Friday, March 23, 2012

Cradling in Style

I've been meaning to post about a couple of nursery updates, but these past couple of weeks have been super busy! In the meantime, look what I stumbled upon today:

The so-ro cradle via zulily
I love how simple and clean it is. I could see myself rocking my little one in this stylish cradle...but not for $800!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Twenty Five

Today I turn the big 2-5! Being pregnant makes you have an interesting take on birthdays. You really start to think about the intricacies of that first birthday, your day of birth. When your parents were just as you are now, anxiously awaiting their baby, wondering what it would look like, feel like and smell like. In just a month (or less...or more) I'll be in the exact same position, about to meet my little guy for the first time. Nature will determine what day we'll celebrate as his birthday for the coming years and I'll probably be in some crazy pain! Good thing the little beans are so cute, they make it all worthwhile. It's also interesting to think about the fact that when he turns 25, Charles and I both will have just turned 50 (his birthday is the 31st). We'll be exactly a quarter century older than our guy. It's a good number I think, 25. At least I'm looking forward to the year it brings :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What a Bum(mer)

Our crib came in this week and I was super psyched about getting it set up. It's Charles' first big daddy-to-be task and I was armed with my camera to document the whole thing. We opened the gigantic box, started unloading all of the parts, and that's when we came across this:

That lovely beauty mark is not only on one of the main, large side's also on the top. I could totally deal if it was on the bottom of the crib and it would never be seen again. But it's pretty much front and center and not only does it look bad, but it creates a jagged, unfinished edge that our little boy would inevitably be in contact with at some point. No can doosville, babydoll. 5 super cool points to you if you watch that show.

So I'll be calling customer support today to see what can be done about the damaged goods and in the meantime waiting impatiently to get the thing put together.

In other news, look what else came in the mail this week:

Diapers! Yep, we crazy kids are going the cloth route. My insane idea entirely, of course, but my husband being the wonderful man he is didn't even blink when I told him "so I was thinking..."

But these aren't your grandmother's cloth diapers. Gone are the days of the plain white cloth rag that you tediously pinned and sent off to a diaper service. These days cloth diapers are offered by a huge number of different companies, come in a crazy assortment of colors and patterns, and - most importantly - are much more intuitive. These diapers, for instance, have a series of snaps that allow the diaper to "graduate" with the growth of the baby, essentially lasting until they move onto big-boy/girl underwear. Here's a diagram on the package:

I love their "How To Use" method!
1. Adjust Size
2. Put on Baby

Those cheeky buggers... hey I'm allowed one butt joke in this post.

I did a lot of research before buying these diapers and heard really good things about the Bum Genius brand. They offer a bunch of different types and in the end we opted for the Elemental One-Size All-in-Ones made with organic cotton. I like these because they have the graduated snaps instead of velcro (which should last longer after so many washes), I <3 organic, and mostly because they're all-in-ones, which means no stuffing inserts's all one unit.

The cleanest they'll ever be....
So why cloth? I'll admit, the thought never crossed my mind before I got married/pregnant. I'm not exactly someone who's "one with nature" in the hygiene department. I need running water, a clean toilet, and a good amount of soap. (Yeah, and I'm having a boy...) So while the thought of getting more up close and personal to my little man's business doesn't exactly excite me, these three main things are what sold me.
  1. Cost - this is a biggie. Diapers may not seem expensive when you're buying them one box at a time, but they certainly do add up. estimates that disposable diapers cost about $72/month, or $864/year. Assuming three years of diaper use, the total cost for one child comes out to $2592 (obviously this is just an estimate). Our set of 12 cloth diapers cost $265 (there are cheaper options). We'll probably be buying another 6 so we don't end up running out and having to run to the store to supplement with disposable, which at $135 brings our total cost to $400. Steep upfront cost? You bet. But even with the cost of doing an extra load of laundry every other day, we still come out ahead. The same website estimates roughly $19/month for washing cloth diapers (I think that's a little steep but we'll go with it), which is $228/year. Again, assuming three years of diaper use & wash, the total cost is $684 + the $400 upfront for a grand total of  $1084. That's a savings of $1500...just for the first kid! Since cloth diapers can be reused, each child after the first will only have the maintenance cost associated with washing the diapers since we'll already own the hardware. Pretty sweet if you ask me.
  2. Convenience - Boxes of diapers are big and bulky. And I'm lazy. We don't even buy soda during our weekly grocery trips mainly because I don't want to haul them up to our apartment. Also because part of me is convinced Charles is going to get diabetes/lose all of his teeth if he keeps downing Coke the way he does. But mostly the lazy thing. I'd much rather do an extra load of laundry every other day than buy a huge box to lug home every month. We also live in an apartment with a dumpster down the road, so any time we can lessen the amount of trash we generate means the longer we can put off taking out the trash.
  3. The Environment - I don't usually make a habit of hugging trees, but I am conscious about the waste and energy I generate. It probably comes from my education in architecture. Either way, I try to recycle as much as possible, turn off lights when we're not using them, and limit our water use. So far our bills have been nicely reflective of this (as well as our bank accounts!). The thought of throwing out 8-12 diapers a day gives me great pause. 8-12 diapers a day becomes 56-84 diapers a week, 224-336 per month, and 2688-4032 per year. It will make me feel better knowing that we're keeping them out of the landfill. 
I've also heard that using cloth reduces the frequency of diaper rash and other irritations and that it's just overall less harsh on that sweet baby skin. With all this having been said, I don't think less of anyone who uses disposable diapers - I think it's purely a personal choice and this just happens to be my jam. Maybe I'll post a (much shorter) update in 6 months and we'll see if I'm still singing their praises!

