Wednesday, April 25, 2012


I forgot to put this in Monday’s post – on Sunday, Paul started calling me mommy:)

His first word was “hi.” I can’t remember exactly when he started saying it, but he said hi to the doctor at his 9 month checkup and I think he’d been saying it for a week or two at that point. He doesn’t babble “hihihihihi,” he says it TO people and it is freaking adorable. He says daddy (occasionally) to Thomas and kih-he to refer to the cat. Also, he started saying my SISTER’s name before mommy.

Her name is Katie and I told mom he probably just thought her name was kitty. But we were watching home videos this weekend and he pointed right at her and said “KAY-HE!!” It was clearly different from when he pointed to the cat a minute later and said “kih-he.” Nuts.

Also, he says “hi daddy” (that’s pretty much the only time he says daddy, actually) and “hi kitty” (which he said long before he said kitty on its own). I think it’s a little unusual for him to have two-word phrases already, but he does seem to know the proper context. He only says it to Thomas or the cat; to everyone else it’s just “hi.” It was just this past week he started saying kitty on its own (while pointing at her). I say “hi kitty” pretty much every time I see her, so I wonder if originally he thought her name was hikitty.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tuesday randomness

When I was pregnant (and even before sometimes), most of my dreams were romantic. I rarely (never?) dreamed about actually doing “it”, but my subconscious had long, candlelit dinners and romantic walks that were definitely leading somewhere. Do you know what I dream about now? BEING ALONE. It’s not that I no longer want romance, it’s that being alone seems even more rare – something I can only get in my dreams. (Co-sleeping doesn’t help.)

Over the last week or so, I have determined any book I read during PMS gets a rating on Goodreads of one star lower than it otherwise would have been. I have no inclination to be nice or give anything the benefit of the doubt.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how badass does it make me to have burned my finger while ironing wrapping paper? (I know what you’re thinking: 11. But honestly, 10 is the most cool you can get. There is no 11.)

Monday, April 23, 2012

The state of the baby

The cloth diapers are giving me fits. (What does ‘giving me fits’ mean, anyway?) A couple weeks in, we started getting the dreaded ammonia smell, so I stripped them, which did not bode well for my cloth diaper math (all that hot water is expensive!) Then, a couple weeks after that, they started smelling like…ass. Not the dirty ones necessarily, but all of them. So I did a lazy mini-strip (ran an extra hot rinse, but that was it) and it seemed to work. My current theory is our cold water is cold enough to be ineffective as a rinse and if I really want to get all the detergent out, I need to rinse with warm or hot. Which, by the way, is impossible to do without babysitting the machine, since the only option is a cold rinse.

Paul turned ten months old today. He is still not sleeping well. Cosleeping helps a little – especially in the mornings. He gets up around 5 (and once during the night) and it helps tremendously to not have out get out of bed to feed him.

He still refuses to drink bottles at home. He’ll drink a few while at my mom’s during the day, but never at home. If I’m not around, or can’t nurse him, he demands solid food and rejects all bottle attempts. When I pump at work, I get roughly two ounces per pumping session which says two things to me: 1) I need to quit 2) He’s not getting enough milk. But what do I doooooo? He refuses to take ANY additional milk. I have a freezer full of breastmilk (which he drinks at my mom’s) and he won’t touch it at home. I tried giving him formula and he was not amused. He won’t drink bottles for Thomas, either, even if I hide downstairs.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Questions for you, part 3

I totally forgot about posting questions from my list periodically. Oops. Today, however, is crappy-day-present-exchange assignment day! I meant to post about the crappy day present exchange BEFORE, so you could sign up if you wanted, but... oops again.

In honor of that, here are a few questions I'd like to know about my assignee, but aren't going to ask directly, because that would spoil the surpise:)

1. Do you prefer coffee or tea? Caffeinated or decaf?
2. Do you have fancy equipment for your coffee/tea? (Keurig, Tassimo, loose leaf tea brewer thingy (I know, totally different price ranges there, but you know what I mean))
3. Do you prefer milk or dark chocolate?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Bet you didn't think it was possible to go more in-depth with these calculations

I know you were all dying for MORE information about my cloth diaper savings. You’re in luck! Here’s more stuff I left out or learned from comments.

Child #3: I deliberately left this out, as we’re not sure if we’ll have a third child, but if we do that’s when the real savings will come, as we’ll have “paid them off” just by using them for Paul.

Resale: Jen brought up the good point I forgot to think about the resale value of the diapers when considering when I’d break even. That makes me feel better! I’m not sure if they will have much resale value – I’ll use them until Paul is potty trained, then probably for a kid #3 – but even when it seems they’re worth almost nothing, cloth diapers have more resale value than you’d think. I’m sure I’ll be able to get something for them.

