Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bless the Noise

It's interesting here at Green Spaces today.

The guy sitting across from me works for Runa tea and brought some new flavors for his fellow GreenSpacers to try.  There was one with lavender and sage that was delicious with a bit of stevia.  Jennie's assistant also brought in some chips and guacamole for everyone -- and it took everything I had not to pig out, it was so good.

I walked over to Mettina's for lunch and got an egg and cheese sandwich on a buttery croissant, along with a moist and fluffy blueberry muffin topped with fresh blueberries.  I brought it back to my desk to eat and several people stopped to ask me where I got it.

The neighborhood where this coworking space is located is just north of Coors Field.  There are a ton of lofts here.  So when I take a walk, I can't help but look in windows and wonder what the people who live there are like.  Some of the lofts are penthouses with big patios and expensive looking teak furniture.  I wonder what they do for a living, and what drew them to downtown Denver.

There are a lot of people on the phone here today.  A woman across the room is speaking Spanish to someone on a video chat.  The girl who now occupies the desk across from me is calling a list of people to invite them to a spa services sales event, and her constant "ums" make her sound like she's 15 years old.  Another girl, wearing the most adorable black and white striped dress, brought her boxer in today -- and the dog is beyond excited to be here, playing with everyone who walks by.

But after almost a week alone with Scarlett, being here around other working professionals makes me feel like ME again.  So bless all the noise.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Single Momming It

Jeremy has been SCUBA diving in Cozumel for the last five days.  Does my husband lead a tough life or what?

So it's been just us girls for the better part of a week.  It always takes me a few days to get oriented when Jeremy is gone.  And then a few days to get reoriented when he gets back.  But no matter how I get used to things, it is always difficult working at my day job while taking care of Scarlett.

Luckily she's more independent now.  She can feed herself, she plays by herself for stretches of time.  She takes a long late morning nap and goes to bed by 7pm.

But even so, she requires constant interaction, so even writing this blog I am typing five words and then looking up to answer her or check on her.  Everything simply takes longer.  So by 5pm, I'm beyond exhausted.  And by 9pm I'm in bed.  Working out, painting, writing for pleasure, it all gets put on hold until Jeremy gets back.  My world revolves around Scarlett and my job duties.

So I'm happy to report this is the last time Jeremy should be gone for more than a day for the foreseeable future.  THANK GOD.  How single mothers do this is beyond my comprehension.

But it hasn't been all bad.  Scarlett and I met my mom at the Denver Art Museum on Saturday, and we spent the afternoon looking at art.  Scarlett's commentary was half the fun.  She could spot a horse or a dog in any exhibition from a mile away.  One minute you're looking at an Andy Warhol painting, and the next you're frantically trying to locate the horse that Scarlett sees just to acknowledge her finding and get her to stop saying "neee neeee neee!" (neigh, neigh, neigh) so loudly.  Well, "loud" is relative.  She sounds loud to me in a quiet museum, but compared to a lot of other screaming children we come across, she may as well be whispering.

After the museum, we ran home and grabbed Tyr before heading to my parents' house in Castle Rock for the night.  It's not that I forget my family is close by and can keep me company when Jeremy is gone, it's that I get so sucked into this little world of Scarlett that it doesn't occur to me I need company.  So when my mom asked me if I wanted to come stay the night, I was like "Oh yeah!  I can do that, huh!"

My mom made a delicious dinner of Ono fish, salad, lima beans and cornbread, and I got to relax a little since there were two more adults keeping an eye on Scarlett.  And the best part?  When Scarlett woke up on Sunday morning at 6:30am, my mom got up and took over so I could sleep until 9.  Aaaahhh bliss!

So Jeremy gets back late tonight, and I'll be reorienting myself once again.  But I'm reeeally looking forward to not being a single mom anymore!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Scarlett's 18-month Stats

Scarlett had her 18-month well-check appointment today.  Her doctor is always blown away by Scarlett's development and personality, and she's always talking about what "stable and smart" parents we are.  Gold star for the Mehring clan!

Scarlett's stats are currently --

Height: 2' 8.6" (77th percentile)
Weight: just over 21lbs (16th percentile)

She's long, lean and healthy as can be!

A Couple of Fun Things

My new freelance postcard...

The iron-on patch Jeremy got me at the Amazing Arizona Comic Con (I still haven't decided what I'm putting it on yet -- but it's going to get ironed on to something!)...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Church and Childcare

I have been wanting to go back to church for some time now.  I haven't been since Scarlett was born.

But Sunday is my one day a week to sleep in -- so getting my butt to church has not worked out well.

This weekend I switched sleep-in days with Jeremy, and got up with Scarlett on Sunday.  I took her with me to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Lafayette.

