Wednesday, August 31, 2011

32 goals for my 32nd year

Wow!  It is my birthday again!  I'm always amazed how fast time seems to fly as an adult, particularly when specific days can drag on seemingly forever!  I actually did pretty well with last year's goals, some big ones were crossed off the list which is wonderful.  Not everything was accomplished of course so there are a few repeats on this year's lists, but there are some new goals too!  If you want to see how I did on previous lists you can see 31 for 31 here and all the others on the sidebar of the blog!

I am really in a good place heading into this birthday.  It feels like there are always things to change about yourself to make yourself even more you, but as I grow older I become more comfortable with who I already am.  Any of the goals I accomplish this year is icing on the birthday cake as far as I'm concerned!

32 for 32

1.  Learn to make homemade spaghetti sauce using our garden's tomatoes.  Mr. Goat and I figured this one out!

2.  Find an amazing pair of boots that fit (a challenge with "meaty" calves). They are short boots, but beautiful.

3.  Go see the new Muppet movie in theaters.  Opening weekend no less.

4.  Continue to give up soda - no soda all year long.  10 months and counting...

5.  Host a holiday in our own home.

6.  Get a real Christmas tree for Christmas.  We couldn't do this in our apartment.  Done!

7. Figure out a mail system that I can actually keep up on.

8.  Find a place to volunteer regularly.

9.  Finish unpacking our home.

10.  Finish another 5k or two and break the 50 minute mark.

11.  Potty train baby goat so he can go to preschool next fall.

12.  Track everything I eat for one month minimum.  4 months+ and counting on tracking.

13.  Sew something I can wear.

14.  Take a class just for me.

15.  Roast a whole chicken.  I will do this someday...

16.  Attend a professional sports game - baseball, hockey, football, etc.

17.  Create a Mama's reading nook.

18.  Try weekly meal planning for 1 month.

19.  Go on a date once a month with my husband.

20.  Find one free-lance writing gig.

21.  Take a class with little goat - swimming, music, etc   Swimming and Music so far.

22.  Bake a birthday cake with little goat for Mr. Goat.

23.  Go back to the beach.

24.  Do a monthly health challenge each month - Sept: No Fries

25.  Learn to use a snow blower.

26.  Build a snowman in our yard with little goat.   There was no real snow this year... :(

27.  Workout with a trainer even if it is just once to get a plan in place.

28.  See a dietictian or nutritionist to get a plan in place.

29.  Smile more.  Laugh more.  Sleep more.

30.  Don't be embarrassed when I am being me.

31.  Keep my car clean.

32.  Daily choose grace, peace and joy over anxiety, negative-thinking and doubt.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Yo Gabba Gabba Live Giveaway!

Last year baby goat and I attended Yo Gabba Gabba Live! with my friend Missy and her children.  Despite the fact that he was just one at the time he LOVED the music and the dancing.  He had a great time, and all the other kids at the concert did too.  So when I was contacted with a chance to giveaway some tickets to one of my readers I knew I had to do it.

You do know about Yo Gabba Gabba right?

I admit, it is one of those shows that both baffles me and delights me.  It manages to pull some really fun guest stars, most with small kids of their own, so you KNOW they are doing something right.  Some of my favorite episodes have Jake Black, "Weird" Al, and the Roots.  And the music is catchy and kids LOVE it.

Yo Gabba Gabba has a lot of the highlights of the show - including all your favorite characters, and plenty of dancing.  Even if your children have never seen the show it will definitely catch their imagination, it did with my clueless 1 yr old last year and I know little goat will love it this year too!

And you can too!  I have four tickets to giveaway to one lucky reader!  The show is Thursday September 15th at the State Theatre at either 3:00pm or 6:00pm (your choice).  To enter simply share one of your favorite kids songs - from Yo Gabba Gabba or not!  Don't forget to leave your email address too so I can get in touch with you if you win.

