Wash Me.

I paid the Teenager $20 so that I could shower.

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To be more clear: I paid the Teenager $20 for two hours of babysitting so that I could vacuum and then take a long, hot shower that was worth every penny. (Also, there are like fifty filters on that picture because that is NOT how I look freshly showered.)

While in the shower, I realized that I have not added the cost of Babystar’s latest baby soaps. We bought the two-pack of Honest Creamsicle (or vanilla orange whatever) at Costco again, months ago. We are almost out of both, but they do almost last forever. Which is amazing because both because Babystar considers it a snack food AND she gets a bath every night. $14.99.

(I am lucky to get two showers in the same week. How did this happen?)

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(There are zero filters on this picture because my bathroom tile is SO PRETTEEEEE.)

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I haven’t added in laundry detergent since last May. I estimate I use about one extra box per month washing Babystar’s clothes and diapers. Sometimes less, sometimes more, but it’s a good average for now. And now I know that a box of Arm & Hammer from Harris Teeter (literally all we buy) is $8.46 with tax. So, $8.46 from June of last year is $109.98. I’ll add a box of laundry detergent each month to her monthly food post starting in August.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $19,761.37

 

 

Two Years in (and out of) Cloth Diapers.

I wrote about cloth diapering after a year in cloth already, and it is full of good information that is all still true.

All of the lessons I had learned still apply: diversify your stash, buy a diaper sprayer, resist the aftermarket (if you can and want to but at least be aware of it but maybe don’t completely resist the aftermarket because I will hopefully be selling some diapers within the year).

I still wish that I had used covers and flats for the HUGE money savings. Especially now that Babystar is wearing so many disposable diapers (yep) while the pretty easy-to-use all-in-ones sit quietly in the drawer.

Cloth diapering an infant is super easy and almost fun. The only downside is the extra laundry but I was doing laundry anyway. In fact, I barely had time to get dressed so there wasn’t really extra laundry, since I never changed my clothes. Infants have like one hundred diaper changes per day. (Ok, maybe fourteen-ish.) I enjoyed seeing my sweet newborn baby in cute cloth diapers and if there is any way at all to enjoy changing diapers, CARPE THAT DIEM.)


Cloth diapering a growing but relatively stationary baby is still pretty easy. Yes, the poop gets grosser, but the volume of poop is still reasonable. You know, for poop. And sure, it smells bad, but y’all, toddler poop smells REAL BAD.

Ok, I’m going to stop talking about poop now. Probably not forever, though.

The biggest challenge I’ve faced in cloth diapering my toddler is all of the tiny adventures every day. Between parks and libraries and soft play rooms (and Target), we go ALL of the places ALL of the time. Toddlers gotta GO, man. Babystar will just put on her shoes and head to the door talking about a ‘bye-bye.’ With no regard for pants.

When she was smaller, the diaper bag was mostly full of diapers. Cloth diapers and wet bags for the dirty ones take up a lot of space, AND REMEMBER, you have to carry the dirty diapers around with you at least until you get back to the car. (And they are heavier  once they are used.) Now that she is a person with opinions and advanced nutritional requirements, the diaper bag is full of snacks and her water bottle and my water bottle and at least two changes of (bigger) clothes and sunscreen and bug spray and sunglasses and books and probably some toys that she MUST HAVE but will not play with and there isn’t much room left for the cloth diapers. (And the disposable diapers are SO LIGHT. But yes, they will sit in a landfill until the end of time so I still try hard to use the cloth at home and during our shorter adventures.)

I use a cute striped Steve Madden backpack as a diaper bag. It has a lot of pockets but it was NOT AT ALL made to be a diaper bag. It looks like it belongs on a trendy tween in 2008.


I bought an actual diaper bag long ago that I literally never use. It isn’t a backpack and I NEED my hands free. The actual diaper bag is cool in that it will hang on a stroller but Babystar refuses strollers with me: this is the hidden downside of baby wearing. So maybe the answer for me is a better backpack-style diaper bag? Does anyone have recommendations?

I haven’t added in the cost of diapers in awhile (but they are still on the list). We bought the giant Aldi pack for $10.89 and I ADORE that price. The diapers are fine, but they do not at all work for overnight use. As long as you change the diaper after each pee, they are fine. Just beware of blowouts. I usually buy Target brand Up and Up diapers. I had been buying them by the 28-pack but after a good look in the mirror, I started buying the larger boxes. It’s a great deal at $14.99 and the diapers work well for Babystar. We never have overnight leaks and blowouts are super rare. (I’ve bought two boxes since the beginning of June. I have a bunch left so I’m maybe doing better than I think with the cloth.)

