Tuesday, January 31, 2012

White Follow-Up

A few days ago I blogged about trendy, beautifully staged bedrooms all in white.  Apparently Volkswagen got the memo prior to the Portland Auto Show.  They brought their entire car line, every one in white! I tried for more minutes than I should have to get a good photo of the cars, but there were too many people. This is the best I could do.  By the way, it did make the VW display memorable, so maybe there is something to the "all white" motif.

A bunch of white Volkswagens:

A Year of Dates: January

Last Saturday, Eric and I went on the first of our Year of Dates.

January 2012

The Date: A trip to Portland for the Portland International Auto Show.  Since we don't live in Portland, this ended up being a full day date.

The Envelope: 2 tickets to the Auto Show, Starbucks gift card for fancy coffee & sandwich across the street from the convention center.

It Went a Little Something Like This...

My mom watched the kids for the day, and we ended up leaving the house around 8:15am.  We enjoyed 3+ hours in the car without the kids. It's amazing how stress free longer drives are when you don't have to pack tons of extra food, clothes, games and toys! And manage fighting and whining! Instead we got to talk about life, catch up with each other.

We saw SIX Bald Eagles along with Columbia River during our drive. I didn't take pictures from the moving car, but basically it was like this guy's picture:

The actual date isn't super interesting for re-enactment. It was walking, talking, sitting in cars, looking at cars, taking pictures of cars. Towards the beginning of our adventure, we had lunch at Starbucks.

Appetizing, huh?

A few observations from the car show:

1) When pretending to drive an auto show car, it is apparently mandatory that you also pretend to shift manual transmission gears, even if the car is an automatic.

2) There is something about having my picture taken while sitting in a completely still car in the middle of a crowded auditorium that compels me to flash a peace sign. 

3) I apparently like the current trend towards using the exterior color of the car as the dash trim color inside the car. It is cute and fun, and reminded me of when my KitchenAid  mixer was brand new and shiny. 

Eric and I got to ride in a Jeep that essentially drove over/through an obstacle course, and also in a tiny Scion which Eric test drove in a small driveway parking area outside. Those were some of his highlights. Plus seeing his current dream car/future actual car, which he couldn't sit in because it is still a prototype. 

A little sad he couldn't sit inside. And that they didn't have the Scion version. 

During our ride, I was in the middle seat in the back. Eric was sitting on my right, stranger on the left. And then we did this. It was a little unfortunate for the stranger on my left.

Here are some more pictures from the day:


Tiny Scion (this is the one that Eric later test drove)

One of the most bizarre things at the Auto Show: a truck painted to honor 9/11 first responders. On the hood: angry presidents and angry birds of prey. I am still trying to figure out how to alert Stephen Colbert

Eric being "manly" in front of a truck in his "Dexter shirt".

Someone take me to the beach. I'm ready to go surfing. 

Weird, massive fuel economy scooter thing. Only in the Pacific Northwest.

On our way home, we stopped for burgers and took more pictures of ourselves eating food.

We had a lovely drive home. Almost ran out of gas, but didn't. That was nice.

Next Month: Eric still hasn't looked into the date envelopes, but I did have to reveal the February date after he scheduled a church voter's meeting for the exact time we were supposed to be on our date. So it won't be a surprise, but it will still be fun!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Keeping Myself Occupied... by becoming a stalker

Today is confession day: I am a stalker. Specifically, I am stalking our across-the-street neighbor's home. I don't know anything about the couple, but their two boys are favorites of Little Man. Even though they are approximately 10 and 13 years old, they have always been really nice to him. This summer, Little Man regularly went over to "sweep" their driveway for them.

ATS Neighbors have been trying to sell their home for awhile. I'm thinking it's been at least a year at this point.  It was for sale for awhile and then we saw them outside once and asked how their recent open house went. Not well. No one came! We found out that day that they were building, or planning to build, a new home near the river. (I actually don't know if it is supposed to be 'near the river' but that is what Little Man always says when he talks about them, so I'm going to pretend that is true.)

Side comment: we live in one of the few places in the country where home prices are slightly increasing, and home sales have slowed but it isn't as bad here as other places.  The length of time that passes in this story is unusual for our area. 

Last winter, they took the house off the market for awhile, and re-listed it in the spring with a new agent.  We saw people come to look every now and then. I admit, once or twice I let the kids play outside a little longer than I planned so that I could check out the family walking through the house!

And then one day this fall, the SOLD sign was hung on their For Sale sign. It was a sad day for us, especially Little Man. The two nice boys would be moving away. But, hooray!, that means they get to build their new home.  The husband told Eric that they "had to be out" by Halloween, so we assume they were supposed to close then.

November came and went. The SOLD sign stayed out there, but no one moved in.  December, the same.  The exterior garage lights that were left on burned out.  Since we did a short sale on our old house this past summer, I am a Zillow fan.

And my stalking began... I checked out Zillow and learned that the house was taken off the market in October. And then, nothing. We kept waiting for someone to move in. Still nothing.

Naturally, I started regularly checking Zillow to see what was going on with the house! (Because wouldn't anyone do that?)  At the end of November, Zillow showed the house going active again as a listing. Same listing, same agent. And yet, the SOLD sign remained outside. A search of our local MLS doesn't show the listing number as active.

In December, as Little Man and I drove past, I noticed some kind of flier on their front door. No, I did not go to their front door, I saw it as I was driving by! I thought it would be bad in a "drawing attention to the fact the home is vacant" to leave the flier on the door. Not wanting to be spotted stalking, I made Little Man go get the flier. And it was essentially a utility delinquency notice! Oops! (So Little Man ran back across the street with it and re-attached it to the door. Told you he is smart!)

Now I feel really sad for our ATS neighbors. I think their sale must have fallen through. And maybe they are stuck with a half built other house. Our recent short sale experience has made me feel really horrible for them, and extra curious about the circumstances.

A few weeks ago, a sticker showed up on the front window of the house. This time I actually did go over to see what it was. You know, because of punk kids. (!!) It was the dreaded notice from the mortgage holder that the home has been deemed vacant and will be winterized, locks changed, etc. Yikes!

Then last week, Eric and I were outside (legitimately - shoveling snow after the "snowstorm") and a guy with one of those bluetooth ear piece things got out of a truck with some kind of metal pipe tool. He explored the yard, through 6 inches of snow, by banging the metal pipe tool thingy all over the ground. I didn't even pretend like I wasn't watching. Was he looking for the irrigation? Was he the realtor? So many questions! No answers!

This week, we had some excitement! 3 days in a row a white sedan was at the house. We thought maybe someone was moving in this past weekend. And there was a boy! Hooray! I told my mom to keep an eye out while Eric and I went to the auto show out of town on Saturday. Prime moving day!  When I got home she reported that there were actually 3 different vehicles outside of the house.

