Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Terrific Tuesday

In continuing with the tradition I would like to take a minute today to forget about the bad, and focus on some of the terrific things I have in my life.

This week I want to focus on my friends. The past couple weeks I have had some friends who have really been there for me and I appreciate it so much. It might be as simple as meeting me for a drink when I need to get away. It might be coming on my podcast as my first guest, or it might even be just talking to me online or on the phone to make sure everything is going ok. All of these things are wonderful, and helpful. Everything shows me I have people I can count on, and people who will be there for me when I need them.

This is a hard thing for me to know and trust. However, as I have recently put myself out there it has proven to be the case. Some of these people who have been there for me lately are people I have known for many many years, but haven't had the chance to hang out with in a significant number of years (5-10 etc.). Others are people who I have more recently become friends with and have only had the chance to hang out with a few times. It is interesting me that there is such a wide variety in my friends, how long I have known them, who they are, their interest etc.... but they are all wonderful people and I wouldn't trade them for anything.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Books, Books, and more Books

I love reading. Reading gives you a chance to escape reality for a minute, and experience a world you wouldn't experience otherwise.

Every year I set a goal for how many books I would like to read throughout the year. This only counts books I read for myself.... not kids books, not books for work, etc. This year my goal is 50. Typically I read more than that, but when I am discounting a large portion of books I read I felt like this was a fair number.

So far I have read some chick lit easy books such as the "Shopaholic" series. I have read some classic books like "The Importance of Being Ernest." I have read many books from the new Neta Jackson series. Then I have read books that are outside of my comfort zone such as the first book in the "Fairies of Rush" series or "The Lost Girls and the Wander Years". Though they are all very different they all provide a level of enjoyment.

Recently I started reading "The Shack". This is not a book I would typically read as it tends to fall into my category of "over hyped." I have often found that books like this that get so much attention, aren't books I will end up enjoying. However, I am optimistic that this book will be different. This book provides a lot to think about, and some things to reflect upon.

In addition to these books which count towards my goal I read many young adult books or books geared towards upper elementary school. I am always looking for new books to read in my classroom, and I personally believe that currently some of the best books coming out fall into these categories. In addition to the new books coming out there are books that have been around for years that are simply wonderful such as "Summer of the Monkeys" or "Indian in the Cupboard." "Summer of the Monkeys" is one of my favorite books, and I read it with my students every year. This year we did a large project with it, and then at the end the students got to watch the movie. After our project I asked the students who enjoyed the book and thought I should use it next year, and every child in my class said they enjoyed it and thought I should continue to use it. After watching the movie they all agreed that the book was better. You know when a class full of 3rd graders would rather read the book than watch the movie there is no denying how amazing the book is. As I continue reading I will always be looking for more books that fall into this amazing category, and hopefully one day will even write one that belongs here.

If you have any suggestions for books I should read myself, or books I should read at school I would love to hear them. If you have read any of the books I mentioned above I would love to hear your reviews of them.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Family Day

While I was growing up, Sunday was typically family day for my family. We would do something together: frequently working in the yard, going somewhere for the day, camping, etc. As I know have my own child I understand more how important "family day" is. Ashley and I get alone time almost everyday during the summer. It is just me and her hanging out, spending time together, and making memories.

This weekend has been a bit of a family weekend for me. Yesterday Jay, Ash, and I went to do the balloon release together.

Last night Larry, Ashley, and I went to my parents house to play games. Playing games happens to be one of my favorite ways to spend family time. It is fun and still gives you a chance to talk. Last night we played Imaginn which happens to be one of my favorite games.

This is a picture from our "photo finish" during the first round!

When I was thinking about this blog post last night one of my friends posted "Friends are the family you choose for yourself" to his facebook wall. This is a very true statement and one I completely agree in. There are people in my "family" who aren't technically family. For example my brother's friend "Derek" is someone I refer to as brother, he calls me sis, and we have always been and will always be close. He is part of my "family". Frieda my babysitter while growing up will always be part of my family, as she was just like a grandma to me. The list continues, but the point is sometimes family doesn't just mean blood relatives. Family means the people you feel "at home" with, the people you feel comfortable and safe with.

