Wednesday, April 30, 2008

She sleeps sideways!

I have always slept in my bed sideways. I remember waking up in the morning, even in High School, and my head would be on one side of the bed, my feet draping over the other. Somehow, in my sleep, I determined the best way to lay on the bed was shortways, so I wouldn't quite fit.

Well, it seems my daughter takes after me. :) I've noticed this before but it's so cute I had to share. When she woke up from her nap today, she was exactly perpendicular to the position in which I placed her to sleep. I try my best to keep her right-ways...I turn her, even sleep with my arm on her chest. Nope. Sideways. Almost every time.

So here's my little backwards-babe, taking after her mama (and loving her mobile!) In case you are wondering, yes, that is the Geico gecko on her crib. Don't ask. Or if you must, ask Justin.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

New Definition of "Crappy Phone"

Well, Justin and I got fed up with it. Pending litigation with whoever is responsible for the loss of my phone, we decided that we simply couldn't be without a method of communication that didn't depend on our apartment complex's internet (which is about as reliable as their signature on packages). So we went to Wal-Mart and bought two of those $20 Go Phones (thanks to a very generous Wal-Mart gift card given to us by our neighbors) and, not expecting much, plugged in our SIM cards.

For not expecting much, I was not disappointed.

The screen (color!) is more old school than my first cell phone. It weighs so little I feel like I'm going to break it in half just holding it up to my ear. It doesn't even have a volume control. BUT, it makes and receives phone calls and even stores numbers (!) so you can call us now! Hip Hip, Hooray!

Seriously, though, it really was a blessing we were even able to get these phones and we are very grateful for them. :)

Well, I am awesome.

So those of you who know me know that I'm a pretty modest person. I hate the low cut and tight fit of girl's shorts, so I buy boy shorts - from Target - the cargo ones.

Well, one of the main attractions of cargo shorts has become my demise.

It seems the pockets of cargo shorts are remarkably deep. I have lost many things in them before. I have found money buried deep in their recesses after looking for it (and washing my shorts) for weeks. And now, I have done it again. Only this time, the item being washed wasn't quite as resilient as cotton-based money.

Yes, my friends, you have guessed correctly. Not only was MY phone stolen a few weeks ago, but now JUSTIN'S phone (which he heroically left for me and the baby) has been obliterated in a mesh of hot water and detergent.

My mother joked recently that "if you want to get a hold of Amber, don't call her, just email." Well, now that could not be more true. So if I don't return your calls or answer them at all - you know why. I don't hate you. I just, apparently, hate having a phone.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Cloth Diapers: Where to Buy?

Note: If you are reading this on Facebook, the links will not work. Go to my blog here:

I have been getting asked about where to buy cloth diapers, both new and used, so I thought I would make the information public.

The best place (I have heard; no personal experience here) to buy used cloth diapers is through a cloth diaper consignment. There are brick and mortar ones (like Young and Restless in Houston or Saturday's Child in Katy) and some online (such as The Diaper Jungle, Apple Blossom Baby, and Diaper Deals). Just do a Google search for "cloth diaper consignment" or "cloth diaper consignment near [your city here]" on Google Maps to locate one near you.

You can also buy new cloth diapers in brick and mortar stores as well as online. If you live in the Dallas area, the only brick and mortar new cloth diaper store I know if is Babies, Bottoms, and More in Farmers Branch. Diane, who works there, helped me pick out which cloth diapers to get (which is the advantage of brick and mortar stores). She was also the one who suggested Thirsties diaper covers, which I adore. Some popular places to shop online include Punkin-Butt, Tiny Tush, Diapers Etc, Diaper Pin, Kelly's Closet, Cotton Babies, and more.

Of course, the cheapest way to get cloth diapers is to sew them yourself. This you MUST do over the internet. Diaper fabric is not sold in major retail fabric stores. I have been told that occasionally you can get a mom and pop store to carry it, but as most diaper cloth is a specialty item, there is just not enough demand; only 10% of America uses cloth diapers, and a much lower percentage sews their own. So for support, patterns, and cloth, I would recommend visiting Very Baby, Celtic Cloth, The Diaper Hyena, Sew Diapers Community (powered by Very Baby), and Diaper Jungle. For the very easiest, try buying a kit from Diaper Kit, Wazoodle, or Kayla's Cloth Kits.

There are many, many, MANY more resources than I have listed here. If you find one that you think is worthy of addition, let me know. Just do a Google search and you'll find you have ended up in a whole 'nother world ;). Once you find one site, you've pretty much found them all - I find the cloth diapering community to be very intertwined. Good luck! :)

Friday, April 18, 2008


Just a of Ariana are posted on a separate website. I will occasionally put some up here, but I upload them as I take them to That's where all the pictures of her go. So, if you lose this link, it's in the side bar to the right of what you're reading right now. :)

USPS Fraud?

So here's what happened:

Over Easter weekend I left my phone in Dallas. My Dad found it and mailed it to me on March 31, with a tracking number. The tracking number shows DELIVERED on April 3 at 3:58pm, signed for by J****, a worker at our apartment complex.

