A Trip to Oz.

Here in Oklahoma, weather is pretty unpredictable. Around this time of year it is usually either snowing or the tornado sirens are going off constantly. So, usually around the time the seasons change and it is officially “spring”, I pack the “tornado bag”.
This year I put it off a little longer than I usually do, so this evening as the tornado warnings were starting to flash on the TV my husband & I started packing. As I was frantically throwing items into the bag, the thought popped into my head that maybe not everyone packs a bag or maybe could just use a checklist. Thus, the inspiration for this blog post.

I’m a full-time college student first and foremost in my life, well after the “full-time wife” title. My husband is 100% aware of the level of seriousness I take my schooling & has mad respect for it. I’m ridiculously blessed. So this sort of leads into the first few items on the checklist:

1. Data backup.

I pack the Mac, iPad, chargers, and all four flash drives into my backpack (as well as all of my textbooks for the semester & notebooks) & have it sitting in a place where I can quickly grab & go, should the sirens blow. My entire life is on my Mac, but I’m not foolish enough to not backup everything to all four flash drives at least once a month. In the event of a natural disaster, such as a tornado, I need HAVE to know that all of my hard work isn’t hanging in a tree thirty miles away, but rather safely with me. Hence, the packing into a backpack. Slide it on your back & high tail it to the shelter. **I always store one of the data backup flash drives in the clothing bag in case there just isn’t time to grab this.** 

**Disclaimer, I would NEVER risk my life for a computer or iPad. Please do not mistake this for my being foolish enough to risk dying for saved homework. However, I do typically go ahead & get this bag ready if there is plenty of warning ahead of time.**

2. Medicine.

The second thing I pack is medications, always. Not just the regular prescriptions that we may have, but I try to think to pack a makeshift first-aid kit. Including: band-aids, antibiotic ointments, inhaler, tylenol, motrin, and of course the other necessities. Adjust this to your family’s requirement. Toss these in a gallon sized Ziplock bag & slide into an exterior pocket of the bag.

3. FUNCTIONAL clothing.

I repeat, FUNCTIONAL clothing. In the event of a natural disaster, you do not need to be worrying about how glamorous you are looking in fancy heels or low-cut shirts. No. Long pants, tees, a jacket, extra undergarments, socks, and closed toe shoes should ALWAYS be including in the bag. Don’t pack five day’s worth of clothing, just a spare outfit. **Hint** put on the closed toe shoes before you head to the shelter, less bulk in the emergency bag. A jacket is also something you can don quickly & not take up storage space in your bag.

4. Toiletries.

No one, and I mean NO ONE, wants to smell your stank breath. I usually pack a toiletry bag in a small zip up bag & toss it in the bag. Sample size toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, and soap are cheap to pick up at the store & great to have in case of emergencies. Please, for the love of Pete, pack a toothbrush & toothpaste…

5. ID

I typically shove my wallet & such into my backpack, I grab the backpack & my husband grabs the emergency bag, so we just grab this & go. Women: you can always just grab your purse. 

6. Irreplaceable valuables.

I always grab two things from my jewelry box, rings from my grandmothers. Both of whom have passed and these are truly irreplaceable. Typically go ahead and shove these in the bottom of the bag for the duration of tornado season & existence of the “tornado bag”.


My suggestions for a bag are as follows:

Backpack.

This is my top choice. As I said earlier, I grab the backpack with the computer stuff in it & my husband grabs the bag with clothing in it. They are easy to slide on, you do not have to worry about it sliding off your shoulder, and in worst case scenarios-you can RUN with this on your back & typically not have to fight it.

If you have children, this is a perfect way to have each member of the household prepared for the worst case scenario. Simply have a bag in the child’s closet (or next to yours depending on the child’s age) and each member of the household can grab their bag & go.

Duffel Bag.

This is the other option I suggest, though still strongly recommend a backpack. A duffel usually holds more than a backpack, so great for families with small children, and all of mine are able to be worn “cross-body” so it does not easily slide off the shoulder.


In the event that you have a shelter or designated safe place to go, that is strictly yours, I suggest the following:

Store water & non-perishables. 

This actually shouldn’t go in your bag, but rather kept in the location where you seek shelter. A 12 pack of water, few cans of soup, and/or some granola bars or something would be great to keep. I always have a bottle of water tucked into my backpack so it is easy to keep one on hand too.

