Monday, October 31, 2011

Babywearing

Posted by Melinda C at 10:35 PM 0 comments
I am a big fan of baby-wearing, I have been since day one.  I mean, a stroller and car seat combo were the first things we bought (well, Anthony's mom bought them for us) and the stroller was so big and bulky that I knew I would NOT be lugging those things around with me everywhere we went.  I knew baby-wearing was for me so I set out to buy one on our very, very tight budget.

Since I have never had a baby before and had never even thought about having a baby before I found out I was pregnant, I only knew about Baby Bjorn.  It's the one you see first on all of the end displays at Babies R' Us.  I added it to my registry and it was the only one I added since it's the only one I knew of.  Nobody did buy it for me (I mean, it is a little expensive at 80 bucks!) so I was a little upset that I'd have to buy one on my own. 

I'm actually really glad nobody did waste a precious shower gift on it though, I ended up finding one used on Craigslist (you'll find that I find A LOT of things on Craigslist.  I've pretty much furnished my entire apartment from there for about 1/16 of brand new in stores) for $20.  The woman we bought it from was very nice, she showed us how to use it.  The fabric was slightly worn and faded but still in great condition and it still has a ton of life left in it.  I thought, "Great!  I can't wait to use this once my little guy is born!" And thought I'd be very happy to use it once he arrived.

However, towards the end of my birthing class with Denyse Ffrench (if anyone is from Chicago and you are interested in ever taking the Bradley Method, please take it with Denyse, she is awesome!), she told us about the Moby wrap since she loved it so much.  Per her recommendation, we ended up buying two off of Craigslist so that we could keep one in the car and have one in the house.  At this point, I was still pregnant so I had no idea which of the two carriers I would like more!




Once Monkey was born, I started using the Moby right away since he seemed a little too small for the Baby Bjorn.  Plus, I could carry him in the cradle position in the Moby which I thought he would like more.  He did love being in the Moby, he'd be all squished up in there, comfy as a little bug.  I also love the Moby, it is extremely comfortable to wear and I can adjust it so well.  However, that thing is HOT in Chicago summer weather.  It's super humid and hot here, which means a lot of sweat.  With that Moby on, plus a baby inside, you are sweating up a storm.  Now that it's October (almost November!), I love the Moby because it keeps me warm!  Anyway, I like the Baby Bjorn simply for the fact that it's cooler.  I don't like that it can only be worn on the front, that it doesn't have any support anywhere except for the shoulders really, and that it really won't grow with my baby!  I would continue to use my Moby, except for the fact that I will not be wearing it during the summer again next year...I will just sweat buckets.

I've been looking into buying and Ergo or Beco carrier (on Craigslist, of course!) and have been scouring for giveaways.  Luckily, I found this Beco Carrier giveaway from Shannon on Peace, Love, and Poop.  Of course, with only one day to go and over 2,000 entries, my chances are slim.  I'm crossing my fingers in hope that I will win and won't have to spend money I don't really have!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

There is such a thing as restaurant etiquette, even if it's not four star.

Posted by Melinda C at 4:47 PM 0 comments
I work in a bakery/cafe restaurant chain.  It's not a fancy or glamorous job by any means, it's not even a job I'm really proud to say I have.  However, I am a college student.  I am working my butt off to get myself through school so that I no longer have to work a minimum wage job.  It's a stepping stone for me.  I hate that a lot of the people who come into the place have a tendency to think that I am stupid or incompetent.  I'm sure those a lot of people who have worked in a restaurant or retail in general know what I am talking about.  I hate that people talk slowly or count out their money very loudly as if to give me a hint that it's 10 dollars.  Sorry, but I can do math pretty damn quickly and well in my head.  I'm sure I can calculate the percentage of something a lot faster than you can..and I sure can freakin toast your stupid bagel correctly so I don't need step by step instructions.

There is also a certain etiquette that I feel like people should have.  At my job, there are "dining room personnel" who are assigned to clean up plates, make coffee, clean tables, etc.  However, as a customer, we ask that you bring your plate to the garbage, throw the garbage away, and place the plates, bowls, and silverware in their respective areas (similar to Chipotle).  It really makes us mad that you leave your plates and all of your garbage strewn everywhere.  It's not Denny's, you do not leave us a tip for us to clean up after you.  And it's not just my work either, I hate when I see people at regular restaurants leave their tables a mess!  It really angers me when people leave the nastiest of things on the table.  Please do not hawk up a giant mucous ball and spit it onto your plate for us to deal with.  If you blow your nice, please take it to the trashcan so that other people don't have to touch it. 

