Sunday, May 30, 2010


I am totally exhausted, but I stayed up anyway to upload the long, long video of Robert's baptism for you all. It was an hour and forty five minutes to upload. It was a really nice video. I waited and waited. Eight minutes from the end of the upload, the netbook decided it was time to hibernate, and dropped the entire thing. An hour and thirty minutes of upload, down the drain. I'm so mad. No video for you all tonight.

The baptism went great, though. Robert behaved himself and was adorable, it was great having my parents and M's parents there, and it was a very moving and spiritual experience. Robert didn't even cry about getting wet. After church, we walked down the street to this funky cafe and had good food, and then went to Graeters for the world's best ice cream. Robert watched Nana eat her ice cream so longingly that we decided to give him a tiny bite. He immediately spat it out with a look of horrified disgust. Maybe he is not quite ready for solider foods yet. =) 

We went to the half-price bookstore in the afternoon and picked up many, many, many bargain CDs. They are 2.00 for the cheap ones, and the Memorial Day sale had them 20% off, to boot. My other project tonight, the more successful one, was ripping those CDs onto my laptop so we can play them on the drive down to vacation. I got lots of early Jimmy Buffett that I did not have in my collection. Woo-hoo! We also swapped pictures between my camera, my folks' camera, and M's folks' camera, with me doing most of the legwork because I know how to do it. The first batch of pictures is on Flickr now. I will post more when I am not so tired and frustrated. For now, bed! 

Saturday, May 29, 2010

First Pool Visit

Everyone is here! It's awesome! Robert went in the pool! It was awesome! I have videos to edit and put up, but not tonight! Because I am exhausted and want to go to bed! Robert's baptism is tomorrow! I can make exclamation points! Rather than continue on like this when I am silly with exhaustion, here are links instead! One is to a new video! There are also new pictures! Now, I'm going to bed!

Second Zoo Trip from Cori D on Vimeo.


Happy Boy
Originally uploaded by BabyRobD
M's folks are here! They arrived this afternoon, and were very taken with Robert. Of course, who wouldn't be? =) We spent some time at their hotel, just letting them play with him and hold him and get reacquainted. He was charming and smiley, even though the outfit I wanted him in for the meeting had been peed through half an hour before they even arrived. Ah well. My MIL and I went out shopping with Robert when he got fussy, knowing that the movement of car and cart would help him nap. We got 114 dollars worth of groceries for 47 dollars, a whole cartful of goodness. I am very pleased. Shopping with a buddy is more fun, and Melissa liked pushing the cart and hanging out with Robert while I scouted around.

We went out to dinner with them at our favorite Thai place. This place is amazing, they have the best crab rangoons I've ever tasted, and this amazing pad thai. Robert was good there, he didn't want to sit in his carseat, but he sat on my lap and played with the carved carrot flowers that decorated our plates. He did keep trying to stick his hand in my pad thai, but I stopped him in time. He'd have been sorry if he succeeded, because it was quite spicy, and baby can't resist putting his hand in his mouth! By the time we got home, he was super-duper tired, and just wanted to nurse and have a bottle and go to bed.

Right now it's nearly one am and I'm still up. I should go to bed, but for some stupid reason I have decided that I must pump two ounces tonight. I have pumped twice for very little result, but I've taken my medicine and have a big glass of water here and I'm going to try again. I'm afraid things are drying up for me, but I feel like I can't just let it go so easily. So I'll try once more and see if I can get anything else. It's not costing anything but some sleep. And tomorrow, we get more visitors!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Preparing for Company

M's parents are coming tomorrow! How exciting! The house is still a mess! How typical! M and I spent a good portion of today trying to get the house in shape, and it looks better now, but it's still not clean. I'm so very, very bad at clean. I feel bad that I won't be able to teach Robert clean, and I just hope I can get better myself in time to teach him anything. One thing I am proud of is that I disassembled the vacuum cleaner and got the clog out of it all by myself this time instead of having to take it to the shop. The repair guy taught me how to do that back in Champaign to save the 12 dollar repair cost. Love that guy! It wasn't exactly brain surgery, just five Phillips screws, but still. It's kind of cool to have an appliance I can do a minor repair on. And it's really nice to be able to vacuum properly.

This weekend is going to be super busy, with M's folks coming tomorrow and mine the day after. I don't know how much I'll be able to update, but the upshot will be lots of pictures from lots of cameras that are better than my little Coolpix. I love my little camera, and it takes good pictures, but not great. I'll make sure that at the baptism, we use the best cameras, and the vid cam as well. This time I will remember to communicate the importance of not abusing the pause function, and hopefully I will not end up with fifty pieces of video. =D Robert's outfit is so cute, and last week he managed to sit through all of church without needing to be taken out. We'll see if he can repeat the feat this week!

In other news, I tried to rearrange the pantry and have come to the conclusion again that we have a lot of food. Which is funny, because as soon as we run out of ground turkey and tuna, we start wondering what we're going to eat. I need to get more creative with the food we have, rather than sticking to staple foods. For instance, I have six packs of hot dogs in the freezer. I'm sure I will think of something good.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Today as part of my straightening the house effort I did six loads of laundry. I really like these Purex 3-in-1 Laundry Sheets, they have the detergent, fabric softener and dryer sheet all in one mesh sheet like a really thick dryer sheet. You just toss one in the wash and leave it in for the dryer, and you're done. It's so much easier when I'm carrying all my laundry to the laundry room not to have to mess with bottles and remembering different things. Lighter weight, too! They're not cheap, though, so I'm keeping a close eye out for sales. I'm also keeping an eye on Robert's skin to make sure he can tolerate it, but he hasn't been at all rashy or itchy, so it looks good. M did all the dishes when he came home, because we are very industrious people that way.

After the wash was done and Robert and I both had a nap, we went out to Walmart. I was really lucky I decided to go today, because no one at the Health Department mentioned that they'd decided to only give me two days to redeem my first set of vouchers. If I'd waited till tomorrow, a third of my formula coupons would've been expired and we'd have been in big trouble. As it was, I got Robert his month's supply of formula, and then we went and got busy with coupons. Lots of free stuff today. I got a pack of Deluxe Homestyle Macaroni and Cheese, a bottle of mayonnaise made with olive oil, three packs of pantiliners, and two 10-packs of pens, all for no money. With coupons, I got two bacon-wrapped beef fillets for .97, two womens' deodorant sticks for .50 each, two canisters of Ovaltine for .75 each, a can of Reddi Whip for .67, and two bottles of mustard for .70 each. Then I also had to get eight pounds of ground turkey, five pounds of birdseed, two cases of pop because it was on really good sale for less than $4 per case, and a Mylar balloon for Robert, since his old one finally bit the dust. The total after sales and coupons was 33 dollars, nearly two thirds of which was turkey, birdseed, and balloon. I used the last of my Walmart gift cards and wound up paying six dollars out of pocket. A good trip!

For supper tonight, I made the deluxe macaroni and the bacon-wrapped fillets, a dinner that cost a grand total of probably 1.75, if I include the olive oil, the butter, and the milk usedf in preparation. It was great. Robert was tired, but in a super-cute mood, and when he eventually went to bed, he went down pretty easily. M took the picture of him during his last bottle of the day. I know it looks bigger than his head, but I swear it is only four ounces. =) He's a hungry little guy.

After he was down, I messed around on the internet for awhile (shocking, I know) and bought the day's deal on Groupon. I don't know if you've heard of Groupon before, but it's basically a site where every day there is a deal from a local business, and if enough people sign up for that deal, it goes "live" and you can actually buy it as a coupon and use it. It's pretty cool. Today's Cincinnati deal was for a $39 summer car maintenance from Car-X, with an oil change, new wipers, tire rotation, air conditioner inspection, and all over car-check. Good deal, since that's what we've been paying just for the oil change around here. Unfortunately, Groupon is only in big cities, but it might be worth checking out if you like to go to Chicago or something like that, because most of the coupons are valid for six months or a year. I could envision collecting a bunch of groupons for restaurants, hotels and entertainment and going in and making a weekend of it or something. (Just as a disclaimer, that link up there is my referral link, so if someone clicks on it and joins, then eventually buys a Groupon, I get a gift card. FYI.) So far I've gotten a 70% off massage coupon, half price tickets to the Cincinnati butterfly garden, and this Car-X package.

