Friday, December 31, 2010

The Best of 2010- Good Night and Good Luck Vinsons

In 2010 we: turned 35, 35, and 4, found out Baby V 2.0 was indeed a boy, welcomed Ian after 10 hours of labor, moved into new big boy Cars bedrooms, left a job x 2, started a new job x 2, figured out how to work the 2 kid game after a rocky start, hung out at the pool every day of the summer, went to Y daycamp and idolized Mr. Steve, read 24 books, wrote 159 blog posts, started a Freeze Ahead Blog then ignored it then decided to restart it then ignored it again, enjoyed the beach twice, traveled to Disney again, dressed up as Toy Story Family, ran 2 5k races (Bill), started training for a 5k (Heather), lost 44 lbs (Heather), plateaued at 168 lbs lost and 18 past his original goal(Bill), visited family in FL, AL, and SC. Did Mondo and Dream lab and wrote out a list of life goals.

I feel like I have spend the last couple of weeks recounting a great 2010 so here's the short (yes, possible) recap.

Best Books- The Help, The Hunger Games Trilogy, Freedom, Drop City

Best Movies- Inception, Waiting for Superman, The Hangover (special note it makes the list a 2nd year in a row. It's our go to can't think of anything else to watch AND seriously took my mind off laboring)

Best TV- Lost Finale in May, Honorable Mentions for True Blood and as always my love of Mad Men.

New Restaurant Tried- Not really a new place, but realizing that we could split entrees at Angus Barn with no extra charge for sides has turned it into a fav night night spot.

New Family Outing Location- The various places we enjoyed on Ben date night. New for the agenda for 2011 bowling, Canes hockey game, ice skating, preschool cooking class, roller skating.

Best(Cheap) Kid friendly item- Refillable thermos from Crocodile Creek for Ben that goes everywhere.

Best Children's Toy/Book Purchase- iPad for games and books for Ben (that is when it can be pried from Bill's hands.)

Biggest Surprise- I actually made it through a whole month off all social media back in October. 2nd place tie, that I kept up with Twitter and that I ran anywhere in 2010.

Moment of total sobbing like a baby in public- I hate crying. Public crying is even worse but watching Bill finish his first race was my Total. Embarrassing. Moment of 2010.

Moment of total lack of parenting skills- Ben pooping behind a bush on a playground.

Best way to spend Sat: Spin class, Freeze ahead goodness with This American Life, naps, park with the kids, a date night at home/out.

Most proud of: Getting Ben potty trained (minus the playground incident), myself for really making fitness a goal everyday, making the WAHM thing work after a crisis of confidence, admitting I couldn't do it alone (see long ass post from yesterday)

Most awesome 60 seconds of 2010- Holding Ian for the first time

Best decisions of 2010: EVERYTHING I wrote about in 10 for 2010.

Lesson I'm taking forward into 2011- Ask for help. Just maybe not to clean up your kid's poop on the playground.

2010, Good night and thanks for a wide, crazy ride I'm personally glad to be exiting.

2011, You ain't seen nothing yet. Ass kicking and name taking starts now.

Below are my 4 fav pics from the year. A million thanks to LauraC for capturing Ian (and Ben) at their best. I love you for so many reasons, but these pics make me loose it. Thank you for bestowing your amazing (growing) photography talent on my family.

Cheesy, but summer pictures taken on a last min whelm before the HHI trip.

The boys = Double trouble wrapped in sloppy sugary smiles

The family = Happiness, contentedness, feeling complete as a family.

Happy 2011. I know it already feels like a New Year at Casa Vinson.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

10 for 2010 How You Spend Your Days is How You Spend Your Life

I'm not sure if I actually got to 10 items for 2010 but it really doesn't matter. I'm ending the year tomorrow on a positive note with my Awards for 2010 Post with Fav 2010 pictures.

Today has to be the last 10 for 2010 post. So here goes for #8-10.

Awesome #8- Doing Mondo and then Dream Lab. Spending the time and energy to write out my life goals was defining. Putting them into practice is now the real task. Learning to give up the fight to live some perfect, idealized life and just live (and love) the reality.

Awesome #9- I'm within 9 lbs of my personal 2010 goal and within 40 of where I want to be for the surgery. My much anticipated first consult with the plastic surgeon earlier this week was rescheduled due to the snow. First available appointment was the week of my birthday in Jan. Perfect.

Now, I just need to get up the gumption to go, not to bail on the appointment and be honest in having a physical body to match the one in my head is within sight.

Awesome # 10- Owning up and admitting I can't do it alone.

Holy Hell I need some courage to keep writing this post publicly.

Don't delete...wincing...saying yes to courage to put this out there today....

2010 has been a year of extreme highs and lower than imagined possible lows. Bringing a much wanted 2nd child into our family, high upon high. Watching the relationship between Ben and Ian develop, sweet goodness. Having one of the best years of my marriage, unbelievably thankful. Having supportive friends, rocks.

The transition from one kid to two was so much harder than I ever imagined. I didn't have this fantasy idea that babies are easy, I remembered how exhausted I was with Ben and a full time job. But, I honestly cannot even begin to put words to how hard the first months juggling new dynamics, the return to crappy sleep, and trying to make it all work when all I really wanted was not to be a participant.

Add in a hard fought lesson about putting work before family priorities as I sat through work meetings with a 8 day old infant. I swore never again to let work come before my family, and for the most part I'm living this daily.

About a month after Ian arrived soul crushing depression and then anxiety that left me frazzled and almost unable to take care of my kids set in. It was gradual and since I didn't have any issues after Ben I thought it was just run of the mill depression. It wasn't until early June that Bill came home most days to an utter and complete mess of the house, the kids, an unhinged me.

I was really trying to keep it together but this round of depression was darker than I remembered from the past. It didn't lift after a couple of weeks like normal, it got worse. Seriously scary worse.

I lied to just about everyone because I couldn't give voice to something so increasingly vile that was swallowing my days and then keeping me up at night. I was embarrassed, esp since admitting that this baby that I longed for was in part the reason why functioning on any level seemed a herculean task.

I even lied to my long time therapist who was genuinely surprised when it took an impersonal email to ask her for a recommendation for a med consult with a psychiatrist. Coming clean has been hard, it is STILL hard to admit I can't do it on my own and just think my way out.

I met him, feeling like a total sell out after 10 years of sticking out the hard without having to succumb to better living through chemistry. I did meds a long time ago for insomnia and swore that I wouldn't again. Some options I don't need on the table.

This time I admitted that I couldn't just stubbornly persevere through. My kids and Bill deserve better. Hell, I deserved better. Six months later I can say that I'm glad that I have worked for the latter half of this year to try different cocktails of meds to find a good match.

I'm ending this year in a happier, more content, less frazzled place than I have ever been. Like ever in my adult life. It's not *just* because of the meds, or losing weight, not working full time, or spending more time with my kids.

Admitting that I didn't like the self depreciating place that I have been stuck and taking the steps to change has made all the difference in my quality of life. Even with the ongoing mess with my family, which is still a very big mess, I don't want to hide.

I want for so many things for myself and my family in 2011, but most of all I want to life the most authentic life I can day after day.

How I spend my days is how I want to spend my life with no regrets and no missed opportunities.

In 2011 I promise to not use I like a million times in every post. I'm starting to be Oprah-esque in my self-centered posts :-)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

10 for 2010 The $350.00 Holding Pattern

Crazy productivity while my MIL is in town. Starting with the 24 hour home alone while Bill/Ben drove to pick her up and meet up with his brother. I managed to clean out 2 closets, go through all bins of kids clothes and pack up 4 bags to pass on, purge medicine cabinets, AND go through all of Ben's toys to declutter. I started on the pile o' teaching stuff that is literally taking up 1/4 of the garage but I gave stopped when the garbage can was stuffed FULL.

