Tuesday, May 29, 2012

31 Things- Transportation

The topic 8 in the 31Things class with Ali Edwards was Transportation. I haven't completed topic 4 because I am waiting for a photo. 

I didn't have a photo for this one either, but it gave me an excuse to go out and take photos of my car. Something I wish I would have done for my first two. 

Went out today to take pictures of it and realized it had been forever since I had washed it. The kids and I spend the afternoon washing my car and playing in the water. Great day for it!


After two failed attempts at the drivers test around my 16th birthday, and the death of a good friend’s sister in auto accident, I decided to hold off on getting my drivers license. It wasn’t until I was 20 and got over my anxiety. 

Up until that point I was dependent on others to get me around.

As a child I always enjoyed riding the bus. I even enjoyed it in high school when it was no longer “cool”.

In the ninth and tenth grade Roger, my stepdad, would take me and my friend Jennifer to school. Half way through sophomore year Jennifer and I got to school by a senior, Matt (who had the biggest crush on us). By junior year, most of my friends were driving and would help me get around. 

Then I was off to community college. I had worked out a carpool with some friends. Most mornings Kevin (who also had a major crush on me) agreed to drive me there for a small fee. Most of his classes were earlier than mine with the exception of one and I would spend the extra time in the library until my classes started. For the one class I had earlier, I struggled to count on him to get me there on time. Shelley would offer me a ride home, if she was headed that way after one of the classes we shared. If all else failed my mom would get me to and from school.

It was cumbersome to get rides, and to count on others to get to school, to visit Tom at college and made getting a job impossible. My second year in college, I went a way to school and lived on campus. My transportation problem was solved. I walked to class, I walked to my meals, I walked to Tom’s house. It was easier in college not to have a car. My junior year my dad hooked me up with a bike. I had some classes that were clear across campus, early in the morning. It was nice to get to sleep that little bit more that the bike shaved off.  I have always enjoyed bike riding. 

My junior year in college I got my license and my dad purchased my first car. It was a black, two-door, 1992 Chevy Cavalier. I was grateful for the new found freedom of not relying on others for transportation. 

Getting a car meant I had to get a job. I worked over the summer downtown on the Landing. I didn’t like driving downtown and paying to park, so I opted for the Metrolink. I loved it! I liked being able to read and do my homework while heading home. It was the least stressful way to travel. I just had to be sure to keep track of the stops so I wouldn’t miss mine.

I had that first car until I landed my first job out of college. I was making enough money to handle rent and a car payment and my first car was no longer very reliable. I bought a brand new, blue, 2001 Toyota Celica. I loved that little car! However, that car was cursed. I didn’t have it a month before I was rear-ended. A year later I was rear-ended again. The windshield got cracked, and I was rear-ended once more before trading it in.

When I was 8 months pregnant my little blue car became a problem. There was no way to safely and conveniently put an infant car seat in that car. Tom and I bought our first car together, my red, 2006 Mazda 3. 

This car has seen many places. It took me to the hospital both times I was in labor. It made the trip (piggyback on a semi trailer) to California, to Disneyland multiple times, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and the drive back to Missouri (that Tom and Dave navigated). It continues to get me to where I need to go and I am grateful for that!

Soon it will be time for us to get another car. Tom will gladly take my car. His car is a white, 2000 Mazda Protégé and a stick shift, which I have never taken the time to learn to drive.  We will most likely get me something bigger. One that can hold more people so I have the option to carpool with other parents and the possibility of growing our family. It will be nice to have more room to hold more stuff for things, like sports equipment. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

31 Things-Read

Here is topic 3 in Ali Edwards 31 Things class. I feel that the journaling on this one became more of a list of books than anything. The list of each transports me to the stories within, so I am just going to go with it. 

I have always had a love for reading. I love stories. I love the escape.

I can remember as a child taking lots of visits to the library. I can remember reading all kinds of books: Miss Piggle Wiggle series, books written by Roald Dahl, books written by Beverly Cleary, Fudge, Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, books by Judy Blume, and the Little House on the Prairie series and the Babysitters Club series. I was obsessed with the Babysitters Club. I owned over 100 of the books and still own the collection to this day.

In junior high I was reading books by R. L. Stein and Christopher Pike. By high school I was reading books from Anne Rice, Dean R. Koontz, and Stephen King. I can remember the books we HAD to read in school and not liking them because it was work. I had to remember character’s names and places and analyze themes and symbolism. I couldn’t just be the characters, live their story. I can remember reading: Great Expectations, Of Mice and Men, “Romeo and Juliet”, and To Kill a Mockingbird.

