Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Casserole-Free Leftover Recycling

Kurt, my dear husband, loves casseroles, particularly if they have crushed potato chips on top.  I think it's some kind of nostalgia thing. I, on the other hand, am slightly less enthusiastic.  Plus, there is no way I am turning on the oven during a DC summer, which rules out the months from April to October for casseroling.  I might make an exception for pizza, but certainly not for any frozen vegetable-tuna-egg noodle-whatever else is in the fridge-type concoction.  Fortunately, there is an alternative that our whole family can get behind...

Read all about it here in my current post on Endless Simmer.

Monday, January 30, 2012

That's not my...

Okay, I admit it.  I'm a board book snob.  (Oh wait, I already admitted it.)  But now a new series of books has popped up on my radar, and I am feeling uncharacteristically ambivalent.  

The series is That's Not My (Puppy, Kitten, Dragon, Tractor, etc, etc, etc).  If you have toddler, chances are that you have not been able to avoid this series.  We happened to come into a copy of That's Not My Puppy because it was bundled together in a bag from VV that contained something I actually wanted.  It's insidious.  Basically, the book takes a noun (plane, fairy, penguin, pirate) and repeats the phase, "That's not my [noun].  It's [part] is too [adjective]," until the end, when the phase changes to, "That's my [noun]!  It's [other part] is so [other adjective]."  And yes, it totally begs to be spoofed.  Each iteration of the phrase is accompanied by a picture that includes some touch-and-feel element.  The picture below is one example.

So, the ambivalence.  

I was all set to write a post about how this series is crazy-dumb.  It is probably written by a computer or a reasonably intelligent German shepherd.  The illustrations are completely lacking in artistic inspiration.  There is a mouse in every picture for no reason.  The books are so interchangeable that once you've seen one, you've seen them all.  They embody all that is sad about children's book publishing. (Okay, maybe that's a little over the top.)

As I was taking the pictures for this post, though, I got to thinking.  Elijah loves "That's not my puppy..."  It's one of 6 books currently in very (very) heavy rotation at our house.  So, I stopped to consider why this is.  Of course, the touch-and-feel is a biggie.  It's repetitive, which is toddler gold.  It's all about dogs, Elijah's current favorite animal.  

Then, I started thinking about it from an educational perspective.  The predictable structure makes the changes in nouns and adjectives on each page stand out, introducing a limited number of vocabulary words in a concrete way.  Also, by focusing on different types of one kind of thing, it helps the child enhance their schema for that particular object (baby, teddy, dolly), showing that all of these different pictures fall under one name.  

I really don't know how I feel about these books.

What do you think?

(Oh, and one more thing:  Why didn't I think of this idea first?  At nine bucks a pop, someone is raking in some serious cash where these books are concerned.)

Friday, January 27, 2012

{this moment)

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
Thank you to Amanda Soule of Soule Mama for the words and inspiration.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

This is the day...

After feeling pretty crummy yesterday afternoon/evening, I woke up today feeling worse, not least because Elijah, also sick, had woken up every hour or so all night. 

As I stumbled to the shower, hoping to relieve a little of the congestion, I tried to pray, but all I could manage was, "God, take care of me today." 

Then, as the steam filled the bathroom, words popped into my head unbidden.  "This is the day that the Lord has made."  

Why those words?  Not "Everything is going to be all right." (Although it was.)  Not "You have nothing to worry about." (Although I didn't.)  

No, just a simple reminder that this day, booger-y, tearful, frustrating, was to be holy just because it is a day, like any other, that I was blessed to experience.  It was not an easy day by any means.  Elijah and I were both fairly miserable for a good part of it.  However, as he ate his popsicle before bed, stopping only to cheese for the camera, I knew that the words that filled my head a few hours prior were true.

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice in it and be glad.  
Psalms 118:24

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Taking a Sick Day

I have a raging head cold today, as does my dear baby.  As much as I hate it when the family contracts an illness that gets passed around and drags out for weeks, I believe I hate being sick at the same time as Elijah even more.  He's cranky, I'm cranky, and after 30 minutes or so of the both of us after work, Kurt's cranky, too.  But this, as all things of this world, will pass.  For now, I am off to bed.  

