18

Feb

A Blogger’s Worst Nightmare

sad computer

A week ago, I had a good block of time scheduled out to write a few blog posts, a rare occurrence due to grad school and even more so because of  the wee ones. The stars were aligned for awesome blogging time, BUT when I went to log into my blog it was’t there. Blank screen. I tried different browsers. Nothing. Nothing but panic.

It turns out the digital server my blog was hosted on fried, so we (when I say “we” I mean my techie brother) had to migrate everything over to a different server and had no idea what was going to survive. I had to wait throughout the afternoon and into the night to learn what the damage was. During that time, all I could think about was what if those three years vanished?

(shivers)

As you can see, all is not lost. THANK THE CYBER GODS! We were able to recover the majority of Sturdy for Common Things. There are handfuls of images that didn’t survive the transfer, so I’ve been combing through to find those. (If you come across one, please let me know and I’ll fix it.)

Obviously, this was a huge sigh of relief. However, I do find myself reflecting on those hours of limbo and the potential of having to start over. It would have been a painful loss, but it would also have been an opportunity to start anew. Sturdy for Common Things has changed so much from when I started writing here. I have changed so much. Sometimes a minor crisis is all you need to figure out the direction you want to go. My blogging will still be a bit on the sporadic side for the time being, but get ready for some changes going into the spring season. Time to hit refresh.

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31

Dec

Year in Review

I’ve been seeing a few “Top 5 Posts of 2013” recaps and I thought I’d join in on the fun and do a little run-through of my own most popular posts from this year.

Ready?

Here we go…

Year in Review Summer of STEM

5. Summer of STEM

Each session of my 5-6 year-old weekly summer club was entirely STEM based and were conducted through community partnerships. This post recaps those sessions.

Year in Review Chinese New Year Storytime

4. Chinese New Year Storytime

To celebrate the Chinese New Year my Sunday storytime crew read a few stories, and I had special help from a storytime mother reading We’re Going on a Bear Hunt in Chinese. Afterward we made lucky lanterns.

Tournament of Kids' Books 2013

3. Tournament of Kids’ Books 2013

A popular program from the year before returned! You can read about the winning title HERE.

Stuffed Animal Sleepover and Storytime

2. Stuffed Animal Storytime & Sleepover

My Sunday storytimers brought their stuffed animal friends for storytime and left them in my care for an overnight stay. Both kids and their caregivers LOVED this program. Pictures and videos of the animal’s late night mischief are documented in this post.

Top 5 Mock Newbery Books 2014

1. Mocking It Up

This came as a surprise! The most popular post of the year! I sorted through 19 mock Newbery lists across the country and complied an infograph of the top 5 book nominations. The real-deal winner will be revealed at the Youth Media Awards on January 27th, 2014 @ 8am EST.

Wooowee! When I started SFCT three years ago it was strictly musings of a new mom and recent NYC transplant living in small town Michigan with nothing better to do.  What it has evolved into is something entirely different and unexpected. How the times change. While family still account for a good deal of appearances, books, education, storytelling, community, and the library dominate. As I type this, the sun is setting on a grey, windy day here on the last day of 2013 in Lawrence, Kansas. Baby #2 naps next to me as I reflect on the person I was when I started blogging and how that was a time of extreme uncertainty. How I was fortunate to stumble upon a profession that I have immense passion for, a passion which continues to grow each day. Now that it’s a part of me, it’s hard to imagine life before I became part of a library. For those of you who are old friends here, THANK YOU for reading and following along through it all. And for those who are new, WELCOME and thank you for reading. I hope we become fast friends.

Looking forward to spending time with you all in 2014!

HAPPY NEW YEAR

and All The Best!!

Rebecca

30

Dec

Seeing Things

 

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Cheesey grins

Seeing Things

Babes in dreamland.

Seeing Things

We all fall down.

Seeing Things

 Cheers.

seeing things

 First snow.

seeing things

Twinkle lights.

seeing things

Bright eyes.

