Category Archives: happy!

In Paradise

I was lucky enough to live in paradise for a semester my junior year of college. Everyone that I asked about their college experience they either said how much they loved studying abroad or they wish they would have studied abroad.  So I made the choice to take the jump and move to the other side of the world.  I knew I wanted to live somewhere they have beautiful beaches, in warm weather, and where they speak English.  I love foreign languages, but unfortunately my brain has never been able to comprehend another language. My sister on the other hand, she took Spanish in high school years ago, and she can rock it.  Maybe after I am out of the education program I should start the process of learning Spanish…another goal to put on the list.

When you ask someone where their dream place would be to live, quite a few of them say Australia.  I said it too, and then I did it.  I filled out all the paperwork, I booked the plane ticket, I packed my bag, and I moved to Australia.  I signed up through a program that hooked up a lot of American students on the flight over so we were able to meet each other before we got to Oz.

I am going to go back just a few….some of the huge accomplishments that I conquered by going over to Oz was:

  1. Living alone for the first time ever
  2. Flying overseas (hello 12 hour flight)
  3. Moving over to Oz not knowing anyone
  4. Not knowing where I was going to live over there
  5. Moving around the world with only 1 suitcase filled with my possessions…. that was a huge challenge that my sister helped me with

One of the big goals I wanted to be able to say that I could do when I got back to the states was to surf.  And after a weekend with Mojo Surfing, eating a lot of water, being extremely sore for days afterwards, and one broken bikini….I could say that I could surf.  I continued to surf for the rest of the semester, but sadly I haven’t been on a board since.  It has been a few years, and I wonder how many times I would fall before I could actually ride a wave….

surfIMG_0113 IMG_0459 DSC_0033 - Copy DSC_0071 DSC_0163 DSC_0232 IMG_0027 IMG_0064Above are photos from my weekend of learning how to surf.  It was pretty awesome, there were  two photographers that took photos all weekend and then we were able to buy cd’s with all the photos on them.  I love the candid shots.

 

until again,

alc

 

Friends Who Are Always There

Dear Dan,

Thank you for being silly with me.  For texting and calling me all the time.  For visiting me at work and standing outside in the cold just to be there to “entertain me”.  To introducing me to some certain apps on my phone 😉  For playing Maroon 5 loud while we are driving around and singing along with me to.  For being a wonderfully sweet man who I trust completely.  I am so happy and thankful for you being in my life.

Love, me

——————————————————————————-

Over the past view years I have made new friends, lost some, and began to realize which ones will be with me for the rest of my life.  I love when I meet someone new in a crazy situation, and after a short time I know that we are going to become best friends almost immediately.  One of those friends is a man that I met more than a year ago.

The wonderful things about Dan:

  • He is a true Iowan, with awesome Mid-West values and beliefs
  • He will send me text at the perfect moment when I need to smile…how does he always know when to do this? 🙂
  • He is kind and caring
  • I know he will always be there for me, this includes helping me move in the future…going out for lunch…getting a drink…or calling me to chat
  • We both love nature, and we have spent a lot of time outside enjoying it together
  • He is teaching me about Iowa farming and cows, even better baby cows!
  • He supports my decision for going back to school, and he always reminds me that I will become an amazing teacher.  (This means so much to me when I have had a rough day in the classroom.)

Here is Dan and I at an Iowa football game earlier in the season.  We bleed black and gold.

Learning how to farm the corn fields.

A perfect image for the end… 

I have been having a rough past couple of days (almost a week now).  A few days ago was the anniversary of my best friend’s passing.  I sent Dan a text explaining my thoughts, and he called me right away.  Then he continues to text me wonderful messages reminding me that each day will get better, and if I need anything to get  a hold of him.  This image of a road during a beautiful Iowa day one of the amazing texts I received from Dan.  He took this when he was out one day, and he knows how much I adore nature.  As soon as I opened the text of this image, along with the line “Just for you” I couldn’t stop smiling all day.

I know each person has a friend like Dan.  Tell them thank you the next time you see them, or contact them soon and tell them how much you appreciate them.  Everyone loves to hear it.  Who cares if you feel silly telling them how much you adore them.  Do it.  Give specific examples, and continue this same process with all of your friends who touch your heart.

until again, alc

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

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

New outfit!

