Thursday, December 22, 2011

I Made Stuff! Successfully!

It's been more than a month since I last wrote. All I can say about that is our family has survived a very busy time and it is with a sigh of relief that Christmas vacation began this afternoon. Oh, and the sound of 2 overly tired children screaming at each other about which top goes on which playdoh container. See the family picture up at the top of this blog? Imagine that for the last 4 weeks that is me screaming, "I am going INSAAAAAAAAAAAAANE!"

Oh, and I turned 34 this week! We found a new cupcake bakery nearby and had a Cupcake Wars style date night.

But, today I'm going to talk about making stuff. Because I did that! A month or two ago (or maybe it was last year for how horrible my sense of the passage of time has been lately), I was invited to be a part of a facebook group of local friends who love Pinterest and want to get together to make projects they found there. The only problem? I didn't really know what Pinterest was. Apparently someone got the mistaken impression that I am crafty and/or have some kind of artistic ability. I can bake and do some minimal sewing, but artistic ability and craftiness don't reside in this body. I'm a joiner though, so I made a Pinterest page and started looking at people's pins.

And then Christmas time was suddenly here! And I was one of two parents in charge of the kindergarten Christmas party! And I wanted to find something cute, useful and a little bit unique for the 4 teachers that have so wonderfully taught my kids so far this year. But there is a budget to consider, unfortunately, along with my aforementioned lack of crafting ability and not a lot of time. But then I found the perfect thing!!

These were done by someone who is crafty. 

What teacher wouldn't like something like this? A post-it note stand. Personalized! So we did a little shopping, picked out some fun scrapbooking paper, ribbons, flower embelishments, alphabet stickers, post-it notes and plastic picture frames.  And then I thought "I have a whole tub of random buttons!"  So the kids were actually able to give input into the gift. They picked out their paper (we used two different pieces for front and back plus a third for their "made for you by ____" tag on the back).  They got to pick the ribbon and embellishments.  

And, here is how they turned out!

I actually made these!! 

I can't even tell you how excited I was about how they turned out. And so far it sounds like the teachers really like them.  I have supplies left over to make more, so if you want one, wink my way and I'll see what I can do! 

So then I was on a Pinterest roll! I ended up digging around to find some snack ideas for our Christmas party. I ended up making two things I found on there. 
Pinned ImageThe first was this.  Apple slice with natural peanut butter, oats, dark chocolate chips and chopped pecans. Mine were not quite as cute as these, but they fit the bill for what I was looking for: kind of fancy looking but also healthy.  (This photo is not mine and these are not the ones I made)

And then I made these!! 

So easy and also cute!! Square pretzels with a Hershey's "Hug" on top, warmed in the oven for about 5 minutes. Put an M&M on top. Take the pan outside where it is freezing (or put it in the refrigerator). About 10 minutes later, they're done! Easy to transport, easy to throw on a plate, taste yummy and are festive looking. And SIMPLE! 

Whew!! My "making" for this year has been all used up in a matter of a week. It's time for me to take a nap. =) 

Merry Christmas!! 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

First Snow!!


As a Chicagoan transplanted to dry Eastern Washington, this is the time of year where I get to laugh while people stress out about an inch or two of snow. It's happening today!!

The kids are thrilled to see snowflakes and play in the light dusting we received this morning.  They insisted I find their snow pants, boots, mittens and hats before they went outside. I tried to convince them they could go out without the snow pants (am I a great mom or what?), but they kept at me.

At least I got to check one more item off of my long, not-terribly-important-to-do list.  Organize walk-in hall closet. Check!

Thankfully, last year's snow boots (purchased after what even I would consider a "real" snow, and 2 sizes too big because they were expensive!) still fit!  Big Girl, who is wearing a 6/6X now, crammed herself into the 3T snowpants we crammed her into last year even though we have a pair of 5T snowpants that fit her perfectly.  For Little Man, I found a great outfit -- red coat and snowpants that look sort of like mechanics clothes or what a NASCAR driver would wear. And it fits!

Outside they went!!

Isn't it funny the way kids play? Little Man immediately went out and started "working" the way he always does. He gave himself a job. Big Girl chose slightly bossy storytelling play. She is so nice, she worked Little Man's chosen "job" into her story so they could play together!

