Tuesday, June 30, 2009
I've been meaning to get on here and write some more, but I've been incredibly busy. When I wasn't working on stuff for my trip I was trying to spend time with my family. Needless to say... my blog wasn't on the top of the priority list ;)
So I will have to tell you everything when I get back! It costs to use the internet, so I probably will not be online much unless I can work something out with the hotel. That said...Goodbye for 27 days!
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Yep. I made that up myself.
Monday, June 22, 2009
They were even in a wider size, for G's big fat feet (which he swears the baby gets from me...).
The bottoms are perfect for his ramps at work and he really seemed to like them.
Lil V is a bad secret keeper though. When we got home from getting them he kept asking, "Where are your shoes, Dada?" lol. Luckily it was about 3 weeks before Father's Day, so he didn't really catch what was going on. He just thought V was wondering where his shoes were.
The Thursday before Father's Day, V and I went to get Dada a card. Vincent picked out a Spider-Man card for G. He (babe) was thrilled.
I told him it was a surprise, but when we got home G was home from work and V ran straight to him and told him we got him a surprise. "A Spider-Man card!" he told Dada. It was funny and cute. Good job with the secret babe!
Saturday night after I got off work, I ran by Wal-Mart and got some stuff to make breakfast for G in the morning before we both had to work. I made delicious French toast, and bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches on English Muffins. mmm.
I used thick sliced bacon, and I baked it in the oven. It was a recommendation from a friend, and it was so good. It was crispy, and it didn't shrivel up. I splurged on the best OJ ever:Overall, it was a pretty good day. Even work wasn't half-bad.
One of the guys at work said he used to call me "the girl who looks like Sarah Jessica Parker, but without the big nose."
Another customer told me I didn't have as big of a nose as her, but I think I do. I don't think she's beautiful... but she's growing on me. I suppose.
It's better than looking like Carrot Top:
They're both the same, I just wasn't sure which it was easier to tell where I was going.
Let's see... I'll also give you a quick rundown of my flight info:
- My first plane leaves STL at 6:55am (my first flight got cancelled and this is the one I got. I totally didn't pick one this early)
- I will arrive in Chicago at 8:03am and depart again at 10:40am.
- Then, I will fly and fly and fly.
- I will arrive in China at 2:05 pm the next day. We lose a day because we are 13 hours behind them.
I registered my trip with the consulate. I heard this is a good idea in case of any emergency or anything unexpected were to happen. I also found out where the nearest consulate will be and have a contact number for them, just to be safe. Of course, I don't expect anything bad to happen but it's important to have this information anyways.
I also made copies of my passport and visa information. I have a copy, and I gave a copy to my travel companion. I also have her information in case something were to get lost or stolen. Again, China is safe, but you have to be responsible for yourself, especially when you're in a foreign country.
Tomorrow I need to call the doctor and ask if I need any vaccinations. I think I'm up to date, but I don't really know. My advisor said she doesn't do anything special. The first year she took malaria pills, but it wasn't worth it since we aren't in a place where we really need them.
You'll notice on the map that I'll be next to a HUGE lake. That is called the Lake Hongze. It is the 4th largest freshwater lake in China. Many sites I've visited said you can rent a boat on this lake with your friends and family. I think this will be somewhere I would like to go while I am there:
"Erected more than 400 years ago, the Hongze Levee is a well known artificial levee. The levee is 70 km in length and is a critical levee to prevent flooding. The levee offers a beautiful landscape and many tourist attractive sites have been established along the levee, such as an artificial beach and many other entertainment facilities."
I also found a National Park in the city we will be in. I found an aquarium and a zoo. I'm not sure if visiting all of these places, but it's cool to know what's there. I think we have someone who is supposed to take us touring on our weekends off. Weeknights we will be on our own.
Our advisor also told us about this jewelry place and this handbag place, but I can't remember the names of them. I know one has "garden" in the name. I'll have to ask upon arrival.
Here is a pic of the hotel I will be staying in my first night in China.
I also know that I will be teaching middle school students. At first I thought it would be ages 14-17, but now it looks like it will be more like, maybe 12-15ish.
I'll tell you more later. I'm reminding myself right now to talk about gifts...
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Gosh. My baby is 2 now! There are some things that worked for me, that I liked/didn't like, or that I had to learn the hard way. I decided to compile a list sort-of as a friendly gift, but also to remind myself of all those special baby moments. I'm not a professional, and you may not even think I am good, but here goes:
Oh yes, and an important disclaimer: You may totally disagree with me, and that's fine. Like I said, these are things that worked for me. I have personal experience why I feel the way I do in every case. As a new mommy, you may find different, better ways that work just great! :) So if you want, disregard all of this as BS from someone with only 2 years of experience!
And if you're wondering, I did write this for my friend Beth. But like I said... me too.
- Don’t ever, ever, take your child to St. John’s Mercy Hospital in Washington if she is sick and can be taken elsewhere. Their ER and pediatric doctor’s aren’t used to children, and they can’t insert an IV to save their lives. I have had more than one experience to back this up. Of course, if it’s an absolute emergency and you can’t avoid it… have her flown to Children’s, which is a wonderful, amazing hospital.
