Monday, October 20, 2014

Decluttering Craft Supplies

Are you one of my fellow lovers of craft and/or office supplies? I love pens, paper, pencils, folders, and such. I also love craft supplies, especially sewing and scrapbooking. I love to go into scrapbook stores and look at 1,000 kinds of papers and plan out how I will scrap a certain event and set of photos. I used to spend a lot of time scrapbooking. I'd plan big sessions for my school breaks and knock out a year at a time, hunched over my desk until the middle of my back went numb. My books from that time weigh about 7 pounds.
Here is the point where I am confronted by my Ideal Self and my Authentic Self. My Ideal Self is a scrapper. The kind that creates pages that could be published in magazine. The kind that regularly attends and photographs events that you'd scrap. The kind that does this regularly. But this isn't the real me, y'all. Not anymore. I don't make "real" scrap books anymore. I order them from Shutterfly and they are less than 1/2" thick.
Right now I am having a kind of "reverse nesting," where I want to purge and sort and organize. I want to contain and label. I want empty shelves so that I have a space to fill with baby clothes, books, dishes, etc. I want less and less stuff to keep track of. Today I ventured into what we call the "back bedroom," which is a room that is totally empty except for a video game chair. This won't be the baby's room, but it is where I store empty suitcases and a very small amount of craft supplies.
In the closet, I found this box of stamps. I am not a stamper, friends. I think my Ideal Self is a stamper, but the honest truth is that I don't make my own cards and I dont' want to make them. I don't want to own the supplies, I don't want to go through the process, and I absolutely do not want to store the finished product until I have a reason to send a card. I am also not really a card sender. I went through the box very, very quickly and found about $100 worth of stamps. Most of them I've had for about 10 years and most of them have never been used. I kept the one stamp I like to use when I send out Christmas Cards (I order those from Vistaprint, I don't make them). The rest are now in my very full donate box.
I bought about 99% of my stamps during a time in my life when I didn't know myself very well and did an awful lot of impression management. I really, honestly wanted to be the person that made and send handmade cards! I really did! My Ideal Self is that classy of a lady, y'all. But I still have cards that I made in August of 2007. I don't have a craft in mind that invovles stamps and I am honestly not interested in finding one. So I am getting rid of them. And now I have a nice empty ziploc containter that I can fill with baby socks.
If anyone out there is a REAL stamper and wants a few more, let me know. I'll have the box around for another 4 or 5 days.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Baby Valiente

Did you know that I’m pregnant?  I am, and very excited about it too. We announced this on Facebook after our 8 week ultrasound and I’ve talked about being pregnant about 100 times on FB, but I haven’t put anything here. It’s been a busy summer and a busy September and I just haven’t written about it here. Can we pretend this is actually a few months of posts, instead of just one? I’ve started this post about 20 times and nothing I write ever seems to convey how excited I am.

This week, on Thursday, I will be 22 weeks. I found out I was pregnant at 5 weeks. We had done everything right that month so I just took a test on the day I was due to start. Sure enough, I got a nice little plus sign that morning. I climbed into bed with the Yankee and work him, then whispered, “I’m pregnant” into his ear. He woke up very quickly after that. As you do, I took three more tests over the next week.
I felt the baby move at 17 weeks, which was pretty cool. I don’t feel the baby every day, but I do feel movement, kicks, and pressure most days, especially at night.
We found out at 20 weeks that the baby is a Girl. We are going to name her Emily Louise. I had a feeling for a long time that it was a girl. I found all these little “test” you can do to figure out the gender. My favorite test was this one: apparently if you pee on baking soda and it fizzes, it’s a boy. If it’s flat, it’s a girl.
My pregnancy has been smooth and uneventful. I didn’t have morning sickness and most days I have felt like myself. A tired and hungry version of myself.  I get heartburn a lot these days and I normally take about 6 tums throughout the day, which manages it. I do have a very hard time sleeping most nights. I am a back sleeper, which most doctors recommend you avoid. I hate sleeping on my side and having a huge belly makes it even more uncomfortable. We’re going to buy a recliner tonight to see if that helps me find a better position.
I haven't decided if I'll be posting any photos here. Probably not.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

We Bought a House!

Y'all! We bought a house! Here it is, looking all homey and cool. Don't judge me for not holding my phone in "landscape" mode when I took this. I didn't know that was a thing.