Oh! Another exciting thing happened today! Aunt Allie bought Robert the pool float I was admiring last week, the froggie one, and some swim diapers, and they arrived in the mail today. I immediately made myself dizzy inflating the float, and it's just as cute as in the pictures. The timing is awesome, too, since we have access to a pool starting this weekend. I can't wait to get him into the water and see what he thinks. Thanks, Aunt Allie! =D

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Busy, Busy Tuesday

Wow, we were on the go all day long today! This was the first day in a really long time that I have gotten up to the alarm clock instead of Robert's tummy clock, since we had to be up at six and out of the house at 7:30. And before then, we had to feed the baby, feed ourselves, Robert and I needed a bath, and I had to get the stuff ready for two appointments and a photo shoot. We made it out the door on time, too, or very close. I realized when we got in the car that I'd forgotten my empty WIC folder, but decided not to go back for it, lest we get stuck in even more rush hour. As it turned out, that was a really, really good decision. As we were going up the last hill to M's school, a traffic jam started up when a school bus stalled out or got stuck or something right in the turn lane of the busiest intersection on campus. We were crawling for a couple of minutes and managed to squeak out of it, and I dropped M off at quarter past eight, not a terrible drive time for a rush-hour commute. By the time I'd turned around and gone back down the block to that same hill, traffic was backed up all the way to the interstate, and the school bus was still not going anywhere. If we'd taken the extra two minutes to get that binder, we'd have been right in the middle of that mess and likely missed the WIC appointment entirely!

After talking with the nutritionist at the health department, I decided to stop getting the breastfeeding food vouchers and go to a full-formula package. It sort of makes me sad, because it feels like giving up, but it's more important to feed the baby. I can get coupon deals and find sales on the food I was getting from WIC, but formula is so expensive, and we need to make sure we get enough a month for a growing baby. We talked about solid foods as well, but she advised us to wait at least another month, and preferably till six months before introducing any solids. Apparently it's better for him that way. So by midsummer, my baby will be getting acquainted with the spoon! Man, time flies, doesn't it? For the next two months I get a reduced WIC food voucher as well, since I'm less than six months postpartum, so we'll sort of ease back into buying our own milk and cheese and eggs.

After the meeting at the health department, it was off to the mall and JC Penney's for a portrait shoot! I had a good coupon for a free sitting, a free 8x10, and a huge saving off the cost of a single-pose package. I put Robert in his baptism outfit and we went for it! It went really well. The lady there was great at getting him to smile, and the pictures were adorable. I stuck mostly to the terms of the coupon, but I couldn't resist one extra 8x10 in a second adorable pose. I also bought into their portrait club, which waives all sitting fees for two years, for everyone in a family. It'll pay for itself next month if M and I go in with Robert for a family picture. I think it would be nice to get one done while he's still very small. He's a hambone, too, and loves to flirt with ladies, so I think he'll be smiley then, too. =)

We went home so Robert could have a change of diaper and a quick nap, which he needed badly. After that, he went over to spend a few hours with our very nice neighbors while I went to the doctor. He came with me last time, but that was just a consultation, and this was an IUD insertion, and I thought he'd probably be in the way. The appointment went fast and didn't hurt quite as much as I'd worried, though I have felt a bit crampy and painful since then. It's supposed to go away after awhile, and ibuprofin helps. As long as the pain doesn't stick around too long, I can handle it.

When I got back, we spent some time socializing with the neighbors, then came home for just a little bit, then went to collect M from school! He got the paper done he needed to, so that's a big relief. He's only got one more big paper left this year. Woo-hoo! At home this evening, we ran the air conditioner for several hours, but it was 88 degrees, so I don't blame us a bit. Hope we get some cooker weather coming soon.

A Video!

Couponing With Mom from Cori D on Vimeo.

Okay, so I'm really tired tonight and have left this entry go till way past the time I wanted to go to bed. So instead of saying much, I will give you this video of Robert helping me coupon! Enjoy it in good health and long life, and I will post something more substantive tomorrow.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Warm-up Sunday

This is going to be such an exciting week! Today we watched a baptism at church, which gave us a really strong idea of what Robert's baptism is going to be like next Sunday. It's really nice! We've got to get the house clean, of course, but I'm really pleased about seeing my folks and M's folks, and letting them get a load of Robert. He's changed so much in a few months, and they're going to have a lot of fun with him now that he's smiling and laughing.

After church Robert and I went to Walgreens and did some shopping while M worked at school. I had to do a whole bunch of transactions, but I wound up spending 25 dollars for 95 dollars worth of stuff. That's more than I usually like to lay out in cash in a week, but it was a diaper transaction, which changes things. I got two packs of Size 3s, looking ahead, and a pack of swim diapers. Buying those not on sale would've been 30 dollars right there. In addition to the diapers, I got a bottle of extended-action Scrubbing Bubbles, some spray-on pain reliever, a tube of toothpaste, a big bottle of contact lens solution, a headband, two boxes of juice tubes, eight disposable razors, and my three newspapers for the week. Man, I miss the sale on newspapers! But I just dropped off a bag full of stuff for the food pantry today, so I have room to start stocking up again. Tomorrow: CVS!

We did splurge this evening, it was 91 degrees out and our apartment was really hot, so we went to Taco Bell and ordered off the dollar menu, no drinks. Five-fifty got both of us dinner, so it was just a little splurge, and very tasty. We also ran the AC for a couple of hours, at least until the house was dehumidified to habitability. I will miss our thirty-dollar-a-month electricity bills, but if we are careful and the weather doesn't stay quite this hot, hopefully we can keep it within reason. We certainly run the AC less than most of our neighbors!

Anyway, we had a patio picnic for dinner and put Robert in his umbrella stroller for it. The umbrella stroller came along as a free gift with our carseat, and right now it is basically Robert's patio chair. M and I sit in our chairs and strap Robert into the stroller, and it's easy and cool and all-weather durable. We like it! I posted an entire string of photos on Flickr for anyone who wants to see the rest.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Day Nearly Off

Ah, Saturday! Saturdays have a sort of different meaning when you're not regularly employed, but this one was still very nice. This morning Robert woke at six, but M woke up with him and gave him the bottle, allowing me to sleep in for two amazing more hours. Wonderful! At eight, I woke up and took over baby duties so M could have a nice long morning nap, and thus both of us got some lovely extra sleep. The funny thing is, even after each of us had our extra sleep, it was still only ten o'clock, an hour that in my old life I would be skeptical of waking up by on a Saturday. How times have changed! But I'm still really happy about it.

Robert drank roughly a million bottles today and was not very interested in nursing. I think it's probably because it's so hot. I can only nurse him in the football hold, and while that's a cozy hold when it's chilly, in hot weather, we both end up sweaty and sticky. But he sure is hungry! He got lots of exercise today, I put him down on his tummy and on his back a lot to stretch those little muscles, plus he did some time in the jumparoo. It's hard sometimes to decide how much time I should leave him alone for, especially when he's fussing about it. He doesn't like being left alone on the floor too much, and he really doesn't like being left on his tummy, but I know it's good for him. How will he ever roll and sit and creep if he's always strapped into a swing or chair or sitting on my lap? I think I feel even more guilty because the times when he's on the floor are the times I can get stuff done, or even just check my email without someone drooling on the trackpad. He seems to be well-enough adjusted so far, if his big gummy smiles and general sociability are any indication, so I'm trying not to worry about it. I figure there have to be parents way worse than me who have raised okay kids, right?

