Monday, November 18, 2013

On adding a second to the mix

It's the eternal question. Once you get married, everyone asks themselves, when do we have a kid? You think of a million things. Finances, living situation, job situation, whether you have the time, the energy, the stability. When B and I first got married, we started trying 4 months later, and got pregnant immediately. We didn't think about it much, we threw caution to the wind and decided that there was never a good time to have a baby, so now was as good a time as any. Never, not a single moment of my life, have I ever regretted it. Not for a single moment do I wish we had postponed our decision, even while my closest friends have yet to do any baby making of their own.

Now that Mia is 2 1/2, my body is starting to physically feel ready to become pregnant again. Not that I'm back in tip top shape or anything, but I feel normal. Normal at my new, pudgy size, and comfortable. I'm healthy, I'm physically well, flexible, strong. I've been keeping up with a yoga DVD 2-3 times a week. Nothing complicated, nothing terribly challenging, but my body is feeling good. 

The rest of me is starting to come around to the idea of adding this mythical second child into the mix. B and I are ready to love someone else, to take care of someone else. We're probably not ready for the lack of sleep, constant attention, and general high maintenanceness of a baby, but honestly, nobody every is. What we are ready for, though, is for that mythical non-existing second child to grow into a toddler, a child, a generally awesome member of the family. And that's what you're really getting, isn't it? Once you're out of the baby phase, the cute, cuddly, exhausting baby phase, you're getting an energetic, wonderful child. 

That part, I do feel ready for. I do. But the part that requires a larger car, a second daycare payment, and dividing my attention away from my very real, very clingy two year old? That, I am not ready for. The former two reasons, practical considerations... it's just money. It can be worked out, with time, it will be just fine. But the latter, 3rd reason? This part is what I still struggle with.

Of course, I know what the benefits are of having a sibling. A playmate for life, another family member, someone to team up with against your parents, someone to share Christmas morning with, and everything else that comes along with that. But I am so scared that adding another kid would take away so much of what Mia gets now. Undivided attention, no competition for lap space, time, patience, praise, everything. I feel so guilty for taking some of that away from her. She won't understand, and I'm terrified of how she'll react. In reality, and in my heart, I know she'll be fine. She's a sweet, sweet girl, who tucks her dolls in and shows empathy. She may have a wicked temper, but she always wants everyone to be happy.

In reality, it's not her I'm worried about, it's me. A big part of me wants to give all my time, attention, love to her and only her. But another, equally large part of me wants another sweet, loving, sassy, happy human being to join our happy little family. Someone for all three of us to love. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Philippines

I've felt the need to post something, anything about what's going on in the Philippines, but whenever I start something, it always ends up sounding trite. But, 5 days later, it seems like too much time has passed without me acknowledging what happened. For the first time in my life, a place that actually means something to me, personally, is affected by one of these natural disasters. It has always been so easy to hear about devastation without personally relating to it, without letting myself realize how stressful, difficult and devastating these situations can be. Again, I'm already feeling like I'm sounding trite...

Obviously, we're all aware that entire provinces are suffering because of the Typhoon. Tacloban, the biggest city from my Mom's home province is completely devastated. The majority of my family lives in Manila now, but a few of my Mom's first cousins are still living in Eastern Samar. We were completely out of touch with these cousins for the first few days of the storm, and while I was thinking of them the whole time, I didn't feel like I could say anything aloud (or in writing) until we heard from them.

Finally, two days ago, we got a facebook message. They're alright, but obviously they have no power or any other means of communication. They had managed to borrow someone's laptop for a couple of minutes, just long enough to notify their friends and family that they were alive. Yesterday, after some effort, they've been moved out Tacloban, where conditions are just getting worse and worse for everyone left behind.

What do we do to help? I have no idea. What I've been hearing is that money, donations, etc aren't really a problem. It's mobilization, organization, and actual boots on the ground help that is lacking. Tacloban is difficult to get into and out of, there are no resources, potable water is scarce, etc. If I find out about any real ways to help, I'll post again. But in the meantime, let's all remember that the images we are seeing are pictures of real people, with real families, and real lives. Not just pictures scrolling by on the TV...

Adult Friendships

An adult friendship is a complicated thing. Adult friendships don't start organically, the way they do when you are thrown into a dorm room, or a high school classroom. I'm not talking about the friendships that started there, and that we may have maintained through adulthood.

