One thing I'd like to add about working on my ALM research: It really takes up all of my free time outside of my day job and time spent helping raise our two children.
I have to do my academic work when I can -- usually at night, after my kids have gone to sleep, although sometimes I work on this on Saturday and Sunday afternoon when my 16-month-old son is napping. I was able to get a little extra work done over the Christmas/New Year holiday.
But "me" time is almost non-existent. I mentioned this before, but I'll say it again: I have not read books for pure reading enjoyment (as opposed to interesting books that happen to be part of my research) since 2004. And reading was one of my main evening pasttimes before I started the ALM program.
When I do have free time, I like to spend it with my family. Having two little kids requires your full attention, especially with our son who is just learning how to climb. So when I am home and my kids are awake, my wife and I split our time watching them and doing other things around the house -- cooking, cleaning, going shopping, yardwork, etc. My guilty pleasure is sometimes watching a DVD with my wife, catching the 10 pm news on a weekday or SNL on the weekend, or going out to dinner if my parents babysit.
I am very fortunate in that my wife is very supportive of my studies at the Extension School, especially in this intense period of research. I owe her big time, and will have to think of a special thank you present when this is all over.