Friday, July 19, 2019

Mom Visits and Cloth Diapers

So it was a good but busy few days last weekend. My mom came down to visit (my folks live 3 hours away) and since she is retired she got to stay more than just a short weekend. She got to come with me to both my local ob and my Maternal Fetal Medicine appointment in St. Louis. We had a good time, she got to hear the heartbeat and see the baby on the ultrasound, firsts for her. My mom was pregnant in the late 70s/early 80s so it wasn't stuff she had access to back then.  But there is one thing that she had that we still have and have even improved upon, cloth diapers.

Since it was hot as hell this last weekend we did not spend a lot of time outside of the house doing stuff. Instead it was a lot of discussions about plans for the baby, showing her things on online registries and decluttering the guest room. I mentioned that we were considering cloth diapering. Immediately she said, "Why on earth would you want to do THAT?" Considering that was pretty much all she had with us I understood. So I proceeded to show my mom what I have learned so far... that some things have changed in the last 40 odd years.

Now to be completely honest, I have little experience with cloth diapers. I vaguely remember them being used on my younger brother. I tried to change his diaper when I was three and accidentally got it stuck in the toilet trying to clean it.  Then disposables became available and more affordable and I really didn't see anyone with cloth again until I was in my 20s. At that time it seemed liked it was some hippie, earth mama, old fashioned thing that were ugly and bulky to boot (I was pretty naive and judgy in my youth). As I got older my thoughts still clung to the convenience of disposable diapers, every baby or toddler I babysat or had a hand with used disposables, but more of my friends were starting to cloth diaper. Just none that lived close by me. I was starting to understand the cost effectiveness part of cloth diapers. Disposable diapers are expensive and you're literally throwing that money into the garbage, that irritated me to no end. It also appealed to the greener, more self sufficient life I wanted to lead.

I've found with cloth diapers that things have changed. Yes there are still the flats and prefolds of my infanthood but there's also improvements in the fasteners, the covers and the new types like All In Ones, All in Twos, Pockets, Hybrids, etc. This, this is where my head starts to explode. Sometimes, especially for a person with anxiety, too many choices can be a bad thing. But everyone I talked to, all the groups I joined on Facebook, all the places I looked at online said the same thing: Try a few of each type out to see what will work best for you and the baby. A friend of mine who cloth diapered is giving me what she used. During one of my insomnia attacks I found a local woman who had about 60 prefolds, a mix of sizes, for $10 total. I jumped on it. It's the first thing we have actually bought for the baby! I figured if I didn't use them for cloth diapers or boosters I could use them for burp cloths and cleaning supplies at the very least. I will need to get some covers and some snappi fasteners and learn some folds for what I got. I do want to try a little of everything. Since I'm not working I will have to try to build my diaper stash slowly. With the different sized prefolds score I feel like I may be halfway there. Maybe that's just me being completely naive.  We shall see.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Trying To Make a Nest Out of a Not Quite Hot Mess

This has been the first week of being officially a housewife but since the beginning of July I have been slowly chipping away at getting the house into better order. My Awesome Roommate™ Walley had a birthday party at the house last weekend and I tried to tidy up the common areas to the best of my ability. My mother is coming to visit (my folks live several hours away) so I REALLY wanted to make sure the house looked nice.  As I'm now in my second trimester activities like cleaning and nesting are starting to kick in more but so is getting winded easily. So I am finding myself taking it a little at a time. Do a thing, take a break, do another thing, take another break, lather, rinse, repeat.

Originally I wanted to try to get a room a day done but that's just not happening for me...yet. One of the things is that I'm still trying to declutter the house some. I made everyone watch "Tidying Up with Marie Kondo" on Netflix. It was something that we needed to see honestly. Both Walley and I have the most possessions in the house. My husband, Brandon, did not bring a lot with him when he moved here from out East, but has accumulated stuff and has a hard time getting rid of things we no longer use. My roommate's room is packed massively, so is the garage. I can't even go in there it sets my OCD off big time. So began the process of slowly but surely starting to declutter, just not completely using the KonMari Method. I love her folding methods!!!! The show helped get us in the frame of mind. I've continued to re-evaluate things. He's kinda fallen off the wagon but I'm trying to help him get back on track as he has admitted he wants to get things handled. I'm trying not to sound nag, some days it's really hard.

As I mentioned, I'm feeling the pull to start getting things ready for the baby. Im 17w3d (weeks/days) now. Im basically at the halfway point for me since they have to do a C-section around 35-37 weeks. The craft room/storage room/guest room had been purged some and somewhat organized but it is definitely not in shape for a nursery. There are some bins of crap, old costumes, stuff we said we'd fix or mend but haven't etc. There's a closet full of SCA clothing, surround sound equipment (husband's) brewing supplies (my roommate makes some awesome mead when he takes the time to) An old computer desk and chair that is also the roommate's and is slated to go curbside. There's a twin bed taking up a bit of space and a three tiered shelf full of knick knacks and old porcelain dolls that I need to figure out what to do with. People were asking if we had started a registry yet. The pregnancy group I'm in on FB was starting to flood with posts about different registries, baby boxes, questions and suggestions about what to get, what to avoid. So I jumped on the registry bandwagon...then promptly had an anxiety attack.