**If you store canned goods, rotate through these throughout the year so they do not spoil.**

Store batteries & a portable radio. 

In the event that a tornado is coming & you lose power, you will need to be able to know what is going on. & funny little bit of information, if all heck is breaking loose outside, chances are the cell towers will not be working. BUY A BATTERY POWERED RADIO.

Store emergency information. 

Many people are constructing a “safe room” rather than the old-school style cellar, thus making utilization of the storage space much easier. If your shelter is water tight & not musty, go ahead and keep a copy of your important documents in there.

My suggestion would be to invest in a fire box & keep a copy of:

Titles.

Insurance policies.

&/or Passports/Identification.

Store blankets. 

Again, kind of like storing the documents, best if it is a water tight/storage utilizable space. If you have access to this, make use of the space and keep an extra blanket or two.


If you have any suggestions on things to add to this list, please comment on this post! I welcome any feedback!

Sincerely,

–A.

A girl that has no desire to ever visit the land of Oz. 

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An overview of 2014, or something like that.

I realized the other day that I have seriously been neglecting my Blog, and I apologize for this! This past year has been….chaotic. My husband and I have faced things we never would have thought would occur, and have dealt with the loss of two amazing grandmas. 2014 was a rough year, but let’s focus on the positives.


 

I managed to knock out another year of college. 

Oh yes, perhaps I consider this one of my most exciting events of 2014, but that is okay…because I worked my tail off for it. I am now looking at the light at the end of the tunnel, T-Minus 9 months & some change until I get to walk my happy self across the stage at Gallagher Iba Arena.

Total number of hours completed in 2014: 36. Plus one Clep Exam earning me an additional 3 hours. So the real “total”: 39 credit hours. In one year. Hashtag: I have no social life. **I should add that 12 of these were completed while working a full-time job**

hoco14


 

We purchased our “first car.”

My trusty Jeep was slowly becoming not so trusty, and considering the extensive amount of miles I was quickly piling on (not to mention the dreadful MPG), we decided it was time to bite the bullet & purchase our “first” car together. I put it in quotations because J purchased his truck when we were dating, but this was the first vehicle purchase as a married couple.

A 2011 Ford Fusion, AKA Miss Sally. I love my car & better yet, I love the MPG & lack of “pain” at the gas station when I fill her up!

Meet Sally

Sally

We’re officially a “Ford” family.

 


We finished our deck & bought furniture for it. 

We had built a deck the previous year, but had to wait to stain it until it had a chance to dry out more. After much much much extensive shopping & price comparisons, we finally found the perfect furniture set! It was an investment, and while we were not really able to utilize our deck & furniture last summer, we plan on hosting many events this year! Here are a few quick snapshots I took over the course of it the events last year.

Deck stained DeckFurn2 deckfurniture


I changed my major, and future. 

I had worked at an elementary school in a nearby town for three years. Over the course of the three years, I learned more than I taught–in so many ways. I discovered the value of hard work, the importance of standing your ground, the honesty of children, and the vitality of trusting your instincts.

When I made the decision to return to college, I thought it was because I needed to become a teacher. As mentioned in a previous blog post, https://ashbnew.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/when-i-grow-up/ I changed my major from education to Business Management.

With this decision came change, change with school, my goals, my job, and most importantly–change with my happiness.

I resigned from my full-time job as an aide at the end of the school year and began working part-time at an insurance agency. To say that I love the change is an understatement. I miss working with the children, but I love being able to go to work & do my job–rather than bouncing around constantly. The biggest downfall to my previous job was not knowing what the day would hold. No, I’m not boring, but I absolutely hated with a passion being prepared to be in “my class” for the day only to discover that I was being pulled to cover one or two other classes.

I love being able to focus on school, not having to work full-time, and being able to work in an office setting. I miss being around children all day (some days), but I know that I made the best decision for myself & J.I especially love being able to be a “day” student and be able to experience the beauty of college & all the wonderful events on campus.

HoCo2014


I finally got my “dream” kitchen appliances.

