Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Workin' 9 to 5

If ever there was a photo that had absolutely nothing to do with my blog post, this would be it.

Funny movie - and now a musical.

But, nope. It actually serves no real purpose here.

I now have a 9 year old and a 5 year old. OK, therein lies the only similarity between me and this promotional photo for the film.

Moving on.

I have a 9 year old and a 5 year old. Did I already mention that?

I know parents say this all the time as their children grow older, but "I can hardly believe it." Call me cliche. I'm stunned. When did this happen?

I can't stand cliches, so now this post is making me sick. Cliches are only uttered when one knows not what to say. They are pure conversation fillers for dead air. I find them mindless and thoughtless and I can't stand them. And yet, here I am, spitting them up all over the screen.

However, when it comes to my children, MY children, my sentiments aren't cliche. I really am shocked at their development. I look at photographs of Harper from only a year ago and still see the chubbiness in the cheeks of my little wisp of a girl. Now she's all pencil thin, with long legs (that are obviously not mine). She's got a style all her own, dressing all funky-chick-like with the jeans and the Ugg's (hand-me-down Ugg's. Please, like I'd really drop full-price coin on those) and we have even started experiencing, as the Supernanny phrases it, "backchat" from that sweet mouth. Which is far from lovely, I know. But, rest assured, she is disciplined without hesitation each time the words leave her mouth. Not sure when that girl will be allowed back on the Wii. Mom doesn't hand out idle threats. She'd be wise to learn this.

Zane is all, "I can do it myself", which is especially true in the bathroom - thanks to the good Lord and his Doc. I needed to enlist the help of his Doc at Zane's 5 year check-up to convince him that "all the doctor books" state that 5 year old boys can indeed wipe themselves. Doc completely played along with me, and thus, Zane is now set for Kindergarten. He still hasn't lost his love of snuggling, but he has told me, quite emphatically, that I may not kiss him in front of his friends. While I can still scoop him up into a little ball and kiss him all over while we're alone - which he relishes - I know that time isn't on my side anymore. For how is it, and why is it that Zane has learned various pieces of trivia, such as that one should never lift their middle finger?

Hey, I can't regulate everyone else's children. Or their parents.

So, I resort to cliches.

We are entering those years where we will be having to discuss foul language, sex, cheating, body image, drugs . . . you name it. It's coming. To this theater.

And while I boldly state here that I am not scared to engage in these conversations, I have some worry/fear that my kids won't come to me to discuss these topics. However, the difference between my childhood and Harper and Zane's is that I am surrounded by a "great cloud of witnesses" for Christ. My children are honored to have relationships with adult believer's, who, if need be, they can talk to during those moments when they despise their parents.

Yes, it will happen. I am fully confident that I will hit a hic-cup with my kids. I pray that this would not be the case, but, just in case, I am also working towards developing their trust of my friends - other mother's who they deem "cool". And more importantly, who walk with Jesus, and thus, are cool in my eyes as well.

So, while now, I am workin' 9 to 5, those ages will change. In a blink of an eye, (cliche - shudder), 9 and 5 will be 12 and 8. 15 and 11.

But, I don't work alone, people. Walking with Christ isn't a solo position. Nope. George and I may be the project managers of Team Atkins, but we're enlisting the help of our support staff. That doesn't mean that I'll ask M to do the sex talk. She'd faint (jajajajajaja). I won't delegate out the huge tasks. But I do think there is something to be said about working together to raise our children - especially when all of us (at least in my circle) desire to nurture and build up children who love God and love others.

So, you're hired. (You know who you are.)

Clock in.

I'll take a shift for you also.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Get the Lead Out!

You know me by now.

I like a deal.

I'm not cheap, but I like a deal.

Salvation Army and Goodwill are treasure storehouses.

Lower your nose . . . if you wanna be all snooty-pants, then fine. I'll take Ann Taylor for $2.99. You can go and pay a gazillion dollars.

