modern day cloth diapering is for the extremely eco-minded. We do a number of things to be more responsible with the earth, but diapers are where we draw the line. Switching to cloth is the absolute last thing we’ll do to become more environmentally friendly…we’ll do it after we get an electric car. Which isn’t going to happen anytime soon. Disposables are where it’s at for me – modern, convenient, and honestly…less gross. They have served me well for two babies already, and they will serve me well with this baby too.

Okay, we’re in the present now.
Cloth diapers….are awesome.

I don’t even know what initially got me thinking differently and reconsidering the whole idea. My sister Sherry uses cloth, as does my friend Angie, so I think I started re-examining my opinions when I took notice of their use of them. Then I started reading online about them. Simple Mom was an invaluable resource for me with her Cloth Diapering 101 series of posts. The amount of different kinds of diapers you can buy was incredibly overwhelming to me, and the initial start-up cost for cloth is daunting, so I was terrified I would choose the wrong kind and be stuck with a bunch of diapers I didn’t like. 4 Cloth Diapering Choices Defined demystified everything for me and helped me figure out what type of diapers I wanted to buy. I was becoming more educated but still wasn’t sure when or how to take the plunge and just do it. That is, until Bailey developed a diaper rash that I just could not get to go away. Finally, in desperation, I went to Cravings to buy a few to get me started. I still wasn’t sure exactly what kind I wanted, but I was determined to come home with something and just try. I bought 3, which was all we could afford at that moment. They were fabulous. And the rash went away a few days later. I talked it over with Clay and we decided to use some of our tax refund to buy more so we could make the switch to all cloth.

They are so easy to use, as quick to put on as a disposable – there are no pins like grandma had. They take only a few minutes out of my day to launder. My mom told me she always loved doing diaper laundry, and before using cloth I thought that was such an odd thing to say. Until now. I totally get it now, Mom. I don’t think I can explain it myself, but there is something so great about folding clean diapers. There is something about wrapping my girl up in a cloth diaper that just makes me feel like I am doing something good for her. I’m doing something good for our bank account too, and I’m doing something good for the environment. I used to think cloth diapering was gross, and now, honestly, I think disposable diapers are so gross.

Before, my kids were wrapped up in paper, wood pulp, and plastic. When they’d poop, we’d wipe it up, wrap it up, and throw it in the garbage. Think about that. Human feces….in the garbage. That is disgusting. Now, my girl is wrapped up in natural fibers, and when she poops, it gets flushed down the toilet – where poop is supposed to go. The diaper is washed and used again. I am blown away by the decrease in the amount of garbage that gets hauled out of our house now!

I wish I had educated myself about cloth diapers back in 2005, but I am thankful that it happened late rather than never.

Cloth Diapers: What We Do

June 14th, 2010

Everyone does cloth diapering differently, and it takes a little while to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t, but it is awesome! I’m just going to tell you what I do so you can get an idea for how truly doable it is.

We have 12 diapers:
Six of the BumGenius One-Size Organic All-In-Ones (AIO).
One-size meaning they have snaps on the front to allow you to use them from newborn right up to 35lbs, and all-in-one meaning you don’t have a separate diaper and cover, or pocket and insert – it’s all-in-one. It’s nice that these don’t have inserts to stuff, so once they’re dry you’re done, but they do take a long time to dry. I turn them inside out, and in the dryer I throw a dry towel in with them to help them dry quicker, but if it’s a sunny day I just dry them outside. The sun’s supposed to help whiten them too, so that’s a bonus. To reduce the amount of cleaning required with a dirty diaper, I use flushable liners in these.

I also have six of the BumGenius One-Size 3.0 Pocket Diapers.
Pocket diaper meaning the absorbent part of the diaper is really an insert that is stuffed inside. I was hesitant to get these because I thought it would be a pain to stuff them, but it really isn’t. I actually like them better than the all-in-ones because they dry so much more quickly. The insert is microfibre, so it is incredibly absorbent. They come with newborn inserts for the smallest size, as well as larger inserts that adjust for the 2 larger sizes. These are the ones that I put on Bailey for night, and I put in a regular insert as well as a newborn one for added absorbency. These ones clean up so easily that I don’t even need to use the flushable liners.

