Less is More

Well, we finally know our living situation for the next year. It’s not perfect, and it’s not what we planned, but it works. We got our renewal notice for our lease and the jacks wanted $1400 a month. Not including utilities. This pisses me off because that’s the price that they are charging new tenants for units that have been renovated with new kitchens, hardwood, and granite. Ours hasn’t been renovated. Apparently that means zip to them because when we asked if they’d lower the price for that reason they wouldn’t budge. So they offered us a cheaper unit in the apartment high rises at the complex (we live in a townhouse right now) that was smaller, but more affordable. We toured it, and it is smaller than what we have now, but workable. It’s classified as a 1 bedroom plus den, but the den has a door on it, so it works as a bedroom for Bean. It’s only 900 square feet, 500 less than what we have now, so it means a big downsize…but it’s still the most affordable thing we’ll be able to find in this area for a two bedroom unit. And we don’t have to move to an entirely new complex. In fact, the building we’re moving into is within sight of my front yard right now, so we can move a lot of stuff over without having to get a rental truck.

I’m a little bummed, because I really didn’t want to move again unless it was to our “permanent destination.” We’ve practically been nomads for the last few years–this will be our 5th move since 2011. But, it’s better for us financially, and I’m trying to look at it in a “less is more” kind of perspective. We don’t need a ton of space or things. Recently I’ve found myself feeling that the clutter in our lives is more than just toys scattered all over the place. We will get by fine. Here’s my list of things that ARE good about this move.

Pros:

  •  We’ll be more financially stable with a lot more wiggle room…especially once the house sells.
  • Only 900 square feet means a lot less that I have to clean.
  • No more stairs and no more baby gates!
  • We’re on the 4th floor facing west and have a killer view of the city and the mountains.
  • We’re still in the same corner of the complex where we are now, which means we can come play with our neighbors whenever we want.
  • Utility bills will be soooo much lower.
  • This is a good time to downsize. We have a lot of stuff we don’t need and it’ll be good for us to figure out exactly what we need, then sell, donate, or store the rest. Less is more. Less is more. Less is more.

Cons: (because what’s a Pros list without a Cons list to go with it)

  • Losing our yard and outdoor space. We still have a nice balcony, but it’s a little different than just being able to step outside and sit on the grass.
  • Adjusting to the “apartment” lifestyle – ie figuring out how to wrangle Bean and a load of groceries up an elevator from the car.
  • Having to move. Again.
  • The baby’s room doesn’t have a closet or windows. Which I guess is okay since she spends most of the time in her room sleeping.
  • Losing my washer and dryer. Nooooooooooo. (There’s a laundry on each floor, so that’s helpful.)
  • This particular unit is so cheap because it hasn’t been renovated. Not the end of the world, but it would have been a nice perk after putting up with the move.
  • Have to put a lot of stuff into storage. But, my parents have generously offered to pay for a unit for us, so that will be very helpful.

So, yeah…it’s going to be better for us in the long run, especially financially. With the house in Estes being such a total clusterfuck, we’ve been hemorrhaging money and it just hasn’t been a good situation. So, with a monthly rent clocking in at well under $400 what we’re paying right now, we’ll have a lot more ability to put cash into savings each paycheck, and actually be able to spend on things like trips to the zoo for Bean and lunches out every so often.

Now, to pack everything up. …..Again.

Snow Day! Hooray!

…while the majority of North America goes, are you effing serious??

We’ve had a super mild winter here in Colorado. The last two weeks we’ve had temps in the high 60s and even 70s in Denver, and I don’t think we’ve seen snow for quite some time. We had about 8 inches on Christmas Day, but other than that we’ve just had a couple inches here and there. But we had a good snow fall today! Luckily, I found a snow suit for Bean in a box of clothes we inherited from a neighbor and it fits her just right, so we got bundled up and went outside. She’s seen snow so seldom that I don’t think she quite knows what to do with it!

She enjoyed having some playtime out in the snow, digging out the plants in the back yard and uncovering all her toys. Now we are back inside enjoying some cocoa and watching Curious George. And accessorizing with canvas bags.

The Worst

Who is? Yeah that’s right, me. I’m a lousy blogger. Basically it boils down to the feeling that our lives are not exciting enough to bother you with boring details. And also I’m lazy. So there’s that.

