Archive | December, 2013

To-Do List: 2014

The time has come (..”the Walrus said, to talk of many things..”) for me to figure out what I’d like to fail spectacularly possibly succeed at in 2014. Instead of concrete resolutions, I do a vague-ish To-Do List so that I’m not bound by time constraints and can try and work on them all year.

I typically toil and slave over these, but this year, 2013 wanted ONE MORE opportunity to ruin our plans and Tony woke up vomiting AGAIN today, almost two full weeks after we thought the stomach bug had left us. BASTARD YEAR. So here is the list that I’ve slap-dashed together to get in before midnight. THIS BODES WELL FOR 2014 PLANNING, YES?

Cook three weeknights a week. I have gotten terrible about cooking lately. I used to be great about meal planning and getting home-cooked meals on the table every night. But since, oh I don’t know, JUNE, I’ve really sucked at it. My waistline shows it too. We’re gonna get back on track. (BUT WE’RE REINSTATING THE RULE THAT I DO NOT COOK ON MONDAYS.)

Read more than I did last year. This should not be hard. Last year, I wanted to read one book a month. I read four books, if I recall. So hey! FIVE MAKES ME A WINNER.

Round out my marketable skill set. If I may say so, I am DAMN GOOD at what I do. That’s great, and it helps that I love what I do. But I’m ready to grow and learn a couple of new talents that will round out how much value I can bring to the table. I’ve found a couple if areas that I would enjoy learning and would make me an even more valuable asset.

ADVOCATE. Still on the work front – I think I’m pretty vocal about how I love what I do. But if there’s a single reader here who doesn’t know what I do, I’ve not done my full job. I’d like to be more of an advocate for the Space Launch System, so you guys can get as stoked about the return of human space flight as I am.

Balance my Mom Guilt. Bryan and I talked about this at length last night. I said I want to find more work/life balance – which I say every year – and he asked what I thought I was lacking. “Sarah,” he said, “You’re not a stay-at-home mom. You work. You LIKE working. That’s okay.” And I realized that maybe the problem is ME. So I’m going to figure out how to make peace with the fact that I am a mere mortal who cannot be in two places at once. If I can’t pick up Tony right after school, that’s OKAY. I’ll do something cool with him that weekend. Because I ALWAYS DO.

Get stronger. I miss my strong body. I was never, like, Army strong or anything, but I could run a couple of miles a couple of times a week. I could hold my own through Zumba. I could plank for a minute or so. While I don’t want to set a hard and fast goal around this, I would like to start finding that Me again. I need accountability – dude, ideally I need a partner to guilt me! – so I will be reporting on this. OFTEN.

Leave Huntsville. We did not leave town in 2013. GUYS. That’s terrible. I would like us to get out of town this year! Maybe for more than one night! Maybe FOR TWO NIGHTS.

Focus on my marriage. Bryan and I are incredibly fortunate. We have a really strong marriage and we genuinely enjoy eachother’s company. (I hate saying things like that out loud. Not because it’s not true, but because I feel like I’m testing fate, you know? ANYWAY.) As much as we like each other, we don’t always leave time for us. The kids come first, jobs second, life third, and we as a married couple run a distant fourth. So this year, I’d like to schedule time for us to get away and just be adults around each other. Maybe even find stuff to talk about that don’t involve the kids or jobs! December of this year will be ten years that we’ve been together, so might as well make something of that. (.. maybe ballroom dancing lessons?)

Learn to play an instrument. I dunno. I just want to. I’m pretty damn good at the triangle.


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2013 Wrap-Up

2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008   As always, inspired by the always inspiring Sundry.

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before? I have a problem answering this almost every year, and I think it’s because I’d love to be able to say something life-changing – “I jumped out of an airplane” or “I visited a foreign country”. But I haven’t done any of those things – ever. And we’re getting to the point in my parenthood that even firsts with Tony are things that I’ve done with/for Jack. I do new things at work all the time, but they’re not career-altering. I did land my first national campaign this year – for Huggies – and that was a pretty cool little deal.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? In 2011/2012, I decided to make myself a To-Do list for the year, rather than concrete resolutions. Those tend to work out better for me. I did okay with my To-Do list – we failed miserably in weekend adventures and getting the boys to play frisbee golf, but the rest of them pretty much got checked off. I’ll definitely make more in the next year, because I am STARVING for some goals.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Nah.

4. Did anyone close to you die? I didn’t attend any funerals, so that’s how I’m answering this question. (If you know me and you died and I didn’t mention you here, I’m sorry.)

5. What countries did you visit? I… am having trouble recalling a time that I even left Huntsville this year. THAT IS SO AWFUL.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013? TIME. Oh, sweet baby Jesus, we need more time in our house. Do you know how much time three kids can suck out of your schedule? Like, A LOT. Bryan and I have agreed that our focus in 2014 needs to be time focused on each other. Cause we really, really suck at that. (This is not to say that we suck at focusing on each other, but we’re terrible about filling every minute of our days with stuff to do for kids.)

