Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Wrap it Up- January 2012

A quick wrap up on meeting 2012 goals posted earlier this month.

Family- more time spent on weekends. Weeknights continue to be a sprint to get everything finished and the kids in bed to maximize sleep given the early wake up. I've been experimenting with getting the kids in reverse order. It is an hour and fifteen min from leaving work to home door to door. With more light before dinner we are trying as many nights as possible to get home in time for 30 mins of outside playtime with our neighbors.

Time- I am making an earnest effort to be on time, esp for work. Having a 1st period class makes me leave without trying to do one more thing. I'm also routinely putting appointments in with a buffer of time. While not perfect I'm really trying on this goal.

As far as over-extending myself, I have not taking on anything else not already committed as of 12/31 with the exception of one commitment church related. It's around 20 hours over the next couple of months and what I hope will be time well spent in prep for the Africa trip.

First of many planning sessions last night. Saw amazing, amazing pictures of the families, the kids, the leadership, the school and church, the hotel with cold water only :)

Exercise- I've really stuck to not doing anything until released due to the infection, sheer exhaustion, and trying to be a good patient and not cheat doing something that will prolong my recover. In the past couple of weeks I've added more frequent dog walks as well as adding back time on the treadmill very slowly.

Sleep- Going to bed crazy early by my standards, weekends included. Major, major difference for my recovery and also in general well being. A real, real effort here for this year and for a permanent change.

February on the horizon with a bumped from Thanksgiving family beach trip over a long weekend, a ramped up effort to get the Kenya trip off the ground with my team and for me personally on the fundraising front, try to finish another couple of books over watching mindless tv at night, continued effort to get out of the house each week for a couple of hours with friends, deadline for making the call about whether to put in a transfer request for schools, and overall keep the positive changes going and continue to work on those that need attention (ahem... keep trying to be on time.)

While another 11 months to go, January was marked by some ever so small seeds being planted and not neglected.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Amen Corner

You be the judge:

Friday afternoon- dog walked and played kick ball with the kids and our neighbors.

Friday night- hung out with Bill watching backlogged Daily Shows and Colbert Report before falling asleep before 11pm

Saturday am- Walked 3 miles on the treadmill and later 2 more (Slow) miles with the dog on a crazy warm day. Called my MIL for her to talk to the kids and and the possibility of Ben flying out to see her in March.

Saturday afternoon- Went and saw a movie alone. AWESOME call,the Descendants was great, Oscar Buzz worthy movie as well as 2 hours in the dark/quiet. Came home played with the kids outside and prepped a freeze ahead meal x3 while catching up on TAL

Saturday night
- Bill and Ben to an overnight camping event at a local kids museum, Ben and I hung out on a hot date at the grocery then chilled watching Sesame Street. I kept him up a little later so he would sleep in (score, he didn't wake up until 7:30). I went to bed around 9 and read a book falling asleep around 11 pm.

Sunday am- Early service at church, returned library books, and then yoga class and 2.5 miles on the treadmill

Sunday afternoon
- My friend Katie came over to visit and make bear bucks reward cookies with Ben. I recovered the 4 breakfast nook chairs and chatted over the staple gun firing.

Sunday late afternoon- walked the dog with the kids to the playground and then played outside until dark, family dinner trying out a new freeze ahead recipe.

Sunday night
- Finished bagging up the rest of the closet clean out to pass off. Chilled watching Good Wife and 60 mins and getting Monday backpacks/lunches ready, and a couple of new playlists organized.

What is missing from this WHOLE weekend?

. School-related work of any kind.

Can I get an Amen on dropping the part-time section of online teaching?
Better yet, I'll join in the Amen corner to a weekend of productivity mixed with doing exactly what I wanted with the time.

Super bonus: Two nights of 8 hours sleep and I'm starting the work week in a great place.

Friday, January 27, 2012

*no picture available

Since I updated on Ben earlier this week how about Ian?

So what's up with my 21 month old fearless flier

How about finally more words: shoes, socks, Veg-hus (our dog), attempts at "Ben", and a total of about 30 discernible words. Daycare reported his first two word sentence, "more juice" last week. While he is still behind the curve in speech for age or even based on Ben at the same age, being in childcare is helping the language explosion over the last months.

