February 13, 2019

7 Months of Wells

7 months seems like he's a baby but now he's a baby. It's totally different than 3 months or 4 months. That was "baby". Now he's a baby.

He hates having his arms put through anything. Seatbelt straps, shirts, sleepsacks, the snowsuit. It's all pure torture to him.

He rolls all over the place and in every direction. This is an issue if I put him down for a nap and he's not quite ready to sleep: he rolls around the crib and gets stuck in a corner and keeps butting his head into the rail like some sort of animal who can't turn around. I can see why crib bumpers used to be a non-negotiable.

Wells started sleeping on his stomach the last week in January. I was trying to get him to sleep on his side and he'd flop onto his back about half of the time. But twice in one night, I checked on him and he'd settled in on his stomach. I'm fine with this, but it doesn't matter how long he sleeps; I'm in his room checking on him an average of 5 times a night anyway.

He prefers to sleep with a blankie of some sort. I usually give him one of these lovies or a receiving blanket. He loves a good giant swaddle blanket (that we never used for swaddling) though. You drop it over him like a parachute and he'll smile and hug it until he falls asleep. Considering that my blankies are in a box in the basement, I'm assuming he gets this from me.

He's eating purees still, and I'm back to making them myself so it's actually a huge time/money-saver: I don't have to make sure a jar gets eaten in two days before it goes bad and I don't have to remember to buy jars. I'm trying to get him to pick up little pieces of food now but he mostly just plays with them and smears them around. He loves his purees so much though, so I'll take it. He sits there with his mouth open because he knows the spoon is on its way. Same with a bottle when I feed him in the middle of the night. He's always excited to eat.

Sleep is a never-ending puzzle. He has slept through the night exactly once, maybe two weeks ago?
The series of events that led to that: He took a nap from 5pm-8pm. He played and ate and got a bath. he went down for the night at 10pm. He woke up at 6am.
With that information in mind, as of last weekend, I moved his bedtime from 7pm-ish to 8pm at the earliest. By starting the bedtime routine around 7:45ish, he's down for the night by 8/8:15pm and falls right asleep. I've noticed that he also functions better with an evening nap. Our morning nap routine is pretty set around 10am-12pm, unless something like an appointment gets in the way. (I've tried to schedule appointments around when I suspect he'll nap and that never works.) An afternoon nap isn't guaranteed but sometimes it'll be 30 minutes and sometimes it'll be 2 hours. It just depends. I was trying to keep him awake after 6pm so he'd be asleep for the night by 7:30 or 8:00 when I realized that he might just be more of a night owl, so if he wants to sleep in the evening, I can just put him to bed later most nights.

He can sit up now but I don't leave him like that alone for long because once he falls over, he can't get back up so he'll just roll around until he hits something like a chair. He'll generally flop over but he's getting much much better at it.

He's definitely responding to his name, but this is where I must admit that Scott refers to him as "Larry". Like, he actually calls him Larry. And when you say "Larry" to him, he gets the biggest smile on his face. And if you show him the cucumber, he smiles and laughs.

This was from Christmas, but you get the idea. 

February 11, 2019

What's in my bag (as of currently)

I've discovered that if I'm not working, I don't actually need that much with me.

This is actually bordering on embarrassing, but I might as well document it for posterity. That's what this blog is for, after all.

I've been using this bag from Target since September. Since Wells isn't out of the house for prolonged periods, I don't actually need that much for him. Otherwise, I would use our diaper bag, but for now it's just for longer trips.

I wanted to switch over to a Longchamp, so I pulled this one out of the closet and I ordered a purse organizer from Amazon. It worked beautifully...until we went somewhere and a dog knocked it over and a bottle leaked everywhere and I had to wash out the purse and organizer...but not before Jett licked every bit of formula off of everything because that's just what he does.

I pulled the Target bag back out. It had been freshly washed as well...I love that it can go through the washer (at least 4 times now!) and hasn't fallen apart.

I put the organizer in the Target bag and it'll do for now. I don't need a regular purse right now. I don't need a diaper bag right now. I'm somewhere in the middle because of our current lifestyle.

My last few bag posts were much more glamorous than this one. (Okay, maybe not. Definitely not, actually.)

Again: borderline embarrassing.

Let's "organize" it...

