Friday, August 27, 2010

It's Funny Because it's True

Andy and I took off yesterday because Andy had a doctor's appointment and needed me to drive him. * That left us with the afternoon free so we decided to pick Michael up from school and take him to see Despicable Me. Michael sat quietly throughout the movie, and at times I wondered if he was bored, but he seemed to enjoy the movie and danced in his seat at the dance party at the end.

I, however, loved the movie. Andy and I both got some good belly laughs out of it. I particularly liked when Gru (the good bad guy) went to get a lone for his next diabolical plan. The bank sign read, "Bank of Evil" and then in small print underneath, "Formerly Lehman Brothers." I thought that was a nice touch.

My favorite line of the entire movie was when the little girls asked Gru to read their favorite story book again. He told them that the book had been "Accidentally, maliciously destroyed."

I think there are a few Scooby Doo books that could use a little accidental, malicious destruction.

*No, nothing is wrong. Andy just can't drive for several hours after getting his eyes dilated. That's so not interesting I couldn't even bring myself to include it in the main text of the post.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Moment of Parental Restraint

Michael has been in a very sweet and lovey kind of mood lately and I'm really enjoying it. It involves lots of hugs and kisses, demands for snuggles, and exuberant exclamations of "I Love You!" I never expected this level of affection from him, and I have to say that it is really wonderful.

At times, though, it does cross over into the realm of clingy. Which I deal with because...well...hugs and kisses rock.

Anyway, last night I was making dinner when Michael realized he needed to pee. He grabbed himself and ran to the bathroom. When he got there he found that the light was off and ran back to ask me to turn it on. (Because he's afraid of the dark, even though the light from the hall is bright enough.)

I stirred dinner and ran to turn the light on for him. Then I ran back to the stove.

He comes running out again asking for me to pull his pants down for him. A silly request, but I don't want him to pee on the floor or to burn dinner, so I run in behind him and pull down his pants.

I knew that he was just doing this to get my attention, and I was both amused and annoyed by it. I was so tempted to ask sarcastically if he wanted me to hold it for him too, but like the good mommy that I am, I bit my tongue and left him to take care of business. I rolled my eyes and headed back into the kitchen to wash my hands and finish up dinner.

Granted, this isn't mother of the year kind of stuff, but sometimes taking the high road with a 4 year old at least deserves a pat on the back.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I know, it's a little early in the week for randomness, but hey, what can I say. I just feel random today. So, let's see what comes to mind.
  • When we were down at the shore, Michael went into the bathroom to wash his hands and discovered something new. A bar of soap! He had no idea what to do with it because he's only ever used liquid or foam soaps. How embarrassing to have to teach my 4 year old how to use a bar of soap.
  • Also at the shore, my dad called Michael over at one point to show him some videos on Youtube. In response, Michael grabbed my iPhone, opened the youtube app and showed my dad some of his favorite videos. My dad was impressed. It kind of made up for the soap fail.
  • Michael threw a major tantrum yesterday when I picked him up from my mom's. I have no idea what set him off. It was almost like he just needed to explode and was looking for a reason to do it. I let him go for a few minutes, and when he still wouldn't get his act together, I pulled out the big guns. I told him I'd put his Scooby Doo books away if he didn't get in the car.
  • I'm liking the Scooby Doo books a little better now that they have demonstrated their motivational capabilities.
  • On the ride home yesterday, I tried to listen to something other than song #7 on the New Moon soundtrack. I put on a Yoyoma CD instead in another attempt at broadening Michael's musical horizons and sparing me from listening to the same song over and over for the rest of my freaking life. By the time we got home, guess what we were listening too?

Monday, August 23, 2010

A New Obsession?

Anyone that has spent much time around Michael, or has listened to me talk about him, knows how intense Michael is about his obsessions. His letter obsession started so young, and was so pervasive, that I wondered if he might have Aspergers. While his social development calmed my concerns, it certainly didn't lessen the intensity of Michael's dinosaur obsession when it started. When Michael is into something, he really, really, really gets into it.

