Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Bensons v. Plano PD

You can file this story away in the "That Bi*ch is Pissed" folder.

OK, it's not as bad as it sounds. Really! But here's the lowdown. In mid-December, I received a letter in the mail stating that I owed $100 for running a red light. Boo.

So I looked for the when and where.

April 2011. No, that's not a typo. The City of Plano was sending me a notification for a red light ticket from more than 2.5 years ago. This was the first we were hearing of it. There was no picture included to prove I did it and no intersection - nothing - just a letter saying you need to pay this or we're putting a registration hold so you can't renew your vehicle registration. Bitches.

So over Christmas break, I had the hubby call. They essentially said that they sent the ticket and a follow-up to us (turns out it was our old address that we hadn't lived at for over 9 months!) He explained this and the lady was basically like, that's too bad, you can't argue it because it was from too long ago so you owe the $75 and a $25 late fee. After a little bit of smooth-talking that my hubby is so good at, she said she'd follow up with someone and call us back and then hung up on him. (No, she never called back.)

Cue me:

I'm talking snap-your-fingers-in-a-Z-formation mad.

As Greg puts it, "Oh, they messed with the wrong lady. Plus, you're a stay at home mom so you have all the time in the world to fight this."

My response:

Mmmm, not quite. (He was kidding.)

But over the past week, I've dealt with this during morning nap time. Connor's, not mine, unfortunately. Mostly because I get so fired up... and I just can't have sweet Connor around his crazy Momma when I'm dealing with things that really fire me up.

So my latest convo with Red Light Camera Phone Operator #3 was like this:
Me: But I never received the ticket to begin with. You've sent no proof via a photo and, um, this was nearly 3 years ago.
Lady: You're not the first person to have this situation. It doesn't matter if you knew about it or not, you still have to pay it.
Me: Our address had been updated with all state agencies and mail was forwarding, so it's not our fault that you were working off a database that wasn't updated. Can I at least have the late fee removed since this is the first I'm hearing of it?
Lady: No.
Me: Can I have a court date so I can present my case and argue it? (Can't you just see me entering the courtroom with Connor on my hip?! They clearly don't know they are messing with a former high school Mock Trial Lawyer. And I have the golden gavel to prove it.)
Lady: No, too much time has passed.

I got pretty mad, so I honestly don't remember all the details - I may or may not have threatened to call the local news station's consumer action line because "I think the public would be interested to know how the local government is trying to screw taxpayers and collect on something that allegedly happened almost 3 years ago. I say 'allegedly' because you show no proof!" Dramatic much? 

But eventually, I was able to talk to someone in the Plano PD and explain the situation. He was really super-nice and reminded me of a Grandpa. He got the late fee removed and even said something to the effect of "Shame on the State of Texas for not having their information updated." Yeah, take that, Texas!

So, long story short long: We got the late fee removed and we'll be paying our ticket.

Turns out I guess I ran the red light.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Momma's Got a New Gig

I know what you’re thinking… Lauren decided to be a stay-at-home mommy but all the Baby Einstein songs and playdates made her lose her mind. No, not at all! I absolutely adore staying at home with Connor. I mean, I wouldn’t say that I really “stay at home” all that much, but do adore my time with him. I don’t regret my decision at all. Besides, I burned all my dress pants so there’s really no going back now, is there?

Well, there kind of is. I got a job, y’all!

I’m the new Social Media Manager at Project Nursery is an online design resource for baby nursery inspiration. Anyone can share their nurseries, birthday parties or toddler/next step rooms on the site, peruse the project galleries or read the blog for inspiration. I've actually been a huge fan of Project Nursery since I was beginning to plan for Connor’s nursery. And if you've pinned any nurseries on Pinterest, well, there’s a really good chance you’ve pinned a PN nursery!

Here are just a few to give you an idea:

I’m managing their Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and Google+. The best part is that it’s only about 10 or so hours/week and I can do it all from home (read: no dress pants), so I get to enjoy the best of both worlds – being at home with my little guy and still doing something that I’m good at (or at least something that they think I’m good at!)

So, if you’d like to follow along, please give us a like or follow!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Making Mommy Friends: Part Deux

When the hubby and I first made the decision I would stay home, I immediately started looking at what I would do to get out of the house. Luckily, I live in an awesome community where there are tons of opportunities to meet new people, but no matter where you are, there are things for new mommies.

So, let's get to it!

1. Birthing Class. Oh yes, you can start making friends before you even have your baby. A friend of mine was telling me that they met a couple in their birth class and they'd become good friends and best of all, their babies were only a couple of weeks apart. So, the hubby and I walked into our Prepared Childbirth class, took a quick survey of the room and went and plopped (ok, he didn't "plop," but at 34 weeks pregnant, I definitely "plopped") down next to a cute couple that just looked like they could be our friends. We totally bonded with the couple while giggling about some of the more intense couples... 

