Wednesday, November 30, 2011

five minutes or less

I have exactly five minutes or less to type this little post, brush my teeth, gather my things, and head to my little elementary school library. A responsible adult would probably skip the type-this-little-post part, but I'm neither responsible nor an adult (you don't become those things 'til you're 30, right?), so here me are, mateys.

There's just a little somethin' somethin' I want to share:


Yay! How exciting is that? Sure, I want to sleep late every morning and I am always running through the doors right on time but, once I'm there, I'm loving it.

I love that I get to see ALL the kids in the school. From Pre-K up to 5th grade... I get to know all of them. They may only come in for thirty minutes each week (and of course, quick random trips throughout the week) but it's just enough time. I hope that the little time I'm able to spend with them is time that they feel encouraged, motivated, and loved. But they also know I mean business - I don't let them get away with anything and there's a certain few that I keep a special eye on throughout the day, always checking on them and asking, "What color are you on today?". ;)

And I love the teachers and staff there. Every single person has been friendly and welcoming. That has been a blessing in and of itself. I've step foot in many schools where no one even takes a second to speak to you. I feel like I'm a part of the team, and I appreciate it so much.

God knew what he was doing this whole time... this whole journey of unemployment and feelings of failure and rejection were worth getting to this point. I never expected to be in the position I'm in now, but I absolutely love it. And I'm wondering if it's what I should have been doing all along.

To apply for library [grad] school or not.... that is now the question.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

tiny spaces

As I mentioned in my post from Sunday, our apartment isn't very big. When I first walked into it, I was nervous that we had made a mistake by moving into a place so small. We have some pretty large pieces of furniture (hello, 9ft couch! and butcher block table for 6!). I was terrified our stuff wouldn't fit.

I was wrong!

Most of our furniture fit. We had to leave behind an armchair, our two end tables for the living room, and we keep two of our dining chairs in the storage closet outside to maximize daily living space. But, for the most part... everything fit.

Then I was concerned that we had too much kitchen stuff. Wrong again! We still have room to spare and I'm telling you we have A LOT of kitchen stuff for newlyweds! I am so proud of the way we have our kitchen organized that I want to show it off... so here ya go! :)

Plates & things. We have ten settings of every day china (on the bottom shelf) and six plastic place settings. I love the little plastic stacker things - they have been a life saver for this tiny space!  

 The pantry is still a work in progress... it's narrow but deep, making it difficult to access items in the back. So, I put in those plastic bins so that you can slide items in and out easily. It's kind-of like having pull-out drawers in your pantry except waaaaaay cheaper!
 All my baking goodies are up top (there's actually more stuff behind what you can see, believe it or not). The snack basket was a must... all those little things we like to nibble on fit nicely right inside the basket!
 This cabinet is may not make the most sense as to how it's organized, but it works. Soups, bread crumbs, and stocks are close to the oven & prep area. Our cheese graters, hand mixer, toaster, and glass baking dishes are in there, too. Like I said, random... but it works. 
 This is my favorite cabinet to open! The cookware fits so nicely and the lid rack makes me smile every time!!! 

 The prep area.... I am hoping to move the canisters somewhere else soon because they just get in the way right now. And let me just say, someone kick me in the pants if I ever CHOOSE beige countertops. They are a pain in the neck to keep clean!!!
 Baking, measuring, & mixing cabinet. 
 Baking supplies. 
 Another great purchase - the magnetic knife thingy. It is above our stove.... the only bad part is that if you need the scissors before your first cup of coffee, you might accidentally grab them poorly and they might drop behind the stove.... oops. And my measuring tools are on the wall with cheap Command hooks. One day I'll upgrade!
 Spicy spice cabinet. I went crazy with my Target gift card and bout a three-tiered shelf thingy and it's great for all those bottles and spice things. (We also have a spice rack that sits on a counter). The little white basket has pouches - ranch packets, taco seasoning, etc. 
 The white things are these snap-together organizing trays. They're awesome because you can customize the layout to fit your drawers. I also have some in the bathroom cabinet drawers to hold my makeup.