The good thing about his letter and dinosaur obsessions is that they have positive value to them. His love of letters has led to a love of words and an early interest in reading. I'm all for that. His love of dinosaurs has been very interesting and opens the door for a lot of natural science discussions and discovery. Sure, I'm a little tired of dinosaurs at this point, but at least it's for a good cause, right?

So what is the new obsession? Scooby freaking Doo. One of those hot weekend days when Michael was too sick to go out and play, I decided to watch something new with him. I went into On Demand and noticed some old Scooby Doo episodes were available. Some other mom's have mentioned that their kids like the shows, so I decided to give them a try. Michael liked them. A lot.

In the past month since I first played those three On Demand shows, Michael has added several imaginary friends to his current batch. So now, instead of having just Ella, Dora, and Alicia* riding along with us, we now have Scooby, Shaggy, Fred, Velma and Daphne as well. I'll tell you, that's way too many imaginary friends for a mom to keep track of. I used to pretend that Dora, Alicia and Ella had to wear seat belts in the car, but I've given up on the teachable moment in this case. Maybe I should just put Velma in charge of making sure everyone's hooked properly, that seems like her kind of thing.

In addition to the imaginary friends, we have also picked up a number of Scooby Doo books. These aren't quick little books like like the level 1 readers, these are stories with a bit of a plot that include lots of words and lots of reading. Typically, I'm happy to sit down and read to Michael, but as anyone who has ever watched Scooby Doo knows, it's the same plot over and over and over again.

They all go something like this. Meddling kids go somewhere in the Mystery Machine. Monster shows up. Scooby and Shaggy are bribed to help solve the mystery with Scooby Snacks. Gang splits up and Shaggy and Scooby find monster while looking for food. Fred then uses Shaggy and Scooby as bait (mostly by dressing them up as women) to capture the Monster. Something always goes wrong with Fred's trap yet they still end up capturing the monster who is reveled to be a bad guy trying to scare people away for some nefarious purpose.

Not only is it the same plot over and over again, the writing in most of the books in not very good. I'm always left wondering how a projector on a water park mountain could project an octopus underground or, how the Mystery Inc. gang could fall through a hole in a salt mine without there being any salt under the hole. It makes no sense. And for crying out loud, one of the books even has a sentence ending with a preposition! Reading them is pure torture.

Which of course means that Michael wants me to read them all the time. Not only does he want them at bedtime, he's also brought them outside and had me read them to the neighborhood kids as well as taking them to my mom's and to school. Michael even managed to coerce his new teacher into reading one of the books. She seemed a little shell shocked by the experience. She commented that it was long and she had to do a bunch of different voices to keep the kids interested. She finally asked if Michael sits through a whole book, recognizing just how tedious they are to read.

Oh yes, he does. And not just one. I've had to draw the line at only two Scooby books at bedtime because he would sit there for an hour if I I was willing to do it. But, I'm not. In fact, I hate one of the books so much, I've hidden it in hopes that he'll forget it even exists.

We finally broke down and purchased several Scooby Doo DVDs for him to watch. I simply cannot satisfy his Scooby appetite with his books and the few shows that are On Demand. I'm doing my best to limit how many times he watches them, but if it's between me reading about the sea monster that steals a rainbow flounder five times a day, and plugging in the DVD...sometimes the DVD is going to win.

I really hope that this obsession is fairly short lived and will be replaced by something a little more interesting. And, if that wish isn't granted, I hope that we can at least avoid the discovery of Scrappy Doo. I'm not sure my sanity can survive that kind of assault.

* I don't know why Diego never got to come along. Maybe Michael thinks he won't like Alicia hanging out with Michael or something.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Phone Photo Friday - Silly

I remember saying a few weeks ago that I was happy that I have a 4 year old boy and would not end up being sucked into the whole Silly Bandz thing.


Little did I know. Sigh.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Only and Only?

