Thursday, March 29, 2007

This Is CAKETOWN!!!!!!

If the film "300" was rated PG, this is what the trailer would look like:
(Turn the sound up. Grab a tissue. I laughed so hard I cried.)

Love Thursday


Today I love:

My new stroller. My old stroller was like the Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic of strollers. It did the job, it looked okay. It was "meh". It was entry level.

And then a nightmare ensued. When my dear cousin Michele (who is so ridiculously gorgeous it just absolutely isn't fair!) bought it for me as a shower gift, she also purchased Babies R Us' Buyer Protection Plan. It's like an extra year of insurance if anything goes wrong. I used it about 5 times and then the
basket broke. I was sad. And a stroller without a basket is pretty useless. I mean, sure it strolls but where are you gonna put your bag?

I contacted the manufacturer who said they might be able to help me if I could get the model & serial number off of the very inconveniently placed sticker on the stroller. I finally got to the stupid sticker only to find it was scratched just where the numbers were supposed to be - the numbers I needed! So the manufacturer said they couldn't help.

Then I tried to file a claim under the Buyer's Protection Plan. They denied my claim because they said the only claim they would cover under my plan was for damage that resulted from a
POWER SURGE. Yeah, you read that right. A power surge. So I was el screwedo. Which is Spanish for "fucked over big time".

First I was disappointed the basket broke.

Then I was frustrated the manufacturer wouldn't help me.

Now I was PISSED. Why did my cousin pay extra for this BS insurance if they weren't going to cover the problem?

I called my Babies R Us (BRU) and talked to the manager and explained my conundrum. He couldn't believe the crazy craziness of saying they would only cover damage from a power surge. (Like Coupon Chris said, "That doesn't even make sense
on Mars!") He said to bring it all in and they would find a way to take care of me. So I hauled the infant seat, LATCH base, and stroller out to the car and into BRU all by myself. Let's be honest. The baby really can't lift much yet.

I schlepped all the stuff in and the first thing they did was try to call the Buyer Protection Plan (BPP) people to get the whole power surge thing worked out. The BPP folks at first stood by the original determination. Then they said they may honor the claim, but I would have to wait for a shipping label to be mailed to me, then mail in my broken travel system, then it takes 3 to 4 weeks to approve or deny my claim (which I had already waited from the first time I filed my claim that was denied for the BS power surge reason) and then it
would take 7 to 10 business days for them to cut me a check if they decided to approve my claim. To which I said "Aw HALE NO!" I mean really, I can't not have a stroller for over a month. That's just crazy talk.

I went back and forth with the Customer "Service" person on the phone, discussing the hassle and expense of shipping an entire travel system to them when I finally gave up. I handed the phone back to the BRU person and told her to work it out. I was leaving the store with a new, unbroken stroller and they could figure out between themselves how they were going to make that happen.

In the end, even the BRU people got frustrated with the BPP people, and they ended up refunding me the entire purchase price of my original travel system and the unused, worthless Buyer Protection Plan. I parlayed that refundage into 2/3
of the cost of this sweet ride:

and, can I just say...this stroller is YUMMY. It's not the Rolls Royce of strollers, that would be the $900 Bugaboo Cameleon. But it's freaking sweet. Handles like a dream. Where my old stroller was say, a Honda Civic or a Toyota Corolla, this bad boy is the Volvo S60. It's niiiiiiiice.

Also, I love the personnel at Babies R Us. They took care of my problem and then treated me like a VIP in helping me pick a new stroller. They were freaking awesome. After processing my refund, the store manager told the baby gear guy to take me to the stroller aisle and "Get Mrs. Powers anything she wants." Darlings, THAT is the way to shop.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I told you plastic bags are for suckas!


