Friday, April 29, 2011

Yep, I'm Going to Blog About It, Too

 Last night I put my daughter to bed and told her: "Tomorrow you get to see a real princess on T.V." Her eyes got really big and I know if she wasn't already completely exhausted she would have been completely alight with excitement. When I woke her up this morning I didn't even have to remind her of what was happening. "Can I see the princess now?" she asked.

Of course, Lizzie's standard for princess are pretty little blond dolls in pink dresses with massive crowns, but I have to say, there is something in the air of the woman formally known as Kate Middleton (now the Duchess of Cambridge) that just says princess, despite the fact that she does not (thankfully) fit that stereotype. Lizzie was completely rapt as she watched the beautiful princess and her handsome prince walk back down the aisle of Westminster Abbey after officially becoming husband and wife. She leaned close to the screen, a smile spreading across her face as she said with brimming joy, "She's a real princess, Mama."

I know a lot of people think that the concept of the royal family is, frankly, stupid, for a variety of reasons. I guess I understand their reasons, and I know that, until recently, the royals haven't been that romantic vision of pomp and circumstance, elegance, and tradition. They were the real rulers of that country (and of an empire for a time), and did not always do well by their own people, or even by each other. But even with all that, my inner little girl cannot help but love watching our modern royals, romanticizing them and fantasizing out their predecessors.

Whatever you might feel about the monarchy, past or present, there is something undeniably beautiful and reassuring about a day such as today. With all the horrid things happening in this world, there is still this consistency and a sort of magical fairy tale happening, as it's been happened for hundreds of years. I love that.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Free Stuff

If I have one piece advice for anyone, it's don't turn down free stuff. More specifically, if you're driving to work in the morning and you pass a some white metal patio furniture that could look sooo cute with a fresh coat of paint and some cute cushions AND that will fit in your Ford Taurus, you damn well pull over (even though you're already running late) and lug the goods into your backseat. You should also switch out the Taurus for a truck so you would have been able to fit in the free desk that was sitting there, too. You may have to see if it's still there this afternoon and drag to your apartment before you pick up your daughter from daycare.

Best advice you'll ever receive.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Writing Prompt: A Title

Here's the writing prompt I'm taking on from Mama Kat this week:
Tell us the story behind the title of your blog. What is it? What inspired it? What other options did you consider? Are you happy with it?
I'm a serial blog starter. I usually start (and then get rid of) a blog or two a year. The only blog I've ever kept with some consistency is my book review blog, and that's been fairly silent recently (mostly because I haven't had time to read this year). I always begin with some hope, write with consistancy, and then something happens. I either lose focus, lack the time, or don't have the interest any more.

The last time I started a blog, the goal was to write something under a different topic each day. Very ambitious for someone who sometimes forgets to brush her teeth every day, nevermind finding something to write about under specific heading each morning. It was too restrictive.

With this blog...the focus is very loose, and I attempted to title it that way.

First of all, I LOOOOOOOVE the radio show on NPR "This American Life." I listen to it every weekend, love Ira Glass, and feel tune with different parts of our country afterward. And I like how it tells a story. It isn't reporting, it's skillful and beautiful storytelling. And I enjoy telling stories. I'm not always good at it, and I honestly prefer listening to them, but I like to get my two cents in there, too.

Secondly, I love being at home. I love all things domestic. Just like with telling stories, I'm not exactly a master at all domestic things (or any), but I enjoy it, and with consistent enjoyment comes a certain amount of confidence and then mastery, which would be long term goal, I suppose. I like cooking, organizing, sewing, coming up with systems on how to get things done, and I simply love being at home with my family. While I didn't want to choke myself with "rules" about what I can write about in this blog, because it is for me more than anyone else (though I like that at least a few people read it), I did want some sort of focus, and since one of my strongest interests are all things domestic (and within that being a mother and wife), that settled what I'd write about.

I really didn't consider any other titles. As soon as "This Domestic Life" came to me, it stuck. I knew there wasn't anything better it could be called, and I wouldn't be satisifed with anything. While I'm certainly no Ira glass, and not all my blog entries could be considered stories in the traditional sense, "This Domestic Life" rings the truest when thinking about what my blog is about. I love this title and I love this blog.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Top Ten Reasons I Can't WAIT for Summer

  1. NO SNOW (yes, we still have some snow on the ground, and, occasionally, just to torture me, the sky still spits out little white flakes)
  2. Swimming in the lakes, ocean, rivers, pools that we live near
  3. Reading as many books as I can possibly manage while having NO other remotely academic distractions
  4. Going to Old Orchard Beach and Popham Beach
  5. Hot, sweltering weather
  6. Gardening
  7. Going out on my parent's boat
  8. Camping, camping, and more camping
  9. Naps
  10. Having more time to do things like cook good food, watch crap T.V., sew, paint, and decorate, and do and make things with Lizzie

Monday, April 25, 2011

When You Want What Everyone Else Has

Another friend of mine announced via Facebook that she's pregnant. I'm so happy for her. She and I are a rare species--dedicated moms who are balancing being wives and mothers with being full-time education students. She has a little girl who's about a year younger than Lizzie and from all appearances, is doing a great job. I am totally thrilled for her.

