Friday, January 25, 2013

Breastfeeding and Football

Breastfeeding is a big time commitment.  Watching football is a big time commitment.  I've compiled a list of penalties, borrowing the names of which or the concept from football, but applying it to my experiences with breastfeeding.  Enjoy.

Roughing the Feeder:
Two possibilities here.
A)  The sweet little babe of a child beats the mom with clenched fists while attempting to nurse.  Usually involves crying, maybe by both involved parties.
B)  The aforementioned sweet child does not latch well, chomping on mom's nipple, causing excrutiating pain either immediately or over time as the non-well-latched-nursing continues.

False Start:
The wee babe latches, nurses long enough to cause milk letdown, then pops off.  Immediately the baby gets sprayed in the face from at least three different angles as the milk continues to flow fire-hose-style.  Typically this causes a pissed off baby and a soaked nursing pillow and shoulder/arm of the baby's outfit.

Illegal Motion:
While nursing well and latched beautifully, the innocent child has explosive, pervasive, blow out poopie that faster than lightning seeps throw every layer of clothing on mom and babe and soaks the nursing pillow.

Pass Interference:
While mom attempts to transition the infant from one breast to the other, somewhere mid-air the baby spews some large portion of what she's just eaten , usually hitting whatever electronic device is near by at the time. (TV remote, cell phone, ipad, etc...)

The freakish phenomenon that describes the serenely peaceful little one asleep on her side, quickly morphing into a screaming monster when removed from that peaceful position and unsuccessfully transitioned to a bassinet or crib.

(Offensive) This foul involves older siblings.  While the baby is nursing, the older child(ren) will inevitably want to be held.  Waiting to be held is out of the question in their minds.  Space on mom's lap is no concern of theirs either.
(Defensive) When the husband accuses the nursing mother of simply holding the baby, who is no longer eating, but asleep at the breast, to get out of doing chores.  This foul gets called when trash needs emptying, dinner needs cooking, etc.

Personal foul:
Mom awakes abruptly in the middle of the night to the baby's cries.  She has 0.1 seconds to decide whether she should go to the bathroom first or feed the baby.  She decides to wait and feed the baby first.  While the baby is nursing, she very much regrets the waiting-to-pee decision.  The personal foul is what occurs if she cannot hold it any longer.

What did I leave off?  Have you experienced any of these scenarios? Or know someone who has?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Paying Cash for a Car

On Monday, January 21st, 2013, Scott and I bought a car.  We paid cash for it.  This is our tale.  It begins in 2008...

As you may already know, we are huge Dave Ramsey fans.  When we got married in July of 2008, a dear friend gave us a Financial Peace University Kit as a wedding present.  It was just the right tool at just the right time to get Scott and I started off well as a married couple.  We needed to do things differently managing our money together than either of us did as single people.  We set our sights on getting out of debt and we did so in 25 months.

Side note:  When I tell people I'm a big fan of Dave Ramsey's and his "program", I get mixed reviews at best.  A whole lot of people are skeptical of how anyone can live without credit in this day and age.  But when I tell them we paid off $75,000 in debt in 25 months, that gets their attention.

I think this is another one of those times that gets people's attention.  Not a lot of people pay cash for cars these days.  When we said we were paying cash, the finance guy at the dealership we bought from on Monday looked at us like we were weird.  (I know...we ARE weird.)  He gave us a speech about how credit is important and how we can't live without it.  He continued in his speech to tell us the best ways to go about getting credit and maintaining it.  Scott and I both did our best to not preach at the guy about how wrong he was.  I did say once, "Credit is only important if you're going to borrow money, would you agree?"  Finance-dude glazed over my question.

Can you pay cash for a car?  Absolutely.  Can you pay cash for a car TOMORROW?  Probably not.  It does take time to save.  Instead of financing a car and paying a dealer or finance company interest money, we save the money for a few years and keep the interest money.  Admittedly, it is unCOOTH to talk about money.  Good thing I'm not too concerned with cooth-ness.  I want to talk numbers.  Not to brag, although I am proud of our accomplishment.  I want to talk numbers so other people reading this story can know they can do it too.  It isn't impossible.

Sorry...I'm getting ahead of myself.  2008, $75k in debt.  2010, debt free.  Even while we were getting out of debt, we put about $200/month in a car fund.  Some months we spent most of that on oil changes, car repairs, taxes, inspections, etc.  Other months we didn't spend any of it and therefore it got added to our car savings fund.  About a year after we got out of debt, we doubled our car savings to $400/month.  We were anticipating needing a new car sooner than later since I was pregnant with our second child.  My 2002 Honda Civic was a wee bit cramped for two rear-facing car seats in the back seat and two tallish adults in the front.

