Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dirty Laundry? Part 3

I have finished my reduced detergent experiment.

And the verdict is.....


While the smell of my clothes is still nice and fresh with using half of the powdered detergent, they just aren't as clean.  This is especially noticeable on the whites and lighter colors.  

I just can't jeopardize my laundry like this.  I have to put 100% into the clothes, or else I might just go nuts!  Okay, I realize that you are thinking that I'm already nuts, but this is one thing in my crazy life that is always and utterly the same...and therefore reliable.  I can count on my laundry!

I can't change the recipe that I have spent so many years perfecting.  The quality of my laundry depends on it.  (Again, I know this is nuts)  We work hard for the money that we buy our clothes with, and it's my job to keep our clothes as nice as I can for as long as possible (especially for the little men since we will be using all of the boy clothes twice).

While I was very excited at the prospect of saving money...and being a little friendlier to the environment, I don't think that the suggested powdered detergent amount was meant to be adjusted.  

So all I can say is that I did try...and I will continue to keep Tide in business.  Hmm, I wonder if I send them a copy of the blog they might give me some free detergent?

Happy washing!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

When shopping becomes traumatizing...

Okay, I know that for a lot of women, shopping for clothes can be traumatizing, no matter what the item.  Generally speaking, I don't have body issues (most of the time).  I have been relatively skinny all of my life...(insert cussing and and nasty comments here)...until I started to have children.

I know that this is the case for so many of us.  You decide to bring children into the world, and not only do you have to give up your life as you know it (which is NOT a bad thing), you also have to give up your body.  

 Before children.
 April of 2006.  Mexico.  127lbs.

When you have your first baby, you think everything is a wonderful, amazing process, and you don't so much notice the weight gain...I mean REALLY notice it until after you give birth.  You still have grand delusions of getting back into to your pre-pregnancy clothes right away.....until you realize that NOTHING FITS!!!!!  You still have this belly that looks like you are about 5 months pregnant, and for some reason, your derriere didn't immediately shrink back to it's normal size as soon as that cute little person came out of your body.  I accepted actually didn't bother me at all (until much later when we decided to go on vacation in spring of 2008).  I embraced being a little bigger (okay, honestly, I started out a size 5, and was an 11 after the Munchkin was born...and stayed that way until I got pregnant with the Little Man).

Baby #1

 Morning of Munchkin's birth, June 2007.  160lbs.  Size 11.

Then you have your second child.  You don't really have any body expectations at this point.  You know what is going to happen, and you don't worry about it, until every week at the doctor's office, the scale goes up 5 pounds (yes, every week, I gained 20 pounds that month)!  The bad part at this point was that I was on bed-rest and I could NOT do anything to stop the RAPID weight gain.  After the Little Man arrived, I knew what to expect about what my body was going to look like, but I didn't like it either.  Again, I had to go out and buy clothes so that I could go to work in something other than sweatpants.  I ended up being a size 13 after Little Man.
Baby #2

Morning of Little Man's birth, January 2009.  180lbs.  Size 13.

Then the weight started melting away.  Literally.  I wasn't doing anything.  I wasn't dieting.  I wasn't exercising.  I WAS under an incredible amount of stress at that point.  So, when you live on coffee and happy pills (yes...I admit it, and I needed them, AND THEY WORK!) you tend to loose a little weight.  I actually got down to a size 9!  And then......

Family Pictures.  Early Fall 2009.  140ish lbs.  Size 9.

I found out I was pregnant with #3.  I was a little panicky at this point.  I had finally started feeling better about my body.  And here I was pregnant again, facing another possible 50 pound weight gain.  Honestly, I have barely gained 20lbs. with this pregnancy.  My hips, derriere, and thighs, however, did not get the DO NOT EXPAND memo.  I was good up until about March...then things went a little downhill.  

Baby #3
 April 15, 2010.  32 weeks pregnant.  160lbs.

