My Year in Review: 2015

2015 was an awesome year for me.

Here’s some of what I did (in no particular order):

  1. I got accepted to grad school!photo
  2. I accepted a graduate assistantship with Family, School, and Neighborhood Engagement.photo 1 (4)
  3. I completed square dancing lessons and went through plus square dancing lessons.10945533_10205733396476823_249063993592293292_n
  4. I started clogging.IMG_5224.jpg
  5. I attended my first two professional conferences.12238121_10207929170329797_5391703298051292162_o
  6. My best friend got married, and I was her “Lady of Honor.”photo 5 (3).JPG
  7. I participated in the IUPUI Regatta.photo 2 (5).JPG
  8. I read 50 books. UPDATE! I’ve read 52 books, since I just finished Lending a Paw and Borrowed Crime by Laurie Cass.Goodreads Reading Challenge 2015
  9. I voted for the first time.12183954_10207845843046667_8556377505169139438_o.jpg
  10. I started knitting using a loom.photo 3 (2).JPG
  11. I biked to work for the first time.photo (2)
  12. I became VP of Membership for the alumnae chapter of my sorority.12314535_674288999379794_3357469934167776297_o.jpg
  13. I successfully completed my first semester of graduate school with a 4.0!photo 4
  14. We celebrated one year with our Little!12132485_10207711842376734_5082884238161835521_o.jpg
  15. Daniel and I celebrated one year together as a married couple!11160640_10207506329359037_7245455612742873513_o.jpg
  16. I participated in National Novel Writing Month (again).Me and Kayla writing during the first day of NaNoWriMo.
  17. And just because this picture gives me so much happiness… 🙂887410_10207864805360713_50468107508961177_o.jpg

I hope you had a wonderful 2015, and if not, I hope your 2016 is awesome!

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Being Big for Kids: #GivingTuesday

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Me, Ryan, and Daniel at his 5th grade graduation. Look at those toothy grins!

It’s been a while since I’ve made a post about spending time with Ryan, our Little. Sorry about that.

We definitely have been meeting with Ryan, and we’ve still been having an awesome time. Just Sunday, we went to see Minions, which is a fantastic movie!

It’s nearly been once year since we were matched with Ryan as his Big Couple. In that time, we’ve really gotten to know him and his family. After we drop him off, we all usually hang out on his front step chatting with him and his mom while his sisters run around the yard.

His mom tells us about the impact that we’ve had on Ryan, and her words reassure me when I feel we do stuff that’s too boring. She says we could do pretty much anything and Ryan would love it.

It doesn’t matter what we do; it matters that we spend time with him.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is about spending time with your Little and becoming part of their family, even if you only see them a few times a month.

Most recently, we dropped Ryan off, and since he was still feeling under the weather, he went inside and laid down. We still wanted to catch up with his mom, so we caught up with her while his littlest sisters crawled around on the staircase giving all three of us mini heart attacks.

As we got ready to leave, his little sisters gave each of us hugs out of the blue after Ryan had come back to say good night before heading to bed. Earlier this year, one of his sisters gave me a coloring page of a My Little Pony. It’s still hanging on our fridge.

I’m happy we aren’t strangers to them. I’m happy we are a small part of their lives.

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Daniel, Ryan, and I at the Meal and a Masterpiece event provided by BBBSCI!

On this Giving Tuesday, keep Big Brothers Big Sisters in mind. Give to their campaign (Holdfolio has committed to donate $5,000 if they reach 300 donors today), check out the Q&A sessions happening all day with some pretty high-profile people (transcripts are available), and read up on being a Big at bebigforkids.org.

Don’t feel pressured to donate. On this day, we have thousands of worthy causes pulling at our heartstrings to donate, and each one of them is important.

If you can donate (donate at https://www.givebig.bebigforkids.org/), your gift will make Central Indiana a smarter, safer, more compassionate,  better place to live—now and in the future. If you do donate, thank you. Your donation helps Daniel and I be better Bigs.

Also, don’t feel pressured to become a Big. It’s a “big” responsibility (see what I did there…), and not everyone is at a place in their lives where they can do it.

But…

If you think you can take 4-6 hours a month and are willing to hang out with an awesome kid for at least one year, do it. You can definitely do it.

I know you can do it.

It’s actually fun. I promise. 🙂

Being a Big is so worth it for you and for your Little. Consider joining the Big family today.

