Saturday, January 31, 2009


1. Real name: Kathryn Elizabeth Houston
2. Nickname: Herself the Elf, Lobsie, Kates, Weamer, Houston
3. Status: Single
4. Zodiac sign: Virgo

5. Male or female: Female
6. Elementary: Mountain View Elementary School
7. Middle School : Goleta Valley Jr. High School
8. High School: Dos Pueblos High School
9. College: BYU
10. Hair color: Naturally light brown, dyed dark brown :-)
11. Long or short: Medium
12. Loud or Quiet: Let's take a survey...wait, that won't be necessary. LOUD
13. Sweats or Jeans: sweats
14. Phone or Camera: What does this mean? like do I like both? I sure do.
15. Health freak: Nope
16. Drink or Smoke: No
17. Do you have a crush on someone: Always
18. Eat or Drink: I prefer eating but enjoy drinking Mug Rootbeer as well.
19. Piercings: Ears
20. Tattoos: No
21. Music: Broadway, country, soft rock
22. Comedies or Horror: Comedy

23. First piercing: 11 years old
24. First best friend: Violet
25. First award: probably at a piano festival of some sort
26. First crush: I think there was one in pre-school, but the one I remember distinctly was Mark Wooley in kindergarten.
27. First Boyfriend/Girlfriend: Kirt Lillywhite
28. First pet: Fortuna the cat probably. Or Max the dog. I can't remember.
29. First big vacation: My family went to Chicago when I was in kindergarten.
30. First big birthday: I had a big shin dig that we still have on video from when i turned seven. I'm showing my underwear in the film.
31. First Car: Cosette, the little red Nissan
32. First Favorite Song: "Make Me Lose Control" by Eric Carmen
33. First phone: I think around junior or senior year of high school.
34. First Surgery: Wisdom teeth in high school
35. First time on an Airplane: On the way home from Chicago in kindergarten

36. Phone Call: from Tyler Lake, a boy in my ward.
37. Instant Message: It has been a really long time...I don't remember
38. Text Message: A boy I met on a double date tonight who wants me to put the good word in for him with my roommate
39. Song you listened to: "For Good" from Wicked
40. Time you cried: Today after a bridal shower

41. Getting on your nerves: Myself
42. TV: Not watching now, but loving American Idol and The Closer
43. Drinking: nothing
44. Hair: straight
45. Wearing: pajamas
46. Eating: nothing
47. With: no one
48. I'm about to: go to sleep
49. Listening to: nothing
50. Plans for today: Go to bed

51. Want kids: Yes
52. Want to get married: Yes
53. Careers in mind: Teach choir, music lessons, and most importantly, BE A MOM
54. Place of Residency: West Coast
55. Car or Truck: Car

56. Shorter or taller: Taller
57. Romantic or spontaneous: Romantic
58. Sensitive or loud: Sensitive
59. Serious relationship or casual dates: Relationship
60. Trouble maker or hesitant: "I don't want someone really wicked...I want someone who could be wicked, but wouldn't."

62. Lost glasses/contacts: Absolutely
63. Ran away from home: No
64. Hold a gun/knife for self defense: No
65. Killed somebody: No
66. Broken someones heart: Yes
67. Been arrested: No
68. Cried when someone died: Yes
69. Kissed a stranger: No
70. Had someone ask you out and you said no: Yes, to prom. But I said yes at first, then worked my way around to no after a week or so, especially when he asked if my dress was going to have "shoulder covering things" (sleeves) and it became crystal clear that he didn't appreciate modest dresses.
71. Laughed until you cried: Yes
72. Met someone who changed your life: Yes
73. Fallen in Love: Yes
74. Found out someone was talking about you: Yes
75. Been Cheated on: No
76. Cheated on anyone: No
77. Lost someone special: Yes
78. Broken a bone: No

79. Yourself: Sometimes
80. Miracles: Yes
81. Love at first sight: No
82. Heaven: Yes
83. Santa Claus: No
84. Holding Hands on the first date: Sure
85. Kiss on the first date: If I had known the person a long time before and it was simply our first official date

86. Righty or Lefty: Right
87. Last time you saw your Dad: Christmas break!
88. Do you like the snow: No
89. Whats your favorite season: Summer
90. Can you swim: Yes
91. Ridden a horse: Yes
92. Ridden a bike: Yes
93. Photogenic: Used to be
94. Have siblings: 1 older brother, 2 younger sisters
95. Beach or Mountains:Beach
96. Hot or Cold: Piping hot for baths, ice-cold for drinking water

97. Is there one person you want to be with right now: Just asleep
98. Are you seriously happy with where you are in life: For the most part
99. Do you believe in God: Yes
100. Post as 100 truths and tag at least 5 people.

