Blogception

I’m having some crazy deja vu right now. Weird.

Sorry that I haven’t been blogging much, things have been not so great in my life lately. We’ve been having even more car troubles (it never ends), and now we no longer have a car. Kyle is also in the processing of getting a new job, which will be amazing for us. A lot more money, a lot less hours, and much closer to home. We’re keeping our fingers crossed. More details on that to come later on!

I created a GoFundMe page to help us with our car situation, as we are currently relying on Kyle’s mom, as well a few of his coworkers, for rides. It is not fun. I know a lot of people are against these types of things, so I want to say thank you to everyone who has been supporting us and helping us try to raise funds, whether they donated personally, or shared my posts on Twitter and Facebook. Thank you all so much.

In other news, I finally have a personal Tumblr! Some of you may remember my porn Tumblr, which I recently sort of got back into posting on (not pictures of me, btw, just lots of other fabulous NSFW things), but this Tumblr is all for me, and the stuff I’ve been into lately.

Delicious food things, fluffy animals, nature things, sad quotes, and a whole lot of Dan and Phil from YouTube. Yep. That’s basically what my Tumblr is. I’ve been obsessed with Dan and Phil lately. Oh my god. Just so fantastic. You should check them out!

In other, other news, I’ve been playing with the idea of going vegan for 30 days, or more if I like it. I’ve been looking up a lot of cheap, easy recipes (as I only get to buy groceries once a month, and also can’t cook), and have found some really great ideas. It is something I have been wanting to try for a very long time, but it just never seemed like something I could do. I already hardly eat meat, and love vegetables and such, so it honestly wouldn’t be that big of a change, I think. Giving up cheese will be hardest for me, but I’d be willing to do it if it means improving my health and clearing my skin up a bit.

I’m also going to start running again at night, like I did before I got pregnant, since Kyle will be around a lot more at night to watch the baby. I’ve been missing it.

So, there’s a quick update, for anyone who was wondering what I’ve been up to. I hope to see some more of you over on Tumblr, where I seem to be spending most of my time these days. Time to watch some more Criminal Minds, which we just started over on Netflix.

Thanks for reading!

Jan

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Why I Chose to Leave WoW

This post is long. Very long. And sad. Apologies.

I’ve wanted to write this post for a long time, but even now, I have no idea what I want to say. I don’t want to stir anything up, or hurt anyone’s feelings… that is not my intention at all. I get asked all the time when I will be coming back to play WoW, and honestly, I don’t know if I ever will. That isn’t to say that I don’t want to… I just don’t know if I will or not. It is complicated, for so many reasons. And I really don’t know where to start, so excuse my rambling.

Dramatic story time.

Leaving WoW has been very personal for me. While a lot of people chose to leave because of content, or lack there of, I chose to leave for other reasons. I was fine with the content. I do mundane and repetitive well. What I was not fine with, was how the game made me feel, specifically, how it made me feel about myself.

I used to be someone. I used to matter to people. I used to have friends. I’ve been playing WoW since I was 14 years old, and I always had a group of friends to play with. In high school, when I started playing, it was my best friends who got me into the game that I always played with. But within just a few years, we went from sharing accounts, to getting our own accounts, to getting into our own guilds and raiding without one another… but even as we grew apart, I always had new friends in my life to fall back on, even if it was just through a computer screen. I always had someone.

I don’t feel like that anymore.

I’m a long-term kind of person, I guess. The very first guild I ever found myself in was called Defiance. It was a Horde guild on Dethecus. I think they’re still around. I was 14 years old, and this was over 10 years ago, but I can still remember my guildmates’ names. I’m also still friends with a chunk of them on Facebook and talk to them regularly. I remember my GM’s name, and I remember both of his sons. I even remember when his oldest son came out as gay to me, the first person he ever told. I remember my Shaman class officer, and how he and the GM always took good luck bong hits before boss pulls in Molten Core 40. I remember all the gossip. I remember falling in love with a boy, who I dated online for a year and a half, and then traveled to Missouri to meet, and later to Canada to go to school with. I remember everything. I was in that guild for 4 years, before the guild started to fall apart, which was right around the time I was leaving for college. I started playing much less frequently, and lost contact with a lot of good friends.

When I started playing regularly again, about half a year later, I decided to start fresh with a large group of friends as Alliance on Dark Iron. Our guild was called Eternal Fate, and I have some really great memories from there, as well as many friends whom I still talk to. Unfortunately, my relationship and my college life fell apart shortly after my first year in college, and I moved in with that same friend, who then became my boyfriend. He was very competitive, and pretty elitist. I was never as “hardcore” as him, and it made me feel bad whenever we raided or played together, because I wasn’t good enough. So we decided to go our separate ways within the game, which ended up working out. I casually played with this group of friends for a long time, farming mats and gold, helping out raids when I was needed, but it never felt like I belonged. In real life, these people were my friends, and we clicked so well… but in the game, I dragged everyone down, and wasn’t taken seriously. So I left.

I spent some time on Zul’jin, playing as Alliance with a nice group of friends that I had met on Twitter. I got to see a bit more raiding, but the play was a bit too casual for my liking, as I had developed the taste for progression after playing with my last group of friends.

