Wednesday, August 22, 2012

First day of school 2012

A middle-schooler and two 4th graders
I'm probably more nervous today than any other first day of school -- ever. My baby boy goes to middle school today. MIDDLE SCHOOL! It doesn't seem possible. I wasn't this sad or scared when he started kindergarten and neither was he. I'm putting on a strong, happy face for him and praying like crazy. It will all work out, I know, but faith is a frightening exercise sometimes.

Note: I actually wrote this post on Monday. I'm just getting the pics off my phone and onto my computer. At least I'm doing it, right?

Much Love,

A belated birthday wish for two early girls

The Birthday Girls with their first-ever Build-a-Bear friends
These two girls came into our lives 8 weeks earlier than planned. But, in many ways, they came right on time. In many ways, they saved me. Being a mother had been my life-long dream and when Holdy-boy was born part of me was so, so happy. And yet, I struggled. Looking back, I'm sure I was suffering from post-partum depression. I felt awful, lonely, and isolated. Holdyn was a terrific baby, K a terrific husband/daddy, and I was living my dream, but I just couldn't function much of the time. Slowly things got better (not great, just better). I was thrilled when I found out I was pregnant for a second time and terrified when told I was pregnant with twins! TWINS!

By the day the girls made their scary, early, and quick entrance something had changed in me. The hard pregnancy, the fear, something, had toughened me and made me realize that I couldn't wallow in self-pity or worry anymore. I had 3 little people who depended on me. It was time to step-up to the challenge and claim my blessings. And I did! Since then, I've still struggled periodically, but motherhood has given me strength and courage. Whenever I think I can't do something tell myself, "You can do this. You've birthed 3 children and 2 of those at once!" It may sound silly, but it works. Acknowledging that hard work gives me strength.

So, I'm wishing a belated Happy Birthday to my two early girls! Nine years ago you saved me, and you've saved me many more times since. I love you!!!!

I wrote this earlier in the week, but I'm slow in moving photos from the phone to the computer. So this belated birthday post is doubly belated. One day I'll get my self together, promise!

Much Love,
 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sigh....

I realized today that, like most of my "I going to do this now" proclamations, my sentence-a-day journal lasted about two weeks. Two stinking weeks! Good grief! Well, just keep swimming, right? Here's to trying again...starting...now. Much love, J

Friday, July 6, 2012

Happy Birthday (baby) Boy!

Like most Americans, July 4th is an important holiday in this house; however, it's more than celebrating our country's independence that makes it such a special day. You see, on July 4, 2001, K and I graduated from man and wife to mommy and daddy.

Buckled up and ready to see Rose Towers crumble!

Fireworks and Yankee Doodle took on a whole new meaning for us. This year we celebrated our sweet boy's 11th birthday. This parenting thing has been quite a ride and it's not over yet!

The only bad thing about a holiday birthday is that it's nigh-on impossible to have friends over for a party on your actual birthday. Holdyn has enjoyed ten blow-out birthday extravaganzas complete with family, swimming, and fireworks, but he's never had (in his words) a "real birthday." This year we did things a little differently. As any normal, red-blooded American boy would wish, Holdyn's birthday began with a bang, literally, as we watched the implosion of an old dorm on the UA campus. That was a cool experience! I've never witnessed a building implosion in-person. I'll post the footage later as it's on K's phone, not mine. The implosion was over by 8:10a and it was already hotter than the seventh level of hell, so we headed home to nap in air-conditioned comfort. The rest of the day was filled with video games, movies, cookie cake, and laziness as requested by the birthday boy. He even asked for "birthday alone time" and stayed home while K, the girls, and I made a quick trip to the mall.

I hope this and all his wishes come true!

