Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mothers' Hair

Ya, this is how I feel. Is Suave the answer?

Credit Crunch on Main Street

Here's an fun animation simplifying how the credit crunch could effect main street. Cute and funny :-)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Busy Week Coming

One of my least favorite phrases uttered by MetaDaddy: "I have to go out of town on business."


When: This week.
How long: 4 days.
The number of offspring he be taking: 0

Le sigh.

On the bright side, I got a lot of *me* time this weekend. Got my hair cut on Saturday, which always takes a while. And went to my book club for a bit. That said, I can only be gone for so long since nursing duty calls. Yes, I could pump, but that seems like more trouble to me that it's worth. To each her own, I suppose.

But ya, I'm anticipating lots of meals, baths, and stories with a wild child. Crossing me fingers.

Oh, and the toddler caught a cold. Generous little lad that he is, he passed it on.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

If You Want To Feel Rich...

If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can't buy.
--A moneyclip

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Britax Frontier Booster Car Seat

When MetaGirl was on the way, we decided to reserve MetaBoy's car seat for her and upgrade him to a new one. After much research and help from a little birdie with much experience on the topic, we chose the Britax Frontier Booster Car Seat.
  • Britax is a great brand that seems to consistently work on improving the safety of their car seats. We trust the brand.

  • The seat has a five-point harness seat and can be used until he's 80 pounds, or up to 100 pounds as a booster seat.

  • MetaBoy can easily climb into and out of the chair, which was impossible in his old car seat (Britax Decathlon Convertible Car Seat).

  • It's so much easier to buckle than the Decathlon. I wish we had gotten it so much sooner.

  • It has cup holders, though he doesn't use them. They seem to be a bit awkward at his age, though he might appreciate them when he's older.

  • On the down side, I've read some people's comments that the seat is quite hard to install. MetaDaddy installed it and said it wasn't too hard at all. Maybe he just knew the trick, engineer that he is. Me? Well, there's a reason I didn't install it. And there's a reason that when the printer stops working, my reaction is "help, help, help!!"
Overall, we're quite happy with the seat. We currently have both seats in my car, which means that if we're each taking a kid, only MetaDaddy or I can go out. We've decided to get a second seat for MetaBoy to put in MetaDaddy's car. It's important to me because if he and MetaBoy go out, for example, I'd like to know that MetaGirl and I can go out too in the event of an emergency (e.g., we're out of chocolate). Besides, some day she can move into that seat, so it's a preemptive purchase.

On that note, I saw that BabyCenter has a sale on Britax car seats. I was going to buy it there, but at MetaDaddy's suggestion I decided to check Amazon's prices. It turns out that they have the same discount. And while my experience in purchasing and returning items with BabyCenter has been pleasant, as Amazon Prime members, we get free two-day shipping via UPS. BabyCenter ships via FedEx Ground, which is terrible when it comes to home deliveries and customer service (not to mention this). I avoid them at all costs.

If I had the wherewithal, I'd consider buying from Hip Monkey. They have a price match guarantee (they say to email them a link to the lower price and they'll match it), free shipping, no sales tax, and 100% of the net proceeds go to The Kyle David Miller Foundation to help purchase car seats for children in need.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Economy

I listen to news radio a lot throughout the day, and I try to follow the news online when I have time (ha!). When I hear headlines that I find fascinating, I want to post about them so very much. However, I generally don't like posting without researching and referencing information, for the sake of accuracy and clarity. I enjoy the process of researching because it gives me the opportunity to learn more about a particular topic. It's my geeky version of fun.

I yam what I yam.

The economy is a source of so much interest to me. I was an accountant at what I'll call an investment bank, for the sake of simplicity. But it's all so...UGH. Despite my inclination to do so, I'm going to refrain from researching too much because this post will turn into one of those "drafts" that never sees the light of day. Trust me, I know the signs. I'll just share a few news highlights that I've heard over the past few days, and some thoughts here and there. There's so much more, though!!
  • Short-selling stocks of financial firms has been halted in the U.K. by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) for the rest of the year, and all held positions will require full disclosure. The reason? Some are accusing short-sellers of spreading false information about companies (e.g., Goldman) to assure the stocks price drops.

