Sunday, July 31, 2011

I Like Taking Pictures :)

I would never say that I'm a photographer...but I would say that I love taking pictures. I'm a big fan of my little Cannon point and shoot. Unfortunately, a few months back, about 2-3 years of pictures got deleted off of my computer (a few tears were shed over that), but I still have a few gems I'll share with you here.

Presenting...a few of my favorite pictures (in no particular order):

 Bubble Gum Alley in SLO

 San Clemente (I love the clouds in this one--and those are my fav. palm trees)

 4th of July in San Clemente

 Nastia Liuken (when they went on tour after the 2008 olympics)

 Puerto Vallarta--love this place!

 More Puerto Vallarta

 Up on my grandparents' ranch

 The camp up at the ranch

 Sunset up at the ranch

 The Buda Castle in Budapest

 What's wrong with this picture? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? 

 I had a lot of fun taking this one. :)

 Crook Hall in Durham, England

 Notice the moon on the bottom right--love it!

 Cabo sunset 

 Alaskan sunset (my favorite by far)

 Garden in Victoria, Canada

Water drops in my front yard 

Which one is your favorite??

Saturday, July 30, 2011

I Can Cook? Well, I'm Trying to Learn...

After visiting Nicole this summer, I was inspired to start cooking more. My mom and I are big fans of Trader Joes already made goodness--our schedules are never the same, so cooking for one is difficult. However, I need to become more domesticated if I ever hope to be a wifey one day. ;)

I decided to start practicing. Last night I made this delicious bit of goodness:

I got Trader Joes garlic and herb pizza crust, mixed together some pesto and alfredo sauce, added artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, olives, and cheese, and out came this!! It was YUMMY! It's not exactly "made from scratch," but I'd say it was a good start.

Then tonight, I made these bad boys (my favorite food I might add):

Chicken Enchiladas! I know it just looks like a glob of cheese, but there really is a lot of goodness down in there (I'm saying goodness a lot, aren't I? Sorry). Nicole made these when we were in Durham, and I loved them! I asked her for the directions a few days ago and I actually did it! My house smelled delectable all day long as the chicken and salsa bathed together in the slow cooker awaiting their fate in the enchiladas. I quite enjoyed them, and I'm sure I'll be enjoying them for days to come--I love leftovers!

I probably won't be cooking tomorrow since these bad boys will last me a while, but I'll keep you posted about any more cooking adventures in the future.

AND, any easy and delicious recipes you want to share with me would be MUCH appreciated! I'm  serious...see that comment button down there? Click on it, write down your favorite recipe, and imagine a big smile coming to my face. If I can actually make it, I'll write about it on here and you'll be famous! Imagine the possibilities...

Friday, July 29, 2011


Update on the big move:


Thankfully, Sam joined me this afternoon and we finished sorting, packing, taping, labeling, and arranging.  Thanks Sam!

On Monday (hopefully) the dudes from the district will come move the boxes and some furniture. We'll move the rest.

 Here's the stuff that we'll have to move--yup, the giant Rainbow sandal is coming with me!

 Here's the stuff that the District dudes will move for me (thanks guys!)

 "Move to: Warren" Still seems strange...

My room looks so different... bye bye pretty room

Let's all hope the moving, unpacking, and redecorating goes well! 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Big Move...

Every time I see this in the stores these days.... stomach does a bit of a flip flop (or a big flip flop). It's hard to believe that July will be over in three days.

A couple days before I left for Europe I got word that I'd be moved to a different Junior High this fall--Warren (I was at Thompson). I'm not sure I can explain all of the emotions that I experienced with that news: shock, fear, intense sadness, anxiety, burden, hope, slight excitement. I cried for quite some time because I absolutely loved Thompson. I had such a deep love for my students, and I couldn't imagine not seeing them next year or being able to say goodbye to them. I was burdened with tearing down a room, packing up all my stuff, moving it all, and setting up a new room. I was anxious and fearful of getting to know a new staff and new procedures. I was worried about having to "prove myself" all over again.

Yet, over and over, God gave me slight glimpses of hope and He continues to do so. For example, I have known the principal and the librarian for years and they are both wonderful people. Small things like that help me to get more and more excited about the move (I wouldn't say I'm jumping for joy, but I'm not completely dissolving in tears either). Warren is an amazing school, and I am sure I will love it once I get everything together and the year is in full swing.

After I found out about the move, I left for Europe and it was fairly easy to ignore. When I got back from Europe I went to Mexico and it was still pretty easy to push aside. Now, however, I am back home and I need to get moving on...well....moving....

That leads me to today. I decided to go back to Thompson for a while this afternoon to begin tearing down my room and packing up. As I drove over there, I couldn't stop thinking about my kids, and I lost it for a few brief minutes (ok, I know I just said that I wasn't still dissolving in tears, and I'm not, this was different--haha). When I got to school, I found our amazing janitor to open my (old?) room, and I held it together pretty well as I went in and turned on the air.

I'm really going to miss this beautiful place...

(I took some stuff down before the end of the year, so it did look even cooler--just sayin')

I was pretty overwhelmed as I just stood trying to figure out where to start. I decided that music was the way to begin, so I untangled some cords and got my phone hooked up to my speakers--now I was getting somewhere (thanks Pandora)! I also knew I had to clean up some files on my computer, so I took care of that next. Fortunately, one of my teaching partners from last year, Diane, and her three girls came shortly thereafter and it was much easier to just be on "work mode" and forget the emotion behind what I was doing. 

We cleaned and sorted and took down and organized. If I stopped to think about what I was doing, I would have lost it, so I didn't stop. My room began to look less and less beautiful...

