Monday, September 29, 2014

This is the End of the Line

Well, yesterday was the completion date for my Day Zero List.  

How did I do?  The list was 60% complete as of yesterday.  But honestly...I'll bet that's better than most people do.  

And now, a breakdown.

Items that I just wrote down to fill up the "100 Things" list and probably never was going to do:

37.   Ride in a hot air balloon

63.  learn how to throw a football with my kids

100.   Put $5 in our savings account for every item not completed. 

Items that I thought that I wanted to do, but later on it turned out that I had no interest in doing them:  (Hey, people change!)

1.  Read "Anna Karennina" by Leo Tolstoy.  

I gave this a good try.  I had bought it five years before because it was part of "Oprah's book Club" and the sheer number of pages was intimidating.  Guess turns out that I didn't read it not because of the number of was because it was boring as hell.

55.  send flowers to someone “just because”

It turns out, it is really hard to send flowers "just because."!  Every time I thought of sending someone flowers, I had a reason to send them.

77.  Renew our passports

Passports are damned expensive.  And with nowhere to go, really, why bother?  I'll get the passports when we need them.  I'm not at an age where international travel opportunities just "present themselves" and you need to hop on a plane NOW.  

27.  take a cake decorating class.

It turns out that I don't care if I decorate the cake.  I just want to eat it.  Hell, half the time I want Hubby to bake it and me to eat it.  :)

51.  Send a secret to Postsecret

I mulled this one over a lot....but really, I don't have any juicy secrets.  None that would be interesting to post on Postsecret's blog, anyway!  I'm pretty boring.  

And lastly...

Items that I still want to do but ran out of time before the list deadline

12.  take the kids to the following places in PA:  Sesame Place, Crayola Factory and the “Please Touch” Museum.

This list item is partially finished.  We went to the "Please Touch" Museum and loved it!  I heard recently that they may lose their funding and I hope that isn't so, because we would love to go again.  We decided that not only are our kids too old for Sesame Place, I'd heard a lot of unsavory reviews from friends about them.  We still want to go to the Crayola Factory, though.  

29.  take the boys to their first drive-in movie

We're lucky to have two drive-ins nearby.  It's just a matter of picking a night to go, next summer!

35.  Get a tattoo

I have a design picked out and I've decided where it's going.  I just need to find a good place to go and then GO DO IT.

44.  build a snowman with the boys

We had a ton of snow last year and by the time I remembered this item, it was too late.  This winter for sure.  

45.  go tent camping

50.  See a Flyers home game with Brian.

Again, just ran out of time.

57.  visit the Ben and Jerry’s factory in Burlington, VT

I may actually get to do this one next Spring.  The annual RSC conference is in Vermont and a group of us were talking about hitting this on the way home!

76.  Ask my parents to tell stories of our family’s past, and write them down.

83.  Knit sweaters for my husband and children

I knit a sweater for Sean and he got it for Christmas last year.  I'm working on Will's for his birthday next month (I think I can, I think I can!) and I have the yarn for Brian's in the house.  I'm kind of glad I've waited this long, though.  He's lost 30 pounds in the last few months and his sweater would've been too big after that.  I'll start it after the holidays.  

99.  Visit Washington, D.C.

Sooooo......did I learn anything?  I did, that it's fun to make a list and try to stick to them.  And it's a lot easier if it's fun things instead of the tedious, never-ending to-do list.  Will I do another Day Zero list?  Probably not.  But it certainly helped me to prioritize and find time to do fun things with my family.  

Thursday, September 25, 2014


Tomorrow is the pre-op testing for my kidney surgery.  Yes.  I'm having kidney surgery.  Actually, TWO kidney surgeries, a couple of weeks apart.

 Apparently, I make kidney stones like it's my job and I've got a big one that needs some intervention before it decides it's going out on it's own.  So in another week, I'll be having day surgery and then taking a couple of days to recover.  Then, I'll have the same surgery a couple of weeks later to make sure they got all of the pieces of the super-stone that they're breaking up.  And THEN I'll have to see a renal specialist to find out why I'm making stones.  All of this sounds really fun and all, but I'd rather not be doing it.  At all.   I wasn't nervous til today, and will likely be MORE nervous this time tomorrow!

