Monday, July 23, 2012

I only LOOK like a million bucks

I don't know about you all, but I love me some Groupon and Living Social.  They allow me to try, on the cheap, new places to eat, get my hair cut, or even rotate my tires.  I met my new hairstylist, Guthrie, this way (though I haven't been to him in ages!  Living social has yet to have a deal on TIME.  I'd totally buy that up.)

One thing I'm always on the look out for are deals on photography for the kids.  We don't have a "picture" part of the budget, so whatever pictures we do get taken have to be paid for out of our miscellaneous pocket.  Which only gets about $20 a week.  Usually its spent on extra groceries, or other, you know, miscellaneous stuff.   Discounts on photographers that aren't located in Wally World are preferred. 

I've been pretty fortunate at bargain hunting for pictures.  I did a fall mini session for Eliza's newborn pictures and our family pictures.  That ran me about $175, but it came with a cd and the rights to the pictures.  I had another living social deal to an awesome lady, Terrah, who took Eliza's 3 month pictures (again with a CD.)  She modeled for my friend, Jen, around 4 months old.  I , unfortunately, did not have a deal for her 6 month pictures, so I took her to portrait innovations for some cheap, (but voluptuous) and easy pictures. 

I wasn't planning on a 9 month session any where, because I'm saving up to do another mini session in the fall (for birthday pictures and Christmas cards again.)  However, this AH-MAZING photographer did a living social deal that I could not refuse.  There is no way, in heck, that I could ever afford her pricing whilst still feeding my growing family.  But, the living social deal was $39 and included a 20 minute mini session and 4 5x7s and 8 wallets in one pose. 

I knew it was going to be tough, getting just one picture.  However, I figured that if all of that cost $39, that I might be able to buy an additional print for $35-$40ish.  (Which is still a lot, but I know myself and I hate choosing just one.  I worry and worry that I "should've gotten a different one."  I know.  I have a problem.) 

So, we get to the session.  Eliza was absolutely PERFECT!  (You'd never know we had gotten up at 4 am.)  She looks at the camera, smiles her gorgeous smile, bats her eyes, sniffs, stands, sits, crawls.  You name it, she did it. And she looked fabulous! (y'all, she's made to be a baby model.  Just saying.)  The photographer kept commenting about how awesome Eliza was and how she was just going to take "one more" and "oh, one more here, too." 

We were supposed to chose from 8 images after getting rid of the funky baby/eyes closed ones.  We ended up with 30.  Of which, I liked about 27.  I quickly narrowed it down to 15.  Then 10.  I decided which pose I wanted for the Living Social deal.  (its so sweet, guys.  so. sweet.)  It was then that the photographer asked me if I reviewed pricing before I came.  I did not.

She hands me the pricing sheet, while saying "these prices are greatly discounted to go along with the deal."  The smallest "package" was of one pose and started at $175 for 3 pictures.  Just in case you missed that the first time- $175 for 3 pictures.  That was a discount.

I realized, at this point, things weren't going to end well.  My mother in law, who had taken the bigs to the park and came back to go through the pictures with me, asked if she had an ala-cart pricing.  The photographer answers "this IS our ala cart." 

Me: "so, you can't just buy one picture?  Like an 8x10 or 5x7?"
Her: "no.  these pictures are over half off.  You have to get the package."
Me: "can I think about it?  Call my husband and talk to my mom and get back with you tomorrow?"
Her: "no.  Once you walk out of here, your pictures are deleted."
Me: "well, then.  I guess we'll just have to stick to the deal only."
Her: "Don't let the door hit you on the way out."

okay.  so maybe she didn't say that last sentence.  But, it sure felt like it.  Her attitude went from joyful and friendly, to very cold and distant.  In fact, she didn't even see us out or tell me when the pictures would be in.  I had to go back up to the desk and ask her assistant.  She just got up and left.

Its not like I think her pictures aren't worth the price. They were amazing pictures. Just beautiful. The lady has some major awesome talent. If this is what talent costs, I just can't afford that kind of talent.

So, I left my baby girl's 9 month photo session extremely guilt-ridden that all of those beautiful pictures were being deleted and I wasted this photographers time with my measly $39 Living Social deal. I wanted to cry in the car because of the way she made me feel. She made me feel cheap.  Lousy.  Worthless.  Then, I started to get mad. Really mad.

This is what made me so mad/hurt/angry.  Her attitude about me.  Her attitude about my family.  Her niceness was strictly based on money.  But, here's what I don't understand.  Where did she even get the idea that I would be one to fork over loads of money for pictures? I bought a Living Social deal for Pete's sake.  Clearly I can't afford her regular pricing!  Secondly, its not like I was dressed to the nines or something.  Here's what I wore:

yeah.  I know.  Classing it up.  T-shirt and shorts are Target clearance.  Even my shoes were under $5.  So, maybe it was my purple pearl earrings that made it clear to her that I was "in the money".  Who knows?

So, now I'm debating what to do about it.  I'm not typically a confrontational gal.  I don't really want to leave a nasty review, since the pictures she took were so good.  But, at the same time, I want to warn other people that bought the same deal (the deal just went live Thursday so there's a good chance most people haven't scheduled yet.) to be prepared for the additional print costs.  I felt like I was completely blind sided.  I wish there was a way to do this anonymously. *sigh*

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I hate co-sleeping

There.  I said it.  Go ahead and get your stones ready.  I know they'll be zooming my way after that title.

