Laundering Your Cloth Diapers 101


How to Clean Your Exclusively Breastfed Baby’s Diapers

  1. Dump everything in the washer
  2. Rinse
  3. Hot wash
  4. Rinse
  5. Hang dry diaper covers (and inserts if it’s summer)

How to Clean Your Baby’s Diapers After She’s on Solids

  1. Get the poop off (I use a sprayer that attaches to my toilet)
  2. Dump everything in the washer
  3. Rinse
  4. Hot wash
  5. Rinse
  6. Hang dry diaper covers (and inserts if it’s summer)

Best Smell Busters

  • Best smell buster and diaper whitener: line dry in the sun.
  • Next best smell buster for when it’s frozen outside:  in the wash, hot soak with ammonia buster; in the dryer, spritz of Purification for deodorizing.

Do you have any tips or tricks to add?  Comment below and share your know-how!

A Letter to Maisy: Aching for You


Dear Maisy,

Ever since I got pregnant with Penny I find myself in a kind of mourning.  I can’t even put a name to it.  A title.  But basically my heart is so sad for you and that my time is largely pulled away from you.  It feels like I spend my whole day either tending to Penny’s constant needs or catching the Penny-free moments to do tasks I have on my list.  My list is important to me.  But you are far more important.  I pray you know that to your core always.  That you are the most important “task” I have to do every day.

I want to say sorry to you several times a day for not having, or making, the time for you like I feel I should, or could, or would if I didn’t have Penny demanding me at all times.  You are so sweet and understanding and somehow don’t lash out.  The love you have for her and me is so full and selfless it amazes me.  But I can’t help but think you hurt.  Inside that beautiful exterior and beyond that sweetness I sense there has to be a yearning for more quality time with your mom.

It’s so strange for me to be at war with myself on the inside.  On the one side I have a cute, sweet baby to tend to that should captivate me the most right?  But on the other I have my best friend ever so sweetly asking me to play with her or snuggle with her or watch her go poopy (some of your favorite social time).  I always want to play with my best friend over answer the demands of the baby.  But answer the cries of the baby I must and I’m left telling you for the millionth time, “sorry honey I have to help Penny.”

I keep telling myself it will get easier.  That the older Penny gets the more even my time will be split between you two and you won’t inherently inherit the shaft.  I pray that it will get easier.

With all my heart,


A Letter to Maisy: The End of Nursing, Part 2

Remember that post I wrote about the end of breastfeeding?

A Letter to Maisy: The End of Nursing

Well, the morning after I wrote that post Maisy asked for milk, I said ok, and she hopped back on the nursing train like she never got off.  So here we are again.

Calhoun Family -152

Maisy at 6 months


A Letter to Maisy

The End of Nursing, Part 2

Dear Maisy

One wintery afternoon, some time in February, I said “no.”  For some weeks I’d been attempting to trim your milk sessions down from 3 times a day to 2 times a day to one time a day and to none but you simply kept on asking.

I tried to offer you alternatives – almond milk, rice milk, cows milk, a snack. “No, I want Mommy’s milk.”

I tried to distract you from your milk request.  “Hey, can you color me a picture?”  “Hey do you want some grapes?”  (In our house grapes are a treat.) “Hey can you build me a tower?”

I tried saying no without saying “no” outright.  “Not right now.”  “Maybe later.”

I tried playing it off to be something else.  “Mommy, can I have milk?”  “Sure baby, it’s in the fridge for you.”  “No Mommy, I want Mommy’s milk.”

I started just sharing how I felt about it.  “Babe, I really just don’t want to.  Is it really that important to you?  Can you have some rice milk instead?”

I worked on coming up with reasons why you should be done having Mommy’s milk.  “Maisy, milk is actually for babies.  Big girls don’t have Mommy’s milk.  Big girls get to have things like ice cream, and apples, and treats.  Are you a big girl?”  Sometimes she actually wanted milk so deeply she actually shook her head no.

Finally, just mere weeks ago, I just said “no.”  You melted into the saddest puddle.  Ripped my heart out. I just held you as you cried, wracking my brain for how to fix the situation.  Should I just give you the milk now?  Could I offer you anything else.  I wanted to take it back!  But after that heart-wrenching moment the requests mostly stopped.  I didn’t hear about milk for days.

Several days later you randomly asked, “Mommy, I wan moke.” I laughed, “Maisy big girls don’t have Mommy’s milk.”  You didn’t fight it.  We had finally arrived.

