Essence of Meg

Once in a blue moon I manage to capture a moment on film that captures the soul of a person. In the set of photos I picked up this afternoon, I found one of those photos waiting for me. Everyone that *really* knows Megan and has seen this picture has all said the same thing -- "That is just so Meg. That picture truly conveys her little personality all in one grin."

We had been painting (which is fairly obvious) and Megan, as is her way, really got into her project. She had painted in just her diaper. I forget why but I was about to change her when Logan asked for the art box. It was easier to start her already half-undressed than give her new clothes to drench in paint. When we were done, as is also our custom, Megan was headed for a bath. I was gathering up towels and bubbles while she, it turns out, was running away and hiding. I heard her giggle. I grabbed the camera that was still nearby -- I had photographed Logan's painting with paint bubbles, and I found her. She was in Logan's room, palms up as they are when she asks her favorite question, "Where go?"

"Where did what go? What are you looking for?" I asked her.

She pointed to herself and said "Where baby?"

She saw the camera. She gave me a grin and a "cheese!" I put the camera down and told her I liked the "where go" face better than the cheesey smile. So she did it for me - she posed...and in that moment of cooperation I captured this:


Four years ago we spent a long weekend in Gettysburg, PA. We stayed at a quaint bed and breakfast right on the battlefield. We toured. We ate out in nice places. It was before we had children and we could afford the time spent meandering about somewhere not to mention the cost of the nice inn and meals. I've always been a big history buff. I enjoy a good documentary or book that tell the story of history without being too dry. Some of my favorite vacations are to historical landmarks where I get to walk around feeling connected lives that have come before me.

This trip was no different in that regard. It did, however, inspire me a bit more than other trips had. Bruce devours anything he can get his hands on about Abe Lincoln - and that includes text, films and tours on the Civil War (thus our trip). I'd watch him read biography after biography. I'd see him get into the minute details of a great man's life. He knew more about Lincoln that I think my history teachers combined ever knew. It was enviable - to be that knowledgeable on a subject one was interested in.

Over the course of this weekend we sat on long, hard benches and watched tacky mechanical figures give short biographical introductions to every US President from Washington to present. It occurred to me, as we watched the eyes of each rigged up man stare straight ahead despite the spotlight shining over his head, that I knew so very little about so very many of these leaders. I know whatever the person in charge of defining my curriculum had deemed important. I knew whatever they could squish into 10-ish months of a school year. I knew the basics.

I was hungry for more.

And so I launched a crusade for knowledge. I decided, at that very moment, that I was going to read at least one book on every President. I looked up titles. I made my lists. I started my reading.

In the last four years I've finished the book on Washington.

I'm stalled on John Adams.

My problem is I struggle to read dry books. I like historical accounts that read like novels. I like feeling less like I'm in class and more like I'm engaged in the story. I don't think I've found that yet, but I want to.

I was teased the other day that I was taking this all too much to heart. I'm treating it like a pass-or-fail class I'm in danger of failing when it's really my own hard-headedness pushing me to read a book I'm not enjoying. I don't think it's quite like that. I'm hungry for this journey. I WANT to go forward. I want to learn, to grow, and to experience and I want to take THIS path to it. I have my reasons for approaching my quest through Presidential study. Perhaps at some point, maybe when I'm back into my reading, I'll share my own little nutty inspiration. Or not, perhaps no one really cares much to know.

This whole long post just to say - HELP! Anyone have any good books to suggest?


Welcome little guy!

I woke up this morning to find great news in my inbox. The world welcomed a baby boy on Friday - the son of my very special friend. Hey there little E. I can't wait to watch you grow!


Book lovers paradise

Over a year ago they broke ground for a new library wing. They opened it sometime in 2005 and promptly shut down the 'old' wing for renovation. We were forced into what some area towns would still consider a large-ish nice facility. It wasn't, however, as complete as we'd known. Brighter. More modern, but not the same.

They shut down the entire place a few weeks ago. They broke through the temporary walls that divided the old from the new. Today they opened up the new and improved library. I'm in love.

More importantly, the kids are in love. We braved the huge crowds. Toured around some. Got hugs from a teenager dressed up in a Biscuit the dog suit, at least Megan did. Logan prefered to watch the dog from a distance. Megan thought it'd be fun to pull the dog's tail.

They picked out their books. They sat and tried out the reading spaces. They laid out their plan of attack for their next visit.

Next week the library will host a traveling dinosaur museum. We're already making our plans.


Eine Kleine Nachtmusik

I was 10 when I first held a violin. That was the year you got to be grown-up enough for the elementary school music program to apply to you. Those of us interested crowded into, if I recall corrently, a cafeteria at one of the Intermediate Schools (aka Junior High). We got to hold the instruments. We got to try them.

I wanted a flute. Or so I thought. I couldn't do a damn thing with the flute so I tried a violin. It just felt right. Mom and Dad signed me up.

The first few months my violin and I practiced a lot in the backyard at my mom's behest. We sounded akin to a cat being de-furred by hand. Slowly we got better.

By 7th grade, I could play actual music that sounded like actual music. I'm not talking about "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." I'm talking about real, classical, orchestral arrangements. Our teacher was a push-over of a man with "hippie" hair and a mustache. He loved his job and his students loved him because of it, and frankly because the guy was an incredible push-over.

He was my instructor for two years. We put on four concerts total during the time. Each one performed during the day and then again at night for different audiences. We once played the William Tell Overture (think Lone Ranger theme). A friend of mine, a real prankster, arranged to have a fellow student gallop out on stage with a wooden horse between her knees and a white cowboy hat. Only Mr. B would laugh it off without issuing detention.

One of my favorite songs to play during this stretch was Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. I'm not sure if it was the music itself at first or because it was fun to say over and over again. Reglardless it became a song that seemed to personaify my passion for my hobby. When I think of my violin (my rather dusty, neglected violin I ought to add) I often do so humming the opening bars to this song.

In High School we moved on to a new teacher. He was big and round. He was talented and he loved his craft. He'd play with us sometimes and we'd stop our parts to just sit and watch him do his. He'd let us hook our string insturments up to the amplifier and pretend to be groundbreaking rock violinist.

And he included Eine Kleine Nachtmusik in a concert at least once in my 4 years with him. It cemented the song's place in my mind as the 'ultimate' song to play on my violin.

