Sunday, January 2, 2011

Car shopping

We've taken a break from house shopping. Husband is convinced it is going to be several months before our house is ready to sell and honestly as much as I hate house shopping I'm not going to push the subject. Instead we are car shopping.

Now we've known we needed to get a bigger vehicle since we found out we were pregnant way back in July, but of course we can't do anything in a timely manner, so still no new vehicle. I don't think we'd be looking right now if it weren't for the fact that Husband got into an accident & we've decided not to fix his car & just junk it. The other driver's insurance company has been kind enough to pay for a rental car, but that ends soon, so our options are (1) buy a car right now or (2) try to live with one vehicle while we keep searching.

I have always bought the cars in our family. I love to car shop, we've only been unhappy with one vehicle, so my track record is solid and Husband just doesn't usually care. UNTIL NOW - oh my Lord, I may not be married at the end of this vehicle buying experience. Why, oh why, has he chosen now to get involved.

Let me give you a little background here - Husband & I do not share vehicles well. We've had to do it in the past and it has NEVER ended well. Between our two work schedules and the schedule for pick up & delivery of kids we inevitably have to be in three places at the same time and it doesn't work with 1 vehicle. I am also one who hates the uncertainty of used vehicles. I know some people are completely happy with their used purchase and others who regret it from day 1.

So, back to our saga...Husband has decided he doesn't want a car payment at all. He wants to pay cash for our vehicle. Um, that would be great if we weren't looking at something in the mini-van, crossover market where our down payment gets us something older than what I'm currently driving. I have found us a nice 2010 vehicle for 0% APR for up to 72 months. The monthly payment isn't bad. We'd have to cut back on eating out, but we could do it. Am I excited about having another monthly payment with the baby coming - no, but I also am not thrilled about being stuck on the side of the road with a broken down junker & three kids. So, how will this be resolved?

Right now I am contemplating telling husband to use the cash to buy himself a car & I'll squeeze three car seats into my current vehicle. Then in a few months I will trade mine for something newer, bigger, safer & more reliable and I won't ask him for his input at all.

I'm just hoping that this nightmare is over soon.

Friday, December 3, 2010

I just don't get it.

Call me a cynic if you must, but I confess I just do not understand some of these facebook and twitter memes. For example, the day when celebrities were not tweeting to bring attention to their charity of choice. How does silence bring awareness? Would their time not been better spent posting statistics regarding their charity or cause of choice? Would it not have raised more awareness to use that day to tweet about why they support their particular cause? I for one learned nothing about what any celebrity was supporting, so in my opinion that was a major fail in the raise awareness column.

And currently there is a meme going around facebook regarding changing your profile picture to a cartoon character to raise awareness for stopping violence towards children. How does changing my profile picture to a cartoon character raise awareness? What have I done to raise awareness? Who will become more aware of this tragedy by my changing my profile picture? I just do not understand.

Someone, please enlighten me. Because I'm obviously missing something.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Halloween costume fiasco

Trinity decided she wanted to be Jessie from Toy Story for Halloween. She also decided her little brother was going to be Woody. She wanted her father & I to dress up as Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head, but we both shot that idea down real quick.

Last year I sewed her princess costume. She was so proud of that costume, it was ridiculous. It was three shades of pink, silver, puffy and everything a princess costume should be. So, this year she asked if I would make her Jessie costume. Let's see a pair of cow print pants and a white shirt you already own in your closet - yep, I can do that. Enter out of town friends who were coming to stay. First, they were staying the week of October 18th - perfect I can power scrub the entire house prior to their arrival and spend the week of Halloween making the pants. NO PROBLEM! Enter karma - they change their plans at the last minute and they aren't coming until the week of Halloween. WHAT?!?! Now I have to re-power scrub the house, because I have two children and a husband, so the previous weeks super cleaning has disappeared. Also enter an extra work shift, a school board meeting, two PSA meetings, a training seminar, a trip to the Mall of America and a Halloween party I volunteered to bake cupcakes for & there is no sewing time the week of Halloween. Crap, crap, crap! Did I mention my husband has not-so-mysteriously disappeared during this stress filled week, so he is no help whatsoever?

