House of Boxes

If I didn’t already have a blog name, I think that’d be it – “House of Boxes.” Lately, we’ve had an influx in the box department, mostly thanks to a) baby stuff that I’ve purchased and b) the insanely generous friends who’ve been sending us gifts. Actually, the boxes seem to come from other areas, too, but it’s mostly baby-related. It’s to the point where I kinda forget they’re there. If you were to walk in our front door and take a quick walk around the joint, here’s a real-life example of what you’d see (note I did NOT clean up before your little visit; and Photoshopping is minimal, aside from the arrows)…
“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”…er, rather, the tray full of carbs on the table. That’s actually what we’re calling it. Needless to say, I’ve stocked up on goodies for when the baby comes (for us…not the kid).

Some of the most popular books at school are the “search and find it” kinds (I Spy, Where’s Waldo?, Can You Find It?…yep, real literature). I could make an entire book out of this shot of our living room.


One’s empty…one contains the new dining room table we bought *ahem* after Christmas. ‘Tis my fault. I’ve usurped the old dining room table with my sewing stuff (as you see on the right) for awhile. My poor husband.

Beer box! We’ve had that one for awhile. Oh, and that pack ‘n play box will hopefully be empty soon. We’ll see where it will live, though.
Why do we keep boxes? Well, in a word, kitties. They love ’em. That beer box (Sam Adams, FYI) in the last picture above has been around for a long while, hosting plenty of kitty play dates and near-fights. The huge one (for our changing pad) taking over the living room, believe it or not, isn’t the biggest we’ve kept hanging around the living room; the humongous ottoman one was their lair for quite awhile. When we cut it down, apparently the charm had yet to wear because the saucer eyes we received broke our hearts. Let’s just say that its carcass (a “pyramid” of cardboard left behind) lives in the office for chewing and rubbing.

Oh, and the cat food box (we order their wet food online) is mostly Winston’s, and yes he will curl up in it and wait for you to “take him for a drive”. (It’s been interesting to do with a big belly in the way, let me tell you!) Jasper has curled up in it a few times, but doesn’t like rides. Wee Wee prefers a storyline and description of where we’re going. So, y’know, sometimes it’s a casual “let’s head to the farmers’ market” sort of day, while other days are “it’s a night on the town, let’s pick up some ladies”…with the occasional strip joint or club. Can you tell I’m the one who comes up with those colorful scenarios? Yyyyyep. I’m gonna be a mommy! Mwahaha!!

So, while I’m totally going to pick these boxes up (most of ’em) now that I’ve written about them, you should know that any given visit at our house may involve boxes. What can I say? We love our boys. ๐Ÿ™‚

Waiting

I feel like I’m in a state of suspension lately. And, since I’m a lady of lists, I thought I’d share my experience of waiting with you thusly:
I’m waiting…

– for our new family member to make his or her arrival. Obviously this is the main “waiting” we’re doing. I’m not anxious or miserable (so many people are asking or saying, “You must be done being pregnant.” Not in the slightest. I still sometimes forget that I am! When the lil’ one decides to stretch and do some yoga, THAT has gotten uncomfortable, but it’s bearable), but just want to find out who this little person is. So, I’m doing fine otherwise – thanks to those acquaintances who’ve been asking, but you’ll know when ya know. (Family and close friends will know sooner. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Sorry, that’s how it goes.)
– for my nesting instinct to kick in. I know some folks don’t get it at all, so I’m hoping and praying that I do. Let’s just say I’d love to have the energy to clean my house from top to bottom, fill the freezer with post-baby meals and work on some other projects around the joint, but it just ain’t happening…and I’m a tad down on myself about it, in all honesty.
– for these damn road workers to just put down their damn layer of asphalt and be done with it, for crying out loud. (No, I don’t have Tourette’s. Yes, I’m about to be a new mommy. Why do you ask? ;-)) They’ve held our street hostage today and yesterday (it should’ve been a one-day job, but we had crazy weather yesterday; today, it’s just wicked overcast, but I suppose too wet still to work), but also used their time poorly as I’ve sat observing their bumbling workmen. It’s like a goofy silent film, seriously. Okay, enough whining and poor language.