My son discovered my forgotten stringed friend last year. He pulled the case from my closet one day. I took it out from it's prison and let Logan hold it. He fell in love. However, this poor wooden friend had been dropped and cracked once when I was 13. It had been repaired, thankfully, but still bore the scar. I didn't want it shattered again. I talked my brother into getting Logan a guitar for his birthday instead. Logan uses it to express his musical curosity. So does Megan.

I hope they stick with it. I hope their love for music blossoms. I hope when they are ten years old they beg us to take them to the cafeteria of the Intermediate School one night and let them pick out their instrument. And I hope there is a series of instructors and a series of composers that do their best to make them fall in love.

Happy Birthday Mozart.

Updated to note: I found my CD with "A Little Night Music." I excitedly told the kids about how it was my favorite to play on the violin. They got equally as excited to hear it. The first few bars played and Logan says:

"Hey! That's the Little Einsteins' song!"

"No, It's Mozart," I told him.

"Nope," he said, "Leo."

Thanks Disney. (And I do say that with a tad of sarcasm)


Things I'm loving today

1. Megan has stayed (and more importantly enjoyed her stay) in child care at the gym for the last three days - two of them for Grandma and now one for me.

2. Heart monitors - I love knowing how hard or not hard I'm working out. Somehow just feeling hot and sweaty isn't a good indicator.

3. My little Shuffle - Typically I'm not a brand-snob, but gosh how glad I am that I allowed myself to get sucked into the iPod hype.

4. Armbands for the aforementioned Shuffle - I bought a velcro wrap with a hard plastic pocket for my silcon skin wrapped gum sized player. I strap it on my upper arm, nestle the ear phones in my ears and start my tredmill walk.

5. Close captioning - I could listen to Norah Jones and watch the highlights on ESPN all at the same time. Now if it were only baseball season and not basketball I'd have been in work-out nirvana.


Short is sweet

Bossman got some kind of nifty-little handheld device that let's him recieve and send all his email, all the time, in all the many places he goes. It used to be about waiting impatiently for him to get in front of his PC and wade through a bazillion emails so he can respond to our various burning questions.

Now he gets it. He reads it. He responds. Sometimes it's almost instant.

But better than that - that little, itty, bitty keyboard he's got to work with now? It means he only sends short messages.

Short messages are good messages.

Short messages are rarely laden with piles of work.

Short messages are rarely berating.

Short messages are typically of the "Good job. Go with it." variety.

Cohorts and I discussed this today. In fact it came up with each short message we got today. We've voted.

We want bossman to have the itty bitty keyboard hooked up to his laptop.


Role Model

Listen to the MUSTN'TS, child,
Listen to the DON'TS
Listen to the SHOULDN'TS
Listen to the NEVER HAVES
Then listen close to me -
Anything can happen, child,
ANYTHING can be.
- Shel Silverstein.

I discovered Shel Silverstein in grade school. I've read a lot of poetry since, but when all is said and done, he's still my favorite. Odes and Sonnets - they have their place in my life. Some have made their impact, but the above poem by Silverstein has long been my favorite. Tucked away in a book of silly little rhymes about being eaten by a boa constrictor and wearing toilet plungers as hats is this gem of hope. It makes my heart smile.

The words spoke to me from the first time I read it. I can do anything. I can be anything. I may have to work harder. I may have to push harder. I may have to wait. But I can do it. The nay-sayers, ah, who needs them. That poem still reminds me of this wise message today.

Yet it also speaks to me on another level now. It reminds me that the things I say and do impact my child outside the moment. I'm prodded to inspire dreaming and goal seeking not reign it in with my perceived reality. I'm to set limits to foster growth, not stifle it.

When people in the media's glare screw-up and someone decides to mention the child - what message is this giving the children that watch you - they undoubtedly fall back on the simple idea that "I'm not a role model. I don't pretend to be one. I don't want to be one." Yeah, that's great. Too bad, you are.

We are all role models, whether we want to be or not. All of us. The Good and the Bad. We might not WANT to be a role model. We might not even think we're role model worthy. Yet everything done in anything other than a private setting because behavior someone is absorbing and cataloging.

I think we get confused. We confuse "modeling good behavior" with being a role model. And that's not accurate. Modeling ANY behavior makes you a role model. Some of us model behavior a child ought not to pursue. Others model behavior we hope our children internalize and adhere to. Everything we do sets an example. Everything we say makes an impact.

And that is scary. It's scary to know that when I berate my fellow driver (albeit, he DID just cut me off, the jackass!) my child is watching. He's learning. When I grow frustrated with my co-workers and growl a little, the little one thinks it's funny to growl along with me. When the bigger one asks what's wrong and I, in my frustration, tell him some people just can't do their own jobs - he remembers it. If I throw my hands up in defeat, he sees it. He learns it. I've modeled a behavior and he's in class taking notes.

Yet it's the good stuff too. It occurred to me the other day, that my daughter is learning how to express love by watching us closely. I lifted her from her crib the other morning and she smiled brightly as she normally does. She cuddled her head into my neck and then she did something that caught me off guard. She was patting and rubbing my arm and back. It took me a moment to place it, but finally I did. When she's upset, not feeling well, or when she first wakes up, I have a tendency to cuddle her and pat or rub her back. I do it without thinking as a way to comfort her. Clearly it's working.

My son was goofing around last night and he smacked his head on the side of a hard toy. He grabbed the spot and groaned a little. His sister ran over to him and kissed a spot near his hand. Of course then she set to patting him on the head - hard. He didn't mind though because he got it. He looked up and smiled at us. "Megan is loving me!" he said happily.

He's right. She was. He leaned over and bear hugged until she pushes him off, giggling as she did. She then started to pat his head again.

Suddenly I didn't feel so bad about accidently teaching my son that some coworkers are morons lucky to have jobs because I've also, without trying to, taught him to recognize love and to give it.

We're all role models - the good and the bad we do. They're watching. They're taking notes. We're repeating the rules, the MUSTN'TS and the IMPOSSIBLES. We're showing the way of the WONT'S and the NEVER HAVES. But if we're wise, we're also showing them that ANYTHING can happen. We're lighting the path so they can see that ANYTHING can be.



I've come to the conclusion that there is one main rule of good parenting. In fact, I think we can extend it to life in general. I'm not saying it's an easy one to follow. I'm not saying I'm any good at getting it right all the time. I'm just saying that there is one real important key that hangs out like a giant umbrella over everything:

Managing Expectations.

Sometimes it's managing theirs. It's preparing the three-year old for the fact that he really can't have his 5 Millionth Hot Wheel car just because you're about to set foot in a Supermarket that happens to sell them.

