Saturday, July 16, 2016

Capsule in Action

So now that Theodore is here, and my belly has shrunk enough to fit into some of my transitional clothes, my capsule is in full swing. This is going to be a challenging few months. Because July I will mostly be lounging around the house. August will be a bit more going to work, and by September I'll be back at work probably 3/4 time. I have to have a good mix of several different things. Also, since I'm breastfeeding, I am liable to get breastmilk in anything/everything. So things may need to be washed more frequently.

I'm up to 40 items now. I added another pair of shorts and another pair of sandals. I'm going to try really hard not to add any more items. But looking at what I have, I am mildly concerned that I may not have enough stuff that can mix-and-match. Too many different patterns and things like that. BUT, we'll see how it goes. If I find that a piece will only work with 1-2 different things, then I may need to trade it out for something else more versatile, even if I really do love it. We'll see.

I'm mostly worried that I may not have enough lounging-around-the-house stuff. And not enough workout clothes for when I start working out again, probably next month sometime.

It is a process. And I think in the beginning I may have larger capsule wardrobes, and then as time goes on hopefully I will get better at it and it will continue to pare down. It is more about commiting to the idea behind the capsule, and working to get there. Does not necessarily mean I have to be perfect from day 1...

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Must Read Book

I recently finished Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier and more Secure Kids by Kim John Payne. I loved it. I seriously cannot say enough good about this book. It hit home for me in so, so, so many ways. It was like he took everything that Charlie and I have always said to each other about how we want to raise kids, and he put it into a book. Must better written and more laid out than anything we could have come up with. We have lots of ideas, but not a lot of action plans on how to get there.

The crux of the book is that what our kids need is less. What we all need is less. We need to say "No" to the rush, rush, rush. We need to say "no" to companies telling us that we need this gadget or that gadget in order to be happy. He stresses that raising kids that have too much stuff (toys, activities, sports etc...) only shows kids how to be unsatisfied with what they have. Makes them ungrateful and entitled.

He talks about how when you have so many toys you can't even do anything with them - you don't even know what you have and what you don't, that is is stressful for kids. It's overstimulating. Kids don't need toys that make noise and light up. They need toys that foster their imagination and allow their brain to develop freely, as it was supposed to develop. They don't need TV. No matter how "educational". They don't need iPads.

They do need to be bored sometimes. They do need structure. They do need downtime. They do need parents who are available and involved (but not overly involved).

He talks about helicopter parenting and how we got there. He stresses that the world is not any less safe today than it was 50 years ago, but that our perception of that has been changed by the media.

He encourages us all to cut back on TV. To increase our time building relationships with our family members and our children.

It is just so good. Everyone who has kids should really read it. It plays in so nicely to the Marie Kondo simplifying that Charlie and I started last year (and that I hope to be able to continue in the future). It re-energized me to get back to that. To clean stuff out. To only keep what you need and what brings you joy.

Just loved it :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Adoption

Before we found out we were pregnant with Max, Charlie and I had started down the path toward adoption. We had suffered 4 miscarriages, and we both decided that we wanted to move forward with it. We knew that it could take awhile to get through the process and that we didn't want to be 40 when we started a family. We figured that if we waited until we were really sure we weren't going to have any biological kids of our own, then by the time we would be able to adopt a few kids we would be pretty old. Not that people don't do it, or that you can't do that, we just didn't want to.

So we got our home study and paid a lot of money to the adoption agency to get started. Then I found out I was pregnant. We kept going with the process until I was safely out of my first trimester. Then I told the agency, and they were very understanding. They put our account on hold for a year after Max's due date. So in December 2015 we had to give them a decision. Did we want to continue as we were, or did we want to reactive our account? I was already pregnant with our baby #2, so we decided to put it on hold again. They gave us another 6 months.

So we had to tell them what we wanted to do by June 2016 (aka now). Our home study also expired in May, so we needed to re-do that if we needed to.

For a long time I felt like maybe the reason for all those miscarriages was to bring us to adoption. Like maybe we were supposed to adopt, and that was a way to get us there. Fairytale-esque, but made sense to me.

But we just weren't sure. I was hesitant to shut the door on it. Charlie was a little more willing. Our intention was to adopt an African American baby. But we both agreed that if we did that, it would be better to adopt 2. All of the research shows that they do better if they have a sibling who "looks" like them. But, realistically speaking, were we going to have 2 more kids? I don't know. Maybe one. But I'm already 33. Two more kids, even if they are super close together, is going to take another 3-4 years.

And then there is the craziness of having 4 children. Much of that burden falls on Charlie. And he does a huge amount of work at the office for me. Work that I wouldn't trust anyone else to do, and, let's be honest, in North Platte I could never find someone as good as him to keep an eye on the financials for me. We both agreed that if we had 4 kids under the age of 6 or so, he was going to have to stay at home full time. Tanya is not going to take care of 4 kids for us, in addition to her 3. They would have to go to daycare. Or Charlie would need to be home full time. Which means he's not at the office. Which means we'd have to hire someone. On top of paying for 4 kids to go to daycare.

And then the logistics at the office. Dr. Shreck is almost 70 now. He's been out of practice for 3 years. He may be willing to come back and help again with baby #3, but I don't know about #4. At some point he's going to want to let his license and malpractice lapse and just be retired. He has been more than generous with his time to help us for these last 2 pregnancies. I don't think he minds, and we obviously pay him, but without him we would probably have to shut down the office for a period of time. Instead of my maternity leave being unpaid (because we basically break even on costs and paying Dr. Shreck) it would cost us tens of thousands of dollars. I would have to go back to work way more quickly, and overall it would be a lot harder. So if we adopted a baby in a few years and Dr. Shreck was not willing to come back, then I'd be home for a week or two, then back at the office full time and Charlie would be home with 2 toddlers and a newborn, while no one was doing his job at the office. Kinda crazy.

It's not that we couldn't afford it. And it's not that whether or not to have more kids should be a totally financial decision, but it does weigh in. And staying at home with 4 kids is a huge task. It's hard enough to stay home with 1. I think as you get more kids it probably get easier to some degree because they entertain each other. And as they get older they get more independent. But neither of us were sure we really wanted 4 kids. Like I said, maybe 3. We'll see how it goes with 2.

But I didn't want to just waste that money. I mean, it's basically like a $10,000 donation to the agency, which I don't think is a nonprofit in the first place. Ideally I wanted to be able to gift that money to another couple who wanted to adopt but didn't have the means to adopt through an agency like we were. But, as you might expect, our deposit was non-transferrable. So I couldn't do that.

Ultimately, we decided to end our adoption journey. Every time we renew our home study it is another $1,000. We both really needed to be behind it. And I was only partly behind it, Charlie less so than me. So after talking about it ad nauseum for the last several weeks, we finally decided to throw in the towel.

It makes me kinda sad. So final. But I think it's the best for us in the long run.

Now nothing to do but wait for baby #2 to make his grand entrance. Any day now...