Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Current Favs

Listened to this gem on audiobook, probably 8 years later than the rest of the world. I had to carefully sip my coffee to avoid spitting it out laughing. Yes, there's no shortage of swearing and some crass language, but wow is it funny. And we all know a Sam Halpern. 
House stuff:
Natural, safe, and smells amazing. "Hey mom, can I spray that good stuff on the counter and wipe it?"  Why yes, yes you can, son. 

Crap. I'm old.  My makeup free days have come to an end. This concealer doesn't settle into those lines I've been trying to ignore, and makes me look more human than zombie. It's better than several of the department store kinds I've tried. Bonus. 
TV: Though I don't watch a ton, take 20 minutes to watch an episode of The Goldbergs, especially if you were a kid in the 80s like me. It's spot on, heartwarming, and completely over the top. Lots of laughs!  

Apps: Happy Scale. While I'm not going to go as far as to say I love this app, it's keeping me on track weight wise. It assesses your long term goal and breaks it down into manageable milestones. Helps keep focus, and helps the big picture seem less overwhelming. 
Clothes: if you're a size 12 or up, I'd highly recommend Torrid's premium leggings ( And, check it out- their models are actually plus sized women!  After more than one time of having cheap leggings practically roll down on me, I decided to search for and invest in a good pair. This brand has a wide waistband and thick, but not too thick, fabric. They're super comfy and high quality, and they stay put! 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

2016 Resolution Fail

Ahhhh...when it's January 3, and you've already broken your first resolution to blog more, you must be a type B. I've just accepted it.  It wasn't an intentional thing I gave up. Maybe lack of inspiration, my "I'll get it done when I get it done" way of thinking, or the fact that I'm now outnumbered by my inspirations has contributed... But this is a treasure for me and I want to continue. 
To update-Everyone is well!
Adam, 9. Has entered a bit of a cool phase. "Cool" as he is, he's just a downright nice kid who goes out of his way to do the right thing.  We couldn't be prouder. He participates in several school activities, drums in the school band, plays sports, and like many kids his age, loves his iPad, Star Wars, and video games. Just today, when we suggested he may meet girls at college he said "the only reason I'm going to college is to get a masters degree". Atta boy. 

Zachary,7  He's basically a teenager. A teenager who loves stuffed animals and dressing up in costume (still!), all while sleeping until 10 and rolling his eyes and saying "ugh! what is it mom" when I make a request. He's the most likely to argue with us, and most likely to have an argument that makes more sense than it should for a boy of  7. He loves Minecraft, his giant 7 foot bear named Ben, his iPad, oh.... And did I mention Minecraft? He's playing soccer and basketball this winter.  The child is smart as a whip, motivated to WIN, and as sweet as they come. 

PJ 1 1/2 (3 kids in, I'm forgoing counting in months, because frankly, I'm not sure how many months he is). He's pure joy and pure tornado child in one. Man, I'm not in the Kansas of mid-20s parenting anymore. I liken him to a puppy. Sweet, completely adorable, a lot of work, what you rush home to see every day, then can't wait to put to bed (kidding, kidding). We all adore him and I fear what will happen when his kindergarten teacher has to divide their attention among 20 others. He's in for a shock. He loves hide and seek, The Minions movie, his wubbanubs, and says several words (no, baba, dada, no, mama, dog, no, woof, oh no, oh wow, uh oh, baby, no, outside, no, and more!). A considerable amount of dancing, singing, and funny face making round out the day.  He also runs away a lot, touches everyyyyything, pitches fits and turns his body into a wet noodle, BUT sleeps alllllll night in his crib. Really, he's the perfect baby. 

The house is still in DIY remodel phases, but very close to done. I can't wait! Jobs are well, busy but rewarding. A trip to Disney in November was enjoyed by all- in spite of the unusual heat (both here and there!). A quick trip resulted in 38 miles of walking and, needless to say, lots of fun sights were enjoyed. More to come!  

Thursday, October 29, 2015

My Best Tip...

With the way information travels at lightning speed today, there's no shortage of open letters, tips and tricks, and people asking for their opinions to be heard.  While I love the way moms can share information and knowledge- things are getting out of hand.  It's one thing to share products you like, bargain strategies, or recipes, but man oh man people are now giving advice on how to, what not to, and the right way to do anything and everything,.
Below are some articles I came across just on my Facebook page today...

