In fall learning link up monthly learning reading Things I Learned

All About the Words [September Learning]


That's how I stopped accepting crap this month. September became a month that I intentionally spent time in books: listening to them, reading them, seeking out new authors and new books. And I started writing again. I pinned writing prompts and challenged myself to actually write down some of the ideas for poems, short stories and longer work. I started looking into places to submit writing for publication.

My art is writing, and I wanted to nurture it, and this month I finally started to. 

Now onto the regular learning for the month of September.

1.) There is a collection of books twisted from my favorite Disney tales.

The third book is called "As Old as Time" with the twist that Belle's mother was the enchantress that cursed the Beast. My awesome husband knows the way to my heart (books. And food.) and he got it for me the week it was released. I LOVED the concept. However, my honest opinion was that it could have used some more time being edited and reviewed before it was released. Some of the phrasing just seemed awkward, and the writing style seemed juvenile, even for a young adult novel.

2.) Dedicating yourself to writing is really. freaking. HARD.

I've called myself a writer for ages. And I do write, I write notes and letters, I write blog posts. But my creative writing, all these thoughts and inspiration that float around in my brain, I often do nothing with them. This month, as already mentioned, I decided to do something more with my writing, and it is not easy. Instead of sitting down to write, I found it so easy to get distracted with other work to be done, or being mom, or wandering off to Facebook.

3.) What Should I Read Next? 

I finally gave this website a chance, and it was spot on. I put in a few favorite books, and read through the list of options it gave me. Thanks to the vast library system, I was able to quickly lay hands on Firefly Lane, and loved it.

4.) The Perfect Work Hot Chocolate

With all the coffee and tea in the break room, there are also packets of hot chocolate. Making it with the hot water was a little bit underwhelming, but there is also Coffemate french vanilla creamer sitting on the counter. Two pumps of that mixed into the drink is perfection on a cool fall-ish morning.

5.) Hand Foot and Mouth Disease is not only for kids.

Jace got it, so nurse mommy took care of him, making lots of milkshakes, keeping track of his medicine, and overall just catering to him. He was able to go back to school on Monday, I first noticed little pinprick dots on Monday night. Nope, just for little kids, must be unrelated right? So wrong. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy, it is sheer misery in my case compounded with a sinus infection that I was already fighting.

What did you learn in September? How has the first week of fall treated you?

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In bucket list summer summertime

Summer Bucket List {What Did We Do?}

In June I posted a list of things we wanted to do this summer, and since today is the official first day of fall, I thought I'd follow up on that. So what did we do? 

1.) Rock Creek

Check! We caught behemoth the crawdad and other fun critters.

2.) Geneva on the Lake

Madison Donuts and the Arcade, perfection.

3.) Trumbull County Fair

Oh yes, we did the full day fair experience with all the food, the animals, the rides, the demolition derby, and the fireworks.

4.) Cleveland Zoo

We did the zoo multiple times, including through work for a family picnic, which meant food, the carousel, and free face painting. Oh, and Pokemon catching.

5.) Outdoor Movies at Crocker Park 

I took Brendan and Jace to see Big Hero 6, which Jace thought was phenomenal to see one of his favorite movies on the big screen.

6.) Putt-putt

Yep, Jace got to putt putt on a few different occassions, including a memorable night where I felt like I was melting.

7.) Memphis Kiddie Park

We somehow did not manage to do this over the summer, but we have plans to go on Saturday to enjoy!

8.) Camp in the backyard

Every time we planned this, the weather decided not to play nice! I was all for setting up the tent in the backyard, but I was not about to do it in the rain, nor in 100 degree temps.

9.) Make s'mores (we've already done this. But more s'mores y'all!)

Oh yes, we made more s'mores. Jace's prefers them made with Reese Cups, and enjoyed making his own marshmallows and trying not to catch them on fire.

10.) Water balloon fight

It was towards the end of summer that I finally picked up some water balloons, but Jace had a ball with them, and now we have plenty leftover for next summer.

11.) Hikes in the metroparks

Despite my best intentions, we did not do all the hiking that I had hoped this summer, but luckily this is not a summer exclusive activity: hiking is just as fun in the fall!

12.) See Finding Dory in theaters!

Cuddle Party!! Yes, we saw this. And yes, Jace was thrilled with it.

13.) Go to the Drive In

The odds were not in my favor for this, and trying to match up two kid friendly movies on a weekend that wasn't already busy proved to be too hard.

14.) Brandywine Waterfall

Again, this can totally be a fall activity.

15.) Nelson Ledges

We didn't make it here either (I swear I had great intentions to actually do all the things on this list!)

16.) Berea Pool

We tried to get to the pool as much as we could this summer, and thankfully it was open till 8pm, so we could even go some evenings after dinner! Jace got brave and started putting his face in the water, making this mama proud. 

17.) Presque Isle State Park

We didn't make it to Presque Isle this summer, but I think it's okay since we had plenty of other beach time!

18.) Great Lakes Science Center

I have tickets and they have been misplaced! I'm determined to find them though, and when I do I'm going to take Jace to check it out!

19.) Visit Sweet Moses old fashioned ice cream shop

YUM. It was a very fun experience, and my strawberry champagne sorbet was phenomenal.

20.) Days at the beaches of Lake Erie!

Don't worry, we did this as much as possible, because Jace takes after him mama and loves the beach. 

