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Friday, 23 February 2007
when it rains, it pours

I declare this week over. End it now, and give me a new one. This one just isn't working out for me.

Rob had to stay home Tuesday to work on our sump pump. Apparently, the pipe somewhere underground has ice frozen in it, so our water has no where to go. The pump tries, but fails. We had no water leakage yet, but Rob had to find a way to avoid it. So, he bought a second (battery back-up) pump and some more pipe, and fixed it. He had to cut the pipe and add a junction so that he can attach a hose to it if need be. So for the last few days, we've have a hose running out from under our garage door. Plus, the sump pump is louder now. But, if either pump fails, we have an alarm, and a way to deal with it now. $457. woo-hoo. Not.

We went out to the truck Wednesday after work and found that the plastic thingy back by the rear tire mud flaps thingys (Yes those are technical words) is broken. Either someone hit us, or we broke it going over some frozen snow drifts. Who knows? needs fixed.  $???

But first, we have to work on the car, so that we have something to drive while the truck is getting fixed. Last week in the worst of the snow, we were in the car and Rob noticed something wrong. I don't know exactly what that "something" is, but he's going to try to fix it with a fuel filter. It probably won't fix it, and we'll need a fuel pump, but a filter is much cheaper and he can do it himself, so we're trying it first.  $???

Anya appears to be teething. Last night she went to sleep at 7. She woke at 8:17 and nothing anyone tried could get her to sleep for longer than about 15 minutes. And most of the time she was awake, she was screaming. So Ally never got to sleep real well either. Usually Anya's night antics don't bother Ally, but the sump pump access is in the back of her closet and loud, and the baby started screaming before Ally got to sleep at all, so Ally never got to sleep deeply in the first place to be able to sleep through it. At about 2 am, I gave up on Anya and left her in her room to scream for a bit. I went to Ally who was yet again whining and thrashing around in her sleep (upstairs, which is the farthest from the noise I could take her) Rob went to get Anya because he couldn't take it anymore, and she settled down for him. I guess the novelty of it was enough to distract her and she fell askleep for him. But only after rocking for about half an hour. Then he waited another 15 minutes before putting her down. She woke at 5. Oh. My. God. I hate teeth. They're very over-rated. She doesn't seem to have any issues with her ears, but I'm not ruling that out as a cause yet, either. But I think it's the teeth. I gave her a frozen waffle to chew on this morning while I got Ally ready and she gnawed it up. She usually hates frozen waffles (which were Ally's favorite for a long time. She hated to have them cooked). I came in with Rob to take them to day care, dropped him off at work, and went home to nap. I came to work at 11:00. Rob is dead tired. I'm sure both children will be lots of fun this evening.

On President's Day, we went out and got Rob some more shirts he can wear to work. He needed them. Apparently, there was something in the wash with a bunch of his clothes and now most of his shirts have mysterious grease spots on them. My gues is his chapstick might have gotten in the laundry. It went missing the other day. We've washed them a couple times since then, and some of the spots are coming out, but I don't know if they will be salvagable. Dammit!

And I just sneezed on my keyboard. I better not be getting sick(er. I've had a cold forever)! I quit.

ps. And how could I have forgotten the ?mouse? that crawled into our wall in the bedroom and died. Stinky. And not anything we can do about it except wait it out, unless we want to rip the whole wall off and try to figure out where it is. Anyone have any better ideas?


Posted by ktjrdn at 13:16 CST
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Thursday, 22 February 2007
technically challenged

I'm an not idiot. I am a comuputer programmer. I had no computer schooling and managed to get and keep my job. I basically taught myself to program in a couple months and impressed both my boss and his boss. His boss tried his damndest to get my to turn down the job offer, becasue he didn't think I could do it. He came back later and apoligized. So - not an idiot, right?

Then why can't I work the reply button on my emails? Everytime I get a comment, I get and email that says "Name - Comment <comments@tripodblogs.com.bos.tripod.com> wrote:" I hit reply and type out my response. But if you'll look closely there, the email wasn't sent by the person. It was sent by the blog. 70% of the time, I forget to change the email address and end up getting an undeliverable message. I know it the instant I hit send and have to hit back, fix it and send it to the right address. Why can't I learn?


Posted by ktjrdn at 09:30 CST
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Tuesday, 20 February 2007
The secret to avoiding bankruptcy

OK, so a long time ago, I promised to outline what we've been doing to decrease our chances of going bankrupt in the near future. I've been lazy, but here it is. It's long and probably pretty boring, but what else is new?

We've been seriously watching the credit cards. I mean duh, that's a no-brainer, but not just the spending. We very rarely even use them anymore. For example. I think we've used them for 1 thing (Rob's glasses) since Christmas. For over a year now, we call every card once a month and get the to-date balance. We can them compare with last month and see if we're making progress, or not. Hopefully the progress we make will be noticable enough to inspire us to keep it up. Speaking of which, it's time to do that today.

We have a Excel spreadsheet which lists all cards, balances, APRs, expriation dates for the offers (everything is currently at 0% rate. We have to transfer them to another 0% card before they expire), etc. Anything that might be relevant. We review it all carefully every month. We pay 0% interest on a 5 figure debt. So at least, our monthly payments are making some difference instead of being eaten by interest. It's worth it to get anohter card with a introductory offer to save the interest payemnts. It's made a huge difference.

We call the credit card companies often and get them to lower the standard APR. Right now it's not applicable, since we don't have balances on them, or not at that rate, at least. But if it ever becomes an issue, we can start at the lower rate, instead of at the jacked up one. Also, we cancel cards that are no longer useful.