So far this year has been a kerfuffle of house-related…stuff. Crap. We planned to put the house in Estes on the market right after the new year so that we would have time to sell it and buy a new place before our lease here is up in April. Well, because the universe is apparently a douche canoe, that didn’t happen, because on January 2 a pipe burst in the house which has been vacant since November. (And I don’t remember if I mentioned that, but our renter moved out with no notice and our property management company completely dicked us over, so we’ve just been eating it on the mortgage in the meantime.) Luckily, the damage was minimal, unluckily, the insurance company is taking their sweet ass time paying us out for the work to be done, so we still haven’t started the work. Which means we haven’t been able to put it on the market, which means even if it does sell immediately there’s a very slim chance we’ll be able to get our financial ducks in a row and find a new place and purchase it before the end of April. And that leaves us in the rock/hard place position of having to determine if we can afford to stay where we are (not likely, since the rent has apparently been going way up) and bothering to move again with the possibility of buying later on in the year and breaking our lease so we can move AGAIN. It’s exhausting just thinking about it. We should hopefully know in a couple weeks what our rent situation is going to look like there if we renew which should give us more perspective on finances and whether we will be forced to move again.

Naturally, this all happened — literally — the day I quit at the bank. If I had known we’d be eating it on the mortgage for so long without being able to put the house on the market, I’d have stayed to help with finances. Like I said, universe = douche canoe. I’m having some small successes with the Jamberry gig, and I’m breaking out into vendor events like craft fairs and whatnot, so at least I have some small income coming in there.

I shouldn’t complain so much. We’re all healthy and happy and getting by, but money is one of those stressors you can’t really help but be stressed about. We have at least decided to buy a townhouse or condo instead of single family home, since we know we can get a lot more for our money that way and have a cheap mortgage payment. We really don’t need all the space of a house and since the family is not expanding any time soon (ie ever) we don’t have to anticipate needing a larger place for more tiny humans. Plus less square footage is less that I have to clean.

The one golden point of the year so far is that the weather has been fan-bloody-tastic which means Bean and I have been able to spend a lot of time outside, and as a result my SAD is exceptionally manageable this year. Hallelujah. I was keeping up with my new year’s resolution of dropping the baby weight and getting fit, and enjoying doing so, and then my little fitness bracelet charger went missing and the replacements still haven’t arrived. It’s stupid to say I was motivated by that dumb thing but I really was. So, as soon as the chargers get here I will jump back on that wagon with fervor since I really was enjoying myself going to the gym most nights.

Anyway. Enough of my yapping. Have some pictures.

And before I leave you, an exchange I had with Bean this morning in the grocery store. She was sitting in the cart rifling through my purse and found a dollar bill.

Me: Oh, you found a dollar bill. What are you going to buy with that?

Bean: Cookie.

Good girl.

Catching Up

So apparently I am The Suck lately at keeping this blog updated. Which is dumb because I think about it all the time, and then at the end of the day I’m still sitting there like “damn it! I didn’t update my blog!”

C’est la vie I suppose.

So here’s what we’ve been up to lately.

Birthday!

Bean had her first birthday two weeks ago! We had a party. There was cake. There was a preponderance of presents. There was singing, but Bean mostly looked at us like we were crazy.

Professional Photos

We took Bean to JC Penney to get some professional photos done for her first birthday. It ended up being more expensive than I thought it was worth and we weren’t really crazy about the products they gave us, so I doubt we’ll go back at any point, but whatever. These were some of our favorites.

12 Month Checkup

Bean had her 12 month checkup yesterday and weighed in at 18.10 pounds and 29 inches tall. She is right on track for weight gain and a little bit short for her size, but otherwise is developmentally perfect. She can say “Dada” and sometimes “Mama.” She talks nonstop and has several phrases that I hear her repeat often, so they must mean something to her. Who knows. She will walk all day long behind her push cart and cruise around the furniture (and over it, and us) but has yet to take any independent steps without holding onto something. I catch her standing independently every so often, but it only lasts as long as she doesn’t realize what she’s doing. She’ll be on it in no time, she just has to get up the nerve to do it on her own.  She has no problem getting places, crawls like a speed demon, climbs the stairs like a pro, and can scurry backwards up a slide like it is her job. I definitely see the makings of a daredevil. Her new favorite is standing on top of her new chair (Harold the Chairold) and trying to climb onto the tv table. Nothing that could go wrong there, right? Cameron is concerned that she’ll be able to climb out of her crib, but since she has yet to figure out how to vertically scale things, I think we’re safe for a little while. Basically I’ve accepted the fact that as soon as she gets her feet, I’m doomed.

