Who and What

My name is Hailey and my grandfather is a farmer. I'm the 7th generation to live on the family farm, and my babies (when the time comes) are going to be the 8th. My husband and I are even renovating a trailer on my grandparent's farm so we can move back to the family farm sooner. This blog encompasses the things that are important to me. These things are:

~Special Education
~ADHD, including my own battle with it over the years. It's now my superpower.
~Farm Life
~Equal rights for women.
~Goal setting
~Fitness and health
~Financial Stability
~Personal Happiness

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

L is for Lazy Day Bucket List

One of the perks of being a teacher is that I get two whole weeks off for Christmas break. What should I do? Clean my house, make a quilt, write a book? However, despite the fact that I plan to get a lot done over the Christmas holidays, I also have a plan for at least one truly lazy day. Here are just a few things I'd like to indulge in:

  1. Sleep in. 
  2. Watch a Disney movie. 
  3. Refuse to get out of my pajamas.
  4. Watch the clouds. 
  5. Read a book start to finish. 
  6. Snuggle the puppies. 
  7. Read a magazine. 
  8. Play a really addictive computer game. 
  9. See the sunset. 
  10. Take a hot bath. 
  11. Drink coffee. 
  12. Read funny buzz feed posts. 
  13. Don't look at my to do list. 
  14. Wear warm socks.
  15. Daydream. 
  16. Do yoga. 
  17. Have Chinese food for dinner. 
  18. Enjoy a glass of wine. 
  19. Fool around on pinterest. 
  20. Work a puzzle. 
  21. Make a pillow fort and lounge around in it. 
  22. Browse Amazon, Modcloth and other shopping websites. 
  23. Snuggle with my husband. 
  24. Eat popcorn for lunch. 
  25. Have ice cream for dessert. 
  26. Read other blogs. 
  27. Find crazy stuff on Etsy. 
  28. Make lists of stupid things. 
  29. Give myself a facial.
  30. Give myself a pedicure. 
  31. Take a nap.
  32. Plan my dream vacation. 
  33. Lay on the floor and stretch out my back. 
  34. Eat doughnuts for breakfast.
  35. Make myself a cup of tea.
  36. Write short and funny blog posts.
  37. Do something silly to my hair.
What are your favorite things to do on a lazy day? 

Friday, December 19, 2014

K is for Keep Calm and ...

"Keep Calm and Carry On" was originally a poster developed by the British government during World War 2 as a moral booster. Over the years it has gained popularity with a number of variations, and I have to say I find many of them relevant to my own life. Here are 27 that I think apply to me at this point in my life.

  1. Keep calm and eat pizza. 
  2. Keep calm and drink Starbucks. 
  3. Keep calm and read a book.
  4. Keep calm and Disney on. 
  5. Don't keep calm and stay as mad as a hatter. 
  6. Keep calm and be a princess.
  7. Keep calm and let the SPED teacher handle it. 
  8. Keep calm and pretend this is on the lesson plan. 
  9. Keep calm and Google it. 
  10. Keep calm and go to Hogwarts. 
  11. Keep calm and craft on. 
  12. Keep calm and be supercalafragalisticexpialadocious. 
  13. Keep calm and farm on. 
  14. Keep calm and go barefoot. 
  15. Keep calm and may the odds be ever in your favor. 
  16. Keep calm…oh, who are we kidding?
  17. Keep calm and don't sneeze. 
  18. Keep calm? Seriously? In this house? 
  19. Keep calm and if that doesn't work throw a major hissyfit. 
  20. Keep calm and wear pearls. 
  21. Keep calm and carry chocolate. 
  22. I will not keep calm, I will raise hell and break shit. 
  23. Keep calm and choose dauntless.
  24. Keep calm and hire yourself. 
  25. Keep calm and call your sister. 
  26. Keep calm and drink wine. 
  27. Keep calm and adjust your tiara. 
Your turn! Finish the sentence: Keep calm and...

J is for Jeans: My Love for Old Navy

Photo from old navy.com
For the letter J, I have to take a moment to celebrate my new blue jeans and brag on my husband for a minute as well. I haven't exactly felt the best about my body here recently. While I've taken steps to correct this, I'd been putting off buying new clothes, because I hate to spend money on clothing that may not fit me after I drop a few pounds. Yesterday I had finally caved and gone to Goodwill in search of new jeans.