Anyway, aside from mild parental neuroses, it was a quiet day. We had lunch at our favorite Greek place, which I had the coupon for. Our meals of giant gyros with extra yogurt sauce, big servings of lemon pepper fries, and soft drinks came to a total of ten dollars. Can't beat it with a stick, I'm telling you. M went in to school and worked for most of the afternoon on his paper again. I'm glad he could do that instead of having to stay here and work and juggle Robert. The further out I get from quitting day, the happier I am about it, seriously. Tonight for supper I thought we'd have spaghetti squash with butter and garlic, but when I cut open the squash, I found it had actually sprouted and was full of what looked like giant bean sprouts growing from the seeds. Super-weird! It wasn't that old, either, I think I got it two weeks ago, which is not that long in squash years. Anyway, we had acorn squash instead, which is quite good with butter and brown sugar.

M took today's picture while he and Robert were playing the blanket burrito game. It's really funny to watch Robert squirm out of the blanket after being wrapped up, and how proud he is of himself. It's certainly not a game I ever would've thought of, but Robert and Daddy play it often. It's very cute.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Gateway to the Weekend

Today was a very busy day. We started out going to the colloquium at M's school, which he's been working on very hard all week. Robert and I sat in on his lecture about the zoo, which was quite interesting (in my humble non-historian opinion), then lit out because someone had run out of bottle and was getting restless. While we waited for the panel to be over, we went down to the food court, because I was very thirsty. The biggest fountain drink at Burger King, as it turns out, is two dollars and roughly the size of a bucket. I only managed to drink half of it, which was probably wise anyway. Robert was very popular at school, because he is so cute. His piercing shrieks could use a little modulation, though. I am not sure when he realized that those were the best way to get peoples' attention, but they have become his default cry these days. He generally goes from squeals to blowing rageberries (Robert blows raspberries when he is mad instead of whining), to the high pitched shrieks, and only then to actual sustained crying.

We ate lunch with M at school because hey, free lunch, then Robert and I went home. He had some very angry tummy time and took a little nap, while I looked at the new coupon book I got in the mail. It's one of those that you can buy every year that's full of coupons for local entertainment and restaurants and stuff. It started out at 35 dollars, but I got mine for five, with the caveat that most of it expires November 1. We're going to go to our favorite Greek place tomorrow and have buy one get one free entrees, so it will have already paid for itself. Nice! There's lots of BOGOF coupons in there that will make it much cheaper for us to go and do stuff this summer, so that's exciting.

When Robert was done with nap and food, we went back into the city to pick up M and go to church to meet with our pastor. Robert gets baptized next weekend, and we wanted to make sure we were all on the same page liturgically and logistically. We got there half an hour early because I misremembered the time, but it was okay. We got to swing on a porch swing and get a close up view of a thunderstorm without getting wet, and it was actually pretty nice. Robert ate a magazine. With that all taken care of, we headed home and got stuck in rush hour, bummer, then spent a long time trying to get our fussy boy to sleep. Sometimes when he won't sleep, I take him out of the crib and lay with him on the bed and sing to him while we cuddle. He likes it, but it didn't make him sleep tonight. Eventually he got up and got to Skype with me and a friend of mine and her baby, then he had another bottle and finally went to sleep. Oh, and I put the entertainment book to good use, I scheduled a portrait sitting for Robert at JC Penny. I'm going to put him in his baptism outfit and take in his blue and white blankie and see what they make of him. I have some coupons, each of which will give me a free 8x10 and 50% off pictures, and if I buy a club membership, we won't pay any sitting fees for two years. Might be worth it, you know how I feel about pictures of the baby. =D

I did neglect to post yesterday, I was just too doggone tired at the end of the day. Robert and I went to knitting over the lunch hour and saw all my friends, which was a good time. They love Robert, and he was good most of the time there. I don't get much knitting done when I'm holding him, but going to knitting is half for the socializing anyway. After that we went to the clinic, where we had a 2:20 appointment and got in at 3:20. Things went well though, so I'm pretty pleased. And now I am very, very tired, so it's time for some sleeping! Speaking of which, today's picture is one I had to sneak in and take while Robert was asleep, because I totally forgot. It did not wake him, but I only took one. No need to press my luck!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

What Really Counts

Well, I have quit the census job after three weeks of work. The main reason is not something I want to talk about in this forum, but there were lots of little reasons as well. When I started, they didn't tell us that there was a minimum hours requirement, or that we would be required by our supervisors to work at different times in the day. When I am only available on certain evenings and weekends, it becomes very hard to get 20 hours in a week and some in the mornings! The rules for collecting data were never the same from week to week or even day to day, so when I thought I was doing a good job, I might well be doing work that would be completely invalidated and need to be done over. And you know what's harder than convincing a reluctant person to give information to the Census? Convincing them twice! I am a person who is very concerned with doing her job right, and basically not being able to do so was very frustrating.

Added onto that was the fact that we have some very busy weeks happening now and soon. M has a colloquium this weekend that he is preparing a paper for, and the first part of the week was just miserable, trying to compromise between getting our respective work done. Robert had a doctor's appointment, I've got one tomorrow, and Friday we meet with our pastor about the baptism. Next week all our folks are coming for the baptism, and after that, there is vacation! Trying to work in a stressful, unrewarding job around all that would just have been crazy. And really, it was an at-will job that could've let me go at any minute anyway. It's not like I'm giving up a chance at a permanent position or anything like that. Maybe three or four more weeks of work, maybe less! I'm going to be happy for the money I earned, and leave it at that.

That's really all there is to say about that, I guess. Be kind to the Census-taker if one comes to your door, they are probably having a bad day already. In other news, there is another cat out on the patio right now, and Victoria is very upset about it. That other cat is probably in my catnip! Grrr. I wouldn't mind if it was just the catnip, but they have a tendency to squish my lavender and watermelon plants as well while they are indulging. I may have to dig it up and repot it in a hanging basket. In other-other news, I am still pumping, and tonight I got three ounces in two pumpings, which is still not great, but is at least better. In the morning, Robert will get to nurse, and then will get a bottle that is half real milk, so that's good for him. Now that I'll be home all day, I can keep a more stringent schedule, which will hopefully also be good for milk production. I think that we have the formula situation figured out, but I still want to get as much breastmilk into him as possible. It's a real pain sometimes, but it's good for him, and he likes to nurse, now that he's got the hang of it. I'll keep it going as long as I can.

Oh! I don't know if anyone noticed, but there's a new widget on my right-side blog menu, the Smartypig widget. Smartypig is a savings website where you set savings goals for yourself and then you or other people can make deposits into them until the goal is met. The interest rate is pretty good for a savings account, and I like being able to specifically put money towards a goal. Right now I have one short term goal, saving up the 350 dollars for a small chest freezer from the Sears Outlet store. If I can find the money, I will find a place to put the freezer, and I will start buying more in bulk and doing more freezer cooking days. I have enviously watched the blog posts of women who can spend a long day in the kitchen and make a month's worth of meals for their deep freezers, knowing that my tiny freezer would never be up to the task. Someday, I will have my own! I also have a long term goal, saving up tuition for a preschool for Robert. Right now it's a goal that seems very out of reach for a time that seems very far away, but hopefully by the time preschool rushes at us like a freight train, we will have some money coming in and put away. You have to think ahead about these things! You can keep an eye on my progress by watching my widget!

And I think that's about it for the day. I need some sleep very badly, and Robert never gives me a morning off. Ah well. =)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Four Month Checkup

Today was the big day, Robert is four months and one day old, and it was time for his four month checkup! I am  a slow learner, but I can be taught, and I scheduled a month ahead of time to make sure he'd actually be four months old and not four and a half months at his checkup this time. All the news is very good! Robert is just above average in height and head size, and has climbed back to the 25th percentile in weight, from below the fifth percentile two weeks ago! Go-go-baby chubby legs! The doctor says he looks and sounds really good, all his reactions are appropriate, and he should start rolling any time now.

