Saturday, June 11, 2011

New Home Work

The last thing that's made my life feel a little crazy lately is our new house. Our new house that I love, but have little to no idea what to do with. Or - scratch that - have too many ideas of what to do, but little confidence, money, or energy to do any of them.

I take FOREVER to decide on anything. And I am a habitual returner. A few years ago when a news story came out that stores were going to begin tracking your returns, I freaked and just knew I would be banned from every major store out there for my bad habit. Seriously, I probably return 85% of what I buy.

I'm on my third round of attempts to curtain the living/dining room. And I'd love to paint our boring vanilla house inside, but can't due to paint allergies - so I have to wait for Rob to get around to it....see above...never gonna happen. I'd also really love to furnish our basement family room, but we'll have to do some saving up a.k.a. more patience that I want to have - for that. Before doing too much in the bedrooms, I'm taking a kinda wait and see approach to how we house 2 babies and 2 adults. If there's any room swapping necessary I don't want to have invested too much energy just yet in getting those rooms "done".

I have made some progress though.

Here's the same list as before, broken down into the same 3 categories with my progress as follows -

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
- we'll get this before new baby comes
2. Energy efficient bulbs - didn't want these after I learned they contained mercury. Bummer the gov't is now phasing out the old kind!

3. Hand held shower sprayer - won't this be great for hosing off babies! - Bought! Just not yet installed
4. baby-proof supplies and anti tip bracket installed on oven- the whole 9 yards
- We're getting there. About half the drawer locks are on. Those suckers are hard to install!
5. mop & broom holder
- The idea is conceive, just haven't done it yet.
6. clothes line - we've had one everywhere we've lived except Lancaster - not yet.
7. window coverings - either wooden blinds or curtains, not sure yet. - Bane of my decorative existence
8. Laundry room floor epoxy or concrete stain - not yet. The basement is no man's land still!
9. carbon detector
- Yes!
10. laundry room shelving - Up! Thanks to Wonder Wife!
11. New mailbox - Bought and Installed! Thanks to Handsome Huz
12. city trashcan - not sure if we buy it or if it's provided
- We bought it and we even have Free Recycling service beginning in September
13. 2 outdoor mats
- I have 1 and am looking for a few more. I basically just need to suck it up are admit they are expensive. I want the kind that trap dirt and water.
14. 2 bathroom shower curtain rods and shower curtains
- Only missing the downstairs shower curtain.
15. extra storage cabinet in bathroom - Not sure how that's going to play out.
16. covered parking?
- Bottom of the list
17. fence - I have a guy coming today to give me a quote. We kinda need one on our street if Eli can run free.
18. lawn mower - I REALLY want a non-gasoline push one
- I didn't get my push one - Rob got a gasoline self-propelled mower. I guess it's only fair seeing as how I've never mowed the grass before in my life.

Make it Homey

1. new front door (or paint existing one)
- can't do this until we "theme up" the living room.
2. Kitchen Island shelving? - we decided on bar stools instead. Better idea.
3. house plants!
- not the best idea with a hungry toddler around. Though I have one sick one right now.
4. candles for bath - these come and go. I move them around the house.
5. hanging pot rack? - Ha! I forgot I wanted this! I'm not sure it will work now that we're actually in the house.
6. new lighting fixtures - Slowly but surely one day. Right now more important to sort out room colors.
7. Rug for Eli's room - nope...
8. Paint tree in Eli's room - also inspired by a previous house find. I really want to do a weeping willow
- no room to do this unless we play musical bedrooms with new baby arriving
9. Paint Livingroom and 2 upstairs bedrooms - no
10. Reupholster Ansley's beloved office chairs
- have to decide where they will permanently live and what that room will look like.
11. Frame bathroom window mirror
- still a cool idea, not there yet though
12. Decorative bathroom window - no longer going to do this

