Thursday, February 13, 2014

Snow Business

I would like to formally take a moment and thank all of New York and its surrounding areas for being a team player. Someone  had to have the gross weather today and I appreciate all of you taking one for the team!!

Here, where the fear of freezing your butt off was first discovered (I just made that fact up), it is a beautiful 41 degrees, the sun is shining, the snow is melting, there was a huge line as I waited to get my car washed, we are all wearing sweaters and they are unzipped (**gasp**).

I'm sure this means that our city will be one slick sheet of ice tonight, but IT WILL NOT HAVE BEEN FOR NAUGHT!

In other news, I fear this winter, in whatever capacity we are suffering through it, may never end so I have taken the initiative to go ahead and order myself a new beanie. A girl's gotta stay warm somehow.

Today is a rambly sort of post so I'll continue as such. Our in-the-same-building-but-one-floor-down move is coming along. Still have more to transfer over and I'm organizing as we go through it all, adding some to our storage and just getting rid of others. My trusty red wagon is definitely getting its exercise! We had to slow down this week because our little family decided to throw a sick party -- Bella's got the pediatric version of walking pneumonia, Benny's got bronchitis, and Shuky's got something in between the two. All three of them are on meds, Benny is in school and Bella and I have just been chilling. Between the doctor appointments we've had on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and the follow up today for Bella. And the first three obviously had corresponding pharmacy visits!

And with that, I can say enjoy your snow day if you are having one, as I am ABSOLUTELY enjoying not needing one!!

Monday, February 3, 2014

That Just Happened.

Do you ever feel like you work so hard to avoid something specific and find it still follows you around every corner? 

Moving is my kryptonite. I hate it with a passion like you wouldn't believe and, yet, I just can't get away from it. Even as a kid, my family moved. A. Lot. By the time I got married and was ready to start my own home, I had somewhere between ten to fifteen moves under my belt. And I was only 21.

Not able to avoid it, our sixth anniversary was matched with six moves, not including the time we spent bunking with family in between (not insignificant amounts of time there either). I really had myself convinced that this last one, a little over two years ago, would be the last move until we were ready to leave Iowa. I was so sure! And yet, I hesitated to decorate our apartment, as is my M.O. Why put time and emotion into making a place mine when we might just pick up and move on soon! 

After getting back from Seattle, I was on this intense 'get our apartment organized' kick and part of that included a little bit of functional decorating. And making the kids' rooms a little more exciting.

We moved to Ames in the summer of 2010 and it took until post-summer of 2013 for me to be interested in decorating, just so you understand completely.

The past few weeks have been a little intense in our apartment. We've had some major heating issues, keeping our apartment very cold. It also happens to be that this winter has been EXTREMELY harsh in terms of low temps and windchills in the 'never should get there' zone. Our building manager and maintenance guy exhausted every effort, trying to get our heat to a comfortable level but this past week, they realized there was nothing that could be done until the end of winter, when the entire building could have the system turned off for work to be done.

Simultaneously, we have been having small electrical issues here and there that the maintenance guy had been able to fix each time, more or less.

When they realized the heating couldn't be fixed, they provided us with a space heater for each bedroom and a nice, larger one for the living room area.

Within a minute of turning them all on, the breaker tripped and the power went out. A new breaker went in, the heaters were turned back on, and the same thing happened. Within a minute, it was all off.

Out came an electrician.

The diagnosis was our apartment would need rewiring and it wouldn't be a quick fix.

I'll spare you the details of the emotional train wreck I was at this point. 

At this point, it was noon-time on Friday. We had just picked Bella up from school and had a couple hours until it was time to get Benny. 

Our manager offered us a vacant unit of comparable size with very generous terms of how long we could take to move in (she even offered to allow us to use it just for the winter if we wanted our apartment for the long run, after the work would all be finished), and went above and beyond to make sure we could make it all work.

At which point, we started moving our belongings. 

We opted to just permanently move to the other unit, as we will be moving within the year (GOD WILLINGGGGGGG) and it didn't make sense to come back for a few months.

