As I tweated earlier today; Oct 25th is my Minnesotaversery. 8 years here already, I really don’t know where the time went. I did think about what I’ve been doing and basically the majority of my adult happenings have happened here; First house, 2 children born, 2 cats died, first new car(s) ever… I don’t really list getting engaged since that actually happened in Wisconsin, and getting married was very much a NY affair. I didn’t dress for the occasion because I didn’t actually remember it was today until I got to work but I realized everything I was wearing 100% purchased in MN, even underwear and sunglasses. I still play the ‘before’ game, meaning you think about all the things you had ‘before’ X event – we still have plenty of stuff from ‘before’ MN but really less and less in comparison to what we have gotten since we moved. Some of the things we still own we rarely use anymore like the TV we moved with (we upgraded to flat panel) is now in the playroom and rarely ever on. I think our fancy pots and pans, dishes we got free from a friends neighbor, the knife set we got from our wedding, and our kitchen table and bedroom furniture are the major things from ‘before’ that are in daily use now.
The 8 years since we have moved have really been very good for us. We have both progressed in our careers both in the real world and in the SCA and who knows how that would have worked out if we never moved. I still remember vividly those first few days and weeks of not knowing anyone really and not having much to do since I moved without a job. For all of November and December I basically read and worked out and cleaned because thats all there was to do. Little did I know that 8 years later I would have time for none of that! We slowly got into the SCA here and I’m so glad we atleast had that social outlet because otherwise we would have had nothing and while the SCA was semi skeptical of this young knight and his girlfriend who didn’t censor herself well enough I was happy enough for something vaguely familiar. If we were to move tomorrow I would miss all the SCA people here that have become really good friends and while there are still plenty of people that are skeptical there are way more that are fun and nice and cool.
We have even managed to meet not SCA people here and not just work friends either. We are good friends with a couple from daycare who are a great pair and we find ourselves in very similar spots in life so its cool to compare notes and thoughts. We are also friendly with a whole bunch of neighbors, not quite the same as how my parents are with some of their neighbors (one of whom even reads this now and then, hi Brenda!) but moving in that direction with borrowing and lending tools and chatting in the street while kids play just like a good suburban mom.
I was talking to a coworker who moved here from NJ and he was saying that he has been away from NJ for longer then he was there , but, he still says he is from NJ. It is amazing how long you identify with the place you grew up and how much that place formed your opinions and outlooks on the world. Since moving here I have learned a ton about ice fishing, snowmobiling, detasseling corn, what the crop markers on the edges of fields mean, lots about lakes, hunting, gun ownership, steers, soy beans, corn, hotdish, the boundary waters, the UP etc…. of that list I’ve only actually snowmobiled but I have met and listened to people who are passionate about these topics that before MN I only had vague or no knowledge of. This does not even touch the number of things I’ve learned otherwise from work, kids, MBA but I’m pretty sure those would have been more or less the same anywhere.
Most importantly, living in MN has truly expanded my ‘states I’ve visited’ count, if it weren’t for living here I would know nothing about the midwest states. My state count is now 26; lived in – NY, PA, MN (3) – been to pre MN – NJ, FL, Ga, NC, SC, VA, VT, NH, ME, OH (10) post MN – ND, SD, IA, CO, TX, OK, MO, KA, NA, WI, IL, IN, WA (13).
I suppose that is enough of a rehash of my years here. I really should be doing homework but time enough for that tomorrow, Lars has my books in the car anyway but he should be home any second so I should get this posted. Nine years ago smart money would have said I would be in the tri-state area and odds on MN would have been 100 to 1 – just goes to show you never know what is around the bend.
