October 1, 2015

It’s October. Liam’s first month at his new school has come and gone. I barely got through it without turning into one of those mothers.  The one’s who start emailing the teacher the first week about how the dog really did eat his homework or waltzing into the principle’s office first thing 8am to share a concern about a teacher’s classroom protocol. Adjusting to change is never easy.  We’re trying to find our rhythm but every where we turn there seems to be something else new and different disrupting the cadence. While at the eye doctor this morning, we bumped into the school librarian from Liam’s last school.  I felt a pang of nostalgia when I saw her as she filled us both in on all the activity going on there.  I’ve been worried about Liam missing his old friends and familiar environment, but I’ve been surprised to discover that I actually miss it just as much as he does. That was not expected.

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I think I’m probably experiencing the worst burn out at work that I’ve ever had yet in my entire career as a librarian. I think the move over the summer took a lot out of me.  I’m tired and could use a full week off just hanging out at my house, taking walks with my dog, reorganizing closets and bookshelves, and unpacking boxes that have been sitting there since July.  Just as we’re trying to find rhythm at home, I’m trying to find a way to sync that with work. Nothing feels like it aligns correctly. I find myself staring at my fingers or just generally drifting off into distraction.  I write lists and goals for everything, trying to get myself motivated but it only helps sporadically.  There is so much I’d like to do. Projects I’d like to try.  Thoughts I’d like to express. But I’ve just hit a weird wall of indifference.

October is always the month when I start to get that itch. The one where I feel like retreating from the world a little.  I think it’s become a kind of therapy for me, a way to cope or prepare for the coming winter. It’s as if my body and brain are telling me that I need to move with the seasons.  I’ve spoke to others up here who experience the same feeling, I guess it’s common when you live in climates like the North Country.

School year highlights

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It’s hard to believe Liam has finished third grade.  When we hug I no longer have to bend down to kiss his little forehead anymore.  He’s growing tall and angular.  He asks questions about the world that I can’t answer and makes me realize that we’re moving into a phase where I will learn just as much from him as he does from me. It’s an amazing feeling to watch your little one grow into himself.  But sometimes I wish I could just press the pause button. For just a moment.

So I thought I’d take a moment to post some of the highlights of the year. It really was a great school year for Liam, thanks to an amazing teacher and lots of hard work from Liam himself. I don’t think he’s enjoyed school so much since kindergarten.

August 2014:

Liam’s birthday. Lord of the Rings theme.  It was actually a lot of fun to put together.  I got a jumpy house this year. I’ve since decided that a jumpy house is really all you need for a birthday party.  I couldn’t even get them to stop long enough to come in and have cake.

August
September 2014:

Apple picking.  It was pouring with rain but we were determined to get our apples.

September

October 2014:

Liam continued with his LOTR obsession by dressing up as Frodo for Halloween.  We went trick-o-treating with our lovely neighbors again, creating more cherished autumn memories.

October

November 2014:

Major snow storm. Resulting in quite a few snow days. This picture says it all.

November

December 2014:

Christmas morning.  I think one of his favorite gifts this year was his dragon blanket given to him by my parents.  It went along nicely with the How to Train a Dragon book series I bought him.  We just finished the first in the series and wouldn’t you know, it’s absolutely nothing like the book.

December

January 201:

Uncle Mitchy visited again this year for the winter holiday, which means lots of adventures, as usual.

January

February:

This was a difficult month. After a sudden illness our dog, Chani, passed away.  Her loss is felt in our household. I miss that girl.

February

Thankfully, the month ended on an up with another Disney Cruise trip.

february2

March 2015:

Upon returning from the Disney Cruise trip, we hit the ground running and completed our Odyssey of the Mind project/skit.  Coaching Odyssey of the Mind can be a lot of hard work but it is so worth it and so much fun. You’d be amazed at some of the ideas kids can come up with when presented with a problem. We got 3rd place in our division this year! So proud of our group!

March

April:

The snow finally melted, it was time to get outside and pretend to be…..well, it’s hard to keep track with Liam. 😉

April

May 2015:

Liam reached another milestone this year. Thanks to his neighborhood friend, Meghan, he learned how to ride a bike.  I simply came home one day and saw him riding around our driveway. Now, he’s on his bike all the time.

May

June 2015:

Another school year finished, it was time to got hiking.

