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Rage against the Mother Club

So I took the advice of friends and family seriously when it came to meeting others and trying to fit a group of friends here in our new town.  Most people told me to join a “mommy” group.  I was a little hesitant because in Huntsville, my friends were my friends because of our similarities.  Some had kids – some didn’t.  It didn’t matter either way though.  BUT- I’m up for joining groups if it helps me to meet people quicker.  For a few weeks, I was really put off that none of the groups would email me back.  Being a little prideful, I didn’t want to contact the same group twice – because come on – I don’t want to be begging for friends or anything.  The group that ended up contacting me back is called M@CC (I’m going to try and “code” the name because I don’t want someone looking for this group and landing in my blog) – Mothering as a C@reer Club.  A CAREER.  I….I just have so  many issues with this title.  First off – motherhood is not a career nor is it a hobby.  It’s not anything I was educated on, trained for, or am being paid at.  Therefore – NOT a career.  I think it’s more of a lifestyle choice if it deems such a title.  Joel didn’t really see why I was all up in arms about the  name of this group until our realtor asked if I found any groups to hang out with yet.  I said that I went to a playdate with the M@CC group.  She looked a little confused and I confessed that it was the “Mothering as a…*mumbled something incoherently*” She jumped in with “as a CAREER club – YES. Well.  I didn’t join that because I always had a career.”  And even though she did NOT mean this to  be mean or condescending, Joel immediately saw that why this title was so offensive to me.

I say all this to say that I have joined this group – except I haven’t done it officially because I haven’t paid my dues yet ($20/year) but I intend on joining.  They always send out an active monthly calendar that has multiple events every week so it offers a lot of freedom as to what events match up with Lila’s schedule.

I’m also saying all of this because last night I was pissed at this group.

There was a Mom’s Night Out scheduled for last night.  Even though I am an extrovert, I still am a little nervous about just showing up some place and being like HEY! Let’s hang out!  You know, because that’s weird. We finished dinner last night, I got all cute with HEELS and MAKEUP and HAIR.  I drove over to the restaurant where we were supposed to be having karaoke night (which I would not be participating in because I only karaoke once I REALLY know you.  That’s not first date material.) and hopefully having a few drinks.  I pull in the parking lot and was a little surprised by how empty the parking lot was.  Actually, it wasn’t empty but it was lacking a good number of SUVs and minivans.  So I walk in about 15 minutes late because I can’t be the new girl AND one of the first ones there but I don’t see any tables of women hanging out.  Except one.  It’s a booth with 4 women sitting at it.  I frantically called Joel and was like “Um, what do I do?!?” So I hung up and went over there and asked the first lady who  made eye contact with me if they were from the M@CC group.  She responded no and I frantically apologized and jetted back to the safety of my car.  I checked my email again for the 15th time that night but there was no response to my RSVP or any notice they had cancelled.

I called Joel and told him that I was on my way home but I was going to be stopping to get a milkshake and some onion rings first.

Emotions varied from annoyance to anger to sadness to bitter.  An actual thought I had – “Screw you b*#$^%@! I’ve got a milkshake and an episode of Dateline murder mysteries on my DVR – I DON’T NEED YOU.”  What is so frustrating is that because I haven’t paid my dues BECAUSE THEY KEEP CANCELLING THE EVENTS I GO TO (this is the second event cancelled that I was not notified about but thankfully didn’t go to the other one since it was a 45 min drive from my house) I don’t have any way of contacting anyone except for an email address to one girl who I like a lot but this is NOT OK.

She wrote me an email at about 1am that stated the event was cancelled (what?! no way!) and that she hoped I stayed home (nope!) since she didn’t email me back.  I’m just frustrated.  Frustrated with the lack of everything with this group.  This cannot be normal for mom groups, right??