Over the past four years I have watched as all of the families I know because of my May 2006 baby have grown from one, to two, and even three child households. In fact, I can think of only one other family that I meet as a result of my having Michael that has not added another child. It's been interesting watching everyone expand their families while we have kept ours small.

This was highlighted last week when Laura sent me the article "One and Done", by Lauren Sandler from the July 19th issue of Time Magazine. (She sent me the actual pages cut from the magazine through the US postal service. Isn't that like, so retro?) I thought it was a very positive article about singletons, and I hope that it gets a lot of readership, both with families with singletons and those without.

I think the most surprising thing that came up in the article was the fact that a large number of people think that only children are odd, peculiar, and somehow damaged by not having siblings. I've always known that people assume that only children are a bit spoiled and over indulged, but I never realized that so many people think they are practically freaks of nature. I will say that it does make sense of some of the odd responses I've gotten when telling people that we don't plan on having another child. Some people are completely offended by it and strongly insist that I must have another child. I guess if you think only children are ruined for life, a strong response is understandable.

All I can say to that is, really? Only children are damaged goods? All of them? Please.

Of course, it's easy for me to dismiss that idea. I read the article while we were at the shore last weekend. My only child father was sitting across the room from me eating his breakfast. My only child husband (until he was 9 or 10) was getting a shower, and my only child son was trying to get me to read him Scooby Doo books. While I tend to agree that all three of them may have been over indulged in some way as children, none of them were sitting there sucking their thumbs while rocking back and forth trying to sooth their damaged souls.

The good news from the article is that only children tend to turn out pretty well as a group. They do better in school and on SATs, they have higher self esteem, and they tend to be more successful than children with siblings. The idea is that because there is only one child, there is no division of resources, so the child gets more attention and does not have to make sacrifices so other siblings can do activities as well. There is also no indication that receiving all of the attention and resources makes the child selfish.

The article also made some good points that I do need to remember. We need to make sure that Michael has an opportunity to develop friendships and he'll need to be give time to nurture those friendships. It also means that when Andy and I get old, the entire burden of caring for both of us with fall solely on him. We need to plan for that to ensure that we counter as much of that burden as possible with finances and long term care planning.

I'd say my take away from the article is that single child families are just as valid as multiple child families. You do what works for you, and don't worry about the choices of other families. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

I do want to go back and address the many, many comments I've received from people about only having one child. I don't mind people asking me if we are going to have another child. It's nice talking about my family, and I don't mind saying that we are on and done. But I do wish people would think a little more before they respond in a negative manner. First, who really thinks they have a right to judge another family's decision? Most of the strongly negative reactions I've gotten are from older men who had wives that stayed home and cared for their children. They always push me on it even after I politely try to change the topic. I now end those conversations with, "unless you are going to pay for the child's college education and get up with him or her in the middle of the night, you don't have any say in the decision."

And people say I lack subtlety, can you imagine?

But really, that's what it comes down to. Most people don't decide to have only one child simply because that's all they want. We normally have a number of reasons for the decision, and they are typically fairly personal. Please don't make parents of singletons justify their decision by forcing them to explain things they shouldn't have to. Singletons are on the rise right now, just like the last time they were common. That was during the Great Depression. (When my dad was born.) Having a second child during a financially uncertain time is scary for many people, and they shouldn't have to explain that they are afraid they will lose their job to make a stranger feel better.

Even harder on parents of singletons is when they only have one child because of medical reasons. Secondary infertility is fairly common and it's heartbreaking for parents trying to have a second child learn that they can't. It's just adding insult to injury to lecture them on how selfish and horrible it is for them to not have another child. And yes, people do tell parents of singletons that they are horrible and selfish.

The other family I know with a singleton would love to have another child, but due to a health condition, they cannot take the risk. The poor mom has found herself giving out her medical history a number of times trying to justify their decision to other people. It makes me really angry that she's been put in that position. She's not nearly as blunt and confrontational as I am, and therefore doesn't feel comfortable just telling people to mind their own damned business.

