Posts Tagged ‘stay-at-home dad’

Looking Back

January 5th, 2010 No comments

A year ago I was a student at Asbury, working at Kaleidoscope, expecting my first child.  12 months later I am a stay-at-home dad with my MA working at a distillery.  Quite a bit has changed in 2009.  Here is a look back in pictures. [HT: Dave]

January -Stephenson Chapel

bowling2 bowling

[Bowling with the Youth from Stephenson Chapel]

In January I continued my work with Kaleidoscope writing grants, but also began a stint as an interim pastor for Stephenson Chapel.  At first it was only supposed to be a few week fill-in gig, but it ended up lasting 6 months.  The folks at this rural church in Russellville were an amazing example of community and incarnate love.  They put up with my quirks and gave Beth and I amazing support.

February – Ice and Stitches

Christmas - New Year 189 knee

[Ice damage and damaged knee]

In late January a major snow storm hit the Bluegrass.  Along with many other people I spent several days running a chainsaw helping with the cleanup.  Most of my time was out at Camp Loucon, a Methodist camp and retreat center near Leitchfield KY.  On my third day in I was sawing a hanging limb and it kicked back in a weird way sending the chainsaw bar (the chain was not moving) into my leg.  I ended up with 24 stitches in my knee, but was sawing again within 3 hours.  Some people never learn.

March – Corsair

Christmas - New Year 070

[Custom Still at Corsair]

Beginning in October of last year, I completed several distillery tours in the state.  They are always a fascinating mix of industry, craft and science.  The most interesting was Corsair Artisan, a micro-distillery that just opened in Bowling Green.  After several visits, in March the owners asked if I would be interested in helping them out on a few projects.  My role in the company gradually expanded and now I am the Distillery Manager and handle most of the daily operations.  It is a great mix of duties that keeps me on my toes and works with my schedule.

April – Birth of Mikayla


[Mikayla at 1 week]

Some months carry more weight than others.  Thus is the case for April 2009.  On the the 28th at 10:36am, our baby girl Mikayla Lillian Kickert was born.  She weighed in at 7,7 and was 20” long.  You can see more blog posts about her here.

May – Graduation

grad june 008 grad june 011

[Celebrating with the family in all my regalia]

After 3 years, $33,000 ($21,000 out of pocket), and over 3,000 hours of work I finally graduated with a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies from Asbury Seminary.  This time was certainly formative, but looking back at it I am not convinced I would do it again if given the choice.  It was simply too much of a sacrifice for what it yielded.  For me, graduation was more than just an achievement – it represented a transition to freedom.

June – Blogging / Time with Family

June 2008 019

[G-ma Morgan meets Mikayla for the first time]

After graduating and ending my stint at Stephenson Chapel I discovered a void in my life.  I no longer had an obvious outlet for my creativity or an avenue to work through my thoughts.  In order to fix this I began blogging (technically I took blogging back up, but my previous attempts had never amounted to anything).  Also during this time Beth, Mikayla and I had the opportunity to spend a lot of quality time together and visit with family.  We basically had 2.5 months together and took full advantage of it.

July – Garden

2009-07-04 Late June 005

[The garden at the height of the growing season]

While not specific to July, one of the highlights of the year was our garden.  This was the first year we moved it to our house and it was also one of the best crops we have had.  It was a great escape and the food we produced was excellent.  Here is an earlier post about our garden and one about lessons learned throughout the year.

August – Stay-at-home Dad

2009-08-23 August 014

[Watching Mikayla while Cooking]

When Mikayla was born Beth and I decided it made sense for me to stay at home with her during the week.  In August, my “job” started in earnest.  I had never pictured myself as a stay-at-home dad, but I have really enjoyed being able to spend time with her and it means the whole family gets more quality time.  To be honest with you, sometimes I wonder what Beth was thinking when she trusted me to not do anything stupid with Mikayla.  So far so good… for the most part.

September – Grandfather

2009-09-02 Somerset and Chicago 021

[Grandma and Grandpa with Mikayla]

Some transitions are harder than others.  One of the tough ones for 2009 was the passing of my grandfather.  In his life he had overcome many illnesses and obstacles, but his last few months were filled with pain and everyone knew in September it was his time to go.  I wrote some of my thought about the transition of life here.

