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He Survived Live

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It was just a few short years ago that the only kids shows I knew of were the ones I grew up with: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Mr. Rogers, Ducktales, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Mickey Mouse, Chip n Dale: Rescue Rangers.

And being that we don’t have cable I didn’t really know where to look for cartoons once Liam started watching TV.  I would joke that he was going to be the only kid who knew nothing about modern day TV shows – just mom’s classic cartoons.  But then I discovered the PBS app and Netflix and Hulu and YouTube.  With one scroll of the “Children under 3 category” we discovered hundreds of new shows.

So at some point in recent months, a little boy I watch was watching a show called P.J Masks.  I can honestly say I don’t even remember when Liam first started watching the show but it became his newest craze.

Goodbye Mickey Mouse.  See you later Thomas.  Hello Gecko, Owlette and Cowboy – aka PJ Masks.  I can honestly say I’ve never watched an entire episode but I have determined that it’s about three children who save the daytime from bad nighttime villians.  (OK I actually only know that because of going to the show!)  Hence the PJ part I guess.  And what kind of names for superheros are Gecko, Owlette and Cowboy?  Then again, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were named after famous artists so who am I to judge?

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Anyway, I saw that these famous superheros were coming to Bozeman for a live show.  I put off buying tickets for a while but a week before the show I found a Groupon.  I knew it would be nose-bleed seats but it was at the college basketball coliseum where, honestly, there’s not a bad seat when I compare it to concert venues I’ve been to before.  So I bought them and we headed out on a little date.

Just as I expected we were row Q….4 rows from the top.  But they truly weren’t terrible.  And Liam didn’t know better anyway.  Better to start him far away and get closer as he gets older, right?IMG-1056

So we got our popcorns and drink and I explained to him for the thirty-second time that it wasn’t time for the show to start yet.  Then a college kid came up and explained that they were trying to fill in seats and did we want to moved closer.  So here we move, from fourth row from the top to third row floor seats!  I wanted to laugh and all I could think of was “I guess sometime’s it pays to be cheap (or more politely – frugal).”  In fact, we were so close that Liam didn’t like it.  I ended up going back and asking for seats a bit further back.  HA!

So we ended up in second row seats (just not on the floor).  When it all started I could tell Liam was just in awe.  He sat with his hands over his ears and his mouth open the whole time.  Quite frankly, he looked scared to death.  And it was sensory overload for sure – even for me.  The music was super loud, the lights were bright and constantly flashing, the cast and background never stopped moving.  But at intermission, he assured me he did NOT want to leave and he liked the show.

So from the two tickets I bought on Groupon, I ended up with six tickets in my possession.  So much for the “start him far away and move closer as he gets older” plan I was going for!

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VIPKID: It’s Been 21 Days

Work from home.  I bet that is a phrase that is typed into Google a lot.  I know I have typed it in the past.  Before I had Liam I had no desire to work from home.  But, once he came into the world, the idea seemed so appealing.  Make money and play with him (saving money on daycare also being a bonus).  But nothing seemed ‘real’.  Ever heard of secret shoppers?  I thought I’d be awesome at that.  But who was I kidding?  You can’t make actual, substantial money doing that.

Then I discovered Discovery Toys.  That is a business that I am still doing though it has taken a bit of a back burner while I get VIPKIDs figured out.  But Discovery Toys was still not exactly what I had in mind.  I’m not a seller and relying solely on selling people products (though I believe in them with all my heart) to make an income was not ideal for me.

IMG_0654And then…wah lah (is that how that sound is even spelled?)…VIPKID showed up on my computer screen.  And, though it took me almost a year to realize this at-home job met every criteria I was looking for, I have began and am VERY HAPPY with it.

So, it’s been 21 days since I officially became a VIPKID teacher.  Apprehensive is the word I’d use to describe how I felt about what I was getting in to.  Skeptical works just about as well.  So, how is it going after 21 days?  Here’s the facts of the first 21 days (warning, if you care nothing about VIPKID then you’ll probably care nothing about the remainder of this post):

