Life By Kristen

Go, and embrace your liberty. And see what wonderful things come of it. – Little Women

Archive for the category “All About Me”

October!

October is one of the best months of the year- warm days, cool nights, and still time to enjoy the outdoors without sweltering heat. We haven’t spent a lot of time outdoors in the evenings the past few months because of some pretty serious mosquito-related illnesses in our area, so hoping we get a frost in the next few nights that might kill off some of the little buggers.

It’s funny how now with a baby everyone thinks we’re going to engage in all these kid activities all of a sudden, but Gray’s too little to do anything but tag along at the moment! He’s just getting to the age where he’s starting to process things and be curious, but not at the age that Halloween or any of the fall activities like pumpkin or apple picking means anything. My allergies have been pretty fierce and I can’t take any of my normal decongestant/relief stuff because I’m still providing milk for Gray, so our fall outdoor activities might be a bit limited this year, but I’m sure we’ll at least go buy a pumpkin at the farm stand.

We have to figure out holiday plans this month, some travel to see family, and get going on some house projects because our tiny house has become smaller every day with the amount of stuff the baby has. It’s funny how we were very particular in what we asked for in terms of baby gear, but after we brought Gray home from the hospital, our random Amazon purchases and gifts from folks just started to multiply in the house. It’s like a baby showroom!

Here’s wishing you a lovely month filled with fall fun and relaxation!

May!

What a whirlwind in April! It was quite dreary in my neck of the woods, raining 21 out of the 30 days of the month. There were a few nice days in there, but this past month definitely lends true to the “April showers bring May flowers” rhyme.

With a lot going on in April, I was still productive- we got a roof contractor all set up, mortgage stuff mostly figured out, and got a few small DIY projects done.

Baby’s room is just about ready to go- this weekend, I’ll organize all the stuff we received from our baby shower and fingers crossed, the crib should be delivered on Monday.

I did not get around to selling my wedding ring so that’s definitely going to happen this month.

Q and I also didn’t go anywhere, but we’re still hoping to at least do a little day thing in the next few weeks. I’m fairly uncomfy sitting for more than an hour so we’ll probably just take a little car ride to somewhere fun for lunch on a Saturday or something just to get out of the house and mind off of all the things still to do.

So May is pretty much a continuation of April goals, with mostly more baby prep.

We’ve procrastinated for a long time and are finally reaching the ‘holy krap, there’s going to be a tiny human here in 6 weeks time!’ mode. Car seats to install, clothes to wash, freezer to fill up, and so much more.

The dreary weather of April has us way behind on yard work- every weekend it either rained or we had something going on so between Q and his 13 year old niece is who desperate for her own money, we hope to get a lot of the spring cleanup stuff done and get some flowers before baby comes.

The countdown is on!

 

 

April Goals

April arrives- the month where I basically pushed off everything that needs to get done before baby comes because work is crazy in March. It turned out to be far less stressful than it has in past years, but I was thankful we didn’t have a lot going on so that I could unwind on the weekends which has been much needed.

Even with a lot going on at work, I accomplished all the goals for March!

I had a lovely day off from work on my birthday which ended up being a true day off because we had a work snow day (our only one this year!) so there wasn’t even the worry of work emails piling up that day.

Our purging/organizing is going REALLY WELL. I have one more attic bin to go through and then a few things in the basement, but we’ve cleaned out a lot and have a run to the donation center on our weekend to- do list. Last weekend, Q cleaned and organized the basement, we moved down the bed so we have room for a crib, and now just need to figure out what to do with a few pieces of furniture that don’t fit anywhere.

I bought a new pillow which within a few days eliminated my weird neck/shoulder pain. Of course, being 7 months pregnant has brought on other discomforts to sleep, but the neck/shoulder stuff was bothering me all day and night so happy this was an easy fix.

Now onto April.

We have A LOT in April– our baby class and baby shower, Easter, and a few other fun things like a long weekend together, Game of Thrones premiere, and I’m going to see David Sedaris next week ( I cannot wait!). Plus we’re in the home stretch for baby!