Most women ask for diamonds & fancy purses for gifts. I ask for appliances. I love to be in the kitchen, so long as it’s functional & I can multi task with ease. I’ve dreamed of the day I can put a Kitchen Aid stand mixer in my kitchen, but before we could do that we had to install an over-the-range microwave so I could have the counter space to put my mixer on! My amazingly sweet hubby obliged, and the kitchen projects began. I didn’t take “in the process” pictures, so you just get to enjoy the finished ones! We had to move the entire upper cabinet unit up about four inches so we would have clearance under the microwave, which of course led into me having to paint to cover where the old vent hood had been. I absolutely love the functionality & overall look my kitchen now has. It’s amazing what a couple of appliances can do to help you in the kitchen!

K.A.Mixer Kitchen


Until next time. 

I promise to try to blog more, I find it soothing in the chaos of school and work, but finding a free moment to do it is hard.

Be blessed, friends.

–A.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I Grow Up…

Remember when you were a child and your parent would ask “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Well, I remember. I also remember my answer 90% of the time. It usually went along the lines of this…”I don’t know, I just want to be in charge of something. I want to be a boss or a leader. I just want to make a difference.” To this day, my answer is still the same. I want to be in charge of something, I want to make a difference, I want to lead people.

I am a junior at Oklahoma State and I am no longer an Early Childhood Education major. Over the course of this past year God has taken me on the journey of a lifetime to lead me to discover that my true roots belong as a Business Management major. Here’s my story…

 

This past year, God provided an opportunity for me to have the full experience of having my very own classroom for about 10 weeks. During this time, I worked full time while taking five classes at OSU in the evenings. I would stay at work until 4 or later and be up all hours of the night trying to stay on top of my school work, as well as any projects going on at work. I don’t want to come across as whiny about this opportunity, because I specifically asked to be challenged with this task of covering a maternity leave for this amount of time, I just want it to be understood that I gave this opportunity ALL that I had. I needed to know if this was the path that God wanted me to go down. As the weeks passed by, I began to feel that something wasn’t right. I didn’t fit, didn’t belong, wasn’t completely satisfied with my life because it was as though I was missing something. Hours upon hours have been spent praying about and discussing this with those closest to me. Which led me to my decision…

Yes, I want to make a difference in the world. I want to be a leader of something–a boss perhaps. But it takes a person called directly by the Good Lord above to take on the task of teaching a classroom of 20+ kids for the rest of their lives. I love children with a passion, don’t assume that because I chose to change my major that I suddenly have a hatred for all those who are little. No, I love each and every single child that I have had the blessing and honor to have taught/assisted the past three years, but more so in that I love these children enough to realize that God did not design me to be a teacher. I am not a person who can pull off these amazing feats of strength, patience, knowledge, and wisdom (there is a difference in knowledge and wisdom) every day. 

The world of education is changing at an extremely rapid pace. Perhaps you can look back and imagine your earlier years of education? How about kindergarten? My memories consist of this: painting pictures, coloring, macaroni art, playground time, snack time, nap time…are you catching where I’m going? A playful environment directed specifically towards the developmentally appropriate actions based upon what the CHILD can do. Remember in years past the focus was directly on the CHILD, not nation-wide group of 5/6 year old children based upon one specific category that they are all supposed to fall under. Make sense? 

~~I, in no way shape or form, am trying to slam or disrespect the school system that I have faithfully worked for the past few years. I am simply trying to open your eyes to the way education has changed.~~

Don’t think it’s changed? How about you go check out a current 4th or 5th grade child’s homework and tell me when it was in your educational experience that you were exposed to it? I can almost guarantee you that it will not be in your 4th or 5th grade year. Yes, times change, the world is constantly evolving, but perhaps with this change we could add something more to it. Perhaps we could add more recognition to the people responsible to making sure that every single child is prepared for the end of the year tests, possibly we could increase–not decrease–funding for these institutions of education that we so strongly rely upon instead of making the staff scrounge for money from their own pockets to come up with supplies such as glue-kleenex-hand sanitizer, maybe, just maybe, we could get over this concept of a teacher works from 8am to 3pm August to May and that’s it–because you KNOW it is so much more than just that small amount of time. Perhaps, if we could do those three things, the world around us would change. 

I have experienced first hand learning one thing in a college classroom and then applying it directly to the workforce only to discover that they don’t coincide. We push so hard for no child to be left behind, we put so much emphasis on the ability to pass a state mandated test, that the true meaning of education has been mostly pushed aside. It shouldn’t be a requirement for a 5 year old child to be able to write a paragraph before they enter the first grade when considering that developmentally a sentence is more appropriate, it shouldn’t be a requirement that the entire school system be graded (and failed) based upon the test scores–without things taken into consideration such as IEP’s, 504 plans, or other like circumstances. 