The For Sale sign with accompanying SOLD sign is still outside. We thought maybe the ATS neighbor decided to rent the house out. Or maybe the buyer moved in, but why would the SOLD sign still be there? And why is there now a lock box on the door?

Today, no action again. When Eric took our dog for a walk, I asked him to check to see if there is furniture in the house. It was dark, so he brought his cell phone so he could use the flashlight app to take a peek.

The mystery continues... the house is empty!

So many hypotheses! Now I think the action last week may have been the mortgage holder changing the locks, cleaning and doing other stuff to the house. Our maybe it was the real estate agent and people cleaning the house to get it ready for showings? My theory that it was home stagers is out since there is no furniture.

Part of me is a little bit ashamed of how much mental energy I have put into investigating the ATS house, but it is an interesting mystery at least, right? It leaves me wondering what I will do with myself when someone actually does move in!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

I'm a Titanic Groupie

My mom and I went to see The Descendants this afternoon. We walked in a few minutes into the previews and...


I heard the soundtrack to Titanic!!!

The film poster shows a man and a woman hugging over a picture of the Titanic's bow. In the background is a partly cloudy sky and at the top are the names of the two lead actors. The middle has the film's name and tagline, and the bottom contains a list of the director's previous works, as well as the film's credits, rating, and release date.

"Somebody's life is about to change..."

And that somebody is ME, baby! I am not even lying to you, Titanic is being re-released in April in honor of the 100th anniversary of the actual Titanic sinking. And I practically started crying with emotional joy just seeing the preview today. 

The movie was originally released in 1997, while I was in college. At first, I resisted seeing the movie because of my whole thing where I am forced to have an attitude and hate/dismiss things that everyone else loves. And I don't tend to like "girl movies". It was a "pass" for me. But then I was home over winter vacation and my mom and I thought, "Let's go see this Titanic movie that everyone is talking about."  

Was the Celine Dion song already being played 24 hours a day on the radio at that point? I am not sure. (And, no, that scene isn't a favorite of mine.) 

So we saw the movie, and I liked the movie. I thought it was an adventure, and I liked the love story. (I also really liked Shakespeare in Love, which came out the next year and shares a similar tragic love story theme.) Plus, it had a great soundtrack, which is always key when you're talking about an epic film. I was in college with plenty of free time, and I actually had a job that didn't pay poorly for work study. So I invited a friend to see Titanic. And then I would learn someone else hadn't seen it, so I'd say, "You have to see it! I'll go with you!" 

A month or two later, I had seen Titanic in the movie theater... 10 times!

Not even 9 times... 10 times!! That's 32+ hours of Titanic movie theater time. And probably $60-ish of Titanic movie theater tickets. Plus popcorn X10!

It was sort of an accident. I didn't mean to become a Titanic groupie, but it happened. I cried in the movie theater 10 times during this scene...

Oh goodness, I am practically crying RIGHT NOW!

And you are either a)also crying or b)siding with my husband and making fun of me.

I am not as obsessed with the movie now as I was then. But I do own it. And we did "watch" it while I labored at home with Little Man. (What a strange choice I made! If I was in my right mind, I clearly would have chosen "You've Got Mail".)

How about you? Are you freaking out about going to see the re-release of Titanic? If you need me in the week or two after April 6th, check the movie theater, because I will probably be there!

Friday, January 27, 2012

The White Room

Since I've been trapped in my house for the past few days with my sick kids, I have been planning out my organizing and redecorating schemes with the help of Pinterest.  I also watched an episode of Colour Confidential where the woman redid a simple bedroom with a design that seemed almost achievable for a normal person.

And so, I spent an exciting Friday night at home watching The Debt and looking around on Pinterest for bedroom colors and bedding that might give me some inspiration. I'm not talking about finding super extravagant, ridiculously expensive, architecturally stunning bedrooms. Just simple things that someone like me (not very crafty, almost negatively skilled in the artistic department, with a very meager budget) could actually attempt.

I stumbled upon a strange phenomenon: the white room.  Here I am looking for fun and stylish bedding, and I keep finding white bedrooms! White furniture, white comforter. White, white, white.  I notice the same thing when I look at other room ideas: office, playroom, kids bedroom. So much white!!

In my real house, we don't have any white furniture, and that is on purpose. You see, it gets dirty! I routinely curse our hideous kitchen and dining room vinyl floor because it is "white" (in quotes because it isn't actually white anymore).  But we do have white trim and some white walls - the people we bought our house from painted not long before we bought the house and they seemed to really like the style of "3 walls color, 1 wall white" - almost every room in our house was that way when we bought it. Only some rooms have been painted since then.

Looking at white bedrooms and white bedding is nice. Oh so crisp and clean! But, seriously? With 2 young children? And a dog? And a husband? This will never be my house, so it isn't much inspiration.

I dare you: go on to Pinterest and type in "bedroom" in the search bar. Here are a few of the most recent pins:

Pinned Image              Pinned Image 

Pinned Image     Pinned Image
    I spy some green on that bed!!!   

Pinned Image

Thursday, January 26, 2012

We Interrupt This Blog Post...

This is an alert of the Child Sickness System.  This is NOT a test.

Throw on your rain poncho and be prepared for overnight puking and waves of crying.  Do NOT attempt to take Ambien to sleep, as you will be awakened multiple times by a puking child. Even your dog will puke in sympathy.

Sticky green boogers will be in abundance for the next 5-10 days.  Imagination play will center around disease and medical treatment. Intermittent fevers will be spotted.

Check emergency supplies of Children's Ibuprofen, Children's Tylenol, 7Up, crackers and popsicles.  Gigantic iced lattes from the expensive coffee stand down the street may be in order.

This concludes the alert of the Child Sickness System.  God be with you.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Book Love

I'm a part of a book club. It is actually my third book club. Right after Big Girl was born, I joined a book club associated with an attachment parenting group in my town. I was drawn to it because they met once a month and chose a wide variety of books: fiction, parenting, other non-fiction.  I was introduced to In Defense of Food and Brain Child magazine.

Then a few friends who knew I was book clubbing mentioned the possibility of doing a book club among ourselves. I ended up sort of being in charge of that one. I think we only read a few books (because then I moved away), and they were pretty big fails in my mind. (If I never hear about this book again, it will be too soon. Sorry Mom.)

When we came up here to visit so that Eric could consider whether to accept his Call to become principal here, I met a few school moms at Starbucks one morning while he was doing... something. I mentioned I was in a book club, and one of the moms was all about it! So when we moved here, she and I started Book Love - a women's book club with a generic name! =)

We've been meeting every month or two for the past 2 years. There have been some big successes (The Story of Edgar SawtelleThe Forgotten Garden, etc...) and some fails (The Particular Sadness of Lemon CakeBreakfast with Buddha, etc.)