But don't stop there!  You have THREE chances for extra entries: (Please leave an additional comment for each additional entry).

1.  Follow Random Thoughts of a Lutheran Geek on Google Friend Connect or in an RSS reader.
2.  Follow Lutherliz on twitter and tweet about the giveaway.
3.  Follow the Lutheran Geek on Facebook.

Good luck to all who enter.  The winner will be drawn on Friday September 2nd at 9:00pm.  I will choose the winner using and contact the winner by email.

* Our family was provided tickets to this concert as well but all opinions based on last year's show are my own. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A case of the "afters"

Ok folks I have a serious case of the Afters.  It is quite debilitating and has kept me from making the moves to get healthy lately.  What are the Afters you may ask?  Allow me to demonstrate...

I'll workout AFTER I get back from vacation.
I'll start tracking my food AFTER my birthday.
I'll get back on track with healthy eating AFTER the state fair.
I'll commit to a 5k AFTER the school year kicks off.

After, After, After.

After is not so much an excuse but a stall tactic, a procrastination tool.  The fact of the matter is that I am feeling fat and my clothes are ill fitting.  Vacation Bible School, a funeral, vacation, travel, work, all of those things combined in the last two months and frankly I ducked my head and tried to ride it all out.  And in that process the things that help me feel better - eating well, drinking water, working out - fell by the wayside.  I don't mean that as an excuse, it was reality for a while.

But we are back to normal, or at least as calm and normal as life ever is.  And I am dragging my feet.  I KNOW it will make me feel better than I do now - sluggish and run down.  I know I am healthier for it, but I keep going to the Afters.   But you know what, there is always another After available to you.  After the birthday and the state fair then we aren't too far from Halloween (candy is already out in stores - a rant for another day), and then Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's day, winter hibernation...

There is ALWAYS an after you can use.  But it doesn't make it any less avoiding the situation.  I have an bad case of the afters, but I don't want to have it anymore.

This weekend is my birthday as well as the State Fair.  I'll be walking lots at the State Fair so that is a plus, but I know it will be full of pot holes for me.  So here is my three point action plan.

Point 1: Write down everything I eat this weekend - birthday cake, State Fair food, everything.
Point 2: Drink at least 100oz of water each day this weekend.
Point 3: Go to the gym/run outside at least once this weekend.

These may seem like small things, but necessary for me to start SOMETHING and not let the Afters win over my thinking this weekend.  Will you help hold me accountable?

Monday, August 22, 2011

On the plane

We flew to NC and back on a non-stop trip to Raleigh.  We chose this destination since 1. we had a 3 hr drive to get to our ultimate location no matter where we flew into and 2. non-stop flight with a toddler.  Need I say more.

One of the things that made our flight relatively painless was a borrowed CARES Harness.  We didn't bring our car seat on the plane but instead this FAA approved device turned little goat's seat belt into a 4 pt harness similar to his normal car seat.  This was so helpful because once he was strapped in he did little to fight the seat belt.  And let's face it, airplane seat belts aren't hard to open, so this was essential.

Also helpful to our success:  Bribery.  In this case via Barney DVDs and jellybeans.  As a parent you do what you must to survive.

It isn't to say it was entirely smooth, but it really was pretty painless all things considered.  Our flight home was better than our flight out, but he was so tired that he took a sizeable nap on the flight back.   Unfortunately the 1 yr old in the seat in front of me was not so well behaved.  I felt badly for the parents as the child was clearly overtired and yet unable to settle down.  I gave them kind looks and offered up little goat's goldfish, and played peek-a-boo over the seat when I could help.   

What was interesting was my seatmate.  The plane was two seats on each side so little goat and Mr. Goat sat on one side and I got to plane seatmate roulette.  And boy, I hit the jackpot in an elderly, sick, opinionated Indian woman.  Actually it was plenty enjoyable but I was a little taken a back.  As the child in front of us cried the woman kept interrupting the parent's attempts to calm her and demanding a chance to comfort the child herself.  I realize that she was just trying to help but it takes a lot to pester a set of parents for the chance to take their child.  Worse she kept looking to me to try to translate and help get her point across to the parents.  Um sorry, the baby can stay where she belongs lady.

