Thursday, January 31, 2013

January Wrap Up

January 2013

-Rang in the new year with old friends and illegal SC fireworks
-At the 1/2 point in the school year with an impressive massive reduction in my failure rate after a trying and head-banging semester
-Finished 5 books, a record for me
-Restarted a fitness program with a personal trainer.  While I am way behind where I once was, I'm going several times a week again.  It is a place to start.
-Managed to see a movie involving stadium seating over my couch
-Decision made about traveling to Kenya over the summer
-Was able to volunteer in Ben's classroom
-Kinda had the flu
-Taught Ben the rules of Monopoly and played countless games of Candyland with Ian
-Celebrated a great 38th birthday at the beach

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

How to turn 38

On Saturday, January 19th I turned 38.  The one thing I wanted more than anything for my birthday was time with Ben and Ian. Like most anyone I know who live crazy, chaotic lives I wanted a pause to play, to be silly, to curl up with the boys under a blanket without an alarm clock to wake us.   I took advantage of a winter sale at a beach resort with an indoor water park and made plans to take the boys over my birthday and MLK holiday weekend.

Bill was suppose to go with us, but after a deadline at work was extended as well as his ongoing cold he opted to stay home.  To his credit I came home to a cleaned out garage.  We started the day by finishing up a parent/child pottery class.  Ben took it upon himself to help clean up not only his work, but also helped the teacher clean the studio and take the potty to the kiln while I finished my pieces.  I could not have asked for a better way to start the day other than with a helpful child proud of his own initiated actions.  

We headed home to do lunch and birthday cake with Bill then headed on the the beach. Of course the drive down was not without incident, including a panicked Ben around the NC/SC state line screaming that Ian had a red marker and was coloring the ceiling of the car along with the back of the leather seats.  I think I careened across all lanes of traffic and happened to pull over in time to strong arm the marker from his hand and attempt damage control.  

For the next 48 hours we never left the resort and spent time at the indoor waterslides, lazy river,  and splash park.  We brought a few groceries with us and ate birthday cake for breakfast, Krispy Kreme doughnuts and popcorn for dinner, and enjoyed  Rice Crispy treats with Perry the Platypus on the balcony.  

Both weekend afternoons it was crazy warm near 70 degrees so we headed outside to play on the beach, played on the hotel playground and mini golf course, made sandcastles, walked in the warm tidepools, and kicked a ball in the surf. 
We took a long walk on the beach where the boys chased each other and talked about catching a dolphin that we would name Davey who could live in our bathtub.

*Note* We are not housing a dolphin, much to Ben's sadness. 

It was everything I wanted in a birthday.  It was everything spontaneous and full of life that I love about Ben and Ian.   It was everything I love about being a mom. I hope that one day they will remember that they were my everything as they begin parent their own children.  

They were the best gift I got for my 38th birthday.  

Monday, January 28, 2013

Crack-laced awesomeness that is Tamiflu

Twice in the last year the Vinson folk have dodged a bullet.  Last spring when we happened to have taken a spring break vacation the same week that Hand, Foot, and Mouth ran rampant in Ian's daycare and this weekend as I expected to be flat on my back for the duration of this week with the flu.

I'm not.  In fact I'm working today thanks to Tamiflu.  Last week was the change over between semesters with a bunch of deadlines on Tuesday before first day of 2nd semester.  Come Thursday I woke up hot and tired but felt functional enough for work.

By the time we made it home and made dinner I was good as gone.  I think the words, "yes you can watch more horrid circa 1993 Mighty Morphin Power Rangers on Netflix streaming until your father gets home" was uttered in the triple digits.

Once home, Bill got them to bed and before 9 pm I fell asleep in my work clothes until morning. I contemplated calling in sick, but hearing we were on a 3 hour early release due to expected bad weather developing figured I could make it until I could get to the doctor.

The crazy thing is I wasn't thinking flu outside of the extreme tiredness, I thought all the other symptoms were just the same as Bill's annual  winter cold.

The doctor thought the same and not until she offered to just be on the safe side and rule out flu did she even mention the test.  Sadly it came back positive.  I managed to get both kids picked up from school and then make it over to the pharmacy inside my local grocery.  Luckily since I had picked up groceries ahead of the storm I was in and out quickly.