I will admit, I am VERY picky about certain articles of clothing and jeans are one of them. I am hard on jeans, and I need them to last, resist stains, and be versatile enough to be appropriate for many areas of my life. I buy Old Navy brand, at Goodwill, in sizes ranging from 4-8 and have for years. However, for the first time ever, I came up empty. I figured I'd try again at another store, but my husband had other ideas.

Last night, on the way home from my school's Christmas party, he took an unexpected detour, took me to Old Navy, and insisted I get jeans I felt good in. I tried to say it wasn't necessary, but he pointed out to me that I was frustrated with my clothing and that he had some extra tip money to spend. Not only did I find two pairs of jeans (size 6, thank you very much!) that fit perfectly, but I learned something that I didn't know, despite wearing them for years. Old Navy has several types of jeans, which they print on the inside waistband, to indicate the body type of the woman buying them. The waistband size is the same, but these three different types accommodate the variations in women's bodies. Apparently this is common knowledge, but no one ever bothered to tell me. So, if you are likewise clueless, here is a brief overview:

  • Rockstar- Supposedly, this is the jean for everyone due to their stretchiness. I've never worn these, so I can't confirm or deny. However, these are supposed to fit low on the waist, so they're probably not for me. 
  • Boyfriend- This is also supposed to fit everyone, but is looser than the Rockstar. I've also never worn these, and probably won't for the same reason I won't wear the rockstar. 
  • The Diva- This is where I have been going oh so wrong. These are women who are straight all the way down. Considering I have the curves of a mountain road, no wonder they wouldn't fit. 
  • The Flirt- Another failing of mine. This is for women with fuller thighs but no butt. I have both, so this is a no go for me, unless I want to go for a size 8, which I absolutely do not.
  • The Sweetheart- This is my dream jean. It is designed for women with all over curves, and I have to say, it looks AMAZING on. 
  • The Dreamer- I also have a few pairs of these jeans. They come up a little higher, so on the days I would prefer to hide my belly, I can. Not as good as the Sweetheart in terms of how I feel in them, but pretty damn close. 
So, now you know how to buy jeans at Old Navy, and I've gotten to gush over my obsession with them. Do you have a clothing brand you absolutely adore? 

I is for "I believe the world would be a better place if..."

I'm no expert on world politics, or foreign countries. My geography skills are abysmal. However, there is one thing I think we could all do that would make the world a better place. I feel that we should all commit small, quiet acts of kindness whenever we can. These acts of kindness should not be done for personal gain. No recognition, notice or acknowledgement should be expected. No one should be expected to return the favor. Nothing should be done to draw attention to these acts. The only hope for any sort of attention related to these acts of kindness should be that those on the receiving end of these acts, and those who happen to witness them will pay it forward, or follow the example they see. What if everyone led their life this way? I have been blessed enough to be on the receiving end of more of these acts I can count. They mean the world, and they encourage me to try harder in my kindness toward others.

G is for… Gift ideas from Etsy

It's no secret that I LOVE Etsy, particularly my own Etsy store, Krushed and Kreated. Here are 27 gift ideas from Etsy, including some from my own store.

  1. This gorgeous tree pendant.
  2. These lovely shell angels from my own shop.
  3. This adorable costume apron.
  4. This precious wooden dinosaur my husband made. 
  5. This adorable mobile.
  6. This adorable wine truck my husband made. 
  7. This amazingly cool headband
  8. This great carousel puzzle
  9. This insanely cute headband
  10. This beautiful nativity scene
  11. This super cool Disney Princess wreath.
  12. A bouquet of these neat Paris themed duct tape roses.
  13. These seriously amazing bookends. I will have these one day!
  14. This gorgeous bracelet
  15. This adorable duct tape wallet.
  16. This precious Christmas bow
  17. Who doesn't need a Mickey Mouse wreath? 
  18. This little girl's Mrs. Claus dress. 
  19. A great pair of customized shoes.
  20. spa in a jar when you can't afford the real thing. 
  21. A button art wall hanging that has its own sexiness factor. 
  22. I can think of more than one person who would love these peacock glasses. 

  23. Baby clothes sushi. I'm at the point in my life where EVERYONE is having kids and I'm just the weirdo in the corner going, "I'll find someone to give this to, because I can't resist buying something this cute." 
  24. French Macaroon Soap. Because really who doesn't need soap in the shape of macaroons. 
  25. I am obsessed with this princess house.
  26. For the sporty diva in your life. 
  27. A one off a kind custom t-shirt quilt
Etsy gifts are great any time of the year. They support small businesses, and allow you to get unique one of a kind items. So consider it next time you're shopping. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

H is for Healthy Weight, 20 Reasons I Want to Lose 20 lbs in 2015

Rocking my dream body in 2008. I hope I've still got it. 

