Friday, April 29, 2011


Is whole milk not one of the most delicious creations ever? It is seriously like dessert. I switched while pregnant (because some of some evidence* that whole milk is actually better for you) and I don't think I can ever go back. Dan always says he feels depressed drinking his practically-transparent skim milk next to my real milk. Yum.

Image from here.

Speaking of full-fat dairy, have you ever had Trader Joe's French Vanilla ice cream? It is pretty much the best ice cream ever invented.** And this spoken by the girl who never before would've chosen vanilla over chocolate. We got ice cream from Baskin Robbins the other day for 31 cent scoop day and were sorely disappointed. I ate about a third of mine and couldn't bring myself to eat the rest.

And yes, I did actually take time out of my day to write an ode to full-fat dairy. It would probably sadden you greatly to know how much I think about food.

*Okay, so maybe that's not the most reputable of sources, but I promise I did more research than one random blog post. I am just lazy and don't want to go find it all now.

**Come to think of it, pretty much everything from Trader Joe's is the best thing ever invented.

Monday, April 25, 2011


I think if I ever came into a large sum of money, instead of hiring a maid or a cook or something, I would hire a hair-washer. I got my hair cut yesterday, and I think I could just sit and enjoy having my scalp massaged forever. Mmm.

Here are the results:

What do you think?

Also, have you ever been so not into a trend (on yourself, at least), but then all of a sudden changed your mind? I've never liked tucked-in shirts on myself (I have a disproportionately short torso), but now all of a sudden, I've decided I love it. Yea or nay?

And a cute baby:

Saturday, April 23, 2011

On Cloth Diapering

Just yesterday, I happened to see that today is evidently the "Great Cloth Diaper Change" in honor of Earth Day. While I certainly do not have the time or interest or fervency to want to go meet up with a bunch of people just to change a diaper (I can do that in the comfort of my own home, thank you), I figured it was as good a day as any to write about why we love cloth diapering. Hopefully it will show that it works even for people who are not total hippy dippys (or maybe you think we are), or at least give some insight into why we've chosen that route.

For those of you completely uninterested in this sort of thing, feel free to just skip this post. Otherwise, read on!

1. Environment (as yesterday was Earth Day, we'll start with the obvious):

While we knew that we were going to try cloth diapering long before Nat was born, we used disposables in the very beginning. This was partially for ease in those first few weeks, but mostly because the type of diapers we use (pockets) are one-size-fits-all (e.g., we can use the very same diapers from the very beginning all the way to potty training) and were a leeetle big on our tiny newborn, and we were too cheap to buy a whole set just for that newborn stage. In any case, in these first few weeks when we were using disposables, it would just kind of hurt our hearts every time we took a bursting bag of diapers out to the dumpster. According to one source:
  • Diapers are the 3rd-largest single consumer item in landfills
  • Over 300 lbs of wood, 50 lbs of petroleum feedstocks & 20 lbs of chlorine are used to produce disposable diapers for one baby each year
  • It is estimated that diapers take between 250-500 years to decompose
  • For those who might wonder about the water and energy it takes to manufacture and wash a cloth diaper, disposables use 2.3 times as much, they generate 60 times more solid waste (that decomposes more slowly), and use 20 times more raw materials

2. Health:

Anyone who knows me is probably aware the chemicals kind of weird me out. I try to put as few chemicals into my body as possible, and we try to eat as many natural/whole foods products as possible. So I don't love the idea of putting chemical-laden plastic on my baby's bum every day. Plus, I'd definitely prefer to wear cloth instead of plastic intimates, so there you have it.

I've also heard some say diaper rash is far less common with cloth, although, fortunately, Nat's never had to experience it either way. Since disposables generally hold mass quantities of liquid, I think it's tempting to leave a disposable on for a while longer, increasing the likelihood of rash. With cloth, I'm usually like, oh well, we'll just change him, since it's also not costing me another precious diaper.

3. Faster potty training:

On average, cloth diapered children potty train 6 months sooner. Need I say more?

4. Ease & Time Savings:

I'll preface this one by noting that this may not be true for everyone. Some people may be perfectly content to just buy diapers off the shelves and not worry about coupons and discounts and driving around for a good deal. But because I know penny-pinching self, I am absolutely certain that cloth diapering saves me tons of time and money-induced anxiety. I bought my stash before Nat arrived and that was it. Done. I never have to research coupons or sales, I never need to walk down the diaper aisle calculating costs, and I certainly don't need to drive to a whole separate store, baby in tow, just to buy diapers. I also don't need to worry about running out one night, or conserving diapers.

Instead, I take all of about 2 minutes to throw the diapers in the wash every other day. I don't even need to carry diapers down to the dumpster! With a breastfed baby, you can just chuck the diapers right in the washer. When a baby starts solids, you have to, um, dump the other solids, but technically, you're supposed to do that with disposables, as well (which few people do, leading to a whole host of other environmental problems).