Out of 20 items, we actually did 12. We also raised butterfly's from caterpillars, spend a weekend in Chicago, found the best donuts in Cleveland, took a long weekend road trip to Kentucky, built a blanket fort inside to watch The Wizard of Oz, explored Cleveland, played lots of board games, and ate tons of fresh fruit and summer foods.

And overall, we had a fantastic summer, Jace loved all the experiences he was able to have and I loved getting to spend so much time adventuring with him. Summer is probably my favorite time of year, and Summer 2016 was definitely a win in my book. 

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In family photos growing up Prayers for Maria sunflowers

Sunflower Photo Shoot

I'm often behind the camera, snapping shots of my little family life. And my husband, though I love him, consistently finds the least flattering angles possible to take pictures.

Seriously, I'm not going to sugar coat it, he manages to find a way to snap shots of me that add a third chin and make me look 6 months pregnant (totally not expecting guys. Trust me, I'd be all about telling you if I was because the baby fever is real). Now I realize I'm not tiny, and yes, I've got some over the top curves, but there's a way to take the picture so that's not the first thing you notice.

Therefore, family pictures. We've done professional photo sessions only a handful of times. We did maternity pictures, newborn pictures, first birthday photos, then last year when Jace was three and this year at the Prayers for Maria Sunflower field.

I love them. I love having these beautiful memories of my family, and this year I was swayed by the fact that some of the money would be donated back to the Prayers for Maria Sunflower Field, and since Nathan had childhood cancer, this seemed like a fantastic way to give back a little.

And Arlee (of Azkalynn Photography) was fantastic and easy to work with, and had the gallery for me to proof just a week after the shoot. Not that I need to brag on her too much, you can see for yourself in the beautiful images.

I also couldn't have been happier with my little wild child, who actually cooperated with being photographed, resulting in some amazing melt-my-heart images.

He's normally been pretty cooperative to photograph, which is just one of the many things I love about his mellow personality.

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In handwritten letters old school return to the romantic days of letter writing

Bring Back The Handwritten Letter

I've always loved letters.

When I was about 13 my neighbors nieces came to visit, and after they left I asked for Jewel's address, which began a few years of pen pal correspondence. While it sometimes took me a week or two to write back, I loved to sit down at my desk and write out a letter about my life, and learning about someone who lived a totally different experience than I did.

Well, when I moved away from Kentucky last year, in addition to text messages, social media, and phone calls, I fell back to letter writing. To me, there is just something so personal and romantic about sitting down and penning a letter to a dear friend.

And this past week I found a letter waiting for me, just simple words written on plain notebook paper, and that piece of paper brought so much joy to my soul. There is something refreshing about knowing that you weren't simply a keystroke hitting the enter key, you were purposefully found time to write, seal, and send something.

It probably also falls into my love of real books: I can't seem to get into reading books on a Kindle and only in the last year or so got into audiobooks, because there is just something to be said for the physical presence of a book. It's one reason that I carry a larger purse: small purses just can't handle the book life.

And this love of paper (environmentally unfriendly as it may be), is something that I do want to pass on. I've read books to Jace every night before bed since he was too tiny to understand words. And now, I am teaching him to write letters. Since he knows his alphabet, it seemed like a perfect time, and he has a couple amazing pen pals that are happy to get his colorings and writings.

And I'd like to offer it as a challenge. Take some time and write someone a letter. Write to your grandparents, to your parents, to an old friend, to someone going through a tough time, to a little kid whose parent will have to read your letter to them. Know that you're bringing a little bit of yourself to someone's doorstep, and slip back into the days when we didn't instantly know what happened in everyone's life because it was instantaneously on twitter. Enjoy some pretty stationary that has been stashed away unused, and see if you don't love bringing back handwritten letters too.

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In link up things I'm loving

Things I'm Loving {September}

This is only the second month of my linkup, so here's a brief description in case you missed August.

I'm using these posts to list out what I'm loving at the moment, from the song on repeat and seasonal drink, to a piece of clothing that gets worn every time it comes out of the dryer and anything else that I can't get out of my mind!

1.) Scarves

We're kind of in fall now, and some cooler mornings and days mean I've found my scarf collection again to enjoy. Sidenote, I have a thing for chevron, mint, and grey I've noticed as I examined my collection of fall scarves. 

2.) Jane the Virgin (Season 2)

I was told by multiple people it was worth watching, so then I watched season 1 in a true Netflix binge mode, and I was so excited to discover that season 2 has been added! So when I have free time, yes you will find me watching what looks like a Spanish telenovella. Not even sorry for it. 

3.) Photography

I've been playing with my phone's photography abilities, and it's quite entertaining!

4.) Kristin Hannah

I read "Firefly Lane" this month, ended up staying up late one night to finish it because the twist was not the twist that I was predicting, and then ended up laying in my bed crying. Next in line? "The Nightingale." 

5.) The Sunflowers

There is a field in Avon called the "Prayers for Maria" sunflower field. We did a mini photo shoot there with the talented Azkalynn photography, and the beautiful yellow sky-scraping flowers were just overwhelming. And the statistics were humbling: 99% of children diagnosed with that type of brain cancer do not survive. 

6.) Scary Movies

I went to a prescreening  of Blair Witch, and it was not as scary as I wanted it to be! But I'm hoping for more scary movies time, and someone to watch (and mock) them with me. Because here's how I watch scary movies, "Don't go in the house. Good girl, see she's smart. Wait, you just heard him screaming like he's going to die, so you're going in the house. This is a terrible life choice." 

What are you loving this month? Please link up and let me know what your current obsessions are!

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