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Friday, March 30, 2007

Remember that insecurity thing?

Ya, this morning I'm feeling pretty dumb. Last night was awful - I put myself in a bad mood because my math was wrong. To say 'bad mood' would be an understatement - I was a bitch (happens alot, unfortunately... I have a very short temper - sorry sweetie). I ran all the 'figures' and became super frustrated... over nothing.

Today I ran my figures with the YMCA, Music money, Scrapbooking money, out to eat money and daycare money. There's an extra pay period in June. With a $2k tax return (hopefully), $4k from selling my skydiving equipment and another $1k from the extra checks in June (we'll also get a patio set in June with the remaining money) we can still become debt free by the end of the year.


... now I feel like a dunce.

Thursday, March 29, 2007


I'm very frustrated with our finances right now.

I go back 'full time' next week and am tweaking the new budget to try and ensure that we can be debt free by the end of the year.

Current estimates, going back to our budget before I went part time, puts us debt free by March 2008. This is not good enough for me...

because I'm frustrated! I'm fed up with not having spending money! I'm fed up with owing other people and I'm fed up with no feeling like I have complete control over where my hard earned money goes. I'm tired of feeling financially hopeless.

Of course, if anyone looked at our finances they would marvel at how well we do and how fast we've paid off a lot of debt. Truth be told - its not fast enough! I wanted to be debt free in two years. Throw a premature baby and a new house into the mix and that figure changes, but I still want to be done by the end of the year.

So... Shawn and I sat down and determined what we wanted to do. I want a patio set for the yard and we want to go to Fresno in October to visit his mom. We need to throw an EXTRA $750/month at the debt we have left (our cars). I got back full time (and extra $1000 or so a month) and $700 of it goes to daycare. So that means we need to come up with $450. I don't know how we are going to do it - I really don't. I cancelled my monthly scarpbooking kit and Shawn has agreed to give up his CD money. We're giving up our 'savings' line item in the budget and we're going to finally try and finalize Shawn's life insurance (I can't get any) so I don't have to have $140 just 'sitting out there' every month.

Oh wait, I can sell my skydiving equipment. That would get us an easy $4k. Ya, sell my hopes and dreams to be debt free. Sell my favorite 'freedom' memories. Sell everything I worked so very hard for. Sell my pride and joy. Sell something I will probably never use again - and could buy another one of when/if I pick up the sport again. There, less emotional when I think of it that way.

I so want to be done with this debt reduction plan. I don't want to run up new debt because this feeling of owing people 'owns me'. I can't stand it. I'm a super planner in alot of ways and if one of us were to loose our jobs with our current debt load, we'd be really feeling it. Not to mention that we don't have much of savings right now ($1,000). After the debt is paid off we plan on saving up close to $25k for our 'emergency fund', but until the debt is paid off its serious pins and needles for me.

So, no joining the YMCA when I go back to work. Guess I better start running so I can do that at home - oh wait, can't do that, I've got exertional compartment syndrome in my legs and I need surgery on them. Oh ya, and that means 3 days of complete bedrest after the surgery... um, ya, and we've got a toddler on the verge of walking. That's gonna suck.

I'm so frustrated. Can we push the date out even further? Meaning the second child (which I wanted to plan on conceiving once we were finishing up our debt paying) would have to wait? This is so frustrating - I just want these evil car loans gone so I can go back to eating out once a week or so I can go to the store and buy something instead of just saying "oh thats so cute!" like I did today at the kids clothing store. I want to have a little freedom again. Can I have that now, as in back off the budget? Yes, but then I'm under a debtors 'thumb' and will have less savings of my own. If I can't learn to live within my means and pay off my debts how can I learn to save?

I bet everyone reading this is saying... "gee, I wish I had such problems". That's what the back of my mind is saying right now too... but I'm just so frustrated with our lack of progress. Yet in reality paying off $50k in 2 years is impressive by itself; add a premature infant (and thousands of dollars in medical bills) and a new house and its really impressive.

Maybe I should be proud of how far we've come and just plan a vacation?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Fallibility... Insecurity... Imperfection... Shortcoming...

There are so many words to describe what I think and feel about my appearance. Its an inbred 'characteristic' of myself, a character flaw I suppose.

I am fat - grossly fat. My arms are fat, my boobs are gigantic (at an H cup, this is no lie, actually), my hips are too wide, my legs are flabby, and my most painful area - my tummy looks like I once weight 400 lbs. and the loose skin has just accumulated and hangs disgustingly.

If I saw this written somewhere I would brush it off as this person is obviously over-exaggerating and is only looking for others to say 'no your not'.

In reality this is what I feel each and every day - and no, I don't want to hear from others ' no you're not' - because I've heard it all before and it doesn't help me in any way.

Today is one of 'those' days.