Two hats. One for me, one for the baby.
2 pairs of gloves
1 water-stained wallet that just became water-stained but I've had it since 2012, so it might be time for a new wallet.
An electric bill I've been carrying around so I can use it as proof-of-address for a library card. 
2 lotions. One for me and one for the baby.
2 chapsticks
1 pair tweezers
1 pair of mini-scissors
Some random cash
A prayer card of sorts that I've been carrying around
A knife that Scott gave me to carry around
A bottle cap
Random lists and receipts
Some wipes and diapers
A few dog bags because we live in a "town" now.

So. What I've learned from this is that I need a new wallet and a new bag. Also maybe a lipstick. I have a few but never seem to like any of them enough to wear them, let alone carry them. 

Recommendations welcomed.

February 8, 2019

Un-Favorites for Friday

a.k.a. Things I Don't Like

1. We're still being honked at and glared at and stared at when it comes to our license plates. I can only assume the honking is because it's assumed we don't know how to drive the "Pittsburgh way", and our license plates give us away as not being from here so we're easy targets. Whereas, under the basis of reality, we've had more driving experiences than I'm pretty sure most here have had. I mean, not many have driven to the Arctic Circle, right? I don't think this is going to change. Having a Colorado plate and a Wyoming plate will apparently get you a lot of attention in western Pennsylvania. Also, if people could stop looking at us like we're drug dealers, that'd be great. The good news is that the neighbors are all pretty nice now...now that they've realized we're not drug dealers (that they know of, of course).

2. Trader Joe's coffee creamer. I'm still trying to figure out the grocery shopping situation. Whenever we move, this is a hurdle: best prices, best selection, best location, etc. Aldi + Trader Joe's looks like it's going to be my best combination of those three things, but their coffee creamer is so terrible. No flavor, and a bit like slightly sweetened skim milk. So I was stuck with awful creamer until I made it to Giant Eagle (a very over-priced, yet convenient grocery store).

3. Naps. Tuesday was rough with errands, no dog walk, etc. I also made the mistake of drinking sweet tea at 4pm. This kept me up through the State of the Union and two episodes of The Resident and I found myself doing Pilates at 11pm. Wells was up at least twice through the night and, if the dogs were going to get a walk on Wednesday before it started raining, it would need to be before 8am. Which meant that I was up and walking dogs (and baby) at 7:30am on Wednesday. As soon as Wells went down for a nap that morning, I did too. I hate naps so much, but I couldn't even function I was so upset. It didn't solve the problem (My dream right now is to take 3 Motrin P.M.s and wake up in 48 hours, to be honest), but it was better than drinking more coffee with terrible creamer in it.

4. Ikea. We'll call this a draw. I ordered Wells the Antilop highchair for a grand total of $33, including taxes and shipping. It arrived in about 4 days...legless. There was no packing slip so I thought maybe another box would be coming, as that's what the website said to check for. Another box didn't show up. I called customer service and the prompts hung up on me because "all representatives are busy". I tried to use the website but I couldn't find one of the numbers they wanted on the form to explain that I needed parts.
So I drove 17 miles to Ikea and this was super annoying just because I had to do it in the first place. If we didn't live here, I'd have been driving 2+ hours to Denver...and that's the limit of my Ikea experience. Had I ordered this anywhere else, I have no idea if there'd been a store within driving distance.
It was especially because I had to plan around naps and take the baby (and the dogs because I felt bad for them). I almost went last Saturday and left the baby with Scott, but I'm not going to Ikea on a Saturday. Like, I would've just done that to buy the highchair if I had wanted to drive to Ikea. And 17 Pittsburgh miles is like 45 minutes. It's not the mile to minute ratio we'd been used to in Wyoming.
But, they went and got me the 4 legs right away and I was on my way within 20 minutes. It was completely painless, but I was annoyed that I had to spend time doing that.

He either really loves that highchair or he really loves what Ben Shapiro had to say about the Green New Deal. Probably a little of both. 
Also, I need to get some pictures on the walls this weekend. 

February 7, 2019

Since we last spoke.