Only I never received my cell phone. I checked back many times, nothing in the office, nothing in my mailbox. I called the post office, who claims that they can do nothing about it because someone signed for it. I talked to J****, who says that the post office worker who delivers our mail has them sign for packages, then she takes them over to the main mailboxes and should leave us a key to retrieve them. No key. This is not the first time this has happened, though before, I made a lot of ruckus and they always eventually "found" the package stuffed somewhere.

I must interject here that the post woman who delivers our mail is THOROUGHLY INCOMPETENT. I have never had a package arrive on time. Once, the only time she's actually delivered something, she literally threw it at me and ran away. I lodged an official complaint with USPS; last I heard, it was "forwarded to [my] local office."

So, I gotta say, this woman has pretty much got it made in the shade. She's got gullible office workers signing for packages they've never seen. I filed another formal complaint with the post office investigative services (which, I just found out, has about as much power as the FBI) but I don't have any hopes of ever seeing my phone again. I'm really sad about this as I had irreplaceable contact information, photos, and videos on that phone. Technically, the apartment complex is legally liable, so I am going to get a replacement phone from them (if I shake enough cages) but I hope that, if this worker really is stealing mail, she's eventually put in jail where she deserves to be. I'm not the only person in this apartment complex missing a cell phone...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Obedience Training

Well, I had a bit of a scare the other day. Ari was in her car seat asleep with the hood down; you could barely see her socks sticking out the bottom. We were getting ready to go on an errand with the dogs. As I was getting everyone ready to go, Toby decided to get really excited and run towards me. He had no idea Ari was in the car seat - it was my fault, he wouldn't have gone near her if he could see her - but in his exuberance, he nearly knocked the car seat over before I grabbed him, literally picked him up off the ground using only the fur on his neck, and threw him against the door. (Yes, he weighs 74 pounds.) Needless to say he's been a bit scared of me ever since. Now, Ari would have been just fine even if he had knocked her over, and it really wasn't Toby's fault, it was mine. He was being a rambunctious puppy, and I have really slacked on his training.

After this, Justin and I discussed things and decided to re-enroll Toby in obedience classes. (We're only doing Toby because the most exuberant thing Talsi has ever done is fluff on people.) He hasn't been since he was 8 weeks old and it's high time for a refresher course. I really just don't know enough about dog training to correct the behaviors in him. None of them are violent, they are just out of control - he's mentally still a puppy, and I can't control his excitement sometimes, and it needs to stop before Ari starts crawling. While I would stake everything short of my life on the fact that he would never be aggressive, I wouldn't stake a nickel on whether or not he would bowl over a small child in his excitement and desire to play. I need to be able to say "Down" and Toby go down, exactly where he is, and immediately - and I have no idea how to train him to do this.

So Toby is taking an obedience class! From a lady whose 6 Golden Retrievers all hold utility (intermediate) and above obedience titles from the AKC, one of which is Champion. I wanted to enroll him in a serious class, not just a Petsmart train-your-dog-to-be-nice class, because I need to have real, immediate, off leash control over him. All that to say - next time you see Toby, ask before petting him or playing with him. We're really going to get serious about making him calm down when told to, so don't be offended if we don't let you play with him while he's being trained. :)

We're going to take him to a place called River Ranch Dogs, a short drive up 1314 from our apartment. I've spoken with the lady and I'm confident that she knows what she's doing and that she'll be able to teach me how to teach him. Hopefully soon we'll have a well mannered, well adjusted, happy Golden!

Monday, April 14, 2008

I blog now

Yes, sir, I do.

Friday, April 11, 2008

So sad...

Not much to say about this one. I just got back from Dallas to say "bye" to one of my best friends who is moving to Hawaii. She actually should have got there around 6 this morning. We had a good time, me and her and her husband and another friend and Ari hung out until after midnight at Cafe Brazil in Dallas. Her husband is in the military and is now stationed in Hawaii until October when he will ship off to Iraq for 18 months. "Bummed" doesn't really begin to describe the situation for me. She'll be gone for three years, at least 18 months of which she'll essentially be a single mom and I won't be there to help her out at all. I'm just glad it's the internet era - we can actually video chat with each other :) so that'll make it a little bit better. But yeah. No politics implied, the war just sucks.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Birthdays, Birthdays, Birthdays!

Jacob's Birthday

Jacob, a little friend of ours, turned 3 years old on the 8th. His birthday party was on the fifth in south Houston, and we went. It was so much fun! We got to see a lot of friends who have moved to Dallas and Jacob's little sister, who is just a couple of days older than Ariana! She had a great time, we learned about trees and grass and to stay away from little boys who like to throw sticks up in the air. ;) It was a Superman party, so Jacob was Superman and he ran around that park like he owned the place and could fly. It was a lot of fun and Ariana got some in some quality learning while she was awake. ;)

Ariana Turns 3 Months!

