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ktjrdn at yahoo dot com

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Monday, 12 March 2007
concerts, babysitting, and birthday parties

That was our weekend, in order.

The concert:
Friday, my mom emailed me to say that John Prine was going to be playing at the college in town. (Do any of you know John Prine?) I was thrilled. She wanted to go but didn't know if I could go with her, and didn't know about a babysitter for my sister's kids. Rob said it was okay. the concert didn't start until 8 and he said he could handle bedtime alone. (I love him for that). So I called her. She was waffling back and forth. The tickets were expensive, and the drive over and the babysitter... but I nagged her and nagged her and she finally gave in.

A little backstory: When I was growing up, my mom was married to Terry. We lived with him from the time I was 5 til about 11 or so. So, most of the childhood I remember was spent with him. He stars in some of the best memories I have and almost all of the worst ones. He was a real asshole, but could be great. It was almost like he had a split personality. Dr Jeckl and Mr Hyde (I'm too lazy to look up the spelling of that) You know that old saying "When she was good she was very, very good, But when she was bad she was horrid." That was Terry. John Prine was part of the very very good.

Terry used to get out his guitar some nights and play and sing some nights. We had a bunch of records in milk crates in our living room. The record player was in our entertainment center which was an old dresser that had been converted. The drawer front lifted up and you could slide out the record player. He used to put on a record and plya along and sing and it was the best feeling in the world. It was home. It was family. Mostly we listened to John Prine and to Billy Joel. I remember Christmas in Prison and Sweet Revenge and Sam Stone and Please don't bury me and really lots more of John Prine's (and Uptown Girl mostly, of Joel's) So he reminds me of lots of good memories growing up. (I tried to find some of the music clips, but only found this site which is having trouble loading for me, but maybe not for you. plus, I didn't look very hard: I have the CD.

The concert wasn't disappointing. Maura OConnell  (Who I had never heard of) opened, and has a great voice. Wonderful. Then John Prine came out and sang. He was very relaxed about it all and seemed really at home on the stage. He talked through some of it and had us both laughing many times. At one point, there were people yelling out requests for certain songs, and he turned around (he was taking a drink from the table behind him) and laughed and said "Yeah, I know them all" His music is pretty simple and mostly guitar. Until he starts singing, it's kinda hard to tell what song it is. He was playing the intro once and someone started clapping like they knew what song was coming and liked it. he stopped and laughed and said "I've got 5 songs that start like this" Then later, he played one and said "See, this is another one". I could go on more, but really, you had to be there. I was so glad I was. it's good to remember the good things from my childhood. Plus, there were a lot of songs that I hadn't heard before (He's written a lot since I was 10, and I haven't bouight any of his CD's for at least 18 years).

Plus, as an added bonus, the kids gave Rob very little trouble, so I didn't have to feel guilty about leaving them.

Babysitting:
Last week, I told Maggie's mom, Sandy, that if she needed a babysitter, to call me. Her husband's birthday was coming up, and they wanted to go out. Well, she called. So Saturday, after nap Maggie came over (about 3:15) while her parents went out for a movie and dinner. They came to get her at 8. Now, Maggie has been with Ally in day care since she was enrolled back in Jan 2006. I have watched them grow up together. I know Maggie. So I was prepared for a high-energy day. She's a little hellion. In a good way, most of the time. But I had no idea how to deal with some of the stuff that came up. This was really our first playdate without the other kids' parents around. I just looked at Rob with a helpless plea once and he said "You can put her in time-out too, you know" It had honestly never occurred to me. So Maggie and Ally had arguments a couple times, and Maggie broke a few rules and Ally broke a few rules, and they both sat in time-out once or twice, but it went well overall. They played outside on the swings. Maggie convinced Ally to climb up to the tower so the sharks wouldn't get her. They came in and played insturment (drums and trumpet and recorder and whistle and lots of loud stuff) They took turns making Anya laugh. They ganged up on her because she's just a "baby." Eww. They played in the play kitchen. I gave them some stickers and stamps (and they argued over whther a sticker was pink or red. How do you convince two 3-year-olds that it doesn't matter? I just couldn't see putting them in time-out for arguing over a color! but I couldn't get them stopped. So I tried the whole "Hey, look over here at this completely different thing!" tactic) It will be a while until I schedule something that long again though. It wiped all my energy. But Ally loved it. And I think Maggie had a good time too. I hope.

