Diapers vs. Diapers

August 6, 2008 at 12:38 am (baby, family, home, parenting, saving money, shopping) (, , , , , , , , , , )

So, I’m a new mom. I have a beautiful three-month-old son. And there are some things that I still feel  completely clueless about; my own mother tells me that when he is twenty-four, I’ll still be clueless about some things.

One big controversy that seems to have jumped up, both during my pregnancy and after his birth, is the issue of diapers. What brand, what style, cloth or disposable, what diaper pail, you name it. Everyone seems to have an opinion on what is best for my son and both my husband and myself were completely confused until my grandmother simply said, “Trial and error.”

I’m so glad I listened to her. I was given several different brands of diapers at a baby shower which was wonderful as it set us up for a long while. And we learned more about baby diapers than we ever wanted to.

Pampers are supposed to be great diapers. I had samples of Pampers Swaddlers and Babydry. Swaddlers New Baby were wonderful. He seemed comfortable and the notch for the umbilical cord was great; my only complaint was that they didn’t fit around his legs very well and even with the notch, I was folding his diaper down. Babydry was also very nice. Again they didn’t fit around his legs well but they fit great at the waist and he certainly stayed dry. Pampers also have the Sesame Street characters printed on them and it’s very cute. Now I only use Pampers if I have a very good coupon or someone else buys a pack for my son. I find they are too bulky and extremely pricey. I’m on a budget; I can’t afford the price of Pampers, no matter how nice they might be.

We have used some off-brand diapers. Someone bought us a pack from a dollar store, and we’ve tried both the Parent’s Choice and White Cloud brands that Walmartsells. The dollar store brand leaked, chafed him, and we were changing him every few minutes because they were not absorbent at all; no matter how little he went, he was extremely uncomfortable. The White Cloud diapers were a good price and they work well. The only problems with them were that they were a bit bulky and they were terrible when he slept at night. If he slept a three hour stretch it was a total bed change. Now, the Parent’s Choice are a completely different story. They’re the cheaper of the two Walmart brands, and they work much better. They are one of the few good things I have found about the Walmart baby section. A pack of forty-eight only costs $5.74, and a case of 104 only costs about $15.00. When a family is on a budget, they are a great buy. He seems very comfortable in them, I have had no leaks, no chafing, no allergic rashes, and they are not overly bulky. I’d recommend them to anyone who is on a seriously tight budget.

Huggies are great. I get lots of coupons from the Huggies website and lots of stores put them on sale. They are a lot less bulky than other brands and they fit my son wonderfully. Huggies was one of the main brands that people recommended to us. We used some of the Gentle Care diapers when he was a newborn, before the cord fell off. They fit him much better than anything else at that time. He was very comfortable in the Gentle Care and those diapers never leaked. They kept him dry, he wasn’t allergic to them, they are great. Gentle Care even goes up to size two. When you can find them on sale, Huggies are a great buy and well worth the money.

That brings me to my favorite brand of diapers, Luvs. These diapers are the best things that were ever invented. One of the things that has sold both myself and my husband on the Luvs brand is the Blues Clues designs; that was one of our favorite shows and the designs are just too adorable. More importantly though is the fact that Luvs are an incredible price. Fifty size two diapers for only about $7.00. With coupons I get from the website, the price goes down to around $5.00. They are not bulky at all, they are very absorbent but not so much that I can’t tell when he needs a change, and they fit him wonderfully. He always seems to be comfortable in Luvs. For the money, Luvs is the best value around. No leaks, a great fit, he can move easily…what could be better?

So my favorites are Luvs, Huggies, and Parent’s Choice, in that order. If I have the option, I’ll choose Luvs every single time.

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Amazing how things change..

August 3, 2008 at 7:26 am (faith, family, home, life, marriage, parenting, pets) (, , , , , , , )

When I was a couple years younger, I planned on never marrying because I didn’t want to be stuck with someone I was going to be bored with for years. I didn’t want to go through the trouble of getting married only to get divorced in just a couple years. I didn’t want to wake up to the same face all the time and always have company; I was a complete loner. The men my mom dated were always jerks. The guys I knew in schools were jerks. Heck, most humans are jerks so why get stuck with any of them?! Everything taught me that you can’t trust people, you can’t depend on anyone except yourself and your gods, and people just in general suck.