  • On a similar note, the SEC is considering a temporary ban on short-selling.

  • I heard someone on the radio comment that the securities lending industry (short-sellers) saw all of the failures coming. For example, they shorted Lehman, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I can't help but wonder if they foresaw Lehman's demise, or if helped spur it on.

  • As of yesterday (Sept 17), the Fed's bail outs totaled a staggering $816 billion, as follows:

    --$29 billion to help JP Morgan buy Bear Stearns
    --$200 billion to shore up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
    --$85 billion to keep AIG in business
    --$400 billion emergency credit line to banks
    --$102 billion in new FHA loans for distressed homeowners

  • Such bailouts have been compared to communist policies in other countries. The thing is that they have far exceeded the intervention of any communist country.

  • Washington Mutual, the nation's largest savings and loan, is putting itself up for sale rather than risk total collapse.

  • London based Lloyd's Insurance is selling itself to a Scottish bank.

  • Wachovia and Morgan Stanley may merge. If Morgan Stanley does merge, Goldman Sachs would be the only independent investment bank left compared to five at the beginning of the year.

  • Bank of America didn't get deeply involved in risky sub-prime mortgages.

  • Bank of America and Barclays were interested in buying Lehman, but when the Fed wasn't willing to help the purchase along by taking on some of Lehman's debt, as with the Bear Stearns purchase, both potential buyers backed out. Instead, Barclays was able to buy the specific division it wanted at a fire sale price once Lehman filed for bankruptcy and was essentially sold for parts. Why buy the car when all you need is the windshield wiper?

  • The 1999 legislation that broke down firewalls between commercial and investment banks and insurance companies created rules that institutions like AIG were able to exploit allowing for its current financial problems.

  • And the financial news of the day that has spurred actual positive activity in the stock market involves a systemic fix that resembles the Resolution Trust Corporation (the fix for the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s). An explanation from Marketplace:
    "What's being discussed today is something similar, where a fund would be set up by the U.S. government that would go into the marketplace and buy up unwanted mortgage securities and hold them on the sidelines until some of the panic calmed down."
ABC World News
NY Times

PC as Steve Jobs

PC as Steve Jobs. You might also know PC as John Hodgeman.

Gates & Seinfeld

Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld...guess how they roll.

Well, if you've seen the Microsoft Vista ads, you know they roll in discount shoes. It's such a strange ad, if you ask me. Leather shoes. Churros. Adjusting ones shorts. All just strange. Strange can be amusing, though. But I guess Microsoft didn't think it was amusing enough cuz they're dumping Seinfeld. Perhaps they should have used Larry David instead? This Vista campaign is costing them about $300 million, so I guess they're hoping to get a bit more traction out of it.

Newest ads are meant to attack Apple's Mac vs. PC ads. Let's see how that goes.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tina Fey as Palin

SNL has a few funny moments every now and then. The Swedish Chef, for example. And Tina Fey has offered me some priceless giggles, including her impression of Sarah Palin this past weekend. I'm not alone in thinking so. And now the real question. Did Palin really dress up as Fey for Halloween back when? If so, it totally explains the glasses.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

It Could Be Worse

Recently, I haven't been getting a full night of sleep. Waking up every 3 hours (if I'm lucky) to nurse. Sometimes, MetaGirl is quick to go back to sleep. SOMETIMES!!

Le sigh.

Mornings are painful. I'm past the worst pain from my c-section, but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt. Getting up in the morning after a feeble attempt at resting despite the crying newborn...well, I'll say it again...

Le sigh.