We still need to keep supplementing with the formula, and the doctor said he didn't want to see Robert trying goat's milk while he's still underweight, but everything else is just ducky. He also said that we should be all right traveling with him in the un-air-conditioned car this June, so long as we use good common sense and take frequent breaks. He also gave us two more cans of formula to last us until my next WIC appointment. Now that we've realized we were going through it so quickly because M was superconcentrating Robert's bottles with twice as much powder as recommended, we should make this stuff last quite a bit longer.

The sad part of the appointment was of course the two shots, which are always such a trauma. Robert always seems so very shocked that someone would hurt him! Thus far in his small life, he has experienced discomfort and hunger, but little actual pain. He doesn't like it. He didn't cry as much this time as last time though, because I had a bottle right there for him. He calmed down quickly and was asleep by the time we got to the grocery store. Last night when I went shopping I totally forgot the WIC voucher, so we had to take care of that today, plus we picked up a few other sale items. Deli meat was on good sale for four dollars a pound sliced ham, turkey and mild cheddar. We will have lots and lots of sandwiches this week, excellent breakfasts and lunches when we are so busy. Between that and the milk, cheese, eggs, etc. from the voucher, we're set for food for a little while. This was the last of the big WIC vouchers, I think they get much smaller once you go to partial breastfeeding, but they were nice to have and kept me and Robert healthier.

After coming home from the appointment, I had to go to work. I heard from my boss that some of the questionnaires I turned in are no good and will have to be redone. She did not tell me why though, or what I did wrong, even when I asked. Apparently I will find out tomorrow. So who knows if anything I did today was even right? Not that I did well, I worked for four hours and didn't catch a  single blessed person home and willing to talk to me. I need a new binder really badly. I need to get rid of this job really badly. But I'll keep at it as long as I can stand it, because every paycheck is so good for our bottom line. Ugh. We'll see how the meeting tomorrow goes.

Anyway, work sucked, but how can I be too despondent when I can come home to a happy boy like the one in the picture? The shots don't seem to have affected him so far, aside from matching bandaids on each thigh, and Robert was in quite a good mood till almost bedtime. He loves his blankie. There's a whole bunch of new pictures on Flickr if you just can't get enough.

Dreams of Homeownership

From time to time on my blog, I will do reviews of websites I've been asked to look at, sort of like a survey where I share the results with people. I receive compensation for doing these reviews, but they don't tell me what I have to say, or even that I have to say nice things. All the opinions contained herein are entirely my own.

Back right after Robert was born, I had a catastrophic hard drive failure on my computer. I was lucky, both in that most of the files were recoverable and that the computer was still in warranty, but I did lose all my links. One that I lost and just found again is called "Lovely Listing", which is a site devoted to bizarre pictures from real estate ads. It's a hilarious site, but invariably when I read enough of it in one sitting, I start looking at the real estate ads myself, and thinking about houses. Sometimes I think it might be nice to buy an actual house, where the mortgage payments would be lower than our rent and we'd actually be building equity in something. Then I think about not wanting to live in Kentucky forever, and having to do my own repairs, and it seems less promising, but it's still a nice thought.

One good reason to buy a house would be to get a lawn. I would love to have a lawn with a swingset and a big garden, and some fruit trees. Of course, to have a lawn, you have to mow the lawn, and to mow the lawn, you need a lawn mower. A company I've been looking at lately for lawn mowers is Mountfield Lawnmowers. Mountfield is a British-based lawnmower company that's a subsidiary of Textron, so you could have a lawnmower that's made by a company owned by the same company that owns Bell Helicopter and Cessna Aircraft, with a motor that's made by the same company that made my car, Honda. That's like a corporate synergy Yahtzee right there. 

Mountfield mowers are mostly push-mowers, which is not the type I'm used to, not with the giant lawn I grew up with. There are all different kinds though, mulching mowers, scarifiers, rotary motors, and all sorts of things I've never even heard of. Mountfield petrol lawnmowers are nice and all (and I think it's awesome that they call it petrol, because I am a nerd), but I'm more interested in their electric mowers. I remember the old gas push mower we had, and it was so stinky and nasty. That's been about twenty years now though, so I imagine the technology has come quite a ways. They're all a very cheerful red color that seems very appropriate for lawncare equipment, but I've got to admit that with the prices all in pounds, I have little idea of what they cost. I think when it's my turn to have a lawn and get a mower, I will probably buy a brand that is more easily accessible, but I certainly like the look and sound of these mowers. 

A Quick Post for Monday

It's Monday! I need to start posting these things earlier in the day, because I had all sorts of things to talk about this afternoon, but now I've forgotten them all and I just want to go to bed. Maybe next time. Robert and I had our long long day together today, and it was actually kind of fun. He ate a huge amount and slept quite a bit, but he was also very smiley and tried to devour his plush bird, which was quite funny. We watched some Fraggles and I made myself some Mexican rice and wrapped it in tortillas for lunch while he was napping. Good times. I got no work done, because M didn't get home till after seven, but that's the way it goes.

After M got home, he put Robert to bed, and I headed out to do all the shopping with the coupons I'd assembled throughout the day. Today's trips were to Target and to Meijer. I had a very good trip to Target, I got four boxes of 100-Calorie-Pack Ritz snacks, a trial size hair gel, a First Aid to Go kit and a cucumber melon body mist, all for three dollars. The cashier was really nice to me, too, and it made the whole evening better. Target can really be hit or miss at the checkstand, some cashiers there just aren't very good, but this guy was great. Liked him! Meijer wasn't running nearly as many sales as some other Meijers, which was kind of disappointing. Still, I persevered and used my coupons and got a six pound whole chicken, eight packs of Oscar Mayer hot dogs, two packs of buns, two containers of blackberries, and three highly caffeinated boxes of Crystal Lite tea tubes, all for 20 dollars. Not the best I've ever done, a savings of about 50%, but not bad for that much meat. I put the chicken and six packs of hot dogs in the freezer for later.

Tomorrow is Robert's four month appointment! Wish us luck! He is getting to be a little chubby boy, so that's very good news. And I'm still nursing and pumping, so here's hoping it pays off. And now, bedtime!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Free is Delicious!

Well, Robert woke us up at three this morning, little stinker, so I'm entirely exhausted and I'd love to get to bed at midnight for a change. So I have five minutes to write this! Church this morning was nice, Robert was okay but had to be removed for rediapering, with much screaming, before even the children's message had started. Oh well, he's still very small. One day he'll be able to play in the nursery during church, and won't that be nice?

After church, we dropped M off at school to get some work done, and Robert and I went.. dum-de-dummmm... shopping! We hit up Walgreens first, my new favorite Walgreens where the other couponers don't go quite as early in the week. I didn't have much to get there this week, but Old Spice body wash was on sale where if you buy 1 for 4.49, you get 4.49 back in register rewards, plus I had BOGOF coupons for Old Spice body wash. I did that deal twice, so I got two free body washes, plus two body washes where I got back all I paid in coupon money. Not bad! I used up the coupon money by buying a mini humidifier on clearance sale for 12 dollars, down from 24. I also got three copies of the paper (and found Walgreens isn't discounting them anymore, boo), a box of juice sticks for water bottles, and a water bottle (free with the juice sticks.) The whole kit and kaboodle came out to twenty dollars, which is more than I normally spend at Walgreens, but did include a small appliance.

We also stopped at CVS, where I made a 3 dollar profit by buying shampoo, bar soap, and a can of waterless shampoo that had a rebate offer attached. After sales and coupons I paid 1.75 for everything, and I will get a 4.49 rebate back. That's the way to shop! Of course, I demonstrated the way not to shop a little bit later when I went to Babies R Us and went a little insane. I wanted a baptism outfit for Robert, but the actual fancy ones did not come in his size. I would've bought one, though, if it did. Even though they were 45 dollars for a little white baby tux that he would likely only wear once. Babies R Us is like that, it makes you insane. Robert was not helping, either. He slept like an angel the whole time I was in there, giving me plenty of time to browse. I ended up buying a white collared onesie for a shirt, white shorts, and then socks and little white shoes with crosses on them from the baptism clothes display. Too cute. Then I went on and bought another outfit (the shorts were BOGOF today, so I figured I might as well get my free item!), three Nuby bottles on clearance because we need bigger bottles that do not leak, a six pack of spoons for the transition to solids, and some clearance short-sleeved onesies. I spent nearly fifty dollars! It was nuts. I can see how people find it much easier to splurge on their children than on themselves.