How 14 cents cost me 95 dollars

Having your mail forwarded from your old address can sometimes make bills late or close to the deadline.  Not a big deal for us because we  pay everything online and our bank account has a monthly reminder function so it notifies us with “ahem, your mortgage is about to come up”  or whatever so that we know to be looking either for the paper bill to come in the mail (for things that fluctuate like utilities).  We got a notice from Huntsville Utilities which was very close to the due date thanks to the mail forwarding service.  In BOLD CAPITAL LETTERS it yelled at us and told us that this was our FINAL NOTICE to pay our monthly bill and how they were going to cut off our service because we didn’t pay the month before.  Well, Joel did pay the bill the month before but apparently when typing it into the bank account, he was 14 cents short of the entire bill.  I thought all of this was odd considering this was actually our first notice, but whatever.  I’m not one to get in a tizzy about how many bills they think they’ve sent. Plus, it’s FOURTEEN cents.  I promise I’m good for 14 cents (plus the additional $.01 in late charges for a total of $0.15).

Joel paid it within a few days and all was settled.  Or so I thought.

About a week or so later (I can’t actually remember how long it had been just that it hadn’t been long), we get a notice from our alarm company (which is run by my parents) that we had a power outage.  I looked up the power outages in Huntsville and didn’t see anything in our area, but assumed they were working in the area or maybe a tree fell.  No biggie.  But then the power didn’t come back on.  So I told Joel and he called Huntsville Utilities and the lady was so apologetic about how it’s an automated system with the angry lettering and threats BUT it’s also an automatic system to cut your power off.  Once again, no big deal.  The lady was so nice and said the power would be back on in the morning.

Fast forward a month and we received a bill for this past month.  I’ve been looking for the bill because I’m curious how low our bill can go with no one living there.  As I examined it, I noticed a $95 miscellaneous fee.  Pretty sure there shouldn’t be any miscellaneous fees on my utilities bill.  Turns out it costs NINETY-FIVE FREAKIN DOLLARS to turn your power back on.  Joel and I were both livid – hell, I’m still livid.  But they wouldn’t budge on the fee.  I’m sure it cost Huntsville Utilities $95 to push a button and get my power back on.

Moral of the story?  Never be $.14 short of your bills.

Family Matters

My parents came to visit about a week ago and stayed for a long weekend.  It was really great to have them here, mainly because it was nice seeing some familiar faces.  However – and I feel this way whenever either of our parents visit – I was also glad to see them go. —I don’t feel this way when Joel’s siblings stay with us (and we usually have one of his college-age brothers live with us during the summers) and, in fact, I ADORE it when they are with us.  Maybe it’s because I still feel like *I’m* in charge ?  I’m not sure.

I love hanging around with family, and I adore watching them interact with Lila.  Plus the free babysitter aspect is also wonderful.  But at the end of the day, I want everyone to leave so we can have our own family time.  Joel only gets to see Lila for about an hour a day (yeah, Lila goes to sleep by 6:45 pm every night).  We have a definite routine every night – dinner done by 6:15, Joel gives Lila a bath (while I clean up the kitchen), then I go put her to bed (while he finishes the kitchen if needed), and then finally we get to hang out.  When either of our parents are here, our routine gets disrupted, which isn’t a big deal in the scheme of things, except that I don’t ever feel like I get that “down time” that I need.  Plus, they aren’t that big of a help with the baby, which is frustrating.  Lila is still little and neither of our parents KNOWS her enough to know that when she starts shaking her head “No” when eating that she isn’t done eating, she’s just done with that one thing and wants something else.  And this baby is SO skinny (because she won’t sit still OMG) that we really have to shovel food in her all the time.

I wish our parents lived closer so they could have shorter visits more often.

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In completely other news – I signed up for the latest CDP exchange!  And you should too!  Just go to this link and read all about it:

http://amdoingmybest.blogspot.com/2013/03/crappy-day-pckage-exchnge-2013-2.html

The more the merrier 🙂

Everyday’s a Weekend

So today is Joel’s last day of work.  Officially.  He put in his 4 weeks notice a month ago and now we prep to move.

Oh yeah.  We’re moving.  Kinda forgot to mention that here.

I feel like I’ve been absent a lot from blogging because so much has been happening that I wasn’t sure if I should be posting on the internet for all the world to see.  But (obviously), Joel quitting his job isn’t a secret anymore.  Mid-January we will be moving to Terre Haute, Indiana.  It’s a small city about 45 min west of Indianapolis.  It has a good bit of charm, but overall the city seems average at best.  It’s not Huntsville, that’s for sure.  BUT, the countryside is absolutely stunning.  Who knew that Southern Indiana has gorgeous hills and luscious greenery.  It reminds me a lot of Kentucky, for those of you who might be more familiar with that area.

