Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday pictures: Four-wheelin'

Bub got a mini four-wheeler for Christmas last year. It is really fun but we made sure it doesn't go too fast. The first time he got on it the speed wasn't regulated so it went fast and he got scared. It's much more powerful than the 12 volt battery powered one he had before. He's gotten a lot more comfortable on this one and he loves to ride it around his grandparent's property.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Reference: public vs academic

I wasn't always an academic librarian in collection development.. Before this job I spent 4 years as a public librarian in reference. I am very much a customer service oriented person having spent 4 years in retail and then a year in non-profit customer service and then 2 years as a GA in circulation. So that's 7 years of working with the public before I even became a librarian. Add another 4 years onto that and 11 years of public service in some capacity or another. But 4 years on the reference desk at 40 hours a week in a public library is hard and it is a lot and there are no breaks and I burned out. So a change to the technical services aspect of librarianship was a definite and needed change for me. But after a year or so of doing no reference service I was asked to hep out in the short staffed department. With my experience it was too good of an opportunity for them not to ask me to work the desk. And I enjoy customer service. To put aside modesty for a minute, I excel at working with the public and I am a good explainer. Not to mention being personable and approachable, all things necessary for working with public library patrons and great for working with students.

When I came to an academic library I was shocked that they only work approximately 3 hours a day if that on the desk. Granted there is more than one librarian in that department but the fact that they spend what felt to me like so little time on the desk was amazing to me. And, frankly, I feel like the questions are less challenging then at a public library where every Tom, Dick and Harry feels free to ask whatever random question pops into their head and who are very fond of reminding library workers that they "pay their salary" and so can be very demanding. Basically what I'm saying is that the more public the patrons are the more difficult reference work can be. Not to say that I've never been berated on the reference desk here. But it was unsurprisingly by an older male student who felt I was not working hard enough, assumed that by the sound of my voice (it was a phone question) that I was young and therefore inexperienced and expected me to know some specific U.S. employment statistics at the drop of a hat. Every job has its challenges though. But I've had a mostly positive experience in the academic reference library department. I don't know if I could ever go back to a public library reference department. Certainly my main focus has changed over these last 5 years and I've learned quite a bit about what I like and do like about working in a library and it has helped me focus on my specialization more than library school ever did. I guess 9 years in a career will do that though.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Mama, she said repeatedly

One day after hearing Bub call for me about 50 billionity times I swore I wouldn't teach the next one to call me Mom or Mama or any variation of that word. I said the second kid would just have to learn it for herself. But somehow with the second one I found myself encouraging her to say Mama. But for a long time (well up until last week) Button didn't say Mama all that much. She said it on occasion, mostly saying "Nama" and still that was rare especially in relation to how much she said Dada. Which is fair since he is with her the majority of the time. However, sometime last week she caught on with a vengeance that if she says Mama she will have my attention and most likely get what she wants. I don't know if it has something to do with Bub being around for the summer and hearing him or if she finally noticed that calling me Mama will get her noticed. So now when the little beggar child sees me eating something she wants (aka everything I am eating) she will crawl over and pull herself up and repeat Mama over and over again til I give her a bite. Or if she wants me to play with her or read her a book, same thing. So now the amount of Moms and Mamas has doubled in my house.

There is something endearing about hearing that little mouth say Mama and she is pretty adorable. But I also know what happens next. I've had to ask Bub in the past to not say Mom for at least 5 minutes because I was going to lose my mind if I heard it one more time. It's funny how much you love hearing it when your baby (especially the first) is young. It feels so sweet and so special. But the shine quickly wears off. My mother says it is that way pretty much forever. Given the amount my sister and I say Mom, she's not wrong. So against my better judgment I have taught my second born to say Mama and it's something I'll have to hear 100 billionity times a day. But I think it will have been worth it.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sunday pictures: Shiny

I'd love to take credit for these photos but BT took them. It is my bouquet from my cousin's wedding and our wedding china though so that should count for something.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Baby led Weaning: a follow-up

Button is now 15 months old (well in a week) so she is probably beyond the Baby Led Weaning program but I thought I follow up on it. I was reflecting on it last night. I could not imagine trying to feed her and then us separately especially since the majority of the time it is just me and the kids at dinnertime and there is already a lot going on a night, particularly when Bub is in school and we have to deal with homework on top of everything else. But I digress. It's just so much easier and more pleasant for us to eat a meal together.

Button has been feeding herself since she was 6 months old and it has worked so wonderfully. Yes, a lot of the food ended up with the dogs or in her bib or on her face but food before one is just for fun anyway so it didn't matter much. I would give her finger-like sticks of whatever we were eating and just let her have at it. So not much has changed in that direction except I know more of what she likes to eat and her food size has become more bite-sized with her ability to grasp objects better. She's tried quite a few things. She, like me, does not like tomatoes. We gave her some (cooked) sushi the other night and she ate a bit of it, having trouble with the seaweed paper. But she loved the edamame much like her brother does. Lately I've been giving her food to her on a plate with a spoon or a fork trying to get her to use utensils. She's been trying them out for a little while but she often abandons them for her hands. She's developed a bit of a sweet tooth which is not great but we don't give her a lot anyway. I'll have to keep an eye on that.

