Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Musings of a Bored Teacher at Parent Teacher Conferences

I have a love hate relationship with "Flamin' Hot Cheetos." The hate part started back in 7th grade. I had a crush on a boy and was trying desperately to flirt. He let me have one of his hot cheetos and it was exactly as advertised. I said, "You owe me big time!" When he asked what for, I responded, "For burning up my mouth!" While I didn't realize it, taken out of context (which kids will find any excuse to do), that was not the classiest remark for me to make. I was so humiliated.

Fast forward 17 years. I am sitting at P/T conferences, bored silly. I have had a lot of dead time today. I have also been quite starving, so I took a rare trip to the vending machine for a snack during my designated 15 minutes break. I am trying to not fall flat on my face for our family fitness challenge, so I tried to find the healthiest options. Welch's fruit snacks made the cut, but the machine ate my $1.25 and didn't give me my product. I was livid. I hit it with my side, then saw the sign indicating the machines are under 24 hour survellience. I pictured myself trying to explain my behavior to the principal and felt a little sheepish. I then saw the sign that said there would be no refunds for lost money. WHAT?! I felt so incredibly wronged. $1.25 is not chump change in my book, especially when I paid in quarters (which I need to save for the parking meters at the U). Hmph. 
But I digress.

I then saw baked Cheetos. Baked is code for "I'm still a fattening and unhealthy product but I'm slightly better than the original and titled to make people feel better about their unwise eating choices." Yet, sadly, it does alleviate guilt. I got my cheetos and headed back to my classroom. When I looked more closely at the bag, however, I saw they were the flamin' hot kind. Nooooo! Well, I was starving, short on change, and short on patience. So, I opened the bag and dug right in.

Seriously, the love/hate thing continued with every bite.
I love these!
No, this is MURDEROUS on the taste buds. 
Wait, what a great after taste. 
Hurry, I need water!
Okay, I kind of want another one. 
Why did I eat a whole bag of these?
Wait, because they drive me desperately crazy!!!!!

Weird.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Thank you, Mother Teresa

I was very touched today when I read this quote by Mother Teresa:

 "Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired."

I'm so thankful for a family who loves me tirelessly. Their expressions of love in thousands of small ways--phone calls, smiles, jokes, career advice, games, cooking tips, financial advice, songs, nicknames--is something extraordinary to me. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Peak

I have reached the peak age.

It's the age that anyone older than me claims. It's the birthday no one advances beyond.  I am 29. And I will be this age forever.

It makes me pause to consider whether or not I am living life right now as though these are the prime years of my life.  Of course I always thought I'd be a wife and mother by now, which I think would add a richness to my life that I do not yet know.  But all things considered, I feel incredibly blessed. I don't feel regret.

My sister had to work on my birthday, so she and her husband came up the Thursday before to celebrate. They are so sweet. We went to Biaggi's, which has an incredible gluten free menu. They serve wheat free bread and pasta, which is such a luxury to me now!
Oh, Dave. You're so cute.
Christina made me the most incredible flourless chocolate cake. It was one of the best desserts I've ever had!

My sister made me this incredible wreath. It is such a beautiful representation of what I love most.

Thank you Sissy!

Thank you Jer!

On the morning of my birthday, I found this on my porch on my way out to work!

Dave is so funny. I think everything he says and does is hilarious. See above. 


Look what was inside! Each and every thing had sentimental value. For example, our first date was to see "Snow White and the Huntsman" so Dave got me a calendar of it.  Also, when we first started dating, we sat outside in my car talking for hours and I left my lights on. Thus, my car died and I had nothing to jump it with. Thanks to Dave, I now have jumper cables!

This gift was so sweet! Inside was a shirt from H&M that I wanted to buy at least a month ago but didn't get because it was too expensive. He pretended like he had to go to the restroom and then took off to buy it when I decided I wanted to use the ladies room.  He hid it in the pocket of his cargo shorts all night and then saved it in his closet until my birthday. I seriously had no idea. You'll see me wearing it in the below pics!
At school, I got 4 rounds of "Happy Birthday" from my classes and some cute cards and balloons from various co-workers and students. Dave appeared at lunchtime with Costa Vida sweet pork nachos and mint and chip ice-cream! He has definitely learned the way to my heart in a very short amount of time.  That night, Dave and I met up with a few friends at Teppenyaki for dinner. Thanks, Dave, for the birthday girl ribbon :-).
Three of my friends had never been somewhere where they cook the food in front of you so it was fun to be there while they had that experience!


We loved our waiter. He was so funny!


Dave caught 3 shrimps in his mouth in a row, which put a lot of pressure on me when it was my turn.  Luckily, not all my failures got caught on film!

video

Despite a wonderful dinner with friends, I was bound and determined to go to Leatherby's, my absolute favorite ice-cream parlor, for dessert. Thanks, Michelle and Dave, for humoring me! P.S. I didn't eat this all by myself, I promise! Although I probably could have...


For my birthday, what I've wanted for months is a jewelry box. Thank you, Mom and Dad! It totally exceeded my expectations and is one of the most beautiful things I now own!
 



Thank you to everyone for your sweet texts and phone calls! I can't tell you how much they meant. Birthdays become more and more sobering as one gets older and wonders if she's done enough with her life. Thanks for helping to make my birthday sweet.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The "Never Again" Yard Sale


 

To raise money for our choir trip, we decided it would be easier to do a huge fundraiser over one weekend instead of selling cookie dough or something over a month.  While overall it went okay, it was so much work for the teachers and parents. The kids were as helpful as they knew how to be and were very willing to participate; however, there are lots of things they are not able to do because of their limited experience, rules about students handling money, etc. Each of the kids going on tour were required to work a three hour shift and they were great about showing up and helping. But Phaidra and I had to be there all 15 hours it took to prepare and execute, and it was just too much. There were a couple parents who stuck with us from the beginning to the bitter end, for which we were so deeply grateful.