We opted to wait until his 18 month check up to make the call about a speech evaluation. Most worries were set aside when more and more words kept coming and if needed we will move to a full on evaluation by his 24 month check up.

He follow directions well about sitting to eat, handing items back when asked, will bring his coat and shoes when time to leave and attempt to dress himself. Thank you day care for honest to God being in loco parentis.

Ian is a great kid. Yeah.. like we all think that our kids are awesome. I'm guilty as charged.

His belly-laugh (and squeal/shriek/yell) that fills the room, my car, his room at times to sleep are evidence of a happy child. He loves bath time, esp when soaking the floor is an option. His nightly wrestling with Ben demonstrates he might just be Macho Man Randy Savage in the making. Sadly, he can hold his own to a kid 20 lbs heavier.

Did I mention this kid is fearless in the running dept. Enter sometime in the past couple of weeks at daycare pick up. Ian broke free escaping towards the parking lot. Just when I thought in my current "running hurts like hell" state cornered him, he took off in the opposite direction.

I'm sure the daycare directors has a good laugh watching me play toddler Frogger on the outside surveillance cameras. Ben has started playing the let me protect my brother card by tackling Ian mid run.

Ian is full on in the throws of toddlerhood fearlessness, self-centeredness, obstinance, and did I mention refusal to do just about anything not on his radar.

The reality is that I see the bigger picture, the one from 30,000 feet. The one where age 21 months turns into 2, or riding the bus to kindergarten, or eventually leaving the the driveway on the way to college before I can blink. So many days amid the chaos I have to tell myself that one day I will do anything for an hour to have them at this age again. I believe that time is called "grandchildren."

So while most of my sad iPhone pictures these days are blurry due to motion of a moving child, Laura did capture this out take while she was setting up our holiday family shoot.

Think he might be planning the downfall of society or just an escape plan based on how far his roly-poly toddler body can run?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Like a Punch to the Gut

Last week at my post-op follow up I had a small place where essentially all four major incisions meet that looked ever so slightly irritated. I didn't think anything was serious and chalked it up to irritation from all the daily taping of the incision lines. Needless to say I should have bought stock in Target Pharmacy for the amount of tape I go through in a week.

I still have a fair amount of swelling and numbness that is expected even months after, but this seemed worth pointing out. My doctor put me on an antibiotic as a preventative and asked me to call if anything changed.

Over the weekend things worsened and by Monday am it was apparent that I needed to get in to be seen. Alas another reason I have loved working with this practice is the speed in which calls were returned and I was brought in early on Monday.

Bill had several very late night calls with my surgeon during the first weeks out, all returned very quickly, even when he was not the physician on call.

Ask me why a million times over I am glad I opted for this practice and in particular my outstanding surgeon. When I interviewed several area practices this was the type of care I envisioned. I have been told by a couple of colleagues who have had experience with post breast cancer reconstruction as well as my dermatologist that my surgeon has an superior reputation as well as a great bedside manner.

At this point I feel this is like no doctor/patient relationship I've ever experienced short of a therapy relationship. In part due to the type and amount of surgery but also due to the time he has taken with me (and Bill) to make sure in every step questions were answered. Heaven forbid if I or local friends ever need plastic surgery related to illness, I would recomend this practice.

Without diving into the ick factor, around 5 inches of my 31 total inches was infected. I left with another antibiotic to take in addition to the existing prescriptions and instructions to return the next day with a record of dressing changes.


The one major concern I had going into this surgery was the fear of post-op infection. After all the care with my parents, both of which became septic at some point before they died I know how very, very serious infection can be and how in a matter of days something not so serious can become life threathing.

I called my brother on Monday night and talked to him extensively. I took away that while not anywhere in the ballpark of my mom at her worst, the fact I was being brought back so frequently that the situation was serious. Add to this that on Monday my doctor was stumped as to why now and not immediately after surgery I was having any issues. In office he did a minor procedure to help relieve some of the swelling which due to the numbness was not too painful.

Fast forward to yesterday when I returned again for a incision check and to have the site repacked. The good news is for the first time this week I got a positive report, the additional meds seem to be working and even bought myself a pass not to make a daily trip in until Monday.

I've had several people ask if doing this surgery was worth the pain and recovery time.


