August 26, 2011

BC Day 24: Something you've learned.

In the words of one of the wisest book characters I've ever been fond of...
"There comes a time in every one's life when we must decide between what is right and what is easy, and what is easy is not always right." ~ Albus Dumbledore

Sure, I've learned tons throughout my life, both in and out of school. But I feel more and more these days, that you really don't learn anything until you are at least 30. You think you are learning, or sometimes already know everything, but looking back on my 20s, I can say pretty confidently that I didn't know shit about life. Career wise I knew how to do my job well(don't worry my all grown up students that I know read this lol), but as far as the meat and potatoes content of life goes, I was clueless. 

Now, as I've jump-started my life this past year, I've come to find out that it's the hard decisions that truly make a difference in life. The ones that you know will make a huge impact, in both positive and negative ways. To have the bravery to not only make those decisions, but see them through is an amazing quality that I really believe comes with age. Wisdom. Courage.

For a long time I wasn't sure I was capable of making big decisions, and would constantly back-burner them. But now, I follow as Dumbledore says, and even though my choices might not be easy ones, they may in the long one be just what I need.

August 20, 2011

BC Day 22: What's in your purse?

The question should ask, 'what's NOT in your purse?' I feel like I'm on my way to the Let's Make a Deal game show, at the end where Monty Hall says, "I'll give you $100 if you have a hard boiled egg in your purse." Or whatever he might choose.

When you're a new mom, you have diaper bag overload. C'mon ladies, you remember. You had everything under the sun in there, and if I remember correctly, I had a list in one of my baby books of what you should have in there! Diapers, wipes, food, drink, the staples. But then you had money, medicine, bandaids, clothes, toys, etc. I giggle to myself when I see younger moms with the bags now, knowing you never use most of the 'just in case' stuff you pack!

Why am I talking about diaper bags? Well, I'm going to let you in on a secret here. I, Mama, have not always been a handbag nutjob. Before kids and being required to go out with some sort of bag, I actually NEVER carried a purse. Gasp! Ack! True stuff. I had back pockets or just a wallet, so why bother with a whole bag? Nowadays though, well, we all know I have a few too many bags living in my closet. The hard part of having so many, is the stuff inside.

I try to always have the staples. Wallet, chapstick, gum. Kids add pens, bandaids, and mini games. Glasses, cell phone, more gum. That's about it actually! It might not sound like too  much, and it wouldn't be if my wallet wasn't so darn heavy! The less I choose to carry, the less I have to transfer every few days when I change bags :) I've been using a big silver Cole Haan hobo bag for almost the whole summer though, go me! The silver goes with almost everything!

August 18, 2011

BC Day 20: Nicknames you have.

Allison. That's me. I love my name. I love the spelling and the way it sounds. Allison Maria was a good choice on my parents' part.

Growing up my friends called me Al. They still do. I don't mind. My dad was part of the reason I was named Allison, as he is Al. And that's part of the reason my boy was named Alex, and we call him Al(or usually A-Rod). I digress. Al was a fine nickname for the tomboy that I was. And it just stuck. My sister used to call me Alvin, but eventually it shortened to Al. In college I have a few friends that called me 'short stack', 'short stuff' or again Al. All fine by me.

Nowadays I am still Al, but also Mama. That's fine too.

There's one nickname that is always associated with my name, Ali. Do not call me Ali. I cringe if someone calls me Ali. I just don't like it. Only one exception to that rule, my mom. She named me, so she can call me anything she wants. And it's cute coming from my cute mom. And that's all she ever calls me. And I'm ok with that. 

But if you ever try to call me Ali, I won't even respond. Just sayin'.

BC Day 19: Something you miss.

I don't really miss stuff. It's just stuff, and can always be replaced(well, except my sister's stuffed animal Chipper, may he rest in peace). 

I do however, miss people. Today, I miss my kids. A ton. Since they were born, I've never ever been away from them for this long. It's a funny thing. I can pull my hair out and complain any day of the week with them home, but after a day or two of them gone, I can't stand not complaining. I know it's a great thing for moms to get a break every now and then, because as Dr. Phil has told us, if we don't take care of ourselves, we can't take care of them. But a week is a long time. L....o....n....g.... :(

August 17, 2011

August 16, 2011

BC Day 17: Something you're looking forward to.

Right now, 6:30am sitting in a hotel room, I'm looking forward to going home tomorrow night. But that's just an every day item on my mind, just wanting to sleep in my own bed. Sleep, ha.

