Our holiday shopping has been on hiatus. I've just been choosing not to think about shopping for the people I'm unsure of what to get. This might not be the best plan of action.
But, I've been busy. A FB friend had a picture of her son with plastic canvas needlepoint blocks. I asked her about them and now I'm making a set for Natalie. So, I've been designing them without a pattern, getting the materials, and actually making them. The panels turned out bigger than I planned, but choose canvas any smaller wouldn't have fit the yarn. I have started to assemble the first cube, and Natalie seemed pretty excited over the finished panels. My friend said that the set her mother made had bells inside. So, I bought some bells at the store. Leave it to me to turn craft bell buying into a fiasco. I knew I already had some bells at home, and then the store had three choices in size. I decided to buy all three and return the one I didn't want, figuring that I'd mix up the bells to make the blocks sound different. Then I started to feel guilty about spending $2.50 on each package of bells and decided to return two packages. Then, this morning we went to play downstairs. Natalie found the cat toy basket. I found in there three hard balls with bells or beads. Natalie loved them! They cats never play with them, so I'm going to return all the bells and use those cat toys inside the blocks instead. But, it is a set of five blocks, and that only covered bells for four. I'm thinking, where can I get one more bell? I look over at the Christmas tree and right in front Mike's hung up some cheap bell ornament someone gave us. Perfect! I saw I could easily take the decorative piece off the top with a screwdriver, and ta-da, another bell. I can now return like $7 of stuff to the store.
Money continues to be on my mind, if you hadn't noticed. Whenever we have out serious money talks, I always think about what things we have in the house that we aren't using that we could get money for. At the moment, that's 140 VHS tapes that Mike has never watched since we've lived together, and I never have time to watch. (Actually, I've already sold most of mine). We can get a quarter a tape, so that's $35 dollars, which is more than enough to buy Mike his new extended Blu-Ray edition of Avitar. I think we should do it, and I think I've almost convinced him, too.
My other plan is to start tutoring. We have a window here while Natalie isn't nursing anymore and before we have a second child, where I can be away from the house and Mike can take care of all of Natalie's needs without me. The big problem is figuring out how much to charge. There isn't much information on the topic. I couldn't even find out how much the big places like Sylvan charge for their services per hour. I've decided that $30 an hour is what we'll go with. I mean, an adult baby sitter makes about $8 - $10, and what I'm doing is more specialized and for shorter periods of time. The next problem is actually finding students tutor. I've been working on a flyer / resume to send to Leavitt, since I have contacts there. If anyone knew of a student needing tutoring, most of the faculty would give me a good recommendation to parents. However, I worry that most of the kids who need tutoring aren't going to have parents willing to pay for it. Mike says that I should also advertise in our twin cities, but I'm reluctant. Not only do I not have contacts there, but I'm likely to encounter ELL students, which isn't something I have any real experience with. Anyway, if this idea works out, I could do pretty well. I don't want to take on more than 3 kids at once, but Mike says if I did 7 hours a week, I'd be making about half of what I made as a teacher.
In other news, Mike's mother might be coming back up North. Mike's brother and his family are seriously thinking about moving to Florida, but his wife is concerned about leaving her family in Texas. Then there is the concern about there being three unemployed adults living in one house in addition to three children. That's a scary predicament to willingly enter. So, if things don't work out, Mike's mom is going to come back up this way. That would mean that she would live near her sister in MA or she would come live near us. From what Mike told me, she is thinking about living near us. This is great news for our family (though I do feel a bad that she'll be leaving Chris since he was so excited about her coming and deserves equal time with his mom, but as my mom said, he is the one who chose to move away). Not only would we have our favorite (and only) baby sitter back, but Natalie loves her Nana. Even now that she is has been away for months, Natalie is still excited to see her on Skype. I think it would take very little adjustment time for her to be comfortable with Nana again in person. And like any mom, I feel very comfortable leaving Natalie with family. It also settles our problem of what to do when a second child is born. But, I also really like Mike's mom. She's fun to hang out with and talk to and she knows how to do lots of things I don't, so I can learn a lot from her. Not to mention, that of course Mike would love for her to be around again. I'm trying to get my hopes up, mostly because it isn't nice for me to be hoping that things don't work out in Texas.
Mike and I continue to talk about how a second child would be. We love Natalie so much that we know we are going to love a second baby, but we like how our life is right now. We are getting by money-wise and we are able to shower Natalie with love and attention. A second baby would through everything off and be a lot of work and money in preparations and care. While we wouldn't need to buy a lot of baby gear, we will need to convert our office into another room. (I'll be sad to see the office go). And while Mike won't have to battle wallpaper or even paint since that room is a light green, we have no furniture. Natalie will still need her crib and changing table mostly likely, and we don't have an extra dresser. And, if we were to have a boy or a girl at a different season, we'd need almost all new clothes. This is our week for trying, so these things are on our minds. Of course if we were to be successful this month, Natalie and the second child would be about a month apart in terms of the month of their birth, which would be excellent if we had another girl.
