Saturday, December 8, 2012

Happy birthday, big three year old.

My dearest, most awesome son ~
I'm not even sure I can put into words what the past year has looked like for you. Indescribable, amazing, fantastic, terrifying, miraculous, incredible, beautiful, and defying of all logic are a few that could start. But you don't do anything halfway, oh no. You go all the way and you are so incredible.

Gage, when you turned two, you didn't speak. As you turn three, you are speaking at a four-year-old level. You don't understand that now, you are just so pleased you can communicate. But to us, it is absolutely incredible. You are so smart and clever, and you love to use words that you hear us use. Good thing we neither swear around you nor talk down to you! Your vocabulary rivals many Jr. High kids and sometimes I have to remind myself you're just three.

You became a big brother. I wonder how that feels? You are most likely the most affectionate big brother in the history of time. You love Sophie so much, and you love to hug her, hold her, and kiss her. I think you would help me care for her, if you could. I can't believe how sweet and kind you are to her. Never jealous, never cruel, and you have never asked us to send her back, just loved her. You tote your "new big brother" books around still, seeming so proud to be a big brother. It's not all perfect when Sophie tries to take your stuff, but I feel like you and she will be the best of friends. I sure hope you will, there's no friend like a sibling if you can manage it.

You're excessively smart. All parents think that, sure. But you really are. Your grasp of concepts and meanings is so beyond your age it's absolutely unbelievable, unless we're talking about Gage. But not just smarts; you are the most empathetic three year old I've ever heard of or met. Sure, you're toddler-egocentric, all kids are. But you care how others are feeling, and you want everyone to be happy and have fun. You care when others are sick or down and you want to help. I hope we can always have as good a relationship as we do now, with your sporadic hugs and random smiles. 

What a wonderful boy you are. I'm so very, very blessed that you are my son, and I only pray that I can be the sort of momma to help you grow, learn, and reach your potential, whatever that may be. You amaze me a little more every day, and I'm so proud you're my son. I've said it 100 times and I'll say it 1,000 more, at least--my worst day with you is better than my best day without you.
When do I love you?
All the time.
Love, your Momma

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises shooting

As yet we have no motive. I have lots to say about this horrific tragedy but at this time I don't feel it's right or necessary.

Suffice it to say my thoughts are with the victims and their families. My prayers are for all affected. This is a sick, sad, wrong tragedy in our fallen, broken world.

Heartbroken today.

Shooting at the Dark Knight Rises

Why?! WHY?! I just want to know why someone would open fire in a movie theatre that is going to be predominantly filled with young people. Summertime and a midnight screening is teenager central and someone is going to go in there shooting? I honestly can't stand this world tonight. This is my home state. It breaks my heart that this happened anywhere but especially here. This is the world we live in. I am just sick over this and can't stop thinking of those injured and the families of those whose loved ones will never come home again. Praying for all of those affected. Praying no one I know was there. This is just sick, sick, sick.

I got up to feed the baby, who is going through a growth spurt and checked the time on my phone only to see this report. Now I can't get back to sleep and I have no one to talk to about this insanity; I vocalize to process so here I am bogging about something horrific as my first blog in months.

This is so vile. Reports are that children, even babies may be amongst the dead. I pray it isn't so. I pray the reports of 14 dead and 39 injured are overblown amounts and that no one is dead and the injures aren't critical. This is just awful.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Blog changes

It has come to my attention that perhaps I'm not being clear enough about Gage and his "diagnosis" (for lack of a better word). I believed when I was writing about Gage and his prognosis that I was making it perfectly clear that his prognosis is great, it is possible that he will outgrow all of this, he does not have a technical diagnosis at this point as he is too young, etc. Apparently that was not clear enough, and some see fit to behave as if Gage having delayed speech, and the possibility of very minor sensory perception issues make him less of a "normal" two-year-old. Let me be the first to say, there is no normal. BUT, as two-year-old go, Gage is right on track with the exception of speech. He should be treated, loved, and accepted like any other two-year-old. Just because he doesn't speak yet, it doesn't mean he doesn't enjoy everything every other kid his age does.

