Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Shutdown Projects

Today was my first 'real' day of Christmas Shutdown. For the other 98% of John Deere, Christmas Shutdown began last Friday. I was, er, lucky enough to be one of the few that had to work the Monday after Christmas. After a very early start, which included going to work in my pajamas, I was home by 2:00. I finished taking down my Christmas tree and a few other decorations, had a few visitors stop by to see my home and not more than ten minutes after they left, I did something stupid. I went shopping. The day after Christmas. I don't even shop Black Friday! After getting my oil changed, Target and Hobby Lobby were the only two stores I could stand going to before it started raining and I decided that Starbucks was in fact just what I needed.

At Hobby Lobby, they had these cute wooden/cardboard letters on sale. I picked up a couple and then went to the paint section. After picking out three colors of paint that match my bedroom, I wandered the store and ended up in the yarn aisle. Boom. Light bulb. I had seen yarn wrapped things on Pinterest, so I figured I'd give it a whirl. I bought some "practice yarn" and ended up going back to Hobby Lobby today to get more.

The finished project! I'm pretty excited about it, especially where I'm going to put it..stay tuned!

Another great idea I had this morning was to make a "Thankful Jar." Just before reading The Vintage Pearl's blog about "a blessings jar", I thought it would be neat to have a clear jar full of colorful paper - with an idea, a word (or words), Bible verses, quotes, notes, something I did that day, something/someone I'm thankful for, etc. I'm planning to start this on New Year's Day, but I don't know if I can wait...

Monday, December 12, 2011


I have officially been a homeowner for ten days. This past weekend, I had my first breakdown, reality check, whatever you want to call it, as a homeowner. As I've previously mentioned, I'm horrible at making decisions. I change my mind a thousand and one times. Today I found out that my student loan payments are almost equal to my house payments. OUCH. That means they're higher than I was told. Surprise, surprise. While I figured I'd be paying $350/month just in loans, let's just add on another $100. Why the hell not, right? It's not like I don't have anything else to pay for. Yes, I've had some help from my parents, family and friends with housewarming gifts, groceries, etc., I'm not the spoiled little brat some people think I am.

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE my home. I LOVE my neighbors.. well, most of them. ;) But a tiny little part of me wishes that I would have thought this through a little more. Saved a little more money, maybe. Made different "big" purchases. I also need to realize that I'm not going to get everything I want. My basement won't be finished until at least next winter, if not later. My dining room table is a card table and chairs that my aunt and uncle had in their first home, 20-some years ago. Because you know what? Life goes on.

Here's a sneak-peek of my home...

I used my camera's 'panoramic' setting to get the kitchen/dining room/living room all in one shot. My kitchen looks a little funny, the garbage lid is open, I have too many pairs of shoes in the entryway, my counters are a disaster and my TV looks tiny but you get the idea. ;)

My computer is taking forever to upload photos so this is all you get for now. Hopefully this will motivate me to write some more this week...and of course add some more pictures! I will say, though, I have been on the computer significantly less than I thought I would be. I'm busy cleaning and picking up or finding a home for something packed away in my spare room. Who would have thought. :)

Happy Monday.  Have a great week!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Yep. Two days. Wow. This will probably be my last post before I move in on Friday, so look for pictures of the new place soon!

After work this afternoon, I met my dad at Best Buy to look at TV stands. I found one I LOVE (and dad loved too!) We then went over to the refrigerators...sore subject. A couple weeks ago, I went with him to look at fridges and we thought we had one picked out. It was on sale for $499 - top freezer, stainless steel, plain ol' fridge. The plan was to get the fridge, along with a new 40" (or bigger ;) TV. After being exactly like my dad.. aka stubborn.. we left with nothing. I went that weekend with mom to get the fridge, however it was no longer on sale. No big deal, except that I didn't really like it. It showed every single fingerprint. So, I bought a different one - French style doors like I wanted - only it was about double the price of the other fridge I told my dad I was getting. Oops.

