Monthly Archives: February 2010

19 weeks

We’re officially 20 weeks as of yesterday, so this is a wee bit behind, but hey, we’re busy. 20 WEEKS! That’s half way there. Strangely, it seems both to have flown by and crept along. Not sure how that’s possible, but that’s what we feel. Like: Wow! Can’t believe we’re already half way there. At the same time as: Oh my it feels like we’ve been pregnant for so long. Of course July will be here before we know it and everyday we grow increasingly excited to meet this little lovely.

Other than steady weight gain and booming belly growth, there’s not much to report from the preggo world. We’ve been rolling along through life as usual, except that it now includes endless wonder about our baby and what she’ll be like and how we’ll do this and that as parents and a number of other speculations about the future. All things baby have moved to the forefront of our thoughts and conversations, and we’ve developed a heightened sense of awareness around all other parents and children. Often interactions with other parents lead to later conversations about how certain things played out, what was said and done, and how we feel about it. We try to plan our parenting style, and feel strongly about a few methods and manners, but also know that so much is unpredictable and will only be learned as we experience.

As was to be expected, the advice pours in from all angles. This is absolutely fine with us, welcome in fact, but that doesn’t make it any less overwhelming. Especially when we hear drastically opposing ideas. We do our best to take it all in for consideration, without allowing any one person to influence too heavily, though we do tend to find more favorable the counsel of those whose family life we admire and will be likely to emulate their parenting styles. The latest method up for discussion: Ferberizing. Pete recently had chats with a lovely woman that comes into the Sportsplex and her one piece of advice was to teach our baby how to sleep. She’s a big proponent of the Ferber Method and her children seem awesome and well adjusted. We’re doing our research and haven’t made any firm decisions, but it’s just one more thing to consider.

On that note, if you haven’t seen Modern Family, start watching now. Don’t wait, GO! This show is hi-larious. We were introduced by the Florida Elders and haven’t missed an episode. It comes on Wednesdays at 9 EST on ABC, but we just catch it on Hulu or the ABC website the next day. We have a bangin’ big TV, but during the winter the front room is just a bit too cold for Sarah’s liking and so we tend to do most of our movie and TV watching in bed on the lappy. It’s silly and small, but cozy and warm, and we love it. So Modern Family, highly recommended. In one episode the gay couple, Cam and Mitchell, were struggling through Ferberization. Cam couldn’t bear to let there adorable little daughter cry it out. Check it out (yes, sit through the initial silly little advertising clip). And that honestly doesn’t do the show justice. Give it a whirl.

Next big milestone: feeling her move! Can’t wait.

busy and a diddy

My oh my today was busy. I was barely at the office – morning coffee meeting with the bossman, quick trip to storage to review shelving units, baby doc appointment – so every moment there was maxed out with work galore. It has actually been quite some time since I’ve hit the stress wall and though I didn’t quite make it to impact today, I was definitely accelerating in that direction. It felt kind of good. Maybe I should spend more time away from my desk. Note to self, get up and get out. At least once a day. This could be beneficial mentally and physically. Sitting all day is the pits and leads to unsightly leg veins, possibly even serious clots. And though I do necessitate hourly trips to the loo these days, I think an actual break including some time walking around outside is a splendid idea. I say this. A lot. And then I don’t do it. It’s just plum hard to step away when I’m in a groove unless forced by actual appointments and meetings. I should schedule lunch dates, but they would have to be lunch dates for which I brought my own food because any spending on eating out is clearly not conducive to our recent goals to get the food budget in check. It would also help if it wasn’t fucking winter anymore. GET OUT! Bring me spring and warmth and outdoor dining that doesn’t command a coat and a hat and lead to cussing and snot. Did you know that pregnant women, mostly in their second trimester, produce more snot? Sweat too. Delightful!

The day started off dandy. Apparently last night, while on the phone with our buddy (and soon to be neighbor!) Tim, Pete had a convo about the best ways to commute from Mebane to Carrboro. One route discussed was Mebane Oaks to 54, and Pete advised avoiding this due to the likelihood of getting stuck behind fellow drivers that are clearly not planning to arrive anytime before lunch. After a few wise cracks about my speedy habits there was a funny about doing 45 on 54 to which Tim exclaimed “that should be a song!” And so he made one. Last night. Wrote and recorded. And it talks about me. Which just made my morning and cracked me up.

