Friday, March 27, 2009

Cute "ee" words

When we want to make something sound cute, give a nickname, or shorten a word for fun, we often add the "ee" sound at the end. For example, children get the "ee" sound applied to the end of their names or a version of their names. That's how I became Lizzy, which I prefer much better than "Liz." Besides, my name is spelled "Elisabeth" so it should be "Lis" but few people recognize that, in which case maybe I'm really "Lissy." I really don't know why so many people insist on calling me "Liz," though. That name just doesn't suit me. But I digress. Back to my subject. Boys named Robert become "Bobby" or "Robby." Some people ask me if our William is a "Willy" or a "Billy." Nope, he's "Wiggles."

Sometimes we apply the cutesy sound to normal words, like "cutesy." They do this a lot in Britain. They say "cozzy" or "swimming cozzy" for "swimming costume," or as we Americans would say, "swimsuit."

Other words are just made with that "ee" sound at the end, but they sound cute, too. Words such as "monkey," "bibliography," and "lobotomy" all have their charm. The word "economy" even starts and ends with that "ee" sound, though for some reason that word isn't as much fun, especially not lately. Maybe using the "ee" as a sandwich is like a double negative, the "ee" at the beginning cancels out the cute "ee" at the end.

That's why I find it funny that the word "body" sounds cute, especially when combined with the word "dead." I know it's a bit perverse. That's why it's funny. There's another word, "funny." Funny honey. Sweetie.

Other funny cute "ee" words:
Floozy
Hairy
Meaty
Testy
Testes
Menses
Tiny
Smeggy
Jiggly
Wiggly
Rinky dinky
Flimsy
Sticky
Nippy
Flossy
Glossy
Sloppy
Bossy
Needy
Frenzy
Mini
Nitty gritty
Stinky
Smelly
Okey dokey
Smokey

And my personal favorite, "zombie."

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Stupid carpet cleaners!

That's the last time I use that service. They didn't show up! They didn't even call.

Monday, March 23, 2009

6 months old today!

Where has the time gone? I have to say, though, that while it has been hard work, really hard work, I've really truly enjoyed it and am looking forward to dedicating the rest of my life to being the best mother I can. I'm so happy they've come into my life. I feel so blessed.

Dave was fantastic this weekend! I think I reached another exhaustion peak and I hate to admit that I was not very pleasant to be around Saturday morning. Dave took over care of the boys for the afternoon and early evening and let me nap and he didn't disturb me once to wake me. He let me wake when I was ready. When I did get up, he had things so well together and was giving the boys their dinner of baby food.

Bless his heart!

After we got the boys to bed and had some dinner, he finished fixing my laptop. I have a new keyboard and mouse and all the dust has been cleaned out. It runs like new again! Last night he made us a lovely steak dinner, something we haven't enjoyed at home in ages.

I really feel so blessed. My cup runneth over!

I also feel terrible. I'm way behind on thank-you notes for the generous gifts we've received for our boys. We still also haven't sent out any formal birth announcements, yet. That was partly due to not having any time but also because Dave and I can't agree on what to send. I'm sad about this, because I really want to put a formal birth announcement in their baby books, another task I haven't touched.

There are many regrets and I know they are petty, but I still have them. For instance, I never got hand prints from when they were born. I have no idea how tiny their hands were. I did get some foot prints; well, at least the hospital did that for me.

I never finished crocheting them blankets. I never finished crocheting the blanket I was making for my friend Sheri's baby, who is now 9 months old. I never finished crocheting them booties and now they're probably too big for booties. In fact, I haven't really made my boys anything. I've made things for so many other babies, but nothing for my own. My hands were swollen and sore in pregnancy, and I was so tired, that all of that went by the wayside when I actually had time to do it. Now there just isn't the time. My house is a tip. There isn't much time for cleaning.

We're getting better at finding the time, though, and the boys are getting better at growing up. They are playing together more and more, and they enjoy each others' company. It's adorable when they hold hands, which is another thing I haven't managed to photograph. We can't seem to remove them from each others' company without getting cries. They are also starting to make it difficult to comfort one without comforting the other.

As you may have seen in an earlier post, William is almost crawling! Ronan has been rolling for a few weeks but he wants so badly to be as mobile as William so he exhausts himself on his tummy then cries to get me or Dave to go roll him back over. All weekend Dave and I would say, "it's your turn to flip the Roni."

Last week I finally found the time and courage to go see a dentist. I have a great fear of dentistry but I also have a bad crown that was never right. It gets food stuck under it and causes me some pain and a great deal of irritation. I want it fixed but don't want to go through the process of getting it fixed. I shouldn't have delayed it so long. I fear I may need a root canal. So finally, last week I walked into the dentist's office that is at the mall near my house and made myself an appointment. They were so nice and the receptionist even offered to watch the boys for me while I had my cleaning! I went the next morning with the boys and had the appointment. It went really well and I really like this dentist. Unfortunately, I have a cavity in the tooth next to the one with the crown, a result of that food getting stuck under the crown. Fortunately, he can take care of it when I get the crown fixed.

