Tuesday, March 30, 2010

We're Staying?

Brendan came home last night and told me he's staying at his job for another year.  Which is nice, I guess, but now we're in limbo for one more freakin' year!  The good news is that we don't have to worry about where we'll be this summer, and we are looking for a new place to live that is NOT in Ypsilanti.  We hate it here where we are, it's trashy and far away from everything and every time someone in our building takes a shower you can't hear anything above the roar of the water.  So...onto a new place.

You know how hard it is to find an okay place here for less than $1000 a month???  Seriously, people, we're in Michigan, not a big city!  What's with all the houses being $3000 a month to rent?  We found a couple prospects on craigslist last night, so we'll see if we hear back from anyone.  Hopefully we will, because we're giving our notice tomorrow, giving us exactly one month to find somewhere new to live!  Nothing like a little pressure, huh? 

So, today is all about paying bills, figuring out money for moving, finding boxes, and starting to pack!!  Unfortunately that means I'll be finding things to donate to Salvation Army and then we'll go drop it off and end up buying a couple bags of different crap!  I just love thrifting. 

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Part of Things

This weekend I took Ingrid to the Easter egg hunt at a local park.  The whole morning made me realize how awesome it is to be a part of things wherever it is I live.  We went to a little restaurant coffee shop to meet up with friends, and who should we see in the parking lot but other friends that were just leaving!  We chatted a bit, then went inside to get some muffins before venturing to see the Easter bunny.

After coffee we went to the park and met some more friends, and as we were walking around I heard my name being called.  It was someone from our apartment complex, the woman who helped us with our lease when we moved.  She has always been super friendly and when she sees us she calls us by name.  So sweet!  And I saw a few moms I recognized from story time at the library.

When I got home, I was just feeling so good about how we moved here not knowing a single person a year or so ago, and now I can go out to a community event and run into people I know.  It just makes me feel confident that once Brendan gets his job and we move, we'll be able to make our lives comfortable and meet new friends, no matter where we are. 

My new daydream is small town living.  Brendan applied to a job about an hour north of Milwaukee, so we'd be close to friends and family but not have to live in the city.  I have realized since having Ingrid that I don't want to live in a city.  I like the idea of museums and such, but I hate the noise and the traffic.  So this small town is close to a city but far enough away that we would be able to have a house with a nice back yard and a small little downtown.  The town is right on Lake Michigan, and the houses--oh my god!  They are so inexpensive!  Theoretically we could buy a house way sooner rather than later, and actually get a house we liked, rather than one we could just afford.  And with a small mortgage payment we could travel, which is what we want to do.  The town is also close to our favorite state park and other hiking areas.  The more we talked about it the better it sounded! 

But again, every time Brendan tells me a place he applied to, I look up where the town is, what the house prices are, go look on craigslist to see what kind of rentals they have.  And I start thinking about how it would be to live there and I can find a list of positives.  I have gone from Colorado and the mountains to Southern California and palm trees to small town Wisconsin and Lake Michigan and I can see us living in all the places and having a good time.  So we'll see. 

Wherever we end up, though, I am excited to meet new people and start to make our lives there.  No more limbo, I want to know I'm going to live somewhere for more than a year...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sewing Like a Real Person

Usually my philosophy on sewing is that it's going to just be for me or a friend and who cares if it's a bit wonky?  But since I've started selling things on etsy, I have to make sure it's worth the money I charge, you know?  I don't charge much simply because I know I have a long way to go before I would feel comfortable saying they deserve tons of money...But awhile ago I got a book from the library, the Sewing Bible I think it was called, and it was so interesting to read about sewing.  Like a real seamstress like person. 

Patterns were never my thing, I eyeballed everything and slapped them together and it came out pretty cute but I was always jealous of things like darts, gathering, and fancy things I couldn't figure out how to do.  I just opened a pattern I'd had forever and tried it and holy cow!  It worked!  And it turned out so cute.  I still have to get a serger so I can make the inside seams look nicer but as it is, they look way better than they used to. 

