Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Recap. 2012 Hopes

One reason I started to blog was to remember what I did or where I was a year ago. I couldn't remember for the life of me what my years goals were and I went to look on my blog and BAM- there they were! I'm so glad I had them written down and now I can see if I've accomplished them.

2011 Bucket List
1. To finish off college with no C's. (I had all A's and B's this year!) - GO ME!
2. To get a job over the summer (I was a full time nanny to an adorable baby girl)
3. Travel outside the United States (I just recently went on a road trip with my cousin from Alaska through Canada back to Chicago!)
4. Go to Vegas- Not yet- but I'm keeping this on my list for 2012!
5. To student teach at a school (I like) in the NW suburbs (I got very lucky to be student teaching only 7 mies away!)
6. To stay true to who I am- I think someone can always keep working to improve themselves, therefore I'm not done with this one yet. :)
7. Visit my Grandpa again in Ohio -(we did visit my Grandpa on spring break thank goodness, but unfortunately he didn't make it to the holidays. :'( He passed away October 13th, 2011.)
8. Go on a Cruise- I'm keeping this on my 2012 bucket list as well.
9. Get a new phone - (goodbye old phone, hello iPhone!! I love it and could never go back to a 'regular' phone. I don't know what I'd do without my iPhone!)
10. And hopefully spend another holiday season with the boy :) -(I got to spend 4th of july with him again- does that count? lol. but unfortunately no I did not :( )
11. To be more confrontational when it's appropriate- This I can keep working on as well. It never hurts to try to be a better person.

My girlfriends and I on an ugly sweater train crawl! SO FUN!!

Without further to do my 2012 bucket list:
1. Go to Vegas (from my 2011 list)
2. To stay true to who I am (from my 2011 list)
3. Go on a Cruise (from my 2011 list)
4. Go back to our beach house
5. Find a job
6. Graduate :)
7. Read 10 books---this doesn't seem like a lot but I JUST started reading for enjoyment. I'm currently reading the Hunger Games trilogy! (SOOO GOOD!!)
8. Find an educational summer job
9. Continue taking sign language classes over the summer
10. Keep in touch with friends that matter and who have been there for me. (Some of my girlfriends have been not so nice lately and it upsets me.) I do however know that I have some friends that I don't have to talk to every single day and when we do talk it's right where we left off and I love that about some of my friends! :)

I hope everyone has a safe but fun new years! 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Time

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas. I sure did. Santa was very generous this year, so I can't complain at all.
My sister and I with our cousins and the dogs on Christmas Eve.

I was lonely though. I didn't like experiencing the holiday without a significant other. But my family and friends definitely helped me forget about that.

I found this website that I've fallen in love with. It's called ---i highly recommend it. I read this article by Katella Bliss. It is very well written and describes how I'm sure many people feel sometime in life. Here it is: (again, I did NOT write this and CANNOT get credit for it)


Sometimes it’s easy to feel like you’re the only one in the world who’s struggling, who’s frustrated, or unsatisfied, or barely getting by. But that feeling is a lie. And if you just hold on and find the courage and patience to face it all for another day, then in God’s time, not yours, someone or something will find you and make it all okay. Because we all need a little help sometimes and that’s a fact. Someone to help us hear the music in our world. Someone to remind us that it won’t always be this way, that it won’t always be dark cloudy skies, the sun will shine too after the rain. That someone is out there patiently waiting and that someone will find you in its own time and purpose.

Life is not easy for any of us. It is a continual challenge and battle of survival and it is up to us to be cheerful and to be strong, so that those who depend on us may draw strength from our example; for the greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing your heart. There is always a choice you have to make in everything that you do and you must always keep in mind that the choice you make . . . makes YOU.

Life isn’t a destination, it’s a journey. We all come upon unexpected curves and turning points. Everything that happens to us shapes who we are becoming. And in the adventure of each day, we discover the important things in life and why they are important. We realize that people who come our way have their purpose and that everything happens for a reason.

I believe that we are who we choose to be. Nobody’s going to come and save you, you’ve got to save yourself. You are not a responsibility of others; you are responsible for your own self. Nobody’s going to give you anything; you will work for it and earn the fruit of your labor. You’ve got to go out and fight for it. Nobody knows what you want except for you. And nobody will be as sorry as you are if you don’t get it. You cannot blame others for your failures and frustrations; they are not born in this world to live up to your desires, dreams, and wants in life. Remember always—it’s you who chooses what and where you stand right now. It depends on how you respond with people and situations. Whatever the consequences of your choices, you must be ready to face it all by yourself.

Don’t give up on your dreams. In the end, it’s not the years in our life that counts. It’s the life in our years.