Sometimes it's managing your own. It's remembering that even though you've already told the three-year old he can't have the toy car, he's still going to ask because he is, in fact, just three. You still say no, but you don't have to leap to blow-up response when he asks.

Sometimes it's managing both. It's reminding each other that a) it's ok to be upset that he asked for the damn car four more times before you left and b) it's ok that he's sad he's not getting the car even though he asked 5 times in the store and four more on the ride there and another 2 on the way home.

Sometimes it's not accepting the lowest common denominator. It's remembering that even though it's ok he's upset, he's old enough now and he's been through this often enough, that he really should not be tossing a monster fit the entire five minute ride home because he's short one brand-new car. And when he does avoid the tantrum, substituting a simple pouty, "I'm not happy!" you know its fair and it's ok for him to say so.

I find that when we don't expect too much of ourselves and of our children it's easier to accept the disappoints. When we don't expect too little of ourselves, our chidlren, our associates, we push each other to strive for our best.


More Z's

Logan is a good sleeper. The lights go off in his room at 8pm and normally, unless he's got to use the bathroom or he's sick, we don't hear from him again until it's about 7am. Sometimes he gets up a bit earlier. Sometimes later. We've been told it's luck. -- lucky that he's a good sleeper. And then, when *they* hear that Megan isn't cooperating as nicely, they smile and nod, "Yes luck."

It makes me bristle. It was hard work on his part and hard work on our part.

When he was about 3 months old, Logan slept an 8 hour stretch. He did every night from then until he was about 9.5 months. He started to wake and cry. Only rocking him back to sleep would bring us peace. So we did until we reached a point where we were up nearly every hour because the only way he'd sleep was on someone.

We dove head first into sleep training. It took us three nights. It was something we needed to re-do once he decided he'd like to try standing in his crib to scream. After we survived that round we got him drifting off to sleep to start the night on his own through a gradual introduction and he's been golden ever since.

The only luck invovled is that we found a method of sleep training that would work with him earlier than we've found Megan's magic number.

Last night, however, I was determined to try again. She drifted to sleep in my arms in the chair as Logan was still laughing loudly to the stories Daddy read. I laid her down as soon as the house was silent.

She was up at midnight. I gave her some milk. I rocked her. She was out. I laid her down. She was up. This sometimes happens at nap time. I rubbed her belly and hushed her. That usually works with a nap. Not this time. In the past we'd have been back in the chair and she, likely, would have been asleep in short order.

Yet I was determined last night. I hugged her without lifting her up. "Meggie, it's night time. See how dark. Let's turn on your music and sleep." She didn't lay down. She complained.

I laid down on her floor. It stunned her. She stood staring at me. She kept pushing her foot through the spaces of her crib as if she was looking for a foothold. I rubbed her leg and shushed some more. She moved to the other corner - away from my hand but still within sight. Called me. I didn't reply. I hummed softly.

She laid down.

She fell asleep.

I left the room silently.

She did call for me within 10 minutes. I never replied and she never cried. She fell silent and slept. She slept until 6:30.

Daddy just laid her down right now and we're about to start a movie. She fell asleep just minutes ago. If she squawks we'll try the floor thing again. Perhaps this will be the start of her magic answer. Or not. Perhaps we'll need to get creative again when she sees her way through this one.

Regardless, we're determined. Logan never had a toddler bed. He went staight into the twin. Then again, he never climbed. He never tried to dive head first off something taller than himself. He went to the bed after his 2nd birthday because he had outgrown his crib and because Megan was on her way. We expect Megan perhaps need that mid-step before her birthday because she's hellbent on figuring a way to scale out of her crib.

I worry that if she's not sleeping well by that time she'll wander. Getting her to sleep and stay asleep will get harder when she can get out and showup wherever she pleases - especially since one of her great joys if she's up first in the morning, is to run into her brother's room, climb up on his bed frame and pound on his head.

When Logan first moved into his twin bed, we expected him to be getting out of it. He didn't. At least those first few months. When he was ready to give up his naps, he started to roam. We realized he simply wasn't tired enough to drift off easily at 8. We ditched the naps. He roamed a few other times and we got tough on him. He knew better. He understood consquences. We gave him some. Out of bed? A favorite toy ends up in time-out. It took two nights of a train in time-out to convince him it wasn't worth his while to get out of bed.

Even now, if he needs to use the bathroom, he'll call for us to come get him. Really, he could get up and go on his own without needing us, but since doing so might undermine the whole "better stay in here until the sun's up" concept we've not mentioned the whole "solo" bathroom trip to him yet.

In a perfect world we'd want to work to this point with Megan some day. I don't expect we will. Perhaps it'll happen. She's a different child with a different temperment. First, we need to convince her she can sleep without our help - then we can worry about the rest.


Confessions and stuff

- I strongly support the practice of sleep training.

- I am not an advocate of one type of program over another. I think each child responds differently and therefore there is room for variety.

- That said, we have not [successfully] sleep trained the 16 month old. She still is up at least once in the night most nights.

- If we attempt anything involving crying for a stretch, she will literally win the battle by puking all over herself and her crib. If we attempt anything that requires standing within her line of site without picking her up, she stands, screams and almost works herself into a tizzy that would lead to self-induced wretching except we pick her up.

- We've read through our options. We've attempted most of them. We're going to start cycling through them again soon because she's nearly figured out how to climb out of the crib which means soon we'll be moving on to the toddler bed.

- Toddler beds are not well suited to children that can't fall asleep and stay asleep on their own. At least not to me.

- I view my blog a bit like a cyber-diary with voyeuristic attributes.

- I never proofread my childhood diaries.

- I don't often proof this one before hitting post.

- The idea of proofing and editing a journal makes me feel restricted or something I just can't put my finger on.

- Yet if I read through a posted entry and find annoying little mistakes I end up going back and fixing them after the fact.

- Apparently it bugs me more than I realize because I'm bothering to confess it to you today.

- Turning down a promotion can sometimes turn out to be a good thing.

- I seem to be getting the extra hours I wanted, the responsibilities I would have gotten and perhaps even a higher rate of pay. All of it under my terms.

- The biggest perk is being out of the direct line of fire when Bossman is in a snit.

- I have other things I could share but I'm being paged to play or something motherly like that and besides I think this is getting sort of too long.

Happy Friday. What do you want to confess?