Getting through mornings that involve feedings, several diaper changes, wardrobe changes, and getting mommy dressed, all while balancing the reality that one crying child leads to two crying children. Say it with me...

Le sigh.

But then, you sit down to nurse the cranky newborn and turn on the TV to find a show you've never seen before. To find out that despite how tired you feel right now, there are people who have taken tired to the next level. These people make me feel like such a whiner for saying...

Le sigh.

Meet Jon & Kate Plus 8.

I love my only two.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Feeding a Toddler: Subterfuge

It occurred to me today. I've mentioned here that MetaBoy is a good eater. He's always curious to taste new things, especially food he sees us eating. The other day, I heard myself saying "no, you have to finish your pasta first. Then you can have some fish." He definitely didn't get this adventurous streak from me. I can't wait until he learns to cook!

But I digress. The reason for this post is to say that regardless of how well he eats on average, he's not always game for eating a meal. If he's tired, for example, getting him to eat a meal comprised of his favorite foods is nearly impossible. He insists on holding the spoon, but in his tired state, food ends up everywhere except in his mouth. He might start to pick up food with his fingers, or even better, toss said food with his fingers. Once the tossing begins, everything tends to find its way to the floor. Food, his cup, his place mat, his bib, my sanity, my dignity...and so on.

Short of ending the meal, there's little that can remedy such situations. I stumbled upon one thing to help the derailed meal back on track: distractions. I start doing something simple to engage him. Singing a favorite song like "row, row, row your boat" is something he can follow along to and add in a few words here or there (e.g., boat, dream). Or I start asking him questions that he has to think about like "where's your nose?" This tends to help him forget about how awful he feels, he starts to smile, and responds. Once he's smiling, it's almost like he forgets how disinterested he was in eating, so I'll sneak in a spoonful here or there. In a few minutes, dinner's gone.

It's worked well enough to ensure most meals get at least close to finished. I'm not sure of what we'll do once MetaBoy catches on to my little scheme. Then again, I'm hoping I won't have to trick MetaTeenager into eating his dinner by singing "Old McDonald."

Friday, September 5, 2008

Air Travel News

A Flier Strikes Back - A flier sues over a weather related flight cancellation and wins. Sure, he won a default judgment because Delta didn't bother to show up, but a win's a win. And I'm sure it felt really, really good.

United Keeps Free Food on International Flights - It just goes to show that fliers still have some power. Just remember that airlines might actually listen to complaints if they get enough of them. That said, it's entirely unreasonable for United to eliminate the expectation of food on a long haul flight. Leaving fliers to worry about bringing enough food for a 12 hour flight with weight limitations and security restrictions?!? Not cool.

Monday, September 1, 2008

How Fast They Grow

Genetics are a funny thing. When people say MetaBoy has my eyes, but otherwise looks just like his dad, I just say "hmmm," or some variation thereof. I have a hard time seeing any of my features on him, and can only see a small few similarities to MetaDaddy. To me, I always figured MetaBoy was his own person, so he doesn't look "just like" anyone.

Then MetaGirl comes along and throws that theory out the window. She looks just like her brother. Sure, there are a few small personality differences (e.g., she startles if you whisper, which is usually hilarious), but visually...wow. The view of her when she's nursing is that much more impressive to me. I keep having flashbacks to the early days of MetaBoy. So weird.

She's growing fast, too...just like her brother. Though, hopefully she won't grow at quite the same pace. She was born at 6.5 pounds, and was 7.8 pounds at her 2 week appointment. Relatively speaking, she's nipping at her brother's heels. He was born weighing 7.11 pounds at 41 weeks. She was born at 39 weeks, and 2 weeks later, she almost matched his birth weight. He then went on to gain 2 pounds by the time he was 2 weeks old. And he doubled his weight by 2 months.

To make a short story long, she's getting big fast. I hope she stays as wee as she is for a bit longer than MetaBoy did.

Oh, and breastfed babies can grow at impressive rates. Always nice to reiterate :-D