We've been doing this for over a year now, and it's making a difference. But, not enough. So our next step was to watch every single cent we spend. We've been getting receipts for absolutely everything we can and for those we can't, we're writing it down. Also via Excel, I'm tracking where our money is going. We started this in December (bad time to start what with Christmas and all) and we're starting to get an idea of where we need to cut expenses. The bad thing is, there just isn't a lot of room to actually do any cutting. I spend too much on the kids. We spend too much on groceries. We buy too many batteries - but that can't be avoided. We spend too much eating at work. Junk food and lunches. Also eating out. These things we can actually cut back on.

For the last 2 months, we have brought our lunch to work almost every single day. We've added low cost stuff like soup and spagettio's (shut up, I like them) to our menu. We've stopped buying most of our water from the vending machines. The water in fountains here sucks, so we have to buy it, but we started buying it at the grocery store and bringing it instead. That makes it $0.18 instead of $0.65. I drink at least 3 of them a day (plus what Rob drinks), so it eventually adds up.

In order to cut our grocery bill, we started making a supper menu each month. The more times we visit (the evil) Wal-mart, the more we spend, so if we can just stay out of the store, we'll save money. By planning a menu, 1) we're able to do at least 2 weeks of shopping at once 2) we eat healthier 3) we can plan enough so that we can take leftovers for lunch the next day. Plus, sometimes things come up and we don't eat what we had planned. When that happens, we can just carry forward our meals we didn't eat til the next month. It's kind of a pain in the ass to plan, but it saves money. As an added bonus, it saves a lot of time. Where previously, we'd stand around for an hour and ask each other what we wanted to eat, but then it was too late to actually cook anything or thaw something out, so we'd just have pizza delivered, we can come home and look at the menu and turn the oven on if needed. We can thaw everything the night before and supper time is much less rushed and stressful. And we know ahead of time whether or not Ally will throw a fit about supper and will need extra time to be coerced into eating.

You wouldn't believe how much less you buy when you have to be accountable for it. Just the thought of having to read "KT vending" on my spreadsheet stops me from going there most of the time. I even didn't buy any girl scout cookies this year. (Alhtough I did buy valentine's day candy on clearance. yummy sugar...) Every dollar spent is a conscious decision. Or at least that's the theory. We're still working on the practice, but it's helping a lot. And really? talking about our money and handling it together leads to far less fights. We talk about it all the time, but we're not so stressed out that we argue about it as much. I don't feel like I'm doing it all with no help, and Rob doesn't feel like he's being kept in the dark. We even consolidated checking accounts. In the past 12 years we've been dating/married, we've never had a joint account.

Anyway that's it. It seems that the secret to making headway on your debt is to pay attention to what you spend. Who'd thunk it?


Posted by ktjrdn at 13:51 CST
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When last I left you

...Rob was with his grandpa

He has now returned home. Grandpa is doing okay and will start physical therapy soon. He didn't do so great responding to the anesthesia. his blood sugar and blood pressure were both very out of whack and it wasn't going so good for a while, but both have rebounded and things look much better. Rob got home Monday around noon, and there was much rejoicing. I hate having him gone. Plus, he was pretty stressed out. His dad didn't get down there until Sunday afternoon, so Rob was there with his grandma and she didn't really know what was going on. Rob had to make sure things were going ok. He might even be made medical power-of-attorney. How's that for stressful? Anyway, we're probably going to have to all go down this coming weekend, so that he came help build a ramp into the house. Grandpa will probably be using a walker from now on. And all because he couldn't wait to take out the trash. I'm going to use that as an excuse the next time Rob yells at me for not taking out the trash. "But, honey, I could fall and break something!" I'm not sure he'll find it amusing.

...Ally was at my mom's and Naomi was with me

We got a lot of cleaning done. Naomi helped me straighten things up and entertained Anya while I did some actual cleaning. All the dishes are done. The laundry is not only done, but is put away. The bathroom has been scrubbed (except the floor. didn't get to that yet). and the floor vaccumed (I'm too lazy to look up how to spell that. (and if I hadn't typed that, you all would just assume it was yet another typo, because I don't bother to proof-read very much)) Naomi got bored and watched far too much tv, but it was pretty peaceful. I think she had a great time playing with Anya.

Ally returned home a little after 5. Mom had to drag her to the car crying, because she didn't want to come home. She tired herself out and didn't sleep enough over the weekend. She fell asleep halfway home. Mom laid her down on the couch where Anya promptly crawled over and smacked her in the face in her excitement to see her sister. Ally didn't wake up. After removing Anya, oh 10 times or so, I took Ally down to her bed to let her sleep a little. At 8:15, I decided that apparently Ally wasn't going to wake up. I went in and removed her pants and took her to the bathroom. She woke up just enough to do her business and then went right back to bed where she slept until 6 am.

... Anya had taken her first steps

Sunday she took a couple more steps one at a time. When Rob played hith her after day care last night, he walked her around the room. She let go and took 6 (SIX!!!) steps alone. She's been letting go and lurching forward at a steady pace. The day care even said she took a couple steps during the day yesterday. It won't be long. 

And last week dance class was cancelled because of the weather. We made up that class last night. Ally listened pretty well, and I was able to get some pictures. (Anya stayed home with Rob and yelled. He distracted her by sticking her in the bath. She pooped. Haha. So he had to empty, clean and wash her all over again. Not too much fun) They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so go look at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ktjrdn and get the short story. And I'm in the process of uploading some videos to youTube. Oh my god! They are so cute! Ally actually is getting the moves down and dancing now. You've got to go see them. But, um, they're not finished uploading yet, so you'll have to wait a bit. I'll even throw in a couple of me trying to get Anya's steps on video.

