Friday, January 27, 2012

A Quiet Moment

Baby sleeping (in the crib!), and all phone calls / emails / visits regarding childcare done for the week... a moment to breathe and relax.

Oh, the baby was sleeping...

Friday, January 20, 2012

2011 Goals Review - and Beyond

I always like to spend some some time each January thinking about what I hope to accomplish in the following year, and looking back at the year that's just finished. Clearly, my goals for 2011 were impacted by my spending most of the year pregnant and then with a newborn. Still, while the details of my plans may not have come to pass, I think the spirit of them did, and for that I'm grateful. 

2011 Goals 

Get to 145 lbs. and run the Chicago Half-Marathon in September.
Well, I did manage to lose 5 pounds before I got pregnant --- but then put on A LOT of weight during pregnancy, more so than I did with my first one. I was not happy about that but by the end had to just accept both the weight and that for whatever reason I wasn't going to eat as well as I did the first time. Thankfully as soon as Champ was born I had an overwhelming desire to eat well again (aside from holiday treats) so I'm feeling better about that.

I did manage to keep running through most of my pregnancy, with some stops and starts, and I'm very glad about that. I also ran three races while pregnant, with partners, and felt I ran them with a good mix of pushing myself while doing so safely. And got to enjoy the whole race experience as well.

Be job search ready by the end of the year.
Hah. No. But I did get a lot more clarity about what it is I'm looking for. I also started a new initiative at work, cleared house on a bunch of stuff, worked on being more timely and efficient, and continued to educate myself and share what I learned with others. So not feeling like a complete sloth around this stuff.

Spend a year exploring my work (and the work of artists I admire), without thought of selling it, and document what I learn. 
This is the only area where I would say I really did meet my goal, though not in regards to documenting my work. It's funny, I kept taking things off my to-do lists as the year went on --- not because I had accomplished them but because I realized there was no way I was going to --- so my impression of my artistic accomplishments was pretty pessimistic. It wasn't until I went back and looked at what my actual goal for the year had been that I realized that I had set no goals for myself regarding output. (Sometimes I'm smarter than I think.) But I had a pretty satisfying year in terms of learning about art, thinking about my own, and continuing to move forward with my artistic pursuits.

So for 2012? Pretty much the same overall, just with different details (especially since I now have two children demanding my energy and focus, not just one). I have a different number in mind for my weight and a different race as well. I plan to continue along the same paths of improvement at work and just tweak my studies to reflect changes in vision (and yes, finally update my resume and LinkedIn profile). And I'll continue to deepen my engagement with art, my own and others, and find ways to share that pursuit with others.

Here's to a happy and fruitful 2012!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Lay of the Land

Status report from the great Midwest... snow. First real snow of the season. Thick enough to be pretty (for a while), but not so thick (or icy, or blowy, or slushy) to be a huge nuisance... yet. At least not to those of us traversing it by foot. I can't speak for those who have to dig out cars or on unplowed streets, which is a perennial problem here in Chicago (not all neighborhoods receive equal attention, and yes, a mayor has been voted out in the past because of this).

Most of the visitors have left (one more trip this weekend). So I am home with the baby. Who is easy... if I am right with him at all times, including naps. When carrying him everywhere gets to be too much he will sleep in a front carrier, but that still leaves me with a limited range of motion, and an aching back. Well, this will pass quickly enough.

What I am also hoping will pass relatively quickly is his big brother's upset, expressed mostly in potty "accidents" and playing at being a baby (lying down, "crying") when faced with something he'd rather not do. Like sit at the table. Or brush his teeth. Or any one of the daily activities of life.

I hold on to two phrases I've been told... one, that as hard as this transition is for Buddy, in the end a younger brother is a gift to him as well as to us. And two, that by the time we get to next Christmas, not only will things be easier all around, but Buddy won't remember what it was ever like to not have Champ in his life.

The other thing I hope will feel easier by next Christmas is the work/childcare equation. Right now we are faced with not having a place for Champ at daycare until September. I had been scheduled to go back to work in five weeks. Uffda. So we're looking for a nanny-sharing deal, while continuing to cross our fingers that some member of The Dude's family might be able to come live with us in our already tight quarters and take care of Champ during that time. I've requested a month's additional personal leave so that we have 1) more time to find something, 2) Champ is a bit older, and 3) we have one less month of care to pay for. We have talked about what our alternatives might be... but I don't feel like giving voice to them here, not yet.

Small pleasures in my life right now... I started running again last week, which makes me very happy. I bundle Champ up and place him in The Green Monster (a ginormous "all-terrain" stroller that can pass for a running stroller if I don't go too fast) and go carefully and slowly through the neighborhood, alternating walking and jogging --- he sleeps, I get out and feel like myself, good news all around.

And I've been baking bread for church, for communion, just a plain whole wheat following a recipe from the Tassajara Bread Book. The recipe I have makes more than is needed for Sundays, so we've been enjoying the extra. It's been easy enough and successful enough that I am thinking of starting to bake bread more often, just for us. Makes me feel productive... saves some money too. Both things I need, the longer I stay home by myself.

Thankfully I do get out everyday and we have been blessed so far with a pretty mild winter. And no one is sick! (Knock wood.)