Thoughts lately

I’ve overscheduled myself this December. I tend to always overschedule myself during the holiday season. Next year, I am going to set a calendar reminder for late October to not schedule too much. Even though I’m an extrovert, I need time at home with my husband and pets to recharge.

Along with feeling overscheduled comes a general reflection on my values. Such as: Is it in line with my values to be away from home 11 hours a day (including my hours at work and commuting)? Is it in line with my values to live in (and pay to rent) an 1800 square foot house? Is it in line with my values to put future, as yet hypothetical children in daycare? For many people, these things are exactly in line with their values, and work exceedingly well in their lives. For me, I’m not sure they are. I like to read the early retirement blog Mr. Money Mustache*, and MMM made the point in his most recent post that

It is almost always possible to avoid the two-commute family with kids if you make it a priority.

I’ve been considering lately whether I might want to make it a priority while our kids are still hypothetical, and before we’re stuck for another year renting three times the space that we need.

But then I read something like this article on spoiled millenials, and I wonder if it is hard for me to commit so much of my time to an occupation (I certainly don’t have “company loyalty,” as they mention in the article) because I am spoiled and I feel entitled. Maybe. I am certainly spoiled a little, definitely privileged, and sometimes I do feel like I have worked hard to earn a PhD and that I do “deserve” more money. But then I also think that it’s not the job of the companies/academic institutions to pay me more, it’s my job to figure out how to find a balance in my life, so that I can be true to my values. And maybe that means finding a cheaper place to live, so that I can work less and enjoy the things that already make my life rich.

*MMM can be a little preachy. Avoid if it’s possible it will piss you off.


Royal Baby Fever!

I know that a lot of people think it’s stupid that everyone cared so much about the Royal Baby, but I LOVED it. It was just so fun for me to bond with the other fans at work and to watch so many people around the world get so excited about the new little prince. Maybe it’s all just superficial and shallow, but I actually did feel connected to all the cheering people. And welcoming a baby is special, regardless of the baby.

In June, my high school BFF and I watched Birth Story, which is a documentary about Ina May Gaskin and the Farm midwives. Each time the babies were born, we both cried. Something about them coming earthside, having not been there a moment ago and then suddenly being there, slays me.

Imagining that happening for William and Kate, whom I love a little bit (in a non-stalkerish way), and being so thankful to have something so joyous in the news after all the heavy, hard things that have been there lately made me watch the video of them coming out of the hospital so the world could meet their baby over and over again.

Dream dream dream

I have homesteading fever!  From downloading books about chicken and bee keeping from the library to searching for rent houses and land in any of several places we might move, I can’t get enough.  I’m not sure whether it’s the hot sun or the fresh food at the farmer’s market or the friends that have defended their dissertations recently (two in the last week), but I feel ready for a change that would involve more time making a home!

I love the idea of an urban homestead, within walking/biking distance to the farmer’s market/co-op.  Ducks and chickens in the backyard, kitties in the house, and the pup wherever I am.  Lovely, medium sized garden and maybe one of these prefab sheds at the back of the yard for science writing/editing, screen printing, crafting and sewing.  A basement for Hubs to brew beer and a lovely large kitchen with a gas stove and plenty of space to make cheese.  Eventually (like 2+ years), this imaginary awesome homestead might even have a baby or two living there.

My current idea goes a bit against the idea of cohousing, but maybe there could be good alternatives (like this).  We also have these amazing friends from college who have always [sort of] joked about starting a commune where everyone that they love would come live.  As I meditate and pray about my calling, as well as continue on my current path, dreaming about all of this stuff is REALLY fun and inspiring.

What are you dreaming about lately?

Birdy Craft

Y’all, if I didn’t have SO MUCH FUN making this craft!  The pattern is free, the fabric was estate-saled, a tree fell down in our yard right as I needed a branch, and this little birdies are cute as pie.  Combine that with the chance to give something to some dear friends for their soon-to-be born wee babe and I was pretty happy with this whole project!

Up next:  sewing baby clothes with the serger I found for a STEAL at the same estate sale the fabric came from!

It’s a [second] baby shower!

Up next was a tropical[ish] baby shower solely because the parents-to-be have chosen to call their named-but-it’s-a-secret son “Mango,” which I’m fairly certain is the cutest pre-birth baby name ever.  I, of course, made some bunting:

The bunting sort of reads backwards because I used the same “welcome baby” part at the other shower.  Good task consolidation me!  You also may have noticed the pom in the top left corner of the photo above.  We had lots of poms:


Baby bingo was attempted  for this (co-ed) crowd, and for whatever reason, it was a total flop (it may have been Hubs talking non quietly about how he was mad that he didn’t win the artisan chocolate bars we had as prizes).  Luckily, one of my co-hosts was my brilliant friend, Uptown Girl, and she knows all about fun activities to do at baby showers, so we did onesie decorating, which was a roaring success.

Easy and tidy with permanent markers rather than fabric paint!

The final photo I want to show are pinwheels made by another sweet friend.  She learned how to make these pinwheels to decorate her own wedding, and taught it to me so I could help at a craft night where five of us made hundreds of them.  She wanted to pay it forward, so she, Uptown Girl and I had an awesome crafting night before the shower.  The pinwheels are perfectly whimsical and fun for a baby shower and made a great outside decoration to let guests know they were at the right house.

I love crafting and I love parties, but the best part of these baby showers was that my roll is significantly slowed in terms of the burning desire to procreate.  Thanks to my baby-having friends for letting me live vicariously through you!

It’s a baby shower!

I co-threw two baby showers recently and therefore got to do the best parts of both (invites, some decorations/games and a bit of food).  I threw the first shower with my mother-in-law, who, as I’ve mentioned before, is the queen of using flowers as decor.  She is also the queen of having china (dishes) for any and every occasion.  Behold the magnificently decorated table, which was entirely her doing.  If you click to embiggen and look closely in the bottom right, you’ll be able to spot the famous china (one of maybe six! patterns she owns).

It was a really awesome party with all the momma-to-be’s girlfriends and I felt so honored to be able to be a part of it!  My first main contribution was the invites:

They didn’t turn out a bit how I imagined them, but I had a blast making them and sure did love them in the end .

My second main contribution was a sewing project.  The momma-to-be’s mother found an old baby carriage at a yard sale and bought it because she is an amazing woman with an eye for really cool pieces.  My MIL borrowed it to put the presents in at the shower and had this fantastic Beatrix Potter-ish fabric that she’d just picked up somewhere, so since I absconded with her sewing machine approximately 3 years ago, I got the job of sewing a new cover, cushion and pillow for it.

And my final contribution was baby bingo, which we played during the present opening.  I made bingo cards using the bingo card generator from this UNC-W site.  It was super fun because each space on the bingo card had a descriptor for a present.  Each time a present was opened, we got to mark one of our squares.  If the gift was a blue, 0-3 month onesie with a bear on it, we marked “something blue” or “something for 0-3 months” or “something with an animal on it” and we had prizes for the person who had the most bingos at the end of present opening.  I highly recommend it as a diversion during present opening time, which can be a bit boring for the people not opening presents.

Stay tuned for the other baby shower!