Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It's Not Bad Weather...

...it's just "challenging." This is what I read on Fiona's blog the other day and I really loved it. I love the midwest in the summer, but there are times I hate it because of its bad weather. Like how you have to enjoy being outside because you can only do it three months of the year. But if I look at it as challenging weather I can still go out in, most of the year opens right up! Really there are just a few weeks in the summer when it's too hot, and a couple weeks in the winter when it's super cold and you'll get frostbite just looking out your window. The rest of the year may be chilly or warm or rainy or sunny, but you can go out in it. This has changed my whole outlook on life in the midwest!

I used to look at rainy days and sigh. Dreary days put me in a dreary mood. They meant staying in and getting bored or being lazy. But the other day, for example, it was rainy all day long, but the dog still needed to go out. So we put on our rain coats and walked over to the dog park. Cody chased his ball, Ingrid splashed in puddles, and we survived. We dried off when we got home, changed our jeans, and had a snack. It's possible to have fun in the rain, who knew??

Today it looks dreary but Ingrid and I had to go back down by the lake to look for Cody's missing collar. Sometime during yesterday's walk he got tangled in a tree and it came off. So, no matter what the weather was, we had to go down there to find it. Coats on, stroller ready, dog on leash, and off we went. It was chilly and damp, but not rainy, and Ingrid and I had a great time. Cody got to run, we found the leash, and we got to enjoy a really super fall day with no one else around.

This is one of the things I've heard others talk about: if you go out during "challenging" weather, no one else will be there and you'll get the whole great outdoors all to yourselves! Fiona took the girls to the zoo--no one there, unlike a hot summer day where there are tons of small people running all over, and the hot sun making everyone cranky. Sarah has written about going to the park on a rainy day and her girls having the whole park to themselves. How wonderful!

Little shifts in my perspective have helped me be happy in my situation instead of longing to be somewhere else. It's a problem I've had my whole life--wanting to be somewhere else. It's usually been centered on the weather, too. "It gets too cold here, I hate it here. It's too rainy, I hate it here. I want sunny days, I hate it here." While I DO hate winter and snow, and the midwest still isn't my ideal living situation, I am here, and I have to make the best of it. Now that I can look outside and still find the ability to go outside and do things no matter what the weather, it's made it that much easier to live here. For now. I still would like to live by mountains. One thing at a time, huh?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Can't We Just Buy a House?

Yesterday we went to look at a couple apartments. I hate living in apartments. I am sick of moving all the time. We've moved four times in the past six years and are contemplating moving twice this year. It sucks.

Our apartment is nice in that it stays fairly warm during the winter. It's been pretty cold and we haven't had to turn on the heat yet, which is nice. Our old apartments were drafty old things and the curtains would blow in the wind when the windows were shut...And we have a gas fireplace which is cozy, and the walls are painted nicely and they have a dog park Cody adores. But it's so stinking far away from everything! I had to go to Target and it was a 15 minute drive. Just to pick up toothpaste. And I've mentioned how great Brendan's commute is.

So we looked. There is a nice part of Ann Arbor that is close to everything: right off the freeway, walking distance to Whole Foods, REI, stores of all varieties, the mall (not that I ever go there, but if I did, it would be in walking distance!) How nice would that be to be able to walk over to the store to pick up milk? Or take a walk with Ingrid to get lunch? And Brendan would be just down the street and be able to get home fairly quickly. But the apartments were a bit smaller than ours and cost $200 more a month...with no dog park for Cody, and no heat included. Hmmm.

I guess I just wish we would've known the area when we moved here. Moving sucks.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My Letter To Parents Magazine

I'm just sitting here minding my own business, paging through the latest issue of Parents magazine, when I come across something that just pissed me off. On page 92 there is this sweet little article about "Saving Dollars on Diapers." Clip coupons, buy in bulk, buy what's on sale. Not one mention about cloth diapering! Hello, you want to save money, use cloth diapers! It made me so irritated that I wrote the following email to them:

I was just reading the latest issue and came across some tips on how to save money diapering your child (page 92.) I cannot believe you never mentioned cloth diapering!! Using cloth diapers saves tons of money. Say you buy 20 brand new one size diapers, say each diaper is $20--there's $400 to diaper a child from birth to potty training. Add in the minimal cost of washing diapers and you still are way less than the $2000 it says one would spend on disposables. And that's a very high estimate for the cloth-many diapers come in around $16 each, and moms like me buy gently used ones for a fraction of even that cost. Cloth diapering has come a LONG way from diaper pins and plastic pants, and I think Parents magazine needs to step up and show it! Cloth diapers are cute, better for baby's skin, easier to use than most seem to think, and not a bit messier than a disposable. Plus you get to reuse them and save money. I would LOVE to see your magazine do an article about cloth diapering!