Hope everyone has a safe and happy new year! 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Oh Canada

I'm back home! The drive through Alaska and Canada went as smoothly as it could go! I saw gorgeous mountains, wild animals and went in some hot springs! (all the photos in this post are ones that either I or my cousin took!)

This will be a random post about Canada and what I learned while I was there. 

 The left hand stoplight signal blinks repeatedly when it's your turn to go and it just turns off when you can't.
They have a Boston Pizza's in almost every town we stopped in. We ate their once and it was alright. 

 One of the most popular gas stations in Canada is called 'Fas Gas'. I love it! It's such a fitting name especially down here especially in Chicago. People never say the 't' in Fast anyways and fas rhymes with gas! You can also SAVE money on gas! That was great!
 It was hard getting use to kilometers rather then miles. But my cousin and I noticed that in his car, they have both miles and kilometers on the MPH dashboard. If we saw a sign that said 100 km until the next gas station, we looked on the dashboard instead of converting it in our head and saw that 100 km is in the same spot as 60 miles. It was a lot easier.
 I wish I went to Canada when I was a child because almost EVERY hotel that was in a decently large city had a water slide or TWO! They even advertise it on the outside of the hotel building 'HOTEL' and next to it says "WATERSLIDES"! How awesome is that. I thought it was great publicity and good idea for kid friendly hotels.
 Camouflage was EVERYWHERE! I saw a family of 4 at a restaurant and the Dad, Mom, little girl and little boy were ALL wearing camp winter jackets! NO joke!
 Canada is very pretty! Until you start going more south in Alberta. haha

Some caribou!
Many gas stations along the Al-can highway and even remote highway throughout Canada, are also motels and tiny restaurants. We saw many truckers at the same motels we were at. One trucker came over to our car when we were getting ready to start our drive for the day and told us she just hit a caribou a little north of where we were staying and to be careful! It was scary. It's dark when you go to bed (gets dark about 4:00 pm) and it's dark when you wake up (8 am).

Sign Post Forest!
 People come from all over the world to post their hometown signs and there was one from the city right next to my home town! How neat is that!

 Don't worry---we pulled over and just watched this bison heard eat and walk across the road. They were not afraid of us or our car.
 THEY WERE HUGE!! And everywhere...

 Me in the hot springs! It was so hot, ALMOST too hot!

 We had to stop at a gas station/motel for gas one time right next to this lake called Muncho Lake. This dog comes walking up to us with his wagging tail and just sat down outside our car wanting to be pet. He was so cute. We found out he was the gas station/motel owner's dog. His name was Muncho and was so cute and friendly. I think he wanted to come home with us!

This sign was right out in front of the desk at a Super 8 we stayed at. It caught me off guard. I think they might have had some encounters for them to actually put a sign up about being respectful. Do you think this means that customers were rude? Or their clerks were rude, so therefore costumers were rude in return? hmmm....

 World's largest Easter egg. It was huge!

 This was our little caravan back to Chicago. My cousin had 3 bikes on top, 4 extra tires on top of the trailer and our suitcases and cooler were with us in the back of the SUV.
 Ahhh...and we couldn't go through Alaska without stopping at a Tim Hortons. In my opinion, they are better than Dunkin' Doughnuts! They're hot chocolate was also excellent!

2 days before I left for Alaska, my parents bought me this new (used) car!!! I'm in love AND my parents are THE best! I'll get great use out of it because I'll be student teaching everyday starting in January. It's a 2007 ford fusion!!
We're home safe and sound and it feels good to be back in my own bed! :)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Alaska Adventures...

Things I’ve Learned About Alaska:

The Valley is considered a place in which one lives. It’s not Anchorage, it’s north of Anchorage and consists mostly of the cities Palmer and Wasilla. If someone says they're from The Valley it means they're most likely from Wasilla or Palmer.

You can’t go out looking for animals because they’ll never come out, but, when you’re not looking you’re more likely to see them.


They have numerous coffee shops. I wouldn’t call them shops because the only person in there is the barista. They are drive through coffee shops and during morning rush hour they are ALL always busy!

Skiing is not the only thing you can do outside. People can snow shoe, mountain bike, hike, ice fish, sight see and snow mobile.

Whenever you leave the house (no matter where you are) you can see mountains in the distance. It's beautiful!!

12 degrees outside isn’t out of the norm. People up here get use to it pretty fast.

It get’s dark so early in winter that someone might be awake more when it's dark than light out.

(some moose on our way out of Alaska)

There are TWO military bases up in Anchorage.

People call the road the ‘PW’, which means the Palmer-Wasilla Highway

We are now in Canada. The Yukon to be exact. We just passed through Whitehorse and will be hitting the hot springs tomorrow around lunch time. I'll hopefully be back by next weekend...all depending on weather though.