A Little Froyo

31 January 2012

Noah and I have been enjoying lots of frozen yogurt for the past five months or so. While those of you in California probably have never experienced life without frozen yogurt stands, little towns in the heart of Virginia do not often have such luxuries. Fortunately, a small business came to our town this past summer and the university students have been flocking to the shop. 

Noah loves to mix his up getting all different flavors, from cake batter to very berry. Then he adds in a ton of different toppings. I like to stick with my favorite (after trying about eight) which is Country Vanilla. Then I love to add some heath bars. Lately though I've been forcing myself to add at least three different fruits with no chocolate toppings.... and you know what? It's almost as good. Hah! 

I love this little town and it's great that it's growing little by little. One day I want to live in a city and be able to walk everywhere I need to go but, for now, this is a great place to spend my early 20s. 

A Song of Ice and Fire

30 January 2012

This past week I finished reading A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin. This is the most recent installment in the series and I waited until I finished the five books that are released before writing a review. 

I would give this series five out of five stars. 

As long as you are okay with little bits of fantasy elements thrown in (knights, lords, a few giants and the like) then you will find your self obsessed with this series. The characters are strong yet have fallacies. One of my favorite things about the series, besides the characters, is the way that the chapters switch points of view. You may read about an event from one point of view and you could learn in the next chapter that the previous character had a biased view about the event. It certainly keeps you guessing about what is truly happening in Westeros. 

I loved the Hunger Games series which is popular right now, but while that was YA, this is truly an adult series. There are scenes that are quite mature and you have to pay close attention in order to infer things about characters and situations. 

For a great summary, check out the highest rated review on Amazon for the first book in the series: A Game of Thrones

This may be my new favorite series (next to Harry Potter of course). If you're looking for a book to read I would highly recommend beginning with A Game of Thrones.

Aspirations 101

29 January 2012

{smile via}

These goals are from my 101 in 1001 list. If you want to see my entire list of goals you can click here

1. Take one photo every day for a month. CHECK! This one can officially be marked off the list.

9. Read two books a month. In progress? I have been reading a lot this month, my book was just so massive that it took all month to read it while doing student teaching. I'll do a book review tomorrow actually! Next on my list are some earth science reads.

30. Workout at least three times a week. I am failing at this repeatedly. We did go to the gym yesterday and started our membership but I am determined to make this a lifestyle.

44. Eat a fruit a day. This is still a challenge but packing my lunch each day is helping. I'd say I'm getting in four days with fruits. Although, Noah and I went to the grocery store yesterday and came home with strawberries, bananas, apples, and oranges. We'er off to a good start for the next week or two.

68. Plan meals in advance. Noah and I are doing better at this goal. Since we come home tired on weeknights we really try to plan some meals on the weekend. It sure helps!

Wedding Work

28 January 2012

Noah and I have been putting off wedding planning as long as possible. After booking sites and deciding on the big picture things we dusted off our hands and put the whole thing behind us. After all, the only things you need for a wedding are a location, a minister, and people right? Well, technically that might be more than enough but that's not quite how we're doing it. 

So, after months of putting it off we have finally addressed our save the dates and I'm making appointments to do a final dress fitting and making a purchase. 

In short, there's a lot to do and we realized we only have a little time left to do it in! Yet, I'm still excited to make it official with this man o' mine!

A Little Remembrance

27 January 2012

The beginnings of a great day are in the air. I have slight nerves caused by a drastic change in schedule for this teacher work day, but I feel that I will accomplish a lot during the next twelve hours or so. 

Last night, Noah and I went to a women's basketball game at our university where we stomped on the opposing team. It felt great to get out of the house and watch a sporting event. The basketball games here are low key compared to our football games and I just felt young to be there. Noah and I could wear casual clothes, we ate nachos and had a soda while sitting just off the bleachers so our cabooses were on the floor. I always feel so adult and serious now that it was great to sit back and have some fun. It was a strong reminder of the times we had as teens in the pep band at our high school. 

Sometimes a little remembering goes a long way. It can rekindle love, laughter, and a sense of fulfillment. 

