Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Music

It is with great sadness that I inform my friends and family that I will no longer be singing in the choir at St. Alban's. I will not share all of my reasons for doing so, however I will say that it has become difficult to have an almost toddler in church while trying to concentrate on singing.

I will miss it greatly, don't get me wrong. I will miss it probably more than I miss singing with the Concert Choir at Baylor. Music has been a part of my life for so long that I find it hard to remember a time without it. Performing is in my blood. However, therein lies part of the problem.

I am a performer, however I firmly believe that Mass is not the place to perform, but to worship God and to take part in the sacraments. It is not a place to show off my mad music skillz. I do not want to perform at church. I do not want people to tell me how much they enjoy my singing, or that they wish I were singing a solo instead of another person (this has happened and it breaks my heart to hear). I do not want people to clap for me. I don't even want someone to tell me that my singing brought them closer to God. I am happy that people can find peace with God through music, but to tell me so only strokes my pride.

I do not tell you this to have you feel sorry for me, I do not need pity. I tell you this because I feel you have the right to know. I tell you this so you will not ask me to sing or ask me why I'm not singing. I will continue to sing lullabyes for George, join with the congregation to sing hymns and responsories, and listen to my voice echo in my bathroom while I take a shower. I may even go karaoking with friends, but I can not perform in church. To do so I believe removes humility and fills me with sinful pride.

May God bless and keep you during this Christmas season.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas, Baby, and other interesting stuffs

Bat-mittens. Oh yeah.

I apologize for the lack of blogging. These last couple of months have been busy, and I've just recently gotten my office area somewhat usable. Thanksgiving was great (my turkey was EXCELLENT!), and Mom and Oma got to see our new house. My mother-in-law and brother-in-law came to visit for Christmas and are still here.

Ah, Christmas. The lights are up, the tree is up, presents were opened, I lit a wreath on fire with a candle (oops), and George had a blast.

But now George is sick. For the first time. It just breaks my heart to see him sick, babbling with a sore throat (I assume) and coughing. I can hear the phlegm in his throat when he coughs. And he had a fever, too! This afternoon he just wanted to cuddle and fell asleep on my lap. Every time I'd try to lay him down somewhere besides my lap (because he's like an oven!) he'd wake up. My poor sweet baby!

I promise to try to post more often, especially since I have lots of news to share.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Weather Reflects My Mood

In fact it reflects it very well. Today in DFW it is overcast, windy, and kind of depressing. Yet every once in a while the sun forces its way through the clouds for a few moments. It was a perfect day to get some yard work done.

Very similar to my views on this year's election. First let me start off by saying I voted for McCain and stand by that decision. I feel that Obama's (I am finding it difficult to not call him names) election was not a good choice for this country. I am saddened at the way race has played such a big role in the campaigns. I am even more saddened at the prospect of yet more unborn (and born) babies being killed due to his advocacy for abortion and infanticide. I am wary of his foreign policies and the effect they will have on us. I fear that more of my rights will be stripped away due to his policies of "Change."

Yet the sun is peeking through. After reading several blogs and articles this morning, I am reminded that God is still here. I must continue to have faith in Him and never stop praying. That sun (Son?) peeking through the clouds is God's way of assuring us that He will never leave us. We will make it through this administration by continuing to have faith in Christ.

And perhaps this is the incentive we needed to get out and do a little change ourselves. Just like the weather inspired me to finish trimming the hedges and clearing out dead brush in the front yard so that it looks like we care about our home, perhaps this election will inspire us to work harder to bring about the GOOD kind of change that we really need. Not necessarily what our new president-elect advocates, but what is truly good and right. May this election inspire you to pray more and pay more attention to the issues that are important to your life and the lives of others.

And yes, the yard is really starting to look better. We can even see out our dining room window now! Well, we would if we didn't have boxes stacked in front of it...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I haven't dropped off of the face of the earth

yet. We have been working hard on the house this last month (we closed on September 30th) and this last week I was without internet due to moving. We're still trying to get what's left at the apartment out here, I have until Friday. I will post when I get more time, but right now I have work to do. Pictures of the house will be forthcoming along with some interesting stories of the move itself. For now, the newsletter calls.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sometimes...

...I wish I could crawl into a cave with all the necessary supplies I would need to survive and not have to hear about all the horrible things people say and do in the world today.

It just seems like it's one thing after another. From the "deposition" of Bishop Duncan of Pennsylvania and all the crap that's going on in TEC to the election and the outright hatred that is being spewed towards Sarah Palin. I have often heard my mother say that Satan tries his hardest to tear down what is good, destroy people, and destroy the church, and it seems he is trying especially hard right now.

Kyrie Eleison
Christe Eleison
Kyrie Eleison

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Best. Vent. Convo. EVAR!!!

Caution: language, NSFW

I am still crying from laughing so hard, fifteen minutes after watching this video. And the best part about it is how well the guys take it. Most people who get an annoying vent spammer get all upset and start cussing up a storm. These "good ol' boys" are awesome!


Thursday, September 11, 2008

*sniff*

Someone needs to remind me to not read mommyblogs at night after George has gone to bed. Especially on a day like today.

I have cried so much hearing some really heartbreaking stories, and some really touching ones, and George would be very upset if I woke him up to hug him. He likes his sleep and is cranky like crazy if woken by anything other than his internal clock (or stomach).

On another note, Sean asked me today "who died?" He then mentioned all the flags he saw at half mast. I asked him what the date was. He looked very embarrassed.

May the souls of all departed, especially those lost seven years ago today, rest in peace.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

CDO (like OCD but in alphabetical order)

Who woulda thunk that my obsessive compulsion to memorize floorplans and building layouts would actually help someone?

About ten minutes ago, there was a frantic knocking at our door and the doorbell rung. I heard a shout that sounded something like a muffled "Police!" My heart started racing as I ran downstairs to find out what on earth was going on (a vision of a certain crazed "He who shall not be named" ran through my mind), and I peeked through the paint splattered peephole. I did not see anyone outside but heard voices. I cracked the door open and peeked out. Two Dallas police officers were standing outside.

One of them asked if I knew which apartment one of the garages in our building went to. Once I figured out which garage they meant, it was fairly easy for me to remember which apartment it went to. After I told them they thanked me and went on their way to complete whatever duty they were out here for (maybe I'll find out tomorrow?).

It would be nearly impossible for anyone who does not live in this apartment complex (or work here) to know the building layouts. I bet it is fairly difficult even for people who DO live here to remember. However, if you point out a specific window, I can tell you what room of the apartment it is, and draw a rough sketch of how the unit is laid out. I can do this with all of the apartment complexes I've lived in. I could also do this with all of the houses we've looked at in our house search (still haven't closed yet. Long story, still waiting).

If I drive through a neighborhood once (sometimes it takes me twice) I can draw you a rough map of it. I have a clear picture of the floorplan of our new house in my head. I could draw you a fairly detailed picture of it. I could do the same with every house I've lived in, every dorm building I've lived in, even the houses of friends.

I can't remember to water my plants, but I can't stop myself from remembering floorplans. Heck, I even used to use up tons of graph paper designing floorplans for imaginary houses. Am I nuts? Or can I possibly put this to good use? Hmm.....the world may never know.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sunday Drivers (caution: Language)


Warning: This post contains strong language. Parental discretion advised. Rated PG-13


Can someone please explain to me why people drive at their absolute WORST on Sundays? I understand there are the little old white haired ladies and little old men with hats on that only drive on Sundays, but the majority of rude, dangerous, and just plain stupid drivers that I see on Sundays are not elderly.

The worst one from yesterday: I saw a sedan in front of me in my lane swerve violently. A second after the car was under control, I saw a white furry head pop out of the driver's window, tongue hanging out. I sped up and passed this dangerous driver and looked over as I was passing her. She had a large dog (about the size of a lab) on her lap. While traveling at 60 mph. While driving. DRIVING!

I'm going to say this next bit with big letters.

You are not an animal lover if you allow your pet to ride in your lap while you are driving. This is animal abuse and I will call the cops if I see you driving like this because you are a danger to other drivers.