Birthday Party:
My niece's birthday in Wednesday. Alyse will be 1 year old. She looks  just like her brother. tall and skinny. We had the party over at my dad's restaurant (it was closed) and all had a good time. Anya LOVED the balloons, and chased them around. She kept trying to pick up more than one and dropping them both. She wakled almost everywhere. And she kept returning to Rob. She's been very cuddly with him lately, and it makes me so happy. Not just because it gives me a break or a chance to play with Ally, but because it's nice that he's able to be home more now and have this kind of time with the kids. Althought the break is nice for me too. i look at Anya and think she looks so big and that she's growing up so fast. but then next to Alyse, she looked like a baby. Anya is shorter and much fatter, so she just looks much younger. But Alyse is just wearing 12 months clothes and very comfortable. Anya's are getting tight already. She will be in 18 months clothes before long. She's solid. Oh, and she loves ice cream. It was a gorgeous day out and we all had a good time. Ally wouldn't take a nap on the way over, so we left when she was starting to get a little sleepy and the kids both slept most of the way home. Ally continued her nap when we got home and we had a quiet evening. (and then Roba nd I had some fun to finish off the day)

I'd have to say that, in retrospect, all in all it was a perfect weekend.


Posted by ktjrdn at 10:41 CDT
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Friday, 9 March 2007
malpractice

There is an article about a woman who is sueing planned parenthood for a failed abortion. She instead gave birth to a healthy child.  http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070307/ap_on_re_us/abortion_lawsuit;_ylt=AgjnIZ0RhMEn4hUSpMTfOEgDW7oF  I read about it over at mamdrama yesterday.  There are a lot of people over there who think she has no right to sue, but I think there are 2 sides to see here. So, I wanted to talk about it a bit more.

<disclaimer> I'm forming this opinion on the basis of a news story. I, of course, have no more details myself, and am just experessing the thoughts and feelings that story evoked in my mind. The full story might have information that would make me change my mind, or might show that the newspapers completely changed the tone of what was happening to suit their story. Not that that has ever happened. I'm assuming the "facts" as reported by the story are true. <end disclaimer>

My first reaction to this was horror. Why would she possibly sue? She has a healthy baby, and does she know what mental damage this is going to do to that little girl? She could have just given the baby up for adoption if she didn't want to raise it. Yeah, sue to get her money back for the abortion, and the costs of delivery and stuff, but the cost of raising the kid? That's a bit much, don't you think? Poor kid. There are so many people out there who'd love to have a healthy baby to raise.

But I got to talking about it with my husband last night and realized some things. This looks like a CLEAR case of medical malpractice. I think I should say here that I'm pro-choice. I don't really think that has much bearing on the issue at all, because right now abortion is legal. She had the legal right to request an abortion and expect that it be carried out. The doctors had a responsibility to carry out the services that they were paid for. That didn't happen. They were negligent.

Whether or not this lady loves her baby is not the issue. She determined (responsibly, in my opinion) that she was not going to raise a child if she wasn't able to provide for it financially. Can you imagine how hard that decision would be to make? And then to make it and have that decision reversed by a simple screw-up outside of your control? And then to have another doctor not notice? And to everyone who says "just do adoption": how hard it would be to give up your child after you've given birth? To know that someone else is raising your kid and she's out there somewhere? just because of a screw-up? They've taken away any possiblity of putting the "abortion" in her past and given her a very difficult choice to make. She either has to 1)give up her child, or 2)try to raise her knowing that she is unable to provide for her financially, or 3)sue to try and change that fact, and raise her child anyway and find a way to explain it to her child later. Would it be better for her not to get any money and live on welfare?

Some say that she shouldn't have gotten pregnant in the first place, and to that I say, "Well, duh!" But how many times has that happened? I know for a fact that I was un-planned. I hadn't planned on having Anya for about another 6 months. She came earlier. i love her more than I could have ever imagined. Sometimes, things don't work out like you plan. You try to deal with them the best you can. She's trying to raise her daughter. We can't assume that there is no love, just because the baby wasn't planned. Or even just because she was going to have an abortion.

By sueing, she's not only going to be compensated for the cost of raising the kid, she's assuring that those inept doctors won't kill someone else with their "mistakes". (I can't believe I just advocated sueing someone. I normally hate our lawyer-happy culture - especially on the subject of malpractice!) They should have their licenses taken away. This is the only way to acheive that.

