Cloth Diapers//Decluttering Overload//Baby Stuff

So I made a decision. I’m going to use cloth diapers with Baby Z. I went shopping on Saturday with a friend of mine that is due in March. She showed me at Sears they are clearing out a lot of their baby stuff and had 8 packs of Kushies Basic fitted diapers on sale for $22. They are suppose to fit 10lbs to 22lbs.
So I bought 24 of these:
I’m ordering 6 of these to go over those:

Then I decided I need to start at the newborn stage so I don’t depend on disposables. But Newborn diapers are so expensive for such a short time, then I scored these Bummis covers for $5 each! So I bought 7 ūüôā

I’m going to order some basic prefolds ebay, and then they can be used as liners and such when Baby Z is older.

Then for the older stage I’m going to order this set(since it only comes with 4 Thirsties covers I’m going to order two more from Kushies in the toddler size)
I know there are fancier diapers I can order, but for $15-$25 a pop, I just can’t justify it. Prefolds are the workhorse diaper according to many blogs I have been reading, and with Snappins, there is no worrying about pins. Later on you can even just lay the prefolds in the wrap. I’m doing this to save money and to be frugal, the more money I can save the longer I can stay on maternity leave with minimal daycare children. Plus since I will have all these diapers in the next month or so, and assuming I stick to breastfeeding, Baby Z will be essentially free to care for till he is 6 months or so and we introduce solids.(Even then I got a Baby Bullet for Christmas, so those cost will be low too) Then in a few years if and when we decided to have another, diapers will not be an issue. Even if I just cloth diaper while at home, I will be able to save us a fortune.

Thinking back I think I have some large Thirsties prefolds and liners for older babies. I was going to cloth diaper Wesley just before I potty trained him, but then I just moved him to Kushies Training pants. I think I have about 7 pairs of these too:

Also since we spend A LOT of our summer swimming in hubby’s auntie’s pool I’m going to order Kushies swimmers(2 smalls for the beginning of the summer and 2 mediums for the end)

Basically to break even I would have to cloth diaper for 5.5 months.
You will break even in 22.83 weeks or 5.26 months.
You will save $61.1 in 6 months.
You will save $389.16 in 10 months.
You will save $553.2 in 1 year.
You will save $1045.29 in 1 1/2 years.
Not to mention, once I know we are done having children, the fact I can resell these items if I take care of them is a major bonus. Nobody would ever buy my used disposables LOL.

SO I’ve been MAJORLY purging the house. Saturday morning I put out in my front yard 28 boxes and garbage bags full of stuff to be picked up for donations. Two weeks before I put out 3 bags. Totaling 31 bags and boxes. I have to say, OMGoodness this is refreshing!! It feels so good seeing my house slowly becomes less cluttered. I mean we still have a lot of stuff, and a lot of it I don’t think we need. So I’m starting round 2 today.

I realized I’m a lot like my mom. I find a great deal and buy it. I mean who can turn down brand new, beautiful, fluffy, full size bath towels for $2. Well when your linen closet it bursting at the seams and your wondering why the people that designed your house would make it so small, there’s a problem. So I decided today I’m purging my precises bath towels. I’m keeping 10 towels, that is all. 2 per person, I’m including Zakari and my stepdaughter in this count. I could likely get it down to 6, but its nice to have a few extra for major spills.

Now my closet is another thing. I have about 15-20 pairs of jeans, 12ish pairs of dress pants, too many tops to count. I got rid of the faded color jeans, or jeans with holes, also I got rid of dress pants I don’t like. I’d really like to purge more, but I have assorted sizes and I’m not sure what I’m going to need from now till post pregnancy. I don’t want to get rid of them and then in a few months have to go out and buy some more. I also got rid of shirts that seemed to have shrunk up, since I have no interest in showing off my mid section.

I also spent some time reading about Simple Parenting last night. I realized how much damage I am doing to my children by buying them so many toys. Its not healthy! Their rooms are bursting at the seam and most do not get played with. I thought maybe for their birthdays (baby Z- May, Wesley- June, Chloe-July) we could get them one small gift each and one big joint gift, like this year I was thinking a sandbox. Something they can do together and encourages outdoor play, and creativity. Maybe at Christmas each a small gift(like a craft, movie, book) and a family present like season passes to the children’s museum/zoo. I need to get over the mentality that they need a million and one presents to open Christmas morning. Memories of being a family is so much more important.

