29 June 2015

7 Quick Takes Monday

I'm doing a little 7 Quick Takes, but on Monday, because I rarely have much time on Mondays.

1. After a few weeks of having Abigail home from preschool, our days have adopted a nice little ebb and flow that feels very natural now. The trickiest part of the day, actually, was figuring out nap time. It took several days of trial and error, then several more days of getting used to the new normal, but we set up the Pack n' Play in the master bedroom and Eleanor naps in there. This gives Abigail access to the toys in the girls' room and puts more distance between the play and nap zones of the apartment. A few days a week, Abigail even takes her own naps, and the two separate napping locations means that everyone naps when and for as long as they need.

2. It's been a very cool and wet summer so far in Michigan. Pre-kids Jacqueline would not have minded one bit, but apartment + kids Jacqueline is starting to feel frustrated. The daily scattered showers makes getting outside for a walk pretty difficult and the cool weather rules out the pool. The girls, especially Abigail, need to burn energy and doing so within the walls of a two bedroom apartment is very challenging.

3. Abigail started at the eating clinic last week and starts equine therapy this week, and I'm really enjoying our foray back into Therapy World. Ever since she started school last September, Abigail has gotten 100% of her therapy at school. It was a totally different experience for me, as we'd had therapists over to our house weekly since her birth. Therapy is something I'm good at, and we all enjoy getting out of the house for the extra appointments. I'm also really glad we can do some very specific, as-needed work on her weaknesses this summer, especially since Abigail doesn't receive any therapy during the summer (unless we seek, and pay for, it privately.

4. We've made progress in the Getting A Second Car department. At first we thought we'd have to buy a second vehicle with third row seating, as our compact car carseats wouldn't fit three across in our mid-sized Ford Fusion (first generation). We decided on an Explorer since we're a Ford family. Matt calculated how much money the budget could handle and I started doing research online to figure out how much Explorer our budget would buy.

But we were both uncomfortable with the search.

Matt didn't think we could get what we wanted with what we could afford. I didn't think I could handle driving such an enormous vehicle. So instead I started researching car seats and found a number of European carseats that are much smaller than the ones we currently have. It turns out that when you broaden your search from "What Target sells" to "What you can find on the Internet," doors open. So we made a few purchases from retailers that would let us return them for free if they didn't fit in the car. Initial measurements are promising, but when the new carseats arrive, we'll spend an evening seeing what lineup we can get to fit. Streamline European carseats are significantly more expensive than what Target sells, but three $300 car seats are cheaper than an SUV. If we can get the new seats to fit three across in our Fusion, we could then buy an inexpensive little Focus or Ranger for Matt. This model of Second Car Life would save us about $6000-7000.

5. I have no updates on the job front. Matt is actively applying for positions, but as I explained earlier, the place he's mostly applying to releases job listings over the course of a few months and then does all their interviewing at once. We could not hear back for a month or more, but still have a chance. His active applying brings me a great amount of hope, though. There is still a good chance we could be in our own home by Thanksgiving. Having hope is crucial when one is living in a two bedroom apartment and about to become a family of five.

6. We've really been struggling with some behavioral issues with Abigail lately. I have a post saved as a draft right now that I'm working on. It's a tough line because I don't want to overexpose her. But at the same time, this blog covers special needs. I really, really, really need to go to the local Down syndrome group's mom's night out. They have them monthly, but I'm really good at coming up with excuses not to go. I'm more comfortable dealing with life on my own, but I know that the best experiences often happen outside of the comfort zone.

7. The girls have no idea what's coming and Matt is preoccupied with work, but I'm getting very excited about our upcoming vacation. I can barely wait until we pick Matt up from work and begin the trek up north later this week. In my head, I'm already packing bags, loading the car, and organizing the most efficient pit stops.

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