Wednesday, September 29, 2010

unemployment here I come

I realized this morning that my last blog post was last week's WMW post, and I really try to have an unprompted blog post each week. I've been distracted lately, though, and haven't felt like it.

Tomorrow is the day. Because of budget cuts, tomorrow is the last day I will be working at this job. I've known about it for a few months and have been looking for a new job, but lots of people are looking for a new job right now. I apply for several jobs each week, and so far the only feedback I've gotten is a few "thanks but no thanks" emails.

It's frustrating and disappointing.

The thing that I am most anxious about is actually not how we'll pay the bills while I'm unemployed, but what to do about Nate's daycare. The bills will be fine. We have Rodgers' income, we have savings, and we should have some unemployment benefits, too. But daycare, we've paid through the end of October. We are assuming I'll find a new job and not be home, unemployed, for very long. We're assuming that I will need to take Nate to daycare for a few hours each day to do job applications and interviews until I do get a new job. But I don't know what we will do come the end of October if I'm still not working. Do we pay for more daycare that we aren't really using? Do we stop paying and give up Nate's spot in the infant room? If we do that, what if I get a new job the next week, and we have no childcare? What will we do then? These questions would drive me crazy if I continued thinking about this.

For now, I'm trying to remain positive and optimistic. God always has something for me. Who knows what it is this time? Surely he will continue to take care of us and work things out. We'll decide what to do about November's daycare tuition when the time comes to pay it. Until then, we wait and see what happens, and I continue applying for jobs.

working mommy wednesday

Show us your life/ room/ work/ house/ drive to work, etc. in pictures!

Rodgers and I were talking about our living room furniture last night or the night before, so I'll show you our living room. Most of our furniture is handmedowns. I bought the chair-and-a-half used. We have a bookcase, designed by me, constructed by my dad, which is the only piece in the living room that has no previous owners. I don't have recent pictures, but here's how it looked when we first moved in:

This is our living room as seen from the hallway.

On the wall you don't see, to the left of the picture, is a loveseat. Nate was born 8 days late. I worked until 1 day after his due date. The week in between due date and induction date, I rarely left that loveseat. When I had contractions the last 3 weeks of my pregnancy (which would last for hours in the evenings), that loveseat is where I would lie down. I had countless pillows arranged just-so on the loveseat. It was the most comfortable I could possibly be at that point.

The chair-and-a-half is our cuddler. Rodgers and I sit there together, watching TV or movies in the evenings and on weekends. Rodgers usually sits there by himself in the evenings if I'm busy. After dinner, he can hardly keep himself awake in that chair. When Nate was newborn and I was on maternity leave, Rodgers and I split the night getting up with him. Rodgers would take the first half, and I would take the second half. Usually, Rodgers would use the monitor so that he could sleep in bed between Nate's bottles. Once it was my turn, I would turn off the monitor and get up with Nate. He usually had a hard time going back to bed by then, so I often cuddled him in the cuddler, and we would both sleep.

The recliner is where Nate and I spent our days during my maternity leave. It is also where I fed him most of his bottles at home once I went back to work. We spent many a Saturday afternoon there those first weeks I was back at work. When Nate would fall asleep, Rodgers would tell me to go put him down in his crib, but I relished those cuddly naps in the recliner. Sometimes I would have my laptop set up on a bar stool next to me and surf the internet, sometimes I would read a book, and sometimes I would just watch Nate sleep on me. The recliner is kind of gross now because it's coated in spit up. I really should clean it now that Nate spits up less...

The ottoman is no longer in front of the cuddler, except on movie night. We keep it under the bar next to the highchair, since the bar stools were never used there and have become our laptop tables. The floor is open, and often covered in toys. Rather than spending hours rocking in the recliner together, Nate and I (and Rodgers) spend hours in the living room floor, playing with cups and socks and monkeys, reading books, practicing standing up and walking, and exploring the variety of fuzzies that tend to gather in the carpet (which means Nate tries to eat them, and we find them stuck to his lips or chin).

There is now a basket of toys next to the recliner, and usually a Bumbo and bouncy seat sitting in the floor in front of the TV. Also, various burp cloths and blankets tend to be draped over the arms of the chairs. Sometimes a stray bottle is hiding under the recliner. There is probably a blue pacifier with sailboats on it somewhere in this room, but we have yet to find it... 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

working mommy wednesday

You know you're a working mom when... buy a whole new wardrobe of clothes at 6 weeks postpartum, even though you have no intention of remaining three sizes bigger than you were before pregnancy, but you have to have something decent to wear to work!

