Friday, October 28, 2011

and another year :)

passes by on my favorite day of the year. Last year come October 28th, I was on a one month media hiatus with no posts on this day. I looked back and this is what I wrote as a pregnant 34 year old in 2009. I have to agree I feel the same today.

"....a date that matters to no one but me. No big fanfare or sharing the day with family or friends. You know, those little dates in time that are not celebrated with cake or flowers but that you know the significance."

I had hoped in 2009 for a normal day to detail baby kicks and a then pooping in underwear Ben who cried when his balloon floated away. Today I was a typical Friday filled with a 18 month squealing at his first school party as well as his daily accident report to sign, a 5 year old with a discipline report and resulting early bedtime, dinner that was ordered while I walk the dog, and a mound of end of the quarter late work to grade before Monday.

For this normal, even boring day, I'll even throw in removal of a staple embedded in my thumb and even a consult appointment made today (for me) for a Cardiologist to rule out what I already know is not an issue. No worries today, I tell you.

Exactly what I want. A normal, nothing significant day and the chance to do it all again tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

One of our favorite fall activities

One of our favorite things to do as a family during the fall is a pumpkin patch visit. Like everyone else, we will carve pumpkins for Halloween. We also have two fake pumpkins that we use every year until the real ones are cut. Our house has been decorated for Halloween for the entire month of October.

Sadly Bill has been outdone by our neighbors who put up a giant, inflatable moving black cat over the weekend. As you can imagine we are already in pre-Christmas decoration planning mode. This weekend we have our neighborhood fall festival as well as a block party on our street. We are again dressing up as Woody and Jessie with the boys going as Captain America and a Monkey.

Hill Ridge Farms is hands down one of our favorite places to go during the fall. This year they offered free admission to not only teachers but their ENTIRE families opening weekend. YAY!

We met up with friends and drove out to the boondocks outside Raleigh for a fun afternoon. One of the reasons I love this pumpkin farm more than other, closer locations is simply all the things to do besides just a pumpkin patch.

From spring to late fall the farm is open for birthday parties and school groups. There is a train, giant slide, petting zoo, feeding fish, bounce house, 2 mazes, separate hay and corn jumps, a tee-pee (very smelly inside), and a fort. We were here around 5 hours and finished our visit with a haywagon ride to pick out pumpkins (also free for teachers!)

We've been to other pumpkin patches in the area but Hill Ridge is worth the drive for all the extra things to keep two very active boys busy. The added bonus that we went for free and walked away with four pumpkins was even sweeter.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Field Trip!!!

20 kindergartners on their 1st field trip of the year = wrangling cats just might be easier.

Bill and I are both trying to be as involved as possible by each chaperoning a trip as well as volunteering in Ben's classroom once a month this school year. Being part of this trip was actually Ben's teacher's suggestion back in the first weeks of school as a way to see Ben interacting in the class as well as to see how she and the teacher assistant run the class.

Plus as a county employee I was already cleared and didn't have to go through the volunteer process.

This was a WIN-WIN situation as Ben's behavior was some of the best teacher reported she had seen since the start of the year, plus who doesn't love getting to feel like they are back in elementary school among 20 energetic five year olds.

I had a small group of all boys, including Ben as well as several of his friends. This too was helpful to see Ben interact with kids whose names (and misbehavior) have become dinner conversation.

Part of the morning was spent at the State Farmers market where the kids had specific items to find and buy with chaperon help. Later we traveled to a local park for a picnic. Sadly the final part didn't happen due to the weather, but you have never known they were missing any planned activity. They had a blast from start to finish.

I decided not to mention that I was a school employee. We've just come off a contested school board election as well as a very controversial vote about student assignment. Good call, as the conversation among the moms was about the politics of the board.

Instead I focused on making the most of the day away from work and spending it with Ben. At bedtime we talked about our favorite parts of the day, the scavenger hunt to find our group mystery object, yellow mums, eating lunch together, the nasty bathroom, and recounting that his teacher commented on his good choices all day.

