Sunday, January 14, 2018

Adjustment Time!

Eight is an interesting age.  Even after taking child development classes I have developed my own definitions of life stages. This is based on years of observations and interactions as well as the classes. As a parent, I feel more and more confident about my theories.

0 - 12 months: baby
12 months - 2 1/2 years: toddler
2 1/2 years - 5 years: Early Childhood
5 - 7 years: Middle Childhood
8 - 10 years: Late Childhood
10 - 12 years: Pre-adolescence
13 - 15 years: Early Adolescence
15 - 17 years: Middle Adolescence
17 -19 years: Late Adolescence
20 - 35 years: Young Adulthood
35 - 55 years: Middle Adulthood
55 - 75 years: Mature Adulthood
75 years - death: Late Adulthood

I classify Zach as being at the beginning of late childhood. Most developmental Psychologists don't start late childhood until the age of 9. That may have been true years ago. But, as society has changed development has too.

If there is one thing I have learned it's that parenting books mean well. However, they are full of poop! That's because every kid is different. They reach milestones at their own pace and have needs that don't always fall into the recommendations. Example, some kids need to go to bed earlier then the recommended time for their ages some later. As long as they are functioning at their best when awake, the time itself doesn't matter.

These changes don't hit right at the birthday. They come on slowly. Zach's birthday is in early June. I started noticing these changes around Halloween. They started small but are increasing.

He likes a girl. Like really likes a girl. Red face denial laugh and all! He won't say who, but it's definitely a girl! So last week we had the 8 year old version of a sex talk. Not details about sex. But, we talked about how he might start seeing someone as a different kind of friend then his other friends. They become a special friend but a different kind of special friend then his best friend.

We also talked about homosexuality. I made it clear that if that special person is a boy, he would be welcome in our home. I want Zach to feel like this is a safe space no matter where life takes him. But, his reaction to the "guessing who he likes question" has narrowed it down to three girls. All of them are awesome! Mom approves of his taste in girls!

He also asked what a curfew is. We have a town curfew and he was curious. After explaining it to him, he asked when he would have one and what it would be. When kids start middle school, or the summer before, they get a cell phone and more freedom in this town. That's when they also get curfews.

I explained to Zach that the curfews will be defined later and might change for special things like games. I reminded him that I reward responsibility with freedom even now. We need to always talk openly with each other.

He knows I have a plan. He knows that I adjust my parenting to match his changing needs. When he was is early childhood I would always say "not, until you are older" for things he was too young for. He doesn't ask that now. Because he knows I mean it when I say it. He knows he will be given more independence when he is older. But, that freedom will match his age, responsibility levels, and other needs.

It's time to adjust our parenting. The point system still works for reward and punishment. But, he's been asking for money instead. So we are developing an allowance system based on what chores are worth what. School accomplishments would count too. But, that means we need a new punishment system. I have asked him to help me develop this system. If he helped, he's more likely to follow it. Because his voice mattered.

I also have to adjust every time his voice cracks a little. It doesn't happen often, but it happens and I think it's too soon!!! But, it's technically not too soon. If it hasn't happened yet, it won't be long until the girls in his class need their first bra!

His social life is changing too. It's a bigger priority then it used to be. Cognitively, he's thriving in school! He loves the challenges third grade is bringing but has started complaining about the big projects more. Emotionally, he's more empathic and stronger at conflict resolution! Other then the start of pre-puberty changes, he's had other physical changes. He looks older and not just his size!

It's also time for the first version of the serious conversations. Just like we had stage 1 of the sex talk, we have to have those conversations about how to make good choices. Even if we don't mention drugs or alcohol yet. Start now, because if you wait until you think they may have done something, it's too late. These conversations will get modified as needed every couple of  years. But, we need to start early, have a bunch over several years, and make sure they know the line of communication is always open!

It's time to adjust to parenting a kid not a teenager but in the slow process of becoming one. It's time to adjust to a Zach that is still very much loves his family, but also enjoys the privacy his earplugs give him. It's time to adjust to a kid who refuses to cut his hair because of the girl he denies liking. Overall, it's adjustment time!

