Saturday, April 2, 2016

Going back to school? Am I too old for this?

When we were young, we were always cheering on the adult who went back to school. It was like "yeah, you go!!", all the while we were surviving on ramen and cheerios staying up all night partying. Not having a clue what these adults did, how they made it work, as we weren't quite ready for the real world ourselves.

Well, fast forward fifteen years, and I realized my liberal arts degree with no focus has not gotten me where I needed to go. I have managed and worked for Enterprise, and I managed a portrait studio for several years. Now, I get the luxury of being a stay at home, for which I am eternally grateful.

However, my kids are getting older now. While there is no urgent need for me to go back to work, I want to refine my skills a little, so if I ever need to go back to work I won't be in the same situation. Always an arts minded person, I never thought about the tech world. I am married to a programmer, yet I always seemed to dismiss that as 'his' work. For my entire life, I put myself in the none "math" box. Realizing this cuts me off from the ENTIRE world, this has been quite a mistake.

So, after my careful consideration of what I have done most of my life, I realized web development and design is in my future. In high school and college, I loved arranging the publications on the computer. Design arrangement on any kind of brochure, flyer, website, newspaper, or anywhere has always been fun for me. I enjoy making those quotes you see on Facebook with a picture. 

Talking to my husband, who directed me to udacity. #udacity is awesome! I realized I can do this. HTML is not that difficult, and actually quite fun. Learning the design rules on arrangement and typography will make what I love to do make even more sense. Finally, I'm excited to create something just from my own imagination. I have been self teaching with udacity to make sure this is something I am truly comfortable doing. (And I LOVE IT)

Since I have no work experience, we decided to have me try for a degree. Thankfully, I do qualify for the Pell grant this year, so I will be able to do it at little to no cost to us. So, off to the college I went, and I almost felt like I was going to throw up. All the fresh faced, trendy student walking around with their backpacks and phones. I was like OMG can I do this again? Debating whether or not I can handle a full load of classes, it has been 15 years since I was last there! Why would I really need to spend $200 on any book?? All of these things have been spiraling through my mind. I already have a degree, so the stress of making sure my current credits transfer has also been exciting as well.

So, am I too old for this? maybe.. But, will I still try? yes. We aren't sure if I will qualify for financial aid next year, so this seems to be my year. I'm terrified as I don't see the world through those fresh faced pair of eyes. No, I see the face through eyes that have seen life, laughter, and tears. Eyes that have woken up early, and stayed up late with a sick or scared child. Well, these eyes won't let me down as they attempt to learn an entire new skill.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Thanks IKEA for inspiring me to turn my black thumb green #IKEA

Thank you IKEA for that wonderful commercial with the mom and son cooking. I LOVE the idea of family prepping food together, but do you know the entire kitchen full of plants was such a refreshing idea. This is quite unusual coming from me. I have always been the type who didn't like to fuss with plants. I felt like, what's the point they are gonna die. Yet, after moving to Pennsylvania, from the desert of Vegas, my thoughts changed.

You see, my life has always been in a rush since before I could remember. I always pushed myself to be the best and study hard. A chronic "overachiever", I always ran around in a flurry. Growing up, working, having kids, and a house, none of these things changed. Whenever I attempted to grow plants, they would get lost in the flurry of my life. I literally would have dead plants within a week. Life just seemed to be too busy for another living being to rely on me. We as a family, were caught up in the business of life.

That was until last summer when my husband got his new job. So, we packed up all the belongings we needed and moved across the country. He came by himself and I came with my mother-in-law, two kids, two cats, and soon followed by our moving truck. Once we recovered from the initial shock of adapting to the new state, and everything that was unfamiliar, we began discussing what we wanted out of this new change.

One of the major things we wanted was to not be so "busy". Now, I still work from home, and my kids still have all their activities. Lately, I have actually been researching how to qualify for grants and scholarships to go back to school. Yet, we all feel less "busy". We are able to focus and be in the moment with each other. When family time occurs, there are lots of laughs and smiles. Thanks to Judith, we have dinner every night at the table and breakfast nearly every morning. Our lives no longer run around "busy", and we have begun to say no.

So, with this realization, I realized I can do something I always wanted to do, since I'm not so busy. Have an indoor herb garden. Now, I do not cook with herbs, but I make teas and shakes. I love sweet herbs like mint. So, once I saw this commercial I consulted with my in house gardening pro, Judith, and decided I wanted our dining room to be like this... Ok, well maybe not this many herbs, but at least I can have a start.

We traveled to our local Lowe's, and began my new herb garden dream. I bought three mint plants, chocolate mint, sweet mint, and peppermint. It was quite a feeling as Judy helped me by transferring them to their plots. I talked to them and enjoyed smelling their leaves. What an amazing feeling when your patting down the dirt to secure a new life into the pot. I finally began to understand. Here's the pictures of my new herb babies

So, as I embrace my life change, I am looking forward to spring. The new growth in our new home and new life is symbolized by the beautiful growth, hopefully of my mint plants. When I am enjoying mint tea, I will share with you all. Thanks again IKEA, for inspiring me to turn my black thumb green.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Letting Go and letting them Grow

I have a hard time letting go. As a joke now, my entire family will sing Elsa's famous song telling me to "Let it go". Yet, here I am struggling. My kids are now 11 and 9. We are on the cusp of what they like to call tween-hood. No longer do we play Doodlebops and the Wiggles, instead we are not playing Taylor Swift and DNCE. Disney half an hour comedies are on the TV more than cartoons. I do find myself switching off the crude cartoons on Cartoon Network more. Plus, I find myself less burdened with the need to entertain them, as they tend to leave me to entertain myself. :( After a bout of begging they concede plenty of times to spend time with me now.

Recently we have moved to Pennsylvania. Now we are more settled I have been dealing with the hard yes and no questions. Can I go to this person's house? Can we stay the night? I tend to be overly cautious and protective, who can blame me in this day of age? We hear reports all the time and read about kids being attacked while sleeping over at a friends' house. So, I am still growing on this as I know it is also important to learn how to act socially in other environments. Yet, until I feel comfortable, no tends to stay the answer.

However, scouts is the exception. This year thanks to moving we aren't doing the week long camps, yet we are doing overnight camps. Every other activity they have done, I always go with. This was the first time I let them go on their own. My daughter actually asked me to let her go. So, why am I letting them go? Simple.. Because I have to. I don't want them to feel scared to be anywhere without me. When they are old enough to go to college, I want them to be excited and not be terrified. Granted, they are very versed in streets smarts and study taekwondo, but I want them to be able to experience the world. So, I let them go. My son did great and my daughter leaves in two weeks. Thankfully for my sanity, they literally only go one night this year. They always tell me, "Mom, it's ok. You only need to give us a foot of rope, not a mile. We're not ready to drive our life yet" (from the mouths of babes)

One thing my husband and I always say, we are not raising children, we are raising adults. It's important to keep that in mind. The end goal is for them to be successful, self-sufficient, and wonderful contributors to our society.  Ultimately, my kids believe they can change the world, instead of being scared of what the world will do to them. I'm a proud mama.