Feb 28, 2011

Today we said "See you soon".

At 5 am this morning, Bobby and I said our goodbyes, but instead of goodbye, I told him "see you soon". It didn't hit me until I was 20 miles away, and I started thinking about how much it hurt to be away from 1/6th of my heart.... and if I am missing him this much, he must really be hurting, because he's away from all of us. He called from Dulles twice today before his Dubai flight to see how I was coping with 5 kids and 4 hours of sleep. He was making sure I wasn't burning out already, but I am more worried about him, than me, I have distractions. I have a baby to care for around the clock. I have doctors appointments, teacher conferences, homework to help with, meals to cook, a house to take care of. I don't have time to burn out.

Quickies:

Liam is 2 months old today, he had a well baby exam and was 13 lbs. 3 oz shy of a 6 pound weight gain. Over 6 pounds if you count his lowest weight, he's also gained 3 inches. Pretty awesome if you figure he's gained 3 inches in 2 months and the average is 2 inches. The average weight gain is 5-7oz a week and he averages 11.6 a week.

Dude-- I'm never getting another Dell. Christopher's charger for his Alienware broke. 4 months of light use, we are talking probably 20 times of unplugging/plugging. It is a BAD design, think of a thin copper wire, like maybe the size of a .7mm pencil lead, housed inside a plug as big around as a pencil with the eraser pulled out. I was told that they would not honor my warranty because if it broke, it was "abuse". BS! Got an aftermarket charger on eBay, no way is Dell getting $80 from me for a new cord.

Dyson, ROCKS. I love them! Their customer service is top notch. I called to order a new cover for brush, a thin piece melted or broke off. They are sending an entire brush mount, a $110 retail part, for free, on a 1 1/2 yr old vacuum. No questions asked. So now my raves for customer service are Apple, Comcast, Dyson, Verizon, Automated Petcare Products (Litter Robot), and of course USAA.

Austin was holding Liam last week and said "I LOVE it when his face turns colors, it is so red". I said "yes honey, that is because he's pooping". His eyes got big, his face got red and he said "oh god no!!" and passes him back to me. Funny boy!


Sophia is totally potty trained, and we ventured out into public today without any accidents. Still no poop success, and we have not braved overnight yet.

Matthew got this 'stache from a birthday party yesterday, I had to tell him to take it off to go to bed, he wanted to keep it on. I told him he looks like a young Burt Reynolds, but he didn't get the reference, so I called him Baby Earl from the TV showMy Name is Earl. All day I was saying "my name is Matt".

Christopher has been an absolute joy this week. He's finally been allowed to get a Facebook page and has been absolutely superb at getting his chores done without being told.

I started writing this post 7 hours ago. I kept getting interrupted.

Feb 27, 2011

Scrubs

A long, long, time ago, I was a CNA, or certified nursing assistant, but my license has since lapsed. I miss working from time to time, I loved getting my medical scrubs on each morning and heading to work each morning at 7. I loved being busy and feeling like I was making a difference. My own children were in school full time and I was feeling restless at home. I worked with special needs adults in a recreational day facility, and it was my job to record blood pressure, weights, administer medications, along with non-medical tasks like taking my clients into the community on day trips, or also dealing with basic needs such as feeding and toileting.

One of the downfalls of my job though, was the cost of scrubs. I got some of my uniforms at the big box chain stores, but they were itchy and very plain. I also used dedicated scrub stores, but the cost of uniforms was ridiculous. I was lucky enough that I was not limited to a specific color, and could wear any pattern I wanted, so it was possible for me to buy scrubs online at a great discount, and get soft, comfortable uniforms for a very reasonable cost. Last year when we made our cross country move, I ended up giving away a huge box (21 sets?) to a friend's sister, and it was really sad. I mean on one hand, I love being a mom, but I cannot pretend that I don't miss bringing in an income, and getting all dressed up in my nursing uniforms scrubs each and every day.

Feb 25, 2011

What a Weird Day!!