Laundry: Someone with a site about cloth diapering found my post through Google and mentioned my laundry cost seemed high. I checked her site and found we used the same laundry cost calculator (the site I linked to in my first post summarized calculations from that site). We put in all the same variables, except her price of 41 cents/load was based on an incoming water temperature of 77 degrees – the highest the calculator allows, and per the map the calculator links to, only reasonable in the very tip of Florida. This saves a lot in the hot water heater portion of the calcuations. I used 55 degrees, the default setting, to get my price of 53 cents/load. Unfortunately, by looking at the map, it seems the average temp here in Iowa is only 47 degrees. Which adds 4 cents a load.

But since I was looking at my calculations more in depth anyway, I finally decided to go drag out our utility bills (I was too lazy before). The default setting for power cost is 15 cents per kwh. Ours is only 8.2 cents. Yay! The default water cost was $5.50/1000 gallons. Ours is $4.50.

So, with the new information, the cost per hot wash/cold rinse load comes to 45.6 cents. In my original calculations, I left off the cost of the cold-water rinse I do first, since it’s really cheap and, believe it or not, I was trying to keep it simple (ha!). I calculated it and it turns out it wasn’t as cheap as I thought: 10 cents a load. (Obviously it sounds cheap, but if the original load was 50 cents, this adds 20%.)

So, after all that, my actual cost per load should be 55.6 cents, not 53. Not so helpful. That makes it 63 weeks until we break even instead of 61.

Of course, because I’m a strange (cheap) person, since I started working on that post I’ve taken it as some sort of weird challenge to try and break even faster. We’re using cloth at night now, I’m bringing them on our trip this weekend, and I never ever dry the inserts (If I need to dry a few I do a regular load of wash and throw the inserts in the dryer with it so the dryer is free. Did I mention I’m nuts?). So far we've saved $4.08 in 3 weeks. (It's not as much as it could be, since Thomas took the kids to his mom's for a day last weekend and I sent disposables with them.)

I'm going to have to buy more stuff, too. For now, I throw the used ones in an open laundry basket, since they don't smell much. I assume someday I'll have to get a large wet bag (I have two small ones that hold 3-4 diapers each). Also, I bought two more diapers, since we're using them at night now, each of which takes about a month to break even on. I'll also have to buy more coconut oil (at $10/jar!) when we run out (it will be awhile, though.) I don't think we'll do much more than break even by the time Paul is potty trained. After that it's up to resale value or baby number 3 to make them a good deal!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Cloth diaper savings?

I calculated how long it will take to break even on our cloth diapers and oof. It was not encouraging.

This post is very number/calculation heavy, seemingly unnecessarily so, but I hate it when people say “cloth diapers save so much money!!” yet won’t detail their calculations OR use per-diaper prices waaaaaay above what diapers actually cost. (For the love of God, just join Amazon mom. Free two-day shipping and Pampers cruisers are only $0.20 each when bought in the economy-size box. Way easier and cheaper than going to the store. Even Earth's Best Chlorine Free Diapers are only $0.24. Don’t try to tell me disposables cost $0.35 each!)

(Also, I don’t care what per-diaper price YOU use in your calculations as long as you explain where it came from – i.e., the diapers I like are $0.35 cents each at Target and I don’t want to buy them online – and aren’t super pushy, a la ‘Only idiots pass up the opportunity to save HUNDREDS PER WEEK by using cloth diapers’)

If you’re not interested in all the crazy calculations, I’ve bolded my conclusion down below so it’s easy to skip to.

OK, here we go.

#1 – My mom doesn’t want to use cloth diapers when she takes care of Paul. We got her hooked on A&D ointment (which has worked wonders for both kids) and she doesn’t want to stop using it. She WILL use them if we want, but…

#2 - I think a few days a week covered in A&D will do his super-sensitive skin some good. After 24 hours in cloth diapers (changed every 2 hours or sooner), he already had a contact rash from the top edge of the diaper (above where the lining stops) and a heat rash in the diaper area (while only wearing a diaper and a t-shirt). Coconut oil did nada for it and I am completely uninterested in buying every possible brand of cloth-diaper safe cream. We’re trying to SAVE money here.

#3 – I could buy disposable/flushable liners for the diapers, yes, but then we don’t save much money over disposables. For instance, GroVia liners: pretty much as cheap as disposable liners come at 5.95 cents apiece ($11.75 for 200). Say we go through 8 diapers a day, 2 at home and 6 at grandma’s (in practice, he usually uses 5 there and 2 at home). He spends 3.5 days/week there, so presumably uses 21 diapers. Disposables cost 14.90 cents each (explained later). Over the course of a week, using liners instead of disposables will save us $1.90 (14.90 cents – 5.875 cents x 21). But, we’ll have to wash those diapers twice at $0.53/wash*, reducing the savings to $0.82. PER WEEK. And that doesn’t even include the cost of the cloth diapers themselves. Plus, what if some ointment gets on the diapers? (Also, I know you can theoretically reuse the liners, but she’s not going to do that.)

So. We will not be cloth diapering while at grandma’s and I don’t think his skin can handle cloth diapers (the ones we have, at least) 24/7 anyway, so that’s probably a good thing.

For the rest of the week, the calculations don’t get much better. I was hoping using cloth diapers would enable me to eventually get down to a per-use price of .10, which was my old buy price for disposables. Yes, Amazon raised their prices, which is partly why I went for the cloth, but it’s still sometimes possible to get them that cheap if you are obsessive, which I am.