I’m stalled…
– on the nursery (and cleaning…probably awaiting my nesting energy to hit). We have everything that needs to be “in place” – a changing area (including a dresser project), the crib set up and ready (although we’ll be using a cradle in the beginning, and that I foresee Winston adopting as a bed after the baby’s done with it…only partially joking), window treatments, an organized closet – but I’ve just been stumped on my final touches.

My goal is to pull myself out of the laziness slump, but allow myself time to rest at the same time. How can I find the balance (hopefully before baby comes?)? Make MORE lists. YES, MORE! The infamous “to do” lists, like what I’d like to finish in the nursery, what projects I want done around the house (and I may even share this one with the hubs…not sure why I tend not to share the responsibilities more), and the advance meals I’d like to make (including a pretty severe grocery list) that we can pull out of the freezer or throw together quickly when the baby arrives.

Is it weird that Pinterest is my first step for making the lists? Aaaaand, I’m off!!! Oh, and any suggestions or links for healthy, quick (possibly freezable) meals are welcome.

So, what are your goals for the summer? Have more time with friends? Go to more farmers’ markets? Take advantage of the nice weather? Have a baby and trying to maintain your sanity? Do tell!

The Hardest Part

I’ve been a little off my goal of getting a tighter grasp on my finances this year, so between the baby wake-up call and hoping for a happy, successful future with the hubs, we’re doing some analyzing. Perhaps that should be “LOTS” of analyzing. You may recall the pie chart I shared with you when doing my initial financialย  analysis, and for the most part, things are pretty much the same (except for the occasional baby purchase or what have you). Oh, yes, and for another guilty secret.

Yes, the dreaded “let me confess” post. It’s something that I know lots of folks do, but between our attempts to eat healthier and try to save some cash, this is simply deplorable. Let’s just say that we’ve been eating out. A lot. Upwards of 3 times a week. (Mind you, most of the time it’s been once a week, but still.) And let’s just say that one example of a one-month bill JUST for eating out was over $200. ($236.80, to be exact…and that’s just my bank account, excluding hubby’s.)

Great googily moogily!!

It SO gets away from you if you don’t sit down and take a good, hard look at it, am I right? And this is all while maintaining a relatively well-stocked kitchen. We haven’t gone on any expensive/extensive trips to the farmers’ market this season yet, and I’m not sure we will until we tighten these reigns.

What the heck’s the problem? I’ll admit to laziness. Most of it does come from being pregnant, in all honesty. It’s caused fatigue and at times a general lack of energy for cooking…and, at times, a teeny bit of depression has crept in, which somehow pushes me to say “Pizza would be great tonight.” At the same time, the fact that we’re traveling a lot means that when a mealtime comes around and I get hungry (wait, the hunger monster inside me wants to reword that realistically: “When da Mama gitt hongwyyy”), I kinda need to eat immediately.

So, after a birthing class, what happened? We took to venting and enjoying a meal or ice cream at the nearby Friendly’s. We even made some friends in the process.

And after yoga on a Friday evening, do I really feel like cooking? Not s’much.

Or any other numbers of excuses that any of us might feel ourselves coming up with.

Compared to folks in other situations (or countries), the fact that cutting back on restaurant-eating is the hardest part of our budget process is a wonderful problem to have. I suppose we have other financial issues, too, but this is the most surprising AND the one that we can have the most control over.

So, what’re we going to do? ESPECIALLY with a little one on the way (tell me I’m not going to want to order in practically every night). Well, I’m not planning on cutting it all out cold turkey. Oftentimes the withdrawal that you go through makes you less likely to stick with it, so we’re not going to cut out “eating out” altogether. I AM, however, going to analyze the heck out of our budget to see how often we CAN splurge – and on what types of items.

