Sunday, August 18, 2013

Yet another update

In trying to find that elusive work/life balance I have been struggling to carve out time for myself in addition to time with my family and friends.  This blog has suffered.  I'm working to refocus my lift to try and ensure as much time as possible for myself and my family.  I will be trying to blog and might be re-tooling the blog to reflect the changes.

In new news that's not so new - we're expecting our second child!  Baby #2 is due to arrive sometime in mid-January.  I'm a bit over 17 weeks along.  We will be finding out the sex in order to know whether to wash and sort all the baby girl clothes we have or give away and look for more.  We are excited and a little scared to expand the family.  Ella's thrilled and has already told her daycare teacher that I am "having a sister and [Ella] will share all of her toys but not Minnie because babies bite."  Ground rules are developing.  :)

We are still struggling to make ends meet.  We are still struggling to find space and a place for ourselves and our family but things are infinitely better than they were.

We have a community of friends in the area who provide wonderful support and laughter.

We have an amazing church that grounds us.

Family, while too far away, is always in contact and visits regularly.

There are many things I think about changing - proximity to the grandparents, financial situation, past decision affecting today - but nothing in those thoughts diminishes my love of the present.


"Uncle Steve, are you afraid of thunder?  I'm not afraid."

"Do you have a baby in your tummy?  Well, you will tomorrow."

"He's a bad guy because he takes care of danger!"

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Chef in the Making?

Scene: Evening bathtime.  Ella sitting in the bath vigorously stirring a cup full of water with a plastic bracelet at the bottom.

Me: What are you doing?

E: I'm cooking for you.

Me: Oh...what are you making?

E: Bracelet...jello.

Me: Sounds yummy.  How do you make it?

E: First you stir.    Then, you have to cook it.  And it cooks right here.

Me: How long does it cook?

E: 20 minutes.    Okay, it's ready.  But it's really hot.  Be careful so you don't burn your lips and mouth.

Me: It looks really yummy.  Let me try.

E: Be careful, Mommy!  It's hot!  It will burn your mouth!  You need to blow it!

Me:  It's good now.    Yum yum!

E: Let me taste!   Yum!

Me: You're such a good cook.  Thank you.

E: I am.  

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Reading List 2012

I finally kept a list!  I didn't count all the half-books I never finished thanks to inattention or library holds running out.  I managed 26 books.  Not bad but not exactly amazing either.  This year I'm going to shoot for 30 knowing that I'll be attempting four continuing ed courses, a few sewing projects, a 5k, and a preschooler so we'll see how that goes.  :)

Last year, in completion order, I read the following:

  1. The President is a Very Sick Man by Matthew
  2. Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie (1/16/2012)
  3. Darkhouse by Karina Halle (1/25/2012)
  4. Red Fox by Karina Halle (1/26/2012)
  5. The Benson by Karina Halle (1/26/2012)
  6. Dead Sky Morning by Karina Halle (1/28/2012)
  7. Lying Season by Karina Halle (1/29/2012)
  8. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (2/7/2012)
  9. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (2/14/2012)
  10. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (2/16/2012)
  11. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (4/7/2012)
  12. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris (5/25/2012)
  13. A Dark Matter by Peter Straub (6/4/2012)
  14. On Demon's Wings by Karina Halle (6/5/2012)
  15. Abarat by Clive Barker (6/11/2012)
  16. Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War by Clive Barker (6/17/2012)
  17. Abarat: Absolute Midnight by Clive Barker (6/23/2012)
  18. 11/23/63 by Stephen King (7/21/2012)
  19. The Hypnotist by Lars Keplar (8/7/2012)
  20. Spook by Mary Roach (8/11/2012)
  21. The Nightmare by Lars Keplar (9/8/2012)
  22. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (11/1/2012)
  23. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M.Valente (11/6/2012)
  24. Old Blood by Karina Halle (11/20/2012)
  25. The Dex Files by Karina Halle (11/22/2012)
  26. Into the Hollow by Karina Halle (11/23/2012)
Ta-da!  Lots of sexy YA and a good number of series in there.  The most anticipated book I read was the third in the Abarat triology.  (Finish the series, Clive Barker!  They are so good and at this rate I will be reading through the series for the better part of my life!)  The most enjoyable book in a surprising way was 11/23/63.  It was less about the horror and more about ruminations on life, purpose, emotional connections and the interconnectedness of the world.  It was a good crop of books and I'm excited to see what I read this coming year!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Ella-ism of the day

"Come on, Mommy-girl! Come on, Brigid-girl!" Shouting at Brig and I to leave the kitchen and join her in the family room

Where I'm From

I am from typewriters, from Lisa Frank notebooks, from tacky jewelry, from ghost stories piled high around my room, from Murder, She Wrote, and the Muppets.