By this time, I had started my podcast journey, which some of you are familiar with. Something Suggestive was just a few months old when I made my way over to Zul’jin, and people were starting to notice me. I gained a bit of popularity on Twitter, booked a few guests on my show, and played the role of guest and guest co-host on several other, larger podcasts. Things felt amazing, and for the first time in a long time, I felt like I had friends and belonged somewhere. I transferred my main character, a priest, to Kul Tiras, to play with some fellow podcasters, and left my hunter on Zul’jin where I played her just a little while more before abandoning her, and my old guild.

Kul Tiras is where everything changed, and for the sake of the community, I won’t be naming names, or guilds… but things got bad. I started raiding immediately with a guild that I loved, and people that were even better. I was getting gear, improving my skills as a shadow priest, and making friends. It was great. I moved up through the ranks in the guild, eventually becoming an officer and a huge voice within my raid team. My show was gaining popularity, I was making friends, I was getting gear. Things were great.

And then they weren’t.

My GM and I got into a random, heated debate on Twitter, that all started from a stupid joke. It spun out of control, causing a lot of tension between myself and the GM, as well as the friends I had made within the guild. Two days later, I received an email from my GM telling me that I was being stripped of my officer rank in the guild, and was being put on probation, despite the fact that I had done nothing wrong. In the middle of the day, with a hundred guild mates online, I was demoted. I noticed that people were treating me differently after that. I was being ignored, and not getting invited to raids, despite still being a core member, and good raider. I also noticed that almost all of my “friends” from the guild had unfollowed me on Twitter, and that Ventrilo would get quiet when I joined.

Around this time, my GM’s podcast soared in popularity, as did our guild. The numbers grew fast, and there was a lot changing within the guild. I kept my head down, stopped talking in guild chat, and farmed mats to help the raid, which I was no longer getting invites to. And then I saw other people, new members, being made into officers. And I quit.

In the days that followed, I would read subtweets that I knew were about me. I lost nearly 60 followers within 48 hours, and people started leaving anonymous, horrible comments and reviews on my website and my podcast’s iTunes page. I later found out who was behind all of it, and that they had been saying very unkind things about me, for no reason, despite our past friendship.

I packed up all of my characters, and transferred them to Earthen Ring, where I joined the AIE guild. Best decision I could have ever made. Though I was only there for a few months before my entire world started to fall apart, it was some of the best times in-game that I had experienced in years. I made some amazing new friends, joined an kick ass raid team, and found my voice and my confidence again.

Unfortunately, that ended as well. Incoming real life shit.

A few months after joining AIE, my 4-year relationship came to an end. I was broken up with two days after Valentine’s Day, completely out of the blue, and kicked out of the home that I shared with my ex and our roommate shortly after. The next few YEARS were absolute chaos.

I no longer had internet. Within TWO YEARS I moved 4 times between shitty apartments, and changed jobs twice. I had been fired from my job just as I was being kicked out of my ex’s house, and things were only getting worse.

No job.
No house.
No car.
No money.
No phone.
No internet.

But I did have Kyle. Kyle and I met at the job that I had been fired from. We talked every now and then, but our friendship didn’t really happen until he quit, preparing to move away. After my break up, we started hanging out, and eventually started dating. Blah blah blah, skip to the present.

We have been together for two and a half years. We moved away from that town filled with shitty memories, and now live together with our amazing 7-month old son. Yes, a lot did happen between then and now, but this post isn’t about that. It is about my return to World of Warcraft.

A month before my son was born, we finally got internet. We were both working full-time, and could easily afford it. The day it was installed, I put WoW back on my computer, and jumped back into the game. My two main characters had been removed from AIE, but were back in within a few days. I also transferred my shaman from Dethecus, who had been untouched for years, and leveled her to 90. Unfortunately, my graphics card was shot, which made raiding, even on the lowest graphics settings, completely impossible. I had two years worth of content to catch up on (goodbye farm, hello garrison!), and spent the majority of my time leveling my characters, skills, and garrison. It was fun, until it wasn’t.

I caught up with some old friends, and started to feel like my old self again, until the realization that they had all moved on to bigger and better things set in. They were all raid leaders, big name podcasters, etc., and I was just the old friend who needed up play catch-up. It hurt. I don’t know why I thought that I would just jump back into the game and that everything would be the same as it was before… but it definitely wasn’t. It felt like everyone was too busy for me. I’m sorry if that hurts anyone, but honestly, that’s how it feels.

But then my son was born, and I had ZERO time to play the game anyway. I ended up having to quit my job, and even with all my extra free time, I still couldn’t find the time to log in and get anything done. I sat at my computer, with a baby on my chest, and leveled my battle pets. That’s it. That’s all I could do.

Eventually, I ran out of money, and my game time ran out as well. I had been trying to farm gold to keep my account active, but when you can only play for an hour or two a day, it is hard to get anything to sell. So I let my time run out. It hurts, being gone for so long, and being so excited to come back, just to have it be completely different. To have your friends all move on to bigger and better things.

To be replaced, and feel like maybe you never meant anything to anyone in the first place.

So, that’s why I don’t play anymore. I treated the game like it was real life, and put too much of my heart into it, as opposed to treating it like a game, and it ended up just hurting me in the end. Just like it has in the past.

I lost my most of my WoW friends, I lost my podcast listeners, I lost my Twitter followers. None of this has helped with my postpartum depression. I’ve been a total mess for months and months.

Once you stop being of use to people, you are forgotten, I suppose.

No podcast.
No WoW.
No friends.

But hey, at least I have a cute kid, and some great stories… right?

