Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve Comfort

This is a Christmas Eve that's a little different from my typical. My parents and I drove down to Fort Wayne, IN. today to take my nephew, Nick to his paternal grandparents Christmas celebration. When I heard of their plans I thought it might be fun to come back to the old hometown (I grew up just outside Fort Wayne in a small town called Auburn) so I decided to come along for the ride.

Our original plan was to go to Glenbrook mall for the afternoon and then see a movie this evening while we waited for Nick. One look at the mall and we developed a new plan…it was a procrastinators nightmare! So instead we drove back down the freeway to Auburn and went to Pizza Hut, one of our family’s prior favorite restaurants for lunch. This isn’t an ordinary pizza hut though, for some reason it’s much better than any other one I’ve ever encountered. I had taco pizza and bread sticks for lunch, which were quite yummy! Next we stopped by the movie theater and decided the best idea would be to check into a hotel room where my dad could take a much-needed nap and then head to a movie later. Once in the room we deiced maybe watching a movie in the room would be just as good (not to mention cheaper) than a trip to the theater.

So…here I sit…in my old hometown in a Comfort Suites hotel room on Christmas Eve. In a way it makes a nice change from other years. Normally I spend this day running around like a chicken with my head cut off getting ready for Christmas but this trip meant I had to get things done ahead of time for a change. It’s a little weird to not be spending the day with Michael but he sounds happy and I’m happy so I guess it’s all good.

While my dad took his nap my mom and I ran to the store where we got some snacks and a couple of games, one of which is called “Last Word” and it’s pretty fun but might be better with more players. The other game is called “Big Brain Academy” and it’s…interesting. There are lots of elaborate parts and there’s a “brain scale,” which struck us as terribly funny to the point of hysterical tears. All in all it’s been a good…if different…Christmas Eve and I’ve enjoyed the time with my parents perusing our old stomping ground.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Sweet Relief!

I never thought I'd be happy with a "c" at this stage of my educational career but halleluiah I passed my chemistry class!!!!!! I just received my final grades and overall they look not bad, here's the synopsis:
  • Word Study in the Reading Program = A
  • Music for Elementary Education = A
  • Issues/Trends in Literacy Education = A-
  • Earth Science for Elementary Education = B
  • Chemistry for Elementary Education = C
I could literally jump for joy right now! I've been SO WORRIED about my chemistry grade after how much I struggled with the whole class but especially those last few chapters and tests. It is sweet relief to know that it's over and I passed. Now the only big hurdles left for me are math and physics, which I can probably space out appropriately over the rest of my semesters so I won't go crazy.

Today is a good day!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Done and Done!

Oh and what a huge relief it is to be done with that crazy semester!! I have to say I'm very glad it's over. Now I can relax a little and then (maybe) finally do something about this impending holiday we've got coming up. I'm never this last minute but honestly this year it just crept up.

In other news, today is my little nieclet, Ava Marie's first birthday!! Yet another example of how very quickly this year has come and gone. I have been very blessed to be close to Ava this past year and I have enjoyed every moment I've had with her. She is such a sweet, cute little girl and I think (though admittedly I may be biased) quite smart as well. She's walking and saying lots of words already. Yesterday I said, "is it lunch time?" and she replied with, "Ava eat." She said "Ava" with a short A even though it's pronounced with a long A so it was very babyish and sweet. She says and does so much these days and it's such joy for me to watch her grow and learn so many new things! Hard to believe that this time last year we were all in the hospital down in Monroe wishing her a good night's sleep! Here's to you, Baby Ava Marie!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Chip In

This is an online service that allows friends and family to contribute to our adoption fund via paypal. I think it's pretty cool!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

My Winter Wonderland

Let it snow
Let it snow
Let it snow!