So I'll say it for her. Negative people who think I should have another child to live up to your standard can all just mind their own damn business. We have made our decision for good reasons, and you just have to trust me on that.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Where Summer Rules

I've been talking about getting Michael down to the shore all summer long, but it wasn't until Karen did her post about the beach that I finally got things going. Karen and I both grew up at the Jersey Shore. Karen's a true Jersey girl and lived there year round. My grandmother had a small house on Long Beach Island, and I spent just about every weekend there in the summer. I know people from the southern beaches scoff at the Jersey Shore, but for me, that's where summer happens. While I doubt that I'll ever be able to get Michael down there as much as he would like, I'm going to work hard to make sure he grows up with the Jersey Shore as part of the summer ritual.

We didn't do much of anything while we were there. We didn't go to the small amusement park. We didn't go fishing or crabbing (maybe next summer). We simply relaxed and played.

My dad's house is right across from a school field, so we literally have a playground in our front yard. With a four year old, clearly there is no way to avoid spending time there.

They have a rock wall for climbing. Michael hasn't mastered this yet, but not from a lack of daddy trying.


He was laughing while Andy was helping him, but once Andy let go, he was a little more apprehensive.


Now the slide, on the other hand, is easy going.


Hey mom, look at me!

From the slide he wandered over to the swings. Michael doesn't entirely get swings yet. He gets the part where mommy or daddy pushes him, but I cannot teach him how to pump his legs and power himself. I sat back and watched him contemplate the situation.


He took the typical kid way out.


As I was snapping photos, I started to get some amazing lighting as the sun set. And then, the battery died in my camera, and I was forced to stop taking pictures. Instead, I spent the next 20 minutes pushing Michael on the swing.

The other big activity was swimming. Michael is a little fish and it doesn't matter if he's at a pool, the bay, or the ocean. He goes in. The water was a little rough in the ocean, but that didn't stop him from playing sandpiper with the surf.


I remember running in and out with the surf when I was his age, and it is very sweet to watch my own little boy do the same thing. He was so cute. He would pick up a clam shell and hang onto it while he ran back and forth.

He even hung onto it while he ventured into the water.


When the tied went out a little, I was able to get him into the ocean up to his waist. He showed no fear.

One thing about the beach is that it wears kids out. I mean exhausts them. The big problem with that is that it also tends to exhaust anyone who is playing with him. I got that job on Saturday, but on Sunday I was able to hand that off to his cousin for a little while. (They are Something like 4th cousins, but it's the closest family Michael has in his age range.) It's amazing what kids can do if you give them some shovels and pails.


Their "lounge" ended up with a big foot rest in the center and the walls were decorated with shells. Best of all, I got to sit for an hour while the boys did all the work. It was magic.

Speaking of magic, not only does the beach wear kids out, it also makes them HUNGRY. Not only did Michael eat a lot while we were there, he also tried several new foods and liked them. I don't expect him to ever eat those foods again, but it was nice to see just once.

On Monday morning, it was supposed to rain, so we planned on heading home after a pancake breakfast. Instead, the sun came out and we ended up spending the morning swimming and playing at the bay. I've never seen Michael so happy. After several hours, he finally headed for our beach chairs, wrapped himself in a blanket, and declared that he was tired.

Mission accomplished!

We headed home after lunch with some fond memories, and a zombified little boy. Next year, we'll definitely make an effort to make more trips to the Shore.

(And I hope by then Michael will sleep in a bedroom by himself. Sleeping in a queen sized bed with a four year old stuff between Andy and I really sucked!)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

No So Bad

I had promised myself that I wouldn't blog about Michael getting sick anymore, but considering how much it's become a part of our lives, that was probably a little unrealistic.

During bedtime stories on Tuesday evening,, Michael commented that his left ear hurt. Based on the usual progression from cold to ear infection, I wasn't surprised. I asked him if he wanted medicine, he refused, bedtime moved on.