A million times yes that this was worth it. Knowing I'm with an outstanding surgeon is part of the reason I'm moving ahead to finish this work sooner than later.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Turning a Corner and Finding Some Wood

Every time we have hit a 1/2 year disequilibrium Ben's behavior has been right as predicted: challenging, difficult, leaving us looking for what we need to be doing differently on the parenting front.

Somehow 5 1/2 either came really early and was coupled with starting school issues or we are just late and Hell have no fury and this spring will be rough.

I'm going to hope that the 1st day of school call out by the teacher, the daily behavior contract, toy timeout resulting in bags upon bags of toys in my car for weeks at a time this past fall have not been in vain.

Is this to say that he's a compliant child without whining or driving us nuts with gazillion questions, silliness, and more wrestling matches with his 21 month counterpart would be lying. But over the last couple of months Ben has become so much more compliant. Behavior both during he school day as well in after school he has shown real improvement. At home he's more helpful, nicer to Ian instead of treating him like a toy for his owe amusement, and in general more pleasant to be around.

It's almost like he made a 2012 resolution not to be a pint-sized tool.

Throughout this fall both we as well as his teachers have noted a improvement with attention, listening, finishing work, and in general making choices reflecting he is thinking without acting simply on impulse.

Granted we are withing 1 strike from being dismissed from the after school program due to 1 hitting incident and 1 pushing incident, but overall at both home and school we have massive improvements.

One of the things we are doing is using the daily contract system his teacher notes which of 5 areas he had problems (unit centers, literary centers (not finishing his work), carpet time (not sitting still), hallwall (dancing, being out of bubble space), Electives (not listening, talking). He is learning the hard way that playing around in class means he misses any chance to watch his beloved one episode of Turbo Dogs after dinner since we are making up classwork.

Each day he has the opportunity to earn 5 checks on his behavior contact. 3= a bear buck at weekend payout. 4 or 5 = 2 bearbucks. Just what are these illustrious bearbucks may you ask? Try a bucket of plastic green counting bears a friend lent me from her elementary school teacher stash. I'm not sure if the tangible aspect of counting bears and putting them into a bank have make this system work, but it's working.

You can ask Ben at any point of the week how many bears he has and he will rattle off what he has and how many he needs to go into the prize box. I took a suggestion from a friend's discipline plan and stocked our rewards box with more than just Dollar tree junk that it simply going to get tossed by month end.

Instead when the book fair was in town, Ben picked out 10 new books for the box, including the first picked, Aliens in Underwear. Bill and I also have stocked the box with little Lego sets, activity books, doughnut coupons, cars and figures, and also events like making cookies with my friend Katie, a movie out with a parent, trip to Marbles or Durham Science and Life alone with his choice of parent.

Since we no longer can do weekly date nights due to the super early start, this is a great way to ensure more one on one time. One of the other positive things we waited to start was karate. We opted to have Ben wait out the fall and prove that he was working daily to improve before starting weekly lessons.

Lo and behold if at the first sessions since he started does the class reinforce the same qualities we have been working to enforce all fall.

I guess you can say I'm looking for a big piece of wood to knock on and hopes this continues.

****Note that the crappy picture would be Ben spiking his hair over the weekend. I resorted to taking him to buy hair product, only after finding him using lotion and a brush for the better part of a 1/2 hour. Yesterday he also spiked Ian's hair too.***

Friday, January 20, 2012

How to Plan a Birthday Party- By Ben age 5

From Ben upon waking up around 6 am.

"Mommy, you need to go outside (the house). Daddy, Ian and I need to hide and yell surprise, 'cause that's what you do on birthdays."

We wrapped up a family dinner with a cake selected by Ben and eaten on Transformer party plates. To say Ian enjoyed the cake was an understatement

At bedtime I asked to read our favorite book, The Kissing Hand snuggled with the boys in bed.

Thanks family and friends for your kind thoughts and wishes yesterday. I smiled reading your sweet comments both here and on FB thinking about where in my life I know you.

37 is looking good already.

And if I didn't need someone to add to the sweetness, check out Motherhood Uncensored thoughts on Jan. 19th, 2047 and try not to want to hug your kids an extra time.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Party Like its 1999, or Maybe 2012

40-3 = is the new 20 (to me at least)

Last year on my birthday I posted my Mondo List. Taking a quick look back in the past year some dreams were achieved, others in continual development, others need retooling.

