Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Baby Bottles

Does anyone read my blog anymore? I discovered that the last time I had written anything was Aug 2008. Well, just in case there are some people who use google reader and are subscribed to me...

I thought maybe it would be a good time to start trying to write on this blog again since I have a baby. I've been going back and reading over things Julie wrote when Penelope was a newborn. This is helpful since I'm very concerned about doing stuff right and worried that Lincoln will spontaneously combust if I do something wrong. Then I re-read over Julie's blog a description of her day when she had one new baby and three other children, knowing that Penelope has made it to two years old and both she and Julie have survived. It makes it better.

So today I bought a bottle warmer because I wanted to make it easier for Rob to warm up a bottle quickly when it is his turn to feed Lincoln at night. He's been running the bottle under hot water in the sink. So, I figured, waste less water, Lincoln gets food faster and doesn't have to wait as long while crying and getting all hyped up. So I buy one that boasts "Ready in 90 seconds." Of course it has a little star by it that says this is if you are heating 4 oz that was at room temperature to start with. But I figure it's the only one with a time boast, so it's probably the fastest for refrigerated milk, too.

So I read the instructions and discover that what it does is steam the bottle. That's cool, but here are the instructions for how much water to put in the warmer: 4 oz bottle with initial liquid temp of 68 degrees,0.25 oz. 5 oz bottle with initial liquid temp of 39 degrees, 0.7 oz. Then there is measurements for 10 oz bottles at 68 and 39 degrees. That's it. No word on if you want to heat a, say, 6 oz bottle. OK, so I usually have a 4 oz bottle in the fridge, which I suppose I can do the same as a 5 oz bottle at 39 degrees, but 0.7 oz of water in the steamer? What kind of directions are these? Who has any kind of measuring device that gives you tenths and hundreths of ounces? So, I did a search on google and found an ounces to tablespoons chart. A tablespoon is .5 ounces. So, about 1 1/2 tablespoons? Rob said he was going to go ahead and do 2 or 3 tablespoons, and get it really hot so that he has to put the bottle back in the fridge for 15 minutes before he can give it to him.

I think half the baby items in the world get sold because parents are just desperate to do something...

I also decided that in being a parent you have to play mind games with yourself in the same way you do when you are exercising, say running, and you think "I will run for just 2 more minutes, ok, another 2, ok, I can do a little more..." I keep thinking, "If I can just make it to six weeks, I'll be ok...alright 8 weeks...well maybe 3 months." I'm sure it will continue to extend to six months...a year...five years...ok, maybe when they are 18...make that 22...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

YOU NEED A BUDGET (at least I do)

Since dealing with finances has been a big concern with the prayer requests, I thought I’d share about the budgeting program that we have been using since November. It’s called You Need A Budget. I highly recommend it, however, the first thing I am going to say is what’s wrong with it.

The main thing that could be improved about the program is that it should be able to automatically connect to your bank(s) and download your transactions like Money or other financial apps do. If you buy the Pro version, it can import Microsoft Money downloads, but you have to go to your banks’ webpage(s) and download them from there. If you are unable to download your most recent transactions (if you can only download last month’s statement), then that really does you no good…you’ll have to put them into YNAB manually. I get around this by using YNAB in combination with Money, using my own system that I won’t elaborate on here. The reason I’m telling you this first is because if you are unwilling or unable to spend the time doing this, then you obviously won’t actually use the program.

Now, what’s great about it. First, you input how much income you have for the month, which you then distribute into different categories, so far pretty normal. The thing is, if you overspend on any category, it automatically deducts that from your total you will start with for the next month. This is a feature that I have not seen on any other budgeting software, and it makes so much sense, because that money is coming out of somewhere! I could never figure out how it was useful for a budgeting program to tell you “You’re over budget on groceries!!!” but then never make you account for it anywhere. I think how this used to manifest itself with us was on the credit card. We use our credit card to pay for most things (because we get points). While we have always paid off the ending balance on our statement, we would drift from only spending money that we already had in our bank account to getting the money to pay off the bill just before it was due (meaning that we were really one month behind). YNAB has kept that from happening.

The second fabulous feature is that when you don’t spend all of the money in a specific category, it carries over in that category to the next month. This makes saving money for specific expenses that only come up every few months or once a year (or at unknown intervals, like car repair) easy.

Now, it’s important to note…well, I’ll just say what my personal experience was. I was a little bit more stressed out about money for the first couple of months. This was because I was going way over budget. When we started in November, for example, we both went to the dentist. Did we actually have money to go to the dentist? No. It therefore got taken out of our starting point for December, which is always a great month for keeping finances under control anyway. So, my point is, you’ll probably be overspending your budget and putting less money into certain categories than you know you’re going to spend for a little bit, but it’ll turn around.

Last thing, whether it is the male or female who is in charge of bills and whatnot in your home, it is fairly easy to pull your spouse aside as you’re assigning money to categories and let them see exactly where your money is going. This can be helpful. There are also great categories to start with (you can add or delete categories at will) such as “Fun Money (His)” and “Fun Money (Hers)”. So you can allocate a certain amount there every month and if your spouse has a certain proclivity towards…buying video games, that’s fine, as long as there’s enough money in that category for them to do so. (It’s also great for things like going out for coffee or buying art supplies). It’s also easy to skip forward a couple of months and create a theoretical budget if you’re thinking about having a major change in your financial picture and want to see how that would work out (say you were thinking about…buying a new house?).

