Friday Tidbits

It’s been a while, sorry about that! We had family visiting from out of town and the days just zoomed by. Let’s get back on track by being totally random and talk Mother’s Day gifts, shall we?

I know, Mother’s Day was months ago. Of course, it landed right in the middle of a few very hard weeks for me. Hubs felt super guilty for not getting me anything but little did he realize, he gave me the best gift of all: SLEEP. Amelie was at the stage where she would only sleep being held and so Hubs held her for 2 1/2 glorious hours, pinned to the couch with just his phone while I napped in another room. I’m telling you, it was heavenly. I couldn’t have asked for anything more in that moment, it was perfect.

Fast forward a few months to a more normal and predictable life. I hit up this local craft fair with Amelie and a friend and bought myself a belated Mother’s Day gift:

It’s a double stranded silver necklace with an off-center gold heart. Luuurve. It was crafted by local artisan Britta Ambauen. She had so many pretties to chose from. It’s fairly ironic that I haven’t worn my Mother’s Day gift much, for fear of Amelie yanking it off accidentally with the hands she just discovered.

Anyway.

Hubs also bought me this mug:

After picking out a few as gifts earlier this year, I had been coveting one of my own. Consider me a very spoiled Mama Llama.

As for Father’s Day, Hubs got underwear and socks. Fancy, huh?

I’m always interested in how folks celebrate these things – anyone out there get some pretties for Mother’s Day?

bumGenius Newborn All-In-One Stay Dry Cloth Diaper REVIEW

We are cloth diapering Amelie. Now that she has officially grown out of her newborn cloth diapers *sniff*, I thought it might be helpful to do a final review for folks out there considering these for their baby’s bums.

I bought 12 of the bumGenius Newborn All-In-One Stay Dry Cloth Diapers from cottonbabies.com for a total of $156 + tax. All-In-Ones mean there is no stuffing or outer shells to deal with. The whole diaper can be thrown in the wash, as is.

I figured 12 would be just enough to get me by each day because newborns dirty around 10 diapers/day in those early weeks! In the end, I only kept 8 but I’ll explain that later. I followed the directions and pre-washed them ahead of time because that primes the hemp (inner layer) for optimal absorbency. I used Charlie’s Soap to launder them. Regular detergent is harsh on the diapers and babies skin plus it’s not overly awesome for the environment. But neither is having a baby, if you want to get technical.

Speaking of having a baby, take a look at how cute mine is!OMG, she is so yummy.

Back to the review. How did these diapers perform? I give them a B+. Here’s why.

Pros:

  • THEY ARE SO STINKIN’ CUTE. You guys. I’m telling you, these diapers are deliciously cute. And that matters. You are going to think your baby is the most beautiful baby in the whole wide world (so will Grandma) and you do not want anything detracting from THE CUTE. These don’t. They come in such fun colors!
  • These don’t go into the landfill. Conversely, you have to do more laundry and I’m not here to preach to any Mamas out there on the ethics of cloth diapering. No matter what kind of diaper you use, if you are making sure your baby’s butt is soft and clean and squishy then you are a good Mom.
  • They are economical, especially if you cloth diaper multiple kids. Amelie wore these diapers starting at 2 weeks old (when her umbilical stump fell off) until she was just over 11 weeks old. Not bad for ~$100 investment (remember, I only kept 8 of them) whereas disposables would have cost me about $150. If your baby is chunkier or you opt not to have additional kids, then these probably won’t end up saving you money.
  • You don’t have to run to the store when you come up for air from your mommy haze and realize that you ran out of diapers! With these, you can always throw a load of laundry in when you are down to your last diaper.
  • Did I mention how cute these are? I did?

Cons:

  • They leak. That’s the main beef with these diapers after I read a few more reviews. When Amelie was really little her pee would leak out of the leg holes, especially if she peed more than once in the same diaper. Of course, I was devastated. I had bought these way in advance (just in case Amelie came early) so it was well past the 30 day return policy. Plus, I had already washed all of them! Pulsing with crazy postpartum hormones and surviving on no sleep, I called Cotton Babies customer service and left a weepy message asking for my money back. And you know what? They allowed me to return them. I just had to ship them back myself (which was no easy feat with a finicky newborn). I decided to keep the 8 we had already used and ship back the remaining 4 washed-but-not-pooped-in ones. Sorry this is a long bullet but one more thing. I soon realized with the 8 I kept, if I changed Amelie often they held up pretty well and didn’t leak. And once her legs chunked up, they were fine!
  • Obviously you have to do extra (daily) laundry. Amelie would dirty all 8 diapers each day. Doing extra laundry costs money and energy – especially with our crappy washing machine. But, I did save energy by drying them in the hot Colorado sun. I’d plop them out on our deck and the sun not only dried them but also bleached them back to pristine again (swearsies!). I didn’t mind the chore of doing laundry each day – in fact, it made me feel productive in my otherwise blurry days. I would wash these separately from my other laundry because the velcro had a knack for snagging my other clothes. That isn’t a problem if you turn them outside in and attach the velcro to the strip. But, it became habit for me to throw in a load of diapers each morning and do the rest of the laundry at random other times. Honestly, throwing these in the wash and setting them out to dry is like 10 minutes of actual work each day.
  • Depending on the birth size of your baby, you might not get much use out of them. Amelie was 6 lbs and was still pretty scrawny at 2 weeks old when she started wearing these (she weighed under 8 lbs). If you have a chubbier baby, then they may only be in these a few weeks (post-stump-falling-off) before needing to move on to a bigger size.
  • They are not as convenient to travel with. If I was out running errands, I’d put the dirty dirty diaper in a wetbag and wash it when I got home. If you plan any overnight travels or plan to be away from home for a long time, these are probably more difficult to use. I rarely left the house (sad) so this was not a problem for me whatsoever.
  • The velcro will not last for forever. Eventually it’ll lose it’s grippy so if you are planning to use these on a gaggle of kids, they might not hold up that long.
  • Once Amelie started kicking more and pulling her legs up to her chest, the velcro tabs would rub and irritate her thighs. I don’t know why the tabs are not smooth on the outside- this could easily be avoided! We resolved that issue by keeping her dressed in at least a onesie for any long periods of time (even though she was so darn cute in just the diaper, I could hardly stand it).

I was very impressed by Cotton Babies customer service. They were great and I ended up being super satisfied with their timely response.

How about a picture to break up all of these boring words?

A few asides: We went all in and purchased this diaper sprayer.

It helps keep your diapers clean for the long haul and only takes few seconds to rinse the diaper out after each change. Plus, they don’t stink that way. We kept the rinsed-but-dirty dipes in an old trash pail by the toilet. Although an expensive little toy, I recommend having a sprayer if you plan to cloth diaper.

I bought these colors:

I adore them. bumGenius comes in sweet girly colors too but I chose colors that would be suitable to use again if we had a baby boy later on down the road. The only I regret I have is shipping back the Butternut (light yellow) and keeping both Clementines (orange) instead. It just so happened that the Clementine were the ones we used first before I noticed the leaking. The Butternut was so sweet (and so is the name!), I wish I could have  wrapped Amelie’s bum in it.

She pooed and peed in these every day for two months. Sorry for the dark picture but don’t they look amazing still?

In summary if I had a do-over, I would do it all again. I LOVED these diapers. I admit they are not perfect but they won me over. How could they not?

Her face! Oh she cracks me up.

We just recently upgraded to the bumGenius Freetime All-In-One Cloth Diapers. I went with these after a lengthy recommendation from my favorite bloggers, Young House Love. These are supposed to last us until Amelie starts potty training! They are pretty bulky on her now but she doesn’t seem to mind.

I’ll let you know what I think of them, if you care?

Home Sweat Home: The Den

Today is a departure from uterus-y things! We are revisiting the den. There isn’t much update you on but looking back on our stressful January with a clearer brain, I recognize mistakes were made. Let me fill you in.

  • We should have ripped out the carpet FIRST. We wasted so much time worrying about the paint color for the room and not giving any thought to what was lurking underneath that carpet. Not only was it a pain to try and level the floor on such a tight schedule, but we did not have time to do a second pass to make things right instead of just “better”. In addition to the main area, there are a few more spots in the den that could have also used leveling. It irritates me to no end every time I pass over the squishy “rolling spots” that the installers tried to fudge with cardboard. I really wish I could go back and redo those!
  • For the caulk, I used the wrong stuff. The Kwik Seal stuff I used seemed too flexible/gluey and may be better suited for kitchen/bath type projects instead of trim work. I SHOULD HAVE ASKED SOMEONE instead of guessing by reading labels. I shouldn’t have been intimidated by a caulk gun (it would have saved my crampy hands!) and I should have used all purpose DAP instead. It’s paintable in 30 minutes, perfect for trim and CHEAPER. Also, I should have caulked right after priming (before the final coat of paint). Luckily the white caulk and the paint are so similar in color that it’s hard to tell the caulk has not been painted over.

