Saturday, November 15, 2014

Chapters

This last week I registered for my first graduate class. In a sea of paperwork, immunization forms, tackling new websites and software, I wondered if this would be worth it.
What is it about the human condition that we can know the right decision for years, only to get there and second guess ourselves?
Loan papers are signed, new email accounts have been opened, and I'm excited to take on something new, all doubts aside. I'm excited to march into the unknown, armed with nothing.


Actually I'm armed with everything I need. But some days it feels like nothing.


I'm standing here at my dresser, coffee and chocolate in hand, looking out at the snow. Honestly, standing here, I'm thinking about all of life's chapters. I feel like a lifetime has passed with each new season, change, or alteration. And here I go to start a new one.

But what I find so interesting about all of life's changes is that every year, I still find myself standing somewhere, drinking coffee, and watching the snow.

So friends? Never be scared to take on something new. No matter what happens, next year, you'll probably still be standing somewhere, looking at the snow.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Graduate School

I'm working on one of the items from my list!

Several months ago I was sent a letter from Johns Hopkins University saying that I've been accepted to their Masters of Arts in Museum Studies.

I start in January of this year.

I'm working on getting funding ready for this spring, saving for books, creating an academic plan for completing my classes.
Strange to think that my son will be four years old when I go to Washington D.C. and complete my Masters degree.
I've worked for this and waited for this for 13 years. I've planned out classes, worked on every project and obsessed over my grades, all with the idea in mind that I was working toward my getting my Masters degree. And even with all of that drive and planning, since I found out I was accepted to Johns Hopkins I've doubted myself several times.

It's hard to remind yourself constantly why you love what you love. Life seems to try to distract you from it. Money distracted me; the allure of a well-paying career with incredible benefits. Time distracted me; wanting to have my evenings and weekends free, and not consumed by homework. My son distracted me; I definitely do not want to miss his early years because I'm "busy."
It's not easy to work full time, have a family and be in graduate school. I wasn't sure I wanted to do it.

On the way home from my brother's wedding we took the Amtrak from Chicago to Denver. One night at dinner we were seated at a table with an Atmospheric Scientist from Sweden in the States to do research, and a gentleman who was both an Archaeology professor and practicing Archaeologist working on a yearly rotation in Jordan. Talking with them through that dinner reminded me why I love what I love. I love academics, I love the hard road, I love history and Archaeology and research.

I can't wait to have classes again, and research, and write, no matter how difficult it is.

I want to be a role model for my son. One that shows him the importance of working for your goals, and making the hard decision.
So here's to doing the hard thing, and hopefully I can remember my motivation for the next four years.
Sometimes we only get one chance.
Life is not the dress rehearsal.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Falling In Love With My Son

I must admit, obviously, I don't use this blog much. Only when I have time, something specific to say, the urge to write, and everything in the house is clean. That's why I haven't posted since.... Christmas?

Today I'd like to say a few words about falling in love with my son.

He was born on August 19th, 2014. I will never forget seeing his eyes for the first time.
I knew him, and he knew me.
He was taken off to the NICU where they put an IV in his hand, leads on his chest, an O2 sat monitor on his foot, and so many other things. My little guy was here. Two hours after he was born, I went to visit him and that's the moment I fell in love.
I looked at his pink, chubby face, his beautiful blonde hair, and it was done.
I swear, and if you've seen his newborn photos you'll probably agree, he looked like a little pink piggy.
He held my finger and wiggled his fingers and toes.

I spent endless hours the next few days just holding him in his NICU room. Who needs food or water or sleep?
A few days after he was admitted to the NICU we were told that on top of all of his other wires and monitors he was going to be put under a sunlamp in his incubator. Because he needed to be under the sunlamp, we could only hold him for 30 minute feedings, and then would have to put him down. I swear that's the only time I've wanted to punch a nurse.

He stayed in the NICU for 9 days before we took him home.

None of this seems real yet, but the most incredibly real thing to me is how much I love my son, love my husband, and love our family. I feel like we've waited so long to be a family. I don't mind waking up at 3am and 6am to feed him because I get to see his little face. I don't mind being sleep deprived because I've waited for a long time to be sleep deprived for my son. I don't mind it taking an hour just to get out of the house and to the store or the post office because anything is easier than him being in the hospital.

He is three weeks old today, and it's seemed like no longer than a few moments. He's changed so much already, while I look forward to him sleeping through the night and being able to hold his own head up, I wish I could stop time so I don't miss a single second.

I can't believe how wonderful it is to fall in love with my son. And I look forward to getting to know him more and more every day.

Happy three-weeks, Isaiah :)







Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Meanwhile...

