Saturday, October 31, 2009


This year Alina decided she wanted to be Tinkerbell. While I had planned out how to save money and make her costume, I did not count on my mother in law calling me up one day saying "hey K-Mart has their costumes half off! Can I buy one for Alina?" So why would I make one?!!?!

Here's a few photos of her trying on her costume pre-halloween (to make sure it fit)

I'll add photos later of her trick-or-treating and of Raziel's monkey costume!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thursday is still 3 days from Sunday

So today is Thursday. 3 more days till I'm off again. I talked to Sarah for a long time this morning about my life, I talked to Tamara alot last night about her life (her 9 year old decided to run away because 5 hours of school is too much apparently) and I have found some peices of things that seem to help.

I thought I was just a bad wife - I told that to Brent several times. I feel so many times like I should be a superhero; clean the house, keep the yard, raise kids, grow another one inside me, pay the bills, plan for Christmas, finish the film, be a good friend, pursue a relationship with God, all this and more without help or without complaining. After all, I'm a mom and a wife. I have alot of responsibility! Well that being said, I am coming to realise that maybe I shouldn't be able to do all of that. So, we're changing a few things around and hopefully things will be more manageable. Brent's picking the kids up after work so I don't drop them off and pick them up - and then they'll go and play some before I get home. We added baby gates in the house to help contain the messes - and that helps alot so far. The kids can't go into the non-nurshery parts of the house without a parent and they can't just string their toys everywhere and that helps too. It being winter I won't have to work so hard to keep up the yard, and I've almost got it in order now anyways. It needs mowed, but we've made progress in leaps and bounds.

Also, Brent and I talked about things in general. I've been way too stressed out lately. My co-worker stresses me out because he's old and chooses not to learn about computers and so I'm doing almost everything at work because "my eyes are younger" and "I'm prettier" so am a better salesperson and he even wants me to do the telemarketing because "i have a better phone voice" which I have flatly refused to do because he's not doing much of anything unless there are multiple people in at one time and I usually end up fixing his customers issues along with mine. I have a longer fuse because he claims irish blood and therefore has a bad temper (no excuse just what he says) and so I fix things when we have to call in for customers too. It's a very frusterating way to work. I don't mind doing things but I'm tired of doing everything and I'm very tired of telling him simple things like "read the whole email" and "check it for water damage." Honestly if it didn't affect my commissions I'd let him make mistakes but I have to correct his issues or else our store shared commission will decrease and my half will be less.

In addition to work stress, I of course, am frusterated that we're still catching up financially (in a manner of speaking) and that we're looking at another baby which equals more expenses as well as less income with my leave. And at the same time I want more kids maybe and Brent doesnt and no one's budging anywhere on that. Brent was very grateful that I took the effort to look at adoption... (average cost about $30,000 unless you foster-to-adopt and risk having the kids taken back from you after you've had them for a while which is something I definitly don't want to risk. If we adopt, we keep the kid (s). If we don't adopt, I'm not bringing them into my home.) but at the same time he just said "that means alot to me" and that was that. I spent 3 hours to have him say "that means alot to me." I took a love language test and I tied for words of affrimation and acts of service. That made sense to me because I feel loved when he tells me he appretiates something about as much as I feel loved when he does something for me. It upset me that he didn't really take time to appretiate what I spent time on yesterday when I had no interest in it.

Well I talked to Brent on his lunch and told him I'm tired of feeling sad and tired and stressed out and I thought that was why I wasn't really making alot of efforts to make him happy lately (apart from when we started fighting). I told him I didn't know why I feel so badly but that I do and I don't want it to be like this but I don't know what to do about it because I just can't handle anything else right now and a rocky point in our marriage should be priority #1 and I have a hard time worrying about it or anything else for that matter. He suggested that maybe I should get up in the mornings with him at 5:45 and do yoga while he works out. Maybe if I get up early and get those "happy endorphines" going that I will have a better day. Well, that makes sense if I can indeed drag myself out of bed at 6am.

So tomorrow, yoga at 6am it is, followed by breakfast and a shower before the kids wake up at 7am. Maybe all I need is some time to myself and to share with Brent every morning before I'm exhausted. I'll blog about how it goes.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


So today's a bit better than yesterday.

No screaming and fighting and being angry with Brent today (or last night). I backed down alot (I'm attempting very hard to be respectful of my God-given leader) and he's trying really hard to be more understanding. We still disagree about having more kids - but he did admit that he might feel different if he felt like he got a respectable amount of love and attention, and didn't feel like he had to fight the kids for it. Well, I guess I can understand that. So, I asked him for 3 things that I could do to help make him see that I love him. #1) kiss him more often, like I used to (as opposed to the current G rated peck) #2) wear nightgowns instead of pants and sweatshirst to bed (because I cuddle more when I do) and #3) spend some time with him and just him - dinner, movie, play video games, a walk, whatever. Those? I can handle. Those are simple tiny things that I can handle.

We've had alot of issues with the fact that we have two VERY different love languages. Brent is very physical - not (always) sexy stuff but like holding hands, cuddling, rubbing his back, etc. When he tries to express love to me he usually gives me presents - flowers, chocolate, a nice dinner. I'm very much a Quality Time person - talking about our days, talking about the kids, going to dinner as a family, looking at furniture or toys or books or anything together. When I try to express my love to him is usually in an act of service - clean the house, mow the lawn, clean his car, have dinner ready before he gets home. Well - you can see the problem. Obviously no one feels like they're getting attention or loved and both of us try very hard!! We know this about ourselves and we're alot better about it than we used to be, but it's still really hard because I go to show him how clean the house is and he doesn't appretiate it (well he does but not how I want him to) and he makes me dinner and I don't appretiate it like he wants me to - and everyone gets frusterated. This is a constant struggle for us and we just straight up forget what it is that our partner needs/wants in our effort to show them how much we love them. I'm seriously considering just making a big poster for our fridge that states his love language and my love language and things that will make us feel loved. I really am gonna do that today (LOL) and see how that helps.

