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#MicroblogMondays: 52

52. That’s how many books I read in 2014! I like the symmetry of that number with the number of weeks in a year although it doesn’t match with how I actually read. I wanted to reach 50, so it is nice to meet and surpass a goal.

Now as the end of the year races towards us, I hope that wasn’t the only goal I met this year. Could be worse, right?

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#MicroblogMondays: Winding Down

I have only 3 work days left in 2014. It was supposed to be only 2, but I had so many conference calls being scheduled on Thursday that it made more sense to work and not waste a vacation day.

We have our first family Christmas celebration next weekend; then we will be in the holiday maelstrom without a chance to breathe until it is all over. I hope not. Truly. I find myself reaching for a pause button that doesn’t exist. We are the most prepared for Christmas we have ever been: tree up; lights on bushes outside (only one non-working strand); wrapped presents under the tree. Yet I can’t help feeling surprised that Christmas is almost here. Daniel is SO excited. He studies every gift under the tree and is jubilant when he spies a new one, especially if it is for him.

I feel wistful. I want to savor each moment of the holidays, especially the build up to them. I want them to be magical. I love being the maker of magic for that little boy who greets me every morning with the latest (and accurate) days left until Christmas. I don’t want to be harried and stressed.

Once more unto the breach, dear friends.

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#MicroblogMondays: the Gingerbread House

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A combination of cold rain canceling a much-anticipated holiday activity and subsequent, ever-present parental guilt led me to a snap decision in the grocery store over the weekend: we would build a gingerbread house with Daniel!  I selected a kit with what looked to be a simple house with a straightforward assembly.  It would be fun, right? A bonding moment! A holiday memory we would all cherish.

It took only 5 minutes for the doubt to creep in. I carefully removed the gingerbread pieces and the candy. I studied the instructions closely. It was cutting a hole in the bag of icing and treating it like a pastry bag that did me in. This was going to be messy. And take a lot of time and attention to detail. Could I and an excitable 5-year-old handle this project? And then I cut the slit too wide on the icing packet and had flashbacks to my ignominious cake decorating class. This type of activity is NOT a core competency for me! I am not crafty. Nope, not at all.

We managed. It was fun. And messy. Very messy.  Daniel consumed some of the decorations, but he took the craft very seriously and had a ton of enthusiasm. After an hour, we both looked at the house and declared it done. He wanted to draw. I wanted to do…something else.

I told Twitter that it would be my first and last gingerbread house, but now, a scant day removed, I’m thinking that maybe if we made a few modifications to the icing situation, it would be more feasible. And less messy. So maybe we can re-engineer this project for next year.

This is what memories are made of, right?

The kit and its potential

Our kit and its potential

 

 

Our gingerbread house

Our gingerbread house

 

 

 

#MicroblogMondays: Thirteen Years

 

Favor from our wedding

Today Jimmy and I celebrate our 13th anniversary. I joke that I was a child bride, but I was a decent 24 and Jimmy was 25.  We had been engaged for almost 2  years by the time we got married, but our wedding occurred three months after September 11 and I felt nervous about everything.  Jimmy jokes (it isn’t really a joke) that I almost broke his hand during the ceremony because I was gripping it so tightly. I was a much more anxious person overall at that time.

It has been a good 13 years, but it feels like 13 years. That sounds grim, but it isn’t. We’ve been through many ups and downs in that 13 years, but we’ve faced them together, inch by inch and mile by mile.  We’ve invested time and most importantly, ourselves, and I’m proud of that 13 years. I don’t think we had any inkling of what our lives would be like over the next 13 years when we plied our troth at half-past four on December 1, 2001, but there is no one I’d rather be on this journey with.  Here’s to many, many more anniversaries.

 

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#MicroblogMondays: Shark Teeth

Last week, we discovered Daniel has shark teeth. That’s what it is called when your permanent teeth come in before you lose your baby teeth, giving you a double row of teeth. Two of his lower front teeth are almost completely in, but his baby teeth show no sign of being ready to come out.

We were rather shocked to see the new teeth and a little freaked out, especially since the baby teeth are still firmly in place. Fortunately my cousin, a dental hygienist, looked at them over the weekend and said it would be fine to wait because the new teeth had plenty of room.

I guess I shouldn’t have been very surprised by the appearance of the shark teeth given our family’s dental history. All four of Daniel’s 6-year molars came in months ago. I myself was a precocious teether: a tooth popped through at 1 week old and the dentist pulled it when I was 6 weeks old. I also have 4 molars without enamel.

Parenting: never a dull moment.

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#MicroblogMondays: Words

Daniel loves words right now. He asks me to spell everything. And we think he’s reading. If not 100%, he’s close. Very close. That amazes me. I feel like I’ve waited 5 years for him to read, yet now that he can, I’m awed at all that it takes to be able to read.

Today Daniel and I arrived home a little early, and Jimmy was sitting outside with his laptop. Daniel was fascinated and wanted to type words. The two of them played on the laptop for a while, Daniel intent on typing sentences.

It was honestly one of the most adorable things I’ve seen and a reminder of how quickly Daniel is growing up. He looked like a natural in front of the laptop screen.

