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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Predicting the Past

Facebook Memories were fun yesterday...

Four years ago, I posted this:


Ahh... Nope.

(Incidentally, if you read that entry, "my friends" was one specific person in particular, and now I kind of want to go back and kick 2012 Laura's rear for giving a flying crud about it. Ahh well, hindsight.)

THEN, one year ago yesterday, I posted this:

Aaaand again... Nope.

When I pointed this out to James last night, he wondered if we could do this negatively and it would work. For instance, could I post, "We're definitely not winning Powerball this time! We aren't even buying a ticket!" Then two years from now when we read that, we would laugh so hard, our butler would have to bring us glasses of Diet Coke and beer (you guess who gets which).

Now, we're vaguely planning to buy a house in a year. We've already talked to a loan officer, and, man, was she about 1000 times awesomer than the stupid VA outfit we tried to use last year. That company didn't bother to tell us about a pretty substantial collection account that we were able to settle easy enough (since, you know, this new lady actually TOLD US ABOUT IT). And she's given us a lot of pointers about things to do between now and then to keep our credit squeaky clean.

But, really, who knows? Apparently, I can't even plan things for two days in advance (as you saw if you read about my failed lease-signing), so two years from this moment, I might not be blogging in my newish house. I might be on my way to Mars in a private space carrier. You don't know.

In other news, Mal is growing by leaps and bounds, developmentally. He's had a rough couple of weeks with teething/congestion, then a stomach bug that only lasted 24 hours but shied him away from eating food for nearly a week, and now teething/congestion again. BUT he's eaten more than ever the past two days, and he's insisting more and more upon feeding himself.

Also, he's finally putting his hand up to his mouth and smacking when he wants something to eat, so we have a really clear sign when he's hungry!

He is obsessed with his dad. He goes around every few hours, looking throughout the apartment and saying, "Daddy?" like maybe he got back home and sneaked in. Especially after Mal wakes up from his nap. Cute but a little sad because, man, James has some long days to get that every other Friday off. Thankfully, tomorrow is the actual Friday (which isn't his day off, but it is his payday, so it's still a good Friday), and Mal will get him for the whole weekend.

Our apartment is going to be "upgraded" next week. I thought they were doing it when our lease renews at the end of May, and I'm actually kind of glad they're doing it now and gave us short notice because that minimizes the time I have to feel anxiety about it. I did mention to the manager that we've worked really long and hard to come to a 1 o'clockish naptime and if they could get here early and be done by then, I'd love it. She thanked me for touching base and said she'd put us on the top of the list every day.

They're replacing our hard flooring with darker flooring I don't love, but it's supposed to be nicer; they're actually replacing all of the carpet on the bottom floors, too, with the same hard flooring, but they can't do that up here because they didn't do the proper sound insulation stuff when they built the building and it's too expensive to do now. I'm glad. I know lots of people hate carpet, but I love it. If I can afford nice rugs some day, maybe I'll get over my love for carpet. But for now, it's just more comfy to me.

They're also replacing our formica in the kitchen with granite. Fortunately, they're going dark-to-light with this switch-out, so the flooring won't bring down the brightness of the apartment too much. We're also getting a goose-neck sink, which Mal should love (eyeroll) and a new lighting fixture in the kitchen. That stupid thing now is the one thing I said I hated when we moved in. It is the one upgrade I'm really looking forward to.

Then they're putting in a white tile backsplash all the way from the countertop to the cabinets, so that'll be useful. And trimming out our mirrors in the bathroom, because... well, who cares? I guess someone does.

It will be interesting to see how much our rent goes up at renewal because of these things. They're upgrades, see? Our downstairs neighbor said that she's heard increases as much as $200 a month. That'll suck bigtime, but to more would be more than $2400, so we'll suck it up for a year.

It has nothing to do with anything, but if they try to raise it that much, it'll be tempting to ask how much we can deduct in past rent for the fact that our gated community has only been properly gated for about two months of the now 9 months we've lived here. Speaking of that, when I worked as a property manager in Las Vegas, it seemed like the gates were always causing problems. Does anyone live anywhere that the gates are actually functional the majority of the time? And by "functional," that includes the ability of people to call you from the gate and you to open the gate from your house. Because we've NEVER been able to do that. But we haven't made too big of a deal about it because I just tell everyone who's coming over what is supposed to be the super secret master gate code.

