Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What's Old Is My New, What's My New Is Ew.

Have I mentioned before that my mom is the Queen of Garage Sales? I think I have. If I call her on a weekend and ask what she's up to, 90% of the time she says, "Oh nothing much. I'm just out garage saling." I'll get a phone call from her every couple weeks, and the first thing she says is, "I have a bag of clothes for Everett. I was garage saling the other day..."

As much as we try to avoid it, we will always carry a part of our parents with us. This fact has manifested itself in my need to bargain. And since having a baby is expensive, here a few of my suggestions for corners you can cut, as well as corners you maybe shouldn't cut, when raising a little one.

Sooo...old or new? Of course, these are my personal preference, and some people have a higher tolerance for grossness than me.


New/Gently Used - Bottles get a lot of one-on-one time with Baby's mouth. I would opt for something new, even if you plan on boiling the parts before use. That being said, if your sister gives you her old bottles she barely ever used, I say take em.  Investment: $15.52 for 3 new bottles. We have never needed more than this many bottles.


New/Gently Used - Same logic as the bottles. I personally wouldn't feel comfortable using another baby's pacifier. That being said, one time Everett borrowed his friend's old pacifier, but it had clearly been sanitized, and we knew it was never infected with serious germs. Investment: $2.99 for 2 pacifiers.

Burp Cloths?

Old - Burp rags can be used and washed multiple times, making them easy to sanitize. Save yourself some money and choose the Gerber cloth diapers as burp rags instead, or just use old rags or fabric remnants. Investment: $14.99 for a brand new pack of 10 Gerber cloths.


New - As a child who grew up loving my "blankie," I think every baby deserves a new blanket. From the parent perspective, I enjoy seeing a beloved object wear over time. Make the investment to knit/sew/buy your baby a special comfort object. Investment: cost of materials or $22.00 - $49.95 for a pack of new blankets.


Old - We found our crib at a garage sale (gasp), and personalized it with a coat of paint. Investment:  brand new crib can cost anywhere between $100.00 and $800.00. We paid $30.00.


New/Gently Used - Would you sleep on a mattress if you didn't know where it's been? I wouldn't. Unless I knew exactly who had used the mattress and how many times it had been soiled, I would opt for a new one, or get a gently used one from someone you know and trust. Investment: a new mattress will be around $110.00. These often go on sale at Babies R Us, so I suggest purchasing during one of these sale periods. Also, don't just get the cheapest one you can find. If you can afford a little more, opt for a higher quality mattress. The kid will be sleeping on it for years.

Dresser/Changing Table?

Old - If you are lucky enough to have the space for a changing table and dresser, I envy you. We simply use Everett's dresser as his changing table. This saves us on space, money, and the appearance of organization (with changing tables you can see all the diaper accessories, but with the dresser it is at least hidden in drawers). That being said, if you can find a used dresser and spruce it up with some paint, you can save your family a lot of money. Investment: expect to pay around $25.00 for used at a garage sale, and up to $300.00 for this brand new Ikea dresser.


Old - I think every family needs one of each of these products. I use both on a regular basis. Since the covers are washable, it does not bother me that mine are used. Investment: you can drop up to $50.00 each for the brand new options, or you can buy used like I did for $10.00 to $15.00 each at a secondhand store.


Old - All parts on these accessories can either be washed or sanitized. Everett got bored in a play station after 15 minutes, so we had to switch him between his vibrating chair, the swing, and play mat frequently to keep him stimulated. Investment: each of these toys are at least $50.00 new, but with a combination of garage saling and borrowing from friends, we have spent a total of $5.00 (that's five dollars, not a typo).

High Chair?

New/Gently Used - We have a garage sale high chair, and I kind of hate it. For one, the seat is made of fabric. Even though you can wash this, it gets incredibly dirty incredibly fast. In addition, the fabric is machine washable, but the straps are not. It took a ton a bleach, a toothbrush, and a toothpick to get those suckers clean, and I still want to vomit every time Everett tries to put the straps and clips into his mouth - as babies will do. So here's my advice: get a high chair that is vinyl or wood; if you know the product is coming from a clean house, go ahead and get one used. Otherwise, I say take the plunge and buy new. Investment: from about $60.00 new.

Pack N Play?