October – Long Term Relationships

2009-October and November 111 [Kickerts and Altmaiers at Abrham’s Falls]

It is amazing how fast time goes by.  In October, Beth and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary.  A few months earlier we had celebrated 10 years together (dating+marriage).  Even though it sounds trite to say, I could not imagine my life without her.  That same month we spent a great weekend with old friends (Dave and I go back to Ms. Fitzgerald’s first grade class).  For Beth and I, Dave and Catherine are the type of friends that you can jump right back in with even after several months apart and never feel like you missed a beat.

November – Camry

2009-10-06 Camry 014

[The Culprit]

November represents one of the most frustrating months of 2009.  A few months earlier the engine in Beth’s Camry blew (read about it here).  After a month of trying to figure out if was worth fixing, we finally bought a used engine to install.  Long story short, the engine was bad, we hit a bunch more hurdles, we have spent 3x the amount we planned on spending and as of the first week of January we still don’t have a car.  Ughh…

December – Christmas

2009-12-25 Christmas 137

[PJs, Hot Cocoa, and Pictures]

Since this was Mikayla’s first Christmas we made sure we spent part of Christmas day at our home together.  We were able to initiate some family traditions of our own (Beth has a great post about it).  One of the things we did was get dressed up in our pajamas (I had to buy some), make hot cocoa and take fun family pictures together.

Overall 2009 did not turn out the way I would have expected it to, but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else than where I am right now.

A Simplified Life

September 29th, 2009 5 comments
Family at Jackson's Orchard

Family at Jackson's Orchard

I was talking with someone the other day about my ability to work at Kaleidoscope without compensation.  She was very confused… how could Beth and I support ourselves if I was only working minimal hours a week at a low rate and us practically living on a teacher’s salary.  It was easy I told her… we live simply.  We drive old cars, don’t buy new clothes, have a modest house and save our money.  Unfortunately these simple exercises are entirely foreign to too many people.

In the last year our take home income has decreased by over 30% and we have a new member in the family.  At the same time, our savings have gone up and “happiness” has significantly increased.  In the last year, my primary job has gone from full time to part time to very part time to no time.  Instead of stressing about money, we have actually been able to give more and save more.  In fact, since Mikayla has been born, our monthly expenses have continued to drop.

What accounts for this?  Have we fired our butler?  Have we sold off hidden assets?  Have we joined a commune?

Not at all… we have just continued to re-evaluate our priorities and moved towards a simplified life.  Time with family is more important than extravagant vacations.  Food from the garden is better than eating out.  New clothes are not needed when you aren’t trying to impress people who do not even care about you in the first place.

Sure we don’t drive the nicest cars (when they run), and Lord knows we don’t have the slickest attire.  We aren’t on everyone’s “Who’s Who” list and we don’t get to experience the newest greatest things, BUT…

We are as happy as we have ever been, we stress less, and the time we spend with family and friends outweighs any possession or experience one could buy.  I regularly wake up excited about what the day holds and not worried about what I have to get done.  Those things are priceless.

There is no way I could go back to the rat-race of life.  In only people knew the peace and happiness that comes from a path of downward mobility….  There is a reason that Jesus told his followers to sell all they have to give to poor.  It is not so that the poor can be liberated, but so that the wealthy can.

New Baby Check List

September 15th, 2009 8 comments

Mikayla is now 4 months old and Beth and I have learned a lot.  I remember just a few months ago walking through Target with the price gun to do our baby registry and getting frustrated because I had no clue what we needed.  (This could be my version of hell.  I hate feeling like I don’t know what is going on and I really hate shopping.  To make it worse we weren’t even shopping — at least with shopping you get to get open up something new and read the instruction manual).

Nursery prior to Mikayla's arrival

Nursery prior to Mikayla's arrival

Now that we have a feel for what it is like to raise a new baby, I feel like I can make a list of the things you really need (at least the things we did).  We certainly don’t have things figured out, but if we had to start over, these are things I would make sure we have.