Outdoor Living
1. Porch furniture - I bought 2 chairs. I think I'm going to return them.
2. Porch curtains - only after I get the right furniture
3. Porch plants - have them, they're just not "hanging" baskets yet.
4. front yard - remove bushes, add flowers and birdbath - we're getting there. I want to keep the bushes and just trim them back. I've planted several flowers and even a rose. Still waiting on the bird bath.
5. window boxes! - I'll do this when the weather cools back down.
6. Deck furniture - we're saving up and will buy it when it goes on clearance of clearance in November.
7. Deck Pergola with hanging ivy and lights!!! (I'm trying to talk Rob into this for my birthday gift!) - I have a guy coming today to give us a quote.
8. Patio concrete stain - Same guy giving quote today.
9. Patio furniture -we're saving up and will buy it when it goes on clearance of clearance in November.
10. hammock on patio - this will take 2 seconds once the patio is actually a patio - right now it's just a concrete slab.
11. herb garden - I've got a neighborhood boy coming to till this fall, but I'm not going to put in the bed until spring.
12. veggie garden/ and trellis -same as above
13. Stain the deck - same guy giving me a quote today.

I guess we're not doing too bad on our lists considering we're trying to life our life in addition to adjusting to our new home. I can get overwhelmed with everything I want to do, but it can be fun doing all this when I relax and take my time. Especially since most of the Make It Functional column is done.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Viral Infestation

Playtime between viral attacks

Another reason our home life has been just left of manageable these past couple months.

Apart from being a toddler and all of the serious joy and mobility that comes with that. (Honestly, this is my favorite age so far.) Eli had been sick for what felt like 3 months. Ever since he turned 13 months old, it was virus after virus after virus. This was infuriating, exhausting, and incredibly bad timing as I was also really sick for much of the same time span. I can't explain why we had a domino effect of viruses. I guess it could be any number of things - A wacky hot/cold spring, weaning, kissing kids at Baby bookworms (he's a lover folks), a natural building up of his immune system... who knows. Probably, all of it combined.

All we know is, it was exhausting to keep his fevers down. In and out of the bath, alcohol rub downs, vinegar on his feet, rotating Tylenol and Motrin - the highest one still got up to 104.8 (remember our little one's tendency to spike temps?) and I felt so helpless to help him get well. I even asked our doctor his feelings about Homeopathy. I'm about to start reading some books on it, but I just can't make it make sense in my head. We're sticking with as many all-natural Grandma remedies for now as we can.

The picture of little boy health on Good Friday 2011

We took him off cow milk completely for about a month to decrease mucous production in his little body and that seemed to help. And, I'm not sure if it was the praying or the Willow/ Garlic Ear Oil drops that kept us from developing secondary ear infections - he had significant amounts of both. I am most thankful that all of the illnesses were viruses that he beat without antibiotics and that Rob and I developed a "plan of attack" that we immediately launch on any viral invaders - no milk, vaporizer, saline nasal spray, ear drops.... we're going to be pros by the time new baby gets here.

We've now been virus free for a longer span that I can remember in the past couple weeks. Thank you, God.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Whoa Nelly!

Life, slow down!

A catch up on our life these past few months. Part 1

Eli is already 16 months old. He flat out runs pretty much everywhere and is loads of fun in any fenced in area - free range babies make mom run too much. We enrolled Elijah in the reading challenge for listeners at our local library. If he listens to us read him 30 books, he gets a puppet or some equally amazing prize at the end of June. We're at 29. School aged kids are going to be so much fun. I can already tell Rob and I are going to have to hold back our "nerd-it-up" tendencies if our kids are to have any chance at normalcy.

We're not quite ready to begin potty-training, but almost. We've bought Eli a potty which he plays with but that's about it. He's been showing some signs of readiness, but we're not quite there yet. My goal is to have only 1 in diapers at a time. ha! we'll see.

Elijah says about 2 words still. Though these words vary monthly. We've been on "snack" and "hello" for quite some time. Though sometimes I do catch a "rob" thrown in. Oh, and of course he loves to say dada. Sometimes when Eli wakes up especially early (like 6am) I'll take him out to the living room to play while I nap on the sofa and Rob sleeps. As soon as 6:45 hits, I'll tell Eli, "you know dada's still sleeping. Go get dada". He'll take off down the hall running and yelling, "Dada! Dada! Dada!" I love doing that. I'll walk in a few minutes later to see Rob rubbing his eyes and Elijah scrambling on top of him. It's great. Eli loves to play "phone" with anything and everything. He'll often walk around the house with a pen, cup, or just his hand at his ear, saying "hewhoa" "hewhoa". To supplement his verbal vocab - we tried baby signs again. They didn't really work for us at 9 months. But when we tried again at 12 months he caught on quickly. He signs "All done" and "more" very well and we're about to start learning "potty", "monkey", and "thank you". Potty - for obvious reasons. Monkey - because his stuffed monkey is now is favorite possession. And Thank you - because he's old enough to learn some manners!