{Backstory: There came a time when we all had to get down on the floor  and practice our labor breathing techniques we had just learned about. Being an ole prenatal yogi from way back, I wasn't paying much attention to those around me (being busy labor breathing like a champ), but the hubby later reported back that there were some super-creepy couples around us. Lots of not-suitable-for-birth-class lower back rubbing - um, hubbies, your wives are not actually in labor. This is practice.}

Fast-forward to now, our baby boys are 10 days apart, we both had c-sections due to breech babies and live less than 2 miles apart. 

Um, can a girl get a censor bar on those new momma nursing ta-tas? Yikes.
2. Hospital Support Groups.  Before you go getting all weird on me thinking this is a "mom-aholics anonymous" group, chill the eff out. The hospital where I delivered my babe, Baylor Frisco, actually has a breastfeeding support group. And if you don't think you need support when breastfeeding, you have clearly never done it. Or maybe you had no problems at all, in which case, I hate you. Kidding. Kind of. 

When I first went, Connor was three weeks old. My mom actually drove us up there as I wasn't even driving yet after my c-section. I wasn't really going to make friends but rather get some advice on a bad latching problem (TMI?), but ended up making quite a few pals that I still keep in touch with and have play dates with. When we first started going it was for advice; later on, it was something to do every week, new mommas to socialize with and they also served delicious cookies . Ummm, ya. Count me in.

3. Get churchy. Now I will admit that I am by NO means the most devout Catholic you will ever meet. But many churches in the area (really any area!) offer new mommy groups. You don't have to be a member of their church and the groups aren't totally religion-focused, but rather they focus on creating a support system as well as a place to learn about parenting, get advice and develop friendships with other mommas.

{For those in the Frisco area, here are a few that I know about.}

MOPS (two locations)

4. Use your friends... To make more friends.    So, I made several friends on my own, but many of the pals I met are friends of friends. At each play date, I always tried to go meet new mommas and many of those gals, have become good friends!

5. Gym. Because every momma needs an hour break. I adore my time with Connor, but one of the smartest things I did after leaving my job was joining a gym. The local athletic center has a daycare or "Fun Club" where you can leave your little one for up to two hours a day. Of course, we only go a couple of times a week but it gives me just a bit of alone time to run or work out and gives the babe a chance to play without me.

So, technically I don't really go to the gym trying to make friends. Can't you just see me walking in the weight room all like:
No? Me neither. But getting out of the house, getting a work-out in and just a short break from the little one does a body (and mind) good!

And speaking of getting out of the house... We also do best when we get out of the house at least once a day, even if it's just on a Target run. ;-)
Now I'm not saying I pick up friends at Target... I am just saying that I'm not above it! ;-)

Ok, am I missing anything?!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Making Mommy Friends

"Awww, you're blogging again?!"
Before I promise to do better and start blogging more regularly, well, no promises. But yes, for now, I am back with it.

Right, back to it!

When the hubby and I first moved up to the burbs, I was really not concerned with meeting and making new friends. I have my friends. And thank god for them. How else would i know what snapchat is? Or be able to reminisce on funny memories from college? Or still get an occasional drunk text? They are my people. But most of them that live in town are either single or married with no babies. I'm lucky to have sister and nephew close, but I can't show up there, like, everyday. ;-)

So after I had the baby and especially after we made the decision that I would stay home, it occurred to me that I needed to make some mommy friends. Partly, because I wanted my little guy to have some buddies to play with and partly because I needed some adult interaction, in like, a really bad way.

Side note: I also had an extremely terrifying view of what the "Frisco Mom" is... All speed-walking around Target in her bejeweled velour track suit... Oh, I've seen her out and about.

And I don't know why but I kind of expected finding mommy friends to be like: 

You know... "You can't sit with us."

But I am so blessed to have stumbled upon some of the nicest, sweetest friends ever. I have found it so vital to have a support system of mommies who have/are going what I'm going through. 

With these women that I've only just met in the past 6 months, I've been on group texts talking mommas off the ledge during a particularly tough "cry it out" night, had moms assure me that I am in fact not a bad mother because my child fell over and bonked his head because I was so engrossed in eating a delicious brownie (I know, fat girl... ;-) that I couldn't catch his tumble, found things in common with these ladies besides just our babies and gotten the chance to love on Connor's sweet friends and have these gals love on my little one. No matter how much you hear it, it is still music to my ears to hear someone tell me how sweet or cute my little one is. 

I'll be doing a follow-up post on how I went about "picking up" my new friends. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Stay at Home Mom-ing: A Whole New World

So in case you haven't been stalking me on Facebook (and why wouldn't you be?), I am now staying at home with the baby. I loved my job very much and definitely miss it, but I'm so happy and at peace with my decision to stay at home. (Something that I was quite terrified I wouldn't be. I was fairly focused on my career the past 6 years and let me tell you - it has definitely been a change in pace, well, everything.)