  • Stop Telling Kids to Stop Picking Their Nose (no) (
  • Why I Won't Throw Modern Birthday Parties For My Child (enlighten me?) (
  • 29 Things Only Girls Under 5'3 Will Undersrand (28? Really? I can see 12..) (
  • Why Our Kids Need to Get Outside and Engage With Nature (aka- play outside?) ( 
  • 10 Commandments to Talking to Your Kids About Religion (kind of a  personal topic to assign general rules?) ( 
  • You're Probably Cleaning Your Vagina Wrong (thanks, but I got this) (
  • 6 Reasons My Husband and I Won't Make Your Event (Uhhh. divide and conquer is OK sometimes)
While all of these are fine, from the heart, and meant to help... enough already! While I am not going to go as far as to make this my own open letter, geeze lousie on the viral unsolicited advice epidemic! 
We're all ok.  We're all doing our best.  We all have our own philosophies on child rearing, beliefs, weather, grooming, time management... shall I go on? 
As many open letter writers say.... "just sayin". 


Monday, August 3, 2015

Sunday, July 5, 2015

6 things for 6 months...

Wow, a solid 6 months have passed since I last blogged. Crazy how the days pass so fast. I know I will regret not documenting more if these last months, especially being that it's the baby's first year.
So, to get back into my routine I am going to try to highlight the last 6 months in 6 bullets without begin obnoxious!
  •  I went back to work, as expected, in early December.  Only this time, to a top performing city school as opposed to the lowest performing inner city schools I am used to (same district ,same job, different school).  There's nothing like hitting the ground running... but it's been great! Different, refreshing, but certainly challenging. I am blessed to have a job I love that allows ample family time and a lot of time off.  I set personal goals to educate myself further on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to help my work with the special program I am a part of.  Turns out, my students are teaching me more than I could ever read up on. Kudos to the Mister for handling all things morning with 3 kids as I sneak out for work just as everyone is getting up. There wasn't one bus missing incident that I know of.  It's a tough task for a multitasker, which he is not. Bonus for me- no formula stains on my shoulder at work.   
  •   Christmas maintained its magic in the Vinkle house. Wide eyed believers made the morning and all that led up to it magical.  I cringe knowing that at least for the big boys, this time of belief is getting small. Surely we will enjoy it while it lasts!  But, I look forward to doing it all over again with a wide eyed little boy. The boys BOTH made it to see the ball drop and ring in 2015.  For anyone who knows us well knows that it's next to impossible for Adam to make it that late, so we enjoyed the occasion. 
  • January and February (and let's be honest, March) brought the coldest and most brutal winter days Buffalo has ever know.  It truly was the longest winter ever.  The kind of days where the thought of walking to your car almost makes you (almost) want to stay late at work.  The kind of days where leaving the house is out unless absolutely necessary.  Where extra circulars are put on hold just due to the craptastic blast that awaits you out the front door.   So, my book recommendations are as follows: The Rosie Project (Don Tillman), The Invention of Wings (Sue Monk Kidd), Big Little Lies (Laine Moriarty), Girl on the Train (Paula Hawkins), and State of Wonder (Ann Patchett)... socks, blankets, books- sums up the winter. 
  • The spring brought my blue eyed boy's birthday- which also remains magical.  Never mind the birthday- it's birthday month! Hard to believe that curly haired, silly kid is now a seven year old second grader. Some things I just love about him- his writing (best writers voice ever), his jokes, his determination to fit in with the "big boys", and his take no crap attitude- he's his own person!   The baby begins his adventure into mobility which involved a hilarious version of the worm.  The home renovation itch that typically accompanies spring hits and I begin by pulling a mirror off the wall to get the ball rolling.  Now, to get these projects finished while accommodating my champagne taste on a beer (well, craft beer) budget. 
  • May and into June was a busy time! Paul tuned 36 and we added Allen St. Poutine Company to our fun eats list.  It was so Canadian, complete with All Dressed chips and Aero Bars.  The baby was dedicated on Mother's Day, we celebrated 12 years married with a great meal at the Griffon Pub, and enjoyed another "staycation" at Jellystone. Weplanted, lost (due to frost), and replanted our gardens, and opened the pool.   My recreational reading was replaced with study materials as I prepared to take my LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) exam.  I am proud to say I passed with flying colors, and IT"S OVER! So, now I can get to The Secret Life of Violet Grant (Beatriz Williams), To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee), The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald) , and The Percy Jackson Series (Rick Riordian). Sounds kind of like a summer reading list, so we will see.... 
  • Teacher Christmas arrived on June 25th. Summer is here! I now officially have a second and fourth grader.  We rang it in by planning a pool party for Adam's 9th birthday.  Sadly, 58 degrees and raining sideways isn't conducive to swimming, so we had to move it inside.  He took it like a champ and having 15 boys indoors went much more smoothly than I planned.  This kid continues to amaze me with his dry wit, concern for others, and insight of an eighty year old (he's our old soul, for sure).  Our bucket list for the summer includes  enjoying as many free and fun activities as possible- and being tourists in our own backyard. Ideas include Buffalo's Canalside and Outer Harbor, day trips to playgrounds or spray parks, Niagara Falls State Park... and who knows what else. So, that's it in a nutshell... more to come. 
Some highlights- snow, snow, and more snow, Christmas, Zachary opens gifts with friends, Great Wolf, and Allen St. Poutine
PJ's dedicaiton,  Zachary's last day of Sidway, Jellystone, Adam's 9th with a photobomb, and my time warp twins Adam and PJ 