I never was going to have kids. I didn’t want the responsibilty, the hassle, the expense. And I had been told I could not have kids anyway. When more than one doctor tells you that at the age of 16 you tend to believe it, especially when the story is the same year after year. So no point in wanting kids. I focused on the bad parts of it and convinced myself I wanted nothing to do with it.

Deep down, what I wanted was a home, a family of my own, a good husband, a couple kids. I just knew I could never have anything remotely resembling that, so I pushed it all away and buried it.

Now look at me! I’m married to my best friend, the most wonderful man I could ever hope to meet. We clash sometimes but it just makes our relationship stronger. Some of my faults he shares and we both force each other to see where we went wrong, what our faults are, and then face them. He makes me see what is wrong with my way of thinking and when I make a mistake he forces me to see it. And then he helps me to get things right again. I do the same with him. We challenge each other, we compliment each other, we share the same interests but have enough differences it’s never boring. He’s an extremely intelligent person with an incredible mind and trying to figure him out will take me several lifetimes. He comes up with the strangest things that really make me think and I love that. He’s got a temper I don’t love so much, but he’s come a long way with that. I know he’d never hurt me, and I’m glad I married him. It was the best decision I could ever have made. I wouldn’t trade Derek for the world.  

And we have a three-month-old son, Ethan. He’s my darling. I’m still in shock at the life we made. He was truly meant to be. We took precautions and I ended up pregnant anyway. I bled most of my pregnancy and I swelled up in my feet and legs very badly. I went into labor and didn’t go to the hospital until I was 7 cm and things were fine until they gave me pitocin. Then it just went to hell. They had originally told me I’d lose Ethan and I almost did; Derek nearly lost us both. The doctor and nurses had to fight to keep our heartbeats up, our blood pressure up, our temperatures down. We very very nearly died.

But we’re here and going strong. Ethan is amazing. It’s so incredible seeing him grow and Dr. Miller says he’s about four weeks ahead of schedule. He’s very smart, very alert, and that’s not just his parents who believe that. His hobby seems to be making people happy. Every time we go to the store we end up taking Ethan out of his seat to carry because he just wants to see what all is around him so badly. It never fails that he ends up picking the grumpiest person nearby and coos, giggles, squeals, and smiles until he makes them smile. He makes people happy wherever he goes. And he’s an angel, such a good baby. I sat with him while Derek was in the dentist office for an hour and he never fussed at all; just smiled at people, giggled, and played with his hands. He sleeps through the night, is good for a bath – he just doesn’t want to go to sleep in case he misses something.

We have a car we pay too much for per month but it runs well and is comfortable and pretty. We have a home – a single wide trailer with a huge living room built on and a garage added on – in a nice, comfortable rural area. The neighbors are either friends or just let you be; it’s so laid back around here people actually come knock on the door to ask to borrow an onion or sugar or something. Everyone watches out for everyone else, disagreements are taken care of quickly, and it’s very peaceful. Woods and fields, cats and cows, a few dogs, lots of deer and turkeys and whip-poor-wills – I love northeast Georgia. I can’t really see either of us ever wanting to live somewhere else. We were born and raised here and it’s in our blood.

Money is tight. I do what I can online; I’m a stay-at-home mom now. Whatever I would make working would be eaten up by a second car payment, gas, car insurance, tags, and daycare. Babysitters are expensive. Subsidy programs for daycares are still $160 a week, which is more than our rent per week. And frankly, neither Derek nor myself have any good memories of daycares or babysitters. And with all the horror stories out there we can’t do it. We can’t leave him somewhere with people we don’t know. And as Derek said, who better to care for him than his mama?

So Derek is working his butt off at the local textile mill. He was so happy; he was promoted to a position called tie-in operator and it pays $10.53 an hour. He is doing well, except for the fact he’s getting harassed by a bunch of the hispanics who work there. He’s the only other white worker besides his trainer in that department. His boss tried to make him work a 48 hour shift (a couple 20 minute breaks and a couple 10 minute breaks and that’s it) and now is threatening to take this position away from him and send him back down to sweeper, a pay cut of over $3. He’s fighting for his position, but he’s seriously considering looking elsewhere. Like Fieldale – guaranteed $10 (at least) per hour, 40 hours a week. Weekends off except one Saturday once in a while and then it’s overtime. 8 hour shifts instead of 12, which would give him more time with us like he wants. It would be at least $400 a week, instead of the varying pay he’s getting now. And we cannot even depend on that right now – it keeps fluctuating because of them switching him from C shift to D shift and back and forth and it screws up his pay.