  1. It was slow going at first.  Out of the 76 time slots I chose to work the first week (each slot is 25 minutes), I only filled 7.    The next week I opened 63 slots and 17 were filled.  And by the third week (now) I am fully booked with exactly 20 slots.  Once I saw that I had 20 slots I unchecked all my other openings (I don’t want to work too much.  HA!)  My goal when I began was to only do an hour a day but my fully booked schedule is 2 hours a day and it works perfect for me.  And next week is already fully booked as well!
  2. I took initiative to get myself bookings.  I was discouraged with very little bookings.  I wanted to meet my goal of an hour a day.  But who was I kidding?  I was a newby with no parent rating (they have an apple rating system with 5 apples being great).  If I was a parent, I wouldn’t pick me either.  So I fixed my problem in two ways:
    1. I signed up for a program.  I had received an email asking me to sign up to be a Level 1 only teacher (there are around six levels I believe).  It promised if I went through this course that I would get much more teaching practice as well as a rating at the end that would encourage parents to pick me.  It seemed like a no brainer.  It took a little time (but I wasn’t really teaching anyone anyway) and it truly did help me get that extra practice.  Plus, there are 96 lessons in Lesson 1 so I knew I wouldn’t get bored.  This turned out to be a great decision in ways other than I’d planned but more on that some other time.
    2. I worked the graveyard shift for a weekend.  Yes, like 3 AM.  There is a 14 hour time difference between Montana and Beijing so a lot of students are wanting to do classes while I am sleeping.  So, while Matt was in NC, I decided to see if I could get any of these bookings since Liam would be asleep anyway.  I ended up with three bookings: 12 AM, 3 AM and 4:30 AM.  My goal was simply to get some practice and hopefully a parent rating that would make me stand out.

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  3. Being my goofy self is highly, highly encouraged.  The more facial expressions that are used the better.  To my husband, who walked in once while I was practicing, I looked and sounded funny, but to the students I am fun and engaging.
  4. My teaching fix has been cured!  I love teaching Liam but there’s still a teaching itch that hasn’t been cured since I left the classroom.  This has cured me!  I just love to see each student learning, practicing and having fun.
  5. I like to track my money.  I’ll be honest.  Teaching the children is wonderful but 4535the money is what got me started.  And the app makes it so easy to see how much money I am making and to keep track of it each day.  I have to admit I’ve become a bit obsessed but it definitely keeps me motivated.
  6. It’s practically no work!  Yes, I did do some work to get props and things when I first began but now that I am in a routine I get up at 4:45 and begin teaching at 5.  Those 15 minutes include brushing my teeth, brushing my hair, putting on a little mascara so I don’t look like a zombie, and throwing on an orange t-shirt (the VIPKID color).  This does NOT include getting out of my pajama pants!!!  Then I walk the 20 steps down the hall to the computer and sign on.  I always review the powerpoints the night before so I have some idea of what I will be doing but if I forget, the directions are right on the screen!!!  See you later lesson planning!!!!

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  7. I’ve spent hardly any money!  In the real classroom I spent HUNDREDS of dollars to teach the best lessons I could for my students.  I have spent less than 20 dollars for VIPKID.  I bought a headset for $14 and spent a few dollars printing some items at Staples to be used as props (thought I could have just used my own printer).  Everything else that I have used was already at home (stuffed animals, a whiteboard and alphabet letters to name a few).

I could keep going but that’s enough for now.  I’ve had several people asking me how it’s been going so that’s a quick update.  I may answer some more specific questions later in another post but I’ll just end by saying this is the EASIEST and MOST FUN money I have ever made.

I was skeptical and apprehensive but now I’m SOLD!

If you’re interested, don’t hestitate to reach out!  I will happily answer any questions.

If you’re ready to give it a try, click here.
And here’s my code: 02OMEG

Teacher friends, if you are okay with not sleeping until 10:00 this summer I say give it a shot!!!  Or for you east coasters, the time difference may allow you to sleep in AND teacher.  Start your Christmas fund early 🙂

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VIPKID: The Beginning

It is 3:00 AM.  My contacts are in and I actually have on mascara.  Why you ask?  Because I am waiting for a child in China to come to their computer so that I can teach them English.  Now there is something I didn’t think I would EVER say.  The problem is, though, that that child has forgotten about me.  Well, more likely his/her parent has.  Maybe they are eating dinner.  Maybe there’s traffic and they haven’t made it home in time.  Maybe the child is throwing a tantrum and doesn’t want anything to do with the computer or learning English at the moment.  Whatever the reason, it has left me sitting staring at the computer at 3 in the morning!

My journey with VIPKID started almost a year ago.  I saw one of there what seems to be hundreds of ads on Facebook telling me that I could teach at home making almost $20 an hour.  For someone who didn’t currently have a job it sure sounded amazing so I fired off an application.  Within a day I received an email that my application was accepted and that I was on to the interview stage.

