Monday, December 29, 2008

i really need to start going to bed sooner

but its hard when you get inspired!

i'm feeling like i'm starting to really get revved up on ideas for the new year!

i've been working on my new mommy newsletter for mommy chats...i'm planning on sending it out on jan 1. i've never done anything like it before...i'm including lots of content such as recommended blogs and links and books and music and such. things that i think other mommies might like to read. no articles though...i don't have time to write them and usually don't have time to read any either, so i'm going short and sweet. although some of my reviews are getting longer than anticipated, LOL! but its getting really fun! and i'm going to do this every month. use it as a way to sell some more advertising and drum up more interest in mommy chats...draw attention to chats as i add them, and just share some great info with moms out there. :)

the web is quite overwhelming...its hard to dig through all the crap out there. i just thought it might be nice to give a slice of the best that i've found and see if anyone else might like it too. :)

anyway, i'm just feeling fired up about it and its got my brain going a million miles a minute about all sorts of other things as well. but i need to stop that now and go to bed! i can think more in the morning! i swear thinking is like a goddamned drug to me! it fires me up like nothing else can! (except maybe my husband, hehe)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

my son's plans for tomorrow

tyren just told daddy, while they were working on brushing his teeth:

"tomowow, i dunna put sugar (pronounced with an S sound, not a SH sound) in a tup (cup) and eat it yike yunch. (like lunch)"

ah the plans of a 3yr old, LOL!

its here! its here!!

space station arrived today. 2 days AFTER xmas. never did hear back from the company after my last particularly pissy email. as far as he was concerned, he didn't know if my 3yr old had anything to open on xmas or not! nor did he (obviously) care! well he did have something to open, because i shuffled some gifts around. and a super loving, CARING individual paypal'd tyren some xmas money!! the sweetest, kindest gesture ever! god i love xmas! :) tis the season!

here's tyr with his new toy today!

Friday, December 26, 2008

the "real" xmas

i just realized i talked about the stress of xmas, the prep and the roof caving in...but didn't really detail how our actual family time went...

so here goes...

let's see...normally we do xmas eve at adam's dad's house (his parents are divorced), and then to church with my family....then xmas day usually is here at our home for the morning, then off to my parents for a few hours then off to his sister's or mom's house to celebrate the rest with the majority of his family (where all his siblings and families usually are).

BUT...this year was different.

this year, his dad recently broke up with his girlfriend and moved (fairly recently), and didn't have us over because he has a tiny little place now. (usually his dad and girlfriend, our 4, and adam's sister and her 3 kids and husband, so its not a tiny gathering...not enough room, even without the girlfriend). so that was one less place to have to go because instead, fred (adam's dad) came to his daughter (alisa, adam's sister)'s house. alisa decided it would work best to do the whole family thing (adam's side) at her place on xmas eve, because her husband's daughter (alisa's stepdaughter) was only there on xmas eve day, til 8pm. so we went to alisa's for xmas eve...made it there sometime after 5pm. (we were really late because of a bunch of things...including adam having to work later than planned, and my homemade gifts taking longer than planned, our son being impossible to get moving, tantrums galore, and...the roof caving in at just the right moment....ahhh, xmas!) canceled church with my family at the last minute...i explained it in that same roof caving in post....so we were at alisa's for like 3hours or so. opened lots of gifts and had a wonderful time! lots of joy and love and happiness abounded! let's see how many people were there?
adam, me, tyren, maeven, andrew (adam's younger brother/my kids' uncle), ian (andrew's son/my kids' cousin), jack (andrew's son/my kids' cousin), kat (jack's mom/andrew's girlfriend), alisa (adam's sister/my kids' aunt), rob (alisa's husband/my kids' uncle), maddy (rob's daughter/my kids' step cousin), mando/monique/amanda (alisa's 3 kids/my kids' cousins), eloise (adam's mom/my kids' gramma), fred (adam's dad/my kids' grampa), then all of rob's family...don't know any of their names but i know his dad and mom and his dad's wife and his brother and sister and brother's girlfriend were all there....and i may have missed some people...have to check the pics later when adam gives them to me to upload to my computer (i keep buggin him about it and he's not given them to me yet!)

then home again...kids sleepy but of course tyr didn't actually fall asleep in the car as i had hoped. luckily there were cookies to snag at auntie's house, so i didn't have to stay up late to bake cookies for santa...because i was already up LATE for other reasons, as you'll see...

maeven got her letter to santa and tyren's letter to santa ready with the milk and cookies...set on a tray near the tree...quickly into her pjs and off to bed where she read us the story "twas the night before christmas" entirely herself with NO help! she's quite the reader now! she didn't even stumble! (can you say "proud mama"!!) lots of interruptions from tyren, but still a special moment and adam got it on video...which i'll have to ask him for that video later too....have him edit me a short version of it.

then off to bed...well, maeven...and tyren continued to drive me NUTS since he was WIRED until he FINALLY fell asleep at 12:30AM!!!! oh i was PISSED, lemme tell ya! i had still ALL my wrapping and stocking stuffing and such to do and that darn child WOULDN'T GO TO SLEEP!! but finally he did. oh and i put out the kids' shoes with dry oats (oatmeal) and carrots, for the reindeers...because maeven asked me to cuz she needed to get to bed...took pictures of it too! just don't have those pics yet. but here's the after pics:

those reindeer are always QUITE messy! :)
plus it got quite windy on xmas day! hence, the leaves.

so then after i got tyren off to bed, i was FINALLY able to get all MY work done (couldn't do any of it while tyr was still up! and adam kept falling asleep on the couch, so i couldn't just disappear in the office to wrap gifts, cuz he wasn't supervising the munchkin who always needs serious supervision cuz he gets into EVERYTHING!) so i think i was finally in bed after like 1:30am or something like that...and it rained hard all night! so that really was a nice sound to sleep to! :)

woke up xmas morning to maeven...not til like 8:30am...my kids just don't wake up early for nuthin, i tell ya! LOL! just read a blog where the kids woke them up at 5am...i cannot even imagine either of my kids being alive at that time!! LOL! and tyren had to be woken up! he fought it too!! we kept telling him that santa had come but he was like "noooo, i hate christmas!!!" LOL! that's his word for everything he doesn't feel like doing these days...he will "hate" it, or its "stupid". he kept telling us that nana and bompa's house was "stupid" and he "hated" gifts...because he didn't want to go. same thing for auntie alisa's house. ah, such fun. he got over it, thankfully. he usually does eventually. he's just stubborn these days when he doesn't want to do something...and he doesn't want to leave the house these days, even for christmas gifts!

anyway....did the stocking and gifts here at the house...kids were happy, mommy and daddy were happy...we had a nice time...and then we got a little food in the kids and i started working on finishing presents for MY family (which i hadn't had a time to work on the day before because i was so busy working on adam's family's)...spent HOURS finishing those up...then rushed to get ready and everything wrapped and packed and out the door...were supposed to be to my parents by 2, made it there closer to 3 i think...still not too bad. spent the rest of the afternoon, into the evening there. i think it was around 8 or so when we left.

nice time with my parents and brother...and i DO have some pics of that time (cuz it was still on the camera, and i was able to download those myself! the others are already on adam's computer and he has to burn a disk for me to get those)...

here's a few...

opening presents

playing on the stairs (while watching a movie my bro projected onto the living room wall...hence, what my kids were looking at in that second pic.)

blowing bubbles (hey! i didn't even realize he got these!!)

working hard at adding antivirus/spyware programs to my dad's laptop...no really, that's what we were doing!! or maybe that was when i was showing tim my online photo album...something like that...LOL

we had a really nice time!! ate salami and cheese and crackers and just chilled the rest of the day away. very nice. :)

it was a good christmas, overall! and today we got up and busted butt cleaning our house! woohoo! got a good start on taking down the mess!! more tomorrow!!

digital photo printing

today i'm doing some serious research on the cost of printing my digital prints. i know i spent WAY more than i needed to, to print it myself (and just a lot of work!)...so i'm going to do some research right now and put it all here, for future reference, and in case anyone else is interested...ok so here goes...i'll calculate 100, 4X6 prints at all the places i check into, to get a good comparison...