Twelve hours after the initial birthday bang, we loaded up and headed to the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater to hear patriotic tunes and see a fireworks spectacular. The TSO provided the music and the fireworks were amazing! Thanks to our dear friend, Diana, and her generous gift of tickets, we were able to sit in comfy seats at the amphitheater to watch the show. It was the first time in about three years that we'd been to a large fireworks show and we loved it! By the time we got home we were beat. It's surprising how draining a lazy day can be! ;)

All in all, I'd say the boy had a good birthday and it's not over yet. Saturday a few of his friends are coming over for a video game-a-thon. (His dream come true!)

So, happy birthday to my Holdy-boy! I hope your day was filled with family, friends, and fun, too.

Much Love, J

Monday, July 2, 2012

Summer goings-on

Whew! These past few weeks have been busy. First, we had a fun family get together for my nephew Isaak's baptism. All my sisters and their children came home, which doesn't usually happen. It was really nice to celebrate such a special day all together.

The birthday boy blows out his candles!
After Isaak's birthday I took a little trip to Boston. It was my first time in that beautiful city and the first time in years that I've traveled alone. It was exhilarating and nerve-wracking! I was there to meet with the great people at Bedford/St. Martin's publishing company. They honored me by choosing me as a member of their 2012 Teaching Assistant Advisory Board. Only ten TAs are chosen from across the country to be on the board. It was an amazing two days of meeting with some really smart folks to talk about teaching and publishing. I got just a little time to walk around downtown Boston. I visited the public library, the Christian Science plaza, and the Copley mall. It was a quick trip, but I was exhausted and bad weather left me stranded overnight in Washington DC. I was so happy to bet home!
The fountain at the Christian Science Plaza. I met the nicest people here!
 Last week, we welcomed a few cousins for a visit. The Archibalds came to stay for a few days while my sister  and her husband looked for a new home in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. It was quite an experience mothering seven kids ages 10-1. I gained a whole new respect for mom's of large families and I reaffirmed my belief that I am done having babies. Done, I tell you! We had a great time with Bliss, Zade, Isla, and Kipp. I'll miss them terribly when they move up North! I hope we can make their visit with us an annual event.

The Cousin Crew (l-r) Holdyn, Evie, Kipp, Isla, Kallie, Bliss, and Zade
We took the cousins to meet their parents at Mama Ford and Grandfather's house on Saturday. My sister Lacy and her husband David were there, too. Long-time friends Rachel and Jeni came by with their kids for a dip in the pool and lunch. It was quite the day with smiles and hugs all-round!

Today, after two weeks, we're back to a lazy summer schedule. I'm glad! Busy-ness is fun and exciting, but I like low-key hangout at the house days, too.

I hope you're having as much fun this summer as I am!

Much Love, J

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Smarter than the Average Bear

Hey, Boo-boo! Have you seen any pic-i-nic baskets?
This past week I got a little sunburned at the pool, so come Thursday I was ready for an activity that involved air conditioning. Our local movie theater has a free summer movie series with two movies playing three mornings a week. We chose Yogi Bear which the kids had seen before but I had not. It was fun and silly and we laughed a lot! But I tell you, the funniest part of the whole experience wasn't part of the movie. Here's what happened:

During a very pivotal scene, Yogi and Boo-boo have to use their homemade Basket Nabber 2000 to save an endangered turtle. The humans, Ranger Smith and Rachel Johnson, give some last minute advice before the Ursuline duo take their homemade gliding contraption off a cliff. Mind you, this thing is made of boat paddles, lawn chairs, and picnic table cloths, and oh yeah, it's a half-live action, half-cartoon movie. So Yogi and Boo-boo save the turtle, ignore the advice, and crash the Basket Nabber. Hilarity all around, the kids and adults in the theater all laugh hysterically. All, that is, except for one lady sitting a few seats down from me. As we all laugh I hear her say, "Idiot!"

Yes, that's right, the woman called the cartoon bear, who crashed a flying glider made of lawn chairs and camp ground paraphernalia, an idiot. I about popped a button I was laughing so hard. Admittedly, the first thought I had was, "Yes, idiot indeed, madam. Idiot, indeed." But then I couldn't (and still can't) decide if her reaction was the result of a serious suspension of disbelief, some sort of brain damage, or a heart that is two-sizes too small. I mean, did you think it was real? Have you lost your will to laugh? Based on the previous forty-five minutes of the movie, did you think Yogi was going to be able to fly the Basket Nabber 2000 without incident?

