Dispatches from Suburbia, Vol. 3

2016 was the year of just surviving, just barely keeping my head above water. Of calling two mile walks and bagged salad self care, of swallowing myself whole and coming out on the other side shellshocked and mourning. Of building a soft, safe nest and ignoring the storm that raged without.

2017 was the year of hustling, running around, running in cirlces and trying to keep it all together. We moved in our house, working from home got so so much harder with a kiddo who can and wants to play all day. Of giving myself grace, maybe too much grace. It was the year of sitting on the couch, watching the news, of hunkering down. Of joining new groups, of being able to watch the storm from the cave door.

2018 needs to be the year operating at a higher frequency. I know I do better when I have a full to do list that is just enough to challenge me but not feel insurmountable. I do best when I expect more of myself. I’m not sure what my One Little Word will be for 2018, but I know what kind of year I’m ready for. One where I shoot bullets into the hurricane if it’s all I have.

7 random thoughts

  1. Raking season is here! We do have a mulching lawnmower but still, so much needs picking up. We cut back the hostas and mulched the flower beds. I turned the vegetable beds and put up our tomato cages and we’ve started filling them with leaves. Leaves are the absolute best mulch and we desperately need to build up the plant matter in our veg bed.
  2. We needed to replace some old insulation in our attic spaces and that is always a dirty, expensive job. In doing research for what we needed to replace what’s clearly old and crumbly, M discovered our current insulation is about half the rating of what our house should have installed. How the inspectors missed it, I don’t know. There’s something with every house, right? Gosh, I hope so.
  3. I miss personal blogs and wish they were still A Thing. So, here you go with some of my random thoughts tonight.
  4. We are also pretty anxious to get going on the basement reno. While not super showy, it will make our lives much better and give us more useable space in our home. Now, just to find the time!
  5. I’m already making plans for this year’s Thanksgiving dessert plans. I am usually assigned desserts and I know everyone will miss my maple pumpkin pie if I don’t make one. But any and all other items are usually up to me. I’m thinking of a couronne, probably savory (brave, I know!) and I don’t know…another single crust pie. Pecan probably.
  6. Running without an imminent race is hard. I want to keep up this great habit I’ve built over the last 6 months but the wham-bam-pow of the time change, cold rainy weather and the start of the ~busiest time of the year~ have meant I haven’t laced up in 2 weeks. TWO WEEKS.
  7. This age. C is walking and trying so hard to talk. I’m preeeety sure we’ve got dada, mama, re(ad), yes, no, this and bus (all big vehicles). He’s so clearly learning and taking so much in – he follows instructions! He climbs onto the toilet to play with the sink! He hangs from the counter when you won’t give him what he wants! But he cannot express what he wants to us and that is really frustrating for him, as well as for us.

Dispatches From Suburbia, Vol. 2

There is a Metro Park one mile and one half from my front door. I can run to it – I can walk to it – we can bike to it. I can take my kid to one of the F O U R playgrounds there in 2 or 3 actual minutes. I meet my running partner twice a week for an ‘easy’ 4 mile loop. If you live here, you know which park I’m talking about. Don’t stalk meeeeee.

There are six (6) full service grocery stores within a five (5) minute drive.

There are no gardens. Why are there no gardens? Our street has one house that has a bunch of native grasses and quirky yard art. Everyone else (including our yard…mostly) is all yews and boring hardscape. I can’t tell if it’s because 1/3 of the neighbor still lives in the house they bought in the 1950s and why change what ain’t broke or people can’t afford it or no one cares. But every single neighbor who sees us outside at home, comments on our garden. It’s 3 x 8. My cucumbers are a crisp yellow pile, yes, ok, whatever. But my tomatoes are aces.

on haterz

IMG_7058I follow several ‘famous’ bloggers, Instagram personalities and YouTube stars. There is a variety of responses such commentary by these personalities – it usually get qualified as ‘jealous haters’. To be sure, there is some of that – especially with YouTube where even small YT channels can easily make thousands of dollars a month! But most of it is commentary on how the personality is smug / has it wrong / shouldn’t be encouraging whatever they are encouraging. However, I frequently feel that – that take isn’t wrong.