The other type, the type people that you meet as an adult, as a parent, as a co-worker. I've written about this before, how it's so weird and awkward to make friends with someone as an adult. When I wrote about it initially, I was still pretty new to Vegas, pretty new to parenting. But now, three years as a Las Vegas resident, and two and a half years as a parent, things are a bit different. Friendships have developed (slowly), but inherently, they are not the same kind of friendships. We've gotten to know and have spent some time with parents from Mia's daycare. We've spent some time with B's co-worker's and are spending Thanksgiving with some of them. I've gone to some knitting circles. I don't have room in my life for much more than that, casual friends, going out to dinner friends, holiday friends. [When communicating with these people, I always run my messages past B: "Am I coming on too strong with this invitation?" B always reminds me that we are NOT DATING. My thoughts, aren't we?] My head is full - full from the demands of having a family and a job. Unless you are related to me, or giving me a paycheck, I have very little time left to give to you every day. 

As a 30 year old woman, and probably more pointedly, mother, I've come to accept that the era of "hanging out with friends" just for the hell of it and without any planed activity has come to an end. You know how in high school, or in college, you'd just go over to someone's house, and sit around talking for hours and hours? Of course you could do that when you had little more than studying to worry about. I've accepted that doing this, sitting around and just talking, plus the shared idiotic experiences you have with these people, is how you really become friends.

Maybe some people can still make these types of friendships into adulthood/parenthood, but I think it's over for me. And I'm OK with that. My everyday life is full. I feel fulfilled. I have a lovely daughter, I have a husband who is still my favorite person to hang out with. I have hobbies that I dream about, that keep my hands happily occupied. But on Saturday afternoons, when Mia and I are home on our own because B is at work, I get pangs of loneliness. Doesn't anyone want to come over and just hang out with me?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Hats, the knit kind.

Even though it's 75 degrees here today, that isn't the normal 100 degrees we've been getting since May, so that definitely feels like winter. And, since we are creeping very quickly towards the holidays, I have really increased my knitting production. Namely, hats.

I made my first hat without any kind of pattern. It's more of a mashing together of different techniques that I've learned by making other hats, using patterns. This was intended to be a slouchy beret/beanie type hat, but it turned into just your basic beanie. And it's cute. I intended it to be for Mia, but, depending on what kind of knitting I manage to get done throughout the next few months, it may very well be gifted elsewhere. I made it with some acrylic red sparkly yarn left over from last year's Holiday Ornaments.

On the adult side of things, I picked up a little pamphlet of hat patterns from Michael's. Generally, I do not like shopping for yarn or patterns at Michael's because I like to make an effort to support Local Yarn Shops, but once in a while, life requires you to make a trip to Michaels, and while on that trip to Michael's, I cannot be expected to skip over the yarn section. It's a nice little pamphlet, and this Truly Purple hat (not knit in purple) is what I started with. It's not finished, which is unfortunate, but I'll be done by Tuesday night at the latest. Again, I would very much like to keep this hat, but I almost certainly will be giving it as a gift and hoping to make myself one down the line.

The pattern is only OK. It feels like it was not very well written, and while it's turning out quite pretty, it feels a bit clumsy. Most of the other hats are not so elaborate, so I am not disappointed in the $4 I spent. Plus, it really is turning out slouchy and will be even slouchier after I'm done blocking.

Next up, another beanie, probably from the same book, in Chicago Blackhawks colors, for my dearest nephew, whose interests are limited to Trucks, Trains and the Chicago Blackhawks. And I am most certainly not attempting any truck or train patterns.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Hair Experiments, concluded!

A completely unsolicited, unsponsored post about my hair, as a follow up to my original Hair Post from over 6 months ago.

Even at this length, I couldn't get any moisture down into the ends.
I've been obsessed with my hair ever since we moved to Vegas. I don't know what started it, whether it was pregnancy, the water, or just moving to the super dry climate, but either way, I've been obsessed with it. I cared about my hair when we lived in Chicago, but I was never concerned about it. I used shampoo, conditioner, sometimes a 2 in 1, blow-dried it, whatever, normal stuff. When we moved here, all that "normal stuff" was over. My hair was so dry and crunchy, I just cut it in a short bob and pretended I didn't want to have long hair. (but I did!)