Since I've stopped pumping I'm back into my size H nursing bra and waiting for them to shrink back down to a D cup - but the weather has gotten warmer, so I'm out of those bulky sweaters and into T-Shirts. I look horrible in T-shirts! I look so much heavier than I really am because my breasts are huge and its really starting to make me feel very depressed. I've wanted a breast reduction for so long - years and years. But my desire to breastfeed is bigger and even though Arianna never breastfed I felt my breasts had a special purpose and they did a great job feeding my baby - but now its getting warmer and I have a desire to be slimmer, even if its just slimmer looking. I don't know why some women pay to look like I do - you can't buy clothes in normal stores, or bras for that matter. Everything I wear makes me look like 'Two Ton Tilly' because I have never been a fan of more form fitting shirts (as I still have a tummy I would rather not show off). Add that to the neck/shoulders/back pain I've been having and I want them gone! But we want another child and I dream of having a normal breastfeeding relationship - plus, everything I've read about reductions says that YEARS after surgery is when it would be best to gage how lactation is affected by the surgery.

Add to that that I haven't been eating well, at all. My diet compeltely went out of the window when my mother-in-law came to visit. To the point that this morning, for instance, I made brownies to take to my friend Darius' house tonight and had two of them for breakfast... on top of the yogurt, english muffin and fruit I already had.

I have a problem and I need to get to the bottom of it. I need to find why I binge eat the way I do and why I have such a low view of my appearance (when I know its not horrid). Maybe I just need to buy better fitting clothes (which can be very hard and I don't want to spend that much time looking). I guess I just don't value my appearance like I should... Maybe I need to find something positive.

Maybe I need to go the gym...

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Replacement Parents

My parents are so generous with us. They watch Arianna whenever we ask and my mother watches her 3 days a week while I work (this is the last week as she goes back to daycare on Monday).

Saturday my father took Shawn and I into Dedham to my aunt Donna's sister-in-laws daughters house (did you follow that?) to pick up a new-to-us couch. We loaded it into Dad's truck and brought it home. Its so nice! Its one of those real deep couch's that you can really sink into to. Of course, our siamese cat, TiSan, has claimed it for his very own...

Saturday night Shawn and I were invited to my brother and his girlfriends big birthday celebration. We drove into downtown Boston to have dinner at Maggiano's Little Italy, just outside of Chinatown.

I was skeptical to go as I didn't know most of the 22+ people that would be going and getting into Boston is such a pain to drive into. I thought I had a way out when my mother told me that they had plans... ya, no babysitter, I'll just tell them we can't go. Well, my dad got wind of it and canceled all their plans so they could watch Arianna while we went out to eat.

Going out to eat turned into 'sleeping over' and suddenly we were free and clear. Dinner wasn't until 7:30 so getting out before 9 wasn't going to happen and the weather forecast said snow, it was a good idea, logistically for her to sleep over. But Arianna is still 'iffy' about sleeping through the night. Friday night she got up twice. I'd hate for her to keep my parents, who are already very generous with watching her, up all night.

We were the first people to the restaurant but the rest of the group soon followed. We sat at a long table, my brother and his girlfriend, along with the few people we knew, were seated at our end. The food... my god, the food. Let me just say if you have the chance to get to a Maggiano's - go! Don't ask questions just go in and ask what the wait is (usually 2+ hours, unfortunately). Its bottomless! We had:

  • Caesar Salad
  • Fried Calamari
  • Fried Mozzarella (to die for!)
Pasta Course
  • Fettuccine Alfredo with Broccoli
  • Spaghetti with monster meatballs
Main Course
  • Chicken Picatta
  • Chicken Parmesan
  • Vanilla Ice cream with brandy sauce
  • Tiramisu
Did I mention it was bottomless? As in, you finish it they bring more? Endless supplies? OMG, it was so good and so bad for trying (badly) to watch what I eat.

We had to pay for drinks so the entire night with tip cost us $100, but it was such a nice treat! I had two glasses of Chianti - bad Chianti, but it was so fun! We laughed and had a great time! We joked that the bill would easily top $1,000 - especially with my brother drinking like a fish (yes, he has a serious problem). The total bill came to $999.25 - so close! I almost ordered a soda just to top it off!

We left the restaurant about 10:30 and it took us more than an hour to get home as the snowstorm made driving really horrible. Not that I would know, of course, as I slept most of the way...

But to get home and not have to worry about Arianna was a treat. To wake up whenever we wanted, was a real treat. I was having a friend over to talk scrapbooking with and my parents were planning a traditional Irish boiled dinner so we planned on getting there about noon-ish anyway - so an entire morning of freedom?! We are so lucky. Shawn took the opportunity to rearrange the living room with the new couch and I played with my scrapbooking stuff and entertained my friend Becca.

