Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Big City vs Small Town

So lately I have been having this debate, mostly in my head, about which is better: big city or small town? This has mostly stemmed from my frustrations of city life lately. I know that each place has it's own pros and cons and that is what I've been trying to weigh. I will for sure be in my place for another year, but after that we will be moving and I'm trying to decide where. I love Omaha and will stay in the area, but am unsure if I want to continue to live in the city. I realize Omaha isn't New York City or LA by any means, but when you come from a town that has a stop light festival to celebrate what was up until recently the only stoplight, it's a pretty big city. So in an effort to help put things in perspective, this is what I have come up with so far.

Pros to living in a big city:
1. Everything is so close! I have 3 Walmarts all within a 5 mile radius of me. I have about 10 different options of grocery stores I can choose from. Any other kind of business you need, it is most likely not too far away.
2. Job opportunity. Regardless if I live in a smaller town or not, I will most likely still be working in Omaha because there is so much more opportunity here for employment.
3. Education. Thinking ahead to putting kids in school, I think Omaha schools would have better educational opportunities than what I had in a small town. More college prep classes, resources, things like that.
4. Not everyone knows your business! I can go into a store and not know a single person in there. No one is in my business, starting rumors, or really even cares that I exist when I am out in public. Coming from a small town, I appreciate this.

Cons to living in a big city:
1. Traffic! I HATE traffic. If I continue to work in the city, I'll still have to deal with it some, but not quite as much.
2. There are so many people. Don't even try to go to the grocery store at 5:00 on a week day. You can forget Walmart on a Saturday. I really don't like to be in crowds of chaos and stupid people standing in my way.
3. Expensive. I think this is obvious.
4. I listed education as a pro above, but I'm also listing it as a con. I can't imagine sending a child to school in a class of 500 or more people. That is just nuts to me. Plus you change elementary schools, middle schools, and there are hundreds of high schools. How do you choose? Public or private? I have NO idea on this one.

Pros to living in a small town:
1. As much as I hated how everyone was in my business growing up, it was kind of nice to know pretty much everyone. If I was ever in trouble anywhere, someone would always be there to help. Sometimes it's nice to walk into a restaraunt and see a familiar face. Maybe I feel like this is a pro moreso because I am currently in the city. I don't know.
2. The people I went to school with, I literally grew up with. We all went to preschool together and some of us day care before that. My friends in high school weren't just high school friends, they literally grew up with me. Our parents even went to school together and friends' parents were like my second and third sets of parents.
3. Freedoms. Especially living in a farming community you could go out to a field or pasture, light up a bonfire, crank up the radio and do whatever you want. (Ok that sounds cliche, but true!) You can't do that in your back yard here!
4. Definitely cheaper. Kind of like above, this is obvious.

Cons to living in a small town:
1. Farther away from everything, mostly the things the city has to offer. Back home we didn't even have a grocery store that was open on Sundays.
2. As much as I loved growing up with my town, I hated everyone in my business, but now as an adult, maybe it wasn't so bad. The jury is still out on this one.
3. The lack of opportunity that I already mentioned above naturally falls into this as well. This goes for both jobs and schools.
4. To continue working in Omaha, I'll have a longer commute everyday, however it won't quite be as bad as rush hour traffic trying to get from one side of town to the other. But definitely more gas.

It's easy to list pros and cons, but harder to weigh them. At this point, I'm not sure what I value more. I have a year to decide what to do but it will probably take me that long to make a decision and then change my mind 5 more times. =) I think as of now, I'm leaning toward smaller town, but I'm not 100% sure what my reasons are for that, just what I'm feeling at the moment. Time will tell and decisions will be made.....eventually! I can't wait to find out what I decide!

Friday, August 12, 2011


Since my last post was about all of my lists in preparation for our Florida vacation, I decided I need to dedicate this post to how it went! Which was fantastic!

Wednesday, Day 1: The five car Florida bound convoy pulled out of Omaha at 5:00 pm on Wednesday. The plan was to drive all night and into the next day and stay the night in Georgia. The vehicles were packed full and we were on our way! This was my first trip to Florida as Brayden went over at least 5 times in the car ride down there because it was his first time too. And Noah's of course. It was pretty cute. He was SO excited!

