Tuesday, March 25, 2008

How do you know when you've hired the right guy?


When he goes to run company errands and comes back with a surprise banana cream pie Blizzard (from DQ) for you. That's how!

Bless their hearts, the lot of 'em.

To all single parents and parents whose spice (mouse/mice; spouse/spice?) are not as incredibly helpful and supportive as mine, my hat is off to you.

I am in awe, truly in awe, of people who raise children by themselves. I have thought this since the beginning - when I was pregnant, I wondered how a woman could go through all the pregnancy stuff without someone to help get anything done, especially through the very tired portions. When Aidan was tiny, I wondered how one person could keep any semblence of sanity while sleeping pretty much not at all and keeping a little person's needs at the top of the list where they need to be. All this doesn't even consider that single parents also are likely working throughout. Amazing.

Now Aidan is a year old, and I am again reminded of how incredibly lucky I am. Right now is Hubby's very busiest time at work, so for the last several weeks (and several yet to come), he's coming home quite late and working through part if not most of the weekends. It's amazing what a difference a little (or in my case, quite a bit of) help goes. Our house looks like some sort of storm hit it, and nearly nothing is getting done outside of some meals (mostly for Aidan) and a little sleep here and there. I also take for granted sometimes how wonderful it is to have a buddy around to bounce around ideas with or just talk or laugh. By the time Hubby comes home, I'm exhausted but unable to put myself to bed because I'm excited to be able to catch up a little or snuggle on the couch.

I can't imagine doing all this without Hubby around for more than a little while. I know that when you're in a tough situation, you just do it because you don't have a choice. Most of these people, however, even have senses of humor and extra energy for making sure their kids are having fun and experiencing all different types of things in addition to basic care. What an amazing achievement - no joke. I'm just so very grateful for my little family and my wonderful life. Times like this make me especially grateful and aware of the many advantages I've got. Must give Hubby extra snuggles when he comes home tonight.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

back to college!

If you're reading this and know me, fear not. I have not lost my mind and decided to get another degree...

Oh, I'm so excited! Recently, a friend loaned me one of "The Great Courses" - honestly, they're called that - to listen to on CD in my car, as I've been doing a lot of driving lately from client to client, to teaching, etc. The course I listened to was on music appreciation, and it was absolutely gripping! Did you know that the name of the piece, The Well-Tempered Klavier has to do with the way it's tuned and the circle of fifths? If I did, I'd forgotten!

It turns out that "The Great Courses" are offered by The Teaching Company, and they have a course for every possible thing of interest under the sun. History, Philosophy, Science, the Arts, Language, Literature - it's amazing! My friend just lent me another course, this one on the history of the English Language, and I can't wait to dig in.

Am I getting commission for this? No (sadly). Luckily, my metropolitan library system has something like 159 of these courses for borrowing. (No, I certainly did not search for interesting courses when I should've been preparing to teach.) I have some on reserve now, just to give me something other than spring to count the days to.

I knew at some point my tastes would go from fiction ("candy" fiction, even) more toward nonfiction. Of course, I still love a good piece of candy, but I'm really excited to be learning about as many of these fascinating subjects as I can get my hands on.

Friday, March 14, 2008

big (little) man on campus

It's official - one year old yesterday. Though it was an extremely busy day for me with work, I knew it was a very special day for a little boy, so I decided to film "A Day in the Life of Aidan." You'll never guess who stars in my film. Okay, you might.

We start out at Grandma & Grandpa's, as I had taught the night before and he had stayed at their house. I got there right after he woke up, and we took some good film. We went to school, and it was a birthday wonderland. Big sign for him, big congratulations all around from people I don't even know, and big hugs and kisses from his girlfriend Paula in the kitchen. She got him a very tasty board book, and he's enjoying that. When he got there, the first thing they did was strip down and paint. Perhaps every day should start that way. It's all on film. Then Mommy went to work, and tried to be a grownup until late afternoon. Auntie B stopped in at lunchtime to play with him, and says it's obvious that he now thinks he's the big man on campus there. The show must go on!

Back to school, and filming him running through the halls, escaping to the muscle room. This is a wonderland, filled with balls of all sizes and varieties, as well as climbing aparati of all types. Very hard to get a little man out of a muscle room. Very cool discussions with a little man in one, though - full of squeals of delight and many different "words." Lots of film. Back to G&G's so Mommy could teach, and film of playing outside. We ended the day with Mommy rocking him to sleep. I'm pretty sure this is a blockbuster waiting to happen. Completely irresistible hero, charm galore, suspense, drama, comedy - it's all there.

