Friday, December 31, 2010

2011: A look ahead and some resolutions

2009 was a difficult year for our family. 2010 was a year of great and wonderful changes. 2011 looks to be the year of establishing the "new normal" for our family.

Dan will finish his masters degree in the spring. That will be a huge relief for both of us and enable him to spend more time with me and Liam. It would be nice if it came with a raise, but I'm not going to hold my breath on that part. He is expecting a very good review at his job in the spring and hopes to be able to negotiate working from home more often.

Liam will probably go through the biggest changes in 2011. He'll roll over, crawl, sit up, walk, eat solid foods, say his first words, get his first teeth and so on and so on. I can hardly imagine the 14 month old toddler he will be this time next year.

I feel like I will have to be diligent this year in order not to stagnate. This will be the first year in a long time without major changes in my social life, education or career. Being so new to my role as a mother, I should hope to be a better mother by this time next year, but that goal is difficult to measure.

One of my main goals for 2011 is to get back in shape. Pregnancy was rough on my body. I am only one pound away from my "happy weight" that I was pre-pregnancy, but my stomach is really flabby and I lost a lot of muscle in my arms and legs. I need to improve my diet and start exercising again. I have tried to do the couch to 5k program a couple of times and never finished. I think I can do it this year if I cross-train to strengthen my knees and back. I should blog my progress with the C25K.

Personally, I want to improve my cooking, photography and piano skills. I talked to Dan about taking piano lessons. He doesn't think lessons would do me any good and that I should just commit to practicing. I should set up the keyboard in the dining room or living room to remind me to practice. I think blogging will keep me accountable in working on my cooking and photography.

So here are the goals and my plan to do them:

Complete the Couch to 5k 
  • Stretch before running to avoid injury
  • Cross train (cycling and swimming) on at least 2 of the off days per week
  • Begin by May 1st
  • Complete by August 31st
  • Blog progress weekly once I begin

Improve Diet
  • Limit myself to 1 soda per day (no refills at restaurants!)
  • Limit myself to 1 sweet treat per day (no exceptions for special occasions)
  • Eat a real vegetable with every dinner (potatoes & corn do not count)
  • Drink at least 64 ounces of water every day

Improve Photography Skills
  • Record Liam's growth with a similar photo each month
  • Blog about a photograph each week 

Improve Cooking Skills
  • Try at least 2 new recipes every month
  • Blog about a recipe every week

Improve Piano Skills
  • Learn a new song every month beginning in February 
  • Learn the keyboard well enough to play 2 song I already know in January
  • Blog a video of myself playing the new song at the end of the month

Get Household Back in Order
  • Stick to the envelope system for our budget at least 10 out of 12 months
  • Sew Liam's crib skirt and curtains by January 31st
  • Put up a photo wall in the foyer
  • Baby-proof the house within 30 days of Liam beginning to crawl
  • Finish unpacking boxes by February 28th

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Book Review: 1984

1984 by George Orwell


This is one of many classic books that I haven't read yet. I did the International Baccalaureate program in High School and I read lots of Latin American books instead of many books that most high schoolers read. I did George Orwell's Animal Farm in 2001 and feel practically the same about both books.

I love that George Orwell dives right into the story before explaining the vocabulary he made up for the book. You don't have to know where Oceania and Eastasia are to understand the world he created, though it is nice to find out later. I love when authors make up words.

I wish that some of the secondary characters were slightly more developed. The only character that you really grow to know and understand is Winston, the main character. I really would have liked to know more about his co-workers, his neighbors and Julia.

My brother lent this book to Dan to read, but I got a hold of it first. I told Dan not to read it. He hates books that don't end well. He has been pressing me for a synopsis and suspects that the main character is martyred. That's not the case. This book ends with no hope and left me feeling very sad for Winston, Julia (his lover) and the whole world Orwell created.

Essentially, George Orwell imagined a post-WWII world with 3 socialist superpowers in constant war with each other. The leaders (Inner Party) of Oceania (the Americas, southern Africa, Australia and the British Isles) use the war to divert resources to keep the middle class (Outer Party) and poor (Proles) in their respective social classes. They also control the information by constantly rewriting history (this is Winston's job) and changing the language (to Newspeak). If you don't have the words, you cannot have thoughts about ideas such as justice, equally and freedom. The Inner Party monitors everyone at all times (Big Brother is watching you.)

Winston begins to think about what the world was like before the Inner Party established power (though they claim that they have always been) and consciously knows that the news he "corrects" is nothing but lies. He meets Julia, who feels the same way. Eventually both are captured. The torture and medical processes that Winston endures alter his mind until he is compliant with the Inner Party and believes his memories to be false. The book ends with him worrying about the safety of the Inner Party and expressing love for Big Brother.

2 month photo

As one of my goals for 2011 (post coming soon), I want to record Liam's growth with a similar photo each month of him in the glider with his stuffed cow. Here is his 2 month (and 4 days) old photo.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

8 Weeks

Liam is 8 weeks old today. He weighs 12.4 pounds and is adorable. In the last few days, he has discovered that he can control his hands. He chews on them constantly and can whack the toys that hang above his play mat. (He can also reach out to me when I get close to his face.) He loves to be sang and talked to, especially during diaper changes and when he wakes up in his crib. He is very social and will smile at anyone who talks to and smiles at him. He is still fascinated by lights.

We are still struggling with his sleep. Lately he has been going to be for the night later and later. We are pretty consistent about his bedtime routine between 8 and 9pm but he won't sleep for more than 20 minutes until midnight. After he does go to bed, he'll sleep 3 to 4 hours at a time until noon the next day. Often, he will be up for 2 or 3 hours in the middle of the night. That is the most frustrating part. My mom bought him the Sound Spa projector. That worked great the first night, but not since. I read that babies often have trouble sleeping when they reach a milestone, so him finding his hands my have him too excited to sleep. I hope he gets better about sleeping soon.

Me? I've got 3.2 pounds of pregnancy weight left, though my belly is flabby. My linea nigra is starting to rub off.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Book and Movie Review: North and South

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell


I have read almost all of Jane Austen's novels, so the early English language was no a problem for me. I had a very hard time finishing Ms. Gaskell's book. Perhaps because it was originally published in chapters in a magazine, the story did not move at a good pace for me. It was either lots of big events or none at all.

The story was pretty good, though. I thought that the plot and characters were well developed.

I watched the BBC miniseries version of the movie and liked it very much. I would recommend the movie slightly more than the book.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

6 week update

So Liam is 6 weeks old today. He really is wonderful and I love being his momma most of the time. He is getting big so fast and I am trying hard to enjoy all of the little moments.

Weight: about 10.5 lbs
Sleeping: very inconsistent. There have been a few times he has slept 5 or 6 hours straight. Other nights, he will wake up after 2.5 hours. The hardest part is when he is up for 2 hours in the middle of the night.

Liam is social smiling now, which I love! He's pretty good at holding his head up. He likes looking at lights, riding in the car/stroller and getting baths.

Weight: 109.6 lbs (4.6 lbs above pre-pregnancy weight)

My body is still out of whack. My wedding rings fit again, but all of my shoes are too small. My hips are still too big for most of my jeans and I have extra flabby skin on my belly. My linea nigra is still as dark as ever. I was so sick last week. It was really hard to take care of Liam. I couldn't have made it through the week without Dan staying home to help me.

Dan is a really good dad. He loves holding and playing with Liam. He's getting pretty good at diaper changes. Sometimes he forgets to "troubleshoot" Liam when he cries, but he's doing a great job.