This evening we did some cleaning, M cleaned up the kitchen while I attempted to excavate the dining room table. I found some Dominos Pizza gift certificates that my mom gave us that I'd totally forgotten about. Awesome! We got a large pepperoni pizza and a 2-liter of Diet Coke for supper and didn't have to pay anything for it. That made it taste especially good. And now: Bedtime!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

On the Move

Today was quite a busy day. Robert got us up at the relatively civilized hour of 6:45, though the fact that I consider that a decent hour to wake up at sort of makes me sad. Where are the long lazy Saturday mornings of my youth? Gone, gone until he learns to operate cartoons by himself, I suppose. We all got dressed and headed out to the university to see a friend of ours give a talk about the research she's been doing. She really wanted to meet Robert, but she moved away before he was born, so it's been tough. Robert was really quite good during the lectures, and he charmed everyone he met, so that was nice. There was also delicious pizza for lunch, an extra bonus! It's nice to be able to take Robert to some places, even if listening to a lecture with a baby on your lap is like listening to a lecture with a randomized-timer bomb of spit up, poop, and screams, just waiting to go off. It makes things so exciting!

On the way to the lecture, we dropped by CVS to snag a bargain on some diapers. I had five dollars worth of stacking coupons, plus a two dollar coupon rewards offer, bringing the grand total of the diapers down to less than two dollars. I used coupon rewards to pay, so basically only the fifty cents of sales tax came out of my pocket. It's the only way to shop. =D On the way back we dropped by Meijer and picked up frozen ground turkey on sale and some more bananas. We also splurged on a bit of store brand ice cream, the better to watch the ice cream episode of Man Vs. Food. I love that show, but some episodes are just not good to eat when you're hungry.

Census is a little better, I think. I was pretty het up about it yesterday, but today I got to fob off the case that was really irritating me, and I managed to get in all my hours I need for the week. Another paycheck comes in three days, how exciting! Doing this work has made me get all philosophical about houses, being as how I spend a lot of time observing them and walking up to them these days. It's funny the expectations that you have, just walking up to someone's house. You expect a house to be a certain way, and when it isn't that way, or when your expectations are suddenly subverted, that can be disorienting.

For example, I was out the other day in a normal middle-class neighborhood and I went up to one of my houses. It was just a normal looking house, chairs on the porch, no cars in the driveway. I walked up onto the porch and looked at the door, and suddenly it was all wrong. The door was standing open, which is not so unusual, but it had no doorknob. There was just a hole where the doorknob mechanism should be, and a hanging-open door, and no one around at all. Suddenly, the entire complexion of the house changed for me. It wasn't what I'd thought it was anymore. It wasn't somebody's house, it was an empty shell that could have pretty much anything inside it. Even though there was virtually no danger in a nice neighborhood on a sunny afternoon, a little part of me just wanted to get the heck off that porch right then and not look back. It was kind of strange. Maybe I've watched too many scary movies, or maybe it's just an ostention of the same principle that horror movies trade on, that the familiar twisted just enough to be strange can be a lot scarier than the totally alien.

Anyway, that's the sort of philosophical musing that carried me through my two mile round trip walk today, maybe there's more of heat exhaustion than philosophy in it, but that's okay. In other news, the pool is going to open soon, and I'm really excited. I've been looking for a pool float for Robert, and I really like this one.  It's just as cute as can be, and not too expensive. Next time I get a paycheck, I think I may order that. An inflatable float and some swim diapers, and Robert will be ready for summer pool fun! I've already got the high-powered sunscreen!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Finally Friday

What a long week it's been. I thought I was busy with Robert and everything I had to do before, but now I know I was hardly busy at all. Now, though, I am quite busy, and my job is frustrating, and I don't get weekends off. At least I know it's just a temp gig. That kind of bummed me out at first, but now it's a feeling of freedom. This too shall pass, and in the meantime, I will do my work and try to keep my sanity and concentrate hard on the bank account balance when I would like to scream and throw my binder at someone. Today I conducted my first yelled-through-a-door interview and had yet another person lie to my face because they didn't want to talk to me. I have a feeling this has happened a lot more often than I'm aware of, but it's particularly frustrating when I catch them at it. Tomorrow I have to go back and redo some of yesterday's work, because the rules for census changed between Wednesday and Thursday but I didn't know until Friday, so Saturday I will fix it. Sometimes I think if I didn't ask so many questions trying to get things right, I wouldn't have so many problems. It seems like every time I ask a question about something, I wind up wishing I hadn't. Maybe this is training for government bureaucracy.

Anyway, I'm better off this week than I was last week, if I work four hours tomorrow I will make my minimum hours for the week. So I'm hoping we don't get rain or anything miserable like that. I will concentrate on happier things instead, like the fact that I have a long-awaited doctor's appointment coming up next week, and that Robert is getting baptized on Memorial Day weekend, and all the grandparents will be here! That's going to be a very good time. And then shortly after that, we go on vacation to visit the beach and the mountains, which will be entirely awesome. Compared to that, what's a little enumeration annoyance in the grand scheme of things?

It's late and I'm tired, so I'm not going to stay up much longer. Instead, I shall leave you with the picture above, which is Robert after a long day. He fell asleep on M's lap, right in the middle of a bottle. Awww.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Here in my Car, I Feel Safest of All

From time to time on my blog, I will do reviews of websites I've been asked to look at, sort of like a survey where I share the results with people. I receive compensation for doing these reviews, but they don't tell me what I have to say, or even that I have to say nice things. All the opinions contained herein are entirely my own.

I talked a little bit last month about my car and its air conditioning problems. Not having an air conditioner can seem like a minor thing, and it sort of is, but it can be pretty bad when the humidity gets high. When M and I went out this week on a humid and rainy day, all of us being in the car fogged up the windshield really badly, and without the dehumidifying properties of the air conditioning, the defrost didn't do squat. Rather than persist in wiping vainly at the windshield with paper towels, I eventually turned the heat on full blast (the heat works when it is not too cold out), and we baked ourselves dry. It was a miserable and rather dangerous experience. 

With that in mind, I opened up today, the auto repair website I mentioned awhile back. I'm miserably busy with the Census job and everything else right now, but something needs to be done. We have a little money saved up now, though most of it has to go to keeping us alive through the lean summer months, so I figured it's time to go get those auto shop reviews. While I was there, I decided to take advantage of the articles they have on different problems cars can have, trying to figure out exactly what is wrong with my air conditioning.  I don't have a lot of savvy with cars, I admit that right off. Last time my check-engine light went off, M and I sat in the movie theatre parking lot for half an hour, petrified about whether the car was safe to drive or if we should tow it somewhere. (It turned out to be a loose gas cap, an idiosyncrasy I'm not terribly fond of in the Civic.) 

From the sound of it, it might be the evaporator that I'm having trouble with, rather than the compressor or the condenser. We're not leaking any fluid that anyone's been able to tell, and the article about air conditioning evaporators  suggests that layman-level diagnostics include a failure of dehumidification and a funky smell when you use the heat or AC. The strangest thing about the climate control problems we've been having has definitely been the weird smell that always presages the AC pooping out, but I didn't know it meant anything! If it's just the evaporator that's the problem, Repairpal suggests that it should be between 450 and 750 dollars to fix. That's a lot better than the 1600 dollar original quote, assuming that's all that's wrong with it. Just for the heck of it, I ran a couple of searches for Chicago auto repair  and Asheville auto repair, being as how we're often near those metropolitan areas, and it's nice to know whether we're getting a good deal, living where we do. Turns out Cincinnati is the cheapest, but not by much. I'll take it anyway! 