*Emily, Beamer, Many, Erica, Lisa*

Friday, January 30, 2009

Talent Day Gone Wild!

One of my show choir students asked if he could do a talent today. He said he didn't want it to count for his grade but everyone assured me it was a really funny talent and I should let him do it.

This was his talent:

He stuck his Ipod ear buds up his nose and demonstrated how the sound came out of his mouth.

It was so disgusting.

He got the idea off the Internet.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

House Warming Party!

Melissa, Kate, and I hosted a house warming party in honor of moving in to our new place! We love being roommates. And I love decorating (it's new obsession, I must admit...).

Yesterday, Melissa and I hit the clearance section of Bed, Bath, and Beyond and left the store feeling like we robbed the place! We got curtains for our front room for ten dollars (plus $12.00 for the curtain rod) and curtains for the kitchen also for $10.00 (plus $25 for the curtain rod). It was a fantastic day. I also got some place mats for dirt cheap and a couple of new pillows for our couch.

We served hot chocolate from my cocoa-motion and Kate's cocoa-latte maker. Kate had the genius idea of getting whipped cream and marshmallows plus delicious breads from Great Harvest. Many made cucumber sandwich rolls that were the HIT of the party and provided veggies, pirouette cookies, fudge (a la her mom) and strawberries. I bought way too much milk, too many cups, and too much hot chocolate (I got a little too excited...). Oops. But we can throw lots more parties now!

I'm going for the apple/berries/rose colors theme...greens with reds (but trying to avoid looking like Christmas). I'm a sucker for deep red. The picture above features our green accent wall. I just learned about accent walls :-).

Above are the beautiful pots that Aunt Kelly and Grandma Carolyn gave me for graduation. I love them and have based my kitchen around them!

We took pictures of each and every one of our party guests. Katie and Dane (below) were the first to arrive. Above is a picture of the book shelves my dad is letting my borrow until I can pay him for them. They're from Costco and absolutely beautiful!

Here are Shannon and Sylvia, two of my dear friends from the mission!

Our friend Tyler Lake stopped by and brought us a housewarming gift. It was a picture frame an ex-girlfriend had given him a year ago filled with pictures of one of their dates skiing. He said there's nothing like starting out in a new home with memories of a broken relationship. I think he forgot to read the plaque above our window seat that says, "Real love stories never have endings..."

Two of my favorite ballroom dancers and their biggest fan :-).

Tessa and Lisa! Aren't they so cute?

Steve is our dear neighbor and we absolutely love him.

My sister and Caleb are on the right and my friend Tracy and her boyfriend Brent are on the left.

Above is a picture of my favorite twins...

...and their mom and dad! (Plus a friend of theirs named Melanie)


BYU Music Education Reuinion!

Benjamin and Emily

Andy and Sam

Lisa, Alex, and Jodie

Melissa Lindsey (above) and Brett, Rob, and Brett (below)

Jodi and Scott


Courtney, Nick, and Andrea

Michael, Skyler, and Chuck


and Paul Dean!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

One semester older and wiser too...

Today was the first day of the new semester. I had new students in four of my classes. I paired up my students for an activity according to birthday. Of course, several students were clever enough to figure out that if they lied about their birthday month, they would have a shot at being partnered up with one of their friends as opposed to someone they didn't know. Shockingly, I saw right through them...most of the time.

When I paired up two particular girls, they told me they had just met that day; therefore, I let the partnership go and moved on. By the end of the class, it was clear those girls could not be seated together in the future. I made a comment about how telling the activity was, because I was able to see who my talkers were and who couldn't sit by each other anymore. The two girls came up to me after the bell rang and begged me to let them sit together. Then they said, "But it's true, we only met earlier today." I looked at them in the face and said, "I don't believe you." They kept protesting, and finally I said, "If I were to ask two teachers in the teacher's lounge right now if you were friends, would they tell me you were friends before today?" They exchanged some priceless looks, one revealing to the other with her eyes that she could no longer keep up the farce and the other showing a fierce determination to maintain the facade. I said, "You were friends before. See you tomorrow."

Thursday, January 15, 2009

It's time for some discipline

...and I'm not talking about for my students. I'm talking about a little SELF discipline.