Some people join book clubs to "force" themselves to read. That is not me.  I don't have any trouble with finding time to read.  I like book club because it gives me a chance to hear about books I wouldn't otherwise discover, read some books that are outside of my reading comfort zone, and talk with friends about books we've read.  I admit, I don't really enjoy the "book club discussion questions", I prefer a less structured talk about what everyone thought about the book.  And I have gotten a chance to get to know some women a little better, which is a good benefit.

Thinking about joining a book club? You should totally do it! Even if you can't read every book or make it to every discussion, it is a perfect kind of format to pop in and out.  You'll get to spend time with other book lovers and keep that brain working too!

I have to give a shout out to GoodReads, which is a great website for finding books, getting info and reviews on books you hear about, and keeping a list of books you hear about that are interesting that you want to remember to read when you have a chance! 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Anxiety Days

I struggle with panic and anxiety at times.  Most people don't see that side of me, though I mention it occasionally.  My anxiety is fairly mild, I'm not medicated and usually I can function well enough to hide it if I feel like I should. And not every day is an Anxiety Day.

But, today is. And since I'm trying to blog every day this month, it is my topic for today. I'm going to tell you about my Anxiety Days.

Usually, but not always, there is a sleep link. Last night, the later part of my sleep was disturbed. I had "stress dreams" about things that aren't actually stressing me out. I woke up having worked out the answer to a question that I didn't even realize I was thinking about.  This happens sometimes and always makes me think, "I am smarter when I sleep than when I'm awake!"

My morning started as usual and today I didn't even realize it was an Anxiety Day until I got downstairs.

There was a pile of clean dishes on the kitchen counter left to dry overnight that needed to be put away. Some of Little Man's junk toys were on the stairs. The ordinary amount of clutter in the kitchen/dining room really bothered me.

I start to think I don't have time to put all of the dishes away, make Big Girl's lunch, make the kids breakfast, sort through the clutter, get the kids to clean up their mess, make sure everyone is dressed, hair combed, wearing socks, etc. before it is time to leave for school. I probably won't have time to make myself any breakfast! Two or three times I check my duathlon training log to see what workout I am supposed to be doing today and run through the timing of school drop off, errands and going to the gym.  It feels like the kids are hovering around me, asking too many questions, talking too loudly.  I am overwhelmed.

I am overwhelmed by things that are very "normal" in my life. These are things that I see, hear and do pretty much every day. And I am frozen by them today.

I check my workout plan multiple times for a few reasons. I am afraid I am going to forget today's plan. I am afraid the timing won't work out to get to the core class I need to take. And I know that going to the gym for a serious workout will help me get through today.

I check my email and cannot focus to reply. I open new windows in the middle of reading an email, but for no reason that I can recall. I answer the 2 emails that seem most pressing, that I can feel will worry me until they are answered. I am brief.

While I am sitting still, I feel the physiological anxiety signs.  My shoulders are tight. I am breathing shallow breaths. My whole body is tense. I feel like my skin is twitching or "crawling". I know going to the gym will help.

I focus on one thing at a time. I make a list so I don't have to worry about forgetting what I need to try to get done today. (I should probably instead give myself permission to forget things, but I'm working on that!) I got done everything I was worried I wouldn't get done this morning AND had time for some Greek yogurt for breakfast.

I did my morning workout as planned and it has cleared my head a bit.  I feel a little better.  I am not home right now, and am still feeling anxious about getting home and seeing mess, clutter and messy kid rooms and playroom (and living room, and dining room, and stairs...). This is frustrating because normally these types of things don't bother me so much, and I know that it is because today is an Anxiety Day.  But we will be home soon, and I will resist the urge to throw away pretty much everything in my kids rooms. Yes, I will probably actually consider that for a few moments. Seriously, it would make cleaning and finding things easier!! =)

I will finish up my day following as close to my normal routine as I can. I will try not to overwhelm myself with feelings that I am drowning in things to do, or am falling behind in my life somehow.  I will be in prayer today for peace and release from feeling this way.  I will probably talk to Eric about it when he gets home. Maybe I will even try to take a nap or read my new library book!

And, hopefully tomorrow I will wake up as my normal self, trip on Little Man's trucks on the stairs and feel good about the day.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

When Kids Pick Their Own...

One thing I have learned about myself over the past few months is that I tend to do too much for my kids. They are very smart and capable, but I am very type A and often things are just easier for me to do myself.  Big Girl's kindergarten teacher told me at fall parent teacher conferences that I should encourage her independence and let her make choices, when appropriate, to develop her self esteem.

So I asked a few friends what kinds of things their 5 year olds did on their own and discovered that I hardly let/make Big Girl do ANYTHING on her own! Of course, a week or so before the PT conference, I brought in Big Girl's laundry basket with the clothes folded and sorted and asked her to put them away. You would not believe the battle of wits that ensued about that small amount of responsibility!

I have held strong and Big Girl is in charge of putting away her laundry. And both she and Little Man help dump out garbage cans on "garbage day" (this is right up Little Man's alley since he wants to be a "garbage truck man" when he grows up). I try to let her help me with dinner, and there are regular battles about who gets to help in what way with setting the table.

The easiest area for me to give up control and let the kids make choices is with their clothes and hair.  Big Girl has always had a very unique style. And I don't take their outfits seriously - I know some moms probably think that their kids clothing is a reflection on their parenting, but I don't feel that way. I love that they express themselves with their clothes.

Yesterday I learned that my acceptance of this quirky self expression has limits. There are SOME limits already -- Little Man knows that when he picks clothes for church he is supposed to pick "a shirt with buttons". Big Girl knows that we prefer she pick clothes out of her closet for church.

Friday was my great-aunt's 90th birthday.  She is very wealthy and very put together.  Her nails are always done, she always "dresses to go out", etc.  And, unlike me, she gets concerned if I bring the kids over for lunch at her retirement center and they aren't looking 'their best'.  So, last night we had dinner reservations with my mom and great aunt to celebrate her birthday. We asked the kids to get dressed to see Noni, which they know means they should look "fancy", while Eric and I got dressed.

So first Big Girl comes in with clips across the front of her bangs. And she wanted a half ponytail with curly hair tendrils hanging free. I helped do her hair the way she asked, but basically her hair looked like a giant bird's nest with multicolor clips all across the front of her hair.  I suggested we just brush her hair out because that is the way Noni likes it best, and she was in tears.

As I started to follow her to her room, out comes Little Man from his bedroom. He dutifully put on a shirt with buttons and "school pants", but also one of Big Girl's 2 inch wide turquoise blue cloth headbands. (Yes, we will let him wear funny headbands and even nail polish on his toes.)  I ended up getting sidetracked trying to convince him to take off the headband for Noni. (He did eventually remove it in favor of a trucker style Cars 2 hat, which he wore but removed at dinner.)