But something I'm looking forward to is taking my boys on their first real vacation. They've never seen the ocean. Haven't been on a plane yet. Beg me to go to Florida. I keep putting them off, knowing the younger they are, the more difficult a trip with one mama and two boys will be. I'm thinking next summer will be the time. Finally. I can't promise there will be a plane involved, but I'll be ready to take them on our first destination vacation. That part of their baby books is still blank. I was saving it for the right time :)

August 14, 2011

BC Day 16: My dream house.

Whew, some of these are too big and/or vague for a short blog post. I can start by telling you I love my house. After 8 years since we built it, I now call it a home. I am continually on a quest to fix, tweak, update, and neaten every room, and it is all (slowly) coming together. The outside of the house has transformed beautifully this summer, and by next year at this time, I'm pretty sure all projects will be done!

That all being said, my dream house is not a cape cod style home in a rural development. I instantly think land. Acreage. At least 5 acres. No, 10. And I want the house in the middle, towards the back of the property. Gravel driveway from the main road, paved for the 100 feet or so closest to the house. No shortage of beautiful trees and shrubs around the property. A pond or two large enough for fishing and paddle boats.

The home itself should be a sprawling ranch. When I was younger, I'd say I wanted a big colonial. But as I get older wiser, I realize the importance of looking ahead. Colonials have a ton of stairs. Ugh. A ranch gives that option of living in the home long term, everything you need on one floor of the house. It should be pacific blue, black shutters, black front door. I need a HUGE kitchen, for amazing cooking and wonderful family time. I'd like a family room, living room, a handful of bathrooms, craft room, workshop, office, 4-5 bedrooms. Basement can be finished for a game room and a bar. Wrap around porch, hot tub and/or pool, flat yard for endless running and playing. 

Um, that covers it I think. I don't want a mansion. Some people tend to forget they have to clean what they own as well! I just want comfort. And beauty. And a place to enjoy family. Easy enough, right?

August 12, 2011

Day 15: A moment you've felt satisfied with your life.

Feeling a sense of accomplishment to me, is the same as feeling satisfied. So today, the moment that first came to my mind when I was truly satisfied, is when I completed grad school.

I decided to go to grad school right after I got out of college. Many of my friends decided to take a break before starting their Master's, but thanks to my forceful helpful dad, I made the decision to start right away. I wound up getting a full scholarship for the whole program at a school close to home, and moved back into my pretty pink bedroom at my parents' house. 

But while I worked on my Master's, I worked on campus, then got my first(awesome) teaching job, and prepared to get married. A busy girl to say the least, but I truly enjoyed that time in my life. I got married in April of that year, and completed my Master's in May.

Looking back and knowing where I am in life now, I'm not sure I'd be able to juggle everything as well as I did back then. I'm glad I did it in that year's time after college and got it done with. After receiving my diploma in the mail, then finishing up my first year of teaching, I had a well-deserved, relaxing summer. I was satisfied with my job well done. :)

August 11, 2011

Day 14: A picture of yourself last year. How have you changed?

This is a quick, easy post. My hair is WAY longer now, I've gained WAY too much weight, and I'm a WAY smarter, strong woman. 'Nuff said.

BC Day 13: Goals.

This is a tough one for me. I feel like most of the goals I've set for myself over the years have been reached. I did the college/grad school thing, I have a career doing what I love, I have two awesome kids, and a beautiful home to call my own. So for right now, I'd like to just continue doing what I'm doing, be more successful at my job, and continue to raise kind, strong-willed boys.

I talk to my students all the time about short and long term goals. Even though some of them are 17 or 18 years old, they just can't deal with long term goals. It's too much pressure. It's too far away. It seems unrealistic. So we focus on the short term, more accessible goals. The ones that they can reach and succeed at. Sounds like an easy plan for some of us grown-ups too!

I just sat here and tried to think for a few minutes of what other goals I'd like to have or set for myself. I can't really think of any. Perhaps that's a good thing, a sign that I'm finally content? Or does it say that I don't want to keep striving for more? That would be that furthest thing from the truth. I think my problem is that I just can't think far enough ahead these days to even have a goal.

Today I'll just have the goal of finishing my quiet coffee and having a lovely day with the boys. It's a start, right?

August 9, 2011

BC Day 12: Something you don't leave the house without.

Here's a few I choose from on a daily basis. There's plenty more, but this is what I could grab quick enough for a group photo:

August 8, 2011

What I did on my summer vacation.

I just have to derail from my 30 day blogging to bring you all this article I read yesterday. I love Mitch Albom, and respect his words so much. I enjoyed this article knowing this is what I've been trying to do this summer, and I hope others can appreciate it and see how important summer really is :)

The Joys of Summer by Mitch Albom

Go ahead, kids. Lie in the grass. Study the clouds. Daydream. Be lazy. You have our permission.