Later, right when I was drifting off to sleep, he started whimpering in his bed. I listened for a minute or two and then decided that I needed to see what was going on. I went in to check and he started wailing and grabbing his left ear. It's such a heartbreaking thing seeing your child in pain and knowing there isn't much you can do to help at the moment. I offered him medicine, he refused, I tucked him back in and hoped for a little sleep.

Five minutes later, I was pouring out a dose of Motrin and setting up the blankets on the floor so I could keep him company through the night. He curled up next to me and rubbed his sore ear before finally drifting off to sleep.

By morning he was feeling a bit better. I decided to send him to my mom's with a strict warning to call me if he started to have trouble with his ear. I planned on taking him in after I got off work since my sick time is limited and his ear wasn't bothering him too much. We've been through this enough that I know the pain hits mostly at night when he's laying down.

He made it through the day just fine. My mom took him out and he was in a good mood when I got home. I quizzed him on how he felt. "Good."

"Does your right ear hurt?" I asked touching his right check.


"How about the left ear?"

"It's feeling a little better."

I took his temperature. 99.1. Then called the doctor's office.

I like my doctor's office, and they do a decent job of trying to fit everyone in for late day sick visits. I'm always grateful that the doctor's are willing to stay late to see my child. But, that said, it's not always a wait free endeavor. (Unless you can get your kid to puke on you. That worked fabulously.)

The first strange thing that happened was that Michael didn't fight me about going to the doctor. I simply gave him my iPhone and let him watch Youtube and he went along happily. On the way there, I explained that he would have to put the phone away when the nurse and doctor needed to exam him. He seemed OK with that.

I was a little confused.

We didn't have to wait long before they ushered us into an exam room. Once again, Michael didn't resist. In fact, he got up and headed to the exam room with me following behind. Then, he handed me my phone.

Wait, who are you and what have you done with my son?

The nurse took a quick history, checked his weight and temperature, and left us to wait.

And wait.

And wait.

And wait.

For 45 minutes. She left me and a sick four-year-old in a small exam room with nothing to do for 45 minutes. And folks, this is where it gets really strange.

Michael and I had the best time. We talked and giggled and hugged and snuggled. Every time he though the doctor was coming he'd jump on my lap and hide his face in my neck. When she didn't come in, he'd hop up onto the exam table and make silly faces for a no laughing contest. His faces weren't that funny, but I kept laughing because he was having so much fun.

It was one of the best evenings we have had in a while, and that's saying something because our evenings have been pretty good.

I also noticed something interesting. He's never seen the doctor that we saw last night, but every time he thought the doctor was coming in he would say, "It's her!" How cool is it that my kid automatically assumes that a doctor is a woman? What a huge difference from when I was a kid. It's nice to see progress being made.

When the doctor finally did come in, Michael was a little shy. He wrapped his arms around my neck for comfort while the doctor started her exam. I love the cuddliness of four-year-olds.

The doctor looked in Michael's good right ear first. She took a peak and said she couldn't imagine what the left ear looked like if the right ear didn't hurt. It was swollen and had pus building up. Can you believe it wasn't bothering him at all? The left ear was actually better than the right ear, but was causing all the pain.

It's interesting to see what the different doctor's prescribe. One doesn't prescribe cephalosporins for children who are allergic to penicillin. Others prescribe a two dose a day cephalosporin. This doctor prescribed Omnicef. As she was writing the prescription out, she explained to me that it may turn his poop red.

"Cool! Did you hear that Michael, it might turn your poop red." As she was explaining that it's just the suspension the medicine is in and not blood, I was thinking about what a great motivation that would be in getting Michael to actually take the medication.

Then she said he only needs it once a day. That cuts our medicine misery in half. I was so happy I could have kissed her.

We did talk a little about Michael getting tubes in his ears. He didn't quite make the number of ear infections for six months, but the next one will put him into the one year limit so they'll keep a close eye on things. I'm going to talk to my neighbor who is a Nurse Practitioner and find out which ENT they used since I fully expect another ear infection in the next month or so.