I finally decide after getting the approval of one sad 6 year old, that we will purchase a Jessie costume and since we were going to be at the great and powerful Mall of America, which claims to have everything you could possibly need and more, we'll have no problem right?!?! Yeah, I have been known to be naive at times. We start at a couple Halloween stores, but they don't have her size. We try the Disney store, but they outright laugh at us, because didn't we know Jessie has been sold out company wide for over a month. On our way home we try 3 Target stores, 8 Wal-Mart stores and at 7 p.m. Thursday evening (we need the costume for Friday's Halloween party at school, by the way) we end up an hour from home in a Halloween Express store with NO Jessie costume and a tired, hungry 6 year old in tears. We also have one cranky father, an impatient, hungry toddler and a Mom who feels like an ass for waiting so long to find a freaking Jessie costume. BECAUSE A GOOD MOTHER WOULD HAVE KNOWN IT WAS THE COSTUME OF THE YEAR AND BOUGHT IT EARLY. I suck at motherhood at this point.

We find a cute pink cheerleader outfit that will suffice in the midst of this crisis. Of course the cost of said costume, which consists of a shirt that doesn't cover the belly, a skirt cut to the navel and two pom-poms is $34.99. Enter cranky husband who throws a fit over the price of a costume he doesn't want his precious, innocent daughter in to begin with, it shows too much skin for heavens sake. At this point I am at the end of my rope. I have spent way too long shopping for a costume that is going to get stained either during lunch or during the Halloween party less than 24 hours in the future. I am tired. I am hungry. My back hurts from being pregnant and walking the equivalent of a marathon. I inform my dearest husband that unless he wants to continue shopping on his own for a more suitable costume that will make the devastated 6 year old happy he better shut his mouth and hand over the credit card. I'm guessing the steam coming from my ears or the fact that my head spun around 360 degrees may have frightened him, because I've never seen his wallet open that quickly, not even in the Apple store.

After said cheerleading costume was purchased and food was consumed, everyone was in a better mood. The costume was modified with the addition of thick tights and a tank top to please the Catholic school administration and an overprotective father. The costume was not so shockingly stained during the Friday afternoon Halloween party. And on Halloween as Trinity & I were trick-or-treating in the mall behind 4 other Jessie's I hear "I'm glad I'm not Jessie, because I like being unique." And then my head exploded...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

And the fun begins!

So, if you don't know by now, we are expecting child #3 in early March. Due to this unexpected turn of events, we not only have to purchase a bigger vehicle, but a bigger house. Let's just get it out right away - I HATE HOUSE SHOPPING! No, I don't think you understand just how deep my hatred of house shopping runs. I do not like going into other people's homes and snooping around. I hate having to try to imagine if my sofa or chair or bookshelf will fit into a certain space. I do not like thinking of who would get what bedroom and what improvements would need to be made. It annoys me, it frustrates me, it stresses me out.

When we purchased our home in 1998 I had never house hunted before. I had lived in my parents house, the dorm, a couple apartments that were chosen based on rent & that is all. When I walked into our current home (the second house we looked at) I said "This is it, we're done. This is my house." It was a contract for deed, so we purchased it on the spot. House shopping done. Then several years later we got pregnant with our daughter and we thought it would be a good time to look for a larger, more family friendly house. We looked at house after house after house after house and I hated them all. My favorite experience of them all was the widower's house who hung his tidy whiteys on a line in the basement right around the corner from the stairs so I ran straight into a pair when exploring the basement. Yep, I'm still scarred. I shiver just a little when passing the Hanes aisle in Target. In the end, we found a lovely house on a great lot in the next town over that had everything we wanted and a little more. We went to put an offer in to find that it was zoned incorrectly so we wouldn't be able to get a loan. A month plus later, tons of phone calls to my agent, the bank, the city zoning people and anyone else that would listen to me cry and our loan is ready and an offer is made only to find out...the listing agent gave us incorrect zoning information and the owners had *just* accepted an offer from another client of the listing agent. Coincidence? Bad timing? Seedy listing agent? I don't know, but I was devastated and that was the very last house I looked at until yesterday, when the fun begins again.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A decision!

After two wonderful interviews that followed the daycare from hell interview, we have made our decision. I, unfortunately, do not have the time to fill in details at this time, but I will hopefully later tonight.

We are very happy!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Followed my gut...