Remember how I said this was Friday, around noon? By the time Shabbos came in that evening, we had all three bedrooms mostly set up, a semi-functioning kitchen, a living room, and our table and chairs. How? I have no freaking clue. A friend came to help with the couch and table, another friend watched Bella until it was time to pick up Benny and We. Just. Trekked.

We are slowly working our way into the apartment and I honestly debated just pretending this never happened. But what's a blog without a post or two every so often so here I am, spilling the beans.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

335 Days.

We are officially one week in to our second to last semester here which means in less than a year we will be D-O-N-E over here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Did I use enough exclamation marks there?

Eleven months left. And three of those will be spent elsewhere for Shuky's summer internship.

While I was talking a friend about that number earlier this week, she showed a better way to look at it - four months left here, go spend three months somewhere awesome, and come back for another four months to pack and move. Just writing that helps me breathe easier.

Those who know me personally are probably aware of the fact that I am a planner. I like to have things figured out in advance and, while I can definitely roll with it, spontaneity is not my favorite thing. During the first few years of school, the unknown was easier to deal with. It was completely out of our control and our future was not even tangible. Now, things are so close but we won't know for sure where we will be moving until next September. NEXT. SEPTEMBER.

Don't worry, we are still planning. I've been researching galore. Trying to weed through all the hypothetical cities that could be potentially be home for us. Knocking some areas off the list, moving others higher up in priority. At the end of the day, we can not decide until job offers come in but it doesn't hurt to have an idea of what's out there instead of scrambling around last minute to make the decision!

And again, for those who REALLY know me personally, you are probably aware that I spend every free second on Zillow. I have my houses picked out in our top cities already. Hopefully the new tenants will get transferred to the Midwest when it's time for us to come. And I say the Midwest because that sure as hell would not affect our housing situation, if you catch my drift. My cold and icy drift.

Hope everyone enjoyed their New Years and is back in the grind of things in this amazing year of 2014. {December of 2014. That's been floating around in my head like that old screen saver on Windows. You know which one I'm talking about. The one that used to say Yournamehere Rox!!!, and would bounce off each side of the screen while doing flips and twists. Yeah, that one.}

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Cold Blogging

Here's the thing about me. I'm an introvert. Sometimes I just need to retreat into my head and keep my space. It has happened before here, although most times, there's some sort of life change happening that keeps me away. This time it was honestly just needing space. I needed some time to myself. While I generally love blogging, this is something I do of my own accord, I just needed to pull back from all things social. I've been more quiet on FaceBook than usual as well, if that makes anyone feel better! And yes. That is me being more quiet.

I've tried coming back here to get my blog groove back but I now have a bunch of unfinished posts, some with only three sentences, some with only three words, others with half a page. None of which really make sense. All of which will be deleted.

The last time I posted was around the High Holidays. We are going to just hit 'Live' right now and scoot right up to where we are here and now.

Hi again!!

I am loving all the new organizational things I've done around the apartment and how much nicer things are looking and the better air flow we now have! And I've also worked on getting the kids rooms looking a little more lively.
 Added this great poster above Benny's bed. I have some posters to put up on the wall alongside his bed, just have to restock my stash of command strips!
And gave him an astronaut view as he launches off to sleep. It cycles through the different phases of sunlight, really cool actually!

And Bella finally got a gorgeous name sign from my beyond talented mother!! Hard to see but the decal above says 'Once Upon A Time There Was A Princess...' 
I have a couple more things that will be going up on Bella's wall opposite this, where her toys are. Just need to decide if I want to frame them or go with self-painted clothespins like I did above.

It's been pretty cold here, we got a couple inches of snow over the weekend. So that's been fun. Without the fun part. I'm pretty sure anyone that knows me is aware of my feelings toward coldness and snow and real winter. Not a big fan, just to clarify.
It's sad because the snow is actually quite gorgeous here, all sparkly and white. But then the temperature has to go and drop below zero with insane windchills (Take the -20 windchill we had yesterday. Not cool Iowa.)

Almost forgot this awesomeness, last night Shuky went out onto the porch in the crazy cold to make this awesome video of a bubble freezing!! 