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? January 17th was when we found that we were having a boy, and later that night, we lost my oldest dog, Mabel. April brought Tony’s first soccer season, which was coached by Dude, and was a fun family gathering. Obviously June 7th was a big day. August 19th, Tony started kindergarten. October 15th, I got promoted. Later that week, I learned I was going to be an aunt! Pretty much everything in November and December needs to be forgotten, though.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Juggling, by far. And I keep thinking to myself to catch the eggs. Let the balls drop – catch the eggs.

9. What was your biggest failure? My baby (although not my TECHNICAL baby) had his first show this year, appearing as a toy soldier in a production at his school. This was no mere school play; no, this is BEN HUR FOR BABIES, and they had over 10 performances to sell-out crowds. Since I was also in a show – across town – I didn’t get to help at all with his show. The Mom Guilt is still pretty strong over this one.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Not injury, so much. I mean, y’all, my swollen feet were ridiculous. But still. As far as illness.. well, it’s a funny thing. I’ve found that even if I’m not the one that’s ill, I can still suffer from it. (Reference earlier note to November/December being awful.)

11. What was the best thing you bought? MY VAN. Guys, I know I fought that damn thing kicking and screaming because No, not a minivan! That makes me a lame old mom! but that thing is AMAZING. The doors open BY THEMSELVES. The kids can watch DVDs and I NEVER HAVE TO HEAR THEM. I can fold all the seats down easily and have the bed of a covered truck. I FREAKING LOVE MY CAR.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? My family, by far. What with me being all knocked up (and bedridden for almost the last month due to crazy contractions plus a major UTI) and everything, my family was AMAZING about helping out with the other kids. Add in just the other amazing stuff they do (Dude coaching, Gee helping out with makeup at Tony’s show, Mom & Dad giving Tony some one-on-one attention when he needs it), and I am one blessed lady.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Facebook. Okay, not the actual program, but what I see on there – almost on a daily basis – is just hateful. I’m a hippie! I love discourse! And conversation! And dialogue where we can talk about why we think differently! But what is so often posted is narrow-minded, hate-fueled and awful. It’s gotten to the point that I’ve hidden a good 1/3 of my friends.. not because we think differently, but because I cannot abide by some of the very divisive things that they post. (Example: I don’t agree with the food stamp program because I believe it creates dependency and sometimes the program is fraudulent. – FAIR THING TO SAY, even if I disagree. I don’t agree with food stamps because you know black people just use it to buy alcohol. – SOMETHING A “FRIEND*” OF MINE SAID IN A PUBLIC FORUM.)(*no longer a friend of mine)

14. Where did most of your money go? “Mortgage and daycare.  Daycare is such a rapist.” – 2009.  “SURPRISE, 2010 WAS THE SAME!” – 2010.   “SAME HERE” – 2011. “Surprisingly – we paid off a LOT of bills this year. Looming unemployment will do that to a person.” – 2012. Most of our moolah this year paid for hospital bills (having babies is expensive, y’all!) and food. We ate a LOT of takeout/fast food/restaurant fare this year.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? I mean, yes, I was excited for Vinnie to exit the uterine premises. And I was excited for Tony to start kindergarten (thusly ending ONE daycare payment). But really? I was just excited for 2013 to be OVER. It’s been a long, hard year.

16. What song will always remind you of 2013? “Carry On” – fun

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
b) thinner or fatter?
c) richer or poorer?

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Exercising. My body now is soft, and I don’t like it. But I’ll need to re-evaluate my schedule to make time for exercise. Like, literally, my day is scheduled down to the :15 mark 5-6 days a week.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Covering asses. That’s kind of blunt, yes? I constantly have this battle that I could let someone fail spectacularly or I could just fix it for them. I tend to do the latter, which would be fine if it was a one-time happening. But most often, they see it happen that first time, and then kick up their heels because HOORAY! SARAH WILL DO IT FOR ME! And that.. guys, I just don’t have the patience for that BS anymore.

20. How did you spend Christmas? This year was the Christmas that almost wasn’t. With presents not arriving until 12/23 (.. um, because I did not order them until 12/21), and the massive stomach bug that circled our family mid-December, we were just happy to have any Christmas this year. (I’m sorry, Vinnie. I failed you. Luckily you won’t remember this Christmas and how you were almost forgotten.)

“B .. T .. J .. S .. oh, wait. WE NEED ANOTHER STOCKING.”

21. Did you fall in love in 2013? Every year, man.

22. What was your favorite TV program? I really loved Orange is the New Black (Crazy Eyes is my homegirl), and I binge-watched all seasons of Downton Abbey while on maternity leave. I recently found an indie little show that HBO produces called Getting On and I hope come along!

23. This question has been deleted (2010). 

24. What was the best book you read? I read “Gone Girl” and “Sharp Objects” (both by Gillian Flynn) this year, and the latter was my favorite. (I didn’t DISLIKE “Gone Girl”, but the ending made me RAGE.) I also read “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg, and I enjoyed reading that, even though some of it felt common sense-y. That, my friends, is all I read in 2013, because I suck. (Ooh, I got through most of “Tiny Beautiful Things” by Dear Sugar, and THAT was a great book. Just not hormonal, pregnant kind of reading material.)