San Francisco to ban plastic grocery bags

Yet another reason why this Ninersgirl loves da Sco! *crosses fingers for good football season next year*

I've now amassed a half dozen of these and use them for all my shopping excursions. Being liberated from all those flimsy plastic bags is awesome!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Movin' out

It has finally come time for Hubby and I to bid a fond farewell to our first place together. We have a lot of good memories in this apartment. We got engaged here. This is where it all began! But alas, we have far outgrown this 1200 square feet and it's time to move on up like the Jeffersons. So we're moving to Naperville, IL, a short 30 minute drive south of here. We're very excited about our new home - 1800 square feet, very well laid out to make the most use out of the space. Our doggies will finally have a yard of their own, and we have a pond both in front of and behind the house. Naperville was nominated as Money Magazine's #2 Best Place to Live in America, bested only by Fort Collins, CO. A huge bonus for us is that we'll be much closer to my cousins, which is awesome. I'd love little Jackson to grow up close to his cousin Christian, who is 1.

What sucks is that the whole world is turned upside down in the house. I have boxes everywhere, and we're doing a massive-assive pre-move purge to rid ourselves of all the crap we don't need but have been hanging on to for no apparent reason. Coupon Chris lent me her steamer and I'm having fun using that to steam clean the heck out of everything. I need me one of those toys, fo sho.

Teh Moose has his 6 mo. well baby visit on Wednesday, and it will be interesting to see how tall he is now. He's not very chubby, so that 21.5 pounds is evenly spread over a very tall frame! Although when Mom is 5'10" and Dad is 6'2", I think it's a genetic requirement to be tall. He looks about 30" or so to me, I'll have an official count later and of course I'll post it.

We went to the dog park this afternoon, and Bella and Katie ran their little tushies off. They are now passed out on the sofa. Tim just cleaned and treated the leather, so of course they think it's all soft and polished for their pleasure.

Oh, and I'm obsessed with the new Comcast commercial with the guy who got tiger stripe tattoos. I barely watch anything live, everything is on Tivo. I fast forward all the commercials, except the "Sorry, Roger. You tiger now!" one. LOVE that one.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Mister Moose - 6 months!

Go ahead and try not to love him. I triple dog dare you.

Friday, March 23, 2007

A little tweak here, a tiny tweak there

I've updated my "Favorite Things" listing to my most recent loves. I'm ridding myself of parabens and so it's bye, bye MAC Lipglass! So sad. I truly love those lipglosses.

I've also updated my Blog Roll so you have a better idea of who you are reading about and what they mean to me. The important people on my blog roll are friends I have known for a LONG time - some for nearly 20 years! The other entries are just fun places to go peek if you're bored like CO or PS. Ideal Bite gives great ideas on how to make little changes that can add up to a huge impact if we get enough folks on board. If you'd like to start living a little bit "greener" (it is the in thing after all), Ideal Bite is a great place to pick up a few tips!

I'm off to prep for our trip to search for The Bag. What I really want is a Basura Bag. I might just order the tote and call it a day.

The Hunt Is On.

I have a few diaper bags and a backpack. None of which I love. I have a couple of totes that work as a diaper bag, and yet I do not love them either. I need a bag I LOVE. I want a bag that I love and is ON SALE. Fellow AP Mama Friend Christy and I walk the mall twice a week with Jackson and her 8 month old son Josh. Somewhere inside Woodfield is my Bag I Love That Is On Sale and I AM going to find it.

Come out, come out wherever you arrrrrrre.......

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Love Thursday

I adore Robyn, but why let her have all the fun? I shall institute Love Thursdays myself, and each week enumerate that which I am enamored with.