More for me.

Harper turned 9 today. All she wanted was a cover for her tennis racket.

On Tuesday, I realized . . . it's Tuesday. Her birthday is Friday. I live in Beaver.

What does that have to do with anything, you ask?

1. I've left no time to have something shipped
2. Beaver has ONE sporting goods store. Dick's Sporting Goods.

Sure, I could climb Freedom Road and make my way to Cranberry, or run down to Robinson (although I'm not even sure what other sporting goods stores are in those locations). But, I don't have the time in my day to do this. And, I forgot to google, so now I have one store in which to shop.

I get to Dick's only to find that they have no racket covers for purchase. There are covers that come with rackets, but having just bought her one a few months back, this wasn't an option.

Wait. Hers didn't come with a complimentary cover. Hmmm.

"Um, excuse me. We purchased a junior racket for my daughter and few months back. Hers didn't come with a cover. Any chance I can just purchase one of the adult covers that come with some of the other rackets?"

"No. I don't think we could do that. Sorry."

Oh, buddy. A simple "no" isn't going to stop the likes of me.

"Can I talk with a manager?"

Time for the story - keep it real, though. Not to sappy or desperate.

"My daughter turns 9 on Friday and is having a tennis party. All she wants is a cover and as you know, there are no other sporting goods stores in Beaver. You are the only game in town. Hoping you can help me out"

"Well, I don't have any covers for junior rackets. They were recalled for lead. So that's why she didn't get one when you got your racket."

Oh, China.

"So, technically, she should have gotten a complimentary cover with the racket, right?"

With that, he grabbed a few covers off the wall and began matching them up with the racket that we already owned.

"Let's take this one up to the check-out."

Figuring he was going to charge me, I set my price at $10, for he had in his hand what could be considered "top of the line" as complimentary covers go, plus it was larger than a junior racket. And, since I had planned on paying more anyway (had I properly googled), I figured $10 was a good buy. I really didn't want to pay more for this simple, black, padded one. However, I literally had nothing else planned in terms of a birthday gift, so I was praying that I'd get a fair price.

He walked me through check-out and then handed me the cover.

"Happy Birthday to your daughter."

"How much do I owe you?"

"Nothing. Hope she has a fun party."


"No problem."

It was the right thing to do, but I was still surprised, seeing as we were in a "big box" sports store. I was also surprised because for a complimentary cover it fits the whole racket, (not just the head), and is padded, with a strap.

China, you must, must, must, stop it with the lead in children's toys and gear. You're going to get yourself a reputation.

Although this time, your blunder worked in my favor.

Thanks Dick's for the perfect gift for my 9 year old.

Forget the almost 30 hours of labor and c-section. That's all behind me now. I fought hard. And just look at my dazzling, precious, priceless prize.

And now, that prize has a cover for her racket.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Homeschooling, MLK-Style

So, I got over school being canceled for 5 inches of snow, and the threat of canceling  for temperatures below 0.

I can be a bigger person.

(Yes, there's a big, however, coming.)

HOWEVER, here's yet another "I'm not used to" moment about Beaver.

Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. day is a federal holiday observed on the third Monday of January to honor one of the all-time absolute greatest leaders in American history.  In fact, there are only 4 federal holidays commemorating an individual person.  So, I would say that's a pretty big deal.

Well, this year, the snow day trumped Reverend King.

Harper will have school on January 18th.  That's not really the part that bothers me.  In fact, perhaps, being in school that day will be a good thing, providing that there is actually ample instruction about Dr. King on the day designated to highlight his life and remarkable accomplishments.

Now, just as our family tends to keep the Christmas books out all year long, I also don't limit books about Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, and Ruby Bridges to February (Black History month).  I don't want Harper, or Zane, growing up thinking that we only celebrate Jesus in December, or that the historical significance of the civil rights movement need only be discussed on Martin Luther King day or in February.  And yet, I do like that our country has a day singled out to call to remembrance the civil rights movement and, more specifically, the leader at the helm of that movement.

