Friday, April 30, 2010

Reminiscing: My Wedding

Tonight on Twitter, I've been talking about a couple local landmarks, trying to coerce a fellow blogger into visiting while she's in Oklahoma (which I doubt if she'll come - but it's fun trying anyway!)

One of the landmarks was the location of my wedding as well as a good number of my engagement pictures. I got to looking at the pictures and reminiscing. I'd like to share some of them with you.
Standing just feet away from where we were about to wed.

We used this for our invitation. We made postcards!

I love the look she's giving Jason.

My little flower girl.

My dad and I

Being given away

I just realized what this picture is - the prayer and Jason refusing to bow his head. LOL!

We're married!!!

Happy family!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Oh No He Didn't Tuesday: Rain Check/Advice Needed

My friend Kristi over at Live and Love... Out Loud has just started a blog carnival. It's called "Oh No He DIDN'T Tuesday." I had a wonderful post written for today, the FIRST day of the carnival - but the situation has changed (even if only slightly) and thus invalidated my entire post.

While that's not a great thing for the carnival (I REALLY wanted to participate) it IS a good thing for my family.

So, with regrets, I am not able to participate in the carnival. I'm sure I could think of something to write in here but it would be just a generic rant that I've gone over a thousand times before and I'd like to offer something more than that.

I totally think you should go check out Kristi's post though, and follow the links to the rest of the participants. Kristi's post literally made me say "Oh no he DIDN'T." ...Yes, literally. I spoke it out loud. And I don't really say that. But... Damn. Really. Go see for yourself.

I will try to come up with something a little less generic to post than my usual "Ugh. He slept until 2 and didn't help with the kids!" for next week - but in the meantime, I could use some help.

I know I've posted on this before, but it's really becoming a problem. Gracie's behavior is getting worse. Generally speaking she's a really good kid, but she's becoming incredibly defiant. She's been REFUSING to obey me. Yesterday I got up to make her something to snack on and when I came back, she was in my chair. I asked her kindly to get up so I could sit back down and she refused. To the point that she went rigid and I had to PICK HER UP and move her.

That's the least of it. She refuses to get up in the morning and then throws horrendous fits of rage when I make her wake up. It's to the point that I have to get up 30 minutes earlier than I normally do in order to coerce her out of bed so she doesn't start the day badly. But even that doesn't work. I still end up having to pick her up out of bed and set her on her feet to make her wake up. (I've tried earlier bed times, etc too - I think it's just a behavioral thing.)

I don't know what to do. I've tried time outs, time ins, spanking (which I don't do anymore), groundings... I'm to the point that when she disobeys me, I just want to make her go to bed. Whether it's 3 in the afternoon or not.

What can I do? Any suggestions?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Wasted Time and Energy

I don't know about you, but from time to time I find myself concentrating a little too hard and a little too long on something that really doesn't matter. Today is no exception.

This morning when I woke up, I got on Facebook and was confronted by an email from a woman I don't know. Well, I do know her... Sort of. I know her in the kind of way you know the girl who worked as a cashier at the gas station by your house 6 years ago and the way you know a girl whose little brother was an acquaintance in high school.

In the email, she accuses me of talking about an incident that happened about 15 years or so ago and then she brings up some false information regarding my husband. Let me tell ya, folks. It's a great way to wake up.

So I emailed her back. I told her that I don't know her, I know nothing about her, and I have better things to do than talk about someone I don't know. While I really wanted to go off the handle and drag it out, in the long run I know I will regret it. I hate drama and I have no interest in being involved in it. So instead, I wrote out a short and to the point response and decided to leave it at that.

This was 3 hours ago. And I've thought of little other than that since. I wonder who is telling her that I'm talking about her. I think about what I'll say when she responds. I've called and spoken to several friends about the whole ordeal. I just can't get if off my mind.

But. It's so stupid. The timestamp on her email is shortly after the bars close and by the typos she made in it, I'm assuming that she got home from the bar and wanted to start some problems with people. From the things that I hear about her, this wouldn't surprise me.

As well, I realize that while I said I have no interest in talking about her, that's exactly what I'm doing.


