What Do You WANT?

things I want:
-a house to call my own – not an apartment – a house (this one will do) – where I can paint the walls and hang anything I want and have any style bathroom I can afford instead of dealing with whatever the complex decided to put in – where I can save up to buy things like a grill and have cookouts – I happen to know someone who could make me an awesome picnic table if I had anywhere to put it.

-A car with a bigger trunk that gets better gas mileage and doesn’t make my husband feel freakishly tall and uncomfortable. But I want to pay for it in full because I do like currently not having any car payments. That part is pretty sweet, lack of comfort aside.

-To not be constantly worried about how much we’re saving and how much more we need to get the first two items on this list, never mind things like retirement, college, private school tuition and family vacations.

-To lose a LOT of weight but still eat the foods I like and want – yeah I know this means working out, something I’m not very good at sticking to, so…

-Can my house be on a perfect street with sidewalks in walking distance to a grocery store, book store or library, playground and park, a few little cafes and pizza places and um the houses of all my best friends and maybe my family, too?

-And can I have a Wii so I can try things like WiiFit and play WiiBowling and baseball and tennis, etc.? That would be pretty sweet.

-To TRAVEL – I have huge wanderlust these days but with the cost of travel and our own current finances, it isn’t happening this year. Remember the trip I just took to Roger Williams Zoo? That was it for this year if you can call that a vacation.

-More sleep but also more time to read – I’m reading a terrific book right now but I have barely read 5 pages because I’ve been so tired at night, but I’m not really sleeping either and come morning when it’s time to tackle the care and well being of two toddlers, I’m usually too exhausted to do a very good job – which means I’m grumpy and boring and not very good at playing referee to their wars of who can play with what when and for how long…

-A new baby – yes seriously I still want that.

1 Toddler + 1 Other Toddler = Recipe for Crazy

So I don’t think I’ve mentioned this yet, but I’m kind of a baby sitter now. Three or four days a week now, my two year old son and I spend our days with my good friend’s nearly three year old boy. Friend has a sort of half a week custody deal worked out with her dead beat ex, I mean, son’s father, so traditional day care would be kind of weird for her to arrange – despite her stable schedule, son’s father’s schedule changes week to week and thus the specific days they each care for adorable nearly three year old fluctuate as well. So here I am, sitting on my arse eating Trader Joe’s Joe Joe’s (like Oreos only so much better, really!) watching Super Why, doing nothing clever basically, and it dawns on me, “I could do that.” Honestly I had nothing better to do.

So for the small fee of the occasional free hair cuts for my family (did I mention my friend is also a kick ass hair stylist?) and pitching into my grocery bill since her son now dines with us for 50% of his meals roughly, she gets practically free day care and my son gets a built in playmate until that mythical second child I keep dreaming about / not trying very hard to produce (seriously we are still hoping for a Spring birth, but at this rate, it may be the following Spring). Win wins all around, right? And I can sort of tell myself I’m employed. Sort of. Not really. But it’s FUN!

Okay, not really. Did anybody else know that two toddlers dirty twice as many dishes, diapers, and faces? That the living room gets trashed twice as quickly and that the caretaker feels TWICE as tired at the end of each very long day? There are twice as many arguments, twice as many opportunities to barter for good behavior, twice as many moments of feeling like a harpy as I yell, “no” or “don’t do that” or “that’s not food!”

Okay so really, despite that, it isn’t really that bad. Yes, I’m bone tired and it’s a lot of work, but here’s the exciting part. At the end of the day, eventually, this second child GOES HOME and suddenly the aspect of a day with just my child seems thrillingly easy. Like how did it not seem this easy before? Wasn’t it always this way? How did it escape me that I had it made? And okay, yes, I know I’m trying for a second baby, but did anyone else know that new babies start out as BABIES and not toddlers? Because I think if children were offered as toddlers first, not many people would sign up. That’s the great thing about babies, is it’s a gradual process that gets not necessarily harder but maybe more complicated as you go along. They gradually weigh more, say more, eat more, etc. as they grow so that some things get harder as other things get easier, and you have time to ease into your routine. Maybe I’m making it sound more glamorous than it is – I obviously know babies are hard work and that sunshine and roses don’t grow out of their cute little tushes, but seriously, in my mind, I’ve got this covered. All thanks to a few days a week with a child whom everything apparently belongs to (the first day I watched him, I learned that he owned all cars, clothing, food, cups, bowls, toys, and television shows and maybe the Earth, Sun and Moon, as well).