I just don't get it, if you were at a four-star restaurant, you'd never do these things.  You wouldn't talk to the waiter like they were complete idiots who wouldn't know the difference between a quarter and a penny, you wouldn't leave nasty bodily fluids on the floor, you wouldn't let your children run around like crazy animals and running into people carrying hot soup, and you definitely would not act like complete slobs when you leave the table.  It's one thing I plan on teaching my son, to be humble and respectful.  He shouldn't think he's above anyone or that anyone is above him.  Everybody is equal.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

In Honor of the TaTa's

Posted by Melinda C at 7:51 PM 0 comments
I really think this new giveaway train called In Honor of the TaTa's is amazing and it's for a really great cause.  There are over 80 blogs participating, each hosting a giveaway of something worth at least $50 and having something to do with breast cancer awareness.  Since two of my aunts have had breast cancer in the past two years, this is something that really touches my heart.

I encourage you to check out some of these blogs and help support them for this cause, plus you also get the chance to win a bunch of awesome items! Head over to Boobies, Babies, and A Blog to win over $100 bucks worth of items.  It includes a gorgeous awareness bracelet by Charm Factory:




A Cutie for the Cure Cupcake Kit from Cupcake Cuties:

A $25 gift certificate to Fantasy Jewelry Box:
And a $55 gift card to Eden's Fantasies!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

What I hate about weather changes

Posted by Melinda C at 9:09 PM 0 comments
I'm a summer person.  I love sunshine, heat, the beach and everything else that comes along with summer.  As you can imagine, I get pretty down when it starts to get cold.  Despite the fact that I love everything else about fall..the changing colors, the smells, the food, etc...I just cannot stand the cold.  I always tear up a little (okay, not really..but almost!) when I have to put away my summer dresses and pull out pants, Uggs, and sweaters.  Promptly after that, I go turn the heater on!

Normally this would not be an issue but we've had some weird weather here in Chicago the past few weeks.  It got really cold...then the next week weather went back up to the mid/high 70's...right in time for the Chicago Marathon.  It was nice for awhile and then, all of the sudden, it got really cold and rainy.  I thought surely it meant that summer was over for the year and turned the heater up to 75 since Monkey has a little cold.  

But today was a beautiful day!  I'm not sure what the exact temp was but it was in the mid 60s or so.  I was comfortable walking around in jeans and a tank top while wearing my Moby wrap while taking the boys for a walk.  However, after having the heater on for the past few days my apartment is a little on the warm side..uncomfortably warm, not a welcoming warmth.  It's stuffy in here. 

Since I'm the kind of person who always has to sleep with a blanket, no matter how warm or cold it is in the apartment, it means I will probably sweat tonight.  This is why I think the Cooling Mattress pad could do wonders for me!  It would also probably be nice since my boyfriend and I tend to be on opposite ends of the spectrum.  I get cold easily, he gets hot easily.  Then when he is cold, I steal all of the blankets anyway and he's forced to suffer.  We now sleep with two comforters for this reason.  I really think this cooling mattresspad will do the trick though since it helps to regulate your body's temperature throughout the night!

You can enter to win one of these awesome mattress pads over at My Silly Monkey's blog, but hurry up cause it won't be open for long!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Newborn pictures

Posted by Melinda C at 1:50 PM 0 comments
I wish I had thought more about what I was going to do about newborn pictures when Monkey was born. Of course, I didn't. I thought I'd just take all the pictures myself and it'd be fine. I mean, I am a semi-pro photography, after all. No...I found that I just don't have the time anymore to take good pictures. Not to mention, I really have no place to take pictures since the lighting in my apartment is just AWFUL.

Of course, we ended up buying the newborn pictures they take at the hospital. They were adorable but I did find that some of the pictures were overexposed so then I had to go back and edit them on Photoshop to my liking.

Now we're getting 3 month pictures of Monkey tomorrow (well, he's not even 11 weeks yet but it's close enough). We're doing it at Olan Mills, so the place you find inside K-Marts and stuff. I've never actually been to one of these places but they're decently priced and we have some great deals. I found an ad in a paper that gives you a bunch of prints in one pose for 10 bucks. Plus they offer "newborn" prints of your baby for free up until 3 months old. Since we didn't know about this offer until recently, I decided to use it for his "almost 3 month" pictures!

Since we're getting pictures done now, I've been really thinking hard about what we're going to dress him in for him to look the absolute cutest. Of course, I found Pink Pumpkin Crochet Studio today.  I couldn't have found it last week to order something or even last month.  I really wish I had found it before he was born, talk about the PERFECT thing for newborn pictures!   By the time I get Monkey in for his 6 month pictures, he'll be way too big for something this cute!