Today I love:

  • Oscillo. Felt a touch of the flu last night, took my Oscillo, am better this morning. Fantastical!
  • The Evenflo Triple Fun ExerSaucer. I have not seen Jackson play in other ExerSaucers, but I imagine he is having three times the amount of fun he would ordinarily have in one of the other ones. He loves playing and jumping and squealing with delight in his ExerSaucer. $120 well spent, IMHO! His little chunkalunk legs are getting strong from all the jumping AND Mommy gets to take a shower unencumbered. Hoorah!
  • Sunshine. It's about 75 out today, really sunny & bright. We're taking a little cruise up to Milwaukee for a milk run, and we'll enjoy the trip with the sunroof open!
  • Speaking of milk runs, I love my Donor Moms. They are truly some of the most amazing people I've been fortunate enough to meet. So giving, caring and selfless! We have a few donor mamas, and when I make Jack's bottles I sing "Baba Number 5". It goes to the tune of Mambo Number 5. My little Moose has grown into such a hearty little man thanks to this phenomenal group of ladies!
  • My latest obsession is making my own homemade non-toxic cleaning products. I have Freecycled away all the chemicals I was using and traded up to my own versions. If you're interested in doing the same, check out Karen Logan's Clean House Clean Planet for ideas and recipes. So far I've been delighted with everything I've concocted and I've found these homemade, safe versions work just as well or better as the national brands!

In other news, I did the old step on the scale holding baby, then step off and weigh myself and do math. A rough estimate of the Moose's weight using this method, 1 week away from his 6 month birthday:

21.5 lbs.

Holy cannoli!

We call him Moose for a reason, folks.

And I thought Justin Timberlake was good

Requires sound - super fun! How does he DO that??? :)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Two people who don't "get" Daylight Savings Time: Me AND Moose

We're all screwed up with the hour change thing. Baby can't get to sleep at his "regular" bed time, nap times are off schedule and he's sleeping in until 8:30 every morning. I am having a challenge dealing with all of the above, with the exception of the sleeping until 8:30 thing.

I think the Moose would also like farmers to just get up an hour earlier. Newsflash, Farmer Man: Even when we tell you it's 5:00 AM, it's still really 4:00.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

I can't decide, so I will take a poll. Shall I forgive her or forget her?

Let's talk about my frenemy. I've been friends with this girl for about 4 years. She knew me before my divorce from Dave and was around when I met Tim, when we got engaged, when we got married, and when we got pregnant. I used to color her hair for her, since a salon would have charged her an arm and a leg for the dye job she wanted. I used to just charge her my cost of supplies. We were both total cosmetic hounds and loved spending hours cruising the counters at Nordstrom and the aisles of Sephora. We both have fractured relationships with our immediate family, and bonded over that. We spent nearly every Saturday night either shooting pool at Dave & Busters or dancing on the bar at North Beach with our friends and dates. When we were close, we considered our friendship closer than being sisters.

Then I got pregnant. Shopping for makeup didn't appeal to me at all, I had bigger priorities in mind. I wanted to reduce my exposure to chemicals, so I couldn't do her hair anymore. I was pregnant, so I wasn't going to go to any bars or clubs where there was smoking. Every time I invited her out to dinner, or even to come over for dinner she declined because she is anorexic. I won't go where there's smoking and she's
afraid of butter, so we never got together. I haven't seen her in over a year now.

When I got pregnant, she just stopped calling and stopped coming around. I kind of
got the feeling that she was jealous of me and my newfound happiness. She would love to get married and have kids, but she has a lot of emotional self-improvement to do before she is a suitable mate or mother. And who knows if she will end up barren as a result of the damage she has done to her health because of her eating disorder. Ever since I met and married Tim, I have felt an undercurrent of envy coming from her. She would like to have what I have. She's made comments before about how lucky I am that I don't have to work and stuff like that. Coupon Chris sent me this, which pretty much sums it up:

She is the ONLY one of my friends who has not yet met my son. Jackson is 5 months old! This is no exaggeration - even my friend Samantha who lives in Guam has met the baby. SHE LIVES IN FREAKING GUAM! For her 30th birthday last year, I bought her a pricey handbag and matching wallet. I had previously bought one for myself on one of our shopping outings and she had mused aloud how she'd love to have one of her own. So for her big milestone birthday, I pulled out all the stops and got her a very expensive gift. Her entire family blew off her birthday, so Tim and I went to her house to surprise her with her gift and some birthday balloons (can't get the anorexic girl a cake!) for a mobile surprise party. For my birthday, I got...nothing. Granted, I didn't expect a $500 purse and the matching wallet to be matched tit for tat, but an email card would have been nice. Out of all the friends and family that I called, emailed or texted when we had to rush to the hospital for emergency surgery when Jackson was 10 weeks old, she is the ONLY one who didn't reply. All my other friends and family either called or came to visit us in Pediatric ICU. She also is the only friend who blew off my baby shower. She claims she never got her invite. Yeah, right. There's no way in hell it was addressed incorrectly, when she has been in the hospital for treatment for her eating disorder I sent her a little card or note EVERY SINGLE DAY. I know her address by heart. So I feel, rightfully so I believe, severely neglected by this "friend".

Every year for Christmas, I give myself one Gift of Liberation. December of 2005, my Gift of Liberation was allowing myself to quit my job that was making me crazy. Right after I quit, we got pregnant so it worked out great! The Gifts of Liberation tradition started about 5 years ago when I got a call from my psychotic mother on Christmas morning. I don't even remember what she was blathering about, but I told her I was done having a relationship with her because she was a toxic person and hung up. It was like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders! Last year, my Gift of Liberation to me from me was dumping an excess 83 pounds of anorexic friend. I called her and no surprise, she didn't even answer. So I left her a message telling her she was a sh*tty friend and I was done with her.

So now 2 months later, she emailed me begging for forgiveness. She says she's seeking treatment for her eating disorder again, and she needs my support because nobody is there for her anymore. (Big surprise, you jerk! You probably were an asshole to everyone else too!)

The Nice Girl in me wants to feel sorry for her. The Nice Girl in me wants to forgive her and be her best friend and help her get better. The Tough Girl in me wants to tell her to suck it deep. I mean seriously, f*ck her. My baby could have died and needed emergency surgery, and she couldn't call me back? What kind of jerk does that to their "friend" who is so important to them?

So I will allow you, Gentle Readers, to decide for me. Does having an eating disorder give you permission to mistreat people this badly, and make her behavior acceptable? Or can I hold her to the same standard of friendship I hold everyone else to and expect a healthy, reciprocating relationship? I am not afraid to give a lot of myself in any relationship. However, I expect the other party in the relationship to give back in that too much to ask? To whom much is given, much is required. It's in the freaking Bible, man. You can't argue with that. there an eating disorder exemption that needs to be applied here?

You be the judge.

"Where do you buy bacteria?"

I recently bought a yogurt maker. We eat a lot of the stuff around the house, and when you do the math even including the cost of the machine over time, packaged yogurt is really expensive compared to what you can make at home! Plus fresh, homemade yogurt tastes SO much better than the cheap stuff you can buy at the store. So I have been experimenting with different starters for different tastes. I made a batch with my favorite prepackaged yogurt, Fage, last night. It's goooooood. I think if I drain off some of the whey in a cheesecloth, I can make a nearly exact duplicate to the Total 2%.

So Tim asks me how I make yogurt. I told him you scald the milk to kill the bad bacteria, let it cool a little, then you add in the good bacteria in the form of a starter, then put it in the machine and press the button. He says "Where do you buy bacteria?" which cracked me up. I'm imagining going into a store a buying a jar of tiny worms or something. I explained that you buy either powdered yogurt starter, or you can use a spoonful of store bought plain yogurt as a starter. He holds up a carton of yogurt. "So there's bacteria in this???" he says with a scowl of disgust. Yes, dear. I feed you a dishful of bacteria milk every day. And it's delicious.

Silly boy!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I'm Bringing Sleepy Back.

Here's a newsflash: I'm not 21 anymore! Eleven short years ago, going to a concert on a Monday night never would have kicked my ass. But I am hurting today. We left right after JT did SexyBack (with an actual band, not electronic synthesized "music" - I was delighted!). He came back on stage in casual wear to sit at a piano. I said to Tim, "You know we're probably missing the best part of the show now, he's going to do actual music." But it was 11:30 and I missed my Moose! So we headed home after battling a bunch of overly aggressive drivers in the arena's parking lot. Next time you leave an event like that, remember: we all want to get home. Driving like an asshole won't get you there any faster. Let's just move along in an orderly fashion. It's not a race. Jackson had a high-needs night (took 16 oz of milk overnight!) so I was up a lot with him.

