Picture Update

I really didn’t mean to disappear for a couple of months but every time I came to the computer to write something I decided against it and before you know it, it’d been nearly two months.  So here’s what I’ve been up to during that time.

I had a month long break from school before starting back up again about three weeks ago.  This first summer term I’m taking Research Methods and just typing it out makes me snoozzzzzzzzzze.  In about another three weeks I’ll be adding Child Development to my load before getting a two week break before starting fall semester.  See what I mean?  ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

During my month of May break, I had a whole list of stuff I wanted to do but you know, time passes quickly and I didn’t do nearly half of it.  I did manage to read 8 or 9 books which more than doubled what I had read this whole year up to that point.  Yay me.  And I’ve still been keeping up with my garden which has yielded barely any vegetables so far:

I have since picked and eaten the veggies in these photos and they were really good.  I’m sure more cucumbers are to come because the plants are huge and full of flowers.  So is the watermelon plant and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for that one because I have become obsessed with watermelon this summer.

I added to the backyard by planting a lot of flowers and bushes.  It needed it badly and I was in the mood to experiment.  So far the majority of the flowers are thriving and slowly but surely our backyard is looking better and better.  I can’t wait for the sunflowers to finally get big and bloom but it might not be for a couple more months.  In the meantime here are some pics of just some of the flowers I’ve got back there:

I did notice the other day one of the flowers looked like it had been chewed and it didn’t take long to discover the culprit:

Every year we have wild rabbits that seem to roam through our neighborhood.  I have no idea where they actually live and I usually don’t mind them in the yard.  Just not when the eat my plants.

I also went on a little trip with my mom and sister down to Hot Springs.  We did some horseback riding and went to a wax museum among other things.  I’ve gotta be honest.  The wax museum was horrible.  It was so random and no one really looked like anybody they were supposed to.  Here are some of my favorites:

Ack!!  Seriously?!  Prince Charles reminds me of a rat and Queen Elizabeth hasn’t looked like that for at least 60 years.  I had to read the plaque to know who she was.

It was so dark in this section of the museum I took this picture mostly just to see what it was.  And then I had to laugh.  But the laughter really got going when we went into what I suppose was the kids/Disney section and saw this:

Gah, let’s take a closer look:

Hey what do you know, my new facebook profile picture.  I absolutely love his face.

In the beginning of May our town celebrated its annual Toad Suck Daze celebration.  In its honor, we had the kids at the preschool bring toads to school for some toad racing.  Imagine 16 preschool kids with toads but believe it or not, it was fun.  There are a couple of toads that live in the yard of the preschool and the kids LOVE to play with them.  I feel bad for the toads.  We had a frog fatality and I’ll spare you the details but will say barefeet = dead frog.

I hadn’t actually gone to the Toad Suck festivities since I was in high school but my brother and I decided to go and check it out this year.  This included walking the parameter and then leaving.  Too many people and a lot of lame stuff does not a good time make.  Trust me.  Although, one of the booths had a karaoke machine and was inviting participants.  When we waked by some white trashy girls (I know that sounds harsh but you weren’t there) were singing quite loudly and off key to R Kelly’s song Ignition.  It. Was. Hilarious….and terrible.  My brother got some video of it that I will have to get and post.

The only other thing I’ve been busy with is watching TV.  While I’m waiting for the summer shows like Burn Notice to start, I’ve become obsessed with Bones.

I’ve seen the show a number of times and like it but can’t watch it during the season because it’s on at the same time of a number of other shows I watch.  Lucky me, the reruns are on constantly.  There are about 12 episodes that get put on the DVR each week and I recently discovered all the seasons in their entirety on Netflix that I can access through my brother’s Xbox.  Lucky me indeed.  It’s taken me a while to actually be able to tolerate the character of Temperance Brennen.  Admittedly I watch the show for Seely Booth and his sarcasm.

I also spent a day making a ton of homemade strawberry jam that was/is absolutely heavenly and could quite possibly make applesauce a little later in the summer.  I might just be one of the oldest young people I know.

And there you have it – a run down of my two month hiatus.  You missed me didn’t you?

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Phew!

Finally, it’s MARCH!!!  My favorite time of year begins in the spring and ends with summer.  Life seems so monotonous and bleak during the winter months especially January and February.  Ever since I was in high school on the track team, I’ve always considered March (which was the start of track season) to be the beginning of spring, even when I lived out in Utah and the ground was still covered in snow and I was wearing a winter coat – it was still spring.