And then I stopped.  I began watching videos of other teachers doing the same lesson that I was to teach and they all just seemed so amazing.  So peppy.  So bright.  So energetic.  So GOOD.  I couldn’t possibly be THAT good.  Plus I had to either 1) book an interview with a real person in China (GULP!) or record myself teaching the lesson.  Both options just seemed so daunting and so for almost the next 10 months I received email after email asking me to complete my demo but I never followed through.

During those 10 months, Facebook kept bombarding me with the ads of all the happy teachers making a lot of money from home.  And I kept hearing of other friends of friends who were actually working for VIPKIDS and loving it.  Also, during this ten months we bought a house and money was something I was constantly thinking about.  So, I made a phone call to someone I knew who was teaching and loving it.  She was sweet enough to answer all my questions and so I decided to take the leap.

The next step of the process was to teach a short demo lesson.  I could either do a live lesson with an adult in China acting as a child or record one myself.  Recording it myself seemed waaaaaaaaay less daunting so after a lot of practicing on my own and watching a ridiculous amount of YouTube videos of other people’s demo lesson, I recorded my lesson.

**Guess who showed up?!  I’ll write more in a bit…..and hopefully not 4 months from now!**

Well, that was interesting.  More about that later.

So after recording my demo lesson, I received an email stating that I’d passed and could do my “Mock Class”.  Basically it’s another lesson but this time it must be live and it’s two parts: a lower level class and a higher level class.  So once again I watched WAAAAAAAAAY to many videos on YouTube and began to psyche myself out.  Was I good enough?  Was my classroom to plain?  Did I need more props?  Was I exciting enough?  but I told that little voice in my head that said “You can’t” to shut up and I scheduled my mock class and set to practicing my lessons over and over.

The way you teach a VIPKID is so different from the way you teach in a brick and mortar American school.  It felt like my first year of teaching 10 years ago when I would review my lessons over and over the night before class.  My veteran teacher self laughs thinking about that now and I know in a few weeks my veteran-VIPKID teacher self will be feeling the same way.  But none the less, the mock interview felt so daunting so practice-practice-practice is what I did.

The day of the interview/mock class came.  I made sure that Matt had Liam entertained and the dogs were out of the way.  I could afford no distractions!  My interviewer popped up.  She was an American VIPKID teacher so just that familiarity put me at ease a bit.  But I still felt like a newbie teacher standing in front of her principal for an observation.  No one enjoys that!  After asking me a few questions about myself she took on the role of a five year old student and I began my first short lesson.  Afterwards we talked about good things/things to improve on and then moved on to the next lesson.

I ended up getting my results within ten minutes which was crazy!  All the information said to wait 24-48 hours.  And, even better, I didn’t have to do a Mock 2 which many teachers have to do.  My email simply said that I’d passed my Mock Class and was a great fit for teaching Beginners (hallelujah!) and the next steps I needed to take.

And so my adventure with VIPKIDS began…!

I am on Day 10 now and have taught 3 live classes.  There are definitely things I am liking and things that are confusing.  And, no, teaching at 3 AM is not the plan. I will do my best to fill you in on this journey (as well as what has been going on in out MT life since I wrote six months ago!) soon.

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The You Don’t Need AC When It’s 20 Degrees

Thick, heavy comforters.  Warm, cozy blankets.

A single sheet and one, thin blanket.

Matt and I were not created to sleep in the same bed.  We have found our happy middle by folding the warm, cozy blanket in half and laying it only on my side.  Bonus: I now have an extra layer!

But the cover dilemma is a thing of the past….for now.

It all started at about two in the morning sometime in June.  I was tossing and turning.  My half-asleep brain couldn’t put together what had woken me up.  ‘Where’s all my covers?’ I wondered.  Gone was my folded up down comforter and quilt.  I was only covered by our one sheet.  No wonder I was awake.  I yanked the covers back up close to my chin, shut my eyes, ready to continue my somewhat-peaceful sleep.  But sleep didn’t come and I quickly realized that I was not actually cold.  In fact, I was HOT.

Wishing for the fan in our bedroom in North Carolina that had a remote control conveniently giving Matt and I three fan speeds to argue about each night, I threw back the covers and stood up.

In a daze, I got up and shuffled out to the living room and began mashing on the thermostat.  I pushed the down button repeatedly and shuffled blindly back to bed (narrowly missing tripping over the dog, I might add).

