Monday, June 30, 2014

What Happened to my Camera!

Semi-Annual Resolution: Take more freaking pictures!

So I filled a book with Nolan's pictures of just his first 2 months of life. Now that I'm nearing his 1st birthday I'm finally filling out the final pages of his 2nd book. I noticed that I'm taking pictures more mindfully, but at the same time that means I'm not taking pictures on a whim on the off chance that I just catch a great shot.

Problem: Little babies/toddles move and they're fast! They don't get that they should pause for 5 seconds with a smile on their face while a camera is facing them. No, they'll grab for the camera or wiggle for freedom thus ending in a blurry photo.

Possible Solutions: Just take more pictures because it doesn't really cost any more... or buy a more expensive camera with a quicker shutter speed?

Per my post on Friday, I'm not looking to spend any more money right now. Since I'm spending what could be considered a car payment (for a used/well loved vehicle approaching 100k miles) each month on a cleaning service, I'm actually physically restricting myself from shopping.

Instead of online shopping, make this look prettier.
Goal: Just take more freaking pictures using the perfectly good camera you already have. I mean, at least once a week. Sometimes I can't remember when I took the last picture of Nolan. Get on it, Easley!

Friday, June 27, 2014

First World Amenities

I meant to post this on wednesday but it was just in my drafts. So happy friday!

So, I'm going to put this lightly. I've been tortured using sleep deprivation as a primary tactic.

That's all I'm really going to say to preface this blog. But basically, I think for me, in order to be the best mom I can be, am in desperate need for help. I worship naps, I actually kind of like pulling weeds, and diaper laundry is kind of a favorite chore of mine. But. I. Hate. Cleaning.

It might have been an act of desperation - but last week I called Merry Maids and hired them to clean my house in effort to free up some of my times on the weekend I generally reserve for feeling guilty about not cleaning. I hired them to come twice a month for as long as they'll continue cleaning my house.

Yeah, this is the part where you're thinking I pretty much take a limo to work, right? WRONG. I am not really one to just throw money at a problem*. I don't wear diamond tiaras and hand crafted silk shoes or whatever is in style nowadays.

*Good lord, I'm a liar. I totally am..

Money saving justification:
  • We "forgo" amenities like cable and use Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime for TV (Savings, $60/month or 26% of the cost of a month of cleaning service)
  • Using cloth diapers  (and we can sell them when we're done, chew on that one...) (Savings, at least $50/month or 22% of the cost of a month of cleaning service)
  • I am giving up the facials that I would get about every 6-8 weeks saving $60 + tip a pop (literally! Bahaha ohhhh zits, you never cease to be a form of entertainment) (15% of the cost of a month of cleaning service)
  • Closing my Southwest credit card - I signed up for this without being fully aware of the $60 annual fee, but I kept on trucking because I like getting points for my flights. Equally, I can use a different card without a fee that still gives me rewards in other ways.  (2% of the cost of a month of cleaning service)
  • They bring in their own cleaning supplies so I don't have to spend money on bleach or whatever cleaners they plan on using... (mayyyyybe 1% of the cost of a month of cleaning service)
  • Plus, I'm being more mindful of how I spend my money. I'm an online shopaholic... Not spending $70/month would cover the rest of the cost of the cleaning service..
 Other reasons why this is right for me:
  • I have been sleep deprived, you won't understand this until you meet the fate of a screaming person every night for 11.5 months... and what's worse is that I wake up even on the random nights when Nolan does STTN
  • As a full time working mother, I think it's well within my rights to outsource a task that I find incredibly dull and bothersome to a person who's willing to clean
  • Ultimately the biggest reason for doing this is so that my little buddy gets a happy mommy to play with.
In the face on Make A Gif
Why wouldn't anyone want this?
They're cleaning my house right now. Knowing that is better than the feeling you get at 4:59 on a Friday of a three day weekend.  

Edit: I said twice a week but meant twice a month! Wow, I WISH!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Christmas in June

a·dult [uh-duhlt, ad-uhlt]
1. A stage in your life when you don't care how many presents under the tree have your name on it.

When did it get to be that by the time my birthday or christmas rolls around that I literally can't think of something fun that I want? My new christmas really is when I get packages in the mail from Amazon and I carefully watch the tracking every morning for longer distance packages such as from Shutterfly and The Gap.

At this moment, I have at least 4 different packages coming my way. When I see a box at my doorstep it will honestly be a little like christmas. What did I get today?

Well right now, I'm expecting a father's day present for Brian, and 3 separate packages from The Gap. I won't elaborate on the father's day present because I want it to be a surprise, but The Gap... yeah let's just say I spent a lot of money online shopping the other day looking for the perfect outfits for the three of us for our first ever professional family portrait session next month.

Out of laziness I ordered a lot of clothes from The Gap in different sizes knowing that I would HAVE to return some of them. Online returns aren't my favorite thing (repackaging, putting in the mail with a prepaid sticker... who has time for that? *end sarcasm*)

Our photo session will be on campus - so hopefully we'll have nice weather!


