Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Top 10 List of My Children's Quirks

We all have our quirks.  Everyone has those endearing idiosyncrasies that make us a part of who we are.  My kids are no different.

Big C is an inquisitive yet cautious 6-year-old boy, and Little C is a rambunctious, impulsive 3-year-old girl.  As I watch them grow, I love seeing their personalities develop and their quirks become more pronounced.  Some are cute.  Some are funny.  Some are downright mind-boggling.  But they're all small parts of what make them who they are.

Here are my...

Top 10 List of My Children's Quirks

10)  Big C can't sleep without the blue blankie from his infancy that he dubbed "Long Tag."  We tried to put a second identical blankie into the laundry rotation, but even at 2 years old, he knew better.  He only snuggles with the original, the blanket with the longer tag.  "Short Tag" still sits in his dresser drawer for emergencies.

9)  Little C refuses to wear anything in her hair.  She has long, beautiful blonde hair that hits halfway down her back.  Grown women pay hundreds of dollars to have hair like hers.  Yet she refuses to let me put any barrettes, bows, or clips in it.  (And I refuse to cut it...one of my own quirks!)

8)  Big C uses the word "actually" incessantly.  He was telling me a story the other day, and I think he used actually in every sentence, sometimes twice.  (But to his credit, have you ever noticed how overused that word is?  If you listen to grown-ups talk, you'll hear it constantly.)

7)  Little C will only allow Mommy to put her to bed, and she has a strict routine.  Brush teeth, bedtime story, potty, 3 kisses, 3 hugs, 3 high fives, 3 knuckle bumps.  If anything is out of order, she freaks out, and she either ends up crying herself to sleep or we have to start the routine all over again.

6)  Big C has not 1, but 2 cowlicks on the back of his head.  By the time he was 4, I was already using styling gel in his hair. 

5)  Little C refuses to sleep under the covers.  She is the reason I'm sweating at night because we have to bump up the thermostat so she won't freeze.

4)  Big C will only try new foods on "New Food Monday."  He is the world's pickiest eater so last year I told him he had to try a new food every day.  But when he learned how to spontaneously vomit at the dinner table, I needed a new plan.  Hence New Food Monday.  He knows every Monday he has to try a new food.  But if it's not Monday, forget it. That's why that boy ate PB and J on Thanksgiving. 

3)  Little C adamantly refuses to wear anything that constricts her belly.  This quirk began as a baby when she threw a fit whenever I strapped her into her carseat.  Now, she won't wear pants with buttons (bye bye adorable jeans and pink butterfly camouflage pants!).  And I can't dress her in cute dresses and skirts because she won't wear tights.  I realized just how rebellious she can be when she came home from school one day with holes ripped in her tights.

2)  Big C is obsessed with "Waffle Time."  A couple of years ago, back when I was a full-time Domestic Engineer and my kids weren't in school, I allowed them to eat waffles with a tv show.  It started as a bribe because Big C refused to eat breakfast and by mid-morning he was starving and I couldn't convince him to eat.  Now that I work and he's in school, "Waffle Time" is now a special treat on the weekends.  And he doesn't let me forget it!

1)  Little C loves being naked and will find any excuse to take all her clothes off.  A drop of milk spills on her shirt?  She strips.  A dot of yogurt on her leggings?  Off go the clothes.  She has to poop?  That's right, she's pooping naked. 

What quirks do your kids have?  What quirks do YOU have?


Monday, November 29, 2010

Too Many Toys!


