Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Card?

Don't worry, she was all smiles once Santa gave her an M&M filled candy cane.

This picture seems a bit similar to the last picture on this post! Let's face it, I've gotten quite a few pictures of her with a face like this!

To show that at least she is consistent, here is her first Christmas with Santa Claus in 2007: For obvious reasons, we did not bother with the Santa thing in 2008. I thought this year might have been different! I guess we'll see what 2010 has in store.

Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

"NT" and a milestone not recorded

Evi's cousins like to spell some of their responses, such as "n-o". Well, after hearing this answer a bit, I think she started to try to spell it too, but whenever she heard anyone say, "n-o", she replied with "n-t". This started a few days ago, and now it's mostly become a game--someone will say, "Hey, Evi, "N-O", to hear her enthusiastically say, "N-T" with a smile. It's only sometimes used as teasing when her 4 year old cousin really means no, but only hears "n-t" over and over. Aahh, my smart little one has already learned how to tease. Great.

Evi also had a milestone of sorts on Saturday, but it happened too fast to take a picture. That, and I was still reeling over my shock of the day. I went to get my hair cut--I was ready for something new and totally different. I got that, and I'm still adjusting and deciding how I feel about it, so there won't be a picture for a little while. Then I figured since I had the courage to cut all my hair off, I could have the courage to get Evi's hair evened out. Since she had any hair growing at all, even minimally, the left side has always been longer than the right. Of course I never wanted to do anything about it, because it has taken so long for any of it grow at all! I was apprehensive, but I bit the bullet and got her hair cut. Her first haircut at almost 3 years old, and 1) you can't tell a difference in the length at all (thank goodness) and 2) it looks quite nice. But it maybe took 2 minutes and she was sitting on my lap. By the time I realized to get the camera out to have a picture taken, the cut was already completed and I wasn't sure I wanted to record my new cut just yet! Even if there's no picture and I didn't save any of the hair, I'm still glad I got that done. Life still moves forward and we can just enjoy the moments we have!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The irony

In the last post, I mentioned the nice man who told me I was a good mom. The irony of that story was that I had almost the opposite experience on a previous flight in either November '08 or April '09. I was flying with Evi when she was not on her best behavior, and I was the mom who said her name a lot in frustration and was almost at my wits end a few times. Well, a helpful dad of a baby nearby decided to try to give me parenting lessons and asked me if I had tried positive reinforcement with her. He kept going with more advice and how to impliment it; I tuned him out but tried to be polite until he was finished. I do try to be positive with my child, but a contained child who refused to sleep was too much for that day. The good with the bad, I guess. I had one man try to teach me how to be a better mom, and later another who thought I was doing just fine! We all have our good days and bad days, toddlers and mom's included!

Oh, and just a sampling of how my daughter can help me work on my patience and positivity:

This is what I woke up to yesterday. It serves me right for trying to get some more sleep.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A nice stranger, and a princess

A few days ago, Evi and I flew to Utah to visit with my family. We flew on Southwest; the airline with no assigned seating. I always make sure to check in early so we can be in the first boarding group, because I always hope for our own row. Turns out, it was a full flight and every seat was to be taken. We had our aisle and middle seat, and we lucked out to get a super nice guy to choose the window seat in our row. When he sat down, he said, "don't worry, I like kids." I said to him, "you must if you chose to sit by a toddler on a 5 hour flight!" He started telling me how he was a Pop-Pop himself and it kind of put him in grandpa mode to be by Evi. Well, the flight acutally turned out quite well. Evi was pretty well behaved, but when she wasn't making the best choices, I only had to talk to her to get her to make a better choice. The first time our window neighbor heard me correct her, he gave me a thumbs up and said, "good job, mom!". Maybe 3/4ths of the way through the flight he told me that I was a good mom. I thanked him, and told him that I really appreciated hearing that, because sometimes I don't feel like it. He said, "no, you are a good mom. We are are own worst judges and don't let that get in your way. You are great with your daughter." It meant a lot to hear that. It may have helped my case that there was a couple across the aisle from us with a toddler and a baby, and the mom kept scolding her daughter (that's how I learned the little girls name--I heard it a lot). That couple also referred to Benedryl as "candy" to the kids as they were getting their doses before take off. Besides all that, it was nice to just have a stranger give a really nice compliment.
As for the princess part of the title, a few days before we left, Evi got to have her face painted like a princess. We went to Chevy's on a Monday, and apparently that's face painting night. I thought there would be no way she'd sit still for it, so I asked the artist to just do something simple. To my amazement, she was perfectly still the entire time and absolutely loved her princess paint and jewel. In fact, for several days after, she wouldn't let me leave the house until she pretended to paint my face just like her princess look. Complete with the instructions to close my eyes so she could apply the "sprinkles" (glitter). I love her imagination and have such a fun time make-believing with her.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The car drama

