Wednesday, January 20, 2016

This Year's Resolutions

I have my 40 x 40 goals, but I am going to make a few specific resolutions for this year as well. If I write down what I want to accomplish, I feel accountable. I don't know who I am accountable to, exactly, but it seems to work.

1. Create a budget. This actually fits in with my 40 x 40 goals, because the budget will include college savings for both kids. We have a vague, general budget for our major expenses, but I want to keep track to the dollar. If I have cash, I tend to lose track of where I spend it.

2. Set stricter screen time limits and stick to them. I let the kids watch a lot of TV over the holidays. A lot. I was so busy getting everything ready for all of my hosting and present duties that I just needed them out of my hair. We developed some bad habits. And before the holidays? Well, I wasn't that great about restricting screen time then, either. My new plan: they get one hour a day. This will most likely work out to one show after lunch and one show while I am making dinner OR the equivalent time using the tablet to play games. I tried this schedule last week, and while there was a lot of initial complaining, we got through it and ended up having fun playing dress up and doing puzzles and putting on puppet shows. (And now that the holidays are over, I have time to facilitate the playing of such games, if I need to.) Of course, there will be exceptions for sick days and below zero days. There have to be exceptions to every rule, right?

And that's it!

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Sunshine State

We flew to Florida the day after New Year's. My parents rented a house in Fort Myers Beach, and my brother and sister-in-law flew over from England. My sister and brother-in-law and Miss Josie were there as well.

It was wonderful. Clare swam in the pool every day - she is getting braver and braver in the water. We went to the beach. We rented a pontoon and tooled around the back bay. We saw dolphins. We drank lots of wine. We ate Mexican food. We had dueling dinner parties. (Clare won the Eiffel Tower building contest. She used toothpicks and cheese - she is quite the engineer.) We took long walks. We visited Sanibel Island and a wild bird sanctuary. I almost hit a car with our rental minivan, ruining both my brother-in-law and my lunches while we stewed over whether or not I had in fact caused the large scrape on the side of the other vehicle. (Our conclusion: I hadn't.) Christopher was crabby for the first few days. Uncle Gobby's orca impression in the pool snapped him right out of his funk. Uncle Andrew's mermaid impression wasn't bad, either. Ben, Andrew, Robby and Andri visited the Everglades. Some of us saw Star Wars. We watched football. We talked and laughed and had a blast.

I can't wait to go back next year.

Ready to fly.

He ended up on my lap for most of the flight.

My favorite girl and I at the bird sanctuary.

With two of her favorite people

Christopher is under that towel. Crabbypants did not like the wind.

Captain Clare.

The best family photo we got. It was a bit chilly that day - but we had some wonderful weather too.


Ready to be entertained. (And he actually went swimming!)

75 and sunny in January? I'll take it. So will Clare, even though she complained that the beach was "too bright" and the sand was "too dirty." Be glad you live in Minnesota, kid.