On One Year of Marriage

Past & Present: On One Year of Marriage

Happy Labor Day, US folks!10469373_10204820749021207_3642174395043947195_n

For me, this Labor Day marks one year of being a married woman (and six years of being with my husband)!

Growing up, I always heard the first year of marriage is the hardest one, but I think it’s been the best year of our relationship.

I just wanted to take a moment and reflect a little on what we’ve accomplished this year, but first, let’s start with what we haven’t accomplished:

We aren’t “settled,” by traditional definitions:

-We didn’t buy a house.

-We didn’t have kids.

-We both didn’t immediately get full-time jobs.

However, we have been more settled and our lives are more stable than they ever have been: 

-We have an apartment without roommates (just the two of us and Razo).10383487_10205255859898707_6915505851249669903_n

-We have a cat (aka Razo).

-Daniel has a full-time job.

-I have three part-time jobs and am a full-time graduate student.

All of that considered, I think we have had a wonderful first year of marriage:

-We travelled to England to visit a friend.

-We enrolled as Bigs in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

-We completed Mainstream and Plus Square Dance lessons.

-We’ve enjoyed a LOT of theatre together.

-We finally have a regular routine (even if it seems hectic from the outside).

Of course, not every day is super wonderful, romantic, and fantastic. That would be boring, and it completely misses the point. Daniel and I work together through any disagreements we have (though they’re usually small), and at the end of the day, we can fall asleep knowing that we are there for one another.

Happy first anniversary, Daniel. I love you!

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Being Big for Kids: Great Times

Being Big for Kids: Great Times. Stefany Boleyn. Lifelong Learner. StefanyBoleyn.wordpress.comThis is the sixteenth post in a series on being part of a Big Couple through Big Brothers Big Sisters. If you haven’t read the previous posts and would like more context, please click here for an archive of the posts. 

What kid doesn’t love an arcade?

Personally, I was never a big fan of the crowds and noise, but I always had a few games I enjoyed.

Our Little, Ryan, seems to LOVE arcades.

Earlier this year, we went to an arcade attached to the downtown mall. This time around, we decided to go to Great Times, since they have go-karts, bumper cars, and mini golf.

Unfortunately, we realized too late that the go-karts weren’t open on weekdays, but at least the mini golf was open.

On Tuesday, August 11th, we headed to Great Times.

Ryan was super excited to get the chance to play more games, so he rushed inside. We picked up our tokens and he took off. First, he played a game by the register as Daniel and I were collecting our tokens.Ryan plays a whack-a-mole type game.

Once we had our tokens, we headed upstairs to play more games.

Ryan found some sort of zombie game he and Daniel could play together. Zombies not being my thing, I chose to play ski ball.

Ryan used up his 30 tokens fairly quickly, so Daniel gave him some of his so he could play a game of air hockey against me.

He beat me 7-6.

Daniel played me next, while Ryan tried his luck at an alien version of ski ball. Daniel wasn’t on his game tonight, and I beat him 7-1.

Once we were all out of tokens and had our tickets converted to points (which we chose to save), we went to grab a bite to eat before heading out to play mini golf.Stefany prepares to hit the ball at the 18th hole.

Mini golf was fun, and Ryan was pretty good at it. We accidentally switched from the Red Course to the Blue Course, but we realized our mistake and were able to get back on track. Oops! 😛

None of our scores were fantastic, but Ryan had Daniel beat by four points and me by five.

After that, Great Times was closing up, so we headed back to Ryan’s place.


Ryan stares off into the distance while playing mini golf.Overall thoughts and lessons learned:

-Tokens are a good way to inadvertently teach kids about managing money. You have to budget for the games you want to play.

-Keeping score in mini golf is silly, but it was good to know none of us are very good at it! We still had a lot of fun.

-Arcades seem a lot smaller when you’re an adult.

Are you (or have you been) part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program? Did you ever go to an arcade together? What was it like?

Being Big for Kids: Kayaking on the Canal

Being Big for Kids 2.0: Kayaking on the CanalThis is the sixteenth post in a series on being part of a Big Couple through Big Brothers Big Sisters. If you haven’t read the previous posts and would like more context, please click here for an archive of the posts. 

Big Brothers Big Sisters has many organizations it partners with that allow us to receive discounts and sometimes free offers around town.

One of those partnerships is with Wheel Fun Rentals. They rent out bicycles, kayaks, and pedal boats to be used around the downtown canal in Indianapolis.

Bigs have the ability to bring their Little and bike or ride on the canal for free, and that’s exactly what Daniel and I decided to do in July.

