Category Archives: J

We’ve Gotta Get out of This Place.

We’ve gotten fantastic news. Awesome news. Glorious, fantabulous, shrieking-with-joy news.

After toiling for what feels like forever, I’ve reached our financial goal and we’re able to purchase a home. We’ve even found said home. Further – we’ve even accepted the seller’s counter-offer on this house. We get to move on or before August 31st.

I’m hoping that the “or before” is the most accurate part of that sentence. I truly am.

A little over a year ago, hubby and I gained a very fast realization that we had to move out of the little townhouse we’d lived in for about six years. We were eating dinner and saw a CHILD FIRE A GUN in the middle of the street. In front of our house. While our daughter sat beside us at dinner time. I did some homework and found a home for rent that was a short four minutes away from where I work.

The house has served as a home. I wish I could say it’s been a comfortable home, but since we’ve been in the place we’ve had months of the AC / heater working improperly, leaks in the roof, uncontrollable bug problems, a backed-up septic system, and a lot of time spent waiting for our landlord to fix our issues.

This weekend the A/C decided to stop working. Kaput. Fin. We don’t know exactly what’s wrong with it. The very same day our pool decided to deflate as well.

We’re so very close. We’ve got a home on the line. Not just a home – but a beautiful, well-kept, well-insulated, and sturdy home. This is in our sights! I believe it’s the fact that we know the home is ready and we know we’re just waiting that is making us so overly-anxious.

Or it could be because every month or so we’ve got to wait for the landlord to repair something else.

In short, I could never portray my thoughts quite as well as The Animals, so I’ll let them speak for me:

Watch my daddy in bed and tired
Watch his hair been turning gray
He’s been working and slaving his life away
I know
He’s been working so hard
I’ve been working too babe
Every day baby
Yeah yeah yeah yeah

We gotta get out of this place
If it’s the last thing we ever do
We gotta get out of this place
Girl, there’s a better life
For me and you

Have you tried Swagbucks yet?

Search & Win

I know a lot of you have tried the “Do Surveys for Money!” and “Submit for a free sample of blah!” gimmicks out there. If you’re like me, you haven’t had a lot of success with actually getting money or free samples from these sites.

Well here’s one that actually works.

I get the most Swagbucks from my searches. When I’ve got a lot to search the web for, I head straight for Swagbucks’ search engine. (It’s powered by Google but you have to look below the link to see if it’s a sponsored ad or not.) You get awarded Swagbucks at random for searching. I even use my Swagbucks search engine when I’m going to familiar websites like WordPress, Facebook, and Yahoo. I just type that into the search bar and then go to the site from there.

You can also do surveys on the site, take a daily poll, do tasks, things like that. And you’re actually awarded Swagbucks, unlike those other survey sites that say “Hey, we’ll give you a dollar!” and then, twenty minutes later, you find out you haven’t qualified for their survey.


Back to the point, just give Swagbucks a shot. Click here and go look around. I’ve already redeemed some of my Swagbucks for music prizes, and I’ve got a lot of other things from the Swagbucks store on my wishlist – things like a Wii, a Keurig Single-cup Coffee Maker, and a Dali poster.

This site really works! Try it out! (And if you join from these links, I’ll get a referral bonus when you use the search!)
Search & Win

Seven Years

Today I celebrate seven years of marriage with my husband Josh. We’re just shy of having been together for eight years.

Josh and I had known each other a few years before we started dating. I met him through a friend of a friend and as the years went by I knew that I always had a great time when we got together with friends over games (or political discussion).

During late 2001 and early 2002 I started thinking more and more about him and couldn’t understand why I couldn’t get him off my mind. I talked often with our mutual friend, Georgia, about what was going on in my head and my heart. She was an angel to do about fifteen billion tarot card readings for me (each always asked the same question). The cards told us that we’d be good together – but we would have to fight many battles along the way.

On my birthday in 2002 I asked Josh to go out and play pool with me. At the end of the night we went back to his place and ended up like usual – playing card games and laughing with our friends Adam and Shannon. Adam and Shannon left as we reached the wee hours of the morning. When they had gone I asked Josh if he thought we could have a relationship together without sacrificing our friendship. He agreed that we could.

