Sunday, September 30, 2012

31 Days::: Let the Fun Begin!

So for the past few years, I have watched the Nester's 31 Days project grow.  And while I thought long and hard about participating, like so many things in my life, I let a little voice creep in and say things like, "Why would anyone want to read what you have to say about, well, anything?"  And that's an annoying voice and so to make it go away, I would reply with, "Yep.  You're right.  No one would,"  and then let out a big sigh and I would move on to the next thing.

But over the summer I was consumed by a little tiny grain of a thought, "Maybe someone would read it."

I know that lots of people write about reading and books and literacy.  I know that very well.  I know that lots of people are incredibly passionate about these things and write amazing articles and posts, reviews and memoirs about reading and how it changed their life.

Because here's the thing, if you really think about it... 
reading changes everyone's life...

Either...

1.  You learn how to read and you love it.  A life long reader in the making.  Book worm.  Every teacher's dream.  Books become your window into the world.  They become a mirror and you see yourself in the characters on the pages.

2.  You learn how to read and you're indifferent towards it.  Bleh.  Some people feel that way.  I've had students feel that way.  And of course I always take the path of I'm sure you just haven't found the right book...because you're so close to being a book lover...but sometimes that's not a book at all that's the right thing.  Sometimes people love to read magazines or cook books or video game guides, comics, car manuals, blogs.  You see where I'm going with this?  In my world, reading is reading and sometimes people who say they don't read, really do.  To me, it all counts! (But I think I'm about to bust a move on a digression, so I'm going to move along!)

3.  You learn how to read and you hate it.  My question is always, what do you hate about it?  Do you hate all reading or just school reading?  If you hate something, it more than likely created negativity in your life.  A negative change.  Hate it or not, you can now read your mail, legal documents and recipes.  Boom!  Reading has changed your life.

OR

4.  You never learned how to read.  And the tragedy of knowing that you haven't learned something so very important has changed your life.  Your life took a different turn when that skill was not mastered.

So when I tell you that reading changed my life, I am well aware of how cliche it sounds.  But I am going to say it anyway.  Reading changed my life.

I was a child of a broken home (not my term, but what society labeled it, it sounds dramatic so sometimes I like to use it).  I was an only child - or should I say, I was surrounded by half and step siblings, but was the only one that lived in my house.  By the time I was six, I was desperate to learn to read.  You see, when the weather was nice, and my mom had a day off from her retail job, and the chores were done, she would put on her bikini, douse herself in Hawaiian Tropic suntan oil, and lay out on the deck, soaking up the sun.  In one hand she would hold a Danielle Steel book and with the other she would pop cucumber slices into her mouth.

My older step sister was devouring the Sweet Valley High series and while she laid on her bed to read, I would sit at the foot of the bed and watch her.  I would watch.her.read.  Creepy, I know.

In my mind, reading was something big girls did and once I could do that, well, clearly, I was then a big girl.

Once I learned how and started reading, I couldn't be stopped.  I had a walk in closet and would stay in there, reading for hours.  I tore through Berenstain Bears, Ramona books and the Harriet books.  When I got in trouble, my grounding was to play outside or to help my mother plant flowers.

My mom caught on and began making visits to the bookstore part of my allowance.  A trip to Walden Books on Saturday mornings.  She would let me pick two books.  I was allowed to spread out on the floor with my choices and carefully examine each before making a final choice.  She never rushed me.

I don't think there was ever more motivation to complete my chores.

My dad may not have been entirely sure of what he should do with a little girl when I spent my summers with him.  So he took me to Chicago Public Libraries.  I would scan the shelves and end up with a stack of books that I rested my chin on as I carried them up to the circulation desk.  Reading was a safe activity.  Reading was something I could do as my little brothers napped.

My Aunt and Uncle would take me to Barnes and Noble at Oak Brook Mall and we would spend the afternoon there.  They would buy coffee table books about The Beatles and writing guide books, books about Monet and the plays of Neil Simon. 

I imagined myself as a member of the Baby Sitters Club.  I stayed awake nights reading Christopher Pike and VC Andrews books. 

