Thursday, October 23, 2014

Grumbling

I'm going to grumble today.

***

I barely got any sleep because a helicopter was circling over my house for hours last night.  I read in the news this morning that they were rounding up illegal immigrants that had run from some sort of truck.  I was imagining all sorts of bad stuff.  

***

Baby Boy broke his high chair the other day.  It is unusable.  We only probably needed it for 2-3 more months but now we are stuck trying to figure out what to do.  We can't repair it - it's beyond that.  I have him sitting in a booster seat and it's too short for him so his chin is basically in his plate.  That's no good either.

***

People in Houston are terrible drivers.  I frequently drive through one of the few round-abouts.   I have seen people go through the wrong way, stop, speed, and do all manner of stupid things.  Today someone who was inside the traffic circle insisted on stopping at all of the yield signs that are meant for the people entering the traffic circle.  What a mess!

***

Why can't people just help?  Big Boy is in an activity that sells treats to raise money.  I want to sell the treats via the website because then our family who don't live in Houston can buy them.  In order to log onto the website I need a particular zone number from the activity co-ordinators.  I asked Big Boy to ask for it.  They know it, but didn't give it to him because they think they gave it to me already.  They didn't.  I checked the sheet of paper they said I'd find it on and the space for the number is left blank.  So now I have to ask again.  Why make it so hard when I'm trying to help?  Seriously do you want to fundraise or not?  It's their website....but my problem.

***

That leads to another grumble.  Schools are desperate for volunteers.  I took all of the required steps to become a qualified volunteer at Little Boy's school.  I'm good to go.  Except that they just revised the policy and younger siblings aren't welcome at most events/field-trips where volunteers are required.  Where does that leave me?  Am I supposed to get a babysitter so that I can volunteer?  That's not going to happen.  I'm willing and able to help, you are desperate for helpers, why not compromise?  And if you won't compromise and work with me, stop sending out emails and newsletters asking for help.  You don't want my help so please remove me from the list.

Also, what would happen if I showed up with an older sibling - only younger siblings were specifically banned.

***

No-one is expected to be precise or accurate.  I'm getting annoyed that grocery stores don't have prices on many items and items that are on the shelves are not above their correct price/description.  The produce section is a mess.  It seems like they put any old apple with any old price tag and it's a big surprise when you get to the check-out and see the cost.

Last weekend we were shopping and my husband seemed a bit surprised when I complained about the price of multiple items and the clerk just changed them to what I thought.  That's how inaccurate it is - they don't even bother doing a price check anymore - they know so many prices are wrong.

***

In the same vein, the teachers of Big Boy and Little Boy are not setting a good example for precision.  Homework assignments are sent home with due dates that are holidays.  Tests are scheduled for days that the students are out of the classroom.  Homework requiring equipment or partners is sent home with no explanation or equipment.  What kind of example is being set?  

The kids are supposed to see the instructions, figure out that they are wrong, and then do the right thing....I guess they are learning critical thinking and how to question authority but I can't imaging that these are intentionally the key lessons.  This is what my kids are learning - always question whatever instructions you are given:  are they feasible; reasonable; accurate; and should you do something different than what was asked?  Not sure how that will translate in the real world.

***

And last of all.  Why do people find it so impossible to clean up after their dogs?  Filthy, inconsiderate people leave dog waste all over our sidewalks and parks....I'm sick of it.

***  

Grumble, grumble, grumble....

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Kid Update

Baby Boy is so frustrating in the morning!  We go through about 3 outfit changes every day before he finds one that he is willing to wear.  I can't tell what the criteria is - a shirt that makes him cry one day is the one he begs for the next....and I thought this only happened with girls!  I find myself wishing his school had a uniform.

Little Boy is a cutie.  He spends a lot of time around women.  Tonight after I gave him a bath he walked up and down the hall wearing a towel like a dress, sashaying his hips widely from side to side, and drawling "Y'all gonna read me a story Mama?"  He can turn the drawl on and off just like he could with the Scottish brogue.  Unfortunately he sounds like a 50-something Southern woman, not a little boy!

All 3 boys made Hallowe'en pumpkin.  Baby Boy and Little Boy give theirs a kiss every day when we walk past them.  Ewwwwww.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Beauty Box Five and Ipsy

I decided to discontinue my Beauty Box Five subscription because I am now off the wait list for a subscription for Ipsy.  Ipsy didn't give much notice so this month I ended up with 2 subscriptions!

The Beauty Box Five one was pretty nice and full of useful things.  It contained:  a chapstick with sunblock - good timing as I just finished my sunblock lip gloss; a beauty tool for scooping the last bits out of containers - should be handy; a nailpolish in a colour I love; and a skin cream.  It also contained a lip gloss in a colour I don't like.


I liked the Ipsy bag better - it costs less and it contained:  a makeup bag; a face mask; an eyeliner; a face scrub; a hand cream; and a lip gloss.   I have tried everything but the mask and I like it all!  The hand cream scent is really nice.


Monday, October 20, 2014

The Weekend

Another weekend has passed.  This one was a bit different than our usual weekend.

We started off the weekend with a frustrating doctor visit.  I had taken all 3 boys in to have flu vaccinations.  The first thing that happened was the receptionist informed me that my health insurance was discontinued.  After a bunch of texting, a phone call, and a lot of anger on my part, my husband figured out that we actually just had a new insurance plan number.  I guess no-one thought to inform us that we had a new number.  I was able to give it to the clinic and get the shots.