What else….

I Drank the Kool-Aid

Uh, yeah. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you’ve probably heard me bitch about my frustrations with constantly getting hit up by friends and family who do the “It Works” thing. I think the whole thing is a sham, but that’s neither here nor there, and if you think it works that’s fine, and if you sell it, that’s fine too. I’ve always been resistant of sales companies like that, and then I came across this thing called Jamberry which is basically THE SHIT. I like it because it’s 1) an actual product that doesn’t claim to make you lose weight through magic wraps, 2) it’s non-toxic and made in the USA, and 3) It’s fun, cute, and inexpensive. I can do my nails at home in about 15 minutes for waaaaay less than it costs to get a manicure in a shop. The designs are gorgeous, you can mix and match, they stay on for 2 weeks (no lie, even on Mommy hands), and they’re super easy to do yourself. They somehow manage to make even my teeny tiny fragile nails look bomb. I was pretty much hooked after one order. Anyway, all of this is a long way of saying that I drank the kool-aid and signed up to be a consultant for Jamberry. And, because I hate a hypocrite, this is officially the last time you’ll hear me talk about this here. If you’re interested in learning a little more or ordering, please leave me a comment…but I’m not going to go talking about it all the time. I will however leave these pictures of some applications I’ve done because shit, they’re just so cute.

Anyway.

It’s almost time for Thanksgiving and then Christmas! You have no idea how badly tempted I am to put up the Christmas stuff now, but I’m making myself wait. We have yet to figure out what to do about our tree situation. Our tree bit the dust last year and I haven’t decided if we should shell out on a new one or go for a real tree this year. My gut is telling me buy a new artificial one, since I’m sure Bean will be more than happy to ingest pine needles if she could. We also have to figure out where we’re going to put a tree. Our place is slightly awkward for setting up a tree, especially since I am freakishly right-angle about everything and feel like a tree has to be in a corner or dead center in the middle of a window. Anybody else like that?

That’s Harold the Chairold, in case you were wondering.

Fall Fun

We’ve been having so much fun around here with the fall activities! I’d write a bit more but frankly I’m feeling lazy and am saving all my brain space for a post about Bean’s first birthday (aka holy shit) so in the meantime let photos suffice.

Pumpkin patches!

Corn mazes!

Leaves!

Pumpkin decorating!

Cold weather! For like, a day!

Halloween costumes! We didn’t actually go trick or treating because we got home too late from work last night, plus she wouldn’t have really gotten much out of it anyway. Next year though. We took her to a trick or treat street at the nearest shopping center and let her pick out a few pieces of candy and get called a boy over and over because she was the only girl there not dressed up as Elsa. When will we be done with Frozen?

It is time to put away the Halloween stuff (and leave the Christmas stuff in the boxes for another month SHAME ON YOU for putting up your trees now) and that means figuring out exactly who has been living in the tote downstairs and chewing up all the lights that were in the box. Murr. Today is shopping for a few presents for Bean’s birthday and tomorrow she gets her 1 year photos done! Woohoo!

Happy

The other day I was off from work, so I took the baby to meet Cameron for lunch at Costco and do a little shopping. We perused Christmas toys and she ooh-ed and ahh-ed at the twinkly lights on display. She ate all the samples they were giving out and even convinced me to buy a bag of veggie stick chips after being so interested in them. On the way home we stopped at a playground near the house because it was so beautiful outside. Bean laughed while I pushed her on the swings and played in the sand area and went down the swirly slide all by herself.

And I realized, as I was driving home, that I was happy.

This kind of revelation probably shouldn’t be a surprise, but it was for me. It’s been a difficult year in a lot of ways. Nearly 6 months of unbearable PPD and anxiety that at one time had me terrified to leave my own house, with or without the baby. Trying to adjust to being a new mom among all the other things that life throws you. This summer was tumultuous and honest to God left me wondering if my whole life was about to implode.