So it saddens me that the school board chose to use Martin Luther King Day as a makeup day for inclement weather.  The reasoning?  That we may have more snow days coming and not enough extra days to make up for them at the end of the year.

Um, that's not Martin's fault.

George Washington fought for freedom and inalienable rights, too.  Maybe he'd give up his day for Reverend King?

Maybe I'm just being all dramatic-Joline again.

Perhaps you've not given any thought to it.  If you haven't here are some links to some kid-friendly movies and books (easiest enough for Zane to listen to) that you may want to share with your children.  Harper read these to Zane tonight and then I shared with them what it means to be a racist.  Yep, even Zane.

Ruby Bridges (film)
Be forewarned.  I cried during this film.  My daughter actually had to comfort me because I was so very livid.  If you don't know, Ruby was actually threatened with being poisoned by a protester as she entered school.  She was told she would be hung.  One person actually stood outside the school holding a coffin the size of a baby doll.  Inside that box? A black baby doll. 

Martin's Big Words

A Picture Book of Martin Luther King

Coretta Scott


I Am Rosa Parks

I hope the school will choose to teach our children well on Monday.  I am disappointed that Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Day doesn't seem to warrant the same importance as, say, making sure the kids get out of school on June 4th.  Or that it doesn't carry the same weight as other federal holidays. But, I have to trust that the school will have a planned curriculum to commemorate the day.

Please don't treat it as an after-thought.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Where It All Happens

Well, I'm either a wimp or just really want to keep my fingers and toes.

The attic was freezing.

So, I moved.

As the winter months breezed right through the plaster walls of our 100 year old house, I realized that my dream of the attic space was not to be. Actually, it was George who upon first seeing the house claimed the attic just for me. As my office. Not to shut me away.

I think.

But, alas, that was not to be.

And boy am I glad.


Before moving, the cool temps of the third floor forced me to take up residence at the dining room table, and then the secretary desk that a friend graciously gave me - which Harper has taken a liking to for homework, and I continue to use for opening mail, writing thanks-you cards (LOL) and such.

However, both of these options just didn't work to serve as a full-on office.

Now, on the second floor, I can hear all the way down to the basement. The kids can sit next to me on the desktop while I work on the laptop, as I do not allow them on the computer unsupervised.  I can choose to shut my door.  If I don't want to, I'm not stuck being isolated up in the tower. 

It's a cozier set up for the whole family.  Mom is more present and yet still has her own territory.

Thought you might want to see it.  At least the work space.  While it's neat.

The other side of the room houses the guest quarters.  I'm going to fill the wall over the bed with art I've been craving from Etsy.  A bulletin board is tucked behind the door (they can get oh so messy) and is divided between personal/writing/Mary Kay. 

I feel very settled in here.  And I love, love, love, that my NEW and IMPROVED office, is not as secluded as the attic space was.

Nor will it give me frostbite.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Come On, You Know You Want To . . .

nominate me.

Me, little known blogger, who does a heck of a lot of rambling about parenting, children, and, well, ok, other stuff, while jacked up on coffee.

You've been reading. I know you have.

I have Google Analytics.

So, why not give me some props, yo?


Check out the contest here. Be forewarned. You're going to have to write something nice about me.

Here's the scoop directly from the link - but you've got to go to the link to make it happen for me.

Question: What is Your Favorite Parenting Blog?
Do you prefer a blog that gives savvy parenting advice? Or would you rather read a blog that feels like you're sharing stories with a close friend? (UM, THAT'S ME!) Do you like the popular blogging sites, or have you discovered a great little-known blogger? (UM, HI. YEAH. ME, AGAIN!)

We want to know which parenting blog is your favorite and why. Can't decide? Nominate a couple of faves. We're taking nominations for the best blogs from January 1, 2010 through January 24, 2010. Voting takes place in February with the Reader's Choice winner announced March 1.