- If your baby is fussy and you can’t figure out why, try some Teething Tablets. They are homeopathic, which means they are drug free, so they won’t hurt your baby. If she is having teething pains, she will be greatly relieved. Also, don’t think it’s too early to teethe; mine got his first at 4 months.
- Your mother (and all those who offer you advice) is right more than you would like to admit. However, don’t let her (or anyone else) try to make decisions for you. Remember that you are the parent and you get to decide what’s best for your baby.
- People who don’t have children are always especially eager to tell you how to raise your children, kindly accept (or totally reject) their advice. Don’t ever take it personal or feel like they’re telling you what to do, even if they are. Do what is right for you. Here is my example: a girl I work with told me I wasn’t a good parent, and therefore wouldn’t have a good child, if I didn’t spank him. “You gotta do it, Karen,” she advised.
- You can nurse while lying in bed! Just lay the baby next to you and you can doze off while she is getting some nourishment. I spent many nights up in my rocking chair before someone shared this good news with me.
- Boppies are wonderful. Even for Dads. Don’t try to get a cheap one because they’re nowhere near as comfy. I also liked those little seats that help them sit up; they’re good for antsy little ones.
- Babies like Swaddlers; swaddling is fun. Like little baby tacos, or little Indian babies. They make pre-made swaddle cloths, but a blanket is just as easy. (I learned it at Babies 'r' Us free baby classes they offered.)
- When they get old enough to walk, get a leash! People look at you like you’re crazy, but you don’t lose your child when they don’t want to hold your hand or ride in a stroller (independent things they are). Those who chastise you probably have their own “I lost so-and-so once” stories.
- “What to Expect the First Year” is a good book for reference when you have a question. Is this normal? What can I do? Who else has had this problem? Should I worry?
- Which brings me to guilt: try not to let the new mom guilt overcome you or make you unable to make decisions. It is normal to feel guilty at first about nearly everything. I did. Ie: I felt guilty when I bought Parent’s Choice or Luvs instead of Pampers. Why? I have no idea. So, a little is normal, but try to think rationally. I know it is super hard.
- If you need a break, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Trust Dad to hold the fort while you go get ice cream, or go to the movies. Everything will be fine.
- Above all, remember that your baby is only a little baby once. You only have one first birthday, one first tooth, a few first steps. You don’t want to miss it. Don’t feel guilty if you have to work, but don’t get so immersed in things that you forget what is really important.
- Kids are never too young to learn, and you will feel so proud when your little one year old can recite the alphabet, count, and say “I love you.”
- Bordeaux Butt Paste rocks.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
- I can buy out the car- this option, although I have been paying on the car for 4 years, is still very expensive. And since I've had a baby, I wanted something with 4 doors and a little more cost efficient.
- I can sell the car- which, honestly, with what I would have to sell it for to pay it off- isn't really worth it to anyone with the economy as it is. I think it is a wonderful car and worth it, but it would be hard to do, time consuming, etc.
- I can return the car- and it will be auctioned off (I'm pretty sure) and be sold to some used lot and some other person at a much cheaper rate than I could buy or sell it for.
Anyways, G's sis is also looking for a car. G saw a nice car and told her about it. She said she couldn't afford it.
I was driving by the lot the other day and noticed how nice the car actually was. I told G we should go test drive it, just to check it out.
After the test drive, G was convinced how wonderful it was. Together, we started looking at our finances to see if we could afford 2 car payments for the next few months. We have been saving for months so we could have a down payment for a car when we had to get one. And with that money, we would only need a small loan.
And now.... drum roll please... I'm the proud new owner of a Blue 2001 Volkswagen Jetta, 5-speed. G and I actually tried to trade the Beetle in for a Jetta over a year ago, but I was "upside down" in payments, so the new payment was ridiculously high. Obviously we didn't get it.
The loan process was a little arduous, but totally worth it. Originally, I was pre-approved for a loan 3x the amount I needed to borrow. So I thought it wouldn't be a problem to get 1/3 of the amount. Additionally, the banker said my credit was excellent (even though she wouldn't tell me what it was). We put in the application and they called me the next day to tell me that after looking at my application they think I have too many student loans compared to my income.
I could get a cosigner... but I didn't want one! I wanted to do this myself! Plus, I don't know anyone who has super great credit, and signing power...
I told her that I was in school, so my loans were deferred. Then, by time I had to pay the loans I wouldn't have my beetle anymore, so I would actually be saving over $200/month. Also, I will theoretically have a better job.
She wanted me to get proof that I wasn't paying on my loans yet. I called one company that I have loans with, and they told me how to get it no problem. But I wasn't even sure who my other lenders were. This in itself was a huge problem. I called my school who sent me from financial aid to the business office, to the registrar's, back to financial aid... I eventually found out, on a national loan database, and called another who basically told me that any bank should know that while a student is in school their loans are deferred. Alright. But I need proof.
I called back the bank and told them the loan companies were being a pain. She must have thought I would be fine, because she submitted to the regional supervisor to be over-ridden. Then after a long day and a half of waiting, she called me back to tell me it was a go!
