Friday, January 30, 2015

Tree Card

The last set of cards that I made for my grandfather (here are the links for the first and second) was using another SVG from Miss Kate Cuttables. The original image actually had one more pink layer. You can see that when I made the card, there are some spots that should have had a heart, but I figured it wasn't necessary. 

Though the image is fairly simplistic in that it's just adding one layer on top of the other, it required a lot of work in terms of gluing it together because the branches get rather thin. If I didn't have Zig glue and Tweezerbees, I don't know how I would have handled it!

I kept the rest of the design very simple by just using a piece of green patterned paper to be the grass. The sentiment is from Pink by Design's "Faith" set, which is one of my all-time favorites. 

I love how all the layers give the card dimension without my having to pop anything off the card. It's a simple card yet really pretty, in my opinion!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Me in a Bag: Mini Cooper

Last week, I posted something that I wrote as an example to read to my kids for the "Me in a Bag" assignment. You can find that first post here. This is the second one that I wrote and read to them.


The screeching of those tires is one of the sounds I will never forget for the rest of my life. It not only caused a physical impact on my life but a mental and spiritual one as well. I never would have thought that a car accident could have that much of an effect years later. 

On one mundane Sunday morning, my family and I were on our way to church waiting at the traffic light right after the Manhattan bridge. When the squealing sound first began, I immediately turned around to find the source of the noise. Once I realized that the work van behind us was not going to be able to stop itself from crashing into our minivan, I quickly faced forward and braced myself for the inevitable collision. We were hit so hard that we also rear-ended the car in front of us, which unfortunately meant that my back hit the seat twice. Because I was sitting in the third row, I was the only one who sustained injuries. 

The police officers and EMTs who arrived on the scene told me that the pain would get worse before it got better. I didn't fully grasp that concept until hours later when the adrenaline that was in my system protecting me from fully feeling the pain wore out. My parents took me to the hospital to confirm that it was "only" whiplash and nothing more life threatening.

For months after the accident, I was required to go to physical therapy. Lifting heavy objects was out of the question, but that was difficult to avoid considering I was a college student at the time. There were nights when falling asleep seemed almost impossible because I couldn't find a comfortable position that wouldn't put stress on my back. When I stood in front of a mirror, I could actually see that one shoulder was raised much higher than the other, and it was constantly sore. The only thing that entertained me throughout this whole ordeal was that for years after the accident, I was able to tell with 99% accuracy whether or not there would be any precipitation in the forecast. I was actually more precise than the weather reports because one particular spot near my spine would throb before it was set to rain or snow the next day.

However, the physical struggles after the accident were nothing compared to the mental struggles. While all of my friends in high school were eager to begin driver's ed, I never had the same burning desire to drive. I had actually waited until that year of college to take private lessons. In fact, I had recently completed a number of lessons with my instructor and had my road test scheduled a few short weeks after the incident by the bridge! Though the pain in my body was problematic, the anxiety about getting behind the wheel again was devastating. Though I was not the driver on that unforgettable Sunday morning, I was terrified that if I did drive, I might one day be in a car accident again or even worse, be the reason why someone else had to suffer through the pain and anguish I had experienced.

Thankfully, I was able to take my road test despite the difficulty I had in turning my neck when checking my surroundings. I passed with a perfect score and became a fully licensed driver. Once I got that paper indicating that I could legally operate a vehicle without another supervising licensed driver, I refused to sit behind the steering wheel again. The fear was crippling. 

No one in my life seemed to truly understand my predicament. It was exhausting hearing people tell me that the only thing I could do to overcome my fear was to get behind the wheel and deal with it. Unfortunately, each time I would try doing that, the panic that coursed through my veins was insufferable, and I was never able to turn on the ignition. Some people seemed to minimize my feelings, which made the issue even more challenging to face because half of me was convinced that I was overreacting while the other half of me was insistent that I was the only one who was being logical in this situation! The apprehension I had lasted years so even though I was a 22-year old adult when I got the job teaching here at Gateway Academy, I was still a kid in that I needed my mom to drive me to and from work.

One might think that the only option that I had that would help me conquer my trepidation was through God's help, and in reality, that's exactly what it took for me to get to where I am today! Among the discouragers who thought they were being encouraging, there were a few who let me be and didn't push me one way or the other. Instead, they quietly prayed that one day I would be able to shove the fear aside and get behind the wheel again, and that's exactly what happened. I can't pinpoint the exact day, but I woke up in the morning thinking, "I can drive now." If that's not divine intervention, I don't know what is!

