BAC's wife is expecting their first child, also a daughter. her due date is about 12 days after mine. it's nice to have other pregnant couples to talk to while you're pregnant, even if they are on the other side of the country. BAC's wife is a bit more ambitious than me :: she was a high school teacher in a not-so-nice school in nyc last year, and now 7 months pregnant, she continues to take classes for another master's degree. and she just came back from a trip overseas where she walked 5 miles everyday. she's crazy, i tell you! congrats to you guys, BAC and LS -- i know you'll make fabulous parents!
the other day, after i blogged about my progress (or lack thereof) in the decluttering department, i dreamed that my mother had come and totally reorganized my entire house without my knowledge. you'd think i would be grateful for this help. instead i was furious with her for moving things around and throwing things out without asking me. in particular, she had totally cleared off our bathroom counter, which is overloaded with stuff (including mini jars of jam and a tiny salt & pepper shaker stolen off a plane over six months ago). honestly, it looked nice but all i could do was yell at her. i mentioned this dream to JR and my impression was that he was thinking, "well, at least the dream me gets to enjoy a clean bathroom counter!" so maybe that's where my non-baby room decluttering should begin.
last night i dreamed about my little sister. she's currently at the university of hawaii and i emailed her right before going to bed. sure enough, i dreamed i was with her in college, trying to "mother" her as i often do. she must find this utterly annoying. not only is our actual mother extremely trying on our nerves at times -- pestering us about the tiniest details about everything -- but i do it to my sister, too. i don't know how she stands it. in any case, there i was in the dream, clucking away like a mother hen, trying to get her act together for her. when am i going to learn that she has to do it for herself? this is a lesson i should also keep in mind with my actual children.
in any case, the vivid dreaming is entertaining at times but sometimes it startles me awake (like the dream last week where my non-swimming son jumped into the ocean off of a dock) and keeps me from sleeping.
i only mention these dreams because i'm off to take a nap, and who knows what dreams i'll have this afternoon ...
just some observations about being seven-and-a-half months pregnant ::
my stomach is kinda lopsided, towards the left. she seems to be huddled on the left-side, and she sure does move a lot on the left (very rarely on the right).
besides kicking she is somersaulting and thudding around in my stomach. literally, my whole body will jolt at some of her kicks/punches. what is she doing in there??
my organs have moved around in my body --> digestion does not work as it used to.
stomach is getting a tad bit hairy. gross.
lying on my left is supposed to be more comfortable but not so. yes, lying on my right does make me want to pee (pressure on the bladder) but i'm on my right side more ... maybe because she takes up so much dang room on my left side!
i function better if i sleep in until at least 8am. otherwise, i have to nap during "postcards from buster" (one of the boy's favorite shows on pbs).
greek style plain yogurt mixed with ripe white nectarines really hit the spot. get 'em at tj's!
the girl hiccups almost daily, and i didn't even notice it until A asked me if she did. at the time i was totally stumped. did she? i didn't think so, but it turns out she does. her hiccups are like feeling a second heart beating in my stomach ... on the left side, of course.
surprise! i'm teary-eyed a lot. during my pregnancy with the boy, i cried when the lakers won the championship ... and, as a general rule, i don't even like professional sports. this time around, i got quite teary-eyed when the curacao little league team lost the little league world series game. sure, i was happy for the hawaiian team, but the look on that poor curacao pitcher's face when the hawaiian kid hit a homer to win the game in extra innings. it was heartbreaking.
but i've been a little bit better about loading and unloading the dishwasher, not starting too many loads of laundry (hence, there isn't as much clean clothes piled up on the couch as there usually is), wiping up in the bathroom, and throwing stuff into the 'donate' bag as i'm walking around the house. at this rate it will take me a good five years to get the house in order, but it's a start. and i did partially organize the linen closet ... because, you know, the nesting instinct requires that i "nest" where people don't care to look!
