Monday, February 27, 2012

Adventures in Diapering

I mentioned in Hunter's 3 month post that we started cloth diapering him, and I got a lot of e-mails asking about our experience.  Forgive me for being lazy, but I am going to combine and condense the questions on to one post.  Prepare yourself for adorable pictures of my son's tuckus, starting with Exhibit A:

 Why are you using cloth diapers?  Are you some kind of hippie or something?
   Uhh, no.  I mean, I love me some Mother Earth and whatnot, but the long and the short of it is I am cheap.  Disposable diapers are farkin' expensive, man!  Granted, there are great programs out there such as  Amazon Mom that can help you save money on diapers, but it can still add up.  I figured out that if  I continue to use the cloth diapers we currently have, we will break even in 6 months (when he is 8 months old).  If we continue to use them till he is potty trained, we will have saved ourselves nearly $2000 in diaper costs.  Multiply that by how ever many kids we plan on having, and you've got yourself a nice little savings.   You can use this neat-o calculator to figure out the savings if you were thinking about making the switch.

What brands are you using?  How many?
  I know a lot of people create a 'stash' of different brands before the baby is born to figure out what works best of them.   I went all in and got Flips, which is an All-In-2 (AI2).  This basically means there are two parts to the diaper: the diaper cover and the microfiber insert.

When his diaper needs to be changed, the insert is switched out for a clean one and the cover is reused.   We currently have 8 covers and 30 inserts, and I do diaper laundry about every two-three days.

Another popular system is an All-In-One (AIO), and they are basically the same as a disposable;  when the diaper needs to be changed, you remove the whole kit and caboodle, and put a fresh diaper on.   As much as I did like the idea of the AIO,  I eventually went with the AI2 system for cost reason; the AIOs tend to be a little more expensive.  We do have one AIO and it takes for. ev. er. to dry.  I call it his "super hero diaper":

His super power is his ability to hypnotize you with his cuteness.  And flesh eating drool.

How is the sizing?  Blowouts? Are they bulky?
  As far as sizing goes, I think they fit great.  The diapers are one-sized, which means they grow with the baby through a series of snaps and you can change the rise of the diaper by unsnapping it and adjusting as needed.  The insert is folded over to accommodate each size.

I also chose the snap closure (as apposed to the velcro) for two reasons:  I have read that the velcro wears out over time, and as the kids get older, the Velcro can make it easier for the child to remove their diaper where as the snaps are more difficult.  I am not all about having a naked baby running around the halls of Falconhead, if I can help it.

I, personally, have not had any blowouts.  With the disposables (::coughLuvscough:::) every time he pooped, I knew I had to do a complete wardrobe change.   

They do add bulk, especially since Hunter currently wears his diapers on the smallest setting, and the insert is folded over.  We have had to bump him up to the next size of clothing just to accommodate the diapers, and he rocks the old-man-pants.

What is your storage/ dirty diaper system?
   I try to keep every thing as close together as possible.  The diapers are in the upper left hand drawer, just below the caddy that holds the wipes and other baby accessories.

Beside the dressers there are two trash cans:  one for wipes (and the occasional disposable diaper) and a larger can (with lid) for the cloth diapers.   As of right now, Huntface has not started on solids so his poop is water soluble-- meaning I don't have to rinse it before I wash the insert.  Once he starts on solids, I'll rinse the inserts out in the toilet with a diaper sprayer.

The can for the diapers has a small liner so all I have to do is lift it out and dump the covers and inserts into the wash.  I sprinkle a little baking soda on the bottom of the can to help with the smell.

How do you wash them?  
  One of the biggest questions I get is if I go through a laundry service for the diapers.  The answer is no, I launder the diapers myself.  Both the inserts and the covers are washed on a warm cycle and the inserts are put in the dryer while the covers air dry.  I use a perfume and dye-free detergent and I don't use fabric softeners or dryer sheets of any kind.

 I have read you can do a cold rinse cycle first to minimize staining, but I haven't seen a need for that.  If the inserts have any stains when I pull them out of the dryer, I hang them in the backyard to bleach in the sun.  Even though we have only been using them for a couple month, pretty much all of the inserts look brand new.

Does it cost a ton extra in water and electricity to wash them?
  I'm not going to lie to you, our electric bill and water bill have gone up since we had the baby-- but to be fair, we are doing extra laundry for his clothes and bibs as well.  The diaper laundry equals out to about one extra load a week.  Even if you wanted to contribute the extra cost to ONLY the cloth diapers, it's probably about an extra $100 a year.  We also do not have Energy Star washer or dryer, so I am sure they would help with the costs as well.

 Do you cloth diaper him full time?  Even at daycare?
   We were lucky enough to find a private daycare with a woman who was willing to cloth diaper him.  We make sure she always has two covers as back-ups and every day I pack a bag with 5-6 inserts and a wet bag (the blue bag shown below) for her to drop the used inserts into.  When we pick him up in the afternoon, the wet bag is emptied into the can in the bedroom and  rinsed out with soap and water.