I rock. And I did all of this with a baby that was needing crazy attention crazy and inconsolable at times due to an ear infection (confirmed Monday.) I literally took him room to room, talking/singing/holding while sorting to keep him happy and me working.

Also, I did this without power for a bulk of the afternoon. It did come back on before it was dark and the house was too cold. We pulled a week without power in this house a few years ago so I know it can be done.

Yesterday Bill and I met with our financial guy to go over our portfolio and set up a 529 education plan for Ian. It was nice to hear that our decision for me to continue to stay home is possible if we continue to live within our means, trimming extra monthly expenses on essentially one salary.

On the way there we stopped at our fertility clinic to pay the 2011 storage fee. I had talked clinic last week about options AND found out that we could use our Flex Med account to pay for the fee. Case closed and alas our 3 frozen babes will be saved another year. Bill and I had agreed not to make a decision about more kids until Ian was at least a year.

But as we have adjusted and settled into life as a family of four, I am almost certain that by next year I am going to let the 3 embryos go. This almost seems like the ultimate no brainer of decisions. I really don't want to be pregnant again at an older age and I want to move ahead with the surgery by the end of 2011.

If I have learned anything in the past 8 months is that the adjustment to 2 kids was harder than I thought. Then there was helping with my friend's twins this summer. It kicked my butt. The idea of even a possibility of multiples as our reality along with my TWO OTHER KIDS all but has helped me make a final call that we are done.

But, for 2011 I'm still leaving the very, very small possibility that something might change. We might decide that we can't live without knowing what became of those three chances at life. I'm donating back all my unused, unexpired meds to the clinic as doing another IVF cycle from square one is definitely off the table. I am happy to know they will be used to hopefully bring someone else a baby.

2010 was such an awesome year to bring sweet Ian into this world. I have to think that there was some divine intervention for only one of the two embryos we put back creating my sweet boy.

So among the awesome is almost a final decision on being a +2.

Monday, December 27, 2010

10 for 2010 Getting on the same page

Short post but to get all my 10 things in by 12/31 I needed to post today. My goal of making 300 posts by end of 2010 is going to fall short namely due to taking the month of October off and also the whole had a baby, adjusted to 2 kido land seemed to suck time away. HA.

One of the things I am most proud of was watching Bill finish his first race in March of this year. It was the culminating of months of following his post surgery diet, adding exercise as part of his daily schedule, and setting a goal to finish a 5k post surgery.

18 months post surgery and he is keeping his weight off with a total weight loss of near 170 lbs. A whole person lost. A whole person gained. One that is on the same page about incorporating healthy decisions as part of a changed lifestyle.

We have been together for 16 years, and not until this year did it ever feel that we were in agreement in living our lives for each other, for our boys, and for a lifetime of opportunities that better health affords.

As we start a new year we both have fitness and weight loss goals. Bill is planning on training and running a 1/2 marathon in March. I am on my final week of Couch to 5k and have hit 3 miles without stopping!!! I have yet to really start running pushing the stroller. My goal until the April 9th Cary Road Race is to run the entire way AND push. Personally I would like to get to 7 miles without stopping by April.

We have challenged each other in 500 in 2011 with the prize to be determined. As corny as this sounds, my prize is walking around with another 20 years on his life.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Family

Truly one of the best Christmas days ever as I am listening to the boys play together with a Hot Wheels Trick track and a Fisher Price Baby car track, think there's a theme going on?

Star Wars in full force with pancake molds used, matching Ben and Daddy Darth Vader and Stormtrooper Lego clocks, and then Ben's final present a huge box of Daddy's SW toys passing from one generation to the next. Ian got a new play kitchen and a passed along play tent that both boys have been enjoying this morning.

Christmas Eve was spent at the children's early service then driving to look at Christmas lights... think a self proclaimed "Happyland" with million lights in rural Wake Co. We then headed home to eat appetizers, set up for Santa and the Santa Mouse (Mommy tradition), and most importantly leaving food for the reindeer after Ben was over concerned they would be hungry.

After bed, Bill and I set up all Santa gifts, staged our front porch to appear that the reindeer had indeed polished off all the food and left hoof prints on the steps.

Enjoying the this LAZY Christmas day at home watching the kids open gifts, play TOGETHER!!!!, and planning a nice steak dinner.

We are so incredibly blessed beyond reason as the Vinson family.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

10 for 2010 Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

ME! How about as of this morning while on the phone forever with insurance realizing that I am owed money. How about that when I checked our balances on our Flex Spending we have $$$ left to SPEND!!!

How about we won our 2nd appeal with Bill's former company to pay for our IVF meds. We both thought that going up against Goliath was a long shot, but how glad am I that we appealed, and WON!

How about for the better part of a year with a maternity bills and baby related visits we had double insurance that picked up the tab for most all medical related bills.

How about that since I don't have to carry the insurance for our family, continuing to work from home is a possibility.

It seems almost vulgar in a time when so many so without healthcare that I have an abundance.

For 2010, the security of healthcare makes the list of awesomeness.

On a side note Ben and I went on our last date for 2010. I let him pick the place, Marbles (again) We then made a surprise stop complete with a blindfold to the downtown Krispy Kreme to watch doughnuts being made.

Ben had the snowman, I the raspberry filled. We bought some for Bill and for breakfast. Even Vegas got to eat the last Lemon filled I bought for myself.

Ben announced loudly to the group of NC State students next to us that he was on a date with his mom. One of the guys gave him a hi-five and told him that moms were cool.

It was one of our best dates of the year.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

10 for 2010: Working the WAHM Gig

First off I'm in utter freakin' awe of the Bloggess and her whole let's get all "it's a wonderful life" just when I showed up to read about clown porn. The Washington Post of like Woodward and Bernstein fame picking up the story last night. Good God I'm inspired.

I had two interesting conversations about the whole WAHM thing yesterday. One online and one with someone who has know me 10 years. Both ended the same way. "You seem happier than I've ever seen you and I think it is in part due to not working 40+ hours in a school."

Part of me is thinking, God you don't know the half of it, but in truth both people nailed one of the reasons why 2010 rocked. I totally took a leap of faith and moved from the financial and emotional security of a 40+ hour a week job to part time at home with almost no structure.

When I hit a serious crisis of confidence this summer I do believe there was a line ready to slap me back into reality. Each person to remind me for the better part of the last 10 years I have increasingly become burned out and not the teacher I wanted to be.

Yes I have walked away from a sizable chunk of income, and yes it is scary thinking of what will happen if Bill's job tanks and I am left scrambling to find any school in the district with an opening.

I should find out by early March where I will be reassigned, possibly as early as around Easter to be expected back at 6:55am with a load of kids eager to learn about US Gov't. At this point I'm not taking anything off the table but all thoughts are leaning to if I can make this work longer termn then why, why, why would I give up the sweet deal of this fall.

When I was really questioning if I could make this work I was seriuosly concerned that I didn't have what it took to be at home all day, with more kid duty than I have ever done. And, do this kid duty without channeling Betty Draper and being bitter, isolated, and asking for depression to come take up residence in the upstairs bedroom.

There are days that are tough and I feel like I have done nothing but heard cats only to have them conspire against me. But in thinking back, what did I get out of this trade off? How about time to enjoy a baby for all of his yummmy goodness in ways I only wished with Ben. How about more time with Ben in the afternoons? I'll just throw out 6 days a week of working out for usually 90 mins a day. And then, time to do insane things like make those damn Halloween costumes.