It was the first time I've ever left Scarlett in any kind of childcare.  I knew she'd be fine -- she has never had any kind of separation anxiety, and she loves other kids.  But as all mothers experience, I was a little nervous and clung to my phone during the service.

I'm not 100% satisfied with the UU church.  It's very liberal, and very humanist, and while that causes a great focus on the community, which is wonderful, it also leads them to avoid directly talking about god.  And a spiritual connection is the whole reason I want to go to church in the first place.

Scarlett did great in the childcare, though.  She was a hit with the girls who ran it, of course.  She found a baby doll that she loved and it was hard to pry it from her to leave -- but telling her we were going home to see Dada did the trick.  Such a daddy's girl!

So I'll probably try some other places over the next few weeks.  I will even try some Christian churches, even though I'm not religious.  I need a spiritual connection and community so desperately.  I've never found one that really fit me, but I haven't given up yet.

The Fort and Leader Baby

I drove down to the Springs to get my hair done on Saturday.  Yes, I still drive an hour and a half every 5 or 6 weeks to have my hair done by this particular stylist.  But he knows my hair so well, and he's never done me wrong.  Plus, his prices are reasonable, so the gas money I spend going down there pretty much balances out with what I would spend with a new stylist closer to home.

But Saturday's trip south was a quick one.  I had to turn right around and head home to grab Jeremy and Scarlett for dinner.

We drove out to Golden and had dinner with my family at The Fort for my dad's birthday.  My parents had been there before, but none of the rest of us had.  It was quite an experience.  It's literally a fort, tucked up against the red rocks, and it's all Old West style inside -- but the dinner itself is really elegant.  All the meat is sourced locally, and includes things like buffalo and quail.

As usual, everyone at the restaurant was quite taken by Scarlett.  She always garners attention wherever we go. She's got a magnetic personality.  Sometimes it's hard to keep her sitting at the table with us, because she wants to walk around and the people around us always encourage it.  We do our best to strike a balance between enforcing manners and her desire to be social (and everyone else's desire to see her).

I've never met a kid that could get the amount of attention that Scarlett can.  I've seen a lot of cute kids, and I've watched people react with a smile when that child is nearby -- but people literally flock to Scarlett.  It's like they couldn't stay away if their lives depended on it.

I think this foretells something.  I think Scarlett is going to be a great leader of some kind.

Girls' Night and White Sand

My college roommate and close friend, Erin, is working in Boulder right now.  I know it won't be forever, so I try to take advantage of her being so close by.

As any of you with kids can attest, going out with your friends doesn't always make it on your to-do list -- in fact, sometimes you forget you even have that option.  But I work really hard to spend time with my friends.  And thankfully they work really hard to spend time with me.

So when Erin emailed me last Thursday and asked if I wanted to grab dinner at our favorite local Indian restaurant, I jumped at the chance.  It was a wonderful girls' night out with delicious food and lots of catching up.  And Jeremy had no problem taking care of the baby -- as long as I brought him home some chicken tiki masala and cheese naan.

After I came home, I grabbed my pastels and finally finished this piece that's been sitting on my easel for months.  It's entitled "White Sand", and it's based on a photograph of my friend Adrianne in White Sands, NM.

Date Night for Us, Rough Night for Drew

Jeremy and I have a date night every Tuesday.  It's a ritual we've long held sacred, though since having Scarlett it is frequently Redbox movies at home rather than a date night out.  

But last Tuesday Drew agreed to babysit, so we actually got out for a night.  After he and his girlfriend Lisa got there, we headed out to our local dine-in theater, where we got dinner and watched Mission Impossible 3 (fantastic movie, btw).  We try something new every time we go to that theater, and this time we got the "Half Baked" chocolate chip cookies.  And we agreed that from now on we are ordering them for an appetizer, both entrees and dessert.  YUM.

We got home around 9:30pm, and Lisa was sitting by herself on the loveseat in the living room.  I asked if Scarlett went to bed okay, and she said, "She's still up."  I went upstairs and Drew was holding Scarlett, who was curled up against his chest, and he was pacing the room trying to get her to go to sleep.  It was a sweet scene, but I felt SO bad that Scarlett gave Drew and Lisa such a difficult night!  Apparently she screamed and fought when they tried to put her to bed multiple times.  

So we brought Scarlett downstairs and I snuggled her on the recliner while the four of us adults talked.  When she was wound down enough, I put her to bed -- and this time we let her cry it out.  She only cried for about 5 minutes, thankfully.  I just hope that didn't experience didn't make Drew dread babysitting his niece in the future.  Scarlett loves him so much -- and that's probably why she didn't want to go to bed!  In fact, when Scarlett sees Drew's picture, or someone that looks like him, she yells "uncle uncle uncle!"

