Tuesday, June 30, 2009

This is so annoying I can't even think of a good title!

Although to steal a line from my friend, Krystyn "Really? Are you serious?" would be appropriate.


I had the following conversation with Em yesterday morning:

Me: So guess what Brad and I got in the mail today? A notice from a collection agency!!
Em: Please tell me this is not about your cable again!
Me: Oh yeah, it is! Six months later Verizon is an even more annoying thorn in my side!


So here is the situation. Back in November, I called Verizon with a question about my cable bill. After being put on hold or transferred for the eleventy seventh time, I finally managed to talk to the rudest most unhelpful customer service rep ever employed by Verizon. (Actually, I am not even sure he was a Verizon employee. He may have been the delivery boy from the deli that just happened to answer a ringing telephone as he walked by.) Anyways after I f-i-n-a-l-l-y managed to get my question answered I hung up the phone, called Brighthouse and switched my cable/internet/phone service. I was just done dealing with Verizon! Once our new service was established, I returned two cable boxes, remotes and a router to the Verizon service center. (Which was no where near my house by the way!)


Three months go by and I get a bill from Verizon for the router that I supposedly hadn't returned. I called the 800 number on the bill to clear up the mistake and guess what? Apparently Verizon doesn't pay their phone bills because it wasn't a working number!!! So I tossed the bill and forgot about it.


Fast forward three more months to yesterday. I was entirely too ticked to deal with this in a constructive manner (meaning I would have blessed out whatever unfortunate soul happened to take my phone call and solved nothing in the process) so Brad called the collection agency and of course they can't do anything but collect our money. So then he calls up the service center where I returned the equipment and talks to the manager there.


So here is the deal. Verizon, in addition to being rude and unhelpful, is also completely unorganized and inefficient. Apparently on the form the service rep filled out for my return, there wasn't a place to indicate that the router had been returned, only the cable boxes. So it was simply put to the side, forgotten about and never credited as having been returned on my account. Now of course when Brad requested that they check their inventory lists, the router that had been on our account was found in the system. Problem solved.


Even though my very level-headed and rational husband pointed out that this was a simple mistake that was resolved with a phone call, it still makes me mad. I mean, seriously? Because of their stupid mistake, my credit is threatened! Stupid people, and stupid corporations even more so, really annoy me! Verizon is right up there with Target in my book!

Monday, June 29, 2009

FMM - Are you smarter more patriotic than a fifth grader?



This week's Friend Makin Monday is being hosted by Shawn from Seriously and she has some Fourth of July questions (including a pop quiz!) for us to answer. I hope we are not being graded! Luckily this first few questions are easy!



What are you doing this July 4th?

This fourth is going to be pretty low key for us. Usually we go to the big picnic our church hosts and watch fire works, but with a new baby in the house we are probably going to just cook out here at the house and light a few sparklers. (And of course later in the evening I will lie awake in bed listening to the teenagers next door setting off firecrackers into the wee hours of the morning because, you know, that's what they do!)


What is your favorite dish to pass when attending a 4th of July party or summer barbecue?

I LOVE homemade ice cream for the fourth. Well, really, anytime is good for me!


Do you have any July 4th traditions?

The usual fireworks and cookouts.


Share your favorite July 4th picture.

Libby with her sparkler July 4, 2008

Emma Jane won't touch her sparkler! July 4, 2008


Finally I will leave you with a little Are You Smarter Than A Fourth Grader? trivia.

1. How many stars are on the American Flag? 50
2. What do they stand for? the 50 states
3. How many stripes are on the flag? 13
4. What do they stand for? the 13 original colonies
5. How many stripes are red? 7
6. The first stripe is which color? red
7. Who sewed the American flag?
supposedly Betsy Ross, but I think that is actually an old time "urban legend" (but then again, maybe I am not smarter than a fifth grader!)



Share your plans for the fourth and make some new friends while you are at it! Head over to Shawn's and join the Friend Makin Monday fun!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

It's My Party and I'll Cry If I Want To

Even though Libby's birthday was a few weeks ago, we only just got around to celebrating this past weekend. Mostly because Mommy failed to get it together in time to have a party on her actual birthday. But since Libby doesn't know how to read a calendar yet, she wasn't fussed about the delay!

I booked her party at Pump It Up. It's one of the indoor inflatable play places. The invitations were sent and all but two of her friends RSVPed "yes!" I ordered a really cute ballerina cake and all in all, it was shaping up to be a fabulous party!




And then...

At 4pm on Saturday (ONE hour before the party was scheduled to start) the owner of Pump It Up calls me to let me know that one of their transformers has blown and they are without power.

No power = no inflatables!


ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!?!?!

*deep breaths* Brad and I called all the parents to let them know the party was on hold and then I frantically started trying to find a last minute alternative while simultaneously trying to calm my understandably hysterical 4-year-old!