The kids are outside playing and Little Man needs help with the buttons on his jacket.  So I pull him close to button him up.  See that little yellow patch on his front pocket? It says "Cutie Girls".  Yes, I dressed him in what is apparently a girls snow outfit. Luckily he can't read yet.  Maybe the patch is advertising that he is a 3T sized ladies man looking for love?


Full disclosure: there were actually a few snowflakes 2 days ago that probably count as the "first snow" of the year. But it was the "comes down as snow but becomes water immediately" kind and didn't last long. That didn't stop the 9 year old across the street from donning his snow gear and attempting to sled down his driveway, however!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's Official: I Destroy Books

Today's story actually begins with the book I have been reading recently, which I hate with the power of a thousand suns. I can't give up on a book, so have been forcing myself to read it for the better part of a month. Yesterday, with 40 pages to go, I had to renew it online because it's due date had come around. Again. 

I logged in to renew my book, succeeded in renewing it and then noticed there was a "block" on my account. (Why I can renew a book when my account is locked, I don't understand.) I learned the reason for the block was because I "destroyed" a book I checked out about 2 months ago and then returned. Really, if you actually destroyed a book would you bother returning it?  My penalty for book destruction is listed at $15 to replace the book. 

The destroyed book was called The Irresistible Henry House and was actually quite enjoyable. My sin? I put the book into the same bag as Big Girl's swimming suit. Yes, it got damp. 

When you think about a library book that is "destroyed" to the point that it can't be reshelved, what do you think of? Here's what I think of:

Is there significant damage to the cover? 
Is there damage to the binding?
Are there pages missing, torn or falling out?
Are any of the pages illegible?
Is the book partially burned, covered with paint or marker or otherwise marked? 

In this case, the answers are no, no, no, no and no. Yes, some of the pages towards the back got a little warped the way books do if they get wet. That is it. 

The news that I am a book destroyer came at a pretty bad time for me.  My week has been filled with insomnia, unforeseen stress, a notebook paper length list of not-super-important-but-necessary things to do that I'm worried about forgetting and probably some other things. You know, "If something could go wrong, it will"? One of those. So the $15 book fine thing really has been bugging me more than it probably would ordinarily. 

I am still denying that I destroyed the book or damaged it in a way that makes it unworthy of library shelf participation. 

After I raged out for awhile yesterday, I decided that I would go in today, demand to see the book (or, ideally, find it on the shelf and then do a "Ah-ha!" surprise reveal showing that I know they are scamming me), argue that the book wasn't damaged and the fine is undeserved, and then probably end up paying the fine anyway. But I would demand to take my destroyed book home, dammit! 

Eric counseled me yesterday at dinner about flying off the handle about little, insignificant stress like a "small library book fine". (First, he clearly missed the major injustice that has been put upon me. Second, I also fly off the handle when he assumes my stress is insignificant.) He was right, though after dinner he got his chance to stress out because we got a letter in the mail that he has been sent to collections over a $10 unpaid magazine subscription. Seriously, does that actually happen? 

So this morning I woke up and decided I have had enough stress this week and I would just go to the library, be nice and pay my fine, as unjust and slanderous as it is, so that I don't work myself up and carry around bad feelings all day.  

As Little Man and I walked into the library, there was an announcement on the intercom. (No, it was not signaling that a book destroyer with a blocked account entered the library. That would be cool though, right?) "Will the owner of a black lab with a tan collar please report to the circulation desk?"  And then guess what we saw! A young (maybe 1 or 2 years old) black lab having the time of it's life running around off leash in the library. There's the downside of those automatic sliding doors. (Do dogs ever run into the grocery store? I have never seen it, but I bet it happens.)  

The dog came and greeted us and then headed off to the children's section, because that's where the fun is.  The library worker made the intercom announcement again while I was searching the shelves to see whether my destroyed book was actually shelved and still in circulation. No luck.  

I approached the circulation desk as a random guy with his daughter brought up the dog, held by the collar, and tried to convince the workers to tie the dog to something so that it would not continue to run free in the library during library story time.  For those of you on my facebook who saw my post about the library book, what follows is one example of what I mean when I say that the library workers have been jerks and "really strict" when we've been there.  

The woman who seemed to be in charge honestly psychoed out while I was standing there. She was stomping around like a little kid, muttering about how "now people are going to call my administration and complain because there is a dog in the library". And she attacked the poor guy who brought the dog over and was like "If you want to tie the dog up, you tie the dog up. That's on you. I'm not going to have the dog's owner complaining because I tied it up." (If you are like me, you are thinking, Are you going to DO anything about the dog running around the library? Making an announcement and then letting the dog run loose doesn't seem like much of a solution. The dog was very friendly but still.) 

