Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Baby Story, Part 1

Robert is six months old now, and I have already spilled the story of how M and I met for all you lovely people. There is another story that I wrote, a little while back now, that I think I will share. And not just because it gets me out of coming up with things to write about when I'm asleep on my feet, either! Here is the first part of Robert's birth story. You can read it if you're interested, otherwise, just look at the picture of Robert and the chimey-wimey ball!

            Robert was due on January 6, 2010, but we were not exactly surprised when he didn't arrive that day. After all, the due date was just a guess based on the 20 week ultrasound, given that M and I had no idea whatsoever when we had conceived him. The weather was very snowy that week, and by the sixth, bad snowstorms were predicted for the whole Midwest, but especially Illinois. My mom was frantic at the idea that Robert would come and she wouldn't be able to get down here, so we told her to go ahead and come down, but we didn't know when Robert would be arriving. She flew down on the seventh and checked into a hotel where she would end up staying for the next three weeks. It was a very nice hotel, and one of the clerks there was also in the New Hope program and wound up giving birth the same week that I did.
            A week passed, with very little action on the Robert front. I would have very occasional contractions, and we did all sorts of things to try and encourage them. Ham and pineapple pizza, spicy Thai food from Sweet Basil, walking around and shopping for hours. I got to do a lot of couponing with my mom, which was fun, even if nothing came of it. I started to get more worried as the days passed, knowing that if we went past Martin Luther King weekend on the 15th, my dad probably wouldn't be able to come and see the baby. We were very lucky, though, because what was supposed to be a two week trial for him unexpectedly folded into a one-day stipulated trial, leaving him with entire days of his docket clear. It took the pressure off, both for me and for my mom.
            M was already back at school, which had gone back into session on the fourth. It was nice having someone at home with me, especially someone with a car so I wasn't always stuck at home. M always kept his phone with him and checked in frequently. I think he was more nervous than I was during these days. Sometimes I would get up and sleep in the recliner because every time I would shift position at night, (frequently, between pelvic discomfort and bathroom needs!) he would wake up and wonder if I was in labor. Poor guy needed some sleep! We bought a few last baby items, cleaned and organized some more things around the house, and waited. And waited.
            On Wednesday, January 13, I caught a case of food poisoning, possibly from some really terrible oatmeal cookies I'd made that morning. I was sick as a dog with abdominal cramps and vomiting by that night. I was really worried for awhile, thinking that this was labor, and that labor felt like wanting to throw up all the time. I was both relieved and disappointed when I felt fine a few hours later. M was great, even though he felt poorly as well, he rubbed my feet and played a relaxation track on the iPod, and even sat in the bedroom in the dark with his computer while I slept off the worst of it, just keeping an eye on things.
            By Thursday morning I was better from the food poisoning, and starting to have contractions. This was very exciting, of course. My appointment with Sister Kay, the midwife, on that Monday had me at 3cm dilated and mostly effaced, so I knew it could be anytime now. I was sure that just a little more encouragement would have labor going in earnest. My mom and I went for a little walk up and down the block, and I did some chores and did some dancing and bounced on my labor ball all afternoon. By evening, my contractions were short but at a steady six minutes apart for several hours. I was excited enough to call Sister Kay in the middle of the night and ask what I should do. She quizzed me on how I was feeling, then told me that I should call her again at three minutes apart, because it was too early for me to go to the hospital yet. Sister Kay was an enthusiastic supporter of our plans for a natural birth, and part of ensuring that would happen was making sure we didn't go to the hospital too early.
            It turns out she was right to have us wait, too. The contractions began slowing down in the small hours of Friday morning, and I got a few hours of sleep, thinking that labor was just in a resting phase and would start up again fresh when I'd slept. Friday morning, the contractions were ten minutes apart, and continued slowing down until I stopped timing them. Through Friday afternoon and much of Saturday as well, I still had contractions, but frustrating ones. They would happen when I needed to use the bathroom, when I changed activities, when I laid down, but they wouldn't settle into a pattern. I couldn't sleep well without them waking me up, but it wasn't as though we were making progress, either. I was frustrated and cranky, and it was all Mike and Mom could do to deal with me. Mike and I started talking seriously about what we would do if we needed an induction. My 42 week appointment would be on Monday, and we both knew it would be more and more difficult to wait him out if he didn’t come on his own. 

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Today I had to spend time cleaning up and vacuuming the living room. It was a very scooty day! Robert's been getting more rolly with each day that passes, but today he got into it big time. I cleared everything out of the middle of the room, vacuumed the carpet, and let him go at it. He managed to make it about halfway across the room! He really seemed to enjoy it, too. I could see his little mind working as he scootched and rolled and lifted his head to study everything. He's still not crawling, not even army crawling, but he's covering ground. Crawling is not far away, my friends. When that happens, I just don't know what we're gonna do! I took some pictures of him while he was adventuring, notice how far he is from the blanket where he started.

Yesterday I made some barbecue chicken in the crockpot, just tossed in the legs and thighs I got for 99 cents a pound into the crockpot with the skins peeled off, tossed in a bottle of barbecue sauce I got for free a while back, and let it cook six hours. Pulled out the bones, mushed it all up, and it was very good! I was much happier with the way it turned out this time than when I tossed in breasts as well. Too many little bones! Today I took some of the leftovers and a pizza crust mix and made barbecue chicken pizza. Made up the crust, subbed in Sweet Baby Rays for pizza sauce, added chicken liberally, then  covered it with mozzarella cheese. Yum-yummy! I'm really going to miss getting cheese from WIC, but I can always still look for sales. The pizza turned out great.