But hey, thanks for reading and being there, for those of you who are still here. Sorry for being so depressing.

Jan

a.k.a.
Zesprite/Zoastriia/Zuljan

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Supernatural Adventures In The Sims 3

Hello, friends! As many of you already know, I have been taking an extended break from World of Warcraft for quite some time now. I was really excited to get back into playing after having to wait 2 loooong years to get my internet back, but when I was finally able to log back in, things weren’t as great as I had hoped. This, coupled with the demands of being the stay-at-home parent of a very demanding infant, brought me to the decision to continue my break from the game. But don’t fret! I may be back. Some day. Maybe.

So, some of you may be wondering what I have been up to, right? Well, when I’m not binge-watching show after show on Netflix, enjoying a marathon of my favorite YouTubers, or rolling around on the floor with my rowdy 7-month old son, I am usually playing The Sims 3. I love The Sims! I’ve been playing the various Sims games since I was little, and I’ve been playing The Sims 3 for… well, basically since the beginning.

Screenshot-3

I have most of the major expansions for the game, and have collected quite a bit of goodies from The Exchange, as well as the online store, in my many years of playing this game. I wish I could say that I owned more of the seriously awesome bundle packs and worlds from the store (Midight Hollow, Dragon Valley, and Lunar Lakes specifically), but honestly, I’ve spent a lot of money on this game already, and don’t intend to buy any new content for a bit… unless someone wants to be really awesome give me access to their Origin/Sims 3 account and let me download your stuff? Yeah, thought not. I haven’t spent nearly as much on The Sims 3 as I have on World of Warcraft (thousands of dollars over the course of 9 years)… but definitely a nice chunk of change. It makes my wallet very, very sad.

Lately, I’ve been playing around a lot more with scenarios and stories involving the Supernatural and the Into the Future expansions. I also toyed around a bit with the University Life expansion and found it fun. I love the Supernatural expansion the most, for obvious reasons. Witches, vampires, werewolves, zombies,  faeries… what’s not to love? I would have to say that my favorite Supernatural characters to play would be witches. As you level your magic skills, you can do things like conjuring poison apples, blasting things with ice or fire, casting some neat curses and charms on Sims, and eventually… raising zombies. Pretty cool, right? It also comes with new skills, such as alchemy, which are really fun as well.

I should preface the following by telling you that I’ve always been really awful when it comes to using cheats in The Sims 3… if the cheat exists, I’ve probably used it at least once… if not 1,000 times. But as many of you know, when you enable and use cheats in the game, you have a much higher chance of corrupt save files, glitches within the game, and your game unexpectedly closing. All of which really suck when you’ve been spending an hour or more building a mansion and never took the time to save. Believe me, it’s happened to me many, MANY times. After losing and breaking games that I had put so many hours into, I finally decided to start a game using no cheats… except for teleporting. Sometimes. It’s kind of a must have for me, haha. I’ve actually been having a lot of fun! In the very beginning, I enabled the roommates option, which you can get in the University Life expansion, to help with living expenses and cleaning while I focused on making my Sim be the best she can be.

My “main” Sim (pictured above) is a badass redhead with dreadlocks and freckles, as well as a love for books, candles, and alchemy. She is also a witch. My Sim has never had a job. Instead, she busted her butt learning alchemy, and became a self-employed alchemist, selling her potions (and extra bits) at the consignment store. I had her complete the chain of events so that she could go to the future, where she obtained winning lottery numbers, and won the lottery. Twice. I went from having almost nothing, to having 1.6 million Simoleons. I built her a massive mansion, and created a few more supernatural roommates for her (I created and placed them randomly in town, then asked them to be my roommates manually so that I wouldn’t have to add them and control them myself).

Screenshot-8

My witch now has a few million Simoleons, a mansion with a huge garden and cemetery (with wandering ghosts), 3 other supernatural roommates (another witch, a faerie, and a vampire), and 2 dogs. She has max skill in alchemy, magic, gardening, and cooking… those were really the only ones I was concerned with. When she isn’t training her dogs to sniff out valuable collectibles, throwing potions at unsuspecting Sims, and transforming people into toads, she also enjoys walking around her massive plot of land in sexy lingerie. I mean, honestly, who doesn’t though?

Started from the bottom, now we’re here!

I’ve been having a lot of fun not using cheats. I thought it was going to be a boring drag, but it has been the exact opposite. I enjoy the challenge of not using cheats, not to mention my game runs smoother, and I haven’t had any crashing or buggy issues since I started. You may have noticed that I also play with my graphics ALL the way down… well, that is not by choice. I received this computer 3 years ago from a dear friend after he upgraded, and it isn’t holding up so well these days. All of my drivers are painfully out-0f-date, especially my video driver. So out-of-date, that no updates are even available for my model anymore. Ouch. This is also one of the several reasons I stepped away from World of Warcraft.

So I play The Sims 3 on the lowest settings. It’s not so bad though! It’s been a fun way too kill time when my kiddo is taking naps, or when I’m the last one to go to bed in my house at night. Even if my Sims always look smudgy and pixelated… and gross.

Do any of you guys play any of The Sims games? What are your favorite expansions? Do you ever trap and kill people just for fun? Have you upgraded to The Sims 4? I want to know!

Thanks for reading!