My weight is not unhealthy at the moment, per say, but it is definitely not where I would like it to be. A combination of stress, life changes, health issues, business and, I'll admit it, laziness and poor choices on my part have led to me being far from where I would prefer to be. I've started several plans in the last year, only to give up after a few weeks. Well, no more. In 2015 I am getting my body back. And just in case I start to slip, hopefully I can keep in my head these 20 reasons why.

  1. My clothing, more specifically most of my jeans, does not fit very well at the moment. 
  2. I'm starting to wonder if I should take out my belly button ring. 
  3. The thought of a swimsuit makes me cringe. 
  4. I'm sluggish and grouchy more than I'd like to be. 
  5. My dogs need me to be more active for them. 
  6. Better skin.
  7. To avoid long term health issues.
  8. I think my mental health will be better.
  9. My back will feel better.
  10. To live a longer life with my husband. 
  11. So my husband can pick me up effortlessly. 
  12. To have those really bad ass before and after pictures. 
  13. So I can kick some ass if I need to and look amazing doing it. 
  14. So I can pretty much know my on clothing size again and not have to guess because I'm halfway in between. 
  15. So I don't have to do that ridiculous bouncy dance when trying to put on my skinny jeans. 
  16. To never have to worry about having a muffin top. 
  17. So I can stop flinching every time I see my weight at the doctor's office. 
  18. So that I can more safely enter into motherhood when the time comes. 
  19. So my pant's don't pinch. 
  20. Because I am worth it. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

F is for… Farmer's Granddaughter Fashion: 17 Things I have to Consider Before Getting Dressed in the Morning

Most people, when deciding what to wear in the morning may glance a the weather, but beyond that, most don't put tons of thought into it. But my world is a little different, partially because I wear so many different hats (proverbial) throughout my week. Getting dressed for me takes a little more than the average in terms of planning. Here are 27 things I take into at least brief consideration before getting dressed in the morning.

  1. What's the weather like today? However, I'm not just looking for hot or cold. The animals need care whether it's nice or not, so I have to consider rain, mud and wind as well. Mud kills most dress shoes like nobody's business. 
  2. What day of the week is it? On Fridays I'm allowed to wear jeans to my regular job, on Sundays I work a nursery shift at the church, on Tuesdays I can dress up a little more because my friend Kelly takes care of the horses.
  3. Will I have time to go home and change before X? Sometimes I have to choose two different outfits if the answer is no. 
  4. Is it shedding season for the horses? If so, it's pretty much cotton all the way, since there its about the only thing horse hair doesn't stick to dramatically. 
  5. It it slobbering season for the horses? When they eat clover they drool more, and it's very, very green. Anything light colored goes away for a few weeks. 
  6. Is there a chance I will be low on time and need to exercise in my work clothes? 
  7. Do I have an IEP meeting today? If yes, then a blazer and collared shirt are absolutely necessary. 
  8. Are all my students on their meds? This is less of an issue now than it was at my last job, but I have no desire to have my ankle twisted or my necklace broken during a child's meltdown. 
  9. Am I being observed today. If so then I put on heels. It's silly but they give me that added boost of confidence. 
  10. Will my long johns fit under this/coveralls fit over this? In the colder months, these extras are how I survive. 
  11. Is it a school spirit day? If so, bring on the crazy outfits and tutus. 
  12. Has my classroom been running warm or cold? Ahh, the joys of working in a public school. Very sporadic with the temperatures in the classroom. 
  13. Is there any way this outfit could get me in trouble? I have worn plenty of things to the school I thought were innocent and gotten in trouble for it. Not at my new job, but definitely at my last school. The last time it was for a cowl neck sweater. What was the deal, I was showing too much neck?
  14. Am I likely to get stepped on by a horse today? If so boots are the order of the day. 
  15. Do I have to lesson plan? Bring on the sweat pants. 
  16. Does this fit? Does anyone else have the problem where something is too tight one wear and too loose the next? What the heck?
  17. In the summer months, I ask myself, particularly when working with kids, if this gets wet, will it be a problem?
What do you consider when choosing your clothes for the day? 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