You'll notice (maybe) that I've been blogging but there's been very little current/updated/this-is-what's-happening type of blogging. You see, it's been a season. A hard one. And I couldn't blog through it. So I just had to stop blogging. Then, when I assumed I'd be able to safely reside in this space again around the beginning of January, I was still in the middle of through.  I've done through before, but every through looks different. I couldn't do real-time-currently type blogging because I can't blog through things. I needed things to settle before I could start talking again. I won't say everything is settled at this point but, as my Jesus Calling devotional told me so aptly and appropriately last week, I need to give up the illusion that I deserve a problem-free life. I don't actually deserve anything, really, and everything I have is a gift I'm trusted with.
 I've just been trying to approach the challenges as gracefully as I can (which isn't that gracefully, when I'm getting up two to three times a night to feed a baby...in fact, I may be all out of grace at this point.)

However, since I've last written, like really written...

We put our Wyoming house up for rent in December.

Scott actually re-did the cabinets and the countertops in January, so it doesn't quite look this way anymore. 

We packed up everything Wells and I would need for a month or so and put everything else into storage.

I drove back to Pennsylvania with Wells (in two days, in case you're wondering). Wells and I moved in with my parents for two weeks.

I left Scott and the dogs in Colorado. He encouraged me to go and, while I felt like I was running away from what we were dealing with there, I knew it'd be for the best because then I could find us a place to live in Pittsburgh.

Somewhere in Kansas.

I "celebrated" New Year's with a teething baby and a marathon of Dr. Pimple Popper.

Our Colorado house went on the market.

Wells met my brother and sister-in-law and aunts and cousins.

I spent an entire day driving around Pittsburgh looking at rentals.

I took Wells to meet Scott's family, including the rest of his grandparents. (This sounds dumb, like I should've done it already or something as soon as I got to PA, but Scott's town is 2-3 hours from my town, so it was another trip I had to plan and pack for after unpacking at my parents' house.)

He'd been sleeping so his face was all smushed up.

I did massive amounts of paperwork, made phone calls, and attempted to set up everything for a move to a rental house in Pittsburgh.

Scott trekked across the country with the dogs and half of our stuff to be unpacked in our new rental. My family helped us unpack and clean and sort.

Scott left the dogs with me, trekking back to get the rest of our furniture, and finalize all the CO/WY stuff before starting his new job in PA.

I barely kept my head above water, in Pittsburgh, for two weeks alone. I packed up the dogs and went to my parents' house for a bit. I always think this will be easier and make me feel better, but it leaves me just as unsettled. Living out of a suitcase for a month wasn't in my ideal game plan but it was what it was.

Scott sold a bunch of stuff in Colorado...one of our three trailers, the four-wheeler, etc...just trying to get rid of what we wouldn't need for a few years.

Around January 27th, I put together Christmas presents for our families. J-A-N-U-A-R-Y 27th. They'll get them...at some point. At least I don't have to mail them.

We found renters for our Laramie house and our Colorado house is still on the market. It's been on for a month and we've had so many showings that it was actually really inconvenient to Scott while he was trying to pack/clean/load furniture. But that's a good thing. We're hopeful for buyers to come our way sooner rather than later, but your crossed fingers and/or prayers would be more than appreciated. While I don't think Scott is at all ready to let the place go (and the dogs are NOT ready to let that kind of freedom go), and I wish we could just pick up the house and move it, we won't be going back to Colorado. Prayers for a speedy sale are helpful!

To emphasize just how out of sorts things have really been over the last 8 months, Scott and I have spent 4-5 weekends together since the end of July. He was in Colorado, trying to finish the house and get it up to code, as the woman who sold us the house had done work that wasn't up to code and needed to be redone (this was the worst surprise ever, as we were ready to put it on the market with me 9 months pregnant and then...we weren't). I was in Wyoming with an infant. The weekends we did spend together were spent in Colorado, working on the house, so there was nothing relaxing about that, and I don't really count it. This last weekend was the first weekend we've had together in a very long time, with nothing on the to-do list but to unpack this rental house and sleep in and walk the dogs.

I found myself wanting to complain often over the last several months, so I just stopped talking about it. My complaints seem trivial, but they were so valid to me and especially in the post-partum months; I just wanted to be normal again and nothing was easy or normal. And it was little things I'd get upset about; things that I know everyone reading this takes for granted: I wanted all of my furniture in the same state, for example. I missed my couches. I wanted my own trashcan. It was in Colorado. I didn't pay $50 for a trashcan not to use it. I have to think that it's not just me, and everyone and anyone would have struggled in this position. I mean, I would hope it's not just me.

I was ridiculously happy when I unpacked the trashcan in Pittsburgh last week.