My appointment to get the crown and cavity fixed is Friday morning. Ugh! I'm really not looking forward to this.

Back to the boys and their 1/2 birthday. I'm so excited they are 6 months old and they are doing so well! I'm a little sad that the time is passing so quickly and I see many opportunities flying away. There is no better application of "stop and smell the roses" than with the growth of a baby. Blink and you might miss something precious.

My aunt told me in those first weeks, "enjoy every moment because they grow up so fast." I remind myself of her words every time they are both screaming, every time they wake me in the middle of the night, every time they blow out a diaper, every time I get covered in baby puke, every time I get a smile, every giggle, every gurgle, every pinch, every squeeze, every cuddle...
You get the idea.
I sure love these little fellas!



(Photos taken at 4 1/2 months by Heather Hunt)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Carpet Cleaning Scam

I'm sure you've all had those phone calls where a computer calls and offers you a great deal on carpet cleaning. I get them about 1-2 times a week and we don't have a single carpet or area rug in our home.

Several times I have tried to press "5" to be removed from the list but the calls have continued. A few times I have actually pressed "1" to talk to a representative and make an appointment. When I got to a person I have asked for their phone number, company name, or a supervisor I can complain to but they always hang up on me but sometimes they yell at me first.

I read online about someone in Nevada that actually made an appointment and gave them the address of a vacant lot across the street, then waited for the trucks to appear so that he could get the name of the company. Lucky for me I have a vacant lot across the street!

So, when I got the call today from caller ID: "CUSTOMERSVC 408-335-7149" I looked forward to trying this out. I pressed "1" to talk to a representative and was nice as sugar as I made an appointment for the 5-room house across the street (really the vacant lot, are you following me?). The total was quoted at about $150 and they'd throw in the hallway for free! I made the appointment for Thursday afternoon. I asked a reasonable question, "who should I look for; what company will be doing the cleaning?" She told me they work with local companies and it would be a company called "Deluxe" but it may be someone else.

I started to feel sorry for her and the poor carpet cleaner they would send so I said, "that's really all I wanted to know" and she caught on and said, "Oh nice one, Mrs. Halliday, but I'll send someone to your house at [my address], anyway, and you'll be billed!"

Big deal! They won't see a red cent from us. I should have known better than to feel sorry for them.

I called the only business in the county that deals with carpets, an area rug cleaning company called Deluxe. They had no idea who these people are and they have been the victims of many complaints. They said they've even gone so far as to call the police and they asked me to do the same and to also please let them know if I find out anything so that they can get this resolved. Apparently, this is causing them a lot of complaints and grief and they are worried about their reputation.

I called the Campbell Police and filed a complaint. Officer Kelly called me back and he was VERY nice. He said he would be working Thursday and will keep an eye out if he isn't otherwise occupied and that I could call if someone does actually show up to clean my nonexistent carpets. He said he'd also like to know who was behind this, but suspects if they do show up, it will be in an unmarked van. He also is concerned about how the woman handled my call, that it might be more than just an effort at getting carpets cleaned - some sort of more complex scam.

For instance, he said that there were people going door to door offering carpet cleaning deals. He was suspicious of that after he noticed a few odd things about them so he made an appointment to check them out further. It turns out that it's Kirby salesmen trying to find out which houses have carpets and had $$ to spend so they can try to sell them vacuums and such. Not illegal, but perhaps somewhat unethical. At your carpet cleaning appointment, they send out Kirby salesmen to give you the spiel and presentation. I've had those door to door carpet cleaning offers, too, but since I have zero carpets and no area rugs, they are very easy to turn away. When the boys were smaller, all I had to do was answer the door with a baby in each arm and it conveyed a very clear message to the solicitor that "I have NO TIME FOR YOU!!" Now that they are bigger, though, it's tough enough for me to lift just one baby, let alone two!

I have a police report number, but I have a feeling this may have been the last time I'll hear from those particular carpet cleaning scammers for awhile. This may be the best way of getting my number removed from their call list.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

FAQ

The twins are magic. Every time I take them out complete strangers smile such genuine sweet smiles and say such nice things! I also get a lot of questions, most of them the same questions as everyone else asks. I thought I'd share them with you, along with my answers, some of the answers I just don't dare give in person partly due to my need to save time and partly due to an effort at being polite.

Q. Are they twins?
A. No, I adopted them, one from Russia, the other from China. Obviously I'm kidding. Yes, they are twins.