Tonight I'm sitting drinking tea, and watching the snow fall outside. Our kittens are sleeping with mouths open and tongues hanging out (aren't those the best sleeps?) and I'm looking around the room at our Christmas decorations. Our tree is decorated in silver and blue, and our home is drowned in twinkle lights.
Jake humors my obsession with Christmas.

We've almost wrapped all of our Christmas gifts, and they are sitting under our tree, awaiting the inevitable wrapping paper destruction that happens every night by the kittens as they attempt to eat as many plastic pine needles as possible.

We are settled in Englewood, CO for this Christmas. While we will be traveling back to three separate states in the Midwest, and going to three separate Christmas's for each occasion, we have a home in Englewood, we have friends here, and we are happy to have a warm place to live, and I am very happy to have someone I love to go to all of those Christmas's with me. Someone who offers to wake up at 6:30am to scrape off the car if I decide to go to work tomorrow.

I'm not sure how my job will turn out, I'm not sure about finances, I'm not sure about all of the other things that normally make people worry in life. But one thing that I want is to remember to be grateful. I still have so much, I want to be grateful for what I have. I don't want to forget that just because I'm worried about money, or a job, or a other things that I don't know. So I'll just have to remember that whatever happens in my life, I am still more blessed than I know.

Happy December everybody:)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Moving Organization! Scheduling Your Packing


So the last few posts I talked about sorting your items, garage sales, and my packing box. Next I promised to talk over my packing system, and how to schedule your packing.

I did a lot of research into the best way to pack items for the move. 
Basically, it seemed to boil down to time
To pack my items, I went through my house, and separated the entire space into specific projects. 
Packing the bathroom is one project, packing the storage closet is one, packing the coat closet is one, etc. etc. through every area of the house.
However, this only works if you are realistic with your time. If you make "pack the garage" one packing project, you're doomed to failure. You know why? It needs to be separated into two or three projects, depending on the size of the area. There's no way you'll be able to complete a sizable project in a day. Pretending you can is a wonderful way to fall instantly behind. 

SO. After numbering your packing projects, including a day for cleaning, and then the final moving day for packing up bare essentials and loading, you'll have a number, which represents the number of days you need to pack. 
For me, I realized that I would have 12 separate projects, and would need 12 separate days to complete them. I traced back from our moving day, and counted that I would need to start packing on the 23rd of September to finish everything on schedule. 
Next, take your list of separate projects, and order them so that you pack the least needed items first, and work your way towards the big moving day. 
For instance:
1) Storage Room
2) Unnecessary/Out of season clothing
3) Decorations
4) Kitchen items
5) Toothbrushes, etc.

After lining up everything in the order they needed to be done, I wrote them in on a scheduler, so that I can know what I need to do, and when. 

There are a lot of benefits to using a system like this: 
Without separating my work into these separate projects, I maybe would have started a few days ahead of the move. Because I've given myself time I can: 
1) Take more time to pack my breakable items, so that each thing is handled with care, and stands a better chance of surviving the move
2) Have more time to live life, spend time with people before the move, etc.
3) Have a more organized move - making unpacking at the destination much easier. 
4) Be more relaxed - getting to the task early, and giving yourself smaller, separate projects, means less stress about deadlines.




Saturday, September 21, 2013

Moving Organization! My Packing Box

Okay, so call it over-kill, but one thing that I am very proud of is my packing box.

First, I got an extra large cardboard box, with a sturdy bottom.


As I went through all of the items in my house for The 50 Things Challenge, I collected all kinds of items that would make my moving day easier, or aid in packing.

In my packing box I have all of the supplies I need to pack the items I am taking with me, and several items to make the actual moving day more pleasant.

Starting with items for packing, everything is fairly self explanatory.
1)Tape Gun
2) Extra rolls of packing tape
3) Scotch Tape
4) Note cards/Post-Its
5) Lots of Sharpies
6) Highlighters in many different colors
7) Packing labels
8) Multi-color stickers (if you are going to color code)
9) Newspaper/packing paper
10) Packing peanuts and bubble wrap
11) Ziplock Baggies
12) Scissors


Items for the moving day:















1) Travel sizes of deodorant, mouth wash, shampoo, condition, body wash, and lotion.
2) Paper towels
3) Dust cloth
4) To go pack of Clorox disinfecting wipes
5) Lint roller (you never know....)
6) Febreze To-Go
7) Travel pack of tissues
8) Nasal Spray, Tylenol, Airborne, and Young Living Deep Relief Essential Oil roll on.
9) Pliers (regular and needle nosed)
10) Breath mints
11) Candy!
12) Entertainment: Sudoku and Madlibs


Now, all of these items aren't just stuck in a box, they are organized. Big surprise, right?
My system is as follows:
In an extra large cardboard box I have organized three smaller boxes.

