Tuesday, July 31, 2007

We're really moving

It has finally been hitting me the last couple of days that we are going to be moving out in less than two weeks. In fact, two weeks from today will be our closing day. Eek! And we are moving in WITH TIM'S PARENTS! Many people have asked me if we are insane. My answer has been no, we just didn't have any other choice, but now I am beginning to feel the answer is YES, we are insane, although there really isn't any other choice at this point. I was pretty depressed yesterday morning just thinking about it. We did some packing yesterday afternoon, although there is still so much more to go. The sales guy at our new neighborhood said that if they got curbs up to our house Friday, we would be on the start list for this week. They didn't because it rained again Friday and Saturday, most of the day if I remember correctly. The curbs are two houses away! It's very discouraging. I have no clue when we will get started since we didn't make the curb deadline. I sure hope it's not like, "yeah, we're going to completely finish those houses, then we'll start yours." I mean, some of those houses aren't even in Phase 1 like ours is supposed to be!

So no more bitching for now, I think it's time for Stella's snack.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Slapdash 4 is well under way!

So I've finished my first draft of my script for Slapdash and I need a little break. Sleepiness is already taking hold even though it's only 10 to 2. I can't wait for 3 when we get to all share our scripts and hopefully I'll get a couple of new ideas from the other folks. So far it's already shaping up to be another exciting year, full of curve balls.

First, we got to the theatre a little after 9, only to discover that the water was off. Bill called Blake and he assured us that they were doing construction in the area and they'd been turning the water off interminently. He said they usually knock on the door first, but probably because it was late at night they'd figured no one was there and had just turned it off. About midnight, Brandon called to check and see when the water would be turned back on. Maybe he'd just floated a big one he needed to flush down or something, he didn't say. The city said that the water had been turned off for non-payment. WHAT????!!!!! So there was momentary panic and total loss of what we'd been doing. For some reason it was decided I would call Blake, but then Travis pointed out that perhaps we could ask someone in LGT that was not trying to finish a script in 3 hours to call him and handle it. So I called poor Bill and I believe woke him up and asked him to harrass Blake. He did and called me back to say that Blake had sworn up and down that he had paid the bill and that he would call the city and get it taken care of. So hopefully by the morning when we have 23 additional people showing up, there will be working toilets. I shudder to think if not. Well, it's always something around here I suppose. At least it wasn't the electricity!

Paul also told Tim he needed a laptop, but Tim neglected to pass the word along, so when Paul spoke up at 10pm, there was a mad dash to call Ian who saved the day once again by swinging by with his laptop.

It's really weird writing surrounded by posters of all these gay male porn stars. Okay, we're not literally surrounded by them since we're in the theatre and it's not like the walls are plastered with them in here, but out in the hall there are super-pecs all over the place. I picked up a book in the lobby called "Eye Candy" with a young man with a peppermint in his mouth and as soon as I opened it I was assaulted with some man business, taking up nearly an entire page. Oh my goodness!

Well, I suppose I should go back to trying to do rewrites. It's tedious, but I know that if I have the time I really should keep re-tweaking. It will only make the script better. It's a short script, only 8 and a half pages, but I just don't think I can make it longer without adding filler. I just peaked at Tim's screen and he has 17 pages, so I guess I can balance him out!

More Eyes stuff

This day is all about eyes. Stella can now say "eye". She can't point to them, like she can her mouth, nose, belly and my mouth, nose and belly, but she can say eye. Very cute.

The Eyes have it

Or rather, we have the eyes. I just checked the electric eyes on the garage door and not only are they present, but they are working. I put boxes in the way and the garage door would not go down at all.

In other news, I lost 2.8 pounds this week! I'm now up to 15 pounds over all, and only 9 pounds away from being at my pre-pregnancy weight. Whoo-hoo!

I've had a lot of people ask me about Weight Watchers and whether I would recommend it. I just want to say that yes, I would, wholeheartedly. It is not about just eating a certain type of food, it's about changing your diet and lifestyle to be more healthy. AND you have an extra allowance each week that you can spend on whatever your weakness is (I usually blow mine on chocolate, beer and wine). I think it's good to go to the meetings, too, because that weigh-in is such an inspiration to stay "on program". So that's my spiel and I swear I haven't been paid anything by WW to say it:)

Why, exactly, would we want to do that?