Last weekend I took the kids to Toys R Us so they could make their wish lists for Santa.  And with those lists in hand, I spent my Black Friday playing Santa online.  I'm proud to say that my kids will be very pleased come Christmas morning. 
But as excited as I am to see the excitement on children's faces, I can't help but wonder how much these toys are really going to be played with.  You see, I keep meticulous records.  I write down everything Santa brings each year as well as how much it cost Santa to produce them.  Looking back at last year's gifts, I realize my children are hardly, if ever, still playing with those toys.  Once coveted toys quickly became nothing but clutter.
The Diego train track I bought for Little C last year takes up prime real estate in her room when assembled, and even when it's not assembled, it fails to fit nicely into the storage it came with.  She played with it a handful of times, and it is now in my "Garage Sale" tub in the attic.  Huge Transformers Big C swore he couldn't live without now collect dust in his closet.  Despite this, I still spent my Black Friday buying Little C a collection of My Littlest Pet Shops that I will likely step on whenever I walk into her room and Big C a Bakugan character that comes with a million tiny pieces that I'll likely find hidden under his bed.
To add insult to injury, popular toys now require technology.  Big C has a Tag Reader, which I think is a fantastic concept.  A large pen reads books, initiates text-related games, animates illustrations, and even tracks your child's usage.  However, all of this requires internet downloads and yet another USB cord added to all the other electronic cords entangled in a drawer in my family room.  And sadly, after about a year of buying books exclusive to that system, downloading them to the reader, and replacing countless batteries, the Tag Reader now sits untouched on his bookshelf.  But despite this, I somehow found myself purchasing a Tag Junior Reader for Little C, for which that process will soon begin all over again.
Children's toys these days make my head spin.  Should I be buying Little C that Tag Reader or another electronic educational system?  Should I feel guilty for not buying Big C that Nintendo DS that all his friends have or be proud that I bought him a Star Wars Science Kit with live creatures instead?  Should I buy the kids a new game for the Wii we spent so much money on but rarely use or should I continue to buy them gifts like Play Doh and Lego sets that require active imaginations instead of a television? 
I know I shouldn't stress too much now over my children's Christmas gifts because I know that 1 day soon they'll be asking for cell phones and iPads and whatever gadget is all the rage at that second.  One day soon I'll be monitoring their text messages and apps instead of their Tag Reader progress and their science projects. 
So for now, I'll continue to buy my kids all those toys that too soon end up in my garage sale pile.  I'll embrace the clutter of Dora Play Doh sets and intricate Lego contraptions.  I'll introduce Little C to her 1st USB cord and internet download.  I'll help Big C with his science experiments and feed his sea creatures long after he's lost interest.  But this all means something a little bit more.  It means I can still eavesdrop on Little C playing Mommy with those Littlest Pet Shops and Big C having battles with his Bakugans.  It means I can encourage Little C's desired independence with her Tag Reader and Big C's wish for more one-on-one time with me through the Star Wars Science Kit. 
And when they're tired of that, I'll throw them on their new Tinkerbell scooter and big boy bike to get some fresh air and exercise!
What is Santa bringing your kids for Christmas this year?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Mil Spouse Weekly Roundup #12

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday!  I know I did.  And now I'm spending today recovering from all of yesterday's overeating!
In between eating leftovers and shopping all the Black Friday deals, don't forget to link up with Life of the All American Army Wife for Mil Spouse Weekly Roundup #12.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wife on the Roller Coaster Meets Married to a Sailor

I'm so excited to be a guest blogger today at Married to a Sailor: The Journey of a Navy Wife!  If you've never visited her before, she's a must read mil spouse blogger, especially her posts about OPSEC and PERSEC
So go check out my post about why I'm thankful for the military, and while you're there, stay a while and visit with my friend Christina!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Another PBS Post

I know everyone is busy getting ready for Thanksgiving, but I wanted to share my latest post for PBS's POV Regarding War blog.  I hope you can check me out and leave me some love!
What Does Veteran's Day Mean to You?

Top 10 Little Things I'm Thankful For

Thanksgiving is almost here, and like most people, I'm thinking about all the things I'm thankful for this year.

I started composing a top 10 list of things I'm thankful for, but the list was generic and predictable.  Of course I'm thankful for my husband, my children, my family and friends, our health, and steady paychecks.  These are the obvious big ticket items, the things I am grateful for every year, the things that are always on my mind as I sit together with my family for our Thanksgiving feast.