Super Score on all levels.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

take two

Apologies for the negativity yesterday. When you start the day sliding across the floor in cold dog pee before 6 am, there's really only one way to go. Lots of ick yesterday including issues with my mom's probate court case and behavior from everyone. By 8 pm I called uncle and got out of the house once the kids were in bed. I did a bunch of work, came home and watched mindless tv (ok, it was really nerdy Frontline)

I'm taking a day off to chaperone Ben's field trip today. Later I'm going to work with the trainer and sadly I'm looking forward to whatever she has in store. It's totally worth an unpaid day to spend the day with Ben and take a much needed day off from school. I might be tempted to just stay home again soon and do something wild like fold laundry, alone.

Here's the deal, things are going well even if I can't shake the feeling like I started the school year running to catch up before day 1. I'm really trying to make life work this fall and approach everything with a positive do what is most important and let the rest go attitude. Really, no repeats of past work mistakes.

So, can you remind me of perspective when I'm sliding in dog pee as my wake up call?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Calling All Cars

This post has been intended for the last good two weeks, but then life happens and somehow keeping everyone in clean underwear takes priority. As much as I wish I could make time everyday to journal the banal of my thirtysomething life, I just don't have or better yet take the time.

So what's been going on in the last couple of weeks.

1. Seriously considering giving up the online part time job. Even with just one class the amount of work is taking up a good 2 + hours a night and a block of time on the weekend. I usually start as soon as I get the kids in bed,kitchen cleaned up and lunches packed, so from around 9-11on a good night I'm still "at work". Kid you not that I fell asleep talking to students and parents on the phone the other night. I think that might be a sign?!?

If I give it up I most likely will not get summer work as with a lack of a state test there is less demand for the class = less sections of the class to be taught. The question here is "why am I keeping this is I don't intend to go back to only part time work in the near future."

2. A colleague in my department was diagnosed with cancer days before school started. We have all been teaching his classes, planning, copying, grading, ect. While any of us would step up even if it wasn't the expectation it's more work. When I say I have been bringing home a shopping bag of work, it's no exaggeration.

3. While on the work issue, permit me to say that not having a classroom sucks like something fierce. I'm a super organized person to begin with, but being all over a school making my way through 2,000 students with no home base is hard. Period. The plus is I've lost weight as I have no time to eat most days, unless I can do it one- handed. Maybe I'll get some good "food on a stick" ideas at the state fair this weekend.

4. On the whole weight loss issue, I'm down thanks to the roaming mobile home, being too tired to eat once I cook dinner, trying to still get 15 miles in a week, working with a personal trainer who has me running 1 mile sprints interspersed with 20 mins of boxing. Can I just say I LOVE being able to punch something. This might be the best form of therapy ever.

5. On the personal training, once we got the house under contract I gave myself an early Christmas present of 12 weeks of training before the surgery. This is the mother of all Last Chance workouts.

6. Surgery is on like Donkey Kong. 7 am on Dec 20th to be specific. I just recently got the days approved to be out the week of the surgery and if needed an additional week if needed in January. My MIL will be here the 24t-28th to help with the boys as both are out of school/daycare.

While I haven't been super public on this for a bunch of reasons. The reality of the surgery itself and a multi week recovery is starting to settle in. When I mentioned to someone last week I was having surgery and tried to explain a surface, sanitized version I really cannot explain what this surgery is/need for/desire to put myself through this. For the first time I am a bit speechless.

Given that I'm closing in on 70 lbs lost since Ian was born and really I haven't gotten more than, "is that new as I am wearing Pre-Ben pregnancy clothes compliment" I'm secretly hoping that I look drastically different. First to admit vanity is not my best attribute and that I live slave to some crazy idealized version of myself.

So the plus side to what seems a super negative spin on the last few weeks of being really MIA. Things really have been good, rolling along. Just insanely busy.