This month, I hope to…..

Get some house stuff done: Estimates for roof, interior/exterior painting, spring yard cleanup, mortgage, and a few other random things.

Finish baby’s room: once crib and rocking chair come at end of month, we need to hang wall art and find a bookshelf.

Sell my wedding ring: I’ve been divorced for just about 7 years, and the ring is definitely out of sight, out of mind, but I want to really get rid of my previous life before my new one starts with baby.

Enjoy a long weekend with Q: We probably aren’t going to do more than a day trip, but we took a weekend off together to do something and it’s also Game of Thrones weekend so we took the Monday off because we’re weird.

 

 

 

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I probably say this every year, but shouldn’t it be a law that you always have your birthday off from work? I plan for this every year, but this year it was even sweeter because it ended up being a snow day for my work which means it was a completely free day to me!

As with just about every year on my birthday, I rang it in with family. Q surprised me on Friday before my birthday with my gift (flowers and lovely earrings) and maybe the sweetest card he’s ever given me in our almost 6 years together. The entire weekend we didn’t do much which I think is also the rule of birthdays. We had a lovely dinner and birthday cake with family on Sunday evening and I enjoyed time with my Mom on my actual birthday after sleeping in, finally watching Dumplin on Netflix, and coming home to relax and have Q make dinner (yummy steak).

Of course this year feels like a birthday that is closing a chapter of life and starting a new one as it’s the year I’ll welcome our baby. Even though I’m now solidly in the mid-30s and creeping closer to the big 40-0, I still feel like I have no clue what’s next in life. Obviously the baby is going to change every aspect of my life in my responsibilities and priorities. Even with that big change a-coming, I still feel like there are other changes I want for me and for Q and our family– moving to a new home, wherever it might be, hopefully a new job, and whatever adventures life brings our way.

 

And now we March!

A recap of February goals:
Prenatal yoga class: I did not attend an in-person class BUT I am doing a prenatal series that I found on Amazon, so partial success. The class I found is on Sunday mornings and it is SO HARD to get myself out of bed, fed, and out the door.

Basement purge & organization: didn’t even attempt. This is moving into March and hopeful I might be able to get some done on Saturday since it’s supposed to be yucky out.

Baby registry: done! Also, there are way too many products out there.

Taxes: done! And I got my federal return in record time- less than 2 weeks from when I filed.

And now we March!

If you’ve read this blog ever for the past so many years, you know my March at my day job is crazy busy. This year is less frantic because I don’t have a boss who sucks anymore and there weren’t as many off-season projects as there has been in recent years. Of course, everything I’m doing this year, I’m doing slower since I’m 6 months pregnant, but it doesn’t feel frantic in any way ( hoping I didn’t just jinx myself!)

Even with that in mind, I’m not jamming too much into this month.

Enjoy my birthday day off: Current plans include sleeping late, some lunch and shopping with my Mom, and Q taking care of dinner. We’ll go out with family on Sunday to celebrate too.

Get that basement cleaned & organized: This actually has to get done in March because the crib for baby’s room comes sometime in April and the bed that’s in that room currently has to get moved out before then.

Purge one bin from attic: I have bins in my attic of sentimental stuff that I was mentally prepared to handle when my mom and grandmother sold their houses. I’m not sure being emotional and pregnant is the right time to go through all the bins, but I know there is at least one bin of dolls and stuffed animals that I feel pretty confident I can go through to donate or find other uses for this month.

Buy a new pillow: I have some weird neck/shoulder pain happening that I thought a prenatal massage would fix, but it hasn’t. I’ve had pain like this years ago so I don’t think it’s related to all the weird body changes of pregnancy and starting with a better pillow ( the one I have is at least 5 years old) seems like an inexpensive, easy way to try to improve the situation.

 

 

February Aspirations

How is that it’s still January! This month, particularly the last 2 weeks, have felt longer than usual.