JR is always scared to mention when i have a good streak of making dinner or keeping the kitchen clean because he knows it won't last; he secretly enjoys the short-lived cleanliness and orderliness of the house. i do, too. so why is it so difficult to keep it up?? i enjoy the fruits of my labor -- shouldn't that be enough to motivate me to get off my butt and clean once in awhile? nope.
and the reason? and i've firmly come to believe this about myself ... i'm lazy. truly, i'm a lazy person. combine being lazy with being self-absorbed and totally content with just good enough, and you have me.
i'm really not sure how i made it this far in life being this way, but i think i've been extraordinarily lucky. that's it :: luck. i was lucky to be just smart enough to get into an ivy league college so i could get a good job (that i only stuck with for a year); i was lucky enough to snag a boyfriend who felt i was good enough to marry (and who doesn't complain too much about how i keep house); i was lucky enough that i've always been able to find a job when i needed to work (i.e., when JR told me it was high-time i brought in some form of income); and i've been lucky enough to have a smart, fairly self-sufficient son who doesn't ask me for too much. i've been lucky enough to be surrounded by people who basically coddle me.
but, as i'm nearing 30, i should probably rely less on luck and more on my own skills. i'll think about it.
but back to the topic at hand ... how's the decluttering coming? in short, not so good. but i was working for the last few days on the photo album for my friend so i wasn't doing any housework. (i can only do one thing at a time, okay?!) however, i intend to get something done soon. it'd be nice to have something to show for my day. JR comes home from work, asks me what i did all day, and all i can say is, "nothing much." that's sad, isn't it?
so i'm declaring my intentions now :: i will declutter and organize the items in my room (aka the baby's room) for at least 20 minutes everyday. hopefully that will be enough time to get everything out of here to make room for the crib, the glider, the changing table, etc. before mid-october. also, i cannot make more of a mess in other rooms as i move the things out of my room. therefore, i'm also declaring that i will declutter, organize, and clean the other rooms in my house for at least 15 minutes everyday. that's only 35 minutes a day. totally doable ... i think.
i just need to whine a bit ... it's unbearably hot. okay, unbearable may be a tad bit of an overstatement, but anything over 80 is hot to me. it must be in the mid-80s today (and yesterday, too). i can't stand it. being pregnant doesn't help either. i'm sweaty, uncomfortable, totally crabby, nauseous, you get the picture. oh yeah, and totally unproductive.
remember that album i was supposed to finish yesterday? not done. almost done but i'm still trying to finish up the last few pages and the cover. i do have to finish it by tomorrow since my friend is picking it up. i just hope that it cools down enough that i can concentrate for more than, say, 2 minutes.
okay, whining session is now over. back to work. once the heat escapes my brain i will have something better to talk about. i promise.
okay, so maybe these blogs aren't really about good enough parenting, but what they scream out to me is :: it's perfectly acceptable (and normal) to NOT be a perfect mom! i love that message. it gets me through the day.
the postal service
yesterday was kind of a big day for the boy. perhaps we make too much of it these days, but he "graduated" from pre-k (the school doesn't call it a "graduation," but a "celebration"). what's the big deal, you ask? i'm not 100% sure myself ... but i feel like in his short life the boy has learned and grown a lot more than i did at his age. the stuff pre-schoolers are expected to know by the time they get to kindergarten is pretty amazing. so i feel like he deserves to celebrate his accomplishments -- way to go IR!
i'm supposed to be working on an album for a friend (a surprise gift for the spouse) but i've been procrastinating a bit (surprised? didn't think so.) and i haven't gotten too much done. but it's coming along ... of course, it didn't help that i checked out some books from the library on tuesday (see "what i'm reading" on the sidebar) and totally got sucked into my chick lit selection. it was completely asinine, predictable and mindless to read. that's probably why i finished it instead of concentrating on this project. oops.
today i went out to lunch with my best friend from sixth grade. i hadn't seen her in years; we couldn't even remember the last time we saw each other. [sidenote: i found her and contacted her through classmates.com -- that site can be useful at times!] we were only really close for a year because her family moved to arkansas after sixth grade. she just graduated from law school and came back west to take the california bar exam. it was great to see that she was still the down-to-earth, funny, sweet person she was when we were 12. it was so good to see you, JN!