We get to my parents and they have 'happy baby' giggling (who slept from 8 PM to 8 AM without interruption, by the way!) and dinner done! They're wonder-grandparents as I can't even manage to cook a fast dinner most nights, let alone a big boiled dinner.

Not only that, but they've gotten my daughter to achieve two milestones, and we have yet to get her to do them with us. She will now point and wave, on command - but only to grandpa. Wow... that makes me feel happy that she does them, but I'd love it if she'd do it to us...

This evokes the same type of feelings I had from her being in daycare, its like 'replacement parents'... but getting some 'time off' is nice too!

Friday, March 23, 2007

I think its time to breakdown...

and get a new pair of glasses.

I had THICK THICK glasses as a little kid. Bifocals about an 1" thick and if I wasn't wearing them my cross eye was SO bad that you couldn't tell where I was actually looking.

When I was 14 I went to the eye doctor with the anticipation of getting a new prescription and instead they told me that I would not need them anymore.

Well, that was almost 15 years ago and its time to 'bite the bullet'. I'm very near sighted in one eye, and slightly far sighted in the other - so they actually 'cancel each other out' pretty well. I haven't needed them for day to day use. But now its getting harder and harder to spend long days in front of the computer and I'm getting headaches. I don't know whats keeping me - I actually really like glasses.

My headaches actually could be from other things. I was in two car accidents (not my fault, damn RI drivers) within just a few weeks that gave me bad whiplash and I had a 'slammer' canopy opening (and lots of bad landings) while skydiving that did alot of damage to my neck and shoulder muscles. I've been seeing a chiropractor for this problem for MONTHS - its taking a long time to feel close to normal again.

I went to my chiropractor last night and was surprised to see new doctors there. I joked with the receptionist that it was about time Dr. MacEwen got some 'help', and she told me that he had a stroke and they had replacement doctors until they see how he does. This man ran marathons and played hockey! He's not heavy but does have a stressful job - he's only 54! His son does ART therapy (the only reason I go to this office) and I tried to express how sorry I was to hear what happened - but I guess he's doing well. He's at a rehab hospital and starting to regain use of his limbs. I just can't imagine him coming back to full time chiropractic. I made a nice 'thinking of you' card last night and plan to mail it to his hospital room today.

At any rate his waiting room was completely empty last night - which was a treat as I usually wait for more than an hour. His replacement, Dr. Welt, was quick! And, much better than Dr. MacEwen, sadly. I've only seen two chiropractors in my life, one was for one of the car accidents and she was pathetic - and Dr. MacEwen who did wonders for my hips after a really bad skydiving accident (skydiving isn't that dangerous if you do it right, I didn't when I was first starting out) and I stuck it out. Well, right after Dr. Welt did my adjustment I could actually turn my head completely. I don't have to be scared to drive my car anymore! Afterwards Chris (Dr. MacEwen's son) came in to do ART on my neck and shoulder muscles and I left feeling really good. I'm getting another headache today but I think its because I'm sitting at the computer all day today at work. I see him again on Monday and I'm very excited. I was getting disappointed at the lack of progress with my neck but I was very pleased with Dr. Welt!

Arianna is with my mom today, and she said she's spent the majority of the day crying. I don't know why - she seems to be great with us. I hope this separation anxiety phase doesn't extend to grandma and grandpa - that will be really hard on them. I wonder if its her reflux though - although, again, she's good at home. At her pediatrician appointment Monday I was told that the dose of Axid she was on (which hasn't been increased in months) is no where NEAR a therapeutic dose and we should double it. Woah... thats why she sometimes wakes up smelling like puke, good to know. So we increased it on Thursday (after trying a day off of it completely) to 3 ml's twice a day. She doesn't smell like puke anymore and seems very happy - she was such a cute/fun kid yesterday! Only my mom calls me to tell me that she's been crying alot. This makes me so sad, they do so much for her, I hope she doesn't give them grief. My Dad actually stayed home from work on Tuesday (Ari's first day back with them) just so he could spend it with her! My mom was very serious when she told Shawn that he is much better with her, better than with his own kids (which is an understatement...).

My aunt Donna is donating a new couch to us, which my Dad is taking us to get tomorrow. We're splurging Saturday night - my brother and his girlfriend invited 20+ people to a big birthday celebration at Maggiano's in the North End of Boston. The night will probably cost us $100 but it'll be worth it. My parents agreed to watch Arianna (all night!! WOO HOO!!), and let her sleep over so we'll be 'good to go'. It should be fun.

Sunday I have my friend Becca coming over to play with all my new scrapbooking toys.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

25th percentile!

Yesterday Arianna had her one year pediatrician appointment.

She weighed in at 18 lbs. and 28". First off, wow, I'm shocked. She was on the cusp of 17 lbs. not too long ago and I totally didn't expect to top off at 18 lbs. She's exactly 25th percentile for her actual age - again, wow. She was in the 2nd percentile at her 9 month appointment.