His new favorite game is a variation of peek-a-boo. He likes to hide behind dish towels that he stole from my kitchen drawer or behind curtains and then we pretend like we can't see him. Then, he'll pop out from behind his invisibility cloth and voila! Elijah. He loves it! He also enjoys knocking on doors or opening doors that you're knocking on, "excuse me, can I come in?" And...walking backward. It cracks him up!

These 3 pics are from our new favorite Tuesday night family activity. It's a blast to watch Eli play in the fountain at Market Square - It's just his size. It's all fun and games until he starts drinking the water.

Besides keeping up with a 16 month old - we're also pregnant! I'm finally out of the first trimester and can slowly feel life returning to my body after spending the last 3 months creating it. I have been exhausted and incredibly sick. With Elijah, morning sickness began earlier around 6 weeks but only lasted until 10. This time it hit at 7 1/2 and is still nothing to brag about at 13 1/2. I had no remembrance of how terrible morning sickness is and hope I forget all about it again so that there can be a third Hartley Baby one day. I remember with Eli after an especially hurl-full morning, I sat beside the toilet in Africa and cried. I thought being pregnant, I'd be cute and fun and pretty with a big belly. That all came - just later than I'd hoped. This time Elijah spent weeks walking around the house saying, "hu-a", "hu-a". It took me awhile to figure out that's the sound I make before I throw-up.

I'm utterly convinced this one's a girl. Though I'd be happy with either. Eventually, I'd like a girl. But for the first few weeks when the "this is a girl" feelings hit, I was completely afraid I was ruining Eli's life. "He needs a little brother!" I'd wail to Rob. Now I'm on Rob's team of "Eli's on his own - we're making a great family" and either a boy or girl will fit in perfectly and ruin no one's life. Except mine for the first, hmm, 6 weeks or so until it sorts out it's days and nights.

We haven't had an ultrasound yet - we opted not to get an early ultrasound (you can't fool me into that lovely experience again), though we'll have one at 20 weeks to find out the gender. Rob can't wait to find out- but I think I could. Eli and I did hear some tiny baby heartbeats though at my last appointment. The baby was flipping out and kicking already trying to get away from the doptone. Our midwife asked if Eli was that active and I had to laugh remembering just how in-utero active he had been.

I've been eating terribly (and I should know better as a childbirth educator). But I tell myself, "being able to keep x down is better than nothing at all." Unfortunately x has been mostly french fries, ground beef hard shell tacos, whole lemons - yes plain with salt please, and even a shameful run to Long John Silver's. Gross, I have no idea why. This baby loves as sour and as spicy as I can take, though I feel as though I'm craving bland potatoes. To keep the morning sickness at bay I've also chugged gallons of ginger ale. Soda normally is not my thing - and this new upswing of sugar is not exactly a good thing. Other than ginger ale, my other drink of choice is lemon water. And I'm not talking a lemon wedge in a glass. No, It's half water, half lemon juice and a lot of salt over crushed ice. Yumm. My last midwife called this concoction my virgin margarita.

Besides all that family business, I've also started up my business of childbirth education classes and doula services. Back in October I traveled to Atlanta to finish out my certification and since the new year began I've been working on getting myself and my business up and going. Since February, I've held 2 Bradley Method series and completed 2 Doula jobs with 2 more in the works. I absolutely LOVE what I do. Rob has been quite instrumental in the whole process. Encouraging me, doing mundane things like helping me make copies, and watching Eli while I'm teaching or away on jobs - all with a smile and telling me what a difference I'm making. I couldn't do it without him. He's wonderful.

Right now, I'm teaching a series on Sunday nights to 5 lovely couples. We're halfway through the course and they couldn't be more engaged and excited. I love having found what I'm passionate about and good at and enjoy like crazy! I'll be teaching one more series at the end of the summer before taking a little maternity break until the new year.

Whew, yes. All that makes our heads spin, too!