Sunday, September 22, 2013

Basement Bathroom Reno

We finally did it! We have a usable basement bathroom! And by "we", I mostly mean Colin. He was a rock star when it came to turning this bathroom around. I can really only take credit for some menial painting and decorating. It was his first experience with drywall, and as he said he, "learned a lot" with this project.
This was one of two pretty awful rooms in the house, so it feels good to have it looking wonderful and fully functional! Here are the before and afters:

The floor is vinyl tile - my new obsession. I've never been shy on here about my aversion to tiling. It's a long, arduous process filled with errors regardless of how hard you try. Not to mention the sadness you feel when you break one of those tiles and dollar signs flash in the back of your mind. These babies are the exact opposite. They're cheap - $30/ box and in this bathroom there were tiles to spare. They're super easy to install - stick 'em down and you're done! And finally - they feel great, look good, and don't get as cold as real stone. Color me a believer. We'll be using these (with grout! Because you can do that!) in the kitchen and both upstairs bathrooms to save on time, money, and heartache.

We voted to keep the weird giant Japanese soaker tub but opted to try and make it feel more like a spa room vs the product of some old mans weird bathing obsession. I think we got close. With baby E we just don't have the time or ability to take things on full throttle like we used to, so I'd say this is as good a job as almost any!

So, what do you think? Are you no longer scared to risk peeing in our creepy, barely functioning, dirty basement bathroom? Care for a soak?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Night Time Teething

Besides watching the VMAs and feeling a combination of shock, disgust, and sadness, this was our night last night. We've been working hard at getting this little angel to sleep in her co-sleeper, but teething sure makes it hard. Having dad spend so many nights at work makes it even harder.
She was happily asleep by 830 like normal, and then woke up whining, drooling, and chewing on everything. I'm pretty sure the only reason she fell asleep around 11 was sheer exhaustion.

During the day we're a huge fan of razbaby teething pacifiers, wooden teething rings, and we're just delving into the world of amber teething necklaces (which sadly can't be used at night and Colin likes to think of as her magic crystals a la Spencer Pratt). Nothing of course tops chewing on dad's knuckles, but we have yet to find a good night time solution that will allow her to fall asleep. Especially since it's just the two of us a lot of the time so a snuggle with dad while gnawing on his knuckles isn't a good fail safe.
So the question is, what do you use to help a little one with teething, and how many wrongs did you try before you found a right?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

VMA Recap

Can I get some of whatever gives Justin Timberlake all of his energy? And can we all agree that Miley Cyrus is just sad and weird now (Liam. Seriously. Get out now)?
I'm pretty sure with questions like these, and the N'SYNC reunion (however sluggish it may have been) being my favorite part of the show, I'm officially too old to be watching the VMAs.

I'd like to add this to my recap. I concur:

Thursday, August 8, 2013

How did I end up with a morning baby?

Anyone who has woken up within a block of me, or come into contact with me within the first half an hour of waking up, knows that getting out of bed is not my specialty.  My darling husband is the exact opposite.  He is up and rearing to go early early no problem.  Combine these two things and you get my daughter: the happiest morning child. 

Before she even opens her eyes she has a giant smile on her face.  From the moment she wakes up she just wants to squeal and smile and wiggle.  It's like she can't even believe that she was chosen to wake up again today, so by golly she's going to celebrate!  It can be so nuts that sometimes she can't even focus on eating (even though I know she's starving), because she's just too darn busy smiling and being happy.  What a great way to start the day!

Want to know where the "me" side comes in? This never starts earlier than 9am, and is usually closer to 10:30am.  My sweet child does love me after all :) And sure, she needs a nap roughly an hour after she wakes up just to recover from all of the excitement, but who cares when you're that happy about just getting to spend the day being a baby!

New goal: Be as excited about life as my three month old.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Cloth Diapers: BumGenius Freetimes

I've decided to write about some of our All-In-One diapers next because they are my absolute favorites. They fit her skinny little legs no problem, aren't super bulky, and can hold a river (as made evident by the time I didn't change it for 12 hours overnight and we didn't have a single leak! (Oops!) The best thing about these diapers besides their absorbency is that they work just like a disposable (like the newborns), so it's super easy for non-cloth friendly friend and relatives, and especially easy for tired mamas. The other "big girl" diaper that we have doesn't fit her skinny little legs as well, so being able to get a tight fit with these is another definite plus.