In the evening, we went over to Lowes for a sale on Brita pitchers. Lowes put out some store coupons, which just happened to stack very nicely with a manufacturer's coupon for a very good deal. Now, everybody and their brother at grocery stores and discount stores knows that you can always stack a store coupon with a manufacturer's coupon, because nobody gets dinged twice for it. The manufacturer pays for one and the store pays for one. It's very simple. But the cashiers at Lowes don't deal with coupons very often, and we had to be politely persistent about it. The head cashier eventually let the cashier put the transaction through, so we were happy and we got a new Brita pitcher and filter for only 2.27! Hurrah! The even better news from this trip, though, is that when we went back and looked at the appliances, we found that their smallest chest freezer is just 159 dollars, a much lower price than at the Sears outlet. And they have free delivery as well! Immediately upon arriving home, I went to my SmartyPig account that held the money we were saving for the chest freezer and closed it out in the form of Lowe's gift cards .That's another thing that's cool about SmartyPig, when you redeem a goal in the form of gift cards to the store you're shopping at, you sometimes get an extra percentage. Lowe's gave us an extra 3%, which is not too much on that sum, but certainly nothing to sneeze at! As soon as our gift cards arrive, we're getting ourselves a new freezer!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tuesday Musings

Robert went to bed at six-thirty tonight, craziness! He never goes to sleep so early, but he was tired and fussy, so we laid him down and off he went. He was up at six-thirty this morning, which might explain it, and I have a sad suspicion he might repeat the performance tomorrow. "Well then," you may ask, "What on earth are you doing up so late?" The answer is, of course, that I am entirely insane. The other answer is "writing a blog post!" I didn't yesterday because I didn't have a picture, and because I was sleepy and went to bed early. I really do try to update this thing  every day, but I've been slacking off. Shame on me!

Today I did not do all the things I wanted to do, but I did some of them. Morning plans were scrapped when I woke at six-thirty with the baby and an awful headache. I stayed up with him till 8:30, when I passed him off to M and went to lay down. Getting a nap spoiled my plan to go to baby readalong at the library this week, but it did help the headache, so that's something. Robert had bananas for the first time today, mashed up with rice cereal. He liked it! The first bite made him shudder a little, possibly acquiring the new taste, but after that, he was happy to eat it. He would've been happier to smear it all over himself, but we also gave him a bath this morning and I didn't want to have to repeat it so soon!

In the afternoon, Robert and I left M to do the dishes and went out to do some shopping. Staples and Office Depot are having some pretty good school supply deals this week, so I bought some for the supply drive and for our own use. At Office Depot, I got three rulers, 20 pencil-top erasers and 12 notebooks for 1.78, which was most excellent. At Staples, I got a Cars backpack with matching lunchbox and wallet, two reams of printer paper, a binder two packs of pens and two packs of highlighters. It was 27 dollars, but Staples has online rebates, and I have already sent off for the 25 dollars in rebates I get for the paper and the backpack. Hurrah for 100% back rebates you can do without postage! I like Staples. We also hit up Big Lots for some energy drinks. I will probably need one tomorrow, and they had the big cans for 70 cents. Since they're the sort you probably shouldn't have more than one of per day anyway, it's not too bad. Good for emergencies, certainly.

Oh, and I didn't post yesterday, but last night we got Papa John's pizza, and that was fun. I did some Viewpoints reviews online and got a 10 dollar gift card to assign to one of a number of websites. I figured Papa Johns would make 10 dollars go the furthest. I combined that with a promo code I got for signing up for their email list, and wound up getting two medium pizzas, one sausage and pepperoni and one plain cheese, for 2.75. We had one pizza for supper and one pizza for brunch today, which means we spent .75 per person per meal. Very hard to beat that! Sometimes it's just so nice not to have to cook.

Robert spent a lot of time today in the jumparoo. He really likes it, but I think he might be getting a bit bored with the motion and the three toys. I really want to get him the Bright Start's Doodle Bug Activity Station, which looks like a dozen kinds of fun. I know it's summer, though, and I know we're pretty doggone pressed right now. Not nearly so much as we were, now that the paycheck came in, but rent is coming due, and I just got my bill for bar association dues (which is a heck of a lot of money, I might add!), and I don't even want to think about the electricity bill that's going to come any day now. I did just get ten dollars today from internet odd jobs, and the sixty dollar refund from my ill-fated ink cartridge purchase finally posted, so it makes me feel like there's money. I'm going to wait, though, I've decided. Once August's rent is paid, and July's power bill, and the bar association dues, and the credit card bill (only three more payments to make on the Chase card, woo-hoo!), then I will take another look at our finances. I know Robert doesn't need another toy to be happy, but I want to give him this one if I can. Until then, though, he's fine just playing with Mommy and Daddy, bouncing in the jumparoo, and sitting in his high chair, banging on his piano. (The monkey, I think, may still be a little much for him.)

Monday, July 26, 2010


We went to church this morning, which was nice as usual. I met up with my friend who is having a baby in February and lent her all my pregnancy books and my Hypnobirthing CD with the very relaxing tracks. Honestly, trying to relax was one of the hardest parts of being pregnant for me, and the relaxation hypnosis tracks coupled with some pregnancy massage was like magic. I hope it will help her out too. She found out she was pregnant a whole lot earlier than I did with mine, and that just means a lot more weeks of stress and worry. Twenty was quite enough for me, even if it did pack a lot of baby-prep into only half the time. I also dropped off a big bag of the school supplies and personal care items I've been collecting, including a deodorant stash I forgot I had in the closet. And good timing as well, because it has been hot, hot, hot here!

After church we came home and gave Robert a nap. He's settling into a nap routine now, sort of, of a nap at noon and maybe a nap around four if we're lucky. While he napped, I organized coupons for the week. I love getting home delivery of the newspaper! It's awesome! It was also an awesome day for couponing, with a great sale lingering at Kroger and new good sales starting everywhere else. We did really well for ourselves. At Kroger, we got five bricks of Philly Cream Cheese, three bottles of Gatorade, two tubes of Colgate toothpaste, and a box of margarine for 8.37, plus we got a 5.00 off your next order coupon. If I counted that way (which I don't on my spreadsheet because it is too hard) that would be like getting all that for 3.37. I also went to Kmart, which is not a store I like at all, because they're doing Not-So-Super-Doubles this week. They used to have an awesome Super Double Coupon promotion, but they've watered it down to almost nothing. Even so, I got five big boxes of Cheerios for 2.50, or 50 cents per box. Can't beat it, especially with Robert about to start solid foods.