The dog in the library situation was amusing and reminded me to relax and not take myself or my $15 too seriously. Plus, the head library lady clearly has had a hard day and needed a Valium.  

So finally the guy dragged the dog outside (tying him up to a tree with some rope he had in his van) and it was my turn to approach the desk. I was actually nice! I basically said: I saw on my account I owe money for a damaged book. I already returned the book because I didn't think it was anything that would make the book unsuitable to be checked out. I will pay the fine, but I would like to have the book if I am going to be paying for it. 



I still don't really believe it. Nor do I believe that they can only accept cash. Luckily my credit union is right down the street because I only had $1.73 in my wallet. 

So now my record is clear, I own a copy of a book that I enjoyed and can recommend to others, and am out $15.  

A friend of mine was at library story time during this whole experience, so I showed her the book. For the record, she agrees with me that the damage was minimal and it is stupid that I had to pay for the book. And now she is living in fear because of a slight spill on a library book she still has at her house.  Honestly, I can think of at least a handful of books I've checked out over the past two years that were in much worse condition.  

For those of you who are doubters and don't believe all my no, no, no-ing above... I took pictures!! 

WARNING: The photographs below may contain images that some readers will find disturbing.

Cover -- the little bend on the edge happened when I put the book
in my purse after I destroyed it, then paid for it.

Back cover

I'm not saying the book didn't get damp on the corner, I'm just saying, is this a destroyed quality library book? I really don't think so. 

Happy reading, everybody! I'm off to take my chances on my next library book!

Friday, November 11, 2011

I've Got Moles

In the past 2 weeks, my Little Man turned 4, we costumed up multiple times for Halloween and it's non-satanic cousin "Trunk N Treat", and have been running all over the place for appointments and events. I was going to write about all that, but instead I am going to write about moles.

Apparently, I am the picture in the dictionary next to the phrase "high risk for skin cancer". Fair skin, pale eyes, light hair, excessive sun exposure as a teen, burn easily, +50 moles.  [Though, I still am not wholly sure whether some of my moles are freckles or freckles are moles.] I actually didn't even realize how many of the risk factors I had, but since we moved here two years ago, I have occasionally thought that I should probably see a dermatologist to get all my freckles and moles checked out.  Then in late August or so, Eric mentioned that the rather large mole on my back looked different to him.  I spent 3 days or so expecting to die at any moment from a melanoma.  A few more people looked at it for me (luckily it was bathing suit time - rest assured I have not  been going around town lifting up my shirt asking people to look at my back), and all seemed to think it didn't look scary.  

Then about a week ago I was messing around with another mole I can't actually see myself on the back of my neck under my hair, and I thought, Yes, I really should call and get them checked out. 

Even though there are like 250,000 people in the area where I live, I could only find 2 or 3 dermatologists here that actually do medical things and not just botox or whatever.  The one I decided to call has a very substantial website and one of the new patient information pieces said that most people are scheduled out about 6 weeks for a first visit. So I called Monday thinking maybe I could get an appointment before Christmas.  But they had an opening yesterday! That hardly even gave me time to worry about it! 

Yesterday was my appointment.  I particularly wanted to draw their attention to 3 moles: big back mole, under hair mole and 2 mole cluster on the side of my neck.  

The PA asked me why I called, and I told her that Eric thought the big back mole looked different recently and it made me think I should get checked over for baddies. (I didn't actually say "Baddies" but that is what I was thinking.)  So she started with my back and pretty much immediately told me that it was a normal mole, though a little large. 

Oh, but this other mole on your back (which of course I can't see and didn't even know was there) is suspicious.  So she left the room for a second and came back with a dermoscope.

This is the PA checking me out with a dermoscope if my PA was a man 
who looks sort of like Harold Ramis

Quick check of the big back mole and she said again that it is a normal mole, but good on Eric for paying attention to it.  Check of the other back mole, and apparently it is a baddie. 

To save some time: the rest of my many moles were looked over. She dermoscoped a few and none offended her.

So then we talked about the baddie. She decided to do a scratch biopsy to be examined by the dermatologist to determine whether it has "abnormal cells". She gave me a speech about how abnormal cells do not necessarily mean that I have melanoma. She never used the C-word. 