Again, I closed my eyes and waited for sleep.  Nothing.  I poked Matt and told him to go and see if he could get the air conditioner working.  Without even turning around he mumbled these horrific words: WE DON’T HAVE AIR CONDITIONING.

That’s right.  NO AIR CONDITIONING.  I didn’t even realize places were built without air conditioning anymore other than third world countries!

It seems that air conditioning here in Bozeman is equivalent to soaking, garden tubs back home.  An extra, luxurious option.  It is listed special on realty listings right there with basements or master bedroom on main level.  Something people want but is not guaranteed in every house.

There were two times in Matt and I’s marriage where we have just absoluetly roasted at night.  Where we could not escape into a nice, cool indoor sanctuary.  But both of those occasions are mere memories inlight of the extensive heat we’ve lived in the past few weeks.

We’ve been keeping all of our window shades down and standing fans going.  That’s right.  We don’t even have ceiling fans!  I’ve been going to bed with wet hair to keep me cool and Matt has been falling asleep with a wet washcloth on his forehead.  There are even nights I have fallen asleep with no covers!

But, while I might sound like I’m complaining….I’m not.  For two reasons  1) There is virtually no humidity, which, while it is warm, it is not “North Carolina warm”  2) Winter is coming and I will enjoy every minute of heat I can…even if it is inside my house.

So, here’s to continued warm weather before the winter rolls in and I’m wearing five layers of clothes and never see my skin!

But I’ve seen it as high as 85!
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A New Normal

Prayers are an amazing thing.  ‘Be careful what you wish for’ is a common phrase but I think ‘Be careful what you pray for’ is a bit more accurate.

I never had a true life plan growing up.  Although, when I was in kindergarten I said I wanted to be a teacher and that dream happened.  I remember laying in my bed
freshman year.  Top bunk with the ugliest orange, flowery bed spread.  I needed to declare a major and was panicking because I didn’t have a back up plan.  What if I didn’t like teaching kids?  Then what?  Who even actually grows up to be what they wanted to be in kindergarten?  The best back up plan I came up with was flight attendant…yet I really didn’t like flying!

In college, I assumed marriage and babies would happen but I never had an exact time line.  After marrying Matt, we knew we’d have children but, again, there was no time line though I think I’d always just assumed I would be in my 20’s with my first child.  But plans are often broken and Liam came a day after my 30th birthday!

The move to Montana has offered Matt the chance to work at what can be classified as his ‘dream job’.  That term can be used loosely but I truly believe he is.  The people he works with and the environment he is in keeps him happy and enjoying going to work.  He is doing what he is wonderful at in a field that he loves.  And that is honestly something that I believe not many people can say.  Day in and day out he gets to talk fishing…or go fishing!  I thought he talked about fishing a lot in North Carolina but Montana has taken it to a whole new level!  I don’t mind hearing about it, though, knowing how happy it makes him.  He spends his day making sure Simms makes the best waders possible, giving tours of the plant, taking others fishing and loads of other things I’m sure.  And an added bonus: he no longer gets home “late”.  Though I am sure that is due in part to the fact that Liam and I drop him off and pick him up every day.  Living the one car life has not been near as hard as I thought.  I actually don’t mind it at all.  There are a few days he needs the car for a fishing trip but Liam and I make the most of our day at home.

And watching Liam say bye to Matt warms my heart.  He demands kisses, high fives, fist bumps.  A tickle fest usually ensues.  Kisses and hugs are repeated over and over.  And yet Liam usually wants more once Matt closes the door.  It’s a sweet way to start our day.  If we didn’t take Matt to work he would probably just get to sneak out and leave us sleeping.

As for me, I have been on an extended summer break of sorts.  When we moved here I interviewed and was offered a preschool job but after weighing a variety of pros and cons I ultimately turned it down.  I have spent the past four months being a ‘stay at home mom’…and loving every minute of it.  Ok, I’ll be honest.  Loving ALMOST every minute of it.

After Liam and I drop off Matt in the morning we usually have something to do almost every day.  We have found ourselves some amazing friends that we enjoy spending our days with.  At parks.  Picnics.  Play dates.  Library.  Hikes.

Yes, there are days I miss the classroom but watching Liam learn new things before my eyes and knowing that I have fully helped foster that knowledge means so much to me.  He can recognize so many letters and tell me their sounds and count to 20 and knows so many shapes and has a vocabulary that just blows me away.  How fast they learn at this age is just astounding…and knowing that I am not missing a majority of it by being at work is wonderful.