okay, back to the album. my goal is to finish sometime tomorrow so it's not hanging over my head during the weekend. it's also a great excuse to either make a crappy dinner or order out tonight! whoo hoo!
there are things that need to be done, and then there are things that i want to do. so, a need is to get things organized and cleaned up for the baby's room. a really important want is to spend quality time with the boy. which is more important? which will i do more of?
the namevoyager shows you the kind of graph i mentioned above for 5,000 names. just click on "launch namevoyager" (skip the stupid ad video) and type in the beginning letter or the whole name (you can also specify a name as boy/girl/both) and it'll show you a graph. MR's name wasn't in the top 1,000 names in the 1960s, but was number 85 on the popularity list in 2004.
after our visit, we headed down the street to have dinner with H at furaibo on sawtelle boulevard. we used to live in the area and had dinner on occasion along this street. the chicken wings are yummy!
[sidenote: sawtelle has a pretty long history in the japanese-american community. there were j.a.-owned stores and nurseries in this area from around 1910. (my step-uncle lived in this area as a youth and attended university high school.) it's always interesting to see the old-school stores and restaurants (totally mom-'n-pop) next door to the newer stores.]
there are lots of youngsters (oy, do i sound old!) having dinner and shopping (because stores stay open late, unlike where we live) ... and drinking boba. i counted no less than four boba stores along a two-block stretch of sawtelle.
one of the stores we went into was giant robot, which opened back in '01 or '02 (i think), towards the tailend of when we lived in the area. i'd never been in and figured the boys would find something interesting to look at too. (giant robot started as a zine 10 years ago about asian pop culture; the store is a reflection of that zine.) they carry some pretty cool toys, clothes, collectibles, and books. unfortunately, we didn't have enough time to browse the book selection but i saw some titles i definitely want to go back to look at.
anyway, i ended up finally getting an uglydoll! i was tempted to get one at a toystore in honolulu back in january but i couldn't decide which one i wanted. giant robot was carrying the new little uglys (the sneak preview version), which were a bit cheaper so i convinced JR that it was for the girl. i want her to have a stuffed animal that isn't conventional cute or pink-'n-frilly, in the hopes of steering her away from barbie and princesses. is that a weird thing to do? and is an uglydoll a weird choice for a newborn girl (who isn't born yet)?? i dunno ... we'll see. i'm eyeing to get me the 'ice-bat' and 'ox' ones too (today's purchase, 'minimum wage,' is pictured above); i think the boy is partial to 'jeero'. apparently they sell them at another store called kidrobot, which has a store on third street promenade (santa monica). i just might have to check 'em out.
Wash and get dressed
2. Make your bed --> i don't think this will ever get done
Load or unload the DW or empty the sink
Do a quick cleaning of the bathroom
5. Sweep the kitchen floor
6. Start one load of laundry
7. Spend 15 minutes tidying up the public rooms
Spend 15 minutes DECLUTTERING--> i did more than 15 minutes, in fact. i got rid of some magazines for starters. and then i ventured into the craft room, took down some boxes i hadn't opened in awhile and started trashing things. one of the things i get emotionally attached to are cards/letters/postcards from friends and family. i rarely throw these out. but i did it: i threw out a whole bunch and put them into the recycling.
but i haven't gotten too much from my three step program done today: i threw out some old paper scraps, inventoried beads i found last night, moved my 12x12 paper containers into the living room office area, and decluttered just a bit. and then i spent the rest of my day online -- BIG surprise!
but i found a great blog by a lady named tenika morrison. i haven't read too much yet, but i particularly enjoyed her "funky finds," usually posted on thursday. she and i have similar tastes and she's found some pretty cool/cute stuff. enjoy!