In summary, here are some of the big lessons Phaidra and I learned about this fundraiser:

1) A yard sale, at least the way we did it, was too much work for the amount of money we made. A couple thousand is nothing to sneeze at, but it's a drop in the bucket compared to what we need.
2) People are so generous...especially the parents of our students. We're so lucky to have such support as teachers.
3) Kids need specific jobs.  At this age, it's hard for them to look for a need and fill it, but they are willing to do the things specifically asked of them. 
4) There is a lid for every pot (thanks Holls, for the saying). Something you think no one would ever pay money for is the perfect item to someone else.
5) Never again...
 
We started out by sorting and pricing donations in the choir room the day before the yard sale. Special thanks to my ladies ensemble for helping me getting the system organized.
This pile grew and grew as the day wore on.
We were afraid we didn't have enough donations by about 5:00 p.m. on Friday. Collection went from 2:30-8:30 p.m. By the end of the evening, however, we had an overwhelming amount. I was almost wishing for less! It was daunting to try to organize and price all of it. We had some tremendous parents helping Phaidra and I every step of the way for hours on end.  I hope I can be as generous as these parents have been when I have kids in high school.
I can't lie and say that I wasn't totally stressed out about the disastrous state of my choir room over Friday and Saturday. In fact, it is still stressing me out. I woke up too early and fell back asleep this morning planning how I was going to get my intermediate piano students to help me put it to rights tomorrow morning. I was dividing up jobs in my head.
An afternoon crew of kids made signs in the auditorium and an evening crew came in and put them up, along with distributing fliers.
After items were sorted and priced, they were moved to the auditorium until Saturday morning. The tables were packed by the end of the evening.
At 6 a.m. Saturday morning, many students and parents (and a sweet boyfriend who had worked at his own job until midnight the night before!) helped transport hundreds of items from the auditorium to the parking lot quite a distance away. We loaded cars up and sent them down where the other half of our crew unloaded and set-up.


We had lots of generous supporters. Some would drop an extra $10 or $20 just because they knew we were raising money for our trip.

Another generous family donated the use of their snow cone machine and all the syrups and ice.
As I mentioned earlier, half the fun of yard sales is seeing how one man's discarded items are another man's treasure.  Dave for example, very much enjoyed finding this particular stuffed animal.
At the end of the yard sale, this beautiful table (that I immediately fell in love with when I saw it) had not been purchased. WHAT?! Needless to say, I am now the proud owner.There isn't any logical place for it in our house, so it is now in my room.


A Lovely Sunday Afternoon

 This morning was regional stake conference at the conference center. It was a really, really nice meeting.  After it was over, Dave and I took a walk around Temple Square and City Creek.  We took turns closing our eyes and guiding the other one around. Then, we went ten solid minutes without talking. Yes, we're weird; however, it was actually really interesting to see how your senses heighten when you eliminate speech or vision.  It felt so nice to not be in a hurry and to take a leisurely Sunday afternoon stroll, especially after such a crazy weekend (more on that later).

After church, we came back to my apartment to make lunch. Sometimes when I leave the room, Dave likes to hide. He is particularly fond of the hiding spot I found him in this afternoon. I just can't get over the hilarity of this photo.  View the video below to find out just how he managed to get up there.
I am ever expanding my culinary horizons...today I learned how to microwave rice.
video

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Surprise!

For Labor Day weekend, Dave and Christina and I surprised Anna and our parents by driving down from Utah to see them. It was priceless to see the look on our mom's face when we came singing in at 3:30 in the morning.  Even just that moment made the whole drive worth it! Though the weekend was short, we lived it up as much as possible.

We prepared and ate dutch oven cooking...

I was in charge of table decor. That's usually my job (as opposed to the whole cooking thing). 
I originally had vases and candles and my dad took one look at the decorations and said, "We're eating cowboy grub!" I took that to mean I hadn't quite captured the vision. So, I went in a bit of a different direction.









After a delicious late lunch, Dave and I went on the infamous "Nickel Tour" with my Dad around Santa Barbara. I had no idea how much my dad has studied the rock walls all around town! It's something he loves and it was really cool to see things I have never noticed before.


I was thrilled the artwork from the chalk festival at the mission was still visible, though faded considerably.


Going on the pier is one of my favorite things to do with newbies to Santa Barbara!
The next day, we attended church in my home ward...

Showing off my new shoes from Ross...$11.99!
We all decided to wear pink accents...cheesy, I know, but fun :-).
I saw a friendly face at church! This is Celeste's brother who is serving his mission in my home ward!
After church, Tina and my Mom went through a bunch of clothes and found these gems!
While they were organizing, we went with Holly to walk on the beach. Being on the beach reminds me that the world is good. Life is beautiful. Even amidst a lot of corruption and evil and trials and heartache, beauty prevails.




Dave's favorite part, hands down, of the whole trip was seeing dolphins 20 yards from the shore.  Check out this shot Anna got!

I am very fond of Dave.

In the evening, we played Speed Scramble, a family favorite, using themes.  The theme for the round above was "church" and we had to justify all our answers.  Mine included Daniel in the Lion's "den," and "Dave" because he is a member of the church.
Dave's tie got misplaced around my neck!