...your goal getting ready in the mornings is "good enough," but when you get to work and see your childless female coworkers, you realize that "good enough" = frumpy. pictures now replace wedding pictures on your desk. cut your lunch break down to 30 minutes so that you can leave work 30 minutes early because if you don't, you risk being late picking the kid up from daycare, a $15-per-minute risk (and you can't just start work 30 minutes earlier because the daycare isn't open that early).

..."me" time consists of reading a book during your 30 minute lunchbreak. Oh, how sacred that time is!

...while digging through your work tote bag, looking for Excedrin, you find instead a pair of tiny socks and a bib. don't go out for dinner on weeknights anymore because it takes too much time.

...rather than being concerned about what food is most economical and healthy, you're more concerned with what food is fastest/easiest to prepare. Additionally, you may be a bit too attached to your crockpot.

...while frying eggs for breakfast Sunday, you also make some mashed potatoes to eat with dinner Monday night.

...your husband does more housework than you do.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

carseat reviews

When Nate was born, we borrowed his cousin's infant carseat. We bought a second base for it so that he could ride in either the Toyota (with me) or the Honda (with Rodgers). In case Rodgers had to pick Nate up from daycare, I would carry him and the carseat into daycare each day. Eventually, he got to be too heavy to be carrying around in a heavy carseat/infant carrier. But, I couldn't leave him at daycare without a carseat. If I ended up being late, Rodgers would have to pick Nate up, and would have no way to take him anywhere if I didn't leave the carseat there. We decided the best course of action would be to buy a convertible carseat. We'd need two eventually, but since Nate still fit in the infant carseat, we could start with just one. The convertible would go in the Toyota, and we'd leave the infant carseat in the Honda.

I subscribe to Consumer Reports. I signed up when we were checking out all sorts of baby items. I have used it most in researching carseats. You see, there are these $300 carseats that everyone raves about, and I needed to see if they were actually that much better than the reasonably priced ones, or if it was a fad brand thing.

The most important things to us in choosing a carseat are safety and affordability. I'd anticipated we would have to spend $150 per carseat, and of course we'd need two. All carseats have to meet a minimum safety requirement in order to be sold, so they are all safe. Most are rated "Very Good" by CR in the safety department. But there are two which are rated "Excellent," one in the up-to-40-lbs-capacity category, and one in the over-40-lbs-capacity category. Neither of them are particularly expensive. One is actually the lowest priced convertible carseat I've heard of. That is the one we decided to get when Nate was 4 months old.

It isn't very plush, and doesn't have any bells or whistles (except for a pretty nice cup holder). But, it is very safe, easily installed, fits in both of our vehicles, and is a fine carseat.  What's more, at only $40, we could buy a bunch of them at my $150-each allotment. It can be rear-facing up to 35 lbs and forward-facing up to 40 lbs. It's the Cosco Scenera.

The only complaint I have about it is that the straps get twisted. When comparing it with the second convertible carseat we bought, I would always recommend the second, unless you're on a tight budget. There's really nothing wrong with the Scenera. It's just not very awesome.

Nate is now 8 months old and is approaching the limit for the infant carseat. It goes up to 22 lbs and 29 inches. When I took his stats on his 8 month birthday, in my wildly inaccurate home measuring techniques (bathroom scale and tape measure, which isn't easy to use on a baby), he was 19.5 lbs and 27 inches. We've got probably 2 months before he exceeds the limits, but we decided to go ahead and get a second convertible now. We'd intended to simply pick up another Scenera. But, I was beginning to be seduced by the very plush, comfy, fancier models.

In the end, I was most drawn to the other "Excellent" crash test rated convertible. It has the highest overall rating that CR has given a convertible carseat (even higher than the expensive brand). I read the reviews to see why people like it and discovered that the shoulder straps aren't threaded through the carseat. They run along a track and you slide them up and down to adjust. The strap length isn't adjusted by pulling on a strap, pushing a switch and pulling other straps, none of which are easily done while the seat is installed in the car. No, these straps are adjusted by little knobs on the sides of the carseat. Also, this carseat has been side-impact tested, which not all carseats are. It has multiple recline positions, though you have to use it in the most reclined position for rear-facing. It is rear-facing up to 35 lbs and forward-facing up to 50 lbs. At three times the price of the Scenera, this carseat can be yours for the reasonable price of $120. Not bad. It's the Evenflo Triumph Advance.

When I told Rodgers that's the one I wanted, I got confused and told him the Titan. Evenflo also makes the Titan, but it's not as awesome. It seems comparable to the Scenera, but costs around $95. Rodgers went to WalMart while I was at work that day and came home with the Titan. I was disappointed, but thought it might be ok. After some deliberation, I asked him to return it, which he did, and we ordered the Triumph. It arrived on Friday. It is every bit as wonderful as I imagined. The only thing I don't like is the cup holder.