 Under the sink is also fairly organized, although a bit crammed. Stuff we use most often is in the front, extras and other things in the back (in another plastic basket!). 

There's some other cabinets that I didn't show... but, I think the point is clear! I'm so happy we didn't have to leave behind any of our kitchen things. Every time I go in the kitchen, I breathe a little sigh of relief that it is mostly finished, mostly organized, and that it is such a fun little place to be. Blake and I cook together almost every night and it's such a treat. We have some great conversations in there! I never thought I could love a tiny little apartment kitchen so much, but I do! I want to marry it! (That's weird.)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

SOC Sunday: Cleaning the Hizzle

I'm not really sure how many square feet our apartment is, but it's not a lot! We are definitely finding it difficult to keep the ???# of square feet clean. For a couple of weeks, we would clean on Saturday mornings, splitting the apartment in half and each taking a half. I had the kitchen, dining room, living room, and Blake had the bathroom and bedroom (and usually the laundry). It was working well.... until we went out of town.

Being away on a Saturday threw us off. We are extremely busy on Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday, so cleaning during the week is tough. Usually, I get home around 5:15 and on those three days, Blake or I have to leave the apartment to go to work around 6:45. Not much time to cook, clean up dinner, and clean again.

Then, I divided the house up into chores that we could do that would only take 15 minutes a day. That hasn't worked!!!

And now we went the whole weekend without cleaning because yesterday we put up the Christmas tree (which was a total fail... see previous post!).

We have a great system for the kitchen - Blake loads & runs the dishwasher at night and I unload it in the mornings. We keep the sink empty for the most part by putting our dishes straight into the dishwasher as we use them throughout the day. That little routine has been a major help. But, figuring out other routines has been more challenging! We'll get there. I just hope we get there sooner rather than later because the clutter is killing me!!

This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…
  • Set a timer and write for 5 minutes only.
  • Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
  • Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
  • Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.
  • Link up your post below.
  • Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.

rockin' around

Yesterday's goal was simple: retrieve Christmas tree and ornaments and other Christmas decor from mom's storage shed in Ralph and then put up Christmas tree and decorations. Normally I follow the "rule" and put up the tree after Thanksgiving, but we will be going out of town next weekend and so I wanted to go ahead and put it up (because I love to admire my tree every year for as long as possible!). 

Last weekend, I considered buying a new Christmas tree because the one I already had was old and kinda wimpy looking. Trying to be realistic about our budget, I decided we would just use the Wal-Mart tree I got on sale right before Christmas in 2005.

We arrived at home around 3 o'clock with the Christmas stash and got to work. I put up the stockings, our wreath, some of our little Christmas trinkets, and put the last touches on the tree. It was so pretty! We have some sentimental ornaments - and several that cost upwards of $20 (which is pretty expensive for an ornament, if you ask me!). It was so exciting to put up our tree with our ornaments. Blake put all the empty ornament boxes and the tree box in our storage closet and we cooked dinner. 

A couple of hours later, I walked into the kitchen (passing the Christmas tree on the way) to get a cookie. I was standing at the stove, where I could see the tree out of the left corner of my eye. All of a sudden....


And the sound of ornaments breaking. 

The tree just.... snapped. The base of the tree broke under the weight of all of our awesome ornaments and down it came. Thankfully none of our "good" ornaments were broken - just the plain ones. But, the tree is now in two pieces in the dining room still half-decorated. 

After fluffing and primping and all that fun stuff.

 In a sea of ornaments.... 

       Some of the casualites (and a dog toy).....                            .....and there ya have it. 

That's what we get for trying to put up an early tree. Never again, I tell ya. Never again.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Teacher Clothes

There's this link-up about "work clothes" that I really want to do.... 'cept I can't 'cause it's a link-up for moms. Last time I checked, my only children have four paws so I guess I don't technically get to be in the "mom" category quite yet!

But.... during this year of being a librarian, I'm trying to shake up the traditional librarian wardrobe. And I really wanna share!!!!

Generally, when you think of librarians, you think of this:

But, Katie Ball will not be labeled as a frumpy librarian! No way, no how!

