Wednesday, April 16, 2014

More Favorite Things

I dislike a lot of things. And people. And situations. But also, I like some stuff. Here is some more of that stuff.

source
Yogi Bedtime Tea

I love to add a little honey and lemon to this and drink it while I watch Downton Abbey on my laptop after Bug is asleep. It keeps me from snacking, which I am wont to do while I watch tv, and it just seems somehow apropos. And it's really delicious. I don't have a tea kettle or any fancy, loose-leaf steeping whatzamahoozits. These little bags do the trick. And maybe it's just a placebo things, but I really do feel like the tea helps me relax and fall asleep more easily.


My Kindle Fire

My beloved Kindle died last fall, so for my birthday in January, Husband bought me a Kindle Fire. I love it. I keep it in my purse most of the time and it's great to have while Bear is in Shakespeare group or her tumbling class. I use it for audio books, too, which is VERY handy when I'm at the dentist or while I'm sewing.

Speaking of sewing...


My sewing machine and new (to me) sewing table

I used my sewing machine a LOT last fall, making handmade Christmas gifts for about half the people on our list. When we moved I had nowhere to put it and it sat in a tote, lonely, while my stack of projects-in-waiting piled up. I recently went on Craigslist and found the perfect table to set up in the guestroom. I can leave my machine set up all the time, except when we have guests, at which time there is a spot for it inside the table.


Amazon Prime and Hulu

When we moved, Husband and I decided it was the perfect opportunity to cancel our DISH service for good and see how we liked getting by with streaming services. It's WAY less expensive, and while there are some conveniences we've had to forgo, it's working really well for us. We have an X-Box and a Wii, so we can stream our shows to both TV's. I usually watch on my laptop with my headphones in. And we can access our accounts on Husband's iPod and my Kindle. And the desktop. It's basically awesome.


Those are some of my current, favorite things. They all make my life simpler and more enjoyable in some way, which is really all I want these days.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Update That is Not Really an Update but Kind of....or Something

As you all (and by all, I mean both...) know, we're in the throes of house-selling hell at the moment. The good news is—and I am knocking on wood here, with every knock-ready body part I have, including my head, which is rather painful and is making me a little dizzy and I should probably just stick to using my knuckles from here on out—we are under contract.

We've been under contract for several weeks, but these things have a way of going south rather quickly for any one of about ninety-three different possible factors, so I have avoided writing about it here because Jinx is a nasty bastard.

Now that we've had our inspection and appraisal and have agreed on a satisfactory deal with our buyers, I feel like I can breathe a little. Not that something couldn't still happen, of course. A good eighty-five of those ninety-three potential Bad Things are still possible in the two weeks and five days before we are scheduled to close. But we ARE scheduled to close, and I need to celebrate that. As of April 23rd, if the Universe doesn't decide to nut-punch us, we should no longer be homeowners. And then we can move on with our financial goals because we will no longer be sinking large amounts of money into a house no one lives in.

Remember when our living room looked like the photo on the left before our yard sale? Good times.

Our buyers have been really great. None of the little hiccups we've encountered in this deal have been their fault in any way, and their inspection requests were completely reasonable and affordable. Imma leave them flowers and cookies in the kitchen when we close.

So that's it for now. I am going to go back to holding my breath for a few weeks. If you notice I've turned blue, just let it be.  I'll take another breath on April 23rd, when the ink begins to dry and the keys have been handed over.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Things that I am doing

It's on the market, for real! Someone please buy it!
I hate moving. I love having moved. I hate unpacking. I love having unpacked.

So with that in mind, unpacking has been the name of the game for the past three weeks. It took awhile, but we finally got the kitchen up and running, so we are eating real food at home instead of the disgusting-but-somehow-still-delicious fast food crap we'd been eating for weeks. Baked chicken tenders never tasted so good.

Settling in has been challenging, but we're getting there. The house is great, bigger and much better suited to our family's needs than our old house. The kitchen is smaller, but we've adapted by buying a free-standing pantry and microwave stand to free up some space. They fit perfectly in the dining room and we can use them in the garage when we build our house in a few years. We went with function over form, so they're not gorgeous show pieces or anything, but they suit our needs for now.