I sat down to write this post and got sidetracked with Facebook. Now I have another blog post brewing in my head, but I feel I need to let it simmer for a bit or I will say something I later regret. So, onto how I followed my gut today.

We are finding that Noah is much more high maintenance than Trinity ever was. He needs to be entertained or touching me at all times. This makes it very difficult for me to get any work done. Also, summer is busy for me, so I need hours during the day to schedule photo shoots and I can't be dependent on Husband to always be available. So, we are searching for daycare. The daycare we sent Trinity to has no openings. I am #16 on the waiting list and they have 2 openings in June and then nothing until September, maybe. I have been asking people for referrals and calling, but no one has a part time opening for a toddler. I thought I had someone last week, we had an interview scheduled for yesterday, but they canceled. Their one opening was filled on Monday. We had another interview this morning.

This is a new daycare opening in June. She worked for the school system and seemed to have it all going on. I was excited, then we showed up... The outside play equipment was less than 5 feet from the road with no fence. They have a dog. (Now, in general I'm not against dogs, but put with that many unknown children and you are asking for trouble.) And...they are smokers. You could tell they had the potpourri going on and the Febreeze and candles, but you could smell the underlying scent of cigarettes. We should have run, but we didn't. We stayed through the interview, where she had absolutely NO questions for us and she didn't even attempt to interact with Noah. So far she said she had 2 other toddlers under the age of 18 months, but her schedule had an hour of TV time scheduled EVERY morning. We left and my husband says "Drive away quickly, we will pretend this is a bad dream."

After returning home, I started making phone calls. I have an interview set up for 8 tomorrow morning and one on Monday. I liked both ladies on the phone, so hopefully one will work out.

I'll keep you posted, but am so glad we listened to our gut today.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Table manners

I think all parents have that one "thing" they don't compromise on, for me it is table manners. I teach my children table manners from the time they start eating solid foods. I've always had a thing for table manners. I remember asking my siblings to chew with their mouths closed at the dinner table and reprimanding my friends in school for not using a napkin. Trinity had impeccable table manners for so long because I teach by example and LOTS of repeating the rules. Now, I'm not talking using different forks for different courses, I'm talking the basics - don't talk with food in your mouth, use a napkin, use your silverware, etc.

Notice I said 'had', yep kindergarten has ruined my child's table manners. During lunch, the teachers sit at a table separate from the students & the students are left to their own devices for 30 minutes with no guidance. In our school, the parents volunteer to serve lunch, so I've been witness to the lunch room chaos. When I would serve after all the kids were seated I would go sit with Trinity. And I would promptly lose my appetite. Do kids eat like this at home? Ew! I had little girls showing me their food after it was half chewed. I saw little boys eating mashed potatoes with their hands. I saw kids wiping their hands on their shirts. And now guess what my child is doing? It seems that she has forgotten everything I've spent the last 6 years teaching her in favor of the teachings of her peers. So, I've gotten tough and this summer I'm going to get tougher. I will no longer tolerate horrible table manners. Some things, like elbows on the table, get a verbal warning, but if you chew with your mouth open so I can see the half masticated cow in your mouth, you will be excused from my table and asked to eat at the bar in the kitchen. I want to enjoy my dinner as much as the next person and I can't do that if you are talking with food in your mouth. So, dearest child of mine, be prepared for a rude awakening starting in June.

And of course, all my hard work will go straight out the window next fall I am sure.

Friday, May 14, 2010

When I was a girl...

In the last few days husband & I have been talking a lot about the differences in when we grew up and now. We both lived in very small towns, where everyone knew you and you knew everyone. So, if a stranger wandered into town it wasn't long before kids were herded indoors and warnings issued. Also, because of the small towns we lived in we had a lot of freedom. From fairly young I was allowed to walk to the houses of friends that lived within a couple blocks. Once I started school I pretty much had the freedom to walk to anywhere as long as my mother had prior knowledge.

I cannot imagine giving my 6 year old that kind of freedom. Within the last few months I've started letting her play outside and at the house across the street without me watching her. She has asked when she can walk home from school by herself & I felt my heart stop beating. Yes, her school is only 8 blocks away, but she would have to cross one of the 3 busiest streets in town. And that isn't taking into account all the other horrible things that could happen to her along the way.

