HEY EVERYONE LOOK! I'M STUCK IN A VENDING MACHINE!
Actually, I'm in there on purpose. The BYU-Idaho Library is having a photo competition for whoever can take a picture of them reading in the strangest place on campus. Winner gets $100 buckaroos! So, if you are feeling extra goodly, and wanna help a sister out, log onto Facebook and vote at this link! There's only a few days to vote and I would really love you forever! (I'm competing with a guy reading underwater....I need all the help I can get!)
Here I am, excitedly running up the stairs to see him!
He's up there.
Probably eating cake and bouncing off the walls. He's up there. I bought him a gift, though it was so hard finding anything good enough. His birthday gift had to be perfect.
I can imagine him running to me when he sees me like he did every morning at school.
I imagine us doing our secret High five he loves.
I am shaking with excitement.
I reach the top and see him, my sweet baby. He's sitting on the ground with his back to me, lining up animal figurines on the ground so precisely.
I can't believe he's 7 already, and that he's here... in the same room as me... when I thought I may never see him again.
His grandmother lights up when she see's me.
"Preston! Preston, look who's here!"
He acts as though he cannot hear her and continues examining his small elephant toy.
"Preston, look! It's Valerie!"
I kneel beside him with my gift, overwhelmed with love and excitement. My baby, My little guy, right beside me.
"Hi Preston!" I say. "..... Preston?"
He looks over, dodging the sight of me completely and throws the toy story sticker book, and polar bear stuffed animal I bought him aside to see if there was anything really good in his gift bag.
".... Hey Preston, do you remember me?"
"Preston, look! Valerie is here for your birthday!", his grandmother chimes.
Preston... look at me....
Ok, so he may not recognize me (even though he hasn't really looked), but he'll remember our special high five! The one we did every time he got a question right in class, or listened really well... every time I wanted to see him smile.
He has to remember it: high five, up top, down low, to the side, cut the pickle, spider (I would whisper)... He loves the spider, as I would crawl up his arm with my fingers, he would whisper "faster" and I'd quickly crawl to tickle his tummy.
"Preston! High five!" I say as I hold my hand up. He slaps it without looking at me.
"Preston up top!"
"Preston! Preston, down low! ...... cut the pickle?.... Preston, do you want the spider?......"
This is where I step back.
And suddenly it's real.
He forgot me. 2 months, and I am a stranger.
I feel.... empty.
This isn't real. This is what I feared.
I'm a stranger to him.
His Grandmother tells me how he's just so focused on his new toys... She tells me about how he is doing, how none of his other Paraprofessional technicians after me worked out, how he began acting out, how he finished the 1st grade without an aide in class with him.
I discuss how unbelievable that is to me, how he was such an incredible child, how I cannot imagine anyone not being able to work with him...
I smile, and eat pumpkin cake, introduce my fiance to Preston's parents, while constantly looking over at Preston. Yearning for the boy I spent so much time working with. As My fiance (who happens to work at the same place as Preston's mom) discusses business, I stare at Preston longingly.
He's different. Reserved. Non-responsive. This isn't my little guy. Can 2 months really undo all of our hard work? All of our progression? Please, give me a sign that I made any difference at all. Reassure me you didn't forget me.
He has to remember me. Mental condition or not, we had a connection. He's my buddy, my client, he's like my little brother.
Preston, look at me. Come on Angel, just look at me.
You remember me, don't you?
You remember how we used to play at recess everyday, and how after recess you would make me chase you down the hall. You remember how I used to make your lunch and cut your pizza bagel bites into fourths, and how I used to ask you about your weekend and talk to myself as if your were responding. Don't you remember how I would recite back to you the movies you would quote just to see you smile? Do you remember me securely holding your hand after school while we waited for grandma so that you wouldn't run into the street? I was so excited to see you, to see how you lost your two front teeth, and to watch you laugh and play...
A moment later he turns around, and briefly looks at me. Emptily, he glances away.
I work at AskBYU-I, which is the student help desk, and if students have a question, any question at all, they can call us, or do live chat and we have to find an answer. Once, someone told me they wanted to chop up our bodies!!!! Then they explained they were a medical student and was referring to our cadaver lab. Every once in a while people come up with some interesting names on live chat. In fact, I've chatted with Darth Vader before! (and you all thought he was dead...) Anywho, I was feeling pretty jealous. Naturally I had to do something about that:
(you may have to click on the picture to see it bigger)
I could have been soooo much creepier but I had to remind myself that we record these chats, and my boss (Ryan, aka Brother Degraw) would likely see it. I should have commented on what clothes she was wearing! DANG IT!
There's always next time :)
hahahaha You can see I didn't know how to take a picture of my screen because it's in the google search engine. Smooth Valerie, Really smoooooth.
Now, tell me you like being a creeper just as much as me so that I know I'm not a freak!
Speaking of that test... I should probably study for that!
So this last weekend Ryguy and I trecked it back up to Washington to take care of some wedding things. I bought a wedding dress! It went a little something like this:
Girl finds dress online she loves.
Girl has bridal store find out if they have it.
They do! ... In a size too large and 2 sizes too small....
Store calls distributor to send correct size.
There are none of that dress in girls size. anywhere.
Girl goes to local store and tries on same dress in size too large.
Girl decides to order dress and pay an arm and leg for alterations.
Store in Spokane orders dress.
Girl goes to try dress on and purchase.
Dress fits like a glove.
How on earth is that possible? 2 ways:
1. I ate too many treats at the bridal shower that morning.
2. Dress was in fact my size and was mis-labled by manufacturer.
Some say coincidence. I say Miracle!
