Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Tonight Melissa made a good dinner, but I wasn't too excited about it.  I was told to enter eating dinner with an open mind.  When given those directions keep your expectations low.  I would put this post in the category of trying something new that I normally wouldn't eat.
Maddie had the only plate that had food on it when I thought about taking a picture.
She wasn't a big fan.

We ate tilapia.  I can not remember the last time I willingly ate fish.  When trying to consider when it was the only time I could think about eating fish I kept remember skinning and de-boning fish at my grandparents house after they had gone fishing up in Wisconsin.  That had to have been nearly 20 years ago. I remember not being a huge fan back then either. Beside that time, I can't remember eating it.
That said, dinner wasn't too bad.  I didn't have the most of open minds as Melissa was carrying it out to the table tonight and all I could smell was the fishy scent coming off the food.
Everything eaten except for the cream cheese dip Melissa made for the fish.

I did keep the open mind Melissa asked for and I finished the whole thing.  I even told Melissa that she could make it again.  Not too bad.

Because of making my first list, I didn't have as tough of a time trying out something new for dinner tonight.  Thanks Melissa!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Next list

Who knew when I stumbled upon this idea 3 years ago that I would have put together one list and carried through on almost completing it.  Matt and I have decided to have a go at it again.  I am putting the finishing touches on my next list as is Matt.  I can not wait to post the goals and get them started!  It was a lot more fun putting the second list together because I now have a feel for what 1001 days looks like and what type of things can be done in that time frame. I set some lofty goals this time, but nothing like learning a new language as I did last time.  I also tried to target goals that would benefit my family and kids more because as they get older there are a lot more things that I can do with them that I couldn't have even dreamed about 3 years ago.
I am Hopeful that some time this week I will be able to get started. 
Thanks again to everyone who reads this blog for all of your encouragement to get this ambitious list done.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Looking for a new child seat

The last few days I have been spending a lot of time looking for a child carrying seat to attach to my bike.  Last spring Melissa found a trailer for me to take the girls around town in.  I used it almost every day last summer.  We went to the bank, grocery store, down the bike path, to parks, just about everywhere we could run errands to.  I usually took them out in the mornings when Charlie was sleeping which allowed Melissa some "free" time at home with a quiet house.

That plan worked great last year.  This year is turning into a different story.  All three kids are fully aware of where the other kids are and what they are doing.  If any one of them know that the other is leaving they get jealous and it makes for an interesting time at home with the remaining child.  That is why I am looking for an addition to my bike so I can tote all three kids around.  The one I am most interested in is this one:

It is a Weeride Kangaroo Child Bike Seat.  It looks funny, but I would feel better about using this kind of carrier over using one that would go behind my seat.  Plus, I would have to remove the rack on my bike that I use a lot, and it would restrict the view that the two kids in the trailer would have.  Come on someone on Craig's List or Naperville Yard Sales, please post one for sale at a good price so I can get rolling!

Man I can not wait for some summer rides down by the river. We feed the ducks and "skip" rocks. One good memory of last summer is when Maddie carried a big rock to the edge of the river, threw it just short of making it into the river and looked at me and said, "I missed."  I look forward to making more memories just like that this summer.  Hopefully this year she will have the strength and ability to get the rock into the water.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

101. Go out and celebrate finishing 100 goals

I know I didn't finish the 100 goals (yet). We had a garage sale this weekend and got rid of a lot of stuff.  We were lucky enough this weekend to have my Mom come down to hang out with us for the weekend to help out with the kids.

With her here we were able to go out with friends to see a movie.  While this may not be a huge deal, for Melissa and me it is.  Since the girls were born 3 1/2 years ago I have gone to the movie theater twice.  If that isn't a celebration, I don't know what is.

To break the movie streak we saw Bridesmaids.  If you can get passed the language and a few awkward parts it was a pretty good movie.

It was so nice to go out with friends and not worry about what was going on at home.  Thanks again Mom for watching the kids.  Even if you did have what you called, "The worst ten minutes of your life."

