Monday, January 31, 2011

I'm Back!

Had to take a little blog break because of all the activities of last week, but I feel it's important to announce (because I know the wait has been killing you) that Homecoming was a complete success!  The pep rally was fun, we won the basketball game, and the court was equal parts handsome and beautiful!  I would show you pictures, but I figure their parents may not be wild about that idea.  Just take my word for how great it was!  (The teachers did not win the tug-of-war, in the interest of full disclosure.  In fact, I felt and still feel like one of the freshman girls was trying her hardest to pull my arm out of socket!  The Staff team did get second place for the week, though!)

Today is another busy day around the school because we are having our 2nd Annual Pink Out.  In the last two years, three women in our district have battled breast cancer.  One of those women lost her battle, and tonight we hope to raise a lot of money toward a scholarship in her honor.  It should be a great time.  I will show you some pictures of that later this week. 

It looks like the massive snow storm coming is going to miss us.  I'm happy and sad about this news, as I will always take a snow day, but would rather not have to dig out from under a foot of snow.  (Sorry to those of you who have spent most of the winter doing just that!)  I'm sure we will have plenty to talk about this week.  Just wanted to announce that I was back "on the grid!"

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

On Feeling Old

This week, I feel old.  Let me count the ways...
  1. Last night, I happily went to bed at 8:30.  I was exhausted, and I woke up very happy.  So happy, that I am likely to do it again tonight.
  2. Earlier, I flopped down on my couch and my back cracked so loudly that I was sure I had broken it.  Good news is everything still works.  Even better, my neck and upper back aren't killing me anymore, and I didn't even have to go to the chiropractor!
  3. Despite the fact that I graduated high school 11 years ago, I am still trying to pick outfits for Spirit Week.  (Because I was the smart one who chose to be in a school setting forever!)  Even better, I have managed to sign up to compete on the staff team, assuring that by Friday night I may be in traction.  (But the teachers are going to win tug-of-war!  Did I mention my competitive streak?)
  4. This weekend, my plans include cleaning the rest of my living room, doing my taxes and baking.  I don't think I even need to explain this one.
Age doesn't normally bother me (because I'm not that old), but this week it's kicking my butt!  Anyone get what I'm saying?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge (A Little Early)

1. Will you watch the Super Bowl? If so who will you root for? If you are outside the USA what is the 'big deal sporting event' in your own country?

     Chances are I will watch the Super Bowl.  I don't really care who wins, because I will mostly be watching for the commercials and because Glee is on directly after the game is over.

2. Is ignorance bliss?

    Ignorance is bliss for the ignorant, and annoying for the rest of us.

3. Which of the seven dwarfs are you? (and just in case your Disney is a little bit rusty, here they are--Bashful, Doc, Dopey, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, and Sneezy)

    Generally, I am Happy.  But if I am Sleepy, Grumpy usually makes an apperance. 

4. When you are riding in the car with another couple how do you organize the seating? (Men up front? Women up front? Couples sit together?)

     I guess it would depend on who's driving.  And who's in the couples. And how long we are going to be in the car. 

5. What is beauty?

     Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.  The curves of a well-designed building or an unexpected grouping of objects on a table can be beautiful.  There is amazing beauty in nature, particularly in flowers.  In people, knowledge, a good sense of style, the ability to laugh at yourself are all beautiful.  (Such a loaded question, Joyce!)

6. If someone asks you to bring an appetizer or a dessert to a party in their home, which would you choose?

     Dessert!  I always want to be the girl who brings the sweets!  (Especially since it's the one thing I actually cook well!)

7. What is your crowd pleasing go-to appetizer?

     I don't really cook.  So my go-to appetizer would probably be Bagel Bites, or something else pre-packaged.  I'm hoping that some of you other Hodgepodgers will have some better ideas.  (I have been known to follow a recipe once in a blue moon.)

8. Some days, it feels like teaching is less about the core curriculum and more about taking care of students' personal needs.  Kids can't learn if they are hungry, cold, scared--and we have to meet those needs before they care about English Lit or Chemistry.  I'm amazed by the depth of need sometimes.  Luckily, I am also amazed by the compassionate educators (like my parents) who are willing to step up to the plate and do something positive to impact a kid's life.

Just When You Thought It Was Safe...

