Monday, October 20, 2014

Where Are You From?

As a military kid, I always found this question difficult to answer.  We moved every 1-4 years.  I was born in Texas.  I graduated from high school in Maryland.  I went to college in North Carolina.   I had grandparents in Charlotte, NC and Williamsburg, VA.  My name, Betty Anne, sounds as deep south as one possibly can, but my accent doesn't match.  However, when people asked me where I was from, they were usually looking for a location--a city and/or state.

I came across this recently, and it made me ponder some things.

Where Are You From? (*language warning*)

One part that stood out to me was:

"If you spill your coffee on me once, it's no big deal.  But when I get coffee spilled on me every damn day, can you blame me for being pissed off when you spill your coffee on me too?"

That is a really, really great analogy.  To me it means that I need to be more aware of what I say to people.

1)  I need to keep in mind that I may be genuinely interested in getting to know someone better and learning more about them, but perhaps they have fielded the "where are you from" question one too many times.

2)  Genuinely getting to know someone better and learning more about them may be appropriate motivation for a question about where someone is from.  It may be okay in the context of a developing friendship with an individual.  The stranger behind me in the Target line is probably not a developing friend.  Neither is the coffee shop barista.

3)  Thinking before I speak is a struggle for me day to day.  In this case in particular, I need to think about why I am asking such a question.  Am I just nosey/curious/wanna know and therefore it's all about me?  Because that's probably the answer 90% of the time.

4)  I think pregnant women could identify strongly with the "coffee spilling" analogy above.  Visibly pregnant women get bombarded with all kinds of inappropriate, personal questions daily.  As do multiracial families.  Or really large families.  Or... or... or...  the list could go on and on of people fielding repetitive questions from strangers.

I feel like I'm not expressing myself very well right now, but hopefully I'm making some inkling of a point.  Let's think more about what we say before we say it and have a little bit of mercy for one another.

Maybe that person has had one too many coffee spills...

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

God Made Dirt and Dirt Don't Hurt

I better believe that saying...at least after yesterday...

James, Reese, and I were moseying around the backyard yesterday seeing what there was to be seen.  As we strolled around the trees, we noticed a plethora of these creepy creatures:


There were at least five of these empty shells on each tree trunk.  We walked around each tree and brushed them onto the ground.  If I had to name that game, I'd call it "flick it" or something, because that's what we did.  Keep in mind, I never touched one of these suckers.  Not once.  James was carrying a toy with him.  He used said toy to flick the cicada shells to the ground.  So James never touched one either.  Reese, however, is a different story.  She boldly grabbed them with her bare hands.  Ew ew ew.  If we were keeping score in our game of Flick It, she would've definitely won for the most cicadas flicked.

She is woman hear her ROAR. This picture isn't from yesterday, but it shows her personality well...

After that game ended and all the trees were ridded of their ghostly  freeloaders, we moved on to attempting to weed one of our flower beds.  I put on gloves.  James put on gloves, but didn't touch the dirt.  He just wandered around the yard marveling at his gloved hands.  Reese opted out of gloves and dove hands first into the dirt.  Raise your hand if you're surprised.



I made a little bit of progress.  Not a lot, but a little...
See how there is WAY MORE grass/weeds/green stuff on the left, inside the "flower bed" than there is on the "grass" side, on the right??  It's shameful, really.  What can I say...I'm not a yard work person.  As if I need to tell you that after sharing that photo...

I would've made more progress (possibly) except for how helpful Reese was.  As I was bent over pulling weeds, she managed to get a handful of dirt projectiled through the air in the exact right fashion that a whole lot of it ended up in my below-the-belt undergarments.  NOT COOL Reese, NOT COOL.  I reprimanded her for throwing dirt and continued on my quest.  I figured I could handle a little dirt in some awkward places.  That's what showers are for.

A few moments later, having not heeded my stern instruction, Reese launched another fistful of dirt at me, this time it hit my head and upper body, a fair amount miraculously ending up in my above-the-belt undergarments.  This was the last straw for me.  Apparently having dirt in my underwear was okay, but DIRT IN MY BRA and in my hair was just too much.  I fussed at her again and dragged all of us inside for baths/showers.  James looked confused, appropriately so, since he was the only clean one of us at that point.  