I have continued to update my wardrobe, and I have been trying to wear nicer pieces each day.  So far I have been pretty successful at this.  Here is what I wore last night to work.  I stepped out of my comfort zone and purchased a pair of jeans…. leopard print jeans.  I saw them at the store and they were on sale.  Bonus.  So here the beauts are:

I also purchased a new pair of black flats (seen in photo above).  I wanted a cute pair that were comfortable and would support me through the many hours I will be spending in the classroom while student teaching.  I have been looking all summer for a pair that are less than $50 and fulfill my needs.  I finally found a pair.  Regularly $60, but I got them for $29.  Again, bonus.  The only bad part is that I need to break them in.  And I ended up getting a monster blister last night…..

Today I will go back to my flip flops.  And I am off to go with a friend to watch her boyfriend play a game of soccer.  It has been years since I watched a soccer game, and I am super excited to spend time with her and to watch the game.

Until again, alc

Ideas for Pumpkins!

Since the weather has begun to cool down a bit, more layers are added to our outfits, and the smell of pumpkin spice is filling my room…I thought I would do a post about one of the pumpkins I decorated last year.  I have loved the fall for as long as I could remember.  As I have gotten older I have wanted summer to end to see the leaves change, watch football games, and drink hot coffees outside.  My mom is huge on noticing the small things in life.  One statement I have heard hundreds of times in my life from her is

Take note.

I now say this to my friends and family members.  This can be used for any situation.  At anytime.  During the fall season is when Mama says it the most.  “Allie, Take note of that tree on the right.” (the leaves have begun to change color)  “Allie, Take note of those squirrel nests.”  (my niece is the master at finding squirrel homes thanks to my mama’s teaching.) “Allie, Take note of that sunset.”  The possibilities are endless.

So take note of the beautiful weather change, and an idea for pumpkins.  Carving pumpkins is a must.  I have never gone a year without carving a pumpkin for Halloween.  I love decorating for each holiday (take a look at my previous post https://aleecolton.wordpress.com/2012/08/07/fun-treats-from-the-past/ where I explain how to create some yummy 4th of July treats)

I love to give gifts.  Especially during all the different holiday seasons.  Not just Christmas presents, or birthday presents, but for all of the holidays.  If you are going to give them a present, why not make it a holiday themed gift?  Doc is a man that owns an auto repair shop.  I have taken my 1994 Honda there many a times in the past, and now my family takes their cars there for repairs too.  I love local mom and pop shops.  At Docs you can sit down and have a cup of coffee and shoot the shit for hours with the regulars.  Doc is like another dad in my life.  He is also my landlord.  I have been out to his home and had drinks with him and his wife.  His son is my neighbor, and I get along well with his daughter.  Overall I feel very comfortable at Doc’s auto shop, and I wanted to make him something that he could put out for the Halloween season.  So here is it!

Painted Pumpkin:

I decided to paint a pumpkin because it will last a lot longer, and I love to paint.  Also by doing this you are able to make it very specific and unique.

  • Get a pumpkin.  Make sure it has a good surface (not too many bumps or cracks, this will make it easier to paint)
  • Next draw out your design on paper, I did this and then cut the paper so I could put this on the pumpkin to make sure the design will fit.  You don’t have to do this, but I recommend it.
  • Once you have the design made, (and made sure the image fits) use a pen/sharpie/marker to draw out the outlines for the design.  This is will assist you while painting.
  • Use acrylic paint.
  • You can use water to make it more transparent or mix different colors to create a new color.
  • Start to paint!  Use any brush you feel comfortable with.
  • Let it dry, (it won’t take long at all).  If you are going to keep it inside you don’t need to put on a clear coat for protection.  But if you are going to put it outside you need to let it dry and then then use the add a clear coat.  I usually use a spray paint form of the clear enamel.  But any kind you find will work.  But the paint must be dry or it will smear and be ruined.
  • You can add any 3D pieces by attaching them with a glue gun.  Or glitter with glue.  Make it beautiful.  Make it full.  Keep it simple.  Whatever you want!
  • Once it is finished, sit back and enjoy your piece.

Here is my example I made for Doc: 

I didn’t take a photo of just the outline drawn on the pumpkin, but you can see it in this photo.  The blue is the start of the flames that went around the whole pumpkin.

Next step, white detailed outline around the blue flames.

Final product!  Blue flames with white detailed outlines. Done. Red lettering of Doc’s with black  detailed outlines.  Done.  It may have a few parts that I would have corrected or adjusted if I was going to make it again, but overall I loved the finished piece!  Doc told me that he receive a lot of complements, and he would like another pumpkin for this year!

Start thinking about what designs you will use for your pumpkins this year.  We have time before October, so get your brains working!!

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