Jan

Resale Woes: 7 People NOT to Be When Buying/Selling

I’m all for saving money. I’m all for making money. I’m not ashamed to admit that lately I’ve been buying most of our clothes and baby items from thrift stores, clearance racks at Target or Walmart, and from local resale groups on Facebook (these are great for baby clothes and items especially). I almost never pay full-price for clothes, unless it is absolutely necessary. Especially when it comes to baby clothes. What’s the point? My son has been outgrowing clothes before he’s even gotten to wear them! But because I enjoy saving money and buying things secondhand, I spend a lot of time on Facebook browsing through various local resale groups, buying and selling used items (mostly baby stuff these days).

I’m fair. I’m nice. I’m accommodating. I’m patient. Because of I am all of these things, you would think that the majority of my interactions with people when buying and selling would be positive, right? No. Nooo. Not at all. I get it, most of us are short on money these days, and we join these groups to save time and money, so that we can take better care of our families. But there are some incredibly rude, inconsiderate people in these groups, who are solely looking out for themselves, and not willing to be a part of the community. Here’s a list:

1) The Re-reseller:
This person is a snake, and I see them all the time. Luckily, most of the Facebook groups that I’m in have strict rules against these types of people, but sometimes they slip through the cracks. For those of you who don’t know what a Re-reseller is, they prey on people who list very cheap/free items (usually posted specifically for people who are in need of them), buy the items, and then relist them back in the group with higher prices. Most of the groups I’m in have rules where you can relist an item you bought from the group, but only for the same price that you bought it at. It’s sad that rules like this even need to be made for groups like this, but, you know. People suck. I should note that there are people who make a living doing this type of thing on eBay, Craigslist, etc., and that’s fine. More power to you. But when you are doing it in a Facebook group for needy families, you’re an asshole. Period.

2) The WIC Fraud Fools:
This one seems to be a touchy subject for people, and it also seems to vary by county and state. In my county, it is against the WIC program rules to sell any formula, food, or baby food that were purchased with WIC checks. This should be self-explanatory. You got these items FOR FREE from a group that exists solely to help supplement families in need, and you then sell them for profit. Sketchy. I see this ALL the time. And the groups I’m in don’t really have rules against it. But, for those of you who are in the WIC program and are guilty of doing this, the rules and consequences are listed VERY clearly in your WIC folder/pamphlet. It is a real offense, and it is called WIC fraud. Don’t do it. Now, this varies by county as well, but there are rules against giving away your formula and food bought with WIC. But it really can vary from office to office. Our local office does allow you to donate your formula to a food pantry, church, etc., but it has to be given away, so you’re not getting anything in return.

3) The Haggler:
I’ll admit that being able to haggle well is a useful skill to have when it comes to saving money, but you really need to know when to quit. This is probably one of the most common types of people I seem to interact with. As I said before, I get it. We’re all trying to save money, that’s why we’re here on these groups. But, while you’re trying to save money when buying used baby clothes, I’m trying to make money by selling used baby clothes. I can not even tell you how many times I’ve had this exact conversation while selling things:

Me: Selling ______ for $4, bought new for $35, pick up only, blah blah blah.
Person: Will you take $3.50?
Me: I’d really prefer to get $4 for it.
Person: Really? It’s 50 cents. What are you going to do with it?
Me: What are YOU going to do with it?
Person: Uhh…
Or:
Me: Selling ___ for $5, ___ for $3, ___ for $4, and ___ for $7.
Person: Will you take $9 for all of it?
Me: Um… no…

So. Irritating.

I can be really flexible, within reason. Recently, I listed a baby swing for $85. After a few weeks of it not selling, I added “OBO” (or best offer) to the post, as well as dropped the price to $75. The first offer I got? $40. I rejected and said it was too low. Her second offer? $42. Seriously? I eventually sold it to a VERY nice lady, who was more than happy to pay $65 for a practically brand new swing, which retails at $160. Done deal.

4) The Vulture:
Luckily, I’ve only encountered this type of person a few times, and in ALL of the groups that I’m in, this type of behavior usually results in getting banned. Recently, I listed a TON of baby stuff on Facebook, including baby clothes, a baby bath, stroller accessories, some shoes, etc. I woke up the next morning to see that several people had commented on various posts stating that they were interested, or asking additional questions. But I also saw this commented on half my posts:

Person: I AM SELLING SIMILAR ITEMS FOR MUCH CHEAPER, SEARCH FOR MY NAME.

Or some variation of that. So, so rude. We are all just trying to sell our stuff and make some spare change. If your stuff really is so cheap, people will buy it. You don’t need to spam other peoples’ posts to advertise it. Why you gotta be like that?!

5) The Unwanted Advice Giver:
I’ve seen this type of person comment on both buying and selling posts. While not against the rules, it is super annoying:

OP: Looking for a Britax stroller!
Person: Britax sucks, don’t get one.
Or:
OP: Selling a Baby Bjorn carrier!
Person: I had one, hated it.

Folks, this is not Amazon. We’re not looking to read your review. All that you’re doing is making it harder for that person to buy/sell the item. Unless you are their mother-in-law, or partner, or they are buying the item for you, lay off with your opinion. Chances are, if they are looking for a specific item, then that’s the item that THEY want, regardless of what YOU think of it. Same with selling. There are people who are looking for things that maybe you did not like. What works for one person may not work for you, and visa versa. So stop it.

