"If we hope to create a non-violent world where respect and kindness replace fear and hatred, we must begin with how we treat each other at the begining of life. For that is where our deepest patterns are set. From these roots grow fear and alienation or love and trust."
Suzanne Arms

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Infantino Sling Rider Recalled . . . Finally!!!

Y'all may have already heard about this (been trying to blog about it for days but my internet connection is still in and out).  After being told by some babywearing 'experts' for years Infantino has finally recalled their "bag" style sling, the SlingRider, on Wed (3.24).  The video above is from our 'local' fox station.  It is an excellent report giving good accurate information, plus Ann Marie is wearing a Kozy . . . gotta love it!!

Anyway, it was a voluntary recall, and probably as a result of the CPSC's warning about slings. Here is information from Infantion about their recall http://service.infantino.com/SlingRider.pdf  Here is a statement from Infantino.  Apparently, they are replacing it with their mei tai (yes you read that right) or another baby product.  Their mei tai doesn't look bad actually (haven't tried it, but it 'looks' ok) though on their site they say they have been working with 'babywearing experts' for 15 yrs . . . kind of curious who those experts are, LOL!!  (as I am sure there are experts I don't know ;0)  But anyway, they do have a link to The Babywear, which is excellent.  And bringing Mei Tais (even if they were inspired by those of us who made them 'popular') to the mainstream is a GOOD thing . . . so I digress . . .

As I explained in my previous post about Babywearing Safety the issue is with 'bag' style slings specifically, not all slings in general.  Information on how the design is flawed, as well as some O2 studies done with the SlingRider specifically, can be found HERE

While the recall is wonderful, and it is long overdue, it brings with it, yet again, issues surrounding sling safety in general.  Not all news stations or papers are reporting as accurately as the one above and people are getting confused and slings are bring misrepresented.  I have heard from vendors who have been contacted by distributors about 'nationwide recalls of all slings' and people are still getting hounded by strangers about their slings being recalled and dangerous! It is impacting business, not to mention the overall view of babywearing. It is insane!! 

Though Kimber (creator of the Ball Baby Mei Tai) who is working on the upcoming Babywearing Conference (at which I am teaching and amazingly the key note speaker . . . go figure, LOL) gave me a new perspective.  Apparently the conference and babywearing in general is getting more exposure and if we can turn things around it may end up being a positive thing afte rall (God works like that sometimes ;0)

We need to keep doing our best to educate the public about not just babywearing but the safety of slings in general.  They are IMO safer than most baby products.  I was reading a mainstream baby magazine the other day (maybe Parents?) which listed that there were 14,000 injuries from strollers last year!!  In comparison, we are talking about 14 infant deaths from slings in 20 YEARS!!  Don't get me wrong, any death is horribly, horribly tragic, and to that parent that lost a child it is the most profound thing in the world.  But if we put it in perspective as to overall safety and risk . . . well geez, 14 deaths in 20 yrs is not enough to label something as 'dangerous'. And for baby products (think cribs, car seats, strollers, walkers, even toys) those are not bad odds (is that horrible to say, even if it is true?).  If you take out things like user error and poorly designed products (like the SlingRider) our numbers would probably be closer to 0 in 20 yrs.  Life itself is full of much greater risks.  I mean shoot, in 1999, 64 people were killed by lightening!!  There is an interesting 'death chart' HERE Including things like how many people die from falling, or drowning, or exposure to hot tap water!  Kind of makes you wary of simply waking up every morning.

On another kind of interesting note . . . on Wed the term 'baby sling' was one of the most searched on the yahoo website (or something like that).  So Charlie noticed and clicked around and ended up on the Wikipedia "Baby Sling" page.  Imagine his surprise when he saw, at the top of the page, a picture of HIMSELF, wearing Arah in a Maya Wrap ring sling (if I remember right, that is what it looks like) at the 1st Babywearing Conference in Portland in 06!!  Too much!!  It is the first picture on the right.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spaghetti Tacos

If any of you have older kids who watch the show I Carly then you know what these are!  I don't know what took us so long to make them but one day Charlie just said hey, lets make spaghetti tacos!  So of course the kids were all about it!