And now she's going to raise her kid, even though she wasn't in a financial position to do so. It wasn't her choice to have a kid in the first place, but that doesn't mean she doesn't love it. And it doesn't mean she should be hated. It could just mean that she wants to be able to provide a good life for her kid.

of course, I could be wrong and she's just a money-grubbing loser sueing because she can...

And now, I'll step away from the keyboard... Please don't kill me...


Posted by ktjrdn at 09:03 CST
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Wednesday, 7 March 2007
neener, neener, neener!

I've noticed something odd. I compete with Anya's daycare teachers. I brag to them about the steps she's been taking at home. Misse told me the other day that she tried all day long to get Anya to walk to her, but she wouldn't take more than 2 or 3 steps. Then she stood Anya up and she took 8 steps to me. I just picked her up and smirked at Misse. Haha. She loves me more!

Well, duh.

I love Misse. And she knows that I'm just showing off and isn't offended or anything. But, why do I feel superior for this? Why am I competing with her teachers? I want Anya to like them. Honestly, if she has to spend half her day with them, shouldn't she be happy? And she is. She just loves me more.

ooh... there I go again...

I've noticed that it isn't just me. Anya's other teacher, Andrea, gloats over Misse if she manages to get Anya to drink her entire bottle. (Anya is much more interested in eating real food than in drinking a bottle (Don't you know that bottles are for babies?) in the afternoon) She says it's because Anya likes her better, and Misse just rolls her eyes and shoves her.  Misse says that it's just because Anya is bored by Andrea, so she'll lay still for her. I think it's great that her teachers are "fighting" over her affections. But she loves me most.

Somebody stop me.

Seriously. I don't even do this with other kids. I know that all kids are different. I don't spend a lot of time worrying about how kids develop in relation to each other. Ally was an early walker and a late talker. Kids develop at different rates. I'm just not that competitive about that kind of stuff. They all even out pretty well later. So why do I get that smug little voice in my head laughing when my kid's eyes brighten up and she turns away from those lovely people that she has been happy playing with all day?

Because I love her more.


Posted by ktjrdn at 14:33 CST
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10 months old
Anya is 10 months old. wow.

Posted by ktjrdn at 09:41 CST
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Tuesday, 6 March 2007
random catch-up

Well, it's Tuesday, but since I did the Fun Monday thing, you all didn't get your weekend update (Jane, you ignorant slut!). So, not to leave you all hanging any longer, I present to you... bullet points!

  • We had to go to Robinson this weekend. 2.5 to 3 hour trip. yuck. Rob's step-sister has been struggling with cancer for a LONG time. She finally gave up the chemo recently, and passed away last week. So we went down on Firday for the visitation on Saturday. The plan was this: We'd leave work at 12, pick up the kids, go home and pack, and head out of town at their nap-time around 12:30 to 1. Easy-peasy. not quite. The day care called to tell me Anya broke out in a fairly quick moving rash at 9. So Rob went and got her. The Dr couldn't see us until 3, so we decided not to go. it looked like the same rash she had last time (and I just searched for the last time, but I can't find it anywhere to link to) and the last time, the doctor asid it was just a virus on its way out. it never bothered her, and she started to feel better right after it. We assumed it was the same this time, and seem to have been right. Anyway, that put him at home with the truck and Ally and I in town. So, he had to come and get us, but Anya fell aseep and changed the times all around. grrr. So he waited until she woke up and we all left after that. but Ally had had a little bit of a nap at day care before we left, so she wasn't tired for the trip.

We stopped after about a half hour to let her pee and get food at Taco bell for Rob and I. The kids had already eaten. those cinnamin twists are really good at occupying a 3 year odl for quite some time. The ride down was surprisingly peaceful. Anya took a little nap toward the end. It was great. Except that we used most of a tank of gas. $$ grrr

The kids both slept pretty well and were in decent moods the next day (during which the unforunate chocolate chip incident occurred). We all went to the visitation, and the kids got extrememly bored. That was ok, though, as we had brought some toys with us, and they played mostly out of the way. then we went home. 5.5 hours and over night stay with eating out and everything for an hour at a visitation. But, you have to do those kinds of things for family, you know. The kids both fell asleep within 5 minutes of leaving town and slept the entire way home! It was awesome.

