Let me start this by saying: I pay my credit card bills in full every month. I have only carried a balance once in all of my credit card years....
John and I are credit card whores.
In July there was an AMAZING starwood promotion where if you charged $1,000 on a new card within 90 days, you got 30,000 bonus points! 30,000!! (for those of you who aren't familiar with what that means -- that is the equivalent of a 3 night stay at some pretty nice properties).
At the same time, I got an email from starwood telling me I haven't stayed at a property lately, and if I did, I would get 8,000 bonus points... so we did at an airport hotel, used the stay, park, and fly feature, spending less money that we would have spend on parking at the airport, and got 8,000 bonus points.
After we were hooked up by starwood... we started thinking what are we going to do with all of these hotel points...
So John signed up for the American Airlines credit card because they were having a promotion if you charged $750 within 90 days you get 30,000 AA miles, which is only 5,000 short of a Caribbean award ticket. (depending where you are going... probably a $400 value).
Basically for spending money we would have spent regardless:
$1,000 initial spending on starwood card (to get bonus of 30k)
$1,000 add'l spending on starwood to get to 40,000 total award points (which is good for 5 nights at a pretty nice hotel, and maximizes value because the 5th night is always free on award stays)
$750 initial spending on AA card
$4,250 add'l spending to get to 35,000 total points - enough for one flight
We can go on a 5 night vacation to the Caribbean for the cost of one plane ticket!
The return on spending:
($370 plane ticket + $1585 hotel cost) / ($7000) = 28% return!! *I based the hotel cost on the Sheraton in Nassau, which in January is retailing for $269 + taxes per night *I based the airfare value on jax - nas in January $370
Based on my awesome credit card whore-ness right now John and I are getting a little more than $1 back for every $4 we spend!
We'll still have to buy one plane ticket for this vacation ($370), and pay for our food/beverages while away, and probably get dinged with the daily resort fee that resorts have started, but it will be an exceptionally cheap, but still very nice, vacation.
*Note that credit card whore-ness does ding your credit score (our score is very high, so we can take the dinging) *Note that this only works if you pay your balance off every month. *I was annoyed when I read Dave Ramsey's book, and he told me not to try to use a credit card because "no one really is able to redeem their points". Believe me we redeem them. Hotel points are especially easy to redeem, and plane tickets are possible too, you just need to be flexible.
...Other than 1) my random bad day at work or 2) my general laziness. Approach me on a day after #1, and I'll express the desire to stay at home. Approach me on #2 and give me lots of money and the ability to still have childcare while staying at home, then yes, I'll want to be home...
I have guilt because I don't have guilt. Motherhood is crazy.
Magical moments at the happiest place on earth
(and that Graham isn't afraid of characters). :)
Something else that makes me wildly happy (but there isn't a picture out there that can illustrate) are words of affirmation. My Dad texted me on Monday to tell me that I am a good sister. It is crazy how that short sentence like that can send your day into the right track and just plain-old make you feel good. Thanks Dad!
On Saturday night, he started crying/screaming in the middle of the night. I went in, and he was still sleeping. I patted his back for a minute or two, and he stopped screaming.
On Sunday night, he was crying/screaming again. Still sleeping. I tried the pat his back trick. It didn't work. I picked him up -- he was complete dead weight. Completely 100% asleep. He continued screaming/crying. I put him back in bed, and John patted his back until he was done. It was 10-15 minutes.
I researched night terrors a little bit on Monday. It said you aren't supposed to pick the child up when he/she is having one (oops). You are supposed to just say loving words or gently pat them. You aren't supposed to wake them, and they won't remember the terror in the morning. It is mostly just upsetting for the parents.
It also said that if your child is having them, you could possible alleviate them by putting them on a consistent bedtime routine. I am already the most anal mother (slight over-exaggeration) when it comes to bedtime (Graham goes at 7pm, basically without exception), so hello, is there any other advice that I can actually use?
Hopefully the night terrors were a two night phase Graham was going through, and we aren't going to have to deal with them throughout his toddler years.
I'm afraid that we might have to deal -- since I am a sleep-walker/talker/terror myself.
one example of many:
One night when Graham was like 4 months old, and we were staying at John's parents house, I had a dream that there was a baby (but specifically not Graham) on a shelf on the wall above the bed. I was very very sure there was a baby up there. So sure that I had to turn the light on in the room that our actual four month old Graham was sleeping in with us (John's was not so pleased with my crazy that night).
So yea, I am a crazy sleeper. And yea, now I'm paranoid that I've given my crazy sleep to Graham.
I've gained five pounds since the beginning of the summer. I feel it in my pants. I don't want to feel it in my pants. We were out of town like 7 weekends of the past 9. I drank too much wine. I know why I gained the weight. Now it needs to come off. That'll be me hitting up the salad bar and the treadmill....
We are going to get the outside of our house repainted. What color should we do? It is gray now. Our HOA is pretty liberal with the color approvals, there is a bright pink house down the road. So I'm pretty sure we have some wiggle room. What do you think?
Graham has never been really that interested in cords and/or outlets. yay! For a while he was interested in the cord to the laptop, but I think we nipped that one in the butt. It is rewarding when you see your disciple actually change behavior. (But I always, always wonder did my disciple work, or did he just move on to more exciting things?)
My house is a mess. A mess of toy clutter. Clutter drives me insane.
I want another baby.
