Monday, August 25, 2014

Is it Time to Move?

As most of you know, we live in a one-bedroom apartment in the city. We love it. It feels like home and we feel so blessed to live here. Have I ever give you a tour? No, well, maybe that will be my next post! Watch for it.

Anyway, as William approaches his first birthday, we've been talking more about our space and our needs. There are pros and cons for both staying and moving and our feelings about what we can handle seems to change everyday.

Yesterday we looked at a two-bedroom place for the first time since starting to talk about it. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't "it." It was good to see it. It took our conversation to the next level. And we decided that we aren't ready to move quite yet. (This owner wanted to have someone move in on Sept. 1!)

If you've read anything about living in San Francisco lately, you know the cost of living here has gone up at least 30% over the past couple of years. There's a lot of demand for housing, but not a lot available. So, our biggest concern and reason for not moving is cost. Our rent would most likely double.

Q: What would we need to be willing to do in order to stay in our current apartment?

A: Convert our living room to our bedroom and give William the bedroom. This would mean sleeping near a very busy and loud street. It would also mean putting an end to hosting our small group each week (because there is a bed in our living room).

Q: What else is holding me back from moving?

A: Moving to another part of city is like moving to a different town entirely. There's new grocery stores to get used to, new routes to learn, new community to get to know. There is also the fear that our current community would change. Maybe we live too far away to see each other often. Maybe we wouldn't be able to make it to our church every week (adding commute time to William's already nap-delayed day). So I guess there is a fear of losing things I really love.

There is also a fear that our new place wouldn't be as "homey" as our current place. Will the kitchen be nice/bigger than our current kitchen? Will the bathroom be well designed? (The place we looked at yesterday was so bizarre. A full-size tub with no shower head and then a shower stall that was 2'x2'.. . and so grimy).

Q: What are the pros to moving to a two-bedroom?

A: William would have his own room and we could sleep better!

Many of the positives depend on finding the right place:  It would have more space/amenities  (i.e: bigger kitchen, a back yard, parking, laundry in the unit). It could be a quieter neighborhood, Chris's commute could be shorter, it could still be large enough to host larger dinners and be close enough to the places we love. Moving could be a very good thing -- if we found the right place.

Timing has a lot to do with it. How do we know when the right time to move is? How long can we/should we share a room with William?

I have a lot of questions. Some days, I'm ready to move "now." Other days, I think we can wait another year. I have no doubt that God will provide for us when the time comes. He has not failed to provide for us since we made the jump four and half years ago to live here. I praise Him for that every day! It will take more prayer and more faith to make the next move, too.

How have you known it was time to make a move? Whether you moved across town, across the state, or world. Please share!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

My Cousin's Wedding

William and I flew to Minnesota for my cousin's wedding. Stephanie had met the man of her dreams and I couldn't miss their special day. Stephanie had always been a close cousin, although my sister informed me that she and Stephanie are the "closest" "favorite cousins;" she was one of the "older" girl cousins on my mother's side of the family. We are both the oldest siblings and were both pretty boy crazy growing up. She took me riding with their horses when I would visit and only made a little bit of fun of me for being slow and unsure. Stephanie came to my wedding in Colorado and did my hair for me as well as three of my bridesmaids! I just could not miss her day.

And, it would be the only chance I would have to bring William to Minnesota this year (my parents hadn't seen him since Christmas).

I've already shared the details of our flights. So, this is the story of our visit.

William and I stayed with my sister, brother-in-law and their daughter on the first night. They had just moved to Minneapolis five days prior, so it felt a little like camping but it was great to be together and get to see their place. Sleep was difficult for all of us that first night as both babies were having a hard time.

It was a rainy weekend so our ambitions of going to the pool and the park didn't happen. Instead, we let the babies play indoors and try to nap at least once before we hit the road.  It was a 3-4 hour drive to Rosen, MN and I took the role of baby-whisperer-wanna-be from the middle of the backseat (a car seat on each side). Naps were brief and the Cheerios only latest for a while. We ended up taking a little break in a park so everyone could stretch and get some fresh air. It may not have helped William, but it definitely helped me!

Once we arrived at the hotel, I tried to get William to take one more decent nap before dinner. New places are really a struggle for him, but he did eventually fall asleep.  The rest of my siblings arrived a little later and we had dinner and played games.

When William woke up, I re-introduced him to John, Ryan, and El. It took a little bit of coaxing, but he eventually warmed up to them.

