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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Considering A New Direction

Hello, dear readers! I am back from yet another dark, damp cave, far far away from civilization and anything remotely resembling the computer or the internet. Why else would I desert you again for coming up on the third time in 6 weeks?  More on that later...well, maybe.

For now, I just wanted to write a quick post and maybe get some opinions.  As I have stated in my resolutions post, I am branching out in my blog. I am trying to show you more of my life than just the part about being a mom.  I will still blog about my parenting adventures. The joys, the struggles, the excitement, the fear, the firsts; but I would also love to share with you more about my business, more about my interests, more about what I do on a day to day basis.

I am looking into getting my blog re-done soon, but I need a new name! Unfortunately, a name like Surviving Motherhood, while catchy, will not do me well on this new road.

Any suggestions from the readers? I am having such writers block these last couple of weeks, and I fear it will continue until my blog is officially no longer "Surviving Motherhood", but something much more in tune about what I now want to write about.

I look forward to hearing from you!


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Won't You be my Neighbor? *

I am about to blog about something I never realized was an issue for me.  Well, never until this week, that is.  You see, I never get to know my neighbors.  What’s the point? We are apartment dwellers, bouncing from one place to the next year after year, and chances are that our neighbors are as well.  Why go through the effort of really getting to know someone and be comfortable with them if you’re just going to lose track of them in a few months anyway?
It always seemed that our neighbors felt the same.  Sure, I make an effort right after someone moves in.  I try to catch them as they are coming or going (and I am coming or going) and give them a friendly smile and wave and hope for the best. I’ve always gotten the same reaction-an awkward smile as they look down at their feet and shuffle past to get into their apartment as fast as possible lest I try and start a conversation about the weather.  I just don’t get it. 
See, the thing is, I used to love being friendly with my neighbors! That’s what drew me to apartment living.  When I was 18, I moved into my cousin’s townhouse with her.  She was newly single and needed someone to help her split the rent, and I needed a place to sleep that wasn’t under my mother’s nose.  I had grown too used to freedom to be thrust back into her house and under her rule for any extend of time.  So, I packed my bags (again) and moved in with my cousin.  She was a very friendly and outgoing sort of person that made friends with everyone, so the work was already done for me.  Just show up outside on Friday afternoons with some food to share and BAM insta-friends.
Eventually, my cousin and her ex-boyfriend made up and he moved back in.  I couldn’t handle being the third wheel in the house so I found a new place to stay.  It was a garage apartment with only one neighbor.  He was a friendly guy, but his wife hated me for some reason that I never learned so we never hung out.  I guess that’s what broke the chain of friendly neighbors because from there on, I’ve never been friends with my neighbors.  I’ve always hoped to, but I just figured that that’s not really how apartment dwellers operated and that the one experience I had with friendly neighbors and afternoon barbecues was sadly not the norm.
I have contentedly set aside the notion that I will ever be friends with my neighbors again, living my life between a series of awkward nods and timing my departures to avoid that moment all together.  It has worked out well.  I don’t get my hopes up, and I don’t exhaust myself trying to make new friends every few months.  That is…it worked out well until this past week.  Like I said, I always assumed that my one friendly experience with neighbors was out of the norm, but after a conversation with our office manager, I wonder if this is really the case.
See, while discussing what to do about the flooding incident, I made a comment about “the joys of apartment living,” and she sounded surprised.  She told me that she just moved into her first house and her and her son felt very lonely and missed living in an apartment.  This confused me since I don’t feel any sense of community living here or any other complex recently. When I said so she said “Well, now you get to meet new neighbors and maybe you will have more in common with them,” to which I replied, “We haven’t even met the neighbors we’ve lived side by side with for almost a year, so I doubt we’ll get extra chummy with the neighbors we’re sharing walls with for four days.” Do you know she actually acted surprised that we hadn’t met our neighbors? Here I was thinking we were completely normal, I mean it’s not like we’re rude to our neighbors-we try to be friendly, it’s just that no one seems to reciprocate.  Now I’m beginning to wonder…
Is it us??


*Sorry for the Mr. Rogers flashback. Just couldn't help it while thinking of this post, originally titled "Getting to Know Your Neighbors"...see? Just not as catchy :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Not-So-Natural Disaster

This is the story of my week.