The downside is the cost. All-In-Ones are slightly more expensive than the ever popular pocket diapers, which is the only foreseeable reason why I can assume anyone would choose having to pull a dirty insert out of a dirty diaper vs just rolling it up and throwing it in the pail. They also have a slightly longer dry time, but with summer I haven't had any issues hanging them out in the sun and getting them dried in no time. Especially since BumGenius adds these cool little flaps to expedite the process! If I could go back, I would definitely make these the bulk of my stash instead of the Flips (which will be the next post), but of course I had no idea what shape my baby would come in before she was born, and I was dead set on being over prepared before she got here. In fact, that would be my biggest piece of cloth diapering advice - Don't go hog wild buying one type of cloth diaper because of "reviews" or "recommendations" Until you know your baby. Doing that will force me to go back and sell some so that I can justify buying more of these babies and still staying within my "this is cost effective!" parameters.
Questions about BumGenius Freetimes or All-In-One diapers?? Leave it in the comments and I'll do my best to answer them! (As always I just want to make sure everyone remembers that I am in no way a cloth diaper expert, just someone who has been loving testing the waters!)

Basement Renovations

Since I last wrote, we've finished a few (but not many) more renovations.  The biggest improvement has to be the basement.  We finally got rid of that horrible carpet and all of that furniture that the old owners left.  It feels like a whole new (better smelling) house down there! 

This was also the first project we hired out for.  It was a difficult decision, but Colin was gone and I was 5 months pregnant, so there was no way we were going to tackle a carpet install.  Plus I hear it requires a lot of expensive tools.  We used a reference from a friend and helped out a guy in need of some work.  Needless to say we were more than happy with the price and completed project!  If you live on the Kitsap Peninsula and need some carpet replaced, just let me know and I'll pass along a name and number!

Before (Super messy)
Before (Also super messy)
After (Clearly Christmas time sorry)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Monday, July 15, 2013

Cloth Diapers: Newborns

What a journey this parenting adventure has been!  I have to admit up front and honestly that it pretty much consumes my life these days and I'm 100% ok with that fact.  That being said, I wouldn't be doing my ex couponing/money saving/renovation blogger duty if I didn't write a post on cloth diapering.

It took a while for Colin and I to decide on cloth diapering, and even longer for us to decide WHICH cloth diapers we were going to go with.  I had started researching it in my crazy pregnancy "must make all of the right choices for my baby" haze, but didn't know anyone who used them so I wasn't convinced (and Colin was FAR from convinced).  Then, I found out that my cousin Lauren used them, and got to see them in practice and ask questions over winter break.  This pretty much solidified my feelings about wanting to use cloth with my baby, too.

Of course I was met with a lot of resistance from our parents generation who has nightmares about diaper pins and plastic pants - the diapers of old.  Cloth diapers today can be like that, but they don't have to be.  After doing a ton of researching and understanding about 25% of what I was reading, I made the decision to go with cottonbabies brand.  They have multiple different diaper lines, and we sampled some from each of them.

A lot of people ask me how on earth I got my husband to agree to this system, so aside from the fact that he's super cheap and saw $$$ in his head once I spelled it all out for him, here's what my argument was - Would you use paper plates, napkins, cups, and plastic silverware every day just so you didn't have to do the dishes (he happens to be a dishes nazi)??  No one in their right mind would say yes to this.  It just doesn't make any sense.  That's how I felt about disposable diapers after I educated myself on the differences.

I'm going to do a few posts on our chosen system, and why we love love love it now, starting with newborn diapers:

We weren't going to cloth from the start, but did receive some BumGenius newborn cloth diapers as a gift and bought some on clearance, so we figured we would test them out, but not use them full time.  After spending nearly $100 on disposables in the first two weeks (we started with 100 that were given to us as shower gifts) and an unbelievably gross diaper blow out in the middle of the night that left me, the bed, the baby, and all of our bedding covered, we quickly ordered a few more of the newborn cloths and switched over!