I’m also going to start slowly giving away some of there least popular toys. Hopefully making room for the toys they really play with. So far I have only gotten rid of toys that they are too young for and toys that are broken or missing pieces.

I have to say, since I have been purposing to stay on top of dishes and laundry, and eliminating clutter, I’m happier. I feel happy looking at less clutter. The simple life is great! The idea of living with less, cloth diapering, and donating all the stuff were not using, is so freeing!

Even grocery shopping has become simpler. Instead of buying huge carts of stuff and wasting half of it, I go once or twice a week and buy some basics. Really I’d like to have a stock pile, but while I’m decluttering, that is not all that helpful.

I also decided that I’m going to do some Container Vegetable Gardens this summer. Since Baby Z and I will be home, I may as well grow some basic product. I was thinking radishes, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans and strawberries.

I’m going to get some bins from the dollar store and drill some drainage wholes in the bottoms. Hopefully if all goes well we can have some fresh salads this summer. Oh and I can’t forget dill! Yummy mash potatoes and dill…..

Oh some other great news!! My parents brought over my last box of baby stuff that I was storing in their basement, and there it was! My Cuddlewrap! I was so worried I lent it to a girl that I’m no longer friends with, and since Wesley was a baby they have gone from $50 I paid to $80 to purchase now. I was bummed that I might have to buy a new one, or find one used on ebay. What a relief.

I’m also pretty sure unless we receive it as a gift, or someone lends us one, we will not be using the bucket style carseat. When my car got banged up last year, autopac replaced Wesley’s 3 in one car seat(which was about to expire) with a brand new one. So I switched him to a booster since he was the right size and stored that one in the basement. So basically I just need the rest of my diaper stash, a pack or two of baby face clothes(for cloth wipes), a few newborn and 0-3 month outfits, stroller, new crib mattress, and maybe a swing. I’m not sure about that either. I would rather my baby get lots of tummy time. So I’m undecided about that one. The minimalist ideals would say no, but the old me thinks yes. I’d also love to get him a new crib set. But in all reality I just need the comforter. I have several fitted crib sheets, and I don’t use the bumper pads. So maybe I’ll do some shopping on ebay.
Any how, off do my only load of laundry for the day and a few dishes.

MACHS Homeschool Conference 2011- Keynote Speaker Andrew Pudewa

Homeschool Conference 2011

What an amazing experience! This weekend I was able to attend our local Christian homeschooling group, MACHS, homeschooling conference. It was held for two days at Calvary Temple in Winnipeg.

I have to say this conference was AMAZING. Much to my excitement the keynote speaker was Andrew Pudewa,¬†the director of the Institute for Excellence in Writing. While this was very impression, what really got our attending was the fact he was trained under both Suzuki and Doman. He actually worked with my hero Glenn Doman(author of the book “What To Do About Your Brain-injured Child“) at The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential.

Another early learning mom, who happens to be a good friend of mine, and I had the opportunity to talk to him after lunch.

Ok ok… We may have formed an attack to corner the poor man to try and pick his brains. He was busy looking for his missing cufflink, so we took this opportunity that he was in one area to speak with him. ¬†As brief as it was, he was able to tell us about some interesting things.

– According to him,¬†the IAHP is not open to new research. They have the mentality, if they didn’t come up with it they are not interested in it. After hearing this, I also heard something similar from somewhere else. This is really sad to hear and I hope it is not true because there is still so much to learn about the human brain. By limiting their interest in other studies they will eventually become dated.

– We talked about EK flashcards. He went on to tell us how the connections are made. Basically if you never saw anything you wouldn’t think about anything. By showing EK bits you are providing your child the chance to think about something, there for making connections in the brain.

– He also told us about another person that he use to work with at the IAHP that left the institute and opened his own clinic the Family Hope Center. I’m under the impression the founder of the Family Hope Center was fed up the IAHP would not consider new research on Brain Injured children. Another thing that seemed to bother them¬†was the fact that the people who are now in charge of the IAHP are Scientology and as a devout Christian he did not agree with the way it was run. So I spent some time on their website and decided to place a call. They were already closed for the day so I left a message. I’m interested to see what this place is about.

