Friday, October 30, 2009

Did you bank with WaMu?

We did, and we loved it. We had some great accounts, lots of flexibility, and the only fees we had to worry about were overdraft fees (not fun, but usually avoidable.)

Last year Chase bought out WaMu. We were assured that nothing would change, we could keep our accounts, nothing would change, everything would be great...etc.

Last week marked the final stage of the takeover: our accounts were now officially Chase accounts.

Today I discovered, quite by accident, that what used to be free is no longer free. That Chase would like to charge me upwards of $90 a month in fees for the same things that WaMu let me do for free.

Nothing will change. Right. I called and politely asked if these fees could be waived for my account, since I was a customer of long standing with WaMu and I had never been charged previously. I was told "No. We can't waive any fees. We're not Washington Mutual, we're Chase, and this is how we do things."

To which I replied, "I'm so sorry to hear that. I will be transferring my money and closing my accounts."

The thing that bothers me most isn't the fact of the fees (although that is irritating), but that they were not clearly disclosed. Had I not been setting up a transfer today, I would have found all those fees after it was too late to avoid them. That is not only bad business, it is wrong. Which is why I have spent all my free time today finding a new bank and moving my money out of Chase.

So if you did bank with WaMu, you might want to dig a little and find out what fun new fees Chase wants to charge you. Then shed a few tears for WaMu, and head for the exit.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Giving with coupons

I took the boys on a shopping trip to Target today. We were there to buy, among other things, a whole stack of cookies. The boys, of course, wanted to eat the cookies, and so we had a conversation about how the cookies were for the homeless shelter. "Why?" Because we have plenty of food, and those people don't, and they will enjoy having cookies (and peanut butter, toothpaste, etc.) We're trying to raise the boys to have a heart for those less fortunate, and so far the lessons seem to be sinking in: neither boy protested giving away the cookies. It is nice to see a bit of parenting success!

Anyway, I mention this because I want to challenge my readers to keep your local homeless shelters, food banks, and crisis pregnancy centers in mind when you're out shopping this season, no matter where you are. Coupons can stretch what cash you have to give to amazing proportions. (The aforementioned stack of cookies cost me only 50 cents.) There are some amazing Hasbro toy coupons available right now. You can actually make money by purchasing dove deodorant at CVS this week. Another money-maker: Quaker oatmeal at Walgreens. Many department stores (such as Penneys and Kohls) offer $10 off $10 purchase coupons on a regular basis. If you don't need something specific for yourself or as a gift, consider picking up a cute maternity top. Our local La Habra Life Center just published their list of requests, and maternity clothes are one of their major needs.

Of course we can't all get to every store and pick up every deal, but keep your eyes open! Sometimes taking a little extra time and paying attention to the good deals means you can give far more than you could if you just wrote a check.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Mom, Mom, can we light the candles?

So requested my eldest this evening. Why? "Because they remind us about Jesus and how He made the light!"

Of course we did, and as I lit them Jonathan explained to Thomas how the light made us remember Jesus. And then we sat and looked at them for a moment with the lights out, enjoying their flickering beauty, and I recited what I could remember from the Genesis account of God separating the light from the darkness, evening and morning, the first day, and seeing that it was good.

I think that the spark for this evening's conversation was a lesson a few weeks ago at Cubbies (yay Aunt Libby and Uncle Jon, the awesome leaders!) It is very sweet to see the results of lessons that have percolated for awhile in his mind.

Photo credit: Jon Sullivan

Friday, October 23, 2009


There should be an uprising of women across America in protest. We vote, we have jobs and prestige and equality and yet we accept this? Where is our voice?

Proud of myself

This morning I didn't feel very well, and pretty much the last thing I wanted to do was work out.

But I did it anyway.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Healthier stuffing

The recipe on a box of stuffing mix usually calls for 1/2 cup chopped celery and 1/2 cup chopped onion, along with a good chunk of butter. A few nights ago I tried an experiment: I cut the butter way down (just about 2 tsp.) and used 1 cup minced carrots, 1 cup chopped onion, and 1 cup chopped celery (and then followed the recipe as stated).

It was great! Better than usual! And so much better for us. :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Saint Francis

Jonathan, looking at a book about St. Francis:

I love deer, and they run away from me, and he loves deer, and they don’t run away!”

A few minutes later he sighed and added, “Well, I guess I just have to love them a long time.”

Gabe said, “Jonathan, St. Francis was given a special gift – not all people have that gift from God.”