And almost nauseatingly jealous.

I have wanted to have another baby since Lizzie was about six months old. She was just so...perfect. Who wouldn't want to try for perfection again. And I always knew that I didn't want my kids to be as far apart as my brother and I are (six years). While there was never a problem in the age difference between my brother and I (we're actually pretty good buds), I always wished I had a brother or sister closer in age to me and therefore wanted that for Lizzie. At this point that doesn't look like it's going to happen and it makes me sad.

And almost completely nauseatingly jealous of my friend who is already having her second. It makes me feel even more like there is no reason why we shouldn't have another. Her husband is in the same line of work as mine. They have bought a home, too. She's not even graduating this semester, but has more school ahead of her, yet she is having a baby. And while that might seem to be a lot for a young couple to take on, she's not the type to go into anything lightly. I have no doubt that she and her husband will go through this life change admirably.

And I honestly think we, DOH and I, could do the same. But DOH wants me to get a job and then he says he'd consider having a second baby. Well, isn't that a bit counter-intuitive? Education is not a career field where you can waltz in for a year then leave to have a baby and then expect to get your job back. When you are starting out in education, you are literally under probation and a school district can choose to not renew your contract if you sneeze the wrong way. As a new teacher, I don't want to give my employers any reason to not renew my contract, especially in such a competitive job market. DOH just doesn't seem to get that!

So, it leaves me in this position. If I get a teaching job next semester, or even a job in a school district working as an Ed. Tech. or something of the like, then that means I will go through the '11-'12 school year not pregnant, likely watching several of my friends get pregnant, feeling painfully jealous and unhappy. Hopefully I will feel comfortable enough in my district to get pregnant over next summer (2012) and have our next baby in the spring of 2013. That's two years away.

That's two years of watching people get pregnant and have babies. I don't know if I can do it. In addition to all that, Lizzie will be five, which is just as big a distance as six would be, in my book. And there goes the fulfillment of having two kids close together. Of course, we could have a third kiddo, but we don't if that's something we want yet.

I'm feeling a little bit desolate at the moment. I know, in my head, that having a baby right now isn't right for us. But in my heart, and I tend to listen to my heart quite a bit more than my head, for good or bad, I really want this. Of course, though, there is a big difference between right and want, and part of being an adult is acknowledging that difference and following through in the correct way.

But it's so hard.

Our Easter

 Miss Liz dying eggs. She kept asking when they were going to hatch!
 The Easter Bunny came! Lizzie was, however, a bit disappointed she didn't get to see him.
 Taking a walk and enjoying the beautiful sunny weather. I don't think there is a better way to celebrate Easter and rebirth than going out and enjoying the wonderful changes nature is making this time of year.
 The mountains of Western Maine. Love 'em.
 Liz pretending to be a horse.
 The river.
 Liz with a rock (this is turning into an Easter tradition, it seems, as I have a similar picture form last year).
 Liz releasing the rock back into the river. "Be free, rock!"
Another picture of the river. I'm looking forward to coming down again as the weather gets warmer and things brighten up. This is definitely a place I'll miss going when we move.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

I Have a Problem

I'll be the first to admit I'm no housekeeper. I never seem to have the time, energy, or attention span to sustain any sort of cleaning regimen. It gets done when it gets done. My goal the last couple of years has been to at least keep things sanitary, clean, and smelling...not gross, if not nice. It may be cluttered, but at least you're not going to catch some sort of bizarre disease if you come into our home. I know that's not a very high standard (you neat freaks can feel good about yourselves as you read this :-p), but that's just how it is at the moment.

Actually, at this very moment, our aparment is not only not disgusting, but is relatively organized and clean, as it should be, because I've spent the last three mornings working on picking this up and organzing them (I still have a couple of sinkloads worth of dishes to do--for realz--but that takes forever, because our hot water runs out so quickly). One of the big projects I had on the list was laundry.

Of all the chores I have around the apartment, laundry is the least painful. I can start up the washing machine or dryer, let it go for an hour, then come back and fold the laundry while watching T.V. or listening to the radio. It's relaxing and I don't have to dedicate an extended period of unbroken time to it (unlike washing all our dishes, which I have to do by hand). However, since we live in an apartment building that has a shared laundry facility, we don't just pop our clothes in the washer or dryer and let it go. You have to have quarters. $2.75 worth of quarters to be exact.