Isn't it incredible when you can walk into a business, which is nearly empty, and then moments later it looks like a tour bus was unloaded? This was how it was at the Post Office today. Not only have I always joked that there are several portals to hell, to include the DMV, the bank, the post office, the mechanic, and the emergency room. This statement could not have rang more true today. I mentioned earlier today that we would be mailing off a storage locker to Afghanistan, well we loaded it up with clothes, books, and computer equipment, weighed it, then hauled it out to the van. After a long wait in the line that went from no one, to a line out the door in the time it took us to fill out a customs form and wrap the box in tape we get to the front and pull the box onto the scale. 74 lbs. Crap. The limit is 70 lbs.

We had to get out of the line, unwrap all the tape, remove jeans, and then wait for the person in front of us to finish so we could pop back to the postal worker we were with. He weighed us again, 68 lbs, rings up the total, $125, gets to the point where we are supposed to swipe the card, and he realizes his coworker is logged into his computer... we have to go to the terminal 2 windows down. While waiting for him to weigh and put in the address and such again, some guy comes storming in. By his body language, I know he's not a happy camper. He goes up to the worker in the window next to us and says "Did a woman just mail a package to Thailand with you?" I am assuming something got mailed that shouldn't have or something.

So he gets up in the guys face and says "Listen *bleep*, you need to watch how you talk to people. You don't have to be such a *bleep*. You better watch your *bleep* back. Do you hear me? DO YOU HEAR ME [Name on name tag]?? That is somebodies daughter. *beep* *beep* *beep*!" At young woman in line starts yelling "HEY! You need to knock it off! Show some respect!" She looks like she's about to charge him. She's all of maybe 100 lbs, but she ended up getting him to leave. Now I don't know what was said or done, but I did notice she came completely unprepared. Her items had cardboard just wrapped around them, with two ends open and he had to help her make them into boxes by cutting and taping the cardboard. She occupied a lot of his time and was there for the time it took about 3 or 4 patrons to mail their stuff with other postal workers. The line was backing up, and the worker continued to help her prepare her package instead of just telling her to either come back with a box that would hold the contents securely, or get a priority mail box and pay more. There was no way her box would hold for international travel. This is the only post office in our city, so I have had stuff mailed with all four of the gentleman that were working that day, and they were always kind. He took his tongue lashing and never said more than "Calm down sir".

By the time we left the post office, it was nearly 5pm, we had been there about 90 minutes! We needed to get a power of attorney notarized and the first bank we went to had closed 2 minutes earlier. The next place was open, but Bobby ended up in line 45 minutes before he got to the front of the line for the notary. He said he was not supposed to notarize POAs, but he would make an exception because he waited so long, and refused to charge us for it, even though we are not members. Sounds like Mr. Notary could teach Mr. My-girl-can't-figure-out-how-the-mail-works-so-I-blow-up-to-defend-her-honor a lesson in manners.

For my Austin peeps

When we switched hats from homeowner to landlord, we had some new issues to think about. Before we moved out of our home, we had a guy come in and stretch, repair, and replace some carpet. I could not believe how much difference it made in the appearance of our floors, I would compare it to a face lift, for well-worn carpet. However, short of replacing it all for thousands of dollars, stretching was a practical compromise. My central Texas friends, if you have carpet repair needs, I invite you to try out The Steam Team, for your carpet repair services in Austin. The steam team also offers carpet pet odor removal Austin, which is so important if you have ever had pets in your home, even if they have never had an accident, because you may not notice pet smells and odors from the oil in their coat, or waste tracked in from outside or litter boxes on their feet, but your guests will. However, if you have ever had a cat, you know that cat pee odor removal Austin is so important if you want to prevent future soiling. I have a cat who will pee on towels if they are left on the ground, so getting those odors out is essential, because cat urine is one of the most pungent smells ever.

Hopefully you never know the feeling of wondering why your shower is not hot anymore, checking on the pilot of the water heater, and finding that it has failed. We have had that happen twice on us, but luckily it only burst the one time, and we lived in a house without carpet. However, if you are not so lucky, it is important to have someone you can count on for cleaning up water damage Austin, it is especially important that they offer around the clock service, 24 hours, 7 days a week, because the longer you let the water sit, the bigger the problem, and then you would need carpet mildew odor removal Austin.

