Friday, March 21, 2008

Oyster going to read this post?

"What did the clam say to the oyster?"

"Is that a pearl in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?"

Hardy har har.

If you actually laughed at that, I'll be amazed, because I made it up myself.

But seriously, this post isn't just about lame jokes. I wanted to pass along some important information that I was recently reminded of. This isn't a big deal for me now, since I decided to go Kosher-style a few years ago and give up treif, but it could definitely impact a lot of my friends.

There are some important rules about seafood consumption that not everyone knows about. If you are going to eat raw or undercooked Gulf oysters, then you need to know what the risks are. A lot of people can do this (it's considered a delicacy) without any problems, but if you are in an at-risk group, you should think twice before risking your health. The Web site can tell you what all the at-risk groups are, but for now, I'm just going to talk about one in particular. Pregnant women.

I went to a barbecue at a co-workers house when I was about 14-15 weeks pregnant. Most people knew because I'd announced it by then, but I wasn't quite showing obviously yet. I looked bigger, but it could have just been me gaining weight. A woman I didn't know very well had brought some oysters and they were cooking some on the grill, but also eating them raw. It was almost trusth-or-dare style, one of the most ridiculous things I've ever seen adults do. Trying to intimidate people who thought it was gross into trying them. And of course, when I politely declined, they started razzing me too.

I didn't feel like they deserved an explination. It wasn't their business why I didn't want an oyster and I didn't deserve to be peer-pressured by 40 year olds. How lame. Anyway, I got pissed off enough that I just left and went inside. Later, the woman who brought the oysters came and apologized. She said she had no idea that I was pregnant and I was right not to do it. Raw oysters are bad news for the unborn. I gave her a look and didn't say much. I just wished that people would mind their own business at that point.

But I'm passing this information along because it occurs to me now that maybe she really thought she was helping. For all she knew, I was refusing because I thought it was gross and then would get brave later and go try them just to make a point. So since I never told her "I'm not eating them because I'm pregnant" she felt she should make sure I knew it was unsafe.

I recently had a conversation with a friend about sleeping on your back while pregnant too, which she didn't know was unsafe, so I figured I should go ahead and pass this along. Maybe I'll save a baby today :-)

A little lonely

So even though a large percentage of my friends have said that they think the lj boycott (yes, I agree that "strike" is the wrong word for many reasons) is dumb, I decided I would stay away today. There are two reasons for this.

1. I do remember the uproar about lj banning nursing photos as user icons and am very upset that they are contributing to our society's disgusting and incorrect view that breastfeeding is sexual or something you should be ashamed of and keep hidden.

2. Even though for the most part, the new changes don't affect me and aren't my cause in particular, I'm being repectful of the people who are affected. It's like I'm not striking myself, but am just choosing not to cross the picket line. I mean, c'mon, it's only 24 hours, I'm not going to die from lj withdrawals. Right? Right.

The one sport that makes sense

It's no secret that I'm not exactly what you would call a sports fan. I mean, basketball is a bunch of sweaty guys jumping up and down, football is a bunch of freezing guys jumping on top of each other and wresting is a bunch of naked guys trying to kill each other. But even I have to admit that Amercica's favorite passtime, baseball, can be pretty fun to watch. It's easy to understand and relatively non-violent. The year that the Mariners were doing so good that they made it to the playoffs (the lost to the Indians) I made sure I was watching baseball.

But there are people who are so into baseball that watching the real thing isn't even enough for them. They also play fantasy baseball, which is, as far as I can tell, pretty impossible to win. But a lot of people are VERY into it, and spend large chunks of their time online trading players, etc. At least now there is Web-based software that helps you keep track of all the decisions you've made. You can access it from anywhere, not just your home computer (good news for all those guys at my old work who spent large amounts of time playing fantasy baseball after deadline was over) and it even comes equipped with artificial intelligence that makes mid-season projections.

Apparently the reason we should all care about this nifty tool is that there is a significant amount of money to be made in fantasy baseball. Now that I did not know about.

