Category Archives: Family

Grandpas

I wanted to dedicate this post to my grandpas.  I have been lucky enough to have both of my grandpas involved in my life until just a few years ago.  My family has always been a huge part of my life. And I love it.  Unfortunately my grandpa Jerry lived in Texas my whole life, and I wasn’t able to see him as often as I wanted too.  My grandpa Warren and I lived in the same town until I was 18, and we spent time together at least 3 times a week.

My parents divorced when I was young. My mom stepped up filling the mom and dad role on a daily basis.  My grandpa Warren would always take care of us.  He would be over to shovel the walks in the winter, rake leaves in the fall, plant flowers in the spring, and mow our grass in the summer.  The moments we spent together have been memories that I think of and smile.  He has taught me many life lessons, and I know that I will one day I will be able to teach my kids all this knowledge learned.

 Thanks to grandpa Warren: 

  • I can hear a Cardinal and find them up in a tree
  • I know how to grow a garden
  • I know where to go to pick wild raspberries and then make homemade jam (10 cups of raspberries are needed….but it is hard to get those cups when I end up putting more in my belly than in my bucket)
  • St. Patrick, Missouri is where my 4th of July memories were made
  • Going to watch the Cardinals play down in St. Louis
  • I understand what the mile markers are on the side of the interstates
  • I have traveled and seen, the Grand Canyon, the Hoover Dam, Prairie Dog Town, the Petrified Forest, huge sand dunes, and so much more
  • I love flea markets, antique stores, live auctions, and garage sales because he taught me how to find a treasure
  • Finding pieces for my depression glass set
  • Teaching me how to play softball and being my coach for 10 years

Here is my grandpa Warren on Father’s Day this  year.  We went down and spent the day with him.  Mom and I found this awesome Cardinal bird house to add to his collection.

Here is grandpa Warren and I at Easter this year.  I love how we have the same chin 🙂

Grandpa Jerry is another story.  He was the man I spent time with only a few weeks out of each year.  I saw him when I was down in Texas visiting my dad.  My mom has told me that I my personality is similar to his.  We both have love for Sperry Topsiders.  There has been many moments in the past where we may have been a little inappropriate…but we were both laughing the whole time.  I lost my grandpa Jerry a few years ago.  At some point everyday I am reminded of him, and how this leads me to be reminded of how much I miss him.  I continuously go through the “what ifs” and “I wish I could haves” but I they won’t make a difference.  Instead I need to write down my memories, print off photos, and talk to my family and friends about my grandpa Jerry.  I need to make time to spend every moment I can with the ones I care about and love.  I can’t concentrate on the mistakes I have made in the past, but instead look forward on the changes I am going to make in the future.

Thanks to grandpa Jerry:

  • I know how to fish, especially in the Gulf of Mexico
  • How to laugh at any situation
  • How to really use a toothpick
  • Many, many inappropriate jokes
  • I know that if you shove peanut butter up your nose it can be a really good joke
  • That Milwaukee Best is better with a little pitch of salt in it
  • To go crabbing and then have an amazing shrimp and crab boil
  • To overcome personal differences and to get along with others (even if you don’t want to, but it makes loved ones around you happier)
  • I have my very own dollhouse that he built, one very small piece at a time, and then painted with the exact same colors of his house
  • I know the clipping sound in the canals are crabs snapping their pinchers
  • Where to go to find the secret spot for fishing, and to see alligator gars jumping out of the water

This is from of the many summer days we spent together on the beach.  Grandpa Jerry is the “Old Fart”, next is my cousin Danielle, and then myself rocking the two piece.

Here is grandpa Jerry in 2006 when he presented my very own dollhouse.  Each one of the granddaughters (3 total) received their own dollhouse.  Mine was the last one to be built, and I cannot wait to have my permanent home to set up for my kids to one day play with.

Thank you to both of my grandpas for being there for me throughout my whole life.  For helping shape me into the woman I have become.  For being who you are, and respecting the person I am.  I love you both unconditionally.

What are some of your favorite stories or memories you have had with your grandparents?  Have you called them, seen them, or written them a letter lately telling them that you are thankful for them?  Take a moment and do it.

Until again,

alc

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Wedding!

