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How the other half lives

May 20, 2009 11:02 am

While we were in Pittsburgh we got to an Ocho de mayo gathering at Eileen’s neighbor’s house. There were three other couples there who were all very nice and the host made excellent margaritas but that is beside the point. What I really got from that evening and just our visit to Pittsburgh in general was a view of life in surburbia.

We technically live in a suburb of Boston but it is about as urban as you can get without being downtown. Our two family house has a tiny back yard, no front yard,  1200 sf per unit and was built in 1916.  I work full time and commute via the subway (T). This is normal for us. Most of our friends live and work like this.

Eileen lives in a gorgeous 4 bedroom house in a planned community 45 minutes north of Pittsburgh. She decided that having two kids and trying to keep working full time at a job that required a significant amount of travel wasn’t worth the impact on her family life. She is now a stay at home mom who consults periodically for her old job. Most of the families in her neighborhood are in a similar situation. You can afford to do this in Pittsburgh. In Boston, not so much.

At the Ocho de mayo party I heard all the gossip from the neighborhood. The guy who used to live in this house had an affair with woman in that house, one guy is totally crazy and jealous, one woman went on to the school bus to yell at some kids who were picking on her kid, stuff like that. I don’t even know my neighbors names and I have lived here from 5 1/2 years.

While we were there, Jace and I took a walk around the neighborhood. It  was great to be able to let him explore and not have to worry about cars, garbage and urban things. He checked out the rocks, looked at the stream, ran around the tree, climbed up a mound of mulch, watched ants and generally did little boy things. At home I feel like I have to constantly hold his hand and tell him to put that gross thing down.

I like my life here in Boston but there are definitely some things that would be nice to change.

Heather Update

December 24, 2008 4:12 pm

I started my new job last week and it has been a crazy week and a half. Trying to adjust to a new office, new ways of doing work, a new LONG commute (45+ minutes instead of 10), doing drop off instead of pickup and everything else has made it quite overwhelming. But as of today, I am on vacation and headed north. I will deal with the new job and all it’s complications in the new year. I am even going to try to switch my schedule so I can go in early 3 days a week and leave in time to do pickup. That would mean we could resume our Monday walks with William (provided we ever see our sidewalks clear of snow again this winter), Friday swims and one day of just fun Mommy and Jace time.

I also managed to take another architecture exam. Hopefully this one went better than the last two. I think it did. My goal is to retake the two graphics one and take MEP before the end of June. That will just leave structures to take in the new format of tests.

Things I learned yesterday

December 5, 2008 12:44 pm

On chicken nuggets :

Do not microwave chicken nuggets. Even if they say you can on the box. Do NOT microwave them. Unless, of course, you want little hockey pucks for dinner.

On flu shots:

The flu shot may possibly prevent you from getting the flu and feeling like crap for a week, but it definitely will make you feel crappy for a day.

What did you learn yesterday?

The Economy Sucks

12:38 pm

Well, reality hit this household too, but luckily not too hard. I got laid off a couple of weeks ago. Things have been going downhill at Arrowstreet for several months since all the work there is for private developers. Banks aren’t lending money so developers can’t build so architects can’t work.

However, the news isn’t all bad. Thanks to old CMU connections (who would have thought that the computer programming for architects class would payoff???) I managed to get an interview at Goody Clancy downtown and got a job offer. I start on the 15th!. My TA in said programming class is an associate there involved with the hiring process so he got my resume into the pile at the last second. Thanks Todd!

I am spending these couple of weeks trying to catch up on all those projects at home that have been ignored in favor of playing with Jace. Our lawn has been raked, bathroom cleaned, christmas shopping halfway complete and other “fun” activities.

5-3-1-1

October 22, 2008 8:49 pm

Several of you have asked how I am coming on my architectural exams. After slacking off for the summer, I am back in gear. I have taken 5 exams so far. Passed 3, Not Passed 1, and I am waiting to hear back about the 5th one. Site Planning apparently did not agree with me. I think I just made a bunch of little errors which added up. Oh well. Very few people pass all of the them first time around.

Vacation number 2

September 7, 2008 8:05 pm

What do you get when you take 15 families, 20 kids, 1 dog and a big house in Vermont? If you answered insanity, you aren’t too far from the truth but a better answer would be a great time. For July 4th we rented out entire Bed and Breakfast outside of Stowe Vermont. The house was beautiful with a pool and huge common space for eating and playing. This vacation is an annual event that started the year Steve and I got engaged. Back then it was a slightly smaller place with no kids, lots of beer and Jello Shots. My how things have changed. The trip is very casual with group dinners and whatever else you want to do. Feel like taking a walk and want company, just announce your intentions and somebody will be bound to join you. Want to go off and do you own thing? Nobody will feel left out or ignored.

This year we invited Julia and Nicholas with William and Koos, Stef and Xander. It was nice to increase the social circle and William and Jace got to share toys, meals and lots of fun. Apparently Nick and Julia want to rent Jace for dinner occasionally because William ate so much more with Jace as a role model.

To see what the trip was all about, check out our photo section.