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Santa Photos

Before I forget again, here are the still shots from the Santa video, Christmas 2011.  Not great quality, but you can see how Scarlett is clinging to me!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

First Day at GreenSpaces

Today is my first day working at GreenSpaces coworking space in the River North art district of downtown Denver.  It's a brick-walled warehouse, littered with desks made of reclaimed materials and full of developers, writers, and entrepreneurs of all sorts.  Most people are head-down in work, but every so often I hear conversations around me -- and it's comforting.  Being around like-minded people, in a space dedicated solely to work, is a breath of fresh air after working at home for the last 5 years.

GreenSpaces founder, Jennie Nevin, welcomed me with open arms.  She is inspiring and energetic, and I can see us becoming fast friends.  We walked down to Blake St and Park Ave today and got a hot lunch at Mattina 2240 Cafe, where we swapped life stories and shared business ideas.

Now I'm sitting back at my desk, drinking a Dry Blood Orange soda and finding that I have completed most of my projects for the day.  To the point where I can actually start digging into some items that have been on the back burner for months.  I am forced to focus, here at GreenSpaces, and my productivity is through the roof.  This is going to be a very, very good thing for me.

Sad for a Stranger

Right now my heart is breaking for someone I don't even know.

I have followed blogger Heather Armstrong on Dooce.com for years, now.  She's funny, neurotic and absolutely lovable, and the way she writes about her family makes you feel as if you know them personally.

Today she posted that she and her husband were separated, and my heart broke.

It broke because I feel close to her through her writing.  And it broke because Jeremy and I went through our own rough time, and I know from that experience that we were the lucky ones.  Most people don't get back together after a separation.  I know the Armstrongs' chances are slim.  And I am so sad for them.

They are in my prayers.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Together Again

It's been a week since I last posted.  Wow.  How did that happen?

My mom left on Monday afternoon, and it was so hard to see her go.  Scarlett and I were having so much fun while she was staying with us.

But we were only alone for one day.  My brother Chad came up on Wednesday morning to babysit Scarlett.  I had to give a presentation for my day job, and while I can accomplish a lot alone with Scarlett, I cannot give a professional presentation with her around!  So Chad watched her for the morning and I gave my presentation kid-noise-free.  It was really nice to have my brother around by himself, too.  So often I only see him at family functions.

Thursday was crazy at work, and I had a ton of people calling me (which is unusual -- my work is web-based, so most of my communications follow suit) -- and Scarlett was having a needy day.  So it was rough.  Thankfully that was the last day before Jeremy returned.

We picked up Jeremy from the airport on Thursday night.  He was on cloud 9 after spending a week with one of his best friends and going to the Amazing Arizona Comic Con.  He came back with a suitcase full of original artwork and signed comics.

This weekend we've just been spending time together as a family, and getting some things done around the house.  We rented Smurfs and 30 Minutes or Less last night, both of which were okay.  I made breakfast sandwiches for dinner, then Jeremy fried up some battered pickles and jalapenos, and we finished off our feast with fresh chocolate chip banana muffins.

I may have to do some GlobalWrites work tonight, but other than that I plan on doing lots of reading, curled up here on the couch with my family.  Ah bliss.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Family Weekend

Since Jeremy is out of town at the Amazing Arizona Comic Con, my family has been keeping me company.

My mom came up on Thursday and has been staying with me since then.  On Friday, Drew came up and joined us for dinner at the Jewel of India restaurant, where we all stuffed ourselves silly on delicious Indian food.  And Saturday, after Scarlett and my mom and I shopped all morning, my dad came up for the weekend.  We had lunch at the Atlanta Bread Co., then after Scarlett's nap we went for a drive.  I made breakfast for dinner and we watched Hanna after Scarlett went to bed.

Today my mom, my dad, Drew, Scarlett and I went to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.  Scarlett is finally at the age where she can appreciate all the animals and dinosaurs the museum has to offer.  It was fun hearing her make up some of the animal sounds.  Apparently ferrets say "hissss".

So while Scarlett and I miss Jeremy terribly, my family is keeping me company and keeping me busy.

And before I forget to mention it, I have a new coypwriting project through GlobalWrites.  I'm writing widget copy for a development company in Houston.  It's actually pretty fun work.  I write web banner copy a lot for HP, so I'm really practiced at condensing a big promotional offer down into a handful of words -- so this is right up my alley.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Hunger Games and Tiny Teenager

I can't believe I haven't mentioned that I recently read The Hunger Games series.  I haven't devoured a series of books like that since Twilight.  So good!

