Sunday, August 19, 2012

Back to School!

Tomorrow is my first day of being a Ph.D. student.  We have orientation for teaching all week, then classes (both my students' and my own) start up on the 27th.  I spent the weekend relaxing and mentally preparing myself for what is about to happen.  We spent Saturday in Philly (sans Elliott; he spent a night at Chez Nana and Grandpa's for a relaxing night of being spoiled).  It was like being a college student again, but just the fun stuff.  Deep conversations, laughing a lot, playing drinking games, and being around some of my favorite people in the world.  We came home late (or early?) last night because we're old and wanted our own bed.

This morning (a mere 4 1/2 hours after going to bed), I got up and went with my parents to Mt. Gretna's annual Art Show.  It was my mom's birthday present from me and my sister.  Mt. Gretna, for those who are unaware, is a lake community tucked back in the woods of a Chautauqua resort.  The people who live there have these amazing little cottages and homes that are full of character.  My mom always says she wants to live there, and I couldn't disagree with her.  The Art Show (this was its 38th year) is a juried arts and craft fair with music, food, and nature all around.  This isn't a local craft fair; the vendors have to submit pieces and are chosen to have booths.  A more traditional arts and craft fair is across the street.  We had a lovely day shopping, eating ice cream, and trying not to be stung by bees who wanted our ice cream.  If you have never been, it's amazing.  I'll try to give a heads up on here when the 2013 show is.

My t-shirt has a different design, but I couldn't find it online.

Now, I'm at home, Elliott's in bed, and I'm putting the final touches on my office before I pack my school bag.  Most things are put away, but there are always the odds and ends, and I want to be able to sit at my desk tomorrow evening and get my work done.  I'll pick out an outfit tonight and get my things together tonight so there isn't a mad rush in the morning.

What an exciting week!  I'm actually ready for summer to wind down, and for our family to get back on a schedule.  Enjoy the last moments of summer.

- M. & co.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Favorite Blogs.

I'm not the most active blogger (ha!), but I visit my blog everyday to check for comments to moderate and to read my favorite blogs.  There are certain ladies who I want to hear from every single day.  I'm always disappointed when they don't post (which considering my track record is quite hypocritical).  Since I love these ladies' blogs so much, I figured I should pass them along.

*These are people I don't know personally.  I check my friends blogs everyday too, because they are my friends.*

Clover Lane: This mom of 5 (almost 6) has one motto: simple = happiness.  She is the home of hte 40 Day, 40 Bags challenge, as well as a number of great and practical ideas.  She is sending one off to college in a few weeks...just a few days after she is due with number 6!  Her posts are going to get sparse so she can spend time with this new little one, but she has an archive filled with great advice and stories.

Design Mom: She is the queen of mom blogs, in my opinion.  Also a mother of 6 (what a trend), she and her family have lived in France for hte last 18 months.  She always has neat ideas, giveaways, and projects.  Her family has even created a web series called "Olive Us," which shows the kids doing various projects.  They are all adorable characters, and it's so much fun to see these siblings getting along and working together.

MODG: Totally irreverent mom-blog who hails from the Philly area.  She's expecting #2, and she is a lot more open about the imperfections of parenting and life.  She revels in them.  She's a breath of fresh air among the mom blogs who see themselves as beacons of perfect parenting (which I avoid).

Early Mama: I've actually been featured on this blog, but I volunteered because I believe in her mission of bringing together women who have decided to pursue marriage, parenting, and life at an age that is being considered "earlier."  People see me as an "early mom," despite the fact that I was older than my mother had been when I got married and about the same age when I had my first child.  It's a great support system.

You Go Girl!: This is a new favorite.  She doesn't post as often as I wish, but it's because she's working on all kinds of different craft projects and tutorials.  She is also a mom of 5 girls (which includes a set of triplets), all of whom are teenagers.  I'm really enjoying reading her archives right now, and I plan on making some "posh pillowcases" soon.

Check these out the next time you lack quality blog material to read.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

They are always available in the side links marked "Inspiration."

- M.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Crafty Lady Day.

Have I been busy with crafts or what?!  I wanted to get as many in-progress projects completed as possible before school starts.  The best stress reliever for me is to start projects, not finish them, so if I have a clean slate, I can start projects when I need a break.

I'm not even just talking about crochet, but other crafty / DIY projects as well.  Here's what I have been working on:

Commissioned booties, modified for a summer baby.

Hat for Jason to match the scarf I made him last fall.
Booties for the Etsy store!

In progress: Cupcake potholder for me!

