adventuroo

Capture the Everyday: Lucky & Thankful

I had ambitions of doing two posts today, one on the NaBloPoMo prompt on “What is the luckiest thing that has ever happened to you and why” as well as a separate post participating in Adventuroo’s Capture the Everyday meme. It turns out my productivity does not match my ambition. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that both posts could fit in one post. Stay with me here.

Luck

When I was a senior in high school, I applied for and received a Teaching Fellows scholarship. The now-defunct program (thanks to the bozos in the General Assembly) gave college scholarships to students who would be willing to teach for 4 years in the NC public school system. The scholarships were redeemable at all of the public universities and one private college.

For some reason, I always wanted to attend UNC Chapel Hill. I think it was because it was the paternal side of my family’s favorite college team. As I was going through the Teaching Fellows process, I had to indicate my top college choice and secondary and tertiary choices. You could get into the university of your choosing, but you wouldn’t be able to use your Teaching Fellows scholarship unless they had a place for you. Unsurprisingly, NC State and UNC Chapel Hill had a lot of applicants for not enough spaces. I put down UNC Chapel Hill as my top choice and then faltered. Where did I want to go next? I ended up putting Meredith College in Raleigh as my second choice because I had heard good things about it, my mother talked it up, and since they were private, they matched the Teaching Fellows funds so that it was pretty much a full scholarship. UNCG was my third choice.

I was accepted at UNC Chapel Hill but did not receive a Teaching Fellows slot, so I quickly turned to my second choice, Meredith, which had accepted me into the school and the Teaching Fellows program. I turned UNC down and made plans to attend Meredith.

And it was the best decision of my life. Even though my first glimpse of Meredith was on the day I moved in, I loved it. Granted, I didn’t always love the sorority-esque feel and activities (Cornhuskin’!!!!), but I loved the campus, I loved my classes, and I loved the people I met there. I ended up majoring in English (quite a change for the student who planned to major in psychology and become a therapist one day). I continued my long-time participation in theater by being in plays. Though some of my friends who attended Chapel Hill and professors at NC State were dismissive and condescending about the school, Meredith was awesome. I met one of my best friends there. Attending college there laid the foundation for my future (no, I never taught). Most importantly, I met J there during a “Boy Day,” one of the few times boys were allowed in your rooms. We were married in the chapel almost 10 years ago.

Thankful

I am so incredibly thankful that I was not given a spot in the Teaching Fellows program at UNC Chapel Hill. I don’t think I would have been happy there, and while my relationship with organized religion is somewhat sketchy and nebulous, I truly believe that some higher power was looking out for me. Meredith was perfect for me.

It is tempting to ponder whether one decision sends you down a wildly different course than another decision would (roads not taken and all that), but I don’t want to think what my present would be like if I hadn’t attended Meredith. If I hadn’t attended Meredith, I may not have this:

Story time!

My sweet boy

And for that, I am truly thankful.

Capture the Everyday from Adventuroo

Capture the Everyday: Sign of Fall

The leaves may have begun to change dramatically only in the last few weeks, but in our house, Fall begins as soon as we see this in the grocery store:

Pumpkin spice coffee

Yes, there are 5 bags of pumpkin spice coffee in my freezer, and we’ve probably gone through 4 or 5 bags already.  We stalk it.  Usually we find the Millstone brand at Kroger but were only able to find a few bags early in the season this year.  Walmart used to carry it, but we didn’t see it this year.  However, I did find the Dunkin brand of pumpkin spice there, and it’s pretty good.  It seems to have more cinnamon than the Millstone.  I bought two bags and then bought 3 more.  In years past, we’ve bought ridiculous amounts and hoarded it in the freezer, even grinding some for our espresso machine.  Mmmmm pumpkin spice lattes!

We may not finish our stock of pumpkin spice before it’s time to turn to peppermint (we already have one bag in the freezer), but we’ll tuck it deep in the freezer so it will be there for us next year to tide us over until we can find a new stash.

Capture the Everyday from Adventuroo
Capture the Everyday is about getting you to capture those everyday moments in your life! Each Tuesday, Melissa at Adventuroo will issue a simple challenge to capture something that’s a part of your daily life. You can post just a picture or add some words to go along with it. You’ll have a week to get it done and then she’ll issue another. It’s a quick, easy way to start capturing those little parts of life we sometimes take for granted

Capture the Everyday: Halloween Closeup

Halloween seemed to have more tricks than treats yesterday, but we still had a good time!  And most importantly, Daniel had fun despite the rain and enjoyed his very first Kit Kat.  I think I have a chocolate fiend on my hands!