As I look back on growing up and going away to college...I was never without a book.  Books were always faithful companions.

It made sense then, that I became a teacher, went on to earn a Master's Degree in Children's Literature and then a Specialist Degree in School Library Media.  I know a lot about reading.  I know a lot about books and writing.  I know a lot about the impact that those things - books and reading and writing and literacy -  have had on me...and my students...and the patrons of my library.

So even though there is still a whisper of "Why would anyone want to read what you have to say?" I answer to that, Someone just might.  They just might.

I am joining the 31 Days Series.  31 Days of Reading.  I'll be sharing with you some of my favorite reads, some of my favorite books to give as gifts to little ones, big kids and teens, and tips for helping reluctant readers.  I certainly hope that you'll stick around.  



{linking up with Nester for 31 Days}

 {and if you're a regular reader, no fear, I'll still be posting crazy antics from my children, new shop info, and general life updates!}

Friday, September 28, 2012

My First Instagram Friday

So I have been on Instagram for a year now.  And in that year I took six pictures.  Seriously.  Six.

But my Blue Ridge friends are all IG junkies and I want to be like them, so, well, I got started with it this weekend.  And I love it.  I feel like we are all together all the time...in a not weird way.  If that can happen... in a not weird way.

So, here's my week according to instagram... {I'm @ang4332 in case you want follow me!}

First things first...an actual profile pic...


A quick stop into Avid Bookstore over the weekend in Athens.  I love this poster.  I think every parent of small children should have one hanging in their house as a reminder...
**Hey!  And I found where you can get one of these!   Redbubble


Speaking of raising passionate readers...this is bedtime...Quinn is on a Little Critter kick these days and I must say, I am quite enjoying it.


Pick up after school...Quinn always cries because he wants to stay and play.  Kind of embarrassing when your kid is yelling, "But I don't want to go home!!!" But, we would take that any day over it being the other way around - not wanting to go to school...


Casey's sketchbook drawing over the weekend.  It's a twirl tree.  I'm kind of digging it - especially the squirrel in the tree.

LOTS of happy mail going out this week!  Yay!


Tuesday night I lucked out with a girls' night...and I used this super cute new clutch from my sweet friend, Alison at Little Green Thread



Dinner date with these two?  Yes, please!  Molly and I have been friends since we were 15 and Jules was Molly's roommate freshman year in college and well, we've all been friends ever since...



Wednesday night Chris takes Casey to dance on Wednesday nights which leaves me in charge of the other two.  We made a quick stop to Avid for some new book picks and the kids spent some time in the book balloon...

I bought this book! It has been on my reading list for some time now and I am ready to start it! Yay!


My favorite dance night dinner...a veggie sub at Subway...because the Subway is next to the dance studio...

And here's my favorite dance night date...


Yay for instagram!  I am officially hooked! life rearranged

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

WIWW {a new beginning}

It feels like forever since I've done a What I Wore post.  I stopped doing them for two reasons...

1.  I wake up at 5:30 and leave the house at 6:30.  My eyelids are barely open.  Smiles are almost nonexistent.  Taking pictures is the last thing that I want to do.

2.  By the time I get home in the evenings, I look a hot mess.  Wrinkled.  Untucked.  Saggy knees.  You know.

For weeks I keep saying, if I could just get my act together on Sunday, map out my week, take a few pictures, it could happen.  For weeks I have said this.

This weekend, the planets aligned and it happened.

So, starting with what I wore to run errands on Sunday, this is what I will be wearing for the rest of the week...

