Saturday, November 4, 2017

Living Simply

I tend to be a do-er. Like I get an idea in my head, and then I try to go whole hog for it. I think I've always been that way. And I sometimes have a hard time looking at things objectively. This is where Charlie is so, so good for me. He has a way of looking at things differently. Like when I wanted to buy a pumping bag for work when I was breastfeeding Teddy. He just said, "Kristen. You just created a problem you didn't have so that you could buy this bag. It's not like you commute far. It's not like you have to bring a pump to and from work every day. What you're doing is working. Buy the bag if you want, but don't pretend its because it's going to make your life easier." He was right. I didn't need the bag. It would not have made life easier, except for perhaps it would have looked nice sitting on my desk.

So the last year as lead me from committing to simplifying my kids lives to minimalizing mine, to trying to reduce the amount of waste we create and plastic we use as a family. I've posted about this last one recently. I still think that we use a lot of plastic. Too much plastic. And in North Platte, though we do have recycling available to us, it's pretty limited (#1 and #2 plastic, aluminum cans, paper, cardboard). No glass, no #4 or #5 plastic. And when you go to the grocery store and try to buy yogurt or cottage cheese, it almost always comes in a #4 or #5 plastic container. And of course you can keep those and clean them out and use them again, but how many of those does a person need? And eventually they end up in a landfill, even if you use them until they can't be used anymore, right?

So I went back to making my own yogurt. I tried to make my own cottage cheese, which was delicious when fresh but not so much a few days later (won't do that again). And the last few times I went to the grocery store, I went to the deli counter instead of buying the deli meat in the plastic containers.

But, you know that scene from Zootopia where they're at the DMV and it is being run my sloths? That is the deli counter at every grocery store in North Platte. You can easily double your time at the grocery store by going to the deli counter. So I try to buy lots more than we need a freeze it, but it's still kind of a pain. With small kids time is important.

And last night, Charlie had had enough. He had to go to the grocery store yesterday, and I asked him to get pretzels in a plastic container that could be recycled and go to the deli counter. Which he did, but he was not that happy when he got home. Because the deli counter is infuriating, lol. And he said that me spending my free time making yogurt and standing at the deli counter does not make us happier, and it does not simplify our lives.

And I got to thinking about it, and he's right. I work full time, I try to be present for my kids, and I try to do stuff around the home that I like to do, like make my own bread or sew a baby bib for my baby. But I am not a housewife and we are not farmers. I don't have time to be making yogurt at all hours of the night, or concocting a way to make pretzels at home so we don't have to buy them in a plastic bag.

I use cloth diapers, I make our own bread, I usually make our own yogurt, sometimes I make baby wipes, I actually do recycle, I bring my own utensils, I bring my own coffee cup, I bring a cloth napkin to work.

It is enough. Do what you can. Then let it go. You can't do it all... That is the true lesson in simplifying your life.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Two's Company, Three's a Crowd

I can't believe it's been a whole month since I posted. Probably a testament to how busy we've been with traveling and work and all of that good and fun stuff.

When Teddy was born, he wasn't home three days and Charlie said, "We're done. We're not having any more kids." I laughed at him and told him that this was not necessarily the time to make that kind of a decision. He argued that it was the perfect time. That when you're in the thick of the newborn phase was the perfect time to make that kind of a decision, because you know just exactly how bad it is. And in a way, he's right. After not that long, I was on board. Neither one of us are super fond of newborns. Those first six months really suck. Some women seem to love it, I am not one of them. I love my boys with all my heart, and they are by far the best thing that has ever happened to me, but I really, really hate that newborn phase.

So we weren't having any more. I gave away all my baby stuff. I actually sold it at a garage sale, but we sold it for pretty cheap. Most of our bibs, my cheap clothes, some burp cloths, our bassinet. The bumbo chair. One of our bouncers.

Then Teddy turned a year old. I weaned him. It was sad for me. But I started to get this feeling like I wanted another baby. I brushed it off, figured it was just the hormones from weaning. But it's stuck around. If we were going to have another, I'd like to do it soon. For one, I'm not getting any younger, but for another, Max and Ted are so close in age. I don't want them to be a ton older than the next. Plus, let's just get the hard parts over with. Traveling with Max now is easy-peasy. Ted is getting easier. So let's not get to a comfortable place and then go backwards. Just keep on with the challenging times.