Thanks for listening,
Amber Liddle

Seriously, cloth diapers are NOT crazy! When I said I was going to check them out, so many people said I was crazy, I even thought I was crazy because I was thinking it would be old timey diapers with pins. Things have changed, people!! Hopefully someone will read this and maybe I won't even be the only one that wrote in about it. To me it just seems like a major oversight to not include cloth diapering in an article on how to save money...What do you think?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Babies and Toddlers

I've been on the fence about having another one, right? The other day when we went to see our friend's new baby, I jumped over to the side of not having another...Not to say that I'll stay there, seeing as I was pro-one from the day Ingrid was born until she turned one. Then I thought it would be nice to have a brother or sister for her. Then we traveled on a plane and I went back to wanting only one. I change my mind easily, it sucks.

So Tuesday we went to our friend Heather's. She has a two month old, Olivia, and I was really excited to see how Ingrid reacted to her. Ingrid could've cared less, I don't think she realized it was another human. She was way more interested in the dog that was whining at the back door. When she did see the baby in the swing, she had a fun time taking the blanket off and then throwing it back on, watching it land on the poor baby's face. On a positive note, Olivia seemed to find this very entertaining and smiled the whole time.

The a-ha moment was when I was holding Olivia and feeding her a bottle. Ingrid came up to me and whined and cried and tugged on my leg. She tried to take the bottle out of Olivia's mouth, and did whatever she could to get my attention away from the baby. I know tons of moms do this, but I don't want to!! I hate having my attention drawn in six different directions! I love to be able to pay all my attention to Ingrid. I know I would just get used to it, much like I got used to nights of no sleep and other horrible things from having the first baby, but I really don't want to...

Knowing my personality, I think I would do much better just having one and doing it all for her than trying to spread myself out over two kids. People think because I was a nanny before having Ingrid that I must just love kids and want a ton of them, but they are wrong. I love kids, one at a time. I watched two little boys while I was pregnant. One went to school for most of the day, leaving me with the other. I had two hours after school where I had both boys and it was the hardest time ever. I watched them over a weekend and I thought it would take another week to recover. Most of the families I nannied for had one child. I like having only one child to take care of.

I have been reading this book, Parenting an Only Child by Susan Newman. I really like some of the things she has to say. She goes through debunking myths of onlies being too dependent, being lonely, being demanding, wanting siblings and feeling like something is missing since they don't have one. And she also goes into what to say to people that think you're crazy for only wanting one, and how to deal with your own feelings when you question your decision. It's been a great way for me to sift through all the thoughts I have about family size and why I have these hormonal shifts in either being happy with one or longing for another.

What I have figured out is this: I don't want another person, I want to just go back to when Ingrid was a baby for a day or two. I want to relive her being immobile and cuddly and wanting to be held all the time. I don't want that full time, though, just a day or two. Like how puppies are so cute and cuddly, but they grow to full grown dogs--I just want to pet a puppy, not buy one. Yes, I just compared my child to a dog :) So, I think I will just enjoy other people's babies and then go home and enjoy my one and only.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Etsy junk

Stuff is happenin' at Applesauce Crafts!! I'm getting ready for the holidays by making some cute Christmas jumpers, and possibly snuggly flannel pants if I ever get back to Joann's for more flannel. Two blogs will be featuring reviews and giveaways from my shop, which is pretty exciting. Around the first of November Chari over at Take Time to Smell the Rose is hosting a giveaway, and sometime soon after that, Emi at the Cloth Diaper Report is doing her review. I am very excited and so appreciative of the opportunity to promote Applesauce Crafts and get the word out that I'm making cute things :) If anyone needs any Christmas gifts that are one of a kind and ridiculously adorable, check out my etsy shop!
Oh, and also, I'm thinking of adding these reusable cup holders for all the coffee and tea drinking mamas. What do you think? Part of me thinks if you want to be green you'd just bring your own mug, but on the other hand, this is way easier to carry with you than a travel mug, and every little bit helps. Hmm, help me decide, does the world need reusable cup holders??