1.  gray and white shirt - gap, jeans - curvy straights from gap outlet, red birkenstocks 

2.  blue ruffle shirt - old navy, khaki capris - j.crew, sandals - bass

3.  yellow and white shirt - banana republic outlet, navy pants - loft, brown roman sandals - rack room shoes, clutch - little green thread


4.  chambray shirt - target, summer tweed skirt - j.crew, bubble necklace - groopdealz, gold and brown sandals - kohls

5.  top - loft, black capris - loft, black roman sandals - rack room shoes

6.  gray t-shirt - gap, knit skirt - old navy, black roman sandals - rack room shoes

THE DETAILS


necklace - lisa leonard designs  
earrings and good fortune bracelet - ike and co


topaz and indian red earrings - ike and co
peach, green blue earrings - happy days,  fabric necklace - buraellen
three strand necklace - ike and co, lime and white fabric polkadot earrings - made by jewls
grey and white polkadot earrings - the pickled poppy

{linking up with Lindsey @ The Pleated Poppy}

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pen and Paint {and a story about big ugly faces}

I must admit, I got some pretty sweet swag at the Blue Ridge Craft Weekend (which I still need to tell you all about... I haven't forgotten, I'm just searching for the right words).  Sweet. Swag.  One of my favorite things was this print from Pen and Paint...



I have loved so many things in Lindsay's shop for so long now and have been so indecisive...so it was a wonderful thing for her to choose something for me - a fabulous gift!  And it looks perfect in my living room where I get to look at it all the time!

{and just in case you were wondering, I got the frame at Hobby Lobby.  Molly - stop cringing.  I think they're on sale this week...and thank you CB for that great find!}

**********************

On a completely unrelated side note....  The girls were fighting last night.  It happens sometimes.  Big sigh.  They were in their room yelling at each other and Chris was listening in the hallway.  One of them said to the other, "Shut your big ugly face.".  Not really an awesome thing to say to your sister, but my question is...Do they not realize that their faces are identical?????  Just sayin.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Hello Monday!

Hello Monday and the busy week ahead!

I started posting our new Holiday Collection last night...
{and I am so very excited about it!}

So, hello to new things in the shop!!!





And hello to adding even MORE new things tonight...and tomorrow night...

Hello to a dinner date with Molly!  (yay!)
Hello to two nights of dance (oh, wait...that happens every week).
Hello to hitting my 50 mile running goal this week.  (I'm at 43 right this minute...)
Hello to planning a couple of fun projects in the next few weeks (wink!).
Hello to celebrating lots of birthdays...one party last weekend, two coming up this weekend!

Whew!  I am hoping for a low/no stress week and I hope the same for you too!

{linking up with lisa leonard}
{photography by Abby Libsack Photography}

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Race Day {and some extras}

So Chan talked us into taking her to a race this morning.  (When I say "us" I mean Chris in this case.)  This made for her 4th 5K.  

Here she is (with her sweet friend, Katie Grace) pre race....
And here she is coming into the finish line...



And here she is when she stopped running to pose for the camera (what the what???  who stops running at the end of a race to pose for the camera???  Um, yeah, Chan.  That's who.)


After the race...


She's so awesome.  Really.  She finished in 36 minutes...which would have been 35 if not for the posing.  Sheesh.

In other news....

This room has.got.to.get.cleaned this weekend.  Today.  Seriously.  It's beyond ridiculous.  (That's why I am blogging though, to procrastinate.)


Gah!  Such a terrible state of a craft room.

I took this picture yesterday after a class left the library.  I hate it when this happens...


I am all for book browsing.  I am not for book browsing and then leaving them on the floor.  Just not for that.  *shakes head*

And this baby is about to be introduced to the world...


I am so in love with it!  Bracelet?  Yep.  Opera length necklace?  Yep.  Double strand necklace?  Yep, it can do that too!  I've wore mine a billion times since I made it a couple of weeks ago.  So in love.  {I'm thinking it will be posted...tomorrow?  Monday?...we'll see!}

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fall Into Color Collection {Part 2...the purples}




WooHoo Giveaway!!!!

Guys, I want to tell you all about a super awesome giveaway...BUT, I am tired.  And I am blogging from the dance studio.  And I can't figure out picasa albums to be able to upload pictures from Lindsay to my blog.  If you know me, this should not surprise you.  It should not surprise you at all.  Yes, I have been blogging for over four years now.  Yes, I (technically) have a degree in instructional technology.  Yes, I spend a great deal of time online and yes, I should know how to do these things.

Big sigh.