Our big complex shopping of the day was at Meijer, and for that I needed M's help. Doing more than two transactions at once in a grocery store by myself is just too hard. We did three transactions and wound up with 12 boxes of Hamburger Helper, 4 boxes of pasta salad, 4 boxes of pizza rolls, 8 frozen dinners, and 5 bags of Chex mix for 14 dollars. Given that a normal box of Hamburger Helper is 1.50 just about anywhere you go, I'm pretty happy. I'm also glad the month is almost over, because I'm close to the line on budget, and I'm glad to know M gets another paycheck next week. There aren't too many weeks of regular pay in summer, so it's nice when they come. I'll appreciate it even more, I'm sure, when I see how awful our electric bill is going to be. It comes next week too. Gulp!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Going Out

It was a lovely anniversary, and I've stayed up much too late celebrating it. I wanted to talk about some of the deals I got this weekend, like the twenty tubs of baby food for five dollars at Babies 'R Us today, but M is giving me the "It is time to SLEEP" look, so I have to be quick. More talk about coupons tomorrow, after a trip to Meijer that I am sure is going to be exciting!

For our anniversary, I got M two issues of a really cool comic book. They are signed, and come with a piece of original artwork as well, but unfortunately one was a preorder, so neither of them are here yet. I told him what I was getting him though, and he is happy. As soon as they ship, which should be any day now, he will have his present! He bought me ice cream from Graeters, which is an awesome present any day of the week. Neither of us spent much on the presents, which is good. Thoughtful is always better than expensive. We took turns napping today and dealing with an increasingly crazed and toothy baby. Robert was really in a mood today, I don't know if it was teething or what, but he was laughing or screaming almost the whole day.

Given the bipolar baby day, it was extremely optimistic of us to take him out at 8pm, bedtime, to Red Lobster for our traditional anniversary dinner. We ate at Red Lobster the first post-wedding night of our married life, and since then it's been a place we've returned to every anniversary but one. (The year we lived in Chicago, we went to Benihana instead. Exciting!) Red Lobster was startlingly busy, given the hour, but we got really lucky, and Robert stayed calm the entire time. We put the carrier on the table and took turns rocking it for about half the meal, till he fell asleep. Even before he slept though, he mostly looked around and chewed on his bottle and played with his octopus. He really is a very good baby. We had a great meal and a very nice time. A happy anniversary indeed!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

It is after midnight Central Time, so today is officially M and my sixth wedding anniversary! Hurrah, six years! They've gone by so fast, even though it feels like we've been together forever. We sort of have, M was the first and only guy I've ever dated, and I met him when we were both 15. In two more years, I'll have known him half my life! Of course, we've only lived in the same state for six years, and before we got married we'd only spent maybe two or three months together, aggregate. Long distance relationships, go figure.

It's sort of a funny story.  We met in a roleplaying game chatroom on AOL in 1998. Way long time ago in internet prehistory. I was a sophomore in high school, and just getting into gaming for the very first time. I had no books, no dice, no real conception of RPGs beyond "You make a character and tell a story with other people." M was my age too, but he was pretty insecure about being a teenager in a forum with a lot of adults, so he'd been pretending for awhile (he joined the game long before I did) that he was an adult. This is the opposite of the way things usually go on the internet, but roll with it. We met and hit it off as friends and writing buddies, and met online a few nights a week to play games. Whenever we were both online, we'd usually be instant messaging, just as friends. We wrote a lot of stories together, and because I was extraordinarily naive, it never crossed my mind that he might not be exactly who he said he was.

Well, this went on for about a year and a half, playing and being friends. I had other friends in the game as well, and one in particular was a lot more skeptical than I was. She confronted M on some inconsistencies in his story, and he finally came clean with all of us. I was kind of mad for awhile, and felt pretty stupid, but I didn't want to lose the friendship over it, so I forgave him after a short period of groveling. We became better friends when he could actually be honest with me about everything, and it didn't take long before a mutual milestone in our lives began coming up in conversation. We were both seniors in high school by now, and prom was approaching. Seeing as how both of us were introverted computer nerds who didn't date, we both had the same problem, no date for prom, and no painless way to find one. In high school, I was the sort of girl who got asked to homecoming on a dare (no, I did not accept), so it wasn't something I looked forward to. Slowly, we began to realize that we could be the solution to each other's problems, and actually have fun with it.

Convincing my parents to let me go to prom in Pennsylvania was probably the hardest part of the entire business. My parents weren't always comfortable with the amount of time and effort I put into my online life, and my mom referred to the people I knew online as my "imaginary friends." Letters, pictures, and phone calls were exchanged between our parents, until everyone was convinced that there were no axe-wielding serial killers on either side, and my mom insisted on coming with me. Not, you know, to prom, but on flying out with me. The plane tickets and the dress were my eighteenth birthday present, as well as the monetary culmination of four years of school dances that I hadn't gone to or spent any money on. It was a gorgeous dress, with matching necklace and headband and shoes. Oh yes, I had lovely sandals that matched the dress perfectly and were amazing. Something had to go wrong.

Just a couple of weeks before the trip, I fell in a little hole at my aunt and uncle's house and broke my ankle. It wasn't a horrible compound fracture or anything, but it caused a lot of problems. I was in a big ol' boot cast for six weeks, which meant I could only wear one of my beautiful sandals (thank god my dress was long!), and dancing was a little more difficult. I got to ride in a wheelchair and on a golf cart around the airport, which was actually kind of fun. The biggest problem was that it was my right ankle, and at that point M did not have a driver's license. He actually had to go out and get his driver's license before prom so we didn't have to get chauffeured around by one of our parents the whole weekend. That was a big challenge, but he managed it!