Light up the Night

Here are the photos I promised in my previous blog entry of our little home all lit up for Christmas! I woke up at 6:45 this morning to let the dog out. When I saw that the snow was up to her belly I decided to get dressed and go take some photos. It was cold but exhilarating and fun too...and I think the photos were worth it!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

And so this is Christmas...

Well...December 13 has come and gone and Christmas is officially underway at our house now. Michael spent a majority of his time yesterday and today lighting up our little house. It looks great and I'll be posting some photos of the finished design when I have some time to take a timed exposure. Besides...we're supposed to get a big snow storm tomorrow night so it will be even prettier then. We've had a good couple of's always a treat for me when it's finally time to get out our Christmas decorations, sort of a pre-Christmas Christmas! This year the wait was not nearly as long as it normally seems since I've been so busy with school. Hard to believe Christmas is only {nearly} ten days away!

I had a hard time with the tree this year, cutting it down made me feel really sad. I'm not sure why but my awareness of the tree's sacrifice on behalf of our annual tradition is much greater this year than it normally is. It's not that I don't typically think about what happens to trees at Christmas time because I do but this year was much more difficult for me for some reason. I stood there for a while and seriously thought about not having a tree this year. Now I'm nothing if not a traditionalist and I value our Christmas traditions in particular, so this is saying something. I actually came close to walking away but in the end we said a prayer of thanks and we still cut the tree down. Who knows...maybe my feelings are telling me it's time to make some changes? Maybe in future years we will decide to give up the tradition of a live tree? I guess part of the struggle for me has to do with the fact we are cutting down our own trees now. Sad to say but it's a lot easier to not consider a tree as a living entity--and to justify the desire for the smell of a live tree for Christmas when you don't see its growing place among all the other pines. But all that aside - I have made my peace with our decision and I've spent the better part of my time these past couple of days decorating the tree. Good times.

Friday, December 07, 2007


Here's something every woman who loves a man should read. Definitely interesting, though my husband claims it's less than ten times a day.


I was just looking through some photos I took for a friend over the summer. These are two of the little girls I care for, the daughters of my good friends, Molly and Lee. They are so sweet and I just wanted to share a couple of the highlights of my life.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Miss Brown

I've been working with my mom to help her illustrate her first post-retirement book, a leadership principles book she's writing that features their chocolate Labrador Retriever, "Miss Brown," AKA Nestle.

We've done two photo shoots so far and it's been fun, in addition to resulting in some pretty cool shots of Nestle in action!

I've enjoyed helping out with this, it's a fun project to be involved in!

Getting There...

Well it's been an exhausting weekend and I've (literally) been at the computer writing/researching for the better part of the past 30 hours...BUT...I'm getting closer to the end of the semester!! Except for a letter to my professor with suggestions for improvement on the assignment and any last minute changes I decide to make, this particular {monstrous} global warming/carbon offsets research paper and chemical safety lesson project can be classified as complete.


The week ahead is going to be absolutely packed with final projects and exams and I'm still not quite clear on how it's all going to get done on time but at least I have one huge item checked off my to do list...that's definitely something!


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Mango Habanero or Asian Zing?

These are two sauce choices at Buffalo Wild Wings. When Michael asked me which one he should have tonight I instinctively said, "Asian Zing." That flavor is somewhere towards the beginning of the spicy section of sauces and generally sounded like what he would like best. The Mango Habanero, on the other hand, is only two away from the spiciest sauce they offer. The list goes (roughly) like this:

* Sweet BBQ
* Teriyaki
* Mild
* Parmesan Garlic
* Medium
* Honey BBQ
* Spicy Garlic
* Asian Zing
* Caribbean Jerk
* Hot BBQ
* Hot
* Mango Habanero
* Wild
* Blazin™

Well apparently Michael was in a daring mood tonight and he chose the mango habanero, the rest of our meal was definitely interesting! I'm usually the slower eater of the two of us and tonight he took at least twice as long as me to finish his dinner. I have to say...watching him struggle through the basket of wings was kind of funny. The expressions he made were worth remembering, I kind of wished I'd had my camera there. Towards the end of his basket he started drenching the things in catsup and then in blue cheese dressing on top of that. It looked absolutely vile and disgusting but he said that little dipping procedure was helping offset the spiciness of the wings.