And, just in case you are a mom who, like me, is having a rough day, read this

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


My crazy-haired girls

I am so blessed to spend my weeks with Elijah, watching him play, eat, scoot and grow with each passing day. As many of you know, though, Elijah is my first child only in the full-time, biological sense.  Before Elijah, there were "my girls", Brittany and Brianna.  There is so much I could write about them, the firstborn children of my heart.  It is a messy, complicated, amazing, life-affirming relationship that began when they were two weeks old, and has grown to include their mom, sisters, brothers, and even their father.  But that is a story for another day, mainly because it is more fit for a book than a blog post, and I am pretty tired right now. 

Here's something a bit more bite-sized:

The twins are in school this year at KIPP, in pre-kindergarten.  Their school day is from 7:30 to 5:00.  It has thus far been a good fit, and I am happy with both the instruction and the environment that the school provides.   However.  It does leave considerably less time for me to spend with them.  I do try to drop in at school at least once a week, but there I am an observer, a fringe-dweller.  It still leaves me needing some girl time.  

Fortunately, what started as a one-time assist has developed into something of a ritual.  On Sunday afternoons, when Elijah goes down for his nap (and sometimes Kurt goes down for his), I roll on over to the twins' house.  Once there, I unbraid and wash their hair and paint their nails, as well as the nails of any sisters that happen to be about.  Once their hair is clean and detangled, Mom takes over and redoes their hair for school the next day.  (Note: I am capable of doing their hair, but not nearly as quickly, intricately, or tightly.  So, Mom it is.)  We read some stories, do some dancing, and I depart.

 Like all such rituals, it is simple, joyous and infinitely more valuable than words can express.  Plus, it gives me some great Diana Ross look-alike photo-ops.

Monday, January 23, 2012

This Weekend By The Numbers

Wake-up time (Saturday): 5.45 am
Wake-up time (Sunday): 8:30 am (thanks, honey)

Movies viewed: 2 (The Descendants, Frost/Nixon)
Previews viewed: Not nearly enough
Books finished: 1 (The Lighthouse by PD James)
Books started: 1 (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo)

Pizzas made: 2
Cheese-less pizzas made: 1/2
Inches of snow: 1.5
Inches of ice: 0.1 (more hazardous than you'd think)
Loads of laundry: 4
Unmatched socks: All of them (seemingly)
Times Elijah said the word "binky": 102 (est.)
Maximum number of binkies in Elijah's possession at one time: 3

Hours of awesomeness: All of them

Friday, January 20, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
Thank you to Amanda Soule of Soule Mama for the words and inspiration.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sippy Cup Multi-lemma: Part two (We have a winner)

There she is.  

A thing of beauty, no?  

It turned out, after so many failed attempts at finding the perfect sippy cup, the answer was right there all along, shoved to the back of the cabinet behind the still-mysterious Butter Bell and an extra set of dishes.  

Sure, she's pink and purple, not exactly "boy colors"  per se, and the decal that gave rise to her affectionate name has long since rubbed off.  Elijah has grown to love her, scooting as fast as his twiggy legs will carry him in pursuit of the refreshment she has to offer.  Almost five years old, she has stood the test of time.  (As I write this, I know I am jinxing myself, and she will undoubtedly be lost forever sometime tomorrow.)  

She is our Dora, and our family (mainly Elijah) would be very thirsty without her. 

Sippy Cup Multi-lemma: Part 1

As parents, we are faced daily with so many choices.  Cloth or disposable?  Bottle or not?  Cosleeping or separate bedrooms?  Shower or coffee?  Paper or plastic?  It's enough to make a sane person crazy, and a sleep-deprived mom absolutely nutty.  Then, just when things (maybe) start to calm down, there comes what for me has been one of the most surprisingly difficult decisions yet:  which sippy cup?  

I will let you know up front that this story has a happy ending.  But, as you can see from the picture above, it took a few tries to get there. Like a good beauty pageant announcer, I will start with the runners-up.  Then, join me tomorrow for the big reveal. 

Starting from the left in the picture above...
The yellow straw cup seemed great-at first.  Flip-top, fairly easy to dis- and re-assemble for cleaning, it was even insulated to keep things cool.  I have heard from some parents that this one can be difficult because it requires the child to bite down in order to let the water flow.  Elijah hopped right over that hurdle.  He got so good at biting the straw, however, that he made the hole bigger.  I realized this when I kept stepping in puddles made by the leaking straw.  Bzzzzz.   Next contestant, please.