Money is tight, but our families have reconciled with us and help out where they can. And we aren’t hungry, we have what we need, we have a car and a home. So the gods are taking care of us. We have what we need – it’s not luxury but it’s comfortable. And we’re quite happy.

I take care of a house, a baby, a husband, two cats, and some stray cats and the occasional stray pup – and I love it. I never thought I would be able to be a housewife but I love it. I have my days it just annoys me but those are rare. Sometimes I feel trapped because I’m home day in day out but really I love it. I’ve discovered I have a talent for organizing and putting things up where there doesn’t seem to be room. I’ve found I love cooking. I think it’s because I love to take care of things and people and this lets me do that.

And of course, being here for Derek and Ethan and our cats Alley and Sly is great. And we’re close to our families (great for me, not so great for him. His mom drives us nuts.) But still, it’s great. And we have friends in our neighbors, like Chris and Tom, who look out for us, help us out, and even gave us a swing and playpen for Ethan.  

I love my life now. I have my family, my friends, my faith. I’m writing again, I’m happy and being happy is such a new, wonderful feeling.

Things changed for the best for me.

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Walmart’s baby section

August 3, 2008 at 5:47 am (family, home, shopping, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

Everyone seems to just love Walmart. I have to ask: WHY?!

Every time I go to Walmart it’s the same thing – only some things have great prices, the checkout lines are incredibly line and the self-check lines never work right, there seems to be a million people all crammed into the same spot, and I never can find what I’m looking for.

It’s bad enough they are removing the craft section to put in a party supply section. And it’s terrible that the pet section has next to nothing in it. But the baby section is a complete nightmare.

I have a three-month-old son. I need things. Naturally, I head to Walmart thinking it’s going to have the best variety and the best prices. I have never seen such a joke of a section.

I go to find Nuk nipples and they only have them in fast, which would drown my son. I look for Playtex ones and they are completely out and no one who works there can tell me when more are coming in. My particular Walmart doesn’t carry glass bottles, which I prefer, and the variety of reusable bottles is hardly a variety. Trying to find teethers or small toys is like finding a needle in a haystack. In the entire Walmart, my husband and I only found three toys designed to keep a baby entertained for tummy time. One we found on display in the jewelry section. As for gyms they only had a fold up one and none for the crib.

Diapers are all the way on the back wall and all the sizes are just jammed together. It goes like this: Parent’s Choice size ones and twos are all the way on the top shelf, then threes are piled in with fours and fives on the same shelf, and the cases of diapers are just shoved on the bottom. Then it goes to Luvs and White Cloud and so on. Sometimes the Huggies end up on display next to electronics. Wipes are on a whole other aisle, crammed on top of each other with cans of formula mixed in with them. Sometimes they’re in with the training pants, and sometimes the training pants are in where the towels are.

Good luck finding clothes! The packs of tee shirts or onesies are on one side of an aisle and all sizes are just crammed together. You spend more time hunting for the size you want than you spend looking for a color or brand or style. The blankets seem to move regularly. Toddlers’ clothes are mixed in with newborns, girls with boys, bibs still seem to be a big mystery, and socks simply don’t exist. And if you want to find out the prices on the clothes, you better find a scanner.

My local Walmart barely carries car seats – I have seen maybe three styles. They have only 2 diaper pails at any given time, maybe one or two training potties, I’ve seen one baby bathtub, no strollers, cribs, bassinets, or playpens. I went to find my son a bassinet when he was born, and a tub, crib, and stroller. They told me they didn’t carry those items in Walmart stores. They suggested I drive all the way to another city (one 20 miles away and the other 30) to just check at the Super Walmart there; but they didn’t think they carried it either. So I should just order online.

