Saturday, July 19, 2008

Camping was a disaster.

Camping was a disaster. Jonah's first teeth broke through the morning of our trip. As you can probably guess from my last post, I was pretty excited about it. Seemed like a real milestone. Something to celebrate. I never took a step back and thought to myself "camping - in a tiny tent - with a teething baby - in 90 degree weather ...let's do it!" As it turns out, camping in a tiny tent with a teething baby in 90 degree weather is about as fun as eating a rusty coat hanger and then punching yourself in the face. Basically Jonah didn't sleep - he screamed. Even during the few moments when he was quiet (when there was a boob in his mouth) we couldn't sleep. I set up the tent on a slant and it was too late to fix it. The zippered window screens in the tent were apparently made of a high-tech material that allowed light, sound and tiny bugs to pass through - but not air. It felt like a sauna. When the sun came up, Nicole wanted to pack and leave immediately but I wanted to stay for the day and salvage what we could of the trip. A major fight ensued and I packed up the tent while being as much of a jerk as possible to punish Nicole. After a couple hours of not talking, yelling, seething and crying, we ended up salvaging a little piece of the trip and then driving home Saturday afternoon. Now that the smoke has cleared, I do remember some parts that were good:

1. Jonah sleeping most of the way there.
2. Buying Dale's Pale Ale in cans and drinking them.
3. Successfully setting up a tent without instructions. (It was Nicole's tent, but she had no idea how to set it up.) I high-fived myself repeatedly after this triumph.
4. Eating S'mores by the campfire.
5. Seeing stars again.
6. Taking Jonah swimming in the lake. His first swim. He loved it so much he looked like he was going to jump right out of his little swim diaper/rubber pants combo.
7. Sleeping in our own bed Saturday night.

Friday, July 11, 2008


We have teeth! Details to follow after this weekend's camping trip. Wish us luck. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Shift Down

I learned about this website called Conscious Consuming from Mothering magazine. It is sponsoring something called Downshifting Week July 7-13. According to Conscious Consuming, "To downshift means to eliminate unnecessary expenditures and cultivate a simpler lifestyle (and leave a lighter environmental footprint) to free up time to do more of what you want."

I think becoming a stay-at-home-mom was in some way my attempt to downshift my life. Making less money forces you to downshift. I have quickly realized that I don't need most of the stuff I thought I needed when we had more income. And, our life is simpler with less money, which is good because keeping things simple has to be good for Jonah. The simple act of walking him to the playground and pushing him on the swings brings smiles and happiness to all of us.

In other ways, having a baby has "upshifted" things. I'm busier and do more "work" than I ever did at any job. I remember counting how many hours I worked at one of my jobs during a particularly busy, stressful week. I clocked more than 60 hours that week and couldn't believe my job required that much of my time and energy. Sixty hours! Now, I know, that's nothing! On the other hand, even though I am more tired than ever, I feel more alive now than I ever did working at one of my super, crazy, busy jobs.

The press release on Downshifting Week was a good read: It encourages people to look at the silver lining in the bad news about how hard it is to get by in today's economy. "A positive approach to living with less helps you re-think ways to enjoy time with your loved ones without reaching for your wallet; changes to your spending habits should happen because you want them to."

I applaud anyone's effort to create a more positive environment, even if it is simply to change one's mindset. Or, really, just to TRY to change your mindset. The effort itself is enough. It's something I work on every day. It's not easy, but I have the most motivating thing in the world to keep trying to make do with less and to have a positive attitude about it: Jonah. ~ Nicole