The blue and green cup seemed promising.  The flow was a little slow, so I removed the rubber valve in the lid.  Elijah had some trouble tipping it up high enough, but with help it seemed to work okay.  Then I made the mistake of putting milk in it.  The hard plastic lid has some rather treacherous nooks and crannies that made cleaning nigh on impossible.  I cried briefly over spoiled milk, then moved on.

The red cup in the picture above is actually still in circulation around our house, and had a strong second place finish.  It is one of a set of five disposable cups, and was way cheaper than the other options.  What kept it from finishing first was that the straw is very easy for Elijah to pull out-and much, much harder for him to put back in. I still use these for milk on the rare occasion that Elijah is interested in drinking some. 

The white frog cup in the picture above was the worst of the lot.  It is actually a hold over from the twins' younger days that has persisted mainly for use with baby dolls.  As far as I can tell, there is no actual way to get liquid out of this cup.  It is advertised as being "stage 1" or something.  Apparently, younger babies have vacuums instead of mouths.  I even tried widening the holes with a paper clip, to no avail.  

The final loser, the orange and blue lovely above, was actually fine, and I have several friends who have used this cup with success.  The rubber spout can be turned inside out for easy cleaning, and the handles are key.  Elijah just could never quite get the hang of tipping it back far enough, especially when the water was low.  

So...all these imperfect vessels-what was a mom to do?  Tomorrow I will reveal how an old friend came to the rescue and gave this long and arduous journey a happy ending.  Stay tuned...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My Happy Baby

Because Elijah is a friendly guy, people feel compelled to ask me, "Is he always in such a good mood?"  Or, they skip right over the interrogative and into the declarative:  "He's such a happy baby!"  While I appreciate that other people appreciate his cuteness (and he sure does love mugging for a crowd), he is a toddler, which means that his moods change as often as a newborn's diaper.  Also, he is becoming increasingly "expressive" (read: demanding) and when he's not getting what he wants, he just repeats himself more and more loudly until he forgets what he wanted and just goes into full on whine/scream mode.  Notice in the sequence of pictures above how he goes from content to dissatisfied to hysterical in the space of a few frames.  Now repeat that 87 times a day, that is my life in a nutshell.  I love it, of course, and I tell myself that this just means Elijah will have no trouble speaking up for himself someday when he's getting the brush off from the lady at the DMV.  (That is something, by the way, that I myself find very difficult.  So yes, I have already started living vicariously through my one-year-old.)  

When Elijah was small(er), the question was always, "Is he a good baby?", in which good was code for quiet, sleeping-through-the-night baby, and honestly, the answer was "no".  Now the question has changed, but I fear that the answer has not.  However, perhaps it is just that Elijah is progressing steadily from blob of neediness into person, and like the rest of us, he has lots of feelings.  Which, due to his lack of awareness of social norms, he expresses vocally whenever the mood strikes.  That sounds kind of freeing, actually...anyway, to answer the question, of course Elijah is a happy baby.  Except, of course, when he's not.

Monday, January 16, 2012

"We must come to see that human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and persistent work of men willing to be coworkers with God, and without this hard work time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation."
-Martin Luther King Jr., "Letter from Birmingham Jail"*
*I started out scanning this letter for a good quotation, but ended up reading the whole thing.  I highly recommend reading the full text. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
Thank you to Amanda Soule of Soule Mama for the words and inspiration.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Semi-homemade Christmas

I consider myself to be a crafty person.  Not sneaky-fox crafty, though.  More like flag-sewing-Betsy-Ross crafty.  I'll be the first to admit that I am but a dabbler compared to the craft goddess otherwise known as my mom.  However, I very much enjoy creating homemade gifts, be they decoupage, crossstitch or an entire afghan made using only double crochet.  And this year, when my friend Laura pointed me toward this website, I knew exactly what I was going to do for my mom and sister for Christmas. 

I bought two blank crossstitch iPhone cases on Amazon.  Then all I had to do was decide what to put on them.  I figured on doing something stylized and trendy-ish looking for my sis, and perhaps something more pictoral/sampler-esque for my mom. 