Well, we had the inspection day before yesterday and they are sending over an amendment this morning with some "minor fixes". Boy is this guy cheap. He says the sink drains in the downstairs and master baths aren't draining. Fine, I'll go buy $3.00 worth of draino or plunger it for free and fix it. He says that there is some weatherstripping problems around the garage door. Fine, I'll spend $4 bucks maximum on caulk and fix it. Then he says that we are missing the electric eyes that detect if someone is passing under the garage door. That is ridiculous, they are totally there and there is no way in hell I'm paying someone for more. Nuh uh. And the last, and this is the big one, is that apparently he says there is a place where "vermin" are getting in the attic. Vermin? I don't have no freakin' vermin, a-hole!

Well, this guy's deadline to cancel was last night at midnight, so I asked our realtor, point blank, what incentive do we have to fix this stuff? And he said, well this buyer could drop dead tomorrow and then we have to put it back on the market another buyer would find the exact same stuff. And I said, well then, why don't we just wait to see if it has to go back on the market to fix it and he said to fix it would create "good will with the buyer." Is this guy looking out for my interests or the buyers? What the hell do I care if I have good will with the buyer? He is getting our house for nearly $10k less than our original asking price, and he insulted me with an initial offer $13k below our reduced asking price. Why doesn't he spend some of that money he's saving to fix the "vermin problem." I really cannot believe that he is expecting us to fix this stuff. What an cheap a-hole. And I can't believe, even more, that our realtor is expecting us to fix it! Let the buyer spend several hundred dollars on getting a pest control guy out here!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

More cute Stella Moments

Stella pointed at her little stuffed elephant that Mindy and Seth gave her that has a finger puppet flower and a finger puppet butterfly while we were cuddling after her nap. I took the elephant down and took the flower finger puppet off of his hand. She immediately sniffed the flower! It was so cute. Then she held the flower to my nose so I could "smell" it. She thought that was incredibly amusing when I breathed in deeply to "smell" the flower and kept making me repeat it.

And now she's mastered zippers (see above photo). A big day for Stella!

The Worst Day so far in my life

Okay, lets do this. I need to blog about Friday July 13th, the day in which I went from never having had a bad Friday the 13th to feeling like this particular Friday the 13th was cursed.

Friday evening Tim and I were going to eat dinner and see a play while his parents watched Stella. We were really excited to see Buttons and Bows, as it had been recommended by Brandon and gotten a great review, not to mention it sounded awesome. Unfortunately, our plans were derailed when we got a message from Tim's mom to call her, about half an hour after she called. She said that Gideon (their dog) had bitten Stella and we needed to come home to get her and take her to the ER. That was the hardest and longest 15 minute drive of my life. Tim assured me his parents were probably overreacting and it "wasn't that bad". Uh, wrong.

We got there and there was a huge ugly gash in Stella's ear and a puncture wound on her neck. I just broke down crying and held her for a few minutes. I felt guilty, like I hadn't been spending enough time with her and it was all my fault, which wasn't true of course, but you just feel so responsible as a mom. Tim's parents had been right there when it had happened, and Gideon had just been asleep and Stella startled him. We finally located an open Urgent Care Center and took her over there where, of course, after 45 minutes of waiting and being seen, they told us they couldn't treat her there. So we took her to the ER where they cleaned off the bites, put steri-strips in her ear and gave her her first dose of antibiotics. It was really difficult because we had to hold screaming and crying Stella down while Josh, the nice nurse, fixed her up. He was smart and wore ear plugs. He was really good at it and was gentle and sweet and as quick as he could be. We also had to meet with a social worker, which was not fun, but I think we convinced her that the dog acted really out of character with caregivers RIGHT THERE, not that we locked her up with a pit bull. That's so funny, too, so many people along the way have asked what kind of dog it was. It was a poodle mix for Pete's sake! So we finally get out of there about 10:30, go by Sonic for a desperately needed milkshake, and get Stella into bed about 11.