It's so easy with the kids - Alina just comes up and says "Mommy I want to snuggle." Raziel wants to play with you. They're so matter-of-fact. I wish it wasn't so complicated to figure out Brent. I guess it's my own fault because I know what his love languages are and I'm still speaking a different language... Oh well, maybe this poster idea will help.

In the meantime, today I am researching on adoption. Brent has always expressed interest in adoption and I've never really been interested... but I want more kids maybe and Brent doesn't neccessarily but maybe if we were adopting he'd be more open to it. Adoption is very common in our church - there's 4 families with adopted kids... Craig (our pastor)& Susan adopted 2 kids from Bulgaria... Jason (worship leader)& Tiffany adopted a teenager from our area.... and Chelle and (I don't know his name come to think of it) adopted thier youngest from Korea. Brent's been exposed to it alot and exposed to mostly situations that worked out really well. So, today I am looking into it mostly to become more educated about it and see if it's even something we could consider in 5ish years or so. I don't know if we'd do it - or if we're called to do it or we want to do it or will do it so don't jump to conclusions, but what I do know is that I want to make Brent understand that I listen to him and his opinion matters. So, research I will. I'm interested. I'm going to post what I find out about it in a later blog.

Anyways, that's my life for the day and that's what's going on in my life.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Stressed Out

Today is not a good day.

Brent and I went on a date last night and ended up in a big fight and we didn't even eat our dinner, just packed it into boxes and took it home to have for lunch today. He and I are on totally different pages right now for alot of reasons - the most prominent is that I'm not sure I want this to be our last baby, and he is ready to be done having kids. The reason it even came up was because I went to my friend Tamara's house on Sunday and had lunch with her and hung out letting our kids play together (though hers are like 6,9 and 12 and my kids are almost 3 and 1). Tamara and I talk about all sorts of things and the topic of getting your tubes tied vs getting your husband to have the operation came up. It was nice to know someone else who understood I wasn't neccesarily wanting more than 3 kids but I wasn't ready to make that decision permanent. Brent and I always had said he'd just get the operation done so we wouldn't have to worry about it (because we're incredibly fertile and regular birth control doesn't seem to work well for us) but it apparently increases the chances of prostate cancer by a large percent and so I figured I'd chat with Brent casually about it... and it blew up into a big fight about how he wasn't getting to spend time with me (as a couple vs as a family) already and he was ready for this to be the last one so they could grow up and take care of eachother and play by themselves more often so we could actually have a relationship. Well, this shocked me because I thought we were doing well -- I've been so happy... I love being a mommy and having my family all together... and it's not that he doesn't love the kids he just misses having just me sometimes.

So of course that was a big fight and I didn't go to sleep until 3 am because I was so upset and then Alina woke up 3 times and wanted to snuggle so I went and laid in her bed for a while each time and then by the time I finally fell into a half state of sleep Brent's alarm went off because he opened today. So I didn't sleep. And I have a bad headache. And my stomach aches because I didn't eat well last night and my re-warmed shrimp was very greasy. And I'm frusterated because Brent thought he would get to work a split shift at work and someone didn't ever show up to work so he just had to open and will have to work late, so effectively he's not coming up here to have lunch with me. And, of course, today has been particularly frusterating because my co-worker lost someoene's phone and keeps asking me where it is (I don't know, and it's not my responsibility) and I've had stupid customers wanting stupid things and making stupid demands and I just don't have the patience for it and on top of it all I'm worried about how tonight will go and if Brent and I will fight more or if we'll be happy and just enjoy the night or what. And I'm pregnant, so I'm more needy and emotional and I just break out in tears every 30 minutes because of silly little things and I just can't find a way to relax. We even made a $200 comission this month (I didn't expect any) and I'm not ecstatic because I'm just stressed out and tired and can't get happy about much of anything.

On top of it all, I feel like I've been waiting on God forever. I am waiting to be released to minister, to put my gifts into action somewhere, something - anything - to be involved in my church. Right now I go every Sunday - without Brent because he can't get off - and participate but that's it. We're going to participate in a leadership training course in January but it's forever away. In the meantime I've been studying and asking questions of a woman I consider very mature - she's 73 after all - and kind of discipling under her. And, I asked her specifically about something I've been studying and how to incorperate that into my life and how to apply it and her answer was that I need to wait on God's timing. I feel like I've been waiting for my life to start for years and I know I'm only 22 but I can't help be frusterated that we're at a standstill on the film, we are in the most frusterating waiting point with this baby (not soon enough to count weeks, but far along enough to be uncomfortable and weepy), and we're at a standstill in our finances... at least we're not sliding backwards like we normally are (thanks to some close dear people for helping solidify us) but I'm so ready to be advancing and making progress and it's just not happening.

And all of this just makes me weepy-er and sadder and ready to lay down and feel sorry for myself but realistically when I get home I have dishes and a lawn to mow (but its raining again) and laundry to fold and a bathroom to clean and a sink to repair. I have been keeping on a worship cd in my car to remind me to focus on God in the midst of my frusterations and I just feel more lonely and more empty most of the time because God keeps saying "just wait on my timing" and I'm ready to be doing something - experiencing something, or growing into something new... anything to make life more enjoyable and more bareable.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lunch with an Almost-Stranger

Well I guess that's the best way to describe it, really.

