Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Rewind

December 31st and another wrap up in one of my favorite posts of the year.  

The following from my January goal of "using the fancy glasses" or not waiting for the right time/moment, that time is short.   From my post I printed out my own words and kept them taped all year on my work calendar.

"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 complement they carry all day, share a secret, pass on a random act of kindness, take the time to actually listen without talking/judging/analyzing.

Find all reasons to pull out your best glasses and use them on a daily basis. Time is short."  

I look back at my goals for 2012 and many were achieved, many had good intentions but faltered along the way.  When I wrote about destination in 2012 I had so much hope, so much promise, so much wonder for what would unfold in the 52 weeks ahead.  

In 2012 we:  turned 37 ,37, 6, and 2.  Wrote 153 blog posts, finished 26 books, traveled to Florida twice, once to see extended family, once to Disney World.  Went to Dragon*Con (Bill), met up with both high school and college friends for reunions and rode a mechanical bull (Heather), moved from a few words to full  understandable sentences (Ian), found our niche and created ginormous art projects that needed their own wing of our home to display (Ben), dressed up as a Ninja (Ben), and a dinosaur who refused to wear his costume (Ian) for our Halloween block party. Had a first girlfriend (Ben) and threw her shoes over the fence at school to prove his love.  Started Y Guides (Bill and Ben). It was a year where fitness goals for the adults hit a brick wall to much disappointment and I spent almost 6 months in surgery recovery mode after back to back procedures.  It was a year where dreams came true, others were detoured, and some were realized 14,000 miles away from home on a rain soaked afternoon.     

2012 Best in Show-

Best Books Read- Gone Girl, Zeitoun, We the Animals, Half Broke Horses, Rules of Civility, Siblings Without Rivalry, The ADD and ADHD Question and Answer Book

Best TV- Old Standbys of Mad Men and Good Wife but added Downton Abbey and Breaking Bad.  

Best Movies- TAL Live Show "The Invisible Made Visible", the Imposter, Skyfall, and Lincoln.  Still haven't seen Sleepwalk with Me, Ugh... the year can't end yet!

Best Family Outing- Taking advantage of our Marbles membership with Krispy Kreme afterwards.  Many a Sunday afternoon double meltdown averted when someone took one for the team and headed to Raleigh with the kids. 

Best new kid activity- Classes at the Cary Art Center.  Not only has Ben loved his classes, but the parent and child toddler classes are affordable and a good way to get one on one time with Ian.

Runner up:  Y Guides for Bill and Ben.  From the hand delivered meeting invitations to building relationships among other fathers and sons, this was a good use of time in 2012 continuing into 2013.

Best Summer Day Camp- Junior Jazzercise.  Ben created a video of himself at the final day/dance off and watches it all the time.  He has already asked if he can go next summer for more than one week.  Maybe I'll get a frequent flier discount, or a bumpersticker for my car. Jealous? I know you are (not.)

Biggest relief- Minus a short setback in January after surgery one, both recoveries went well.  I am forever thankful to my outstanding surgeon for his skill.  A year out it was worth everything for this degree of confidence.  

Moment of uncontrollable and profound sadness- Realizing at the close of my mom's probate case that it was truly over. I longed to find a letter buried in her will or the probate papers directed to me or the boys.  I didn't. That realization has hurt more and demanded more reflection in 2012 than most anything else.  

Moment of controllable and profound sadness- Many an anxiety filled conversation held in uncomfortable chairs in front of professionals about Ben.  Knowing that while I feel like I can't possibly do, care more, or love him unconditionally more that it will take every bit of patience for the long haul is unbelievably hard.  So many factors are out of our control, but getting the support we need is something we can and are controlling.

Moment for all of 2012- As shared in the post A Small Piece of the Bigger Picture, the final hours in the village of Michua, Kenya standing in the pouring rain with Siprin, our 12 year sponsor child, on the one year anniversary of my mom's death. Words cannot even begin to capture the emotion of the the final moments of a life changing experience.  I'm so very thankful for the opportunity and the support of family and friends who helped me make the trip.  Thank you.  