Still, I am entering the giveaway at Adventures in Fluff!  If I win, I'll definitely be pulling out my SLR and taking lots and lots of pictures.  I may have to go and borrow some photo lights from people but I will get some very cute pictures of him in it.  If only I could get my dogs to sit still in a picture with him, then it'd be the absolute cutest picture ever.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What to get the hubby for Christmas/Birthday?!

Posted by Melinda C at 11:32 AM 0 comments
I consider my son and myself lucky, we have birthdays in the summer so our birthdays are nowhere near Christmas.  As a kid, I always felt bad with kids who had birthdays close to Christmas because that would mean that they got fewer presents (in my kid mind, I still don't know if it's actually true!)  As a parent, I'm now glad my son wasn't born anywhere near Christmas-time cause that just means I'd have to spend more money! 

However, my husband's birthday is January 30th.  Even though it's a whole month after Christmas, it's still hard to have enough money to buy him a nice gift.  I torn this year on whether to spend smaller amounts and get him smaller, less important gifts...or whether to pool the money together and buy one big gift.  My big gift options would be 1) a new king size mattress (all three dogs sleep with us, it's a very crowded Queen sized bed)...but this would have to be a gift from both of us to both of us.  2) a new tv for the bedroom (He has been complaining about our small 19 inch tv in the room so I was thinking of getting a 32 inch..they are pretty affordable these days.  3) an xbox (however, I get absolutely no use from this...I mean, it IS a gift for him but, of course, we live together so I'd like to enjoy this present too..plus, he already has a ps3 and with a full time job, a baby, and three dogs who are like three toddlers, he won't get much use out of it anyway!) and 4) an Ipad.

He has been wanting and begging me to let him get an IPad since they came out.  I honestly think he just wants one so he can play games and go online when he's bored at work.  I'm pretty sure he's admitted it in a way but he still claims he'll use it for "other stuff".  I don't know if I'd call looking up sports scores "other stuff".  I'd really love to get him one to make him happy since I know he's sacrificed a lot since having the baby.  We both have but I really don't care about buying new shoes or clothes like he does (You'd think it'd be the opposite, right?).  If the price-tag for an IPad 2 were 200 bucks, I'd happily get him one.  However, they are just way too expensive to justify spending 500 dollars for something that I'm sure he'll only use for "other stuff."

My only option now is to try and win one.  Since I won a stroller, I'm on this high that I can win anything.  Who knows, maybe God will answer my hopes (I feel like praying for something so trivial would be prayer abuse) and let me win so I can surprise my hubby with something so nice.  Then I can still get "us" a nice tv or mattress without having to go without food for an entire month! 

If you'd also like to try your luck, you too can enter to win this IPad 2 or $550 cash giveaway hosted by a number of blogs!  I entered the giveaway with Darcy from Tales of the Nursery.  Here is the link:

Win an IPad 2 or $550 cash!



iPad, iPad2, Tablet Time, giveaway

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I Cannot Afford a Wedding!

Posted by Melinda C at 9:06 PM 0 comments
My mother has been pushing my boyfriend and me to get married, soon.  He hasn't proposed to me but we've pretty much decided that we will be getting married...eventually.  We don't want to rush into it just because we had a baby together.  A lot of people have babies and don't get married, my mom doesn't seem to understand this.

I really want to have a nice wedding.  I've always been to big weddings so a big wedding is something I really, really want.  Unfortunately, they are expensive.  Racking up thousands of dollars in school bills doesn't really help my situation and definitely does not leave me with any savings in the bank to plan said wedding.  One place I've learned we can save a little money is on the wedding rings.  I know my boyfriend doesn't really care if his ring is gold or silver or platinum so buying a Tungsten ring would be a great way to save a little money!
And, right now, My Silly Monkey's blog is giving away a free ring!  So, for those of you who are dirt poor right now, this would be a great giveaway to enter if you're planning to get married soon!

http://mysillymonkeys.com/2011/10/titanium-wedding-band-giveaway/comment-page-1/#comment-115740

My house looks like the old west--tumble weeds of hair!

Posted by Melinda C at 7:25 PM 0 comments
Since I own 5 animals: 2 cats and three dogs, I have a lot of hair floating around my house at all times.  I've given up on wearing black clothing due to the fact that it doesn't matter how much I avoid the animals, their hair is coming with me. 
Having five animals also gives my vacuum and broom a run for their money.  I hate sweeping because the hair either sticks to the bristles and I have to pull it off with my hands, which is pretty gross.  I would use a swiffer sweeper, I love the swiffer in fact, but...I don't like spending all that money on the covers.  I would use microfiber and reuse them but I've learned that the animal hair balls up on them in the washer and dryer and is nearly impossible to get completely off.  I like to vacuum!  However, being a full time student with only a mere part-time job doesn't give me the budget to go out and buy a nice, fancy vacuum.  Instead, I bought a cheap one for 20 bucks on Black Friday 2 years ago.  Well, I'm sad to say that my little tiny Hoover has finally died.  I wasn't too upset since the thing was only 20 bucks and was awful.  The roller motor stopped working and wouldn't suck through the mouthpiece anymore so I had to use the hose to vacuum the rug.  (Imagine how fun that was!)  That lasted for a few months before it finally kicked the bucket recently.  In order to keep my apartment looking clean (okay, sort-of clean..I have three dogs, what do you expect?!), I stole my parents Oreck.  I love it and it works great (and it's only 8lbs!) but it uses bags...going back to the Swiffer dilemma...I do NOT like to throw stuff away, I try to be as green as I can! 