Oh yeah, and the day care sucks big hairy sweaty donkey balls. Bastards! Things are not looking good on that front.


Posted by ktjrdn at 10:15 CST
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Monday, 19 February 2007
At least she's listening to us

Conversation from a car #342

Ally: I got chocolate at dance!
Me: I know honey. That's because you listened tonight (minor truth stretching there, but she did listen more than usual)
Ally: Chocolate is candy.
Me: uh-huh
Ally: Chocolate is junk food.
Me: uh-huh
Ally: Sometimes we have chocolate for dinner.
Me: uh-huh. No wait. Chocolate isn't for dinner. It's just a treat.
Ally: oh. But if I brush my teeth, I won't get cavities!

Nice try, kid. I'm not buying it.


Posted by ktjrdn at 20:51 CST
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Sunday, 18 February 2007
Plague and pestilence (updated)

Ok, Friday, I got an email from my mom saying that Ally could come over sometime this weekend if I wanted. I was supposed to call her in the afternoon to set it up. Then, I got an email from Rob's mom. We knew she was going to Chicago to watch Rob's sister's kidsfor the week while she was out of town. Darra said they had nothing to do for the weekend and wanted to know if we wanted to come visit too. So we were talking about doing all kinds of stuff, maybe even going up to the Dells to a water park. Then, the emails stopped. After a while, Rob told me his mom had called him. I expected plans for the weekend. Well, I knoda got htem. They just weren't what I thought they'd be.

Rob's grandpa had fallen on te ice and broken a hip. He's not exactly young, and has diabetes, so this is a pretty major thing. Darra was with Grandma and supposed to leave for Chicago, but didn't want to leave them alone. Rob was going to help, but didn't know if it ould be better to go get the boys, or go take over for Darra. Rob's dad was still at work, and no one had any idea his plans. (The grandparents are Rob's dad's parents, but Darra lives in town with them and is very close to them still. She checks in with them all the time. They're still family to her) So it was pretty hectic at the time. Lots of cell phoning going on. Bob (Rob's dad) decided to grump about Darra being there and not having left for Chicago yet. He said he was staying at home (closer to Chicago) in case the weather prevented Darra from getting to the boys, maybe he'd be able to. Whatever. He actually didn't go down yet. He's supposed to later today.

Rob ended up driving down Friday night right after work. His mom stayed until everyone got settled in at the hospital late that night. His grandpa had surgery early Saturday morning. Everything seems to be going ok.  Bob is going down today and when he gets there, Rob will come back. I feel bad about not being there, because I love his grandparents, but I just don't know how much good I'd be wrangling the 2 kids. I'd just get in the way. So I stayed home. But the thought of being alone with both of them and no one to talk to, was enough to drive me nuts. So I went over to Moms and stayed all night. I left Allly there and Mom's bringing her back today. Naomi came home with me and has been helping me straighten up and keep Anya occupied.

It's pretty cute. Anya is chashing her around and Naomi just keeps picking her up and running her around the room. Anya loves it. She's also playing with her and making her laugh and holding her hands as she's walking around the room. Last night, Anya even took a step on her own. She was standing up and I held out a sock in front of her. The kid is obsessed with socks. She holds them in her hands while she crawls around. She rubs them while she's sucking her thumb. She even chews on them if she's teething. I have to make sure she has a clean on einstead of one from the laundry basket. Yuck. Anyway, the sock was incentive enough for her to try to walk. She took 2 steps just after that, but refused to stand up anymore after that.

(added) I just re-read this and realzed that I left something out. My title doesn't make a lot of sense with just Rob's grandpa and a distant cousin. But Rob's nephew had a bad weekend too. Darra got up there on Friday night/Saturday morning at 4 am. I guess he stayed up to wait for her. He has ?mild epilepsy? that is pretty much under control with medicine, but it's still pretty new. it wasn't that long ago that he started having seizures. Well, changes in routine, like sleeping patterns, trifgger them, and I guess he had a pretty bad one Saturday morning. He's ok now too.

Rob said also that his cousin (distant) got in an accident and has amnesia. How often does that happen outside of soap operas? Anyway. He said it's a bad time to be a member of our family. Bad things keep happening. Luckily it hasn't carried over to us yet.


Posted by ktjrdn at 07:35 CST
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Thursday, 15 February 2007
NEWSFLASH (updated)

Your peanut butter might not be safe.

 http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2007/NEW01563.html

Mine's not. Crap.

Rob's thoughts: "Of course, now they have quit making my brand of peanut butter. I should have seen it coming..."

Everything he has ever found and liked, they have discontinued. We can't even find the multi-flaovred packs of Cream-of-Wheat (no big loss to me) anymore. He's cursed

update: Both my jars are questionable, but we've eaten out of both of them already with no problems and I'm not tossing them out. I hope we will still be able to find our peanut butter at the store.


Posted by ktjrdn at 14:57 CST
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blah, blah, and more blah

I'm very tired. This week has worn me down, but I haven't posted much, so I fugured I'd at least try to drag my mind out of the fog and put some stuff in writing.

