Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What to do with 24 extra hours?

Most likely the same stuff I always do: commute to work, pick up the kids, play outside if the weather holds out, walk the dog, make dinner...blah, blah, blah.

I wanted to do something out of the ordinary for leap day for the boys so after pick up we are having a scavenger hunt in the house to find something that is not the same and out of the ordinary.

For Ben: new Superhero bedding

For Ian: a new book (in his bed since we don't allow books in bed due to tearing them up). Although after loosing yet another solo shoe last night in the grocery store I think he should be getting replacement shoes. As a bonus I should consider giving him a roll of duct tape for his sponeaous stripping.

Last month I capped off January with an update on my 2012 goals: February Update

Family: Still trying to milk every minute I can get between pick up and bedtime with the boys. With the crazy mild winter we have spent so much time outside playing. Yet another reason I love my house is the neighborhood to discover on walks to the nearby greenway.

Exercise: Again with the warm weather I have been neglecting the gym for daily 2 mile walks with the dog. I'm back to going consistently on Saturday am for weights and more intense Cardio. With only a month until the next surgery I hope to add a couple more days to get in and work out to build back some stamina.

Sleep- SCORE.SCORE.SCORE Can I just ask where I found the time to work online. In the one month since I have given up this job (and yes the money) I find that most nights I am asleep before 11pm. Granted I do the tour of Bill's office couch, downstairs couch, and finally to bed.

I am also finding that post surgery I just really, really tired. Maybe from being on my feet traveling floors and wings all day or maybe it's just taking more time to recover but I'm making the time to sleep and it's paying off.

Time: I *wish* I could say that I'm suddenly on time. How about I'm trying to build time into leaving to make it on time. How about I'm leaving the house consistently to make it on time to work. How about that I've been super conservative about who/what is getting my time right now. I think just being conscious that this is an ongoing issue and working everyday to just do better.

Wasn't that a goal for 2012 to strive to perfection but be able to live for satisfaction.
Happy Leap Day folks. I hope you fill it with whatever you needed/wanted to do the other 365 days of the year.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Post I'm Not Writing Today

The one where I tell you that all weekend we dealt with a child with a highly contagious disease.

Big ol' bullet dodged and as I write this I need to find a big piece of wood to knock on. At pick up last week we found out that five kids in Ian's class had come down with Hand, Foot, and Mouth. Great. In a class of 9 kids we were bracing for appeared to be a likely ick-filled weekend with a miserable toddler.

Come Friday night, all day Saturday, and again yesterday we searched every inch of Ian's body for tell tale symptoms. His teachers believed that based on when kids reported sickness that if we got to Saturday without fever we were in the clear.

Ian was out a couple of days last week as we were at the beach and then I kept him home on Tuesday to be on the safe side after puking in the car on the way home. Luckily the puking was only car-sickness and the days away from school obviously were the days he would have been exposed.

Other than another cut on his chin and big ol' bruise on his forehead I think we dodged a bullet. We still played the weekend low just in case as not to expose Ian to anyone else other than family.

I'm very happy to report that this was our Saturday night, celebrating Bill's 37th birthday with a cake make by Ben (with help from mom).

All hopes that I'm not jinxing my fearless Ian who is one step away from a urgent care co-pay at all times.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Drop and Give Me 20

Yesterday Ben's school held a Community Helpers Parade. I have to admit I took the easy road when the directions gave 2 full weeks to make your child's costume.

Hello existing holey knee, well loved camo pants, shirt with a helicopter (underneath), and favorite dress up jacket and hat.

Ben told me he was the only "army man" in his class. Bill reported he counted several doctors, scientists, and even a chemist. At pick up I saw a full on FBI vest and hat on a tiny, tiny girl. Sadly no insurance agents or those in cubicle hell to be found.

Ask me how the conversation about not bringing anything resembling a gun to school went?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A shade off from perfect

Amazing long weekend vacation along the NC Coast. So much so that I'll just tell it in pictures.

Boys in Hammocks: aka Ben and Ian were filthy after falling into the dirt underneath to get out.

Only a parent of boys would have worded this sign.

Ask me how much I feared Ian was going to jump off the top of this fort, thus the mom death grip ensued?">
The only time I ever hope to see them behind bars

Just after this shot the boys were jumping off and rolling on the ground. Surprised?

Big ol' cannon and behind it a big ol' freighter coming into the port to unload.

***If you look closely Ian is chasing Ben from behind***

Favorite shot of the whole vacay

What else did we do? We swam in the indoor pool, built a giant racetrack on the beach under 70 and sunny weather, taught Ben how to play teatherball a la Napoleon Dynamite, visited the Aquarium, ate lots of yummy food, watched Muppets Treasure Island, and ventured out to a Civil War fort.

Tons-o-fun on a much needed unplugged family weekend.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Little man boobs or pec implants... so can't decide?

