Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving and shopping

I was told recently that if you aren't ready to pull your hair out, you aren't doing the holidays properly. I am pretty sure I agree. Most moms spend the day cooking, cleaning, entertaining, and everybody else sits back and relaxes. Don't you agree?

I woke up fairly early on Thanksgiving (early for me anyways, I had baked the day before so my portion of dinner was done) and set out to go shopping. I believe I've mentioned before that I don't drive. So I walked a mile to the store to go shopping. I may have mentioned before that I wouldn't shop Kmart again after my last fiasco with them. Well, I lied. I walked there in 26 degree weather to go shopping at 8am on Thanksgiving morning. I walked out about 45 minutes later with close to 30 pounds of stuff, ready to walk back home. So by 9:30am, my arms and shoulders hurt, great start to the day.

Friday I woke up to a phone call from my mother-in-law, asking if I wanted to go shopping. I don't turn down deals, so I went. The longest line I stood in was about half an hour for children's clothing. That honestly wasn't bad for Black Friday. I've decided people lie about Black Friday to keep other people from joining in the fun. My arms and shoulders were still sore throughout the day, and weren't helped by the bags I was lugging around. About this time I decided they need to have people to carry your bags for you from store to store.

This morning (Saturday) I was again woken up by a phone call about shopping. This time it was my mother, hoping I could give insight on what to get my son, nieces, and nephew. I ended up getting stocking stuffers today, which was a good thing to do. So when I got home, I found the stockings and stuffed them with the things I bought, realizing that my son's stocking was overfilled, my husband's was half-filled, and mine was empty.

How is Christmas (or other holidays based on what you celebrate) shopping going for you? Let me know your favorite Black Friday deal or story, if you ventured out.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My trip to Blairsville, GA

Over the weekend, I surprised my best friend for her wedding. We had fallen out of contact as life got in our way; school for her and family life for me. Her mother helped me set the whole thing up, including picking me up at the Atlanta airport and getting me there and back (about 90 minute-2 hour drive each way).

Her mother said something that stuck with me. She asked if it was like we had just seen each other the day before, even though it had been 5 years since the last time we saw each other. That's kind of how it felt, like we knew we hadn't seen each other for a long time but it didn't feel that way.

I have a feeling I drove her new husband crazy, but that's my job. I had to make sure he could deal with me or the marriage just wouldn't work. OK, that's not true, but he was fun to torture. I let him know before the wedding that I thought he was a good guy and that if I didn't approve of him, I would not have made the trip. I enjoyed meeting his whole family, and spending the weekend with everybody who came to the wedding. It was an intimate wedding, about 25 of us total, including the pastor and photographer. We spent the weekend in the mountains, and woke up to an amazing view every morning (the picture included).

My short version of my thoughts for this post: if you have a friend that you have fallen out of contact with for no real reason, make the effort to catch up with each other. You will not be sorry for making the effort to at least see if your friendship has stood up to everyday life. In my opinion, if you miss out on the chance to catch up, you may not get a second chance and you will spend a lot of time wondering what could have happened.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My 'fun' shopping Kmart on-line

I was chosen through Cafemom to buy things from Kmart and review their services. I bought most of my stuff in the store, and then had a little bit of the gift card left that I used on-line.

The stuff that I bought in the store was for my son's birthday party. I had a hard time finding decent party supplies. He was having a Cars party. There were no napkins and one pack of each design. I had enough cups and party bags for what I needed. I asked an associate and she said that they were re-stocked by a different company, and they come in about once a week. So you would think that a week later, there would be more in the store, right? Nope. Nobody replaced any of the party decorations in over a week. About 30% of the wall was completely bare, and a lot of styles had maybe one pack of each thing. I ended up having to mix the two Cars designs to get enough plates and cups. There were no napkins that had Cars on them and I ended up using plain colored ones I had. No cake plates at all, but they had a ton of invites if you needed them.

So onto my on-line experience. On November 7th, they had a family and friends event, most of the stuff was 5-20% off. I ordered 6 items: a Cars teaching clock for my son, a zhu zhu pet for my niece, a pair of jeans for another niece, and 3 shirts to also go out as gifts. Their site would not let me order so I had to call and do it that way. I talked to a nice woman who barely spoke English. She helped me through the process to order the 6 items and cash out. That was an interesting ordeal, but my stuff all got ordered.

As soon as I get off of the phone, there was an e-mail in my inbox asking about my experience. I answered that and then checked to find another Kmart e-mail. 2 of the shirts I ordered were not in stock. OK, whatever. I can find 2 other shirts or get other gifts for those people. More than 3 days later, I get another e-mail from Kmart. The Cars clock that I really liked for my son was no longer in stock. It took them long enough to figure that out. If I had known, it wouldn't have been such a disappointment, but the clock is supposed to help with learning to tell time, and they didn't have it in the store.