I share this story so that years from now, when Reese wants my help raising a mess-loving daughter of her own, I can point her back to her own childhood and snicker, just like my mom is doing now...





Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Just Another Day

As I sit here typing, my skirt is half damp, half dry.  My kids are talking to themselves in their beds, hopefully heading to sleep soon.  And I'm trying to remember to laugh at myself (and my life).

Let's back up...

Sometime in May, I think it was, I received a work email stating the need for me to make an appointment with Employee Health to have blood work drawn by August 28th.  Maybe your work health insurance is similar?  If you jump through some extra hoops, you get a major discount on your insurance.  For me that discount is $30/pay period, or $780/year.  I can think of a lot of things I'd rather do with that money than give it to my health insurance company.  Keep that figure in mind...$780.  One of the hoops is having blood work done through Employee Health.  In May I thought "Oooooh I have plenty of time to get that appointment done before August 28th!"

You can guess where this is going.

August comes and I haven't made that appointment yet.  Last Friday (August15th), I got another work email stating that day was the last day to make these type appointments for blood work at Employee Health.  I immediately called them.  It was 5:02 pm.  The vmail message I reached said they closed at 5:00 pm.

Dangitall.

I left a message anyway.  Over the weekend, I emailed a lady in Employee Health as well, hoping for the best.  (skipping a few parts of the story here for brevity's sake)  Appointment lady emails me back and says be there at 9:30 am on 8/20.  They will try to work me in around other peoples' appointments.  (translation: be prepared to wait)  But hey, woohoo!  I have an appointment!  $780 Here I come!

I decided to take my kids with me.  Not because I love sitting in waiting rooms with a 3 year old and a 1 year old, but because my parents have already done a LOT of babysitting this week and I thought they could use a break.

Also of note, I have to fast for this appointment.  No breffiss for me.  Bummer.

This morning (appointment day!) I got up, dressed and got the kids up and dressed and fed.  I packed a to-do bag with some toys, my ipad, a couple of diapers, and an almost empty container of wipes. I don't know for sure if they were done eating or not when I plucked them from their chairs and tossed them into their car seats.  Off to the appointment we go!

9:19 am we pull into the parking garage.  9:20 am, while making our way to a parking spot on the 3rd floor, I hear Reese throw up.

WOMP WOMP WAAAAAAHHHHHMP.

"Mess! Mess!" Reese squeals. "Where's Reesey's bucket?  Where's Reesey's bucket?" James exclaims.  (I give him a bucket to throw up in when he gets sick.)  Since Reese is rear-facing still, I can't see the mess, but I can imagine I'm about to have SO.MUCH.FUN. when we pull in to park.

I wanted to just turn around and go home.  Forget the appointment.  Forget the 10 people I'd bothered (part of the story I skipped) to make this appointment happen today.  Forget the $780.

But I couldn't.

I was determined to make it.  I'M GOING TO GET MY BLOOD DRAWN TODAY DANG IT.  (perhaps I was hangry?!)

After parking, I grabbed my meager stash of wipes and head to Reese's side of the car to assess the damage.  She holds her hands up "Mess."  I said "Yep, you're a mess.  We'll fix it."  To keep you from throwing up as well, let's just say the volume of material on her wasn't so terrible.  Her shirt was soaked, but the entire car seat wasn't, thankfully.  The content of the material?  Bacon.  So much bacon.  I wiped up what I could, using up all my wipes.  I prayed nobody would poop during the next little while.  I put Reese in a stroller, hoping to minimize her interaction with anyone else and contain her messy self.

About that time, a coworker (#1) walks by and says hello.  I immediately told her Reese threw up so she could keep her distance.  She told me Employee Health was a zoo right now, so best of luck to me.  Oh yay.  Fun fun times.

With my sights set on $780, I walked towards the building, one hand holding James' hand, the other trying to drive the stroller while holding a wadded up pile of bacon vomit wipes, eyes peeled for a garbage can.

Found a garbage can, and proceeded on to Employee Health.  I don't even know what time it was at that point.  To be sure it was after 9:30...