I honestly have no idea what the next few months will look like. We still have a lot to do, mentally, concerning Colorado, as well as figuring out the logistics of our new life here. With every move, everything changes anyway. With every new job, every new town, every new routine...it's a lot to take in at once. I'm hopeful that this will be a good fit for us and we can spend equal time relaxing, enjoying Pittsburgh, and seeing our families much more often.

Linking up with Kristen!

February 6, 2019

One-Pan Sausage and Veggies

At one point, in Laramie, I really started taking advantage of the fact that I could get a pizza delivered in 30 minutes. They didn't deliver to where we lived in Colorado. After Wells was born, we would get pizza probably once a week.

I realized I had to become more efficient in my cooking, so as to not spend all night making dinner, but still try to make dinner on the nights Scott was home. There were definitely a few nights where we'd have cereal or eggs or something.

I make this a lot. And I absolutely may have posted it before but, even if I did, it deserves a repeat because it's the easiest dinner hack I've come across in awhile. I originally found it on Pinterest maybe two years ago.

I'm going to venture a guess and say I make this once a week.

I really love chicken sausage and used to think it was too expensive. I've gotten over that that though because it's just so versatile. I particularly like it for these sheet pan dinners because I always have a fear of chicken not being cooked well enough. Chicken sausage is already fully cooked, so you just have to brown it up in the oven with the vegetables and the cooking time won't get out of control. Have you ever tried to make dinner and a 30 minute meal turns into an hour? I feel like that happens a lot to me. Now that we have a gas stove/oven again, things cook much more quickly but that wasn't the case with electric in Wyoming.

Anyway. This meal:

1. Very few ingredients.

2. One-pan dinner.

3. Terrific as leftovers.

4. No cream-of-something soups or seasoning packets, as are often advertised with one-pan dinners.

5. If you put the sausage on top of the vegetables, the seasoning from the sausage flavors everything else, so you don't need to spend time pulling out and measuring spices. I usually just top it off with a sprinkle of sea salt and some parmesan cheese.

One-Pan Sausage and Veggies

1 large sweet potato or yam, peeled and diced
1 large yellow or a few small red potatoes, diced (if using russet, peel first)
2 cups of chopped broccoli
1 package of chicken sausage, sliced into coin-sized pieces (I used a parmesan and asiago-flavored one here, but you can pick any variety)
Sea salt to taste and/or parmesan cheese for topping

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Line a sheet pan (9x13 or 12x18...I've found metal works best) with foil.
Brush with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Put the potatoes on the pan on and toss to coat.
Bake for about 20 minutes, until they start to brown.

Stir. Add the chicken sausage and broccoli and bake for another 20 minutes, stirring at least one other time so nothing sticks to the pan. You can add more oil if this is the case.

When everything is browned, it's done. Sprinkle with sea salt and parmesan and toss to coat.

February 4, 2019

Gripes and Grievances---January

*We're renting out our Laramie house. We went with a company that a coworker of Scott's recommended because they use it. That's fine and all. This company, however, didn't give me the impression of being on their game. The house was available for rent on January 1st. They listed it on their website on January 2nd. We met with them to fill out all of the paperwork around December 15th. Then they took a week off for Christmas (literally, they closed down), so they house wasn't listed in a timely manner. They spelled "fourth" wrong, in regards to a "forth" bedroom. It was also written up as a paragraph with no punctuation. They told us, originally, that it likely wouldn't rent until May.

Also, we initially were going to go with "no pets" but then we thought better of it and I asked 3 times over 2 weeks if they could please change the listing to "pets on approval".

But they did show the house many times and vetted all the potential tenants and found us some people, so we'll call this a half-grievance.

*I spent a lot of December trying to get rid of things we didn't want or need anymore, including some old furniture. I had dozens of people email me about free end tables. You'd be shocked how many weren't interested in driving 30 minutes for something free though (Cheyenne to Laramie, as Wyoming only has a statewide Craigslist). And then, when I finally nailed someone down, she emailed me 8 hours before pickup time to ask if she could get them the next day instead. Scott had to be in Laramie for a few things on this day and was not going to be there the day after. I was in Pennsylvania so I couldn't be there myself. My response back to this lady was something like No. You can get them at 9am or my husband is throwing them away. I'm so tired of people not caring about expectations and not holding up their ends of any sort of bargain. SHE had suggested Friday. SHE had said before 11am would be best for her. I set up Scott's plans for the day to fit HER plans because I really wanted this stuff to go to someone who wanted it, not to the landfill or the Goodwill. My first thought, after this exchange, was that I need to get back into a professional environment where things are expected of people and standards are held. I usually had more luck dealing with children than I did with all of these people I talked to through Craigslist. I expected things of kids and parents, they expected things of me. I would like to think that I possess some follow-through. Dealing with the general population, I've learned that follow-through isn't commonplace.