Back in August (on my mother's birthday no less), my car was hit. I wrote about it in this post. It was very much the other drivers fault, and her insurance started working with me right away. My initial impression was that this was a great company (I had never heard of it) and they were going to take care of everything. I felt that way until: 1) I asked to meet them in Beltsville when the car was being looked at so I didn't have to go to Waldorf, and never got that call, and 2) I got the call saying they were offering me $980 for my car. WHAT??? I actually couldn't even talk to the woman on the phone, I was so upset. I kept my cool for awhile, then lost the ability to hold my tears back, and I told her I'd have to talk to her when I had calmed down. $980 for taking away my old, but perfectly reliable car. At the moment she called, I was actually on my way to WALDORF to pull out my remaining personal items from the car that I didn't get the day of the accident. So I continued on to the car, got my things, said my goodbyes just in case, and went on with life.

Fast forward two months, and things still weren't resolved. I wouldn't accept their low offer, knowing my car was worth more than that (although they did add a whopping $36 to the total after I sent them a picture of my radio face plate). They told me they compared my car to "local market value", but when you look up my car in the local market, you won't find it. The closest comparison vehicle to mine that they used was over 200 miles away; they failed to mention that to me. Plus, as I read over the report they sent me, I also noticed the three cars they compared mine too were not only not local, but they were ALL listed on the market BEFORE my accident date. That tells me that they didn't try very hard and took the lowest numbers they could. It seems to me that if a car has been on the market for 2 months (which 2 of them were), the price could have been lowered to try to sell. I brought this to my adjuster's attention, saying that I felt like they should use cars listed on or after my accident date, plus sent her SEVEN more comparison cars that I found listed from my "local market" (I say that in jest, because there was not a '93 or '94 chrysler concorde for sale within a 250 mile radius of my zip code). Did I mention that the lowest sale price of any of these seven cars was $1,500?

That finally got a ball rolling in my direction. Actually, the initial person who gave me the quote was no help at all. I spoke with her supervisor and she is who actually got me more money for my car (only once I provided more comparision vehicles though). It was such a headache. For awhile, we debated on whether or not to try to keep it. Our good friend Ubong works for an insurance company and we were on the phone with him a lot asking questions and getting advice. I sent pictures out of the car to him and a few other people with the question: any chance you think we can salvage this? The overwhelming answer was no. Cut your losses and take the money. Well, that's why I kept up the fight to get something. So about 3 weeks ago I finally got my check in the mail, for just under $1400. Much better than $980. Would have like to get more for it, but still, what I did get is probably more than we'd get if we tried to sell it on our own. Sad though, because I had no intention of selling it. The intention was to drive it until it didn't drive anymore.

We're going to try to make it on one car, since we live so close to campus. Ron either rides a bike, walks, or I drop him off, so we can get by with one car; we think. Before he died, my dad told me that we should skip the funeral and take a family trip to the Bahamas. I told him we'd consider that for the one year mark. I told my sisters he said that, and who knows, that might actually happen (well, maybe not the Bahamas specifically, but a family trip maybe). So I joked with Erin that Dad paid for the car, so it's only fitting that I use the money for it to pay for a family trip that was his suggestion. We'll see; who knows? And actually, this pregnancy now changes things a bit...I'm due to deliver mid-May. Dad died June 5. Not sure about a tropical vacation with a 3-4 week old and the recovery. Oh, and side note on the pregnancy: I was pregnant the day of the accident, although didn't know it at the time. The doctor assures me that it wouldn't have hurt the baby. As for all the emotions about losing the car and the initial low offer, I'd like to believe that they were intensified due to the pregnancy hormones!

Lessons learned about dealing with insurance companies: don't expect them to have your best interest; read everything they give you about your car evaluation; do your own research; and don't take their first low ball offer! It was eye opening. I wish it didn't happen, but I'm glad it's over.

A final goodbye to "Grandma":
Side view of the damage, plus the rear door that I didn't even realize was hit until seeing pictures:

It's kinda dark, but I had stickers on my visors. The one in the middle on the driver's side says "Michelle" and the passenger visor got a smiley face and rainbow. They had been on since college. On the right: the sticker Evin brought me from her mission in Brazil, and some Hawaiian turtles. Sadly, I cut off the BYU-Hawaii sticker that's on the back window. You can see the bottom of it. Guess I need to go back to Hawaii to get some more stickers for our car!