I am really grateful to my cousin's wife who turned me on to Baby Led Weaning. I honestly wish we had done it with Bub. I wonder if he would be a better eater now. I'll never know but I'm hoping that she does not become a picky eater too. Baby Led Weaning was such a great choice for our family and I'd really recommend it to any parent who is willing to try something different. But you have to read the book honestly because feeding babies real food can also be nerve wracking and it also requires that you wait until they are 6 months. Babies' guts are not ready for food until then anyway so it works out. Button was definitely ready by the time she started eating table food. And yes it is messy and it still is but, as my old babysitter use to say, messes were made to be cleaned up and stuff like doesn't bother me. But it's been great for Button and great for me so it's A+ in my book.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Random Thoughts: Time Machine

Now I don't know where this thought came from or if it was inspired by the fact that Button has not been sleeping good, running fever, etc. I think her new teeth are bothering her. She is cutting about 5 now. Thank goodness one of them pushed through already. Bub was not this ambitious with his teeth. Anyway, I was getting dressed this morning and I thought what if one of my kids invented the time machine in the future and has come back at some point and spied on me? Which is just so random. I hope they aren't disappointed with my everyday life. I wonder if I would recognize them. So far look exactly like us and I would think (hope) I'd recognize the spitting image of myself.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

I've posted this pictures before but they seem appropriate for Father's Day. I hope everyone has a great day.

Friday, June 14, 2013


I've said before about Bub's Elephant. He got him when he was just over a year old, obtaining him at his daycare and they have been inseparable ever since. But there is a new player in town and she seems to have taken a shine to Elephant as well. The other day BT told me she was riding around on her motorcycle with Elephant in front of her. And then she got off and pushed him (it) around for a while. Bub was in his room playing so he didn't notice but he would have snatched that stuffed animal away from her if he had. She loves to pick it up and hug it. I don't know if it is her intent to make it her own or if it's just because Bub carries it around and she loves to do what big brother is doing. And all I can think is What is it about that stuffed animal? It's old and has had to have a new body made several times in the past 5 years. It smells funky 90% of the time from being dragged around. But it seems to have just the right amount of squishness to lay on. And there must be some sort of intangible something that grown-ups don't understand. One of my older cousins teased Bub about Elephant telling him he was too old for that. My mom quietly told him not to say that to Bub. None of Bub's friends seem to think anything of having a stuffed animal to carry around so clearly he is not doing anything his peers aren't doing. I still think it is sweet even if Elephant is a worry to me. He is at a fragile state and I don't know how much longer he will last.

We keep trying to redirect Button to her own toys. Maybe somewhere in there is her own lovie but so far nothing has taken with her. Maybe she just hasn't met it yet. Maybe she will be like me and never have one. But one thing is for sure, it won't be Elephant.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Headbands to bows

At some point Button decided that she would no longer wear headbands. Luckily that time came about the same time she got hair so I switched her to hair clips which work marginally better. Sometimes I can get her to wear them. Anyway, so she has all these headbands with bows and flowers on them that she won't wear anymore. So I decided to remake them into hair clips and I thought I'd share how I did it. You need some hair clips, a hot glue gun and some scissors in addition to the headbands you want to modify (I am talking about the soft kind that babies usually wear).

It's pretty easy. Just cut off the band and cut down a piece approximately the size of the hair clip. I like to wrap the hair clip in some of the fabric but I guess you don't have to do that. It just looks nicer and I think it might hold a little better in her fine baby hair. Using the hot glue, glue down the fabric onto the hair clip. The bows already have a wrapped piece in the center so I just inserted the hair clip into that piece and called it done. If it is a flower than you'll have to hot glue it down. This was an easy little project and pretty inexpensive and now she has some bows for her hair. She has a few flowered headbands I am going to convert next.
Headbands with bows

Remove the band part from the bow


Insert the clip into the back of the bow

In action

Friday, June 7, 2013

Teacher Appreciation Gifts

I meant to write this up last month but I got busy with the 31 Things project and never got around to it. Early May is Teacher Appreciation Week and we got suggested themes for each day. I missed the first day which was to send a flower for a bouquet. But I managed the rest of the week. The second day was Breakfast, "Teachers Help Us Start Our Day" so I sent a one cup bag of coffee with a helping a latte or some sort of coffee pun.


The third day was Sweet Treats, "Because you are SO Sweet- we say Thank You!"  For that day I made an apple out of a coke bottle and we decorate it so that the cap looked like a stem and made leaves from construction paper. One of the big leaves had a note about a Sweet Treat from my son.

The fourth day was A Note From the Heart. I bought some erasers that look like desserts and a notepad that looked like a cookie and included some pencils. Bub wrote her a note that said he liked being in her class and drew her a picture. Then I made a label for the top and put it all in a ziploc bag. I think it came out pretty cute.