What are your thoughts on cloth vs disposable? Also have you ever been excited to get a new piece of furniture only to find out it was damaged?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Little Things

This weekend Charles and I ran a ton of errands we had been meaning to get to, which involved us trekking around to what felt like half the stores in Austin. The upside of our romp around town was that we ended up over by the nearest Crate & Barrel where I happened to have about $30 worth of store credit. That's like free money, yo! I love C&B but the sad thing is that I can only afford about 1/8th of what they offer on a regular basis, and thirty bucks doesn't go too far in the grand scheme of things. However, I had recently gotten their new catalog in the mail and a couple of their new kitchen towels caught my eye. I thought they'd be a great way to spice up the kitchen for Spring.

Our old towels are dark red & white striped cheapies from Walmart, so it was nice to bring a splash of color into the room along with some good ol' quality as well. The towels are huge - they're three times as long and wide as what you see above.

I love how with just a little change it can instantly brighten up a room or help you to pause and be thankful for all of the little things in life! You don't always have to do a renovation or complete overhaul of a space to look at it in a different light. 

I originally planned on only getting a couple of the Emily towels, but they only had one in the store and when I saw the Stock Pot towels in person I loved how they went together (and how different the textures were too), so I offset the one Emily style with two of the Stock Pot. I also threw in a Stock Pot Mitt for good measure.

 What changes are you making for Spring? I'll be back later this week with a dresser update!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Let There Be Paint

We finally finished painting in the nursery. Can I hear a hallelujah?!

A special thanks to my lovely husband who primed the two blue walls and to my (also lovely) friend Heather who came over on her day off and helped me slap on the paint and stay motivated to finish. I love the way it turned out and was excited to discover that using a dark color didn't suddenly make the room look like the Batcave; in a way it actually makes it look a little brighter, go figure. I am glad that we chose to pair it with a light gray...I'm really liking how the two play off of each other.

Of course like any decent project, this one didn't go down without its hiccups, despite our best intentions. There was a little of this:

I won't name names, but this was caused by a certain male in the house.

And a little lot of that:

It turns out that, even when using frog tape, it's important to take the time and crease the seal with your nail or another firm object so that the paint doesn't bleed through. Duh. Once I discovered my oversight (which of course happened to the [dark] blue walls first), I made sure to take the extra time when taping for the gray walls, which paid off - I had no bleed through on those baseboards. So...user error, big time. And note to self: test things with the lighter paint next time!

Due to the fact that 1. I forgot to ask Charles to tape the ceiling on the two gray walls and 2. Heather and I were both far shorter than we needed to be to do the job ourselves, the gray walls looked like this for about a week:

...until I was able to borrow a step ladder from my parents and finish 'er up.

Also, a word about paint quantity. I undershot a bit lot on how much paint we would need. A full gallon of each color would have been great to have (remember, I only bought 2 quarts of each...), though it would have made things a little less interesting as there would have been a lot less nail biting and silent rants in my head. In the end, two quarts was just enough to do one coat plus touch-ups. Not exactly ideal. It actually worked out better for the blue walls (even though they were solid walls not broken up by doors or windows) because the primer didn't allow the walls to soak up as much paint, so we had more to play with. The gray walls, despite having one window and two large doors, used far more paint for the first coat and I was scraping the barrel to finish painting the "bald" spots. They're not perfect, but I got most of the obvious ones (and ignored some in the corner behind the door). My normally perfectionistic self is actually okay with it. Bring on parenthood! Ha.

One last tip that ended up being a quick and easy way to bring some freshness to the the room - the outlet plates. I took most of them off (except for the ones for the phone jack and cable) before we painted the walls and noticed how gross they were. Observe:

My camera does not adequately capture their grossness
They had paint caked on around the edges, who knows how many years of grime and were just overall lackluster. And against my crisp blue and gray walls, I wanted them to pop! So I washed them. It's amazing how easy paint comes off of plastic, especially with some soap, hot water and a rough sponge. And afterwards they were looking much better:

To the left: Grody McGroderson; To the right: Mr. Clean!
A quick and super easy fix...though be sure to let them dry completely before putting them back on so there's no accidental shock action.

So now that the painting is done we have to:
  • Set up the crib (my wonderful mother and step-dad got it for us and it should be in this week!)
  • Fix up the dresser (I finally found one...more on that soon!)
  • Finish the mobile
  • Possibly find a twin bed for guests/those late night visits to the nursery - however this might be a "Phase 2" project
  • Make/buy curtains
And a bunch of other little things that are escaping me. And we only have 5 1/2 weeks to go! Assuming the little guy doesn't decide to come early, which I'm starting to think he might just to throw a wrench into things :)