Friday, February 26, 2010

The Joys of Junior High

A Student: Ms. Houston? Do we have play practice today?

Me, without turning around: Yes, [student's name]. Hey, I knew your voice without even turning around!

The Student: It's really funny when I answer the phone and everyone says, "Hello, Geberta."

Me: Geberta? Is that your mom's name?

The Student: Yes.

Me: Wow. I've never heard that name before. Is it German?

The Student: No. She was named after my grandfather Herbert. They took "Herbert" and combined it with "Girl". Geberta.


I have a homeroom reading class that I require my kids to do on Fridays. Today's prompt was, "If you could compete in any Olympic sport, which one would you choose and why?"

A Student: Can you list off the Olympic sports?

Me: Well, there's figure skating, ski jumps, snowboarding, bobsled, swimming, gymnastics, track , speed skating, (etc.)...

Another Student: There's also the [unidentifiable word that sounded like blood].

Me, to myself: What is she saying? Blood? Is that terminology for some random Olympic sport I am unfamiliar with like archery?

Me, out loud: Let's see, what else is there...?

The same student: The lug! The lug! (Sounded like the word 'tug' but with an 'l' at the front).

Me, to myself: What on earth is she talking about?

The student: You know, the sport where that 26 year old man died this year. The lug!

Me: OHHH, the LUGE.


A student: You know what I realized? Pandas are the least racist animals because they are black, white, and Asian.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Middle School Love Advice

Like I mentioned on my last post, I told my girls ensemble yesterday that I was having a difficult time in the boy department. By the end of the school day yesterday, I was still feeling crummy about it all. The teacher who is doing the musical with me told me to go home and not worry about practice.

Today, I got three hand-written notes, two from girls ensemble students, and one from my teacher friend.

Below is evidence that I have the best job on earth.

Note #1: Given to me before school started by a girls ensemble student.

Apple Poem
(obviously not written by my student)

Girls are like apples on trees.

The best ones are at the top of the tree.

The boys don't want to reach for the good ones because they are afraid of falling and getting hurt.

Instead, they just get the rotten apples from the ground that aren't good but easy.

So the apples at the top think something is wrong with them, when really they're amazing.

They just have to wait for the right boy to come along-- the one whose brave enough to climb all the way to the top.

Note #2: Given to me by two of my girls ensemble students after school.

(This sounds exactly like one of those email forwards that circulate among teenagers and I'm pretty sure it is, except for the last line.)

When you are feeling alone like no one cares, read this cause it's absolutely true. Every night someone thinks about you before they go to sleep. At least 15 people in the world loves you. The only reason why someone would hate you is cause they want to be just like you. There are at least 2 people in this world that would die for you. Yes you mean the world to someone. Someone you don't even know exists loves you. When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good comes from it. When you think the worlds turned its back on you, take another look. Always remember the complements you've received, and foret the rude remarks. And always remember

We love you Miss Houston

Note #3: Left in my school mailbox by my co-worker and friend:

"Hold on to the hope in your heart."

Sorry you're going through a rough patch. Just remember what Anne said, "It's not what the world holds for us; it's what we bring to it."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Truth Hurts

I was having a bad day so my girls in girls ensemble tried to cheer me up with the following joke:

Men are like lava lamps. They're fun to look at, but they're not all that bright.

The girls were successful in their plight to make me smile.

Happy Birthday x Two!

Dana and Caleb share a birthday. On Sunday, we got to celebrate 27 years of Dana and 1 of little Caleb! I love these people with all my heart.

Cute Birthday Boy...

Cute Birthday Girl!
(With an AMAZING fruit pie from Lisa and Chase!)

Me with the two birthday kids...I'm so lucky to know them!

I made Dana these zany flip-flops...I call them mailbox shoes. Perfect for going out to get the mail. Not for going to the mall.

Arlo liked my present even more than his mommy did :-).

