Thursday, August 28, 2008

When the chips are down, use cash

So, one thing that has been pretty frustrating to me during our time here in the UK has been something commonly known as the chip card.  Whenever you make a purchase almost all British cards have computer chips in them.  Most places will still take "slider cards" like the one we have.  The chip cards are actually pretty cool, I think it would be great if the states started doing it.  But the problem here is even though most places take slider cards, they often time have no idea what to do with it.  You would think they never existed in this country at all, which they did.

A few weeks ago Drew and I were Joking as we walked out of an appliance store where we were in search of a toaster oven.  The 20 somethings who worked there said Oh you mean a foreman Grill (no we mean a toaster oven).  The older man who worked there knew what we were talking about but said they didn't carry them and suggested we try another appliance store (which also didn't carry them and thought even after a description that we must have meant a foreman grill).  Anyway we walked outside and drew joked to me that we would take our slider cards, get in our horse drawn carriage, and look elsewhere for a toaster oven.  That is how people react as though we are asking questions and using the technology from another century.

So here is where my frustration begins in trying to get one of these new fangled chip cards.  We have 2 British bank accounts.  The bank account we have on base, even though it is a British account in pounds and everything doesn't offer chip cards.  The other bank account "we" have (its really Drew's account) won't add me on because I have no proof of address.  That's right, they will accept proof in the form of a bill in your name sent to your address but my name isn't on any of the bills (at least not so far) because I don't have an income.   Being married to someone who wants to add you to their account to which they have proof  of address doesn't count.  It will take a little time to get a  proof of address so I have to be patient use Cash if places don't take "slider cards" that is simple to poke out with my card on base, but I just need to make sure I don't run out of cash like I did this morning as I tried to buy some butter and cream at one of the only stores I have come across who doesn't accept Slider cards.  Luckily, I dragged Anna outside looked through the change in my car and found the 3 pounds I needed to make my purchase.  So for now I need to really pay attention and do like my mother always told me, make sure to carry cash just in case you can't use your card.

a Little bit of sleep, goes a long way

Yesterday, I spent the day dragging Little around which definitely made sleeping a bit difficult.  She kept waking up.  She wasn't too pleased about it either.  She had to spend the morning with me at the hospital (they have loads of dr. appts in the hospital) for my Glucose Tolerance test.  They do it for mothers who had Gestational Diabetes to check and make sure it is gone.  Anyway, Little had to sit there for 2.5 hours while I drank the sugary drink and then waited to take the blood test.  She did great though, in that as she tried to go to sleep for over an hour, very tired laying on me.  She just sat quietly trying and trying and being woken up every time there was a noise.  But she didn't even get fussy and eventually, she made it.  I think it is adorable because ever since she was born, she has gotten a little smile (typical of newborns) once she drifts off to sleep, as if she is saying "I did it!"  Anyway, due to the fact that sleep was so difficult to come by, she was very fussy at night as she was exhausted, and she takes after me (and I think a lot of people) in that when she is the most tired she has a harder time falling asleep.  So, after considerable trying, it took at least 1.5 hours to make it to sleep.  She finally made it at about 12:00ish last night.  She also slept in our bed because she was way way to tired to be able to stay asleep when we put her down.  Trust me, tried.  She in fact ended up falling asleep when I put her in her Boppy and laid right next to her touching her check with mine, breathing on her and cuddling her.  But, a beautiful thing happened because of it of the lack of daytime sleep.  I was awakened in the middle of the night to the sound of her making noises.  Drew looked at the clock and it was 5 am!!!  She never slept that long straight without feeding before.  It was Great!!!  Also, she wasn't fussing for food at the time.  When I woke up and looked at her she had her eyes wide open and was just laying there calmly studying her hands.  When I picked her up, she started fussing.  For only about a second, the time it took me to lift her up and put her on my breast which she then decided she was a bit peckish and calmed down.  I know she is not quite to the point where this will be an everyday occurrence but, I am working toward that by trying to keep her awake and very full today.  =)

MMTV Cribs

So, Anna (her nickname is Little) has quite the set up in her Crib.  She has Music, a Mobile, and we can watch her on a TV monitor.  Its pretty nice.  But what is even nicer is she has started to sleep in the crib!  Yes siree, she takes naps in there.  She also spends some time playing in there because she loves her Animal friends on her mobile - in fact, she even talks to them when I am not in the room.  I hear her cooing sometimes.  Its adorable!  She also can sleep pretty well in there.  Which is excellent.  We don't put her in there every night, and sometimes she does end up in the recliner with Drew or me if we are too tired to wait for her to fall back to sleep after she gets up at night but we are definitely on the road to having ourselves an independent sleeper!