The colder weather and weekends without plans really let accomplish a lot for my January goals. Here’s a recap:

  • Clean out closet of shame & donate: While this is done, I’m only counting this goal as 75% completed. The closet is empty and we donated 4 boxes of stuff to our local Savers. Now the room is scattered with stuff that needs to be dispersed to other areas of the house, namely the attic. Since it’s not heated up there and we’ve had some cold temps, Q and I have been procrastinating about getting the boxes up there. The room has also become a bit of a holding area for random things like clothes that aren’t fitting right now and need a home, our tax paperwork stuff, and so on.
  • Get a haircut: Completed yesterday! Almost forgot about this one actually, but last week there was a city-wide gas outage where I work so my office had no heat. That meant I worked from home most days and didn’t blow dry my hair which really made me realize how stringy, dry and gross my hair had become. Now it’s actually a little too short for what I wanted, but it’s only hair!
  • Make new household budget: Sort of. My raise didn’t happen until this past paycheck so I only just figured out what new take-home pay is, what I want to contribute to my retirement, etc. This coming weekend Q and I have plans to sit down and look at numbers, especially since I think a few home repairs may be pushing up the need to-do list.
  • Meal plan & better organize grocery shopping: Argh, this continues to be one of my main struggles of adulthood- what to eat! I’ve been sort of picky in this second stage of pregnancy because I worry about triggering the queasiness again and there are certain foods (spicy, red sauces, things with onions) that are sparking some major heartburn for me. I’m at the point where I plan maybe 1-2 days at a time, organize a Prime Now Whole Foods order delivery for the things I need, but then always end up at a local market getting something I forgot.

February Goals

Prenatal yoga class

I’m only halfway through pregnancy and I’m achy. I think my couch is part of the problem and not having yoga for the past few months has definitely affected posture and flexibility. I found a class on Sundays a few towns over and I know making the effort to get there will pay off.

Purge, organize, and rearrange basement

Even Marie Kondo, I could tell you that my basement did not give me joy. It’s three-quarters finished with carpet and some lovely built-in bookcases so it’s a functional space, but over the years, it’s become a mish mash of stuff. It needs to have 3 areas in the finished section( workout/gym, storage, bedroom/office area) and the unfinished section (laundry, tools, off-season storage). It’s become more of Q’s domain in the past few years as his array of exercise equipment has expanded so may take some creative thinking to give him a zone that still makes the big room feel like his own place.

Baby registry

I already got a head start on this project as I’ve slowly been doing research and finding things we’ll need, but there really are just too many products, opinions, and options.

Taxes

Likely the last year I’ll do my taxes on my own and aiming to have them done before the looming mid-February possible new government shutdown.

American Girl

Awhile back I read this article about how many women don’t get rid of their American Girl dolls.

As a gal who grew up in the late 80s and early 90s, I was of course introduced to American Girl pretty early after their arrival on the book and doll market. I can’t recall how I was introduced to the lovely world of Felicity, Kirsten, Samantha, and Molly (the original 4- Addy and Josefina were added as I was ), but since I was a huge reader, the books came first for me and I plowed through them.

As the creators of American Girl also smartly created the dolls and a whole line of stuff to play to the hearts of the girls who fell in love with them, I had to have one of my own. I was enamored with the Kirsten doll because her name was so close to my own, as well as the fact her family was Swedish which was close enough to my ancestral background of being half Dutch. I was jealous of other friends who had more than one doll, but I didn’t love the stories of the other characters as much, though I’m sure the stories of Molly, the World War II era doll, likely influenced my later interest and studies in the period.

Since I work in the museum world,  I have found that many of my female colleagues who are in my age bracket had an American Girl doll or at least had read all the books. A few definitely thought their interests were related to their love of the brand, and I’m sure that’s at least a little bit true for me too.