The scratch biopsy was kind of disgusting to think about. She numbed my skin and then seriously took a razor blade and cut off the top of my mole! And then she showed it to me! That was gross.

And now, we wait. Approximately 2 weeks, though 2 weeks from yesterday was Thanksgiving so I don't know how that will impact the timing.  If there is nothing shady happening in my mole, then I will get a little card in the mail and will go back annually for skin exams.  If I get a phone call from the office, then that means the results were not normal and I will go in to figure out what is going on.  

I'm thinking the odds that they are going to tell me the mole is normal, after her immediate reaction that it was suspicious and looking at it through the dermoscope and again thinking it was suspicious, are probably slim.  But I am am not obsessing over having melanoma either.  Instead I am thinking about the way God works - that I have had this big back mole for as long as I can remember and it isn't a baddie, but is weird enough that it encouraged me to go in to the doctor, where they could then discover the undercover baddie I didn't even know I had. And here I am getting myself all freaked out about these 3 intimidating moles and trying to control and plan and run the show, when all the time there is apparently something else going on that I don't even see or know about.  

I have a friend from college who is a missionary in a foreign country that persecutes Christians. She sends out emails every few months that have to be written in code, her situation is that dangerous.  A few months ago she emailed an update and in it included a quote from another missionary she knows where she is. I love it: 

“In my experience, when we go through times of great difficulty, delay, and uncertainty—when we are forced to wait and trust—God is doing 3 things:  He is providing what we need to endure, He is protecting us from dangers we can’t discern, and He is in the process of giving us something better than what we wanted in the first place.”

For the next 2 weeks or so, I will be waiting to hear if this is the situation God has placed me in for now.  I can, at least, identify with the "dangers we can't discern" part.  

Friday, October 28, 2011

Cilantro Hate

Today's edition was inspired by a rare dinner out for our family.  We successfully completed the challenge known as the professional family portrait and found we had time to eat and no plan. We decided to check out Costa Vida - a new to our area chain restaurant of "healthy" "Mexican" food.  We attempted to go a few weeks ago but it was a Sunday and they weren't open. (I get the reason why, but it sure does seem like a risky business model for a restaurant!)  We had heard some good things about the food and the website makes it seem like a place we would like. One of our favorite quick stops for food in Bend when we lived there was Longboard Louie's which appeared to be similar in menu/decor/price.

Quick review is that the prices were similar, but LL's food was a little bit better and larger servings. Plus, there were more choices on the menu. But Costa Vida's restaurant space is nice.  It seems like the staff is still working out the kinks as far as moving orders along, but I think that will come with time.

Anyway, the big bummer for me, which led to this post, (yes, I am finally getting around to it!) is that at least half of their menu calls for the use of cilantro in a "hard to get around" way.  Their rice, which is used in their burritos, salads and as a side on all plates, is lime cilantro rice. The problem is: I'm a cilantro hater.

***warpy tv screen to show we are travelling back in my memory, inserted here***

A long, long time ago in 2006, I did not realize I hate cilantro. How can it be that I didn't realize I had a pure hatred until I was almost 30 years old? My only excuse is that I have a sensitive stomach and tend to steer away from spice and seasoning in general. Anyway, 2006, I'm  pregnant with Big Girl. And I'm STARVING. And I'm driving home from work. And there is Baja Fresh. "Ah! That looks healthy and filling. I will drive through there."

I don't remember what I ordered. It might as well have been called "Tortilla filled with cilantro". I went home and ate whatever it was and proceeded to be sick as a dog until the next morning.  Suspicious of fast food, I figured I'd been poisoned. (Who doesn't always assume they've been poisoned when they are pregnant and have a weird reaction to food? Right?) I didn't think much else about it. But then, months later, we went out somewhere else and I got a rice bowl filled with all sorts of non-Mexican stuff, but there was the taste again! The one that made me sick! I sleuthed, because I'm a good sleuther. CILANTRO!

***time warp returning to present day***

To this day, I have not voluntarily consumed cilantro a single time.  I go without guacamole and pico de gallo if we eat Mexican food. I seek out non-cilantro menu items with incredible focus and accuracy.

A few weeks back I read an article about why some people cannot stand the taste of cilantro while others love it. It clarified so much for me - why I literally gag when I try to eat cilantro, why I think eating anything with even the smallest amount of cilantro tastes like soap...