She went to pick up the furniture. When Scott told me she showed up, I said Yeah, she probably did after I "yelled" at her.

*Being back in Pennsylvania, I got myself a Sheetz card again. I stopped to get gas a few weeks ago and, while I'm used to a Starbucks on every corner in Colorado, it's not like that here. I decided I'd try an MTO latte instead. It was awful. So, so terrible. Therefore, Sheetz is 110% overrated. Every time we'd come back to PA over the last 10 years, we would get less and less impressed with them. Disappointing.

*I've spent the last few years living out west. Actually, 9 of the last 10 years. And I could never understand why people on the east coast, in the cities, were constantly complaining on Twitter or whatnot about "prejudice" or "unacceptance" and that ridiculous word "woke". The west is NOT perfect, but people out there are generally really accepting. You're from somewhere else? Cool. Everyone else is too. "Wokeness" is kind of built into the culture of military towns anyway. And if people are native to the area, they're used to being around people from other places because everyone who moves to Alaska or Colorado or Wyoming is generally going there for a reason. It's absolutely commonplace to see license plates from all 50 states, and some foreign countries, around military bases. I've had the chance to work with parents and kids and colleagues from all over the world, and definitely from all over the country. I could easily name someone I know in every state of the U.S. at this point.
However, before coming to Pittsburgh, I've never experienced the prejudice of being from somewhere else. I mean, thank goodness that I'm originally from this state or I might really assume there was something wrong with me: it's not a place full of open minds.
Our out-of-state license plates got us ticketed in our own neighborhood while we were moving into our house, because they thought we weren't residents. They didn't even ask. And there was a giant moving trailer in the driveway and someone had just taken the "for lease" sign down. Yet, one of the neighbors felt the need to call the police.

*I had to unfollow a teacher blogger/podcaster I had liked for a couple of years. She sent out an email with this in it:

Politics aside, I thought we could just continue to talk about teaching, for goodness sakes, and how we can encourage kids to be life-long learners. When you irresponsibly send off factually inaccurate information to thousands and thousands of followers, we can't talk about teaching anymore. You not doing your research makes my head hurt, Cult of Pedagogy. (And then she referred to Trevor Noah as an example of knowledge on the event...whatever he said on his show...so I can't trust her sourcing either. She might as well have linked to Jimmy Kimmel.)
And she ponders what she would've done as a teacher. She says she would've reprimanded her students.
I, as a teacher, know that my students' safety was always priority number one. I would've herded as many of them away as possible.

Your responsibility is to your students, Cult of Pedagogy. If you would have reprimanded them instead of moving them away from or apologizing to them for the racial slurs being hurled their way and having a conversation about that, I wouldn't want my kid in your class.

Let's end there.

January was a long month.

And another Patriots' SuperBowl was just the grievance on top of the grievance cake (or the aluminum pole). I mean, I'm ready to admit that Tom Brady is a GOAT because no one accidentally wins 6 Superbowls. It's just getting to be annoying.

January 31, 2019

Friday Favorites (including 2 life hacks)

First the life hacks.

1. Razors. I hate buying razors. They are expensive and they seem to go dull so quickly. I bought these Target-brand razors on a whim last month and they ended up being so much better than expected. They are half the price of the name brands!


2. Essential oils in the shower. I've never been on the oils train but Scott bought a diffuser last year and a set of cheaper oils from Amazon. I don't get the appeal of the diffuser, to be honest. it just takes up space and an outlet.
But, a trick I learned a few years ago: sprinkle essential oils in the shower before you turn on the water.

I did this with peppermint when I was pregnant with a sinus infection and couldn't take medicine. It helps so much. Now, I do it with a different scent each day. It's probably better to use cheap oils for something like this, actually. I got my original peppermint one from Whole Foods, so they don't have to cost a lot. Also, I used lavender at night in the shower last summer when I was pregnant and couldn't sleep.

