November 2008

NaBloPoMo stands for National Blog Posting Month, where you commit to yourself to write one blog post a day for an entire month (i.e., this past month). Allow me to be self-congratulatory and say, I did it! This was also NaNoWriMo (kind of what got this sort of thing started), which stands for National Novel Writing Month where you try to write a complete draft of a novel in 30 days. There are other variations of these too.

Anyway, this has been an insightful exercise for me. I am one of those people who process things best when I write them down. When I committed to doing NaBloPoMo, I was concerned that it would take time away from important activities in my day. Interestingly enough, I think it helped me personally and actually gave me more energy to do other things. Given how eventful this month has been, it helped me gain perspective on the happenings of the past few weeks and come up with new and creative ideas for how to deal with situations around here. Hopefully it’s been insightful in some way to you as well.

As I think about how I feel after doing this all month, I feel really good, not from any big sense of accomplishment (I wouldn’t feel like a loser or anything if I had missed a couple of days) but from gaining a very positive perspective about where our family is right now, what issues we’re dealing with, what we’ve accomplished, and how to focus more than I might normally on all of the achievements and strides we’ve made.

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As If We Forgot That We Don’t Travel Well

by Tim on November 29, 2008

We’re back from our two-day trip to see family for Thanksgiving, and as usual, we’re all having our post-travel hangover. None of us travel well. Even the things in our house that don’t travel – our two cats – don’t do well when we travel. They generally get mad and pee on something while we’re gone.

I think people don’t appreciate the level of preparation that’s required to make traveling the least stressful experience possible for our kids. J-Man does much better than he used to with travel, but it still throws off his routine, pretty much nothing ‘works’ the same way, nothing is in a familiar place, and he definitely gets on average two or three less hours of sleep per night when we’re away from home.

Our sleep formula when we’re traveling? Completely exhaust him (which means keeping him up way past his normal bedtime) so he’ll crash and sleep in a strange bed. Whee…

While neither of us like to drive – to put it mildly, especially on four-hour car trips like this one – I think it’s at least as tiring, if not more so, to maintain near-constant awareness of how J-Man is doing and handling the day so we can adjust accordingly if we need to. I know we probably over-obsess about it, but putting forth that level of effort in general is why he’s doing so well these days and why traveling is less of a disaster than it used to be.

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I have one absolute law about Christmas – absolutely no Christmas music until the day after Thanksgiving. I believe in doing one holiday at a time, doing that holiday well, and then moving on to the next one.

But once Thanksgiving is over, Christmas music plays several hours a day at our house. We’re totally into the holidays. If you celebrate other traditions this time of year, we’d be into yours too if we could learn the music.

We finally rolled out of the house today a little before noon to meet up for lunch with the family. On the way home, we were listening to Andy Williams and Bing Crosby, and J-Man seemed to be enjoying the Christmas carols from the back seat. Then he started sounding like he was trying to sing along a little. It was hysterical.

“I’m dreaming of a white…”

“Nee-nee!”

Yeah, we don’t know either, but he was serious about it and we busted out laughing.

“Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…”

“Guh-ul-eh-ssssss!” (J-Man-ese for “Let it snow” we supposed.)

“I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams…”

(Pause, pause, pause, pause.) “Sssssss-kuh-ssssssss” which we are pretty sure is “Christmas” given he said this a few times.

[Speech tidbit – it’s not unusual for him when attempting to say two syllables to switch them. It’s quite possible he meant to say “kuh-sssss” for Christmas, but he may very well have switched the two and then corrected himself. ]

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In our family, we have a rather dubious tradition on Thanksgiving Day of ‘running’ the Turkey Triathlon, which involves the three events of: eating entirely too much, watching NFL football, and pouring over the ‘sale papers’ (for the rest of you, those are the five metric tons of advertisements in the Thanksgiving Day newspapers in anticipation of Black Friday).

This year, we are cutting way back on Christmas shopping. Our medical bills are still a big strain on our credit cards and have showed little sign of easing. (Regardless of what Mary thinks about her hospital stay, all three of us have contributed a lot to the medical debt for this year.) All the adults in the family decided not to buy for each other this year. It’s not like we need anything anyway, well except for someone to pay for our medical bills. I often do shopping for my little business on Black Friday since office stuff is usually way cheaper, but I’m not doing that this year either. We’re still buying for the nieces and nephews, but that’s it.

Below, I’m going to give you some suggestions on better things to do with your holiday dollars.

One tradition we won’t give up regardless of the economy is sponsoring children who are in our local guardian ad litem program, which essentially means that the children’s parents are either absent, abusive, or otherwise unable or unfit to care for their children and someone is appointed by the courts to look after the children’s interests and well-being. Often the children stay with a close relative while all this is going on, and it’s common for those relatives to seek and eventually get custody of the children.

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More Thankfulness – Our TWO Sons!

by Tim on November 26, 2008

No words needed.

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Thankful

by Mary on November 26, 2008

I know, it’s Thanksgiving, and everyone is doing it. Sometimes, that’s not a bad thing.

I am thankful.

I am thankful for my husband, son, and the little bean-son growing. Without Tim, my life wouldn’t be fun, filled with laughter and love, and there would be a giant Tim-sized hole in my heart. Without the J-man, I wouldn’t know how wonderful it is to be his mom. Lucky it turned out that way – I’m not one of those women who adore all children… but the ones in my life are incredible. I’m thankful for the bean, because now at least I understand all those women who talk about the difficulties of pregnancy. Before, I always thought they were exaggerating at least a little! I’m glad that with all the difficulties, we’re both still healthy and right on schedule. Plus, another little boy to run around with! Hurray!

I am thankful for my family – and that includes those blood-related, and those who are family “in my heart.” Sometimes (OK, lots of times) we disagree on big, huge, important things… but they are always there for me. Somebody said, “Family is the people who, when you turn up on their doorstep, can’t turn you away.” Yeah, that’s us.

I’m thankful to be working in a job that I don’t hate, with people who believe I know what I’m doing, and act accordingly. How wonderful that is, and what a serious weight off me when I moved to this position.

I’m thankful we’re safe, reasonably secure, and live in a place where I can go outside without a male relative accompanying me. I’m glad we live in a place where religion isn’t mandated. I’m glad I can visit anywhere I want on the web (except at work where the firewall has odd ideas about categories sometimes). I’m glad I know people on the web, and that we are friends.

Tim and I used to talk about the idea that when we were younger, we both needed someone to rescue us from our lives. I’m thankful we both rescued ourselves… and then found each other again.

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It’s a…

November 25, 2008

     

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Stay Tuned for Big Announcement Tomorrow!

November 24, 2008

Tomorrow we (hopefully) will find out the sex and/or gender of the baby! Mary’s having the mack-daddy ultrasound, so unless the tech is an idiot, surely to God we’ll find out. More important is finding out that the little one is safe and healthy and well. Hold good thoughts for us, and check back tomorrow […]

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