Apparently, your pets can give you the plague if you let them sleep in your bed.  First of all, I guess I had missed that the plague was still around.  (My father, in a discussion of this article, casually informed me last night that it was, but it was very curable.) Secondly, am I the only one who thinks that journalists and scientists just sit around and come up with studies to freak us out?  You know what I'm talking about.  We've all seen the promos for the nightly news that go something like, "A food in your refridgerator could kill you.  Find out which one on Local News at 10."  It suddenly makes that bowl of cereal a little suspicious looking, and you spend the next six hours wondering why your food is out to get you.

I just thought this was the least I could do to add to your daily paranoia.

Monday, January 24, 2011

"You Can't Help It. Your Brains Are Still Forming."

Time for a little story, people!  I was joking with Missy Jill @ What's Going On Here? earlier today about my teenage sledding stories, so I guess it's time to fess up.  I always tell my students that I know exactly how they think.  I also know it is in no way rational. (That's where the title of this post comes from.) And then I tell them my sledding stories. 

Story #1
One winter when I was still in 6th grade, we were out of school for an entire week because of snow.  I think it snowed almost a foot, and kept refreezing and whatnot.  So, my cousin, who was a year ahead of me in school, decided that we would take their new sled down the hill behind their house.  (They lived on top of a steep hill.) There was a nice-sized pond at the bottom, and we didn't want to go into it. (Give us credit for that much forthought.) We, of course, did what any geniuses would do.  We built a snow mound at the bottom to serve as a stopper.  What we didn't consider is that this "snow mound" looked a lot like a ramp.  We didn't want to be the ones to test it, so we decided that her little brother (then five, weighing in at like 45 pounds) should take the inaugural run.  Thankfully, he had the good sense to say no.  So, we sent the sled down with no one on it.  It hit the ramp and flew out into the not-quite-frozen pond, and we had to admit our stupidity to get her older brother to get it out for us.

And I wish that was the worst one...

Story #2
The following year, after another large snow fall, the same cousin and I are hanging out with a third friend.  They had a ballgame that night, and before going into town, my aunt expressly told us that we were not to go sledding because she didn't want us worn out before the ballgame.  As soon as she was out on the main road, we (in all of our brilliance) head to the slopes.  We didn't even stay close to the house.  NOOO...we trekked all the way across two fields to the meanest, nastiest hill on the farm.  There was a thick ice on top of the snow, so when we went down in our round, metal trashcan-lid-like sled, we sailed.  It went fine for the first few runs, but then we decided to go down lying on our bellies.  Well, my cousin went down, going faster than ever and flew across the ice all the way to the flat space at the bottom of the hill.  It was the best run of the day!  The problem was that her sled stopped about five feet before she did, and she met the ice face first.

When she looked up, we realized that we had a problem.  There was a place out of the bridge of her nose that was bleeding seriously, and she had scratches all over.   It was then that the real chain of poor decisions began.  We got back to the house and worked the stop the bleeding.  Then we set about covering up her wounds, which went about as well as you might expect.  Cover Girl can do a lot of things, but it's not so hot covering a gaping, still bleeding cut.  We were sure, however, in our not-yet-ripe middle school minds that we were going to fool my aunt--the registered nurse.  It played out like you would imagine.  We lied, it didn't work, we got in some mild form of trouble.  I am pretty sure that my aunt knew that the higest form of punishment was making my cousin go out with a cut face. 

The moral of these stories is this:  Middle schoolers aren't playing with a full deck.  They don't know it.  Their bodies are too full of hormones to notice any such defiency.  Perhaps this is why I don't mind teaching them every day.  I know that, sometimes, they just can't help it and cut them some slack.  But not too much!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

On Taking Chances

I am, by nature, a play-it-safe kind of girl.  I always have been.  When I was little, I cried when other kids got in trouble.  My senior superlative was "Teacher's Pet."  I made it through my entire school career without ever getting sent to the principal's office.  I was THAT kid.  And there's nothing wrong with that, in theory. 

It's just that I am in my 30th year on this planet.  And I've grown so used to coloring inside the lines, that I've grown afraid of what might happen if I do anything out of my routine.  That's just not the kind of person that I am happy with being.  Now, don't expect me start jumping out of planes (I'm still scared of heights) or anything like that.  But, I am going to me more open to the opportunities that present themselves, be that at work, in my personal life, or whatever else.  I don't want to live a closed-off life anymore.  I don't think that's what God is asking of me and I just don't think it's any way to live. 