Josh and I had a little bit of a trying time between then and the time he moved out of one friend’s house, into an apartment of his own, and then into my apartment with me. I graduated with my BS degree that December. I took him with me to Mobile to meet my extended family, and then to Bilouxi on my graduation trip. He loved getting the chance to meet my family and said after the trip that he loved me more for it.

Within just a couple of short months, Josh and I decided on Valentine’s Day to tie the knot. It was a Friday night. The courthouse wouldn’t be open for another few days due to President’s Day. The following Tuesday, as soon as the courthouse was open, Josh and I went to the courthouse with a handful of friends to get married. Georgia and Adam paid the wedding license dues as our wedding present.

It was there that my heart burst when the judge asked, “Do you take this woman, April, to be your lawfully wedded wife?” and his response was “Absolutely!”

Wedding Day

February 17, 2004

The tarot cards were right. Josh and I have had many battles throughout our marriage, but we’ve come out stronger as a result of each. Here we are today with an amazing daughter. I’m sure we still have many trials and tribulations to come, but we’re committed to sticking together through it all.

Happy Seventh Anniversary, Josh. I love you.


I’m taking a quick break from my Breastfeeding 101 series to write about something that’s been weighing heavily on my heart the last couple of days. I’ll warn you now that this will be a sad post, so if you’re hormonal and / or going through a depressed phase right now, you may not want to continue. (I’m serious about that.)

Tuesday I was plowing through our unpaid bills and wondering how we’re going to make it through. Josh has been talking about getting a part-time job, but there are things he needs to accomplish before he can begin looking. We’re also still waiting for all the tax information we need to be mailed to us so that we can file our taxes. We’re waiting with bated breath until we receive our refund check and can pay off some loans that are nearly choking us. All I could do was hang my head and wonder exactly how we’re going to swing things until we get more money coming into the household.

I decided to take a quick break and head over to Facebook to see if I could find a chuckle. I didn’t find a chuckle – but what I did find made me realize (yet again) that everything truly is a matter of perspective.

One of my new-found friends who is going to help me take this blog places (you should totally visit her blog here or here) posted a blog that she’d found.

The blog was written by a daddy-to-be. He and his wife had been trying to conceive for nearly two years when they received the great news they were pregnant. Their little one’s due date was fast approaching. You could read the light in this man’s eyes as he wrote sometimes to family and friends, sometimes to himself, and sometimes wrote to his darling daughter whom he had yet to meet.

Then an accident happened. Just a few days ago his darling bride and their unborn daughter were in a car crash.

His wife didn’t make it. Their daughter was delivered but stayed in critical condition for a couple days afterward. For two heart-breaking days, the new father watched his little girl in hopes that she would start showing brain activity. . . but she never did.

Everything else I was worried about fell from beneath my feet. I couldn’t catch my breath. I couldn’t imagine being within a week or two of my little girl’s arrival and having the two people that meant the most taken from me within a couple of days of one another.

My heart aches for this man. Can you imagine how closely I hugged my beautiful baby daughter, and my husband, when I got home and saw them again?

Our problems are nothing compared to those. Nothing. And this man, partially through the grace of God and partially through the support he’s received in real life and through his blog, is holding his head up high and honoring his beautiful wife and daughter.

At this point, the only thing about which I have to hang my head is my own shame for feeling so sorry for myself – over money.

It really is all about perspective, isn’t it?

Our Story – Persistence!

Brand New Baby

Brand New Baby & Happy Family

I wanted a completely un-medicated birth so that Tori wouldn’t be sleepy when she was born and could nurse right away. I ended up having to have a low dose of Statol late in labor, but it was no big deal – she was born in two contractions (yay!). I had them lay her on my chest immediately before they cut the cord to give her a bit more security. I had them clean her up in the hospital room quickly and then give her back to me so that I could initiate breastfeeding right away. Sure enough, just as soon as I presented her with my breast, she latched on like a champ. Because of the Statol she didn’t nurse but a few minutes before falling asleep and I’m not sure she even transferred colostrum – but hey, that was a start.

I didn’t see a lactation consultant until nearly 36 hours after delivery, despite my attempts to let the labor and delivery nurses know that I was interested in exclusively breastfeeding. When I finally saw the lactation consultant, she helped me make small corrections to Tori’s latch and helped me position her better. Unfortunately, the total time I spent with the lactation consultant was 15 minutes.