3. This weekend it'll be warm enough to unpack the rest of our furniture and we'll also be able to take the dogs out. Scott said Scout was getting "a little thick". Sigh. He puts on weight so easily without his daily run-rounds.

I feel slightly less guilty knowing they have a freshly shampooed couch to lay on. 

4. A sweet friend sent me a birthday gift. I met Angi through our blogs years ago but it feels dumb to call her a blog friend. She's just a friend.

5. The Resident.  The last time I really recommended a show, I completely stopped watching it (Manifest, last fall). But I've also stopped watching just about everything in the last month except for for football and shows on TLC (Seeking Sister Wife is fascinating) because I have cable again.

But, I remember seeing a commercial for this and thinking it looked interesting. I watched the first few episodes on Hulu. If you're an Emily VanCamp fan, this is her new show.

So The Resident is darker than a lot of medical shows. Not bloodier or gorier but not as predictable. The characters have complex relationships and everything is kind of out in the open. That pulled me in right away. If you like medical shows or just drama, give it one episode.

January 30, 2019

Gnocchi Vegetable Skillet

I feel like I've been making this on and off for years now but have never posted it? I don't know. I can't actually remember.
I do know I likely started making it when we had a supply of zucchini and tomatoes from the garden, so it was likely a quick summer dinner when I thought of it.


1. It's a one pan dinner.

2. It's 5 basic ingredients.

3. It takes about 30 minutes. Maybe less.  I didn't time it.

4. Absolutely perfect for a school night because meatless dishes are generally quicker...we do at least one meatless meal a week anyway. It's just so. much. easier.

5. Leftovers would be perfect to take to work as lunch the next day.

Gnocchi Vegetable Skillet
serves 4-6

1 package of potato gnocchi, uncooked (I like mini gnocchi, but it doesn't matter.)
2 cups diced grape tomatoes
1 medium zucchini, diced
1-2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced (not minced)
1 cup mozzarella, shredded
1 t. dried basil
1 t. dried oregano
Salt to taste

In a cast iron or ovenproof skillet, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.
Add the gnocchi and allow it to brown and crisp up, about 5 minutes. Stir often so it doesn't stick to the pan or burn.
When the gnocchi is crispy and golden brown, remove it from the pan and set it aside. Heat a few more tablespoons of olive oil and add the zucchini. Sprinkle on the basil and oregano and allow the zucchini to brown. Keep the heat on medium-high so it browns and doesn't just soften.
Add the tomatoes and stir.
Make a space in the center of the pan and add the garlic, allowing the slices to brown a bit on each side.
Add the gnocchi back in and stir.
Top with cheese and broil until the top is browned.

January 29, 2019

I hate Zillow.

Thank goodness we found Jett a place to sit and watch the squirrels. 

+I called about a property that was ideal for us. Just perfect. I left a message. The guy called me back. He asked if I'd seen the house. I said no because we were military and living out of state but I'd love to apply for it. He said it wasn't available until July. JULY.
He had listed it on Zillow in OCTOBER. That should be illegal. What purpose is possibly served by listing something 9-10 months in advance. He said he wanted to see if anyone would be interested. Well, all he's really getting, I'm sure, is the opportunity to field calls from people who need a house within a month or two. He even sounded like a jackhole and I kind of want to link to his listing for you.

+Zillow doesn't take properties down right away after they're leased and they certainly don't make any notations if there's multiple applications/leases getting ready to go through. I called more than one property manager/owner who said there was a lease going through and it would "probably" work out. One lady had a showing scheduled with me and, when I texted to confirm, she said Yeah, we can meet, but I have a lease getting ready to go through on it. She wasn't even going to tell me this. I have a special word for her too and want to link to her profile.

+In military towns, it's common to find a house online, work with the rental agency over the phone, and rent site-unseen. We've done it. It worked out just fine. This is also the benefit of the Automated Housing Referral Network. They know they're working with military families. Pittsburgh doesn't use the AHRN because they don't have a military installation. Trying to explain to people/owners/agents what we're looking for and why we're moving is headache-inducing. At least, at Ft. Leonard-Wood, I could say I need a house and they knew what I meant.

+Houses in Pittsburgh for rent are actually few and far between...all of them mostly being really in the city. Every one I looked at generally had something big wrong with it that was a no-go. One was on a hill comparable to the Manitou Incline. One was "renovated" and all they had done was put in new countertops. One was perfect...and then I realized there was no driveway/garage/shed and only on-street parking. Also, Pittsburgh is comparable to the hills of San Francisco...it's actually one of the countries hilliest cities. We're coming from the Great Plains. It's unsettling.