Yesterday I was lucky enough to spend the day at my cousin’s wedding.  Brandon and I are the same age, and even though there has been times where we haven’t see each other or hung out often, we are still really good friends.  Over the years we have seen each other grow up, through dating, parties, school, normal teenage issues, and so much more.  And now I was able to watch him marry the woman of his dreams.  Denise came in to our family awhile ago, and as soon as she was introduced I knew she was perfect for him.  Brandon has always been planning for his future.  He wants to be successful.  He created and sold his own computer company when he was in college.  He knew once he met Denise that he would again plan for the future, but with her right next to him.  She is sweet, loving, beautiful, and maybe a little crazy to want to join our family 😉 We welcome them with open and loving arms as husband and wife.

 

ps, I received a text from one of my best friends tonight that her and her boyfriend are going to be engaged soon! He went shopping for the ring with her mom, and they have begun the planning, but here is the twist….he hasn’t popped the question yet!  He is making her sweat for a bit!!  I don’t know if I would be able to handle that!!

Until again, alc

State Fair!

In the Midwest there is a lot of things we are very excited about that people from other parts of the country may not understand.  Some of these items include: 

  • Farm animals
  • Hunting
  • Eating local produce, meat, diary, etc
  • Actually knowing farmers who have live stock and crops
  • The farm smells that bring comfort (pigs, ponds, or soy beans to name a few)
  • Our Iowan mountains….that are really just rolling hills
  • Silos
  • John Deere families vs Case families, which I am part of a Case family…. thanks to my Papa
  • Swimming in ponds, creeks, and rock quarries
  • The weather’s never ending ability to change throughout the day.  You can go from turning on your air conditioning, to turning on the heat, to opening your windows, and back around again in the short period of one day…

A huge summer event that has become a favorite of mine is the Iowa State Fair.  It is huge.  It is fabulous. It is every year.  And it is open to everyone that wants to buy a ticket. At the fair there isn’t just rides and games, but there is food.  And all of this food is fried and on a stick. Those who are not from the Midwest may not understand how important it is to eat food that is dipped in batter, butter, and fried when you are on “vacation”.  This year my summer vacation was going up to the fair for the day with my mom and my 5 year old niece.  I had an amazing time with these two, and I can’t wait to head back next year with more of my family members.

Welcome to the fair!

Piggy!

Ribbon winning flowers

Little muckin!

Cruising along

Her own bag of cotton candy (one of my favorites ever!)

Too many options to choice from….

Just blow drying a sheep for show. Hello Iowa.

Myself and a pig!

Rocking the full cowboy gear 🙂

Some of the rides

One of the many, many, many pieces of food that was consumed that day

She does love fried pickles!

One of my prizes!

I continue to think about moving away after I graduate in May, but really could I leave this state that has taken care of me for 21 years of my life?  It is welcoming.  It is cozy.  My family is here.  I know and love how the state runs.  It is a good thing that I have time to figure it out still before any actions have to be taken.

What makes your state the best?  How are you comforted by it?

Until again, alc

Happiness.

I have already gotten into the habit of not updating my blog.  I knew I would do this, but I wasn’t sure when it would happen.  It was brought to my attention when my cousin mentioned that she missed reading it.  So here we go, round 2.

Fall is coming.  It is my favorite season.  There are so many different things that make me happy during fall.  Pumpkin spice lattes, beautiful colors outside, sweaters, adorable hats, boots, jeans, my hair not being frizzy, classes, holidays, and so much more.

I started my classes a few weeks ago and so far I love them, but I am a little overwhelmed.  I am taking 18 hours.  And working almost 30 hours every week.  But I have come to realize that if I am not fully loaded with a crazy schedule then I get bored.  So here comes me smiling and working my behind off to get it all done.  Here is a little lay out of some of my fall courses:

One of the classes is my Reading Practicum.  This course has me in an elementary school in town 4 days a week, and one of those days I will be teaching my own lesson plan that I have created.  The only downfall is that my class is from 8am to 10:30am…which isn’t that bad until I work til 3am….and then I am a little tired.  But I only have this happen on Friday mornings, and I know that I can handle it once a week.  I went on my school visit earlier this week, and I officially start on Monday.