If you really love your pet, you will make sure it is safely restrained in an appropriate carrier (wouldn't you put your child in a car seat?). I don't care HOW docile your precious mutt is, a horn honking, sirens whizzing by, or any other number of factors can startle it and cause it to interfere with your driving. You are in control of a large hunk of metal and flammable fuel hurtling down the road at a high speed. You do NOT need the distraction of an animal getting in your way. If you choose to drive with an animal on your lap, you are a f'ing IDIOT.

A couple of times I have driven with my cat on the passenger seat of my car because she is less freaked out than in her carrier. She curls up on the seat and doesn't move. Then one day I was taking her to a friend's house to stay for a week while we were on vacation. On a busy highway during rush hour I ended up having to slam on my brakes (I was not paying attention to the cat, I just got cut off). Next thing I knew, the cat had flown forward and hit the floorboard hard enough to knock the wind out of her. That's when I realized that any unrestrained animal can get hurt, even if interfering with my driving wasn't an issue. Lily was not hurt, thankfully, but I learned my lesson. From now on she gets put in her carrier (I'd rather put up with the pitiful whining) which is then strapped in with a seat belt. Same principal applies to pickup truck owners with their dogs. Dogs should NEVER ride in the back of a pickup unless confined in a well anchored cage. If you really care about your pet, make sure it is restrained. Please.

I'm not a PETA freak (the People for the Eating of Tasty Animals would probably hate me, I lovingly harass my cat all the time) but I do care about animals and believe that all of God's creatures should be treated humanely.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I Must Be Doing Something Wrong...

...because this blog is not blocked by the Great Firewall of China. Perhaps I should discuss religion and politics more often.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Just Wanted To Share

A pic of my Georgie:


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Prayers Requested

Update: James Bennett Duncan was born August 26th! Mom and son are doing great!

Please keep our curate, Fr. Duncan, and his wife Elizabeth in your prayers. Her water broke this morning and they are currently at the hospital having their first baby, a boy. She was due September 25th, so this little one has decided to come a month early! I will update when I find out more.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Sad Ending

It seems the baby girl whose story appears in the previous post has died. Please continue to keep her family in your prayers as they grieve.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Praise God for Miracles


I first heard this story on KRLD and needed to share with you all. The mother was suffering intrauterine bleeding and there was no detectable pulse of the baby, so at 24 weeks labor was induced and the baby was pronounced dead (stillborn). The baby was placed in cryo storage (like a morgue) and funeral arrangements were made. Five hours later the father asked to see his baby girl, and she was brought out of the cryo. It was then that doctors noticed she was breathing on her own and moving.

Please please PLEASE keep this precious baby girl in your prayers. Her doctors are trying their hardest to keep her alive.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Blogroll updated!

Oh look, I've updated my blogroll! Fixed some outdated links and added a couple of new ones. nerDad is Sean's "daddyblog", and IAMTHEALPHAMALE is a friend of ours. I realize that the title of the blog in my blogroll is not capitalized correctly, however for the sake of readability I am leaving it as is. Happy surfing!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Chores....

Do you ever have tasks to do which you absolutely dread doing? You think about doing them, and your brain says "Nuh-uh. No way. Be lazy. It's not important. It's so much work!"

When you finally complete the task, you then realize it wasn't so bad after all. In fact, you feel better now that you have completed it. Ever do that?

Laundry, dishes, brushing my teeth, cleaning of any sort, these all are tasks I dread. I get myself all worked up over not wanting to do them, then when I finally have clean clothes put away, clean dishes put away, fresh breath, etc., I realize I feel a lot better than I did before.

Weird.

Of course, there are tasks I don't mind so much such as feeding and diapering the baby. Yes, you heard me right. I can't manage to drag myself to sort clothes but I don't mind a stinky diaper. Yup, my priorities are straight. Am I alone in this? Anyone?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Rain and Memories

As I stood in my kitchen this evening and fixed myself dinner, I happened to look up at the window and noticed the raindrops gathering on the glass. I heard the patter of droplets and a vague memory of my childhood hit me like a semi-truck.

I grew up in Puyallup, WA, home of much rain. Few storms but boy does it rain. Many a time I sat inside and stared wistfully out the rain spattered window wishing I could play outside. We used to camp out at Oma's undeveloped lakefront property. I would awaken in the camper or tent to the sound of raindrops softly tapping on the roof. The rest of the day would usually be damp and accompanied by some bit of grumbling, but now I look fondly on those times and realize life will never be that simple again.

Here in Texas if it's raining it's usually storming and I know I'd better get inside. Even now I can hear distant thunder. But oh the days of my childhood! On several of these rainy camping trips my sister and I would jump in the lake and feel the rain on our shoulders and heads. What fun! There would usually be no one out in a boat and the only sound was the sound of water dropping through the trees.

Ah to experience those days again....I only hope that George will have such wonderful memories.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Mommy's Playground

I am exhausted, but ever so happy. I have found my "Mommy Playground" aka IKEA. This is an awesome store and I'm slightly bummed that the closest one is in Frisco which, although close to our current apartment, is a bit of a drive from our new house (whenever that will be. That's a rant for another post which I will probably not make. Suffice it to say that people who put a house on the market should make sure the title is clear BEFORE putting it on the market, not wait until a week before closing before they "discover" a lien).

But enough of my grousing. I am in HAPPY mood! My feet ache, I twisted my ankle at church, and we're all hot and sweaty, but none of that is ruining my good mood. I had no idea IKEA was affordable. Very affordable. And not exactly Walmart cheap either. Ahh, I can sleep well tonight, for I have found my happy place :D

And here's what I got:

So cute! We also got the feeding tray that goes with it.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Happy Anniversary

The above picture was taken at our wedding (of course!). My flower girl was my lovely niece, Katie, and our ring bearer was Sean's little brother, Alex, who will be starting college this fall.

It's been four years today since Sean and I took vows before God to uphold each other in the bonds of holy matrimony. It's interesting to look back on our relationship and see where we were and where it seems we are going.

I wouldn't say we are madly in love like is so often portrayed in movies and books, and I'm kind of glad. I'm not saying being madly in love is a bad thing, but it's just like any kind of high...it tends to not be such a rush after a while. What is more important to me is the kind of love that emerges when the high wears off.

Sean and I are truly partners in this marriage. We look to each other for guidance and support, we agree on the things that matter (such as children), and we offer a comforting shoulder to cry on when the other is heartbroken. We are role-models for our son, and I hope we continue to be throughout his life. I want him to know what a good marriage is like. Neither Sean nor I had good role-models for a good working marriage from our own parents and I don't want to set that example for George.

When we're old and gray (God willing we live healthily that long), I want us to be one of those couples who walk through the park slowly hand in hand and sit quietly across from each other in a restaurant not needing to say a word but knowing how much we are loved.

Of course we have our differences, but that is one of the things that makes our relationship interesting. Knowing how to work with those differences and still manage to put up with each other is what makes our relationshop strong.

Dear Sean,

Thank you for putting up with my crazy antics. Thank you for being a great father. Thank you for loving me the way I am, and thank you for encouraging me to grow. This has been the best four years of my life, and I look forward to the next forty (and more). I love the way you read my mind, knowing what I'm about to say before I say it. God has truly blessed me through you and I appreciate you more than you could know.

I love you lots,

Anna

Friday, July 25, 2008

6 Months Old!

Technically his 6 month birthday was two days ago....but he went in for his 3rd round of shots yesterday. He's growing like a weed....er.....a fast growing cute weed? No.....um.... He's growing like a healthy baby boy. Yeah, that's it!

So I will be nice today and leave you all with a picture:

No, the picture is not upside down. George is. It's his new favorite position. I predict he will want to go bungee jumping by the time he starts kinder. Such a thrill seeker. Little bugger likes to be swung around, too.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Clarification

I feel I need to make a public clarification on my earlier post.

I never once said (on a comment here or on anyone else's page) that I WAS going to include the GAFCON article in the Legate. I don't use subtlety. If you know me, you know that I am usually too blunt and speak my mind. And I say what I mean. And I mean what I say. That would be why I often say my big mouth gets me into trouble. A lot.