The list goes on all because I took this leap of faith and said YES.

If anything sucks me back it will be becasue of money. Our 2011 has the potential to be very expensive. In discussing goals with Bill I have to be realiztic and priotize how much do I want to keep the online part-time thing going if it means we will need to change our lifestyle. Already we have been considering getting out of our house as the boys grow and need more space, saving for eduation and retirement, daycare cost for an infant, and then there's the plastic surgery expenses for my much anticipated surgery.

That last one, a post of it's own and you bet is making my 10 of 2010 list.

Monday, December 20, 2010

10 for 2010

Since I proclaimed Friday that 2010 has been an awesome year, here's the last 10ish days of the year to ponder how:

10. Fulling or at least trying to live in the moment with the kids

This was my only real New Years Resolution for 2010. If I were grading myself I would get a C+ for follow through and an A/B+ for effort.

On the drive this weekend I was thinking about how much time and energy went into trying to make this goal a reality. I tend to be a want to be doing, not sitting on the sidelines watching, or even worse substituting stuff to fill up the relationship with the kids.

Not surprisingly, I have bought zilch of the Christmas gifts for the boys minus a few items. Enter in Bill last night who was pulling out items he's been buying for the boys throughout the fall on sale. He's missed his calling to be a personal shopper (for kids.) He commented that he's been trying to find toys that they boys can play together with given how much Ian is trying to keep up.

Yesterday afternoon I got back and Bill desperately needed some kid-free time. He looked a little battle-worn but commented that overall the kids did great. Huge thanks for a 2nd weekend of solo parenting. He took off to see TRON again and we went to a Christmas party and made this beauty. I especially like the pretzel guns and the tokens for steps. Ben told me they were bombs in case someone tried to eat his house. NICE.

As we head into these last two weeks of the year I am determined to not let the events going on at home dampen the holiday with the kids. Ben is so excited about all things Christmas and I want it to be a special week. We still have several items to mark off our Big Holiday Fun list including making cookies, writing a letter to Santa, and more driving to see lights.

Tomorrow night is our final date night with Ben for 2010. It was my week anyway but I mentioned to Bill I wanted to do the last one of the year. For all the ways I have tried to make time a priority, date night is a super positive for 2010 and a goal of making the time with the kids really count.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Show Me the Mommy- The Brother-Sister Variety

Long week into longer weekend as of around 6 pm tonight I passing the kids off and heading back to SC.

I'm really tired, haven't slept well this week, and feel bad for shortchanging time with my family getting ready for some semblance of a normal Christmas.


Without getting into another long, drawn out ick-filled post it's been a long week.

Skip ahead if you want some awesome upcoming non-family posts to come.

If you are hanging in there with me, I really appreciate the support. Thank you for asking how things are going. Knowing that I have people in our corner helps not feel so incredibly alone with this mess.

As of this morning my mom is still in the ICU has had 4 surgeries to contain infection, debreed and cut away necrotic tissue. Another planned for Sunday. She had been sedated until Wed morning to try to maximize healing from the surgeries and response to the massive amount of antibiotics she is getting. Some positive labs have come back indicating a small reduction in infection.

At this point I still don't know about the long term diagnosis. My only comparison was in January 2004 similar infection set in and she was in the ICU for 9 weeks and then transitioned to a nursing home for another 2 months. Good times, you bet. Drove down every weekend to help, you bet. Back before kids of my own, you bet.

Bill and I are making some hard calls about what to do is this turns long term as he really can't take extended days off to take care of Ian. Once again I feel so pulled that no one is going to be happy and that all this anger and worry is consuming me. I really hate the uncontrollable.

ok.. so for the post. If you know the movie the Savages or the Franzen novel The Corrections, both are spot on realistic to the relationship I have with my brother Brian. We love each other as siblings. But underneath is an ongoing unspeakable rage we both have for being thrust into caretaking mode.

As adult children in role reversal our relationship has changed from one of being a united front against our parents to one of having to be a united front for our parents.

Brian is a surgical nurse who works in Greenville, SC. He's damn funny to the point he should quit taking care of people and write stand up. I can always count on his dry wit to make me laugh even in the most dire of circumstances

He has patience that I do not have. He has a level of compassion that I do not have. He is frankly a much better person that I will ever be. He has essentially given up his opportunity to have a normal 20s/30s to be sole live-in caretaker to my parents. I hope at some point of his life that he will be in a supportive relationship that leads to his own happiness.

As I have moved on to start my own family he is very much still in the same place he was 10 years ago. He has even commented that I have everything he thought he would have at some point with the marriage, kids, even a dog.

Thanks guilt, I knew you were hanging out waiting to insert yourself.

At times our relationship as adult children taking care of our parents has been strained and I feel at odds that he is making decisions without my input. I have to tell myself that he earned the right to make the final call, even when I have not agreed.

It's so easy for me to make the trip down, throw some food in the freezer and play dutiful child for 48 hours while counting the minutes until I can be back home and 6 hours away from the daily grind of caretaking.

I love him because he's my brother, he cushioned some of the intricacies of growing up, he has given of himself more than anyone should be asked, and yes because he makes me laugh.

So I promise that there has been more going on this month other than family drama.

How about some upcoming posts about permanently not going back to 40 week teaching, or that we have come to a decision about the 3 frozen babes, or finally (kinda)getting my shit together with the two kid thing, or how about all the ways 2010 has really been awesome.

Bottom line is for all this ICK, I have my health, my kids, my supportive spouse who once again is taking the boys without complaining, great friends who won't let me hide out, and I have so much ahead next year. 2011 is SO going to be my year.

I've got lots of time to write these posts in my head this weekend, that along with yet another audiobook for the drive and lots of coffee to keeping me going.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Reneging on the whole no Star Wars thing

In the quandaries of life there are so many important decisions.

For my love, my husband, my "thank God he met me or his anti-social side would result in him living in a 1 BR nasty apartment littered with spare computer parts" few movies mean more than Star Wars.

If I had a nickel for every time he has asked me when Ben should finally get to watch the almighty, I would really not need to go back to work.

Alas.... this is what Ben chose to have his face painted at Bill's work party Tuesday night.

I on the other hand:

1. Asked Bill why he let Ben pick a demon not knowing this was a Star Wars character?
2. Informed him (loudly) that he was doing bath time.... ALONE.
3. Was thinking, well that's a sucktastic anniversary gift to me.

Once home, Ben proceeded to stand in front of the mirror until I had to threaten to take away his Christmas book growling, hissing, and spitting as he told me he was "the Star Wars"

No character in particular, just "the Star Wars" He went on to tell me that he now only wants Star Wars toys for Christmas.

I hate you Bill.

So much for my past 12 month plan of convincing Ben that he really wanted the aircraft carrier and 5 Hot Wheels Trick Tracks that have been occupying space in the attic that I got on a mega sale. Even my lame attempt over the fall to take pictures of things I convinced him to ask for (see items above) and send them to Santa in an email are now toally wasted.

Damn you Bill.

Bill has decided to let Ben watch Star Wars with him something soon and he is going to let Santa rummage through the multiple boxes (like think 5) of Bill's old toys (think 40 Year old Virgin) and leave something under the tree.

Bill has organized a gaggle of like-minded folk for a midnight showing of TRON tonight. I seriously hope he enjoys it because I told his boss at the party (who I actually know, I'm not that weird to call him out to a stranger) to give him total Hell on Friday am when he shows up exhausted tired.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Evil Genius aka Happy 8 Months Ian

Doesn't he look like he plotting the downfall of the world? Or whatever he can get into from his vantage point.

