Tag…You’re It!

I remember when these “all about you” questionnaires would circulate via email.  My how times have changed…now they’re circulating through blogs!  Either way I love doing these things because they’re procrastination at it’s best.  Thanks to Calandra, my cousin & co-editor of this blog, for asking me to share 11 random things about me and answer 11 questions she has asked about me.  Even though we’re cousins I learned something new about her(and confirmed how similar we are–must be the genes!) so maybe she’ll learn some new things about me. 

11 Random Things About Jasmine…

  1. My husband and I met in college and dated for 10 years before we got married. By then it was just a formality…
  2. I used to write short stories in high school.  While in college I was offered a chance to publish but didn’t do it.
  3. I played the flute in elementary through high school.
  4. I’ve only seen two opera performances but loved them and want to see more.
  5. I know lines to the movie The Color Purple practically by heart.
  6. I walked a full marathon with Team in Training in 2003; took me 6 hours. 
  7. I met LL Cool J in 2002 and still carry around the picture I took with him.
  8. Four generations of my family lived Asheville, NC, which is why I find it funny that the small mountain city has become one of the hottest vacation spots over recent years.
  9. My dream kitchen would have two ovens and one of those water faucets right over the stove for filling large pots.  And Giada DeLaurentis on speed-dial!
  10. Though I wouldn’t dare do it now, when I was a kid I purposefully mismatched my clothes.
  11. I majored in Religious Studies in college but had no intention of going to seminary–I just thought to subject was interesting!

My Questions From Calandra…

  1. If you could magically give up any vice overnight, what would it be? Procrastination…hah!
  2. Which are more meaningful, hugs or kisses? Hugs
  3. Dog-lover or cat-lover? Cats–they’re so self-sufficient!
  4. What theme music plays in your head when you enter a room? Depends on my mood: Ludacris’ “Move B***h” or LMFAO “I’m Sexy & I Know It”
  5. Who would you most want to spend a day with (living or dead)? My mom
  6. Contemporary or classic music? Classic for sure!
  7. What book/song title best describes your life? Alicia Keys’ Superwoman
  8. What was your favorite subject in school? Health
  9. What helps you relax after a long day? Spending time with my family then a nice glass of red wine.
  10. If Oprah gave you half her money to do something good for someone else, how would you spend it? Go to microlending and donation sites like Kiva.org, Benevolent.net and Donorschoose.org and fulfill every single request. Then start a foundation helping women & girls. 
  11. What is your best quality? I’m eerily calm under pressure, which I think scares people sometimes…
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Sometimes all it takes…

is apples.  Last weekend my family went apple-picking.  Being a fan of food and where it comes from I wanted my daughter to learn that apples come from trees, just like we showed her in May that strawberries can be picked off of low bushes.  But apples brought me back to North Carolina, where my grandparents lived and my grandmother made apple butter from scratch.  Unfortunately my grandma passed years ago and with her went the recipe.  Now I’m on the hunt for a good apple butter recipe that my daughter can help me make.  If you have one please comment!

Let’s Get Physical

Until recently I had been a pretty active person. When I was a kid I played soccer. In high school I ran track. When I was in college, though I gained the “freshman fifteen” (darn those midnight mozzerella sticks!) I regularly went to the fitness center and hardly took the campus bus to class. In 2003 I really stepped up my physical fitness and completed a marathon (Team in Training–awesome!). Then I got into pilates, Zumba & even a little yoga while pregnant. Even after my daughter was born I at least tried to keep a walking routine.

But since my daughter turned about 18 months my fitness routine has plummeted. I think it’s a combo of her 5:30am wake-ups, increased activity at work then the evening routine. Weekends we try to get to the park but she’s more into the playground than running in a field, leaving me to slowly walk or stand while watching her.

Two weeks ago I tried a Boot Camp class offered at my office. The class was fun but it quickly became crystal clear: my butt is out of shape! All those months of diminished activity (let’s be real–walking isn’t exactly strenuous) left my endurance at -5. I’ve gotta find a new fitness regimen, STAT!

This is not at all to lose weight, though I would like to get a little closer to my pre-baby body. This is to be able to keep up with an increasingly active toddler. I want to be able to show her how to dribble a soccer ball and run with her as she goes down the field during a game. I want to demonstrate a healthy active lifestyle throughout all my kids’ lives.

I want to be that active grandparent chasing grandkids well into my 80s. Right now my fitness she-ro is Ernestine Shepherd, a 74-year old bodybuilder. I’m not getting into bodybuilding but you get the picture: 74 and rolling strong!

So now I’ve ordered a new exercise DVD (review coming soon!) and am committing to finding time for fitness. If I gotta get up early, wait til after my daughter’s in bed, commit time on the weekend…whatever it takes! Not for me, but for my kids and grandkids.

Sometimes all it takes…

Is sitting on the couch with your husband. On difficult days all I want to do is sit on the couch after work and zone out in front of the TV. Sometimes we find a good movie or funny TV show and end up laughing hysterically at the movie, the show, the commercials or even ourselves. Sometimes that’s all it takes to end the day better than it started…

PS: This is the first of what I’m calling “Sometimes all it takes…”: random, short insights when I want to say something but not feeling a long entry. Enjoy!