Anyway, I stated at a (the? I can't remember) parish meeting a while back that when the Legate becomes a political battleground, I quit. And I mean it. If you must know why I asked permission to include an article I may or may not include, it is because if it were requested (not just suggested) by my "boss" that I include it, I like to avoid legal copyright repercussions.

Just thought I'd throw that out there. Also...I only direct my web wrath at people I really don't like....such as "he who shall not be named"...and I still try to be charitable toward him. Remember what I said at the bottom of my last frustration post (the one to which this is a clarification)...I love my St. Alban's family. Even the ones I don't agree with.

And I apologize for being harsh in that post. I'm not going to change it (people could look it up using Google cache anyway) but will leave it as a reminder to myself to be a bit nicer.

Friday, July 11, 2008

House!

If you happened to be stopped at a red light in Plano last night next to a dark blue SUV with some crazy blonde woman screaming and bouncing while holding a phone to her ear, you witnessed my reaction to the news that our offer contract has been executed. No, I wasn't driving and talking, I was checking my voice mail while stuck at a really long light.

Today Sean and I went to Grand Prairie to meet with the home inspector we hired and go over any problems with the house. Best news: NO MAJOR PROBLEMS!

News we didn't expect but are willing to deal with and it's not that expensive to fix:

The roof has some nail pops under the shingles and the furnace stack isn't sealed properly so there has been minor leakage. Around 300 to fix.
The A/C needs to be serviced (but it's working and fairly well. Just needs some basic maintenance).
The rubber washer inside the thingy that switches the shower on in the guest bath needs to be replaced.

News we expected:
Major cosmetic work needs to be done to the walls and floors.
Kitchen needs new faucet and sink or refinish the sink.
Dishwasher is kaput (but the inspector recommended a store that sells scratch and dent appliances).
Locks need to be rekeyed.
Weatherstripping around exterior doors and sweeper on front door.
Replace faceplates for electric outlets/tighten outlets inside of boxes.

Something I noticed that I hadn't before: The master bath has pretty faucets. Not super fancy or expensive, just chrome with brass highlights, but they look fairly new and are shiny.

Oh my goodness this is going to be a lot of work. Even so, I am SOOOOOO excited!

I will post pictures later. Unfortunately all the house pics are on Sean's computer or his Picasaweb album and he's having a well deserved "boy's night out" to see the 2nd Hellboy movie.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

TOOFERS

Little bitty ones, all white and shiny. Bottom front. Two of them, perfectly even. Please oh please let him take after me when it comes to tooth quality.

They're so cute, those little toofers. Must have hurt like crazy when they popped up.

Ouch, please don't bite my finger!

Oh the drool...and more....and more..... need a cup?

Oh sweet child, too bad you won't hold still for a picture, I'd love to show them toofers off.

Love you, George.

Aaargh.

I have always found it rude when someone gossips "behind someone's back." Whether it be a friend or enemy. I consider myself to be a fairly decent person, and I would hope that others see me the same way. I've learned to stay out of church politics for the most part although those who know me well know where I stand. My big mouth has gotten me into trouble before and I don't want to repeat mistakes.

When I took the position of newsletter editor for St. Alban's, my only thought was "Awesome! I get to practice my mad design skillz and play with InDesign!" Had I known my position would be part of the battle between liberal and conservative, I might have thought twice before accepting.

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love this job. It gives me something to do besides being a mommy, I practice my design skills (however un-mad they may be), and I get to be one of the first to know of church events which is really nice because I'm one of those people who is usually the last person to find things out.

That being said, if you are a parishioner of St. Alban's (conservative or liberal, I don't care) please understand a few things:

1. I have a name, I am not "our newsletter editor." My name is Anna. If you're going to make a complaint on an egroup about me or the work I do, please use my name. If you're going to send me regular submissions, please use my name. Trust me, I'm a lot friendlier when someone takes the time to show they respect me by using my name.

2. The newsletter is not your personal political battleground. It will NOT become one...or I quit. I have made that statement before and I'll make it again.

3. The purpose of the Legate is to inform parishioners of parish news. The Diocesan newsletter's purpose is to inform of diocesan news. TEC's many news outlets exist to inform of national church news. I do not make a habit of putting in worldwide news articles because I have faith that parishioners are intelligent enough to seek out information using the appropriate outlets.

4. I have read a complaint that the recent issue is a bit lacking in church events and only has the "same old announcements." Guess what, people...it's SUMMER! People are on vacation. Vacation Bible School is over. There are no Christian Education events going on in the summer because there's hardly anyone here for a couple of months. Listen to the prayers for those traveling...the list goes on for a while. Trust me, when school starts up again in the fall, people start returning to work, and parishioners come home from vacation, the Legate will be so much bursting with news that I will be hard pressed to fit it all in. When I took over last September, it didn't occur to me that I could expand the size to accommodate all the info. I tried to cram it all in a 16 page size with itsy bitsy print when I should have expanded it to 24 pages. I learned my lesson.

I don't know how many people view this blog, but if you are a parishioner at St. Alban's, please know that I love you all. I am grateful to be the newsletter editor and very much enjoy working on it and with everyone who sends in submissions. Please just remember that I'm a human being like you. Yes, there is someone real sitting at her desk with her feet propped up typing on the wireless keyboard in her lap like the lazy bum she is and wondering if she can con a certain husband of hers into getting her something to munch on....all the while hoping the baby doesn't wake up again tonight.

God bless.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The House Hunt Continues

We have made an offer on a 4 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath house in Grand Prairie. The offer was made on Friday morning so we hope to hear back today or tomorrow. This house is huge but is going to need a lot of cosmetic work. It looks like it has a good structure (we will have an inspection) but the carpet is going to have to be replaced throughout the entire house (we're going to put in laminate flooring). It is also going to have to be painted throughout. Please keep us in your prayers as we go through the process of buying our first home!

If our offer is accepted, expect pictures to be posted!

Strange Dreams - Bad Piskies!

Have you ever had a dream where you could swear it was real...until you wake up? Last night was one of those...

I was at St. Alban's for the Sunday Eucharist. Fr. M was celebrating and Fr. K assisting. Everything was going fine, I sang in the choir while Sean sat in the congregation with George. Then comes Communion and that's when everything went horribly wrong. First let me explain that George's godmother Allison was next to me at the rail but instead of the black cassock and white surplice of the choir she was wearing a white alb, bright purple chasuble and biretta. It so happened that this particular Sunday was a feast day for something special although I don't remember hearing what exactly it was. Instead of the normal consecrated wafer, each communicant was given a spoonful of pistachio ice cream. After the blessed ice cream, I was about to be offered the wine (can you imagine the taste combination?) when all of a sudden the communicants at the rail were asked to seat themselves in the front pew for a few minutes.

Warning bells were going off in my mind as I took my seat and wondered why Communion was being interrupted. Fr. K mumbled something about an apology that the following skit wasn't done before the sermon because he forgot but it's being done now.

The church darkens and stage lights (we have stage lights?) come on as Allison and three other young ladies come out all wearing different types of vestments in garish colors. They performed a skit that parodied the Sex and the City movie trailer, then the regular lights came back on and Communion resumed. Confused, I sipped the wine from the chalice before I heard a rather annoying alarm.

I opened my eyes, put on my glasses, and watched as Sean got up and turned the alarm clock off at 6am. Now I have a craving for pistachio ice cream.

To clarify, neither Fr. K or Fr. M would EVER let something like that happen in real life. Nor is there any feast day that tradition requires pistachio ice cream be served. And I can't imagine Allison taking part in something so....ugh.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Magic Baby Go Sleepy-Bye

And because of this, I get a chance to post! BWA HA HA!!!

So far, our house hunt is going well. We found a great 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath, 2 story home in Grand Prairie within our price range and made an offer. Because it is a foreclosure, it might be a few weeks before the bank makes a decision on whether to accept our offer. That said, for now we are playing a waiting game.

I have started the Region 10 Teacher Preparation and Certification Program, and am loving every bit of it. The program involves a lot of intense studying but is loads of fun. My favorite part is the classes where a lot of group activity is involved.

Well, I'm off to clean the bathroom....