Anyway, it was a reminder to me not to ever become too serious or forget to have fun. As for that poor lady, all I can say is, Lord help and bless her heart. Know what I mean?

Much Love,

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Workouts, groceries, and sharing

Yikes! Somehow I missed posting about our Monday happenings. Mostly we continued our lazy weekend right on into Monday. Holdyn was still feeling less than 100%, so he stayed home while the girls and I made a mid-day trip to the pool. We followed that up with an afternoon nap and early evening lawn work. K and I were aiming to head to the gym on Monday night, but, I tell you, if I can't go to the gym first thing in the morning it seems like forces plot against me to keep me away all together!

Yesterday was more productive. We hit the gym early (5:30-6:30), and it was great! I've added a little weight training to my cardio and I'm feeling stronger (and sore!). Later in the morning the kids and I went grocery shopping. I'm trying to overcome my "under-spending" tendencies which I've determined add more stress to what I consider an already stressful chore. Allow me to explain. I'm not a shopper in the first place and grocery shopping is (to me) the worst kind of shopping there is. It stresses me out. Add to that my tendencies to under buy, wait until the last possible minute (or later) to shop, and try to cram two weeks worth of shopping into one trip...it's not a pretty picture. So, in an effort to be more mindful I've decided to shop every week. I know, it seems counter-intuitive to shop more frequently, but really its proving to be much less stressful. My lists are shorter, my bill is smaller, my trips are quicker -- yay!

Holdyn was excited to spend his lawn mowing earnings. He's been hired by our neighbor to mow their front yard whenever he mows ours and he earns $10 each time. For a 10-20 minute chore that's a pretty great pay scale, score!

I had a meeting with a colleague about a review essay we're writing and then the kids and I capped yesterday off with a late afternoon swim.

Last night was our first official "Family Movie Night" and we watched the first disc of The Fellowship of the Ring. K and I love the movies based on the JRR Tolkien trilogy and the kids have never seen them. I think the first disc was a hit! It's it fun to share your favorite things with loved ones? It's especially nice when your loved ones like your favorite things, too!

What are you sharing this summer?

Much Love,
J

Monday, June 11, 2012

Weekend Update

Our weekend was nowhere near as entertaining as a good "Weekend Update" bit on SNL, but that's fine with me. Saturday was blissfully relaxed, like all-day-in-pajamas relaxed. Yum! Sunday was marked with church and naps. Holdyn didn't feel very well on Saturday or Sunday, but it's just a summer cold and he's better today.
Each entry I make in this journal reinforces how thankful and blessed I feel this wonderful summer! Pure bliss!

Much Love,
J

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Suicide Roll

Thursday and Friday were rather uneventful days. The second day of cooking class went off without a hitch. That was followed by swimming and then more swimming on Friday. Also on Friday, Evie decided she wanted "hair like the girl from Karmin." I knew what she meant, but had no idea how to do it. Thank goodness for YouTube! I found this tutorial by Amy Heidemann from Karmin for her trademark "suicide roll." So, after a try or two we ended up with this...

Our own little rockabilly girl!
Evie sported her roll to the pool and looked like quite the vintage bathing beauty! Now I'm trying to convince Kallie to try one so we'll have twin rolls. :)

Much Love,
J

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Cooking Up Some Fun

Holdyn, Evie, and Kallie had their first day of cooking class on Wednesday. They learned to make a variety of smoothies and flavored popcorn. All three reported having a great time which makes it a success in my book! After cooking class we headed to the pool. I feel so blessed to be in this great town where we have a variety of activities from which to choose. It's such a welcome change!

Today, cooking class day 2 and more pool time. I wonder what's on the menu?