I feel sorry for today’s kids. Summer comes, they’re finally free from school—and bang! Band camp. Science seminars. Internships.

Instead of downtime, it’s get-up-and-go time. Chorus travel, archaeological digs, dance tours. My nephew from Michigan flew to Georgetown University for a summer medical program, replete with cadavers. He was 16.

He’s hardly alone. Some kids fill their summers with so many prep courses that they’re ready to graduate from college by the time they get there. It’s all very admirable, but here’s a question: Why so busy?

I can make the case for doing nothing all summer. That’s right. Nothing. I know it won’t advance your kids’ career objectives or improve their SAT scores.

But it might be good for them.

When I think of my childhood summers, I remember lying in the grass, hands behind my head, feeling the blades dig into my fingers. I studied the clouds. I joked with my friends. None of us wore watches.

Weekdays were indistinguishable from weekends. I’d wake up when my eyes opened, read comic books over bowls of -cereal, go outside with my baseball glove (just in case a game broke out), and find something to do—oil my bike, make things in the garage. Was it lazy? By today’s standards, maybe. But there was a freedom that today’s kids don’t enjoy. We sat on curbs. We daydreamed. Think about the word. “Daydream.” It means your imagination wanders while your eyes are open.

What kid has time for that today? Preteens are on travel soccer teams. They fly to faraway cities. Play tournaments. Isn’t that what pro players do?

Likewise, camps chew up the summer months, but they’re no longer just softball and swimming. There are fashion camps. Circus camps. Science camps. Achievement is emphasized.

Even kids at home find their free time under scrutiny. Some children are made to adhere to playdates as if keeping a doctor’s appointment. (By the way, the closest I ever came to a “playdate” was when my mother opened the door on summer mornings and said, “Go. Don’t come back until supper.”)

We need to lighten it up. Sometimes doing nothing is doing something. Sure, camp can be fun, and travel ball is exciting, but if we cram in activities from the last day of school to the first, we’re ignoring an important fact: The way kids work during the academic year—honestly, you’d think homework was a full-time job—a mental break may be needed. These are young minds, young bodies. Replenishing the juices by kicking back is not a bad idea. And if not in childhood, then when?

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “If we don’t enroll our kids in an activity, all they’ll do is text. Or watch TV (and text) or talk on the phone (and text).”

Well, you could prevent that. You could take away the cell phone, the iPod, the Nintendo. Then see if you can get your kid to do four things in a day:

1. Have a face-to-face conversation with a friend.

2. Read something.

3. Build something.

4. Get wet. A pool. A hose. A sprinkler. Whatever.

That’s really enough. Before you can blink, it’s the school year again, where every day is jammed with sports, AP classes, student government, and field trips.

That’s fine for September. But if September is no different from June, July, and August, then we’re doing something wrong. And our kids are missing something precious.

BC Day 11: A tv show you're addicted to.

Yes, you caught me. I intentionally skipped a day. But with good reason! Yesterday(Sunday) was such a relaxing, lovely day, I didn't even want to touch the computer. And, I really didn't have enough content to make a worth reading post for the topic anyway.

But tv? I can write a book about it! There's so much I watch, but right now I am madly in love with Nurse Jackie. My sister watched it and loved it, then bought my mom the dvd sets. I borrowed them, and they just sat on my dresser collecting dust for the longest time. One night I had nothing left on tivo, so I popped in disc one of season one. OH MY GOSH, I was hooked from the first episode.

It's a half hour show, which for someone jumpy and impatient like me is perfect. Short, sweet, wild, and to the point. Each episode keeps me on my toes, and makes me look forward to the next. I finished all three seasons in a three day span, and now cannot wait to see what is in store for Jackie in season four!!

If you haven't seen it, or don't have Showtime, it's available on dvd and on plenty of sites online(yes, I'm aware that's not legal, shhh)that have it. I don't usually HIGHLY recommend a show, but I certainly think Nurse Jackie is worth your time!

August 6, 2011

BC Day 9: A habit you wish you didn't have.

I eat too much ice cream. I bite my cuticles. Lord know I snap my gum. But I think the worse habit I have right now is my lack of sleep. Insomnia.

Some would be quick to say, 'that's not a habit!'. But when I wasn't sure what to choose as my bad habit for today, I started looking around the cyber world for a list of bad habits. When I saw insomnia listed, I knew for sure it was the one for me!