I am from educational games, well-decorated spaces, spice-scented candles lit in the evenings, glasses of wine glowing around an outside fire, laughter, laughter, and more laughter.

I am from the cherry tree I used to climb in Ohio and the honeysuckle that grew at the back fence.

I am from Christmas Eves spent watching White Christmas as a family and stubborness, from strong and terrible and wonderful Penny and kind and hot-tempered and sentimental Tim and from kick-ass, neurotic, brilliant Steven.

I am from loquaciousness laden with sarcasm and the habit to take trips with schedules and goals and fantastic sights rather than lazy-day vacations.

From "Don't let the bed bugs bite" and angels bowling up thunderstorms.

I am from questions of God arising from a youth surrounded by closed-minded but open-mouthed "Christians", from planted and nurtured mustard seeds within seminary walls, and fruit of faith grown on strong but gnarled branches outside in the world.

I'm from Ohio and California, the Carolinas and Washington state, Cincinnati-style chili and homemade pizza.

From the cherished and remembered character and kindness of a man gone before his time tempered by stories of home-brewing beer and lighting farts on fire.  From stories of my father and his brothers running wild during long hot summers in northern Indiana, of close-knit communities where everyone knows everyone and no one locks their doors, even today.  And also from the movement west of so many of our family branches, picking up that west coast flavor and mixing it with some midwestern sensibility - knowing which celebrity's a Hoosier, how to make proper chili, and what to do with lightening bugs.

I am from boxes and bags of mementos and photos, hard drives full of memories, walls covered in pictures of those both near and far whom I love.

I found this from Connie at The Young and the Relentless.  The template to make your own can be found here.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

What a difference a year (and change) makes

**Full discloser - Foul language ahoy!

I cracked open my blog after reading through a friend's.  I guess I've been pretty lax.  Over a year has gone by since I've posted anything.  Yikes!  I know the reason - mobile kid, longer commute, work that doesn't allow personal internet usage much beyond the basic sites - but still.  Small excuses when considering the record I was trying to keep of my family.

I think the best way to catch up is a short list of things that have happened since the last post.


September 2011
Craig started a new job.  It was retail.  It paid crap.  It was not in his field.  BUT!  It was for a good company.  It was money.  It was not the shitty emotional back-and-forth that was the church "family" of the past two years.

October 2011
I started a new job.  It paid less.  The commute was longer.  Still not in my field.  BUT!  It was for a good company.  It had lots of growth potential.  It allowed me to cut the last tie binding our family to the most fascinating/fucked-up/manipulative/self-promoting families I have ever been in contact with.  There are days I miss the drama but being removed from that is SO much better for my blood pressure.

I also interviewed for a promotion at my new job but didn't get it.  It was good practice and it gave me focus to keep trying.

November 2011
I got really lucky and started working from a closer office of the company for about 6 weeks.  My commute shortened considerably right around the holidays.  So lucky!

December 2011
I interviewed for a promotion with my company and got it.  Baby steps!

Ella's first truly interactive Christmas.  She loved the lights and requested The Twelve Days of Christmas with John Denver and the Muppets every day during the season.  Fantastic!

January 2012
A dear friend of ours lost her mother.  She and her sister offered to rent us her mother's house for an astoundingly wonderful rate.  We were able to give our notice to the apartment complex and get all of the moving items sorted.  It was such a relief to know we'd be moving out of that place.  There were a lot of grateful tears.

February 2012
I started my new position.  Longer commute in miles, shorter in time.  More more step up the ladder!

March 2012
We moved into our new place!  Moving is always a pain but so well balanced with the sweetness I felt at sitting in the back yard after dark listening to quiet neighborhood noises while my husband worked and my daughter slept.

Deb and I completed our first 5k - Cove to Clover.  We walked it but what a walk!  The first mile is a ridiculous grade up.  It was fantastic and we set the goal to run it in 2013.

Ella's second birthday was a low-key affair with just a few friends.  She started using the potty on and off.

April 2012
Parent visit!  Lots of yard work, outdoor time, and happy times.  Potty no go - not even the grandma could help.

Craig got a promotion!  No more retail!  His shift changed and we started to see a lot more of him.  Bliss.

Allison and Jason got engaged!  They also asked Craig and I to be in the wedding.  Plans were quickly changed and made to make it to Pennsylvania in time.