We will continue to do what we need to do in order for Gage to continue thriving. But I feel it's best if I no longer make it public due to how clearly I'm being misunderstood. If you want Gage updates, email me. I'll share what I feel is appropriate. For the time being, all posts tagged with or mentioning Gage, apraxia, and sensory perception are being pulled. As I have time to weed through them pull specific parts out that I'm comfortable reposting, I will.

I'm sorry it has come to this, but I refuse for Gage to be labeled in a way that paints him in a negative light. He is too awesome of a kid for this level of misconception.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

And now, the world outside of Gage

This post will be about something other than Gage, haha. So it'll probably be short since things are kind of revolving around him right now.

Sorry for any grammatical errors I may make in my posts; I'm reduced to posting on my phone because my computer's display is pretty much dead. I'm working on getting it fixed, but it's proving to be sort of a pain. I tried to just adjust the cable, but ended up making the display worse, so I guess I just ruined the cable. I'm not much of a computer hardware repair person. My brother will be handling the cable replacement as I'm too nervous to attempt again.

If you know me, and my cell phone history over the past couple years, you know I've had a string of Droids that I have had a love/hate relationship with the Android hardware. I love the operating system, I love (most) things about the phones, and I love the customization aspect. I don't love the fact that I've had four different kinds of Droids in a couple years, and probably done in the neighborhood of 13 warranty swaps altogether. This makes me frustrated. Most recently, I had an Incredible 2 that just stopped working. It bricked itself, basically. It was very frustrating in that I had a terrible loaner from Verizon and they made the process a pretty big headache. The manager was trying to be helpful, and really pushed me to accept an iPhone. I'm not too sold on Apple in general, but it was hard to ignore their talk of the iPhone reliability. I told them I would give this replacement Incredible 2 a fair shake, and see how it worked, then I would consider going into an iPhone (this would be a free switch, obviously.) I have been really happy with everything about the Inc2, love the size, feel, etc, but not the uncertainty. So I really hoped this one would be IT. And I've been having pretty good luck with this Droid... Til yesterday and today, when I've started having random restarts. Sigh. Looks like I may end up swapping again. I'm nervous about going to a whole different OS, though. Anyone have any iPhone experience? Love it/hate it?

I'm getting excited and nervous for baby to arrive. My shower is this weekend, my mom is generously gifting me with a pregnancy massage this week, and today marks 40 days til I'm due. We also have maternity family pics on Sunday morning, so I'm really excited about those, too. I have my last ultrasound next week, when I'll find out if she's measuring as big as my stomach is. I'm stoked and a little freaked out about that, too. I'm way sick of being pregnant, but I don't want to see her early. So I'm just eagerly anticipating mid-April.

I guess that's about all for now. I'm tired and my back hurts, and if my crazy son will ever sleep, I will too.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Why do companies behave this way? Bank of America...

Bank of America, oh my gosh. They are quite possibly the worst company to deal with that I've ever encountered. If you remember, or you've been reading back, our house in Albuquerque had a mortgage on it that was bought by BofA one week or so after we bought the house. We have never been huge BofA fans, but when a mortgage company buys your mortgage, what is there to do but deal with the fact that you may not like the company that bought it? Unless you want to continuously re-fi, that is.

Anyway, I called BofA way back in September because our credit reports still show that we own the property in Albuquerque, despite its closing in March of 2011. They said that file was still open because it was showing incomplete, and when I explained that there was no way the sale was incomplete as someone else CLOSED on the house and LIVES in it, she said she'd forward it to the managers, and they would close it out. (I posted about all this on Sept 30). She also told me they would send me a letter verifying that the mortgage was closed. I gave her our address at our apartment as they had our PO box on file, and we don't have anything going to the PO box anymore, as we haven't had it since September. And then, we waited. And we waited some more. Nothing came. I called again in early February, because I'd begun doing our taxes, and found out that we needed some tax forms relating to the sale of the house. Apparently they were non-essential, but I did want to enter them into TurboTax anyway. The person I spoke with said the forms had gone to the PO box, and they would resend them our current address. They told me they couldn't be faxed or emailed, and that I could expect the forms to be mailed in 15 days. Seriously? Wow. But ok. So we waited.