Best Decision in 2012- Moving forward with treatment for not only Ben but support for our whole family.  We have again this year weathered the hard among many, many moments of unbridled happiness.  As a family whose lives are lived at maximum volume, usually in some level of exhaustion that mommy go-juice (coffee) can't ameliorate. It is a sweet and beautiful life.  I am blessed with a loving family, supportive spouse, needs that are met without real thought, and a job that I want to think makes some type of difference.   

I take into 2013 a continued confidence that I know the answer, I just need to trust my gut that I am enough, I do enough, and enough is all I ever need to be.  

Favorite pictures I took capturing 2012-

From toddler to little boy, he's growing up too fast.   

Freckles and 6 year old cuteness during the summer of Camp Mommy

25 kids for a big 6th birthday water slide party.  You know mom was on that action. 

The weekend before my 2nd surgery. It became my screen saver.  
It still is.

Of all the Kenya pictures, two remain my favorite-  

Sunrise safari at Lake Nakuru National Park.  Breathtakingly beautiful.


Deep fried family goodness at the NC State Fair

2012 as it really was. Loud. Crazy. Full (filled)
This is the way we lived. This is how I remember the best moments of 2012.  

Photo Credit-Laura Case Photography

Happy new year, happy new dreams,
 happy new adventures in 2013

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Wanna See It, Do It, Eat It, Enjoy It- Close Out 2012 List

Blogging is about to take a bit of a vacation, much like life come tomorrow afternoon as I watch my students run at break neck speed out of the building. If I had on my new running shoes I could beat them out of the parking lot.

I have some annual end of the year posts I want to write but for most of next week I really want to be working on my vacation punch list.

The other night I was thumbing through a Martha Stewart Living, admiring all the handmade "good things" that obvious permeate Martha's life.  Note that the "stalking your neighbors" spread is missing. 

If Martha dropped by Casa Vinson she would find us on our nightly drive through the neighborhood at a snails pace looking at lights and inflatables with two kids screaming out the open window in excitement.  Last night Ian threw his shoes out the window so I had to do the walk of shame to go fetch them out of some unsuspecting neighbor's yard.  At that point the holiday tour of lights was over.

It got me thinking about the illusion of perfection, especially at this season.  Perfection is overrated and besides Martha is a convicted felon.

A couple of items worth sharing for those not invited to Martha's fantastically planned Christmas Day celebration.

Minimalist Parenting ideas about How to Lower the Holiday Bar Without Dropping it as well as Why Crockpots are Sexy (both series titles).  I am all over this book to be released in March, 2013.  

Simple Mom ideas about ways to not over commit during the season.  I LOVE her idea of each year getting the family involved about writing down hopes, dreams, and desires for the season.  We took this advice and have had so much more relaxed rather than crammed to the gills season.  I also love her honesty that if you don''t want to keep a tradition up, let it go in hopes of making something else worth your time.

Making my want to do it, see it, eat it, enjoy it close out 2012 list:

See it:   A movie in a movie theater.  Maybe Argo. Maybe Silver Linings Playbook.  NOT, NOT , NOT Les Mis.  God NO.  Like want to sucker punch you to the gut NO.  I hate musicals.  I hate the French Revolution.  This movie looks like 2+ hours in Hell.

Also, announced yesterday that Sleepwalk with Me is now on Netflix.  Oh yes.  Oh so gonna watch some night after Christmas since I missed it in the movie theater.

Do it-  A couple of holiday themed items left to do with the family including taking the train Sunday over to the Greensboro Children's museum.  Christmas Eve we are heading out to a big light display called Meadow Lights.

With all Vinson folk home together from the 24th-2nd I hope we can find a balance between doing some things out as a family and also just being at home with some down time.  I am determined to go shopping minus children at some point and redeem giftcards from LAST holiday.  Minus a couple of days in Atlanta to see Bill's mom and brother we are going to be homebodies for most of the break.