The next day was the wedding. I was so excited to put William in his little outfit - a blazer and shorts, but I failed to get a good photo of his whole outfit. He was so cute. I was a little bummed that the rain continued as I was hoping to get some photos outside of him and my niece. They both looked adorable, you'll have to take my word for it.

The wedding was wonderful. The bride was stunning. I had a front row seat. My brother held on to William for me and William did fantastic - just a peep or two. During the wedding, I realized that I flew all the way here to see this moment and I'll be lucky if I get 5 minutes to talk to the bride! It made me a little sad. Weddings are not the place to catch up - especially with the bride! She was a busy lady -- but I did get five minutes!

I did get to talk to my other cousins and meet their kids, I was able to spend some time with my aunts and uncles that night at the reception and the next day for breakfast.

My parents took the babies back to the hotel so Molly and I could enjoy more of the dance. I had a blast. I haven't been to a wedding dance in far too long. And there is no one I'd rather dance with than my siblings who already know I'm a little bit of a dork on the dance floor!

The next morning, we had breakfast and packed up. The babies both took a great nap which made us checkout a little late, but I couldn't wake them up! Napping had been difficult the whole weekend.

We had a picnic in the park before driving back to Minneapolis.

My parents joined us at my sister's place for the night which was nice to get more time with them. My trip was really short so I was thankful they made the extra drive and spent an extra night with me. William refused to go to sleep that night, screaming with a bit of a fever. We all ended up taking turns trying to coax him to sleep. Finally, I ended up laying down with him and he conked out.

The next day, we said goodbye and started our trek home.

William is a creature of routine and I'm thankful at home his routine usually works for him. But when we travel, it's fair to say sleep is difficult. We both got home a little exhausted, and missing family already, but it was so good to be home.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Coupons: Losing Money

Believe it or not, couponing isn't always profitable . . . let me share my most recent (and oh, so sad) story.

About a month ago, Chris did a major grocery run for me. The list was long and some items heavy. I was so thankful he went for me. I just didn't have the energy.

One of the sales going on at the time was on cereal; if you bought 2 boxes, you'd get a coupon to use on your next shopping trip for a $1 off, if you bought 3, you'd get $2 off, and if you bought 4 boxes of cereal, you'd get a coupon for $3 off your next shopping trip. Of course, I told Chris to buy all 4.

Well, the month came and went and that coupon was still siting in my wallet yesterday. That $3 coupon was expired! AAAHH! Seriously, I may have let a little scream out of my mouth in the store. So, not only did I loose out on saving $3, I actually spent more buying cereal than I would have had I not had the original offer to begin with. Ouch!

So you see, if you don't use your coupons (especially the ones you earn) you can lose money.


I haven't been couponing as much lately. I just can't find the time to stay that organized. But I still get frustrated with myself when I let a good deal slip away. My most recent stock-up worthy trip happened yesterday with Arm & Hammer laundry detergent.

Walgreens was having a sale: Buy 1 Get 2 Free and I had a $2 off coupon when I buy 2. 
For all 3 bottles of detergent, I paid $4.79. Not bad considering that should cover us for at least the next 6 months (if not the whole year)!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Reading with Baby

About a month ago, I saw that our library did a summer reading program for all ages. Even zero! My sister-in-law mentioned that she had enrolled her infant in her library's program because she was reading all the time, she may as well read to him. So, it got me thinking about it.

William loves books; at 8 months old we were already reading books over and over again! So, I figured we could enroll him, too. The program was already half way through, but children only had to read 10 hours. I figured we could still do it.

And we did! Just a few days before we flew to Minnesota, we walked over the library with our reading log of 600 minutes and claimed our prize! A canvas book bag!

William with his first reading prize!

What did we spend 10 hours reading?
 - Mr. Brown Can Moo. Can You?
 - Olivia
 - Baby Baa-Baa
 - Toes, Ears & Nose
 - On the Night You Were Born
 - The Very Hungry Caterpillar
 - The Quiet Cricket
 - I Love you Through and Through
 - Go Baby Go!
 - Baby Colors
 - Baby Be Nice
 - Berenstain Bears Go Out To Eat
And a few others

We also made it a habit of walking to the library once a week and picking out a few new books to read. They had a weekly drawing for prizes for those in the Summer Reading program, so that was a good motivator!

The program has finished, but we haven't stopped reading. I'm hoping reading remains one of William's favorite things to do throughout his life.