Long term project: Hunger Games afghan.  This is the District 8 square.

Office organizer!  Tutorial to come.

Owl hat for my cousin's baby shower.
"Whatever" cotton cloth for my cousin's baby shower.
As you can see, my hooks have been busy.  Overall, I'm just trying to get my house in order and my brain prepared for the new school year.

Most of our summer has looked like this:
Look at this little guy!
We have a full weekend ahead of us, and school starts NEXT WEEK.  It's an orientation week, but I have to be at school every day all day, which is nothing like my schedule come the 27th.  It will probably throw Elliott off, but we'll get him back on track soon.

- M. & co.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

At 100.

This is our 100th post!  Considering that I'm not the most consistant blogger, I'm surprised that 100 is already here.

We've been engaged, got a kitten, married, moved, got pregnant, moved, had a baby, got into grad school, moved, and moved.  We've changed jobs, changed careers, and been blessed.

In this next 100, I'm hoping to have more "regular" series so I can plan blogs to post during the busy times of the semester.  We'll talk fall cleaning, Halloween, back-to-school, Christmas, crafts and DIY, 40 Days 40 Bags, and Easter.  Jason has been taking a hiatus from his blog, but has a number of entries in process, so I'll be sure to link up to those.

What would you like to see?

Thanks for sticking with us to 100.  Here's to 100 more!

- M. and co.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Starting Up.

Whenever I have a big change in my life, I'm always inspired to attempt other changes.  Since I'll be starting graduate school again, I decided to make some other changes.

First, I'm changing up my wardrobe.  Nothing huge, but I bought some new pieces today (including a bunch at Banana Republic, who was having an insane sale), and I gave some other things away.  I plan on purging again soon.  I added five new things today, and I gave four things away.  It felt balanced and right.

Second, I've been attempting to lose weight this summer.  Despite eating better and exercising, I've only lost about three pounds.  Argh.  I've found some new exercises that I'm going to try to use to eliminate my "mummy tummy," and I'm going to eat "cleaner."  More water, more fresh foods.  I'm hoping this will help lose the last few pounds or inches.

Finally, despite being 26 years old, I have worse acne than I did as a teenager.  I've tried drug store items to clear it up, but I'm going to take the plunge and try Proactive.  I got it today in the mail, I bought white linens (it bleaches things apparently), so I'm ready start.

I have a lot more organizing to do before school starts in 2 weeks.  My home organization binder needs new worksheets and finishing touches, the office is chaos, and my closet needs to be organized by color and such.  It makes it so much easier to get ready in the morning if I know where everything is.

Here's to new starts and new habits!

- M.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Lazy Summer Days.

As anyone knows, the novelty of summer wears off.  For me, this usually happens around the end of July.  Perhaps earlier than most, but I love structure and schedule and having meaningful things to do.  Elliott also likes schedule (he put himself on one that I love), so it will be nice to go back to school and have some structure for everyone.

In order to combat the boredom, we've tried to keep busy.  We have lunch at Nana's once a week, dinner with my family at least once a week, and I go to dance twice a week.  I originally intended to go only for Level 5 (the top level that I ended with), but I went to a lower level the first week to warm up and I decided the warm-up was a good thing every week.  I haven't danced since about 4 months before E was born, so I have to treat myself differently after class.  I have to ice my shins and ankles, drink a lot more water, and usually take a Tylenol.  I also have to stretch after class and the next morning.  The school doesn't have sprung floors, so I'm not surprised my legs and ankles are achy.  I'm having a ton of fun though.  I love learning choreography, and since I go different days, I learn from a couple different people.  Last night, we did a lyrical combo and a hip-hop combo.  I look silly doing hip-hop.  I wish we would do a tap combo, but we just do a lot of across the floor.

Elliott and I also take little adventures throughout the week.  We went shopping yesterday, and we're visiting my grandparents with my sister today.  Between that and dance, it will be a long day.

My sister is leaving for NC on Sunday, and we will be sad to see her go.  I'm close with my sister, but Elliott just adores his Aunt Sarah.  Hopefully we can visit her this fall.

Yesterday, Elliott gave me a 2 1/2 hour block in the afternoon, and it was glorious!  I vacuumed, showered, blow-dried my hair, dusted the first floor, cleaned the kitchen, and read 50 pages of "Bringing Up Bebe," which I finished last night.  In short, it was an incredible look at how another culture parents its children.  I'm definitely going to adopt some of those methods and tips (especially teaching my child autonomy, respect, and patience).

- M.