The Library is the Thing

Hello all!! How is summer? Hope you’re all enjoying yourselves and spending lots of time with your family and friends. I know we are!!

So you all know we bought our first home in May after months of looking and searching for the perfect place.

Now we’ve landed in the beautiful town of Okemos, just east of E. Lansing and Michigan State. As we slowly transform this house into our own forever home (you can see more pics and follow the progress on my new blog:     2 Sisters 2 Houses) we are also exploring our new neighborhood and all it has to offer.

One of the biggest selling points to this girl? We are just down the street from the local Capital Area District Libraries Okemos branch!!!

I know, right? We live down the street from the library?! How perfect and awesome is that?

The CADL library system is incredible. It boasts a whopping 13 branches throughout Ingham County and hosts nearly a dozen programs throughout the system every single day.

We frequently visited the Downtown branch when we lived at our old place, but were excited to check out our local branch just shortly after moving in. So the whole family strapped on sneakers and we took a walk to the Okemos Library.

Right when you walk into the library you are greeted by the circulation desk and children’s area. Talk about making kids feel welcome! The girls ran right into the place and made themselves at home on the block table.

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And our timing was impeccable (which rarely happens) as we arrived just in time for the Kids Reading to Dogs program. This was one of Cedella’s favorite activities last summer at my old library in Hazel Park (or Grandma’s Library as the girls call it), so I was so happy to know that our local library offered a similar program. There were several therapy dogs and a crowd of kids waiting to read to them. It was so great to see such a well-attended program!! We even ran into some friends from Holt that had come just to read to the dogs.

Sadly, Cedella was a little bit shy, and it takes her a while to warm up to new places. So she opted out of reading to the dogs in order to play and read with her Dad and Izzie.

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But the most exciting part of the trip? Cedella chose to get her first library card! That’s right. 4 years old and she insisted on getting her own card so she could check out her own Rainbow Fairy books. She even ‘signed’ her name on the form. So. Cute.

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And though we’ve been driving over an hour each way to go to the Hazel Park library to assist Grandma Linda with her Summer Reading Program every Tuesday, we can’t wait to start spending more time at the Okemos library.

But in order to keep our incredible CADL system open and able to offer such great programs they need our help. Tomorrow, Tuesday August 5th, is the primary election vote. It also happens to have a couple of very important ballot initiatives that require turn-out and positive support. CADL needs your help. Please consider voting YES to renew their millage. More information can be learned HERE.

The CADL system is 90% funded by a local tax millage. This means that state and federal dollars count for very little of what makes CADL great. What makes our libraries so fantastic is local dollars and support.

Even better? The millage rate is not set to increase, it’s merely a renewal on the same millage rate that has been in place since 2006. In a time when all prices and taxes seem to be rising, isn’t it refreshing to know that the CADL system can operate on the same amount they have since 2006?! Knowing how hard it is to balance a library budget from seeing my co-workers have to make tough financial decisions, I give the CADL director a lot of credit in this department.

A lot of people think that by voting ‘no’ to renew this millage they are somehow ‘saving’ on their taxes. And perhaps they’re right. Perhaps they will save a few hundred dollars a year on their taxes. But what does that money equate to?

At $300 in millage dollars per resident per year?

$24.95/new hardcover book = 12 new books

$17.95/new children’s book = 16 new books

$19.95/new DVD movie = 15 new movies

$34.95/new digital audiobook  = 9 new audiobooks

OR…

$300/year for UNLIMITED NEW EVERYTHING!!

That’s right. Unlimited. You can read as much as you want. You can watch as many movies as you like. You will never tire of reading the same story to your kids every night, because you can always have exciting new stories. For purely the access to new and up-to-date materials, the millage is worth passing.

But for all the other resources available at the libraries? Your dollar goes so much further.

It is a safe and quiet place for kids and teens to read, do homework and hang out.

There are hundreds of resources for job seekers, resume writers and the unemployed.

Need something to do? Attend a concert, a movie or a storytime. For FREE!

Internet service gone down or need a higher speed WIFI connection? They’ve got your back.

I can’t stress enough how invaluable our libraries are. They are more than just stacks of antiquated books and paper. They are living breathing community centers full of information, resources and activities.

If you haven’t considered voting or always forget, please let this serve as a reminder to do so. Voting at a local level is so important and really does effect and change your town for better or worse.