What’s my point? Well, obviously, clever readers, I don’t have one. Per usual. Ciao!

Media Storage Solutions? Please?

Last night we watched American Idol – it was Broadway night and a few contestants did Phantom of the Opera songs (okay by a few, I mean two, and by two I mean the David’s a.k.a. basically our favorites and by favorites I mean last night we were biased by our love of Phantom…) We are also big fans of Carly and Sayesha (I’m probably spelling both names wrong, my apologies) but that has nothing to do with my post at all. The point is that after hearing the performances I really felt it was time to buy Phantom of the Opera once and for all – we’ve almost done it several times but refrained for monetary reasoning. But it’s time.

Now I’m looking at our once tiny DVD collection and seeing that we need a storage change. I don’t like those DVD / CD cases where you take all the DVDs out of their original storage – it’s a nice idea but then I can’t look and see them all at a glance and thus never watch them – so I want something that we’d put all the DVD cases in – preferably something visible but not reachable for MLM. Maybe something that hangs on the wall, like this… or maybe something we’d put on top of a shelf like this.

Right now we have everything precariously stacked on top of the TV and in the cabinet under the TV… and we’re running out of room. So we’ll definitely need to do something so we can get Phantom of the Opera… My husband would say we should get a MythTV and burn all of our movies onto the hard drive…

What do you use to store movies and music?

Riding a Tricycle, Feeling So Free…

This weekend we took my son to Target, just to look for new key rings for our key chains which have seen better days; and on our way through the store we stumbled across… tricycles. Now dh and I are incredibly excited about tricycles but had no idea that MLM would even know how amazing they are until all of a sudden, he’d climbed onto one and began walking it through the store! Who taught him how to do that? At just a week past the two year mark, I had not expected him to pick up on the idea so quickly!

We were so proud, we barely noticed that he’d hopped onto a pink sparkle-covered bike that was WAY too big for him despite being training wheel endowed. We tried to show him a handsome masculine Radio Flyer in the next aisle, but it just wasn’t as pretty. But, shut up, hello, who cares! The point is, I officially want to buy him a tricycle like crazy now! If only things like money and a place to put and use said tricycle weren’t factors to consider…

They Say Home Is Where Your Heart Is, But…

My husband’s company has been talking about relocating in a couple of years, assuming that a few things take off for them the way that they anticipate. I have my worries about this and don’t like the idea of moving so far away from my family and friends, my father and I moved a lot when I was young and I have an animosity towards it now, wanting to put down some roots now and be close to my ancestry somewhat I guess. I like being near all of our family, aunts, uncles, siblings, cousins, etc. and I know my husband feels the same way.

But then I did a few web searches of the areas in particular and saw house values of like $80,000-$150,000 – for the same kinds of places we’d pay $250,000-$350,000 for here. Now some of them looked a little slummy, but let’s face it, some of our $250,000 houses look a little slummy, too. And some neighborhoods had houses for WAY less than $80,000 – like I’m talking $20,000-$50,000 – I could buy a car for that price! Or should I say, for the price of some cars, I could now apparently buy a friggin house! It irks me that I’ve been getting by in this state where we all know housing is way too expensive and so many people leave the state so they can afford to buy a house, but I guess it didn’t dawn on me what our options could ACTUALLY be like if we’d just leave the state – and I’m not even talking a cross country move, we’re talking states that actually touch our state. Not really that far away at all.

Happy Birthday: Gift Wrap On My Mind

So this Saturday was my son’s 2nd birthday party (his birthday is actually today) – we had a great time, especially after I made the executive decision the night before to purchase an ice cream cake at the grocery store, rather than attempting to bake 2 cakes on top of all the other cleaning and preparation we had to do for our 25 guests. The cake was delicious and I only felt a little bit of guilt.