We aren't moving in until June, which is a bummer because we are both so excited; for a few reasons though, this is working out to our favor. We've both commented that we wish we were just moving right now.This house has 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms, 2 living rooms, a formal dining room, TWO PANTRIES, and a two car garage. Why does a house need two pantries? I don't know, but I'm pretty happy to have them (even though it's unlikely we will fill them both).
Neither the Yankee nor I have owned a house before (I did rent one in El Paso) and this will be the first time we've been out of an apartment since we've been together (5 years now, for the record). I am really looking forward to living with just him, no neighbors sharing a wall, no looking for parking spaces, no restrictions on what we can do in our home (within reason, of course).
As we've been preparing to move into a space that is literally four times the size of what we have now, we've started a list of all kinds of things to buy. Random stuff you don't think about while you're living in an apartment, like a hose and an outside broom. We were initially really stuck on a one-story house until we found how much more expensive they are, compared to two-story houses (is it like that where you live?). It's pretty easy to lose your damn mind and fill up a cart at Target with all kinds of **stuff** that you "need." And yet I am still committed to the ideas of thoughtful purchasing, minimal ownership, and intentional living.
I thought that when we moved to New York, I would have all kinds of adventures to blog about. Then I started a job that came with a three hour a day commute and that didn't leave much time for New York-ing. I do hope that I'll have lots to write about as we move in and make this our own home. And I'd still like to be someone's mother, so maybe I'll get a chance to write about that some day.
For today, I am a a happy girl.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing drives me crazy. It has followed me around my whole life; it hangs behind me like a shadow. I always have something that is The Next Big Thing: graduation, finding a new job, moving, etc. There is always- always- something on the horizon. As a military kid, this sometimes loomed around moving and almost always involved the next school break. As an adult, it started with college and continued to be the next move and the next job. I have moved cities and/or states ten times in my life, and multiple times within the state and/or city. I'm tired of that, y'all.
The problem with The Next Big Thing is that I never really feel like I am "living life." I generally have a feeling of being unsettled, like there is constantly something in the works or needing to be planned and budgeted. I have some friends my age that just seem to be "living life." They are working in their jobs and not looking for new ones. Living in their homes and not thinking about where to move in a year. They have friends and connections- they have roots, y'all. ROOTS.
I really hope we are entering a season in our lives of root-growing. I'm not sure how I will feel if I live in a place for longer than a few years because I haven't done it since 2003. Although, it does seem that my mom copes by rearranging her furntiure every six months or so. I'd really like to just live here and not move and just be connected for a nice long time. SA feels like home to me and it's great to be home. When we first got here, it felt like vacation because we are staying at my mom's house. Now that I've been here for a few weeks, it feels like the opposite- like I just got home from a long vacation, or a mission trip to a land without dishwashers, garbage disposals, and washer/dryer hookups (except for the outreach part, I didn't really do that much).
I am an axious person by nature and constantly having The Next Big Thing on my shoulder like fat baby wears me down. I am weary from basing so many decisions on how they will affect The Next Big Thing. I'd like to just settle in grow some roots. I haven't really considered having a baby to be The Next Big Thing because it just feels like root-growing: creating a small dimpled and sassy life to love and nurture and grow.
It's good to be back. I am a Happy Girl.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Un-Relocation Part 1

We're Home, Y'all! Last week was very hectic and busy and stressful and I am so glad it's done. We only have a few more hurdles to tackle before we're settled and I am really ready to knock those out soon. 

Stress 1, 2, and 3 were completing all the packing, working with the movers and cleaning, and then getting to the hotel in NY. Packing is rotten no matter what, so we just had to power through that. We had really great movers that were very fast, polite, and friendly. I'm not sure why but having the movers take care of our stuff gave me a lot of anxiety. I kept expecting them to say they could accept a box or for the bottom to fall out of one. We were treated very well and I'd recommend  that local moving company to anyone in the city. Getting to the hotel required moving all our suitcases and I could write five whole paragraphs about why that was complicated. I'll spare you the details; if you'd really like to hear about it, text me.

Stress 4 was the actual flight which was uneventful except for getting to the airport too early, having a long layover, and then a delay. Flying and being in an airport all day isn't exciting but when I consider the miracle of sitting in a tube and flying through the air, I normally don't complain too much.

Stress 5 was buying a new car. When we left SA, we knew that if we ever came back we would have to consider the cost of a new car. I really really hate buying cars. I always feel a bit swindled and unsure if I have haggled enough or if I should have looked at three dealerships or ten. I know I brag a lot but I can't even tell you what a comfort it was to have Yankee with me and know I am not alone in this kind if thing. He is so smart and makes so many choices with the welfare if our family in mind. As I did before, I'll spare you the details of buying the car unless you really want to hear them. We found a very nice Camry and I am so glad to have this stressor out of my mind.

Next up, we will be apartment shopping and waiting for our goods to be delivered. The we will have to unpack and settle in. I really feel like we have reached the peak of the stress and we are on the downswing. I do hope so.

Next time, I'll tell y'all my ideas about living life and why I am tired of counting down for the Next Big Thing. I am really looking forward to seeing our friends and getting reconnected. We just need a few days to tackle these milestones and then I'll be calling everyone for coffee and/or meals.