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July 2015:

We’re moving to Sackets Harbor.  I could say so much about this moving process. Some days it was hard, others it was downright a fiasco, then other days we felt so much excitement we would squeal! We finally closed on our house this passed Tuesday.  The movers are coming today (literally like in 28 minutes).  There is a bitter sweet feeling to leaving this house.  We have a lot of memories here. But I also feel ready to start a new chapter.

Behold. The new house.

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1.18.15

One of the snow days. Battling some cabin fever, watching Smurfs 2.

One of the snow days. Battling some cabin fever, watching Smurfs 2.

So, I thought my dog was dying last week. Turns out she’s not, everything is fine. What’s annoying is how often I think this, that something really major is wrong, take her to the vet, spend hundreds of dollars on blood tests and x-rays only to find out that her problem is something simple, like bad arthritis in her back.

It’s not really the money. It’s all worth it to know she’s ok and not dying. What I’m really annoyed with is how I tend to freak out whenever she starts acting differently and insist that there’s something seriously wrong. I just wish I could speak dog, so I could ask her questions, like I do when Liam is sick. There’s a huge difference between “Yes, my liver is enlarged because there’s a tumor” to “Nah, it’s just my arthritis kicking in, pop me a Novox and I’ll be fine in the morning.”

This whole week has kind of been off. I’m blaming all the snow days we had the week before, it just threw everything off kilter. I think it bothered Liam too. He had barely returned from Christmas vacation, spending just a day and a half in school before the snow storm hit and he scored another three days off. He had an especially hard time getting back into the routine of doing homework. What made it even harder was that the homework he brought home was especially challenging. On Wednesday night, I had to help him with four questions that looked something like this:

The test that Keyshawn’s class took finished at 10:30a.m. The first part of the test took 30 minutes. There was a 15-minute break. The second part of the test also took 30 minutes. At what time did the test start?

Actually, I like this question. It’s a multiple step problem, it encourages critically thinking. These are all good things. But trying to explain it to an eight year old in a way that doesn’t confuse him anymore than he already is? That’s the challenge. He got through it, but if he’s ever faced with any of those questions on a test, I’m not sure he’d get them right.

On Friday, I went to see The Imitation Game. It was really good. Although it’s gotten quite a bit of criticism for taking liberties and not being historically accurate. But what else is new, it is Hollywood. I’ve always been fascinated with cryptography and I love WWII history so it was a win-win for me. Or even a win-win-win, because Benedict Cumberbatch.

The rest of my weekend has been spent mostly on my couch, reading, napping or watching old episodes of Criminal Minds. Sometimes, we just need days like that.

Tutorials for projects I want to do (if I had more time)

Although I’m typically in bed by 9pm or 9:30, I’m not usually asleep until an hour or two later because I spend so much time flipping through Pinterest on my iPhone.  There is so much eye candy on Pinterest.  It does serve a purpose, especially when you’re trying to fix up your house or find craft activities to do with your kids.  It’s also a good place to find tutorials on various DIY projects.  Here’s a list of a few that I would love to do, one day when I have more time.

1) I love books and I love repurposing old books.  Which is why I love these upcycled wall organizers.

2) In my last post I mentioned that I had seen a pouf at Target over the weekend.  I had never really heard of a pouf before.  They reminded me of some kind of funky trendy tiny bean bag.  Since then I have become convinced that I must have a pouf.  So I found this post that has several tutorials on how to make them.

3) I’ve been wanting to repaint my kitchen cabinets white for a long time.  This is actually a project I do intend to do at some point in the near future.  I’m hoping to have some contractors come in and replace my countertop and backsplash, and I thought maybe that would be a good time to do the cabinets too.  When I was at Lowe’s over the weekend, I noticed that they’ve started selling these cabinet repainting kits.  Sometimes I’m a little suspicious of “all in one kits” like this, but it seems to be getting some good reviews.

4) Although my bed already has a headboard, Liam’s does not.  I found a blog post that linked to several different tutorials on how to repurpose items to make unique looking headboards.  I really like the one with the window shutters.

5) This last one has nothing to do with redecorating my house, and more to do with redecorating me.  I’ve been trying to grow my hair out.  I’m at that awkward length where nothings seems to look good.  This tutorial shows you how to do this neat braid twist thingy.  It looks pretty easy and the end result is something tidy and comfortable looking.