Pulling her out of daycare, thusly decreasing her sickness (tenfold) and having my mom devote one on one attention (and feeding) has done wonders for her. She goes back to daycare in only 2 weeks... I am so sad.

She has some serious seperation anxiety as of late, and its starting to wear on me. She hadn't seen my parents for about a week due to my mother in law watching her the week of her visit. Today she has been 'making strange' with my mom and seemed to have woken up on the wrong side of the crib this morning. Yesterday I drove with her out to Northampton to visit my best friend Kathy and her new 11 day old son Nathan. Being a nice friend I made lunch for us while Kathy fed the baby. Arianna did this non-stop wailing/crying if I wasn't sitting directly in front of her.

As we were leaving all Kathy could muster was 'well, even though I'm not getting much sleep with a newborn, at least I don't have to deal with that yet'. Sigh.

In alot of ways I think being back in daycare will be good for her - gets her used to other people again.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

One year and twelve minutes...

This morning I woke up at 7:15 AM to the sounds of baby babble over the intercom. Its a much nicer sound than baby screaming or crying. I laid in bed a few moments just listening... "mama mama mamamamammm baba baba dada grrr bloo bloo baba baba ba ba mama mama mama". Then I remembered that exactly one year prior she had a ventilator tube stuck down her throat and couldn't scream let alone make any 'baby sounds' as exactly one year and twelve minutes prior she had been evicted into the world, by me.

Its hard to not blame myself for her rough start. I had preterm labor, of unknown cause - so therefore the blame lays with me, my body. It obviously couldn't stand extended pregnancy or I did something to create an opportunity for preterm labor to start. Maybe if I noticed the signs earlier it could have been stopped. Maybe if I had not gone to BJs the Friday before and picked up two heavy cases of water... maybe if I hadn't volunteered at the cat show that weekend, maybe if I...

One year and three days ago (almost exactly) we were driving to the emergency department. I had volunteered at the cat show for Siamese Rescue that weekend. It was Saturday, the first day, and my mother had come to the show to see what new siamese items we had for sale and offered to take me to the Providence Place mall for lunch. I agreed and excused myself from the booth. We went to American Joe's bar and grille. While waiting for our food to arrive I had gone to the ladies room and noticed I had an unusual amount of clear, thick discharge. Passing it off as usual pregnancy 'goop' I went back to the table and mention to my mom about how pregnancy does such strange things to your body. After lunch my mother offered to take me to the maternity clothing store to buy an outfit for my shower in a few weeks - I accepted as I really hadn't purchased any maternity clothes yet. While at the store, trying on shirts, I was getting some bad back spasms - I thought I must have pulled a muscle in my back the night before picking up some cases of water. I picked out two nice shirts and my mother and I went back to her car. We were going back to my apartment so I could show her the baby's nursery we had finished just 3 days before. I sat in the car and complained to my mother about how much these back spasms were hurting, but if I sat real still they didn't hurt as much. We got back to my apartment and Shawn and I showed her the room - I sat in the glider rocker and complained about my back and that I was going to lie down. My mom left and I laid on the heating pad in the bedroom. Shawn came in and I told him that I didn't think these were back spasms anymore as my stomach was taking on wierd shapes with each 'spasm'. I knew this wasn't good but I didn't think it was actual labor. So I called the OB on call and she told me to go to the ER, and off we went. We got there and were ushered right in - it was nice to not have to wait. The nurse in the room couldn't find the baby on the monitors, or contractions. I was a little miffed at having to show her were to put the probes. I went into the bathroom to get a urine sample for them and an OB resident came in to give me my exam - 3 cm and 100% effaced she said. Huh?

Next thing I know I'm being wheeled up to labor and delivery and given a steroid shot and magnesium sulfate for the baby. Over the next 38 hours I would be in the trendelenburg position (feet over head), get an epidural (which would be topped off 3 times - the max), drink water (illegally), get one more steroid shot, get morphine, not sleep and wait, patiently for 'something' to happen. I saw a dozen nurses, my maternal medicine doctor and 3 of the OBs from my OB group. I don't recall talking to a neonatologist but Shawn recalls someone coming into the room to say that if she was born that night (Saturday) he would be taking care of her - nothing else from them, which I am still a bit upset about.

At one point, Sunday night, Shawn left to go home to sleep. At 5 AM the nurses called him back to the hospital as I was 10 cm. - I was so looped up at this point that I really don't recall much about her birth. I remember the contractions breaking through the epi and they concentrated on my hip, which was very painful. I also remember one nurse holding one leg, and Shawn holding the other - awkwardly, so much so I wanted to tell one of the nurses to hold my leg up for me. When she was born, in 3 pushes, after an episiotomy I just leaned back in exhaustion and the nurses and doctors had to tell me to look at her. I couldn't believe it was over. She didn't scream - which was very scary. They wisked her into the next room and we heard her cry, very quietly, in there. It would be almost 90 minutes until they would wheel me down (still on the bed) to the NICU to see her, I remember nothing about that 90 minutes other than the food they seemed to wheel in almost immediately after everyone left. I don't even remember any of them leaving the room - all I remember was being sewn up and then everyone was gone - leaving Shawn and I to wonder what happened to her. It was scary.