Maryland

August 1, 2008 2:23 pm

Our first trip was to Maryland to go to the beach and see some of Steve’s family. His grandfather lives down there in Bethesda and several aunts and uncles live in the area as well. We flew into BWI so we could meet up with Grandpa Carter before heading off to his farmhouse near the beach in Bishopville. Flying with a one year old is much different from flying with a 6 month old. Then he was happy to sit in our lap and nap while this time all he wanted to do was move. On our way down we were stuck in Boston Logan Airport for several hours while Delta tried to find us a pilot. Don’t ask me how you lose a pilot, but somehow they did. While this frustrated me to no end, Jace was super happy trying out his new walking skills on the carpeted gate area and flirting with all the other stranded people. Once we finally got on the plane, he wasn’t quite as happy. Trying to hold on to a squirming one year old for an hour long flight is much harder than you would think. Despite the best efforts of the flight attendant to distract him and me feeding him cheerios one at a time, he was miserable. We got him his own seat for our trip to Denver in October so we can strap him into his carseat.

Once we got to Maryland we had a great time meeting up with Grandpa Carter and his friend Gladys for the afternoon and dinner. Jace and GGC (Great Grandpa Carter) had fun walking around the backyard together.

After dinner we headed out to Bishopville with Steve’s sister Cindy. The farmhouse was great. Jace got to try climbing stairs for the first time and mastered going up in no time. Coming back down is a lot harder. Steve’s parents joined us the next day along with his aunt, cousins and their little baby and we met up with other relatives who were in the area. It was great to see everyone but if you have ever wondered where Steve gets his mellowness from, just hang out with his family for the weekend. Everyone is so relaxed and unstructured that I, the person who lives on plans and schedules, felt like a fish out of water. Jace seemed to do just fine and we did manage to do everything we had wanted to do. Played minigolf, ate crabs, visited with family, went to the beach, relaxed etc.

You may remember that the last time we took Jace to the beach he was 6 weeks old. He slept through most of it and, when he got dunked in ocean, he got sweet revenge by peeing on Steve. This time he was totally into it. He loved watching the waves crashing on the shore, liked hanging out in the water and didn’t even mind when a wave crashed all over us as we sat at the edge of the ocean. He even tried eating the sand but quickly learned by the second mouthful that it really isn’t meant to be eaten as he opened his mouth and stuck out his tongue until I scraped the sand out.

While we were in Maryland, Jace turned one so we had a little birthday celebration for him with icecream cake and some birthday presents. Not a big party or anything but we marked the occasion and he really is too young to know any different. He certainly loves his new books, “baby ipod” and icecream cake.

What is so magical about 1 years old?

May 18, 2008 10:42 am

Not that I won’t be happy to celebrate when Jace turns one, but what is so magical about that 1 year mark? All of a sudden he is “allowed” to eat strawberries, egg white, wheat, citrus foods, tomatoes and so much more. In addition he now qualifies to switch from breastmilk (or formula) to cows milk. Not that we will quit cold turkey the day he turns one. Although I will be quickly weaning myself off that damn pump!

People have started to ask me what we are doing to celebrate his birthday. Are we having a party? I don’t know the answer to that question (we are away the weekend of july 4th and probably away the weekend before too) but it has led to many more in my mind. How do I convince a boy who eats some solid food, but not a vast selection, that he should now be getting a majority of his calories that way? He loves to feed himself finger food but so far it is canned peaches, steam carrots, rice cakes, toast sticks (occasionally), pasta (occasionally), cheese and cheerios. Not exactly a balanced diet. I am trying to add new things but he refuses any meat however soft or sliced and, to be honest, I’m not sure what else to try. We did try roasted vegis but he only ate the potato and carrots. With being fed, baby food is tolerated (fruits are less of a battle than vegis), while hummus and guac are still his favorites.

Also for the milk – bottle, sippy cup, or straw cup? It seems to be recommended to wean babies off the bottles as early as you can because otherwise they tend to get rather attached. And Jace does get a sippy cup of water for dinner. Not that he drinks much, mostly he lets it run out his mouth and throws the cup on the floor. He is fascinated by my straw cup (camelback flip top bottle) and seems to work it pretty well so maybe I will just find him a straw cup.

These are the thoughts that run through my head these days as we get closer to the one year mark. Still over a month to go but his friends are hitting it one by one (Tyler at daycare, William, and RJ) so it is on my mind. Any of you experienced moms out there who have some ideas or suggestion, please let me know.

The new friday night watering hole

May 17, 2008 11:37 am

So it used to be that on a Friday night, you met up with your friends at the local watering hole, ie the bar. Well we have a new watering hole, and this once contains, well, water! We took Jace swimming again at the Arlington Boy’s and Girls Club for their family swim night. While there we met up with a number of friends and their kids. Even stranger is the realization that it is a small small world after all.

When Steve came back from his epic bike ride to Mexico, he needed a place to live. He found a guy in Arlington, Jan, who was looking for a short term roommate. (Jan is from Belgium). We we ran into Jan at the family swim with his wife and two kids. Okay, small world but not that strange. Except it turns out that Jan knows Kate and Jeremy (who were also at family swim) because their boys went to daycare together. Then Steve asked Jan where he had been working and he responded Millenium. Well we know one guy who used to work there, Zach, but he just moved to The Netherlands. Turns out Jan knows Zach too.

ARC. 3 down, 6 to go!

April 6, 2008 7:46 pm

I am now an ARC. I passed my third architecture exam. There are nine tests, nine letters in architect, hense the ARC. Next up is the first of the three graphics exams. This means that not only do I need to understand the content being tested, but I have to learn their silly cadd program. It isn’t autocad but something they made up to be equally annoying to all users.

(C) Steve and Heather Leibman, 2007.