I met Annette Webb a few weeks ago when she had problems with her phone. She came into my store and I fixed it for her. Then about two or three days ago she came into my store asking how to get files from her past phone records and I've been working out with subpeona compliance to get her records for court. Today she called me bright and early when I got into the office and asked if I wanted to do lunch. I was sort of caught off guard... sure, I've been nice and everything but didn't think she'd want to do lunch or be like my best friend or anything! So I told her I was really broke and she said she'd pay so I accepted because I really didn't want to be rude and she's nice enough anyway.

She came over just after 12 and we went to a local Mexican resturant and had Pollo Loco (basically mexi rice, chicken and cheese sauce. My ABSOLUTE favorite) and just chatted about her life, my life, and the crazy guy that's taking her to court. She moved here from Missouri and really doesn't know anyone besides crazy man that she used to have a relationship with (and doesn't anymore). So it was interesting... I can't remember the last time I've made friends anyone really that I totally didn't know or know anyone that knew them. It was definitly a new experience but I really enjoyed lunch and agreed that we should do it again sometime. I didn't expect to actually have alot of conversation that was of substance because she's in her 30-somethings and I'm like 22 but she was really talkative and I am too (LOL) and conversation just flowed.

So I've got the whole subpoena situation taken care of now, the files are on the way to the court and I'm no longer held to the situation. We'll see if I ever see her again. It's interesting, you know? I wonder if we'll ever be friends for real.

Now, I have crazy woman in here - her name is Karen. She's bi-polar or something, I'm not kidding either. She's begged, borrowed and stolen from Bob (my manager) and taken advantage of him at every chance she can. She has so many issues it's not funny. And today, she's back in here borrowing his phone to make some calls. She picked up 2 pregnant high schoolers down the side of the road and told them to get in. They asked to go somewhere they could buy drugs, then to go to the pawn shop to sell some jewlery. She wouldn't take them to either place. She took them to her house, fed them and gave them something to drink, and then brought them here - why? I'm not really sure. She came in here talking about picking them up and how they were pretty and she wasn't taking them to the pawn shop everything and this weird man that was in here paying his bill went outside, told them something (my guess is he'd take them wherever they wanted to go) and they got in his car and left. Since then, Karen's been in here hollering and fussing about how she can't do all that.

My work can be so complicated sometimes - and the problems are never really mine. It's only on rare occasions, but today is one of those days that's just stupid crazy.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Alina Slept!!

So I was so terrified to leave a space heater on all night - that's such a big fire hazard, you know? And of all places to have a fire hazard, my baby's room? NO WAY! So Brent suggested to let it run for a while and warm the room and then switch it to the fan function on the space heater. He said it was probably that she's used to the noise of her fan and now that we aren't using her fan she wakes up because of the lack of white noise.

So. I ran the heat for a while, crept in and switched it to the fan, and when I got up to give Raziel a bottle at 7am, switched it back to heat. She slept so well that I had to actually wake her up at 8:15 and tell her it was time to get ready to go. She smiled big and got up and got her little cup of Fruit Loops off her little table and climbed back in bed to eat them while she watched Raziel play. Both of them were in such good moods this morning!

Now I just need to figure out where my other 2 space heaters got put away and I can do the same in Raziel's room and our room... getting the rooms toasty so we don't all freeze! Brent and I have decided that Raziel doesn't seem to have the same fondness for the cold that Alina does. She has always been just like Brent in this way -- even when she was an itty bitty baby she didn't want socks on in the winter because she would get too hot and be really fussy because of it. Raziel, on the other hand, is like me. Cold? No thank you. I'd perfer warmth and no chill. His little hands get all bluish purple in the mornings - and he can't wait for us to pick him up and hold him. It's really funny because if he'd just keep his hands under the blanket, he'd be fine, but he pulls it up around him and holds the edges - much like I do and have since I was small.

Something I've noticed in the process of swapping from summer to winter clothes is the following. Raziel (13 months) is wearing 18mo clothes. Alina (34 months) is still wearing 2T/24mos - and some are too big. LOL I can't get over how big Raziel is compared to Alina. She is so itty bitty and he's getting bigger by the day! I pulled out his little halloween costume that was 9 months and I was so sure would fit him and it turns out it's really too small! He wore it last night (cuz its like a fuzzy footie pajama thing with a little hoodie and a little tail) and I hope it stretched out enough for him to wear it in 2 weeks because he's adorable in it. If it's really too little, I have Alina's 18mo monkey costume from last year and I know that will work.

The upside to this is that we started inheriting clothes when Alina was 18 months and so we have some boyish things that Raziel can wear - sweaters and jackets specifically. So they both have a light and heavy jacket as well as regular long sleeved clothes and footie pj's. I have to figure out what I'm gonna do with Raziel because now that it's winter he's peeing alot in his sleep again and everything (including jammies) are getting wet and therefore cold. I can't remember if I changed his diaper at 7 when I got a bottle... I know I did at 8:20 right before we left... but I don't really know what to do besides dry diaper when I put him down and then change all his clothes and sheets and blankets. But at this rate I'm washing his clothes every other day because he's only got 3 pairs of footie pj's!