Unfortunately I refuse to pay the $20 to be able to add music to my wordpress blog and though I’m sure there’s some way to do it elsewhere on the web, I’m also too lazy to figure it out. So for now lyrics, tadah! And if you really really wanted to hear it, you could just email me and ask. sar.elder at gmail dot com.

“45 on 54”

Wake up in the morning about a quarter past seven.

Time to fire up the Civic and head out of Mebane.

Downtown Carrboro’s where I gotta be.

Peddlin’ photographs in the art gallery.

Now you think I might be used to this daily trek,

But everday I drive it has me screamin what the heck.

I’m bound to get stuck behind somebody else.

And those artsy photographs ain’t gonna sell theyselfs.

Well I’m drivin’ 45 on 54 in a 55.

Gotta find a different route to go, or I might never arrive.

Well this little Honda Civic better get me there,

‘Cause it’s the only car I got to drive.

Well I’m drivin’ 45 on 54 in a 55.

Made it all the way down Mebane-Oaks,

Managed to avoid all the slow pokes.

Feelin’ pretty good – about halfway there.

Gonna make it on time with a little bit to spare.

But as soon as 54 gets a taste of my wheels,

There’s the blue-haired lady in an Oldsmobile

Driving 10 under, maybe scared of the radar.

Maybe took a cue from Sammy Hagar.

Well I’m drivin’ 45 on 54 in a 55.

Gotta find a different route to go, or I might never arrive.

That little old lady better move out the way,

I guess she just forgot how to drive.

Well I’m drivin’ 45 on 54 in a 55.

Buckhorn, Arthur Minnus, Orange Grove Roads,

Orange county’s got a thousand different ways to go.

Dairyland, Dodson’s Cross, and old Union Grove,

54’s the biggest, how come it’s so slow?!

Well I’m drivin’ 45 on 54 in a 55.

Gotta find a different route to go, or I might never arrive.

That big ol’ tractor better move out the way,

How’d he get off the farm, and why?

Well I’m drivin’ 45 on 54 in a 55.

Tim’s band! The Monument Club! Check them out. If you’re local, go to a show. Hugs.

what NOT to get

More on the don’t want front…today I found this blog post on the blog Simple Mom. I’m experiencing a magnetic pull to anything with simple in the title. Throw in the cute little baby chucks in the blog header and a post about stuff you DON’T need, and I’m a fan for life. A couple of the items had already been laughed off when seen on various registry guides (a wipe warmer? really? your baby’s little booty is going to be just fine with wipes of room temperature), but there were definitely some reassurances that I needed i.e. forgo the diaper pail. It’s amazing the range of feedback you’ll get when asking other recent mom’s about this little device and this one little mention on the don’t need list was enough to push me over to that side of the fence.

I also found this amazing maternity series with weekly photos and now of course am completely sucked in wanting to read every post. Not to mention my obsession with Cole’s fantastically fit arms. She’s one hot preggo! Their daughter was born in July 2009, so she’ll be one right about the time our little lovely enters the world. I must admit, as much as I try to be content with who I am and what I have, I often get quite envious of others, and the photo shoots, American Apparel wardrobe and bangin’ body of this woman are not helping.

PS Is Burnt Toast slowly morphing into a mom blog? Am I barely half way to birth and already obsessing way too much about every little baby thing? Perhaps.

over the weekend

We baked these delicious chocolate cookies from Cannelle et Vanille.

I finally found felting wool at a local yarn shop and am one step closer to making a necklace.

I visited my plot at the community garden and found my garlic growing!

I finished my book club book – Dry by Augusten Burroughs – weeks before book club.

We took Penny for a spin and met some goats.

We took a hard look at our spending on food and set some new goals.