I’ve been incredibly busy and felt overwhelmed the past month with work and school, but especially this past week.  It was one of those times were everything in life converged together simultaneously and all I kept saying to myself was, “If you can just make it through February you’ll be ok…if you can just make it through this weekend you’ll be ok…if you can just make it through this assignment you’ll be ok…if you can just make it through…..”  And I started to realize that I’m guilty of doing this all the time.  If I can just make it…blah blah blah.  What a sad outlook.  I might as well say, “If I can just make it until I finally keel over I’ll get the rest I’m looking for.”

For three weeks I filled in for my boss at work – it was only supposed to be for one.  Her daughter was pregnant with twins and went into labor really early and had some complications.  I’m very happy I could fill in for her so she could go and even more happy that everything turned out ok for mom and babies.  It’s just the timing really sucked.

I would go to work at 7am and get home between 5:30-6:00 and have to be in class or work on papers until I collapsed in bed usually sometime between 11 and midnight, just to get up a few hours later and start over.  I admit I’m one of those people that honestly needs at least 8 hours of sleep so 6 felt grueling and my brain was fried.  The energy required to keep up with preschool kids astounds me sometimes.   And I’ll admit showering started to become a burden and an annoyance because that was time I felt was better spent sleeping.  So consequently there were days I wasn’t so April fresh and shaving practically went right out the window.  So bless the child at the preschool who randomly asked me one day, “Miss Natalie, are you a supermodel or something?”  and with no hesitation on my part and a straight face responded with, “Yes.  Yes I am.”  haha  I have no idea what his idea of a supermodel is but I’ll take it.  He’s learning and will make some girl very happy in about 20 years.

From Friday to Saturday I spent 11 hours in one class and on Sunday spent 14 straight hours working on a paper worth 40%, yes that did read 40%, of my grade for said class.  This didn’t include the other assignments and projects that were due for other classes during this same weekend.  At one point of the weekend I got so mad at the printer for something so completely lame (I even recognized in the moment that it was lame and that I was completely overreacting) I literally punched it with my fist multiple times.  I guess I just needed to relieve some built up stress.  And I have to say I felt momentarily gratified.  And though my mom was mad when I did it (it is her printer after all) we were both able to laugh about it two days later.

Lesson learned:  drop out of grad school.  No, the lesson learned is not to procrastinate (isn’t that always the same damn lesson needed to be learned for everything?) and that I’m freak’n AMAZING b/c I got it all done on time.  Of course that said, I haven’t received any of the grades yet.

But now it’s my blessed month of March.  Looking ahead school doesn’t get overwhelming again (I don’t think) until the end of April and I’m back to working my regular part time shift.  And in fact I have 4 1/2 days off right now.  I got 9 hours of sleep last night and arranged my whole day around one errand.  Sigh.  Did I mention it was sunny and 70 degrees here today?  Thank you March.  Thank you.

It’s an Update

Hey remember when I used to do updates all the time?  No?  Well I did.  I haven’t logged on to wordpress for a few weeks so I thought if one was appropriate I guess it would be now.

Thanksgiving was nice.  My oldest sister and her family came down for a few days and it was nice to see them.  I even went shopping on Black Friday.  This is HUGE for me because I hate shopping on regular Fridays (and every other day for that matter) so to go on the busiest shopping day of the year is a little mind blowing.  No I didn’t get up early or camp out at a store.  Matter of fact, I don’t think we even went until 10:30 the next morning.  At most places “early bird” sales were still going on and there was still plenty of stuff still in stock so ha ha all of you who got up and stood in line in the cold all night.

School, school, school.  What can I say except I can’t wait for you to be over this semester.  Only two weeks to go and I hope the time flies.  Thanksgiving really messed me up motivation wise and for that I almost wish we hadn’t had a week off.  Trying to get back into this week has sucked.  Tonight I turned in an assignment not due until Saturday.  Which would be awesome except I submitted it to the wrong place and couldn’t take it back.  I emailed my professor and hope she’s cool and fixes it for me.  It’s an easy fix for her but she may want to teach me some lesson or something.  Hope not.  I’m really not interested in learning anymore lessons of any kind, especially a life one and it could really screw up my grade which would be a shame because for the first time ever, I’m actually doing really well in school.

And the preschool, what can I say about that?  Except ’tis the season…for coughing in my face and wiping snotty noses on my sweatshirts.  If I don’t end up sick it’ll be a Christmas miracle for sure.

I got my hair done last week.  I had the girl cut almost 4 inches off, shorten up the layers, thicken the bang area, and do an overall darken.  It feels so much better and it’s still kind of long which is good b/c I prefer my hair pulled back most of the time.

And finally, what’s with everyone searching the word gumby?  And why does that bring them to my blog?  I checked my stats for the first time in forever and 61 people alone used that to find my blog today.  Is this the seasonal-comeback-retro-fad toy this year?  I’m so out of the loop.