Monday is generally not a great day for me to go out and work anyway, so I think I'll probably call up some shops and get some estimates. Now that my internet research has given me the grounding I need, I feel like I'm not just going to be groping in the dark when I talk to mechanics, and that's always reassuring. 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

No Title for Thursday

It's hot! It's also quite humid. We ran the air conditioner for a few hours early this afternoon, because it was pretty miserable in here, but the breeze picked up and it's okay now. I managed to finish up my old census binders and got a new one (thank god), so I have work to last me through the weekend! I decided that the best thing to do, since this new binder is not far from my house, is to do the whole route on foot. Great exercise for me, avoids having to park and repark the car, lets me be more thorough in looking for information, and helps me get my hours in as well. I'm saving the planet! These are real houses now, not apartment complexes, so I walked nearly two miles today going to all of them. Man, I was exhausted by the end of it, but I did quite well. I still need eight more hours for the week, but that's really not bad.

Oooh, and I got my first census crazy today! I am not allowed to reveal even the tiniest smidgen of personally identifiable information, but I got a phone call from someone who wanted to get the questionnaire over with, but didn't want to give me much of anything to work with, not even names of people in the household. I am not entirely sure what the rationale was, either. Not having a name on my form is problematic, though, since I don't know how it will be categorized without one. After the call, I spent about five seconds on Google, mostly out of curiosity, and found most of the information the person did not want to give out. It's not like much of anything we ask on the Census is super-private information, after all, despite the fact that we are quite careful with it. I can't put anything I learned on the form, but the point is, it seems kind of silly to be so worried and paranoid when the information is right there. I think the media is making way more of the Census than is really there.

Let's see, other news. Oh! M had a meeting with his department head today at the school where he teaches, and he has a job for the fall! He'll be teaching a class online, which should be pretty neat. The teaching gig doesn't pay much at all, but every little bit helps, and it's really great for his resume. Teaching European History and teaching online will look really good when he's job hunting. We celebrated that good fortune and the arrival of my first paycheck by eating dinner off the less-than-$1 menu at Taco Bell, which had the happy side effect of keeping the oven off and the house cooler. I really like their Beefy Five-Layer Burrito, yum!

There is also a new Robert video up today on Vimeo. You can find it by clicking here. I think it's honestly the cutest one I've uploaded so far. It hasn't been easy to catch Robert smiling and laughing, but he surely does love playing with his daddy!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Frustration Sets In

I forgot to post yesterday! Don't worry, I will give you two pictures today to make up for it. I have nothing to blame but my own brain wanting that much extra sleepytime. Well, that and the fact that I pumped four times yesterday evening to get a lousy four ounces. Tonight I pumped three times and didn't even get three. I am getting so sick and tired of pumping I cannot even express it without using words that would change the adult content rating of my blog. At the health department today they gave me two cans of formula to last us until my next WIC appointment on the 25th. By then we'll know for sure if there's any point in continuing with the partial breastfeeding plan, or if I should just go for the full formula plan vouchers. These days, when Robert is really hungry or upset, he won't even nurse at all. That's not a good sign. But I got my other supplements in the mail today, so now it's a full-court press to get my system jump started. If this doesn't do it, nothing will!

Work has also been frustrating lately. I need to get 20 hours per week, but there needs to be 20 hours worth of work to do! When I'm practically done with both my binders, but I can't turn them in because of one or two stragglers that I've run out of contact options for, what am I supposed to do? I can't get more work, I can't do anything about the work I have except pray for a miracle, and I still have to get the hours. Work slower, I guess, but that seems dishonest. I'm going at a pace I think lets me do a careful and thorough job, dawdling more than that just for more hours would be wrong. Though I may revisit that assessment if I get written up for not getting my hours because I had no work to do.

Oh, in other news, I went to Meijer today and took back the swimsuit I bought. The one I got at Catherine's was much cuter, and I don't need two. I got 48 dollars back, and spent 25 of it on groceries. I got pineapple and bananas, blackberries and strawberries, ham, turkey, bologna and bread for sandwiches, and some frozen ground turkey for our dinners. Oh, and I saw the sushi platters were 40% off, so I bought one of those, too. Ah, food sins. ;-) I saved 15 and spent 25, not bad for a trip where I had no coupons. And now I'm going to bed!

Monday, May 10, 2010

May the Coupons be With You

I'm trying to get to bed early tonight since tomorrow's going to be a long day, but  I wanted to at least post about couponing today. I didn't coupon hardly at all last week, too busy with Census stuff, and no really thrilling sales. But CVS this week was practically begging me to come out and play, and I had to oblige! Plus my register rewards at Walgreens expired today, so I needed to spend them. I did a triple-transaction at CVS with the very nice cashier, and did quite well for myself. Robert was a little testy because it was late by the time we got out of the house, but he didn't cry, and the cashier thought he was funny, so it worked out all right. By the time I got done at Walgreens, he was sound asleep and slept through that much-simpler transaction.

So what did I get? Let's see... I got 2 bottles of aspirin, 2 tubes of toothpaste, a box of floss, a pack of sanitary pads, a Breeze 2 blood glucose monitor, 2 boxes of bandaids, 2 sticks of deodorant, 1 Hydro 3 razor, 2 bottles of Soft Scrub, 1 big bottle of SPF 70 baby sunscreen, and 2 bottles of pop. Oh, and a bottle of coconut rum that was on clearance. ;-)  Not a bad haul, all things considered! The damage? 94 dollars worth of stuff for 11 dollars, about an 88% savings rate. Plus most of that was on the CVS gift card I got for my birthday, so only about 3 dollars came out of my budget. Woo-hoo!

Bored of talking about pumping, it continues nonetheless. Robert is about to roll over, I'm sure of it. My dad suggested that taking off his diaper might help him roll over, so I tried that today. It seemed to help a little, but then he peed on the floor. Not sure I want to try that again. But he's getting stronger and fatter by the day, so that's very good! I took him outside with me today and we planted the tomato and pepper seedlings in their hanging basket. We'll see how they go. The peppers are looking great, but the seedling tomatoes are anemic at best. That's okay, I don't like tomatoes much anyway!

First Mother's Day

Mother's Day is different when you are a mom yourself! I enjoyed my first Mother's Day quite a bit. This morning, like I mentioned yesterday, I read the Mother's Day proclamation in church, and got  compliments from people over how well I read. That always makes me happy. It's been a long time since I was in Speech and Debate, but some skills stick with you, I guess. I also remembered to take along my bags of stuff for the food pantry, so that helped to unclutter the house some. A lot of feminine care products this time, I've been told that those are generally in demand, so  I keep my eye out for when those are available as freebies. Toothbrushes too, but no toothpaste this time. It seems those sales come in waves, so you never get free toothpastes and toothbrushes at the same time. Weird. 

Anyway! We went home and had lunch, then went out to Catherine's, my favorite store! Today was a big sale day, and I had a coupon as well, so it was a perfect day to use the gift cards I had from M's folks. Their big present to me is almost always a Catherine's gift card, because they know how useful and awesome that is. I saved the one they gave me for Christmas, being as how I was a million months pregnant (or so it seemed at the time) and couldn't fit into anything anyway, plus I got another one for my birthday. I got a cute swimsuit, three shirts, four pairs of pants, a dress, and a pair of earrings for less than 200 dollars. The swimsuit was definitely the most expensive item, it was 108 dollars to start with, but between the day's sale, my store rewards card, and the coupon I had, I got it for 58. Awesome! It comes with its own matching sarong-style coverup, which will make it very nice for the beach. My outfit in the picture up there is one of my new outfits, that blue shirt was 60% off, and it looks great. 