We then spent time listening to the keynote speaker sessions, wondered around the 3 exhibit halls and ate lunch. I managed to control my spending habits. I bought Wesley a new bow for his birthday, 2 workbooks and and parents guide. I loved there was so much about Suzuki music this time around. I’m not sure if they will be able to beat it next year.

Disclaimer: This post may include affiliate links.

When Right Brain Education Meets Left.

Well I have full force started a right-brain education program for Wesley. We have always done a little right brain education here and there, but not as consistant as I should be. Now this is what we do:
– Little Reader
– Little Math (both Little Math curriculum and the 65 Day Shichida’s Math Program)

Wink To Learn Speak and Read English
Wink To Learn Speak and Read Japanese
Doman Advantage word cards
Now my son is traditionally too old for the math program, but we are noticing that these right brain programs, mixed with our fantastic new ABA tutors he is maturing so much when it comes to his speech and conversation skills. My mom almost feel out of her chair last night when Wesley ask my dad “Papa do you have a gameboy? We play two players?”¬†My mom said it was the very first time she heard him ask a question that wasn’t asking for something he wanted to eat or do, he was asking if my dad owned something. Might seem small but this is HUGE for us.
We had our clinic meeting on Tuesday, and our team was shocked how many programs Wesley blasted through. Our consultant actually didn’t bring enough programs to replace the ones he completed.
We started him on some easy easy mazes( I found a Franklin work book full of mazes at the dollarstore), which he baseline mastered. Now I plan on going to Chapters and buying him some Kumon Maze books.
Now we do other programs that are not Right Brain as well, and they help him so much too. For example Headsprout, Singapore Math, Touch Math, Exploded the Code,, and now we also started Click N’ Kids ClickN READ and ClickN SPELL.
Sometimes I wonder WHY so many programs. But then I realize there is a method to my maddness, this provides my son a variety, making it so he is learning using different programs and making it so he doesn’t get board with our programs. I do each a couple times I week(right brain programs are almost daily as they only take 15-20 mins of our day)
We also read 2-10 books a day. Right now I’m learning how to read to him and ask questions so he stays focus on the story. He tends to space out during story time. Now I’m not sure if he is still taking it in or not, Tweedlewink creators claim that children can learn from background sounds just as much as when they are paying attention. But I don’t know.
Last night Wesley and I started a crawling program. We chase each other crawling for 5 mins. It was a lot of fun. I know five mins doesn’t seem like much, but my goal is to work us up slowly. I’m also going to ask my father to build us a set of monkey bars in the basement. I need to get him moving on the physical part of the Doman program. I just pray I can keep motivated.
I hope this combination of programs with help develop my son’s brain to its full potiental. Sometimes he resists programs, and I know its suppose to be child lead, but once I insist he does something he usually enjoys it. And in those situations I keep our sessions short. Our window of healing his brain is closing and we must move forth.

Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose. It really matters how you handle yourself.

I’m on the beach relaxing in the sun with my cat while my bf and stepdaughter play in the water. So seeing as I don’t really like playing in the water I might as well blog lol.
This weekend I took the kids to my Memeres house for a visit. Wesley brought his board game Trouble and taught Memere how to play. But it turned into a long game and half way throught he decided he was done, as did my step daughter so they ended on a good note.
I started thinking about a few months ago when I picked Wes up from his old daycare. I walked in and there were 4 children playing Candyland. The teacher asked me if I had any suggestions how to play the game so everyone wins. Some of the children were having trouble losing. I said “No, we usually play the regular rules.”
The more I thought about it the more convinced the point of board game is to teach children, well of course skills like numbers, colors, etc also social skills. Like your not always going to win, and you have to learn to win gracefully and learn how to lose as well.
I think that just because a child hits the floor in a temper tantrum does not mean you should have to change the rules of the game. You should use this time to teach them good character. Helping them congratulate the winner.
When my son beats me at a game (sad part is this happens often lol) I say “ah man! You beat me! Good game, you really got me on that last move” Its ok to be disappointed in losing. But it’s how you handle yourself. And my examples seemed to work. He laughs when someone gets his piece in Trouble and says “oh man! You got me!” If he wins he says “I win! Good game! Want to play again?” I don’t allow gloating, and we haven’t had an issue yet.
I know some children are more compeitive then others but I mean we need to prepare our kids for the future. Now a days I’m school everyone makes the basketball team no matter what. What happened to working really hard for something? What happened to not always winning? Do you think everyone that applies for the promotion at work is going to get it? Everything we do is preparing our children for real life. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose. What really defines us as who were are is how we handle ourselves when these things happen.