Monday, April 21, 2008

The House Hunt (and other things)

I've been neglecting my posting duties as of late, but at least I have a good reason....it's all George's fault! He's been keeping me busy.

Sean and I have decided it is in both our and George's best interests to buy a house. With the housing market the way it is, now is a good time to buy (if one can afford it, that is). The selection of houses for sale right now is enormous, and sellers keep dropping their prices. With that in mind, we went house hunting Saturday. We found one that we both particularly like and though we're still going to look at other houses with our realtor, we both think we'll seriously consider making an offer on it.

George is laughing now, he's full of smiles. We think he's going to be a roller-coaster loving, daredevil, risk-taker. He gets really excited when we 'airplane' him, thinks it's just the bees knees. On the not-so-great side of things, he's been waking up in the middle of the night the past couple nights. I wonder why?

Sean's and my allergies are going nuts right now, we're going through Kleenex like there's no tomorrow. Crazy.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Easter! Baptism Ahoy!

Alleluia! Christ is Risen!
The Lord is Risen, indeed! Alleluia!

I love Easter, it's my favorite holy day of the church year. This year, Easter holds an even more special place in my heart as George was baptized on Easter Vigil.

My sweet, adorable baby boy is a new Christian.* Praise be to God!

Fr. Matkin is his godfather, Allison (last name omitted for privacy) is his godmother.

*I must explain--a parishioner came up to me on Sunday and said "Oh, George is a new Episcopalian, isn't he!" I was too exhausted from the activities of the weekend to do more than grunt in response, but feel I must clarify here....my son's baptism marks him as a CHRISTIAN. There is NOTHING in the baptismal vows that pledges him to TEC. Big. Difference.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Winnie the Poo....without an H

I have found it necessary to make a nice, embarrassing post about George that he might read in the future. And of all things, it concerns poop.

He seems to be greatly amused by letting loose as SOON as I get his diaper off. I am running out of dirty clothes to wash the changing pad cover with. After he commits this foul deed, he looks up at me and has the audacity to GIGGLE. Which of course makes me giggle....and then he knows his involuntary action has elicited a positive response.

Why is it that the things they do (doo-doo?) that is unacceptable behavior as they grow older is just so darn cute or funny when they're so little? A sleep-deprived, half insane mother is of COURSE going to find it hilarious when the little squirt (pun intended) gets a goofy grin because he 'got Mommy'.

I can see it going through his head...

Okay, she's undoing the velcro tabs....okay, she's exposed my rear to the air..but the old diaper is still under me. Not yet....there, she's slipped it out! Ah, nekkid butt to the wind....here she comes with the wipe....ready.....aim....FIRE!!!! Haha! There's the look of disgust on her face....now for me to be cute....*grin*....wait for it...wait for it....HAH! I made her laugh too!

And the cycle continues.....

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What's Been Going On

While there hasn't been a lot of news to relate, I do have a couple of items to share.

First, I am in the application process for Region 10 Teacher Preperation Certification. While it is going smoothly for the most part, I have gotten....stuck, shall we say...on a couple of items. The first of which is that the application process requires three professional references, which I seem to be having a bit of trouble fulfilling as I have not had a lot of work experience and am not sure if my former boss is even still working for the company. I also need my ACT scores and am having trouble accessing them (to request them online I need to know the month and year I took the darned test. Do you remember when you took your college entrance exam?). Please keep me in your prayers that I may be able to obtain these items and complete the application and certification process.

Also, I just need to get off my chest that if I don't get out of this apartment and get some real adult conversation soon, I'mma go nuts. As much as I love my sweet baby George, he doesn't really respond by much other than cooing and giggles. It's cute, but I am going stir crazy.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Gratuitous Baby in Bath Shot

Because I just can't help myself.

First bath:


Most recent bath (in the new tub that his Grandma and Oma bought him):

He seems to think it's amusing to arch his back in the new tub and wiggle his butt around. Squirming wet babies are SLIPPERY!

Dreams


Last Saturday, we went to go visit Mom and Oma. Both of them got to hold George and marvel at the adorableness of a little baby, and the first boy born in his generation (on another note, found out my cousin who is pregnant with twins is expecting a boy and a girl). As he lay sleeping in my mother's arms, she wondered aloud what babies dream of.

They haven't had much experience in the outside world, so it's not like they dream of the same things we adults do. Perhaps they dream of the comfort of Mommy and Daddy's arms, or of the womb? Maybe they dream of a life before conception, fleeting memories of life in their Creator's arms?


And do they have nightmares? More than once, George has woken up from a sound sleep screaming as if he's in pain. Sean or I rush to his bassinet and pick him up and are immediately greeted by a smile and soft gurgling when we touch his back. It's as if he is frightened but immediately calmed by the touch of his loving parents.


So what do babies dream of?

This last picture is a response to Mom's request to see one of him smiling. Darn, those smiles are hard to come by with the camera. They disappear so quickly! It's as if he knows...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

So Tired, Baby Ate My Brain

As anyone who has had the joy of caring for a newborn baby knows, sleep is a luxury I just can't have. George is a bit colicky (although I hear he's not as bad as some) and won't allow anyone to set him down for a couple of hours in the evening.

Here's how my weekend went:

We get into the garage Saturday morning and notice the smell of slightly rotting meat. Apparently on Tuesday when we went grocery shopping, someone (not me) forgot a single bag of groceries in the car. The bag with 2 lbs of ground beef and 4 pork chops. On Wednesday when I went in for my 4 week postpartum checkup, I took the stroller out of the back of the car to take the baby with me into the dr.'s office and didn't notice the Walmart bag of meat. I never saw it.

So our morning begins with Sean making a mad dash for the dumpster with a Walmart bag of foul-smelling meat (at least we were blessed with very cool weather last week and the car is in the garage which stays cool). Then I send him upstairs for a bottle of Febreze which I then spray over almost every fabric surface of the car (except where we sat). We stop at a gas station and I run in to purchase two cherry scented hanging things and a bottle of Smoke-Out.

So begins our drive to visit Mom and Oma. We arrive and my mother gets to meet her grandson for the first time. All is well. We go home then leave the car overnight in the locked garage with the windows down. Phew.

This morning, I get up, feed the baby, burp the baby, then attempt a diaper change. George is having none of this and decides to pee once I get the diaper off. Good thing I laid a wet wipe over the fountain source. Then he spits up...and not just a spit up, but the curdled kind that drips into his ear and pools under his head. And it smells foul. Ahh, my weekend of rotting meat and sour milk. We're late for church. I manage to clean up most of the spit-up. He pees again, this time into the half installed new diaper.

Eventually we get out the door and I realize my housekeys are missing. Too late, I'll find them later...off to church!

Church is fairly uneventful (although when the priest blesses George at the communion rail he chose that moment to stick out his tongue. I almost fell over laughing but managed to hold it in.) and we make it home.

Then begins the search for the keys. I called Mom to find out if I lost them there. I visit the apartment office hoping some kind soul found them in the parking lot and turned them in. I begin a cleaning spree of the apartment (in between feedings that is) hoping they'll turn up. I stress myself out so bad that Sean orders me to take a relaxing bath (it helped...to relax me, not to find my keys!).

Then I have a hunch as evening approaches. I check the pockets of a coat I swear I haven't worn in a couple of weeks (the last time I remembered using the keys was Thursday afternoon). There they are. I grudgingly admitted my brain lapse to Sean hoping he won't laugh. Too late.

I had planned on vacuuming and washing the car today...oh well. Maybe next weekend?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Georgie Porgie

Yay! I finally got the USB cable from Sean so I could upload baby pictures from the camera to show the world.

George


Here is my little precious :D

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Lent (some rambling thoughts)

Didn't get a chance to return our palms to St. Alban's to be burnt for Ash Wednesday due to the pregnancy...neither did we get a chance to go to an Ash Wednesday service at either St. Alban's or the REC parish we've been attending during the pregnancy because George is still a bit too young to be exposed to crowds since it's cold and flu season.

I'm a bit disappointed that Lent has begun like this for our family, but know that I need to accept that things have changed with the arrival of the adorable little pooper currently sitting in his swing and dozing off.