Part of having new clothes means that it's time to do some closet reorganization. I have clothes that I do not need. Some of my clothes are so grungy, it is ridiculous not to throw them away. Others, I know they are not flattering and I avoid them for that reason, but I keep them around anyway. That is dumb. Now that I've got this big new infusion of great clothes, I need to get rid of some wardrobe chaff. That will be a project for... well, sometime soon. This is going to be a busy week. I did no census work today, since I wanted a day off and people probably wouldn't want to talk to me today anyhow. That means I need to get my 20 hours squeezed in elsewhere. But I already have a couple things to throw away, so that's a start. Maybe later this week Robert and I will walk a bag of donations down to the thrift store. 

After we got back from Catherine's, M made us some food while Robert and I had tummy time and fell asleep (yes, both of us.) That whole business took a lot longer than planned, so it was late in the evening and almost Robert's bedtime by the time M took him off to do man things and leave me alone for awhile. I realized that I could have my bath and my coupon time, but  I wouldn't feel good about it, because we didn't have any clean clothes. Robert was seriously out of clothes after three changes today, and M and I weren't in much better shape. So I did what had to be done, which in this case meant six loads of laundry. Now there are clean clothes! I'll get my bath some other time, hopefully. Now I'm tired though, so it's time for sleeping. Happy Mother's Day! 

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Counting People

Another long day, another post made while very tired. But I got my 20 hours in for the work week, so I'm not in trouble. Go me! Yesterday I was sweltering, wandering around in 85 degree weather. Today I had to toss on a windbreaker to work in temps that never got above 55. Brrr! Thanks a lot, Kentucky! It was a productive day, though, between yesterday and today I got a ton of questionnaires completed, about half my new assignment. The rest will be harder to get, but I'm still hopeful. It would be easier if we could get maybe three binders at a time, so we could be running down the last couple holdouts on one, shaking the trees for the hard-to-get last dozen on a second, and plucking the low-hanging fruit on a third. I don't know how people can get eight hours a day from this job, I went out six and a half yesterday and covered my whole new binder. Maybe I'm going too fast.

Anyway, M and Robert had a good day, M watched Robert while I worked all afternoon, and in the morning we took turns with him so we each got a well-deserved Saturday morning nap. Robert also took a very fine nap, something he is getting much better about now that he is so well-fed. I've started nursing him again while he's awake, because it's so much less painful. I'm still doing what the doctor says, though, I nurse him and then give him a bottle, so we're sure he's still getting enough to eat. Robert likes it that way too, even if he doesn't get a lot to eat, he likes to nurse especially when he's sleepy. I found some mother's milk tea that actually tastes like something I would voluntarily drink, and though it is (like everything else surrounding breastfeeding) quite expensive, I am happy about it. I keep reminding myself that even a few ounces a day is still good, it's still important.

Oh, and I bought a swimsuit today. I was out at Meijer to try and get more pizza rolls (they were out, but I got some personal pizzas for fifty cents each, not bad,) and my mom called. The conversation turned to swimming while I wandered through the women's department so as not to be on the phone at checkout, and I found that Meijer had a couple of suits that are actually my size! Quite unusual! I tried on a couple of tankinis and found one that fit. It's not exactly flattering, but that's too much to ask of a swimsuit at this size, really. I just want something that covers enough and lets me get in the water. I can't wait to take Robert in the pool! Tomorrow I'm going to go to Catherines and see if they have anything nicer that I can buy with my gift card, but I bought this one in the interim, just in case. As long as it's unused, I can take it back, and I didn't want to risk it not being there if I need it.

Tomorrow is Mother's Day, and that should be fun. M has bought me a nice present, and has promised that I shall have some peaceful hours to myself as well, which sounds just lovely. I may do the same thing I did on my birthday, have a nap and a bubble bath. Sounds lovely! At church tomorrow, I've been asked to read the original Mother's Day Proclamation by Julia Ward Howe, which should be pretty neat. It's been a long time since I've done a reading in public, but this is a good one. I've practiced it a couple of times, just to get the feel of it. It's cool to be really getting involved in a church again. I really like it. Speaking of which, I was going to leave out a bag of food for the mailman's food drive today, but I totally forgot. Well, I can take my stuff to church for the food pantry, anyway. It all goes where it's needed!

Robert's New Sweater

Today was just a bit chilly in the morning, and wouldn't you know it, I've arranged to meet my boss on my front lawn to give her my timesheets. I took the opportunity to put Robert into the new sweater he got from a friend of my mom's. It's just absolutely adorable, and I only wish the weather were colder so I could put it on him more. I may get my wish, though today turned scorching fast, this weekend is supposed to be quite cool. In celebration of the adorable sweater, I went for another first and put his baby shoes on him. They are so cute, and just perfectly sized right at this moment. He didn't even get upset about wearing them. Robert was good through the whole meeting, and I got the new binder I was hoping for, so I have plenty of work for the next little bit.

Baby feeding was worse today, the milk situation is still not improving. Part of it is stress and dehydration, I think. I spent six and a half hours tromping around in the 85 degree weather to try and catch up to where I need to be on work, and though I finally remembered my water bottle, the heat and lack of car air conditioning meant that water was only somewhat helpful. But I did well, I only need four hours tomorrow, which is very doable, and I had a lot of success, unlike yesterday. The first day on a new binder is always the best, you get to pluck all the low-hanging fruit. Tomorrow I'll be working on sewing up the hard cases in my old binder and collecting folks I missed today in the new one. But anyway, it was hot and I got really tired, and Robert didn't want to nurse to help my supply when I got home, and I wound up pumping very little all day. I need to reorganize my schedule and get some set times to take all these supplements so I do not forget and they do not go in vain.

Oh, but the house is cleaner today, sort of. The toilet got clogged, and M called the maintenance guy. I freaked out because our house was too dirty for anyone to see, so we spent maybe fifteen or twenty minutes frantically cleaning the house to put it into presentable shape, and vacuuming. I think I've got something stuck inside the vacuum again, damn the luck, but it did well enough. Emergency cleaning isn't good cleaning, and involved tossing a lot of stuff into our bedroom, but the living room is decent and Robert's room is still clean after M cleaned it last weekend, so hey. I'll take it! As for the maintenance guy, he never showed, and I was eventually able to fix the toilet this evening after work.

Okay, I'm just as tired as tired can be, so I'm gonna pump one more time and hit the hay. Here's an extra bonus picture of shoes. Don't forget to check my Flickr stream for lots more pictures.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


It's been kind of a downer day here at the Casa Robertito. Nothing really bad is going on, just a lot of small things conspiring to make me feel dull and sad. Pumping is not going as well as I would've hoped. I'm trying to get in supplements and tea and frequent pumping, but it's harder now that Robert is more active and I have a job to think about as well.  I miss having my mom here like she was last time I was trying to get going with pumping, making me tea and washing all those stupid pump parts (and other dishes as well!) again and again. You'd think I'd be well into a routine by now, after doing it for so long, but it's much more discouraging this time around. My output is a lot smaller now than it was when I was pumping before, and Robert's needs are greater. I'm making barely a third of what he needs, maybe two ounces if I'm lucky every time I pump. Sometimes even less. And the pumping is painful, so to pump and wash and store so often for so little is quite unrewarding.

The formula is so easy, too. The last time I was exposed to it was when my younger sister was a baby, when it was stinky and lumpy and gross. This stuff has come a long way. Scoop it in the bottle, add water, a little diffident shaking, and it's perfect. I know the breastmilk is better for him, but I've been doing that for four months, even though it's never been easy, and I kind of want to just stop now. We can't afford it, though. We can't afford all the supplements I'm trying now either. The only solution appears to be a magical fourfold increase in my milk supply that kicks in very soon. Right now things are still getting worse, so I'm not holding my breath.

Work was not so good today either, which contributes to my mood. I walked and drove all over, trying to finish my binder. I waited till I was sure people would be home from work. Out of eight people, I got one, and that was on a last-ditch second try because I happened to see a car in the driveway on my way home. I tried calling when I was at home and had someone hang up on me, a full voicemail box, and a wrong number. I started later than I wanted to and though I went as late as I could, I'm still behind for hours this week. I'm going to have to really kick into high gear tomorrow and Saturday if I'm going to get my minimum number of hours. I'd hoped to be doing a lot more than minimum, but M's work schedule basically means I can only work half the week, and bad weather has just made it worse. I feel under the gun, but maybe a good day tomorrow will help.