Eat it- I totally missed the whole, making Christmas cookies until my mixer begged to stop.  I made ONE single batch of cookies, long since eaten.  I was suppose to hit up a cookie exchange but reneged when I had a sick kid and the realization I didn't have anything to take and no time to make.  Christmas Day is shaping up to be a free-for-all of appetizers and any way cheese can be served.

Read it/Watch it- Just finished Gone Girl, hands down one of 2012 best books, as well as best in the last 10 years of reading.  There is a reason why like 2000 people in the Wake County Library system on on the wait list.  Crazy.

I've finishing up a so so parenting book and then hope to finish up one if not two more books by end of the year.  I won't make my 30 books goal, but did come close which is a record for me to have gotten past 20 this year. Books for 2013 are eagerly being tagged as a holiday home project.

On the TV side Bill bought me season 1 of Homeland to watch over break, as well as finish up Season 2 of  Downton Abbey in preparation for the new season starting in January.  Also on the agenda more Breaking Bad and American Horror Story (watched in the bright, bright daylight).

What I didn't get done really doesn't matter. There will always be more holiday seasons to come.  A big highlight is opening cards from friends of today and yesterday with smiling children's faces.  I display all the cards on the  back door. Each year we make placemats for the next holiday with our favorite cards as a recycling project.

I did make decorations for the front door back at the start of the season.  After the 2011 fresh fruit debacle, I went fake.  I'm proud of the creations.  I'm even more proud that the amount of effort for NEXT year will be removing both from storage bags and hanging. To not have rotting fruit as a welcome is just icing on the cake.

Happy last days before Christmas, happy time off relaxing and enjoying your family and friends without the stress of work and school.

Happy time spending doing what you want and closing out 2012.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Papa Smurf can keep his shoes

What do you think of when you see these shoes?

Papa Smurf?  Wham backup singer circa 1988?  Perhaps.

How about these beauties?

All I can think of is Michael Ian Black's essay, "Why I Colored My D*ck Day-Glo Yellow" from My Custom Van (ps.. you should read his essay Taco Party if you already have the book in your possession.  You will thank me.  Promise.)

So you may ask what is up with the shoes, and no I didn't buy either.  What I did do was buy new Mizuno running shoes in a nice neutral silver.  They have sadly sat on my closet shelf each day since summer asking if today was the day to be broken in at the gym.  Nope.  I stopped by a different sports store over the weekend looking for compression shorts and wandered over to candyland of brightly colored shoes.  For the record Ben was disappointed I didn't buy the candy apple red and yellow ones that reminded me of a big top tent or a hot dog, or better yet a hot dog eaten at a circus. Whatever, they were UGLY.

More times that I want to admit, I've made work meetings or unending paperwork that goes with this job, or hauling kids from place to place, or choosing to go to the grocery alone priority over going to the gym.

To think that a year ago I was logging over 500 miles by year end and doing a Saturday boot camp workout and now, well... you get it that I've not only fallen off the wagon but also the wagon has run over me.

My tiredness from earlier this year is now compounded by a month long bout of insomnia.  I've been trying to stop medicating my way to sleep, find an outlet for stress, as well as something to help alleviate my current mental funk.  I decided I would do whatever it took to get myself back into regular exercise as this has been a solution in the past for all fronts.

What did it take?  Buying 10 personal training sessions, wrapping them, writing FROM: BILL, handing it to Bill and then asking him to hand it back so I could start redeeming this this week.  I'm thinking that if I start now and not with every other person with fitness resolutions on Jan 1st I might be more successful. Second, if I know I paid for them I'm more likely to not negotiate away the time.

I'll be honest with you, even after the surgeries I am flat out tired, all the time tired.  I'm trying to figure out what I can cut out and I can't come up with anything else I haven't already stopped or said no to doing.

Come January we are moving to 2 appointments a week for Ben plus I have a new class to prepare not taught before that I know will take additional time at work to prep.  I need to make changes now.

The #1 thing I marked as my goal for the first time in like ever was not loose weight, but rather make exercise a priority (again) with a focus on maximizing workout time.  I met Monday with the trainer and she has given me a 30 min target workout for 3 weekdays and an 1 hour weekend workout.