We actually met for the first time in the lobby of the hotel my mom and I were booked at. I gave him a teddy bear, he gave me a book, and we hugged. It was strange meeting in person, when we'd known each other so long already! I was a little worried we wouldn't be able to talk to each other face to face, but we did all right. Prom was really fun. We danced and drank punch and made subversive cheese sculptures from the rather unappetizing dinner they served. Afterwards, we came back to his house and looked up kissing on the internet, then tried it out. Also very fun! There was a lot of trial and error, but I can't say it wasn't exceedingly entertaining. The day after prom, we went out on another date, this time to Hershey for the chocolate factory tour. We got stuck in traffic on the highway for three hours. That is a good time to get to know what someone is really like. We played cards. By the end of the weekend, I was really sad to go home, not knowing if I'd ever see him again, but really wanting to.

Well, long story short, we made sure we saw each other again. It involved a lot of very long bus rides, some plane travel, and using up almost all of our school breaks on each other for four more years. And there was always the computer, every day, or the phone when we didn't have that. When we would go on trips, we bought phone cards so we could call each other wherever we were, just because it was so much a part of our days to talk to each other. We got engaged in 2002, when I was on campus for the summer. M got down on one knee in the parking lot after driving ten hours to see me. I said yes, we hugged and kissed, and the parakeet on my shoulder bit his nose. There was really never any question of if, but when was more of a problem. We wound up being engaged for two years and getting married in the summer of 2004, just a few weeks after I graduated. It was a heck of a party!

Wow, that really was a long story, wasn't it! I don't know that I've ever written it all out that way before. I've already written a paean to my wonderful husband once this year already, so I won't belabor the obvious. But I am very, very happy to have had these past six years with the person I love best, and I'm very happy that our family has expanded, and I look forward to many, many more years.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Back Home Again

Sorry for the lack of posting these past few days, we got home late last night and I was soooo tired. Eight hours in the car is exhausting at the best of times, and these weren't the best of times. It started raining on our way home in the Civic, which of course has no air conditioning. The weather was hot and humid despite the rain, so it quickly began to fog up the windshield. The only way to defog a windshield without AC is to blast the heater, so we did that. In order not to suffocate, we opened the windows, which meant we got wet. Robert also got wet, which he responded to by screaming. So the last portion of our trip was in the dark, in the pounding rain, with the heat blasting, with the windows open and the rain coming in, with the baby screaming in the backseat. I am VERY glad to be home.

Besides that, though, it was a good trip and a fun weekend. It was great to see everyone, and Robert liked all the attention, for all that he mostly wanted only Mommy to hold him. It's just a phase, and he still smiled at everyone and was his charming flirty self. And it was so cute to see him when we finally met up with M again and his little face just lit up. He knows Daddy, and Daddy is very popular. It's neat to see Robert starting to really develop these associations and preferences. His little brain is working very hard.

Speaking of  which, we went to the pediatrician today for Robert's six month checkup. The news is all good! Robert has a slightly bigger than average head, is slightly shorter than average (I was surprised too!) and is in the 40th percentile for weight, which is about perfect. He's hitting all his milestones, and the doctor is very pleased with how strong he is and how good he looks. This month he is 16.5 pounds and 25 inches long, a big boy! We're supposed to start giving him even more solid foods and gradually easing back on the bottles as long as he's eating well, but that'll be a slow process that goes at baby speed. He also got three shots today, poor bobbin. He was stripped to his diaper and drinking a bottle, but the minute the first needle went in, he stopped sucking and his entire upper body went beet red a moment before he started screaming. The frantic tears only lasted a few minutes though, and then he went to sleep for awhile in the car. He was a little fussy this evening and needed some baby Tylenol, but he's better now. Poor kiddo, but no more vaccinations for six more months! That's a lifetime for him!

I put up a whole bunch more pictures on Flickr, by the way. Go and look at them!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Reuniting and it Feels So Good

Today was the big family reunion for my mom's side of the family, out at the big park in my hometown. It was tiring and hot, but a lot of fun. It's been a really long time since I last made it to one of these things, and I saw a lot of people I haven't seen for ages and barely recognized, plus seeing a bunch of my first cousins and their kids. There were several other  babies there, which was fun. It was ninety degrees out though, and Robert was shy of so very many strange people. We stayed three and a half hours or so, then Robert and I came home for a bottle and a nap. He had a bottle and we both had a nap. It was nice! Robert also had his first carousel ride today, and seemed to enjoy it. I had to hold onto him to balance him on the horse, but it will not be many years before he can do it himself. Weird!

Robert is six months old today! What a big boy! What a fast half a year! He's going to crawl any day now, and nothing's going to be the same after that. But he's so funny, at least we'll get entertainment in exchange for our constant exhaustion. Speaking of which, it's definitely bedtime. Check out lots of new pictures on the Flickr photostream!

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Robert and I are visiting my family! I have pictures, but Robert has decided on never sleeping, so when he is sleeping, like now, I'm not about to risk digging around for the camera cord in the suitcase! So I will make a big post tomorrow with a couple of pictures. Sorry for the impromptu break!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bad Habits

I have been staying up too late recently, and it is very bad! It makes me too tired to do anything, and I don't want to do housework and I don't want to be creative, I just want to sit in my chair and sulk because I am tired. That's gotta change. When we get back from our trip up to see my family, I will get onto a better schedule. Tonight I will make a quick blog post and get to bed a little earlier than I have been, at least.

Robert's six month birthday is coming up, so I made a video photomontage to celebrate! I think it turned out cute. This morning we went to the baby readalong at the library, which was fun even though he's just a little young still for most of the activities. I rolled my MaxPerks bucks at OfficeMax that were about to expire, I took the 60 rewards bucks I had and bought two ink cartridges, three three-ring binders and six packs of notebook filler paper for the school supply drive. I paid six dollars, mostly tax, and got back 40 reward bucks for next quarter. Not too bad, considering my printer ink disasters this past month. No more reconditioned for me!

