Monday, June 29, 2015

Sleeping Confession

Today is one of my last vacations days for the foreseeable future.  Many of the people I talk to think that my job as an academic librarian is easier in the summer due to the light load of students, but instead summer is a crazy busy time. This is mostly due to the fact that we librarians are too busy during the school year to get any projects completed.  The summer is a crazy time to do all the planning for the upcoming semesters and take all the vacation time you have to "use or loose" by July 1 because you are too busy the rest of the year to take any time off. Even though it is not quite July yet, I feel summer is almost over and school will be starting. With school starting, my vacation time follows the elementary school calendar so I can take Columbus Day, Count Pulaski Day and all the other holidays off. And that leaves me with today.

I am happily spending today with my kids and my daughter's friend. We went to the children's museum and then to the park for lunch and playing.  Now we are back home and all I want to do is watch my son nap.


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He is so cute when napping. And this being the end of my summer vacation, I don't see what is so wrong with just watching him nap. I almost never get to take the time to just watch him. I love his rhythmic breathing, his attachment to his blanket, his golden curls. Watching him sleep is like time is standing still for just a few minutes. When he wakes up, he will be back to his mischievous self and that's okay too.

My little boy is quickly becoming a little toddler.  In just a few weeks he turns two (he already has that two-year-old attitude). And so I will spend some of my time today just hanging out beside him as he sleeps.
  

Thursday, June 18, 2015

I Will

Ten years ago on this very date I said, "I will" to my husband.



In ten years we have had two kids, moved 4 times, bought two houses and three vehicles, and adopted two dogs. I doubt that I can sum up the past ten years in any way so I will say this, I am glad I said 'I will.' Dear husband, my life has been better because of you. I think we can and will get better and better. Here's to all the years ahead.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Experience

I am the princess of volunteering.  I don't want to claim to be queen because that title belongs to my mom. I am still able to fill my time volunteering and finding more projects. Over the weekend I volunteered for something new, to be a running buddy.

The fitness director at my gym helps run a upper-elementary-aged running club for girls and she found out that I run "fast."  In no way want do I claim that I am fast.  I am faster that I used to be, but not "fast."  I am usually middle of the pack in just about every race.  My goal is to be in the top 50% of finishers and I usually am with my 8-9 minute miles.  The fitness director asked me to be a running buddy for an upcoming race. As luck would have it, I was already registered for the race and happen to be a sucker for volunteering.  She especially needed volunteers to run with the girls that were too fast for their parents. As a running buddy, I would run along side a girl as she ran her race and help her if any issues came up. I agreed as getting girls to run is important to me. On race day, I was paired with an entering-6th grade girl who had completed two 5ks before, one in 42 minutes and one in 38 minutes, but she told me she can run a 8-9 minute mile.  I was skeptical.       

I may have mentioned before that I am competitive.  And while I am not fast enough to really compete in races, I always compete with myself or I pick a random person from the crowd and tell myself to beat them. So agreeing to not race in this race was a big step in running humility for me.  Just a few weeks ago at another 5k, I praised my friend for running with her daughter, sacrificing her race for her daughter. I told her I wasn't sure I could do it. Could I really give up racing myself to help someone else?

Back to be being skeptical at the beginning of this past Saturday's race, I decided that I would go at whatever pace my running buddy was comfortable with. I swallowed my running pride. We started with a short warm up.  This is also a new phenomenon for me, I never warmed-up for races.  Watching the runners before the race warm-up used to make me laugh. Then this spring, I at my two indoor triathlons I realized how much faster I can run when my muscles were warm. So I've taken to a bit of light jogging before a race in the past few months. I will say it is helping the way I feel at the beginning of a race.  I was happy to relay this information to my running buddy. And then I told her what I know about running.

Throughout the entire race I told her what I was thinking about the course and how to run. I have never thought of myself as a running coach or even having that much knowledge about running, but it dawned on me as I told my running buddy how to attack a hill, that I have over 20 years of running experience. There a few things I can say I have over 20 years of experience in doing. I started running in 6th grade, just like her and apparently, I know what I am doing.  Or at least I think I know what I am doing. Either way, there is a 6th grader in Washington, IL that PRed at 28:50. That is 10 minutes faster than her previous 5k!

I stayed with her the whole way and encouraged her.  I taught her how to drink from a cup while running, how to run hills, how to pace, pros and cons of sunglasses and hats/visors, and most importantly how to have fun running. She even said it didn't feel like we ran that far. As we sprinted to the finish, a gentleman I know from church tried to beat me, so I had to leave my running buddy 1 second behind me to beat him. I may have been able to forgo my racing time to stay with my buddy, but there was no way I was letting him beat me.  So I may have some humility to work on.

How are you working on your humility?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The End of Thirty-One

My thirty-first year ends tomorrow and thirty-two begins on Saturday.  I've actually been telling people I am thirty-two for a few weeks, I'm not sure why.  I have reached the age when I have to think about it, and sometimes do some math, to make sure I have the correct age.  It's not that I want to lie about my age, it is just that I honestly forget sometimes. Age is becoming less important especially since I'm always 24 in my head.

Thirty-One has been a pretty good year, I really can't complain.  I'm heading into thirty-two as a triathlete, PTO president and IACRL (Illinois Association for College and Research Libraries) secretary/treasurer. Those are three things I never thought I would be when I started out thirty-one. Being elected to two different offices from my peers is a marvelous feeling. That seems to be the greatest thing about getting older. The years may go by faster, but new and exciting things happen, many that you don't expect.

I am also 19 pounds lighter this year and feeling pretty great.  I hope to loose a few more pounds before the summer is in full swing. I cannot begin to describe how much better I am feeling.  I was active before, but I want to be even more active. I want to be outside.  I want a bikini.