Much Love,
J

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Put Me in the Zoo

Yesterday the kids and I drove to Birmingham for a little trip to the zoo. We met my sister Sara and her kids and a few of her in-laws, the Archibalds, there. We had a fun (and hot!) few hours strolling through the zoo. Well, the adults strolled while the kids ran. Why is it that kids only seem to have one speed (full out sprint) when at touring/look-see type locations? By the time we made it home I was B-E-A-T, worn out, and wilted!

Obviously not wilted by the heat, this little guy was putting on quite a show!


On a sidenote, I'm two days away from completing the Couch to 5k program I started a few months ago. I cannot fathom the fact that I can now run for 25 minutes straight! It's incredible! Usually I have my BRF (best running friend) Mallory with me, but yesterday I was solo. It was daunting, but thankfully there was a pregnant woman on a treadmill at the UA rec center. You may wonder why that is significant. Let me tell you...I wanted to stop. I wanted to quit running. I didn't think I could make it for 25 minutes all alone. See, Mallory is about 10 years younger than me and she's my motivation. I make myself keep pace with her. Anyway, I didn't have her yesterday and I was scared I'd couldn't hang. Enter aforementioned pregnant lady on treadmill. I saw her and I knew I had to run as long as the pregnant lady. Y'all, I will not be outdone by a pregnant lady (nevermind I don't know this lady and she could be a marathoner for all I know)! So I ran and ran and ran and after a while I noticed she wasn't on the treadmill anymore and I was at about 20 minutes. So, thank you unknown pregnant lady for being my motivation! Without you I may not have made my current record.

All in all, it was a sweaty, runny, happy day! I hope your summer is shaping up to be that way, too!

Much Love,

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Day 6 -- Rainy days and Mondays

Yesterday was rainy so there was no trip to the pool (boo!). Instead the kiddos and I got some organizing done in my office. Inspired again by the book The Happiness Project, I drug out the box of the kids' school and artwork I'd been saving for years. I sorted the one box into three (one for each kid) and labeled them. Now, when we get papers etc to save the kids each put them in their own box. I'm still hoping to sort them into expandable fileboxes, but baby-steps.

In addition to the paper sorting I organized the school supplies stash, hung some maps as artwork on my office walls, moved an old dresser into the office for game storage, and FINALLY put a rug on my cold office floor. I love it so much I may actually work in my office now . . . maybe.

Evie begins her dance with her "suitcase" ala Gene Kelly








After organizing was through the girls and I sat down to watch one of my favorite musicals, Singin' in the Rain. All the singing and dancing inspired the girls to try some "tap dancing."

Kallie's final pose in her "tap" routine

Organizing, dancing, musicals; so, how's your summer shaping up?

 Much Love, J


Monday, June 4, 2012

Days 4 - 5 -- The Weekend

Fruit salad with lime dressing. 
I pinned this on Pinterest from Dena at Oh! You Cook!

Saturday and Sunday were busy because of our church's stake conference, but it was a good kind of busy. We were spiritually fed. Saturday also included a visit to the grocery store and Sunday a trip to the library.
Speaking of fed, I've been cooking up a storm from recipes on Pinterest and have found several to add to our regular rotation. Yummy! This summer is shaping up quite nicely indeed!

Much Love,

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Day 3 - Cousin fun

Too much excitement for one sentence today . . . My sister Sara is in town for a few days, so today after my run (week 7 day 2 of C25k) we met her and the Archibald cousins at the UA Rec pool for swim time. Her in-laws Breesa, Chief, Serene and Breesa's baby Liv joined us. K enjoyed a nice day off with a good workout and time at the pool, too. Fun! Tonight Sara and I had some sister time shopping in Birmingham at (among other places) World Market -- my most favorite store in the universe! It was a busy and fun day, just like summer should be.

Much Love,
J

Friday, June 1, 2012

Day 2

Boats on the Black Warrior. I thought these were tug boats, but they are dredgers.

