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Update 2 months later…

This has been a crazy two months, which will help explain my hiatus from blogging.  So how about the ever-common bulleted list to catch you up?

  • Lila turned one. I don’t really understand how this baby (look at all those rolls!)

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  • turned into this kid (look at all those teeth!)
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  • She’s gone from above the 90th percentiles of height and weight to 10th percentiles.  She is a complete monkey baby – always toddling around (she just learned to walk about a month ago) and opening cabinets.  But she sure does aim to please.  She likes having tasks to do and really just wants to make you happy.  I’m living in this naive world where I believe this baby will always be like this but the next one will probably be the death of me.
  • We had both of our families come into town to visit for her birthday party.  We had a really great time with her cow themed party.  There’s a field of cows behind our house and for awhile they were Lila’s favorite animals.  She would “mooo” all the time.  Then everyone came into town and she refused to make a sound.
  • Joel and I celebrated 5 years of marriage in Chicago a few weeks ago.  We had a wonderful time at one of the coolest restaurants and then we laughed ourselves into tears watching “The Book of Mormon.”
  • Our house in Huntsville still hasn’t sold.  (Want to buy it?!  http://www.valleymls.com/(S(3qflgbsggeumk4gxpegn2msq))/default.aspx)
  • So we went ahead and bought a house in Indiana. The silver lining is that our landlord is letting us out of our lease early so that she can put her house back on the market.  Thankfully this means we won’t have to pay 2 mortgages and rent and we only have to pay 2 mortgages.  Yay (?).  We bought a gorgeous new construction in a really desirable area, which will be great for resale.  We close in two weeks so that means I’m back to packing and organizing all our stuff in order to move SOON.  I will be thankful when we can rid of all of these boxes and actually unpack everything.  I am still missing all of my tupperware (which is why I had to go buy a new set) so I’m curious to go through and find that and who knows what else.
  • Joel’s brother has moved in with us for the summer and I am SO thankful for the live-in help.  A sibling of his has lived with him since before we were even engaged and I’m so used to it that I kinda want this every summer.  It’s really awesome because his brother does the dishes every night.  This is one of the most wonderful gifts someone can give me.  Plus, it’s great being like “Hey I’m running to the store, here’s the monitor, she’s asleep!”  I can go run errands so quickly when I’m not worried about buckling a baby in and out of the car seat.
  • I got a free lance gig doing some copy-editing work for the Educational Specialists at NASA.  It sounds oh so very important, and I’m a little proud of this.  It also makes me sound smarter than I really am.
  • And VERY importantly, I’ve made friends here!  I’m involved in two different play groups (involving mostly the same people each day) and I’m starting to have a group of girls I can contact and hang out with.  I’m realizing (ok, not realizing but at least admitting) that I am a social person who NEEDS other people around.  I thrive on it while it wears Joel out (hello typical extrovert and introvert).
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St. Louis Recap (lots of baby pics)

We adventured to St. Louis this past week which I was super excited about because (1) we got out of Indiana and (2) I reeeealy like St. Louis.  It was actually our first choice when we were looking at new places to move.  So I was kinda pumped to have a long trip there.  Joel was in a workshop all day near our hotel so Lila and I mainly just hung out by ourselves during the day.  Of course, she slept most of the time so I was locked in our hotel room.  Thankfully, we were in a “suite” type room with a door separating the living area from the bedroom/bathroom so Lila got her own “room” and so did we.

Throughout the days, I was trying to come up with fun things to do which is hard when you have a kid that takes two two hour naps throughout the day and then wants to pass out at 7pm.

I'm on a boat. (heh)

I’m on a boat. (heh)

I did take her swimming for the first time.  Which, considering I’m already a little nervous about the baby and water, taking her to the pool by myself was quite a feat.  (By the way, that towel was my first hooded towel I’ve made and it went so well that I think those might become my new baby gifts!  I have a feeling Lila will have a collection of them soon.)  She LOVES bath time and hanging out in the tub, so I figured she would love a swimming pool.

WHAT IS THIS GIANT BATHTUB??

WHAT IS THIS GIANT BATHTUB??

Nope, turns out she was pretty nervous at first.  Then she fiiiinaly relaxed.

You can push me now.

You can push me now.

She never really got into the whole splashing thing, but one step at a time I suppose.  I don’t think there is anything cuter than a kid in a swimsuit because everything is just SO TINY.  She looks like a little person here and it’s pretty darn adorable, if you ask me.  We had a few friends pass down some old clothes their girls outgrew and so Lila has a summer collection of about 15 swimsuits.  I…don’t even know.  I’m going to try and embroider on some of them for practice’s sake and then I have a feeling goodwill will be getting a healthy supply of baby swimwear.