A week and a half, maybe two weeks passed. I knew we were still a little early, but we had seen NOTHING from Bank of America. They'd promised a credit dispute form, too, and that hadn't arrived despite the fact that it was promised in 5-7 business days. So I called back again to ask why we hadn't received our forms, and to find out what address they'd been sent to.

When I called, I got immediately routed to the delinquent mortgage department because of the short sale. That dept told me I had to speak with customer service and that he'd transfer me. He also gave me the phone number. As I sat on hold awaiting transfer, it dawned on me (I'm a little slow) that the customer service number he had given me was the SAME one I'd called in on. Apparently putting in our information when prompted automatically directed me to delinquent mortgage. So after my transfer, and explaining the whole situation AGAIN, I was told that I needed to be sent to customer service. I was starting to lose it. I told the rep to put me directly with someone, not reroute me because I didn't want to be in an endless loop. She direct connected me. The rep I spoke with advised me that everything had indeed been sent, and that I could expect it anytime. I asked what address. Can you guess? It was the PO box. Again. Then I REALLY lost it. I became the phone jerk that everyone who has ever worked in a call center hates, only without the swearing. (Side note, most reps in call centers actually love it when you swear at them, because most companies mandate that the rep can hang up on a caller that gets profane, so keep it clean.)

I told her I'd given the updated address twice at least, more likely three+ times, as I'm fairly sure I gave them our new address when we moved, and also our closing paperwork all had our new address on it. I told her that the person who now holds our PO box has returned mail to sender after opening it, so I know for a fact that our personal info may be compromised. I told her that I wanted the forms expedited, and I wanted to see them within the week to my current address. She promised that I would see them in 3-5 days, and that they would send them right away. She was apologetic and helpful, and I am a little slow honestly believed that this time, we would get the documents. That was Monday. Friday came, and we didn't get anything. Saturday came, and we didn't get anything from them. 3-5 days? Come and gone. So today, I try to call them. Guess what? They're closed for President's day. Seriously.

I am so fed up with their crap! I've got to call first thing tomorrow morning, and MAN will I be an unhappy camper at that point. I actually am right now, but there's nothing I can do about it. I guess my next step is asking for a manager right off the bat, which is not something I love doing, but seems necessary in this instance, if they've sent another round of documentation to a PO box that we haven't had in 5 months, have repeatedly advised them of, and can't get them to accept. I don't understand what's so hard about changing an address. I do know one thing though - I will not be pacified this time. I want a fax or an overnight of this paperwork. I'm done screwing around here.

The moral of the story is, avoid Bank of America at ALL costs!!! They will screw you repeatedly. But you probably already know that, since even the government doesn't trust BofA. How are they still in business? Sigh.

(Site note: I've got some personal updates that I want to publish, but I don't want to overload you when I haven't posted in a month. So I'll put those in a couple different posts. Just wanted to rail on BofA here for a minute because I'm so frustrated I can barely stand it!)

Friday, January 20, 2012


Well, I have made no progress on keeping the house organized yet. I've been trying really hard to keep up on cooking each night, boxing leftovers, and baking bread (we go through bread FAST.) So it's a start. I did manage to dirty just about every dish, plate, bowl, utensil, and measuring cup a few days ago, leaving me with three loads of dishes to do. I've been working away on those; my energy level is pretty laggy because of this pregnancy.