Though, I must admit....the prospect of a couple of days off of work, despite the reasons, sounds pretty sweet.  As long as I'm not feeling crappy and in pain.

And to settle the age-old debate of which is more painful:  Giving Birth or Kidney Stones?  The stones win, hands down.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Charts and Classic Rock

Two Will funnies this week:

1.  Will's therapist suggested keeping a "Chore Chart" at home to help with anxiety.  It's not just jobs around the house, but also things like "not fighting."  We give him an allowance every week if he gets the required number of stars.  Sean uses it, too.  We were at a friend's house for a birthday party last year and I saw that she had a chart for two kids instead of buying a separate chart for each kid.  So I poked around on Amazon and found one with room for three kids that was cheaper.  Obviously, we only have two kids.  So we made a joke of it and put my name on it, saying my "allowance" was $100/week.  I caught Will with the dry-erase marker and asked him what he was up to.  He grinned slyly and showed me that he'd given "us" each a fifty-cent raise and added "knitting" to the list of chores.  I think I can hang with that, I know I'm guaranteed a star a day.  :)

2.  Usually I get Sean first at the end of the day pick-up, but on Monday I got out a little early.  I'm slightly hard of hearing, so I don't usually play the radio in the car with the kids.  Why?  Because between their quiet "indoor voices" (esp Sean), the radio and the sound of the engine and tires on pavement, I can't hear what they're saying.  And constantly saying "What??" is just an invitation for screaming on their part, eventually.  So we were listening to the classic rock station, and AC/DC came on.  Now, Will loves classic rock.  After all, his favorite band is Queen.  (I'm doing something right!!)  We listened to a minute to "It's a Long Way to the Top" and he asked me what kind of instrument they were playing.  "Bagpipes."  "Bagpipes with electric guitar, Mom?  Really?" "Really, buddy."  And his whimsical response--"how uniquely creative!"  Two minutes later..."Ok Mom, I think I've had enough bagpipes."  Yep, that's exactly how *I* feel every time that song comes on, too.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Letting Go of "Someday!" Stuff

I got a tagged in a facebook post recently from a "band friend."  She was calling out near and far to all her "Band Geek" friends to see if someone had an instrument that they were looking to sell, because her daughters wanted to join our ranks.

It so happens that I have two in my garage:   my trusty old clarinet, and a flute that was gifted to me.  I had a tenant at my first housing job, she was a bit of a nut.  But cool in a lot of ways too, and one of those ways was that, at age 84, she was taking flute lessons.   I found this inspiring, because though I played clarinet for years, I had always wanted to play the flute.  And for reasons like my friend is looking for an instrument, I took my aunt's clarinet from when she was in the marching band in high school because it was free.  Well, that resident ended up transferring to an assisted living facility within 6 months.  But before she left, she gave me her old student flute, saying that I should take lessons someday.

Someday!  That magical-sounding word that makes you feel like you have all the time in the world.  So yes, Someday I was going to take flute lessons!  Also in my someday pile:  a sewing machine, some hiking boots, Spanish language and culture texts, books about geneaology.  DVD sets of TV shows that I may sit and enjoy Someday.  Because time is on my side, friends.

Well.  It's been thirteen years since Ruth went to the assisted living facility.  That flute sat in my basement for many, many years.  And when we moved it was placed on a shelf in the garage, with the Christmas decorations.  It only took me a minute or two to decide and send my friend a message back.  She thought that I was nuts at first, saying that she could just have it instead of buying it from me.  And when I told her why, because it would get used instead of rotting in my garage, she sent back a message with kind of a giggle, that there's a guitar and some knitting needles/yarn in her closet for Someday.  So it's not just me and I'm willing to bet that it's not just Jessica, either.

Sometimes it really is OK to survey your "Someday!" stuff and realize that they don't fit in your life anymore.  I work full-time and have two kids with activities, etc.  I have activities that I already enjoy:  knitting, reading, cooking, a little gardening, other crafts and so on.  I'm glad that the flute is going to someone who will use it and a family who will appreciate it.  I think that Ruth would, too.  Not giving up my clarinet, though.  Or my sewing machine.  Someday, I really want to use those!

