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StephanieZ last won the day on January 10 2014

StephanieZ had the most liked content!

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About StephanieZ

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  1. THIS IS FANTASTIC!! Great job, Mommy!
  2. Totally normal. She is beautiful. You're doing great!! If at all possible, keep her "tomato staked" to you when she's loose in the house. A "hands free leash" is the easiest way to do this, as it is essentially a bungee-style leash attached to a simple waist belt. So, you can go about your business in the house, hands free, and keep her at your heel all the time. If you do this for a week, and be accident free, you could try again having her loose in the house for short periods, ideally, say, just the first 30 min after she comes in from doing her business outside . . . Then gradually extend times. She'll probably be fully trained in another month or so, as it sounds like she's doing well and knows to go outside (and is getting rewarded for that), and that's the toughest part. Especially if you get her a door bell or she learns another way to ask to go out, she'll probably get the rest of the way there quickly. Until she knows how to ask to go out, I'd do all you can to avoid giving her a chance to have an accident in the house.
  3. ACA compatible health insurance does not have a lifetime cap. So, clearly, your health insurance is not ACA compatible. There are numerous other risks involved with being insured by a non ACA compliant policy that anyone considering them should carefully consider. I won't argue them here, but I want to alert readers of the issue . . . Y'all can do your own research. Personally, I would not choose to retire if that meant I could not access/afford ACA compliant health insurance. We have worked too hard for too long to willingly risk being bankrupted by health care costs, so we choose to pay what it takes to remain properly (IMHO) insured as long as we can and also to work as hard as we can to advocate for a more just health care system. So, we keep an ACA compliant policy in place, period.
  4. FWIW, as someone who has been buying our own family's insurance nearly our entire adult lives and paying for it fully ourselves (as students, then small business owners, for all but 4 of our adult years) . . . I'd HIGHLY ENCOURAGE YOU TO FIGURE THIS OUT IN DETAIL BEFORE RETIRING. We could probably afford to retire anytime now (albeit, living more frugally than we'd care to, but still comfortable and "safe") if our health care was covered. However, it's not . . . until I'm 65 (Medicare), so dh will likely keep working for a long, long while. If we were to retire today, we'd need to budget about 40-50k/yr after taxes for health care NOW, and that will likely go up unpredictably and rapidly as we age. Frankly, it'd likely lead to a "retirement" of eating ramen noodles instead of living large. Health care is the single most important consideration for retirees under Medicare age. You should absolutely not make decisions on retirement until you've got this figured out. Things to look into, for sure: 1) COBRA options 2) Healthcare marketplace. If it's more than 2-5 years until you're both 65 (Medicare), there's no way in heck I'd retire (from a job that can provide health care) unless I had BANK -- as in 3+ million in liquid assets -- and could EASILY budget 80k/yr for healthcare. If there were more than 10 years until 65 (for both), I would add in the willingness/ability to move to another state if your "home state" offers (now or later) crappy options. CA has a huge economy and so can/does offer more options than most places. It's also a very high cost of living area. Moving to CA is in my "emergency contingency" plans if the national health care options continue to get worse and worse. It'd be $$$ in many ways, but would provide access to reliable and decent health care options, which is the largest financial unknown in our personal budget each year. For now, our plan is just that dh will keep working and we'll keep spending $$$$$$ on health care, until for some reason, we no longer can. Or, better yet, our country finally gets universal health care, like every other modern economy on the planet.
  5. Maisy is BEAUTIFUL! Congratulations!! Re: mouthing. Firstly, call it "mouthing" instead of "biting" when it's the sort of playful chewing/greeting/playing thing. I avoid using the word "biting" unless it's aggressive/worrisome biting. If it's just "using their mouth as hands," I call it "mouthing." Our golden retriever (turned 1 a few days ago), like most goldens, wants to use her mouth to greet people and/or try to guide you. We keep a basket of toys near the front door and stuff a toy in her mouth when folks come in the door (ideally, when we hear them on the porch!) This is a classic training method where you teach a "replacement behavior" that you want (or don't mind) that is incompatible with the behavior you are trying to discourage. She can't put her mouth on your arm or coat if it's full of a stuffed sheep, so it works well. As would be expected, after a couple weeks of us reliably stuffing a toy in her mouth when she would have ordinarily wanted to mouth them, she was soon grabbing a toy on her own when she was excited about someone's arrival. I'd say she does it on her own 50% of the time, and the other 50% of the time, she cheerfully accepts the offered toy. We also greet her by rubbing her belly (which she loves) since she has to lie down on her back to get a belly rub -- another behavior whcih is mostly incompatible with either mouthing or jumping on people. 🙂 So, that's my advice. Stuff a toy in her mouth.