As the company expanded its line of dolls and offerings, I got their magazine and other doll accessories, but aged out of the books and dolls by the time they started introducing more historic characters and books. When the original makers, The Pleasant Company, sold to Mattel, they became part of the doll powerhouse it is today with American Girl stores, increased line of doll offerings, and movies. I even applied for a job with Mattel a few years back to be a researcher for them as they were developing new historic characters, but sadly, didn’t even get an interview! I met a lady who worked for American Girl line within Mattel at a conference a few years ago and she confirmed for me it’s a really awesome job.

I have my Kirsten doll up in a bin in my attic and I don’t know if I’ll ever get rid of her ( though I think she could use a spruce up to get her braids done again properly). When ever I get around to the KonMari method of decluttering, the doll will definitely still “spark joy” and make me recall one of the loves of my childhood.

Goals for January

Thank you all for your kind words of congrats about our exciting baby news. Letting people know has been a lot of fun, especially after being so sick for most of the fall!

Even though I’m feeling MUCH better, I’m still trying to keep my goals low-key. The biggest to-dos of the next 5 months are prepping for this little guy, but life has its needs too! Here are my modest expectations for this month.

Clean out second bedroom &”closet of shame” AND donate

Part of this we started on over the New Year’s long weekend going through Little Man’s toys and books- things we want to save for the new little guy (Legos!) and things to donate. Little Man has a lot of books, and some we are holding on to, but there are a lot of early reader books that we’re obviously many years away from using, so I’d rather donate to a kid who can use it now, instead of holding on to it for the next 3ish years, especially since we know we want to move after this little guy comes.

As for my “closet of shame”, think of this image from Friends in which neat-freak Monica reveals the closet where everything gets shoved into. 

OK mine is not as bad as that, but the closet in the second bedroom is a catch all- seasonal decorations, art supplies, tools, and everything in between. When we hosted Thanksgiving this year and I wasn’t feeling great and couldn’t clean as much as I wanted, I shoved every random piece of clutter in there and never looked back. Even though the dresser in the second bedroom has a lot of drawers, I expect we’ll need the closet for storage. Also, I don’t think a saws-all should really be in the closet of an infant, but that’s just a guess.

Get a haircut

This has been on the to-do list since September. I have a love/hate relationship with my hair. It’s changed it’s texture and quality a lot over the past few years as hormones have changed. With the prenatal vitamins I’m taking, it’s growing pretty fast and has oddly become finer, yet there is A LOT of it. My default is to put it up everyday, but I’m hoping to get a bit of a new style to enjoy for the next few months before I’m too tired to care again.

Make new household budget

I got a tiny raise at work and other than upping my 401k contribution by 2 percentage points, haven’t sat down with Q to make a new household budget. We keep separate financial accounts (and will continue to do so), but with all the baby expenses coming our way, need to figure out a better way to organize the household stuff between the two of us, plus see how much unpaid family leave we both might be able to take beyond what our paid work leave provides us. We might also need a roof and have an electrical issue that I worry is going to annoying and costly.

Meal plan & better organize grocery shopping

I love Q very much, but one of my pet peeves of our life together is his pickiness about his food and brands. It’s great that he does a lot of research, but it also means that some of this desired choices are only available at certain stores. This finds us often going to 2-3 grocery stores a week to get everything we need. Amazon has simplified a bit of this and the fact that Whole Foods now delivers via Prime Now to our neighborhood has helped A TON (though not for the aforementioned budget!). I want us to get more organized not only with meal plans that work with his picky food requests and my growing hunger for just about any food, but also require far less stops at the market during the week.

2019: Savor

My word for 2019:

This year I want to enjoy, delight, and lap up every moment, emotion, and happening.

I’ll have a new boss starting in a few weeks that I hope will bring new excitement and enthusiasm to the work place.

Q and I are eager to figure out where we live next and how we can get closer to that goal in 2019. I’m making minimal goals for 2019 because it will be a life-changing year for us.

In June 2019, we’ll welcome a baby boy into the world. 