Without further ado, I present my Very Hungry Caterpillar!

very hungry caterpillar, halloween

A little blurry but cute

I love how his antennae(?) dominate the picture when he bends down.

Very Hungry Caterpillar, Halloween

Top heavy!

 

Capture the Everyday from Adventuroo

Capture the Everyday: Love

Daniel loves going outside and exploring our yard, and while he loves leaves and pine cones, he especially loves flowers. He isn’t content to just admire them in the pot or in the ground, he must pick them.  As soon as we go outside, he runs to one and says happily, “pick fower.”

While I’m glad he loves nature and flowers, it sure does wreak havoc with my attempts to beautify our porch and yard! In attempt to reach a compromise (because yes, negotiating with a 2-year-old makes perfect sense), we bought him a purple mum of his own over the weekend.  Purple is his favorite color, and we hope that if we told him he could pick all he wanted from it, he might leave the other flowers alone.  J dubbed it the “sacrificial mum.”

Picking flowers from his mum

As you can see, our strategy is not working 100%.

Oooh, I like the pansies too!

He also loves pumpkins and tries to carry them no matter how big they are.

That pumpkin used to be part of my fall display on my porch

Flowers come and go, but the joy on my little boy’s face when he’s playing with them is worth it.

Capture the Everyday from Adventuroo

									

Week in My Life: The Weekend

This is my final entry in Adventuroo‘s Week in My Life project.  It’s been a lot of fun!

Our weekends have become fairly unstructured.  On Saturday mornings, Daniel and I used to go to The Little Gym for a 9:45 class, but our gym closed down before the Fall semester started 😦

Saturday

I woke up at 6, and Daniel woke up at 7.  I tried to let J sleep in a bit since we haven’t been sleeping well while we’ve been sick and, well, I do better in the mornings than he does.  He couldn’t sleep and got up at 8:30.

While I made Daniel’s breakfast, he proceeded to destroy the kitchen.

Amazing how quickly the kitchen can be destroyed by a determined 2-year-old!

After breakfast, Daniel requested his crayons.  He doesn’t like to color by himself, so I draw things and have him color them.   Yes, this is me pre-makeup, unbrushed hair and glasses.

Art project and me in all my glory

We were going to run a few errands that morning, so while I was getting ready, J and Daniel played on his easel.  Daniel can count to 10, so J was working on spelling the numbers with him.

Daddy and Daniel playing with the letters

J helping Daniel on with his jacket, and then we’re off.

Snuggles with Daddy

 

Getting ready to run errands

Our first stop was at Target.  I used to dislike Target and the whole “Tarjay” phenomenon because it seemed to pretentious.  I preferred the honesty of WalMart (in theory anyway) and how it didn’t try to dress up what it was.  And then they built a Super WalMart in my area, and I quickly ate my words.  WalMart is icky.

Is that Halloween candy behind me?

We also stopped at Kohl’s where I bought new bedroom slippers and a gold turtleneck.  The final stop of the morning was Lowe’s so I could buy flowers.  I thought it would be fun for Daniel because he LOVES flowers and plants but that’s why it may have been a mistake: he kept trying to pick every flower he saw.

Smelling flowers

Daniel wasn’t in to lunch, but he did agree to eat…wait for it…yogurt!  And then he decided to share with Lucy.

Sharing yogurt with Lucy

After his nap, Daniel saw my laptop and wanted to play with it.  In addition to cats and flowers, he is fascinated by gadgets.

Time for a little work post-nap

I’m always amazed at how quickly the day passes after nap time.  Next thing I know, it was time to make dinner.  Another healthy dinner rejected by Daniel, though he did find a creative use for one of the shunned carrots!

Carrots are more fun to play with than eat

Out of desperation, we made him spaghetti with our homemade sauce.  He hadn’t been into pasta lately, but we discovered tonight that his noodle preferences have changed.  He now prefers spaghetti to penne. Good to know!

Spaghetti!

 

Sunday

Daniel and I woke up at 7 and I again let J sleep in since we both had a lot of congestion the night before.  Daniel surprised me by eating a pumpkin muffin (he calls them “cake”) for breakfast.  Yay!

Pumpkin muffin for breakfast

We had originally planned to head to Hill Ridge Farms Sunday morning, but after Erin responded to my tweet, telling me that her family’s day there on Saturday had been fun but exhausting, we decided to go another weekend when our coughs will hopefully, finally be gone and we would be better able to chase Daniel.