At least I've been able to make a Lenten rule for myself. I actually gave this one a lot of thought compared to previous years. First of all, I can't exactly fast since I'm nursing. Must have plenty of nutrition for us both, so there's no way I can cut out a meal. So I began thinking of what I gave up during my pregnancy...alcohol? Well, I can't drink a whole lot while nursing anyway and I haven't had a drop to drink in over 9 months so it's not like giving it up would be a hardship. I already gave up caffeine during the pregnancy...wait.

I have limited my caffeine intake greatly (and have weaned myself from the caffeine addiction in the process) in the last few months...but I'm still guzzling Diet Dr. Peppers like there's no tomorrow. What if I cut out sodas during Lent? It's healthier for me and the baby, and because the price of corn is going up (which shouldn't affect diet drinks but does anyway :P ) we save money on not buying a 12 pack of Diet Dr. Pepper a week. That's about $3 a week saved.

That's money that can be added to the collection plate on Sunday every week.

Now I don't feel quite so bad about the rocky start to Lent this year...

Monday, February 4, 2008

Having a Baby Changes Everything

And I don't mean what you think I mean. Obviously there's the change in sleep schedule for Sean and me, and being completely responsible for a tiny creature completely dependent on me, but what I want to describe here is something more.

My heart now does something funny when I hear my son make any noise. I am delighted when he makes eye contact with me. I never quite realized how this precious little human being could completely change me, and I doubt I can put it into words, but I'll try.

George has strengthened my relationship with Sean. I'm not sure exactly how, but he has brought us closer together. Perhaps it is the knowledge that this little guy is the loving result of marital unity. In addition to this facet of our relationship we have discovered, we have also found out some interesting things about each other not previously known, such as....Sean is an excellent cook!

I like to bake (my chocolate chip cookies are the bestest, according to my toughest critics ^_^ ), but I'm not the world's best cook. Sure, I can throw together a pre-made frozen dinner or whip up a meatloaf, but it's just not enjoyable for me. Not only has Sean discovered he likes to cook, but he's very good at it! We've been eating real meals for the first time in years thanks to his mad cooking skillz.

I've discovered that I'm not so bad at this mothering thing. I have never been very confidant in my child-care abilities around other people's children, and have a tendency to pass the kid off to someone else after a few moments. Sean has always handled children much better than I have, so I was surprised to discover I hate putting my son down. I feel slightly guilty when I'm not holding him 24/7. I may not like it when he cries during diaper changes, but I have an overwhelming love for this beautiful baby boy. I can't fathom how some parents can intentionally hurt their children, especially now when I have one of my own.

I have also discovered that I have less anger (although I do get a bit frustrated with those screaming diaper changes...but am discovering ways to lessen the angst...such as a binkie and VERY soft wipes) now that I'm someone's mommy. Aside from the "Baby Blues" I've been dealing with, I'm finding myself with more patience. I'm also learning to release control of certain aspects of my life and have found it oddly relaxing. Other people have been cleaning my kitchen and folding my laundry and doing it a bit differently than me...but I am amazed that I don't mind any more. Guess I am getting my priorities straightened out now....

Yes, having a baby really changes everything.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Daddy

I think the picture speaks for itself...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

George Preston Alexander Sparkman

He's finally arrived! My little George is here, currently laying on his Grandma's tummy while I catch a few minutes for myself. I don't have pictures available yet, can't get to my computer, but please visit Sean's blog (Sanctus Dialogus, linked on the right) to view pics he took at the hospital.

George weighed 8 lbs, 6 oz at birth (although he's lost a little bit of birth weight, he should gain it back soon), and was 20 inches long. He's got a full head of golden blond hair, and so far his eyes are a dark blue. He has the most beautiful cry I've ever heard...he doesn't scream like other babies, it's a much sweeter sound....or perhaps that's just me who thinks so.

The cat is not too sure still about this new addition, I think she's a bit jealous.

Breastfeeding is going GREAT! I never knew it could be such a wonderful experience, and the nurses at the hospital and the pediatrician are amazed at how well George latches on. My milk came in yesterday so he's been getting his fill. I'm starting to think this child has a bottomless well for a stomach....

Okay, I'm off to take a much needed shower while I still can.

Monday, January 21, 2008

I'm Shocked (Should I Be?)

I was reading a post on another blog about a Planned Parenthood employee who allegedly failed to report the possible statutory rape of a 12 year old girl (I use "allegedly" and "possible" because it is not really clear what exactly happened, or at least to me). Being the curious little snot I am, I decided to read the comment section for the post. This blogger has one particular person who comments on just about every post she makes and for anonymity I'll use a different letter than the one she signs with...how about "R".

R is very vocal about her support of abortion rights. She has expressed many times in the past that she would abort her child if she became pregnant again. In the comments to the post mentioned above, R explains over and over again that her responsibilities as a parent end when it comes to her children having sex. Another commenter made a remark about how becoming a parent is the best cure for narcissism. R replied that she agreed, parenting is not about YOU (meaning self).

Wait...back up a second. Abortion is a selfish, narcissistic act. This woman has proclaimed before that she would have an abortion in a heartbeat because she didn't want another kid...and then in the same breath she agrees that parenting isn't about her self? I'm still confused. Shocked. Or maybe I shouldn't be.

This kind of attitude reminds me of the many liberal-minded people who want to abolish the death penalty because life is precious...but are all too willing to advocate the murder of 40,000,000 unborn children. Wait, where is this "tolerance" they speak of? What about the love and hugs and peace that's so often spouted from their lips?

Which brings me to another thought...it occurred to me today that my baby boy is due to be born on the 35th anniversary of the annual March for Life (held on the anniversary of the historic Roe vs. Wade decision). What a coincidence! Of course, I very much doubt he is going to make his appearance to the world tomorrow, I'm not really showing signs of going into labor (for which Sean is relieved as today is his birthday!) for a few more days at least...I'm more likely to be induced later this week. But still, I find it a wonderful chance timing that my due date is on such a momentous day.

Please, keep the marchers in your prayers today and tomorrow, and pray for all of the innocents who have never had a chance for life and who never will. I'm certain God has a special place in heaven for those beautiful children. Please also pray for the mothers who are making the "choice" to kill their unborn children as well as the mothers who in parts of the world are forced to do so (such as occurs in China).

Friday, January 18, 2008

I Cried Too

Perhaps I shouldn't read heart-touching stories like this post at Wheelie Catholic while pregnant, I just about started bawling.

"Stay safe," I said, seeing the snow falling beyond the door he held open.

He turned and looked at me. "I will. Don't worry about me." Then he paused. "Why are you so nice to me?"

This completely floored me. I suppose I am nice to him even though I think of him as the Angry Young Guy. I shrugged. "Because you remind me of me at your age," I replied.

I believe God gives us many chances to be examples of His love to others, and I believe Ruth took that chance and flew with it. You never know how your words and actions will affect another person. A simple wish for someone else's well-being could turn into a great friendship or bring someone closer to Christ. It seems the "Angry Young Guy" did take something away from the encounter Ruth described, and I pray that he uses the experience to center his outlook on hope rather than despair.

Thanks, Ruth.

Unfortunately, Ruth has had to disable comments on her blog due to spam.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Prayer Request

I just found out that the elderly mother of our parish secretary suffered a series of serious heart attacks yesterday morning, a defibrillator was necessary to start her heart beating twice. She's currently in the hospital as far as I know and is in need of prayer.

Please keep this family in your prayers, this is a very difficult situation. Also keep the parish office staff in your prayers as well, our secretary's absence is causing all sorts of havoc during this very busy time of year (the annual parish meeting is in a week and a half, for example).

Kyrie Eleison
Christe Eleison
Kyrie Eleison

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

No Baby Yet

Le sigh. Apparently everything is fine, got plenty of fluid surrounding that thar baby, and he's just happy right where he is. He's making me out to be a liar...after four days of diminished movement, he has spent most of today doing all he can to bruise my insides. Joy. I mean, I'm happy he's doing just fine, I just want my baby....now.