6) The Unwilling to Travel:
I don’t drive. The only time I am able to travel to meet people when buying things is on Kyle’s ONE day off that he gets a week, as long as it is within a reasonable distance. But also, because I do not drive, it means that when selling things, I am unable to meet people to sell them the things that they want to buy. I always make sure to specify in my posts that all of the things that I sell are for pick up only in my town. If someone is interested, I message them and ask if they would mind meeting at my apartment, where I would meet them outside. Generally, people are pretty okay with it. It’s just like a store, if you want the item, you have to go and buy it. Right? Right. I know that if I see something I want, but the post specifies that it is for pick up only in a town I know I can’t get to, then I just move on. Sometimes, people really don’t understand thought. Just this morning, I had this conversation with a woman who messaged me about some baby clothes I’m selling:

Her: Interested in buying 3-6 month baby boy sleepers, do you ever come to ___?
Me: No, sorry, I don’t, it’s all pick up only. I’m actually only selling those clothes as a lot also, not separating. It’s $35 for the entire thing (both of these things were also specified in the post).
Her: Okay, if I buy the lot will you come to ___?
Me: No, sorry, I don’t drive. That’s why it is pick up only.
Her: Well, that’s too far.
Me: Okay, sorry.
Her: How about I give you $30 and we meet in ___?
Me: No… I don’t drive. Sorry.

First of all, her message was wrong for all sorts of reasons. She disregarded everything from my original post. I looked up both of the towns that she wanted me to meet her in, the first was 40 minutes away (where she actually lived, she wanted me to deliver them to her), and the second was 30 minutes away (and she wanted me to lower the price because it was inconvenient for her). That is not how this works, honey. If you really want the stuff, come and get it. Oh, and join a group for YOUR county while you’re at it.

And finally…

7) The Liar:
The worst of the worst. This person flat out lies about the items that they are selling, whether it be condition, brand, size, etc. I actually just went through this myself very recently. I was buying a crib bumper from a woman, and she only sold me one panel of it, which we did not discover until we got home. After two weeks of messaging her back and forth, she agreed to meet me to give me a replacement crib bumper. And she never showed. She stopped responding to my messages. I contacted the admin, who messaged her and was also ignored, and had her banned from the group. So now I have half of a crib bumper, and I’m out a few dollars.

Recently, in one of the groups I belong to, a woman was busted selling VERY damaged goods to people. She advertising that all of her items were in good condition, but the pictures she posted (if she even posted pictures) were from the manufacturers’ sites, and not of her actual items. What she was actually selling people were bags and boxes filled with bleach-stained clothes, strollers with huge tears in the fabric, broken toys, etc. And no one could get their money back. Who does this? Why? What the hell is going through your mind when you lie and steal money from people who are in similar, or worse, situations than you? I just don’t get it.

* Bonus *
8) The (Nearly) Full-Pricer:
It really does suck when you have to spend $249.99 on a crib, knowing that you will never get your money back. I get that. I’ve been there. But people certainly do try. If something is open, missing product, or used, you should not be selling it at full retail price. Ever. If you can’t return it for whatever reason, then I’m sorry, but that’s just how it is. No one wants to spend the same price that they could be getting it at in the store, but getting less of the item/poorer quality. Listing a crib that you bought for $249.99 for your child 3 years ago for full-price is just wasting everyone’s time. No one wants to pay full-price (or nearly full-price) for something that has seen poop, pee, spit-up, drool, and teeth for the last 3 years. Heck, it probably also sat in your garage for a little while while you were trying to sell it. So add dust, dirt, and spiders to that list. No. Just no.

The same thing goes with designer clothes. People in resale groups typically can’t afford to go out and buy brand new designer clothes for their newborn, that’s why they are there in the first place. So selling a large lot of clothes and jacking the price WAY up (like $150 for 40 pieces of used clothing) because a few of the pieces are from such and such designer, is silly. Sell them separately if you want that much for them. I see this a lot with Jordan stuff. We just bought a pair of Jordan sneakers for Liam for $10. I didn’t want to spend $10 on used sneakers, but Kyle insisted, because they were Jordans, and $10 isn’t that bad. Ugh.

So there you have it, a nifty list of some of the worst people that you can run into when buying and selling used items on Facebook. Or Craigslist. Whatever you use. Please, don’t be one of these people. If you are one of these people, please know that what you’re doing is not okay, and that you’re a dick.

Thanks for reading!

Jan

Little Milestones 7-8 Months

Hey, everyone! That’s right, it’s yet another baby post. Sorry? No, I’m not sorry. Sorry… not.

My little guy is 7 months and 6 days old  today, and I thought now would be a good time to update you on all of his developmental progress and baby milestones. I mostly use the websites BabyCenter and BabyCentre UK to track all of Li’s milestones by month, as well as when I should be changing up our routine. They were also REALLY helpful during my pregnancy. Lots of great information! Maybe these sites will help some of your new moms as well.

I probably should have been blogging about this on a monthly basis as he grew, but I haven’t been doing that. Oops. So, instead of making a massive list of all the things he’s learned to do since birth, I’ll just list the things relevant to his current stage in life, since he’s already mastered all the younger milestones. Like. A. Boss.