What do you get when you combine moving in with two of your best friends and 2 hour American Idol specials? NO SLEEP!

When I was living alone, I went to bed at 9:30-10:30 p.m. every night, NO PROBLEM. I'd get my eight hours come rain or shine. Now, I just don't want to go to bed. And quite simply, I don't.

I come home every day, exhausted, with visions of going to bed two hours earlier dancing around in my head. My roommates and I tell each other, "Okay, tonight we REALLY have to go to bed early." But something more important always seems to come up. Like having cute boys in our apartment until close to midnight who we really don't want to kick out for something as trivial as getting enough sleep so we can be effective teachers in the morning.


It's worth it.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Favorite Song

I did a post concert activity with my students that has been very touching/funny/cute. I asked them to bring in a favorite song along with a half page about why they like it. Their song choices surprised me at times and also inspired me to download many of them from i-tunes.

In one class, I have a student who is very quiet and an extremely good student. She is also innocent and sweet. When I first introduced the assignment, she came up and asked if she could bring in a primary song. When it was her turn to present, she played the song "Dirty Little Secret" by the All American Rejects which absolutely shocked me. It's necessarily a bad song, but it was not what I pictured her choosing. The title kind of threw me for a loop. In the same class, there is a kid who is an absolute pill the majority of the time. He likes to yell things out and sing loudly but obnoxiously on purpose. When he got up to present, he chose the song "The Christmas Shoes" about a little boy who buys his mom a pair of shoes to dance in and to wear when she dies. I was floored. I couldn't believe this student chose such a touching song. I thought he might be joking at first. The different dimensions of my students became evident. I was touched.

Many of my students chose songs related to specific hardships in their lives. I had one student choose the song, "When I get where I'm going" by Brad Paisley that she and her mom listened to two weeks after her nineteen year old sister died. My student said it was as though her sister was singing it right to them. I had another student play the song "Daddy's Little Girl" because it reminded her of her father who was deported a few months ago and who she misses very much. A male student played "Defying Gravity" from Wicked because it was played at the funeral of his teenage cousin who was killed in a car accident. A few students chose songs that reminded them of their fathers who travel a lot. I was amazed at what my young students have been through and was touched by how they use music to get through these difficult times.

A few girls brought in original music. One student brought a song that her grandfather wrote and sang. She said that when her grandpa would tell stories, he wouldn't speak them but he would sing them. What a legacy he has passed on!

I had a student bring in the song, "Concrete Angel" by Martina McBride. It almost made me cry. I was very touched by the message of the song and the fact that my student chose it because it focuses on child abuse awareness. My kids are already concerned about the many difficult and painful issues that surround them in the world and many of them have been directly affected by them.

One of my students who gives me a run for my money played the song "Bruises" by Chair Lift and wrote in her paper that she connected with the words because she often feels like she lets people down. I was humbled by this confession, as I have had to talk to her on several occasions about not talking during class and have seen her frustration at being singled out.

Surprisingly, out of over 150 students, there were very few repeats. A couple songs that were played twice were "Crush" by David Archuletta and one of the songs off the Twilight movie soundtrack by Paramore.

One of my students said her family liked to listen to oldies so she played a song by Creed. Wow.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

School days, school days, good old golden rule days...

Today was a DAY. I came home in a bad mood and was trying to figure out why. Let me give you the highlights.

My classroom was 81 degrees today. The heating is broken in my room and is supposed to be at 68 degrees. Each kid that walked into the classroom sounded like they were the first ones to realize that it was blazing hot in my room. My usual response was, "I know guys, I have to be here all day." I kind of lost it with one student in 7th period and said, "Do you think I don't know that?!" I emailed the custodian and tried to get it taken care of. She brought me a fan, but by the end of the day, the room was still as hot as ever. And, my office is about ten degrees hotter than the classroom.

During fourth period, it was so hot that my kids were too squirly to pay attention during my lesson. In desperation, I announced we would be moving to a cooler place in the building. We ended up going to the library. When I got there, I remembered by T.A. was in the back room doing some work for me in my music room. I figured she'd come find us if she needed to. I came back to the classroom after the period was over to find her crying with her head in her hands because it was hot and as a result, she didn't feel well, and probably because I had left without telling her to come with us. I felt like TRASH. She spent the next class period in the nurse's office while I was picturing myself getting fired for child neglect. I naively assumed that if she was too hot, she would have come to find me. I forget that they're fourteen and still need a lot of guidance.

