Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Playful Day

Robert and I had fun times today! He was in an energetic mood, and we spent all day around the house, so we worked on some skills acquisition. He is so close to sitting up by himself! He can't get himself into a sitting position or anything, but if I sit him up, he'll sometimes stay there for several seconds before he starts to tip. I set him in the Boppy to sit, and he really liked it! Sitting up means he can see, and have the use of both his hands, and it's great. It's just a matter of time before he doesn't need any support. He's getting so big, so fast!

We also spent a substantial portion of the day away from the computer and the TV and the tunnel and the jumparoo, just playing. I took him outside for tummy time on our bamboo picnic mat. He liked watching the cars go by, so much that he hardly cried about being on his tummy. We also played on the bed, Mommy read a book while Robert chewed on one, and played tickle games, and I showed him Pat-a-Cake. When M got home, he played with Robert as well. It was a big playing day for the baby. We also weighed him again, for the first time in a few weeks. Fifteen pounds! He's still a little on the small side for his age, around the 25th percentile, but that's okay. He gets a lot to eat, he just burns a lot of calories! His next checkup is the 18th, but so far he's very healthy, and meeting his milestones too. Such a clever boy.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Monday Laundry

Today I did laundry! Lots and lots of laundry. Robert had almost no clean clothes, and I had totally no clean seasonable clothes, so it was definitely time. I have a walk-in closet half full of my clothes and only five pairs of shorts. How did that happen? Time to reevaluate my closet a little. I really wish I could have a garage sale, but I don't have a garage, and we're not allowed to do yard sales. I wonder if someone at church or in my knitting group is going to have a yard sale this summer that I could get in on. We have plenty of too-much-stuff that could stand culling. Anyway, I did five loads of laundry and a Dryel bag, so we are looking good for clothes again. Yay! I am still loving the Purex sheets, I'm using the ones I couponed for last week, which are tropical breeze scented. With the sale and the coupons, it costs about 15 cents a load, and I am happy with that. If only making the washing machine run didn't take 1.25 each time and no way around it!

Robert slept in late today, till nearly eight, which made me quite happy. I actually went in and checked on him, after the early hours he's been keeping lately. But he was just having a nice lie-in, one that let me get a little picking up done. Still messy around here, but if I pick up a little more than I mess up each day, this place will theoretically get clean eventually. I also did some couponing, and we made a trip to Target for Luvs and Crystal Light. Crystal Light has "energy" juice tubes with more caffeine than a cup of coffee, they are very popular around here, and this week with a coupon, they are 97 cents for 10, which is unbeatable even with a stick. The other very excellent coupon we got today came in the mail, and was a Buy One Get One Free burrito coupon from Chipotle. We went and got takeout with no drinks, and got two massive burritos for a total of 6.75. I love Chipotle, but we hardly ever go, so it was great.

And we had reason to celebrate, too, or at least tentatively. It is Monday after drop week, and M still has both his classes. Hurrah! The one class is still very, very small, but unless there is some kind of mass defection, it will be taught this summer. It means we still won't be seeing quite as much income as in the school year, but substantially closer than last year's paychecks. That would be great! Imagine if I could take some of the money we've saved up for summer and keep it for an emergency fund, or put it towards some of our other savings goals. It would be really nice. It seems like we're always getting derailed by some emergency or other, and having something set aside for that would ease my mind, especially for something like if I were to get a little sick. A lot sick, we still couldn't handle, but an emergency fund is better than nothing.

My main money task for this week is going to be reapplying for Medicaid for Robert, which is a huge hassle. Reapplying in June/July means the pay stubs are all messed up, so we need to actually get letters from M's schools to explain how much he makes and when. This is inconvenient for everyone, and kind of embarrassing. I mean, it's not like the universities don't know that they don't pay a living wage or offer family health insurance to us, but having to ask them to certify us for public aid, I dunno. It makes me feel a little bad, but it means getting Robert the health care he needs to be safe and well, and I would do much worse for that. It's also stupid, though, because the difference in income is so negligible in the grand scheme of things. I looked up the eligibility requirements for Medicaid for children and babies, and last year we literally made half of what the ceiling is for our family size. A few hundred dollars plus or minus is going to make absolutely zero difference! It only gets more absurd because I also have to detail the small amounts of money I've made with my blog and with taking online surveys, never anything higher than 75 dollars in a month. I could see it if we were close to the line in regular income, but we can't even see the ceiling from where we are. But anyway, that'll keep me busy.

One more nice thing tonight, Amazon was having a one-day sale on baby stuff, including Pampers, which are my favorite diapers. I bought 408 Size 3 diapers for 60 dollars, which is right on the upper edge of my acceptable price point at 14.7 cents per diaper. Considering that normally they run closer to 30 cents per diaper (Pampers are the most expensive brand), it's really a good deal. Robert's little tummy is getting fat these days, and unless he gains a couple more inches in length, he's going to be going up a size in diapers soon. And I still have half a closet full of Size 2! Ulp. Well, at least I have an excellent start on stocking up on Size 3.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Short Second Life of Iron Man

Today after church, Robert and I dropped M at school and went to Wal-Mart. Our WIC vouchers turned over today, so I decided to stock up on formula, get my daily papers, and see if they'd restocked the wipes. Sucess! I got ten packs of Pampers wipes, all free after coupon. Since I bought most of the coupons on eBay, each one was basically 50 cents, but that's still  a very good price for name brand baby wipes that are normally at least 2.00 each. We also got the eleven cans of WIC formula (this is his last full formula month before solids start), and I bought a box of rice cereal to get him used to it. As soon as solid foods start, the formula ration decreases, so I want to make sure he's ready to eat it when he has to. I bought four more pounds of ground turkey, two copies of the daily paper, and a loaf of bread, then succumbed to temptation and bought two cases of Diet Dr Pepper. 4.50 for a 24-pack! I nobly resisted last week at 5.00, but I don't even remember when I last saw 4.50 a case. Oh well, we'll enjoy it, at least.

I also got Robert a new Iron Man 2 mylar balloon, as the balloon from the video has expired and stopped floating. It's not as fun when it doesn't float anymore! The total for all that, (excepting the formula), wipes and all, was 25 dollars, not too bad at all. Unfortunately, I had hooked the balloon onto Robert's carseat while we shopped, and the second we stepped outside, the 95 degree breeze grabbed hold of it and jerked it away! It was on a plastic weight, but not one heavy enough to overcome the breeze that sent it racing across the parking lot. I chased it, but with my cart full of Robert, all the groceries, and two cases of pop, I had no chance. Luckily for me, a very nice Wal-Mart employee on her break saw the tableau and went chasing after it as well. She caught it and brought it back, to my profuse thanks. Robert was thankful as well. Those balloons are not cheap!