Monday, August 25, 2008

8675309 Kim, I've got your number...

So I have stepped into the world of the ultra high tech! I got a new cell phone. Not just any phone, this phone would cost between 300-400 pounds, which is $600-$900! Well, I got it for free with our mobile plan. Get this, we pay with both having brand new phones for free, and data packages, about the same thing we paid for our old phones and no data packages! Anyway, I can surf the net, check my email, a day planner, can watch videos, play mp3's, have GPS maps (for walking and driving), I can Skype, I have a video phone and a camera, and I am sure several more things that I don't even know about! I am not sure if I can video Skype from the phone that option is probably blocked, but we are looking into if we can Vonage from the phone. That would be awesome! Also, it is totally cute and has a really pretty ring. I am pretty high tech, thats for sure!

eh, Neh, Ouwh

So, Drew and I finally got around to watching a few DVD's Denise passed along to us that Stephanie had given to her. They are about understanding baby language. The woman who does the videos has perfect pitch and was an accomplished musician. She has an amazing auditory memory and when she had her son, she was able to figure out what his cries meant. Then she listened to other babies and found out they make the same "words". They explain the words then show about 20 different babies expressing hunger, sleepiness, and the need to burp. Well, we recognized those words in Anna. We learned several things. One that she needs to burp WAY more than we do. I mean sometimes for 45 minutes straight! We also learned that when she isn't upset because she needs to burp she becomes very happy! We had way more Smiles yesterday after watching the video and being able to interpret what she had to say. Finally, we learned that sometimes she needs to do more than one thing at once.  We just listen for the word she expresses the loudest and do that.  Unless of course she needs to burp and is hungry, in that case the burp always comes first.  We think she used to be unset and unsettled because of her need to burp, then she would cry and cry because of the pain.  She would do that until she fell asleep.  So some days we ended up with a baby that was very sad.  Here's hoping this is something that keeps working.  We have one more lesson to watch next week.  We will let you know if it works out well!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Vacuuming the lawn Vs. Mowing the Lawn

So, since we have moved in we have only cut our lawn once.  Which sounds horrible and neighbors probably agree, but the grass is probably about as long as being 1 day mowed in the states.  Here they have little electric lawn mowers.  They look more like Vacuums.  They are that small.  They are also hard to push, definitely not self propelled.  Their bags fill up super quick and mowing our front lawn, which in all honestly is smaller than our front lawn in the states, took about an hour.  You see people out tending to their yards all the time here, which is probably why they all look like they are professionally landscaped.  It sure seems as though everyone in England must have a green thumb!  Anyway, this morning Drew assembled our Lawn mower from the states.  Yes, an actual mower, gas powered, huge by comparison, and best of all self propelled.  It took all of maybe 5 minutes to mow the very over grown back yard!  We would have had to go over the yard several times with the vacuum mower, it would have taken half the day.  Bringing that lawn mower over was the best idea!  Now we need to mow the front again.  Probably not today, but my guess is that it will take us a good 2-3 minutes (after starting the mower up) to get it done.  Mowing the lawn is definitely the better way to go!

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Living in our neighborhood is a real treat.  We have never lived in such a nice place before.  Never does a worry cross my mind that I am not safe going for a walk.  There are foot paths, a park, and a beautiful field.  The houses are all new (at least by my standards - the area is about 20 years old).  We haven't really ventured out on walks much because we have been, busy, tired, or its raining.  Yesterday was our big walk.  Drew took the bus home from work, he doesn't do too often, I usually drop him off at work in the morning and pick him up sometimes too.  Drew is able to watch TV shows on his new phone and I think he really enjoys the down time of the bus ride.  The bus stop is about 3/4 of a mile from our house.  Yesterday the sun was out and the weather was a great temperature.  Anna and I set out to meet Drew at the bus stop.  The walk usually takes him about 15 minutes, we doubled that amount of time, because Anna and I tend to take life a little bit slower.  So I grabbed a stroller to push my stuff (Anna isn't a big fan of the stroller yet) and a baby bjorn to carry Anna and we headed out.  We saw all kinds of things on our trip and had a great conversation about all the flowers and beautiful yards (they call them gardens here and for good reason, all of them seem to be professionally landscaped).  We saw some children playing, one had a cardboard box that was decorated like a horse and she was wearing it around.  Another had an alien mask on.  We saw people coming home from work, other people were out for a walk themselves.  We had a great time.  We arrived at the bus stop about 5 minutes before Drew's bus was to arrive and sat down on the bench.  Anna had some time to start a nice meal.  When Drew arrived we waited for Anna to finish her dinner.  I had enjoyed the walk so much that I said we should walk to a restaurant and have dinner for date night.  So, we continued on our lovely journey into town (which apparently isn't that far of a walk at least not on a beautiful day).  We passed lot of shops and more people.  We talked about where to eat and ended up at Pizza Hut, not too exciting but good food and family friendly.  After dinner, we weren't sure if it was going to rain or not, so we thought it best to take the bus into our neighborhood.  It was a great idea because after we got off the bus, I realized that walking on a full tummy is a bit more tiring than walking on an empty tummy.  We got home as the clouds were getting darker but we certainly had a great opportunity to enjoy the beautiful day in our neighborhood.