But right now I just want to throw my hands up and holler out, "It's broken!"

So, in the meantime (in between time) go visit a one of my friends' blogs to see the pictures...


...and enter the giveaway.  (I can't make the rafflecopter link work for me right now either.  Grrr.)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Wonderful, wonderful weekend!

There will be a MUCH better post about this weekend later in the week {promise} but here's a little sneak peek...

My weekend involved this...

{do you know Lindsay from Pen & Paint?  If not, you should...blog, shop, facebook}

It was wonderful!  Seriously.  And I camethisclose to NOT going.  Friday and I were not friends and I almost decided to stay home and I am so, so, so very glad that I didn't.

I would have missed this...


And I would have missed out on meeting these sweet ladies...

{you'll hear more about them later!}

I hope you had a wonderful, wonderful weekend, too!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Hard Things

I often keep a mental list of topics that I would like to write about.  Many of them get crossed off the list because they are just too hard to write about.

1.  I don't want to offend anyone and I know (or at least think, assume) that not everyone feels the same way that I do on certain topics - religion, politics, etc.

2.  I don't want to write anything about my family that would upset them (and right now they are all very, very curious).

3.  Why do people even want to read whatever it is that I have to write?  (self doubt, such self doubt)

But I keep coming back to this and I need to just get it out.

I just can't not talk about it any more.

We bought a treadmill this summer.  (which you obviously know because I posted about running last week and have mentioned it on the facebook)  It was a big purchase and we hemmed and hawed over it.

You see, from November of 2010 to June of 2011 I gained twenty pounds.

And people said that I looked good.  That I weighed {as my father used to tell me all my life} 100 pounds with a brick tied to my ass before and that I had finally "filled out."

I actually had my doctor test my thyroid. {Apparently there was nothing wrong with it.}

In July of 2011 we joined the gym.  We went all.the.time.  We changed our eating habits.  We drank lots of water.  We hired personal trainers.

And then some time around the end of September or so we just couldn't do it any more.

We have a commute to work + picking up/dropping off children.  We have a dog.  I have a side business and a blog and books to read and well, there are only so many hours in the day and the thought of racing home after picking up the girls to change clothes, put my hair in a ponytail and go to the gym for 25 minutes before having to race to pick Q up just got the best of me.  And that only worked on days that I did not have after school meetings.

Chris's schedule changed and he got home later.  Some days he would walk in from the garage loosening his tie and immediately turn on the stove to cook.

{in case you aren't aware...cooking is his chore, laundry is mine}

And now that we were both working in Athens, where there is every kind of take out imaginable, (especially compared to where we live)...Well, you get the picture, take out happened a lot more frequently than ever before.  {Not McDonalds, but hibachi take out...that made me feel better about things.}

So we have weight gain + time loss + falling off the physical fitness wagon + general unhappiness + addictive personality = drowning my sorrows in bags of Chex Mix, potato chips and cheap wine = more weight gain = more unhappiness.

Do you see where this is going?

And so, what did I do?  I ate more.  I drank more.  I gained more weight.

I was hoping to plateau on the weight gain at some point.

But I haven't thus far and that is slightly alarming.  I just keep gaining the weight.

Ok.  I know that there are people out there reading this and saying Give it a rest, Angie.  You have no idea what you are talking about.  You look fine.

To which I say, that is your opinion and this is my blog, where I get to share my opinion...not yours.  :)

I am not fine though.  This summer has taught me about sweating in places that I have never sweat before.  I walk differently.  My shorts ride up the middle of my thighs in ways that are just not ok.  I carry myself differently and judge, judge, judge myself in a bad, bad, bad way.

Since last summer, I lost 6 pounds and then gained another 20.  I went up 4 to 6 (depending on the brand) sizes in pants, two cup sizes in my bra - after buying new clothes last August, then again in December, then March, new summer clothes in May (because last summer's shorts wouldn't.even.button.the.bastards.) and now I have purchased new clothes to start the school year in...because I can't pull my khaki pants that I bought in March up over my thighs.

I know that some of you out there are thinking Then stop over eating.  It's easy.  Just stop.