We spent oodles of time outdoors on a suprisingly springy sunday (temps in the 60’s!) including a six mile run for me and nine miles for Pete.

trimming the fat

From the food budget that is. In the last 30 days we’ve spent about $800 on food. Now, this number includes alcohol and toiletries, both of which are purchased at the same time as the rest of our groceries, but even removing those won’t get us down to what we consider to be an acceptable number. And surprisingly, this number only includes 5-6 meals out, non of which surpassed $35 and most of which were around $20 (namely La Fiesta and Carrburritos). So what’s causing this inflated figure and what are we going to do about it?

First. We could eliminate eating out altogether, or at least cut back to 2-3 times a month. That would save a wee bit, maybe $30 – $50, which is worth it because eating out really isn’t all that anyway. As noted above, we mainly eat Mexican when dining out and that can clearly be made at home for less cash, plus you don’t have to tip (though Sarah may feel that for certain stellar suppers a gratuity would be appropriate). So that’s an easy peasy fix for a decent decrease.

Another simple solution is to eat less meat. Many folks might argue that meat meals can be cooked up for the same cost as vegetarian meals, and this very well could be true if you are purchasing your meat from the average American grocery store. In those cases, however, one never knows where that meat came from, how it was raised, what it was fed or what unnatural processes were involved in it’s growth. For most people, this is not an issue. For us, it’s a huge issue. We’re not zealots about very many things, but food is something we take seriously and have strong beliefs about. We’re certainly not perfect, but we do our best to support local food sources, even growing some of our own veggies, and to get the meat we eat from local farms, or at the very least avoid anything undisclosed (this just screams CAFO). There’s no need to preach about food issues in our blog, the literature exists in abundance for anyone that cares to learn. Paying attention to what we put in our bodies is worth a good deal of time and money, so for us, meat is pretty pricey. And honestly we only eat it about twice a week. Cutting back to once a week, or even just making sure that it’s never more than twice a week, could be beneficial to the budget.

On that same note, our food values have driven us to do more of our shopping at our local co-op grocer known as Weaver Street. It’s your typical crunchy market with organics galore, a lovely selection of local meats and produce, and even environmentally friendly household goods and toiletries. We do love Weaver Street and hope to continue patronizing their stores for as long as we live in central North Carolina. That said, our foray into co-op shopping was relatively recent (the past year perhaps?) and with it came a noticeable increase in the weekly grocery bill. In the beginning, we only purchased meat and produce from them, while still getting the majority of our staples from the regular grocers like Lowe’s and Wal-Mart. Then, for no good reason, we started buying more and more from Weaver, everything from pretzels to canned tomatoes. This, we believe, is the greatest cause for our fat food bills each month. It’s less than noteworthy on an item by item basis – that extra $0.75 for a pack of tortillas hardly sets off an alarm – but my oh my how that adds up. So it’s time to rethink and refocus. There really is no need to buy pretzels at a premium price. I’m sure there’s some tiny benefit to eating the organic pretzels, but is it worth an extra buck? No. At least not in our opinion. We also took some time today to look into which produce items are most hazardous in terms of chemicals and pesticides and therefore to be avoided in any form other than organic. This list includes apples, berries, peaches, peppers and more. Produce on the “really not a big deal” list include bananas, pineapple, onions, avocados and asparagus. Knowing this will help us to feel a little less badly about buying some non-organics. It’s tough (and expensive) to be a hard-core locavore and finicky foodie, but even heading half way there counts for a lot.

One final thing that will help curtail our spending – spring! With spring comes gardening and after our intro into self-cultivated vegetables last year, we’re ecstatic to take what we learned and do even more this year.

Goal: Stick to a $650 food budget for the next 30 days. We’ll keep alcohol in this budget, but subtract any toiletry purchases from the bills. This is $150 less than the last 30 days, but we know we can do it!