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Union Strong!!!

Growing up, my mom worked in management for a company that is now Verizon. She wasn't in on any negotiations. But, if there was a strike, she worked extra hours. Josh's dad was in a union for that same company.

She always had a lot of respect for unions. She always taught my brother and me that unions were a good thing. The more money in the workforce, the better the economy. She always talked about how necessary those safety protections, healthcare, paid time off, and other protections are. She said, "we all do better when unions are strong!"

Josh's dad doesn't talk about what it was like being in a union. During his 30 years with the company negotiations happened ten times. Six times they went on strike. All but one were short. That one lasted for seven weeks. He never liked going on strike. He lined up small side jobs like being a magician and clown to cushion the financial blow. But, in general, he says he liked the union and was mostly happy with being a part of it.

The labor movement in the United States grew out of the need to protect the common interest of workers. For those in the industrial sector, organized labor unions fought for better wages, reasonable hours and safer working conditions. The labor movement led efforts to stop child labor, give health benefits and provide aid to workers who were injured or retired. ( link below)

But, for decades unions have been weakening. In recent years Republican lawmakers have been making a push for "right-to-work" laws. These laws mean employees are no longer required to join unions. The main reason is clear. Unions tend to support Democratic candidates. Most corporations support Republican candidates.

It's why the new tax law is so corporate friendly. Corporations don't like unions because it means they have to pay the employees more, provide health care, and are regulated to provide reasonable working conditions and hours.

But, as unions weakened the pay gap between the rich and poor has grown. Businesses make money when they have customers. But, when you don't make enough money to live off of, you don't have extra money. Leading to less customers and the need for layoffs. A stronger economy comes when you pay your employees fairly.

Still, the fact remains that full-time workers who belong to unions make more money than those who don't: On average, union members make about $200 more per week than their counterparts. This figure is influenced by lots of factors, including differences in average salary in regions with low levels of unionization. But even bearing that in mind, research shows that in "right to work" states, where employees cannot be required to pay union dues as a condition of their employment, workers get paid less than the rest of the country. That was true even when business grew in "right to work" states, indicating that weakening unions might help business owners, but it doesn't do much for workers. (The Atlantic link below)

When Josh worked at the grocery store he was in a union. His dues were $8 a week. It didn't change our financial situation. We barely noticed. It's not fun to be forced to strike and not receive a paycheck. It's not fun to have to pay dues with each paycheck. It is fun to have reasonable healthcare, It is fun to have a bigger paycheck, vacation days, and safer working conditions.

Personally, I think unions are a wonderful thing. They aren't perfect. But, they have done a lot of good. In a way, we are trying to accomplish what unions did without having unions. A $15 minimum wage is like when unions push for living wages for their members. Affordable or universal healthcare is like the healthcare unions push for on behalf of their members. Paid maternity leave is something else unions fight for. We want what unions have to offer without the paying dues and striking part. But, paying dues and striking get the attention of the managers unions are negotiating with! We aren't succeeding much because we aren't effecting the corporate ability to do business like unions can.

With labor unions seeing their influence wane, more than 200 organizations have sprouted nationwide to help low-wage workers. But nearly all these groups say they are hampered by a lack of dependable funding because, unlike unions, they cannot rely on a steady flow of dues. (New York Times, link below)

Below is a link - all the labor unions and their websites

Thursday, December 28, 2017

And Fidget Spinners Too

The other day I was waiting in line at Mavis Tire and Auto Repair. On the tv in the waiting area there was a commercial. "When we come back, the top ten trends of 2017." That played while they featured someone spinning a fidget spinner. I looked over at a woman sitting in the chair and said "we just lived through it, why do they think we need to be told fidget spinners were popular in 2017. I know that! My son has 12!"