So vote YES tomorrow to renew the CADL millage!! Pretty please with sugar on top!!

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday: 2012 Wrap Up

2012 was quite a year. A crazy, busy, exciting, brilliant, exasperating, joyful and crazy year. We started the year with one independent child and ended the year with an independent diva and a smiley new toddler. And we took an awful lot of pictures along the way.

Wordless/Wordful/Nearly Wordless Wednesday are a staple around these parts. Some weeks these are the only posts I do. Cause I know the pictures of my sweet babies, that’s why you’re here, right?

The hard part? Picking the pictures for this post. I have a bit of an editing problem. Especially because I love every single picture of my girls. Every. Single. One.

So this is one (or maybe two or three) picture(s) for each month of last year from one of my W Wednesday posts. Enjoy!!

JANUARY Bang the Drum. Cedella got a set of drums for her 2nd birthday. This picture captures her personality so completely. Adventurous, silly, joyous and so incredibly noisy. Just the other day my Mom asked “Does she ever shut up?”. And the answer is…nope.

FEBRUARY Social Butterflies. The month of February we were super busy. Showers and playdates. Paczkis and Valentines. I was only a couple weeks away from giving birth and was big as a mobile home. But a pregnant tired Mommy doesn’t really mean much to a busy little Monkey. Here she is, acting a fool, at my cousin’s wife’s baby shower. And bonus…me and Katie. Her daughter is only a month younger than Isora. No, really, I was HUGE.

MARCH In These Quiet Moments was written two days before Isora was born. I will never forget the sweetness of this moment with my Monk. And the before we knew it… She’s Here. Isora Rose was born on an 80 degree St. Patrick’s Day. It was glorious. Wanna read her birth story? HERE you go.

APRIL The New Girl was just sleepy and squishy enough to let me take some really pretty newborn photos. Who needs a photographer when you’ve got Pinterest for inspiration and photography tutorials? I can’t even handle how wrinkly and roll-y she is in these pictures. And the light. Swooning.

MAY We celebrated 50 years of marriage of my amazing Grandparents with a really lovely party. And we struggled with the onslaught of sibling rivalry and Cedella’s inevitable sense of displacement in My Beautiful Monster (I ridiculously love this picture of her).

JUNE For the love of the beach we spent ten days at the cottage on Lake Huron. And it was relaxing, rejuvenating and so much fun. For seven days it was just me, my girls, my sisters and my mom. All us girls. Thrifting and eating and sunbathing and playing board games. Can’t wait to go again this year.

JULY Saw our first trip to the ER and Cedella’s First Battle Scar. It was gut-wrenching and horrible but in the end a rite of passage and a truly eye-opening experience. We learned how incredibly brave and resilient our dear Ella is.

AUGUST The Olympics enraptured us for several weeks in August. Getting to share the triumphs and joys of the Fabulous 5 with my daughter was super cool. And now she’s in gymnastics class where Jordyn Wieber got her start. But it was Usain Bolt that really got us jumping out of our seats.

SEPTEMBER Where the Wild Things Are captured an awesome family trip to the zoo. Cedella became obsessed with maps (thanks Dora) and me and Izzie put on babywearing demos throughout the Detroit zoo. And we celebrated TeTe’s birthday at a super delicious restaurant. Lots of family fun…

OCTOBER This was the second year I participated in the Week in My Life challenge. And boy did we have a busy week. We started out on Monday at the pumpkin patch and by the end of the week we were trick-or-treating (with some baby smiles in between). It was a busy busy month and I barely made it to post every day (never did get Saturday and Sunday published).

NOVEMBER I didn’t publish a single WW post in November. In fact I only published one post in the entire month. Guess we were busy. But I did post our pics from Silver Balls in December even though it happened in November. Though if I was on top of things I would have had a whole post about our Thanksgiving road trip to South Carolina. But no, all I have is us at Silver Balls and the girls through the years (which I LOVE looking at)

DECEMBER We began Teaching Democracy when we protested right-to-work laws at our state Capitol and even got to meet our Mayor. And tis the season for Here Comes Santa Claus as Izzie had her first encounter with the big guy.

Wow. It was quite a year. Looking back on it, it was a really really good one. Hope you enjoyed going through these pics as much as I did.

If you haven’t checked it out yet please take a look at my Life List post from yesterday and check out all the great posts through the linky.

Happy Wordful Wednesday everyone!!