Here are a few charts that I found from the BabyCentre UK site, telling you what skills your baby should be learning by now, and skills that they may be learning very soon (sorry if they’re a bit small, you can click to make them larger). This first one is skills for babies at 7 months old:

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Li has always been pretty on-track/ahead with his development, and we practice and do exercises to make sure it stays that way. He has been babbling “words” for nearly two months (it really helps if you narrate and talk a lot, I swear, I talk to this kid every waking moment of every day), and sitting up completely on his own for just over a month and a half now, however, he can not sit himself up on his own from a lying position, unless he has something to pull himself up with, such as crib bars. I lost track of when his raking for objects turned into sweeping, but he has been sweeping for objects for a short period of time as well. We started practicing with pieces of Cheerios in his highchair while eating meals around 6 months old to help with his fine motor skills.

He is also already crawling short distances, and has been actually crawling for a few weeks. He has been able to get into a crawling position and kind of hop and bounce forward for almost two months. Along with his babbling, he’s also started forming word-like sounds, like “mama” and “baba”, which he repeats loudly all day long, haha.

Li can also stand himself up, both in his crib and his pack ‘n play. He also does this on the couch, or when he’s on the ground, using me or my chair to pull himself up. He can also free-stand without holding onto anything for a short time, but then he gets excited and bouncy, and falls. He just recently started being able to hold onto his crib or his pack ‘n play with one hand, either leaving his other hand down, or waving a toy around. He can also bend down while standing to pick up objects. That’s some advanced stuff!

He bangs his toys against EVERYTHING. He loves making noise. I say that it’s him “singing”, because he also babbles and coos VERY loudly while banging things, haha.

I wouldn’t say that he waves goodbye necessarily, because he’s never really done it when someone is leaving (mostly because it’s just him and I all day together), but he does definitely open and close his hands in a waving manner, and also moves his hand from side to side.

One thing that isn’t mentioned on this chart that I want to bring up, is that starting at 6 months, we transitioned from a baby bottle to a sippy cup with removable handles. He got the hang of it on the first day, and we’ve been using just the sippy cup ever since. We started with a spout top, but went back to a nipple top when he started waving the cup around and spilling it everywhere. He’s been able to hold it firmly, and drink from it with and without the handles, for over a month.

This next chart is skills for babies at 8 months old, some of which my son has already learned. Others, not so much.

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As I said previously, he is already making word-like noises. He says “mama” the most, and it most certainly seems to be directed towards me. It’s what he whines in his crib when he wakes up, or when he doesn’t want to sleep. Or when he’s in his pack ‘n play and wants to sit on my lap. Or when his dad gets home and wants to hold him, but he just wants me (sorry, honey). He also says “baba”, though not necessarily when I’m giving him his sippy. No “dada” yet. He also doesn’t really respond to his name… probably because we have 100 nicknames for him. Oops.

He is already crawling short distances, standing on his own, standing while holding onto objects and toys, picking up objects, passing them around (he can also throw, which is awesome), etc. One thing we haven’t even tried to do is cruising. I have yet to baby-proof our apartment (I have all the equipment, I just haven’t gotten around to it yet), so his time outside of his pack ‘n play or his crib is limited to sitting on my lap, sitting with me on the couch, in his high chair, or when we play on the floor together. I have noticed that when he’s in his crib, he can kind of move himself side-to-side slightly. Not really cruising though.

Li can make a pointing motion, but doesn’t point at anything. Just points at the world. So, not quite there with that one. He also doesn’t gesture yet. Around 4 months old, when we started with baby foods, I started to teach him the signs for mommy, daddy, eat, milk, more, and sleep. We haven’t been doing it as much as I would like, but recently got back into it. Hopefully I stick with it better this time.

One thing I am very proud of is his fine motor skills. At his 6 month checkup, we were told that we should start letting him practice picking up tiny foods, like Cheerios or peas, to help him with his pinching, so that he can start eating finger foods in a few months. Well! Just the other day, he was able to pick up not just one, but two Cheerio halves. And put them in his mouth. TWO! So, that’s cool. We’re getting there! As I mentioned in my previous post, we have already started finger foods, so I’m hoping this skill develops quickly!

Thank you all for reading! How are your little ones doing with their development?

Jan

Our Baby Schedule (7 Months Old)

I’m a stay-at-home mom to a sweet, brilliant, 7-month old boy. Besides my fiance, my support system includes very few people, spread out across the country. I’m not very close with my mom, and have very few friends with young children. I’m an avid forum reader, and I’ve had to learn A LOT of things on my own (with the help of a couple million internet searches), since I don’t have access to a doctors office or clinic whenever I have a question. One of the biggest things I’ve struggled with is how much to feed my baby, and when. All babies and situations are different, so whenever I looked online to try and find any kind of schedule that we could try, it just never felt right. Either the posts were written by working moms on a tight schedule, or involved multiple children, or other things that didn’t really pertain to our situation. It just wasn’t right for us. So we figured it out on our own.

My kid is weird. He doesn’t cry unless he’s really tired (or really wants to be held), and that’s it. He’s never really cried from hunger, not even as a tiny baby, so I’ve had to learn to pay close attention to his little queues, like sucking his fingers, or opening and closing his mouth. Sometimes it can be hard to tell if he is hungry or not, but he definitely let’s me know when he is full.