I got to work on designing my sister's.  My original idea was just to use two different colors to make the S pattern that you see above.  (By the way, it did take a few tries to find an S-shape that would tessellate effectively.)  That seemed boring, though, so I ended up adding in a few colorful S-shapes, then backstitching those with one of the other colors.  (Whew, it is too late to be trying to explain how I did this.  Sorry for the confusion.  If you really want to know what I did, stick with the picture above.)
For my mom's, I had a much harder time decided what to do.  The few patterns that I liked (quilt squares, dogs) never seemed to be a good fit for the given dimensions.  A few days before I was to go home, I actually found a great book of little designs at the thrift store, but by then I figured I would just let my mom decide for herself, then work on the design while in Michigan.  I should have figured that she wouldn't pass up a chance to try her own hand at this newfound medium.  And because she's my mom (who not only has a craft-doing room, but also a craft-storing room), she added some beads for extra credit.  Here's what she came up with:

Pretty snazzy, huh?  

Uh oh.  

I am using words like snazzy.  

It's time for bed. 


Monday was our first real snow of the season here in DC.  (At least, I think it was.  Rumor has it that it may have snowed while we were away for Christmas, but that is unconfirmed.)  I had just written a post about capturing milestones, so I grabbed Elijah and the camera and headed outside.  Wait, hold on.  That made it sound way faster than it was.  Actually, I saw the snow, wrestled Elijah into his snow suit and found his hat, put on his coat, looked for the camera, realized it didn't have the memory card, found and put in the memory card, found the stroller....and then we headed outside.  Already rolling through my mind were the great shots I would get of Elijah oohing and aahing as tiny snowflakes landed ever so softly on his angelic eyelashes.  Ha.

We hadn't walked two blocks before Elijah started flipping out, which I quickly attributed to the fact that he was both underdressed (hands) and overdressed (everything else).  The thick, soggy clumps of flakes rapidly melted as they hit his overheating torso, turning his coat into a puddle.  Here's how he felt about the whole thing:

This picture is not staged.

I think when I was imagining Elijah's reaction, I was perhaps fast-forwarding a few years.  Preschoolers+snow=amazement.  Babies+wet snow=grumpy.  Oh well.  I did get one good picture...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Renewed anticipation

In case you haven't heard, I got a Kindle for Christmas.  And, I must confess, I love it.  But it's not a confession, really.  It's more like stating the obvious.  I love reading and, according to my parents, I always have. Having a device that allows me to check out library books with out having to remember to return them?  Easily marking my place (really, having it done for me) rather than having to rustle up a scrap of paper as a bookmark or (gasp) folding down the edge of the page?  Yes, that sounds lovely.  I love books, which is why my house is full of them.  Full.  As in, room for no more.  What little (very little) space is left I would just as soon reserve for picture books that can be loved again and again.  So, thank you parents-in-law.  You chose well.

There is an unexpected gift that came with this Kindle, too: the return of anticipation.  You know, that, "Is Santa here yet?", "Did I make the team?" feeling.  Sure, adult life has it's moments, weddings, births and the like, but those events are BIG, fraught with a mix of emotions too complicated to sort out.  I am talking about pure anticipation, as in "I CAN'T WAIT!!!"  I admit that I had not felt that in awhile.  Enter The Hunger Games.

The Hunger Games is a young-adult, sci-fi triology by Suzanne Collins.  With the Kindle, being an Amazon prime member, I can rent one free book each month.  I opened the Kindle on December 28, downloaded THG soon after, and finished reading late the next night.  I passed the book on to Kurt, who read the whole thing in two days.  We drove home on January 1, stopping at a Starbucks with wi-fi so that he could download the next installment, Catching Fire.  I believe we were both done by January third.  Now we must wait a whole month (!) until we can finish the story with book three, Mockingjay.  And guess what?  I CAN'T WAIT.  

(I mean, we could buy it, but we're too cheap for that.  Plus, I would hate for this child-like anticipation to come to such an abrupt end.   Oh, but then there's the movie - coming to theaters March 23.  I know this because I have watched the preview three times.)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Some thoughts on milestones

Elijah during his first trip to my parents' house

These days, milestones can get a bad rap, and with good reason.  So-called "competitive" parenting is a real thing.  When Elijah was 3-months-old, I was at a party with my friend Waahida. A woman, a stranger, upon hearing of Elijah, asked, "So what's he good at?"  If Waahida hadn't been with me to look appropriately startled, I might have thought I was hearing things.  