So, when I found out I got the job, I got my hairs cut. (Okay, seriously please don't make fun of me taking pictures of myself.... it's already awkward enough!!!)

It's ssssooooo short! I LOVE IT! The second picture is meant to feature the back of my head, but it's really tough to take a picture with a iPhone 3. If I had an iPhone 4 or 5........... ;) 

And the hubby let me buy some new "teacher clothes". I have always had a hard time trying to decide what is appropriate for school and what is not. I want to look professional, modest, and authoritative (i.e. like I am actually 26, not 16), but sometimes I end up looking like Mrs. Frumpy McFrumperson. So, I made myself try on things that were a little out of my normal comfort zone... like boots. And, ya know what, I ended up with some great stuff! I think I will post a picture or two a week of what I'm wearing to work and eventually I'll find a link-up (or maybe you have suggestions) that doesn't require me to go through childbirth first! 

The lighting in our bedroom is terrible, but you get the idea. From the bottom up: 
- Rampage chocolate brown suede wedge boots from Belk (got 'em on clearance + coupon for <$30!)
- skinny jeans from Chicco's that were FREE because my mother-in-law gave them to me! She bought them for herself and then decided she didn't want them. Score! I refer to them as my "mom (in law) jeans"!
- black long-sleeved shirt from Old Navy ($10) 
- army green short-sleeved knitted sweater from Old Navy ($9 on clearance)
- and that bulky thing on my arm is my Timex watch, which I got for Christmas last year and rarely ever leave home without!

I think I'm doin' alright for a librarian! 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

weird things i google: cat pee

I am a Google-er. I Google just about everything. If I have a question, my answer is Google. Get it? Got it? Good.

Today's random Google: "cats peeing on clothes."

That's right. I need to know why cats pee on clothes. Because Elaine has decided that it's fun to pee on our clothes.

When we moved into the apartment, we got Elaine a covered litter box. At my mom's house, she had been able to go outside and pee in the yard. She wasn't a huge fan of the covered box at first, but she seemed to get used to it. One day not too long after the littler box switch, we left a laundry basket of folded clothes out and she cuddled in them. And she also peed in them. We figured the litter box was the issue. That was a few weeks ago. In the past week, she has peed on two more items: Blake's jeans and my pajama pants. It's gross!!

Part of the problem is that we occasionally leave clothes on the floor. (You know you've done it, too!) Typically, we always put clothes in the hamper but we have been a teeny tiny bit lazy the past week. So, maybe the problem is that we are leaving our clothes out and that's the source of the problem. But, Google says cats urinating outside of the litter box is the #1 sign of a UTI.

She has been ridiculously whiny lately and has been much more calm and cuddly than usual. I have wondered if she doesn't feel well. She is eating, though, and doesn't show any other signs of being sick.... except for the whining and peeing.

So, what is wrong with my cat? How do I keep her from peeing on our clothes?! Google doesn't seem to have any real definitive answers other than to see the vet and that ain't happenin' because she poops when she has to ride in the car........... oh, Elaine.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

most popular kid in the school

That's me.

Okay, maybe not the most popular. But, I'm up there on the list of cool peeps to know.

At least that is how I feel when I walk down the hallway. It doesn't take long for me to wander out of the library before I start hearing, "Hey, Mrs. Ball!" in the hallway. Little "hello's" coming from all over the place.

I don't mind it, except that I am pretty confident that students in the hallway (particularly if they are in line) are supposed to be silent. To keep them from getting in trouble, I have started ignoring them when they talk to me in the hallway. I hate that, because I don't want them to take it personally. But,  as much as I love my new "Mrs." title, hearing my name 100 times a day gets a little old.

So, after Thanksgiving, I'm going to try something weird. I'm going to let each class come up with a secret signal - a signal they choose that represents "Hey Mrs. Ball!" so they can silently "speak" to me in the hallway. It could be a wink, a thumb's up, a head nod... I don't really care! Part of me thinks it's a totally ridiculous idea and that they are going to think I'm crazy. But, they might also think it's the coolest thing ever... and that I am the coolest librarian ever.... so, I'm gonna take that risk. :)

the circle

They say winners never quit, and quitters never win. But I have never quit, and yet I am not winning.