Answer: A Great Parenting Blog, whether written by moms, dads or both, is one that speaks to the reader. We invite you to nominate your favorite parenting blogs for this award. In this case, we're looking for blogs that:

•are written by a parent, primarily about being a parent, parenting and family life (CHECK)
•have meaningful content (SURE. YEAH.)
•are updated regularly (I THINK SO, BUT DON'T ASK MY NEIGHBORS. WINK!)

How to Nominate: Favorite Parenting Blog

Between January 1 and January 24, 2010, use the form (link below) to nominate your favorite parenting blog. Place the name of the blog in the subject. In the text area, include the url and an explanation of why this blog is your favorite. The form has a 50 character minimum. Do not hesitate to nominate blogs that have already been nominated by others. Multiple nominations increase the chances that your choice will make it into the finalist round for voting.

Once nominations are closed, a panel of parents will select 5 finalists to move on to the voting stage. Finalists will be selected from blogs that meet the above guidelines. While the number of nominations for a particular blog will be a factor, it is not the only criteria. We recognize that the best blog might be one that is a hidden gem.

Voting will take place between February 1 and February 24, 2010. Winners will be announced on March 1.

Nominate me here.

Thank you.

I'd love to bribe you with a giveaway, but I trust you will nominate me on my merit alone, and not for my Mary Kay wares.

Although, if I win . . .

Lipstick for everyone!


Happy nominating!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Happy Birthday: Home Style

January can be a rough month for children's birthday parties when one doesn't have the luxury of shuttling a crowd of children jacked up on sugar into the backyard.

And unless you want to rent a room at the park district building (of which there are none here), or shed out the bucks for Pump It Up (of which, I've not found here), or go bowling, active options for hyper children are minimal.

Harper's 1st, 2nd, and 3rd birthdays were all in our home. Our condo, to be exact. And we packed the joint with at least 20 people. Her 4th was just 12 days after Zane was born. Due to post-partum difficulties, we had it at the bowling alley. The 5th was a blow out at a gymnastics center. The 6th found us back home again. The 7th, back at the bowling alley, and the 8th, at home.

A good mix.

For Zane? Each party has been at home.

This year was no exception.

If you know my children, you know that Zane is, well, the quieter of the two. He prefers smaller numbers (not that the parties are quiet - but compared to Harper, his parties don't come near her decibel level).

The key to having a party at home?

KISS. (Acronym, people. Google it.)

Zane loves pizza, so, we had the boys make their own upon arriving. While they were baking, we played a game in the living room. Moving on, they returned to the kitchen to paint wooden door hangers for their bedrooms. Pizza time! Followed by cake time! Followed by pinata time! Presents!

And . . . scene.

1.5 hours.

If it sounds like I just moved from one activity to another without much delay, you're absolutely right. Sure, it was only 5 boys, but I didn't want to risk any down time for racing, wrestling, and the prospect of tears being shed.

The adults munched on goat cheese and spinach pizza and Darth Vader-Ade (which was surprisingly good) while the kids ate their creations. And the cake? Oh yes, with the exception of one year, George always makes the cakes.

This year, he experimented with fondant and mixed Nutella into the batter.

Oh yeah, it was good.

The only snag was when I accidentally kissed my son.

Now, in his defense, we had ample conversations about this and had come to the agreement that I would NOT kiss him in front of his friends, and he would NOT kiss me. Hugging, however, was permissible. But kissing? Not so much. Well, my head wasn't in the game and I was so very tempted by his yummy sweet self that I just let one slide. Right after we sung Happy Birthday.

And then a cry went out from all the land . . .

"Mom! You kissed me! We talked about that!"

He covered his face with his hands and shook his head.

Major faux pas.

I was forgiven, and when it came time for bed, he clung to me and George with such love. And yes, there were kisses.

It was nice to celebrate Zane's momentous event in our home. And to share our home with his little buddies.

And Harper?