Overall, despite the bad news that Michael had a double ear infection, the appointment went really well. Most of that had to do with how pleasant Michael was through the entire ordeal. I haven't wanted to jinx it, so I haven't said this...but so far, there's a whole lot that I like about Michael at four.

When we got home, I went over everything with Andy. We are both torn about the possibility of Michael getting tubes. On the one hand, we don't want him to have to go through even a minor surgical procedure. On the other hand, we'd really like them RIGHT NOW.

The funniest thing to me was Andy's response when I told him the medicine might turn Michael's poop red. "Hey, that could be great motivation to get him to take it."

I think the fact that red poop could be a potential motivator says a whole lot about just how difficult Michael can be when taking medicine.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Kids Should Come With Disclaimers

I've had a runny nose since the day I was born. It was so bad that when I was little, my constantly running nose used to gross my brother out on a regular basis. I'm sure he was thrilled when I was old enough to finally blow my nose properly and he didn't need to see the show anymore.

I have minor allergies that are mostly just an annoyance, unless you add in a dog like we had while I was growing up. I can't imagine life without the need to blow my nose every day. As a consequence, I buy tissues in bulk.

The thing is, we only do the bulk shopping a few times a year. In the past, it's been enough to keep us well stocked on tissues, so I rarely even monitor tissue box levels. I just take it for granted that when I need tissues, they will be there.

You know all those colds Michael had this winter, spring,and summer? They kind of threw off my tissue inventory.

I didn't notice it until I used up the last box of tissues on Michael's latest cold. (Yes, he's sick again. Waa Hoo!) So, last night after dinner Michael and I ran out to pick up some tissues from Walgreens. Before we went into the store, I pulled out the last tissue from my purse pack and had Michael blow his nose, thinking that would hold us while we bought some more. It should only take five minutes, right?

I sort of forgot that Michael knows about the toy aisle until we were in the toy aisle in the middle of negotiations over possible toy purchases. Michael was trying to stretch my agreement to buy a pack of knock-off silly bands into purchasing every toy in the store when it happened.

He sneezed.

You know, the kind of sneeze a kid that still hasn't grasped the concept of blowing one's nose has. The kind that clears out everything that's been clogging his head for the past ten hours since the last horrendous sneeze. The kind of sneeze that makes you wonder how such a small person could fit that much snot into his tiny little head.

The kind of sneeze that covers half of said child's face.

Remember that part about using the last tissue in from my purse? I stood in the aisle staring down at him with this disgusting trail leading from his nose to his chin wondering what to do. I glanced around to see if there was anything cheap and cloth like that I could use and then buy. There was nothing. I considered carrying him over to the paper goods aisle and opening a box of tissues. I was pretty sure we wouldn't make it without him burying his face in my hair and cleaning up that way.


I grabbed the corner of my shirt and gave him a good wipe. Then, I quickly resolved the toy discussion with a "it's silly bands or nothing" alternative and rushed over to pick up the tissues and get my slimy child and my slimy self out of there.

I don't plan on ever running out of tissues again.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Does anyone know what this shrub is?

I'm wondering if anyone knows what the shrub I have pictured below is called.



The reason I'd like to know is because my "landscaping" has gotten a little out of control and I need to do something about it.

That's one of the drawbacks to living in a town home community with a Home Owners Association. We can redo our landscaping if we want to, but any changes need to be approved by the landscaping committee. In theory, I don't have a problem with this. It does help keep our neighborhood looking nice. The problem is that I've needed to redo the landscaping for several years and keep putting it off because I don't want to draw up a plan and submit it through the approval process. I think instead, I'll just tear everything out and replant with the original type of shrubs. That would be easier to do if I actually knew what I have growing out there.

I know I could probably spend a while going through books at the book store and figure out what it is, but I'm guessing that one of you will be able to glance at it and tell me what it is in about 3 seconds flat.

Also, anyone want to come over and help me rip out a ton of out of control Black Eyed Susans, junipers, and yellow and green shrubs?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I've been thinking about goals a lot recently. Exercise goals, health goals, work goals, life goals. And, since I'm a geek, I've even spent a lot of time contemplating the concept of goals itself.