New/Gently Used - This is the kind of item you will use a lot. We have a new one that we use to cart to friend's houses for Bachelor nights, and Grandma has a gently used one at her house for babysitting time. The one we own is on the cheaper side, but you can get really fancy ones that come with a changing table and the whole sha-bang. If you are ever out garage saling, you will find one of these. Investment: expect to pay at least $30.00 at a garage sale, or buy new for around $65.00; note this is another item that is frequently on sale at Babies R Us, or your can use your BRU coupons. Actually, never pay full price for anything at BRU...


New/Gently Used - This kind of goes without saying. Babies clothes are WAY over priced, but it is also hard finding cute things (especially for boys) in consignment stores. I buy new when getting gifts for friends, and I occasionally buy Everett some of the sets on sale at Costco, but when it comes down to it, Grandma has found some pretty cute clothes at garage sales. When it comes to linens, your child will sleep on these for about 3 years. It is worth making the investment for a fresh set of sheets. Investment: used clothes will be around $2.00, while new will start around $12.00; new crib sheets are between $10.00 and $20.00.


New/Gently Used - I love our BOB stroller, but it is quite an investment. In fact, the only reason we have one is because my coworkers all chipped in and got it for us. However, if you buy a nice stroller used, you also run into a quality issue. My mom bought a used jogger at a garage sale, and the straps broke immediately after she brought it home. Investment: I would expect to pay at least $60.00 for a good jogger; if you're going new, I recommend using your REI dividend points, waiting for a sale, and getting this BOB bundle package, which includes all the accessories you'll end up buying anyway (a new BOB - without the bundle - will be around $300.00).

If you are looking for a stroller other than a jogger, I say just settle for something gently used. We got our Snap N Go for $25.00 off Craigslist, which is a steal when you compare it to the price of getting it brand new at $65.00.

So there you have it! If you are ever in need of something used, let my mom know - she will find it for you. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Ebble's Favorite Things: August Edition

1. If you're a whore for Gossip Girl and The Hills like me, you'll love Kevin Kwan's Crazy Rich Asians. It's like I'm reading about Serena and Dan's relationship...only in Singapore. There are some pretty quotable moments in the characters' interactions, so pick up this book if you're looking for a fun read.
2. Green Toys Stacker. Everett loves this stacker toy. It is the first thing he goes to in his play area. He knocks it over, then chases all the pieces around the house. And the best news? It's made from 100% recycled milk jugs! The worst news? He doesn't clean up after himself.
3. My friend Marbar got us this book as a baby shower gift. This is by far one of my favorite baby items. We have an awesome photo album our friend W made for us, then we use Nikki McClure's journal to document Everett's firsts by hand. McClure, the author/artist of this gem, designs her artwork by cutting pieces of paper with an x-acto knife. The images are quite striking, and perfectly capture the emotions of being a new parent. If you have a pregnant friend, this is a fantastic gift.
4. Remember how that g'ma in My Big Fat Greek Wedding swore by Windex? Well, I'm here to tell you that I swear by A&D Ointment. It works on diaper rash, dry skin, and even heals when you burn the top layer of your skin off with acid...long story. Do you have dry, chapped winter hands? Well, slather this stuff on before you go to bed, cover your hands with gloves, then wake up to a whole new you! Prove me wrong if you can, this stuff is bomb.
5. Pocket bibs! These Pottery Barn Kids bibs are spendy, but they are legit. Now that Everett is taking a more active roll in feeding himself at the dinner table, he is also making a far bigger mess. The vinyl fabric on these bibs doesn't stain, and the pocket catches stray crumbs from clumsy hands. This means less of a mess to clean after Baby has been sampling food chunks. Winner!

K bye.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Dear Feminists, SUCK IT.

I am woman.

I am wife. I am daughter. I am mother. I am sister. I am aunt. I am worker. I am counselor. I am provider. I am manager. I am owner. I am leader.

Back in Betty Draper's age, us gals had a job to do. We raised the kids, cooked dinners, cleaned the home, and maintained the status quo. The men went off into the city every day, made important decisions, had grownup conversations, hired prostitutes, witnessed cutting edge revolutions, and changed the world. But here's the thing, women are way cooler than men, so why didn't we get to do all the cool stuff? Why did men have all the power, while we were stuck at home with the bleach and a toilet brush?

We can do the same things you men do, we can do it just as well (maybe/probably better), AND we can still run a home. WE ARE WOMAN!

In theory.

But in practice, this is a very complicated business. Times have changed since the Betty Drapers wanted to run a company. We can't hire in-home help from lower classes at dirt cheap prices - because modern day slavery is now illegal. Daycare costs more than my mortgage. Our wages are barely enough to live on, and add child care costs on top of that - don't even get me started. American work standards require us to be away from home 50 hours a week plus commuting time, and most people spend an extra 30 minutes to an hour commuting to a daycare facility to pick up their kids. Whether you are man or woman, homeowner or renter, or have children or no children, maintaining a clean and orderly household is a full time job.