Instant Love

Instant Love

The third night I thought I would die. I’d latch Tori on, she’d suck for 2 minutes, fall asleep on the breast, I’d transfer her to her crib and just as soon as I did she’d wake up again. It wasn’t so difficult at first but I was wondering if I was starving her, I thought I was a human pacifier, and frankly latching and unlatching her repeatedly made my nipples worse. If I had it to do all over again I would have left her attached on each breast a lot longer and avoided so much the latching/unlatching dance. This is because through the near-constant stimulation, she was working to bring my milk. The next morning when I got out of the hospital my milk came in.

About 10 days in we were getting a lot faster at latching but my nipples were still *killing* me. My MIL told me to pick up Neosporin Pain. I’d apply it after each nursing session and (gently) wipe it off before she latched on again. It was a life saver. By three weeks my nipples were completely healed and we were nursing comfortably.

Sleepy Baby

Sleepy Baby

We made the mistake of offering Tori a paci when she was a few weeks old because she was nursing all the time. Literally. She’d be on for 45 minutes, I’d put her down to sleep, and 15 minutes later she’d want to come back. Repeat. We tried to give her a paci just to give me a break. That was a bad idea. Because babies suck on a paci differently than they do the breast, it completely messed up her latch. If I had this to do all over again I would baby-wear so I could continue to do (whatever) hands free and Tori could nurse, or comfort suck, or anything she wanted to do.

After the paci snafu it took 3-4 days to correct her latch. By that time the growth spurt was over and she was sleeping a more predictable 1-2 hours between feedings but somehow we developed thrush. It felt like a lifetime before we completely cured her of her thrush. Then, suddenly (and too soon), Tori was six weeks old and I was looking at having to return to work in two more weeks.

I started pumping in hopes that I could build up her first day’s supply before going to work. I screwed this all up and, long story short, I ended up giving her all the milk I’d pumped from a bottle almost as soon as I pumped it. I tricked myself into thinking I had a milk supply problem because I couldn’t get ahead of myself. I did NOT.

Milk Drunk

Milk Drunk

When Tori turned 8 weeks old, I went to work for the first day and got a frantic call from Josh about 10 am. Tori wouldn’t drink any of the milk I’d frozen for her. I made an emergency trip home with what milk I’d collected that morning and she drank it no problem – I wondered what the issue was since she was taking a bottle no problems before. Turns out I had a problem with lipase. We had to overcome that issue. Then a week later I got Mirena inserted because doc advised me that it was a great long-term birth control and because it very rarely affected milk supply. Within two weeks of getting Mirena my milk supply really did plummet (which I should have known – I’ve always been *extremely* sensitive to hormonal forms of birth control; if you aren’t sensitive don’t worry – but if you are sensitive, any form of hormonal birth control can completely screw with your supply). Then I started taking *more* meds to increase my production.

I had only been back to work for a week or week and a half when Tori started refusing the breast whenever I was home to offer it to her. Tori learned very quickly that bottles were easier to drink from. In offering her the bottles too early (and too consistently), I also created a bigger problem that I came to deeply regret. I’d created nipple confusion (or, more accurately, nipple preference.) I’d put her to breast and she’d scream and kick and cry (so would I). I felt so rejected. When I tried to work her out of this nursing strike, she’d strangle from an overactive letdown I had created with all the milk production meds, get more frustrated, and then she couldn’t be coaxed back to breast for the rest of the night. If I had this to do all over again, I’d wait until it was *necessary* to introduce the bottle to her and I’d limit her time on the bottle, meaning I’d run home from work on lunch and nurse, nurse before work, directly after work, etc. so that she’d have as few bottles as possible.



The only relief I had from her nursing strike was at night. We bed-share, and, while she was asleep / too tired to fight she’d roll over to me and dream-feed. That’s the only thing that kept my milk production up long-term because after using the production meds so long (and not knowing that was causing my daughter to drown!), I’d messed with my breasts’ idea of what kind of supply they should have, the meds lost their efficacy, Tori wasn’t nursing *enough*, and, my breasts gave up and my supply crashed for the worst. On her three-month birthday Josh and I had to start supplementing with formula.