We got home and I again parked the kids in front of the tv watching more Power Rangers with snacks with the instructions I was going upstairs and "unless the house was on fire or someone was bleeding" to please leave me alone.

Luckily Bill was able to get home earlier than normal and took them the rest of the night.  By Saturday I was already feeling better and by Sunday I almost felt normal.  Granted I have done nothing but watch tv as well as planned a unit on Jacksonian Democracy for the week.  I also finished a book and started another.

Basically I did exactly what I needed to, rest and get over what I still question was the same nasty strain of this season's newsworthy flu.  Honestly I am beyond thankful that catching it early, getting Bill on preventive Tamiflu and treating both boys for their ongoing colds with rest and lots of liquids was basically our uneventful weekend.

The last time I remember having the flu was Christmas 1995 when we had just gotten engaged.  I sadly remember both Bill and I being sick for what seemed like more than a week, unable to leave the house and feeling like hell.  I vaguely remember driving through the parking lot of a friends apartment complex where they were hosting a New Years eve party and gasping, "we got engaged, and we are sick and going back home" to our friends.

If Tamiflu existed, I didn't know of it.  It is some crack-laced awesomeness of modern medicine and worth every bit of the $100.00 I paid for the two prescriptions.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Stealing from Dan

Tuesday night somewhere during the wee small hours I woke up to Ben standing over me, crying that his legs hurt.  Growing pains are for sure more than the zenith of Kirk Cameron's fame. 

He asked if he could get in bed with me and of course I said yes, rubbed his knees and fortunally he was back asleep quickly.  I woke up to find that Ben had not only brought himself, but a bed full of pillows and stuffed animals with him. 

As I left to start a new semester long before he would be awake I had to pause and watch him sleep.  Life is too short not to drink up every minute you get of child sweetness. 

I finished the book 29 Gifts over the weekend at the beach.  I liked not only the personal story of perservance in the face of true testing but also how finding the smallest of ways to give of yourself.

Yesterday on the popular blog Single Dad Laughing he posted the conclusion of two-day series entitled, "33 Rules to Not be a Crummy Human Being."  Some are laugh out loud funny, others ick filled. Many seem like common sense that as an enlightened socitiey we should be doing WITHOUT having to classify it as "non crummy human behavior."  I'm linking Part 1, and Part 2 of the series.

I pulled a few of my favorites because if taking the 29 Day Challenge, I thought these fit nicely when quietly making this world a little better action by action.

  1. When you realize you were originally wrong about someone, and it turns out they’re not really the spawn of Satan, swallow your pride and tell them so. I bet it’ll make their day.
  2. When a friend has a get-together, be careful that you don’t overextend your welcome. Pick up on their verbal cues such as, “well, I sure am tired.” Or, “I really wish you’d pack up your crap and go.”
  3. Smile at strangers when you make eye contact. Don’t hurry and look away. Somehow, somewhere along the way, we all started treating each other like we’re diseased
  4. While at a restaurant, find out if your server has kids. Then tip them an extra buck for each kid.
  5. When you see a struggling parent with a screaming child in public, smile at them and say something kind. Make them feel like no one is watching and remind them that we’ve all been there.
Kindness is something we all need everyday.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Holy Awesomeness- Cake Version

Check out what just got delivered!

OMG how awesome is a This American Life birthday cake.  The only thing better would be sharing it with Ira himself. 

So happy. 

Thank you Eileen of Sugar Mama Cakes! 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Hoping for a Mexican wrestler themed confection

I'm not going to lie, I cannot think of a week in the past 6 months that has tested my patience more than the events of this week.  Most dealing with work and not for public forum but also lots of nighttime ick from one if not both of the boys.  Bill has been on a major project at work and when not at work, is collapsing and asleep once he gets home late most nights.  


In 13 years of teaching I've had lots of upset at times nasty, ugly students.  Many a tense email or conference that needed diffusing with polite but firm professionalism. This week in particular I've made a gazilion parent calls about grades being on the line and passing the class with lots of negativity from everyone involved.  

But not this:

Yesterday as I am walking across the crosswalk from the faculty lot into the main traffic circle, I started across thinking a car was going to allow me to pass.  It did, but down the window comes with a yelled, F-you  from the parent inside.  Note that the student appeared to still be in the car.  Great role model and also use of profanity before 7 am. 

