Storms

I didn’t grow up in Kansas, so storm season is very scary to me. Sunday afternoon, seemingly out of no where (it was a beautiful, sunshiny warm day), the tornado sirens started going off. I immediately ran downstairs to check our emergency bag. It’s not much, but there’s a big flash light, a big bottle of water and some pop tarts in it. It sits next to a small dog kennel in the corner of our basement. There’s also a mattress downstairs that’s become part of our emergency kit. When I knew everything we needed was downstairs, I went up and got the puppies. We all sat on the mattress, with Alex and  I on our phones watching live streams of the weather coverage. After about 30 minutes, it went completely black outside and the lightening and hail got super loud. There was a confirmed tornado touch down at the airport, which is a few miles from our house. Here’s a photo I stole from my sister in law’s Facebook page, which she stole from someone at work. She works at the VA hospital, just a couple miles down the highway from the airport:

Scary wall cloud

Scary wall cloud

The weatherman said the storm was headed for downtown, just down the road from us, so I decided it was a good idea to get under the mattress. Because Alex is a good boyfriend, he humored me. I was texting family while all of this was happening, and my mom requested a picture:

Under the mattress in the storm

Under the mattress in the storm

Obviously it’s hard to see- it was dark. The glowing little blobs in the bottom left are our puppies- they were in a little kennel under the mattress, too. Luckily, the tornado lifted back up in the sky and never came back. After another 20-30 minutes, the weather guys said it was all clear.

The wind and hail caused some damage to our neighborhood. There was some large tree branches knocked down in pretty much everyone’s yards. Luckily, the only house damage we suffered was a shatter light bulb on the front of our garage. Here’s some photos of the aftermath:

Some hail accumulation next to our house. It melted quite a bit before I got this picture.

Some hail accumulation next to our house. It melted quite a bit before I got this picture.

Storm aftermath panorama

Here’s a panorama of our front yard. The street was flooded, branches were down and leaves were plastered everywhere.

Flower bed

My flower garden didn’t fare too well- stupid tree branch crushed everything.

We were counting ourselves pretty lucky, and I think Alex thought I was a little ridiculous for putting us under the mattress.

Then the tornado struck Oklahoma yesterday. A 2-mile wide EF4 tornado demolished the town of Moore. An elementary school was completely knocked down as almost 300 students sat inside. People’s homes were destroyed while they sat underneath them. Cars were thrown all over town. Current numbers show 24 have died, hundreds injured, and not everyone has been found in the wreckage yet. It’s insane.

I think people in the Midwest get a little complacent when it comes to storm season. Some coworkers were talking yesterday about standing outside, watching the clouds roll in while the sirens were going off. That picture outside the VA hospital- someone left the safety of a building to take it. Obviously there are a ton of warnings each season, and most of the time nothing terrible happens. But it only takes one storm, one tornado to destroy a town and take lives. Yesterday morning I was feeling a little silly telling my coworkers about hiding under a mattress, but now I just feel smart. Thank goodness nothing happened, but if it had, I was prepared. I hope the Oklahoma tragedy reminds people how dangerous tornadoes can be. It might not be cool or fun to hide in a basement, but I’d rather be safe than cool.

 

Challenging Myself to Make Me Happy

In the last couple months, I’d been struggling with feeling bored. Everyday life had become so monotonous and predictable, it was driving me crazy! I developed “green grass syndrome,” where I was noticing everyone else’s exciting, fun lives and getting jealous. When I say I was struggling, I mean struggling. I’d come home from work and immediately be in a crappy mood. The last thing I wanted to do every night was cook dinner and hang out at home. I kept thinking about the life I’m working towards- marriage, family, adoption. It seems so wonderful, but so far away. I was feeling stuck in my current routine.

Finally I got fed up and decided to make a change. If I want to be satisfied with my life, I need to make it fun and exciting. I need to stop comparing my life to other people’s. I need to concentrate on the now, as apposed to looking longingly into the future. I’ve changed my mindset, and the last couple weeks have been awesome.