It all started Thursday morning when I woke up. The apartment was stinky, the litter box was overflowing, the laundry I had been folding for 2 days was in a pile in the basket, and the cat had pooped in the kitchen-not that I could tell where the kitchen was thanks to all the dishes that needed to be done. You see, I had been battling with some health issues for about a week and had basically “taken time off” if you will to rest because I was feeling so poorly. In fact, I was told to rest. The only problem is, the people telling you to rest generally don’t realize that if they don’t pick up the slack, nothing will get done. So, here it was Thursday morning and I snapped. I couldn’t rest any more. I got as much of the mess cleaned up as possible that morning and decided to take a break before I tackled scrubbing the bathrooms and mopping the floors-you know, all the “extras” that need to be done but don’t really affect how your apartment looks. I just couldn’t make myself keep moving. My body was exhausted and sore. I just wasn’t able to get to the minor details that day. I figured I would tackle them the next morning when I would hopefully be feeling better.

Thursday night was like any other night. Willie and I watched Project Runway and then headed to bed a little after midnight. Next thing I know, we are both being abruptly awoken by someone pounding on our door. I hear a lot of commotion upstairs and outside so I waited a minute to see if our neighbors were just getting rowdy. Then they knocked again and started ringing the doorbell, so Willie went to see who it was. We were both pretty worried at this point because just a few short weeks ago we got a notice from the police department stating that ground-level apartments in our area were getting broken into, and that their “technique” was that they knocked on the door to see if anyone was home, and if not they came in through a window. So Willie answers the door and it’s the maintenance man, who says that our upstairs neighbors had a pipe bust under their bathroom sink and he needed to check and see if it was leaking into our apartment. Sure enough, he didn’t even have to get all the way to the bathroom before water started squishing up around his feet. Half of our apartment was already flooded, and the water was coming down at an alarming rate. We checked and it was half way into Addie’s room, all through our dining room and front bathroom, down the hall, and making it’s way into our living room. That’s not to mention the water that seeped through the floor boards into the back bathroom and our closet. It was a huge mess. Huge.

The cleaning guy came knocking on our door an hour later to clean up the water (6 a.m.) and he told me that they were going to place two fans in our apartment which would hopefully get the mess cleaned up by Monday…Yes…Monday. We were facing three days with wet carpet, noisy fans, and electrical cords everywhere; all of this with a toddler. Oh, did I mention that he said it was going to start to smell? Lovely. So, we waited for the office to open up and headed down there to see what was going to happen. I’m sorry, but I was not going to stay in that apartment.

I went down there and the girl in the office didn’t even know anything about flooding or a busted pipe. She asked if I had called the emergency number to get it fixed or if it was still leaking, so of course I had to walk her through the whole situation. She said the manager would be back in an hour and that we should talk to her, so we went to Starbucks and got coffee. The whole time we were gone we discussed what we needed to tell them and what we wanted from the situation-which was really only a clean, quiet place to stay while they worked on our apartment. We were so worried we were just going to be told some excuse as to why they couldn’t temporarily move us. As it turns out, they were moot worries since the office manager called us 30 minutes later to “discuss our options.” She wanted to move us!! Hallelujah! She was basically willing to do anything we wanted at that point to keep us happy, and offered us the model home which is fully furnished, and the same size as ours.

After further inspection, it appeared our apartment got the majority of the damage. The reason they wanted to move us is so they could put more equipment in our apartment-so much more that it would no longer be advisable for us to stay there at all. I’m not entirely sure how that happened since the pipe that broke wasn’t in our apartment and we aren’t on the bottom floor, but that’s apparently what happened. The water decided to pool in our dining room instead of leaking through to the bottom level. Because of this, we were not able to come back home until yesterday (Tuesday).

We went back to our apartment that afternoon to get some things we would need for our stay, and I saw our apartment through the eyes of an outsider. For all the work I had done the day before, our place was still an embarrassment to me. I couldn’t believe there were strangers coming in and out thinking this was the way I normally lived. I try so hard to keep up with two cats, one toddler, and one grown adult every day in such a small area, I was bound to get behind at some point and let things pile up. It’s just what happens when you’re the only person in a household that wants the place to look nice. I told Willie while we were in there, “this is God’s way of punishing me for keeping a messy apartment.”