Tonight I made homemade pizza for the first time. I made the dough, the sauce, and did not make the cheese, haha. I'm not really that ambitious. I used mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, and topped one pizza with bacon and left one cheese. The sauce/cheese ratio on the cheese was a little better; I think it'll take me a few tries to get them just right. Also, my lack of pizza stone or pizza screen left the bottom a little less crunchy than I would've liked, but it was still delicious. Next try, I will take the pizza off the pre-heated cookie sheet halfway through the bake to crisp up the bottom. I don't want to spend the money or space on a pizza screen right now.  My kitchen is already so full of cooking things that I don't have places for all of them; I can think of things I could use a lot more frequently than a pizza screen, too. Brian liked the pizza so much he said he had to force himself to stop eating it and Gage ate most of three pieces. I liked it a lot, too!

I also baked bread today, and tweaked my recipe a little to allow for using honey in place of sugar. Since I use a good bit of wheat flour instead of straight white like the original recipe, I'm looking forward to trying honey wheat. I've FINALLY gotten the hang of the loaf! I figured out the last part of the puzzle was the loaf shape. Not just shaping it, but actually using a technique that would allow the bread to rise into the perfect domed loaf. The last two batches of bread I've made have come out PERFECT and I'm so proud of having finally mastered bread baking, especially at altitude. It brings me great joy to feed my family this beautiful, preservative-free bread that I've baked myself. And the ingredients for ... oh, I don't know, approximately ten or twelve loaves of bread cost roughly what two loaves of bread laden with high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, and lots of stuff I can't pronounce. That makes me happy.

We ate homemade food every night this last week, and hopefully will continue into the weekend. We've got loads of leftovers; red beans and rice, chicken stuff I made, pizza. I've got eggs for breakfast and pancake makings. So we should be able to easily continue our ban on going out through the weekend, which is always our hardest time for eating at home. It's just so easy to run out and pick something up when we're feeling lazy.

What a nice evening, with home-cooked food and good company. Brian got home, the second pizza was almost done, and it was almost 80 degrees in our apartment. Between being on the second floor on a warm day and having a 500 degree oven running for close to 30 minutes, it was warm. We opened up the back door, and let the cool evening air in. Gage was in a fantastic mood after eating so much pizza, and we cranked up the Railbenders on the stereo. Good times.

Pregnancy update... the baby is sitting so much higher than Gage did. She's already up in my ribs and it's pretty uncomfortable if I sit after eating in certain positions, because I feel like a gastric bypass patient with a stomach that can't contain the amount of food I just swallowed. And it doesn't take overeating to hit that point, just sitting in the right position. I have a feeling I'm going to be feeling pretty crowded by April! Also, I think I may experience the belly button pop this time around. Gage was so low, my belly button never even came close to popping out, but this time, I'm already stretching out in that area. Fortunately, I have no swelling like I did with Gage, and I haven't gained anywhere near as much weight, so that's all good news. I'm sure looking forward to not being pregnant anymore... in April.

Can you believe it?

TheAutoMomma blog has been up and running for a year today. I've learned a lot over this year of blogging, and been a little surprised that I've stuck with it, even though I've had some times where I haven't done much writing. I love having this outlet, and I hope you enjoy reading. If you do enjoy reading, please follow/recommend me to your friends. Also, if I don't know that you read, leave me a comment and say "hi!"

I'm going to keep working on bringing my post counts back up again, also, so look for more content in the coming weeks!

Thanks for reading. I sure am glad you're here.

Monday, January 16, 2012

New Years (non) resolutions

I don't really do New Years resolutions. I find that's a great way to set yourself up to fail. However, in the upcoming year, I have some goals that I want to work on, which will hopefully allow me to better myself, and life for my family.

I wanted to make these changes anyway, and the new year just happened to coincide nicely. So I'll tell you what I'm up to today, and how that translates to the changes I want to make this year.

Today, I'm baking bread and planning a really yummy dinner with ingredients we already have. The dinner will hopefully have leftovers enough for a lunch or two and another dinner. I also downloaded a free Kindle book today (no, I don't have a Kindle, but I have a Kindle app on my Incredible 2) called Organized Simplicity. It was free today, which is awesome! How do these seemingly small things fit into the rest of the year? Let me tell you.