My time with Noah has been great during college and grad school, but sometimes remembering the kids we were is just as fun! 

Keys to a Good Morning

26 January 2012

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The past three weeks have been fast-paced while working with high school students and my cooperating teacher. Each morning I have about an hour to get ready before heading off to school. Some mornings are tougher than others but occasionally I get a little spurt of energy. Today is my first teacher work day which means I get to go in a half an hour later than normal so I thought I'd share some of the ways I make my morning brighter. 

Step 1: Get at least 8 hours of sleep. This one has been surprisingly easy for me to achieve. By the time I get home in the afternoons I'm so exhausted that I want to fall asleep. In fact, it's hard for me to not take a nap or fall asleep early even when I need to work on lesson plans or assessments!

Step 2: Do what's important before what you want. I need to take a shower, get dressed, dry my hair, make a lunch, and perhaps make coffee or grab breakfast. These actions need to come before reading blogs, editing photos, or perusing twitter or else I'm rushed when 6:55 rolls around and I need to head out the door. 

Step 3: (With time) Do at least one thing that's for you. For me, this is reading some blogs in the morning. I never have time to respond now but just to read what's going on in a friend's life or to see a little inspiration in the morning is such a blessing!

Step 4: Watch the sunrise.  As I drive to work in the morning the sun never quite peaks over our mountains. However, along the interstate the day goes from utter darkness, to blazing pink tracks across the sky, to light pastels. It means a lot to me, after waking up early and driving 40 minutes, to see this glorious phenomenon every day. It is the inspiration in my life each morning. For you, it may not be watching the sunrise but seeing your child smile while eating breakfast, or a kiss from your sweetheart (those are always good too), but find something special that means the world to you and partake in it each and every day.

50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind (Set IV)

25 January 2012

{Image via Susan}

  1. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive? I hate to say that I truly can't remember. I had a conversation with Noah recently about how I don't feel happy any more. I have little bursts but I feel sad, frustrated, or plain indifferent much of the time now. It actually worries me. I posted last April about this and I'm still feeling the same way. 
  2. If not now, then when? I wish now, but for nearly everything in my life at this point it will be THEN, meaning after I graduate (and likely after getting a job/paycheck).
  3. If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose? Nothing... people may talk a little bit but that's it... I'm not sure why I care so much about what other people say. Sometimes I think I sacrifice my happiness just to look like I'm doing the 'right things' all the time.
  4. Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever? Actually, not in a long time. I'm pretty much an open book but when it comes to that deep of a connection I only find a person maybe once every two years that I can manage it with. 
  5. Why do religions that support love cause so many wars? Because religion isn't always about love. Spirituality I think is more about love and people turn spirituality and thoughts into religion and make up a lot of specific rules that don't support love. While if we boiled them down (for example, Deuteronomy 6:5 love the lord your God with all your heart soul and mind) then the world would be a better place for it.... but instead we add in things like "stone your daughter", "if a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman..." or "women obey your husbands" and take it seriously today. Then people forget about loving and get caught up in the little rules. That's why I live my life trying to do the right things but not getting caught up in one religion or another.**
  6. Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil? Some things. Not everything. For example, no matter what rape will be evil but a lot of the time there is a huge gray area. For every day life, problems, and decisions there will be a lot of room to think about what is right and wrong and you just have to do the best you can.
  7. If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job? Well, as I don't have a job... no. I need to continue school to get one so I can't stop in the middle. Even if I had one I wouldn't quit. A million dollars is a lot of money but you still have lots of expenses. Plus, when I'm not doing something I get bored and when I get bored I get grouchy.
  8. Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing? More work that I enjoy doing! I just said that I don't like being bored. I thrive when I'm busy but get upset when it's pointless or frustrating work. Lots of work that I enjoy doing sounds perfect.
  9. Do you feel like you’ve lived this day a hundred times before? Hah, yes.... that's because I have strong routines in my days though. 
  10. When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in? I honestly can't remember unless you count my fear of asking Noah on a date nearly seven years ago. I really didn't know what he would say but I liked him and believed we would do well together (although didn't know that it would work out quite so well). 
**Of course I do know that there are religious people who live their lives to the fullest and try to do the best by everyone. I know one man in particular that makes religion seem like it could solve the world's problems.... Not all religions (or individuals) are bad, but it does get tainted by some.

