Monday, December 14, 2015

I have been under a lot of stress lately.  I mean a whole mess of stress.  And I wish I had something philosophical to say about how it makes us stronger.  Or something spiritual, like how it brings us closer to God.  But all I can really say about stress is that it makes me fat.  Yep I eat my stress.  If I've had a bad day my husband gets a text requesting emergency cup cakes be picked up on his way home.  Or I'll make myself nacos at 10 o'clock at night.  And to add insult to injury, when I'm stressed my cortisal levels go sky high and I start holding on to weight with even the healthiest of diets. The only thing stress brings me closer to is the next size up in ladies wear.

So, I am stressed.  I'm eating crap.  I'm not sleeping. I'm getting depressed about getting fat. And my chronic, but usually controlled, pain causing disorder is now flaring up.  Fabulous.

I know how easy it is to get stuck.  But right now I'm not ready to go back to healthier ways.  It's partly because I know no drastic change is going to make it through Christmas which is days away at this point.  Part of it is because I know it will be easier when things become less stressful.  But really I'm just not ready.

How We Got Here: Or Why the Summer of Transition Has Turned into the Autumn of Indigestion.

Before we were married my husband and I moved into a little cottage on a lot that was equally woods and field.  The house was a little ramshackle and the yard overgrown, but we loved it and we cared for it and made it our own.  We rented from a family friend of Turi's with the understanding that we would be offered to buy it below market value when the owner was ready to sell it one day.  Mean while three years pass; we have weathered a hurricane cutting up 30 trees that fell during it, replaced the crumbling front steps and patio with a new deck and made the interior livable.  We also started a family and quickly realized one bedroom wasn't enough.

So in March we started looking at houses to see what was available.  At the end of April our landlady informed us she was going to sell the house the following spring, listing it above what it was worth and well above our price range. So we started house hunting.  And it was exciting

Our hunt became a comedy, we saw houses with no floors, houses with no roofs, houses with no septic tanks or water hook ups. We knew we were looking at fixer-uppers, we knew we were going to have to put a little sweat equity in and that this was never going to be our dream house.  But we thought we would be able to find something with 3 bedrooms and a garage. We did, it was lovely; a passive solar house with and acre of land three bedrooms plus a finished basement and an amazing sunroom. We were out bid.  We try again, look at more homes. And find a beautiful 1800's home with three bedrooms, a huge attic, and half an acre of land that backs up to a small river. And it was taken off the market the day we put an offer in.  I lost track after seeing our 45th house. We made no plans for the summer, just in case we would be closing and working on our house.  We didn't take our beloved yearly vacation. We didn't plant a garden.  And we didn't find a house.  My excitement has turned into disappointment.

August comes along and our landlady tells us she has sold our cottage and that we have to move out by October 31st.  Panic sets in.

We still had no house. And so we continue looking.  In fact we see one house for the third time.  It was at the top our our budget before we even thought about remodeling, the taxes were high and it had no kitchen and very little yard.  But we both loved the house, it had enough rooms and a garage. It also had a roof, and was hooked up to water and sewage.  We were running out of time and options. So we thought about it, prayed about it, and crunched the numbers.  We put together a low ball off, hey it had been on the market for over a year, might as well try.  And that day, it goes to auction.  Now I am just frustrated.

Turns out it is an online auction, like eBay for houses, and we can still take out the style of mortgage we were planning on.  And the opening bid is way less than our original offer.  Great.  So we wait. Then we bid. Then we wait again until someone out bids us.  Then on the last day of auction we get into a biding war.  We place our last bid, the auction ends and it looked like our bid didn't make the dead line.  Shortly after Turi gets an email... we are the highest bidder.  We won. We have a house. But wait, the reserve was not met, the seller can still reject our offer.  And so we wait again.

We finally hear back from the seller. The house is ours, we have to close within 45 day.  We do a happy dance, sign our contract and FedEx a deposit.  45 days is not a problem, we have a mortgage guy ready to go, we have the paper work ready and we need to move in before that anyways. I'm starting to get exciting again.

Days go by, then a few weeks.  We find out our mortgage requires a licensed contractor to do all the repairs.  We can't find a contractor.  Then we learn we can't move in until all the work is completed.  We still can't find a contractor.  I check in with our mortgage guy, he is sitting on our paper work.  Oh, he won't even start the filing process until we have a contractor. We have a meeting with a HUD inspector, we finally find a contractor, our mortgage guy still hasn't filed our papers.  I am so frustrated by now.

He finally files them.  And we have to wait again.

It's mid October, we start packing and looking for a place to stay for a few weeks while we finish rehabbing our house.  We are still being told that it shouldn't be too long.  But just incase we found a short term rental and the biggest storage unit I can find.  Our intrim rental is scary, like hasn't been cleaned in years, leaking pipes, windows falling out of their casings, scary. We have no choice, so we move our bare essentials into the 400 square feet of the most inhabitable part.  And our relator files for an extension on our closing date, because our mortgage guy is still sitting on our paper work.  Now I'm really scared.