About 2am, Stella wakes up crying and Tim goes in, sees that she's sleeping on her hurt ear, and turns her over. Then almost immediately after he comes back to bed, I hear her crying really insistently, not like her at all. For some reason I just knew I needed to get in there right away. I fly out of bed and into her room and she's doing a full body twitch her in crib. So I pick her up and turn her over and I swear to you, I have never seen anything more horrifying in my life. Her eyes are rolled back and off to the side, she's staring at nothing and her breath is very fast. One leg and one arm are just jerking retracting and stretching, retracting and stretching (I can't explain it). I realize almost immediately she is having a seizure. I yell for Tim to come in, I have to say his name a few times before he gets in there, and I also say she's having a seizure. When he gets in the room, I tell him to call 911. I was sobbing, I thought it was a reaction to the antibiotic and I really thought my daughter was going to die. I hope no one ever has to go through that because there is nothing worse in the world. I laid her down on the floor and the 911 people told us not to hold her down or anything, just let her go. Those were the longest and hardest moments of my life as I prayed to God for her to be okay and just watched my child be completely unresponsible. Eventually, after about 3 minutes or so, she stopped. Tim was putting clothes on at the time, I'd already gone and gotten mine on, and he'd said that 911 said that once she'd stopped to roll her on her side, which I did. She was catatonic, and frothy drool came out of her mouth. She was still breathing fast. About a minute after the seizure stopped, the EMT's and fire men showed up. They were there almost instaneously, thank God. They immediately swarmed into her room and started putting an oxygen mask on her, checking her vitals. Her temperature was 103.2 and they said it had probably been a febrile seizure. She was still nonresponsive until they pricked her to start an IV. She started crying, it was the sweetest sound I've ever heard in my life, right up there with the first time I heard her cry after she was born. They asked me a ton of questions, which was wonderful, because it kept me from going absolutely crazy. They carried her out, then tied her carseat into the stretcher and loaded her into the ambulance. I rode in the ambulance while poor Tim drove behind. They checked her Temp again rectally in the ambulance and it was 104.5. They gave her Tylenol and she finally started to look around a bit. She had this oxygen mask on her and all these wires on her tiny little body. They took off her pants (they'd already taken off her top in the house), and she was just this tiny little diapered baby. While they got everything ready to go, I started to think, "Oh, my God, what if she has brain damage? Do I want her to not survive if she has brain damage? What kind of life will she have?" These were the thoughts running through my head, the sort of conversation with God I was having in my head. Terrible, terrible stuff. And I actually realized on the way to the hospital that she probably was going to survive, what kind of shape would she be in? As we were pulling up to the hospital, one of the EMT's in the back with me asked me if I had any questions and I asked about her having any long lasting effects. He said that the chance of brain damage was basically non-existent. She didn't stop breathing, her seizure lasted less than 5 minutes and she was responding normally. He said basically now the worry was what was underlying the fever. I was so relieved. So relieved.

We went into the hospital and a nurse took Stella to be weighed and her temp taken while I registered. Her temp was already down to 102.3 and they gave her motrin to bring it down further. Then we waited. And waited. I thought perhaps coming in an ambulance would get you faster service at a hospital, but that is not the case. Of course, they prioritize the patients by the severity of the case, which is totally fine and the way they should do it. It's just hard when you are waiting with a child who has had hardly any sleep and lots of things poked in her all night.

After the waiting room where we watched some truly awful episodes of Roseanne, we got in a room. The doc said her fever was most likely due to a viral infection and had nothing to do with the dog bite. They took some blood since she had an IV, an xray and it took 4 different nurses 4 different tries to get a catheter in her, it was awful. She was so worn out that we were holding her while she slept and if we moved a muscle she woke up and started sobbing. Finally, about 6:30, we were done and headed home. We were all exhausted. The fever continued at about 100-100.8 until Monday morning, with us treating it with ibruprofen. We saw an associate of our pediatrician, since she was full, Monday, and that woman thought it was related to the dog bite, Stella's body fighting off infection. She also said, as I believe the ER doc had said, that the seizure was probably due to the fact that the fever came on so fast. She'd had her temp taken at the Urgent Care Center and the ER earlier in the evening and it had been normal, so the fever rose extremely quickly. She gave us a stronger dose of antibiotic and we went on our way.

We had to see our regular pedi again Thursday because there was some pus in the puncture wound and she gave us yet a stronger antibiotic, and antibiotic cream to apply topically. Luckily, everything is healing nicely and Stella is back to her regular self. Gideon has been given to a nice missionary family in Dallas who have older kids, and while we're sad that we won't have him around anymore, we are SO happy that he gets a great new family. There was talk of putting him to sleep and that would have broken Tim and I's heart. Talk about a double tragedy!

