Friday, 25 June 2010

Are cloth diapers full of crap?

I've been thinking a lot lately about whether or not we want to use cloth or disposable diapers.  It seems like a decision that requires a lot of research.  Cloth diapers are also one of those things that people either love or hate - either they tell you to absolutely go with it, they think they're great, or they look at you like you're Amish or something. 

Now, I'm not a big tree hugger, so cloth diapering is not a big environmental decision for me.  Do I like the idea that cloth diapers would keep thousands of diapers out of landfills?  Sure.  It's just not my primary reason for wanting to use cloth diapers.  My reasons are more basic - I'm cheap.  I'm really concerned about money while I'm off work and I am hoping that cloth diapers would relieve some of that burden.  Of course, cloth diapers bring up a whole other series of costs - they're expensive to buy initially, they cause you to do more laundry (and with our lovely Smart Meter, I would be wanting to do laundry on the weekends and after 9:00 to save on each load) which adds to your hydro, water and gas bills (our dryer is gas) and you're spending more on detergent.

Disposable diapers are great because they're so easy - use and toss, use and toss.  But they aren't cheap either, I read that you should expect to spend about $2000 a year on diapers.  Also, we have to buy bag tags for our garbage - so every bag we put out costs us $1.50.  Not much right now when we only have one bag a week, but it would add up if it was an extra couple of bags of just diapers sitting out at the curb each week.

There's also hybrid diapers, like gDiapers, which promise you the best of both worlds.  These ones allow you to flush or compost your liners for a more eco-friendly choice.  But it all comes at a price.

I really don't think I could do straight cloth diapering - I think I would cave when we're going on an outing or overnight, but that's what worries me.  I don't want to spend hundreds of dollars on an initial investment for cloth diapers, then end up only using them a couple of times a day.  Would I be diligent enough to balance the use of cloth and disposable diapers?  I don't know. 

Even if I do decide on cloth diapers, then there's the even bigger question of what kind to use.  bumGenius, gDiapers, Happy Heinys, FuzziBunz, Kushies, Mother-Ease...there is a swamp of cloth diapers brands out there, each one promising the best leak protection and comfort for you baby.  It's exhausting and makes me want to eat ice cream instead.

So, what's your call?  I'm interested in your opinion - cloth or disposable?  Any favourite brands?  Help a gal out!

(Oh, and in case you're wondering, I'm 17 weeks now and barely showing.  Everyone keeps telling me how small I still am, which just makes me worried that I'll be exploding in the next few weeks to make up for it.  I can still wear my usual clothes, but I got a Bella Band so I can leave my pants undone, because it's just way more comfortable.  We haven't taken any "belly pictures" yet because there just isn't much to show - maybe there'll be something closer to week 20.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

So, I bought a desk...

You might remember awhile back I blogged about my desk hunt 2010.  That problem still hasn't been solved, although Young House Love is giving me lots and lots of ideas to try out.  I'll be scavenging things from the local Habitat for Humanity ReStore soon!  In the meantime, I've bought another desk.  I just don't know what to do with it.

Here it is...

Not bad for $15, huh?  It's a really good piece - it weighs a tonne (that's how you know it's good!) and it's really well made.  I love the deco lines on it, and all the drawers still lock, which I find charming.

I just don't know what to do with it.  Right now, it's been banished to the basement of misfit furniture (seriously, our basement is a disaster area of discarded furniture).  I don't think I can use it as an actual working desk, because it doesn't have a large enough work surface, but maybe I'm wrong.  Although, if I wanted to use it as an actual desk, that would mean Jagger would have to help me drag it back up the stairs and he wouldn't be thrilled about that.

I thought about using it in the kid's future room, but that would mean I would have to move my other desk (why do I have so many desks all of a sudden?) out.  The other desk is bigger and has a hutch, so it has more storage.  I'd rather have it in the baby's room because then I can use it as a bookcase and a dresser.  If I had this desk in there, then I wouldn't have as much drawer space to use, but I could use it as a change table.  Only problem is, I really don't want a change table.