shutterfly
free, unlimited photo storage
cost per print=.15 (.10 if you prepay)
shipping per print=.05 ($4.99, 76 - 100 prints, shipping goes up for less pics, down for more)
total cost per print: .20

snapfish
free, unlimited photo storage
cost per print=.09 (.08 if you prepay)
shipping per print=.05 (6-195 prints, .49 per 10, price goes down for more prints)
total cost per print=.14

walgreens
free, unlimited photo storage
cost per print=.12 (for shipped photos, .19 for in-store pickup)
shipping per print=.06
total cost per print=.18

walmart
cost per print=.09 (home delivery, more for in-store and 1hr)
shipping per print=.14 (approx...15% of total)
total cost per print=.23

wow! i had thought that walmart was much cheaper...but it appears now that snapfish is!! that's cool! i liked snapfish. i bought a photo book of maeven's first year of life there awhile ago. meant to do one for each year of her life, but never got around to it. maybe i'll look into that next. :) those photo books are really nice!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

xmas part 2

here's the rest of our 2008 xmas story...copied/pasted from an IM conversation i had today with my friend beckie...i'm sunflowermom30...i didn't feel like typing it all again, LOL!!....
_______________________________________________
[22:15] sunflowermom30: hey, well, ummmm...our ceiling fell down in the big room yesterday, LOL!
[22:15] beckie_s: OH NO!!
[22:15] beckie_s: from the rain??
[22:15] sunflowermom30: i'll match your stress and raise you, LOL!!!
[22:15] sunflowermom30: no, we have no idea why
[22:16] beckie_s: scary!
[22:16] sunflowermom30: it happened right at the most stressful time...we were freaking out about getting ready to go to inlaws...i was desperately trying to finish up the homemade gifts and tyren was freaking out about not wanting to go anywhere
[22:16] beckie_s: at least no one was in there, I am guessing
[22:16] sunflowermom30: i was preparing for getting into a huge fight with him
[22:16] sunflowermom30: i've had to literally wrestle him into clothes and into his carseat lately
[22:16] sunflowermom30: seriously fight him
[22:17] sunflowermom30: and adam was pissed at me for arranging to go to church with my parents
[22:17] sunflowermom30: cuz he said i was shortchanging his time with HIS family...
[22:17] sunflowermom30: ay yi yi!!!!!!!
[22:17] sunflowermom30: then in the middle of all the yelling and screaming and crying and stressing...
[22:17] beckie_s: :(
[22:17] sunflowermom30: boom boom BOOOOM
[22:17] sunflowermom30: what the hell was that???
[22:17] sunflowermom30: thought the cat knocked something over
[22:17] sunflowermom30: looked in the big room but didn't see anything (looked in the wrong area)
[22:18] sunflowermom30: then 5min later
[22:18] sunflowermom30: BOOOOOOOOOOM
[22:18] sunflowermom30: CRASH
[22:18] beckie_s: :-O
[22:18] sunflowermom30: THAT time i knew it was in there and i looked when the light fixture was still swinging from the ceiling
[22:18] sunflowermom30: and saw all the insulation and drywall in adam's new office in a pile on the floor
[22:18] sunflowermom30: well like half his ceiling in there
[22:18] sunflowermom30: yeah very dramatic
[22:19] sunflowermom30: and OH MY GOD where are the cats????
[22:19] sunflowermom30: did the cats do this? did those fat things jump up there and collapse it?
[22:19] sunflowermom30: no, we found the cats , those fat things, sleeping soundly elsewhere
[22:19] sunflowermom30: and no water, or moisture in the stuff
[22:19] sunflowermom30: so NO idea why it collapsed
[22:19] beckie_s: wow
[22:20] sunflowermom30: but yeah, thank god it happened when the room wasn't finished...and adam's equipment wasn't underneath!!!!
[22:20] beckie_s: right!
[22:20] beckie_s: that would have been really bad
[22:20] sunflowermom30: yup
[22:20] sunflowermom30: but you know what???
[22:20] beckie_s: what?
[22:20] sunflowermom30: it actually made the whole day better!
[22:20] beckie_s: Nice!
[22:21] sunflowermom30: because i immediately saw that as the straw that broke the camel's back and called my parents and canceled church
[22:21] sunflowermom30: i knew that there was no way we were going to have much of any visit with his family cuz we were running late already and to have to jam out of there to go to church...adam would have been stewing on that for years probably...me gypping him of his xmas with his family
[22:21] beckie_s: made things less stressful?
[22:22] sunflowermom30: yeah my parents weren't happy but i finally got that i needed to cancel church and was given a good reason to bail because it was just the last straw of a string of stress
[22:22] beckie_s: that's good
[22:22] sunflowermom30: and i told my dad i needed to cancel because we just couldn't do one more thing that night and adam and i had already been fighting about it for days
[22:23] sunflowermom30: so it was so cool....he immediately perked up
[22:23] sunflowermom30: mood lifted
[22:23] sunflowermom30: he was all sweet and happy again
[22:23] beckie_s: yay!!
[22:23] sunflowermom30: and the room...well, we'll figure it out tomorrow
[22:23] beckie_s: it will still be there
[22:23] beckie_s: and as long as you aren't leaking or anything, you're good ;)
[22:23] sunflowermom30: yeah i guess it takes awhile for me to "get" what i need to do for my husband sometimes
[22:23] sunflowermom30: yeah so far it doesn't appear to be any leaking
[22:23] sunflowermom30: not only that but tyren also perked up
[22:24] sunflowermom30: and by the time we were finally able to get going...he was happy to go!
[22:24] sunflowermom30: and had a blast all night!
[22:24] beckie_s: YAY!!
[22:24] sunflowermom30: yup, it was a good xmas

made it through another xmas!

and had a good time! i just hate all the stress surrounding this holiday. all the money stress leading up to it and all the stress over getting gifts and for me, this year, all the stress of finishing planned homemade gifts!

this always happens...i always think things are going to take less time then they actually take. *sigh*

from the time i got up yesterday morning...i worked on the homemade gifts...amid children fighting and me freaking on them to PLEASE stop fighting so Mommy can get all these projects done by the time Daddy gets home from work (which was supposed to be sometime after noon)...maeven spread her projects out over more time (she has been busy making up her own things for people for literally WEEKS! wrapping them all and carefully putting them all on her dresser...she was SO grown up about the whole thing!! and SOOOO proud!!! and i was proud of HER!) but the photo gifts i had to do most of the work for and i procrastinated...it was really that i was having a really hard figuring out exactly how to do it. i procrastinated getting the photos to walmart...which would have been cheaper then printing them myself, which i ended up doing (printing them myself). but really, it ended up that i really couldn't have picked the photos and the sizes ahead of time. it was all trial and error. i figured it out, finally...by printing one sheet at a time (4X6 size) and seeing what worked where. i edited the hell outta my family's pics and got some damn cute gifts to give, FINALLY, though.

i made photo bookmarks using this print:

which i printed on a 4X6 sheet of photo paper and cut in half. one half for one side, one half for the other...cut out strips of construction paper a bit longer than the photo strip (about the same width)...so maeven could personalize each bookmark...and laminated the whole thing! mighty nice looking bookmarks, if i do say so myself!!

i should note that this was my final version of the bookmark...initially i printed up sheets with tiny pics of my kids like this, (although i used a lot of the same pic over and over):

thought you'd prefer to see one that had all different pics, though, :) actually this print is the one i printed up for the cover of each of the grandma's photo calendars. purchased "my grandchildren" photo calendars that had space on each month, and the cover, for a 4X6 photo. maeven and i picked out our favorite pics of tyren and maeven together and i printed them all up and maeven taped them into the calendars. i made the cover by cropping around each of my kids' heads in each picture that is in the calendar and putting them all together randomly in one image. really fun!! i think it looks really cute, don't you? god i have a LOT of great pics of my kids!!

woops, got off topic...so initially i printed up pages of little pics of my kids cut them all out by hand, also some larger pics, mixed them all together, glued them with a glue stick onto the strip of paper i had cut out for the base of the bookmark...can you say TIME CONSUMING??

then i realized i could save myself a HELLUVA a lot of work if i just photoshop'd the damn pics together to fit on one 4X6 piece of photo paper!! wow, the rest of the bookmarks were WAY EASIER to put together, LOL!

here's the final product, being held by my kid brother, aka "uncle tim":


then i made photo pencil cups out of food cans:

which ended up being a lot of work because i didn't learn my lesson from the bookmarks. odd, but i didn't figure out til i was partway into the 3rd and final photo pencil cup that i could have again photoshop'd the pics in a way to just glue the whole damn 4X6 (and part of another, because a 4X6 doesn't fill the whole can...hey, i think i'll buy 8X10 photo paper next time and measure the right size to fit the can completely and make a photoshop template that will perfectly wrap around the can!! VOILA!!)...anyway that's not the way *I* did it though....NOOOOOO....i cut each pic out individually and glued them all by hand onto the cup.

did you know that photo paper immediately curls up once you put white glue on it? yup, and my 8yr old very quickly got so frustrated with the project (which i had assumed she'd do herself) and i quickly figured out that it was not within her patience level or manual dexterity to figure out how to get the photos glued onto the can with rubber bands to hold them down while the glue dried (without damaging the pics)...use a blow dryer to speed up the process and constantly press (VERY CAREFULLY so as not to smear the photo ink, which incidentally, maeven found out the hard way smears with too much glue on it) on the photo and smear (CAREFULLY) the glue around the edges to train the pics to lay flat against the can...anyway........ it ended up being a big job. one which i thoroughly enjoyed doing, i might add...but a big job.