I have thoughts a lot, and I think I want to blog more. I have started about 5 blog posts and had to stop when Mal woke up and then never cared enough to finish them (most are about parenting, and you guys don't give a wet carp about that), but often when I can just sit, I mostly want to veg out, plan our mini-trips, or catch up on a sitcom. That's who I am now. Maybe I'll have more energy to blog in a year or so.

Oh, but I want to do something big for Easter for my daughter. Don't tell her. But if you know where to get the biggest, highest-quality chocolate bunny (read: not Palmer's), let me know!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Gross Stuff

This is nasty, all of it. So don't read it. It's mostly just for me.

My son got over the upchucking part of being sick after six times. That was his entree into illness of that type; he never spits up and had never thrown up (although he'd gagged up post-nasal drip stuff before) until Monday morning.

However... his body was very leery of food yesterday, which I understand and appreciate. What that means, though, is that he's back to primarily breastfeeding. This results in the "breastmilk poop" diapers... and those things are a freaking mess. He went through three pair of shorts yesterday, and at about 3:30 this morning managed to need a complete body wipe-down. I just threw the onesie he was wearing as pajamas away. There was a bit of stain from his first sick bit... he'd coincidentally eaten one of his last "puree pouches" Sunday morning and it had beets in it. So, very stained and I just couldn't make myself wash it again.

Fortunately, as a precaution in case he was ill again, I'd left one of the blankets spread out on top of our fitted sheet, so all we had to do was roll that up and put another one down (more insurance) and we were able to go back to sleep. But he was boobing the whole rest of the night.

Now for the next gross thing... I've been doing *so* much laundry due to the barfing and then the diaper-splosions... Well, now to add into that mix, I'm on my period. I'm in a FB group (more on that in a bit) and lots of people who are breastfeeding haven't had periods for like two years! They're worried because they want to conceive. Meanwhile, I got my period back when Mal was about four or five months old. Woo hoo. And it's not because he cut back on his eating; he did not. He has not. What happened was that my period has always loved to make me miserable and it couldn't wait to return.

Since this second full-term pregnancy, my periods have gotten worse than ever. Previously, there was seven good days of bleeding, along with some pretty severe PMS symptoms such as moodiness and cramps. Well, my cramps are not as bad as they were in high school, but the actual bleeding? WORSE. Now I'm looking at ten full days of bleeding per cycle, and there is a LOT of blood. Today, I happened to check. I have a Diva Cup, so if I'm really interested, I can look. In one hour, I expelled 7.5 ml of blood. So you can forget getting through the night without tending to it. Ugh. I'm just ready to menopause and be done with it.

In other disgusting news, I used to have a mole under my right arm. In fact, when Mal was a baby and I was worried about my supply, I'd sometimes press on it with my left hand when he was nursing. I mentally assigned it the title "Milk button" and imagined that when I pressed it, it would turn on the milk machine. I know, it's stupid. But if you've never willed yourself to produce enough milk, then good for you.

Anyway, my son's arms got long enough that he "found" the mole and would mess with it when he was nursing. It really hurt, and I might have been a bit of a baby complaining about it. One morning, though, James looked when I was getting dressed and said, "It's really red and inflamed!"

Long story slightly less long, he managed to crack it open, and it scabbed up, and now that it's healing... it's gone. When the scab goes, there will just be normal skin there (and maybe a little pinpoint scar?). No more mole. Who needs a dermatologist?

So, that's the icky stuff.

Here's an interesting (to me) thing, but you might also not love it. I recently joined a FB group called "Breastfeeding Older Babies and Beyond." I love it! It's a bunch of ladies who are nursing kids at least one year old. I needed somewhere to talk, even when I'm tired and overwhelmed, where the input wouldn't include tips about how it's time to force wean Mal. I'm not set on a date or anything; I want to try to take his lead when it comes to weaning. And the group has been great so far not only in making me feel "normal," but in changing my attitude about breastfeeding a bit. I'm getting a little more excited about it, rather than it being an inconvenience I'm willing to bear because I think it's the right thing for us to do. I even ordered a subway token necklace to commemorate one year of breastfeeding. Can't wait to wear it.

So that's all of the super fun stuff I wanted to remember. Don't ask me why. It's not all just about griping and funny stories, I guess.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Monday Morning Madness

Happy Valentine's Day!

We had a great weekend...

Saturday morning, I got out with Mal and we picked up TJ to go to the RV Expo. Went downtown, parked in a garage, walked about a mile, got to the convention center... and the expo is next weekend!

Fortunately, crepes were only a block away. I accidentally took this picture of TJ's arm and Mal's face while we waited to order at Le Crepe Cafe. I kind of love it.