I know that me staying home was not the original plan when we decided to move to Montana.  Sacrifices have been made but I am so thankful for Matt and him allowing me this opportunity.  There are days I am drained after spending it entertaining and disciplining a two year old.  Honestly, I’m probably more tired than when I worked full time but my outlook on things are different.  I don’t mind doing laundry as much anymore.  Cleaning the house is not as burdensome (though it helps that we are living in a place a third of the size of our old house!). Going to the grocery store can actually be done during the day not on a rush home from work.

I am so grateful for this opportunity to truly mother Liam.  It is a privilege that so many women do not get these days (including me until recently) and I am thankful for this time.

I am grateful for how hard Matt works to make this possible (and grateful that he’s going to a job that is enjoyable to him).  There are pros and cons to me staying home but Liam being two will never happen again.  I am treasuring every second and making every minute with him count.  I was offered a job once when we moved here.  I pray that when I need one again it will be just as easy.

Just this month our routine (mine and Liam’s) has changed a bit and it will fully change at the end of the month.  We’ll still drop Matt off and pick him up but the between hours will be slightly different.  I’ve started watching our friends’ son two days a week and at the end of the month I’ll begin watching another little boy four days a week both of whom are Liam’s age.  Days will still hopefully be filled with play dates but also with some at-home preschool action (yes the teacher in me is still thriving!).

It’s hard to imagine that three years ago I was sitting on the playground having conversation after conversation with my friend about her chance to move to Raleigh and become a stay-at-home mom.  Having never been far from her hometown this scared her.  I gave her some very honest advice…not knowing that two years later I’d be having the same conversation with my other friend only this time I was the one with the possible move and trying my best to listen to the advice I’d given Jessie years before.  We still talk a few times a month and I can safely say we are both happy and blessed with our decisions (though knowing full well what we left behind).

I will say that though I am enjoying my time at home two things still bother me.  The first being I worry that Liam is spending TOO MUCH time with me.  He did so well going to our babysitter back home and he LOVED it.  I feel there were many pros to him being away from me for a time.  I went to daycare while my mom worked and all is well with me – ha!  Now, he’s literally with me 24-7 (with the rare occurance of slipping out to do something with a friend – like the movies the other night!).  I also don’t like bringing in NO money to the family budget.  Watching the little boy will help ease that feeling in the next month which will be nice.  And I have a business idea that I would love to get up and running – but more about that some other time.

So while staying at home is not for everyone (I have friends who would never want to) or financially possible for others (that was us), I am happy with our situation as it is now.  But it could change at any minute.

Staying at home with my children had always been at the back of my mind but once having Liam I never really thought it would happen.  So, God answers prayers in strange ways…and moving to Montana has been the answer to several.  Who would have thought?!?

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Being silly.
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Play date with friends.
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Playing in the creek.
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His pet rock 🙂
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Another family rodeo!
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Parade downtown.
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Suffocated By Weather

Let me begin by saying what a wonderful trip to North Carolina we had.  I could go on and on about what we did and who we saw but most everyone won’t care about those details.  But I will say that the last Saturday we were there we attended the wedding of Erika and James, my sister-in-law (Matt’s sister) and her now husband (WOW!).

The wedding turned out exactly how she planned.  She had every detail layed out.  For the last year she has been planning her wedding to her and James’ vision…down to making their very own corn hole boards and Jenga blocks for the backyard reception.  She didn’t even hire a professional wedding planner or coordinator…just an amazing lady from her church who made sure that Erika’s plans were in place and to run point on the Big Day.  She sure had more vision and organization than I did eight years ago. Oh, and she had Pinterest!

One thing that was NOT on her plan was the humidity.  Wow.  Having lived in the South the majority of my life I have realized that I didn’t really understand what humidity really is.  Yes, there were days that you could tell were stickier and muggier than others but over all a hot day was almost always sticky and muggy.

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One of the big things I’m getting used to here in the Northwest is the weather.  70 degrees can be very hot and cause for a sunburn but 85 can also be warm but quiet pleasant.

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Yes, there was humidity.  But there was also heat.  I made the mistake of planning a playdate for two in the afternoon.  OOPS!

When I walked out of the Raleigh airport with my sister two weeks ago, I was hit immediately by a wall.  The automatic doors opened and suddenly it felt like the air was just pressing in around me.  I don’t know any other way to describe it other than ‘thick air’.  By the time we got to her car I was already sweating and then we had to wait a few minutes for the car to cool down before we could even get in.  I HAD FORGOTTEN.