All this means is that my two best friends this morning are this and this. Tim got me this for Christmas, and you know I'd rather be spending time with it.

I'm so tired this morning, it's a gorgeous, bright, shiny day out and the sunshine is kind of making me angry. I don't want bright, happy sunshine. I want SLEEP!

The show was great though. Timbaland did the intermission, which turned out to be the least boring intermission I've ever sat through. He did a few fun mashups of songs he produced with lots of fun graphics onscreen for a complete audio and visual experience. He just kind of took the space over for 15 minutes and made it his world. It was fun and genius and he didn't look like he was "working" at all...just having a good time with music. And that's what being a musician is all about! Justin blew us away. I have heard him called the next Prince or the next Michael Jackson, but he is in a class by himself. He does it all. He writes the songs, he plays the instruments, he sings, and he dances like no white boy I've ever seen. The show was a delight to be at for anyone, JT fan or not. Timberlake is an uber- talented performer. If you have a chance to catch one of his upcoming FutureLove/SexShows (which is what he's calling this tour - weird name!) I highly recommend it. And that's not even mentioning how awesome his opening act, P!NK was! She TWIRLED ON RIBBONS IN THE AIR while singing "I'm Coming Out". A-MAZING. She also performed her original song, "Dear Mr. President" which I loved so much I had to stand up and cheer after she did it (even though I was the only one in my section to do so). I'm posting a link to the video on YouTube. I know I am not the only one fed up with the State of our Union, so I think others will identify with the sentiment she expresses in this song.

"Dear Mr. President"

Dear Mr. President
Come take a walk with me
Let's pretend we're just two people and
You're not better than me
I'd like to ask you some questions if we can speak honestly

What do you feel when you see all the homeless on the street
Who do you pray for at night before you go to sleep
What do you feel when you look in the mirror
Are you proud

How do you sleep while the rest of us cry
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye
How do you walk with your head held high
Can you even look me in the eye
And tell me why

Dear Mr. President
Were you a lonely boy
Are you a lonely boy
Are you a lonely boy
How can you say
No child is left behind
We're not dumb and we're not blind
They're all sitting in your cells
While you pave the road to hell

What kind of father would take his own daughter's rights away
And what kind of father might hate his own daughter if she were gay
I can only imagine what the first lady has to say
You've come a long way from whiskey and cocaine

How do you sleep while the rest of us cry
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye
How do you walk with your head held high
Can you even look me in the eye

Let me tell you bout hard work
Minimum wage with a baby on the way
Let me tell you bout hard work
Rebuilding your house after the bombs took them away
Let me tell you bout hard work
Building a bed out of a cardboard box
Let me tell you bout hard work
Hard work
Hard work
You don't know nothing bout hard work
Hard work
Hard work

How do you sleep at night
How do you walk with your head held high
Dear Mr. President
You'd never take a walk with me
Would you

Monday, March 12, 2007

Packing, cleaning and getting ready to move. While bringing SexyBack.

We're getting ready to move at the end of April. I have 49 days left to get rid of all the accumulation of junk that we have so we don't take it with us, and organize the stuff I am keeping. And pack it away into neatly labeled boxes. It's a lot of work, especially with a baby that wants to be held all the time because his teeth hurt.

In other news, for my 32nd birthday Hubby bought me a ticket to go see Justin Timberlake tonight at the Allstate Arena. I was supposed to go with my cousin Michele, but she's not feeling up to it. So instead, Timmy is going with me and my dear friend Coupon Chris is babysitting for us. Which is awesome, because she lives kind of far away but she's the kind of friend who would do anything for her friends. We haven't been out as a couple without the baby since he's been born. It's time for a date night! Sadly, there are no concert tees that really appeal to me, so I will have to settle for a ticket stub as a memento.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Can't farmers just get up one hour earlier?