My "family" has changed somewhat over the years, especially with my marriage and welcoming new people into my family, and then my divorce which somewhat blurs the family lines for many.

It usually takes a lot for someone to get within those boundaries for me, and yet sometimes people sneak in and I look back and have no idea how or when that happened. That is the situation I have been facing lately. Larry is a very special person in my life, and the past few days I have noticed that he has gone beyond my normal boundaries. He has been there to hold me when I cry. He has been with me when I need support, or need someone to talk to. In addition I am totally comfortable around him so he gets to see me be myself with nothing holding me back (at times I am sure he wishes that wasn't the case ;-) ) He knows when something is bothering me, and I open up to him and tell him what's going on. He knows my personal thoughts, fears, and dreams. He knows when something is going to bother me, and when he should be there to offer extra support. He is an amazing person and I am so lucky to have him as part of my life. I don't know how he slipped his way past my boundaries, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

We will always love you.... and never forget you

This afternoon Jay, Ashley, and I did a balloon release at Lake Jacomo in honor of our baby. Today was my due date, and our precious baby should have been joining our family. Instead our perfect child went with God much too soon.

Once we got to the spot at the lake I asked Ashley if she had anything she wanted to say. She said "I wish you could have come to our family", and with that simple sentence there was nothing left to say.

Happy Birthday Angel Baby

Happy Birthday Angel Baby. I wish you were joining our family today, but instead you are in a better place. I hope you can look down over us proudly, and I hope someone up there can tell you all about us. We love you and won't ever forget you!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Food.... eating

Over the winter I started losing a significant amount of weight. It started when I was sick and has continued since then. Total I have lost between 45-50 pounds. People keep asking me what my secret is or what I am doing, and I really don't know what to tell them. I am not dieting. I didn't really start a new workout routine. However, I have changed my lifestyle and the last few days I realized I have really changed how I eat. I do eat what I want, but eat small amounts frequently. For example my lunch today was a few turkey sticks and some cheese cubes. On occassion I still eat things like McDonalds but instead of a big meal I will get a Happy Meal, or a snack wrap and small fries. It fills me up. I am not left hungry, and also am not left craving something. On that same note I have decided it is not important to finish everything on my plate. If I am full I stop eatting. If I am out I can take it home and eat it later. There is no point in forcing myself to eat something if I am not really hungry.

I have also stopped snacking as much at night time. I use to always eat large amounts of snack foods in the evening. I will still on occassion have a snack, but it is a much smaller amount and it isn't every night. I don't know exactly what caused this change, but it is definitely working for me. I honestly believe part of it is my stress level is less, and I have other outlets, so I am not eatting because I am upset or stressed out.

I haven't started a new workout routine but I do enjoy going to the park with Ashley or going on walks. Of course it has been very very hot lately so I haven't been doing that nearly as much the last couple weeks. Prior to that though Ashley and I would go for a walk everynight after dinner. Even if we didn't go very far it was still better than nothing.

I have also noticed lately that what I have been hungry for has changed. This has always been somewhat of the situation int he summer. I would rather eat fresh fruits and veggies than a huge meal. I have also been loving Subway lately. They have a new Veggie Lovers Sandwich with avacodo and spinach on it and it is one of my favorite things to eat right now. I get it loaded up with veggies, pepper jack cheese, and then sweet onion sauce on it.

Ultimate Veggie with Avacodo and Spinach on Honey Oat... YUMMY!

So I guess what everyone says about losing weight is true... it does require a lifestyle change. However, it doesn't have to be painful and you might often look back and not even notice the small changes that add up to a big change overall. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Top 10 Thursday

I would like to post a different Top 10 List every Thursday. I would love you to leave me your Top 10 for the week in comments, or leave me a comment with something you would like me to make a Top 10 post about.

I happen to be a huge fan of quotes. I like them for all different reasons... some are funny, some make me think, some represent my views, some bring back memories etc. I love so many it was hard to chose, but I tried to pick some I like for multiple different reasons. So this week's Top 10.....