Big smiles and great weeks!

Last week was a little hairy with dealing with a fever, a very bad reflux night, and little Anna just seemed to have a lot of the Sads.  But, thanks to Denise, and her great advice, Anna's reflux is now under control.  She doesn't have the sads too often and she (as well as Drew and myself) had great weeks!  Anna started really getting into Smiling on Sunday.  I would say she had her first official social smile.  Everyday she has been practicing a little more.  She has also started being more alert and cooing.  Its a lot of fun.  We can actually spend time playing together.  Another new development is that she has started to want her own space.  Whereas in weeks past I had to hold her during naps (she would wake up within 5 minutes of being put down, even when she was in a deep sleep)  She has started being more independent and sleeping in her play yard during her naps.  In fact yesterday, I put her down and she woke up a bit eyes wide open and everything.  I just rubbed my finger once across her forhead, she closed her eyes and put her self back to sleep (ussually we rub her forhead as she is tired and it really helps her fall asleep).  Then, Joan and I were able to get a lot of things done on the house.  Even though we have had our stuff for a month or so, we are not completely settled yet.  But my goodness, just her being down for 2 hours without needing to be held made a huge difference.  We got so much done!  We were able to assess her room and what we would need to put up her boarder etc.  We took her hand prints for a hanging on the wall (she even stayed as sleep when we washed them off).  We moved some book shelves and I organized our board games, dvd's, pc games, and game cube games.  Joan vacuumed and it really spruced up the place.  Things finally feel like they are coming together, so at weeks end both Mother and baby were having a lot of big smiles not to mention just overall great weeks!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Another car adventure...

So, our "new" car is a 2005 ford focus.  Well we have to take it into the shop because it is an automatic and it keeps wanting to shift gears at the wrong time.  We purchased a year warranty on it so it really isn't a problem.  We called the dealership to ask what we do and they said that we might first want to call a ford dealership to see if it is still under manufacturer warranty.  Before we bothered to call the warranty company themselves.  Well, lo and behold it is still under warranty until Monday!  We were able to get an appointment on Thursday so hopefully, it will be smooth sailing.  We had checked with a mechanic to look it over and they said there was a problem with the gear box.  It really just sounds like something needs to be tightened, but how lucky is it that we have 4 days left on the manufacturers warranty!

Fever in the morning, fever all through the night...

So , yesterday was my first experience with baby fevers.  I was out and grabbed some breakfast and Anna was acting a bit lethargic.  We went to the post office and I thought she felt hot.  Trying to avoid going to the doctors yet again, we have had appointments at least weekly since we moved here.  They really take care of you and want to make sure things are going well here!  Especially when you are a new mother with a new baby, that's for sure!  I have never actually had better medical care than we have while being here.  We are most certainly not lacking in medical attention, it has been really great actually, just sometimes a bit of an annoyance.  Anyway, the post office was filled with men but before I finished up the things I was doing a woman came in and I asked her if she had any children, she said one.  I then asked her if Anna felt warm to her.  She said a little.  So, I decided to take Anna to Grandma Joan's house.  Joan wasn't home but Grandpa Fred got out the thermometer and sure enough Anna had a fever of about 100 degrees.  So, I called the health center, really just wanting advice.  I said that my baby had a fever.  They made an appointment for a couple hours later.  The doctor did a check up and said she wasn't too concerned but if her fever went to 101 we should give her paracetamol (Tylenol) to cool her down.  We should also strip her, and make sure she still eats at least every 6 hours.  So, I felt kind of proud of myself for being able to tell Anna was acting a little unusual and that she had a fever.  It reminded me of the story my mother told me about when I was in the hospital and the doctor asked what my temperature was.  My mother felt my forehead and said 103, but the doctor took my temperature to see anyway.  Sure enough it was 103 and the nurse looked at the doctor and said, Never question a mother.  Anyway, I wasn't too proud of myself because I felt bad for my little one.  She was not too pleased with feeling sick.  It wasn't until later that night that I realized I felt sick too, Actually I threw up middle of the night and had a fever of 99.7 (she totally had me beat!) but, today her fever seems like it is back to normal and I feel better as well.  But I have to say this is one part of being a mother I do not look forward to.  You know how parents always say that they hope their children with have children just like them so they will know what it is like.  Well in my case I certainly hope that isn't true, at least medically, my mother always described me as her sick one.  But anyway, all is well for now.