Wow time flies! October has been a hectic month but is a good way. This past weekend my parents came to visit lured by my family business class. I have not mentioned this class much because it is an odd duck. I have definite complaints about it that I’ve mentioned (but can be repeated in my opinion they bother me so much) starting with the fact that it is a half hour earlier and in a location I don’t really like. It is also reading and writing heavy, more then my past few classes but I’m getting in the grove. It also has a semi randomness to the schedule, it isn’t every Thursday and there are 3 Saturday s thrown in… Oh well, the rest is very positive; the work I’m doing for the class directly benefits my personal business, and, can be shared with my family who are in the same business, not to mention the fun of having my family in the class, even when it is just Lars, is cool because we have a common frame of reference for this stuff on top of good idea starters from the material. Thanksgiving will be our ‘corporate retreat’ I think. When we were not in class the parents and we did fun stuff like look at new properties and go to our favorite pumpkin farm. I have many cute pictures but the trip was not as laid back as normal since we had to do it pre nap in order to get the parents to the airport on time. Getting everyone up, dressed, fed, bags packed, and out the door before 10am takes a miracle but we did it. After the airport drop off we went to Ikea for more window hardware and dinner. We ended up getting a cool easel for Niamh for Christmas too and a few odds and ends but it was a nice capper to the weekend. While it was great to see my parents, it is sad when they are gone because it reinforces the ‘aloneness’ of MN but here is where we are so might as well be happy about it and enroll in an airline miles program.
Work this week so far has decided not to try and eat my face off meaning I can actually get some of the things that have been nagging but not urgent actually done. Feeling accomplished at work goes a long way toward a decent mood. My mood is often tender since I hardly ever sleep more than 3 h at a shot and I can actually feel coffee making my brain work. I think this might be a positive for teen pregnancy; staying up all night isn’t a big deal at 17 but at 30 I feel it.
The last few days I’ve been doing little Halloween crafts and I owe the internet pictures of them all because they are very cute. I also need to get to it on Niamh’s Dora costume; I have the components but everything needs some tweaking to make it work for her. The most funny tweak needed is on her shorts, they used to fit but now without diaper butt they fall down so I need to make them smaller. Have I mentioned potty training lately? Well not in a week at least so the most current news is that we are dry all day, even naps, and have only had 2 accidents in 3 weeks later at night.
Ok, that is the weekend past, the weekend to come will be fun too; it is our first family trip that does not include an SCA event or a Family event – we are just going to go and hopefully it will be fun.
I heard from a few people (including Lars) that Zoe has laughed but tonight I heard it for the first time. A real, true laugh and it was for Niamh 🙂 We were eating dinner; Niamh a nutritious string cheese, carrot, and liverwurst dinner and Zoe; banana flavored glop and Niamh made a funny noise and all of a sudden Zoe was laughing.
Incidently the noise Niamh made was a raspberry and that coated me in a fine spray of what I hope is only chocolate soy milk but thats ok. Soon Zoe added to my outfit by sneezing glop all over me. Niamh thought I was ‘covering Zoe’s cough’ just like they are taught to do at school but I was really just shielding myself from flying baby food. Its all good, baby laughing makes minor things like wearing someone else’s dinner not so bad.
It has been two weeks since I’ve done a ‘what’s up’ post (what, is this confession?) and, as usual, the reasons revolve around not having two seconds to sit and write at home. The past few weeks have had a few big happenings and a ton of little things that conspire against me. I’m even behind on my flickr! I have many many pictures of cuteness trapped in my camera, maybe sometime soon I can release them.
Two weeks ago we made it to an apple orchard that actually lets you pick apples. We had a great time with friends and spent a nice few hours riding a hay wagon, playing in a big hay pile, and actually picking apples. Niamh took a few tester bites out of a few too many apples. Getting her to pick and not drop from a great height or taste the apple was a trick. In the end we left with a pound of apples and we are still happily munching through them. Yesterday Niamh actually got deep enough into an apple to find seeds and asked what they were. Telling her not to eat them didn’t exactly have the effect I intended, meaning, she ate them anyway, so I’m hopefully they come out the other end without issue. I know I broke the Niamh rule, I told her NOT to do something, the trick with her is to tell her what TO do. She isn’t a bad brand of two, pretty mellow I think, but telling her NO is like a challenge she can’t pass up.
