Thursday, September 18, 2014

It's been a while

It's been a wild, crazy summer. I've had so much going on, both professionally and personally, that something had to give and, unfortunately, what gave was my blogging time. I have had so many ideas I wanted to write down, or started to write down, but never got to complete. There are so many things I want to get done and only so many hours in a day. Getting into all of the details would be far, far more than one (or even 8) blog posts could handle, so I won't even attempt it. I'll just highlight, and say that most of the changes have been really good. Also, I didn't stop writing entirely. I feel a little silly admitting this, but I wrote a book. It's a lighthearted piece of fluff, but one I think is good enough that I'm now working on getting it published. (Wish me luck!) So that's been sucking up any potential blogging time I might have had.
So what are the big changes and highlights? First of all, there's work. I got a new job! This has been one of the best changes in my life since Miss B was born. I interviewed for this job mostly because it was away from my old supervisor (who was bad enough, and crazy enough, that I actually had to file a complaint against her with HR sometime in the last year--and the problems didn't stop, I just tried to keep my head down until I could find a way out) and because I would get a small pay raise. Well, the new job is better than I expected. I'm actually really enjoying it as a job. The tasks are fun, and my coworkers and supervisor are really supportive and friendly. I've worked with them before, so I did know that going into the job. But it's refreshing, after hating work and being so stressed out about it for so long, to have going to work suddenly be pretty good. And that small pay raise? It turns out that moving up a level the way I did entitled me to a 10% pay raise, rather than the $.50 or so that I thought it would be. Now, I keep thinking of this quote, but my raise is nothing to sneeze at. It's enough that when Shane told me his campus job from the last two semesters is only taking on grad students this semester, we were able to be happy about it rather than stressed. We don't *need* the money from that job anymore, and now he gets to be home with Miss B more which makes finding babysitters for his class time much easier. He's still working his weekend job, and we're staying afloat. It's a good feeling.
Miss B herself is thriving. She's 10 months old today! I can hardly believe it, although my thoughts keep turning to the upcoming 1st birthday party. I'm excited to plan it. We're going to ask the grandparents not to go crazy on gifts, and tell friends that gifts are unnecessary, because she's turning 1 and doesn't have any expectations and won't remember it anyway.
We've finally got some of her sleeping problems settled. She's been in her own crib for several months now, and I miss the co-sleeping less than I thought I would. Don't get me wrong, sleepy baby snuggles are awesome. But she was pinching and scratching and kicking us toward the end there and we were being driven crazy. So the move into her own sleeping space has been a really great thing for all of us. She still doesn't want to go to sleep, and usually wakes herself up several times after we put her in bed, but once she's out we get only two wakeup calls during the night, to eat and be changed.
She's thoroughly mobile now, on the cusp of walking. She has a baby walker which she can push around the living room and has quickly gotten really good at it. And she can stand for at least 30 seconds on her own. I've seen her eyeing distances between furniture like, "Hmm, could I walk there?" before she decides that the answer is "no" and drops to a crawl.
She calls us by our slave names, "Mama" and "Dada". She even started calling one grandmother "Nana". Very exciting. It adds an extra level of pathos when I'm trying to make dinner and she crawls over to me, pulls herself up to stand clutching my leg, and says, "Ma! Mama!" because she wants to be held. Since she's so very curious I've been trying to get her involved in cooking as much as possible. She loves it. I'll pick her up once I've got all of the chopping and prep work done, and describe what I'm doing and why I'm doing it as I add ingredients to a dish. "See the onions? See how they're getting lighter and softer? They're almost ready." Yesterday she helped me make bread and was fascinated with the whole process. I let her eat a couple of small bites of dough and when I was kneading it she got some flour to play with. It's working really well for us to do things this way. She so wants to be like the big people that making her feel involved and important is going to be key as she grows up, I suspect.
As always, the summer garden had highlights and low moments. My potatoes were awful because it was the rainiest, wettest summer on record and they just didn't do well. Neither did any of my squashes. I got one--one!--zucchini. Thankfully, a friend got quite a few so she shared with me, and I grabbed some from the farmer's market. Others of my plants did really well, though. Carrots and lettuce went crazy. We had at least one big dinner salad each week this summer, with enough leftovers to be lunch the next day. So we worked with what we had, and I'm filling in now with farmer's market produce to shore up supplies for the winter. Because it's Fairbanks, and as cliche as it has become to say, winter is coming.
Last day for the market is this Saturday. I'm sad, but excited too. I love autumn. All of the gorgeous colors, the different foods we're eating now. It's glorious. Here's a picture I took on a bike ride last weekend:
Beautiful. I live in such a gorgeous place.
That being said, we're working on eating up all of our stores of food by next May, because we're planning to move. Out of Alaska. There are so very many reasons why--Shane can get a better job in another state, I want to be closer to my parents, etc.--but it's still not an easy decision to make. I have a running "pros and cons" list in my head and it comes out about even for both moving and staying. Shane is more excited to move than I am, actually, and without his enthusiasm we would probably stay here. As it is, I'm trying to think only of the positives and not what I will miss so much about Fairbanks. Perhaps we'll come back to live here again someday. At the very least, we have friends here so it won't be a permanent goodbye.
Right now it is definitely the busy season. I'm trying to preserve as much good, local food as possible, trying to get out for bike rides and walks as much as we can while the weather is nice (I love our bike trailer), and at the same time trying to focus on indoor pursuits. I haven't knitted, well, anything in the past two years, so I want to correct that. I've had a sweater which was half finished when I got pregnant and then realized that I wouldn't be able to wear it for about a year anyway so I never finished it. I'm doing so now. Then I want to make a couple of toddler hats (I found an adorable and warm pattern from a Norwegian woman whose last name was my maiden name--distant relative perhaps?), some baby mittens, and maybe some baby sweaters and baby boots (we'll see about the boots--she's got mukluks which would be much warmer, but will they fit during the early part of winter?), as well as some items for Christmas presents.
I also interlibrary loaned a whole pile of books which I've been frantically trying to read before their assigned due dates. Most of them, I've had to request a renewal.
As if all of this wasn't enough, I started a workout program on Monday. T25, so it's supposedly only 25 minutes a day. But then I have to factor in procrastination (I pick up all the toys in the living room so that I can actually workout without stepping on something potentially dangerous) and shower time. The workout is kicking my butt and just what I need to really get back into shape. Walking and biking have been great, but I need more core work and the only work my arms have gotten is lifting and carrying the babe. It's not nothing, but I'd rather not get hurt because I was neglecting to work my arms and shoulders.
So that's what I've been doing the last few months. What about you? How was your summer?