Looking back during my 36th trip around the sun:

I lived a healthy life filled with movement, found more time to spend with my family, made positive work related decisions, found a church home, made a final decision about being a +2 or more, moved forward with planed surgery, contributed to our children's college funds, trained and ran a race for Ian's 1st birthday, met up with old high school and college friends while continuing to strive to be a listening participant and cultivate the relationships I cherish.

Other less quantifiable goals like encouraging our boys to live unabashedly bravely or seeking out grace and humility in hopes the same will return is an ongoing quest.

I can honestly say that I look forward to what is unfolding this year and hope by the next birthday to say that the choices I made, the time I spent, and relationships tended mattered.

While I am not rolling out new goals today, but rather want to continue to cultivate the list by continuing to live a life with purpose and intention.

Happy 37th and as promised yesterday a picture

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

4 Weeks Post-Op Super Short Summary

Say that like 3 times fast.

As of yesterday I am four weeks out from surgery and am back later today for a incision check.

The short version is I'm doing well healing up with the exception of one area where the vertical and horizontal incisions meet. Of my 31 inches of incisions that have to be taped and medicated everyday only about 5 are not healing as quickly.

Coughing and laughing are much easier but still hurt if it is prolonged. Good thing that most all the funny movies Bill and I have been lounging watching have not brought the funny (not even Hangover 2 although expectations were low going in).

The results are tear invoking amazing. Despite looking like I need a pole being WAAAAY out of proportion on top this was a good call even with the pain and post surgery nastiness I cannot even begin to tell you how much I'm glad I did this surgery. So much so that I have already scheduled the 2nd and final surgery for March 27th.

Same expected 2-3 recoup time over spring break. Why not wait?

1. I am ready to be done and after seeing the results I want to just be finished and healed up.
2. Compresison garments worn 24/7 afterwards for up to 3 months= uber hot. Have you been to the south in the summer?
3. Want to limit new scaring to direct sunlight. I'm already need to be pasty train but I also want to take the boys to the pool as much as possible.
4. Clothes- waiting on swelling to do down to really start replacing, but to be able to buy dresses or frankly pants that really fit I need to do the other procedures first.

The best outcome outside of the physical appearance has been having to slow down to rest, as in taking a nap daily before getting the kids. I swear I have taken more naps in the past 30 days than I have in the last 10 years.

I plan to keep a good thing going with coming home walking the dog, napping, and prepping dinner going as I start into spring semester next week. I feel amazing on just about all levels.

As far as working out and adding more intense exercise back? I still can't totally extend my arms and walking dog a couple of miles daily is enough for now.

You can bet that once I can get my elliptical and boxing love back on I will, just in due time.


Saving it for the birthday post tomorrow.

Monday, January 16, 2012

cause it doesn't get more perfect...

than a work week that starts on Tuesday, ends on Wednesday includes a Monday holiday and my birthday by week end.


Friday, January 13, 2012

An Occational Friday 2012 Series- Project Runway

As I listed in my 2012 goals, replacing my wardrobe to match a post surgery body is really not just a goal but a reality. I've already had one situation where the shorts I was wearing recently to walk the dog nearly slid off mid walk.

Wardrobe malfunction, you betcha. Nice if you were a motorist passing by wondering if nudity is a HOA violation.

Last summer when I was shopping for something to wear to my sorority reunion a friend offered to do some online leg work and sent me several ideas. She has impeccable taste and can make even a white t-shirt and jeans rock like nobody's business.

She told me that she was putting a list of wardrobe basics that would allow me to replace my closet without breaking the bank.

Super Score. Super Friend.

I told her before she offered to look at what I currently have and can wear, that I needed to do a massive closet clean out. Before the house move I took a truckload of already too big clothes to a local charity that supports a women's shelter. I've never in my life seen anyone happy to get size large size professional clothes.

At this point all current pre-pregnancy pants/skirts do not fit and I have bought a few staple items in the 12 I am currently wearing (grey cords, herringbone trousers, a pair of jeans). Paired with a lent cargos and black pants I have enough to get through a work week with the existing shirts/blouses I have.

I hope once the swelling goes completely down to be a 10. A size I have not been since I was in Jr. High. I cannot tell you how excited I am to be able to shop in regular stores after so many years shopping with limited options.