  • We made a huge mistake by not getting test pots of the paint colors first. SMART PEOPLE DO TEST SWATCHES. For all of my penny-pinching antics, it’s ironic and ridiculously wasteful that we picked our paint colors without testing them out first. It’s especially silly considering I painted my first house’s living room FIVE TIMES because I’m bad at picking out paint colors. Do you know how expensive two “mistake” cans of no-VOC Benjamin Moore paint is? I could have bought loads of clothes from Old Navy with that kind of change.
  • Of the two mistake gallons (one went up in the nursery, just to get painted over), we resigned ourselves to using the other mistake gallon somewhere else in the house even though it wasn’t a color I was in love with. We stored that and our leftover trim paint in the garage to use for later…WHERE IT FROZE BECAUSE IT WAS WINTER TIME. It was ruined. Our mistake gallon count went up to three. That’s a lot of cash thrown right into the trash. Breaks my heart, y’all.
  • This is not a big mistake but still worth mentioning. For the trim, I picked off-the-shelf no-VOC Behr paint in medium base white. I don’t know if I read it somewhere or just made it up, but using a medium base does NOT have anything to do with whether the white casts a blue hue or not (which I wanted to avoid). The base type is only for custom color tints so if you don’t add any color, then the base type doesn’t matter (it’s all white). So, yeah, I’m an idiot.

I think what I need to take away from all of this is that mistakes do happen. And it’s ok. They are painful but isn’t that what life is all about anyhow? Trying and learning?

Here is how the den is looking now, with some furniture additions:

Correction: the TV is from newegg.com NOT Amazon but I’m too lazy to edit the picture. Forgive me.

It was all looking too “Ikea-y” so we really love the coffee table Hubs scored from Craiglist. It was $50 and huge. I’d like to redo it in a fun color…someday.

Here it is from the opposite point of view:The only DIYing I did was spray paint the vent cover a fresh clean white to match the paneling:The mini door leads to the very scary crawl space under the house. I pretend it’s not there.

We still need to:

  1. install the quarter round
  2. fix the wobbly railing
  3. baby proof the open railing from dining room
  4. paint the railing (maybe black?)
  5. color match the existing hardwood stairs to the new walnut floors
  6. update all of the outlets
  7. add new lighting
  8. add accessories and art
  9. maybe paint the coffee table a wild color like sunny yellow
  10. DIY a cork board for my “office area”
  11. tackle the laundry nook eventually (next year, hopefully)

Before I get too stressed by all that’s left to do, let’s marvel at how far we’ve come:

And I love a good budget breakdown so why not?

  • Carpet cutter: $10
  • Pry bar for carpet: $4
  • Primer: $30
  • 3 tubes of paintable caulking: $12
  • 1 gallon Popped Corn by Behr $31
  • 1 gallon Ashes by Behr (shared with nursery): $15
  • Space heater for floors: $16.50
  • Self-leveler mix: $30
  • Laminate flooring/labor: ~$1000
  • Leftover spray paint from this project: $0
  • Couch: $848
  • Media stand: $169
  • Pillows: $24
  • Area rug: $150
  • TV: $499
  • Craigslist coffee table: $50
  • TOTAL: $2888.5  (yikes)

That’s it for now! Sorry, it’s incomplete but we are bouncing from room to room trying to get them “mostly presentable” versus officially done. Do you want to see how the guest room is coming along next or do you even give a crap?

Friday Tidbits

Everyone, thank you for your wonderful words of support on my last post. It means a lot to me. I was scared. Instead, I felt only warmth and encouragement. I thank you for that. *group hug*!

I hope you had a very cherished holiday yesterday. I caught up with a friend in the morning and spent the rest of the day relaxing with Hubs and Amelie. Thankfully the fireworks didn’t wake her – I would not have been amused! I’m such a curmudgeon.

In other exciting news (maybe), I started painting the guest room!It’s Winter’s Day by Martha Stewart. I have to say, I really like it. Everything takes 10x longer planning around nap time (and I was never a fast worker to begin with). Here’s hoping I can finish painting this tiny room before guests come at the end of July?