On top of all that, the house is dirty and disorganized, I'm behind in my coupon spreadsheet, and I'm just really tired all the time. Maybe it's some bizarre mutation of S.A.D. that hits in the springtime, maybe I've just got too much to do. Maybe I'm just too lazy for my own good and not buckling down enough. I mean, I could be doing dishes right now, but I feel too tired to get out of my chair. I'd better figure something out. The dishes and the laundry never seem to manage to do themselves, no matter how hard I wish for it. And we need both done very badly.

Anyway, that's enough whining for right now. Everybody's gotta vent. To send this thing out on a high note, here's another picture from when Robert and I were playing today. He screws up his face when the flash goes off, so it's hard to catch him smiling, but take my word for it that he's very cute.

Internet Coupon Site

From time to time on my blog, I will do reviews of websites I've been asked to look at, sort of like a survey where I share the results with people. I receive compensation for doing these reviews, but they don't tell me what I have to say, or even that I have to say nice things. All the opinions contained herein are entirely my own.

Today I went to look at a site called Couponchief is a wiki-style aggregator for internet coupons. Basically what this means is that if you want to shop at a particular online store, you can go to this site and check to see if they've recorded any coupons or promotion codes that are active for that particular site. These coupons are usually for things like free shipping over a certain amount, a sale on a particular item, or dollars off a purchase of a certain size. Conversely, if you have a promotion code for a store that's not exclusive to just you, you can add it to the site so others can use it. Sites like this can really help save some time and money, but a lot depends on the quality of the input. The way sites like this get their information on coupons is generally through feedback from users, so the coupons are only as good as the people who've put them in. And, of course, most coupons and promotion codes expire, so a good aggregator site will go through from time to time and clear out the chaff. 

My philosophy is that you can't tell how good a site is without actually trying to use it, so I spent some time looking up coupon codes for stores that I like to shop at online. CouponChief is not a site for offline coupons, by the way, you don't print them out and take them to the store. It is almost strictly for online shopping. I started by looking up coupons because I've spent a lot of time on that website this week, what with buying the milk supplements and such. As luck would have it, the first coupon on offer is for Lipton Tea-to-Go, colloquially called "tea tubes" around here, which is one of our main sources of caffeine. Normally I try and wait till it goes down to 2.00 a box, but I haven't been able to get any on sale in awhile. Using the code from CouponChief did take me two tries, because it was only for select brands and I had to guess which ones, but between the coupon and Amazon's own "subscribe and save" discount, I got 32.00 worth of tea for 20 dollars with free shipping. That comes out to 1.60 a box, a price I've never seen in a store. Nice! Score one for the coupon website. =) 

I also tried looking at coupons, since I've got some OfficeMax rewards to spend this quarter, after buying the printer last quarter. You can find some pretty good deals online, and a coupon makes it even better. This time, though, I tried several of the coupon codes on offer, but none of them actually worked. Sometimes that happens, a code reaches its maximum number of uses, or the expiration date hits. The site gives you a button to select if the code doesn't work, however I didn't see my feedback appear when I pressed the button. I don't know if there's a time delay, or if it sends up a flag for someone from the site to look at. Anyway, no coupons for OfficeMax today. 

Overall, I'd say CouponChief is one I'm going to keep in the bookmarks folder for when I'm shopping online. I like its clean format and ease of use, you just put your store in the search bar and it takes you there. I'm a little underwhelmed by its options for feedback, and the fact that it doesn't give much indication of whether or not a coupon is working for most people. Still, if you're going to be shopping online anyway, there's no reason not to check this site out and see if you might be able to get a better deal on something you were planning on buying. Just remember not to get your heart set on having a coupon work until you've tested it in your shopping cart. 

In conclusion, in honor of my purchase of tea tubes and in consideration for the fact that I did not post a brand new picture yesterday, here is Robert making the face Mommy does before she has her caffeine. 

Cameras are Hard

No Monkeys!
Originally uploaded by BabyRobD
I'm cheating tonight, this is actually a picture of Robert from yesterday, not today. I took pictures today, but I realized too late that I didn't have the memory card in, so they are saved on the camera's actual internal memory. And since I still have no camera cord, they are inaccessible! Oh well. This picture makes me laugh anyway. Robert will learn to love his stuffed monkey one of these days.

Today was the first full day of "Stuff Robert to Good Health," and it was eventful. And by eventful I mean "poopful." Getting as much food as he's supposed to makes a substantial difference in the amount of waste the kiddo puts out, and the force with which it is expelled. I will spare you any more gory details. Suffice it to say, laundry must be done soon. But Robert clearly enjoys the new abundance of food, he was a mellow fellow today, full of smiles and ready for a long morning and shorter afternoon nap. I have no doubt that he'll soon be putting on the weight he's missed out on. Still not doing so well on the pumping, but I'm going to keep working on it.

There's probably more to talk about, but I'm exhausted, so I'll let it ride for tonight. It's time for bed!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

This is Why

This morning we went to the doctor with Robert, to talk with him about why Robert doesn't seem to be gaining any weight. Sure enough, Robert has fallen off the bottom of the percentile weight chart, making him a very skinny little boy. The doctor isn't too concerned, though obviously it's something we've got to work on correcting right away. Robert's healthy and alert and developing in every other way, so it's probably just a matter of low milk supply. It took so long for him to learn to nurse, it seems likely that his suck is not quite what it should be, and my milk has been slowly drying up. Now there's not enough for him to grow on.

So what does that mean? Well, it means back to the pump. Argh. For the next two weeks, I'm going to be pumping full time again so we can measure exactly how much milk he's getting, and supplementing him so that he's getting 5 or 6 ounces at every feeding. I'm drinking a ton of the yucky tea, and looking into other supplements as well. There are a couple that look promising that I'm going to pick up, but they are not at all cheap. I bought some Motherlove More Milk Plus capsules on Amazon, and using the refund from the broken teapot and a gift card from taking surveys, got 120 pills for 12 dollars. But the normal Amazon price is 35, and that's just a 20 day supply! I'm also going to probably go in to Motherhood Express and get some goat's rue, another herb that's supposed to help, but that's even more expensive. I'm praying that all my milk supply needs is a kick start before I go back to producing enough, and that a bottle of each of these will be enough. Otherwise I may have to face the tough reality that I can't afford these supplements indefinitely, and the state will help pay for formula the way they won't for medicine.

For the moment, I have some formula to supplement with, but I'm starting by using up all my frozen supplies and only an ounce or two of formula. Robert doesn't like the formula-added milk as much, but he has been drinking it. He had two six ounce bottles and a seven ounce bottle today, which seems like a ridiculous amount of food, but is apparently what he needs to start catching up. Starting tomorrow, I'll be trying to give him 35 ounces a day, and since a pint's a pound the world around, that means he's going to be getting something like 20% of his body weight in milk every day. Hungry baby! He's lucky I like him, because this is going to involve a lot of work, even if the supplements and the tea work perfectly.

Other news today is more exciting, Robert reached out, grabbed his paci, and shoved it into his mouth! This is a big step. I'm hoping he starts being able to do that reliably, it will make both of us so much more comfortable. =) I've started putting together a couponing trip, but it's going to have to wait for Thursday. Tomorrow I've just got to get some enumerating done, I didn't manage to do a thing today. Monday and Tuesday are just not good working days for me. But I'll hit it hard the rest of the week, and pick up some necessities at the store besides. I think I may be couponing less and living out of the pantry more while I'm working, but that's not a bad thing. The sales always come back, even if you miss one once. I have to remind myself of that sometimes, but it is true. Making more money and doing less shopping could be a potent combination for me, and it's not like our pantry couldn't use a little rotating!