Tim's take on the whole thing is here

The House

So I still haven't posted about Stella's trauma, I guess I just don't want to go there anymore, so I'll post about our house sale instead, which is traumatic enough. Our realtor presented the offer Saturday afternoon before last and, sure enough, it was insultingly low, about $13k below our asking price. So we countered almost in the middle, coming down more ourselves than having them come up, and they accepted. Of course, we tried to counter a 60 day close, but they insisted on the 30 day close. So we have to be out of here by August 14th. Of course, the guy buying our house is from California. And he SAYS he's relocating here, but you just know he's an investor and our beautiful house will be turned into a rental and I feel really sorry for our neighbors if that is the case.

The house inspection was this morning. Our realtor said it should take an hour to an hour and a half, so I came back after two hours and there was still a car parked out front. I circled the neighborhood, called the machine and there wasn't a message, and decided maybe it was someone visiting the neighbors. So I opened the garage to put boxes in that I had gotten from Tim's parents house and noticed there was a ladder in the walkway. Oops! So obviously they were still there and I hopped back in the car and went back to Tim's parents house.

Apparently Tim's Grandmother offered Tim's parents' her crack at a timeshare, which has to be used by October, so his Mom and I looking online at those. I'm really pulling for the beach, which is where Tim and I were planning on going anyway, so that we can split the week with them hopefully and save some money while staying in a nice place. Tim's Mom, though, kind of wants a place in the hill country so that Tim's Dad can commute to work from there if he has a job by then. We'll just have to see what happens! We'd be happy to split some time in the hill country too if it's only $200 for the whole week!

I'm pissed at our real estate agent again, though. I went to his office to drop off some paperwork this morning and some guy copied stuff for me and said that he'd talked to Paul and they only needed the copy of something they had asked for. Then I get home and lo and behold, the closing guy emails me to say that they need the original. So I called Paul to bitch and he totally blamed it on the nice guy who did him a favor and copied the stuff for me! Can you believe it? I hate it when people don't accept blame. Just accept blame and apologize, even if it's not your fault, don't give me excuses. And he didn't even offer to come pick it up from me. So I have to go back up there this afternoon. Tim said, "I'm glad he's only getting 3% off of us!" I agree, although I think that's why he's not doing as much work for us, since he's not getting that other 3% off a house we buy.

So keep your fingers crossed that the inspection doesn't turn up anything we need to repair. This guy has so low balled us that we are not going to pay for any of his repairs, but I have a feeling he's a nickel and dimer. The option period ends tomorrow at midnight, so we'll see what happens between now and then!

Monday, July 23, 2007

I Cheated-

On my hairstylist, that is. And I don't feel bad at all! I went to Tamara at Innu**, Ashley's hairstylist, who gave her a fabulous pixie cut and only charges $30 BUCKS! Yes, you read that right, that is not a typo, she only charges $30. And she spent an entire hour with me making sure my cut was perfect, that I had what I wanted and that I knew how to style it. She spent twice as long with me as my old hairstylist and charged half as much. Plus they'll do a recut if you don't like anything or trim your hairline or bangs inbetween cuts FOR FREE! I went with an asymmetrical* cut - Tim, you better be happy;) It turned out really well. Now I just need to dye it. It was also nice to be able to understand her perfectly (my old hairstylist was from Taiwan and I sometimes would just smile and nod because I couldn't understand what she was saying), and she didn't feel the need to talk the entire time or pressure me to have another baby-like Betty, my old stylist. And now I can actually get my hair cut when it needs it, instead of waiting at least 8 weeks because I feel guilty spending all that dough. Yay!
I do feel a bit guilty that Betty will think I died or something, but I'm sure she'll get the hint that her last price raise from $48 to $60 was what did it.
*It's only slightly asymmetrical right now because it wasn't quite long enough to do anything dramatic. We're going to grow it out to be asymmetrical, me and Tamara-together.
**If you use my name as your referral, after 3 referrals I'll get a free travel sized product. So please do that!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Stop Kiss

Let's just blog about this past week backwards, shall we? Last night and this afternoon I did a reading of Stop Kiss at Sam Bass. No one came and saw it, unfortunately, but the 9 people who did see it (for free I might add), really liked it. And I totally fell in love with my character by the end of it. I can't wait for Spring when Karen does it for Different Stages. I'm going to audition and totally camp out on Karen's front porch until she lets me play Callie again. Of course, she may be a wee sick of me since she'll also be directing me as Patsy in Little Murders shortly before that, but we'll see. I've got charm to spare, lemme tell you;)

We also went out after the reading last night and had a B-L-A-S-T! I'm telling you, the Round Rock TGI Friday's didn't know what hit them. It was me, Frank, Jennie, Karen, Irene (visiting from Tennessee), Keith, Julie with the curly hair and Tim, and we just totally theatre geeked out. And politicked out too. I love those folks, gotta' make sure to see them more often!