Then, any of you who have children that are taking their sweet time to walk/talk/sit up might be familiar with the well-intentioned reassurance/helpful advice/awkward compliment that is the kinder, gentler side of competitive parenting.  

"Don't worry.  He'll walk when he's ready."

"Maybe you shouldn't carry him so much."

"Wow, he really has figured out his own way of getting around."

When this happens, I force myself to believe that these people are well-meaning, if grating, and I quickly nod, smile, and change the subject.

(Also, this whole topic brings up another question: Can't we think of anything else to talk about besides our children?  But that's for another day.)

Hmm...where was I?  Oh yes, this was going to be a post in defense of celebrating milestones.  I guess I got a little off track.  Please excuse my brief opening of the steam release valve.  I feel much better.  Thanks.

Here's the thing about milestones: people love them.  All people.  That's why we celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, promotions, lost teeth, new jobs, first day of summer...  So perhaps, as parents, instead of trying to release the emotional hold that milestones have on us, we need to redefine what counts.  In a given day, how many experiences does your child have for the very first time?  It's amazing, if you think about it: first snow, first picnic, first taste of a summer peach.  And that's just the being part.  There's also plenty of doing to be celebrated:  first successful spoon trip from bowl to mouth, first time saying "no" to a pesky older sibling, first imitation of adult behavior.  (As for that last one, I caught Elijah wiping the floor with a napkin last week.)   I'm not saying that we need to go nuts and buy a cake for each of these events.  It's enough just to notice, which as far as I can tell, is a big part of parenting, this noticing. 

So please, dear reader, tell me so we can celebrate together:  What milestones has your child passed recently?

Oh, and for a little more on a recent milestone of Elijah's, feel free to pop on over to The Artful Parent and read my recent guest post.

Friday, January 6, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
Thank you to Amanda Soule of Soule Mama for the words and inspiration.

PS: If you are visiting from The Artful Parent, welcome!  Please stay awhile and look around.  Comments are always welcome.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

That Cool Aunt

We arrived at my in-laws two days after Christmas, and our niece had already unwrapped her gifts.  All had been subsequently unboxed-except one.  The paints.  I am a mom now.  I understand.  Paints are messy.  The art time to clean-up ratio with a three-year-old is dicey at best.  Add in a squawking 10-month-old and loads of guests (us) and I can see why both Grandma and Mom were steering clear of that particular minefield.  Each time Grace would ask about the paints, she would be casually deflected.

"Don't you want to play with the blocks?"

"It's almost bedtime.  We'll do it tomorrow."

I'll admit, I probably participated in this misdirection.  I knew if my own child saw someone doing something at the table, he would assume someone was eating without him and start up his whinechant of, "More, more, more."  

The next day, though, I realized something.  In this situation, I didn't have to be the mom.  No, I could be That Cool Aunt.  We all have them, maybe more than one if we're lucky.  The one who takes you to get your nails done, or lets you get that pair of jeans that Mom said were too expensive.  The one who makes pancakes for breakfast on a weekday.  The one who lets you get out the paints, even when there are parties to prepare for, babies to feed and carpets to be vacuumed. 

So paint we did.  It was messy.  It was certainly more process than product oriented.  We somehow moved from using Q-tips to fingers to hands and wrists.  A bath and several paper towels were needed before the clean-up process was complete.  It was glorious. 

Now, along with "Mom", I can officially add "That Cool Aunt" to my resume.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Filling the Pen

Tillie said, "There are pens that come with ink in a cartridge, Noah, but I will have nothing to do with them."  So when we were back at her condo, Tillie taught me how to fill a pen, or, as she said, "How to properly fill a pen."

One: Turn the filling plunger counterclockwise as far as it will go.  Two: Dip the nib completely into the ink.  Three: Turn the filling plunger clockwise until it stops.  Four: Hold the nib above the ink bottle and turn the plunger counterclockwise again until three drops of ink fall back into the bottle.  Five: Turn the plunger clockwise to stop the drops.  Six: Wipe the excess ink completely from pen and nib.