Halloween Twenty-Fourteen

10678778_10152512578546911_1816494309641809399_n 2The following fun things happened on Halloween:

1) Liam had a Halloween party at school. This year, Liam’s teacher was both wise and bold enough to request that parents only send in healthy snacks for the party, given the amount of sugar they will surely get later in the evening.  I made pinwheel wraps, which I thought tasted terrible but by the time I figured that out it was too late to make something else.  That’s what I get for trying to make something more complicated than it should be. I think I’ll just do apple slices and cheese sticks next time.

2) Liam’s school has a Halloween parade every year.  I can’t resist being able to see cute kids in cute costumes, or cute kids in scary costumes, so I always take half a day vacation of work to come down and watch the parade. There were some seriously awesome costumes this year, including quite a few homemade ones.  One girl in Liam’s class dressed as a whoopee cushion! I never got the chance but I really wanted to walk up to her and go “Fist pump, sister! Right on!”

3) With all the excitement of the day, teachers typically let kids go home early with their parents.  Which means we have that much more time to perfect last minute details on our costumes before venturing out into the neighborhood for a night of excessive candy consumption.

This year, Liam wanted to be Frodo from Lord of the Rings.  This was a relatively easy costume to put together, since he already had a homemade Frodo cloak that a friend of mine made for his birthday.  Her husband also has some serious wood working skills so he made Liam a beautiful staff to go with the cloak.  The only thing we added was a wig.  Liam had a love hate relationship with this wig.  At first he insisted he looked too much like a girl and less like Frodo.  Then he decided he really liked the wig, so much so that he decided he was also going to grow his hair long. But then there was a problem of the wig being itchy, so he kept taking it off.  It eventually ended up in my purse about five minutes after trick-or-treating started.

I also decided to dress-up this year.  I usually don’t bother but I had tentative plans to attend a bonafide Halloween party for adult people later that night, but things didn’t quite work out (car broke and I was sleepy).   I decided to be a scarecrow.  It was supposed to be an easy costume. I blame Pinterest for this.  Pinterest is a great place to get ideas, but it also tends to convince the slightly more craft-challenged people like me that they can accomplish these awesome ideas with ease.  The make-up part was messy and kept making my eyes water.  Trying to find ways to “stuff” my shirt with straw was also more complicated then anticipated.  By the end of the night I looked a lot less scarecrow and more insane clown posse member.  Another reason I decided not to go to the party for adult people.  Although, that may have worked in my favor if I had gone because everyone was supposed to dress up as a misfit or outcast.  I definitely had a misfit thing going on by 8pm.

The rest of the weekend was spent snacking on our candy stash and literally doing as little as possible.  Liam was not very happy with me when he noticed I ate all the Kit-Kats.  I think I ate all the Kit-Kats because I was trying to get over my disappointment that there were literally no Nerds or Sweet Tarts in this years stash.  I’m not sure where the folks on Paddock Street are shopping but they seriously need to reconsider their Halloween candy purchasing decisions before next year to ensure better variety.  I mean really, don’t they know how important sour candy is to the authentic Halloween trick-or-treating experience. Seriously.

 

NaNoWriMo…no no

10455805_10152525294906911_7246839092497962182_n November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short.  Every year I tell myself, I’m really going to do it this time.  I’m gonna write 50,000 words in a month. But it just never happens.  I really don’t know how writers do it.  The truth is, I’m jealous. I wish I could write like that, but it’s just not in me.  In fact, I’ve noticed a serious problem with not being able to write well at all any longer.

Maybe it is all the social media influence, and not being able to think passed 140 characters.  I had to write a memo a few weeks ago for a committee I’m on and writing this memo was almost physically painful.  It took me over a week to get it done.  It was like I was writing through gritted teeth the whole time.

I think that’s why I was so determined to really do NaNoWriMo this time, because I thought maybe it would be a good exercise, something that would help get back that flowy “wheee, let’s write!” feeling.

Everyone was supposed to start last week.  So I did, I wrote something Monday morning, fully intending to keep up an actual schedule.  Because that’s what writers do, they have schedules and they stick to them.  But it didn’t happen. Then I decided that I would stay home all weekend and write.  My son was with his dad so I had the house and a whole lot of time to myself. The plan was to write like a bazillion words in two days because I sucked so bad the week before.

