Friday, March 25, 2011

New Digs

We are buying a house. We weren't looking to do it. It sort of just...fell in our laps. It's next door to my parents house, which happens to be where we live.

We really want something out in the country with a good bit of land. But since we won't have that for a while (maybe never) this will do quite nicely in the mean time.

It's a gray house with blue shutters and white trim, in the city, and it needs a lot of work. We are getting a construction loan to do the fixing up that needs to be done. If the red tape for a standard mortgage is like the Smokeys, for a construction loan, it's like the Rockies. But it is so worth the deal we are getting. It's going to be a lot of work, but in the end we will have a beautiful finished product. A brand new kitchen and downstairs bath, upgraded upstairs bath, freshly painted walls and refinished hardwood floors throughout. We don't know how long we'll be there, but it's not hard to imagine raising a family there.

We have four months from close to get the work done, which puts us around the middle of August that we will be able to move in. In the meantime, since it's right next door, we already built our chicken tractor. We will hold off getting the actual chickens until we have a fence, which we are hoping to do right away. By that time Malachi should be starting to toddle around, and he will enjoy exploring his new digs.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Babywearing Troubles and...the Solution

For the last few months I was a little frustrated in the baby-wearing department. Until a couple of months ago, I used a Moby almost exclusively and loved it. But then we got to a point where It just wasn't working for us. Malachi didn't nap as well in here anymore. He wasn't happy facing in when he was awake. When I put him facing out he reached for everything and the material stretched and it became unsafe. Back carries aren't safe in a Moby. I needed s new carrier.

So I got a ring sling. Love it. But I quickly discovered that it's not right for us at this stage either. The front carry requires the legs to be in, which Malachi is not okay with. So side carry is pretty much it. And he is just to busy and feels too confined for that most of the time. You can do a back carry with a ring sling, but most people prefer other carriers for that, and its kind of tricky to get in place.

So I came to the conclusion that the carrier for us (right now) is a mei tai. It's an Asian style carrier that you can use in front or back. It offers a lot of support and is quite versatile. The are a little pricey, and I had already spent money on the ring sling that we are more or less shelving for now.

I wasn't sure what to do. I was thinking about making a mei tai and started researching that. Then, one awesome day, I remembered was super-productive and sent in the tag for a recalled Infantino bag sling that had been handed down to me. Lo and behold, one of the replacement options was a mei tai! Needless to say, I was stoked.

It came in the mail within about a week, and now we are rockin' out the baby-wearing again.

(Don't worry. I moved him to a front carry right after taking the photo.
Isn't it cute, though? He obviously is comfy enough to fall asleep!)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What I Am Doing (and Why I am Doing It)

The last post got me thinking. What if I actually tried to do some of this stuff? Well, I already do some of this stuff, but I'm not consistent with most of it. And other things I don't do at all. The other thing that got me thinking was my college friend (I use the word loosely. I don't know if we ever spoke in college, but I read her blog now. I totally have a mom crush on her and we have a lot in common!), Melody, decided to do a 30 Things in 30 Days series, where she tries to...wait for a list of 30 things for 30 days. I know that was hard to follow. Anyway, it kind of motivated me too. I figured if she could do it, with two kids, one of whom is younger than Malachi, so could I.Mine hasn't been as organized as all that. I pick and choose what I want to do day to day. But let me tell you, not having the pressure of *having* to do these things because I said I would has made all the difference. Let me tell you what I've done in the last few days:
  • Cleaned out the fridge (I won't even tell you how long its been since that's happened. I'll just say it was on my Before Baby Arrives to do list, and it never got done).
  • Sorted through a bunch of junk to take to good will.
  • Created a junk drawer instead of a whole junk desk in our living room. Baby steps.
  • Put a little basket in the kitchen for random junk that piles up. So my put-away pile is all in one place instead of a bunch of stuff strewn about.
  • Read to Malachi a lot more --and he's really starting to like it!!!
  • Drank my water a lot more consistently (this one's really important for my milk supply, and I have really seen a difference).
  • Done the shakedown most days before Joshua gets home. Oh, you haven't heard of the shakedown? Well, let me help you. You'll love this, mommies.
  • Started drinking decaf. It's relaxing. It's a treat. It warms my insides. It makes me feel like I've got it together when I can manage to brew a cup of coffee during the day.
  • Worn real clothes during the day and bed clothes at night. (Novel thought!)
  • I have made a few cups of coffee for Joshua, and gotten together a few of his lunches.
  • I have napped during nap time less, bring it to rare instead of occasional. Which is how I've gotten all this stuff done!
  • I have more frequently had dinner on when Joshua comes home, instead of handing him Malachi when he walks in the door and starting it then.
  • I have done a much better job of keeping our living spaces clean and free of clutter. I'm finding myself picking up more throughout the day, but never feeling overwhelmed with the mess.
  • We've had people over several times in the last few days. The house has gotten increasingly more organized each time, and even after a party last Saturday night, I was able to get things back into shape pretty fast.
What else?...
  • More pampering for Joshua.
  • I've been flossing my teeth more. Not twice a day, but once, most days.
  • We've had more music playing.
  • I've done a little better about taking my meds, but it still needs to be more consistent. Maybe I can set an alarm.
  • I tried playing the guitar once, but Malachi was awake and sabotaged it. I'll try again during nap time.
  • I haven't gotten all the clothes off the floor yet, but some days I've been helping Joshua get an outfit together the night before, so that he doesn't wake Malachi up while looking for his belt or whatever.
  • I haven't had my phone on me, but I have found it is easier to locate it when there isn't a bunch of clutter around for it to get lost in. Amazing.
So I'm pretty tickled with myself. Just to be clear, my motivation is not perfection, or praise, or good feelings. It's this guy:

I was reading something a friend wrote on a forum that I frequent. I will summarize. I want my children to see an example of the kind of adult I want them to be when they grow up. I want him to see a capable, strong person with a balanced, well-managed life. I want them to see that I give myself and my family what we need to thrive, not just exist. I want them to see an example of servanthood. I want them to see that my life has the same priorities that I want for their lives. NOT that things should be clean. But that we take care of ourselves. We organize our lives in such a way that we can focus on our priorities.

After being pregnant for 9 months while working full time, and then having a baby, a lot of things fell by the wayside. You kind of get used to living a certain way. But now that season of my life is over (for a while...), I'm learning to make choices that will make us all feel better.

So, with that said, one area that I almost completely neglected in this list, is the self-care area. Aside from the coffee and the daytime clothes, I haven't made much progress in the goals that have to do with self-care.

What I'm realizing is that at this stage of my life, its not that I don't have time. I have managed to clean, organize, blog, watch television shows, hang out with friends, and still have time to spare. It's that for whatever reason, I put myself at the bottom of the list of priorities. I haven't gotten up early, read my books, played my music, had girl time, or incorporated the daily office. I have blogged a little, but I haven't posted what I've written yet. So, I want to work on that area.

This has been a good exercise for me. I thought I didn't have time, but I was wrong. I know there are people who really don't have time, but I'm not one of them. There are others like me, who have the time, and maybe just need to re-prioritize things a little. I have felt very positively about the changes I have made, like I'm really acting in life, not just reacting. That's a good feeling.

What I Would Do

I am always thinking about the choices I wish I made every day. I often make goals for myself, but I don't often keep them. That's not to say I don't change my behavior over time. I do. I'd like to think that I am becoming a better wife and mother. But I fall so short of my goals. The reality is that what I want for myself in terms of goals is unrealistic. So today, when I had the choice to make more goals, I decided against it. I decided instead to think about the ideal me: what I would do if I could. Just for fun. Maybe this will help me see that it is utterly unrealistic to be this person, and at the same time, motivate me a little to meet one or two of these goals.

So, here goes nothing!
  • I would wake up before Malachi and maybe even Joshua.
  • I would spend time in quiet prayer and meditation in the morning.
  • I would sit and enjoy a book with a cup of hot coffee or tea.
  • I would shower, fix my hair and take care of my skin daily.
  • I would get my hair cut and colored on a regular basis.
  • I would get dressed in a presentable outfit instead of staying in the clothes that I slept in and...wore yesterday.
  • I would make my husband's morning coffee and get his lunch ready.
  • I would make my bed.
  • I would spend some time moving every day, whether a walk, a swim, or hooping.
  • I would spend some time outdoors each and every day (maybe not if it's below freezing).
  • I would write on my blog most days.
  • I would plan my dinner menus.
  • I would keep our living spaces free of clutter and spend 15 minutes a day organizing something.
  • I would clean for four 15 minute stretches every day.
  • I would read for 20 minutes a day.
  • I would spend 15 minutes reading to Malachi every day.
  • I would spend 20 minutes playing the guitar or piano every day.
  • I would not nap at nap time. Instead I would work toward meeting the above goals.
  • Malachi and I would bike to the post office and library.
  • I would have music playing most of the day, but not during nap time, when it would be silent except for the hum of the dishwasher or washing machine.
  • I would say evening prayers from the daily office with Joshua and Malachi.
  • I would take evening walks with my little family.
  • Joshua and I would read together after Malachi goes to bed.
  • I would pamper Joshua for 10 minutes each evening (he loves this!)
  • I would unload/reload and start the dishwasher every night before bed.
  • I would take the time to put on pajamas before bed.
  • I would have a bed time and stick to it.
  • I would keep my nails nice (in other words STOP biting them).
  • I would floss my teeth twice a day.
  • I would drink 100 oz of water every day.
  • I would take a multivitamin and other helpful supplements religiously and remember to take my pills at meal times.
  • I would have dinner going before Joshua gets home.
  • I would have coffee or similar "girl time" with a friend every couple of weeks.
  • I would have lunch planned on Sundays so that we could invite guests over after church a couple times a month.
  • I would keep the laundry put away and clothes off the floor so we can always find what we want to wear.
  • I would have houseplants because my my life would be balanced enough that I would remember to keep them alive.
  • I would keep my phone on me at all times and answer it w every time my husband calls (this one is for his benefit).
  • I would have a special place for my keys, purse, cell phone, and iPod, and I would never lose them and I would keep the elctronics charged up.
  • I would put things away when I was done with them.
  • I would go on a date with my husband every week, even if it was just for coffee.
  • I would grow a garden.
So, what would you do? What is the "wish list" in your head that you wish you could accomplish?