We started our car search last week, with a Scott-set budget of $12-15,000.  I'm the spender of the family.  If it were up to just me, I likely would've allowed myself to buy a Corvette.  Scott's gracious parents came down from Virginia and babysat our kids for two straight days while we drove around town and test drove cars and talked to (car) dealers.  "Talked to dealers" sounded sketch.  Had to throw in the word car to redeem that sentence...  My gracious parents watched the munchkins on car-buying-day.  (Did you know it takes forever at a dealership to buy a car, even if you pay cash?)  We were mostly looking at the Subaru Outback, Hyundai Sante Fe, Honda CR-V or Pilot.  Basically, some kind of wagon or a small SUV.  What we ended up buying was a ginormous SUV.

A 2006 Jeep Commander.  I had never even heard of this type of Jeep before last weekend.  It met our requirements though:  SPACE for two rear-facing car seats without the front seat passengers kissing the windshield, trunk space for multiple strollers, a price within our budget.  The dealer advertised it for $13,600.  We negotiated them down a little bit so that after taxes, tags, and fees, we paid exactly $13,600.  I don't know about you, but I've never, ever written a check that large before.  Of course I screwed it up the first time because my hand was shaking.  Due to massive amounts of concentration, and sticking my tongue out a little to the corner of my mouth (go ahead and try it!), I was able to write the check correctly on the second try.  

Badaboom, badabing, Bettyboop, WE BOUGHT A CAR!  And paid cash for it!  Holy freakin' moly.  

Our car fund is now back to zero.  We'll go back to saving $400/month, minus car maintenance, and hopefully buy Scott a replacement vehicle in about four years.  

So...what do you think?  Are you a believer yet in the Dave Ramsey system?  Or do you still think we're nuts??

ps--fun video about Dave Ramsey's idea of paying cash for cars...

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Growing Up Air Force

Yesterday I was driving behind a large pickup truck that had Air Force stickers all over it.  It was a blue truck.  "Air Superiority blue", as my dad would call it.  I was thinking about that phrase, Air Superiority blue, and wondered if anybody besides Air Force kids actually knew what that phrase meant.  Actually, I'm not even sure I know what it means.  Is it a robin-egg blue?  I refuse to call it "Carolina" blue.  Or is it more like a midnight blue or royal blue?  Geez...I dunno.  I better refer back to my dad on that one.

This is one of my favorite pictures of my Air Force dad and my mom.

I know we're all indoctrinated with something, probably many things, as we grow up.  One of the things that was prevalent in my upbringing was GO AIR FORCE!!  My dad was in the Air Force for 30 years.  That just blows my mind because I can't imagine working for any single employer for 30 years.  I was born and raised understanding that the Air Force was the best of the military branches.  To be sure, if you grew up Army, Navy, Marines, National Guard, or Coast Guard, you were taught the same of your branch of the military.  And if you didn't grow up military at all?  Well, I'm sorry for you.  You probably lived in only one or two homes, in the same town, your whole life.  You had friends for more than two years at a time.  BORING.

Growing up Air Force, I had to be bilingual.  I spoke English AND Air Force.  Some examples...
TDY:  temporary duty.  This is when the Air Force family member is gone for 2, 3, 6+ months at a time.  "Dad is going TDY next week." Although it stunk to have my dad gone so much, the homecomings were pretty fun...

PCS:  permanent change of station.  This means PACK UP STUFF, we're moving again.  "Good news kids!  We're PCS'ing to Carlisle, Pennsylvania!"
BX:  base exchange.  A store kind of like a Walmart.  Some of everything in there, but have to have a military id to purchase anything.
Commissary: (not an abbreviation, I know) the grocery store.  Everybody who shops there gets paid on the same day of the month, which means those days are RIDICULOUSLY crowded.  When I was old enough to stay home by myself, my mom would bribe me to come to the commissary with her.  Her bribe usually involved donuts.  TO THIS DAY I think I deserve a sweet treat every time I step foot inside a grocery store.
O-dark-thirty:  This refers to the predawn hours when seemingly everything takes place in an Air Force family. Leaving on a vacation?  The family will leave at o-dark-thirty.  Movers coming to the house?  They'll be here at o-dark-thirty.
C-130:  The type of airplane my dad flew.  It's a cargo plane that looks like this:
photo courtesy of this website.