Let's see if I can make it happen.   I know that making this stick has so many benefits.   I need to for my health sake as 40 is looming and I want to be in better shape at 40 than 20.  More importantly I want to stave off diabetes for as long as possible.

Maybe I should have bought the smurf shoes after all as working out as fast as possible to get them off might have been the motivation I needed.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Trader Joes Delivers!

Not really.

That is unless you have a sibling that knows you LOVE the new Trader Joes just opened in Greenville, SC and last trip down filled your pantry and fridge with favorites.  

Since we will not get to see Brian over Christmas we packed a box filled with yummies from both TJ and Southern Season plus home baked cookies and a gift card to BUY MORE STUFF at Trader Joes. 

I also *had* to include a tradition my dad and his sister kept up for years now passed to us, finding and destroying the nastiest box of chocolate covered cherries possible to include. 

Also on the pretty cool radar was surprising Ben at school yesterday.  The ear to ear smile made my day.  His teacher had me work with students in their morning math center on a measuring lesson.  Needless to say I would have much rather hung around for the rest of the day rather than returning to teach the law of diminishing marginal utility to my off the chain, week before holiday break Sophomores.

It was a nice way to start a new week to see Ben happy among his friends and teacher. Knowing my brother will come home to today to find this on the porch makes me equally happy.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


I thought about not writing about the tragic events in Connecticut but then reconsidered.  A rare weekend post, one of a few thoughts that feel like I need to document and then get much needed sleep.

Friday afternoon I left earlier than normal as it was my wedding anniversary.  Just like I do every day I turned on NPR ready to drive towards home.  It had been an excessively difficult week at work as well as at home with behavior from the boys.

What I didn't expect was the news of the tragedy.  I couldn't even turn the ignition.  I felt physically sick as I listened to the coverage.  Bill and I averted our plans and like every sane human being opted to be home with our kids.

I've tried very hard to be media silent since hearing the story, staying away from following news online or scrolling through social media reading well intentioned condolences.

I didn't want to know their names. I think of their parents naming them as babies never imaging their children would not live to see their name printed in a graduation program, or wedding announcement, or any other milestone event never to happen.

I didn't want to see pictures of them full of life with their ages printed fully alive in the holiday season with anticipation of gifts.

I didn't want to hear media pundits dissect the why and the how when no one.  NO ONE can even begin to understand why. Don't patronize me by your expertise.

I didn't want to see or read the latest breaking news detailing more and more disturbing details that frankly once heard or seen can't be undone.

I didn't want to hear the words, "seemed like a nice boy" while juxtaposed with Adam's Lanza's own elementary school picture put up like some question mark on his upbringing.

I didn't want to hear that this very broken human being first victim was his own mother.  I keep asking myself what type of relationship did they have?  What was he like as a 1st grader.  As no parent can ever imagine it is their child who will become synonymous with such a tragic event, I have to wonder what was her last thought before she also became part of the story.

I  have keep my boys close for the last 48 hours.  I want to touch them, feel their skin next to mine, to smell their hair.  I spent too much time the last two nights watching them sleep.

Correction, not time wasted, not in the least.

I will continue to try to shield not only my boys from hearing about this story but also to engage in self preservation.  This story has shaken me to my core.  As a teacher and as a parent I cannot imagine a more worse case scenario.  My hope if anything is to come out of this tragedy is a real and honest conversation about gun control that moves beyond reinforcing our political differences.  I also hope a much needed conversation about mental illness isn't relegated to the backburner after the Sandy Hook tragedy becomes old news, out of our minds and broken hearts.

Both boys had ugly, fitful meltdowns tonight before bed.  Luckily the only ones of the weekend. We had to separate them, leaving them alone to calm down before bed.  So much of this year has been spent wondering if we are doing the right thing, wondering if anything we do now can prevent raising a sullen, bitter teenager with anger towards his himself, his parents, his world.