I had wanted to just do them like regular tacos, but put the spaghetti on the bottom. So it would have been spaghetti with tomatoes and lettuce and cheese on top etc. (maybe some salsa too, who knows) but Charlie thought it best to just stuff tacos with spaghetti.  He was probably right, well meaning that surely the kids would prefer that.  So that is what we did.

We cooked up some regular spaghetti, added to it sauce and ground beef and mixed it all up in a large bowl
Then we took some hard taco shells and stuffed it with the pre-mixed spaghetti, and then sprinkled some cheese on top.
That's it!  Super easy!

The kids LOVED it! (as you can see below) It was a fun meal and it was surprisingly good.  I mean it was really good!  Who would have thought that spaghetti in taco shells would be so tasty!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Let me whisper my last goodbyes . . . I know, it's serious!

I try to stay away from posting political stuff . . . mostly because I don't really enjoy debating it online (in person is a bit different . . . though I tend to get a bit worked up either way, LOL).  Being a born again Christian, you can probably guess what my political opinions are ;0)

So rather than waxing poetic about all my many thoughts on current events I will simply share some profound words from Queen Amidala . . .(wow, Star Wars . . . who knew it was so prophetic). 
"So this is how liberty dies . . . with thunderous applause"
If any of you ARE interested in political commentary from a Conservative Libertarian perspective, with a lot of wit and sarcasm, my husband Charlie has a great blog that is mostly political.  And I will say he is (and always has been) a very talented writer!  In fact much of what he writes is over my head, LOL!  (meaning my mom brain can't comprehend it without having to read it a 2nd or 3rd time, LOL).  So I prefer to leave the irrevrent, politically incorrect rants up to him . . . Virtue and Tyranny

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Safety of Babywearing

OK, first my rant, then practical information, LOL!!  All the pictures in this post are me wearing newborns properly.
(me wearing my newborn niece in my favorite Wrapsody wrap by Gypsymama)

There have been a slew of news reports lately about the safety of wearing your baby in slings. You know I find it kind of ironic that we have to even discuss the safety of the ancient art of babywearing in an age where we speed down the highway at 60mph on a daily basis!  I mean babywearing is almost as old as giving birth!  For as long as women have been having babies they have been tying them onto their bodies with whatever they had handy so that they can go about their work while meeting their baby's needs.  You don't often hear mainstream moms and 'professionals' calling strollers, car seats or cribs dangerous (minus of course any recalled our outdated items).  But babywearing (not the norm in our culture, thus people are suspicious of it) is often ignorantly questioned in regards to safety.  How about runaway strollers, babies crawling out of car seats which were placed on high surfaces, falling off of changing tables etc.?  These accidents are chalked up to 'user error' with no screaming to condemned these baby 'gadgets' as inherently dangerous (after all, without a crib where would baby sleep?).  I am not even going to get into things like stairs, the cords from blinds, pots of boiling water on the stove, buckets of water in the garage, pets and many other things that tragically cause the death of babies and children every year.

 My day old niece in a custom Kozy

All of the babywearers I know can relate to being stopped by 'well meaning' people who are freaked out that our babies are either terribly uncomfortable, going to be dropped, or can't breathe.  And if it isn't one of those 3, then we are spoiling them (I need a little eye roll face to insert here).  Somehow it is overlooked that perhaps the safest (not to mention the most natural) place for our babies to spend the majority of their time is right next to our body!  Though I will say, it is almost hard to blame people for the ignorant thinking about babywearing.  It is simply a cultural thing here in the US (other countries and cultures view it differently, just as they do things like co-sleeping, extended nursing, elimination communication etc.).  It is also peoples inability to think naturally, or even outside of their mainstream, society constructed box.  Perhaps some day babywearing will become the norm here and no longer viewed as a 'fad' or something that is inherently dangerous.