Morning & Reading

24 January 2012

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Tuesday morning has come around bright and early after a fairly long Monday. I'm ready. It should be a pretty easy day at school with my ninth graders and following school Noah and I plan to start a membership at a local gym. I'm getting ever closer to finishing A Dance with Dragons which is both thrilling and startling. I've been reading this series since last summer and soon I'll have to find a new book to read. That's always hard after connecting to characters so intimately. Perhaps my next read should be  A Short History of Nearly Everything to get my earth science groove on? 

The picture of these flowers was just what I need this morning: light, bright, and beautiful. I hope your Tuesday is off to a great start! Any books you'd like to suggest?

The Fitness Dilemma

23 January 2012


I've fallen far behind the curve with working out during graduate school.  Part of this is due to practicum and student teaching but a greater part is caused by my lack of motivation. Last semester, for the first time in my life, I felt fat. This is unacceptable and has to change now.

 I'm sure the next couple of months (especially the next couple of days) will be a challenge. Overall, I'm happy and fine but if I already struggle with bettering myself then maybe I need to get on the track now because I know it'll be harder in a few years. Oddly, even with these thoughts in my head my biggest problem is changing my diet and actually leaving my house to go to the gym. Noah and I went to a gym last night to look around and are going to sign up for a membership. Although we could use the school gym for free we can't park there because student teachers don't have university parking passes and I'm secretly hoping that paying money to go to a gym will be a bit more motivating. Nothing motivates like money motivates.

Do you have any suggestions for a way to stay motivated with eating healthier and working out after being at work all day?

Aspirations 101

22 January 2012

{CrossKeys Vineyard}

Time to catch up on my list of 101 goals. Looking back over the list I realize there are a few I need to cross off and a couple that I'm progressing on quickly. For more than a year now these goals have been little spots of light for me to strive towards and have suited me better than any New Years Resolution. Today I have one big goal looming ahead of me that I'm only just starting on... but more on that tomorrow.

1. Take a photo every day for a month. I've been making excellent progress on this so far in January. It's the 22nd and I've taken a photo each day since New Years. I'm definitely hoping to cross this one off my list by February.

9. Read 2 books a month. This goal is hard to complete when you're doing student teaching and finishing up a series where each book is 1,000 pages long. Almost done the final book though and will soon be able to move on to more!

14. Visit at least 3 museums in DC that I have not visited before. Noah and I did this about three weeks ago by visiting the Newseum. One down, two to go!

16. Eat at least 1 new food or at 1 new place a week. Two birds with one stone this week. Noah and I ate at a local joint called Las Chamas. It's a Venezuelan restaurant and we tried several new foods. My sister's boyfriend is half Venezuelan and suggested it to us!

44. Eat one fruit a day for at least a month. I'm not quite there yet on this goal but for the first time in a long time I'm eating fruit at least three or four days a week for lunch because I'm packing for work. 

Yep, these are the goals that have been somewhat of a focus for me this past week. Next week I'm hoping to get a few more down that are very important.

Reasons to Smile

21 January 2012


Yesterday morning I woke up at five til six and time to get 20 minutes of yoga in before school. That was quite a change from my normal rushing around considering I only woke up five minutes earlier than usual. So many muscles warmed and stretched and I was cracking my back and neck at almost every move. Then I got in the car and belted out Chicago on my 40 minute commute. 

Currently, it's 6:25am on a Saturday morning and I'm up typing because I'm taking a communications test this morning at 7:30. That's fine by me because it's just another item to check off the list! 

I'm one little step closer to being a teacher, I'm starting my day early, and I can definitely justify a Starbucks run afterwards. 