Calculating it that way was just too depressing, though, so I’m going to use 14.9 cents each, which is what I could buy Size 4 disposables (Luvs) for right now on Amazon with no coupons whatsoever (but with Subscribe & Save). That’s a little on the high end, since it’s for size 4’s and is not a sale or coupon price (did you know there are coupons on

We’re not using cloth at night, and average 6 cloth diapers in a full day, 1 on days I work. If we skip Monday nights, so diapers can be washed only on Fridays and Sundays, we’ll use 23 diapers a week. (1 Tuesday, 1 Wednesday, 3 Thursday (half-day of work), 6 each on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.) Replacing 23 disposables a week will save $3.427 ($0.149 x 23). Doing two loads of wash will cost approximately $1.06.* I buy Charlie’s soap powder for $10.19 a tub on Amazon (that’s with Subscribe & Save). Each tub has 80 loads (scoops) and I use about 1/3 scoop for a load of cloth diapers, making it 0.0424/load for diapers or 0.0849 for 2 loads. So cloth diapers will save about $2.2821/week (that’s $3.427 – 1.06 – 0.0849). (Also, this assumes I don’t put the liners in the dryer.)

I spent $140 on 12 diapers plus a diaper sprayer (an awesome deal) and won’t add the costs of the wet bags and coconut oil which I already owned.

Using these calculations, it will take approximately 61 weeks (14 months) to break even on the diapers ($140/2.2821 per week). Yeesh. Doable, but not exactly rolling-in-the-dough type savings.

If we used cloth diapers exclusively that would lead to a little more than double the usage (7 diapers/day * 7 days = 49/week instead of 23) and it would take 29 weeks to break even. Even rounding that to 8 months, in case you use disposables while traveling and while on antibiotics, etc. it’s very respectable. If you prefer more expensive diapers, say Earth’s Best, you’ll break even faster (though remember these calculations are based on the used cloth diapers I bought for $10 each). To be clear, I’m not saying cloth diapers don’t save money, I’m saying they won’t really save us money. Still, I bought them for (roughly) half-price and we use them about half of the time, so I assume this is about typical. 14 months isn't BAD, assuming your kid is in diapers for at least 24 months, it's just not what I was hoping for.

I’m not sorry I bought the cloth diapers because I think they’re FUN and PRETTY (or, you know, masculine or something). I’m going to think of them as a fun hobby that costs money like all hobbies do. Also, there are several other reasons to use cloth diapers (or maybe just one: better for the environment. Better for baby’s skin doesn’t seem to apply to us). We may someday break even, but assuming we do, we’ll still only be saving a whopping $2.28 per week** AND spending time washing/hanging/stuffing diapers.

*According to this post, a hot/warm load costs approximately $0.68 and further down in the post he says using cold for the rinse instead saves $0.15, so a hot/cold load would be $0.53. He lives two towns over from me, so I’m assuming energy costs are the same where I live.

**Yes, diaper prices may go up by then, leading to bigger savings, but I am the queen of buying far, far ahead, plus, as I said, the per-diaper price I used was a little high to begin with.

P.S. No one warns you when you have kids, you might start calling diapers a HOBBY.

Monday, April 2, 2012

In others words

I read something a couple weeks ago (can't remember where) that linked to this article, which I clicked open and said “weaning and depression? YES, I NEED TO READ THIS ASAP.” I was probably at work, though, didn’t get to it by the end of the day and told myself I’d remember to go back tomorrow, then didn’t. Anyway, I remembered it today, did some Googling, and finally read it. Within the article was the link to another post:

“I felt guilty because I had a wonderful baby, a loving husband, and a great life on paper, yet I was inexplicably falling apart. Although I had loved taking care of Toby since he was born eight months before, it suddenly seemed exhausting to look after a child. I dreaded hearing his cries in the morning and having to get out of bed and face the day. I felt utterly overwhelmed and exhausted… Even the smallest…decisions seemed like insurmountable obstacles, and I was quickly moved to tears.”

This is exactly what I feel/felt like. The whole thing. Read it all (I mean, if you want).

Also, within that post was the link to an oldie from Swistle, which I’ve read several times, but not since I started weaning Paul.

"I don't know what's the matter with me; it's like I've lost my mind. I'm on the edge of fury all the time; I spent all yesterday and all morning so far today losing it over every little thing. EVERYTHING drives me crazy in about 2 seconds. It seems way out of hand."


I think I remember that reading that Swistle post for the first time was what opened my eyes and made me realize why I went insane when weaning Meg. That’s why I was “prepared” this time. I was going to be proactive. I was gonna do better.

That didn’t go so well.

Or maybe it did. This time I was fully aware it was BECAUSE of weaning, which is why I was able to get help instead of thinking everything was my fault and my life was ruined. (Eventually. For the first month or so, I really was convinced my life was ruined.) I guess now I know even more for next time (hahahaha. NEXT TIME. Let's not think about that right now, OK?)