+When listing our Laramie house to rent, we realized very quickly that saying "no dogs" when you have nothing to lose by letting a tenant have a dog is a stupid move. It takes so many houses out of contention. MOST people have pets, you know? However, in my experience, a lot of places take a $500 pet deposit. Not in Pittsburgh. Every place I looked at wanted an additional month's rent as a pet deposit. UGH. I felt like I was being swindled. And they acted like it was the norm. It's not the norm.

+Also, speaking of pets, as an agent, when you ask me who will be living in the house and I say "...and two dogs", don't let your face fall and look disgusted for a second WHEN THE LISTING SAYS PETS ALLOWED. What is wrong with you? At least know your property a little better than that.

+And, also...pictures, Zillow. There were a few houses where I actually wanted to volunteer to do new pictures for the person and put them up for the listing. If you use blurry flip-phone pictures, you're not helping yourself. At least make the place look good and let a potential renter judge for themselves. Isn't the idea to get people to the property? If your agent doesn't offer professional photos, find a new agent.

+I was semi-interested in a property and thought it'd be a last resort for me to go look at (nice place, just far from work for Scott). When the agent called me back (after 3 days), she said that the bank that has the loan out on the house has to vet any potential tenants and no one has passed the vetting process so far. I've never heard about such a thing.

+Trying to rent in Pittsburgh was a nightmare, especially because I was looking for a place on my own (and to the lady who gave me the disgusted look when I said there would be two dogs and who assumed it was just me renting the house, I wanted to punch her in the throat...just because I'm looking by myself doesn't mean I'm living in a place by myself, moron...also, lady, leggings aren't pants). We're lucky we got into a place that has more "right" than "wrong", to be honest. It'll be fine for the amount of time we'll be here and eventually I'll do a quick overview of the pros/cons of the house (the biggest con being the additional month's rent as a pet deposit and the yellow front door...spoiler alert).

January 25, 2019

Friday Favorites.

I would like to get back to posting favorite things on Fridays. I think that I want them to be more intentional though. Not just flippant or random funnies I have to look for in order to get a post up on Friday mornings or recommendations that are just affiliate links (for the sake of posting an affiliate link) or a recap of what I've already posted for the week. So there might not be a post like this every week. I think "intentional" is my new motto when it comes to blogging.  I have more I want to say that I just don't. I used to, but I just don't anymore and I think I need to.

We'll see where it goes.

1. We found renters for our Laramie house. This is an answered prayer in a lot of ways, so I'm hoping it works out well for us and for them.

2. The Jesse Kelly robotics tweets were everything. Basically, he said he hated his son's robotics tournament and wished he played football instead and people lit him up. CLEARLY IT WAS NOTHING BUT SARCASM. (Even I replied saying I understood because I was familiar with LEGO robotics and tagged my former coworker because she was the coach, and someone hate-tweeted back at me...eyeroll). I couldn't stop laughing and I loved the fact that he retweeted every hater comment that came his way. He's hilarious in general on Twitter, if you want someone funny to follow.

3.  I got a new stroller. I can't speak to its ease or effectiveness yet because it's still in the box, but I'll report back. Out of all the people I know or the bloggers who have mentioned strollers, I only saw one person who didn't like it. In addition, most people seemed to recommend $600 strollers and I wanted to LOL at that. No. The only way we'd have a $600 stroller is if we had another baby in the next three years and I needed a double stroller. I contemplated briefly about getting a jogging stroller and then thought that would be my fictional future self who would use a jogging stroller. This seemed like the best option for what we'd used it for: shopping, neighborhood walks, parks, etc. As much as I would like to be that person who runs with her baby, alas, I am not.

Previously, we had the stroller that went with the carseat as a travel system and I broke the wheel so it was, not useless but, not something I wanted to use for longer than I had to.

4. Scott bought me a subscription to The Daily Wire. This is a favorite of favorites. I'll have to post more when my tumbler arrives.

5. Everyone says Wells looks like Scott, and I agree that he is his carbon copy. In Target the other day, more than one person told me Wells looked like me (it's amazing how many strangers you talk to when you have a baby learning how to sit up in a shopping cart). I'll take it.