AND... here are my reasons to smile from this past week:
  • Student teaching provides some funny moments
  • Ate at a local Venezuelan place Monday night (mmm.... arepas!)
  • I'm now 50% of the way through the last Game of Thrones book that is currently released
  • While taking Noah's car for an estimant I got to play with three sweet lab mixes 
  • It's the weekend and that means SLEEP

50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind (Set III)

18 January 2012

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  1. Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton? Joyful simpleton, definitely. 
  2. Why are you, you? I've heard this question before and there's just no easy way to answer this. I'd say it's a combination of my experiences and beliefs, my reliability, my heart on my sleeve, my varying moods.... There's no way to answer this question in a year much less in this one space.... I'll have to continue thinking about it. 
  3. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend? Sometimes? I've never been a bad friend, I just maybe am not as 'around' as I would like to be.  
  4. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you? I haven't really experience the first one so I can't be sure. I think losing touch with a good friend who lives close may be worse because you have no excuse for why you lost that friendship but in that same turn if you could have kept contact better but you were forced to split up then that's tough.... summary: not sure. 
  5. What are you most grateful for? Easiest question ever. Noah Lizer has been the most caring person in my life and is my rock in everything I do.
  6. Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones? What a hard question! Your past memories make you who you are but you want to do things for the rest of your life that will be a part of you.  Neither isn't an option though.... At this stage in life I'd have to say lose my old memories. There are a lot of good things (like meeting Noah, having my mom, getting engaged) but I like to think that getting married and having kids will be the best times of my life. I wouldn't have kids if I couldn't remember who they are and to never have any new moments with Noah (that I could remember) would be crushing. Plus the positive in this is that I could forget the hard times and maybe move forward.
  7. Is is possible to know the truth without challenging it first? Yes, although it's unusual. For example, I know that Noah hasn't cheated on me and I don't need to go snooping around or asking him or every girl. It just a truth. Maybe that's just trust in an extreme. However, in at least 99% of life truth does need to be tested or else you're a sheep who just follows without ever exploring yourself. 
  8. Has your greatest fear ever come true? No. Thank goodness. Once I was afraid it would for a matter of seconds and it was terrifying. I think it was much harder in those five or six seconds than when I lost my mom (that was expected and while early, it is the cycle of life for a parent to be lost).
  9. Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset?  Does it really matter now? Five years ago? No. I was 17.... I may have been upset that my mom had a tumor but anything else was inconsequential. Now if you said four years ago, I think being mad that my dad started dating again within a month of her passing then yes because that altered the course of our relationship forever.
  10. What is your happiest childhood memory?  What makes it so special? Huh. I actually am a little stumped at this one. I've become so used to Noah being the happiest positive person, force, and making up my favorite memories that I haven't though about childhood for a long time. Also now all those memories are tainted by my displeasure with my father now and the sadness from the loss of my mom and it's just easier to not think about when I was happy then..... That being said, I think it may be any one of our trips to my grandparents' farm in Illinois. That week in the summers would always be spent with just my family, home-cooked meals, and petting the farm animals, taking eggs from chickens, and making copies of the coyote prints. I think of innocence, curiosity, and wonder when I think of the farm. 

Dreams Postponed

17 January 2012


The more research I do the more likely it seems that my dream of moving to the UK will have to be postponed. There is a part of me that accepts this and a whole other part of me that aches with the thought. We've looked into international schools and military bases abroad but without experience under our belts we don't seem to be likely candidates. That only leaves the public school systems to us, but without experience or a VISA this seems to be a massive undertaking that I'm not sure we can handle on top of job applications, a wedding, student teaching, and an upcoming graduation. 

I know this won't be the end of my dream, it just seems that this would be a great time to move forward with it. I'm always afraid that we'll settle down and get comfortable. It seems that we'll have to take the cards we're dealt though and gain some more experience in the field of education first.

If you have any suggestions (or lets be honest, connections) and wouldn't mind sharing them I'd love to hear them! What's your biggest dream? 

Geocaching Adventure

16 January 2012

Yesterday Noah and I went out for the afternoon to find a few more geocaches in our area. We've found 83 now which brings me a bit closer to my goal of 100 in the next year and a half or so. It's really a great way to get outside.

