Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Popularity Name Game

Our newest one's arrival has been scheduled.  We have barely over nine weeks until she gets here, and still yet she has no name.  I am afraid that if we call her Rattles, as we have taken to doing, much longer she will be forever stuck with that moniker.  That would not be pleasant.

The base problem is that we have very different name styles.  I like more traditional names, that sound a little older.  He likes more modern names.

Then, the few times that we both like a name, we, or more likely I, check the most popular list to find it there, and for me, that throws it out of the running.  I have a very common name.  I do not want my children to have that problem.  Unfortunately for our first two, that isn't exactly the case.  Both of their names will end up in the top names for a decade.  I do think we missed the most popular year for each, they were the start of a naming trend, and thankfully not the high point, but they are both there.  I want to try and avoid that for the last one.  I can't tell you how many times my children stop and turn around at school, or any public place, because someone yells their another child.  We have other parents point out that they have the same name, or other kids shouting about it all the time.  I feel like that would make a child feel less special.  Emily B. and Emily D. have been in the same class together for two years in a row.  I'm not sure I would ever call either child by their first name with out the last initial anymore.

Is it just me, though?  If he doesn't care, and we both like the name, should I stick to my guns about keeping them from having a popular name.  

I'm quite torn.

I really can't decide how important it is to me to have my child's name be different than any one else's name she will likely encounter.

As you get older, basically once you are done with your education, you are no longer stuck in grouping by age, and not in groups of people who have names with the same popularity in the same year.  By the time you get to the work force, it is a total mix, and you may or may not work with people of the same name.  Not only that, but hopefully you have established yourself as a person, and are comfortable with who you are.  At that point, it won't matter as much to you.

I'm really not sure what we are going to do about a name.  I expect it to take us a while longer.  Who knows what kind of name we will end up with.  My only hope is that in the end it suits her, and she loves it.  I think that is really the best we can all hope for.  

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Walmart - Why Have you Forsaken Me?

I used to love Wal-Mart.  Used to.
In the past few years, though, It has changed from the place where I would go to buy ok things on the cheap, to the place that thinks they are a lot better than what I want them to be.
The thing is, I shop at WM for the prices.  End of story.
If I want cute and trendy, and I am willing to pay a little more, I hit Target.
That's how it goes.
WM, though, seems to think it should be capturing that cute and trendy segment who are willing to pay more, too.  They shouldn't.  They should stick to what they are good at; shelves and shelves of cheap crap I can't live without.  I want to go and by toilet paper for next to nothing.  I might need a cheap ironing board at 2am.  That is when I know Wal-Mart should be there for me.  Even when it comes to grocery basics, I love the Great Value brand, or at least I used to.  Now, I love it when I can get it.
My local WM carries about 1/3 less products than they used to, a lot of it being Great value.  What they do still carry if often out of stock. In fact, nearly everything I want is out of stock about any time I go.  Its getting to the point that I just go to a higher priced place and save myself the gas, which isn't cheap these days either, instead of trying to pick the right WalMart that might have it in stock that day.
The stock issue is so bad, I am actually going to complain about it to Wal-Mart.  Two things in particular have just taken me over the edge.  The first is black beans.  I love black beans.  We eat them a lot, and I keep them on hand especially now that The Big One is a vegetarian.  I love to buy the canned Great Value brand.  They are cheap and the quality is good.  The problem is that they are almost always out or on very short supply.  I don't mean once or twice they have been out, but on a regular basis I can't get them.  To me, that would seem to mean order more and keep more on hand.  That must not be the WM way, though.  they just keep letting it run out over and over again.
Their craft stuff used to be great as well.  Now, though, they barely have much of a craft department left.  The majority of it is Scrap booking and Cake decorating, both of which I at least like so that I can get some things there.  That is, of course, if they have it in stock.  I went the other day for plain black 12*12 paper.  If you paper craft at all, you know what a very basic staple that is. That is like a baker needing sugar.  It may not go into every recipe, you could be making something savory after all, but you really need to keep it on hand at all times.  WM must not get that analogy, either.  Of the 10 different colors they seem to carry for basic 12*12 paper, they only had 3 in stock.  None of those 3 were black.  I think it was some cute pink patterned paper, and a couple of other things that no one will rush to the store in the middle of the night for.  To make it even worse, after looking for an associate to ask about the possibly of extra stock in the back for about 10 minutes, I notice a little paper shoved int he price tag of each empty paper hangar.  I pulled it out to look at it. It was their own little note about when the stock.  They knew it was out.  It said something like "Scanned 2/4.  Back 2/21."  My take on that is that they didn't note it was out and order it until the beginning of the month.  Then, they were going to have to wait 3 weeks to get it back.
That is no way to run a business.
This is the reason that so many other places get so much more of my money now.  I think Costco should send them a thank you card for all of the screw ups that have me buying my paper towels and tp in the warehouse these days.
I know Wal-Mart has been having some business problems, and if they want to know why, they should read the preceding.  Don't tell your consumers what you should be, let your consumers tell you what they want you to be.  It makes for a much more profitable company that way.If only they would focus more on keeping the old school isles and isles of cheap crap in stock, I think we would all be happier in the end.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Teachers Have Opinions, Too