Unfortunately, something in the chase or the catching weakened the valve on the balloon, and I think poor Iron Man is not long for this world, new as he is. Typically, the mylar balloons I buy last between 2 and 4 weeks, depending on how hard Robert is on them. But between the valve (which I taped up) and an especially vicious drubbing from the baby this evening, it's looking really sad and rather squishy. Not sure what it was about this balloon, but he was especially excited about grabbing and savaging it whenever possible, even eschewing the last of his evening bottle for a final round. I hate to have wasted the 2.75, but at least we got a good story from it. Maybe this will be a turning point, and Robert will grow up to be a supervillain due to this early success. ;)

Slow Going

Something was wrong with my stomach today, I felt like crap for most of the afternoon and a lot of the evening. Yuck! M was wonderful, he sent me to bed and took care of Robert almost all day. I feel mostly better now, but I'm not going to make a long post of this. Instead, I will seduce you with pictures and videos! Go see the Flickr photostream for a new collection of pictures, each more adorable than the last! Some days it's too hard to pick just one Daily Robert, so I toss all the also-rans onto the Flickr page as well. And here is a video of Robert wrestling a balloon!:

Balloon Wrestling from Cori D on Vimeo.

It's late now, though, and we have church tomorrow, so I'm not going to say much more. Hope you enjoy the triple-dose of Robert goodness!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Tis the Season

It's Garage Sailing Season again! (And no, that does not mean sailing in or off of a garage, as I had to explain to a confused friend.) Today was wicked hot, but Robert and I went out for a little while anyway, because there were a lot of nearby garage sales advertising baby stuff! We did well for ourselves, too. The very first place we went to had tons of baby toys in good condition, and very flexible pricing policies. My favorite kind! After a little negotiation, I got Robert a set of very noisy toys. I got him a xylophone piano, a little plastic drum with attached sticks, a tambourine, and a set of maracas, plus I also picked up some cool plastic blocks and an adorable plush octopus puppet. All of that for 5.50, and in great condition. I almost bought him a little kid laptop, but I'm skittish about buying electronic toys  at garage sales when they have no batteries. You just never know. Besides, despite my hopes and dreams, he's still way too young. =)

When we got home, I washed some of Robert's new toys, the ones he doesn't have to be able to sit up to enjoy, anyway, and let him play for awhile. He's getting really good at rolling over now; though he sometimes gets stuck, it is rare for him to go an entire tummy time session without ending it himself by a flip to his back. Today he managed to reverse the process, much to his own chagrin. There were many tears when he realized he'd put himself onto his tummy for once. Once he masters what to do with that trailing arm during the roll, nothing will stop him! And after that... the world! Scary thought!

Friday, June 25, 2010

No Coupons Today

Where has the night gone, anyway? I need to start getting to bed at a more reasonable hour, but I always want to end the night by making one of these posts, and I never seem to start it early enough. What, poor time management, me? Surely not!

I have been severely bummed out for the past couple of days in the coupons department. I bought some remanufactured black ink cartridges from a company online, and they did not work. Not only did they not work, but trying to make them work ruined my new color cartridges as well! Sometimes I guess it is not worth it to save a little money. The guy I worked with over the phone was pretty nice about it, he is sending replacement black cartridges and a return envelope so if I do have to return it all for a refund, I will not have to pay the shipping. But for now, I have no way to print any coupons at all! And there have been some good ones I have been itching to print, too. I just remind myself that deals will come around again, and we are adequately supplied on most things for now.

On that subject, I read an article the other day about how something like 1 in 4 report worrying that they won't be able to pay for diapers, and that many of those women have to sacrifice money from vital needs (food, utilities, etc) just to keep their kids in diapers. And that children in poverty often have diaper rash because they aren't changed as often as they need to be, to make the diapers go further. I totally understand how that could happen. Diapers are super expensive, and not everyone has the time (or the printer) that I do that would let them coupon down to something reasonable. Cloth diapers are, maybe ironically given history, a luxury of the middle class and higher these days. We are lucky to have a washer and dryer in our building, but we would not be allowed to wash diapers in it, even more so for people whose only access to washing machines is a laundromat. You need either a good home washer/dryer or money for a diaper service to use cloth, and even then, the initial outlay for cloth diapers is quite steep. You really have to look at it as an investment that will amortize over the diaper years of your baby, and not many people in poverty have the luxury to make that big initial outlay. The article made me sad, but it made me grateful as well, and suddenly diapering isn't quite such a chore anymore. Taking Robert into his own bedroom and setting him on his nice changing table, wiping him with wipes and putting a new diaper on him every time he needs it? We're very lucky.

This afternoon after M came home from school, we took Robert down to the pool in his new swim trunks. He is starting to get used to the pool, and I think he really enjoyed himself. He's learning how to splash and thinks it's very funny, especially when he can splash Mommy in the face. Some of our neighbors with little kids were also down there, and there was much interest on both sides. I have noticed that when we go swimming it takes at least an hour for setting up and getting cleaned up afterwards, when we normally spend less than half an hour in the pool. But hey, he's having fun, we're having fun, and the water feels great. It's worth it. The weather here has been very hot, and I dread seeing our electric bill this month. When it comes, it will either be some validation of the hotter hours I spend here, or a kick in the pants to spend more of them a little uncomfy. We shall see!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

First Movie!

I think I may have mentioned a couple of months back about the awesome deal I got on Toy Story 1 and 2 with coupons, how I got the pair for less than 10 dollars, and two vouchers for tickets for the third one when it came out. Well it's out now, and tonight M and I decided to go for broke and see it. We also decided to take Robert. Fortune favors the bold, you know! Since he wouldn't have gotten anything from actually seeing it, we decided on the 10:15 late showing of the movie. We put the baby to bed at 8, got him up and put him in the carseat at 9:40, and went, bottle in tow. It was us, Robert, and a couple dozen college kids. Robert was an angel, he slept the entire time, previews to end credits. Woo-hoo! And what a great movie! If you haven't seen it, go see it. We loved it.

