Picking Family.

So, last weekend we were generally quarantined because Critter had hand, foot and mouth.  This weekend we’re generally quarantined again because I have hand, foot, and mouth.  Even if it wasn’t highly contagious, between growing Glitter and my non-existent immune system fending off this virus, I have no energy to be a wildly “fun” mom anyway.

If you don’t follow me on Twitter, this is what I had to say about the matter.

I will also say that you should find yourself a mother-in-law who will basically let your child live at her house for a week.

Last Monday, with Marcus on a business trip, she offered to let Critter spend the night (and most of the following Tuesday) with her so that I could sleep in and also do some variety of self-care.  Honestly, it was the first day of self-PTO that I have had since Critter was born since all of my other “PTO” has either been to travel for weekends away, deal with mastitis, or go to doctor’s appointments by myself.

I ate breakfast on the deck off our our master suite for the first time.

It was nice.

I got a much needed pre-baby haircut.  I got a pedicure.  I bought myself a shirt I had been eyeing in a shop for a while.  I treated myself to a sprinkle macaron and lunch.  I napped.  It was a beautiful, beautiful time in my life.

And then, when we determined that I had hand, foot, and mouth, yesterday she offered to let Critter spend the afternoon/night/morning AGAIN.  Which was a huge blessing because my body is falling apart and also, Marcus went away for the annual family fishing trip.  He has one more round of travel scheduled before Glitter arrives, so let’s all just pray that everyone is healthy for that, okay?

I am bad at asking for help.  I am thankful that I receive it despite this.  I will also say that even though I am not overly thrilled to be sick right now, I am glad that all of this happened before Glitter’s arrival, when I actually do have the time to recuperate.  I am tired now, but I know I will be More Tired soon.


Friday Food Round-Up!

This was a complex week, friends.  Critter got hand, foot, and mouth.  Marcus went on a business trip.  I got hand, foot, and mouth on Thursday.  BUT WE ARE NOT LETTING THAT GET US DOWN.

This week in batch cooking: I made a batch of Crockpot Red Beans and Rice and portioned it into single-serve containers and popped them into the freezer.

Friday – Salmon, Dijon Potatoes, Corn on the Cob, Three Bean Salad

It was really important to me that we have a “nice” shabbat dinner. I know that at the end of the week, we were tired and we really just needed the chance to sit down and enjoy our deck, and the company of one another.

Saturday – Grilled Cheese with Turkey and Avocado, Tater Tots, Three Bean Salad

True story: we were actually supposed to have a BBQ with friends, but because of the quarantine, we did not.  This was simple, and tasty, and hit the spot.

Tuesday – Garden Pie

I pulled one of these out of my freezer stash on Sunday and threw it in the fridge to thaw so that I would have something easy to eat while Marcus was gone.

Wednesday – Chicken Sausages, Oven Fries and Coleslaw

We thought this would be our first chance to break out the grill and then, it just wasn’t.

Thursday – Easy Crockpot Creamy Chicken Enchilada Chili, Southwestern Salad

Seriously, thank God for my crockpot.


Friday Food Round-Up!

This week we batch cooked a lot of stuff in the crockpot so we could eat it throughout the week.

Friday- Sesame-Soy Grilled Chicken with Vegetables

This really is a simple, fresh-tasting supper to make and probably the only salad I’ve made with any regularity since becoming pregnant.

Sunday – Chicken Enchilada Quinoa SoupCheesy Jalapeno Bacon Cornbread from Cravings

We haven’t had this soup in AGES.  An hour before dinner I decided I wanted cornbread.  Thank goodness this recipe seems to come together “quickly” now.

Tuesday – Crockpot Red Beans and Rice

This was another recipe I found via Lag Liv.  When she says something is good (and it involves a crockpot) she is right.  PSA: If you don’t cook raw kidney beans correctly, you can food poison yourself.  To that end, you will want to note that this recipe asks you to cook the beans on HIGH for 6-8 hours, not low.  I’m glad I read that ahead of time.  It was a great meal and we would make it again.