Thanks in advance to anyone who wants to encourage me to wear less black (no less than 10 blacks solid tshirts/sweaters) as part of my go-to summer or winter uniform.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

9th Grade Boy vs. Girl Syndrome (a Parent Primmer)

Hello last day of classes yesterday. Heading into a full week of exam days meaning I come in give the exam, have a couple of hours of quiet to work and then the kids LEAVE early. Throw in several end of semester work days and I feel some afternoon napping coming on.

I even managed not to have to administer or proctor anyone else's exam this semester.


Yesterday I finally revealed a description of something I reference repeatedly in a funny and yes sarcastic way over and over during the semester. Suffering from freshman boy or girl syndrome.

I promise on the final day of class to give the full list of symptoms as well as the cure.

Again, this is done not in a mean way or calling anyone out. I think you should get a medal at the end of your first year of high school for having any self esteem left after for most a tough year. I see one of my sole functions in the classroom is to build them up and hope they leave with some semblance of a better idea of who they are becoming.

As parent to two boys I can tell you now that Ben will suffer badly from this disease. As much I hope I am laying groundwork to curb some of the hallmarks, he is a midget version of most of my freshmen boys. Ian, I fear will be the child that leads his friends in whatever fear producing, injury-filled activity he can imagine. It will most likely involve something used in a purpose never intended.

Freshman boy syndrome- Marked by smelliness, sloppiness including wearing of sweatpants in public or even shorts even on the coldest of days, repeated requests of hat removal will go ignored, earbuds will be hidden in the collar as to listen to music when in the halls or even in class for the non observance or frankly old teachers, backpack resembles a toxic waste dump of stuffed papers, crumbled balls to be used for am impromptu game of trasketball, ownership of a least one bottle of AXE bodyspray required, use also required in heavy rotation to cover up the ever present chili dog smell. When asked questions appropriate responses are "huh, what, are you talking to me", a a myrid of excuses why something has not been completed.

The cure is maturity. these same boys return even over the summer rid of the sweatpants (thankfully) and some degree that the purpose of high school is two fold: to get out and move on to bigger and better as well as social in that girls only are interested in boys who are interested in them more than video games (while in their presence).

Never fear, video gaming will take up hours, and hours and hours of said boy's time. Wearing of t-shirt proclaiming such love will identify you quickly in high school. By senior year these same boys will tower over me, have figured out a wardrobe resembling that of someone with ambition (even just to pledge a fraternity to revert back to Freshman boy status). It brings tears to my eyes to watch this transformation of maturity and social grace over 4 short years.

Freshmen girls- Very, very glad I will never have one inside my own home. I have watched grown men cry in conferences over behavior that my guess is was never imagined when fantasies of walking them down the aisle is more positive.

Cattiness, backstabbing, drama over every conceived miscommunication is played out and out and out some more. I often say that while I know this is super important today, 10 bucks says next week you won't even remember why you were so upset to often crying ladies being consoled in the hall.

Typical attire of fall 2011 has included continued wearing of UGG boots with anything including pjs. My personal favorite look is the knee-high I'm stepping off my sled boots pairs with a mico mini skirt in June. Do they know that the market on smelliness (of the feet) has already been taken by the 14 year old boy. Daily slathering in Bath and Body works products that have names like "amber summer" or "berry explosion" permeate and fight for smell space with the Axe body spray. A resurgence of anything 80s including techno colored skinny jeans and I dare say splatter paint one shouldered Flashdance-esqu shirts have been spotted.

The Cure- also maturity and the realization that while school is two fold: Get out and move on to more mature guys and also that leaving sooner will greatly increase the chance of positive relations with other family members. By senior year it fills my heart with joy to see girls break out of the mold and be original, authentic, and willing to not follow a pack mentality.

I've taught this same group over and over and over for the past decade. Part of why I love teaching students on the starting end of high school is watching what happens in a few short years by the time they leave. High school is just a microcosm of our future adult lives. We want approval from our friends and family, have to learn the hard way through failure, try to meet now self imposed goals, and mostly figure out a way to be happy with the person we are.

Coming back to classes of 35+ kids this fall has been hard but I have realized that I have missed this day to day interacting with them. Online teaching is just a different relationship. One that doesn't come with seeing the end product while enjoying a daily aroma like no other.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

More than lip service support

Bad, Bad teacher to forget the working on the Obama re-election campaign is a goal for 2012. In by working I mean more than here's my $ and slapping a magnet on my car.