From a walk yesterday with the boys. Ben is totally into a superhero phase (lifetime commitment if you ask his father)

Ben asked to stop by the goose house.. aka the gazebo on the neighborhood walking trail where the geese all congregate and poop.

Not sure if this shows the beginnings of some man boobs or he is gunning for some pec implants.

Either way, he's got his mom's genes.

Heading to the beach for the long weekend tomorrow. All plans for the indoor pool, movie watching, walking on the beach, flying our kite, finishing a book, and sleeping.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Could you pass the goat?

Last Saturday I spent most of the day working with the Kenya team for team building, fundraising planning, and trip logistics. Over the next few months much energy is going into getting this trip from planning to reality. Our lunch which was prepared by a church family of East African origin, was an example of standard meal of goat, cornmeal mush called ugali you use in place of silver wear, cassava, and kale. Believe it or not it was really good.

Our team is comprised of 15 people, half of which are parents and their high school aged kid. It is an awesome dynamic to see parents working with their kids to get ready for this trip. So much to say that the thought has crossed my mind of if I would ever do a trip like this with Ben or Ian.

I've been asked by several people just what we are doing while we are in Michura.

1.We are helping the community of around 1,500 people build a clean water project, i.e I will be digging trenches, laying pipes all while wearing a skirt.

2. What up with the skirt? The area is very conservative, meaning ladies cover legs as well as suggested arms. I will be investing in some super cool clothes as it will be spring season while we are there with daily highs in the 80s. Since we are at the equator I will be slathered in 50+ sunscreen.

I'm looking for suggestions on shoes as I am planning on tennis shoes with my skirts (lovely). We have a 30 min walk from where our bus will park once we arrive since the village is located where the bus cannot travel. We will be carrying in our daily supplies including water, food, and hand tools in backpacks.

Our heavier tools will already be at the work site since there are teams traveling in March and July to also work on this project. I am not kidding when I say that over the summer I plan to be working on stamina and endurance for this trip.

3. Is it safe? At before nightfall we will return back about 45 mins to our hotel in Kusumu which is on Lake Victoria, near the Ugandan boarder for dinner and what I imagine will be collapsing into bed. We do have indoor plumbing while at the hotel, but obviously not when in the village. Yes, upon hearing this I still wanted to go.

Since we are literally where the roads have no names, we likely will be stopped in transit with animal crossings. Overall the area is safe with little concern to be robbed or stopped when traveling. We are traveling with two Kenyans that work for our parent non profit 410 Bridge that will help translate as soon as we reach Kenya. On our last day we are going on a safari as we make the 4 hour drive back to Narobi from Michura. If anyone is injured we have access to medical care in Kusumu or if need be evacuated to Narobi.

4. Relationships- On our first day as well as last we will be participating with the local 4 churches in a community service and meal. The meal in particular will be prepared using our clean water and food as one major concern we all have had is being sick and unable to work. No cheeseburgers expected, likely more goat.

During the day we will also be working with and meeting members of the community in between working on the pipline. We've organized ourselves that each day we will visit families, the school, the pastors using our translators during a part of each day while others on our team are working outside.

There is a large focus on not just showing up, working and then leaving at the end of the day, rather on cultivating our relationship with Michua. Several long standing and future projects including building a health clinic and secondary school are in the plans for future teams. Water is of the most important and urgent concern as each day the villages have to travel several miles to the nearest water source.

So to answer what has been Bill's biggest question. What part of crazy are you wanting to do this?

I really have no other answer than what I have already written about wanting to be part of something bigger than myself. I am moved by what this church is doing not only locally but also thousands of miles away to make the lives of people better.

The idea that right now a community of families are going about their daily life just as I am and a matter of a few short months our worlds are about to collide is kinda amazing. I fully look for this to be a life changing experience, thus making all the work in the next months worth every bit of the work now as well as once we are in Michura.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Singing From the Same Hymnal

A couple of weeks ago Bill and I were at my consultation to plan my 2nd surgery. Much of the discussion turned to recovery and expected help needed. At some point my surgeon looked at us and said, "you two are singing from the same hymnal and I have no doubt that like before you will rely on each other to get through the first hard week."

Very, very true that after fifteen years of marriage that love is best expressed in how Bill took care of me not only when I couldn't do even the simplest of tasks for myself, but before when I was scared about the possibility of not waking up to see the boys or him again. He is one of the few people that I let in when I am vulnerable and needing reassurance. He never fails to point out reason when I need to be brought back to earth.

Don't even ask about how he feels about me traveling to Kenya. He might stow away on the plane last minute.

On this day filled with expressions of love, knowing that someone has my back, regardless of circumstance is the best gift I could ask for.

Plus Bill knows I will kill him if he pays a ridiculous markup on flowers today.

Friday, February 10, 2012


How it is possibly Friday? With the load of laundry that has been moved from bed to basket, back to bed, ok you get it been a busy week. Not that anything earth shattering happened, but what's been going down at Casa de la Vinson?