To each his own I guess as the saying goes...but I personally don't think I'll be trying the mango habanero sauce again any time soon, yikes!


Insane in the Membrane

Wow...there's nothing like coming back to school after a week away. My head is already spinning and I have so much to do it isn't even funny.

Between now and December 4 I have:

-A chemistry lab "visitation day" where I have to teach a 20 minute lesson to four different groups of elementary students
-My final project in chemistry due, which includes two extensive lesson plans and a whole lot of writing
-My final report from the student visitation day due
-An exam in chemistry on mole conversions and other stuff I don't get
-A final exam in my Earth Science lab
-The draft due date for my 5-part Reading final portfolio
-My second 10-15 minute lesson plan and presentation for Music 320
-To learn two different recorder songs that I have to play in class
-My basal comparisons project due for reading 210
-Probably at least one or two things I've momentarily forgotten

And on top of that to keep up with the basic, everyday stuff from the classes which includes homework, reading assignments, and understanding concepts (chemistry) that do not come easily for me. GOOD TIMES!

But it will all be over soon and I can put this semester behind me. Next semester will still be a lot of work but it should be much more enjoyable for me based on the classes I'll be taking. Right this minute though all I can really think about is that nice long break over Christmas...I can't wait!


Sunday, November 25, 2007

This is pretty cool

This company was featured in my Oprah magazine this month and I'm intrigued. What a great idea for gift giving! I'm definitely reaching a point in my life where I feel like there needs to be more meaning behind the gifts I give (and receive) so maybe I'll give someone a dozen chicks this year! Check it out :)

Oxfam America Unwrapped

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Well it's finally here - Thanksgiving break! I am feeling elated today and very much in need of the few days I will have away from school. I still have to stay organized and work on my projects so I don't get behind but still...there is way less pressure for me during the next few days and I'm immensely relieved!

Tomorrow I'm going to my sister's house in Monroe to scrapbook for the day. I'm hoping to get a lot done but we'll see. If nothing else it will be a great chance to see my mom and two sisters and I know we'll have a good time. I'm also planning to make the pumpkin rolls for our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow night when I get home. I bought all the stuff today after class so 'll be ready to bake when I get back to the house. Kroger's was PACKED with all the people doing their Thanksgiving shopping. It was rather nightmarish but I just put a smile on my face and made the best of the crammed aisles and crabby people, what else can you do? :)

Michael is a little under the weather and has been taking Nyquil the past couple of nights. I miss our evening time together but mostly I want him to rest and feel better soon.

We were very annoyingly disturbed tonight by the Kirby vacuum sales people who were canvasing our neighborhood at 8:00 on a week night. Or was it a scam?? They seemed legit in their uniforms but I certainly felt uneasy after being given the sales pitch at my front door. I honestly think one of my biggest pet peeves is having sales people of any sort come to the door. The phone calls are bad enough but when someone rings the doorbell at 8:00 p.m. you can't help but think something might be wrong. Whatever. We got the nuisances to go away so that's all that matters but SERIOUSLY!!


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Pomegranates Make Me Happy

I learned how to open this gorgeous fruit and remove the seeds the other day and that really made me happy. They're so pretty and so as I was preparing my breakfast I was overcome by the desire to photograph them. I took all my pomegranate props down to the basement studio and had some Saturday morning fun... of the things I like best about pomegranates...they're absolutely packed with antioxidants (more than blueberries!) and are excellent for heart health. I couldn't resist the cheesy picture!
If you want to see more photos from my pomegranate shoot (I may have gotten a little carried away!) you can check them out at My Flickr Page where I'll be uploading them.


