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Everything posted by Alice

  1. It's all what you're used to. I've never lived somewhere that had community mailboxes, except in a condo complex. I can't think of any neighborhoods with single family houses that have them, although I bet the newer planned communities further out west in NoVA do. The house that we lived in before our current house had the mailbox on the house itself and our current house has a mailslot in the door. My kids think a mailbox on the street is weird although they have seen them. They just are so used to having the mail come right through the front door. :)
  2. Most of my friends are coffee drinkers. Usually at a group function I will make a pot of coffee and put out cups and cream and sugar. I just leave it on the coffemaker in the pot for people to serve themselves and then they can also choose to add cream and sugar if they want. I usually also boil a kettle of water on the stove and put out tea bags for those people who might want tea. The coffepot is next to the stove so it makes a little service area for either one. I have one friend who always serves tea in a china teapot. She hosts our book club and it is lovely to have the more fancy set-up for that.
  3. I got my box yesterday. I had asked for 5 pairs of jeans. I love jeans and basically wear them all the time and don't currently have any I really love that don't have holes in them or are really worn. Of the 5 I got, I'm keeping one pair. The ones I'm keeping are really nice. The brand is Liverpool and they fit beautifully. They are black though and I wanted some basic blue denim. However, I've also been looking for black pants so these made sense to keep. They are ok priced. Usually I try to buy things on sale so they are pricier than I would normally spend but the price is about the same as what I would buy not on sale (if that makes sense). The other four were all good as far as style. I felt like they listened to me (nothing distressed and not skinny jeans). But they just didn't fit right. I am short and fat so that's not unexpected. It's hard for me to find pants that fit well. One pair (Warp and Weft) fit really well but needed hemming. They were super pricey though so I didn't really feel that I could justify that much plus getting them hemmed. One pair (Kut from the Kloth) brand I hated as far as style but I had mentioned that I would be willing to try a pair with cuffs. The cuffs just looked so weird on me, although they were cute jeans in the box. My daughter liked them the best (but she didn't see them on me). Over all, I was a little disappointed not to end up with a great new pair or two of jeans for the fall. But I felt like they listened and tried to fit my style and I'm happy with the one pair of black jeans that I'm keeping. I scheduled another one for the end of October. I have a wedding to go to in November and it's a family wedding. I'd really like to wear something nice that looks good because I'm always kind of the frumpy unfashionable person in the photos. One of the reasons I started doing Stitch Fix was the idea that I could use them to shop for the wedding (something that I was dreading). I thought if I did a few boxes first they would have a better idea of my style and likes from my feedback. So I'm hopeful. I did schedule it a few weeks before the wedding so that if it's a bust I can shop on my own.
  4. I use Nars Tinted Moisturizer. It comes in a variety of shades, I think Finland is the lightest.
  5. My daughter and her friends love Shopkins. I personally think they are stupid but they all love them. They are little play food and other things but with faces. That's as best as I can describe them. American girl has some of their dolls available in tiny options, they are very cute. Lego has some Disney princess themed sets, and they are for younger girls so have the bigger Legos that might be ok for that age. For example: https://shop.lego.com/en-US/Cinderella-s-Enchanted-Evening-41146. My daughter also really likes the Lego Friends series which is aimed at girls. They are the tinier pieces though so might be hard for a 3.5 year old, unless she is used to it from her brother.
  6. Yes, absolutely. I've done it many times. It seems silly to me to have separate gender bathrooms when they are both single bathrooms.
  7. I have the Fitbit Zip. I hate things on my wrist. The Zip clips to your waist or bra. It does have the time, although it's a little weird to check if it's on your waistband. I think the ones for the wrist also display the time. Mine is the most simple, it just counts steps and miles (which is less accurate since it's based on steps and the stride length you input). It also reports calories burned which is not supposed to be that accurate. It doesn't do heart rate or sleep or fancier stuff. You can enter activities manually on the app or website. I do that if I swim or do something else that it doesn't count well or if I forgot to wear it. Mine doesn't give goals on the device but you can put goals into your account. On the app it will keep track of your goals and give you positive feedback...which is sort of embarrassingly motivating.
  8. We gave ds (9th grader) a hand-me-down smart phone this year. Previously we had an old phone that we called the "kid phone" and that was for the kids to use if they were getting dropped off somewhere. Ds's phone service is with Tracfone. We told him that above a certain amount of money he would have to pay for any texts. He could use Internet with wifi somewhere but there isn't access otherwise. He really doesn't use it very much. At home he uses our other computers and we have to remind him to take the phone places. We want him to take it when we're dropping him off somewhere so he can text us for a ride or if he needs something. Most of his close friends don't have phones which makes a difference as there isn't really anyone to chat with. We also have parental controls on the phone so he can't erase history on the Internet for example and he can't add apps without asking.
