The State of the Ellie: December 2017

upon leaving she saw ribbons by wdnest via DeviantArt

This is going to be a quick and dirty (and super late) version of tSotE because, as you may have noticed, I’ve been scarce online for the last month. It’s not because I don’t love you or have forgotten how to work a keyboard; it’s that I’ve been hella busy, and the way my life is constructed these days, that means internet (and, sadly, non-immediate connection) falls to the bottom of the pile.

Okay, excuse time over. On to the juicy stuff.

Baby: Mackenzie is almost 19 months old and SO CLOSE TO WALKING, you guys. She started cruising around the furniture right away, then walking with us holding her hands (we’re down to one, which is mostly for show). We started practicing free-walking between people or stairs at Thanksgiving, and I’ve caught her several times just doing it on her own! All that’s left is to build her confidence a little more and then it’ll be off to the races. Perhaps literally. She’s also talking NONSTOP. I try to write down new words on the calendar the day she first says them, but I can’t really keep up anymore. Her English vocabulary is growing exponentially, her ASL vocabulary is more use (mine needs to expand), and her baby-babble is constant. New favourites include “aww, man,” “backpack,” and “blueberry.” She’s also very into Dora now, so I heard her say “vamanos” yesterday, which made me giggle. We did have a rough night this week that ended up requiring not one but two car rides to get her sleeping, but it seems to have been a fluke. Oh! And she’s started making requests when we pray together at night. Usually it’s for the people she’s seen that day, but sometimes when I ask her who she wants to pray for, she says “mommy” and puts her hand on my shoulder and I have to be very brave and not cry like a weenie.

Health: Better? I’m not totally sure. My doc gave me a nose spray for the sinus stuff, I’m seeing a second physiotherapist for my hip/back, my gut isn’t bugging me much, and I got my first-ever flu shot, so lots of points in the progress category. I am finding, however, that my usual winter hibernation is trying to kick in–I want to go to bed at 7pm and have trouble getting up before 6:30am–but that’s not really an option anymore, so I’m applying many caffeines to the affected area.

Social: Lino, Mack, and I flew to Kansas City for Thanksgiving, it was a whirlwind of activity. The baby was surprisingly good on the airplane both ways. Bringing Daddy and a bag of new-to-her toys was a big help. The whole week was an exercise in trying to make sure we spent time with all of my family, as we only see them once a year. Some good, some not so good, but all of it needed. I miss them a lot–more since having a kid of my own–and even when it’s hard, I try to store it up. I’m keenly aware that things will be different some day. Thankfully, my mom is super-awesome about helping us with managing that stuff, and Lino and I even got a WHOLE DAY to ourselves. We went to the Roasterie, the Nelson-Atkins museum, and Betty Rae’s ice cream and had a really lovely time talking about cars, philosophy, history, theology, and why plum is actually a good flavor for sorbet. We also got to see Justice League and Thor: Ragnorok with my dad and brother, which was awesome, and visit with my aunt/uncle/cousin whom I see about every five years, which was also awesome. All told, a good trip! I just felt like I needed a vacation from my vacation by the time we got back.

Writing: Nope. I did some scratching on Apple of Chaos (continuing the novel version for some reason and not attempting the revised format I mentioned before–I dunno), and I keep jotting down flashes of inspiration for spirituality writing, but this post is the first time I’ve done any writing in weeks. Someone asked me the other day if I was working, and I literally laughed in their face. Mine is a bitter laugh. It’s just doubly frustrating because I know that I know that I know that writing is what I’m supposed to be doing. I may not be sure of the what and the why yet, but it IS the THING. And I suck at waiting for the right season to find out.

Spirituality: It’s a little odd to talk about money in this section, but it relates. We’ve recently made some big ticket purchases (see Personal section), and it’s set us waaaaaay back in our get-free-from-debt goals. This hits me on a spiritual level because, while removing debt has always haunted me, I now understand that God doesn’t want us enslaved to money or other people through owing. Lino and I agreed this spring to aggressively pay down our debt to honor God and to free up that 25%(!!!) of our income to bless other people (we like to give presents and pay for people’s stuff). But it seems like every time we get ahead, something knocks us off track. It makes me SO MAD. And then I feel guilty about failing on a promise we made to God, etc, etc. I’m okay–there’s forgiveness and grace–but OOOHHHHHMAN. Ugh.

