Wednesday, August 25, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday, again

Well, I did it last week and it was good for me, and many of you said you enjoyed reading it too... so let's give it another go!
  1. On HEALTH: I've been trading off between the Jillian Michael's 30-day Shred and Firm Yoga. I feel good after both of them, but they're quite different. I want to keep it up but also want to be careful to maintain my milk supply, as I've felt that it's been affected some by the additional strain from exercise. I'm also trying --trying!-- to stop drinking my husband's awesome sweet tea throughout the day and just limit myself to a glass or two at dinner. But man, I got into a bad habit in the pregnant heat of this summer. So I'm aiming to replace those sweet tea hankerings with ice water. Yum. Really, there is something about water that just hits the spot. Plus, like I mentioned, I wanna keep up that milk supply.

  2. I also went to the mall all by myself-- I can't remember the last time that happened-- and bought a couple of shirts and a new skirt so I have something nice to wear from time to time. "What Not To Wear"'s Clinton & Stacey resonate in my head sometimes, and I heard them dissing my cooking-oil-stained, ill-fitting, everything-in-my-entire-wardrobe-is-several-years-old clothing selection. So I did something about it. Well, I have to be honest, I did a little something about it. Most of what I have in my drawers still fits that description, but a girl can only do so much solo shopping with a little sweet nursling waiting for her to get home at a certain time. Anyway, I had fun buying a few new things. Frugality is wonderful, and contentment is a key to joy. But it feels nice to at least feel like I can be presentable and not distracted wondering if anyone around me has noticed the huge oil stains from when I made fried eggs and forgot to wear an apron one time two years ago.

    Living overseas, getting used to different shops, sizes, and clothing quality, as well as just the normal time constraints of a homeschooling mom of (now) five has definitely put a damper on my ability to shop (and even my awareness of how to shop). In America, I used to just occasionally pop into Kohl's or Old Navy, head straight for my favorite section of the store, browse the sales rack, try a few things on, and buy what was needed. By that method, pretty much for my whole adult life, I'd continually maintained a presentable wardrobe, no matter what size I was, no matter what our budget was (both Old Navy & Kohl's have killer sales!), etc.

    But here, the quality of cotton here is poorer, the washers and dryers are harder on clothes, and it's an indoor/outdoor culture. The rules are different. Let's says you buy a few new shirts for summer, by American standards, you think you're all set, and that those shirts should last you at least 2-3 summers before wearing out. But here, the seams pull on one of the shirts and it's ripped and ruined the first wash. Or, the cotton that was strong and pretty at the beginning of the summer is faded and worn and thin by the end of the summer. Or, moths eat through it despite your best efforts to kill any ones you see and use cedar blocks and mothballs anywhere clothes are stored... because the windows and doors are constantly open since there's not central A/C. And I'm not whining, I'm just saying, the rules here are different. But at least I have a few nice things for now.

  3. On CUTTING COSTS: This week, I made a price book. And I'm really excited about it... I can't wait to go grocery shopping this weekend and have another receipt worth of prices to enter in. :) That sounds really geeky, but I really am looking forward to this. I can think of all kinds of great ways to use the information I'll learn. Not only where to stock up on which products, but also knowing for sure what constitutes a good deal.

    I don't know what happened. I used to be able to keep track of all that (really!) in my head when we lived in the US, but something about translating everything into another currency and then throwing in kilograms and milliliters just really blows a hole into whatever knowledge of price per pound or cents per unit I used to have stored away in this here brain.

  4. Oh. I probably should have mentioned this first. My computer died. It ought to be sort of a sad thing, but really, aside from the inconvenience of having to write things down to remember to do later rather than just being able to quickly answer a question or pop off an e-mail when I think of it, it's really been quite nice. (I did predict that the poor thing was declining, so I'd already copied all relevant files/pictures/music to an external hard drive, so there's no tragedy involved.) I've spent even more time with the kiddos. My house is cleaner. And my brain is less distracted, somehow. I like this. I'm not sure we're going to replace my computer, so I guess it's a good thing I like it. :)

  5. Amendment to that last point: I did lose all of my bookmarks. This is not something of tragic proportions, but I do feel a good bit of loss at all the great bookmarks I had saved up for a Show & Tell sometime soon... AND for all of my homeschool tabs. Anyone happen to know if you can retrieve bookmarks from a dead computer? It's a Dell, and I used Mozilla Firefox, if that makes a difference.

  6. I had an idea last week to share some of my best nursing tips, but as Steve Miller might say, time keeps on slippin, slippin, slippin, into the future. So instead, those of you new mamas checking out Making Home and needing encouragement in the breastfeeding department ought to check out this post. She said lots of things I hoped to say.

    One thing she didn't say, particularly for avoiding breast infections, is to ditch the underwire in your nursing bras. At least initially. Something about that dadgum underwire pressing into me, well, I don't want to get too explicit, but I've found that when I wear one in those early months, it just contributes to or leads to a breast infection... and when I wear just a normal, supportive, non-underwire bra, well, I just don't end up in pain. So that's one important tip I've picked up along the way.

    And, if you're wondering, I did not obey this rule of mine and felt an infection coming on last week. It took a couple days of nursing first on the painful side, drinking tons of water, getting extra rest, and taking the occasional pain med before I got rid of that dad-blasted infection. Fifth baby, fifth infection. Go figure. I thought this would be my chance to avoid it... but I forgot my rule about no underwire. I always try to go back to wearing underwire too soon, drat! You can do better than me. Avoid underwire like the plague in those early months of nursing!

  7. A semi-embarrassing story: At some point this last week, I was reading an article online and it vexed me greatly. Though I can't now recall what the article was about, as I was reading it, I reacted out loud: "What a bunch of CRAP!"

    My four-year-old daughter looked up from across the room and said, "a bunch of crap? I want to see a bunch of crap!" And she ran over to where I was sitting as Doug & I glanced at each other (can't believe she just said that!), stifling our horrified giggles. Peering at the computer screen, she said, "where? Where are the crabs?" She thought I was referencing a picture of a bunch of CRABS. I told her there weren't any crabs, and she (quite naturally) was thoroughly confused! Oops.

    So there's a little slice of life here, just keeping it real.
Thoughts? Advice? Any response at all?

[eta: After reading back through this, I realize I'm not very good at the "quick" part of seven quick takes... oh well. It is what it is. Sorry for my long-windedness.]


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