The past months have seen sitting without support, crawling, speed crawling, and as of last week, pulling up on furniture. Seriously, in ONE month.

I'm just tired thinking about him at 18 months.

Favorite toys at 8 months are shape sorters, any type of container to throw toys, soft cars, and anything that Ben is playing with to steal and crawl away.

Ben has really come into his own as the protector big brother. Thank God.

As we round out 2010 I cannot imagine anything that brings me more joy than watching this relationship develop.

The Space Between

A wedding is but a day. The marriage is all the days in between.

I want show up ready to live the challenging in hopes of days that leave me deliriously happy.

Happy 14th.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Getting my game face on

Too much to say but it's really late and my Monday is slammed with work for school, plus all the normal stuff from the weekend, and then there is Christmas in 10 days.

My weekend solo trip to SC was a good decision. My mom remains very sick and the attempt to contain the infection in her hip and dialysis port is still a wait and see diagnosis. All signs yesterday were her prognosis was as better small reduction in infection after 2 surgeries. Another is planned for tomorrow or Wed once 48 hour cultures. She has rallied before at this point so all thoughts remain positive.

Part of the problem is that her team of doctors (all 5 of them that looked like their own Christmas production yesterday before the 2nd surgery) have limited options given her compromised state as an end stage renal disease patient.

Since my brother works as a surgical nurse at the same hospital, he seems to know everyone. We were treated very well and privy to information. Plus the staff let us stay way past the cutoff for the ICU.

I think we ate our weight in packs of crackers and little juices. Which, if consumed in a hospital have no caloric value.

I am taking a wait and see approach about heading down again, most likely I will be down again very soon. When I was alone with her Saturday night I had the chance to talk to her and hoped I provided some measure of comfort. As the day wore on her lucid state of mind gave way to confusion. Before the surgery yesterday she had to be restrained as to not pull out her central line or the multiple monitors.

So much of my energy in 2010 as been spent trying to let go of things I cannot change, do over, take back, or even attempt to try to understand. I've tried to do the right thing even when it was really hard.

I am bound to a situation that has only one end and am scared of what life will look like on the other side. What will I be left with, will I be a different person without this constant in my life, and the ever present question if I did enough with the time I was given.

I am bound of a situation of my own making.

You would think after the decade plus of first caring for our dad and now my mom that it somehow gets easier. It doesn't.

This is so unbelievably hard. This aspect of life that is Messy. Chaotic. Crushing. Mine

Friday, December 10, 2010

Show Me the Mommy- The one where I pledged to run 500 miles

When Bill joined the 500 in 2010 Challenge I was insanely jealous of his ability to be working towards a physical activity goal. After all, I WAS 38 weeks pregnant jumping up and down on a cold March morning earlier this year, cheering him on with an obnoxious sign with feet so swollen I could barely walk.

Buddy, I'm taking you down in 2011. After 7 months of 6 days a week gym time I am working towards my own goal of running/pushing Ian the Cary Road Race in honor of his 1st birthday.

I started using the Couch to 5k app the week we returned from Florida and have worked up to running 2.5 miles in 35 mins without stopping. Go Me. No seriously, I never in a million years thought I could run any amount of time. I have been quoted in the past saying that the only way you would see me run was:

1. Someone was chasing me
2. A Krispy Kream shop was on fire and I had to save the doughnuts

I even ran on a cold rainy Thanksgiving morning (hence the picture) much to the chagrin of my mom and brother who had never seen me in anything resembling running gear.

Next year is going to be my year for SO many reasons, starting with participating in the next competition. For now going to count time to get credit for my classes, but just to challenge myself, I'm also going to count miles.

2011. You've just been put on notice.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

#reverb10 MOMENT of 2010

I'm sharing a post from #reverb10 writing today. My moment for 2010, where one story ended and a new one began began.

December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards)

Since my 2010 word of the year is anticipation, the moment that best captures 2010 was the utter joy in realizing a dream come true.

I can't imagine a more powerful experience than bringing new life into the world. The anticipation of laboring, the long awaited final oppotunity to hold what has been moving inside, the acknowledgement of the physical pain and exhaustion that you remember before, and the realization that you are the only person who has been given this work to see to the end.

You know in your deepest being your strong and powerful body is designed to take over, so you give in and resist every temptation to fight. You are reminded by those holding you in their hands that everything you need it right here, right now.

All my focus and energy had to be brought to this one moment. This was my work alone to do. Only I could bring my son into this world and I wanted Ian's arrival to be under my control.

I wanted his birhtday and my labor to be without regret or doubt that I wished I had made different choices. My wish was my reality as I was paired with a supportive labor nurse who worked with my doula Sam. Both attended to me like a daughter, showing me compassion, care, and respect for our decisions.

Even with the unwanted induction and internal monitoring, I still felt like I was able to give Ian the birth I wanted for him. One of the most frequent questions I have been asked is why with the availibility of drugs would you want to feel the pain of childbirth, again?

Because I could. Because I waited and hoped and prayed to have the experience again. Because in this intense physical pain, emotional pain was being released. Because without feeling pain you cannot know intense fulfilling pleasure. I wanted to feel every moment of this experience for all the empowerment it would afford.

When I hit my crisis of confidence, Sam cradled my face close to hers and whispered, "he's coming, let him, don't hold anything back." She then kissed me on the forehead in the most mothering of ways and stroked my temples. It was the simplest of gestures but it was the encouragement I needed to keep going.

And Ian did come, at 4:06 pm after 10 hours of labor. So many times with my boys I wish for time to stand still so I can soak up every last minute of the moment and imprint it in my memory. Remembering the last moments of anticipation slipping into reality as life is placed in your arms is my 2010 moment to remind me that I am blessed beyond reason.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

" falling back on all those that love you"

Another post written but I'm sitting on it, letting it simmer, re-edit and decide if I really have the courage to put it out there. My after kids went to bed all hell broke loose. again. same story. every holiday season situation surfaced. I fucking lost it in an all out unbridged rage tirade. Not proud in the morning after.

We were in the car when the news broke of Elizabeth Edwards death late yesterday. This was not unexpected given the press release on Monday, but still it was a punch in the gut.

I cannot even begin to put into words as beautifully as Jen Lemen did on a post about meeting her at Blogher. The pictures alone capture why I think so many of us connected with her. Her ability to communicate candidly and honestly. Her very public persona about raising children, marriage and the end of marriage, battling illness, and in general living a fulfilled life found an audience. She was in her own right more than the proverbial politician's wife because of her authenticity.

Just as we were about to start ivf last year Laura in her quiet and compassion way, showed up at Ben's 3rd birthday party with a frozen food for our freezer and a basket filled with things to sustain and nourish the upcoming insane time. I posted a write up and review in the midst of the craziest month ever.

Among the items was Edwards book, Resilience. This book was of comfort detailing how she found strength and resolve. I later passed it on with a note to another friend facing a difficult situation with this sentence marked, "in a time of sorrow, fall back on all those who love you." How comforting and the first person I hope Elizabeth was able to hold yesterday morning was her precious Wade.

Elizabeth was a local celebrity in Raleigh and I regret all the times that she appeared at local venues that I didn't take the opportunity to meet her. I take away that despite her critics that she was a class act, never to be deterred by what life handed her. She lived her life to the fullest with no regrets.

If ever someone was living Mondo it was Elizabeth Edwards.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

#Reverb10, New MB Dream Lab, the non-mundane Monday

Much to say about my Monday:

Helped with Hunter twins at a hospital follow up. I'm in awe of modern medicine's ability to transform.