The only downsides about traveling for us is that Lila likes to have teeth break through whenever we aren’t in our own home where I can heavily medicate and don’t have to worry about her waking anyone but me and Joel.  She had 4 come through when we were in Florida/Georgia for Christmas and in St. Louis, her molar finally made its way to the surface.  On a positive side, I have found out what works really well for her.  If it’s the middle of the night crying I do a dose of Tylenol (Advil hasn’t ever really helped for the massive breakthroughs), 3-4 Hyland’s Teething Tablets, and rub some Orajel Naturals (which doesn’t have the benzocaine in it) on her gums.  A nurse friend of mine referred to it as the Holy Trinity of Teething.  It was the only thing that helped to calm her down and let her sleep.  Which if it helps the baby to sleep, then I’d do it all over again.

Family Matters

My parents came to visit about a week ago and stayed for a long weekend.  It was really great to have them here, mainly because it was nice seeing some familiar faces.  However – and I feel this way whenever either of our parents visit – I was also glad to see them go. —I don’t feel this way when Joel’s siblings stay with us (and we usually have one of his college-age brothers live with us during the summers) and, in fact, I ADORE it when they are with us.  Maybe it’s because I still feel like *I’m* in charge ?  I’m not sure.

I love hanging around with family, and I adore watching them interact with Lila.  Plus the free babysitter aspect is also wonderful.  But at the end of the day, I want everyone to leave so we can have our own family time.  Joel only gets to see Lila for about an hour a day (yeah, Lila goes to sleep by 6:45 pm every night).  We have a definite routine every night – dinner done by 6:15, Joel gives Lila a bath (while I clean up the kitchen), then I go put her to bed (while he finishes the kitchen if needed), and then finally we get to hang out.  When either of our parents are here, our routine gets disrupted, which isn’t a big deal in the scheme of things, except that I don’t ever feel like I get that “down time” that I need.  Plus, they aren’t that big of a help with the baby, which is frustrating.  Lila is still little and neither of our parents KNOWS her enough to know that when she starts shaking her head “No” when eating that she isn’t done eating, she’s just done with that one thing and wants something else.  And this baby is SO skinny (because she won’t sit still OMG) that we really have to shovel food in her all the time.

I wish our parents lived closer so they could have shorter visits more often.

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In completely other news – I signed up for the latest CDP exchange!  And you should too!  Just go to this link and read all about it:

http://amdoingmybest.blogspot.com/2013/03/crappy-day-pckage-exchnge-2013-2.html

The more the merrier 🙂

The Truth About Our New Home

I have been told that I am not a negative person, and I believe that.  For the most part, I try to stay positive and always find some benefit or good out of any situation.  I have to keep reminding myself to do that now that I’m in a new city in a new state and in a place that I do not like.  I’m struggling with saying I “hate” it here, because hate is a strong word and I don’t know if I’ve given this place enough time to really form that impression yet.  We’ve lived here about a month and I’m struggling to find the positives.  It’s been so gray, overcast, and cold.  On days that it is sunny, I can’t take the baby out because the wind is too strong for any sort of walk to be pleasant.  The dogs are going crazy being cooped up inside all the time.  I have to keep them in a bathroom because if I leave them in the laundry room, they instantly crap and pee all over the floor.  There are only so many times I can clean it up before I want to strangle them.  So in an effort to save my sanity, I keep them locked up.  They want to go outside but it’s too cold even for them with their coats on.

And then there are the little things I need and miss.  During the week, Lila and I would frequently go on errands.  Costco, Target, and Publix were visited almost every week in an effort to replace necessities (milk) and for sanity (OMG GET ME OUT OF THIS HOUSE).  I have none of those stores now.  Sure we have other places here (Walmart – sigh.  Y’all, I’m trying to make see it in a more positive light but I just can’t.) but it’s not the same.   And this seems SO DUMB for me to be bitching about stores that we don’t have.  But when you’re at home all day long, I need some sort of incentive to get out of the house.  Walmart is not an incentive.

On the bright side, the TJ Maxx is waaaaay nicer and more organized than any of their other stores I’ve ever seen.  Even the clearance racks at Kohl’s were still organized according to size.  The Chili’s here is a testing site for future stores and it might be one of the nicest chain restaurants I’ve been to.  One benefit to living here versus any other place in the South, is the farming community.  The farmers here are extremely active in pushing their produce and meat to the average consumer.  In their local chain of grocery stores (kinda reminds me of Huntsville’s Star Market), they carry local produce, dairy, meat, and other products like breads and popcorn.  THIS I LOVE.  The farmer’s market is only one day a month throughout the winter but even going to that, it was better than the farmer’s markets I went to in Huntsville.  I’m hoping for good things to come out of the weekly summer market.