NOTHING FITS!  I KNOW that I'm pregnant.  And no, I have NOT gained much weight, but let's be honest butt is wide.  Wider than it has ever been before.  It's uncharted territory!  I know that I will be birthing my THIRD child in just a few weeks.  People constantly tell me how cute I look.  How I'm all belly (we'll just wait and see what happens when the girth of my belly isn't covering up the girth of everything else).  I mean it's great that people want to be polite, but let's not ignore reality here.  It really doesn't make me feel better, to me it means that people are noticing (how wide I actually am) and are trying to make me feel better about it.

I know I said that this blog was about shopping being traumatizing...and it is.  I'm getting to it right now.  I feel that you needed the proper background information.

This past Sunday it was rather warm.  I was going through my mishmash of maternity clothes trying to find a pair of capris (that actually fit) to wear.  WASN'T HAPPENING.  So Jon, my dear, wonderful husband suggested that I try a pair of HIS shorts on.  Here is part of the actual conversation.....

"Here, just try them on."  
"They aren't going to fit."   
"How do you know, just try them."
"Because I know.  They aren't going to fit.  I'll show you."
And then I put them on and pulled them up.  And no, they didn't fit.
"'re right.  They don't fit.  Why don't you buy some shorts while you're out with Melissa today."

So, yes.  I knew what I was in for.  I even knew what size I had to look for.  I just needed to try on the shorts to make sure they actually fit.  I tried them on, and they did indeed fit.  They actually don't look too bad (because at this point, not too bad is the best to hope for).

I brought them home and did fashion show (I always do fashion's imperative to make sure you look halfway decent in the stuff you just bought).  Jon commented that they didn't look too bad.  Okay.  Good purchase.  I'm good for the rest of the summer (because as we all know, your butt doesn't immediately shrink the moment you give birth).

I held up a pair (that I wasn't wearing) and said, "Wow, these look really big when you hold them up."  Jon agreed and inquired about the size.  I asked him if he really wanted to know.  He said that he did.  So I told him.  Size 15.  

He then said, "Weren't you a size 5 before you got pregnant with the Munchkin?"  
"Yes dear, yes I was." 
"Oh well, I'd still do ya."

Aww.  How sweet.  So as traumatic as the numbers seem, I suppose it's really not that bad.  Especially when your husband seems (or at least pretends) not to care or notice that you have an ever expanding body.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Dirty Laundry? Part 2

So, at the end of Dirty Laundry? I was contemplating using less laundry detergent to wash my clothes.  I decided that I would try it....just to see if my clothes actually came out clean.

An article that I read suggested that you don't actually need detergent to get your clothes clean.  (, ewwww!)  It also said that if you didn't feel comfortable getting rid of the detergent totally, you could get by with using less detergent.  Better for the wallet, and better for the environment!

However, it didn't mention anything about powdered detergent, so I went and did a little searching of my own....and I found NOTHING!  So I decided to just cut my detergent usage in half (half a scoop instead of a whole heaping scoop of freshness).

Yesterday I did laundry.  I was very concerned that my clothes would not come out clean.  I smelled every piece of clothing that came out of the dryer (to check for clean smell of course).  Besides, who doesn't love the smell of freshly washed clothes?

I must say that it generally didn't seem to make a difference that I used half of the detergent.  There were a couple of shirts that didn't come out as clean as I would have liked, but I can always use more detergent if I need to.

I think that I am going to try this one more time.  I am still on the fence about it...mostly because while the clothes did smell clean, it wasn't quite the same scent, and some of the items could have been cleaner.
So this experiment continues.  Keep an eye out for Part 3 which will be when I make the final decision whether or not less detergent really does the job.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dirty Laundry? Part 1

Okay since I’ve had laundry on the brain (okay, who am I kidding, I ALWAYS have laundry on the brain…it’s all consuming) this article on laundry detergent caught my eye.

So as we know from my last post, I am a laundry freak, so I felt compelled to read the article. You can check out the article for yourself, but I was horrified when I read it. It actually suggested that you DON’T NEED TO USE DETERGENT!!!!!! What? Are they kidding? Wouldn’t that really be like showering without soap? Brushing your teeth without toothpaste? I am not impressed.

