Monday, September 22, 2008

Oh yeah, and Bella's potty training...

There really hasn't been a change. It's once or twice a day, sometimes before her bath time. I wanted to wean her from her bottle, but it seems it'll have to wait until we have our own place. That way, if she starts screaming for it, we can let her and not worry about waking up Grampa Grumpy.

Where we stand financially

Well, we're still living with my parents. There's an up to our downs; a friend of ours (married couple; she performed our wedding three years ago) wants to rent their house to us. Thing is, they need a couple of months to find another place. I offered to help out by finding some possibilities for them.

I'm still looking for work. Four interviews with four staffing services and two interviews with two companies. I did have a job for about 24 hours but had to turn it down. It was too far of a drive (just under an hour), and not paying what I need to get bills paid, gas for the car and childcare.

Speaking of, I haven't been able to make a car payment since August 27 and I can't ask for a deferment unless: the payment is at least one day late and I'm working (since it's my loan). The loan payment per month is $310.25; I've been doing half payments every two weeks of $155.13; I changed this amount to an even $156 but I had to stop that today. With Patrick's current income, we can't do it right now.

My mother-in-law's car insurance lapsed and because she's no longer in California, they wouldn't renew it for her. I had to add her to our policy, which increased to $220 from $77 per month. She has an at-fault accident on her driving record from April 2007 (which, in our opinion, isn't even her fault; thank you, CA law).

Even once I find work, there's childcare. The place I want to take Bella to has a $90 registration fee and then it's $220/week for five full days. I can take her in for a free day to see how she likes it, but I'd want to take her back again and again once I find work.

So far, we're at $1,410.25; this doesn't include gas or groceries. Gas here at a cheap station is roughly $3.54/gallon. I have a 15 gallon tank. I spent $32.50 to fill it from roughly half a tank. For a full tank, it looks to be about $65 bucks. If driven carefully, this can be filled every two weeks. So, 65 x 2 is $130. This brings the monthly total to $1.540.25.

I know we can go to King Soopers (grocery store) and spend about $200 every two weeks to keep us fed. Going there twice a month is about $400. Once I get my inactive reserve ID card, I can go to Buckley Air Force Base and use the commissary for groceries and things. I can probably spend about $150 every two weeks there on groceries; this brings the new grocery total to $300 every month. For posterity, I'll say monthly grocery bill is the higher; $400. New monthly amount is $1,940.25; builds up fast.

Patrick's getting $10.50/hour, which is a few dollars above minimum wage. Thing is, he's not full time; only the managers at the portrait studio are full time. If anything, he'll have roughly 35 hours every week. I need at least what I was making with my last job ($14.40 by the time I left) to make any kind of decent income. I'd like $16/hour, but I will settle for $14.50-$15/hour.

My mother-in-law is still looking for work as well. She had an interview as a receptionist, but they told her she wasn't what they were looking for (read: she's over-qualified and/or too old). She'd to retail or bank, but she'd have to stand. She has MS and is unable to stand for long periods of time.

My mother has been a great help, spending money on food for us and clothes for Bella. Thanks to "Mimi" Bella should be good on clothes for awhile. If we're lucky, we won't have to buy her any clothes for another six months!!

My "dad" might as well be a zombie. He doesn't say hi back to Bella when she says hi to him. He seems to see her more as an annoyance than anything else. He doesn't like kids but obviously favors my sister's son. The room Bella's sleeping in was his computer room. He has pictures of Bella, my nephew and two girls from his son. I counted up the pictures shortly after we got here; he has maybe two or three of his son's daughters. He has TWICE as many pictures of my nephew than my daughter. If he's going to play favorites, at least let me know.. or just take the pictures down. He also still sees me as the 21 year old who still isn't capable of doing anything right; this was me before I joined the Navy in 2002. Summer 2002, I let a friend drive my car (with me in it) so that she could get her license. I'd let another friend do this and he did just fine. She put my car into an inactive fire hydrant. I found out when the police showed up that her permit was EXPIRED. To save my own ass with the insurance, I told them I was driving. I called "dad" about it and he ripped me a new asshole. Twelve hours later, he was laid off from his job; budget cuts, I think. He's still sore about that. The friend owes my mother $3,500 for damages to the car; it was totaled and it cost more to fix it than to pay it off.