Alex and I are reconnecting and having fun just hanging out together. I’m excited to come home and see him, even if I know we’re just going to be lazying around all evening in front of the TV. I’ve just been enjoying his company, which is reminding me why he’s one of my favorite people in the world. And instead of feeling stuck, like I’m waiting for our future to happen, I’m enjoying our now. There’s plenty of time to think about our future, but we’re never going to be younger and less tied down than we are right now. And lately Alex has been talking about our wedding and our future house and our future children, which is making me excited about getting there- the process of getting there, not just being there.

Instead of just sitting around, hoping to have an exciting summer, I’m making it happen! We have two out-of-town, over-night trips planned with friends in the next two months. And this weekend Alex and I planned a mini vacation for just the two of us. We’ve been talking about wanting to go to St. Louis for a couple years now, and we’re finally going. (The Backstreet Boys playing there just offered that extra little push we needed.) It’s a short, three day trip, but it’s going to be great.

I put that flower bed in, and I really love watering it everyday and watching it grow. And we planted grass a while back, and it’s starting to sprout- it’s crazy how proud I feel about our baby grass! I’m finding the fun in every day life again. It’s truly amazing how a mindset change has turned my outlook around.

 

Love Without Boundaries Part 2

As I explained in my last post, I made a small donation to Love Without Boundaries today. I just checked my email, and not only did I get a receipt from LWB for my donation, I also got a thank you email from their Chief Financial Executive. How awesome is that?!  Someone in their organization took the time to write me a personal email, thanking me for my donation. I would expect that if I had given a large donation, but $7? Not expected at all.

She also sent along a page letting me know where their donations go.

About LWB

About Love Without

BoundariesNeedless to say, I love this organization even more now.

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Love Without Boundaries

Love Without Boundaries is an organization I’ve followed for some time. They provide medical care, education, nutritious formula and foster care for orphans in China. (Seriously an organization after my heart.) When I was looking to sponsor an orphan several months ago, LWB and New Day Foster Home were the two I looked at. I ended up going with New Day because their website had a lot more information and was up to date. (LWB recently updated their website and it’s a million times better than it was.)

I was excited when I saw on Facebook that LWB was Sevenly’s charity this week. I usually love the designs Sevenly comes up with for each charity, but this time I’m disappointed. So instead of buying a shirt, I just went to LWB’s website and donated the $7 straight to them. You can choose which part of their organization you want your donation to go to, and I chose the Healing Homes. Here’s their brief description of the Healing Homes:

LWB’s Healing Homes Program helps orphaned children with serious medical issues needing specialized care. These children are extremely vulnerable, due to being born with medical needs that often cannot be met in an institutional setting. LWB’s healing homes are staffed with specially trained nannies who devote their time to the careful nurturing of these children.

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Why My Mom is the Best

Mother’s Day is this weekend, which just gives me an excuse to rave about how awesome my mom is. Seriously. I almost titled this post “All you other daughters are just jealous,” because you should be.

My mom has always been my #1 fan, both literally and figuratively. I played sports the whole time I was growing up. T-ball, coach pitch, softball, basketball, soccer, volleyball- you name it, I played it. My mom came to almost every game. She gave up countless nights and weekends to sit on bleachers and cheer me on. (Even when I was on the worst team in the German league that lost every game.) I can still hear her yelling from the stands, “Go Jillybean!” And you know what’s even more amazing than the number of games she sat through in the rain, snow and blistering heat? The fact that I can’t remember ever hearing her complain, not even once. For 10+ years she cheered me on with a smile on her face. And she always acted like that’s what she was supposed to do- it never occurred to me that she might want to do something else.

Outside of the athletic world, she’s always been just as supportive. She let me explore my own interests and do my own thing. Even when I was in my weird, angsty teen years, she encouraged me to be myself. She always stood by me when I made dumb decisions, and praised me when I made good ones. When I was fighting with my friends, she’d spend Friday nights on the couch watching Dawson’s Creek with me. And when my friends and I made up, she acted like she didn’t care when I started ditching her for them. When I graduated high school and wanted to move away with a boy, she told me she didn’t like the idea, but still supported me. And when things fell apart, she let me sleep on her couch for a while because I didn’t want to stay in my empty house.

Now that I’m an adult, my relationship with my mom has changed. She’s gone from my parent to my best friend. She’s silly and sweet, and so much fun to spend time with. Nothing is better than spending a Saturday afternoon shopping with my mom. And when we’re done shopping, we can just sit around and talk for hours. She’s someone I can confide in, and I never have to worry about her judging me. I still feel like she’s my biggest fan.

