Posts tagged ‘enjoying life’

August 27, 2015

Arden’s Mom

Owl bag puppet copyYesterday began the 1st day of the new school year.

I was nervous.

And excited.

And it wasn’t even me starting school.

Last year, shortly after Arden started first grade. Picking her up after school one day, she told me that her Art teacher was going to a different school and that she was sad. Upon clarification from her teacher, the students weren’t required to have art all the semesters. The Art teacher would be back at their school mid-January. So in the meantime, the kids would have nothing. Arden looked at me so sad.  Honestly, the thought of school without it devastated me. I realize that sounds dramatic, but as a kid, that was my life. I LIVED for Art class. Each of my teachers were amazing and I loved them. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without their guidance and encouragement. At that moment, I knew I was going to have to do something.

I approached Arden’s teacher with the idea, which she was all for. Lo and behold, I would also be able to bring Cam. I’d like to mention that her teacher had the patience of a saint. With 3 kids of her own and being in her thirteenth year of teaching, she was so laidback, but firm, we couldn’t have gotten any luckier. I walked into the classroom the first day and Arden’s eyes just shown. She could barely contain her excitement. I, on the other hand, was hugely apprehensive. I’m used to just making things with one kid, not 20. I nervously waited for the students to finish their assignment before I launched into what we were going to do. The room was just buzzing!  So many wound up little people, wondering what was happening next. At some point, introductions were made, but the kids paid no mind and simply referred to me as “Arden’s Mom.” A title I’d never thought I’d be so proud of, but has come to completely thrill me to the being of my soul. Mama with feather art head dress copyNative american head dress with feathers and paint tree art copy art turkeys copy

And so, for the next 3 months I came in once a week to do projects with the kids in Arden’s class. I had tons of scrap cardstock that I was finally going to put to good use. Most of the other materials I had on hand and the kids already had glue, scissors and markers. While Arden was a whiz at cutting since she was 3, a lot of them still needed practice. I’d make up templates and have some things made ahead of time, while still leaving them to work on the skills they needed.

Some kids were more than happy to follow my basic instruction, but most often than not, their minds and creativity took over. Everytime, they’d swarm around me like baby ducks, asking for assistance or proudly showing off their work. One boy’s paper bag owl puppet, became a Minecraft-type owl complete with a sword for an arm. One kid, instead of making the porcupine out of toothpicks, asked to make Sonic the Hedgehog out of toothpicks. One girl, no matter what the project, always managed to turn it into something with a dragon. I wasn’t an Art teacher and we weren’t technically in Art class, so why not? We had that freedom.

Then there was Cam. In his carseat, he’d either nap or rock himself. He never cried. Maybe because, at all times, at least 1/3 of the class would be out of their seats to play with the baby. Doing silly stuff to get him to smile or try to feed him a bottle. As time went on and he grew, they delighted in seeing the new things he was able to do. The teacher would remind them to get back in their seats and finish. They would, only to be replaced by new kids eager to make the baby laugh.

My time there went swiftly. Once the actual Art teacher was back, I cried. When I would drop off Arden to her classroom in the morning, I’d still have kids asking when I would be back to teach them Art. I was able to come in a few more times after that, for holiday parties or for science experiments, just so we could have an excuse to make things together and play with a baby.

I think of all this as I drop off Arden yesterday and feel a bit sad. I hope I will have some opportunity to come in and work with this new class. To get to know the kids and see some of the returning ones from last year. Just then, I see Arden’s teacher from last year and ask for a hug, which of course, makes everything better. porcupine from art class mrs uncaphers copy

January 15, 2014

Things I would tell my younger self.

Recently, on another blog I follow, the writer asked readers to post tidbits of wisdom that they would tell their 20-year-old-selves. It made me think what knowledge I would pass on. For me, 40 seems quickly approaching (although still almost 3 years away.) Looking back though, I have learned and grown SO MUCH as a person over that time. Hopefully some of it will benefit my children (if they actually listen.)

I would give myself cookies and tea (because tea parties are still fun and who doesn’t love cookies?)
Next a pat on the head and a reassuring hug that everything will be okay. My 20-year-old-self was sad, awkward and lonely. I could have really used some type of mentor or guidance while trying to figure out this mess of a world without parents around. I pray that my kids don’t ever have to experience that.

So here it goes:

You will learn how to dress yourself. Without maxing out credit cards.
It took me awhile to figure this out. I thought credit meant better style. It does not. It means debt.
If you don’t already have a sense of putting together outfits, buying things willy-nilly isn’t going to help either.
Now-a-days, I get most of my clothes on sale or clearance or from Goodwill or a garage sale. Some people get weirded out from wearing someone elses’ hand-me-downs. I just think of it as a chance to see how the item really held up after someone else paid full price for it. I also learned how to dress my body type instead of trying to follow what’s in. Long skirts = not for me. I’m short and they make me look stumpy. I have hips, so narrow tapered pants at the ankle, not cool. I wear flared jeans, whether they are in-style or not. It just makes my body look more proportionate. High heels are a no go. I have flat feet and they give me spine and neck pain. Conclusion: It’s fine to update your wardrobe with fashionable items here and there, as long as you have classic basics (that fit properly) to build from.