Yesterday the kids and I rode the Riverwalk trail (5 miles!), K was invited to play softball with some friends from church (they won, by forfeit), and my sister Sara and her kiddos came to town (yay, cousins!).

Much Love,
J

Thursday, May 31, 2012

One-sentence, Day 1

So, I'm going to need more than one sentence. Just be warned I will break the one-sentnece rule, often!

Holdyn earned his Compass points badge, one compass-point, and three other activities pins at scouts last night.

Evie finished Bud, Not Buddy, which has 19 chapters.

Kallie and Evie are practicing roller-blading and getting pretty good at it.

I'm trying to convince K to join me jogging because I'll need a new exercise partner come August.

Much Love,
J

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Beginnings -- Summer

Yesterday was the "real" first day of summer break for us. I've been out of school since early May and the kids finished up on May 23, but with two days of room cleaning, a busy weekend, and Memorial Day, yesterday was our first, do-nothing day of summer.

Hopefully, I can convince him to spend a lot of time like this over the summer!

We're reading, playing Uno, and trying not to spend too much time watching TV and playing video games (Holdyn). I've made a schedule. We stuck to it yesterday and I blew it this morning, by sleeping waaaay too late, of course.

I've been reading Gretchen Rubin's memoir, The Happiness Project. I really like it and have found some habits I'd like to cultivate. Foremost of those is keeping a one-sentence daily journal. I already keep a sort of Commonplace book or junk journal filled with to-dos, quotes, ideas, musings, scattered thoughts, whatever. But, I'd like to record our days and be better about keeping this blog, so maybe a one-sentence journal style will work.

My resolutions from New Years have been hit or miss successes. Hits -- I have kept up with exercising and I'm pumped about that! My friend, Mallory, and I have just about finished couch to 5k and are scheduled to run in the Color Run on Labor Day in Birmingham. I'd planned to run a 5k BEFORE my 35th birthday last year, but it didn't happen. The Color Run is Sept. 3, so I'll at least run a 5k DURING my 35th year. Revision is a great thing, no? Misses -- I have not been faithful in writing everyday and the take a photo a day project fizzled after about a week. To be fair, I write A LOT. It just doesn't happen everyday. I'm ok with that right now, but once I begin my dissertation that will need to change. Thankfully, a friend gave me the book Write Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day. It will be a huge help when the time arrives. As for the photo project, I have no excuse except I guess I wasn't as interested as I thought I'd be. I'll try it again sometime, though.

Well, that's a VERY brief update. And I've left out a ton, beach trip, trip to Nashville, 5th grade graduation, end of the year awards, Memorial Day with the family.

Tomorrow...summer continues and the one-sentence journal begins!

Much Love,
J

Friday, March 9, 2012

Push My Button

I recently found this really great site, the Mormon Women Project. The site is a collection of interviews of the amazing, diverse women who belong to my church. I love it! Being a Mormon means we have a lot in common, but being human means that we're different, too. At different times in my life I've struggled with feeling like I'm not enough...not faithful enough, not devoted enough, not Mormon enough. Thankfully, through prayer, scripture study, and faith I've come to realize that it's Heavenly Father who has a plan for me and that's what I should be concerned with, not what Sister So-and-So or Brother WhoBob thinks I should be doing. That's the fantastic think about having a personal relationship with God! Through personal revelation and the Holy Spirit I can be comforted, guided, and assured.

That said, over there on the right side of the screen there's this "I'm A Mormon" button. If you want to know more about my faith and my life as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints then you really should press my button. You'll be linked to the site Mormon.org where you can read my profile and then read profiles of other Church members, too.

Of course, if you ever want to talk to me about what I believe and how it influences the way I live all you have to do is ask. So, go ahead -- push my button!