Homemade Star

Homemade.

Seeing Things

 Bed head.

Lawrence Kansas

Winter scene.

trimings

Holiday trimmings.

Seeing Things

Put to work.

Seeing Things

First library card.

Glowsticks in Snow

Glowing snow. (Glowsticks in the snow. Try it.)

Lady Jay

Lady Jay.

Seeing Things

Smiles to go ’round.

Where does the time go?

Seriously.

In between finishing my first quarter of grad school, Will finishing his last semester of school before student-teaching next year, having a baby, visitors, finals, sleepless nights, the holidays… The days fly by.

But since Christmas we’ve finally had some slow down time. Some neglect the laundry time. We’ve been taking naps, reading, (re)watching Downtown Abbey. Unwinding. I can’t seem to remember the last time one of us wasn’t working, or had school work, or a deadline. A little r&r has been long overdue.

The new year is fastly approaching, but today I’m taking a break from tomorrow. Today is all about today and reflecting on the blur behind us, these little moments caught between all the hustle and bustle that make it all worth while in the end.

 

18

Nov

News: She’s Here

News: She's Here

Our baby girl was born 7lbs 11oz on November 11, 2013.

We call her “Mira”.

(MEER-uh)

Mira is the name of a red star in the constellation Cetus. It means “wonder”.

Our little star of wonder. A healthy, happy baby. We are elated that she is now a part of our world.

Mira

The labor and delivery went smoothly (I delivered her in under 5 minutes!), but I had a few extremely critical complications with my postpartum recovery. A couple of blood transfusions and various procedures, including a surgery which got complicated, left me in the hospital for almost a week.  Thankfully, I’m on the mend and the seriousness of my state did not fully sink in until the after the fact. I get choked up now just thinking about how easily I could have fallen off the fragile line I was balancing upon. Before these events took place, I was plagued with worry about how I was going to manage my school work, when I’d be able to go back to work at the library, where Will will find a job after he completes school, the possibility of moving again, and how I was going to transition into being a mother of one to a mother or two. Concerns which have long since evaporated. It’s all about perspective, and I gained a healthy dose of it.

sisters

It’s going to take me awhile before I’m back into full swing, so if you’ve emailed me or have tried to get in touch with me one way or another, I promise to get back to you as soon as I can. Each day I feel stronger. This morning, I had the privilege of waking up to the two most beautiful girls I’ve ever laid my eyes on, and a compassionate man I’m proud to call my husband. Sunshine and smiles. The best medicine anyone could ask for.

31

Oct

Happy Halloween

Little Bear Costume

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Halloween is a big deal in our house. Witches, pumpkins, ghosts, black cats, CANDY… the whole lot!  Little L was Little Bear for her Halloween party at school yesterday. It was the 1st of 3 costumes making the rounds. Today she’ll be “leaves changing colors on the tree” and and then a mermaid. She’s had it all planned out since early September.

And yes, I’m still around. No signs of baby just yet. Any day now!

Anyway, just checking in to wish you a safe and sugar-filled day! Here are a few fun Halloween link treats to celebrate:

Can you identify which candy bar is which just from looking at the inside?

Read kid lit author Jonathan Stroud’s scary interactive Halloween story, Lockwood & Co. via The Guardian.

Check out these 7 Apps for a Fun and Safe Halloween via Time.

Here’s another one for the kids… Test your Halloween knowledge with National Geographic Kids’ Halloween Quiz.

Are you a Winnie or a Sarah? Determine which Hocus Pocus Sanderson sister you are by taking this personality quiz via Buzzfeed.

Give someone the gift of a scary story today for All Hallow’s Reads.

Listen to “Thriller” at least once today. Dancing is not optional.

 

 

22

Oct

Seeing Things

great expectations

In Kansas, the flowers are as tall as houses.

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Tiny treasures.

IMG_5385 Tiny feet.