And they say if you do what you always do, you'll get what you've always gotten. I don't always do what I always do, and yet I continue to get what I have always gotten.

I try so hard, and only get the same runaround.

I don't really understand what it is about me that keeps me on the fringe, the outskirts, the perimeter. I find myself in this place over and over and over again and despite my attempts at running headlong into the circle, I always get pushed back.

So I guess being on the "outside" is the cool place to be? Or maybe the people in the circle are all just jerks and deserve to be sinfully happy together? Or maybe I belong on the border because there are other people on the border who need to be loved and accepted and appreciated.

No matter the reason, my heart still wants to be in the circle. It always has. And it is hard when reality slaps you in the face and reminds you of who and what you are not. It is hard when the line between "friends" and "people who speak nicely to you when they see you" is marked clearly in the dirt.

Being a girl is really tough sometimes.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

SOC Sunday: Christmas Nails

This is my first ever "link-up"! I saw my friend Misty post a SOC (Stream of Consciousness) Sunday post last week and I loved the idea. Five minutes of time, brain flow, no editing, DONE! And you can write about anything that's on your mind. Today my mind is on.... uhhhh..... what it's always on at this time of year: What I want and how I want to stop wanting things so much!!!!

Why am I obsessed with my fingernails lately? Maybe it's because I am too cheap to make regular visits to the nail salon or maybe it's because I can finally browse Pinterest again or maybe it's because I just like nail polish. Yesterday, I made a list of nail polishes I want for Christmas. The list was ridiculous. NAIL POLISH.

I remember being in 11th grade and getting nail polish for Christmas. At that point in my life, I was not a fan of nail polish and I took it SO personally that my parents got me a Christmas present (it was a set of like... 10 polishes) that did not reflect who I was as a person. I was so offended! I felt like my parents didn't know me. They also got me a dumbell set and scale that year, which I was also offended by, even though I requested them!!

I spent that whole Christmas day crying. It was ridiculous. Parents, I'm sorry!!!! I was such a bratty kid. I think I still have my bratty moments, but I'm constantly working on my attitude. The nail polish Christmas was one I'll never forget though I desperately wish I could!

So, back to this Christmas. It's so hard for me not to get all wrapped up in Christmas gifts. Gifts are one of my main "love languages" and so giving and receiving gifts is like.... one of my favorite things on earth. So, this week I'm going to try to lay off the Pinterest wish lists and focus more on real life.... and more on learning how to do my own manicures. ;)

This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…
  • Set a timer and write for 5 minutes only.
  • Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
  • Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
  • Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.
  • Link up your post below.
  • Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.

Friday, November 11, 2011

the land of the living

After four and a half months of being married, three moves, and a brief stint in the unemployment sector, WE HAVE INTERNET! We told ourselves we wouldn't get internet until we had some bills paid off and felt comfortable enough to add another expense to our monthly bills. Not that internet is all that expensive, but we both have iPhones and could technically function without internet.... except that my iPhone is turning 3 in a few months and it doesn't always like to cooperate. Plus I couldn't access my blog via my iPhone! So, here we are.

A lot has changed in just the couple of months that I have not posted. We moved into a cute little apartment and I have a job at an elementary school that should last until the end of the school year! I was offered an extended substitute position as a librarian at an elementary school. It was a complete God-send, because I have been considering getting my master's in library science. I am still tutoring in the afternoons, which also gives us a little extra income and I just love the little girl I tutor! Oh, and I cut all my hair off!

Since life is changing rapidly, I want my blog to change, too. I don't really have time to sit down and type my heart out like I did over the summer (bet you're glad that is over!!!), so I want to do shorter, more focused blog posts. And I want to do some of these link-ups that I keep seeing on my friends' blogs.

But, for today, the message is short and sweet: Life is beautiful. It always is - even in the midst of chaos. You just have to know how to look at it through the right lens. :)