First off, my son is 7 months and 5 days old. At his 6 month checkup, he weighed 19 pounds, and was 28 inches long. He’s grown since then! He wears 12 month shirts and onesies, and 9 month pants. Size 4 diapers. Size 4 shoes. He’s tall, skinny, growing like crazy, and has an appetite to match. We started him on baby food at 4 months old, because he was drinking over 32oz. of formula a day, and still wanted more. He also presented with all of the signs of readiness for baby food. Don’t worry if your little one doesn’t present with signs yet at 4 months, a lot of babies aren’t ready until 6 months. Also, don’t worry if your baby doesn’t eat as much as him, or maybe eats more. All babies are different. They know how much they need and will let you know when they want more, or have had enough. This is just what works for us! Okay, now keep in mind, this is not rigid and it is not set in stone. Sometimes he wakes up at 7:30, sometimes 8, sometimes not until 9. I also included his general nap times. Sometimes he wants to sleep immediately following breakfast, but sometimes he doesn’t get tired until after his second bottle. Here’s a general idea of what our day looks like:

8:00: Wake up, drink an 8oz. bottle.
8:30: Breakfast, 1tbs of oatmeal cereal, mixed with formula and a fruit or vegetable. I also put out a few Cheerio pieces for him to practice picking up.
10:15: Mid-morning 6oz. bottle. (Usually, when he takes his first nap)
12:30: Lunch, 3-4oz. of pureed fruit with a finger food on the side, usually Cheerios or tiny pieced of fruit, but sometimes we use leftover veggies from the day before.
2:45: Afternoon 6oz. bottle. (Usually when he takes his second nap)
5:00: Dinner, 3-4oz. of pureed vegetable with finger food on the side, preferably another vegetable.
7:00: Bath time!
7:30-8:00: 8oz. bottle while we attempt to wrestle into bed.
8:00: Bed time… preferably. Sometimes it doesn’t happen until later. Sometimes earlier.

Like I said, it’s not set in stone. Sometimes, his naps run long and I have to push back his meals, and move some things around. At the moment, he takes 2 (occasionally 3) naps a day, ranging from 45 minutes to 2.5ish hours long. He also almost always falls asleep in the car, and when we go for walks. You just never know with this kid.

In case anyone was interested, here’s a list foods he will actually eat so far (there are some things he has tried that he HATED, so they didn’t make the list), in ranking order. Some of the lower ones he will only eat if it’s mixed in cereal or something else (he’s a GOOD eater, haha). And no, I don’t make my own baby food, these are all either Gerber or Beech-Nut 2nd Step foods.

Jarred Vegetables:
Squash ***
Sweet Potatoes ***
Sweet Potatoes & Corn ***
Mixed Vegetable ***
Carrots ***
Peas ***
Garden Vegetables **
Green beans **

Jarred Fruits:
Pear Pineapple ***
Pear ***
Apple(sauce) ***
Apple & Cherry ***
Apple & Blueberry ***
Apple Strawberry Banana ***
Apple & Prunes **
Bananas **
Banana Mixed Berry **
Banana Orange Medley **
Strawberry Banana **
Apricot **
Apricot Mixed Fruit **
Yummy Mango **
Banana Plum Grape *
Peaches *

Jarred Fruit/Vegetable Combos:
Pear Zucchini Corn ***
Banana Carrot Mango **
Apple Peach Squash **

Cereals:
Oatmeal Cereal **
Rice Cereal *

Finger/Real Foods:
Cheerios ***
Black Beans ***
Kidney Beans ***
Plain Hummus ***
Peas ***
Green Beans ***
Pineapple ***
Blueberries ***
Mashes Potatoes ***
Spiral Pasta **
Pieces of Plain Toast *

(His favorites seem to be more on the side of veggies! He absolutely loves black beans and peas as finger foods!)

We have not tried any jarred meats or jarred meat meals. Gross. Just… so gross. We will be giving him small bites of chicken in the next month or two when his chewing is a bit better. We just started finger foods a few weeks ago, and will continue to introduce more as he develops.

That’s it! I hope this helped out a few moms and dads out there, or maybe gave you a few ideas on what foods your baby may like. Mine likes… basically everything. Except for avocado. Oh man. He puked everywhere.

Thanks for reading!

Jan

My ‘I-Hate-Being-An-Adult’ Wishlist

Hello, it has certainly been some time!

I’m 25 years old. When I was in high school, I thought I would have all my shit together by the time I turned 25. I thought that I would have graduated college after 4 years with a degree in Psychology, and that I would have a nice job working in a school and/or working with children or young adults. I thought that I would have a nice little house (or a nice apartment) with a big fenced-in yard, where the dog that I thought I would have could play. I thought I would be in a relationship and/or married, and that we would have a baby. Oh, and I DEFINITELY thought I would have my license AND a car.

Well… a few of those happened. I’ve been in a fantastic relationship for going on 3 years now (my previous relationship was 4 years before he broke it off). My fiance and I have been engaged since last February, but aren’t really in any hurry to have a wedding. Oh, and we have a baby. So, there’s that. But… that’s all I’ve checked off of that list.

I never graduated college. Back in 2008/09, I did GO to college, but never finished. I finished my first year (with an horrendous GPA) before succumbing to the fact that I was completely broke, and could not afford to stay in school. I still owe the school nearly $3000 for my second semester, but since I never got my degree, I’ve just been bouncing around from minimum wage job to minimum wage job, barely making enough to pay rent and NECESSARY bills (I went years without internet access or a phone, it was awful). I would love to go back to school. Lately, I’ve even been looking into online classes and degrees that I could do in my spare time, but nothing seems to be doable for me at the moment.

