Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Note to my New Mama friends, regarding Thank You's

The embarrassing result of my health issues is that I still have not written all my thank-you notes for our wedding gifts. I got all the shower gifts - but life and then health caught up with us. I even had a friend offer to help write them, but at that point my health had gotten to the 'too sick to hang out with people' mode and I just didn't have the energy even to coordinate. My only consolation is that everyone knows about my  health at this point, so I can reasonably hope that they'll be understanding when the cards actually show up.

But as I was stressing about this the other day, I thought of how many thank you notes I've gotten for baby gifts I've given. It struck me what a feat this also is - to write a bunch of thank you notes, usually AFTER baby has arrived! As much as I do love getting a nice handwritten note, I now find myself rather appalled that a new mother must feel the burden of writing thank yous for all the gifts she's gotten.

Now, I DO appreciate knowing that a gift has arrived, if it is one I have mailed. But, seriously, a text or email is fine (even in a non-baby situation). My goal is to welcome new baby AND to make mama's life a little easier - not add to her load! And in today's Facebook/Instagram world, I would quite honestly rather be tagged in a photo of baby wearing my gift than know that mama had to write a note, pay for postage, and mail it, while managing feedings on a crazy sleep deprived schedule.

I love getting mail. If I get a note/letter/card in my mail box, it makes my day - and I keep every personalized card I've ever gotten. But I will never ever judge a new mama if she doesn't send me a card. She can thank me in person at the shower, or send me a text after receiving a mail gift so I know it wasn't lost, but she doesn't need to feel guilty about sending a card unless she really really wants to.

I appreciate and follow a lot of traditional etiquette rules. Some of them may seem silly today, but having a cultural standard of manners and polite actions is a valuable thing to smooth communication. It frustrates me how many good rules go out the window online - and how this leads to so much hurt. However I do think that some situations should be updated for the present day, and I think a photo of new baby wearing the gift is a nice modern compromise.

(Ahem. This is NOT in ANY way a covert hinthint pregnancy announcement. Just to be clear. I just have a lot of pregnant/new mama friends right now, but I'm NOT one of them.)

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Let Me Tell You About a Miracle

I've been thinking about God a lot lately, and how his ways really aren't our ways at all. We've been praying all last year that God would heal my body, and that wasn't a prayer he chose to answer in 2015*. However, I was also praying another prayer - one that seemed far more impossible in my eyes - and that's the one he chose to answer.

He brought us a house.

A little explanation. Nathan and I are not rich. In fact, my health crisis this year has quite drained our savings. His salary is not horrible, and if I were well and able to work even a little, we'd be okay. But with my health issues we simply don't have cash to spare. We have worked to cut corners in every way we can. When you see my Lego collection, that is mostly from generous gifts - same with a good deal of my crafts supplies. Nathan gets his games from work benefits. Our clothes are nearly all secondhand. I don't share any of this to garner pity, but rather to state very clearly that we have worked extremely hard to be good stewards of what we've been given. The fact remains that we could not dream of moving out of our low-end no-frills apartment anytime soon.

But we needed to. In addition to suspecting environmental allergies, Nathan is tremendously overtaxed with taking care of me. My food sensitivities are so severe that we cannot buy any premade food, which means he has to do a lot of cooking... and since we have no dishwasher, he has to wash all the dishes by hand.

 I can't even put a load of clothes in the dryer for him because I don't have the strength to carry the laundry up and down three loads of stairs. Nathan's mom would be more than happy to come up from out of state to help us out, but in our tiny apartment it is very difficult to make that arrangement work comfortably for very long, especially when I am having a really painful day and desiring privacy in my misery (even though I adore my mother-in-law). Finally, because our apartment complex has no private yard of any sort, I get very little sunshine and fresh air as there simply isn't a place where I feel comfortable (even when I feel up to walking the three flights of stairs).

"God, please work a miracle," I started praying in early fall. "Please, somehow, make a house financially possible. And not just any house - the perfect house for all of my health needs."

I didn't know how it would be possible. Our families are not rich, and neither are our friends. It's probably the most impossible thing I have ever asked God.

Then, just as October began, Nathan's Dad came forwards with a plan to help us get a home. It would benefit them as well, as it would give them a place to stay when they visited their kids up here (Nathan's sister and her family live near us as well). If we could find a house that we could partition a space off for them when they were here, they would help us get through this period of financial difficulty and into a home. It means sacrifices for them as well, but they felt called to do this for us.