Our First Homeschool Convention

Every year our local Christian Homeschooling group, MACHS, host their annual homeschool conference. This was my very first year attending. As a new homeschooling mom I was so excited for this day to come. Originally I had only signed up to attend the Saturday, because I was suppose to work in the Operating Room all day Friday assisting with dental surgeries. However the other assistant asked to switch shifts with me, which freed up my Friday!

I woke up and got Mr. Wes ready and sent him off to daycare. He only has about a month left of daycare in his centre and we will be transitioning to me being at home full time at the end of April. For now though, I am very grateful there was somewheres for him to go while I attended.

When I arrived I found it very overwhelming at first. I was dumbfounded. The original plan was I would window shop Friday, and buy on Saturday. Well after witnessing the line up at the Math U See kiosk, and that the Primer pile was going down very quickly I panicked decided to buy. I stood in the long line and asked everyone a million questions about the program, some moms had used it from kindergarten to grade 12. Everyone said they wouldn’t go with anything else.

(Update 2017)However looking back I do not recommend parents jump to purchase a curriculum because they are selling out. Enquire if they offer free shipping of the items if they run out and you order before the end of the conference. If they do, this you should take the time you need to make sure this is the program you want and is best for your family. Looking back now this program was not a match for my oldest son. It involved many tears before we put it away.

Early on during the day on Friday,  I was taken under the wing of a seasoned homeschooler. She was a wealth of information. I found it comforting that her oldest was participating in the graduation ceremony the next day. It made me see that people were really pulling this off.  She showed me a few other programs, and offered some great advice. This made me feel so welcomed. While I did not come alone, the people I was with were also newbies to homeschooling. Can you say the blind leading the blind? You can tell that this conference is full of people with the hearts of teachers. Everyone was so kind and willing to help a new mom out.

Tip to experienced homeschoolers. If you see a new homeschool parent at a conference and they are open to it, take the time to share your experiences. Make them feel welcomed. You will be such a blessing to them.

Since I had spent a good chunk of Friday in the vendor area, Saturday I figured I better go to a few more lectures. The woman had talked the day before, Stacy McDonald, and really inspired me. Made me think long an hard about how I might be destroying my family slowly by nagging and nitpicking my hubby. Well the next day it was hard to listen to her ¬†Mother/Daughter talk she was doing. She was encouraging parents not sending their daughters to post education outside the home. That once a daughter graduates from homeschool highschool she should basically stay at home till she gets married. If parents of girls what their daughters to be more educated they should encourage her to take it online. She also promoted girls not to work outside the home unless she’s doing missionary work.

I know everyone has a personal opinion about this, but I strongly believe that even if I woman wants to be a stay at home mom, she should have several skills in her back pocket. What if her husband gets sick and for a short or long period cannot work? What if her husband dies? What if her husband up and leaves her? I think that as parents we should be training our children, son or daughter, to be able to be both self sufficient as well as be able to live in a relationship with a spouse. Boys should be able to cook and clean. Girls should be able to work and change a tire. After listening to her Mother/Daughter talk, it was hard for me to take her lectures to heart knowing she has such a different point of view on raising children.

I landed up back in the vendor area again. I decided to pick up some basic Rod and Staff Homeschool Preschool Activity Workbooks- Set of 4 (for 3 & 4 Year Old Children). They were fairly cheap, and I think they will help get Wes use to doing workbook type lessons. Each book contains 32 pages of color by numbers, tracing and matching. They are advertised as being great for teaching numbers, shapes, colors, and more

Something I have found helpful is it to unbind all these books and put them into binders. This way when I want to do the lesson with Wes, I can take them out and put them in the page protector and he can do them dry erase. That way we can reuse them if we need to review and I will have them to use with future children as well as with my daycare kids.