Thursday, Day 2: I think I finally went to sleep around 6:00 am so I don't remember much of this day. We finally stopped around 4:00 pm (maybe) in Georgia to eat and get a good night sleep. Dinner then straight to the pool with all the kiddos! They were SO happy to be out of the cars and so were we! Then to bed for a short 4 hour drive to our desitination!

Friday, Day 3: We made it! We stayed in Davenport, just outside Orlando. We rented 3 vacation homes, each with a pool, and this is Brayden next to a palm tree (or bush thing) in the front yard. This day we just unpacked, swam A LOT, and relaxed!

Saturday, Day 4: This day we went to Gatorland! It was SOOOO hot, but we managed to bare through it. We watched a guy wrestle a gator, fed them hotdogs (who knew gators ate hotdogs??) and even got our picture taken with one!

That night we went to Old Town in Kissammee. The kids rode lots of rides and we walked around all of the shops. Very fun.

Sunday, Day 5: Beach day! The kids had a blast! And the adults too. A storm came through and we had to leave, but it was just in time to have a picnic lunch then we were able to go back and stay the rest of the day.
The whole crew at the beach!

Oh and Thomas got burried!

As we were leaving we saw this. Not a good day at the beach for them!

Monday, Day 6: Disney day!! We went to Magic Kingdom and had so much fun! It was another hot day but we made sure to stay hydrated and walk into as many air conditioned buildings as we could. The kids got pictures with Buzz and Stitch and rode lots of rides. We watched the parade. It was a great day!

Tuesday, Day 7: Our last full day in Florida. The boys took off to go on a fishing trip. They went on a big boat and caught LOTS of fish. I need to get these pictures still! They came home and we ate them for dinner that night. (The fish, not the boys) The girls (and Noah) went to Downtown Disney for some shopping and more sight seeing. They had a huge lego store that the kids saw some fun things made out of legos.

Wednesday, Day 8: Time to go back to Omaha. :-( I don't think any of us were ready. But we packed up the cars anyway and hit the road. I think we stopped in Tennessee for the night and watched the Incredibles twice this day in the car.

Thursday, Day 9: We got up and made the rest of the long trip home! This day we watched the Incredibles 3 times. We finally pulled into Omaha about 2:30 in the morning (So I guess this should really be Friday, Day 10) and went straight to bed. I think we only brought one bag in from the car. We were beat.

We had a wonderful vacation! It is somewhere I would definitely love to go again and I am happy I got to go with an amazing family who I love so much!

Monday, July 25, 2011

A list of lists

So I will be leaving for a relaxing vacation to sunny Florida in a couple of days and I'm beginning to wonder when the relaxing part actually starts. The idea of a vacation is more than wonderful, however the prep work is just about exhausting. I've been thinking about this vacation for a long time and am so excited to go. I took the time off work, found the coverage at work and began making lists of things I needed to remember to do. This is where I discovered what I call "The List of Lists".

Here is how it begins: List of "Things to Pack". While thinking of the things I need to remember to pack, it reminds me of all the things I need to remember to pick up at the store. List #2: "Things to Buy". On this list, I remind myself I need to pick up a few items for the cat. List #3: "Directions for Caring for the Cat" for my friend who will be caring for her. Hmmm....I have the cat taken care of, what about the rest of my apt? I need to pay rent early this month , turn the air down, clean the apt...List #4: "Things to do Before You Leave".

This weekend I worked on List #4 and cleaned, cleaned, cleaned and charged every gadget you could imagine (GPS, Camera, Portable DVD Player...). I also started a little bit of packing. While going through List #1, I realized that we will be taking 2 days to get to Florida and lugging a giant suitcase with everything for the entire week will be really annoying just to pull over somewhere to sleep. You guessed it! List #5: "Things to Pack for Travel" so I can have a smaller bag of just the essentials, PJs, toothbrush, change of clothes, etc.

My lists may be a little out of control. Can I get away with calling it being organized or am I just plain OCD? I guess I don't care either way. I'm sticking with organized. A vacation isn't just a vacation. It's getting your home ready to leave for vacation, making sure animals are cared for, coming home to a clean home, packing all you'll need without forgetting anything, actually getting to the destination and then hopefully being able to relax for a couple of days until you have to get everyone back home again and do all the laundry from the week away, grocery shopping because you didn't do it before you left, and dreading going back to work because you need a vacation from your vacation. So if my lists can make any part of this easier, I'll stick with them. I cannot wait to hit the road and take some much needed time away with some people I love dearly and have a GREAT time and my lists will just help me do this. Watch out Florida! Here we come!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Extreme Couponing

Ok well it's not by ANY means extreme couponing, but coming from someone who never even looked at prices when picking up an item off the shelf, I think I'm doing pretty good with this (so far)! In an effort to be more money conscious, I have been trying to be dedicated to clipping coupons, checking ads, and going to different stores with the better sales instead of which one is closest and more convenient (because back home we had one option for a grocery store; now in Omaha, I have LOTS more!)