1. My mom's house clean out went well and faster than expected. We gleaned an entire truckload to be donated/tossed. Hard yes, but did I expect it to be a cakewalk?
2. I'm routinely getting about 6 hours of sleep without meds.
3. I'm spending as much possible time when home with the boys.
4. I really love this church I've been lurking around at Sundays. The thought of being involved to some degree has crossed my mind (time commitment is key here)
5. I've just read two really wonderful books
6. I'm chaperoning Ben's field trip tomorrow.
7. For the most part behavior by Ben has been better, esp at home and at school. He even helped me carry in the groceries.
8. Having only one house is awesome.
9. Plans to have my brother come for Thanksgiving and if possible join us at the beach for a long weekend
10. Ian while full on active at 18 months finally has a couple more words and is trying animal sounds.

So this is now. I'm trying very hard to Work 6, Play/Rest 1 a major priority, even if it feels like my life is ending one min at a time and I'm scrambling to make it all work.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Yesterday we sold our house. Yes it's been crazy hard to sit on this news as we have been super mum as not to jinx this awesomeness.

We sold it in exactly 90 days. In this economy we listed on June 14th and went under contract on Sept 14th. CRAZY good luck.

We happily made someone first time home buyers yesterday as we signed over 204 Blooming Meadows to a new family.

The academy would like thank our agent, David Henry Johnson. Remember when I interviewed like a Christmas pageant of agents back in April?

The only agent not to lavish us with hollow accolades (or to quote Tommy Boy, remember that?) He was honest about the work to be done to get it market ready and then got people in the house all summer long. I would recommend him to anyone in the Triangle area buying or selling as someone super professional and also super funny (always a plus in my book.)

Ok, true confession time.

I went over on Tuesday to grab the last of the stuff. I couldn't stop crying going room to room. It was even worse when Bill and I made one last run with the kids on Tuesday night. Hot mess = borderline embarrassing.


How many times did I drive into the driveway, prepare meals in the kitchen, swing and play with the boys in the backyard, walk the dog to the nearby park, remember birthday parties with a giant waterslide, live the daily grind first as newly married folk to ones bringing home two babies across the threshold.

All good wishes to the new family with two young kids with hopes they will create their home in the same space.

I give you a view from a new window. One that brings a smile to my face. The one of an ongoing baseball game in the front yard. The current site of so many Halloween decorations we look like a Target post decoration fire sale. ***Note*** that Bill is still not finished and has been banned from displaying anything detailing arterial spray.

102 is the house where the boys play everyday with our neighbors, the house of my dream fantasy of front and back porches calling for relaxing, the future site of a game room for all male Vinsons, the house where Ben mooned our neighbor's husband yesterday resulting in a public apology. The house of many memories in the making.

I'm looking forward to awkwardly posed prom pictures in front of the mantle, growth charts detailing Ben and Ian outgrowing me by a good half a foot by age eighteen, the one where they will literally eat us out of house and home in the next decade.

AWESOME NEWS INDEED. Goodbye (finally) 204.

102 was a trade up but you will always be our first love.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

October is:

Pumpkin patch visits, cool nights that beg for the first fire of the season, fleeting warm afternoons reminiscent of summer days, butternut squash soup with parmesan crisps, my fall/winter uniform of my favorite jeans, a black turtleneck, and clogs, cute toddler overalls for Ian and jeans with double knees for sliding for Ben, sleeping curled up with my favorite blanket, returning inside on cold mornings for a needed fuzzy jacket, crisp apples in lunch bags, the NC State Fair in all it's deep-fried goodness, decked out front porches a glow in Halloween decorations thanks to my 3 kids at heart, warm fall spiced lattes, steakhouse chili in triplicate batches, costume shopping with the boys for the perfect ensemble, trick or treating in new places, fall walks for leaves and other outdoor treasures a plenty, time to celebrate my favorite day and also season of the year once again.

Another month of limited to-do lists other than to enjoy all 31 days with my two favorite pumpkin pickers.