Saturday, July 18, 2009

We had a free Saturday morning

and a glance at my calendar tells me that between soccer, baseball, camping, vacation, holidays and other scheduled events, this just may be the only free Saturday morning we have had or will have this summer. Something seems wrong about that.

At any rate, we had a free Saturday morning. Justin went off to learn how to flyfish. The kids had birthday money burning holes in their pockets and on a whim, I decided I would take them to some garage sales. Off we went, first to a huge sale held at local church. And my kids went crazy. Books, webkinz (codes unused!), videos... one of the women helping to run the sale followed them around laughing at their delight and helping them carry their treasures.

And we did find some real treasures. This puppet theater which matches Grace's room and personality perfectly:

This Cinderella castle playset which she wanted to bring home from Disney as her souvenier but which was well out of her price range:

I found these adorable, unworn wellies which have no practical purpse but are well, adorable.

And these lamps, one for the pink girl's room and one for my scraproom.

And these chairs, perfect for camping.

Charlie's treasures were harder to photograph - a screen size U2 poster that I have no idea where we'll hang, dozens of Goosebumps books, 2 bright yellow bean bags for hanging out and reading in his room.

All in all, it was a morning, and a pocketfull of birthday money well spent.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Random raspberry ramblings

I received this print (My Brother) as a birthday gift from my father this year and finally decided where to hang it yesterday. It makes me cry every single time I look at it - in a good way. It's my first P. Buckley Moss print, we don't have much art to begin with and her style is not my first preference but this print speaks to me in several ways. First is the relationship between the brother and sister. It's how I see my children. It's how others see my children - it's the reason my dad bought the print. It's not always how they are but more often than not we can find him pushing her on the swing. The two of them playing tag in the yard. Lost in some fantasy world in their little fort. She has him wrapped around her little finger.

It also speaks of home to me for a place where I never really lived. I was born in central Pennsylvania and for the duration of my childhood, my parents regularly loaded us up in the car and headed "east" - where they felt most at home. My grandfather retired there and I followed soon after when I went to college. It's where I met my husband. Where we went to celebrate our first anniversary. Those rolling hills and old stone barns unlock a special place in my heart. We're heading "east" in a few weeks to go camping and I'm so looking forward to it.

And our berries came in early this summer. They usually show up around Grace's birthday but they've been ripe on the vine for several weeks already. I'm going to spend the afternoon picking berries because they are also out of control - it's the biggest crop we've had in the 8 summers we've lived at this house. I picked just enough to make desert yesterday and managed to ruin two white shirts with berry juice in a matter of minutes. My little secret is that raspberries are my least favorite berry.

The arrival of the berries means we're heading into what I hope are the lazy days of summer. The bulk of our travel is over, the weather will hopefully warm up this week and we will finally make it to the pool. I'm sure it won't be long before the kids are bored and I'm ready to pull my hair out but in the meantime, I'm enjoying the idea of one more summer at home.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

He is married to a scrapbooker

This morning Justin headed out to the local farmer's market to get some fresh corn for our holiday picnic. And because the farmer's market is just up the road from the farm pond where he likes to fish, he stopped there for a few minutes to try out his new lure.

I had just finished making the kids' lunches when his car raced up the driveway, he ran frantically into the house and grabbed my camera bag. He called over his shoulder on the way back out "I just caught the biggest fish ever!" He ran back to the car, turned around, called for the kids to come with him (because someone had to take the picture of course!) and they turned around to make the 20 minute drive back to the pond where the fish was (I'm assuming impatiently) waiting on the end of his rod to be released back into the pond to be caught another day.

I love that my craziness has rubbed off on all of them. I love that he didn't hesitate to make a 40 minute round trip to get the camera so he could record this memory. And I love that the memory will be something even more than catching the biggest fish ever.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

This blog has not been abandoned

A random review of the last 3 months in photos:

I think I might have mentioned this here already but back in January, I had a dream that I woke up and it was June. I was heartbroken about everything that I had missed with my children and kept asking what happened to the other months. It's clear by now that this is one of those dreams that is going to stick with me - a little life lesson from my subconscious.

I reflect on that dream quite often, even more in the last few weeks since it was actually June. And now that June is gone too, I can safely say that I did not miss all of those months. We were busy living them. Because of my personality, I think I am more prone than some to fall victim to mommy guilt - I live with a constant sense of failure about everything I do wrong or don't do enough of or don't do at all. Sometimes it's good to be reminded about the things that are right.