Taking Baby on a Plane

On August 7th, William and I flew to Minnesota. By ourselves. Without Hubby/Daddy. I was more than a little nervous. Did I pack all the right toys? Did I bring enough diapers? What if he screams the whole time? What if I can't get him to sleep? What if everyone stares at me?

We arrived at the airport with 90 minutes to spare. There was no one in the ticketing line. There was no one in the security line. Perfect. They didn't even wait for me to take out my liquids, they just took my bag and ushered me through the metal detector. Awesome. Then they checked my hands for explosives while I held William (cause I'd touch my baby after I handled explosives!) and it was POSITIVE! What?! How can that be?

I'm ushered into the little closet off to the side while they check my bag. A woman pats me down. Ugh. This is just stupid/embarrassing/unpleasant. William watches. I'm clean. (duh). And off I go.

The flight is delayed for 30 minutes which gives me enough time to play with William and feed him dinner. He was so happy and we had a great time. He loves being with people so you can just imagine how many friends he made before we boarded the plane. And he watched and flirted with the girls across the aisle from us on the plane for a long time, too!

It was not a full flight, in fact, it was quite empty. I had a whole row to myself (yes!). The row behind me was also empty and I ended up spending most of the flight there since the arm rests didn't go up in my original seat. William can't spread out if I have the armrests down so sleeping and nursing were challenging.

We read books, we sang songs, we snacked a little. After two hours, he was starting to get fussy (aka: overtired). He gets really chatty when he's tired and apparently, quite loud. As people were lined up to use the toilet, he would stand up and practically shout "BA . . .BA... BAAAH!" They all thought he was cute and happy. But I knew he was on the verge of a meltdown.

And then it happened.

Thankfully, after drinking a whole bottle he fell asleep. He slept for nearly an hour before I selfishly moved and bumped his foot against the chair. He went back and forth between sleep and screaming for the last fifteen minutes or so, until we finally got off the plane. At 11:30 p.m.


Getting ready to fly back to San Francisco, I was not nearly as lucky.There was a short line for ticketing and an even longer (families only) line for security. They had to dump out the water I had packed in William's bottles because the plastic had set off the alarm. Not awesome. On the plus side, William fell asleep in the stroller and slept until we got to the front of the security line. Once we got through, I had 20 minutes to get to our gate. I picked up some lunch. As soon as I took out the toys so William could move around a bit, they started boarding. Ah! Quick, pick up the toys, run to the bathroom, change the diaper and board the plane. 

The very crowded plane. No empty row for me this time!

The time between boarding the plane and take off is the longest, hardest time for us. I was waiting to feed him until take off to help with the ear popping, but he got pretty impatient waiting. He cried for a couple of minutes and finally, I could give him the bottle as we sped down the runway. He finished it in no time.

The four-hour flight seemed to take forever. We read books, he ate Cheerios, he drooled over everything/everybody and pulled our neighbor's hair. We bounced and walked, and twisted and turned for two hours before he fell asleep. He slept for over an hour before we started our decent and slept on and off until we landed. 

Overall, he didn't do as bad as I had anticipated. But it was still a lot of work traveling by myself with him. Everyone was really kind and encouraging on the flight. (Except the neighbor who got his hair pulled, but I understand that.) William really does love people; everyone commented on how happy he was as he showed off his six pearly whites. He's a pretty good traveler for that reason. I was really thankful for how well he did, but I was so exhausted when it was all done. 

Next time, Hubby comes with me!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Birthday Gift: Weekend Away

A couple of weeks ago, Chris asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I went on a venting-spree about how tired I was and how anything I ask for, I wouldn't have time to use anyway. I wanted time. I wanted sleep.

So what does my man do for me? He gets in touch with a friend who was going to be out of town for a while and asks if I can stay at her place for a weekend by myself. No baby, no "to-do" list. He gave me time. And he tried to give me sleep (why I couldn't sleep is beyond me and oh, so very frustrating).

What else does he do? He coordinated the gifts from his family to be gift cards to a couple of stores downtown so I could spend some time shopping! For me! Not to mention, he stayed at home with William all weekend! He also gave me a gift certificate for a massage!

To start the weekend, he took me out to dinner on Friday night and treated me to ice cream! He dropped me off at my friend's house and said good night. I took a bath and went to bed.

Saturday morning, I started my day with time in the word. It was lovely. The Psalms washed over me and met my spirit just as I needed them to. I wish I made time to be in the word and in prayer more often. It is one of my goals but never seems to make it to the top of the list as it should.

I got to take some maternity photos for some friends who are expecting in September. It was a gloomy day but it was super fun and I think we got some great shots. They are, after all, the most adorable couple!