Husband is enamored of the wood burning stove in the basement. He's had a fire almost every night since we moved in. I am enamored of how much light comes in during the day. I can get up and open window shades and not have to turn on any lights until early evening.

The dining room and living room are still full of boxes, because some of our furniture was left at the old house for staging purposes. So we have no couches or dining table for the moment, which sucks, but hopefully we'll get an offer soon and can have our furniture back.

The kids are adjusting well. They love their rooms and Husband and I love ours.

I did a pretty big round of decluttering when we packed up to move, and I've been doing it again as we unpack. I took two boxes to Goodwill last week, we unloaded some things on Craigslist and Freecycle, and I'm nowhere near finished. Husband and I agreed that we both want to live in this larger house with less stuff. We are not afraid of empty shelves and drawers. In fact, we're hoping for them. I feel no need to fill every nook with more crap I have to keep track of and clean.

So that's where we are at the moment. I'm perpetually exhausted, especially since we started back with our lessons last week after a five-week (MUCH needed) break. But it's good. We're finding our rhythm again. The kids are developing a routine and so are Husband and I.

Once we get the boxes unpacked, I'll take some pictures of the new place and show you around. Sorry for the boringness here. I am fresh out if wit and humor at the moment. I'm pretty wiped, actually, but it's good. Good stuff.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Another open letter to Mother Nature.

Dear Mother Nature,

How you doin'?

You good? You seem tense. Pent up. Frustrated. Verklempt. Depressed.

Bitchy.

Yeah. Remember a year and a half ago when I was trying to have my yardsale but you kept boo-hooing all over everyone? And we kept having to rework things and I had so much stuff piled up in my living room that I was one cat carcass away from my own episode of Hoarders? But we talked it out and we got you some anti-depressants and things were good?

Let's revisit that. Because my house has been on the market for just over a week now and temperatures have barely risen above freezing in that time. We've Polar Vortexed. We've exceeded snowfall averages. We've kept all the potential buyers hiding in their cozy apartments instead of checking out my awesome house.

Stop being such a twat.

It's time to pull up your big-girl underoos, put on some mascara and a pair of heels, get a fresh haircut, and stop the tantrum. It's hard to feel sorry for you when all you ever do is complain. Pull it together, and keep that groundhog on notice. Keep the sun in front of him at all times or you will basically be an accessory to murder when I hunt him down.

I hate to be so blunt about this, but I have no time for shenanigans, balderdash, or other such nonsense. I need to get my house sold and move on with my life. Let's do lunch this spring, maybe up at Devou or along the river somewhere. But until then, you've go to buck up.

Yours in Girl Power,

Jen

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

We've moved!

As of January 1st, we are in our rental home and the house we own is being prepped for sale. The HGTV addiction I had during my pregnancy with Bug is coming in handy with all the painting and the staging and the whatnots, we have an awesome realtor, and the house officially goes "on the market" tomorrow!

I'd say more, but omgthereissomuchunpackingandcleaningandpainting
andstufftodoandiamexhaustedandihavenothinglefttogivesostoppressuringmeasshole!

I'll post pictures when I have some. In the meantime, send me some house-selling vibes and I'll update when something other than box-opening and wine-drinking is going on.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Movin' on up...

So. Moving Day is Wednesday. The house is very packed. The lease has been signed. We have a listing date for our house. It's all real, for super realsies.

That means we really did just celebrate our last Christmas here. I cooked the last big breakfast I'll ever make in my kitchen, baked the last pie, chose the last paint color. Things I've done dozens of times here are done now.

And it's fine. I am definitely feeling a little nostalgic, but I'm a nostalgic person. I have a very strong sense of place. For some people it's smells or sounds or particular sights. For me, memories have always tied most closely to places. So selling the home my children have known their whole lives is a little disconcerting, but it's also absolutely the right time and the right decision.

Anyway. There's a TON of stuff to do around here once we get all our crap out to prepare it for potential buyers, and I'm dreading the process but thrilled about having it done. Once we sell this house we can take a step back and just be for a few years. We can stop living in limbo, our stuff half-packed, our plans uncertain, in a neighborhood we hate and a house that's too small. A major source of stress will be no more.