So I started my top 10 list over because I wanted to think of the little things I'm thankful for, those things that often get forgotten.  There things may not be as important as those big ticket items, but they sure have made my life easier and for that I'm grateful.  Here are my...

Top 10 Little Things I'm Thankful For

10)  I'm thankful for online shopping.  Crowded malls make me feel claustrophic, and long checkout lines unnerve me.  I now do most of my holiday shopping from home.

9)  I'm thankful for healthy fast food menu options.  I swore I'd never resort to fast food on days that are too busy for a home-cooked meal, but some days I just have to give in.  But at least fast food is no longer synonymous with junk food.

8)  I'm thankful for grocery shopping without the kids.  I think I shave a good 30 minutes off my weekly grocery runs when I don't have to deal with kids running off and knocking cereal boxes off the shelves.

7)  I'm thankful for current fashion trends that allow comfortable work clothes.  Boots that feel like slippers, leggings that feel like pajama bottoms, and oversized sweaters that feel like blankets: the perfect teacher uniform.

6)  I'm thankful for Friday nights with a Netflix movie, a bowl of popcorn, and a bottle of wine.  Sometimes that's all I need to unwind after a busy week.

5)  I'm thankful for my blog.  I'm rapidly approaching my 1 year blogoversary, and I can no longer imagine my life without it.  Between the writing itself, the freelance writing gigs the blog helped me get, and the wonderful people I've met I've met, blogging has been such an amazing experience.

4)  I'm thankful that I'm finally starting to adjust to my new life as a working mom.  The transition back to work from full-time Domestic Engineer was much more difficult than I expected.  But I think I'm finally getting into my groove.

3)  I'm thankful for my physical therapist.  After suffering through a tough hamstring injury for a year and a half, I'm finally pain-free and running again.  And I'm particularly thankful that last week was my final therapy session!

2)  I'm thankful that I'm getting over my Bah Humbug Funk!

1)  I'm thankful that my husband will be home for the holidays this year.

What little things are you thankful for this year?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Military Family Appreciation Month

Last week, as I quietly enjoyed my lunch break at work, one of my co-workers started complaining about the lack of appreciation she receives from the administration for her work as a teacher.

"When was the last time we got a compliment instead of criticism?"  she asked the other teachers in the room.  "It sure would be nice to hear a 'good job' or 'your efforts are really making a difference' every now and then."

Some other co-workers chimed in with their own complaints, and by the time I packed up my lunch bag, they were embraced in a group hug as they shared their mutual discontent.  I watched them pat each other on the back.  And I walked away.

I didn't know if I should be heartened by their united support for one another or saddened by their need for approval.  Personally, I don't carry out my job with the expectations of a pat on the back.  I asked for this job. I signed a contract detailing specific responsibilities. I perform those duties to the best of my ability day in and day out.  And I'm self-assured that I'm doing a good job.  Is it nice to hear from my boss and my students' parents that my efforts as a teacher are appreciated?  Absolutely.  But I don't expect it, and I don't base the energy I exert to my job on whether or not anyone will notice.

I feel the same way about being a military spouse.

President Obama signed a proclamation designating November as Military Family Appreciation month.  This is the month in which "we celebrate the exceptional contributions of our military families, and we reaffirm our commitments to these selfless individuals who exemplify the highest principles of our Nation."  (Read entire proclamation here.)  Although I welcome the sentiment, I have to wonder what it really means, other than something the President can check off his long list of issues to be addressed.

Despite the fact that we are 3 weeks into Military Family Appreciation Month, not a single person has expressed appreciation for me and my family.  But quiet frankly, I had completely forgotten that I was supposed to be appreciated this month until I read another blog post about it.  Despite Obama's statements that "Behind our brave service men and women, there are family members and loved ones who share in their sacrifice and provide unending support" and we "have a national commitment to support and engage our military families," I really don't think the general public has any idea of the challenges military families go through.  And because I don't think most people are aware of these challenges, I don't think Military Family Appreciation Month means a whole lot to anyone. 

