Friday, December 30, 2011

Plans for 2012...

In a number of different ways, 2011 was a very disorganized year. It seemed that each time I began to eek out a “new normal”, something else out of my control would change and upset whatever balance I had found.

I keep thinking to myself “Goodbye 2011! Don’t let the door hit you on the arse on your way out and good riddance! Hellooooooo 2012!”

2011 certainly wasn’t all bad. There were a lot of fun times, Heather has shown us that age four is awesome in many ways, Todd has exploded onto the scene with his personality & charm and I am employed full-time again. As I’ve said in the past, we have a lot to be thankful for. Yet 2011 was a hard year in many ways, so it is somewhat gratifying to see it in the rear view mirror and prepare for a “fresh start”.

Out of all of the challenges of 2011, I find myself reconsidering my priorities and refocusing on the things I really want. Thinking about how I spend my time, what I would rather spend less time on and what things make me happy. I can’t say that I have figured it all out yet. It is still a work in progress, of course, but I feel like I am getting a handle on some of the changes I want to make.

I started to write about these priorities and realized that the ideas and their place in line are still forming in my head. So hopefully I will be back soon with more concrete thoughts about changes I want to work toward next year.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


The holidays are just adding another layer of crazy to a 10 layer crazy salad.

I need to write about it, but I’m not complaining. I know how incredibly lucky we are. I’m happy that we have two smart kids who know what they want and want to do everything themselves. (A hard job now, but will make them awesome adults someday.) I’m thrilled that one of my “problems” is adjusting to my new job and our new everyday life. I’m thankful that we’re healthy, have a roof over our head, have the food and clothes that we need, and that we can afford to get the kids just what they want for Christmas. I’m thankful for a new laptop, the ability to continue teaching at the yarn shop and the possibilities for having knit and crochet designs published in 2012. I’m thankful for my dishwasher, washing machine and dryer for making my tasks easier, even if they aren’t smart enough to fill and empty themselves.

Most of the things on my to do list are not hard, they just take time. And I feel like I am too often sacrificing sleep for the things on the list. Which I know is just as bad, if not worse, than having a messy house.

Quite frankly, a number of things are on that list now so that I can ENJOY and RELAX during my two days off at home for the holidays. On Christmas and the day after I just want to enjoy time with family and enjoy time in the house I love, without feeling like I should take a few minutes to vacuum or go through a pile. And let’s face it, if I am going to do any organizing or cleaning during those two days, my efforts should be focused on helping the kids find places to store their new toys!

I also can’t wait to give our family members this year’s pictures of the kids and to send out what I’m sure will be an adorable card using said pictures. But I still need to get through the agonizingly difficult process of picking the handful of pictures to use from the big stack that she gave us. I am thankful to know someone so talented, but my job would be a lot easier if there weren’t so many great images to choose from! (I’ll show you some once presents have been given.)

Now that I’m employed, the biggest problem we have is a cat issue. It has changed and grown over time, and I have reached a point that I just need it to be fixed…and we found someone to help us and give us a list of things to do to fix it. Which will be fabulous in the long run, but in the short term just adds another layer of items to the task list. I really wish we would have known about this person years ago…but all we can do now is move forward and figure out the right strategy for this point in time. I think it might be less complicated if we had more rooms in our house with doors. :-)

Monday, December 05, 2011

Good Weekend

Each time I tried to compose a facebook status update about how nicely the weekend was going, it was much too long for that format and it was hard to express some of my thoughts without sounding cranky. So I must need to right a blog post about it.
Friday was the holiday luncheon with my new employer, followed by a 2-hour early release for the weekend, giving me time to cross a few items off my list while I was home alone. The kids came home happy, the house was reasonable straight to be seen by someone new (this weekend’s babysitter was coming for the first time) and the homemade pizza was ready for the oven on time. Despite some initial shyness (that is Todd’s MO with many people lately and since the babysitter was his teacher, Heather doesn’t know her as well), the kids had fun and we returned home to a glowing report of their good behavior. It is always nice to hear that what we are trying to teach the kids is sinking in, even if that isn’t clear on a day to day basis to us.
R and I had a lovely dinner. The food was excellent and we covered the topics on my list. (The more that is going on, the more lists I make.) These are discussions that I find it hard to have at 9:30 or 10pm when all I want to do is relax my brain and go to sleep. I feel better now that some decisions are made and there is less pressure for us to have a “big” discussion on a weeknight after doing an hour of chores.
After we ate, we went shopping for my Christmas present – a new laptop! My old laptop has been in need of replacement for a while…and I don’t think we could have shopped for it successfully with the kids along. This time I specifically went for a lightweight model and I think it has the speed and storage to last me for a good, long while. And hopefully the battery life will live up to their promises, too.
Saturday was our activity and errand day. We went to Phipps to see Santa, and have our annual visit to see the trains and flowers. I think when the kids are older we’ll spring for a membership and try to go a few more times a year, but there are so many great places to go in Pittsburgh, this hasn’t risen up our list yet. Santa was great, as always – kind, chatty and not in a rush

Heather asked Santa for a Belle and Cinderella. Todd refused to sit on Santa’s lap and barely made eye contact with him, so Heather let Santa know that Todd wants “Christmas Lights” this year. His previous answer was “presents”, so at least his revised answer is more specific. :-) Now that requests have been made officially, the elves can get to work. And the elves are very happy that they didn’t shop early since these requests just materialized in the past week…

After lunch, we bought Heather’s first ballet outfit. She starts class in a couple of weeks. The class is run in the same building as daycare, so it doesn’t currently add any event to our calendar other than making sure her attire is clean and present on the right day. And then while the family had movie/nap time, I did some shopping for Christmas and groceries, knocking a few more items off my massive December to-do list.
Sunday was designated to decorate the house for Christmas. Given our recent mild temperatures, R had already done the outside decorating and put up some window lights. We got a lot done, especially when you consider that we usually use the long Thanksgiving weekend for decorating. 

But this is where I’m going to sound cranky. I don’t want to wish the time away. I love the ages that the kids are at now…but when it comes to decorating for Christmas I am looking forward to the kids being old enough to help without making the process more stressful. Between the random unpacking of decorations, the leaving of ornaments on the floor, the concern that ornaments will be dropped or broken, the impatience to decorate *now* and the following boredom half an hour later…I just found it making me very stressed out yesterday. I suppose that “ideally” the prep work of unpacking and putting lights on the trees would be done while the kids are otherwise occupied, but that didn’t work out this year and I would like them to really be able to help.
I have to give Heather credit. She lasted a lot longer in the process than Todd did and other than a few branches that had 2 ornaments, she did really help with tree decorating. (Todd’s fullest branch had 5 ornaments on it…) But she still required a lot of direction and she isn’t immune to the dropping problem (maybe we need to get a carpet remnant to put under the tree?).
I also kind of hate how the decorating process makes the house look so messy. I need to dust as I do the mantles and put out the knick knacks this week, and a post-decorating vacuum is definitely in order. I know that the result will be fabulous, it just felt like a lot of work yesterday, and there is still more to try to finish (hopefully) before the week is out. Part of it is internal pressure to go into the holiday with a house that feels clean. I only have two days off at home, and I don’t want to feel like I should spend them cleaning (other than maybe organizing the kids’ new toys)!
You can see how I was having issues coming up with a concise and happy facebook update. ;-)