We'll spend 18-24 months saving like crazy people so we can build our dream house in the boonies. We'll have a daily routine that is not dictated by home repairs and the stress of an uneasy housing market. I can get my toddler out of my bedroom and into his own. More than one person can poop at the same time.

We can just breathe. I really need a few years to just breathe. Probably not during the simultaneous pooping, obviously. That is not the right time to focus on breathing.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Why We are so Super Strict about Media

I actually wrote most of this post over a month ago, but this awesome article I read today inspired me to finally put it up. If you finish this post and still don't get my beef with tween-centered media, read the article for a far more eloquent and thorough examination.


She was a Minecraft Endergirl for Halloween—not iCarlybot or Hannah Monwaverlyplace or a Hey Jessie Labrat or whatever.
My daughter has a natural gift for acting. She can slip into a persona and sustain it so easily that it's shocking. She loves performing and trying on a character, just like her mama, except that she has more natural talent than I do. And this is a very cool trait. If she pursues acting with any real effort, I believe she'll find success and have a wonderful time.

The other edge of this sword, however, is that it tends to carry over into her daily interactions. Bear has always been a story teller. She doesn't maliciously or vindictively lie. I have never, ever known her to make up a story about someone to get them into trouble. She makes up stories about herself, inventing tales about long-lost pets, her dramatic birth in an airplane over Germany, a baseball team's worth of brothers and sisters who do not exist...and she SELLS IT.

So while I admire her natural talent and flair, I am not okay with the telling of tall tales for attention. I've tried to help her channel her creativity into her play and her writing, and it has definitely helped (as has being called out and embarrassed a few times by the people she was spinning faslehoods for).

The thing about Bear is that she is very, very susceptible to media influences. I think part of it is because of her natural gift for trying on different personae. But we have to be very careful about what she is exposed to, because if something looks like fun to her on tv or online, she will quickly adopt traits of the characters and run with them. We don't like her to watch shows about kids who are older than her and are dating and disrespecting everyone in their path. And that is pretty much every kid on every show on Disney and Nick. My ten year-old daughter sees these things and strives to emulate them. And she has friends who do that, too, which makes it even harder to combat.

Our longest struggle has been in trying to help her understand romantic relationships and their unrealistic portrayal on television. She think she's supposed to have a boyfriend, or at the very least, a crush, regardless of what she hears from me. Her friends all have crushes. The kids on tv build their entire lives around their crushes and boyfriends and girlfriends. So she began with the "dating" and "boyfriend" talk a long time ago.

My personal challenge in all of it has been in striking a balance between discouraging age-inappropriate talk while not invalidating her feelings. I don't think it's unusual for a young kid to have little crushes. Those feelings are real. But because of the influence of media, she believes they are far more significant than they should be at her age. This means that we have finally reached a point where I have had to just flat-out ban certain words and phrases from her vocabulary.

And keeping her away from the shows we disapprove of is next to impossible. While they've all been banned in our house, this is not the only place she spends time. Her grandparents have respected our request that she not watch that stuff at their house, but she hangs out with friends, too. And I cannot tell a mom or dad that their kids can't watch tv while my kid is there. There's also a lot of pressure from her friends to watch certain things. Not in a mean or bullying way; just in an enthusiastic, "why not?", we-have-to-talk-your-mom-into-letting-you kind of way. The latest battle over this was Teen Beach Movie. It's not that I'm worried about it being filled with sex and violence. It's just that my daughter cannot relate to a single thing in that movie, but she will try. And she is too young for those personae.

It's a very tricky path to walk, but fortunately being a "mean mom" comes pretty naturally to me, so I stick to my guns. Husband and I are in complete solidarity on this, which helps. He might even hate Disney Channel more than I do.

I'm not here to preach. No one should feel the need to defend their decision to let their kids watch whatever. It's none of my business. This is about my kid and her needs and I have no interest in parenting anyone else's kids. So take this for what it is—an explanation of my stance, not an attack on anyone else's.