I'm still working on closing the CD with Sallie Mae after the shoddy way they've handled our account. We got part of the money back today, and I'm hoping to have the rest by the end of the week. In the meantime, we took the money that would've been the CD and put it into a SmartyPig savings account instead, like our other goals over there in the right menu bar. The interest rate is not quite as good, but it's not bad, and I trust them more. Plus, we've set up an automatic deposit. For the next sixty months, we will deposit ten dollars a month into Robert's account. It's small, but with that and with interest, in five years, Robert will have over a thousand dollars for his bank account. Cool, huh? And with the SmartyPig account, if people want to give him any money for birthday, Christmas, etc, they can just use that little pink box over there and know it'll go straight to his account. I think it's very nice.

So far so good on M's small class, one more session and we will know whether or not he'll be teaching it for the rest of the term. Fingers are still crossed! In the meantime, money saving is the order of the day. I bought one of those giant rotisserie chickens yesterday for 5 dollars at Sams. It seems like an indulgence, except last night we had rotisserie chicken pieces, for dinner, and then I picked enough off the carcass for a generous Chicken Helper for lunch today and had enough leftover even then for chicken sandwiches for my supper. That's a lot of chicken for five dollars. It's still not as cheap as hot dogs or ground turkey, but it's not bad. And very, very tasty. I don't remember if I told you about the macaroni and cheese taco bake I made the other day, but it was really good too, and very cheap. Oh, and I've been working on loan consolidation too, but it's nearly 2am and Robert is finally actually asleep, so that can wait for another day.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Daily Robert, June 22

I'm wiped out, and there's not much to say about today. Sams no longer carries my preferred brand of toilet paper, oh no! There are not many things I'm brand-picky about, but I like my Charmin Ultra Strong and not much else. But we were totally out, and it was terrible! That was about the most exciting part of the day today. So instead of a lot of talk, here is a picture you will not be able to look away from. And there are more on the Flickr photostream!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Family Ties

Yesterday's mega-post was long enough for three updates, so I don't feel guilty about giving a short one here. M and Robert fooled around and were silly for the camera today, this is the only one that turned out, but it makes me laugh to look at it. They are obviously cosplaying the chestburster from Alien. ;-) Today was the first day of the semester for M, so he was up early and off to school. He has two classes right now, which means more money for us this summer, yay! The caveat, and it's a big one, is that if even a single student decides to drop from his smaller class by the end of this week, that class folds, and we are back down to half as much money for the summer. Last year we qualified for food stamps during the summer, but this year we will not, even with our expanded family size. Ironically enough, it is the fact that I learned from last year and started saving money that is tripping us up, as having just about any money saved, even if it is earmarked for things like paying rent, is grounds for being disqualified from food benefits. And my WIC vouchers are ending too, so things are going to be getting a lot tighter around here if M loses that class. But like I said, I've been putting money away, and we still get formula vouchers, so we'll be okay, whatever happens. Still, cross your fingers for interested students!

My folks and my little sister stopped by today on their way home from the beach, that was fun! We ate lunch together at the Greek restaurant (it was open today!) and got to see each other one more time. Robert loves his Mimi and Papoo and auntie! They dropped off the stuff we forgot at the beach, and gave us some seashells. Hurrah! Unfortunately, the presents I ordered for Mom's birthday and Father's Day hadn't arrived yet, so I will have to mail them. For supper tonight, I made Macaroni and Cheese Taco Bake, where I made two boxes of mac and cheese and a pound of ground turkey with taco seasoning, put them in a baking pan with some sour cream, put cheese and salsa on the top, and baked it. Super good, and tons of leftovers.

To cap the night, I spent half an hour on the phone with stupid, stupid, stupid Sallie Mae bank, which culminated in me deciding to close the CD I just opened there. If they can't keep track of my money for two weeks, I'm not going to trust them with it for five years. We will do something else with Robert's future bank account money, something with someone who is more reliable. More on that later, because now it is bedtime!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Shopping for Father's Day

This is a guest post by Yavorn

Father’s Day is quickly approaching and it’s time to start shopping for the perfect gift. I always plan ahead for Mother's Day and then Father's Day catches me completely by surprise. So far this year, all I have is a card.
My father is the type of guy who doesn’t like a lot of things. He doesn't need new clothes or like knick-knacks for the house. He has simple taste and what he does want, he just buys for himself. It’s hard to find things that he would like at the mall; so this year, I’ll be using my satelite internet to shop online.

Shopping from home has come a long way and there are tons of options to make it quick and easy. is a great resource for online shopping. They carry everything from electronics to DVDs to tools. At or, you can pre-order a book or movie that’s due out in the next couple weeks and it will arrive immediately after it is released.

Every man loves two kinds of cooking: breakfast and barbecue. You can shop online for great accessories for both. High-tech griddles for inside to make perfect pancakes and eggs or accessories for the backyard to make sure your dad has the best barbecue on the block.

Brought to you by your friends at

Love to Daddy

Happy Father's Day! Today was M's first Father's Day as a daddy, or as a knowing one, anyway. I was pregnant already last Father's Day, but we still wouldn't know about it for another two months. So this was a very special day. We gave Robert a bath to start the morning, because he was funky and it does not do to be funky at church, at least not in that way. He was in a great mood this morning, smiling and laughing and squealing at the top of his tiny, piercing lungs during the service. Ah well, make a joyful noise, right? There was a baptism for a pair of nine month old twins today, which was very nice except that Robert has decided to be the baby at every baptism and disrupted things a little with his yelling and squirming. M took him out for a little while, then brought him back to finish out the service and for cookie time. The nursery does not operate in the summer, so at least he was not the only loud little one in church today.

After church, we went over to the conservatory for the butterfly show. I bought tickets 2-for-1 on Groupon ages ago, but we'd never used them and today was the last day. It was very neat! It was very hot too, so we couldn't stay too long, but there were so many butterflies, and they were so pretty. The place was crowded, so we eschewed the stroller in favor of the Moby Wrap, and I tried Robert out in the Lotus (front-facing) hold for the first time. He likes it! He likes to be able to look out and reach out, rather than be stuck facing Mom all the time. I coaxed a few butterflies onto my fingers for him to look at, and he seemed very interested. It was a neat way to spend part of our Father's Day afternoon.

I let M pick where he wanted to go for lunch, because this was his big day. He wanted to go to Greek to Me, our favorite local Greek place, but it is closed on Sundays. This stumped him a little, and he almost decided we should go to Taco Bell before I reminded him that he might like to go to Dixie Chili. Dixie Chili has Cincinnati Chili, obviously, but it also has awesome Greek waffle fries, so it eased the pain of the actual Greek restaurant being closed. Robert, worn out from all his good cheer, slept right through the meal and didn't wake till we were leaving. A prince among babies.