So we headed outside instead.

Uh oh - scarecrow casualty!

Like I said above, Daniel LOVES flowers and wants to pick everything.  Poor petunia.  She had served her purpose well.  Guess it’s time to plant some pansies anyway.

This used to be a petunia

That’s our weekend in a nutshell!

I really had a good time with this project.  It’s priceless to capture all those little moments during the week, but it has also been so helpful to read everyone else’s posts and see that we all struggle with the same sorts of things and that no one has it all figured out.

Being a working and fairly new mom, I worry a lot about whether we are doing enough around the house, for Daniel, etc.  Why aren’t we more organized?  Are we being lazy?  Does everyone else have super structured lives?  Reading these glimpses into your lives have helped put those fears to bed.

Thank you.

Week in My Life: Friday

Day 5 of my participation in Adventuroo‘s project!  This Friday was out of the ordinary because J and I took the day off from work in order to do some major Fall cleaning around the house.

I didn’t sleep well.  I don’t know if it’s the cold or something else, but every day I wake up around 4.  This morning I had the privilege of waking up at 3!  Thankfully I was able to go back to sleep until around 5:30.  At that point, I was awake for the day.  I thought about getting up and writing the post for Thursday but dithered too long because Daniel woke up at 7.

I washed my face and brushed my teeth while listening to him chatter on the monitor. I love hearing his voice and all his new words as he plays with his stuffed animals.  I fed the yowling beasts and then went to his room.  He asked me to come snuggle, so I did.  There was a lot of tail action in his room – stuffed animal tails that is!  He is fascinated with tails, and he has lots of stuffed animals with tails, and he likes to tickle his nose and my nose and J’s nose with them.

After about 20 minutes, we headed to the Master Bedroom in order to change his diaper.  Daniel slipped in front of the door, but I thought it was because of his footie pajamas.  He jumped on the bed and chased Lucy.  I changed his diaper and brought him into the kitchen.  Only then did I put on my glasses.  I noticed weird spots on my pillow and side of the bed.  Curious, I opened the bedroom door and saw a huge pile of cat vomit.  Oh joy.  So that’s what Daniel slipped in and that’s what is on my side of the bed!   I hadn’t noticed it because the hallway was dark and yes, my vision really is that poor without my glasses or contacts.

I quickly stripped him down and put on his clothes and gave his stuffed kitty Juliet an emergency bath.  Oh and I cleaned up the cat puke.  J got up and got dressed because he was taking Daniel to his mom for  the day.  They left, I made coffee (yummy peppermint), put in my contacts and then sat down at my laptop to write Thursday’s post. 

J calls about 10 minutes later and informs me that Daniel has puked.  Though he hasn’t been sick like we have been, he’s been gunky too, so he puked up a lot of mucus.   They hadn’t gotten on I-40 yet, so J was able to pull over and clean him up.  He said that Daniel told him he felt better now.  I bet!

When J returned, we had breakfast from McDonald’s to fuel our cleaning frenzy.  I was bad: while I ate only the sausage and egg from one biscuit, I ate the second one biscuit and all.  Oh well. 

Let the cleaning begin.  J and I are pack rats.  We’ve also had a pretty eventful and stressful couple of years, so we haven’t had the time or capacity to focus on the house.  The primary objective of the day was to clean up the bonus room so that Daniel could use it as a play room.  Cleaning, however, can become addictive, and soon we were emptying closets and throwing away more than we originally planned.

I cleaned out my hope chest which contained dress up clothes from childhood, National Honor Society pins, a million pictures, a doll, coins from Europe – special stuff.  I ended up putting a lot of it in another bin, and the hope chest is now clean and empty, but we couldn’t remember why we thought we needed to empty it.  Oh well.  It’s ready for whatever now.

This picture contains a few things in my hope chest:

Can't believe what I hold on to!

The records are special because they were my father’s.  He used to DJ when I was younger, and I guess I had taken those records from his collection.  I’m not sure whey there are so many Madonna records.  I wasn’t that big of a fan.  The hoop skirt is from a dress I wore in a piano recital. The box behind it holds the many, many pictures I found in the chest.