No way - we're hauling her and her friends to the tennis court for her birthday in a few weeks.

I won't put the neighbors through that sort of earthquake. I like them.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Giving Props to the Snow Day

Please spare me the "I told you so's".

Lately, I've been mouthing off on the silliness of two hour delays and giving snow days from school for a mere 5 inches of snow.

Give me a bit of a break. In the 6 years that I've had a kid in school (which includes three years of pre-school, for they always followed the district's decision to either delay or close when it came to snow), I NEVER experienced a delay or a snow day.



Now, however, I'm living in Beaver, where delays can happen if temperatures reach zero, and snow days occur on days like today with only 5 inches of snow on the ground. This is new to me. Especially the part about delaying school when the temperature plummets. And, well, I've been pretty vocal about how ridiculous I think this is.

And yet, today, on my first snow day since I was in school myself (back in Northern VA where we were known to be delayed for a mere 2 inches), I experienced a snow day.

Um, it was glorious.

Harper, Zane, and I shared the day with my neighbor and her daughter at another girlfriend's house. For hours. We broke in our hostess's new juicer (back off, it was cool), had a fabulous lunch, drank coffee (you are surprised?), played with make-up (we're girls), and enjoyed having all our kids play together in the snow and around the house.

It kind of goes along with one of my personal goals for the year. The one about spending more time investing in relationships with people rather than being so caught up in the "have to's" and "must do's" that have invaded my life in the past. Yes, I was once a slave to the schedule - chime in if you KNOW it to be true. It's ok. Won't hurt me. Now, I barely check my calendar.

It's been awhile since I've experienced having my kids just play for hours at a friend's house without the formality of a scheduled play-date. I mentioned that to my girlfriend today and she replied with something like, "Well, that's just the way we roll here."

Way to quote the Jonas Brothers.

I am convinced that the chaotic lives that many lead, as I once did, are contributing to the lost art of being able to just hang out with friends without the assistance of a scheduled event, or party, or earlier agreed upon date. We totally did this when younger - you know, in that kid's basement - for hours, just sitting around yapping. And, in college, where spontaneous dorm room gatherings just popped up naturally. But now, with so much to do, and so many places to be, we don't experience the pure joy that is a "pop-over". (Although, for the record, I called first.)

Here I thought our time in Evanston was so spontaneous, and surprisingly, it wasn't. Our lifestyle was partially to blame, (mainly overscheduled), and sadly, we only truly realized this in 2008 when we first learned we'd be moving. We thus made a concentrated effort to spend time with the people in our lives, starting with a 2009 New Year's Day gathering - for at that point, we knew what other's didn't. That we were moving. It took a life changing adventure to change our goals. And now, our desire was to spend quality time with our friends every week. We've since kept up that practice.

So, thanks snow day.

Thanks for the fresh apple/clementine/grapefruit/carrot juice, the conversation, the sledding, the coffee (oh, the coffee), eye shadow, and relearning the beauty of just hanging out with no agenda, no plans, and no expectations other than just enjoying the warmth of new friends. Both mine, and those of my children.

How about another snow day next Wednesday?


Thursday, January 7, 2010

That Will Be $90

"Memorize your opening line so that you can begin with complete eye contact."

"Underline your key words so that you will remember to emphasize them."

"Great creative use of your own pitch when talking about the highness and lowness of your instrument's pitch."

"Take your time with the gestures. No need to rush."

Last night. Our house. A coaching session with none other than . . . my daughter.

Worlds have collided.

The project? Create an instrument (she chose to make Soda Bottle Pipes) and then prepare a 3 minute presentation about your instrument including information about how it was made, and how it works. Explain various terms such as Volume, Pitch, and Frequency, and show how they relate to the instrument.

She wrote the presentation

She made the instrument with Dad.

Then, she put two and two together and practiced for us.

She has my genes. She spoke way too quickly.

I was just beginning to gently give her some pointers, when, mid-sentence, she stopped cold.