ali edwards mentioned organizedhome.com on her blog, which has some helpful tips (mostly on the bulletin boards). one of the boards mentioned this site: apartmenttherapy.com, which is pretty cool. they cater to small nyc apartment dwellers, but i'm looking forward to finding some great tips on minimizing fashionably. they also had a contest for the smallest, coolest apartment back in early may (check the bottom of the may archive from may 2~4). i can't believe people live in such a small space! then again, necessity breeds ingenuity and i'm sure the small space helps them to carefully choose the items they acquire. maybe less space is actually better??? i've thought this a lot, because sometimes i think my solution is to move into a bigger house -- more space, less clutter, right? but who am i kidding?! i don't clean as it is; how do i expect myself to clean an even bigger space? and i know i'd just fill up that extra space in a matter of weeks or months. so i think my answer is to stay small (we're currently at 1,300 square feet) and do the following:
step one is to cut the emotional attachment i have to things and simplify. a lot of this stuff weighs me down because it's all over the place and i feel bad that 1) i'm not doing anything productive with it, 2) it takes up so much space, 3) i spent money on it, and 4) i feel guilty about getting rid of it.
step two is to purge, purge, PURGE! i've saved so many things over the years, thinking that i might need it sometime in the future. but after a week, i've already forgotten about it. what good is it to me if i don't know it's there, and it's taking up valuable space in my house?
a prime example is magazines. i love magazines; i used to have lots of subscriptions and i would save every issue. but old magazines take up lots of space, collect dust, and i never go back to them because i've forgotten what articles i want to read again (and even if i remember the article, i have too many issues to flip through to find it!). so i've stopped the subscriptions, i rip out articles from any magazines i purchase (with a coupon or at a discount store), and i get rid of them asap (either by recycling, giving them to friends, or selling them on ebay). i try not to keep the ripped out articles too long either because i'll forget i've filed those away too. and now i just read magazines at my mother-in-law's because she still gets lots!
step three is to start and stick to a routine of cleaning. one of the posts on the decluttering board at organizedhome.com had a simple list of things to do each day. i'm going to try it:
1. Wash and get dressed
2. Make your bed
3. Load or unload the DW or empty the sink (ideally, you will have gone to bed with the sink empty and clean. If not, do that now)
4. Do a quick cleaning of the bathroom -- swish the toilet, wipe the mirror and sink. Put things right.
5. Sweep the kitchen floor if you didn't do that before you went to bed.
6. Start one laundry. Do NOT start another load until this load is dried, folded and PUT AWAY.
7. Set a timer and spend 15 minutes tidying up the public rooms -- no more. But do this every day. Your efforts will add up.
8. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. Set a timer and spend 15 minutes DECLUTTERING. This does NOT mean neatening up. It means taking two bags around with you and throwing trash in one and donation items in another. Keep nothing in your home that you do not have an immediate use for or, alternatively, that you don't love to pieces. Get the excess out! This will make your life much, much easier now, and twice [as] easy when the baby comes. Remember, you are doing this for yourself. Not for your mother. Not for your DH. Not for the baby. It's going to make YOUR life easier.
well, it's a good start that i'm thinking in an organized fashion about decluttering. but instead of sitting here for an hour typing about it, maybe i better go and try to implement some of these steps. i'm off!
it was great seeing R and A, and G and his new lady friend; it's been a couple of months since we last saw R and A, despite the fact they live less than 20 miles away. i hate that we don't get to see friends who live close to us. R is a friend from college, who actually married us at our wedding five years ago. he's a wonderful person, and he found an incredibly fun and energetic person in A -- we love her because she's sooooo good with kids.
so, despite the heat and the shelling out of the bucks, it was a nice day to see good friends and do something different.
until then, here's my tip of the day for those of you spending the weekend cleaning:
baby wipes make for great cleaning in the bathroom for moms and kids. i buy my wipes in bulk at costco and leave a pack in the bathroom. after the boy "dribbles" while peeing, a single wipe can quickly and easily clean up the mess on the toilet rim and the floor without using harsh chemicals. it's also great around the sink; i find that washing hands for a preschooler means "make a big muddy, soapy mess around the sink." so i wipe in and around the sink quickly. the boy (who's 4-1/2) can even do this kind of cleaning! now if i can only get JR to do it ...
i also know that i write too much. i'm still trying to get used to the blogging style; i've always been overly verbose with the written word and that's going to have to change. i'm working on it. but it's hard enough to get me to shut up when i talk, much less get me to stop typing to a non-existent audience.