Additionally, I had a FAB-U-LOUS bridal shower with the women that watched me grow up, and I ordered our invitations. I tell you what, whoever said weddings were stressful didn't know what they were talking about... All I've been burdened with so far is beautiful gifts and tasty treats! (knock on wood!!!)
Here are some pictures of the gorgeous shower, and the INCREDIBLE women I've been blessed to have be a part of my life!
My girlies just so happened to be visiting from school for the weekend!!!
mmmmm... SO YUMMY. (These are probably the reason I gotta start running again!)
LOVE THIS WOMAN!!!
So many wonderful gifts!
And a super cute face for
your viewing pleasure....
Here's all my adopted mommas
And I'm kinda obsessed with those giant balloons as of..... NOW.
And here is the incredible lady that pulled it all together! (with my momma, yet another incredible lady in my life!)
Weddings are wonderful for many reasons, but I think what I've loved about it the most is the way it draws people together. Those of your past, present, and future. You really see how large your support circle is, even if you've never really noticed it before. As the Bridal shower was coming to a close, one of the women pulled me aside to confirm to me that in this room were a small handful of women that cared about me, (not to mention trusted me with babysitting their kids!) and were those that I could call on if I needed ANYTHING. I guess I've always known that, but with all the changes that are coming up, that really resonated deeply. (Ladies, consider yourselves warned! If somethings a-creakin in the middle of the night, one of you are getting a midnight wake up call!!!)
I love blogging. I really do! I originally started a blog a few years ago after my first semester in college. I was B-R-O-K-E, and after reading an article about how you could make money off of a blog, I decided to give it a try. I signed up for Google ad sense, made a blog, and I was off!
I really didn't know what to do with a blog. It began as a way to express thoughts, and transformed into more of an on-line journal that existed solely to let my momma know I hadn't fallen off the face of the planet. It started to become more regular and after a while, I started getting e-mails from multiple people expressing thanks for certain things I'd written that they felt they really needed to hear. I was excited to see my blog was reaching people, and not only that, helping people! Every once in a while someone would click my ad and I'd make 8 cents, but for the most part I just loved doing it with or without profit. The more I blogged, the more followers I gained, and though I'm certainly no one special in the blog world, I thought it was awesome! On top of that, my little Google Adsense account began increasing. Now, with Google you have to make $100 worth of clicks before you actually get paid, and my blog was making it's way there, UNTIL one fateful day I received an e-mail that read something along the lines of: "GOOGLE AD SENSE ACCOUNT TERMINATED" (aka we hate your stinkin guts.)
This was my reaction:
(pretty accurate eh? food hangin outta the mouth and everything!)
I was so confused! They said that my "clicks" were not valid or something... I had an excess of clicks in Spokane Washington, and Rexburg Idaho so they thought I was paying people to click on ads, It's not like I live in those two cities and that's where most of my followers are from or anything! (not to mention, if I had the money to pay people, I wouldn't have Adsense, you Google smarties!)
Anyways, I appealed the accusation, was denied, and can never again have a Google Adsense account. Bet you didn't know you were reading the words of such a hardened criminal! haha. Alas, that was end of my ad career, and with the exception of a few paid advertisements here and there, my blog is pretty income free, and that's okay with me :)
I love it when other bloggers share suggestions on how to improve a blog, so If you don't mind, I'm just going to provide a few of my lowly and amateur suggestions on how to create a blog of income!
1. You can have paid advertising. I'm more of a fan of blog swaps personally, but there is nothing wrong with charging for ad space on a blog. Additionally, give people a reason to stop by. The more followers you have, the more interested people will be in advertising with you (eh, eh? ;) However, don't make money the sole purpose of your blog. If that's the goal, it becomes a job rather than a passion/hobby, and who wants more work?!
2. Start small. Though I'm not a huge fan of Google Adsense for obvious reasons, (They will RUE the day they ever messed with Valerie Braun! haha) but, small ads are a good place to start. Recently I've discovered a little website called Adaconda (catchy right?!) and they are pretty much the same as Google Adsense, however, they have yet to falsely accuse me of anything so they are high on my list! This is great for anyone, who, like me, cannot use Google for advertising. I'm hoping to integrate them into my blog within the near future. I love Adaconda because like any ad company, they place the ads right on your blog, and then your work is done! It's so easy, convenient, and an excellent place to start!
3. Some companies or websites are willing to pay for advertising which is always nice, the trick is having them find your blog. If you want to try something a little different, there are also fun little random websites out there for making money! Take fivver.com for example: You post anything and everything you are willing to do at the expense of $5. ANYTHING! You simply post your service, and wait for someone to bite the bait. For example:
"I will.... post a YouTube video singing happy birthday in my best opera voice for $5"
"I will... advertise your company on my webpage for $5"
Pretty cool huh? Most websites like this are all through PayPal which, you should probably have anyways.
4. And, if all else fails, you may use your blog strictly for business. Advertise your own services, Etsy account and products, after all, you have something to offer! I sport my Etsy account in a tab, and LOVE seeing what others have to offer as well! If you don't have any services, then offer yourself (not in an inappropriate sort of way of course!). You have something to say, and it may be something that someone out there just really needs to hear. I've gotten so many ideas, thoughts, and tips from other bloggers and that truly is a priceless perk to blogging.
Most importantly, just enjoy what you do. Obviously you started a blog for a reason, stay true to that, but at the same time, It's OK to allow your blog to grow along side with you!
So, how'd I do amigos? Did I cover it all? I hope so! On that note, good luck in your blogging endeavors, and I'd like to leave you with something that never fails to make me smile :)
This my friends, is the reason Photoshop was created!