 (No more flip flop board...)
 (I couldn't bring myself to take down all my pictures yet.)
(What a mess...)

Diane and the girls stayed for a couple of hours before leaving for track practice (thanks so much for your help!). I stayed and worked for a while on my own, but became completely overwhelmed at one point and just had to leave. My room is still a wreck, but it's coming along. Sam agreed to come help me for a while tomorrow afternoon--thank goodness because I'm not sure I can face it on my own. 

Have I mentioned anywhere on here that I hate packing? Well, I hate classroom, emotional, overwhelming, not-wanting-to-go packing even more. Lord, give me strength. 

Before I close, I need to say a few things:
1. I am completely sad to leave Thompson because I love the school and the kids even more. 
2. I am so grateful to have a job.
3. I totally trust in God's sovereignty and I know this is exactly where He wants me to be. 
4. I had been praying about a potential move since the end of last year (knowing that it was an outside possibility), asking God to put me where He could use me the most. 
5. I'm sure I will come to love Warren and be all about the Wildcats, but I also know that it's alright to be sad right now. 

Back to work tomorrow....there's much more to be done. I'll keep you posted with pictures and stories as the process of packing and moving continues. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Your Team!

I really have no idea how this "game" originated, but it's been going on for quite some time. My brother and his friends began putting odd people they'd see out and about on each others' hypothetical "teams." This, my friends, can be quite hilarious. Since it's gone on here for years, I thought that creating a European team would be no less than epic. So, I (as candidly as possible) snapped shots of candidates that I put on my brother's (and my friend Aaron's) team. When I returned to the states, I developed said snapshots, put them in a nice neat album, and presented my brother and Aaron with their team, European Edition. I'll share some of the gems with you here:

 Mr. Overalls
 Mr. and Mrs. Short Shorts and Puffy Hair
Mr. Buck Tooth Tourist
 Mrs. Dressed from Head to Toe on a Hot Day
 Mr. Mullet Boy
 Ms. Make my Hair Match my Leggings
 Mr. Brightside
 Mr. Mismatch Mania
 Ms. Blue Hair Weird Tights
 Mr. Ghost Sun Bather on a Cool Day
 Ms. Panties on the Wrong Side of the Pants
 Mr. Bag Pipes gone Wrong
 Mr. Whoopie Cushion on a Train
 Ms. Inflatable Head
Ms. I Like to Show the World my Bra

There's plenty more where that came from--I'm pretty sure the "team" had over 60 people on it. :)

Life goal: Never make it on anyone's team!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I'm On a Boat (Well, I Was...)

I returned today from our week long Mexican Riviera cruise that I mentioned to you in this post. Overall, we had a great time, although it definitely had its ups and downs (i.e. we were running from a hurricane, so our ports of call and excursions got all flipped around; Carnival ships are slightly too large and crowded for my liking; it's difficult to communicate and keep track of a big party without the use of cell phones; Cabo and PV were SUPER hot and humid; some of the entertainment was inappropriate; etc.). I could write about all the "ups" but it would take much to long, so I'll leave you with a highlight or two from each day.

Side note: I determined at the beginning of this summer that it would be epic; so, I've been keeping a journal of three highlights per day to document this epic summer. I'll share a few of those (and some pictures) with you here. To see all of my pictures, visit my Facebook albums here and here!

Here are some highlights of the trip:

July 17:
1. We got upgraded from a dumpy van (that we didn't fit in) to a HUGE party bus to drive us down to Long Beach!

2. I was also excited to hang out with my brother and Polly who I hadn't seen in quite some time.

(I'm drinking Diet Coke)

July 18:
1. We celebrated my grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary at a special steak house on board. We arranged to have a cake brought out to them.

July 19:
1. I got my hair braided in Cabo (I was super excited to not have to worry about doing my hair for the rest of the trip).

2. Mom and I discovered the "family" comedy shows on the ship and we really enjoyed some good clean comedy!

July 20:
1. As I looked out the window in the morning, I was SO excited to catch my first glimpse of Puerto Vallarta (I spent a week there last summer and fell in love with it!).

2. We got to spend the day with Krystal and Kasey (our friends from our last cruise) on a Tequila factory tour! 

(notice the shine? that's nasty humidity for you!)

3. We got to spend the evening sitting on Grandma and Grandpa's huge balcony watching an amazing lightening show (thanks to Hurricane Dora). 

July 21:
1. We got to swim with the dolphins back in Cabo!! For all the pictures, visit the FB album. I got to do this last summer too and it's seriously an incredible experience! 

2. That evening we watched the sunset in Cabo from our grandparents' balcony. Beautiful! 

July 22: 
1. This was a full day at sea, so we enjoyed watching some of the gameshow type entertainment. There was a couple's game and an older Asian couple who had been married for 59 years were totally the stars of the show. They were hilarious and became instant stars on the boat. I hadn't laughed so hard in a long time. I had to take a picture with them on our last night. 

2. We spent quite a bit of time in the piano bar and we enjoyed getting to know the piano player, Brian. 

July 23:
1. Mom, Scotty, Polly, and I spent (the cold) morning playing mini golf on the top deck. Polly won, Mama lost, but we all had lots of fun!

2. Scott wore an AMAZING shirt to dinner--recognize these people? 

(That's a picture of Scott, myself, and our cousin Mason on Scott's shirt from our Hawaii trip back when I was about eight or so)

3. After the main evening show, Mom and I hung out with Krystal and Kelly and some other friends we had met and danced and took random photographs. 

 Yup, we had to plank. 

We had a BLAST last night, and we were super sad to say goodbye....

Well, folks, that's the trip in a (long) nutshell. We definitely made some good memories and we're all looking forward to what the trip in two more years will bring. We can't break tradition now...