I think that often time, as parents, or members of a community, and especially as children, we forget something very important: Teachers are regular people, too.
Teachers have a very important job.  I respect what they do.  I think the problem is that we sometimes expect some sort of life altering change the moment you become a teacher akin to taking all sorts of vows to the church, like a vow of poverty, silence, etc, upon becoming a monk.  We expect teachers to forgo all normal human feelings of anger and frustration. We expect them to have a smile on their faces every single day.  We expect them to never get sick, and get upset when they do.  Then, to top it all off, we expect them to do it in some cases for wages that are less than what the guy who collects trash makes.
Why are our exceptions so high for them, and our own for ourselves as parents and community members so low?
We want so much from the teachers that are there to mold the young minds we send to them, but many of don't want to be a part of it.  We get frustrated if we have to spend more than 15 minutes a night on help with homework, or we just don't help at all.  We leave it all up to the teachers, and then wonder why our children aren't succeeding.  I just don't get it.

The internet is all abuzz because one teacher let out her personal feelings, and people didn't like it, at all.

Natalie Munroe, a high school teacher in PA, used to write a blog.  She doesn't any more, since a student at her school found it, turned her in, and got her suspended.  You see, much like when I write sometimes, Natalie decided to share her frustration and her feelings in her blog, a blog meant only for friends and family.  She didn't put it out there for everyone to read.  Granted, she might have been able to take extra steps, like making it totally private, to keep anyone else from seeing it, but believe me, if you don't put your blog out there, people don't generally stumble on it.  It takes searching for just the right things to be able to find a blog that isn't being shopped around for attention.  So, I suppose she thought it was ok to share her feelings with the few friends that she had, and in my opinion, she should be able to.  

If my friends who are teachers want to tell me that they have kids in class that are dumber than a box of rocks, I want to be there for them to vent.  They have a hard job.  Emotionally and mentally, I would guess one of the most exhausting jobs there is.  I can't imagine how I would deal with a room full of moody teenagers with no motivation or support at home and a need for instant gratification, let alone the absolute lack of respect for authority that is prevalent these days.  I don't know why there aren't more stories in the media about teachers beating kids because the self control needed to hold back with a child call you some sort of horrific name with curse words and negative references to the female body is beyond me.  

While she certainly didn't beat a child, or come even close to an altercation of any kind that we know if, Natalie did say some mean things about the kids at her school.  Things like, "They are rude, disengaged, lazy whiners. They curse, discuss drugs, talk back, argue for grades, complain about everything, fancy themselves entitled to whatever they desire, and are just generally annoying."  I agree with her.  Many of today's teenagers are everything she mentioned.  So, why should people be so upset?  Is a teacher not allowed to say out loud what the rest of the world is thinking?  They are on the front lines of bringing the battle to raise a generation of well rounded, educated people, and if they see a problem, maybe we should listen instead of getting all pissy because they voice their concerns.  
Some of the things were a little meaner.  Thinks like "A complete and utter jerk in all ways," "although academically okay your child has no other redeeming qualities," and  "There's no other way to say this, I hate your kid."  are pretty harsh, but again, she is being totally honest.  There are kids I don't like in my daughter's school and class, with just the little interaction I have with them.  In fact, there are a few in particular that I can't stand.  So, why can't she have kids that she can't stand.  The idea that all children, and we are really talking about teenagers here, are precious and should be coddled is probably what got us into the problem of raising brats to begin with.  Maybe some teenagers need to hear that they are true pains in the ass to realize that not everyone likes them, and they don't always need to get a gold start or participation ribbon.  Sometimes life sucks.  Some people are biatches.  That is reality.  

Also a part of reality is that teachers have to deal with those children, and work with and around all those shortcomings to try to mold them into the people that will control the future.  