but they turned out GREAT! lookee!!:

in fact i think i'll make some more! gotta go get bigger photo paper. they looked really cool!! i used these pics for my father-in-law's, because he has more family than my parents:

top half of the pic is my husband and me and our 2 kids, and the bottom half is adam's sister (father-in-law's younger child) and her husband, her 3 kids from previous marriage and the extra little cutie in the far right pic is the daughter of sis-in-law's husband (previous relationship). so, aunt/uncle and cousins/cousin-in-law to my kids.

oh, and i made magnets too. forgot about those...i made them from this template:

i used photoshop to make these too....didn't have the patience to get the circles just right...shoulda tweaked them more but they were good enough, and i just cut off the parts of the circles that stuck out a little...next time i'll tweak it better.

i printed them on a 4X6 photo page and cut the circles out and glued them on a frozen juice lid, and glued a strong magnet to the back. i don't know if the glue will hold though, because i couldn't find our glue gun (which would have saved me a LOT of time and energy if i could have glue gunned it on!!!) so i had to use white glue. i'm not sure its strong enough, so next time i'm going to find the glue gun first. anyway i made those for family members too.

now, each one of these gifts probably doesn't seem like much...although everyone seemed to like them...but i made a LOT of these things!! (to be precise, 3 photo cans, 6 magnets, and i think 8 bookmarks...within the span of like 36 hours) so i spent ALLLLLL day on xmas eve day working on those things (specifically the ones for adam's family) til we ran out the door about 5pm, hours late, i might add, to sis-in-law's to celebrate the day with hubby's family for a few hours. amidst much stress and turmoil mostly caused by my kids, some caused by a house falling down around us and some friction between adam and i (more on these in another post). and then again today after we opened stockings and gifts...i spent the rest of the afternoon finishing MY family's gifts...until we ran out the door (hours late, again) to go celebrate with MY family for a few hours.

all in all i think it all worked out fine. but DAMMIT, will i EVER learn to get these things done AHEAD OF TIME??? probably not. i also don't know that i'll go homemade every year. LOL! did it this year mainly because we were mostly broke most of the time prior to xmas. (things picked up just a few days ago! but i was already in for the long haul with the already planned homemade stuff.)

anyway, MERRY CHRISTMAS!! i am SOOOOOOOOO glad i'm done with all that but it was really a very merry christmas despite all the stress.

now adam has the next 10 days off (he's maxed out on vacation time and we have a ton of stuff to do around the house so it was a good time for him to take off). and we have a house to clean the hell outta cuz it is WRECKED (in more ways than one) beyond belief right now...i couldn't even think about keeping up with housework, not that i ever do, i just let it all go to get stuff DONE!

tomorrow, the shoveling begins!!

my friggin son won't go to SLEEP!!!

its nearly 12:30am...its xmas day for pete's sake!! and he WON'T sleep!!!

i am so friggin mad right now!!!

i have a buttload of stuff still to do!!!! and i can't do it all til he goes to sleep!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

more reminiscing...

i'm going to change the subject from my current life for a bit...i have had a lot of opportunities to do some major reminiscing lately, due to reconnecting with old friends of high school and college days...

recently i've been thinking here and there about past relationships i had and the kindness or lack there of of the guys from my past.

first of all, i have to say that my husband, adam:

besides being one hot looking dude (i'm still weak in the knees when he wears his hair down like this) is HANDS DOWN the kindest, most giving and loving guy i EVER dated (and later, married!!) from the very beginning and still to this day his kindness and love warms my soul. must be why i married him, huh?

but today what i'm thinking about, strangely enough, is a couple past boyfriends i had...i just had a realization about something that i thought was sorta amusing.

i never had a lot of emotions surrounding my memories of my first boyfriend, chris, from high school. it was a very short relationship (the boyfriend/girlfriend part...we were still friends hanging in the same gang of friends for some time prior to our relationship and some time after) ...never amounted to much and didn't really get any real feelings caught up in it. my next boyfriend, the next year (still in high school), marc...i had a LOT of feelings wrapped up in...but in retrospect it didn't have a whole lot to it either. especially since after the fact i learned he cheated on me quite a bit...but i digress....

next boyfriend, a couple years later, my junior year in college, todd. this one had depth to it and many real feelings. it also went bad, but we did have a lot of really great memories and i've reconnected with todd (first found him around 2001 or so, i think...and we email back and forth a couple times here and there, sometimes a couple years will go by, sometimes a couple months...nothing regular) recently we've reconnected (WITH adam's knowledge...i would never go behind his back on anything) and i've had a chance to get a glimpse into the sort of man he's become. (he was just 17 when we met and started dating...barely 21, i think, when we no longer were in each other's lives...he's 36 now.)

i've also reconnected with marc and chris, briefly. but haven't really gotten any feel for who they are now. nor do i really care much, honestly. although i wouldn't mind learning a little more about marc...but he always was pretty much a closed book.

ok so what i'm getting at...i don't have any real strong feelings tied to my memories of chris....todd, on the other hand, for years, i had very strong, negative, very painful, emotions tied to his memory. marc too, but not as strong once i matured enough to see the relationship for what it was, which wasn't much.

so here's the thing...i've just realized that chris actually was never all that nice of a person. he was always the "leader" of our pack of friends, which i was a part of for my sophomore and junior year of high school...only part of senior year, as we had a rift occur during that year which i won't go into now...and we only hung out minimally after high school, after the rift was mended. anyway i'm starting to realize that the guy i never had real bad feelings about really wasn't ever kind, that i recall. todd, on the other hand, someone whom i had very strong, negative feelings about for a long time (he was practically the devil incarnate in my mind for some years after we split up...it was that ugly) ...turns out he actually, now that i can look at him without all the emotions clouding me, actually had quite a lot of kindness about him. and turns out he seems to be quite the kind and thoughtful and soulful man today. from what i can tell from his emails, he's matured quite nicely. he's even apologized and expressed remorse over how bad things went between us.

so the good is the bad and the bad is the good. the more i think about memories of chris...i just think less and less of him. although i admit this was all high school and people do change. i have no idea how he is now. don't get any sense of anything from emails from him. but then we never connected deep enough for us to share memories like i share with todd. and the more i reconnect with todd, the more i realize that he really did always have a good heart and i'm so happy to see that he finally grew up to the point of being worthy of a serious relationship.

i don't think he really knew what to do with me. i think he was too young to know what to do with someone as serious as me...relationship-wise. he wasn't ready. and that's ok. because he finally found his soul mate, and married her and they are living happily ever after and i'm really very happy for both of them. its nice to see how he turned out.

and me? i'm living my happily ever after as well. now, that doesn't mean that there aren't bumps in the road. if you have read my blog for any length of time, you know that there are quite often a LOT of bumps in the road. and my relationship with adam is far from perfect. and at times, even quite strained. but i never doubt that he loves me, i never doubt that he's a good man...i never doubt that we can't always make it work, somehow. we've already been through quite a lot together...the worst of which was the loss of our son, baelin. i told todd in a recent email that i figure since we (adam and i) were able to make it through that together, and still come out strong in our relationship that we can pretty much handle anything. but good heavens, i hope we don't ever have to deal with anything huge like that again!!!

anyway, i just was thinking and wanted to write my thoughts down. i still have a ton of stuff to get ready for xmas, but i'm starting to feel like i've got most of it covered and it will all work itself out.

and adam is out of the intense stress of last week's deadlines for work (and way too many work hours) thank heavens. so i think we'll be able to actually enjoy ourselves now. :) gotta get the cameras ready for the fun!!

stay away from elgo bay

i had a whole lot of ANGER recently over tyren's xmas gift...long story, but i'll try to shorten it. (key word, "try")

i ordered a space station toy for tyr at elgo bay on monday the 15th. i put in the notes of the order that i needed this in time for xmas. (1st time i told them) didn't create an account because it said that i didn't have to. didn't think about the fact that they would only be able to contact me via my paypal email since that's all that i had given them...my paypal email doesn't work anymore. (well it didn't, i've since recreated it. during the recent move to a new host, i just didn't recreate the email.) so they called me that same day and said that i needed to fix this. but i didn't have my cell on so i missed that call til the next day.

ok fine, my fault. i was a dummy for not giving them a valid email and not having my phone on.

so they cancelled my order and refunded my money because apparently they have to have a valid email to process my order. fine.

so i went in as soon as i could on tuesday the 16th and created an account and emailed them about the new account so they knew that i could be contacted there...and would it still be possible for me to order and get the thing in time for xmas (2nd time i talked to them about needing it for xmas). they responded yes, that they were just in L.A., no problem.