In the meantime, poor Eric handled Big Girl and the hair drama. I headed downstairs thinking we might actually be on time to pick Noni up for dinner. And then, down came Little Man. Wearing lipstick. Over pretty much every part of his face below his nose. "I put on Big Girl's chapstick!" he said proudly.

It was basically this look, only he was wearing a shirt with buttons. 

Thank you to whoever gave Big Girl tinted chapstick for Christmas. Oh wait, that was me!!

I got a death glare from Little Man as I frantically tried to scrub the lipstick/tinted chapstick off of his face, lovingly explaining why having lipstick all over his face was not a good idea when we were going to take Noni to her birthday dinner.

And finally, everyone was put together, we made it to the car and actually picked Noni up within 5 minutes of the time we were supposed to be there. Ahh... success!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Vote by Mail - blah blah blah

Presidential primary season is in full swing and soon we will all be inundated with political ads to the point of nausea by our Republican candidate, the Obama campaign and a ridiculous number of SuperPACs and whoever else.  

I love politics! And I used to really love voting. But not so much anymore.

I grew up near Chicago, which has an "interesting" voting history. You know, your dead pet can vote there! =) I still remember the first time I got to vote. I went with my mom to a church near our house that was set up as our local polling place. We drove there, parked in the parking lot, went inside. I am sure I showed my ID or maybe my voter registration card. Someone marked my name off a list and gave me a ballot. I went into a booth, pulled the curtain, put the ballot in the machine and poked holes for my nominees. (This was way back in the age of walking up hill both ways to school, before hanging chads and electronic voting.)  When I was done, someone gave me a sticker that said I VOTED TODAY! And I wore it with pride. 

Can't you feel the excited energy! 

In the fall of 2000, I was living in Ann Arbor, Michigan, attending the UofM School of Social Work. I saw Ralph Nadar speak. I voted absentee in Illinois, my first experience with 'mail in' voting. I remember watching the 2000 Presidential election returns with a handful of Social Work grad students and another handful of teenagers at the teen drop in center where I was interning. 

And then a few years later I moved. To Oregon. Did you know that Oregon was the first state in the country to go to a "mail in only" ballot for elections? I didn't know that when I moved there, and I would guess that most people aren't even aware that your quirky Pacific NW states vote this way! Because, yes, in the past few years Washington has also become a "mail in only" state. (Though maybe not officially so, because Washington cancelled our Republican primary this year and we will be having caucuses instead. I don't think a "mail in only caucus" would work very well!) 

I guess there are numerous benefits to mail in only voting. The primary one has got to be financial. It saves the state a lot of money.  As a voter though, I hate it. 

Here's how we vote out here in wacky land:

A few weeks before "election day", your ballot comes in the mail, along with a gigantic mailed with what are essentially paid ads/position statements by candidates, and another with paid position statements on the various ballot meausres to be voted on. If you are a responsible, type A person, you read the thrilling mind numbing mailer, and then remove your ballot from multiple envelopes. You color in the oval next to the candidates you want, being sure to completely fill in the oval, just like you did when you took the SAT 100 years ago. And make that mark dark, for goodness sakes!  [For those of you who are not responsible or Type A, you sit your ballot in the pile of mail waiting to be opened and forget about it until just before or possibly after the voting deadline.]

You put your ballot in an evelope. Sign it. Put it in another envelope. 

Here's where it gets exciting...

You put a stamp on the envelope and put it in the mail. Done! You just voted in Oregon or Washington! 

Oh, and you probably did that well before the actual election day. 

Who needs the buildup and tension that leads up to the actual election day? Just vote 10 days before and get it over with.  At least that way those annoying phone calls stop once the rolls show that you have already voted.

But, a word of caution, if you vote too soon, you may be sorry! If you vote and your candidate does something stupid, you can't get that ballot back. 

People who are used to voting by mail generally seem to think it's a good idea. You don't have to make time in your day to go somewhere to vote. If it is raining, you don't have to *gasp* go outside in the rain! But as someone who has voted using both methods, it is so much more fun to vote in person, to experience the energy and build up to that one day where everyone goes out to vote. Plus, you get to wear a sticker! 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Queen of hidden clutter

I resisted New Years resolutions this year, but have been thinking about setting some "around the house" goals to get me more organized and make me feel better about our home.  Our house isn't regularly an embarrassing mess - I admit that I could be better about dusting and mopping, but we are pretty good as a family about not leaving tons of clutter and stuff all of the place. But, I have a hidden secret. Literally, hidden.

I am a cabinet and closet clutterer.

If you walk into my kitchen, it seems relatively clean and put together. Open a cabinet, however, and who knows how many pans, tupperware containers or paper cups may fall on you. Hutch? same. Hall closet? Same. Garage? same.

So, I am setting a goal for myself that this year I am going to organize my storage clutter around the house. And I'm not going to be grand and say "I'm going to do it in 1 day!"  I am going to try to do one location a month! Easy! These are the kinds of jobs where I quit before I begin because it seems like an enormous task, but really when you get into it, it doesn't take long. And it feels good to finish! And to open your kitchen cabinet and not have every pan you own slide out on to your foot! (Or your husband's foot)

Some areas that will be un-cluttered and organized this year:

* "stuff" baskets on the floating office shelf
* entry closet
* kitchen cabinets - ALL OF THEM
* hutch cabinet
* garage (though Eric will most definitely get to this one before I do since it bothers him more)
* my dresser
* playroom toys!!
* upstairs linen closet
* laundry room
* backyard storage container

And, while I'm at it, a few other around the house things I'd like to tackle this year:

* throw away this thing, which has been sitting in pieces in our side yard for about a year now
* build and actually use 2 raised planters from our awesome landscape design plan
* paint the playroom/guest room

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Snow Day!

Today we had our annual school's cancelled, snow day. Where we live we get measurable snow about once a year (this statement based on the whopping 2.5 winters we have lived here). Yes, we live in a place where it hardly ever snows, so when it does people FREAK OUT and everything is cancelled. (I am from Chicago, so I'm kind of a "I can handle the winter driving" snob, though I definitely defer to my Denver-raised husband.)

In short, I am the middle person here:

And I am slowly becoming that totally bald guy whatever-it-is on the left.

My kids are loving having a day off of school, though Big Girl was a little upset about missing kindergarten today. And they were both pretty mad at mom last night that I wouldn't drive them 10 miles to swim lessons. I told a "mom-lie" and said lessons were cancelled, even though I think technically they weren't. But, trust me, no one was there.