Friday, November 16, 2007

Winding Down...

...and I am feeling immense relief at the thought of having a break next week! I completed my last chemistry lab this morning so after next week there will only be one big presentation day and then the final exam day and I'm done. It's shocking but the semester is already winding down. The other classes all still have major final projects and/or final exams coming up but really the only class I'm terribly stressed by is chemistry.

Today the campus looked really pretty. It was such an interesting cloud day and I kept thinking about how much I want to go take some photos around the campus. Depending on what tomorrow's like and how the girls are feeling I might take them over there for some fresh air and a short stroll around campus, that could be fun.

For tonight I'm in shut down mode. I'm going to go watch the rest of "Stranger than Fiction," which is a really good movie that I didn't quite manage to finish this past weekend. After that I'm going to bed and I have to say I'm looking forward to a decent night's sleep.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Today has been long and both physically and emotionally draining. I just found out that one of my best friends is going through some very tough times with her family and she is very upset. I feel badly because there isn't a lot I can do for her except be there when she needs me. It seems that when it rains it pours.

Today at school was also immensely stressful. It's that end of semester crunch time that anyone who's ever been in school knows is dreadful. Every teacher wants some huge final project or exam or combination that there simply are not enough hours in the day for...blah, blah, blah…

I also had my academic advising appointment today and it didn't go too well right off the bat. The first woman I met with was trying her best to be helpful but she wasn't able to look up my transcript online, which was very frustrating to me. I had all my paperwork there and--I thought--all my ducks in a row but apparently not. To make a long story short she wasn't really able to help me and I got very upset. I'm not sure whether it was just a culmination of all the stress from school, not passing the math portion of the MTTC test, struggling with chemistry, etc. or what exactly but I was very overwhelmed and the whole thing really went wrong.

I got stressed and flustered and ended up leaving the appointment rather abruptly (almost in tears) with apologies that I would come back after printing my transcript. She followed me down the hallway, at which point I was bawling. She arranged for me to meet with another adviser, which was great except that I was having a lot of trouble controlling myself by this time. I managed to catch my breath and calm down enough to talk to the next woman who was very friendly and (for some reason) perfectly capable of looking up my information online. I'm still not sure what that was about but oh well. I had (literally) about 30 different pieces of paper or packets; all from different advising appointments, orientations, meetings, etc. Each of them had a different set of requirements and a different set of information, none of which is easy to make much sense of. That, combined with all the other stresses going on right now just sent me over the edge. It was so FRUSTRATING and EMBARASSNG! I am not typically a crier and I especially hate crying in front of people I don't know. My reaction surprised me probably as much as it did them...the whole thing was so uncomfortable and I really felt like a basket case. In the end everything got sorted out and adviser #2 threw away more than half of my stack of "required" paperwork and re-organized the remaining information so that I could make more sense of it. She told me clearly and specifically what I can and can't register for before getting admitted into the college of ed and she helped a lot. By the end of the day I got all set up for next semester and here's my list of classes:

• Geography
• Multicultural Children’s Lit
• Feminist Theory
• Human Development and Learning
• Field Experience Online Practicum

I feel pretty good about my schedule overall and I’m excited about most of these classes. One drawback is that I had to take one Saturday class in order to get my schedule to work out but that’s not the end of the world, especially since Michael works most Saturdays now anyway.

All in all today has been exhausting. I brought my laptop to school, which I don’t normally do. It’s quite bulky and heavy and that one small change made my day a lot more complicated. But at this point I’m just complaining so I think I’ll stop for now. All’s well that ends well and, with the exception of my concern for my friend, I’m OK now.


Monday, November 12, 2007

It's freaking cold in here!

