Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Diapering at One Year

Since I made my initial post about our diaper system I've added to it a little.

Initially I ordered three flats and loved them! So I ordered a dozen. Only I don't love them so much now. The real problem is that while the flat diapers aren't exactly uniform, they are supposed to be roughly 25"x25". Well after several washings I can confirm that those first three are more like 27"x27" and the dozen are more like 23"x23". There is quite a difference between those batches! I still like the first three flats, but I find I'm not using them as much anymore. Maybe because I have so many diapers now that even with going to a wash-every-3-days schedule I'm not running low enough to need to use them. Or maybe it is because E doesn't want changed as frequently as he used to and so I tend to grab something more absorbent. I think they would have been more useful to me in the first six months. They aren't bad to use to stuff diapers though. They are also great when E has a really messy diaper and I can put them underneath him to be sure nothing gets on the changing table pad.

I ordered a couple pockets (BumGenius 3.0) awhile back to use for going out and about and to try for night. I liked them, but didn't have enough to really get a good feel for them. Then Baby Cotton Bottoms was having a sale, buy 5 get one free plus free shipping, so I ordered half a dozen BumGenius 4.0. I don't notice a huge difference between the 3.0 and 4.0 design except that the 4.0 looks like it will fit longer. I still really like them. Sometimes it is tempting to use them all the time, but I don't have enough for that and can't really afford a whole stash of them. Instead I save them for the diaper bag and overnight use. I usually end up using all or almost all of them in a wash cycle, so I think I have the right number for us. I double stuff them (that is, I use the regular insert plus the small insert/doubler) because I'm always using them when I need maximum absorbency. There have been a few leaks, but I think that is mostly due to carelessness on our part when we put the diaper on or he just never wakes up to let us know he is whet until he is so soaked he leaks. Really though, it hasn't happened much at all.

I think that was all I needed to report back on. The fitteds I bought are still too big to try. If I'm missing anything or you have any questions let me know.


We got the keys to the house a few days early and I've been busy working on things ever since.

I'm documenting it over here. I imagine the posting will get much more sporadic once we get moved in and things calm down, but I wanted to keep track of what we are doing for myself somewhere that it wasn't going to get all jumbled in with knitting projects and cloth diaper reviews. Which, by the way, I have more things to say about the diapers.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Things I will miss about this apartment

In all my excitement for buying a house, I have to admit that moving out of this apartment is kind of bittersweet.

Here are the top 5 things I will miss about living here:

  1. E was born here. This place will always be special because of that.
  2. The way the kitchen is partially open to the living room.
  3. Watching Amelia try to climb the pillars between the kitchen and the living room.
  4. The closet organizers. I have never lived in an apartment where they made so much effort to make the space usable. Along with that, I will miss the walk-in closet that has been my yarn closet.
  5. The maintenance team. Not only are they fast to respond and friendly and the type of people you don't mind being in your place, if there is a problem beyond their expertise they get someone who knows what they are doing out there right away. Plus, you never have to pay for it. I will miss that.
Let's be honest though, there are some things I won't miss. For example:
  1. The vertical blinds. Not only are they on the patio door, they are on both bedroom windows and the cat makes so much racket every time she tries to jump up on the window sill when they are closed.
  2. The lack of outlets and all the outlets being upside down
  3. Hearing my upstairs neighbors nightly activities and the cigarette smoke that has been seeping through the basement from next door for the last two months. I can't even complain about it because the neighbor works in the office.
  4. Not being able to rip up the ugly shrubbery and out of control weeds, I mean groundcover, from the flowerbeds.
  5. Not being able to childproof the cabinets and drawers!!!

Big Changes

On Tuesday Mark and I closed on our house.

To say I am excited is an understatement. Getting here was definitely a roller coaster ride, but after signing all the papers I can finally breathe a sigh of relief and know that this is really happening instead of just hoping like mad.

We don't actually have possession yet. The sellers couldn't close on their new house until we were ready to close, so they are in the process of packing up and moving too. We will have the keys in about 2 1/2 weeks, sooner if they are able, but I'm not holding my breath. If we get in earlier than expected it will be a pleasant surprise.

I always used to like watching those home buying shows on HGTV like Property Virgins or My First Place. I know those shows show complications sometimes, but overall I found the whole looking at houses and deciding which one we wanted to make an offer on the easier part.