At one point though, we followed the GPS coordinates to a location behind a local strip mall. Since part of the goal of this global game is to be stealthy around 'muggles' we parked behind the building to climb up the hill out back from the store. Then a truck pulled around while we were behind some pinetrees and we had to wait about 10 minutes before they left and we could come down again. Hah! 

Of course, no outing is complete until you finish it off with some coffee. Noah and I are using up our Starbucks gift cards we got for Christmas. I love me some peppermint mochas in the morning!

Hope you had a lovely weekend as well. 

Student Teaching

14 January 2012

Wow! Sorry it's been a bit since I did a post catching you up. I started at my student teaching placement this past Monday and every day since has consisted of school, food, and sleep. Seriously! Noah is at a middle school currently and I'm at a high school that is forty minutes away. That means we're waking up at 5:50, leaving at 7am, and stay at school until 3:30. Then I have a forty minute commute back home. We've been trying to go to bed at 10pm or earlier but some nights we're in bed before then. Our record so far is this past Wednesday when we both got home at 4:30, made dinner, filled up on gas for our cars, and then fell asleep from 6:30pm-6:00am the next morning. We've been exhausted.

Since this is our first week we're mostly observing and doing mini-lessons (like I taught the phases of the moon this past week with diagrams and demonstrations). In a normal placement I would probably start taking over our last block this coming week after watching him do lessons during the first or second block but instead we have our SOLs. No, if you're out of state that's not a bad word. SOLs are our Standards of Learning which we're required to have our students take as a form of assessment and evaluation of our teaching methods.

Well, my school is having SOLs next week and at the beginning of my fourth week in placement (out of a total of eight weeks) we're getting a whole bunch of new kids at the start of our second semester! This means that my thesis can't really begin until the fourth week of my placement which puts me way behind where I should be on that. JMU is prepared for that though, every year they have a few students in the grad program that face this challenge. The bright side for me is that I'll have a lot of time to plan assessments, lesson plans, and complete all of the work I can on my thesis beyond info about my students.

If you're teaching, know that I have respect for you - especially if you have kids. My days are already exhausted just from adjusting to the schedule, eating, and sleeping. I can't imagine taking care of another human right now!

I'll try to do more updates on the weekends that can be posted during the week (funny quotes kids say and such) but looking at this past week, my weekdays will be pretty sparse most likely this semester. I love blogging and I actually plan to use it as part of my "me time".... It's just that almost everything I'll have to say will be about teaching and sometimes it can be frustrating to come home and talk about my workday after being there for eight hours. I swear when I get back in to the high school in the morning that I never even left the night before because it has feels like I'm there all the time! (When you fall asleep at 6:30 the night before that means you only have 2 personal hours after getting home from school before going back to school).

{After school one day, when I was leaving it was snowing.}

Ok, sorry this is so long! I'll try to keep more updates so you won't get a novel like this and if you're a teacher I'd love to hear suggestions for meals that are easy, ways to engage students, behavior management, or how to keep up personal time and time with friends while planning.

Hope you're having a wonderful week and I look forward to catching up with your blogs! Know that I still like to read when I can, I just don't always have the time to respond now (oh, real world, you're so hard on me!).

50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind (Set II)