Dealing with poop

  • 15-25 cloth diapers.  We chose fuzzi bunz.  I have written an entire post on our cloth diaper decision.
  • Enough NB/1 disposal diapers to get through the cord falling off and for emergencies — we also used them at night the first month or so, but later learned that was unnecessary.
  • 2-3 wet bags
  • 5 gallon wet/dry pail
  • Diaper detergent (see this post for more insights)
  • Changing pad (we put this on an old dresser and skipped the formal changing table)
  • Diaper bag
  • Travel changing pad (we slip a few disposable diapers and our wipes in this for simplicity)
  • Wipes


  • 6-8 4 oz bottles (we used these initially and now use them for storage)
  • 6-8 8 oz bottles (we use Dr. Brown’s for all our bottles – they are compatible with Medela pumps and seem to work.  See here.)
  • Beth’s stuff (obviously I don’t use this stuff)
    • Medela breast pump
    • Nursing wrap
    • Lansinol nipple cream
    • Breast shells (not shields) – we never used these b/c we could not find them in time, but I think they would have really helped the first 2 weeks)
    • nursing pads
    • 3-4 nursing bras
  • Bottle warmer
  • Bottle drying rack
  • Bottle brush
  • Milk storage bags


  • Bouncy chair
  • Some sort of stand-up exerciser
  • Wrap / chest carrier / sling
  • play mat
  • Swing (this has not been used as much as we thought it would, but when we use it, it was golden and irreplaceable)
  • A few tactile toys


  • Crib
  • pack and play
  • 2 swaddling blanket / wrap (kidopotamus makes an awesome one we used for the first 2 months)
  • 2 sleep sacks
  • gowns (don’t even try to use footed pajamas the first few months)
  • a few stocking caps
  • monitor
  • every pacifier imaginable to find out which the baby prefers and then at least 4 of the “winner”
  • Bedding set (no need for a fancy one)


  • you will need some of these, but you will find it has less to do with practicality and more with “cuteness” and personal taste.  My only recommendation is to avoid anything that requires more than 2 steps to get to poop-production-plant.  I personally gravitate towards the onsies.
  • Dressers / cabinets / drawers / etc.

Bathing / Medicine

  • Bath tub (I was opposed to getting one of these because I thought it was unnecessary, but it has proven very useful).
  • Children’s Tylenol
  • gas drops
  • baby wash
  • baby shampoo
  • wash cloths
  • snot sucker (We also use an aerosol saline to help make this more effective)
  • Baby towel
  • hair brush
  • temperature checker
  • rectal thermometer
  • nail clippers (we used nail files the first month)


  • Stroller
  • Car seat (we have a nice travel system where the seat has a base and fits on the stroller)

I am sure I have left a few things off, but I certainly wish I had this list going into the whole process.  Of course Beth could add things, especially as they relate to pregnancy and post-natal care.  I also have listed the things I am sure we will need when Mikayla “goes mobile” such as outlet plugs, cabinet locks and hallway gates, but I figure this is a good start.

Mikayla and me at 4 months at Jackson's Orchard.

Mikayla and me at 4 months at Jackson's Orchard. She has reason to be concerned.

Dr. Brown’s bottles. Worth it?

July 6th, 2009 1 comment

Mikayla is a little over two months old and besides the necessary medicine (and a few Shiloh hairs) the only thing that has gone in her mouth is breast milk.  In fact, only a small minority of her feedings have ever come from a bottle.  BUT… when a bottle is in use, you can bet I am at the other end of it.  When Beth is at class M-Th morning, I usually feed her once or twice.

This whole bottle thing was bit overwhelming for me.  We have 10 different styles of bottles and that is only half of what Target sells.  In fact, when Mikayla first started bottle feeding, I had to set a morning aside just to figure out which was which.

For the most part we have standard Medela bottles and fancy Dr. Brown’s bottles.  Both are the same size both get milk to Mikayla.  But, the Dr. Brown’s have a special venting contraption.

The vent system fully vents the bottle for vacuum-free feeding, which we call positive-pressure flow, similar to breastfeeding. As the baby feeds, air is channeled from the nipple collar through the vent system, bypassing the breastmilk or formula, to the back of the bottle. ~Dr. Brown’s website.

Special Vent Design

Special Vent Design

Supposedly the milk is healthier, the baby is happier and it is easier to feed them.  But here is the catch: there are more pieces to clean which can be a pain.  The two extra pieces (supposedly) require a special little brush too.

Standard Medela Bottles

Standard Medela Bottles

Dr. Brown's Bottles

Dr. Brown's Bottles

So, is it worth it?  In a word: Absolutely!

Up until today I had only used the Dr. Brown’s, but this morning the only bottles we had ready in the fridge were the Medela Bottles.  (In case you were wondering, both bottles fit on the Medela pump, but the Medela bottle s are a bit too short for the Dr. Brown’s vent to fit into).  Rather than use the dirty two bottles, I just used what I had.