so i re-placed the order that same day. (although the paypal transaction didn't go through til the next day, wed...not sure why that is...my mom even says she remembers me placing the order while she was over picking up maeven for nana time, which is on tuesdays.) and again i put a note in there that i needed it for xmas. (3rd time i told them this)

anyway...so then i get confirmation and notice that it was being sent from a warehouse. didn't say where the warehouse was...and again they told me that they were located in L.A. and it shouldn't be a problem. (remember this was the THIRD time that i told them i needed it for xmas). that's 2 times now that they responded to my email address (which they obviously had at this point because they were communicating with me) that yes, they are in L.A., so no problem getting to me by xmas.

then i get a fed ex message that the estimated time of delivery is DECEMBER 30!! and that is was being shipped from PENNSYLVANIA!!!! (i'm in california)

i paid for USPS priority mail, by the way...and apparently its now being shipped fed ex ground. no one told me this ahead of time.

ok i get that sometimes items are drop shipped from different places...but TWICE they told me it would be coming from L.A. and don't worry about it. TWICE!!! they even acknowledged this in our pissy back and forth emails about this situation...apologized for saying it would come from CA!!! (by the way, for those that don't know, i live only about 4 or 5 hours north of L.A.)

i get an email back that i shouldn't point the finger at them because *I* was the one that took my time responding and reordering....uh NO! i remedied (i thought) the situation the very next day!!

and he even had the nerve to tell me, and i quote: "Even if the gift arrive late for christmas, he will have the gift soon after." (bad grammar was in his original note...i think english is a second language for him...so that's understandable. i'm not suggesting anything negative about english being second language...just that i think that's the case.)

um.

YOU tell my 3yr old that he doesn't have a gift from Mommy and Daddy to open on xmas!!! And please explain to him that he has to watch his sister open her gift but his will be here in just 5 more days, don't worry sweetie. !!!!!

i was so mad i was spitting fire!!!

i told him in no uncertain terms that he had his info incorrect, and that i was NEVER told that it would be shipped from elsewhere and that i paid for priority shipping and was never told that wasn't possible! (after we started emailing, he tells me that the vendor doesn't ship USPS and has to do fed ex. ok fine, but tell me that ahead of time! he claims that it was stated when i made the purchase on the site. nope. it wasn't. and it STILL says, on HIS site, in my account transaction record, that its shipping USPS priority mail.)

he hemmed and haw'd:
"We are sorry for telling you that the item will be shipped from California. Item ship, origin location is subject to change, item availability and type of item ordered."

um, nice to tell me this NOW! after the item is now in fed ex's hands!!! and after i told you not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES that i needed this for xmas!!!

after i told him that i would refuse the product and i expect a full refund after its back in his hands, he said:
"We can issue you a partial refund of $10 after you receive your order. You might even be able to pickup your order from FedEx facility in California if it gets there before Christmas. Keep your fingers crossed.

If you refuse the shipment and it get returned, you will receive a refund minus 30% restocking fee, per our Return Policy."
so basically he's going to force me to keep it. i just checked his info on the site and its 20%, not 30% restocking fee, since the item would be unopened. 30% is for opened returns.

ugh. like i'm not stressed enough these days with all our money problems...and we were (at the time this was going down) essentially OUT of xmas money and not even close to done shopping. going handmade for most everyone but still need to purchase a few supplies for printing the photos for them. (making bookmarks, etc to give to family....thought they'd like it and its a lot more affordable then a bunch of random items.)

so now we'll be dipping into our "house money", which is the money that we borrowed from adam's mother to finish the big room. the room that has been in limbo for like a year and a half now. and which causes me stress quite regularly cuz we have no access to most of our art supplies and no place to work on projects without first clearing a space...and i could go on and on but i digress. that room has been a headache for so long and now the money that was supposed to help us finally get that room back is going to start getting chipped away for xmas! *sigh*

and most likely will lead to us having to borrow MORE money to finish the damn room.

and tyren doesn't have a room until that's done.

and i already spent twice what i wanted to spend on tyren's gift. (i alotted just $20 per child for a gift from Mommy and Daddy...but that gift, with shipping was nearly $40, but its what he's been asking for...a space station. and they were sold out all over the net and i really didn't find it cheaper anywhere, not that their price was more than a couple dollars cheaper...and had i known they would be such insensitive ASSES, i would have stayed far away!)

anyway, here it is monday, a week after this whole thing started...and guess where, according to fed ex's website...tyren's space station is now? STILL IN PENNSYLVANIA!!! i'm seriously hoping that they are slow to update their site or something cuz if its still sitting there and they got it in their hands (according to their records) on the 19th...that's beyond ridiculous!

my last email to elgo bay has not been responded to. i went off on him about how it is NOT out of his hands (he last told me it was out of his hands)...that it absolutely is IN his hands and he is fully capable of still giving GOOD customer service and fix this. he could refund me the FULL amount RIGHT NOW so i could go buy something for my kid to open from Mommy and Daddy on xmas...he could order me a new one and ship it one day service at his expense to make sure we have one in our hands on time. he could at the very least admit they made a very big error and at least TRY to do something to fix it instead of trying to make this all MY fault!

this is the most deplorable customer service i've ever encountered. so much for the good will of this season. i told him repeatedly that we are tapped and i spent the last of my xmas money on this gift for my 3yr old and now its not going to even get here in time??? luckily, that's now changed...but that just happened after i emailed him, and he showed no real sorrow for the situation. even said that he "loves kids" and has 10 of his own and understands their "expectations at this time of the year" or something like that. sorry, but my 3yr old doesn't yet HAVE expectations about xmas. this isn't about his expectations...this is about what will happen on christmas day when he might have no gift to open from mommy and daddy but his sister does!

i am still so completely enraged by this whole situation and i'm not sure how else to deal with it except to warn others to STAY AWAY FROM ELGO BAY!!! BAD BAD BAD CUSTOMER SERVICE AND NO HEART!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

sorta almost ready for xmas

things are getting less stressful, i think...we are sloooooowly getting stuff done (although my kids have been fighting nonstop, which makes mommy a beast to be around and growling and yelling seems to be the only way i am capable of communicating these days, *sigh*)

and adam just agreed to work new year's eve and day and some other days...a job that will mean like $650 for us. not happy about him being gone on new year's eve...but we really need the money.

what this means is that the $300 we are in the negative in our bank account can now come out of house money (the money we borrowed to finish the repairs on our "big room") ...because that will be replaced once he gets paid for the new year's job. yay! AND his boss gave him a little money after all the buttload of work that he's been doing for the company...working his ass off with little or no sleep for days (one day he literally had like one hour sleep cuz he worked all day at work, came home and worked straight through til like 6am, slept about an hour or so and got up and went back into work. sometimes its not always a good thing that he has an edit system at home.) stressed beyond belief, at the same time as his wisdom teeth being pulled and suffering from a dry socket and healing and not being able to eat real food cuz of the holes in his mouth. so he definitely earned a little extra money...but at the same time we know the company is hurting, so its really appreciated as well.

sooo...we have some money for last minute christmas stuff...which is really good cuz tyren's gift isn't going to arrive in time for christmas. i'm REALLY pissed about all that! i started a post about all the details on that...i'll have to finish it and post it to explain. its kinda a long story. and makes me angry to rehash it.

and now maeven is up and not able to sleep (happens every night lately) so i need to go see what i can do to help the situation...so i guess that's all i can write for now.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

what's in that flu shot?

this is a pretty humorous (yet, surprisingly factual) look at what's in the flu shot:



and here's some more info.

i've learned alot from dr randal neustaedter, check out his website here. he's written a fantastic guide called the vaccine guide, which i have and have read most of.
and here's a very interesting article on his website about the damage that vaccines can do to our immune systems.

we don't now and never have done flu vaccines in our house. its hit or miss whether they are even going to prevent the flu you'd be exposed to (the way they figure which flu strain will be hitting our area is through trapping migrating birds!), but more than that, its just full of crap i don't want in MY body, much less in my children's.

i've done a ton of chats on my site mommychats on vaccines. you can go to mommy chats and just do a search for "vaccine" in the google box on any page and find a list of all the places that is mentioned...its a lot. i've learned a LOT.

i'm not one to blindly follow the establishment. i've done tons of reading and talking to people who have a lot of expertise on health issues and it has me very wary of the medical community as a whole, but specifically in regards to the flu shot.

i've had the flu ONCE in my life, as far as i remember. once! and i've NEVER had a flu shot. ever! i have a strong immune system, apparently, because i don't often get sick. i'd rather build up that immune system then tear it down, thank you very much!