That lays out the song and dance until she turned one. I stopped pumping at work but she continued dream feeding at night. Within two months she gently weaned herself – going from two nursing sessions a night to just one, and finally in October, at fourteen months old (exactly) she nursed the last time. I tried offering the breast at night for a few weeks since then but she didn’t want it anymore – just her paci. (Insert sad-face here).

All told, my beautiful daughter was exclusively breastfed due to my crazy pumping schedule for the first three months of her life. She was supplemented with roughly 25% formula until six months old. Past that she received 50-75% formula . . . but . . . I never gave up. I gave her every ounce of Mama milk I could until she was a year old. I must say I’m quite nostalgic about our breastfeeding relationship and the hours I spent on the breast pump. I’m also proud of what we accomplished together – but I admit I’m filled with a little regret. If I’d known then what I know now every step of the way, I could have avoided a lot of the boobie traps placed in my way.

That’s precisely why I’m trying to assist any mothers expressing interest in breastfeeding with my new blog series. I hope that the moms I’m helping can overcome any obstacles and breastfeed for as long as they, and their little bundles of joy, wish.

You can find this and other breastfeeding stories at My Practical Baby Guide.

Sweet Nurser

Sweet Nurser

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this post, please click “BF 101” on my topic cloud to see all the posts in my Breastfeeding 101 Series, or choose the topics about which you’re most interested by following the track-back:

Breastfeeding 101 Series (Intro)

BF 101: Preparing During Pregnancy

BF 101: Helpful Resources

BF 101: Labor and Delivery Can Affect Your Nursing Relationship

BF 101: The First Few Days

BF 101: The First Few Weeks

BF 101: Growth Spurts

BF 101: Birth Control

BF 101: Sleeping through the Night

BF 101: Working Mama

BF 101: Pumping and Milk Storage

BF 101: Nursing Strike

BF 101: Supply Issues

See ya later, 2010!

Well friends, we’ve seen another year come and go. It seems like 2010 simply flew by. Here are a few of the highlights from my year!

• We got a brand new set of tires on the car. That was fantastic since our old ones had no tread!
• My bosses showed me how much they appreciated my hard efforts by rewarding me with a handsome raise.

Tori's first oatmeal

Tori's first oatmeal

• Tori saw her first Valentine’s Day. Daddy surprised us both with cute little stuffed animals, and Mama got a box of chocolate.
• Josh and I celebrated our sixth anniversary!

Winter Princess

Winter Princess

• I officially turned 29 and had a great afternoon out with Josh thanks to Jose watching Tori for us. I even drank four whole beers!
• I decided to start blogging again. At least this way, one day when Tori gets a tad older she’ll be able to see the general things that crossed my stream of consciousness.

Smilie Baby at Seven Months Old

Smilie Baby at Seven Months Old


Tori's First Easter

Tori's First Easter

• I had a wonderful Mother’s Day with my precious baby girl, but it was a bit over-shadowed.
• In May I had to say goodbye to one of my favorite aunts – Aunt Judie lost her battle with cancer.
• Tori learned to crawl!

The Mardi-Gras Beads Jackpot!

The Mardi-Gras Beads Jackpot!




• Tori had a big time on July 4th watching all the fireworks light up the sky!
• Tori also learned to walk!

First Swim!

First Swim!

• We celebrated Tori’s first birthday. Time has flown!
• I joined a gym to try and lose some weight. (To date I haven’t gotten very far.)

Birthday Cake!

Birthday Cake!

• In September I became disappointed with my results and saw a personal trainer three times. (Note again: to date I still haven’t gotten very far.)

Sleepy Baby

Sleepy Baby

• Josh, Tori, and I went down to Gulf Shores, Alabama thanks to his mom’s help so that we could welcome Ashley to the family. It was a simply gorgeous wedding.
• While we were in Alabama, we were able to stop by and see my mother – we hadn’t seen her since the previous Thanksgiving.

First Beach Trip

First Beach Trip

• Josh turned the big 3-0!

Tori and Daddy

Tori and Daddy

• We got a major windfall when we found out that many of our medical bills have been reduced.
• Tori’s second Christmas was a smashing success! She loves all her books, clothes, and toys.

All Smiles

All Smiles

Overall I didn’t see my friends enough and I’m disappointed about that, but I can’t say I’m surprised. After working 40 hours a week and coming home and seeing Tori, I don’t have much free time. And Tori, for some reason, does not like it when I make plans! She always refuses to take a nap before we go anywhere, and I try to protect her schedule as much as I can.