All in all, it was very strange.

But we survived the planes with a toddler and it turned out just fine.  Still we aren't headed any place exciting soon.  The Goat family is grounded for now, but grateful for our time away.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Beach Baby

Clearly he didn't have any fun.  And his new favorite word certainly isn't "Beach."  He definitely does NOT go around demanding of anyone who will listen, "Beach. More. Go. Suit. Beach. Go."

A bigger recap to come but I need to pack up and get all the sand out of our clothes to get ready for our flight tomorrow.  Long story short, fun was had by all.  Sunburns by some, but to mama's credit the toddler didn't get a single sunburn!  Mom Points!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Seven Stages

So here we are on vacation.  I'm sure that all vacations with children provide endless hours of interesting vacation stories, but I'm am beginning to doubt the that anyone can have a relaxing vacation with a toddler.  For example, in our 5 days so far we have been to urgent care once, called poison control once, and watched way more Barney than suits a vacation.  And in fact most of these things are related to one central aspect of our vacation-with-toddler that has managed to hold the 8 adults here hostage:  Little goat, joy of my heart, seems to be boycotting sleep.

Now I am able write this out because I have spent the better part of an hour coaxing my little one into slumber.  And by coaxing, I mean wrestling, crying, fighting and avoiding being kicked.  It hasn't been pretty, in fact it has made me very self-conscious and anxious as a mother.  To be failing at one of the few things that kids really need in front of all my ILs, well, it is just a little hard to stomach.

There are reasons of course.  We've been in different beds.  Our meal times our messed up.  He's getting more sugar than usual, and there are all sorts of fun things to do other than sleep.  Oh yeah, and he has an ear infection. (hence urgent care).  I get it.  I really do.  He's all messed up and it is a symptom of a fun vacation.  After all little goat has really taken to the beach.  Being outside with the water and the sand is about the only thing he wants to do.  But it is taking its toll on me and the whole family's vacation and I feel somewhat responsible.

In bemoaning little goat's lack of sleep however I realized something interesting:  getting a toddler to sleep is much like the seven stages of grief.  For those who don't know, the seven stages of grief were developed to describe the common responses to grieving that people feel in a loss.  They don't have an order and people can jump in and out of stages quickly or in a long time.  COmmonly the seven stages are:
- Shock or Disbelief
- Denial
- Anger
- Bargaining
- Guilt
- Depression
- Acceptance and Hope

And let me tell you, they don't only apply to grief.  They definitely apply to naptime and bedtime as well.  Allow me to demonstrate:

Shock or Disbelief
Mama: Little Goat it is time to get ready for bed
LG: WHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAA! (flailing may or may not occur here)

After he realizes I am serious he often stops flailing and attempts to continue what ever playing he was doing prior to the announcement.  He will play with toys, or try to leave the room and go outside.  

Mama:  Sorry little dude, it is time for bed.
LG: No mama, beach, water...
Mama:  Nope, bedtime, let's go get our pjs on.
LG: No mama, barney, choo-choos, na-nap.

This stage is often the most difficult as it involves hitting, fighting and tantrums.  If you manage to get ready for bed before this stage this can be done safely on the mattress but otherwise limbs may be in danger (yours and the toddler's).  This stage is mostly non-verbal.

LG: More book mama.  (mama reads a book).
LG: More water mama. (water is retrieved).
LG: Elmo mama. (Stuffed elmo located).

Until mama decides to break the cycle...often leading back to anger, or onto guilt.

As I am not sure that toddler's feel much guilt yet, this seems to change a bit into a guilt trip to the bedtime initiator.  Little goat is very good about insisting something is hurting "Owie Mama" or that he is cold, sad or lonely.  9 times out of ten this is a ploy to put off bed even longer.