Ahhh, but not to worry (apparently), the article suggests trying to make your own laundry detergent in case you think it’s icky to not use soap (umm, hello?!!!! Yes it’s icky!). Now, it must be because Earth Day is this week (which in case you haven’t noticed, has turned into Earth week). I’m all for being more eco-friendly and saving the environment (and saving money), but really? Making your own detergent, can I possibly add one more thing to the list when I’m about to give birth to my third child?

I have seen this whole make your own laundry detergent on 16 17 18 19 kids and counting. I understand why they do it. They would spend a FORTUNE on laundry detergent if they didn’t make their own. I spend a fortune on laundry detergent, and there aren’t even 5 of us yet!

Coincidentally, I have been doing a laundry experiment since the beginning of the year. I keep track of how much laundry I do. Every load. I mark it down. It goes on the calendar. I want to know EXACTLY how many loads of laundry I do in a year, and subsequently how much detergent I use. I’m curious. I REALLY want to know. So at the end of my year-long experiment, I will let you all know how it turned out. I’m sure it will make everyone a little nauseous.

I decided to do a little research, just to see if I could find one for do-it-yourself powder. As you know from The Great Laundry Debate, I use powder, not liquid (I find it completely ridiculous to pay for water in a jug). I did happen across a site that lists 10 detergent recipes, only 2 of which were for powder. They seem pretty straight forward, but I’m worried about my patented “Bethy fresh” smell of laundry! My husband gave it this name many years ago, back when he discovered your pants didn’t have to be stiff as a board (helloooo, fabric softener) and your clothes didn’t have to have static cling (thank you dryer sheets).

I looked at the recipes and decided it would be SO much easier just to use LESS detergent (if possible). I did a little searching on that too…that I got nothing on. I suppose that I could experiment with the amount of detergent I use, but here’s the thing, do I want to risk having to wash a load of clothes twice because I didn’t use enough detergent? I think not.

So I’m torn. Do I try to use less, or do I continue to keep Tide in business? Tide has never failed me. I don’t want to give up on it. Can I really save money by using LESS detergent and still have my clothes come out CLEAN? I don’t know. I’m afraid to try, but seeing as how the BIG BOX of Tide at the Sam’s Club is $20, and I use a lot…A LOT…of detergent, I’m guessing it would be worth a try….maybe.

So, as the laundry continues to collect, and I continue to dutifully fight stains, I will contemplate the usage of detergent….the heaping scoopful, or not. Hmmm, I don’t know. I’ll keep you all posted.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The great laundry, umm, insanity.

Okay, so I admit it. I’m a bit picky about my laundry. And by picky, I am just being nice (or at least using nicer words than what first came to mind). Anyone that knows me, I mean REALLY knows me will tell you that laundry is my thing. I spend an incredible amount of time doing laundry. I take great pains in keeping our clothes nice, not looking over worn, and trying to keep them stain free. Since the beginning of the year, I have been keeping track of how many loads of laundry I do. I am very curious to know, and I also will divide that out to figure out how much detergent and Clorox 2 I go through in a year. I know, it’s a little crazy, but when you spend so much time doing something, you have a tendency to want to know all about it (and how much money is actually being washed down the drain). For me, it’s not just a chore, it’s a mission.

I guess it would help if I explained how I got this way (about laundry, not about anything else…at least at this point). My mother was never really good about laundry, or clothes in general (at least for us kids) for that matter. I didn’t have a lot of nice clothes growing up. I know most of us didn’t, I mean it’s not like we are going to a fashion show when we are 5, but I mean, my mom didn’t take good care with my clothes. She didn’t do laundry very often. It was just a mess. By the time I was 9 my brother (who is 10 years older than I am) would pay me to do his laundry (I was also doing my own by this time). Cut and dry, my mom is an alcoholic; this prevented her from doing many things for us. I will at some point talk about her, but now isn’t the time.