Either way, we are coming up to winter break over here. As a family, we will be going to NY for a week. First time since the summer we spent there right after Bella was born. As a family, anyway. And then, when we get back, I will be escaping on my own for a few days. Heading to somewhere sunny and gloriously unwintery!!! And I. Can't. Wait. Like beyond excited and would already be packing if I could. :)

Ok, I keep getting distracted and I really want this to get posted so I'm going to go ahead and finish up over here. Until next time!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Organization Overhaul

This time of year it's always harder to post regularly. Between unpacking, doing laundry, repacking, driving to our holiday hosts, keeping the kitchen only minimally stocked so nothing goes bad, keeping up with school needs, and breathing, there's not really a whole lot of extra time. So naturally, this is when I find myself knee deep in a major organization project at home.

Just to give you some insight into my blogging devotion, I spilled a way-too-full cup of Gatorade on my keyboard on Friday and while it is clearly still typing, none of the letters really want to pop back up after being pressed down. So this may take a little longer than usual to get fully typed!

Our storage unit (our apartment came with a small storage cube by the elevator on our floor) used to be a large tetris box and getting things in or out was a major chore. I realized that more than half of what is in there is really not needed anymore! So now there's about 1/3 of what used to be in there. Most has already been sold or donated or tossed. I have four large tubs of clothing that I separated into the appropriate piles last week and this week I will distribute as required! Between the laundry and repacking. And the Mommy-monitored visit with Bella to her soon to be classroom.

I have also been working hard getting the kids' rooms more organized. Benny had an ugly bookshelf in his room, holding his books and toys. I had some credit on Amazon from survey sites I do so I ordered him a nicer looking shelf and put his bookshelf in our 'entry way' {read: kitchen/living room/dining room} and we turned it into our very own Meyerbrary (hoping to make a cute banner with the kids to hang over it). The kids each got a little box in their rooms and they can switch out their books once a week-ish. No need for thousands of books strewn across each floor!

Here you can see the tubs waiting to leave our apartment. I'm planning on using the top shelf for winter gear baskets. Right now it's all on the top shelf of  our coat closet and I pass things out each morning.

Bella's room is also looking much better. I am tempted to order the same shelf for her room but I really have to get rid of her enormous dresser first. I was originally planning on replacing it with something smaller but I think I can completely eliminate the need for a dresser. I have a set of plastic drawers in her closet that was being used for things she grew out of, but our lovely consignment shop is now in possession of some of that stuff! So I transferred her clothing to those drawers and just need to get more skirt hangers and it should all be fine! I made her a cute little accessory station on the inside of her closet door and she loves it!
I need to add some more hooks for hanging her jewelry :)

I pulled out our 'growing into' box to see what I have for the new sizes of the kids. We had a nice amount of stuff to pull out now and my box is sadly more than half empty! Time to keep stocking up on larger sizes, although I am hesitant to get too much as we don't have a lot of time left here. A year and three months (but who's counting) may seem like a lot of time to some of you but when you feel stuck in the eternity of college life, that is like a sneeze and a cough away!!!!!!

As usual, our bedroom is the dumping ground for everything that needs deciding. I feel like the kids' rooms are just so much more important for our little people to be able to sleep and function nicely! Shuky and I can handle the craziness much better, even though I am hoping to get to our room as soon as Bella starts school! As soon as that is done, I can start on some of my crafting that I am waiting to do. I have been preparing at least, found a pattern sale at Hobby Lobby last week, picked up a couple craft patterns at $0.99 a piece and I can't wait!!

Hope you all are enjoying the holidays and maybe some of you are getting cooler weather already. Would love to hear what kind of projects everyone else is working on now!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Emotional Conflict

Tonight is Rosh Hashana, the New Year of the Jewish calendar. With that, I would like to wish you all a happy, healthy, and sweet new year! My standard blessings of 'may the best of last year be the worst of this year' and 'an abundance of health, wealth, and happiness' all stand for this year as well!

The reason I am taking the time to write today is because yesterday, we were faced with a challenge. It is one that I had hoped to never have to deal with but, unfortunately, is not an uncommon thing when you have kids in school.