I think that pretty much sums it up!

As far as 2011. . . I haven’t made any New Year’s resolutions, and I don’t think I’m going to make any. I plan on getting back on track at the gym, getting healthier, and continue digging us out of debt, but those are all standard, year-round goals for me.

I hope that you all have a wonderful 2011 and succeed in everything you resolve to do.

Happy New Year! Read the rest of this entry

J n Me

1. How long have you been married?
Six years in February. I think that’s 42 in dog years.

2. How long have you been together?
Seven years in March. Egads!

3. Where did you go on your first date?
Faces in town . . . although he didn’t know at the time it was a date. =) I asked him later that night to be with me. And he agreed.

4. Where did you go on your latest date?
Well that’s a great question . . . I suppose our last “date” would have been to go to Sonic and Walgreens after T was born! lol!

5. What’s your anniversary date?
February 17, 2004

6. Where were you married?
The Justice of the Peace.

7. What was your best/favorite wedding gift and from whom?
Hmmm. How about the decorated wood cutting board from Mary Anderson. It has our names and wedding date routed on it. =)

8. Where did you honeymoon?
No honeymoon. =(

9. What food do you like now because of your spouse?
A lot of cooking shows! That’s fair. He now loves steak sans the steak sauce because of me. =)

10. What type of music do you like now because of your spouse?
Matchbox 20 and Incubus.

11. What movie or television program do you like now because of your spouse?
Too many!

12. Favorite PG rated thing you like doing together?
Movies, board games, and puzzles.

13. Last gift you bought your spouse?
Er . . . good question! Probably the electric razor.

14. Last gift your spouse bought you?
She wasn’t bought, but he gave me Tori. =)

15. Favorite things about your spouse?
We can be retarded together and he still loves me for it!

16. Something you disagree about:
Video games! And his major dislike for cats.

17. Book that you both like:
He isn’t really a “book” person so to speak . . .

18. Worst shared experience?
Now why would I want to go there?

19. Best shared experience?
Making the prettiest baby in the world – and raising her together.

20. One thing you want to do together in the future?
Get the hell out of this state

8 a.m. on a Saturday

It’s Saturday. It’s 8 a.m.

I’ve been awake for about an hour and a half now. J woke me up when he went to bed after playing WoW all night. God, I still hate that fucking game. I hate it. I hate the money it costs, the time it takes, the obsession it fosters. He’s not as bad about it as he used to be, but since the expansion came out last week, he’s not been to bed until the sun comes up. I hope he gets tired of it soon.

I hope he can get a job soon, too. Crazy thing happened yesterday. He’s been talking with 5 Guys Burgers for the last three weeks; he started going just as the GM had to have surgery (I think surgery), so he called almost every day to keep in touch with the manager who told him that he’d be put on the schedule as soon as the GM came back and was able to meet him. Yesterday he showed up, the first day since then that both manager and GM have been in together, as the manager had asked him to do. The GM told him that he recognizes J – had set up an interview for him already – and that J didn’t show up, so he’s not going to give him the job.

Three weeks he’s thought he’s had a job because this guy’s been jerking him around. Cleans up, goes out, shows up yesterday, and doesn’t get the job because the GM is hallucinating.

:: sigh ::

I really hope I ace the interview I have on Tuesday with an apartment complex here in town. That would be a sweet position, wouldn’t it? Fifteen minute commute (if they don’t want you to stay in their apartment complex), property management position, still get to meet and talk with people, get the responsibility of the complex . . . oh, that would be fantastic. Something tells me it’s a bit farther out of reach than I’d like it to be – that they’ll want someone with more experience to fill the position. I’m hoping to convince them that my sunny, youthful attitude is the way to go.

Did anyone just spit out their coffee as I said, “sunny, youthful attitude”? Yes? Good.

That, however, is precisely how I’m going to approach it – with letter of recommendation, references, reference list, and filled-out application in hand. Now I’ve just got to figure out what to wear.