Top 10 Favorite Quotes (in no particular order):

1. "Shoot for the moon. even if you miss, you'll land among the stars." - Brian Littrell

I have always had a bit of an obsession with stars, and this has been one of my favorite quotes for many years. I have lots of star themes decorations, sheets, etc. around my house. In college I had hundreds and hundreds of glow in the dark stars all over my ceiling and walls.

2. “Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” - A.A Milne

I love this quote, and use it frequently in my classroom. I think it is an important thing for all my students to remember.

3. “You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching,
Love like you'll never be hurt,
Sing like there's nobody listening,
And live like it's heaven on earth.”
― Willian W. Purkey

4. “In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.”  - Robert Frost

5. “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -  Maya Angelou

I completely believe in this quote. You might not remember the circumstances surrounding every situation, but you are likely to remember how good or bad someone made you feel in the situation. 

6. “The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.” - Mark Twain
As a teacher and an avid reader I love this quote. Everyone should take advantage of the books around them.

7. “Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” - Apple Inc.

8. “If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” - J.K.  Rowling

9. “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It's not.”
- Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
I love this quote for many reasons. I think it is important for people to really care about what they believe in. This is also the first movie Ashley and I went to see just the two of us after Jay moved out.

10. "An angel in the book of life wrote down my baby's birth.
Then whispered as she closed the book "too beautiful for earth".
~author unknown

This is the canvas a friend made me using the quote above. He gave it to me for Mother's  Day this year in honor of our baby lost in January. 



Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Working Wednesday

I thought it might be fun to do a post every Wednesday about things I am currently "working" on. Typically this will be some sort of craft project, but it might also be something I am working on in my house, or some other creative thing I am doing.

This week I am doing all three...

Around the House:
Ashley and I are preparing to move so I am currently working on getting everything packed up and ready to go. This is easier said than done as I hate packing. We are also moving to a much smaller place so I need to get rid of lots of things and I am not even really sure where to start with that.

Crafty: I had taken a little break from knitting, but recently started working on it again. I am trying to get a scarf finished for Jay that I actually started way back when I was sick. I kind of pick it up off and on and work on it, but then get bored with it and work on something else. I have also been knitting some washcloths. This is a bit more fun for me because they are in bright and cheerful colors so it makes me happy just looking at them.

The ribbed scarf I am working on.

One of my cheerful washcloths.

What crafty things are you working on right now?

Creative Outlets: In addition to all of that I am working on a new podcast I will be hosting. It's just for fun and will give me an outlet to express some of my thoughts, opinions, and frustrations. I am recording my first episode this week with my friend John. It all makes me nervous, but I am optimistic that it will turn out great and turn into a wonderful thing for me.

I would love to see or hear about what you are working on right now. You can leave a comment, link me to your blog, etc.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Terrific Tuesday

Sometimes life gets crazy and it is easy to focus on the bad things going on, so today I want to stop and mention a few terrific things I have in my life.

Family: Obviously Ashley is a very important part of my life, but in addition to Ashley I have some other terrific family members. I am blessed to have a close relationship with them, and that Ashley has a close relationship with them. Not everyone is that lucky. Ashley sees her grandparents and uncles multiple times a week, she sees one of her great grandmas about once a week. She sees other aunts, uncles, great grandparents, cousins etc. multiple times throughout the year. These are people she really knows and loves not just someone she is technically related to. They are actually part of her life and they are forming memories she won't ever forget.

Ashley and Grandma (my mom) at the pool.

Cousins: Yes I know cousins are family, but my cousins are more than just family they are friends.  My cousins were some of my best friends growing up, and some of them are still some of my best friends. The weekend after the 4th of July I was able to go to Rolla and stay with my cousins. We had a wonderful time catching up, and I love how we view things so similarly. My cousin and his wife are wonderful people and I love spending time with them. I love how we can talk about everything so comfortably. I love how well our kids all play together, and I love that there is no judgement there.

Jenna and Ashley playing at the park.