We spent today playing in the snow/sleet. Snow play started in the backyard, with Little Man using my scraper/brush to clean the play structure. And the pine tree. And the patio table. And the worker trucks.  Big Girl is more like I was as a kid. She takes FOR-EH-VER to get all of her winter stuff on, all the while insisting we wait for her, and then after about 5 minutes starts whining about being cold and goes back inside to cry. (This would be harsh, except I totally acknowledge being the same way.)

Then we moved out front for some sledding fun. One nice thing about having a vacant house on our street is that said vacant house has a pretty steep driveway perfect for a short little kid sledding session. We spent some time sledding and throwing snow at each other. Same thing repeated again this afternoon. Big Girl = big, overly emotional drama fest. Pathetically standing in the office with the window cracked open saying, "Mama? When are you and Little Man going to come inside?" Me and Little Man kicking and throwing snow like crazy people.

Then Little Man asked me to "sled" him. So I walked him up and down the street a few times. Then I thought I should be more fun than this, like his Daddy probably would be. And I got this insane idea to try to run [in my snow boots that are a size and a half too big with one insole that is all bunched up] down the street [unplowed of course] pulling Little Man on the sled in probably 4-6 inches of snow.

I made it up and down our street for two laps and then I felt like this:

I am very thankful that Little Man only weighs about 35lbs. And that our house is warm. And that we are having chicken pot pie for dinner!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Movie Review: The Ides of March

Eric and I just watched The Ides of March, a new political drama with a whole bunch of actors we really like: George Clooney, Paul Giamatti, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Ryan Gosling.

Short plot summary: Stephen (Ryan Gosling) is an up and coming campaign media manager working alongside campaign manager Paul (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) in the presidential campaign of Governor Morris (George Clooney).  The race between Morris and Pullman is tight - think Obama/Clinton from 4 years ago. The polls in Ohio, the next primary, are too close to call. There is a key endorsement up for grabs.  Tom Duffy (Paul Giamatti) is the campaign manager for rival candidate Pullman.  When Duffy contacts Stephen about jumping ship and joining the Pullman campaign, basically all hell breaks loose. Stephen receives some information about the Pullman strategy that doesn't look good for his candidate. Will he remain loyal to Morris and Paul, even though he begins to doubt Morris's character? Will he flip to the surging campaign?

Thoughts: About 20 minutes into this, Eric said, "So, instead of watching real news people and political people go on and on and on about real presidential candidates, we're watching a movie with fake people doing basically the same thing?" With that, he took out his laptop and spent the rest of the movie surfing the internet. Since I'm a political junkie, I like the movie. I understood the message of the film. I liked it, but I didn't think it was the best movie I've ever seen.

Oh, yeah. Did I mention Ryan Gosling was there? In the "reading in bed the morning after sex" scene, he was wearing an undershirt. I think this was a subtle, or not so subtle, "this is a serious movie so Ryan Gosling's abs probably shouldn't be prominent" act. In Crazy Stupid Love or The Notebook, you can bet we wouldn't gotten some ab action!

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.  The movie was "pretty", the script was good, the music helped the tension, the acting was good. It missed really grabbing me and keeping me enthralled. Maybe a few peeks at the Gosling abs would have helped!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Embarrassing Parent

My kids aren't old enough yet for me to be embarrassing to them. Sure, we have already had our share of dramatic flouncing teenage girl angst from Big Girl. She started the "I hate you!", stomp to her room and slam the door, move sometime around her 2nd birthday.  We'll be in trouble a few years from now.

Tonight on facebook a friend I went to college with posted about waving to his elementary school daughter while she was at recess, making fun of himself because his daughter did not return the wave or acknowledge him. "Well, I guess I have officially become the embarrassing dad. This will come in handy when she is a teenager."

The thought reminded me of my own dad, back in the middle school or early high school years.  I remember our family walking through the mall and him suddenly speaking really loudly in a horrible Australian accent.  Or ordering in restaurants with a bad accent. If I remember right, he even spoke pretend sign language on at least one occasion.  Of course, I was mortified, though I probably also found it funny. I remember my mom acting embarrassed too. I wonder if she really was, or if that was part of the "show"?

And I wonder what silly things Eric and I will do that will embarrass our kids someday. I hope it is something fun like that. I'll have to work on something like this...

Potty Poop, an update

2 days in a row of Little Man pooping in the potty! Hooray!

The first thing he said after he went?

"Now, take a picture of it for Daddy. Then call my teacher."

Monday, January 16, 2012

What my life has become

Not that I had a fascinating life before kids, but I am realizing tonight how far into MommyZone I have descended.  As I have probably mentioned before, Little Man, who turned 4 in the fall, still refuses to poop in the potty.  The struggle has been intensified since he finally potty trained this summer, just in time to start preschool.  But he wears a diaper to poop.  He will actually ASK for a diaper, or ask to take a nap, so he can access his diaper and poop in it.

After talking to friends, searching the internet, reading some books and a visit with the pediatrician, we have tried "everything" to get him to poop in the potty.  He pees on the potty, so he isn't afraid the potty is going to eat him. He flushes the potty, so he isn't afraid of the sound.  He knows when he has to poop.

We've tried bribery, charts, regularly sitting him on the potty, begging, laxatives and withholding his diaper.  The last time we withheld the diapers (October), he didn't poop for 4 days until I relented and gave them back. Didn't want him to end up hospitalized or something from impacted poop!

The pediatrician told me in November I just need to let it go. "Eventually every kid potty trains and gives up diapers." True. But easier said than done. I've been dealing with diapers since 2006. Disposable for his sister, cloth for him, and now disposable for him because he's been in them so long that he used them to death! I just want to be done. And I want my kid to poop in the potty of just being a stubborn... well, stubborn stubborn-head.  The pediatrician also said that it is about control and that as long as Little Man has any sense that I am trying to push him into pooping on the potty, he appears to be resisting me. So, therefore, I need to eliminate the power struggle.

So since early November, I've been practicing "letting it go" and not caring that my 4 year old still poops in diapers. And I have to clean it up.

On Friday, Little Man had a particularly disgusting post-nap diaper.  As I gagged and cleaned him up, an idea struck! I told Little Man that if he pooped in his diaper from now on, he would be responsible to clean himself up. That Mama is done cleaning up poopy diaper butts.

His response: complete RAGE. (And, if you know Little Man, rage actually doesn't happen that often.)
He stomped around and shouted about how he would NOT clean his poopy butt.  But I held firm.

So that was Friday and today is Monday. We are on day 3 of no poop, because of course now that pooping in the diaper has apparently been taken away as an option, he is holding it again. (The reaction definitely makes me wonder if the "dealing with the cleanup" may be part of the interest in still pooping in diapers.)