It’s a couple hours farther away from our families which wasn’t really ideal (but right now they are all driving me crazy so it’s seeming like a GREAT idea at the moment).  We’ll be about 4 hours from Chicago and 3 from St. Louis (where one of Joel’s best friends live and where my best friend’s in-laws live).  I don’t think this is a permanent move for us; our dream area to settle in is the Franklin/Nashville, TN area.  If we are going to be moving around, I want to do it while Lila is so young and not in school yet.  Although we don’t really plan to move a lot.  Joel moved a LOT growing up.  I think by the time he graduated high school at 17, he moved over 20 times.  Whereas my parents still live in the same house since I was 1.  We’d like to end up more like my family and settling early because we both see a lot of benefits of having a community and making life-long friends.

So with Joel not working, he’s going to be here.  All day.  Every day.  While this is awesome in the fact that we can go out to dinner or to a movie whenever our babysitter can watch the baby and I can finally go to the gym/have alone time, I have a feeling that he’s going to go stir crazy within days.  Either that or he’s going to drive me crazy.  We’ll see.  Right now we are just excited that he has 7 weeks until his new job.  At least someone will be home to help me clean and get ready for showings for the house (if we could ever get one, anyway).  This weekend I told him that everyday is going to be like Saturday to him – we can cook breakfast, hang out, play with the baby, do necessary chores, etc.  We don’t have many places we have to be and we can do it all in our time schedule.  I’m going to try and start forgetting what day it is, much like I do in the summer.

Baby Wiser

Child of the Corn

When I was pregnant, a couple of my friends mentioned Baby Wise to me.  Having only heard negative things about the ideology, I brushed it off.  But then I actually talked to these friends and got some real-life examples of how they schedule their days out and how Baby Wise helped them, I became interested.  I began reading and researching and decided to implement this with Lila.  It turns out that people who hate BW are the ones who haven’t read it.

If Lila is the best thing to happen to me, then Baby Wise might be the second best thing to happen to me.

I joke about this, but seriously, putting her on a schedule has been fantastic.  BW isn’t for every baby or every mother, but I’ve yet to find someone who it just didn’t work for at all.  At 8 weeks, Lila was sleeping 8-9 hours a night – no middle of the night feedings or dreamfeedings.  Now at 6 months, she eats dinner at 7:30, falls asleep by 8, and wakes up at about 6:30 and eats around 7.  She naps 2-3 times a day, with at least two 2.5 hour naps during the day and maybe a quick one before dinner.  Have the benefits been awesome?  YES.  We have reaped the rewards.

It’s also been a life saver for my sanity because now I know our schedule for each day.  I know when she naps and when she’s going to be awake for awhile so I can plan our outings/errands accordingly.  With her being so well rested, she’s in a great mood 98% of the time.  All of her needs are met, and she’s just the happiest baby.  This has also been great for Joel because he can be just as assertive and active in parenting when I’m not here.

Here are some of the false claims made by non-Baby Wise parents:

  • They starve their children!
    –False.  Yes, Lila eats on a feeding schedule but if she’s hungry, then I feed her.  She’s gone through 2 growth spurts and was fed about every 2-3 hours (she’s been on a four hour schedule for a few months now).  The book tells you to feed your child when she’s hungry.  At the end of the day, you HAVE to watch your baby’s signals in order for her to be satisfied.
  • This doesn’t work if you breastfeed your kid!
    –Nope.  Lila goes 12 hours between feedings.  Someone (a family member, ahem) told me that breastfed babies can’t go more than 8-9 hours before they need to be fed until they are weaned.  Not true.  At least in my case.
  • They don’t respond to their baby’s cries!
    –False.  Instead, whenever she cries, I’m able to know that more than likely, it ISN’T hunger that’s causing her pain.  Maybe it’s gas or just being tired.  Lila also hasn’t been a normal baby in her crying.  She rarely cries, and I think that’s because I’ve been able to anticipate what she needs next.  When it gets close to her needing to be fed, I keep an eye on the monitor and wait for her to wake up so I can feed her.  She doesn’t have to cry to get my attention.
  • They believe in crying it out!
    –Yes…BUT, it’s not like you just abandon your kid in the room and say “Suck it up!”  Lila never had crying issues when going to sleep, except for one night.  She cried for about 10 minutes, but it was because she was SO exhausted she couldn’t get to sleep.  This was one of those times where I was kicking myself for getting waaay off schedule.
  • You have to wake your baby up from naps!!
    –YES, I have to do this but that’s because Lila would sleep her life away if I let her.  When she was a newborn, I would wake her every 3.5 hrs in order to feed her and hope she would stay awake the entire feeding.
  • You force your child to go to sleep!
    –Lila has a party personality and doesn’t want to miss out on anything.  She is her mother’s child, what can I say?  So, because of this, I have to go lay her down in her bed, swaddle her up, and basically give her permission to fall asleep.  My mother-in-law was visiting and I think she just wanted to see if Lila would fall asleep when she was tired.  So she didn’t put Lila down when she needed to and Lila went full force until there was a complete breakdown of exhaustion.  I’m a big believer that kids need naps, and I truly believe that MY kid needs to nap.