"Wait! Is THIS what you do with kids? Is THIS coaching?"

I wasn't sure if answering "yes" would cause her to reject everything I was about to impart to her about public speaking, or whether she would think it was cool. I went with the truth.

"Yes," I answered. Hesitantly.

"Cool! How much do I owe you?"


Yeah, you heard me right.

Private lessons don't come cheap.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Check. Check. Check. Check.

I am having one of those days.

No, not one of those days.

Those days.

The opposite of those days.

Today was one of those days where I have accomplished everything on my list. Seriously. Everything.

So, this might be a pretty boring post for you, but in honor and celebration of my day, I'm going to rehash how it has gone thus far - as it is only 3:45 PM. If things have gone this well up until now, I can only assume the last part of the day will be just as satisfying.

I woke at my usual 7:30, having gone to bed in my workout clothes. Yes, that's right. Instead of pajamas I dressed in my workout clothes so that upon waking I'd be ready to meet with Jillian. Call me crazy, but it worked. I exercised today.

Did you?

Ok, so I didn't work out right away, but instead went into a cleaning frenzy, the likes of which shocked my husband. The kitchen. The bedrooms. The bathroom. Living room. Dining room. No room was safe.

Honesty, I've been organizing like a nut so that my house will be ready to bring in someone to do a deep clean on the joint. Not a regular thing, (although I wish), but a New Year's super scrub. We never really hit every nook and cranny when we moved in, (note to self: if I ever purchase another home, have it cleaned before moving in personal belonging), so now, 6 months in, I feel like I need a professional to do some serious domestic magic.

After the cleaning marathon, my neighbor with the "great eye" came by to take a look at the new office/guest room and offer suggestions, gave me some new ideas for the bathroom, shared with me a brilliant brainstorm for the kitchen, and once again helped me to see the beauty that can be found in my old home.

She took off and UPS showed up - with my new Moleskine pocket notebook that I will be using as my 2010 prayer diary designated exclusively to help me lift up George, Harper, and Zane. So, I sat down and did. The book is devoted solely to praying for them. Everyday. My prayer life has never been strong. I'm kickin' that.

I read the paper.

I prepped dinner.

And yes, I did keep my date with Jillian, who, via Wii, told me that I "was wasting her time". I pushed a bit harder and got the pat on the back I needed. Sure, this portion of the day happened several hours later than intended. But that's not the point.

I Mary Kay'd.

I'm blogging right now.

Let's see if a few more items on my list will actually happen tonight.

If only Glee wasn't a rerun tonight. It would have made for the perfect Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Love Pile

My little Casanova is at it again.

Making me all weepy with his lovey dovey words.

Zane is REALLY excited about his 5th birthday on Sunday. So much so, that he has already taken to wearing a construction paper birthday crown around the house.

In preparation for turning 5, we decided to do a bit of overhauling in his room. Now, let's be clear. My definition of overhauling is to redo a room using items that can already be found in and around the house. No new furniture. But voila! Turn around and the "new" room looks entirely different!

Luckily for him, the attic space that has housed my office for the last 6 months is just not working out in the way we had hoped due to the lack of heat. One day in the future, once we check off the countless projects we already have planned for this house, we will redo the heating system so that the largest part of the attic - the one with a vent - can serve as a bedroom or office. The smaller room (the vent challenged side, which up until today served as my office), will now become the "attic" - actual storage.

But until that day when we can redo the third floor, I have moved all my furniture, files, inventory, etc. into the guest room, which other than having a bed, is quite lovely for an office space. And once my decorator neighbor has at it one may not even realize the bed is a bed. Hey, all I know is that it's warm, and it has a door I can close - which was my initial request when I prayed for a house with a home office.

My moving in, meant that some furniture from the guest room had to move out and into Zane's room - namely a bookcase that matches one he already has.

As we set out to organize his toys so that he could fill the "new" shelves, I witnessed Zane's knack for both organization (which I never knew), and the art for making one feel loved (which I did know).