It might be good in our room as a TV stand, but it seems like a waste of a good piece of furniture to do that.  Also, we're already wasting a good piece of furniture (my hope chest) by plunking a TV on top of it (it also renders the hope chest very difficult to use because of the TV on top of needs to find a new home as well).

I would really like it in a hallway, like near the front door to drop your keys and stuff on, but we already have a buffet thing in the front hallway that works really well because it gives us storage for our DVDs and video games.

So, that puts it back in the unfinished basement.  One day, the basement will be finished, and then it's a whole different story, but for now, it seems like a waste.

Also, the desk is in kind of rough shape.  The top is pretty roughed up and could use some TLC, observe.

So the question is - to paint or not to paint?  Should I try to stain it?  The idea of sanding and staining all those grooves down the front scares me - I would hate to ruin my $15 desk!  I have a bunch of furniture I want to paint soon, just to clean it up.  And since my mom and grandma have offered to pay to have someone paint my living room and the baby's room as a gift to me and the baby (thanks mom and grandma!) I'll be able to get things done in here soon!  Lots of news to come!

So, what do you think?  Right now, just from writing this, I'm leaning more towards dragging it upstairs and putting it to use as my actual work desk.  Maybe if I got a decent office chair, I could make it work.  I'd be interested to hear your opinions though!

Friday, 18 June 2010

Pinch Me

I have a weird thing for lobsters.  I don't know why, but something about lobster-themed items is just so freaking adorable and kitchy and awesome, I can't resist it.  I love lobster-themed stuff almost as much as I love eating lobsters.

Come on, how adorable are these salt and pepper shakers?  My great-grandma had a collection of salt and pepper shakers that I would kill to get my hands on now.  I fear that one day I'll end up with some sort of china cabinet filled with hideous little salt and pepper shakers.

This casserole dish is amazing.  I love that the handles are lobster tails - adorable!

These next two platters are so awesomely retro and 50s/60s cool, I can't stand it.  I can just picture Betty Draper serving Don something on these.

Of course, lobster awesomeness isn't restricted to the kitchen.  I'm in love with this little lobster onesie! 

And I might need this lobster scarf...just because it's so pretty.   They have the same design and quote on T-shirts too - the quote is French and I'd never heard it before,
« J'ai le goût des homards, qui sont tranquilles, sérieux, savent les secrets de la mer, n'aboient pas... »  Included in every order- a card with the translation:
"I have a liking for lobsters. They are peaceful, serious creatures. They know the secrets of the sea, they don’t bark..."  Supposedly the French poet, Gérard de Nerval, would walk his pet lobster with a ribbon. This was his reasoning for adopting a lobster as opposed to a dog!
I just ripped it off of their store site, rather than trying to put it in my own words.

Any weirdo designs floating your boat lately?  It's amazing what you can find on!

Thursday, 17 June 2010

In The Mood.

Every good comic book nerd has their source.  For us, it's L.A. Mood in London.  I still remember that April day last year when Jagger decided that on a walk downtown to get some greasy spoon dinner from The Mascot, one of our favourite restaurants, we would finally stop in to L.A. Mood. 

We'd been talking about getting more into comics for some time by that point - in the summer of 2008, seeing The Dark Knight made us want to read some Batman stuff.  Also, seeing the trailer for Watchmen made us extremely curious.  For my birthday in October, Jagger bought some graphic novels (for me and him I suppose) and our curiosity grew.  Getting Watchmen for Christmas made us that much more pumped for more and by the time we saw Watchmen in March, we were sold.

So, one muggy April day, we took a stroll downtown and finally went into L.A. Mood.

Comic book stores are a funny thing - they are very intimidating until you actually go inside.  Once inside, people are so friendly and helpful, you couldn't ask for more.  We met Tom, who was working the counter at the time, and he helped us navigate our way through some books and offered recommendations.  While we were browsing, the skies opened up and it began to pour.

Now we were trapped.