Same niece as above, a few wks old in a Didymos (right)

I remember the time I was in a restaurant with newborn Thrace.  I had a man stop me asking if my baby (covered in a wrap) could breathe in there.  I very kindly turned to the side and showed him the opening on the other side, through which he could see Thrace's precious little sleeping face.  My last 2 newborns fussed unless they had their heads tucked in the wrap (and if I tried to unwrap their head, they usually woke up) so though their heads are covered, I would make sure they had a clear airway in front of their face.  My first instinct is to tell these people . . . no, my goal is to smother this child that I prayed for, that I carried for 9mo and spent 24 hrs of natural labor and 2 hrs pushing out and whom I love much more than YOU could ever imagine.  Of course I didn't say this and by the end of the conversation (talked to he and his wife for probably 15 min) I think I had a babywearing convert, LOL!!
I would think that it was nice for all these strangers to be so concerned with the well being of my babies, but in reality a lot of these people are just busy bodies who are nosy and relish in the negative.  Don't believe me, just look at the obsession we have with reality TV!

Wearing Thrace 5 wks in the type of wrap mentioned above this one is a HugABub

Sure, certain aspects of babywearing may look questionable (like throwing a baby on your back in the parking lot, having them covered in fabric, or having a sleeping baby with a dangling head, which inevitably happens when I have a baby on my back in a wrap) but I am of the opinion that while I try my hardest to make babywearing look good for the skeptics (and I do, ask my friends, I am SUPER picky about how I look babywearing) there is only so much I can do.

 (left) 4 wk old Thrace in one of my favorite wrap brands, Gypsymama

But enough of me ranting about our ignorant societies views on the ancient tradition of babywearing.

I am mostly writing in response to the statement released by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warning about slings.  It is absolutely horrifying to think of any baby dying or being harmed while being worn.  But unfortunately it has happened, though as was stated, most of these babies were either premature or 'compromised' in some way or another (and I often wonder if any had been vaccinated recently, but that is for another blog).  Regardless, any death or injury is tragic regardless of the circumstances.  This is information that really needs to be shared.  People need to know what slings are good and the proper way to use them.  As a manufacturer my goal is to help parents and babies to bond, to make parenting easier and babies happier and this is the goal of all the other babywearing manufacturers I know (and I know a lot).

 2 wk old Ever in the Bei Bei

Basic one shoulder slings are the target of this specific statement as are babies under 4mo (which is why I have pictures of me wearing newborns throughout this post).  It is actually well written for the most part and has good information.  The downside is that it gives more fuel to the fire for those who already, in their ignorance, viewed babywearing as unsafe.  (hence my rant above) And the news stations have picked up on the story and there have been numerous reports and stories both on TV and online spreading misinformation.  You know how things get started and kind of snowball out of control and leave me yelling at the TV or computer trying to 'right' the 'wrongs' which is such a pointless action since I know they can't hear me (but I just can't help myself).  There are now moms who will abandon any though of babywearing and the many babies who will now end up in strollers or buckets away from the arms of the ones they need most.  I have already read far too many comments from moms whose friends and family are using this recent statement by the CPSC as justification their negative comments and thoughts on babywearing.  For those adamantly against babywearing, a statement like this is sure to be used to discourage it in favor of less intuitive, less attached and nurturing forms of transporting baby around.  And I for one do not believe that strollers or buckets are safer . . . babies in our society need to be drawn closer to us, not pushed further away.

When it comes to slings and safety, the issue is almost always user error. If a sling appears unsafe, or if a baby gets in a compromising position it is not the sling at fault, because they can be used correctly. Most of the slings and carriers on the market are well designed.  There is only 1 type of sling I know of that is a poor design and full of flaws and that is the 'bag style' sling like the one made by Infantino (among others) and can often be found at big box stores.  This link explains the issues and the inherent design flaws http://babyslingsafety.blogspot.com/   These 'bag' slings though are vastly different from your basic ring sling or pouch which are not structured and which have fabric that can be moved around to get baby into a good position.  And it is easy to do, especially if you have good instructions to follow.  What is unfortunate is that the word "sling" is being used as a sweeping term to describe any 1 shoulder carrier, and they are NOT all created equal.  Even consumer reports is not recommending slings because of the issues with the Infantino Sling Rider, which is as I said, a bag style sling which has design flaws and is vastly different from a ring sling or pouch.  Until people become educated about babywearing and see it as a viable option (not a crazy, hippy trend) there will always be misinformation and misunderstandings.