Someday when I become a mom, I hope I can be half as great as she is.

Mom and I at Elton John and Billy Joel

Me and my wonderful mom

Sevenly Flowy Tank Review

I’ve found my new favorite shirt! I got the Sevenly flowy tank I ordered in support of End7 in the mail today. The graphic is so beautiful. Seriously, check this out:

Sevenly Flowy Tank Love is a Cure

Love is a Cure

I love the design, I love the colors, I just think it’s fantastic. The shirt itself is really nice- it’s a thin cotton like the flowy raglan. It’s a racerback, and there’s a cute little scrunched seam in the back, but I couldn’t get a good picture of it. (Sorry.) The fit of this shirt is awesome.

Sevenly Flowy Tank

Please ignore the pile of clothes

The a-line cut creates just the right amount of flowy. It fits really nicely on top, and the arm holes don’t gap at all. And unlike every other racerback tank I own, the neckline isn’t super low. (Hooray for chest coverage.) That means I won’t have to wear a cami under it during the dog days of summer, which is a nice. I am wearing a cami in this picture, just because I threw the tank on over lunch and had been wearing the cami under a sweater. I really like the length of this tank- it’s long enough to cover my long torso, but not too long that it looks messy. Like I said before- new favorite shirt!

I’ve purchased three out of the four styles Sevenly carries for designed shirts so far, and the tank is definitely my favorite. This design is the best I’ve seen so far as well. Now if the weather would heat back up, I’d be able to wear it!

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The Thing About Facebook…

UNICEF Sweden recently released this ad, and I love it.

I get so tired of seeing posts that say “Like ____ organization to help fight ____.” Liking an organization on Facebook might show support, but it doesn’t really do anything. Facebook likes don’t translate into money, and money is what nonprofit organizations need to survive. Next time you like a page on Facebook, why don’t you consider donating to them? Even if it’s only $1, that’s infinitely more powerful than a thumbs up.

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Things I’m Looking Forward To

Spring has been teasing me the past two days- it’s been beautiful outside! It gets me excited about this summer, and all the things I’m looking forward to:

Dexter in the Snow

Dexter in the Snow

1. I’m SUPER excited about not having to worry about waking up to snow. I’m so over snow! The first snow of the winter is always exciting, especially when you can’t get to work so you get a snow day. But we had a couple big snows in Kansas this year, and I’m over it.

dress

Dresses

2. I’m so ready to pull all my dresses out of the back of my closet! I have purchased several in the last two months- including the one I’m wearing at work today, above- and I’ve been itching to wear them. Dresses are so easy and comfortable. I plan on pretty much living in dresses this summer.

family

My little family

3. Spending time with my little family, especially outside. We’ve been cooped up inside for so long, and the dogs’ energy is driving me a little crazy. I’m excited to take our pups on walks, both because I love our walks, and it’s a great way to tire them out! This winter has been crazy for Alex and I, so I’m excited to spend some down time together.

bow

Hair bow

braids

Milk maid braids

4. Fun hair styles. I wear my hair down 95% of the time. It’s just easier, and in the winter, it’s nice to cover my ears and neck. This summer, I’m looking forward to trying new, fun updos. My hair is longer than it’s ever been in my life, so I’ll be able to do more with it. (I don’t plan on doing the hair bow on a regular basis- that was my hair for the Lady Gaga show.)

zoe-saldana-bejeweled-updo-w724

Zoe Saldana rolled hair updo

I spotted this beautiful style this morning, and it’s #1 on my must-try list.

squeezers

Squeezer’s

5. Squeezer’s Palace. If you live in the Wichita area, Squeezer’s is a must try. They sell delicious ice cream and frozen yogurt treats. The interesting thing about Squeezer’s Palace is that they don’t have regular hours- they open on days when it’s warm, and they close when the sun goes down. They’re in Riverside, on Biting and 11th- check them out, and try the apple pie.