I’m also not going to fall victim of the “we have a gift certificate” or “we have a coupon for such-and-such a place” – because, while it’s great to have a way to save on a meal, you end up going out and often over-spending, still. We’ve had generous offers to use restaurant.com certificates and the like, but the pressure to use them by a certain date and the knowledge that it simply doesn’t take $20 to feed 2 people these days (unless you’re going to Subway or something like that…but, even then….) is enough for me. If we’re in the mood to go to a particular place and happen to have a coupon, that’s great! But, it’s kind of like the coupon Catch-22 in the grocery store – if it’s not something I need, is it still worth spending on?

One thing that’s already helped (and is kinda fun, when I’m up for it) is creating meals that we could possibly get in a restaurant. Somehow, they almost always turn out healthier. Last night, I made a couple of grilled chicken wraps (buffalo chicken for Dave, honey mustard chicken for me) and although I couldn’t fold them the right way (too much filling – gettin’ our money’s worth!), it was a way healthier version of a pretty yummy meal that would’ve cost us at least $9 each at a restaurant. And, yes, we even had some fries – organic ones. (And a beer at home is always cheaper than out-and-about. Dave drank it, not me. ;-)) Oh, and he says his was delicious – I think the fact that he repeated it several times while eating it proved this to be true – while mine, eh, the homemade dressing I whipped up wasn’t GREAT. It was still quite good.

Another option I’m interesting in (but, admittedly, intimidated by) is creating weekly menus. The problem with these is that our weekly schedules are often dictated on a whim – say, I don’t know that Dave’s meeting with a writing partner next Thursday until possibly a day or two before. That’s not a complaint; it’s just how our household rolls. So, a flexible weekly schedule might be best for us; ie “we were going to have *such and such* for dinner, but since I’m eating alone (or he’ll just have a salad when he gets home), I’ll eat something lighter or easier (or, tee hee, something he wouldn’t normally eat – can we say mushrooms?)”

There are lots of blogs and communities online that discuss menus. I think the hardest part is coming up with things that the family loves, and that don’t take up TOO much time to prepare. There’s, somehow, always an evening that you feel more like cooking, and inevitably an evening that you simply don’t (which helps you fall into the dreaded “let’s just get pizza”).

So, my search for easy, DELICIOUS (who wants to eat crap, even if it is easy and cost-effective?) possibly even prepare-ahead meals is on! I’ll share any sites that I find (I’ll be looking for all-natural/organic/whole foods sites, but will share those that I find valuable, even if not), so if you have any that you love, please feel free to respond in the comment section!! Your sites don’t have to be crunchy granola, either, but if they are, more power to ya! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Oh, and, BTW, if anyone has some freeze-ahead meals that would be appropriate for summertime that they love, please share! I’ve GOTTA get going on some meals to just defrost/prepare quickly for when the baby comes!!

The Latest

I thought it’d be fun (fun? I’m a strange human being) to do a quick check-in with regards to life around here lately.

– We’re at 36+ weeks, meaning we’re due in about a month (give or take). I’m not sure if I simply can’t wrap my head around that idea or I’ve just got so much to do yet I’d rather focus on that stuff. I can’t BELIEVE how far we’ve come since I gave Dave the news quickly before a rehearsal last Halloween, both literally (time truly flies) and figuratively (he is SO in “Daddy mode,” and it’s awesome).

– We’ve taken the classes – child birth/parenting, breastfeeding, infant CPR, yoga – and even contacted some possible babysitters, and know who our pediatrician will be. There’s still a buttload to do, though, like decorating the nursery, making some purchases (*cough* stroller-to-replace-the-one-that-came-RUSTED* cough), packing our hospital bag(s), downloading songs, making the crib skirt, bringing in some furniture (can’t breastfeed on the floor! Or, at least, not comfortably), and probably a thousand other things.

I only wish my energy would match all we’ve left to do. Let’s just say that my nesting instinct hasn’t kicked in yet. I’ve seen glimpses of it over the past month or so, but I keep falling back into “whoa, tired” mode.