11 January 2012

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See Part I here

  1. You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire.  They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend.  The criticism is distasteful and unjustified.  What do you do? I'd say something. No one could ever say that I'm not opinionated. In fact, I've been in situations similar to this and have said something. If what they're saying is untrue I will let them know. 
  2. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?  Don't be afraid to open yourself up fully to people, just be sure that they're the right people. 
  3. Would you break the law to save a loved one? Save them? Absolutely. Assuming my loved one did nothing wrong and their life was at risk then I feel it would be justified. 
  4. Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity? Actually, no. I think it's more of the foresight.... also, my first impressions have not been wrong yet. First impressions with me are very important. 
  5. What’s something you know you do differently than most people? Life, relationships, college years. This is probably bigger picture than the Question is asking for.... I touched on this in Set I of these questions. 
  6. How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy? Each person is different. I think that our world can only develop and prosper because we each have different interests. If every person liked the same things, jobs people, then we wouldn't be well-rounded as a society. 
  7. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do? What's holding you back? Ok, I'm going to cheat by answering with 2 things.  The first thing I have not yet done is get married to Noah. I want to do this because there's no way to be more sure about a future with someone than I am right now. That's not to say we can't hit rough patches down the road, but we have also been very patient and smart about our relationship. I'm tired of waiting. I'm holding back because once again we feel we have to do the "right thing" which is a semi-traditional wedding, wait til we're out of graduate school, and til we're just another couple of months older... The second thing  that I want to do is move to Britain. Only logistics are holding me back on this one. It's hard to get a job abroad when you don't have experience yet. I don't know the exact steps to take and any American place that could hook me up with a job requires two or three years experience minimum. It may have to wait but I'm afraid we'll settle down if we wait too long.
  8. Are you holding onto something you need to let go of? My mom's death. That was strange. At my very first glance at the question I thought it would take me a long time to answer but then that thought came bubbling to mind within half a second and I was sure. If you don't know, my mom passed away when I was 18, right after my freshman year of college. I still harbor anger, sadness, and hurt over the whole experience and I very rarely let any of it through. I know there's nothing to change it so I try to hide it (and most people I meet never even know) but I am resentful and jealous of people who say such wonderful things about their moms and their families. My mom didn't see me graduate college, get engaged, or decide on a career path. She won't see me graduate with a masters, get married, have children, or any other important steps in life. I'll never be able to be friends with her or call her on the phone. I feel frustrated that no one ever asks me if I'm feeling okay about it but at the same time I don't want them to ask because I'd probably cry. I sometimes feel that I want everyone to acknowledge that it wasn't fair to have her taken away. I know it's all a little overwhelming and conflicting and I never like talking about it. The problems in my life also stem from this. I have no mom to talk to and since she passed my dad and I have been on terms varying from rocky-to-the-extreme to socially cordial. I don't know how to let go of it though because I feel like it impacts every area of my life and all the big moments I will ever experience... just typing this out has made me tear up. This is why I need to let go. 
  9. If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why? Hahahaha. What a turn around from the last question. It is my dream to live in the United Kingdom as you may know. I am actually working and researching ways to do achieve this. The history of the nation and the beautiful rolling countryside just captures my heart every time I see it.
  10. Do you push the elevator button more than once?  Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster? I don't push the floor number more than once ever, but I do sometimes push the button to close the doors. I think the first push does make the doors closer faster, the second push is just to be sure the button registered. :)

Salted Caramel Brownies

06 January 2012

I first saw the idea for these brownies on Olivia's blog Everyday Musings. I've been thinking about making them for a long time and finally got around to it this week (while Noah was in NYC). They're incredibly rich and delicious. The homemade carmel is great. The caramel recipe is from Smitten Kitchen.  Of course, I always have a hankering for sweet foods so this was right up my alley!

Caramel (recipe from SK):

1 cup sugar
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) salted butter, the better you can get, the better it will taste
1/2 cup plus two tablespoons heavy cream, at room temperature

Melt the sugar over medium to moderately high heat in a larger pot than you think you’ll need–at least two or three quarts, whisking or stirring the sugar as it melts to ensure it heats evenly. Cook the liquefied sugar to a nice, dark copper color. Add the butter all at once and stir it in, before turning off the stove and pour in the heavy cream (The sauce will foam up quite a bit when you add it; this is why you want the larger pot.), whisking it until you get a smooth sauce.

Washington, DC

Noah and I dropped his brother off at the Dulles Airport last week and decided to take the opportunity to head into DC. We drove around for a good while, paid an absurd amount of money for parking, went into the Newseum, and ate at a little local restaurant before heading on the road to meet my sister and her boyfriend in Reston, Virginia. All in all we had a pretty good time although I do suggest taking a GPS with you if you're going to drive in a city that doesn't have a grid pattern (seriously zoom in on all those diagonal lines on this map!!).

Somewhat surprisingly, my favorite part was just driving around the city and then eating afterwards. Normally when we go into DC we just take Constitution Avenue straight to the museums but this time we spent a full hour driving around. It's interesting to see the city this way because there is a mix of older structures and more modern ones. Once while we were driving around we unwittingly came across the white house (4th picture from top). That's when we decided to head to the Newseum because we had a better idea of where we were.