I have wanted a Dyson vacuum for years and years and years.  Ever since our vacuum at work (when I worked at Best Buy) died and we got to use a floor model Dyson to vacuum our floors for closing.  It was great.   I never thought Best Buy's carpets were extremely dirty until that night because it picked up a ton of dirt that the other vacuums did not.  I also loved the ball because it made it super easy to maneuver.  As you can imagine, when I saw a Dyson giveaway on a blog...I flipped out!  I am determined...DETERMINED...to win my Dyson!  I definitely do not have the moola to buy a new vacuum...except another cheap $20 one.

Here is the giveaway:
http://www.5minutesformom.com/2334/dyson-pink/

I'd say you guys should enter too and maybe you'll win!  Except...nobody is reading this =P.  In my case, that's a good thing because the less competition, the better!

I won a stroller!

Posted by Melinda C at 7:13 PM 0 comments
Entering giveaways is what got me attempting to start my own blog.  I've learned it's not easy.  Maybe it's because I have NO CLUE what I'm doing.  I have no idea how to even make my site look nice, it kind of hurts my eyes right now...but I know nobody has really read my blog so it doesn't quite matter to me.  Anyway, my boyfriend thinks blogging is all sort of pointless.  He thinks me entering in giveaways is a total waste of time.  Maybe, for the most part, it is..but not always.  Why, you ask?  Because I WON a stroller from a giveaway on the Born to Impress blog! It is a peg perego and looks pretty nice.

The only thing is, we have two strollers already.  My parents took the Graco stroller that came with our carseat and we have one of the small metal ones that the Graco carseats just snap onto. My only concern with that stroller is that it only fits his carseat now.  Monkey is growing pretty fast and may soon be too long for his current carseat.  The Peg Perego one can be used now until his toddler years.  Okay, well maybe not now, I may have to snap his car seat on top if it's compatible with a Graco. 

I'm wondering if I should keep the free stroller, I mean, it is free after all.  I'm also thinking I could sell it.  It does sell for $165 ARV so maybe I could get a decent amount of money for it since it is brand new in the box. I'd ask my readers what you think but, since I have none, I will just ponder this out on my own!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pets and Allergies

Posted by Melinda C at 8:35 PM 0 comments
I don't know why it surprised me so much when I found out that two of my dogs have allergies.  For some reason, it never really occurred to me that animals (like humans) could be allergic to a number of things.  I started noticing it with Doc (my now 3 year old Pit Bull) when he was a puppy.  It started out as a small rash on his inner thigh but then continued to spread.  Of course, I took him to the vet thinking it was ringworm or something terrible like that but, no, he tested negative for everything.  (Thinking back on it now, I wish it had been ringworm....that, at least, has an easy fix)  The vet suggested it was allergies, either to a certain type of food, to an external source, or to some sort of bug.  I could almost immediately rule out the external allergen because he developed the rash in all seasons and we have all hardwood floors.  The vet wanted to put us on that specialty Science Diet food...which I would have gone with in a heartbeat had it not been fifty dollars for a 15 lb bag.  When I adopted Doc, I was working part-time, going to school full time, living on my own, and had another dog and two cats..it simply was not in my budget.  I quickly started experimenting with more natural foods trying to eliminate either corn, wheat, or soy.  I found Fromm Family Foods which were great!  We tried the Duck and Sweet Potato formula at first, which completely stopped his itching and red skin.  We later switched to the Gold formula because it was cheaper but would occasionally buy the Duck and Sweet Potato for them!  However, Fromm recently botched their 40lb bag and now only sells their 30lb bag.  Since we have three big dogs, it's too difficult to buy our dog food in 30lb increments...the extra 10 lbs really helps. 

So now we're searching for an answer to Doc's allergy problems.  Our older dog, Cheeks (an eight year old Cattle Dog/Pit mix) also has allergies which cause him to have awful ear infections and lick his paws.  I don't know if anyone here has a dog with allergies but what food do you use?  Does anyone have any suggestions for me on something I could do?
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