So I am making this vow: I'm done wasting my energy on this person that I don't know. I have no stock in the brand of bull she's selling so I'm really just wasting my time and efforts on something that is never going to prove fruitful for me or my family.

Do you ever find yourself wasting time thinking and talking about something that shouldn't matter? How to you break the cycle?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Issues With the Free Stuff Rule of Tipping

Browsing Facebook today I found a group called, "If you can't afford a 20% tip, don't go out to eat. Period." For those of you who don't know, when I'm not a SAHM, I am a server. As such, I find it completely appropriate to join said group.

Once I joined the group, I went to their main page and read some of the posts from other members. One of them posted The Rules of Tipping. I've seen and read the rules several times in several places and I agree with most of them, even if their wording is not agreeable (calling children "little devils" is not gonna fly with me.)

What I take issue with most of all is Rule 7. THE FREE STUFF:
"If you happen to get anything for free and you did not have a problem with your dining experience, most of the time it is because the server thinks you will realize that they are giving it to you for free. There should be extra tip thanking the server for the free item. They could get in a lot of trouble giving away free stuff. You should give them hazard pay for it."

Okay - here are my issues with this:

When I go out to eat, I can typically only afford to pay for dinner and the tip. If the server gives me something I have ordered for free, sure I'm gonna tip extra for that. It's not like I wasn't going to be paying for it anyway. (A good example that I've seen of this is free sodas.) However, if the server brings out a free dessert at the end of the meal because we're just "wonderful customers," I am so sorry, but I can't tip extra for that. Yes, I appreciate it. Definitely. But you know what? I love dessert. So much that when I can afford it, I order it. So if I didn't order it, it's not because I'm too full (I'm not above taking it to-go) . It's because I can't afford it. And if I can't afford the dessert, I'm certainly not going to be able to afford to tack on an extra $2-3 in tip for being given one "under the table." It's not that I'm a tightwad and I don't want to tip appropriately. In fact, just for the record, I always tip heavy.

Also - giving away free stuff is against the rules. Don't get me wrong here - I am certainly not against breaking a rule here or there, but I know the extended costs of high food cost. My husband is a cook and when food cost is high, he doesn't get a raise. And you know what? I like it when my husband gets raises. It usually means that I'm closer to affording that dessert.

Plus, if you're not making enough money by sticking to the rules, if you feel the need to steal in order to make a little extra cash per table, you're probably not that great of a server anyway and you might want to reevaluate your profession. Speaking as someone who has worked extensively in the field, I know what I'm talking about. I did JUST FINE without handing out free stuff.

Do you have the same problem with this "rule" as I do? Or am I just being uptight?

The Rules of Tipping

The following is not something I have written myself, but something I have seen in several places - mostly emails. As I cannot find an actual web site with these rules listed, I am posting them on my own blog as a supplement to another post.

Again - this is not my own work. If anyone knows who wrote them so that I can give the proper credit, please let me know. I have tried for the past hour to find a source and have not even come close.


The Rules of Tipping

If you have children, DO NOT let them open and dump anything on the table (ie: sugar, salt, etc.) IF YOU DO you must leave an extra $5 for the servere to clean up YOUR CHILD'S mess and restock the now unusable wasted items. We are neither their babysitter nor their parent. The leaset you can do is pay us for the extra work. Also make sure you control your kids and don't let them scream or run around the restaurant. It's very distracting and rude to others eating, not to mention dangerous if they get ran over by a server with hot food in their hands.

If you feel the necessity to stay for longer than 15 minutes after you pay, it is an extra $3 every 30 minutes. We make our money from the tables. If you are in one and we can't seat it, we don't make money. Not to mention, if you are our last table we have to wait for you to leave before we can leave.

Telling a sever they are the best server you've ever had is not a tip. If we are god, let us know by leaving us more money. We can't pay our bills on compliments. It's not that we don't appreciate the praise, it's just that if you say that and then leave a 10% tip it's an insult.

