28 June 2010

Sunday Night

Nearly every Sunday night for the past 3 1/2 months, I've had to prepare myself for another grueling week of four children to start early on Monday. Well, it hasn't really been 'grueling', and I'm kind of sad that Trevor and Parker will not be waking me up tomorrow. They are still on the island for another week and a half, but the fact that they aren't spending every day with me just makes the fact that they are leaving very soon that much more apparent. Jocelyn already asks about them, and has even designated certain toys of hers as belonging to them. "No Sam, that's Trevor's toy." "Mommy, where is Parker? This is Parker's car." She even sang happy birthday to both of them in the van today, then she sang happy birthday to daddy and Barney (it was just me, Sam and Jocelyn in the van). ;)

I loved having the boys with me all the time. It really made me feel like super woman because it was easy when it was expected to have been difficult. I seemed to have impressed a lot of people. I think that was only because most people are intimidated by the unknown. Most people have never tried taking care of four children, age four and under, so they wouldn't know how easy it is. It's been tough without the older boys around! I'll be sitting on the couch feeding Sam and my phone will ring from on top of the computer desk, and I practically have to beg Jocelyn to bring it to me...when Trevor would have sprinted to it and brought it straight to my open hand. It was easy to take a shower before because all three big kids would play nicely in Jocelyn's room as Sam napped. Now, Jocelyn doesn't want to play in her room by herself. Instead, she stays in the bathroom the whole time I'm in the shower, playing peek-a-boo with the shower curtain. Great!

I had to adjust things when Amanda arrived back in March, like putting my kids to bed earlier and getting myself out of bed MUCH earlier. But, I got used to it. Now, I have to adjust all over again. I don't want to. I don't want to adjust to them leaving. I don't want to adjust to Jocelyn losing her everyday playmates. I don't want to adjust to not having any family nearby again. I'd rather wake up early to Amanda calling me because I was still asleep when she got here and I didn't hear her knocking on the door. I'm going to miss them so much when they leave.

I was supposed to go to the fair with them yesterday, but I felt like the definition of misery...and Brad had to work (what's new?), so I didn't leave the house all day. They stopped by afterward, with Icees for me and Jocelyn! I felt horrible because I was still in my pajamas, my house was a mess, and I'm pretty sure I smelled really bad. But they hung out for a while, and Jocelyn got to climb all over her Uncle Brian, which is something that she isn't going to have a whole lot of chances to do in the future. It made me so happy and so sad at the same time.

I know Amanda is happy and relieved to have her husband back, and to head back to North Carolina as a complete family. I'm positive that the boys are just beyond excited for the daddy time they are getting right now. But, I'm selfish...and I want them to stay. I can't wait to live somewhere that enables me to drive to see family. That is going to be so great. Now watch, we will go from Japan to Hawaii to....Iceland or something. Perhaps Reykjavik will have a reservist comptroller position for Amanda! ;)

Good night.

15 June 2010


Laundry money used to mean finding $4.23 in Brad's pants before tossing them in the wash, but now it has a whole new meaning to me. Every time a unload a wet bag full of dirty diapers into my washing machine, I get a warm fuzzy feeling and see dollar signs floating in front of my head.

I was going to take a nap with the kids today because, let's face it, I NEED one. But, instead I sat down and figured out my diaper savings. I looked through all my PayPal transactions and added up how much I have spent. Then, I did some math to figure if this is all worth it. :) :) :) By the way, this is the one year anniversary of me joining Diaperswappers.com and buying my first cloth diaper! Here it goes...

I used Pampers for Jocelyn which averaged $0.26 each, but sometimes I bought bargain brands. So, for the sake of my math I am going to use $0.22 per diaper so y'all don't think I'm trying to make it look like I'm saving more than I really am. ;)

Jocelyn (June 2009 to January 2010)
average 6 diapers per day @ $0.22 = $1.32 X 30 days = $39.60 X 7 months = $277.20
Jocelyn (January 2010 to June 2010)
average 2 diapers per day (nap and bed time) @ $0.22 = $0.44 X 30 = $13.20 X 5 months = $66.00

The past year of using disposable diapers for Jocelyn would have cost approximately $343.20.

Sam (October-November 2009)
average 10 diapers per day @ $0.22 = $2.20 X 30 days = $66.00 X 1 month = $66.00
Sam (November 2009 - February 2010)
average 8 diapers per day @ $0.22 = $176 X 30 days = $52.80 X 3 months = $158.40
Sam (February 2010 - June 2010)
average 6 diapers per day @ $0.22 =$1.32 X 30 days = $39.60 X 4 months = $158.40

The first 8 months of diapering Sam with disposables would have cost approximately $382.80.