We are assured that we will be able to close by Thanksgiving.  Our loan was finally approved.  We had to talk to their closer about a few final things, but we'd close by Thanksgiving.  Two weeks later our mortgage guy still hasn't sent our paperwork to the closer.   We file for another closing date extension.  Our paperwork finally gets transferred, we get insurance, we file more papers and we have to wait 10 days. But WE GET A CLOSING DATE. Thanksgiving happens and everything seems to be back on track if delayed a bit.  I am starting to feel grateful.

Come to find out everyone on our team missed the fact that there was an extra fee, equal to a commission payable to the auction company at closing.  Our closing date is cancelled.  So I spend a very tens evening verbally giving our mortgage guy what fore; he forfeits his commission and applies it to the fee.  And after less than pleasant afternoon lawyering our lawyer, she goes and gets the auction company to decrease their fee.  We scramble to make up the difference.  Our closing date is rescheduled.  I think there may be a new permanent knot in my stomach.

The day before our closing they find out their is still a lien on the property.  Our lawyer takes care of this before even telling us.  Apparently she was scared to tell me.  And the morning of our closing our realtor possibly bribed the fire chief to come do an inspection she was originally told was not needed. I'm so glad I didn't know about either of these things until they were taken care of.  We do our final walk through and go to closing.

At the office we were met by our realtor and a closing agent from the title company.  No one from the sellers side, no one from our mortgage company, and not even our lawyer.  This seemed odd.  We were told to bring our I.D.'s and a check book.  First thing the title company asked for was a bank check.  A certified bank check.  For the entire amount of our closing costs. It's only 3;30 pm and our bank is down the street.  So I go to the bank and Turi starts signing (he had more papers to sign).

Finally. Finally we have keys in our hands.

We still have to go through the rehab process, and our contractor is not ready to start.  And we are still living is a scary rental. But we own a house.

This has been a nine month process, and I very much feel like I'm at that point in a pregnancy were I have passed my due date and I just want to go into labor and be done with it.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Why I Wear

At Old Sturbridge Village
Babywearing, for some it's just something they do, for others it is a way of life.  For me it is a life saver.

When I was a new mother, healing from a cesarean and home by myself all day with a new baby who wanted to be held, babywearing is what allowed my to do that.  Holding Jellybean in my arms on the couch or in the rocking chair was doable.  But when I got up I just couldn't.  I couldn't even stand up while holding her, and putting her down standing up and then picking her up was only slightly better.  Carrying her anywhere was hard and painful.  Babywearing is what allowed me to comfort and bond with my newborn, it kept me from using muscles that weren't ready to be used. It kept my tiny little girl happy and and from crying.  And it occasionally allowed me to get something to eat.
A Fancy Night Out

Now that I am healed and doing better babywearing is a joy.  I have enjoyed my sister's rehearsal dinner at a loud and fancy restaurant, while Jellybean slept safely tucked away in my wrap.  Jellybean has explored Old Sturbridge Village, met an ox and a sheep, watch the turkeys, nursed and napped. All while safely being worn on me.  We have hiked, gone to historical reenactment events, Black Friday shopping and late night parties all while babywearing.

Babywearing has even allowed me to keep my child close while at work. Saving us the cost of daycare and all the headaches that go with finding a loving care giver.

I would not be able to to the wife, friend, sister,
or mother that I am without babywearing.

Getting Ready for Our Walk

Babywearing allows me to be me.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Great Book Scheme

I have a plan, like all of my plans it is a cunning plan. And hopefully unlike most of my plans it will be fully carried out.  I am calling this plan The Great Book Scheme.  After a few years of not writing, and not reading anything beyond a book on nutrition, pregnancy or birth, and early childhood development my brain has gone soft; so I am endeavoring to read again.  I mean truly read, and challenge myself. There are rules and guidelines. And I would love for any of you to join in with me.

The rules:

  • I will read 18 books a year, that is a rate of 1.5 books a month.  Not counted in that number is The Bible which I will also start reading (I have done this before and plan for it to take three to four years to get from cover to cover). 
  • Any book reasonably over 500 pages counts a two books; for example Little Women is only one book, but War and Peace is two. 
  • I can re-read books that I read in college, because well it's been a while and I don't remember half of them (which is another reason for this exercise).  
  • And I have to follow the Guidelines laid out for choosing books. Thirteen of these books have specific requirements and should be chosen at the start of the year.
The Guidelines:

  • Two books must be poetry.  They can be an anthology or a single poet, and can be read slowly over the course of the year.
  • Two books must be classic novels.  I know this is a little vague.  By classic I mean something you would read in a college literature class, the ones you think of that define a genera or a style, the ones everyone should read.  And 'modern' classics do not apply.
  • One play by Shakespeare. I have a love-hate relationship with the Great Bard, but all in all he has been very influential on the English language and I just need to suck it up and cope.
  • One medieval primary source or scholarly text on the period.  I am a member of the SCA and would be remiss not to read something about my field each year.
  • One spiritual work.  I'm Christian, of the Anglo-Catholic persuasion, so this will be works by the saints or other religious people from the Catholic or early Anglican churches.
  • One on food.  Mostly whole food or traditional food cook books or food history.  Who doesn't want to learn the long history of salt.
  • Three 'self betterment' books.  These will be non-fiction, how-to type books on child development, gardening, finance, anything that I wish to learn about for real life application purposes.  Honestly it's really just more of what I've been reading the past few years.
  • Two Great Books. These are any of the Great Books of a classical education that do not fall into any of the above categories.
  • Five free choice books. These can be more from the categories from above or they can be that book a trusted friend insists I read.  These books won't be chosen at the beginning of the year like the rest, but can be picked through out the year as I feel the need to continue reading on a topic or need a flight of fancy into cheesy modern fiction.
I may sound like a lot, and it could very well be.  But the point is to challenge myself.  

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Sleepless Secret

We have a big secret in our house.  My wonderful, curious, independent, amazing, well behaved and reasonable toddler doesn't sleep through the night.  Not only does she not sleep through the night but she wakes up every hour. And the only thing that will get her to go back down in nursing.  I am her lovey and if her father dares try to comfort her she will cry herself into hysterics.

It is exhausting.

And while I curse the fact that I have gotten no sleep or that I woke up with a back spasm because the sleep I got was in a weird position trying not to roll over on the baby that has climbed into bed; I know I will one day miss the sweet baby cuddles.

But tonight is not that night.

Tonight is the night I wish I could stick a pacifier in her mouth and a dolly under her arm and just send her off to bed.

But I can't

I can't have my child scared and upset because I'm not there. So I will finish my tea and post my blog entry and go back to bed before she wakes up again.  And tomorrow I will be tired.

But my child will be happy.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

On the Eve of Jellybean's First Birthday

At this time on this night a year ago my waters had broke and I was in hard labor with our precious little Jellybean.
Getting ready to head to the hospital.

Yep, contractions a minute apart, lasting a minute in length and it when on like that for 14 hours. And you want to know something, labor was pretty cool.  My contractions felt purposeful, uncomfortable but productive and not painful.  Pain came later. Pain is how I knew something was wrong.

Meeting Jellybean for the first time.

I am so in love with my little girl. But it still hurts when I think that her delivery was not what I had planned.  I have done a lot of healing in the past year; I no longer cry when I think of her delivery, I no longer have daily pain in my abdomen or at my incision site. Even my scar is almost invisible.  But I am still coming to terms with how an awesome labor can turn into an unplanned cesarean. Eventually I may write Jellybean's full birth story, but for now I will just leave you these photos.

How can you not love that face?

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Hats off.

I have a confession to make,

I love baby hat.

I mean seriously I'm obsessed with them.

Especially with ears,

Or hand made,

Or hand made and with ears.

Better yet, baby gnome hats.

Even little bed time pilot caps.

And to double the love and baby obsessions, baby hats while babywearing.

Monday, March 9, 2015

A Rythm Method

My desk at my Grandparents' farm
Writing hasn't been happening lately.  Truthfully there are a lot of things that haven't been happening lately.  And it isn't because of crying babies, dirty diapers or lack of sleep, or any other trapping of Motherhood.  I couldn't figure it out.  My writing had been declining for months, I mean month and months, in fact everything I do had been tapering off or had not been happening.  Since I had moved from Connecticut all of my creative endeavors had just been lagging.  And I couldn't figure it out.  Turi and I had a lengthy discussion about it today, with no real resolution. But I kept thinking, and muddling, and finally laying in bed it came to me.

When I was living a single life my time was my own, my world was my own I had my own rhythm.  It may have been an unconventional one, but it was my rhythm.  It included time for thoughts and creation, quiet personal refection, and all the other things people have to do.  It even included time to just sit outside everyday.  When I moved in with my husband, gone where the nights of sitting outside thinking at midnight. 
The start of an embroidery project

He never asked me to change my ways, I just did.  But instead of creating a new rhythm for myself I just floundered about; doing what ever, when ever. 

The Waldorf Movement focuses heavily on a child's daily rhythm; wake, dress, eat, playtime, story time, nap... and on goes the day, one thing flowing into another.  There is a day for baking and for washing, each day has a colour and even a grain associated with it.  It may seem like a rigid structuring, but it is not.  It is like breath; you breath in and concentrate on something with in, you breath out and move within the world around you. In and out all day, your breath exchanges and your rhythm continues.

This is what I need, this is what my baby needs, and this is what my art needs.  Over the next few weeks I am going to try to establish a rhythm for my family.  I'm going to be using a traditional Waldorf rhythm and adapt it and integrate it into my world. Hopefully this will improve things here.  And you all can see it's implementation in action.