I got 2 more e-mails saying that items had been shipped. On the last one, they had a copy of my order. The zhu zhu pet was also canceled and they didn't let me know. I called the customer service line and the woman asked if I wanted to re-order. I told her that I would just go to Walmart instead and get the same items for cheaper. I was ordering form them to finish out my gift card that I was given. Why should I waste time trying to order from a site that can't seem to figure out how to let people know whether or not things are in stock?

I am not the only person who got a gift card from Cafemom who had issues with the store or website. I read multiple similar accounts of the stores being poorly stocked and dirty or disorganized. I also heard from multiple people who had a hard time trying to order on-line.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Being grateful

Gratitude seems to be a thing of the past. Most people today (especially younger adults or children) don't know how to be grateful about what they have. It always seems to be that people want more. While striving to make yourself and your life better is a good thing, it's also important to recognize what you have.

I have an awesome husband. We have had our ups and downs, but he is trying to be a better person. He's trying to work on things that caused trouble for us in the past, as am I. He's working on showing that he cares, rather than just hoping I know. I am also trying to be a better wife for him, whether it's making his lunch the night before, or just asking him and genuinely listening to how his day was.

I have a wonderful son as well. Sure, he gets on my nerves some days, what toddler doesn't? But he is a caring child. He is smart and funny, and makes my bad days worth trudging though so that I can get to a better day. I have a great house, a semi-soft bed, and many other things to be grateful for, including my health.

It's easy to say "well, I wish I had this," but how many people appreciate what they have? Leave a comment with something you're grateful for.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A slightly more upbeat post

Tomorrow is my son's 4th birthday. It's a bittersweet day for me, as are most of his birthdays. I am so happy that he's growing big and strong, but every year seems to be more of a reminder that he's not a baby anymore. I will probably be a blubbering mess when he turns 18 and we kick him out on the street. (Just kidding, we wouldn't kick him out.)

I was in labor for 26-27 hours with him. I went into labor Halloween night, 2006, at like 10:30pm. My water broke and my husband freaked out. He was running through the house like a chicken with his head cut off, trying to find the number for the hospital. I ended up waddling out to get it myself. I called, told them what was going on and they had him bring me in. He was so frazzled that he had to stop on the way to get cigarettes (no worries, he wasn't smoking in the car). People always get upset at that part, that he actually stopped on the way. You know what? it's better than him leaving, or me having to deal with him on nicotine withdrawls while I was in labor. Plus, I had a feeling that our son wasn't just going to fall out in the 2 minutes he was in the store.

We tried different things. The jacuzzi tub, walking, the shower, nothing seemed to speed things up. I got a few phone calls from people wondering if I had him yet, and my father-in-law even showed up on his lunch break. Finally, at about 11:30pm November 1st, I got the epidural and it was time to push. At 12:50am November 2nd, my son was born. It was a long labor, but totally worth it. In the past four years, he's brought a lot of happy memories to our family. The pictures posted are of the day he was born, and last night (Halloween).

Feel free to share labor stories about your own children in the comments.

Looking young and the problems it causes

This post may sound like I'm whining, just hear me out.

At the last house, I went to the same place for over 3 years to buy lotto tickets (either for myself or for my mom). Every time I went in, the cashier would ID me. One time I bought tickets out of the machine and she stopped me on the way out to ask for ID. I finally told her that she's IDed me probably 100+ times at that point, and I'm not getting any younger.

On Saturday night, I went to a Halloween party at a bar. At the door, I handed over the cover charge and my ID. The bouncer looked at my ID, back at me, and then back at the ID. He handed it back and told me, very matter-of-factly, that I could not come in. He said that it was not my ID and he would not allow me in. The people I went with were dumbfounded and asked if they could bring me home and then come back, as they already paid.

I went home and my brother picked me up to go back to the same bar and try again. I grabbed a credit card and my birth certificate as well. I handed him my ID and he told me again that I could not come in. I told him that I brought my credit card, and that he said if I had one on me, I could get in. That was a half truth, because he told me that, but also said if I left he wouldn't let me in the next time either, credit card or not. My brother and I requested to see the owner and he called over the other guy taking money. The guy looked at my pile of ID, asked my address and birthday. My brother stepped in with "I'm her brother, here's my ID, my military ID..." and they agreed to let me in finally.

I understand that, on a regular basis, I look to be about 16 years old. But when presented with ID, I haven't been questioned before. I don't really know what was with that particular bouncer, but it was embarrassing to be put through that. The picture I have added was how I looked when I went out. It is my "scary zombie" face.

Other people asked why I didn't just go home and give up the first time. Well, I had plans with people and I knew they would have felt bad if I didn't make it inside (as the ride home with them consisted of them apologizing multiple times for me not getting in). Also, as a wife and mother, I don't really get time out to just be me.

For those who don't know, I am 23 years old. I constantly get asked how old I am though, especially with my son. I ran a race recently with a friend and when we were getting to the end of the race, somebody yelled out to ask if we were a mother/daughter team. I know I will enjoy looking young when I get older, but right now it's a pain right in the butt.

Feel free to share any stories about not looking your age in the comment section.