Learning to Learn

As I sit here on the computer doing various little things I have Sesame Street going on another screen for my daughter, Beverly, to watch.  We’ve listened to Elmo’s “Potty Time” song about 6 times now…every time the next video comes on she says “Potty time again mommy”.  We’re in potty training mode so I suppose I don’t mind so much; I can learn the words so when she sits on the potty we can sing it together.

Potty training has made me think more about learning.  When was the last time you learned something new?  I’m not talking about reading a textbook or learning how to play a card game; I mean learned a whole new basic function like going to the bathroom.  Crawling, eating solids, walking all seemed to have come pretty natural for Beverly.  Lord knows she’s picked up talking very easily!  Potty training is a whole new thing for both of us–I really do have to teach her how to do this  (BTW we’re now on listen number 7).  How do I tell her what it feels like to have to go to the bathroom? I can’t just say “you know when you know”, because she doesn’t know!

Earlier today I drove by an empty parking lot and thought about when I learned how to drive.  My dad took me to an empty lot for our lessons and I’ll likely do the same for Beverly.  Again I started wondering…how will I teach her to drive?  At 34 years old I’ve been driving literally half of my life.  It’s something that I just know how to do at this point.

Amazing how kids make us re-learn how we learned to do basic things we take for granted now.  This is going to be quite a journey for Beverly, me and her dad!

Listen #8…I think I’ve had enough now…

Guest Post: We Are Family…?

Here’s another post from This and That’s new Contributor, Jasmine Ratliff…

Calandra and I are cousins because my grandmother and her mother are sisters. I think technically that makes us second-cousins (she and my mom would be first) but regardless, we know the connection. In the past year, though, I found new family in unfamiliar places.

I’m a big fan of genealogy. I started becoming interested when my dad created a family photo wall in the first house he bought. He had pictures going back 3 generations, to my great-grandmother on his mother’s side. She was so light-skinned that when I first saw her picture I said “Who is that white lady?” The next time we were at my grandmother’s house she pulled out her Bible and showed me the names of family members going back to that same great-grandmother, plus her brothers and sisters, marriage dates, everything. I was hooked to know who my family was.

Years later a friend showed me Ancestry.com and after a little exploration I bought a membership. A couple of weeks after joining and entering the family info I received an email. A woman was researching a similar family surname and wanted to exchange information. After several emails that included comparing stories, looking at census records and even learning a little more about each other I googled her name. Found her on Facebook and did a double-take…wait…she’s white! I emailed her to make sure I had the right person; yep I did. Wow…

Turns out her great-great-grandmother was my great-great-grandmother’s sister. We share the same great-great-great-grandfather. She had pictures of him that I would just stare at in amazement; that’s my…our…family. She’s been able to spend much more time collecting data than I’ve been able to but I’ve definitely been inspired to keep searching. I want to be able to share as much family history with my daughter that she’s been able to share with her son and twin girls.

We became Facebook friends (family!) and check in now and again. One of these days I hope to meet her in person and hang out with my newly found family. I encourage everyone to research their ancestry. You may be surprised who’s related to you…and I hope pleasantly so!

Guest Post: We Are Family…?

Here’s another post from This and That’s new Contributor, Jasmine Ratliff…

Calandra and I are cousins because my grandmother and her mother are sisters. I think technically that makes us second-cousins (she and my mom would be first) but regardless, we know the connection. In the past year, though, I found new family in unfamiliar places.

I’m a big fan of genealogy. I started becoming interested when my dad created a family photo wall in the first house he bought. He had pictures going back 3 generations, to my great-grandmother on his mother’s side. She was so light-skinned that when I first saw her picture I said “Who is that white lady?” The next time we were at my grandmother’s house she pulled out her Bible and showed me the names of family members going back to that same great-grandmother, plus her brothers and sisters, marriage dates, everything. I was hooked to know who my family was.

Years later a friend showed me Ancestry.com and after a little exploration I bought a membership. A couple of weeks after joining and entering the family info I received an email. A woman was researching a similar family surname and wanted to exchange information. After several emails that included comparing stories, looking at census records and even learning a little more about each other I googled her name. Found her on Facebook and did a double-take…wait…she’s white! I emailed her to make sure I had the right person; yep I did. Wow…

Turns out her great-great-grandmother was my great-great-grandmother’s sister. We share the same great-great-great-grandfather. She had pictures of him that I would just stare at in amazement; that’s my…our…family. She’s been able to spend much more time collecting data than I’ve been able to but I’ve definitely been inspired to keep searching. I want to be able to share as much family history with my daughter that she’s been able to share with her son and twin girls.

We became Facebook friends (family!) and check in now and again. One of these days I hope to meet her in person and hang out with my newly found family. I encourage everyone to research their ancestry. You may be surprised who’s related to you…and I hope pleasantly so!