OK so I'm trying to be an adult and not complain too much but this house is absolutely frigid! Michael and I are making a huge effort this year to reduce our carbon footprints, and also cut down on our home heating/energy costs. We run a program on our thermostat so that the house will be warm when kids are here but that's about the only time. Overnight and when we're not home it goes down to about 60-62 degrees and then when I'm here alone we keep it at 66. Right at the moment I'm wearing three top layers, jeans, socks and slippers but my feet are still cold. I really don't want to change the program because I know it's going to make a big difference when that bill comes in but...BRRRRRR!

No babies will be here today. Baby Ava is sick, which I feel really bad about. Becca isn't coming until Wednesday. In terms of timing this is good since I have an Earth Science exam tonight and two huge projects due later this week but it's never good when they're I always miss those girls when they're not here...


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Seven Short

I missed the math test by 7 points. I needed 220 and I got 213. That's only a few questions.'s what I expected. Math is a tough area for me to begin with and it's been 12+ years since I've really even looked at it. Oddly enough I'm not even that upset. Of course I would have been overjoyed if I had passed but I guess this is all happening so I can conquer these problem areas and move forward with a clean slate. that I've experienced the whole MTTC testing process it doesn't seem nearly that intimidating to have to go back and retake the math section.

On a happy note I aced the reading and writing sections so those are under my belt now.

And I keep on keeping on...

Friday, November 09, 2007

Long Days

The time change we had last weekend is nice because it feels like a little more time added to the day but the darkness factor always throws me off. Right now it's still dark when I leave for school and/or get up to take care of babies and it's also pitch black by 5:30 in the afternoon. Somehow that makes the days feel long but not in a good sense.

I had a crappy day at school yesterday and I just couldn't get myself to snap out of my bad mood. Chemistry is really dragging me down. At this point I'm not even sure I'm going to pass the class with the required C I need, let alone get a decent grade in there. I'm so not OK with that academically speaking but I am truly giving it my all and that hasn't been enough. I never thought this would prove to be so hard for me but it's really throwing me for a loop. I met with my tutor yesterday and she made me feel a little better at least. Hopefully it will end up OK and I can put it behind me (at which point I get to move on to physics, oh joy) but I guess we'll see. I realize that I can only do what I can do and that sometimes I'm not able to put all this into true perspective since it feels so all-important to me. Very worst case scenario will be that I have to re-take the lecture component of the class and I know that's not the end of the world so...whatever.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Phantom Baby Cries

Sometimes after all the kids go home I still hear babies crying. I guess it's down to the simple fact that no matter what I'm doing I always have one ear tuned into what the babies need...even when they're not there? Like tonight, alone in my home after everyone left, I was doing the dishes and I could have sworn I heard crying from the room where the kids take their naps. It makes me a little sad I guess.

Cold November Days

Well November is upon us and the weather is doing its part to serve as a reminder of what time of year it is. Today when I got up the heat hadn't kicked into its program yet and our house was only 61 degrees, brrrrrrrr!

For some ODD reason I've been feeling the Christmas bug already this year. Normally I can't get into the spirit until at least after Thanksgiving, if even then but this year (though I haven't yet) I could even go for some Christmas tunes! Purely for principle reasons though I REFUSE to turn on 100.3 or any other radio station that's cramming Christmas down our throats already...I simply cannot partake in that nonsense. Besides...even though Americans no longer know what it's like to want for something or to wait a while to have their desires met...maybe deliberately leaving my quench for Christmas unanswered will make it all that much sweeter when the time does come. :) Here's hoping anyway.

Today looks to be busy. Right now it's just me and little Ava, who is napping. Becca will be here any minute and then Owen comes at 11:30 and Rachel at 3:30. I won't be alone again until after 7:30 tonight at which point I have to study, gees!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Wow, it's been a long time since I've posted to this blog. I've been regularly updating our adoption blog and semi-regularly updating my Livejournal but this one has been just sitting in the corner collecting dust.