For example, let's look at my recent exercise goals.

I set a goal of 500 miles in 2010. Here is my current status.

You can look at this chart two ways. 1) Wow, check that out! Talk about overachieving! or, 2) Wow, you don't really set very challenging goals, do you?

So, what were my other 500 in 2010 goals?

  • My first is that I want to be able to run the entire two mile loop at the local park without stopping to walk.
  • My second is to run my first 5k. I'm hoping to do this in August or September.
  • My third goal is to complete the Warrior Dash with Laura this fall.
I set those goals in March. I nailed the first goal a few weeks after setting the goal. The 5k goal I completed on July 3rd. The only reason I haven't completed the 3rd goal is because Warrior Dash is a set date. I'd run it tomorrow if I could.

In retrospect, those weren't very challenging goals. Looking at some of my work and health goals, I see the same pattern. I set very conservative goals, and then I do better than I planned.

What I've been wondering is if this is a good thing or a bad thing? On the surface, my gut reaction is that I'm too risk adverse and that I may be selling myself short by under estimating what I can do. Then again, I know that if I'm uncomfortable with a goal, I may be more tempted to quit because I think it's unattainable. After I mull over it for a little while I actually get disgusted with myself for making seemingly simple things so darned complex.

I need to get a handle on this because it's time to set some goals.

First, I need to set some new exercise/health goals. I'm happy with my current exercise frequency and effort, so I want to make sure that my goals are challenging enough that they will motivate me to continue working at this level, at a minimum. I've also found that knowing I'll be running Warrior Dash with Laura and Maria has been an awesome motivation for me. Turns out I'm willing to work harder if I think it will impact someone else. Good to know. So, when I set my next round of goals, I need to come up with something that will get me exercising vigorously at least four times a week for a least an hour a session, and that I should somehow be accountable to someone else if I fall short. Got it.

The other problem with goals is the unintended consequences. Between 500 in 2010 and a walking challenge we had at work, I'm really burned out on recording steps and miles. I also discovered that my focus on distance/steps has discouraged me from doing exercise that doesn't count towards my metrics. That means I've hardly used our rowing machine.

This is were one of my health issues comes in. Blood pressure? Great, maybe even a little too low. Weight? Let's just say my wedding dress is way too big to wear these days. Everything looks good...except for waist size. My waist measurement has not decreased in proportion to the rest of my body measurements. While I've brought my waist size under the 35 inch high risk level, it hasn't been by much. I'd like to do something about this for both health and appearance reasons, so my goals need to include this. It also means I'm strongly considering ending my miles tracking as soon as I reach 500 miles in a few weeks.

With all of this mental rumination over my exercise and health goals and my goal setting strategy, I've also been examining my work and life goals. I'm fairly happy with my work goals right now. When I decided to change my career track two years ago, I did a good bit of soul searching, and I'm happy with the path I'm on. But, not so much for the life goals.

Let's face it, having a child turns your life upside down and changes the way you feel about many things. That's both good and bad. However, for the first two years, my life goal was to get enough sleep so that I could function. Then, when the sleep thing started to settle down, the high maintenance kid thing smacked me in the face and my goal became finding enough down time to prevent me from having a nervous breakdown. Then, this winter the endless cycle of illness hit and my goal became getting enough sleep so that I can function while also finding enough down time to keep from going completely insane. These are all worthy goals and appropriate for the time, but I suspect that 15 years from now I may have different needs and desires. (If not, I'm going to cry.) I should probably start thinking about that.

As a shorter term version, it has occurred to me that I'm only a year and a half from a pretty big milestone. I'm going to turn 40! I want to do something special to celebrate that milestone. What, I don't know. But I want it to be impressive enough that I need to start planning for it more than a week ahead.

I should probably get on that, shouldn't I?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


After taking a week off, I'm having a little trouble getting back into the swing of things. So, lets do some randomness to catch up a little.