And here's Josiah in his jumper of joy. He LOVES this thing!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Night on the Town

Last night, Christina had a performance at the conference center theater in Salt Lake. Daniel was kind enough to accompany me :-). On the way there, we made a stop at Rodizios, a Brazilian restaurant in Salt Lake City. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. It was a defining moment of my existence. It reminded me so much of my mission and I loved it.

The show was phenomenal. I'm so proud of my little sister and feel so lucky that I live close enough to see her perform so often.

I love to see the temple!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

For Deanna Dickerson

I SPECIFICALLY remember writing a "How do I love thee?" for Deanna. I thought about doing again, but then said to myself, "You already did one for Deanna." So I didn't write it when I thought about it the second time. When I went back to look, however, it was NOT THERE. (Thanks, Deanna, for alerting me to this tragedy). I am shocked and appalled. I literally thought she was one of the first 50 people I wrote about. So, here is a special blog entry just for her.

Deanna was my missionary companion in the MTC in Brazil. Our personalities were very different. I was anxious, tense, and super worried about everything. Deanna was chill, relaxed, and went with the flow. We were a perfect companionship.

Deanna learned Portuguese in a snap. I felt like I was running to keep up with her. She challenged me to be better by her mastery of the language.

I remember how we would learn about each other while running on the mini (REALLY mini) track at the CTM.

I remember the wife of one of the couples missionaries in the MTC giving us candy she bought for us every Sunday.

I remember Deanna getting mushy letters from Michael, who is now her husband. I would swoon over the romance of it all, and she would just laugh and think it was cheesy.

I remember her being somewhat of a celebrity among the missionaries. They had just left home and were still learning to leave girls behind and then this pretty little blonde sister walks in to the MTC and they had to face their first trial as elders: not falling for Sister Theriot!!

Deanna is now a devoted wife and loving mother. She is a dear friend and is always 100% supportive.

I love you, Deanna!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Red is for Valentine's Day

In honor of Valentine's Day, Violet dyed my hair red. This is Kate and I before leaving for our our huge stake Valentine's dance, complete with a catered dinner, love song karaoke, speed dating, and cupids.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

4 Day Weekend, Here I Come!!!

Highlights from today's talent day:
  • One student juggled a soccer ball with his feet for 50 seconds. I tried it myself and didn't break ten seconds.
  • 2 students showed us the new dance style entitled, "Jerking" which I tried to imitate and ended up landing on my pockets. (Kate, my 5th grade teacher roommate, told me that she has to tell her students, "Sit on your pockets" instead of, "Sit on your bottom.")
  • One student had us time him holding his breath for 30 seconds.
  • One girl did the splits and a stand-up back bend.
  • One boy brought in all of his baseball trophies, plaques, ribbons, and home-run baseballs.
  • One boy sang, "We All Live in a Yellow Submarine."
For the rest of the time in each class, I did a "Love Song Challenge." I played 10-15 love songs from all different decades and the kids had to guess the name of the song and the artist. Keep in mind that I didn't get to use all the songs I would have liked because the kids freak out when I play what they consider old school music. How would you have done identifying the following songs?
  • Crush by David Archuleta
  • I Stay in Love by Mariah Carey
  • The Longest Time by Billy Joel
  • Lucky by Colbie Callait and Jason Mraz
  • No Air by Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown
  • With You by Chris Brown
  • The Way You Make Me Feel by Michael Jackson
  • I'll be There by the Jackson Five
  • Story of a Girl by Nine Doors
  • Amazed by Lonestar
  • Broken Road by Rascal Flatts
  • Haven't Met You Yet by Michael Buble
I tried doing "Unforgettable" in two different periods and it basically flopped both times. Sad, isn't it?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

How do I love thee? Installment #7

I love Kim for rooting for me over the years and hoping for my happiness.
I love Dannon for how she loves being with her kids.
I love Nathan for always coming to the rescue.
I love my cousin BJ for treating me like a sister...with just as much teasing and just as much love!
I love my cousin Dallas for always trying.
I love my cousin Lauren for being such a supportive daughter and sister.
I love my cousin Elaine for having such a good heart.
I love my cousin Linda for being hilarious and building precious memories with me.
I love Mr. Jenkins and Mr. Huber for leading by example.
I love all my past young women leaders (like you, Kellie!) for sharing their testimonies with me every week when I was young and helping me see the kind of life I have to look forward to.

