Monday, January 20, 2014

Day(s) of Rest

Last Tuesday, I woke up extra extra to drive over an hour to attend an all day meeting. I was required to talk, actively listen, and take notes for more than eight hours then drive home again.  I did it all again on Wednesday, except I also stumbled down some stairs.  Thankfully, only one person in my group was with me and have the grace to make sure I was okay then never mention it again.  Thursday (and Friday and part of Saturday), my ankle and thigh muscles were extraordinarily sore from catching myself on the stairs.  I've also been enjoying daily sinus pain from a head cold.  This tells me that a) my thigh muscles rarely get a workout of any kind, and b) the fact that these relatively minor aches and pains have been so bothersome tells me I generally enjoy pretty good health.

Long hours, sore muscles, and sinus pressure have made this long weekend welcome.  I have done a quite noble imitation of a sloth for the last two days.  The lights were shaking above my head yesterday as children ran and laughed and possibly wrestled elephants upstairs, but they were leaving me alone to read a book so on the couch I remained.  Today I will wash clothes, unload the bookcase from my van and generally resume normal life responsibilities but it was nice to have a couple of days off.  : )

Friday, January 10, 2014

Friday is My Happy Day

Everybody loves Friday!  The day, not that horrible song.  Well, I guess if I worked on weekends I would not love Fridays as much as I do, but I don't, so I do (follow me?).  Fridays are the day I say, "Yes! I WILL have that Starbucks drink today-it's Friday!" Have you seen ads for the new Caramel Flan Latte? I may need to check it out today.  I use the word "need" very loosely.  Like I need new clothes.  And makeup. And maybe an SUV to replace my minivan because minivans are very uncool.

One thing I always need (for reals) is a good book.  I'm a little iffy about a lot of recommended book lists because I never know if my taste in reading is the same as the person who created the list.  I'm a lot iffy about movies being made from books, as the book is almost always better than the movie in my opinion.  However, I am really excited about this list on Buzzfeed. It combines my love of books with my more than like of movies!  I must confess I did not realize a couple of these movies were based on books.  Other books on this list have not been on my radar at all (insert face of shame).  I love Helen Mirren and would probably watch her read a phone book.  Add in food and Paris- I'm totally there.  Kate Winslet and George Clooney movies are pretty safe bets as well. Quirky movies are my thing, so I'm really interested in "A Long Way Down".  Since a lot of these movies look promising to me, I would really like to check out these books.  This may be the first reading list I actually follow.  We need to return a lot of books to our local library this weekend, so hopefully they will have at least a couple of these.  (As if I need more books to read- see my post from two days ago.)

Wish me luck- S and I are attending a "Leadership Academy" at her school Saturday morning.  When I signed up for it before Christmas, 8:30 a.m. on a Saturday seemed a lot more reasonable.  I think a lot of things probably seem more reasonable when they are that far off.  Well played, elementary school.  

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Near Miss

Yesterday was the girls first day back to school (cue the angels singing).  When I went to pick the little ones up from after-school care, E was very excited to tell me that the fire alarm went off that day and her classroom was flooded.  Um, what?  Apparently, the sprinkler system was somehow activated and three pre-K classrooms were soaked.  Luckily, a) there was no actual fire, b) the pre-K kids (like E) were at lunch in the cafeteria area, not the classrooms, and c) their backpacks were already hung out in the main room.  No wet kids or backpacks, just wet classrooms.  Very exciting for the kids.  Much less exciting for the owner, I am sure.

When E and I rolled up into the drop off line for pre-K this morning, we were second in line and no one else pulled in behind me.  AKA- clue #1.  Clue #2 was the nice day care worker who came out to tell us pre-K is cancelled today and tomorrow because of the watery classrooms.  This is when Tom Cruise from "A Few Good Men" whispered in my ear, "And the hits just keep on coming." and I briefly wondered if 8:00 am was too early for a drink.  I just got these kids back in school, I can't take her home again!  Then that sweet day care angel said the kids enrolled in before or after school care could come on in.  They would be in a different room with a different teacher, but they would sort of follow some pre-K type lesson plans.  Score!  I love that kid but I can't miss her if she's always here.  : )  Hopefully, today will be a little more boring at day care.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Weather Delay

Today was supposed to be the first day back to school for kids and work for me since the holidays. Instead, county schools are closed here today due to weather.  The weather isn't actually bad: no snow or rain going on here.  Apparently,  letting kids wait on the bus in below freezing weather poses some safety issues.  Who knew.  I absolutely have to get back to work today, so we will see how we all get along throughout the day.

Have I mentioned this is Day 18 of fun, family togetherness?  : )  Day 18.  I have enjoyed time off from work, and we were able to do some family activities we all enjoyed, like looking at Christmas lights with hot chocolate, seeing "Frozen", and Saturday's Cuban restaurant and bowling night.  However, eighteen days is a looooong time for me to be around the same people.  I need my personal space, and two of my children don't believe in my having personal space.  At all.  I love them to pieces, but they need to go back to school.  : )

I have been able to tackle this stack of lovelies during my time off:

Some are library books, some were Christmas presents and some are borrowed from my sister.  So far, everything I have read has been pretty good.  If I could get paid to read and watch really good TV shows all day, I would be in heaven.  Speaking of really good TV shows, how wonderful was it to welcome "Downton Abbey" back last night?  Sigh, I've missed them (both upstairs and downstairs folk).  I'm also super ready for the return of "Sherlock" this month!  I re-watched seasons 1 and 2 this past week to get ready (and remember what the heck was going on).  So, if you hear of a great need for book readers and show watchers, just let me know.    

Friday, January 3, 2014

Hands Free Mama- Book Review

In 2010, Rachel Macy Stafford realized she was spending more time with her phone and laptop than her young children and decided something had to change.  Becoming a hands free mama was her solution. Rachel doesn't rail against the "evil" of technology or advocate saying no to any responsibility outside of the home, as I partially feared.  Instead, she discusses how becoming hands free allows us to focus on life's moments as they happen.

Hands free doesn't mean going without a phone or laptop- it is limiting the time and energy we spend on things other than the people in our lives.  Each chapter covers a singular aspect of hands free living such as deliberateness or presentness.  An example is how Rachel realized all the time she spent volunteering,  She began to select more carefully what events or causes she wanted to devote time to, and what opportunities she began turning down.  Each chapter includes hands free weekly intentions and a hands free weekly reflection, short essays relevant to the chapter topic.  Most, if not all, the ideas in this book could be applicable to non-mamas as well.  Anyone who would like a little encouragement to re-prioritize their time and habits could benefit from this book, though most examples given in this book as specific to Rachel spending more quality time with her husband and kids.

Hands Free Mama will be released on January 7, 2014.  It is Rachel Macy Stafford's first book, though she has written numerous articles and runs the blog Hands Free Mama with over one million visitors per month.

This book was provided to me for free by Booksneeze in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.  

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

There is something so refreshing and hopeful about a new year, isn't there?  I am not at all sorry to see 2013 go.  It wasn't the worst year of my life, but it wasn't great either.  I am hoping 2014 fares much better.

I am not big on making resolutions every year but I do take some time to reflect on the past year and what I hope to gain in the new one.  I like the idea of having an overarching idea or theme for the year rather than specific resolutions.  Gretchen Rubin tackles a single word to cover her year, and I think that could be great too.  I'm still mulling over what I'd like to focus on this year, but the theme of looking for flowers, not roses keeps rolling around in my head.  The idea of reaching or stretching (toward a goal, personally, etc.) appeals to me too. Are you making a specific goal or resolution for 2014, or is that a recipe for failure?