In addition to these cousins I also got to spend some time with one of my second cousins, who was also a huge part of my childhood. Our parents were best friends while we were growing up, so all of us spent many many weekends together. I love getting to spend time with her and her family. I love being able to catch up, and I love that we can talk as if no time has really passed.

Ciera (my second cousin) and I enjoying the octopus! Well I was enjoying it, she was threatening to kill me for making her go on it lol.

Ashley and baby Remington (Ciera's son). Ashley loved him, and wanted to just be touching him and patting him all the time.

While there are many other terrific things in my life I think I will leave it at these for today. So on this Tuesday take a minute to stop thinking about the terrible things in your life, and focus on the terffic things!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Ashley Turns 4

On July 14th Ashley turned 4. We celebrated her birthday with friends and family at my mom's neighborhood pool, and then going to Red Robin (which is one of Ashley's favorite places to eat).

We had a great day and I was proud of Jay and I for handling it to so respectfully and being able to put everything aside to celebrate Ashley's special day together. I think we have been working together well at being coparents and doing what is best for Ashley. I firmly believe this is the right way to handle things, and what will provde her the support and structure she needs. It is frustrating to me when I post pictures (like the one below) and get people questioning if we are back together, or why we are together. We are not back together, but we will both always be Ashley's parents and we are going to act accordingly. More people should do the same!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Today We Say Goodbye

Today we say goodbye to Jay's grandma, Darlene Iler. Legacy Site

Ashley and "G.G." When Ashley was only a couple days old.

Jay's grandparents played an important role in his life, and definitely helped shape him into the person he is today. While I am glad she is no longer in pain, she will be missed by many.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I hate D words

D words are at the top of my hate list right now, and in the past several months we have dealt with a lot of them.

In November I started having some health issues and after a visit to the doctor found out we were expecting a new little bundle of joy in our family.  This was a very happy and exciting thing for us, but unfortunatley that's where it stops. After months of doctors visits and health issues we lost our baby on January 14th.  This was obviously a horrible time for everyone, and something that will always be on my mind. This topic really deserves its own post and I thought I would have written about it by now, but it has been to hard. I promise a post will be coming soon though, maybe around the 28th when we do a memory thing for the baby.

Unfortunately that wasn't the only loss we have faced recently, last week we lost our dog Jasmine. Jazz became a member of my family when I was 15 years old, so she has been with us a long time, and was very loved by all.  I am glad she isn't suffering, but I still can't fathom that she won't be back.

 That brings us to the next D word, DIVORCE. In February something I thought was impossible happened, Jay moved out and filed for divorce. We went through months of hurt feelings and arguing, but have now reached a better place. I would even venture to say we are probably closer now than we have been the last several years. It still eats at me though. I didn't think I would ever get divorced. Divorce isn't even something I really believe in. It is what was best for our family though, and all of us are doing well now. However with divorce comes judgement.... everyone has their own thoughts and their own opinions. People can tell you exactly why we got divorced, which to this day still isn't something I can do. People can tell you what would have saved our marriage, without ever asking us what we tried..... and of course people can point fingers.

 Lastly we come to DATING... something I had hoped I was done with forever. However, with the end of my marriage I have now been thrown back into the dating world.  I hate dating, and have always hated dating, especially "casual dating". It is just awkward and peoples feelings get hurt and it isn't a fun place to be in. Add kids to the mix and it is even worse. You have to consider your feelings, and your kids feelings, and how everyone fits together as a unit. Then not only are you trying to figure things out but once again people have opinions and judgements. Are you dating before you should? Is the person you are dating right for you and your family? Should you just stay single and lonely forever? There is no right answer. You have to do what is best for you, and I guess eventually you get thicker skin and peoples comments don't hurt you.... I am not there yet.

As I deal with all of these things I am left wondering why.  I wonder when enough is enough and if it is ever going to stop. I ask myself what could I have possibly done to deserve all of this. Then I come across phrases like this and understand others feel the same way...

So as I try to adjust to these new changes and losses in our family I try to look for the positive and take it one day at a time. However that is often easier said than done, and for today "I hate D words" is as positive as I can be.