There are 168 hours in a week. Here is how I spend those hours.

Women of the world, I am here to report back: IT'S NOT WORKING. The system is broken, and it's going to take another revolution to get this fixed. Child care costs are astronomical, but the cost of health insurance if I am a stay-at-home-mom is even higher. And let's talk about child care for a moment. Not only are we paying someone else a huge chunk of cash to take care of our child, but most caregivers are as excited to watch your child as that mail order bride is excited to be wed to your old sociology professor. They are "just being a nanny until I find a real job," or, "working in a daycare center to make some extra money." In the words of Desiree Hartsock, they are not "here for the right reasons." If you look on Care.com for a caregiver, you may find a wonderful individual, but she/he will likely only be around for a couple weeks.

Dear prospective Care.com advertisers, please don't. Jumping from nanny to nanny every 3 weeks is not stable for a child. I don't care if you are saving money for your trip to Europe.

We have been incredibly fortunate as far as childcare. My sister has been watching Everett part time, and we had the best nanny in the world. But all good things must come to an end, and now we are being put through a lot of stress trying to piece together a new schedule. Will my son have a babysitter in 2 weeks? Only time can tell.

I must admit, I am incredibly lucky. My husband does a lot around the house, including much of the cooking, cleaning, diaper changes, laundry, etc. For many women, you got what you wanted when you were allowed to join the work force, but you are still expected to take care of the home. Shut that shit down and tell your husbands how it's going to be. Seriously, this is 2013.

And to single parents who are working, we applaud you!

As of 1 week ago, I am of the 1%. My generous, loving, and empathetic bosses gave me the best gift in the world: I am now telecommuting one day a week. Thank you Jesus! To the other 99% of working women who are struggling with me (circa 2 weeks ago), we need to make some changes. If we are going to start a revolution, we need to do it soon. I pulled out 2 gray hairs the other day, and my vanity can't handle any more.

We are women, and together we stand. Let us unite and change the definition of feminism!

And then this guy.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Ebble's Guide to Painting...and Maybe Prunes

A few years ago, the Queen of Garage Sales found us a TV cabinet at...a garage sale. One of my favorite things to do is bargain hunt, so restoring this $10 find was a great project during my free time. Unfortunately, this project has been on my list of things to do for years. At first I painted it black and white and hated the end result, but I never had time to fix it because we moved into our house soon after. Then, we were consumed by other, more immediate projects. And now I present...the final result!

We picked the paint to match our carpet, and these awesome knobs we found at Anthropoligie.

We painted the inside a light, contrasting color. This was to make the inside appear cleaner with all the cords and technology (video game systems), and the bright color makes it easy to see what is inside the cabinet. It's a peachy, creamy color that I LOVE. Everett loves it too.

Here are a few things I've learned about painting over the years. Much of this has been trial and error, so I am sure this list will expand.

  • Really take the time to decide what colors you would like in your spaces. The worst thing you can do is go straight to the paint section and pick out the color you like most. Just because it is a pretty color does not mean it will look good in your space.
  • If you live in the Northern Hemisphere and have a north-facing room, avoid bright colors and white paint. These colors tend to look dingy with the lack of sunshine in these spaces. Try gray tones and pale colors instead. 
  • Rooms with a lot of natural sunlight (like south-facing rooms) can handle brighter tones. If you want to go bold, these are the spaces in which to do so.
  • If there is fluorescent lighting in your room, you may want to do a color test for a couple days. Make sure you observe the room in all lights at all times of day. Bright colors could turn into neon colors at night when the lights are turned on.
  • Avoid high gloss paint in brightly lit spaces. I prefer egg shell or satin. We will never use flat paint again, as it scrapes off when wiping down the walls (even with high quality paint). We do use gloss paint when updating furniture. 
  • If you are decorating a baby's room, opt for Low- or No-VOC paint. We used Valspar's option at Lowe's, and our baby hasn't died yet...And it's a good idea to get the nursery painted well before the baby arrives to make sure the paint fumes have had time to air.
  • Make sure visible rooms coordinate. It might look silly if adjacent rooms have hugely contrasting colors. If you are set on weird color combos, make sure your decor and accessories tie it all together. 
  • Use an edger along the ceiling and baseboards. For painting furniture, I suggest these rollers.

