Wednesday, July 31, 2013

We Went to the Zoo!!

You have to read the title in the same voice as the little girl in "We Bought a Zoo." Well, you don't have to, but it's a lot more fun. Just sayin'.

A part of our San Diego adventures included the zoo. The whole family (well, the whole family that was there) tagged along for an animal filled day after a delicious breakfast with an old family friend.

Here are some of the zoo highlights:

We LOVED the pandas--especially the baby panda!

 Of course, I loved the elephants!

The koalas were adorable, but they slept all day!

Scotty and Polly riding the sky buckets. 

We saw a panda up in a tree from the buckets! 

The zebras are just incredible. 

We especially enjoyed the bus tour and the moving, flat escalators. That zoo is GINORMOUS! Although we loved the zoo, it was nothing compared to the wild animal park. Stay turned for those awesome highlights!!!! 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Under the Sea(World)!

If you couldn't already tell from FB or Instagram, our trip to San Diego was AWESOME. The weather was AMAZING, and I died a little inside when I was able to wear a sweatshirt in the evenings.

One of the highlights of our trip was SEAWORLD! We got a pass from Costco that allowed us to go to SeaWorld, the zoo, and the Safari Park as many times as we'd like for seven consecutive days. Our hotel was super close to SeaWorld, so we went just about every night and just about all day on Friday.

We had a blast! Here are some of the highlights:

 Here are the dolphins trying to get jello off the side of the tank. We also got to see the dolphin show (which was amazing!), but I didn't take any pictures. :( 

 We saw the night show, Shamu Rocks, a few times. We loved it! We especially loved when baby Shamu, Makani, basically put on his own show!

 Grandma and Grandpa joined us for a few shows on Friday!

 Brother and Polly waiting for the show to start!

 These whales are incredible!

There's the baby on the right doing his own thing!

 Our cousins, the Drexlers, joined us for a while on Friday. We had a blast with the boys!

The Sea Lion show is a MUST see! Hilarious! 

Check out the video of the Shamu Rocks night show on my Facebook (it wouldn't upload on here for some reason). You'll have to look closely, but you should be able to see baby Makani putting on his own show. It was SO stinkin' cute!!!!

We also enjoyed riding rides, building our own burgers, petting rays, watching the animals, and admiring the nightly fireworks. Thanks, SeaWorld, for an awesome time!!!

Still to come: the Zoo, the Safari Park, and a tour around San Diego! Stay tuned! 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Classroom Move. Check!

That's right... I successfully moved out of my old room, into my new room, and just about finished decorating it.

Want to see? 

No? ...then leave. 

Yes? Read on! 

I've been wanting a portable for some time now. Besides the cool people out in Portable Alley, I really wanted my own four walls and two huge windows. Aaaaand, I'm super grateful to be away from the students' restroom--seriously annoying to watch kids going to the bathroom (or escaping class) over and over and over all day (especially those who would stand and stare at my class outside of my window--not going to miss that)!

Ok, ok, enough babble....on with the pictures of the new room!

 Here is the view from the door. 

 This is the view from my desk. 

 Bookshelves (with some room left) and some reading posters

This is the future home of my MILLION word race (I have to wait for the lab to open to finish it)! 

UCLA area--my homeroom college! 

 Helpful Hints for a Happy Classroom ;)

 Here are some writing posters and my graduation stole.

My quote wall, complete with hombre, glittery fabric! LOVE it! 

A closer look (and the Rockin' Wildcat that my class won for neon day at the end of last year) 

Parts of speech and a look at my hanging papery things (do they have a name?) 

Favorite border ever (so many of my English teacher friends have it and it makes me happy!) 

Yup, I teach junior high! 

This is "my area." I haven't set up my desk yet, but a lot of my pictures are hung. I still need to make a collage of this year's Romania pictures. :)  

Notice PARIS on my fridge, my awesome GIANT Rainbow sandal, and my grad cap.  

This is on my window. Isn't my view AWESOME?!?!?! 

 A closer look at the pictures by my desk--I need to get some updated ones as well. 

Color explosion by the sink!

Welp, there you have it! It needs a TINY bit of work, but I'm done for now!!! Vacation, anyone???

Saturday, July 13, 2013

How to Throw an Express Party 101

Welcome to your step by step instruction guide to throwing a successful Express Party!

Here are your steps. Following them closely (or not...)

1. Choose your time, location, and guests.

2. Invite your guests.

3. Decide on a theme (you may or may not tell your guests prior to their arrival).

4. On the day of the party, welcome your guests warmly into your home (or wherever the party is being held).

5. Based on the theme of the party, write "jobs" (buying gifts, getting food, gathering party supplies, etc.) on slips of paper and place them into a hat or bowl.

6. Decide on a timeframe for going out and buying gifts or party supplies--no more than an hour usually.

7. Synchronize watches and disperse.

8. Gather back at your designated location, decorate, eat, open gifts, etc., and get your party on!

Some ideas for EXPRESS PARTIES may include, but are not limited to: Birthdays, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Halloween, Back-to-School, Bridal, Going-Away, etc. 

Recently I threw (and participated in) my first Express Party. Mom and I threw a Surprise Express Going Away party for Lauren. All of our guests knew the theme prior to the party except for Lauren (who thought she was just coming over for dinner). Our guests gathered at our house, drew their "jobs" out of a bowl (food, dessert, decorations, and gifts) and dispersed (without anyone knowing each other's jobs!). It's quite thrilling to have to think on your feet, go out and get what is required of you, and be back in an hour. Surprisingly, everyone did a FABULOUS job! We had salad and sandwiches for dinner and chocolate cake and tiramisu for dessert. The Feils provided us with some amazing decorations--streamers, light-up balloons, confetti, a bright table cloth that said "Georgia is getting another peach," and peaches and peanuts. They had a blast decorating as quickly as possible. As far as gifts go, Lauren received a CD, Dewars chews, Sbux gift cards, wine, a road atlas, and some notecards.  We then participated in a few hilarious rounds of Heads Up. Overall, it was an absolute blast! I'd say that our first Express party was quite a success.

We can't wait to "not plan" our next one!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Life is Beautiful.

As I was driving home today--in traffic, trying not to nod off--and my phone wouldn't function (my usual source of music), I remembered that I had one CD in my car--the soundtrack to October Baby.

So, instead of freaking out or falling asleep, I listened to the album. One song in particular stood out to me: Life is Beautiful.

New year's dreams, a toast with friends
A soldier coming home from war
A faith, a hope, so much more
A brand new life, a mother's prayer
Shooting stars, ocean air
A lover's kiss, hard goodbyes
Fireworks, Christmas lights

These are the things
That make us feel alive
These are the times
That make us realize

Life is beautiful

Life is messy, unpredictable, frustrating, heart wrenching, unfair, emotional, wonderful....beautiful. 

Good friends gathered for a wedding.....beautiful. 

Tears streaming down faces during worship....beautiful. 

Babies being born, babies laughing, babies crying ....beautiful. 

Physically aching because I had to say goodbye to dear friends in Romania....beautiful. 

My little cousin falling asleep in my lap during the 4th of July fireworks....beautiful. 

Christmas everything...beautiful. 

These are the things that came to mind as I listened to the song, but there are so many more moments, so much of life that is beautiful.

It is beautiful that we can love so much that we feel it physically.

It is beautiful that we can miss someone so much that we can feel it physically.

It is beautiful that we can care so much that we're driven to righteous anger and a passion to fight for justice.


How is it beautiful to you??