New Normal

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Three and half weeks living with my in-laws and we are settling in to a new normal. I’m not sure how “normal” it is … but it’s how life is for us now. After a few days of initial anxiety, my nerves calmed down and I realized I had to separate reality from my WORST fears. It really hasn’t been bad at all…. Here are the Pros and Cons to date:

PROS

  • My father in law has been making a majority of the dinners during the weeknights. Home cooked meal when you get home? BONUS! Saves me time and mental energy.
  • Mother in law can entertain my toddler (Arya) for periods of time. Gives me a little break although I am still cautious about them having items out that she could get into (like prescriptions etc).
  • Its nice spending time with family and watching everyone interact. Especially watching my daughter interact and entertain her grandparents.
  • There is always someone available at the house to meet the repair man/delivery girl etc.

Cons

  • Small things like the kind of dish soap you use or the brand water you like to drink may not be the same. Don’t you know Aquafina has a high PH level!!!
  • Lack of privacy…did they just walk into “our” bathroom? Did you need to take a look around? And NO you cannot fold our laundry. I had to explain I don’t want my MIL folding my underwear – I draw a hard line there.
  • After I told my mother in law no more food before dinner for my daughter, she snuck food to her when I turned my back. Seriously? Behind my back? I saw you!
  • My in laws speaking Korean constantly. However, I do not. I usually don’t mind but sometimes I would like to know what the dinner conversation is. It’s especially puzzling when my mother in law speaks directly to me in Korean. Like I know whats she is saying…. surprisingly sometimes I do understand. Not her words but her intent.

I will leave this at an even score for now. So far, we are pretty happy and enjoying our new lifestyle of living in the suburbs with family. We have our moments of “Did that seriously juts happen?” but that was to be expected to a degree. We also have our moments of “We made the right decision”. We still have plenty to iron out and more boxes to unpack. Have you had any similar experiences with family? Comment below!

Reality Sets In

A few days after moving in with my in laws, reality set in.  I notice on my way home from work on Tuesday (moved in on Sunday),  I start to feel anxious. The kind of anxious you feel in your chest and back. Wait… why am I feeling this way? This was partly my idea and I was EXCITED about the concept of multigenerational living and all the benefits it can offer. But suddenly it hit me …what will it be really DSC_0139like? Will my mother in law smother my daughter for attention? Will she try to snatch her from my arms? Will my daughter be able to play on her own?

We get home and there was no snatching. My daughter was very clingy for my attention and I was somewhat relieved. Although, I didn’t know what to do! My whole coming home routine was in limbo. I couldn’t make my coffee since someone was in the kitchen right in the way (yes I drink coffee when I get home from work). I can’t clean my daughters lunch box either. Well…. I decided to take a little walk to the park across the street and back.

My father-in-law cooked dinner and honestly it was nice not to have to think about what to cook. It saved us some stress since we also had no idea where anything in the kitchen was or even where any of OUR kitchen items were. Nothing is more frustrating than not having something on hand or having to wade through a sea of boxes EVERYTIME you want a new utensil or cooking tool. I was grateful for the prepared dinner and started getting my daughter ready for bed.

As I rock her in my arms, I start to think about all the ways our decision to live in a multigenerational household may affect her. Will my inlaws be a positive influence on her? Will they enable behavior that we don’t want to reinforce? Will they undermine our parenting decisions? Is this what’s best for our daughter? Are we doing this for the right reasons? We will loose our identity as a nuclear family? Will I still be just as important to her?  At the end, as I’m rocking her to sleep, tears are streaming down my face. I’ve been holding them back all day but I can’t hide from my thoughts as I hold my little girl.

I talk to my husband that night about how I am feeling and some of my thoughts. He reassures me that it will be ok.

What have we done? Is this really the BEST decision for our family? Only time will tell…

Worst Moving/Mother’s Day EVER

We did it! We officially moved out of our awesome condo and into a single family home with the in-laws. Due to various reasons we picked a Sunday – Mother’s Day. We agreed we could “celebrate” the holiday the following weekend since there is no way you can move in one day and manage anything else. So …why the dramatic title?