So, guess how that went? See the kitty picture up in the corner? Yup, instead of writing I started uploading pictures of my cat to Facebook.  I’m friends with a few cat lovers, so that sparked some comments…which I had to respond to right away because it would just be rude not to.  I can’t really remember how things progressed from there, except at some point that afternoon I ended up at Target contemplating the role of a pouf and it’s value to contemporary vernacular interior design.

pouf

This is a pouf. Apparently it’s for your feet. But could also be used for your back to lean up against while sitting on the floor. Or possibly a doggy bed.

It was almost 9pm by the time I got done shopping and I was too tired to do much of anything except sit on my couch, eat ravioli and watch Hercules.

So I gave up on NaNoWriMo but not on writing completely.  I thought maybe I could just try to blog as much as I can for the month of November and see where that gets me.  I considered doing this on my library blog but the thought of trying to comment on the state of my profession right now is just too intimidating.  So I’ll do it here and I’ll use a list of questions I’ve pulled from various blog marathon/challenges across the internet as prompts and to help come up with content. If I manage to blog every day this week, then I will feel accomplished.

Halloween Twenty-Fourteen

10678778_10152512578546911_1816494309641809399_n 2 The following fun things happened on Halloween:

1) Liam had a Halloween party at school. This year, Liam’s teacher was both wise and bold enough to request that parents only send in healthy snacks for the party, given the amount of sugar they will surely get later in the evening.  I made pinwheel wraps, which I thought tasted terrible but by the time I figured that out it was too late to make something else.  That’s what I get for trying to make something more complicated than it should be. I think I’ll just do apple slices and cheese sticks next time.

2) Liam’s school has a Halloween parade every year.  I can’t resist being able to see cute kids in cute costumes, or cute kids in scary costumes, so I always take half a day vacation of work to come down and watch the parade. There were some seriously awesome costumes this year, including quite a few homemade ones.  One girl in Liam’s class dressed as a whoopee cushion! I never got the chance but I really wanted to walk up to her and go “Fist pump, sister! Right on!”

3) With all the excitement of the day, teachers typically let kids go home early with their parents.  Which means we have that much more time to perfect last minute details on our costumes before venturing out into the neighborhood for a night of excessive candy consumption.

This year, Liam wanted to be Frodo from Lord of the Rings.  This was a relatively easy costume to put together, since he already had a homemade Frodo cloak that a friend of mine made for his birthday.  Her husband also has some serious wood working skills so he made Liam a beautiful staff to go with the cloak.  The only thing we added was a wig.  Liam had a love hate relationship with this wig.  At first he insisted he looked too much like a girl and less like Frodo.  Then he decided he really liked the wig, so much so that he decided he was also going to grow his hair long. But then there was a problem of the wig being itchy, so he kept taking it off.  It eventually ended up in my purse about five minutes after trick-or-treating started.

I also decided to dress-up this year.  I usually don’t bother but I had tentative plans to attend a bonafide Halloween party for adult people later that night, but things didn’t quite work out (car broke and I was sleepy).   I decided to be a scarecrow.  It was supposed to be an easy costume. I blame Pinterest for this.  Pinterest is a great place to get ideas, but it also tends to convince the slightly more craft-challenged people like me that they can accomplish these awesome ideas with ease.  The make-up part was messy and kept making my eyes water.  Trying to find ways to “stuff” my shirt with straw was also more complicated then anticipated.  By the end of the night I looked a lot less scarecrow and more insane clown posse member.  Another reason I decided not to go to the party for adult people.  Although, that may have worked in my favor if I had gone because everyone was supposed to dress up as a misfit or outcast.  I definitely had a misfit thing going on by 8pm.

The rest of the weekend was spent snacking on our candy stash and literally doing as little as possible.  Liam was not very happy with me when he noticed I ate all the Kit-Kats.  I think I ate all the Kit-Kats because I was trying to get over my disappointment that there were literally no Nerds or Sweet Tarts in this years stash.  I’m not sure where the folks on Paddock Street are shopping but they seriously need to reconsider their Halloween candy purchasing decisions before next year to ensure better variety.  I mean really, don’t they know how important sour candy is to the authentic Halloween trick-or-treating experience. Seriously.