And now for my next motherly trick. If your baby is starting solids and having troubles with "solids," your doctor might suggest prune juice. CAUTION. Everett had a tiny sip of the juice and spit most of it out while saying, "Blehk!" Not 30 seconds later, he went diarrhea all over the place. In conclusion, beware the prune juice.

On that note, bye.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

8 Months

At this point in time, there are way too many milestones to put here. Every day there is something new and exciting, so I will only list the most notable and cute things:

  • Everett has learned how to point. He has also learned he gets the most sensory experience when he uses the pads of his fingers. Instead of smacking things or pounding them with this fists, he learned to grab them between his thumb and index finger to lift it closer to his face and examine (and sometimes put in his mouth).
  • He is crawling, opening drawers and cabinets, standing with assistance, and can sit himself up from the crawling position. The first time he sat himself up was an accident in the crib, and he got completely freaked out. 
  • For a while, Everett was content to crawl around his little play mat. Now he is realizing the extent of his abilities, and he knows he can go anywhere. Time to cover those outlets!
  • He is eating purees, and also some other solids that are fun to chew . However, he is VERY good at biting off large pieces of food, and I am super stressed that he's going to choke. To date, he has sucked an entire slice of cucumber to the back of this throat, swallowed a huge mouthful of watermelon, and bit off an epic portion of an apple. All three events caused panic attacks for Mom and Dad. Because of his enthusiasm, I am a little worried about transitioning to other non-pureed foods. Any advice or suggestions are welcome! Does anyone have any experience with those net things?
  • Everett graduated from swim class. This means he can float and roll over in the pool. Should he ever fall into the water, he can hypothetically save himself.
  • We are still nursing 6 times a day, though he is kind of over the feeding before dinner. 
  • He takes 3 naps during the day. On the weekends he sleeps in and takes 2 long naps instead. 
  • His swaddle blankets have become comfort objects, and he cuddles them extra tight when we put him down for naps and bedtime.
  • He cut 3 teeth in the month of July (2 on bottom and 1 on top), and the second top tooth came soon after he turned 8 months old. He has recently started grinding them together, and has the funniest little pouty face when he does this. 
  • My most recent favorite thing is to set him in front of his toy box (a storage bin from Ikea). I will put him about a foot away and watch him pull the box toward himself, then rifle through everything. He smiles and laughs at himself when he grabs a toy, then goes in for another. 
  • He loves to sing. He doesn't sing anything I can recognize, but it's a beautiful melody in my opinion.
  • He loves playing in his exersaucer (garage sale find), and is fascinated by the dog and cat. He is also a fan of any toys that require interaction (xylophones, balls, etc.).
  • His favorite song is the Hokey Pokey.
  • He is the sweetest little guy, and we can't get over him. My heart melts every time I see his silly little grin. I believe having an Everett in your life is good for the soul.

The Many Smiles of Everett


Photo by Marbar.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Living the Dream

Guys, I did it. I can finally die a happy, fulfilled individual. I MADE THE SOCIETY PAGES IN MEXICO!!!

And just in case it's too small for you to view on your iPhone, be comforted in the fact that my name is listed as Emely Jelly Wirth. Yup, Mexico loves me.

Last night, as I lay my bonnie head upon a soft pillow, cold washcloth draped over my tired eyes, I started smelling the most gawdawful stench. A skunk! I was hoping and praying that neither of my animals got the hit, when the smell morphed into the stench of disgusting, unfiltered cigarettes. I was finally ready to go mommy postal on my neighbor for blowing his sick smoke toward my baby's nursery yet again! Low and behold, enlightenment. I am starting to see a pattern here: every few nights around midnight I wake up to this smell combination. Come to think of it, the skunk smell goes away pretty fast. Faster than it should. Hmmm...maybe the skunk and cigarette smells are related?

My ladylike refinement and Catholic school education...

...may have made me a little naive. But I am slowly learning about the world. I can honestly say I have never partaken in any illegal or newly legal substances.

I have never consumed an alcoholic beverage...

But I think I know what's going on here. So, tell me friends, what is the best way to ask your neighbor to kindly blow his marijuana smoke the other direction? I am all for freedoms and rights, reasons and goals, but any sort of second hand smoke is probably not good for a baby. I'm the kind of mom who doesn't even let my 7-month-old eat pizza, let alone smoke a bowl vicariously through my neighbor. Am I being too paranoid, or do we need to have a friendtervention?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...