He got a ton of great new toys, like a fantastic work bench from his aunt, a musical sit’n’spin, play dough, cool new clothes, a golf set, and god, I could go on… When the party was over and I found myself cleaning up that night, throwing away all the trash from the event, my heart kind of fell into my stomach. Apart from the trash that got thrown into our recycling bins (including pizza and other nasty things that made me opt to just throw it all out, rather than try to sort out the debris) and the dozen paper plates and cups that I purchased to avoid a night of dishes, there was the gift wrap and bags.

In the past I would keep all gift bags I received with the intention to reuse them – but there’s a problem with that – one, I never manage to store them very well, so they get wrinkled and ugly and totally un-presentable for a new present. Two, the ones I use for hauling my own belongings inevitably get torn and worn and have broken in my husband’s hands, making him the opposite of a fan of reused gift bags. There has to be a better way. Shopping for gift wrap can be an annoyance anyway – the prices are sky rocket high and it often seems you have to make a compromise to get something within your budget that looks how you want. And so much of it is absurdly cheap in quality – I’ve purchased numerous rolls that are literally transparent – so I have to wrap the gift twice so it’s contents aren’t immediately visible.

This weekend I talked to my husband about the idea of buying packaging paper (you know the chic brown paper that comes in big rolls) and then using fancy yarns and ribbons and our son (and other future children)’s drawing skills to decorate. For bags, I’d try to purchase a similar style of plain brown bag. It would have that timeless look that I love and be much easier to pick out and find. And if it’s plain paper it should be fairly good at decomposing even if it does end up in a landfill. I know this wouldn’t solve my problem of having to throw away gift bags from other people, but at least I’d be setting a good example, knowing I’d done my part.

Hands down, the gift wrap winner this year was my good friend Amanda, whose gift came in a black canvas bag – now there’s a bag I can reuse without my husband cringing! That is another idea I may take as my own, depending on the gift / recipient / and my budget that month. I love the idea of the packaging being reusable, but it would definitely be a slightly more expensive method.

What do you guys look for in gift wrap? Any ideas that you love? Any thoughts on my efforts to be slightly more eco savvy where gift wrap (or even life in general) are concerned? I know, I know – the paper plates and thrown out recyclables were a pretty bad idea – but sometimes sanity needs to be sought out first, right? Much like a diet, you can’t be 100% good every day. But if you are 75% good most days, it will be a pretty good start, right?

So, About That Next Baby Thing…

So DH and I have been talking for awhile now about “the next baby” and when we should have our next wee little one (and how she should be a girl, unless he’s a boy, and what will he or she be like and where should we all go on vacation next year and…). Lately we are liking the idea of an early summer birth (with fall as a plan b) for several reasons:

1) I would get to be big and pregnant during the winter, when all that extra body weight could be put to use, making me warmer in our cold apartment!

2) The months of May and June are relatively calm for us so far, so having a birth and then birthdays then would be better than say April or July and August.

3) Warmer temperatures – nice for the wee little one and their little body temperature, etc. Not quite as severe bundling needed (which might mean pretty summer dresses and rompers – did I mention I’m secretly hoping for a little girl?). Also, more chances to take the kids to the playground instead of being cooped indoors.

4) NEXT fall we may be able to put MLM in preschool which would be nice for everyone I think. (If this doesn’t happen though, it’s not a big deal)

I really don’t want to wait too long – I’d like them relatively close in age, and MLM will be three by then. That seems pretty decent. He’s already starting to be a “little helper” and I’m sure by next year that will be even better. I may even be able to potty train him by then which would be sweet. I also know DH will be wanting some father / son bonding time soon, so then I’d also have another child to occupy my time while they are doing boring guy stuff like camping and forts and stuff. And I can enjoy infancy again while DH has a little tyke around to amuse him.