Articles upon articles go on to say how it (in some cases) is a triggered response to an event or something stressful in life. I can't pinpoint it that exact, but my year has been one for the books for sure. They then tell that when you believe you are a poor sleeper, you continue to sleep poorly. So just like any habit, a little training and positive affirmation, and you'll be sleeping like a baby!

Surely I don't believe it's that easy, or I'd be catching mad Zs right now. Either way, if it's considered a habit, it's definitely the worst one I have right now.

August 5, 2011

BC Day 8: A place you've traveled to.

Sadly, Mama hasn't gone too many places. One tropical trip, and the rest only on the east coast. Sad, right?

I actually don't even have somewhere that's worth all the oooh's and ahhh's of a descriptive trip. I get bored quickly on vacation, and have a hard time just soaking in the surroundings. Well, I should say I used to, meaning when I actually had time to vacation, sans children of course. These days perhaps I would appreciate and enjoy a trip a bit more, knowing how much I could use one!

Maybe I should say where I'd like to go instead. I'd like to go to a specific tropical island. I'd like to go to Greece. The Grand Canyon. Gotta see Mount Rushmore. I'd like to take a cruise to Alaska. Maybe when I hit Powerball tomorrow...

August 4, 2011

BC Day 7: Your favorite movie.

Can I just start with saying holy cannoli, how can it be the 7th day already? Time is going way too fast!

My favorite movie. It's like picking a favorite does one choose just one? There are so many I can watch over and over (Grease, Walk the Line, Moulin Rouge). I think half of my friends will tell you my favorite movie is The Wizard of Oz. The other half will tell you it's definitely Goodfellas. They are both huge contenders, no doubt, but after the millionth view, they've each lost a bit of their luster. Then I was going to say You've Got Mail, because I truly, truly love it. But I'm going with one a bit off the charts. You may not have heard of it or seen it, but hopefully you have.

David Duchovny plays a grieving widower trying out his dating skills, and he of course falls for Minnie Driver. The emotion throughout the movie is heartfelt, I love the soundtrack, and I love the cast. Minnie's dad is played by Carroll O'Connor, and he and his buddies remind me of my grandpa. 

I have nothing negative to say about this movie. Sure, it's a bit corny to some, too lovey and silly, but I love it. I cry every time I watch it, I smile every time I watch it, and I can still watch it all the way through without being bored and fast forwarding. All of those thoughts and more, put Return to Me at the top of my list. For today at least.

August 3, 2011

BC Day 6: A picture of you as a baby.

I'm not shy about saying I was darn cute as a baby. Bright-eyed, smiley, and as I got a bit older, phenomenal hair. It's hard to choose just one cutey shot of me, but I choose this one for a few reasons. Of course I look awesome in that strawberry dress and tights. It's taken in my bedroom when I was little, and I think my mom still has those curtains. And most importantly, I'm standing there smiling with one of the bestest, kindest, strongest ladies I've ever had the privilege to know: my grandma!

August 2, 2011

BC Day 5: A song to match your mood today.

I find this to be a difficult post. I live for music, and think it's crazy for me to have to pick just one song. I'd consider today's mood optimistic(yes, you read correctly!). A few Cake songs, Chris Cornell, and Weezer were top contenders. But I've chosen a song a bit off the beaten path. One that has that soulful 60s sound I love so much, a colorful video, and I just love some of the lyrics. Paloma Faith, Upside Down:

♫ Angels watching over me with smiles upon their face/ Cause I have made it through this far in an unforgiving place/ It feels sometimes this hill's too steep for a girl like me to climb/ But I must knock those thoughts right down I'll do it in my own time.♫

There's plenty of days for me that feel like I'm slowly walking uphill. All. Day. Long. Every day brings it's new challenges for me, but I'm learning to be ok with it, and face it all head on. And if I'm not living the way someone else wants me or expects me to live, well that's just tough crap. I see things differently than others. And as Paloma Faith says, ♫"I'm not a fool, I'm just upside down."♫

August 1, 2011

BC Day 4: Your parents or siblings.

Well, I've already told you how awesome my mom is. But how much do you know about my sisters?

I have two sisters, both older than me. Not a ton older, but older enough that we almost lived completely different and separate lives until I was in college. Now that we are all grown up, we are inseparable. Over the last few years our family has been tested tremendously, and together we've come through everything life has thrown at us.

They are so different from each other and me in so many ways. Yet despite all of our differences, we share a bond that so many siblings don't share, but wish they did. I can pick up the phone any time of day, and have an ear to listen. I may live 2 hours away, but there's no distance between us. We laugh a ton when we are together, and know how to balance each others' lives. I'm lucky and thankful to have two big sisters that love me so much.
Me, my sisters, and our mama:)