In the end it was a much more frustrating experience.  The nipple kept collapsing, Mikayla had to fight the milk more, she was gassier and every couple minutes I had to take to readjust the bottle so air could sneak back in.  It ended up taking 30-50% longer, and father and child were both fussier.

Now I am sure there are other contraptions out there and other techniques to avoid this suction issue, but based on today’s experience, I will gladly break out the little brush and stick with the anti-suction-special-venting-plastic-tube-thingie that comes with Dr. Brown’s bottles.

You can read more about the bottles here.

Driscoll slams stay-at-home dads

June 28th, 2009 7 comments

It has been a long time since something has really gotten my blood boiling, but at 1:00 in the morning while I waiting on videos to render I came across this video.

Let me give a disclaimer first.  I have always approached Mark Driscoll with some hesitancy.  Most of the time I don’t disagree with what he is saying, but I do question his delivery.  To put it simply, I tend to put the emphasis different things.

That being said, this commentary on gender roles is completely out of line and personally offensive.  In case you don’t know, I am currently a stay-at-home dad and this was a decision Beth and I did not take lightly, but are completely happy and at peace with the decision.

Okay, enough with the disclaimers — on to the video:

Lets start with delivery before we dive into the deeper points.  I am convinced Mark thinks he is a better pastor if he drives people out of his church.  He seems to take an arrogant pleasure in the fact that some of the stuff he is saying will piss people off and cause them to leave (by the way… this seems to be par for the course.)  I am sure he would say he is sticking to his guns in the face of a fickle society.  Don’t get me wrong, Christians need to be unwavering on some issues and refuse to compromise.  However, even on issues that stand at the core of Christian belief, there is no need to enter the conversation by speaking down to those who hold opposing views.  There is no room for discussion or clarification.  For Driscoll, this is how it is and everyone else can go to hell.  It is one thing if he takes this attitude on things like the divinity of Christ, but he is talking about stay-at-home dads here.  If I remember correctly (and I too have read the whole Bible) there is no definitive passage addressing the evils of stay-at-home dadding, so we are all forced to interpret secondarily what the witness of scripture is.

Continuing with my critique of Driscoll’s tone, I must call him out for on some of the offensive things he said (and implies).  First, I think it is clear that Driscoll thinks all stay-at-home dads are deadbeats.  Forget his theological rational, his argument revolves around an assumption that it is not manly to stay at home.  Furthermore, he basically says that men suck at nurturing.  That may be the case for him, as he clearly admits, but lets not paint with too broad of a brush.  His statements about men not being cut out for the job of staying at home relies on stereotypes, is short-sighted and is offensive to those who do a great job (may I point to my man Lee Fowlkes.)  Furthermore, he builds his case on the assumption that women cannot adequately provide.  These comments are not based on biblical exegesis, but on ignorance.  If he wanted to make statements about the topic from a (conservative) biblical viewpoint he could have said something like “The bible outlines certain roles each gender should follow.  To deviate from those is a sin.”  Saying that would have been more biblically based without conveying arrogance, ignorance or hate.  The bible does not give him the right to judge the effectiveness of males parenting/nurturing skills.

Now, on to his arguments.  Driscoll bases most of his discussion his interpretation of 1 Timothy 5:8

If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

He has taken the phrase “does not provide for his relatives” to mean the “a man should be the breadwinner.”  But be careful here and go back and read the verse.  Is it addressed to men?  No!  The verse says “anyone” who does not provide for his relatives… So a wife not providing is as bad as a husband.  This is bolstered when you realize this whole segment of 1 Timothy is addressing how to care for widows.  Paul addresses gender roles, but he doesn’t do it here.  Even if you take traditional approach to Christian gender roles and insist on the male being the head of the household, you must admit scripture does not say the man must bring home the bacon.

Since Driscoll is a man who values “The Word” lets take a look at the word.  In 1 Timothy the word for provide is pronoeo and has nothing to do with providing physically.  Instead, it implies thinking ahead (pro=before) and planning.  It is used 3 times in the NT and tends to carry an administrative nuance.  So even if this did apply to directly and only to men (which it doesn’t), a first year seminary student could tell you the exegesis doesn’t allow for a reading that points primarily to providing physically. Driscoll says “if you are an able bodied man it is your job to provide for the needs of your family” and then he goes on to talk about work and material provision.  Where is he getting this, because he sure didn’t get it out 1 Timothy. He is clearly reading what he wants to into the text.  Even if we throw the greek (and context) out, we must admit that “providing for a family” is a multi-faceted thing.  A father could provide all the money in the world, but if he is not taking his turn changing diapers, he is worse than an unbeliever (sarcasm intended). If anything, American fathers need to know that God calls them to provide holistically for their families.  The last thing we need is more distant fathers.