Lately I've been feeling the urge to write more than I've actually been able to write. Michael and I are keeping a joint paper journal, which is wonderful for us relationship wise but which comes with strings attached for me personal journaling wise. I thought I might start a second paper journal for myself to keep in conjunction with the joint journal we're both writing in but I'm afraid that might inhibit the things I would write about in our joint journal. So...instead I'm turning more to the wonderful world of virtual journaling.

Lots of things have changed for me over the past several months. I'm a little more than half way through my first semester at EMU where I'm studying Elementary Education. This semester I'm in Chemistry for Elementary Education majors, which has been much harder for me than I anticipated. I thought that since I've changed so much as a student since my high school days and my studying habits are better it would just be easier but that has not been the case. My older sister is a high school chemistry teacher and sometimes I wonder how our brains could have possibly come from the same two parents. I just do not get the concepts of chemistry as easily as some people do and therefore I have to work much harder at it. Actually I should be doing chemistry homework now instead of playing with my blog but I'll get to it soon.

Along with my change in schools, my little three-and-a-half year old friend, Kyra has started going to a new school this September too. I've been caring for Kyra three days a week since she was two weeks old and I am sorely missing her, that's for sure. I know this change is yet another that is as it's supposed to be but that doesn't make it any easier, at all. It's tough because on one hand I'm proud that Kyra is so grown up and moving on to school (of course!) but on the other hand I want her to stay young (and stay with me) forever. She is a sweet child and she will always hold a very special place in my heart. I've loved her as if she were my own and there's no easy way to accept this change...I'll probably always miss her some. I just have to go through this as best I can. I know I'll still see her from time to time but it just won't ever be the same again and that's hard. I knew when she was tiny that these days would come but somehow I didn't expect it to be this hard. *Sigh*

Life at Eastern has been interesting, to say the least. I'm trying to make it my home and find comfort and friends here but there are times when I just miss WCC and all my photo buddies there. Sometimes I want to run back there screaming but then I remember that change is good and that if I want to be successful I must move forward instead of remaining stagnant. It's hard though, that's for sure. I'm becoming more comfortable with the EMU campus though and last week I found the cafe in the basement of the Halle Library so that was fun. There's actually a microwave for student use there, which means I can eat some slightly more decent lunches than all the fast food I was initially consuming. I truly hate fast food, I do...and I had gotten it completely out of my system...but then this semester hit me squarely in the forehead and it all went downhill. My life has been so insanely busy and hectic that I haven't (yet) been able to find a better way of fitting in my meals than to grab fast food on the run. 10 weeks in, as soon as my crazy semester is almost over I'm getting the hang of being this busy again, go figure!

Academically speaking I'd say I'm mostly happy with myself. If I were to be graded today I'd expect A's in music and my two reading classes, a B in Earth Science, and I'd be praying for a C in chemistry. Hopefully by the end I can be sure of a C in chemistry, move the B up to an A and maintain the other two A's. That would make me happy but I guess we'll see how it plays out. Other school things I have to worry about are my MTTC Basic Skills test results, which should be mailed out later this week (God I HOPE I passed!!) and my math placement test, which I need to take this week so I can register for next semester. I know why I'm putting it off--I'm afraid I'll place lower than I want to place...and I also know that putting off is getting me nowhere so why then do I continue to procrastinate? If I had the answer to that question I'd probably be a lot smarter! As it is I just need to stop accepting excuses from myself and bite the bullet so I can get it done and get signed up for next semester. Oh...and just as I was typing that sentence I remembered that I also have to pay EMU a minimum of $18 this week so I can remove the hold on my account in time to register. For some reason some of my miscellaneous fees (parking, etc.) were not paid out of my student account prior to my receiving a refund so now I owe the college money. Not a lot of money but enough that I can't pay it without messing up our very tight budget. :( One day at a time is the only way to play it in these cases.

Anyway...I had other stuff to write about but I guess I'll leave it for another post. It's getting late and I have to pee. I want to study for a while and then head over to eat lunch and go to my class that starts at 2:00.

MSL, age 32