Anyway, here's the video. Goodnight!

Robert's Half-Birthday from Cori D on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Online Outlet Store

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 took a look at a website called This is an online outlet store that concentrates, as you might have guessed from the name, mostly on items for the bedroom and bathroom. This works for me, as I have many needs regarding beds and bathrooms. A certain member of the household who shall remain nameless peed through four outfits today (and on the changing table!), so the first and most important place to look was crib bedding. A waterproof sheet just ain't gonna cut it sometimes! ;) seems to specialize in crib bedding sets, and some of the sets are very cute indeed! I liked that there were unit prices for the sets and individual prices for the items as well. I was always frustrated when I was working on my layette because I didn't want things like a comforter or a crib bumper, which are dangerous for babies, but every set seemed to have both, and charge for them! I would much rather be able to pick and choose my pieces. They have things divided up into girl sets and boy sets, which I don't think is optimal since sometimes people want gender neutral sets they can use from child to child, but the pictures were clear and the menu easy to follow. 

The site also had plenty of mattress pads, including waterproof pads, though I couldn't find anything I wanted because I couldn't find a way to sort by bed size, and there was no separate listing for waterproof crib pads. The selection was good, and most items seemed to come in common adult bed prices. While I was on my quest for mattress pads, I ventured over into kids' bedding, but didn't find any there either. There were lots of kids' bedding sets, and even some clearance items, mostly fleece blankets. The sets were neat looking, and there were more categories for kids' bedding than for babies, which was nice. 

I did a little research on prices, which I always do when I'm thinking about buying something. The prices at are similar to those at Amazon, and I didn't find anything that really screamed "super-good bargain." I was intrigued by the personalized coupons the site offered me when I signed on. At first it offered me 10% off, but when I clicked to get the offer, it took me to a broken page, so that was no good. Then it offered me a discount for being an Indiana shopper, but I'm not in Indiana, so I don't know that that would apply to me either. Finally, it offered me free shipping for a $49.00 purchase instead of the typical 89, and asked me to put in my email address. I did, but when I went to look at my shopping cart, it told me that the coupon code was expired. For those of you playing along at home, that was three offers in a row that didn't work, and none that did. 

Overall, I think is a site with potential that needs to work out its interface problems. The coupons are what have the potential to push it into the category of a site I'd like to shop at, but none of them work on my common browser. Having a better interface that makes it easier to find things would be really nice too. I may check back some other time with Internet Explorer to see if it makes any of the coupon problems go away, but I'm just not a real fan of sites that make it so hard for me to shop. 

School Supply Shop

Can you believe back to school sales are starting up already? It's the second week of July, for pity's sake! If I were a kid, I would avoid stores at all costs for at least another month. But I am not, so Robert and I went shopping at CVS and Walgreens today! At church yesterday our pastor mentioned that one of our sister churches has kids who are in need of snacks, hygeine supplies and school supplies, so I've been keeping my eyes open in this week's sale hunting. And what a good week at Walgreens to start! They had a whole bunch of good stuff on sale. I had eight dollars in rewards bucks that were about to expire anyway, so I figured this was a good thing to use them on. I ended up getting four good Reach toothbrushes, sixteen pocket folders, six ten-packs of mechanical pencils, three pencil/crayon sharpeners, three rulers, and a can of iced tea and a bottle of dish soap for myself, all for 1.12 in cash out of my pocket.

At CVS, we did quite well also. I didn't find all the items I wanted, but I went in with five reward bucks, got myself three rulers, a 10 pack of pens, two packs of pantiliners, shampoo, conditioner, a pair of scissors, and one of those toothbrushes with a battery, all for a dollar out of pocket plus I walked out with five reward bucks to spend next time. Can't do much better than that!

I also found the charger for my camera, as you might have noticed. Robert was in a good mood most of the day today. He had a really horrible poopy diaper while he was in the jumparoo that actually started dripping on the floor, and that was kind of awful, but luckily we were both around and the carpet cleaner was handy, so no harm done. Today I gave him some of the hand-me-down toys I got from a friend at church, and they were a big hit. There's an apple that chimes when you tip it, and a ball that does the same thing, except the ball has little rocking animals inside it. I had one like it when I was a baby, actually. Robert thinks it's great. I gave it to him when he started having a tantrum during lunch, and he happily pushed it around on his high chair tray until he forgot about being upset. He had rice cereal for lunch and a whole jar of butternut squash for supper. Hungry baby! He's really got this eating thing down, now. I just have to remember he's still a novice, if a talented one, and to keep taking things slow and easy.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Hop To It

Still can't find the camera charger, I think it must be in an overlooked vacation bag somewhere. But fear not, loyal readers, for you shall not be deprived of your daily dose of Robert goodness! I have taken another video, and it is very funny! You may want to turn your speakers down, lest you be assailed by the pterodactyl-like shrieks of my overstimulated offspring!

Jumping Baby from Cori D on Vimeo.

Not much to report about today, we did not go out, we did not get the paycheck, we did not eat interesting foods. Oh, well, Robert did! Today was Day 2 of avocado, and since yesterday's went over like a lead balloon, I tried something different. I took the second avocado, seeded it, and scooped all the green stuff into the blender. I added just a teeny bit of olive oil, then some water and just a little rice cereal, and pureed the heck out of it. It developed a light, bright green color and a very smooth consistency, like storebought baby food. I tried it out on Robert at his evening feeding, and it was much more acceptable. He ate almost a whole serving, which is just a couple tablespoons, but still! I think yesterday was just a texture problem, the fork-mashed unadulterated avocado was too dry and lumpy. One more day of avocado, then on to butternut squash! I'm going to need to start making a list of what foods we've tried, just so I can keep all these orange and green foods straight.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

End of the Week

I couldn't post a Daily Robert yesterday because my camera is out of batteries! Oh no! I need to find the charger! I haven't charged the camera since we got back from vacation, because it has excellent battery life, so now I need to find where I put it. I was clever today, though, and took a video of Robert playing with his new piano. He really likes it, because it involves smashing things with his hands as hard as possible. This is his favorite way to play, and I've gotten him several toys that suit him quite well.