So I'll be going in next week for my weekly checkup and if the baby hasn't made his entrance by then, Dr. H will induce that week. Apparently they don't let women go much more than a week past their due dates any more.

But I have an estimated weight and a surprise! Baby George is at this point 6 lbs and 13 oz based on the measurements from the ultrasound. Bwa ha ha...I'm going to have a normal sized baby...eat that Sparkman curse!

The surprise? Should I tell you? Should I?












He's got hair. The ultrasound showed a white ring around the outside of his head and the ultrasound tech said that's hair. Now I just wonder what color it is...

Rawr

Okay, one rant for today (I've been pretty good about not ranting too much lately, haven't I?).

When a telemarketer calls, and I politely say "I'm not interested, can you please take my phone number off of your calling list?", it is RUDE to hang up on me before I finish my statement. How on earth do these people think anyone is going to buy their product/spam/con game when they are so rude? I told one woman (months ago) that I wasn't interested in what she was selling, she kept pushing. Then I interrupted her and said with a sickly sweet Texas accent "What part of 'I'm not interested' do you not understand?" to which she replied with "My, we're getting a bit testy today, aren't we?" and CONTINUED to try to sell me her product. I won't post what I said in response to that as it was very un-Christian and I am ashamed of having given in to the temptation of anger, but suffice it to say I hung up on HER after giving her a piece of my mind. What I'd like to know is how she thought I'd buy her product after she became downright nasty to me?

I would like to take a moment and say that I had never done that before, and I don't ever intend on doing it again. Two wrongs don't make a right and I had no reason to scream into the phone at her like I did. I will admit I was going through one of those random pregnancy-induced mood swings at the time, but that's still not a good excuse for my actions. If I ever talked to the woman again (I doubt that would happen), I would apologize for my behavior.

Lately though, I've been getting calls about some "vacation package" that my phone number has "won". And the caller id shows "out of area". Lovely.

Looks like I've got to visit the "do not call" registry for BOTH of my phone numbers. Again.

Baby Update!

Yesterday was my weekly OB appointment. So far everything is going well, but Dr. H wants me to have an ultrasound this afternoon for a couple of reasons.

Although the baby's not due until next Tuesday, Dr. H is concerned that baby is ready to come now but I'm not progressing as fast as he would like. He wants to check the volume of amniotic fluid to decide if he should induce labor. Part of his reasoning is that the baby's movement has decreased as though he is letting us know he's ready to meet us, but my body is not responding in kind.

Dr. H also wants to verify the size, weight, and positioning of the baby. He's assuming George will be about 7 lbs or so (not nearly as big as the 9+ lbs the Sparkman family is known for) and an average size, but he wants to verify this as much as possible with the ultrasound.

I don't think I'll mind being induced. If the baby's ready to come out, then why do I need to (I dislike using this word but it seems to apply here) suffer past my due date? At least Dr. H doesn't think I'm going to need a C-section unless the baby's not getting into the right position, but based on what we've both observed, he's in place. His little foot keeps poking in my rib, sometimes I can see the outline of it, and his little knees poke out next to my belly button. Or maybe that's his little butt. So I'm pretty sure his head is down where it needs to be.

Little Georgie...your mommy and daddy want to see you... We've got your nursery set up, I've been playing with your toys (to make sure they work...really, I swear!), and your grandparents have been begging for you to make your entrance! Please bless us with your presence soon, I don't know how much more anticipation we can take. We love you, hurry up ;)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Updates

I've updated my link lists over on the right, hopefully making it a bit easier for readers to view some of the websites that inspire me or make for what I consider interesting reading. I don't just add links to the list willy-nilly, but prefer instead to put serious thought into it. There are a few other sites I visit daily (such as my daily comic addictions) that are not included in this list, but I have my reasons for not linking to them.

On a sadder note, Cowboys lost today...no Supe um...no "big end of season game that usually has the coolest commercials" for my favorite team.. I was about to cry at the end of the game...so sad.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Masseuse

It turns out I don't need to go to a spa to get a good massage...I have my own personal masseuse right here and her name is Lily. She felt it was necessary to stand (all 14 lbs of her) on my thigh and kneed the muscle. Oddly enough, it felt kinda nice. She does it to my arm and hip, too. Sometimes my calf.

This is great, I can't think of any spa where it's okay to cuddle one's masseuse.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

WFMW: Lotion

I like the idea of posting "Works For Me Wednesday" products/ideas, so here's my first attempt.


Of course, my bottle is a couple of years old and doesn't look like this, but Suave's Skin Therapy lotion with "aloe & botanicals" has become my new best friend. I have gotten horrible stretch marks with this pregnancy, so much that Sean remarked one day it looked like flames going up my belly and over my belly button. I don't really care that much about how it looks, I don't think I ever plan on wearing a two-piece bathing suit again. My problem is that my belly itches like CRAZY!

My belly skin is getting very dried out, especially after a shower (go figure). I tried the Palmer's stuff, I tried the one with the pregnant bee on the label, I've tried my yummy smelling Bath and Body Works stuff....but the only lotion that relieves the itching, pain, and is completely soothing and relaxing is this stuff. It's also the least expensive lotion I've ever bought and it smells good. It's not greasy either.

YAY for something that makes me feel better at this point in the pregnancy!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Things I Appreciate About My Husband

Oh, I am in such a "I love my hubby" mood right now. I felt a need to tell the world about the wonderful, supportive husband I have. During the first few months of my pregnancy, I don't think he quite realized how hard being pregnant is for me. Part of it might have stemmed from the lack of projectile vomiting (morning sickness is almost exactly like the nausea I get from migraines, so I'm used to dealing with it), or that for the first trimester I didn't "look" pregnant. Part of it might even be that it hadn't really hit him that he's going to be a father.

He has completely changed in the last couple of months, so without further ado:

1. He hates to watch me walk waddle because he says it looks so painful. I don't know why this strikes me as sweet, but it does. Perhaps because he doesn't want me to be in pain?

2. He has finally figured out that it's much easier to push me up to get into my car then pull me out of his.

3. He has started to learn how to gently rub his hand over my back to comfort me and bring me relief. Add to that he finally figured out that sticking his thumbs into my spine hurts like hell.

4. He has started to help putting together the baby furniture and was actually excited to go to Target to spend gift cards on baby stuff.

5. He's started to stand up for me when it comes to certain Pregnancy Police.

6. He actually went to the grocery store by himself with me only asking him ONCE and didn't try to fight it.

7. He got me self-massaging slippers for Christmas since he's not very good at giving foot rubs.

8. He's stopped complaining about "Fred", my giant body pillow, taking up space in the bed.

9. He's started doing more household chores such as cleaning up dishes and picking up around the apartment without expecting me to pull my weight, especially since said weight is hard to pull around right now.

10. He's so excited to be a daddy, I mention "baby" and his eyes just light up. He's always talking to my belly and petting it. Sometimes I wonder if he is more anxious to see the baby than I am.

I have been trying to make an effort to let him know how much I appreciate him and what he does, and I know that makes him feel good. It has finally occurred to me that husbands need encouragement, too. For some couples, having a baby puts a strain on their marriage, for others it can help strengthen the marriage. I think Sean and I are in the latter group, but I must say it sure does seem like a lot of work. I hope I can stop having to remind myself to be nice and appreciative of him and it will become a natural habit someday. Pregnancy is not an excuse for not showing my husband how much I love him, it is an incentive to remember to show him my appreciation.

Sean,
I love you. You do so much for me and all I do sometimes is grumble. Thank you for caring for me when I'm sick or just feeling icky. Thank you for helping me take a bath. Thank you for making me take a break once in a while. I don't even mind the "beached whale" or "fat pregnant woman" jokes since I know you make them out of love. I know you're as eager as I am to see your son, and I know you'll make a great daddy. Here's to many happy memories to be made, cheers!

Love,
Anna

Driving

In contrast to one of my recent posts ranting about people who think I shouldn't drive while pregnant...I've made the decision to stop driving by myself until after the baby's born, when my Dr. says it's okay to drive again (driving for the first couple of weeks after delivery is generally not recommended because of the stress put on the body of needing to move one's body and react while driving as opposed to riding as a passenger). If I absolutely have to drive somewhere, I'd prefer to have a passenger (like Sean), but I'm content now to stop driving even with passengers. I don't want to go to the store during the next couple of weeks and find myself stranded going into labor or a similar situation.