That's life for now.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Frost on the Windows

This morning when I woke up it was cold!!! When I left? 38 degrees. That's right. 38. MAN that's cold. I didn't have to scrape the ice off my car because it was sitting in the sun and had melted partially so I was just able to swoosh it off with my windshield wipers. But, when I got to my office where the heat hadn't been on all weekend (to conserve energy) it was 55!! I wore my gloves for the first hour I was here and kicked on the heat to warm the place up until it got to about 72, which is more comfortable. It's crazy because last year on Halloween I wore a skirt and tank top - and wasn't that cold. This year they're talking about how its supposed to be colder... well I guess that's pretty darn acurate.

So I'm beginning to think Alina will NEVER sleep all night again. For the last week she's been waking up 2 or 3 times during the night. Last night Brent got up twice and I got up once - my turn was at 4am. I don't know exactly what's going on... She's fed, dressed warmly (it's cold in the house too) and she's got juice, her blanket and her doggy. But, she wakes up and cries/screams and freaks out. Last night I left the space heater going for an hour or so when she went to bed so that it was toasty in there and it was nippy when I went in at 4 so I turned the heater back on and she slept well from then on. I really don't like the thought of leaving the heaters going all night cause it's a fire hazard but it they're all cold like they were this morning, even in their footie PJ's and under their blankets, I might have to at least periodically turn them on throughout the night. I'm not sure how to do that without going into their rooms and risk waking them - which is not something I want to do at all. I'm considering a power strip in the hall and the space heaters right on their side of the doors so I can turn them on and off without going into the room... maybe... I don't know honestly.

Well it is nice though. I love sweaters and wraps and jackets and things - and it's nice to pull them and my fuzzy fleece PJ's back out. I will never be like Brent and my kids - running around in short sleeves and jeans in 60 degree weather and not noticing... At least they put on jackets when it hits 50. But, I am getting more and more accustomed to enjoying the cold. They say our first snow will be in November this year (its usually January)- I hope it does snow because they kids are going to love it!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Children's Murals & Paintings

Over at Kelly's Korner we're showing off what we make in our personal businesses (for mommys that want to go Christmas shopping early). I've been trying to really lift my business off its feet for a while and get it going - maybe this is just the boost it needs!

Creative Kids Murals
Basically we come into your home and have a consultation about what you'd like to do to your child's room. We supply all the paint and it usually takes about 8 hours to produce what you've requested - depending on how complex the request is.

This mural was done in a little girl's nurshery before she was born. The parents requested that it look specifically like a child drew it - hence the cartoonish feel. (I couldn't get far enough back to show her legs and the flowers and grass along the floorboard)

The sun is in the top right corner of the mural - you can just see the edges in the first photo.

Companion butterflies/dragonflies are painted in various spots throughout the nurshery to help combine the mural with the rest of the room.

Murals are available in Northern GA and Eastern TN. If you're kinda close to here, just email to find out more info and see if it would be possible to have one of your rooms transformed into a keepsake. Prices range from $75 to $200 and include all supplies and prep work needed on the room as well as the mural itself.

For those who don't happen to live in our area (which is most of you proabably) I also paint children's paintings. The photos shown below are great for the nurshery suggested to be purchased AFTER baby's birth or once they're a little bit older (in case your precious Lauren Grace turns out to be a boy!)

This is an 8x11 canvas. Price: $18 (free shipping)

Check out the details - the cute little polka dots and the nice texture to the background.

You can have your child's name, initials, or nickname handpainted on canvas to display proudly in his/her room. This is also great for family names, newlywed couples, and cute little sayings you'd like to display.

And - newly available - Send a photo of your child's favorite cartoon, book, or movie character and get an 18X16 portrait of the character! Character portraits: $35 (free shipping)

Mention this blog and recieve 20% off your first order!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Christmas is the Time!

Ok I know it's the 15th of October (thank God, we hit payday!) but lately all I'm thinking about is Christmas!! So today I have compiled a list of what we're planning to get for the kids. I would include what I'm getting Brent but he reads my blog from time to time and I don't want to give away anything!!
(Oh, BTW - the baby is moving around alot today! She's getting so big! I can feel her little feet kicking and little body wriggling around. I am so happy to be able to feel her so well. I am actually starting to feel pregnant! Which I hand't for a while because the most I remember about being pregnant is being like 7 or 8 months and watching the baby move around and stuff, so the first little bit is strange because I know mentally I'm pregnant but for some reason I don't think I am very often! LOL I'm so weird.)

So Alina's big present this year is one of these guys

All she's wanted lately is to play on the computer. Mommy's computer. Daddy's computer. Nene's computer. Anyone's computer. Problem being - a computer isn't really geared for an almost-3-year-old. So, we told her that we would get her a computer that was hers. She was so excited when we told her this - and it was about 3 weeks ago but she still asks about it. We tell her she will get it on Christmas and she asks if that's on Thursday (LOL). I love her concpet of time!

Also, I have painted (yes, freehand on a canvas) LarryBoy. I will upload a photo of the painting itself if I remember to, but this is the picture I copied from.

She saw it when I was letting it dry and got REALLY excited, she even showed Daddy as soon as he got home from work 2 hours later. Brent said I'm gonna have to get better about hiding things but seriously, it's October! She won't remember and even if she does she'll be excited anyway! I think I'm gonna paint another one - possibly dora or Ice Age or the Ninja Turtles.

I also found a learning set for Pre-K kids at my new favorite kids thrift store - it's got this card set but has 5 or 6 different things and includes crayons and stickers too. It's geared for kids 3 and up so I thought it would be great for Alina. I paid $6 for it.