Gogol Bordello

Gogol Bordello

anberlin acoustic

Anberlin acoustic tour

6. Concerts. It always seems like musicians come out of the woodwork to tour in the summer. I already have tickets to see Anberlin, and we’re planning on going to Oklahoma to see Gogol Bordello. There’s nothing better than seeing a show with friends.

giraffes at the zoo

Giraffes at the Zoo

7. The zoo! Wichita has a great zoo. (The Sedgwick County Zoo) It’s really big, and they have every animal you could ever want to see. Alex and I love going to the zoo, and it’s our go-to destination on nice days when we don’t have any plans. There’s also Tanganyika Wildlife Park close by, which is a tiny zoo where you can touch and interact with the animals.

8. Traveling to see old friends. (I’m not including a picture because I’m not sure how they’ll feel about being on my blog.) I’m hoping to make a trip down to Austin this summer to see two of my dear old friends from high school. Those girls are amazing and I miss them like crazy. We don’t see each other nearly enough, but it’s so great to pick up right where we left off, even if we haven’t seen each other in a year.

9. Watching my sister in law’s belly grow! My brother and his wife are expecting their first child, and I couldn’t be more excited about it. My sister in law is a tiny little thing, and I’m sure she’s going to be all belly by August. I’m looking forward to shopping for baby things, throwing her a baby shower and just watching them prepare for this amazing addition.

There are plenty of other things I’m looking forward to, but these are the things that come to mind right now. The summer is my favorite time of year, and if it could hurry up and get here, that’d be amazing.

The Little Couple and New Day Foster Home

I’ve been following TLC’s The Little Couple (Jennifer and Bill) as they pursue adoption. I think they are an adorable couple and their show is so fun, and it was really great promotion for adoption! Imagine my surprise when they introduced their newly adopted son and I recognized him!

The Little Couple's first family picture

The Little Couple’s first family picture (Photo courtesy of People Magazine)

Their little guy was my FAVORITE little man at New Day Foster Home! Back when I first started following the foster home, before Will was matched with a family, the little guy’s name was Josiah. He’s just the cutest kid, and I loved seeing new pictures of him on New Day’s blog. I was SO excited for him when he left to meet his new forever family, but I was also a little sad because I wouldn’t be able to follow his journey anymore. Now I’ll be able to watch him on TV!

I realize I don’t actually know Will, but I feel like I do because I’ve been following his journey for so long. And obviously I don’t know Jennifer and Bill either, but if you’ve ever watched their show, it’s hard not to fall in love with them. I think Will is extremely lucky to have them as parents, and they are amazing lucky to have him as their little boy!

New Day doesn’t allow people to post photos from their blog, but you can take a look back at posts about Will here. Seriously- don’t you just want to squeeze Will and his adorable cheeks?!

Sevenly Flowy Raglan Review

I recently made my second purchase from Sevenly. This time $7 from my purchase went to Reece’s Rainbow to help fund an adoption of a child with Down Syndrome.

I purchased the “Women’s Flowy Raglan” shirt:

Sevenly Flowy Raglan

Blessing not Burden

I like  it! The shirt is made from thin, soft cotton. Unlike a normal t-shirt, there’s a seem from the neckline to under the arm whole, just above the side of the chest (you can kind of see it in the picture). The sleeves don’t have a usual folded hem, there’s just a quick stitch through them so they don’t fray. It’s more flowy than their standard t-shirt, but I think I would like it a little bit looser. I just tried it on over my lunch break, I haven’t actually worn it, but I think if I were to order another one, I’d go up a size. The text on the shirt is cute, but it’s kind of difficult to read. That could be a good thing though- if someone stops me to ask what my shirt says, I’ll have an opportunity to tell them about Reece’s Rainbow and Sevenly.
UPDATE: I wore the shirt this weekend, and I’ve changed my mind about going up a size. I think if it was any bigger it would look sloppy.

This one shipped in a cool package that was different than the last time:

sevenly package

Sevenly Package

Again, I just love it. The fun packaging just makes me even more excited to open it up! The shirt came with a sticker, too. Even though I have two of the same sticker, I’m still weird about sticking it anywhere. (read about that quirk and my last purchase here) So instead of sticking it, I just used a magnet to put it up at my desk:

Sevenly sticker desk

My work cube

It’s cute, especially when held up with my smiley latte magnet.

I’m expecting another package in the mail in the next week or so from Sevenly. I ordered a racerback tank top- be on the look out for a review!

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