This decision has absolutely NOTHING to do with the Pregnancy Police who think I shouldn't be "allowed" to drive while preggers. It has most everything to do with me feeling very uncomfortable in the car right now. I don't even want to really go anywhere as a passenger either, because it is getting so hard to get in and out of a vehicle, even my own SUV. Add to that the horrible back pain I've been having does not make for a comfortable ride.

The great thing that has come out of this, though, is that Sean has finally stopped acting like I'm just being a whiny hypochondriac. He will take me to the grocery store (last time we went together, I just stayed in the car while he picked up a few groceries) and carry groceries in without complaining. He's even gotten a bit upset when I try to do too much. He'll ask me over instant messenger what I've gotten done for the day, and I'll say "Well, I emptied and loaded the dishwasher, but my back hurts now" to which he responds "rest then, take a break!" More on him later.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

And the Reply

Well, this is not the reply to the original complaint I made. Their first reply was a typical "We're sorry for your inconvenience but you should have done [blah]" form letter. I wrote a rather testy reply back to them...not rude, just expressing my dissatisfaction with lots of words and exclamation points and several capitalizations one does not find in a well-written thesis paper. I made it clear that I didn't appreciate the implication that I was at fault for their incompetence and received the following:

Thank you for contacting FedEx. We apologize for the problems you experienced with us.

Our primary goal is to handle each package in a professional and business-like manner. We assure you that your experience with this shipment was not typical, nor does it reflect the high standard of service we want to provide.

We greatly appreciate that you have taken the time to write and share your concerns. This allows us a valuable opportunity to examine and correct possible deficiencies that cause customer dissatisfaction.

We deeply regret that the service you received has failed to meet your expectations of excellence. FedEx is genuinely concerned with providing the highest quality service possible.

We hope you will continue to allow us the opportunity to handle your global shipping needs. We look forward to serving you more satisfactorily.

So while this reply also sounds like a form letter, it at least is more specific to my problem. I appreciate the quick response and acceptance of responsibility implied in this email. Now this is the type of reply that makes me want to be a customer. This is customer service. GO CUSTOMER SERVICE!!!!

FedEx

Here is a letter of complaint I made to FedEx customer support today:

I am thoroughly disgusted with the performance of the driver who delivered this package today. I received a phone call this afternoon from my husband (who has been tracking this package since it was shipped) who informed me that when he checked the website, the package had been delivered to our apartment office this afternoon.

I have been in my living room ALL day (I am 9 months pregnant, trust me when I say I'm not going anywhere) and there was absolutely NO attempt made to deliver the package to my door. I can easily hear people coming up the stairs outside and would have heard someone coming to the door. There was no knock on the door, nor did the doorbell ring. Therefore I can only assume your driver was too lazy to bother delivering the package properly.

I did notice a FedEx doorhanging style note laying on the mat of my downstairs neighbor and it is possible the driver was too lazy to bother reading the apartment number on the door to make a delivery to the correct address (which is completely unacceptable) or an attempt was made to deliver a package addressed to my neighbor (which is perfectly acceptable and would mean I'm just being paranoid).

No matter the situation, I had to make a completely unnecessary trip to our apartment office in my very very VERY pregnant condition, which I would not have had to make if your driver had been doing his job.

Had I not been home and an attempt was actually made to deliver the package to my door, I would not mind having to go to the apartment office to pick up my package but that is not the situation I have experienced.

I expect that appropriate action will be taken concerning this driver that this situation will NOT occur again. I have long expressed the opinion that FedEx is superior to UPS based on past experiences and have preferred the customer service, services and affordable prices of FedEx over any other shipping company. I sincerely hope this was an isolated incident and will not be repeated. Based on your company's response to this situation, I hope to continue to use your services for my shipping needs in the future.

I will appreciate a response letting me know if this situation is being remedied.

Think I'll get a response?

Lets Clear Out the Gene Pool

People amaze me. I don't know why I'm still shocked when I read stuff like this, but people amaze me. So lately I've been reading customer reviews for various baby products, mostly furniture or gear. One particular item is the bassinet we received as a shower gift. Now keep in mind that I really like this bassinet so far because of its style and features although the baby still hasn't come yet.

So I decided to check out the reviews for it and was amazed at the amount of "new parents" who reviewed that the mattress felt too thin to them so they added a "nice thick blanket" so their precious child would be "comfortable". Okay, so as an adult I don't think I could stand to sleep on such a thin mattress, that's why I have a nice pillow-top on mine. But then I am also old enough that I don't accidentally suffocate myself by pressing my face against the sheet. An infant (especially a newborn that cannot hold its head up) has not developed the reflexes necessary to keep themselves from suffocating when wrestling with a large thick blanket. Not to mention children have grown up perfectly fine for generations without having super padding under their precious bottoms.

Oy. I think these are the same people that warning labels are intended for. I don't mean warning labels that display un-obvious dangers, but the ones that anybody with a shred of sense would understand. Such as "Poptarts are hot when removed from the toaster" or "do not immerse hairdryer in water". No, really? "Do not spray bleach in eyes".

Then there's the people who either can't or refuse to read assembly instructions. I was visiting a couple of friends recently who had a baby not too long ago. In their living room was a Graco Pack n Play. I have since discovered that these are the coolest contraptions for new parents. It is basically one piece and pretty much snaps into position but can easily be broken down and put in a travel case to, say....visit grandparents. I have a feeling the one we got the other day will see quite a bit of use. Sean and I made sure we followed all of the instructions when putting it together (Sean apparently didn't think he needed to follow the instructions, and was trying to figure out why it wasn't going together correctly, but then he's an engineer. They never think they need to read the instructions.), and are quite happy with how it works.

Then I realized the one that these friends we visited had assembled theirs incorrectly (when the sides snap into place, THEN you have to push down on the middle of the bottom until it's flat and snaps into place), they hadn't pushed the bottom all the way down. This could cause the entire structure to collapse and seriously injure their baby. Either they didn't bother reading the assembly instructions or were too lazy to put it together correctly (or both). These people are also the type who think they know absolutely everything there is to know about pregnancy and parenting and insist that we should do what they do.

I don't think so. I'll stick with reading manufacturer instructions for assembling my baby's furniture and checking with my OB and pediatrician for pregnancy and baby health advice.

Personally I think warning labels should be done away with. That way, the ignorant will die out and we can clear out the gene pool. No, I'm not seriously wishing the death of anyone to occur, it would occur naturally. Rawr. ;)

There Is One Person...

That I don't mind asking me to lock the door when he leaves, I realized today. And that would be Sean. But then if I had a problem with him telling me to lock the door, our marriage would be headed for trouble in my opinion. Why is it that other people telling us to lock our door irritates me and Sean telling me to lock the door when he leaves doesn't? Well, when he leaves for work and his arms are full or he's so bundled up (it is currently 32 F here...brrrr) he can't get to his house keys and wants to get to his car as quickly as possible, he's not going to be able to easily lock the door.

So as opposed to a need to control (as I've come to the conclusion is the reason certain other people "remind" us to lock the door), Sean is actually concerned about my safety and is unable to lock the door himself. Of course, when he asks me to lock the door, he actually says "Honey, can you lock the door after me please?" rather than certain other people who say "Lock the door, okay?" Usually Sean doesn't ask me to lock the door when he leaves for work because he does it himself (often because I'm still asleep), so for him to ask me once in a while because he can't do it himself is not a big deal.

Part of it might also have to do with the fact that I have a lot more respect for Sean than I do the people who think it's their duty to tell us to lock the door. Oh well.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Joys of OB appointments (and a rant)

So I went in today for my 38 week checkup, and since I didn't go in last week due to the Christmas holiday (Holy Day), I had my...um....lemme look it up...GBS culture done and my first cervical exam. Everything is looking well, he said my cervix is soft but neither dilated nor effaced yet so I don't really have to worry about the baby popping out this week, got another appointment next Tuesday. So other than feeling a bit violated from being poked and prodded, I'm doing great!