So, if you are a teacher, I am sure you get frustrated sometimes.  I am sure you get upset.  I wish more parents did their part and tried to be an active participant in the educational process, instead of insisting you do it all, and then getting mad if things are handed to their child on a platter.  Feel free to come my way and vent any time you want.  I won't turn you in.  In fact, I would give you all a hug and a cupcake, the good ones from a specialty bakery even, not home made things.  Most importantly, I would give you a big "Thank you" for everything you do, and put up with.  You are all my heroes, even if you do think my child is a pain in the rump sometimes. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Not His First Time At The Rodeo

Last week, we officially scheduled my c-section for The Littlest One.  I have 10 weeks until the big day at this point.

That time will fly by.  I know it will.  Compounded by the fact that my husband is currently out of town, I feel a real rush to get things done in any little bit of time we have with him.
As of right now, we have exactly nothing done.  Her room is still full of bags of clothes that I need to finish sorting and putting away from our move.  There are clothes saved for The Little One to grow into, baby clothes, some of my old clothes, and just about everything else that didn't have an immediate place during the move.

Not only do I need to empty her room, but  I really need to start filling it back up pretty quickly.  We have gotten rid of pretty much everything baby related.  The only things left for her are a rocking chair and some of the clothes I kept that were sentimental to me.  I've been putting a lot of things off, waiting for him, and I feel like I just cant' wait anymore.
So, I ask him if it was ok if I started picking things out without him.  He gave me the green light.  In fact, he gave me the go so quickly it sort of took me back.  I couldn't imagine letting him pick out everything without, but then again, that's me, not him.  As he has reminded me several times this pregnancy, this isn't his "first time at the rodeo".  I suppose its not.  Then he tells me that as much as he loves each and every child, and loves the one yet to be here very much, that things like the color of the crib or car seat don't matter to him.  The baby matters.  As long as we have things she needs, and things that are safe and appropriate, then he is fine with anything I pick.  In fact, when we discussed cribs, his only insight was that he wanted to be sure we got a safe one that met current safety standards as they recently changed.  Safe is important.  White versus cherry wood isn't.  I guess I kind of get that.

He kept telling me it isn't that he doesn't care, its just that those things don't really matter in the long run to him.  They matter much more to me.  I want every thing to be exact down to the style of crib skirt I pick to go around the bottom of the crib.  A box pleat versus ruffled would totally change the view of the room to me, but I seriously doubt he would ever notice.

I have to let go of the fact that he won't be into the details.  I seriously doubt many men truly are.  I would say I forced enough of that on him the first two times we did this anyway.  It doesn't mean he doesn't care.  It just means he is a guy who doesn't get into that.  As long as I don't force a pink diaper bag on him, I think we will be good to go with anything.  So, off to pick things I go, with or without him.  I may take The Girls with me.  I know they certainly have enough opinions to share on pretty much everything we may or may not even need.

Friday, February 11, 2011

They are Out of Here!

Our house is always chaotic in its own way.  The Girls are usually fighting.  I'm usually trying to either referee or hide if that isn't working.  There is a ton of yelling, and pleading.  The TVs are always on.
Even with all that, we aren't the loud ones around here.  I've blogged about it many times before, my neighbors are the loudest people on earth.

The past few days,though, have been really nice.  I thought the neighbors went out of town.  Actually, for a couple of days, I thought they were drugging their children.  Around 9pm or so, the house would get really quiet.  I mean super quiet.  We were all able to get to sleep with no problems.  It was amazing.

Then, I thought they must have gone out of town.  They had a smaller Uhaul trailer in their garage for a couple of days.  It wasn't a moving truck.  So, I, with my very pregnant brain, never even thought that they might be moving.

Turns out, they did.

There is a lock box on their door.  My husband noticed it this morning.  I was so excited, I kissed him for being the bearer of great news.

Those days where it would get quiet at night, they must have been going over to their new house.

They probably moved into a five bedroom house, because they actually had 4 kids stuffed into the old one.  Hopefully, they got a house that wasn't attached to any one else.  That would be great for all.

Regardless, I wish good luck to their new neighbors.  I hope it works out well for all.  As for me, I'm just hoping for a new family that won't smoke pot in the back yard, and will at least respect the quiet hour at 11:00pm.  While it would be nice to have people move in that we could become great friends with, I'm keeping my expectations low, and hoping not to be disappointed.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I have a Plan to Fix The Deficit

I have what I believe to be a full proof plan to fix all the money woes we have in the great city of San Diego.
This is a very valid plan.  Ok.  Part of it is.