Back to the point - I showed my dad the fridge I got, and he showed me another one (same brand, only 3 inches/6 cubic feet bigger, plus a water dispenser) that was on sale for about the price I paid for the smaller one. After going back and forth about a hundred times, determining how much bigger 6 cubic feet is (not much), opening and shutting doors and drawers, thinking "is it really worth an extra $100 for this?" and asking my dad a dozen times "what should I do?" ... I decided I wanted to switch. Keep in mind, I am one very indecisive person.

We went to Customer Service, waited in line, returned the one fridge, and 15 minutes later I hear "I'm not showing we have any here or in any warehouse in the area. It won't even let me backorder it." WHAT?! I look at my dad. I look at the cashier. I look at my dad again. First of all, how do you have a sale on a fridge, but not have any available?! Duh. At the same time, my dad and I said "floor model!" My dad asked the guy if we could buy the floor model. YEP. Not only did I get the last single-garage condo in the development, I got the last Samsung refrigerator at Best Buy. I think it was meant to be. ;)

I have to admit, I haven't been too excited about moving the past couple weeks. The thought of literally being on my own and having more bills (debt) than I can keep track of scares the living shit out of me. Things will be tight for awhile, and I won't have everything I want right away (or ever for that matter ;) but I made sure before I even looked into anything that I could afford it. And to be honest, I never imagined I'd be where I am right now.

Buying a condo at 24 years old. Six months after college graduation. A full-time job at John Deere. In a department I wasn't even remotely interested in, nor did I have the experience in.

God works in mysterious and wonderful ways, which we'll never know why or how. But that's the way it's supposed to be...and all you can be (and all I am) is unbelievably thankful and blessed.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cyber Monday

My "big" Cyber Monday purchase? This 'pearl nest ring' from The Vintage Pearl. I've ordered a bracelet and necklace (+1 for my aunt!) from there and I absolutely love them. I've liked this ring since they first added it on the website, but I never had enough guts to just buy it. I'm not a huge jewelry person, nor have I ever worn a ring in my life, but I like how simple and pretty it is. Plus, I got a pair of 'pearl drop earrings' as a bonus! I figure it's a good Christmas gift...since I don't have my ears pierced! ;)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend

This was one of the best Thanksgiving weekends I've ever had. Black Wednesday, or Thanksgiving Eve, is always a fun night and almost like a high school reunion (good or bad). Jami and I took Taysen to Grandma Lori & Grandpa Jim's for the night since Jami had to work Thursday morning. I let Tay crawl on me and then we were laying on the floor and he could not take his eyes off of me. Every little movement I made - he watched, every sound I made - he mimicked. It was truly one of my favorite times I've spent with him.

We spent the majority of the night at the Screamin' Eagle. Steph & Nick came out for the first time after having their sweet little boy, Ari, so there was lots to celebrate! We cheers'd to Steph "bein f'n out!" and to a Happy Thanksgiving. It was good to see people I hadn't seen in years, even though with several friends it had been days, and I had fun meeting new people, many who I work with and didn't even know it!


After watching part of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade from my bed (without a hangover!) and laughing at some things I found on my phone from Black Wednesday, I got ready and went out to the cemetery. It was by far the nicest day we've had here in awhile, in the 50's but just a little windy. I went to my aunt Kristi's for Thanksgiving with my dad's side of the family, watched a lot of football, ate a lot of food, and had a lot of fun. I went back to my mom's for another Thanksgiving dinner, finished watching the Cowboys win (YEAH!) and got ready for the hockey game - Jami and Taysen went with me this year! It's so much fun to watch Taysen get excited when they score a goal. He really focuses on the game... I told Jami when she found out it was a boy that he'd be a little hockey player. ;)

Instead of going out to wait in endless Black Friday lines, we had a little Thanksgiving Sleepover at Jami's. I put Tay to sleep and I woke up the next morning to a confused face, almost like he was thinking, "you're still here?!" I dressed him, fed him breakfast, and watched Mickey with him.