This often takes the form of baby goat crying on his bed, finally not trying to escape it, but too upset to even put up the fight any more.  Frankly I am always glad to reach this stage.  As much as I don't like to hear little goat crying it is a sign to me that we are finally on the way to...

Finally the toddler will recognize that you mean business (2 minutes, 2 hours or 2 days later) and will give in to the sleep process.  Generally this is right before your last shred of patience blows away.  It may have involved 5 or 6 parental tag outs, but this is a glorious moment as the crying gives way to snoring.

It may be that I am along in this comparison, but right now finding humor in this is the only way I'm making it through.  We have a fair amount of vacation left and I'm determined to enjoy it, but little goat (while having fun) is doing his best to make life difficult for the rest of us.

Makes me wish there was an ambien for toddlers.

(Just kidding).

(Well, mostly just kidding).

Love from the beach,
Mama Goat

P.S.  Send wine.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Greetings from North Carolina!

It seems strange to say that I am FINALLY on vacation but it appears that this is now fact.  There was a time there I didn't think we'd get everything packed and ready to go but somehow it all came together.  We flew in yesterday and little goat did quite well, all things considering.  Only some minor seatbelt refusal at the beginning and some ear pain on landing.  I will take it.  We spent last night and tonight with Mr. Goat's grandmother and tomorrow we pack up and all head to the BEACH! 

It seems strange but I can't remember every really having a beach vacation before.  At least not this way.  I remember visiting my grandfather in FL once but I think we only went to the beach one day of the week.  And I've been on a cruise too but again spent only one day on primarily on the beach.  I guess I tend to be of the "doing" vacation vein.


Tomorrow we hit the beach.  I suspect that this will be right up little goat's alley but I have to admit I have some parental anxiety.  Yes there are more eyes to watch over him, but sometimes I think more eyes makes everyone a little more lax.  And there is the cannal and the beach to worry about.  Sharks!  Undertow!  Sand germs!  Jellyfish!  Hurricanes!  (Ok, yes, I am getting a bit melodramatic, but that's what mom brain's do sometimes.)

Still I am looking forward to sitting under an umbrella with nothing on the schedule but napping, reading and playing with the boy and the extended Goat family.  And I hope to play some fun card games and even sneak off for an afternoon to go watch the Harry Potter movie (which I STILL haven't seen.  Geek fail!)

Vacations have a cost to pay and I'm sure I'll feel more than a little panicky when I return to work but for a few days I'm just going to enjoy life.  I'll try to blog some but I don't know if I'll have internet access or not so we'll just see.

But really, what is the internet when you have unlimited hush puppies and a fruity beverage at your beck and call.  (Ok, I'm just dreaming there but it would be lovely).

Hope things go well in my absence.  I promise to take a lot of pictures!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

I'm feeling sort of whiny and in the weeds at the moment.  I am at the intersection of pre-vacation panic parkway and summer cold lane after all.  But I am still excited for vacation and most of what has been keeping me crazy busy is good.  So I'm going to blog my way into a better sense of gratefulness.  So even sick and stressed I now present: 

Liz's Top Ten reasons today was Awesome!
10.  The weather was a perfect Minnesota summer day!
9.    We got to eat our first two tomatoes out of our garden!
8.    Grilled burgers with Gouda and the said tomatoes!
7.    Catching up on blogging and Design Star at the same time!
6.    My phone might have finally had its glitches fixed!
5.    I get to watch Little Goat learn to love trains as much as his Father!
4.    Little Goat got a good report from daycare for the first time in a while! (no toy throwing!)
3.    I'm not in a car for 7 hours today!
2.    I got to rescue a small frog who found his way into our basement before the cats found him!
1.    I got a free lunch at Good Earth because there was an ordering mix-up!

Vacation in two days.  I can make it!