I am so thankful for the opportunity that I have had the past three years of working for the district. First with the Co-Op autistic program and then the next two with kindergarten. I am so blessed to have made the friends that I have. I have transformed from a teenage girl into a young adult with my Sunnyside family and it makes me very sad to be leaving. But I must say this, God sends you on paths going every which way and all you have to do is be willing to take the ride. Because you never know, you could be thinking that you’re made out to be an educator when really your leadership and management skills would be better used elsewhere. 

My name is Ashleigh Newcity and I am not destined to be an educator. My path has taken a curve to a new destination. I will see you in the fall of 2015 with my Bachelor of Science in Business Management. 

 

Isaiah 30:21

 

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I Am, Where I Am, Because This is Where I Need to Be.

A few months ago, someone asked me why I chose to move back to my little hometown, rather than staying in OKC or Cushing. At the time, I couldn’t really come up with a “real” answer but rather a joking answer just to move along with the conversation. Well, I can answer that question now. 

I grew up here. Yes, I might have lived other places but this little town is where my roots were planted. The place that my dreams were fed–and starved at times–but still encouraged. This “podunk” town is so much more than a bump in the road, it is home. From seeing elderly family friends walking up and down the streets to everyone knowing who’s who, I really cannot think of anything better. Sure, it gets old with everyone assuming they know your business, but I would rather they know who I am than just blending in with the crowd. 

This little town is where half of J’s & my families live. My dad & stepmom as well as his mom & stepdad reside in our little town. & I don’t know about you, but there is NOTHING better to me than being able to call up mom or dad & saying “Hey, I hope you have dinner ready because I’m coming over.” without actually having to drive out of city limits. This is GREAT! Not only are dinners a bonus, but for a new homeowner/newlyweds there are a lot of things J & I still have to learn–having family close is great for some extra help every now and then! 

Another perk is that in this little podunk town, you get the bonuses of living in “town” yet can still sit out on the porch in the evening and watch deer graze in your front yard. Not a care in the world, just enjoying the peace & serene world around. Can’t forget the two cute little bunny rabbits that like to hang out in our yard.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There are PLENTY of things that drive me crazy about being in a small town…no McAlister’s for sweet tea, not a mall within 30 miles, EVERYONE seems to know what you’ve been doing (it’s a double edged sword really), or the fact that at times the four wheelers that fly by the house can be just SO NOISY. 

It’s not always a peachy-keen world, but it’s my world & I really wouldn’t have it any other way. 

 

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The Spirit of Fear

I have been struggling lately with the spirit of fear overtaking my everyday tasks. Seems so silly when I stop & think about it, but the issue is still there. The truth of the situation? No matter what I may be going through & how big it may seem, it is nowhere near as big & powerful as my God. I need to focus less on how STRESSED I am & a little more on how BLESSED I am. I need to feed the fears a little less and my faith a lot more. The power of prayer is the most powerful thing of all, & has proven that to myself & my husband recently– I will touch on that in a few more blog posts. But for now, I leave you with this.

Peace..

–A.

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Exhaustion

I know I should suck it up and be tough, but I’m just too tired to come up with anything witty to blog about today. It’s definitely been a Monday. Just want to throw out a big fat thank-you to my professor today for making my exam a living nightmare. I can officially sleep tonight knowing my tears will bring me comfort. Yes, it was THAT bad. & on that note, I’m signing off for a few days. I’m starting to feel extremely overwhelmed with work & school, it’s just really starting to wear on me. Words of encouragement would be nice. So would chocolate. &/or some Red Diamond Sweet Tea….stupid diet. Hah. Hitting the hay, could probably sleep for days…

Night all.

