Wednesday, April 30, 2008

More diapers and the storage solution

There was a great sale on a week or so ago (may still be going on), so I bought some more cloth diapers and some wet bags. Most of the diapers are too big for Luca right now, and probably will be for some time yet since she's just a peanut. But at half off, I couldn't pass them up! They are SO cute!!! Here are some pictures of the diapers. Not shown here are the two we used tonight; one in yellow with lime snaps and the other in pale pink.

In addition to more diapers, I almost caved over the weekend and bought a diaper stacker. I never thought I'd use one, but now that Luca is into EVERYTHING, diapers left on the shelves of the changing table are not safe from her little hands. She's been known to open a pack of disposables and throw them across the kitchen in 4.5 seconds. But when I started looking at diaper stackers (basically a bag on a clotheshanger that is made of fabric and has an opening down the front, so you can stack diapers in it and remove them one by one), my mom tried to dissaude me. Her experience with 4 kids showed her diaper stackers are a waste of $, so I took her advice. Instead, I spent $2.99 on this lovely little mesh laundry bag:

In it, I put the pre-stuffed and all-in-one cloth diapers in Luca's current size, as well as a few disposables and some extra inserts. Not only is it securely snapped to the table and out of Luca's reach, it also zips shut. Hooray!!!

As for the extra diapers which are still too large for Luca, they are clean and have been placed in a basket on the shelf of the changing table. She may still pull the basket down and toss them around, but at least the ones she fits into are kept secure and ready to go!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Sometimes things come just when you need them.

I am on my second overnight trip away from Luca. It's for work again, this time in Oakland for one night. But I still miss her squishy little snuggles and her sweetness.

So, here I sit in my hotel room alone, debating a glass of wine and working to avoid boredom, when I get an email from my friend Jen. She's the one who took the family pictures for us back in January. She's been working hard to edit and perfect the HUNDREDS of pictures she took (in addition to a FT job and some baby-makin'!!!) and sent me the link tonight. This was the smile I needed tonight. Thanks, Jen!

With my beautiful Grandma, who was visiting for her 90th birthday!

Like father, like daughter.

The look in her eyes kind of screams 'Someone please save me from these people!'

Luca and her Great Grandma

Who's your Diva?

My grandma, my mom, and Luca. My mom's smile here is SO great!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Cloth Diaper Update

It's been over a week since these bad boys came in the mail, and although we're not using them full time yet, I do use them whenever I am with the Luca monster. I haven't worked up the courage to talk to her sitter about using them, even though I feel fairly certain she'd be receptive since she has been doing daycare for 25 years and has no doubt used worse. But...Darrick is off for the summer in about 4 weeks, so I figured we'd use them over the summer, and if we're on them FT when school starts back up in August we'll talk to her then.

The Bum Genius 3.0 diapers are truly amazing. She's worn them overnight with no leaks and all day with no leaks (well, not ALL DAY, as we DO change them when they get dirty). They feel so soft and cozy, and I just adore them! The Bummi wrap with the contour insert impressed me less. She wore it for a 2 hour nap and it leaked ALL OVER. I think my little beanpole needs to chub up a little before it'll work well for her, but we'll hang onto it and try again later.

I also ordered some diapers from, as they were having a Buy 1 Get 1 Free promotion. And...they also had half off wet bags, so two of those are on their way as well. I am really excited about all of this! The wet bags will make it easier to use the cloth diapers when we're out and about, as they contain smells and wetness. The new diapers and wet bags should be here in a few days, which means we'll be able to use CDs more regularly. Right now I only have enough for a day and a half, so getting the rest in will help greatly.