continuing with the theme of words, hubby came home yesterday and expressed a dislike of being referred to as "hubby." he will henceforth be known as JR. (JR did not want his actual name "all over the internet," despite the fact that he googles himself every once in awhile to make sure he's mentioned somehwere.) i've also decided not to mention my son's actual name -- i'll call him "the boy," "the kid," or IR. got that?
now that i've gotten the administrative issues squared away i can talk about my day, which was good. i had breakfast with some co-workers. i had lunch at my mom's. we went shopping for school clothes for the boy and ended up finding some great deals for him and my yet-to-be-born-daughter. cute outfits for like $3~$7. and, yes, they were new clothes. i also bought myself a pair of pink pumas for eighteen bucks. i just have to wait for the pregnancy swelling in my feet to go away to wear them comfortably. (where was this sale, you ask? macy's.) and it's JR's night to make dinner. it's always a good day when i don't have to make a single meal.
the highlight, though, occured as we were leaving the mall. a random lady asked me if the boy was five years old. i said he wasn't and she replied that was too bad because she was casting for a commercial and he was so cute, but he had to be five-and-a-half. i'd casually considered signing him up for modeling before because i thought he was cute, but this was the first time an "industry professional" confirmed it. so, as a mom, that made me pretty proud ... especially considering the current state of the kid's haircut and the crazy clothes he was wearing.
my goal now, since i have nothing more to say, is to finish the double-starred items before going to bed at 10:00pm. will i get them done? we'll see ...
morning update: i gotta admit i only completed half of what i double-starred. i folded the load of laundry but didn't wash another load. i loaded the dishwasher to run tonight, but didn't handwash the pots and pans. but that's close enough. you didn't actually think i'd get it all done, did you?
- started blog and posted something
- found an adorable site : the potterpuffs
- one load of laundry
- child-related activities: got him to and from preschool; fed him lunch; got him to write a bit in his journal
- ordered some materials for a custom order scrapbook
- made sure the baby in my stomach didn't starve (i.e., took prenatal vitamin; ate breakfast -- plain yogurt with fresh nectarines & a croissant -- how french!; ate leftover okonomiyaki for lunch)
- shower * --> i even got the boy showered
- dishes **
- thinking about what to make for dinner *
- more laundry + folding aforementioned one load of completed laundry **
- calling pta prez re: bookfair *
- finding a plaster guy to get the hole in son's wall fixed (an unforeseen side-effect of the plumbers' visit)
well, i guess i better try to get some of the "not done" stuff done before hubby gets home ...
all righty -- part 2 begins with my first examples of half-ass parenting: my son has plopped himself down in front of the tv to eat his "well-balanced" lunch, which he likes to call an "orange and white feast": quesadilla (with white & orange cheese), carrots w/ranch, a small piece of jack cheese (yes, more cheese) and orange slices. if he finishes his carrots i promised some cheetos (yes, even more cheese ... well, not real cheese) to complete the "feast".
he is happily watching his second episode of sesame street for the day. i swear, sesame street and pbskids have pretty much raised and educated my child since he was the age of one. and yet, despite my gratitude, i have not once in the last 4+ years become a subscriber to my local pbs station. bad mommy, very bad! we don't have cable, so i should really be spending a small portion of what would be a cable bill to support a channel i totally believe in. what's wrong with me?! oh yeah, i'm a half-ass parent. starting to get the picture?
anyway, what's up with the above picture, you ask? well, these last 2 weeks have been relatively busy because we were dealing with a plumbing problem. so here's my example of half-ass housekeeping: when we moved into this house over three years ago, the house inspector told us we had a small leak under the toilet, which was dripping under the house. obviously, we should get it fixed before it becomes a big problem. did i get it done? no. well, i did try. i called my mother-in-law's plumber and scheduled a visit. he never showed. and then i never called another plumber ... for three years!