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? SiriusXM Satellite Radio.

26. What did you want and get? A healthy and beautiful baby boy.

27. What did you want and not get? I really wanted us to get into a bigger house this year, so that the two oldest boys wouldn’t have to share a room, but that just wasn’t in the cards. In the meantime, we’re just all playing sardines over here.

28. What was your favorite film of this year? Did I see anything in the theatres this year? Or a new release at all? I don’t think I did. We watched Despicable Me 2 the other night and that was fun. I do love Steve Carrell.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 33 this year, and we did not a damn thing. (Work was killing me.) You realize you’re getting old when you’re totally content to just have a quiet night at home.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? “A 25th hour in the day.” – 2008.  “Ditto.” – 2009.  “Hells yes, gimme some of that.” – 2010. “WHERE IS MY HOUR, FATE?” – 2011. “Better use of the hours I have.” -2012. 2013: Better just rehash some of that older stuff again.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013? Elastic, second-hand and waaaaay bigger than I wanted it to have been.

32. What kept you sane? My wedding ring. Bryan bought it for me in 2012, and he fusses at me all the time because I fidget with it all the time. It’s heavy, and I like the way it feels on my finger. It grounds me. It’s kind of my totem from Inception. When I need to recenter myself, I play with it.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Jennifer Lawrence. Aside from the fact that the girl is drop-dead gorgeous, she’s just such a refreshing figure in the crap that is Hollywood life. She makes me laugh out loud. A lot. I’m totally rooting for her to make it, you know?

34. What political issue stirred you the most? POLITICS, YOU SLAY ME. What stirred me the most is how little most voters knew about ANY of what was happening, and how INSISTENT they were about remaining ignorant. “Obama has lost our jobs!” Have you checked the polls lately? Unemployment is actually at a record low and .. “LALALALA, I CAN’T HEAR YOU BECAUSE I HAVE IGNORANCE CLOGGING MY EARS.” I’m pretty sure that’s just earwax and you can clean it yourse.. “BENGHAZI. THANKS, OBAMA.”

35. Who did you miss? Guys, I miss MY DAMN DOG. I MISS HER SO MUCH. I adopted her in 2000, and she passed early this year. She was deaf, and plucky, but so so so sweet, and not a day goes by that I don’t miss her. I miss the HELL out of that dog. I thought time would ease some of that, but every day just hurts a little more because she’s not here. (Sorry for the downer.) We even have two other dogs! Who are great! BUT THEY’RE NOT MABEL, AND I KIND OF RESENT THEM FOR THAT. (.. I would be awful in Sophie’s Choice.)

36. Who was the best new person you met? I might be speaking out of turn, but I think we are all kind of smitten with this guy right here.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013. Vincent VanGogh. Everyone said to him, “You can’t be a painter! You only have one ear!” And do you know what he said? “I CAN’T HEAR YOU.” – Dinner for Schmucks

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. I’m sorry, but I can’t. Instead, I’m going to show you funny stuff I found on Pinterest that makes me laugh till I cry, even today. That’s much more meaningful to me.

And one meaningful one to grow on ..

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Happy Birthday to My Six Year Old

I’ve tried to write this several times now, but this last month has pretty ugh decimated our household. Vinnie’s had a double ear infection for weeks, then you had a sinus infection, then you and I started tech weeks for DIFFERENT shows, then Vinnie had RSV, and you woke up vomiting, and my LORD.

The other day when I picked you up from school, Dan Folgerberg’s “Another Auld Lang Syne” came on the radio. Right before the sax solo, I said, “You wanna hear something crazy? You came out to meet the world riiiiiiiight now.”

And you, my beautiful boy, cocked your head to listen to the saxophone play and said, “Mom. That’s just not crazy at all.”

Because to you, it’s not odd that I would’ve labored for a day straight, only to have you make your grand entrance to a melodic interlude. You have always been MY child, scared of imperfection so always waiting to show your light. The child who would sit and babble alone in his room, while I greedily swallowed it all through the baby monitor. You wouldn’t talk in front of us until you had it perfected. You were the child who had to learn sight words, because sounding it out in from of us was just NOT an option.

Today, in a couple of hours (you naturally waited until fifteen minutes till curtain), six years will have passed since you gave me a reason to sob at the end of “Another Auld Lang Syne”. Oh, my child, you are simply one of my top four favorite things in all the world.

Ever since I was very young, I have always said a silent prayer before I set foot on stage. It helps me focus and remember what’s important, and I feel impervious once I’ve said it.

Dear Lord, please keep my steps in time, my voice in tune, and let me be a light to those who are seeking refuge from the darkness.

And my child, you are that to me.

You are a pretty splendid little person, Tony Maloney. Thank you for being my best fwend.








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