Q. Are they natural?
A. No, they are supernatural. Seriously, have you ever heard of a baby that wasn't natural? Okay, maybe you have. My babies are made of flesh and blood and grew in my womb. They were conceived through egg and sperm which were from Dave and me. So what if the egg and sperm met in a lab?! The embryos were touched by the hand of God and they were given life. If my boys weren't meant to be, I wouldn't be watching them right now.

Q. Do twins run in your family?
A. My grandfather was a twin. My aunt has 2 sets of twins. Several of my cousins have twins. My cousin just had a set in December. Dave's father is also a twin, though the twin gene is passed down maternally. Apparently that does increase the odds a bit when your odds are already increased by doing fertility treatments. But really, this is just a polite way of asking if the twinning happened spontaneously or if I upped the odds by doing fertility treatments.

Q. Are they identical?
A. This is a very valid question since to most people my boys look very similar. Once people get to know them the differences become very obvious. We didn't know if they were identical or fraternal until they were a day old and we learned they had different blood types. We had a difficult time telling them apart until we could see some distinct differences. For instance, Ronan's face is oval and William's is round. Ronan and William have slightly different shaped eyes. Ronan has a little dot that looks like a piercing at the top of each ear. William has a little red birth mark on the nape of his neck and another one inside his bottom lip. Ronan has a small birthmark on his belly. Ronan has now got much darker eyebrows. Ronan has always been bigger (that's why he's named Ronan and not William).

Q. Did you know you were having twins?
A. Yes and no. If you have followed my blog you know that it was a difficult beginning to the pregnancy. While they are both miracles, Ronan is the major miracle that the doctors didn't believe would happen. Right up until the 2nd trimester we were told that we would lose him. It wasn't until I was 20 weeks pregnant that Kaiser officially upgraded my status to a twin pregnancy in their computer system.

Q. How big were they when they were born?
A. William was 5lb 10.5oz and Ronan was 6lb .01oz. Both were 19 inches long.

Q. Did you have bed rest?
A. Not really. I was on some strict restrictions but fortunately no full bed rest was required.

Q. How early were they?
A. Only 2 and a half weeks from their 40-week due date and only 3 days before their twin due date.

Q. Which one is older?
A. William by 2 minutes.

Q. Was it c-section or natural?
A. While I really wanted to try to deliver naturally, it wasn't meant to be for 3 reasons: they were both breech, Ronan was larger and they advise c/s when the second twin or "twin-b" is the larger of the 2, and I had to deliver due to pregnancy induced hypertension so a c/s was safer for my health.

Q. Do you breastfeed?
A. As much as I can, which sadly is decreasing every day. I have tried and tried to give them as much breast milk as possible. William still breastfeeds several times a day but Ronan is only interested once or twice a day and only when he's sleepy and it's dark.

Q. Have you heard of that woman who had octuplets?
A. Yes, several times a day. I swear, what does that woman have to do with me?

Q. Did you know she had 6 other children?
A. Yes. I know an awful lot about Octomom from all of the people that think it's important to tell me about her.

Q. What would you have done if you had 6 more with your twins?
A. I wouldn't have.

Q. Did you know Octomom is on welfare and that our tax money is supporting her and her children and will pay her multi-million dollar medical bill?
A. I really don't care. I don't have a choice where my tax dollars go but if I did, I would much rather my money go to her and other families who need it than having it go outside the country to kill people. May the Lord bless Octomom because so many people in the world are sending her such negative and hateful feelings.

Q. Have you heard of Jon & Kate plus 8?
A. Yes, I've even seen the show. They are very organized and I've learned a lot from watching it, but I don't watch it now. The show is boring to me now, and frankly, I just don't have time for it.

Q. Are you really that rude?
A. No, those answers to the Octomom and J&K+8 questions are only in my thoughts. I actually smile, take a deep breath, and pretend that it was the first time I ever heard such questions.

Spammers and Scammers

By owning my own domain, I once received over 700 spam e-mails per day until I had to make several adjustments to filter them out. Checking e-mail was a serious chore. It's getting bad again, where I get about 100 a day, most of them from the same company or trying to sell the same crap product over and over!

I've always wanted to make this list. This is a list of the deplorable and despicable lowlifes of the internet, the spammers and scammers. I will try to update this list with the intention of having it handy as a reminder of those companies I am boycotting for participating in such unethical practices. The list includes not only those companies that seek to profit from spamming through e-mail, but also those that call me on the phone or come to my door in an effort to push me into giving them some of my money.

This list doesn't contain companies I intentionally signed up for receiving e-mail offers or phone calls. It may contain charities, but only those I've researched and found to be more of a scam than a good service. I'm also considering including companies that frequently send me junk mail.

There is a great site for performing such research, charitynavigator.org. I love keeping the caller on the line while I research the charity for which they are asking donations, and telling them exactly why I won't ever donate to their organization. For example, a lot of them spend over 80% of their funds on fundraising, paying that person to call you and trick you into parting with some of your cash and fooling you into thinking you're doing a good deed. They use all sorts of tricks. The Police Activities League tricked my friend into donating by telling her that her husband routinely donates $100 and asking if she would donate the money on her husband's behalf since he wasn't home at the time. She found out when her husband got home that he never donated to he organization and they lied to her.