So I went to Wal-mart and bought a little notebook and a small filing organizer thing. (This is a very scientific process.) Every Sunday I go through the coupons that come in the paper, write them down in the notebook along with expiration dates (as kind of like an index type thing) and put them in the filing thing. (Are you following all these big words?) Then on Wednesdays when all the store ads come out, I write those in the notebook as well so I can compare which things that are on sale and if I also have a coupon for an item.

So here are some examples from this past week of my sale purchases! (Rough estimate of original prices)

Original Price: $1.00 x 16 = $16.00
     Sale Price: $0.49 x 16 = $7.84

Paid: $7.84
Saved: $8.16

Original: $4.02 x 2 = $8.08
      Sale: $3.50 x 2 = $7.00

Paid: $7.00
Saved: $1.08

Original: $4.99
       Sale: $3.97
Coupon: $1.00

Paid: $2.97
Saved: $2.02

Original: $2.99
       Sale: $2.30
Coupon: $0.50

Paid: $1.80
Saved: $1.19
Original: $3.67 x 8 = $29.36
       Sale: $2.75 x 8 = $22.00

Paid: $22.00
Saved: $7.36
So my total savings on all of those purchases: $19.81!!!

So I'm not getting $1000 shopping trips for -$0.30 by any means like they do on the show (and honestly I don't even watch the show because they just buy 2 cart fulls of Kleenexes, not even real food to make meals), but I figure if I can save close to $20 a week, then I could be saving possibly around $100 a month! It's a start anyway and it will definitely be a learning process because I honestly have never looked at prices of things in my life. If I need it, I buy it. But not anymore! I am going to get good at this! Or at least better than I have been.

I can tell I'm getting older. My time is consumed by working out and clipping coupons! But that's ok because I am actually enjoying it! Ok, sign #2 that I'm getting older: I'm enjoying it! haha So what do all of you do to save money or clipping coupons? Any advice for the beginner??

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pretty Little Liars

I am absolutely addicted to this show (which was on last night by the way)! If you haven’t seen it, I would definitely recommend it! You can learn more about the show here. J

My purpose isn’t to write about the show, however every time I hear the title it reminds me of another issue we are currently dealing with…a pretty little liar. I have never encountered a person quite like this, but because I am now working with this person daily, it has posed lots of questions and concerns for me. I have met a lot of different types of people, but this one is a new one!

Like I said, I met this person through work and thought she was a very nice lady, maybe a little overly happy, but I would prefer that over a Debbie Downer.  She always wears make up and her hair done and seemed very put together (hence how the title of the show "pretty" comes to play). I quickly learned that she was quite open with her personal life and didn’t mind sharing it with me, and others. I didn’t mind too much, I like building relationships with the people I work with. I quickly learned that she had some struggles in her life that sounded somewhat odd to me, but we all have our own skeletons in our closet and who am I to judge.

As the months went by, I learned more and more about her until one day while talking with other coworkers, we began to realize we were getting conflicting stories told by her to each of us. As the days and weeks went on, we began to realize we had a lot more conflicting stories than we realized. Now that our guards have been raised surrounding this issue, we have found conflicting stories as small as her telling one of us she did work out, another one that she didn’t, and yet another one that she just did one lap before stopping. Very miniscule things.

Our suspicions of the compulsive lying were never quite the urgent concern until just last week when something she told us could have possibly put us (and her) in danger. Our emotions were high and concerned for her and ourselves. Again, we started putting together the pieces that we were told and had more suspicions of the validity of the story, which raises huge concerns with me since it impacted all of us so much.

I have now been doing some research on compulsive liars and have found this: A compulsive liar is defined as someone who lies out of habit. Lying is their normal and reflexive way of responding to questions. Compulsive liars bend the truth about everything, large and small. For a compulsive liar, telling the truth is very awkward and uncomfortable while lying feels right.