Jonathan's response?

“But, I was given a special gift too, and deer still run away! Why???

(Yes, he talks in italics. All the time.)

Monday, October 19, 2009

I'm raising Tom Sawyer

This morning Jonathan asked for a slice of green pepper, which I gave him. One bite later, he informed me that he didn't like it, then walked away. A moment later I overheard the following conversation:
J: Thomas, do you want this?
T: No, I don't like that.
J: But Thomas, it's good! It's a vegetable!
I think his technique needs a bit of work, as Thomas refused the vegetable and Jonathan returned it to the kitchen. :)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

When it rains...

it pours orders, apparently. We had our first major rain storm of the season, and all of a sudden I have orders to ship out SEVEN slings or scale slings in the next week. SEVEN!!!

Direct causal link, I'm telling you.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Cesareans and insurance discrimination

ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) has asked us to spread the word: they need examples (with or without hard documentation) of women who have encountered insurance discrimination after a c-section.
ICAN needs stories about discriminatory insurance practices based on a previous cesarean. This can include but is not limited to demands for sterilization, restrictions on how soon you can have another pregnancy and be covered, higher premiums, restrictions on the total amount of benefits they will pay, excessively high deductibles for maternity care. Even if all you have is your name, state, contact information (email is fine) and a description of the circumstances (with the name of the relevant insurance company(ies) if possible) we can use it. If you have written documentation, that would be pure gold. There is interest about this at the highest levels of the Federal Govt. and we will use this to open the discussion on other areas of discrimination (like VBAC bans, lack of transparency, etc)….so please, take a moment and get the information to ICAN. You can email me at or you can snail mail to ICAN of Ann Arbor, PO Box 48, Stockbridge, MI 49285.

Your story could make a difference that would improve the care available for millions of women and their babies.
Read more about it, including a press release from ICAN on their latest work.
Thanks, VBACfacts!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Perfect storm parenting

Jonathan is 4 and 1/2 years old. He has an inquisitive, sharp mind and wants to "discuss" things constantly. His imaginative play is amazing, as is his empathy, especially with his stuffed animals. He takes very good care of all those animals! He needs, sometimes legitimately, more attention than I can give him. I wish I could figure out a way to spend an hour each morning and an hour each afternoon just with him, probably focused on some kind of learning. He would love that and I think it would go a long way toward helping him be calmer during the rest of the day. He often whines that he is "bored" and those are the times he is most likely to provoke/hit/kick/shove Thomas, or take his toys, or throw a full-blown tantrum about who-knows-what.

Thomas is 2 and 3/4 years old. His speech is improving, giving us a better window into his mind, which is often such fun! He wants to be like Jonathan, but he is definitely his own little person. He loves to read and can sometimes be found sitting on the floor in a corner, carefully paging through a book. He needs quiet time alone, but rarely gets it. Jonathan is always pulling him away to join into his own games. Perhaps in retaliation, perhaps just because he needs to be alone and never is, he has mastered the art of getting on his brother's nerves. He takes toys away from Jonathan and Josiah, hits and shoves both his brothers, and then cries desperately if Jonathan retaliates (even though he started it.) He needs, sometimes legitimately, more time and attention than I have to give, especially right after waking up from a nap. I wish that I could spend an hour just holding him and reading stories. He would love it and it would make our afternoons much more pleasant. He's just starting to give up his afternoon nap, so our afternoons are always difficult (either because he's been awake too long or because he's having a hard time waking up.) The whining and crying are hard for me to handle.

Josiah is one year old. He has an even, sweet, happy temperament. He loves to explore, to touch, to taste, to climb (on everything), to throw things. He has a truly incredible ability to find the open door when my back is turned (the older boys simply CANNOT remember to keep things closed) and get into the toilet or the mud puddle. He gets multiple baths, or at least rinse-offs, nearly every day. He's old enough to get into lots and lots of trouble, but not quite old enough to obey instructions. He needs, legitimately, more time and attention than I can give him. I wish I had the luxury of lots of time to spend just focused on him, looking at tree leaves, and bugs in the mud, and reading books and stacking blocks. All things we do but in tiny little two-minute increments, when I want fifteen.

There is so much going on in our household right now. So much growing and learning - an explosion of fascinating maturing - yet with that comes a cacophony of discipline issues. I feel like I spend my days dealing with the immediate, the required, the child who has been shoved and needs a hug and the child who did the shoving and needs a time out and a talk, the little one who has now been ignored for too long, is playing in the potty, and needs a bath. The tyranny of the urgent is my perpetual reality.

