Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Small-Town Girl With Big Dreams

I grew up in a small town and by small, I mean on a farm outside of a town with a population of around 200.  My husband describes it to those who don't know the town as a place with a bar and a church.  It's pretty close to accurate!  I had a wonderful childhood, but always felt like there was a little more to see in the world than where my roots were.  I'm telling you, I've always been a dreamer!

After college, I took off on an adventure to the big city of Houston, Texas.  I packed up my belongings in a small trailer and drove 16 hours with my parents to a town where I knew no one to take a teaching position I had accepted just a week before.  Looking back I applaud that girl who followed her heart and took off after her dreams.  At the time it didn't seem frightening in the least, but ten years later I can see why my parents were quite nervous about leaving their daughter behind.  It was definitely a wonderful decision and I had a very enjoyable and successful beginning to my teaching career.  As an extra bonus, I met a wonderful group of friends that were also Iowa transplants.  We were all teachers and quickly became inseparable.  Those were some of the best years of my life.  It really paid off to follow my dream and heart and I am so grateful for the experiences that I had.

Long story short, I swore that I would never return to my roots.  I wanted to live near a big city and be in on the action.  We were livening in the suburbs of Chicago when we had our first child and all of that quickly changed.  He wasn't even six months old and we decided that we were ready to return to Iowa.  Unfortunately, it was just not in the cards at the time, as the housing market was on the cusp of crashing.  It took four years, but persistence paid off and we made it back to Iowa and moved to a small town no less.  No we did not move back to a farm nor to my hometown, but we're relatively close.  I've come full-circle!

Some of you may wonder why we were drawn back to this lifestyle?  First and foremost:  family.  Both my husband and I grew up living quite close to our grandparents and we wanted this for our kids as well.  I look forward to the special times my kids will get to spend with their grandparents now that we are so close.  Already they have each had a turn spending one-on-one time with my parents overnight and been thrilled to be able to have that time alone with them.

One of the most appealing aspects of small-town living is the sense of community.  Most people gravitate to this style of living with the intention of laying down their roots and settling in for the long haul.  That is definitely what we plan to do.  I hope that this is our forever home where our kids grow up and further on down the road return with their kids.  To me, it is important to be an active member in the community.  My dad had his hands wet in many activities both when I was growing up and long after I had flown the coop.  My mom was also very active and visible and spent 20 years serving the community in the school system.  It's in my blood to get out there and get my hands dirty in our new little town.

As I mentioned a few posts before, I was working on a few ideas and they just happen to be ways to get involved in the community.  Our town is growing and full of young families with kids.  While I desire to be at home with my kids, there is a big part of me that misses teaching and interacting with young children and their parents.  After some serious brainstorming and praying for guidance, I decided to approach the local recreation board about offering early childhood classes for kids not yet in kindergarten.  For years I have wanted to teach a music class for this age group and it is finally going to happen.  In addition, I plan to teach a little "toddler academy" focusing on a theme each week and incorporating a story, craft, and play time.  I could not be more thrilled that they were receptive to this idea and the best part is I get to take the kids along!

I have a few months to prepare for this new adventure and I am looking forward to using the creative side of my brain to come up with some fun activities for these classes.  I feel like this is just the beginning of what is to come, as I have an even bigger plan for down the road.  It will take some time and research, but I hope that sometime in the next few years my dream will become a reality.  It never hurts to dream big!  You just never know what may happen!


  1. That's awesome Gina! Congrats!! I wish we lived closer and could participate! Good luck with everything! :)

    1. Thanks, Amanda! It will be a fun adventure (I hope!). :)