We got snow! Lots of it actually. The total I heard was 11.2 inches over the day Tuesday. We got sent home early from work. Then we had to park at the end of our driveway, because it had drifted so much. Lots of wind! Some of our yard was barely dusted with snow. The driveway was very drifty. We walked through it to the house and it was up to my mid-thighs. Of course, dance was cancelled, so Ally was sad, but she got to go outside for a while and that helped. Last night, Rob and Ally shoveled the neighbor's drive. His car was still buried. I even took Anya out for a bit. But Ally accidentally (I think) shoveled some snow in her face, and That. Was. It. Anya was done. By the time Rob got finished shoveling, we had quite a snow pile. Ally slid down on her butt some and then they got the sleds out. i guess Ally had a great time. I was inside with the little one most of the time. That's the one thing that I hate about having a baby and a toddler. There's just so many things that Anya can't do, so only one parent can take part in Ally's activities. I feel like we're both missing out on something, no matter who goes with which kid. Then I stop whining and realize how wonderful it is to have 2 kids. You just can't have it all though, you know?

Anyway, "A picture is worth a thousand words", right? So I'll stop typing about the snow now

The day care thing is on hold. Rob could work the hours necesary, by doing one 4 hour shift every week, or one 8 every other week. It actually would be good for us financially, since we're so dead-ass broke, but it would be nice for him not to have to do that. I hate not having him home at night. one of Ally's friends (Maggie) has been at the day care at least as long as Ally. Her parents (Sandy and Curt) haven't worked at Memorial for at least half that time, maybe more. So, technically, They shouldn't be there according to the rules as they are effective now. It seems as if there is a precedent for grandfathering in the enrollment terms. Also, there is a current requirement that all payments be withheld from hospital paychecks. We are exempted from that too. Maybe we have grounds for... hell, I don't know. Something. It just seems so confrontational to force them into something. They are supposed to have the kid's interests at heart, and in this case I'm not sure they do. Anyway. Sandy is going to talk to the HR person at the hospital (who is an old friend of hers) and the head of the day care and see where she stands. She's going to ask a few questions for me too. We'll see what happens. We were supposed to meet up at dance Tuesday and compare notes, but dance was canceled, so I'm still waiting. It's just maddening. I don't understand how they can just change the rules for people who were already enrolled. Rob's also going to see if there's anyone he can talk to at the hospital. grr.

Ally has this new thing where she tells us "That's disgusting" I don't know where she heard it, but she doesn't say it at supper or anything. Last night she said it when she saw a fish jump out of the water and eat a bird (Rob says it was a brand thing, like the MGM lion) Why was that disgusting? I have no idea. But it's cute to hear her say out of the blue.

Anya has been a bit of a butt lately. She's been very clingy and last night she went to bed extra early and was very restless all night. She might be getting some teeth. She's been doing better with sleeping, and will sometimes even put herself back to sleep without my interference, but I still usually have to get up with her at least once.  I'm usually not up for more than a minute or two, so it's much imporved. She's even slept all night once. Hopefully we're making progress. Aside for the tetehing thing that is. She's also gotten attached to her blanket. Well, sort of. She loves to hold hre blanket while she's sucking her thumb, but if the blanket isn't available, she'll gladly rub a sock instead. or a wet wipe. Or my shirt. In fact, she kinda prefers the other stuff for when she's crawling around, because the blanket gets stuck under her knees and makes her scream. just like everything else. This kid's got some lungs!

We had Monday off from work, and so Rob and I went out shopping. It's so hard to get anything done with the kids in tow, so we just ran around doing erands. Big mistake. We spent money. We also get this Monday off, and we have resolved to stay home in bed. Maybe I can even convince him to take the kids to day care. That would be nice.

I got Anya's 9 month pictures back and put a link up the other day, but I didn't say anything, so I don't know if you noticed. Go take a look. She can stand by herself, but is afraid to. Everytime she realizes she's standing she very slowly lowers herself back to the ground. You know, that or flings herself forward on her face. It's about 50-50. She chases Ally all around the room and laughs at her. Then tries to steal her toys. Which is about right, because Ally loves to do the same to her. Ya gotta love sisters.

Anything else you're dying to know? Ask away. You may just have to wake me up first


Posted by ktjrdn at 13:48 CST
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Tuesday, 13 February 2007
busted

Apparently: 

  • When I'm in trouble with my mom, she reverts back to using my maiden name.
  • My mom doesn't read parenthetical remarks (#6).
  • I am old enough that my mom has no ability to inspire guilt about things like that anymore.
  • I do, however, retain the ability to distinguish exactly what my mom is chastising me about strictly from the tone of her voice.
  • When I am called by my maiden name, I won't notice for a good 5-10 minutes.

 


Posted by ktjrdn at 11:16 CST
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Thursday, 8 February 2007
I want to cry

I have a couple times already today. I'm so mad and sad and feeling helpless, that I can't even think about it straight. I hate this. Why do I always want to cry when something doesn't work out. It's so childish.

Rob works part time (prn) at the hospital. Our day care was affiliated with the hospital. At the time we started there, Rob worked full time. Then he dropped down to prn to work for the ambulance. No problem. Last year, we got a notice that the day care was now directly run by Memorial (the hospital) and not just affiliated with it. No problem. Then we got a notice that the waiting list priorities were changing with full-time being first on the list and prn last (actually it wasn't even on the list). Anya had just been accepted, so it was kind of scary that they might back out of our agreement, but it worked out fine. This morning, we got a notice saying that all prn employees must work a minimum of 50 hours a quarter in order to retain eligibility for the day care. How can they do this? Rob doesn't come close to that now. He works 40 hours a week at his real job and at least a day or two with the ambulance. He doesn't have a lot of time left for the hospital. Especially as it pays the least. So, anyway. They're trying to kick us out. They start evaluating the second quarter and then will give 30 days. Most likely we will have to find a new place come July/August.