This does feel like a perfect storm. I think I would need to be super-woman to be successful right now, given these realities. And the fact is that I'm not super-woman. I get tired and stressed, I raise my voice too often and I listen too little. Like Thomas I need quite and space to myself, and like Thomas, I find it in far too short supply.

I started writing this hoping, I think, that I'd figure something out in the writing. Sigh.

God grant that this stage, this storm, is short, and give me grace to live well until it passes.

(photo credit: Ian Britton,

Friday, October 09, 2009


Josiah is properly signing "more", "milk", "hungry", and "all done". I started signing with him about ten days ago, and suddenly it all clicked! He's using the signs appropriately and specifically to get what he wants (not just in response to us.) Hurray for communication!

He is also pointing very effectively and continuing to say "over there" and I think he's also adding "that". If he thinks something is exciting and wonderful he greets it with an adorable "oooooh!!!!" So far, the most exciting and beautiful things he has encountered are trees. That boy LOVES TREES. He wants to touch them, and look up into their leaves (especially if there is a breeze blowing!) and especially likes it when I lift him up to sit on a branch. Maybe he'll grow up to be a naturalist. :)

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Trader Joe's

I've never really understood the appeal of Trader Joe's. I've shopped there a few times, and they have a few products that I like, but not enough to make me go back frequently. That said, it does have nice ambiance, and while it isn't my shop of choice I know that it is the favorite of many of my friends. So when my sister linked to an article including this video, I watched it, and it made me smile. Enjoy.


Lack of sleep makes it nearly impossible to care about eating right and working out. I had such great plans...but right now I just want to curl up on the couch with hot chocolate and buttered toast. And not move.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Josiah's first words

Josiah has words! His first consistent words are "over there" combined with a pointed finger. I kind of thought I was imagining things until I mentioned it to Heather (Thomas' speech therapist) and Josiah obliged by saying it for her...and she said it sounded like words to her! So it is official - no "mama" or "dada" for this boy, he wants to go places! Specifically, "over there!"

Siah is also developing an adorable sense of humor. Today during a diaper change he lifted his feet up, draped his shorts over his feet, and cracked himself up. It was so funny to watch him, so convinced that he was hilarious!

Things I want to remember

Thomas is improving so much in his speech (we have a truly amazing speech therapist for him) and while we cheer his progress, there are some Thomas-isms that I love and will be silently sorry to lose.

Na-na-han (Jonathan)

Ya-ya or sometimes Do-ya-ya (Josiah)

Namies (pajamas)

Guck! (truck)

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming...

to pat Mommy on the back.

This morning Jonathan asked for a graham cracker for his snack. I said that graham crackers weren't an option, but would he like a cheese stick or some apple slices? He threw a half-hearted fit about that, then opened the refrigerator and asked "Mommy, how about some carrots and keifer?"

Pat pat pat. I think I'm doing something right.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Vons shopping trip 10/3/09

I enjoyed my grocery shopping this week - it was a great trip! I forgot to take a picture before putting it all away, but here is the run-down:

3 packages frozen peas
1 package steamfresh potatoes
1 package steamfresh broccoli
1 package steamfresh veggie mix

1 Newman's own pizza
2 frozen healthy choice lunches
2 boxes Jones sausage
2 boxes chicken tenders

1 lb turkey lunch meat
1 lb Foster Farms chicken
2 lbs bacon

1 lb butter
4 lbs shredded cheese
2 gallons milk
24 oz blueberry yogurt

3 cans green beans
2 cans peaches
10 lbs potatoes
6.5 lbs bananas
2 lbs baby carrots

1 package Nature Valley nut clusters
1 box microwave popcorn
2 loaves Artisan bread

2 Glade mini candles
2 Colgate toothpaste

Total cost: $47.32
Total savings from coupons (not sale pricing): $48

It makes me happy to "pay" more in coupons than in cash! :)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

NBC responsible journalism petition

Remember NBC's so-called-reporting on "the perils of midwifery"? They seem to be listening to the outcry. First they re-titled it "the perils of homebirth" on their website, and now they have taken it down all together. Maybe I'm wildly optimistic, but I'm still hoping that they'll air a retraction! :)

In any case, there is a petition directed to NBC, asking them to provide the public with the real story of midwifery. I usually don't re-circulate petitions because they often aren't well done, but I think that this one is. Some of you might want to sign it.