 

My Don’t-Call-it-Bucket Life List

Yesterday I already let y’all know why I won’t be making any resolutions this year. Mainly because life with two small children is too incredibly unpredictable to be nailing down a list of even five lofty goals for one year. But I like the idea of having things to accomplish. Just as long as the pressure of having to complete things within a year is off.

Then a fellow blogger/writer Alissa over at Clever Compass came up with the incredible idea of writing and sharing our life lists. Honestly I’d never put together a definitive travel list let alone ALL the things I want to accomplish in my years on this Earth.

It’s kind of hard to think of isn’t it? Try to come up with the top 5 things you want to do in your life and list them right NOW…

What’d you come up with?

Hard, no? And yet, it’s hard to stop once the ball starts rolling. In fact I thought of so many things I want to do I need five lifetimes to accomplish them all. I know some things may never happen, like seeing the Shire or going to outer space. And I know I’m tempting fate by saying I want to see my girls have babies. But still…these are the things I WANT to do, not the things I know will come to pass.

And no this isn’t a Bucket List. Cause I don’t want to look at this list like something I have to do before I kick the bucket. I want to look at it as things to do while I’m alive. A reference in case I’m ever bored and wealthy. You know, for the Lottery Years.

So without further ado and in no particular order my Life List

  1. Become a prenatal and postpartum Doula
  2. Adopt or foster a child
  3. Own our own European-style cafe where you can get an awesome cup of coffee, or beer or wine or whiskey, a great bite to eat and watch a band or a film or read a book or write a book or meet your friends or meet new friends
  4. Get a Master’s Degree or Law Degree
  5. Run for political office
  6. Meet President and Mrs. Obama
  7. Visit NYC during the holidays and ice skate at Rockefeller Center
  8. Take the girls to Disney World
  9. Go to Lebanon and meet Michael’s grandmother and see their village, Deirmimas
  10. Learn to speak Arabic and teach my children how as well
  11. Take a RV trip to the West coast and back with my husband, kids and my mom
  12. Go on a road trip with only my sister Tracey
  13. Write and produce a feature film
  14. Go on the White House tour
  15. Read all the Harry Potter books with my daughters (and Narnia, Tolkien and Hunger Games)
  16. Take a photography class
  17. Begin a monthly dinner party club
  18. Write a children’s book
  19. Write a fiction book
  20. Write a memoir
  21. Publish something I write
  22. Sing a song in public that isn’t karaoke or Happy Birthday
  23. Record a song with my husband
  24. Build a coop and raise chickens (thanks for the reminder Kelli!)
  25. Have a proper and well-tended vegetable garden
  26. Learn to compost
  27. See the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin in concert one more time.
  28. Go back to Tuscany, rent a villa outside of Montalcino and renew vows on our 10 year wedding anniversary
  29. Find a forever house, buy it and fix it up and never move my things again.
  30. Find where my ancestors are from in Africa and go there
  31. Live in a foreign country for at least a year
  32. Meet my long-lost Uncle
  33. Go on an ancestral road trip from here through Indiana, down to Mississippi and back through West Virginia seeing all the places in this country where my family is from
  34. Visit the Forbidden City and Great Wall in China
  35. Visit the Shire in New Zealand
  36. Visit our friends in Cape Cod
  37. Visit Las Vegas, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle
  38. Visit London, Dublin and Glasgow
  39. Travel through the south of France by car
  40. Visit Vienna, Berlin, Budapest and Prague
  41. Visit Vietnam, Thailand, Bejing, Honk Kong and Tokyo
  42. Travel through Brazil to Argentina all the way to the southern tip of Chile and back up to Peru
  43. Hike Macchu Picchu
  44. Go to the World Cup or the summer Olympics or both
  45. Visit India and see the Ganges and ride an elephant
  46. Go on the Amazing Race with my husband and see the world
  47. See my daughters get married to someone they truly love
  48. Be an Auntie
  49. Be a Grandmother
  50. Grow old with my Michael
BONUS: Go to Outer Space. Preferably the Moon but Mars would be nice too. Or anywhere with The Doctor.

So what do you think? Are there things on my list that you’ve already done? Anything that you think I should add to my list? What do you think is the most easily accomplished this year? I’d love to hear from my readers as well as other bloggers what’s on their lists.

If you are a company or blogger who can help me check any of these off my list I would gladly accept your help. You can contact me at

aliwayout (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Thanks for reading! Now link up!!