Sunday, August 07, 2011


It is late.  In a hotel room.  We had a 7 hr drive today.  Tomorrow is a funeral for my step-Grandfather.  But really the step is a formality.  He was my Grandfather for 27 years.  That is not small change.
It is sad yes, but also joyous.  He was 89 and lived a good life.  He was kind and gentle and called me Lizzer.  Little goat never got to meet him because either he or Papa Fran were too sick the few times we had him in town.  I know he would have loved him.

But you know, in sad circumstances I get to see the family that is scattering to the winds.  I get to see my aunts and uncles, and little goat gets to be properly spoiled by them.  I get to see my cousins - to hear about the new baby, the upcoming wedding, the Bar exam.  I get to see my sister before she moves from Michigan (sort of far away) to DC (really far away).

Little goat gets to see who and where we come from and he fits right in, a pea in this gene pod.  He is one of us intrinsically and to see the family all together with my grandmother at the center, it makes me smile in my sadness and laugh into my beer.

Tomorrow we'll say goodbye to Papa Fran, but I remain blessed by this family of mine and I hope little goat realizes it too!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011


Little goat was home today.  Daycare was closed so he was supposed to be home anyway, hanging out with Auntie Goat, but it was clear this morning that he had pinkeye.  So the doctor was called, cuddles were given and after the nearly 6 hours it took to get on the ped calendar for the day it was clear that I was staying home.

Now, my desk is filled with stuff that needs doing yesterday.  I'm still cleaning up from VBS and the fall planning is in full gear.  And there are teeth fillings, funerals and vacations that are all going to take days away this week and next.  But, I stayed home.

And as I drived home from Target with eye drops I realized something...

I made the right choice.

I was able cuddle with my son today.  To put him down for his nap.  To take him to the doctor.  To vacuum the basement.  To do the little mom stuff that I often miss doing being a full time work-out-of-home mom.  After VBS and the last approx 130 work hr two weeks I was worried that I had my priorities all messed up.  VBS takes SO much attention that it is hard to focus on anything else, even the family.

But here we are.  I am busy, stressed even.  There is lots to do.  And I have a sitter in my house.  But I still made the right decision.  I choose little goat.  I will always choose him when he needs me.  And it felt good to realize that nothing will change that...even VBS.

It was an unplanned day, but it was a great one because for the first time in a long time I felt no guilt about where I was and what I was doing.  Today I made the right choice, even if it was over something so minor as pinkeye.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Bad Mommy Blogger

So here I am, featured in a local magazine about being a mommy blogger, and I have been MIA for nearly two weeks straight.  Bad mommy blogger, bad.  The truth is I've been keeping my head just above water with work and family obligations.  Because you know, YOU KNOW, that your toddler has an asthma/cold attack midweek into Vacation Bible School. 

But VBS is over, little goat is slowly on the mend, and my brain is slowing stopping the endless pong game of to-do lists and half completed thoughts.  And if it took my two days of staring at a wall to get back there, well then that is what it took.

I wish I could say that this was an anomaly but for the second year in a row July has felt like a too fast treadmill outside in 100 degree weather.  The 100 degree weather is legitimate too seeing as it has been impossibly hot and humid here.  I do like summer, but the heat and humidity is not for me.  It makes me want to hibernate in a nice A/C'ed basement somewhere, but instead it has been one thing (some good, some bad, some just busy) after another.

I suppose this is part of learning to be an adult, the keeping your feet under you when the world seems to be going at a pace you don't feel quite ready for yet.  Still I really hope that there will be a time to stop and take a deep cleansing breath soon.  We have a vacation around the corner and I am anxious about all that needs to happen to get away but longing for some time with some waves and sand and family.

But, I will try to get to all of the things that are worth sharing here because even in the crazy, busy, whirlwind of this summer there are things that I don't want to forget and stuff to share with you.  So I will be here, Random and Geeky as always, and I hope you are still here too.  The tiny spot on the internet is dear to me, as are all of you.