Part of my problem is that I have poor body image.  Not in what I think about other people but in what I think about myself.  (We all do this, right?)  Growing up, I was always told that I was too skinny, my feet were too big, my boobs were too non-existent.  I gained about 75lbs+ when I was pregnant with the girls and I was told that I was as big as a house.

I lost all of that weight.  Returned to normal and then did the same thing with Quinn.

I lost all of that weight.

And then began to gain.  And it was depressing.  I felt badly about myself...

I blame part of it on my addictive personality (thank you, society, for giving me that term).  You see, I have struggled almost all of my adult life with smoking.  I would quit and start, quit and start, quit and have one only every once in a while...I would quit while I was pregnant and then start when I had too much in life to handle.

And I felt terrible about it.  If you know me in real life, you may not have ever known.  95% of the people in my life didn't know.  Secrets = shame, right?

I hit my breaking point with it.  I was so disappointed in myself.

I knew that my life would be so much better without it and I blamed all of my problems on that one habit.

So I saw a therapist and planned for my official quitting.

Which I did.  Successfully.  It has been almost two years since I quit.


Each and every day is a struggle.  I think about it all the time.

But here's the bottom line for me...

I did not quit smoking to begin over eating.

I did not do this amazingly hard thing to turn around and have another struggle with something else.

I did not chose to become a nonsmoker only to become obese.

(Which, according to my percentage of body fat, I am.)

I have a lot of friends that are doing different things to lose weight - Advocare, HCG, cleansing, fasting, etc - and I admire them because I don't think that I have the willpower to tackle something so huge.

I also can't let myself do that because I am still sitting on my couch every night eating chips and salsa, so I feel like I can't get a free pass on the weight loss.  I have to do the hard things first.

But, I am going back to the beginning.  We bought a treadmill.  And I am using it.

I am eating better.

I am making better decisions at the grocery store.

And I'm talking about it.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Wow, Weekend!

Wow!  This weekend was a whirlwind!  A serious whirlwind!

I spent massive amounts of time making jewelry...keeping up with regular orders...working on the very jane orders...and putting the finishing touches on my new fall and holiday collections.

I had my first real photo shoot this weekend.  And it was surreal.

I'm not gonna lie.  By Saturday afternoon, I was freaking out.  I was wishing that I was a recluse.  I get that lifestyle, I really do.  Hermit-dom doesn't sound like a bad plan most of the time.  Saturday afternoon I was having panic attacks and meltdowns.

My friend, Abby (the photographer), said at one point, "What is the worst thing that could happen?"

And I thought about that and then tried to describe it to her...

Imagine that your photographs are in a show and you have to stand there next to them.  In the middle of the show the pictures start peeling and melting and the easels won't stand and by the end of it people are laughing and pointing.  At you.  At your work.  At something you spent hours dreaming of, planning for, creating, and it breaks and people laugh.  And what if they don't like it...and worse, if they don't like it BUT say that they do because I am standing right there???  Ugh.

But none of those things happened.  Everything went splendidly.  Swimmingly.


Yep, that's right...you see a kid.  Such a sneak peek, right????

And here's me, snapping from the next room over...


And that's when I started to tear up.  You see, I see my jewelry on my mom, on my family and friends, but to see it how I imagine it, to see it like it's in a catalog...to see this sweet lady and her precious little girl modeling my jewelry...the pieces that I dreamed about and made with my own two hands...big sigh...it was a little overwhelming.

Kia and Abby, I never could have imagined a more perfect day!  And the models!  Such troopers!

And there's more.  I've made almost 75 *new* pieces of jewelry for collections this fall and the holiday season.  I have never made that much to stock pile before.  I am so in love with these things and I hope that you will be too.

So, that was my weekend...and this week has the potential to kick the Pendley's booties!

Monday night we're home.
Tuesday night I have PTO and Chris is teaching a class.
Wednesday and Thursday nights are dance nights.
And on Friday, I am leaving to go out of town for the weekend.  A girls' weekend in the mountains.  I am both nervous and excited.