WIP Stands for "Work In Progress"


As two full months have already ended in 2018, I'm already taking notes and assessing my progress.  Am I following my New Year's Resolutions?  Am I making time for me?  Am I finding balance?

Strangely enough when I mentioned the phrase "work in progress," my son already knew what I was talking about.  "Mommy, you mean WIP."

"WIP?" I asked.

"Yes, Work In Progress," he answered.

The phrase, admittedly, didn't enter my vocabulary until I was well into adulthood, but somehow it's part of my son's everyday lingo.  In fact, he assuredly let me know that pretty much everything is "a work in progress."  How did my son become so wise?

As I look at my resolutions for 2018, I'm realizing that they, too, are a work in progress.  I've done well in assuring that I find some time for my son, my friends, and my husband each month, but as work responsibilities increased around mid-February, my blog writing (once per week) took a toll.  The walking, hiking, and exercising in general also stopped.  When those stop, the daydreaming stops, and then my carefree attitude of silliness, wonder, and excitement turn to worry, fear, anxiety, and frustration.  Last week, I felt the symptoms of a cold resurfacing along with my neck, shoulder, and back pain.  If I was looking for a sign to see if my life was in balance, I surely got my answer: NO!!

At work, there were papers to correct, emails to send, reports to analyze, and difficult decisions to be made.  At home, there were mounds of laundry to be done, clutter to be organized, mail to be sorted, and unexpected bills to be paid.  In Cub Scouts, there were den and pack meetings to plan and a fundraising project to implement. And then, out of nowhere, there was a death in my husband's family, an accident (his mom fractured her arm after slipping on ice), and an unwelcome realization that my in-laws may need to move out of financial necessity.

Then, there was one more tipping point.  Lewie's beloved camp director called to tell me that Lewie's summer camp would be closing--permanently.  I cried.  How could this be?  I had already filled out the registration form and put down my deposit!  Lewie was already counting down the days to camp, for it had become his second home!

The last of my free time was spent researching new camps, speaking with directors, and even visiting one.  We "think" we made the right choice to experiment between two different camps this summer, but there are still registration forms to complete and deposits to be made before March 1!

This week, I'm trying to reset my priorities and get back on track.  I won't lie.  I still feel totally overwhelmed, but I'm taking a step back to breathe.  It will all get done.  It will all get done.  It will all get done.  (That has to be my new mantra.)

This is my happy place.  Thinking about hiking with my little boy.
I'm blogging tonight instead of filling out Lewie's new camp registration forms.  I still have papers to correct, too.  I have to shift the balance, and the balance starts back to finding time for me.  It's all a WIP.

Valentine's Day Week


Last week went by quickly, but it was full.  Somehow between our hectic work and school schedules our family managed to visit our beloved friends, make Valentines, sneak in a fun trip of snow tubing, and for hubby and me, go out on a classic date (after Valentine's Day, of course, so we didn't have to spend top dollar).

The week started out with visiting my closest friends--my college friend on Saturday and my oldest grammar school buddies on Sunday.  Little Lewie and I didn't have a chance to bake, so instead, I bought a few items to place into care packages for them.  My friends remembered the tradition right away: "Oh, you brought gifts for us for Random Acts of Kindness week!"  I enjoy celebrating my friends, and since we hardly ever get to celebrate each other's birthdays, R.A.K. week seems to be the best time for me to remind them how lucky I am to have them in my life.

Since I didn't have time to make my care packages all at once, I'm still delivering them to friends this week, too.

For V-Day at school, Little Lewie and I made quick, fun, heart Valentines using glow sticks.  I found a fun template at The Teacher Wife, The Blog, and the Valentines came out fantastic.  I am so grateful for all the creative moms out there that are willing to share their talents with us.  In this case, I am thankful to Lindsey, the artistic mastermind of this blog.  You can get her template here.

On the Friday after Valentine's Day, Lewie's February vacation began.  A snow storm swept through the area, and we decided it was the perfect time to go snow tubing at Ski Butternut in Massachusetts. 

After a day of snow tubing as a family, hubby and I planned an actual date for the very next day.  We found a movie theater still showing The Shape of Water and then went out to dinner at a quaint, rustic restaurant near us called the Milestone Inn.  Meanwhile, Lewie spent a day with Grammy and will be ending his short five-day weekend with a visit to a friend's house.

Yes, during this very busy Valentine's Day week, I am most grateful for both my friends and family.  Love and kindness were certainly all around us.

To Be Nine...