Benny rides the school bus every day, both to and from school. One of the things that made me comfortable with the idea of having him ride the bus (aside from knowing the safety stats of busses) was the reassurance from the bus company that Kindergarten kids are put on a bus with a monitor, an adult designated to keep an extra eye and make sure they sit nicely and safely, and that they are all seated up front with kids their age. After watching him walk straight to the back on the first morning, I let him know that this was the rule and that, even if the other kids his age were not listening, he needed to be sitting up front. Yesterday he got off the bus with one of the older girls from our building. He didn't look happy and she was walking toward me with him, clearly worked up, ready to tell me what happened. Apparently, Benny tried to sit himself in the front of the bus and the monitor told him to keep moving to the back. He told the monitor that his mother told him he needed to be sitting up front. She got down in his face and started yelling, "THIS IS MY BUS, NOT YOUR MOM'S, YOU BETTER SIT WHERE I TELL YOU!!!" Our neighbor told me she kept going at him. At this point, Benny was already crying. This girl interjected, telling the bus monitor that if his mother told him to do that then he needs to listen. The monitor then turned on the girl and continued yelling at the both of them. This girl pulled Benny onto her bench and started telling him jokes to help him calm down and walked off the bus with him and straight to me.

Benny looked up at me and said, "Mommy, I wasn't crying, it just LOOKED like I was! Mommy it was so RUDE! And you guys always tell me not to be rude, but she was SO rude!!"

I turned back to the bus and started calling out for them to stop, but I realized that confrontation was not the answer. I was upset and didn't want to make a scene. And the other kids on the bus would be late to get home. Instead, I called the bus company immediately and told them what had happened. They didn't know what to say to me and were extremely apologetic. I gave everyone's names (the monitor's, mine, Benny's) and all the information needed and they told me they would start an 'investigation'.

I told Benny how proud I was that he had listened to me and had spoken nicely to the monitor, even though she was being so mean to him. I also let him know that I was so proud that he came and told me everything right away and reminded him how important that is, whenever ANYTHING happens.

Walking back up to the apartment, one of the other girls in the building told me this monitor makes the little kids cry all the time and that she is really mean. Why she has been given this position of watching out for our little kids is baffling to me. Have no other parents called in to complain?

Last night, I was extremely nervous about how this morning would play out. I didn't know if they had addressed things with her yesterday, and if they had, would she then take it out on Benny this morning?

As soon as we got downstairs, Benny started freaking out that he didn't want to ride the bus and that he really just wanted me to drive him to school. He was scared that she would yell at him again and he really didn't like how she made him feel. My emotional side told me to give in and drive him without question. But the last thing I want him to think is that the best way to solve conflict is by running away. So I sat with him on the steps and talked to him about it. I explained that he still has to listen to Mommy and that hopefully the monitor would not be mean to him. I reminded him that the older kids on the bus that know him would be there to help him if he needed it and that if, for whatever reason, she did say anything not nice to him, he should go straight to his teacher and tell her what happened. {I sent her an email this morning with an FYI about what had happened, unfortunately the school uses a bus service so they would not be the people to take issues up with but I still wanted her aware.} I reminded him that the safest seat for him was in the front of the bus and we talked about which of the other kids he could possibly sit with that would make the ride more exciting. As soon as we got to the bus stop, he calmed down and was giggling and playing with his friends. I gave him a big kiss before he got on the bus and watched him. The monitor said nothing to him. He walked slowly past the first bench, stopped for a minute at the second, put his head down and walked straight to the back. His fear of her yelling made him ignore what we spoke about and choose the safer (in his mind) option.

This broke my heart.

Not because he chose not to listen to me, that is something I get plenty of practice with. Because this bully of a bus monitor just won. My five year old had such a fear of this horrible woman that he stopped to think about doing the right thing or the wrong thing. And chose the wrong thing. Even now, thinking about the little battle in his head makes me so sad. Who does this monitor think she is? Why is it just accepted that this bus monitor is mean and can take such an exciting thing for the little kids and turn it into something scary?