“If our father is our basis for God, and our fathers abandoned us, then what does that tell you about God?” – Tyler Durden in Fight Club

Okay… lets look a bit deeper at how he chooses to answer the question.  The question was “What are your thoughts on stay-at-home dads if the mother really wants / needs to work.”  His answer reveals his convictions on gender roles.  Not only does he speak out against men staying home while women work, he makes it clear he believes a woman’s place is at home.

Personally, if a woman wants that, I think its a great option.  BUT… it is not the only option.  Again, even if you go into a discussion of gender roles, we have to understand what scripture says and doesn’t say.  It clearly does not say a woman should stay at home with the kids.    Driscoll bashes the “culturally relevant” argument, but in doing so he neglects the social situation of the day.  Thank God we have come a long way as a society and women now have choices and are not considered property.  Lets not adopt an archaic social structure (i.e. slavery) just because scripture addresses that cultural circumstance.  But again, that is not even relevant because scripture is silent on whether women should stay at home.  But I digress… I want to return to affirm women who choose to stay at home.  I think this is a much better option than paying someone else to raise your children.  Likewise, if women do work, I think that is a perfectly fine model as well — as long as your family is being cared for.

Lets return to Driscoll’s argument and something his wife says: “”It is hard to respect a man who does not provide…we need to take the word seriously.”  While I agree it would be hard to respect a man who does not care for his family, lets not forget “the word” does not use this phrase to address material, but actually care and foresight.  She then quotes Titus and Paul’s words to this young missionary.  Again, if we look at the context, Paul is giving some suggestions on what to teach to a new church.  There is one phrase in chapter 2 that says “women should be busy at home.”  Now… is there enough in those 6 words to base your entire post-marriage career path on?  I think not.  Can a woman (or man) be busy at home and have a job.  Absolutely.  Just ask my wife!

Lets end on a Driscolls closing.  He says there is nothing in scripture that allows for this sort of family structure.  First, I would also point out there is nothing in scripture that clearly lays out the structure he insists on (mother at home, dad bringing home the bacon).  But more importantly, I would disagree with him.  We do have a model of this.  Check out Lydia in Acts 16:

Lydia’s Conversion in Philippi

11From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day on to Neapolis. 12From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.

13On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.

40After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and encouraged them. Then they left.

The text clearly shows a woman working outside the house.  The household is identified by her name rather than her husband’s and she is in a prestigious business.  I will grant a couple points: She was not a christian when described as working, it is possible her husband is dead / she is not married.  However, what I find important here is that the text is neutral and does not paint Lydia’s work outside the home as a bad thing.

Lets get personal for a second.  Beth and made the decision together for me to be a stay-at-home dad.  We realized that we could provide for our family best if she worked and I stayed home.  We are not giving into cultural trends, we are biblically asking how we can best provide and following through.  Let me say this too.  Beth is not working just so she can make the money to sustain the family.  She is working because the job she has allowed for more ministry than anything I could get.  Plus, it freed me up to engage in ministry of my own that I would not be able to do if I was working full time.  Forget killing two birds with one stone, we just took out a flock of geese with a boulder: Beth can minister as a teacher, I can minister during the day, Mikayla is raised primarily by her parents, financially we can give more to charity and the church…. and the list goes on.

Driscoll’s conclusion to the question asked is very direct: unless there are extreme circumstances, it is outside God’s will for a man to be a stay-at-home dad.  He even goes as far as saying such an action would require church discipline.  Once again, I must ask… on what grounds?  It is so frustrating to hear his pastor rail so heavily on the importance of the scripture, yet when you take even cursory glance at his arguments you realize his preconceived views are more heavily at play than the authority of scripture.  We aren’t even discussing interpretation of difficult passages.  Driscoll is ignoring the context and running with a flawed ideal.

This is not just about me getting my feelings hurt.  This man is calling into question the career and family life of a significant number of godly people.  Heaven forbid godly men and women abandon their life just because some pastor misreads (or ignores) the implications of Scripture.  If Beth and I were to act on his advice and take up his model for a godly family, we would be living on less, giving less, Mikayla would have less time with her parents, Beth would leave a job she loves and I would have to take a job I hate, our opportunities for ministry would decrease and our stress would increase.  Is that really the biblical ideal of providing for one’s family.  I think not.