After a few fruitless phone calls, Brad remembered another inflatable place house close by. We called and thankfully the party room was free at 6pm! So we called all the parents back and then hightailed it to Planet Bounce. The party was saved and by the end of the night Libby didn't even remember that it had almost been ruined!


Whoa, baby! GroBaby!

The new buzz word in the cloth diapering world is GroBaby. I have been dying to try this diaper out so I was stoked when Jennifer at the Natural Baby Company sent me one to try out!





Grobaby is a one size diapering system and the first thing I did was test out the truth to that claim. In my experience with "one size" diapers, the diaper either fits really well on an infant but doesn't really fit until potty training or the diapers fit great on older babies but are incredibly too bulky on an infant. Grobaby truly is a birth to training diaper. Emma Jane wore the diaper on the largest setting.


























Even under clothes, this diaper has a trim it!
John wore the diaper on the middle setting. He also had a nice snug fit in the diaper, which really helps contain those blowout poops! Even with the snap-in liner folded down, this diaper wasn't too bulky between the legs!

My next big test for this diaper was absorbency! The snap in liners and boosters need to washed at least three times before use and won't reach full absorbency until ten washes! I am not very patient so I only washed the minimum number of times before testing the diaper. I put the diaper on Emma Jane for her nap without the extra booster. Let me tell you, these things are super absorbent!! Emma Jane is a seriously heavy wetter, but this diaper kept her (and her sheets) dry during her three hour nap! I am going to try it overnight once we get to ten washes!

I definitely plan on getting a few more of these awesome diapers, especially now that they have come out with a snap version!
Check out the Natural Baby Company for more great diapering products!

Friday, June 26, 2009

See Kai Run and a GIVEAWAY

Anyone that isn't stopping by my blog for the first time knows that I LOVE shoes! I have almost as many pairs of shoes as I do cloth diapers! *blush*
I have clearly passed this shoe mania on to my daughters. My girls are all about shoes. In fact Emma Jane considers herself fully dressed so long as she has on shoes. Clothes not required! Between the three of us girly-girls there are shoes galore in this house! Unfortunately for John, most of them are pink! So he was thrilled when Julie at See Kai Run sent him this adorable pair of shoes from the Smaller line!
See how stoked he is!
Mommy was pretty thrilled too! Because not only are they super cute, they are so soft and cozy! The shoe we picked is the Ainsley shoe from the Smaller line: We got a 0-6 months size. Of course, John is only 8 weeks old so he still has planty of grow room. (Not that that stopped me from putting them on him!) These will be perfect for fall when his foot is a little bigger.

The excitement of the new shoes really wiped him out!

And as if that weren't enough thrills for one post, See Kai Run has generously offered a pair of shoes to one of my lucky readers. You get your choice of a pair from the See Kai Run line or the Smaller shoes.



For your first entry? Leave a comment telling me which shoes you would get from the See Kai Run line or the Smaller shoes. This is a must and has to be done first.


EXTRA ENTRIES - Please leave an additional comment for each extra entry (If you already do any of these, that counts, too)!
-- Sign up for See Kai Run's email list. This will earn you 2 extra entries...leave 2 additional comments.
-- Follow my blog
-- Post about this contest on your blog, linking back to this post and to See Kai Run.


THE RULES:
*Make sure I have a way to reach you, by either enabling your email through blogger, or leaving your email in the comment.
*Winners are chosen by random.org, so make sure you leave individual comments, not all of them in one!
*contest ends Tuesday July 7, 9pm EST. Winner will be posted shortly after.
*open to US and Canadian residents only.
*rules for each entry must be followed to be valid.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

PSF - Three Generations

Brad's dad came to visit us this weekend to meet his grandson and namesake. Big Jon and little John hit it off right from the start!
I think this is the beginning of a precious relationship!

Jon, John Thomas and Brad. Three generations of Snellings men. What a legacy!
PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

steaks, settlers, swimming and stogies (also titled A night with the Lortons)

Last summer, our very good friends Nathan and Ashley, moved to St. Louis. While Brad and I supported the decision that was best for Nathan's career and their family, this move put a serious cramp in our social life! This was the couple that we spent almost every weekend with! They were practically part of our family! Libby was really devastated when they left because honestly, she loved Nathan and Ashley more than mommy and daddy! They were her favorite people!

A job with the same company recently opened up back here in Tampa and they flew Nathan in to interview for it! So last night, the Lortons were back in Tampa and it was just like old times. We grilled out steaks and then played our favorite game, Settlers! After Nathan swooped in with a surprise win, Ashley and I watched Jon and Kate self-destruct while Brad and Nathan took a swim and polluted my backyard with their cigars.