Something to work on

When Megan naps, it's special "Logan time." He likes to play board games. We play some that are geared to his age -- Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, the Junior Great States game, etc. And then we play some "big kid" games that he likes to try out. Checkers and so forth. So we're playing the game of LIFE -- well pretending to play. Logan cheats.

He lands on a square where he needs to get a new career. So he picks a new card. He went from being a computer consultant to an athlete. He points to the blonde gal standing next to the athlete on his card and says:

"Look! I got a new wife!"


Of course later, when relating the story to Daddy, Logan would roll his eyes and say, "It was just pretend! Geesh!"


A girl and her art

Megan has taken to art projects. She loves it. She drags down the art supply box and runs to her chair laughing and yelling "colors!" Like any good artist sometimes, Meg gets a bit too into her art project. Like this:


At Thanksgiving, Logan's aunt had given him a snowman kit. Fake carrot, some buttons, a plastic scarf, corncob pipe and a felt hat. He remembered it when it snowed this weekend.

Yet the snow wasn't quite right for snowman building. It was too soft. Too flakey and not quite snowball rolling quality. So we improvised a little:

And the end result? Frosty the Snowdrift:


Too little too late

American Idol's latest round of delusional singers took the try-out stage today. To be honest, I'm not shocked that these "nails on chalkboard" singers think they're the next hot ticket to stardom.


I went to the prom with a guy like this.

I don't know why it's taken me this long to figure it out, but it has. We were watching tonight because, frankly, after a long day in the office I find comfort in watching someone else get verbally beat upon by a pompous ass. I think it was one of the little guys - meaning 'vertically challenged', not young - badly belting out a tune that triggered it.

"You know," I said as I touched Bruce's arm to get his attention, "It's a shame this show wasn't on about 10 years ago."

He turned and looked at me, asking the obvious "Why" with a look not a word.

"Come on. You *know* that B would be camping out over night in New York for the chance to try-out."

Bruce laughed. He nodded. "Oh, yeah."

"If you close your eyes right now, you can even see him standing there on TV belting out his song and hitting on Paula while he did it. You can see him getting all up in the camera afterwards going on and on about Simon wouldn't know talent if beep beep beep."

"He'd sing show tunes," laughed Bruce.

"No, once we were at Six Flags and we recorded Under the Boardwalk in one of those karoke type places. He thought it was the greatest thing ever. I bet he'd sing that," I explained.

This friend of mine landed one of the leads the school play our senior year. The same teen-aged boy that always sat back in the chorus until that year. The same one that mustered up all the bravado he could in his five foot five frame in such a way that those around him had to fight to stifle laughter. He was Julian Marsh in 42nd Street.

And that role, he believed, was to catapult him to stardom. His mother quite literally dreamt of him winning an Oscar. He took that dream to heart. He ran up credit card bills having professional head shots taken. He searched out an agent.

Friends, he wasn't that good.

He *was* good enough for a High School play. Had he had an American Idol platform, however, he'd not be going to Hollywood.

Not that he'd believe you. And so tonight, when I watched these people butcher music, I thought back to my friend. I've not seen him in 4 years. In a way I miss him.


Tagged for Four

I've been tagged by Cath for one of the current meme trends making the blog rounds. So here goes:

Four jobs you have had in your life:
-Shoe sales ~ HATED it but a girl has to earn minimum wage some how during her school years.

- Public relations/marketing guru ~ Sometimes I was both, sometimes just one. All depends on who you asked at the time.

- Freelance reporter/writer ~ The title changes based on the publication. I've been considered both although my lazy butt hasn't done much about it in a long time.

- Mom ~ This one is my favorite. :)

Four movies you would watch over and over:
- Mr. Smith Goes to Washington ~ I first saw this in one of my PoliSci classes in college. We had to watch it again for a film class I took two years later. The second time around just confirmed that I could watch it over and over and over.

- Princess Bride ~ A group of us started in on the habit in High School and to this day that silly little movie can always make me smile. "Have fun storming the castle!"

- Sixth Sense ~ I'm a sucker for movies that catch me off guard. This one did and became one of my favorites because of it. It no longer surprises, obviously, but I always feel like I see something new in it each time I watch it.

- Hamlet ~ Truth is I don't even care which film version. I adore Shakespeare and this is my favorite of his plays.

Four places you have lived:
- Well if I listed towns you'd know exactly where I lived, and I'm not going to give that much away. ;) I've lived in three separate towns in New Jersey, all three at the shore.

- During my college years I lived (school year only) in a small town just outside of Philadelphia.

Four TV shows you love to watch:
I'm so very much out of the loop on TV shows. I hardly watch anything any more that isn't a cartoon. Of course, that said, I do have a few I can list.
- Re-runs of Seinfeld ~ they never get old. Even when I know a joke is coming, it still cracks me up. Not that there's anything wrong with it.

- Little House on the Prairie ~ I know at least one or two LIW fans that will roll their eyes and groan (Hi there! You know who you are.), but I could watch these shows all day long and then twice again the next day. I've started building my little DVD collection to go with the book collection - yeah, yeah, yeah, so they stories aren't the same. I know. I like them anyway. ha!

- A good baseball game - although sometimes I find I multi-task more often than not.

- There are currents shows I watch, but honestly nothing I'm in that "tape if I'm going to miss" mode any more. Some used to be that way for me but not any longer.

Four places you have been on vacation:
When I sit back to think on this one, I realize I've been lucky enough to travel a lot of different places that hold special meaning to me. I'll share a few of my most treasured.
- Scotland ~ traveled to visit my husband's family. We were in Ayrshire mostly but also trekked out to Edinburgh, Loch Ness and a few spots in between.

- Tahiti/Bora Bora/Moorea ~ It. Was. Amazing. Perhaps someday I'll scan in a photo or two.

- Bermuda ~ We honeymooned there. I have viles of pink sand scattered about our place.

- Lancaster, PA ~ When I got engaged my mother decided to start a special tradition -a shared event that was just ours. We began a mother-daughter three day weekend. From the 2nd annual trip through the present (roughly 8 trips) we've gone out to Lancaster, PA. We shop. We play bad mini-golf. We eat in places that don't make us do the dishes when we're done and we sleep at a Bed and Breakfast that includes a bed we don't need to make. It's divine. This past year we took Logan to see Thomas the Tank Engine up in the same area. It was his first real 'vacation' and so it further cemented the area's residence in a 'soft' spot of my heart.

Four websites I visit daily:- Lots of Blogs ~ I'm keeping Cath's first notation here. It's not always the same blogs, but I'm likely stopping by to visit at least a blog.