I was having this conversation with a friend about the re-electability of incumbent presidents, namely Obama and made the statement,

"the zenith of his presidency happened on his Inauguration, everything from there on was going to be a fight just to be re-elected"

As I was standing in the freezing cold in that moment of history in DC in 2009 I had so much hope that Congress would cooperate, there would be a refocus on domestic over foreign policy, and hopes that the baby steps needed to repair the economy would start with Obama.

Sadly my expectation that so many people who voted for this president expected a miracle worker with a return to the salad days immediately with a new President in office.

No. Didn't think this at all, given the compromise needed to simply function day to day and get even a iota of your proposed agenda passed.

While not all decisions have I supported, I can tell you I stand by my vote and know that a re-election is going to be difficult. My friend and I have pledged to be involved with our local office to canvas, phone bank, or simply do more than just lip service support on this campaign.

I don't plan for this to take oodles of my time, but I feel very strongly that if I stand on the sides expecting others to build a re-election campaign the odds are I'm going to be left on election day disappointed.

The NH primary is today, or as I like to call it "who can pledge they do more justice to an LL Bean catalogue cover". Not surprisingly I have been following the election and while my Civics class is coming to a close, I will totally take it as positive that on the night of the Iowa returns last week in came the following FB message, "Mrs. Vinson, you are the reason I am still watching this at 1 am"


Bring it Election 2012. Next up SC primary where any and all Republican front-runners are going to claim that Jesus is their BFF.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

2012 Goals- Exhibit D (Final) "Use the fancy glasses"

I never got around to finishing or posting the final day of 2012 goals Friday. Needless to say a full day back at work post-op was met with lots of craziness and exhaustion.

Last week I covered most all of the main categories for 2012 Goals/non-resolutions (fitness, family, time). To wrap up here is a short list of the other goals: Read 30 books, raise all $3,500 cost of my August Kenya Mission trip, Update/get lost on GoodReads/Pinterest, walk the dog more often, be more appreciative of the small things (from Bill especially), keep monthly date nights going (with Bill, Ben and add time alone with Ian), take a basic sewing class, replace my wardrobe slowly and with guidance, practice grace and humility daily, make better use of iPhone apps to simplify life, catch up with both high school and college friends over the summer for reunions, plan a weekend trip with Bill, consider saying yes to a friend's 6-woman marathon team in fall (will need to build back up to a solid 5 mile run again post surgery), seriously consider getting ride of the 30+ year curly in place of permanently straight hair, keep up last year's theme of being enough is all I need to be.

With that my biggest goal for 2012 is to use the fancy glasses.

Meaning: don't wait to do, say, ask, plan, speak what is on your mind. Today may be your only chance to thank someone, pay them a compliment that they carry all day, share a secret, pass on a random act of kindness, take the time to actually listen without talking/judging, analyzing, and to find any and all reasons to pull out your best glasses and use on a daily basis.

All all the re-dos I want for last year it was one conversation, the last with my mom. If I take nothing else into this new year (already) full of opportunity is to not have regret for a chance I didn't take.

Instead of checking back towards the end of month on what got done on the almighty golden to-do list in the sky instead I am going to check back on this list of goals. Some quantifiable, but so many just in the way the day unfolds and choosing to say yes to the courage of new opportunities and paths.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

2012 Goals- Exhibit C, (Non) Family Feud

Most nights our upstairs hall is the scene of naked boy wrestling of Olympic proportion. Take one kindergartner + one 20 month old minus clothes on the way to nightly bath and you can imagine why I want a valium lick with mandatory compliance at my back door.

I have quit expecting my house to be anything less than loud. ALL.THE.TIME. Luckily since I teach high school kids for a living I can tune out most any craziness and a part of me has just accepted that a house of boys = activity at epic proportion.

Over the fall the boys have begun to play together in every way possible. It is sweet, sweet happiness to watch Ben help Ian, introduce his friends to his little brother (typically by picking him up and demanding you tell him hello), and more often that not keep my fearless Ian from nearly killing himself on a daily basis.

In 2011 I felt like we became our family of 4 in so many ways. The decision that are are 2 and done was made, moving from babyhood to God help us toddlerhood and needing to double up parenting when needed, and the ability to move into other long range plans with the house off the 2012 plans.