After that, we attacked our VHS tapes.  Yes, VHS tapes.  We had purged them about 2 years ago and what was left was on a shelf in the guest room closet but deciding we needed the shelf space more, we were ruthless.  We ended up keeping about 25 really special ones, but behold what we got rid of:

Then J suggested that I do the same to my books in the play room.  We have two built-in floor-to-ceiling book shelves upstairs.  Mine is filled with books.  I couldn’t add another book to it.  I met this suggestion with dismay.  Books are sacred to me and even though most of the books were ones I bought at library book sales (and probably not very good), I still held out hope I’d get to read all of them.  He asked me to consider whether I’d really read them and go from there.  So I did.  I ended up throwing out enough books to fill two boxes.  It’s ok  – after all, the next book sale is in February!

At 4 we stopped because I needed to go get Daniel, and he had a few errands to run.  The house looks good.  We felt really good about everything we accomplished yesterday.  Hopefully we can keep that momentum going.

Lazy cats! We also attacked Daniel's room, and it would be nice if the kitties helped!

Week in My Life: Tuesday

For my second day of participating in Adventuroo‘s project, I decided to capture what my day at work was like.   I work for a university and if you’ve ever had the buring desire to know what I do at work, your wish is about to be granted.  I wear a few different hats.  I manage a group that is responsible for maintaining out Customer Relationship Management system and all the data it contains, including stakeholder reporting responsibilities.  My group is also in charge of all of our web presences, both internal and external, so I work very closely with marketing.  I also manage our social media presences because it’s fun.  So one foot in IT, one foot in marketing and a pinky in social media.  It all sort of makes sense.

It was raining on the way to work and my fellow commuters were driving as if they’d never seen rain before, so I was a little stressed because Tuesday and Thursday are Daniel’s preschool days, and I meet MIL a little earlier so that she can give him breakfast before she takes him to preschool.  Thankfully, I was only a few minutes late when I met her. I drove down the street to the lot across from my building and sprinted inside so I wouldn’t get wet (because my umbrella is never where I need it to be).

My building. My office is on the second floor behind the tree on the right.

Before Noon

I checked my email and sent emails to a few of our regional managers about some client news that had appeared in my news alerts overnight.  I tweeted about one of them from my organization’s account.  The rest of the morning was spent making content updates to our various websites.  We recently installed a new CMS and public website, and we’re still working out the kinks.

My office

My office

And I drank coffee.  I’ve recently gotten in to the habit of taking a small thermos and a big mug of coffee with me.  I drink some on the way to work and throughout the morning, but I’m done by about 10am.  After that, I can’t drink coffee for the rest of the morning.  If I were to have coffee again, it would have to be in the afternoon.  It’s bizarre, but to me it seems like there is a point in the morning at which I must stop drinking coffee.  Yeah, I’m weird.

My coffee mugs

Normally I have several meeetings throughout the week, but I had only one today, which was good because I have some projects to finish up. I also have a cold this week and a joy to be around, so I’m grateful to be able to spare my coworkers my sunny disposition.  My meeting was at 11:30 and primarily focused on discussing content for that group’s section of the website.  In the course of the meeting, I discovered that two of the participants had new laptops and could no longer use a key database.  I fervently hoped that this problem would be easily fixed by IT tweaking some setting in Access.

Lunch

I brought leftover chili from home, but I decided to go to the Wendy’s a few minutes away to get a side salad to go with it.  I broke a nail in the process, which sucks because now I have to trim all my fingernails since the broken nail is much shorter than the others. I almost always eat lunch at my desk and use that time to visit blogs, Babble, various message boards and other sites.   During that time a few coworkers stopped by with questions, which was a bit irritating but since I didn’t close my door, I guess I asked for it.

Side salad (being virtuous)

Chili. See the napkin? I'm using it as a big b/c I can be a sloppy eater. Better than on my shirt, right?

Afternoon

After lunch, one of our IT guys told me that it looked like the problem with the Access database tool was due to the fact that it wasn’t compatible with Access 2010, which they had been loading on the new computers.  GREAT!  This was pretty much my worst nightmare.  I hate standalone Access databases because important data is not centralized.  Plus, what usually happens is that the person who designed the tool leaves at some point and it becomes someone else’s problem (usually mine) to maintain and fix.  One of my group’s priorities is to migrate this tool to a web-based tool, but it looks like the priority level just increased because this tool is used by a lot of people.  I might have said a bad word, and I definitely thought nasty things the tool’s developer, who as you might have guessed, no longer works here.

The afternoon called for music, so I plugged in my headphones and did some coding on another project and started to study the layout of the infernal Access database.  I also Skyped with a coworker, which is funny because her office is next door to mine.  The walls in my building are paper thin, and we can hear each other typing the Skype messages.  Ah, technology. How lazy it makes us.

Music time!