We content creators (even this blog that only my mama reads counts) share about our lives because we think we have something worth sharing. A story worth telling. To say with confidence and certainty ‘this is the way’ is to invite commentary.

I’m living my life this way because I do think it’s the best way. It’s best for me, for M, for C. I think that there are lots of other healthy, productive ways to live as well but I put myself out there ~ I share ~ cute InstaStories and take the time to write blog posts but I’ve something that *works* for me. I believe, deep into the fiber of my being, that everyone who writes a blog, has an Instagram presence, you name it, also feels this way deep down – even if they deny it. If there’s anything that this election and current presidency shows, is that so many of us have very, very different ideas of what a good life looks like. Of course, you’re going to get push back for putting out your values and beliefs. Having and expressing different opinions and values makes many many adults uncomfortable. And hey, when actual Nazis get elected, it’s time to get loud.

i see you

I was talking with a group of my smart friends who identify as mothers recently and we were lamenting that no one is telling our stories. I mean, no really is – unless they are selling us bleach or diapers or organic cotton baby bonnets but then, it’s only through uplifting commercials with cute moms and their babies.

To the mama wiping butts and wiping noses and wiping butts again; holding a babe who won’t nap anywhere but your arms, not even in the $120 baby carrier you Primed one sleepless night, I see you.

To the mother who is frustrated with the balancing of work, child care, finding help, asking for help, spinning plates that always feel just a hairsbreadth from toppling over, I see you.

To the mom wiping high chairs down 3 times a day, carefully steaming sweet potatoes into purees, wiping thrown foods up, swearing it isn’t about the broccoli, I see you.

To the parent trying to still be a person, outside of the butt wiping and sleep managing and hair falling out and tantrums and work-doing, I see you.

currently.

Eating / 30% off Valentine’s Day candy
Drinking / La Croix ’cause I’m a bougie suburbanite now
Practicing / restraint on buying ALL THE HOUSE STUFF
Mastering / honestly, it feels like nothing
Learning / about a new service desk system
Trying / to save the republic
Playing / with the baby
Finishing / unpacking and settling into our home
Reading / Six of Crows, The Master Switch, The Color Purple
Remembering / I’m a granddaughter of the Greatest Generation and democracy is my inheritance
Wearing / my heart on my sleeve
Cooking / for a little person with only two teeth
Working / hard
Traveling / nowhere

living my values

I like to think of myself as someone who doesn’t have a lot of rules. But, that really isn’t the case. I do love having a set of standards. And the more I learn, the harder it is for me to not make changes in our lives that better reflect our values. I’ve also found that having a set of rules makes it easier to make choices and move on so I can focus on the things that really matter to me.

I recently shared a little bit about my move to vegan and cruelty free makeup. I’ve used up a few products since I posted that and, honestly, nothing feels as good as getting complete use out of something you spent your money on! I’ve also been slowly replacing all of our personal care items with vegan and cruelty free items.

One rule I know no one else really gets is our paper free kitchen. It is more cost effective and so much better for the environment. I’m not quite ready to give up my TP just yet but at least we’re saving a few trees! We’re currently very happy with cloth diapering – hopefully that continues until potty training!

Three years ago, we moved from Chicago to Columbus and I transitioned from working in a  trendy office culture to working from home. I found it very hard to justify spending money on new clothing and have only purchased a few special occasion items in the meantime. Since I become pregnant, I have had to purchase a few maternity items but I’m still mixing in lots of my old clothes as well. I tried to keep to a very small maternity wardrobe: 2 long sleeve tops, 1 tee shirt, 2 tank tops, 3 dresses, a pair of jeans and a pair of shorts as well as a swim suit. And I’m pretty ready to pack these pieces up and try something new. I have also purchased a few items that aren’t maternity wear but are a size up that I could wear until late in the third trimester and plan on getting a lot of us out of us this summer and fall.