How do I Love Thee? Installment #6

I love Tyler for being witty.
I love Sister Mills and Sister Tate for their love of gospel teaching.
I love Bishop Lishman for listening.
I love my Father in Heaven and my Savior Jesus Christ for:
  • Loving me no matter what
  • Listening to my every worry
  • Caring about the details of my life
  • Forgiving me when I make mistakes
  • Inspiring me to be better
  • Guiding me to make good decisions
  • Watching out for me even when I make wrong choices
  • Sending me to my family
  • Comforting me in times of sorrow
  • Healing my physical pain
  • Helping me avoid temptation
  • Aiding me in achieving my goals and wishes
  • Thinking I'm worth it
  • Loving me enough to make it possible that I can return to them again one day
I love Sister Goodwin for following inspiration to write me.
I love Elder Noguiera for having a giant heart and capacity to love.
I love each of my students for helping me grow every single day and giving me a sense of purpose.
I love Natalie for being supportive of me like a sister.
I love Lyndsey and Lauren for bringing joy to college life for Tina.
I love Xeni for her loyalty to Anna.
I love Chris for his never-ending friendship to both my brother and our entire family.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

How Do I Love Thee? Installment #5

I love Amanda B. for seeing the best in me.
I love Sister Pratt for being so proud of her missionary.
I love Sister Snarr for being such a great mom to so many boys!
I love David, James, and Brad for making Sunday school fun every week as a teenager.
I love Renee and Tami for being there with me through it all.

How do I love thee? Installment #4

  • I love Abe for his ambition and passion for life.
  • I love Sister Williams for trusting me.
  • I love President Brenchley for giving his life to the Lord.
  • I love Rosanna for teaching me better classroom management techniques.
  • I love Erin for being someone I can laugh with.
  • I love Christy for always being there with ideas and funny comments.
  • I love Princess for being a second brother.
  • I love Jason and Heather for treating me as equals even though I'm the little sister.
  • I love Pat, Sherri, and Roy for caring about my dating life at lunchtime.
  • I love Gina for magnifying her calling.
  • I love Andrea for being open.
  • I love Courtney H. for going for it, no matter what she does.

How do I love thee? Installment #3

I love Maggie for using her talents to serve.
I love Lisa D. for always making an effort to show love and concern for her friends.
I love Sister Machado for following the spirit to serve me when I needed it most.
I love Lais for seeking the Lord.
I love Kellianne for being a constant example of testimony and faith.
I love Carolyn for pursuing her dreams.
I love Juliet for being funny.
I love Tawna for always asking me how I'm doing.
I love Shannon Z. for her dedication.
I love Sylvia for knowing what I'm going through.
I love Tamra for her love for Brazil.
I love Jerah for her kind nature.
I love Alaina for her spirit of adventure.
I love Becky for showing me how church service should be done.
I love my cousin Ryan for always being my buddy.
I love my cousin Bracken for being so outgoing and humble.
I love my cousin Matt for serving in Brazil and being hilarious.
I love Stacey for loving the Lord with all her heart.
I love KLJ for making it seem like no time has past when we see each other.
I love Dane for always being willing to help no matter what.
I love Larissa for her love of books and cats.
I love Sister Mount for her love and care for the youth of the church.
I love Mrs. Jackson for giving me the gift of music.
I love Mrs. Brown for instilling in me a love of singing.
I love Jared B. for becoming part of my family and making me feel at home.
I love Veda for being able to not say anything but still know exactly what the other is thinking.
I love Jean for her passion for music.
I love Josh for his willingness to answer questions and show he cares.
I love Brother and Sister Eakett for caring for everyone around them.
I love Melissa L. for developing her gifts (like crocheting!).
I love Nicky for never growing apart from me, despite distance and time.
I love Shilo for being a guiding star in my life and giving me something to shoot for.
I love Bishop and Sister Green for opening their arms and home to me at all times.