Well lets back it up a bit. The previous week my throat had been feeling a little sore in the morning but would go away. It started on my right side then both sides. We went away for the weekend (the weekend before the move) and I didn’t think much about it. I was extremely tired on our way back from our trip that weekend but chalked it up to a non-stop schedule. Tuesday my morning sore throat didn’t go away and my coworker suggested I go get it checked out. YEP I had strep throat. She prescribed me some antibiotics and I went to fill it that night. I’m glad I did because that evening it got noticeably worst. The next few days were a series of exhaustion and sharp pains in my jaw and back of my tongue. I tried to finish packing between work, toddler and when I had the energy.

Towards the end of the week, we got an email from my daughter’s school stating a stomach bug was going around – GREAT. You can see where this is going. Saturday, I am feeling 99% better from the strep throat. Perfect, we move tomorrow and I can finish packing …. queue toddler vomiting on me. The stomach bug hit and t-minus 24 hours till I get it. Because I WILL GET IT – thanks to little fingers always being shoved in my mouth while nursing.

I strap the sick toddler in my baby carrier and pack everything I can til bedtime. Maybe its in my head but that evening I start to “feel” the sickness circulating inside me and I defiantly eat my pizza for dinner knowing full well it may come back to visit me.

Next morning aka moving day aka Mothers Day, the stomach bug hits me full force.  I don’t really have the luxury of being sick. Thankfully, patient zero (aka my daughter) seems to be in much better spirits today and holding down food. My husband can’t operate alone on a day like today so I suck it up.

We load up what we can in the car for a family drive to the new home. On the way, I desperately call my father for last minute re-enforcements to help me at the new home. My husband drops my daughter and I off at the new home. He heads back to meet the movers at the condo.

My father arrives bearing gifts of watermelon and gatorade – my go-to for an upset stomach. After he helps re-arrange a few things in preparation for the movers coming, he takes my daughter for a stroll in her stroller so I can nap. I surprisingly squeeze in 30 mins (thank you!).

My husband and the movers arrive to the new home. Our new living/family room quickly fills with boxes and furniture that frankly has no place to go. Moving is discombobulating but moving into an all already full house is even worse. Where does a third couch go? Porch. How about a third dining table? Porch. Coffee table? Yep, porch. The only furniture that we had designated places for was the bedroom furniture for the two bedrooms. Unfortunately, the movers could not fit our queen sized bedroom or even the crib into their bedrooms. My father and I had to take apart the crib and reassemble it. My husband and father both managed to take apart the IKEA bed and put ti back together in our new bedroom. I have no idea how they managed that but I was so happy I had a real place to lay down.

The rest of the evening I spent hiding/resting in the bedroom. I still didn’t feel well and had no motivation. My husband forgot some things at our old pace so he made a run back. My daughter was taking a long nap. I basked in the few moments of quiet. The end of a horrible and exhausting day finally came to a close.

Learning to Let Go

IMG_5449One of the biggest challenges of deciding to live in a multigenerational household is having to learn to let go of shit. Yeah I said it….. all that crap we tend to hang onto and accumulate. I know we (my husband and I) have way more than we need or even should have in our own condo. You can’t fit two household into one resonably without letting go of items on both sides.

The past few months with a little inspiration from the minimalism movement and The Minimalists , I have slowly been selling our things on eBay. It’s been a wonderful way to remove outgrown or unused items while gaining monetary value back and being eco conscious. I now have small stash of cash in my PayPal for little purchases here and there. I’m also allowing someone else to gain reuse perfectly good items which is even better than recycling them. We tend to toss things in the trash too quickly when we don’t want to deal with it or just want it quickly out of our space. Since I also have an Esty shop I already have a scale and packaging to ship items. It’s easy – I can wrap and label at home then drop off at the post office by my work!

Decluttering, cleaning out or minimizing is no mundane task. Its mentally, emotionally and physically draining. You have to sort and think about every item. Do I use this on a regular basis? Will I need this in the foreseeable future? Does this add value to my life? Does this bring me joy? I spent $ X dollars on that! What is this item costing me now? (in terms of space, frustration, additional clutter, maintenance/cleaning). There is a price to holding onto items as well! Is it really worth it? I’m tired just thinking about it and theres where the problems lies. I don’t want to me tired by my possessions. There is too little time in life and I have better things to do!