I've been home with him for almost a month and am trying to get in a routine. So, on my first full day at home with Connor, we did lots of fun things, but after an hour or two I kind of didn't know what to do with the little guy. So I took to Pinterest and Google to figure out what the eff I should be doing. (I want to make sure he's learning and discovering and hitting all his developmental milestones.) 

Apparently, I'm not the only one wondering...

We were doing a majority of the activities listed (tummy time, practicing sitting up, grasping, "talking" etc.) but I definitely learned a few things. Like singing. Apparently, music time is important to baby's development. So, I pulled out the ole iPad and turned on a little Baby Einstein station on Pandora. While we started off strong, singing about Wheels on Buses and Mr Sun, Sun, Mr Golden Sun, the wheels (not the bus wheels, but the metaphoric wheels) really fell off when Pandora kept spewing out the most fantastic collection of Disney songs ever... I'm pretty sure I blacked out singing, and when I came to - in the middle of Aladdin's "A Whole New World" - Connor was looking at me like, errrrr.... Mom?

But I was all like:

So, I've learned to reel it in with the singing. But other than that, we stay pretty busy! We eat, play, nap (well Connor does, anyway), send Daddy selfies while he's at work, go to the gym/Fun Club at the gym, have play dates and this fall, we have a host of activities like various moms groups, books and babies at the library, etc.

Don't worry, we are keeping busy. And if you feel the urge to ask me what I do all day, just Google it.   ;-)

P.S. And now my blog has totally come full circle as I'm actually "playing house" now.

Monday, July 15, 2013

You've Been OutMom'd

The Scene: It was the day before 4th of July. That would be July 3rd. I read in Connor's school's newsletter that parents were encouraged to dress their children in red, white and blue to celebrate, so of course, I picked out a red, white and blue outfit. Nothing fancy - to be honest, I generally put him in "play clothes" to go to daycare most days (onesie and cotton pants) because I want him to be comfy.

So, I walked into the school with Connor, but when I entered the Infant Room, all the teachers were crowded around a rocking chair taking photos. Everyone was absolutely dying over this little girl, Harper. Freakin' Harper. So when the crowd parted, I saw a little 9 month old girl dressed in a head-to-toe red, white and blue lace romper. And to top it off, she had the most ginormous "flapper style" headband I've ever seen on a tiny body. It was some Toddlers and Tiaras-type shiz.
Pretty sure I was all like:

(Note: I'm not knocking putting a little girl in lace. Heck, if I have a daughter, you can bet your bidness she'll be wearing bows and ruffles. But for daycare?)

And how am I supposed to compete with that? Poor little Connor was like chop liver in his Target onesie and pants. I was surprised they didn't just throw him in his crib so they could finish the photo sesh with Harper. I mean, the only way I could even compare to this spectacle is if I dressed Connor in an Uncle Sam costume - complete with a red, white and blue suit, a top hat and full beard. Actually... <<scribbles down note for next year...>>

A few hours later, I'm wrapping things up at work and I see the weekly newsletter from Connor's school come across my inbox, so I open it up and (throw some salt in the wound) who do I see in the newsletter? Effing Harper. Really it was just an adorbs picture of her, but as my eyes glazed over, pretty sure this is really what I saw...

I think I've just been outmom'd.

Harper's Mommy: 1
Connor's Mommy: 0

And for the record, this is Connor on July 4 (his "real" 4th of July outfit)   ;-)

Friday, June 28, 2013

"Mom Brain"

Everyone tells you about it - pregnancy brain. In fact, apparently, it's a real thing. I used the excuse during pregnancy, but I'll tell you right now, I did not really lose my brain until I had Connor.

We'll call this "Mom Brain." Imagine me very annoyingly saying in a fake cheery voice, "Mom Brain!" In fact, lots of mommies have mentioned this "mom brain" phenomenon to me and they all say the same thing about it, "You never get it back!" (Your brain that is...) I find it super-annoying, but sadly, true.

I've been having trouble remembering things - like, one morning I got all packed up and got Connor to his school only to forget his bottles. Yeah, he probably needs those. The next day it was my laptop bag. The next day it was my cell phone. Lucky for me, I've never forgot the baby!

And then one day at work, I was looking all around my desk for that bag of Cheez-Its I'd been noshing on. Where the eff did they go? It took me about 5 minutes to realize that the bag was in the trash can because I'd already ate them all, like 30 minutes before.

And that look the random guy at the office gave me the other day was likely NOT because I was proudly rocking my pre-pregnancy pencil skirt. Pretty sure it was because I forgot to snap my nursing bra back after leaving the pumping room at work.

Hey, crazy. Pull it together.

But he's totally worth the loss of my mind, don't you think?

Straight up Strollin'

Tummy Time

That face.... melt my heart.

3 Months Old