In summary, I (so far) highly recommend the Evenflo Triumph Advance to everyone. If you are a tight budget, I recommend the Cosco Scenera.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Working Mom Wednesday

Working life BEFORE kids vs. Working life AFTER kids
(don't have kids?? working life as a teen/young adult vs. working life as an adult.)

Before kids and before husband, my work wasn't so different. I've had a lot of jobs since graduating in 2004. I've never been one to work long hours, though. Maybe I haven't had demanding jobs, but I get my stuff done for the day and go home on time. Only once or twice did I have a project come up with an immediate deadline that required more than an 8 hour day. At one job that required staying late at the office. At another job it meant taking my laptop home with me.

Pre-marriage, my evenings were mostly free. I tried to cook dinner once a week but usually didn't care enough to put forth the effort. I'd go to evening Bible study groups, grocery shop when I needed to, never planned out meals, and watched a lot of TV.

I had a 2 hour bedtime routine because I had trouble sleeping at night. I usually went to bed around 11, later on the weekends. I got up in the mornings as late as possible and had a morning routine as well. I got up about 7 (later when I had jobs with a shorter commute or later start time), poured the coffee, spent 15-20 minutes reading my Bible and a short devotional, then got ready for the day, and hoped that I wouldn't be late for work (but I was usually 5 minutes late).

Once Rodgers and I started dating, I spent on average an hour on the phone with him every evening. He wouldn't talk to me longer than that.

When I moved to the same town Rodgers was living in, and we were no longer LDR, he would come over for dinner every night. I had a different job, since I'd moved, but still, I worked my hours and went home. I did start cooking more often because Rodgers would cook and clean up with me, and I enjoyed doing those tasks together. He would go home around 8, and I had the rest of the evening to myself. I did nothing productive with it.

I spent so much of my evenings doing nothing. It was fabulous. I enjoy doing nothing.

After getting married, my evenings were similar to our short distance relationship, except Rodgers didn't go home at night (obviously). We watched a lot of movies in the evenings. Once I had the pregnancy fatigue and 24 hour nausea, I did even less than I'd done before.

When Nate was born, my free, nothing-filled evenings were over. I work the same hours, but now I have to plan our meals, buy groceries on the weekend, and split up the chores because who has the time to clean a whole 850 square foot apartment in one day? Not me. As I've blogged before, we have a schedule for all cleaning and laundry to make sure we don't get behind. My attempts to schedule exercise in to my evenings has been somewhat successful. Now, Rodgers and I have started MasterLife, and we are trying to work the daily homework from that into our evenings. I no longer have a drawn out evening routine. I don't have trouble falling asleep any more, probably because my days are full, and I'm exhausted.

I get up between 5:45 and 6 now. The morning routine is slightly different. It's an abbreviated version of my previous routine, with some baby-getting-ready thrown in there. Rodgers gets Nate ready for the most part, though. I haven't been late for work a single time since Nate was born because he doesn't let us oversleep. We leave between 7 and 7:10, I drop him at daycare, and I usually arrive at work a few minutes early.

The biggest difference between being a working mom and a working wife or single adult is that there are no more evenings or weekends filled with doing nothing. There are a lot more demands on my time, and my life is much more scheduled and routine. We'll still take off on a spontaneous weekend trip from time to time, but it takes us longer to get out the door.

Friday, September 10, 2010

best $2 ever spent on Nate

It seems to me that Nate doesn't have a lot of toys. I read some other moms' blogs, and their kids have a lot of toys. I can tell by the pictures they post of their organization. Nate got some hand-me-down toys from the lady who sold us his high chair, swing, and Baby Bjorn - a variety of rattles and linking toys. He has a lot of stuffed animals, but most are in the top of the closet. He got a few cool toys as shower gifts. And we've bought him four toys: a mirror, Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes, a squishy dolphin bath toy, and a $2 ball.

One day last week, when I picked Nate up from daycare, he was playing with a wiffle ball. His teacher said that it's his favorite ball. The next time we were at WalMart, I was picking up some new filters for his humidifier and waiting for Rodgers who ran to get the milk. I saw a box of Garanimals balls. They were kind of like the wiffle ball because they had holes in them:

I thought it was worth a shot. For $2, I'll try it out. I handed it to him, and he held on to it, swinging it around and pulling on it, for the rest of our shopping. He cried, heartbroken, when I took it away from him to be scanned so we could pay for it. Nate and the ball have been virtually inseparable this week.

He is stalks the ball whenever he catches sight of it.

my precious...

But he does more than just hold it...

His favorite thing is to bang it against the ground.

Eventually, it pops out of his hand.

And goes flying across the room. 
Which direction it flies is unpredictable. He looks around the room until he finds it, then he stalks it again.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


It's R&R Day!!!

I left the country 5 months after we started dating and was gone for a year. We didn't see each other for 340 days. (More details of the story are in the newly-added "history" tab.)