Robert Rocks Out from Cori D on Vimeo.

Let's see, yesterday was busy. Robert and I went back to the Optimist Club after several months away. That was fun, they are always very happy to see him, and the program was interesting. The local sheriff, who is a member of the club, showed off his collection of WWII and earlier guns that he'd been collecting since childhood. Robert was good during the whole talk, and made his mommy proud. We would've gone to the knitting shop, but I forgot my knitting, so we grabbed M and went to the farmer's market instead. It was the most we went out any day this week so far. We have not been doing much shopping, since the paycheck has still not arrived. I am starting to get just a little nervous.

Today marked three days after carrots, so we started Robert on a second new food, avocado! It was... not exactly a rousing success. He spit them out, made faces, and cried. We'll try again tomorrow, maybe with a few changes to technique. I might not have mashed the up well enough. Avocados are so healthy, and now is the time to get them! They were only 88 cents apiece at Walmart today, which is about as cheap as they ever get. Here is hoping he'll learn to like them. In other fresh food news, we hit up the farmer's market yesterday, the one just down the street from us. We paid too much money for some mediocre sweet corn, paid about as much as I'd be willing to pay for some very nice blueberry jam, and got what I consider a good deal on some amazing blackberries. Giant, sweet, perfect blackberries, a whole pint of them for five dollars. They were great to eat just as they were, but I wanted to do more with them!

Today Robert and I went on a coupon expedition to Walmart, with a gift card from M's folks. Most of the stuff I bought was free with coupon stuff, but I picked up a couple of other necessities because we had the card. Most important of these was a wipe-off-able bib for Robert with a crumb-catcher pocket. We didn't have any! I had no idea how short we were on bibs and how all our bibs were laundry bibs until I started trying to feed the baby twice a day. Gack! The dishtowels from Ikea work pretty well, but Robert has been expressing his displeasure strenuously to that option. I also got one of those foil windshield covers that's supposed to keep your car from getting so hot while it's parked. With the air conditioning gone, it's just been so punishing to drive anywhere, especially in the afternoon when I like to shop. I'm hoping that if the car isn't so hot when we start, it won't be quite as bad. The bib was five dollars, and the windshield cover was eight, so that was 13 dollars right there.

 I also got a bottle of windshield deicer and a scraper (on super sale!) since I was in the department, a bottle of fuel injector cleaner, six packets of cat food, five things (boxes? sachets?) of dental floss, three pieces of frozen key lime pie, a frozen personal deep dish pizza, two containers of Cool Whip, four bakery-reduced mini bundt cakes, three pounds of ground turkey, and two avocados for Robert. The total for everything was 16.77 before tax, so all this stuff was 3.77. Not bad! I used the Cool Whip and the mini bundts to make blackberry shortcake for us for dessert tonight. It was amazingly delicious. I love summertime, except for the heat!

My Son Loves to Watch Nickelodeon Junior

This was written by guest blogger Ericka Clarey
Ever since the day I brought my son home from the hospital, I have tried to make sure he gets to watch or listen to educational information. He listened to the TV when he was too young to watch and now that he has gotten older, he loves to watch Nickelodeon Junior. With Nick Junior being a channel designed just for young children, it has taught him a lot. He now knows all of his colors, shapes, numbers, and even some of his alphabet. There are a few other channels he loves to watch but overall he watches Nick Junior the most. 

He loves to watch and sing along with the Backyardigans and Diego. I am really glad we are able to watch educational television on satalite TV. By being able to watch these shows, I feel like he will be better prepared for school when he gets old enough. Since he is not in preschool, i know he is at least learning something. The most amazing moments as a parent are when your precious angel is growing and learning. He gets so excited when he gets to watch TV and he does not realize that he is learning so much.

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cleaning the Pantry

I have once again let this post go very late, and I've got to skedaddle to bed. Today's chore was cleaning the pantry and the area around the pantry, which is always full of clutter. I organized, tossed a few things out, and rearranged the shelves so the cans and jars were up high. Now when Robert gets going, the only thing he'll be able to pull down on himself is cardboard boxes, and that's pretty okay. It looks better now, but it's very full. Gotta get to work on eating it down before I do much more grocery shopping. And that's good, because M's first summer paycheck has still not arrived, and I am getting a teensy tad nervous. We have money in the savings account, but the check should be getting here any day!

More carrots and rice cereal today, and good success with that. In the evening, I hit Robert up when he was especially hungry, and he ate all of half a tiny jar of carrots, and some rice cereal as well! He's really caught on now, he knows what's going on and that the high chair and the spoon mean food. I think after tomorrow (we are going on the one new food every three days allergy check plan), I will try putting some vanilla or cinnamon in his rice cereal to liven it up. It is not nearly as popular with him as the carrots.

Oh, and new Flickr pics!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


I'm tired, so hopefully I can make this a quickie. I kept my promise to myself and did two hours of housework today. I did four loads of laundry including all Robert's clothes, I organized the diapers so that all the new size 3 diapers are put away as well, and I did some cleaning in Robert's room. His room needs a very thorough babyproofing, which means getting everything off low shelves, too. I have no idea where I'm going to put things! I wish we had a garage so I could have a garage sale. I'd love to get rid of some stuff and we could surely use the money. But anyway, his room looks better and all his clothes are clean. I finally addressed the dangerous cord tangle in the living room and got it away from scooty baby-hands, and also sorted through the printer table. That still needs more work, but it's a lot better. The kitchen is still clean! Even though today I baked Hawaiian Sweet Bread and made brownies and whipped up a spaghetti sauce from scratch, it's still clean and the dishes are washed and it's wonderful. Bathroom looks good, too!