Once the snow decided to stay away here in Montana the days have been so pleasant.  Those 85 degree days feel nothing like back home.  Yes, I have sweat out here but it is from the amount of time spent in the sun not from the wet blanket that I seem to be walking in.

The other thing Erika didn’t account for (well, didn’t want) was rain.  I hadn’t given it much thought but there aren’t really afternoon rain showers here like back home.  In NC you could almost guarantee that you would have some kind of rain well into the afternoon.  Those rain showers ruined many, many good pool days for me.  Apparently here, all the snow we get in the winter (and fall and spring) makes up for the spring rains.  The snow melts from the mountains and flows down into the rivers.  Not saying it doesn’t rain here it just isn’t near as predicatable as in the South.

But God was surely on her side on Saturday.  There was a quick shower during pictures.  And then minutes before she was to walk down the aisle giant drops started falling from the sky as everyone looked around in a panic.  But as quickly as they started they stopped.  And they held off until 5:30…mere minutes after they pulled away.  And then the rain made up for lost time.  It began to pour.  But, the timing could not have been more perfect and it didn’t put a dampor on the after-party.

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And just after the almost-rain shower before Erika walked down, the humidity kicked in to high gear.  But she looked beautiful throughout the whole reception and while most of James’ groomsman retired their suits for more comfortable clothes, James somehow managed to make it in his suit without complaining.

 

When Matt, Liam and I stepped out of the airport in Bozeman on Sunday afternoon, the air that hit me was cool.  I laughed to myself because my thought was “Seriously?  It’s June and I’m wishing for a jacket?!” but I KNEW what Matt would say.  And before I could say anything, the words from his mouth were exactly what I predicted: “Now THIS feels perfect”.

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I think I’m too old for technology 

There was a day when I felt I was on the edge of technology.  I remember having my pink Razor flip phone and thinking how cool I was.  Even before that I had a grey flip phone.  The caller ID (that was a green screen–anyone remember those screens?) constantly said CALLER UNKNOWN.  It could have known the caller if my parents had paid those extra charges.  But I still felt light years ahead of all the kids with the bulky Nokia phones!

Now, I’m pretty sure my son can work some technology better than me.  Ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration (yet his skills at finding YouTube on any device he is holding astounds me) but I have no doubt by the time he’s ten he’ll be giving me great big sighs, rolling his eyes, and saying “It’s sooooo easy Mom.  Here, just let me do it.”

We made the first leg of our trip back to North Carolina (the short hour and fifteen minute flight) without having to pull out his tablet.  Lots of toys and games.  I’m sure the guy beside me was tired of me constantly bending down to dig in my backpack but there were no two-year old meltdowns so the annoyance was worth it to me.  The tablet is always my last resort in case a meltdown does occurs That, and I brought some M&M’s.  Because when does chocolate not work?!

The second leg flight was just over three hours so I had high hopes of him watching a movie on his tablet (falling asleep?!?!) and me watching one on my phone.  I even asked for the complimentary headphones on the first flight in preparation for my two hours of solitude.

I got his movie set up and grabbed my phone.  I had remembered to download the United app before the flight.  A mistake I had made in the past.  Apparently long gone are the days of TVs in the headrests.  It took me a few too many tries to get connected to the free WiFi but I managed.  I began scrolling looking for the perfect movie.  I haven’t seen a movie in ages so I figured I’d have plenty to choose from.

Finally settling on a movie, I cued it up and untangled the ridiculously long headphone cord.  Why in the world is it like 8 feet long?!  It was given to me on an airplane where I clearly don’t even have one foot of space.

The OtterBox on my phone has every part of my phone covered up.  I can’t complain, though, because it has saved my phone too many times to count.  I start pulling off all the pieces looking for the headphone jack.  It is nowhere to be found.  I turned the phone over and over.  The lady beside me was probably concerned at my behavior.  I couldn’t get the case off completely because it is so drop-proof (again, I’m thankful) but I was convinced there was not headphone jack.  How is that possible?!

Meanwhile, Liam is refusing to wear his headphones.  And he’s not watching a movie now because he feels that he must constantly touch the screen of his tablet thus taking him away from the screen he’s suppossed to be on.  He sees my mess of a phone, grabs it and says “Broken?  Liam fix it.”  I have this sinking feeling my two hours of bliss have gone up in a cloud of smoke.