Miscellaneous – Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Muffins

I had some time to bake on Saturday morning so, I baked!  I made muffins because for whatever reason that sounded nicer than bread.  I kept a few for us, brought a few to a new mama friend and dropped a couple off for Dad.

In No Particular Order

Apparently I just have a lot of different little things that I feel like I need to share, so here they are.

  • We discovered that there was a bird nest in the insulation covering our exposed foundation.  When they went to start removing the insulation, we discovered there were baby birds in the nest!  So that project has been tabled until fall (I do not want any bad baby bird karma) and THANK GOD the mama bird did not abandon the nest.
  • I finally completed all of my recertification credits for my SPHR and submitted that application.  So, now I have to wait the four weeks while they review it (snooze) and then hopefully that should be all-wrapped up.  Spending free hours listening to webinars was not my favorite part of the whole summer, but the nice part is that the hours also counted for my SHRM-SCP recertification so it was sort of like a buy-one-get-one type deal.  Now, I just need to figure out how to translate some of my other recertification credits  from the SPHR to the SHRM-SCP.  Lean in!
  • The deck off our our master suite is finally completed and on the first night of its functionality, I was able to watch a squirrel build a leaf nest in the maple tree so already, it is a fascinating and worthwhile adult treehouse.
  • A former co-worker was seeking to unload a bunch of Iris bulbs so I requested some and now they are planted in the one bed of dirt we have outside of our entire house. Re-landscaping will be a whole different project for another year.  To summarize: our house is surrounded by rock that is somewhere between gravel and proper landscaping rock.  The sum total of plants is one day lily and one peony bush (win!).  There are some bushes around the house but every single one is a different kind.  At least now I can say I’ve tried to plant some flowers and Do Better.  Last weekend we also obtained a trowel, watering can, and pruning/clippers thing.
  • I have pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel.  I discovered this because my hands were falling asleep at night while I was sleeping (how uncool, right?) so the remedy is apparently to wear wrist braces while I sleep.  I just cannot even begin to discuss the level of indignity.  BUT. I slept so, so well last night and I know I was waking up every hour and a half or so before because my hands were falling asleep while I slept. So I will take it. 
  • Critter woke up on Sunday and decided to become a full-blown toddler so that has just been a really energizing time for all of us as we try to negotiate Not Touchdown Spiking All Of Our Toys In Inappropriate Places amongst probably any other toddler behavior you can think of.

So that’s how life is over here, lately.

Buying/Selling a House with Redfin

Add this to the List Of Posts I’ve Been Meaning To Write But Have Not Had The Time To Hammer Out.

When we sold our townhouse and bought our current home, we did it through Redfin.  When we tell our friends we did this instead of using a “traditional” real estate agency in the area they usually have questions because they either (A) Have never heard of it or (B) Have heard of it but don’t really know what it is or (C) Want to know What On Earth We Were Thinking.

The best summary I can give is that from the buying side, it is like Uber but for real estate.  You have an app on your phone with access to all MLS listings.  You search for homes that fit within your specific criteria, like any other real estate website.  When you find a house you want to see, you request a showing and date/time and then Redfin matches you with an available agent.  You meet the agent at the house and you tour it.  If you want to view more than one house in a tour, then you drive your own car from house to house and meet the agent at each house.  You see a house you like?  They write the offer, negotiate, etc.

Honestly, the reason we know about Redfin (and felt comfortable trying them out!) was because my parents bought their home through Redfin in 2016.  They had a positive experience, so we felt like it was a decision we were comfortable making.

The best part (AKA the whole reason to do this) = if you buy your home through Redfin they refund you part of the commission they earn on the sale of the home.  For the house we just purchased, that was $2,600 we got back simply because we used them.