There are several kinds of cloth diapers, and the kind we use is literally like putting on a disposable (either with Velcro or snaps). It takes no more effort than putting on a disposable. What I like about pockets, in particular, is that you can customize the absorbency - so you can add extra layering for nighttime, or keep it a bit more trim for the day.

One of the most common complaints I hear about cloth diapers is the need to touch...stuff. To be perfectly honest, I have far less experience with this than my disposable-diapering compadres. Nat has never had a blow-out in a cloth diaper. Not once. That means no peeling off disgusting clothes, no immediate trips to the bathtub, etc. I was totally annoyed when we flew to Utah for Christmas and decided to use disposables on the flight and, well, Murphy's law reigns...

5. Cuteness

Nat has solid-colored, cow-, monkey-, and giraffe-printed diapers.

6. Less Stinky:

Seriously, disposables get waaaay stinkier. 'Nuff said.

7. And the kicker...COST:

I'm sure you've all heard how much cheaper it is to use cloth diapers. But you may wonder - is it really cheaper when I buy diapers on sale/use coupons/etc.? Won't it cost more in detergent/electricity/water?

Because I am totally anal and have an abiding love for Excel, I made a spreadsheet to calculate the cost savings of cloth diapers vs. disposables. I calculated it out for 2 kids, 3 kids, and 4 kids. I used the conservative assumption of a cloth-diapered baby being potty trained after 2.5 years, and a disposable-diapered baby being potty trained after 3 years. I tried it with both 6 diapers and 7 diapers per day. I tried it from the very low end of $0.03/diaper (you'd have to be really really awesome to maintain this average) up to $0.15/diaper, which is about the price of Target's Up & Up brand for the smaller-sized diapers. Here are my findings*:

Cost/Diaper Diapers/Day Cost Savings for 2 kids
$0.03 6 $13.64
$0.03 7 $79.34
$0.05 6 $276.44
$0.05 7 $385.94
$0.10 6 $933.44
$0.10 7 $1,152.44
$0.15 6 $1,590.44
$0.15 7 $1,918.94

Cost/Diaper Diapers/Day Cost Savings for 3 kids
$0.03 6 $65.31
$0.03 7 $163.86
$0.05 6 $459.51
$0.05 7 $623.76
$0.07 6 $853.71
$0.07 7 $1,083.66
$0.10 6 $1,445.01
$0.10 7 $1,773.51
$0.15 6 $2,430.51
$0.15 7 $2,923.26

Cost/Diaper Diapers/Day Cost Savings for 4 kids
$0.03 6 $116.98
$0.03 7 $248.38
$0.05 6 $642.58
$0.05 7 $861.58
$0.07 6 $1,168.18
$0.07 7 $1,474.78
$0.10 6 $1,956.58
$0.10 7 $2,394.58
$0.15 6 $3,270.58
$0.15 7 $3,927.58

Um, yeah, lots of potential money savings. Money that could be put towards a trip to Africa (such as the one for which I still have not posted pictures...right. About that.).

That said, I totally understand that cloth diapering is not for everyone. It probably doesn't sound like it after my little novel, but I do. I don't think I could do it if we didn't have a washer/dryer in our unit. I also understand that other people probably have a more reasonable level of money-anxiety than I do. Others may travel a ton and just find it too difficult (we did use disposables on our Africa trip). But I hope this at least provided some reasons to consider it, or to give you a little nudge if you're already thinking about it.

Questions? Do you think we're crazy? Are you amazed that I've managed to wax poetic for so long about diapers?

*Ugh, sorry, for some reason, blogger won't keep the spacing right in the charts. Hopefully you can still read it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

6 Months

Dear Pupules,
I have to admit, writing this post is an eensy bit hard for me. Because this means that you are whole half year old! When did that happen? How is possible that you have been with us that long? I know every parent says this, but time has just gone by way too fast since you came into our lives. These last six months have been some of our most joyous, and you have been a major part of that.

This month, you have gotten even more active and fun. You are constantly rolling around everywhere. You absolutely love exploring, and grab anything within reach. Sometimes I yearn for the days when I could just set you down and know that you wouldn't get into anything, but you more than make up for it with all the fun and entertainment that comes with your increased mobility. Take today, for instance: I set you down to play on the ground. I looked away for literally no more than 30 seconds, and you were over on the opposite side of the room, reaching into the bookshelf. You played there contentedly for a while while I laughed at how tasty you seemed to find particleboard. Something I don't find quite as entertaining is your fascination with various cords. You are constantly grabbing power cords and, in particular, the bright red ethernet cord. I feel bad always taking it away from you, but I don't want you gnawing on it for reasons that will one day become obvious to you. Instead, I've tried substituting with some success a play stethoscope that has a nice long blue cord.