- Google ~ Seriously. I think it's safe to say that my little head gets wrapped around something I end up googling more days than it doesn't. And since I end up doing so more often than not it's set as my homepage.

- Outlook-Web-Access ~ Since I only work two days a week in an office, I tend to check my office email from home more-or-less daily. I don't bother logging into the VPN unless I know I need to download files or get more involved than just a quick glance at my inbox. Instead I go through the company's web-interface for email.

- Yahoo mail ~ I keep a separate email address for the majority of my subscriptions and things like blog comments. I try to get in to check it at least once a day. If nothing a girl has to clean out the spam.

Four of my favorite foods:
- Anything I can put tomato sauce on

- Mom's Vegetable Soup ~ which I attempted on my own this year for the very first time. For some reason I've been incredibly intimidated by what turns out to be a very easy recipe.

- Seafood!

- Chocolate ~ It's a weakness.

Four places I would rather be right now:
Well as long as my family was with me, then I'd say any of the places I listed in the vacation listing. Although, right now it's awfully cold and icy around here which means it's likely cold and icy in Lancaster. With that in mind, I'll skip Lancaster at the moment and I'll substitute someplace, like, oh I don't know, whatever does not require me to shovel.

Four bloggers I am tagging:
Actually I'm cheating. I have no idea who is up for playing along right now. Some of the bloggers I'd tip a hat too aren't really in a spot they can take a blogging break to do so. Instead I'll leave it in your hands.

I tag you
and you
and you
and you.


Who knew

- The goal of this morning's spin class was to keep your heartrate at 80% - not 85%, not 75%. 80. Today I learned I could control my heartrate and keep it where I wanted it with concentration and breathing. Who knew?

- Meg has always hated being wrapped in a towel after her bath. She particuarly hates having it cover her head. Last night I put the hood part over her hair and set her on her feet. I told her to run and show Daddy super baby. Apprently, Megan loves her new cape. When it was removed from her head so her PJs could go on, she lost track of it. She came searching for me, turned her little palms up to the sky (elbows bent in and tucked neatly to her sides), she shrugged and said "Mama? Towel? Air go?" We found it. She demanded "Hat peas!" (say it outloud it'll make sense) and then took off down our hallway yelling "Ooper Baby!" All it took to get this 16-month old peacefully dried was a little imaginiation. Who knew?

- As a typical three-year old, Logan has the tendancy to over-react to things sometimes. And as your typical, sometimes frustrated mom, I have a tendency to repeat the same matras when he does so. Last night Logan took a walk with his grandparents. Papa, although an incredibly hands-on gentle grandfather, can be a bit impatient and sometimes forgets what's like to be three. Logan's walks have two paces - run ahead of everyone or dwadle behind. That frustrates Papa. The trip around the block included my father repeating himself several times: Logan! Don't run, hold up. Logan! Come on, stop dwadling. Let's go! He snapped one of those phrases off within 5 houses from home. Logan stopped. He put his hands on his hips and he said, "Papa, you really have to learn to relax." Guess sometimes he listens to me more than I realize. Who knew?

- One of my hobbies, one that consumes me sometimes, is taking photographs. I'm a digital hold out. Honestly, I adore my Nikon SLR and I very much don't want to part with it until I can afford it's digital counterpart. And then today I read that Nikon is backing away from film - as are so many other companies. I have to be honest, while I don't consider myself an early adopter of technology, I'm rarely one of the ones left holding onto the dinosaur in denial. For some reason I have with digital photography. I've joined onto every other technical revolution before getting shoved out the door - but perhaps not this time. Who knew?

- There are roughly 33 days left until pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training. They think it's going to snow here this week yet the new baseball season is just around the corner. For me that's a sign - more than red breasted robins, more then early flowering bulbs - arms warming up in Florida so they're ready for an April opening day. Winter feels like it's just begun sometimes and yet it's nearing an end. Granted there's a lot of bluster and cold, perhaps even a lot of snow, left in the old man, but at least there's light at the end of the tunnel.


Book it

When I found out I was going to become a mother I began to look forward to a lot of different things. One of those was the chance to share the joy of reading with my children. A good book has always been a sanctuary for me. I could get lost in a matter of moments when I opened a good tale. Just a few words into a page and the world as I know it dissolves into oblivion.

When Logan arrived we began our daily ritual. We shared a book in the hospital. I know there are nights here or there that he's gone to bed without a single story between us, but it's rare. At first it was our habit but now it's his joy. He loves his books almost as much as he loves the time spent together when we read them.

He was always a patient 'reader.' He moved quickly from the board book variety into short picture books. From there the pages grew more wordy and less illustrated. He'll occasionally let it slip that he can read what's written before him, but mostly he likes to lay against us as we read to him.

Megan has always been more physical and less prone to sitting still - and yet except for a brief spell where she'd rather throw books than read them - she's exhibited a camaraderie with our library of children's books. She's rougher on them than her brother ever was and so for now, her exposure remains the hard cardboard variety. Still, she gathers up a stack of her favorites, commands you to sit and then backs herself up until she can flop onto your lap. We read to her when she's not busy rattling off what she's memorized.

This Christmas we gave Logan a collection of the original Thomas the Tank Engine stories. They are bound together in one big book that is very heavy on the text and very light on the pictures. Between Bruce and I, we've read from over 200 pages from that book to Logan since Christmas. He seems to enjoy it more than he's enjoyed anything else before it.

Until, that is, his grandparents went away for a long weekend and came back with presents. We have a rather sizable collection of children's books. I have a weakness for them. What can I say? My parents decided to buy each of them a 'bigger kid' book to be put away for when they were ready for them. Megan got a collection of stories about Raggedy Ann and Andy and Logan got a set of books from the Magic Tree House (By Mary Pope Osborne) collection.

These aren't now books. At least they weren't intended to be. The Magic Tree House is a series (a big series) of "chapter" books intended for the younger grade school set between the ages of 5 and 8. Logan, however, saw the pack of four books and became determined to read them.

I gave in. I read him the first book - the whole book - at bed time that night.

He's in love.

He got his gift of these books on Monday night. We've read all four books already and tonight, while at my parents for his monthly sleepover party, he'll get the next 4 books. At first I wondered if he was really picking up on the story or just day dreaming while we read "at" him. Truth is, he's retained more of the story than I have. Daddy read him book #4. Logan gave me a full report on it in the morning. I know so many details, I might as well have read it myself.