We only have so much time here, I've seen enough to know that.  And while I know that we should be careful what we ask God for, I am asking that He help me live a life wide open, full-throttle.  We were made for so much more.  I was made for so much more.  And I want to find out just what that is.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

My Winter Book List

It's time for a brief summary of what I've been reading on these recent snowy days and nights.  (Of which it seems there are more coming!)  Here's a look:
I love Rebecca Wells books (she created the Ya-Ya's, after all!), but this one is probably my favorite.  I had read it before a while back, but I recently loaned it to Mom, and she loved it so much it made me want to read it again!  This is the kind of book that makes you missed New Orleans, even if you have never been there.  The imagery is vivid, and the characters are both accessible and outrageous.  It's got love, heartbreak, a little mysticism--everything a good piece of fun reading should have. 

 I'm reading this book right now, on recommendation of my dad (via one of his student's recommendations). Midnight... is one of those books that I had heard about, but never really paid much attention to (and yes, Crys, that's a long list...).  While it's non-fiction, it feels like a fiction piece.  Savannah is truly a city of its own, and its people are like no other.  I'm not even halfway through this one, but I can hardly put it down. 

And these are what's on deck and in the hole on my illustrious list.  I've enjoyed all of Emily Giffin's books, and I feel that Heart of the Matter will be no different.  Yes, it's chick lit, but I take pride in my depth of knowledge in that genre.  When you read textbooks for work, you have to have something entertaining if you are going to read at home, right?

The other is a biography of Abigail Adams. If you don't know much about American History, you may not realize what an amazing woman she was.  Abigail was a woman ahead of her time, and we can read much of what she thought in her own words, as she wrote many letters to her husband and others that remain today. 

What's on your winter reading list?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Showing You...Myself

Let me start by saying how weird it is to try describe yourself.  My name is Katie.  I live in the southern part of Illinois.  I teach middle school by day and leap small buildings in a single bound by night (ha!).  I'll be 30 this year.  I love (in no particular order) singing, history, giraffes, reading, and Jesus.  I love to take pictures, but don't love having my picture taken.  (Which is probably how I ended up getting behind the lens in the first place.)

I feel a little like the only single girl in the world.  I know this isn't actual true, as there would be no need for this event otherwise.  It's just that I am at the age where my friends are getting married and having babies, and I would be happy to just meet a good, Christian guy for coffee (well, hot chocolate for me, as I have never learned to drink coffee!).  I love to laugh and I have a definite music obsession.  I also love to watch movies or read.  I feel like I am pretty honest about myself here on my blog.  It's a place where I can write and through which I have "met" a lot of great people. 

I love where God has brought me so far, and I really was cautious about doing this particular "Show Us Your Life."  I mean, this is a lot more personal than what my kitchen looks like.  But, I just figured, "Why not?"  After all, this year is all about adventure...

Woman vs. Wild

I want to start this by saying how much I like snow.  I really do.  As long as I don't have to drive in it.  I've had a couple bad wrecks, and even though weather wasn't really a factor in them, I no longer have the fearlessness for bad weather driving I once had. 

This morning, when I set out for work, there was a little snow on the ground, but there was quite a bit on the road.  I don't live far from work, but it was a slow drive getting there.  Once I made it to the parking lot, the snow picked up, so much so that after a little more than an hour, we sent everyone home.  It was even slower going on the way home (20-30 mph), because even with the plows there was too much snow to keep up with.  It was scary because there were several cars off the road already!  But I am now cuddled safely in my pjs again.

I write all that to basically say that it's a snow day, so you can expect a book review and some other goodies.  (Maybe even some pictures as I have been slacking on that lately too!)  Until then...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1.  Do you like your name? Were you named after someone? If you have children how did you settle on their names?
       As an adult, I like my given name (Katherine), but I didn't like it as a child.  I do like being able to choose if I go by a nickname or not.  Do not, however, call me Kathy.

2. How do you define success?

     I think that if you feel a level of satisfaction with what you are doing, then you are successful.  It's not about who gathers the most stuff, but who is getting the most out of life.

3. Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy?

      JEOPARDY!!  It was a full-out competition when I still lived at home.  Still is when I happen by at the right time.   