As part of M's gift, I gave him what he gave me on Mother's Day, a few hours free of baby duties. Robert and I cleared out and went shopping for awhile, hurrah! We went to CVS and scored a good deal on a big box of Huggies Diapers, where we paid 8 dollars for a box and got 10 reward bucks back. Hard to beat that. The problem is, the diapers they had were size 4, and Robert is not going to be there for awhile. But he will be, and sooner than I think! Diapers don't spoil. No wipes at CVS, either. Boo. We were going to check out the new baby store in town, but it is closed on Sunday too, so instead we went out to the mall to walk around.

I put Robert in the sling again, and made the mistake of putting him in the Hug (tummy-to-tummy) hold because he was sleeping when I got him out of the carseat. Of course, by the time we were in the mall, he was awake and wanting to look around. I took him to Bath and Body works, where he managed to start grabbing at bottles on the shelves, something he can't do from cart or carseat. Very exciting! When I would give him something to look at, he would immediately try to shove it down my blouse like he was the Littlest Shoplifter or something. I managed to avoid committing any accidental larceny and got a couple of things from the 75% off bin, and then we went off to the bathroom to fix the baby. The mall has awesome family bathrooms with nice changing areas and tiny toilets, it was cool. I put Robert in a front carry again, much better, and we headed to Penney's to collect Robert's baptism portraits. I was good and didn't get any of the expensive upsells they wanted me to buy. The pictures themselves turned out great, and I was really happy. After that, we went back to the bathroom, because I had forgotten the B&BW stuff there. It was still there, whew! With that done, we tromped around for awhile and stopped in at a few more stores. At The Childrens' Place, I actually found swim trunks Robert's size, and 25% off as well, so I bought them. Maybe he doesn't truly need trunks, but they're so much cuter than just a swim diaper, and an extra protective layer as well. After that, we went to the Food Court, where I had an Orange Julius and Robert had a massive poop. Back to the bathroom, again. Yeesh.

When we'd finished up at the mall, I stopped by Wal-Mart (no wipes!) and got my papers for the week. I am still mourning the loss of two weeks worth of excellent coupon inserts to a tragic misunderstanding, but time heals all couponing wounds. On the way home, I passed Red Robin, and realized I would have to give M a mulligan on choosing where he wanted his Father's Day meal. Red Robin is M's favorite restaurant, and this one just opened (we haven't been to one in years, thanks to location), and we keep meaning to go. So I went home and told him I was taking him to his favorite restaurant at Robert's bedtime. It took him almost that long to guess what I was talking about, but he was really happy when he did. We had a very good meal, and he said he had a good Father's Day, which was the point all along. From now on, we're on a summer tight-belt footing, but for a last hurrah, this couldn't be beat.

I think it's very important to have a day like this to celebrate fathers. My own father is a wonderful man who taught me a lot of very important things, and who is still a rock of stability and safety in my life. I don't always appreciate him the way I should, but I don't know what I'd do without him. And watching M become a father this year has been amazing. We were both tossed headfirst into the deep end of the parenting pool, but him even more so than me, because he never even had younger siblings. I wasn't sure how long it would take him to get the hang of things, or how he would feel about this new person in our lives. To say he has stepped up to the plate would be a vast understatement. He has taken the curveball that fate threw us and knocked it out of the park. He and Robert adore each other, and he has not once shirked parenting duties or avoided doing something to make my life easier through these first months. Parenting right now is mostly a matter of "baby-wrangling," but I can already see the bond forming between him and Robert that will become a father-son relationship throughout their lives. M and I talk often about how lucky we are to have a healthy, adorable, laid-back baby like Robert, but I know I'm even luckier to have a partner like him. Happy Father's Day.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Home to Shop

Today Robert and I went shopping! (After M put Robert's pants on him, with hilarious results you can see in today's picture.) We were trying to spend some of my Pampers Wipes coupons, but not only are prices here higher than average, every single store we went to was sold out. Ack! Well, we still have another month, I will just carry them around wherever I go and stock up whenever I see some available. We went to Target and bought nothing, and to Meijer where we bought more Purex 3-in-1 laundry sheets, because they are awesome. With sale and coupon I got them for 4 dollars each, and each pack will do 24 loads. That is not great, but it's not bad, and the convenience makes up for the slightly higher price. When I'm hauling laundry back and forth, it is entirely awesome not to have to lug the bottle around as well.

On the way home, I saw a sign for Biggs, advertising an inventory blowout sale with "up to 95% off." Wow! I have never shopped regularly at Biggs, a local chain, because its prices are substantially more expensive than other nearby grocery stores. Even though it is the closest to me, it wasn't worth the higher prices. But I stopped in to see what the sale was all about. As it turned out, I was there for the funeral of the store. Robert and I walked in around ten after three, and the store would be shutting its doors forever at 3:30. The place was desolate. Biggs was not as large as SuperWalmart, but it was a big store, comparable to Meijer and bigger than Kroger or Target. All its remaining inventory was stacked on a few tables in the open space in front of the checkouts, all the empty aisles blocked by empty racks. It was strange and sad. Even though I didn't go there and didn't think they had good value, I was sorry to see it closing, just for the sake of the people who work there. I got great deals on some stuff, got something like 80 dollars worth of product for only 1.84, but it was hard to feel too joyful over deals I did no work for, knowing that as soon as we left the store, all the managers and checkers and stockers who were just standing around at the front of the store would be out of work.

Shopping and the heat made Robert sleepy, and he took a little nap when we got home, then woke up for more crazy baby craziness. He's had a sort of hard time getting back into the groove of things. I am hoping that a few more days will set things right. M starts summer semester on Monday, so we'll be getting back into our routine. It'll be work for all of us, but once it settles down, it'll be good.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Back from Vacation!

Whew, it's been several days since I last posted, but they were very busy days! We left the beach and drove through the night, arriving back at our mountain stronghold at 2:30am. It was nicer traveling at night that in the day, for the most part. It was much cooler, which is nothing to sneeze at when the heat index is over 100. And Robert slept most of the time, which was quite helpful. It did mean, though, that we were driving through the mountains very late at night when we were both exhausted, even with heavy infusions of caffeine. It was quite a relief to get back to M's folks' house and collapse. They weren't even home, but they left food and good things for us, so it was lovely. Robert went to sleep as soon as he went into his bed, and so did we. 