Does Hunter like them?
   Um.. he's like 5 months old.  As long as he can grab his toes, he is a happy camper.

How does JEGs feel about cloth diapering?
  JEGs does not love the cloth diapering.  He appriciates the cost effectiveness, but there are a few things that he can't get past.  First off is the handling of the dirty diaper.  It grosses him out that he has to touch the insert and rinse off poo (this is coming from a guy who handles old motor oil and other random car sludge).   I have found the best way to handle it is grab the back of the insert and dump it, or hold the whole diaper over the can and just shake the insert out.

The smell also bothers JEGs.  A lot of disposables are scented like baby powder, and you aren't going to get that with cloth diapers.  The inserts will absorb the smell of the urine pretty quickly, but the covers won't so they tend to smell a little funky.  However, he says that these are not reasons enough for him to stop using cloth diapers.

We do still use disposables whenever we travel because it's just easier to throw the diaper out then lug around a wet bag.  Plus, disposables are more compact then the inserts and we don't run the risk of running out of covers if he has a poop explosion (or two).

To be clear:  I have no issues with anyone who goes 100% disposables at all; this is a judgement-free zone.     Parenting is super personal, and I am just sharing my experiences.

To conclude this post, I think we need another shot of Super Baby.

seriously Mom, how do you expect me to save the world with all this picture taking?
Always & Forever,

Friday, February 24, 2012

The HOVAS has landed

Remember last December when I was dreaming of a white HOVAS?

At the time JEGs and I decided to wait until we got settled into a house to A.  make sure the couch fit, and B.  we wanted to have enough cash to purchase it.

After spending 8 weeks on our couch during my maternity leave, I just couldn't take it any longer.  I didn't like how high the arms were because it made it difficult to reach anything on the side tables, and I always felt like my ass was sitting on the springs.  We needed the HOVAS: stat.  

One night in November, I listed our set on Craigslist and for kicks and giggles posted the link to my personal Facebook page.  The next morning around 6 am, I got a text from my friend Sarah demanding I let her purchase the set.  We didn't expect it to sell so fast so JEGs and I were all "holy crap... we are really doing this!" 

Sarah and her brother planned to pick up the set on a Monday.  We decided to purchase the HOVAS the Friday beforehand so we would not go any days without a place to sit.  Since I was at work, we secured my parents to baby sit the monster and JEGs went to pick it up. He texted me this picture:

followed shortly after by this picture:

I was all sorts of giddy.  Ten minutes after Sarah and her brother carted out the old set, we tore into those boxes.  Since it is IKEA, clearly it had to be assembled.

About a week before we actually decided to buy a new couch, we went back to IKEA to test it out-- just to make sure this is what we really wanted.  The floor model had a brown, corduroy slip cover on it and we started to rethink our decision.  The brown slipcover looked so-- college dorm room.  Sitting next to it was the smaller EKTORP with it's classic shape, white slip cover and cheaper price tag.  We went back and forth between the two, mostly because I was afraid the HOVAS would completely overtake our teeny living room.   We decided that the extra leg room for JEGs out weighted any of our other concerns and hoped that the white slip cover would make it look less dorm roomish.

We made the right choice.

After it was all assembled, I don't think it looks nearly as obnoxious as I thought it would!  The white slip cover looks much more tailored then that hideous brown crap they had in the store.  Seriously, I don't know what they were thinking.

Anyway, after living with the white couch for a couple of months, I'm not 100% sold on it.  It does show the dirt, and I have washed it with *gasp* bleach, even though the tag said not to.  I still feel like I see the dirt.   I am leaning towards dyeing it a smokey grey.  If it doesn't work, a new white slip cover only costs $50.

What's the total cost breakdown?
Couch: $499
Cover: $50
Delivery:  free (JEGs borrowed a truck from his office)
Total (with tax): $528.94

A husband that can comfortably stretch out:  priceless.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

It's All Lovey-Dovey Up in This Place

I've said before, Christmas aside, I'm not much for holiday decor.   I've never really had to the urge to go all out each time the calendar shows a red number.  However, now I have a mantle and I feel compelled to decorate it for the seasons.  

Well, that and I am totally procrastinating from sorting through boxes from our move (::cough::nearlyayearago:::cough::) for things to keep as permanent decor on the mantle.  

First off, can we talk about our new mirror?  Doncha love it?  I do.  It's the HEMNES from IKEA and for $45 it was a no-brainer.  I was literally obsessed with it for days until I finally pulled the trigger and bought it.  It makes me happy.

Random note:  how do you pronounce HEMNES?  In my mind I am totally thinking Hermes, but that might be so I can feel like I bought something really fancy, and not a budget-friendly Swedish knock-off.

Anyway, I made bunting out of card stock and  printed  letters from Martha Stewart.  This is my go-to source for letters;  I've used it so many other times.  You can also see them here.

pay no attention to the blogger in the mirror...

I printed out one of my all-time favorite quotes and framed it (a la last year)

 Instead of the freddie mercury candle sticks from last year, I added a trio that I picked up at a yard sale for a couple bucks last year.