Feb 24, 2011

Thank-you Mother Nature

Another snow day today, that means my kids will have a four day weekend, which could not come at a more perfect time. Their daddy is leaving Monday morning at 0'dark-30 for a 6-12 month stint in Afghanistan. Thankfully the roads seem better this morning, than they were yesterday, which bodes will for all the errands we need to get done today. Since Bobby is a contractor, and not a soldier, he will have to move his own stuff, so he is mailing a storage locker and hand carrying a storage locker. Last time he mailed a tough box, the boxes were completely destroyed, and the airline broke his suitcase. I hope this time they will not suffer a similar fate.

Snow Day!

I am one of those odd moms who LOVE snow days, I look forward to them, I can't wait for summer vacation, and I dread back to school. I would homeschool my kids in an instant, if I had a masters degree in education. I support homeschooling, but personally, I made a choice a long time ago that it was not for our family, because I don't have the bag of tricks teachers do to keep kids interested. I cannot get my children to make their beds without being told, how am I going to get them interested in pushing themselves to advance? I also do not have the patience for busy work.

I do hate snow though, especially when I have errands to run. The kids need haircuts and new shoes, I needed pet food, milk and creamer and I could not get out to get any of those. My husband ended up getting the food items, the rest will have to wait. It took him 2 hours to travel 2 miles this morning. I am really hoping tomorrow's weather will be more kind, we have so many things to do before he leaves for the middle east next week.

Feb 21, 2011

Adventures in Potty Training

It has been a week now since Sophie has worn a diaper during the day. Until she is consistently pooping in the potty, I am not ready to ditch the diapers completely. She can't open doors yet, so that is another obstacle in night time training. Some days are better than others, I think her worst day was two pee accidents and one poop. She has also had accident free days too. Naptime is where I am most impressed, she is excellent at getting up and using her chair in her room.

Crib is gone, binkies are gone, day time diapers are gone. I just hope she does not regress when Daddy goes overseas.

Feb 20, 2011

Fashionista

Sophia and I have a lot in common when it comes to fashion. We both LOVE clothes. I love shoes, purses, dresses, jeans. LOVE. Unfortunately, being a stay at home mom, I don't have the excuse to tickle my inner runway model. I am more of a jeans and tshirt kind of gal most of the time. In an alternate universe, I imagine myself in shape (round is a shape, but not the one I prefer) and in a gorgeous pair of Stuart Weitzman thigh high boots, a pencil skirt, a silk blouse, a short jacket and a small leather clutch. No spit-up on my shoulder. Not a single hair out of place.

My husband, or dare I say boyfriend, would look equally stunning in a dark gray suit, and a long wool Michael Kors dress coat. He would have come straight from work and we would meet for cocktails and talk about our day before our 8pm dinner reservation.

It would be cold by the time we leave the restaurant, but I would stay warm in my Cole Haan wool-cashmere swing coat. We would take a cab home, not a minivan, and we would live in a stylish apartment in a high rise, without furniture marred by bored preschooler with a fork. My cupboard doors would never know the joy of being broken by a preschooler swinging on them. TV could be enjoyed in peace, without interruption, and free of tiny fingerprints. I would no know that milk turns into a substance stronger than glue when spilled without being seen, and orajel will strip the stain right off of a nightstand, almost instantly. Vacations can be taken without reserving two hotel rooms. Income would be disposable. Sleep would not be interrupted by a hungry baby or a puking child.

The more I think about it, the more I realize how lucky I am to spend all day in sweatpants, baby in arms, heart full of love. I will drive my minivan with pride, every seat filled by a butt. I will drink my coffee out of necessity, not pleasure. I will trade in my free time of reading books and hot baths for changing diapers and helping with homework. I will trade in my leather pumps for bare feet, or big name brands like Skechers and Converse. I will shop at the Goodwill, Target, and Costco. But I will never give up my day dreams of my alternate universe self, skinny, enjoying a latte while walking to her job in some fancy high rise in New York City. Dressed to kill.