don't get me wrong -- it's not that i wasn't bothered by the thought of this leak. i just never took any action. i figured, we don't use that toilet very often (my son was still in diapers at the time); the leak can't get that bad. right? right?? but it's been over a year and a half since my son started using the toilet. (i'm still debating whether i should use his real name out here in "blog world" -- any suggestions about this?) and the thought of the leak getting worse has nagged at me every single time he flushes the toilet. what finally prompted me to call a plumber is what i learned to be "phantom flushing." you know, when the water in the tank runs even though you haven't flushed. (fyi: this kind of leak is often caused by those bleach tablets you put in the water tank to keep the bowl cleaner between scrubbings. being the half-ass housekeeper that i am, i used these for awhile so i wouldn't have to scrub the toilet very often. anyway, the bleach in the tablets detiriorates the rubber pieces in the tank, causing the leak. so it's better not to use the tablets and just take 2 seconds to scrub the toilet every once in awhile.)
so i called a plumber from a major company to take a look at both problems. he came up from under the house saying that there was a large crack in the pipe from the toilet and the pipe to the main was totally falling apart because it was cast iron and the water leak had rusted it. he quoted me $4,200 to fix everything. my jaw dropped. see what happens when you don't get your small leaks fixed immediately? i called my hubby right away and he was not happy with the estimate (kinda cheapy, he is. but admittedly, $4,200 is a lot of money). i told the plumber i needed a second opinion, at which point he called his supervisor who authorized a "contractor's rate" of $3,200. nice of them, huh? i told him i'd get back to him.
the next guy to show up didn't even go under the house to look at the problem. he quoted me over $4,000, and that was with a $1,200 discount. yikes! i also told him i'd get back to him. i knew he wasn't the right plumber for me when he showed up and he looked prettier than me: half open shirt, gold chain, slicked back hair in a ponytail, designer sunglasses. you get the picture.
luckily, i got the name and number of the plumber of someone i know. now this is a plumber, i thought, when i saw him. totally down to earth middle-aged guy in a dirty company t-shirt, and his name's barry. i took a liking to him right away, especially since he quoted me $875. yup, not even a thousand bucks. normally, $875 would be a lot of money for us, but after hearing amounts in the $4,000 range, his estimate seemed much more reasonable. and, he told me, there was nothing wrong with the actual pipe to the sewer. in other words, the other two plumbers were trying to rip me off. no wonder i'm paranoid about getting things repaired -- since i'm totall clueless about stuff i always feel like repairers are trying to rip me off. but barry was different!
the pipes were fixed yesterday and the toilet had to be moved to the backyard until we get the floor fixed. the leak caused the wood under the linoleum to rot away so the plumbing repair job has now led to a floor job. which i'm not too upset about. first off, i have no idea how much it's going to cost ... yet. second, i can finally replace the ugly linoleum in the bathroom. yea!
so, to make a very long story short, the toilet is in the backyard because a leak from three years ago is just now getting fixed.
i've recently gotten into reading other people's blogs (something i'd resisted for quite a long time) and i have to admit it's totally engrossing. i don't want to go far as to say it's voyeuristic, but it can be fascinating to read what's happening in another person's life. on the other hand, it can be as dull as hell. for example, the blog i check up on regularly is by a scrapbooker who also happens to be a mom to a preschool-age son recently diagnosed with autism. she writes about both topics, which could be totally boring to anyone who's not interested. but i'm totally into it, even more than other scrappers' blogs.
anyway, i started talking to my friend R about blogging. R had a short-lived blog and i asked him why he stopped updating it. his response:
I originally wanted to write a political and movie-cultural blog for my friends, but my friends more or less think the same way that I do (and read the same sort of stuff), so there wasn't much to add there. The blogging question for you is: what's your shtick?
indeed, what is my shtick? R suggested a paper arts-related blog; i was thinking a mom blog; hubby chimed in with the idea of a pregnancy blog (which, of course, would then turn into a mom blog because i'm NOT going to stay pregnant forever!). so, the unoriginal idea for now is to write a sbing (i.e., scrapbooking) and i'm-pregnant-and-i-have-a-soon-to-be-kindergartener blog with an emphasis on half-ass parenting & housekeeping. since the half-ass part is the emphasis, i'm warning you now that this blog may very well be written in a half-ass way (as in, sporadically written short entries).
okay, now that i've set a general guideline of what to write about, let's get started. but first ... gotta go pick up the kid from preschool. stay tuned for part 2 of day 1 ...