–A.

tired

The list

Making : some futuristic plans
Cooking : only when J decides not to. Haha. I’m a bad wife. 
Drinking : My millionth glass of high quality H2O today. 
Reading: My planner, to see what else is due this week.
Wanting: a stainless steel over the range microwave. LIKE NOW! 
Looking: forward to curling up in bed next to my space heater of a husband on this freezing night & sleeping like a baby. 
Playing: “How long I can smack my gum before J freaks out…”
Wasting: time I should be spending on studying for exams..
Wishing: My professors would just say forget about the exams… 
Enjoying: this insanely fuzzy and warm blanket..
Waiting: for a miracle.
Liking: the brightness of my future.
Wondering: why people find it necessary to speak to me as though I am five years old. 
Loving: the fact that I have those few friends who support me in my new endeavors. 
Hoping: this horrible cough goes away soon.
Marvelling: at how quickly time is passing by…
Needing: the Oklahoma weathermen to get it right with their predictions. I can’t take much more heartbreak.. </3
Smelling: laundry in the dryer. 
Wearing: DKNY Pink Delicious
Noticing: a bad attitude is contagious. So is a good attitude. 
Knowing: I should not let people get under my skin like I do…
Thinking: How truly blessed I am to have such a great husband..
Bookmarking: My next class, that starts Monday. :/
Opening: endless amounts of junk mail. 
Giggling: at the genius thoughts my Kindergarteners come up with. 
Feeling: apprehensive

Are you sure today isn’t Monday?

Do you ever wake up in the morning & the minute your feet hit the floor, you just KNOW that today is NOT going to be your day? I know I do. Today was a prime example of one of “those” days. The hubbs has been going in to work early for the past few weeks to try and get some extra over-time. Which is fine, I’m not complaining because the extra money is always nice, but it’s proving to be quite the burden. Here in Oklahoma, mother-nature is a bipolar freak. & lately, she’s forgotten to take her meds. Just a couple of weeks ago it was 70 degrees outside. Two days later, it was 32 whopping degrees outside. Now, I know it’s February which is winter time & all, but come on!

Which brings me back to the topic of the hubbs going into work early. I had REALLY failed to realize how much he does for me in the mornings! I am the furthest thing from a morning person, unless it’s been snowing outside & I’m awake waiting to hear if the boss-man has cancelled our school district for the day (haha), so when my alarm goes off in the morning I moan groan & hit snooze until the LAST POSSIBLE MINUTE that I can scarf down my granola for breakfast & attempt to make myself look halfway presentable for the day. Since the hubbs is gone when I wake up now, I am stuck finding my clothes for the day (I NEVER seem to be able to find my outfit that I had picked out the night before), my lunch packed, oh & the worst part? I have to drag my happy butt outside to start my Jeep in the freezing cold weather, while looking like a hot mess because I’m still not presentable by that time, & then run back inside to finish getting ready. Sigh…such a hard life…haha.

Back to the “today has been one of those days…”, alarm went off, I hit snooze a million times, decided my hair looked too bad to re-fix from the day before, which meant I had to take another shower, spilled milk on my counter, missed my mouth completely while drinking my daily OJ (orange juice), had to change my shirt as a result, couldn’t find my other boot, & realized today was the day to start my new Invisalign trays. In case you didn’t know, new Invisalign trays=one sore as heck mouth for DAYS. Seriously, I should lose serious weight by how bad it makes my mouth hurt when I have to start new trays. Oh well, I suppose the saying is right. Beauty is pain.

After a day at work that seemed like it would NEVER end & a kid puking all over the gym floor RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME, I finally was able to go home. I sent a text to the hubbs that went a little like this, “I’ve had a horrible day, my head hurts, I’m going home & sleeping until you get home. DO NOT wake me up.” Poor J, he knows I truly love him, I just have my days. & today was one of those.

So, here I am, pouring out my woes & other whiny issues out to the blog world, begging for someone to sympathize with me, & while I doubt it happens–it always helps to just get it off my chest.

On a brighter note, J made some AMAZING supper, Mediterranean vegetables & rice AND he cleaned the kitchen (yay!!!) while I was engrossed in the world of Ethics & other pointless classes I will probably never use..(booooo)….I just keep telling myself, God leads you where He sees you fit best, & in the end all these hours of homework & studying will pay off. Hopefully. I think. Maybe. Right?

Exhausted…

–A.

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Proverbs

proverbs 31.25

 

I’ve joked for a few years about how “badly” I want to get a tattoo. I will never actually go through with it, the thought of something permanently being on my skin for all of eternity just freaks me out. Though, if I ever changed my mind, I think it would be this verse. I have found such comfort in this verse since I began my journey of returning to college while working full-time. I repeat it to myself on an almost daily basis & have faith that the future holds many great things for me. So if you’re feeling down, don’t. Have strength & dignity & laugh in the face of fear.

xoxo.

–A.