Look, our garlic is growing!

want not, fret not

Lately I’ve been experiencing an unseemly amount of material misery, meaning that my superfluous want of so many tangible things is leading to bouts of rather unpleasant anxiety. But then again, when is anxiety ever pleasant? Maybe when you’re anxious about starting a new job or going on a trip or taking a pregnancy test (bam!), then it’s more of a nervous excitement, which is a type of anxiety, and those instances I feel fall on the pleasant end of the spectrum. This anxiety that has plagued me of late is definitely not fun. It’s feelings of dissatisfaction with what I already own and insatiable yearning for new stuff, all made worse by being continuously overwhelmed by the number of wonderful things that are shoved in my face on a daily basis via the evil that is the interweb. Shoved in my face by me of course, because it is I that chooses to look at all these stuff flaunting blogs and websites. I’ve always been a coveter, but generally able to keep the beast at bay by avoiding any avenues of allurement. Enter Google Reader. This is quite the nifty little tool that many a web junkie have been using for internet eons (at least 3 years), but I only discovered and devoured in the last couple months. Damn you Google! You’ve dragged me into a world of bloggers that serve no purpose other than that of making me drool over the most amazing material possessions that I damn sure don’t need and definitely can’t afford.  Shoes, clothes, furniture, jewelry, books, housewares, art, fucking stationary?! When the hell did I ever give two craps about stationary? When I saw some perfectly pressed paper on a pretty little post by one of the bloggers I follow of course. Blasted.

Then today I stumbled upon the blog Simple Lovely and this post: Let the Non-Spending Officially Commence (even just the name of that blog speaks so much to what I am trying to achieve). Well, at first I was all in because as I demonstrated with my dailies game I’m a compulsive joiner – whenever I see others doing something that looks super fun and at some point get encouraged to do the same myself I find it utterly impossible to resist. I want to be a part of EVERYTHING which might explain my way too hectic schedule filled with things like book club, woman’s club, running club and at one point even wine club (the appeal of that should be fairly obvious). But as I’ve also aptly demonstrated with the dailies game, I go overboard, get overwhelmed and soon after I find myself overdone, stick a fork in me, it’s quittin’ time. So I quickly checked myself before I wrecked myself and did not agree to take on this non-spending challenge. However, I was very inspired to finally do something about my material misery and today I took the first step. I went through Google Reader and axed anything that provided no value or substance other than to showcase stuff and more stuff. It was sad to say goodbye to so many lovely blogs, but it’s for the best and will do wonders for my mental health. No one needs to look at 30 posts a day about espadrilles…lovely, comfy, summery, colorful espadrilles. SMACK! Enough of that. Oh, and you too Etsy! You’re not off the hook. You’re also evil. But at least you boast better buys in that they’re either handmade or vintage. That makes me feel somewhat better about my stuff lust. I won’t axe you. I just need a little space. I also held onto most baby related blogs for I feel I should be allowed at least a smidgen of excitement over the possibility of new things and better to allot that to my little girl than myself. Let the selflessness of parenthood begin.

So, that’s where I’m at. Doing my best to steer clear of the temptations. Taking all that time previously spent wanting and putting it to better use on stuff like work! Whoa. And perhaps reading more educational and/or entertaining blogs that actually provide value and serve a purpose. Laughing and learning are grand and so much more worthy of my time. Reading about the lives of others is also fascinating, even if I will never meet most of the people, it’s just truly captivating to see how others live and note the handful of similarities and wealth of differences. I hope to soon discover a detour into the land of more diverse blogs for as of earlier today so many of my daily reads were of similar substance. And just reading more physical material is a goal. Books! Magazines! Oh how I miss the New Yorker. I used to be the lucky recipient of my boss’s hand me down New Yorkers when he was a subscriber, but sadly he quit. The magazine. Not being my boss. Phpthpphpt. That would be weird.

Goal: Want less. Keep it simple. Appreciate what I have. Use my time and energy on more fulfilling activities. And just be happy and love my life.

baby room love

This baby room is kickin’ ass and taking names. I would move into it right now. Except that it’s in Chicago. And as amazing as that city is, I could never live somewhere with such a wicked winter. I’m bitching enough about the mild 30’s and handful of snow days here. But the room is simply adorable, and even though it’s for a little boy it could totally be rocked for a girl. The vintage touches are especially exciting. That repurposed Schweppes box holding diapers on the wall? Who knew rows of diapers could look so rad. It has a bookshelf feel and that makes it super great. I’m also head over heels for the glider cushions. They must be handmade. Oh and so much more! The swervy limey lamp! The birdie painting! Even the sock monkey gets me, and I’m not into sock monkeys. Still don’t feel that I’ve entered the official nesting phase, but I am slowly becoming obsessed with baby crap.