If any of you are into fantasy baseball and want to sign up to use this software, you can enter the promo code BMC200 and get $10 off. Ta-da! Pass it along :-)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I'd like to purchase a time machine

The only good news I can report at this particular moment is that Ben went to bed at the fantastically beautiful time of 8:15. And that's not down to bed at 8:15, that's ASLEEP at 8:15. I've seen nothing like this in months and months and months. But at the same time, I haven't had a day like today in um, ever?

Our day started well. I woke up and we nursed. My alarm went off and I actually was able to get out of bed, so I scooped Ben up and carried him upstairs, stripped him down fast and put him on the potty. Ta-da!!! Dry diaper, overnight :-) That's right, I'm a potty-training genius. Yay! I suddenly felt a lot better about the $7 I spent last night on an online potty training course. (I wouldn't recommend it if things are going fine, but if you're having problems, it does have a few good tips. Probably worth about half of what I paid for it, but hey, $7 is not that much to begin with. Since a lot of things on the Internet turn out to be a scam, I'm happy that it was useful at all. It's actually one of the ads on the top of this page "potty training in 3 days" so check it out if you're interested.)

Anyway, I digress already.

He peed, we watched Backyardigans, we went to art class. It was an Easter-themed day, and I even thought about not going, but decided we'd paid for it and he'd have fun. He doesn't know bunnies and eggs have anything to do with the J-dude. So we did some fun projects and when class was over, lo and behold, he was still dry!!! Yay again. We went to the public restroom but he was too distracted. So I bribed him with candy to stay dry all the way home. He did, we made it and he went in the potty again!!!! A potty-training goddess, that's me.

Then we had lunch and nap. I set a nice alarm so I'd know what time to go get him to make sure he made it to the potty in time (if he wakes up naturally, he never makes it) Well, of course, he woke up 3 minutes before the alarm. And wet his pants. Ah, well. To be expected.

The next pee was when we were outside playing in the yard. We of course tried to go before playtime, but he didn't go. So I set an alarm on my cell phone for 3:45 to try again. Every 20 minutes until they go. Want to know when he went? Three mintues before the alarm went off. Great.

So now, it's late afternoon. We watched some tv. We did some potty sits. Nothing. Time went by. He got up a lot. More time passed. The more sure I was that he had to go, the more he refused to even sit at all. We tried the big potty. We tried the little potty. He screamed, "No potty!" Oh dear. I saw the carpet accident coming a mile away and had no idea what to do.

But thankfully we figured it out. I put on Penguin Movie which we haven't seen in eons. He peed right in the potty before the previews even STARTED! Yup, sure you didn't have to go. But what I can't understand is why he hates the potty later in the day. Seriously, each potty visit is harder than the last and by the end of the day he basically refuses to go at all. Our last accident was actually when Stephen was watching him and he was sitting on the massage table. Stephen actually got a little mad which is kind of unusual for him.

Le sigh.

By the time I got Ben to the bath, we were all insanely tired. He'd been screaming and getting into things and making a big ol mess of anything he came near. We get into the bathroom, and he goes for the toilet paper. About a third of a roll in .5 seconds. And then he threw a bunch of it in the bath. AGHHGHGHHGHGHHHHHH!!!

Things were better in the bath, he calmed down some and did some listening. All was going well until we got out. He tried to get back in, with his towel and I told him that bath was all done. So he bolted straight to the toilet paper. Double handed unrolling. And as much of it as possible into the draining bath. In an instant.

So. Onto the title of this post. I thought to myself while nursing Ben to sleep, what happened to my baby?

This lead me to two separate trains of thought. Why on earth would I want ANOTHER child when I'm so close to strangling this one? What makes me think that I could watch two? And live? They'll tag team me ... one will destroy things while the the other cries and then I'll go to clean up the destroyed stuff and someone will bite or pinch or cry and then I'll lose one and I just can't imagine what the hell I'm thinking.

But I really thought about why it is that I want another baby. Not just the two kids was always the goal in the long run. Not just so much that I want a daughter so much that it physcially hurts me to think about it for too long. It's that I want my baby back. And since Ben will never get younger, the only way to recaptures those wonderful sweet little newbaby moments is to have another one.

I wondered if people would have so many kids if there were time machines and you could just go back and visit your first at any age. Hmmm.