Probably the most frustrating part of living here is that I’m already planning on moving back to the South.  I want to be closer to our family – end of story.  Instead, we moved much farther away and are on the way to no one.  Joel and I have both talked about how we probably won’t live here for more than 5 years, mainly because we want our families to be a big part of Lila’s life.  Joel didn’t grow up around family and I did.  I think that’s one thing he definitely missed out on growing up overseas.  So with that in mind, I KNOW I can live anywhere for 5 years.  I know I can.  But it was so much easier when we moved to Huntsville because I started graduate school and was automatically thrown into social situations with opportunities to make friends.  Now?  I am home-bound with an infant and two whiny dogs.  I have to keep reminding myself that I didn’t like Huntsville when I first moved there, and I grew to LOVE it.  But….I just don’t see that happening here.

I keep telling myself that THIS is why we moved.

joel lila

Can’t you hear the squeals of laughter?

 

 

 

So this little girl gets to see her dad when he’s not completely stressed out.  So that he wants to give her a bath every night and read her stories.  So that he can help his wife clean the kitchen after the baby is in bed.

 

 

I just have to keep reminding myself of this.

 

The Joke’s on Me

So when Joel quit his job and was at home for about 6 weeks, I was SO SURE that I was going to have so much free time.  Time to blog, sew, embroider – shoot, maybe even pick up a book.  But instead, I did none of those things.  Whenever Lila went down for a nap, we found ourselves just hanging out and watching tv, which was awesome.  It was like I had no responsibilities!  No chores!  The kitchen never needs to be cleaned!  Eh, that reality check was fun.  Our laundry piled up because I don’t do laundry on the weekends.  Instead, I start it Monday when Joel goes back to work.  But he never went back to work.  It was like an ever lasting weekend.

And then we moved.  I have to say I was really impressed with North American Van Lines.  They came in on Tuesday with about 6 guys and packed our entire house up in about 6 hours.  They came back on Wednesday and loaded up all the boxes in about the same amount of time.  It’s shocking how much stuff we had.  There was a tractor-trailer sitting outside our house slowly but surely being filled.  Naive me was like “Um, so I guess a typical moving van won’t work?”

boxes

It’s amazing how much stuff we had.  Unfortunately, we didn’t really go through and throw stuff out before they came so we’ve been doing a lot of that since we started unpacking. We had very little damage to our stuff.  I think our only casualties were a wine glass and a few other little items like that.  Our giant headboard did get damaged, but they are sending a repairman to fix it.  I’ve heard good things about their guarantee of delivering your furniture undamaged or fixing it if they damage it.  When we showed them the damage, they easily acknowledged the damage and told us to call their people.  I was glad we didn’t have to argue our way into that, you know?

We moved our 3 bedroom, 2100 sq ft house into a 6 bedroom, 4200 sq ft house up here in Indiana.  The rental house is huge, mainly because they were the only people willing to rent to a family with 2 large dogs for only 6 months.  Shockingly, we’ve filled up most of this split level house.  The house is oddly designed and chopped up.  I thought rooms would be left empty but surprisingly, we have most everything filled up.  One of the other perks about it, is the family who owns this house left their “movie room” furniture.  All we had to do was supply the tv.  Um, yes, please!  I’ve never really understood why people love having home theaters in their houses and have doubted how often these rooms would be used but NOW I KNOW.  I GET IT.  And I love it.

So now Joel is back working full time and it’s just me, Lila, and my (sometimes annoying) dogs.  I’m doing my best to stay positive about moving to a place where we know absolutely no one.  I mean, after all, this is what happened when we first moved to Huntsville.  Five years later, we were heartbroken to leave our friends.  I’m hopeful that we will have those same feelings when we move again.

Everyday’s a Weekend

So today is Joel’s last day of work.  Officially.  He put in his 4 weeks notice a month ago and now we prep to move.

Oh yeah.  We’re moving.  Kinda forgot to mention that here.

I feel like I’ve been absent a lot from blogging because so much has been happening that I wasn’t sure if I should be posting on the internet for all the world to see.  But (obviously), Joel quitting his job isn’t a secret anymore.  Mid-January we will be moving to Terre Haute, Indiana.  It’s a small city about 45 min west of Indianapolis.  It has a good bit of charm, but overall the city seems average at best.  It’s not Huntsville, that’s for sure.  BUT, the countryside is absolutely stunning.  Who knew that Southern Indiana has gorgeous hills and luscious greenery.  It reminds me a lot of Kentucky, for those of you who might be more familiar with that area.