I'd like to go back again soon. Plus this works towards checking off a DC museum on my 101 List (#14).

I Left My Heart in NYC

05 January 2012

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Today Noah comes home from NYC after being gone for four days. I've gotten so used to being around him that it's practically a shock to be separated even for that short of a period of time. This week has made me look back to my freshman year of college and wonder how in the world we did this. Then I think about people like Bethany who are gone from their fiance (now husband!) for months straight. We're pretty lucky. Maybe a shortage like this is what we need to appreciate one another a little more anyways. Right? I'll say that I've been a mess at night over here. He'll be back home in a matter of hours although I'm sure it will feel like lifetimes.

On the other hand of this, I'm a good bit jealous that Noah was in New York.... again. I've never been! I'm also a little jealous that Erin is going there in ten weeks. Ooh! Plus she's flying in; don't you love airports? I really do need to add NYC to my list. London and Paris sure, but New York - my own country? Hah. I guess to be fair I've been to the capital a number of times but something about New York seems a good deal more dramatic than Washington DC. That reminds me... I went to DC over break and still need to share those photos with you! Hopefully I'll get on that tomorrow.

What city do you want to visit that you haven't yet? 

50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind (Set I)

04 January 2012

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The following are the first ten questions of a 50 question guide. Each question gives you something to think about and a new way to look at yourself. With warning, this is a wordy post. However, even if you don't have time to read it all I strongly suggest you take a look at the list of 50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind sometime and try to answer them yourself. They definitely make you look at your life and think about your experiences, beliefs, and where you want to progress to. 