I guess my only new lesson is to be prepared for the bulkiness. I know I need a better diaper bag and a better system. I am loathe to buy a crazy expensive diaper bag now that Babystar is already two, though. But a better system could be free! Maybe I can pack less in the diaper bag and have a wet bag full of more emergency rations in the car?

MAYDAY MAYDAY: Do you cloth diaper a toddler? What are your tips for diapering on-the-go?

 RAISING BABYSTAR: $19,550.73

 

Our Couch Runneth Over.

Babystar’s friends are taking over the place. We started sitting them on the couch back when there were only a few stuffed creatures, but as all parents know, those babies MULTIPLY. I think they are going to have to be relocated — but to where? Her bedroom is completely on trend with the new tiny house movement, but those tiny houses aren’t meant to house twenty six individuals including a family of bears.


We did purchase some of these — but most are gifts. Plus every time the Teenager visits her grandparent’s attic in Florida she brings back more of her old Care Bears for her little sister. Which is completely sweet and adorable but also STAAAAAHP.

In spite of our overcrowding problem, I just let Babystar bring home ANOTHER FRIEND from Target. We already lived with the Demigod of the Wind and Sea, so we needed Moana of Motunui ($8.99) to bring a little estrogen to Babystar’s boat.

PS: her boat is a salad bowl.


RAISING BABYSTAR: $18,099.13

Baby’s First Pedicure.

I was well into my twenties before I ever had a pedicure. I mean, I painted my toenails myself of course, but the whole pay-someone-to-rub-my-feet thing came late for me. I guess I was sheltered. (Or more like broke.)

Pedicures are now one of my favorite things in life; Babystar always notices my ‘pretty toes’ and they are usually painted blue.

My oldest daughter was seven when she had her first pedicure. She was at the beauty salon with me and my friends while we were getting ready for my wedding, and she got a mini-pedicure and clear polish.

Because there is a giant age gap between my children, Babystar is along for the ride on a lot of big girl adventures. In the tradition of tagging along for special occasions, Babystar came with me and her big sister to get pedicures last Thursday. Big Sister had prom on Friday.

She sat on my lap during our pedicures and played with the buttons on the massage remote, making some very interesting patterns on my back. The lovely lady that always does my pedicures gave Babystar a little leg lotion and Babystar was fascinated. Which is super weird, because my wiggly toddler usually cannot stand for me to put any type of lotion (or SUNSCREEN) on her little body. She was so excited and proud to be with us, so when she said ‘I blue toes too,’ I agreed. My sweet little still-one-year-old baby held so still while getting her toenails painted blue. And she is so very proud to show everyone her blue toes like mama.


What do you think? Too young? Or ok since it was for a special occasion? Or totally fine and no special occasion needed? My little monster loves snakes and bugs and pretty dresses and stars and rocks and dinosaurs and ponies. But she mostly loves whatever Big Sister and Mama are doing.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $17.018.12

Ezpz Bowling.

I’m not talking about the kind with bumpers.

Although, real talk, I totally bowled in the bumper lanes with my kids. I don’t even want to go bowling anymore now that the teens are past the age of bumper lanes.

And I was still terrible.

I’m way better at Wii Bowling and I know that is so ten years ago but whatever I still have a Wii and I still play sometimes. My Wii age is like 65 though. Yours?

WAIT WHAT WAS I TALKING ABOUT.

Oh, right. I bought the ezpz bowl. I like the two ezpz minimats that we have. We use them as ‘snack plates’ on the little side table in the living room when we are too lazy to cook a real dinner but still need to feed the toddler healthy food. We sometimes eat late night (fancy) cheese and (fancy) crackers and (fancy) salami for dinner around here. I know. We fancy. And we share with Babystar but also give her fruit and veggies. (Just kidding it’s all fruit.) And we cut her food smaller so she doesn’t choke and stuff. Plus she takes one hundred hours to eat so if we didn’t save some for her she would be hungry all the time.

And now she wants to eat cereal or pasta or whatever out of bowls with spoons ALL BY HERSELF so I bought the ezpz bowl hoping it would stay put on her high chair. Her spoon skills are rudimentary at best.