So needless to say, this year will start off better for her than last year (or any year in the future, for that matter) did.

Today my mother in law and I drove Arianna up to the Shoppes at Blackstone Valley in Millbury. We went to Stride Rite and got her a pair of sneaker and white sandles for the summer, then to Michaels so I could spend some money on some scrapbooking supplies, then to babies r us to get toys for Arianna, then to lunch at Round Robin (best burgers around!), then to Carter's for more clothes, then to Baby Gap to find jeans and jeans shorts, then finally wrapping up at Cold Stone creamery for some ice cream. Arianna suprised us both by eating an entire scoop of vanilla!

The day finished at Kidz Adventure Cuts where Arianna had her first haircut. Unfortunately this meant she finished her birthday in tears:

I think she's learned a valueable lesson though - even on your birthday, something will happen to make you cry. In order to appreciate the sunny days you need rain.

I hope that the rest of her life contains more sunny days than rain.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Wicked Witch of the West

Shawn's mother, Sarah, arrived from CA Saturday night.

I chose this picture very much in jest as I love my mother-in-law very much; usually more than my own mother.

Her flight arrived at 9:48 PM and as Arianna would be in bed Shawn went alone to pick her up. They got to the house about 10:30 and of course, she made a beeline to Arianna's room to check in on her, even though she'd be fast asleep. I think it took alot of will power to keep her from grabbing the sleeping angel out of bed and scooping her into her arms!

Having Sarah here is very much a wonderful treat for all of us. She's the type of person that you love to be around - she'll do everything! She's bubbly, personable, friendly and always happy. She wants to keep Arianna occupied 24/7 (which is fine by us!) and she started Sunday morning with gifts of money for all 3 of us ($100 a piece!!) . She's just that type of person.

After Arianna's party Sarah kept her busy while we cleaned up and even rocked her to sleep. Shawn had gone to Newbury Comics and spent his gift on some vinyl, CDs and a copy of the second season of "The Bob Newhart Show" (ya, I'm a little confused by that too). So while Sarah was putting the baby to bed Shawn was able to watch his videos and I was able to finish my scrapbook swap - it was like a mini vacation.

The best part of all? She's sending us to a hotel Thursday night. We're going out to dinner and a movie (which we haven't done in over a year) and sleeping in devine comfort and waking in peace in a hotel room. I'm sure we'll find some moment of fun in the hotel room too! Words can't describe how much I'm looking forward to this. I definitely think we'll find new appreciation for each other there.

I only wish we could see her more often! We love being spoiled too!

Bigger Annoyances

Yep... the little annoyance has become a much bigger annoyance, in the form of a sinus infection. Fun!

I've actually never had one before so I wasn't sure thats what it was, but on the ride up to Foxboro to pick up Arianna I thought I'd do the only 'test' I know - press on my cheekbones and see if they hurt. Yep, a dull pain that lasts for quite a few minutes. So I pick her up and head home. Shawn and I had decided to order a pizza for dinner so we could maxamize our 'house cleaning time' - so after he ordered the pizza (which would take an hour to get delivered) I went to the Urgent Care clinic in Lincoln.

I really like the area we live in. I love Lincoln - its a yuppy town. I like yuppy because at least you know you get people that care about how they look and act. Unlike Cranston.

Our apartment in Cranston was great for us. It was HUGE and was close to the highway. It was great for us when we were DINKs (dual-income, no kids) as we could jump in the car and go and still have a nice big apartment for the entertaining we rarely did (but had big aspirations to... of course). But the downside was that we were on the Providence line (shared a zipcode) and had the highway in our front yard. A little after 4 months of living there Shawn's car was broken into and someone stole the radio. Down the street was one of the most popular restaurants in the state and the traffic (especially in the summer) was horrendous. The house next door was owned by the City as city housing, and after the 10 year tenants left a woman with two kids moved in that had a boyfriend who was obnoxious and loud. Our lack of privacy was astounding. Plus, at 27 years old I was ready for something to call my own.

Cumberland has fit the bill nicely, and frankly I really like being a yuppy.

I was the only person at the urgent care clinic, the entire visit was less than 10 minutes. I dropped off my zithromax perscription at the pharmacy and was home just as the pizza delivery guy was leaving.