 

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 Commemorate Lawrence #QR1863.

Read Across Lawrence for Kids Turtle in Paradise

One month, one book.

Kansas Sunflowers

Sunfower state of mind

Sunflower field

as far as the eye can see

sunflowers

August breeze.

Future Reader

 Future reader.

nature collection

Her nature collection.

art walk

 Art walk.

king of the books

King of the shelf.

little storyteller

Improptu storytime. Like mother, like daughter.

leaf printing

Leaf printing.

9th street

Sunrise over 9th.

end of the rainbow

End of the rainbow

#LFK

Hi, I’m Rebecca and I’m in library school!

Evening puddle walk

Evening puddle walks.

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 Just right for the picking.

pumpkin patch

Fruits of October.

The last Seeing Things post was back in July, so I have quite a bit of happenings to report over the past three months.

We moved.

Moving is always draining, but this move was especially so. The house we moved into was a wreck. Exhibit A: We found a snake skin in L’s closet. The house was dirty and needed quite a few repairs – It was not an ideal situation to say the least. We were exhausted, emotionally drained, and not to mention I was seven months pregnant, but we got through it and lived to tell the tale!

Summer Reading came and went, as did Read Across Lawrence for Kids.

At the library, I finished up my weekly summer reading club for 5-6-year-olds which was entirely rooted in STEM literacy. I hosted a few virtual author talks for middle grade readers during those summer month. And once it was all said and done, I switched gears right into Read Across Lawrence for Kids which turned out to be AWESOME.

I started library school.

In the middle of September, aka the middle of Read Across Lawrence for Kids (!!), I flew out to Seattle for orientation at the University of Washington. It was good to meet my cohort, and frightening to come back to my island in Kansas. I’m currently in the middle of my first quarter, which has been a bit hectic as I slowly figure out how this whole being a student thing works. It’s been awhile!

I went on maternity leave.

A week after Read Across Lawrence for Kids wrapped up, I started my maternity leave from the library. I decided that it was best that I give my full attention to my school work in the weeks ahead. That and get ready for the little one to make her debut. But leaving work was harder than I thought it would be. During the last week, I felt anxious that I had no programs in the queue, and after I left I felt empty. It’s hard to push the pause button on a part of your life that you donate a hefty chunk of your energy and heart to. I’m doing better now, but I do find myself scribbling ideas down in the little book that sits by my nightstand for the day when I return.

I’m full term.

This week marks 37 weeks of my pregnancy – Full term! If baby was born today she would be ready to go. Doc says anytime between now and the second week of November is fair game. I packed my bag for the hospital yesterday. Now, it’s a wait and see game. Little L is getting excited about meeting her new baby sister and Will, and I have been trying to sneak in time between class and homework to prepare for her arrival. She will be here before we know it.

Sunflowers bloomed and then wilted and now pumpkins are plump to be plucked off the vine.

This time of the year looks good on Lawrence, Kansas. The sky is a crisp blue and the leaves are just starting to turn. You can still get away with not wearing a heavy jacket (which is good for me because none of mine fit at the moment). We took L to the pumpkin patch and she visited one for preschool. So, we have a running total of something like twelve pumpkins plopped around our house. My absolute favorite holiday, Halloween, is almost here but I haven’t gotten the chance to pull the decorations out, so at least we have our pumpkins to bring us a little Hallow Eve’s cheer. L is planning on being a mermaid, Little Bear, and “leaves changing colors on the tree”. But not necessarily in that order.

Life is busy.

Life is good.

Happy Fall!

 

7

Sep

30 Weeks

This week marks 30 weeks.

The homestretch.

Little girl is growing and has a lot more growing to do. We’re still teeterting back and forth between names. There are a few standouts, so now all we need to do is buckle down and make a decision. Like L, she’s an active little thing. Will doesn’t know how I sleep at night with her constantly moving around all the time. All I know is that I’m getting a whole heck of a lot more sleep than I will come 10 weeks from now! The countdown is on. Soon our family of 3 will be 4.