So to take a moment and realize that I made it through all of those things and I’m happy now is a bit of a big deal for me. Because pretty much for the better part of a year I’ve been faking it, one way or another. And part of it wasn’t conscious, it was just normal, until I looked back on the situation and wondered how I ever fooled anyone, least of all myself. But it’s better now. I have a job I like and feel confident in. I’m getting closer to finishing my manuscript. Cameron is finally in a job that doesn’t require his attention 24/7. Bean is happy and upbeat and doesn’t need constant attention. Sure my house isn’t always clean, sure we don’t always sit down to a home cooked meal every night. But we’re still enjoying a beautiful life together. And that’s worth everything.

11 Months

Man it has been difficult to find time to get to my computer lately! Whoops.

Bean is now 11 months old! (As of a little over a week ago.) See above.

Last weekend, we went to San Diego for Cameron’s brother’s wedding. We had a fun time and Bean was a traveling trooper. We had short flights luckily and she was pretty good both times. The flight home she slept pretty much the entire flight. We were only there for a short weekend, but we got to stop at the beach, so Bean has now put her feet in two oceans before her first birthday!

While we were in San Diego Bean got to meet lots of family on Cameron’s side and everyone was so excited to see her. Although I have to admit that as much as I love her, I probably would have opted to leave her at home for this trip if I thought the family wouldn’t have killed me for not bringing her. It would have been nice to have a baby-free trip and enjoy more of the wedding festivities, but c’est la vie. As it was, Cameron’s aunt and cousins graciously took the Bean for a few hours on our last morning there and we were able to have breakfast and visit the beach by ourselves.

So, what is Bean into these days? EVERYTHING! She figured out how to pull up on things a couple weeks ago and now she is cruising around the house like nobody’s business. She makes laps of the living room and she is working on learning how to let go of things and sit down so I have a feeling she will be taking unassisted steps in no time. She is interested in everything and she is very brave.

She was doing really well sleeping through the night, but then she had two teeth come in about the same time and has been a little disrupted of late, but luckily is usually still only getting up once a night for a few minutes. After another dose of Advil and some cuddles she goes right back to sleep. She still naps twice a day, usually about 2 hours per nap, and gets into bed between 9 and 9:30 each night. I am working on transitioning her off formula soon, but I am thinking I will leave her on the toddler formula for a little while until she is more used to cow’s milk. I started giving her a couple ounces with food but it seems to make her really gassy, so we’re going to see how it goes. She gets 3 bottles a day, so I think soon I will work on cutting out the two daytime bottles and only give her one before bed because it helps her settle down.

Bean has a very independent personality and she definitely does not like to be crowded. She has never been much of a cuddler, and she becomes extremely overwhelmed if she is surrounded by lots of noise and people. In loud restaurants or gatherings she gets fussy easily but if she is removed from the situation she cheers up right away. Most of the time she prefers to play on her own and only comes to us to play occasionally. She still loves her kitties most of all and I have a feeling she’ll be using Sherlock as her dress-up doll/doctor patient/plaything in the future. She plays fine with other kids when we take her out to play with the neighbors, though she is more interested in observing the older kids than she is actually engaging in play–so she might be a little shy or socially nervous around strangers like I am. Now that she can cruise and do things a little bit more independently the playground is becoming more accessible, so I think the more I introduce her to other kids the more she will hopefully open up. I don’t think she’ll be much of a social butterfly, though.

Bean is a chatterbox and has started to say “mama” and “dada” with more regularity now. She also says “ooh-day” when she is excited or interested in something. She loves birds and airplanes and points at everything. She LOVES to dance and she likes to watch nature shows and recently has become interested in Curious George. She has been spending a lot of time with her Papi when I am at work, and they go for walks and hang out at the playground a lot.

We are trying to take her out for lots of fall activities, and yesterday she went to her first pumpkin patch. Just a small one; we planned to go to a place called Anderson Farms that has lots of activities, but she was a grumpy gills and wouldn’t take a late nap, so we opted for the one nearer to our house and we are planning to take her up to the big farm next weekend. Oh–and she is dressing up as an owl for Halloween! I also have to start figuring out what to do for her birthday…I can’t believe I will have a toddler in a couple weeks. When did that happen?

 

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