Yesterday, Little Man actually agreed to try to poop on the potty a few times. Even this is an improvement. We spent 40 minutes in the bathroom last night, counting. And then shouting "Poop! You come out! Go into the potty!" and then making exaggerated pushing sounds and faces. But no poop.

Tonight though... VICTORY!!!

YES! My Little Man pooped in the potty!!

Wanna know what I did first?

I took a picture of the poop and text messaged it to his Daddy! (Since he was presenting his school budget to the school board, I'm sure he appreciated turning on his phone to find a picture of a giant poop!)

Then we called his teacher so he could say, "This is Little Man. I pooped in the potty. Hooray! Goodbye!"

And then I realized, there is something wrong with me. I TOOK A PICTURE OF MY SON'S POOP IN THE POTTY! And I don't even care! He pooped! In the potty!


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Feeling your value

Today in the Sunday School class that my husband and I are leading right now, we talked about the fear of not mattering.  What a big topic! Not mattering to God, not being important to others, not recognizing our value as unique creations of God (essentially not mattering to ourselves).

We only got halfway through our planned questions, but it was a good thing because our discussion was really great. Almost everyone in the class participated and we really got to talking about important points.

What I got out of today's discussion is that while we may have head knowledge that we matter, we are important, we are loved,  it is much more difficult to let that seep into our heart and really feel that value.  That is a struggle for me at times.  The better part of me knows I am God's child, but sometimes remembering that or really believing it is difficult.  It's the kind of change that can't be found or instilled in a one hour group discussion.  It will take lots of time in prayer, Bible study, reflection.

At first I felt like the connection between this week's chapter to the overall book theme of "fear" was pretty thin.  At the surface, it seemed more about values and what we do to make ourselves feel important. But I see a connection to fear in that struggling with self worth is similar to struggling with fear in that we can't just decide, "Hey! I am not going to fear anymore! I'm not going to be controlling anymore!"  likewise, "Today I am going to have self confidence! I decided that I am going to be important today!"  It just doesn't happen that way.

If you are reading this and you struggle with these areas, you aren't alone! I know I'm not... I pray you will remember that God created you as a unique individual, created on purpose to glorify God. I hope you continue striving towards really feeling it!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Day 13, Hey Anna!

Lesson learned after 12 days in a row of blogging: My life and thoughts are not very interesting on a daily basis.

Hey Anna! Thanks for reading my blog! =) And thanks for the pizza. Next time we can be crafty at my house. I will supply Ryan Gosling's abs.

Blogging day 13. Check.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Our "cool dude"

Last night at dinner, Little Man was asking us all sorts of complicated questions about life. What's new?

Eric asked him if he knows what a "genius" is. He didn't. So Eric told him that a genius is a person who knows a lot of things and learns things really easy. Someone whose brain is very smart.

He said, "Do you think you are a genius, Little Man?"
Little Man: "No, I'm not a genius, I'm just a super cool dude."

He continued to tell us how awesome he is. It was pretty funny.

I couldn't help thinking what a difference there is between Little Man and Big Girl, who seems to have come bursting out of the womb full of self-consciousness and low self esteem. It is one of my biggest fears and anxieties about being a mom. My Big Girl is such a perfectionist (I wonder where she gets it from... !!!) that she doubts herself at almost every turn. And she has been that way since she was an older baby. I pray all the time that she will have self confidence, and hope that as she grows up, I will be able to help her to become less self-conscious and more confident.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Entering the Political Arena

As the child of politically active parents (one of whom is in the news business), I think I am more politically aware than most of my peers.  There are plenty of political questions and ideas that I don't understand. But I actually do like watching debates. Endless debates with too many candidates and no real answers. I even enjoy debates between people I would never want to vote for.  I also enjoy cable news political commentary, reading newspaper endorsements and politics based articles.

I personally consider myself an independent.  As a Christian, it seems most of my friends consider me "liberal", though actually I am a fancy mixture of liberal and conservative.  I will admit that I was an Obama voter in 2008. I was even a donor and a t-shirt purchaser.  Like many Obama voters, I have been underwhelmed -- though I do feel that most of the "blame" for our current situation in this country comes from the prior administration, gridlock in Washington and the way-way-WAY too large role lobbying and money in general play in our government.

Let me be clear, I would consider voting for someone other than Obama this year.

I have been watching the Republican presidential hopefuls fairly closely over the past few months. I have seen most of the debates, watched as the anti-Romney candidate of the moment came and went, came and went, came and went...

I continue to be baffled by what appears to be the Republican belief that Mitt Romney is the "most electable" candidate among their presidential choices. I must misunderstand the term "electable".  With approximately 40% of the country considering themselves Independents, I have a hard time believing that any of those people would seriously consider voting for Mitt Romney after a head to head campaign against Obama.  With the Republican factions of social conservatives, Tea Party and big business pulling in different directions (with some overlap), I guess Romney must appear to be the best blend of those things... BECAUSE AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER HE HAS CLAIMED ALL OF THEIR OPINIONS/INTERESTS AS HIS OWN.

Personally, I would think that the "most electable" candidate would be the one who could appeal to independent voters while also strongly addressing the economy and jobs.  If I were a strong Democrat, I would fear Jon Huntsman far and away over Romney.  Huntsman is the candidate that I could see taking weak Obama votes away.  And yet Huntsman sits at 10% of the vote, ignored by most everyone.

What a bummer this primary season is turning out to be. At least with a Republican candidate Romney, I can pull out my old Obama t-shirt for another few months!

PS -- I have come to believe that Rick Perry might be one of the dumbest politicians ever. And that is saying something.  James Carville agrees with me...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Being Sick. It kinda sucks.

I'm sick. Maybe the title of this blog says all I need to say. Now I can go back to bed.

Seriously, I dislike being sick. I know that is probably a major surprise. I woke up today with congested lungs, a headache, some good "back of the throat drainage" and tired, tired, tired.

It isn't even the sickness that is that bad. Little Man was home with me today and played contentedly on the floor of the living room while I snoozed on the couch.

The worst part is that it seems like this always happens when I get on a roll with exercising and eating well. I have been getting to the gym regularly, and eating REAL food that has made me feel energetic and just plain good. Now today, all I want is a Pepsi, some Oreo cookies and to take a long nap. Boo!

Sorry if this is the most depressing blog post in the world. In a month full of blogs, there has to be at least one, right?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Hidden Human Faces - I don't get it

I am the first to admit that I am no longer a very trendy person. My sheer lack of interest in technological advancements and ignorance about IPads, Kindles, smart phones, etc. makes me feel like a dinosaur at times. And I have no interest in current pop music.  (I always thought it was weird that my mom is knowledgable about music from the 60's and 70's and then sort of lost it mid-80's. But now I know why, she was probably too busy listening to Sesame Street and The Electric Company reruns.)