Appointment 1 of 3 this week to burn Flex Med funds. Why the hell did I book them all this week?

Crazy amounts of tutoring with my online kids during these last weeks of class. I am this close to offering to meet them at their school for a group econ session for those in the same location.

Final decision for Donors Choose schools to support!!!

Another 2 miles run without stopping + a barbell strength class. Ask me if I wasn't a little happy to hear the instructor that prides herself in leading 100 push ups, 100 squats, and 100 crunches is returning to her family in England until January.

New Mondo Dream Lab is starting in January. Very excited and hoping they offer an alumni rate before I pull the trigger to sign up. I actually had started the book, The Gift of Imperfection after a compelling discussion among like minded folk in the community. Check out Brene Brown's TED Talks, and prepare to be amazed.

On that note I am on the side writing daily prompts for Reverb10. I'm not sure how much will be publicly posted but I love the 20 min and 750 max word count guidelines. It's been a great way to reflect on the year and prepare myself for the coming 2011. So far a sampling of past week's prompts:

One Word. Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).

I'm starting to wish I had 31 more days to live out my December.

Monday, December 6, 2010

2 Miles, Mimosas, Santa's Workshop, & SNOW-Real and Fake

As much as I am trying to protect the month of December it seems like almost every day is CRAZY.INSANE.BUSY.

The highlights since my posts from Thursday and Friday never made it out of draft form.

10.5 hours at the gym last week. This included running 2 full miles without stopping in 28 mins. Go me. My 2011 plans are quickly being re-evaluated to push it further. Go Me, again.

Thursday, we rode the Santa Train at Science and Life. This was our first year as we normally opt for the Pullen Park Santa Event. I'm glad we had tickets for the 5:20 pm train early in the event opening. It was packed as we were leaving. Fun time, but we will be back to Pullen next year for the sheer amount of times you can ride the train.

Saturday, Ben and I went to Santa's Workshop in Cary. This was a first for this event but it's a repeat. In 1.5 hours we made 8 easy crafts (some of which are now gmom gifts),met Santa, watched a local ballet company or the "pretty ladies", and then walked to a local pharmacy with an old time soda fountain for lunch.

I headed downtown Raleigh for a quickly moved up birthday party for an old teaching friend. Think mimosas, then gourmet cupcakes, a birthday party minus screaming kids, then the 1st snow of the season. PERFECT. It was lovely to see her and recant stories of dragging 60 kids on a scavenger hunt through the Smithsonian. Somehow I kept being introduced to new faces over lunch as, "I've never met you, but your stories seem to live on."

Sat night we ordered take out and watched Peanuts Christmas. We built another piece in the Lego Countdown calendar and enjoyed a night in as the snow came down.

Sunday we headed over for a fake snow event at a local park. When I booked the tickets in early Nov I had no idea that there would be actual SNOW on the ground for real. Bill and Ben sledded while I stayed home with a sleeping baby (YAY) and pile of school work. Ten bucks that Ian has his own sled next year. His new found mobility is keeping me busy.

I wrapped up the weekend by venturing out for a performance of the Messiah. Usually Bill and I go to Duke for the full-on 3 hour version, but we opted to use the babysitter for our anniversary next week. Bill thanked me and I loved 2 whole hours of bliss.

This week is Crazy busy, but then I bet yours is too.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Making a (Christmas) list and checking it twice (or 18 times)

Last night Ben and I kicked off our annual family Christmas countdown with an extra special date night at a local Festival of Trees.

Ben enjoyed the show choir performing more than the trees (unless they had a toy or something pink theme). We left when I found him writing his name repeatedly on the silent auction list.

Last year I felt like we shoved way too much into the month of December. This year I sat down with Bill and talked over how we could incorporate date nights and special one on one events with Ben in lieu of trucking everyone all over town. Here is our tentative list of family events we hope to hit before the end of the year.

Nightly participation in the Jesse Tree Advent calendar

Build the Lego Christmas advent set

Sing Silly Christmas Songs/Listen to Christmas music in the car

Attend a live Nativity

Read 2 Christmas bedtime books with Ian under our tree (mommy collects kids Christmas books and has over 50)

Try ice skating

Ride the Santa Train

Make a special gift from Ben and Ian for Grandmommy, Mema, Uncles Jamie and Brian

Sled at the Bond Park Winter Wonderland

Visit with Santa

Check out the area holiday lights/inflatables

Decorate a Christmas tree

Attend a Christmas parade

Make a gingerbread house

Write a letter to Santa

Watch Christmas programs on family movie night

Go to the Festival of Trees

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I could give you many reasons, I'll settle for one

Without getting on a soapbox about why you should see Waiting for Superman, I'll post my #7 from my Mondo List:

Fight for Education reform because it’s immoral to let any child settle for a lifetime of missed opportunity

Regardless of the intention of editing in the final minutes of the film would you be hard pressed to find anyone without a lump in their throat. This movie is uplifting, heart breaking, and inspiring as you follow five families in their quest to make the best of the educational options in the public school system.

While there is a definite agenda in the direction of reform, the case is convincingly made that we are failing not only urban but also suburban students. The statics are staggering in regards to drop out rates, the minority achievement gap, and the lack of lottery seats available in non-traditional school options. Most notable is the featured work of KIPP schools, SEED, Teach for America, and Geoffrey Canada.

I hope that much in the same way that the director's first first film, an Inconvenient Truth, started a national dialogue about the environment, I hope Superman will do the same for public school reform.

The cynic in my says, enough grad school classes have taught me that for the duration of public education, someone has proposed the panacea for the perpetual ailments. How can this be any different?

If anything comes of people viewing my hope is for a greater public realization of how we set up, fund, assign students, and ultimately grade our schools flies directly in the face of sanity. I know this firsthand from the inside out. Taking this year off has only amplified how unhappy I have been for the better part of the last 5 years. A common complaint among teachers is feeling you are trying to quell a storm of bureaucratic mandates that takes time away from the focus of simply teaching.

I know that even before this movie, and in light of the controversies that have now gained national attention here in our home school district, I am moved to action.
Of my Mondo goals, this has the most potential to impact someone other than myself or family.

I am starting with the smallest of baby steps believing something greater is possible:

1. Encouraging friends to see this movie. I want to help start a conversation about supporting not only their children's school, suggest considering the same support for other schools in the district that are also needing of the same attention.

2. Compel teacher friends to see this movie and not take a defensive position. There is quite a bit of public backlash from teachers who fill vilified by presentation as lazy and obstacles to reform. We all know and have experienced good versus detrimental teaching. A good teacher can set in motion success, and but the same token disinterested teaching can damage and demotivate.

2. We are choosing 3 schools within our district to fund their needs on as part of our holiday giving. We are involving Ben by adding this giving to our month of Advent practices and nightly gratitude jar. In addition I want to follow up with these schools next year to ask how we can continue to support the work they are doing with students.

3. Last week I was offered additional sections of my online class for the spring. I cannot tell you how much the transition to teaching online has renewed my love of the sheer connection to working with students on the most basic level.

In the next few months I will find out where I will be reassigned at the end of leave. My heart is pulling me where I think I will be happiest and also can likely do the most good. If at all possible, that is working from home.

Please see this movie and more importantly be moved to react and not take a position of apathy.

Monday, November 29, 2010


The Unexpected Thanksgiving Weekend-

For the trip to go so well, one of the best trips home, ever.

For Ben not to ask a gazillion questions at the funeral.

He simply took my explanations at face value. Including the rationale for caskets as the special boxes needed for God to take you back to Heaven. I equated it to a race car covered in flowers. He now thinks Heaven is filled with dead hamsters, his cats, and old ladies that lived on a farm with cows.