Unexpected Milestones

When you have kids, you have all of the normal milestones.  First time sleeping through the night, first time sitting up, first birthday.  Potty-training being done, going to preschool, kindergarten, learning to read.  All of these things make you both proud of your kid and kind of sad that they're growing up.  Well, except for the potty-training one.  That one takes a while to feel "nostalgic" about.  Nostalgic isn't the correct word in this sense, but for lack of a better word, I'll use it.

But then you have some "unexpected" milestones that you find yourself getting a little misty-eyed over.  Here they are for me today:

Suddenly realizing that your kid isn't yelling "I'm done!!!" after using the bathroom.  The call to Mom or Dad to come and finish because they don't want to.  Don't get me wrong....I'm thrilled to not have to do the wiping anymore.  But he's not a little guy any more.  He's a BIG BOY.  Or as he says, "not big, Mom.   I'm a MEDIUM BOY."

Last night, I took the boys to the library after school pickup because Sean has been begging to go.  And I've had a bag o' books that were overdue, too.  I should probably clarify that the boys like our library because the children's room has toys.  A big train table, a lego station....both boys usually make a beeline for it and I have difficulty in getting them to pick a couple of books first.  Not last night....Sean went right for the trains and Will...Will went over to the Charlie and Lola book bin, sat down and starting choosing books.  And asking me questions about what books we should bring home.  "Mom?  Let's look at some nonfiction today.  Ooh, can I get that book on weather?"  This is really big for me, as I am a sucker for books and libraries are one of my favorite places on Earth!  I'm ecstatic over having a kid that's over the moon about books.  But wow....that is the very first time that he's chosen the books over the precious legos!

I'm sure that I'll be adding to the list periodically.  And though I'm "sad" over them growing up, I'm having a great time on their journey.  Maybe not all the time, but most of it.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The "True" New Year

September has always felt like the beginning of the year to me, much more so than January 1st.  I'm sure that it stems back to going back to school myself, and now it's my kids' turn.

Will actually started second grade last week, our town goes back EARLY!  He was pretty apprehensive the night before but was all smiles at pickup from the afterschool program the next day.  He wasn't really chatty, but did tell me that his new teacher is "Great!,  She's really great, Mom."  Considering I had already gotten at least one phone call home at this point, I'm already feeling more positive about this year in general.  And honestly, I think that he is, too.

Seanie's in his last year of preschool.  Where has my baby gone??  He's thrilled to have moved up to the "Big Kid" class and tells me all about his friends and what he's doing in school every day.  I cannot believe that this time next year he'll be in kindergarten.  It just doesn't seem possible.

This week everything goes back to the full swing of the fall schedule.  Karate, soccer, yoga classes for me,'ll take a few weeks to get there but we will arrive in our own fashion.

Another thing that September brings....Christmas knitting!  I've got my list sorted and am in full force, with one item almost completed.  I smited the Knitting Gods by proclaiming this one item "Quite Possibly the Best thing I've ever knitted!" when it wasn't quite complete.  Now eight rows need to be frogged and started over because I was paying more attention to "Rizzoli and Isles" than I was when counting the number of stitches that I was picking up.  It still has time to be the Best Thing.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Home Stretch

When I first wrote my Day Zero List, 9/28/14 seemed so very far away.  Now I am merely 27 days away from it, and well...I'm not going to finish the list!  In all honesty, I kind of got away from it.  That being said, I am looking to finish some more of those things...

And in this vein of thought...I made my third beach venture last week, for the annual Karate Picnic.  We had a ton of fun at a local lake about 15 minutes from here, with a huge throng of kids from Will's karate school.  They had a class on the beach, and then played to their hearts content on the pirate ship on the beach and in the water.  Sean and Will were in their glory, and I got to catch up with a knitting friend that I hadn't seen in ages.

Then today, I made cinnamon rolls!  From scratch!  I'll post something separately about it, because it was quite an adventure.

Next up....think I'm finally going to send a secret to Postsecret.  I've been mulling ideas over in my head and it's the "handmade" postcard that's dragging me down.  Must. Remedy.

Other than's September!  Time for fall and all the wonderful things that come with it.