So, about this resolution stuff

I don't "do" resolutions. I used to. Dutifully. Every year I'd mull over my options over the waning days of a year trying to pin point the biggest areas of my young life where change was required. And yet, invariably, every year those things would fall by the wayside before Valentine's Day cards got bought.

It's not that I lack discipline. Really, it's a very simple problem. I'm, how do we say, quite mercurial. What's paramount today does not always hold the same urgency tomorrow. What seemed resolution worthy on December 28th may have lasted until January 7th and then, well frankly, it got trumped by a new priority.

My five year old has decided, for the first time in his life, to declare a New Year's resolution. When I was annually resolving I aimed for specifics - I will increase fitness by walking daily. I will exercise my brain by reading a biography on every president (I've been stuck on John Adams for the last 6 years, by the way.)

The boy, however, takes a different approach. He resolves broadly. His tactic, perhaps, is that it's easier to achieve a goal if you're not caught up in the nitty gritty of how you're going to do it. It's easier to make a life change if you build in some wiggle room.

"For the new year," he said with his eyes locked solemnly on mine and his warm, larger than it used to be hand tucked comfortably in the crook of my arm, "I'm going to make a resolution to try to be a better boy. I'm going to try hard to be a better listener and I'm really going to work on not getting as mad at my sister even when she's mortifying me." (Yes, he did say mortifying.)

I didn't know how to respond. The cynic in me wanted to wave the John Adams bio and say "resolutions, ha!" The mom in me won out and I praised him for identifying areas of his life where he wanted to grow and improve.

It was later, when I was recounting the day for my husband, that I referred to his plans as "lofty goals." Except then I realized the kid wasn't really "all pie in the sky." Perhaps he was better at this resolution stuff than I realized. Maybe, if I stopped projecting my own "New Year flops" on the poor kid, I'd learn a thing or two.

Looking back on the years I resolved and failed, I realized that if I had followed Logan's model I might be farther along the shelf of biographies by now. I might be in better physical shape. I might have accomplished a lot of other things. My old way of going about it did little more than set myself up for failure. It was an absolute all or nothing. I had no room built in for stumbles. It became a labor of duty not a passion for self-improvement.

Logan's resolution, however, gives him the benefit of the doubt. He's going to try. He's going to work. He's going to do his best -- and if his best falls short of literal improvement, so be it. . . because his goal is simply to try. Something tells me that in that simple, attainable goal he'll find bigger, far reaching success.

Something tells me I ought to listen to the boy and accept that sometimes he really does know better than me. . .even at 5 years old.


Oh to be 5

It started out as one of "those" days. I was up before the rest of the house. Normally that's not a bad thing. It usually means I have some quiet time to read email or take in a few pages of my book without being climbed on. Today, however, there was no relaxing. Today there was baking to be done.

A lot of baking.

We'll gloss over the nitty gritty with this - sometime between getting two kids dressed in clean, ironed clothes, getting one kid to and from preschool, getting two kids fed lunch, two loads of laundry and taking out the trash so one balking back Daddy didn't have to do it, I managed to coordinate a 5 year old in the cutting out and baking of 4 dozen sugar cookies and three loaves of "from scratch with no bread machine" raisin bread. And ALL of that was before I located lunch for myself at 1pm.

I was not very full of "the Christmas spirit" right about then. I was cranky. And I still had a classroom full of kindergartners to face at the "cookie decorating station." Yeah, so not happy I decided to volunteer to run a center at this thing.

At 1:30 Grandma and I signed ourselves in at the school office. We carried our bundles down the hall to the room - the room that was oddly empty of loud 5 and 6 year olds.

The teacher was bustling around the empty room prepping. That's when it hit me. The kids were at the Media Center (back "in the day" we called that the library) for their Friday special. She had us come in early so we could set up without anxious, boisterous kids underfoot.

In total there were nearly as many grown-up helpers as there would be children - some of us brought along grandmas. We joined the teacher in bustling. I was fighting the urge to grumble. This mom-of-kindergartner thing can be a lot of work.

Then the noise started to build.

Twenty-one kindergartners hours away from a week off with Santa arriving days into the break are hard to contain. They erupt into the room with waves of energy proceeding them.

It's contagious.

This was my fourth afternoon this year in the classroom - my third afternoon "working" the party. Logan's teacher is big on parent involvement and we love her for it. These are kids I'm getting to know. Big eager faces, giddy at the idea of spreading frosting on cookies that they can then load up on chocolate and sprinkles. I mean really, heaven, right?

These are kids who realize "skating" on school linoleum floor in their socks is about as much fun as one can have. Kids who think shoving giant cotton balls around a few cardboard boxes is a great way to build an indoor snowman and who still get giddy over the idea of making reindeer food.

These are kids that helped to revitalize me today. Kids that remind me that sometimes even though it may seem overwhelming, the preparation for and the time spent simply 'being there' is the best gift of all.

For them. And for me.


Sometimes curiosity is bad

After my massive brainstorm to update my blog (which was inspired by Peggie's mission to update her's as a Christmas present to herself*), I volunteered to help Jenn update her template.