But, that is far from the only place you can find a list like that at this time of year. I have yet to come across two lists that are alike. Some lists don't even list the same items! I'm not talking "fashion trends" lists compared to "wellness trends" lists. I just went to google "popular trends in 2017" and even the non-specific lists are very different.

Most of the things on the lists I have never heard of. Others I simply thought they were popular from previous years and are still carrying over. I never was one to follow along with whatever was hot at that moment. But, I know 5 Nights at Freddy's and Fidget Spinners were HUGE for Zach and his friends! I doubt they care about cut off shirts.

I wonder if in December of 1908 the newspapers did articles on trends from 1908? What about all of those predictions for the upcoming year? Imagine someone randomly doing that google search. Today, the link below was the first one I got (from Popsugar).

It would be useless in the future. Because it was written in February as a prediction for what would become a trend. "Mermaid hair" was one but I have no freaking clue what that is! That's one problem I founds. A lot of the lists were either predictions for what the authors thought would become trends. Or, they were written in November so the years wasn't even near completed yet!

There is one thing these lists are good for. We lived through them. But, they will tell people 100 years from now what life was like today. Imagine that. It's 2117 and a historian sees that trends included fidget spinners and, apparently, cut off shirts.

What conclusions would they come to about 2017 Americans when you combine, Trump, the Women's March, fidget spinners, and cut off shirts? I can just imagine the profilers scratching their heads while laughing.

Fidget Spinners = not so good at the "sitting still and being patient" part.
Cut Off Shirts = some people will wear anything if a celebrity was seen in it.
Trump = why 100 years later America is still trying to fix the damage done by the rushed tax law.
Women's Marches (and the pink pussy hats) = why we eventually got a woman president.

I'm going to explain that last one. I am being cynical but I highly doubt a woman will beat Trump in 2020. It's a process. A slow process. It won't happen until mindsets change. Mindsets won't change until the gender gap closes. BUT, I think by the time Sasha Obama is 45 - 55 we will have evolved enough to actually elect a woman. I'm rooting for Sasha Obama!!! I honestly wish Kamala Harris would be able to win in 2020. But, we have to be realistic. So, start with elected officials that want to close the gender gap and work at taking steps to do it. I know a large amount of men that agree with women on this. Just because that congressman is a man doesn't mean he won't fight for women's rights!

These lists are more about having positive news then to actually mean anything. But, I think it would be fun to make a list for 2017 of our own.

Favorite Moment: Zach making the travel team for spring baseball!
Favorite Pattern: The "Row of Cats" pattern for crochet. I still have 2 blankets I'm working on in it!
Favorite Song:  "I'll Stand By You" - Rachel Plath (at 37 you aren't targeted for music)
Favorite New Show: "Bull" CBS Tuesdays 9pm eastern time it's awesome!
Favorite "Happy For": Josh getting a new car (Thanks Mom!!!).

It'll be interesting to see what becomes a trend in 2018. I probably will have another year of only noticing kid trends because of Zach. As long as they are safe, legal and age appropriate, I'm good. Some 2017 trends are still popular. Others are over. But, historians will use these trends someday to figure us out. Or at least try to. You never know. They might like cut off shirts enough to bring them back. And fidget spinners too.

Friday, December 22, 2017

12 Days of Christmas

I laugh on December 26th. Seeing the trees start popping up at the curbs. For most people, they consider the Christmas season starting on Thanksgiving or not long after. And ending when Christmas Day dinner is over.

I'm an Episcopalian. Advent is the four Sundays before Christmas. Christmas day is the first of 12 days of Christmas. For us, it ends on January 6th. The Epiphany. That's the day the three kings reached baby Jesus.

As a kid, my parents used the 12 days to extend the Christmas season. We either did something special or got a small gift during the 11 days after Christmas a well as some gifts on Christmas morning. Josh and I continued this tradition until a few years ago. We just stopped having the budget for it.

For us, the tree doesn't come down until after January 6th! We have a fake tree but growing up we had a real tree. We would get the tree pretty close to Christmas so it would last through the 12 days.