  9. I voted no, but I agree that I wouldn't worry about it being fair or not fair. I just wouldn't go if it doesn't work for your family and it's not a relative you have a particularly close relationship with. Dh has 20+ first cousins and they have the kind of family culture where you go to everyone's weddings and then also go to weddings of cousins kids (I don't even know how many of those there are). We've gone when we could, but not gone when we couldn't. We didn't really think of it as being fair or not fair, just what we were able to do or what we couldn't do.
  10. We have a group that meets after church every other Sunday. We rotate houses between three host families. It's a potluck so the food itself varies. The host family generally cooks something more main course like and then people bring other stuff. It's here tomorrow and we are doing grilled chicken, some kind of kale salad or slaw and leftover birthday cake. :) We've done it for 15+ years so it's very easy now and the food always works out. We invite a lot of people and it can vary in numbers but it's almost always at least the three main families.
  11. I would go alone. It sounds like that's what you really want to do. I would love to travel alone if given the chance.
  12. If it was me at this point I would probably call the AHG leader and see what she thinks about the cake. Realizing that you are probably reading the situation right and she felt pressured to say yes since it's a friend of her Mom, I would tell her not to worry about it and that you won't bring the cake. Then I'd call MIL and tell her that it was so sweet of her to think about dd but that it's against the rules..I'd phrase it something like "I know Susie said it was ok and she's just so nice but I know it's against their official rules and I don't want to get Susie into trouble. " And then I'd say that we could stay and have cake with Grandma and maybe be a little late to AHG if it came to that. It sounds to me like she just wants to celebrate a little bit and I would try and accommodate that. I live close to a lot of dh's family and it took me a long time to get used to things like this. Especially since I'm an only child and from a different kind of family culture. I've learned to be a lot more open to people stopping by or doing things for the kids that might not fit my plans. Almost always it ends up being good. For example, right now dd is playing cards with her uncle. Dh invited him to dinner tonight for her birthday. I wouldn't have invited him and probably 10 years ago would have felt like our family dinner was being encroached on. Now, it's nice to hear them having fun. I don't always feel that way because sometimes it's more intrusive that tonight's example but I've learned to appreciate the good. I've also figured out what things to hold firm on. For example, ds's aunt wanted to come to our co-op to watch him audition for a musical. He would have been mortified (he's 13). I very quickly made it immediately clear that was a no.
  13. I've been part of admissions committees at my college, med school and then residency. And also for some scholarship type of programs. I would say that essays usually either stand out for being really bad or really good. Really bad would be: 1) Full of grammar and spelling mistakes. One or two are understandable but if someone can't take the time to use spell-check on an admissions essay you have to wonder about work ethic in general. or 2) Wildly inappropriate. Using foul language for example or being crude or way too jokey. Really good is anything that is different. When you are reading through stacks of essays, anything that is unique is good. If it makes you laugh, extra bonus points. Most essays are kind of in the middle. Fine but nothing memorable. I can't ever think of a time where a fine but dull essay kept a kid out of a school or program. On the flip side, it won't get them in either.
  14. I froze mine and dh's. I looked into doing it for our kids, although they are all young. It was difficult to find information on it. As far as I could tell, one agency allowed you to do it online for a kid under 14. The other two required you to send in info for kids under 14. They wanted a copy of my driver's license, a copy of the kid's social security card, a copy of the kid's birth certificate, a copy of something showing our address. All in order to prove identity. I'll just say I didn't feel exactly comfortable sending all that in by mail. :)
  15. OPGTR for all three kids Singapore Math WWE (but not all levels for all kids) SOTW FIAR adapted for all kids in preschool and Kindergarten parts of MCT LA Lively Latin
  16. I think it's appropriate to discuss rates before an interview. I can imagine it being a waste of time on either side to go through with an interview if there is a difference in expectation on rates. The statement that she would charge much more to you than others is possibly inappropriate but I would likely still go through with the interview. Sometimes people say things on the phone or email that come out sounding awkward but when you meet them you get a different vibe. Perhaps she was trying to be really honest and open so that if you heard she was charging other people less you wouldn't feel cheated. I also think it could be appropriate to charge different amounts if the work is different.