There's no reasonable, worldly explanation as to why that occurred. When fellow Christians talk about how the Lord lifted burdens off their shoulders when they fully submitted to Him, I couldn't quite comprehend that notion myself, that is, until it happened to me. That screeching sound may always be a part of my memory and something I had wanted to desperately to forget, but now when I think about that ordinary church morning, I am reminded of God's awesome power and how He used it to provide a moving testimony for me.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Addiction of Clearance Hunting

While tidying up the apartment yesterday, I decided that I would put all the clearance baby and kid clothes inside one of our suitcases because the bags of merchandise were starting to pile up. I don't need any of it until months from now for a baby shower and first birthday, so there's no need to keep it out. I have definitely accumulated a bunch of adorable clothing from the Disney Store, Old Navy, and Target!

I've talked to a few moms or soon-to-be moms who said that stocking up on other items like diapers is more worthwhile because everyone gets clothing. I completely understand that, but some things are necessary, I think. I purchased some onesies, sleep 'n plays, burp cloths, and really nice bibs because the babies DO need those things, and I don't feel bad buying them because I got them 50%-70% off. I've found fleece tops for $0.97 and Disney items for $1.99. Other gift givers may still buy clothing items, but as an aunt, I find that it is my duty to bring any of my nieces and nephews into the Disney sphere, haha. That's why you can see some adorably cute Disney gear!

It seems weird spending the money on things now even when items might be too big in size, but I will continue doing it this way so that when the occasions come up, I don't have to go out to shop. I can just "shop" from this suitcase. I have about 4 toys too put away for the proper time. You know how difficult it can be to search for a gift when it's needed. It's the same as having to find a dress before a party or wedding; it's just so difficult and can get expensive! But because of my feelings of buying things on clearance, I haven't had to do any last minute shopping for either of those things, and in the long run, it saves me money.

Of course, there are some things that are just too cute and so incredibly inexpensive that it's worth saving for little Luke or Leia. I bought two of those Pixar shirts and gifted one of them already, but that other one you see is for me! I will save it for as long as I have to! 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Calm Before the Storm

It's so strange looking outside right now and seeing the snow that's on the ground. It's not much really at this point although it is sticking. It seems kind of peaceful as there aren't many cars on the road, but if we really do get as much as the weather people say, it's going to be a totally different view tomorrow!

Just earlier I got an email from CVS that mentioned getting items from the storm in preparation for the storm. I'm guessing that at the point of the email, the CVS by me would have been sold out of essentials already because it's right by a lot of apartments and houses! I said that I should go to the store and get upset with them if they didn't actually have bread and water and say, "You sent this email directly to me!" Then we started joking about how we would recreate a "Jen from Bath & Body Works Appleton" scene. There's a parody of it on YouTube that I won't post here because there's a little bit of foul language in it, but it is something that has made us crack up time and time again. Howard was like, "I went to Stapleton, Westerleigh, Todt Hill, up Grymes Hill and down Grymes Hill ..." Man, we are easily entertained!

Here are some pictures that Howard took on his way home from work today. I'm super glad he got home safely. Public transportation was crowded because a lot of people left earlier than normal. 

This bus one is probably my favorite from all of the pictures. It looks so much like it's a character that needs to wake up and wipe his eyes!

Sometimes we can't tell whether or not it's snowing, and we rely on the parking lot lights to help us figure it out.

It'll be extra quiet tonight what with the travel ban and the fact that all 4 bridges are closed starting at 11pm! I wonder what we'll hear outside since we're right off the highway and normally hear the cars, trucks, and sirens! For most of you NYCers who have a day off tomorrow (or are working from home), have a great snow day tomorrow!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

"Historic" Blizzard?

The news that keeps circulating today is the amount of snow the Northeast is going to get on Tuesday. The mayor already mentioned possible school closing for Tuesday, which rarely happens for public school. That means my school would definitely be closed because we have snow days a lot more often due to the fact that some of our teachers and students drive from the other side of the island. Some of them even drive in from NJ!

After church today, Howard and I made a stop at Home Depot to buy a shovel since we don't have one. The benefit to living in an apartment is that we don't have property to shovel, but considering the amount of snow that is supposedly on its way, we will have to dig the car out! I don't know if the parking lot will be cleaned very well either, which is a scary though to me considering the crazy experience I had in the car fairly recently on an icy morning. So purchasing a shovel was just one way to ease my mind. Since we have absolutely no room to store an actual full-sized shovel, we purchased the car shovel that can be folded in half to fit in the trunk. I'm sure it will come in handy in less than 72 hours.

Here's hoping to safety during this blizzard! I have my fingers crossed that we don't get a blackout. It's more than just a minor inconvenience for us because no electricity means we lose water too! Being on the 9th floor means we really need the pumps for the water pressure. Last Saturday when we had a blackout, we lost our water. Once that happens, I feel as if everything I want to do requires water, haha. 

Now it's time to prepare ourselves for everyone's snow pictures on Instagram!