In my thirty-first year, I have made amazing friends.  I have always been a friendly person and have many friends, but this past year I added some wonderful women from the acquaintance list to the friend list.  I hope you know who you are.  You are all so very special to me, new friends and seasoned friends, near and far.

I joined committees and led a major program at work. I chaired a national library committee. I volunteered, shared and loved. My kids grew.  Stormy is talking a lot more now, and well, Miss D we can't get her to be quiet. They are growing up so fast some days and not fast enough other days. Husband and I will mark 10 years of marriage next month.

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Here's to thirty-two.  I'll be celebrating by going lap swimming and then driving to my parent's house for a family weekend. My mom's grilling me steak.  If I play my cards right, I could eat steak a few times this weekend.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Helpers

Miss D readily agreed to be my model today.  She usually hates modeling for me and I have to bribe her. Today she jumped at the chance... because she wanted to practice her fainting pose.





Where does she come up with this? She is such a drama queen. I did get a few "normal" poses.

Here is Oats making a reappearance from my Jury Duty Knitting post.  I said it would be much better on and boy is it ever.



Here is Easy. I used Lorna's Laces in Dandelion.  This is 435 yards of sock weight yarn on size US 2 needles. For you non-knitters this means thin yarn on a small needle which translates to lots and lots of very tiny stitches.

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Both of these are from favorite designers of mine.  I will knit anything by Tin Can Knits (designer of Oats) or Martina Behm (designer of Easy). I highly recommend all knitters checking them out if you haven't already. 

While Miss D was a model model, Stormy decided that modeling is not for him.



Good help is hard to find.

As I mentioned in my last post, I finished two yarns.

This one is from Crosswinds Farms in Eldridge, IA (my hometown). It is 100% Shetland.


The beautiful green yarn is 100% wool.  Merino wool, I think.  I don't have a label. I do know it was hand dyed at The Fiber Universe in Peoria.


With all these finished projects, I don't have anything significant on the needles or wheel, but I do have a few good ideas.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Jury Duty Knitting

Last week I was summoned for jury duty for Peoria county.  I know lot of people that say they dislike jury duty.  I don't tend to hear a lot of positive things about it.  Yet, it remains a cornerstone to the U.S. justice system. Without jury duty, there are no juries and a having a juried trial is a fundamental right established by the Constitution in the Bill of Rights.

Personally, I like jury duty. I love that I get to do my civic duty. I am one of those people that vote in every election, too.  I think it is amazing that I, as a normal citizen, get to participate in the justice system. Last time I was called for jury duty in 2012, I ended up on Coroner's Jury. That was a very interesting experience. This time, I was close to being put on a jury for an assault case, but the defense excused me.  I guess they didn't like my answers.

Beside from that near encounter, I sat in a room, watched Netflix on my iPad and knit for three days. It was a pretty simple job. I am blessed that my employer still pays me on days that I am at jury duty, I know from talking others in my jury pool that this is not the case for many. Last week was pretty much perfect for being on jury duty because most of my big work projects for the semester were completed the week before.

So I sat, watched Gilmore Girls (I binged all week) and knit. I can't believe some people show up to jury duty with nothing to do or read. I think I would dislike jury duty if I didn't come prepared. If knitting and Gilmore Girls became uninteresting, I had two books packed as back up. I don't like having nothing to do.

I finished one knitted item, started and completed another and nearly finished another.  I also got some time to spin yarn (after being dismissed for the day).  I can't complain about jury duty with results like this.

I finished the Newborn Baby Blanket in Malibrigo Rios.


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I used a new crochet bind off on this blanket and I think I am in love.  It was the perfect bind off.  I usually have a really tight bind off edge but not with the crochet bind off.  It is definitely my new favorite.

I started and finished Oats in Cascade Pacific Color Wave.

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I actually finished this one before the other so I used Jeni's Stretchy Bind Off which worked okay.  I can still tell the difference between the cast on and cast off edges and I don't like that, but I can live with it. I need to get Miss D to pose for me wear this cowl (infinity scarf) to really show off its beauty.

I'l have to show you the rest in another post. The completion of these projects, brings me to my goal of 12 projects for the year already.  I guess I really underestimated.  Plus I made a ton of hats.  So maybe I will now have to say hats don't count toward the 12.

So what are your feelings on jury duty?  Do you go prepared? Should hats count toward my goal?


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Seven

The celebrations for Miss D's 7th birthday are complete. Seven started out pretty great for her. She spent the whole week of Spring Break in Iowa visiting between her two grandparents' homes. On her actual birthday she got to eat her favorite foods while having lunch and dinner at restaurants.


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The next morning, she had a pool party at a hotel with her cousins.

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The following day was Easter so the Easter Bunny visited. Easter night she had a sleepover with cousins.

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Now this past weekend, she had her first ever birthday party with friends.  She invited 11 girls and they had a great time. We really lucked out with the weather, her party was the best day of the week. The weather was absolutely perfect for playing outside all afternoon.

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Seven is the beginning of a pretty lucky year for her.

Miss D turning seven also means that I have been a mom for seven years. That's about 20% of my entire life and the vast majority of my adult life. I told Miss D why her birthday is so important to me, because it is the day I became a mother, and she thought that was pretty good.

With my seven years of experience, I am no expert in child rearing.  If I practiced any other craft day and night like I practice mothering, I would expect to be pretty good at that craft.  Yet, with parenting, everyday is different and new and I have to learn right along side my kids how this whole thing works.  Many days are great, many days are not. Some days are so horrible I don't even what to think about them.  And then there are days like when your daughter turns 7, days I want to remember forever.

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