Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Living Up the Last of Summer--Quick Updates

I have spent time away from my blog because I have just been so crazy busy living life! And that is not such a bad reason for not having posted in a bit. But I do want to touch on a few things as August comes to a close and the school year kicks it into high gear.

  1. Summer Reading Program--I pitched an idea to support literacy development for children receiving long-term care at the children's hospital. And with some continued talk, I got hired to create and implement an eight week pilot summer reading program! One part involves sharing fabulous children's literature by featuring three books each week in a read aloud/booktalk. These were done in the library at the hospital and at bedside. If the child liked the book, they got to keep it. (If it was not of their taste, then I had a stash of other books from which to choose.) The second part was to encourage the kids to spend a certain amount of time reading independently to earn fabulous, cheesy prizes. It has been an awesome job! I am basically like a book fairy. I get the kids excited to read and then surprise them with getting to keep books for free. Some of the parents have gotten just as much into listening to me read as the kids. Do not underestimate how much people of all ages love to listen to some read aloud. And it is something that I will be able to get some grad credits for some of the evaluation work that I do with it this fall!
  2. Kickball--Our team was crazy good in the spring--second place in the play-offs. But then with a few roster changes this summer, our team was terrible. We won only the last game of the season. But we still rocked our bubble gum pink t-shirts and enjoyed in a ton of laughs. This season was a little more fun for me because my finger finally healed enough that I was able to be moved to playing second base instead of catcher.
  3. Pool Time/Girl Time--August has gone by so quickly that I think I actually spent more time swimming in July than I did in August. But what I will say about pool time in August is that I have had some good girlfriend time there. I've enjoyed lounging around the pool and having that time to have some meaningful girl talk, both with new friends and old friends. It is like the water just has a way of freeing you, to let you be more open for things to drift out. It is then that you realize you are caught up in something deeper than you might have expected and learn something new about the other person. And I have had some great girl time away from the pool, too. I am just so happy to be blessed with some great friendships. The best times are when you walk away feeling that rich connection and you just feel so good about yourself. It feels awesome when you know that friendship is being reciprocated and that you are able to give back to your friend.
  4. New Guy--Yep, we're still dating and I am enjoying that! We have been spending more time together and he makes me smile. It is the little things that tickle me and really start to add up. And it is fun to know that you are being thought of during the moments away. It is not to say that we haven't had a few ups and downs, but I think we make an effort to talk about things openly and honestly. My favorite times are the trips to Home Depot, walking around in his neighborhood of the city--Little Italy, and cooking together. Life still feels like being on an adventure with him (i.e. caught my first trout last weekend) and he has a touch of a romantic in him that I love to observe in his ways.
  5. Fall Classes at Pitt Begin--This time around I will be a full-time student! I am excited and nervous. But when I start to get nervous, I just focus on what a wonderful opportunity I have at hand and to take it one step at a time. I really love what I am studying and grad school is so much more fulfilling, deeper, and richer than undergrad. I think having time and experience from which to draw upon make the classes more meaningful. I just really want to make the most of my experience while I am back at school.
I know there is more and I know there is a greater depth that some of these things deserve. But for now, this is what I have. I also want to thank a friend who gave me some good advise in that I don't have to publish all of my posts and that some can just be for me. I am really glad that I did that because sometimes it is just about getting the thoughts out of your head so that you can look at them better. And in another blog, I carefully read some good advise to be mindful of respecting other people who may appear in my blog so as not to over share about them. Some things need to be kept to myself, both out of respect and for a little mystery.

I wonder what the fall will bring. I have not wanted summer to end, but I think I am in a better place to accept some of the changes and to remind myself to go with the flow.


  1. Wow, you have a lot going on in your life in a very good way! First of all, that pilot literacy program sounds amazing. Good for you! And I'm so happy to hear that you & New Guy are still going strong! It sounds like he makes you happy and that makes me very happy. I know a lot has changed in your life over the past couple of years but it sounds like you're in a very good place right now and that's awesome. You deserve so much happiness.

  2. Wow, I can't say I blame you for not wanting summer to end - it sounds like you have the world at your fingertips! (Which is well deserved I might add)

    The reading program sounds fantastic - I think last time I talked with you on the phone you had just found out that you got it. So glad to hear it's going well!

    Man you are kicking some major ass! And I'm thrilled that you have so many wonderful people to share that with who support you and love you as much as the ones who aren't quite as local do ;-)

    Let's chat again soon - I miss you!

  3. I am so impressed Jamie. That program at Children's Hospital sounds AMAZING! We have been there a few times with Lexi and the people that do those special things for the kids there really make the environment so much better. It's not only wonderful for the kids, but I'm sure it really lifts the spirits of the parents as well. It's such a hard thing to spend time in the hospital and it's people like you that make it so much better. Bless your heart.

    Kick ball sounds like a blast!! I've always wanted to be on a team but the timing never really worked out.

    The guy in your life sounds wonderful. Glad to know he is treating you well and that you are having a blast together.

    You go girl! There are so many attitudes you could have taken on after everything that happened but you are making the most of life and are truly an inspiration. Love you!

  4. Just wanted to say woot woot for all the amazing things happening in your life, Jamie! So glad to be able to share in some of them (Go Team Pink) and hear about others!

  5. So glad you are doing so well! You sound so happy and I am beyond thrilled for you. Have fun in school! Love ya!

  6. Thanks ladies for all of your support! I am so grateful to be able to share in the good that is in my life right now, especially when you helped me through all of the heartache.

    Kerri--You are so diligent and thoughtful. Thank you for reminding me of how far I have come. I never would have imagined so many of the things in my life right now six months ago, let alone two years ago.

    Melissa G--It does feel like yesterday that I was sitting outside on one of the first hot summer nights sharing the news of the start of something new. Summer was amazing and as those adventures end, I will turn my attention to the present and its promise. Would love to catch up soon and I know we will!

    Ellie--Thank you so much for your thoughts on the program as you have insights to share being on the other side. I was surprised by the way the program impacted parents, too. There were times that the parents enjoyed listening to me read aloud just as much as the kids. I think it gave them a moment outside of themselves and to be able to forget about being in a hospital for a short time.

    Emily--Thank you for sharing the IRL moments with me and reading about it here. It is nice to be able to share in a slice of the awesome community of women I have met online--friends who have supported me through the lowest points in my life and finally get to see me during the full and happy times, too.

    Melissa P--Thank you for your genuine feelings of happiness for me. I can feel it washing over me. And oddly, knowing that we are both in school, having that in common, helps to validate that we have more that can connect us, rather than just the sad parts.

    Love you, ladies!!!