So I got brave and tried yet another pattern, this one with lots of different new things. I had to do buttons and button holes, sew on bias tape, do gathering stitches.  As it was my first and just for Ingrid anyway, I did do it a bit wonky, as usual, but it's practice and I learned what to do better next time.  And apparently it turned out cute, because after I posted the picture to Facebook, I had three people ask me if I could make one for them!  (You can see the pics here.)

We are off the library again today and I'm looking forward to getting that book again and perusing to see what other little tips I can glean.  And one of these days I'm going to get a pattern from oliver + s or heidiandfinn and make something really adorable and I will be so stinkin' proud of myself!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I've Gone All Hippy

Thanks to all the wonderful blogs I've been following the past year or so, I have gone all hippy.  Cloth diapering, cloth mama pads, thinking of homeschooling, using slings, breastfeeding baby #2 if I can (and for longer than six months, thank you very much.)  It has been so gradual that I hadn't noticed it much.  And then I talked to old friends and realized how much I've gone over to the crunchy side!

Number One:  Slings.  A friend of mine is very pro stroller, and I respect that.  I was trying to tell her how awesome slings are and how babywearing is so great for the baby.  She just isn't into it.  And then she found the warning about bag slings and said for sure no.  Not for them.  I thought back to when I was pregnant for Ingrid and I'd never even heard of a sling.  I spent hours and hours researching strollers, it was an obsession!  And then we got a front pack and I never used our stroller anyway...And then we got slings and carriers and I just loved them so much.  I loved the feeling of having Ingrid right there, she'd lean back and look at me and smile, I'd kiss her every five steps. 

Number Two:  Cloth Diapers.  I have tried to convince so many people that it's really not that big of a deal!  Again, when I was pregnant I thought about using cloth but the upfront costs really made it seem impossible.  It wasn't until I started really looking at things that I realized that you can do it pretty cheaply, and you can do it part time, and you can get a stash little by little, you don't have to have all 20 diapers at once.  And washing and poop, they are not a big deal.  You get used to it.  And after spending $600 on disposables, I cringe thinking of how many awesome organic diapers I coulda bought with that money!!

Number Three:  Paper products in General.  I use cloth pads now.  It's just a given that with using cloth diapers I suddenly saw how silly it was to use disposable pads.  We also don't use paper napkins--I have cheap washcloths we use, and I just started thrifting some cool old cloth napkins.  I used to think they were for fancy dinners, I don't know why it never occured to me to use them every day!  We also don't use paper towels, which doesn't seem like a big deal to me.  We haven't used them in years.  But a maintenance man came to fix our dishwasher and asked for a paper towel.  I said we don't use them and he gave me such an incredulous look!  But I thought about it and duh, why would you use papaer to soak up a spill?  We don't dry ourselves off with paper bath towels do we?? 

Number Four:  Breastfeeding.  I did not breastfeed Ingrid.  I don't regret it one bit.  She grew and grew and she's smart as hell, and she hasn't had a lot of sickness at all.  But...for baby #2 I am going to do everything in my power to breastfeed him/her.  For one, it's so much better than shelling out $20 for a can of formula that smells and stains everything!  And it's easier to stick a boob in the mouth than fumble around for a bottle and measuring the formula at 2 in the morning.  And one thing I got defensive about with my friends was extended breastfeeding.  I have to admit that when I first saw people nursing their toddlers and tandem nursing, I was freaked out.  I just never saw it before.  It was weird to me, it was different, and I just didn't get it.  But after seeing it around it seems normal to me.  Like why not nurse past six months?  Why stop it at one year exactly?  What's wrong with nursing past what someone deems normal?  This was something not one single friend of mine agreed with me on!  They all thought it was gross, and the mother being selfish not wanting to give it up.  And unneccesary, why not just give the kid "real" milk?  I was really quite surprised, as my friends around here in MI nursed their kids as long as they wanted, they never seemed in a hurry to stop, and were actually sad when it did stop.  It seems strange to me to just stop it and give a kid cow's milk instead of human breast milk...