The best part of all was that Arianna was down for bed as I got home - dinner in peace. Its strange what being a yuppy parent has made me appreciate.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Audiology and Early Intervention

Arianna had her follow up hearing exam on Thursday. During the exam they put the kids in a 'sound booth' (seated on moms lap) and put special headphones on them. One audiologist sits outside the booth and speaks into a microphone that goes to the kids earphones and one sits in front of the kid and shows them toys to keep their attention. Then a sound is made and a box with a moving toy lights up to see how they react to it. Arianna did well this time, down to 30 dbs. Which is normal speaking range. They want to see her down to 15 dbs. which would be a whisper. As usual her tymph-ography? was flat meaning she has a ton of fuid in her ears. Poor kid has had a stuffy head for months - usually resulting in an ear infection (but none since we pulled her out of daycare), so they mentioned tubes again... and I'm not sure why I'm so reluctant. No, I do know why I'm so reluctant - its surgery and it involves punturing my daughters eardrum (which could result in damaged hearing), two things I don't want happening to her. We have never given Arianna any medicine of any kind, but when she goes to her pediatrician next week I think we're going to ask for a decongestant - we have to try something, I really want to avoid surgery.

Her early intervention caseworker came by later in the day and I was all excited to show her how Arianna was so much more mobile than the month previous. Crawling, somewhat, backwards and walking with support. She did notice that Arianna drags her right foot into place though - I attributed it to the shoes she was wearing but she's continued to do that. I am hoping its just something that will go away as she gets more used to walking. Her caseworker, Wendy, is still looking for a physical therapist for Arianna, I guess this office doesn't have any 'in house' and they contract with the hospital in the area - no, not the children's hopsital (the logical guess), but a local general hospital; and you have to go there for the sessions. Not too condusive to a working mother huh? Especially when its in the opposite direction of the house from her daycare and my work. So I hope we can avoid having to do PT at all...

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Little Annoyances

My nose is annoying to me the last few days.

Now, in addition to waking up and having to empty a box of Puffs Plus, my nose is painfully annoying.

It feels like someone tried to mummify me in my sleep. Its constantly burning and feels like I have a red hot poker stuck in there.

I'm sitting here at work, and my day has consisted of the following:

1. Code a little
2. Snort saline likes its my crack addiction
3. Document my code
4. See 2.
5. Code a little
6. See 4.

I want relief!! If someone find its please send it via email ASAP!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Winter blues?

Arianna is with grandma and grandpa today - she's charming them, as always. She was grumpy this morning, and didn't eat her breakfast until it would nearly be classified as lunch (11:00 am). But my dad is loving her to bits now that he has the week off from work.

My mom went to the doctor today for her cold. Diagnosis: sinus infection and bronchitis. Courtesy of the cute ball of germs. Shawn and I have stuffy noses too - I should take stock in Puffs Plus!

Would you believe she fell asleep at 7:15 PM last night and slept through 'til 6 AM this morning? Thats probably why she was grumpy this morning though. We'll have to be better about her naps I guess.

I'm slowly draining the supply. I'll be lucky to get 4 bottles total today. I've only been pumping 2 or 3 times a day vs. the 5 I had been doing. Good thing we're almost done. I think we'll be doing some whole milk/breastmilk mixing a little earlier than anticipated. I really hope it goes ok. She has reflux and constipation type issues so I hope this transition goes well, I really don't want to put her on formula - for some reason formula seems so wrong, like a poison to give a kid...

Monday, March 05, 2007

Southwick Zoo

Yesterday Shawn and I went to Wrights Farms with our friends Steve and Sandy. We ate like kings and Sandy and I bought some fudge in the gift shop to take back to their house. I rode back with Sandy and Shawn with Steve.

Sandy is the bird handler at Southwick's Zoo - it was actually where she was just prior to meeting us at the restaurant. I always love to hear her talk about her job and all the neat different animals. Personally I've never been to Southwick's but its close and told her how I'd love to take Arianna (who was spending that day with grandma and grandpa - away from all the germs at the restaurant) in the summer. So we took a detour on the way home - to the zoo!

The zoo isn't open this time of year, but they have year round staff to tend to the animals. She drove right into the zoo and parked at the barn. We went into the first door which led to her birds. Lots of beautiful birds there! Macaws, hawks, parrots. Beautiful birds! These birds have also done quite a bit to Sandy - one bit her thumb so bad they thought she would lose it, another bit her arm and gave her a horrible blood infection - so you have to be careful! I opted to leave them alone. Next to the birds were the marsupials - kangaroos and a few others I can't remember. Then we went up stairs to the primate section. We are greated by 5 spider monkeys! They are so cool!!! I want one! They have various other monkeys and baboons - they're all so cool. In the back they had some African porcupines (I got a quill!) and some of the biggest turtles I have every seen that weren't sea turtles. Then as we were leaving we stopped in the giraffe pen and I got to climb the ladder to see them - they are beautiful! Then out the back door to see the moutain goats, donkeys and peacocks! It was such a cool trip! I'm looking forward to going back in the summer when its warmer!