I've talked about the commercial Christmas versus the religious Christmas in the past. When you don't celebrate the Epiphany, Christmas is over either the day after December 25th, or on New Year's Day. But, when you do celebrate the Epiphany, it has a deeper meaning.

The story goes that the three kings, also known as the three wise men, used the star of Bethlehem to guide them to the newborn king (baby Jesus).  They arrived on the 12th day. The Epiphany. With their gifts. Gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The gifts of the magi.

So, I hope you don't think Christmas is over on December 26th!!! That is only the second day of Christmas! During that time think of the journey the wise men took. On January 6th, think of how they must have felt finally reaching baby Jesus. Joy, excitement, relief, and hope.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Alabama's Lesson

Last night I saw something I never thought I'd see in my lifetime. Alabama choose a democrat for Senator. I had read some interviews before the election. Some women were still voting for Moore out of hopes the governor would replace him with a different republican. It seemed like that blind trust that got Trump elected was going to peak out again.

But, black lives mattered. Their votes mattered. So did a failed write in campaign by a different republican. Educated big city people, some women, and minorities said "Jones is worth it".  They did their research. They learned about the candidates. They said, "child predator is a deal breaker".

It's going to be a really long audition for him. He's going to have to defend that seat really soon. It can very easily go red again. But, if he does it right, he might hold onto it too. For deep south Doug Jones the key is going to be focusing on the economy and avoiding controversial social views.

He also very well could have written the playbook to how the south and west were won ................ by democrats. To take and keep some of these risky seats we as a party need to have flexibility on social issues and focus on the economy. For some people pro-choice is a deal breaker. But, the people in these states that are pro-choice want a candidate that agrees with them too. Compromise? Pro birth control but anti abortion unless under the most deadly or extreme circumstances. Maybe. People like Jones are the ones to take leads from when trying to change voter minds in these red states. That new governor of Virginia too.

It led to an interesting discussion on a facebook board I am on. In my congressional district we are tired of the republican representative that never hold town halls and never listens when we call. He is up against a few democrats and one republican in 2018. The democrat I know in person and really liked has dropped out. So I asked generally, who are you voting for and why in the June primary?

Almost all of the answers are for the frontrunner. A few people were like me, researching before deciding. This frontrunner has never been a politician but has a good record for it. I can understand the support. But still I hesitate to support her.

One woman helped me realize that my two reservations were really out of a sense that she would judge me for being a stay at home mom. Most people with her work background judge people's value based on their job and/or income. This friend encouraged me to write this candidate. Maybe this concern will be addressed.

Another women made a good point too. I don't trust this candidate but I don't know why. I want to. I just don't. The original reasons I gave for reservations were based on that lack of trust. Maybe in time that will change too.

Don't get me wrong. If she is the democratic candidate in November I am very quickly hitting that button for her. I have reservations but I also have some positive views too! But, the primaries matter.

It's a lesson from Alabama. Unless you know the candidates well, learn about them. See what you are getting into. I bet some who voted for Moore in the primary would have voted for Strange in the primary instead if this came out earlier. But, then the seat would have remained red.

Now we can learn some lessons from Doug Jones and the voters who wanted him. Keep in mind these voters had to fight a lot of voter suppression tactics too! I really wonder what it would have looked like without voter suppression!!!

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

From 16 To 10 In 2

That is not a genius level math problem. It is the story of a battle started about 5 years ago. I have blogged about it many times in many ways. It's a battle most of us face at some point. But, what worked for me probably won't work for you.

I went from a size 16 to a size 10 in about 2 years!!!!!!!

I am trying to remember when the 16 jeans were finally loose and I was able to wear the 14 jeans. I am pretty sure it was about 3 years ago. But, the story of my post-baby weight has to start with the baby. In June of 2009.

I was 118lbs when I got pregnant with Zach. I gained 24 pounds in pregnancy. Meaning, I was 142lbs when Zach was born. I actually lost the weight in three weeks. 120lbs when Zach was about 3 weeks old. So, feeling sexy, I ordered a few bikinis and swim suits from Victoria Secret in a size 10. My size at the time.

