Saturday, November 9, 2013

Living in a Volcano

It’s 9:30pm and I am alone in my new apartment, with only one floor lamp’s soft glow to light my surroundings, and the steady, melodic din of my entire Sufjan Stevens catalogue playing happily on shuffle through the stereo from my iPod. I’ve spent my evening cleaning and unpacking. David is at a youth event and so I took on the week’s unwashed dishes on my own, after finding a place for the new microwave, moving our two arm chairs, and flattening about a trillion newly-emptied cardboard boxes.

The downside to downsizing is obvious: space is precious and finding economy with how and where you place your everyday items is a challenge. Well that challenge has been compacted by the timing of our move coinciding with crazy-busy work weeks for Dave and I both, and trying to live out of boxes in the transitory times between sleeping and working. When everything around you is chaotic towers of boxes and strewn articles, your everyday tidiness habits decide to play hooky, along with the ability to find anything when you need it, the desire to eat off of non-disposable dishes, and the ability to cook. And that’s all before counting in the added fatigue of pregnancy.

I’ve had a few moments over the past two weeks of “living” here, where I’ve seriously asked whether we’ll ever be able to unpack and organize to a level of comfort/visual appeal so that I will no longer feel like I live in a storage closet. I’ve asked this rhetorical-but-not question of David a few times, and to my dismay, his optimism and complete lack of detail orientation, layered thickly with his enjoyment in my grumblings (he says they’re “cute,” and doesn’t really take them seriously,) causes him to dismiss my question with “Ooooh, yes, it will be better.” I don’t think I can adequately describe the tone of his voice when he says this. It’s like… like when a child asks you if a nearby volcano is going to erupt and destroy your home in the Midwest: “Ooooh, no, no, we will be fine. No volcanoes nearby. How cute of you to be afraid of that!”

David doesn’t realize that I am living in an active volcano. Nesting instincts + chaotic living conditions = potential for total destruction of my peace of mind.

Thankfully, this weekend we will have fewer obligations to keep us from home and David has promised to help me get things organized. But then I think about how much work we will have to do, and on a weekend, and I get tired just thinking of how never-ending this feels. I really believe God created Sabbath rest for people like me who would otherwise just keep working and never stop. There’s always more to do.

That’s probably also why God gave me a three-day weekend; I have Monday off, blessed mercy from heaven! So Monday will be my observing the Sabbath day—just rest and play, no work for me.

And, if David is right and my volcano paranoia that our new apartment will enclose on me like the hoarder lady’s house of creepy childhood memories in Labyrinth is as unfounded as he believes, we will have a much more relaxing atmosphere in which to Sabbath come Monday. (I like using Sabbath as a verb, with the arbitrary grammatical authority of my English degree.)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Time to Spill

I haven't been too consistent lately in my writing, and I know that takes the motivation away from those who might otherwise be interested in following this blog, but let me take a minute while you're sitting right there to tell you how I became the prince of a town called Bel Air. I mean, why I haven' been writing. Sorry. The 90s just came out of me for a second.

Yesterday, David's birthday, we announced on Facebook the secret I've been keeping for the last 7 weeks: I'm pregnant! I've wanted to keep up with The Frugal Aesthetic all these weeks, but it was kind of impossible to think of anything to write genuinely about without sharing the news. So I'll share now some thoughts I jotted down two weeks ago about this wonderful new change of course in our lives:

Thoughts from October 21:

Blogging is a lot more difficult when the thing foremost in my mind is a secret. My pregnancy monopolizes much of my thought space right now, and what it doesn't overthrow, it impedes- like thinking about meal planning. Kinda hard to meal plan when the only foods that don't make me want to vomit just thinking about them are eggs on English muffins and Taco Bell quesadillas. Ok, so there are a few other non-nausea-inducing foods I could think of, but who has the energy? This baby is usurping it all and taking the throne of my body's priorities.

I shouldn't complain- I know compared to many moms my morning sickness symptoms are a walk in the park. I haven't even thrown up once. I've been able to go to work every day and do my job- meeting the energetic demands of three little boys and still managing to do the extra chores as well.  But this is my very first experience with prego hormones and the fatigue and illness that accompany them. I'm doing my best just to fulfill my daily obligations and keep myself fed.

All that to say, can you understand why the blog has been a little neglected?

Sorry I couldn't spill the beans sooner- I found it prudent to keep my pregnancy quiet until I knew the chance of miscarriage was greatly diminished. Now that you know, you'll pardon me if I wax loquacious on pretty much nothing but mommy-to-be topics.

It's a new category of living for me that will test and challenge my commitment to live simply. What with my nesting instincts kicking in, and the plethora of baby merchandise now overtaking the American mommy culture, I know I'll have to go against the grain a bit to decide what the little one and I need versus what many will tell me we need, or what I may become convinced I want.

Some will question Dave's and my decision to downsize at this moment in our life- I mean, who finds out they're going to have a new little member of the family and then up and moves into a space much smaller than before!? Who does that?!

We do, and we don't have any second thoughts. Here's why:

First of all, the moment Dave and I came to realize we were both equally committed to this bold move, God opened a door. It took less than 10 days from the inception of the plan, to signing the lease.

The day we signed the lease, I had secretly bought a pregnancy test and had it hidden in my purse to take later that day. I signed without knowing if I was pregnant or not, but trusting that the peace I felt was from the Lord.

Of course, the test showed positive in like, 5 seconds. And I got to keep that knowledge to myself until I saw David after work.

(A break from explaining why downsizing is still a good move while I tell you how I told Dave he's going to be a father):

I had the stick in my back pocket and walked into the kitchen and gave David a hug. He smiled down at me and said, "Are you really going to finish that whole loaf of bread this week"? (We had a lovely sourdough loaf and David couldn't have any because he's still avoiding grains and sugars) "Yes, WE will finish it," I replied. At that he got annoyed because he thought I meant he and I when I said "we," but really I meant me and the baby on whose behalf I'm eating. "You know I can't eat it!" he said, and then I whipped out the pregnancy test and told him who I meant by "we."

He was so shocked, but immediately thrilled. I don't know who is more excited to welcome our little nugget into the world, him or me. Or Grandma.

Now here's the other reason downsizing is such great timing right now: babies don't care where they live. Are they warm and fed? Then they're happy. And if we had stayed in our 2-bedroom, we would probably start to think we needed all that extra space we were paying a premium for, and we'd have stayed there, and our ability to save up for this baby and pay off some debt would have been severely handicapped.

Plus, I was practically asking God to test my contentment in Him and not material security when I asked Him to help us downsize and pay off debt. Now in true God form, He has upped the stakes and given me what I asked for, plus more.

And finally, we asked God for this child. It was no accident. We know we aren't in the financial spot we'd prefer to be in when we become parents, but we are encouraged by God's timing of the two circumstances happening together- we are so secure in His providence that we don't have anything to fear.