Bad behavior a disciplin', Ian multiple mess a cleanin', Bunco a winnin', Appointments a-makin' for pre-op labs/testin', Summer Camp enrollin', Brother birthday gift a mailin', passport a dealin', school open house attendin', and weekend plans a makin'.

This sums up my week.

Weekend filled with plans for a date night to Angus Barn, workday for Kenya trip prep, VDay kids party, and the usual unfun chores.

Back next week to finish up some posts in draft form. In trying to stave off the nasty cold Ian has had all week, I crashed early almost every night falling asleep with the same book on my face on practically the same page night after night.

Note that I found the book cast into the basket of laundry also still on the bed more than once this week.

Friday, February 3, 2012

An Occational Friday 2012 Series- Project Runway

Over the course of last month I completely cleaned out my closet of anything too big, not worn, or looking remnicent of somthing worn to a INXS concernt circa 1987. I had some clothes more than 20 years old that I finally tossed including my well worn Celebrate Freedom: Read a Banned Book t-shirt.

The end result was 5 pairs of pants, 1 skirt that are currently wearable. I sorted out through tops and kept only those I currently wear. Amazingly when I cleaned out the two bins of pre-prego spring clothes I discovered I have several shirts in color! (as well as waaay too many black t-shirts.)

Check out that green sleeveless dress on the left. I haven't worn that puppy since spring of 2005. Unless someone points out to me that I'm sadly out of fashion, come a warm day I'm all over wearing it with those awesome 5 inch wedges from last summer.

I feel good that my 3 trashbags of clothes were donated to a work collegue. Her sister is newly back at work without larger professional clothes after a 2 year lay off. Sure.

I have hestiated buying anything until post 2nd surgery. I can make what I have work and have bought a couple of assessories to pull some outfits together.

First up was a skinny black patent leather belt to go with the black and grey herribone pants for work. Both pairs well with a pair of black patent leather stacked heels. I still am looking for a pair of metalic or gunmetal colored flats.

I found this beauty to go with cords and jeans.
I LOVE this belt and even had a couple of my teenage girl students ask we where I had gotten it. Does this mean there is hope yet I may have some symblence of style?

Yesterday I paired it with items I already had including Gap kakhis and a layered Old Navy jean shirt over a blue t-shirt. While I think it needs some type of necklace, I think this came together well.

I've never been a big shopping kinda girl, but I tell you I find myself stopping and looking more and more whenever I can still time minus the kids in tow.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Deloise, Beatrice and Hopefully Me

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of helping surprise a much loved and respected colleague on her last day of 35 year career teaching primarily freshman English. Really, think of dealing daily with some 14 year old drama for HALF your life.

Delosie deserved more than a cake, she deserves the chance to enjoy a book not assigned for class reading. She was the real deal, an old school teacher with more tricks up her sleeve than thought possible. The kind of person you recognize that what they bring to work each day is part determination (see 35 yrs of FRESHMEN) and part magic.

As one of the few remaining teachers from our original 40 that helped build and open my school from the ground up, I have nothing but respect for the thousands of students that passed in and out of her classes. They are the better for being in the presence of academic greatness.

Monday night I was introduced to another person that six months from today I hope to have the chance to meet. As we were going through pictures from the most recent team trip to Michura, Kenya, one of our leaders stopped on a picture of a striking woman standing proudly among her students in an open-air classroom.

Beatrice is the villiage solo teacher and has organized a women's empowerment group. She has been a key player in helping the town communicate with our church's involvement and agreement to partner to build a clean water project over the course of 2012. Everything about Beatrice's inviting smile is a reason to stand her classroom and watch her in action.

As another semester has started and is rolling along uneventfully. I am back in my element doing all the routine things I can do in my sleep. All week in the back of my head I have wondered how much what I do everyday is not unlike what this amazing woman is also doing under the most different circumstances.

I have been working on drafting and editing (and re-editing) what essentially is my fundraising letter. I don't want to simply say, "hey I'm going on this trip, give me $" Instead I want to share the smallest of reasons why partnering with the amazing team of teenagers, their parents, other teachers, and our leaders is worthy.

Supporting me/us is also intentionally investing in the lives and well being of other families just like theirs.

Over the next 6 months we have a ton of work fundraising ahead. Already planned include a Mulch Madness event to spread mulch in surrounding neighborhoods yards, a food truck rodeo and tag sale, drive in summer movie event, and even a video game tournament (did I mention the teenagers on this team.) It seems like each idea brought to the table spreads into more connections. Lucikly between 2 summer teams there are 40 people to spread the work.

I cannot tell you how excited I am to to see this trip to fruition and most of all to meet the people in the Michura community, Beatrice being on the top of the list.

When I posted on my Mondo list that I wanted to find a church for our family, I never imagined where pew-sitting is taking me.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

At Least He Didn't Do the Worm During Carpet Time

From Ben's behavior contract on Friday.

My response back, "I guess it wasn't PE day?"

A proud, proud parenting moment.

Sadly I busted out laughing in front of Ben.