I am so upset by this. I love the place. Ally loves the place. She gets her feelings hurt by the littlest things. I can't even imagine making her leave all her friends and trying to settle in to another place. I've tried so hard to give her a stable life and things that she can count on for stability. How am I going to pull her out of that and take her someplace else? She's going to be so hurt. She doesn't adapt well to things like that. She still asks about her old dance class, and we haven't been there since at least November. And the only reason that she's settled into this one is that she knows 2 kids there (One of whose parents don't work at the hospital at all, so I wonder what they are going to do). How can they do this? Aren't day cares supposed to have the kids' best interests in mind? This is going to crush Ally.

She loves it there and they are by far the best option for care in town, I think. I had some issues with the first place I took Anya, but since she was only there for the 2 months I was waiting for a spot it wasn't too bad. I won't take the kids there permanently. I like the big centers bersus home day cares. I'm not judging anyone else's choices, but it works out best for our family. THe other centers don't look clean tome. They don't have a lot of space, and just don't feel right. Our day care has 3 or 4 separate playgrounds for the different age groups. It's big and spacious for hte kids to have enough room to run and play, The kids and teachers know us and love my kids already, and Ally is comfortable there. Anya probably would adjust pretty easily, but I odn't know. Maybe I should just take their asshat-ishness regarding this issue as a sign and walk away, but dammit I like it there, and I don't want to stress out my kids. I can't imagine causing Ally that sort of pain. I just keep thinking there's got to be something I can do. But I don't think there is. Rob could try to work the hours, but that sucks too. Take his time away from the kids in order to make the time they spend away from him during the week more bearable? It just sucks.

The best option I can see today is that maybe I can bring them to work with me. There is a day care in my building for state workers, but I dont' really like it either. They play downstairs in a big gym a lot. There is a playground outside, but isn't very big. All age kids are in one big room, separated into age groups by partitions. I've never toured it, but from what I've seen in the window, I don't like it. Regardless, I got on the waiting list today and will tour it tomorrow, just in case.

I'm so sad about this. I see how happy Ally is there , how much fun she has with all her friends, and it just makes me cry again.

Rob's not sure they can legally do this. When he took the prn position, the availablity of the day care center was a benefit. He says they shouldn't be able to rescind benefits without compensation, but I really don't think they would have changed their policy without looking at the legal aspects. I don't think we have a leg to stand on. He's going to review his employee handbook and stuff, but I'm not really hopeful.

I don't know what we're actually doing to do. Besides cry about it that is. if we have a day care switch coming up, I'm sure there will be a lot of crying in our future.


Posted by ktjrdn at 14:33 CST
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Wednesday, 7 February 2007
Lotto

A little over a year ago, I made a propsal to anyone with a winning lotto ticket. I'm going to renew it now. If you want to win the lottery and split it with me, I'll most definitely let you. I work with some of the Illinois lottery people and have some inside information. Well, not really. It's printed on the tickets, but if you don't buy one, you'll never know, right. It's almost inside info.

So anyway. Right now there's a game that has the best dds you'll robably ever get. Buy a $20 raffle ticket. They are only selling 500,000. Of those, 509 will win. 4 $1 million. 5 $500,000 and 500 $1,000. Oh yeah, and they're not adding and tickets to the drawing that were sold on ebay, so there probably won't even be 500,000 in the drawing. So if you're the type to do that sort of thing, go somewhere they sell tickets. Just ask for a raffle ticket. And then send it to me. I'll keep it safe for you. I promise. 


Posted by ktjrdn at 09:38 CST
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Dance hell

Ok, so last night was observation night at dance, right? I had this little fantasy in my head where Rob goes and holds Anya and we all watch while Ally dances with her friends and I can snap some gorgeous pictures of her trying her very hardest. Then we all go home and put the kids together, get a little action and have a full night's sleep.

When will I ever learn?

Ally was all kinds of wound up last night. I don't know how much speed they put in her snack at day care, but I'm pretty sure they did. Aya was cranky. Rob was tired and cranky (He worked a 24 hour shift at the ambulance Monday) We had a little over an hour to get the kids fed before dance, and it just wan't happening. Ally finally ended up with a pb&j sandwich, and we ran out the door. Her 2 day care friends that go to class with her didn't come. It was only her and 4 other (older) girls that she doesn't really know yet. She wasn't listening. The parents in the room distracted her even more. Anya wanted down to chase Ally the whole time. (I let her on the floor occasionally and she'd crawl a little bit. Then I'd grab her pants and she'd keep trying to crawl and just crawl in place for a hwile and get realy confused. It was actually kinda funny) Rob kept trying to jump in and discipline Ally, but I try to let her have 1 hour at dance where Rob and I aren't constantly correcting her. It seems like we're always telling her what to do, and I want to make dance free from that. Not that I want her to run wild, I do go in the class when I see that she's being crazy, but most of the time I let the teachers direct her. They keep her in line most of the time all by themselves.

Arggg. So, no pictures. I will do it sometime when Anya isn't with me and the class is going a little bit better. Maybe even before class sometime, when she's just running around the dance floor. I was thinking that her next set of JCPenney's pictures might be in a leotard. Oh, and she has a recital scheduled for the end of March at an old folks home. (You know, I'm glad that leotards are made the way they are. It at least keeps me from worrying that she'll pull up her dress and flash everyone.)