Goals for our family this year:

1. Fine tuning the am rush of getting me leaving by 6:30am, Ben on the bus at 6:55, Ian dropped off at school and Bill to work on time. For a family of lateness I want to cut down on everyone starting their day stressed. In general Bill and I both need to work on patience and not becoming frustrated when Ian in particular pushes us to his Toddler limits.

2. Goal of spending as much time with the boys on weeknights and finding some one on one time with each child at some part of each weekend. Our Tuesday date nights have now moved to weekends due to the early weekday start. Bill is doing Karate with Ben starting this Saturday while I do a walking stroller date with Ian at the playground. I tend to walk the dog with Ben on the nearby Greenway most Sundays while Bill takes Ian. We take turns helping with homework which has both helped us support what is going on in his classroom. We also are both trying to volunteer once a month in his class.

3. We want to take a family vacation in July. The trip we want to plan may be more than we want to take on with a toddler so while we have blocked the week we are talking over if this is the year to do CA Disneyland and San Fransciso. I say yes.. want to weigh in on Bill? I am traveling with the boys to FL in June and Ben is likely taking a solo flight to see my MIL in March.

4. Keep up the Sunday night weekly family check in for Bear Bucks Payout to Ben, check in on everyone's schedule for the week, and any issues that need to be addressed. We started this last goal this fall in the midst of attempting to reel in behavior. It's a plan I hope we can keep going as the kids are older, more involved, and by the teen years need to hear that despite all being involved with work and school we are first and foremost a family that supports each other.

My family goal for 2012 is much the same as most years to make our family about experiences not stuff that the boys will remember. 2011 was a good year for our family so keeping up the supports already in place is the 2012 plan.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2012 Goals- Exhibit B, The one where my friend had a flat tire and still arrived before me

True story: was meeting a friend for lunch when even after having a flat tire she still made it to the restaurant before me.

That is the very definition of late. I am the butt of my own joke that if you tell me a time to meet, add 30 mins.

So for the first time ever I am going to put Time as a whole category as a goal. Again, I know that I'm setting myself up for failure it I rigidly say I'll just be on time all year and time's twin brother, " I won't overstretch myself on time commitments."

Yeah. Sure. Repeat offending before you likely get to the end of this post.

So in keeping with the Perfection vs Satisfied plan I detailed yesterday I'm applying to how I use my time in 2012

1. Being on time: Perfection-Consistently be on time for work, leave work and get the kids before the 5 pm traffic rush, be on time for meeting people, be on time for appointments.

Satisfied- Make any real change that lasts to include consistently planning cushion time to get out of the house. This includes not adding extra tasks thinking it will take just a minute to finish. The minute becomes 15 and the start to my spiral into lateness.

2. Overextending myself- I feel like I make strides in this dept in 2011. As someone who literally has done nothing for either job while out with this recovery be proud. No really, I didn't even want to do anything and more importantly didn't feel guilty that I was letting anyone down. I asked for help from dept members to help cover my classes and told people that was not available until 1/9. It has felt wonderful and freeing. And repeatable.

One of the biggest and hardest lessons I have learned in the past year is that work is not worth.

I've even go as far as it took a jaw-dropping sermon in which I have too long equated my personal contribution as a wife, parent, friend, employee with what I can accomplish had been called out.

This was sit in the car for like 30 mins after the service unable to drive home thinking about this issue called out or better yet was screaming at me.

The seed of what would you do with that time you are currently spending on stuff I don't need to be doing got planted. And grew. Grew. GREW.

I actually compiled a list of what I do with more time including: Doing absolutely nothing and not feel unproductive.

So for as much as I love the satisfaction of a to-do list mark-off I can tell you in 2012 my priority is doing less in every aspect of my life. I even abandoned a 2011 goal to list what I hoped to do by month end when I realized with the house move that I had to pare down my focus or I was going to loose my mind.

The perfection would be to not go back to additional jobs, not take on any other commitments that I am already starting with on 1/1, not negotiate with myself that I need to prove that I can do everything and not pay the price in the end.

The Satisfaction is to again make real change by not doing or taking on new tasks in 2012. This also includes planning down time then not feeling an iota of guilt that I was unproductive.