Then, I went downtown for some lunch and hours upon hours of shopping. I had a list: jeans, leggings, a handbag and maybe a top. Well, I found the leggings and a top and a cute little clutch (not the handbag a diaper or two would fit in, but I wanted it anyway). The jeans . . . oh man, the jeans just about did me in. I tried on so many pair. So many stores. So many floors (Macy's is six stories after all). I ended up getting a pair from Old Navy. They aren't my favorite, but they fit and if William throws broccoli at them, it won't hurt my feelings (because they definitely were not $100+). At that point, I needed a hot dog. I was downtown, why not?! It was delicious!

After a quick diaper-run to Target, I was on my way home. Did you know the BART can get your from downtown to 16th Street in 4 minutes? Seriously, I wasted so much time taking the bus over the past four years. I don't even want to think about it.

That night I met up with some friends for dinner (remember the adorable expectant couple from the morning, it was them!). I just couldn't sit down by myself for another meal. I'm not one for eating alone. And it was great to spend time with friends without trying to keep both hands and eyes on a moving baby.

After dinner, I took another long bath and worked on some photo editing. Then I went to bed. I walked over 23,000 steps that day and my feet were so tired! It was a great, but long day.

On Sunday morning, I had another delightful quiet time before Chris picked me up for Church. It was so wonderful to see him and William again. I had missed them. I was really surprised to learn over the weekend, that William isn't necessarily the reason I don't sleep well at home. I didn't sleep much while I was away either. I felt that the weekend taught me one lesson: I was meant to be with my family. They are a part of me. It was wonderful to have so much "me-time" but I've also learned that my "me-time" should include some "we-time" too.

Thanks, Chris for managing to give me the impossible gift: time. You are so, so good to me!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Baby B: Ten Months Old

This month has been so much fun. William has really taken an interest in walking, eating, and even talking. He loves stories, music, and the swing at the park.

William has been standing and cruising around furniture like nobody's business for a while, but now, if you take his two little hands in yours, he is happy to move one foot in front of the other. We go back and forth in our little ten foot hallway. He hasn't stood for more than a couple of seconds by himself yet but he is so interested in moving.

Our pediatrician told us last month that William should start eating what we eat. William didn't seem quite ready for that, the only finger food he would successfully eat was Rice Krispies, but now he loves shepherd's pie, the inside of my burritos, and toast topped with yogurt. He has even had a slice of a peach (which takes a while since it's slippery and hard to grab a hold of). He is also a superstar when it comes to eating purred food. Usually eating everything I serve him (unless he grabs the spoon, then it gets flung everywhere . . . which happens more and more).

Back in May, William was experimenting with sounds. He could say his mmm's and da's but lately, his favorite sound is "ba." Which is really great when he waves at you and says "ba-ba." but it also can mean "ball" or "bottle" or just what he feels like saying. We hear "ba-ba" all day long. No more Mama or Dada.

He has also started singing and bouncing to music this week. If I sing to him and pause long enough, he'll start singing too. We had a little duet going one day. Which made my heart swell.

We received a couple of hand-me-down toys this month, an activity table and a push-kart for walking. He loves both. The activity table plays music for every button you push and he will spend hours minutes on end bopping his head to the music and bouncing along. Sometimes he gets a little aggressive with the buttons and I feel like I'm looking at his future with a pinball machine or something.

This month was also pretty monumental for sleep. At our pediatrician's urging, we tried the cry-it out method for night-time sleep again. If you remember back to his 4-month update, we had tried it then but he wasn't ready. So, Chris and I moved out to the living room to give the little man his space. The first night, he woke up a couple of times and cried for a while (torture!), the second night was a little better.  The third night even a little better. By the end of the first week, we knew that William was still waking up a fair bit but not crying for very long at all. He was able to get himself back to sleep without our help or food! This was huge!! (Did I mention he was drinking half of his food intake at night for a month? No, well he was. Three 6 oz. bottles every night...)

Anyway, fast forward a couple more weeks (I think we spent almost all of July sleeping on the living room floor), William is sleeping through the night! He may wake up a little earlier than we would like (between 5-6 a.m.) but from 7:30 - 5 he does really well at getting himself back to sleep on his own. And we have moved back to the bedroom.

Also, I have to note that one of my favorite things about William's naps other than that they are awesome, is that when he wakes up happy he can stand up in his pack 'n play and smiles at me when I walk in the room. He melts my heart.