Perhaps it was that he felt so very honored to have an entire evening devoted to his room. Perhaps is was because he was getting "new" furniture. Perhaps it was because I actually billed the massive cleaning session as a means of turning his room into 5 year old's room.

Whichever the case, he went to town on the space by actually initiated the setting up of piles as we dumped all his toys on to the floor.

"This is the give away pile. This is the go down to the basement pile. This is the throw away pile. This is the Harper's room pile, and THIS is the keep on the shelf pile."

I was so very proud of how he was able to sort and make decisions as to where toys would land. And then, we came to some cards that I had given him.

"This is going in my Love Pile, because you gave it to me and I love you and you are so beautiful."

These are the moments that make every tantrum worth it.

He also found some photos of a dear friend of his from back in Evanston.

"His pictures go in the Love Pile because I love him."

We finished his room and settled in to read some stories before bed, whereupon I found myself clutching my soon to be 5 year old a bit tighter.

No sooner had a I finished and said good-night, Harper called me into her room.

"Mom, you wanna do my devotions with me tonight?"

Where are my babies?

Don't get me wrong, I don't crave any more babies in my Love Pile, but when I look at these two I can't help but marvel at the experiences and the history and the memories that we have already created in only 9 years of being parents.

At the end of the month I will have a 5 year old and a 9 year old.

I'd say that's a pretty good Love Pile.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Free As A Bird

I have spent years harboring an internal jealousy of early birds.

You know, those birds of a feather that flock together and rise from their slumber an hour before the children to do their morning devotions, exercise, and plan out the day. Those amazing mother hens who manage to prep dinner and get in a shower before gently shaking the kids awake.

I am done with the pressure.

Over. It.

I'm not going to hen peck myself any longer.

This owl is finally giving up her quest to join the roosters and is finally admitting that one bird is not necessarily better than the other - as I always assumed. For doesn't it seem that the night owl always gets the rebuke over the early bird who is praised for being so industrious at dawn?

Waking early has some sort of badge of honor attached to it. There is an awe that surrounds the early riser. And while I do admire the commitment and discipline it takes to rise before the sun, I'm not going to lay the guilt on myself any longer for failing to wake at the crack of dawn.

For here I sit, at 9:00 AM, having woken at the respectable hour of 7:15. I made the kids an awesome breakfast at 7:30, put some laundry in, made my bed, and am dressed for my morning workout. Sure I could have done all this an hour earlier, but, why? Perhaps I'll need to do so when my kids begin high school and have to be up and out earlier, but, for now? Why?

Rewind to last night. I had a surge of energy around 7:30 PM, at which time, I helped both kids straighten their bedrooms, and then snuggled in bed to read with them before heading downstairs to do some planning for Zane's birthday, write a piece for The Bridge, and make a list of "to do's" for the first Monday after winter break. Then, I hopped in bed around 12:30 AM and read for a little bit before dozing off.

So really, why must I continue my failed attempts at defecting to the likes of the roosters? Why must there be this competition in my mind between night owls and roosters/early birds?

Why must I harbor this pressure when my clock that seems to be working just fine?

I have a dear friend who is down for the count by 9:00 PM. And this is NOT just because she is a busy wife and mother who also holds down a job during the day. Nope. She was like this in college also, hopping into bed by 9:30 PM while the rest of the floor in our dorm continued on into the night for hours.

This works for her, and my night owl clock works for me.

So go ahead and get your worm, or whatever, and cockle-doodle-doo your vocal chords to oblivion every morning. I'll gladly embrace the night shift in our house and will celebrate the productivity that unleashes itself within me while the sun dozes.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year!

Here it is 12:22 AM on Friday, January 2, which means that if I had made any New Year's resolutions (which I didn't) I'm either(depending on your perspective) getting started a day late, or have already broken the resolutions.

Regardless, I didn't make any resolutions, so I'm safe on both counts.