I’m still not back down to size 8, so I can’t wear the majority of the business suits I have. Bother. The good news is, however, that I’ve lost a good deal of my fluff and I’m ready to tackle the more serious flab that just likes to hang around. I’m actually surprised that I’m still keeping the weight off because I haven’t worked out since the day before Halloween . . . I feel terrible for that because I think I only have a month left of the rec center membership (after which I’ll obviously not be able to renew) and I haven’t taken advantage of it for the last three weeks. It’s starting to affect my self esteem a bit because I was doing exceptionally well with going every two, three days tops. I could reflect on things and say, “I don’t have a job, but I’m keeping THIS going.”

I’ve also still not stepped foot in the weight room. I told myself when I started working out there that I’d stay on cardio for a month or so, get healthier, then move on to the weights . . . unfortunately, even with the weight I’ve lost and the stamina I’ve gained, my heart rate spikes to the red zone within five minutes of stepping on an elliptical. It’s kind of scary, actually.

Long story short, I need to get back into the habit of going again like I was. I suppose a good way to start is just to take a walk into the weight room and start seeing how stuff works . . .

Fatty McFatFat is behind me sleeping a very deep sleep. She’s been rather disgusting all morning – dreaming, twitching, and emitting long, audible sighs. It’s what she does, though. If she weren’t so damn cute I wouldn’t love her so much. Everyone gets a trip out of her when they come over. The obvious response is, “ah, Garfield!”. She loves the attention. And food.

Speaking of food, I made a scrumptious chicken pot pie from scratch last night. As soon as I remembered that I actually *do* know how to make a pie crust, I’ve been making killer ones. The one last night was flaky and buttery – and because it’s my favorite part on a pot pie, I made the top a bit thicker than the bottom crust. It was fantastic. It’s the first time I’ve made a pot pie, and I was thrilled at how well it came out, particularly how much the filling stayed in! Nomnomnomnomnom. Almost makes me want breakfast already. Almost. I couldn’t help but be reminded of Nanny’s pies and cobblers and Mama’s own chicken pot pies – all comfort food. It brought me back to Adams again, where I was suddenly back down to four feet tall.

I made a bundt cake, too, for J’s birthday last Sunday. It turned out relatively well. It was a classic devil’s food with cream cheese frosting. To be fair, the cake was from scratch but the icing wasn’t. Still worked out, though. T had stopped by the store and gotten him a chocolate fudge cake, too, so we had plenty.of.cake. We’ve still got cake, about half of one and a couple pieces of the other.

Sunday night was pretty neat. Enjoyed the night with the folks that stopped by to spend time with us (the few pictures I took are already uploaded). I felt terrible for J, though, because he was just a couple days into antibiotics for an abscessed tooth which kept trying to wake up. He ended up having to take a couple of pain pills (hence why he looks like he’s passed-out drunk). Note to self: next time J’s tooth is hurting at a gathering, take pictures at the *beginning* of the night. Somehow he was able to stay conscious with all of us, and we had a good time.

J and I have been doing well as of late. With the exception of my irritation with WoW, he’s been doing really well in keeping his balls in the air. I was sincerely hoping this job would have come through for him because if so, it would have been his shortest length of unemployment ever. Of course, I’ve mellowed out about a lot of the stupid shit, too. I’m trying to figure out if that’s because of time, or if that’s because I’ve been out of work since July and I’ve held more of the household responsibilities, gladly, because of it. Either way, I’m really thankful.

As of December 17, we will have had our marriage tats for exactly five years. On February 17, we will have been legally married for five years. March 27 will then mark the day we initially got together – six years previous. Almost six years now – it’s incredible. We’ve had our share of crazy issues – a lot of them have been read about here – but I think we’ve finally found that place. That comfortable place – but the place that’s not so comfortable that we forget to work to better ourselves.

With the exception of the fact that we’re both unemployed and seriously scared shitless about that, things are going relatively well. I’ve got to do my best to remember that on the grey days when I wake up wondering why I haven’t received more phone calls.

I went Thursday and prepped for my interview – I got my eyebrows waxed (I always look more intelligent with less bushy eyebrows) and got my hair cut. I kept the layered look and tried some long, whispy bangs so that I’d still have a bit of hair framing my face when I wear my hair back. I think I like it . . . I haven’t had bangs since I was about 14, so it’s a tad odd, and it will take some getting used to . . . but I think it’s working for me.

Maybe this is enough idle rambling for now . . . if I think of more, I’ll blog more later. After all, what else am I going to do at 8 a.m. on a Saturday?

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