They were busy, maybe normally for a Saturday morning. But we waited almost half an hour to order, and then go get our food. Mal doesn't do sitting for that long, so he kept getting up. I let him. It made people nervous. Actually, his standing up in the high chair made one guy so nervous, he startled me as he'd gotten up and was at my shoulder when I noticed him.

Here's where Mal was playing, bothering no one. Still. I had to make sure my eyes were very obviously ON him, as people were craning their necks to see where his neglectful parent might be... about four tables away.


Mal met two dogs, and he decided it was time to leave about fifty times, each of which I had to go chase him down and bring him back to the table. He cried and fought some of the time, so to get him to sit, I let him play with a lidded cup of dressing. He got the lid off and spilled the whole thing in his lap, but fortunately I had an extra outfit in a Ziplog bag in my purse (I don't always, but I should!). I think at that point, the family at the table next to us was saying, "I can't believe this is happening, but it is," because I pulled his clothes off right there to put the new clothes on. Ehh.

After our unanticipatedly-long brunch, we walked to the Google Fiber space (past JW Marriott, which is hugely swanky), then to Toy Joy. I found Valentine's cards for James and Daphne, and got D a pair of macaroni and cheese socks.

TJ was a great sport about not going to the RV expo. Oh! We ran into a team from Aspire Beverages and they gave us free drinks in exchange for letting them take their pictures with us for a scavenger hunt. That drink came in handy toward the end of brunch, when I'd been sitting in the sun for an hour!

After Mal had had a good nap, we went to Bee Cave and ate an early dinner at Mandola's Market, a selection we made largely because they had a playscape. The food was legit, and Mal had fun playing.

I will say, if eating out with Mal is typically a challenge, doing it when James is on crutches (plantar fasciitis), is way harder! EVERYTHING is harder.

Sunday, I was going to take Mal to the gym before church, but he ended up working off so much of his energy that he fell asleep in the car. I went to Taco Cabana to get James and me lunch, and it took FOREVER, but Mal got a good nap.

For Valentine's Day, Mal colored a rock for Daphne. It was really pretty! I made a cheesecake for James and Daphne, and James got Daphne and me our own boxes of See's Candies. And for Mal... I made him warm fresh milk all day long.


Sunday evening, we went to Waffle House, where I had made us all reservations. They had a Valentine dinner special, and it was really cute. They'd put red and pink tissue paper on the white lamps throughout the diner, red tablecloths, candles, champagne flutes (plastic!) at each table, centerpieces, placemats, etc. It was nice. Ther "T-bone for two" meal was enough for all four of us.

We came home, and Mal wanted to go on a walk, so we "hiked" in the greenbelt behind our house. He thought of his dad halfway through it, though, and wanted to come back to check on him. When we got to the apartment, though, he wanted to ride my bike. I went on one round of the apartments, and he kind of cried and fussed on the downhill portion. I thought he wanted to come back, but when we rode down the sidewalk, he cried AGAIN. So we went one more round, and he fussed and cried some of the way, again... I decided we were done.

He was kind of weepy the rest of the night, and I put him to bed earlier than usual. He cried a lot going to sleep, and it took a long time. Then at one o'clock this morning, he got sick. At first, I thought it was just like when he was coughing up post-nasal drip, but he was actually sick for the first time.

Hey, remember what I said about James not being able to put any weight on one foot? There I was, trying to unzip the mattress cover from our king memory foam bed in the dark while James was sitting in the recliner holding Mal, who was fussing for me. James suggested that we wait until the morning to do that, but I couldn't sleep in the chair that long.

I got the bed remade, minus the mattress cover, and we laid down. Within a few minutes, he was sick again, but I could tell it was coming that time and caught most of it. So Mal and I got into the bathtub together and had a bath at one o'clock.

Sweet James was hobbling around on his crutches getting diapers, towels, pajamas, whatever we needed. He settled on the recliner in the living room and Mal and I laid on the couch. In a couple of hours, Mal was sick again, and I was having difficulty getting comfortable enough to sleep, so we moved to the recliner in our room.

That worked for a couple of hours, but then I needed to lie down. I spread an old quilt out on our denuded bed, covered my lower half with a small blanket Daphne got at church camp, and used a towel to cover my top. At this point, I'd given up on clothes for Mal or me; we'd already changed twice in the night.

He got sick one more time in the bed, and I had to sit him on the bathroom cabinet and give him a sponge bath that time. It was starting to get light when we both got back into bed, and I thought I'd never get to sleep, but I did. I even dreamed.