I bought my first 3 from Cravings here in Saskatoon, and the remaining 9 I purchased online from Caterpillar Baby, an online store based in Toronto. I saved about the cost of one diaper by buying online, and they had free shipping. I also bought a diaper pail liner and a travel wet bag. My diaper pail is just a lidded garbage can that I picked up at Wal-Mart.

So what does this actually look like in daily life? Diaper changes mean taking off the old diaper, if it’s just a wet AIO I throw it straight in the pail, if it’s a pocket diaper I pull the insert out and then throw both pieces in the pail. If it’s dirty I wipe her with a cloth wipe – I just use those cheap baby washcloths you can get anywhere for like 10/$5. I had a bunch already so I figured I might as well use them for something. I have them already soaked in a homemade wipes solution (I use the Easy Peasy one here). What used to take 3-4 disposable wipes to clean now usually takes 1-2 cloth wipes. (And no more driving all over the city just to get wipes that clean well and don’t smell horrible!) Dump the poop in the toilet, flush, then toss the diaper in the pail. Done.

For when we go out of the house, I throw a few cloth diapers in my purse, I use disposable wipes, and I have a travel wet bag. When it’s empty it stays inside my purse, and when it has a wet/dirty diaper in it I just snap it around my purse strap. When we get home, it and the diapers get tossed in the diaper pail. Done.

Usually when I have 3 diapers left, I throw the dirty stuff in the washing machine, including the diaper pail liner. I found a laundry detergent called Country Save at London Drugs that is fabulous for diapers and for all our laundry. (For diapers, it’s important to use a detergent that isn’t going to leave build-up on the cloth, otherwise they will start to repel liquid rather than absorb it – this detergent is great for that reason). So on our washing machine I do a cold quick wash with about 1 tablespoon of soap, then a hot regular wash with another tablespoon of soap. Then I throw it all in the dryer with that dry towel I mentioned before. If I’m hanging to dry, I still throw them in the dryer for about 15 minutes – I guess it makes them a bit softer than hanging them straight out of the washer.

It might sound like a lot of work after I lay it all out here, but it’s really, truly, honestly not. We are saving money, we are reducing the amount of garbage in our home, poop goes in the toilet where it belongs, the house smells less -not more- than it did before, baby isn’t marinating in who-knows-what questionable chemicals, and I don’t have experience with this yet – but they say that cloth diapered babies potty train earlier. Bonus!

So there you have it. The way we do it is definitely not the only way to do it. There are so many things you could do differently, so many different kinds of diapers you could use. You don’t have to be all-or-nothing about it. I thought I would still use disposables sometimes, but I love cloth so much that I really don’t want to use sposies anymore.

Maybe I Can Sew?

June 5th, 2010

You’ve all seen them. Reusable market bags seem to be everywhere these days. Every time I am standing in line at a checkout counter, there they are – reusable bags emblazoned with the label of the particular chain store.

I met a woman this past weekend that has a reusable market bag in every color to ensure that her bag matches the outfit she happens to have on that day. Hmmmm…something just doesn’t seem right about that. Does it?

Read the whole post here. I had to laugh, because it’s just so true. Something just doesn’t seem right about the sheer quantity of reusable bags available for sale now. When they first came out it was a breath of fresh air, an “about time!” kind of moment. And now…..oh brother.

For those of you who check my 365 blog, what comes next might give you a sense of deja vu, but I’m posting this at 2am, so I’m a little short on creative content at the moment. And don’t stop reading! I’ve written more here than on the photoblog!
I’ve been accumulating a bunch of fabric scraps over the past few years, thinking surely they’d come in handy for something. The spring cleaning bug hit me pretty hard this year, and I kept thinking I should really get rid of the scraps if I wasn’t going to do something useful with them. I had been toying with the idea turning them into a bag, and today came across the Simple Organic post that I mentioned above. It has a link for a sturdier bag tutorial, and I figured it was now or never.

So, voila! These are the bottoms of my dining room and living room curtains! I added a few extras to the original design – mine has pockets on the inside. I am thrilled with the result, and perhaps the most thrilling part of all is that
I DID NOT CRY !!!!
hahaha! It sounds ridiculous to say that, but it’s a big victory for me every time I complete a sewing project without breaking down in tears and wanting to quit at some point :) I am also thinking I might need to rethink my opinion that I don’t know how to sew. Obviously if I can whip something like this up I must know how to do something right with a sewing machine.