Also, as I mentioned before, I ran Tecumseh Marathon and the Birmingham Marathon without using a wildcard on them.  I know I didn't consider it earlier, but I am making it count for running a 5K in 20:30 and for the High School Play.  Both of those weren't able to be finished due to scheduling, sickness, and lack of motivation.

I know my time is over, but it is just too hard to have a list not finished.  I will get this list finished, plus, I plan on finishing up my next list and get going on it.  I currently have 70 some goals.  If you want to try your hand at making a list and trying to get them done you will find that after you get somewhere around 25 written down they start to get really tough to come up with. If you are really serious about putting a list together that you want to do Matt has a post on how to make a good list that you will be able to check things off from and also to have fun while doing. I'm trying to get creative and trying to really find things that I want to do.  It isn't a good feeling having a list of things to do that you don't really want to complete.  That happens too often in other parts of our lives.  This is supposed to be fun right!

Again, Thanks everyone for looking at this blog.  I write this stuff for myself and use the blog to keep track of my goals.  For those of you who read and comment I really appreciate you!  Without you, I know the accountability to get my goals would have been lost and I would have most likely have stopped at around 30.  Thanks!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

1001 Days Done!

Today marks the last day of my goals.  I have truly enjoyed these past 1001 days.  When I started I had no idea that I was going to become a doctoral student.  That changed a lot.  I also didn't know we would have another child.  That gave much less free time.  When I think of what my life was like when I started to where I am now, a lot has changed!  I am happy for every change we have had!

I wanted this post to be a celebration of completing 101 goals, but 95 is going to have to do for now.  Ninety-five goals being done is a fantastic achievement in my book though!

Here are a few highlights from the past 1001 days:
  • I have cooked a bunch of meals.  I even learned how to make a turkey!
  • I can solve a Rubik's cube with very little effort.  From learning how to do the 3X3 cube, I can now solve a 2X2, 4X4 and a 5X5 cube.
  • I read the Bible from cover to cover.
  • I composed songs that Melissa and I sing to the girls almost every night.
  • I made a video of the girl's first year that they adore and could watch over and over.  They give commentary to the video constantly.  They have it almost memorized.
  • I donated almost a gallon of blood.
  • I got into the habit of riding my bike to school.  Currently I am saving about $1.75 a day when I ride.  Not a bad savings over the course of a month considering I am also exercising.
  • I have read a lot of books.  I am even in the habit of picking up books to read in my free time. I just finished the autobiography of Quincy Jones. Someone at school was talking about him and I had no idea who he was. They were shocked.  I went on the library's website and put the book on hold.  I picked it up that night and finished in a few weeks. That would have never happened before!
  • I ran 4 marathons with my brother.
  • On most days of the 1001, I considered myself in pretty good shape.
  • I read thousands of books to my children.
  • I revisited ACS
  • I revisited Jusdon College/University
  • I went on an unforgettable canoe trip from Waterford, WI to Aurora, IL.
  • I bought a stock that has almost doubled since I purchased it!  Too bad I only bought 3 shares at $1.67 a piece!
  • I made some really neat toys for my kids.
  • I got to spend some great time with my grandma making fudge.
  • I watched a bunch of long movies that won awards.
This list goes on.

I did have a plan to get my goals done in the 1001 days, but life got in the way.  Two weeks ago I was going to surprise Melissa with a date to go see Phantom of the Opera at West Aurora High School.  Sadly half the family was sick and we had to cancel.  It would have been a real stretch to go to this with how sick people were.  I still enjoy high school theatre and want to see a show some day.

We had planned to go to the White Sox game on Monday night, but our dog Sammy has been terribly sick for the past few days and Hannah has walking pneumonia.  Another canceled trip.  This was also supposed to be a surprise.  Maybe it was a blessing I didn't have to go to U.S. Cellular. 