Some days I really don't know if I am going to make it for the long haul or if I even want to make if for the long haul.  This week in particular has me weighing the trade off of doing something I love with such little respect or appreciation.   

On the positive my birthday is Saturday and our family is heading out of time for the long weekend.  Earlier in the week Bill asked me what I wanted and I first said just the weekend with the boys, but then I thought about something I truly want.  I want a new messenger bag to replace the nasty, has picked up every public bathroom germ-bag I've been carrying since Ben was a baby.  

I also wanted a cake.  Not a purchased at midnight, last in the case leftover one at the grocery.  I wanted a  Sugar Mama's cake.  

So I contacted Eileen.  

Below is the email I sent with a reply that she was laughing so hard she almost fell on the floor.  

I can't wait to see what she drops off tomorrow. My guess is it won't be a Mexican wrestler themed confection.  My guess is it will be a highlight of the week to know that despite a truly awful week, I can still find the funny.

Added bonus to be eating yummy cake by the weekend.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Magic 8 Ball predictions

Happy 2 week birthday brand new year!  I decided not to do resolutions this year.  I also figured that I would wait a few weeks into January and combine with upcoming 38th birthday goals. 

Instead of resolutions, here is my list of predictions that come December 31st, I will achieved or tried like hell to accomplish.  

By year end,

-there will have been Kenyan soil on my shoes again

-I will have had reason to wash an extra load of smelly, sweaty gym clothes each week

-re-trained and run a 5k, possibly with Ben

-thought hard about pursuing National Board teaching license renewal and tying myself to teaching for 13 more years

-purged the house of all things for the under 3 crowd

-quietly walked away from commitments as well as relationships that I no longer want to invest time

-realized that I am most likely half-way through this life and consciously worked towards making the best decisions for my health, both physically and psychologically

-have done what I can to ensure Ben is getting the best care and treatment, then not guilt myself into thinking I could have done more

-practiced patience daily with Ian as we travel through the 2-3 year old phase

-seen my brother more than in 2012

-not gone to my 20 year high school reunion since most everyone I want to see, I already keep up with through social media

-spent time with girlfriends in lots of combinations including college, high school, my adult friends

-used my old lady face cream nightly as well as my prescription tooth paste twice a day

-thought before I spoke when I disagreed with Bill

-read some great books among my goal of 30 on GoodReads

-kept a prayer/meditation journal with a weekly entry

-have found, bought, and am currently wearing a killer pair of jeans

-learned how to use the manual settings on our camera

-showed appreciation to those that make my life rich and full in small and not small ways.  Sometimes signed, others anonymously

-said Yes (selectively) when it might have been the default to have said No

52, make that 50 weeks to unfold ahead. 
What do you have in store for me in 2013, Magic 8 Ball?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Rite of Passage

Big night at Casa Vinson as Ben lost his first tooth.  He's been a little worried that he would never lose his teeth and told me the other night that one girl in his 1st grade class had lost 15 at one time.  I assured him that no one looses that many teeth.

*Exception* Hobos

Ben was excited. Mom was excited that he lost it at home and not at school only to likely be lost on the playground by an estatic Ben.

Mom was also super excited that she was able to pass on using the tooth fairy pillow made by my maternal grandmother  Mary-Hall Jobe.  She passed away in 1994 and left behind beautifully created quilts marked for her future grandchildren.  Ben and Ian would have loved her collection of children's books, board games, and her one on one time with her grandchildren called, "an apple and a conversation."

Ben wanted to make sure the tooth fairy would be able to find the pillow among the gazillion Lego creations on his dresser.  I suggested maybe we should put it outside his room, just in case.  Ben opted to also make a sign just in case she didn't see the pillow.

Only a 6 year old :)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Weekend round-up on Tuesday

Since I'm heading into final exams and the end of the semester deadlines it's likely going to be a quiet week in this space.  But before I sign off this week, I wanted to share some awesome that went down this weekend.  

Exhibit A- Unbelievable sunset on the way home from school Friday as I started pick up.  It was so amazing that I pulled the car off the street and the boys and I sat on the hood of the car watching it go down through the beauty of winter trees. 