B is for Bandit… 27 Life Lessons from the World's Laziest Farm Dog

Bandit is my parent's beagle mix farm dog, and to say the least, he is worthless. He allows the rabbits to eat the garden. He would probably be good for nothing in protecting the horses from a predator. His method of dealing with strangers is to immediately search them for cookies. But Bandit is part of our farm family, nonetheless, and to say he is completely useless would be untrue. Bandit has been a part of our family since I was fourteen and in the last ten years, he has taught me a great deal about life. Here are 27 things I have learned from this dog over the years:

  1. Pedicures are overrated. So is a good hair day. 
  2. Origin is unimportant. We originally thought he was an Aussie mix, but if he has any in him, his beagle features are dominant. 
  3. Friends come in all shapes and sizes. His best friend was my rescue horse, Squire, who died in 2011.
  4. Sometimes a few barks are all you need to get the job done. 
  5. Take time for a long nap in the sunshine.
  6. Dream big. Bandit hopes to be a horse when he grows up. 
  7. Just because it looks gross, doesn't mean it isn't tasty. 
  8. Home is really the best place to be. 
  9. When you find yourself in conflict with a crazy person, roll over and play dead. 
  10. Never get between a mama deer and her baby. He did this by accident and she tried to kill him. He's still wary of them, which explains why they're always in our yard. 
  11. Things are unimportant. People are everything. 
  12. Life is short, eat more cookies. 
  13. If you can't eat it or play with it, pee on it and walk away. 
  14. Some things are simply not important enough to get worked up over. 
  15. Be a friendly neighbor, but be careful if you haven't gotten to know them yet. This was learned the hard way when he tried to make friends with my neighbor's new miniature donkey. 
  16. There is comfort in routine. 
  17. If it's gross out, stay in the barn. 
  18. One man's trash is another dog's treasure. 
  19. Take the time for a good stretch. 
  20. Approach challenges with enthusiasm. 
  21. There is never a bad time for a belly rub. 
  22. Play the games your friends want to play, even if you're not that into them. 
  23. Eat every meal like it's the best thing you've ever tasted. 
  24. Be extra gentle with babies. He's never been around little ones much, but every time he meets them he's super tolerant and sweet. 
  25. You really can brush off enough hair to make another dog. 
  26. Live life with unconditional joy. 
  27. Wag your tail and smile. 
What life lessons have you learned from your pets? 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

D is for…Date Night (Week 12 of the 52 Weeks Project)

One of my goals for the New Year is to improve my relationship with my husband. It's not that we have a bad relationship, but there is always room for improvement. One thing I think might help our relationship is to begin having a weekly date night. Some of these are new, while others are favorites we've done before.

  1. Drive in movies. There's a great one less than an hour from us and we've never been. 
  2. Spread a blanket on the ground and stargaze.
  3. A park date. We did one of these when we were first dating and it was so much fun!
  4. Take a picnic somewhere gorgeous. 
  5. Spend an evening at the arcade. 
  6. Have a food themed night. Paris, China, only finger foods, just see what you come up with. 
  7. Walk the dogs on the Blackwater creek trail. 
  8. Go biking. 
  9. Dream/goal night. I want to spend an evening writing down plans and goals for the future. 
  10. Play a game. My grandparents still play cards together after almost 60 years together. 
  11. Go hiking. 
  12. Visit a winery.
  13. Go rock climbing. 
  14. Take a class together. 
  15. Spend an afternoon or evening at the library or bookstore. 
  16. Build a blanket fort in the living room. 
  17. Go camping. 
  18. Devote a night to making ice cream sundaes at home. 
  19. Do a puzzle together. 
  20. Go to a few yard sales together. 
  21. Enjoy a morning at the farmer's market. 
  22. Go dancing. 
  23. Rent a movie. 
  24. Go kayaking. 
  25. Go apple picking together. 
  26. Spend a night at a bowling alley. 
  27. Visit a few antique stores. 
  28. Play Bingo. 
  29. Go shopping for clothing items that you'll both enjoy. 
  30. Go to a local festival. 
  31. If all else fails, stick with the classics and go see a movie. 
  32. Go to the zoo. 
  33. Go to watch fireworks. 
  34. Play mini golf.
  35. Go out somewhere nice for brunch. 
  36. Go swimming. 
  37. Play paintball. 
  38. Attend a food truck festival. 
  39. Attend a fair. 
  40. Backyard BBQ with a new recipe. 
  41. Go see a horse event. 
  42. Host a poker night. 
  43. Host a movie themed couples night. 
  44. Make a "ahem" for your eyes only bucket list together. 
  45. Have a fondue night. 
  46. Go out and dance. 
  47. Make a gourmet pizza together.
  48. Visit a local ice cream truck. Walk if you can and burn some calories. 
  49. Go to the circus. I haven't been to one in ages and I really want to. 
  50. Go to Blackfriar's Playhouse. 
  51. Shoot pool. 
  52. Wii game night. 
The best part is, most of these are very affordable. 