For Ian to have let out a huge belch during a prayer.

For the response from Lu's son when I went to apologize, "mom was laughing, indeed"

For a beautiful fall day to say goodbye to this memorable great aunt when heavy rain was forecast

For the Thanksgiving meal to have reheated as well as it did. The whole meal did feel a little like Holidays on Ice, even without the freeze ahead aspect.

For my ability to roast a Cornish Game Hen and attempt to carve it.

For the patience to sit through Oprah's recent interview with Barbara Streisand without snarky comments.

For smiling as my mom relayed how my brother and I fought over setting up the Nativity scene breaking off the angels wings. This story as I was telling Ben that the wise men didn't kick each other in the face.

For her to be able to play the piano for Ben to dance and Ian to crawl to the music

For us to get her house fully decorated before we departed.

For me to find my own home with lights strung outside, leaves raked, and the tree ready to be decorated.

I made it a 2010 goal to approach relationships with new eyes and a positive attitude. It has made all the difference and lead to the unexpected.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Some Kind of Wonderful Holiday Cards

This is the time of year when I get out all our holiday decorations to enjoy for the weeks from Thanksgiving until the New Year. Among the items that are displayed yearly, includes a garland of felt mittens with all our past holiday family cards that hang in our dining room. Almost all of the cards have been created using Shutterfly's incredible selection of products.

Among the reasons we love this photo sharing site includes the ability to design from the hundreds of options, the ease of uploading and saving creations, and the quick turn around ensuring our ability to send out our cards in a timely manner.

Overall Shutterfly is competitively prices and offers many online discounts when you sign up for a free account. While we are still in the process of finalizing out 2010 card the following cards gave us many ideas on generating a card to capture our year.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


As of 7 am we are on our way to SC for the next 48 hours for Thanksgiving. It wasn't the original plan, but things have a way of falling together.

I have kicked out some AMAZING amounts of work this week given Ian napped both days.

Included in this list of feats: our entire Thanksgiving dinner minus roasted chicken finished and frozen, 5 more freeze ahead meals prepped to travel, holiday clothes for the boys purchased as well as the final gifts for my mom to give, and helped Ben make Thanksgiving cards and fudge pies for his teachers.

With all that the next 48 hours should go down without a hitch. Since I am leaving way early to beat holiday traffic we should be golden. All hopes for the drive not taking the extra 3 hours it did last trip with the tour of all NC/SC rest areas.

On a sad, but also thankful note of the end of physical suffering, my surrogate grandmom passed away Monday after a long battle with Parkinson's. Luella Hood was my grandmother's brother's wife and an amazingly strong and outrageously funny woman.

I always secretly wanted the Hoods to be our grandparents. Henry and Lu were unbelievably good hearted, loved kids and always welcomed you into their home (usually with some kick ass southern cooking.)

Lu was quick with a dirty joke and loved life. She was a true steel magnolia in her grace to handle her illness as well as the bouts of depression that plagued her throughout life. Lu hosted a family recipe shower before our wedding inviting all the Hendricks and Hood wives into her home for more than "some damn ugly mints and punch in the church gym."

Last trip down I took my mom as well as the boys for our usual visit. The Hood's always showed kindness to my dad growing up as he worked weekends in Henry's general store. Later when he was sick the Hoods stepped in on a weekly basis.

I debated whether or not I wanted to take the boys to the funeral. I have a good 6 hours of driving to make the call today. Somehow I am willing to trade off what may be a bad parenting decision leading to a hard conversation with Ben later about death.

Somehow taking the boys seems a lesson in how to live a life fully and without regret . Thoughts on how to convey this to a 4 year old are welcomed.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Well That Was Random

Short, Rambling, I need to be either knocking out progress reports to schools or doing the 5 loads of laundry I neglected this weekend. Somehow this seems more important.

1. Ian needs to be sleeping. Day 14 of craptastic sleep. Only ONE day last week did he not wake up before 6. Add falling asleep in the car for any amount of time = no nap. The return of crappy parental sleep. BOO!

2. Good weekend overall on the behavior front with Ben. This included sitting quietly with me at Harvest Table at Church. Somehow the idea of trading for cookies kept him quiet.

3. I really love that each week at the library he insists on getting 4 books for Baby Ian and then attempts to read them to him.

4. Somehow doing anything times four is the magic trick for Ben compliance.

5. We all fell asleep in the car before dinner. The boys fell asleep on the way home from Durham so why mess up a good thing.

6. Post closet clean out = clothes I haven't seen or worn in over a year. I proudly now have a new drawer of workout clothes to get me through an entire week.

7. New playlist for Week 4 for Couch to 5k! Earth, Wind, and Fire made the cut.

8. I kicked ass getting almost all of the T-Day meal cooked and frozen over the weekend. My mom can't have ham and my brother hates turkey. Can we have a meal of all sides and pie?

9. I'm crazy disappointed in the sampler I had framed for Ian's nursery. Thinking of getting it re framed even though it seems wasteful to spend the money

10. However I'm psyched that we are combining our Christmas and anniversary gift giving for a joint family gift. Bill's fav aspect of a new purchase, the research and comparison, are in full swing for a Black Fri deal.

11. No 3 am standing in line to fight it out for a Dyson or shoving a lady with a kind size down comforter in route to said vaccum. Seriously what was I thinking last year?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Show Me the Mommy-Tuesday Date Night

DATE NIGHT!!! Before you ask who books the reservations, remembers the wine, or thinks of protection, sadly the date night is with a 4.5 year old.

We started this weekly plan at the worst of the summer insanity. I was frustrated with ugly behavior towards his counselors at Y Camp, being excessively rough with Baby Ian, and downright nasty to anyone that resembled a parent.

In trying to find the positive, we decided that instead of more punishment we would carve out a weekly special outing with just one parent.

The rules include that we take turns having one on one time to talk, play, eat out, and in general get much needed undivided attention. We have been trying to let the executing parent plan the event as well as taking care of dinner. No amount of bad behavior at home or school can prevent date night. On the weeks we moved the date night to a weekend Ben was the first to notice.

Most recently Ben and I took a tot painting class. I had gotten a great deal for a 2 hour guided class for $9.00. Miraculously he participated and listened for the entire 2 hours! He did have brown paint over his right eye that he proudly wore for the ride home to show Bill and Ian.

Believe it or not, Ben did much of the painting. The instructor outlined the monkey, and I showed him how to hold the brush and make strokes. Ben filled in all the major parts and I went back to clean up and add details. I was overall impressed at the final product that is now hanging in his jungle-inspired bathroom. This was a must do date again!

I really think the Divide and Conquer technique of parenting is working for our family. I think the extra attention has helped Ben settle into the 2nd child routine. Date Night will definitely carry on into the new year with some new ideas for this super, duper parenting trick.

Some of our 2010 Dates:

Dog Halloween costume parade at the SPCA
Playground tour of Wake County
Durham Science and Life Museum
Nature hike at Bass Lake
Open play at Bounce U
Marbles Kids Museum
Picnic, duck feeding, attempt at paddle boats
Trip to Tom's Trains
Ice cream sundaes
$1 Movie Theater
Pumpkin carving
Talking Trees Trail at Jordan Lake (family weekend trip)
In-house movie night in homemade tents
Leggo Store
Scavenger Hunt at the Raleigh Farmers Market (Baby Ian got to go on this daytime trip)

Future date night agenda

Hockey game
Overnight camp with dad
Attend a music concert
Paint your pot studio
Santa's Workshop
Sledding at Bond Park
NC Museum of Art Kids Saturday
Cane pole fishing
Morehead Planetarium
Read to a Dog (at the library)
Write a letter to Santa
Create an (easy) gingerbread house
Eno river creek stomping
American Tobacco Trail and Durham Farmers Market
New Hope Valley Railroad

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tales from the Little Potty- My Leather Bound Edition aka... A Bear in the Woods

I gave this story the TWO FRIEND TEST.