So, that's it in a nutshell.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Day 3 of Potty Training

She woke up this morning soaked; then again, she had two milk bottles last night so it's not surprising. Once Daddy sat her on the potty, she went! She's eating apples & cinnamon oatmeal with cranberry/pomegranate juice (watered down a little) for breakfast. About half an hour after she's done, I'm taking her back to the potty.

So far so good, I guess. =)

Monday, September 08, 2008

Day 2 of Potty-Training

I took her into the bathroom with me first thing this morning. Her diaper was loaded with pee, but we did end up giving her about three milk bottles last night.

We go in, strip her bottoms and sit her on her potty. I'm sitting across from her doing my own business. I squint my ear toward her potty and she's peeing in the potty again!! This is great!! I made a big deal about it but not very loud; hubby was still sleeping. I'll take her in there every couple of hours or when she says, "Eww." Normally when she says that, it's too late, but I'd rather put her on it anyway.

She should pee in the potty again after her nap. =) Eventually, it'll happen more often. She'll wear diapers at night until we change her crib to a toddler bed. Then it's a whole new ball game.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Bella's Potty Training Has Begun!

We went out and bought Bella her potty chair and a package of Easy Ups (Pampers). I didn't want to use Easy Ups, but I honestly don't know what else to try. These seem to help her realize that she's made an "eww" right after she did it. Once she does, I'm taking her to her potty and having her sit on it. We have the wipes right there, so when she's "done" on the potty, she can wipe.

Sometimes, she'll want to sit on the big potty and we've done this and without the blue piece on the toilet seat. I like it so far. It'll definitely take some time and consistency, but I think we can have her potty trained by the time she's 2 years old.. maybe a little bit past. Hopefully by New Year's she'll be completely potty trained.

Every time she does something good (like telling me "eww" or "potty", I make a big deal out of it. Once she goes in the potty, I'm going to make a big deal about it.

It's very easy to remove the blue piece to put on the toilet seat and it's just as easy to take it off the toilet seat to put it back on the potty chair. I would write a pre-review for Wal*Mart (where we bought it) but apparently, it's so new that the site doesn't have it up yet.

If two hours go by and she hasn't said "eww" or "potty' we are going to the potty to sit down for a few minutes. I'm also taking her when I go; Daddy not so much because he has different parts.

1-2-3 Teach Me Training System
The 1-2-3 Teach Me Training System includes a potty, trainer seat, and step stool in one!

  • Built-in handles on trainer seat - so far, so good
  • Easy clean drop-in bowl prevents leaks and spills - haven't had any messes, but the bowl is easy to drop in and looks like it would prevent leaks and spills
  • Non-slip base - it has two rubber pieces that go on the bottom part of the white piece, to keep from slipping
  • Teach me chart helps your child learn the 5 steps of potty training - this is located on the top of the lid (green piece). You can't see it very well though.
  • Includes a potty training guide - this has to be the same as the above; the "User Guide" has the parts list, how to assemble, how to use, how to transition to the toilet and how to clean. Nowhere do/did I see a potty training guide.
Safety 1st 1-2-3 Teach Me Potty Chair


I put her on it after her nap. Super poopie, but showed her where it goes and then I sat her on her potty chair, thinking she's not going to do anything... then, I heard the tinkle-tinkle of her going pee in her potty!! I'm so proud of her!!

Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat

I'm curious if anyone has this car seat. My mother will be purchasing it for my daughter (for her car, not ours) and I'm wondering what you all think of it. It's rated pretty well by Babies R Us customers, but I'd also like to know how YOU ALL like it (if you have it). This would be the LAST car seat we'd ever have to buy (except for a travel system). I eventually want one of these for my own vehicle. The current seat won't last her as long as this one will. I'm really big on reading reviews of products and the one negative review I read [on the first page; BRU site) was that it doesn't work well with newborns. I thought, "Umm.. if you read the weight requirements, the minimum weight is 20 pounds."

The Graco Nautilus 3 in 1 Carseat converts from 5-pt harness to High-back Booster for children 30-100 lbs and Backless Booster for children 40-100 lbs. It features a steel reinforced frame that provides strength and durability, 3-position recline to get the correct installation and comfort, and wider, padded armrests that are extra comfy. Its head rest can be easily adjusted in one hand so it changes with child's growth. Also features energy absorbing foam, cup holder & convenient side storage keep must-haves handy and open loop belt guides easily position your vehicle's seatbelt.