Moral of this story: Clean!! Clean even when you are sick. You never know when a pipe will bust upstairs and you will have strangers coming into your apartment and judging you because there is food on the floor and dirty dishes in the sink.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Work In Progress

I must make this short, dear readers.  You see, I am temporarily displaced from my home (more about that later) and have no internet of my own.  I wanted to write a quick blog post though so you know I haven't forgotten about you all!  It will be short and sweet, and hopefully leave you wanting more.  Here is a teaser of one of my largest projects...still in progress.

What is it you ask?  Well, you'll have to wait and find out! I will definitely update as I progress.

In the meantime, I will leave you with something to look forward to over the next two weeks.  A list of posts I am working on offline until I can load them online.

-A Not So Natural Disaster
-My Plea Was Answered and a Decision made!
-Addie Vids
-From Playroom to Craft Room. A Transformation

**Disclaimer: names my change in the writing process**

Until then, readers, I must be off to my home away from home.  Cheers!


Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Plea To the Organizational Gods

Does anyone know how to get in touch with the gods of organization?  Anyone??  I really need them.  I mean, is it like the Tooth Fairy? I just sweep my mess under my pillow at night and wake up to a nice, clean, organized apartment?

Image  from HGTV's "Rate My Space"

A girl can dream, right?

So, since it doesn't appear to be as easy as the tooth fairy, what do I do?  It seems that every year when we move, we go through all of our clothes, all of our beloved kitchen accessories, and all of our miscellaneous items that don't really have a place.  We make our "inventory" of personal items we can't part with, and try to figure out the best ways to store them.  Each time we move, we end up buying something else for storage, because it seems that each apartment has less and less space to hide things and make it all neat.  In the end, we have a big mess of stuff piled in boxes or tucked inside a desk that still can't seem to stay organized, despite being hidden.

Last night, it took me close to 45minutes to attach a bow to the side of one of my beanies.  Why??  Because all of my materials were scattered between three different places.  Once I figured that my glue gun was not in 2 of the 3 places I keep crafting materials, I still had to dig for it within three bags hidden in my storage ottoman.  Then I had to find my wire...another three places to look, another three bags to dig through.  But wait.  I have to pick a ribbon and measure it to the hat!  Great...repeat steps 1-5 again.  Sigh...

I would love to have an organized apartment.  I try so hard, it just never seems to happen.  Everything I see that could maybe help costs money...which we don't have, and takes up space...which we also don't have.  I loath apartment living.  I used to love it.  None of the hassles with yard work or broken plumbing.  It just seems that here in the Seattle area, you just can't find an apartment with the amount of space and storage that we could find back in Texas and Louisiana for half the price!

I dream of craft rooms.  I imagine having a room one day all to myself entirely devoted to crafting and storing materials. Technically, I could have that here.  This apartment does have a small study at the end of the hall (which, coincidentally, I am sitting in right now as I type this), but I decided when we moved here that this room would be for Addie.  Her toys were beginning to take over the living room in our old place, and that was before she actually had a lot of toys to play with!  I couldn't imagine having all of these toys in our living area now.  As it is, her play room is on the brink of exploding.

So, here we are, back at square one.  How do I organize all of our stuff?!

In the meantime, here is my prayer (or plea if you will) to the gods of organization.  Please, please, please, please...if you're out there (are you?) HELP me figure out what to do with all of this junk!!!


Tuesday, January 5, 2010


You all know I'm a mom.  That's what this entire blog has been about since I started it.  My journey through motherhood, weeding through all things baby and finding my place in that world.  Well, I've found my place, and I'm beginning to feel more like the old me.  I'm beginning to venture out into the rest of this world again, learning new things and exploring old hobbies all over again.

What you may not know, is that I love crafting.  I love learning new things. I love creating something out of nothing.  I'm sure many of you have gathered that much if you've ever looked at my work.  While I'm still focusing on crochet for my shop, I'm also enjoying learning new things. 

Willie got me a sewing machine with all the attachments as an early Christmas gift.  Now, I didn't even know how to thread a needle.  I had no idea what a bobbin was, and had to read the instructional video to learn what the foot pedal was used for, but since that first day, I feel I have come a long way!

