Wednesday, January 19, 2011

365 days

Eli has been around for 365 days. Today is his last day of being less than 1.

January 21, 2010
Freshly hatched. check out the mohawk.

Go back and enjoy this Hartley family classic - Eli's birth story.
Sweet boy, where did our year go?

I couldn't help but continually drift back in my thoughts today to this time last year. January 20th, 2010 - I spent the morning at the gym in the pool (funnily enough the only place I didn't feel like shamu) and then off to Target for (what turned out to be last minute) baby shopping. Our friend, Laura Beirne, came over for dinner from her apartment across the street and we all marveled at Eli's somersaults in my belly.

Earlier in the day, on the way from Target to Subway, for a hearty preggo lunch I had a heart to heart with Eli as I was driving in the car. I told him it would soon be time for him to be born. It could get a little scary as neither of us had done our respective jobs before, but we'd be okay. God would take care of us. And although I had a feeling that Eli would be early, he surprised all of us by starting our labor dance just hours later. I've since heard of other mom's having similar talks and results with their babies. The mama-baby link is amazing well before birth.

I later found out I had been pre-laboring all the previous week and just dismissed it to, "ah, this is why preggers complain that last month of pregnancy". I had been having braxton-hicks and woken nightly with funny contractions that felt nothing like what I expected contractions to feel like. This would happen again the night of the 20th, though it would end with a "pop!" of broken water at 6am the next morning. It would be Eli's last belly sleep. And tonight will be his last sleep before turning 1.

January 20, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New Home To-Do List

We're moving into a great house on Friday. We are so excited. We are going to do some serious celebrating Friday, too. 1. because it's Eli's birthday and 2. because it's going to be our new home's birthday. Woohoo! Everybody we've worked with in the home buying process has been awesome; from Realtor to mortgage broker and home insurer to home inspector. Whew, it's been a process and I'm glad we're almost to moving day.

We've been to the house many times since that initial viewing to closing, and along the way I've made a little (crazy big) to - do list. The home is new, so there is very little cost to us in the way of maintenance. But we do have a ways to go in making it feel homey and function for our family.

I thought I'd blog this in case my scribbled on paper get's lost in the move.

So here's the list, broken down into 3 categories:

Make it Functional
1. Buy a diaper sprayer (aka baby bidet)- Rob conceded this to me after I wanted to get in a bidding war for one in a previous contract on a house
2. Energy efficient bulbs
3. Hand held shower sprayer - won't this be great for hosing off babies!
4. baby-proof supplies and anti tip bracket installed on oven- the whole 9 yards
5. mop & broom holder
6. clothes line - we've had one everywhere we've lived except Lancaster
7. window coverings - either wooden blinds or curtains, not sure yet.
8. Laundry room floor epoxy or concrete stain
9. carbon detector
10. laundry room shelving
11. New mailbox
12. city trashcan - not sure if we buy it or if it's provided
13. 2 outdoor mats
14. 2 bathroom shower curtain rods and shower curtains
15. extra storage cabinet in bathroom
16. covered parking?
17. fence
18. lawn mower - I REALLY want a non-gasoline push one

Make it Homey
1. new front door (or paint existing one)
2. Kitchen Island shelving?
3. house plants!
4. candles for bath
5. hanging pot rack?
6. new lighting fixtures
7. Rug for Eli's room
8. Paint tree in Eli's room - also inspired by a previous house find. I really want to do a weeping willow

9. Paint Livingroom and 2 upstairs bedrooms
10. Reupholster Ansley's beloved office chairs
11. Frame bathroom window mirror
12. Decorative bathroom window

Outdoor Living
1. Porch furniture
2. Porch curtains
3. Porch plants
4. front yard - remove bushes, add flowers and birdbath
5. window boxes!
6. Deck furniture
7. Deck Pergola with hanging ivy and lights!!! (I'm trying to talk Rob into this for my birthday gift!)
8. Patio concrete stain
9. Patio furniture
10. hammock on patio
11. herb garden
12. veggie garden/ and trellis
13. Stain the deck

It's going to be hard work sticking to a budget! Perhaps, I'll start a recurring monthly hundred dollar home makeover blog post.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

New Year Goals 2011

There are 6. They are not resolutions - they are real measurable, actionable goals. I'm not a big fan of New Years..I know, yet another holiday that I don't like. But this is not because strangers, movies, and candy are all trying to scare me, but because it's a new beginning. I'm too sad about the old year ending- all the friends we've made, places we've been, and memories we've collected- to be excited about a new beginning. So, to get excited about the possibilities of this New Year, I've made the list.