After we picked up Arianna we went to Home Depot and BJs. Shawn picked up the carpet pad and some caulking for the basement window and a down spout extender for the gutter. I went into BJs to see about ordering some party platters for Arianna's birthday on Sunday -but they don't do that there. Oh well!

In bed by 10 PM and woke up at 7 AM. Today has been adventurous so far - Ari is in constant need of attention so its a miracle I'm sitting at the computer right now! She'll get a bath and a nap so I can get things done around the house and we're leaving about noon to go to the Wrentham Outlets to meet my friend Karen for lunch. I hope to find a dress for Arianna's birthday at the Carter's outlet!

Shawn has his second interview at a BIG lawfirm in Providence. It seems they have no issue with what he was asking for for pay, so I hope it goes well. It would be a nice pay bonus! Wish him luck!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Spring has Sprung?

It is surprisingly warm and sunny today - 63 degrees! I took advantage and dressed Arianna up real warm and we went for a walk around the neighborhood.

This was quite the change from yesterday where we got 3" of rain. When I pulled into the development I noticed a fire truck at one of the first homes on the road - they were pumping out the 'lake' that formed in their backyard. I got home and we were making dinner and I went downstairs to get the container of anti-bacterial wipes so I could wash down her high chair. I left them on the scrapbook table. So I head down stairs and turn into the 'game room'. Its a great big room with a nice new black carpet and its where the cedar closet, my scrapbooking area and Shawn road and radio stuff is - this is an important room... which was flooded. The carpet was soaked. I was making splish splash sounds as I walked... and I was pissed. Thankfully it was only a 5 x 5 foot area of the carpet, but still... now we would have to pull up the carpet and there may be untold damage!

I immediately got Shawn and we moved the remaining moving boxes out of that area. And I called my dad to see what we could do. He told me to check my homeowners policy and to bring the dehumidifier into that room and that he would be over with a 'shop vac' tomorrow.

The homeowners policy doesn't cover water damage in any form... figures! We left the dehumidifer running all night and there wasn't any change so the shop vac came in handy. My dad took a look around the house and told us that the down spout for the gutters is close to the foundation and with all the rain its possible that it flooded the foundation. There is a window near where the leak happened so that probably the culprit. We're heading to Home Depot tomorrow to get some sealant for a big crack we found leading from the window - that should be fun, digging out the front flower beds - and an extension for the downspout and new padding for the carpet. Luckily its vinyl tile under the carpet so we'll be able to clean up all the water pretty easily.

Gosh, I love being a homeowner!

Shawn is working on replacing the electrical recepticles today with a friend - we really don't want to use those outlet covers. I nearly took off a fingernail trying to get them off at a friends house. The new outlets are 'kid proof'. They accept regular plugs but nothing else... its expensive to replace them all but I think it'll be worth it.

Tomorrow we decided to splurge $20 and go out to lunch with some friends at Wrights Farm. We haven't been there in ages so I'm looking forward to it. Its 'all you can eat' salad, chicken, fries and pasta - if I load up on the chicken and salad I should be ok for my 'diet'.

So tomorrow it'll hit a new high of... 32... no wonder everyone is sick. Arianna goes to grandma and grandpas tomorrow while we go out. I'm just to scared to bring her anywhere - especially as her cold seem to be getting better. Still watching her nose though - its still dripping and if it starts to drain green she's probably got another ear infection, but we've got our fingers crossed she manages to miss it this time.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Finances 101

I have had a few people ask me about our debt reduction plan - so I thought I'd dedicate a post to it.

A few months after I became pregnant we started looking into daycares. Some coworkers had alot of trouble finding a daycare without a waiting list so we decided to look early. I was shocked at the price, it was like sticker shock. I started reading more and more about daycare and realized I would really just love to stay home with the baby.

After doing some research and going over our budget we realized we needed to pay off our bills first. Along the way I found Dave Ramsey(DR) and his Total Money Makeover (TMMO).

His financial solution includes 7 'baby steps' - and after reading his book and talking to people that subscribed to his ideals I began to realize just how easy it would be!

Step 1: $1,000 to start and emergency fund.

This is to cover any and all problems that may arise while you are paying off your debt. If you make under $20k make it $500 and over $80k make it $2000. We're a year in and we have yet to touch this. We put it in an ING account that generates 5.5% and its so neat to see our money make money for us!

Step 2: Pay off all debt using the debt snowball

The premise behind this is easy. Pay off all your debt (minus the mortgage). For a detailed description of the debt snowball please read here. It can be very confusing, but it really works!