Much Love, J

Friday, February 24, 2012

To Kallie


February 22, 2012
Dear Mrs. T’s 3rd grade class,
I’d like to tell you a little bit about Kallie. First, you probably already know that Kallie has an identical twin sister name Evie. What you may not know is that Kallie and Evie were born two months early and weighed just over four pounds each. Kallie was born 5 minutes after Evie, so technically she’s the baby of our family. I think she likes that because she frequently reminds us that she’s our baby.
If you know Kallie then you know that she is a really sweet girl and tries to do things to help others. Kallie also loves animals and wants to become a veterinarian when she grows up. Giraffes are her favorite animal and she has a huge collection. At least 10 stuffed animals and several statues. But, what Kallie really wants is her very own, real, live giraffe.  She’s even made me promise that if we ever move to Africa that we’ll buy a pet giraffe!
Kallie likes school, reading, and soccer. She likes to ride her bike and play with her brother and sister. She’s very helpful and she gives great hugs. I really love her, and I’m glad she’s mine!
I could write pages and pages about how great Kallie is, but I don’t have to tell you – you already know her. Thanks for letting me tell you just a few things about my special Kallie!
Sincerely,
Jennie Vaughn (Kallie’s mommy)


A self portrait of my "baby" girl

This week Kallie was chosen to be "Star Student." She got to do something special each day this week and on Wednesday special thing was have a letter about her read to the class. I enjoyed writing the letter about my girl. I don't often take the chance to just sit and think and write about what makes each of our three special. It was a really special experience. I decided to publish Kallie's letter here, and I want to write one for Holdyn and Evie, too.

What things do you do to make your sweeties feel special? Do you find that writing can help you refocus your priorities or rekindle your emotions?

Much Love, J 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Power of Pink

Friday night the girls and I had the opportunity to attend a really awesome event, UA's Power of Pink gymnastics meet. Back in 2004 gymnastics coach Sarah Patterson wanted to find a way to help under-served West Alabama women receive breast cancer screenings and treatment. The Power of Pink match was born and has since spread across campus and throughout the entire SEC. Now the UA women's athletic teams each have one "pink" event each season, but the gymnastics meet is the biggest. We joined 15,075 of our closest friends at Coleman Coliseum Friday night and cheered on cancer survivors and the Tide lady gymnasts. It was a pink-filled night of fun (and maybe a few tears). AWESOME! Evie said it was the best girls' night out EVER! I agree.

Coleman Coliseum all "pinked out."



Best girls' night out, ever!
PS Sorry for the photo orientation! I've tried to fix them but to no avail. If you have any hints let me know.

Much Love, J


Valentine's Round-up

I do enjoy crafting. Really, I do! I just don't get to do them that often. Usually, I save up crafts for when school's out, but then acting as chief cat herder is so exhausting that I never enjoy our craft projects. But somehow, this Valentine's day was different. I don't know if it was because I organized myself (via Pinterest), had most supplies on hand, or just got shot by cupid's arrow, but we had a regular crafting sweat shop here on Monday afternoon. Here's what we made:

All the fifth grade padawan's got light sabers.
The third graders got fortune tellers,
or cootie catchers, whatever they're called.

The teachers got "diamond" rings,
and so did my friends.
Then on the big morning the girls sported heart pigtails. Thank you Pinterest and all you crafty folks out there for making our Valentine's day cheery and crafty! (PS All this V-day craftiness cost less than $10.)


Much Love, J

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Winter?

Y'all just don't know how thrilled I am by this mild winter we're having! Really, I haven't heard anyone complaining. Face it, we live in Alabama. Generally, we don't get, need, or want snow. We like it hot. I won't even get into the swimming pool until the water is in the high seventies and the air outside is in the mid-ninties. Seriously!

Yesterday was really nice and we had a little time after school, so we headed to campus, got a smoothie, and took a little stroll. Just look!


Hangin' with Coach Saban outside the stadium
And with the Bear

Holdyn had to have his own picture.
After last spring's awful storms, I'm choosing to view this winter as a gift and blessing! Extra days of warmth and sunshine to boost my very soul. This is a winter I can handle!