$726.00 is how much we would have spent on diapers in the past year. (not including wipes)

Now, I have added all of my pay pal diaper spending up and gotten a total of $692.74. Yes, I got a little carried away from this time last year when I told Brad I would only need $400 for all the diapers we needed (which wasn't a lie, I just WANTED more). This amount INCLUDES more than enough extra small, small, medium, and large diapers to get my current children and any future children from birth to potty training (over 80 diapers). This ALSO includes over 150 inserts for these pocket diapers (hemp, bamboo and microfiber absorbent mix and match fabric inserts). This ALSO includes materials that I purchased to make my own diapers (fabrics, snap press, snaps, elastic, thread). This ALSO includes the wet bags that I bought to store soiled diapers(in the house and in the diaper bag). This ALSO includes the cloth wipes and heiny spray that I have purchased recently and started using at home AND on the go. This ALSO includes cloth diapers and cloth diaper accessories that I have purchased for friends (because I am too lazy to do the subtraction). This EVEN includes all shipping and handling charges incurred whilst buying these things online. This total of $692.74 includes ALL cloth diapering related things that I have purchased in the last 365 days. I have even resold a few that didn't work for me, and I have not subtracted that number from the total I have spent...so this number is quite inflated. :)

Now, in addition to the $692.74 spent on cloth, I have also spent about $30 on disposables. I used newborn sposies for the first two weeks with Sam, and I bought some for Sam and Jocelyn when we traveled back to California for my brother's wedding in December. So let's say the total I have actually spent on diapering altogether (minus wipes) in the past year is $722.74.

So it seems that my cloth diapers were paid off this past weekend! Strange timing, huh? So far I have saved a whopping $3.26 by cloth diapering!!! Of course this is excluding the money I have made back on selling items, and the money I am starting to save by using cloth wipes. But hey FROM NOW ON every time I use a cloth diaper I will be saving a quarter (roughly). This time next week I will have saved $12+ more dollars, and next month I will have saved $50. Even if Jocelyn were to never wear another diaper and Sam was potty trained at exactly 2 years (not holding my breath for that one) I will have saved almost $700. And that is not including future children! If we have two more kids, and both of those kids are magically potty trained on their 2nd birthdays, we will still save at least $3000 on diapers, even if I buy disposables for vacation once a year. The cloth wipes just add to the savings.

I'm not saying that cloth is financially lucrative for everyone. It is definitely NOT! Some people buy all new diapers, and it would cost AT LEAST $2000 for a stash like mine if bought new. If you have, and only plan on having one child, and you don't start cloth at birth, it might not end up saving you too much. You also don't need as many diapers as I have, and there are one size diapers that grow with the baby, so you would need significantly less diapers. The fact is that if it is done the right way (buying used and hunting for deals), you can still go nuts and get tons of cute diapers while SAVING a bunch of money. People with twins, more than one small child, or planning on more than one child should really consider this option as an investment.

So, it took a year to catch up with us but now the savings are going to pile up. I'm thinking about actually putting a quarter in a jar for every diaper I use from now on so that I have a tangible representation of my dedication to cloth! Can you say diaper vacation? :)

I thought I might add that I have yet to spend a single PENNY on formula. That might change very soon, so I thought I'd share my pride about my breastfeeding success while I still can! I know some people cannot do it for whatever reasons, but I am SO thankful that I have been able to make it work this time instead of just giving up at 6 months when my production started to dwindle (like I did with Jocelyn). Plus, I started supplementing Jocelyn with formula when she was 3 months old. Sam has never tasted it, which just means more money in my pocket!

Boob juice + cloth diapers = money in the bank!!! :)

09 June 2010

Hibiscus Half Marathon

I had been planning to do this race for over a year. Despite being a bit anti-climactic, it was a great experience! We finished as a family of four in two hours and thirty three minutes after a couple photo op breaks, two Brad bathroom breaks, and zero Amy bathroom breaks (I was shocked that I made it the whole way without having to go, that is not like me). My goal was two hours and thirty minutes, and I would have blown that out of the water but somebody didn't think he had to train (ahem, Brad) so we didn't keep a very even pace after mile #10. He's going to train next time, and we plan on eventually doing a full marathon as a family (perhaps with two double strollers?)! Here are some photos from that morning:

0500 pre-race family photo.

Getting the kids comfy in the stroller. They were so good the whole time!

Daddy holding onto the stroller while mommy waited in the LONG pre-race potty line.

Not so cute of me, but adorable of Jocelyn!

Pausing just past the 11 mile marker to take a picture with a beautiful back drop at the Diamondhead lookout.

Sam, showing off his purple. I made shirts for the kids that said, "My mom is running 13.1 miles for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team In Training".

Jocelyn's shirt. I thought the LLS logo was cute because it almost looks like they are wearing race bib numbers across their tummies!

Both kids represented Team Hayes, of course.

As did Brad.

We ran for two people who were lost to blood cancer, my aunt Marcia's mother, Dorothy Rosander, and our friend Jason Gillett who Brad worked with at Offutt AFB.

Sam's first sunglasses!

Team Hayes right after crossing the finish line!

A photo my sister Amanda took of us after the race.