Monday, March 10, 2008

One pooped boy

That's what a birthday party with many of his favorite people adds up to. Exciting enough to get to visit Grandma and Grandpa; then even more people arrived. Before you knew it, presents galore! Our little man is now the proud owner of 100 play balls (yes, 100 - it says so on the package) some bigger lego-type building blocks, and his first truck, among other things. Quite a day! I'm not sure what he was most excited about - we dumped everything out (all 100 balls, every building block) on the floor and made G&G's family room a wonderland. In fact, it was so wonderful that he was completely unable to nap. Not at all!

As if that weren't enough, there was pasta with red sauce (so close to the Spaghetti-O's that he loves that he was sucking the sauce off of all the noodles before eating them) AND cake with chocolate frosting.

I think the very best part of the day, though, was when we sang to him. Picture him sitting in his high chair, family all around, then inexplicably, they all burst into song at once. It's a hearty singing, and they're all somehow singing the same thing at the same time! The look of utter confusion on his face as he looked from person to person back and forth was pretty priceless. It was funnier to Mommy than the frostinged face after cake, and that's saying something. By cake time, he was so exhausted from the day that he couldn't help but rub his eyes, hands full of frosting. Frosting EVERYWHERE. Yeah for frosting.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

a very anticlimactic day for birthdays

This time of year is full of birthdays. In fact, today Jessica is 10 and Belle is 9 - both had birthday blowouts planned for today. We had two other parties today, too - one for Josephine, who will be a year old on St. Patty's day, and one for dear Aidan.

That was the plan.

None of these birthday parties happened today. Instead, about a foot and a half of snow happened. While it was fun to be snowed in today and play, Daddy didn't have fun shoveling us out for three hours this morning, and I'm sure there were some very disappointed little girls who didn't get to have parties. In fact, today felt like any other day when you don't have to get out of your jammies. (There's no proof that I was one of the people who didn't...)

Aidan's party has been relocated to tomorrow - luckily, it's a tiny guest list and I've planned very easy food, which made it flexible enough to reschedule. I sure hope Jessica and Belle are as lucky. I'm sure Josephine won't mind; I know Aidan doesn't.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Friday, Friday

(So good to me...) I have a confession to make. For the last couple of months, I haven't been taking Fridays off as intended.

I needed to be accomplishing things in that time, so I didn't really mind. This last Friday, however, I did not work. Mmmmm. That one extra day really a long way toward balance and sanity, and I could use the boost. (My mother used to say, "That would make a sane person crazy, and I didn't start out sane!" I believe I now know what she meant.)

In fact, this was not a particularly quiet weekend - we had family from out of town, we went to a Broadway show in another city (actual overnight, parents-only date!), and still we got the usual required items finished to ensure that all of us are fed and clothed for another week. Overall, a huge success. That one extra day, just those few hours, has made a world of difference, not just in what was accomplished, but also in perception of the whole. Without Friday, I would feel like the weekend didn't even really exist - it would have flown completely by without spending much time with Aidan and without my feeling particularly relaxed or regenerated. With it, it's as though the weekend floated as much as sped, and this week has been a much brighter prospect.

Must do my best to keep Fridays.

a billiondy less two

What is it like to be caught up? Is it possible to get caught up, and once caught, can one possibly stay there?

I got an unexpected boost in this direction today. One of the things I do is teach review courses for my profession's certification. I picked up several extra of these classes while my business is growing, which is great for cashflow and harrowing for time. Each class lasts about 4 hours, so that means that the outside preparation for me to teach is somewhere in the 5-10 hour range, per class. Today I found out that two of the classes I picked up (the ones that I need to have prepared by this and next week) are exact repeats of when I taught them last year. This means that, aside from reviewing my notes, I am already prepared. I Am Already Prepared!! I now have three weeks, not a day and a half, to prepare for the next time I teach. The realization of this as I sat at my office this morning had me on the edge of (grateful) tears.

Don't get me wrong--I've got a billiondy other things on the list that I've been ignoring in favor of being prepared for a class before my actual arrival to it. Students seem to appreciate me for that, and since they're paying for the course, it really seems only fair. The thought, however, of getting to a couple of the other billiondy feels like a huge weight has been lifted. As I re-think the next couple of weeks, which include my son's first birthday party, the extra time is much appreciated--luxurious, even!