So there you go, I'm a crunchy hippy and I am proud of it!!  Thank you so much to Sarah and Gina and Sunnymama for showing me a different way of being a parent.  It has helped me be the kind of parent I want to be!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Can You All Just Stop, Please?

Hey everyone, quit having babies!  I swear to god, the past couple weeks every single blog I follow has had a post saying Mama is preggo...Not that I'm not happy for you all, because I am!  But I'd be a whole lot happier if I were at least trying myself.

Brendan is in the process of applying for jobs.  He is stressed out.  He is only 90% sure he wants another one.  So, we are talking about baby #2 once he gets a job, maybe.  It's kind of driving me nuts, I want to just start trying now.  He's going to get a job, I mean, he's got a phd in chemistry.  He'll get a job!  So I'll just be a few months pregnant when we move, no biggie. 

Can you tell I have no patience?  Which is funny since my mind changes a lot about having another one.  It's pretty much set to baby #2 though, especially after the other day when Ingrid saw a baby in a stroller and was all like "hi baby!  hi baby!"  I can just imagine her with li'l bro or sis, being the big helper. 

So yeah, we're a few months away from even being able to try and it's driving me crazy.  We got lucky with Ingrid, she was our first try.  But I just have this feeling we won't be so lucky next time.  Which is silly, because I didn't think I could even get pregnant and we did right away--why not the second time around, too??  I'm an impatient worrywart, such a great combination...

So anyone who's pregnant, I am happy for you!  I'm just going to be crabby about it until it's my turn :)  Sorry.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Having Fun Sans Baby

Brendan and I are in Milwaukee right now.  We left early Friday morning, had a nice leisurely train ride, read books, and got in about 2:30.  We hung out with Brendan's mom for awhile, then met his dad at a restaurant down on the river for a fish fry.  Ahh, fish fry.  I find them so funny--I'd never heard of them until I moved here, then they became so normal to me, and now that I'm away from Wisconsin they are an oddity again.  I opted for an enormous greasy burger instead, and it was good.  We were in bed by 8pm, for real!  I got the best night's sleep in so long, it was so nice not to have to worry about hearing a call for "Mama?  Water bottle, Mama?" 

Yesterday was amazing, we got coffee and Brendan's dad brought us cinnamon rolls (which is why I gained so much weight when we lived here--he does that all the time!!!) Then I went to meet some friends for brunch.  I had the whole top section of my suitcase filled with little girl clothes and some homemade goodies for my friend Katie who is about to pop!  We had bloody maries and fresh donuts (see, seriously, fat Amber!) and sat and talked for a couple hours.  I miss my Milwaukee friends, it was so nice to hang out with them again.  Then my friend and I went thrifting and to this crazy store that is stuck in time.

Dretzka's is seriously a blast from the past, I went there for the first time last year and I fell in love.  It's a cavernous store that has anything and everything from the 1950s on.  With old tags, old prices, and lots of dust and mold.  It is so strange, but I found some great things there--little girl's gloves, knee socks, and a huge stash of old cards from the 50s and 60s.  Last time I went I got invitations to Ingrid's birthday party, so I did that again this year.  And I had to get some baby announcements for if we have #2...I had to!!  They were so cute, and there were SO MANY of them.  You know the little tiny ones they used to give out, with a picture of a baby on the front and some little poem on the inside and you write down the date, time and weight?  The ones I got have a baby on a rocking horse, they were adorable.  Now Brendan just has to get a job so we can start working on baby #2 ;)

After Dretzka's I came home to take a great nap, again, not having to worry about anyone interrupting me!  Then we had dinner with the folks, and drinks with some friends.  Along with a lot of sweets, there's a lot of drinking beer here.  It's not just a stereotype!

Today I'm off to get coffee with some other friends, then Brendan and I are going to search for a wee sized baseball hat for Ingrid--baseball season is coming up and she needs a Brewers hat to show her Milwaukee pride! 

We have had such a good time, it's been so relaxing and fun, and I know that Ingrid is in good hands with my mom.  Thank god for grammas, thank god for friends, and thank god we're only going to be away for two days, I miss my little girl immensely!