Box One: Small Item Organization
In an extra small Sterilite ClearView three drawer case I have organized all of my small packing items. This includes highlighters, markers, scotch tape, scissors, note pads... anything an appropriate size, that is needed for packing specifically. Each drawer is organized with like-items.






Box Two: Packing Materials
In a small cardboard box I have packing peanuts, newspaper, bubble wrap, and everything else I might need to pack fragile items. Also, Ziplock baggies, in both the quart and gallon size.






Box Three: The Moving Day Box
Everything for the day of! (listed above under "items for moving day")








Ta da! This is how it all fits into the large box!

So that's my Packing Box, everything that's in it, and how it's organized.
Now, when I start packing, I am going to have a folding table, and take my box, and I can set up in whatever room I am packing, and have literally everything I could need, right at my finger tips.
I'm very happy I put this entire box together because I when I'm packing I won't be running around looking for items like tape or scissors, and when I get to moving day, I'll have some nice items to make the day more fun, and more relaxed.

 So....if you're not like me, and you don't feel the need for a packing box, what is the ONE item I would say you should get?
If you don't do anything else, get a tape gun, and plenty of actual packing tape.










Duck tape is great, but it peels off super easily, or is a pain to cut. Actual packing tape is great, but very difficult to use (rips down the middle, hard to find the end, hard to cut).
A tape gun is completely worth the money. Don't have the money? Borrow one!

The next post! So you've heard my plan to weed out excess stuff in my house, and you've heard about my packing box. We are almost ready to start packing, but not just yet.
The next post is going to be about how to organize the items you pack using a specific system.
I fully expect that an organized packing system (a vague thing to call it, but you'll read all the details tomorrow!) is going to make sure that I don't go insane. Hooray!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Moving Organization! The 50 Things Challenge

Okay, so, the moving season is upon us.
I am fairly compulsive about organization. Not because I "need" to, but because it helps everything.
Being organized makes life easier, and it especially makes moving easier.
After encouragement from my husband (he wants other people to know how nerdy I am), I decided to post my moving organization and packing process for all to see.

I'm so proud of this system. I think it'll show :)

The first thing I did to prepare for moving was to begin The 50 Things Challenge!
I love this idea. And it was incredibly useful, in more than one way.

I found this idea researching different ways to make moving and organization easier.
The idea is this: You go through your home, and you try to get rid of 50 things.
It's based on a book, I believe. However, what I did was a variation on the prescribed method in the book.

So here is what you do:
1) Select a standard size box, and collect a good number.
2) Get a pad of paper, and number lines 1-50
2) Go through your home, one room at a time.
3) Find 50 "things" you can do without
    For something to qualify as a "Thing" it needs to be:
           1) Large (an item of furniture, etc)
           2) Expensive (something expensive you have but don't use)
           3) A box of items

Honestly, most of my "things" were boxes full of small things. I picked a particular size of box, and used that to measure. Every time a box was full, it counted as a "thing."
It may seem like a lot, but you will find there is a lot you can do without.
At first it was very hard to sort my items, but as I went through every area of the house, from the coat rack to the bathroom, I found a wealth of things I didn't use, or didn't need. Starting to clear out the house felt great, and there was a deep sense of accomplishment to go with it.

After having your 50 items, have a garage sale! Have a yard sale, donate, or throw away, EVERYTHING.
Once it's sorted, it has to go.
To get rid of these items I had a plan with a few steps:
1) List items online: Facebook Swap Pages, Craigslist, etc.
2) Organize and ADVERTISE a garage sale
           - Many newspapers have an option for free ads if they are under a certain number of words. The Sioux Center Shopper is 30 words.
           - Use plenty of bright colorful signs with clear directions and your address
3) Have a garage sale over several days, and be open optimal hours when the most people can see your signs and stop by.
4) Organize your sale so that all of your items can be seen easily - you'll sell more stuff!

 A benefit of the garage sale is extra money. Make time to sell at reasonable prices, and if you're moving, you'll have extra funds for the move!

The last step? After the garage sale, I plan to donate everything that is left to Justice For All.
It's not enough to sort out and try to sell the "50 Things", you actually have to make sure that every last item leaves your possession.

For us, we should reach that point on Monday! Our sale ends Saturday, and unsold items will be boxed up and donated!

Okay, I'm very excited for the next post!
My next post, I'm going to talk about the next step of moving, which is putting together my "packing box."
It's way more fun than it sounds. Promise.