Prayer cards or other religous pamphlets are NOT tips. It is insulting that you assume we are without religion and you must save us. Again, like rule 3, we can't pay the bills with prayer cards. We'd go to church on Sundays if it wasn't mandatory to work them because EVERYONE who goes to church follows it by eating out.

It is not 1960. Cost of living has gone up dramatically since then. 18% is the MINIMUM amount of what you should be tipping your servers. look at the first number of your bill. If it is $30, double the 3 and you have your $6 tip. If the second number is higher than 5, however, you must add on a dollar. Remember, our companies pay us minimum wage which is $2.13. We are taxed on 15% of your mean automatically anyway. So if your meal is $100 and you leave $10 and we tip out $4-5 to the busser, bartender and whoever else, we then pay tax on $10 and we make $5. It seems small but it adds up. how many times do you eat out per week and do this?

if you get a discount because your food was prepared wrong or took too long cooking , do not take it out of our tip. We didn't cook it. The cooks get paid hourly regardless of if the food sucks. However, we only make what you give us.

If you happen to get anything for free and you did not have a problem with your dining experience, most of the time it is because the server thinks you'll realize that they are giving it to you for free. There should be an extra tip thanking the server for the free item. They could get in a lot of trouble for giving away free stuff. You should give them hazard pay for it.

If you come into the restuarant 10 minutes before closing or any time near closing, hurry up and order your food and get out. Closed means closed, not social hour. It is so rude to sit there and take your sweet time. We can't leave until you do because we have to do side work and clean the table you are sitting at. We don't want to stand there waiting for you for an extra hour just because you don't want to go home. We recommend 24 hour establishments such as Denny's if you wish to sit into the wee hours of the night.

If you only come in for coffee or a dessert, to do paper work, or have a meeting, don't sit there taking up our booth for hours. We are not Starbucks or a hotel restaurant. If you want to sit for hours, go there or else you better leave a good tip for us with a camping fee included.

When we come up to the table to greet you and we ask how you are doing, please let us know. We honestly want to know how you are doing. And ask us how we are doing as well. It's called manners. If you are in a bad mood we want to knw that from the beginning. A confused stare or complete silence does not suffice as a reply. Also most of us are REQUIRED to say certain things during the greeting, so please don't interrupt our greeting and say, "I want coffee," or "Can we get some bread," etc. Just sit tight for a minute and let us talk. You're not helping us out and saving us time by stopping our greet. You are just pissing us off.

Don't ever talk on your cell phone in a restaurant. This is probably the rudest thing you could do. If you must be on your cell, at least keep your voice down in respect of the other customers. If you are on your phone when we walk up to greet your table, we will walk away and not return until you get off your phone. Just show some respect and give us your attention for a couple of minutes.

when you're taken to a table, sit there. There's a reason you were taken to that table and it's because that server is next on the rotation. If you prefer a certain table, section, window seat, etc, specify that to the host/hostess BEFORE they walk you to your table. Don't wait until they get to the very back of the restaurant before you ask if you can sit by the window have a booth. The reason you weren't sat by the window or in a booth is most likely because the server by the window or with the booths just got sat and you will receive better service if you stay put. If you ask beforehand, the hostess has time to sit you accourdingly. They have time to find a table where you will be ahppy to sit and receive good service.

If you wave at me or try to talk to me while I am talking to another table or have a huge tray in my hand, I WILL ignore you. We have other people besides you to take care of and unless we are standing still or hanging out by a computer, we are doing something. It is rude to think we will stop what we are doing for one table just to come help you. Let me put this heavy tray down int he middle of the dining room to find you some more sauce. Do not grab me or wave or shake your glass. Don't call me ma'am or waiter or any other pet name you want to call me because you were on your cell phone or interupted my initial greet when I tell you my name.


One last time, I did not write this. I have some thoughts on these rules, and you can read them here.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Little Miss Ham

A couple of nights ago, I decided it might be time to get the camera out again. I haven't taken many pictures of the girls lately. The pictures that I got of Kairi turned out so good (and funny!) that I HAD to share them. Gracie, for some reason, decided to shy from the camera this time. But next time we go outside (and I remember to bring my camera) I will certainly devote a photo post to her.

