Buying Used

In an effort to be "green" and frugal, I try to buy used items or make do without as often as possible. There are some items where I think buying new is the best way to go because 1) I will get a warranty, 2) the item will (or should) last longer than something bought used, 3) the "ick" factor". These would be things like kitchen/laundry appliances, mattresses, and (some) upholstered furniture. Used underwear, socks, etc.... definitely out.

My friend nea has taken this further and started a year of NBN (no buying new). Cool!

Recently, I bought a used playpen/travel crib for Lucy because of several upcoming weekend trips. The playyard is in great shape, had all the pieces except for the user manual (which you can get free on the website), but cost about 73% of the new retail price. The price seemed high to me, but there are extenuating circumstances. We don't live in a huge metro area, so the selection of used baby items is limited. I wanted a specific brand (safety reasons). I ended up buying it because I didn't want to shell out the additional $$ to buy new.

What's been on my mind is... what is my motivation for buying new versus used? If the used item cost the same as the new item, I would have definitely bought it new. So clearly, my motivation is more economical than environmental, right? I need to spend some more time considering my motivations. The best thing would have been to borrow one... but I don't know anyone to borrow one from!


John Updike died on Monday of lung cancer at age 76.

He is one of my writer heroes. After studying his short stories in Am Lit at UC Davis, I was drawn in. His prose was eloquent, genuine, and exceedingly comprehensible. He could describe the ordinary in a genteel and witty style.

Sadly, I haven't read any of his novels. The good news is that he was so prolific, I have a lot of novels to choose from. As soon as I finish this Grisham book, I'll pick one up.

Any Updike recommendations?


Time flies

Happy Birthday Lucy!!

We are so lucky that YOU are a part of our family. Your first year has not been easy; a lot of your "firsts" were overshadowed by Mollie's illness; you spent a lot of time in the stroller at the hospital or clinic. But, you brightened every day with your sweet disposition and cute smile! I can't bring Mollie anywhere without hearing, "Where's Lucy?"

Now, you're almost a toddler. You always find ways to get through our security (baby gates). You babble, you're curious, you love to eat. You follow me around the house like a little lamb and pull on my legs when you need a hug. I love that you still look like a baby, but you're growing.

I remember your birth like it was yesterday; how they wouldn't let me hold you right away because you had the cord around your neck and needed oxygen. But after those tenuous first few moments, you went about the business of being a vigorous little sister.

We love you so much kiddo! Happy Birthday!


The Inauguration

At our house, Obama became our President in the midst of quiet, peaceful snow flurries. I was actually in the car with two sleeping kids for the swearing in. I listened on the radio because I find that I really listen and pick up the inflections and the meaning of the words more than when I'm watching TV. The tears running down my cheeks really surprised me. Then, of course, I ran inside and watched it on TV.

Matt asked me why I was crying; I'm not really sure. I'm think part of it was some relief that Mollie's counts are good and the clinic visit went well. But it was definitely more about the inauguration than about Mollie. Here's what I told Matt,

"I guess because we're a step closer to equality. Because Bush is out of office. Because now, maybe, we can have a more appropriate response to 9-11. Because Mollie and Lucy will never remember the time before we had a "brown" President. And because I'm happy. We needed change. Even if our daily lives don't change, the mood has already changed and the last 8 years are history."

I think, at this moment, I am proud to be an American. I haven't felt that way in a long time, maybe ever. But I think Obama represents some of the best America has to offer. Now, we'll see what if he can help us change America.


Blog neglect, Atheism, and Favorite Christmas Gifts

OK. I am a neglectful blogger. I think it's because this blog doesn't really have a theme, I've been busy keeping up with Mollie's blog, and, well, I kind of got sidetracked by Facebook. But.... I'm going to make the effort to update this blog more often. I like it. I like writing random thoughts about politics, family, news, travel, food, etc.

So, atheism. I heard report that ~50% of Americans would not even consider voting for an atheist for President. I don't put much stock into these kinds of polls, but it got me thinking- would I? Personally, I don't care what the President's religious views are, with two caveats; she should have good morals and should not let her religion (or lack thereof) directly interfere with her leadership. In fact, I would almost prefer not to know the president's religious persuasion. I don't like the "God is on our side" mentality. So, yes, I would consider voting for an atheist for President-- a lot of other things to consider ahead of religion though.

Finally, a little late, but I wanted to mention a few of my favorite Christmas (or birthday) gifts.

1. "Nerdy" T-shirt from my brother

2. Lucy and Mollie necklace from Matt

3. Russian baby toy (for Lucy)


Baby Stuff

Seems like every week I find out another friend or family member is pregnant (or just had a baby and I didn't even know they were pregnant -oops!). Anyhoo, I thought I would list some of the baby items that I like best. Bonus: all of these are under $25. Click on the link to see a picture/where to buy. Most of these can also be obtained at your local baby superstore.

Garment extenders (Add a size) These are great because they extend the life of your onesies. In my experience, babies grow in length faster than in girth so these really do work. They are also excellent for getting onesies to fit over fluffy, cloth diaper butts.

Jamtots wetbags These zippered bags are perfect for cloth-diapering on the go, but they are also great for carrying and storing sticky bibs, washcloths, feeding utensils, and dirty wet clothes in the diaper bag. Keep one stocked with a diaper, some wipes, and a pacifier and it's perfect to keep in the pocket of your stroller.

Tilty cups BPA-free and easy for babies to use. Better for babies oral health (those valves are not good news according to the American Dental Association).

Bumkins Superbib Simply the best bib. Good shoulder coverage. Easy to clean. A pocket to catch stuff. Need I say more?

Bath hammock Stick one of these in the Ikea tub and you've got a good way to bathe a newborn.

Ikea tub I like this tub much better than the gimmicky ones in the baby superstores because it is simple, easy to clean, no bumps/weird positioners. It works great for the older baby and even works for a toddler. Sit it inside your regular tub, fill it up, and use less water.

Mesh basket for dishwasher I prefer these to the hard plastic baskets. It can fit anywhere in your dishwasher and all kinds of things fit inside- bottle rings/nipples, baby spoons, straws, lids, etc.

The one thing I really couldn't live without, is my Maclaren Quest stroller. No, not under $25 (in fact, quite a bit over), but absolutely one of the best "baby" investments. Mollie is almost 5 and still rides in it when the need arises.

Now, if you want to get all this stuff, you might have to hurry. According to this article (click here) , the recently enacted Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act is going to put a lot of baby product manufacturers out of business. This law creates a stricter standard for lead in children's products (yay!). I am all for improved product safety, but I have been hearing a lot of bad press about how this law is going to be implemented. Primarily, I am concerned about the availability of handmade and second-hand toys, clothes, diapers. The third party lead testing and certification required by the law is very costly, and small manufacturers cannot afford it. And it's retroactive, so forget about buying all those great used toys/clothes for a while. If you're interested in the issue, here's another good article to read.