Feb 15, 2011

Mini Vacation

I just got home from a super relaxing mini vacation. We drove to the other side of the state to see his friends, my family, a combination "Bon Voyage" and "Welcome Baby" visit. He went over before I did, spent time with friends, and then I came over with the kids. It was so nice to see my parents, my sister & brother in law, and my niece & nephew. Because Matthew was missing his valentines day party, my mom made heart shaped sugar cookies with the kids, and we all addressed valentines day cards to him and Sophie. Matthew cracked me up when he said "Wow! I didn't know Liam could write in cursive" when he read a card I addressed to him from Liam.

For the drive home we caravanned home. While hitting a Starbucks Drive-Thru I asked if I could pay for my drink, and that of the hot guy behind me and then told her he was my husband of 14 years. She said "keeping the romance alive by traveling in separate cars huh?" Yup, Mr. & Mrs. Romance! We have never bought into the VD hype, one year we just happened to stop into a new store which ended up being a gun store. I tease him the most romantic Valentines Day ever was the year he took me to the gun store.

Half way into the trip I had lost my mind with one of the little ones repetitively pushing the button on a talking fast food toy my mom gave them. It was Barney from the Simpson's movie saying either "call me" or "Homer" or "homicide" or something. While the kids were stopped for a potty break, the toy was quietly slipped into the trash, and no one has missed it. Thank goodness. I have never figured out how kids have an innate ability to gravitate towards the most annoying toys at my moms house, and then use it in the most annoying manner possible.

I was so happy to be home, in my own bed, but I loved having the long weekend with my family. I don't get over as often as I want to, so it was nice to have an excuse to make the trek.

Feb 8, 2011

She's in her big girl bed!

I have delayed posting this announcement, because I was afraid it would not last, but as of January 26th, Sophia has slept in her big girl bed, and on January 30th, I moved her crib out of her room and into my room to slowly transition Liam into it. Major steps like that, deserve major rewards, and in Sophia's case that meant new bedding! I ended up finding the set similar to what I wanted locally, but I looked online first.

Since Sophia is so tiny, she transitioned into a toddler bed, and it was so much fun looking at New Girl Crib and Toddler Bedding, there are so many adorable colors and designs out there! Because she is such a girly-girl, it is simple to find beautiful feminine bedding that would accentuate her bedroom so well.

Because her old bedding was so feminine, I ended up browsing for a new set for Liam, since I just cannot put him into her old set, which was a Dwell Studio bird print that was dusty pink. I would have loved to get him New Crib Sets by Kid Funktional. I especially love the Savana Rana frog set. I seriously considered choosing an aquatic theme of turtles and frogs for him. I ended up finding some of Matthew's old bedding I had forgotten about that I got on clearance years ago, and purchased the coordinating crib skirt on eBay. I think if we were planning on him having his own bedroom I would have gone all out, but as it is, he is in our bed and by the time he transitions into either Sophia or Matthew's room, he will be too old for a diaper stacker (which probably does not work well with cloth diapers anyways), or crib bumpers.

I do know we need to get her some window treatments soon. Her bedroom is so light during the day that she gets woken up bright and early by the sun, and in the summer her room is the hottest in the house, because her window gets no protection from trees like the other bedrooms do. I love the bright colors of the New College Window Treatments , which would coordinate so much better into a child's room, and I especially love the black out feature, which would keep the room darker in the morning, and cooler in the afternoons. Now I just have to decide if I want to go with lime green, or purple, to go with her Tinkerbell themed room.

SIX week smiles

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I love those sweet first "I am smiling at you, not because I farted" smiles.

Liam is getting a lot more interactive. He smiles. He laughs (and scares himself when he does) from time to time. He's also has longer periods where he is awake, and is sleeping for longer stretches.

Feb 4, 2011

On the housing market...