Sunday, October 11, 2009

News from the Job front.

Brendan talked to his advisor a couple days ago, about his future and how long he'll stay at the University, etc. It looks like he will continue on at UofM until the spring, then start the job search and we'll be moving in the summer. Ahh, a sigh of relief to actually know what the next six months is going to bring!

So...now the question is this: do we move into Ann Arbor for the six months after our lease is up here, or do we renew here and then do a big move to wherever B gets a job? Pros for staying here: not moving until summer. We would have to move in January again, which is NO FUN in Michigan. It was -14 degrees I believe when we moved in. Yuck. Also, our stuff is here and unpacked and we're cozy here. I love our dishwasher, washer/dryer, fireplace, and the dog park.

Pros for moving to Ann Arbor: We'd leave most of our stuff packed up so less packing to do when we do our big move to Brendan's new job. Brendan would be able to be home earlier if he didn't have to do the stupid commute to Ypsilanti. Seriously, we don't live in a city and his work is about ten miles away, WHY does it take him an hour to get home??? I hate the traffic around here, it's worse than it was in Milwaukee, a real city! I would also like to be closer to the stuff that's going on in Ann Arbor. I hardly go there because it's just a pain in the ass to get there. If we lived there, though, we could actually do things like go out to dinner!

I am undecided. Moving means spending more money on a smaller place without laundry. I don't know if I can do that :) Pro and con lists suck, I can always see both positives and negatives and neither one seems to outweigh the other...Stay tuned, our saga continues.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

No More Bottles!!

We are on day two of no bottles and it seems to be going pretty well. Crap, I just jinxed myself!

We started two nights ago, after Brendan unloaded the dishwasher and had to put together all six parts of the bottle for each of the three bottles that were in there. I have been irritated with them as well, and had thought of not bringing them with us when we went on vacation in August. Then I decided I'd like to sleep on my vacation, so we kept using bottles. But as soon as Brendan made a disgusted sound and said he wanted to be done with bottles, I figured it was time.

I did not want to force Ingrid to give up bottles right at a year old. I couldn't see why I'd give up something that worked so well for us. She only ever had them at nap and bedtime, I just didn't see what the big deal was. I figured we would know when the time was right. I am so glad we waited until she seemed ready and we were both on board, I think it makes a big difference in how well it's going vs. how horrible it could be.

Ingrid seemed ready because she never really drank much of the bottle, just a couple ounces. And then she'd get up three times a night for a quick suck and go back to sleep. So she really didn't NEED it, it was more for comfort. Like I said, I was ready to be done with them just for the fact of how annoying it was to make sure we had all the parts to the vent system and the right flow nipples, etc etc. If there's a next baby, they're getting the cheap-o bottles that only come with a nipple ring and the nipple. None of this fancy venting system!! So I was ready, and then when Brendan said he was ready, it was time.

The first night was tough. Ingrid cried on and off for an hour and a half, but fell asleep after much singing and shushing and rocking. Yesterday at nap time she went right down, she could've cared less if she had a bottle. Last night she went right down, too, but was up a couple hours later and screamed for two hours! I offered her a sippy of milk, which she thought was very offensive. She threw a little temper tantrum right in my arms, hitting me and throwing the cup out of my hands and arching her back and yelling. Not fun. Today naptime, right down. Tonight at bedtime, she went right down. Let's see if she will stay down. I asked her very nicely before bedtime if she would please sleep and not scream in my face...Let's hope she listened.

I can't believe she's done with bottles. She is such a little girl now, she smiles at us with a mouthful of teeth, she talks up a storm, she's not a baby!! Where does the time go?

Friday, October 2, 2009

A Great Article

Holly over at the Cloth Diaper Experiment posted the link to this article. I think it's pretty funny when people try to say disposables are better than cloth or not as bad for the environment as some would have you believe. Yes, they are convenient sometimes, and yes, I still use them sometimes. But I would never say they are better for the environment than cloth diapers. That's just silly.