Thursday, September 29, 2016

What has two thumbs, two kids, and a new (used) SUV? This gal!

So Knox is 10 weeks old, and I haven’t written a post yet about life with our newest addition. He is awesome! I’m going to do some quick baby bragging—so if this is not your thing, feel free to skip to the next paragraph. Here are some of the ways in which Knox is awesome: he was holding up his own head at a week old. He GAINED weight before leaving the hospital and so impressed his pediatrician at his 1-week appointment that he told us we could skip the 1-month appointment and just bring him for a 2-month appointment. He was only waking twice through the night from 2 weeks old, and cut that down to one feeding at night around 4 a.m. at 8 weeks old. At his 2-month appointment, the doctor put him on his tummy to see what he would do, and he held himself propped up on his arms, head up, for about 10 seconds before he started to lower down to his tummy. The doctor said that’s a 4-month-old’s trait. Oh, and he has the CUTEST smiles, which he happily shares after making eye contact with you when you’re smiling at him. He also just started giggling, but he makes you work for it, which I respect. And while some babies scream during diaper changes, he loves them. He’s a keeper.
But back to me. Just like you never know what life will be like when you go from no kids to 1 kid, it’s really impossible to know what going from 1 to 2 will be like. Thankfully, our transition has been really smooth. Rye is a great older brother, he hasn’t been showing any jealousy or regression, but he does get a little more demanding about trying to get Josh’s and my attention. But for the most part, I feel like our challenges with him are typical 3-year-old issues, not related to sudden big-brotherism. Personally, I had to adjust to sleeping in 3-hour stretches, now 5-hour stretches, but it was way easier this time than when I went through it with Rye. Running errands with the two is still difficult, but now that Rye is in preschool three days a week, I try to plan ahead and take just one child at a time, or go shopping by myself when Josh is off and can keep both of them. There’s even less “me time” than there was before, but once you realize this is just for a season, you don’t mourn the loss of that time as much.
As I had been hoping to do since the spring, we bought an SUV! I really wanted a Honda Pilot, since we wanted the third row of seating available and I’m a Honda loyalist (I have owned three Civics). Josh wanted us to try out Toyota’s Highlander, but after just doing a side-by-side comparison of the Highlander and Pilot while at a dealership, it was obvious that the Pilot is bigger and by my standards, has a more commonsense dashboard and better cup holders (yes, these are the things I care about in a vehicle). While Josh was angling for the Toyota for its “decreased road noise” and more comfortable seats, he agreed that the Pilots seemed nicer and we focused our search specifically on used Pilots, from 2008 and up, under $22,000. We test drove two, almost test drove two more, and were about to make an offer on one listed for $18,000 when Josh had dinner with his old boss and told him we were about to buy a 2010 Pilot. His boss asked if we would be interested in seeing his 2007 Highlander Hybrid with less than 100,000 miles before we made the purchase, and Josh said, “sure, why not?”
Josh went to check it out the next day, and I got a chance to test drive it by myself for about an hour the day after that. My first impression was that it was so much smaller than the Pilot. The 2007 was still part of the former design, and was even smaller than the modern Highlanders, feeling more like a slightly bigger Subaru Outback than like the beast that the Pilot is. But I liked the way it drove — the steering was loose, it had nice bounce to it, and even though it was all-wheel drive, it eagerly coasted, something that Josh’s all-wheel drive BMW did not do. The downsides: It was nearly a decade old already, it looked like it had been someone else’s “family car” for a decade (think gum wrappers and spilled soda stains), the dashboard was poorly designed and it had a tape deck (yes, in 2007, Toyota was still using tape decks!) but no auxiliary port for iPods, and no back-up camera. The Pilot we were looking at didn’t have a back-up camera either, and since we only have on-street parking at our house, requiring me to constantly parallel park, we had already looked into the cost of getting a camera installed and would have had to do that anyway.
Oh, and it was a hybrid, which I was pretty excited about because I’ve always been an anti-big-car person, and having a hybrid relieved some of the guilt involved in making the leap to an SUV. Josh was kind of anti-hybrids, saying the gas savings would never justify the increased cost for a hybrid, plus he was worried about the cost of a replacement battery, but since this was his boss’s old vehicle, he felt better about it.
With all those factors in mind, the biggest selling point, and what tipped the scales of favor from the Pilot to the Highlander, is that we got it for about half the price of the Pilot. Yeah. The only caveat was that I had to wait a month for the former owner’s daughter to go away to college since she was still driving the vehicle, but since that was going to happen before our family vacation in September, it was no big deal.
The former owners even got it detailed for me! As I sat in the driver’s seat for the first time as the new primary driver, the inside was gorgeous, with only a few traces of its former family’s history left behind. There are a couple of big scuffs on the inside, a couple of dents on the outside, but that really doesn’t bother me; if anything, it takes the pressure off of me to keep it pristine, and considering we now have two kids and it’s now our “family car,” evidence of our family adventures are sure to leave their marks in the future.

I forgot to suck in my stomach.
One of the things I think about a lot these days is how much my life has changed in the past 10 years. At 26, I don’t want to say I was a “career woman” because I think that has a strong connotation of ambition, whereas to me, my job was just about doing something that I loved doing without any hopes of escalating any higher, and I wasn’t even thinking about having kids. Five years ago, I was tormented by infertility and wondering if we’d ever have a child added to our family. A year ago, I was wrecked by a miscarriage and questions of whether we should ever even try again. And today, by God’s grace, I’m a mother of two, driving around town in yoga pants in my mom-mobile, holding doors open for other moms out on the town running errands with their littles, just trying to make it through our routine of daily life, even if each week feels the same, day in and day out. Compared to all the complications and adult interactions I had back when I was working full time, everything I’m dealing with these days feels very small, but it’s still precious.
Just like our little Knox. 

Birth announcement, with photo by Jessica Lyric Photography

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