Thursday, February 25, 2010

Do we really need show lemons?

I've been struggling with a desire to buy stuff. Join the club, right? We moved in to our house more than a month ago and I've had it with bare walls. At our first rental we barely hung anything on the walls because I was afraid of making holes. Then I realized how easy it was to putty up a white wall so I hung lots of things up at our second rental. And about two months later, we moved. Grrrr. In with my father-in-law, who had just remodeled and, understandably, didn't want any holes in the walls. GrrrrrRRRR!

So now I don't care. Putty is made for a reason! So is white toothpaste! So I want stuff on the walls. I'm going to hold off on painting, which is what I really want to do. Makes no sense to invest in the walls on a month-to-month rental. But we sold most of our decor items in garage sales to make way for Jack and to consolidate our stuff to fit in my father-in-law's garage.

I've taken up a hobby, therefore, of window shopping on the internet, bookmarking things I want and things I'd like to have a cheaper substitute of on my Amazon WishList. It's kind of addicting. Side tables and art and bedframes, oh my!

My issue is balancing buying things I think are pretty with living within our means. I want to buy a print of a painting to hang in the kitchen, but wonder if I should just deny the urge and put the equivalent value toward our looming credit card debt? Does the empty wall bug me more than the bills? No. But it's just difficult for me right now to figure out where spending a little (or a lot) on making a house a home fits in our budget, or if it really matters.

I want a coat rack. Or at least a series of hooks on the wall by the front door. We want a full or queen bed in the guest bedroom, obviously. With that should come a nightstand. And a lamp. And a TV stand for the living room that actually contains the game consoles and wires. And might as well get a flatscreen tv, right? Kidding, kidding... Do I really NEED two prints of songbirds in the bathroom? Or another tablecloth?

In the movie, The Break-Up, Jennifer Aniston gets extremeley irritated with Vince Vaughn because he doesn't buy enough lemons to display in a bowl on the table as a centerpiece. Not lemons to use, necessarily, but to show off. Do we really need "show lemons" to make us feel content? Where does that fit in with bills? Am I buying something to make me happy, or look impressive? Hmmm...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sooooo sleepy

I have a bad habit of torturing myself with sleep or the lack thereof. On days off I sleep in until 9 a.m. (the absolute latest I can wait to get Jack up in order to hope for his decent bedtime). On days "on" I have to get up around 5:30 a.m. Think that messes with my stamina, mood or looks?


Monday, February 8, 2010

"He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe..."

" as good as dead; his eyes are closed." ~Einstein

It's odd that a moment of self-realization starts with something that I say. Normally it comes from outside sources, but not this week.

A little history before The Moment: John and I are systematically going through all the old episodes of The Office now that we have Netflix and can watch movies instantly on his Xbox (it's salve on the wound, since we didn't sign up for cable when we moved). John asked if I minded him turning it on one evening and I was initially a little hesitant, Jack (and I) having watched way too much Kipper and Thomas the Engine that day as I did (not do) chores. He argued, "I like watching the old episodes with you. It reminds me of the good times." I found myself saying, "These ARE the good times" and we proceeded to watch a couple episodes.

That little statement has affected how I've looked at everything since then. I hear occasionally that I should savor/treasure the moment, since time flies by so quickly. And no one really knows that more than a parent, because the growth of a child fills you with grief over memories gone and joy over new milestones reached everyday.

So I've tried to treasure the hours I spend with John and Jack, but even more so after this revelation.
--Even though I have more credit card debt than I ever thought possible after years of responsible spending in high school and college turned to foolish decisions and periods of unemployment.
--Even though the house we live in isn't our own when we'd so desperately wanted to buy. (Tax credit--helllllooooooooo?)
--The bathrooms aren't clean.
--The guest bedroom is used for storage and doesn't contain a bed.
--I'm still paying off bills from my little skipped-heartbeat scare from April 2008 (thank you Blue Cross).
--John has only one pair of non-work pants.