I decided the 2012 Medicare bids (something I work on) are going to be my last set. I want to move into a different role. That will be my 6th year of doing bids (if you are an actuary and know about medicare, this is when you should be amazed with my ability to stick with a freakin' annoying product for six years). Change is scary, but I'm ready to work on something different.
I'm going back to work full-time in January. I think I'm ready. With the next baby, I think I'll plan on working part-time until they are 1, and then go back to full-time at that point.
I turn 30 in October.
Tonight I'm going to dinner with girlfriends. I love nights like that. I love that John supports me having so much fun in my life. :)
For the first time ever -- John and I are flying allegiant home for Rick's wedding in October. We got $19.99 fares each way! Somehow those fares added up to $250 all together for two tickets since they nickel and dime you all of the way. Seriously, why is there a convenience charge of $40 when I booked on-line??? Regardless -- that is $125 a ticket! An amazing deal. Plus Graham will be one of about 100 young children going crazy on the plane, so we'll fit right in. :)
I could see myself becoming one of those moms who wants to have five kids (like my mom). There is no chance, however, that I could become of of those moms who have 11 or 13 kids (like my grandmas).
Practically, I'm not going to have 5 kids. But I used to want only 2, but now I'm thinking 3 sounds like the right number for me.
Graham is in an annoying* stage right now.
the molars he is working on..
the efficient mobility..
his 5 minute attention span...
my impatient self (it isn't all him)..
his skill at throwing food on the floor..
his skill at throwing his sippy cup on the floor...
his hiding skills (think the remote control)...
how mad he gets when he can't get up on the couch, but how when you help him up, he just gets back down and we repeat...
his desire to be held while in the grocery store (seriously child... you weigh 28 pounds!)..
the way he freaks out when i get to ms. sherries or when i hold another child...
It all is worth it when he climbs into my lap when I am sitting on the floor to snuggle with me (even if he only does it for five seconds, and then he is on to something better). :)
*I realize the real annoying stuff comes later. :)
The other day at Ms. Sherries, we were talking about Graham knows how to sign "more" now.
I said it was awesome that she taught him that. She said I thought you were working on it, and he learned it at home. I only sporadically did it with him -- definitely wasn't consistent enough for him to pick up on it.
Apparently Graham picked up how to sign more by watching other kids? Either that or he is like the baby on the Family Guy, and he already knows everything, he just chooses to act like a baby :).
Most likely he picked up on it through mine and Sherries sporadic attempts to teach him. So I'm throwing out all of that "consistency" BS the baby books try to preach. :)
I'm not really throwing out the consistency thing, but seriously, why does he pick up on something I'm completely inconsistent with, when I'm completely consistent with telling him no and grabbing him whenever he climbs on the fireplace, yet he still does it occasionally?
I suppose it is a lot easier to learn something where the response is positive -- more milk or more blueberries or more bread.... it is a lot easier to pick up on that pattern than the stop having fun reaction he perceives from the fireplace.
First of all, if you haven't heard of groupon, you need to go check to see if your city has one. They have daily deals, and it is amazing. I've purchased several (a massage, facial, a few restaurant gift certificates). Definitely worth checking out.
Here is a picture of Graham Tuesday night at Bistro Aix, while we were out enjoying one of our groupon deals.
Isn't he a cutie? :) He ate up the yummy food! Graham had a little of John's steak, my crab cake, some pears from my salad, and green beans! We hadn't taken him to a nice restaurant for quite a while, and he did really well!
I've been lost in thought lately.... I've been thinking about a couple different things.
One is that I really miss being able to vent to you. I feel like all of my negativity is going to other people now that I used to just get out with you. The other day I went to a wine tasting with two friends, and I could sense one of them was getting seriously annoyed with my negativity. I need to work on being positive.
I miss being able to call you when I am having a crisis. You always had a way to make me feel better. I miss that. I'm pretty sure John misses it too. I'm jumping all over him too much, when I used to be able to work through my issues with you first.
I've also been thinking about the worst day ever. That being the day you were put on the ventilator (April 19, 2009). For some reason that day keeps on popping in my head. I don't have the first idea how to explain it... but I keep on replaying the day in my mind. That is the day I fall back on when I think of the hardest day of my life. I think it is because to me it is the day that put everything else into motion. From that point all, we all knew your prognosis was grim. We could no longer be in denial. I'm thankful that you were willing to be put on the ventilator, and you fought so hard to live. I'm thankful that you gave all of us 7.5 more months of your craziness. You were given the choice that afternoon, and you choose to fight. I love you more for that.
That weekend, before you were put on the ventilator, but when you were loopy out of your mind, you said "you know what Kassie has now that she never has had before? A penis." :)
Graham is able to get off the couch in a controlled manner.
He walks a little bit like Frankenstein, but he hardly ever crawls anymore.
He likes his puzzle that makes noises when you put the pieces back in.
Graham loves watermelon.
He'll eat salmon.
He still loves baby face books.
Graham calls almost everything "mamamama".
Graham likes to look at most recent family picture.
He is still afraid of the police car.
He doesn't like thunderstorms.
Graham likes slides, especially trying to crawl up them.
He doesn't like too many kids around him. He prefers a small crowd.
He points. Constantly.
He high fives.
Graham really likes dogs.
He whines when he doesn't get his way.
Graham insists on rolling over when you are changing his diaper.
He likes to brush his teeth himself.
His favorite room is the laundry room (because he isn't allowed in there).
He prefers milk over water.
Graham throws his sippy cup.
He is still okay with being passed around a room. He likes attention.