C is for…Christmas Decorations

I don't feel the need to say anything particularly innovative on the subject, I just thought you might enjoy seeing some of the Christmas decorations my family puts out.
The mantle at High Spirits Farm. 

Our gingerbread tree.

My favorite tree: the wine tree. 

A close up of the wine tree. 

Another close up of the wine tree. 

Yet another close up of the wine tree. 

Our advent calendar. 

A few more of our Santas. 

Classroom door 1. 

Classroom door 2. 

Another shot of classroom door 2. 

What can we say, we love wine? And Christmas!

Monday, December 8, 2014

A is for…A Day in the Life of The Farmer's Granddaughter

One of the suggestions I read about trying to make blogging a daily habit was to start with simple things. In other words, not every single post has to rock the world. Posts about your favorite coffee, your pet, or just your daily schedule are fine when you're simply trying to make it a habit. So today, I'm going through a day in the life. It might be good for me to actually write down what exactly I'm doing with my time anyway.

  • 4:30- Technically I'm already awake and not trying to go back to sleep, I'm just putting off getting up and out into the cold air. But I do, and go make my to do list for the day, which always seems to end up being long and overly ambitious. Such is my tendency and flaw. 
  • 5:00- Let the dogs out, trying to stick to well lit areas of the yard and hoping that this isn't the morning I come face to face with a coyote. Consider again that I really should learn to shoot. 
  • 5:20- Finish with dogs, return Sage to her crate to avoid surprises, shower, brush teeth, come up with five or six good ideas and promptly forget most of them because I'm in no position to write things down. 
  • 5:40- Feed dogs, take out one last time, pack lunch and tie up any loose ends.
  • 6:00- Drive to work and listen to an audiobook. 
  • 6:40- Arrive at work, print materials needed for the day's lessons, work on decorating my classroom door for Christmas and sustain several hot glue burns. Best to do this when there are no students around to hear me swear. Check e-mail and hopefully remember to eat breakfast. 
  • 7:35- Hear the ring of the bell signaling the arrival of students. 
  • 7:45- School hasn't officially started yet, but my first student arrives for her 15 minutes of academic support. I help her finish a math test and work to help her handle frustrations without having a meltdown. She's doing a lot better, we haven't had one of these in a while. 
  • 8:00- Finish prepping for the day, work on my door a little more and head down to first grade. 
  • 8:15- Arrive in 1st grade. Teach two sections of Leveled Literacy Intervention reading for the five lowest students in the class. Try not to laugh at the funny but off topic comments of one student and fail spectacularly. Remind another at least 10 times, that she can't read if she's not looking at the page. Sharpen one child's pencil down to nothing to help him with his handwriting, and remind him to go slowly and think about the letters. He too, has come a long way. 
  • 9:45- Go to third grade and get a student for one on one Leveled Literacy Intervention reading. She is probably my favorite to teach reading to. Even though she started lower than we'd like at the beginning of the year, her gaps are more from missing instruction due to behavior than an academic disability. She's one of the hardest working students I have, and today I'm testing her to move up a level. Sure enough, she nails it!
  • 10:15- Go get my fifth grade student for Leveled Literacy Intervention reading. She struggles a lot, but always has a good attitude. I work to help her get better, but I try to be extremely positive. I'm terrified I will turn this child off to school, like happens with many kids who are learning disables. I don't want her to become a statistic and drop out because she hates school like so many students with learning disabilities do. 
  • 10:45- Lunch time but I barely stop to eat. I warm up some leftover BBQ my grandparents gave us after the Sunday family dinner. In between bites, I continue to work on my classroom's door. 