Monday, April 6, 2009

I am not Bakerella

and after today I can also say that I am not Martha Stewart, Rachel Ray or Donna Reed.

Pioneer Woman had Bakerella out to the ranch a few weeks ago and they made really cute cakepops. It looked pretty simple so I thought I would make them for Grace's not-really-her-birthday birthday celebration at school.

It turns out that it may be simple but it's also really messy and it's kind of precise which is not my thing in the kitchen. It also turns out that my cupcake pops look remarkably similar to my regular cupcakes. That is to say... messy.

Another thing about these cakepops is that they are made with something called cakeballs which are made by baking a cake, crumbling it, mixing in a container of prepaped icing and then rolling the mixture into balls. I'd never had cakeballs before today and they are kind of gross.

But I guess the important thing is that Grace is thrilled and so excited about taking these to school that she can't sleep.

Another adventure I had in the kitchen today was setting Charlie's lunchbox on fire. He asked for a hot lunch, I boiled some water, cooked some noodles, and then for some curious reason unbeknownest to my conscious self, I tossed his lunchbox on the burner and walked away. The smell of it burning drew me back to the kitchen where I was able to throw it in the sink before it burned our house down.

And finally, extending my stellar parenting skills into the living room, I sat down to read Grace this library book and by page 5 was sobbing while both children looked on in alarm.
This is a heartwarming story about a little girl exchanging letters with her Grandpa. Except Grandpa is sick and can't visit like he promised, daddy gets laid off, mommy gets pregnant, the family gets evicted and then Grandpa dies. I cried and Grace said "but mommy, he was really old."

This was one of those days where I had to tell myself several times "this is what I do." And be thankful that no one can fire me.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Twi-crack (or how did I become addicted to this crap?)

This is a post I've started and abandoned in my head a dozen times over the last six months. Started it because it's something I want to talk about and abandoned it because it seems so shameful. But a series of e-mails I've exchanged with a fried over the last few days is drawing me out of the Twilight closet.

This friend has spent the better part of the last 8 years keeping us safe from terrorists and weapons of mass destruction and important things like that. I count her as one of the most intelligent people I've ever known and was not surprised that she was immune from all things Twilight. Another friend and I kept insisting she read it but she held firm until last Saturday when she decided to "dip her toes in." If you know anything about the Twilight phenomenon, you know what comes next. It culminates in the groggy, middle-of-the-night e-mail I got last night saying that she had just finished New Moon, lamenting that she doesn't own Eclipse yet and it contains profanity.

This sums up the Twilight enigma for me perfectly. How can a frothy, poorly written (more on this later) teenage romance novel so completely suck out the brains of formerly well-read, intelligent, professional women? It's a question for which I've not yet found an adequate answer.

I think it was my friend Brandy who first suggested I read Twilight. I recall she said something like "it's not as good as Harry Potter but it's good in its own way." I ignored her. I was not going to read a teenage romance novel. I think I had visions of Judy Blume's "Forever" in my head. And then one morning I must have been emotionally vulnerable from reading some mass-produced spy thriller drivel and I happened up a scrapbooker's blog (Layle Koncar to be specific) where she gushed about discovering Twilight. I popped into a bookstore over my lunchbreak and picked up the first 2 books.

I was at the bookstore the next morning when it opened so I could buy the 3rd book. I read those books twice that first weekend. Then I gave them to my mother. She read them quickly but her initial response was "eh." (More on this later too.)

At first I kept my shameful secret to myself. But one of the things about being a Twilight crackhead is that eventually you'll want to talk about Twilight and to do that you either have to convince people you know to read the book or you have to go onto Twilight message boards. I was not quite at the message board level of addiction so I set out to convert my friends. My mom hadn't come over yet. My husband read it for me and declared it the worst book he ever read. Things weren't looking good.

Stephanie was my next target and I had low expectations. She's also smart and well-read and all of that so I figured she would laugh at me. I think I mumbled something about it under my breath while we were eating lunch and then was afraid to bring it up again. But she read it. And then started recruiting our other friends to read it. Soon she had created a local Twilight moms army.

Next up was Kathy. Kathy is the sort of person who can cut to the heart of the matter with the most droll witticism or dry observation that normal people will still be trying to figure out 2 days later. She is also the only person I ever met who actually thought organic chemistry was fun. But she gave the book a chance and overnight she was hooked too. Now I didn't have to keep my secret a secret any longer and about this time, Stephanie convinced me to go get Breaking Dawn at midnight the night it was released. That was a jarring experience. In complete honesty, most of the other Twilight people in the world scare me. So I almost went back underground with my addiction. Then the movie came out.