The faces he makes while he eats just kill me! We ended up doing a little Black Friday shopping, but made sure we waited until noon. Kohl's was still packed, with the longest lines I've ever seen, but Target wasn't bad at all. We of course had to stop at Starbucks right away (and share a little with Taysen). I've never had so much fun shopping with a baby..we spent a good hour in the toys section, and I walked out of there with wrapping paper & Taysen's first Christmas present - all for under $10. ;) That afternoon, we read books, played with toys, napped, and played peek-a-boo around the sectional.

Our Friday evening was spent on Main Street in Cedar Falls for the Holiday Hoopla kickoff, a "first-time" for all of us. We went in and out of many stores, except for the newly-opened Scratch, listened to the band and watched Alvin and the Chipmunks. We took pictures by Santa's Workshop, and hurried to watch Santa land in his helicopter. We walked up and down Main Street before standing outside Cup of Joe to watch the fireworks.

I can't wait until he's a little older and can enjoy it even more (and until I have one of my own to share this with!)

I spent the rest of my Friday night at Young Arena for the Warriors Alumni game, watching a few friends, and enjoying a couple beers at Smitty's. I was home by 11:30 and got a few texts calling me "old" and "lame." :)

Today, my mom and I went out looking for a TV stand, barstools, and some other things I felt I needed before I move on Friday. I ended up getting kitchen and bath towels, a shower curtain/rod for my bathroom, Christmas lights for my small tree I'm putting outside, verticals and blinds for the living room/bedrooms, a nine-cube organizer, and a few Christmas decorations. I was sick of shopping (what?! I didn't know that was possible..) and ready to go home.

Countdown: 5 days!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Today (and the 364 other days of the year) I am thankful.

Thankful to have a home to keep me safe and warm.

Thankful for a job I enjoy...most of the time. ;)

Thankful to be where I'm at in life - even if it took me five years to graduate college.

Thankful for my love to write, specifically this blog, and the people that read it.

Thankful for 'Black Wednesday' and all of the great friends I saw last night.

Thankful for not being hungover so I can enjoy great food all day long.

Thankful to be able to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family.

Thankful for NFL football on Thanksgiving Day. I'd be extra thankful with a 'Boys win.

Thankful to carry on the tradition of the Waterloo Black Hawks hockey game (against rival Cedar Rapids) on Thanksgiving night.

Thankful for the amazing friends I have who put up with me and are there for me.

Thankful for an extra special angel up in Heaven watching over me.

Thankful for my family. They may be a little crazy sometimes, but I wouldn't trade them for the world. I am my father's daughter, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm extremely thankful to have the cutest, sweetest nephew, Taysen James. He's starting to reach towards me when he sees me - it helps when I have a bottle of Mountain Dew;) and last night I got my first slobbery, open-mouthed kiss on the lips. Happy 1st Thanksgiving, little man!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cheers to being another year older...

I've been slacking a little (again). Surprise surprise. But, I promised some birthday night details so here they are. I went to dinner at Lonestar with my dad and Lexi. Steph stopped by to give me a birthday gift - North Face mittens! After a not-so-delicious meal, we met my Uncle Gooner and Aunt Judy at Buzz's Bar. Buzz's has this deal where you get to drink for free on your birthday (you pick one thing - beer or liquor, shots don't count and you can't mix.) Genius right? Right...if your birthday is on the weekend, if you don't plan on drinking much, or if you are smart enough to take the next day off of work. After a few hours of endless Bud Light bottles, shots, shots, and more shots, and a few great friends, it was 2:00 AM. Where'd the time go? It was after 4:30 by the time I went to sleep, and I was up at 5:45, barely an hour later. Work was a little rough, I was a little late, and I left a little early, but I survived.

Uncle Gooner & I.

My best friend Lexi.

Tyler snuggling with the New Moon blanket. Goodnight ;)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


It's funny what can happen in a week. Or really, five days. Last Wednesday, I turned 24. And I got the best birthday present EVER, even better than finding out I was going to have a little "nephew" the day after my birthday last year. :)

It all started when I somehow talked my mom into going to look at a condo with me (three days after we had decided I'd stay at home and keep saving money until after Christmas...and I'd hopefully find a place and move out after the first of the year.) I had already seen the place, so I was excited to show my mom around and see what she thought. They were brand-new, and there were about five left for sale. Or so I thought. We walked in, were handed a flyer, and I heard "there's only one left." WHAT?! ONE LEFT? WHAT DO YOU MEAN, 'ONE LEFT'?!