Little Lewie is 9 and a half years-old, to be exact.  He was born in August, so February is his half-year mark.   I'll be honest.  I didn't know what to expect as the mom of a nine year-old.  For one, he's more independent now.  Gone are the days of having to put on his shoes, hat, and gloves before going to school.  Gone are the days of having to buckle him into a car seat, strap him into a swing, or pick him up to get onto our trampoline.  Gone are the days of putting him in a shopping cart to give him rides around the grocery store or placing him on the car ride at the local carnival.

I get teary-eyed remembering Lewie's toddler days.  They were full of giggles, wonder, and excitement.  Lewie was the little boy that never stopped smiling (and never stopped talking about trains either).  But, do you know what?  I LOVE Lewie at this age, too.  Okay, so there are hints of him growing up (and entering the soon-to-be tween stage).  For one, he's become more interested in friends (and showing off).  He also does what he can to swindle his way out of homework and chores.  His classic response to my daily request is "Not now."  (He knows that if he puts me off long enough, I will get too tired to remind him and fall asleep on the couch.)

Still, for all the moments that he seems more grown up and more independent, he's still a little boy.  Here are the things I love about NINE.

1)  He still needs me. 
There are plenty of nine year-olds that take their own showers and pick out their own clothes, but when given the chance, Lewie still likes to take baths and prefers that I pick out his clothes for him.  In many ways, I'm not ready to relinquish all of the motherly responsibilities I've grown accustomed to throughout the years, and so I still take great pleasure in making him breakfast, packing his lunches, and picking out his snacks.  Thankfully, he doesn't mind me doing these things for him either.  I gladly tuck him in at night, sleep in his room when he's afraid, cuddle with him on cold snowy days, and pamper him when he's sick.  He told me one day: "Mommy, you're not just a mom and an English professor.  You're kind of like a doctor, too."

2)  He's playful.
This boy still loves playing hide-and-go-seek, tag, and catch me if you can.  Yes, he's better at it.  He runs faster and has lots more strength.  (He can easily hold me back if he doesn't want to get tickled.)  Still, this kid is playful and adores being chased.  His giggles (much like when he was a toddler) can still be heard throughout the house, and he's ready to play with us at a moment's notice (even if it means putting down his xbox for a while).

3) He's a boy.
Nine, thank goodness, is still the age of fantasy.  He's not thinking about girls and dating.  He's thinking about Star Wars, the Avengers, Minecraft, Roblox, and video games.  He LOVES to watch Star Wars and the Avengers movies with Daddy, and when we go for walks, he enjoys telling me about the latest video games he wants to create.   His characters have clever names and magical abilities.  They have swords, armor, guns, gems, potions, dynamite, and lasers.  I remind him that I don't like violence, and so to keep me happy, he always reminds me that his video games will not have any blood or gore.  "My characters are robots, Mommy.  They are not human."

Potty humor abounds, too.  There are plenty of fart and toilet jokes to go around, and somehow he's learned how to burp and fart on command.  Since my husband enjoys all of these things (at age 47), I suppose this is one area that will never go away.  Whether he's 9 or 50, he will stay a boy at heart forever.

4) He's still little.
At the end of the day, Lewie is still a little boy.  While his vocabulary is expanding every day, he and his friends still make mistakes.  They pronounce words wrong, they say the wrong words, or they make inexperienced guesses (all based on their own naivete and innocence).   For example, during a Cub Scout den meeting, we spoke about important numbers to have in case of emergencies.  When we talked about the number for Poison Control, the boys quickly asked what it meant.  Then one boy said he knew the answer:  "It's for when you get things like Poison Ivy."

On Friday this week, Lewie woke up hoping he would get a day off from school.  When I told him it wasn't snowing, he said, "Well, it might not be snowing, but it's frosty."  (He really meant to say "icy.")

5)  He's magic.
Every day is a new adventure with Lewie.  We tell jokes, then have deep, meaningful discussions.  We talk about Santa, then learn about historical figures like Abraham Lincoln or Martin Luther King, Jr.  (By the way, his 2018 Santa request is to wake up knowing how to code and make video games--when I told him this was impossible, he stated, "Mommy, didn't you hear of something called Christmas magic?")  We jump on the trampoline, then take long hikes through the woods.  We play Chutes and Ladders, then games of strategy like Uno and checkers.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that nine is kind of a mixed bag.  There is evidence of Lewie being both a little kid and a big kid at the same time.  He's both innocent and wise; silly and serious; young and mature; cute and well, still cute. 

I know the "little kid" in him will continue to dissipate with each passing year, but for now, the little kid is still alive and well.  I cherish this age.  I've promised myself to relish and savor every moment of these next six months.