I would leave his church over statements like this (and perhaps that would only stoke his ego) because I think they are dangerous and ignorant.

Beth and I are not ignoring the call of God, we are embodying it.  We are not clinging to culture and rejecting biblical truth, we are clinging to godliness and rejecting naivety and closemindedness.

Thankfully, after writing over 2000 words on the matter my blood pressure has returned to normal and maybe I can get some sleep. 😉

*I found this video while searching for stay-at-home dad blogs.  HT to athomedaddy.

Not Your Daddy’s Diapers

June 21st, 2009 No comments

Seriously?  Your doing what?

That is the typical response Beth and I get when we inform people we are using cloth diapers.  There are varying levels of shock.  Some people think we are absolutely crazy, others are cool with it until we tell them we are not using “a service” but washing them ourselves.  Most people can appreciate the idea but insist it is not worth the effort.  At least half try to wager with us that we will stop using them within a month or so.  Very few are excited about it and open to cloth diapers as a mainstream option.

To the doubters, I must insist: you simply do not understand.

These are not the cloth diapers my generation was raised on (my parents started me on cloth, but abandoned early on).  Many people blindly assume that using cloth diapers involves rubber bloomers and safety pins.  While you can still do it like that, things have come a long way.  Beth and I use a brand called Fuzzi Bunz that are of a style known as pockets.  Basically they look like regular diapers.  They have a water proof shell, a fleece liner and a place where you can insert micro-terry pads.  Fuzzi Bunz use snaps and adjust to wide range of sizes (other pocket styles use velcro).  Putting the diapers on and taking them off is as easy as disposable.

Waterproof Shell in variety of colors

Waterproof Shell in variety of colors

Fleece Liner and Micro Terry Inserts

Fleece Liner and Micro Terry Inserts

What about cleaning them?

That is where admitedly it gets a bit more difficult than disposable.  You don’t just throw them away [TANGENT: this is actually the primary reason we went with cloth diapers, we could not stand the thought of throwing away 8-12 diapers a day for the next 2 years].  We do it this way:  Right after changing Mikayla, we take the daiper to the backroom, rinse the poo off in the toilet and then throw the diaper into a plastic 5 gallon bucket with lid and sprinkle a little baking soda every now and again.  At most it takes an additional minute to do this step.  When we are on the road, we carry a water proof bag with us and just rinse the diapers when we get home.  When we running low (we have 27 diapers now) we take the whole bag to the washing machine, dump it out, run it through a rinse cycle with cold water, and then wash Hot/cold with Purex Free and Clear.  We then pop the inserts in the dryer and let the shells air dry.  After they are dry it takes about 15 minutes to stuff the diapers (which I usualy do while watching TV).  We do about 2 loads a week.

Total additional time commitment: (1 minute extra changing time x 10 / day) + [(10 minutes to wash / dry + 15 minutes to stuff) x 2 / week) = 2 hours / week.

2 hours may seem like a lot, but when you think you spend 2-3 minutes per diaper change anyway, you are already looking at 2.5-3 hours/week on diapers, and if feedings take 20 minutes x 8 times per day you are looking at 18 hours/week with that.  Lets face it, babies take time, and the 2 hours you spend on clothe diapers are not productive minutes you are wasting, but idle minutes.  Compare that to the teenage years where every soccer game requires a two hour commitment of prime evening time!

What about cost?

Cloth diapers can be expensive.  Fuzzi Bunz are around $18 apiece.  BUT… we buy our diapers from a diaper exchange site called Daiper Swappers.  (Be careful… these “mommies” are intense – it takes about a week’s learning curve to understand the forum.)  and get them for between $5-10.  Yes they are used, but they still have plenty of life left in them.  To get us started it took about a $220 investment.  However, when you consider we will be able to sell those back and purchase the next size, we will be able to recoup most of our money.  If you shop around and are patient you can get good deals and then actualy sell them back for a profit.  That is what our friend Michelle does.  So when you consider it, we will basically get our diapers for free.  Compare that to my sister in law who spends $100/month on diapers for her two boys.  Even if you buy new, you are saving money. [NOTE: Fuzzi Bunz come in multiple sizes as well as an adjustable model that allows you to stay in one size for the whole time your baby is in diapers.  According to their website, most babies only use two sizes: S and M.  There are 4+ size options on each diaper and Mikayla is still on the smallest setting]