If the city would just deputize me to be both a fashion police officer and a parking enforcement officer, I could wipe out the debt in no time.

I wouldn't be any kind of fashion style police officer.  No.  I want to be a fashion etiquette officer.  If I find you wearing inappropriate clothing, you get a ticket.  While I get the whole freedom of speech thing, I would specifically target those who come to schools or other places that are primarily for children dressed inappropriately.  Yesterday alone, I could have racked up a bundle.  The process would be simple.  You see someone wearing a torn jean mini skirt where the pockets hanging out of the bottom are inches longer than the whats left of the hem line, they get a ticket.  When there is also a rip that goes up to where their hip in the front, only covered by the hanging out pocket, the fine increases.  When wearing that with a mini, stretchy tube top, the fine doubles.  Then, on top of all of that, when you stand there and complain about being cold, I add a nuisance fine.  That one person could have netted at least at good $500 to $1000 to go to the cty.  In fact, I think that when you wear that and are fined on school grounds, the money should go straight to the school system.  With some of the moms I see at schools, we could have every classroom in the city outfitted with the latest technology possible by next year, no problem.  Simply deputize one person per school, per school year, to do this as a volunteer position.  I'm absolutely positive the money brought in would out weigh the costs of training and the little ticket pads they would need to give us.

While that is wishful, and catty, thinking, the next part is actually very realistic, and I am thinking of how to propose this to the city.  Much like the Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol (RSVP) that drives around and checks on handicap spots, if they would seriously give the power to one person at a school to write tickets for parking violations, we could make mad bank.  Every day, it drives me nuts to see the people who really have no respect for others, and violate every parking rule possible when they pick up their children.  Apparently, each on of them seems to be more important than anyone else there.  You don't park in a red zone.  You don't park where you are blocking a drive way. You really, really don't park over a mini red zone, while blocking a drive way.  I'm barely able to walk some days, but if I don't get there early enough to get close to the school, I park on the next block and walk.  I doubt anyone has a valid reason for the bad parking.  Its just called lazy.  So, if people want to be that lazy, then they can pay for their crime, literally.  I would be glad to do it all for free.  Again, I am positive that the money brought in from all the parking tickets would far outweigh the costs of training and the little ticket pads.  Frankly, it would also be beneficial to the rest of us who do follow parking regulations.  Once you eliminate the people double parked, honking their horns at a child who doesn't even notice they are sitting there and blocking traffic, you are going to speed up traffic flow for everyone else.  I think it is a total win/win situation.  Unless, of course, you are the scofflaw who parks poorly, but then, you would deserve it.

If only someone high up would consider my proposals.  The second one at least.  I think we could make a dent in the city's financial woes one single volunteer with a pad of paper and pen at a time.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Support The Troops In the Yummiest Of Ways

The Girl Scout Council here in San Diego has a fantastic way to support our men and women in the military.  It happens to be one of the nicest, most wonderful ways to do something for the military that I have ever heard of, and its called "Operation Thin Mint".

Operation Thin Mint is program that lets anyone donate Girl Scout Cookies to our deployed troops.

When I think of our men and women serving overseas, my heart breaks sometimes.  I know how much they miss their families.  They miss this country.  They miss everything about home.  I think about some of the situations they live and work in, and how vastly different they are from what they know here.  I think about her terrible the conditions are in some of those camps for them.

I love to find ways to make things a little brighter or better for those that serve.  I want to brighten some one's day, and make them feel a little less homesick.

To me, there are few things in this world that are as American as Girl Scout Cookies.  Seriously, don't they rank just below baseball and apple pie?

So, the idea of being able to directly donate cookies to those serving abroad just sets my heart all a flutter.  I mean, this is such a great way to send a piece of home to someone who can really use it.

The program is super easy, too.  You give any girl scout that is participating the program the cost of one box of cookies, $4 for us, and tell them it is for Operation Thin Mint.  They mark it down, and a box of cookies is donated to the troops.  Just like that.

How cool is that.

The Big One loves it, too.  She knows how much it means when we send her daddy cookies when he is deployed and wants to give that to every person in the military that she can.  She would like to really help this program, and set herself a goal of 100 boxes to get to the troops.  If I could afford all 100, I would do it in a heart beat.  I love it that much.

To make it even better, you can even send thank you notes with your box.  Girl Scouts will gladly accept, and encourages, people to write little "thank you"s to go with all those cookies.  The idea of being a part of a pallet full of Girl Scout cookies with thank you notes is fantastic to me.