We rent our apartment. As most of you who follow me on Twitter may know, I’ve had HORRIBLE luck with apartments/landlords over the last 6 or so years. Between terrible neighbors, mold, leaks, falling ceilings, flooded basements, and swarms of yellow jackets in my living room, things just haven’t been working out for us. This, once again, comes back to income. The only apartments that we seem to be able to afford on our income (well, his income, since I’m currently not working) are slums. Not ridiculous slums, with boarded up windows and holes in the walls, but apartments that the landlords just don’t seem to have any interest in keeping up with. It sucks. Especially with a baby. This current apartment isn’t awful, but it definitely has some issues. We’ve been entertaining the idea of looking into getting a house once our lease is up, but that is terrifying. There’s so much that can go wrong, and there’s no landlord to come and fix things. Scary scary scary.

Yeah, I don’t have my license. Still. Yes, I am 25 years old. This is also a contributing factor in all the things previously listed.

Being an adult sucks. Having to buy big adult things so that you can properly be an adult sucks. Whenever someone asks me what I want for Christmas or my birthday, I feel awful, because the only things I NEED are money and big appliances. And a car. And a house. I don’t have the luxury of being stable and only wanting a gaming console or new clothes. I don’t get to have nice, fun things anymore! So. There are a few things I really wish we had, that would make my life immensely simpler. Here are a few of the things from my super adulty adult wishlist:

1) Washer/Dryer. This is the first apartment that I’ve lived in that a) doesn’t already have a washer and dryer in the unit/building b) actually has hook-ups that we can have our own. But we don’t have a washer or dryer. So, once a week/ever other week, on Kyle’s day off, we have to haul $10 worth of laundry to the laundromat, cram it into the yucky machines there, and hope it all lasts until the next time we can do it. Do you know how hard it is to go 1-2 weeks without washing baby clothes? Almost all of the clothes that we have for our kiddo is used/hand-me-downs, and there isn’t much of it. Some days are good, and he doesn’t make a complete mess when he eats… but some days I have to change him 2-3 times. So when we actually get to do laundry, it’s 60% baby stuff, 30% my fiance’s work clothes, 5% towels, and 5% my stuff. I don’t mind wearing dirty clothes, since I never leave the apartment… but when we have to go somewhere, it’s embarrassing. So, yeah. That’s on my list.

2) A new car. Well, a new car for my fiance, since I don’t drive. We have a little, red Mustang, which he has had since he was in high school. It was fine when we were dating, we could still fit all of our laundry/groceries/etc. in the back seat and trunk… but these days, our car has some SERIOUS issues.
a) The driver’s side seat is broken, and is being held up by a plank of wood. Any time we have to move or adjust the seat, we also have to adjust the piece of wood. This means we only have 1/2 of a backseat. The other side has a car seat. So, really, there is NO back seat.
b) It has been involved in 3 hit-and-run accidents in the last two years (including a school bus in front of our apartment, and we didn’t get a penny for it, despite having a witness). The outside is a hot mess. Our car has NO side mirrors, and has quite a bit of body damage, which significantly reduces its value. Even if we wanted to sell/trade it in for a new, cheap vehicle, the vehicle we would get wouldn’t be much better. The body is fiberglass, so we can’t even scrap it. We could get maybe $1500 for it in its current condition, which seems to be getting worse each week.
c) It is small. It is a 2 door car, which makes it VERY difficult to get a baby carrier in and out of the back seat, especially when we only have access to the back seat on one side. Our boy is quickly outgrowing his infant carrier, and when he goes into his rear-facing bigger car seat, it will be virtually impossible to get him in and out of the car without a huge hassle. We also have a VERY small trunk, which doesn’t fit his stroller, or very many groceries. Ugh.
d) It is absolute shit in the snow. We live in Illinois. It snows. We slide and get stuck ALL THE TIME. Terrifying.
e) No AC. Enough said.
f) On top of/because of a bunch of those previous things, it makes noises sometimes and freaks me out and I know nothing about cars but I know it’s not good.

So… yeah. We’d love it if someone could just go ahead and give us a new vehicle, that’d be super! Because when this one craps out, we are SO screwed.

I feel like I have more things to add, but they aren’t nearly as big as these things. I wish we had a bigger kitchen that we could actually USE, as well as a dishwasher, so that the dishes wouldn’t sit in the sink for months at a time (seriously, it’s been 2 months, we’re using the same plate, bowl, spoon, and fork that we’ve been using for ages and just keep washing them in the bathroom sink). I don’t have a job, but I have a baby. A baby who is currently going through a very needy, clingy phase. I can’t get anything done! Every other day I try to sweep the living room carpet and the kitchen (oh, yeah, would love a working vacuum cleaner and a Swiffer as well), and pick up the bathroom and bedrooms as much as I can, but it really is difficult.

Oh, that reminds me:

3) A GOOD baby carrier. I bought a cheap $20 baby carrier from Walmart, but it is just awful, and uncomfortable for both of us, so I hardly ever use it. I could probably get a bit more done around the house if I could wear my baby, right? Probably.

4) I just remembered this one. We need blinds for our windows. The ones that were here when we moved in are disgusting, dirty, broken, and bring held together my magic and duct tape. So all of my neighbors can see me and my awful apartment. Ugh.

So, if anyone would like to adopt me, that’d be swell. Or, you know, if you win the lottery, keep me in your thoughts? Thanks!

Jan