And I have to sell candy. WTF? She's 3! Well, they gave me the option, but leaned heavily toward expecting me to do it, and I didn't turn them down. People at my office will eat the candy bars, and it won't be hard to get rid of them at all, but still. 3 years old! So, if any of you want a candy bar, just stick your $1 in an envelope and mail it to me. I promise I'll send your candy bar to you right away.


Posted by ktjrdn at 09:31 CST
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Tuesday, 6 February 2007
I hate Mondays

Every Monday I feel compelled to write about the weekend. But, the weekend was either boring or we did 5 thousand things, so I never want to write on Monday. Then Tuesday comes around and I feel like I haven't kept the blog up-to date, and I (1) give in and write a boring post anyway, or (b) pretend the weekend never happened or (iii) go hide until Wednesday or Thursday or whenever I have something non-weekend related to share or whenever stuff piles up so much that I spill in all out in a horrible mish-mash of unrelated ideas. (FYI, I'm not sure where this post is going to fall on that scale but if past history tells me anything, the last one is the most likely)

Anyway, we did absolutely nothing this weekend. I didn't ever leave the house. I didn't even shower until 1:00 Sunday. Rob went to (the evil) Walmart once. We watched the Bears lose the Super Bowl. I'm not a football fan, and Sunday was probably the most football I've watched in the past 10 years combined. (tangent: I loved the Blockbuster mouse commercial. So funny)

Anya has claimed the remotes as her own. It wouldn't be so bad if she'd settle for one, but we give her one and she immediatley starts looking for the one we have stashed somewhere so that we can still operate the tv. She won't be satisfied with a decoy. So, um, if you come over to the house and want to watch tv, you should (a) watch out for destructo-baby and (2) bring a paper towel or seomthing to wipe the slobber off the remote first.

We have a stacking toy. It's kind of simpler than the stacking-rings-classic-baby-toy-that-everyone-on-earth-had-when-they-were-a-baby. The peices are different shapes with a indentation where the other shapes fit into them. Anya can. not. stand. to have it stacked for a single instant. IT MUST BE DESTROYED! Plus, she, for some reason, has taken it upon herself to single-handedly end the transportation monopoly that exists in our living room, by dismantling the train tracks themselves. (Well, not excatly single-handedly, She usually grabs and tosses with both hands while leaning her giganto-belly against the table for balance.) While I'm all for ending a monopoly, I've been trying to convince her that she needs to have alternative transportation available as well (And that she's gone a bit too far trying to eat the trains). By biting the heads of the Little People pilots in the airplane, she is not exactly encouraging the airlines to take over. What does she expect to happen? The shipping industry to take over? Uh, Anya, we're in the middle of central Illinois. Not so much water here, you know? (Although we do have one of these too) I guess it's a good thing we've got a couple of buses. (Oh, I just went looking for those links, and found some of the "exclusives" set that I just have to have think Ally needs. The Chirstmas, Birthday and Halloween ones are pretty neat. And how many trains sets can you possibly need. I think there are about 10 different kind on there)

Ally has a dance "observation night" tonight. I may actually be able to go in with my camera tonight. I usually don't want to disturb the calss, but tonight, it's only natural right? She's so cute in her little leotard trying to tap dance. So cute.

That's all I've got. I'm done.


Posted by ktjrdn at 14:54 CST
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Friday, 2 February 2007
Tag, I'm it!

weirdgirl tagged me for a "6 things you don't know about me" meme. This is hard. There's lots you don't know about me, but most of it's god-awful boring, or else I'd have written about it long ago. I've had to think about it for a couple days. So, without further ado, here's 6 more things you never wanted to know about me:

1. I used to have 2 tortoises. I kept them in a big converted display case. I even constructed a "underground" layer for them, since they are said to like to dig. When we moved, we had to get rid of the display case, because it was too big. They were just in a little 50 gallon aquarium. Then, I felt bad, so I'd take them outside to wander around in the fresh air. One day they ran away from me. I couldn't find them anywhere. Who wouldn't thought a tortoise could run away?

2. The thing that I hate most about summer is being cold. Everyone complains about being hot and turns the air conditioner up and then I sit and shiver. I bring a jacket with me just about everywhere in the summer.

3. I still dream about my first boyfriend occasionally. I haven't seen him in at least 8 years.

4. When I was in high school, a girl named Terri came to live with us for a while. She and her mom didn't get along well, so they were taking a break from each other. Terri heard a rumor one day that her boyfriend had slept with the home-ec teacher. She threw a fit and refused to go to class. They tried to send her home, but couldn't release her because they weren't able to get hold of my mom or hers. So instead, they came and got me and we got to go home together. I don't really know how that logic worked in their brains, but we took advantage of it. About a month later, Terri went to the nurse because she "had a headache" (i.e. didn't want to go to class). She couldn't lay down though, because I was on the cot sleeping. We hatched a plot. Terri said she was sick and had to go home, so they sent me with her again, and we went shopping instead. My high school was stupid.

5. I once dated a guy almost entirely because his dad was hot. I mean he was a nice guy and all, but I probably wouldn't have done it if I didn't like his dad. It didn't last long.

6. I used to wait tables. In college, I worked at the country club. Every month, they had a poker night for the men. One night, after I got off work I was invited to stay and play for a while with the 5 or 6 of them that were still there. They paid me $100 to play 3 hands of poker topless. Easiest money I've ever made. (um, hi Mom. Pretend you didn't see that.)

Most of the people who read my blog have either already done this meme, or don't have a blog of their own, so I won't tag anyone, but if you want, feel free to play along. If you don't have a blog, just leave a comment instead.


