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The past few months have been undeniably hectic, and there is no sign of slowing in the near future. Even so, it is especially important that I take time to relax, and enjoy this phase of my life. Being in the moment has always been rather difficult for me; I have a wandering mind, and tend to be a very anxious person. I have my degree to finish, my first international conference presentation, and I need to figure out a game plan for a supplemental income while I am at home with my son.  Oh, yeah, my son! 🙂 I have a squiggly, wiggly, very healthy baby boy on the way! We had the sonogram technician tell our daughter the gender, but not us. She got to decide if she wanted to tell us or keep it a secret. Well, she spilled the beans to Casey after about five minutes! She made me wait, however, and while we talked with our midwife, she sat quietly in the corner working diligently on a “surprise” picture for me. As we left, she gifted me a portrait: it was me, standing proud with an ear-to-ear grin, pregnant, with the word “BOY” scrawled across the top. It was such a sweet way to find out, and Miki was so thrilled to be the first to know. I was definitely present for that moment, with no worries of work and writing  worming their way in to eat away at the excitement.

This pregnancy has been a learning process. Learning to sleep 8-10 hours a night, instead of my usual 4-6 (Terrible, I know!), learning to improvise a wardrobe, in which dresses have become either skirts or tunics and yoga pants rule the day, learning to budget time and money, something I still struggle with on a daily/weekly/monthly basis.

Back to the relaxing, though! I’ve been trying to make time for myself, while being relatively monetarily responsible. Here are a few of my favorite ways to relax on the cheap:

Issuu – I love magazines, but at anywhere from 4-15 bucks a pop (yeah, some of my favorites are really that expensive), I just can’t justify buying them. They clutter the house and they are usually an environmental nightmare, what with the paper, the inks, the Illinois Compass shipping, etc. Enter Issuu, an online digital magazine library. My two favorites are Chickpea Magazine (vegan and gorgeous!), and Bamboo Family Magazine, a magazine centered around eco-conscious parenting.

Knitting supplies, stored in my Man or Astroman? record bag

Knitting! I’m still very new at knitting, and although I took my first (and so far, only) knitting class at Klose Knit about a year ago, I have only managed to complete one project: a very simple pink scarf for Miki. Nonetheless, I decided I would try my hand at knitting a small blanket for Itty Bitty (Mik’s preferred nickname for her brother), and I found some organic cotton yarns that I really, really like. If you aren’t a on budget, however, may I direct you Quo Vadis, a beautiful Etsy shopped filled with vegan, hand spun, hand dyed, yarns, many of which are organic and/or inspired by the colors used in Miyazaki Films! I can’t really imagine anything more perfect. (While on the subject of Miyazaki, it is worth noting that my entire family was completely charmed by his latest effort, The Secret World of Arrietty, which is still playing at Beverly Cinema, although probably not for much longer.)

Behold, the moose!

Weekend brunch has become a must in this household. We lazily make buckwheat pancakes or banana rabanada from Vegan Brunch, fresh juice or smoothies, and coffee and teas. I actually make an effort to set the table, too! Matching cloth napkins, snuggly rolled into the strange, vintage moose napkin rings that my mother gave me, place mats, matching plates, the works! Makes an already delicious meal downright decadent!

Hmmm, that’s about it for me these days, although I spend more time than I should browsing Pinterest, lurking on the Mothering forums, and cycling between Portlandia, Twin Peaks, and Parks and Recreation on Netflix (so much cheaper than cable, and no commercials!). What are your favorite ways to relax?