Now…if I’m going to get my son a bassinet or cradle or crib or anything else, I want to see it. I don’t want a picture with a little blurb. I want to see it. And since we cannot afford a credit card right now and don’t use a debit card since everything goes to getting on our feet anyway, online shopping just isn’t an option for me. I really couldn’t believe that they didn’t even carry high chairs or bouncers. Not even a jumper.

In my area there are only two stores that you can most of what you need for your baby – Kmart and Walmart. Kmart is much much better. They have cribs on display, they have strollers on display, even jumpers and bouncers. They will even let you set your baby in a bouncer and see how he likes it. You can try clothes on your baby and everything is clearly where it should be with great variety and prices.

I go to Walmart because it’s supposed to be the best of everything and the only thing it’s best at is frustrating me to no end. A manager there even told me they were considering taking out the baby section altogether. The shoe section or electronics, heck, even the automotive section is bigger than the baby section. If they take it out completely people may not even notice.

What is wrong with you, Walmart? There are lots of people with young children in this area. We can’t drive miles out of our way to go to high-priced baby stores or to Super Walmarts; if we could we wouldn’t be trying to shop at what is supposed to be a low-priced store. How hard is it to keep diapers in the baby section and not in electronics, or baby toys in the baby section instead of jewelry? Right there is why you’re not making money off that section; get it fixed up and you’ll have lots more sales.

As for me, I’m sticking with Kmart.

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Fleas, the evil jumping vampires.

August 3, 2008 at 5:02 am (family, home, home remedies, natural, pets, saving money, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

I hate fleas. Does anyone actually like those little annoying, hopping, bloodsuckers?

But I also hate chemicals. The flea medicines you put on your pets – Frontline, Revolution, Biospot, etc – they are all so messy. They stink, they ooze everywhere no matter what you do, and who knows what long term effects they will have on your pets, let alone you for getting on you when you apply it!

Of all the products I’ve tried I’d have to say I love Revolution the best – it does everything: fleas, ticks, mosquitos, worms, even earmites. Biospot I have found claims to do all the same things for cats, and Cutter for dogs. The problem is price! 6 doses of Revolution costs around $80 at the vet. Biospot is more resonable and Cutter even cheaper but if you have more than one pet it still gets expensive.

My husband and I are just starting out and we have a three-month-old son. We simply can’t afford to keep buying all these expensive flea remedies. Now, I love the fact that the Revolution, etc, takes care of heartworms and mites and things, but I still just cannot afford it.

So I use the old tried and true home remedies. And they work like a charm every time!

If you think a room in your house has an infestation of fleas in the carpet, all you need to do is to put a bowl of warm water in the room overnight. Don’t let pets or people in the room. If there are fleas taking up residence in your carpet, they’ll be drawn to the warm water and will jump in. In the morning you’ll find lots of drowned fleas. And if that’s the case, sprinkle some plain old baby powder or baking soda on your rug, let sit about 10 – 20 minutes, then vacuum. It smothers the fleas and you vacuum them right up. Just empty the vacuum and there you go. Do it at least every other day for a while and no fleas.

If your dog (or even your cat) is covered in fleas give them a bath with Dawn dish soap. I swear Dawn is great for everything! It gets out the oil stains on my husband’s work pants, it gets rid of grease, and it even makes ticks let go. As for fleas, it kills them outright. Soap up your pet real well and the fleas will be smothered before you are even ready to rinse. Just be careful around the eyes.

To keep fleas off your pets, use baby powder. It smothers the fleas. It also seems to help keep ticks from attaching to them. Just sprinkle a real light coating of baby powder on the pet and brush it through their fur. They’ll be clean, they’ll smell good and feel good, and best of all, no fleas. And fleas will be very reluctant to jump on them when they’re outside too – baby powder sticks to them and smothers them. Brush them once a week with it, being careful not to get too much where they’ll get a lot in their mouths when they groom, and no worries.

As for dog house, just add cedar shavings. Bugs seem to hate cedar shavings. It’s kept spiders, ticks, ants, fleas, wasps, and bees out of my dogs’ houses for years. And dogs seem to love them. Not to mention they smell a lot better.

These remedies work great, and all without harsh chemicals! And baby powder and Dawn are also much less expensive than the name brand flea medicines.

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Hello world!

August 3, 2008 at 4:37 am (Uncategorized)

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

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