I'm Back in Business!

Me dropping my new laptop like it's hot. Did I mention it has a webcam?
I am typing this blog on my brand new laptop! I couldn't take it anymore and gave in and got a new one. I knew my adoring fans were just waiting with baited breath to find out what Julie and her clan were up to, and I needed to be able to post at any time without having to worry about Stella destroying the office or turning off the monitor every 2 seconds.

After a little debate and some research on Tim's part, I got an HP with 2 GB of Ram and a 160 GB hard drive. It actually originally came with only 1 GB of Ram, but Tim convinced me to get that extra gig. And he actually talked me through installing it. In fact, I bought this laptop pretty much on my own since Tim was chasing Stella all over CompUSA. I feel like such a geek:) And I mean that as a good thing!

Of course, I may wind up with burns on my palms from this thing. It is H-O-T! And I don't mean that like, "I am Paris Hilton and I am HOT!" but more like, "call the fire department, this thing is on fire!" Tim tells me this is due to the Centrino Duo processor. Unfortunately, like I said, I didn't do the research on this thing, I left it up to Tim, so perhaps it serves me right if it is too hot to type on. Sigh, you just can never get the perfect thing, can you?

But it is very pretty. The outside is black and glossy and has these really subtle grey waves on it. I wanted a red one from Dell, but it was more expensive and, besides, I wouldn't have had it in my hot little hands (ha!) immediately like I do now. I also considered dropping some serious dough on an IBook, but I played around with Tim's Mom's which her shady Russian friend bought her and I decided the screen was too small and web browsing bit. So despite the fact that I would be "cooler" if I had it, and the fact that I was totally in love with the PhotoBooth program on it, I decided to save about $350 or so bucks and get this guy. This baby gets to REALLY flex its muscles next Friday night at Slapdash 4. Hopefully it will make me proud like my old laptop at Slapdash 3 (R.I.P.) and the previous laptops that I borrowed for Slapdashes 1 and 2.

Lots and lots and lots has gone down in the last week and I will update in subsequent posts. I just feel like each one of these earthshattering developments deserves its own post!

In the meantime, anybody want a grilled cheese? I can heat it up right here on my keyboard!

Friday, July 13, 2007

An offer.

Notice there is no exclamation point at the end there. Our agent called today to tell me that we had an offer, but not to get excited, it's low. And unfortunately we won't find out until tomorrow at 2:30 what is is because of our agent's busy schedule and our busy schedule. But we'll see what happens!

And on a completely unrelated note, you can't buy fancy dresses at this time of year. Don't even bother trying. You can find a few sun dresses marked down to next to nothing, but nothing with lots of tulle like I want for Stella's pictures which we are FINALLY getting taken next Saturday. I totally have this picture of her in my head toddling around for pictures with barefeet and a cute little fancy dress and her hair in the Pebbles hair clip. Guess I should have done that in April and not waited until July. Oh, well, I still have hope. I'm going to visit the resale shops in the next week and see what I can find. And I already bought two sundresses, either of which would be adorable if I can't find anything fancy. If anyone knows of secret places full of ballerina style dresses, please send them my way!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Update is that there is no update

So I finally got around to emailing our Newmark salesperson that we call "Andy" because he looks (and acts) like Andrew McCarthy of such fine 80's cinema as Pretty in Pink, Less than Zero, Mannequin and of course, Weekend at Bernie's. This is Andy's response:

"Yes it does feel like we are moving at a snails pace currently. Just to give you a little update since we are finally moving again. They started to install the gas lines down Amur and they will continue with this until they go down Independence. They are supposed to be done by Friday. If that is the case then we will start to install curbs shortly after this. Once we do get curbs down then we will start building houses again. I would have to estimate your guys house being complete in November to December. That would be a safe estimate. We will be able to give a little better idea of dates once we get to actually start building again and they are put on a regular schedule. I will be able to start sending you guys regular updates at that point."