  • Sunday morning, I took both kids to McDonalds to meet some of Ally's friends to play again. Anya happily ate for an hour (straight. sausage, pancakes, and biscuit) beofre wanting down to practice walking. Ally was thrilled. She loves meeting her day care friends outside of day care. Rob stayed home to do dishes and laundry and stuff that hadn't gotten dnoe since we were gone before. Pretty boring day.
  • Anya spent the weekend learning how to walk better. She can take up to around 15 steps reliably now, and can sometimes even change directions without falling down. She also learned to clap, with she does very enthusiastically whenever she falls down. I think we accidentally taught her the wrong lesson :) She claps for everything now - or I guess it would be more accurate to say she claps for nothing. i was starting to wonder when she'd finally learn to clap.
  • Yesterday, for Fun Monday I got 15 comments! I've never had that many comments before. Wow. I loved it, but was overwhelmed with trying to figure out who everyone was. Love it!
  • I also got a new computer at work!!!! I have a shiny new flat screen HUGE monitor and everything. The keyboard is a little different though, and for some reason, when I try to capitalize the i, a lot of times I hit the keys weird and it doesn't happen. My fingers have to get used to it still.

But, that means I have to transfer all my crap from the old computer. That's not an easy task. Especially since the network storage they had set up for us didn't manage to keep all the files I transferred to it. (and my jump drive has decided to craop out on me) So I had to do it all over again. It's a good thing that my boss had taken the precaution of not removing the old computers yet. So i currently have 2 computers on my desk, and it's very cramped. I'm jsut about done getting the new one all set up and I am thrilled! so excited about it...

  • Rob worked last night at the hospital. Stupid day cre... but that's an entire subject in and of itself, and I hve to pee, so i'll get to it later, when I have more time.

C-ya

Kt

Posted by ktjrdn at 14:10 CST
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Monday, 5 March 2007
Fun Monday

The assignment for today's Fun Monday comes from Mindy. We're supposed to write a really bad first sentence to a book. I've been told before that writers should use what they know for inspiration, so here goes. My sentence isn't actually as bad as it could be gramatically, although it does run on quite a bit, but it's definitely a bad thing to experience.

I thought nothing of my daughter walking towards me, while holding out her hand for my inspection, until my vision and hearing caught up to one another and had me sprinting toward her yelling "Don't eat it!" in response to her comment of "Mommy, look at the chocolate chip that was in my butt!"

Yes, this was based on actual events. No, she didn't eat it. Here's a recreation of the actual events (with a real chocolate chip, of course).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And me? I'll have to post my part of the recreation later, after I get to work. My husband won't take a picture of me. But my friend will, I'm sure. Because, that's what friends are for. And there's me running toward her and yelling. Thanks, Amy.

fine print: For some reason, my server and comments don't work with Mac computers. Sorry. All I get is a blank comment. It annoys the piss out of me, but I'm too lazy to move all my crap to a different server. Feel free to email me (ktjrdn at yahoo dot com), but go ahead and post a comment if you want, because I never get this many comments, and I'm really liking it. Even though I won't be able to read it, it'll make me happy, because then I can email you about it and maybe even get another email in return. Woo-hoo. I like getting emails.


Posted by ktjrdn at 00:01 CST
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Thursday, 1 March 2007
disturbing

I spend way too much time looking at my kids toys. This turtle (which I have a hard time not calling a frog for some reason) disturbs me. For a long time, I didn't notice it, but is impossible to un-see once you've seen it. What's wrong with it? You tell me. answer in the comments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Posted by ktjrdn at 11:34 CST
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Tuesday, 27 February 2007
Milk is not for babies

I knew a long time ago that I can't drink milk while breast-feeding. Ally couldn't take it, and neither can Anya. So I should have known better, but last week, I had biscuits and gravy for supper. The gravy is mostly milk, and it really didn't agree with her. (I also think I've been eating a little too much of my VDay candy) She's been having trouble sleeping at night again. And by having trouble, I mean completely refusing and by sleep, I mean more than 5 minutes at a time and by at night, I mean ever.

I was about to put her on ebay. It's a good thing I didn't, because by the time the auction ended, things would have been better, and then I'd get kicked off ebay for not sending her to the winner.