For whatever reason, we've always been bad about remembering to get quarters. While DOH sort of collects change (he doesn't ever really use it for some reason), he never seems to remember to bring in quarters for me and I never seem to remember to ask. Like a lot of my housekeeping duties, laundry gets shoved to the bottom of the list. This has resulted in a literal mountain of laundry. I'd show you a picture, but honestly, it's a little embarrassing. Admittedly, some of the clothes in our launry "pile" have been sitting there since we lived in our old apartment (which we moved out of in July 2009).

So, my goal for this weekend, in addition to to just getting some of our clothes washed so I had something to wear at home besides pajama bottoms, was to organize what we had and decide what could be packed up and sent to the new house. Now, don't think I'm starting that horrible cycle of leaving clothes to sit and never be washed after a move. Because I can finally (FINALLY) wash clothing without having to have an absurd number of quarters on hand, my intention is to get ALL of that laundry done and to have it organized even further (donate, keep, chuck or upcycle). So, once everything was said and done yesterday, this is what I had:
Okay, there was supposed to be a nice little example picture here, BUT for some reason I'm unable to upload it :-/ Maybe later.

The picture would show you a sizable amount of laundry still yet to be washed, BUT it was all neatly organzied into baskets, just waiting to be hauled off to the laundry room. And then I had a shot of my bed, where I had piled five (six?) trashbags FILLED with laundry that's heading to the new house this coming weekend. All this laundry will be done at the new house (maybe in a new washer and dryer?). Where are we going to put six bags of dirty laundry for a week in our insanely tiny apartment? Oh, they're still hanging out in our bedroom, piled up by myside of the bed. That's fun.

So, with all this wonderful access to my own laundry facility and even a line to hang laundry so it can dry outside in addition to using the dryer (I love the smell of laundry dried outside), my assumption is that more laundry will get done. Clearly, if that's not the case, then I really do have a problem.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Top Ten Reasons I Can't WAIT to Move, I Hate My Neighbors Edition

  1.  I'd like to be able to open a window without worrying about the following: overhearing the neighbors, smelling cigarette smoke, or worrying about the cat getting out.
  2. Having grass would be nice.  
  3. Being able to use the laundry room without having weird neighbors up your ass, taking your laundry out of the dryer before it's dry, and hogging the machines. 
  4. On the same note as number four: not having to hoard quarters. 
  5. Not having to smell pot smoke wafting down from upstairs.
  6. Not having our upstairs neighbors.
  7. Not having neighbors. Period. 
  8. Being able to spread out and leave our crap everywhere. 
  9. Not being chased (literally chased) down the road by the random religious folk bearing fliers who appear in the downtown a few times a year. 
  10. Being able to shower without a kid tapping on the window to say, "Hi!"

Calling Uncle

I'm not sure where this whole rough streak has come from, but my sweet little girl seems to be practicing for the UFC.

If I am still (or even moving at a vaguely slow pace) for even a moment, there seems to be a swirling tornado of limbs flying in my face, a set of tiny teeth, or teeny weeny fingers pinching me. And I'm constantly being climbed on or being begged for a cuddle (which is never really a cuddle, but an all out tackle or dance party on my stomach). After a near full week of being home (we're on spring break), I am just about tapped out. I want to go sit in the middle of an empty room, on the floor, all alone, where no one can find me, touch me, talk to me, or say my name.

I love my daughter very, very much, and there isn't anything better than just snuggling with her, but after days of feeling like I have a very large leech stuck to me, I feel like I'm ready to call, "Uncle!!"

Does anyone else ever feel like this?

Thursday, April 21, 2011


If you've taken the time to look at the tab labeled "My Ultimate To Do List", and you were bored enough to read through the list, you may have noticed the task, "Try a new recipe every week." So, what I'm about to talk about isn't necessarily a recipe as much as it's a...sandwich. BUT it is something new.

Every once in a while (read: every day), I snoop around on Martha Stewart's website. In addition to the regular Martha site, with the pretty pale blue colors and thousands of activities, dinners, and crafts I have no time/funding to do, there is also the "Whole Living" link (this site coincides with the "Whole Living" magazine). It's all about eating healthfully, being active, and finding your inner piece (like...yuppy hippies). Anyhow, I'm always looking for good breakfast ideas, because I either end up doing the boring old cereal or oatmeal deal, a balance bar, or skipping, which is never a good idea.

I came across this recipe for a Northern European breakfast, basically consisting of a dark break, eggs, turkey, ham, and cheese (mmm...cheese). I decided to give it a whirl this morning.

I went out for a walk/jog first thing, which was great. It was cold, but sunny, and I felt really refreshed and hungry when I got home. I took a slice of pumpernickel bread, some Gruyere cheese, and lean turkey and toasted it on our pizza maker. I threw it on a plate along with some grapes and a big glass of ice water and had a wonderfully relaxing and tasty breakfast.

You'll notice, if you go and look at the recipe (I feel weird calling it that--I feel like more effort should have been involved), that I didn't have the eggs. I'm on Weight Watchers (a program I highly recommend--I've lost 15 pounds in about 4 weeks), and I felt like the turkey slices gave me enough protein and I didn't want to pile on the points this morning.