Though the actual Baby Wise book doesn’t have ALL the answers, I found that this website does.  Baby Wise Mom has been an awesome resource and such an encouragement to know that other kids are having sleep regressions or teething issues.  The lady who writes this blog has read almost all the baby sleeping books out there so she gives all the views at times, so that’s been a great resource.  It turns out that BW is a LOT like Baby Whisperer, but somehow Baby Whisperer has a better reputation than Baby Wise.

Of course, I write this post and watch her have sleep issues tonight.  Children always know how to make you eat your words.

Where to now?

So Joel hates his job.  This has been an ongoing issue for quite some time now; however, I wasn’t let into all of this until after I had Lila.  Joel would leave for work in the mornings saying, “You know what would be the best thing to happen to me today? They could fire me with a severance package.”  As you can imagine, it was SO COMFORTING to hear this as I held a newborn baby in my arms.  Anyway, Joel is dying to move ASAP while I try and nail my feet to the floor.  I am not a big fan of change, and have only changed cities 3 times in my life.  Joel is on the opposite end of that – by the time he was 17, he had lived in 20 different houses.  My parents still live in the same house since I was one.  Anyway, when we moved here, we never expected Huntsville to be a forever home, but now….I kinda want it to be our forever home.  But it just isn’t an option anymore.  My top cities I’d like to move to don’t have jobs posted for his profession.  BUT, we’ve found out that just by emailing others in the profession in that city, he can usually find a lead on a job that maybe hasn’t been posted yet.

Here’s where I need your help.

I need some ideas of places to move.  Here are some of my preferences:

  • Size – Ideally it’d be a little larger than Huntsville but smaller than a major city like Memphis or Atlanta.  I want there to be plenty of options of things to do on the weekend (and during the week for me while I’m at home with Lila), but without the 30 minute commute to run to the grocery store.
  • Location – Our family is in the South, so I prefer to stay somewhere in this area. But, as Joel and I have contemplated, it could be fun to live in a place out west just for a few years and then move back here once we want to get settled and have Lila in school.  Besides, I’m a Southerner at heart; I don’t know how to live out West.
  • Climate – um, here’s where I adore the South.  We don’t handle the cold very well.  Joel acts like it’s no big deal to throw a coat on, but let me tell you – homeboy is MISERABLE in the cold. He grew up in Fiji and in the Philippines for heaven’s sake.  He prefers to wear flip flops year round (which isn’t realistic).

Joel is in desperation mode and is willing to move anywhere.  This next city doesn’t have to be a forever home and could be just a transition city – WHICH COULD BE FUN (I keep repeating this over and over to myself).  However, I don’t want to get settled into another city and then be reluctant to move again.  Plus, it’d be almost impossible to take a quick trip to the beach or even visit our families if we were living somewhere like Denver.  I feel like the world is my oyster, but it’s a little overwhelming to look at a map and try to find out information about a city.

Any suggestions?  Where have you visited that you thought would be a great place to live?  The Carolinas?  Any places we should avoid?

My Favorite Things: (Early) Baby Edition

I LOVE reading about what people have recently purchased and what products they love.  Whether it’s household items or personal beauty products, I love reading about REAL people using the products.  There are so many things out there and no matter how many Amazon reviews I read, it’s nice knowing that these products are being used in houses next door (theoretically…because I don’t have a clue what the people next door to me are using…).