  17. Yay! My third box should arrive next week. I asked for five pairs of jeans so I doubt I'll keep everything. :) I love jeans though and currently don't have any that I really love that don't have holes in them (from natural distressing :)). I was feeling a little silly about the whole Stitch Fix thing. I've done two boxes and gotten two things from each box. I liked both a lot but it still felt kind of frivolous. Fun though. But then I wore a shirt I got from them last week and dh specifically complimented me at the end of the day about how great it looked. He never ever ever does that. He doesn't know about Stitch Fix specifically so he didn't have any reason to comment on the shirt specifically. Knowing that they had picked a shirt that I really liked and that was super comfy and that he thought looked great....that's a win for me.
  18. We have one. I think it's worth it but it has limitations. First answers to your questions: It probably won't climb on the playmat, it tends to get stuck on any kind of step up. It will go from a very flat carpet to the floor but that's about it. Nothing happens if you pick it up. It just beeps and makes noises. It shouldn't hurt it or the kid. It does not do stairs. It should stop at the top of the stair (or bottom) so you don't have to worry about it falling down the stair. You would have to move it to the new location. The corners can stay dirty because it sort of sweeps the dirt into the corner and has a hard time getting it. It will vacuum up things like legos or small beads. We don't have toddlers so don't have a lot of food on the floor, I assume it would be ok with peas or pasta. It vacuums up legos. It is moderately noisy. We have a very open space house. If it's on downstairs we can still do work upstairs no problem but it would be pretty distracting if it was going upstairs or in the same room. You can stop it in the middle of a cycle. We don't really clean it, just empty it out and if it got wrapped up in something like hair or yarn we will clean that off. Few other thoughts: We have a dog so have a lot of dog hair and dirt from kids and dog running in and out. I could sweep or vacuum twice a day and the floors wouldn't be spotless. I don't do that. I like the Roomba because I can turn it on and go do something else and it gets a room reasonably clean. I don't think it gets it as clean as when I regularly vacuum so it doesn't replace weekly vacuuming for me. I do a fairly thorough job everywhere once a week and then we use the Roomba more for spot cleaning in different rooms during the week. It did freak out our dog at first so we couldn't run it when we weren't home. She is more adjusted to it now so that's ok. The regular vacuum freaks her out a bit too. Where to put it was an issue for us. We had it in our living room/main room because it made the most sense for cleaning but I didn't like the way it looked. So we moved it downstairs to our family room. It's a bit heavy/clunky so most of the time I don't feel like carrying it upstairs to do a quick clean. Plus, if the docking station is downstairs it will beep when it is done instead of just stopping. I use it mostly to do the downstairs, dh will move it around and do bedrooms or the upstairs. You do have to have the floors relatively clean from clutter. Small things like Legos will get sucked up and bigger things will just confound it. So it's not super useful in my kids' rooms as they usually have too much stuff on the floors to make it work well. When I vacuum with the regular vacuum I can push the stuff out of the way but the Roomba won't do that.
  19. Yes, we've done it twice. Totally fixed and totally worth it. We also have a friend whose son bought the things needed to do it online and did two of theirs himself.
  20. Ds is 9th grade. Last year he did Latin I with Lukeion. I was barely involved and he did well. But I think Amy Barr really gives them a lot of structure. It's very clear what is due when and what the consequences will be if it's late. We did go on an overseas trip during the school year and I sat down and helped him figure out how to work ahead to get the work done. I think he would have otherwise been scrambling right before we left rather than starting to think about it weeks before. This year he has two online classes, plus one other short class with Bravewriter. And two classes at our co-op. So it's a very different feel to our homeschool. We're still kind of figuring out how that will work, only two weeks into the year after all. We've always done a weekly notebook with assignments. For his outsourced classes I write the subject and then a reminder or two but I don't write out all the assignments. Then daily we check in to discuss what he has done. My plan is to check in weekly to see how he is progressing (grades, actual assignments). He might be ready to be more independent but he's a young 9th grader and I'm trying to walk the line between being too overbearing and too uninvolved.