Friday, August 30, 2013

A Very Valiente Un-Relocation

Today is our last full day in New York. We fly out tomorrow afternoon but because it's a holiday weekend and traffic is rotten in New York under ideal circumstances, we are leaving our hotel mid-morning. Yesterday the water was off in our apartment all day so I filled up cups of water very early and used them for cleaning after the movers left. Today we are going back for one quick review to make sure we didn't leave anything behind and then we're turning in the keys. 
This version of relocation feels very different than all my others. I have lived from top-to-bottom, left-to-right in this country, with several different versions of family. I have moved alone, I have moved with several people, I have moved with one person. This is my tenth major move; 80% of those have been military-related. Even though I watched the movers yesterday and hugged co-workers two days ago, and I am currently sitting in a hotel room, it doesn't feel real. It doesn't feel like I will actually be back in SA in less than 48 hours.
So here is the plan, y'all: we are going to stay with my parents for a few weeks while we car and apartment shop. If all the stars align, we will find a car, then an apartment, then our goods will be delivered by the end of September. The Yankee will start his job and I will continue doing the same thing for the same company from my own home office (my dream come true). Then we will find the *perfect* dresser, bed frame, and entertainment stand. Then we will conceive the most beautiful bi-racial , dimpled, slightly-sassy, allergy-free baby and I will have an uneventful pregnancy.
When we moved to NY, I imagined that I would be blogging regularly with photos of the Yankee and myself living a "You've Got Mail" kind of life. That didn't happen, obviously. There are so many things we really love about this city and others than we really hate. We are leaving with no regrets and considering this adventure "Mission Accomplished." We met a lot of our goals and had an absolute blast doing a lot of things here. I am so glad we moved here and so glad to have met the people we met, eaten the food we've eaten, hosted guests, visited places/cities/landmarks, and worked the jobs we had. I am very excited about connecting with my friends in SA and spending hours and hours with our families.
I am a Happy Girl.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Work and The Bigger Picture

I have not written a blog post in months. What have I been doing, you ask? Living in Crazy Town, that's what. In January, my role at work changes focus to include more data reporting. At that time, we started ramping up for a merger, then did a layoff, followed by the sale of a business unit. All of that requires my department to calculate costs a variety of ways, compile letters,and manage the process from start to end. My new role included doing various parts of that - and a daily ticket to Crazy Town.
Since January ended, there have been a string of very stressful things happening at work. In times of stress and chaos, it may be tempting to drive your focus to only that one thing. Eliminate everything else, ignore things at home, stop seeing people, and buckle down and work. Sometimes this is helpful (finals, rehearsing, giving birth, etc); other times this idea just amplifies the stress because you've eliminated everything fun and put yourself into a sensory deprivation tank. I tend to do this a lot and I have since I was in college.
January was such a crazy month. I worked 60-70 hours a week and worked evenings and weekends from home. I genuinely needed to work all that time because there were so many new things coming my way that is took me a long time to grasp it all. That kind of focus and intense energy is not sustainable, however. In my case, the hair around my temples started to fall out, which happens when I am under great stress. When that starts to grow out in three months, I am going to have baby wings coming off my head. FML.
I keep hearing at work that I don't understand The Bigger Picture. This makes me batshit crazy. Sometimes I hear this phrased as though I am ignoring The Bigger Picture. The problem with being at this point in my career is that I know enough to work with a large degree of autonomy but I don't know what I don't know- and I don't know that I didn't know it until I find out I should have known it. How do you know to ask a question if you don't know there is a question that needs asking in the first place. This is my plight lately. I don't know how to grasp The Bigger Picture when I can't see the picture itself- ya know? Is that too much imagery? Maybe...
This sort of piling stress makes me feel like all I do is work; thankfully, there have been some nice breaks here and there. My family came to visit, which is a chaotic kind of fun itself. I have one brother who is married with four kids. They came, along with my parents, for a week. We also went to a Yankee game and we have enjoyed some thoroughly lazy weekends while the trains in our neighborhood stopped running for four weekends in a row. There are few things as nice as just being home with my guy, being pig-lazy and in love. 
I don't know exactly what the summer will hold as my company prepares for ths merger. Discussing matters of work on a blog is tricky because many companies have policies saying you can't do that, as mine does. I have been really stressed this whole year and I feel like I am going to buckle if one more thing comes along. I have a tendency to enjoy being The Girl Who Can Be Counted On until one day I have a freak out and become The Girl Who Doesn't Have Her Shit Together. This morning I decided that I'd rather just have my shit together and be helpful and add value here at work. I'd rather not  be the freak out lady. For the record, I normally make this decision on a quarterly basis, usually after The Yankee and I discuss my personal appearance, which I have neglected because I am too stressed.  
I hope all is well where you are and thank you for reading.