EVEN though our lives aren't perfect, this time won't pass again. Jack will not be 21 months forever and teething his second set of molars. He will not always intermix English words with baby babble. He will not always call milk "mnou" and raisins "way-saw." We will not always be this young.

But these are the good times, believe it or not.

Friday, February 5, 2010

They never told me it would be like this...

Life, that is. I don't even know who "they" are (but "they" seem to have an opinion about everything, don't they?). I have these moments or trends of self-reaization. I can trip myself out thinking about how people have lived their lives and died and I never knew them--entire lives spent without my apparent influence--which definitely starts making me realize how small and insignificant I am. Maybe not to those around me, but in light of the billions of people on this earth. My God is an awesome God just to get everyone's names right. I can't even remember what I ate two days ago or what I wore. Probably the same jeans.

But two days ago I subbed at Lancaster High, my alma mater. I graduated TEN years ago! I remember high school, but it doesn't feel like ten years ago, and yet it does. Just ten years is a milestone. I could go to a reunion, if there was one. I wouldn't, but I could.

[As a side note, I find it funny that every time I mention my age or how long ago I did something, I always get casual comments from Older People who tell me things like "Wait until it's been 30!" or "If YOU'RE old, then I must be ancient!" or "You don't know what age is, child!" There is always someone older out there. But I can experience joy and sorrow and amazement at my own life and how quickly it's passing. It is OH-KAY for me to do this, despite that I am ONLY 28, which is not an "ONLY" to me but a "REALLY????"]

Anyway, so I graduated ten years ago. That year, all the seniors had the opportunity to decorate a brick that would be attached to a concrete wall to make a mural of sorts. So I see my brick there, with my maiden name and it takes me way back. To anatomy class, cross country, an exboyfriend that (thankfully) dumped me two weeks before I graduated. [Don't pity me: the NEXT DAY I was introduced to John] All these parts of my life that felt like the entire world then and now are just a fraction of a percent of my life experience now.

And now I'm married and "babied" and while I am so happy, it doesn't feel like I thought it would. Not bad. Just different. Like I thought I'd become an "adult"--whatever I thought that would be. I'd feel responsible and be busy and dress different and feel mature. ...... Well, I'm busy. And I HAVE responsibilities, but I don't necessaryily FEEL responsible. Most of the time I'm shirking on some duty or the other. And I definitely don't feel mature. John may jokingly (?) tell me I am a "mature lady" but that's not what I mean. So it's foreign to me that I am cycling through these major stages of life without dramatically changing as I'd hoped/feared/expected.

So I don't really change dramatically as I go through life then? Not really. It's kind of like a new haircut I guess. New look, but still the same. Just a couple wrinkles here. A rogue grey hair there. A little muscle tone loss residual from birthing a giant. That weird bulging vein thing on the back of my hands when I let my arms hang at my sides that I marveled at my mom for. Good ol' cellulite. I think that's why life feels so foreign sometimes. I am essentially the same inside and yet my circumstances & body are so different than ten years ago.

What is different about your life now that you never expected?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cleaning house...

I really believe that God does work in our best interest. It's obvious. We really wanted that house on L-4 on 2.5 acres. We loved it, even though the house was very old and run down (the hallway wall was wavy!). We were excited about having space between neighbors, no lawn (save money on water!), the ability to go for walks without leaving the property and a fenced in yard for Jack and Brownie to play. Then the landlord said we couldn't use about 2.25 of the acres. And we couldn't park in the back of the house using the second gate that would have afforded us the luxury of not worrying if Brownie ran out in the process. And that was before we even met the ownwer or John even signed the lease. So it was great when Century 21 let me out of the lease.

Now we're four miles north of that area in a beautiful, newer house. Four and two. Nice neighbors on one side and vacant house on the other. Close to a school (which hopefully equals no child molesters nearby). Close to family. Much MUCH smaller property, but no real restrictions. That makes me very happy. God is good.