As if this program needed to be any better, the whole price of the donation is tax deductible.  Ask any Girl Scout about it and they can help you with that.

So, you get to support our military, support your local Girl Scout troop, and take a tax donation.  This to me, is the ultimate donation program.

If you, or anyone you know, would like to donate cookies to the troops, please contact me, or check with your local Girl Scout council about donating.  Help us to help the troops by sending in thank you notes, and buying a box in honor of every person you know who serves.  Make the day a little brighter for someone who does such an incredible job.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

And The Tears Keep Coming

I've said before, I am emotionally unhinged at the moment.
My emotional state is in a constant flux thanks to all these extra hormones, and I am driving myself crazy.

Yesterday, The Little One and I went to Walmart.  This is a very routine thing.  On the way there, though, a fire truck passed us.  As we pulled into the parking lot, I see that fire truck and an ambulance at the front of the store. We park and go in.  Just as we are walking in the doors, the Paramedics come wheeling a little girl out on a gurney.  Now, let me say that the little girl looked fine.  She was looking around.  Her mom was ok, just making sure she kept covered as they walked, and they were all walking, not running.  I have no idea what happened.  I would guess some sort of shopping cart incident, but that's just because kids get hurt with those things all the time.  Regardless as to the fact that the girl looked ok, I burst into tears in the middle of Walmart.  It was like someone just flipped a switch.  I think even Ava thought I was crazy.  I was able to calm myself down in a few minutes, but still, I'm surprised that no one said anything to me.  I mean, I could have very easily ended up on that People of WalMart website, and no one wants that.

Then, today, while catching up on a little bit of Internet news and junk, that switched got flipped again.  I started to watch this video about a 3 year old girl who called 911.  As soon as the video started, and they showed the little girl, I started bawling.  The video should be happy.  She saved her mother's life.  She was a hero.  I was crying like a baby over this little girl being a big girl.  It was insanity.

I realize that I can't help it.  I get mad.  I get sad.  My emotions are just all over the place.  Having a ton of outside stresses, like a deployed spouse, certainly doesn't help things.  I mean, its hard to be calm and rational when they leave, and you have two very unhappy children to deal with any time, let alone when pregnant and pumped up on hormones.

To top it all off, I have boxes of cookies everywhere, and I am trying my best not to eat them.  I have to say that isn't easy right now.  I think in my current state, I could probably polish off a box of Thin Mints a day, but I must resist.

Hopefully we can make it through this pregnancy with out any major scenes as a result of my hormones.  I will be as prepared for them as possible.  I have said before, I just need to be able to mumble "Sorry, I'm pregnant" between the sobs.  Hopefully people will just feel sorry for the crazy pregnant woman, and pretend they don't even notice the tears, just like I'm going to pretend it never happened as soon as the tears are gone.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Going To The Dr

Never in my life would I have thought I would be excited to be able to say "I'm going to see a surgeon", but I am.
It feels a little weird to be excited about that, but no less, I am excited.

Today, I finally got it all squared away.  I have a surgeon who can operate at the hospital I will be delivering at.  My insurance is all on board, with the authorization in place.

I am about to call and make the appointment.  This is exciting stuff.

I had to work for it, though. Even finding a Dr was difficult.  The Dr that my OB preferred wasn't in my insurance company's system, even though he will accept their insurance.  Very odd, I know, but what isn't with them?  So, I had to pull up all the general surgeons in their directory, and go through them until I found one that had privileges at this certain hospital.  That information isn't listed on their website, either.  So, I would actually have to google each name, and pull up some sort of site that provided a information sheet on the Dr, and then look to see if he or she had privileges.  What makes it a little bit harder is that the hospital I will be delivering at isn't a normal hospital.  It is a hospital for women and children, basically they do female stuff.  So, many surgeons don't have privileges there.
I was able to find one who does, though!  Its hard to just choose a Dr of a list, but his profile just felt right.  I think it was because he did part of his residency at the University of Tennessee.  I, of course, have a soft spot for anyone who has been a part of UT.  After all, they say if your born in Tennessee, your blood runs orange. Regardless, he is board certified, lots of years in practice, is on staff at a hospital, and in general sounds good.

I'm excited to really get some answers and decisions.  I want to know when she is coming, how she is coming, and what I should really expect.

Let's all keep our fingers crossed for some good news and progress for the plan at the appointment.
I'll keep you posted!