I can’t say with 100% confidence this is her problem, as there may be many other reasons for conflicting stories and the things we have been experiencing however I think from what we can tell, this definition hits it pretty spot on. So now I am struggling to understand it and how to deal with it. I feel like it’s almost similar to “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”. When someone confides information to you that has a real safety concern to it, how do you balance the teeter totter of "Is this another lie?" vs "Is she (or we) really in some kind of danger?" and how much emotion and time should I invest in this person? Is there a way to communicate with this type of behavior to not enable it, or is it something we just have to turn our heads and ignore? So far I have learned that you can’t help a person who doesn’t want (or won’t accept they need) help. So then what do you do? I’m not about meddling in people’s business, but when their business effects my safety and emotions, I think I have every right to at least try to understand them better and the situation to help myself deal with the effect of it.

Working with others is always something we were taught and graded on throughout our school years, but this is one other I have never encountered until now. I’m sure there are many other others out there as well, but I will deal with them as they come! For now I will be a sponge for information on compulsive lying and trying to help someone who I do believe needs it. Regardless of the fabricated stories, I do think she has suffered in her life and is even currently struggling and for a person to reach the stage of compulsive lying, there has had to have been other issues to bring them to that point. I want to help people when I can, but this is something/someone I just don’t know how to help. I need to learn more about this and what will not only help her, but also me in interacting with her every day and to not become too emotionally exhausted in the stories. I will use this experience as just another life lesson. I am sure there is a moral to this story, but I just can’t quite think of it right now. Possibly because I am completely drugged with pain pills (for medical reasons of course, not because I am a druggy J). I will have to report back on this subject once I get my learn on!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Don't forget the little people

With a recent trip home to see family, an afternoon visit with a dear friend, lunch with another dear friend, and just looking at my Facebook newsfeed posts, I decided I needed to dedicate a post to the joys and blessings in my life; those that I refer to as: The Little People.

No matter how bad of a day you're having, just one smile from these guys and your heart melts. I may have done a lot of complaining about the stresses from all the maternity leaves I had to cover at work, but from looking at the reasons for the leaves, you can see it was well worth the ending reward. I have reached the stage in my life where I don't just have friends, I have friends with little people! I am so blessed to have them all in my life and now I need to introduce them to you! Please say "HI!" to all my little people!

Brayden (almost 5) (also my Godson) and Lane (2) are techinically my cousins, but with their mom more like my sister and me being there for Brayden's birth while his daddy was deployed, they are really more like nephews. =) I am sad they live so far away but SO happy when I get to see them!

The little man of my life and the second Brayden (5). Love this boy!

Owen (9 months) was the first Student Affairs baby to be born and I'm sure he'll lead the rest of the boys into all their future endeavors together. Love him!

Then came Carter (4 months)! You don't have to try too hard, he'll give that smile right up to you!

Finally Ryan (3 months) joined us and his big sister Aubrey (4) who is as precious as he is.

As much as I love all the little ones, I love all their mommy's just as much!

Can't you tell why I love them all so much?! There is something to be said for the innocence of a child. The funny faces they make at you to the funny things they say and the very different and unique personalities they each have. They may be little, but they hold a big place in my heart. I am excited to watch each chapter in each of their lives unfold as well.

Notice how they are all boys?? With the exception of Miss Aubrey of course. There is a girl on the way!! Coming in October! =)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Chapter 25

Well I did it! It wasn't something that I was really working towards or even looking forward too, but nonetheless, it happened. I turned 25. Half way to 50. Quarter of a century. Half way done with my 20's. Yes, I heard it all this weekend. Despite the jokes (and fears) of getting older, I did have a wonderful birthday. I am blessed with so many amazing friends and family and loved being able to celebrate with a few of them.

I definitely struggled with 25 this year. I'm not sure if it's because I remember growing up every year with my mom despising her own birthday and getting older, or if I truely am scared of getting older. Not scared of getting old. Age really is just a number that is obviously inevitable to happen every year. I think I am more scared of time passing too quickly and not accomplishing everything I thought I would...or think I should. Life is so short! I have so much to do! I have so much to see! So much to experience!

I am sure that 25 will bring great adventures and experiences to my life, and that's what I'm hoping for! Maybe then I will feel more at ease and possibly even prepared for 26! But let's not go that far just yet.

I decided after this "life event" and the blogging trend, to try this out and see how the story unfolds. It's been a good one so far and I can't wait to see what happens next!