Extensive Crash Testing: Engineered & Crash Tested to Meet or Exceed US Standard: "U.S. Compliance Standard FMVSS 213" New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) peak Crash Force approximately 2X Car Seat Standard" Extreme Car Interior Temperatures

12 months - 10 years

12 months - 10 years (details)

20 lbs

100 lbs

Pros: Sturdy, Easy to install, Comfortable, Great features, Easy to adjust
Cons: Heavy, Uncomfortable, Difficult to set up
Best Uses: Back seat, Toddler, Infants, Front seat

  • 3-in-1 multi-mode Car Seat for longer use.

  • Extended 5-point harness use from 20 - 65 lbs (fits 97% of 5-year olds in harness).

  • Converts into High-back belt positioning booster for use from 30 - 100 lbs.

  • Converts into Backless booster for use from 40 - 100 lbs.

Finding Work in Denver, CO

Not only am I looking for admin (hell, entry level) positions, but minimum wage/retail as well. Maybe I can land a spot at the Hot Topic in SW Plaza and I can dye my hair again. At this point, we've been here two weeks and I'm still not working. Pat just got a job, but it's part time. At least it's work. If anyone knows of ANYWHERE hiring (I will NOT work fast food nor will I wait tables again), please let me know. If your place of business is hiring let me know and could I ask you to put in a good word for me?

I really appreciate everything.



A challenging position as an administrative assistant at a growth-oriented firm, which will allow me to both further utilize my skills and acquire new abilities in the Administrative support field.


- Typing: 70wpm

- Strong analytical and organizational skills

- Excellent interpersonal skills, phone manner, and office etiquette

- Software: Proficient in Microsoft Office, strong skills in Word, Excel, and Publisher


October 2007 – August 2008

Contractor – Administrative Support

ITS Group/QinetiQ North America, San Diego, CA

- Provided administrative support to faculty and student services of Defense

Acquisition University (DAU)

- Handled data entry to ensure information accuracy and completeness

- Prepared materials to support the faculty in the conduct of courses

- Prepared graduation certificates for DAU students

- Assisted scheduling of classes

- Managed store room organization and supply stock

- Interfaced with security personnel to assist visiting students with base access

March 2007 – May 2007

Administrative Assistant - Temp

AppleOne Employment Service, San Diego, CA

- Provided administrative support for AVID Center, La Jolla, CA

- Completed projects assigned by department leaders

- Completed large volume of data entry for upcoming summer events

- Answered phones and met with public to answer questions

February 2003 – March 2007

Administrative Assistant - Yeoman

United States Navy, San Diego, CA

- Prepared, typed and routed correspondence

- Drafted evaluations and fitness reports

- Organized and maintained files and service records

- Received office visitors and handled telephone communications

- Performed officer personnel administration

- Maintained records and official publications



Grantham University, Kansas City, MO (Distance Learning)

BS, Business Administration, 12 credit hours


Central Texas College, Killeen, TX

General Education, 3 credit hours


Red Rocks Community College, Lakewood, CO

General Education, 6 credit hours


Park University, Hill Air Force Base, UT (Main Campus: Parkville, MO)

General Education, 6 credit hours


$15-$16/hour or $30,000 - $35,000/year

References available upon request.

To Whom It May Concern:

I have worked for Information Technology Services Corporation/QinetiQ North America in the position of Administrative Support Contractor for Defense Acquisition University. The skills I use in this position will carry over well into the Secretary position as far as meeting deadlines, managing time and workload, filing and maintaining records and schedules, and communicating with tact and diplomacy.

I was a Yeoman in the United States Navy managing paperwork for up to 200 personnel in various career fields for Engineering Department aboard the USS Peleliu, stationed in San Diego. A unique factor about the Engineering Department was dealing with the engineers on a professional level, assisting them in their regular work and learning how and why they worked in their particular career field. The Engineers appreciated that I took such initiative to learn something not mandatory for my field. In the military, I also worked in a primary administrative building for the 32nd Street Navy Base, San Diego. We maintained service records, drafted paperwork and provided exceptional customer service. I provided detailed reports to the Assistant Officer in Charge, utilized in drafting an improved Naval Instruction and assisted in the writing and proof-reading of the document. I was the Petty Officer in charge of all out-going and in-coming official mail for the detachment and as a Petty Officer, had to maintain and enforce the military’s strict drug and alcohol policy.