One current trend among some of my facebook friends is sharing pictures where you are supposed to look at the serene scene and then "find the hidden face".  Honestly, half the time I can't find the face to start with. I see comments like, "Awesome!" or "That is really cool!" but I can't see the face.

It seriously took me 5 minutes to find the face in this one. 

Other times, I can find the face and am underwhelmed. The face isn't hard to find. Or the face is creepy and I wish I hadn't found it.  Like this one...

If you can "find the face" in here, you will probably wish you couldn't. (And I am sure you can, because I found it and I don't "get it".) 

I guess this stuff is passed around because it is funny? Or because people like the accomplishment of finding something that is hidden? Sort of like the glee Little Man feels when he opens his big garbage truck and finds the matchbox cars he put in there last night before bed? I guess that would only work if you were the one that put the guy's face under the leaves though.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Taking a crack at Sunday School teaching

Today marked a first for me and Eric. We are now officially adult Sunday School teachers.  Both of us are licensed teachers, but when we were teachers we taught kids.

We were approached earlier this winter about teaching a class starting today.  There was a desire to have some new class leaders to diversify some of the Sunday School offerings.  So we decided to teach our class on a book I had been reading, "Fearless" by Max Lucado.  It is a good book that we thought would appeal to a wide range of people in our congregation. It also has a nice discussion guide at the end to help us plan our class.

Yesterday we finally sat down and planned out our first class.  We divided out how we are going to share the leader role and what we wanted to cover.  And I realized, I was a little nervous. Yes, I was a little bit afraid of leading a discussion group on a book about fear. Oh, the irony!

It was funny to think about.  I speak fairly regularly at church making announcements and have been a speaker for a few small women's events.  It was not the public speaking that made me nervous.  And the planning was easy.  I found myself comparing my feelings to when I used to teach Sunday School for the middle school girls at our old church. Then, I never felt nervous.  But preparing for today, I realized that I was nervous because I worried that I wouldn't measure up as a Sunday School teacher.  I wanted the people who decided to come to feel like they had made a good choice, one that was "worth it".  I worried people would think we were lame teachers.

None of that stuff matters though.  Our job as Sunday School teachers isn't to be impressive or entertaining. It is to share the information, encourage discussion and ultimately help everyone (including ourselves) learn more about God and our relationship with Him.

Today we taught our first class. And I wasn't nervous.  We had a good sized group, enough to break into smaller groups for short discussions but not too many to limit people's chance to speak if they wanted.
We covered Fearless Chapter 1 today, got through the material on time, had some good discussions and people had a chance to share and get to know each other a little bit better.

Hopefully next week everyone will be back for Chapter 2.  Eric and I have kinks to work out in the "co-leading" department, but we are looking forward to working through the book with friends.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Year of Dates

Today is my husband's birthday and it looks like his gift is a success!!

I have been working for the past few weeks to plan a year of dates for us, with inspiration from This Blog.  My gift is essentially pre-planning fun times for us to spend together, once a month.  8 or 9 of the dates are activities we have never done before.  I spent a lot of time digging around for ideas and also asked some of our friends who have lived here a lot longer than we have.  Considering we probably only went out on 3 or 4 dates all of last year, I'm pretty proud of myself.  

I was planning to blog about this today and include a list of all of the fun dates we have planned. But my husband is not like me and he actually did not open every envelope right away to find out what the dates are! (I seriously can't even believe it. I can barely not tell him right now!) 

So since the dates are still a mystery, I am going to share our January date:  the 2012 Portland International Auto Show.  This isn't really a mystery or surprise date because we already planned to go back. My husband used to go every year, and I have gone with him since we started dating, but we have missed the auto show for the last two years. But this year we will go! Especially because there are tickets in the date envelope, so now if we don't go, we wasted the money.  (Nothing will convince us to conquer exhaustion or sickness for a day trip adventure like the threat of wasting $24!) 

I will update post-date with how things went and add our dates as we go along! 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Birthday weekend!

My husband's birthday is tomorrow! Mine was last month and I have to say that I'm more excited about his birthday than I was about mine. Does this say something about me? There are some surprises in store for the weekend that I am super excited about. With my own birthday, I didn't have the same anticipation.  Not that my birthday wasn't fun and good. Other people's birthdays are just more fun for me! Is everyone like this? Have I crossed the line from "young" to "not so young" now that I am over the attention of having a birthday and all of the hullabaloo(!!)?

Happy birthday to Eric tomorrow! May his 31st 33rd birthday and the coming year be an amazing one!

"Birthdays... I hate them, but I love them.  Have an X-ellent one, Eric."

"Take in the fact that I just did that!"

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Why do you work out?

I went to the gym this morning, nervous for my first ever Les Mills RPM (spinning) class.  I have been on a spinning bike for interval training, but have never actually taken a full spin class. And I was scared.

By the way, I just did a google search to try to find a picture of people taking a spinning class.  Every one I found had people smiling. I didn't feel like that was a good representation of what happened today. Other than smiling people spinning, the search for some reason also turned up a whole bunch of pictures of Bob Harper.

Since I am posting this, it is no mystery that I survived. But I will admit that within the first 30 minutes of the 55 minute class, I did think once or twice that there was actually a possibility I might throw up.  (Of course I ended up on a bike just behind some kind of super-biking chick who actually out biked the instructors and didn't break a sweat.)  By 40 minutes, I was having some serious leg fatigue and wondered if I would even be able to walk back out of the gym to get Little Man from Kids Club.  I envisioned stepping off the bike and just crumbling down on to the ground. With 5 minutes to go, we were doing hills and my legs pretty much just stopped working all together. The coordination and strength were gone.

But I survived! Was able to walk to Kids Club, and now, 3 hours later, the soreness has set in.  In the meantime though, I felt good. I disliked pretty much every one of the 55 minutes I was on the bike, but now find myself thinking I should go back again next week. It was a good workout, and I feel weak now which means I might feel strong tomorrow (if I can actually move my legs).

That got me to thinking about a friend who is some kind of warrior superwoman.  She runs almost every day at an ungodly hour, like 3 or 4am, and distances that require serious training and effort.  Tomorrow she told me she is going to the 1 hour weight training class (BodyPump) and immediately after to RPM. And I don't know but she's probably running in the morning too.  First I was thinking, "How in the world can she spend an hour lifting weights and still be able to do all of the leg work of a spinning class?" It has to be conditioning.

So in the great winding ladder of my mind, I then thought, "Why would someone do that to themself?" Why would anyone in their right mind choose to work out for 2-3 hours 5 or 6 days a week? (And, for ease, I'm going to lump those who are NOT in their right mind along with professional athletes, models and other people whose livelihood depend on them being in optimal physical condition.)

So here are some possible reason I thought of, though I fully intend to ask my friend the next time I see her what the real answer is.