The big boys ring in the new year, but not the baby! Half crawl, half walk, new kitchen floor, on our 12th anniversary, and the cutest little guy I know... 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Road to Mt. Midoriyama

When they're babies, they look up to you. Their eyes follow you across the room. As others hold them you see their face wanting you.  You are their world. It can, at times, inflate the super mom ego a bit, knowing you're their end all, be all. Before long, he bittersweet transition to independence begins. There's the relief of them doing so much more for themselves. The ease of leaving the house (on time?!??), the potential for that quick nap as they watch TV. And,with this,  the ache knowing they need you less and less. And, before you know it, you are admiring this independent young person they're becoming. They've found their own thing. Maybe a musical interest, maybe a sport, maybe academic excellence, maybe even the gift of gab. 
It's in those moments you see things in them that you wish you were, or could be.  Their complete dedication to something.  Their determination to make the impossible happen.  Their willingness to put the work in and see it through.  Their thoughts consuming ways to attain what they want.  And, then improving their abilities as a result of their efforts.
Even when this dedication comes in the form of an unreachable goal (at least anytime in the near future), such as my wonderful 8-year-old boys dream of being the next American Ninja Warrior.  I'm impressed with him!  It makes you swell with pride, even as you're standing in the 30 degree weather timing him across the monkey bars.  You child has grasped they need to work to get what they want.  They've understood that things aren't just given.  They've set a goal that you didn't direct them towards- and are actively trying to achieve it- even when that means driving you nuts to hit the playgound or rock climbing center in the midst of busy life. His race across the monkey bars isn't just for fun and games anymore. He has his eye on a prize, one he picked for himself.
Yes, this is a little thing.  A for-fun dream of his, but one he believes he can do.  On his own. And it's making me believe in him more and more.   He's reading labels choosing things with more "gallons" of protein than others.  He's leaving my walls with more scuffs than my magic erasers can handle. But he has a plan and is doing the work.  And reminding me to do the same.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

My Nature Boy

Wooooo! See what I did there... (99.9% of people will not get that at all) 
When your boy loves nature like mine, you learn quickly that you must plan extra time into daily things so he can take it all in. You laugh inside when he says things like "I'm just going to put a little Grass in my hand so he can be comfortable" referring to a millipede. Yes.  A millipede. The bug that used to send me screaming into a corner now seems somewhat endearing. And, I will actively look for snakes, with or without him, at the bus stop where a small family lives. Somehow, I am okay with the bug catcher that's full of (probably dead) worms that wound up on the mantle "because they're so special".  And everything gets an affectionate "y" at the end.  Grasshoppery, spidery, and flower buddy (followed by roaring laughter).  And, a perpetual stick collection graces your front porch is just something you step over when entering the house.   
This is a part of Zachary's personality that I don't want to forget- the softness in his heart for all living things.  Yes, some of it is just "boy stuff", but I know one day he won't be as enthusiastic about these little treasures he finds daily.  For now, I am hanging on to every bit of his six year old perceptions- as gross as they can be!  

You must stop for the duck outside Carrabba's 
This photo appears on your phone camera... now that's a big bird 
just a stick along the way 
Yes it was as big as it looks! Eek! 
Oh you know, just some worms as decor

Every drawing filled with nature as he sees it 

Just some random pics found on my phone, AKA his nature camera