I freaked out.

Yes, this was the only place I had looked at. But I didn't care. It was the only thing I wanted. We walked around, and I swear I asked my mom "what do I do?!" every two seconds. After talking to the realtor for about 20 minutes, I took his business card and told him I would talk to him soon.

Note: I left something out in my last post - when I got home from church, I checked the paper to see when the open house for this condo was...1-2 PM. Damn. It was 2:15.

On the way home, I asked her "what do I do?!" but this time it was every ten seconds. We got home and sat at the kitchen counter, contemplating my options. That night, I e-mailed the lady at the bank I had been working with to tell her I wanted to come in and get my home loan application submitted. I felt sick all day, wondering what was going to happen. What would I do if I didn't get this condo? I didn't want anything else. I didn't want to mess with mowing, shoveling or making updates to a place. I wanted this.

I got a response stating that she wasn't available until 3:00 PM Tuesday, that she could maybe fit me in, otherwise Wednesday at 5:00. My birthday. I chose Tuesday, solely because my mom and I had both been sick to our stomachs, unable to eat much since Sunday.

My mom had been reading me my horoscopes, and mine for Tuesday said something about not being pessimistic. And I'll be the first to admit, I'm not the most optimistic person you'll ever meet. I very rarely have an entirely good day. So I dealt with it. I was positive ALL day long. I looked at the good in all situations. And it felt good. And obviously, it was good. When I met with Stacey at the bank, we went over all of the paperwork and she said she had a very good feeling about it, and that everything looked great. She said we should hear back sometime Wednesday, or at the latest, first thing Thursday morning. As I left her office, I called the realtor and told him the news and that I'd contact him as soon as I heard back.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011. My 24th birthday. I had a couple hour-long morning meetings, and after each, I came back to my desk hoping for a missed call (amongst messages upon messages wishing me a 'happy birthday') or an e-mail from Stacey. Around 12:30, I put my phone out of sight and reach to try and get some work done. I closed my Internet Explorer window with my Gmail account up. I had to get something accomplished.

At 12:51, I received an e-mail from Stacey on my work account. The subject line read:
                                                            HAPPY BIRTHDAY
Somewhere between the "HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!!!!!!" "GREAT NEWS!" "We just got your loan approval!!!!!" and "MAKE AN OFFER ON YOUR BIRTHDAY!" I managed to nervously get the word "girls..." out of my mouth. I turned around and one of my co-workers said "you got it?!" I picked up my phone, went into the hallway and called the realtor. Then I called my mom. She thought I was joking. I was sweating.

After A LOT of celebrating that night and a rough supposed-to-be 9-hour-day-turned-into-7 (birthday night details to come!) I met with Brian at 4:00 and signed my life away. 31 days until I close on my place and move in!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Back to "Normal"

I'm not quite sure what my "normal" really is...but I'm bound and determined to get back to it. After countless weeks (I wouldn't dare tell you how many) of not making it to church on Sunday, I finally got my butt out of bed yesterday morning and went. It might have had something to do with the fact that I had two text messages before 9:30 AM, from two different people... "Go to church today!" and "Church at 11?" Call me crazy but I thought of this as a sign.

The lead pastor at church, Dan, had taken a 5-month sabbatical due to some health and personal issues. I had always preferred hearing his voice over a couple others, so I wasn't exactly excited to spend who knows how many Sunday mornings, listening to someone else. I managed to go a few times over the summer, but it just wasn't the same. I often thought of exploring other churches in the Cedar Valley, but was afraid to do it alone therefore it never happened.

I can't explain how awesome it felt to get up and get ready to go to church yesterday morning. It probably had a lot to do with the fact that it was a perfect fall morning - the sun was shining, not one cloud in the clear blue sky, the reds and oranges of the trees, and just a slight breeze. And it wasn't just that I was going to church...I just felt different.