Most people waiting in line wanted to use a pedal boat, but since we wanted to kayak, we only had to wait a few minutes.

Since it would have been their first time kayaking on their own, I let Daniel and Ryan use a double kayak, and I took the single.

The canal was about a mile one-way, so it took us a little bit of time to make our way to the end and back. Ryan seemed to be enjoying himself as he and Daniel steered their way around the ducks and pedal boats who shared the canal with us.11741131_10207092736979486_481342062061502465_o

By the end of it, all of our hands were red from gripping our paddles, and we were tired, but Ryan seemed to have enough energy to want to take a single kayak out for a ride.

Unfortunately, we figured it would be better not to hog the kayaks, even if we weren’t given a time limit with them.

That said, all three of us thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, so I’m sure we’ll be back to kayak once more!


Overall thoughts and lessons learned:

-Bring something to hold your electronics, water, and snacks in. We didn’t forget any of these items, but it’s always good to have a reminder.

-Bring sunscreen. Luckily for us, the sun stayed hidden, but we did forget sunscreen.

-Kayaking is fun and tiring at the same time!

Are you (or have you been) part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program? Did you ever go kayaking or canoeing with your Big/Little? Did your local BBBS office have any neat partnerships?

Being Big for Kids: Family Craft Night

Being Big for Kids 2.0This is the fifteenth post in a series on being part of a Big Couple through Big Brothers Big Sisters. If you haven’t read the previous posts and would like more context, please click here for an archive of the posts. 

As you may know, I work for a public library.

Each library in our system has a mix of system-wide programs and branch-specific programs. One consistent branch-specific program we have is our monthly Family Craft Night.

I wish our schedules had worked out to where we could take our Little to Family Craft Night each month, but so far, we’ve only been able to make it to one.

On Tuesday, June 23rd, Daniel and I headed to pick our Little up from his home and make the drive to my workplace. He was fairly quiet on the way there, but I think it was mainly because we were driving on a side of town he hadn’t yet visited.

Once we got to the library, we made our way to the Community Room. My supervisor was just starting to pack up since the big wave of patrons had already gone through by the time we got there, but she and the volunteers were kind enough to hang around and help us make musical crafts (our theme for the Summer Reading Program this year is Beatz & Bookz).photo 3photo 4

Ryan enjoyed making the different musical instruments, and he formed a one-man band.

As much as he enjoyed crafting, he was really excited to sign up for the Summer Reading Program.

We got him signed up and we took turns reading books out loud to each other so he could earn his 40 in-house points for the day. With his points, he purchased an animaze stamp, which kept him entertained the entire drive home.

After we got back to his house, he recruited one of his younger sisters to jphoto 1oin his band, and they paraded up and down their street. Hopefully they didn’t annoy Mom too much… 😛


Overall thoughts and lessons learned:

-Crafting is a good way to chat with your Little.

-Allow your Little to read to you (or read to your Little!); you both can enjoy and talk about the story.

-Libraries have lots of free programs Bigs and Littles can attend!

Are you (or have you been) part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program? Did you ever visit the library with your Big/Little?

Being Big for Kids: 5th Grade Graduation

This is the fourteenth post in a series on being part of a Big Couple through Big Brothers Big Sisters. If you haven’t read the previous posts and would like more context, please click here for an archive of the posts. Being Big for Kids: 5th Grade Graduation

As someone who is goal-oriented, celebrating progress comes naturally… especially when that progress is something as major as passing the 5th grade and moving on past elementary school.

Our Little has gone through a lot in his personal life, and I’m really proud of him and his family for not letting anything affect his education.

He may not have top grades, but he really liked his classes, teachers, and extracurricular activities.

His teachers spoke highly of him, and I know he will miss the familiar environment of his elementary school.

However, I would like to think that his next school will be supportive of his education and personal growth and allow him to continue growing into an awesome person.

Daniel and I are looking forward to supporting Ryan as he transitions into his middle school years. For me, middle school wasn’t great, and from what I can tell, nobody enjoyed middle school. Hopefully, Daniel and I can boost Ryan’s enjoyment of those years… even if it’s only a couple of times a month. 🙂

But that, of course, will come after we celebrate his graduation from 5th grade!Left to Right: Stefany, Ryan, Daniel


Overall thoughts and lessons learned:

-Take time to celebrate accomplishments.

-Reflect on your life at that time and see if there’s anything you can do to make it better for your Little.

Are you (or have you been) part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program? What have you done to celebrate any major accomplishments?