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Preschool Research: Step I

So…it’s potentially time to start researching preschools. Really? Yes. Really. Only because sometimes there are ridiculous waiting lists. Step 1: make a list of all the preschools within a few minutes of our house. Check. There are 14. 14 preschools within 6 minutes of our house! That’s crazy. I’m sure we won’t be able to afford at least half of them, which will make the latter parts of this process go rather quickly. Updates to follow.

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Posted by on February 12, 2016 in parenting, Uncategorized

 

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New tattoo perhaps?

I’m thinking about getting another tattoo. Something small on my wrist that could be covered with bracelets and or a watch or something equally small on my foot. Haven’t found the right design yet, but I’m looking. If this goes like last time, I’ll have picked the design about the time AB is ready for kindergarten, which may be good because perhaps I’ll know what my big grown up job will be and can make a decision based on what will be considered appropriate there or not.

I’m thinking of a simple word or very short quote–probably literary. We shall see where I land.

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2016 in Team Alzen!

 

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Book Club: Nancy Drew and the Lilac Inn

For the book I finished in a day (#2), I chose a Nancy Drew book the nine year old who lives with us got for her birthday. I’ve always wanted to read a Nancy Drew, and this seemed like a perfect opportunity. I have several thoughts about this book. First, there was so much careful description of all of Nancy s clothes and she always had a dress on except for the pants she wore while padding a canoe. Um…OK. Next, these books have a pretty high vocabulary for the age to which they are aimed. I can’t remember any off the top of my head, of course, but I had to look up a word or two. This was surprising. At least Nancy is pretty smart in all her gender appropriateness. And finally, Nancy gets herself into some really sticky and dangerous situations! I did not expect that. Since there’s about 100 of them, I knew Nancy was going to be OK, but I would have been worried if I didn’t know that as a fact!

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2016 in Book Club

 

Book Club: Go Set a Watchman

For the book I previously abandoned (#9), I chose Go Set a Watchman. I don’t have too much to say about this book because nothing really happens in the story. There’s a whole lot of slow build up for a relatively big argument between two characters and then the book is over. I should give the caveat that I never read To Kill a Mockingbird, and I acknowledge that this argument would have been a bigger deal to me if I had, but still. I had previously abandoned the book about five chapters from the end and was not really motivated to see how it ended if that gives you and frame of reference. Regardless, I can now say that I finished it and I know what all the fuss is about.

 

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2016 in Book Club

 

Book Club: Year of Yes

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes fills the “been meaning to read” category (#3 on the book challenge list). In fact, I went from planning to read this, to thinking I might skip it altogether, to devouring it in two days. I absolutely loved this book. Loved it. I know part of why I loved it is because I indulge in Shondaland. Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder are three of my favorite shows. My guilty pleasure in these shows is why I wanted to read the book. What I didn’t know or expect was how empowering and enlightening this book was going to be for me.

In this book Shonda talks about a year of her life in which she started to make more positive decisions for herself. She started saying “Yes” instead of “No.” In that, she shares some really important stories about feminism and equality as well as issues of self-worth and owning your own badassness. I’m really glad I got to read her words on these topics and think about how some of what she talked about applied to me.
Let me give you some context. As most of you know, I used to be a classroom teacher. I wanted to be a teacher from the time I was in gradeschool. I was good at teaching. It came naturally. As a result, I had a decent amount of teacher swagger. I was confident, innovative, and always looking for ways to get better. My desires to get better weren’t because of some doubt in myself or my abilities. It was because I really wanted to always improve. Similarly, that swagger and confidence didn’t come with an attitude of being the best teacher on the planet who couldn’t improve. I knew my strengths and weaknesses. I played to my strengths and looked to others to help with my weaknesses.
Then I went to grad school and slowly but surely, I lost my swagger and confidence in myself. It got to the point where if I was complimented, I almost immediately negated it. I looked at my weaknesses to define me and dismissed strengths as not good enough. I’ve come to think of myself as the weakest link in my program pretty much since I got here. I thought of everyone in my program as superior to me rather than my peers.
So, I’m really going to work on thinking of myself as a badass again. I have strengths. I can do things. I’m not terrible at what I do. Yes, there are people more skilled than me, but that doesn’t discount my skills or my ability to learn or my incredible work ethic. No, I’m not perfect, but I work hard and because of that hard work, I have accomplished a lot. These things are facts, and there is nothing wrong with acknowledging them. In fact, denying them keeps me out of spaces I have worked hard to fill. No one is going to help me fill those spaces. It’s up to me to take them. I’m going to start saying “Yes” in some places I’ve been saying “No” for too long.
All of that introspection to say you should read Shonda’s book. It’s a great read about a really interesting woman.
 