Have you seen the Twilight movie? It's pretty bad. Actually, it's shockingly bad. Some college students with cameras and a few thousand dollars could probably give it a run for its money. But here is the part of my confession where it gets really ugly and starts delving into scary territory. The movie gives a face and a voice to the characters and one of those characters happens to be the Byronic hero Edward Cullen played by Robert Pattinson who is my one true celebrity crush now and forever amen.

So I went to the opening day of the movie with the local group of Twilight moms and then started reading the books again when I got home at midnight. The next day I asked my mom to go see it with me and to my surprise, she agreed. To my further surprise, she liked it. She called me at 11:00 that night to ask if she could borrow my books again. At this point I sensed something was going on.

When a few days later I decided that I needed to read the books again (we won't even talk about how many times I've seen the movie at this point), my mom went out and bought her own copies. Have I mentioned my mom is a 50-something marketing executive for a huge multi-national corporation? She is also not a teenager. She is converting on her own these days. Just today she relayed a story about the Twilight discussion she had with our optometrist's wife and medical assistant. She uses her English degree to make a fairly convincing counter-argument to anyone who says the books aren't well written. She called me in anger when she discovered "Midnight Sun" on Stephenie Meyer's website - she couldn't believe I was holding out on her.

There are scores of Twilight fan sites and message boards out there, including one devoted entirely to the Twilight mom phenomenon. But like I said, most of these people scare me. Perhaps I'm just more comfortable keeping my addiction relatively close to home rather than discussing "the sadness of Edward" (it doesn't keep me from reading about the sadness of Edward though.) Perhaps I just don't want to see myself as a manic-eyed, messy-haired, borderline psychotic fanfreak. And yet, I sense, I'm already there.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Great Garbage Truck Mystery

I tried to take a picture for this post but discovered that my camera battery was dead. Good thing too, since my photography class starts today.

Please keep in mind that except for some very brief trips to the doctor, hospital (not brief but still), grocery store, and court last week, I have been in the house with my son for 8 days now. So this is the most excitement I have had in some time.

The garbage truck has been sitting in front of my neighbor's house for an hour now. Blocking our driveway as well. And there are men in haz mat suits standing at the intersection onto our road. And a very strange looking garbage truck just rolled up and ran over our garbage cans that the garbage men left in the street. What? What is going on? Do you think we'll ever find out?

Friday, March 27, 2009

On a completely different note

I just pre-ordered this. About 30 seconds after the e-mail showed up in my inbox saying that it's available for pre-order.

I've tried to keep my complete, um... obsession? fascination? complete and utter adoration of Robert Pattinson away from this blog because some things are better talked about in private. But yeah, I've got it bad.

Did you know that the musical director for Twilight said that Rob is the most naturally talented musician he's ever heard in his entire life? Have you heard this man sing yet? Or play the piano? Or the guitar?

Yet another reason I'm thankful to be alive right here, right now. (And another reason to be melodramatic. But yeah, he's wonderful.)

We are lucky to live here. And now.

This will be a little sappier than normal. Right now this kid is hiding fruit loop filled plastic eggs all over the house for the massive family Easter egg hunt he has planned for when Daddy gets home from work.

On Monday he woke up with a croupy cough. Because he's got asthma, I kept him home in case he needed quick access to the nebulizer. On Tuesday he seemed about the same so I sent him to school. On Wednesday things went downhill quickly and yesterday he was diagnosed with pneumonia. This is our 4th bout with pneumonia in the last 3 years and thankfully, the least scary. We know the drill - pulse/oxygen monitors, strong antibiotics and lots of quiet time. He never seems to get it as badly as his sister and for that, I am thankful.

But as I was reflecting once again on the miracle of antibiotics this morning (the Easter egg hunt being a very good reminder of how quickly they can turn things around!) I was overcome with gratitude about the time and place we live. Of the three children my parents have, none of us would have survived the first few days after childbirth if it weren't for modern medicine (blue baby, RSV and 7 weeks premature respectively). Neither Charlie nor I would have survived his birth. And in the few short years of their lives, my kids have relied on asthma medication and antibiotics to get them through some very scary times when breathing didn't seem so automatic or certain.

Even putting aside the melodramatic (something that is very hard for me. I should have been a star.), the everyday stuff we take for granted is truly amazing. I can't see two inches in front of my face without glasses or contacts. And how about the ear tubes that help kids get over repeated ear infections and preserve their hearing? Ibuprofen to zap away those pesky headaches. Sunscreen to protect us from skin cancer. Fluoride to keep our teeth from rotting away.