During one of my other classes, we were doing an activity where each student brings in a song that means something to them and then plays it for the class. One of my students brought in a song that helped her when she was battling with low self esteem in elementary school. After she played it, I shared with the class that I, too, had struggled with low self-esteem when I was in high school. One of my incredibly helpful students said, "You know what you should have done? You should have gotten a boyfriend and then he would have helped you." Wow.

During 6th period, I was asked to help out another teacher who was having an ice-cream Sunday party in her classroom. When I came in, I saw lots of my students. A few yelled "hi" and one of my charming students who likes to rip up his assignments and tell me how boring my class is said,"Hi Ms. Houston the teacher who hates me!" He and his table proceeded to discuss me in what I can only assume was not the most positive light. I chose to ignore it, but happened to pick up on another conversation happening at another table. One of my female students was saying, "She looks at you with this evil eye that makes it seem like she wants you to die on the spot." I put two and two together and realized she was talking about me! I was a little startled. She caught me looking at her and got a little embarrassed that I had overheard what she was saying.

During 7th period, one of my students (who has a tendancy to yell things out that are completely off topic), exclaimed out of the blue, "You know your student Jill [name has been changed]?" She hates your singing voice. But she's really mean. Isn't that mean?" I explained to this student that for future reference, she shouldn't tell me if someone says they don't like my voice because then it makes me feel bad. It's okay that she doesn't like my voice; just don't tell me about it. It has been a startling realization that my students really do talk about me behind my back.

But somehow I still love the job...I don't know how...

Monday, January 5, 2009

Back to School!

Today was fun and sped by. It was good to see the kids again!

I find myself greeting the new year after a 2 week break with a lot more patience. For example, I asked a male student to stop massaging the shoulders of a female student and he retorted, "I won't. No teacher is going to tell me what to do." Because of the rejuvenating time at home, I was able to smile at him like he was such a dear, dear boy and move on. He did stop, by the way. He's mostly talk.

I'm getting two new pre-student teachers next term. I'm serious, this is the curse of working so close to BYU. It is the most convenient school for pre-student teachers to come to. I really don't like being the "example" because I haven't even figured out 1/1000th of what there is to know about being a good teacher. This time, I'm going to try to act like I know what I'm doing instead of having the, "your guess is as good as mine" attitude I had last semester with my first two pre-student teachers.

My favorite story to tell my students today was about caroling over the holidays in California. We went to deliver treats at the homes of family friends and my dad wanted us to sing at each house. My sisters and I put up a lot of resistance. Finally, my dad got out of the car and said, "I have a lame family!" I took quite a lot of personal offense to this statement and kept bringing it up over the course of the Christmas vacation. He finally said, "Look, I have a daughter who is a CHOIR TEACHER and she won't even Christmas carol at peoples' doors." That kind of stopped me in my tracks. I was actually quite embarrassed to admit to my students that their choir teacher didn't carol of her own free will and choosing. I'm going to change my tune (ha ha) next year and sing at every house.

I'm so excited that we now have a director for the school musical. It makes me feel infinitely better about life!!!! She's doing a great job and I have become more of an "over-seer," which I am quite content to do.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year!

Holly, Anna and I made Aunt Margy for New Year's Eve and invited Tracy and our parents to the Green's to join us. Aunt Margy is an open faced hot, cheesy sandwich that I still dream about. Holly made Chocolate Delight for dessert and in the last half hour before our guests arrived, we got creative with Sister Green's party drawer in order to give the table a festive look.

And now, for your viewing pleasure...

The Top 3 Ugliest Pictures of 2008

Here's to more photogenic moments for Katie in 2009!

Anna, Tracy, and I stayed until midnight at Holly's house watching No Reservations and doing a puzzle. Participating in the whole puzzle thing was an attempt to help me stay awake to ring in the New Year (unlike last year). I do love a good puzzle, so I was happy as a clam until midnight. We toasted with sparkling cider and talked about personal highlights from 2008.

Holly: I got to spend the summer in a National Theme Park!
Tracy: I got to go to Guatemala!
Katie: I graduated from college and got my first job as a teacher!
Anna: I liked having a bigger part in the Nutcracker this year!

It was so much fun to be with my dear Santa Barbara friends on New Year's Eve. Tina was camping out on the parade route and waiting a half hour for a port-a-potty in Pasadena. While the trip was worth it for the experience and friends, she doesn't think she'll be repeating the adventure anytime soon.