* Exercise as hobby
* Exercise as weight loss tool
* Exercise towards some other goal
* Exercise as part of healthy lifestyle

I am not an exercising super woman.  I try to work out 3-5 times a week for up to an hour. Sometimes I get into a routine and will go stretches of doing an hour a day, 5 days a week. Sometimes much less.

Why do I do it?

For me, exercise is fun.  I generally enjoy being active and working out. It helps me to feel healthy and strong. Exercise is also critical for me in terms of stress release and anxiety reduction.  I have a lot more trouble with anxiety and insomnia if I'm not working out regularly.  I also like to set a goal and train towards it to mix things up every now and then. (Hence the spinning class because I'm hoping to do a run/bike/run duathlon this spring.)  For me, weight loss isn't really what exercise is about.  I actually tend to put weight on if I am exercising more often. The unfairness of that is for another time.

And so, dear reader, if you exercise, why do you do it?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Yeah Baby! Socks!!

I spent my birthday gift certificate to our big local running store today.  I got my first pair of knee-high compression socks!! As much as I cannot believe I am even saying this, I am actually excited about them.  My friends who are "real" runners rave about them, and I hope they will help the calf tightness that I have to run through pretty much every time I run.

The best part of my running store experience today was the manager helping me with the socks.  In my size, they only had black. Not white. He was trying very hard to convince me that I would like the black ones (because some people think "Hey, the white ones will just get dusty anyway!"). He didn't have to try hard. First, my legs are pasty white, even in the summer, so white knee high socks probably wouldn't be cute on me.  Second, black is slimming, right? Third, I have delighted in my small but growing reputation for running in non-matching running clothes. I like colorful running clothes, and I like clothes that fit me and are comfortable. And affordable (i.e. on clearance). So if they fit those criteria, I will buy them and I will wear them even if I end up in a blue tank and blue running skirt and the blues are close to but not the same color. I guess I am not to worried about matching when I'm trying to survive the actually running part.

Now I get to throw my big, black knee high compression socks into the mix!! I'm not running again until Saturday, but I'm actually almost looking forward to it!

Note to self: next time I go to the running store, do not go immediately after finishing a run. Nothing like trying on new socks after peeling off sweaty, hot, just run in socks right in front of the manager. I'm sure he was thinking, "Damn right, you're buying those!"

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I triple love dare you!

For my birthday in December, one of my gifts from my husband was the book The Love Dare.  Nothing says "Happy Birthday" like a book that encourages you to work on your marriage. It should come with a post it note attached that says "Hint! Hint!"

Seriously, I appreciated the thought -- that closeness and communication in the middle of really busy lives is a good thing.

We started the Love Dare yesterday.  So now it's "day two" and I have to say that I'm patting myself on the back a little bit because I feel like I'm acing the Love Dare challenge. Day 1 focused on patience. I think typically I don't have serious problems with this in my marriage. I don't regularly explode at my husband or freak out at him about stuff.  Day 2 (today) is about kindness. There were a few illustrations of what kindness 'looks like' in a marriage, and what unkindness looks like. Again, I feel pretty good about where we are.  I supposed eventually the "dare" will get harder.

In the meantime, I got kind of a slap in the face yesterday when I realized that I probably should be Love Daring my kids instead of my husband.  I am not nearly as patient with my kids as I am with my husband. I'm ashamed to admit that is true. I am much more likely to lose my patience with them, to forget that they are just young children, to expect unrealistic things from them.

So I've decided I'm doing a triple love dare, at least when the dares are kid appropriate.  Closeness and communication family wide is a good thing to work towards, even when it means being patient while my kids destroy the house playing "dolphin swims" in the living room, or when Little Man is still refusing to poop in the potty even though he is 4 years old.

Monday, January 2, 2012

All about the binders

I have an unnatural love for binders. I think I love binders so much that other people (besides my husband) might actually be aware of my binder-love.  If not, I guess I am outing myself today.

I have a lot of binders already, but created a few more during the past two days.

The first fabulous binder is for meal planning.  I love Clean Eating Magazine and their regular budget friendly dinner feature. And their 2 week meal plan. LOVE! The problem has been keeping them accessible for cooking.  So yesterday I spent part of the day tearing all of these meals and ideas out of all of my magazines. Yes, they are now in a binder!! I'm using clean page protector sheets to hold the dinner recipes for the week.  Easy to see, protected from cooking related mayhem.  I think I like it.

Binder two: bills and receipts.  My husband's tax situation is "special" (in the way that "special" implies that I hate the complicated and outside-of-the-majority way we have to do his taxes). We have to keep all our house related bills and any receipts related to the house or household for taxes. Usually what happens is I throw all of that C-R-A-P into a basket until the pile becomes so heavy that I cannot lift said basket, then I curse about it for awhile, then I spend 2 nights sitting on the floor filing all of it until my butt goes numb. Not anymore!! My new binder has month tabs so when the bills come, they will be three hole punched and put straight into the binder.  So far it isn't fancy, but I'm already envisioning my brand new life next year at this time when I get to skip the routine described above and I can just pull out the binder and be done with it.  *angels singing from a divine light*  There is also an envelope in the binder for all of the receipts that have to be saved.  Love it!

And last, today's binder. It's name is... my name! Complicated, I know.  Inside I'm keeping our family calendar, my half marathon training plan, the class schedule for my gym and the movies showing in the cinema room, and a few other pages that I regularly check in with.

I used some of the leftover scrapbook paper from our teacher gift project so now all of the binders are cutesy and matchy, but not all the same.  The only thing better than binders are pretty binders.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Beginnings 2012

Today is the first day of 2012. I have to admit, I am a New Years Grinch.  There is no traumatic story involved, and I don't *think* my heart is three sizes too small.  I just find the whole thing anti-climactic.  As someone who doesn't stay up late and doesn't enjoy drinking in excess, NYE seems like a big effort for... not that much. I am pretty neutral about fireworks, don't like crowds, and am not a fan of watching crowds and fireworks on television.  Bah-humbug.

This new year is kind of a sham. I did not earn my New Years badge this year. My family didn't send out a Christmas card and letter. We packed up our Christmas stuff early because our tree dried out really fast. Fail.

I also am not creating new years "resolutions" this year. Last year's, immortalized in this blog post, ended up being pathetic efforts (other than running Ragnar which was AWESOME!). So this year I'm still aiming for the same.  The theme for the year will be SIMPLIFY.

And now I will start the year off right by totally blowing my own goal.  I am going to be participating in NaBloPoMo -- National Blog Posting Month.  [I'm new to the whole thing, but am perplexed because in a few minutes of looking around at the website it appears that EVERY month is blog posting month???]
That's right - I'm setting a goal to blog every day in January.

Look I did it! Day 1... done!