And that's when the bad thing happened.

I am not a web designer by trade. I only know enough HTML to get myself in trouble. I knew enough to alter the basic template I had to make it Jenn's very own lovely new home on the web. Except the code I gave her wasn't working.

I was baffled. It was bugging me. I wasn't going to rest until I figured out where I had slipped up. And then I started to tinker. Tinker is bad. Very bad.

I clicked that neat button on one of the blogger template tabs that said "update" and suddenly my innocent little HTML based blog was now an XML blog...and my lovely bold red blog with the header I pieced together with stock art was gone. Poof. No more. I was left with standard templates and a header to squish into it. I almost went with it too -- except it meant no bold, flashy red background. Zip. Gone.


And so I set out on a mission to find templates offered up at the very good price of free. :) We like free. We like templates.

Which brings us to the fish - voila. The new, new template.

I did nothing. I designed nothing. I used not an ounce of my right brain...unless googling counts for useage.

But for now, at least, this template speaks to me. We're happy together. Me and the template. We're buds.

Perhaps another day when I'm not staring at the clock wondering how many cups of java I will need to prop me up at my desk in the office tomorrow I will try to resurrect the bold, red and "by me with the nice stock art" header template. But for now, I give you fish.

(But hey, I *did* make Jenn's header. Go see it. Wave hi while you're there. Ask her how the Eagles are doing and then take cover.

* If you're wondering, Peggie's new blog dwelling is NOT live yet. You'll have to keep pestering her until it debuts.


Work in Progress

Yes, I'm tinkering with the template again. That sea shell design was ready to go. I know there's a spelling mistake in the header graphic. I also know I somehow lost a second color in the background. I'm not sure I like the red I settled on. I'm tinkering.

It may evolve over time. Or not.

Got an opinion on the change? Let me know.

UPDATED (12/12) - Well I found my second color, made some text changes to the header (good call on centering Nicole!) and now I think I'm set. At least for now. You never know when a new graphic might grab me and demand to be used.


The kid will take a tall. Make mine a Venti.

I don't even remember how it came up but I recently found myself saying:

My daughter is addicted to Starbucks.

And if I recall the other end of the conversation seemed to need a moment to pop her eyes back in her head.

"Starbucks?" she said, "You mean your three year old?"

Some how the funny of a story gets lost when you need to explain it. I hate that. Even as I back tracked slightly and then moved again to push ahead I knew the tale would fall flat.

"Well, yes, actually. Only she calls it Star-boo-cks," I mumble, before hastily adding in, "It's the cow-milk. She loves it. Well really I think it's the ambiance but she knows she's only drinking the cow-milk."

"The cow milk?"

"Right. You know, the little juice box milk with the cow on it...vanilla. She doesn't like the chocolate..ahh...hey look! Is it snowing?"

Speaking of coffee houses. . .

My church moved into it's current facility in 1969. Before that the congregation occupied a small, colonial style church building down town.

Sometime during my childhood our creepy, itty, bitty library migrated to a big, airy, spacious new building. The then 'new' library was built off the back end of the old church building. The old clock tower, the bell - all still there. The choir loft remained in tact. The stained glass that did not make it's way to the new building still poured colored sun light onto the floor of what was now meeting space. I always loved having story time in there.

Over the last two years that same library underwent another overhaul. It began with a busted pipe that left water damaged books, carpet and lord knows what else in it's wake. It ended up a brand new wing and a tremendous face lift for the old section. Today our library is buzzing with the sorts of services and programs that earn it on some national association's list of top 5 libraries in the nation. Seriously.

As a child I truly believed our library was the most amazing one ever constructed. It was a treat to go poke around the stacks of books. My children, luckily, agree. We make frequent trips and leave with large, over stuffed bags of books each time.

Last week was our most recent trip. The girl child was at preschool. The boy and I were ducking in quickly to return our previous stash and to restock. He was antsy. He wanted a slew of books but he wanted them quickly. We ran through, picked out, checked out and with Logan setting the pace, we hustled out past the circulation desk into the lobby.

He was pulling my hand and dragging me towards the front of the building - the old church building that still looks like the church from the outside while boosting bits and pieces of its history on the inside.

"Can we?" he asked, knowing what lie inside that former sanctuary is off-limits when Megan is with us.

I gave in, as I normally do knowing this is a rare treat for him. I let him jog two paces ahead of me and came to a stop in line behind him. The woman behind the counter smiled at Logan's exuberance and waited for him to stop waffling over his choices.

When he finally did, I said to her, "Ok, we'll have one vanilla frosted donut with sprinkles, one container of milk and one large vanilla spice coffee. Thanks."

Moments later the boy and I were settling into the iron backed chairs at our little table just feet from the overhang of the old choir loft. His donut resting on the bag as he licked the first bits of frosting from his fingers. I swirled the sweetners and cream in my coffee. . .and then I used that Dunkin' Donuts emblazoned napkin to wipe up the bit I had spilled.

If we're being honest, I felt a small nudge of guilt for not making the kid say grace before digging into that donut - or maybe that was just a bit of stain glass tined light clouding my mind.