It’s still a bit shocking for me to say it/type it, but it’s the most amazing blessing and something I’m not sure either Q or I thought would ever happen. Part of me still has a lot of disbelief that there is a little human growing inside me, but part of that is I was so sick for most of the first trimester (hence why I’ve been pretty absent around the interwebs, not reading a ton, etc) that I couldn’t concentrate on much else besides trying to feel better, eat something that wasn’t going to make me sick, and so on. Now that I’m feeling good and like a functioning human again, I’m becoming more excited by the day, despite the never ending list of things I need to buy, learn, figure out, etc.

So my main goal is preparing for baby, welcoming baby, and adjusting to life with a new human and becoming a family of 3. We are hopeful the relationship with Q’s son Little Man will improve with the arrival of his little brother. Our whole family is pretty excited about this new addition so it’s going to be pretty fantastic to see the family come alive in a new way too.

I have a few goals for myself, though I’m being realistic in knowing that I have no idea what life is going to be like once a little person enters it. So the minimal goals for 2019:

  • I’m hoping Q and I will be able to still get some date nights in, even if just to dinner and a Target run.
  • I’d like to read around 35 books, but hopeful I may be able to listen to more on audio, especially when home on maternity leave.
  • I definitely want to be a better friend by reaching out to check in more, even if I can’t make plans.
  • Self-care- before baby, I want to make sure to take care of myself and not get lost in the preparations so I definitely will take a day off for my birthday to get a prenatal massage. After baby, I know I will need to learn to ask for help so that I can keep my sanity, especially during maternity leave.

Wishing you and yours a happy, health 2019!

 

2018 in Review

2018 was quite a year! My word for 2018 was trust: trust myself, my partner, that the things I wanted would happen, and I definitely think I lived well and fully with that word.

When the year began, I thought for sure I’d be in a new job and possibly a new home by the end of the year (I’ve probably said this a few years in a row). Instead, I celebrated my 10-year work anniversary in September and took on new responsibilities at work once my horrible boss left in May. My new boss starts in January and we’ll see what 2019 brings career-wise.

I traveled to Utah and New Hampshire for vacation with Q and to Connecticut for a work conference. Other highlights of life include going to a live recording of The Moth in February with Q, treating myself to a few massages and a facial, plenty of lazy summer days with Q, and helping my Mom move back to the same town as me (now only a mile away!)

I read 80 books, though just barely made it since I hit a real reading slump through end of October and all of November. Highlights of reading: Tony’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani; A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza; It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover; The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang; Calypso by David Sedaris (on audio); Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng; The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin; and the last 2 Harry Potter books. Q bought me a Kindle for my birthday which I was so resistant to at first, but is one of the best things ever. I didn’t have an audiobook other than David Sedaris that stood out for me this year, though I enjoyed Tara Westover’s Educated and Tom Hanks’s Uncommon Type very much, especially since Hanks did the audio for his own book. I had hoped my turn in the library waitlist for Michelle Obama’s Becoming would happen before the end of the year, but so far, no luck!

I did not accomplish all my goals for the year: recycle old computers ( although I started taking my ancient Mac apart), I did not donate blood or pay off the car loan ( though very close!), and I didn’t return to church, though I continue to pray/meditate. I’m still thinking about this last one, especially about whether returning to the church I grew up with is the right fit or maybe there is something new (keep thinking about trying out an Episcopal service). It also continued to be a frustrating year for Q and I with our relationship with his son, but I am cautiously optimistic this will change in 2019.

We accomplished some house projects, watched a lot of movies, and spent a lot of time with family. I did more weight lifting and yoga, though my favorite teacher stopped doing classes for a good portion of last year, so was not as vigilant as I have been in previous years. We did a lot of clearing out of junk, both sentimental and actual, and this process seems ongoing. I swear clutter and random sentimental stuff doubles overnight or something.

It’s always interesting to look back on the calendar for the year gone by- some things seem so long ago and other things you forget happened at all, but as the saying goes, the days are long, but the years are short!

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