One evening, I nursed Penny at the dinner table.  She was a half a second away from shrieking her displeasure, cracking like a bolt of lightning into a quiet night, but I caught her just in time.  After I finished nursing her I met eyes with you.  You plainly just looked on longingly at the scene before you.  Finally, you opened your mouth, “Mommy, only babies have moke.  Big ghews (girls) don’t have Mommy’s moke.”  In my mind I’m thinking, “oh you sweet sweet girl, no, of course you can have Mommy’s milk.”  Instead, with a forlorn look on my face and sad grit to my voice I utter, “yeah baby that’s right.”

It’s so good to be done nursing you, but it is also so sad to me.  I couldn’t take the tandem nursing anymore nor could I handle how it messed with my supply, leaving me too dried up to adequately nurse your baby sister.

I love you so much, Maisy, it makes my heart hurt and soar at the same time.  You make me smile and laugh more than anything in my world.  You make me a little crazy sometimes too but what’s life without a little crazy?  You are sweet, full of feelings, compassionate, observant, passionate, and so silly.

I love you with all my heart,


Sin and Parenting


Man I love my kids but man do I screw up massively sometimes.  I love them so much they make me crazy, Maisy in particular.  That girl was specifically designed by God to stretch and shape me.  It’s painful most of the time.  She also brings me more joy than I’ve ever known.  The highest of highs, and lowest of lows.

One night, when all attempts at discipline and correction went so terribly wrong, I yelled like a banshee at her and ripped any bedtime privileges away from her.  Then I was left mortified at my own behavior and yet still seething at her if I thought about it again.

I did manage to end that night with “I love you,” kisses, hugs and snuggles but before that it was a whole hour of her screaming and me, seemingly, grabbing at straws to try and correct her behavior.  The girl just couldn’t, and can’t, handle it; instead of blunt discipline she needs snuggles and physical love in order to correct.  Gentle chats instead of revoking privileges.  Time in instead of time out.  Thing is, the world isn’t going to give her that so I felt compelled to try and teach her the hard lesson sometimes.

In writing this all out the answer seems clear.  She’s still too little to even attempt dealing with her feelings on her own.  I know she’ll get there.  And yet this realization makes me feel even worse because of how wrong I dealt with the situation.  But that’s parenthood.  Making mistakes and praying your children will forgive you so wholeheartedly they never slap you across the face with it later in life and that they will grow up to be awesome humans despite your sinful nature.

I was entirely unaware that parenthood would make me realize my own sinful nature to the painstaking degree that it does.  It’s heartbreaking and intensely and grotesquely humbling.  Buried deep down I do thank God for it.

It’s All About Perspective


Lately I’ve been thinking… I may be in my best season of my life.  My own two little girls that think I’m the coolest thing in the whole wide world, they love me fiercely.  I’m also blessed enough to feel the love of the five other girls in my care.  During my days I chip away at photography work and homemaking tasks while the kids sleep.  While they are awake I get to watch these amazingly sweet and imaginative little girls play so kindly with each other.  And I have my husband home every night.  I feel like this is as close to heaven on earth I’m ever going to get.

It hasn’t always been this way.  With Josh on the road the countless sleepless nights with Maisy didn’t just feel like, but were torture.  I was so tired I couldn’t think straight nor could I parent with even the slightest bit of emotional stability because of it.  When I first started day care, and for the first many months, it was way hard.  Maisy deeply struggled with sharing me and her toys.  So much so that she sat in time out several times a day for hitting, yelling, tantrums, taking toys from friends, and the like.

I feel so blissful because I’m so profoundly thankful my load feels so much lighter with a husband who is only a phone call away during the day and is present here at night to talk though any rigors of the day over with.  I’m entirely content with all the things God has placed in my life, so much so I slightly nervously cling to every moment, hoping the next one doesn’t take my husband away from us so much of the time again, ruin the love my girls have for me and turn it into some of that teenager distain I’ve heard so much about, and that all the girls are suddenly at odds with each other all day long like they once seemed to be.

I’ve come to realize just how fully dependent the outcome of your days are, though, on your outlook.  My days right now could be painted very differently…

My own two little girls are so fiercely dependent on me that I can’t get away to do photography, let alone to run any errands or catch a glimpse of alone time, for more than a few hours.  I get very little sleep because of my baby and waking up early to greet the five other kids I have in my care during the week.  Then those five other little girls rip my house apart on a daily basis and wreak havoc on my ears with screaming and running and other boisterous activities.  I work night hours and weekends to do photography on top of the 50 hour work week doing day care without a lunch break.

It’s really all about perspective.