I really enjoyed making and eating this. It was simple to do, but still felt like I did something different and special for myself, and I love this sort of hearty tasting food. I mean, it may be because I am in fact mostly of Northern European descent (maybe even completely--are England and Ireland considered part of Northern Europe?), but this is my kind of deal for breakfast.

Kids These Days

I'm a huge lover writing prompts. While I like choosing my own topics, I also get a kick out of challenging myself to write something different every once in a while. I feel like it's strength training for my brain. Anyhow, I signed up to recieve the weekly writing prompts from Mama Kat (see the button on my side bar if you're interested, too). This week there was one calling people to write about "something students should know these days." This felt particularly poingant considering I'm student teaching this semester. Anyway, here goes.

This is probably going to be more serious than I want it to be, but when I think of things kids should know these days, I get pretty practical. And while you might think I'd be biased towards something like writing a cover letter or being able to read and understand the newspaper (being an English teacher and all), what I think every student should know these days has to do with math.

When I was a senior in high school I was very concerned about getting into my "top tier" school, which was, in my case, Emerson College in Boston (I got in, by the way). I knew I would need good grades, a relatively strong SAT score, and that my transcripts would need to show a student who challenged herself academically. When my senior year rolled around and I had a choice between not taking any math courses, taking something "easy" like senior math or personal finance, or pre-Calculus I did the only logical thing a paranoid kid who was desperate to get into a good college does--I took pre-calc. Even though I had applied to Emerson as a writing and publishing major. Even though, if I had a good average in all my high school math courses, I wouldn't have to take math (and taking pre-calc would likely ruin that chance) if I went to Emerson. Even though I knew it would make what was supposed to be a fun and easy year really, really miserable.

But I went to pre-calc faithfully. It was the only class besides my AP Literature class (which I loved) that I didn't skip on a regular basis. I learned to determine the area of ellipses and how to write a proof and how to graph random shit on a computer. I learned that I could receive extra credit by bringing in whoopie pies to the teacher. I made a lot of whoopie pies. I also learned that pre-calc was a complete, utter, and total waste of my time.

It was getting close to the end of the year and I had been accepted at all the colleges I had applied to, so I was feeling a little...exhausted...when it came to pre-calc. We were working our way through a particularly difficult and monotonous proof when finally I raised my hand and asked:

"Mr. Morgan, when are we ever going to need this?"

Mr. Morgan, bless his heart, stopped writing something on the board, looked at me, confused, and replied, "I just said that you'll need this to do your homework for next class and--"

"No, when will I ever need this in my actual life?"

Mr. Morgan pauses then looks at me, knowing what I'm after. "What are you planning on majoring in at college, Kirsten?"

"Creative writing."

"Yep, you'll never see this again."

I like telling this story, and I have a bunch of times, for a variety of reasons, but this is the first time I'm telling it to make this point: I shouldn't have been in that class. For one, it ended up not mattering. I got in to Emerson, and I don't think they took a second glance at the fact that I was enrolled in pre-calc. The university I ended up going to didn't give a damn that I took some high level math class--they were just glad I could add and I ended up enrolling in a Math 100 course my freshman year to get the math requirement out of the way. (See, after all that, I still had to take math!)

For two, two years after taking that math course, I was a new mom and living off-campus with my fiance (now husband). And we didn't know jack-shit about household finances. Sure, I could solve proofs and graph lines on a computer, but could I make a budget? No. Could I figure out what our mortgage would be if we bought a house? Nada. Could I write up a grocery list, figure out sales tax, and actually add everything together without having to use a calculator? Absolutely not. It has been an uphill battle, these last few years, trying to figure out how to do all that in the thick of the battle. It's like learning to shoot a gun in the middle of a firefight.

Yes, I know a lot of people learn how to do these things before they have children, those so called "responsible adults." Well, I didn't have that chance. Life happens. And life happens to a lot of people, and they are unprepared. Consider the wealth (no pun intended) of financial woes people and this country are facing these days--it's becoming more and more important people, even elementary and middle schoolers, never mind seniors in high school who are about to be thrust into the "real world," to understand the importance of money and how it works.

If there is anything that students should be required to learn about in school or in life, it should be about personal finance. It shouldn't be an option, it should be required, because when you are out on your own, knowing how to appropriately use your money isn't an option, even if some people think otherwise.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Good Morning

We've been staying at my parents for a few days, visiting family and friends from home, and this morning, despite the rain, I was reminded of one of the (many, many) reasons why I love coming to my childhood home:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

So Much to Do So Little...Everything

Do you ever have one of those days where everything you hear about or see is something you want to do. All day I've looking up recipes, finding different sewing/craft projects, hearing about new books (decided to add Water for Elephants to my "Must Read List"), and making mental notes regarding how we're "going to do things from now on." I just want to pile thing after thing after thing on and I start to feel equally energized and overwhelmed. There is just so much to do, but never enough time or money or energy for it.