If I were paid by the hour for making this bag it would be one pricey little number, and of course I could have bought a reusable shopping bag for pennies compared to what my time is worth. But this isn’t just about economics. I made this. With my own two hands and a sewing machine (man, can you imagine how long it would have taken without the machine?!). I repurposed something that might have otherwise ended up in the garbage, and turned it into something beautiful, useful, and just plain cute. I now know that certainly, the colours of curtains that I have mingling on my main floor coordinate just fine – they look great mingling in bag form! And like I said before, I didn’t cry. What a boost for my confidence. I’m now wondering what I should attempt to sew next…

Different

June 2nd, 2010

Some of you may know that our lives are pretty tame when it comes to smells. Perfum, Old Spice, Gain, and -insert noxious smelly product of choice here- would send Clay’s head spinning, then pounding, and his lungs gasping for air. I had to learn very quickly to cut out any and all smells in my daily routine if I wanted him to be able to come near me – and believe me, I did! Very quickly, my avoidance of these products caused me to develop an intolerance to fragrance as well, and in the recent past it has been more severe for me than for Clay! It was a matter of survival for us to find things to use on a daily basis that wouldn’t make us sick.
Dish soap.
Laundry detergent.
Household cleaners.
Shampoo.
Hand soap.
Lotion.
Deodourant.
Sunscreen.
Have you ever stopped to really think about how much all these things smell? A lot, let me tell you.

I have always tried to make relatively responsible decisions when it comes to how I take care of the earth – I serve a great God who handed this ball of land and sea over to us and told us to take care of it, so I take steps where I can to live responsibly and be mindful of my actions. Little things I guess – recycling, driving a fuel efficient vehicle (no Hummer in our household), I don’t know, just basic common sense stuff I think. Most of the things that I do that are good for the earth are also good for the wallet. When you’re on a tight one income budget, you’ve got to pinch pennies.

It’s very fashionable to be “green” these days, what with global warming and all *cough cough, snicker*. You’re making such a cute and responsible fashion statement when you whip out your adorable floral canvas shopping bag at the grocery store, when 5 years ago it just felt awkward to say, “Um, no thanks, I actually brought my own bag.” Of course the bag probably wasn’t cute then. And you would have been considered a hippie.

So for all my scent free products and cleaning schemes, all my recycling and reusable bags, I’ve never really thought of myself as green or crunchy (granola….hippie…..yeah, you get it), it was just the way I did things. If anything I’d describe my actions as cheap, and a lot of it I learned from my mama. Okay let’s not say cheap…um, frugal. Thrifty!

I had a bit of an awakening moment about a month ago when I read this blog post – 40 Ways to Go Greener at Home (Besides Just Recycling). I realized I do about half the things on the list, and most of the others were somewhere on my radar as things to do – most were not news to me. Was I really that green? Did I really live differently than most people? Did most people not do these things? I just assumed they did. (If you read the post, I’m curious if you do some of these things. And let’s just be painfully clear here that I do not believe in justification through recycling and driving a Smart Car! Just so we’re clear.)

My understanding of myself being different continued a few days later as I meandered through Shopper’s Drug Mart. Occasionally I get out of the house by myself, and on these occasions I sometimes like to just browse through a big store like I have all the time in the world. (Without kids along, I really do have all the time in the world! And it’s very quiet…) Alright so this time it was Shopper’s. I start on the far wall – makeup or something, and wander through shampoo, lotion, deodorant, hair dye, perfum (I didn’t wander, I sped past), soap…..I walked through about 4 aisles when it dawned on me – I don’t buy any of this stuff. “Who buys this stuff?!” I wondered. I mean, I’m a normal person, and if I don’t buy it, who would? Ooooooohhhhhhhh. Maybe I’m not as normal as I think I am. It just hit me in a way I have never realized before, how not normal this part of my life is. It also hit me how much money we must save by not buying all this stuff!

It has taken me nearly six years of marriage to be where I am in my ability to manage a household and “I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger” (Thanks Rod Stewart, you said it perfectly). Some of it was knowledge gleaned from my mom, some of it was found on the web and in ecofreak books, and and the rest just had to be discovered through a lot of trial, error, and headaches thanks to not being able to find anything to do the job that didn’t stink. I’m different, and that’s okay. And I hope to share some of what I know, so that maybe someone reading this could learn something too.

All those cleaning products under your sink, all the products in your bathroom – you don’t need them. They’re not helping, cleaning, or making life simpler – they are hindering, polluting, and making life more complicated.