I used part of my saved down payment money for a down payment. Then, I got 6 months of insurance, the exact same (really good) coverage as I have on my beetle (including full coverage) from Progressive. It was a super price, really. I did a ton of research and they turned out to be the cheapest. Now I won't have to worry about insurance again until after I turn the Beetle in.
I also have a little money left over to get the emissions and license plates, which I plan to do on Monday. As soon as I find my paid personal property receipt.
This is a side note---On Friday I told someone at work I got a new car, and she asked what kind. I told her and the first words out of her mouth were "I hate foreign cars! Buy American!" I gritted my teeth and informed her that almost all cars had foreign parts... .but this is besides the point. It really made me mad though! Of course, as an American, I have the right not to buy our cars if I don't want to!
I'm so happy that I don't have to worry about finding a new car in the beginning of a new year, around all of the holidays and what not. I'm also glad I found a car I know is in good shape and I like a lot.Just one small thing- I can't drive a stick! Aaah! I practiced today- driving him all the way to Washington (10 miles). I had some minor issues, but nothing you wouldn't expect from someone just learning. I did have 2 times where I stalled, and couldn't get started back up. But it turned out it was because I was in third gear instead of first. So I need to practice the whole shifting thing. Other than that, I'm confident I will learn to drive my new car. :D
I don't have a picture yet, but this one is very similar.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
1. P.S. I Love You
2. Bitter is the New Black: Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smartass, Or, Why You Should Never Carry a Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office
3. Nickel and Dimed: On (not) Getting By in America
4. Mistaken Identity: Two Families, One Survivor, Unwavering Hope
5. The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream
6. Searching for God Knows What
7. The Imperfect Mom: Candid Confessions of Mothers Living in the Real World
The first 3 I borrowed from Jennelle's list. Numbers 1, 3, 4, and 5 were checked out. 2,6, and 7 were not at the library. I put a reserve on the 4 they did have and ended up with:
A Healing Touch: True Stories of Life, Death, and Hospice I started it Yesterday, and finished it today. it was a really touching book filled with stories full of life and love. It was also very easy to read.
I also got: Dating Jesus: A Story of Fundamentalism, Feminism, and the American Girl
I picked them both off of the new release shelf to hold me over until I could get one of the other books I would like to read.
I haven't started the second one yet, but I'm getting ready to right now. :) I'll let you know how it is.
I have several more things going on, that I'll post about later. Until then, goodnight.
Monday, June 8, 2009
My Vinny Owl
Vincent seeing how big he is compared to a California Condor... Not too big.A gameMe, V, and AlysonAlyson, her beau, and mom doing bunny earsGraduation girl with some friendsTesting the camera after some soda got spilled on it... oops When they wanted cake, they made my V go "beg." He even had to get on his knees. It worked though :)They said, "say Cheese" and he said "Cheeeese... cake!"
Leaving the park we saw 2 elk. This one was in the road.A little deer butt. I couldn't get him facing me and there were several cars behind me.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Here's a pic of the brown shirt:
But I still wanted a dress. We needed something from the pet store, and while we were there I made a discovery: TJMaxx. I'd never been there before, but I decided to go in (it was next door to PetCo) while G and babe went into the pet store to get what they needed.
I really liked the detail on the bottom:
Ahh... mission accomplished :)
Eventually we would like to design our room around the curtains. It's green now, but we really liked these curtains. They're more... shall I say, sophisticated :)
So we didn't spend a mint, and I really like our new curtains!
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
For real though! One of my oldest, closest friends is getting married! I am so happy for her! Her fiancée (I just learned how to make those: é) is so cute and they make a wonderful couple!
I've known about it for several weeks, but I didn't want to be the one to spread the news before she did. Of course... I don't think she could have told people faster. lol. She called me while she was still at dinner and the next day, when she was supposed to come over she had already stopped by our friend's house, her old work (where I work now), and another mutual friend's house.
Her parents already knew because her fiancée had asked her dad before he proposed. Isn't that sweet? I think it is.
She also wanted to set a date, so she knew what to tell people. the wedding will be in August of next year (she had to plan it around some doctor-y tests). I will be the maid of honor! eek!
This time, as maid of honor, I actually know what I am supposed to do and I am anxious to get started. Maybe more anxious than her. She's in school to be a doctor, so her classes are super hard and take up all of her time. But she has given me the go-ahead to start looking.
All I know is her favorite flowers are daises, and they go with pretty much anything. She can't come up with a color. Her idea is to "let us of all (4 bridesmaids including me) pick our favorite color and she will choose from them." heh.
We went to a wedding store and she was liking some very neutral colors like browns, tans, grays. But she has been open to pretty much everything (except bubble dresses, short dresses, and prints). Oh yes, she also liked several shades of green I think...
I think I'm in love with aquas and teals. Any other fun ideas?
My dear friend promises she will tell me the color by her next break from school, which is in August. But until then, the search is on!
Which reminds me... she sent me a picture of a dress she likes that she found online, and I need to find it somewhere so we can try it on. And by we I mean she :)
I will post pictures of some dresses I found online that I like... later. But for now, it's bed time.
Here's two to hold you over:
And her FianceéWe were bowling last month :)