The incredibly disappointing part about that is that it's not the first time we've had a communication issue with our medical insurance.  It's not even the first time recently.  This spring they issued us a health spending card.  Of course the first time I tried to use it this summer (months later) the card wasn't yet linked to the account.  Nice.  And embarrassing.

The next issue happened at Costco optical where we learned that my husband was listed as having no dependents - because the health plan people hadn't signed up our family correctly.

The health plan system that we have been subjected to here in the U.S.A. is a farce.  We have been issued new and different plans for no reason and there has been a gap in our coverage.  We had similar issues in Dubai.  As an expat the only place I have felt comfortable in terms of health coverage was the U.K. - where it is through the government like Canada.  All of the other systems have failed at some point.

The doctors offices I have visited here in the U.S.A. (2 in total) have both been dirty and very slow paced.  The eye doctor I visited had a filthy washroom and there was loads of dust on his eyewear displays.  The paediatrician has bugs on the floor in the exam rooms and the receptionist warned me that they have an ant issue.  Both had long waits and unreasonable service times - for example it took over 2 hours for an eye exam and at least 1 hour each time I've taken the kids in for vaccinations.

Ewwwwwwww.  Give me Canadian public health care any day.  Serioiusly.   It's much better than what is available down here.

On Saturday we drove out to the Cypress Outlets to look for some school shoes.  The outlet is pretty nice and we found what we needed.  We wanted to go to a cute nearby cafe with amazing Yelp ratings but it was immediately obvious that the service was going to be too slow for us.  We left and went to McDonalds where it took ages (over 20 minutes) to get food....the restaurant was very busy so the clerk decided to just fill drive through orders not in-store ones until she caught up.

After that we went to Little Boy's soccer game and he had a blast!

On Sunday morning we took a family bike ride.  We spent the afternoon decorating pumpkins.  We allowed the boys to decorate them on their own this year....here is the result!

Big Boy made "Captain Underpants".
Little Boy has the Spiderman on the right.
Baby Boy's pumpkin is in the middle.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Monster Pants

After I finished making Baby Boy the monster pillow case I had some monster fabric left over.  My husband suggested I make Baby Boy a pair of pants (trousers).  I did a bunch of research (actually I "googled" what to do) and figured out that I probably needed to line the pants and that the pattern would be fairly simple - just a pair of pull on pants with an elastic waistband.  

I was going to use a free pattern that I found online but then I found a cheap kids pattern at the store and decided it would be more reliable that my home printed pattern.  I was actually wrong!  There is an error in the pattern that I bought....it took me ages and some more "googling" to figure out that the problem was the pattern and not me!

Anyways...I made the trousers using the monster fabric and lined them with the fabric from an XL men's t-shirt that I bought for very little.  Here are some pictures of the process.  In case you are interested I interlock stitched all of the outer pieces to the lining pieces before sewing the pants together.

This is the pattern error - the pattern piece for the front of the
pants is nearly two inches longer than the back!

Cutting up the shirt.


Sewing the pieces together.

Nearly done!

I wanted a nice pictures of the trousers on my monster.

Unfortunately most of the pictures came out like this - he loves to move!


Friday, October 17, 2014

Worst Fortune Ever?


It's been a busy week....I will catch you up later, but for the time being - is this the worst fortune ever?


Monday, October 13, 2014

Pillowcase

I skipped my nap today and sewed an important pillowcase (actually 2).  Yes....if you are wondering...there is such a thing as an "important" pillowcase.

A couple of weeks ago at bedtime Baby Boy was urgently trying to tell me something.  Sometimes it takes a lot of effort for him to communicate a message - he is just learning to talk and forming word chains can be difficult.  After a bunch of fussing around he said "hate pilolo".  "Pilolo" is what he calls pillows.

I asked him what he was talking about and he said "hate pilolo" over and over while pointing at his pillow.  Message received....he hates his pillow.  It's understandable.  His pillow is a flat pillow - it was meant as a first step toward a real pillow.  He is growing up and wants a fluffy and comfortable pillow.  I always want him to be happy and comfortable and in particular it is valuable if he is comfortable when he is sleeping....because it leads to more sleeping.  

So I decided to buy him a new pillow.  I just finished shopping around for a nap pillow for Little Boy for school and I knew that there was only one pillow that I wanted to buy - the "crib pillow" from Ikea. Unfortunately our Ikea does not sell a case for this pillow except in combination with a blanket.  The last thing we need in our household is another blanket, particularly one that is an odd size.  So decided to buy him the Ikea pillow and sew him a pillowcase.

This morning didn't go as planned - we had to cancel a playdate because Little Boy wasn't feeling well so I took the kids to do a couple of errands and we stopped off at the fabric store and Ikea.  Baby Boy picked fabric for his pillowcase and we bought the pillow.

When I put him down for his nap today he fussed and cried because he wanted the new pillow.  I didn't give in - I wanted to make the case first to protect the pillow.

As soon as I got him to sleep I crept off to sew the pillowcase.  I actually sewed 2 because he is prone to nosebleeds.  I think they are very cute - the design is completely simple.  The seams are reinforced and properly finished.  Hopefully these cases will do the job until he grows into a new pillow.

These important pillowcases will make Baby Boy feel special and understood.  Hopefully they will also make bedtime easier!!!

I love the fabric that my little monster picked!