Oh. My. Gosh.

We were stunned. And we just prayed and prayed and prayed. And things kept working out. We went over tons of details and poured through hundreds of real estate listings, even though we couldn't actually make an offer on a house until mid-January. Since we would have to give a two month notice on our apartment and couldn't end our lease until March 31st, it gave us a very tight timeframe to work with.

We looked at a total of five houses before walking into the perfect home on January 21st - four days after our second anniversary, and one day after Nathan had been in a car accident. We had been eyeing this home for awhile (it had been on the market 49 days at this point) but hadn't looked at it sooner as it was at the top of our price range. Somehow, that day, things came together and we decided to look at it so we'd know whether it was worth pouncing if the price dropped (as it seemed due to.)

Our agent got on the phone with their agent and... uh oh! They already had another offer in! We had just four hours to decide if we wanted to make an offer, how much to offer, and draw up the paperwork! And Nathan was due at the chiropractor for a post-accident evaluation. AND we didn't have our pre-approval letter from the bank yet! And there was no possible way for my parents to stop over and check out the house - and Nathan's dad was back home two states away! It's actually crazy that Nathan's mom was even with us that day, otherwise we never would have made a move!

But move we did! Somehow everything came together in those four hours. We made the very best offer we could, hoping and praying that if this was the house God wanted us to have, it would be enough to trump the other offer. And then we waited for the most insane 3 hours...

Our offer was accepted! The inspection passed and they accepted our action item amendments without contest! We got a great loan rate! We close mid-March, which gives us a comfy two weeks to move everything over! We were able to get the end of lease notice in just in time... which is amazing because if we'd had to renew our lease we would have ended up paying $50 more a month!

So that's our miracle. I still can't believe it.

*AND if you were wondering... I mentioned a new med for my headaches that we are trying, and so far we are having positive results. It's a little hard to gauge for sure because of COURSE I came down with my first nasty cold in years this week, but oh well. At least my head hasn't been killing me the whole time I'm dying of coughing!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Gilmore Girls News and Speculation

And the news about the Gilmore Girls revival continues! Read the linked article, then come back for some speculation. (But not if you haven't already finished the original run. Watch through Season 7 first!)

Not at all surprising that we won't be seeing Sookie - I highly doubt we'll see Dean either (whew!). It is a bit interesting that Logan will be back - it'll be fun to see him, but I have noticed a really solid trend of fans wanting Rory to ultimately end up with Jess. So how does Logan play into all of this? What brings him back to the Stars Hallow circle?

Now, what do we theorize the changes will be for each of the Gilmore women? I think it is fairly obvious that Emily will be adjusting to widowhood - there is almost no other way they could start the show and really honor the history than with the recent death of Richard.

Now Lorelai and Rory are harder to guess. I know fans are very much hoping to find Lorelai and Luke already married. It could be that them finally tying the knot is where the revival starts, although the long gap would be difficult to explain. If Luke and Lorelai HAVE been married for years, the big question is whether they had a kid right away, or whether that is something they're trying to achieve now. Even without modern medical advancements it's still not too late for Lorelai to have another child (and there were certainly plenty of hints in the original series that eventually Lorelai would have another child).

As for Rory... no idea. Could it be that she's had a successful career as a journalist and now she is moving back to Stars Hollow? Perhaps bringing a boy home and thinking about settling down? Or, a slightly different version of that would be coming home and feeling ready to settle down but not having met 'the one' yet.

I doubt that BOTH Rory and Lorelai's changes will be romantic/mommyhood related, even though those are the ideas that most readily come to mind for me.

I have no doubt that the revival will be good. I also seriously doubt that every fan will love it. Yes, it is a revival, but it's really a coda to the series, to give us the ending that Palladino meant to give us in the first place - the one we all made up in our heads. And therein lies the problem. Everyone has had 10 years to think up just how it should have ended and why. There's no way that the revival can incorporate all of these ideas - if it includes any at all. It has to balance honoring the original show and the fans with still being original and presenting a strong new story with characters that are ten years older. This is no easy feat.

There's hope, however, in the fact that we've seen this feat achieved before. The Veronica Mars movie did a pretty excellent job of hitting all the right notes. It's a similar set-up of timelines and returning stars, but Gilmore Girls is more about the relationships and I think that will make it slightly harder to deliver. Still, seeing other shows achieve it, even in different genres, is promising.