Besides this, we're getting a few other learning things; Books, Coloring sheets, crayons, learning videos, and puzzles.

See the wooden ones in front on this pic? I want to get some like that. She's already got one similar to the one in the bottom right with the dog on it, but I want some like the others where there's more pieces and she has to fit them together a little bit, but not as much as box puzzles (shown behind).

The last thing we know we want to get for her is a season of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Brent and she netflixed the first disc of the first season and have LOVED it. I remember watching a few of the episodes on VHS when I was little but it was cool to see Alina enjoying them with Brent so much.


So Raziel is quite a bit harder because he's only starting to show favor to some toys and things over others. But, we've got a few ideas. (not nearly as many ideas as we do for Alina but it's a place to start anyway)

1. Big Ball

Raziel has started playing in Alina's room alot so I get out toys I think he'll enjoy from time to time. If you had Raziel a ball - big or little - he will just sit there and hold it happy as a clam. Brent's gotten him to kinda toss it back and forth a bit -- though Raziel really just holds it out to Brent and drops it because he can't figure out how to throw quite yet. So, I want to get him at least on big ball for Christmas because I think that'll be awesome. He needs some toys that are his and not Alina's. Not that she won't hand hers down but she still plays with them so its only fair.

2. Building Blocks
As long as I can remember, Raziel has had an obsession with boxes and blocks. He loves holding them and chewing on them. It's funny that Raziel holds the things he likes... almost like he's afraid to put it down or else he'll loose it. Anyway, I want to get him some blocks. Alina has one set that was given to her by David & Sarah last year that they like to play with together, but 10 blocks isn't enough for Raziel. He wants every box in sight! I want to get a wooden set like my mom had for us as kids but everything now-a-days is plastic or cardboard. I guess I'll be looking for a while... maybe ebay.

3. Tigger (or tiger)
I'm not sure exactly what tigger we're gonna get for him but I want to get him something tigger related. Alina has been Daddy's princess as long as we can remember, and Raziel is his little tiger. I might find some stuffed animal for him because he really likes the two that he has and Alina's not allowed to share. Speaking of, I'm totally going to go through Alina's stuffed animals and get rid of ones that aren't special and that she doesn't play with because she has a HUGE box of them... but the problem is ALOT of them are special gifts from people... so I won't be able to thin it out that much.

That's all for now.. I'm tired of typing and in need of chocolate. Much love you guys!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My Life Lately

Man things have been pretty dull which is why I haven't been blogging much. I did stumble across the coolest little thrift store ever -- It's mostly a kids thrift place but it's actually really inexpensive. I bought a brand new - with the manual and everything - carseat for Raziel for $20. She had bassonets for like $25, pack and plays for $35, full stroller sets (stroller, base and carseat) for $70 and so on and so forth. I think I'll be shopping here alot. She also had a bunch of toys and clothes that were very reasonably priced. Even Leapfrogs and Vtechs for like $8. I told Brent we'll be Christmas shopping over there. I was pretty excited to find this place before baby 3 comes.

Speaking of - I am still trying to get over to a clinic and take an offical test so that they decide I'm pregnant and thereby get Medicaid. As soon as that happens, I can get in to the OBGYN and find out due date and baby gender and so on. She's already moving around a little bit.. which its weird because I was pretty darn sure I wasn't that far along but man... I'm guessing I'm at 20 weeks since that's usually when you can feel the baby move... that would be approx 4 1/2 months. Only thing is that Brent can feel her too... so we might be further than that... most moms report their partners can't feel baby until 24ish weeks. I'm starting to show a little bit too. Jeans aren't uncomfy yet but dress pants are for sure... and that goes along with the 24 week bet since I'm not overweight and it's not my first baby. But then that means I'm halfway through my pregnancy?? I guess I've known since like August so I've known for 3 months... and if I was 2 months when I found out... Gosh, it just seems so fast and too soon. But then if I remember right the date of my last cycle was mid June so I'd only be 15 weeks.... and due in March.... I just don't know lol I give up guessing.

Well on another note, I have 40 hours of paid time off to use in the next 2 and a half months. I'm taking 3 Fridays in November off -- the weekends I'd already have off so basically I'll have off Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday 3 times in November. I'm also taking off Christmas Eve and New Years Eve (Christmas and New Years Day are regular holidays). I'm really excited about it. Brent wanted me to just take a week off but he wouldn't have time off to spend with me, so I'm just taking 3 4 day weekends and it's almost like having 3 weeks off!! I'm hoping that mom/family comes to visit one of those weekends so that I can hang with them some - I can't go to SC because Brent doesn't have time off like I do... Mine is reset every January, his isn't reset until August, so he only has 20 vacation hours. He isn't paid for personal days off like I am so... he has to work. But I think I'll talk someone into coming to visit so I'm not bored out of my mind. I don't know what I'll do all November with all that extra time off! It's a strange thing to actually be allowed to have time off during the holiday season.

Well anyways. That's about all from me for now. I'm tired of writing lol.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Car Parts and Customer "Care"

Update on the car situation:

It's not the transmission!! It's not the Fuel Pump!!
Its a $5 hose with a hole in it. LOL. It amazes me that a $5 part resolves an issue that acts like a "buy a new car" problem. The hose has to get ordered so in the meantime, Brent is just taping over the hole. LOL. 25 cent fix-it. This is awesome because it means that we won't have to spend all that money on the car and not get everything done. In fact, Brent says we probably won't spend the whole $400. EXCELLENT!