There is a picture in the bathroom. Zach is jumping into my waiting arms at the pool on vacation. He was 2 at the time and I was wearing one of the one piece swimsuits. So, I have proof that in 2011 I was still a size 10.

I don't remember when I started gaining weight. I am pretty sure it was when he was about 3 years old. I do know I was a size 16 at some point. Depression hit in the changing room that day. When the 14s were just a tiny bit tight but the 16s were just right. So, I got the size 16s. But, I also got size 14s. I might loose weight.

At my biggest I was 153lbs. I got plenty of exercise, I mostly eat healthy, It was rare I ate large quantities. What was the problem? Below is a blog post I did on my thyroid battle. Originally, I tried to guess how long the weight battle went on for. This post helped narrow down the details. I thought it was 3 or 4 years. It sure felt that way! I turns out it was almost but not quite 2 years!

 It's in the family, I had a hypoactive thyroid in the past. It was the only explanation. But, the bloodwork was always normal. I even saw an endocrinologist. I was textbook for a hypoactive thyroid. The bloodwork confused him.

Then I got my second blood test that was abnormal for the thyroid. BAM! My regular doctor was finally about to put me on Levothyroxine! It got me down to 148lbs. Then nothing I did worked for two years.

But, this past May (2016) they changed the label on the Levothyroxine. No antacids within 4 hours of taking it! I take Ranitidine for GERD twice a day. That's an antacid I have right before breakfast and dinner.

So I started tracking when I took the Levothyroxine. I have to take it in the middle of the night. When I wake up. 2 hours after the last time I consumed something and 4 hours before dairy and the Ranitidine. Meaning, 4 hours before breakfast.

This is the part I recommend everyone dieting try. I also stopped drinking anything with bubbles in it. They just bothered my GERD anyway. I still drink peach Snapple at lunch though so we can't say I'm drinking better. Just nothing carbonated.

I also am finding myself craving more water. I've tried that before. I know drinking a lot of water is supposed to help you loose weight but it never worked for me. But, without the carbonation I find myself thirsty more often. So, water it is! I also think it has contributed to my success.

I started this past summer in a size 12 swimsuit but size 14 shorts. But, just before August, I noticed the suit was a little loose. So I put on those size 10 swimsuits I had gotten right after Zach was born. They fit!!!!! That's when I put on the size 12 shorts which also fit! I had gotten the size 12 jeans when I started wearing the size 14s. Just in case. It's funny, in 2016 I started the summer as a size 14 swimsuit but at the end of July I fit into the size 12 swimsuit I started this summer with.

It's been about 6 and a half months since I changed how I take the medication. Now, I have a dry erase board in the bedroom to track when I can take the Levothyroxine and when I can take the Ranitidine.

You may have noticed a pattern. With each new pants size I got jeans in the size smaller just in case. I didn't do that when I reached a size 12. I honestly never thought I would be smaller then that again. But, last week I weighed in at 141lbs at the doctor's office. Yesterday, I noticed those 12s were loose.

So today I hit Kohl's. Armed with rewards cash and a 25% off coupon, I tried on those size 10 short strait leg relaxed fit Lee jeans. They are the same ones I have been wearing in all the sizes.


THEY FIT!!!!!!!

From a size 16 to a size 10 in less then 2 years!

This is a battle that for the longest time felt unwinnable. If you are trying to loose weight I do suggest ditching anything carbonated and drinking more water. But, I think the biggest factor in my success was when they changed the instruction on the medication!!!

I had started buying cloths for my bigger body. Now, I might go to the garage and try to dig out some of my favorite smaller things. The new cloths are just too loose! I can't stop smiling about it!!! My personal goal is to make it down to 120lbs. It's still a long shot. But, it not longer feels unreachable!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

A 3rd Grade Night

I realize it has been ten days since my last post. That has happened a lot over the last few months!!! It has a few reasons.