1) I want to become better organized at home. I'm pretty much a cluttered mess, and it makes me sad and drives me crazy. Brian puts up with it, but I doubt very much that he thinks it's wonderful. He's pretty much a neatnik, so I think that having a scatterbrained wife and a cluttered, messy home isn't something he would've dreamed of. It isn't something I want, either. I have discovered that I dislike our apartment a whole lot less when it's clean and uncluttered. And I'm home all day; I'm the one who needs to be keeping it clean. It's part of my job, and thus far, I've really fallen down on it. I was diagnosed with ADD as a teen, in the height of the ADD overdiag period. I'm not sure if I trust the diagnosis, although I wouldn't be surprised if I have ADD. My brain works in such a way that unless I have clear goal paths, I get overwhelmed by what needs done, and I do nothing. How can I combat this? Better organization and breakdown of my tasks.

2) The home management binder. Some people really go overboard with this and it gets almost creepy. However, I think having a place where I can organize tasks that need to be done, monthly calendars to consolidate our family appointments, recipes, etc, would be very helpful to me. I have some sheets printed that offer scheduling of the household chores to be done throughout the week. I want to print out some more organizational stuff to get me going, and then hopefully I can implement the household binder.

3) Grocery shopping and cooking. I want to get better at menu planning. I will work on sitting down Monday and plan out the menu for the week. Once that is done, I will shop accordingly, and stick to the plan. My goal is for meals that provides multiple days/nights of meals for one cooking, and using primarily ingredients I have on hand. I want to cut down the amount of meat we eat also, for both financial and health reasons. We'll be subbing in some alternate forms of protein in place of meats, and eating more veggies, as well.

4) Pantry/freezer organization, inventory, and pre-printed grocery lists. I want to inventory the pantry and freezer so I can make use of what we have on hand. Once those foods are eaten, I can start using preprinted grocery lists, marking off in advance what we already have. Then, when ingredients are needed for recipes, I'll utilize the shopping lists and/or write ins.

5) More foods that are better for our family. I want to start making more food that is better for our family. More homemade, less processed food. This means baking more bread and relying less on store bought. I will get away from convenience type foods, like using "cream of ****" soups in recipes. Making your own is easy, cheap, and much tastier. I'm tired from this pregnancy, but this is important to me, so hopefully I can get it going.

6) More exercise and outside time. Along with healthier eating, I want to spend more time doing outdoor activity. When our little girl gets here, I want to walk with her and Gage (for the first few months, we'll do walks with her in a wrap and Gage in the stroller.) When she gets a little bigger, I'll be re-starting couch to 5K to work toward my running goals. We endeavor to model healthy, active lifestyles for our children, and as of now, I'm the weakest link. While pregnant there isn't much I can do as far as new exercise, but I can walk. And it'll be imperative to get going when no longer pregnant!

So that's my changes I want to implement for our family. I know it'll take some work and self improvement and prayer, but I know I can do it. I want to be a better steward to all of the blessings I've been given... Monetarily, and family. I couldn't be more blessed to have Brian and our healthy, energetic son, and our sweet, healthy daughter on the way. I'll try to keep blogging about all of these changes as we go, so that you can follow my progress and so I can (hopefully) stay motivated to keep up with my progress.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Oh, the insanity! Err... Insomnia.

**Please note: If you're thrown off by the date of this post, please note that it just published today. However, I wrote it and thought it had published on the sixth. When I logged on today, I noted that the publish failed, so I put it up.**

I can't sleep, so I'll just do a little rambling about what has been going on.

We've decided to stay where we're currently living for another year. It's not a decision that either of us feel particularly good about, but we know it's the right one. Monetarily, stability-wise for Gage, and to keep our sanity. It'll get a little cramped in our two bedroom to be sure when the new baby arrives, but it'll work out OK since she'll be in our room for the first year anyway. That might require a little furniture rearranging, but ah, well. We've moved three times in three years, and we just didn't want to do it again. Or pay a new deposit and moving expenses.