All in all it was a great experience. I definitely plan on attending next year. I think I will make sure to really study the schedule ahead of time. This way I can plan which sessions are important to me, and which I think I will skip to spend time in the vendor hall.

I do wish there was a non religious or secular convention here too. It’s not that I don’t believe in God, I do. I know though there are secular material available for homeschoolings that might be an amazing addition to our homeschooling classroom. These types of programs are not typically offered at Christian conventions.

UPDATE: Check out the other homeschooling conferences I have attended since 2010.

MACHS Homeschool Conference 2011- Keynote Speaker Andrew Pudewa

MACHS 2017 Homeschool Conference in Winnipeg- Keynote Speaker Heidi St. John


Welcome to the World of a Autism Diagnosis.

welcome to the world of autism

An autism diagnosis was not a planned part of my motherhood story.

Since before my son was born I wanted to teach him. I know how smart little children are and how much they can learn if parents just take the time. However things didn’t go so smoothly for us.

No matter how hard I tried, it seemed like I could not teach him. He was a late crawler, a late walker, a very late talker(were still working on this) and he was hard to control. I couldn’t reason with him, not even a little. Times he just plain ignored me.

However he was very smart, there was no doubt. He needed to know how everything worked. Thing is it was on his terms, he just would not allow me to teach him.

He did OK in the infant program at his daycare. He bonded with his caregiver. But when he was moved to the toddler room he did not adjust so well.

Every morning, involved him crying in the parking lot before we even got out of the car. The staff was little help in the new room. In order to leave I had  to peel my son off myself and leave him there crying. The caregivers had just accepted this was how Wes was, and did little to comfort him.

Because of his allergies he could not sit at the group table instead he ate his lunch alone in a corner in a highchair. As a young single mom, who had never attended daycare myself, I had no idea this was not how it was supposed to be.

At the time we were trying to get him into speech therapy and had to go through the Children’s Development Clinic. There were countless forms to fill out. A packet was given to the daycare to complete. When I got that completed form I sat in the daycare parking lot that night and cried.

The comments and statements that the caregivers wrote crushed my very soul.

It read comments like “Wesley spends most of his time sitting in a corner with a toy staring into space. If another child takes the toy from him he does not get upset just begins wandering around the room” or “Wesley shows no interest in spending time with his caregiver, when shown books he refuses to sit”

They also talked about how he was unable to do puzzles. This was odd to me because he did puzzles at home all the time. How he seemed sad all the time, Wesley had always been a happy kid, until he started the toddler program.

After I read this report I was done. One month in this room was long enough.

Why would they allow him to sit alone and not engage him, even if he doesn’t respond right away, try again! These are suppose to be train Early Childhood Educator. Just because he didn’t fit their perfect cookie cutter child ideals he was being left in the dust. I could see he was being ignored because all the other children could talk and Wesley was never one to demand attention. So he was left to rot.

I called around and put him on a few waiting list for other daycare centres. I expected it to take months as good childcare is difficult to find in Winnipeg. However only a week or two later I got a call at work from a daycare in our local deaf center. They had a spot available for Wesley to start the next Monday.

I went into panic mode! I needed to give the other center 2 weeks notice or I would have to pay for that spot and this new one. As a single mom on a tight budget I couldn’t make that happen and still pay the rent. Not on such short notice. Plus I wanted to visit the centre, talk to the workers and make sure this was actually better for Wesley. Because they required a yes or no answer I had to turn them down. My heart just sunk as I sat back down in the chair in the lunchroom at work and fought back tears.

But God must have been watching down on me, a few minutes later they called back. They decided that because Wesley(being non verbal at the time) could benefit more than the other children on their wait list they would hold the spot for the two week period as long as I agreed to come down the next morning check out the center and give a firm answer. My heart just sung with joy! A daycare actually wanted my son because he was nonverbal, and they were willing to work with me.

The centre was everything I dreamed, it was slightly Montessori. Children who were not potty trained were cloth diapered, and they used a emerging curriculum. Children learned using things they were interested in. Plus they signed, and not baby sign, real ASL. What more could a mother ask for a great environment and the chance to learn a second language. I had been trying to teach my son ASL and it was starting to come along.