Macaroni & Cauliflower Cheese Bake

May 5th, 2010


I posted this photo on my 365 blog last week and promised I’d post the recipe here. Sorry for being a slowpoke.
This is the first meal I’ve made from Jamie’s Food Revolution – I was so thrilled with the results, and I’m pumped to try something else from the book. It’s all about getting people cooking real food, and realizing that cooking does not have to be scary – anyone can cook. The goal is to get people passing on their recipes so that more and more people join the revolution. So here I go, passing it on to you! This really was simple to make – the trickiest part was just getting my bowl with the cheese to stay on top of my pot properly, since it was nearly the same circumference as the top of the pot, it was a little wobbly. It worked though, and sure was tastier than mac & cheese out of a box!

1/2 a head of cauliflower
8 oz Cheddar cheese
4 oz Parmesan cheese
small bunch of fresh Italian parsley
sea salt
1 lb dried elbow macaroni (I substituted bow-ties)
1 cup sour cream (or creme fraiche if you can find it and are feeling decadent)

Chop cauliflower into small florets and thinly slice the stalk. Grate the Cheddar and Parmesan into a large heatproof bowl. Finely chop the parsley stalks and leaves.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cauliflower and cook according to macaroni package instructions. Place the bowl of cheese over the pot and add the sour cream. Carefully stir every so often until the cheese is smooth and melted. If the water boils up below, turn down the heat slightly. Add all the chopped parsley to the melted cheese and season with salt and pepper. Carefully remove bowl with oven mitts and set aside. Reserve some of the cooking water, then drain pasta in a colander. Return pasta to pot, pour in the melted cheese, and stir. If the consistency is too thick, add a bit of your cooking water to think it out. Now you can serve as is, or finish it under the broiler to make it crispy and golden on top – preheat your broiler to medium/high heat, add 2/3 cup of the reserved cooking water to the macaroni, stir in, then transfer to a baking dish. Place under the broiler until golden and bubbling.

Cheers!

April 18th, 2010

Warm weather is here and I am loving it! In the past I have never really minded winter all that much, haven’t paid much mind to the changing of seasons except to dislike the transition from spring to summer because I’m not much of a fan of the heat. This spring is totally different. I didn’t realize how drained I was feeling from being cooped up inside all winter until it was nice enough to get out. I know it’s possible to get out for fresh air in the winter, but with three kids age 4 and under, it’s not very probable.

A month ago I started some tomato and pepper seeds, and it has done wonders for my state of mind to watch these seeds take root, poke their tiny heads out of the soil, and lean toward the life sustaining sun that shines upon them. Look at my tomato plants just last week!

So cheers! Cheers to warm weather! Cheers to delicious fruit at the store that doesn’t cost you your firstborn child! Cheers to sitting on the front step eating that fruit! Cheers to your kids getting out on their bikes and trikes! Cheers to irises and lilies poking their heads out of the ground, and more soon to follow! Cheers to yardwork, finishing our deck, getting patio furniture, and sitting on that deck all summer long (under an umbrella…like I said, I don’t love the heat). Cheers to strawberry iced tea with a splash of white wine. Mmmm….thank you Jesus. Cheers to the simple things.

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Slugging Away

March 14th, 2010

For any and all of you wondering when I am going to post a picture of my shredded bod……hah. Not anytime soon, that’s for sure! I fell of the exercise wagon and have been too ashamed to show my face around here. I actually considered never blogging again so I wouldn’t have to tell you all I failed. It sounds hilarious now that I actually am admitting it! That slug nature is a tough one to kill! I seem far too comfortable to sit around drinking Coke (okay honestly that’s not a regular occurrence but it’s what I happen to be doing at this very moment) as long as I hover around the same weight. I heard it said once, “Don’t judge your success and failure by what the scale says, but by how your clothes fit.” Well I’m happy with the size I am now and my jeans are not getting any snugger, so I have been foolishly allowing myself to say I’m doing fine. I’m not. I’ve been dealing with a lot of back pain and headaches again lately.

I’m still planning on running that 5k in June, and I hear my race partner has been sticking with her training (way to go Jessica!) so I better get back at it this week. Sigh. No one said this would be easy, right?

The Middle Wife

January 24th, 2010

You moms out there are going to get a kick out of this!