Tomorrow I  have a preplanned  surprise volunteer opportunity in Ben's classroom and then staying for lunch. I'm already bracing myself that being in his classroom as well as my own is going to be difficult.  Too quickly the boys will be older, more mature and not wanting uncool mom around.

Part of me wants them to stay these ages for as long as possible relishing each and every sweetness and innocence they embody.  Sadly for too many families tragedy has now made their children forever 6 years old and part of a story no parent should ever have live.

Thoughts and prayers to families there, here and anyone trying to process and understand.

I do want to share from Brene Brown's blog, Ordinary Courage resources that I have found helpful for helping children process death as well as explaining violence to kids.

Friday, December 14, 2012

All about giving up the burrito

Actual conversation yesterday:

Me (at Chipotle):  I want to buy one of those gift cards where you get a free burrito.

Chipotle guy:  Are you going to eat the burrito now?

Me:  No, I guess I be nice and throw the free burrito in as an added bonus.  Although I am kinda hungry I'll do the right thing and let my husband have it, this is part of an anniversary gift after all.

Chipotle guy:  That seems like a nice thing to do, do you want some free chips?  

Me:  "Yeah, I'll put the gift card down inside the bag, my husband loves this place.  Like I think he peed in his pants when he heard a Chipotle was opening minutes from his work."

Chipotle guy:  No answer to the pee comment, he looks like he is going to renege on the free chips if I keep talking.  

This folks is what 16 years of marriage looks like.  It's all about giving up the burrito.  

Actually, that is not entirely fair.  Sixteen years of marriage looks like Friday night date nights watching a weeks worth of Daily Show before I fall asleep into episode 2 at 9 pm.  It more nights than most someone covering the other up on the couch and heading to bed alone.  It's taking one for the team and doing bath and bedtime knowing this is prime melt down time for the boys.  It's about letting me have the last bit of his burrito after saying I didn't want one and would just eat something at home.

Year 16 contained many a difficult conversation, parenting through some really tough stuff, being 14,000 miles away and virtually unreachable for 9 days this summer and trusting I would return home safe. It looks like a million inconsequential decisions among some that will change the life of everyone in our family.  Some days it is so very, very hard to be a partner when you would rather run and hide.

16 years of marriage takes the bitter with the sweet because in the end we are better as a team than solo.

Somehow we make it work, and although not anywhere near perfect, a even a semblance of perfect or even trying to be perfect we want the best for our boys and our family. Perfect is overrated anyway.  I'll take honesty and keeping it real any day.

16 years of marriage is about wanting to show up, be present, and try my best even on the days I feel like an utter and complete failure.  I never question that Bill has my back.  
A wedding is but a day, but a marriage is all the days after.

Happy 16th Anniversary

I pick you then

I pick you now

Photo Credit- Laura Case Photography

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Holiday Advent Activity List

Like so many friends this year, we are incorporating activities into our advent calendar. Ours is a wooden reindeer with Hersey kisses and card in each drawer with an activity.

During the busy week are doing the less labor intensive ideas.  Last night we worked on Day 1 of a Lego Snowscape rebuilding some of the figures from last year's advent calendar. 

On the weekends we have picked a longer activity for each day to enjoy. 

Like last year, Bill and I did a date night in November and defined:

1.  Gotta do
2.  Would like to do it
3.  Not happening this year

I cannot tell you how much time and energy this saves having our nights and weekend filled with activities we WANTED to do over feeling OBLIGATED to do.   

Here's the List.  Several items we have already done or they are ongoing all season!