I'm not resentful of the general public's lack of appreciation for me and my fellow military spouses and their families.  I'm not angy, I'm not sad, I'm not discouraged.  Just as I was ambivalent toward my co-workers' rantings, I'm not quite sure how I feel about Military Family Appreciation Month and the fact that it has passed by largely unnoticed. 

I don't expect appreciation for my job as a military spouse.  Just as I signed a contract to be a teacher, I signed a proverbial contract when I married the military.  I chose this life.  I have certain responsibilities that are expected of me, and I perform those duties to the best of my ability.  And I'm self-assured that I'm doing a good job.  Is it nice to hear from other people that my efforts as a military spouse are appreciated?  Absolutely.  But I don't expect it, and I don't base the energy I exert to this job on whether or not anyone will notice. 

Maybe my co-worker was on to something after all.  Not the complaining part, but the group hug part.  Maybe we military spouses and families should use what's left of this Military Family Appreciation month to share one big giant hug of support and pat each other on the back.  Or at the very least, offer each other that simple thank you we may not be getting from anyone else.

 So to all you military spouses out there...

 I thank you and your families for all that you do, for all the challenges you endure and all the sacrifices you make.  You are the ones who are silently serving, and what you do truly makes a difference.  Happy Military Family Appreciation Month!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Mil Spouse Friday Fill-In #22

It's Friday again so time to link up with Wife of a Sailor for Mil Spouse Friday Fill-In!

Here are this week's questions...
1.  If you had to be shipwrecked on a deserted island, but all your human needs - such as food and water - were taken care of, what two items would you want to have with you?
My iPod and a filled Kindle.  I would go crazy being stuck on a deserted island without music or reading material. 
2.  If you were a salad, what kind of dressing would you have?
Chipotle ranch.  Nothing boring or fat-free.  I need some flavor and spice in my life!
3.  If you had to live on a ranch, what kind of animals would you raise/own?
Wow, I think I'd rather live on a deserted island.  But if I had to live on a ranch, I guess I'd own a ton of dogs.  I think the most obvious answer would be horses, but I don't know a whole lot about horses.  I love dogs, especially big ones, so I'd have Great Danes (which are almost like horses!) and labrador retrievers.  And I know they're not ranch animals, but I'd have ferrets too.  I've always wanted a ferret, and if I lived on a ranch I might be able to convince my husband to own some if I kept these stinky critters outside.
4.  If your life was portrayed as a movie, who would you choose to play you and your significant other?
Reese Witherspoon and Matt Damon
5.  What was the last thing you put a stamp on (envelope, duh, but what was in the envelope)?
Bills and a birthday card for my grandmother
And mil spouses, don't forget to link up 1 of your posts from this week with Abbey at Trading Diamonds for Dogtags for Mil Spouse Weekly Roundup!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bah Humbug Funk


