Sunday, January 22, 2012

Unsettled and Off My Rocker

"Unsettled" seems to be the most fitting way to describe the last month or so. I've been incredibly nomadic and my schedule has been unpredictable to say the least. January and I have had our battles, now it's time for a new month.


Camp closed its doors for two weeks in honor of the Christmas and New Year holidays. I was incredibly grateful for the opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends during the break. In fact, Alex and I were able to spend nearly 10 days together, as we each took a turn celebrating Christmas with our families. I was in the Carolinas December 20-24, and he came to Louisiana the 26th through the 30th. I especially enjoyed the opportunity to treat Alex to his first visit to New Orleans, a trip that coincided with a Nicholls roommate reunion (plus Joey & Kim who were in from Idaho)! It was great.

On January 2nd, I drove back to Little Rock, anticipating a return to work on the 4th. However, on the 3rd, a coworker and I went to the office to check out the progress on our rennovations, only to find out the administration had decided to keep the office closed until the following Monday (Jan. 9th). Megan and I were really frustrated because we could have used this time to visit our boys (her husband's spending the month in Boston for a Med School rotation), instead of being stuck in LR for the week. Thankfully, Megan and I had each other to stay entertained, since she'd asked me to be her roommate for the month while Richie is out of town.

We returned to work on Monday (Jan. 9th), with high hopes for settling into our new offices and getting back into the swing of things. Lo and behold, that morning we were informed the construction schedule would require the office to be closed once again, on Thursday and Friday. Later that afternoon, the closure was expanded to include Wednesday, which meant Monday and Tuesday were the only days were open for business that week. Oh, and, we didn't return to work until the following Tuesday (Jan. 17th) because Monday was a holiday (MLK). *angry face*

Ironically enough, I made several comments back in December about how I was jealous of college students' holidays, as my first year in the big kid world. While an unexpected four-week holiday from work definitely had it's perks, it happened to be one of the worst times of the year for this to happen. January 6th was the deadline for applications for spring weekend camp volunteers. Somehow...somewhow... the typical applicant pool for this time of year more than doubled from 20 to 45! I have no idea how this happened, but trying to process applications, schedule interviews, place volunteers, prepare for and host a large training all in one week was incredibly overwhelming, and definitely not something I'd like to ever do again.

No matter how hard I tried, I just could not keep up! There were so many e-mails that it took me til Friday to even LOOK at messages that had arrived the previous Sunday. The phone rang off the hook, with sometimes two or three messages left via voicemail while I answered a call that came in just before. Oh oh - I forgot to mention that we hosted our first weekend camp of the year this weekend, so Tommy (Weekend Camp Coordinator) and I were both scrambling to prepare evaluations, check-in forms, and cabin lists for Disney Weekend, all at the same time everything else was going on! It was nuts, I tell you...nuts!

At this point, I've survived the weekend, but there is no rest for the weary. It's a "work week" at Camp this week, so we'll have volunteer groups coming out to rake leaves from 9-3 for the better part of the week. This doesn't leave me much time to continue the interview and placement process with new volunteers, nor to prepare for next weekend's SCUBA Camp. ...Not to mention all the parents who are calling about summer camp applications (that I haven't even BEGUN to prepare). AHHH!!

All of this stress would have been a lot to take in a normal month, but adding a new roommate to the mix, while not being in my own space is quite a transition, as well. We're also right in the middle of processing applications for the 2012 National 4-H Conference Collegiate Facilitator group, and I'm doing my best to give that project all the attention it deserves. And, one can't forget the sneaky stressors in life such as hormonal changes or supporting and serving others. ...Those little boogers.

Needless to say...I'M READY FOR FEBRUARY!


Monday, January 16, 2012

A Set of 1's.

Fair warning, this post is going to be mushy gushy, so if you just had lunch, you may want to pick someone else's life to stalk for a while. I've tried to avoid the lovey dovey stuff on my blog, but today I'm going to combine it all into one post and get it out of the way for a while. So again, bear with me, or "change the channel," if you will. :)

I'm a firm believer that couples should date for at least a full year before making any real decisions or new steps in the relationship. There's just something to be said for experiencing each of the four seasons together - celebrating holidays, taking vacations, dealing with oppressive heat and the blustery cold. Plus, I'm not sure if any of you are in-tuned to your own lives as well as I might claim to be, but different seasons "work" for different people, and some seasons are just depressing.

For example, spring is a happenin' time of the year for me - I absolutely love spring time. The weather is beautiful, there's lots to do, it's my birthday, and spring is just plain FUN! On the other hand, I loathe fall - there's nothing to celebrate, the days are short, everyone's coming off of a lazy summer, and work is just sooo slowwww. Overall, I find Fall to be incredibly boring and seemingly drags on forever. For others, sentiments may be quite the opposite.

In a long distance relationship, every moment, every season is something to celebrate - as another milestone of accomplishment, and another day closer to "together forever." Developing the habit of recognizing each milestone can lend itself to exercises in creativity, especially when time together can be unpredictible from month to month or season to season.

Alex and I have developed several creative ways to spend time together, even when we are apart. Someone on the outside looking in may see our time "together" as lame, or even cheesy, but it works for us and that's what matters. The purpose of this post isn't to provide others in similar situations with ideas or suggestions for staying in touch, so I won't describe our tricks of the trade. What I will say is that everyone has to find something that works for them - try it once and if it works it works, and if it doesn't, try something else. Half the fun is in the trying. ;-)

Over the course of the last year, Alex and I have made many memories together. We never imagined the failed first blind "date" on December 10, 2010 would have turned into the longest and greatest relationship either of us have ever experienced. One day I'll have to tell all of you that story. Looking back, we laugh, but at the time it all seemed really awkward and miserable. Many thanks to K.M. and C.B. for your attempts at ... well I'm not sure what exactly you were attempting there, but thanks. Haha.

On December 24, 2010, Alex bravely asked me out on a "real" first date and we each decided to start with a clean slate and give it another try. On January 9, 2011 Alex drove 4 hours each way (8 hours total) to spend an afternoon with me...despite the impending snow storm headed our way. Something told me that any guy who offered to drive 8 hours to spend a day with me HAD to be worth a shot. Today, something tells me I was right. :-D

And today, January 16, 2012, marks one year from the date Alex asked me to be his girlfriend. A year ago, we thought 240 miles, 4 hours, and 2 states away was a "long distance" relationship. Yet, today, we're celebrating from 825 miles, 14 hours, and 5 states apart. Talk about creativity, haha.

It's not always easy, but we do our best to spend as much quality time together as we can. While our definition of together may be different than most, we like to think it's even more special because we don't take anything for granted. As we look ahead toward more "1's," and then "2's, 3's, 5's, 10's, 100's..." I pray that we always remember the little moments, memories, and magic we have together.

Thank you, Alex, for an amazing year. As you're well aware, 12 is my favorite number and I have a hunch that 2012 is going to be a great year. I love you!

<3 br="">Lauren

[See folks, I warned you it was mushy...tehe.]