So anyway, this morning I have been reflecting on all of that and feeling immensely grateful for living in this amazing time and place where we have access to these kinds of things. And because I am a little sarcastic and twisted in addition to being melodramatic, I've also been speculating that maybe Darwin wouldn't agree and would say that by all rights, our personal gene pool should have been wiped out quite some time ago, or at the very least, I should be a toothless, deaf, blind crone rocking on my chair in the corner of my niece's living room. It's plausible, right?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Coming to a layout near you

Charlie has been sick this week so we have been spending a lot of time alone together. Yesterday he asked me why I did something the way I did and I told him that he would understand when he had children. (I never believed those words would come out of my mouth but they did.) He replied "IF I have children." I asked if he had decided not to get married and have a family and this was his answer. "Well, mostly old scientists seem to die young so I might not have a chance to get married or have children. And even if I do, I'll be away so much doing my experiments on the moon or in Egypt that it might not be fair to them." It's a relief to know he's thinking ahead.

His field trip at school this year is a trip to the symphony and then lunch at a fancy restaurant. Part of the preparation is daily lessons on manners, most of which he has or will miss because he's been sick this week. He went to school on Tuesday though (the lesson was learning to set the table properly) and came home quite annoyed about the lesson he missed on Monday. "Listen to this. We have to take the girls' coats off, pull out their chairs for them and then push their chairs into the table. And THEN we have to take off our own coats and sit down all by ourselves. It's just not right." He does have a point.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

All about the cute

One of the things I put on my Christmas list was a gen-u-ine photography class. I tried to take photography in college but the instructor felt I lacked artistic vision and I was in serious jeopardy of failing so dropped the course rather than mess up my GPA with an elective. A couple years ago I got a real camera and have played around with it a bit but am basically still clueless.

Justin tried to find a local class but it's just not something readily available in the middle of December so there was no photography class under the Christmas tree for me this year. And then somewhere I stumbled onto a recommendation for this class:

(and while I'm thinking about this, would one of my blogger friends please tell me how to correctly insert a link so that just the name shows?)

and I begged and pleaded and whined a little bit, got on the waiting list, lucked out and scored a spot in the March class and voila! I am now taking a real photography class. It looks as though there will be homework every day for nine weeks. I might be a little bit crazy.

But back to the moral of the story. The moral of the story is that my camera bag is not really a camera bag at all but rather a beat up junky video camera bag that I grabbed at Walmart one afternoon as we were leaving on vacation so I could try to keep sand out of my "good" camera. And somehow I lost the camera strap that came with the camera and in another bout of spending money quickly and unwisely, I got a junky replacement one at Ritz camera that falls off every 5 minutes.

So... of course I needed a real camera bag and a real camera strap so I can adequately participate in my real photography class. Which will help me avoid taking anymore out of focus pictures like this one.

Purple and orange. Seriously. My favorite colors in the world together. On a camera bag. Does it get any better than that?

And polka dots. Green ones. Which look nice next to purple and orange.

I am overcome with the cuteness. Surely all of this cuteness will help me to take better pictures. Probably not. But I'll feel cute while I'm taking out of focus pictures on the automatic setting and that is the moral of this story.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hello again

It has been a busier March than usual here at the Monkey House. Over the weekend, however, I slowed down the pace and went to my favorite scrapbooking crop of the year with my girlfriends. I did very little scrapping. But I did make this:

Last week my friend Paula shared a gorgeous canvas from the Pottery Barn catalog. I decided that I would join her in trying to recreate the picture. It was a much more time consuming process than I expected but I like the end result.

I also made this. Ali Edward's fans will recognize this as a lift of a butterfly collage she made last year. I figured while I was making butterfly stuff for Grace's room, I might as well do one of these.

And I made this. Because when my children came to visit me at the scrapbooking crop (yes, I'm that kind of mom and have that kind of family... okay, they really came to take advantage of the hotel swimming pool)... anyway, when Charlie saw that I was making things for Grace's room, his face became a little downcast. I could see that he wanted to ask if I made anything for him but didn't want to cause any trouble.

I would say they are all a hit. Grace carries both of her pictures around into whatever room she goes into. Charlie set his up on his nightstand. That's all a mom can ask for.