The one where you risk your friend thinking what the Hell is wrong with her and share, then regret sharing, then tell someone else to make sure you where correct in thinking of sharing to start.

Damn, that makes me tired just to over think that thought. Needless to say when I told the 2nd friend and she blew coffee out her nose, I made the right call.

I hate potty training. I hate it to the point that even thinking of starting Ian (and I'll be damned if I start a DAY before 3) makes me want to cry.

With that we have gone most of 2010 with few accidents including the being dry at night and pooping on the potty with few accidents. Praise Jesus!

So my thinking of late has been one kid down and one to go.

Tales from the Little Potty has now been issued in paperback for wide spread enjoyment.

I made the horrible, horrible parenting mistake of letting Ben pee outside in an emergency just before we left for Disney. Not thinking, I let him do it again (it was the biggest emerengy ever) AT Disney. And no, for the record, it was not at the Park rather in a bush at our hotel.

The Universe owed me an escalation for my own stupidity. Last Friday we took advantage of another beautiful fall day and headed to Kids Together Park. I love this park for the many different playgrounds, the greenway nearby, an ice cream truck most summer days. I esp like the rows of swings near the very, very far away from the bathrooms, back.

As you can guess before even asking he was behind a bush with his pants down.

After what seemed like forever, I check on Ben who is smirking and kicking at the dirt like some geriatric cat. Yep, my pride and joy had sh$t in the woods.. like a bear.

Of course just as we are cleaning up some totally together mom with her perfect kids walks up and is totally mortified and my son's penis just hanging in the wind.

A Golden Parenting Nugget. Actually two, there for all of God and creation to see.

Needless to say we had a very long talk about appropriate places to use the bathroom and that we do not need go outside again. Make that never again for any reason. Period. I further elaborated that only animals go outside, and I couldn't resist using a bear as my subject.

So much for the older child teaching the younger about potty readiness.

God help me.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Count on Mom to Include the Underwear and Toothpaste

Post up about Parade and Fireworks Tips today at Growing Up Disney Mini-Moms Panel

As we get closer to holiday season I've started a running list of things we want to include. My limit is 15 items spread out over the month of December with a cap on expenses. Already events are adding up with Santa Train tickets, a Winter Wonderland event at a local park, and researching if our annual tradition of going to the Messiah at Duke Chapel is making the list (Bill would quickly say no.)

One of the things that makes the list every year is filling Operation Christmas Child Boxes. Our local Chick-fil-a is doing a big drop off event this week. Last night I took the boys and we bought enough to fill boxes from Ben and Ian. I let Ben pick the ages (as you guessed he wanted to pick four year old boys.) My ballpark limit was $75 (or 1/2 of what I want to spend DOING stuff this season.)

For each box we filled, Ben picked out:

play dinosaur
foam football
silly stick (makes a crazy noise and is filled with little pellets)
match box cars
small leggo kit
coloring book

Mom added:
Plastic reusable shoebox to pack the loot
New underwear (Ben picked out Cars)
New toothbrushes and toothpaste
First aid kit
School supplies (pencils, chalk, crayons, glue stick, pencil bag, notepad)
Cars themed water bottle and snack case

So can you tell who was the 4 year old concerned about toys and the 35 year old concerned about practicality?

Aside- Of fast food places I will always pick Chick-fil-a. We frequent the Tuesday Night kids night on the way to Ben date night at least once a month. The minister who married us is a foster parent with the WINSHAPE foundation.

Bill and I stayed with their family on their farm (the Wiley Home) over a weekend to plan the ceremony. Granted they are a for-profit company, but knowing the back story and meeting some of the kids was telling of as aspect of the cooperate culture. The whole "We're Not Open on Sundays" moto seems to be more than just lip service.

Plus, their coupons never expire.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Happy 7 Months Ian, my little speed demon.

Man this kid is fast. It seemed like only days ago Ian was scooting around on his arms on the floor. Late last week he was FULL on crawling.

BAM! This kid is mobile much earlier than Ben. Needless to say much of the weekend was spent re-baby proofing only for him to find something else to get into.

I think we have a potential climber and squealer growing upstairs. His latest trick involves standing up, shaking the side of the crib babbling/squealing at anyone within earshot.

Add to this 7 straight days of no nap. Thank you Daylight Savings Time for totally screwing us out of any sleep or productivity last week. He getting up at 6 or earlier and we are all feeling it. Even after a trip to Umstead Park today he was still going strong with NO NAP.

I've been trying to put him down before he appears overtired, extra solids or bottles , and making sure we are not away from home around usual naps as he is a poor car sleeper. Outside of trying to wear him down in hopes of sleep I'm about out of ideas. Suggestions???

I know that this too will pass as in the scheme of babies, he remains an easy-going happy boy.

Even after this unfortunate accident Friday he was all smiles. This first of many knots and bruisings came from testing out his weight on his baby legs while holding onto a bench.

Something tells me I am going to run a tab with Urgent care before either can vote.

Happy 7 months my sweetie. I'm hoping all those MAAAAMAAAA and GUGGGGG sounds are going to be Ma Ma before Christmas.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Show Me the Mommy- Coming Clean, well kinda...

In my email this morning is the final installment of Mondo Beyondo Dream Lab. I'm a little sad. Actually more than a little sad, rather discombobulated. My daily shot in the arm that does not require better living through chemistry is ending.

There's a bigger post to write about why Mondo? Or why I stuck around for the Dream Lab on Courage? Or what I got out of it (so much that I need to give myself a word count), or most importantly how I hope it changes my perspective long term. I really like the person that emerged and hope she sticks around for a bit.

I have been mum about much of the behind the scenes for the better part of this year publicly. I don't know exactly how to explain the shifts taking place, even before MB. Know that I am saying yes on a daily basis to the smallest of ideas, yes to practicing uncomfortable vulnerability, and yes to crazy pipe dreams that made my list.

Some dreams, like taking a (well-needed) editing basics class online or training to be birth doula are attainable. But then there are the lofty goals like writing and performing my own comedy set that seem so far removed from reality.

I uploaded this pic for my MB profile page and then later also here. It was taken towards the end of the summer just as the first lessons were rolling out. I love this picture. The larger version so perfectly captures our summer of sullen children and a deliriously happy mommy to have made it to the end.

It has only been a few short months ago since I took a giant leap of faith to leave my job and to stay home. By saying yes to this particular opportunity for courage, I discovered a missing part of myself.

Courage Unfolds Yes by Yes by Yes

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Then Let's Just Shoot for Plan B

Thanks to the oh so wonderful time change Ian has been up at 6 am and then refuses to nap. Yes, he crashes around 9am for a cat nap but refuses to take his normal lunchtime nap. No amount of extra feeding, extra rocking, making sure we are at home has helped this week.


So in keeping with the plan run am online tutoring, then to the gym to do the Wed C25k session then on to yoga/pilates fusion.


I had just dropped Ian off with the childcare at the gym and was programing the treadmill when all the power went out.

You have to be kidding me. I literally just got here late as always after a poop blowout, a peeing dog accident, and then missing the garbage truck.

Once home, I am faced with either not doing the session or striking out and running with the stroller. This seems like a no brainer, but I really wanted to have built up some endurance before heading outside.