Level 2

January 23rd, 2010

I was feeling pretty confident today since I’ve been feeling pretty good doing level 1 of 30 Day Shred. I was hardly doing any of the modified versions anymore and figured I was ready to step it up to level 2.

Can I step back to level 1 next time and just feel proud of myself for being able to do it? Can I just forget that there are levels 2 and 3 on the DVD?

I suppose I can’t.

I’m taking a sabbath rest tomorrow.

Maybe level 2 will be more kind to me on Monday.
I’ll pray about that.

My Slug Nature

January 21st, 2010

I didn’t work out yesterday. I felt sluggish all day.

If I’m honest, before I started my workout today I just felt like sitting on the couch with a big mug of sugar and a big plate of sugar on the side. I had a nagging headache and felt emotionally off, all I wanted to do was sit under a blanket and cry. I felt like a slug – wanting to hide under a rock.

I seriously contemplated giving up on this whole thing. I know I’m getting stronger and feeling better, but I think the realization of this being a lifestyle change and not just a 30 day thing is hitting me. Yeah the DVD is a 30 day workout, but if I want the effects to stay with me I need to make this part of my everyday life. I wondered if that was something I was willing to do. And I wondered if I don’t make the change to be more active now….then when? I’ve been wanting to for a few years already, and keep quitting. Every time I quit it gets harder to get back up and start again. And then I put my shoes on and got my butt in gear.

Now, after finishing day seven, I feel energized! I’m not dead tired like I was on day 1, I’m in less pain, and I don’t feel like bursting into tears anymore. I’m walking with a spring in my step rather than feeling like the weight of the world is on my slumped-forward shoulders.

Have you ever poured salt on a slug? When I was in my teens, my whole family spent a week on an island off the coast of BC. It was beautiful, but on it were the most massive, slimy, disgusting slugs I have ever seen in my life. After it would rain the slugs would be all over the place. Gross. But if you pour salt on them….well, I’ll spare you the details but they die. Really, there’s a point to this, hang in there….

Okay think of it this way: the truth of me needing to take care of my body and get stronger as an act of worship of our Great God and Savior is like salt. It’s like I need to constantly pour that salt on the slug in me, and put to death that slug nature. So from now on, when I don’t want to be active, and think I would rather sit on the couch with a big cookie, I’m going to try visualizing those slugs.

I do not want to be a slug.

A little of this, a little of that.

January 19th, 2010

The past week, our house has been an absolute disaster zone. I just could not get a grip on all the toys, clutter, paper, and junk. I blame it on the fact that our outside garbage can was full to the brim (hadn’t dragged it to the curb for over a month), so there was nowhere to put all the junk even if I did clean it up. Well yesterday I started putting things away and boy does it feel better in here! I hauled all the recycling away, except for the bottles and cans, and made a few bucks digging a stash of wine bottles out of the tin can recycling dumpster. Who does that? I do. Who dumps glass in the tin bin? I dunno. Someone who likes to throw money away and can’t read, I guess.

I did my workout yesterday evening, and again this morning. After six days, I cannot believe how much stronger I am feeling, and I have noticed a dramatic change in my posture already. I’ll keep pressing on.

My photo of the day is done already. What a relief it is to have that done early in the day, rather than scrambling at 10pm for something interesting to shoot!

And how bout this weather?! It’s like April in the middle of January. If I believed in the whole global warming thing I’d thank you all for your large carbon footprint right about now. Instead I praise God for his mercy to send us a little extra sunshine and warmth in the month that is one of the hardest for people (at least in this part of the world) to get through. It’s amazing how something as simple as being able to walk out the door with kids dressed in a hoodie and toque rather than full snowsuit gear can make the day so much easier. This may be the first year since childhood that I am really looking forward to summer. I’m not a big fan of the heat, so spring and fall have suited my taste much better in the past. But now I am so looking forward to summer, finishing our deck, sitting out there with a cold drink, BBQing, and having more opportunities to leisurely get to know our neighbours rather than running from our house to garage, and garage to house in the deep freeze of winter.

Happy Sunny Tuesday to all!

‘Til Death

January 17th, 2010

RingsToday is my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary!