Besides, Dave and I have made a decision to NEVER donate immediately to anyone who calls on the phone or comes to our door without researching the charity first. Donating to such charities without forethought means that the money we donate to them will not go to another, perhaps more deserving charity. Since we only have so much income we can afford to be charitable with, we would like it to go to organizations that will make the best use of the funds.

Of course, the list won't ever be complete, especially since I can only stand to go through so much crappy spam in a day, and I don't really have much time for this effort. At least I've finally started this list, though, which is an accomplishment.

Here is my ongoing blacklist:
  • Liquid Networks
  • Course Advisor
  • JBR Media Solutions
  • Securesiteorders.com
  • Consumercellular.com
  • VistaPrint
  • DTV4PC
  • PAL (Police Activities League)
  • YouAreGoodKarma.com
  • Wonder Hanger
  • AARP (yes, they have been spamming me, amazing!)
  • Free Credit Reports 360
  • Quality Health
  • Celebrity Whites
  • Gevalia
  • Ephedra Hoodia Fusion
  • Colon Medic / Colon 700
  • UareGoodLuck.com
  • BuyTomatoGiant.com
  • Tomato Giant
  • Raven Media
  • LiftSP
  • Dr. Steven Jepson MD
  • yourownperfectface.com
  • Ginglow.com
  • Snuggie Blanket

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Update

Please forgive me for my lack of posts. Not only have I been super busy and seeming to get busier every day, the biggest reason is that it's difficult to use my laptop these days. The keyboard is falling apart. The T key is no longer on the keyboard, I'm just hitting a little piece of rubber that lived under the T key. Now the A key is not working so well. On top of that, the laptop keeps overheating so it crashes on me frequently.

William is nearly crawling. Fortunately, I got the video to actually upload without the laptop crashing, but it took over an hour.

So, to fill you all in on the juicy details, there aren't really any! :)

Dave's been back from the UK for a couple of weeks and it's been really nice to have the whole family home again. I'm also happy to spend as much time as I can with the boys and we cuddle and play more than ever now that they are getting more into that sort of thing. They are on a very good schedule, no matter who is caring for them, and that makes things a bit easier.

Their schedule (rough time estimates):
7am: wake up, nurse, get dressed into day clothes
8am: play in exersaucers or in their play area with toys
9am: bottle (5-8 ounces) then nap, this is usually the best nap of the day
11am: play
1pm: bottle (7-8 ounces) then nap
2pm: play
4:30pm: bottle (6-7 ounces)
6pm: baby food (stage 1 baby food, cereal) then nap or play
7:30pm: bath, massage, night clothes, bottle (4-6 ounces) then bed
11pm: sort of a dream feed if they'll take it (William eats about 4 ounces, Ronan doesn't usually eat anything)
1am: William might wake up, may eat, then sleep
2am: William often wakes up, may eat, then sleep
3am: William wakes up, may eat, then try to play or sleep
4am: William wakes up, may eat, then try to play or sleep
5am: William wakes up, may eat, then try to play or sleep
6am: William wakes up, may eat, then try to play or sleep, Ronan wakes, eats, sleeps
7am: William wakes up, wants to play play play, eventually wakes up Ronan
It all starts over again.

I don't know what to do to get more sleep out of him. Ronan sleeps well! If only William could sleep as much. I do the same thing with both babies. I think it's just William's nature and temperament. Remember, we call him "Wiggles" for a reason.
They've been enjoying solids or as we call it "big boy food." I tried to bring them up to 2 meals a day of solids, but William insists on feeding himself so it's quite messy. For now we just do the 1 meal at about 6pm, before baths. Ronan, after watching William, has also taken to wanting to feed himself, but he's much more careful and actually gets most of the food in his mouth. So far they've had pears, apples, bananas, peas, carrots, sweet potatoes, rice cereal, and oatmeal. We'll soon introduce peaches. They like fruit the best. Ronan really doesn't like carrots but he tolerates peas and somewhat likes sweet potatoes. I'm hoping to add back another meal, perhaps a breakfast, in a few more weeks.
William is very close to crawling! He's now able to get on his hands and knees and rock back and forth. It won't be long, now. He is quite mobile, though, and we need to put up the baby gates this week. We also had to lower the crib mattresses because William now tries to climb up the sides and stand against the rail. Ronan watches all this and tries, as well, but it only frustrates him because his body won't cooperate. He's got a different build to William, and is at least pound bigger, and this somewhat holds him back.
Well, Ronan is crying because he's rolled onto his tummy and has exhausted all his energy so he can't roll back over. He needs to be flipped over regularly.