Exhibit B- No picture, but 2 sessions of 10 into working a personal trainer.  I'm getting exactly what I need.  Lots of 30-45 min workout options that utilize lots of different options.  Saturday I ran sprints in between core work on the indoor track.  I was unbelievably tired and sore. It felt amazing. 

Exhibit C- My friend Laura H. was in Raleigh for a work meeting and came by and deliver the motherload.  That is the last 12 years of her work product in the way of files for my upcoming US History classes in the spring.  Can we say no amount of picking up the tab at dinner or some freezer meals can thank you for the time she are saving me in the spring as I pick up a new class.  She rocks, she is awesome, I wish my kids could have her as their teacher.  There is a reason why she is NC Secondary Social Studies Teacher of the Year 2012.

Exhibit D- A real movie.  In a theater.  Without kids.  Bill and I swapped time with the kids and since I just *had* to go get garbage bags and check out the K-cup selection at Bed, Bath, and Beyond I also saw Silver Linings Playbook.  Not exactly a rom-com that you would say, "hey let's watch this guy trying to get his life together in the face of years undiagnosed schizophrenia with serious relationship issues for two hours as enjoyable," but this movie is wickedly good and definitely worthy of the upcoming awards season.  Plus two hours of Bradley Cooper which was the deal-sealer.

Exhibit E- I finished Tiny, Beautiful Things. Wow. Soul- moving good.  I know what I want for my birthday on the 19th, a paper copy to mark up, pass to friends and come back to as many times as I need. Please read this in 2013.

Exhibit F- Season premiere of Downton Abbey.  Time get my bonnet love on for relationships that I care about in the same way I did Big and Carrie SATC days.  My friend Ellen came over and while I did dress for dinner not in a ball gown, but rather in a kid food stained 1994 sorority party shirt, I did break out the fine china and sterling to serve cupcakes and tea. 

I also took the boys to the library for new weekly books as well as did a family movie night to watch Pete's Dragon.  While we had the average amount of squabbling, they also played well together for a bulk of the time PLUS didn't fight me on cleaning up.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Love List January

I'm going to start a new monthly Friday series in 2013 entitled, Love List to keep up with a handful of things that are currently making me crazy happy. 

1.  The new TriEx Expressway Final Phase is OPEN!- What's that Heather, your 75 min from school door - house door afternoon commute just got a little shorter?  Why yes, thanks to a new toll road.  Let's not even TALK out the fact that I've been ON TIME for work.  Worth every cent.

2.  Trader Joes Dark Chocolate Popcorn Crunch received as a thank you gift. Amazingly good. As in ate the whole can while commuting, good.  Will also be trying the new Sweet Potato tater tots on the next visit.  The answer to, "are you going to eat your tots, will hopefully be Hell yes, so get your own."

3.  Miss Jessie's Hairstyling Products- I am loving that I went back to my original haircolor just before the holidays.  I love it even more after seeing pictures of my streaky, roots-a-showing hair in fall photos.  What's awesome is I can put it in on damp hair and it's dry by the time I'm out the door with no blow drying, very little effort for soft defined curls.  I still want to go permanently straight, but for right now I'm actually liking my curly hair.

4.  Recent trip to White House, Black Market in which I picked up 2 skirts, 1 shirt, and a dress on major sale.  I also picked up 3 pairs of shoes on the same trip.  See what being childless in a mall does to my budget!!.  Childless shopping is better than a Caribbean vacation, for real.  This was my favorite of the skirts that has silver leather strips stitched on a white backing in a retro, geometric pattern. LOVE IT!

5.  Fresh flowers.  My local grocery as well as Trader Joes has great, fresh options that can be arranged in a nice vase for under 10 bucks. Just before the holidays I picked up these burgundy lilies and some loose greenery. I added the ribbon that was tied around the bouquet and I created this for my counter. Life is too short to only get flowers on special occasions.  Today is a special occasion.

6. Goodreads- I am attempting to read 30 books in 2013.  I came close with 26 books in 2012.  What I love about cataloging with Goodreads is that you can rate, view friends books for suggestions, as well as "shelve" books into specific categories.  I am advocating, "neglected my children" or maybe "fed them Hotpockets 'cause I was too busy READING" as a category.  I'm currently reading Tiny Beautiful Things which is hands down one of the best, the universe put this book in my hands at this specific time books I've read.  Please read it and then discuss among yourselves.

