Monday, February 27, 2012

Project 52: Winter's Almost Over Edition

Despite the mild temperatures and lack of snow, this winter has kicked my butt. Especially in the motivational department. The last several months have consisted of doing just what I had to do to get by, and not a smidgeon more.

At least, that's how things have felt. But only two months into this year, I looked at my Project 52 list, and have to feel pretty good about how things are going.

4. Visit Chicago again. We've got a trip planned, as in hotel booked and everything. It's going to be a lot of fun.

5. Plan a great spring break vacation. This is also planned, with hotels and tickets and everything. I wish that it was a tropical location. Because nothing says exotic like Wisconsin in March, right? But it's going to be a lot of fun.

7. Start posting my menus on my blog. You may not have noticed, but there is a new item on my side bar that shares my weekly menus. At least what I have planned (not always what gets cooked.) Some day, I may even add links to the recipes.

9. Get a plant for inside my house. I bought a baby orchid and some tulips. They are both looking rather say. I'm glad this goal was to get a plant, not keep it alive.

13. Cook with an ingredient I have never used before. Do this three times. I've cooked with pork tenderloin, celery root, and quinoa. All three things I've never used before. But I've got a lot more planned!

16. Make new chore charts for the boys. Done! There are so much nicer than the old ones.

20. Get through my anesthesia question book twice. I made it through once, so I'm half way done with this. This would have never happened if one of my fellow residents hadn't shown me that the book was also an iPhone App and I can do questions on my phone. Thank goodness for technology!

32. Make maple syrup. Yes! I love doing this.

33. Visit two museums. We are headed to a museum this afternoon. This is halfway done!

39. Make a baking soda-vinegar volcano. We are in the process of doing this. Pictures to come!

Despite my barely-drag-myself-out-of-bed attitude, I think that crossing off or getting started on 10 goals is a pretty good start to the year. It makes me feel that everything on that list is doable.

Now, excuse me. All this accomplishment completely wore me out. I think I'll go back to bed.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Over Protective

Growing up, I was very sheltered. My parents did a very thorough job of shielding my young, impressionable mind from books, movies, TV shows, conversations, or games that contained anything scary, violent, vulgar, or even slightly suggestive.

I won't go into details about how far they went in protecting their children from anything of questionable content. As a young child, when I didn't know any different, it was fine. When I got a little older, well, it was less fine.

It was one of those things that made me say "When I'm the mom..."

Well, now I am the mom. And I've come to realize that I'm nearly as protective as my mom was. My boys are only allowed certain websites on the internet. If they are searching Google, it is done with a parent. We own a Wii with four exercise based games (and had them stop playing boxing on the Wii, because they were starting to reenact it.) They are only allowed to watch a few channels on TV. They have never seen a movie with a PG-13 rating.

I hadn't realized how protective I've been of them until recently. Bug was invited to a Harry Potter birthday party, and I realized that he didn't know anything about Harry Potter. Me, one of the biggest, most obsessed Harry Potter fan, has shielded her children from this. We haven't read the books, we haven't watched any of the movies.

Other things they haven't been exposed to: Star Wars, Spiderman, Indiana Jones, any non Wii-Fit games. They know the objects when they see them, mostly from items in the toy aisle at Wal-Mart, but not because they've watched any of the movies or played any of the games.

I've been able to get away with it because they are so young. Or at least, that's what I've been telling myself. They are just too young. I don't want to scare them. And believe me, my boys scare easy. Monkey still runs upstairs and watches the TV from around the corner of the stairs during the first part of The Fox and The Hound and covers his eyes during The Polar Express. I change the channel during scary commercials.

I want to share movies of my childhood with them. I want to share Star Wars, E.T., Indiana Jones. I want to explore the world of Harry Potter with them. I keep thinking that the first Harry Potter book and movie would be fine. The second one too. But Harry Potter grows up much faster than my boys. We would get through seven years in Harry's life before we got through one of Bug's and Monkey's. I feel that the last several books and movies are still too grown up, scary, and intense to share with two little wide eyed boys.

I've recently watched parts of E.T, Star Wars, Spiderman, Indiana Jones, and Transformers. And every time I think that they are still too much.

I don't want the boys to be afraid. I don't want to desensitize them. I honestly don't want to deal with the sleeplessness that comes along with little kid nightmares.

I hated being the girl who wasn't allowed to go to parties, because they might watch movies I wasn't allowed to see. I hated being the kid who didn't understand all the pop culture references my friends made. I hated being the naive, clueless one.

And part of me hates that I'm doing that to my own children.

Obviously, I don't want to protect them from everything. In the wise words of Dori the Fish: "You can't never let anything happen to him. Then nothing would ever happen to him. Not much fun for little Harpo."