  • 11:10- Go back to first grade for math. I thought I would hate teaching math, but I was wrong. This is actually one of my favorite parts of the day. This week we're working on fractions and counting by 10s and ones using base 10 blocks and shapes.  In first grade it's a lot of pictures and we only do 1/2, 1/3, 1/4. It's interesting, because a lot of the more advanced students are really over thinking it and struggling. Meanwhile one of the students that struggles the most in reading and in other types of math is one of the first ones to pick it up and really understand it. I review homework with a few and go through a test with another. I make slight modifications to the papers of the SPED students in the class that need it, such as drawing boxes for their answers, or folding their paper so they don't get problems mixed up. I practically have to fight the way out the door, because it seems I never have enough time to help as much as is needed, and my time is up while my students still want my assistance. 
  • 12:20- Teach VAAP 4th grade math to a group of students in the self contained SPED class. They won't be taking the SOL test at the end of the year, and our focus is to teach them math that they can apply to real life. Today is a fun lesson. We're working on patterns and making gingerbread people and candy to go on the classroom door. We talk about fabric patterns, color patterns, alternating patterns and every other pattern I can think of, while using beads, felt, fabric and other art supplies. They draw out their gingerbread and candy designs on coloring sheets. Tomorrow, we'll make them out of felt.
  • 12:50- Teach VAAP 5th grade math. This student is new to me, and I'm trying to get to know her. We're also working on patterns, as well as measurement. We measure a few things, then she designs a gingerbread man too. 
  • 1:20- Teach VAAP 3rd grade math. Another new student, who's working on patterns, counting, and picture graphs. She also does a design for the door, and we use the number line on my floor to practice counting and number recognition. 
  • 1:50- Last class of the day. I go get my fifth grader for a different type of reading intervention and again, try not to make her hate school. She does well, and gets to retire several of the words she's been working on. I hug her, tell her I hope she has a great evening, and send her back to class. 
  • 2:20- Class may be over, but the day is far from it. I work to straighten my classroom, decorate a bit more, and do some lesson planning. I also get on Pinterest for a few minutes, because my brain just plain needs a break. 
  • 3:35- Leave for home. Sometimes I stay late, but it's my husband's night to work late and the animals simply don't grasp the concept of "Mommy has to work late."
  • 4:10- Arrive home to two barking puppies. Take them both out and try not to let their leashed get too tangled. It's raining so I take them back in and play with them a bit. 
  • 4:30- Wash the dishes that got left in the sink last night. Straighten the house a little. 
  • 5:00- Realize I'm starving, because I haven't eaten since 10:45. Make dinner and eat it. Give the dogs theirs. 
  • 6:00- Go up to my parent's house and feed the horses. Take photos of the Christmas trees in the house for a different blog entry. 
  • 6:30- Return home and let the dogs out again. 
  • 6:40- Work on my friend's wedding gift, which I'm making. We'll see how it goes. 
  • 7:00- Write blog entry, mess around online a bit. 
  • 8:00- Realize the server is down, and that I can't post anything. Spoil the dogs a bit more and go put on pajamas. 
  • 8:30- Crawl into bed, read for three minutes and promptly fall asleep. 
Never enough hours for all I want to do, and I definitely need to work exercise in soon. How do you manage your crazy day. 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Life with Only 15 Things: A Consideration

I was on Pinterest the other day looking for blog inspiration, when I cam across the image of a man who supposedly only owns 15 things, other than his undergarments. My first thought was, wonder how they're calculating things? I mean, if he buys toilet paper for his apartment, technically he owns the toilet paper so does that count? And my second thought was, dang, that guy must do laundry every other day. But my random ramblings and curiosities aside, it did get me to wondering what I would choose if I could own only 15 things.

First and foremost, let me explain how I am defining 15 things. First of all, I am not counting my jewelry. If you count all the pieces of jewelry I wear as individual pieces, that's nine things, and I never take it off or put new on, so I almost feel it doesn't count. Secondly, I am not counting anything that is rapidly disposable. Shampoo, soap, toilet paper, not counting it. Anything with a soul of it's own, like my dogs, not counting them, or their belongings. As far as I'm concerned, those guys are separate entities. There are probably other things I'm not factoring in, but let's just go with it for the moment. If I could only have 15 things, here is what I THINK I would choose.