Then there is Classroom Management.  This course is overlapping with my Reading Practicum.  It is an amazing course that teaching me how to interact with students while I am in teaching.  This includes fun activities like ice breakers, games, transition tips, ways to keep my room organized, and so much more.  My professor is soft spoken, but strict and has been teaching for years.  I have a feeling that she will be someone I will keep in contact with in years to come.  Classroom management is almost more than the actually teaching aspect of education.  Without having organization and communication there will be no classroom community.  And without the students being part of this community they will not be able to have the best educational experience possible.  I am going to work my best at providing this for my students.

Next is Parent Teacher Communication.  This is an online course.  And I have to work my hardest at completing my assignments.  It is easy to just put it off and not do anything for it, but I need to make sure that I keep up with this course….It is pretty interesting.  Teachers need to be able to communicate with not only the students, but with their parents (or their guardians), other cooperating teachers or staff members, the community, and their supervisors.  This course gives specific examples and makes them seem extremely personal for me.  I just have to make sure I get this course done….

I have never thought I would be so interested on the effects of language and our society until I started this course, Language and Learning. My professor has studied in many different regions around the country, and she is very well educated.  While I am listening to her lecture I am completely engaged and immersed into the information given.  I love TV.  And through this course I am learning the real facts on how the many forms of communication affect young students, older students……all of us.  This includes TV, books, texting, talking, the internet, music, and so much more.  I hope to do a whole post dedicated to this course later on in the semester.

I am so lucky that I am getting closer and closer each day to becoming a teacher.  Not everyone is able to work towards a career that they actually love.  I will be graduating in May, and then hello every elementary school who is hiring!  They will know my name 🙂

Overall this post is just a little look into my over simulated brain at this current moment.  I am home from work and wide awake.  This happens often.  I will be sleepy at work, and then when I get home I will be awake for another hour or two.  I need to try to get to sleep soon though, I am heading to the Iowa/Iowa State game tomorrow! I started as a Hawkeye back in 2005 and in the past 7 years I have not been able to watch an Iowa/Iowa State game live.  I was asked by one of my best friends to attend the game with him.  Not only do I get to go to this amazing match, but I am able to watch it in the 23rd row on the 50 yard line.  I maybe a little spoiled 😉

So off to bed to dream about this past summer.  This photo illuminates a perfect moment for me. What is your perfect moment from this past summer? Does it include being with friends or family or being alone?  Does your perfect moments change depending on the season? Mine do….just a little bit though. Usually the differences are between being inside or outside, although they normally include the same people.

Image

Step out into the grass and feel the dew on your toes.  Enjoy the moment, and take a breath.

Tomorrow will bring change.

Today notice the hope.

Remember the times slipped by and smile.

Until again, alc

School has begun and my life has now been shifted.

I am running out the door to class, but I wanted to put one photo as a little preview of what my next post will be about. (which I hope to complete tonight!)  So here it is and I hope you come back to read about the full story 🙂

And no, this photo was not staged.  I was just very lucky with the shot.

until again, alc

The students are Back

Living in a college town means a few things.  Football season is crazy and fun.  People bleed our school colors.  Our summers are the best because most of the college students go back to their hometowns.  And my family (my parents, my grandma, and my sister and her family) all live here.  We are locals.  When I finish school for the spring I stay here.  This is my home.  And I love it most of the time, but one of the big downfalls is what happens during the first few weeks of August every year.

Starting at the end of the summer each and every year the stores begin to put out their ads newspapers, magazines, and commercials on TV,  highlighting all the necessary items a student would need when they are moving into their dorm room or new apartment.  Yes, I have to admit that I usually take a peek at these ads, and sometimes I even begin to ponder if I need that cute container, or that bright colored foot stool.  But then I stop for a second and remember that, “Hey! I’m not a freshmen student.. And I know better.  So the ads are put away, and my checking account stays in tact.”

Next item is because I work downtown with the public, I see a lot of people during my shifts.  I also work in a parking garage, so this means I end up dealing with some very nice and happy customers all the way to the down right cranky and mean ones.  Those are the customers who have lost their tickets and end up having to pay for a whole day of parking.  Which they are not pleased about.  This week alone I have had about 20 lost tickets for these new families, and there is nothing I can do besides smile and explain to them that it is $18 without a ticket.  Then I hand them a receipt and a business card to talk to my supervisors if they have an issue with the situation.

