Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Looking on the Bright Side

For the past month I realize I have been unfairly critical of the month of January. I have failed to mention the one thing I really do like about January (and most of the winter season): having Ben home more.
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Since Ben is a civil engineer specializing in roadway and construction management, wintertime offers a much needed respite from the hectic schedule he keeps during the warmer months of the year when road construction projects are in full swing. Although his job is not without stress during the winter months (there are still proposals to write, plans to design, clients to attend to, and paperwork to complete), it is much more predictable than most other months.
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For instance, I don't have to worry about him missing dinner because someone didn't mix the concrete (or cement...I don't quite recall the correct terminology) correctly at the plant and the pour that was supposed to be completed by 4:00 p.m. doesn't even begin until 4:00 p.m. For the most part, they don't even pour concrete in sub-zero temps.
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Basically, in the winter Ben enjoys a typical 8-hour work day (sometimes more, but not too much) and we definitely enjoy having him home each and every night.
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The other benefit of Ben's lighter work load in the winter months is his ability to take vacation. So, in a few weeks we will be taking advantage of his PTO as we head to Wisconsin Dells to enjoy a couple nights at an indoor water park. We are definitely looking forward to our time away together as a family and are thrilled that all the details have worked out so well (as in...we got an awesome deal on a great room because we were willing to stay for two nights in the middle of the week!).
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To make the anticipation of our trip more exciting for the kids, we made this countdown calendar:

Although I'm fairly certain Zach could care less about the calendar, Allie is enthralled. In addition to labeling our intended vacation dates, we also coded our family activities (such as preschool, church, Mommy's flute lessons, play dates, etc) with corresponding stickers.

Allie loves the independance of being able to consult the calendar for the weeks' events. I am still shocked that she remembers the meaning of each sticker and symbol. Because she likes to have activities planned, she is definitely a little hesitant of having days without markings. When I explained to her that we need some days to rest or accomplish things around the house, she looked at me like I was nuts. So, I added on that we might need to keep some days free in case other things come up. Not surprisingly, she was much more receptive to that explination rather than the first.

I'm sure this will not be the last kids' oriented calendar we put together. In fact, I'm trying to figure out how to do one each month because it has been so helpful to Allie's sense and awareness of time and our family's events. Plus, I don't have to answer the age old question, "Mom, what are we going to do today?" every single morning.

So, I guess January hasn't been all that bad. And, it's looking like February holds some exciting events for us too. Before we know it, Spring will be here and Summer will shortly follow (please do not burst my bubble by reminding me that it often snows in April in MN...I'm doing my best here to focus on the positive)!

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