As I was putting out the trash this evening, I noticed that my neighbors have not only put up their Christmas tree, but they have started to put their outside Christmas lights up.  Seriously?  Are the holidays that close that I'm seeing Christmas lights already?!
I love the holidays.  But Christmas trees before Thanksgiving?  That's too much pressure!
The holidays always stress me out.  Call me a perfectionist, but after the idyllic holidays of my childhood, I desperately try every year to produce the best possible holiday season for my family.  For Thanksgiving, I start baking and freezing weeks in advance and then cook for 3 solid days before the big day.  For Christmas, I stage family photos for cards, I take the kids to Toys R Us to make their wish lists for Santa, and I wrap and hide and/or ship presents all in time for Santa's arrival.  But the stress of preparation all seems to fade away as I watch my family enjoy the fruits of my labor.  It's all worth it knowing I have reproduced my own idyllic holiday season.
But this year is more stressful than ever.  I'm working now.  In years past as a stay-at-home mom, I had my days free to cook and shop and prepare to my heart's content.  Now I have no idea how I'm going to get it all done, and I'm panicking!  I don't have 3 days to cook for Thanksgiving!  I haven't taken a family photo for Christmas cards yet!  My kids haven't written their letters to Santa yet!  I haven't even considered what to buy everyone for Christmas!  I haven't bought wrapping paper!  And now I have to find presents for my students, my assistant, my co-workers, my boss!  When will I get it all done?!
How will I ever make this the perfect holiday season?!
I have no idea.  And that puts me in a bah humbug funk.
To my neighbors who have already decorated their Christmas tree and strategically placed it in their front window for all to see, I say bah humbug.  To my friend who told me the other day she has already purchased and wrapped all of her Christmas presents, I say bah humbug.  To the holiday stress that hits me whenever I walk into a store and hear Christmas music, I say bah humbug.  And to this downer blog post and my bah humbug funk, I say a big fat bah humbug!!!!
So my fellow bloggers, I'm asking for your help and encouragement.  Please tell me it will all get done!  Please tell me I'm not the only one who stresses over the holidays!  Please give me some advice to get out of this funk!  Please tell me I'm being a self-pitying Scrooge who needs to snap out of it and enjoy this holiday season instead of stressing!
Thanks...I'm done venting now.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Top 10 Bloggy Friends I'm Passing Awards To

I love getting blogging awards.  I've received several since starting my blog, and at first I was pretty diligent about paying them forward.  Unfortunately, I've become a major slacker in the awards department.  So today I wanted to combine a top 10 list with the handing out of awards.

First, I want to thank the lovely ladies who recently gave me awards on their blogs.  A big thanks to the Empress at Good Day, Regular People for the Excellent Award.

And another thank you to Athena over at Our Crazy Life for the Versatile Blogger award!


There are rules associated with blogging awards, like sharing random facts about myself, but I'm not a big fan of rules so I'm not going to follow them.  (Maybe that list of random facts will pop up in a future top 10 list!)

The bloggers I'd like to give both of these awards to all hold a special place in my bloggy heart for various reasons.  Whether they write about parenting or military life, whether they make me laugh or make me think, they are all bloggers I love reading and who have influenced me in some way.  Because they are all equally deserving of these awards, please know that the numbers below are simply for listing purposes, not because I'm ranking my love for them.  Let's say they all tied for 1st place.  So here are my...

Top 10 Bloggy Friends I'm Passing Awards To

8) Ann Marie at Household 6 Diva

6)  The Empress at Good Day, Regular People

5) Nicole at Mrs. Muffins

Go visit my friends, and you'll soon find out why I love them all!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Mil Spouse Friday Fill-In

I love Fridays! 
It's been awhile since I've participated in Wife of a Sailor's Mil Spouse Friday Fill-In, but it's such a fun meme, and I wanted to join in this week.  Here are this week's questions...

1. Were you named after anyone?

Nope.  My brother inherited my father's middle name, but I inherited nothing.  That's alright though because I don't think I'd be too thrilled with the options.

2. What color, if any, are your toenails usually painted?

Red, mauve, or purple.  Right now the red is chipping, and I'm feeling a purple mood coming up next.

3. How do you flush a public toilet? Hands? Feet? Something else?

Definitely foot.  Those handles are filthy! 

4. When you were a little kid, which TV character did you have a crush on?

Kirk Cameron from Growing Pains.  I had pictures of him all over my wall, right next to New Kids on the Block.

5. Let’s say you had to lose one of your five senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell). Which one would you choose? Why?

Smell.  As much as I love the aroma of scented candles and freshly baked cookies, I don't think I could do without my other senses. 

And if you're a mil spouse blogger, don't forget to link up with My Marine and Me for Mil Spouse Weekly Roundup #10!


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day

"When our perils are past, shall our gratitude sleep?
~George Canning

I've been trying to write a post about Veterans Day for about a week now.  But despite the fact that this holiday means so much to me and to other military families, the words just weren't flowing.  There is so much to say about this special day, but I can't seem to find the right words.