When I see the lady beside me pull out an iPhone I decided to ask for her help.  She had an older phone but told me she remembered seeing that the new iPhones would not have headphone jacks.  What?!?!?!  As my ‘old brain’ is trying to grasp how anyone could ever listen to music in public again on an iPhone and silently cursing the Apple people, she explains that all the new iPhones are set up with Bluetooth capability.  Meaning I now need to go buy Bluetooth headphones instead of relying on the free pair from the airlines!

I continue to secretly curse Apple and then begin to feel old.  Is this what I am now?  One of those old people of my past who can not adapt to the changes of technology?

I had to call a friend just last night to help me set up Liam’s tablet because the YouTube tutorial videos just were not helpful enough.

I know my husband has a set of Bluetooth headphones but they are the huge Bose kind that  are also noise canceling.  I really, really hope that they make much smaller Bluetooth headphones (because I just don’t have room in my giant backpack containing toys and food for Liam) or I will continue my silent cursing of Apple…!

 

UPDATE:  My sister has informed me that my phone most likely came with a pair of headphones.  Yea, I’m pretty sure those are long gone… 😦

 

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Liam didn’t want to turn and look at me but he did fist bump the pilots.
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Is 61 hot or cold?

Snow covered grounds on Christmas Day.  Cookouts in your bathing suit by the lake for the Fourth of July.  Colored leaves everywhere while walking the streets on Halloween.  Family pictures made by the colorful, blooming flowers on Easter.

Each holiday has it’s own stereotypical weather.  And North Carolina’s weather usually is spot on. Notice I did say usually.  Eighty degrees in March like it was before I left is not what I would call usual.

I’ve lived in Florida where our family Christmas picture was made with everyone in shorts and short-sleeves on a “cold” sixty-five degree day.  And I’ve lived in Missouri where I had to cover up my carefully planned Halloween costume with a puffy winter jacket because it was snowing.

But for the most part I have lived in North Carolina where there are usually (again, I stress usually) four distinct seasons.

And snow on Easter is NOT something that has ever crossed my mind.  As I scrolled Facebook this past Sunday, I saw so many friends and family posting their family Easter pictures.  Everyone was dressed in their Sunday best and most everyone was carefully posed in front of a gorgeous flowering bush squinting into the sun.  And if a flowering bush was not found they were standing on some bright green grass.  And for those who just couldn’t get a family picture together it was because they were enjoying their nice Spring Break on a BEACH and posting selfies with the sand and ocean!

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The best Easter picture of him I could get 🙂

Then I looked outside to saw the melting snow outside my door and the fluffy, warm socks on my feet.  I was thankful that there was no snow currently falling from the sky and that all the ice from the day before had melted away.

Just yesterday I looked down at my car thermometer where it read 61 and I smiled.  And then I laughed.  61 used to make me frown and pray for the warm weather to hurry up.  I’d complain about the jacket I had to wear.  Now, just three weeks in, I am smiling at 61!!

God knew what he was doing when he didn’t allow our house to sell until winter was over.  I truly believe that.  While being apart from Matt for four months was not ideal I have no doubt that God decided to give me a break and let me experience a chilly spring and then summer and fall before throwing me into a Montana winter.

But while all my North Carolina friends are so miserably hot with what I can only imagine is going to be one of the hottest summers on record and are probably forced to stay inside in the air conditioning most of the summer, I am excited about the things that we’ll be doing and discovering out here!

And while the weather is now ‘warming up’ here in Montana and I no longer feel the need to put on my big winter jacket or make Liam constantly wear a hat, I am ready for my week at the beach this summer.  I am ready to stick my feet in sand so hot that I practically blister my toes.  I’m ready to stick my chair in the ocean and let the waves curl around me.  I’m ready to be covered in sand and enjoy the free exfoliation a day at the beach brings.  I’m ready to bear my white (very white!) legs and give them some much deserved color.  And I’m ready to sweat!

Though a day at the beach has never made me sweat as much as just an hour of hot yoga that I did last week and will do again tonight.  But more about that later…!

 

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Sunny with a chance of…what?!

Wake up.  Put on jeans and grab a jacket.  Throw on some sandals and pray my feet don’t freeze before the day heats up.  Run to my car and turn on the heat full blast.  By the afternoon, I turn my car on and about die as the heat blows on me full blast battling the temperature of the inside of the car.  I’m taking off my jacket and wishing I had on a pair of shorts.  My feet are thankful for not being shoved into another pair of socks.