3 Hours of My Life

Let me tell you about my afternoon today.  It wasn’t the craziest or most hectic afternoon I’ve ever had.  There weren’t any real emergencies or life or death problems.  But it was one of THOSE afternoons.  I was supposed to get off work today at 2:00.  Around 11:00 or so the lady I work for asked if I would be willing to stay a little bit late so she could take care of some family stuff.  Normally I totally wouldn’t care but I have class on Wednesday nights and I was nervous at what staying a little bit later actually meant.

She assured me absolutely no later than 3:00 and there was a good chance she would in fact be back by 2:oo.  I end up staying and hear from her husband that apparently some other family problem came up and he wasn’t sure when she was going to make it back.  Enter a little nervousness on my part here.

I’m watching the clock like a crazy person, imagining the worst possible scenario possible when she shows up a little after 2:30.  Phew.  I have three hours to get done what I need to and get to class.  Plenty of time.

I get home and immediately go to the computer to check email and since it’s a class night, I needed to log onto my student account and pull some information from my class.  Naturally I discover our internet connection is down.  I call my mom to see if it was working when she was home a couple of hours earlier on her lunch break.  It was.  I’ve now discovered it’s only recently gone down and of course I missed my apparent window of opportunity to log on.

While I’m on the phone with her, I see a furry rodent scurry into view.  Oh crap.  I go into my brother’s room and sure enough, his three gerbils have escaped by gnawing a giant hole through some tape and plastic.  Lovely.  And it’s no surprise they would choose their jail break now because my brother is out of town and won’t be back until the weekend.  Smart little devils.

It takes me over an hour to finally catch Scribbles.  I’m now sweaty and really dirty.  Want to discover how dirty your house really is?  Let loose some gerbils and try to track them down.  It’s now about 3:45.  Still have plenty of time to get ready and eat before I have to be to class.

Right about at this point my mom, who came home when she heard about the escapees, discovered gerbil #2 – Scruffalufagus.  I’m going on record to say that my mom is completely afraid of gerbils and was basically no help in catching them.  Regardless, she found him and it took me another half hour to finally catch him.

I know have an hour and fifteen min. to shower, eat, and get to campus.  Shower is now done and while I’m getting ready I realize that the internet is still out and unless I call about it, there’s a good chance it won’t come back up until sometime tomorrow afternoon when I finally get a free moment to call.

So then I’m on the phone with the internet people and it’s taking longer than usual to get the problem resolved.  As I’m on hold I make a unpleasant discovery.  I completely bypassed shaving my right let.  Hello, my entire right leg.  Now I’ve missed patches before and once a partial back of the leg but the whole thing??  BLARG!!  The realization is short lived because the lady comes back on and I begin plugging and unplugging cords and try to fumble my way through computer lingo but finally the internet was up and running.

The time is 5:15 and I have 15 min. to finish getting ready, eat, and get to campus.  Needless to say I looked worse than usual and forgot about eating.  Three hours of my life down followed by another three hours sitting in a classroom discussing the analysis and theories of the classroom – boo – and did it all on an empty stomach – double boo!!

I spent the last hour or so looking for Leroy – gerbil #3 – but to no avail.  I hope tomorrow he wonders out into the open because I don’t know if I’ll find him if he doesn’t.  It’s now after midnight and I’m heading to bed so I can get up in a few and start it all over again.

*Update: I kept looking until 12:30 this morning.  Finally I got in bed and just as I was about to fall asleep I heard him.  So I spent ANOTHER hour – yes, it’s now 1:30 in the morning  – and finally catch him.  All gerbils are present and accounted for – the gerbil drama is officially over.

It’s A Party

I celebrated my birthday like any self – respecting 31 year old should, with a party! …with 16 preschool kids.  Holla!  Ok, well maybe it wasn’t the party of the century but it really was cute.  When I walked in, all the kids were sitting down in a circle and at once they all yelled HAPPY BIRTHDAY MISS NATALIE!!!  Then they all jumped up and ran over to give me hugs.  Very sweet but little over powering.  I had to grab the wall so I wouldn’t fall over on top of them.  There was birthday banner strung up and this is what the white board looked like:

Apparently ‘E’ is a favored letter with someone.  Later in the morning they sat down again and handed me cards they had brought or made.  Here were some of my favorites:

I was told the drawing in the top left card is a picture of me, the red lined drawing in the card underneath is a picture of a house (floor plans maybe?).  In case I am ever curious about who sent me the card on the top right Anna made sure to write her name in it over and over, only she spelled it Anno and Aiden just might be the next Picasso with another self portrait of yours truly in the bottom right card.