Apparently I'm a "supersmeller". I think I might make myself a t-shirt."Supertasters" have their own t-shirts, I want one for my super power too!

(If you don't believe me about the whole cilantro supersmeller thing, here's another article. Because you know, if it is reported twice on the internet, it must be true.)

I was talking to a new friend and for some reason we started talking about how I hate cilantro. (I'm not really sure why cilantro-hate became a relevant topic in conversation between two people who just met...?)  And she mentioned she likes cilantro but has a friend who thinks it tastes soapy. Honestly, my world was blown. Between the article and the friend-of-a-friend who feels the same way, I came to realize other people are with me in the cilantro hater club. (I have since found a blog called "I Hate Cilantro" that I can totally related to. No, cilantro was not part of my wedding vows, but otherwise I'm with her.)

So, last night, what to do. I was hungry and would have loved a burrito, but those were out. I ended up with two grilled shrimp tacos without pico di gallo, praying that there was no cilantro in the cabbage mixture that was inside with the shrimp. I passed on the side of cilantro rice. The kind food assembler guy offered me a double portion of beans, but that would have been approximately 2 cups of beans which I thought was a little scandalous.  I chowed down on my (cilantro free) tacos. Little Man, of course, refused to eat most of his dinner, so when Eric took him to the bathroom, I perused his plate.

The rice looked really good. I thought to myself, "I'm still hungry... And there really is only a tiny bit of cilantro in there... and I haven't tried anything with cilantro in about 5 years, so maybe now that I'm not pregnant or just being done with pregnancy things will work out better?"

I took about 1/3 of a bite with my fork and took a bite!! 

Guess what happened?? 

Tasted like SOAP!!! And then I started gagging. And then Big Girl looked at me like I was insane. 

So, my hatred will live on for another day. I'm sort of sad about the Costa Vida situation though, because I would like to go back and have a salad. Maybe I will go again and see if they make a cilantro free version of their rice. (Kind of doubt it based on the confusion we caused by asking if Eric could have shrimp on his burrito even though it wasn't on the menu.) 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Conceptions of an *almost* 4 year old

Little Man is a pretty smart kid. He speaks very clearly and with a strong vocabulary for not-quite-4. He is a puzzle master and has a great memory for numbers and facts. Here are two things that cannot sort out in his mind.

1) Bedtime vs. "Resting Time" vs. Nap

For some reason, Little Man can't wrap his mind around the concept of bedtime. He knows he goes to bed at 7pm. But when we say it is bedtime, he always takes issue. It is not bedtime, it is "time for my long nap".  The hour in the afternoon formerly knows as nap time, now must be called "resting time". He doesn't always nap during that time, so it can't be called "nap time". I am consistently blown away by the level of reasoning and total lack of understanding about what he is reasoning about. (Same for #2) Honestly, we have discussions about all of the bedtime verbiage on a regular basis. Woe to any babysitter who does not understand the subtleties of sleep related talk at our house!

2) Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner aka "meal time" vs Snack

This one is even more strange. Yes, Little Man is a big fan of snacks. So maybe that is why he cannot understand the concept of "meal time" and can't keep track of which meal happens at which time of day. When he names a meal, he is almost always wrong. Today we got home from errands at 12:30pm and I had told him at least three times that when we got home we would be having lunch. We pull in to the garage and he says, "Make me whatever I want for dinner." ("whatever I want" is another funny Little Man-ism. He actually uses this in place of "whatever you want" only when I actually make him whatever I want, then he gets mad and specifies what he wants to eat.) Anyway, when I told him it was lunch time, not dinner time, he was like "Whatever, give me a snack then."  He prefers if every time he eats, we call that snack. There have been occasions that he has refused to eat a meal and then I've called it "snack" instead (and this has happened mid-meal) and then simply by calling it snack the food suddenly transforms into the most appetizing whatever that has ever been created.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I Write Like... an update

Here is an example of how short sighted I am. I decide to end my blogging sabbatical on the same week that I am going out of town for 3 days. *slaps forehead with palm*  I decided that I would check in with good old I Write Like to see if I am still writing like the same "famous" person as Last YearApparently, I am no longer Cory Doctorow (and I still don't really know who he is). Now I am another guy I have never heard of before!

I write like
Chuck Palahniuk
I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

So after laughing for a minute because now not only am I unfamiliar with the writing, but I am not even really sure how to pronounce the name. Notice I didn't try typing it, instead I did some handy cut and paste of HTML code! 