Daylight savings time always messes up my body clock horribly! Combine that whole "spring forward" nonsense with the lack of sleep due to a teething infant and I feel like hamburger. All the clocks in my house are different, it's like changing time zones every time I walk from the kitchen to the bedroom. *dizzy*

Thursday, March 08, 2007

No PC Challenge

It's 1:03. I am challenging myself to, for the next 24 hours, NOT use the computer.

If you need to reach me, call.

Peace out!

Pour Some Sugar On Me

I can't wait for the movie "Blades of Glory" to come out. I love me some Will Ferrell.


Sunday, March 04, 2007

My Weekend Brunch Creation

Read that as "cree-a-shon". Like it has a little accent above the "n".

3 egg omelettes (I'm tired of typing "organic" this, "organic" that. So unless I say an ingredient is "conventional", assume it's organic.) filled with peeled & diced (dicing took all of 5 seconds, thanks to my new Williams Sonoma toy) pink lady apples and a healthy sliver of conventional brie cheese. Merciful heavens, it was orgasmic. It was a delightful blend of sweet and salty, with crisp and soft textures intermingled. I served sweet potato hash along side (diced sweet potatoes, apples and raisins tossed with 1 t extra light extra virgin olive oil and 1/2 t cinnamon. Place in 8 x 8 glass baking dish, cover with saran wrap, microwave on high for 6 minutes) and garnished the plates with a few blueberries. To drink we had Green Goodness Mimosas (Bolthouse Farms Green Goodness juice and my favorite champagne, Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label). How do you make good-for-you juice better? Make it boozy, of course!

The idea for this brunch came to me in a dream. I woke up and thought, "I am going to put APPLES and BRIE in eggs and it will be wonderful! So did that spinach and feta and tomato and olive on quinoa thing I made last week.

If this shit keeps up, and I keep getting awesome meal ideas in my sleep I may have to open a restaurant! I already have a name in mind, and a menu layout. I would have a raw menu, a vegan menu, an ovo-lacto menu and an omnivore menu. Everything would be organic and seasonally fresh, with menus that rotate according to what ingredients are in season. Don't laugh, you would totally go.

Chris, I would give you a coupon so you would go. Chris is the reigning Queen of Couponry. I am in awe of her couponing prowess.

Friday, March 02, 2007

My Milk Is Finally Coming In!

OK, well actually donor milk is coming in but I'll take what I can get. And before you go all "Ew, someone else's breast milk?!?!?!" on me, let me remind you that you drink the breast milk of another SPECIES. And sometimes you eat the breast milk of another species that is laden with a ton of living bacteria! For those of you eating yogurt while reading this, I apologize.

One of my dear friends asked if she could pump for us, and after getting her all set up with a pump and accessories, she was able to UPS Red us a box of frozen expressed milk. We're so thankful! Through the magic of the internets (you know, the network of tubes) I was able to find a donor mom who lives just over an hour away. She is gathering her blood work (to make sure all the milk is safe, I wouldn't take unchecked milk from someone I don't know) this week, and we're going to pick up some 700 oz. she has in a deep freeze at her house. Just to put that into perspective for you, that's nearly a month's worth of milk for us!

When I first gave Jackson a bottle of expressed breast milk (EBM) his eyes lit up like he just won the milk lottery. He got this happy, sated look on his face and his eyes rolled back into his head as if to say, "Oh yeah. Now THIS is the stuff!"

Yesterday he had a little sneezy baby cold and stuffy nose. Today, no sneeze, no stuffy nose. Last night, for the first night EVER he slept "through the night" in bed. 6 hours of sleep, straight. Then I gave him a bottle of EBM in bed and he took about 4 oz. then he slept another 3 hours. That's right, boys and girls. I got 9 HOURS OF SLEEP last night. I feel like a new woman! *happy dance*