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Posted by on January 19, 2016 in Book Club

 

Book Club: All the Light We Cannot See

This book fills #11 in the reading challenge–a book that intimidated me. For some reason, I’m not into period books during this season of my life. I remember reading plenty of them in years past, but I just haven’t really been drawn to them recently. As a result, even though EVERYONE was talking about this book last year, I had pretty much zero interest. I was sure it would depress me, I wouldn’t get into it, and I wouldn’t finish. For these reasons, I labeled it as “intimidating”.

So here are my quick thoughts. Like everyone said, it is BEAUTIFULLY written. The descriptions are poetic and simply delicious, for lack of a better word. The narrative is carefully crafted and interwoven over several years and characters but neatly connected at the end. Did it depress me at times? Certainly. It’s a book about war. Depressing is not a deep enough word for what war does to humanity. Did I get into it? Yes. Did I finish? Yes.

Did I think it was amazing? Not exactly. It’s the sort of book that you should relish in. You should enjoy the beautifully written descriptions and the careful themes that are brilliantly present through every chapter. For me, it was a bit slow. I didn’t want to indulge in these things that require indulging. My consumption of this book was sort of like wolfing down a $30 teeny tiny dessert at a fancy pants restaurant. One of those things you should take small bites of and relish and enjoy carefully, follow-up with a sip of coffee, and then carry on to the next. Instead, I was on a race to finish this book before my library rental came up. I knew that if that rental ended, and I had to wait to get the book again, I likely wouldn’t borrow it again and it would remain unfinished. I simply needed to know what happened to the characters, so I cheapened this beautiful book. I don’t regret it, but I acknowledge that I didn’t enjoy this one the way it was meant to be enjoyed.

All that said, I think a big part of why I did this was because it was a book that made my heart heavy, and at this point in my life, I really read to escape. This is not where I wanted to escape to. I don’t want to escape to the scary places, places where I’m fearful for my daughter. Places where I put her in the role of the vulnerable characters and desperately want to protect her. I want to escape to lighter, fluffier, and “safer” places, even if they are completely unrealistic.

Regardless of my own need to escape to a fantasy land where everything is safe and happy, this book really is very good. It’s as good as everyone says and certainly worth the read.

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2016 in Book Club, Uncategorized

 

Guests

After the first month in our new house, we had at least one overnight guest for 15 nights. We also had two couples over for dinner. This was after the week of painting, ripping up carpet, laying laminate flooring, and general moving stuff. Needless to say, I’m exhausted and ready to figure out what our new normal looks like.

Despite that exhaustion, I’m extremely grateful for the sweet time I had with some amazing women who have all been in my life for at least 7 years.

First, my sweetest friend who has been here for every move. She missed actual moving day this year, but was instead here to help me make the house a home. Seriously, this girl pretty much single-handedly created my gallery wall, made cookies for my neighbors, and ran a bajillion errands with me. There are so many things I will look at in this house over the years and think fondly of this trip with her. She is such a servant, and loves my family oh so well. Oh, and there might have been matching Christmas pjs and lots of silliness as well.

 

Next, some dear women who are very close to my heart. I enjoy such sweet conversation with these two and was blessed that they came to me to celebrate a birthday and spend vacation time. We were old ladies and finished a puzzle, watched old episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, and just had sweet Gospel conversations.

 

And finally, women who have been in my life for a good 20 years. Mentors and family, both literally and figuratively. These two taught me so much during my formative years. It was a “work” trip for my mother-in-love, but there was certainly fun and good conversation as well.

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Quality time and good conversation fills my soul. Although it was a lot of work to have this steady stream of house guests, it was good. I am blessed to have each of these women playing their own unique parts of my life. I’m thankful I got to see each one of them this Christmas.

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2016 in Team Alzen!