Since I started doing laundry a LONG time ago, I have learned how to keep my whites whiter and my brights brighter. You wouldn’t EVEN believe the joy I get from saying that sentence! My husband will also tell you that is why he kept dating and subsequently married me….because of the way I do laundry.
I am EXTREMELY particular about my laundry products. I have formulated my own system over the years to get the best cleaning, spot removal, and freshness from my laundry. I guess it’s not really a secret formula, so I guess I can share it. I mean, I’ve shared it with my best friend (mostly because she kept bugging me about how I got my clothes to smell so good). Powdered Tide (Original Scent), Clorox 2 (liquid concentrate), and green Downy (ultra concentrate). I only use Shout for spot removal. It is the ONLY thing that I have found that will NOT fade any of my clothes (this means you can spray it, let it sit for a week, and know that your clothes will come out looking good). I then use a bounce dryer sheet in the dryer. If you don’t use a dryer sheet also, you’ll get static.

Now that you have the background on my laundry insanity, I will let you in on what the actual debate is. My wonderful husband was sorting the laundry for me earlier today. He was just trying to help me out, and get the dirty clothes out of our downstairs hallway. Our laundry room is first floor and is the size of a closet. I thought that when we bought our house, that first floor laundry would be great. I can’t wait for the day that we can move it down into the basement. Sorry, off track, back to the sorting. As Jon was sorting the laundry, he was putting clothes in with the darks that shouldn’t have been there, and was confused again (for the millionth time) about why which color clothes had to be where.

To save some time, I just sort into lights and darks. I don’t do towels separate unless I have enough to do an entire load. Lights include all whites, pinks, yellows, light oranges, beige, and light blues. I also include anything that might get dingy if washed with anything dark. Darks are everything else. Khaki pants can be washed with either, but truth be told, I prefer to wash them with the darks. Jon was sorting into whites and colors. He defended himself by saying that’s how it was done when he was growing up, and why did it matter anyway. Now, just to give you some perspective…we have been living together for a good 12 years. He should have SOME idea of how I sort laundry. So I kindly explained how I sort, and why. He wasn’t impressed, but allowed me to explain why things get sorted the way they do. He’s like, “but I was just trying to help!” I said, “Yes, I know. Can you please help me by running the vacuum instead?” He didn’t run the vacuum, but he did take it all in stride because of who he is. =)

I did say this was the great laundry debate, which it is. This is not the first time that we have had this conversation with each other, and it won’t be the last. It’s happened countless times. Every time, it’s the same conversation. It is always ended by my request for him not to help with laundry other than to transport it up and down the stairs. I know it doesn’t sound nice, but that’s how it has always worked. I’m not sure why we have to do this every so often. Maybe it’s just the check and balance system. Or maybe he’s just trying to let me know he’s willing to help. Either way, I do appreciate the sentiment of it. It’s actually quite sweet. Maybe next time I’ll just say thank you.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I wanna go to the beach

Every day my daughter says, “Mommy, I want to go to the beach.”  EVERY DAY!  Snow, sleet, rain, shine, she tells us that she wants to go to the beach.  My reply, “So do I baby, very much.”  I love that my daughter is infatuated with the beach.  It’s actually a result of my own obsession with the beach.

My love affair with the beach began, not when I was little, but when I was 20.  I had never really been to the beach before that.  I don’t think that you can count 4 hours at Cocoa Beach with the high school band.  I am sure that there are people that LOVE Cocoa Beach, but really, it’s not a beach goer’s beach.  Jon (this is my husband, I will get around to introducing him) and I went to Myrtle Beach on our first REAL, WEEK LONG vacation.  He had been to the beach before…Daytona for Spring Break (good lord, I do NOT want to think about that), and Cocoa Beach as well.  We drove.  From Ohio.  To Myrtle Beach.  Straight through.  As soon as we got to our hotel and checked in, we ran (I mean literally ran) to the beach to check it out.  This was as a HUGE thunderstorm was rolling in.  Thunder, lightning, rain, all of it.  NOT SMART.  You really don’t want to be on the beach (unprotected, no shelter) during a thunderstorm, but when you can’t contain your excitement….you do stupid things.  This started our passionate love affair with the beach and everything beachy.  Subsequently, all of our vacations after this revolved around the beach.   