But! Zooming out from that, I need you guys to know that our season of waiting is over. Again, see the Personal section. When there are lots of parts to a problem, it’s hard to say what moves to gets things rolling again, but it happened. All the things we were holding our breath and starting to get lightheaded over are resolved, Jehovah Jireh! If I’m either very honest or very self-centered, I suspect the linchpin was an incredibly intense revelation I had during a Bible college class a couple of weeks ago which ended up with two pastors praying for me as I blubbered helplessly between them. I’m not 100% ready to write about it (fear of being rejected for being super open about my Christian faith is still nipping at me), but I will. Admitting what I was thinking/feeling and then asking for help addressing it changed something major in my soul, and its dissolution seems to have melted down the wall holding us back from the promotion that God promised us. So crazy. So good.

Personal: LINO GOT A NEW JOB, WE FOUND A NEW APARTMENT, WE BOUGHT A NEW CAR. All in the last three weeks! Talk about burying the lede, eh? This is the other huge reason I’ve been silent online and not written this post until now; I didn’t feel right talking about what’s going on in my life, even in passing, until there were concrete details to share. And now there are! I’ll break it up a bit because this paragraph will get WAY too long otherwise.

Lino starts at the new gig on January 8 in Toronto (he’ll be commuting, so it’s a looooong day, but we are okay with it for right now) at a way better workplace at a way better pay rate. He’s super excited, but I might be even more excited. I can’t explain how devastating his previous job has been on his perspective, morale, and sense of self-worth. Just being free of it has already changed him–you can see it in his face. Bonus: The old place “effective immediately”-ed him, which means they escorted him out of the building on Monday, but because he had already tendered his resignation with an end date of January 5, they’re paying his full salary and benefits PLUS cashing out his vacation days through that time. So he’s home with us for FIVE WEEKS of paid vacation! You should see his “honey-do” list….

In one of those funny twists that God likes to orchestrate, our apartment hunt came to an end when a friend offered us her place, living in a gorgeous 2 bedroom apartment (with a den) in the upper floors of the home of another friend of ours. It’s well within our price range, all-inclusive plus internet, and is only five blocks from our current place, so Mackenzie can easily go to the same school. ANDANDAND we’ll be living with another couple whom we respect and look up to AND across the street from a (constantly growing) family who already takes up three houses on the block. We’ll have REAL NEIGHBHORS. The apartment itself is quirky and, while not sq. ft. smaller than our current one, it requires us to downsize and rethink our living space, so we’re paring down and packing this entire month although we don’t move until January 1. Anybody want an end table, by the way? Five bucks.

Right before we left for Thanksgiving, we found out that the rear brakes on our Dodge are dying to the tune of $1700CAD. Added to the $1250 it needs in frame work, plus the $1500 we put into it right after we bought it–for $1000–and all the rust, we decided to put the ol’ gal down. A friend of ours let us know she works at a no-haggle dealer, so we did a lot of market research, then paid her and her hand-picked salesman a visit yesterday. I’ve only ever bought cars from friends or family (or once from Kijiji), so this was intimidating for me, and I’m soooooo glad that Lino was available to come with me, even if he did end up hanging out with Mack in the lobby most of the time. The salesman was SUPER NICE and not pushy at all because of the lack of commission structure. We’d wanted a Ford C-Max but the one we saw online in our price range was sold the previous day, so we bumped down and test drove the two 2015 Ford Focus SE Hatchbacks. Literally the only difference between the two was one has 33,000km on it and the other had 65,000km, but because I could drive them back to back I could feel the difference in the engine. Lino and I had an awkward discussion about which to buy–both would work for us, it’s just the difference between “very good” and “excellent”–but went with the lower KM version and the higher price tag. Hence the feels about debt in the Spirituality section.

She’s pretty, though, eh?

Red 2015 Ford Focus SE 5DR Hatchback

So, yeah. That’s what’s up in my world. Or at least as much as I could remember and write out in an hour before the baby wakes up. Thank to everyone who reads this! I promise much more navel-gazing and truthbombs next time.

Your turn! What was your November like? What’s on deck for December and the end of the year?

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