And now the fun begins. I have saved some of my favorite childhood books. I've dreamed about the day I could give my child a Little House on the Prairie book or Alice in Wonderland. I've waited patiently to share the Jungle Book and Wind in the Willows. I don't think it's all that far off at all now.

It's like sitting a top a giant treasure chest and hearing the search crew around the bend from you. You're dying to share what's inside and you're giddy with anticipation. Besides, it gives me an excuse to take time out to read these beloved tales again. I can't wait!


Snowman Showdown

When I was in High School, playing in or attending games against the schools in the neighboring town was an enlightening experience. The parents in that town took 'fan' to a whole new level. They make the drunks in the stadiums for pro-games look tame.

As a parent, I expected to encounter some sore losers and even worse winners. I had read my share of stories about the poor sportsmanship adults have been known to role-model. I was preparing myself for my own first-hand experiences as the kids were older and perhaps invovled in whatever activities they decided to venture into. I also expected to see the parent 'aided' science projects some day.

I did not expect to see it emerge in preschool.

Nor did I expect it to be over something as mundane as a snowman craft.

Today was Frosty's birthday. At least it was for the kids at our preschool in the Tues/Thurs sessions. Tomorrow it will be Frosty's birthday for the rest of the school. Parents got to join along in the fun. We sat in the back of the room while the kids sat on the floor up front. A magician entertained us all and then Frosty himself emerged for a photo session.

A week ago the school sent home a blank sheet of white paper and very simple, vague instructions. Students and their parents were to use the white paper to make a snowman - make it any way you want. Use whatever it is you want to use to decorate it. Have fun. The point, really, was to do have some nice crafty quality time working on it together. Our little creation was due back at school on Tuesday. Today every single snowman from each of the nearly 500 students in the school was hung on display in the large gym-like room where the party was held.

Over the weekend we made ours. I gave Logan the choice - draw on the white sheet or cut out. He decided we'd cut. I drew the outline and handed him his scissors. He started and then asked me to cut it for him. He agreed to cut half of the hat. I did the other half. He cut out the scarf. We discussed with Daddy how to decorate our little frosty dude. We went with buttons and glitter glue. We used pipe cleaners for his arms and legs. Logan was in charge of getting all this stuff placed on our guy. I made the mini-paper snowflake to rest on his hand.

When I walked in the gym today, I didn't know whether to laugh in humor or horror. There, on those walls at the preschool event, were some of the most perfectly drawn and decorated snowmen I've ever seen. Meticulously created and ornately decorated. Clearly not the work of any 3 year old I know.

Lest I be labeled a cynic, I must relay the conversation that took place behind me while we waited for the classes to arrive:

Mom #1 - I was so stressed out by this snowman thing! I didn't know whether to cut it out or just draw on that paper. I was so afraid I was going to do it wrong.

Mom #2 - Oh I know! I had this great idea about using a piece of real carrot for the nose. Well I left it out overnight to dry it so, you know, it wouldn't ruin the paper. It was just gross.

Mom #3 (in hushed tones of awe) - What did you end up doing?

#2 - Oh I used an orange birthday cake candle!

#1 (gushing) - Oh that's brilliant! And it looks fantastic.

#3 (also gushing) - Oh, I wish I had thought that up! I'm so jealous! We had a debate in our house whether or not Frosty had a broom. Didn't he have a broom. I wanted a broom but [the kid] said no.

#2 - Frosty so had a broom. What did you end up with?

#3 - We have that hula snowman over there. See it? It's cute I guess. There's another hula Frosty over there from room 14 that's better though. I almost don't want to point mine out.

MINE?! She said mine, folks. Mine. Not ours. Not [the kid]'s. And her buddy?! She's all stressed out?

You don't know how badly I wanted to turn around and say, "You're freaking out over a craft project your 3 year-old was supposed to create? My God, I hope you're kid isn't in my kid's 8th grade class come science project time."


Count them. One. Two.

It seems like ages ago that I became a Mommy-group drop out. Even though I left the group, I've retained contact with a few of its members. Some out of true friendship. Some out of "we'll be seeing each other around so we might as well be nice" needs. And some just because they keep emailing me and I find them amusing.

One of the amusing mom's attends a particular gym-like program with her tot. The girl is near Megan's age and, to date, is an only child.

Logan spent nearly two years in Gymboree programs and I wanted to do the same for Megan. Our problem, however, is finding a class in Meg's age group that coincides with Logan's school schedule. Nothing came close to working until the session that begins later this month. Although we were big fans of both the class and the instructor at Gymboree, I decided to investigate some other programs in town looking for that time fit. Nothing matched up for the Fall session and so we sat out.

During my search I asked Amuse-mom about the program she and Totgirl attended. I got the low down. They, by the way, are in love with the program. From the sounds of it, however, it's not worth the switch from my comfort zone - not to mention that Gymboree's location is 4 minutes from Logan's school vs the 15 (or more with traffic) the other program is when both set of classes runs up to the last minute for us the next few months -- I have roughly 10 minutes tops to get from either class to Logan's classroom for pick-up. This does not stop Amuse-mom from trying to sway me.

However, it's not her loyalty to the other-gym that rankles me today. See, Amuse-mom has this idea that our girls need a playdate. And that's fine. What's not so fine, is that Amuse-mom seems to fear the boy. The "older man" if you will. I'm not sure what exactly my 3.5 year old is going to do to cause her trouble, but apparently it's something.

When she says, "we need to get our girls together," she really does mean "just the girls." It's not 'the girls while the boy tags along.' And this is a problem, because, what, my friends, am I to do with the boy? Where am I to put him? Do I leave him locked in his room for a few hours so we can play without him? Do I ban him to a sitter so Megs can have her own friend alone? Do I leave him in the car while we swing at the park?

At first I thought that perhaps we could use that time while he was at school. Won't work. Our respective toddler-classes get in the way. While she doesn't seem to find it as much an issue, I'm not about to drop Logan off at school at 9. Rush over for a playdate and then leap over to our class at 10:15. Really not worth my effort so she can socialize her child....and frankly, that's all that this is about.

If I suggest something when Logan is around - just the three kids and two moms - she has a reason not to go. If I suggest something when it's a group, well I've not done that in a long time and really, do I bother arranging a playgroup so she can socialize Totgirl?

And so we're left with this weird thing out there. She hints about playdates and I say things like "Well I don't really have time now with just Meg and I. . ." And we both nod and smile.