When we got to this step I sat down with all our bills etc. and realized we had alot of debt. Between school loans, personal loans, car payments and credit cards we had $48,763.82 in debt! I couldn't believe it! How could we live in such denial for so long? How could we, two working people, have such a huge negative net worth? So, needless to say, staying home would not be an option until debt was paid off. Currently we have one credit card and the two, fairly new, cars to pay off - new total: $24,993.31. We have paid off $23,470.51 in one year - and that includes having a very premature baby and buying our first home. Thats looking pretty good to me! I'm very proud of us!

Step 3: Three to six months of expenses in savings

This will be a fun step, when we get to it at the end of the year. We will finally have savings! We won't touch it because the interest generated from 6 months of expenses will fund Arianna's college savings account! 6 months of expenses for us would be $25,576, which when placed in a 5.25% savings account will generate $1,406.69 in interest that we can put into Arianna's college savings (Step 5)! If we keep it there we can essentially fund her college education for FREE - how cool is that?!

Step 4: Invest 15% of household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement

When we started this debt reduction plan we stopped our retirement contributions in order to maxamize our debt payoff - this is a DR supported tactic. Since we would be in Step 2 for less than 24 months we decided this was the fastest way to get out of debt. Once we are done with step 3 (February of 2009) we will step our retirement contributions to 15%. This will be also be fun, building our net worth! WoO hOo!

Step 5: College Funding for children

Although Shawn and I are still currently deciding how much of our children's college education we will pay - we will plan to pay some of it. My parents were not prepared (nor willing) to help me with college and due to finances I had to drop out (but I returned later) and I don't want to put my children in that position.

Step 6: Pay off mortgage!

There are people who have paid off their mortgage in 15 years following TMMO. Because I live in New England and have such a HUGE mortgage, this is not a big priority for us. We would rather... live a little... and we do plan on purchasing a bigger home eventually. But we will, at least, pay one extra payment per year toward paying off the mortgage - this alone will take 6 years off your mortgage!

Step 7: Build wealth and give!

Sounds good to me!

I created a very elbatore excel spreadsheet to track everything - we have several savings accounts that I put money into for lots of 'expected bills' such as car tax, water bills, cat care etc. I've never had money put aside for things like that before!

In addition we now follow a 'zero based budget'. This means that every single dollar we make is given a home. We follow a strict budget and stick to it. We also went to 'all cash' to avoid mistakes. We pay cash for everything - I use my debit card once a week, at the ATM to get cash! haha We cut up our credit cards and don't use them anymore - and won't get new ones! (*gasp* I know it sounds crazy!) I actually feel guilty using my debit card - this plan has changed the way we look at money and has literally changed our relationship - we don't fight over money anymore and we are so positive about our financial future! Today, for instance, is Friday - payday and I will go to the bank and take out cash for what we need to buy this week; Gas for the cars and Groceries. We will spend NO other money. This week I am also taking $5 so I can have coffee with my friend Karen.

We don't spend ANYTHING outside of the budget. It took a while to get both Shawn and myself on the same page, but now that we are we're crusin'! We follow a strict plan and don't have spending money but we know its only temporary and that when we are out of debt we will not only be doing so much better than 90% of people our age but we will be 1000% better than where we were when we started - and that is going to feel so much better than buying 'stuff'.

This plan has changed our lives. We know exactly where we are - no more paying bills late, no more bouncing checks and no more hoping and praying we can pay the utilities/mortgage/car payments. I can't help but scream from the roof top about how Dave Ramsey has impacted our lives - its absolutely amazing. I believe ANYONE can benefit from his advice. His radio show (which you can access from his website or on a radio station near you) runs every day and is incredible uplifting and motivating!

Ok now, at least, my family/friends know why we can't go out to dinner! LOL!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Time to focus on me

I've been in a real funk the last month or so. Arianna and her 'issues' were getting overwhelming for a while. She still has a bad cold and we're still on house arrest - she goes no where (yet still manages to get sick!) and I need something new to focus on.

We've been focusing on finances for so long that I need a new motivator. So why not work on weight... *sarcasm* cause I've never concentrated on that before . *end sarcasm* In reality I haven't been as diligent as I should be. Since gong part time, in order to keep up with our debt reduction plan, we slashed all extras - including my personal trainer Andrew, who I had been working out with for almost 2 years (minus pregnancy). Since then I've put on five pounds and feel super frumpy. So I'm setting a new goal to lose 20 lbs. This of course, is nothing compared to the 70 lbs. I lost while on the optifast diet. But I'm not willing to let my weight get up 220 again, so that I can qualify for the diet (oh god, shoot me like a dead horse if I get anywhere near 200 again). Also, the fact that I spent almost $2k on it is not an option - so I'm going to have to do it myself, and there is no reason why I can't!

When I go back to work full time in April we will join the YMCA and I can get back to exercising at least 3 days a week but in the mean time I can watch what I eat - which has been seriously lacking lately.

I have really needed a new 'thing' to focus on, and its about time it was me for a change! I've started a new blog to help me stay motivated, you can read it here.

Wish me luck!