I’m from North Carolina.  I’m used to dressing in layers.  I’m used to the temperature swaying twenty or thirty degrees in a day.  Just before I moved here, we were having the weirdest sway in weather.  It was in the thirties one day and close to eighty the next.  It was really as if we went straight from winter to summer with no spring in between.  And, from what friends and family say back home, it’s still close to eighty there most days…and it’s only April!

But Montana has taken on a whole new “crazy weather” category for me.

On Saturday, Matt had to work a half-day.  So, Liam, Tippet and I headed out to discover some of the amazing walking trails near our house.  It was not warm by North Carolina standards but the sun was out and blue skies were showing.

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That afternoon we went over to some friend’s house for dinner.  I took Liam over to a park across the street to swing and slide and get some energy out before going inside.  The wind was picking up and even though a lot of kids at the park were in tank tops and shorts, Liam and I were all zipped up in our jackets and wearing gloves!  He even looked up from me in his swing and said, “Cold Mommy.”

We headed inside and within the hour it was raining.  From the window it looked like a downpour.  But, then I realized it was hailing.  Hail in North Carolina is quite rare and in the cases that it does fall, the news networks are warning about the dangers and telling everyone to stay inside.

Within minutes, the yards and roads were almost completely white!

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The sun ended up coming back out and melting away much of the ice.

And then Sunday morning we woke up to inches of snow and still coming down hard!

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Bozeman truly has unique weather.  And it’s landscape makes it truly phenomenal to watch.  The city is so flat that the weather can be different in any direction you look.  Driving down the road, you can look right and see a sunny, blue sky and the mountains reaching high.  To the left, you could see a cloudy, grey sky and rain falling blocking most of the mountains.  It’s wild!

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This photo doesn’t do justice but you could see a single rainstorm covering up one of the mountains.

I’m excited for the spring and summer to truly arrive here but I’ve heard that it can even snow in July!

Right now, the weather forecast for the week calls for everything but lightening!

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For now, I am getting excited when the high for the day is in the upper 50’s or there is a full sun pictured!

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My Excited Inner Child

I have to admit I am enjoying the stay-at-home-mom life.  Liam is at such a fun, exciting age.  I have never found anything remotely exciting about ‘big trucks’ and ‘yellow school bus’es.  Yet now I find myself pointing at every big truck and listening to him describe them to me.  Or we pass a school bus and I hear him yelling from the back seat “Look, Mom!  Yellow school bus!  Look!  Look!”

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Today we went to the library for Storytime.  As nerdy as it sounds, I love the Bozeman library…and I’ve really only been to the Children’s Room.  Growing up, my mom always took me to the library.  And I LOVED it.  I loved knowing that I could choose any book from the thousands that were on the shelves.  When we lived in Florida and Missouri, we lived in very suburban areas.  The libraries were large.  There was row after row of books and movies to choose from.  I can still remember moving to our small town in North Carolina and walking into the library for the first time.  I walked in and could see all four walls.  I could literally stand at the front door and see every bookshelf.  And it smelled so old.  My twelve year old self, who was accustomed to libraries with elevators and rooms allocated to different genres of books, could not comprehend that the small rectangle I was standing in was the entire public library!

And my disappointment continued as I walked back to the young adult section and was met with book after book that was well older than me.  There is nothing more disappointing to a kid who loves to read than a bunch of book covers that are tan, white and black.  Kids want color.  And about the only covers that looked remotely new were the five on the “New Release” shelf at the front.

And things didn’t get better when I moved to Marion.  Yes, the library was bigger.  And yes there were newer books.  And yes they had a Children’s Section that offered hundreds of books.  But, it just wasn’t the libraries from my childhood.  It wasn’t a library that would make children beg to go like when I was little.

So my inner nerdy child was excited the first time I visited the Bozeman library.  When walking in, there were too many walls to count and I certainly couldn’t see them all.

So today I took Liam to Storytime.  And he did better than last week!  Last week he spotted one of the preschool computers on the way in that had a fish screensaver.  Once he got his eyes on that, it’s all he could focus on while Storytime was happening.  He kept standing and saying “Watch fish swimming, Mom.  Watch fish swimming.”  So today I made sure we bypassed all of the computers and headed straight to the Storytime area.  But he’s no dummy.  He looked right at me, pointed in the direction of the computers and said “Fish swimming?”

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Getting brave and scooting closer to the big kids!

And to make the library even better, the lobby has a coffee shop.  I haven’t tried it yet but I see many winter days spent in the library with Liam reading and playing and me sipping my coffee and reading!

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