So why pictures and not much scrapping? I'm so glad you asked. Three weeks ago Justin and I went skiing for our belated Valentine's Day getaway. It was 70 degrees that weekend and the conditions were less than ideal. I stopped to adjust my boot, fell trying to get back on the trail and broke my thumb. (The strange part of this story is that the last time I skiied at this particular resort , I fell in the exact same place and seriously injured my knee. That day I also followed my father too closely off a jump, he fell, I ran over his hand and broke his thumb.)

Anyway, for the first week the thumb was very bad. My doctor said she was going to get me into an orthopedist to evaluate whether it needed to be casted. (The referral finally showed up in the mail 2 weeks after I injured it and I figured there was no point in a cast at that point.) Last week it started to heal but was very sore and weak and I just didn't think I could manage most of my scrapping tools. I still can't write legibly. So I decided to work on those projects instead. It turns out that with my hand brace I could use most of my tools just fine so I did get a few pages done over the weekend.

At this point, I still probably need to go to the orthopedist because I suspect there is some nerve damage and it's definitely healing a little bit crooked. But it is healing and should be well functioning soon. You never realize how much you use your thumb until you can't use it!

March is normally the calm before the storm of baseball/soccer season but this month I worked full time while my father was out of town. It also happened to be a month where we had many more court appearances/hearings scheduled than usual. He is back now and I survived. But I especially enjoyed having the last 5 days off. Soccer and baseball start this weekend and it will be full on craziness until June.

After making it through most of the winter without getting sick, both kids came down with something yesterday and I am taking the morning off staying home with Grace until Justin comes home at lunchtime to relieve me so I can go to work this afternoon. His work has exploded over the last month (construction as a leading indicator of the economy?) but the good thing about being the boss is that no one will question you if you say you are going to work from home. Whether he gets any actual work done? That's a different story!

Friday, February 27, 2009

"You are my honey pie octopus" and other ramblings

Random 1: This is what my husband told me last night. I was flattered but understandably confused - it sounds like a nice thing, right? He reminded me that it comes from a canvas I did of Grace-isms last year. I'll try to take a picture of that when the sun comes out.

Random 2: I woke Grace up early this morning and she grumbled about being woken during her bestest dream ever. And the she saw me and said "I know you are going to tell me to hurry up because you have your going to court clothes on" Grumble grumble. We are both predictable.

Random 3: Did Michelle Bachmann really tell Michael Steele that he "be da man"? Really?!!? Maybe there should be a mental health evaluation before Congressmen/women are permitted to be sworn in.

Back to Random 2: She did hurry up so now I have a few extra moments to blog.

Random 4: The kids asked to go to the "sticker" store yesterday and instead of stickers, Charlie came home with Barack Obama and US Capitol scrapbooking paper. He then spent the rest of the evening re-writing the US Constitution for fun. Until American Idol came on. He is also kind of predictable.

Random 5: I decided yesterday that David Cook's debut album may be my favorite album ever. I'm worried about what that means and if I'm descending into middle-agedness more quickly than I should.

Random 6: Grace is wearing her sparkly black and silver Christmas dress with her pink and purple argyle tights. She objects to the term "fancy" however and prefers "beautiful". It's probably a good thing that beautiful girl is spending the morning with my secretary and not anywhere out in the world where other people would question my mothering skills.

Random 7: And Sarah, the snowflake paper is KI Memories.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

And now it's almost March

I'm getting creative with the post titles, eh? Soon it will be nothing but an update on the weather. This may be a sign that it may be time to retire the blog but I'll have to ponder that for awhile.

This month did end up being about getting things back under control in many ways. Mostly every way except for my eating because I discovered this month that I am a stress eater. I'm sure that is something I can deal with now that I've acknowledged it but for now, I'm leaving that to be a battle fought at a later time.

We undertook several home organizational tasks this month, especially in the children's rooms and it has made an enormous difference. I also made an effort to get the books on this level of the house put somewhere and it's shocking what a difference that makes as well. I love books but piles of books everywhere on every surface and hiding in every nook and cranny and Christmas decoration box is just not a good way to live.

And while it still feels like there was a lot of stimulation of the economy going on in our household in February, we did not spend like drunken sailors so I will count that as a victory.

Which leaves the eating and the stress. The stress is mostly out of my control due to some health issues which are also out of my control. It's mostly frustrating to me that over a month after I set out to figure out what is going on, I still have no clear cut idea whether it's serious or whether all the stress will be over nothing. Long waits for tests, doctors who go on vacations, nurses who don't return phone calls - I'm going to blame my exploding chocolate cookie addiction on these things which means that I don't have to blame it on my own lack of self-control. In the end, I'm hoping I can talk the doctor into a tummy tuck and the extra cookies won't cause a longer term problem.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

It's February?