A quick look at Wikipedia tells me a few things that I think are kind of cool. 

First, this guy apparently wrote Fight Club. Haven't read it, but love the movie so I'm going to assume I would super-love the book since books are almost always better than their counterpart movie. 

Second, he is originally from SE Washington, which is where I live. Apparently the past 2+ years of living here have rubbed off on my writing style. 

Last, he is known for writing transgressive fiction. Yep, I totally know what that is. OK, not really but thank goodness for the good old inter-web.  Transgressive fiction = a genre of literature that focuses on characters who feel confined by the norms and expectations of society and who break free of those confines in unusual and/or illicit ways. Sounds a lot like some of the crazy business that goes on at my house, only my version being much less violent and scary. 

Just a warning, don't put this guy's name into if you want to draw comparisons to me or my writing. His books apparently tend to have covers with devils and fire and other scary stuff.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Acceptable Reasons to Wake Me Up

I wrote this list in my mind at 3am last night, the third night in a row that I woke in the 3-4am window to the angelic sound of my name being sung from the bedroom of a toddler just down the hall.


To be clear, this is not crying or fear based. This is more of a casual call for reasons that do not make it on to today's list. Their reasons are things like:

* I want you to rub my tummy.
* I want to tell you that I am going to wake up at 7:05am. (Yes, that's Little Man.)
* My blankets fell off my bed.
* My door is closed just a little bit more than I want it to be.

By the way, I think we have the only children in the world who do not sneak into our bedroom and get right in our faces to wake us up. Shocking, but I say preferable because at least it doesn't require me to get out of bed. Instead, our children are lazy and stay in their beds while also waking us up, requiring one of us to get out of bed and then they have the audacity to fall back to sleep right away while I end up tossing and turning for the next hour and a half thinking about blog posts or finishing my book that is now overdue at the library.

Anyway, I hereby name the following reasons for waking me up in the middle of the night as ACCEPTABLE!

* You just peed in your bed. (Or the other, but since Little Man is still in a night diaper, that isn't so much a problem... yet.)
* You fell out of your bed and hurt yourself.
* Some kind of intruder is in your room. This could be an alien, a stranger or our dog. Stuffed animals do not count.
* You puked, or think you might puke in the near future.
* Something has crashed through your bedroom window, spraying glass around the room and waking you up.
* There are people shouting outside your window because a pipe in the street exploded right outside our house and is flooding our yard.
* House is on fire/Smoke alarm is going off.

I can't think of much else. To prove I'm not a mean mommy, I will add the following to the list:

* You had a bad dream.
* You are too cold or too hot because your parents let you choose jammies that are not weather appropriate. (That happens more often than it should.)

Unfortunately, this list is actually pretty pointless because my kids can't read very well yet. And, frankly, they do whatever they want most of the time and probably wouldn't listen even if I told them these new "rules".

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Why, hello there!

After a lengthy period of lameness, I have decided it is time to get back to blogging. Blog revamp! New name, new look, new sassy style.

The problem with having a blog that you hope will be quirky and entertaining, is that you then feel the need to be quirky and entertaining in order to have something to post about.

I just have my life. Which is sometimes entertaining, but often maxes out at silly.

My life, and I doubt I'm alone, is speeding by too fast. And I spend too much time complaining or being busy. For the past few months, I have really wanted to be able to enjoy life with my family, be healthy and just experience things. Laugh a lot. Eat some good food. Play heartily.

So, new blog goal starts today: sharing stories about what our family life is like. Or maybe RECORDING stories is a better word? I hope to add a slideshow of pictures to the sidebar of our family doing some fun life-living. And I'll probably still share stories about how Ben is still refusing to poop in the potty (like last weekend's quote: "Mama, I'm having a butt problem.") and other run of the mill stay-at-home-mom randomness.

One adventure at a time...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

2011 Goals

Let me just start by saying that it becomes apparent that I have problems when my goals for 2011 are organized into categories for "ease of use". Seriously. I need help. Really though, I kind of have an excuse, which is that I already set goals for myself specifically related to health, so it seems easy enough to keep those and then round out the list. Right? Yeah, not too convincing, I know.

* Become a mindless Clean Eater -- I've been a sort-of-Clean-Eater for a couple of years now, but in November I decided that it can't be a half & half thing. I'm been about 95% clean over the past 7 weeks, and that includes Thanksgiving, my birthday, Christmas and New Years. In 2011, I'm hoping that I can transition from eating clean because I carefully plan, consider, etc. to eating clean because it's what I am used to and I know my body likes it!