Another canceled appointment was me working at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore shop that just opened up in Aurora.  I had scheduled to go there yesterday, but Sammy needed to go to the vet so I was not able to do that.  She still is not healthy.  Hopefully her appointment tomorrow afternoon will get her better.

As of Saturday, I had a plan to get the goals done. Baseball game on Monday and Habitat for Humanity on Tuesday.  I knew I wouldn't have a play that we could go to so I looked over everything and remembered I had run two marathons but didn't count them as wildcards because I counted them as races run in the year.  If all had gone right, I had planned to try to run a marathon tonight on the treadmill then go out to Dunkin Donuts to celebrate after.  That didn't happen.  I think the marathon on the treadmill would be pretty interesting though I am glad I didn't have to do it. 

Here is a look again at what wasn't done:
Run a 5K in under 20:30
Take Melissa on 2 surprise dates
Visit 2 new baseball parks
Volunteer a day at Habitat for Humanity
Go to a High School Play
Go out to celebrate completing 100 goals

Will these goals get done?  I really hope so.  They are all ones that I actually wanted to do.  That is why they didn't get the wildcard earlier.

Now that I am finished, I am going to take a little while off to finish my next list of goals.  I am at 70 written down.  The next list is going to have personal goals in it, but it will also include a lot of family oriented goals as well.  After doing this one time I realized that I was doing a lot of things on my own and leaving them out.

I enjoyed the past 1001 days and I look forward to doing this again!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

96. Wear a tie at least once a week to school

Yes, I did wear the same shirt and tie on purpose.

While this is a good goal to have, it was not a fun one to keep track of.  I wore a tie every week for the past three years of school.  For most jobs that isn't a big deal, but when you work at a school where the dress code gets pretty relaxed it is more difficult.  It is much easier to go with jeans and a button down shirt than slacks and a tie.  When I first posted on this goal I wrote down my reasons for wanting to wear a tie more. 
I am glad this goal is finished.  I like wearing ties to school, but I am not necessarily fond of logging onto blogger to update my count each time that I do it.

Another goal down! 

Monday, May 16, 2011

16. Learn how to freestyle swim well enough to do at least 4 laps in the pool

After being in the beginner swimming lesson class for three consecutive years, this goal could be written as: "Learn how to swim like you were supposed to when you were 7."
I enjoy swimming. I can stay afloat for a long time. I can get around in the water with not too much of a problem. I am not afraid of the water. My only problem is that I am not efficient in getting around in the water. If I can doggy paddle or do a side stroke to where I am going I am good. The reason I put this into my list of goals is because some day I want to do a triathlon. I know I won't be a super fast swimmer, but I want to look respectable when I am out there.
The hardest thing about working on this goal was being at the pool and looking ridiculous in my efforts to try and find the rhythm of breathing while doing the crawl stroke. At the beginning I was worried I was getting too much attention from the lifeguards due to my times of gagging on the water in the middle of the pool as I tried to get it down.
I can say that I am not fantastic at it, but I have gotten to be an ok swimmer. That is all that I wanted from this goal. I am not fast, but I don't look terrible.
This morning I got up at 5:30 and drove over to the local pool. I hopped in and got to swimming. There was a swim club practicing there which made me pretty self conscious. After I got over that I did ok. I swam for 45 minutes straight. I stopped only a couple of times to drink from my water bottle that was at the edge of the pool. I did 40 lengths of the pool which is 25 yards long. A bunch of them were freestyle, but most were sidestrokes. That amounts to 1,000 yards. That number amazes my mind. It is not a very good speed overall, but I am happy with it. Could I swim a mile? Maybe some day.
I'm counting this one done!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

6. Join a group at church to serve with

Now that I am done with Saturday classes, I have the time to give more at church.  Yes, I should have gotten involved at church earlier, but I hadn't found a place where I really felt I could be. I tried a few areas, but those fizzled away after just a few times serving.
I will be working in the nursery now. It is just in time for summer as many others who regularly volunteer will be taking off for the summer. I am excited to be able to get to work with Charlie and the kids who Charlie is going to be calling friends for years to come!