Robert got two solid-food sessions today, one in the morning and one before bed. I think that's what we're going to do for awhile, two high chair "practice sessions," and the regular contingent of bottles every day. He's still lightweight for his age, so I'm not worried about overfeeding him, and when he starts really getting the hang of the feeding thing, we can start transitioning him more. That's the whole point of this exercise, anyway, get him ready so that when he must eat solid foods, he'll be ready, willing and able. Today was even more exciting because we introduced a food with color and taste: carrots! Robert was interested and tried them without much protest, though as with the rice, a lot of it ended up smeared everywhere during both feeding sessions. We gave him a bath after supper to wash the carrot out of his hair. Right now one teeny-weeny jar lasts for both daily feedings, I just put the morning's portion in a dish so I don't contaminate the jar. We'll try carrots for a few days, then maybe squash, or even avocado. I have heard many good things about fresh avocado mashed up and served to baby. It's expensive, but he doesn't eat much.

Today's other big thing was Victoria's yearly vet visit. She got her kitty checkup, as well as her round of vaccines. All is well, though apparently at six years old, Victoria is already entering senior cat territory. That seems hilarious, knowing cats like Wil, but not all cats are mutant freak kitties (with all due respect), so it's important to keep an eye on her health as she gets a little older and slows down a bit. She's still in great health though, and she was very good at the vet, so I was happy. The bill was, as always, a bit of a bite, but at least it's just once a year for the checkup and vaccinations. I also bought her a catnip pillow, the vet version of a sucker for good behavior. She was very glad to get home and immediately threw up on the carpet, but that was just stress and vaccination. She's fine now. We repeat the whole thing in two more weeks with Robert, who I suspect will cry even more than the cat about getting his shots, poor bobbin. Well, if it must be done, is better it were quickly done!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Cleaning and Solid Foods!

What a productive day we had today! As promised, M and I spent several hours this morning working on the house. I started in the bathroom, which hasn't had a really good cleaning in months and needed it badly. I mucked it out and scrubbed it down, right down to going after the grout  with an old toothbrush, cleaning the mirror and mopping the floor. It looks and smells like a new bathroom! M did even better than that though, he worked on the kitchen and got it looking amazing. Most of the time when we clean the kitchen, we wash the dishes and give the counter a quick wipe and call it good, but oh no. He got all the stuff off the counters and put it away, he scrubbed off the stove, he swept the floor. I came along and mopped it, and now it looks super. It looked so good that I was motivated to go in tonight and wash the new dishes that had accumulated, just to keep it looking that way. I love when things are clean, almost as much as I hate cleaning!

My ambition is to devote several hours a day to doing nothing (except babytending) besides cleaning the house. We've got a great start, and I need to build on it. Robert is gaining more mobility every day, and having a dirty house is moving from slovenly to actually dangerous. We have to change. I have to change. I am a lazy, dirty person, and I have to change, for the sake of my baby, and my family, and for my own sake. It's just so doggone hard.

The big news today, though, was the advent of solid food! We cleared off the dining table and got the high chair down from the attic. Our high chair is not exactly a proper high chair, it's a booster high chair that straps to a regular chair but takes up less room. Less room is good! We stuck Robert in there with a big bib on, and gave him rice cereal mixed with a lot of formula. He did really well! We videotaped almost the entire experiment, you can watch the videos here and here on Vimeo. Even though he did pretty well with his first exposure to spoon-feeding, he's not ready for that to be even a major source of nutrition quite yet. I think of it as practice runs, getting him ready for the next phase of his eating career. When he'd gotten tired and cranky from us poking the spoon at him, we wiped him down (yay, 30 boxes of babywipes!) and gave him his bottle.  It was a very good first effort, and we'll do it again tomorrow!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Go Fourth and Shop!

Church today was fun, we had the service out on the front lawn, and the weather was really good for July. The crowd was pretty small, because lots of people are elsewhere on holiday weekends, but it was still very nice. One of the women at the church has a baby just a little smaller than Robert, and a toddler girl, too. She brought a sleeping bag, unfolded it, and spread it out as a mat on the grass. It was so clever! It was big enough to do stuff on, and heavy enough to stay put, where our blanket was shifting and bunching and generally being useless. I'm definitely going to dig out my sleeping bag next time we have an event on grass. M is definitely not acclimatized properly to this area. Even though we were in the shade and there was a nice breeze, he got really hot during the service. We need to spend more time outside!

The warm weather (and two bottles in very close proximity) served to knock Robert out nicely and he had a good nap in his crib when we got home. Later in the afternoon, he and I went to Walmart to spend the last of the Pampers coupons, and some other coupons as well. We got two things of chocolate syrup, three pouches of tuna, three pouches of potatoes, two packets of taco seasoning, the Sunday paper (just one copy, coupons are light on holidays), five 12-packs of disposable razors, one 4-pack of better disposable razors, and our final 12 boxes of baby wipes. They were well-stocked, so I felt okay about taking that many this time, just to make sure I didn't let any go to waste. Before coupons, the subtotal was just over 47 dollars. After all my coupons, it was not quite $7.00, and came out to $9.13 after tax. Not bad at all, I think! It would've been even less, but my coupon for the chocolate syrup had expired. As it was already on sale though, I decided to buy it anyway, and the two bottles accounted for a third of my cash expenditure right there. But two bottles of chocolate syrup will last us a long time, especially since they were big "free bonus ounces!" bottles.