I now have a short list of things that will make being outside better including fixing the locking front wheel, getting some running shorts, maybe some double duty ones also for spin, figure a way to make Ian happier in the stroller who cried the whole way, and reconfigure a play list that matches my stride (no comments here on need for super slow songs to match my super slow pace.)

The day was not a total loss, after Ian pulled NO nap we picked up Ben, took the dog with us and headed to Bass Lake Park to the nature trail. It's a town park that we haven't visited since last fall since it's been under revamp. The changes were nice and the new 2 mile trail much more stroller friendly.

A nice way to salvage a day, get outside and enjoy the leaves, and helped tire the boys out for an early bedtime. Which from what I gather from Bill this morning didn't go down as planned. To my credit I had them in the bed before heading out, they just didn't take the hint to sleep.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Boys and Girls

Since back we have been catching up with friends since October was crazy busy. Not like this is a revelation to anyone with boys, girls, both, multiples of one gender but...

Wow there are major differences between the genders. I have said to more than one person commenting on parenting two boys, "yes, I hear they are a good weight loss plan, based on the unbridled energy."

Obviously as Ben was full on open last weekend at a local jump house his female counterpart was frequently teary when someone ran into her (even when it wasn't Ben.) But when getting two babies almost the same age to play again, who goes after the truck almost immediately compared to who wanted the musical toy?

Actually they both wanted the musical toy and fought each other over who could shove it their mouth first. It almost looks like they are discussing who's turn is next in this cute quick pic.

As much as you read and understand that as a parent you need to try NOT to reinforce gender stereotypes, I have to wonder how much can I overcome compared to testosterone or estrogen hardwired biology. I keenly remember the baby Santa gave Ben to practice with before Ian's arrival, was carried around by the head, arm, leg finally to be put on the shelf, ignored.

As we enter into the holiday gift buying season my one request for family (and also Bill, the #1 Toy Buyer at Casa Vinson) is NO MORE TOYS!


I've been brainstorming for this much low key upcoming holiday season what we can do WITH the kids instead of FOR the kids in the form of just more stuff.

Among the plans of November clean out of our closets and also all toys is making a December countdown of activities at home and some out that we can do together if possible for limited $$$.

Making a gingerbread house is on the list, but not with the expectation of doing anything more than eating the candy and likely destroying the final product. I learned last year that displaying any gingerbread creations on a dining room table is not going to happen.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Of training goals and preschool literacy

I posted an update to FB yesterday after finishing another C5k session.
Thanks for the support, dear friends.

On the goal front I am working towards running on M, W, F before strength or yoga/pilates class. Right now the plan is on using the treadmill until my endurance level builds and then start running with the stroller outside. On the class front Tues/Sat are still spin days and Thursday I leave open for core and free weights.

For my 36th birthday in January my gift to myself is a consult with a plastic surgeon. That is if I can meet a goal of being down 1/2 of my weight to loose before the surgery. So far I've lost a little over 35 lbs with 50-60 to go.

On a totally different take Ben is obsessed with trying to sound out words while reading nigh time books. Last night he called me back in just to tell me he wanted to read another book to me. Nice stall tactic, buddy. In reality nothing could make me happier than to help open up the world of reading with him.

The past week he wants to "read" the same book about riding a firetruck. The only way he really knows the words is through sheer repetition. But in his mind he reads it back to me page by page with a big grin when he finishes. We then go back and pick out words and sound them out, spelling them and pointing out the word again in the book to see if he remembers.

Tonight is date night, 4 year old style. In reality it's my week and we are waiting until Saturday.I purchased a one session Tot Art class with a one day discount on Living Social. If all goes well, we'll have a masterpiece to hang.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Never Say Never

Most of last week was spent getting caught up on my class, housework galore, pulling out warmer clothes for the kids, watching a backlog of Daily Shows leading up the Rally, and getting back to the gym. Not the most exciting of weeks compared to Disney, but back to reality.

Noteworthy is I started a Couch to 5k on Nov 1st. My plan is to train over the winter and run a 5k to celebrate Ian's 1st birthday next spring. Part of this stems from the gift of a little used, heavy duty jogging stroller my neighbor gave us in their move cross country. Also, I finally found a sports bra!!! Nothing else needs to be said on the 2nd reason, other than it's depressing when lingerie has be ordered from another continent to fit you.

Ever since Bill started running last fall, I've been secretly jealous. I credit the running to jump starting his weight loss when he plateaued. Plus his sense of accomplishment is something I really want for myself. He ran a 5K Halloween Race and is running a Turkey Trot in a couple of weeks.

All this from the person who proclaimed she would only run if someone was chasing her. I totally wanted to bail as I coughed my way through the first session, but I stuck it out. Friday I did the 3rd session. A little easier and I rewarded myself by heading to the Yoga/Pilates class I love afterwards. I can't say that I will ever see myself running more than just this race. But then, never say never.

Frankly I have a new found respect for all the work Bill has put into training these last months. His goal for 2011 is to train for a 1/2. Yeah, I was waiting on it. Hello City of Oaks 13.1 one year from yesterday.

We have a deal that I will make him an over the top sign (again) and brave the cold for a cheering section next spring.

New Freeze Ahead post up today for Cider-Butternut Squash Soup paired with Yankee Cornbread. Serious Yum.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Show Me the Mommy- The Vacay Version

This is the first week I'm playing along with Laura's Challenge.

We are back home and slowly going through the almost 400 pictures from our trip. I love this rare pic of just us.

I look genuinely in love with being a mom.

It was taken on our final night at Disney, just after watching fireworks over the Magic Kingdom at dinner at Ohana. So many of our family pics are just the boys or include Ben demanding to be included in the shot. I now understand while there were so few pics of just my younger brother.

My sweet 6 1/2 month Ian crawled yesterday. I want to eat up every bit of his yummy baby goodness and stop time

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Yes, They Were Real and Also Spectacular

In answer to those who saw us out seeking candy Sunday night, yes I did make the costumes. I started this project back in September, and my response to the clerk asking to help me find a vest pattern, "Sew Easy My Ass." She was NOT amused in her smart, homely looking smock.

Among the 4, yes FOUR trips to Joann Fabric I bought:

- multiple tubes of liquid stitch
- the tackiest-ass red and gold trim for my chaps. Even strippers at a D-list club would shun this monstrosity
- fake cow fur likely stolen from a Chick filet opening.
- sequins, sequins, sequins. Did someone rob Glamour Shots?
- did I mention red brick brack trim for Bill's shirt, likely stolen from some very sad clogger's USA Pride costume
- 4 tubes of traffic light yellow fabric paint
- Felt and then the 3 different types of glues to attach. At my lowest moment I was considering hand stitching Ian's Mr. Potato Head outfit after the first two failed. Luckily some ultra toxic, will likely cause him some future stunted growth did the trick.

Only a day before the trip, I waited in a double digit line with all the other mothers thinking that homemade costumes will put me in the Good Mom Hall of Fame.

Some very grateful mother let me cut in line seeing the only reason I was back at the cutting counter (again) was MORE of that damn stripper trim.

More like never, ever again.

Once we got to Disney, I realized that the only way of attaching the belt buckles was dental floss. MacGyver-esqe strategy to the rescuer as we headed out the door.

The Final Result? We were stopped multiple times, including the next day by some random woman on the hotel bus who had seen us the night before. Bill tweeted our pic to the movie Director who was looking for best costume. No win, but he did reply back at our AWESOMENESS!.

So yes, the costumes were spectacular and worthy of some pics from the Toy Story Dance Party with the real deal.