As my friend Allison and I walked to find a couple seats, we ran into who other than Pastor Dan. He greeted us with a hug and a "good morning" and I (again) just felt something different when he hugged me. As it turns out, this was his first Sunday being back at church. Boy, did I pick a good day to go! He's going to use the next few weeks to explain what he went through and says most of us will be able to easily apply it to our own lives. I'm excited to hear his "story" and get back into my Sunday morning routine of going to church...although I'd rather make the 9:30 AM service. ;)

A few things that my new Sunday morning routine will consist of: going through the Sunday newspaper, church: with a friend OR alone, brunch, going on a walk or attempting to do some type of workout, spending time with family (see pictures of who below!), and some NFL football - Go Cowboys!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

There Comes a Time...

...when you need to grow up. You might be forced upon the idea, whether you're ready or not. Or, as much as you'd like to think you're ready and that you're perfectly capable of growing up, chances are you're not. "Growing up" can be defined by numerous events and situations, depending on who is doing the growing up. From graduating preschool to starting high school, turning 16 and getting your license to turning 21 to have that first (legal) drink, finally getting that college diploma and searching for the right job to realizing it's time to be out on your own and house hunting.

- insert me here -

So here I am. Two weeks prior to my 24th birthday, sitting cross-legged on my bed, thumbing through the Courier and the latest issue of Homes, circling potential options, and searching Google for local real estate businesses to see more information on those potential options. Do I go for a condo or a house? Should I try to rent for a few months to keep saving money or just go for it? How many bedrooms do I really need? Do I want a roommate to help cover some of the bills? There are so many questions I have and nobody to answer them but myself. Depending on how much I am approved for, I know what direction I'm leaning towards, however, I am very open to suggestions and advice. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


(I know, two posts in two days? It's a record for me.)

In a couple hours, at midnight, it will be September 21, 2011. The day that my Grandma Eunie would have turned 96. Like I said in my last post, just yesterday, I believe that everything happens for a reason. I know that it was her time to go, and I am beyond blessed to have spent her last hours with her. I'm also a firm believer in that nothing lasts forever, after all, people die. It's expected. I remember when (her husband) Grandpa Chet passed away, almost ten years ago. Death of a loved one is something you just don't forget about...which brings me to this.

Does life really go on after death? Does Heaven exist? I just finished a book, The Ten Best Days of My Life, where a woman explains just that.
I'm not going to give too much away, but it seriously made me wonder about what Heaven is like. Can the deceased really communicate and connect with those who are still living? And then, I think about the idea of white bufferflies signifying angels. Is that true? Last year, a week or two after my Grandma Eunie passed away, I was in the pool at my Grandma Karen's, and a white butterfly came by. My Grandma Karen said to me, "she's here with us, you know." Then, one year ago tomorrow, I was driving up to Minneapolis for a sports career fair, sponsored by the Minnesota Twins. As I'm driving, I see a white butterfly flutter by (that is what they do, isn't it?)

Anyways, what's I'm getting at is, those who have a place in our hearts, have a place there forever. They live on within us. Whether we "see" them in a white butterfly, "feel" them in the wind, or "hear" their voice, they're there. And this, is where my Grandma Eunie is...
Happy 96th Birthday, Grandma Eunie. I love you and miss you more than anything.

Monday, September 19, 2011


I know, where have I been right? Well, is anyone actually even reading this? Not that it matters, because writing is a part of life. For some reason, it's much easier for me to express my feelings through written words, rather than words spoken. Why is that? Give me a piece of paper and a pencil, or a computer, and I could go on for hours. Put me face to face with someone or something, and I'd be lucky to get a few sentences out.

I have to admit, through my eight years of working, five years of college, the last two years of what we'll call - starting my career, and all of the people I've met in between, I've grown up. I've learned how to deal with difficult people, in complicated situations, with diverse opinions. I believe that God put you on Earth to serve a purpose, and he brings people into your life and takes them out for a reason. I'm still trying to figure out what those reasons are...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Mack the Knife

It's very hard to believe that one year ago tonight, I was sitting in a nursing home with a number of extended family members, just hours before my great grandma Eunie took her last breath. I remember the day like it was yesterday.