Posted by ktjrdn at 09:41 CST
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Thursday, 1 February 2007
Sometimes words just aren't enough

I took this picture at Thanksgiving at my grandparents' house. I wish I had a zoom lens on my camera. (Darra, it's web quality. I'll put the print quality one on the scrapbook web site tomorrow if you want it, but now it's time to go home)


Posted by ktjrdn at 15:28 CST
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"getting to know you again"

We went to my grandma's (My grandpa is still alive too, but for some reason, to me, it's always been "grandma's house") house this weekend. My neice Marley had her 5th birthday party there on Saturday. We made sure to go early so Ally could have lots of time to play. We knew that Christy's other kids were coming with mom later, but Marley was already there. It was great. My cousin Collin got there just as we did, and he is great! with the kids. He's 16, I think, and a boy (and his dad is one of those guys that thinks licking his fingers and then touching your glasses is funny. Uncle Rick, I still haven't forgiven you for that!). You'd think those 2 (3) things would prevent it, but he plays wonderfully with the kids (But when Ally told him she had to potty, that's where he drew the line. heh, heh). Love having him around! It was a very good day. Ally and Anya both really enjoyed themselves. And there was enough family around that Rob and I got some help to enjoy ourselves too. Anya even stood up for a while on her own completely unprompted.

But then my grandma said something to me that keeps coming back to me. She said "It's great getting to know you again" I kinda shrugged and agreed with her at the time, but it has really made me think about our relationship. I've really neglected them for a long time. My mom and grandparents haven't always had a good relationship, and I think that has kind of rubbed off on me. Then, for the longest time, Rob's schedule was so restricting that we hardly had time to visit our own parents, let alone our grandparents. Now that he is working like a normal person, we've decided to spend more time giving the kids a chance to get to know my grandparents. We visited in November and Ally amazed us with her pure exuberance for running through the countryside and throwing rocks in the pond. So we went back at Christmas. I don't think I've seen them this much since I was in high school. And maybe not that much then. I really want Ally and Anya to have the chance to make friends with their grandparents.

So in honor of my committment to making new memories, I've decided to share some of my old ones (with the disclaimer that my memory is horrible and my subconscious sometimes fills in the blanks. I may remember things wrong):

  • My mom used to have a rule that we couldn't buy any cereal that listed sugar as it's first ingredient. Grandma didn't have that rule. We alwasy had Apple Jacks at her house.
  • You never eat the Apple Jacks unless you've seen Grandma buy it yourself this visit. Or anything else, for that matter. Always check expiration dates.
  • I remember waking up in the morning, and going downstairs for breakfast. I'd always find Grandpa at the table (reading the paper? I don't know) drinking his coffee. Usually grandma was making bacon. Grandpa had sugar and creamer on the table in these old containers shaped like the old milk canisters. You kow, the old metal ones with handles on the sides. One was cream colored and one was brown. Those containers ARE Grandpa to me.
  • he'd always take my hand in his and in a real serious voice, ask me "So how is your dad?" His hands always seemed so big and strong. They dwarfed my little ones.
  • Grandma told me once that your hair wasn't clean unless it sqeaked after you washed it. She used to fold the ends over on another and rub them together to check for squeaks. I wonder if that's what the whole "squeaky clean" thing was based on?
  • Grandma always had candy hidden somewhere, especially in the cabinet in her headboard. That was one thing you never had to check the expiration on.
  • We used to hide Easter eggs in the front yard. I don't remember finding them, but I remember being old enough to hide them for the littler ones. There are some good hiding places on the front porch. The porch is raised off the ground a couple feet, with stairs leading up. On either side of the stairs, there is a brick wall under the porch. It has a pattern like a diamond made from missing bricks. There was always an egg in those.
  • I loved Grandma's front porch swing.
  • There was a huge tree in the front yard by the mailbox. Or at least I remember it as huge. At the bottom of the tree there was a hole for some reason. Everyone likes to tell the story of the day Grandma went to get the mail and saw a snake in the tree. She screamed her head off. Grandma is deathly afraid of snakes.
  • Grandma used to make everyone underpants. I don't know why, but it was her thing.  She doesn't sew as much anymore, but Ally has one pair that Grandma made her. It took her hours, she said. She used to be able to do it in 10 minutes or so. In fact, when Naomi was potty training (OMG that was around 7-8 years ago!!) she had an accident there and no extra panties, so Grandma just ran upstairs and made her some. Ta-da!
  • We used to play in the closets all the time. All three closets upstairs are very large. We used to turn them in to forts and clubhouess. You could only get in if you had the secret password. Once upon a time I found The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in there. It was my uncle Roger's. I had never read it before, and I think I stole it.
  • The bedrooms are upstairs and the family room was directly underneath the heating vents in one room. We used to sit in the bedroom after we were supposed to be asleep and listen to the older family talk throught the vent.
  • One day we pulled it up and found a Playboy that my uncle (Toader?) had hidden in there. It was the first Playboy I had ever seen. We didn't tell anyone.
  • Grandma had laundry in the basement. She had a laundry shute in the bathroom above it. It was great. In fact I want something like that in my next house. There was also a clothesline next to the chute (I think). My sister, cousins and I used to  slide down throught he chute and grab the line and climb down into the basement that way. It was our own private jungle gym. I don't think we were suposed to do it, so we had to try to be sneaky.
  • Grandpa had a dog named Ginger. She was one of the nicest dogs I can ever remember. She used to race the van or truck down the field every time we left the house.
  • I spent a lot of time at the bookstore that they ran. I could read anything I wanted as long as I was very careful not to damage the spine or bend the pages. Then, when I was done, they could still sell it. I was in heaven.
  • Grandma had an old computer (I'm talking old here. Dot-matrix printer and everything) that she sometimes let us play with. She had the original Print Shop and I loved playing with all the graphics. She even had extra graphics cds. Loved it.
  • Sometimes she'd let us get lunch from the gas station behind the building. They had these little fried mini-tacos there that I never had anywhere else. Now they sell all kinds of them in stores, but then, they were a rare treat.
  • The barn ALWAYS had kittens. you always had to search for them, but they were there. I wouldn't even begin to be able to count the number of kitten-searches we went on. And they were never inthe same place, because invariably, our searches made the mamas nervous and they would move soon after being discovered.
  • Grandma's phone number was on her license plate. Well, the last 4 at least. I can never forget it.
  • Church. Oh my God. Lots of church.
  • One day on the way to Sunday school, we stopped at the grocery store for treats. Grandma had her hands full and stuck a bag of M&Ms in her pocket to carry and forgot to pay for it. She found it during church and was mortified. We had to stop at the store on the way home to pay for it.