I've found that people have a lot of questions about the ins and outs of cleaning cloth diapers, and I'll be the first to admit it kind of worried me as well. I'm happy to report, however, that it's not nearly as bad or gross as I'd worried it would be. Here's how I get them clean (and, I can't claim this as 'my' good friend Lindsey told me all about how she CDs her two little girls, and it helped me make the decision to switch):

1. For wet diapers, just remove them from baby and put them in the diaper pail (Which, for now, is a small stainless steel trash can with a lid tht seals shut tightly. We have it lined with a plastic bag, but once the wet bags come in one of them will line the trash can we're using, and then when we do the laundry we can just throw the bag in as well.).
2. For 'boom boom' diapers (thanks to my brother for that phrase), we flush the poopers and the wipes we use. Luca's old enough that those suckers are usually not too messy, but if they are what people refer to as 'peanut butter poo', you can hang the diaper down into the toilet bowl when you flush the poop down, and the swirling water will help clean the diaper as well. That diaper also goes in the diaper pail.
3. NO WATER in the pail. No nothing, really, although you could sprinkle some baking soda or baby powder in if odor was an issue. Odor has yet to be an issue for us, thank goodness. I've also heard of people putting a few drops of tea tree oil or some other baby-safe scent on a flannel cloth and putting it in the pail to alleviate smells.
4. When it's time to do laundry, I take the bag out to the garage and just dump the diapers right in the washing machine. You are supposed to pull the inserts in the diaper out of the pocket, but I've discovered that's a wasted step, as the insert comes out in the wash.
5. I run a cold wash, delicate cycle, with an extra rinse. Use as little detergent as possible, and make sure it's dye/bleach/additive free.
6. Run an extra cycle without any detergent. I usually do this on warm wash/cold rinse, and use the handwash cycle on my machine.
7. Hang to dry or tumble dry low. We don't have a clothesline yet, so I either drape them over the patio set outside or rig something up. My latest trick is to use clothes hangers to hang them outside. I prefer not to use the dryer, as I think sunlight will help keep the diapers whiter and I don't want to waste energy. Here are some pictures of my wanna-be clothesline. I just close the velcro tab on the diapers to attach them to the clothes hanger, then drape the inserts over the top:

They do sell a contraption that is a plastic ring with little plastic clips hanging from it at stores. You could always buy that to hang the diapers up to dry if a clothesline is not an option, but I figured this was basically the same thing, except it's free!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thursday 13, #6

Today's Topic: 13 Foods I Just Won't Eat.

1. Beef. That's right, I am throwing my trump card out right from the start. I've never really cared for beef, so when I was 17 I decided not to eat it anymore. I specifically remember my last meal that included was a Kobe beef hamburger when I was in Tokyo the summer before my senior year in high school. At least I went out with style!

2. Seafood of any variety. And do NOT even get me started on people who claim to be vegetarian (which, btw, I am not) but still eat fish. Fish is meat, people. It's meat.

3. Pickles. My husband hates that I hate pickles. And, he also loves that I hate pickles because it means more for him.

4. Olives. This is another food my husband LOVES and I loathe. I just do NOT get olives.

5. Mustard. It's not for me. It's yellow. It looks like newborn baby turd. No thanks, really.

6. Tripe. And, by proxy, menudo.

7. Pig's feet. Or ears. Or snouts. Or anything, really. I don't eat pork products. The ONLY exception I will make the the occassional well cooked (read: burnt) piece of bacon with the fatty parts removed.

8. Eggs in any condition other than baked into something, scrambled until they are browned and dry, or hard boiled. Egg yolk running all over my plate and soaking my toast?

9. Cooked mushrooms. I can stomach them sometimes if they are raw and in a salad, or if they are part of a veggie burger. But most of the time mushrooms freak me out. They look like little penis heads, and the dark fiber things under the cap are just not right.

10. Beets. I just am not feeling beets. It kind of pisses me off when I go somewhere and they put them in my salad. I want to pick them out, place them in my napkin, and ask for a tomato slice for each beet I return.

11. Grits. I have this theory about places that serve grits. I think it's just this HUGE moneymaking venture for them. Think about how cheap grits must be. I'm positive they start out powdered. Then think of how much they tack onto the cost of your breakfast because it comes with grits. THEN think of how many people say, "Yeah, I want a number 5, but could I get it with hashbrowns instead of grits?" and then the Waffle House waitress, who just finished the overnight shift at Christy's Cabaret next door, tacks an extra $2.00 on the bill. Viola...Waffle House just hosed your ass!