Much Love, J 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thinking Days

Thankfully this semester I am blessed to have Thursdays and Fridays off. That's huge for me! In addition to allowing time to get chores and housework done, I have two full days for the grad student's trinity -- writing, reading, and research. I call these my "Thinking Days" and I meant it. These two days give me time to breathe, time to work, and time to think.

A photo of Evie from Kallie's iPod. Somehow it looks so tender and sweet. I love it


So, here's some of the things I've been thinking about...

Neil Gaiman's journal is really cool. I've known about Gaiman for a year or so now. I know, his fans probably consider that previous statement unfathomable, but what can I say? I'm learning. If you are interested in writing, writers, or Montana you should really follow this blog. I love to know how other writers (especially famous published ones) feel about the craft. I love to hear about their rituals and habits. If you do too then enjoy!

I am by no means even slightly knowledgeable when it comes to good photography, but like the Supreme Court, I know it when I see it. I somehow stumbled upon this blog, and I LOVE it! I am amazed by each photo, especially the portraits. I love to image who these people were and how they lived their lives. Seriously, add this to your reader now!

I guess this last thing ties the two previous sites together, sort of. Lately, I've become really interested in oral histories and specifically those of Southern women and literacy. The SFA has an amazing oral history/documentary project underway! It combines the things most important to Southern folks, food, people, and stories. I'm going to be beginning a little oral history project of my own. I'll tell you more about that as it unfolds. I'm really excited about it!

I'm using my Thinking Days for thinking about a whole bunch of other stuff, too. But this is the best of it. Gotta go, lots more thinking to squeeze in to the next two days!

Much Love, --J

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mosey-ing into the 21st century


This morning I typed an entire post about signing up for Twitter yesterday then I noticed I’d spelled the title wrong and tried to fix the typo. Somehow, I deleted the entire thing! Crap! I’m going to try to recreate what I originally wrote, but now I’m perturbed by technology rather than excited about it. My commentary maybe tainted.

I like technology. It’s true! I’m always on the lookout for ways it can make my life easier/better. I love that I can keep a family journal, perform scholarly research, stay connected with friends and family, and do a million other things from the comfort of my living room couch. Plus, I’m a nerd and technology satisfies my information cravings like cake to a sweet tooth, but so often technology straddles the line between helpful and wasteful. 

Take Pinterest (no, seriously, take it!). I LOVE the site and the concept – a place to find/post/organize cool ideas for crafts, clothes, and food – but Pinterest is dangerous for me. The amount of self-discipline required to tear myself away from that place is monumental! I have a hard enough time concentrating on all that requires my attention already (can you acquire ADD?) that I don’t really need another distraction.

This is Kallie on the aforementioned couch. It really is a cozy spot!

Enter Twitter. I know it’s not exactly a “new” thing, but I’ve purposefully avoided it over the past few years. That said, no one was as surprised as I was when I opened a Twitter account yesterday! Let me explain. This semester I’m taking a class called Computers and Writing which focuses on considering the pedagogical viability of using different technologies in the writing classroom. I’ve seen a few texts over the past year or so that explore using Twitter in the classroom and they seem really interesting. So interesting, that I’ve decided to focus my research for the class on how Twitter is/can be used in the college composition classroom. Effective research includes experience, right? So now you can follow me @VaughnJennie on Twitter. Fair warning: don’t expect frequent or copious tweets! If it’s anything like my Facebook habits, I’ll be more of a lurker than updater. Also, I’m still figuring out how the blasted thing works, Twitter not Facebook, that is. 

Another thing about technology…it can be overwhelming! Everything changes so quickly. In my previous version of this post I noted that my sweetie just gave me a new iPhone4s yesterday, too. I’m excited about using it, but Siri is a little disconcerting. First, her voice. Y’all, she sounds like what I imagine the robots who will take over the Earth sound like. Second, I hate that she disconnects before I can say, “Thank you”! Obviously, she was not created by a Southerner. I still say thank you, but it feels like our conversation is incomplete.