My biggest solution, if it's possible to develop a solution, is to make lists. I enjoy lists. They make things...right. I'm a very strange person in that I'm not particularly organized, but I enjoy and almost need the concreteness of a list (even if it doesn't really make things more clear than it did before). I think I need to make more lists and maybe keep them here. I like the tabs feature here, because it allows me a spot to just shove everything, like "My Ultimate To Do List," my sort of mental junk-drawer.

If I did this, I think I'd have to have the following tabs:
Books I want to read (I feel like this list is never ending)
Recipes I want to try
Craft projects I want to complete

There are probably more, but I'm tired and can't think of any. I suppose that will be my little bloggy project over the next couple of days--compiling lists.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Welcome to Our Home

DOH, Lizzie, and I all went over to the new house with my parents (our renovation/interior design experts) earrrrrly this morning to get measurements and the like done (as described here). We took a whole bunch of pictures in addition getting our measurements and deciding what furniture we'd like to bargain for. I'm going to post come pictures here and give you a little tour!

This is the living room. We aren't likely to change things too drastically in here, other than mounting a smallish flat screen in the corner were the big arm chair is, adding our own furnture and hanging up some artwork. We like the wall and woodwork color. We're still debating what will happen with the double doors. DOH wants, and why I don't know, vertical blinds. Yuck. I'm pushing for regular, horizontal blinds, or, better yet, curtains, preferrably sheers.
Here's the kitchen, which is just on the other side of the living room area. Between the chimney and the wall that's opposite the wall with the fridge is space for a decenly sized kitchen table (which is where we're putting the beautiful pine table my grandfather made and was in my grandparents home for well over 50 years). Over by the counter is the wicked cute hoosier, which has a flour sifter in it. It needs some minor repairs and painting. We're hoping the seller is willing to part with it as we think it's an adorable feature in the kitchen. The countertops are marble, which we love, and we think we'll keep the cabinets the same color (but maybe give them a fresh coat of paint and, um, add some knobs). There's also some wall paper on one side of the room and on another side in the living room area, but I completely forgot to take pictures of those areas. Anyway, the wallpaper I really don't like it and DOH isn't a fan either, but he's more than willing to live with it for now. We'll see.

This is the side entry, with a little communication center. I love the idea, but I think it needs a bit of updating and personal touches done to it. I haven't even begun to think of what I'd do, but I'm thinking something more personal, with family pictures, and slightly more organized. We can definitely make use of that bulletin board!
Here's the half bath that's just to your left as you enter the house. It's small, but cute, and will be very convenient to have when we're desperate for a place to pee and the other is using the full bath upstairs. You can also catch a little glimpse of that gross wallpaper on the right side of the picture.

As you come up the stairs (again, another picture I totally forgot to take), you see this beautiful, multi-paned window. I. LOVE. This. Spot. DOH gets the basement room, Lizzie gets her own special space in her room, and this will be mine. I'm picturing the bench (which opens up for convenient storage) covered with a long, comfy cushion, a couple of throw pillows. I want a lap desk, too, so I can get work done while relaxing by the window.

These are front and the right and left views of the upstairs room (featuring my dad and DOH), which we will be dividing into two rooms and a small hallway. The ladder leads up to a small loft area which we'll be using for extra storage. While we really need the extra bedroom (there is a room in the basement that was used as  a bedroom, but we don't want to be on two seperate levels), I hate the fact that we'll be eliminating a bit of the natural lighting.
Another reason why I love our new house--all these sweet little details.

The lovely clawfoot tub, though I definitely think it needs a new coat of paint.

While I'm a big fan of the bathroom in terms of size, I'm less of a fan of the color. I want something lighter, though still neutral, that will be relaxing and make the bathroom a bit of an oasis. I want that whole upstairs, a place where no one but family will really be going, to be an escape--a calming, beautiful, place where we can go to relax and unwind. 

So, believe it or not, that's the house, for the most part. At some point I'll have to post pictures of the outside, but I think I'm going to wait until the rest of the snow melts (yes, we still have snow) and things dry up a bit. In addition to the house itself, there is also a really good sized garage and a sauna as well (Now, don't get all worked up when you hear the word sauna--it's a seperate outbuilding with electricity that has a pump for water, a woodstove, and some rocks. You heat the rocks, poor water over them, and voila, sauna. Not too fancy.)

The house is small, but it's just right for our family at the moment and we feel blessed to call it ours.