12. Yams. Or sweet potatoes. Are these the same thing? It doesn't matter, really, because I won't eat them either way. I LOVE potatoes, but I do NOT want them sweet. Ew.

13. Coconut. "I'm a little coconut...sitting on my cocobutt...everybody laughs at me...because I ama a nut you see!" Cute song nonwithstanding, I despise coconut. And it REALLY pisses me off when someone ruins a perfectly good cake/candy/cookie with coconut shavings.

Go ahead...tell me what things YOU won't eat.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Chandler Fire Department. Doing Their Part to Beautify Arizona.

I had what we will refer to as an 'incident' this weekend. But, before I delve into the details, allow me to note that I can laugh at this now, which must be a good sign.

So, on Saturday we were out getting breakfast when Darrick decides he wants to take my car to get a tune-up. Or, rather, half a tune up. You see, he had changed 3 of my 6 spark plugs, but couldn't find the others. You read that right: couldn't FIND the others. Which is part of the reason I am the wife of a poor teacher and not a rich head mechanic for BMW. So after running our morning errands, which included a visit to an auto parts shop for a new headlight and new windshield wipers, he jumped back in the car and announced that the guy working the register recommended a place down the street.

Mind you, we were in downtown Chandler...south of the wine bars and boutiques lining Boston Street....down toward the carnicerias and lines of day laborers trying to flag people down outside of Circle K. I know where this is going, but I've come to accept this about Darrick: he's cheap as hell, so if there's a way we can find a chop shop that'll change out the spark plugs for $100 and a 12 pack of Dos Equis, he's all over it. And...when we pulled up to a garage in someone's backyard, hidden behind a biker bar...I knew that 12 pack purchase was in my near future.

Whatever. I can deal. The dealership wanted $450 to change the plugs, and this guy says $100 in cash will get the job done. After a swap of cars, we end up leaving Stan Stan the Mini Van in this man's (please god let them be) capable hands, with orders to return at 3 pm.

Fast forward to 3 pm. We return to get Stan, and as we're leaving Darrick tells me he's going to run over to see is brother. So I hop in my car and he in his, and we head to our separate destinations. I pull into the garage, open my car door and smell...what IS that smell?!?! I note that the clothes dryer is on, and panic for a moment, since I recognize the smell is something burning. I fling open the dryer door in a heart-stopping panic, and....nothing. Huh. Odd. I expected smoke, thinking somehow a wayward baby toy had gotten into the dryer and was melting. I lean closer and sniff to be sure, but the smell is getting weaker and not stronger. I turn around, confused, and am about to shrug it off when I see smoke...billowing out from under my hood, while my car is off and parked in the garage and Luca is in the backseat.

Instinct basically took over. My first thought was, "Get Luca OUT of the car!" I unhooked her from her seatbelt and grabbed her out of the carseat. Once I have her in my arms, I run into the house and throw down my keys. I am afraid to open the hood because the flames might come get me, and if my car ignites my house is burning down. I curse myself for not having a fire extinguisher in the garage. I think of starting the car and backing it out...but...what if it's an electrical thing and starting the car back up ignites it?

The garage is filling with a HORRIBLE smelling smoke, and I am freaking out for real now. It's just Luca at home with me, and I can't leave her alone or risk her safety. I open the door leading from the garage to the backyard and step out there to escape the smoke. I dial my brother in law who Darrick is going to visit, to no avail. I try their other brother with the same results. I try my mom...nothing. I weigh feeling like an idiot against my house maybe burning down and decide to be extra safe, so I call 9-1-1.

The fire station is no more than 1.5 miles from my house, so I can hear the truck probably before it pulls out of the station. I walk out front, going through the side gate instead of back into the garage, and I wait on the sidewalk.

Up pulls the fire truck. Out jump 2 men in full gear....looking like the poster boys for How To Be A Dead Sexy Fireman. Two more men in blue shirts and the fireman pants follow. HOT HOT HOT. Combined, they were the four hottest men I have ever seen together.