My grandma had been sick for the last two weeks and I had gone to see her every single day. No matter how tired she was, and even though she could hardly see, she knew it was me every single time I came to see her. Every time I left, I gave her a hug and a kiss, and told her I would see her tomorrow. I had switched my hours at work starting August 2nd, my first day of my second term at Kaplan, so I would come in at 1:00 PM, leave at 5:30 PM, and go to class at 6:00 PM. I figured this worked out best so I could still have time to spend with my grandma Eunie.

I went up around noon, and was a few minutes late to work. My dad called around 4:00 when he left work and said he was going to see her. I told him I had gone up to see her before work, and that she was doing pretty well. He said he would call me after he left. No more than 15 minutes later, my phone rang again. Dad. I don't remember the exact words but it was something like, "Lindsey. You need to come here now." I asked why but answered my own question with "okay" and hung up. As the tears welled in my eyes and a lump formed in my throat, I walked into my bosses office and said I had to leave. It was the longest 10-minute driver I've ever taken. I fought tears while contemplating stopping to get gas as my light was on. I kept praying to make it there before it was too late. I got there just before 5:00, and ran to her room. It was a very long evening and I was tired, hungry, sad, exhausted, scared, nervous... She passed away at 12:40 AM. I can't begin to say how thankful I am to have spent her last hours with her, to watch her take her last breath.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

True Love

Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves.
Love never fails.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13

Two of my very good friends, Stephanie & Nick, are a prime example of 'true love.' Last summer, I spent quite a lot of time with the two of them, but it wasn't until Labor Day weekend that we started spending most of that time together. Sunday night, Lexi & I decided to go to the Screaming Eagle and Nick & Blake were there. After a few hours of conversation, music & beer, Blake took us into Newton's and cooked for us.

Blake was in and out of the kitchen while Lexi, Nick and I watched people leave what used to be Roux Orleans and is now Black's 501 Piano Bar. It was a great way to bring summer to an end and celebrate Labor Day.

When Nick saw this picture, the first thing he said was, "it looks like I'm trying to fart and she knows it." Needless to say, it was probably true and we laughed about it 'til our stomachs hurt and we had tears in our eyes.

We all ended up crashing at Nick's place, which was a loft above the Screaming Eagle. The next morning, we were laying around watching Astro Boy when Steph called. "I think I'll swing by!" Once I hung up the phone, Nick asked me who I was talking to. "Steph," I replied. "Stephanie Tansey?! I've had a crush on her forever! Oh my God..." and then he proceeded to begin sweeping and Swiffer-ing his nearly spotless place. Blake and I decided to keep them company and went to lunch at Chapala's, where we enjoyed enchiladas with "creamy white sauce" and margaritas. Steph and I took a trip to Target after lunch (for some pocket t's) and hung out until we went over to Nick's for pizza and game night.

And so it went from this...

...and phone calls and talks with each of them about how great the other one is and how happy they are, to this...

Throughout my relationship with each of them and their relationship with each other, I've learned a lot about life, myself, friendship, and love. I would often scrunch up my nose or make gagging noises whenever they'd kiss each other or say 'I love you' in front of me, but I now realize that they were and still are truly, madly (deeply) in love with each other. That kind of life doesn't come easy, and not everyone is blessed to experience it. I couldn't be happier for them and I am beyond thankful for being a part of their life.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Taysen James

It's been a ridiculously long time since I've posted. Here's what (or who) has been consuming 90% of my time the past two months...
It's amazing how quickly you can fall in love with someone you barely know...
...and even crazier how fast they grow up. Happy two-month birthday Taysen! More pictures to come...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Oh, The Places You'll Go...

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own.
And you know what you know.
And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...
-- Dr. Seuss, Oh! The Places You'll Go! 

As you should have figured out by now, I will officially be done with college in one (!) week. Which leads me to think of very random things...