Here's the thing, though.  I've always been one that says "whatever works" when it comes to babies and sleep.  I'm not passionate about co-sleeping.  I'm not gung-ho about crib sleeping.  I'm just pretty in love with sleep itself.  Where ever and however that takes place.

When my babies were all itty bitty, they all slept with me (or on me, actually).  All four of them wanted to be in very close contact those first few weeks.  It was fine, and it worked for us because we GOT SLEEP!

Then we moved them to the bassinets/cradle/rock and play right next to our bed, where they stayed for various amounts of time (6 mths, 6 mths, 4 mths, and 8 mths).  I slept better with them near me, but not in our bed (I'd have nightmares about the baby being under the covers, or smothered by E.  I never slept peacefully.) We slept well that way.

We moved them into their cribs when they were too big for their bedside sleeper (or in Isaac's case, when I had to give it back to the person I was borrowing it from).  This is where my kids' sleeping split in half.  O and Isaac handled the transition well.  They were both pretty good sleepers on their own, (Isaac had his fingers to suck for self soothing) and continued to do fairly well in the crib.  A and Eliza were/are different.  We desperately searched for ways to get them to sleep longer/more, with no avail.  Co-sleeping was one of the first things we tried, since it made the most sense. 

Guess what.  I hate it.  Its our only option at this point (long story.  Plus, I don't want to have more rocks thrown at me than I have to.)  I hate that its our only option.  Because its not really "working" either.  Sure, she's getting a little more sleep.  But, not me.

Co-sleeping at 9 months is NOT like co-sleeping those first early weeks and months.  Then- all snuggles, nursings, and sleeping.  Now- hair pulling, face grabbing, standing, crawling, and NOT sleeping.  Its one of THE most aggravating things- to lay down with your baby, craving sleep, only to be baby finger-nailed in the eye.

 3am party time for babykins and mommy?  oh, sure.  If you were MY FIRST CHILD!  What?  I can't move an inch, because if I do, it'll wake the beast baby?  Fine.  I'll lay perfectly still.  All.night.long.  King sized bed?  no problem.  Baby will fill that bad boy up so that I have to hug the side, teetering perilously on the edge.  Also, how about a nice, urine filled diaper in your face at 2am?

So, tell me this- how is it that my co-sleeping mommas seem so rested?  Because, I'm getting very little rest.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

New tricks and teeth!

I'm sort of using this post as a test.  I was/am trying to re-do my blog template.  First off, I want to shoot my computer for not doing what it needs to do.  Secondly, I'd like to scream at photo shop for not allowing me to bring my background of the banner to the fracken front with out completely blocking out my picture.  Thirdly, I am this [  ] close to just calling it quits because I know it SHOULD work, I just don't know how to fix it. Lastly, I'd like to show blogger my wagging finger since it won't let me take the easy road and just insert a super cute, ready to go template.

Eliza has some new tricks.

Crawling like this.  Its pretty funny.

Two new, very sharp, teeth!

She learned how to scrunch her nose and sniff. (Of course, I cannot get a clear picture of this, since she moves constantly when she does it!)

My favorite of the bunch is this new trick:  making kissy noises and faces. 
I die of the cute.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

short catch up

Eliza = no sleep training baby

Isaac = no potty training toddler

A = possibly sleeping with a CPAP

O = still 36 lbs

Me = dairy and soy free and cranky

E = more excited about A's lego party than A

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Dear, (the water park eddition)

Dear mother of the 4 week old baby,
Your baby is precious, but please tell me that he's adopted or that your husband carried him in HIS womb for 9 months.  Please!  Otherwise, other mothers will be loathing themselves as they look at you and your flat abs in your itsy bitsy, teeny weeny, bright pink bikini. 
Other mother

Dear very pale and very big man,
I will help you put sunscreen on your back.  But, only because I can spray it on.  If it was a rub on kind, well, you know... You'd probably be burnt.
You're welcome,
A little weirded out

Dear Eliza,
I appreciate the fact that you were pretty tired at the water park.  I don't usually mind holding you, either.  But, the fact that you took your longest nap in an entire week, in my arms, so I could not move or enjoy the said water park was a little inconsiderate. 
Your I-sat-for-over-an-hour-holding-you Mommy

Dear big kids,
I love that you are both tall enough to go on the slides!  What a fun time we had!
Some parts of growing up are fun

Dear E,
I know she's "your daughter, too" but I clearly have an irrational fear of children drowning.  So, lets not push my trigger as far as it will go before I snap.  I don't really want you to take our 8 month old daughter into the wave pool in the deep end.  She's tiny.  What if she slips?  How would you find her with all of those people?  What if she gets water in her lungs and then "dry drowns" later?  What if...
I'll stop now

Dear water park,
you and your awesome smelling fries sort of suck.
With regrets,
Soy and dairy free

Dear multiple women in the bikinis that have a stomach like mine,
I wish I had your moxie.  You, clearly, must have some amazing self esteem that I lack.  Rock it girl, rock it.
too many stretch marks

Dear lady in a too-small bikini,
Please stop glaring at me while I feed my infant under this nursing cover.  I am showing amazingly less skin than you at this moment. 
Not showing any boobage