An answer to Denises Tag...

I think this is considered a "tag"...
Welcome to the 2008 edition of getting to know your friends. Okay, here's what you're supposed to do, and try not to be lame and spoil the fun! Copy this entire post and paste into a new post or email that you can send, change all the answers so that they apply to you. Then post it or send it to a whole bunch of people you know, INCLUDING the person that sent it to you.

1. What is your occupation? currently full time mother, formerly recreation therapist.

2. What color are your socks right now? barefoot

3. What are you listening to right now? silence
4 . What was the last thing that you ate? whole grain eggo waffles

5. Can you drive a stick shift? yes - ish

6. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? burgundy

7. Last person you spoke to on the phone? Joan Mudgett

8. Do you like the person who sent this to you? of course she is the bestest!

9. How old are you today? 29

10. Favorite drink? white cranbury peach juice or honest teas honest aide (pomegranate blue)

11. What is your favorite sport to watch? Ay sport with someone I know playing  or any professional sport in person.  We got  to see David Beckhams first soccer game in the US.  He played for about 5 min.

12. Have you ever dyed your hair? um, once maybe twice.  Drew saw a thing of hair dye that said it was 100% intense and we had our doubts, after experimenting we came to the conclusion that at least on dark hair it is more like10% intense.  Maybe it would be more intense on a blond.

13. Pets? Only sometimes, Annasaurus rex
14. Favorite food? love food, tired of typical frozen meals, /i like tres leche cake, crispy tacos and hawiian heystacks

15. Last movie you watched? the man who knew too little, newer version it was hillarous!

16. What do you do to vent anger? take deep breaths, talk to drew, pray

17. Favorite Day of the year?  I LOVE thanksgiving and Christmas, also when the weather is just right, sunny and warm, not too hot!

19. What is your favorite, fall or spring? Spring

20. Hugs or kisses? getting hugs, giving kisses

21. Cherry or Blueberry? blueberry pancakes Cherry everything else

22. Do you want your friends to email/reply back to you? if they would like to

23. Who is most likely to respond? Dad

24. Who is least likely to respond? Drew

25. Current living arrangements: In a house with my daughter and husband.

26. When was the last time you cried? A couple days after I brought anna home from the hospital, drew and I got nervous about SIDS and thinkung about it made me sad

27. What is on the floor of your closet? folded sweatshirts and sock basket

28. Who is the friend you have had the longest that you are sending this to? just posting, not sending, every member of my family since they were all around before I was

29. The friend you have had the shortest that you are sending this to? Ummm, not that I am sending it ti her but I am going to have to go with Anna.

31. What inspires you? people that strive to help other people and seeing examples of it like on extreme makeover home edition.  Also the scriptures and my family

32, What are you afraid of? my family or myself getting seriously sick and dying. ditto

33. Plain, cheese or spicy hamburgers? cheese

34. Favorite car: ummm, I like new cars, any one I can afford!

35. Favorite cat breed? dog

36. Number of keys on your key ring? 3

37. How many years at your current job? 5 wks

38. Favorite day of the week? Saturday or Sunday

39. How many states have you lived in? 2

40. How many countries have you been to? 8-1ish

41. Today's date and time: August 5, 2008 1:37PM gmt

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Little hidden parts...

So, I have come to realize that babies have so many nooks and little hidden parts, its really hard to keep them all clean.  I (we) had given Anna a bath yesterday and today at church I was looking at her hands and in between her fingers were really dirty.  Don't even get me started on under her finger nails - even though I cut them there is still a place that dirt finds to cling onto.  I was trying to make sure I cleaned everything on her in the bath but I guess I looked past those clenched fists!  I was just happy to get everything cleaned out in her neck.  Anyway, she will be taking another bath today, she doesn't know it yet.  She doesn't actually like baths yet and Drew and I being such caring parents hate to see her upset.  So, it ends up that she takes a bath with me, while nursing.  It seems to calm her down a lot.  She is slowly learning to look around and feel the water and seems to start to be more accepting of the whole process, so maybe in a little while she will be back to baths in her baby bathtub.  I have found that no matter how we do it, it is complicated to get to all those little hidden parts.