So much time has elapsed since my last blog entry that I actually forgot how to log into this thing again!
What to say? My little newborn is now one year and 17 days old. He is a funny, chatty, expressive little wonder. And I wonder daily what I ever did to deserve this amazing (and amazingly blond) little babe. (Said his dark-haired mother.)
I did finally get three job offers. I turned down the "big" job with a fat paycheck, fancy title and big office in downtown Chicago in favor of working 3-4 days per week for a consulting firm where I can continue to work from home. I think it was a great decision. I have a nanny now on my working days, but see my son often during my work day and never feel like I've missed something important. And my job doesn't own my life. I still own it.
Working more frequently while caring for a baby has been a big adjustment, but we are in a much better financial place now. So, much better than last Christmas when we were broke and I used my holiday gift cards on diapers and formula and prayed at Christmas that I would keep finding ways to scrimp, sell or earn in order to cover the mortgage.
Nevertheless, with our new-found income, we have continued to be pretty frugal. Paying down debt accumulated in leaner times and hitting the yard/garage sales like crazy this past summer. I'm still amazed at how well I can do buying lots of things second hand (baby stuff especially). Better financially and better for the environment. A real win-win.
We are still living in that little, sometimes drafty, almost 90-year-old house in Chicago. I'm still thinking of replacing the kitchen floor and redoing the downstairs bathroom and, lately, with a crawling-trying-to-walk baby around, thinking of getting the hardwoods covered with less injurious carpet. But none of the above has been done. My frugal nature insists that I get rid of remaining debt before incurring new costs. So, new kitchen floor and living room carpet in 2010? We'll see.
Craze and I are still going strong. Next June marks 10 years of togetherness. For a guy who seemed to have no interest in kids, he has proved to be a committed, funny and tender dad, who never shirks a diaper change and loves nothing better than the sound of his son's laugh and his beaming little face.
Our animal family is still here, too. Bug, who is mostly terrified of kids, loves Henry. She is so very good with him. The formerly-stinky-big-headed-foster-dog who became our dog is still here, too. He is, however, the most expensive dog of all time (at least in our experience) because of his hip issues and previous leg break (was hit by a car years before we adopted him), but we love him and he loves us and now, at least, I'm actually making some money to pay for his care. And who needs a beach vacation when instead you've got a 70-lb golden haired boyfriend who likes to try and sit in your lap most days? And the Alley Cat and Grey round out that little pack. Both are purring along, soft and sleek and lovable as ever.
I am still heavy. Yeah, I lost the baby weight, but was pretty big to begin with and it's all still there. I'm the frumpiest I've ever been, but mostly zen about it all. On a whim, I had a bunch of my long hair cut off a couple months ago into an impossibly high-maintenance hair cut that made me look like a scarecrow if I didn't straighten it daily. The bleach blond peek-a-boo highlights didn't help. Needless to say, I looked like a scarecrow post-cut most days. Thankfully, two months of growth and a ten-minute hair color session has made me look more presentable (no more peek-aboo!) and I'm looking forward to more hair (along with other changes) in 2010.
I joined Weight Watchers just before Thanksgiving and have lost 5.4 lbs in five weeks. Not bad considering this has included Thanksgiving, baby bday party (and homemade chocolate cake!) and run-up to Christmas. And frankly, while it would be nice to break out of the frump rut, I am more committed to just being in better shape. I would love nothing better than to be able to sit on the floor and play with my son and get up from said floor with ease. It's the "ease" part that I need to work on and Weight Watchers is a first step in that direction.
Not to mention, I have a cute, thin husband who still manages to love me even though I look pretty awful most days lately. Looking and feeling better certainly couldn't hurt in the relationship department.
And like myself, my house is sort of frumpy, too. Aside from the old, chipped kitchen floor, crummy downstairs loo and lack of living room carpet, the onslaught of baby toys and gear has made our clutter issues seem so much worse (and I think caring for a little one has made it a lot easier for the clutter to pile up and stay piled up). My wish for 2010 is that I can streamline myself and my stuff and make my home more livable and easy to clean/maintain in order. It's time for a big purge, all around.
All that said, 2009 was a financially stressful year and the lack of sleep from 7+ months of night-time feedings/baby not sleeping through the night made it harder. But at the same time, it was really an amazing, pivotal year in my life. Having birthed my babe last December, 2009 is the year when I really became a mother in caring for that little boy every single day. It has been the most amazing gift of my life. And even with no money coming in and sitting up for those 4 am feedings, I remember sitting in the dark in his room and reminding myself to cherish every moment. And I think I will remember those middle-of-the-night hours spent nursing and quietly singing to him, looking outside at the snow quietly falling or the shadows on the wall, wondering what this little person would grow to be, for the rest of my life.
And I have an overwhelming sense of gratitude. That my child is healthy and happy, tall and bright. That we still have a warm, cozy roof over our heads. That we find a reason to laugh at least once a day. That I have met new people who shine a light into my life through their own faith and selflessness. That I have founds ways to give back to others who have less.
So, I guess really 2009 was more about riches than anything. I may be frumpy, but I'm sort of fantastic as well. And I guess that's pretty great.