It's not so very amusing any more. In fact, I'm irritated by it. I feel rather defensive of my boy like her reluctance is a slight against him. I know it's not. The only time she's seen him he was being perfectly adorable. Of course he was. No, seriously, his sister was a few months old. He spent his time standing between the two girls in their respective strollers showing them both the birds and trees in the park.

I don't know what her issue is but I know we're not going to be on any playdates soon.


Little Sass

When the boy gets in trouble, either he or something important to him gets a time-out. When the girl gets in trouble, we've typically done the old "bait and switch"/distract routine. Yet sometimes that doesn't work.

Megan, almost 16-months old, is fascinated by the fridge. She thinks everything in it is there for her amusement. She loves helping herself to containers of yogurt - sometimes to eat them and sometimes just to carry them around and fling them at things. (Luckily they are still sealed shut when she does this.) She likes to open the door on her own and find her cup. She likes to go in and find her brother's cup (which she then claims as her own, mostly just to piss him off if we're being honest about it.) She's begun to discover that she can climb on the lower shelf of the fridge to better reach the back of the top shelf.

This little hobby of her's is certainly potentially costly (both in the whole "door's open forever on the refrigerator" angle and the "how many containers can she break or hide until we sniff out the rotting food" twist.) More importantly, however, it's also potentially dangerous. And so the anti-Meg-in-the-fridge campaign has had to step it up a notch.

This afternoon she attempted to help herself to a gallon of milk. I picked her up, closed the door and plopped her down in the next room. I tried to cajole her as the yelling started up. "Meg! Let's play house!"

She threw the Little Person at me and hustled back to the fridge as she cried loudly "Muh! Muh! Want Dora Muh." (as in "I want that Dora sippy filled with milk!") I followed her into the kitchen and retrieved the offending cup. She threw it on the floor and tried to climb again on the lower shelf. We did the whole remove and tantrum act again. The moment she was down and distraction attempts had begun she tore off and headed straight back to the fridge.

Now Megan has seen her share of time-outs. She's been on my hip or trailing close behind when her big brother is escorted down to his room. She's seen his most treasured possessions land up on the highest shelves. She's heard the word. She knows it's not a good thing.

"Megan Rose!" I said as sternly as one can without yelling. "If you go back in there we're going to have to put you in time-out."

She stopped. She stared at me. She asked "Tie Ow?" She paused. She stared some more and then, almost defiantly, she opened the door again without taking her eyes off me.

And so I picked her up. Closed the door and scrambled to think of where the hell I'd stick this child in time-out. The three and half year old is easier. You can put him down, say on his bed or a chair or a in a corner, and tell him not to budge an inch - and he just screeches or pouts about it without moving. The toddler? Any where not confined and she's laughing at me as she runs away. I didn't want to use the crib. . . but I had no other immediate option. In the crib she went.

She started to protest. I gave her the mommy face and said "Megan Rose, no playing in the refrigerator. Stay out. You wait here in time-out until I come back for you. Ok?"

She actually nodded at me - her big round eyes looking like the proverbial sad puppy dog eyes. "Tie Ow."

She was quiet when I left her there. I returned less than a minute later to find her laying in her crib kicking her feet in the air. She smiled when she saw me and said "Tie ow!"

I wasn't sure it had meant a thing to her. "Now, let's play. No more fridge."

She nodded again and echoed "No."

And she stuck with it. She avoided the fridge for a good hour. Then Logan went in to get himself a drink. She saw her opening and went for it. I was walking out the door to run some errands. I left Daddy to deal with it. Apparently Megan got herself a second time-out. And again it stuck with her for a while.

After dinner, as we released Megan from her booster seat and waited for Logan to finish munching on his new favorite - carrots - she headed back for the fridge. We saw it open even though we couldn't see her with the counter between us. I called her name again and told her to close the door. Nothing happened.

Daddy called her name. He said simply "That is time-out worthy, little girl."

The door closed. She came around the counter's corner and stood staring at us with her hands behind her back. "Tie ow?" she asked.

"Yes. if you go in there again that's a time-out," said Daddy.

Megan giggled and then she ran off down the hall way. We heard her little footsteps stop at what would have been somewhere near her room. "TIE OW!" She called again. And she sat in her room on her own for moments on end.

Yeah so ok. I'm not sure if this whole Time-out thing really sunk in to her or not, but at least it distracts her from the fridge for a while.


Bloggity Babble

I was going to spend the evening uploading songs to my Shuffle. I figured I'd browse a few blogs first and then start hunting and pecking through the stack of CDs I ended up buying once upon a time for that *one* song only to discover I wasn't a big fan of the rest of the CD. I was giddy. I was going to get to hear my songs without having to hear the rest of the crap I got stuck with!

Yet blogs had another plan for me. I came across a link to Drop Shots and have since spent the last hour and half hunting around for saved MPEG files I feel like uploading and sharing with the masses. Alas, I've ended up with two files saved on my PC that are small enough to upload. Neither will you see here. :)

The first is of my little man swimming with the aid of a water noodle. As adorable and wonderful as that is, you are not going to see *me* in a swimsuit and since I'm the one in the pool watching over little man, the video will not appear here. The other clip is loaded with lots of other people that aren't here to say "sure show the strangers my face" and a big arm that blocks my kid most of the time. Instead I uploaded the two videos to my newest toy, er web site joy, and sent off the invite to my Outlook address book because, yes, I am obnoxious like that.

In place of video, I will bore you with this list:

1. - my oldest was never a big climber. He was able to hoist his toddlerself up onto chairs and sofas. He could do more, I'm sure, but he never cared to. The little one, however, is an imp. This evening she took great joy in scrambling up onto my coffee table. It's become her place to sit in the living room. What the hell?!

2. One reason we love my newly acquainted cousin is because of her inability to guess my proper age. As we sat around the funeral home last weekend the conversation between Cousin, her daughter H and me went like this:

C - I told H that she was going to meet you and you were about her age.
H - So I said "You mean she's 19" and she said that you were about 20 or 21.
C - But then I thought about it and said you had two little kids so you might actually be a little older. Maybe 24? No more than 27. So how old are you?
Me - I'm 32 and I love you.

3. After a long day of playing, indoor picnicking and crafting with kids, I decided to take a short break yesterday afternoon. The littlest troublemaker was busy amusing herself with her Little People. The oldest troublemaker was busy telling the littlest how to play with the Little People. I settled in to check email.

The moment my fingers started to peck at the keyboard, Logan appeared at my side. He wanted to sit on my lap.