I'm still not ready to tear down all the walls. We're not going to sit down and watch Rambo together anytime soon (Actually, probably not ever.)

But it's time to at least lower the shield a little bit. We've decided to start reading Harry Potter together as a family this summer. I'm so excited to start sharing this with my boys.

And if anything is still too scary, I still have have my maternal right of the fast forward button.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tapping the Tree

The days are starting to noticeably lengthen. There is often still a golden glow in the sky when I leave for home at the end of the day. Buds are swelling on the end of each tree branch.

It's time to tap the maple.

Last year, after visiting a local maple syrup festival, we decided to collect our own sap and make our own syrup. It was so much fun, we had to do it again this year.

We all put on our boots, trotted across the swishy muddy mess of our front yard, and gathered around our beautiful black maple tree. The scar from last year's tap is barely visible. We carefully selected a spot the proper distance away from the previous sit. Hubster drilled the hole. Bug pounded the stile in place. Monkey hung the bucket.

The sap started flowing instantly, each drip pinging happily into the galvanized steel bucket.

This winter has been mild. There has been little snow and few days with temperatures below freezing. While I've enjoyed the substantial decrease in driveway shoveling and windshield scraping, I'll be honest. I kept worrying that the lack of cold weather would prevent us from sugaring this year. It's still too early to tell if we will get less sap this year.

But the bucket is filling.

And even if there's not much maple syrup for Sunday pancakes, there was an afternoon of tapping the tree.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


I'm guilty of being swept up by commercialized, dramatized, Hollywood ideas of what love and romance should be. I'm guilty of thinking that because I'm not lavished in jewelry, flowers, surprise trips to tropical locations, evenings out, etc, that I'm not loved, and that my life is lacking romance.

But lately, I've been aware of how much Hubster really loves me. It may not be shown with romantic poems, surprise deliveries at work, or unexpected gifts. However, that's just what the rest of the world wants us to think romance and love is.

Love is Hubster watching a football game and realizing that it's going into overtime and that my favorite reality TV show is going to be delayed, so he changes the settings on the DVR.

Love is him letting me win Words With Friends (and Uno and Trivial Pursuit.)

Love is him finding a song he thinks I might like and putting on my iPod without telling me.

Love is him making the traditional Sunday breakfast that I usually cook, while I sleep post-call.

Love is him attending a new church, because he knows how much it means to me.

Love is him watching cooking shows with me, even when there is college basketball on another channel.

Love is him being careful with my laundry, making sure my bras and pretty underwear never go in the dryer and my favorite shirt is always carefully laid flat to dry.

Love is him leaving a great job, all his friends, and his family to move halfway across the country with me while I followed my dreams.

Love is him sitting next to me while I cry on the kitchen floor, about to give up on my dreams, and telling me that I'm better than that, and I can do it, and he's there for me.

Love is him reading to the boys each night and singing lullabies to Monkey.

This isn't the love that movies stuffed my younger self's head full of, the romance society prepared me for. This is so much better.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Flight of Ideas

I suddenly find myself unable to keep up with everything. All the balls that I was juggling in the air seem much heavier than they ever did. Things are getting dropped frequently here.

I'm blaming everything on winter. It's dark when I go to work. It's dark when I get home. It's always dark. And cold.

Everyone keeps talking about how mild this winter is. Maybe the weather is. But emotionally, this winter has been anything but mild. The last several months have wrecked havoc on my emotional well being.

I wish I was a bear and could hibernate all the gray, icy days away.

That line sounds like it could be from a children's book.

That's all I read any more, children's books. I can't talk about New York best sellers or the hottest read, but if you want to talk to me about Mo Willems or Oliver Jeffers, I'm all in.

I'm going to start re-reading The Hunger Games trilogy. I am beyond excited for the movie.

Lately, it seems like everyone is watching Once Upon a Time. I really want to watch it, but I just haven't found the time. The few days I thought I had time, we had no internet. I can't do anything without the internet. All my communication, my recipes, the boys' school stuff - it's all on the internet.

The internet is back up. The non-starting car is repaired. The pipe down the street that burst and left us without water is fixed.

Sometimes it feels like everything is back up and running except me.

Don't you hate it when people mention that they are dealing with significant personal issues, and then don't tell you what it is? Well, that's what's going on here. I've been thrown some major curve balls and am trying to figure out how to deal with them. As soon as I figure that out, I'll share it.

The boys are getting their Valentine's ready to share at school. Based on what's on Pinterest these days, I'm sure the boys are going to bring home a variety of darling homemade cards. My boys are handing out store bought Valentines. I refuse to feel guilty. Okay, that's not true. I refuse to let my guilt to me into unreasonable activity.

I need to do some activity.

I need it to be warm.

I wish I was a bear.