I needed more red, so my lazy ass threw tissue paper in a vase and an apothecary jar.  Boom.  Decorated.

I finished it off with a couple "lovey" books and a thrift store bird I painted white.

The front door is now sporting one of those yarn and felt wreaths that are oh-so hot in the blogosphere right now.  DIY'ed of course.

and the money shot (yup, I just called felt rosettes a 'money shot')...

[edit:  "Anonymous" asked where I got the pink felt (and didn't leave an e-mail to contact them with! ;) but I got it at Joann Fabrics.  The white I have had for years, and I believe I might have gotten it from Walmart.  They grey yarn is from Michael's.]

Hunter wanted to send some love out to a special lady in blogland...

Quinn Evie, will you be my Blog-Valentine?

Have a lovely day!

Always & Forever,

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Fabulous January

Let's pretend like I posted this in a timely matter and not like it took me two weeks to write.  Blah blah blah, baby excuse.  I plan on using that excuse for the next 18 years?  My water bill is late?  Back off, I have children.  I think it will work.  

Anyway, on to some events that made January rockin' with fabulousity.

Holiday free is the way to be.

You guys, I am not even going to lie-- I was so over the holidays this year.  Normally I am bursting at the seams with tidings of joy, but this year... eh.  I think between the onset of visitors from the baby, and then Thanksgiving and Christmas and ahhhhhh!  I was just happy for our schedule (and bank account) to chill out for a little.


Confession:  I was so anti-Keurig for the longest time.  I kind of had this mind set that Keurig owners were kind of impatient because honestly, you can't wait an extra minute or two for a cup of coffee to brew?  Jeebus.  However, now that I am breast feeding, I need to lay off the crack caffeine, so it was becoming difficult for JEGs and I to use the same coffee pot.  I would have to brew a pot of decaf and then he would have to brew a pot of regular.  It was getting ridiculous.  So we scouted out some after-Christmas sales and used up the last Macy's gift cards from our wedding and got ourselves a Keurig B60.  It is amazeballs.  Seriously, I love it.  Coffee in an instant!  GIVE IT TO ME NOOOOOOWWWWWWWW!   And I love all the little variety packs!  Chocolate Raspberry truffle one day, donut shot decaf the next.  Best purchase ever.

However, we ran into the problem of where to hold all those little pods.  We didn't have the counter space for the carousels.  While we were visiting a friend's house, we saw they had the pod drawer and we were sold.  It sits comfortable under the coffee machine and doesn't take up any additional counter space!

Walk Off the Earth- Somebody That I Used to Know

I don't know about where you live, but the airways of Philadelphia have been brimming with Somebody That I Used to Know by Goyte.  I am slightly obsessed with this song;  I am constantly humming it to myself and when I am in the car I find myself scanning the stations hoping that each commercial break will be followed by the the simple plucking of a guitar.    One day JEGs linked me up to this great cover by a band called Walk off the Earth.  These guys are so. freakin.  AWESOME.   In their version they have five people playing one guitar and singing along.  Consider me double obsessed-- I especially love the guy on the far right with the beard and the skull cap.  If you have a couple extra minutes, check out Walk off the Earth's other stuff, including their cover of LMFAO Party Rock Anthem.

Cora is UNO

Our dear friend's daughter, Cora, turned a year old this month.  She had an UNO themed birthday party complete with UNO card bunting and a custom made t-shirt.   Isn't she adorbs?  I love her little Red- inspired ponytails.

January, OUT.

Always & Forever,

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Hunter: Four Months

We regressed a little in our sleeping habits. We had you on a solid schedule of going to sleep at 7:30- 8:00 pm and sleeping till 6am.  Now you wake up around 10:30 pm-- just as I am drifting off to sleep.

The epic nap from 9:30 am- noon has gone the way of the dodo bird.  Now you sleep in 20 minute increments-- which means I have become really good at getting a shower, dressed, hair done and make up on in  19 minutes.

You have really taken an interest in your toys.  You'll reach out and grab them and shake them around for 15 seconds.  Then you drop it and look around helpless until someone picks it up for you.  Your new favorite toy is Frank the Elephant.

Something else you have really taken to is screaming.  You aren't angry or frustrated;  you just learned that your volume can go up.  And you think it is hysterical.  Daddy and I don't find it as funny.

You have really developed a laugh this month and you laugh a lot around you Dad.  He is totally your buddy.

The drool keeps coming like a faucet.  We change just as many bibs as we do diapers.

We are getting a little better with tummy time.  Daddy discovered that you might not realize you can look up, so he propped you in the Bumbo seat and dangled a toy above you.  Ever since, you have gotten sooo much better with tummy time.

You got to meet your cousin Alexi last week.  She was all about you.  You couldn't really be bothered.  

But you did try to hold her hand, which was the most precious thing in the world.

I finally packed up the last of your 3 month clothes and got out all your 6 months outfits.  Seriously dude stop growing, because it's making me super sentimental and I may have choked back a couple tears as I folded the onesie with the puppy paws printed on it.  

Always & Forever,