My thoughts today are on Customer "Care"

Yes. it's in quotes on purpose because I'm pretty sure they don't care (go figure), because they sure don't act like it! This has been my experience over the last days.

Direct TV
These yahoos came into my store to install our cable and our TV. They were instructed by our owner to install 2 boxes and mount our TV and leave the other box unhooked until we got our 2nd TV in. Well, they installed the 2 boxes where he wanted it and made a big mess in the meantime (because they drilled holes in teh ceiling and so on to get it hooked up. Not only did they not mount the TV on the wall (they "don't do that") but they also left all the trash and such on the floor and left the TV hooked up -- get this -- on my floor. They didn't sweep. They didn't take out their own trash. They just left. Is this customer care? I don't think so. You would think with the 6 guys they had on the job that they could at least pick up after themselves, even if they don't mount the TV but they didn't do any of that. It was so frusterating to stop my normal work - phone calls, repairs, sales, etc -- to clean up their mess!!

Yes, again, I will rag on my morgatge company being so stupid. Let me explain this - it's really not that complicated (they seem to think it is). In April, Brent and I missed a house payment compleatly. In June, I paid one month, in July I paid 2 months thus catching me up. Since then, (August through October) I have been paying my morgatge at the end of the month - it's due on the 1st, late on the 15th and I pay on the 30th. I know that it's still late, but I can't pay it any earlier. In November or so I'll make another double payment so that my 30th check can go towards the morgatge due the next month (ie pay January with Dec 30th check). I can't afford to do that quite yet, though.

The 7th of every month a rep calls me to see when my payment will be made for that month (becuase it's due the 1st, even though it isn't late yet at that point). I talk to the rep on the 7th, explain the reason I pay when I do, what day it will be paid, the amount, and the method of payment. This is fine with me - they're doing their job. I'm late. I understand. What bothers me is when I recieve MORE phone calls. For the next 3 weeks I get called sometimes as much as 5 times a day for all this info to be entered into their computer. I don't know if these idiots can't press save or what the deal is but I'm getting harrased by my morgatge company when I'm making my regular payments!!! I have talked to supervisors. I have called in to complain. It doesn't matter -- I still get phone calls. Every one that I talk to I complain to and explain that I've had this conversation with at least 4 or 5 other reps in the last few days and have carried a full conversation on with them, haven't yelled or hung up on them, or anything, and I'm still STILL getting phone calls.

I have come to the conclusion that I'm just not answering the phone. It's on the records (God only knows how many times) that I'll pay the bill on the 30th. In November or so, I'll start paying early and then they can't harrass me anymore. Nothing I can do will change them calling me - I've decided that. And it's not that I mind them calling me on the 7th if I haven't paid it yet - that's fine. It's the following 6000000 calls I recieve in the 23 days between the 7th and the 30th. Go Chase. Way to care about your customers.

Well, those are my rants and raves for the day.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Good & Bad

Today has been full of good and bad things

My boss is loaning us $400 to fix our Neon. Brent worked on the transmission on Friday and it's not the problem (THANK GOD!) but did deduce that we need a new fuel pump ($205), a new oil pan ($90) and a new set of spark plug wires ($85) in addition to the new tires it has been screaming for. Well, $400 may not cover it all but it's a start. We decided we'll buy used tires with some decent life left in them, or else a low end new tire. He wanted to get the long-life ones but they're $100 a tire and that's all the money we have. A used tire will cost around $35, and that's going to be our only option for now. We also need an alignment ($60) and someone to look at our suspension (cost unknown). Well, $400 might not cover it all but it's a start for sure and, next paycheck we already had $100 set aside for car repairs so there ya go. It's so stressful to spend that much on the car but at least it's not the transmission!!

I woke up at 9:00 and it was one of those mornings that you go "CRAP" the second you wake up. I realised I was supposed to be at work (30 minute drive) at 9 to open instead of 10. This only happens once every two weeks so my boss wasn't too upset about it, in fact he defended me to my co-worker (who didn't have a key but does now!) and said I usually come in at ten. I love working for a little family business!! It was a "I'm wearing the same thing I've got on, give me my uniform shirt and socks I'm out the door" kind of day.

That's really all for now. We were pretty busy at work so I just have to go finish up and then go home for the night!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Preggers with #3 and full of advice!

Well it's that time again at Kelly's Korner to Show us your life! I haven't been playing for a few weeks because I didn't feel like taking photos of recipes. But, I couldn't resist this week to give advice to other mommies - specifically newbies.

Do's and Don'ts of the Baby-Purchase-World

DO --
1) Front pack or sling
-- This one, you won't use as much until #2. My mom gave me one she'd made when we were kids and I didn't use it much with #1 but when #2 came along, I realized the world of multiple kids. Raziel would just chill in the frontpack and I was free (with both hands) to clean, cook, run around and do anything really. I did find, though, that these guys come in handy with newborns. You know, you'll go to the store and every grandma or anyone really will want to look at and (gasp) touch your newborn. Mommy-panic sets in. Did they wash their hands? Do they have the flu? They just breathed (BREATHED!!!!) on my baby!! OMG~ The wonderful thing about a sling or frontpack is baby is pressed right up against you and strangers are less likely to get in baby's face because that happens to be your personal boobie space - which people are aware of - and if they aren't, you don't seem so freaking weird telling them to give baby some space.

2) 2nd base / carseat
Hubby and I didn't do this till #1 got to a forward facing, and then we just used the bases in each car for #2. Problem: One person drops off kids at daycare/grandmas/etc, other person picks them up. The number of times I forgot to take the carseat out of my car and put it back in his was stupid and we're just now getting to where we have carseats in each car for each baby. It makes life SOO much easier.