Anya has been slowly learning how to sleep. For the past {insert time frame her, because I don't really remember} she's been only waking once or twice and either putting herself back to sleep quickly, or I have been able to lay her down and be back in bed within 5 minutes. Not perfect, but acceptable. So when she morphed into the moster baby from the 9th dimension of Hell last week, I thought "Teeth". And she was drooling more than ever. (I mean open mouth all the time, rivers of drool pooling on her shirt and by extension, my shirt) It got bad enough that I just abandoned all hope and started rocking her and nursing her at night again (Bad me). If teeth were this bad, how was I going to survive 20 or so more of them? Bye-bye, will to live.

Then, Rob got called to work Saturday night for the ambulance service, and I was alone. I dreaded it. Desperation kicked in. I went to bed the instant Ally was asleep. I braced myself for another night of calming the thrashing, screaming baby. And Anya had a good night. She woke up once, and I fed her, but she went back to sleep. She woke up again at 5:30 and I fed her, and !!!! She went back to sleep. I stayed in bed til Ally woke me at 6:50. I think that's the latest that's ever happened. Anya woke up 5 minutes later, and played happily on the floor with toys and Ally for almost 2 hours. It was amazing. I became a better person. One night of (interrupted) sleep was not enough to account for it. I was still tired. Still sleep-deprived. The difference was hope. I had hope that it might be over. That the monster had been banished again. And I started thinking about other reasons and settled on the biscuits and gravy. Maybe that was the culprit. If so, that means teeth might not be so bad after all. Hope is a wonderful thing. I am human again. And so is Anya. Yay.

"Hope" is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

I've heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of Me.

-Emily Dickinson


Posted by ktjrdn at 14:35 CST
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Conversations from a car #244,328

While driving home from dance last week in the dark while snowing

Ally: blah, blah, blah  HAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!! Mommy, I said blah, blah, blah! HAHAHAHAHAH!!!
Me: I know, Ally. But you need to be quiet. Mommy is trying to pay attention to the road. I need to concentrate on seeing because it's dark and snowy, okay?
Ally: You need to pay attention to the road?
Me: Yes.
Ally: Is the road trying to tell you something?

<complicated explanation of the various meanings of paying attention follow>

Posted by ktjrdn at 10:22 CST
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Douglas Adams' fans, you've got to see this:

And for those of you who aren't Douglas Adams fans, go read "The Hichhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and subsequent books. You'll be glad you did. And for those of you that have seen the movie (which I am boycotting, because it can't possibly be nearly as funny as the book, and I heard it sucked anyway.) and thought it was terrible, that's even more reason to read the book. If you read the book and still don't get it, I just don't understand your sense of humor. Sorry. Anyway...

I was looking for Dilberts to put in my notes for yesterday's post, and ran across yet another funny one. (Ooh, sneaky server won't let you hotlink it. Had to download it to my site instead. It's not like I generate a lot of bandwidth. oh well.) It cracks me up every time I look at it. It might even be funnier than the lemon-eater one. I don't know. Anyway. I sent it to Rob, and out of curiosity to see if there were more in sequence, changed the number in the link. This is what he got: http://www.flubu.com/comics/Dilbert.389.g.gif (This one is not a picture, it's a page not found error, so it's impossible to download. so you'll have to paste the code into your address line to see it. I think it's worth it. Your mileage may vary. It takes a while to read, though). It was almost funnier than the comic. (It made me go get my books and start reading them again (for the 1,278th time)) But only if you're a Marvin (not the martian) fan. Is anyone with me on this?


Posted by ktjrdn at 09:47 CST
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Monday, 26 February 2007
Fun Monday

OK, so I'm not following the rules on this, because I'm not exactly sure what the rules are. Maybe next time I'll get in on it th eright way. Some bloggers have been doing something called Fun Monday where they all post on one thing for the day. (I mostly see it on http://blogs.chron.com/mamadrama/)This week's entry looked like fun, so I joined in.

It's all about your blogging environment. Mostly, I blog in my spare time in my head. Then when I have a chance (at breaks and lunches and stuff) I write it down. I mainly do it at work, because at work, there are no kids wanting my attention. In fact, I rarely do anything on my computer at home. It's not appealing to me when I sit in forn tof the computer at work all day. So, here's where I blog. The picture is a little blurry, because technically, we aren't even supposed to have cameras at work. I'm sure there's not anything recognizable here, but just in case, you know. If you click on over to Flickr, there are notes where all those boxes are.


Posted by ktjrdn at 10:48 CST
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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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