Wearing 2 wk old Arah in a Kangaroo Korner lightly padded ring sling

Safety is an issue, and it is an extremely important one!!  But the bottom line is that slings are safe . . . period!!  Providing good detailed instructions and warnings to reduce the chance of user error is something that is in the forefront of every vendors mind, along with of course, providing a well made and structurally sound product that is absolutely safe.

So the questions are . . . how do you know you have a good sling and how to you use it properly?

Finding a good sling.

It isn't hard to find a good sling.  Like I said above, most slings are safe to use, the only type of sling I know of that I cannot recommend is the "bag" style sling shown in the link above.  But despite the fact that most slings can be used safely, some brands are just easier to use and adjust and made better than others.  A well fitted pouch, ring sling, mei tai, wrap or structured carrier should be able to be used properly without any concern as to the safety of your child.  There are plenty of smaller wahm companies that make excellent quality products.  Occasionally there people selling online (usually places like ebay and the like) who may ignorantly be using inferior materials or stitching, it isn't super common but it does happen.  If you are concerned about the quality of a product then look for names from reputable companies with positive reviews and feedback. Companies that are well talked about and trusted.  Just because you can find a sling at your local WalMart or Target doesn't mean it is superior to one that is only sold online.  There are plenty of wonderful products and businesses that can't meet the low prices or manufacture in the high numbers required to be carried by larger chain stores.  Many of us wahm's who have started businesses did so out of necessity and the slings and carriers we make were designed by trial and error with our own children.  Though many wahm companies have grown quite large (hotslings, Ergo, Maya wrap just to name a few) the basic foundations are the same . . . slings and carriers designed for moms by moms, not by a large corporation.  Most of us started out with 1 goal in mind . . . to help moms wear their babies.  Anything else that may have come from starting a business has just been icing on the cake!
If you are looking for a good sling you can find information and reviews for slings at The Babywearer

Ever reclining in a KK adjustable pouch. (above)  Notice his back is straight, head up
Tummy to tummy in same brand, different color (below)

How to properly wear your baby

A note on Personal Responsibility

Personal responsibility has often been overlooked in many areas of our society today.  But ultimately, that is, or should be in the center of everything we do and all the choices we make. Life is about taking responsibility for our actions, from the moment we wake till our head hits the pillow at night.  We make a million choices in a day, some of them are without any thought (do I put my left or right leg in my pants first?) some require a split second decision that is made instinctively (do I pull out into the road now or wait for that car to pass?) others require forethought and some knowledge or education on our part (how do I position my baby in this sling properly?).  This is not to be overlooked when wearing our babies.  A manufacturer can only provide you with a good sound product, directions and warnings, you have to be able to follow the directions and seek help if you have any issues or questions.   We can take responsibility by making sure we are using these products correctly.

I like to provide info on any and all possible ways to use the Kozy so that you, the customer has full information and options.  Some manufacturers don't give info on things like, how to put a newborn on your back, but I like to trust that people will take the info I provide and use it responsibly. 
This is precious cargo we are carrying.  It doesn't mean we have to be fearful.  It doesn't mean you can't try that back carry you have been wanting to try.  It simply means that you think logically.  If you are inexperienced, uncomfortable or unsure you make sure you have someone spotting you and you try new carries while sitting down.  Babywearing correctly is easy and if it isn't intuitive at first it becomes so once you get used to it.  There is nothing more natural and nothing safer than carrying your baby!