The Things You Get Excited About When You're a Mom

I came home from school on Friday to this surprise from DOH:

I was really excited, because I had been talking about getting a new blender for ages. Apparently DOH was listening! We had a teeny-weeny blender that was making due for some stuff, but it was getting pretty busted up (I used it a ton with Lizzie was a baby since we made our own baby food). I also love smoothies, so my first order of business the next day was making Liz and I smoothies for breakfast:
Mixed berries and coconut milk were our only ingredients. I used about two cups of berries and 2 1/4 cup of cocnut milk, which made about four cups of smoothie. Next time I probably won't use a berry medley that includes blackberries, because those seeds were HUGE. I also might throw in some plain or vanilla yogurt for a bit more depth in the flavor. I'm on Weight-Watchers, and one serving (I'd say this made about three decently sized ones) was three points, so I suppose if I throw in the yogurt, it'll probably be one or two points more.

I'm really looking forward to whipping of more treats inside my blender. It's going to make things a lot easier for me! 


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Early Bird Catches the...Furniture?

Eight o'clock, Sunday morning, new house. That's where we're going to be. While I know DOH is not going to be thrilled at the prospect, that's what needs to be done if we want to take measurements of the rooms and take account of what furniture we might be interested in buying off the seller (we haven't completely closed on the house yet--everything still needs to go through; we're looking at another week or so).

At the crack of dawn, we'll make our way down from the western mountains to our new house (I always feel like we're returning to civilization when we drive down to visit our families). We'll go through each and every room, take some pictures, make some measurements (which may lead to furniture shopping later in the day--yay!), and decide if we want some stuff.

There was a lovely old hutch (I don't know if that's the official word for the piece of furniture, but that's sort of what it made me think of) in the kitchen that I know if I don't take it, my mom will want it. There was also a bed in the basement level bedroom that, if it's a queen (I can't remember) we'll probably take. There's also a sofa and a coffee table in the living room that we were interested in. And the bathroom had some lovely storage cabinets that I'd really love to hang on to.

Hanging on to all this stuff will make our lives a little easier, considering we're going from broken down college student furniture to real people furniture. Good-bye futons and milk crates! (Seriously.) We can't afford to buy a lot of furniture ourselves, so we're relying on getting some of this stuff at a slightly discounted rate, plus my parents have offered to buy us a sleeper sofa for the basement room, which will become DOH's "man cave" (side tangent - in my literary theory course last semester a guy did a 20 page psycho-analysis paper on the concept of the "man cave"--it was really interesting!). There is some furniture in storage that we got from my grandmother's house after she passed away, but it's unlikely much of it, if any, will make into our new house. I suppose my family will end up selling a lot of it.

Anyway, even if we decide we want none of the furniture in the house, I'm really looking forward to just being back there. I love that house (our house) and I'm looking forward to being in it and knowing it's going to be the place where our family will be living. I also can't wait to snap some pictures to share!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Dream Jobs

As I write this, I'm sitting in a Junior English class, listening to presentations (the one I'm currently listening to is on music therapy--really cool). I'm a student teacher. I'm graduating with a Bachelor's degree in Secondary Education, with a concentration in English. I'm going to be a teacher, and that really excites me. I love kids, but I have a soft spot for those between the ages of 11-19. They're fun, smart, and are so interesting (and the know they are).

But I have another passion, too.

You see, my dream job is to work exclusively with teen and/or underprivileged moms. The reason? Well, for one, I was a teen mom. I was nineteen when I got pregnant with my daughter. I was also, in turn, somewhat underprivileged, because most 19-year-olds aren't rich, and we had to rely on some social services for a bit. However, I was very lucky to have an extremely supportive family and fiance (now DOH).

For two, I love pregnancy and infancy. I don't think I quite realized how much I loved it until I was pregnant and had my daughter, but over the last few years this has become one of my huge passions. I find pregnancy fascinating, from the physical, spiritual experience, right down to the science of it all. And infants. My goodness--they are amazing little creatures. They are equally completely helpless and in total need of their parents, yet amazingly resilient, filled with all these different in-born abilities, everything from their little reflexes that protect them if they fall or wind up in water to their automatic ability to suckle.

Which leads me to the whole dream job thing. I want to be a midwife, and a midwife who works specifically with teen/underprivileged moms. What does this mean, after my five years of schooling to become a middle/secondary teacher? It means, at some point, at least two more years of school (and possibly more). It's not something I'm looking to do right now, but in a few years, perhaps after I'm done having my babies. There is a midwifery school in a town next to the one I grew up in (the very place I intend to deliver my next baby). It has an excellent reputation and provides students with a two year track to becoming a midwife. I may also just go all in and become a nurse, then go on to become a midwife.

In the mean time, while I'm teaching (possibly starting over this summer), I am going to begin the process to become a doula (a woman who helps other women through birth, pregnancy, and the post-natal period). I love the idea of being there as a support, to help a woman through her birthing process and the early days of caring for her newborn. I'm starting to really feel like it's something I'm meant to do.