May 2012
I completed my training and arrived on my team and on the floor.  Pretty cool and a little bit daunting.

June 2012
I am nothing but a pest.  I set up an Individual Development Plan and began to pester my boss about mentoring opportunities and job shadowing to start preparing for another promotion.  He wasn't the most supportive initially so I found my own mentor seen during my own personal time.  Eventually my boss came around and set me up with a couple more opportunities.  I also signed up for the first of 9 courses in a designation for insurance.  Baby steps.

July 2012
Company trip to corporate!  I was able to fly out the weekend before and visit my family in Indiana for a few days.  So much fun!  It was a mini-vacation.  My parents flew up to help Craig out by keeping an eye on Ella.

Sunday School family cookout and Waterfront Parade.  Ella loved the toe-tow truck but was terrified of the Seafair Pirates (though she talked about them non-stop for about a month.)

August 2012
Pennsylvania vacation!  We flew out for Alli's wedding and got to introduce Ella to a lot of family in much too short of a time.  It was so much fun and so stinking hot!

September 2012
Potty time success!  The month of September Ella was doing great!  And then it began to go downhill.

October 2012
By October, she was flat-out refusing to use the potty.  She also passed the stomach bug around the family on Halloween.  On the bright side, we had an awesome third annual visit to Craven Farms to pick a pumpkin and she made a really stinkin' cute ladybug!

New car!  My beloved VW started bleeding hundred dollar bills and finally had to be put out of its misery.  Now we have a car that can actually hold our family plus other things.  Woot!

Ella fell in love with Minnie and Mickey Mouse - big time.

November 2012
Where to begin!  I passed my first course in my designation.

I interviewed for another promotion and got the job!

Ella and I flew to California for Thanksgiving to spend some time with my family.  We left Craig to his own devices - he gets the BEST HUSBAND EVER award for agreeing to be alone on Thanskgiving.

December 2012
Ella gave everyone the stomach bug again - jeez I hate throwing up!

Finished sewing the Christmas tree skirt just in time for Santa!

I finally admitted to myself that I am failing in my weight control goals and I found a doctor and began a dialogue.  I don't know where it's headed but I feel like I'm on the right track.

Ella is officially potty-trained!  We had a UTI scare mid-month and Craig and I made the executive decision to pull the pull-up/diaper plug cold turkey.  She's 2 weeks in and going strong with only a few accidents.

Santa came and came big to the Falvo household this year.  It was a Minnie Christmas!  We spent the holiday with friends and just reveled in Ella's new grasp of holiday songs - she's still singing Rudolph and Frosty all over the house.

Other notable mentions: Our Sunday School class is the highlight of my Sundays - I love the families we see.  Craig's in the process of figuring out a group of his own and another friend has a family breakfast once a month that's on hiatus now as she's due to have her second kiddo any day now.

And here we are, January 1, 2013.  Last year was unexpectedly wonderful.  2009 was the abruptness of moving and acclimating.  2010 was a year of baby that ended in the shit storm that was the church.  2011 was survival.  I was so happy when 2011 ended and I could say a giant "Fuck You!" to it.  I didn't expect much of 2012 and it was wonderful.  New friends.  New jobs.  New home.  More breathing room.

I don't know what to think about 2013.  I know that now that we're a bit more secure financially I need a few new goals.  I think/hope 2013 will be a year of personal and family growth.  With less time spent worrying over where the next car repair or dentist bill is going to come from, we can spend a bit more time thinking of family activities, personal goals, etc.

Goals for 2013
1. Health: I'm going to jog a 5k, drop some weight, and start weight training again.

2. Crafting: I'm going to make a summer dress for Ella and a sewing machine cover to replace the cut open pillowcase I currently use.

3. Hobbies:  I'm going to start writing again.  I'm going to blog more.  I'm going to figure out how to make damn good biscuits instead of my current hockey pucks.

4. Intellect: I'm going to pass 4 courses toward my designation.  I'm going to read through the works of Kurt Vonnegut.

5. Family: Craig and I are going to try and date night it up a bit more.  I'm going to take it on myself to plan one family outing a quarter (at LEAST).  We have ocean, mountains, urban, and rural.  We need to get out more.

6. Friendship: I'm going to reach out to a few more people at church and work I'd like to know better.  I'm going to try and set up an on-going game night with our close friends to keep connected and get some use of Craig's games.  I'm going to visit the new friends with babies to get my baby fill and make sure they feel loved and connected while going through the sleep-deprived isolation that is the first few months of a mother's existence.

It's a big list but it's a good one.  :)  Happy New Year!  It's good to be back!