1. Date my Husband: confession, Rob and I have not had a date sans baby since the existence of said baby. Why? Because our life has been one big ball of transition and I substituted our mobile lifestyle with out constant presence for Eli's security. Right or Wrong, it's what we did. But now, guess what, baby? we're soon moving into our own home, i.e. planting roots, i.e. in need of a baby sitter...pronto!

2. Plant a Garden: Digging in the dirt feeds my soul. Watching plants grow, harvesting veggies, gathering herbs, oh, heaven. I feel creative and like I've stripped away everything that gets in the way between me and God when I'm immersed in my plants. While I've known this about myself for a long time, I had no idea that everyone didn't feel the same way. Just since reading, Spiritual Pathways, in our small group was I reminded that we are all different. Our new home has a big yard and a great garden space that has long been neglected. I cannot wait to make it beautiful and growing again. I'm so happy that we will soon be in a place that allows me that opportunity. I've already made a list of the heirloom seed packets I'm ordering from a magazine, hopefully next week.

3. Take a Vacation: It's been while since our last real vacation. We've tagged on vacations here and there when we were flying overseas often. And during Rob's job transition we also had a couple weekend vacation like adventures. But a true, planned, quiet, toes in the sand vacation has been quite some time. Rob and I believe that a season of restoration is beginning for us and as part of that we will be dedicating funds and time to supporting a beach town at sunshine, USA sometime this summer. Hopefully, this beach town will also come equipped with population 1 babysitter.

4. Start my business: So if you haven't heard I've just become a certified Bradley Method Childbirth Instructor and Birth Doula. I've been working on my certification process ever since Eli was born. The birth of our son was so (it sounds cliche) life changing and awe inspiring that I had to help women have positive birth experiences as well. And somehow, I get the same tingly feeling learning about the wonders of our bodies during pregnancy and birth that I do gardening. Somehow it's gotta be related to how I understand God as creator. Amazing! So I've completed my student teaching, course work, and training workshop. I've got one website up and running (the really base one that Bradley wants us to keep up for their directory purposes), placed an order for my students' work books and placed a bid on an ebay female pelvis. I'm on a roll, but whenever I tick one to-do off my list, I come up with 2 more. In the near future, I need to order business cards, explore some more advertising possibilities, and get a for realsies website up. So far I've had 3 inquiries into my Childbirth course and 1 concerning the possibility of being a Doula.

5. Get Financially Organized: Rob and I do pretty well with our finances. We don't have much, but what we do have, we've managed well. However, we need to tinker a bit here and there. We'll soon be paying a mortgage and need to save for future home repairs/emergencies. We'd like to start making our money grow because I love being able to stay home with my babies and somebody's got to send them to college if they'll go. We'd like to buy some more insurance, etc. Not the most thrilling of goals, but hey, it needs to be done.

6. Spend Differently: We've already started this in the Fall, but it's a transition and been difficult while we've been living in transition. Besides groceries and health, we have a sort of order to our purchases. If it's not something we need, we don't buy it. If we need to buy it, we see if we can't borrow it. If not, we try to find it used. This option works for most anything and I've gotten over feeling weird about it or out of place in second hand stores. It's actually been a lot of fun and forced me to be more creative with solving needs. Like re-purposing old furniture, painting instead of replacing, buying fabric for do-it yourself jobs, etc. Not only does this indulge our cheap side, but when you get something off Craigslist or visit a second hand store you usually walk out with your found object and a new relationship-frugal people love to talk. If we must purchase something new, or for those fun little shopping sprees, we try and buy local. This sometimes undoes the cost savings we'll reap with borrowing or buying used, but we feel it's worth it to spend our dollars reinvesting in the community and supporting small business. It's not as much work sounds like, but it does take being conscious about our spending.

This could be a pretty good year.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wednesday is my new Sunday

The fam at our Church in Lancaster

Obviously, as the wife of a church planter, Sundays have changed quite a bit. And, while they're almost always fun and full of great friends; they are also often stressful, hectic, and long. They no longer serve as our day of rest and worship too is sometimes difficult with Eli in tow.

Mostly though, I think I miss Rob a lot on Sunday mornings and I'm having to get used to him not being here for them. We have always loved our mornings together and Sunday mornings used to be spent snuggled in bed attempting to con the other into grabbing the next cup of coffee while we watched CBS Sunday Morning. Then there'd be a mad dash 15 minutes before church began - teeth brushing, shoe finding, and clothes flying until the winner of the title of, "First Ready" got to walk smugly to church while the other cried sabotage all the way (I know I didn't put my belt in the closet). A little slice of heaven. Now, Rob is out the door by 6am and I just get a cold peck on the cheek and, "bye baby, I'll see you at church". It's sad really, and I need a little adjustment time.