I've decided to start trying green smoothies with Gage. If you're not familiar with the concept, they're basically smoothies that are full of fruit, a little yogurt and milk, and some veggies. The idea is that the veg taste is hidden by fruit, but the veggie goodness is in there. We'll need to work harder to introduce veggies the traditional way too, but this will at least get some in him. He's picky and hates vegetables, so I want to get those nutrients in somehow. He's a great fruit eater, so hoping he'll take to the smoothies.
I've been hesitant to blog about this, but I've decided that there's no harm, as it isn't something I'm ashamed or even particularly worried about. But it is something. Gage is having a speech evaluation this month to see if he needs a little jump start. He really isn't talking yet, and while all of his other development is right on track or ahead of the curve, his words are nowhere to be found. We know he can hear and comprehend, but we would like to kickstart his vocabulary beyond three words and animal noises. He gets frustrated when he can't get his point across or express his desires, and that's just not fair for him. Hopefully from the evaluation, we'll get the tools needed to get the little guy talking. Otherwise, he's growing, learning, and doing awesome new things each day. He's a super great kid.

My pregnancy is going well. We're in the 27th week, and baby is growing a little every day. From ultrasounds and movement, it seems she's perfectly healthy, despite this hellish (for me) pregnancy. I'm really looking forward to not being pregnant anymore... In mid-April. I don't want her here even a day early. But I'm on the down-swing; I enter my third trimester in the next week, and if my due date is to believed, I've got 93 days left. This pregnancy has flown by, it seems.

My friend Nicole visited last weekend, and while we didn't get tons of time to hang out, it was still SO AWESOME to see her! I enjoyed staying up way too late and just chatting for hours. But I did get sad when she left, because we used to hang out at least once a week and now it's more like once a year, which is bad. But still, so good to see her. AND, she got to go to the Broncos/Steelers playoff game. Lucky! Can't wait to see the 49ers whoop the Saints, and the Broncos beat the Patriots this weekend. I know what we're doing Saturday. Football!

I guess my blog is legit now. Last post, I actually got a spam comment. Yep, my very first spam. I felt like an accomplished blogger as I deleted it.

I guess that's about all I've got for now. I'm going to try and get some sleep. Sorry that was all over the place, but I'm tired, what can I say?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Looking forward, never back

We had a good doctor visit today. Everything looks normal and healthy, and all seems good to go. Next visit is my blood glucose check, to test for gestational diabetes. I didn't have it with Gage; hopefully I won't have it with this pregnancy, either. This pregnancy seems to be flying by! I can't believe my third trimester starts January 14, and I've only got 103 days left, provided my due date is correct.

I look forward to not being pregnant anymore. I've been working on our registry, which is hard. We have quite a bit of stuff left over from Gage, but we've also gotten rid of a lot of stuff, due to moves, space restrictions, etc. Most of what I've put on our registry as needs are the more expensive stuff, so that's kind of hard because I can't figure that everyone who looks at our registry and may want to gift us with something will want to spend $200 on a double stroller for us. And I don't blame them, haha. But we just don't need things like receiving blankets, towels, washcloths, etc. Kind of a strange experience, prepping for a second kid! 

In the second trimester, I've definitely been feeling better though. I'm still having some acne problems (and how,) and I'm still really exhausted, run down, etc. I'm also still having massive sleep problems, which are likely to just get worse as the pregnancy goes along and my size increases. 

I'm still doing well for pregnancy weight gain, which makes me proud. I've gained a bit more than I'd wanted to, but not anywhere near what I gained with Gage, and the doctor thinks I'm gaining perfectly. I think we've decided not to move this year, which is simultaneously awesome and too bad. I don't like where we're at and I don't think it's the best place for us, but I also don't want to move with a toddler while pregnant and deal with the hassle of moving when we really don't have to. We can tough it out here another year, and hopefully find something just right for us next year. 

Guess that's about it for me right now. I'm tired and it's late; which means I should give a shot to going to bed. Well, subjectively late anyway... it's 10:00 pm, which is late when you only got 4 hours of sleep last night. The insomnia is awful this pregnancy. 

Man, sometimes my posts are so boring I think THEY could be a cure for insomnia!