The two in full gear rushed into the garage where they found....some oil...spilled on a gasket or some such bullshit...and nothing else. No fire. No flames. Barely any smoke left. One of the men in blue came to talk to me and get my info for their report. Embarrased, I explained that I'd panicked since I was home alone with Luca, and he ever so kindly told me it was ok, that's what they were there for and better safe than sorry. Mr Fire Gear centerfold 2008 walks out of the garage and makes a comment to Luca about her cuteness. Sexy McAllister follows him out. I avert my eyes so they won't see how stupid I feel. Mr. Blue once again assures me it's a good thing I called and tells me to never feel bad, especially when I'm home alone with a baby. I thank him and the other profusely, and watch them pull away.

Calm and slightly humiliated, I go inside to set my things down. On my way in I pass a mirror. There I stand in black yoga pants smeared with butter and pancake crumbs from Luca's breakfast and a shirt covered in dog hair. I have not showered yet. My hair is a nest of sweaty curls. The little bit of makeup I was wearing this morning is now a pool of black smeared below both eyes and some blotchy cheeks. And, oh, did I mention I had been doing work in the backyard all morning? I looked like a wild boar had played freeze tag with me and most definitely won.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Backyard Makeover!

Over the past few weeks, we've slowly been making over our back patio. One of the things that attracted us to this house in the first place was the yard. Our home is situated at the end of a street which curves around into another one. Because of the angle it's on, we don't have a neighbor to the west of us until the road curves, so the yard is really long on the side. I'm not sure how to describe that accuratlely, but here is a blurry picture of when we first closed on the home:

Anyhow, we've been here 14 months now, and just recently started to work on decorating and doing things out back. The first step was buying a patio set, which we got from Ikea back before Christmas. It was a steal at $120, and only took Darrick a few hours to assemble (thanks, hon!). We also purchased some tea light lanterns that I just love:

Since then, we've slowly been adding touches to make things nicer back there. We hung up a sun that we bought several years ago in Rocky Point,

planted an Ash tree,

The ash tree.

and over the past weeks we've been adding some plants to the patio. I thought I should take some pictures to share, so here are a few. Don't mind the messes you still see...everything is a work in progress. One thing you will notice is the cloth diapers hanging over the chairs. Our HOA actually forbids clotheslines (bleh), so for now this is how I am drying them. I'm thinking of either breaking the rules by hanging up a line in an inconspicuous place, or getting a clothes drying rack.

This is a planter that had Easter flowers in it. I reused it to plant some cantaloupe seeds, since we don't have a real garden yet. If they really grow, we'll have to transplant later, but it's a start.

This terra cotta pot has more cantaloupe seeds and some petunia seeds.

The mini watering can and small red pot are from Target's $1 section. They are selling starter kits of flowers, herbs, veggies, and fruits. I decided to try some, and to my surprise they are actually growing. So, I transferred a few to that long box planter in the picture above.

A low water usage succulent.

String of Pearls succulent.

Bummis cover and Bum Genius 3.0

You'll also notice I took some pictures of the side yard since the trees are SO huge and in bloom. Our mesquite is absolutely gorgeous this year! And underneath it is our composting bin, which is totally my baby. Darrick thinks composting is a waste of time and will just attract bugs, but the City of Chandler provides these for free, so I figured I had nothing to lose! I was inspired to finally start composting by the blog Super(Natural) can check her blog out if you follow the link on the right of my page.

Our bottle brush tree in bloom. The hummingbirds LOVE this!

The hummingbird feeder hanging from the bottle brush.

The mesquite

Looking out from under the mesquite.

Composting bin.

One funny note, since this is ME we're talking about here, and I'm kind of a I was taking these pictures, I picked up a broom that was on the table, and ended up smacking the globe that was over the fan light, and it popped and shattered into a billion and one pieces. I had to be sure to clean it well, since we are always back there barefoot and the dogs love the after sweeping it, I took the Dirt Devil upright back there to do work. I was laughing to myself, picturing the neighbors spying out their back windows at the weirdo who was vaccuuming her back patio. On the plus side, though, you can see that the broken globe only served to expose our very-PC CFL lightbulb!

And while I was out cleaning up THAT mess, Piggy was inside destroying this pencil:

Thanks, Pig.

Luca LOVES her yard!


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