When I first sat down to write about Veterans Day, I started wondering what the true meaning of a veteran is.  After asking friends, I realized I'm not the only one asking this question.  Is a veteran someone who once served in our armed forces?  Is a veteran someone who is currently serving?  Is a veteran someone who served our country in both times of war and times of peace?

I also wondered what exactly Veterans Day means.  Of course this day holds a special place in the hearts of military families.  But what does it mean to the general public other than a day off from work?

In my quest to find the answers, I stumbled upon quote after quote about Veterans Day.  But I wanted to share one in particular that seemed to sum it all up:

"A Veteran is someone, who at one point in their life, wrote a blank check payable to the United States of America for an amount up to, and including, their life. That is beyond honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer remember that fact."

So what is a veteran?  What does Veterans Day mean?  A veteran is any man or woman who has worn a uniform, past or present, in times of war or peace.  These are the people we are honoring on Veterans Day, the people we need to thank for their service to our country.  Veterans Day means so much more than simply a day off from work and sales at the mall. 

As we celebrate this Veterans Day, I hope you take a minute to thank a service member.  Whether that person is your grandfather, your husband, your neighbor, or someone you see in uniform at the mall while you're shopping those sales, they deserve our thanks and appreciation for the sacrifices they have made and continue to make for our country.  They are true heroes.

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

What does Veterans Day mean to you?  Who are you going to thank today?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wife on the Roller Coaster Meets Her War, Her Voice!

I know I've already self-promoted myself once this week, but I'm so excited that my post The Lasts was featured on Her War, Her Voice today!
Her War, Her Voice is an amazing website written by 2 mil spouses who have been through it all.  If you take a look around their site, you'll find their unique interactive book for kids coping with deployments.  They also have tons of resources for military families, blog posts about deployments, and free coloring pages for kids.  So even if you don't head over there to read my post, please go and visit Melissa and Chris.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Top 10 Do's and Don'ts During Parent-Teacher Conferences

Parent-teacher conferences are fraught with anxiety.  Parents are worried about what the teacher is going to say, and teachers are worried about how the parents are going to react to what the have to say.  But typically these conferences are benign conversations between adults who only have the child's best interests in mind.

After conducting 23 conferences with the parents of my kindergarten students and attending 2 conferences for my own children last week, I've accumulated some tips on how to make those conferences go as smoothly as possible.  Here are my...

Top 10 Do's and Don'ts During Parent-Teacher Conferences

10)  DON'T walk into the conference with the preconcieved notion that your child can do no wrong.  No child is perfect, academically or behaviorally.  Be prepared to hear both positive feedback and suggestions for improvement.

9)  DO come prepared with a list of questions if you have any.  Conferences are rare opportunities to voice concerns with your child's teachers regarding anything from your child's progress to classroom procedures.

8)  DON'T worry!  The teacher isn't out to criticize your parenting skills.  Relax.  The conference is for reviewing your child's performance, not yours.

7)  DO offer suggestions concerning your child's learning style.  Everyone learns in different ways, and if you have any insight into the ways your child learns, the teacher would love to hear it.

6)  DON'T bring your child and siblings to the conference if you can help it.  I brought both of my kids to Big C's conference, and I so wished I hadn't.  Little C was misbehaving, and Big C was eavesdropping.  Not only was their presence a distraction, but I went over my allotted time because of their constant interruptions.  (And yes it was quite embarrassing that I am a teacher myself, and I violated this rule!)

5)  DO inform the teacher of major transitions at home.  The deployment of a parent, an impending divorce, a new baby.  These are all emotionally charged issues that the teacher needs to be aware of because they could potentially affect your child's performance in school.

4)  DON'T ask to discuss another student.  Yes, your child may have issues with a classmate, but teachers have an obligation to protect personal information about each and every student in their class.  If your child is being bullied, absolutely address that in the conference.  However, don't ask for specifics about the other child.  Chances are the teacher is already aware of the situation and is doing everything she can to fix it by communicating with school administration and the other child's parents.   (***As a side note, if the bullying continues, document everything your child tells you and keep the teacher updated.***)

3)  DO ask the teacher if you can contact her with any further questions.  Some teachers don't, but I give out my email address for parents to contant me with any concerns.  I would rather email or call a parent on my own time than have mini-conferences during the day when I should be teaching my class.