3)Double Stroller
If this is your second kid, INVEST~ I got one on craigslist for free because the lady didn't need hers anymore. It's not top-of-the-line but let me tell you, 2 kids in one stroller is so much better than 2 kids in 2 strollers.

4) Boppy
First baby? INVEST (my new fav word lol) your arms are going to KILL you at the hospital. Baby's only 7lbs? sure. you wouldn't think it's gonna be that bad. If you don't use a boppy, even using pillows at the hospital doesn't really do the job. Your arms will get so tired because all that baby does for like 3 days is EAT and sleep. And, you'll want alot of that to be done in your arms. And, your arms will get tired and be VERY sore. It wasn't as bad with baby #2 for me because I adjusted and just laid him on the bed next to me and laid on my side. But, especially for the first child, or any hard labor, this isn't so do-able.

5) Pack and Play
Most perfect thing ever, I used it from newborn status and I am still using it with my almost 3 year old. This is something you CAN'T afford to skip.

6) Diaper Genie
If it's your 2nd you'll need it if the 1st is still in diapers. It's too much to keep up with. Don't worry about it, it seals that stinky smell and your kid wont get into it. I didn't use one with #1 but did (and I'm glad) when #2 came when #1 was only 18 months

7) Premie Clothes
So unless your kid is a 10-15lb chunker, newborns will be too big at birth. My kids were both full term, and they both weighed 7.5-8.5lbs but niether fit newborn clothes. Go ahead and grab maybe 4 or 5 (at the most) premie outfits for baby to wear in week 1 and 2.


1) Buying a Basinett
Now, I'm not saying you won't use it. That's silly. Fact is baby will use it for 3 months MAX and most kids actually become co-sleepers. Pack&Play's mostly include a basinett insert, or else BORROW one because there's really no point in spending $75+ on something your kid will hardly use. Call me redneck but I used an oversized laundry basket. Don't get me wrong, I had a hard pillow and lined it with a baby-themed fabric and you totally couldn't tell what it was.

2) Brand New Baby Clothes
What? 2nd hand? GASP. Your baby WON'T KNOW the difference LOL. Look, realistically, there are plenty of places to buy gently used baby clothing. Yes, splurge on a few fun items. Don't go all out and buy brand new everything - baby outgrows things way too fast. And, keep in mind. While $30 might be justifyable for a mommy purchase, it isn't for a baby clothing purchase. That's a lot of money to be pooped on, spit up on, and drooled on. Want something adorable in the window at Gymboree? Oh yes, that is what Grandmothers are for :-)

3) Mobile
My kids didn't even notice their adorable Noah's ark one, and once they were 6 months it was torn down out of curiosity and eaten anyway.

and just some good old motherly advice for new mommies.

A few do-it's;
1) Prep meals weeks in advance before baby comes. Include things like snacks and easy stuff. Load up on things that take 10 minutes to have ready and on things that are already prepped (baby carrots, raisens, etc) because you WON'T have time to cook, or even really feel like it, for about 2 weeks at best
2) Pre launder and sort baby clothes
Don't convince yourself you'll find time later. Becuase you won't.
3) Take time away
You and hubby need time away from life before baby. Take a weekend. Don't go anywhere, but don't do chores or cook or visit anyone. Just hang out and spend time together. Also, after baby arrives, make it an early habit (as early as 1 or 2 weeks old) to take trips to the store with hubby without baby. It'll be hard to tear yourself away for a 20 minute trip, but DO IT. Let's be real ladies, you aren't going to be much in the romance department considering you're producing milk like a cow and feel like you just delieved one for at least 6 weeks. Take some time to just spend you and hubby time becuase he'll feel a bit left out. Most relatives don't realize hubby is working as hard as or harder than you. He didn't get a maternity leave. He takes shifts with baby too. And, mostly, the relatives say "oh look, sweet baby" and "good job, mommy." Take time to tell hubby "good job" often. He'll need it.
4) If help is offered, TAKE IT.
There's nothing that will burn you out faster than doing it all on your own. And, there's nothing that will frusterate you more than all the people offering to help off the bat that dissapeer when baby has colic 4 weeks later. Take it when its offered. Tell them to do laundry or feed baby a bottle or something and take a shower or a walk. Let them make dinner.

Don't do it

1) Road Trips
Don't take your baby for a road trip until they're at least 3 months old. It's ALOT of work and will take 2x as long because of stops for nursing, diaperchanging, your food, your peeing, etc. and, there's not much you can do when baby just gets grumpy unless you plan to stop every time that happens. You may as well stay home and tell the relatives to come see baby for themselves.

2) Entertain guests
If family comes, GREAT. Tell them they can cook and clean and do housework and change diapers, but you're getting your baby time in and they'll have to take turns. Don't feel like you have to get up and do the housework and let them play with baby. This is the time to assert yourself and tell guests they may visit if they help out but that consists of more than holding baby until he/she cries.

3) Make Plans
Just accept that nothing will go how its planned for a month or two, and things will go alot more smoothly.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ladies & Gentlemen, You've been ripped off!

That's right! You've been ripped off! Absolutely!

Today I have been reflecting at the stupid things we pay extra for regularly. In light of budgeting and paying bills (because its payday, and that's what i do on payday), I've been realizing what all is being charged and paid because... well, because we're stupid people and we don't realize there are options! I've made a list of top offenders!