HOWEVER, fast fashion is a major, major contributor to global warming and ecological waste (it’s over 10% globally, more than personal vehicles and air travel). I’m really over the cycle of gaining / losing weight and rushing out to purchase new clothes to make myself feel better. I know that I have a period of transition coming postpartum, but I’m also really excited to work towards a striped down, wardrobe for a stylish work from home mama.

Some rules for my wardrobe I’m considering:

  • shop used first, ethical fashion second and fast fashion last
  • be open to sewing and altering more clothing than I have in the past (my mom is also getting into sewing more clothing items so I’ll have someone to bounce ideas off of)
  • make do with less – I’ve been holding onto clothing that I think I’ll fit back into, that I’ll need when I go into the office, that I’ll need for when we start to get invited to a monthly cocktail party

We’re also welcoming a new person who will need clothes! Some rules for the baby’s wardrobe I’m considering:

  • shop used first
  • sew adorable baby things! I already have designs on our family Halloween costume 🙂

I’ve also been feeling very convicted about the food we eat. I miss being a vegetarian. I really do – it is pure laziness and wanting to not make a fuss that caused me to start eating meat again when I moved to Columbus. M loves his steaks and never really loved keeping a vegetarian kitchen, so I’m not sure I see that going away from our lives any time soon. But, I know I can make some changes to make sure we’re eating in a more ethical way – without changing the food budget too much.

  • eat less meat – only at one meal a day
  • purchase organic, local meat whenever possible
  • make better use of larger cuts of meat with freezer/crockpot cooking

 

project pan

I know there are folks who will think this is trite and to them I say, you may kiss my lily white booty any day of the week.

I am a make up lover. I love playing around with who I want to be each day and I spent a fair chunk of my free time watching tutorials on Youtube even though I don’t have a *crazy* collection. [at least to me, my sister has um, one mascara so I look like a damn hoarder next to her.] Anyhoozle, there is whole #projectpan thing that is all about ~wait for it~ using up the make up you purchase! Even though everything I own fits into one bag, I’ve thrown stuff out that I’ve bought because it started to smell off or it broke me out. The consumerist shame!

Things like blush and eyeshadow can take years to use up. So why am I buying cheap drug store shit I don’t like that was tested on animals? Since about this time last year, I’ve cut waaaay back on what I bring into the house make-up wise. BUT! Nothing is really going out either ~ I used up exactly one eyeshadow and one foundation in 2015.

So my personal project pan is to use up the Naked 2 and Naked Basics 2 I was given my M and my sister. They know me and love me and why am I letting these thoughtful presents sit and waste away? I’m trying to get to a one-in, one-out for everything with the deal with myself that if I really do use up something, I can replace it with something higher end and cruelty free – vegan if possible. Especially now that I know exactly how long it takes to use something up, I might as well have something I love to use.

Most of its in here. The goal is for everything to fit.  

 

yoga

I’m taking prenatal yoga. Trust me, I know.

I realized in one recent class that I’ve had a steady practice for over ten years now. Which sort of blew my mind. I used to walk into classes thinking ‘Am I good enough? Will the teacher judge me?’ or I’d spend the whole 90 minutes of a Bikram class worried if my gut is hanging out or can anyone see how I’m barely holding onto standing head to knee pose.

But being in this class, man, something is so different. There are some classes where Uttanasana (standing forward fold) and downward facing dog are the only named poses we do. There is more meditation and reflection that I was expecting but, I’ve ever felt more chilled out than after one of these prenatal yoga classes.

There is one (lovely, I’m sure) lady who is tall, maaaaaybe a size 0 with the cutest little bump you ever did see who always shows up in her a expensive as hell Lulumon costume and mat And she is terrible. Like cannot listen to the instructor terrible. [aside: I know I only wear prana and it’s the opposite of cheap but 1-sustainably sourced and 2-hello discount!].