I had a dream a few days ago that it was June. It was a happy dream until the moment that I realized it was June and then I started to cry "but what happened to all of the months I missed?" And that's how I feel about January.

It was a completely unfocused, chaotic and, honestly, wasted month. I feel like I lost control of just about everything in January from my eating to our spending to putting the socks away. There are lots of reasons the month went the way it did but excuses are just that. I felt it most acutely this morning when I pulled on my pants and they were snug. Again. All of those months of diet and going to the gym and I just blew it this month.

But as Anne of Green Gables liked to say, "tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it... yet." And so tomorrow I will start again with an intention to get things back under control. (Ignoring for the moment that my need to be in control is part of what created this mess in the first place!)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Really, I think there are few things cuter

than my five year old, trying to wave the terrible towel above her head, hitting everything in sight, including her own head, while trying to sing "Pittsburgh's going to the Super Bowl" even though she gets almost every single word wrong. It's cute, I promise.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

American Idol

Grace has cried twice tonight contemplating how much she would miss me if she did well enough on American Idol for the judges to send her on to Hollywood. I honestly don't even know where to begin talking her down.

Monday, January 12, 2009

"It's like reading your journal"

Not this layout. This one is just fine because it doesn't say anything at all.

Charlie was looking through some recent layouts last night and ended the evening sobbing in my lap because of the journaling he read on two of them. I don't think I do a lot of layouts with deep journaling; most of them are bland and boring and it's my biggest obstacle when scrapbooking. I don't have a lot of patience for trivial details and I don't tell stories very well. In fact, I'm taking 3 classes right now (the Sense & Sensibility workshop at Debbie's Hodge's site!) to try to overcome that problem.

But back to the tears. I guess I do a fair number of personal journal type layouts, I just don't post them publicly very often. I can remember one that I posted here about my issues with not being able to have another baby. But mostly I do the page, say what I need to say, feel better after I get it out and tuck them away and forget about them. I don't have a writing journal so I guess Charlie was right about the content of these pages.

So he read two of them, not very deep ones or on a sensitive topic - just ones where I reflected about changes he has gone through, changes we have gone through as a family - and the tears started. He has always struggled with getting older; for the most part he's not a kid that is eager to reach new milestones. He likes things to stay just like they are. He is still upset that we got rid of my old Subaru with the worn through carpet and sand in the joints and hole in the seat. He already worries about going away to college and not sleeping in his own bed. He didn't want us to paint the house a new color. So I might have guessed that pages about my feelings watching him get older wouldn't go over very well.

As I tucked him into bed, he told me that I could scrapbook about the fun stuff and the silly things we do but that he doesn't like the other kinds of pages. So maybe it's time I get a journal after all.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Resolutions don't start in our house until January 7th - the day after Justin's birthday. Last year I had a very long, ambitious list of things I resolved to do better and I did okay on some and not okay on most of them. Having such a long list of resolutions was probably not a great idea since my one little word for the year was "focus".

I've decided to approach it differently this year. I am going to continue to "focus" on losing weight and getting in shape; I still have a long way to go but I am very proud of what I did accomplish in 2008. As far as new resolutions, I am going to reprise one from last year - write - but with a twist.

I'm going with the photo-a-day approach to resolutions this year. So I'm going to incorporate things I already do with things I would like to do, or at least do better. And I'm going to try to be realistic about what can actually fit into a 24 hour period, week, month, etc. So without further ado... the list of resolutions for 2009

1. Photo-a-day. I think this is the only resolution I can reasonably commit to doing once a day.
2. Write one hour per week. And that may be a stretch. But writing everyday clearly was not practical so I'm going to try it this way.
3. Read one "good" book every two weeks. I do want to read all those classics, and my pile keeps growing. But practically I can't survive on a trashless reading list, I need some fluff and some new stuff in there too. That pile is also growing. (Rereading the Twilight series three times between November 21 and Christmas didn't help shrink the pile any.) So my goal is to finish one good book every two weeks and as long as I do that, I can squeeze some just for fun reading in there as well.
4. Layout a week. I really, really loved layout a day for the year that I did it. But my life is different now so one a week it is.
5. The just for fun one. Download one new itunes song a week; also with a twist. I'm going to expand my musical horizons - U2 and whiny boy songs are not permitted in my song-a-week playlist. It will be all new songs that I take the time to learn and savor; blues, jazz, classical.

So that's it! Nothing incredibly ambitious this year, just bumping up a notch things I already do.