 Days old Ever nice and high and snug in the Kozy

Any good sling company should have detailed instructions on how to use their product correctly as well as warnings of what not to do.  Of course we should be cautious that we are carrying all ages of babies and kids correctly, but the dangers being addressed and cautions below apply more to specifically newborns and young babies.  These are overall 'rules' that apply to all carriers as well.  I'll list a few here, but much more detailed information can be found at the links below
  • Make sure your baby is in a good position.  A good position means that the baby is not all balled up with their back curved and their chin on their chest.  It is hard for them to breathe in this position and a newborn may not be able to lift their head to get a better airway.  Readjusting the baby's position or the sling (taking up slack) so that baby's chin is up and back is flat is important and it is fairly easy to do.  They should be held firmly against your body.  Personally, I prefer a tummy to tummy position as opposed to lying down, even with day old newborns.  I find it more comfortable, easier to monitor them and easier to assure proper positioning.  This can be done in most slings and carriers where you can adjust the fabric to pull them in close to your body. 
  • Make sure you can see baby.  I like to wear my newborns up high on my chest where they are easy to monitor.  Usually I will choose tummy 2 tummy but even in more of a reclining position, you should be able to have them up high enough (their bum above your belly button) where you can easily monitor their position and breathing.  Lowering them to nurse is fine, just make sure you can monitor them while they are nursing and reposition them up higher after they are finished nursing.  I have nursed newborns plenty of times in ring slings, wraps, and the Kozy with no issues.  If you are doing a back carry with a newborn you should be able to get them high enough on your back where you can see them over your shoulder.
  • Make sure the baby has an airway.  Most people say to keep the fabric off of the face, and this is good general advice. But like I said above, my newborns would fuss those first few months if they couldn't tuck their head in my wrap.  However, despite the fabric being over their head I was easily able to make sure they had a clear airway with no fabric lying over the front of their face or obstructing their access to fresh air, which is most important.  You just want to use common sense and make sure they are not re-breathing air which can cause problems.
 Days old Ever in the Kozy.  He had just finished nursing and fell asleep.  I didn't raise him all the way back up this time, but I did make sure he was positioned correctly with chin up.

Another good ring sling carry with 2 wk old Arah in a Zolowear

    Here is the Position Paper from the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance.  It is good, accurate information on just how safe babywearing is, and has many professional testimonies to support that!!

    Here is an excellent article by M'liss (she wrote the babywearing 101 article for Mothering's babywearing issue) with lots of pictures on the correct, and incorrect way to position baby in various slings and carriers.

    Jan from Sleeping Baby has recently put up a page about not only the difference between good slings and the potentially dangerous "bag" slings (complete with pictures of the different brands of bag slings) but she also has info on how to properly wear your ring sling.  You can find it HERE.  Make sure you pan down to the bottom of her page.  She has a PDF she made up of business sized cards you can print and cut out to hand to those ignorant, but well meaning strangers or family members who have seen these news reports and question the safety of your sling.
    Excellent job Jan!!

    Babywearing International's Safety Page

    I wanted to send out my thanks to the many babywearing vendors (and friends) who have been working extremely hard, spending their time and money for the past year (or more) traveling to ASTM meetings working to develop sling safety standards that will apply to all slings and carriers.  They are there representing all of us smaller wahm's and manufacturers (as opposed to the big mega corporations who produce babywearing items) so that our voices, thoughts, opinions and carriers are not misunderstood and we are not overlooked. Their work on this is priceless!! 

    2 wk old Thrace in the Didymos

    Tuesday, March 9, 2010

    Our family bed . . . how we make it work

    I have been asked over the years how we work out our co-sleeping arrangement with all the kids in 1 bed.  Right now we have all 5 in the bed with us (pictures below).  The older 3 (5,7, and 9) would probably be fine sleeping in another room together if we encouraged them to do so.  They often do when they have friends over and they LOVE camping out in the living room, just the 3 of them.  But their room is upstairs and ours is downstairs and I am not comfortable with them so far away at night (keep thinking, what if there was a fire or something? I need to be able to get to them quickly).  They don't seem too keen on sleeping on another floor either, and often, even if they have a friend over, 1 or 2 of them ends up back downstairs with us.  So right now they still sleep with us.  When we move in the near future and their room is across the hall, we will probably encourage them to sleep there if they feel they are ready.  But they are always welcome in the bed with us anytime.