"No," I told him firmly. "Every time you do that you try to help me too much. You can not type to my boss. I'm working." (Which was only half true, but shush, don't tell. He's only 3 and half, what he doesn't know won't hurt me.)

He sat on the ledge that separates our kitchen from the sunroom we were in. He folded his hands across his chest and glared at me. "This is NOT fair! You got your way last time. I think it's my turn to win. I am very frustrated! I am NOT happy!" he declared. Now where does he get THAT from?

4. We went to the store yesterday to stock up on crafts. One of the projects we were looking for put us in close proximity to the Thomas the Tank Engine stock. Logan stopped to look at it. I, not waiting for him to ask, told him that he was in no way, shape or form going to get a train today.

"I'm just looking," he insisted. Then he started making the list - he wanted that, he wanted that and he wanted that...and maybe that...and that too.

I reminded him again - no toys today.

"Geesh, Mom! I'm just wishing. I'm wishing outloud. Relax."

I thought the eye-rolling and whatnot wasn't supposed to start this young.

5. And while we're at it - I'm tinkering with another bloggy-toy. Want to join me:


So you think you're funny

The kids and I headed out to the craft store a bit ago to fill our afternoon with something other than the same-old-same-old. We drove the same route we drive every time we go to this particular strip mall. We pass the same neighborhoods and the same landmarks.

Today, however, I took notice of a street sign I'd not noticed before. The main road of the condo complex across the street from the Mall is named Penny Layne. My mind quickly moved from the repetitive chorus of Dora's "Vamonos" ditty it'd been beating me up with to the Beatles classic. I smiled and started to hum outloud.

"Why are you singing that?" asked Logan who was still intent on ripping off Dora by chanting "Where are we going? Crafty store!" ad nauseum.

I started to think back to other street signs I've passed over the years. My smile got even bigger with the irony of one in particular - it's symbolism on a daily basis, as well as for the moment.

The road? "Memory Lane."

It's destination? A cemetery.

A group of us discovered Memory Lane shortly after becoming legal drivers. We were highly amused and kept entertaining ourselves by driving out to it every so often the summer we graduated High School. We'd get out of the car and take photos of ourselves in front of the gates. We'd giggle and try to freak one another out with stories about the lightening bugs really being ghostly eyes. We'd run for the safety of our cars and take off before "they could get us."

One night we decided that it was awfully disrepectful to use the cemetery for our amusement. We needed to have a purpose there. We walked amongst the headstones and looked for one that seemed welcoming. The friend we made that night, if I recall correctly, had a picture of himself on the headstone. I can't even recall his name any more (perhaps one of the others can) but I remember visiting him. I remember talking to him as if we were old friends - taking the stroll with him down "Memory Lane."

What roads tell a story for you?


To match a mood

Let's be honest. I have been known to have the attention span of a child. I get bored easily. I need variety in my world. I confess to being a tad bit mercurial.

When I had downloaded the "Let it Snow" template from Aspixiated I thought I might just leave it throughout the winter. Then the holidays came and went. Suddenly I was done with snow flakes drifting across my space in the Blogosphere. I needed something new.

I spent more time than I meant to looking at dozens of different site designs last night. I found a number I felt 'at home' with. I even requested the zip file of one of those, but while I was waiting for it to appear in my Yahoo inbox, I found this template from Devonshire Design.

Just five days into the new year, and 2006 has already proven it's ready to offer me some challenges. I've met them and at least so far, worked through them. When I had no wind, I've found a way to row. This template speaks volumes for me at the moment and so now it's dressing my little cyber-home.

Who knows how long my mood will stay here. I've got a few other bloggity looks up my sleeve waiting for the right moment. Waiting for my attention to sway their way. For now, anyway, this one is it. May it be the start of a good journey in 2006.



Well it was a good day.

And then about 10 minutes ago I decided to be a good wife. I had parked the van in the center of our two car garage. It's raining and awful outside. I figured I'd move the van to it's rightful spot making room for my husband's car. He'll be home in about an hour.

The kids were preoccupied with their various activites. It was a safe time. I grabbed my keys, ran down to the basement, into the garage, smacked the wall switch to open the door, climbed in the van. I Started it up. I heard the garage door stop moving. Glanced quickly and saw the outside. Started to back up.


And then the sound of glass shattering into tiny little pieces and tinkling as it hit the pavement of the driveway.

The door hadn't been up all the way. There are a few scenarios I can think of - one invovles the fact that I just didn't look or hear properly. One invovles the fact that the sensors are out of line on occasion and it may have picked up on the van and stopped the door.

Whatever the case, it sucks. I have no back window and and a broken garage door.

Friggin' nice.

Just hush up

Ignorance itself does not bother me. Let's be honest, all of us have something we're ignorant about. The word simply means uniformed or unaware, lacking knowledge. It's not a bad thing, in and of itself, yet it has a rather bad reputation because of what some people do out of ignorance.

That's the part that bothers me. When people are disrespectful, stupid or just downright cruel because of their ignorance. When the lack of education on a topic leads people to react out of fear. When their uninformed position does not push them forward to learn more but to buy into hateful lies. I get angry when a person judges another despite their own ignorance. I get frustrated when people use their ignorance as an excuse.

There are a few different things that bring this up today but none worth elaborating on. We'll just leave it like this.


A ha!

I heard a lot today about the success rate (or lack thereof) of resolutions. Let's just say it's not encouraging. Then I heard something rather wise - don't resolve. Search for the epiphany.

Now, when I hear that word - epiphany - I always think back to a High School English class. There at the front of the room is an energized teacher suddenly hopping up, finger pointed high in the air, eyebrows raised, and a rather loud "A HA!" bellowing from deep within. Ah, yes, the moment of clarity.

Of course, the person urging the search for clarity this morning was speaking in a spiritual sense, but I think we ought to take it beyond that. Clearly there won't be startling eye opening moments every day. I think we ought to seek the big "A ha!" (or several of them), as well as the smaller "Oh, yeah, now I get it" occurrences. In other words, we ought to devote ourselves today, the clean slate on the calendar if you will, to a year of continual learning and discovery.

Certainly your traditional resolutions can be twisted into this mold, and maybe, even prove more successful from this vantage. Perhaps it's easier to loose weight when we discover what makes us fail at doing so. Perhaps we are better able to manage our time when we learn to understand our limitations and our comfort with saying "no."

So today I resolve to seek and to understand. I don't aim to drop pounds, control debt, be happier, be lighter, be more of anything. I simply aim to seek clarity and wisdom.