I could go on and on. In fact, it kinda looks like I already have. :) Grandma and Grandpa, I love you and I hope my kids will have a chance to make just as many memories of their own. And more.


Posted by ktjrdn at 11:07 CST
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Tuesday, 30 January 2007
If I get run over by a bus...

I went to get Anya's 9 months pictures taken yesterday. I was 4 days late. Oops. Anyway, as I was leaving Penney's, something caught my eye. So I disregarded Rob's impatient sighs and went closer to investigate. I found a  goldmine. Comfortable underwear - on CLEARANCE! I got 8 pair for $12.84. They're not the Victoria's Secret ones, but they're awful close. Yippee! So now if I get hit by a bus (but not killed*), not only wil I be wearing clean underwear, but they will have been purchased this century!

*Conversation between Rob and I last night:
K: I can't believe I found 8 pair of underwear for under $13. Now, if I die, they will find me in clean underwear.
R: No they won't. When you die, you'll shit yourself. Everybody does.
K: Ok, then, if I get hit by a bus, and don't die, but have to be rushed off to the hospital, where they have to undress me, they'll see that I have nice, pretty, clean underwear.
R: You didn't wash your old ones?
K: Maybe "clean" wasn't the word I was going for... How 'bout new?


Posted by ktjrdn at 09:38 CST
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sleep update

Damn it! Damn it! Damn it! Damn it! Damn it! Damn it! Damn it! Damn it! Damn it! Damn it! Damn it! Damn it! Damn it! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit!

FUCK


Posted by ktjrdn at 07:35 CST
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Friday, 26 January 2007
sleep update

Hey, I realie that I haven't really talked about sleep this week, and it's mostly because Anya has been up and down. Some days she sleeps ok and some she doesn't. She had a couple of days where she started waking up earlier, like 9 and then sleeping longer, but I really don't know what's going to happen night to night.

Wednesday was really good. I fed her a little early because she was cranky, and then we had to drive across town to pick up the truck (oil change). She fell asleep in the car and I put her to bed when we got home. I took a Benadry and then put Ally to bed and fell dead asleep on the couch. Rob says Anya yelled once, but I sure didn't hear her, and she stopped on her own. Then she woke up a little early to eat. She ususally does around 4:30, but ate around 3:45 that morning. Yuck. I can't get back to sleep real well after that, since I'm supposed to get up at 5. Still, I got some pretty good sleep.

So last night I was well rested. So you know what happened. And I still got to bed at 9. Anya again yelled once, but only one yell, and all I had to do was lay her down with her mobile on and go back to bed. She didn't get up this morning until 54:45 to eat. Yay for sleep. I hope it keeps up, but I've given up being real optimistic about it.


Posted by ktjrdn at 15:08 CST
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Thursday, 25 January 2007
not the sharpest crayon in the box

Not that she's not bright, but Ally is the most un-observant person I have ever known. It took her at least 15 minutes to notice her computer we got her for Christmas. She just walked around the room ignoring it. When we finally pointed it out to her, she said "Oh, that's my computer" Nice try kid, but we aren't fooled. She had no idea it was there.

Tuesday night, we went to dance. Anya wasn't in a real great mood, but we left her with Rob anyway. he called after about 10 minutes and asked me to come get her. She was screaming and he couldn't get her to stop. So I left Maggie's mom in charge of Anya and went to get her. We returned to dance and sat in the studio and watched Ally dance for the rest of the hour. We interacted with Ally many times and she never questioned Anya's being there. On the way home, she's just blabbering away when all of a sudden she stops and says "Hey, did Anya go to dance with us?" uh, no.

We have a little half wall by our stairs. A year or 2 ago, Ally had a blanket strung across it to the couch so she could have a little fort of her own. We took it down because she'd get back there and color the wall. There are still crayon marks there because I'm lazy. For at least 6 months, Ally's desk has faced that wall. So the other night, she was coloring at her desk. She yelled "Hey, someone colored on my wall!" (Rob and I both agreed that someone shouldn't have done that, and told her she was the someone who did it a long time ago. She didn't believe us. Not Ally! Ally wouldn't do something like that. She knows she shouldn't. So we asked who she thought did it. her answer? Grandma.) At least 6 months she's been staring at it. Over a year, it's been there! I hope she learns to look around more as she grows up.


Posted by ktjrdn at 14:50 CST
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