We missed our first Christmas, Valentine's Day, dating anniversary, my birthday, and everything except for Rodgers' birthday. It was his 30th, so I'm very glad that I was at least here for that.

I think it was around V-Day (2007) that I suggested to him we create our own holiday when I returned, so that we could celebrate the special days we missed. That day happened to be September 9. I don't remember everything we did, but I do remember we took a drive down a scenic highway and stopped at the top of a hill to watch the sunset.

Since then, we've spent most special days together, or at least we've been able to celebrate them the weekend before or after. We've no real need for R&R Day anymore. But we can't quite let go of having our own personal holiday. Rodgers has a meeting tonight from 6:30 to forever, so we won't really get to celebrate today. But, there you go.

Happy R&R Day!


It's Thursday and Nate has only been to daycare one day this week.

Monday, of course, was Labor Day. Fabulous day at home with my guys.

Tuesday, he went to daycare, as usual.

It started raining on Tuesday and was still raining when we woke up Wednesday. There were big puddles in the parking lot, but all was flowing into our little creek, which was higher than usual, but not even close to full. Nate and I left on time.

After exiting the freeway, I noticed a truck backing up on the access road. He backed into the nearest parking lot, exiting to the side street. I thought it was odd, but as I got closer, I noticed the street was closed, so I followed suit. The access road dips there, to go over a creek that doesn't normally have much water in it. The freeway has a nice, high bridge. I assumed the creek was over the road. No matter, I could come from the other direction and get to the daycare without crossing the creek (I would have to cross it exiting, so I'm not sure what my plan was). Turns out, the access road on the other side was closed, too, forcing me to join the freeway again. It was then that I saw this:

Nate's daycare is to the right and behind these buildings. (I didn't take this picture; it was pouring when I drove past, and they were trying to get their church vans out of the parking lot.)
edit: the buildings are 2ish feet higher than the parking lot, which is covered with overflow from the creek.

So, we went home. Rodgers thought he'd have to go to work in the afternoon as usual, but got a call that they were flooded, too.

His work and Nate's daycare are right across the freeway from each other.

So, we had the day at home together again. We went out yesterday evening to see if the water was receding. It was, but the creek that flooded the area was still a rushing river. Local businesses were attempting to clean out the mud from their floors, tables, chairs, everything. The access roads were still closed, as they were clearing the mud and trees off. The parking lots were coated with mud.

This morning, we found out that they did get water in the building at daycare, so Nate has the day off again. They'll be open tomorrow, operating out of the church building. Rodgers called and asked, but they didn't know yet how much was ruined. We're taking new diapers, formula, bottles, everything, just in case they need it.

[pictures courtesy my Facebook friends]

On a related note, our bathroom ceiling leaks, as we discovered when I was trying to blog yesterday. I called the apartment office about it, and they added us to a list. Looks like they have lots of ceiling leaks this week. When it dries, they'll have a roofer come out and fix everything. Till then, our linen/toiletry closet contents are packed in suitcases, sitting in the bathroom floor.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

working mom wednesday

What do you consider necessary to get through the day?  (items, routines, coffee, etc.)

Coffee is definitely a "thing" of mine. When I first became a coffee drinker, I would drink it socially or make some for myself if I had a particularly early morning.

Three (four?) years ago, I bought a coffee pot with a clock and preset option. When we're on the ball, we set it up the night before, and it brews itself at 5:45. If we forget, either Rodgers or I make it when we get up, first thing. I don't always drink it right away; sometimes I just carry my coffee cup around with me in the morning, smelling it.

I'm ok without it - no caffeine withdrawal or anything. But I love the smell and taste of it.

Edit: oops. had to cut that short because we just discovered a leak in the ceiling. :/

Monday, September 6, 2010

Kenya Videos

I finally worked through our videos from our trip to Kenya.

Trip to Esther's, part one:

If you listen closely during the song, you can hear them say "Rodgers" sometimes. Rodgers could have spoken up a little more when he was translating... At the end Wilson was saying that they weren't going to let us leave; then Rodgers held up the car keys.

Trip to Esther's, part two:

The song the kids are singing says something about the wedding of Uncle Rodgers. It's a very traditional way to perform a song. They sing while marching out and line up. After the song ends, they start up again and march off.

Celebration at RBC:

This is a Thursday afternoon church service. We started off by singing one of Rodgers' favorite songs. Then, speeches. Oh, the speeches. Alistone, one of Rodgers' BFFs, spoke first, then one of his daughters. There were lots more after, but not translated loud enough for the video. And they went on and on and on... Rodgers' speech was the longest. I cut it short here, though. :)

Videos from MBC's mission trip (the week before I was in Kenya) are being uploaded as we speak.