The ezpz bowl does STAY on her Ikea high chair (unless she actively tries to remove it but duh it’s not glued down) but it doesn’t exactly FIT. Whoops. I should have measured.

Has anyone cut one of these? I’m thinking that has to be the solution. It totally ALMOST FITS. But at $24.98 (including shipping), I’m a little scared to cut it. Will it completely fall apart? No, right? Right? Please share any knowledge you might have. Or opinions. Or inspirational quotes about cutting things down to size or whatever.

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RAISING BABYSTAR: $14,097.19

It’s Beginning to Look a Tiny Bit Like Christmas.

Just a little, though. HOW IS IT DECEMBER 21 ALREADY? By my math, I still have about three more weeks until Christmas. Right?

We bought a tree. I haven’t bought most gifts. Amazon Prime and I have a hot date tonight. I’m already chilling the pinot noir YES I KNOW IT’S RED WINE DON’T HATE.

The Teenagers and I made gingerbread houses last weekend. We totally had the Trader Joe’s White House kit from July, Haunted House kit from Halloween, and Gingerbread House kit from modern days, and we made them all into Christmas themed masterpieces. We listed to Christmas music and everything. Ta-dah! (Babystar was at Costco with her dad.)

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Why yes, my smartass son did make the White House and updated it to the Trump House. That orange blob is Mr. Trump. That lady on the top is Hillz. When they go low, she goes high? Ah, Millennials.

We hung felt ornaments on the tree that the Girl Teenager and I made a few years ago. Babystar keeps taking them off the tree and putting them back on and taking them off. So sometimes there are twenty and sometimes there are zero.

We also made some ornaments this year out of card stock and stickers, and we bought some foam and wood ornament making kits at Target but have not made them yet. Scratch that. The OMG NOW HE IS 20yo and Babystar made one. One. But he’s gone on the airplane now, so luckily I’ve got a date tomorrow with my 3yo niece to help make some more ornaments before Santa gets here. I bought washable markers to replace the ones in the kits because I am smart. And I bought a cute zipper case with bunnies on it to replace the delicious looking semi-edible cardboard marker boxes because I like when Babystar makes the ‘sniff sniff’ bunny face. I also bought some art paper and sparkly ribbon to hang the card stock ornaments (not pictured) and everything was from either Target or Marshall’s (the bunny case) or Micheal’s and most of it was on sale. All of the ornament making craft supplies purchased this month are BECAUSE of Babystar so it’s all going on her tab. Total: $34.97. At least the markers and paper can help stock the Toddler Craft Closet that exists only in my mind right now.

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I also built bought a snowman at Marshall’s because Babystar loves her ‘That’s Not My Snowman’ book and is mildly obsessed with snowmen (and mittens) these days. And the snowman has mittens. Dude. $7.99. She loves him btw. We took him to the theater last week.

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Oh, right. We went to the theater. Actually, we went to a baby play were we sat on the floor but it was really good and held her attention for the entire thirty minutes. I was impressed. And surprised. Totally worth the $9 per ticket ($19.75 with fees). No, we didn’t have to buy a ticket for the snowman. And we have been to Busy Bees twice lately. But I finally got smart and bought the $36 gift card that covers three visits. Which saves $9 over the course of three visits. And we still have one visit left on the card. Yay!

RAISING BABYSTAR: $13,796.18

 

 

 

Birthday Balloons.

No, we don’t celebrate half birthdays or anything although holy bananas, Babystar is zooming up on 18 months. Big Brother is here visiting and he turned 20. Two. Zero. TWENTY. I have been a mother for twenty years. You would think I would have this thing down by now. Whoops.

Babystar’s squirrel balloon lasted a loooong time but was on the floor when we came downstairs two days ago. So we went to the party store to get balloons for Big Brother’s Birthday (but really for her). A snowman, three stars, and a dinosaur happy birthday balloon. Babystar can’t read; I think she thinks it says RAWR. Plus we bought noisemakers and party hats (again for the kids — Babystar and my 3yo niece, NOT for this grown up man that I apparently gave birth to) for a total of $25.69.

Don’t worry, I bought desserts and actual birthday gifts for the birthday boy. But we all know these things were for Babystar so onto her tab they go.

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RAISING BABYSTAR: $13,697.47

A Very Kacey Christmas.

Last weekend, my husband and I went on a date. By ourselves. It was awesome. You see that picture up there? Damn, we look so tired. We needed it.