All I can do is marvel at God’s faithfulness when I consider the fact. 40 years. No marriage is perfect, and my mom and dad’s is no exception to that rule. There have been hard times. And there have been great joys. Five kids, four kids in-law (soon to be five!), twelve grandkids (and one on the way!), countless houses…one home – with Jesus at the center. It continues to be a humbling honour to watch my parents love each other as they love Christ, and to see the ways that he is making them more like himself. They made a covenant with each other to love and to cherish, for better for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, for the rest of their lives. They have come 40 years through joy and sorrow, and by God’s grace they will continue. As their love for their Savior deepens, so will their love for each other. Praise God!

I love you Mom and Dad!

Not Today

January 17th, 2010

No workout today. I had hoped to, but the day got away on us. We had an awesome morning celebrating our awesome Savior with the saints, then lunch with some of those folks – which took us up until about 4. After that we stopped by Safeway so I could buy a prop for today’s photo of the day (see above). The kids and I went for a visit with their cousins and my sister (technically in-law, but in my family we forget the in-law part). We got home at 9:30, and by the time I had the kids in bed I was too tired. Perhaps it would have been good to work out and get my mind off things, if only for 20 minutes. Alas, I didn’t. This evening Clay has been away, dealing with some family issues. I won’t say any more, but please be in prayer.

Day 4

January 16th, 2010

I did it.
And I feel less and less like I’m going to collapse in the shower afterward.
Yay!
Small victories, small victories.

Still Shredding

January 15th, 2010

Oi vey! I just finished day 3 of my workout. It’s funny how I am having a hard time catching my breath and talking normally, and as a result I can’t type without pausing to gasp for air as well. I still couldn’t do it without pausing for breaks, but I know I’m lasting longer each time. I’m hoping that after a week of this I can do it all without taking my five second breathers. I’m doing most of the modified versions of the exercises that have modifications. I’m not hard core.

And let me just say, I’ve always liked Bob better on the Biggest Loser because he seems nicer and rarely yells at people to get them moving. But I’m gaining a whole new appreciation for Jillian through this process. She doesn’t yell at you in this DVD, and at first I was a little disappointed (weird? probably), but in the times when I feel like I can’t go on and I stop for a second I can still hear her yelling at me, biggest loser style, and it gets me moving. Fast. Somehow I find her more motivating than Bob, at least their DVD personalities. (Tried the BL Cardio Max DVD with Bob for a while last year and didn’t stick with it. I guess he was too nice).

Get Fit Without Trying! (Not)

January 14th, 2010

So in my last post I talked about doing things for God’s glory, not ours. I said that one of my goals for 2010 is to train for and run in a 5k race. Why? Because I haven’t been taking very good care of my body. While my BMI is within the “normal” range, I don’t consider myself a healthy normal weight.

I am weak! My hips are constantly clicking and cracking, my back is continuously sore and wound tighter than …well, I’m tired and not feeling particularly witty at the moment so insert whatever comes to mind when I say “wound tight”, my ribs are always popping out of place which leads to stupid amounts of pain and sometimes difficulty breathing, all the tension in my back and shoulders leads to neck pain and chronic headaches. Anytime I go to the chiropractor he is amazed at how stiff and knotted up my back is, and sometimes can’t even get things to move back into place. (For the record, he’s no weakling. My brother has described him as “rammy”, which I think suits him to a T). Massage therapy loosens me up for the day, and the next day I wake up tighter than I was before because my muscles are in such shock that tightening up is all they know how to do. And boy, do they do it well. Not only that, but the shock of temporary loosened muscles or joints back in alignment often sends me into days of migraine headaches. Lovely.

So, the easy fixes aren’t working. There is no magical chiropractic adjustment or massage technique to fix things. Weak muscles remain weak and there is no quick, pain free way to strengthen them. Surprise, surprise!! I have known all this time that it’s going to take work to get stronger and be healthier, but I’ve been taking the lazy, selfish way out.

Does anyone else watch The Biggest Loser? We love watching it. It is amazing to see what our bodies are capable of doing when put under stress. They change! The transformations these bodies go through in such a short amount of time are such a testimony of God’s incredible design in creation! God created us for more than being obese, lethargic, unhealthy, people who sit on our couches eating ice cream and Doritos. Now let me also say that if you want to understand how to get healthy to the glory of God and not self, don’t take any pointers from anyone on The Biggest Loser. The gospel being preached over and over again on this show is that YOU are worth it, you need to do something for YOU for a change (Um…thinking about themselves is what got these people to 400 pounds in the first place), you need to love YOURSELF and that’s when lasting change is going to happen. False, false, false!! Don’t think that if you just increase your self esteem that everything will get better. All that’s doing is transferring the idolatry from self pity to self esteem, both of which are pride. Okay, I’m done ranting. For now anyway.