We spent most of that day resting, eating, and enjoying one more day of free AC and cable. It was fun! Once again we left around eight and drove through the night, though it was easier because we were on familiar terrain by the time it got very late. I drove the entire six-hour block because it's easier for me to stay awake when I'm driving than when I'm navigating. Victoria the cat was very glad to see us when we got home, and the birds, as usual, did not care. We brought in the bare necessities and went to sleep. When we woke up, it was time to get off our vacation footing and get some stuff done. The birds need beak trimming, so I made an appointment for that. I needed to see the doctor about my device, so I made an appointment for that. Same day service, not bad! 

I also went out and got some groceries, because we had nothing perishable in the house anymore. With our WIC vouchers and some other coupons, we got enough food to last us a little while without spending much money. M also got a paycheck in the huge pile of mail we picked up from the post office, so that helps. Robert had a hard time getting back on schedule at bedtime, so we put him in the stroller and went for a walk. There's a Chinese restaurant half a mile from our house that I had a BOGO coupon for, so we used a little of the leftover travel money for supper. The rest of it goes into the rainy day fund. Supper was very good, and it made the baby go to sleep, hurrah! I think we're back in our groove now, it's just a matter of getting all these doggone suitcases unpacked. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Grandparents of the Future

Guest blog post from Beth Simon

It is amazing how much grandparents are learning through technology. My grandparents have the internet at home and they find it a very user friendly device. A few years ago I remember how confused they used to be when we were talking about chatting and email, but now a days they are jumping right on the wagon when it comes to computers.
My grandparents use the internet for almost everything. They make many different purchases over the internet as it is easier for them instead of making the long trip to the stores. They buy everything from Miracle Earhearing aids to groceries over the world wide web and have it delivered right to their door. They even found out where to get aFree Hearing Test.

Since my grandparents live so far away I introduced them to facebook. They use this as a social network to see pictures of all of the family. Our family has grown over the years and has spread out all over the world. Using facebook is an easy way for our grandparents to stay in touch with us.

There are so many great things the internet has to offer when it comes to people old and young. I am glad my grandparents got the hang of the internet as it makes their lives much easier and helps keep us in touch.

Brought to you by my friends at

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Many Pictures

I will freely admit that I spent most of the evening watching the Dirty Jobs marathon on Discovery Channel, and that is why I don't have a better post for you all tonight. I'm on vacation, dudes! ;-) Having television is such a novelty, and Dirty Jobs is one show it's not easy to find without television. I love it, though! To ease my guilt and give you something to reward you and say sorry for no post yesterday, I scoured my parents' photo card for good pictures. I downloaded 450 pictures, kept about 300, and eventually chose 28 to upload to the Flickr photostream, where they are even now waiting for your perusal! You'll like them.

Today we went grocery shopping for the second week here. I didn't bring my coupons, because, well, I hardly had any. It was weird to shop this way, without much consideration for sales and none for coupons. We got lots of good food, but we spent well over my entire monthly budget for grocery and non-grocery shopping. On the other hand, we were buying for more than twice as many people. It was too hot to do much of anything that wasn't indoors today, over 100 degrees before noon and with humidity that punched you like a wet fist the instant you stepped outside. Oof. When we go home Wednesday, we'll have to do it either before dawn or after dark. It's too doggone hot to do anything else.

But for now, we still have one more wonderful day of vacation, and I'm going to exploit it for all it's worth. I love this! I love having air conditioning I don't have to argue about, and cable television, and a bright sunny house where Robert can look out the window and see beautiful things. I love having other people to take care of him for a few hours at a time. I love being able to watch Robert love and be loved by his extended family. I love having other people working with me on cooking and cleaning, and I love having all kinds of amazing food all the time. I love having a couch. I also love the beach nearby, the swimming pool, all that stuff that's specific to the place we're visiting on vacation, but that's almost secondary this year. Maybe I'm learning to appreciate different things. Whatever the reason, it's been a wonderful vacation and I will be sorry when it's over. We're so lucky to have been able to do this.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Still Vacationing

So tired! Too tired! Here is a picture to tide you over until tomorrow. I have  a new hat. Robert went to the outdoor pool for the first time. He didn't like it much. He is an indoor baby, at least when the heat index is this high. We had great seafood and grilled burgers and brats for supper, then watched Star Wars on VHS. Old school!

Facing Down the Ocean

We took Robert back to the beach today, this time slathered in sunscreen and with swim diaper ready. He fell asleep the moment we arrived at the beach, so we settled him in his bouncy seat under the canopy and let him have a nap. It was hot, hot, hot today. The heat index was something like 100 or 110, so we couldn't stay out too long. While he dozed, the family watched him and M and I spent some time in the water, which was really nice. The ocean was perfect, the tide low, the surf gentle. I found about a dozen sand dollars with my toes, but they were all alive, so none for me to take home. Oh well.

When Robert woke, he was hot and uncomfortable, and though that seemed like a good time to put him in the ocean, it only seemed to make him mad. He had a little cut from his own fingernail, which probably didn't help when the salt water touched it. So that didn't work out too well. We kept him in the water for only a few minutes before taking him back to the canopy and giving him a bottle and the edge of a cold, damp towel, which he hugged onto like a stuffed animal. It was cute. We took him home and gave him a bath to wash the sunscreen out of his hair, after which he was much happier. M wrapped him in one of his college t-shirts, and Robert took a little nap on the living room floor. Too cute. I posted more pictures on Flickr, everyone should go and see them!

For dinner tonight, my sister's boyfriend took charge of the kitchen for a seafood feast. My dad bought fresh shrimp and scallops from one of the local places, as well as crab cakes, a whole chicken, and fresh veggies. We had grilled shrimp marinated in lime and butter, pan seared scallops, crab cakes, roasted potatoes, grilled peppers and onions, beer-can chicken and Mexican Casserole (for the non-seafood lovers), and fresh guacamole with tortilla chips. Man, I stuffed myself, and it was awesome! Heck of a meal. Robert went down to bed nicely after another long day, and we had a relaxing evening. It's really been nice to let other people who love Robert spend time with him during the day. He loves it, and I get a break, and it's so nice for everyone.

Friday, June 11, 2010

At the Beach!