It is crazy how some people will always blame their mistakes on someone else. I overreact about somethings. And I get stressed out.  And sometimes it is hard for me to let the little things go.  I like to try and take or have more control in almost everything I do.  I am working on this.  I know that I need to take a deep breath and relax, but this is easier said than done.  When I help these customers that end up yelling at me over something that I had no part in creating it makes me realize how silly it is when I overreact.  Isn’t it odd how when we watch someone else do something (that we do possibly do too) we then notice how dumb they look, and this is one of the first steps to wanting you to change your ways….

Being a full time student (at least 17 hours per semester) and working part time (at least 25 or more hours per week) I am busy.  And I have to get a lot of work done in one week, or even in one day.  So when I am stressed out I have my own individual ways to cope and to relax.  I would much rather smile and be happy than be upset, frustrated, mad, or stressed.  And here are some of the things I do to help calm me down 🙂

Baking!  These are some awesome cake pops.

Riding the Harley

Enjoying the rainy weather…also known as my favorite weather of all time.

Watching sunsets with my family and friends.  I love how the colors change within minutes…

Cooking! Here is Mexican Chicken Casserole (recipe to come soon!)

Playing with pups. (This is Kaiser my parents’ dog) 

Little Miss Evie my bearded dragon. 

My favorite flower in the world, the iris. 

More to come for my list.  What do you do to stay relaxed?

Until again, alc

Out in the Garden

Living in the Midwest has taught me many values.  Respect each other.  Love.  Take care of each other.    Be happy.  Try to not stress out with the little things, but instead take a deep breath and relax. Keep your family and friends involved in your life.  Try to live off the land.  In the past year and a half I have become more connected in the city I live in.  I have been here for years, but some people think it is nothing but a college town.  I disagree.  This city is my home.  My parents are here.  My sister and her family are here.  My grandma is here. I know the side streets (maybe not all the names but I know the area 🙂 ) There is a chance that I will get a job here after I graduate in May.  I could buy my home here.  I could get married and raise my children here.  That is a big idea to get my head wrapped around. What if I should leave for a few years and then come back?  I love Midwest values.  I love the life I have had thus far.  I love the childhood I had.  I want to be able to keep those values, and possibly this environment.

Becoming more comfortable in this town has allowed me to meet more “locals” and this in return has keep me more grounded.  My family has always been into gardening.  I enjoy it, but I have never had a real garden of my own.  I haven’t owned my own house yet, and I have lived in apartments since I moved out of my parents’ house.  I am now in a rental house, and I have a fair amount of plants in pots, and I have fixed a few flower beds…and one tomato plant…but no garden.  Yesterday I went out to a garden with my sister and her little ones.    Her friends purchased about 40 acres of land a few years ago, and they have built their home and created a garden.  They said that my sister and her family can pick as much as they would like from the garden, and in return they help keep the garden and can/freeze the produce.

While we were driving up the lane to get to the garden, we had to stop and back up…it was a little muddy and instead of getting the car stuck we decided to get out and get our feet muddy instead.  While my sister was parking the car she told me to hop out and see if that was a turtle or frog out in the road.  I was standing there searching for this animal, and I couldn’t see anything.  I couldn’t find it.  And then I did.  How my sister spotted this tiny guy is amazing.  It was an adorable baby snapping turtle.  He just sat there and stared up at me.  He didn’t run away immediately.  Estelle was able  to see him, and I took a few photos and a video.  Then he ran over to the side and we went on our way up the hill to the garden.

Just a little cutie! Can you spot him?

We went out with a mission of picking tomatoes.  Or “matoes” as the little ones call them.   Hazel did really well helping me pick cherry tomatoes as T worked on the monster roma tomato plants.  Gabe came over and showed me that he picked a green bean, so we picked those too! Estelle was eating a tomato like an apple.  It was quiet and peaceful.  The color green was everywhere. This is how a summer day should be spent.   With your family.  Doing something that doesn’t cost a ton of money.  Something that will benefit you in the long run.  (My sister has made jars and jars and jars of tomato sauce, tomato soup, pizza sauce, stewed tomatoes, and salsa is on the way.) I was able to bring home fresh tomatoes and basil, and tonight for dinner I am having the best salad ever.  Here is the directions for one of my favorite Midwestern salads!

