I am flattered that many of you ask me questions not related to cloth diapers. I have many passions outside of cloth diapers and wish I had more time to share them with you.
Many of you have pieced together over the years different aspects of my family life. I am married to a chiropractor and our view of health and life was deeply shaped by our experiences in chiropractic school.
We have 6 children, homeschool, use homeopathics, eat gluten free (I have Dermatitis Herpetaformis–skin form of Celiac), my children have never had a medication, our diet consists mostly of organic simple ingredients but we also love to eat out! We went through that phase where “our way is the only way and we are going to shove it on you”. Obviously that way hardly works and over the years we have learned to encourage, show grace and live by example. We are blessed when others see the benefits of the choices we make and desire to make changes in their lives.
I receive a lot more than 7 common questions but I choose the ones that best represent the category. Did you miss the 13 Most Commonly Asked Cloth Diaper Questions?
14) Were all your babies born at home? Were they all fast? Before Finley’s birth I would get questions about homebirths but nothing compared to after his birth story was published on Birth Without Fear. I have had 5 homebirths and one hospital birth due to a transport for poor presentation. The lengths of my labors has varied but the one consistent aspect was a long, painful transition. Before Finley’s birth my fastest labor was Haven (#2). With him the first contraction hit at 8:30 and he was born at 12:32. Because I know you are all birth statistic junkies like myself here is a breakdown.
Haley: total labor 24 hours, 4 1/2 hours pushing, 8lbs, 21″
Haven: total labor 4 hours, 30 minutes pushing, 7.8lbs, 21″
Paisley: total labor 8 hours, 22 minutes pushing, 8 lbs 12 oz, 20″ (only time water broke before labor)
Sterling: total labor 9 hours, ~5 hours pushing, 8lbs 9 oz, 22″ (transport, military presentation once manipulated, epi, vacuum)
Camden: total labor 24 hours, 20 minutes pushing, 9lbs, 22″ (water birth)
Finley: total labor 5 minutes, >1 minutes pushing, 8lbs 2oz, 22″ (born in the caul)
15) What curriculum do you use for homeschooling? How do you homeschool the older children with the toddler and baby? We use Tapestry of Grace for our main curriculum and supplement with Apologia for science, Teaching Textbooks for math, beginning Greek by Bluedorn and Greek Grammar by Mounce, Easy Grammar for grammar and Artes Latinae for Latin. (Most of those are Amazon affiliate links. Amazon affiliate earnings help pay for our homeschool books. Thank you!)
I homeschool primary all together. I have all the kids sit at our school table and I read the history portion to them all for 45 minutes. This trains the younger children to be able to sit still and listen. While I am reading I periodically ask Haven and Paisley questions to ensure that they are listening to what I am reading. Haley will often take notes on what I am reading. I usually let them draw while I read, ideally they draw a picture related to what I am reading. Sterling and Camden love sitting at the table with everyone and will color.
After I finish history reading, Haley will go off to do her work and I will move to the couch with the others to read the little books for the week. Haven and Paisley will work on writing and reading. At this time Sterling and Camden are off playing and Finley is either napping or sitting with me. We have tried activity boxes and special “school time” toys but that never worked out for us.
Our goal with homeschool is to encourage a love for learning and reading, not just the ability to recite a bunch of facts. Perhaps this is why I don’t easily get overwhelmed with homeschooling. I have my days though! My children are normal which means everything I wrote above doesn’t always go smoothly. There are days where I spend 20 minutes getting one certain child to sit and listen.
The challenge with homeschooling 6 children isn’t the 6 children, it’s controlling my emotions. If I am calm, kind and joyful they are too. If I am grumpy, rude, impatient they are monsters!
16) I’m exhausted/stressed out/never caught up with 2 (insert #) children, how do you handle 6 children? I am a Christian and rely heavily on the Lord for support and guidance. I mother in a godly manner and train my children to be obedient and respectful. However, they are not always obedient and respectful! I can’t control their behavior but I can control my own. I am a pretty laid back mom and I generally don’t let little things get to me. I correct big issues but let the children work out problems between each other.
Have a routine and delegate! I resist routine and to be honest I try to do it all myself. I use the term “routine” loosely. We eat 3 meals a day together at the table. The children have cleanup chores. We do a family Bible study at night and then read before bed. When are days and weeks are clicking along fairly normal things go well. But, when travel and lots of fun things are in the schedule every one gets out of sorts and cranky. We love going places but it comes with a price.
I know what you’re saying, “Autumn, I don’t have older children to help out. My kids are toddlers and babies.” To that I say, pray, get plenty of sleep, don’t stress out over the toys, make your bed, keep the counters clean and play with your babies.
If you were to read my answers to 15 and 16 and assume that my life is always smooth sailing you would be very wrong. I mess up a lot. But, I use my mistakes as an opportunity to teach my kids how to be humble and ask for forgiveness.
17) What baby carrier do you recommend? I love Soft Structured Carriers (SSCs) aka buckle carriers. Beco, Tula, Ergo and Boba are all widely available, ergonomic carriers. I also love woven wraps. I’ve learned that there is a learning curve and not all wraps are the same. I’ve purchased hard-to-get pricey wraps and hated them. The wrap I ended up loving is a cheap handwoven from Oaxaca, Mexico.
My favorite carrier though is one that blends the super nice woven wraps with the ease of buckles called a wrap conversion full buckle (wcfb). I get to look at the gorgeousness of the wrap and have the quick carry advantage of a SSC.
18) What nursing bra do you recommend? I nurse in a regular wireless bra. I found a brand I like years ago and have stuck with it. It is a Maidenform, style # … I do wear one nursing bra and it is a Bella Materna Nursing Bralet. It is so comfortable! I love the wide band and double layer fabric over my breasts. I get fairly good support for bralet standards. For reference I’m a 36c.
19) Do you circumcise? What can I put on my son’s circumcision that is safe for cloth diapers? No, we do not circumcise. I have been told that CJ’s Butter works great and it is cloth diaper safe.
20) How do you find time to blog/for yourself? My time could be better prioritized. Family always has come before the blog. Since having Finley I have had a harder time finding time to sit down for a stretch of time longer than 10 minutes and write. A schedule is something I need to strive for because without making the time for it I won’t do it. I’m sure that sounds familiar to you as that can be said about pretty anything!
As far as time for myself, I don’t feel that I have that need. What I do make time for is laying in bed with my husband and watching a show a few times a week. I LOVE that part of my day. We don’t have cable or watch many movies but we love to find a show on Amazon or Netflix that we both agree on and get into it.
I pray that helps you a little! As always, feel free to ask me questions here, email, or on Facebook and as time allows I will get back to you.
Autumn is a wife, mother, homeschool teacher, friend and most important a follower of Christ.