Thursday, January 14, 2016

Where and When Are You Moving? And When Is That Baby Due?

I haven't written in awhile, because while keeping 4 kids 5 and younger alive, we're packing up our stuffselling our house, moving in with my parents, buying a house in Houston, moving to Houston, and somewhere in there, having a baby, somewhere. The timeline is vague. The location is vague. I don't do well with vague. 

So my increasingly powerful nesting instinct has been re-directed to remotely micro-manage a new house search in Houston. 

I said I wasn't picky--we just need a house in north Houston with a fenced backyard. But then I was like, it's not crazy to want four bedrooms for a 7-person family that seems to have annual babies. And then it became a 2-car garage, in a neighborhood with sidewalks, one-story, a nearby park, and a living room big enough for the giant sectional that's currently stored in my parents' garage (with all our other stuff). Did I mention my parents are saints?

From what we've seen, in our price range, we'll be lucky to find a house that isn't sinking into its own marsh with hypodermic drug needles scattered in the yard. 

Let's talk about Home-Owners Associations. North Houston does HOAs like southerners do church. You just do it. Everyone does it. Because it's what you do. Stop asking questions. ISIS could cease international fundraising if they just ran a couple neighborhood HOAs in north Houston. Neighbors pay hundreds of dollars every year, to someone, for something, but there are no sidewalks, no parks, no pools, no community centers. Where is all the money going? 

Once we're settled in Houston, Wally might quit his job and run for HOA president instead. In a neighborhood of 500 houses, each paying $300 in HOA fees annually, we'll be able to live quite comfortably. 

My texts to Wally vary daily: "Please buy a house. Any house. I don't care about details," to "Nothing less than 1500 square feet," and after taking two babies and all their stuff up-and-down stairs all day: "Don't you dare buy a house with stairs!"

Wally's re-living bachelorhood in a small garage apartment in The Woodlands, since his new job actually started 6 weeks ago. He says he misses us. It's probably true, but hard for me to translate into emotional support while changing diapers at one a.m.

My parents are letting us live with them while we try to get a house in Houston. If a pregnant woman with four young kids asked to move in with me indefinitely, I would definitely say no, wouldn't even think about it. We're trying to be good house guests, you know, clean up messes right away, don't interrupt the household's laundry cycle, keep the crying to a minimum. It's hard to keep it all together like that for more than 3 consecutive days. We're going on 9 weeks. 

I cope by gratuitously spending our house-buying savings on McDonalds any time, Lunchables, pre-packaged fruit, and twice-a-week Mother's Day Out (so I can do indulgent things like doctor's appointments and grocery shopping alone). 

Mother's Day Out is crazy expensive for four kids. Understandably, because taking care of four kids is crazy. But this Lutheran church has the nicest people I've ever met. If I were going to join a church just based on people being super nice and loving toward a complete stranger and her weird family, I would go there.

I'll leave this picture here: 

It's difficult to tell what's going on, but should give a good idea of how our house search is going. Before going to view this house, the owner's realtor let us know there had been a minor drainage issue, but it was all resolved. The house is literally falling into a creek.

Also, I tried to take a Christmas photo of our family, because everyone else was doing it. This is as good as I got. 

Bader Family 2015 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Am I Excited About This Baby?

It's a valid question. 

Our 3-bedroom home feels full with twin one-year-olds, a preschooler, and a kindergartener. Our work is unstable, healthcare not ideal, and we just decided we can't afford a dog. 

[New Baby enter Stage Left]

Let's start with all the things I'm mad at: 

1. A system that expects employers to cover healthcare (I keep typing WTF after this and then deleting it and then re-typing it and then deleting it. I sincerely hope you're not offended; but it needs to be there.)

2. Employers doing everything possible to not cover healthcare 

3. The Catholic Church telling us children are a blessing, to welcome them with open arms, while Catholic education becomes increasingly affordable only for families of 2 blessings or less

4. All the stuff I'd like to buy -- weekly massages, annual family vacation, babysitting for date nights, date nights, unlimited fruit snacks, a giant trampoline, and a dog

5. Sitting outside the sanctuary with a one-year-old during Mass (and thinking, I'll probably be sitting outside the sanctuary during Mass for many more years to come) (and also thinking, waffles and bacon would be so good right now -- followed by, wait, ancient liturgy, heaven on earth, here, right now -- followed by, mmm... waffles)

6. Living in a place that's completely dependent on cars to get anywhere

So it's not crazy for my super-amazing midwife (who knows all of this about me, since the twins gave us so much quality time together just a year earlier) to ask how I felt about another baby. And given the logistics of large families in our world today, I don't think she's crazy for offering me contraception every time I visit!

[Aside: I did the whole Catholic, pro-life obgyn thing, and it really sucked. Let's not get played by doctors or businesses or politicians throwing around the "Catholic" card.]

Anyway, if I look past all the stuff that makes having a baby seem untenable -- and sure, there's plenty -- I am surprisingly, legitimately excited about a new baby. 

Our family is awesome, and not in the sense that we're better than every other family, and my kids are the best kids ever, and everyone should have 17 children; it's just that I really like our family

And yes, it seems like every time I start a new dream job that I'm going to have until I retire, I get pregnant and life changes (4 for 5 on that stat), but maybe, I just have a whole lot of dream jobs, and I'm getting to do all of them. (Or maybe I should quit them all and take care of all these children, my goodness.) Let's not get into that. 

When it comes down to the little microcosm of things that actually matter to me in life -- none of the swirling changing unpredictable unimportant sideshows considered -- YES, I am unequivocally thrilled about a sweet new little baby to join our crazy wonderful crew. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

"Couch to 5K" in Six Short Years

We are definitely not that cute jogging couple in the neighborhood. 

Between our stride difference of several feet, and my inability to keep doing something pointless when it hurts like crazy, I joined the Runners Quitters Club early. 

Nonetheless, I've discovered a new way to join the Couch-to-5K Club!

Not Us
In the early months, after our big white wedding, Wally and I were definitely couch people. We watched seven years (every episode) of Boy Meets World, the entire Band of Brothers miniseries, the cliffhanger remnant of one season of Firefly, the best James Bond movies (all of them), Sports Night, Monk, Psych, every classic trilogy in sequence -- Star Wars, Bourne, Indiana Jones, Oceans 11-12-13, The Godfather, Lord of the Rings -- and Planet Earth.

Through no intention of our own, we graduated from the gratuitous TV watching phase of our marriage. 

Wally's success came through an online Couch-to-5K program (C25K) that literally takes someone from zero to a few miles over several weeks. 

My 5K experience has taken over six years of punctuated growth spurts, often loving it, sometimes hating it. In the beginning, everything about achieving 5K seems unattainable. 1K feels like 20K, and you don't know if it will ever not feel awful. You miss the couch.

1K = AAAAHHH! Your body hurts. Your life crashes down around you. People keep telling you that what you're doing is awesome. 

2K = AAAAHHHH! You finally got comfortable with 1K. You could circle the neighborhood without looking beat down and exhausted, and even waved at the neighbors. But somehow the plan jumped to 2K, you're not ready at all, and everything is awful! You get lots of sympathetic looks while you're out doing your thing.

3K-4K = Not a bad transition. You're feeling better on the inside, even if things still look a little messy on the outside. At this point in the program, people start to stare. "How does someone even do that," they might wonder. 

5K = Eh? What's another K?

Somewhere along the way we went from kilometers to kids, and somehow made it to 5.
Best of luck to everyone in your Couch-to-5K adventures, whether it's kilometers, kids, kangaroos, kayaks, kiwis... stay strong!