I am almost finished with my first complete project.  Not clothes or anything.  I don't have that much confidence in myself.  I made the best thing I could make for myself-a case for all of my crochet hooks!  I thought I was finished with it-hence the photos-but after traveling with this case to a friend's house, I realized I need a flap over the top to hold the hooks in as they fell out everywhere after getting tossed into my crochet bag.  So, feel free to leave constructive criticism-in a nice way of course-about what I should try next time.  I know this project is far from perfect, and I'm okay with that.  I'm still pretty darn proud of myself for finally learning the basics of sewing!

I also participated in my very first craft circle last night.  If you read my tweets, you'll know that it was more of a craft line than a circle, as there were only two of us.  There are three of us involved in trying to get together for this regularly, but our third person was tied up with the daily issues of having a toddler.  These things happen!   I taught my friend how to single crochet a row and then turn.  She is now a crochet-ing fool!  Maybe next week she can learn double crochet.  She taught me about polymer clay-something I've never messed with at all.  It was a lot of fun!  I created a purple rose.  I may have to go pick up some clay myself so I can really learn more.  Oi.  This craft circle could get me into trouble! Or really acquainted with the cashiers at the craft store...one or the other.

 We decided to try and meet once a week, or as often as we can.  Each week we'll plan some activities and have supplies ready.  Once a month, we'll get the kids involved by trying things like finger painting and basic crafts.  I'm really looking forward to the future this group can hold!

In the mean time, while I wait to learn something new on Monday, I will continue with my crochet work.  I'm branching out, experimenting with new techniques, and veering away from my safety zone.  I've been working for several days on a thick winter poncho that I have never attempted, and never even attempted to follow a pattern for a poncho at all.  So I started this 100% from scratch and I'm just going with the image in my mind.  I am hoping to finish tonight, fingers crossed that it comes out as great as I want it to! Otherwise, it was sort of a wasted 4 days of productivity!  Then again, since the glass is always half full, I guess I should say it wasn't a wasted 4 days, instead it was just a 4-day learning experience that will help in the future. Still, though, I'd rather the poncho look fantastic.   Check back soon for photos and an update!


Saturday, January 2, 2010

I Have Some Resolutions Afterall..

In my previous post, 2009, An Overview, I mentioned only having one resolution this year. One that I didn't want to share.  After thinking on this for a couple of days, I have decided that this is not true.  I have several resolutions this year, most of which I would love to share with you all.

My first one is to be more crafty.  Willie bought me a sewing machine with all the accessories for Christmas (isn't he the best?!) , and my mother-in-law bought me a Dremel, so I'm learning how to use those day by day.  I'm almost done with my first real project, so I will share here when it's done. 

That's  my second resolution, by the way.  I am going to incorporate more of my interests (cooking, crafting, my ETSY shop, and maybe even some TV or movie "reviews" if I'm in the mood) and not only focus on being a mom, because I am so much more than that.  Be expecting my first ever giveaway this spring for my anniversary to Surviving Motherhood, too.  I'll tweet about it as the time gets closer, but I'm already brainstorming some great stuff!

My third resolution is the obligatory "work out and lose weight" resolution.  I know, I know. How unoriginal, but hey, it's something I need to do, so what better time to start than now?  Some friends and I joined up and we are participating in a WiiFit challenge, so that should be fun.  I'm also playing with the idea of starting up a brand new blog, completely dedicated to this journey.  I gained a lot of weight when I met Willie, more when we got married, and of course, even more when I had Addison.  I am now at least 20 pounds heavier than I was the day I met him, and would love to get back (or close) to that weight again.  I'll decide this week whether I have time enough for a second blog, and if I start it up, you'll be the first to know.

My fourth resolution I feel should be more of a warning to those of you in my personal life.  From this day forward, no longer will I rely on the internet and on texting to keep in touch with those of you important to me.  I feel we should bring back the phone calls and the personal relationships-you know, the face to face kind-so don't be surprised or worried when your phone rings.  It's only me, trying to bring back the old concept of actually talking to my friends.

So there you have it. My resolutions for 2010.  What are your resolutions? Is there anything you (my readers) want to improve on in the upcoming year? Please share.  It's so nice to get it all down on paper.