#1) Chase (or your morgatge company)
Well, we all know that they get away with thousands if you take the whole 30 years to pay off your home. You agreed to that when you bought the place. But, they also will charge countless other "fees" if you aren't careful. $26 a month goes down the drain if you pay your morgatge late. Another $20 down the drain if you call in a telephone payment. I just found out today that if you pay your bill online, it's FREE!!! I'd been spending an extra $20 a month to pay my bill on time (better than the late fee) and have realized that -- what do you know, I've been ripped off.

#2) Victoria's Secret Credit Card
Besides the crazy high interest rates on their credit cards, these lovely folks don't notify you if you still owe them money. I went for 6 months without paying a bill because I thought I'd paid it off in full. Apparenly there was an $100 remaining balace. I was recently contacted by a collection agency when they finally decided to do something about it and they state that I owe over $400!!! And, if that's not bad enough, the reps I spoke with wanted me to arrange calling in payments every month to make sure it was getting taken care of. It's a $10 fee (on a $30 payment) to call it in. I had to tell them they were out of their minds and I wasn't doing that and they could take me to court if that was the only way to pay before they mentioned I could mail in a payment at any time with no fee charged. I wonder how many folks are paying that extra $10 a month.

#3) Foodlion
My mother in law always shops at the Foodlion near our house. She complains that Walmart is too much of a headache. I always did the same - until we got our discount at Walmart (its only 10% and doesn't work on food except produce so it's not much.) I've come to realize in retrospect how much money I wasted by shopping at Food Lion. I realize the same kind of thing the times I've gone to Piggly Wiggly in Charleston. At FoodLion, a can of Hunts Spagetti sauce is $1.29. Walmart? 89 cents. (I just found out there is no cents sign button on my keyboard!) Velveeta Mac & Cheese at Foodlion is usually on sale - the best price being 3/$5 ($1.67 per box). Walmart? $1.50 - always. Diapers (a box of 80), the offbrand kind at Foodlion cost $18.99. At Walmart, you can buy Luvs for $16.99 or Parents Choice for $14.99 and get closer to 115 diapers. Total savings at Walmart? Unimaginable! I know Walmart's a headache but if we're talking about saving $4.47 on just 3 items, how much more will it be when you do your weekly shopping?

#4) Movies

When I was a young teenager, I remember paying $4.75 for a movie ticket, $4.25 for a matinee. My parents talk about paying like a quarter or something, and that's times of old :-) In just the course of a few years (about 6 or 7) the normal ticket price has risen to $8.00 and a matinee is $7.25 if offered. I paid a whopping $12 per ticket to take my daughter to see Ice Age 3 in 3-D. We've been ripped off.

#5) Allstate

I used to pay $115 a month for car insurance on one car. I switched to Direct Car Insurance and have a very similar policy for 2 cars and pay $75 a month. I have the same driving record as I used to have, and I drive the newer vehicles! What a difference! $40 and a whole extra car a month! I don't know why some people carry things like Allstate -- they're just overpriced.

#6) Daycares
When I had to go back to work after having Raziel, and we starting looking for a sitter (because Becca had Kidney Failure and couldn't watch them anymore) I called a few daycares because I couldn't find any friends to do it. Daycare prices ranged, but the average prices was $100 for Alina, $150 for Raziel, and they offered a "sibling discount" which took $25 off Raziel's price. Total? $225/ week for child care and late fees if I had to work late (usually like $1/minute/child). I looked on Craigslist and found Beverly Salhany who runs a home day-care and watches our little ones for $85 a week - regardless of the # of days, be it 3 or 6, and regardless of how late. It sucks once in a while if I only have them over there for 2 days because I still pay $85 - but daycares are the same way. I was looking at paying an extra $140 a week (a week!!!) to have someone watch my kids. If I hadn't found Beverly, my husband or myself would have quit our job to stay at home and we wouldn't be getting out of debt right now!!

#7) taco bell
This one is remarkable. A small drink at Taco Bell costs $1.19. A chicken quesadilla is $2.29. A Soft Taco is 99 cents. A chicken quesadilla combo with a drink and a soft taco? $4.49. What? You're paying an extra 3 cents to get the combo? And, most people get a large drink -- that's $1.79. Did you know you can go over to Dollar General and buy a 6 pack of canned soda for $1.50? Want to save eating out? Don't get the drink there!

#8) Sprint Bill Pay

This astonishes me regularly. People want to pay cash in our store. We aren't corporate and we charge a $3 fee -- or if you pay at Radio Shak its $5 -- JUST TO PAY YOUR BILL!!! That's an extra $3-$5 per month -- or more if you make multiple payments on your bill! Did you know -- its free to call it in! it's free to mail it in! it's free to pay it online! Why? ITS A BILL! It shouldn't cost to pay!

#9) Banks
Ahh. good old Suntrust. My lovely bank. They charge you $4 every time (after the 2nd time) you take money out of your savings account at a branch. They charge you $36 if you overdraft (normal, and crazy.) They charge you $10 to move money from your savings to your checking to prevent overdraft. And, of course, throw in the $4 "too many times" fee and you're paying $14 because your checking account was in the hole but you had money to back it up. How does that even make sense? FACT: Move your money around online and it's fee FREE.

#10) Email
I've spoken to several people lately that PAY for their email service! Yahoo is $20 a year if you want to forward it to many kinds of PDA phones. AOL and others still charge their monthly rates if you're dumb enough to pay. GMAIL, HOTMAIL, etc? STILL FREE. Why would you pay for this? even $20 a year? yeah. they're just ripping you off.

Leave a comment! Who has ripped you off for silly things?