  1. My stuffed animal, Clowndog, that I've had since infancy. Yeah, that thing is not going anywhere. He's worn out and pitiful and I don't care. I would actually be fairly traumatized if he were to become irreparably lost and damaged, probably illogically so. 
  2. My dad's Lynchburg College shirt. It's ridiculously soft, older than I am, and my favorite thing to sleep in. I may be a clothes horse, but that one will never get thrown out. 
  3. My High Spirits farm baseball cap. My husband had it made for me before we even started dating, and it's a reminder to me that he believed in our dream from day one. 
  4. My computer. Maybe it's tacky to choose a piece of technology, but my computer allows me to reach out to the world in a constructive way. 
  5. At least one pair of pink cowboy boots. I'm not fussy over which pair, I just want to always have one. They're part of my identity. 
  6. My sewing machine. I find using it to be cathartic and relaxing, so I'd be very hesitant to give that up. 
  7. My piggy bank, which is significant for two reasons. One, Brad and I each made one on one of our first dates and two, they represent how tiny savings can add up to big things, which is one of our core beliefs. 
  8. My Virginia Tech sweatshirt that my grandfather pulled off his own back to give me the day I got accepted. I don't think I've ever seen him so proud. 
  9. Any super comfortable pair of jeans that make my butt look fabulous. I have a few, and I'm not choosy as to which one, I just know I need a pair. 
  10. The t-shirt quilt my mother and I made together when I was getting ready to go to college. 
  11. A pair of footie pajamas, which Brad buys me every year around my birthday or Christmas, but always in between, so he can say it was just because. 
  12. The roofing shingle that came off of the roof at my mother's office and was painting with our wedding symbol by my mother's best friend, Juanita. 
  13. My mother's box of wishes for me that she gave to me on my wedding day.
  14. The silver dollar that my father gave me to carry in the pocket of my wedding dress the night of my rehearsal dinner. 
  15. My wedding box, which is technically more than one thing, but contains memories of so much love, I cannot begin to decide which parts are the most important.
As I look at these things written down, I realize it is fairly reflective of my values. Enough clothing to keep warm and a lot of loving memories. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

How did we get so lucky?

Throw back to three years ago, when my sister got her class ring the same day Brad put a ring on my finger. 
Today, Thanksgiving, is obviously a time when people sit down with their families and have an attitude of gratitude. However, for me, everyday is Thanksgiving. At least once a day, I look around and ask myself, how the heck did we get so lucky? We have much to be grateful for every day, not just on Thanksgiving.

First, I am thankful for my husband, who is one of the kindest and most patient people I have ever met. For the last few months, while I have struggled to navigate the rugged terrain associated with being a new teacher, he has made sure I have clean clothes to wear, food to eat, and a clean (sometimes cleanish) house to come home to. He has laughed with me over small mishaps, been friendly to my coworkers, fixed things in my classroom and volunteered at my school. He has also reminded me daily that I do not have to do it all, and while I sometimes struggle to listen, it is still nice to hear that he does not expect me to wear my Wonder Woman cape full time.

Our dogs Kona and Sage have proved to be a blessing in our lives. Our planned puppy, Sage, makes me laugh daily as she attempts to navigate the world on her too big puppy paws. Kona is our sky dog that we never expected to have, and is one of my favorite things to come home to. She needed a new home quickly, and we took her on a leap of faith and a prayer. The friend who gave her to us kept saying she couldn't believe how nice we were to take her and to try to make it as easy for my friend as possible.

She reminded me how lucky we are to be surrounded by so many wonderful friends and family. Six months ago, when I was preparing to transition jobs, I was feeling very insecure and alone. I prayed almost daily to find a support system at my new job. My prayers were answered in a variety of forms and I could not be more appreciative. Beth Brown, who has become, as my mother puts it "my Juanita" after her best friend who is willing to tackle any project, big or small, so long as they are in it together, has been the person I tell all my funny kid quotes to, as well as my shoulder to lean on after a rough day. Teresa Woods, who is my mentor, co-teacher and friend, tells me weekly that I am doing a good job, and makes sure that administration knows it as well. The rest of the first grade teachers have offered me everything from advice, to food, to a closet to hide in should I ever need it.

However, I had forgotten in my fear, just how supportive this family can be. Thank you Bev for giving me tips for dealing with parents, and for offering to help me to set up my classroom. Thank you Carter and Lanaux for the flowers you sent me the first week, that arrived just when I needed them. And thank you everyone else in the family for simply hoping and believing with me.

I am also exceedingly grateful for my grandparents, who have given us a tremendous gift by allowing us to renovate and live in their trailer until we can afford to get our own house built. With us in this endeavor have been Jake and Juanita Burnopp, who have helped us as if we were their own and worked with us to take said trailer from death trap to downright charming.