Aw...look how cute we were.  Dad in his flight suit, me with a mullet and bare midriff shirt...

Until I graduated from college, I had never lived in one city for more than 3.5 years.  I still get the itch to move about every two years or so.  My brother was so lucky, he went to a different high school all four years of his high school career.  I only went to two.  I spent 9th grade in Mascoutah, Illinois.  For 10th-12th grade, I lived in Oxon Hill, Maryland.

It was always amazing to me how local people responded to me as a military/Air Force kid.  I spent my 7th and 8th grade years in Seoul, Korea.  I had a great time and LOVED my junior high years.  The school I attended was on a military base, and it was 7th-12th grades.  As a junior higher, I was grouped in with high school students.  I had way, way more privileges (like open campus for lunch) as a 7th and 8th grader than I did as a 9th grader in nowheresville Illinois.  When I moved to Illinois from Korea, the high school I went to felt claustrophobic it was so small (maybe 500-800 students in the whole school, compared to 2,000+ at my previous school).  The majority of the students at that high school were locals, not military kids like me.  They thought I was weird because I had lived in Korea.  I thought they were weird because they'd never left their state before.  I got in trouble one day at lunch for leaving the cafeteria with a milkshake cup in my hand.  All I could think was "SERIOUSLY???  I can't be trusted to leave the cafeteria and walk to the library (the only place we were allowed to go during lunch) with a beverage in my hand??! I used to walk home every day for lunch in Korea!!"  It didn't really make sense to me.

The thing about being Air Force, though, was that whether I loved or hated where we lived, we weren't in any place for too long.  When I was having such a hard time enjoying Illinois, I knew it didn't matter because we'd move in a year or two.  Sure enough, we moved a year later to Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland.  I was excited to be in a big metropolitan area and attend a big high school.  "No more small town mindset!" I thought.  Oh I got my wish alright.  My high school was huge.  I was in total culture shock.  Again.  In Illinois they had things like "cow pattie bingo" on the football field after a game.  Students (not me) attended things called "tractor pulls" for fun.  In Maryland, I quickly learned what marijuana smelled like because it permeated the halls frequently at school.  Students (not me) pulled the fire alarm to get other students out of class to witness and/or participate in fights.  Gangs were very real.  I learned to survive there by laying low.

One thing I particularly enjoyed as an Air Force kid was that everywhere we moved, on base or off base, we always got to know our neighbors pretty quickly.  Usually on move-in day one or more of our neighbors would stop by and introduce themselves and see if we needed anything.  We would do the same for others.  I think part of the mentality of this behavior was "We have no idea how long we'll be here.  Better say hey to folks quickly because they might move out next week!"  I had no idea this was not "the way of the world" until I was an adult living in a non-military environment.  I have found it practically impossible to meet my neighbors.  Granted, I live in an apartment complex, not a neighborhood of houses, but still.  Each Christmas I make some baked goods and take them to the people in my building.  Hardly anyone even opens the door when I knock!  Maybe I look particularly frightening through a peep-hole, I don't know.
This is one moving day years ago. Yes, that's me.  Look how helpful I was!

Overall, I thought growing up Air Force was pretty awesome.  I got to move around and see new places.  I met lots of interesting people.  I learned how to blend in, or at least really, really try to...  I learned how to cope with change.  

Friday, January 11, 2013

You Might Be A Toddler If...

1)  You have to use your hands to stuff food BACK into your mouth that keeps falling out because you take waaay too big bites.

2)  If you can't get something to work the way you think it should, WHEN you think it should, you believe flopping around on the ground in frustration and anguish is an acceptable alternative.

3)  You employ the aforementioned flop around method of display of emotion frequently enough to know where the softest spots of the floor are located.

4)  You like your grandparents way more than you like your parents.

Walking with Poopah

5)  You think "cleaning up" involves placing one toy in the toy box followed promptly by taking twelve toys out of the box.

6)  For you, like a guilty-as-charged DUI perpetrator, walking in a straight line is nigh impossible.

7)  You think chasing the cat with the poopie dangling out of her butt around the house is the GREATEST.GAME.EVER.


8)  You and the above-mentioned danglepoopiecat assign the same entertainment value to !BUBBLES!

9)  Sticking your finger in your nose is an acceptable response to a stranger saying hello in public.

And finally...

10)  While in the bathtub, you suck in your buddha belly so you can have an unencumbered view of yourself peeing.