The first is a lack of good ideas. I have ideas but they aren't interesting. Others are interesting. But, my mind has been so jumbled. When I go to write them down, the words don't make sense. There is one topic I will post about later. But, it's still unfolding and I want that to be completed first. That's the second reason.

But, the third reason is much more basic then that. I have been busy! The fall is full of activities at the school. This particular month has been full of Zach activities. A bombardment of paperwork to take care of for various reasons, things at school like the Thanksgiving feast, and his afterschool activities.

I never wanted Zach to be an overscheduled kid. He needs down time to just relax and be a kid. Overstressed kids turn to drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol as teens. I want him to learn early how to manage stress so he doesn't do that later!!!

I am finding that hard to do. Technically this year he will only have two basic activities for the whole  year. Basketball and baseball. Last year, that meant eight weeks of basketball on Sunday afternoons. Baseball had a fitting day and then one practice and one game a week.

This year it's more complicated. He has three practices a week for basketball. Mondays are a 8 o'clock at night!!! Isn't that the time for middle school and high school activities? I thought the elementary kids had their activities earlier and the older kids were later! He can't possibly be old enough for activities that late at night!!!

But, he is. And this is just the beginning. In January this becomes two practices and one game a week. Three days still. But, tack on the one day a week tunnel time for travel baseball and you have a busy kid!!! Four out of seven days of busy 3rd grade nights!!!

Let me explain tunnel time. There is a batting academy in town with cages. They use that for early practice starting in January for the travel teams. They also use in a few times in April for the rec teams.

The spring is going to be baseball, baseball, baseball!!! Practice one night a week for rec and one night a week for travel. Saturdays will be rec baseball games and Sundays will be travel baseball games. These travel games can be pretty far away too!!! That's our Sundays April - June!

He's as busy as I was at night in the 3rd grade. But, I had three or more activities going. All this for two!!! But, he enjoys them and that's the important part. At least basketball is in town!!! Welcome to a 3rd grade night!!!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Celebrating The Moment

A few years ago I did a blog post called "Watching Zach". In it, I described all the ways we watch our kids and a flash forward image I had. Zach pitching a baseball at the big field near my parent's house.

The last two years I posted about a path to that moment. Little steps as he started baseball. But, with what happened today God answered one of my questions about parenting. What should I point him to try?

Zach made the spring travel team!!! 8U!!!

In this town, you can't make the high school baseball team if you haven't done travel baseball. They just have had more opportunities and better coaching. But, it's also about timing.

Zach didn't make the fall travel team because of the age cut off. 9 year olds were trying out for the 8U! He's right in range for 8U this year. Meaning, he's one of the oldest and most experienced that tried out for spring.

That makes it easier to make the travel teams in the future. It's easier as they get older because kids drop out of baseball so there is less competition. But, he really had to make it some time before middle school (5th grade). At least that's how it seemed from research.

One of Josh's co-workers used to be on the high school team and helps the coach out. This fall we paid him to privately coach Zach. Clearly, it was a good investment!!!

This year, he plays on that field. This year, players pitch. This spring that moment might happen. It also might mean an opportunity to wear that spirit wear I have (including the striped cold weather hat I crocheted just in case!!)

I'm going to be busy and tired this spring. It's time to finally buy a GPS!!! But, it's totally worth it!!! So we are celebrating the moment.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

BLUE Jersey!

I haven't posted in a while. I have been very nervous about yesterday's election. Today was the first day in a while where I have been happy.

The less money you have, the less control of your life you have. Fact, not opinion. A lot of those people are in government. Meaning, you don't have much control in who they are. You can vote. But, that doesn't mean they will win.

As I have been watching Washington the last few months I get more and more terrified. That tax plan is awful! Unfortunately, some people like it because they think they are rich but they aren't. When you sort through what they are proposing, these are the people getting screwed the most!

