Thursday, January 28, 2010

Stimulating the Economy

Today we took Eli to get his first professional haircut. My genius plan of getting him into the bathtub and having John distract him with toys and splashing while I evened out his California shag like a super mom ninja was a disaster. I got one good crooked snip in before he freaked out and started thrashing around like a wounded duck. So, despite the fact that it has been nearly 5 months since I've attended to my own hairstyle (or lack thereof) due to budget cuts, it seemed entirely reasonable to pay $15 not including the tip for a new style for our toddler.

I must admit that I was definitely impressed by the kid-friendliness of this place. Eli sat in a race car chair, got to choose which DVD he wanted blaring on his own personal TV (Barney of course), and had a basket full of toys at his disposal. He sat like a perfect angel and I'm pretty sure it's because he thought he was the stuff with all the attention he was getting. And yes, I was that total over-the-top mom clucking over him and taking tons of pictures while the other customers stared at me like I was a nut job. They offered to let us take home a lock or hair with a special certificate and photo op for a slight $2 upgrade, but I had to draw the line somewhere...

Here is the before picture of our shaggy boy

Seated with cape on (backwards of course because Eli did
NOT want his hands covered)

She described his hair as voluminous, and I might have
had a slight twinge of jealousy
Barney, Baby-Bop, and the whole gang were
there for support
And this penguin was his "nervous sucking"
toy of choice
Until that one got too hairy and had to be
replaced by a plastic bear
And the finished result! Looking good my man.
Of course they give out sticky Dum-Dums for good behavior,
and why wouldn't they?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Diaper Dollars

I have been an avid cloth diapering mama for the past 16 months. I decided to switch to cloth when Eli was 5 months old after battling persistent diaper rashes causing me to launch an investigation into the not-so-good effects of a baby's tender skin being subjected 24/7 to the bleach and other chemicals that are placed in disposables today to make them "super absorbent." What I found prompted me to look for an alternative, leading me straight into the small but quickly growing community of cloth diapering parents. Weeks of research went into my decision over which brand to purchase and it took some major convincing to get John on board with the switch. To make a long story short, we now use 2 brands of one-sized all-in-one diapers, meaning they grow with the child and are able to be used from birth until potty training. And they all either velcro or snap on, eliminating the need for the old-fashioned diaper pins and waterproof covers your grandmas used.
With the arrival of baby #2 less than 3 months away, I've started thinking again about diaper logistics and how long we will have 2 babies in diapers before Eli begins to potty train. Do we have enough diapers? Am I ready to double the amount of washing, sorting and stuffing? How much money are we saving by using cloth? All of these questions have lead me to this blog entry and to figure out exactly what the cost/savings ratios are of using disposables vs. cloth. So, yes, maybe you're thinking I have too much time on my hands at this point. Or maybe that I am a huge dork. Either way, here are the results of my research and calculations....

We'll start with disposables. I prefer Huggies brand over all others because of how they fit Eli's body. According to current pricing from, 1 jumbo box of size 5 Huggies costs $38.39 for 132 diapers. That's a unit price of $0.29 per diaper.
-Eli uses an average of 6 diapers in 24 hours bringing the daily cost to $1.74 and the monthly cost to $52.20
-Over the span of 1 year, the cost of diapers equals $626.40
-Assuming Eli will potty train around 3 years of age, the total cost for disposables (not including wipes, blow-outs, and the ever-wetting newborn stage) will amount to roughly $1,879.20
-Add another child for another 3 years and its a whopping $3,758.40, not to mention nearly 13,000 diapers piled up in a landfill somewhere.
Ok, and now the cloth. Our initial investment in 24 total diapers that are one-sized and able to work from birth until potty cost $280.
-I wash the diapers twice weekly in a double cycle load (first cold/cold, then hot/hot). According to the manual for our front-loader washer and local water rates, it costs $0.41 per double cycle X 2 per week, equaling 0.82/week in washing. The diapers are then line-dried which is FREE!
-The diapers require a special dye-free, soap-free detergent. I use Planet 2X He Ultra Laundry Liquid detergent that I order in bulk from Amazon. The cost of detergent per week is $0.28
-The year 1 cost for diapers, washing, and detergent is $332.80
-Every year after this only adds $52.80 to the total for the washing/detergent. So 3 total years of cloth diapering = $438.30 That's a savings of $1,440.90 per child. That's a lot of cash!
If you are still reading this post, you are a trooper. The moral of the story is that I am obviously a big fan of cloth diapering and now I feel better knowing that it is truly saving our family money as well as keeping Eli's bum safely tucked away in the brightly colored cotton fabrics. It is a little more work, but definitely not as hard to do as one might imagine. If you've ever thought about using cloth, go for it. You wont regret it!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I love you

.....Makes all those stretch marks, sleepless nights, public temper tantrums, diaper explosions, and going out of my mind insane moments absolutely, positively, 100% totally worth it.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Mr. Fix-it

Allow me to introduce you to Eli's latest and constant companion. This is his tool box and when you see him coming around the corner with his muscles straining and a determined look, it can only mean one thing. T-R-O-U-B-L-E! This garage sale gem has a broken latch requiring a two-handed carry and is usually full of random toys, tupperwear, and left-over snacks. It is quite heavy and awkward for a toddler. Eli has discovered that if he totes this thing around he can reach and get his hands on just about anything he wants to by using it as a stepping stool. Creative? Absolutely. Dangerous? Most definitely! I followed him around for a few days capturing his most frequent offenses...

This is the look of trouble about to happen
Notice the form and focus on his mission
He uses it to help himself to piano practice
And who doesn't need a little help getting on that first stair?
Simultaneously unlocking the front door and turning the hall lights on off on off on off....
Helping himself up on top of his table which is followed by a lovely dance jig before not so gracefully falling off the edge
Crawling up onto the couch in order to throw off all the pillows and watch out the windows
And one of my favorites: helping himself to a "dink" by holding down the water lever and then licking his wet fingers while gigantic puddles pool onto the floor

And he can always figure out the exact combination of buttons to push on the cable box so it goes into the "boot" menu and requires a full reprogramming.
And after a hard day of repairs and climbing, sometimes the tool box is just the perfect place to take a break.
As I am writing this entry sitting on a bar stool, a little hand just reached around me to help himself to a handful of chips from the bag sitting open on the counter. And of course I look down to find Eli standing on his tippy toes, atop his beloved tool box munching away with such a look of satisfaction on his crumb-filled little face. And I can't help but laugh because after all, aren't we always trying to teach our children self-sufficiency?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Let it Snow

It has been snowing here steadily for the past several hours and the forecast is calling for more and more throughout the evening. And I am in heaven! Being a natural homebody, I don't mind holing myself up in the house for a day or two and just being with my family. Besides showering (out of necessity from not doing so yesterday), I have not spent a single moment worrying about my appearance. No make-up, no straightener, just sweats and slippers. So let the hot chocolate and cookies abound, and may you enjoy this snowy day with those you love. And don't forget to make a big roaring fire in your hearth...or just flick on that handy gas switch and save yourself the effort.

Our little Eskimo checking out the snow
This is the only smile he cracked before the tears started

10 minutes to put on boots, bibs, gloves, hat, extra socks = 5 minutes of actual snow tolerance before he is so done. Totally worth it though just to see him waddle around like penguin.