Cause seriously, if Stephen came to me and said "Throw out your pills! Let's make a baby tonight!!!!" I'm not sure I could do it. I am THAT tired.

I spent the whole six and a half hours that I slept last night dreaming about potty training. That's right, dry pants are so much a part of my life now that they're infecting my dreams.

I just want a little break.

PS: the newest good news is that it turns out that not only did he go to sleep at 8:15, he did it BY HIMSELF with zero get ups. Wow. That's one tired kid.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Gaining exposure

It's kind of ironic to me that back when I was working, I was in journalism, which I was always very careful to explain to people was completly seperate from advertising. But now that I'm at home, my extra income comes from writing ads, which is kind of what I said I was "too good for" when I was working. Ha ha ha. I guess that just goes to show you that you should never say never. After all, even when I worked at the newspaper, I was totally dependent on advertising. I mean, that's where my paycheck came from, right?

Ads are responsible for sponsoring a lot of things that we use every day that are "free" to us, like large portions of the internet. And since people buy stuff online all the time, it works out good for each Advertising Agency as well, because they want to get their names out there, gain some exposure and make some new business. Somtimes I click on various ads I see at the side of people's Web sites, especially if it is something I'm interested in, because you never know when you're going to find a good deal that you wouldn't have even thought to look for. :-)

How many flavors was that again?

To motivate Ben with his potty-learning, I've been giving him treats for two reasons. One level for staying dry, and one level for going in the potty. I read once that just giving reinforcement for going in the potty doens't get the whole message across. Then they get the idea that it's good to go in the potty, but not that they have to do it everytime. Just when its convienient for them.

Rewarding for dry pants is a completely different mentality. It's not saying "You have to use the potty" it's saying "Mama likes dry pants." It's hard to explain why it works differently, but it does. If you do this technique completely the way its recommended, you're not really supossed to make a deal out of using the potty at all. Rewards are for potty sits (trying, regardless of success) and for dry pants. This is supossed to keep him from feeling pressured or stage-fright or whatever. But I can't help but get really excited when he pees in the potty, so I'm kind of doing a combo approach.

Anyway, I decided to go out and get some special potty treats for dry pants. Out of nostalgia and a general good memory of them, I went with a box of Jelly Bellies. A pre-mixed set. Like 40 flavors.

And do you know the problem with Jelly Bellies? You can't tell what you're getting (yes, even if you pore over the little chart thing that they include) until you put it in your mouth. It's the worst guesing game ever. Will it be chocolate pudding? Or will it be root beer? Ewwwww!!!!

Ben asked for a "black one" the other day after using the potty and I gave it to him, warning him that Mama doesn't even like black ones, and that if he didn't like it, it was OK.

I seriously should have taken photos. I've never seen him so confused. He's like "It's candy. I like candy. But it's bad!!!! What's wrong with the candy? Why is it broken?"

Ha ha ha. I'd give up on the Jelly Bellies completely except for one problem. What's that? Juicy pear. OMG, if you've never had juicy pear Jelly Bellies, it's worth going out and getting a whole box just to pick out the pear ones. Mmmmmmm. Pear.

Thankfully, I like more than just the one flavor (I really like the popcorn ones, which I've heard makes me weird/rare) and interestingly Ben likes a lot of the ones that I don't, like Tutti Fruiti and Orange and Lemon-Lime. Ha ha ha.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Houses on sale

One of the things that's always been hard for me to understand about economics is the whole buyers market/sellers market thing. Like if the rates are low, then it seems like people would want to look into purchasing homes. But at the same time, how are they going to sell their previous home if rates are low and there are so many homes to choose from? Does that make any sense?

Not to mention, if rates are low, that means things aren't going so well in the economy. Which means no one has any spare money, and everyone is looking into mortgage refinancing. People can't afford to move, so they hope to just save money on the place they already have.

I know that if Stephen hadn't gotten that new job, that's what we'd be doing about now. And we actually got some pretty good mortgage rates when we bought our house about 18 months ago. Seriously, the highest rate we're paying right now is 7 percent and that's on a loan that we used for home improvement.