I think of how hard it will be to have two children. In some ways, it won't be hard. When I first had Natalie, I felt I couldn't leave her alone when she was awake for a minute. I didn't want her to be lonely or bored. But, I now know that I could have spent a lot more of my time doing other things and Natalie wouldn't have been bothered. Besides, the second child would watch Natalie and I. But, nursing every few hours day and night will be hard. Natalie will have to wait for me to do what she wants and the lack of sleep will be harder. But, when I think about it, I think it will only really be hard for about a year. When the second child gets to be about Natalie's age, then nursing will be much less or over, sleep will be going well, and the child would probably be walking. There of course would be new problems of them getting along, and potty training Natalie, and a the like, but I think once we got through the first year and the new child could communicate some, play alone, move around, and eat meals with us, it would be easier. It will be interesting to see if I think I'm crazy years from now.
In addition to thinking about Christmas presents and decorations and new babies, we have more things going on! I wanted badly to be in a book club, so I started one on line. Then, my neighbor told me about a book club a lot of the mom's at story time are in, including the story time librarian. So, now I'm in two book clubs! The first book club meeting for my local book club is the 17th. I'm more than half way through the book, so that's not a concern. I'm not sure of the time of the meeting, but it might mean me being away for bed time for the first time ever! Its both a little uncomfortable (because I love bed time), but also liberating and exciting.
This Saturday we've been in invited to my neighbor's daughter's first birthday party. We are still up in the air about going. Natalie loves my neighbor and likes her daughter, too, so that's a great reason to go, but my neighbor is more laid back than me and hasn't made invitations (yet?) so I'm not sure of the time and such. We currently are thinking that I will bring Natalie across the street and Mike will go out and do the weekly shopping, including getting my Christmas gift. But, also asked my friend about going to the Maine Mall and the Christmas Tree Shop in Portland, and she mentioned going on Saturday. I feel like we really should go to this birthday party because they've invited us to things a few times and we've never gone, and that's rude and they'll think we don't really like them. But, I don't want to pass up the opportunity to go out with my friend either. Hopefully, we'll go shopping together on Sunday, and Mike can watch Natalie.
Speaking of Sunday, we were invited to a party that day, too! I've been talking with another woman at play group and we discovered that we are neighbors, too! While my first neighbor lives across the street and down one house (if I really try, I can just barely see their property from the window), this neighbor lives the other way down the street. We have passed her house several times going to a convenience store on the corner, but generally don't go that way as often. She is throwing a Pampered Chief party. Our big problem was finding a baby sitter, but then she made it sound like we could bring Natalie. But, she also made it sound like it would be expected for Natalie to not cling to us and play in another room. I don't see that happening. Then we thought about it and decided that a cooking party really isn't a good idea with my food allergies. What if there were nuts? Or worse yet, if someone cooked pasta and I had to leave because I can't breath? So, I declined her invitation at play group on Monday. Then she told me they aren't cooking anything that complicated and I felt a bit like an idiot.
Anyway, she sells lia sophia jewelery, and has invited me to an event for that on the 29th in the evening. I want to try to go to it to make up for not going to the party this weekend. Its the same idea as my other neighbor, I don't want her to start thinking I don't want to spend time with her. But, I don't want to go alone. I've asked my friend to come along in an email, but she hasn't responded yet. This new neighbor and I have also talked about trading baby sitting, as I have with my other neighbor, but I'm still unsure. I think I could handle either of their kids for a few hours, especially if Mike were around to help our the first few times. But, we generally want to go out in the evening and I don't see that working for either of these moms. I guess Mike and I could go out for lunch instead of dinner or an afternoon movie. Bother are better as far as money is concerned anyway, but feel like less of a date.
Mike and I have also been looking into taking Natalie to the Children's Museum in Portland. It looks great for her age for a lot of the exhibits. I started thinking about it again after talking to my neighbor at play group. She had been to Boston, but not the one in Portland. So, I sent her the link on FB and told her how if we get a group of ten together, its $3 less per person. Ten people would be exactly the three families that live on our road, well, maybe not, I guess my play group neighbor's three month old wouldn't count. I'm sure we could figure something out though. I think a trip to the Museum would be a great idea for us to spend time together and get to know each other more.
I think I'm out of topics, and Natalie is awake now anyway. I can hear her playing with her lion mirror on her crib. It has dangling feet that are rattles. She also likes to kiss herself in the mirror with loud "muah" sounds. Clear indicators that she is no longer sleeping. She did alright, just about an hour. Meanwhile, I got almost nothing done since I decided to blog. Other than checking FB and Goodreads book club, I turned off the light downstairs and picked up the cat toys. Very productive considering I'm not fully dressed and had at least two other things to do on the computer.