How do I love Thee? Installment #2

  • I love Jeremy (Bil) for his strong desire to serve.
  • I love Shellie for her devotion to visiting teaching.
  • I love Em H. for her unfailing goodness.
  • I love Emily W. for her pure love of the R.S.
  • I love Tiffany H. for making me stretch myself more than I thought I could.
  • I love Alicia for being such a devoted daughter of God.
  • I love Grandma Carolyn for teaching me about perseverance and optimism.
  • I love Grandma Marva for never, ever forgetting me.
  • I love Shukria for her energy and gift for teaching.
  • I love LeAnn for watching out for me constantly.
  • I love my cousin Nicole for being brave, full of love, and happy no matter what.
  • I love Bishop and Sister Heaps for knowing my name.
  • I love Troy and Jacob for being consistent and faithful.
  • I love Steve for never giving up on me.
  • I love Lindsay and Brittany for their creativity and work ethic.
  • I love Michelle for her passion for American Idol.
  • I love Katie for her willingness to try hard things.
  • I love Everett for greeting me with joy.
  • I love Nancy for her never-ending kindness.
  • I love Karen G/B. for her example of endurance with faith.
  • I love Karen B. for being such an excellent teacher of the gospel.
  • I love Jared for his passion for making a difference.

How do I Love Thee? Installment #1

Being a die hard romantic, I have always loved Valentine's Day. This year, I decided to focus on those who bring so much love to my life and allow me to love others more fully.

I will be adding to my list over the course of the whole week whenever I have a free moment to ponder the reasons why I love each of you!

  • I love my mom because she cares about every detail of my life.
  • I love my dad because he's gentle.
  • I love Joe because he's forgiving.
  • I love Shana because she's spunky.
  • I love Christina because she's self-motivated.
  • I love Anna because her heart is pure.
  • I love Many because she has a way with words.
  • I love Kate because she always wants to do what's right.
  • I love Tessa because she is a good listener.
  • I love Aunt Mary because she is steadfast in the gospel.
  • I love Aunt Lucy because she remembers me.
  • I love Aunt Kelly because she takes good care of people.
  • I love Uncle Brett because we can tease each other.
  • I love Uncle Pat because he saves me when my dad can't be there.
  • I love Uncle Mike because he is funny.
  • I love Aunt Karen and Aunt Melissa because we can talk for hours and never get bored.
  • I love Shalolo because she has a keen eternal perspective.
  • I love Holly because she knows how I feel at any given moment.
  • I love Violet because she knows me inside and out and still loves me!
  • I love Jenni because she makes me smile when life gets hardest.
  • I love Dana because she remembers EVERYONE.
  • I love Lisa because she values her family.
  • I love Caleb, Mellie, Josiah, and Arlo because they remind me every time I'm with them how much I want to be a mom.
  • I love Mollie because she has paved the way and helps lead me along.
  • I love Keiana because she is incredibly brave and courageous.
  • I love Phil because he always saw the true me and still stuck around.
  • I love Tracy because she is steadfast.
  • I love Sheralyn because she bends over backwards to show she cares.
  • I love Shauna because she seeks to understand me and always succeeds.
  • I love Claudia because she reminds me of my mom.
  • I love Lane because he doesn't judge me despite what I say.
  • I love Beamer because she makes me laugh.
  • I love Angela because she has the heart of a teacher and she understands how I feel about my profession.
  • I love Celestial because she is full of light.
  • I love President and Sister Antunes because they saw potential in me.
  • I love President and Sister Whisenant because they gave me hope.
  • I love Elder and Sister Memmott because they brought me comfort when I needed it so badly.
  • I love Georgia because she is the most Christlike person I've met.
  • I love Pri because she is an incredible leader.
  • I love the Gabrieli family because they helped me draw closer to the Savior.
  • I love Stephanie C. for her devotion to family and relationships.
  • I love Erica for her love of motherhood.
  • I love Lexi for always keeping it real.
  • I love Caytlin for her innovative spirit and energetic personality.
More to come...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Tessa MAY's Birth DAY!