There are a million reasons not to have another. How in the world will be get three kids into car seats in the car? Max will have to be in the back, and because he'll still be in the convertible car seat, someone will have to climb into the back to buckle him, because there is no way he'll be able to buckle himself. When we took Max to Tanya's, she charged us $100 a week for two days. Which seemed kinda steep, but whatever. When Ted came along, she doubled it to $200. I don't think I can justify $300. In a similar vein, Charlie is not at all sure he can handle three kids at home by himself. He's actually only home with them by himself for two full days a week - Monday and Thursday. But having three will definitely be a lot more difficult. Max will go to preschool, but that is only two days a week and only for a few hours. So it will actually probably be worse bc I'm sure preschool will interfere with nap time and he'll have to take all three kids out to leave Max at preschool for 2-3 hours and then go back and pick him up. We gave away a lot of our baby stuff already. Flying home to see people will be that much more expensive. Packing and getting to the airport and on the plane and to our destination will be that much more difficult.

But this is the thing. It's not that hard to climb into the back seat. And who knows, maybe Max will figure out how to buckle himself. We don't know that Tanya will charge us $300/wk. She may realize that's a tall order and that Max is getting easier and only go to $250. Or we can work around that. Max could go to daycare, he's old enough now and the social interaction may be good for him. Max and Ted actually play pretty well together, and there may be more Daniel Tiger watching than we'd like, but Charlie could make it work at home with 3. Lots of people do. We still have the basics of baby stuff. Our pack and play that we used for Max has an infant insert. I saved a good number of bibs and the nice burp cloths for myself. We lent one of our bouncers to our neighbors, we could ask for it back. I still have one bumbo seat. I kept all the nice clothes, and who knows, maybe it will be a girl and she'd need all new clothes anyways. Traveling would be more expensive. There is no getting around that. And more difficult while they're little. For sure.

We've talked about it. One day I feel like I'm on board, the next I'm not. Charlie seems like he could be convinced if I was really passionate about it, but I'm not.

I wonder if anyone ever truly feels their family is complete? Like, "Oh, OK. We've reached maximum capacity. We're good!" I dunno. What I do know, is that they are so, damn, cute. And funny. And their smile lights up your whole world. And watching them grow into toddlers and kids and little people is pretty incredible.

So who knows. Maybe. Maybe not. Even if we want to, there is no guarantee it will happen. Infertility strikes at crazy times for all sorts of people. For now I'm still on the fence. But they are pretty cute...

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Weaning

Another change in pace. I honestly just have to get this out somewhere, and here is as good a place as any since it's really only my family that ever reads this.

Teddy has weaned. Mom really wanted me to wean him before we went to Portugal, but I wasn't going to force it on him. After he turned a year old I quit pumping at work. And I quit feeding him overnight. So sometimes I was only feeding him twice a day. Sometimes more, but never more than maybe 3-4 times per day. I knew that my supply had dropped off pretty significantly.

Then earlier this week he got sick. And he was really congested. And last Friday morning he didn't really nurse. Not for very long. And Friday night he screamed when he tried to latch. It just happened so fast. Like Thursday was fine, normal. He was happy to nurse, grabbing at my boob and shoving it in his mouth.

I knew that my supply was dwindling. And I knew that he never really preferred the bottle or the boob (was always happy for milk in any form, from anyone). But for some reason I thought it would be slower. I was prepared. I was expecting him to nurse for shorter sessions for awhile or something like that, not just stop cold turkey.

Then on Sunday I noticed he had two fever blisters under his tongue. Which is probably why he was crying when he latched. My milk was drying up even faster, and I was so, so sad about it. Nursing Teddy has truly been one of the greatest joys of motherhood for me. It was something I wanted so bad and fought so hard to protect our nursing relationship. And was so proud of us for making it to a whole year.

Monday morning I felt like giving it a go again. He latched, and even though I had probably almost no milk left, he happily nursed for probably 10 minutes or more. And I just sat there. Trying to soak it in. To sear into my brain the image of his little face, blonde hair, playing with his hands and my shirt, in what had been his happy and safe place since the day he was born. And I just tried to enjoy it. To remember it. To be present to it.

And I offered Monday afternoon and Monday night, but he was done. Not even pretending to nurse. He'd rather have his sippy cup with milk now.

And I know that I'm leaving for Portugal soon. And when I made the decision not to force him to wean, I prayed that things would work out as they were supposed to. And I have faith that they have. But I am still sad. So, so sad. And grateful. So very grateful. Grateful for the time I had with him, grateful that the Universe gave me that one last nursing session, and so very happy to be his Mom.