I am, however, a huge list maker, goal setter, and a complete sucker for only being able to start projects at the beginning of the week. I unashamedly admit that I subscribe to the whole, "I'll begin the new exercise program on Monday", type of thinking.

Which is why New Year's resolutions don't really work for me. Well, that is, unless New Year's day is on a Monday.

And thus, I have been very encouraged by Julie Powell's attempt (and success) at cooking her way through Julia Child's "The Art of French Cooking", for she didn't start her project on January 1, but rather in August. Atta girl.

If she can start a seemingly insurmountable project 8 months into the year, so can I. It's just not necessary to get roped into starting . . . well . . . yesterday.

Now, wait. I'm no slacker. I do have some personal goals I'd like to tackle this year. But, but, but, I will not commit myself to believing that January 1st is some magical on ramp to the success of my projects.

Here are some items I'd love to accomplish in 2010 - only, I've yet to begin, and don't necessarily even have to begin until, say, three weeks from Thursday, if I don't feel like it. So says Julie. Well, at least, that's what I'm imagining she'd say to me if I actually knew her.

1. I want to say "thank you" more often. I will begin this venture with a New Year's letter of thanks, in which, you, dear reader, may be named. I have a lot of catching up to do on the "thank you" front, and I've decided to use my yearly e-letter to thank those who have assisted our family this year.

Ok, this is so code for I am completely behind at writing a big fat load of thank you notes, and thus I will use one big fat letter to thank everyone all at once, while making it sound like I'm taking a creative departure from the typical yearly letter. Nope. Really, I just screwed up and allowed the thank you's to allude me this year.

It is my joy to share that I just couldn't keep up with all the thank you's that I should have dispersed in 2009.

That is saying a lot about the people in my life.

Of whom I'll thank in the big fat letter.

2. I want to share my time with friends. I have already found that my new life in Beaver includes a much healthier attitude about getting together with others on a very regular basis. For some reason, on which I still can not place my finger with absolute certainty, people just seem to have more time for people here in Mayberry. Yes, the pace is slower, that's a contributing factor, but the internal personal pace of my new dear friends just seems less scattered and more intentional about developing relationships. The depth of conversations I've already had in these 6 months continues to baffle me.

Beautifully baffles me.

3. I want to keep my 40 year old body healthy. I'm planning on continuing my 20 minutes/5 days a week exercise challenge in order to do so. It's simple. It works.

Wanna join me?

4. I want to pray for my husband and children. I'm haphazardous with my prayer life. Always have been. My first book of the New Year will be "The Power of a Praying Wife". It's a start. As I used to journal a ton, and am accustomed to writing my prayers, I may just use Word, or my journal feature on Outlook, to record my daily prayers for my family.

5. I want to write. I have three children's stories to write down, all of which came from improvisational story times with my little Zane. I have notes for a book that need to get fleshed out. I have an idea for a new weekly Cuppa blog inspired by my morning devotions over a cup of coffee at Newport Coffee House during our years at Trinity. I would like to submit at least 1 article per month - somewhere.

6. I want to create a morning space. Once again, this night owl is hoping to wake with the roosters. My attic, I'm sorry to say, is just not a warm spot during the winter, and thus, I haven't quite found my "space" in my house yet. Still searching for it. Lot's of options, that's for sure, but I need to find my true nesting place.

7. I want to move into my house. Rooms painted, drapes up, family photos framed and on the walls. I want this house to feel/look like home.

Then there's the Mary Kay goals, the scrapbooking goals, etc., etc., and there I go - falling dreadfully into the pit of "I resolve's".

Not gonna go there.

For if God's mercies are new every morning, as scripture says (Lamentations 3:22-23), then each day is a truly unique divine opportunity to begin anew. That, in turn, likens each and every day to New Year's day, or, if you think like me, a Monday.

And thus, none of this "I blew my resolutions" crap.

Take THAT, resolution fairy.