I see lots of parents on social media going out without their babies so I think I have a PARTICULARLY clingy little monster because she can only be left for a little while and not very often and only with her sister so I’m thinking I have to ban the Teenager from going to college, right? Just kidding. I’ll just send Babystar to college with her sister.

Anyway. If you have ideas, please help. My MIL told me that my darling husband was the same way. She had to quit her job because he cried at daycare all day long and got kicked out. Like a BRAT. So I do not wonder where she gets this from but DUDE HAVE SOME CHILL.

We went to dinner and then to see the Kacey Musgraves Christmas show. It was lovely. Both the show and the moving about freely without a tiny shadow. I PEED BY MYSELF MORE THAN ONCE.

We pay the Teenager for babysitting even though we also pay for her food and shelter. And shampoo and stuff. Her babysitting time is in high demand. Plus, I was the oldest growing up and very much resented the forced babysitting gigs. (Anyone else?) Did you know the going rate for babysitting around here is $10/hour?! (It really is — I checked.) I’m thinking I should totally start babysitting.

We also bought them pizza. Yes, them. My oldest is in town! But I still only paid $10/hour + pizza. I let them work out the details. Problem solving is an important life skill.

According to several Snapchats I received, Babystra played for a bit and then slept on her sister all night. Until fifteen minutes before we got home, apparently. She greeted me at the door at 11pm crying for MAMAMAAMMA.

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RAISING BABYSTAR: $13,671.78

Airplanes and Dinosaurs.

Babystar is growing out of her pajamas. I was SURE I was set for the winter. I just gave away everything up to 18 months (except for one pair of Carter’s fleece pajamas because all of Carter’s clothes run small except the fleece or terry footed pajamas and we just have to accept this fact). I am trying to squeeze some more wears out of her 18-24 months pajamas but they are basically capris. Babystar is not tall; I don’t get it. But it’s cold at night. And she hates blankets. So I bought some 2T jammies to hopefully get her through the winter. The cotton sets were buy one, get one half off. I bought two of the same, so four sets of airplane pajamas. Babystar loves airplanes. She waves to them and blows them kisses. She knows the difference between and airplane and a helicopter. It is really funny listening to her trying to say helicopter. The fleece dinosaur two-pack was on clearance. She also loves dinosaurs. Yes, I bought these in the ‘Toddler Boys’ department but she legit loves dinosaurs and airplanes. Which she learned about from her pink laptop and the sky, respectively. Also, why are airplanes and dinosaurs for boys and not girls? Many girls ride in AND fly airplanes. Amelia Earhart, anyone? (Ok, maybe she is a bad example.) And I happen to know from watching Jurassic Park that there were DEFINATELY girl dinosaurs. So, what’s the deal?

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Also, I did LOOK in the ‘Toddler Girls’ section for airplanes. I found two shirts on clearance for $2.25 each, but no airplane pajamas.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $13,527.96

A Thank You Gift.

It is late November and all around Internet World, everyone is posting about Thankfulness. Over half of the posts I see are about Thankfulness and Pumpkin Spice and the Best Way to Cook a Turkey. (Answer: Let someone else do it.)

I am so very thankful for many things.

I am thankful that I am lucky enough to stay home to take care of this ToddlerMonster.

I am thankful that my teenagers are good at board games and my husband brings home random chocolaty treats.

I am thankful for dry shampoo.

And I am thankful for you. Every single person reading this. THANK YOU!

I got you a present.

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Enter here!

I bought an extra Smart Bottoms Rainbow Star (it’s not really called that but it should be) cloth diaper at MommyCon this summer and it’s been sitting on the shelf (unused, I promise), just waiting for you! I only have one, so we gotta do the raffle thing. (This diaper is so bright and pretty — there is no filter on that photo!) a Rafflecopter giveaway

I love this print! It’s a Lil’ Tulips exclusive print called Incandescent Adventure and I have it (or it’s horizontal cousin, Luminescent Adventure) in diapers, a wet bag, and a BEAUTIFUL Tula baby carrier. I love it. I kind of want to keep it. But I love you too so I want to share. The giveaway is open until the end of November, and I will announce the winner on December 1st. Good luck! (US and Canada only please. Sorry. Those shipping prices, tho.)

We have a winner! Congratulations to Marissa P.!

RAISING BABYSTAR: $13,282.74