This past weekend we went to Zoe’s first event, Crown Tournament. It has been forever since we went to an event but it was nice to see everyone and I really wish I had more time to make my SCA time more fun. I would really like to make some new garb, a nice easy to transport ground cloth, maybe a nice box to replace/mask my plastic tote… It is a fine balance between living well and hauling a trailer to every event. Both kids were very good at the event, Niamh likes to watch fighting and Zoe can sleep through it just fine. Niamh was very excited to go and refused to put on a t-shirt because it was not her GARB!!! – she also refused to take her garb off so we went to a bar/diner with her dressed a bit oddly. The event was only 2 hours away, I think we are going to be somewhat limited on events until Zoe is better in the car. She actually slept most of both ways this time but timing that is funky. Driving to Oklahoma at Thanksgiving will be ‘fun’…
Sunday we got some house work done, not enough but better than nothing. I really hate sacrificing time as a family for cleaning but I also really dislike living in a constant churn of mess. The past two weeks have just been super full with activities on the weekends but during the week I have class on Thursday that is both a half hour earlier than any other class and further away so I can’t even stop home at all. I have to read a few chapters a week, and, write papers so time I have kid free or kid calm I need to spend working on school rather than working on a project or the house. The final straw to my sanity was that I interviewed for a new job, internal, but it is at a different location and it takes over an hour to get there. The day I interviewed killed me because I spent 3 hours driving and while I actually really like the sound of the new job I don’t have an extra 3 hours to loose. I don’t really dislike my job, but after 5 years I’m ready for something a bit different. Contemplating that drive for the vague difference in position I think I would have to decline an offer (if offered) but it kills me to say no to it because I intellectually want the change but I’m hardly keeping the house together as it is. I mentioned to Lars that I would like to hire someone to pick up the house, maybe 3 days a week for an hour, but if you start multiplying out that it can get pretty expensive. Beside the money, it would be hard to find the right person because I’m not talking about someone to just dust and mop, I want someone who will put away laundry, tidy dishes and toys, and make the house look nice. Lars said he would help more but between his job and workout schedule he really is already doing what he can. This is my current problem… I suppose another first world problem I’m happy enough to have; I have too much stuff to keep tidy. There are ways for me to find an hour, I could get up earlier or come home at lunch but that really starts hurting me more than the mess. I guess if someone knows someone reliable and close that might want a job like this let me know
Onward to less complaining things; work sponsored a 5k last week ( I know, adding to my stress but it was fun) and I did pretty well. I beat my boss in the last straight away and it was a fun half hour. I also got a t-shirt, what everyone really runs 5k’s for. The day was perfect and the course was killer; tons of sandy steep hills, but we were running on an ATV trail so they really don’t want them to be dull for riding. The 5k was also a good goal to keep me running every week so I didn’t embarrass myself and all that running has paid off. As of Saturday I fit basically all my pants again. I’m not the same body shape, there is still a bit of fluff to work off, but when I buttoned those pants and they fit I couldn’t help saying “I’m skinny!!!” and Niamh took up the cry of “Mommy is skinny!” and that is a phrase I don’t mind her repeating allllll day. Running+Nursing+no time to eat=pants fit.
Well this is verging on too long so I’ll finish up. I’m writing this during a conference call that I need to wait for my turn to talk for three seconds and the rest is on as ‘exotic’ background noise since the majority is in Chinese. On the bright side of work, things have leveled out some. I know looking backward I expect a lot from myself only 6 weeks back to work but I think now it is like I never left and I’m just dealing with new issues rather than trying to play catch up. I don’t want to get behind again so I need to go do some other work while listening to a design review in Chinese.
Well, I suppose I can’t say that it is the best for sure, but, it is the best one I’ve ever seen. Right now I don’t actually use a camera bag, I just carry it around and when I’m tired of carrying it I make Lars carry it. It does mean the camera is always to hand, but, maybe this would be an awesome Christmas or Birthday idea since I have taken over 5000 pictures this year .