This is a HUGE, HUGE, HUGE goal. Note that I don't think I have ever put "be on time as well as be lazy" as a goal and actually made it out of a week before breaking it.

***I happen to meet up with that same friend today and lo and behold I was 10 mins early****

Even she asked if being on time was some type of 2012 resolution.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012 Goals- Exhibit A, you can body check me for repeat offending

I'm kicking off a week of goals not resolutions for 2012. I really liked Simple Mom's Ideas about resolutions (again this year). She strives for Excellence not Perfection, so I am going to put out there my ideal and my satisfied for Body related goals for 2012.

-Return as I can (safely) to exercise. In an ideal world I would love to pull 20 miles/5 hours per week but I will be satisfied with 15 and 4. Would love to include a 5k in 30 mins as well as trying some new types outside of my faithful elliptical.

-Sleep. Yet again old friend. But I am going to throw in adding a bedtime routine that does not include the 10 o'clock nap to keep working late, sleeping in nasty gym clothes on the couch for the night, or falling sleep while talking to a student on the phone (really, it happened, more than once).

Bedtime routine to include pjs, washing my face and moisturizer so a face lift is not on my plastic surgery punch list, and remembering to take nighttime meds. Time to read without falling asleep with the book on my face = bonus points. Perfection all work nights, Excellence is making any type of change that sticks to nothing less than my magic 6 hours.

-Eat healthier by pre-planning meals for me and the family. Perfection- Weeknights and packed lunches/snacks for the boys Excellence- Make some type of lasting change that results in me maintaining this new weight and the family eats with intention not out of hectic, non healthy defaults.

***Note that while I've been doing some clean out of stuff from my mom's house I came upon the following Goals from 6th grade, note that sleep is on there, as is being on time***

How about in this year strive to just make meeting the excellence and by year end be satisfied with progress.

Monday, January 2, 2012


I was sadly at the gym today to drop Ben for a day of camp when Bill texted me with the following message,

"do NOT stop to exercise, REPEAT do not.. you are not cleared"

I will have to admit seeing the wall to wall people making fitness resolutions on Day 2 of the new year was just about killing me. Come on I had on fitness clothes as the compression feels good on my stomach even with the oh so lovey post surgery garments, I even had on my ever present sun visor... alas no working out until cleared.

Last year I choose not to make resolutions, but rather goals for the month, goals for this space, and overall quantifiable goals for myself for the year. I can honest to God say I didn't go back and look exactly what I wrote until I was writing the year end post and realized, I actually met most of them. Amazing what keeping more relaxed life rules can do :)

In hopes of making 2012 goals attainable I want to take some aspect each day this week to post a few meaningful and attainable with effort goals.

We rang in the new year quietly at home with the kids after a grocery run for dinner where all bets were off. Want it? Get it. Eat it.

Ian ate blueberries and chocolate cake
Ben chocolate covered pretzels and chicken nuggets
Bill the nastiest EZ cheese in a can on top of water crackers
Me a cheese plate. Yes I even thought for .912 sec about pork rinds, but wavered

Bill and I put the kids in bed and watched The Change Up and by a few mins after midnight we both were in bed. We spent New Years day: church as a family, yes even Bill who commented that he didn't burst into flames upon entrance.

Breakfast at Cracker Barrel, Bill date with Ben to see the Muppet Movie while Ian and I napped, and then a trip to the nearby park in shorts in flip flops given the crazy warm weather over the weekend.

We met up with our neighbors and rode bikes outside while Bill grilled burgers. Another movie (disappointing Crazy, Stupid, Love) and we had just the weekend needed before the start to school, work, daycare grind again.

All four of us have literally been together in this house for the last good 10 days and minus remember how much I am ready for this 18-24 month phase to pack it up we've done well. Ben of note has has some of the best behavior we have seen from him with his helpfulness, maturity, and in general not being a tool.

I'm staying home a few more days, given I just now feel at all up to doing much outside of laying on the couch. I'm back to the surgeon for another visit on Wednesday and taking some time to finish up some things around the house before the full start back most likely Friday for a gloriously one day work week.

My destination for this year has so many places: family time, planned trips with friends and family, even the daily monotonous grind, thousands of miles away for 9 days in Africa.

I am so unbelievably hopeful about this year and the destinations ahead for all those I love.