SALT. State and Local Tax deduction. NJ has really high taxes and a Texas republican wants to raise it higher by eliminating that deduction. It's still up in the air if it will happen. But, ever since it was first mentioned, tips have been down for Josh.

I needed last night. I needed to have faith in MY state again. I am such a Jersey girl! Always have been always will be! I wanted to believe we were better. That we would return to blue strength!

Because blue means we care. Blue means we are educated enough to know raising the minimum wage HELPS economies not hurts them. Blue means we understand the power of strong unions on an economy. Blue means we want stricter gun laws for safety. Blue means we are full of love not hate. Blue means we want to strengthen public schools. Blue means we know a healthy environment means a stronger economy.

Blue Governor and Blue Legislature. Blue! Blue! Blue! WOO HOO!!! A buffer!!! As Washington tries to do their worst to those in need, our state government will counter it in NJ!!! A safety net to make it through the Trump years!!!

In one of many articles in the NY Times today the author pointed out "NJ has mostly been left out of the recession recovery". I think they are right. Christie did an awful job! Kim's plan sounded the same as what was already happening! Now, we have hope. Now, we might actually be able to share in the recovery.

I hope the DNC pays attention to NJ and VA. What do these governors have in common? We need a new plan. We need to focus on the economy and not social issues. We need to embrace progressive ideas in a moderate way. How do we win the house of representatives in 2018? By listening to what worked yesterday and watching how it gets done in early 2018!

Wednesday, November 01, 2017


My mom still has last year's christmas cards out. It was odd to see on Halloween! Now, I am thinking the same thing I always think during the Halloween hangover. Where did the year go?

Time can pass slowly or quickly. I think most of the time, we aren't really aware of either. Time is passing as we keeping going. Sometimes rushed. Sometimes we have time to kill. Either way, I have been thinking a lot about time.

My cousin is about age 29. He gave Zach his Xbox 360. For my cousin, time has passed. He's too busy to use it. The games don't challenge his strong mind. He's long past college and slowly transitioning to 30. He has other interests now. We keep it in my dad's office. My old bedroom. It's where Zach stays when he has sleepovers with my parents. It continues to be used and appreciated.

Zach also got a watch a few weeks ago. For learning time management. It may have been a month ago. Too much time has passed to remember. The amount of time doesn't matter. What matters is that he is great at time management. When he remembers his watch.

Every Halloween we try to recall his costumes. I did a post somewhere that has all of his Halloween costumes. Except this year. He was Steve from the video game "Minecraft". Gotta love Amazon!!! Last year and this year I found it to be the best place to find age appropriate costumes for him! He's a hard size to find things in for his age. Big Boy Large (14/16) but small (8) bottoms.

Now, the focus is on Christmas. This time I am taking my time with Christmas shopping. Most years, I get it done in October. But, in November and December I find myself continuing to shop anyway. So this year I am going little by little. We are in good shape with christmas gifts. But, have wiggle room if we need it. So if I stumble across something good at a good price, we can still get it!

Time is also showing in a couple of my favorite necklaces. I've taken them to a jeweler to clean up the stones. I got the first one back and it looks brand new. I look forward to seeing the other one. He doesn't charge that much to do it and this means I don't worry about if it's getting done correctly. When it's time to wear them, I know I will smile!

Garden season is almost done. The nights are getting colder. The mums from August are mostly gone. Tomorrow it will be warm enough for me to cut the perennials down and pull out those mums. Along with other dead plants. Soon, my mom will ask me to do the same at her house.

Didn't we just plant those flowers? Time has come and gone in the garden. Soon, I'll get the greens for the pot outside. And the wreath for the door. But, I have some time before I do those things.

 Don't forget the short enrollment time for the healthcare marketplaces!!! They don't give you much time to do it in!!! But, it's important to fit in if you need it!

It's also almost time to vote for Phil Murphy for Governor!!!!!!!!!!!!!

November is a time when time is extra important. It's a "fit things in" time of year. Because time is running out for 2017. So much to do, so little time!