Friday, September 23, 2016

New arrivals in the neighborhood

This autumn we have these new additions to our neighborhood: acorns and chestnuts.

Our neighborhood is still new by almost any standard, but the arrival of nuts on the trees feels like a rite of passage towards becoming Established. I was as giddy as the children when they started collecting the nuts. Every child should collect nuts and turn them into crazy childhood projects, right? But it wasn't so clear that my children were going to get to have that particular childhood experience. Until this year. Thank goodness. There are (a few) trees to climb and definitely nuts to collect. It only took about five and a half years to get here! We're happy!

There were definitely advantages to buying a new house in a new neighborhood, but the wait for the trees to begin maturing has been painful. For that reason alone, I'm not sure I would buy new-new again. But, bygones now. Bygones.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Cold Weather Cape

I made this denim and furry fleece cape as a gift for my goddaughter.

Usually, I'm not inclined to make gifts for people. This sounds rather horrible: but I feel like handmade gifts are not really liked by most people. Considering the amount of time and effort that goes into them, I want them to be liked! A project such as this cape takes me about 4-5 hours plus the cost of fabric. A good amount of the time goes into fiddling with perfectly lining up the edges of the denim and fussing with the furry fleece. (Man, does it shed!) If I paid myself a living wage, which is around $22/hour in Denver, then this cape is worth $88-$110 plus materials. It's selling for less than that on my Etsy website. Which is one part belief that it wouldn't sell at such a high price and one part acknowledgement that other parts of the country have a far lower living wage. On any average day, it makes a lot more sense to throw a smaller amount of time and money at store-bought gift and attach a gift receipt.

This time I was determined to hand-make a gift. Mostly, it seemed that if there was an occasion appropriate to make a gift, this was it. I felt that it was highly unlikely that she already had one. And I do believe these capes are extremely handy for those early years when you are taking a baby/little kid in and out of carseat, in and out of the cold. The first version I made for Trixie about 3 years ago and she is still wearing it.

One of the greatest things about this cape is that it is entirely machine washable and dry-able. It's also reversible. Actually, I think I might like one myself.

Maybe I can justify it by making it red instead of denim. I can wear it at Christmas time. It will be my Santa cape!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Coffee Crutch

I decided to give up coffee. It had become a crutch over the last several years as I woke up was awaken many times during the night and (therefore) felt tired during the day. But now all the kids are sleeping through the night. I have the impression I was healthier in the days before my coffee habit. And now I have NINE glorious hours to myself each week.  It seemed to be the right time to readjust and pull myself back together without caffeine.

I miss many things about coffee. I liked ordering coffee. I liked sitting at a table and drinking coffee with other people. I reeeeally liked drinking coffee on the weekend, across the table from Fritz, after brunch, while the kids played. Drinking coffee also reinforced that I am an adult even when I am surrounded by the kid's needs and wants and schedule. It is an activity that people frequently do together, so just doing it, even alone, made me feel less lonely. The ritual of making coffee gave my day an organizational point when it was otherwise filled with chaos. I frequently treated it like a motivational reward. If you just make it through X, then you may have a cup of coffee or I just made it through X, I deserve a cup of coffee.

I find when I am trying to kick a habit, the best thing for me is to have some sort of substitute habit. For example, I might say to myself: Every time I would normally have a cup of coffee, I'm going to drink some tea instead. Except this time I don't want to drink tea since the goal here is to get rid of stimulants (caffeine). Integral to the substitute strategy is that I hope to replace what has become a bad habit with a better habit. So, what should it be? I'm not exactly sure, but I know I need to feel somewhat motivated by the idea of it, or it won't stick.

So far I've been caffeine-free for a week. I've made it through the headache phase of caffeine withdrawal. Just the prospect of going through the headache phase again has stopped me from making myself another cup. But I'm sure the threat of the headache will fade, so it's time to find a substitute habit.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Firsts, of a different sort

Over the weekend, I flew to Germany for my niece – and goddaughter's – baptism. There's a lot of firsts in this trip: the first time I've been at a family celebration without Fritz, the first time I've left my own children for (as long as) three nights, the first time Fritz has taken care of all three children for four days and three nights by himself, the first time I've been a godmother, my first niece (or nephew).

I will say that I had really mixed feelings about going. It felt self-indulgent, because the cost was high and time was short. There was a good amount of ominous worrying about my kids on my part, even though my brain knew the odds were stacked against it.

However, it was really a lovely weekend and I am so glad I went. It was such a great pleasure to be the aunt/godmother instead of the mom. It was nice to have lots of thinking time to myself. And I came back feeling very relaxed and refreshed. This is especially good since it appears one of my own kids is coming down with something! I fear we are about to get our first round of fall sickness.

This trip also marked the end of weeks of unusually chaotic scheduling. My calendar is looking open and spacious. Just how I like it best. So maybe I'll be around the blog a bit more.