4. If you could own any single object that you don't have now, what would that object be?

     I'd have to go with a new car.  Not even brand new, just new to me.  But I am thankful for what I have and will hopefully have a new one this fall.

5. What is something that inspires you?

     People who are out there in the world really making a difference inspire me.  Hearing a friend talk about a good idea for a lesson, seeing a beautiful photograph, a really good song, or any number of other things can too.  I think there's as much inspiration around us as we choose to recognize.

6. Meatloaf-yea or nay? If its a yay how do you make yours?

    Nay.  I will eat it if someone cooks it, but it's totally not one of my favorites.

7. Which is more admirable-the ability to organize and be methodical or the ability to adapt and make do?

     I'm of the adapt and make do mindset, but I really wish I could be an organizer.  I always tease our guidance counselor that if I could have one day at her level of organization and effectiveness, I could revolutionize my life.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

     Snow days rock!  As long as they don't happen during Homecoming Week.  (Which is my fear currently, as next week is our basketball homecoming, and it has been snowed out before.)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I Believe, I Believe...

I went to bed with, and woke up with, a horrendous headache.  If it wasn't 8th Grade Night, a night at which my group is in charge of concessions and for which there will be quite a crowd, I would still be at home in bed.  But it is, so I'm not. 

So what I'm asking is this, if you are the praying kind and you happen on this post today, say a little prayer for me.  I have a lot to do and I quite simply don't feel like doing it.  And the only thing that will get me through this day is the grace of God.  I know it to be true.  So, thanks.  I promise I will be back to my regular self soon.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Unadulterated Joy

I went to my girls' Regional Championship tonight a bit begrudgingly.  Not because I didn't want to be there, but because it was the end of a long week of being completely unmotivated, and the idea of a 30-minute drive to where the game was being held just wasn't doing it for me.  But they asked, so I went.  It's nice to know that the teacher I want to be sometimes wins out over my selfish wants.

Anyway, I am thrilled that I went!  My girls' played an excellent game, and won in the very last seconds.  You just can't beat the kind of joy!   I witnessed a whole lot of happy in those moments between the final buzzer and that trophy hoisted high.  But the sweetest one was as the girls were coming out of the locker room.  One of my toughest, no-nonsense girls came running out, across the floor, and straight into her daddy's waiting arms with a look of happiness you just don't see all that often once a kid reaches junior high.  I can't do it justice with my words, but it warmed my heart in the very best way. 

It was totally worth the extra effort.  I am tremendously proud of you girls, and I wouldn't have missed it for the world. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

If You Need Me, I'll Be Over Here In The Corner...

Allow me to give you a glimpse to my cringe-worthy moments of the last two days:

  • As I was backing out of my parking place at work yesterday, the concrete space marker got caught on my bumper.  And dragged it about three feet before letting go.  I got out and tried to push it back, but those things are surprisingly heavy!  (Concrete and metal rebar, go figure!)  So, I got to call inside and tell the secretary what happened and see if the janitor could move it back before someone hit it. 

  • Tonight, my dad offered to buy pizza as I was hanging out there before the purse party.  I went to pick it up, paid for the pizza, and somehow lost his debit card.  We searched everywhere and have no idea what happened to it.  So, now Dad has to cancel that card and order another.  He was cool about it, but still, it made me feel like a complete and total loser.
Aren't you glad that you don't live with me?  I'm beginning to think I am a danger to myself and others for real.  Just another truly honest glimpse into my life for you all.  I live to entertain.


I don't know about where you are all from but here, Thirty-One bag parties are all the rage.  Tonight, my cousins are throwing one, and I'm all excited because their lunch totes are cheap right now.  Mind you, I have a perfectly nice lunch tote.  But this one will have my name embroidered on it!  And you have to know how much better that is than just a plain one!  And there's a chance I may I have to have a tote if I find one that I really like...  (Yes, I know I have a problem.)

I have been just about useless this week otherwise.  I thought that the snow day would give me a little break, but instead it just more firmly ensconced me in my dislike of anything productive.  I think it's because it's been so stinking cold here that all I want to do is curl up under a warm blanket with a good book (speaking of, there will be a couple of book reviews coming your way soon!).  I'm hoping that this weekend I will get motivated because I really need to take care of a few things.  But, I'm not exactly counting on it. 