I just love all things baby (about the same amount as I love teenagers). I love talking about breastfeeding, making your own baby food, cloth diapering, baby massage, all that good, hippy fun stuff that is so good for you baby and the world around your baby. And while I am absolutely not a proponent of teen pregnancy, it's something that happens and in order for those young woman and their babies to find success is for them to have a healthy, happy pregnancy and a support system, and not every teen girl has access to that. I want to provide both the health and emotional support, and I think I can do that. It's something that excites me.

And shouldn't we always do something that excites us?

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Gettin' Me Some Religion

I can be a bit irreverent when it comes to religion. I think I came out of the womb a spiritual person--I've always enjoyed thinking about God (in whatever manifestation I was comfortable with at the time) and taking time to think about the wider world and universe I inhabit and why I'm here. Very deep stuff. And while I've had my periods of total disdain for church or even Christianity in general (I spent a couple of years as a Wiccan), I'm finding a strong desire to rejoin a religious community.

DOH is Catholic. I was raised as a Protestant. And while we aren't reenacting scenes from Northern Ireland, we definitely have different views on certain things. I'm also pretty freaking liberal (I was also a self-proclaimed Communist around the same time I was a Wiccan--I'm sure you can imagine how excited my parents were). I don't do well around people who are so absorbed by their religious views that they can't function in the wider, non-denominational world or get past the fact that there are, in fact, other people who believe differently, and, guess what, they probably aren't going to burn in that fiery, bad place for believing differently.

But the point of this post isn't to get too religious. It's to talk about the fact that I, for the first time in a long time, really want to go back to church. I've been hankering for a place where we can go to worship and be a part of a community as a family,  and with this move coming up in June, I figured it's a good opportunity to find a place to go.

For a short period of time this fall, we were attending church at the Congregational church in our current town. I loved it, but services started really early for us (9:30 AM) and Lizzie had a hard time going down to the nursery (she was the only little one there). I also didn't really want to send her there, I liked being together, but I felt a bit of pressure to have her go down, which annoyed me a bit. Overall, though, I really enjoyed the church, but it just wasn't working out. I also figured I didn't want to get involved in a church that we likely wouldn't stay at since we planned on moving after I graduated from college.

The town we're moving to has a few different options for where we can go just within the town. There is a Universalists church which is kind of right up my alley. They have a variety of services that cater to lots of different belief systems, which I love. It's also very liberal and openly supports the GLBT community, which I very openly support. I also feel as though my and DOH's different belief systems (as similar as they are) will both be respected and neither one of us will feel left out.

There is also a Congregationalists church, which I have heard wonderful things about, having had friends who attended it growing up. I think it's a more traditional church, but like most Congregational churches that are associated with the UCC (United Church of Christ), they're pretty open-minded (at least that is what I've found here in Maine). I would have no problem attending this church, and I don't think my husband would be against it either, but then again, it's different from what he's used to (granted, the Universalists church would be, too), and he sometimes has a hard time with "different."

Then there is the Catholic church, which I've actually attended (I was an honorary Catholic there for a bit, as I went to youth group with one of my good friends). I like it a lot. It has a big, active congregation, the kids do an awful lot, and a good chunk of the Catholics in the area go there (and there are a lot of Catholics in Western Maine). My husband would LOVE to go to a Catholic church. I'm pretty certain he'd be really happy if I said I was converting to Catholicism (but that's probably never going to happen). And I would actually be okay going to a Catholic church. Would it be my first choice? No, but only because I don't plan on converting and that status of non-Catholic would probably start to make me feel uncomfortable after a while. But, I would be willing to try if DOH didn't feel comfortable at any other church.

There are lots of other churches in other towns, including the ones our families go to. I don't know that there is anything on this planet, even the salvation of my soul, that could convince me to join the church that my mother-in-law attends (there are LOTS for reasons for this), but I will never say that I wouldn't attend just to visit. My parents go to a Congregational church in the town they live in (and it's the church where I went through confirmation and all that, though the reverend has long since left). I wouldn't mind attending with them, but I think my husband feels the same as I do about attending church with his mom when it comes to going to church with my parents (but for different reasons).

This turned out to be considerably longer than I had intended (and probably way boring), but it's nice to get these thoughts out and organized. It gives you better perspective on where you want to be, and choosing a place of worship, in my opinion, is a decision that needs to be made carefully (I actually think what religion you are or how you feel spiritually is the decision you need to make very carefully).

Sorry if you trudged through this and expected some sort of epiphany at the end--this most was mostly for me, :-) However, if you were curious, I think I'm leaning more towards the Universalists church, though we'll have to actually attend some services before we make a decision.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hey, At Least It's Not Crack

I love fabric. Love it. Just love it. Some people collect stamps, vintage toys, cats, whatever, but I have a real soft spot for beautiful, soft, quality fabirc. I used to be of the opinion that if you're going to buy any amount of fabric, you darn well be ready to do something with it. I was a little overly practical, I guess. Once I was broken of that habit, I started fabric hoarding. Seriously. It's not as out of control as it could be, because of our limited amount of space (and, erm, funds), but we're on the path to some serious fabric dominations in at least one of our closets.