The mortgage was the tough part. No matter what anybody tries to tell you, student loan debt DOES hurt you. Our biggest challenge in getting approved was our debt to income ratio. With the helpful suggestions of our mortgage rep, we were able to pay some things down and make it work, but even though he was optimistic for us I was really nervous the whole time that something wasn't going to get approved.

Putting the offer on the house was more exciting than scary for us. Maybe it helps that we didn't low ball them. We wanted to get a good price on the house, but it had already been reduced twice and they were asking less than they paid for it and we thought the asking price was fair. We offered a little less and asked them to pay some closing costs. They accepted our price and agreed to pay about half of what we had asked them to pay in closing and we accepted.

Then we had a couple things that we wanted the sellers to fix after we had the home inspection. There was a little back and forth there, but those got fixed.

Then came the appraisal and home inspection from the bank. THAT gave me a headache. The appraisal came back fine, but the bank wanted some (well, actually a lot and a lot we hadn't noticed) peeling paint on the exterior scraped off and repainted. Which wouldn't have been a huge deal in summer, but in Ohio in November? Not a great time to paint when even during the spell of warm weather we were having it was getting below freezing at night. The suggestion was that WE do the painting, and we balked at that. We both have to work during the day, and what was I supposed to do, get up on a ladder to paint window frames on the attic windows with E strapped to me? Not to mention that we don't exactly have all the knowledge, experience, or tools to get a big job like that done in a day or two. In the end our agent found someone who could do it and we split the cost with the sellers.

Anyway, everything eventually got settled and we were cleared to close and we did.

Later I thought about it, and it does seem kind of strange to take out a mortgage for a longer period of time than either of us have been alive.

We are both really happy about this. It was time. I think it was an unofficial goal of mine to own a home by the time I turned 30. I'm within that and so is Mark. When we moved here a couple years ago we said that we weren't going to move for at least two years. Well that was December 2008 so it will be exactly 2 years.

When I got pregnant with E we started getting a lot of pressure to buy a house. Even with the tax credit, it just wasn't the right time for us. I kept telling those people that we wouldn't get approved for a mortgage (Mark didn't have a long enough work history at that point) and they kept acting like I was making stuff up, but hey, after all we went through I found out that I WAS RIGHT. It was hard enough now, last year it would have been impossible. Anyway, I knew we would want a house and a backyard eventually, I said by the summer he was 2 I definitely wanted a backyard. This past year was no big deal since we had a patio and enough grass too put a blanket down and be outside. Now that he is practically running, I'm glad that we will have the (fenced!) backyard next year. I needed a place for a kiddie pool too, you know?

This summer I started having some serious house envy too. Some of the same people who had been pressuring before were putting pressure on again. It felt like we were second class citizens for renting instead of owning. Which is silly, but that is how it was starting to feel. Then my co-workers daughter got engaged, and her fiance's grandmother owned a house she offered to rent to them after they got married. I have to admit, that kind of did it for me. Here were a couple of 20 year olds who were going to have a house (even if they were renting, not buying). Our friends here all have houses. I felt it was time we had to at least try.

The thing about all that is that if you go to college, meet someone there, graduate and both get full time professional jobs and get married, settle somewhere here in Ohio, you can probably buy a house within a couple years. So most people do. If after graduating from high school you or your spouse started working right away and either didn't go to college or only took classes part time, you can also probably buy a house, and for a lot of people here that is what they do too.

The "problem" is that if you do graduate school of any kind it is really going to delay your ability to buy a house because instead of earning income you are probably racking up debt. Of course our other big thing was that we were living in the Chicago area where things are totally different. At least they looked totally different to me. Where as here most kids are getting married in their very early twenties and buying a house right away, where we spent our early-mid twenties people are age were often times living with their parents and just trying to save enough to rent their own place. I guess that isn't so different when you consider that rent on a one bedroom apartment somewhere on the north side is probably more than most mortgage payments (with tax and insurance) are here. Heck, our mortgage payment (plus tax and insurance) isn't even $30 more than the rent on my one bedroom apartment in the 'burbs was three years ago.

Anyway, my point in all this was that as happy as we were to move back to Ohio and as much as we like this area, it did kind of suck to go from being in a similar place as our peers were out in Chicago to moving here and feeling way behind everyone else. Not that buying a house was to keep up with everyone else or something like that, but when there is something you really have wanted and everyone around you your age has it and it looks like something you still can't attain, well, that sucks.

Enough ramblings on this for now.