However, the people I will never be able to say thank you enough times to are my parents, who have guided and supported us through everything. Additionally, they have continually provided a great amount of love and support to our friends. How many people do you know that would cancel their dinner reservations to have an impromptu wine and cheese night with their kid's best friend who is in from out of town, or casually tell my friend who worries constantly about raising her daughter well, that she is a good mom.

I am reminded daily that they have raised my beautiful, smart, intelligent and courageous sister and I to be strong, capable women. I am thankful that we were both taught to fight for what is right, stick to or principles, never settle for anything less than what is best, and most importantly to stand by each other. This is especially important because I am thankful to have someone as strong, smart, and brave on my side, as Ally, and would definitely rather has her as my friend and sister than as my enemy. Although she is not with us physically this year, and is fighting the battle of her life at the moment, I have total faith that she will come out on the other side a winner, and that the world will be a better place for her having been through this.

Lastly, I am thankful for hope of a better tomorrow. I am thankful for this hope being shown in tiny ways to me each and every day. I am thankful I get to work at a job where I see children committing acts of kindness and becoming better people on a daily basis. I am thankful to see laws changing so that everyone can enjoy the same rights to marriage, family and let's be honest, tax benefits. I am thankful that more weddings mean more wedding cake. I am thankful for babies born into this family and the amount of love I know will surround them. I am thankful this family will always set one more place around the table and extending the love that this family represents. I am thankful that our family is all accepting whether you have a GED or a PHD. I am thankful because as long as our values keep getting passed along, there is hope for a better world.

Monday, November 17, 2014

52 Lists Project, Week 11: Cultural Events I'd Like to Experience

Photo from: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/india/images. 
This is the time of year in elementary schools where we attempt to teach children about the various Christmas/Holiday traditions of people around the world. It's a fun time of year, and a fun set of subjects to teach. However, it often makes me realize that I personally lack awareness with regard to many other cultures, both in my knowledge of Christmas traditions as well as other cultural events, including some within the US. Here is a list of cultural events I would like to partake in over the course of my lifetime. And yes, many of them are horsey, but this blog isn't called "The Farmer's Granddaughter" for nothing.

  1. A traditional Mardi Gras celebration. I don't really care to catch any beads, but the music, costumes and food definitely hold appeal. 
  2. The pony swim on Chincoteague and Assateague island in Virginia. 
  3. The Kentucky Derby. I've seen Preakness, but the Run for the Roses has a flavor all it's own.
  4. The Summer Olympics. 
  5. An Eastern culture's traditional wedding. 
  6. Run a marathon. And yes, this is a cultural event, because any runner will tell you that runners have a culture. 
  7. Go see the Grand National Steeplechase (Think National Velvet). 
  8. Go on a safari in Africa. 
  9. Go on a fox hunt. 
  10. Ride in Mongolia. 
  11. A cross country road trip. 
  12. New York Fashion Week
  13. Swim with dolphins. (Not sure this totally qualifies as cultural but it's definitely on my list.) 
  14. Celebrate Hanukkah. 
  15. Celebrate Day of the Dead. 
  16. Write on Juliet's wall in Verona. 
  17. Use an elephant as a mode of transportation. 
  18. Go to the Fairy Pools in Scotland. 
  19. Camp on the beach. 
  20. Go to a floating lantern festival. 
  21. See the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. 
  22. Take a wine tour in Italy.
  23. Visit the Coliseum. 
  24. See all the Cirque show in Vegas.
  25. See a musical on Broadway. 
  26. Do a really crazy hike or mountain climb. 
  27. Backpack through Europe. 
  28. Take a ghost tour. 
  29. Attend a luau in Hawaii
  30. Visit a castle. 
  31. Take a horseback tour of Ireland.
  32. Drink in an Irish pub. 
  33. Stay in an Italian Villa.
  34. Go on a fitness retreat. 
  35. Become fluent in sign language. 
  36. Travel somewhere by train. 
  37. Celebrate St. Lucia's Day in Sweden. 
  38. Attend a Masquerade Ball. 
  39. Spend a week in Paris. 
  40. Participate in a mud run. 
  41. Participate in a glow run. 
  42. Oktoberfest 
  43. Visit China.
  44. Visit Japan.
  45. Visit a rainforest. 
  46. Spend a week in Greece. 
  47. Whale watch.
  48. Attempt snorkeling. 
  49. Attend a film festival. 
  50. Attend the Rolex. 
  51. Stay in a really unique hotel. 
  52. See the Seven Wonders. 
What's on your cultural experience bucket list?