Trying to open the door to Employee Health was challenging because of a) the stroller I was pushing and b) the crowd of people inside the waiting area.  Holy Moly.  Here comes me, my faintly-bacon-smelling stroller child, James and I...hoping to find a spot in the waiting room.  At this point I was reeeally hoping a lot of things:

1) Reese doesn't throw up again.

2) Reese isn't really sick, but maybe just car sick, so I'm not exposing everyone to some vomit bug, because $780 or not, that's just RUDE to everyone around me.

3) That we aren't in this place for hours and hours waiting.

4)  That nobody notices the bacon smell.

In the first 20 minutes, Reese has asked to get down 50 times and I've gone through all the toys I brought in our bag.  I busted out the ipad for them to watch a show.  Two seconds after their show started, they call my name as well as three other names.  They took us down the hall to another waiting area.  At least there were less people in the next room.  We waited maybe 15 more minutes before they called my name.  The appointment lasted 10 minutes or so.  I got weighed (yay!  who doesn't love getting weighed!), blood pressure taken (114/64...hypertensive for me...I blame my stressful morning), and blood drawn, all with Reese and James watching attentively.  I think James (and his constant motion) made the lab tech nervous.  She got him a chair to sit in, probably hoping that would keep him somewhat contained.  I agreed with whatever she wanted to do.  The last thing you want is a nervous lab tech right before they stick a needle in your arm...

On our way out of the waiting room, we bumped into coworker #2.  She was super sweet to my kids.  I didn't want to announce to her (and the rest of the room) that Reese had thrown up and probably she didn't want to touch her.  Thankfully she just patted her head.  That was probably safe.

We scurried back to the car to make our way back home where there's a bathtub and cleaning supplies and clean clothes for Reese.

At home, I fed them a quick snack and put them in the tub.  They proceeded to have an absolute blast splashing each other.  They made the biggest bath-mess I've ever witnessed in their short lives.  The kinda mess where there seems to be as much water IN the bath as out of it and the tile bathroom floor is down right treacherous to walk on.  This is where my drenched skirt came from.  It was collateral damage.

Now they are in their beds...hopefully asleep by now...  I've disassembled Reese's car seat to wash the cover.  Hoping there's no more vomitousness in my immediate future...

After all this, I better have met the criteria for the $780!!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Buyer Beware

Just a quick note today to increase awareness for

TIGER STRIPED TODDLER FEET SYNDROME 

or TSTFS for short.

If you buy these shoes for your toddler, they may end up with these toddler feet:


This can be prevented.  

Please help me raise awareness.  

Don't let one more toddler be impacted by TSTFS.

*cue Sarah Maclachlan Angel tear-jerker song*

Friday, June 20, 2014

James is THREE!

We celebrated James' third birthday over a few weeks time.

There were presents:



(clothes modeled here)
There was cake:

James had cake too, of course, but didn't make this glorious of a mess, so Reese earned the photo op.

There was singing:

In retrospect, we could have let him get a tiny bit closer to the candles.  Maybe next year.


There were friends and family that helped us celebrate James in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.  Lots of love for this guy across the tri-state area.

James is into cars (McQueen!), trains (Thomas!), tractors and trucks (no cartoon names come to mind immediately).  We're just getting started with potty training.  His favorite foods are non-real-food items such as nutrigrain bars, chips, and cookies.  

He's an introverted quiet type-guy.  (Is that redundant?)  

He loves to "fwim" (read: swim).

He has an affinity for his blanket, especially the tag on it.  Or actually, tags on anything.  Shirts, towels, etc.

Based on the number of times in a day it happens, I have to assume James enjoys crying.

He just moved into a "big boy bed" (twin mattress on the floor).  And when I say "just", I mean today.  He's slept in it a few times here and there, but we just rearranged rooms and put Reese (in a pack and play her whole life) into his crib in her room.  No turning back now!

James, you're a great kid!  We're lucky you're ours!





Parenting is Tricksy

We have a freshly turned three year old son.  Based on his words and actions, he thinks the world is here to serve him and fulfill his every need and whim.

This has GOT to change.  With a quickness.  Before his sister gets the same idea.