So they are not even building houses anymore? WTF? I emailed him because Tim and I were considering whether we should take our house off the market, but honestly, I don't think either of us have the stomach for that. To go through the whole rigamarole again would just be too much. Plus, Tim heard that ARM rates may be going up again, so there may be more foreclosures and we don't want our price to drop further. Sigh. I am sick of running out of the house in a mad scramble, but of course being able to hold on to our house as long as possible would be great too. We may try to get an apartment, although I don't know if it's even possible to lease an apartment for that short of a time. It's just that's a long time to live with Tim's parents.

I cannot believe we are going through the house building thing again AND it's going to take even longer than this one did. Although we feel better about it actually because at least we're prepared, we know in advance what we're in for. Honestly, I just want to be in by Christmas. Stella will actually be aware of things this Christmas and I would hate for her to have to celebrate it at someone's else's house or in an apartment. But we just really love this house and think it's worth waiting for. I still hope that they speed things up a lot and once the roads are in rush to get our house completed with the ones around it. I mean, how much will it suck for our neighbors to have a house being built right next door?

All that said, if a mid-century modern house comes on the market for the right price and the right area, I'm sure we could be lured away;)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Monkey See, Monkey Do

They say Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery...

Oh, funny little story. A woman at JCPenney's yesterday who was in line behind me said (referring to Stella), "wow, you can tell she's yours she looks just like you! She's like a little mini-you." It was really funny. It was also weird because she reminded me so much of my cousin Stephanie except that the woman was black. It was like the black model of my cousin. Weird.

More House whining

So no one has seen our house since Friday.

Oh, nevermind, I just got a call for a showing today between 5 and 6. Hopefully it will go well. We dropped our price Friday and got a slew of calls, then nothing Saturday and not a single soul at our open house Sunday, mostly because due to a computer error at his company which I'm not sure I believe, it wasn't posted on the MLS or the realtor's site.

Oh, sweet, I just checked and not only is our open house this sunday already up on the mls, BUT our nearest competitor is now pending. Which leaves us as the cheapest house in the neighborhood by $10k. We're also the smallest, but we were before too. Also, we're the only one that's not vacant, other than the one that is $21k more than us.

Okay, nevermind, this isn't a house whining post. It's an optimistic (and a bit scared) post that we'll have an offer soon! Of course, I shouldn't get too excited since our new neighborhood still doesn't have roads and our house is a slab of concrete, but I'm just so sick of this whole house selling business. We'll see how things go!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Cute Stella Moments

Right now Stella is sitting on the floor near me playing her xylophone. It is so cute! And a few minutes ago, she kept closing her door when I left her room. So when I came back I'd knock and open the door a bit and then she'd pull it all the way open with a big grin like she was letting me in to her house. Earlier this morning she was actually trying to put books BACK on her bookshelf, as opposed to just taking them off. Unfortunately, she couldn't quite get them on there. It was weird, she kind of just held them up there, I can't quite explain it.

We went to Houston this weekend and had loads of fun, even though we were super-busy seeing as many people as possible (we still missed out seeing people we'd really like to, but there are only so many hours in the day!) Yesterday we went over to Paul and Racheal's and FINALLY met their little 4 month old Gabriel. He was so beautiful and sweet. He was really smiley and fun. Stella also got to play with their 2 and a half year old, Eliana, which was adorable to watch. I can't believe how grown-up Eliana is. She was talking in complete sentences to me and I could actually understand what she was saying! It was really funny because I asked her what her middle name was and she told me, then she asked me what mine was and I told her it was Denise and she said, "Your middle name can't be Denise, that's Mommy's middle name!" Like Racheal and I have to share it or something, there aren't enough Denise's to go around! But I couldn't help but tell them that they make some good-looking babies!

Well, Stella has already pulled nearly every book off the bookshelf, I knew the actual toys she has in here couldn't entertain her for long, so I'd better get to cleaning up and maybe actually jump in the shower. It is after 11am!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Parenting Survey from Katie

My sister-in-law posted these questions on her blog because she's gathering info to make decisions about whether she and her husband should have children or not. Of course, I selfishly, want her to:), but promise to answer the questions truthfully. We'll see how many we get done before Stella wakes up!

General parenting:
Did you always want to be a parent?
If you didn't, when and why did you change your mind?

Do you ever regret becoming a parent?
No. There are times when I wouldn't mind one day of "before", but I adore Stella too much to say I regret having her.