From the buying side, I will say the following:

  • While we worked with a primary agent, sometimes we saw houses with other agents.  This was not important to us.  If you only want to work with one person, this model will not work for you.
  • Since their agents aren’t getting paid in the same way as traditional real estate agents, they’re not overly motivated to sell you a house and they don’t get frustrated with you if you have toured, say, 20 of them and still haven’t found the right one.  This was especially important to us because the inventory in our market was really low and out of the 30 houses we saw, there were only two we put offers in on and only four or five that we seriously considered.
  • Many of the agents we worked with had “day” jobs and so there was a wide variety of skill levels.  We knew what we were looking for in a house.  We also knew what sorts of things we were looking at in a house (windows, water damage, age of the HVAC system, etc.).  If you are completely clueless, this may not be the route for you.

With all of that in mind, 100% we would use Redfin again as buyers.

From the selling side, based on what we paid in listing fees to sell our townhome, we saved $1500 compared to the fees charged by a traditional brokerage (they simply charge a lower percentage of listing than traditional brokerages). Redfin also provided us with a $250 “sparkle” fund reimbursement for the small improvements and repairs we made to the house to get it ready to sell.

Selling our house was a whirlwind, honestly.  We met with the listing agent in November just to get an idea of pricing and what we needed to do.  Once we were ready to move forward at the end of January, within the span of a week we had our house measured, photographed, listed, with God, I can’t remember 17 booked showings and an open house and by the end of the weekend a signed purchase agreement.

There were times where we felt communication was a bit rocky, but at the same time, for the amount of effort we had to put into selling our house (really not that much) and the amount of money we saved in total on the sales-side ($1,750!) I’d say things went swimmingly.  Frankly, they could have been outright mediocre and it still would have been worth the savings.

TL;DR Redfin is the Uber of homebuying, by using them for buying and selling, we saved a total of $4,350.  11/10 would use again.


What I’ve Been Reading

Over the weekend, I returned one book to the library, checked out a few more, and honestly, I don’t know how much reading I have left in me before Baby Sister arrives.Β  On the other hand, at that point I will be reuniting with the Kindle for iPhone app and maybe I’ll be doing more reading in my up-at-night sleep-deprived state than I am right now.

It’s hard to tell.

Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon by Jeffrey Kluger

Apollo 8

Unstuffed: Decluttering Your Home, Mind & Soul by Ruth Soukup


The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds by Michael Lewis

The Undoing Project

Moonglow by Michael Chabon


Friday Food Round-Up!

There was…so much cooking this week and so much I just did not photograph. Like the chickpea salad I made for a lunch backup. The buffalo chicken dip I brought to our neighbors for a pot luck. The FOUR BATCHES of enchiladas I made (thank you Crockpot!) so that I could send two to new mama friends and two to our freezer.

Um, yeah.

Related/unrelated the Crockpot is saving my life right now. Mostly because the recipes I make in it are not complex and because it means dinner preparation is not as time sensitive.  This is probably just how it is going to be for the forseeable future.

Monday – Korean Beef Bowl with Green Beans and Rice

Bruce brought us a TON of green beans so we made them for this meal too.  Tasty.  Would make again.

Tuesday – Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Lentils with Steamed Broccoli and Rice

Melissa sent me this recipe and swore the lentils did not taste like dirt.  Marcus LOVED it.  I thought it tasted like the healthiest thing I’ve eaten since I found out I was pregnant.  What was really superb is that this is a meal that FILLS the Crockpot, which means that you should also be able to freeze some of it (like us!).  Next time, I will make this with an extra sweet potato just because I feel like it adds.  The recipe says Salt To Taste, you’re gonna need about a teaspoon of coarse sea salt.

Thursday – Chili Cheese Tots

The last time it was Marcus’ turn to host poker night, he ended up having the guys over to his parents’ place because we were still in the townhouse and Critter’s nursery wall was against the main kitchen/living room area and there was just no space.  This week he finally got to host his crew at our house!  Since some of the group keeps kosher and some of the group doesn’t, I made a double batch of Simple, Perfect Chili without meat (and with many, many beans) for the guys (and me) to ladle over our tots.  I had them eat the meal out of Solo cups because they are taking over our cabinet right now and I want them gone.  Also it was a pretty good way to contain them and portion out the meal.