    I LOVE co-sleeping!  There is nothing like a big bed full of people all snuggled together . . . so cozy!!  It took me about 6mo to get used to it after Xian was born.  I never slept with anyone as a kid, not until I got married did I share a bed.  Even as a kid, the short time I shared a room with my sister we had bunk beds. In high school I slept sideways on my bed, I loved to spread out.  But it didn't take long to get used sharing my space with others.  Charlie seems to enjoy co-sleeping too (he isn't much of a talker but has never complained and occasionally when he doesn't know I'm looking I'll see him looking at a sleeping baby next to him in the bed with a smile on his face).

    Yes, we get kicked in the head often (several of the kids are VERY wiggly) and yes I often have a kid lying on top of me at any point in the night.  Sometimes you wake to find that someone has flipped completely around and their feet are in your face, LOL!  but you get used to it.

    When Xian was born we had a co-sleeper.  I never used it.  Well I did use it to hold my water and diapers, but he slept next to me.  Depending on what side I needed to nurse him on, he would either be next to the co-sleeper or between Charlie and I (I would just move him at night as needed).  We had a queen size bed then and it was big enough.

    Then when Piper came along Xian took his place between Charlie and I and Piper was on the end.  We bought a king sized bed shortly before she was born, and we put mattress and box springs on the floor.  I always either have the mattress pushed up next to the wall (with a rolled up towel in the crack)  or I have something beside the bed at bed level, so that I don't have to worry about baby falling off.  Another reason why I like to have a barrier there is so that I can put baby closer to the edge of the bed, to make more room in the bed for everyone.  I learned to nurse on both sides without moving baby, if needed (all my toddlers, were/are also nursing so I didn't always need to nurse the baby on both sides at night because the older kid would nurse in the morning upon waking anyway)

    When Arah came along we built a frame next to the bed that would hold a crib mattress and make it flush with the bed so that it was level, like an extension of the bed.  Xian moved over there, on the other side of Charlie, Piper moved to the middle between us, and Arah was on the end.  Are you picking up a pattern here?  LOL!!  Everyone rotates when a new baby comes (usually I move them a month or so before the baby comes, so they get used to their new spot).

    So when Ever was born we replaced the crib mattress with a twin mattress and pushed up flush with our king sized bed.  Xian moved to the end of the bed, Piper moved to between Charlie and Xian, then Arah was in the middle and Ever on the other side of me.  Piper and Xian were both on the twin bed, though Piper usually ended up on top of Charlie (she really likes to cuddle).

    I was not sure if we would all fit when Thrace came along, but we do!  Xian is on the end, Piper is in the middle and Arah is next to Charlie (usually he is like in the crack between the twin mattress and the king, and he also likes to cuddle).  Ever is between me and Charlie and Thrace on the other side of me. I had pictures of everyone asleep in the bed, except me, so I had my mother in law take some pictures of all of us shortly after Thrace was born.

    Thrace is on the left, then me, Ever, Charlie, Arah, Piper, Xian

     This works great for us.  We are all used to lying close to each other and the kids think nothing of it.  They are also used to random noises at night (like a baby crying) or Charlie getting up earlier or whatever and typically they sleep right through it (though Xian will often get up earlier if Charlie does, they all don't) or if they wake they promptly go back to sleep no problem.

    There is really nothing sweeter than crawling into a bed full of sleeping kids.  Sometimes I walk in and see them sleeping with their arms around each other.  Right now I am sitting in bed typing this with them all asleep around me (Xian just mumbled something . . . he is always talking in his sleep, and Piper rolled over and cuddled up with Arah).

    I know it may seem inconvenient.  It has been years since I have been able to cuddle with Charlie. But the way I look at it . . . the kids are only small for a short time.   They only need us like this for a short time.  They grow up and move on so quickly and considering how busy the day can get, it is nice to spend every minute with them, even if it is the middle of the night.  And frankly it doesn't get any more peaceful than this with everyone in 1 room, LOL!!  Plus if they need anything, if they wake from a bad dream, if they are feeling sick (like Piper just a while ago woke to tell me she had a stuffy nose, then she promptly went back to sleep . . . I think she is catching my cold) then we are right there.  I remember a handful of times crawling into bed with my parents at night after a bad dream.  I never felt so safe!  I love the security it provides them while they are little and need us.  I love how it brings us close together.  I will enjoy being able to stretch out in the bed again some day, not being woken multiple times at night, being able to cuddle with an adult again.  But for now I am loving this stage of life with little ones in the bed and I am trying to cherish it as long as it lasts.  Besides, after the kids are grown Charlie and I have the rest of our lives to spread out in this big bed.