Ariana turned 3 months old on April 1st! We can't believe how fast time has flown. She's already getting so very big. She can roll over (from front to back, at least) and holds her head up like a pro. She loves being in her Moby (a word which has become a verb in our family; "Ari, you wanna get Mobied up?") and facing out. She's technically not supposed to do that until she's 6 months old, but she gets upset if she can't see the world! Her favorite game is talking and it's the cutest thing in the whole world. To listen to her tell a story, you KNOW she really believes she's communicating something with you, it's amazing and hilarious all at the same time. Justin and I will just sit and talk to her for the longest time, she never gets tired of it. Unless, of course, she actually gets tired.

We're all pretty good at understanding each other now. Justin and I can distinguish her cries and can tell if she's too hot, too cold, too hungry, too wet, too tired. It's a great feeling to actually be able to understand what she wants instead of holding her, screaming and helpless. Her screaming. Us helpless. Most of the time, at least.

I really never imagined I would love being a mommy this much. I'm looking forward to the future but I've never found myself dreaming about it, like, "Oh, once she can call me Mommy, that will be great," or, "Once she can play with other kids, that will be great." I have really been able to just take each day as it comes and enjoy the moments I'm having with her now. Like this moment, for instance. She's just gotten done eating and, as I'm typing, we are having the most delightful conversation about "Arguububs" and "Thulgads" and I'm not really finding myself wishing anything about her were any different than it is at this exact moment.

Easter Sunday

We visited Dallas for Easter Sunday and it was a lot of fun. Me, Justin, Ari, Ashley, James, and both my parents all went to Bent Tree for the service. Ari slept in the nursery the whole time. In the photos above you can see a pretty blue silk Easter dress my sister bought for her - isn't it gorgeous? I'm glad I got pictures of her in it while she could still FIT in it (that child is growing like a horse!) We all enjoyed the little break and I know family really enjoyed having everyone together on Easter Sunday. We went and hung out with Justin's family after the service and had an Easter lunch. He got to spend some time with his brother and Ari had a great time in the bassinet that my in laws made for her. Then, on the way home, we blew a tire about an hour out of Dallas - at 8:30! It was dark, we were in the middle of nowhere and I was a bit terrified. Justin tried to change the tire and in his manliness actually BROKE the tire wrench! (Yes, BROKE, as in, IN HALF.) So we had to wait for a tow truck to come and fix the tire. We finally got back into Houston around 2:30 in the morning and poor Justin had to wake up and go to work in the morning! It was an exhausting trip and, though it was good, we are NEVER leaving Dallas that late again!

Granny B's 80th Birthday

The weekend we visited Dallas for Easter was also the week after my grandmother's (father's mother's) 80th birthday. The whole extended family (minus one who was just two weeks from her due date!) showed up in Hugo, Oklahoma to enjoy the festivities. My grandfather, who has been in and out of good health for a while now, was doing great. He was lucid and back to his funny, joking self. It was great to see him and my grandmother. There are SO many kids on that side of the family! It's really amazing, trips to the farm look more like summer camp than a family get together. ;) Ari was just one face in a crowd here, there were tons of little babies and kids running around. I'm so glad it's that way again, that's the way I remember trips to the farm and I'm glad that kids are able to enjoy it's magical wonders again. ;) I'm looking forward to Ari getting to be friends with all her little cousins and playing with them like me and Ashley did with all our cousins growing up. Anyway, the party was great and I know that my grandmother enjoyed being able to see everyone and have everyone there and to meet her new (not newest!) greatgrandbaby. (Yes, there was a baby younger than Ari there!) I'm really looking forward to our next trip to the farm - Thanksgiving will probably be the next time we get to see the WHOLE family there, and I'm really excited about it!

We've Moved!
Okay, for those of you who aren't aware (or who don't have to abide by this rule) the state of Texas doesn't like three people living in a one bedroom apartment, so we have moved! Just across the parking lot, so our new apartment number is 635 for those of you who have our previous address. Email me if you need the full number! We LOVE our new apartment! Once we got everything in Justin stood in the living room and looked around and said, "This isn't an apartment. It's a house on stilts." It's so huge - it's actually larger than my parent's first HOUSE. Especially being a stay at home mom I love having enough space to breathe, and the staff is great. Hopefully we'll be able to get a house in the next fifty-seven years or so ;) but for now, this place is perfect.

New Job!
I (Amber) now sell BilJac dog food!...part time, just a few hours on the weekend, so Justin can have a fun Daddy-Daughter date with his favorite little girl. The job is fairly easy for me in the sense that I fully believe BilJac is the best dog food on the market, so it's not hard for me to try to sell it. BilJac is the best for EVERY dog unless they have some serious problem like kidney failure, so I like explaining to people WHY it's the best and WHY they should be feeding it to their dogs! It's nice to get out of the house but I always miss my baby girl by the time I get home. Justin, however, loves the time alone with her.

I think that's all for this update, thanks for keeping up with us and if you're reading this - call us if you're in Houston! We'd love to hang out. If we know you. If we don't know you, don't call. That would...well, that would just be weird.