Friday, May 13, 2011

3. Memorize a chapter of Psalm

I think I put the goal of memorizing a Psalm down because I read it on someone else's list. It is a good goal because memorizing scripture is a good thing to be in the habit of doing.  As I stated last week, I am not so great at keeping up with Bible memorization.  This goal wasn't as bad though.  Matt suggested Psalm 8 to me about a year ago as a possible Psalm to learn. It is a cheerful Psalm. 
As the deadline was winding down I was considering Psalm 23 or 100 as I already know them, but that was not the intent of the goal.  I went with Matt's suggestion and am glad I did.

A few months ago I put a sheet that looked like this together.

What you see is on the top, the first letter of every word in Psalm 8.  On the bottom is the verses written out.  I used this study strategy for when I memorized the Gettysburg Address and it was pretty successful so I stuck with it.  I carried this paper around with me for the past week and a half.  I had it folded in half with only the top showing.  I think I had it down on Tuesday this week, but I wanted to make sure that I had it stuck in my head rather than it leaving as if cramming for an exam.  Here is the result.  Sorry for the boring and creepy background.  I did this video during one of my breaks today and had the white board up behind me.

And apparently after it took 25 minutes to load it was sideways.  Oh well.  You get what you get.

Another goal down!

10. Run two races per year

This goal has been done for a long time.  I wanted to finish it off with the fourth annual running of the Nancy Young Fun Run, but unfortunately that is not until next week and my timeframe is done next Wednesday.  I have enjoyed the Fun Run each year.  None of them compare to the first one though!

This blog originally started as a place for me to write about my thoughts during my training runs for my first marathon.  Little did I know that I would run four more marathons and a few 5Ks along with way.  I thought doing one marathon would be checked off my life list of goals and I would just be able to move on.  Matt was the reason I added in the other marathons.  He wanted to do them and I thought it sounded interesting enough so I said yes. 

Here are the races I have run in the last 996 days:

Tecumseh Trail Marathon
Mercedes Marathon in Birmingham
Covenant Health Marathon in Knoxville
Illini 5K
2009 Nancy Young Fun Run 5K
2010 Nancy Young Fun Run 5K
Icebreaker Marathon
Blackberry Farm 5K

I feel that is enough races to satisfy the criteria.  I plan on doing one next week and maybe one in the summer.  It is just something that keeps me going and exercising.  I have learned that if I am not exercising, I don't feel good about myself. In theory that should be simple enough to cure.  The problem as always is the time.

Another goal marked off!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

63. Go to a city hall meeting

When I mention to people that this is a goal for me the most common response is, "Why?"

The reason it was a goal is because every week I read an article or two in The Beacon News that mentions things that have happened at a city council meeting and I never knew what it looked like or who the people that were mentioned looked like.

I went tonight for the first half hour and got to see what they looked like and got to hear arguments about a butcher shop that will be going in.  There was nothing exciting, just a typical boring meeting.

There was a neat display that showed pictures of all of the mayors from Aurora's beginning.  It's almost full.  I was surprised how many mayors there had been over all the years.

This one's done!

Monday, May 2, 2011

EDU 8250 Principles & Practices of Assessment & Program Evaluation

This course is done!  I really enjoyed it.  It allowed me to meet a Nobel Laureate and that doesn't happen every day.
I am really excited to be finished with this class because it was my last class that meets on Saturdays.  After 2 years of Saturday classes it is going to be so nice to be able to relax again!  One more year of classes then a little (kidding)  paper to write and I will be done.
I'm using this wildcard on the Bible memory verses.  I know I won't be able to learn 19 verses by heart in the next 16 days.  It shouldn't be difficult for me to do.  I did it for 12 years, though if Donald Trump were to do a search for my school records it would show that I didn't do such a good job at it back then either.

Another goal down!