Getting trapped in a comic book store while you have money is a terrible, terrible thing.  We spent about a half hour in there waiting for the rain to stop, and just kept spending more and more money.  By the time the rain let up, we walked out with significantly less funds and plenty more comic books.  I got myself started on the Batman: Battle for the Cowl storyline and Jagger grabbed a bunch of stuff too.  We also had information for the upcoming Free Comic Book Day and the forthcoming Graphic Novel Group.

Things got serious from there.  Once you start knowing the people who work at a comic book store by name, you're in deep.  We started stopping in more and more frequently to pick up our new books.  Free Comic Book Day was a blast, and between the two of us, we came home with the true beginning of a collection.

Going to that first Graphic Novel Group meeting in June was when we really got sealed in.  We met new friends and haven't looked back since.  After over a year now of attending events and gatherings at L.A. Mood, we're customers for life.  We're already looking forward to taking the kid out to Free Comic Book Day in the future and always look forward to stopping in to check our bags.  It's nice to have a place like that, a place we can browse, order stuff, and just visit friends.  They just seem to do so much for the customers - special events with prizes and giveaways, the graphic novel group, special movie screenings, even a wedding cake to celebrate Archie's wedding.

Sure, we like other comic book stores in London (shh) but none of them are quite like L.A. Mood.  My second favourite is probably The Comic Book Collector, because it's close to my work, so I can pop in at lunch and grab a book or two.  It always ends up like I'm cheating on L.A. Mood a little bit though.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Sweet Little Blair

She's finally here.

My sweet little niece, Blair.

My sister had a really rough time in delivery, and long story short, she ended up getting whisked away to another hospital for some surgery.  The worst part?  They had to send her and leave little Blair at the original hospital.

My heart just broke for my sister, that she wouldn't be able to spend that first night with her new baby.  My mom stayed with Blair until about 11:30 and then I got there for my shift and stayed with her through the night until Courtney returned from surgery the next day.

She was so perfect all night, just happy to cuddle in my arms.  She would only get upset if I put her down or if there was a moderately loud noise.  She's not very fond of noise. 

While I absolutely cherish that I was able to have that time with her and hold her and just talk to her all night (My sister and I sound a lot alike, so I was hoping that would help to sooth her) all I could think about was my poor sister being pulled away from this little 6 pound 14 ounce cuddle monster.

It was definitely a wonderful reunion this morning when Court and Ben came back and could finally sit down and properly meet their new little girl.

She's awesome, and my sister is awesome for making it through her delivery.  I love them both so much!

Friday, 4 June 2010

Go To Your Room!

So I've been asked by a few people about what our plans are for the baby's room (I'm refusing to call it a nursery, because I think that word is silly).  Truth be told, I'm not overly excited about the kid's room.  I figure the baby doesn't care what the room looks like, just as long as they have somewhere to live, right?  I'm trying to keep things simple, but still adorable.  My plan is to keep the walls neutral, probably by painting them grey (they're lime green right now) and then just punching things up with colourful and fun accessories.  That way, it's easy to change things later when we a) Know what we ended up with and b) Know what the kid wants.  It seems like people put so much effort into some rooms and then turn around and change them completely when the kid's like 3 and madly in love with trains or something.  Not that there's anything wrong with doing something like that, I'm just too lazy to go to that kind of effort.  I would much rather paint my living room, kitchen and own bedroom before the kid's room!

My original plan was quite a bit more complicated - painting the walls Super Mario Bros. sky blue and using these Blik wall graphics like this...

But...I've since decided that it would probably cost a fortune to do this to this degree, which is of course what I would want.  Maybe we'll just brainwash the kid into wanting this when they're a bit older instead of Thomas the Tank Engine or something...something to think about.

Anyway, here's what I've been thinking for the kid's eventual hangout.

As a reminder, here's what we have to work with now...

Domo definitely gets to stay in the room, and I want to keep the bed in there as well.  I don't want a change table, because I think they're awkward to use.  My mom used a single bed as a change/dressing area for the foster babies, and it seemed to work much better.  I'd like to paint the headboard and footboard white to give this a cleaner look as well.