Obviously it will come as no shock to you that we are in a "housing crisis" as a nation. Housing prices inflated, banks gave loans to almost anyone who wanted one, and then gravity took over and what goes up, must come down and down went the market. Some states are recovering faster than others, and some cities in those states are recovering even faster, like La Jolla, California.

Part of why Bobby accepted the hardship tour overseas is because of the chilly economic climate. We own a home in Colorado that we cannot sell, and because of a second mortgage on it, we owe more than it is currently worth. We have so far gotten lucky with great tenants, who's lease won't expire for another year, but I worry if they decide not to renew the lease, if we will be so lucky a second time. Part of our plan is to pay off the second mortgage with his overseas pay, so we can eventually sell. Unfortunately, websites like Zillow, do not have me too hopeful. Some websites however do suggest the market it starting to turn around, like this article on the Denver real estate market.

Part of the problem, is that we purchased our home with a zero down home loan and took out an equity loan, when our home was at its peak value. Now, even with the market starting to stabilize a bit more, we still have not built our equity back up. Once our second is paid off, we should at least be able to sell for what we owe. Next time, we will listen to Dave Ramsey's advice and put at least 20% down on a 15 year loan and spend no more than 40% of our income on housing costs.

Until our Colorado home is paid off, we will not even consider buying a home here in Washington, which is so sad because I really loved the freedom of home ownership. I still have not hung any of my paintings in the house because it never has felt like a home.

Feb 3, 2011

I know they are from outerspace, but which planet....?

I have the oddest children ever. Not only do my youngins like vegetables... but these crazy kids love... the dentist! Seriously. You can stop laughing now, or doubting me, or saying "yeah, right" to yourselves. They seriously do.

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The little two started seeing a new dentist this week. Our old insurance didn't cover any pediatric dentists in the area, so we were all going to a general practice dentist. With the new year, we got a new insurance carrier, and with that a new pediatric dentist. Normally, the dentist, who is also a orthodontist, will only see new patients before they are teenagers, but because my 13 year old needs braces, and because my little two are being seen there, the dentist decided to see Christopher to go over a treatment plan for braces. Christopher could not be happier or more excited to get braces. Obviously he's not the one paying for them. LOL I wonder if it is a right of passage for middle-schoolers to have metal glued onto their teeth?

Sophia seems to have found her life's calling. She had so much fun flitting around the open bay of the dentist's office harassing all the hygienists. She made sure everyone was graced with her presence and tried out every single chair she could find. She tested the air hoses, adjusted the exam lights, and inspected Dr. Andy's work. They even gave her a small oral mirror so she could do oral exams on her brothers.
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As you can see, Matthew's fangs were in perfect condition this visit.

The only problem is, Sophia has been in the office twice, yet she still has not had a turn at seeing the dentist! Her appointment isn't until next week. She could not be more excited. I completely understand where she gets it from, it was two years ago, when Matthew was just a little older, that he cried because he was disappointed we had gone to the aquarium instead of the dentist. I can completely understand who she gets her excitement about the dentist from.... but what planet do they come from?

Feb 1, 2011

Adventures in solo parenting

Life has been hectic lately, to say the least. A couple weeks ago, my hardworking husband, Bobby, accepted a new assignment. Once again, he will be spending time in the middle east, this time in Afghanistan. Since the end of December, he's either been home on holiday time, paid time off, or paternity leave, save for a two week time where he was working 12 hour shifts without a day off. We don't know yet how soon he is leaving for sure, or if it will be 6 or 12 months, but we do know it is going to be a large adjustment for the both of us. Last time he went overseas we had 2 kids in school full time, one in pre-school 3 days a week, and a 6 month old. This time I will have 2 in school full time, one in school part time, and two home, a 2 1/2 year old and a 2 month old. I am confident we will be fine, but I am thinking of starting the youngest in preschool in the fall when she's 3. At that point I will have three in school full time, and one part time.

Honestly, I am most worried about the first 4 months, once the kids are out of school for the summer and we are on a more relaxed schedule I think time will start moving faster.