Anybody else out there having this problem??

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Every January 1st since 1976 Lake Superior University has published a list of words they'd like to see banished from the Queen's English. Words may be banished due to mis-use, over-use or just general uselessness and they receive over 1000 nominations. Here are the fourteen words/phrases they'd like to see banished in 2011-viral, epic, fail, wow factor, a-ha moment, back story, BFF, man up, refudiate, Mama Grizzlies, The American People, facebook/google when used as verbs, I'm just sayin', and Live life to the fullest. What word or phrase would you like to see banished from our everyday vocabulary in 2011? You can choose one from the 'official list' or you can get creative and come up with your own.

     I absolutely despise cliches.  If I hear one more person talk about how you should "live like you were dying" or any variation of that, I'm going to lose it.  Refudiate also annoys me because (pardon me) IT'S NOT A REAL WORD, and Sarah Palin generally gets my dander up anyway.

2. Do you consider opportunity something that comes to you or something you create for yourself?
     I think it depends.  Sometimes I think opportunity just turns up on your doorstep in a way that you can't possibly miss.  But, I also believe that if you work hard, you can create opportunities you wouldn't normally have. 

3. Since we're all eating healthy this month, ahem, what's included in your favorite salad? Is there dressing?

     I'm a grilled chicken salad girl, with lots of veggies---especially bell peppers.  I like fat-free Italian dressing, if I'm being healthy.  If not, honey mustard.

4. The fourth Monday in January is said to be Blue Monday...aka the most depressing day of the year. The date was calculated using many factors including weather, debt level, time since Christmas, time since we've failed at our new year resolutions, low motivation and feeling a need to take action. Do you get the blues this time of year and if so what is something you do to lift your spirits?

    Usually this time of year is entirely too busy to be blue.  Basketball season is in full swing, we have a basketball Homecoming going on, and a thousand other things.  When I do get the blues, I curl up with a good book or movie or go out to dinner with Amber and laugh it off. 

5. Do you wear a watch? Any other everyday jewelry essentials?

     I got a cute Fossil watch from my parents for Christmas, so I've started wearing one again.  I also usually have a neckace, earrings, and a ring on, but not always the same pieces.  Sometimes it depends on if I remember to go put them on or not.

6. What is something useful you learned in high school?

      The most important thing I learned in high school is that, good or bad, it doesn't last forever.  Of course, I turned around and got a job at one, so I'm still there every day.  So, maybe I didn't learn as much as I thought I did.

7. Do you use an accountant when completing and filing your income tax returns or do you attempt to muddle through all by yourself?

    I totally do my own because mine aren't complicated.  But they minute they do, I would have no problem contacting an accountant.  (Fun fact, my SIL is one...)

8. Insert your own random thought here.
     There are few wrongs in life that can't be set right by having a girls' night out.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snow, You Sweet Talker, You...

You had me fooled, Snow.  I really thought this was the end for us.  But then, at the last moment, you looked me square in the face and said, in your still frosty breath, "Go back to bed!"

That's right!  We have a snow day today!  I've said it before, but it's totally better when you are the teacher than when you're a kid.   Mind you, before we got the call I had already gotten up and showered, but don't think that's going to prevent me from getting back into jammies and relaxing!  No sir-ee!

The best part is we only have enough snow to make it a hassle.  By later today, we can still go places and do things if we really want.  (Which, chances are, I won't, but I could!)  Those of you to my north, who spend all winter battling the white stuff (And currently, those of you to my south, as well!), I feel for you! 

But for now, with breakfast and my celebratory dance (of which thankfully, there is no video proof) behind me, I am going back to bed!  Hooray for snow!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Recommended Reading: The Help

I know that I am totally one of the last people to jump on the bandwagon for this book.  I have been reading reviews and hearing people talk about it for ages, and I just haven't done anything about it.  I'd see it in the store, make some comment to whoever I was shopping with about it, but never actually pick it up.  Thankfully, Crystal remedied this as part of my Christmas! 

I read it slowly, though if I'd had time I would have devoured it in a sitting or two.  But I'm glad that I took the time to really enjoy Kathryn Stockett's style of writing.  The book is written in the voices of three distinct chracters: Aibileen, Minny and Miss Skeeter.  The fact that Stockett does such a great job giving us a vision of how different, yet completely intertwined these women are is remarkable in itself.  (In fact, I haven't read too many that do it well, Rebecca Wells not withstanding!)  Stockett gives us characters that feel like people you've met.  If you are anything like me, you will find yourself thinking of the Skeeter, Aibileen or even the Miss Hilly in your life.  And that's before we even get to the storyline.