As an adult, I still love “kid” books. I love the Harry Potter series, A Series of Unfortunate Events (with the exception of The End), and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. 

I took a hiatus from reading books for a while. It was too tough to find time for it. When taking care of small children, the only books I was reading were: Little Critter, Curious George, or an array of other picture books. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy reading to my children. I want to bestow the same love of reading in them.

In the past year, I have found more time to read. I received a Nook Color, an eReader, for Mother’s Day. It gave me the motivation to begin reading again. I don’t just read eBooks, however. Sometimes the books I want to read are not available through the library in eBook form. 

To save myself money, I haven’t been buying books. I find it a waste to pay for a book that I will read once and let it sit somewhere (whether in cyberspace or bookshelf) so I have been using my local library.

On our weekly story time visit to the library, there is never time for me to look at books. I go online to pick things out. Usually the books I pick are popular reads, so I put them on “hold” and have to wait my turn. 

I have quite a “hold” list going at the library (of both books and eBooks). I try to keep 2 to 3 books on “hold” at a time. Some weeks, if I have selected rather popular books, nothing is available for weeks then all of a sudden I can have 4 books waiting to be read! 

Books I have recently read: 
What Happened to Goodbye*
Confessions of a Shopaholic*
Hannah’s Dream 
One for the Money
The Hunger Games 
We All Fall Down*
The Snow Child
The Good American
The Lucky One*
Home Front

*read on my Nook

Monday, May 21, 2012

31 Things-Morning

Here is my layout for Ali Edwards 31 Things class. Check out my previous post for more information.

I struggled a little with this one. I had way too much to say to fit onto one page so I doubled it up. I am excited to get this information down because the day I wrote it was the first day of summer. The day this morning routine would no longer exist. Now it is captured here.

My journaling:

Today is the first day of summer vacation. Our morning routine will change from what it has been and never be the same. 

There are things I am grateful for with my mornings. I am grateful for no alarm clocks. I no longer have that dread of hearing that horrible noise, for it to disrupt my sleep. I don’t have that initial feeling of dread and panic as it goes off. I also am grateful that my kids sleep. No more 4am wake up calls, no more early morning feedings, no more broken sleep. I am grateful for my husband. That he allows me to shower and get ready before he heads out for work and start his day. 

Just yesterday this was our routine:
Tom wakes up at 6:30am. He takes a shower and gets ready to go to work. By 7am he is done and Madeline is awake in her crib calling out for him. I get up at this point and get my shower. I cannot start my day without one (preferably a relaxing one). That is why my husband doesn’t leave for work until I am ready to start my day.

Once I am ready, Tom heads out for work and if Madeline hasn’t been served her breakfast (dry Cheerios, waffle, or oatmeal) I will get it for her. She picks and usually I prompt her to use sentences. (E.g. “I want waffle.”) If she has finished we sit to watch a show like Blues Clues, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, or Umi-zoomi. 

If Aaron hasn’t gotten up by 8am, I am in his room coaxing him out of bed. He isn’t much of a morning person. He is my night owl. He drags his feet every step of the way in the morning. After learning the TV made this worse, it was straight to breakfast where he would more often than not have a blueberry waffle.  Usually Madeline will eat again with him.

I don’t eat breakfast. I have found that if I do, I feel awful by 10am, needing to eat again. If I eat again, Madeline wants to eat again and I feel like we are always 
eating. Probably not the healthiest choice for me, but doing it makes my life easier.

Once the two kids have eaten, I take them upstairs to get dressed. Aaron picks out his own clothes and dresses himself. Some days I have to remind him of the weather so he dresses appropriately. Usually this process is excruciatingly slow. He takes his time, playing around and I have to just walk away and let him do it, periodically telling how much time he has left to get ready.

Madeline likes to pick out her clothes as well, but I limit the choices to a few and I assist her in getting dressed. She likes to try to do these things herself, saying, “I do it.” as she is in an independent stage. She is still in diapers but is usually cooperative in me changing her.

Once they are fed and dressed, they are allowed some TV time until it is time to take Aaron to preschool. During which time I am usually doing a bit of clean up: making my bed (which I cannot stand leaving unmade, thanks to my mother), empting or loading the dishwasher, laundry, the constant pick up and sometimes fixing my hair. Sometimes I ignore the mess, pull my wet hair in a ponytail and immerse myself into the computer. I check email, Facebook, and my blog list.  