I went with Bella to the library afterward and asked the librarian for help. I wanted books that talked about bullying, how to deal with it, why people do it, how to help if you see your friend being bullied. I am still trying to get through to the bus company but have not been able to all day. I don't want Benny focusing on the bad, and I don't intend to keep this storm brewing. We will learn from it and we will move on.

I sincerely hope the bus company will see that it is not fair to place a bitter woman's hand as the one intended for our little kids to hold while embarking on this journey of school.

With all my best wishes, from my family to yours, may this new year only bring joyful tears and moments of pride to all you you.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Projects Looming

There are a few things I want to make around here so I figured I'd put it on paper, or blogger, for when I forget what my ideas were!

I really want to set up a quiet space/reading corner for both kids, in their own rooms. A place to retreat with an exciting story or cute little toy. For when a change of scenery is needed but not physically possible. When we were in Seattle, one of the many times we were walking through Pikes Place Market, we saw these adorable teepees a woman was selling and almost bought two on the spot. But they weren't cheap and would have had shipping costs on top of that! So, of course, being of the pinterest generation, I immediately committed to making them on my own. I've been researching the best ways to do it and I have a few ideas, and the truth is, making them on my own will be so much fun and then I can have them work with the decor of each room. I say that as if my kids have bedrooms with awesome decor. Don't be fooled by my wise choice of words. In my head, there is a theme for each room. In actuality, their rooms are blank canvases. These will liven things up a bit if, I mean when, they are finished! I'm not 100% set on a design choice for Bella's but I want to make Benny's look like a space ship to go along with his new linens. Wow, as I typed that I realized I never shared a picture of those over here.
Get a load of this folks:

I have wanted to get Bella a dollhouse since last Chanukah and just don't want one of the dinky $30 ones but can not afford the ones that I love. I've seen so many adorable ideas about turning little bookshelves into dollhouses and am hoping to do something like that for her! I just need to find a new clothing storage solution for her room before I can start adding all these little stations. She has a huge dresser in there from her crib set that needs to go, I want to replace it with something small that can go directly in the closet and free up the floor space. And I reaaaallllyyyyy want to get rid of the atrocious eyesore of a toy box that is in her room. Hate that thing. With a passion. And, if we are being honest here, I kind of want to get rid of all the toys in it too.

Benny loves legos but up until a bit before we left to Seattle, the kids were sharing a room, so it never seemed like a good thing to get him into. Little sister, choking hazard, fighting over it, blah blah blah. Now, I think he's ready and I think it would be really good for him. I want to find a cheapo little side table or coffee table or something smaller to make into a lego table for him and get him building and creating!

I really want to make a poster of some sort to hang in our hallway. Somewhat of a souvenir from our road trips this summer, on a grand scale. Not interactive, per say, but something we can walk up to and see the cool things we did in each state. We all had such amazing times and I want that memory to last! And who knows, maybe Seattle will be the place for us and this can be our 'how it all began' memento. My current idea is to use a map with our route plotted out as the background, with our stops laid out over it. Still a jumble of ideas in my head. Trying to think of the best way to do it.

I'd like to make some cute pillows for our couch. It was something we picked up from people we met in Kansas City, used but nice enough. Much better than the horrible futon we had until then! The little ones have definitely marked their territory though and my throws I keep throwing end up as props for games anyway.

I bought a skirt at Target like two years ago. Nothing fancy. Just super comfortable and cute. I went back and bought it in a few more colors. I have been stalking Target since, hoping they would bring it back, but alas, they have moved on in the fashion world. I have this bee in my  bonnet about finding similar materials and recreating it on my own. And since I've hyped myself up in my brain and now think I am capable of making my own clothing, wearable clothing obviously, I have also convinced myself that I can start copying skirts I like on websites. That I don't own to create patterns with. Apparently, I'm that good!

This last one is something I constantly have on my to-do list: I need the clutter gone. We have so. much. crap. It baffles me! Where in the world do we get all this stuff and how does it burrow its way into our home??? I have started with the kitchen. Slowly. Do we really need a million and a half sippy cups? My donation bags have started and I am ready to purge our home from this chaos that we are surrounding ourselves in!