Kairi has become quite the ham, hasn't she? She would have the straightest, most non-smiley look on her face until the little yellow light lit up on the camera.... Then - BAM! - big, huge smiles. Notice her new teeth up top? Cute, huh?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cat Naps

Kitty sleeps with Gracie at night and hunts for laps to lay on throughout the day. She finally found one. :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

How Do You Deal?

Welcome to the April Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting advice!

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month we're writing letters to ask our readers for help with a current parenting issue. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


Dear Readers,

I'm having some issues that I think you could help me with. You see, I parent Kairi a lot differently than people around here are used to. I parent her a lot differently than I did Gracie as a baby too. I breastfeed, where formula feeding is the norm here, and although there are other women who breastfeed in this area, none are very outspoken about it. I use cloth diapers as well. I don't know any parents in my area who use them. We co-sleep, which honestly happens more around here than most would like to admit, but most parents, by Kairi's age are frustrated with their inability to transition to the crib whereas I'm still comfortable with it.

Now, I am in no way passing judgment on the people in my area. Personally, I believe that you parent the best way you know how and that is different for everyone. But people just aren't accustomed to my brand of parenting and they ask a lot of questions and raise a lot of eyebrows. I get asked all the time when I'm gonna "just give that baby a bottle," or when I'm gonna let her cry it out so she'll sleep through the night. I get a lot of people who, I'm sure, think I'm absolutely nuts for using cloth diapers. "Oh, I could NEVER do that. That's gross," is the phrase I hear the most when people find out that I don't use disposables. "Why on earth would you want to put yourself through so much extra work?" people ask. And if I had to count the number of times I've been told I'm spoiling Kairi by holding her or wearing her in my sling or my Moby Wrap, I would probably be busy most of the day.

Typically, I cite studies or just explain that this is what we do and we are comfortable with it, but a lot of times I feel like people feel that I am passing judgment on them for not doing things the way I do. I'm sure that not everyone who makes comments to me wants me to feel like they are passing judgment, but I do a lot of the time. A lot of the major aspects of my parenting fall under public scrutiny a lot of the time and it can feel very lonely, being the different one in the crowd.

So what I ask of you, reader, is this: How do you deal with people who question your parenting techniques without sounding preachy or judging? Do you leave out the studies and rely on explaining things simply from your personal experience and perspective or do you cite that "breast is best" (or "normal," as the phrase is changing) and send your friends to WHO's website? Do you compare and contrast parenting styles with each other at all? What is the best way you've found to convey the message you want to send without making the other person feel like what they are doing is wrong, or making them become defensive (or even offensive) about their parenting style?


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by the end of the day April 13 with all the carnival links.)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Clearing the Air

Most people know that I am a stay at home mom (SAHM, for those who wonder, stands for that.) I spend most of my time wrangling my children, attempting to keep house (or at least pretending to), and playing on the computer. There's not a lot that goes on in my day to day... Not a lot that would make for interesting conversation, at least.

Because of that, as I'm coming to notice, I've taken hobby of gossiping. Rather than going out and finding interesting things going on in the world, I've chosen recently to speak instead on what's going on in others' lives around me.

Can I make a confession? I hate gossips. Hate hate hate. Now, I don't mind if a friend and I are having a conversation and when the topic turns to Bob and Jill and what they're up to, my friend tells me what they're up to, but if I'm talking to someone and they're talking about Bob and Jill (parties whom, in this instance we'll say I don't know or don't know well enough to be invested in what they're doing) and how they're going through a divorce and she's trying to take the house, but he wants the kids, BLAH BLAH BLAH, then it really bothers me.

But that? That's what I've been doing lately. I'm not sure how long I've been doing it, but I've only recently caught myself and taken notice.

This bothers me tremendously. I feel like such a hypocrite. And petty too.

So, to the people I know in real life, I apologize for two things: 1 - talking about you, and 2 - rambling on about the random goings on in people's lives that you probably don't even know.

In the immediate future I intend to stop the gossip and find more productive, interesting and relevant things to talk about. If you know me in real life, please help me do this, won't you?