I guess Sundays have changed throughout my life. In grade school, I loved the peaceful pace of a Sunday; it definitely felt different than any other day of the week. But, there was an unmistakable melancholy feel to Sunday evenings that the weekend was over and another school week would begin all too early the next morning. Then in college, if I didn't travel back to my home church, I would spend the morning relaxing, reading, resting. Some times this would be focused on my relationship with God, sometimes not, but it was most always restoring.

I'm trying to shift my thinking about what a Sunday morning means to me. Trying to lower my expectations a tad and take out some of the stress while I adjust to my new Sunday routines. And instead of fighting to make Sundays peaceful, I am switching my day of rest to Wednesday. So no longer will I complain for and have my mind and body ache for rest on Sundays. We'll get that on Wednesdays. It will be difficult, as I've been attempting this for the past couple weeks with little success. Wednesday is a work day for everybody else. In fact, it's one of only 5 "workdays", when banks and utility and insurance companies are open for business. It means I'll have to plan better so I don't spend Wednesday praying that I don't get charged a late fee. It will be difficult but every body needs a day of rest and every soul a specific time to reconnect with God and each other, sloughing off everything that's come between you that week.

Mine will be Wednesday.

Christmas, Knoxville Style

Early last month - December's First Friday actually, Knoxville had a Christmas Parade downtown on Gay Street. I adore parades! It was the longest parade I think I've ever been too, but worth every bone chilling minute.

The streets were crowded with bystanders, and much of the parade consisted of your normal fare - there were tons of floats, high school marching bands, local pageant winners in fancy cars, dance troupes, etc... but then there were some that only Knoxville could offer. I love it here.

Below are some highlights -

Ginormous bottle of shampoo for the entire city's hair care needs

Teen-aged beauty queens, Nope. We are admiring our County Commissioners.

Speed boat full of kiddos


Big Ball in the back of a pick-up

Elvis IS alive! And, where else would he be than in a Knoxville Christmas Parade.

Mobile Boxing Ring. We saw about three body slams before the ring rolled on by.

Local Band rocking out. The acoustics actually weren't that bad.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Hartley Festivus

Happy Holidays

It's not too late for a holiday post, right? Well, here's one.

This is our 5th married Christmas, and our 2nd Christmas sans our holiday stuff. Our first married Christmas shouldn't count as "having stuff" though because we didn't even own a snowglobe (we did however have a Charlie Brown-fabulous tree). This Christmas felt oddly like the one we spent in Rwanda without our stuff, very transient and transitional. We remind ourselves often that our container is coming soon - Like whenever I need to cook in something larger than a sauce pot.

Some friends on campus loaned us a small tree with lights and ornaments. It made our tiny apartment feel so warm and full of holiday spirit. Eli helped me decorate it. Afterwards, he completely ignored it until the week before Christmas when the jingle bells just became too tempting.

After doing ALL of our Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve, we attended the Christmas Eve service at an Episcopal Church downtown. The sights, smells, Eucharist, and liturgy reminded me of our Anglican days in Rwanda. I really do love high church and especially the feeling of 'specialness' it lends to the Christmas season. This church was really cool - the kids had a mini Christmas Pageant and there were boxes of shepherd and angel costumes at the door for any visiting kids who wanted to join in. What a great way to be welcoming and think of children spending Christmas with grandparents and extended family! We spent Christmas morning by ourselves as a small family and then left Sunday afternoon for Grandma's in South GA. It was fun and very low key. How is an 11 month old supposed to react to a couple gifts under a 2 ft table top tree? Just like any other day.

Rob attempted to make us some hot cocoa. I was busy finishing dinner and didn't realize what he was doing until it was almost too late. When he asked me for a cereal bowl I knew something had gone horribly wrong. Yes, this is a cereal bowl full of cocoa powder...for 2 servings of hot cocoa. Apparently, Rob did not believe the recipe would satisfy 2 people and he needed to quadruple it. That is obviously what the calculator was for.

We had a great time visiting Rob's parents and hanging out with family and playing games. Eli really got into unwrapping presents and all the hoopla after his practice round with us. And, spoiler alert, he will soon be reading - or so says the box of dvds. His cousin Taylor was amazing with him and showed him how to unwrap. He was also quite the party animal at the dinner table and tried to convince his Grandma that bibs half on - half off were how all the babies were doing it these days.

On the 7+ hour trip down south, we discovered a new baby past time. Whatever stop we made, it was out of the car seat and into the drivers seat he came. He cackled he loved it so much, doubling over in laughter he would often times loose his footing on the seat. Honk! Honk! get outta my way. 11 months going on 16...years.

A friend of ours recently asked..So, when does it go from organic mashed green peas to hamburgers and french fries. I now have an answer - on a 7 hour car trip. Witness the first fry.