I've tried moisturizing product after product, shampoos, conditioners, everything. Only conditioning the ends, blasting my hair with cold water at the end of a shampoo. I tried NOT shampooing my hair, and using baking soda and vinegar instead. I asked my hair stylist, her instructions were just not to wash it every day. And yes, that's what everybody always says, but my hair would get so oily at the roots while staying so dry at the ends that it wasn't much of an option. So on it went, but I didn't stop googling shampoo alternatives.

February 2013, in the process of growing out my hair. Pic was originally published in my inexplicably popular post, House of Cards and Hair. I think I was still using Wen at this point.
I decided to try cleansing conditioners. First, Wen (from the infomercials and QVC). It was great, actually. I really liked the scents and it definitely softened up my brittle ends, it was costing me like $50 a month, which... is not in my hair budget. I found a pretty great, much cheaper alternative in L'Oreal Evercreme, and I've had a bottle of it ever since. I used it religiously, daily, for a few months, when I finally found that my scalp's oil production was under control enough to skip shampoos. SKIP THEM!

Day 3 Hair! Granted, it's up in a top knot, but I assure you that it is not oily.

Now, in order to actually skip a shampoo is still have a "style" (aka anything other than limp, slept on hair), I need to use dry shampoo. I tried a bunch (I was obsessed for a while), until I finally settled on Batiste Dry Shampoo. Batiste is not expensive (like $8 at Ulta) and has been the only product to allow me to skip more than one shampoo. Seriously, I'll go two days in a row without washing my hair and still be able to wear it down on the 3rd day if I want to. Now, the longer I go between Shampoos, the more I end up going back to a regular plain old shampoo (it's hard for the cleansing conditioner to really get all the product from 3 days o styling out), but only twice a week. If it's only been a day or two since my last wash and I need to wash my hair for whatever reason, I'll still use the Evercreme.

Day 1, Blow Dried Straight.
Now, I'll generally do a routine of Day 1: Wash and Blow Dry Straight, using just a paddle brush and anti-frizz serum. Day 2: Dry Shampoo, them curl it wavy (pictured below), with a bit of volumizing powder (I use Powder Play from Big Sexy Hair) at the roots and hair spray to finish. Day 3: Up in a styled ponytail, or half up, or on days when I'm feeling ambitious, I'll try a style from The Small Things Blog (pictured above - incidentally, I also follow her recommendations on how to curl one's hair. It turns out, I was doing it all wrong. AWAY FROM THE FACE, FOLKS!).

 On Day 3, typically there is more Powder Play, and even more hairspray to hold the style. Incidentally, I think it's important that you use a nice tight brush and really brush your hair out at the end of the day. You know how on the Brady Bunch, Marcia would count to 100 brush strokes? Well, now that I'm not washing my hair everyday, I get it. I use a boar bristle brush that I got from Target.

Day 2 hair, curled.

So now, it's long, it's healthy, and it's not oily. I'm pretty happy with it! I'm not sure how much longer I'll go with it, though this is probably as long as it's ever been! 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Swearing in Ceremony, and general update.

Tomorrow, I am getting sworn in to practice in Nevada. I'm excited, a lot more excited for this one then the first one. I'm not sure why, since nothing is essentially going to "change" in my life once I re-swear to uphold the Constitutions. But, B was able to get the afternoon off work, and there's a little reception afterwards, so it should be a lovely afternoon. We'll leave Mia at daycare until after the ceremony, because, let's face it, it probably isn't the place for a two year old.

Mia, in the midst of serious 2 year old drama.

It was actually a bit touch and go for me to take part in the swearing in ceremony. There were some delays in processing my application, and the State Bar had put a hold on my application. I wasn't even planning on attending the ceremony as of Monday, but thankfully it was resolved quickly and all is well. Something to do with matching up my maiden/married name on my law school transcripts and Illinois admissions.

Otherwise, we haven't had much going on (hence the lack of posting). I've been knitting like a crazy person in preparation for the Xmas. November 5th, and I'm about 2 down on the list of around 20 knitted gifts (mostly infinity scarves, hats and some household items). I'm completing a project once every three days or so, and a couple that I intended to keep for myself (or Mia) are... not going to be kept. I can always make more in January!

OH! And take a look at my Etsy shop for some of my new items!