  21. My middle son was like that at that age. He still hates school (he's almost 11) but now has a better attitude. Slightly. :) My oldest has also gone through phases of not liking school but not as much. Things we've done: 1) Address the attitude. I told him that it felt rude and hurtful to hear things like "I hate school." I pointed out that we all have jobs. His job as a kid was to do school. That could be at home, or elsewhere (we are open to non-homeschool options). But he had to do it. I gave him things he was allowed to say: "I don't like Math." or "Math is worse than being trampled by elephants." but not "I hate school" or "School is stupid" When his attitude was really bad I would ask him to go to his room and take some time to get in a better mood. 2) Use a lot of humor. 3) Streamline where I could. Use anything that was more his style or interesting to him where I could. 4) A lot of his complaining had to do with boredom. He would make stupid mistakes because it was boring. So I did a lot of "Do half the problems on this page. If you get them all right you don't have to do the others." Or I'd put out M&Ms and say that I would eat one for every careless mistake but he could eat them all if there weren't any. He was allowed to ask for help if he really didn't understand something but that cut down on adding when he was supposed to subtract or just not reading the problem. 5) I think sometimes I tend to push the "fun" things to the back burner because I feel like I need to get the main subjects done. Or I look at the fun subjects as a reward or an extra. But I've found that when I sometimes START the day with the fun subjects that the attitude about the other things gets better. 6) We use a weekly notebook and I write all assignments in it. It helped my school-hater a lot to also have me write down what he was expected to get done that day. And then I was very good about not adding more. If I goofed and gave him a too easy assignment, I didn't add more. He just got a light day. It also helped him to see that there was a light at the end of the tunnel. And if he worked ahead he knew he would have free time at the end of the week. He became very motivated to work M-Th and would often have a goal of having a completely free Friday. 7) I also had to adjust my own attitude and realize that he is never going to be a kid who loves school. He does like to learn...but he wants to do it his own way. Anything formal or anything too structured is anathema to this kid. That includes extracurricular activities as well. I had sort of this dream of having kids who loved learning and would independently ask for essays on Greek literature in between practicing their two instruments (without being asked) and while doing Calculus at age 9. Ok,maybe I wasn't that unrealistic but it was close. He is who he is. And yes, he needed to learn to be less grumpy but I also needed to learn to be more free and have a more open mind about how we did education.
  22. I know mine but I didn't answer the poll. Hospitals will never transfuse without type and crossing first. It's too big a risk. If there isn't time they will give O neg blood which is the universal donor. I run into this all the time with patients. Parents often want to know their newborn's blood type. We only check if there is a potential problem (if Mom is O or if Mom is negative). Otherwise it isn't checked. I tell them I can order the test, but it will likely not be covered by insurance since there isn't a medical reason for it. The story I tell to show them why hospitals will never believe people on their blood type and will always type before transfusing is this....I am A neg. When I was pregnant my husband told me he was also A neg. If that was true I wouldn't have needed Rhogam, but obviously I still got it since I didn't have a written report of his blood type. When our oldest was born they came in and said he had A positive blood so I needed another Rhogam shot. That wouldn't be possible with two negative parents. I told dh I was pretty sure the baby was his. When dh's showed up at the hospital later, I asked her what blood type dh was and she immediately said A positive (she's a doctor also and sort of the keeper of the medical info in their family). So, dh had thought he was the wrong blood type pretty much his whole life. It's not hard to be wrong and it would be a deadly mistake to make...therefore hospitals will never just believe your blood type. There isn't really any medical reason to know what it is other than just kind of fun curiosity.
  23. I agree with this. I think you shouldn't have let him audition if you knew the answer would be no. However, I think all parents make mistakes and probably the way we handle them is more important than the fact that we made them. I think if you realize now this was a mistake and that there is no way to make it work that you need to own that and tell him that it just isn't going to work and that you're really sorry. I would absolutely not try to guilt him into figuring out that he's "supposed" to make a certain decision.
  24. This exactly. I tend to dress fairly uniformly...plain knit top or sweater and pants or skirt. A scarf is a pretty easy way to add a little color and make a basic outfit look different on different occasions.
  25. Yes, people no show for appointments all the time. I'd say we have at least one a day per doctor at our office. And we do automated calls and our front desk also tries to call everyone as well. I have no way to know if the no shows are people who forgot or people who just decided they have something better to do. But we have a charge for no shows and making sure that they are reminded helps to get rid of the "I didn't know about it" or "I thought it was scheduled for a different day" excuse. No shows are a huge deal to doctor's offices. It's not that it's that slim a margin financially, it's more about time. For example, I had a no-show this week for a physical. The physical was one for which the kid needed a required shot for school. We are completely booked for physicals this time of year, to the point where I did something like 18 physicals on Wed morning alone (that's a lot). When this kid no-showed, it meant we now have to either find somewhere to fit him in, which is not easy. Or we say to them that they have to wait...which we aren't going to do since it effects his ability to go to school. That's one example but when you multiply them by 2-3 per day it adds up quickly. During the winter when we end up having a lot of sick patients, no shows are a problem because it's frustrating to overbook someone who is sick and needs to come in only to have someone no-show and realize we could have used that opening in the schedule. One of the reasons we try to also do personal reminders (where our front desk actually talks to the parent) is that if the person has realized that there is a conflict or did have the wrong day written down then we can reschedule it. We'd rather do that then just have that empty hole in the day. I think most of the reminder systems are automatic. So the computer can't tell that you made an appt on Tues for Wed. It just calls/texts everyone who has an appointment on Wed regardless of when the appointments are made.
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