The last day was the Student's Choice, "Thanks for Making Our Day Sunny!"  So I got her a straw cup because they are my favorite with some liquid beverage mix sweet peach tea flavor and added a straw note that I got from here. She said she liked it and appreciated the thoughtfulness. So I successfully made it through my first Teacher Appreciation Week. Now onto first grade and all that entails.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Y'all or you guys?

 A couple of people tweeted links to this article 22 Maps That Show How Americans Speak English Totally Differently From Each Other. I found this endlessly fascinating and spent some time looking at the survey page that contains all the maps. It reminds me of the show "How the States got Their Shapes." It's interesting to learn about the small differences between regions. It's interesting to me for many reasons. But the main one is how I pronounce words or the phrases I use. Do I sound more like an Oklahoman where my parents are from or like a Louisianan where I am from or do I have some of my husband's Massachusetts pronunciations? Judging from these maps it is mostly like other Louisianans. But there are a few words or phrases where I sound more like my parents or like my husband. My pronunciation of "aunt" changes depending on whether I am referring to one of my own (ant) or one of his (ahnt). The same goes for ottoman though that is not one of the survey questions. I had never heard of the word "hassock" until a few year ago. It's funny because even though he has lived down here longer than he lived up there he still pronounces a few words like a Northerner. I think it is all about how you originally learn to speak. Because I can't remember him even saying y'all and I don't know how to say anything else (well that is not strictly true because sometime I throw out a "you guys" like they do in Oklahoma). It makes me wonder how our kids will pronounce words. I assume that they, like me, will do regional pronunciations. I do wonder though about the difference between Mary/merry/marry. He is going to have to explain that one to me.

Monday, June 3, 2013

How I did 31 pages without Photoshop

You'd think I'd want a break from blogging coming off of two months of month long blogging projects but I thought I'd write a bit about how I did the pages for the 31 Things project. At home we have a free Photoshop program called Gimp. I have actual Photoshop at work and sometimes (on break!) I'd use it to tweak any designs I made. But mainly I used Pixlr and Ribbet to make the pages. Pixlr is basically Photoshop light and I find it easier to mantipulate than Photoshop which is a program I am still learning. The 31 Things project was a great way to learn more about these programs and I think my work got better over the course of the month.

I didn't like what I did originally for the Being Great at Something post.  So I obtained a cooking kit from Digital Design Essentials and decided to change it up before printing the book.

From this
to this

So using Pixlr I opened the original prompt from Erica at Crashnotes. Files are .png.

I decided not to use the chevrons she had created because frankly I didn't know what to do with them. So I erased them. Then I opened a few backgrounds to get an idea of what I want. From there I can start building onto the frame what I want it to look like.

 To manipulate objects you have to use the navigation bar and drop and drop from there.

I picked out a few elements and tried them out and thought about doing some sort of paper layering but decided against it. Free transform will take a layer and allow you to resize or rotate inside the frame which is what I did here with the utensils. When you have multiple layers on one page, use the layers section on the navigation bar to select the object you want to manipulate.

Moving objects around

Color picker

The color picker allows you to match the colors in the paper or elements that you are using. It is very handy for finding the RBG codes for matching text too. It will also show colors in the same spectrum if you want to go lighter or darker. I added a recipe card for the writing, bow to the utensils, and a flower to spruce up the title.

In Ribbet
For the text I am not fond of Pixlr's text option. I find the fonts are not creative or big enough sometimes. So I use Ribbet which is the closest thing to Picnik I have found since that website shut down. Here I add in my text and this is where knowing the RBG codes come in handy. So that they match. The drawback is that the images are not manipulable anymore so what you see is what you get. After adding my text I notice that there is too much empty space at the bottom so I headed back to Pixlr and added a few more elements. It came out pretty nice and I like it much better than the original page I had created. I usually save in both .png and .jpg for some reason but that is not necessary.

Almost done


As for scrapbook kits, I've found quite a few really nice free ones and have been building a collection for a while. On my 31 Things posts, I tried to include the designer of the kit I used for that page in case anyone is interested. Digital Design Essentials, Citrus and Mint, and Shabby Princess are just a few of the digital scrapbooking designers I like. But a google search will bring up many. Pinterest is a good resource too.

My new goal is to remake my blogs using some of the skills I've picked up and  a few of the scrapbook kits I've collected. I've already started with Annie, I think as you can see and I love the new look of my blog. Next I will work on The Little Bookworm. I've had the same look over there for close to 3 years and it might be time to do something different. Anyway, I had a good time learning and growing my skills.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

In bloom

One of my favorite flowers is the magnolia.Luckily for me I work on a campus filled with magnolia trees and we have a dwarf magnolia in our front year. The trees are all in bloom and they are so lovely. The only problem with them is that they don't last long and you can't touch them at all without browning the petals. But they are gorgeous to look at.

Took it the day it bloomed and the next day it had already browned