A reenactment of us crossing the finish line, because Amanda missed the real thing! ;)

The round hibiscus stone was my award for 3rd place in the double stroller division...which wasn't really a division...and I'm pretty sure there were only three double strollers anyway, but I'm still excited that Alicia (the LLS TNT coordinator) gave it to me when it was left unclaimed from another division! :)

Attention, Center Of

DISLCAIMER: I wrote the following blog a couple of nights ago, then I heard that certain races DO NOT allow strollers. I have now verified that the NIKE Women's race DOES NOT allow strollers, so I am not actually going to do it, and I am definitely not sending a fund raising request letter to Phil and Ted's now! Boo. :(
But, Brad and I are going to concentrate on getting pregnant, then will plan on doing the Honolulu Marathon in December of 2011 (hopefully after baby number three has given us a few months to train)! :)

If you really know me, or even kind of know me, you have realized by now that I like attention. I really like positive attention, but every now and then I will revert to toddler mode and seek attention even if it is negative attention. I have been known to make an idiot of myself for laughs, and worse. I talk too much, too loudly, and I interrupt like I think what I have to say is more important than what you were saying. I like Brad's theory that this is a product of having four older sisters, and needing to be loud and interrupt if I ever wanted to be heard when I was growing up. Unfortunately I haven't outgrown this, and I'm pretty sure it is a permanent trait of my personality. I am aware that I do things like this, but I am not always aware of it while I am doing it. So, I'm sorry for that. It is just another way for me to subconsciously put myself in the spotlight, even if it makes me look bad. Of course there are also times when I consciously and deliberately put myself at the center of attention...

I love Karaoke, but not the kind in which you rent a room and sing with your friends. No. I have to be up on a stage, or in the front of a room, surrounded by strangers that might or might not want to listen to my mediocre (at best) singing talents.

I love dancing, and have been known to bust out old cheerleading routines in bars (yes, I believe it happened more than once) when "Heartbreaker" by Pat Benetar comes on. Some people think it is totally inappropriate (they'd be correct), but some people think it is hilarious (they'd also be correct). I do it for both kinds of people, and I must admit that sometimes I think I'm hilarious, and sometimes I think I'm inappropriate. I am not biased in my self criticism of my attention seeking.

Anyway, I have been getting a lot of positive attention from strangers lately. When people see me with all the kids, at the mall, doctor's office, post office, zoo, etc....they are so impressed that they actually come up to me and tell me! I'm always like, "It's not that hard". Whether they say, "Wow, you are nuts. How do you do it?" or, "You sure have your hands full!" I just like that strangers have actually noticed me enough to come up to me and say something. I have never heard, "Wow, you sure have your hands full," with a negative connotation. It's not like anyone has acted like me being in their presence with so many little ones was an inconvenience or even annoying. Even that time Parker climbed all over this nice old man while we waited 20 minutes for a table at IHOP. The old man complimented me and told me how great he thought all the kids were! It makes me feel all good inside, and DUH I love the extra attention. I have to admit that I like it so much...I go looking for it now. Why would I wait for Amanda to pick up the boys and for Brad to come home from work so that I can go grocery shopping alone, when I could load up all the kids after naps, and get praise from strangers for doing something that is relatively easy for me? It's so nice to get positive reinforcement for doing something that I was going to do anyway! Plus the line is shorter at the commissary in the early afternoon than it is in the evening! :)

Sunday morning, while I was running a half marathon with the double stroller stroller, I got tons of positive attention! There were so many people that we ran by, or that ran by us, who shouted, "Go mom!" or, "Great job mama!" or, "Wow, there are two kids in there? Great job!" It was so motivating! I wanted to run faster and show them all what I really had! I wasn't the only stroller there, but I was one of very few, and I'm pretty sure there was only one other woman who pushed a double stroller the whole way by herself,and she finished like 20 minutes before we did, so I'm sure she had done this before. I hadn't done this before, and I wasn't planning on doing it again...but my mind has officially been changed. It just felt too good, physically and emotionally, to not do it again.

So, I have officially signed up with Team In Training and started a fund raising page for the Nike Women's Half Marathon in San Francisco on October 17, 2010. I know that there will likely be tons of women there running with strollers, but I know it will still feel great! This event will have 20,000+ runners (compared to <900 at the Hibiscus Half). My fund raising goal is going to be $1500! Yikes. I know that my requests for money from friends and family will be met with both positive and negative attention, and perhaps NO attention. But, I'm not going to let that stop me. I'm going to try to get creative with my fund raising instead of just begging on facebook for the next four months. I already wrote a letter to the company that makes my stroller, asking them to unofficially sponsor me because I'm pretty sure I sold a couple of strollers for them at the race on Sunday.

I love how it feels to have people pay attention to me. I love it more when it is for positive reasons, and when a worthy cause can benefit from what I'm doing. Yay! I know that sounds a little selfish because there are so many better reasons (than to get attention) to train/run with Team In Training. I can't believe that I'm going to do this, but I'm going to quote Anne Curry's failed Wheaton College commencement speech. "I have learned that doing good for others is actually the most selfish thing you could possibly do because I promise you, it will make you happy." Dude, she's right!

As for training with the lovely lady featured in my previous post? Eh. I'm not going to let one negative comment overshadow all the nice and complimentary things that people have been telling me! I'll give her another chance. Perhaps she'll like me better now that I am doing this! I feel great about me! Thanks to all of you who have built me up with your kind and complimentary comments!