There was SO MUCH STUFF!

So much stuff, so much expensive stuff! I started to anxiety spiral about money, about how with me not working we won't have enough for all this crap. I sobbed how I've ruined our lives, and the baby's, because we weren't going to be able to afford all this. I legit cried. Then, in a moment of logic and pragmatism, I realized that we do not need to get all this stuff. Not only did we not need a lot of this stuff but the stuff we did need we may not need to actually purchase brand new or pay for at all. That's when the rest of my brain calmed down and kicked back on. When I vented online about this it led to some really great discussions about what was needed, what my friends used, that led to talks about things like cloth diapering and minimalist nurseries. It was a huge relief to be reminded that I had another way to go and that I have a tribe and community even if we are scattered all over the map.

One of my friends I've known since grade school set aside a few big priced items for me from her two kids the first time I was pregnant. A stroller, car base, carseat, toys. It went on the backburner after our loss. The car seat had to be recycled but we found that I should be able to get a compatible one online. She lives up around Chicago but her folks still live in the same town as mine so a transfer will eventually happen. Other friends who are married with kids are coming down from Iowa for a visit and are going to try to bring down a playmat, bouncer, activity table, and a nursing pillow they are no longer using. My brother-in-law is looking at their crib to see if it is still usable. Another friend has offered a small assortment of cloth diapers from when their son was small. Others offered solidarity, support and good advice. I've been reminded that baby showers happen but that's a whole other bag of anxiety for another day.

I then asked myself and my husband some important questions about how we wanted to handle things. What kind of style. I'm a weird mix of lazy modern, frugal, and hippie. He is all about free, cheap or frugal but he also likes his conveniences. We are interested in cloth diapers but intimidated so I started researching online. We have no problem buying secondhand or using hand me downs for most things. We are definitely on board with me breastfeeding, if possible, and pumping so that he can help with feedings. I signed up for formula groups just in case. We do not want to co-sleep. Not knocking it though, just not a thing we're interested in. We're okay with a bassinet or crib in our room for a while, especially since I'll be having a C-section. Hell, I'd love to get a Finnish baby box if could only afford it!!! Then move the crib to the nursery as they get older. (That's going to be a play by ear thing I have a feeling.) I've got my eye on the local facebook groups and marketplace for deals on a dresser that can also be changing table, and some baby carriers. I want a good deal but also want it to look nice and last a while. Yeah, I'm aware that Im walking a fine line there. When we looked at all this it made the list of actual needs much smaller, the registry started to get weeded down. Im mean there's still some more frivolous stuff, hooded towels are completely adorable!!!  I started breathing a little easier. Then I realized I had some work to do.....

So here we are now, back to decluttering, back to organizing because I need to rearrange both my bedroom and the spare room in preparation of this soon to be force of nature that's coming in 18-20 weeks. Any tips or suggestions are more than welcome!

Saturday, June 29, 2019

An Unexpected Housewife

Things happen. I've been gone far too long. It's been a road through hell and high water. When I last posted I was dealing with going back to college and working two jobs. Everything else fell off the map. Halfway through my last semester I got a job with a local healthcare system and I got pregnant. I graduated with my associates degree. I'm the first in my immediate family to do so. Things were going pretty well.

Sadly in January of 2018 things went to hell in a hand basket.  I went into labor at 17 weeks and lost our son. Come to find I had 2 softball sized fibroids and one baseball sized one and my uterus just couldn't stretch any more. It was excruciating and I fell into depression, coupled with PTSD from the induced labor I had to endure. The following spring we went two hours north to St. Louis to have a laparoscopic surgery (myomectomy) to have them removed. We had to wait 6 months before we could try again. It took another six months after that to get pregnant. In that year's span I got engaged, I lost both my furbabies Mina and Isis, changed jobs, got married and I grew another fibroid. It is tiny and watched like a hawk by my new local OB and my specialists in St. Louis. I go about once a month. I am almost 16 weeks along now.

I'm a high risk pregnancy to begin with (age, diabetes, PCOS) but because of my surgery I am not allowed to go full term or go through labor again. I will have a scheduled C-section somewhere between 35 and 37 weeks, depending on how things progress. It's been a hard pregnancy this time around. Extreme morning sickness (hyperemesis) still plagues me. I've lost 12 pounds but have managed to keep myself hydrated enough to avoid going to the ER for IV fluids. My anxiety is rearing its ugly head and exacerbates it. I also have a lot of pain, partly from it being my second pregnancy but partly because of scar tissue from my surgery. The job I'm currently at is extremely stressful for me. I've missed a lot of work, which made my anxiety get the idea. My husband and I made the decision for me to leave my job. So now here I am, an unexpected housewife.

So buckle up folks as I try to buckle back down into a more frugal, self sufficient lifestyle, pull off the housewife thing, and 3D print a tiny human.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Time flies when you're.....

I thought I had posted since Yule. Apparently that is not the case. Sorry. I'm still around, I'm off path though and trying to make my way back to a more sustainable, health and self sufficient lifestyle.