  1. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are? Hmm.... Assuming physical appearance isn't part of this I would probably guess myself somewhere around my early 30s. I've always felt way older and more responsible than my peers at any given age. In fact, I would say too much so. 
  2. Which is worse, failing or never trying? I am actually not sure at this question. I'm sure the 'proper' response is never trying. However, if I fail at something repeatedly I am less and less likely to give it a shot. I'd say never trying is worse but at some point to call it quits if it's giving you frustration. There are a lot of things you'll succeed at though which are worth a try!
  3. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do? The first part of this one is easy. Other people! There have been a lot of things in my life that I didn't want to do but, as my dad would say, life isn't fair. We have obligations in our lives, we pick up responsibility, and sometimes social norms just don't let us get rid of people that are unhealthy in our lives. The second part is a little harder. I think the reason that we sometimes don't do things we like is because we're afraid of them or don't feel good enough. Well, at least for me that's true. 
  4. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done? This is a question that I don't think I can answer right now. At this point in my life I feel like I've said more although that may not be true. I think in this age of social media (which I love - don't get me wrong) we oftentimes compare our lives to others' because we can see so much of their lives. Sometimes that makes me feel like I don't do much all the time but, right now, I don't have any resources. I'll be using my gas money to drive 70 miles a day to an all day job while not getting paid. So... my hope is once we have jobs and get out of college we can do more. I'd like to say that in the end I'll have done a lot of things.
  5. What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world? I would like to have people see the consequences of their actions and feel more sympathy. We are self-centered as a whole group and there are a lot of people who don't care to show their love and don't mind if they hurt others. I think if we could feel the pain we inflict on others we would stop and the world would be happier for it.
  6. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich? This one is surprisingly easy. Reading books, taking pictures, blogging, and spending time with Noah.
  7. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing? Oh, I definitely live my life by what I believe in. You may remember me posting a poem called Sermons We See and I try to apply that to my life every day. 
  8. If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently? This one is also fairly easy for me because I feel it every day even though the average is somewhere around 78... I would marry Noah right away (which at this point, it can't be too much earlier but maybe I would have done that after four or five years instead of seven). Then I would have kids younger than 28 or 29 which is the current plan so I can spend more time with them. I would also not worry about money as much because it doesn't need to last you as long. 
  9. To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken? This is the real zinger. If I wrote an autobiography this could fill at least one whole chapter. Remember back at Question #1 when I said that I've always felt too responsible compared to my peers? This is related to that. At this exact point in my life I would say I have controlled around 35% of my life. For the most part (~ 50%) I've sort of floated through following the general guidelines of a middle class life (go to school, go to college, get in a relationship). I've been okay with this part of life although I always feel like it's monotonous and that there could be a vastly different, better way to spend time. Then 15% has been to please other people (read: my parents, Noah's parents, friends, church, any obligations). This 15% is shows itself in my life as the unpleasant times, the times I let others have a say in my life and I don't want it. This is the time in high school after Noah and I started dating and everyone said "you shouldn't be chemistry lab partners, what if you break up?", this is the time when his parents say "don't follow Alli to JMU, go to our alma mater, Michigan", "you can't live together you're not married", or when Noah first told them we were dating and his mom said "well, how's this going to end? are you going to break up and hurt each other or are you going to get married because those are the only ways this will end?". This is when I am frustrated, and upset, and feel that people don't respect my decisions because I'm 22. Then we have my 35%. The 35% is me saying "yes, we can be lab partners", the 35% is me taking control by asking Noah on a date, the 35% is me standing up to live together and enjoying it as my favorite years of my life so far and falling more in love with Noah with the more time that I spend with him, the 35% is me choosing every action every day in college, choosing what clubs and courses to take, and choosing how to spend my free time and what friends I have. That percentage of my life has been the happiest. I have always been incredibly smart and good at using foresight to make my decisions and I'm happy with every, single one. 
  10. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things? Oooooh. I'm definitely more worried about doing the right things. This also corresponds to questions 1 & 9. I feel like I have to live the best life possible, always  be responsible, never act rashly or spontaneously, and I do what everyone expects. It's the right thing to go to college, it's the right thing to wait SEVEN YEARS to get married because we're young, it's the right thing to not get engaged until after five and a half years because any earlier and people might say we're too young, it's the right thing to stay in, study, and get good grades, it's the right thing to never drink, it's the right thing to not travel/buy drinks/go on dates/day trips because I need that money to drive to student teaching and to pay for books ..... the list goes on. Noah and I make every responsible decision we can and honestly... sometimes it hurts me to do that. I'm happy because I've made no mistakes in my life, nothing I'll regret later. BUT this comes with a consequence. I have very few stories that I look back and laugh about, few wild experiences, and no youth. I feel like I bypassed all those experiences you're supposed to have at this age in favor of being an adult to earn respect only to not receive it because people assume I am just like every other girl in her early 20s. It's still not winning. 
Well, that was certainly longer than I expected it to be but I feel a lot better putting it out there. You can see little sides of myself (the obvious pride and slight arrogance in not "acting young" and the sadness at that same characteristic). If you answer any of the 50 questions let me know, I'd love to see what you write.

Morning Routines

03 January 2012

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I think that morning hours set the tone for the entire day. 

That being said, these last five days before student teaching begins I am looking to start a routine that I can carry with me each morning to start the day on a high note. Step one actually begins the night before with getting to bed at a reasonable hour. There's nothing worse than a cranky teacher in the morning. Step two utilizes the coffee pot and the creamer in our fridge. The rest of the steps can be in any order: blog, take a photo, find a funny website that makes me laugh, look at beauty in everything, and eat some hardy breakfast while listening to a She & Him album or one of a similar nature. 

What is your morning routine? Do you have a commute? If yes, what do you listen to as you drive?


01 January 2012

Starting into this new year I'm looking at my 101 goals again. Last year, for the first time, I went the whole year never forgetting my new years resolution. Do you remember that post? Setting up a list of goals to accomplish has helped me much more than any resolution has. If you find that you struggle with new year resolutions perhaps you should give it a shot too.

I've already started on Goal #1, in fact just yesterday. I am taking a photo a day for at least the month of January. I think this will be somewhat a challenge for me as I seem to take hundreds of photos a day or none.

It will be interesting to see how well I keep that goal (1/101) in mind this month as I move forward into the new year.

What goal or resolution have you set for yourself this year? Did you successfully complete last year's goal?
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