Tomato Mozz Salad:

  • Tomatoes (fresh from a garden is the best)
  • Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
  • Fresh Basil leaves (again from a garden is the best)

Directions:

  • Cut up the tomatoes and mozzarella cheese into small chunks
  • Slice the basil into small pieces
  • Put it all in a bowl and add in dressing (as much or as little as you would like)
  • Mix it up (or shake it) so all the ingredients are covered with the dressing
  • Let it sit for about 5 to 10 minutes (I like it best cold, but room temperature is good too)
  • Enjoy!

Here are some photos from the amazing adventure I had with my family.

The little ones and T working away

Estelle checking out the corn

Gabe eating a green bean.  Can not getting any healthier than that! Straight from the plant, straight to his tummy!

Myself with fresh peppers in hand

  I have amazing people in my life that influence me to make each day better than the past.  They know I have some bad habits that I need to change, and I am very lucky that they are supporting me in my changes.  What can you do to make your day better?

Until again, alc

Staying at Home Away from Home…

I am currently house sitting for my parents.  I feel comfortable here at their home, which is really my home too, but it is different than my place.  I live in an old house, I rent it with my roommate Kari, and we get along very well.  We work together and live together, and yet we never get on each other’s nerves because we aren’t able to hang out much due to our very opposite schedules.  One of these days I will be a teacher and work during the week…normal hours, and then have the weekends off for fun (and for writing lesson plans and grading my students’ assignments).  While I am staying at my parents I am enjoying the perks: central air, fridge full of food, pups, super comfortable bed, garage, free range of the whole house, new washer and dryer, brand new SUV, overall it is a super nice to be.  Although I am beginning to realize how much a normal routine and the same “boring” actions are reassuring.  Being able to have some extra time (while at my own home) I am able to go and pick up any project that I have not completed yet and work on it.  Or I can organize, clean, bake, or relax on the couch.  While I am always welcomed and told many times by my parents to make myself at home, I noticed that I have become bored while house sitting.  And it isn’t that I have nothing to do, or that I didn’t bring over things to work on (paintings, reading, embroidering), but being at your house is a different feeling.  It is similar to being on vacation.  Each time I go on a vacation I am counting down the days to leave, and then once I am there I am loving my new environment.  Then after a few days I notice how I am starting to miss home, and how even though I don’t want to leave my vacation, I want the comfort of home too.

Where have you ever felt as if you were “home” when you were on vacation?  I’ve only felt it in one other state besides Iowa….Does that mean if I move to this other safe spot I would be welcomed with open arms?

Here is a sweet good night from Evie the lizard and Gus Gus the toy Scottie.  Gus actually loves little Evie and is always very interested in her when she is out hanging out with me.

Off to bed…well at least I’m going to try to fall asleep.

Until again, alc

Stop and Smell the Roses

I have never been one to continue a blog for more than a few posts.  I have begun a few different ones, from my artwork to even trying to keep my family updated on my life while I was living in Australia studying abroad…but no dice.  I was never ever able to keep them going.  This one I am going to try to make a change.  That is the whole idea of this blog, change.  My cousin actually inspired me to do this.  Unfortunately we live miles apart and are not able to see each other very often, but when we do it is as if we have spent everyday together.  We pick up on conversations about our lives easily, we slip into a comfortable routine, and we finish each other’s sentences quickly.  She is working on making some changes in her life from building a new house with her boyfriend to losing weight, and I began to analyze my life.

I am in my last year of school, I am 25, and I am trying to decide on where I want to begin my life as a teacher once I graduate in May.  I need to exercise more, cleanse my personal belongings and my insides, control my finances better, change some of my bad habits, and learn to slow down and smell the roses…. Here is to working on those changes

This photo is from a day walking through downtown Iowa City after one of my summer courses.  It is amazing how many people stared at me when I stopped to view the beauty in these perfect roses.  Why is it when you do something so natural as smelling a flower do other people act like it is something so odd to do….?

 

Until again, alc