Most anyone with a grasp of recent history knows about Mississippi's resistence to integration in the 1960's.  As a history teacher, I've certainly done my share of reading about it as well.  The Help takes us into that world without being heavy-handed or preachy.  There's clear recognition of the ugliness of racism, but Stockett doesn't stop there.  Instead, she takes us into the heart of the matter, revealing that those who have the most interest in making others feel small or unworthy are truly just reflecting how they see themselves.  Her message that we are all just people, more alike than unalike, is a delicately delivered gut check.

I feel like giving away anything about the book would spoil it, but I will say that such a well-written book makes the stakes pretty high for the movie.  I am excited that Emma Stone will be playing Miss Skeeter, as she has quickly become one of my favorite young actresses-not-sponsored-by Disney.  I just can't say enough good stuff about this book, but don't take my word for it.  Go and read it yourself!

This was the first try at my book picture.  Needless to say I had some additional (if un-needed) help for that one!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Completely Relaxed Weekend

On Thursday and Friday alone, I worked 26 hours.  It made for a couple of really productive, but very exhausting days.  So, needless to say, this weekend has been all about relaxing.  Saturday, I slept in, watched a movie, cleaned my stove, ate lunch, watched some more TV, took a nap, ate again, and still went to bed early.  It was completely boring.  It was exactly what I needed!

Today, I went to church (late, as usual), then made my weekly grocery run.  I had promised my mom that I would help her with learn how to use iTunes, so I spent most of the afternoon over there.  My parents are getting new carpet next weekend, which means that I ended up helping Dad move some furniture too.  We didn't even come close to getting everything moved, but we made a dent.  (And I scored some wonderfully campy coasters Mom got from an auction, too!)

This week should be much slower, so expect a lot more posts from me!  Thank you for your patiently waiting me out!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Apologies, But I Must Tend To The Cheese

I have all these really great posts coming up.  Things about how much I have loved reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett, about the culture of America's youth and dreams, about a thousand other things.  Some of them may actually be well written and funny.  It just won't be happening today. 

Because today--today, all I can think about is midterm testing and processed nacho cheese.  And that's not good for much of anything, certainly not an interesting post. 

The only non-school related thing that happened to me this week included flirting with the adorable eye dr. intern yesterday and buying some Biggest Loser workout DVDs, in hopes that I will someday make it home with enough time and energy to actually do them.  And how much I am loving all the compliments I am getting on my new hair color/cut  (which I will have to post a picture of on here later).

There should be a great many real (and hopefully, really interesting) post coming your way this weekend!  Consider this your warning!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Year, New Hodgepodge

1. What three words would you use to describe 2010?

      Busy, Bloggy, and Blessed

2. If fear were not an issue what is something you'd like to try?

    Ziplining.  I think it would be so much fun!  (That kind of thing completely terrifies me though!)

3. What do you add to your coffee or tea?

      I don't drink coffee, but I have to have sugar in my tea!

4. What historical sporting event would you like to witness?

      Hmmm....I would have loved to see just about any Summer Olympics.  How cool would it be to actually see Jesse Owens run?  There are so many great moments in sports at those events.  Plus, I'm a huge track and field fan!

5. What is one piece of advice you would like to give your sixteen year old self?

     I don't know that I can keep it to one piece.  First piece would be to lighten up and not worry so much about what other people think about me.  The second piece would be, to borrow from Brad Paisley, 'Have no fear, these are no where near the best days of your life. '

6. Are you a planner or do you prefer to fly by the seat of your pants?

    I'm somewhere in the middle.  I like to have a plan, but I am more than willing to change it up if something interesting comes along.  When we vacation, I am always the one with the itinerary, but I like to keep it loose and add things as we go.

7. What is one thing you are looking forward to in 2011?

     I really can't keep this to one thing!  Vacation 2011, Meeting T's baby girl (that's right, she told us this weekend!), all of the weddings (especially, Sheena and Ronnie's).  And those are just the things I know about!  This year is still very new and that's exciting!