I know it won’t all be sunshine and roses like that, but there are TWO of us and only one MLM at the moment. I also know that MLM can get pretty shy in some social situations (don’t let him fool you!) and might REALLY like to have a built in friendship – something I never got to have growing up and really want for him. Plus, in three years he’ll be starting kindergarten, so this way he gets two years of time with said sibling before going off to bigger things.

Hmm so yes, the timing feels right. We’ll surely keep thinking about it until the end of August or so, at which point we will likely start “trying.” Wish us luck!

Happy First Day of April!

So this morning is the 1st of April which means a few things to me:

(one) the rent is due. This is never a happy thought – but knowing we have more than enough money to pay the rent IS a slightly happy thought – for a few months now we’ve been feeling a bit tight in the checkbook so things evening out is a very nice sight indeed!

(two) MLM is turning 2 in just SIX more days! That means I need to wrap presents, clean the apartment and make a final decision on what kind of cake I am making – plain old cake or cupcakes, teenie tiny Elmo face cupcakes, gigantic Elmo Face cake, a Lego Cake? Can I do all of the above, but magically have it all done in an hour or so? Can I have the kitchen of my dreams that has all spices, frosting, sprinkles, and zest I could ever need, a built in cooling rack system, several ovens, plenty of counter space and a spiffy decor? This kitchen of course will never get dirty or need cleaning because all messes made will magically evaporate into thin air as they hit the surfaces of this dreamy dream kitchen. Two will also mean getting ready for things like potty training, thinking about toddler beds, lots of new words, ABC’s, him getting smarter than I could ever imagine, and this Fall, me trying to have a second baby… what, oh yeah. That’s right. More on that later though. Moving on…

(three) I also have a baby shower to throw VERY soon AND a good friend moving back to the state after moving away for quite some time. The circumstances surrounding the move may not be happy, but having her back for awhile will be happy-making indeed!

(four) And yes, yes, it’s April Fools. Which means I’ll be reading tons of bogus blogs and news articles and frequently find myself saying, “Huh? Wha…oh right. April Fools… whatev…” Maybe my sense of humor needs some oiling, but this day has never felt terribly funny to me – the only time it was ever that big of a deal was in college when the newspaper I ran would do a big April Fools issue which was always fantastically fun to put together. But now it’s just me and my two year old who has no idea that it’s a Big Prank Day (thank god, I may be in serious trouble in a few years when he catches on).

Anyway, Happy April Fools Day to everyone who likes that kind of thing, and for the rest of us, don’t worry, only 13 more hours to go, then it can just be “Yay, it’s April, now maybe the weather will get better!!!”

How Have I NOT Read the Nancy Drew series yet??

Somehow despite my big appetite for books, there are always those classics that seem to evade me. While I was busy reading The Babysitters Club books, I somehow managed to avoid ever reading the Nancy Drew or Hardy Boy series – perhaps they weren’t as colorful and current, I don’t know, but I missed out, and years went by and it just never happened. But I’ve always been curious about this series and after seeing the new Nancy Drew movie, now I’m convinced – I need to read these books. I need to be in on this!

The movie, by the way, was fantasic – far exceeding my expectations. I assumed it would be cute and probably funny, but didn’t think it would be so well made – I loved every little detail, the storyline, the acting, the script – all was REALLY good. I love how they give a new kind of depth to each character that I suspect wasn’t necessarily present during the books. Especially the “mother angle” – Nancy’s mother died when she was little and you come to realize how big of an effect this has had on her life and how it partially explains her obsession with sleuthing. Being one of the many children out there who grew up without a mother, this is something I can get behind. It was very authentic and realistic, and yet it also had situations that were absurd and hilarious. Even the little love plot between Nancy and Ned was adorable. Um, hello, “Can you tell when a girl looks at you and is thinking how much she likes you and is wondering if you like her and thinking how important it is for you to say how you feel before she says anything more about how she feels about you or anyone else they might be jealous of because she’s already said how she feels how she’s said in her own way?” Seriously.

And now I want to know moooooore. I want to read them all. I want to go to the library right now and check out every single Nancy Drew book EVER. But maybe I should finish reading the other three books I’ve already checked out first? 🙂