Happy Friday!

 

A beautiful beginning

Now that we’ve gotten through Amelie’s birth story and the days following – why not continue to ride The Train of Oversharing?

We brought Amelie home on April 15th. We had been slammed with 15 inches of snow and it couldn’t have been more perfect.

We had no place to go and didn’t want to anyway. It was so quiet – so peaceful. The blanket of snow muffled all sound except one:

BLISS.

Seriously. Hubs took the week off so we could be together, just our little family. Sure, getting up at all hours of the night wasn’t easy but I kept marveling at Amelie’s newness.

Oh come on, you know I can’t stop with just one picture…

(sorryjustonemore)

I was beside myself because her legs! They were so scrawny and delicious! Her funny expressions! Her crossed eyes, squishy baby butt, soft skin, and her amazing hair! Her snorts! Oh how I loved her snorts. And dressing her in adorable baby clothes? Forget about it. I almost keeled over every time I changed her from cute overload.

I would look at Hubs with wonder…because we made her?! Can you believe it?

I didn’t think I could fall any more in love with him. WITH THEM. I was soaked in happiness. It was a beautiful beginning to my new life because being Amelie’s Mom was the best thing that ever happened to me.

Soon enough though?

Those feelings fell straight into the shitter. I’m just now able enough to tell you about it. This has been a difficult post for me to write.

How do I sum up the first two months?

and

and

and

and

You know what? All of these pictures were taken on the same day and I didn’t even bother documenting when things got really gnarly – the “witching hour”- because by that time, I was in tears myself.

Everyone said it would be hard. And it has been. Those weeks were racked with confusion, desperation, frustration, unpredictability, self hate, feelings of incompetence, irritability, worry, resentment, exhaustion, bitchiness, anger, regret, defeat, loneliness, pain, unhappiness and not much else. And definitely NOT bliss. It pains and embarrases me to admit that there were lots of days where I fell out of love with Amelie and out of love with my Hubs. I never started out with much but the little love and respect I had for myself? That completely evaporated.

The nights were crazy rigorous but the days were so much worse. I was intimidated to go anywhere with Amelie. She wouldn’t just cry when were out, she’d choke on her own spit. She’d work herself into a sweat. She cried so hard, she even lost her voice. (Wow, that made me feel especially wretched). So I stayed home, some days I didn’t leave our bedroom. I don’t know if Amelie was a difficult baby or I was a difficult parent, but I suspect a little bit of both. I wanted so badly to love and smooch and snuggle. But instead we both cried. We cried and cried and cried some more.

Two things that helped:

1. The baby swing. Finally, a place where Amelie would sleep that wasn’t in my arms. Turns out when a baby sleeps not in your arms, so can you! Or you can shower! Or you can think about cleaning! Or you can have a bowl of cereal. It’s totally awesome.

and

2. Time. Amelie and I needed time to fail and to flail and to learn.

(Oh man, more Mommy tears. Do they ever stop?)

Let me be clear, I’m well aware that having a baby is something some folks would give anything for. It’s a blessing; a blessing I was lucky enough to have. Believe me, in those dark days knowing parents were yearning to have what I had made me feel all the worse. It made me feel ungrateful, incompetent and selfish.

I’m writing this post because I don’t want to forget the misery. I don’t want to forget those days that dragged on for forever. I don’t want to forget those lonely evenings on the bouncy ball trying to soothe her screams, while my own tears soaked her swaddle. I don’t want to forget that I begged her to sleep. I don’t want to forget her angry little legs kicking me in my tender tummy.

I don’t want to forget the major sads I had.

And also? I don’t want to forget the phone calls where I couldn’t speak, just cry, and my friend told me that I was a good mom and that I was doing a good job. I don’t want to forget the understanding looks I got at Target instead of glares. I don’t want to forget that Hubs excavated every corner of Google for answers and he rubbed my back when I didn’t even want to talk to him. I don’t want to forget the defeated emails I wrote and the incredibly encouraging notes I got in return.

Most of all, what I don’t want to forget?

After one of our worst stretches, I was feeding Amelie and she looked up at me. A tentative smile spread across those chubby cheeks as if to say, “See Mom? You and I, we’re going to be ok. All we needed was some time.”

Can someone hand me a box of Kleenex, please?