2)  DON'T go over your designated appointment time.  Most teachers have to keep to a strict schedule on conference day.  If you go over your time, the next parents are losing out on their time (and the teacher may be losing out on her break time).

1)  DO thank your child's teacher for the effort she puts into your child's education.  Most parents have no idea how many hours teachers work outside the classroom or the money they spend out of their own pockets to enhance their students' overall learning experience.  Something as simple as, "Thank you for all that you do" or "My child loves your class" goes a long way in reassuring teachers that their efforts are appreciated.

If you are a parent of school-aged children, do you have any other advice?  If you are a teacher, do you have anything to add to the list? 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Check Me Out on Mamapedia!

Just wanted to share that I'm featured at Mamapedia today!  It's a post that was already on my blog so you may have already read it.  But I'd love it if you had a minute to leave me some love over there.  Thanks!!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Thank You Daylight Savings

I had no idea that daylight savings time ended today.  I mean, I saw it on my calendar, and I knew it was coming, but for some reason it just didn't click.  After living in Japan for 3 years, a country that doesn't observe daylight savings, I guess I still haven't adjusted to this American tradition that I never quite understood.  At any rate, while most people were reseting their clocks before heading off to bed last night, I was in my own little world where daylight savings doesn't exist.
I woke up this morning and smiled when I saw the clock read 7:15.  The highlight of my weekends is the ability to sleep in without the disruption of my alarm (and yes, these days 7:15 qualifies as sleeping in).  I got out of bed and went about my morning trying, as always, to make the best use of the time I have off from work.  I made my Wal-Mart run wondering why it wasn't as crowded as usual.  I drove home wondering why the roads were so empty.  I put away my groceries wondering why Big C wasn't back from his sleepover yet. 
It wasn't until I turned the tv on a few hours later and saw the time on the cable box that I remembered it was the end of daylight savings time.  And I was ecstatic.  Finally, my wish had come true...I was just given the gift of an extra hour added to my weekend!
I'm glad I didn't know we were gaining an hour when I woke up this morning because I probably would have wasted that hour in bed.  I'm also glad I didn't know last night because I probably would have stayed up an extra hour and drank that extra beer.  Nope, that extra hour was truly a gift because it was unexpected and unplanned.  And I used every second of that gift to do what I always say I'm going to do if I had an extra hour in my day: write, write, and write some more.
The best part?  Because Big C was exhausted from his sleepover and because I didn't allow Little C to take a nap, they were more than happy to go to bed at their "normal time."  Little did they know that "normal time" was actually 6:15 instead of 7:15.  (Yes, I am a mean mother who tricked her kids into going to bed an hour early!)  We'll see if I'm still patting myself on the back tomorrow morning when they wake me up at 5 AM. 
What did you do with your extra daylight savings hour?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Mil Spouse Weekly Roundup #9

Mil Spouse Weekly Roundup #9! 
Go on over to Devil Dog Darling and link up one of your posts!
Have a great weekend!  :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Social Networking Hiatus

I've been on a self-imposed social networking hiatus.

For the past week and a half my life has been taken over by report cards and parent-teacher conferences.  Instead of chatting with friends on Facebook, I've been chatting with the parents of my students.  Instead of writing blog posts, I've been writing report card comments.  When I took a break from the chaos of kindergarten assessments and went on a weekend vacation with my family, I continued my internet hiatus, promising myself (and my husband) that I wouldn't spend our getaway on the computer. 