After leaving the military I worked as a temporary administrative assistant for AppleOne Employment Services in San Diego, California and after my first assignment, was requested to interview for a new position within that company. At my second assignment I worked back and forth as an assistant and receptionist. During that time I expanded my knowledge of Microsoft Office. I use Word, Excel, Publisher, Access, FrontPage and PowerPoint; I’m most proficient in Word and Excel and have a strong working understanding of the remaining Office programs. My most recent position was as an Administrative Support Contractor on an anti-submarine base. I prepared classrooms and provide assistance to instructors, both visiting and local, as well as the students.

I would like to expand my potential and my horizons in your company My experiences have provided me with a strong overview of how customer service should be and what needs to be done to ensure 100% customer satisfaction. Thank you for your time and consideration.


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Thursday, September 04, 2008

La Petite Academy - Your Thoughts?

So, Bella, my husband and myself had a visit with the La Petite Academy I want to send Bella to. I liked what I saw online and I liked the facility itself. We met with the director and the lead teacher for the Two's Room. If Bella goes full time, five days a week, she'll be the only girl on most days. I'll tell you what though.. as soon as we walked in from the Two's playground, all the boys in the room looked straight up at Bella; she was sitting on Daddy's shoulders.

Overall, we really liked it. Thing is, it's $220/week for full time, five days a week. She said she'd work with us on payments and we explained our current situation. She was very friendly and willing to give us a break.

I'm not working yet. I'm having a helluva time finding work (over qualified maybe? not enough education?) and we find out tomorrow if my husband got this job at a photo gallery/portrait studio. We won't really need childcare until I find work. The director told us about a free day, where we could drop off Bella there in the morning and then pick her up that afternoon or evening.

I'd like to know your experience with La Petite Academy, be it good, bad or indifferent. Is it worth $880/month?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Bella's Vocabulary - Past 100 Words!!

Any words from #77 on (in other words, those in color) have been said/learned after coming to Denver. =)

1. Daddy
2. Dada
3. Mama
4. Mommy
5. Nana
6. broder (brother)
7. Jeffy
8. pasta
9. pizza
10. blankie
11. bottle
12. baby
13. hot
14. cold
15. boobies
16. butt
17. bum
18. nose
19. eyes
20. brow
21. nigh-nigh
22. bach (bath)
23. hi
24. bye
25. angel
26. toys
27. cookie (which is an unsalted saltine cracker)
28. ready
29. go
30. outside
31. yeah
32. rainbow
33. pretty
34. happy
35. ugly
36. eww
37. owie
38. pee
39. peas
40. cheese
41. juice
42. shoes
43. milk
44. water
45. doggy
46. mine
47. no
48. uh-huh
49. again
50. uhm (up)
51. all done
52. a bite
53. whee
54. eat
55. shit (she rarely says this but she does say it; she will learn when it's okay and not okay to say it)
56. bitch (read the above parentheses)
57. Bella
58. Belladonna
59. uh-oh
60. safe
61. ta-da
62. one
63. two
64. three
65. leaf
66. laces
67. watch
68. zoom
69. hello
70. phone
71. Chris
72. purse
73 doody
74. sucked
75. boobs
76. yes
77. Mimi
78. Gampa
79. kitty (sounds like "titty")
80. bear
81. Taylor
82. Niko (knee-koh)
83. yellow
84. hungry
85. Mina (we're thinking this is a combination of "Mimi" and"Nana")
86. Nina (imaginary friend maybe?)
87. cup
88. sippy
89. all gone
90. potty
91. ball
92. hug
93. bless you
94. sorry
95. thank-you
96. cooking
97. kitchen
98. towel
99. paper
100. color
101. bunny
102. bacon
103. glass
104. welcome

105. It's okay, Gary
106. Bird
107. Kat
108. music


She can say over 100 words. She's even able to differentiate between many of those words. So proud of her!! She'll be 2 in three months. Have I missed any others? I think I've forgotten two or three, but I'm not sure.