The reason I mention The Biggest Loser is because it really makes me think. If these morbidly obese people can change their lives and their bodies out of selfishness and vain ambition, I should really get serious about taking care of my body to the glory of God! And by his grace, I will. I’m aiming to run a 5k race six months from now. I chose 5k because I’ve attempted training for 10k in the past and it has always just seemed to be too daunting of a task. I have given up every single time. 5k seems a little more attainable. And if Biggest Loser contestants can go from obese to running a marathon within 6 months, surely I can go from a healthy weight to running a 5k in that amount of time. Yeah I know, working out is their full time job, we have lives to live and can’t expect results like them, blah, blah, blah. Imagine if people like me just stopped making excuses and just worked hard at getting healthy like God intended us to be, for his glory. I’m not saying I’m immune to being lazy. Obviously I’m not, or I’d have trained for and run a 10k a few years ago when I first started trying to learn to run.

jan13shred

Since it’s winter and I’m really not keen on running in the cold and snow, I’m going to do what I can indoors until I can start running on dry roads. Yesterday I started doing Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred DVD. All the reviews I’ve read on this workout say it’s brutally hard and delivers real results – not so much in weight loss, but muscle built and body shape changing as a result. I’ll second the fact that it’s brutally hard. At one point yesterday my legs were shaking uncontrollably as I tried to do one of the cardio exercises, the same way my legs shook when I was giving birth to Bailey. I’m not joking. Thankfully it didn’t hurt as bad as having a baby, and so I will press on! And after the workout yesterday I could barely walk down the stairs in our house – 2 hours after I finished the workout. While doing it again today, I already felt stronger! And I could support my weight when I walked down the stairs today. Small victory, but so cool to see tangible results that quickly. I wonder how I’ll feel 28 days from now!

I’m going to blog regular updates on how I’m doing with this DVD to keep me accountable, and perhaps add a little comic relief to your day when I tell you about how I collapsed halfway through. If I miss a day, feel free to tell me to get my butt in gear. And hey, anyone else want to join me? Jillian’s got plenty of torture to go around for you too!

A matter of glory

January 11th, 2010

2010list
I’ve been contemplating my goals for the new year since it began. I’m not one to make rash decisions in the heat of the midnight moment. I like to avoid making overambitious commitments, like, “This year: I’ll only cook local and organic food, and run in every marathon I can find.” Yeah…not gonna happen. It’s not that I don’t want to grow, I just want to be realistic in the goals that I set.

I regularly get a newsletter emailed to me from Shepherd Press, and the one they sent at the beginning of the year was (as usual) filled with sound, biblical insight. Check this out:

New Year’s Day–it is supposed to be a time of new beginnings. It is marked by celebrations, parties, football, and resolutions–and for some, hangovers. Culturally, compared to Christmas, New Year’s Day is also less stressful. One does not hear declarations of “Keep Christ in the New Year” bandied about on talk shows. No one speaks of New Year’s Day as a religious holiday. However, for most people New Year’s Day is a deeply religious holiday. It is the holiday of self-worship. It is a day when people believe that if they make specific resolutions and determine to turn over a new leaf, they can change the things about themselves that they don’t like. It is a day on which people believe (or perhaps just hope) that they can change by simply wanting to. But like all other false religions, the worship of self and self-will results in disappointment. In reality, New Year’s Day is a day like any other–it is a day to serve God or to serve self.

You can read the whole article here. I so appreciate that they didn’t try to sugar coat anything. When you boil it down, changing your life for your sake really comes down to self-worship, arguably the Great Religion of our day. When you worship yourself you seek your own glory, you don’t seek to glorify God. We hear it everywhere we turn,

“Because you’re worth it.”

“Just believe in yourself.”

“You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of everyone else.”

If you are your god then then your own glorification is your ultimate goal.
If you are in Christ, you know that you are worthless and Jesus is the only one who is worthy. You put your trust in Jesus because he is trustworthy and you are deceitful. You count others more important than yourself and serve them humbly as you follow the example of our Servant King Jesus.

Whether we are doing something that most would consider ministry, like serving at a soup kitchen, or we are scrubbing toilets at home wondering what in the world we are possibly going to get on the table for supper – again, any and every situation is one where we will give God our ourselves glory.