Brad has already convinced himself that Nathan isn't going to take the job so that he won't be too disappointed if they stay in St. Louis. (Brad was really bummed all last summer over the loss of his boyfriend BFF that guy he hangs out with.) I, on the other hand, am already searching for a new house for them and planning our next vacation together. I really might take it harder now than I did last summer if they don't move back!

So Nathan, like I said last night, "Good luck with your interview and be smart!"


Look at how much John loves Ashley! He never naps on me like that!

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Click here to enter my Bye Bye Monster giveaway!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bye, Bye Monster Review and a GIVEAWAY!

Has your child ever had trouble going to sleep at night because he/she is afraid of "monsters in the closet?" Mine certainly has! As a parent, I have often been at a loss as to how to help my child deal with and overcome her fears.

Like so many parents, Kelly Lucente ,author and creator of the Bye Bye Monster® line of products, spent many sleepless nights comforting her frightened child. When she was unable to find a complete solution on the market to help her son overcome his fears, she decided to create her own! She researched nighttime fears and gave voice to her child’s monsters. The Bye Bye Monster® storybook, organic monster spray, and stuffed monster are a complete bedtime solution for children who suffer from nighttime fear.

Kelly sent us a copy of her book, Bye Bye Monster: Joey's Adventure on Monster Street and the organic monster spray to test out. It was a big hit!! Libby was given a solution to her fears while being entertained with a fun story at the same time. After reading the story, we used the organic monster spray to rid her closet, dresser, and under her bed of monsters. And then we sprayed the kitchen and living room too, just to be safe! Libby slept with the spray bottle by her bed and I told her that if she got scared to give her room an extra spray.

Win it: One lucky Snellings Stories reader will receive a copy of the Bye Bye Monster storybook and organic monster spray!

For your first entry? visit the Bye Bye Monster website and leave me a comment telling me one thing you learned.
EXTRA ENTRIES: Please leave an additional comment for each extra entry!
--follow my blog
--post about this giveaway on your blog, linking back to this post
--leave me a comment on another post, then come back and let me know which post you commented on


*Make sure I have a way to reach you, by either enabling your email through blogger, or leaving your email in the comment.
*Winners are chosen by random.org, so make sure you leave individual comments, not all of them in one!
*Winner has 48 hours to contact me, or another winner will be chosen.
*contest ends Wednesday, July 1st, 9pm EST. Winner will be posted shortly after.
*open to US entries only.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Missing my dad

This is my fourth Father's Day without my dad. I still miss him everyday. This morning at church, Brad leaned over to me and asked if I was okay. I said, "yes, I'm fine." He said, "oh, because last year you got really choked up." I didn't really remember that, so I assured him that I was holding it together.

And then our pastor started talking...and I suddenly remembered when and why I got choked up. We have a great pastor and he happens to also have a father that has passed away. And every year on Father's Day, Pastor Ken makes a point of remembering all of us who have lost our fathers. And it just makes me boohoo every year.

I am not sad right now, just remembering how great my dad was. He influenced my life so much. From him I got my love of useless trivia and classic rock. He taught me to appreciate good food and good wine. He taught me how to drive and I gave him a few gray hairs. He showed me that you are never too old to learn something new. He encouraged me to pursue my talents and interests. He taught me the value of integrity and hard work. He used to take me on dates and taught me by example how I should expect to be treated. He always told me that I am beautiful and that he was proud of me. He was generous and kind and I am so thankful that he is my dad!


My dad with his brother in March 2006.

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day, Brad!
from all of your many children!
Libby (4), Emma Jane (2), and John Thomas (7 weeks)
We love you!!

And from Libby:
A portrait of Daddy and an interview
(I am trying not to be offended that she thought I was 40 on Mother's Day!)





Thursday, June 18, 2009

PSF - She's not the breast mommy!

I have been finding Emma Jane's baby in the swing quite a bit lately. Ever since the birth of her little brother, Emma Jane has become quite a good little mommy herself. She only occasionally played with baby dolls prior to John's birth but since then they are her favorite toys. She is constantly putting them "nite-nite" and then shushing the rest of us so that we don't disturb her sleeping babies! She gets very upset if I walk into a room where she has put a baby to bed and turn the light on! She takes after own Mommy in that she doesn't think babies need nightlights.




One area of parenting that Emma Jane and I disagree on is feeding. I have breastfed all of my children. Emma Jane herself nursed for over 16 months. But as a mommy, Emma Jane thinks breastfeeding is weird. She has never attempted to nurse her baby. She has gone so far as to point and laugh when I am nursing John. (hypocrite!)




Nope, my little girl has made up her mind. It is strictly the bottle for her babies!





Isn't she a good little mommy?




PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek





Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Writer's Workshop- Mommy makes the Rules



I hate when people try to tell me how to raise my kids and I usually try not to give advice to my friends about their kids unless they ask. Well, MamaKat has asked for parenting advice so here is my two cents.

Preschoolers don't need choices. They need a sense of security and that comes from knowing that Mommy and Daddy are in charge.

You know that scene from the playground where the kid is screaming at his mother about whether or not he is leaving and that poor mother is trying to reason with her child. And when reason inevitably fails, she caves to the desires of the preschooler. We have all witnessed it. I guarantee that brat child gets to choose between the red cup and the blue cup every morning. And through out the day that child gets to make other seemingly unimportant choices. But in the end it all adds up to a child that doesn't respect authority. Parents need to take back control of our kids. Because we are doing them (and society) a disservice when we treat three-year-olds like adults.

So that's my advice: choices are for adults, not children!

Bribes on the other hand are perfectly acceptable!

Now it's your turn. Head over to MamaKat's place and share your parenting skills.

WW - "Nursing is easy!"

Hey, she said it! Not me!!!



(And yes, Libby still thinks she is an extra on the set of Flashdance!)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dear Libby,

Fours years ago, I became a mother.

You were so beautiful and so tiny and I was terrified of you! I was sure that I was going to break you but you were patient with me as I learned.




Your joy has brought me joy. Your sense of humor makes me laugh.


Your tears make cry.
Your cautious approach to new situations has taught me to wait and let you figure it out. (That one is hard for me!)

You have made my life better!


I love you so much!

Happy 4th Birthday Libby!

Friday, June 12, 2009

More undocumented moments in JT's life

My sister and I have this joke about birth order and photographs. My sister is the first-born in our family and because of that there are thousands of pictures of her as a child. There are hundreds of pictures of me and three of my brother. And those three were actually taken by someone other than our parents. While this is not specifically true, it is true enough that my mother gets annoyed when we say it.


I always swore that I was not going to let that happen with my children. I made such a conscious effort to take lots of pictures of Emma Jane that I actually have more of her than I do Libby.


But my resolve seems to be falling apart with baby #3. Six weeks into his life, I only have a handful of pictures of JT. And truthfully, most of them were taken by other people! Both girls have extensive baby albums detailing the first year of their lives. I have not even made a plan to start one for JT, not that I have any pictures to put in it anyways. My sis pointed out that he isn't getting very much blog love either. (Her exact words were "So is he not as cute as your other kids?")

Well, yes he is and to prove that he really does exist I snapped a quick picture of him napping next to my desk:



Well JT, I think that with this one you officially have one more baby picture in existence than Uncle Philip!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

PSF - the Jr. LPGA

Right around the corner from our house is a Golfsmith Pro Shop. One of my girls' favorite Saturday pastimes is going to the golf store with Daddy and hitting balls on the putting green. They have little putters that are just the right size. Although neither of my children actually picked an appropriate sized putter because, you know, Libby had to have a pink one. And Emma Jane, my bigger is better girl, had to have one the biggest one she could hold!
And she is going to make sure that ball goes in the hole!Libby plays a little bit more fairly although she hoards the balls and then gets upset when Emma Jane tries to take one!

I am not sure we have any pro golfers in our family but Daddy is going to try just in case!

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek


Writers Workshop - Is there an anonymous group I can join?




This week, MamaKat wants to know about our current addiction. I can certainly oblige! My question is: Can I only pick one? Because I have so many: shoes, Twilight, peanut butter, Edward, shopping, the Cullens, Starbucks, "the cold ones"...


But I think it will be most therapeutic to own my biggest addiction. (You know, other than fictional vampires.)

Hello, my name is Lauren and I am addicted to cloth diapers.


Seriously.

I love cloth diapers! I love the fabrics! I love the cute patterns! I love that they are toxin-free and environmentally friendly! I have two kids in diapers so I love that they are economical...in theory.
I can't get enough! I have all styles. I have fitteds, prefolds, pocket diapers, all in ones. I use aplix and snap closures. I have a multitude of brands: fuzzibunz, bumgenius, thirsties, drybees, goodmamas, kissaluvs, blueberry, swaddlebees. The list just goes on!

But the worst part of my addiction is that even I didn't realize just how bad it is.
But then I started counting. I really don't want to tell you how bad it is. But the first step to recovery is admitting my problem so here it goes.

*gulp*



I have 103 cloth diapers!


Whew!


Thank you, MamaKat for bringing this to my attention because now I can get the help I need.

Is there an anonymous group for sickos like me?


While I look into that, you head on over to Mama's Losin It and join the free therapy session Writer's Workshop fun!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I love these faces

So Libby came to me today and said "Mommy this is my frowny face. Take a picture of it."
Somehow I am not buyin' it! I think JT has her beat!!