I am awfully tired tonight, so you won't hear much from me. But I have the best pictures of Robert at the ocean for the very first time. Video is forthcoming, but hasn't been uploaded yet. Check the Flickr photostream for all the pictures. We had a good, if hot, drive down, and the house here is amazing. It's great to be with my family, and there is a nice bed waiting for us upstairs. Goodnight!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello

Last day in North Carolina, tomorrow we head for the beach! We've had a great time here in the mountains, but I am excited for the next phase of vacation to begin. We went to an awesome restaurant tonight and had amazing spanakopita and wild mushroom ravioli. Mmm, mmm, mmm. Robert was perfect, he was sleeping when we went into the restaurant, he slept a little while, drank a bottle for a little while, then looked around and sat on my lap for awhile. He had a dirty diaper, but this place had a great bathroom with a diaper deck, and I was very pleased. It was a great night!

Bad but expected news on the car, the AC is really broken and would be 1100 dollars to fix. Not in this lifetime, chums! It's going to be a very uncomfortable ride to the beach tomorrow, but we'll put Robert in a onesie and stop often. The good news is, I got a haircut today, so at least that's one less hot weight on my body! It's really cute, but it kind of blends into the couch in the picture I got of it. I'll try to get a better one tomorrow. It's much shorter, harder for baby hands to tangle themselves up in. Just like I wanted! It'll be nice for swimming, too. I just need to decide now if I want to try and color it again. I have not found a good coupon to get the brand I used last time, so I would need to buy more dye. We shall see!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy!

It's late and I'm tired so I'm going to make this a short one, but I've got a really cute video that I even did editing work on to make up for it. =) I was determined today to catch Robert's rolling on tape, and I did! You'll like it. In other news, the car got fixed today, and while the tires turned out well and the vibrations have stopped, the air conditioning is still busted. We're taking it back in tomorrow, where the technician will look at it again for no additional charge. So that's bad and good, I guess.

M's mom and I went to CVS and rocked some really good deals. They've been giving everybody a get 5 off a 15 dollar purchase coupon just for buying something (it prints on the receipt), which is huge. I was also super-duper lucky and got two free rewards bucks from the coupons machine in the store. Score! So for me, I bought six sticks of deodorant that would've been 15 dollars, used coupons to get 9 dollars off, used the 5 off 15 to get another 5 off, and then used my two free reward bucks, which took me down to -1 dollars. I used that to buy two bottles of tea I had coupons for, and wound up paying only the 78 cents tax, plus I got back 5 dollars in rewards money. Excellent! M's mom bought a 12 dollar razor for six dollars and got five reward bucks back, which she then rolled into a purchase of two jumbo packs of Pampers, a box of Tampax, and six bottles of tea, along with a handful of coupons and her own 5 off 15 coupon. In total, for both transactions, her total was about 17 dollars, which is amazing considering that just the diapers would normally cost more than that. Pampers are hard to find on sale.

For lunch today we ate at 12 Bones, the place President Obama ate last time he was in Asheville. We've been there before, and it was amazing, as usual. I can't get enough of their jalepeno cheese grits. We ate outside, because it was a gorgeous day and the place is always so crowded. Robert was good and slept the whole time. We watched Fantastic Mr. Fox tonight, which was cool and weird, and Robert pooped through two outfits. There was never a dull moment. And now, a video!

Robert Rolls from Cori D on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Day in the Sun

Today was a nice day. We started out by taking the car in to get looked at, which was not so fun. Our original purpose was to get a second estimate on the air conditioning, but on the way down to Asheville, our car kept vibrating when we were on the highway, which is even more of a concern. So I asked them to check our tires and alignment as well. It seemed to start right after I got the tires rotated, which made me kind of suspcious. It took them most of the day to look at the car, and the news was not too good. Apparently we could use new shocks and struts, which is expensive stuff, almost as expensive as a new timing belt and water pump. I told them no, we're not doing that. In the alternative, they suggested two new tires and a realignment. They're also going to refresh our refrigerant and replace a couple burnt-out bulbs. Total cost: about 400 dollars, including the two tires. Ouch. I checked the estimate with my old buddy Repairpal, who I am not shilling for today but still using, and was pleased to see that the quote for the refrigerant refresh was actually less than the estimate the website gave me. I just hope it works.

Melissa and Robert and I went shopping today, and that was much more fun. We went to World Market and got some cool cooking things, noodles and cake mixes and flavored oils, and a giant tub of Nutella, among other things. I love Nutella. I have to be sparing with it, though. Now that I'm not nursing anymore, I really, really, really need to get serious about trying to moderate my eating. It's so hard! I should get back on Weight Watchers, but I need to free up at least forty dollars a month for that, and it's not happening any time soon. Besides that, Weight Watchers requires a lot of food that is more expensive than what I usually buy, so that's also problematic. But I'm going to try. Wish me luck!

That's a terrible segue into the other best thing about today, but I'm going to do it anyway. After we got home from dinner tonight, we started up the new firepit outdoors for the first time. M's folks have an absolutely gorgeous fire pit area with benches in their side yard, I just love it. We got a fire going, and we found sticks and made delicious s'mores. S'mores over an open fire is one of my very favorite things, so much so that I managed to make them one-handed with Robert hanging out on my lap. Yummy! Robert was fascinated by watching the fire, and was very good even though we stayed out past his bedtime. (He'd had a nap at the restuarant earlier, as you might notice from today's picture.) When we got inside again, he took half a bottle, fell fast asleep, and barely made a peep as I put him to bed. Sleepy, sleepy boy.

And one last good thing: I realized that M's folks have the same kind of camera we do, and thus their camera cord is the same as ours! I was able to connect the cord and rescue all the pictures from the past month that I took without the card in, that were stranded in the camera's memory. I have posted the best of them to Flickr, you should go and check them out.


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's review is kind of an interesting site, it's a site for a course to learn to play piano. I'm not a terribly musical person myself, but I think it would be kind of fun to learn how to play. Back way long time ago my sister Allie took lessons and had a bunch of music books. I knew how to read music, so I looked up what each key was, and learned how to pick out a treble line by poking the keys one at a time. I was terrible at it, but it was kind of fun. As far as I can tell, operates on a much more sophisticated version of the same principal. You learn the keys one at a time, then how to pick out a treble line, then how to add some chords. I've read that it's kind of like the "fake book" method of learning piano, but I don't know enough to be sure. I know that fake books are easier than regular piano, so I do like that. =) 

Seeing as how I am not a piano player, I went for more information to sites where people who do play piano hang out. If I really wanted to learn to play piano, I'd definitely check out knowledgeable reviews before buying any program. The author of the course, for all that she sounds a little like she's reading English phonetically, has apparently written a number of piano-learning programs, and is pretty good. The folks whose reviews I read suggest that someone with a little basic information on playing piano will get more out of the course, but that it's pretty good. I personally have no time whatsoever for the piano or any other new hobbies, but maybe someday. I have to impress upon Robert the importance of music, after all! 