1.  Decorate and fill a box of goodies for Uncle Brian
2.  New Hill Valley Santa train
3.  Pullen Park Holiday Express
4.  Shaving cream/Lego table landscape
5.  Attend Nutcracker
6.  Date night with each boy to pick brother and dad gifts
7.  Eat Santa shaped Krispy Kreams... even got them HOT!
8.  Annual "tackiest ("crazy house"- Ian age 2) neighborhood house competition
9.  Breakfast for dinner
10. Make ornaments for our tree
11.  Write a letter and also see Santa
12.  Read nightly two Christmas books by the tree
13.  Travel to see Meadow Lights on Christmas Eve
14.  Family movie night, holiday edition in pjs
15.  Buy and wrap gifts for our Durham Rescue Mission Family
16.  Write a letter and send pictures to Siprin and her family in Kenya
17.  Make a gingerbread house
18.  Take the train to the Greenboro Children's museum
19.  Make a thank you card for teacher's gift cards
20.  Portable North Pole Video
21.  Santa Workshop Clay Class (Ben) 
22.  Find as many public places to wear reindeer ears as possible!
23.  Mom plays nightly Christmas carols on the piano using her and Mema's collection of holiday song books

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Pullen Park Holiday Express

One of our favorite places to visit throughout the year is Raleigh's Pullen Park.  It has GREAT playgrounds, a train, boats, even a restored century old carousel.

During the holiday season the park is decked out in lights and includes Santa, crafts, and Locopops.  Oh do I LOVE Locopops, a local popsicle maker with lots of seasonal flavors.

We hit Santa first to try and avoid the line later. Luckily while we did have to wait a short time, there was a open field for the boys to chase each other.  I *should*  have cared that they would dirty themselves up including the Christmas tree stencil shirts I made from this source.  So easy.  Like an hour before we left I made them easy.

After Ian escaped away from us while standing in line at the train, only to find him minutes later several yards away watching a giant TV projection of Frosty the Snowman we called it and headed home.  Oh toddler years, oh 1/2 year transitions, how I love you so.

Not really.

I did manage to get one decent picture of the boys with Santa.   I can imagine their conversation with Santa went something like this:

Dear Santa, "we would like a helicopter, a train, cars upon cars, also a Disney monorail. Basically if it has wheels just park it under the tree." 

xoxoxoxo V-boys

Monday, December 10, 2012

The perfect storm downgraded

Saturday had all the makings of a perfect storm of parenting challenges.  Bill had made plans long ago to see a 13 hour movie event at a local theater of all Lord of the Rings movies back to back.  I told him before he left that I would not contact him unless it involved going to ER. 

Ben was invited to a birthday party Friday night that became a sleep over. His first, and after careful consider, talking to the host family agreed to let him stay the night.  We talked to Ben about expectations for behavior knowing that adding Ben cycling off his meds added to 5 other 1st grade boys had the potential for a midnight run to pick him up.  Perfect Storm ingredient 1.

Bill and I took advantage of the time and wrapped up every single gift and assembled Santa toys.  The host of the party reported at am pick up the next morning that the boys were still going strong with a pillow fight at midnight and some were awake at 6 am in the morning. We expected that Ben would be tired, but a child on 5-6 hours of sleep?  Saturday was shaping up to be difficult.  Perfect Storm ingredient 2.

I had forgotten that Ben had a final Sat am art class and asked him if he wanted to still go given he was tired. Ben said yes with the agreement that he would lay down for at least an hour once home.  In all the moving from the party to the class I forgot to give him his medication. I debated giving it late, but wanted him to sleep more than anything. Perfect Storm ingredient 3.

When I went back to get Ben the Cary Christmas parade traffic was starting to clog the road so with a now tired, very hungry Ben and a very whiny Ian we got stuck in serious traffic trying to get home.  Perfect Storm ingredient 4.

Once home Ben refused to eat lunch and threw a mother of a tantrum.  The kind where I carried up kicking and screaming up the stairs and left him throwing things at me walking out the door. 

The storm has hit and the duration to be determined.

I went back downstairs made lunch for Ian and read a book to him and put him down for his nap.  Ian has hit a very hard 2 1/2 toddler transition that frankly leaves Bill and I saying in private that this too shall pass and to hang in there. We are already tired with Ben and adding Ian's antics just adds fuel to the fire.

I check on Ben who is now sobbing and hiding under his sheets.  I get into bed with him and start to stroke his hair and ask him to tell me about the party.  He does and within 30 mins of talking he agrees to eat something for lunch and agreed to lay down and look at books after an agreed single game of Uno. 