Mikayla in a fresh Fuzzi Bunz

Mikayla in a fresh Fuzzi Bunz

I am not saying cloth diapers are for everyone, but after doing our research and going through the process for 2 months, we are totally satisfied.  With Beth breastfeeding and us using cloth diapers, our monthly costs for Mikayla are close to zero.  To end, here are some pointers we have learned so far to:

  • Get a dry pail for home use. We picked up a 5 gallon bucket and lid for less than 5 dollars at Lowes.
  • Have at least two wet bags for traveling (3-4 would be better).
  • Since we bought used, our micro terry inserts have a variety of thicknesses.  We put the thicker ones in the colored diapers and the thinner ones in the white diapers.  That way it is easy to tell which have great absorbency when using them overnight, or for a long car ride. [Update: We ended buying more “doubler” inserts — basically thin inserts that can be added when you need extra absorbency — and making all of our diaper thicker”]
  • Take the time to understand the various styles.  Fuzzi Bunz are not the only type, but after comparing different brands, it was obvious this was the right match for us. (others are cheaper, but require more work; others use velcro which is easier to use, but can wear out faster).
  • Be prepared to change diapers a bit more frequently because there are no chemicals to instantly dry the liquid.
  • While you could make it with 10-12 diapers, it is well worth the extra money to get 20-30.  Not only do you only have to do wash every 3 days or so, but it saves water because you can do larger loads.
  • We still use disposables on occasion.  We have been using them at night simply because we were given so many at showers.  It is also nice to have them when traveling, but using a wet bag is not difficult or messy at all.
  • We haven’t had to do this yet, but the word on the street is that you can get rid of pesky stains by letting the diapers sit out in the sun.
  • Finally, don’t knock ’em until you have tried ’em.

Variety is the spice of life

June 11th, 2009 No comments

First, the mandatory confession: I suck at blogging.  There, I said, it now I can continue with my post without having to promise I will do better this time.  Lets face it, chances are this will be my only blog post for six months.  Now on to the good stuff.

The last 2 months have by far been the most transitional of my life.  Mikayla was born, I graduated from seminary, the distillery I work at had its grand opening, Kaleidoscope is undergoing a major transition… the list goes on.  In reflecting on these months I have grown to appreciate the tension of my life (some would call it chaos).  I love having my hands in a bunch of different pots (although I will admit I am not the best multi-tasker).

Right now, my primary job is that of stay-at-home dad.  This is the first week Mikayla and I have been home together alone on a regular basis.  I gotta say I love it.  She is sleeping right next to me on the bed as I type this.  I had someone urge me yesterday to apply for a full time job with great benefits and an excellent salary.  I turned it down.  I would not trade these hours with my daughter for any amount of money.

My primary source of income now comes from Corsair Distillery.  We make top shelf craft spirits.  Right now we are selling a gin, absinthe, spiced rum and vanilla bean vodka.  We are also working on several varieties of whiskey.  I love it because my job is different everyday: run the still, do tours and tastings, clean up, manage press releases, work with distributors, label, bottle, package….  I also enjoy the mix between science and craft.  We basically use science to create a craft product.  I guess you could say my artistic medium of choice is ethanol.

Speaking of Art, that brings me to my next job: Kaleidoscope.  Things really have changed since I came on in 2007.  Instead of a 250K budget, we now have about 5K in our account and no regular source of income.  I used to work more with community development, now I work with development.  Basically I am a (near) volunteer grant writer.  Right now we have well over a million dollars in outstanding grants.  It is crazy just waiting around to hear back on these.  We could live the next 3 years in feast or famine.

Finally, I work as UMC local pastor.  While my appointment is currently to Broadway UMC in Bowling Green, I have spent the last 6 months in Russelville at a small rural church.  They have been awesome to us and it has been great to have a chance to shape my seminary education into messages relevant to the church.  I am sure some of them are sick hearing about the Old Testament and importance of understanding the trajectory of redemptive history, but I am confident our time together has resulted in a better understanding of how we fit into the bigger picture.

Each of these four areas are so diverse, yet capture a small part of who I am.  I am a husband/father/distiller/grant writter/community developer/pastor who doesn’t seek to reconcile his existence, but instead find comfort in the tension.