Here's the skinny:
  • Replaced the broken oven.
  • Fridge died, was gifted a older fridge by a friends who had an extra.
  • Second semester was brutal 15 credit hours, but one class ended horribly with a D so I will have to retake it eventually.
  • My dad had a stroke in February, my brother had a garage accident that massively damaged both his hands in April. They are both doing better. My brother moved out of state to be able to work.
  • Got turned down for financial aid this year. Cashing out my 401k after the call center closed kinda screwed me. I'm still in the dislocated worker program so my tuition and books were covered.
  • I'm still at school, 12 credit hours and I work two jobs. One for a well known sub shop (That made all of us sign a social media clause so I cant put the name down) and I also babysit a gorgeous 10 month old baby for some family friends. 
I miss writing, I haven't been keeping up with the blogs I love to read but I'm trying to rectify that. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Homemade for the Holidays (Winter check-in)

It's Winter Solstice
This is my "Yule Log" 

I haven't had a tree since Bill moved out five years ago. Without the step-kids and the step-grand-baby I just didn't have any incentive to decorate the first year or so. Three years back I lamented to Brenna and Sister Zim that I wanted to decorate but was didn't have a tree, didn't want a tree because the cat to human ratio increased and some of those cats are jerks. I know some fluffy bastard would bring it down and break something. They created the Yule Log. They snuck it in to the house and I came home to find it. It's now what I use in place of a tree. It has holes drilled to put in tea lights. It has owls. It's very much me.

I was on the fence about whether or not I would decorate this year. The weather has ranged from 40-70 F. It doesn't FEEL like winter. So it's hard to get into the mindset. I finally had an inkling to do something for the holidays, on the 21st! So I got the log down and then dug up my old Christmas decorations. It was rough, so rough. It made me homesick, it made me miss my late Uncle Scott who used to dress up as Santa. Several of my snowmen in the picture above are from him. I cried off and on the whole set up. 

Poor Brandon came home in the middle of it and did his best to help me. Then he let me open a Yule gift
It's a bluetooth speaker with extra bass! No more "tinny" music from my laptop or phone!

This is also the first year in almost a decade that I don't have a Christmas bonus to go shopping with and that's been rough. I know my friends and family don't care but I love gifting. So it's homemade presents for most people. I'm mid process of making different things for people. Stuff I have learned through the SCA has come in handy, I've made some rosewater and camphor perfumes and making some crocheted gifts. Also doing up some body washes, and some candles. Probably most will get them late. I've been having some things getting in my way...

Just some things Im working on

Like my oven breaking. The stovetop is fine but I can't bake a damn thing. I have a crock pot and an electric skillet so we can cook to a point, just not baking cookies, desserts etc. Not that I should be eating a lot of baked goods...but still, aggravating. After the holidays I'm hoping to get the repair guys out and they will tell me if it's worth fixing or buying a newer one (a newer used one).

Finals are over and I finished my first semester of college with a 3.7 GPA!! Next semester is going to be heavier credit hour wise, the courses tougher AND hopefully I will be working. My unemployment will be running out soon. I wont say where yet as it is not official. 

My health has also been trying to spiral out of control on me. My diabetes was not under control as well as they'd like and they also found out that my Vitamin D and my thyroid levels were low. So now I've cracked down and got it to a point where he decided against putting me on insulin. Now I just have to keep at it. Wish me luck.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Post Turkey Day

School and life have kept me away from writing, sorry folks. College is going ok. Im doing well in my classes and we are fast approaching the end of the semester. So far Im all A's and B's.  Stuff on the homefront has been tight. Making my unemployment stretch has been an education in frugality. Extra money is being set aside for things, like road trips, in a jar. I've been using my Ibotta app and saving up my rebates as well to use later. A friend of mine just got me onto the Walmart app with its Savings Catcher; so far I am up to $6 and as I unfortunately shop Walmart often I figure I might as well use it, every penny counts.

Next semester the credit hours are going to be higher AND I need to pick up a job.  Im not looking forward to it. Guess it's a good thing I dont have kids yet.

I'm exhausted and there isnt much more I can think to tell you guys, other than yes, I am still here.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

End of August

Yeah I know it's been three months since my last post. There wasn't a whole lot to tell. I wasn't working but was paying bills with my severance package. My shoulder was jacked up from the car wreck. There was no garden this summer. The insurance got worked out from the wreck, and with it and what money I had left from my cash out from work I bought a used car. Im happy with it and it's paid off.

Things that are happening now:

  • Im enrolled full time in college, classes started yesterday. Since I'm considered a displaced worker there is a program offered to me. Pick an approved degree or certificate program from a list the program offers and they pay for it. Tuition, books and mileage. They are still processing my application. However, I qualified for Pell and Map grants so I could get started.
  • Brenna and I are looking at a late summer garden to put cold weather crops in
  • Walley lost his job, Brandon is working temp jobs
  • Im out of severance money and finally went on unemployment. 
Life is stressful, trying to keep a handle on it. So far it's 50/50 depending on the day. I know this is temporary. I know that right now I just need to focus on school. The rest will fall in place.