Storm is receding.

The rest of the afternoon involved going to the park, feeding ducks, walking the dog, getting haircuts, making a batch of cookies and watching a couple of Christmas shows before bath and bed.  I'm physically and emotionally drained.  I forgo a massive stack of grading and read a book until I fall asleep.

The storm has calmed.

When Bill got home after midnight and woke me up he asked how the day went.  My answer, "the storm was downgraded once it came on shore."


I'll tell you in the morning. 

While getting into the specifics of our recent meeting with the director of Lucy Daniels Center is too personal and raw to make public yet.  It was a good meeting, but we heard some very difficult things about his treatment in the process.

I'm beginning to see how to move forward with Ben as a very, very long trip. Nothing about this process seems quick, painless, or easy.  A trip that is going to require even more patience than I had helping caretake for my parents over a decade plus.

Simply getting in bed with him was not the key, nor was the agreement to the game of Uno, or the promise of making cookies.  It was hanging in there, knowing the day had the potential for so much worse behavior than it did between Ben's tantrum and the usual fighting between the boys. At one point I mysteriously just went and sat outside on the front steps of the house until they found me.

One of the things said at the meeting with the director is that you have to look at success with Ben measured smallest of steps.  I'm so tired in almost every way right now and want to know that I have the patience to persevere whatever is ahead.  I know I do, it's just the process to get there seems unbelievably daunting. 

One measured by success in baby steps and an appreciation when the perfect storm is downgraded. 

Photo Credit- Laura Case Photography

Friday, December 7, 2012

Project Runway- An Occasional Friday Series

Thanks friends who have played along with my adventures in new wardrobe building in 2012.  A year ago December as I was gearing up for my first surgery I could have never believed how I would feel a year later.   This is not to say everywhere I go is a fan gently tossing my hair as I radiate sunlight, but I have confidence in my appearance that I've never had before.

Case in point something I bought at the Raleigh Jr. League Christmas Shopping Spree earlier this fall.  I year ago when I saw this vendor I vaguely remember saying to my friend, "yeah, I bet even AFTER my surgeries I couldn't wear that." When the same vendor was there this year, I headed straight to the dressing room in hopes I was wrong.

Eating my words with this tunic and leggings combination.  So comfy. Each time I've worn one of my students have commented.  I *hope* they are not really saying in their head, "she needs to wake up and find her mumu, she is too old for that look!"

I also paired the same leggings with the denim dress and scarf from Gap.  Every time I wear this I feel like someone is going to out me for stealing a look top to bottom from a store mannequin while waiting in line to pay.

Another thing I've been trying to do is recycle summer clothes into fall/winter outfits.  I took a frequently worn shirt and paired it with dark denim and a cute, girly jacket along with some chunky jewelery.

Per the dress that I proclaimed that I would "wear the hell out of" I'm still finding new ways to wear. Including this low slung double wrap belt.  Love it.

One of the few things I really want to do before the year is out is go shopping.  I have yet to do a big trip to the mall just to browse and have relied on lots of online shopping in 2012 wardrobe building.  Something about juggling work and kids has eaten my time!

Sadly I still have gift cards from last holiday that I haven't used.  There are still several items I would love to pick up including a casual jacket to layer with cords or jeans, new flats, tall boots, a patterned shirt or tunic, and some skinny jeans in a fun color.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The kind of week where you loose a bracelet in a box of Fruit Loops

Having that kind of week.  The one where the dishes are still in the sink from Monday dinner, I still have a half finished craft project taking up have the kitchen counter, and  I found broken glass in the boys playroom this morning with no idea how long it's been there. 

* Note* Does any vendor make plastic bulbs for the single candles in windows?

Add to it that I have not slept well any night this week and the other night woke Bill up at 3:30 in the morning convinced that someone had broken into the house and turned all the Christmas lights on. 

* Note said insomnia will cause you to forget to turn the Christmas lights off thinking that an intruder will enter ONLY to turn on your lights and leave.