At 8:45am we all get our shoes on (Aaron takes quite a bit to pull him away from the TV) and head out to the car. Madeline gets into the car seat on her own and attempts to help me buckle her up. Aaron is ready on his own when I get into the car. They get their daily mint and we head out.

It takes 8-12 minutes to get to Aaron’s school, depending on if I get stuck at the Clarkson light or not. (I hate that light!) We listen to the kids ipod or a CD we checked out from the library. Sometimes I put on the radio for myself.

We get into the carpool line at the school and wait for one of Aaron’s teachers to get him out of the car and he heads up. They usually say hi to Maddie and we wish Aaron a good day. 

Madeline and I can then officially start our day.

Now that it is summer, we don’t have anywhere we need to be. Most of the morning will stay the same, but the urgency to get out the door will not.

Next fall will be a whole new beast. Aaron will be beginning Kindergarten with a much earlier drop off time. Madeline will also be starting preschool  adding to the chaos. There will be packing lunches and snacks, uniforms to dress in, and a lot of driving around on my part. 

Day 3 and 4 are proving to be hard for me. Hope to share those with you soon!

Friday, May 18, 2012

31 Things- Jewelry

I signed up for my first online workshop. One that I have had to pay for that wasn't self paced. I signed up for Ali Edwards 31 Things at Big Picture Classes.

For day 1 the topic was jewelry. I was amazed at how much I had to say. The original journaling I decided not to use on my layout. It was 2 pages of text in Word and there was never going to be anyway that I was going to fit it on the page. Instead I took another perspective.

This is what the journaling says: 

I don’t wear a lot of jewelry. I wear my engagement ring, wedding ring, a pair of sapphire stud earrings, a diamond stud earring and a belly button ring.

I play with them. When I get nervous or bored, I twist, turn, and fidget with them.

I don’t know quite why I don’t wear much. I hate bracelets and watches. I can’t stand wearing anything on my wrists. I think that comes from the fact that I can’t leave them alone. I used to wear necklaces but my kids cured me from that; always pulling and tugging on them. When I worked, I couldn’t wear rings in the lab with the gloves necessary for the job.

I prefer yellow gold. Always have since I can remember my older sister wearing silver in junior high school. I had to do everything opposite her. She was always about quantity and I was always about quality. I also can’t wear most other metals. I will break out when wearing them for any great length of time.

Engagement ring. I love my engagement ring. I love the reminder that it gives me when I look down and see it. It reminds me that he picked me. There is nothing scandalous about this. We started dating when I was 16. I was his first girlfriend. But to this day, part of me wonders how I managed to hold on to such an amazing person. It did take him over 6 years to give it to me. I remember how I thought the day would never come, but it did.

Wedding ring. Without my engagement ring, my wedding ring would seem to amount to much. When I see it I think of my husband’s promise to me. That he will be with me to the end. No matter what. The day he gave it to me was one of the happiest days of my life and when I look at it, I remember the happiness. It gives me strength.

Sapphire stud earrings. Now the earrings don’t have an epic story like my engagement and wedding rings. They were a gift from my husband. My birthstone is Sapphire and I wanted something to wear in the second piercing in my ears. Something small. When my son was born in September, I thought it fitting that I wear them for him as well.

Diamond stud earring. I wear a diamond stud in the cartilage of my left ear. The earring used to be my sister’s until she had lost its partner. She gave it to me back when we were in high school. My daughter’s birthstone is a diamond, when I play with it, I think of her. She is definitely one of a kind.

Belly button ring. My belly button ring doesn’t have any sentimental value. I bought it for myself after losing the parts of many others, since I play with it. There isn’t a whole lot of gold body jewelry, and I can’t afford to buy solid gold as often as I have to replace them. I had been wearing gold plated rings, but the gold would wear off and my skin began to react to the other metal in it. Most people don’t even know I wear this jewelry. When I think of this piece of jewelry I think of my college days, as I got it on my 21st birthday.

As part of the class Ali provided a digital layered template for Photoshop. (I am using Photoshop Elements 8.0) This is the very first digital layout that I have ever created! Because I am such a newbie at this, I googled free digital scrapbook paper and found a whole digital kit free! If you are interested check out http://www.shabbyprincess.com/. Ali also created digital png files of the topics in her handwriting. 

Really enjoying this class and seeing what others are creating and writing with the same prompt. Not to late to join the class! Check it out!