Postscript: For those folks out there on the interweb who aren’t from around here, you can see why they call Kansas the “Sunflower State”. This picture was taken a week ago on a farm 15 minutes outside Lawrence. In mid-August, I stalk the farm’s Facebook page to see when the field is going to be in bloom. Golden fields for miles. It’s a magnificent sight.

20

Jul

Seeing Things

Spring moonrise.

Misty walks.

Drip, drip, drop.

South Park in bloom.

Library magic.

Story cuddle.

“We can talk…. When there is anyone worth talking to.”

Exploring.

Cloud gazing.

Pages to Projects.

Growing. (Picture taken at 17 weeks.)

Window watching.

Smiles.

Wagon reading.

Summer fresh.

Strawberry breeze.

Bzzzzzzy at work.

30.

3.

To market, to market.

Growing. (Picture taken at 23 weeks.)

Summer came slowly to Lawrence. Not that I’m complaining… It’s been absolute bliss.

L started attending preschool in June. She goes for half the day and is loving it. Since she is in school now, my schedule has changed quite a bit. Instead of working nights a weekends, I work one full day and then mornings the rest of the work week. I actually get to see my husband. It’s awesome! Over the summer, I’ve been conducting the library summer club for kids 5-6, hosted an early literacy event, a few author talks, and the rest of my time goes towards planning for Read Across Lawrence for Kids.

Let me see… What else?

Oh, yes. Baby is growing. I’m 23-weeks pregnant this week and we found out we were having a GIRL just the other day. The nausea is gone. I’m less tired. The baby is kicking and healthy. She and I are doing a-okay so far.

Last weekend, my husband and I started packing our house up. We’re moving to a different home (only a block away) at the end of the month. I register for classes next week, and school starts in September. Baby is due in November. Will finishes summer school at the end of the month, will have his last semester of school in the fall, and then will student teach in the spring while looking for a job. It’s going to be an eventful rest of 2013! Here we go!

2

Jul

News: It’s a…

The day before I left for ALA in Chicago last week, we found out the gender of the baby.

(Drum roll, please.)

It’s..

a…

 

GIRL! A strong baby girl coming to a world near you this November. Many of our family and friends thought it was going to be a boy. We had no preference. Just a healthy baby. And we’re ecstatic to be having another little girl enter our lives.

Let the naming games begin!

18

Jun

The Slump

I have found myself in an uncomfortable predicament.

A slump. A blogging slump, to be exact. Ever since my first trimester of being pregnant, when I slept during any minute free time that was available, I haven’t been able to get back into a regular blogging routine. Now I’m halfway into my pregnancy and have still not found my way back. And it’s not for a lack of things to blog about,  I just haven’t figured out how to get back into a steady routine. In the past, I’ve been able to (kind sorta) balance work and motherhood with a husband who is in school full-time. But this new baby is throwing me for a loop, and I’m not even changing diapers yet. Blogging is an important and valuable part of my life, why can’t I get it together?

Author Shannon Hale wrote a post about what it’s like to be a writer and a mother, and I found her personal experiences and routine helped answer a lot of the questions of why I’m feeling so blocked. It mostly boils down to time-filllers and knowing that it’s impossible to be available to everyone at all times – and this includes your own children. Uninterrupted time has to be set aside for writing. Rebecca Mead in her article in The New Yorker, “Writers and the Optimal-Child-Count Spectrum”, hit the nail on the head: “Any person’s independent productivity depends not upon the head count of her children but the sum of her free hours.”

Granted, I’m not a published author and I only have one with one on the way, but I still feel the stretch. I’m working on it. Writing even this post has been both therapeutic and motivating. It feels good to be here.

Have you ever been in a slump? Or have any advice on how you balance your work/passions and motherhood? I welcome (and encourage!) feedback.

 

 

 

image source: cat sleeping on laptop via 1funny