Well, I’ve told you about my most recent technological overload, but I’m still left with one burning question…If I “tweet” on Twitter am I a “twit”?

Much Love, --J

PS – Since I inadvertently deleted the first version of this post (durn it), I’ve learned one important lesson. I will type my posts in Word then copy/paste them into my blog. Y’all probably all do that already, but like the title suggests, I’m a little slow.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Back to school

It's the first day of classes! That's always an exciting day for me. This semester I've got some interesting projects in the works and I'm NOT teaching. I'm not yet sure how I feel about that. I LOVE teaching, but it's tough to teach classes and take classes, too. I'm looking forward to no grading (yuck!) But, I'll miss having students!

I'm also nervous about the work I will be doing this semester. I will be working as an assistant to two professors. One is writing a book and I'll be doing research for her. The other is Director of the First-year Writing Program and I'll do various projects for her. I'm super excited about the research and the writing program admin experience will be great on the ole CV. So why the nerves, right? Well, it's my skeptical side...it just seems to easy, something's bound to happen. I shouldn't think like that, I know. I'm working to not be so pessimistic. I'm sure I'll be challenged and delighted by this semester like always! We'll see...

Much love, J

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Roll Tide!


Two of the cutest fans in T-town

I know we're still a few days away from the BCS National Championship game, but Tuscaloosa is just plain giddy, y'all! Our house (and others I'm sure) are watching the pre-pre-game coverage. The teams arriving in NOLA, profiles of various coaches and players, anything and everything related to Monday's big game. Of course, we want our team to win and I'm excited to see which of my students gets playing time!

So until kick-off, we're preparing to roll, pre-rolling, if you will. And, in case you're wondering, T-town will be closed Monday evening so just stay home and watch the game. Seriously. RTR!!!

Much Football Love, J

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Dinner and a Movie

I had a date last night. I asked this really cute and sweet guy to dinner and a movie. He said yes! It was so much fun! We saw the movie first -- Alvin and the Chipmunks Chipwrecked, and then we went to Chik-fil-a. Then we brought home some extra nuggets for K.

Me and my cute date

Yes, Holdyn and I had a great Mommy/son date! Hopefully we'll be able to make this a more regular event. Holdyn's almost as great a date as his daddy! ;)

Have you had a great date lately?

Much Love, J

Monday, January 2, 2012

Organizing the Chaos

Yes, I labeled my book shelves. Doesn't everyone?

In preparation for the end of Christmas vacation I'm trying to get this house cleaned out and organized. So far, I've tackled the linen closet, the cleaning supplies, the spice cabinet, and the pantry shelves. Today it was time to reorganize my office. The bookshelves were first. I categorized the books by type: fiction, nonfiction, comp/rhet, reference, and anthologies. I know, I'm incredibly nerdy, but I use all of these books - a lot - and I don't have time to dig around looking for what I need. After the bookshelves (which took a couple hours), I rearranged the desk, printer, and guest bed. Then separated the craft supplies from my sewing stuff. That way, the kids can get to the craft stuff without tumbling through my sewing patterns, fabric, and notions.

So, that's done! Now I need to get the toys and craft area in order. My closet needs a clean out. And when the kids go back to school on Thursday, I plan on a major overhaul of their junk holes...er, I mean bedrooms. Wheeee, I'm giddy thinking about how neat our nooks will be for 2012 (well, January anyway)!

What are you excited about for 2012?

Much Love, J

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Goals, not resolutions

This year I'm calling my plans for this new year goals, not resolutions. Resolutions never last (at least for me), but I have some success in reaching goals. So, that's it. This year's goals are: keep the blog current, read the Book of Mormon daily (personally and with the family), do some sort of physical exercise each weekday, write 500 words a day (personal or academic), and take at least one photo a day. I want to remember these wonderful, crazy, whirlwind days!

So today's photo...


Sweet little girl hands with freshly painted nails. Swoon!

I wonder what else I'll see this year? What are you hoping to accomplish in 2012?

Much Love, J