  6. I am very averse to cutting off family relationships. But, in your case, I will make an exception. I think you'd all be much better off cutting off all contact. And, for sure, there is NO benefit in telling your child ANYTHING about your mother being nearby. He has no need to know. Telling him just shares your pain and inflicts it on him. That's not allowed when it's your child. This is your pain to bear or your relationship to mend or end. So far as I can tell from what you've said, it's time to end it. And, FWIW, I'd say the same goes for your sister. She knows where you live and is complicit in the intentional hurtfulness. Get a therapist if you need to, but end this.
  7. If there's no connecting flight, then it should be easy pesaey and I wouldn't worry. If SHE is nervous, then pay for unattended minor. If there's a connection, I'd pay for the "unattended minor" service since she's not an experienced flyer. My kids have been flying solo (to meet relatives for trips, visit friends, etc) since they were around 12, but they've flown a LOT. Before age 14/15, I only put them on direct flights. One time, I was flying my 13 year old and HAD to have a connection, so I made sure it was connecting through a city where my BFF lived an hour away, so JUST IN CASE she got stuck, my BFF could have hopped in the car and rescued her rapidly. When they were young and flying solo, I'd drive 2 1/2 hours (each way) to a large international airport just so I could get them on a nonstop. My 17 year is actually in Paris at this moment, and she flew there solo (she was meeting my brother in Paris -- who lives on the opposite coast from us), including a state-side connection, going through customs in Paris, etc. BUT, she's flown internationally with us at least half a dozen times, and domestically many times, and we make a point to talk through the process outlaid, have the kids fill out their out customs forms, etc, so they get practice. My only caveat: Make sure she has a phone and a charger and a cable AND a battery pack. And, show her how to put it on airplane mode as soon as she gets on the plane, because if she leaves data/cell on, it'll burn out her battery really fast, and that'll be a problem when she lands and wants to connect.
  8. I don't have a problem with tracking attendance using something like the "clickers" that my kids attending big state schools have to use for attendance/quizes/participation points in their large lecture classes. I DO have a big problem with the insanely invasive in-the-background WiFi/Bluetooth/smartphone tracker apps that are being used to monitor how much time a student spends in their dorm/cafeteria/library/etc. That's really messed up and is a huge invasion of privacy. It is training students to accept Big Brother in a way that's much more Orwellian than parental. NO WAY do I want to pay a college to train my young adult child to be a compliant cog in that machine. Hell NO. One of the (big) reasons I have homeschooled was to avoid my children being trained to be compliant servants to a "machine." They need to understand how systems/machines/society works, but they should NOT accept loss of individual liberties/privacy for random non-reasons such as this. When you choose to give up a freedom for a good reason, that's all well and good. We make those CHOICES all the time. When you just allow them to be stripped away in a systemic way, that certainly isn't voluntary in a meaningful way, that's dangerous and damaging, IMHO. I want my kids to be independent thinkers and autonomous beings -- clear thinking humans who choose their own path and lead others, too. I do NOT want them trained to be compliant, period. (Yes, that has some drawbacks, but it's a dearly held value.) I'm college shopping for Kid#3 starting now, and this article along with some other scary ones I've read recently about this same technology being employed community wide in areas of China have alerted me to what to watch for. I will be asking questions about this stuff on our campus tours, and will strongly discourage Kid#3 from choosing a program that has this sort of background-tracking going on.