8. Insert your own random thought here.

     Coming back to work after Christmas break is almost harder than coming back from summer vacation.

Monday, January 3, 2011

How I Spent NYE

In a major blog fail, I forgot to actually recap NYE.  To be perfectly honest, I forgot that I had taken any pictures of it.   Well, here are the birthday kids (my siblings) blowing out the candles.  I mean, they were the real reason for this shindig, not that whole end of a decade thing...
Here's Lu and her Mini-Me.  They are so much alike it's actually kind of scary. (Notice the matching, without completely matching outfits.)
After the birthday goodness, it was time for a little gymnastics show...
Showing us how it's done...
Not about to let her big brother show her up...
But some people have even cooler "circus tricks" to share.
I know you are jealous of how much fun we had!   I actually did have a great night, especially when I sat and talked with my parents and aunt and uncle right up until midnight.  We didn't manage to solve all the world's problems, but I think we made some serious progress!  It was a nice, low-key way to ring in 2011!

I've Got A New Year's Resolution For You...

Before I go telling you want I want out of this new year, let's take a minute and see how I did meeting last year's goals.

The short answer is not that well.  I'm still chubby, disorganized, and have no real plan for grad school.  However, I did manage to blog a bunch and take a lot of pictures.  All hope is not lost in other words. 

I've decided that this year I am not going to make resolutions.  I am going to work on losing some weight.  Sheena's wedding is in October, as is my 30th birthday, and I believe that if I will just do what I know works (eating right and exercising), I will be able to at least get in better shape.  I just don't like how I feel right now, and I know that I could do better. 

Other than that, this year is wide open.  I've said that 2011 will be the year I get my crap together.  I really want that to be true.  And on top of that, I would like to act my age.  Being a drama queen or a busybody isn't cute at 30.  It probably wasn't cute at 20, either, to be honest.  I want to stop taking things so personally.  Not everything is an attack against me.  And even if it is, I need to know the facts before I begin my rampage.  I think I finally realized that I have a lot of growing up to do.  And this will be my year.

What are your plans for 2011?  Let me hear them in the comments!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!!

This is totally not worth being the first post of 2011, but I just wanted to share that major progress was made on my house today.  I'm talking floors mopped, dishes and clothes washed, pictures hung.  Things are dusted, scrubbed, and vacuumed.  I can even show you photographic evidence...

My bathroom.  Mopped and scrubbed.
 Kitchen table (which I love)
 Still have some dishes to do, just keeping it real...
 My old (but new to me) cookie jar, a gift from my Auntie.  I'm obsessed with cobalt blue.
 And two pictures of my fridge because I love it and it's multicolored fabulousness!

 Further proof that I am now an adult.  I used a gift card from Christmas to buy new silverware, since my old set cost $10.00 for the whole thing and was starting to rust.
I also wanted to update you all on my entry way, because I know you all spent December wondering about that (HA!).  It's not finished yet, but thanks to my dad, I got several more pieces hung on Saturday.
 I love this barn star!
 The framed painting  is one of my favorite pieces of art I own.
And while I'm posting pictures, I have a few things that I needed to share that haven't found a home in any of my other posts.  Last Wednesday, Amber and I met for dinner.  She gave me a Christmas present, which I will be sharing in a post later this week, but we also went to look at her neighbor's house, henceforth known as the House Where Christmas Threw Up.  It was rainy, so we couldn't fully capture the display, but it's HUGE...

Amber loved the blow-up nativity.

 And, much like the stores, Amber's already prepping for Valentine's Day!
And lastly, a story.  When I was younger, my grandpa (whose house I live in now) owned a shop.  I love going over there and getting a Dixie Cream donut and walking around the buildings.  But one of my favorite things was when Grandpa would bring bubble wrap over for us to pop.  Now, I'm not talking about just any kind of it, either.  This is the kind with the huge bubbles.  We would line the entry way and hop and hop until they were all spent.  It just so happens that yesterday I found some of that kind of bubble wrap and for old times sake, lined the entry way and hopped 'til it popped.  It was one of the best things I've done in a long time, and quite the way to start a new year.

Tomorrow, I go back to work.  This will be an adjustment to say the least, as I had happily settled into a rise at nine or ten AM and staying up past midnight.  But I'll live.  And I'll probably be a little better about the blogging too!