    OK to recap . . . how we make it work . . .
    • We have a King size bed, the mattress sits on the boxsprings on the floor.
    • We have a twin size mattress built up to sit flush with our king size mattress, for 1 big bed
    • The baby always sleeps next to me on the end of the bed
    • I always have the bed next to the wall (with a rolled up towel in the crack) or have some type of barrier next to them so that they can lie next to the end of the bed, so we don't waste any space
    • The next to youngest sleeps between Charlie and I
    • The 3rd youngest sleeps on the other side of Charlie
    • We progress up from there so that the oldest is on the other end of the bed
    • Considering they are all around 2 yrs apart, each kid gets approx 4 yrs sleeping next to me (from newborn to age 4) and 4 yrs next to Charlie (from age 2-6) and 2 yrs sleeping between the 2 of us . . . wouldn't you have loved that as a kid!!

    Thursday, March 4, 2010

    I'm back!

    Sorry I have been MIA for the past few weeks.  Get this . . . my "high speed" was out!  (note I put "high speed" in quotes, because calling it that is questionablee).  You know, I can function fine as long as the things around me function, but when my "high speed" goes out or the computer quits working . . . it is extremely frustrating . . . because I don't really have the time or mental energy to put towards fixing it, but I HAVE to have it!!  So for 2 wks I was using dial up, and with only 1 phone jack in the house . . . it was not only slow but difficult.  It is painfully slow, I mean surfing the net . . . forget it, and I am stuck in the kitchen where the phone jack is.

    I use Hughesnet, which I have always hated, because their daily limits are so low that the kids can't even play online games without tripping the Fair Access Policy and then they shut me down for the day.  Oh plus the fact that I will have no signal for days if we have fog or anything (which we have a lot up here).  And I have had to call them numerous times for 'problems'.  But you know when you live in a remote area you are really limited to what you can use. 

    So I ended up calling them, which I hate with a passion.  Basically I can never understand them which is fine unless you have background noise of kids, then it is me saying "excuse me, can you please say that again" like a million times!  I feel like my head is going to explode!!  I was on the phone for like an hour and 1/2.  I have to plan ahead, I had the kids upstairs playing and Thrace had just gone down for a nap.  Well with me gone he only stayed asleep for 20 min but he was fine and playing in the room with me so that was no problem.  But the kids only lasted 45 min (which was REALLY good for them) then they were in the room, being loud, trying to talk to me, climbing on the computer (that I am working on because they have me doing all this stuff on the computer to troubleshoot, redirect the signal etc.).  I must have told the guy to hold on like a dozen timw.  CRAZY!!  Basically they told me that they don't service my unit but they do service the upgraded one.  But I didn't upgrade because I didn't want to have to sign another 2 yr contract (I don't want to be stuck with them for 2 more years). So I could try to find someone locally to come out and see what the problem was (because we couldn't figure it out on the phone).  Ummm, I think NOT (not paying for that!)  They thought the dish was pointed wrong or something.  And I pay $60/mo for this!

    Anyway so 2 wks I have NO signal at all.  Then a few days ago, out of the blue, it starts working again!!  It has gone off once since then for a day (it WAS foggy) but so far so good!!  So I am praying it keeps working, at least till we move.

    Anyway during those 2 wks we tried a Sprint mobile hot spot (which is really a cool little device) but I couldn't get a signal up here anywhere in the house.  We could still try the Verizon mobile hot spot if my Hughes craps out again.  It also has a limit but if you go over they don't cut you off, just charge you more.  And it is wireless and will run 5 devices (you have to be within like 20-30 ft).  I really wished it worked because I really wanted to drop Hughes.  Ah well, at least I am back for now.


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