Obviously, we'll need some actual sheets on the bed. Drawing on my Sarah Richardson obsession, I've found a jumping off point in fabric.

(Michael Miller fabric)

That's what I'm thinking for the general scheme in the room. I'd like to paint the walls that grey colour, then use bright colours like that in ways that's easy to change. I think the colour scheme is gender-neutral and playful and I love the guitars! I could use some of the fabric to recover that gossip bench too, it desperately needs it.

The opposite wall is the one that has my desk...

Which I think I've decided to paint white as well.  I haven't completely come to that conclusion yet, but it's what I'm thinking now.  Now that I know it's going to be in the kid's room and is going to house books and toys and the drawers will be used as a dresser, I think a nice glossy coat of white paint will be the easiest to maintain with sticky fingers.  Maybe one day down the road I'll strip it down and stain it darker or something. 

I think that corner shelf will have to come out - if only to be able to paint.  It's nice having it there for now (see my Dr. Seuss figures on the shelf?  They definitely get to hang out in there) but I think it robs us of space in that corner.

The other two walls on either side of the bed have the window and the closet.  The closet has mirrored doors, so that'll be nice to get some light in the room.  The light fixture leaves something to be desired, and I'd like to switch it out with a ceiling fan for the white noise factor.

As far as the walls, I've been swooning over fun accessories like these...

(this etsy store seems to have disappeared, which is a shame!)

(from threescoopsoflove - I know, it's not colourful, but it's so cute!)

So that's basically what I've thought of so far.  What do you think?  Too much, too little?  Is there anything life-changing that I'm not thinking of to put in this room?  (Besides a crib, I know I need one of those!)

I'll post more down the line on what we actually accomplish - but hopefully first there will be posts on the living room, kitchen and our bedroom being painted - and coming soon - stuff actually hanging on the walls!  Can't wait - we'll be moved into this house yet!

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Garden of Mystery

Well, as the lovely weather continues (even with all the rain we've been getting this week) things are starting to spring up in my gardens.  Because this is the first spring at our new house, there's been lots of mysteries.  Some happy (yay peonies!) some just downright baffling.  Here's some pictures of some of my mystery plants - put on your deerstalker cap and help me figure things out!

This ornamental tree is in the backyard.  Some people at work have seen it as a bush, but few have seen it as a tree like this.  This one is doing so well, it's such a shame that it's hidden in the backyard.

Here's the same variety of tree in the front yard...

It isn't doing nearly as well, but I'm hoping it comes around.  I wish I could switch them around and have the nice one out front, but I'm worried I would just end up killing them both.

This little beauty also lives in the backyard.  I call it a furry umbrella tree.  People seem to really like it, but no one seems to know what it is.

This is the real tree of mystery in our yard.  It's a young tree, but it's some form of hardwood and no one can figure out what it is.  Even my dad, who worked at the family lumber yard his whole life has no idea what it is.  See those little dried bits on there?  They almost look like flowers or seeds that dried and were never dropped in the fall.  My dad thinks it's some form of an elm, but he's not sure what.  Guesses are appreciated!

Bush of mystery.  Ignore the giant weeds growing in it (I haven't gotten around to much of the backyard yet.  No one seems to be able to identify this bad boy either.  It's in kind of an awkward place, I may have to extend the back garden to enclose it, right now it's on the corner in a bit of a no man's land.

It has these little flowers on it too, but they're pretty sparse, not over the whole thing.

Out front we have this lovely tree.  It's pretty spectacular in person, and it gives nice shade on the back bedroom (where the kid will hang out) so that's nice.  We just can't figure out what it is.

It's a real feathery looking thing.

The leaves are pretty - kind of star shaped and there's green leaves and then these white leaves that have almost paint speckled green on them. 

My friend Jaclyn thinks it's some sort of hybrid thing - that they grafted something onto the trunk - see how the bark changes there?  It has some shoots coming off near the base, and those leaves are totally different from the ones on top - you can see that shoot on the right of that picture.

Well, let me know if you can figure anything out, because I'm stumped!  (That's some plant humour for you.)