Would you recommend being a parent to someone else? Why or why not?
I think that is a decision everyone has to make for themselves. I think if you want to become a parent and are in a strong relationship and stable financially, spiritually, mentally and physically, then yes, go for it! You'll never be completely "ready", you just have to be as ready as you think you can be.

Who raised you? Do you think that your parents/primary caregivers were a good or bad example of parenting? How has this helped or hindered you in being the kind of parent you are/want to be?
My parents raised me, they've been married for 35 years. They were and are awesome parents and I am REALLY fortunate to have always have had a great relationship with them. Even as a teenager I enjoyed hanging out with them. Seriously! Although my father and I have argued about politics and school and stuff, I do have to admit. But mostly that was when I was a teenager. I think having them as models has been great for both having a wonderful marriage and being a parent.

What do you wish someone had told you before you became a parent?
Babies go to bed early. Like 8! So you can't go to parties and drag them along. Who knew?

Work/home life:
Do you consider parenting your vocation? Do you have another/other vocation(s)?
I am a full time Mom, but I'm also an Actress/director/writer. I would consider theatre my vocation and Mom who I am, if that makes sense?

Is staying home with your children something that you do currently/did/want to do/not want to do? Why or why not?
Always wanted to do it, feel so fortunate I can. I would not have wanted to become a mother if I couldn't stay home with my children. People always asked after Stella was born "when are you going back to work?" Uh, when all my children go to school? MAYBE if I have to!

How do you fulfill your needs, hopes, dreams, ambitions, etc. while caring for those of your children?
Leave Stella with Tim at night sometimes so I can go see plays and continue to serve on the theatre board I'm on. Leave Stella with Tim so I can act in plays.

Are your friends/family/community supportive of your choices in terms of work and family? How does this affect you?
Yes. My husband never makes me feel like he's the one working and it's "his" money. It's ours and my job is as important as his.

Is your workplace supportive of the demands that parenting places on your life? n/a

What do you wish you had from others to support your parenting of your children?
I wish Tim could work from home more so on crazy days I'd have backup and get to see more of him:)

Do you have a spouse/partner? Did you when you began parenting? Same partner the entire time?
Yes, Yes, Yes

Did your spouse/partner want to have children? As much/more/less than you?
Yes. At first the same, then as it got closer, I think he had to be cajoled into it a bit:)

How has parenting changed your relationship? Has it strengthened? Weakened? Was this change permanent?
Hmm... We've always had a really strong relationship. It's different, but not worse or better. Things were very difficult when Stella was very small, I will admit. So in that way I guess they were weaker for a while.

How do you divide parenting responsibilities?
Tim does everything I do, other than nursing, which obviously I was on my own for for a while there! Tim does baths, like Kelli's husband does, because I was terrified of Stella drowning when she was an infant. It's also easier for him because his long arms easily reach into the tub. Oh, I brush her teeth, Tim doesn't do that at all:)

How do you divide financial responsibilities? (If you don't mind sharing--I know this is really personal) Do you plan to keep the current arrangement long-term? Why or why not?
Tim was relieved when we got married to hand all the financial responsibilities over to me. I enjoy keeping track of finances and we've always had joint accounts. We of course make major decisions together and Tim honestly doesn't really spend any money (other than for lunch or something) without checking with me first. I've got him trained real good;)

Education/faith (I know that this is another intensely personal topic/set of topics and I hope that I am being respectful in the way that I am asking these questions):

How do you/plan to educate your children?
Public school. If involved parents abandon the public school system it will never survive. I feel STRONGLY in public school. It was good enough for me and all my family dating back to the invention of public school, and it will be good enough for my children.

Are/will both partners be as involved in decisions of education?

Did/will you raise your children in a certain faith? How did/will you decide if one partner feels more strongly than the other?
We are raising them in Christian faith, attending a United Methodist church. Both of us were raised in the Methodist church and confirmed there, my great-grandfather was a Methodist minister. We have some problems with the way our church is changing right now, so we may switch, but I'm pretty sure we're both committed to raising our children in a UM church.

How does your family of origin impact these decisions?
Well, my family seems quite happy with it, and I guess they influenced it a long time ago by raising me Methodist, but they haven't said anything about it directly. Tim's family cares more, I think, because they were missionaries, but they don't impact our decisions. Although I thought they were going to go on a revenge mission when they found out Stella was bit by another child in the church nursery;)

Are you supported by your spouse/family/community/etc. in the decisions that you are making in terms of educating your children?