ANYWAY, this starts off my post of Favorite Things: (Early) Baby Edition

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This is the one item I cannot function without.  It sounds crazy – do I REALLY need a timer to tell me things?  Answer – YES. YES, I do.  The Itzbeen Baby Care Timer is one of the best gifts I was given.  Every time I feed Lila, I hit the bottle button.  It then times the hours until her next feeding.  This was AWESOME for the middle of the night feedings because when I woke up in the morning for the next feeding, I could barely remember my name, not to mention what time I woke up to feed the baby.  I was advised to feed the baby every 3 hours, which was forcing me to wake her up for almost every feeding, but at least I was able to keep her on schedule.  This timer was also great for me as I timed her sleeping schedule.  It was comforting to see the hours get longer and longer on the sleep button.  Also, this timer is what clued me in that Lila was transitioning to a 4 hour feeding schedule.  The great part about this is that it also has a night light (hello night feedings!), a switch to help remind you which breast to start with (if you are nursing your child), and it has this great 4th button, which I use as a medicine timer.  I have also dropped this numerous times and it still works.  When/if it quits working, I will be in my car on my way to the nearest Babies R Us (although it is cheaper at Amazon) to pick one up ASAP.  What I LOVE about this is that I am able to anticipate when she’s about to wake up, eat, go to sleep, etc. which really makes my life a lot easier.  Bonus – Joel is also able to take a glance at the timer and tell why she is fussing (time for sleep or time to eat), which allows me to go run errands or take a nap with no worries about the baby.

Yes, this monitor is expensive, but boy oh boy, it is worth every penny.  A friend of mine bought this and LOVED it.  Before we ended up buying one, I really debated about whether or not a video monitor was even necessary.  In the end, we decided to go with it and I am so glad we did.  The Summer Infant Monitor is absolutely fantastic.  I’m able to know exactly when Lila is sleeping, talking and hanging out, and when she’s talking in her sleep.  When she cries, I can flip on the screen and tell if she’s unswaddled or is frustrated because she can roll over.  We take this monitor with us on vacation because it really is light weight and easy to pack.  One of the biggest draws to it, is seeing how my friend uses it with her toddler who recently got moved upstairs and is in a “big boy” bed.  She’s able to talk to him through the monitor and tell him to quit playing with his toys and get back in bed.  Spying on my kid?  Awesome.

When you have a gigantic baby, those cute little receiving blankets are pretty worthless as swaddle blankets.  One of my L & D nurses advised me to “borrow” some of the flannel hospital blankets because they are MUCH bigger than those others I had.  Soon, those became too small.  Not only that, but my baby was sweating through them and was waking up all sweaty and wet in the mornings.  So I splurged and bought the aden + anais blankets, even though I was a little nervous about the price tag for blankets.  These blankets are magic.  They are huge (a little bigger than the ones found at Target and Babies R Us actually) and completely are able to swaddle Lila even as she approaches the 6 month mark.  They are extremely soft and only get softer as I wash them.  I also love that there are four of them because I can have her sleeping in her swaddle while washing the others.  Because the blankets are so light weight, I used them all summer to tuck Lila in when she was sleeping in the car seat OR as a car seat cover when we would go places and I didn’t want people to talk/touch her.  There are so many prints and patterns that I love, and I know I’ll have to get another set with the next baby because Lila will probably wear these out in the next few years.

This sleep positioner was given as a hand-me-down and I adore it!  I wanted one but couldn’t ever find one at Babies R Us or Amazon, but this is because I didn’t know what in the world they were called.  This is the Munchkin Cool Flow Back Positioner, which is apparently discontinued (definitely saving this one for the next kid!) but I know there are tons of others out there like this one.  Before she was able to roll over on her own, we used this all the time.  Lila originally wanted to sleep on her side, BUT she needed to be swaddled because she was such a spaz and would startle herself awake if left free.  We swaddled her and put her on her back in between these triangles and she was instantly able to sleep anywhere – the bassinet, crib, couch, bed, etc.  Whenever we traveled to people’s houses for a day or late night out, we would take the positioner.  We could lay Lila on any bed with complete assurance she wouldn’t go anywhere.

So these are the items I desperately needed for the first few months and would make awesome shower gifts to anyone having a baby any time soon.