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Day for a Party

Today was a good day at Casa Nana and Papa! We had the party where the family came over, and Robert was a huge hit. M's cousin's kids though he was the bee's knees, and were both enthusiastic and gentle in playing with him. Robert thought it was hilarious, though he got all worn out near the end of the party and had to go down for a nap. I really like M's family, and I realize how lucky that makes me. Many women can't say they like their in-laws nearly as much as I do. Everybody is so nice, and they make good food, too. ;-)

As today is Sunday, it is of course coupon day. Whee! I didn't bring along my coupon binder because this is vacation, but I did pick up the coupon inserts from the paper here, and made a quick trip to CVS. There's a super good coupon on Pamper's wipes this week, 2 dollars off 1 package. Since places like Walmart and Target routinely sell their average-size packs for around 2 dollars, this is a major coupon. It's also a bit nostalgic, because the very first coupon deal I worked involved procuring a bunch of Huggies Wipes for free with coupons. I could hardly believe it worked, and it was the start of big things for me. I am almost out of wipes now, though, so I could really use more free ones. I asked M's mom to poll the neighbors and see if anyone wasn't using their coupon inserts, and I took the rare step of going to eBay. Normally I buy from a clipping site if I really want a coupon, but these super-hot coupons are not in stock. I put in a bid on a lot of wipes coupons, but I don't really expect to get them. We'll see. It would be nice, but I'll figure something out either way.

Tonight I set up the new router here, which took a little while. Routers are generally highly idiot-resistant, but even they are sometimes subject to trouble. This one was not too hard to set up and configure, and in fact it took longer to program all five computers to connect to it than it was to set up the router itself. I'm connecting with it now, so so far, so good! I will have to set up the wireless printer for it tomorrow, but that's a problem for another day. In the meantime, here is another vide...

Oh! I can't believe I almost forgot to tell you! Robert rolled over today! It was so cool! I had him on his tummy watching Dr. Seuss, and he was crying, like usual. He got his head way up and his arm under him just so, and suddenly he was over on his back! He stopped crying right away. I let him revel in his victory for a few minutes, then rolled him back onto his tummy. He cried the Mommy Is So MEEEEAAAAN! cry for a few minutes, then did it again! What an exciting day!

Robert's Party from Cori D on Vimeo.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

On Vacation!

We're at Nana and Papa's house! We left at 4:45 this morning, so as you might expect, we are very, very tired. I will try to make a more substantive post tomorrow, but tonight, I will leave you with two extremely adorable videos to eat up the time you'd normally spend reading the blog. Enjoy!

More Learning About Food from Cori D on Vimeo.

Tickles! from Cori D on Vimeo.

Friday, June 4, 2010

C.A.R.E: Cars Are Really Expensive!

We slept in till seven today! Hallelujah! I know it might not seem like much, but given that yesterday I was up two hours earlier, it was nice. Besides, we had stuff to do! Robert and I snagged a bath first thing, because he was pretty stinky and fell asleep before we could give him one last night. Mike let him sit in front of the fan as his hair was drying, so for the rest of the day he's had this soft little corona of hair sticking up around his head. It's super cute. I followed up the bath with my own shower, then headed out to get the car looked at.

The maintenance inspection was okay, for a car with 182,000 miles on it, give or take. The air conditioner was working this morning, damn the luck, so they couldn't tell me what might be wrong with that, but they were happy to advise me about a thousand dollars worth of other maintenance I should get. Guess I must look a lot richer than I actually am! The important thing is that nothing is currently actually falling off the car or in more danger of doing so than usual, and that's good enough for me. They changed the oil, rotated the tires, replaced the wiper blades and topped off the fluids, so we're good to go. Well, we still need to clean out the car, which currently looks like the aftermath of a battle between Frog Floaty and the Huggies Diaper Baby, using empty water bottles and yarn as weapons. There is currently grey merino wool yarn wrapped twice around the gearshift, and I'm not sure how it got there. We'll have to work on that.

Much of the rest of the day was devoted to laundry, so that now we have lots of clean clothes, some of which have even already been packed. Robert was in a great mood most of the day, and M was working from home, so we passed him back and forth and got a lot of good playtime in. Robert and I had a good time with a bowl of spaghetti, while I showed him how a big person eats with a fork and he showed me how he thought that was absolutely hilarious. Much fun was had by all. He eventually fell asleep right on the floor a half hour before bedtime, and didn't even wake up when M put him to bed. Too, too cute.

Learning About Food from Cori D on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Preparing for Launch

Robert woke us up at five this morning, which never makes for the happiest of mornings. I got up with him, and M slept in another hour and a half, then I got a bit of a nap  as well, till it was time for him to go to school. M brought Robert and his bottle into the bedroom and set him on the bed with me, where I put the bottle in his mouth and went back to sleep for three or four minutes at a stretch until he dropped the bottle and started whimpering. Then I'd put it back in his mouth and let him hold it and doze off again. I am bad, sleepy mommy. ;-)  Eventually he drank most of the bottle and fell asleep himself, but by then I had bigger fish to fry. 

The car gave us a bit of a scare this morning, which was what eventually drew me out of bed. The check engine light went on as soon as M turned it on, for all that it ran all right and everything else seemed pretty okay. We eventually determined that it was probably the gas cap (again), but we're going to take it in for summer maintenance first thing tomorrow morning, just to be sure. I got a Groupon coupon for the maintenance, so it's 40 dollars instead of 150. Not bad, and not much more than I'd pay for just an oil change, which is included. The last thing we need is car failure as we leave on vacation! 

Robert took a nap on the bed for awhile, which was really cute, even if I did constantly check on him to make sure he hadn't spontaneously learned to roll over or something. I had the maintenance guy over again for our wet carpet, and he finally determined that it was the toilet that was leaking. Not before he'd cut a pretty good sized slice into our wall looking for a leaky pipe, but luckily it was in the back of the cabinet under the sink. Who looks there? A quick twist with a screwdriver fixed the leak, and a powerful fan has taken care of the wetness, for real this time. I'm glad we won't have to hit the road worrying about that! M also found one of his friends to look after the pets part of the time when we are away, so I just need to find someone to visit maybe twice and feed the birds and the cat. Surely I can do that. 