I’m sure by now you have heard of the minimalism movement. It really has resonated with me along with the concept of financial freedom. They all go hand in hand. You can’t be financially free if you keep buying a ton of “things”. You can’t relax and enjoy life if you are constantly having to take care of and clean up all your stuff. I am mother of a 14 month old and being a parent is hard enough without adding additional weight on your shoulders. It has really shown me that I need to stream line my decision making, my daily routines and my life in general. Feeling like you are constantly running and exhausting is not fun. Loosing patience and feeling the stress build up in the middle part of my back is not fun.

There fore, I am taking to the opportunity to try to streamline our possessions. As we pack we are trying to make conscience decisions on what we bring with us. We simply don’t pack the items that we don’t need. We sell and donate. It’s a really life packing party and I’m seizing the opportunity! Have you been decluttering and minimizing your things? What approach has been successful for you? Please comment below!

Wiring for a Multigenerational Household

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This past Saturday we had the cable technician come to the house to change our set up. This involved adding an additional cable box and wireless booster.

Originally only the family room had cable and the internet router was in the back bedrooom/office. Since the family room will now be our own living room, we wanted to change the cable box to a DVR and move the HD cable box that was there out into the formal living room at the front of the house.  The formal living room will now be their main living area. This will give all of us the ability to have our separate living spaces and watch whatever we want on the TV.

The router was in an office/bedroom which will now be my husband and I’s room so we moved it out to the family room to make space and to connect any streaming devices with a hard wired connection. Hard wired is always best for streaming.

Ji Sung (my husband’s father) likes to download and watch Korean TV on the computer so we also installed a wireless booster in the formal living room that gives two hardwired connections. This was a great option to ensure wireless is throughout the house and he has the ability to plug his PC in for downloading. It wall a super easy setup and best of all didn’t require additional wiring.

Since I am able to get an employee discount we were able to add a larger channel package for a cheaper price and decided to add Korean channels for his parents to enjoy. We will have to make sure they actually watch the 4 Korean channels since its $24.99 a month – yes for 4 channels! Yikes.

Do you have more than two generations in one home? How many TV’s or internet connections do you have?

Fixin’ Up to Rent

As we pack and slowly migrate items over to our new home, we are making minor fixes to our loft.

The toilet handle thats “floppy”…

the light switch that doesn’t quite stick…

the second bath that didn’t get finished being painted….

you get the idea.

All minor repairs that would not be acceptable to new renters but we have managed to look past them in the craziness of our daily grind.

The major challenge is finding the time to make these updates and fixes. The work week is practically impossible and even on the weekends we are out numbered. One person has to constantly watch the rascal and its hard to install a new light fixture without someone there to hand tools and hold the ladder. Taking care of these minor repairs ourselves will save us money that we can put towards our upcoming renovations. Little does my father know, that I will be instilling his assistance the next two weekends to help!

Here is the official to do list:

  • replace broken outside window
  • fix refrigerator water line
  • repair toilet handle in half bath
  • paint both bathrooms
  • paint kitchen neutral grey
  • replace vanity lights in both bathrooms
  • patch small hole in wall from previous electrical work
  • change light bulb in closet
  • replace light in stair way
  • fix light switch in full bath
  • clean bedroom carpet

The window repair is being out sourced since we need a custom glass order and installed. Everything else we should be able to do ourselves with the help of google. I’ll being taking photos and  blog a few “how to” posts in the next couple weeks so type your email in below to follow along!

Our Old Home

We may be moving out to a new place that better meets our current needs as a family but our old home is pretty awesome. It may lack space but it does not lack the “cool” factor.

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We currently (since we are in the process of moving) live in a converted Cigar Factory dating back to 1915. The entire building was converted to Industrial style Loft condos back in 2006. The original flooring was polished concrete with bare concrete walls on the sides. We have since installed wood flooring to make it more homey. The outside wall is original to when the building was built and boosts large rectangular windows letting a ton of light in.

The neighborhood is perfect for young couples and professionals. Local restaurants, coffee shops and breweries are within walking distance – just a few blocks. The area is known for its night life and historic architecture. Sounds amazing right? Well it is!

Except it is just under 1000 sq ft; giving only a 1 bedroom and 1 1/2 bath. The bedroom is an open loft bedroom, meaning there is no door. The bedroom, full bath and closet is literally the entire second floor which has an open railing to the downstairs. Thats not the separation or space that a family of three needs. We have enjoyed living here but it will definitely be better when we move to have separate bedrooms for us and our daughter.