Friday, December 19, 2008

really fed up

if one more person says to me "don't we all need cash?" or "times are hard for everyone" or something along those lines...i'm gonna go ballistic on them! i'm so tired of telling someone about how i'm doing something because we need cash bad or times are hard or whatever, just to be dismissed with "everyone's got it bad" or whatever. yes, i KNOW this! but frankly, i don't care about everyone...right now i'm worrying about my OWN family...and things are really not going well again...just found out our cash is gone. and adam just was paid a couple days ago and if i don't find about $300 fast, we're going to start bouncing in our main account. and the only people who currently have xmas gifts in this house are the kids and adam. i'm pretty sure adam hasn't gotten anything for me yet. but i don't really care about that. honestly.

i knew this would eventually happen...because of the pay cut.

but i'm just soooooooo tired of people essentially devaluing my situation because "everyone" has it bad right now. yeah, so? so if everyone is hurting, does it make it any easier on my own situation? no, i don't think so. and anyway, its not like i'm going on and on to some of these people...the latest one that told me this was someone that i only talk to on IM like once every 6months!!!

it just really pisses me off! why don't you just say "yeah, so?" cuz that's really what you mean!!! "yeah, so what? your family needs money...yeah, so? who cares? everyone has it bad, so why should i care about you???"

just really rude and hurtful, i think.

its not like i'm asking the person i'm talking to to FIX IT FOR ME!!!!

i'm just really so pissed right now about this because i hear it all the time!!!!!!

something to think about--xmas trees

i just read this very thought provoking article about the tradition of xmas trees.

it had some very interesting things to say, and just firmed up my belief in going artificial vs live xmas tree.

i grew up in a home with an artificial tree. so i don't have childhood memories linked to the smell of the tree. i admit that. but it has never made any sense to me to kill something just to decorate your house for a single season.

sure, i am sure there's tons of things in my house that have been made by killing things...trees in particular because i have a lot of wood furniture...but these don't last just one short season and get thrown away.

the paper i use, i recycle...we actually reuse a lot of it first, and then recycle. and i try to buy recycled when i can as well.

anyway, i'm sure all sorts of arguments could be made against all sorts of things i buy, but the simple fact remains that i have a great adoration for trees. and i really feel it is wrong to kill one just to decorate your house for a few weeks. it just feels really wrong to me.

after living and working at scicon outdoor school, i was very strongly environmental and used to say that i felt almost like i could hear the dying trees of the xmas tree lots screaming in pain as they slooooooowly died...it was a very sad time for me. of course the extreme environmentalist learned to adapt to city life again and i'm back to a more tolerable level and i just see them as sad, but not so excrutiating now...but i remember that feeling of intense pain over the tree lots. and just not getting why its so important to so many people.

i do find it of particular interest in that article linked above that this tradition is really so very young and very localized to just the US, canada and parts of europe. the rest of the world probably think we're weird, LOL!

that said, i do appreciate that everyone gets to make their own choices and i admit that i have no clue what it is to have a childhood memory of live trees. i'm actually quite glad of that, as i think it would probably cause a conflict in me.

so, yep, we have an artificial tree...and that probably won't ever change, even though i'm reading some not-so-great things about artificial trees (although i definitely disagree on the life span of the artificial tree...we had ours for decades growing up, and my parents donated it to their church after they wanted to upgrade to a better artificial tree, and to my knowledge its STILL being used...that's going on 40 years maybe?)...they still far outweigh the thought of senselessly (by my standards) killing of a live tree. its just something i don't know i'll ever feel comfortable with.

to each his own, i guess. *shrug*

Thursday, December 18, 2008

10 o'clock and no daddy :(

poor adam has been busting his ASS at work for the past 2 weeks. not only that, but during a time when he's been in a lot of pain and has to still eat nonchunky foods because of the holes in his mouth where his wisdom teeth were pulled out a couple weeks ago. he ended up with a dry socket, so the healing process has been very painful and long. and his work is SLAMMED busy!

this whole week he's been stressed to the max with deadlines. he's been working at work all day and coming home and working all night in his office here. tonite i got an IM from him at about 5 saying he was going to be an hour later than usual, leaving work...then an hour later it was going to be another hour...and then it just kept taking longer (this has happened a lot, over the years, so i wasn't surprised) and here it is 10pm and he says he's nearly done, but time will tell. :(

i hate when he has to work like this...but i'm really sympathetic to how he's feeling right now. he's very dedicated to his work, and i realize its out of his hands, for the most part. he's very good at what he does (he's a video photographer/editor) and i am very proud of him. and i know he's doing it for us. in his business, this sort of thing is quite normal. luckily it doesn't happen all the time.

if he can just make it through tomorrow, he should be able to get back to normal, and not have to stress so much over deadlines and projects not working out to his satisfaction. he's been so incredibly stressed lately that you can almost feel it radiating off him when he's around us. :(

i'm just trying to not add to his stress.

on hold for the holidays

i just posted this over on my homeschool blog...thought i'd share it here too...


i have come to the conclusion that december is just far too hectic to even THINK about school stuff. we’re doing our song of the week, but that’s about it right now. at least that’s it for me planning things…maeven is still learning all kinds of things from her own ideas and activities she creates herself.

just now i went to check to see if she was ready for bed and i found her in her room, making a list of all the people she has already made homemade xmas gifts for…she’s got them all wrapped and tagged and ready to go. been working on it for weeks. she’s amazing! she has completely done this all on her own. i’m not sure what all she’s made actually. but she’s just so organized! i am so proud!

she’s asking me how to spell people’s names so she can correctly tag their gifts…and she’s had a blast wrapping presents. none of these cost any money.

not only that, but this…last year we gave maeven $50 to purchase gifts for people of her choosing. she stretched it out to 10 people, with a little mommy guidance. this year she understands that we are super tight on funds. she started asking if she was going to get her $50 to buy gifts this year and at first i said she’d get something but i wasn’t sure how much. then i said probably not $50 and just recently i told her i didn’t think i’d be able to give her anything…to which she said something like “that’s ok, i’m making gifts!” i’m so proud!

not only that but she’s decided to use her allowance that she’s been saving up to buy xmas stuff. not sure what she has in mind yet…but its very sweet to see how caring she is…something that a parent, i would imagine, is ALWAYS happy to see!

its been important to me that she understand about giving. i have been wanting her to not just receive from her family each year, but also give back something…even if its not worth anything monetarily. last year was the first time we gave her actual money to spend on others…but she has given gifts in the past too…one year (i think she was 3 or 4) we gave homemade bookmarks to everyone which she had made. but i wasn’t real consistant with encouraging gift-giving…not every year did i remember to encourage her…there’s always so much going on. but last year, the joy in her eyes as she picked out gifts…and this year as she makes everything by hand…she’s SO excited! she gets it. she really does. it makes a mama’s heart just burst. :)

tyren will follow suit eventually. if i could get my act together, i’d get him more involved…but there’s time. he’s only 3. and i really don’t need MORE work right now. hell, he’s enough work as it is!! he is exhausting me! he’s been a holy terror lately and its all i can do just to keep up with him! anyway, he watches and imitates everything maeven does, so i’m not too worried about him catching the “giving bug.” :)

plus we are going to be making a bunch of photo gifts to give this year so i’ll make sure i involve him in it. i had planned to order prints, but didn’t get my butt in gear on that, so i’m going to go buy a photo cartridge for my printer and start working on them with the kids.

anyway, there’s just sooooo much to do around here and we’re not even doing holiday cards or parties or major decorations or gifts for everyone we know! right now i’m just being kept busy trying to raise more money for us…selling things on ebay and advertising on my websites. bringing in enough cash to help us pay the bills (since adam’s gotten a pay cut) and cover xmas. i think we’re going to be ok though. we’re doing ok. :)

but the songs of the week will continue! the kids are really digging them! every day i start singing one of them…or all of them, some days…and the kids immediately join in! its so fun! :)

i need to get another video of them singing…well at least tyren…but maeven is very shy about singing in public, so i’m not sure if she’ll do it on tape or not…we’ll see.

so school is officially on hold right now, for the most part (we still listen to history on cd here and there and read books always), so that mommy can make it through december with what little sanity she has left!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

momraderie

oh my god, i was just unloading on an online friend (via IM), and for some reason came up with the word "momraderie", which of course made this ADD brain of mine (always going in fast circles) google the word and look at this just BEAUTIFUL article i found!!