Mal's been sick twice again this morning, but I'm almost caught up on the laundry, and it's been five hours since he wasn't able to keep food down. Let's hope that means he's on the mend. I have no idea what was wrong with him. He had no other symptoms and didn't seem to feel bad, just tired and confused about what was going on with his body.

Now he's awake and raring to go, so I'm going to go play with my boy!


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Randomest Set of Randoms Ever

I've had a lot of thoughts lately. I was going to start taking notes so I wouldn't miss anything, but I have this whole kid thing going on, so that never happened. Plus he could wake up from his nap any time, so even if I remember everything, I might not get to it. Let's just start and see what we can accomplish, okay?

First:

That cat is straight-up balling.

Okay, NOW without further ado...

ITEM 1:

Lyrics on the radio: Is it too late now to say sorry?
Me: Aww, no. That's swee--
Lyrics on the radio: 'Cause I'm missing more than just your body.
Me: Oh, yeah. Too late. Stop talking. Walk away.

Lyrics on the radio: Bandaids (TM) don't fix bullet holes.
Me: But tampons do.

ITEM 2:

We have all of our tax forms and "owe" the government about three hundred bucks. If we all had health insurance, they'd owe us over a grand of our own money back. If we weren't planning to try to buy a house about this time next year, I'd let them urinate up the proverbial rope about the whole thing, as they have no way to collect the money we "owe" them for the penalty. However, we have to keep our stupid credit (as it were, we really have none) squeaky clean, and even though the IRS can't put liens on anything for the ACA penalty, they can report it. Blehh.

But something struck me that I'd like to share with you. This is part of James' W2 from his current job. He's been there since May 2015. This DD is not a bra size, no. It's a code that represents what was paid for his health insurance. James pays a small amount from each check, but it's really negligible; something like $50 a month. The vast amount is paid on his behalf by his job.


So, for eight months, the cost of James' insurance was $5300. Do you know how often he used it? Not at all. Not once. So that five-thousand bucks is gone. We don't have the option to have that paid to us and for us to save it, so it's a no-brainer that he has insurance. But for the rest of us... Zero out of four of us went to any kind of doctor in 2015. I understand the "it's for catastrophes" reasoning. If any of us has a big thing, we'll have to work out payment plans. But if we could just save our nearly ten grand a year, we'd have a leg up on those emergencies. Which is what we do with the rest of us. And the $1600 penalty? I'd rather pay $1600 for nothing than $6000+ (what it'd cost to cover the three unemployed people in our household) for nothing. Although I'd REALLY rather pay $0 for nothing.

/endrant

/except

James' insurance isn't even good. High deductible, then something like 80%/20%. We could easily still be "ruined" by something serious or chronic, even with insurance, so I don't see the point.

ITEM 3:

Mal has been climbing a lot lately. I'm tired. He was particularly upsetable (yes, spell check; it's a word... it's appropriate, anyway) yesterday and then had a miserable night. Probably not miserable for him because I don't think he remembers it. But he basically nursed all night, except when he woke up and cried to nurse... even though he was already nursing as he woke up and so I'm not sure if he wanted both at once or what he was expecting, since I was already giving it as much as I could.

Anyhoo,we'd planned to go to Chick-fil-A this morning, but basically I ran out of here with him this morning like our booties were on fire, because I didn't want to hang around the house and start the "get down get down get down" party again first thing.

After free chicken biscuits (different entree gratis each Wednesday in February!), we walked over to Walmart for trash bags. If you've been following, you'll know that I used Instacart almost exclusively for the first year of Mal's life. Now that he doesn't mind too much strapping into his car seat, it's getting fun to go to the store again. Today, Mal had enough of the cart after about three minutes, so I put him down. He immediately ran into the clothes, where I couldn't see him, so I called him... and he came right back. Wow. That was new. Also, used to, whenever I let him run around, he'd just take things off of shelves. This time, he was just looking, so I consider that progress.

There was a bin of clearance items, and I was looking through that stuff. Mal made his way to my other side and was walking toward the produce department. I couldn't see him, but I could hear him. Then I couldn't.