We went real light on the grocery buying this week, in order to minimize fresh food wasting, but that has made it a bit harder to get actual meals on the table till go-time. For lunch today, we went out to Cici's pizza and used a coupon for BOGO pizza buffet, which gave us all the pizza and salad and pop we could eat for ten dollars for the pair of us, including tip. Not bad, though certainly not something to do often. Robert was an angel, sitting in his carrier on the table and laughing and smiling while we talked to him and played with him. Really, he was in a good mood all day today, and even his fussy times were short and mild. I like days like that! 

Tomorrow and Friday are going to be really busy days. I've got to get the laundry under control, and put all these packing lists into action. M's going to clean out the car so it's ready to pack, and Robert will hopefully behave himself so we can get all this stuff done. Vacationing with a baby will probably be a million hassles, but I can't wait. Imagine Robert at the ocean, and with all M's family! It's going to be so much fun! 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My Children Learn

Big shout out to Marissa Chaney for the guest post!

I love going online with my Hughes internet service with my children and visiting different websites that are aimed at teaching children. Some websites I find very beneficial are those designed for coloring. A child can click a key and color a part of a picture. When the color goes into the image, the name of the color is displayed. This is great for helping children associate a color with the name of the color.

These websites are also designed to learn counting and numbers. A child clicks the key and a number pops up. The numerical form shows, the spelling, as well as an object to match the number. My favorite is for the number three; it says three, 3, and shows three little kittens. My children also find these kittens very cute and cuddly looking, but now they all want three kittens! Having three children and three kittens just seems like too much work for me right now!

For my older child, she logs onto the website and is able to learn to read. The website we use shows a little book that changes pages when you click a key on the keyboard. The pages are relatively simple, and easy to learn. She can already read six of the books we have gone through!
Online, using satellite internet you can find websites that are perfect for the learning level of any child. I plan to use these even when my children are attending school. Not only do they have fun, they also learn. I am so grateful to my local hughesnet New York provider for allowing my children and I to learn so much from the internet.

Brought to you by

Time Management

I've somehow let it get very late again, and I want to go to bed. How does that always happen? I won't say much tonight, and instead I will bribe you with pictures. I uploaded 32 new ones to Robert's Flickr page, all of which are very adorable. That should keep you busy for awhile. =D I've come to love the Fix Red Eye tool on Windows Photo Gallery. I just wish they had a similar "Fix Drooly Chin" tool. It would be very handy for my adorable little drool bucket.

There's not really that much to report today. We had the maintenance guy in to look at why the hall carpet is perpetually wet. He decided it was something that probably happened yesterday, and had the carpet guy come and vacuum it up. Great, except now it's just as wet as before. If something happened yesterday, it also happened today as well. It's really weird though, because there's absolutely no indication of where it's coming from! I'll call again tomorrow and have him come back. Aside from that, we stayed home, paid the rent, and watched some Fraggles. Robert still isn't rolling, but he can get his head up really, really well now. He's in crawling position, almost, and making crawling motions, nearly. He could be that rare baby who crawls before he rolls, maybe. Weird!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Back to Normal

Robert's Baptism from Cori D on Vimeo.

Happy Memorial Day! We saw all the grandparents off this morning after breakfast, which was a little sad, but not too much, with vacation coming so soon. Poor Robert took three naps today, he was so absolutely exhausted from the long and busy weekend. It resulted in him being hard to put down this evening, but eventually he passed out on my lap with a bottle in his mouth and didn't even wake up when I laid him down. Most of the day he was smiley and happy when he wasn't eating or sleeping, and those are the best days. He's so funny when you make him laugh, and he laughs more all the time.

Since it was the last day of the month, Robert and I took the opportunity to do some shopping. I'd hoped to use the Nivea coupons I had to get some free body wash, but they were sold out at Target and Walmart both. They have been for most of the month. I rather suspect that couponers without the ethics that make the game fun have gotten lots of coupons and bought the stuff by the pallet, rather than taking some and leaving some for other people. I see them sometimes, and I think it's just disgusting the way they fill their entire cart with whatever couponable items they can get their greasy mitts on, and too bad for anyone else who would like some. It's people like that who make things harder for the rest of us. My magic number tends to hover around four of any given item, unless it's something like cereal or bottled water where there's a ton available, or if the deal hinges on getting a certain larger number of items. If there are not many of an item left on the shelf, I try to leave some for the next person. It's only polite.

But anyway, that was the only thing we struck out on, so it wasn't so bad. I ended up getting two more sprayer bottles of Scrubbing Bubbles along with two refills, two cans of shave gel, a bottle of body spray that I got before and really liked, some tire protector and auto glass cleaner for the car, and a bottle of Shout. I had to go to both Target and Walmart to get everything, but I only wound up paying six dollars out of pocket, and since I'll get an eight dollar rebate from the wheel protector, I made a two dollar profit on the trip. Go me! Robert slept through Target and was a little fussy in Walmart, but was still a big hit with the ladies there. Little flirt, he will fuss for me, but stop and get big wide eyes when another person comes along to talk with him. ;-)

One gift we got from Mimi and Papoo was some money to start Robert's first bank account. After doing some research, I've decided that the best thing to do is put it into a five-year Certificate of Deposit, then when it matures, take it out and use it to start Robert's bank account. He'll be a little older then, old enough to start talking with him about saving and spending money. After discussing it, Mike and I are going to put in the money from my folks, and some money we got from his folks, and a little money of our own as well, so that it is a gift to Robert from all of us, that he will get when he is five and a half or so. Sure things are tight for us right now, but we'll get by, and we need to be serious about saving for Robert's future. I found a CD that gives a 3% APY, which is a whole lot better than a savings account, even if it won't amount to much with the amount we're investing. It's the principle of the thing (har, har), and M and I are learning about investments right now too. We have to be smart with our money, and every little bit helps.

Tonight I started compiling the list of things I'll need for our vacation. In previous years I've never bothered to do this, but the presence of the ragenugget on this trip requires a lot more planning. I've already got a column nearly a page long, just of his things! At least most of his things are small! The next few days are going to be very busy, but the only complicated thing is going to be petsitting. We're going to be gone two weeks, and it is not easy to find petsitting for that long. Hopefully one of M's school friends can fill in for us, or we will ask the neighbors to help out. Either way, the pets must eat!