What additional support would you love to have from others to help educate your children?
I wish involved parents would not abandon the public school system. Our job as parents is to supplement the education they get at school, but abandoning it entirely makes me very sad. If you don't agree with something they learn at school, tell your child that you don't and explain why.

Growing your family (literally):
How did your children come to join your family?
Well, sometimes a man loves a woman and 9 months and 22 hours of labor later... Is that what you meant? If you don't know how these things work, I'd be happy to get a book for you.

How many children do you have/plan to have/want to have?
Have 1, plan to have 3.

How many children were in your family of origin? How did this impact your answer to the previous question?
2, my brother who is 3 years younger than me and me. I want a bigger family. I thought the dynamic of the families of friends who had 3 children seemed boisterous and crazy, but not quite as crazy as the dynamic of families with 4 children like my husband's.

Are you supported by your spouse/family/community/etc. in the decisions that you are making in terms of growing your family?
Yeah, no one has said boo.

What additional support would you love to have from others in terms of growing your family?
Well, it'd be nice if they'd ever finish building our new house so we'd have room for more munchkins!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

She's Sleeping!

First off, I just need to say, weightwatchers.com SUCKS! Don't they know they have a bunch of fat ladies waiting to get on there to post their points, or find out points values? And when they go down for DAYS at a time, us fat ladies get really frustrated?!

Anyway, Stella is asleep right now. That's right, ASLEEP! And she is not in her carseat, she is in her crib. Yesterday was BAAAAD. When Tim got home, an hour and a half early I might add because I had a meeting, I told him that if she didn't start taking a nap, I was going to have to go back to work because being a mom was not fun anymore. In fact, it was torture. Well this morning I woke up and decided I was going to be positive. I was going to be little Miss Optimist. And that I was going to start scheduling Stella's days down to the second. I need to scour kid's calendars and find LOTS of activities for us to do. And I am going to tell Stella what we are doing now and what activity we will be doing next. And I'm going to do it a lot, so she knows what to expect. Also, I am going to ignore her temper tantrums no matter how much she cries until she stops. So far, both techniques are working.

This morning, she had breakfast at 8:30, then we got ready to go on a walk but then it started pouring. So instead I ate breakfast while she alternated between playing and tagging on my pant leg. But I just ignored her and finished my breakfast. Then we played for a few minutes, then I took a shower. When she cried from her exersaucer, I sang songs, and when that failed to entertain her anymore, I ignored her. We made it through everything without any major meltdowns. Then we went to the park because it stopped raining and stayed for about half an hour until it started pouring again. Then back home for a little playtime, then lunch, then more quiet play, then reading, then a nap. And she is sleeping, so something must have worked. Yes! It feels silly to constantly be saying, "we're going to do x for five more minutes and then we're going to do y" but Stella seems to respond to it, and that's all that matters at this point. You may say I don't want to jinx things by getting too excited, but you see, I am being little Miss Optimist, so this is the way things are going to be from now on! Of course, Daddy being home tomorrow may put a little monkey in the wrench, but we'll just make him stick to our new schedule too!

Stella had her 15 month check up yesterday, and she did great, even up to the needle pokes for her vaccines. The nurse was really good, too, she did it so fast I couldn't even believe she was done. I don't even think Stella cried, she just winced. She is 24 pounds, 9.6 oz, 31 inches long, with her head circumference at 46 cm. Her height and weight are both 75th-90th percentile and her head is still at 50th. Her growth curve looks like something out of a textbook. Doc said we were doing a good job on everything, which makes you feel good, especially when your child is having a no-sleeping, temper-tantrum phase. She said we were handling the temper-tantrums correctly. She said Stella's front tooth was curved inward and that was caused by her pacifier, so we needed to get her to give that up. I think that's total hogwash, since everything I have read says that pacifier use doesn't affect their teeth. BUT, it does mean we probably should get rid of the pacifier before her 18 month appt so we won't have to lie to the doctor. I shudder to think...
The other funny thing about Stella finally taking a nap is that I don't know what to do with myself! I have so much stuff I want to get done! Probably I'll just surf blogs and do this post, but really, that's fine. I also did Quicken and cleaned the kitchen so I have been responsible already:)