  9. The Greens and also, Fields of Greens -- two vegetarian cookbooks. Fields of Greens is actually my favorite cookbook, even though I haven't been a vegetarian for about 24 years. 🙂 These cookbooks teach detailed techniques that make the recipes rock and that I use all the time in other recipes. Things like peeling tomatoes, making a good (vegetable) stock, etc. Now, I got these books when I was 20-22, so they may be too elementary for you, but they taught me more than any other cookbooks (and I've had dozens and dozens). The recipes tend to have a lot of explanations included as well as variations, so you can really get a feel for the whys for recipes and learn to vary things on your own. And, the recipes themselves are simply fantastic. Joy of Cooking has probably been my second (third) most educational, just because it so very informative with lengthy detailed nearly encyclopedic entries on so many topics. The binding broke on my late 90s edition about a decade ago, so I bought a new edition, but when I realized the recipes were slightly changed/updated, I couldn't bear to let go of my older/damaged copy, so both editions live on my prime-real estate for a very few cook books (under 20 books) in-kitchen bookshelf. The older edition sports a lot of duct tape. 🙂
  10. Febreze fabric treatment for upholstered furniture, carpets, pretty much anything soft/fabric that you can't wash. It really does work well. Wash everything you can in the washing machine.
  11. I wouldn't want them staying overnight, because I wouldn't want to deal with bedding. If I HAD to have them stay overnight, I'd be sure to wash all their linens on hot each morning (wearing disposable gloves while collecting/loading), and I'd do likewise with towels. SINGLE USE ONLY. If they are coming just for a short playdate, I'd put paper towels in the bathroom and remove any real towels and/or bathroom rug. And, I'd clean like crazy after they left. If you want to see them and be gentle about it, I'd suggest meeting at a public place such as an ice rink or movie theater or chuck-e-cheese or paint-your-own-pottery or whatever. If you can afford it and if the other family is budget conscious, if you can't suggest a free fun location, then I might try to frame it as "I wanted to take the kids out for a treat to the PlaceX . . . so can I please treat your family to come with us because it'd be so much more fun together?" Or, if you don't think that'd work and don't mind a white lie, you could say you got "free" tickets to X or some other similar plausible explanation. In general, I wouldn't worry about getting them from just being together somewhere, but I WOULD worry about them being in my house, especially if they are going to contact any towels or bedding.
  12. If you like blues, I highly recommend you take a look at SW Monorail Silver as a neutral. It's a grey with a blue undertone. Very versatile. I have it in my living/dining/foyer/kitchen and I adore it. We've had it for 5 years, and I'd repaint with the same color if I needed to repaint. FWIW, I have tons of wood (natural oak floors, medium cherry cabinetry and antique furniture as well as leather couches in all shades of brown) everywhere in all shades of brown, and the browns/beiges of wood look lovely with the cooler grey. Image search for SW Monorail Silver:
  13. What does it mean when you say "admitting to his part"? What other part would there be? This seems like a dangerous slip of the keyboard, because it seems to imply that someone else was at fault. God? His victims? Who?
  14. Minimize grease and fat down the drains. To achieve this . . . 1. Keep old jars near the stove top, and pour your grease into old jar. Then throw it away when it's full. Then start a new jar. (If you go through a lot of jars, like we do (ice cream toppings . .. we have an ice cream obsession.), then you can easily throw away jars frequently. 2. Keep a stack of paper plates handy near the stove top, to pour grease into if it's too messy/big to pour into a jar. Put one of those plates under the jar when you're pouring fat in there (to collect spills.) Minimize scraps down the drain. To achieve this . . . 1. peel right over the trash can if it's handy. If not, peel over the plastic bag the veggies came in or a paper towel. Throw away. Avoid toxic crap down the drain. To achieve this . . . 1. No drano. 2. For home improvement/painting/other chemical stuff . . .pour off toxic liquid into a jar or coffee can or other container, ideally lined with a cardboard box or paper towels or newspaper -- something absorbent. Then throw it away.
  15. You might want to try a different topical. Revolution Plus or Advantage Multi are both good products. Try one of those. 🙂 There are plenty of cats who have severe topical reactions to some of the topicals but not to others. So, try a new one, because it might actually be painful for your cat.
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