When husband and I were young we were told about taking candy from strangers and never get into a car with a stranger. This was about as bad as it got for us. We listened and heeded the warnings and all was well in our small worlds.

We have to be so much more careful these days. The fear of abduction seems almost mild compared to the horrors we read about. We have to teach our children to protect themselves from predators online, in the neighborhood, in their schools and anywhere else they may be. How do you teach morals in a time when pedophiles live a block over and you can see porn by typing "chicken breast" into Google. How do you teach respect when kindergartners are taking weapons to school.

We've already had to deal with Trinity getting choked in preschool. Yeah, that didn't fly with me at all. That is learned behavior & that kid was never allowed unsupervised with my kid after I raised all kinds of hell. So, even in rural Minnesota we have our problems. I think every one does in some way.

I realize parenting is hard and I wouldn't trade it for anything, but I wonder what new horrors my children will have to fear for their children.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Another road trip

The end of March and early April we packed up the car and had our first road trip since Noah was born. Trinity was such a wonderful traveler from the very beginning and I'm afraid Noah does not like even the shortest of trips, so we knew from the moment we had the idea to drive to Colorado that it was going to be an adventure.

And an adventure it was - WOW! The people we were visiting have 4 children of their own. We offered to stay in a hotel, but they insisted we stay with them. We have visited before and stayed with them, and we had issues then. I was nervous for this stay to say the least. I am proven time and time again - LISTEN TO YOUR GUT!

First off I am uncomfortable every time I stay at someone else's home. I always feel I have to make sure I don't make a mess, because I hate the idea of someone needing to pick up after me or my family. I also am always on edge for fear my children will break something. So, I am on edge going into the vacation and we enter a house filled with stress. Our friends confided separately to both my husband and I that they are having issues. However, they don't talk to each other.

Second, on our family vacation Husband's friend wants to monopolize his time. So, once again we go on 'vacation' and I end up doing everything I normally do except I cannot let my children be themselves and I'm already freaking stressed out. I have no help and my children are being influenced by people who have never been disciplined in their life. This is why I hate vacations.

I had plans to meet up with some mothers I 'met' online while we were in Colorado. This was, quite honestly, the only reason I agreed to this farce of a 'vacation'. We were going to meet on Friday to go swimming. Trinity loves the water, so this was going to be great. UNTIL the drama begins - I will not go into detail because it is not my story to tell and I'm still very angry about the whole situation. Needless to say I did not make it to swimming and I am in no hurry to return to Colorado.

So, here we are again with family functions to attend in other states and a road trip ahead of us. I am dreading this whole thing, it is making me physically ill and I want to cry. Okay, part of that may be PMS, but I am stressing out. Part of me is hoping my husbands time off request is denied so I don't have to live through another road trip. But at least I'm not headed to Colorado again.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mother's Day

Mother's Day is fast approaching and just like every other year my husband a week prior says "What do you want to do for Mother's Day?" And again, like every other year, I don't answer honestly. I say "I don't know." I do know what I want to do on Mother's Day. I want to sleep in and then forget it is Mother's Day. OH MY GOD - did I really just say that out loud?!?!

I may be hated by mothers every where, but I am okay with that, because I personally dislike Mother's Day. For the record, I also dislike Valentine's Day. I do NOT need a day where my husband and children are forced to spend money and go out of their way to make me feel special. I am so blessed that my husband and children do this all the time out of the blue not because they have to but because they want to. To me, this makes it SO much better. I would rather be surprised on a Tuesday with a gas station rose than be given a huge bouquet from the floral shop on Sunday. I would rather get a candy bar on a random trip to the grocery store because they had my favorite than a 5 lb box of fancy chocolates one day out of the year.

I love my husband. He tells me he loves me several times a day. He makes me laugh and he is my best friend. I adore my children and if I were to get nothing other than hugs, kisses and hearing them laugh, that would be enough for me. My family show me they love me and appreciate me on a daily basis and I will take that over dinner out and fancy gifts one day a year in half a heartbeat.

So, to all those Moms out there that don't feel the way I feel, I hope your Mother's Day is wonderful, relaxing, pampering or whatever you want it to be. I will hopefully be sleeping in and then doing something as a family, like yard work or putting Trinity's room back together after the makeover or taking a family nap.