*sniff sniff* i'm SO choked up over how true it is!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

curly top

check out my boy's curls:
everywhere we go EVERYONE comments on his curls! everyone says how cute they are, how they love them, call him "curly" and other such nicknames...so funny! i mean EVERYONE! its insane how much people notice his curls and have to comment on them! actually its very similar to how many people used to always comment on maeven's blue eyes. they don't seem to comment as much these days, but maybe its just cuz she's older now...not an adorable toddler anymore. i suppose the same thing will happen when tyren gets older...the comments on the curls will drop off.

anyway its amazing to me how much hair he has now! considering how not that long ago he had a LOT less hair!
here's how the progression of tyren's hair has gone:

apr '06--

The Great Baldini, 9mos

Oct '07--

2yrs

may '08--

2 and 1/2 yrs

Nov '08--

3yrs

pretty amazing how its just exploded lately!!

he got his first haitcut from my mom on thanksgiving:


before that he had these little clumps of hair that were his birth hairs that were super long compared to the rest of his hair...so long we often put his hair in a ponytail:


now his hair is more consistent though, and so i doubt we could get it in a ponytail again at this point. but it will grow! i really want his hair to grow long like his daddy's. he used to ask to have his hair in a ponytail "just like daddy", LOL! looking forward to being able to do it again. it looked really cute!

anyway, my little baldini's hair is finally exploding with growth...so i suspect he'll be a "long haired freaky people" just like daddy in no time. :)

adventures in potty learning

tyren isn't potty trained yet. he's actually pretty good at going on the potty when he WANTS to. and all summer i let him go nakey butt so he could remember to listen to his body and he only had a couple accidents for quite awhile. he really didn't even need me to remind him to go to the potty, as soon as he felt it, he just went, "oh no! i have to go potty!" and ran to the potty. i thought we had it made! i thought for sure in just a matter of a couple months we could say bye-bye forever to diapers.

i spoke too soon. he wouldn't take it to the next step...he can't remember to go to the potty whenever he has anything on his butt. underwear, pullups, diaper, pants...all get peed in equally. he's not yet been able to figure this next stage out.

well i figured he would eventually. and i know he will still. but for some reason, a couple months ago he figured he'd had enough of this potty training garbage and didn't want anything to do with the potty anymore.

so back to diapers because he wasn't even remembering to go to the potty even when he was nakey butt. i didn't really want to go through all the puddles i had with maeven (being naked rarely deterred her from peeing wherever she was, LOL!) and he just was flat out refusing to even think about the potty, so i backed off and gave him a break.

so its been a couple months now of back in diapers...i do bring up the potty a lot, here and there...reminding him that he's a big boy and all that. but no go.

today i just forgot to get him dressed after changing his diaper and he was nakey butt for awhile and went on the potty again! no coaxing from me, he just jumped up (just like before) and ran to the potty when he had to go! pee and poop! woohoo!

ok so i don't know that it will continue...but its a step at least!

i figure he'll eventually just decide he's ready and do it. physically i know he's fully capable. its just a matter of him WANTING to do it!

learning patience

i've been working on practicing patience lately. its been just a tiny step so far, but i'm pretty proud of myself and felt i wanted to write about it.

i'm not a patient person...never really have been...although i used to be a LOT more patient in regards to other people's children. teaching, i had an immense amount of patience in comparison to nowadays. i am trying to learn to give the same thing to my own children.

anyway, its only been in little tiny ways so far, and i cannot ensure i can keep it up all the time...but i've been so very happy every time i realize that i've exercised patience. '

i'm so tired of being stressed out and short with my kids. this time of the year is prone to this, but i am like it pretty much constantly these days, for months...i don't know how long, but its become the norm for me and i'm hating it enough to finally slow down and think about it.

so today when my 3yr old was lashing out at his sister and hitting her (for what, i don't know, its the standard reaction from him when they fight...and they fight constantly)...instead of yelling and getting angry with him...i gently pulled him towards me, holding his arms in my hands gently and told him calmly, eye-to-eye, "hands are not for hitting, your sister does not want to be hit." i did not put him on time out (which i don't believe in anyway, although i do use a modified version of it when i'm at whit's end and am afraid that i'm going to hurt them or say something hurtful, which i'm more likely to do than physical hurt and i know hurts worse...i take them away from me to another room and tell them they can come back when they are able to talk respectfully, or something like that) i did not yell (something i've been really prone to lately)...but i was calm and for that moment, he really responded to it! and i immediately changed the subject and thanked him for picking up all his pretzels that he had just done prior to the argument...

the moment was really a positive one for me and i hope i can keep it up.

i have been thinking of what my children's lives are full of ...and lately its not super positive...so i am working to change that. when my children grow up and remember their childhood...i want them to remember joyous times with a loving, caring mommy. obviously i cannot be that all the time, but if the joyous times outnumber the nonjoyous, i trust that is what they will remember. if i spend most of my time being angry with them, THAT's what they will remember. i don't want that.

i have just been doing a lot of thinking about childhood lately. i have a bachelor's in child development but seem to have lost sight of that.

i had a recent conversation with a long-time friend on IM lately and i told her how i'm so tired of feeling like a failure as a parent. i'm tired of reading parenting books and philosophies about what is the "right" way to do things...i told her i think our generation of parents relies too much on "experts" and have completely lost touch with the natural parenting instinct that parents of the past might have had. i doubt they worried as much about doing things "right" so much as just living life and surviving.

sure there are people that are so way off-base with parenting that they SHOULD read these parenting books (the good ones)...and there are certainly pearls of wisdom in the books...but even dr sear's attachment parenting books make me feel guilty if i try what he suggests and i cannot keep it up!

i have come to the conclusion that there's just not always a "problem" when we think there is a problem. sometimes a tantrum is just a tantrum because that's what kids do! my son doesn't tantrum because "he can", but because he's 3!! and he's still learning what it is to be a human being in this very overwhelming world. he lacks the cognitive ability to understand the things that *I* understand. heck, i'm not even sure *I* understand much!

it just seems like everything you read or hear about everywhere in books, movies, magazines, tv, and other parents is how to "fix" things. how to solve a "problem." and maybe sometimes it just needs to be not thought over and fixated so much on. maybe sometimes it really is just something that they will get through and move on to another stage where they are better able to handle whatever it is that is causing the "problem."

i'm not suggesting that parenting should be about doing NOTHING, and just letting them be. there certainly are plenty of times when our guidance is needed...and i'm certain that some children's behavior does indeed come about due to the parents lack of parenting. but maybe there's an awful lot of the stuff we are trying to control that really just is going to happen whether we stress over how to "fix it" or not!

and maybe if i let go of trying to be the perfect parent (which no one is capable of being, regardless) and try to constantly control and mold my children...maybe i can instead unintentially control and mold them simply by being a fun and loving person to be around...someone that doesn't accept being talked to in disrespectful ways, but who models the appropriate behavior above all else. i've read over and over and over again that above all else its the way WE act that teaches our children, not so much what we say...so maybe there's some truth to that because i certainly am not being respectful to my children when i yell at them. sure, there are times when its just going to happen...and maybe i can be real about that too...but to spend so much time in the day being irritated by everything my kids do may actually be causing more of the problems that are irritating me!

i want my children to have strong childhood memories of mommy being fun and silly...not angry and stressed.

maybe if i just relax and have fun and enjoy my kids more, they will turn out alright.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

my sexy husband

i've been working on getting photos ready to have printed for making some xmas gifts, and i just had to post these 2 great pics of my gorgeous hubby. :) ain't he just a hottie??? :)

the first on shows how cute he is:
too bad the flash didn't go off, cuz its kinda dark...i'll have to fiddle with that in photoshop later.

and the second one shows how his silly look:
darn flash worked that time!!

anyway, i just had to share. cuz i think he's pretty cute. :)

Friday, December 12, 2008

something to really think about

this was forwarded to one of the groups i'm on, and i really loved it, so i thought i'd share it here
(it is NOT by me)
=============================================

Young@Heart
By Pam Young

I was at Michael's (the craft store) in the late afternoon when I
heard a conversation in the next isle between a mother and her
six-year-old child.

"Oh, Mama, look at this!"

"Uh huh."

"I love this!!"

"Uh huh."

"I have one don't I!!!"

"Uh huh."

"You made it for me didn't you Mama!!!!"

"Uh huh."

As I listened to the excitement and love for her mother in the child's
voice and the drone of her mother's responses, tears welled up in my
eyes. I thought about how many times I'd done the same thing with my
children when they were young. After all, I had a centerpiece to
make, a decoration for the coffee table to think about, colors to
consider, people to impress and not enough time! At that moment in
Michael's I would have given anything to go back to just one time in
the isle of a store, hear my child's voice and not miss what was
really happening. Love, joy adoration. The stuff of Christmas!

My kids are grown now and I'll never again hear their little bell
voices exclaiming their joy over something. That time is gone forever.

I had to get to the next isle and see the child! With tears streaming
down my cheeks, I peeked around the corner and looked at the child's
happy little face. She had a dress on and her hair was dark brown in
shoulder-length curls. She was holding a Christmas stocking with a
Santa Claus on it. She looked up and smiled at me. Then I looked at
her mother. She was tired. I could see it in her eyes but when she
looked into mine she smiled seeing my love for her child and the moment.