Speaking of adult/growing up... look at this little guy!

MOAC57 on Make A Gif, Animated Gifs

The best present ever is getting to watch this little boy grow up. He's getting so big and he's officially a walker now! He started off with 1-2 steps at a time and he's already increased big time to this. I'm pretty sure we'll have a runner by the time his 1st birthday rolls around!


Now I'm off to online shop for birthday presents for my little guy. Ohhhh this kid is going to be SO spoiled.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

How do you know someone cloth diapers their baby?...

...She'll tell you. And she'll blog about it.

This post is more of a how to blog with my personal experience mixed in. If you're not interested - I'd stop reading here.

First of all, full disclosure, I LOVE cloth diapering and I've been planning on blogging about it for a while now. Mostly because I want to a) talk about how easy it is, and b) show people how easy it is, and c) give people a resource for how I do it.

While I was still pregnant I entertained the thought of cloth diapering. I read blogs about it. Read reviews of brands. Watched youtube videos of what to do. And even went to an informal class about the different types of diapers and how to use them.

I wanted simple, so I went for these brands:
BumGenius Freetime - All In One
BumGenius 4.0 - Pocket Diapers

This brand is kind of the Cadillac of cloth diapers in my opinion. The cost runs anywhere from $18-$25/diaper... and I have 42. A quick math lesson will tell you there is a lot of capital to get started cloth diapering... but it doesn't have to be. There are other brands such as Alva which can run in the $5 range. Also, cloth diapers hold their retail value extremely well and you'll see them sold used on ebay for a good discount.

To get the diapers ready - you're supposed to prep them. Basically that means you wash them a bunch so that the fabric is used to taking on liquids. It's kind of like when you get brand new kitchen towels and they seem semi water resistant and you're like, "this isn't what I bought you for!" and then you wash them a few times and they fluff up.

Cloth diapers are supposed to be washed using special cleaners. You can use tide or other stuff from Target but not all brands are cloth diaper friendly. Since I spent a lot of money on my diapers I wanted to keep them in good shape so I followed the KISS method and bought special cloth diaper detergent. I've tried both Rockin' Green and Charlie's Soap. I don't have a preference for one or the other, but I tend to buy Rockin' Green because:

The biggest learning curve for me was the fact that I have an HE washer/dryer. It's ironic that to clean cloth diapers it's typically better to have a less efficient washer which uses more water. From the research I've done, the washer will weigh the clothes in the washer and use more water accordingly. Therefore, the tip I've read and will pass on is to do a rinse prior to washing your diapers. This way your diapers will hold onto some extra liquid therefore making the load heavier. The next thing is that I'll run a 2nd wash (no drying in between) using the sheets setting. Supposedly that uses more water so I figured that's what will work best.

I feel comfortable after using this method for a solid 8-9 months and with clean smelling diapers that it is officially working for me.

Now I'm going to take it back a few steps and address the question you've probably scanned this entire blog for. What do you do about the poop?

I'm glad you asked. My 10.5 month old poops like 1-3 times a day so not every diaper is a poopy one. When we do get a dirty one, I use the following things:

BumGenius Diaper Sprayer
Spray Pal - Cloth Diaper Spray Shield 

Before you scream because of the sticker price... I have to say worth.every.penny. I sincerely believe these are just as necessary for cloth diapering as a baby butt is. So buy it. You won't regret it. And like the diapers themselves, these typically can be resold for at least 50% of their original purchase price. 

So your baby has pooped. Personally I like to put Nolan in baby jail (read: his crib) and take the diaper and spray it down and I bring my cloth diaper "laundry basket" with me so I don't have to carry a soaked diaper down the hall when it's done. You clip the diaper to the spray pal and turn on the sprayer which basically just works like a garden hose sprayer. You get the junk off, you flush it down. Put diaper in basket.


When it's time to do laundry - which I do every 2 days - I just take all the diapers down to the washer and throw them in as is. The washer takes care of cleaning the diapers beautifully. Of course every once in a while I'll throw in some bleach to remove stains cuz they do happen. I hang the diapers up to dry and they're usually dry within a day or so.

Meanwhile I still have plenty of clean diapers just waiting to be used.

I didn't cloth diaper when Nolan was brand new because of meconium. And then the diapers were too big anyways. Many people have found newborn sized cloth diapers which they like. I'm sure you could find some if you looked :)

I use disposable at night because they appear to be the best way to keep Nolan feeling dry and therefore helping him sleep better at night. I also use disposable when we're traveling. But if I'm just driving around town I'll still use cloth.

I prefer my snaps vs velcro diapers.

My husband supports cloth diapering and I think that has really made all the difference in making this successful. If you want to convince your spouse that cloth is right but they're not really interested in it - I'd show them the bottom line. Even though there are a lot of startup costs, the maintenance costs are low. And eventually you end up saving money that you would have spent on disposables. I think we're now past that point where I've spent less on cloth diapers and accessories than I would have spent on disposables.

Oh, I also use cloth wipes. But that's another story.

If you have a question about cloth diapers, please ask in the comments below!