– I still have a wacky idea that the “perfect” name will come to me, and my husband will agree joyously (note that I said “joyously”), and the clouds will part and harps will play. But, I need no suggestions. We’ve been through a lengthy book, and have determined a handful (each!) of girl and boy names that hopefully will ring a bell when we see the little one’s face. But, honestly, when we hear suggestions, at this point, we grow weary and downright cranky about it. (Plus, if a name we really liked is on the list, and we get cranky, odds are we’ll veto it…we’re a stubborn couple of jerks that way.) Not that anyone reading has made suggestions. ๐Ÿ˜‰ And, for that, I thank you! But, we’ve at least discussed our feelings and realized that we’re completely on the same page about this – it’s a huge decision (yes, Mom, we ARE aware of this fact!) and we’d prefer to have a unique yet realistic name in the end.

– My last yoga class was supposed to be last Friday. The trek out to New Hartford at the end of long weeks has proven daunting, but the yoga, positivity and experience overall are generally worth it. I was thinking “How nice it’ll just be nice to have a few weeks of Fridays to decompress with my husband, and perhaps try out more of the positions and breathing at home.” But, when I mentioned it to my instructor, she mentioned that I actually have two additional weeks coming to me because of a billing scheduling mix-up. (Two free weeks? Nice!) SO, if I FEEL up to it, I’ll continue. ๐Ÿ™‚ And, needless to say, Dave was gung-ho about my continuing.

– Our cats are still a huge part of our lives. For some reason, we’re just thoroughly enjoying spending time with them (when we’re able to be home) lately. I think, like when we were going to bring a new “one of them” home, we’re just being aware of the *general* peacefulness of the family and hoping that we can maintain most of it (at least after initial “GAH! WHAT’S THAT?!?! IT’S NOISY AND SMELLY AND CAN’T DO A DARN THING FOR ITSELF!!! I shall hide now.” reactions).

We know that Beardslee is quite mellow, and has dealt quite well with his brothers coming home in the past, AND simply naps when my sister’s little one is around, so hopefully his transition will be smooth. We predict that Jasper will (eventually, at least) be the little one’s “buddy”…especially since he has slept next to the belly almost every night lately. But, he’s a bit spazzy, so that may take time. Eventually, he’s sure to be a toddler’s best friend, though.

Winston, however, is the wild card. He’s currently “the baby.” A very sensitive little guy who has a wicked mean streak (Jasper and occasionally Beardslee get their butts KICKED every morning, usually starting around 3 or 4 am; which I’ve learned must be handled with patience rather than screaming and a squirt gun…parenting tip #1) and is a downright bully at times…but when the others aren’t around, or he gets “in the proper mood,” he’s the cuddliest, sweetest little guy in the house. He’ll simply have to adapt, but I’m hoping I’ll be pleasantly surprised by the little guy. (Although he does think that several of the baby’s toys are his, already…along with other spots in the nursery, LOL.)

– I’m enjoying observing Dave’s major transition from regular ol’ Dave to Daddy Dave. (Sounds like a superhero, hee hee.) He’s incredible. One of the few men in our breastfeeding seminar (and not batting an eye about it…although I’m not sure he ever needs to see a boob for the rest of his life, now…hell, I don’t need to). Focusing on what needs to be done. Scoopin’ kitty litter like a trooper. Showing no fear for future poopy diapers. His mind’s IN it. I just hope mine is just as much!- The school year is winding down, and you know what that means. Wait. Maybe you don’t. Alrighty, well what it means in my world is INVENTORY. I’ve still got some classes with the little ones, but they’re sporadic thanks to the end-of-the-year fun (trips, field days, etc). In all honesty, I’m excited to have it all done and be able to focus on baby stuff; it’s been hard enough to drag myself out of “baby brain”, although I’ve been downright lucky with how “easy” my pregnancy’s been, and how work’s gone.

– I’ve contributed, once again, to the awesome online magazine, Kaia! Check it out if you’d like to brush up on your 3 R’s (and I don’t mean readin’, writin’ and ‘rithmetic).

Be it ever so humble (and boring/dull), that’s the latest in our world. I’ve wanted to post much more regularly, but my brain has turned to Jell-O. Mmm. Jell-O. See? Hard to stay focused. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Anyhoo, I’m hoping to post more, but either way – thanks for reading!