* Complete the workouts in The New Rules of Lifting for Women in their entirity.  The workouts are designed to span 6-8 months, so this is a long term commitment.  I'm about 6 weeks in now.  "Put down those Barbie weights!" Secondary goal here: complete at least 1 unassisted pull-up.

* Train for and survive the Ragnar Relay - Northwest Passage in July.  Hopefully our first team planning meeting will happen in the next few weeks! For me, this will mean completing 3 runs over a 24 hour period at any hour of the night on probably know sleep, with each run being between 3-6 miles. Considering the furthest I've ever run at one time at this point is 3.5 miles, I have a good amount of training to do this spring/summer!

* Run the 10K at Fall Fest this year. It will be my first 10K.  Also, improve my 5K time to break 30 minutes.


* Start to say no. Or, I could also call this: simplify my life.  Instead of having a job where I have a continuum of tasks or a handy "to do" list, which is what I prefer, I currently have my hand in many, MANY things at my daughter's school and our church. When you try to list all of the volunteer things you are responsible for and can't remember them all to list them, that means there are too many. And the problem is my fault because I don't say no. I think this might actually change this year because usually my reasoning is, "I should help with this because I have time and can do it." But now the reasoning is tipping towards, "I would like to help with this but don't have enough time or concentration to even remember that I am committing to it." Yikes.

* Be less hard on myself. Sometimes it's ok to not finish something or to do "just enough". I know this, but need to remember it and believe it.

* Read 52 books and finish my "10 to read in 2011" challenge! Right now I'm reading Anna Karenina and it is slowly grinding my reading life to a halt. Let's just say I'm going to have a lot of reading to do to make up lost time on the "52 books" goal.

* Get back to Chicago to see family. I haven't been "home" since 2004. It's been a long time. This goal may be unattainable because the primary problem has been financial and, as I learned with last year's goals, "goaling" for more money doesn't really cut it! =) But, it's something I'd like to do, so it's listed here.

* Family trips to 2 previously unexplored places. I'm not talking about shopping at Albertsons instead of Yokes. I mean "vacations" or day trips that will be real experiences for our family.

Happy New Year everybody!!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Blessings & 2010

2010 was a rough year for a lot of people.  Even our Pastor, in his weekly newsletter, commented on how difficult 2010 was for many of the people in our church family.  With the economy struggling, there are so many people stuggling financially.  It seems like 2010 was a "bad year" for health as well. Eric and I both had family members diagnosed with and/or being treated for cancer in 2010, as well as friends stuggling with cancer or other long term illnesses.  Eric's sister struggled through a difficult, high risk pregnancy, resulting in the birth of her beautiful daughter, who spent about a month in the NICU before going home at the close of 2010.  Most people we know, ourselves included, are too busy, a little (or a lot) too stressed, tired, etc.

I am not a "New Years" fan. I am not big into resolutions, though I like reflecting back on the past year.  I don't like fireworks or the anti-climactic nature of "the ball dropping". I don't like waking up throughout the night because some idiots in my neighborhood decide to set off fireworks at times when any normal person should be sleeping (even on New Years Eve). 

I noticed on facebook in the past few days that many of my FB friends are sharing thoughts on their 2010. Quite a few view 2010 with "good riddance" in hopes of a better 2011. I guess I can't blame them if they've had the kind of year I described up above.

But I had a thought this morning about 2010 and looking ahead to 2011. I think it's perfectly natural to wish for "the best" for this upcoming year. To hope that it is an improvement over the previous year in a "I hope life just gets better and better" sort of way. But, I think it's also important to think about the blessings of our year.

God's blessings in 2010 were not just the "good" things that happened to us.  We can't thank God for joys and plenty, but get grumpy about things happening that we didn't want or don't understand.  If you are reading this post, you join me in the group of people who were blessed with an entire year of living in 2010. A year of relationships, growth, experience. Maybe not all of the details are what we would have chosen for ourselves, but they were all blessings just the same, whether we SEE the blessing right now or not. 

So, I thank God this morning for the blessing of 2010. I thank God that even though not everything that happened in the past year was easy or understandable, He blessed me and those I love in innumerable ways. I look forward to 2011 and the relationship, growth and experiences it holds for all of us.