The parenting game is changing.  It's less about keeping the child alive and more about shaping this little human into someone compatible with other humans.  Hoooboy.  I know people say things like "Just when you think you've got it all figured out, the rules change!"  Let's be clear.  I don't think I have it all figured out.  In fact, I'm positive I do not.  Every day when I learn something new, I'm usually learning a new thing I didn't know I didn't know.  If that makes any sense.  So for the rules to change in this parenting game which I'm still a novice at, seems unfair.  I shouldn't have to move up in difficulty levels, like a video game, until I've mastered this level, right??

-----------
TANGENT:  Tonight I felt like I was living in a video game. Probably Zelda.  I was trying to kill a fly with a fly swatter.  That stupid fly would not die.  I made contact with it at LEAST four times, with no success.  The thought went through my head: "This is like one of the bad guys on Zelda when you're getting to the end of the game and they take forever to die.  That was this fly.  He took SEVERAL of my Zelda hearts away and he still didn't die.  Dangitall.  Meanwhile James is at the dinner table saying "Getchoo fly!  Momma getchoo fly!  'Ere it comes!"  That's better than Zelda.  I don't think they have cheering sections...
------------

Anyhoo...back to parenthood...  I want to raise responsible, highly functioning, positive contributors to society that possess discipline and integrity.  I have some of those attributes.  I'm a very responsible person.  I have integrity.  I am not the most disciplined of individuals.  I dabble in discipline-ville.  I do not live there.  People say more is "caught than taught" when it comes to kids.  They will do what you DO more than they will do what you SAY.  This concerns me on the discipline-front.  Not too sure they can catch intermittent discipline.  And actually, now that I think about it, if it's intermittent, it probably isn't discipline.

Aw dang.

Those of you older, wiser, more experienced, or younger, green and more vocal and opinionated, what say ye??

Help me Obi Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope...

Sir James and I, his servant




Roof Troubles

On May 23rd here in Columbia, South Carolina, we had one doozy of a thunderstorm.  Awesomely, it included golf-ball sized hail.  My car was in the garage.  Scott's car wasn't**.  It sure took a beating.  Although it didn't show up well in pictures, it looked like the car had chicken pox scars all over it.  Maybe you can see the one in this photo?

(look at the door handle, then up and to the left a little)

The right side mirror was busted, too.

After a phone call to the insurance company, a visit to a body shop for an estimate, and a week in the shop, the car is looking much better.  No more chicken pox!

We also had a rep from our insurance, USAA, come look at our roof, deck, and fence.  He said other than lots of dents on the aluminum vents on the roof and downspouts for the gutters, the roof looked great.  Based on his assessment, the work that needed to be done to fix the dented vents wouldn't even add up to our deductible.  He was convincing, seemingly thorough (up on the roof for several minutes), talked in detail about the type of shingles and the age and when we should think about a new roof (about 5 years from now).  

Phew.  Our roof was fine.  I felt relieved.

Over the next few weeks, however, three of our neighbors have had their roofs assessed by their own insurance people and are getting new roofs due to the hail damage.  

Hmmmmm.

This makes me question the information I received about our roof. All of our roofs are approximately the same age, within a few months of each other.  To the untrained eye, the roof materials seem to be the same.  Our houses are on a cul-de-sac and therefore all face slightly different angles, which could matter in this equation, depending on the direction the hail was pelting down and such.  

This week I called a totally random roofing company to have them come take a look.  The guy was up there approximately 3 minutes. He came down and said yes, there is hail damage.  He recommended a new roof.  I told him what the insurance adjuster said.  He offered to meet with the adjuster at the house and walk the roof together to see if they can agree on the work that needs to be done.  I like that idea.  This is the direction I'm heading in at the moment.  It's all I know to do.

Here's the thing:  I don't know who to trust!!  Obviously the insurance agent is looking out for the best interests of the insurance company.  They don't want to pay for a new roof if they don't have to.  Then the roofing guy comes out, looking out for HIS company's best intere$t, and recommends a new roof.  

<sigh>

Do any of you have good family friends or someone you trust implicitly that could come make a really objective recommendation?!  Because making the roofing people and the insurance people take lie detector tests seems a little extreme, but I've pondered that option...


**Sadly for our friend, Jason, his car was at our house getting pelted along with Scott's.  Had Jason been at home, this wouldn't have happened.  So very, very sorry Jason!!