All in all, it’s a program worth looking into. So, go check it out. I don’t remember how long you can try it out before you would need to buy the license key, but it’s probably 30 days. Here’s a link to download it if you’re interested

Saturday, March 08, 2008


So I just finished reading two books.

The first one Rob and I read together. We decided to read it because of the controversy surrounding the release of the movie...I'm referring to The Golden Compass. We first checked it out of the library quite some time ago. It took us a while to read it, mostly because it wasn't the kind of book that I was very eager to get on with very often. Anyway, I thought I'd briefly comment. Putting it very simply, in the book, there's a substance called dust which you find out in the course of things is basically like a particle that is equivalent to sin. It begins to stick to children when they go through puberty. There are adults who are desperate to figure out how to keep the dust from beginning to stick to the children or to wipe out dust all together, but this leads them to basically do terrible things to children. In the end, the main character, a girl named Lyra, concludes that if these adults who do such bad things are trying to get rid of dust, then dust must be good...which is basically like saying if the people who want get rid of sin are so bad (which means they're so full of sin)then sin must be good. Which I have to say, is one of the silliest things I've ever heard.

I don't really care to read the other books in the series, but I am vaguely curious to see if the author has any kind of better points, or if it's all just as lame.

The other book I just finished reading is Brave New World, which I read in the 10th grade, but decided to re-read after it was mentioned once by our pastor and again in the books we are reading for small group. Both times it was mentioned as somewhat prophetic in talking about people as slaves to their own desires/happiness, being enslaved to entertainment, etc. I have to say, it's a very good book. There was a lot I didn't remember. Here's a section that I thought was particularly good:

Mustapha Mond, one of the world controllers, has just finished reading a manuscript...

"Not to be published." He underlined the words. "The author will be kept under supervision. His transference to the Marine Biological Station of St. Helena may become necessary." A pity, he thought, as he signed his name. It was a masterly piece of work. But once you began admitting explanations in terms of purpose-well, you didn't know what the result might be. It was the sort of idea that might easily decondition the more unsettled minds among the higher castes-make them lose their faith in happiness as the Sovereign Good and take to believing, instead, that the goal was somewhere beyond, somewhere outside the present human sphere; that the purpose of life was not the maintenance of well-being, but some intensification and refining of consciousness, some enlargement of knowledge. Which was, the Controller reflected, quite possibly true. But not, in the present circumstance, admissible. He picked up his pen again, and under the words "Not to be published" drew a second line, thicker and blacker than the first; then sighed, "What fun it would be," he thought, "if one didn't have to think about happiness!"

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Way too much time on your hands....

I want to start this post by saying that although comments made by Hannah (my partner in my massage office) were the motivation for this post, I do not believe that she is an uncreative person or wastes large portions of her time with some of the things that I will make reference to later.

The other day I told Hannah that I was making a nativity scene out of sculpey. For anyone who does not know what sculpey is, it is craft clay that you can bake in the oven. You can get it in bright colors or plain clay that you can sand and paint after it is baked. I was explaining that I have had a bunch of sculpey for some time and have not done anything with it and that I used to make little animals and stuff out of it for fun and give them to friends. She found this all very amusing and was laughing at me about it.

Anyway, while her laughing at me about it was not at all mean-spirited, it made me think about a little while ago when she told me about the Harry Potter Puppet Pals on YouTube, which I am sure many of you have watched as I sent out an e-mail with a link. She was the one who told me about them. She obviously found them to be very funny, but one of the comments she made was something along the lines of “How bored do you have to be to do something like that?” My reply to this was, that’s just how some people have fun…

…It is actually how me and my friend Elisabeth often had fun in our high school/early college days. Because they were the days before people had digital video recorders and easy video editing on computers, not to mention that there really wasn’t anywhere to post such video on the internet, these videos remain safely on miniature video cassette, probably somewhere in her parent’s house. These small films featured titles such as “When beanie-babies attack,” and me in characters such as “Captain Anna Boat”

So, one of the final things we did along these lines was a song for the answering machine in my dorm room my sophomore year (I had a single). It went like this – I’m sure you can figure out what tune it is sung to:

Why do you call my up
Buttercup baby
When I’m not at home
And can’t answer the phone?
And then worst of all
I can’t return your call babe,
Cause you don’t leave your name.
Oh what a shame!
I need you
To leave your name and number darling
So that I can call you back.
Or you can try again
Maybe I’ll be in
Eating a snack.

I had this message on my machine all year. Sometimes people would get a wrong number….always a student trying to call another student (as all the on campus numbers are similar). I would get random messages telling me things like, “Dude, you have way too much time on your hands…”

So here is my beef: That doing creative, totally silly, I admit, but creative, things is seen as “having too much time on your hands” or as something that could only be the product of being totally bored, while people waste SO MUCH TIME doing things like getting drunk, or spending hours upon hours watching TV. Anyway, it just occurred to me as really sad that in our society, using your own brain to entertain yourself is a last resort, something you would only do if there is no entertainment to consume or brain altering chemicals to be had. That’s all I have to say.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Rob's Celebrity Morph

I didn't have time to do Rob the other day, so I just did. I don't think they really had anyone that really looks like him, this is the best they could do....


Thursday, November 29, 2007

My Celebrity Morph


So, I haven't blogged in a long time, but when I saw the celebrity morphs on Jeremy and Darcy's page, I had to spend my precious time doing the same thing. I don't even know who this person is.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Walking in Mission Park

I went walking in the Mission Park a few times this week, which I hadn't done in a while...Yesterday I took my camera:
The butterflies are out a lot right now.

I practically threw my cell phone in the water in my enthusiasm to take a picture of this snapping turtle.