Now for my rant.

I am sick and tired of people telling me I shouldn't drive because I'm pregnant, or worse, asking Sean (while he's sitting next to me) why he allows me to drive while I'm pregnant...as if I'm not there. When I'm in my car. My car.

The first person to ask why I was driving while pregnant was worried that the airbag would hit my belly in case of an accident. To this person I pointed out that for the airbag to hit my belly I would either have to be sitting on a stack of phonebooks or the airbag would have to be completely defective to be aimed that low. Having been in a wreck in my previous SUV, I now know exactly where the airbag is aimed. Like any vehicle that follows automobile manufacturing standards, the airbags in a Mitsubishi Montero Sport are aimed at the face and chest, designed to lessen impact and keep the passenger/driver from being thrown through the windshield or into the dash.

The latest person (who asked Sean when I put the car in gear and was about to drive away) insisted that the steering wheel might hit my belly if I were in an accident. Yes, this person was my father-in-law, who apparently has no earthly idea how cars are designed. So in case you who are reading this are thinking the same thing, let me clear a few things up.

First of all, there is the airbag. The airbag is designed to inflate in the instance of a head-on collision where my car is travelling at 25 mph and hitting a stationary object. The minimum speed for airbag inflation is decreased if my car hits an object moving toward it, thereby increasing the force of impact. So it is more likely than not, if I were involved in a head-on collision, the airbag would inflate. If I were hit from behind, the physics would be a bit different and my body would be thrown back against the headrest, thereby negating the need for an airbag.

Second of all, I wear my seatbelt religiously. The airbag is designed to work in conjunction with the seat belt and in my honest opinion, anyone who doesn't wear a seatbelt is a complete idiot. Yes, I will even apply this to beloved relatives who shall remain nameless but have on occasion failed to remember to buckle their damned seat belt. The seatbelt is designed to restrain a passenger in a moving vehicle in the event of a collision. People DIE because they are thrown from a vehicle when not wearing a seatbelt. It has been ingrained deep in my brain since childhood that if I am in a car, I am wearing my seatbelt. I often even forget to unbuckle it when parked at Sonic so deep is the habit. I will not, I repeat NOT drive anywhere without being buckled in, even if driving around the apartment complex to the mailbox.

Here lies a common misconception about seatbelts: The lap part of a belt is designed to go across your HIPS, not your belly. In the event of a collision, if the lap belt is extended across the belly, it is not doing you one damned bit of good and will likely cause internal bleeding. In the case of a pregnant woman (whether driver OR passenger), it is even more important that the belt be properly placed across the hips to avoid causing unnecessary strain or possible injury to the unborn baby. The shoulder part of the belt is designed to lay diagonally across the chest (if mine fits snugly between my breasts I know it's fitting properly) and across the shoulder. Not the neck or underarm, but the shoulder. It is in this manner that the seatbelt will provide adequate support in the event of a collision. If the seatbelt does not fit correctly, it should be adjusted to do so, or a booster seat used if the passenger is not tall enough to be supported by the seatbelt correctly.

Back to my rant. Point #3. When driving a motor vehicle, especially one with an airbag, the driver should sit as far back from the steering wheel as possible while still being able to reach the wheel and pedals. In Sean's car, the pedals can be moved forward or back to accommodate his long legs or my short ones so I can actually sit further back in his car than mine. In my SUV, I don't have the luxury of movable pedals so I stick with just sitting as far back as possible while still being able to reach the gas and brake. At least my car lets me raise the seat manually so I can see over the steering wheel. So when I am sitting in the driver's seat and everything is adjusted properly (including aiming the steering wheel up for my chest/face), my belly at 38 weeks is still about 6 inches from the bottom of the steering wheel.

So if I were in a head-on collision driving my car, not only am I seated at a safe distance back from the steering wheel, but I have a seatbelt which is properly fitted to keep me from moving forward and an airbag which will hit my face and chest long before I come anywhere close to the steering wheel. If I were in an accident that were so bad it pushed the steering wheel into my belly, I'd have a lot more to worry about than just the baby and I would probably be dead. Newer vehicles (my sweet baby included) are designed so that in the event of a front-end collision the engine along with the front end crumples instead of ending up in the front seat. Having been in an accident with the exact same make and model of SUV before, I can definitely say the design works.

Now, I'm obviously not planning on driving while I'm in labor, that would be incredibly stupid of me. Sean will be driving me to the hospital except in the event of ice on the road in which case we'd be more likely to call an ambulance. If at some point in the next few weeks it gets too uncomfortable to drive, I will stop. Also, under Dr's advice I will not be driving for the first few weeks after giving birth but I doubt I'd be going anywhere anyway!

I'm getting sick and tired of the damned "Pregnancy Police" and would be more than happy to give them a quick kick in the nuts (the worst offenders are men...go figure) except that I know it wouldn't work. I'm told it doesn't get any better, either....Pregnancy Police become Parenting Police after the baby's born. At least by then I'd be more likely to be able to chase them down...

I appreciate advice if well thought out and given constructively (I love how my mom gives it: "well, some women experience X so you might keep that in mind"), but if you insist that I do things your way or that I'm going to experience EXACTLY what you went through, please feel free to step in front of my car as I'm driving 60mph down the tollway while pregnant.

And Now for Something Completely Different...

I think the cat knows something is up. She's been acting very strange the last few days. She won't leave my side and keeps giving me this "look". Perhaps she knows something I don't. Or perhaps she's trying to get as much loving in as possible before a screaming helpless infant takes over my life and I ignore her. Whatever it is, I've got an extremely lovey cat who won't leave me alone. At least she stays out of the baby furniture....for now......

Thoughts on the Domestic Engineer

I love that title, Mom mentioned it as something to put on a resume so it doesn't look like I've done "nothing" for the past couple of years. After all, just because one doesn't get monetary payment for a job doesn't mean it's not a job. Seriously, what other job requires one to be a chauffeur, laundromat, chef, teacher, therapist, and maid all in one? True I haven't had all of these responsibilities yet but they are in my future.

So in my last therapy session before the baby comes, I discovered something that I felt needed to be shared. It is part of my duty as a wife to take care of myself physically. It's also part of my duty to God to take care of my body as it is His temple, but there is also an obligation to my husband. I'm not talking about make-up and super stylish clothing necessarily, but rather to eat healthy and lose enough weight and fat (after the baby's born, of course!) to get down to a healthy size (preferably down to where I was when we got married). It is in his interest to see me healthy and know that I care enough about myself to take the time and energy to be healthy. Now back to the make-up and clothing...while I've never been the type of woman to pour on layers of "stuff" on my face or have the latest style clothing and hair, I do see the benefit of putting on a touch of lip gloss and a bit of foundation to cover up random acne and smooth out my features. Maybe even a touch of mascara (unless I know I'm going to cry for some reason or another :D), and not just for going out. Even getting out of my pj's goes to show that I care enough about my husband to do SOMETHING to show him.

Of course, at this point of the pregnancy, I'm lucky if I manage to make it out of bed before noon each day let alone get dressed up but this is only temporary. Not being able to fit into ANY of my clothes at the moment severely limits my wardrobe choices.

Anyway, I also learned that making myself look presentable and even a bit more feminine to my husband not only helps the marriage, but will provide an excellent example to my child(ren) as to how a relationship works. If I devote all my time to my kid and not any to my husband, that gives the child a warped idea of how a marriage works. My first duty must be to God, my second to my husband, and my third to children (this I don't think includes absolute necessities of say...feeding and diapering an infant. That's definitely a priority for the first few months). Not only will this give my child an understanding of how a good relationship works (not to mention his religious upbringing), but will also be a tool in teaching him not to be selfish. If my world doesn't revolve completely around my kid, my kid won't get the idea that the world MUST revolve around him (a problem I think is inherent with many of the liberal mindset today, the "me me me" generation).

Of course, I could be wrong, but I think I might be on to something here...anyway the main answer that I came away with today was that I have an obligation to be a good wife in more ways than one and that I must work on ALL the aspects of my role. Who doesn't want their husband to be happy?