1. Take alcohol for instance. I know a number of people who have been finished with college for a few years (or a select few who decided to skip college and go straight to the 'Real World') ... and it seems like all they do outside of work is go out and party. At least four days a week. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a night out with friends and having a couple beers, but to go out more than two nights in one week for me is about impossible. Sure, I'm still in school, and I work pretty much full-time, and I am in my early-20's, but I'm beginning to think I've outgrown the "party" stage of life. This is where those people come into play. These people who go out Sunday, Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday and then start it all over again. These people who get black-out drunk every time they drink. These people who spend endless amounts of money on what? A fun night that they won't remember?

2. Acquaintances. Perhaps someone you graduated from high school with, had a college class together, or a co-worker from a previous part-time job. Someone whom you've talked to maybe a handful of times, where the typical conversation goes like this:
Hi, how are you? "Good! How about you?" Good! What have you been up to?! "Not much, school, work, family, etc. what about you?" Oh the same...well it was good seeing you. "You too!" Someone who tries (or appears to try) to make plans. I'm a person who has a few GREAT friends, rather than several "so-so" friends. Sure, I know a lot of people, and I won't hesitate saying hi to someone if I see them out, but I'm happy with my few closest friends.

3. Children. Don't get me wrong, I love kids. The thing that bothers me is the mom (or dad, or both) don't live up to their titles. A lot of my friends have children, or are expecting. There is no doubt in my mind that these women will be amazing mothers, as several of them don't have dad in the picture. If you are responsible enough to have [unprotected] sex, get pregnant, and choose to keep your child, then you need to be responsible enough to care for and raise your child.

4. Travel. I want to see the world. I haven't been many places...Texas, Las Vegas, UP of Michigan, Minnesota, Chicago, Wisconsin, St. Louis and Kansas City about sum it up. I want travel to be a part of my business life. My dad has gone on business trips since I can remember, and has met so many great people. I want that in my life.

I was up until 4:30am doing discussion posts and writing papers. Right now, I've got a few lists calling my name so I can graduate by May 31st. I wonder why I continue to procrastinate so much? 9 more days...I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

Monday, March 28, 2011

First Timer

There's a first time for everything, right?

Spring Break 2011 was spent with a lot of "firsts." Like my first business trip. Alone. To Des Moines for a 2-day insurance class. On Wednesday, I packed my suitcase and took off on Highway 20. I made it (without getting lost, thanks to my Garmin) in roughly two hours. I checked into my hotel and went up to Room 213. (I'm apologizing now for the poor pictures.)
After checking things out, calling Mom & Dad to let them know I'd arrived, I quickly became bored. Luckily I was just 1.59 miles from Jordan Creek Town Center. For probably the first time ever, I didn't find much, granted I purposely "missed" a few stores. After a good two hours of shopping, I decided to get some dinner at Champps. Alone. I've never eaten at a sit-down restaurant completely by myself. And you know what? It wasn't bad at all. Except for the slightly confused look I got from the hostess when I replied "just one." I enjoyed sitting at a high-top table, watching the First Four of the NCAA Men's Tournament and sipping a Woodchuck while waiting for my dinner...which was a cheeseburger. Like my Dad said, "imagine that." 
Day 1 of my "vacation" was spent in a meeting room at the hotel studying insurance terms like umbrellas and blankets. Besides an hour lunch break, I sat in the same chair for roughly 8.5 hours, drinking Orange Tea, water, or Pepsi, sucking on peppermints, taking notes and highlighting what Steve focused on, and making small-talk with my fellow classmates. Thursday night (St. Patrick's Day), I got Cheesecake Factory To-Go and relaxed in my room. Sadly, I missed Jersey Shore as the TV didn't have MTV.
I decided on Four-Cheese Pasta and of course, a piece of cheesecake.

I got to sleep in on Friday since I didn't have class until 1:00. Of course, I didn't sleep well Wednesday night when I had to be up by 6am, but I sleep like a rock when I don't need to set my alarm. Luckily, check out wasn't until noon, so after sleeping in I made it down to breakfast for the last ten minutes it was open. I didn't eat too much since I wanted to make sure I had a good lunch - hey, when work is paying for it, why not? :) I went back out to Jordan Creek and ate at Joe's Crab Shack. We ended up getting out of class about 5 minutes early, so I was able to be out and on the road by 5:30. Again, I didn't get lost!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Baby Clothes and Sick Days

I can't focus on one thing to write about, but I'm determined to write about something, so I guess I'll continue on with My Little Things.