Database fun

Ready to go home

5pm comes and since it is raining, I drive to the parking deck to get Daniel and see the art he made in preschool that day.  He’s full of energy, but I am not, and we drive home to see J who stayed home sick.

Meeting Daniel, Grandma and Great-Grandma in the parking deck

Sweet Boy!

Preschool scarecrow!

Thus ends my Tuesday at work.

Thoughts on the process

  • It’s really difficult to make what I do at work all day sound remotely interesting.
  • It’s really difficult to think of interesting photo ops of my work day
  • Both of my WIML posts really reiterate how little time I get to spend with Daniel during the work week 😦
  • I need to have more info about J in my posts too

Week in My Life: Monday

This week I am participating in Adventuroo‘s Week in My Life project, the purpose of which is to give a peek into your life and all of its little and big moments.

My first post is on our morning routine, which is especially frantic on a Monday.  The pictures aren’t be great because I took them in a dark house before the sun was (mostly) up, but hopefully they convey the flavor of our morning.

Shower!

Each Sunday I tell myself I’m going to take a bath that night so I won’t have to rush on Monday and without fail, I find myself trudging to the shower on Monday morning to wash my hair.  Washing my hair also means I have to dry my hair and try to tame it with the straightening iron.

I feel pretty. Oh-so-pretty!

Feeding the Beasties

By 6:30, I’m out of the shower and go to the kitchen to retrieve the cats’ food.  We have 3 cats, and they are very enthusiastic about their meals.  They each eat in different rooms because my biggest cat is OCD and will consume his and his siblings’ food before they have a chance to.  My third cat has slipped into the bedroom to eat her breakfast before I can get a picture of all three.

Feed us or we'll eat your soul!!

Doodlebug!

At 6:45, I hear Daniel’s voice on the monitor.  He’s awake albeit a little early.  I let him play in his room a bit longer while I finish putting on my makeup and putting in my contacts, and then I head to his room to get him.  Bless his heart, he’s not expecting the flash from my iPhone.

WTF is up with the flash, Mama? Stop it already!

He grabs two of his stuffed animals and trots to our bedroom.  He usually picks up Juliet (the white cat) and Alpha Pig, but sometimes he’ll add a third. Some mornings he’ll stop in his doorway, hold up his arms and whisper groggily, “Up.” I’ll pick him and he buries his face on my shoulder while I carry him down the hall *swoon*.

I cuddle him and ask him about his night while I turn on the tv and then put him in the crib to watch Super Why while I finish getting ready.  Daniel is 28 months and is at that stage where he is almost ready to sit and pay attention but still prefers to jump on and off the bed, so to the crib he goes.  He typically watches about 15 minutes of tv each morning.

Juliet is the white cat, and you can see Alpha's cape underneath her. The other animal is my ancient Alley Kat.

Collecting the Bags

By 7:15 I am back in the kitchen pouring coffee into my thermos, getting my lunch bag together and making sure Daniel’s clothes are together (his grandmother watches him every day, so he usually goes in his pajamas).  With the exception of the coffee (ewww), all of the bags have been prepared the night before, but I always double check.  I should have checked better today because I left my salad dressing sitting on the counter and had to run out at lunch to buy more. I place all the bags the table in the hallway so I can put them in the car.

Bags, bags and a lot of coffee

Time to Go!

By 7:30 I’m dressed and as presentable as I’m going to get.  The bags are in the car, and I change Daniel, put him into his coat and buckle him in the car seat.  Then our commute from Johnston County to Raleigh begins.  Daniel always has Alpha Pig and Juliet with him, and we have a couple of electronic alphabet toys to keep him entertained during the 30-ish minute commute.

Wish I were that awake

While he plays, I chat with him and listen to satellite radio.  Sometimes it’s NPR but lately it has been Morning Joe on MSNBC because I have become fascinated with the candidates for the GOP presidential nomination.  It’s a sick obsession. I switch back and forth though.

Should probably listen to Lithium or the 80s station instead

Then we arrive at work, and Grandma is waiting to pick up Daniel!  The morning routine is over, and the shift to the work routine has begun.

Notes

  • J does exist.  He gets up after I do, though, and yesterday he was sick, so that’s why he’s not in any pictures.
  • I realized how little conversation there is during our morning routine due to the time of the day and the need to get out the door.
  • What the pictures and write-up don’t catch is what’s going through my head.  Since I get ready by myself and mostly before Daniel wakes up, I have a lot of time to think which often becomes time to stew or compose or worry.