I made macaroni and peas with hot dogs for supper, and experimented a little. I tossed in garlic salt and some parmesan cheese as well, and it turned out great! I think I will always do that from now on. Macaroni and cheese is good, but sometimes a little bland. The garlic salt did a lot for it. In the evening, we watched some Fraggles and I tried to get Robert to do some tummy time. He was having none of it, though, and after rolling him over five times in two minutes, I let him stay on his back! I think I'm going to ask the pediatrician how we're supposed to do tummy time now that he's a champion roller. =) At least he was so worn out, between that and an extended jumparoo session, that when eight o'clock rolled around, he was already half-asleep and making his "I'm a tired baby" groans. He went down with hardly a peep. I love my good sleeper baby! Tomorrow I'm going to devote several hours to cleaning the house, and M is too. Wish us luck!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Diaper Vending

Today we went to the library, for the first time in ages. We didn't stay too long, but Robert was good and I borrowed some books. They have a baby reading group Tuesdays at 10 and 11, which I think I will take him to sometime. Gotta teach him early that the library is a fun place! And if I take him, I will remember to take back my library books. On the way home, we stopped at a garage sale and got some cloth books. I need to figure out if I can just toss them in the wash. Robert loves to eat cloth books. He eats his cloth Bible at church on Sundays!

Today I also sold some of my spare Size 2 diapers. It was pointed out to me that stores take size exchanges on diapers, and this is true. When Robert grew out of Size 1, I took his last two packs and traded them in for Size 2, no problem. Unfortunately, I had the clever idea of clipping the Box Tops for Education labels off about 20 packs of diapers for my mom, then not making sure that those got used first. Stores are not real interested in exchanging user-damaged product, even if the damage is negligible. So instead, I posted some of them on Craigslist. Within an hour, I had someone willing to buy four packs of Huggies for 20 dollars, which is a good deal for her, since it's half price off what she'd pay in the store, and a good deal for me, since my average pay price for Huggies is 4.50. Everyone was happy! I have more closet space for Size 3 diapers, and 20 dollars. Yay, Craigslist!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The World Comes to You

We didn't go far today, fairly typical for a Friday. Money in the bank is low after rent and sales are average at best, so M went to school and came home, and Robert and I hung around all day. It wasn't a bad thing. I took him down and we dropped off the rent check and talked with the manager for a few minutes, like we usually do. She's nice and has twins who are a few months older than Robert, so we swap stories sometimes. And today was a gorgeous day. I don't think we ran the AC more than a half hour all day long. In the afternoon, I took Robert and his tunnel outside and let him play in it for an hour or so while I read a book. The tunnel keeps the sun from being too bright in his little eyes, and he liked it very much. We were only driven inside by the eventual and inevitable massive poopy diaper.

Today was a day for receiving packages! The other day I went to Amazon during one of their diaper sales. I got 408 Size 3 Pampers for 60 dollars after tax and with free shipping, so just under 15 cents a diaper. Not bad at all, for Pampers. They arrived today. Wow, that's a large quantity of diapers! I am still deciding where I'm going to put all those diapers while I am using up what I can of the Size 2 diapers, but I am glad to have them. We are going to be set for diapers and wipes for awhile. I think any more wipes that I get will probably be donated, since I have something like fifteen boxes and seven refill packs of wipes now. Robert is a boy who makes messes, but at a certain point, even the most stockpilingest mommy has to say "okay, that's enough." But I don't want to let these coupons go to waste. Our pregnancy center is sure to find a use for any extras we want to give them. In other package news, I got 250 really pretty address labels with our name and address, all for 99 cents shipped. That came today, and they're great! And now it's the weekend, and I'm tired, so I will bit you all a lovely weekend.

Friday, July 2, 2010

New Printer Cartridge

Today Robert and I went to Walmart and got a new printer cartridge. The remaunfactured ones were just no good. They didn't work, the replacements didn't work. I'm shipping them back for a refund. A single high density  new black ink cartridge was 20 dollars at Walmart. Ouchies! But if it works, then it'll pay for itself with coupons in not much time at all. We also got another 10 boxes of baby wipes, a new helium balloon, some hot dogs, some of the cheapest sliced ham and turkey the deli sells, and nearly the last of our WIC food for mommies. In total, we spent just under 35 dollars, which is not bad, given the cartridge. Note that I have put a reference to the cartridge in my post title for the day, so in X number of months, I will be able to come back and see how long the cartridge lasted. Clever, huh?

I was thinking about it today (in the context of the printer cartridge) and I've realized this blog serves a lot of purposes all at once. The most obvious purpose is the Daily Robert, the vector by which I transmit an image of the beeb to all his adoring fans. Then there's the update, often in ridiculously minute detail, of what we've been up to, for anyone who is interested in our lives. There's the moneymaking aspect, whereby I earn a little bit of money by writing reviews and including links and such, and while that is small, every little bit helps. The blog is also for me, an open record of my days. As I was warned many times, the days rush by when you have a baby this size, and with me at home with him, they often blend together. Having this blog lets me contextualize my life. I can go back and see what I was doing a week ago, a month ago, when Robert was only two months old, etc. It gives me a record of his milestones, and of how it felt when he began smiling at me, and when he slept well, and when he rolled. It's a record of my accomplishments as well, how much money I've saved and the good deals I've gotten, and the things we've been able to share.

This season of unemployment has lasted far longer than I ever expected it would. In some ways, it's been a blessing. Now that the first couple of breakneck months are over, I don't even have to remind myself anymore that it's a privilege to stay home and care for my baby. I would have missed so much if I had gone back to work full time after six weeks. At the same time, though, it's true what they say about keeping house, even as poorly as I do it: it's like threading beads on a string with no knot in the end. You look back on your work for the week and it all looks the same, unless it looks worse. The food's been eaten, the dishes and clothes re-dirtied, the floor relittered with items. I like to be able to remember what I've done and what I'm doing It's very reassuring! And most importantly, the blog is a tool of two-way communication. When people read and respond, it makes me feel less alone, even though we are very isolated here. It's become more important to me than I ever realized it would be when I started it. Let's see where we go from here.