2. Baby Clothes. 

These really are little things, and since my best friend/cousin/roommate has little Taysen in her belly, well, I've had more than an excuse to do some serious shopping.


Now, my trips to Target aren't complete without making a stop to the baby section, even though by now I have memorized where everything is located, and what the Cedar Falls Target has that Waterloo doesn't. During my upcoming visit to Des Moines, where I'll be staying just a few blocks from Jordan Creek Mall, I plan to carve out some time to check out Baby Gap...this could be trouble. Expect to see more rambling and photos about this subject. :)

3. Sick Days.

A good, true sick day is spent in bed or on the couch, in your sweats, with your dirty hair in a messy ponytail. A sick day should mostly be spent sleeping, if at all possible. A sick day should not be spent worrying about anything work-related. Forget about your meetings and deadlines, turn off the laptop, and put the BlackBerry on silent. There is a reason it is called a sick day. It means you need to relax. This afternoon is my "sick day." I am laying on the couch in my sweats and my dirty hair is up, but I'm not sleeping...yet. After having a fever at work this morning, which was established by my sweating in the bathroom and five minutes later having goosebumps at my desk, I decided to take a little break from life and go home.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Hello, March

Today, there is something different about it being a new month but I can't quite put my finger on it. 100 days left at John Deere. 49 days until Jami's due date. I'm hoping Taysen comes sooner than that...my money is on April 8th. :)

March is a lot of things. A day closer to spring. Daylight Savings - "Spring Ahead." St. Patrick's Day. The month I finally begin my final term of college; this Super Senior is almost there! Spring Break. A trip to Des Moines to spend two days (during Spring Break) in a classroom learning insurance. A trip to Coralville four days later to see how much I learned and hopefully pass my personal lines insurance test. Spring training. March Madness. A lot brighter than February and I am ready. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Little Things in Life

What are they? Where do they come from? Are they really little? This begins a list of the little things in my life.

1. Kids. 

This group might be my favorite. Hands down, my favorite job was at Happy Time Preschool & Daycare where I was a teacher's assistant. In my three short years there, I got to know my co-workers, my "kids", and their families. I started in August 2006, just in time for the new school year. My first year was spent in the "Juniors" department every afternoon, where I worked with five amazing women. I cared for 40 little 3 & 4-year old's between the two classrooms. I was so lucky and got to move up to Pre-K with my new friends. The bond I created with these kids the first two years at HT is absolutely unforgettable and irreplaceable.

Pre-K Graduation; May 2008.
Zoo week. :)

The four of us were inseparable.

We spent our summer making s'mores, paper fires and napping in sleeping bags for Camping Week, reading books (our favorites were Is Your Mama a Llama? and The Pickle Book), going bowling, playing in the water for Swim Day, going on picnics at the park across the street (or right outside the cafeteria), praising God at Chapel and VBS, singing songs, dancing, taking hour-long cat naps, playing, and loving. There wasn't one day where I didn't get a hug from one of them.

I got to witness a lot of "firsts." Their first loose tooth, which soon became their first lost tooth. Their first time swinging on the playground, their first time tying their shoes, reading their first book, writing their first letters/numbers, and many more. I watched them and their siblings grow, talked to lots of pregnant mommies and got to meet precious little new ones.

Of the 44 kids I spent nearly every day with for two years, a few stayed in Pre-K to strengthen their knowledge and skills before going off to Kindergarten. What was I going to do without my 5-year old best friends? 

Make new ones.

Celebrating Dr. Seuss week!

There are times I wish I were 5 again. Where the biggest decision I had to make was who I was going to play with or if I wanted to color with crayons or markers. Playing outside for endless hours, grass-stains, muddy shoes, and dirty fingernails. Refusing to take naps and begging to stay up late. Having Mom pack my cold lunch. And fighting over the silliest things.

Growing up is tough. You go through so many transitions and stages throughout your life that makes you really appreciate what you've had (and who's been by your side.)