It’s a couple hours farther away from our families which wasn’t really ideal (but right now they are all driving me crazy so it’s seeming like a GREAT idea at the moment).  We’ll be about 4 hours from Chicago and 3 from St. Louis (where one of Joel’s best friends live and where my best friend’s in-laws live).  I don’t think this is a permanent move for us; our dream area to settle in is the Franklin/Nashville, TN area.  If we are going to be moving around, I want to do it while Lila is so young and not in school yet.  Although we don’t really plan to move a lot.  Joel moved a LOT growing up.  I think by the time he graduated high school at 17, he moved over 20 times.  Whereas my parents still live in the same house since I was 1.  We’d like to end up more like my family and settling early because we both see a lot of benefits of having a community and making life-long friends.

So with Joel not working, he’s going to be here.  All day.  Every day.  While this is awesome in the fact that we can go out to dinner or to a movie whenever our babysitter can watch the baby and I can finally go to the gym/have alone time, I have a feeling that he’s going to go stir crazy within days.  Either that or he’s going to drive me crazy.  We’ll see.  Right now we are just excited that he has 7 weeks until his new job.  At least someone will be home to help me clean and get ready for showings for the house (if we could ever get one, anyway).  This weekend I told him that everyday is going to be like Saturday to him – we can cook breakfast, hang out, play with the baby, do necessary chores, etc.  We don’t have many places we have to be and we can do it all in our time schedule.  I’m going to try and start forgetting what day it is, much like I do in the summer.

Thanksgiving Redo

For the first time in years, my husband’s family was all in the same country for Thanksgiving which means that (naturally) we spent the holiday with them.  They are living at our undergrad alma mater so we trekked up to Jackson, TN to have Thanksgiving up there.  Let me just say that Thanksgiving is my FAVORITE holiday of the year.  It’s the time where it doesn’t matter what gifts were bought, or how things are decorated, as long as you eat and are just hanging out with family/those you love.

With all that being said, Thanksgiving was a huge let down.

I got up that morning at 7 am and got ready to spend the day in the kitchen.  Because we are staying in some guest apartments at Union University, we toted our Pyrex dishes over to the commons, which is where we were actually eating that day.  There was one double oven there, plus the oven upstairs in the commons, plus the one at my in-law’s apartment that were full all day.  We planned to eat at 2, which was going to work perfectly with Lila’s eating schedule.  But of course, as the day went on, we realized that many casseroles wouldn’t be ready by then.  We finally gathered round to eat about 3, and I excused myself to go feed Lila.  Just as she was finishing eating, I started seeing my in-laws walking the halls and trying to come into the lounge area.  I handed off the baby to my mother-in-law and walked back to the dining area and almost cried.  Everyone was gone.  Joel was the only person sitting there, waiting on me to come eat.  I WAS GONE FOR 20 MINUTES.

Y’all – my favorite part of Thanksgiving is sitting around and talking with family during and after the meal.  At some point, Joel’s family started this new thing where as soon as someone finishes eating – they just get up and leave.  I was so disappointed.  Plus, the food was cold at this point (let’s be honest, most of those casseroles weren’t ever really HOT because there were multiple ones in each oven and I don’t think they ever actually got cooked all the way), which was just icing on the really terrible cake.  Also, I think there are a lot of negatives about having SO many dishes to choose from.  Fewer dishes mean that there are fewer things people can choose from, which means you aren’t going to be eating leftovers for the rest of the weekend.  This way you don’t have a ton of waste either.

I realize that my family is a lot different from his.  We sit around and just hang out and talk.  There’s no rush to disperse.  I don’t understand because Joel’s family really likes each other and likes hanging out but they didn’t.  It was like all the work from 8-3 was just OVER within 20 minutes and I didn’t even get to reap the benefits.  UGH.  I demand a Thanksgiving do-over.

So as unfortunate as actual Thanksgiving was, we went to Memphis Friday and Saturday and hung out with my family.  We did a little bit of Black Friday shopping at a few stores (Eddie Bauer and Children’s Place – only because it was right next door) and then played everything really low key.  We ended up coming back to Huntsville Sunday morning and frantically cleaned the house so the realtors could come take photos this week.

You know what the good thing is?  Having disappointing holidays only reinforces that Joel and I need to have our own traditions, separate from our families.  For instance, Christmas morning is becoming a sacred private time for just us.  My parents are invited to come over that night, but we don’t want anyone here that morning.  I have a feeling Thanksgiving will start to change.  And if we ever have our say, no one will leave the table until everyone is done with their seconds.