It has been so fun to watch you learn so many new things this month. You have started to really love copying whatever you daddy and I do. Be it drinking out of a cup or opening a door with keys, you love being our little shadow, and we love having you there. You absolutely adore jumping up and down and would love to do it all the livelong day; despite my aversion to acquiring "stuff," we may break down and get you one of those exersaucer things. You've also started to develop your arm strength a bit more and will manage to hold yourself upright for a few moments. You've also started scooching ever so slightly; heaven help us when you start to crawl.

Along with this increased activity is increased distraction while nursing. It's gotten to the point where I really can't feed you unless you're swaddled (which, fortunately, you still love). You are just so interested in everything and especially everyone around you. You are constantly smiling, cooing, and "chatting" at those around you. Yesterday, you and I went downtown on the Metro to see Daddy and go to a museum., and at least 5 people commented on how you were such a happy and friendly baby. Several of these comments I just overheard, so my mommy bias only accounts for part of this.

I was a little sad today when I realized you had outgrown some of your aforable little clothes. Granted, they were 3-month outfits, but still! Evidently that growth spurt has really been happening.

Speaking of growth spurting and on the not-so-bright side, your sleeping has been an absolute disaster this month. Lucky us, you started sleeping like a little angel through the night at about a month old. This continued, thank heavens, all the way through our Africa trip. And then we got back. At which point you decided that you don't like to sleep at night anymore. I'm not sure why, exactly, this is, but I'm not so much a fan of this decision. The last few days, we've tried just not feeding you in the middle of the night and simply rocking you back to sleep. That's all fine and good, but your body still hasn't adjusted to just not waking up at those times. It probably doesn't help things that you are decidedly teething, which makes both of us sad. Still, it would be nice if you could start sleeping again, little buddy. Mommy is much more pleasant when she's well-rested.

On the subject of increased food intake, in honor of your 6-months of life, we started offering you some solids on Saturday. We were going to wait until the official 6-month date, but, well, your grandparents wanted to be here and Saturday was just easier for all of us and I figured 3 days didn't make a whole ton of difference. In any case, you haven't really eaten enough for it to matter, anyway. It was extraordinarily cute watching you grab a soft sweet potato slice and try to push it into your little mouth. We're generally doing baby-led weaning, although I did help you out a little by putting a little bit of sweet potato or banana on my finger and letting you pull it into your mouth. You seemed to like both okay, although you haven't eaten very much (and it appears that what little you have consumed has come back out in the exponentially greater quantities of spit up). It will be fun seeing you try new things. You've definitely become more interested in copying what we do, and we can't wait to experience the world through your eyes.

You've always loved music, from the time you were itty bitty, but you've come to appreciate it all the more now. You get so excited when you hear music on the radio, and you unfailingly give me this huge smile when I start to sing you a song (your current favorites are "I Am A Child of God," "I Wonder When He Comes Again," and "Accidentally in Love." ha.). You particularly enjoy sitting in your little bouncy seat in the kitchen while I cook and sing along with the iPod. I especially love that when you like a particular song (or anything else, for that matter) you'll start wiggling your legs in delight, then pause to listen or look, and wiggle again - it's as though you're saying, "Hey, Mom! I like that! Keep going!"

Tiny, there have just been so many things this month that make my heart swell with love and gratitude for you. I know every mom says it, but your dad and I just didn't realize it was possible to love a little person this much. It's a little bittersweet, seeing you grow up; I was a little nostalgic the morning of the day we let you try some solids as I realized that you would, for the first time, taste something other than breast milk. It tugged at my heartstrings last night as we tried (out of a tiny bit of desperation) moving you into the other room see if maybe that would help you sleep better, in case our rustling was waking you up at night (it didn't, in case you were wondering). It was the very first time that you hadn't slept in your little bed right at my side, the first time that I hadn't peeked at your sweet little face right before falling asleep.

But then, as I feel these sad little tugs, I grin as I think of the joy that lights up both of our faces when I walk in the door from school. I smile as I think that it is me who you want to hug when you are sad or tired. I am humbled as I remember how happy you are when I come home, and how you immediately get sad if I leave the room right then to go wash my hands, even if you were perfectly content before I arrived. Though we were sad last night as you were in the other room, your dad and I were so thankful as we remembered that our family can be together, forever. I feel calm joy and gratitude as I realize that I love you more now than I ever thought possible on the day you were born. And you know what? I know you love me more, too.


**I promise, I'll update with pictures soon. I get some credit for actually getting the letter posted ON his 6-month, right?

A Week Shy of 6 Months Stats:
Length: 27" (75th percentile)
Weight: 14 lbs 10 oz (although you woke up right before so I hadn't fed you...we weighed you again after and you were 14 lbs. 15 oz...either way, it is about 15th percentile)