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Friday, March 26, 2010

Update on New Year's Resolutions

How many times to people actually stop (in late March) to reflect on how they're doing on their New Year's Resolutions? Not that anyone really cares, but I thought I'd note some progress, and some setbacks (this list is limited to the two BIG resolutions I made this year)...

Finances: I'm happy to say that for the first time in probably five years our finances are under control. We have very little credit card debt, and have learned a great lesson during the last couple of years on an austerity budget about paying with cash and actually saving and planning for the things we want to buy. What a concept! The drawback is that we are not going to do this year's house renovations (painting Annalisse's room, painting and moulding in the back TV room (Mark's "cave", repairing the side hallway/drywall and painting, among other things) until we have the $$ in savings, so we may be looking at a late summer/early fall set of projects. It feels so good!!

Weight: Not great progress here...I don't seem to have very much willpower in refusing foods that are not great for me, and making smart food choices. I could really use a diet buddy and someone who pushes me to "get out for a walk" and guilts me into making smarter eating choices. Now that the weather is getting nicer we are walking with Jasper more, but even his stocky frame is getting boxier as a result of the cold winter and limited evening walks. Unfortunately, one of the things that Mark and I REALLY HAVE IN COMMON, is that we like to eat (and eat out). This is one I need to take one day at a time.

What about your New Year's Resolutions? How are they working out for you? : )

Sunday, March 21, 2010

It's Great for What Ails You!

Isn't it amazing how much better we all feel when the sun is out and the days start to warm up? It's finally Spring, we made it!! Sure, it might snow a couple more times, but there's no way it will stick around for any amount of time. Jasper has been so patient this winter, with brief walks down the street at night taking the place of our walks around the winter - and his big butt show it - boy is he putting on weight due to the lack of exercise and long walks.

Mark did a ton of work outside this weekend. I helped a little, but I also did a lot of little things in the house and he gets a great amount of satisfaction from a neat, tidy, and attractive yard. He was rarin' to go by 7:30 on Saturday morning, and worked through today (rewarding himself with a nap).

I feel so alive! The last couple of weeks have been a little challenging with incredibly busy schedules and a couple of sad things that have happened, but an afternoon in the warm sunshine is really great for what ails you!

Monday, March 15, 2010

It's Okay if They're Not Happy All the Time

I think one of the hardest things about being a parent is the realization that it's okay if your kids are not happy all the time. From their first cry from hunger or discomfort, all the way up to hurt feelings by a friend who's acting "mean," we rush to try stop the hurt feelings and make it all better. The hardest lesson of all is: it's okay for them to feel a little "pain" once in a while - they need it to grow and develop the sensitivities they will need to be a kind and understanding adult.

This week, in particular, has been a challenging one for me with knowing when to "back off" when the kids were experiencing particularly difficult situations with their friends. It appears that, after a year, Cam's relationship with Bonnie is winding down, or so it seems - I don't know for sure since he won't talk to me (or anyone) about it, but there's noticeably less interaction between them. This situation has made me particularly sad, and has really challenged my ability to not interfere with too much advice and let him/them work though it themselves. I've really enjoyed spending time with Bonnie and getting to know her family, and while I know this relationship would eventually end because they're both so young, it's still hard for all of us. Luckily, they're two really reasonable kids and I hope they'll stay friends.

On the heels of that uncertainty, comes the fact that one of Annalisse's best friends has been spending a lot of time with one or two other friends, and ignoring her pleas to spend time/do things together. It all came to a head on Saturday with some whispering between this girl and a couple of other girls at crew, and the many tears that followed. Oh, how hard it is to let her experience that with nothing more than some encouraging words about how she should call a couple of other friends and make plans with them. I'm sure you've heard it before: GIRLS CAN BE REALLY MEAN.

So, letting them resolve their problems without interfering or jumping in to try to make it all better - the parenting challenge of the week (month, year...).

Sunday, March 7, 2010

First Sign of Spring

I saw my first robin today. My soul was lifted and my mood instantly changed to one of hope for warmer, sunnier days. Thank you, Mr. (or Mrs., or Ms.) Robin!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Maine Getaway

It's been a looonnnnnggg, dark and cold winter, and I - someone who has trouble with winter even under the best of conditions - right about "now" really feel like I need something to look forward to. Most of life is such a grind, with five days of work followed by evenings and two full days of laundry, dusting, vacuuming, and other such uninspiring tasks. It can be a real bummer. Which is why, just about every year at this time, I end up scheduling a vacation or getaway that will restore my sanity and give me something to get excited about.

This year, I booked five days in Portland, Maine, for the first week in July. Sure, it was expensive (we're staying at a really cute B&B right in the heart of the city), and sure, it will go against one of my MAIN New Year's resolutions, which is to become credit free (which we're making great progress on, by the way), but I REALLY NEED THIS. We've talked for a couple of years about going to Maine (we've never been), and it was even hard finding the time to go this year, between Cam's trip to Germany, his job at summer camp, my work obligations, Mark's work obligations, and my desire to not wait until the END of summer.

We settled on July 1-6, which is actually when Cam will be in Germany for his exchange program (June 25-July 15). When I mentioned to him that we were trying to schedule a trip to Maine, his 17-year-old response was, "have fun" - as in, have fun without me. At this stage when he'd rather spend time with friends than five days with his parents and his annoying little sister, we decided to spare him the pain of a family vacation and go while he's abroad. BAD PARENTS! No really, everyone is much happier this way.

So, now I need to focus on finding a fishing charter for Mark and some fun stuff for me and Annalisse to do while he's in his "happy (fishing) place." Lighthouses, shopping, beaches, small quaint towns...I can't wait!!