Here's just some of what I've got:

Love these fabrics, especially the middle with the Russian
nesting dolls--homage to my Russian heritage.

Here are some Minky-esque fabrics. SO soft and cozy. I'm using one
of them to back a blanket for Lizzie.

This fabric is part of a collection. I picked these up (along with some others) at Marden's (a truly Mainer store with significantly discounted products). Our new governor hasn't done much right in my opinion, but he did run a chain of stores with a damn fine selection of fabric on the cheap.
Flannel and fleece! No idea what I'll ever do with the fleece or the blue flannel (I originally was going to make PJs for our neighbor's son, but I never got around to it). I used the larger checked flannel to make a seat cover for my rocker glider...until I ran out of fabric. Now I have enough in the smaller check.

Here are a few fabric projects I have completed:
Curtain I made for our kitchen window. Hi neighbors!! (I'll be happy when this view switches out for our new house's big backyard.)

An apron for Lizzie! We gave her a play kitchen for Christmas this year, so I had to make her an apron to go with it.

This is a quilt I made this summer for Lizzie. I sew EVERYTHING by hand. I'm afraid of my sewing machine and really need to learn how to use it, but I love sewing by hand, so I'm not feeling the pressure to learn. It's too bad, really, because I inherited a really nice Janome from my grandmother when she passed a couple of years ago. I hate that it's just sitting in my closet and not being used. Maybe learning how to use it will be a summer project?

There is a whole mess of other projects I'd like to get to, but I'm waiting until I have a bit more time, money, and reasons to be decorating (it's been difficult to feel like doing that when I know our living situation is temporary). Hopefully things will be in a crafting upswing once we move into the new house!

Fresh Paint

The last time I got to paint a room I was ten. My parents had been renovating our house for nearly and year, and it was finally at the point where it was sort of becoming a livable space. Finally, I was going to be able to have my own room with a four poster bed and a beautiful view of the lake. I chose to sponge paint my room blue. "It'll be like living in a cloud," I had said. It was nice...until it wasn't any more. It felt very juvenile at one point, particularly when my sensibilities were becoming more sophisticated (or so I thought). My parents toyed with the idea of letting me paint my room again towards the end of high school (red, with a kind of Far East/Indian theme), but they were a bit preoccupied with making the rest of the house suitable for the presence of people who weren't limited to our small four person family. My bedroom just wasn't top priority.

Now, some years later, I've finally come to a point where not only do I get to paint my bedroom, but an entire house. While the downstairs areas will likely be left for another time (except for the basement), the upstairs has to be reconfigured, so we'll get a chance to do fresh paint right away. So, we'll be painting a hallway and two bedrooms (ours and Lizzie's).

I had two clear ideas on what colors I wanted our bedroom and Lizzie's room to be. First of all, our bedroom. What woman doesn't want a little something from Tiffany's? I know that it's not likely DOH is ever going to pick up something for me that comes in the signature little blue box, but why not pay homage with a spiffy coat of that beautiful blue?
When we were in Home Depot yesterday (killing time while we waited to hear back from the buyer), I picked up a bunch of different paint swatches. While "Tiffany Blue" is a trademarked color, I did find something that I thought was, if not the exact same color, was strikingly similar:

 Pretty close, eh? And, of course, the color looks much more vibrant and rich in person (this is Glidden paint, by the way). Computers never quite do color justice. I finally convinced my husband this was the color to go with. He was a little reluctant at first (and this was without me pointing out that it was the color of a Tiffany's box), but I think in the end he realized it was best to just go along with me. Besides, it's a lovely color, it's soothing, but not boring, and I don't think it will overwhelm what will a rather small bedroom. 

Lizzie's room, now that was a bit of challenge. Of course, like many little girls her age, she loves pink. I'm not doing a pink room. The hope is that we'll be in this house for long time and while I expect that we'll probably be repainting rooms, including Lizzie's, at some point, I don't want to have to repaint every year. I would like to give her room a fun color that has some longevity, regardless of where her tastes and interest go. This led me to the color. It looks cute with pink, girly stuff, and it still works with less girly stuff (and, if Liz ever has to share her room with a male sibling for a bit, the green could work for him, too).

Then question was, what kind of green. I immediately wrote off any sort of dark green. It would overwhelm the room and look too adult and/or masculine. I also didn't want to do a pastel green--that would be too babyish after a while, or, if going in another direction, it might wind up looking to sophisticated for a little girl's room. When I found my "True Turquoise" with the Glidden paint, I also found "Fresh Green Grass": 
I looooove this color (again, though, it looks way nicer in person). It's crisp, fresh (as the name suggests), and the perfect color for a little girl's room. 
I'm so excited to get started on painting. Our move in date is June 1st, and we're PUMPED. This means we'll be getting the painting done pretty soon (probably as soon as the closing is official). This is going to be pretty awesome.

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