I walked around to the side of the bin and saw a bakery employee carrying him toward the bakery, away from me. He was looking at me, very confused but not upset (yet). I said, "I'm right here." Then I noticed two other ladies standing there with their carts, looking very concerned. One grabbed her heart and did a "that gave me the vapors" thing. What? One lady said, "Oh, thank goodness." The bakery employee handed Mal to me and asked, "Would she like a cookie?" Heck, yes, she would love a cookie. We were following the magic cookie lady when the third woman said to me, as though this would give me pause, "He was just about to toddle out the door." What I said was, "That wouldn't surprise me at all!" But what I thought was, "Bull crap. We're 250 feet from the door. He might have been heading that way, but he wasn't 'just about to toddle out the door'."

They were all nice. Their concern, though unwarranted, was kind. The judgy thing I could have done without. I knew where my son was the whole time. I let him wander a bit on purpose. He NEEDS to build confidence without being glued to my leg all of the time. That's one of the best things about going out: whereas at home, he's super clingy, out and about, he's Mr. Social. What about child abductions? I'm zero worried about that. Here's why. I'm totally concerned about his getting hit by a car, but that's even when I'm standing with him. Daphne and I used to have very heated discussions (my heat) about things when she'd see something neat on the pavement and squat down in a parking lot. Scared me to death. But his wandering and some child predator randomly being in the same area at the same time? Unlikely. Ridiculously unlikely. It is more than twice as probable that my children will die in a plane crash than be abducted by a stranger. Whoops. Guess we got out of our Christmas trip lucky, didn't we? Also, struck by lightning. But Daphne already tested that one in Dallas when she was younger. We literally dodged that proverbial bullet.

Anyhoo... I think people are just taken aback by a kid walking around. I mean, I get it. He's 16 months old. When Daphne was 5ish, I started letting her sit in the book aisle at the grocery store while I shopped. We started it with letting her grab a couple of books and read them in the cart. However, she would consume those in an aisle or two and I got tired of going back to put the books away and get more books, so this was more expedient. She knew to stay there until I came back or to come find me if she needed something. More than once, a well-meaning stranger (always female) would walk her to me. I'd thank the lady, then walk with Daphne back to the book aisle. And leave her. She was fine. And she learned to smile instead of rolling her eyes. She did get to answer questions, too. "Where's your mom?" "Shopping." Duh. 

ITEM 4:

I was thinking the other day about why it might be difficult for me to find a niche in which to fit, socially. I'm a paradox, I think. I mean, most of us are. None of us is a caricature. But the things that might help me fit in one place make me a bad match elsewhere, and that first place... well, I have really divergent other things that make me a poor fit there, too. Off of the top of my head...

I'm a homeschooler, but I don't think everyone needs to homeschool. And I'm not conservative. But I am a Christian. And I believe strongly in equal marriage rights. But I have no problem eating at Chick-fil-A. I'm not a complementarian; I'm an egalitarian. But my husband and I both have very "traditional" domestic roles. Except that I handle the money! Woo hoo! (Mostly because he can't be bothered.) I hate the terms "child-centered" and "parent-centered" when describing a family because there are so many nuances to be considered. I prefer "family-centered." I have a toddler, but I'm almost in my mid-40s. I was listening to some young mothers talk at a fast food restaurant one day, and they sounded like high school kids to me. I couldn't. I'm not cool enough to say "I can't" without an object, but I do it, anyway. I want to have close friends. I get a little tinge of jealousy when I see that others have been on "girls' weekends" and the like. But that kind of friend-making and keeping is exhausting to me, and if I'm going to go somewhere awesome, I really want it to be with my family. I believe in gun ownership rights for the non-criminal; and I'm not worried about immigrants one little bit, legal or illegal, refugees, opportunists, etc. Bring 'em. Also, going back to the Christian thing... I'm a gentle parent (Ha ha haa! I mean, that's the goal. I'm trying, you guys.) AKA radical unschooler, which means partnering with my kids, mentoring them, discipling them, in all aspects of their lives, not just educationally. There aren't a lot of us, from what I can tell. For some reason, people who love Jesus also tend to be more authoritarian than authoritative, parenting-style-wise. And I can say that I don't care how other people parent, and they don't care about how I parent, but the truth is that I hear a lot of stories that hurt my heart. From people I know and love. So it's difficult to be really close to those people, on a day-to-day "life together" basis. I'm a girl, but I hate shopping. For clothes. I love shopping for food. I live in Austin and I had a midwife and natural birth but I don't have any special diet I follow (Paleo, gluten-free, etc.), nor do I run or go to the gym or work out at all, AND I don't feel guilty about it in the least. 

So. That was incredibly self-indulgent. Thanks for hanging around to read it. Self-indulgence might be another reason I don't have many friends. It might be the biggest reason. 

ITEM LAST: 

Baby wakey.