I told her what had gone through my mind listening to their
conversation and with misty eyes she said, "Now you're making me cry."
She dabbed her eye with the back of her wrist, "Thank you, I needed
to hear this. I get so busy and it's easy to neglect her natural
enthusiasm." I told the mother it was obvious that the child had not
been neglected, because she was such a happy child, and that I
understood how easy it was to get wrapped up in our own thoughts and
miss these holy moments.

I left Michael's knowing I wanted to write about this. Your children
adore you and they are like little joy dispensers, especially during
this time of year. Since it is also an especially busy time for you,
it can be so easy to miss those gifts of love and joy your children
are eager to give to you. They are gifts that can't be wrapped up
with festive paper or charged on American Express. Stay awake! This
is a holy time.
Merry Christmas!
Pam

a frugal xmas

since we're so tight for money this year i made a decision that the kids stockings were only going to be stuffed with items $1 or less items. of course that means i had to hit the dollar tree!

i made the decision to do school supplies because i remember how cool it was to get a stocking full of that sort of stuff one year when i was about maeven's age. unfortunately some of the stuff that i got is not super cheap anymore. like dymo labelers. those are so cool but i couldn't find anything less than $5 (i would have gotten them if they were like $2, but $5 is way over budget)

but surprisingly, i've found a lot of really cool things for about a dollar! not just at dollar tree!

at walmart, i found packs of tiny notepads, some cool pencil/sharpener/eraser sets, 88cent compasses in cool colors, and more! at dollar tree i found holiday pencils, a GIANT pencil (with its own sharpener), reindeer antlers (2pack! with bells!), glow-in-the-dark star wands (the kind you crack and they glow for a day...and they had tons of other glow stuff, but i didn't want to go overboard), scotch tape, gel pens, keychain LED lights, and more stuff i'm forgetting...really cool deals!

so i think i have their stockings covered now...i just have to still do adam's and figure out gifts for the kiddos. i decided that we should not spend more than $20 per gift for each kid (and each other, even though i went a little bit over for adam)...and i'm not really worried about meeting that, because there's tons of great stuff for kids that is pretty cheap. but its just a matter of deciding WHAT to get!

it feels like i'm doing nothing

but i really am accomplishing things...

2 biggies:
our car registration was due on monday but it hadn't been smogged yet (and it was due)...i had thought we could get it done over the weekend but adam had some complications from his tooth extraction friday, so the weekend was full of pain and nausea for him so he couldn't do it and i couldn't leave the kids with him. finally on monday, i just took the kids with me and did it. i didn't want to wait til the registration was late, because then i cannot pay it online...and its MUCH easier to pay it online then to have to drag the kids to the DMV with me! (what a nightmare!)

so i drove down blackstone and found a tiny smog place...i knew there was one on that street i'd gone to before but couldn't remember exactly where...i think the one i found is different, but it did just fine! (its on the west side of the street, south of shaw, just before bobby salazar's if anyone local to me wants to find it! the only reason i saw it, since its set back from the street a bit, is that they had a van parked right near the street that said "SMOG HERE" or something like that...smart move, on there part cuz it worked!) anyway, there was only one other car there when we went, and it was on its way out, so no waiting (HUGE plus!) and then they had a cute (albeit, smoke smelling) little waiting room with a space heater and a tv, and tons of little toys like lego...the kids didn't want to leave when, after just about 15 min they were done! LOL! actually, i was enjoying watching "seventh heaven" for the first time in awhile and didn't want to leave either! LOL!

cost me $48 (no idea if that's standard fee or not, but it seemed pretty normal) and 15 or so minutes of my time with no hassle from the kids! pretty awesome! i was totally expecting a long wait and bored kids and behavior problems and such...nope. what a relief!

so then we headed home and i paid our car registration online and we're done! WOOHOO! ('course, i had to use our xmas money to pay the $75 for the registration, cuz we didn't have enough left in our main bank account to cover it.)

then the other big thing we've accomplished:
having adam's teeth FINALLY done. this is something that he has put off for about a year and a half! we knew it needed to be done cuz he had one that was sideways, like a 90 degree angle! and was getting food caught in the space back there and just made for a bad situation...but he still put it off for quite awhile...finally found the time to deal with it...and even though he's had complications (one of the extractions has turned into dry socket) its nice that its over with. he just needs to finish healing. its been a week and he's still dealing with it...but it will all be well again soon. (and after he's all healed, we'll start talking about getting that vasectomy we've been planning...but needed to wait til the teeth were done).

so getting those 2 big things over and done with has really made me feel good...even if my long list of other things to get done continues to grow.

but seriously, i am the kind of person that feels REALLY good once a big thing is accomplished...so getting 2 of them done in the past week has been really nice.

its funny because this time of the year you hear of so many people sooooo busy...and i always am. but not like others. i don't have any xmas parties to attend or plan, no major decorations (we have our tree up and that's about all i do, and the kids decorated it...it has more to put up but tyr keeps taking them off the tree and playing with them so i will just give up on that!) i don't have cookies or any other xmas baking to do...i don't do gifts for any friends, or xmas cards...never have...only family, and this year they're getting photo gifts once i get the pics sent off to walmart to print. a little work to laminate some of the gifts (we're making things like bookmarks and fridge magnets with pics of the kids...very inexpensive, but still, hopefully, something they'll like!) but nothing huge like knitting an afghan!

my biggest thing is just trying to find time (and ideas!) for gifts! i cannot even figure out what to get my own kids!!

i also have the money issue this year that we've not had in quite awhile...since maeven was born, actually...we've always had a xmas bonus check to cover xmas, for the most part. this year we are counting on NOT getting that, so i'm trying to figure out more ways to make extra money, since all our money is tied up in paying bills that eventually will run out and we will need to scrounge to pay! we have NO extra money for anything, so i'm having to MAKE money for xmas. i had like $260 i earned around the holiday hoopla on my site mommychats. but i used some of it already on stocking stuffers (i'll blog separately about that...this is getting long)...and a chunk for DMV and i've had to dip into it a little for food. so we are down to like $100 now, i think, for xmas...so i need to sell some stuff on ebay quick to make some money (i have a bunch of collectible ornaments i have been trying to find time to photograph, and a ton of disney movies i don't want anymore). i'm also going to have to get some ad specials up on my website so that i can get some cash there too. its just finding the TIME! its all very time consuming to do...and in the meantime i'm feeling really bad about my kids not having my attention!

*sigh* there's just not enough time in the day!

thriller, 13 going on 30 style

i just finally got to watch this movie all the way through. (13 going on 30) i saw the last 30 min or so twice on tv, but never got to see the beginning! finally rented it from blockbuster and HOW CUTE! this was my FAVORITE SCENE in the whole movie:

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

*sigh*

ok, things could be worse. i KNOW that people have it worse out there...but i have found that i tend to feel better about bad situations once i vent about them...so here goes...

*sigh*
DEEP BREATH

ok so i mentioned before how adam got a 10% pay cut, right? well, now here's the thing...its kinda confusing, so bear with me here...

he's maxed out on vacation time...he never uses it! so he's got 3weeks paid vacation on the books which now he cannot use because, guess what? business is SLAMMED at his work right now...which is good, right? that they are making money again? well its still going to take awhile before they are back in the positive...they have been keeping the biz alive using credit for awhile, so its good that business is hopping, but that doesn't mean adam will go back to normal pay anytime soon...

and in the meantime...we CAN'T GET FRIGGIN WIC BECAUSE OF THAT VACATION PAY ON THE BOOKS!!! they don't go by what he's making NOW, they go by the past year, which is on the paystub, including that chunk of unused vacation time!

so, without that vacation pay, we'd totally qualify for WIC...we qualified before his pay cut!! but that damned vacation pay, which he cannot get anytime soon, is stopping us from getting free food from WIC!!! food we could definitely use.

and to top things off...we still have a house in chaos because its taking FOREVER to remodel our "big room"... i've blogged about it before...the room had all kinds of stuff...it was our playroom/school room so there was a TON of stuff in there...stuff i have really wanted access to ever since, but haven't for going on a year and a half now! stuff that is piled up in garbage bags because it still is covered in toxic mold spores, so i cannot take them out of bags until its been cleaned with mold killer...but i cannot do that yet until i have A PLACE TO PUT ALL THE STUFF! and the room still looks like this:


and this:


so obviously unusable. so the stuff is still piled up next to my side of the bed in the bedroom and packed into the shed (i have a really hard time getting in there to get anything since its all full of garbage bags of stuff). and of course my kids keep asking for stuff that we cannot access cuz its in a garbage bag somewhere (god knows which one!)

anyway, the person that was helping us fix up the room did a bang up job and got all the major jobs done. despite how it looks...its come a LONG way...the new windows are all in, the walls for adam's office are up (the frames at least)...oh did i mention that while we were remodeling we figured it was time for tyren to have his own bedroom? so we have 3 bedrooms but one of the rooms is adam's office...full of his video equipment which bring us in a little extra cash here and there, so are very important...