Wesley still cried when I left, but he was included into the group activities. They included him at lunch. They exposed him to more and more signs. He was understanding the deaf caregivers.

The children included him, they just assumed he was deaf and that’s why he didn’t talk. The caregivers helped them understand he wasn’t deaf, he just needed help getting his words out. When he would say something all the children would cheer ‘Wesley talked!! Wesley Talked to ME!!” They were and still are so supportive of him. Plus the daycare director put in a few words at the Children’s Development Clinic and helped get him bumped up the list.

An Autism Diagnosis Р The Other A-Word

What I found out on that cold January day in 2008 almost paralyzed me. Dr. Bowman looked at me in the eyes and said, “Your son has many strengths, however I do see a lot of autistic tendencies.” I tried to reason with her, ” Wesley is not autistic! He makes eye contact, he loves being with me, he smiles! He bonds with people, autistic kids don’t do that.” “Ms.Dupuis, the autism spectrum is very wide. I will run a few more test, but I already have a good idea what they are going to agree with the autism diagnosis.”

I went on to ask about what Jenny McCarthy was doing with her son Evan. A few months ago I had just read the book,¬†Louder Than Words: A Mother’s Journey in Healing Autism. I had seen Jenny promote it on Oprah and for some reason needed to read it. She shot it down saying it was not scientifically based. I asked if he would recover, they refused to give me real hope.

The autism diagnosis is really is wild card. No one knows what I child’s outcome will be.

We did the additional testing. I don’t know if it was more frustrating or comical. Every time the person conducting the test would turn around, he would do something she would have benefitted from seeing him do.

The results came in and of course as we expected, he was on the spectrum. We could choose between two provincially funded programs we could choice from.  We could do either ABA(What is ABA?) or Floortime. However we were lead to believe that ABA was ONLY for families with a stay at home parents. We more or less mislead into the Floortime program.

Honestly for us Floor Time was a waste of time. It was producing NO results. Every time we would finish up the session they would tell me I was doing great. I would ask what more I could do and all they would say is:

=”Keep doing what you are doing.” or

-“I wish we could record you for other parents to watch and learn.”

Well I don’t know about you, but to me what they were asking me to do was insanity. They were asking me to do the same thing over and over and expect different results. This was frustrating to say the least.

Around this time I had started seeing dating a new guy. One day he called me at work after reading an article about a family who moved across the country to participate in the local ABA program. I told him I knew all about it, but it was for families with a stay at home parent. That’s when he stopped me and said

“Monique, these parents were both busy doctors.”

WHAT?!?!? So I got right off the phone with him and called St.Amant. They assured us they could work with Wes right in his daycare and I’d only have to miss work once every two weeks. We got the ball rolling and wow. Just WOW.

I’m not going to lie, we hit some bumps. One being our first tutor who was good at first, stopped took a turn for the worse. She fell asleep on a public bus during a field trip with Wesley’s daycare while she was suppose to be supervising him.

Then the next day feel asleep at a public park while she was in charge. When I found out about this I demanded she never come near my son again as she was neglecting him and putting his life in danger. I don’t think I have to go into detail about what could have happened to him

Now Wesley has a wonderful tutor who teaches him so much! She’s really an angel to us.

When Wesley was 5 months old I became a single mom. Things just did not work out between me and his dad. When Wes was a week shy of turning 3 I met my current boyfriend. Who in his own unorthodox ways teaches Wesley so much. As soon as I learned to step back and he was able to be more involved, he helped teach Wesley boundaries and respect. He helps me every day, I don’t know what I would do without him.

Now Wesley where is he today. WOW he is doing AMAZING. He can sign 100s of words, but is depending mostly on his speech. He’s still uses short sentences, but is improving everyday.

He can spell his name, count to 25, read 50 words(just started learning a few weeks ago and is just soaking this stuff up), knows his alphabet and what sound each letter makes. He plays with his peers, loves trains, cars, puzzles and Franklin.

I have ABA to thank, and also a modified Doman Technique, Your Baby Can Read and The Letter Factory.

I hope to come here and update regularly about Wesley progress and any new programs were trying.