Jeremy is in Arizona visiting Jacob right now.  It was my Christmas gift to him.  He's out there for a week, and attending the Amazing Arizona Comicon this weekend.

My mom is staying with me for a few days while Jeremy is gone, my brothers are coming to visit tomorrow night, and my dad will stay here with us all weekend.  I'm feeling absolutely spoiled by all the family attention.  Love it!  And so does Scarlett.

Poor little Scarlett has a bit of a stomach bug right now.  She's such a trooper, but it's making her really moody.  It's like living with a tiny teenager.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Green Spaces

I made a resolution in December -- a pre-New-Year's resolution, I guess -- to get more focused.

There are things I have been wanting to do, like get more freelance clients and get back into a routine with exercising. But I am chronically distracted. I'm the poster child for distracted. If you look up the word "distracted" in the dictionary, you would find a picture of me.

So simply focusing is not an option. I need help. I need the support of those around me, and I need methods of tricking my brain into staying on task.

In addition to being chronically distracted, I am also a self-help/goal-setting book addict. So I've been reading a lot lately on focusing on goals. I'm trying all of the methods, one by one, to see what works for me.

And it didn't take me long to realize that my dear family was part of my distraction problem.

I love being at home with Jeremy and Scarlett all day. But the last year of me working from home with them has set us up in an unfortunate pattern. I have made myself too available, and allowed them to derail what little focus I have. It's my fault, though. I didn't set the right boundaries.

And though Jeremy is always ready to help me with anything I need, in this case it is difficult for him. I'm asking him to change a pattern overnight. And he has a lot more trouble with change than I do.

So we may have found a solution. Coworking space. Essentially I pay a monthly rental fee and have access to group office space. A lot of freelancers, entrepreneurs and small businesses use coworking space in lieu of an office, or to take a break from a home office.

I've toured a few local coworking spaces this week, and I think I've found the one for me. It's called GreenSpaces, an environmentally-minded and entrepreneur-supportive coworking center located in downtown Denver in the RiNo (River North) art district. The space itself has a friendly, creative feel to it, and I absolutely adore the founder, Jennie Nevin, who gave me a tour today.

Essentially this will get me out of the house, around like-minded people, and in an environment where I am not tempted to offer to keep an eye on Scarlett so Jeremy can run errands. I can really focus on my work during the time I'm there. And it's in the heart of Denver, walking distance to Coors Field, so I'll have access to all the funky restaurants, food trucks, cafes, galleries and shops.

Also, it will give me the opportunity to do more networking. Especially because they hold special events like happy hours and workshops that are free to members.

It sounds like going to GreenSpaces once a week will be an ideal solution for me. But we're going to do it on a trial basis to start. I've got a free pass lined up for January 17 (Jeremy is going to be gone for the next week -- more on that in an upcoming post), and I wish I didn't have to wait that long to go back. I'm so excited!

Monday, January 02, 2012

Colorado Winter Night Painting

I've had the idea for this painting ever since Cheryl's birthday party at Splash where we painted Van Gogh's Starry Night.

This piece is acrylic on canvas, entitled Colorado Winter Night.

Video of Scarlett Dancing to "Devil with a Blue Dress On"

She likes to watch her reflection in our glass fireplace.

YouTube link: http://youtu.be/dH3Y-vbcfRc

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Bring on the New Year

Jeremy and I stuck with our New Years tradition of being lame. We made dinner together, let Scarlett stay up a little bit late and eat some orange sweet rolls with us, and after she went to bed around 8pm we sat around and watched the New Year shows on TV.  At midnight, we welcomed 2012 with a kiss and stood at our back sliding glass door to watch the fireworks going off throughout north Denver.

So today, the first day of 2012, was interesting all around.  I was awakened at 6:45am by a very sad, drunk friend calling me needing emotional support.  I got back to sleep pretty quick, and after I got up later in the morning (it was my turn to sleep in, so Jeremy got up with Scarlett) I headed straight out to join a family meeting.  We are all joining forces to help Chad find a better job.  When I returned home later on, the last thing I wanted to do was plant myself in my easy chair again (with Jeremy gone so much lately, I've been losing motivation in a big way -- and it's time I snap out of it!), so we used one of the gift cards we got for Christmas and had dinner at Gunther Toody's.  Scarlett put on a show for the restaurant staff and patrons, per usual.  And then tonight after helping Jeremy install our new microwave, I spent hours paying bills and entering data into Quicken to get a better idea of where we are financially.

So essentially 2012 has started off with helping people in need, getting my butt off the couch, and getting a more positive outlook on our finances.  Not bad, not bad.

And to wrap up this post with some cuteness, here is Scarlett drawing on her new easel (those are sidewalk chalks she's using).