When I told Tillie that six steps seemed a lot to have to do before you begin, she said, "You must think of those steps not as preparation for the beginning, but as the beginning itself." - 
E.L. Koinigsburg, The View from Saturday

It took Elijah and I a very long time to get to my parents' house on the Wednesday before Christmas.  From the time we left our house to the time we arrived on my parents' doorstep, it took almost 12 hours.  Did I mention we went by airplane?  And it is a 90 minute flight?  

I used to be an impatient person.  (I will admit that sitting in traffic does still irk me, but I'm working on it.) I remember once being near tears as I waited three hours in a doctor's office for a fifteen minute appointment.  I don't know if it comes from having a small child who even after 15 months of steady encouragement still refuses to conform to my timetable, or from being a teacher, or from reading this particular passage of A View from Saturday.  Whatever it is, waiting doesn't get to me the way that it used to.  Which is not to say that I suffer tardy people gladly.  I am a punctual person and I expect the same level of respect from others.  Plus, if I'm meeting you, it probably means I want to spend time with you, so I am sad if that time is cut short.  However, I refuse to waste my time feeling frustrated.  

This brings me back to the airport situation.  Once, about four years ago, I missed a flight to Kansas City to DC.  The next flight was 12 hours later.  I was only supposed to be in Kansas City for three days.  I cried for two hours.  Two hours that I could have spend reading, exploring or writing the Great American Novel.  When Elijah and I left the house last week, we were on vacation.  Traveling was not preparation for the trip, it was the trip.  During the delay, Elijah scooted around the terminal, charming the most disgruntled among us.  We shared a soft pretzel.  We made two new friends who offered to give Elijah a ride on their luggage cart. (I declined).   Once on the plane, I introduced Elijah to the joys of SkyMall.  He was pleased that there were so many pictures of dogs (woof).  Our seatmate shared tales of working for the National Park Service.  And, at long last, we arrived.  We had filled the pen, and were ready for the rest of our adventure.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I Knew I was Home For Christmas When...

...my son was wearing a ridiculously cute outfit chosen by Grandma.
...Grandpa fell asleep watching the football game.
...I couldn't resist the call of Uncle Todd's bacon.           
...it became impossible to do anything without dog participation.
...my sister and my mom stayed up half the night jigsaw-puzzling.
...ceramic baby Jesus made it safely to the cardboard manger.
When do you know you are home for Christmas?

Monday, January 2, 2012

SMART Goals and DUMB Resolutions

In case you haven't heard, my husband is a social worker, which is to say that he is in the business of helping people help themselves.  One way he does this is through the use of SMART goals.  SMART is an acronym that stands for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Limited.  If you ever want to set a goal that you actually want to achieve, I highly recommend using these criteria.  You can read more about SMART goals here.

Now, SMART goals are great when you actually want to get something done.  But what about New Year's resolutions?  Sure, we could all set specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-limited resolutions.  Heck, you could even start your own accountability group.  But then what would we joke about in Februray (or the second week of January)?  And if we all became completely self-actualized in one year, what would we do with the rest of our lives?  

No, when it comes to New Year's Resolutions, I propose we all set out to create our very own list of DUMB goals.   Here's what you need to make sure your goals are DUMB enough.

D- Dreamy.  What have you always fantasized about doing?  Recreating Noah's Ark in your own backyard?  Winning American Idol? Climbing Mount Everest?  A New Year's resolution is the perfect place for these lofty ideas to alight.

U- Unrealistic.  So what if you have two small children, three part-time jobs and a diabetic cat.  Working out for 2 hours a day is totally doable.  Write it down.

M- Magical. As in, it would take super-human abilities to make this happen.  I will not eat any fried food this year.  I will not say any mean things to my sister (this one works for adults and children). I will wake up at 5:30 every day, even on the weekends.  These are good ones because then as soon as you fail, which you inevitable will (and soon) you can give up till next year and then go on a McDonalds bender.

B- Broad  This is key to making sure that you never actually achieve your New Year's resolutions.  By making your goals sufficiently non-specific, you will never know when you have actually completed them.  Goals that meet this criteria include eating better, being nicer and helping people.

So, what are your DUMB resolutions for 2012?  Have you broken them yet?