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A Few Parenting Articles

I know better than to depend on the Internet for parenting advice or solace, but I came across a few articles and posts this week that were truly wonderful.

First: this post about “that kid” from the teacher’s perspective. Lots of hugs: http://missnightmutters.com/2014/11/dear-parent-about-that-kid.html

And this post from a mother wanting to protect her daughter’s spirit while the world seems intent on crushing it: http://www.schmutzie.com/weblog/outside-voice-the-pain-of-wanting-to-protect-my-daughter

Next: kindergarteners, standardized tests and developmental readiness. It really makes me rethink what I want out of early-education: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/02/06/a-really-scary-headline-about-kindergarteners/

And for fellow boy moms, this post on what this mother has learned parenting boys. All true in my experience as well! http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2014/11/12/5-things-i-learned-about-raising-boys-so-far/

And saving my least favorite for last, this lady is pretty certain we’re parenting small children incorrectly and is out to school us: http://www.salon.com/2014/11/11/10_things_parents_should_never_say_to_their_toddlers_partner/

What is the best or worst thing you read this week?

A Bit of Hodge Podge from the Week

Just a random collection of thoughts and experiences this week:

  • I walked into the office kitchen today and smelled something foul. At first, I thought it was fish in the microwave again (just say no, people), but it turns out it was almost as bad: creamed spinach. WHY????? Ewwww.  Creamed spinach may be your favorite food ever, but some foods should be kept at home. And yes, I acknowledge that my red wine vinegar and cucumbers might not be the best smell ever in an open office environment, but surely they are infinitely better than fish or creamed spinach!!
  • Apparently every church in the area is having a holiday bazaar this weekend.  I’m not sure I’ve ever been to one, and I’m curious if it would be worth my time or crafty hell. Thoughts?
  • I’ve been reading Justin Cronin’s The Passage for about 3 weeks now. I started it (finally) the week of Halloween, hoping optimistically that I’d finish it by the holiday. Three weeks later, I’m about 30 pages from the end, and I think there is a sequel. It’s been a long slog. Not a bad one, but long. Can’t decide if I will declare myself done once I finish the book or go for the next one. Vampires (or virals as they are called in the book)!!!
  • I avoided the holiday music channels on Sirius XM for 3 days but succumbed today. Stick a fork in me; I’m done. I’ve fallen fully down the holiday rabbit hole. I want to decorate all the things! And my Christmas spirit is at stratospheric highs. I might even break down and watch White Christmas, my least favorite Christmas movie for complicated reasons.
  • Jimmy’s thumb is healing well, but we are babying it and keeping it bandaged since the thumb is, well, integral to a lot. Jimmy empathizes with chimps and other animals without thumbs.
  • We swear Daniel is taller. He seems sooooooo tall and taller than a few days ago. We think he’s going to be tall like my dad (6’7″) and grandfather (6’6″).
  • The Internet Summit happened in town this week, and I missed it. I have attended almost every year, but this year it just didn’t work out.  Steve Wozniak was a keynote, and I hate I missed that.
  • We usually write notes to Daniel each night for him to find. This morning, I asked him to write a note to his daddy, and he wrote “Mommy and me love you.” Melt. He has learned soooo much! So proud of that little man.
  • Thank goodness tomorrow is Friday.
  • Jimmy and I are both counting down to our last working days of the year. We need a nice, long break.

How was your week?

37

Today Daniel, recently intrigued by numbers and addition, asked my why I was 37.

Of course the initial answer is, “because.” I don’t know why I am 37, but I assume it’s because I was born in 1977 & 2014 minus 1977 equals 37.

37. I don’t think I managed to post anything around my birthday in early September. Age 37 puts me firmly in that late 30s/approaching 40 demographic.

In a society rapidly shifting from focusing on Baby Boomers to catering to Millennials, it is easy to feel both irrelevant and old, yet young too. Sometimes it shocks me to be 37. OLD. And then I think about how I would not have been eligible to be president until 2 years ago, so clearly age equals wisdom and experience, at least in theory.

The gray in my hair is increasing. I note every one and hope they aren’t too visible. I work with a lot of young things now, which is a change since for a long time, I was the youngest by decades at work (poor Gen X!). Sometimes I feel matronly and invisible: should someone my age worry about how she looks, dresses and is perceived? Which is silly, because I’m 37!

At the same time, I think 37 suits me better than my 20s ever did. At work, I have a weight now and I find people are more inclined to listen to me. I feel more confident and able to say what I think (within reason). It’s actually expected of me. In some of the meetings I attend, I am still one of the youngest. I also know what I do and do not want out of life as well as what is reasonably possible. Jimmy and I are talking about and planning for paying off the house and retiring in our 50s because we do NOT want to have to work. Fun topics!

Do men feel this way about age? Or do they consider themselves in their late 30s as just beginning to be seasoned, with their best years still ahead? While women start to think of themselves as old and/or unattractive on many fronts.

Maybe it’s the approaching end of my theoretical childbearing years that is influencing my mindset. Not that they hadn’t been over for me for years already (always?) but from a biological perspective, 37 is not young, nubile and fertile. And we still have those 5 frozen embryos that haunt me.

37. So old, yet so young.