Pre-date dinner at Magleby's Fresh!

Tessa's favorite restaurant is Magleby's Grill in Orem. She loves their garlic rolls and chocolate cake. Unfortunately, it closed down last weekend. It won't open in its new location until the end of February, so we went to the little version of it in Provo instead!

Tessa requested a group date for her birthday. We played "The Newlywed Game," something I'd done before on a group date with Celeste, Angela, and Brie.

Here were the four teams:

Tessa and Paul

Kate and Darren

Katie and Mike
(We were at the biggest disadvantage because this was our first date).

Alex and Lisa
(They were the only actual newlyweds in the group!)

Here we are answering our set of five questions upstairs in my room.

Facing off: Which couple will know each other the best?

Some of the questions included the following:

What is your date's favorite sport?
What would you buy your date at the 7-11?
If your date were a fruit, what would he be and why?
What celebrity does your date most resemble?
How are you and your date the most different?
Does your date prefer milk chocolate, white chocolate, dark chocolate, or jelly beans?
Where would your date live for a year if he/she could live anywhere?
Is your date a beach, country, or city person?

And the winners were...

Alex and Lisa!!!!!!
(Surprise, surprise!!)

We made a slideshow for Tessa that we watched after the game. This was the final slide. Can you guess what it stood for?

We had a Pazookie for dessert. This was also a replica from my date with my hampstead roomies. Remember that, girls?

Here's the Birthday Girl!

And here's the Birthday Girl, all tuckered out!

Happy Birthday, Tessa Wessa!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Scripture Study in School?

Today, one of my pre-student teachers was working with concert choir on the song she picked entitled, "Children, Go Where I Send Thee." One of the verses goes like this:

Children, go where I send thee
How shall I send thee?
I'm gonna send thee two by two
Two for Paul and Silas
One for the little bitty baby
Born, born, born in Bethlehem.

After the kids finished singing this verse, one boy said, "Can we change the name Silas to Simon? Because it sounds a lot better with the rhyming and I don't know who Silas is in the Book of Mormon or anything like that."

This then led to a conversation how Paul and Simon sounds like Paula and Simon, the two judges from American Idol (before Paula quit of course).

That was one of those moments where I lol'd.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Sorry Sequence of Events

  • Yesterday, one of my students told me she couldn't do her work because she didn't have her notebook.
  • I told her she better find a piece of paper and get going because she coudn't sit there and do nothing.
  • She continued to do nothing but later asked me to use the bathroom.
  • I told her she could not use the bathroom until I saw she was actually making an effort to do some work in my class.
  • She got our her notebook from her backpack. It had been there all along.
  • After about 5-10 minutes, I let her use the bathroom.
  • During the end of class, she started texting on her cell phone.
  • I took her phone away.
  • After class, she ran after me on my way to the office to turn the cell phone in, saying, "But Ms. Houston, this was my first time!!"
  • I informed her it didn't matter because the principal had made an announcement TODAY that cell phones were not permitted and should be taken away. Also, she had not been doing any work that day in my class.
  • She yelled at me in the hall full of students, "Well maybe you're class shouldn't be so BORING then!!!!!!"
  • I calmly said, "That's classy. Okay, well, I'll be calling your mom to tell her about this incident."
  • She yelled back, "GOOD!!" (Now I know why she was glad I'd be calling her mother.)
  • I explained the story to her mom.
  • Her mom said parents should have a say in whether or not students text their parents during class.
  • I told her she'd have to take that up with the principal.
  • Her mom said that teachers set a bad example by texting and answering their phones during class.
  • I informed her I do nether.
  • She informed me that some teachers do.
  • I informed her that it besides the cell phone issue, her daughter hadn't been doing any work in my class and was extremely disrespectful to me.
  • She informed me that I must have done something to provoke it.
  • We informed each other that we'd both be talking to to the principal ourselves about the matter.
  • I said, "Thank you" and hung up.
  • My blood boiled for approximately an hour.