I've been looking for a lost bracelet all week and today get a text from Bill locating it: 
in a box of cereal. 

Yesterday I had the momentary lapse of sanity to buy a gingerbread house to make with Ben.  Didn't I say to never let me think I could pull off a feat of culinary skills again. Alas, I bought it and put it on the Advent calendar for this weekend with thoughts of redemption in my head.

It reminded of a post I wrote about the last time I wandered down the road to craft hell, the infamous candy covered train when Ben was 3. 

I linked the entire post below but I laughed out loud at my own comments

"Would the manufacturer be offended if I spelled out profanity in candy on my train on their FINISHED CREATIONS website?"

"this candy tastes like ass, maybe I wasn't suppose to eat it"

"the box says Made in Canada, I never thought of them as masochistic people before"

Enjoy if you need a good laugh or are having the same week I'm having. 


From December 6th, 2009

Yesterday was rainy, windy and nasty and I tried to make up a missed soccer class to give him an outlet from being cooped up all day. No room today so onto Plan B making the Gingerbread Train.

I now know why their are piles of leftover gingerbread house kits on Dec 26th marked down to $3.99. I think at some point all moms think "hey I can channel Martha" and have fun with the kids at the same time. Uhh.... No. I should have know it was not going to turn out at the holiday dinning room centerpiece 5 mins into the fun when Ben fed one of the wheels to the dog.

Random thoughts as we attempted to create some holiday fun...

"Damn, are you kidding me that the only directions is the finished, unrealistic picture on the box"

"the audacity for the manufactures to list a website to upload your finished 'creation' to share in other's ideas and creativity" Would they be offended if I spelled out profanity in candy on my train to share?

"No you may not use Cheetos to spread the icing"

"this candy tastes like ass, maybe I wasn't suppose to eat it"

"the box says Made in Canada, I never thought of them as masochistic people before"

"more icing will help cover up the crookedness of the caboose, maybe not"

"Ben, please don't put your chicken nuggets in the caboose"

"there is green icing everywhere, on me, on Ben, on the dog"

"better take a picture now before it implodes due to unsound structural integrity"

"where does this part go?... hell, where is the dog"

Realization that this is NEVER going to look like something we want others to see, lets dump all the remaining ass-candy and squeeze much icing as we can both stand before we go into a diabetic coma and then smash it to bits laughing as we take our "smash and crash" train to the trash can.

Best idea of the afternoon

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

BEST part, I didn't have to agree to an inflatable

Exhibit 1

Best use of a Groupon EVER. 

For $100.00 a local landscaper bagged 26 bags of leaves, planted 3 shrubs, took out a small tree, finished up some trimming I had abandoned when my ladder wasn't tall enough. 

Exhibit 2

Go back and look at the picture closely.  Do you see an inflatable Santa?  Polar Bear?  Santa riding a Polar bear?  Santa emerging from an outhouse (V boys personal favorite.)


Unlike last year when I had to promise Bill that if he raked all the leaves he could get an inflatable for the yard.  When he didn't follow through, no inflatable. 

I beat him to even thinking this offer was valid in 2012 with the whole, "pay someone else to do it."

I win on all levels. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Kicking off December with a bang

Welcome December filled with busy days and weekends.

We are doing our Advent calendar a little different this year with some type of family activity each day. I'll post later this week what is making the list for Holiday 2012.

First up the Town of Cary Santa Workshop- I've taken Ben for the past few years and thought Ian was old enough to join this year.  I went with the pretense that we would stay one hour tops head in during the 2nd half when the crowd had thinned out.  I had planned for us to walk downtown and eat lunch at the local soda counter, but when Ian was tuckered out and Ben complaining of headache we headed home.

Sunday we headed to the early service at church and then to the New Hope Valley Railway.  For two weekends in December they add a Santa who hands out candy and visits as the train makes an hour loop through the backwoods of NC.

I took advantage of the chance to capture a fun afternoon playing around with our camera's manual settings and the light streaming into the car.

Some favorites from the day-

And my favorite of the day