  • Michael's daycare teacher decided to change careers so there has been a little bit of upheaval at school. His old teacher was great and everyone was sad to see her go. I think this change played a part in Michael's recent tearful drop offs. Drop off went well this morning, so hopefully he's adjusting to the new teacher. I'm picking him up today, and I'm looking forward to meeting her for the first time.
  • My mom took Michael to get his haircut last week. It wasn't the best hair cut ever, and my mom actually made the mistake of mentioning how bad it was in front of him. I think she thought I would be upset with her because she took him. I wasn't. She did me a favor by taking him.
  • When one of my neighbors saw Michael she asked him if he got a hair cut. He responded, "No, I got a horrible haircut." The laugh we got out of that almost made up for the $12 I paid for the hack job.
  • Michael has entered a very loving and affectionate stage and I'm thoroughly enjoying it. I'm not sure which I love more; when he says, "Come sit next to me mommy because I love you" or when I walk into the living room to find Michael sitting pressed up next to Andy, both of them looking relaxed and content.
  • I've discovered a very odd side effect to running. I've never been into pop music, but now that I'm working on increasing my pace, I've discovered that pop music tends to make excellent running music. So, for the first time in my life, I've actually been listening to pop music stations searching for songs to add to my play list. How weird is that? It's almost like being a teenager.
  • Speaking of almost being like a teenager, Michael gave himself his first bath. He's been getting more independent in the tub, but I've still helped him with the actual hair and hiney washing. On Sunday night he decided he didn't need my help and kicked me out of the bathroom. I respected his request and hovered just outside the bathroom and only peaked in a few times. Aside from the fact that he washed his butt with shampoo, he did a great job!
  • Next, maybe we'll tackle teaching him how to get his clothes on right side out and front side front.
  • On second thought, considering his habit of slowly shedding clothes throughout the day, maybe we should just work on getting him to keep the clothes on.

Monday, August 2, 2010

It Would Be Funny...if it wasn't happening to me

We ended up with two different viruses floating around the house last week. Michael had a stomach bug the previous weekend and recovered from it by Tuesday when he went to school. Unfortunately, he passed it on to Andy. Also unfortunate was the fact that Michael picked up a cold at school on Tuesday. So that means that we had a cold and a stomach bug in the house at the same time.

Yes, I managed to get both of them. At the same time. I will not go into details, because it was not pretty. The only saving grace was that I managed to get only a mild version of each.

To make matters worse, I had two projects at work wrap up last week. Friday we needed to out-brief management on the one project and I had a drop dead date for submitting results on the other project. I had to be at work on Friday, even thought I felt horrible. My plan was to wrap everything up in the morning and head home to sleep at about 10:15. The out-brief went well, so I headed into my second meeting to get approval to submit. Everything was clean. I had done due diligence. I simply needed the nod of a head.

Silly me, I forgot about the politics behind the project. Clean or not, we had to "socialize" it. We needed to make sure that no one got their itty bitty feelings hurt. So, I was off on the wild goose chase of trying to get several executives to feel good about a decision that they didn't actually have any control over. Did I mention these executives are also engineers, one of whom likes to think he has control over absolutely everything?

Not only did I not leave at 10:15, I had to stay late so that said executive could talk to so and so and make sure that such and such was covered and whatnot. I suppose that made him feel all warm fuzzy. But I spent the next five hours blowing my nose and running to the bathroom dreaming of how wonderful laying in bed would feel. At 3:15, I sent the exact email I would have sent at 10:15. The only difference was that egos were placated and we had a lot less toilet tissue in the restroom.

I'm proud to say that I never cried.

Although, I did think about it.

More than once.

To be honest, our weekend wasn't much better. All three of us were sick, so we ended up spending most of the time in the house.

Even worse? At some point yesterday I ended up with Sandra Boynton's "Moo, Ba, La La La" going through my head to the tune that starts that Lady Gaga song.

I'm really hoping things improve this week so I can get back to blogging...and sanity. (Although, with "MOO BA! LA LA LAah!" going through my head, that's questionable.)