Oh and nude bras go under white tops. White showing through white = bad. Black showing through white is a wee bit trashy. LOL

4662_97039253720_6123846_n bad outfit erin copy

There is more than one way to measure and define success.
I used to think I had to achieve a certain number of goals by a certain age or my life was passing me by. I wanted to by Hollywood famous, with the fancy lifestyle to match. Doesn’t everyone, right? I eventually figured out that being in that type of spotlight wasn’t for me. Comparing myself to others always left me with the feeling that I didn’t measure up. I didn’t follow the traditional path as most do and I always felt like the odd person out. Until I realized, what I do have, is a job that I don’t hate. While it doesn’t always bring me the amount of income I’d like, it does provide me with flexibility and I’m fortunate to be able to do it. I also have an ever-expanding skill set that provides me many future growth opportunities. Conclusion: Self-employment and rehabbing is certainly not the most glamourous route, but we sure know how to get things done.

Hallie ornament 001 copy

For the love of all that’s good, stop forcing relationships. You will find “The One”.
When you are the product of a less-than-ideal upbringing, as with anything traumatic in life, it scars you. If you weren’t given any sort of semblance of how a loving relationship should function, it’s hard to know what to look for. This is the problem I had. Most of the times someone showed interest, I jumped at the chance for attention. Often, this led to making illogical and poor decisions. My gut would be screaming things were wrong and I would put on blinders and keep marching forward, determined to make the best of the newest debacle I had gotten myself into.

I worked at Taco Bell in Bowling Green when I was 20, I can distinctly remember thinking each guy coming through the drive-thru, JUST MIGHT be the person for me. I didn’t like dating. I didn’t like the games you were supposed to play and how a person shouldn’t act interested. I liked straight-forward and putting it all out there. Living in a college town with all the college shenanigans baffled me. I was told my expectations were too high. That I was supposed to make the best of it. No one was perfect. That the things I valued weren’t important. That’s what marriage is, accepting each other’s short-comings. I would try…

I just wasn’t happy.
I kept at it. Eventually and when I was least expecting it, my persistence paid off.
And you know what? THEY were full of shit.
Conclusion: Don’t ever listen to other people that are unhappy too, even if they are your friends. Chances are they don’t have a clue because they can’t see past their own misery. I would tell my younger self not worry, because I would finally get the love and family I always wanted.

If you feel so inclined, respond with your own things.

pic for website

Last photo by Lisa Penzone

October 1, 2012

From trash to treasure

Yes, I know, I have been totally MIA. I won’t go into a huge tirade about how the Summer has flown by and I was way too busy with work to enjoy it. Thankfully, I’m starting to be able to breath again and dig out from under my office of card stock and clutter to enjoy the beginning of Fall. One thing we love doing that is semi-cheap, fun and relaxing, is just driving around the city. Checking out new renovations, building murals & billboards, admiring architecture, people watching, listening to music and enjoying the crisp air. {I will provide some photos of these in the weeks to come, just to show you what I mean.}

On our adventure yesterday, through German Village, there was a pile outside of trash by the curb and of course, me the always-ready-to-spot-a-diamond-in-the-rough was on the look out and my husband, always-ready-to-stop-the-car-at-a-moments-notice was on the ball as usual.

I have been recently trying to cut back {a little} on dragging things home, because our garage is PACKED with furniture I can barely find time to redo, despite my best intentions. Fortunately, this time, it was just a little item. I spied a leather messenger bag/satchel on top of the pile. *Pull over please, honey!* It was scratched and roughed up, but clean, without spills! {which is way more than I can say for the insides of purses and totes that I use!} So I hopped out of the trusty Outlander and ran down the street to claim my prize. Later that evening, after an hour spent rubbing on polish, buffing, more polish, a sprinkle of water and a good rubdown, it is a true find for sure!

August 7, 2012

25th Anniversary of the Route 127

I am all about “the experience”. I don’t enjoy spending money, unless it’s money well-spent and the things I purchase don’t always have to be tangible. I like feelings. While most people run from them, I embrace them. Drowning them out with a substance, pushing them away with denial. To me, there is just no point because all the stuff resurfaces eventually. So why not embrace them and enjoy the ride?

Thus is the fun of the Route 127 aka “The Longest Yardsale”. It is a road trip, bargain-finding, treasure hunting extravaganza! This 4 day long wonder spans from Michigan all the way down through a total of 6 states to Alabama. Although I have never made it through all of the states, (just due to the lack of time) even partaking in a small snippet is cathartic.

Maybe it’s the fresh country air, where we can get away from city smog and actually breathe. The scenery, where woods and farmland outnumber buildings. Maybe it’s the people that aren’t in a rush, the friendly elderly ladies that loved that my almost 4-year old daughter was hunting for a deal. The older gentleman, that sold me the beautifully ornate, 100 year old farmhouse door and told me about a Pork Festival that is held there in Sept. (We may need to go back and visit for that!) Or the sweet, bubbly mom, who wistfully mentioned that her daughter was at her first job interview and gave us permission to go feed her horses in the field with the melon rinds and sweet feed she provided.

All of this and the fact that I got to bond with my husband and daughter without a care in the world. No schedule or work bogging me down and stealing my attention away. We have fun and we sing and we just enjoy the ride.

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