But now I have to clean it.

Luckily it was fairly clean to begin with. Stains on the carpet won't come out, so that's not my problem. We sold about half of our stuff when we moved into Allen's house, so we don't have a whole lot of clutter. That makes the house pretty clean all the time as it is. (Praise God!) That also means we don't have a whole lot of decorations, but I can't really put anything below waist level or Jack uses it as a bludgeoning device, so perhaps it's for the best.

With a little one, I am trying to go for all-natural cleaning products. With a tight budget, I am trying to go for cheap materials too, like using vinegar and water to wash the linoleum. With a job, I am trying to clean with minimal time and effort.

My question is, how do you clean house? What's your schedule, or do you have one? What tips and tricks do you have for cleaning? So...what do you do to keep house? What shortcuts have you discovered and what products do you use that are efficient and inexpensive?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Long overdue seems like there are always great periods of time between one post and another, which is completely and utterly unacceptable considering the frequency with which I log on to facebook in order to harvest imaginary fruits, flowers and vegetables on Farmville. Blech. Although I *have* "downsized" by planting crops that take several days to "ripen" as opposed to each day. A woman's got to prioritize, after all.
Anyway, I can honestly say that several times each day I think about this blog, thinking about little tidbits and moments that I want to cherish. But I am usually feeding/holding/changing Jack. Or cooking or cleaning or unpacking or starting/switching/sorting/folding laundry. Or praying that for five minutes--just FIVE minutes--Jack doesn't realize that I am not sitting behind him as he watches "doooooooog" or "choo choo" so I can PEE in PEACE. That is always a prayer God answers with a resounding "No." Which I guess is proof at least that God answers prayer. has been exceedingly hectic but is starting to get back to normal. Maybe. *We moved out of my father-in-law's house and into a rental in west Lancaster. Now we're on the opposite side of the planet from all of our friends, but exceptionally close to most of our family. My mother-in-law is only a couple miles away and my parents are a little over half a mile. But Littlerock High School is now a 50-mile round-trip, so I will try to sub in Lancaster more often.
*One of my sisters moved to UCSD, which I might expand on later.
*My youngest sister is about to start school again and her FIRST JOB! Woot!
*I'm applying for a handful of jobs at AVC (Oh, I lust after good benefits. Oh, and more money.).
*Jack is talking and copying everything we say. Even the less agreeable words that occasionally slip out. He is also gigantic and is in 2T clothes now and size 5 diapers. Ugh. He is soooo big! And handsome. And perfect.

It is wonderful at night when Jack falls asleep in my arms, "beet-ah" (binky) in his mouth and I can imagine that he is still a baby, still sweetly curled in my arms, even if the legs and arms hang off the edges a bit more than ever. I love the completely surrendered state of sleep he often slips into when he hasn't had a nap during the day. His binky slips out of his mouth and I could probably juggle him and he wouldn't wake up.
I think a lot about how I'm going to handle him getting old enough that he won't let me cuddle him. Am I really going to get to a stage when I'm okay with not covering his face with kisses or ache for him to hold my hand with his little fingers? It's absolutely bizarre to me.
I also think a lot about how much work being a mom is, having ONE is...and then the thought will cross my mind, maybe I'll just have one. Then this overwhelming sense of responsibility washes over me that I need to give Jack a brother or sister. That he needs a playmate, a friend, someone to fight with and play with and love and hate. Someone other than me, I mean. And then I think about how I miss getting pregnant (hey, I can't lie), being pregnant and even wearing preggo pants again and going through labor, as painful as that can be. And how I will treasure a new one so much more even than Jack, since I mostly know what to expect and can delight in his/her differences rather than jump in panic everytime they squeak, squeal or cry. So I think we'll have another one. Not now, not for awhile, but we do want about three. I think.

Sorry for all the disjointed-ness in this post. I'm always a little rusty whenever I plop myself down here to actually write something.