When Anna handed me her card she was positively beaming.  Not only was I presented with a card but with this:

I know what you’re thinking because I thought the same thing.  EEK! Creepy!!  But according to her mom, Anna felt I just HAD to have one of her dolls and wouldn’t be consoled until she was granted permission to bring it for me.  The sentiment is very sweet.  The doll however, well, is not.

For morning snack my mom had brought over cupcakes with plastic rings sitting on top.

Unfortunately I didn’t think to take a picture until most of them were gone.  I don’t know what kind of dye was used in that frosting but it stained fingers and faces.  Hands down the messiest cupcakes eaten at the preschool to date.  But they were so much fun!

Here we have Jeremiah who was so kind as to draw my picture in his card, Anna the doll giver, and Haley.

The little boy in the red shirt on the right is the one who designed my future house in his card.  I know neither one of these pics makes it look all that messy but trust me.  These were taken within seconds of them receiving their cupcakes and the rest of the time I was on frosting control.

As soon as the cupcakes were finished and kids were cleaned we pulled out the playdoh.  Another totally messy activity that’s a pain to clean but fun never the less.  And as soon as I had scraped off the last piece of playdoh from the kitchen floor it was time for lunch.  What could we possibly eat that would top the mess of cupcakes and playdoh?  Oh yeah, spaghetti.  On the positive side, no one had dyed purple and blue fingers and faces anymore.  Instead they were all orange.  It looked like we were holding oompa loompa try outs in that kitchen.

This was hands down the best work birthday party I’ve ever had.  I really wish this last picture wouldn’t have turned out so blury.  But I didn’t have my camera and this was the best I could get.  Here are my kiddos:

I’m Not a Productive Person but I Play One on TV

For the past two weeks I’ve had Back to the Future Syndrome.  Usually this is when you move back home after a year or more and it feels as though you never left but you can’t remember being there.  And things have changed while you were gone but since it feels like you never left, you aren’t sure when all the changes could have happened.  And there you have the final scene when Michael J. Fox wakes up after only a night and yet a week had passed and nothing was as it was before: Back to the Future Syndrome.

Well I haven’t gone anywhere but the days have gone by so fast, I can’t really remember them.  And yet I was here.  Maybe it’s a Back to the Future in reverse.  Or sideways.  Maybe I’m actually in an episode of Lost.

What I can sort of remember is that my brother was in town for a week during semesters at school.  Has he really been gone four months already??  I’m still around kids ALL THE TIME which has really just blurred into a collage of sand, snot, building blocks, and funny conversations.  Earth Day was yesterday and I helped the kids create the Earth in art form using blue/green paint, a magnet, a coffee filter, and a save the Earth sticker.  It was as though I had transformed into a craft version of Macgyver.

I’ve been tanning so I no longer have to write CLEAR on forms that ask what race I am.  And I got my hair highlighted this past week and absolutely love it.  I don’t know why I don’t get my hair done more often.  I come out of there feeling like the greatest thing since sliced bread.  I’ve been feeling so good the past few days I’ve been bust’n a move to old school Madonna in my car.  You’re welcome people I pass on the road.  Road workers outside my neighborhood, I’m talking specifically to you.

I spent a few hours this week laying sod (thank you tetris for giving me mad skills that finally came in handy – I knew you weren’t a waste of time) and tomorrow I’m going to donate blood so my “humanitarian” efforts for the week can be checked.  I also made 5 dozen cookies and have dough to make another two – just thought I would randomly throw that in there.  This time next week I’m going to be back in Illinois visiting my sister and her family with my mom.  Next weekend is also Toad Suck Daze here and for those (all of you) who don’t know what that is don’t worry, I’ll explain in my next post.  But speaking of traveling, my family has been trying to get a mega trip together this summer.  I don’t know all the details yet but I can tell you it looks like I’ll be going from Arkansas to Utah to Idaho to Utah to Idaho to Utah to California possibly back to Utah or if not back to Arkansas.  All in two weeks.  And I’m trying to squeeze a side trip of my own in there to Spokane for a few days.  If you feel like contributing to that fund by all means, go with those feelings and help a fellow blogger out.  No?  Well, you can’t fault me for asking.

Oh and did I mention I’m sort of thinking about going back to school?  Oh how I love that I can make my life seem more busy and productive than it really is.

Toe Rings = Marriage?

This is a conversation I had with a 4 year old at work today:

4 yr. old:  Why do you have a ring on your toe?  Are you married?

Me:  Uh, no I just like it I guess.

4 yr. old:  When are you going to get married?

Me:  I don’t know.  When are you going to get married?

4 yr. old:  (cocks her head to the side and thinks) Well…a few days after I get older.

Me:  Yeah, me too.  High five.