I haven't updated my Facebook status in over a week, nor have I read friends' status updates.  I haven't signed on to Twitter in probably 2 weeks.  And you know what, I'm wondering exactly how much I'm actually missing.  I'm guessing not a whole lot.  Which leads me to bigger, more profound questions: Why are we all so addicted to social networking?  Why do we waste so many hours staring at a computer screen?  What in the world did we all do with our free time before the invention of the internet/email/Facebook/Twitter/YouTube?  Does anyone really care if I update my Facebook status multiple times a day?  Has anyone even noticed that I haven't updated my status lately?

The other night I was watching an episode of "Modern Family" (that show is HILARIOUS!).  The family held a contest to see who could last the longest without using technology like cell phones, the internet, and video games.  It sounds outrageous, but is it really?  When I was a kid, no one had cell phones.  The internet didn't exist.  Heck, my family didn't even own a computer.  Ok, maybe I had a Nintendo system, but I didn't have any of those hand-held gadgets that 4-year-olds walk around with nowadays.  Life was different. 

What has technology done to us?  Why are people so obsessed with social networking that they feel the need to check Facebook and Twitter multiple times a day?  (And believe me, I'm not criticizing.  As a recovering Facebook addict, I used to be one of those people.)  Do we even remember what life was like before computers became our primary means of socializing?

I can honestly say that I haven't missed Facebook a whole lot.  I'm sure my absence has caused me to miss out on friends' exciting news or important articles I should be reading.  But for a whole week I wasn't a slave to my laptop.  And it felt kind of nice.

Now that report cards are out of my hands, and all but 2 of my parent-teacher conferences are behind me, I think I'm going to end my social networking hiatus.  I'm curious to see how often I'll sign on to Facebook and Twitter now that I've proven I can live without them.  We'll see!

So if you'll excuse me, I have to go update my status.  See you on Facebook!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Top 10 Things Not to Do When Getting a Massage

I love massages.  If time and scheduling allowed, I would get a massage every week.  But time and scheduling never seem to allow, so massages in my life are few and far between. 

Over the weekend, I finally had the opportunity to book a 60 minute massage.  Because I always want to enjoy every minute of these rare opportunities, I try to make sure I do everything I need to do before and during a massage in order to optimize my overall relaxation experience.  So here are my...

Top 10 Things NOT to Do When Getting a Massage

10)  Don't worry about the fact that you haven't shaved your legs in a week.  I'm sure the massage therapist has seen worse.

9)  Don't encourage talking.  Well, YOU can if you want to.  But the introvert in me wants to use those 60 minutes to be completely and utterly self-absorbed.  I'm not paying for chit chat.

8)  Don't think about all the things you SHOULD be doing instead of lying on a table being self-absorbed. 

7)  Don't drink too many liquids right before your appointment time.  Otherwise you might have to choose between interrupting your zen moment for a potty break or spending your massage trying not to think about your full bladder.

6)  Don't be afraid to ask for what you want (or for what you don't want).  During one memorable massage, my massage therapist was actually hurting me instead of helping me relax.  I was too timid to ask her to lighten up on the pressure, and I ended up walking away wishing I had saved my money.  (But I was in Thailand at the time so I'm pretty sure my massage therapist wouldn't have understood my request even if I had spoken up.)

5)  Don't get a side-by-side massage with your husband while he's listening to his iPod.  Not very relaxing hearing Guns N Roses blaring through your spouse's headphones.  (This massage was in Japan.  Yet another strange Asian massage.)

4)  Don't spend the whole massage trying to turn your empty thoughts into a blog post.

3)  Don't think about all the the stressors that led you to need a massage to begin with.  The biggest massage buzz kill?  Thoughts about work, cranky kids, money, the car that isn't starting, the house that needs cleaning, etc.  Give your mind a break.

2)  Don't fall asleep!  The other day, when my massage therapist whispered, "We're all done," I was so disappointed that I had fallen asleep and missed the massage on the entire right side of my body.  Plus, I'm pretty sure I was drooling.

1)  Don't forget the reason you're there...to relax!  So relax.  Sounds simple, but sometimes I need that verbal reminder that it's ok to let the rest of the world disappear for an hour.

What's your best massage advice?  Do you have a funny or embarrassing massage experience?

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