The outside of a diaper

The inside of a diaper

This is the all in one diaper that we used for the first 10 weeks.  It is exactly like a disposable.  You just take it off, put it in a diaper pail or wet bag, and put on a new one. When it's time to clean them you just throw them all in the wash, no extra prep work. Easy peasy!  Did I mention that the only real leaks we had from these were when she was too small for them and we first tested, or when we forgot to change her for too long and she leaked out the side?  Not a single blow out.  Not one.  And we still haven't had one.  That in itself is enough evidence for Colin.

Now I have to mention that although we got 10 weeks of use out of these, I've read that this isn't the norm, so really do your research before deciding to buy newborn sized diapers.  These were purchased from cottonbabies website during a "seconds sale" for roughly half price at $7.50 each.  They sell for around $14 normally and I'm not sure it would be worth it to have a full set of around 20 (we have 23 right now) bought at full price.  I also bought some from a local cloth diaper group for even cheaper.  A woman bought them for her son and didn't even get to use them all before he grew out of them.  I bought 6 brand new from her for $6 each.  If you can find deals like these, then I would highly recommend it! I was so sad having to pack these up and see them go.  Besides being super cute they worked great, were unreasonably easy, and dried in no time! Cloth diapering made simple.

Final Disclaimer: These diapers didn't fit Emmalyn well until she was close to 8 pounds.  It says they fit 6-12 pounds, but there was no way the 6.5 pound baby I brought home from the hospital was going to get a tight seal around her skinny little legs at that point.  And realistically although they still fit her now, she probably outgrew the absorbancy around the 10 pound mark.

Have any questions about our newborn cloth diapers? I'll have more posts to come about washing them, and what we do now that she's grown out of these beauties so be on the lookout!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Updates from Babyland!

Welcome back blog readers!!  So, here's the thing.  I started writing a status update on facebook about the babe, and realized that I was basically writing a blog post.  I'm not going to be writing every day like I used to, and I'm not going to promise it'll be anything but baby info for the family members that ask, but I'm bringing A Day in the Life back to life!  I'm also not going to do a giant "catch up" post because chances are, even if you only occasionally peek at my facebook, you have some sort of idea as to what's been going on.  Namely: a baby.  Without further ado, here is what I was going to post, and what will from here on out be a (hopefully) weekly Sunday night feature: Updates from Babyland!

Updates from babyland (10 weeks old): This week I officially packed up the last of her newborn clothes and diapers and we transitioned into full time 0-3 and 3 month clothes wearing!  They don't fit her great (mostly because they're too wide), but the added length is nice for her fancy new big girl cloth diapers! 

She discovered her tongue this week and sticks it out pretty much all of the time and licks everything.  It's pretty funny and we laugh that she learned from Lila :)

We have one week down taking acid reflux medication and it's making a HUGE difference, even if we're not a fan of the weird peppermint flavor.  The spitting up, grunting, flailing, and overall fussiness surrounding the constant feedings has all but disappeared.  She was even able to put herself to sleep a few times this week while laying down instead of having to be propped! We may be on our way to a self soother soon!  I was cooking dinner last night while she was in her bouncer, looked over, and was shocked to see that she had fallen asleep!  This is progress people!

I started keeping track and timing her naps throughout the day today, and will continue to do so for the rest of the week.  We're hoping she's establishing some kind of sleep pattern on her own that we can try and predict without having to "force" nap times or feel like we have no idea what our day is going to look like.  We have a pretty good morning routine down including a nap around 11:30, but honestly I think the rest of the day is a blur for both of us so hopefully this helps.

To close out the week - Has anyone ever taken an infant on a boat?  Did you get them a life vest?  Emmalyn is only 2.5 months and roughly 11 pounds, but will be taking her maiden voyage soon and we're not sure the best way to keep her safe (in all honesty she would probably be fine just in our arms, but I want to do the right thing here).