We even got married in Jamaica.
Jamaica 2003

Now, I know most people take pictures of their trips, but I LOVE pictures.  I LOVE THEM!  We have tons of pictures around our house.  Of us, of vacations, and now of the kids.  My daughter has grown up seeing all of these lovely pictures of all the beaches we have been to.   
 Mexico 2006

We even took her to the beach before her first birthday.  Now I’m sure that she doesn’t really remember the trip, but I believe that she has learned through osmosis.  If I can get my kids to be beach people like Jon and I are, why not?  It’s fun.  It’s relaxing.  It’s beautiful.  

Unfortunately we have not gotten back to the beach since May of 2008.  I keep finding myself pregnant and unable to travel (yes, we do know what causes this).  We WILL be going on a beach vacation in 2011.  I might even try to squeeze one out this December, but I don’t know if that’s actually going to happen, or if I’m just wishing.  I want to share this with my little man, and the new little man.  I think that they will love it as much as their sissy does. 

So yes, we tell Munchkin about the beach.  We look at the pictures and tell her where we were when they were taken.  We promise to take her to all of the places that she sees in the pictures.  She gets so excited, and so do I.   I love the beach.  I wished we lived at the beach.  I want to give them the love of traveling, and foreign places and new food.  (Mmmm, food)  I wonder when Little Man will tell us he wants to go to the beach?  I hope it will be soon. 

 Isle of Palms 2008
I want to go to the beach too!

How I became the mom of three

I never, EVER thought that I would love being a mom so much.  These little people bring me so much joy every day.  I was worried that I wouldn't know what to do, or how to do it.  I didn't really have a good example growing up (that's another story for another time).  Once I had my Munchkin (my daughter, now almost 3), I fell into motherhood like it was what I was really meant to do. 

My daughter is the light of our lives.  She is smart (everyone thinks their kids are smart, but I’m afraid at some point she’s going to mutiny and take over….probably by the time she’s 5).  She is energetic, caring, funny, all of the things that you would want your daughter to be.  Of course, though, we wanted to have more than one child, so when she was 6 months old, we started trying for another baby.  I know, we are nuts.  We didn’t fully think it through, but it took awhile to get pregnant with her, so we thought that it also may take awhile the second time.  We found out that we were pregnant with baby #2 shortly before Munchkin’s first birthday.
 The Munchkin June 8, 2007

Nineteen months and 1 day after my daughter was born, my first son arrived.  Our Little Man came into our lives and completed our family.  It was a wakeup call to be the mother of two small children.  I don’t think that I fully appreciated the ease of having one child until we had little man.  It all got figured out, and then I became SUPERMOM!  The mom of all moms.  I was organized.  I was doing pretty well.  I was over sleep deprivation.  I decided to go back to school.  I was working on my volunteer hours for my degree (Physical Therapy Assistant).  We were doing things as a family of four.  We had plans for vacations.  We were starting to figure out the balance of being parents and adults.
 The Little Man January 9, 2009

Saturday October, 10, 2009.  I was a week late.  I figured I would swing by the store on my way home from class and pick up a test……just to make sure.  I was on the NuvaRing, but I had never, EVER been a week late while I was taking birth control.  My husband was at work that morning, so I was by myself (respectively…the kiddos were napping after I picked them up from the sitter after class).  So I took the test.  It didn’t even need the 3 minutes.  I pretty much looked at the thing and two lines popped up.  OH.  MY.  GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Oh, but wait, there’s more.  This all happened 8 days AFTER my husband had his vasectomy.  Now, I know you all are thinking, you can’t know you’re pregnant that fast.  His surgery was apparently 4 weeks too late, and the NuvaRing was a little too ineffective.

That is how I find myself a mom of soon to be three children three and under.  Little Man and Newbie will be about 17 months apart.  He’s due to arrive by June 10th.  Little Man was 3 weeks early, so it’s hard to say when Newbie will get here.  I have 5 to 8 weeks to be fully prepared for a newborn.  I’m not sure how I will do.  I’m not sure how the rest of my family will do.  All I know is that I love this new little man just as much as I love my older two children.

That is how I became the mom of three.