Love List January, you are rocking my world. 

What's on your Love List?  Go!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

One puking toddler wasn't going to spoil anyone's vacation

Note that my mouth feels like someone punched me hard in the jaw due to spending all of my 2013 dental benefits and almost 1/2 of my flex med account on not ONE but TWO procedures yesterday. I'd been waiting since early fall for new benefits to kick in to get a 1st ever crown.

Then in an M&M eating episode on Christmas day added a broken tooth. Ironically the broken tooth was NEXT to the tooth needing a crown so I wound up with 2 1/2 hours of work yesterday and cursing again my damn hobo teeth.

Before we move into 2013, one final post about 2012, specially what we did outside of refereeing lots of fights, watching lots of Ninjago, and cleaning up what seemed like a perpetual sticky kitchen counter over the vacation.

On Sunday 12/23 we took Amtrak over to the Greensboro Children's museum.  The boys loved the train and the museum is only a couple of blocks away from the station. The museum offers a room of full size fire and police cars, race car and cab of a tractor trailer. If local, this makes a great day trip, as my boys stayed almost 4 hours and had to be convinced to leave to make the train home.

Christmas (Eve) mom and dad were up to almost 3 am putting together Ian's car and wrapping the last of the gifts.   Note that Santa and the Santa Mouse got to feast on Krispy Kreme doughnuts and cheese.  The Santa Mouse is my favorite kids holiday book.  My mom once told me that around age 4, I snuck out of bed and ate the Santa mouse's cheese and was caught red handed by my dad about to be settling in putting together Santa toys.

Besides leaving a totally surprise Keurig for me, Santa also left me pork rinds.  He even remembered that BBQ is my favorite variety.  Sadly he only left ONE of the BOGO free offers on the bag.  Damn him.

Ian asked for a car and candy pops, so what did he get? A ride-on car filled with a mountain of suckers. While we were unwrapping gifts we discovered he ate somewhere around 10 suckers, proudly showing us the evidence.  Who cares, it was Christmas.  Ben did get a Nintendo DS with lots of ground rules about when and how much to be played left by Santa.

Later Christmas day we drove out to Meadow Lights which boasted a gazillion lights.  My friend Chrissy had once told me about some redneck place she once went as a kid that hosted the most inappropriate Crucifixion display next to teddy bears jumping out of presents.  Sadly, I think we found it. Oddly enough despite my and Bill's "never again" glances the kids loved all the lights.

We left on the 26th in a monsoon of rain for Atlanta. We tried pushing off leaving later but instead got stuck in the middle of traffic for a large part of the trip with carsick puking toddler.  Luckily I keep an emesis basin in the car and was able to keep puking incident 1 to a minimum of nasty. Unfortunately incident 2, resulting in a full strip down in a very nasty gas station bathroom in the middle of a equally nasty cold, blowing rain.

*No picture available of puking toddler nor nasty gas station bathroom.

Once in Atlanta we met up with Bill's family. After a room mix up we were able to sleep off what had been a horrendous puke-filled drive. Luckily it was also only car sickness and not a virus.  While in Atlanta we went to the Coke Museum, Lego Land Discovery Center, played tons o games at Dave and Busters, swam in the indoor pool, and met up with more of Bill's family that live in Atlanta for big family dinner on Friday night.

We opted to stay an extra day to avoid driving home in more rain and also to spend more time with Grandmommy. She graciously let Ben sleep with her for several nights allowing mom and dad to be real wild party animals and fall asleep by 10 pm.  I will note that I got to read 1 1/2 books and go shopping. The trip was a serious win for me.

Once home we spent a couple of lazy days and then met up with our friends and their kids for New Years Eve.  Mom had the forethought to pick up some illegal SC fireworks on the state line while on the way back.  Maybe it's just me but I can't say, "Megabanger" without giggling.

We broke out the silly string, shot off all the fireworks and made S'mores around their firepit before crashing in pjs and calling it a good end to the year.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Back to work and school today with thoughts later this week about 2013 goals.

I give you this to kick off your 2013.  Make that a round off kick to the face for 16 straight months thanks to my brother.