tyren doesn't yet have a space of his own...so we figured while we were working on the big room, we'd use part of it for a new office for adam so that tyr could have his own room finally. (not that he'll sleep in it anytime soon, but he does need his own space...especially since he's banned from maeven's room). hence, the new walls.

anyway....so we are VERY grateful for all the work that has been already done. but its not done yet. nothing's livable yet. and now we just found out he won't be able to help us anymore. *sigh* ok, adam panicked big time but i actually remained pretty calm...i mean all the big stuff has already been done...if he just helps to install the door to adam's office (which he mentioned he might be able to still do for us) and maybe finish the stucco on the outside of the house, we might be able to handle the rest ourselves. hopefully. i think we can. it will all be a learning experience for us since we've never put up drywall and such. but it has been getting harder and harder for our helper to find time to help us anyway...weeks going by with no word, and we don't really like to impose on his life (even though he does owe us money, we never wanted to make the situation unpleasant). so maybe now we can get the job done faster, who knows? i'm just trying to think positively under tremendous amounts of bad situation all around us.

god this post is getting long...but it feels good writing it all out...

ok, so one of the reasons we were having this person do our room for us is that they owe us a chunk of money. so he was working it off...also he's a kind person to offer to help us! so by his no longer working for us, they still owe us a chunk...some was paid off with the work he did, but not all...and since WE had to borrow money to purchase supplies to finish the room (all our money is now gone...various things kept popping up...and the original money we loaned out to a couple family members over a year ago was the money that we had for fixing up the big room in the first place!!) and that borrowed money was only to cover the supplies, not the labor because we thought we had the labor covered...we were initially pretty upset (ok so it still is not a happy situation, but all will be fine)...anyway...we still don't know if we'll have enough to complete the job...but i have high hopes that all will be well eventually...if i can just convince my stress-prone, negative thinking husband!

here's the sort of amusing part...we are a one income family...who makes less than one income of many of the 2-income families out there. seriously, i mean we would qualify for WIC and medi-cal, if it weren't for that unaccessable vacation money! so income-wise, we are poor by government standards (but don't think that we really feel poor, because i know we still have things much better than many people out there...just going by the numbers). and we are not a super thrifty/frugal family!

i think the only reason we are doing ok is because my parents let us use their van (no payments there, yet)...our other car is paid off....we have no credit card debt (we never had a huge amount, because we've always tried not to use them much, but we did have some that was paid off when we re-mortgaged our house and took a chunk of cash out to buy adam's business equipment and pay off all our debt except the mortgage)...we don't have lots of extras...no cable tv (but we do have cell phones and dsl for our computers...but the bare minimum available)...we don't spend a lot on things like clothes or things for our house...we rarely spend money on anything other than actual NEEDS actually...all of my kids clothes are hand-me-downs or purchased by family. i can't remember the last time i bought my kids any clothes.

and so we're actually doing pretty ok. we definitely don't live outside our means...we do eat out far too much, but that's like taco bell and such...we try to eat cheap when we do...and its been cut back greatly lately (hoping to cut it out completely soon...but we still HATE to cook and HATE to go grocery shopping, so that makes it hard...)

i mean, we are definitely not "well off"...my son is still wearing his 3T winter coat (way too small) because i cannot afford to buy him a new one right now (actually the next thing i'm going to do is post to my mommy group and see if anyone has one they can spare to give up for him...we are all about hand-me-downs, i tell ya!) the only shoes my kids own are because of nana (she's a bit shoe-happy)...and actually many of them are going to good will because they've outgrown so many. maeven has drawers FULL of clothes because of hand-me-downs (thank god!) and tyren is doing ok because of my mom buying things for him when he needs them...although the coat and long sleeved shirts are next on our list of things he needs...he's doing ok. could be worse.

and adam and i get clothes frequently for birthdays/xmas so we are doing mostly fine in that dept. hell, adam has a closet JAMMED FULL OF SHIRTS because he always gets shirts for gifts! but that's a good thing cuz he does wear them out fast.

and i made about $250 for our xmas this year since we know that besides adam's pay cut we won't be getting his bonus (usually about $1000 and more than covers xmas and all the current bills) so i ran an event and have been trying to do all i can with my websites so that i can make money for xmas...and now we are down to just $130 left of that xmas money cuz of various expenses, the biggest of which was our $75 car registration which i had to use xmas money to pay cuz we didn't have it elsewhere. so xmas is going to be tight this year. we're trying to keep all gifts under $20...and are making as much as we can to save further money.

*sigh* anyway...i think i've vented enough...you get the gist. we have had bad situations come up recently, but it's all going to be ok. it always is. i know this. and i feel better now that i've gotten it all out.

if you made it this far, thanks for "listening". :)

when all else fails, i have to remind myself that i know of people that have things worse, this mom, for example. :(

Sunday, December 07, 2008

i am NOT antisocial!

last night my darling husband (DH) accused me of being antisocial! ME! unbelievable! it was because we were at a family gathering (his family) for a birthday celebration and i wasn't, apparently, mingling to his satisfaction. he kept bugging me about it, presumably because he worried what his family would think. he drives me nuts sometimes! i was NOT being antisocial!

i think the reason i wasn't mixing and mingling as he would like for several reasons...one was that i was really very tired/sleepy and i'm not really sure why but i just was. another was that i was focusing on keeping my 3yr old in sight and from doing anything that would warrant a "NO!" from anyone but me. (i cannot stand it if someone else disciplines my children when i'm right there...so i try to keep an eagle eye on them as much as possible). my mother-in-laws condo (where we were celebrating) is really nice, and not super child-friendly in that there's plenty of things that a rambunctious 3yr old could mess with, so i wanted to keep the mood happy by keeping him out of trouble...he can wreak quite a bit of havoc in our own home and so i'm understandably watchful of him elsewhere. he actually did really good, but the eagle eye was necessary to keep it that way.

anyway, i also have been tending towards feeling less joyous at the noise and chaos of many family gatherings (although last night was actually pretty nice...not as raucous as other events have been...and come to think of it, thanksgiving actually was pretty nice too)...so for some reason its brought out the (well hidden) introvert in me lately. very weird for people that know me because i really am not an introvert, for the most part...but the louder the noise level, and the less comfortable i am in my surroundings, the more likely i am to revert to introvert. i'm actually ok with this. its not a problem, really. not everyone likes to be extroverted all the time...and i actually am finding some peace in pulling into myself during the times when i'm simply not feeling like "mingling".

i'm NOT being antisocial, for pete's sake! i just find a little peace in not jumping into every conversation going on in the room. i prefer to watch my children (keep them in check...because they absolutely respond to the noise level and chaos in part) and just veg sometimes. and dh pointing out this personality change just really bugged me last night!

i know its because he worries it will be interpreted as me being snotty or unfriendly to his family or something along those lines...but seriously, that's NOT what it was about! why can't i just be quiet sometimes? sheesh!

sure, i was sitting with my back to many of the chatters for a lot of the time...but that's because i was LOOKING AT MY CHILDREN! (mostly tyr) and there were people over in that direction i did chat with a little for part of the evening...and i did get involved in a tiny bit of the conversations in the rest of the room here and there...

anyway, i just don't like being accused of being antisocial, i guess. because i'm about as far from that as could possibly be, for the most part. and i'm ok with sometimes not being super life of the party because others hold the spotlight in different gatherings (actually, come to think of it, there's a LOT of really strong personalities in adam's family...so sometimes its just easier to take a step down). i'm not the sort that has to always be in the spotlight. i have my moments, sure...but usually those happen when i'm somewhere where i really know the people i'm demanding the spotlight from. otherwise it just seems rude and pushy and i don't like to have the spotlight that way. i constantly worry, then, if i'm annoying people. (because it has been known to happen on occasion, oh yes! LOL!)

so basically, i was fine with how last night went. i felt dh was making a problem where there wasn't one, and he just wasn't getting that. perhaps it was the vicodin talking. he's on pain killers due to having 2 of his wisdom teeth yanked friday.

now adam, he DOES tend to be the life of the party at his family gatherings...and frankly, at a lot of mine as well...which is funny because he's not like that with everyone. just where he feels comfortable. the rest of the time, he just sinks into the background and that tends to be normal for him. he pretty equally goes back and forth between life and wallflower depending on the crowd. and he seems really ok with it, its just how he is. and i'm ok with it too. i guess he just feels like something's wrong if i'm not out there mingling sufficiently. which is strange because as the years go by, i'm more and more comfortable just enjoying the gathering from a distance...i don't HAVE to be constantly talking with someone or being heard. i'm actually pretty happy with this because there was a time when i DID have to be more the life of the party. i've grown out of it, i guess.