When we do things for God’s glory, we often won’t look any different than the next person. Like if you go to the gym and you’re about to fall off the stationary bike from exhaustion just like the girl next to you. Someone getting fit for God’s glory looks as dead tired as someone doing it for their own glory. God knows our hearts.

If your goal is to get out of debt, it should be the glory of God, not you.
If your goal is to cook healthy meals, it should be to the glory of God, not you.
If your goal is weight loss, it should be to the glory of God, not you. It’s important to take care of our bodies, not because we’re so great, but because the one who created us is. If you are in Christ your body is a temporary temple of the Holy Spirit. Cleaning up God’s residence sounds like a good idea.

I want any goals I have for the future to be ones that seek God’s glory, not mine.

My goals for 2010:
Train for and run in a 5K race
Stick to the budget Clay and I made
Find and cook more budget friendly meals
Continue and complete my 365 photo project

Everything we do is an opportunity to make much of our Savior, or much of ourselves. What will you do to bring Jesus glory this year?

Eat, O friends, and drink; drink your fill, O lovers.

December 23rd, 2009

kegClay and I were given a gift certificate for The Keg Steakhouse & Bar, and had been saving it for a snowy day. Last night suited us just right, as the snowflakes danced their way merrily to our frozen world. Add to that a grandma and grandpa who were very willing to come spend some time with three very special grandkids before they leave for nearly 2 months. (As an aside, Mom – I hope this doesn’t become a yearly thing. Though this being the second year already, I’m not full of hope. Just wishful thinking.)

Off we went for an 8:30 reservation for 2, no kids, just me and my man. And my camera. It goes everywhere with me now that I’ve undertaken the 365 project (blame my other blog for the fact that I’ve been neglecting posting here). I keep hearing and reading that we’re supposed to make date night of the utmost priority now that we have kids, and every time we do actually get out for a date we realize we need to do it more often. But then life runs away at the same breakneck speed, and little boys make messes, and little girls nurse the day away, and the house is a disaster, and it’s all I can do to get my kitchen clean before we head to bed and start all over again the next day. (I rarely go to bed with the kitchen dirty. It’s a sanity saver to have one corner of the house clean when I wake…and it’s good to have a clear path to the coffee maker in the morning.) Add to all the hubbub the fact that a family of five on a single income doesn’t leave a lot of frivolous spending money lying around, so date night out of the house rarely happens.

Anyway, back to yesterday. It was wonderful. Delicious. We started with baked garlic shrimp, followed by house salad for me and Caesar for Clay. I think that’s when the bread basket arrived. Mmmm…… Drinks? Rickard’s Red for Clay and Newcastle for me. The main course meant a three mushroom sirloin for me and a New York striploin for Clay, along with amazing potatoes and veggies. Dessert? Of course. Three little shot glasses of delight – a carrot cake for each of us, and a brownie to share. Oh yum. We chatted, laughed, and thoroughly enjoyed each others company. I’m so glad I married that man!

We came home to a sad little girl, so once she was settled and put back to bed, we finished off the night watching 24. There’s really no better tv show in the history of the world. If you like action, you’ll love Jack Bauer. We finished season 7 so we are all caught up and ready for season 8 next month! It’s going to be so hard to watch only one episode each week rather than 2/night like we have been!

It was so wonderful to take some time out of the crazy busy Christmas season and just relax with my wonderful husband, enjoy some great food and marvel and how great our God is. We definitely want to make this a Christmas tradition from now on.

It’s better to receive than to give?

December 8th, 2009

oneforyouandmeI was at the mall today to get a Christmas gift for my niece, and saw this message clinging to a store window:

Buy one, get one 1/2 off.
One For You, One For Me!

I could go off on a rant about this picture, but I won’t.
I’ll just let the picture speak for itself to the fact that there is a deep sin problem in the life of every human being. I pray that we can remember what this season is really about, and worship the God who entered human history as a baby, Jesus, to seek and to save what was lost. Our God is a giver, not a taker. We continue to try to take all that we can get out of him, yet he gives us grace upon grace.

Lord, humble us and cause us to see what it really means to be generous, as you have been generous with us.

She has discovered her feet…

December 4th, 2009

babyfeetToo cute!! I love this stage of foot grabbing, endless smiles, and happy babbling.