Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I fear I ageth not well

Student: Ms. Houston, would you mind answering some questions for one of my classes? I have to survey some people. It's just a few questions.

Ms. Houston: Sure, no problem.

Student: Okay, please say agree or disagree to each of the following statements.

Ms. Houston: Alright.

Student: "Use every man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?"

Ms. Houston: Wait, what?  Is this Shakespeare?

Student: Yeah.

Ms. Houston: Is this for your English class?

Student: Yeah.

Ms. Houston: Oh, okay. Well, I don't really understand that statement. Can I read it again?

Student: Sure. [He hands me the paper.]

Ms. Houston: [I glance at the paper and notice three columns indicating the three different kinds of people he is supposed to survey.  The first column says, "you," the second column says, "someone your age," and the third column says, "someone your parents' age." The first two columns are completely filled in.] Wait a second, am I the person you are interviewing for "someone your parents' age"?!!

Student: Uh...well...uh...yeah.

Ms. Houston: I'm only 29 years old! I'm not old enough to be your mother!!!

Student: Oh I know, I know...I just...

Yeah. I read you loud and clear!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What R & R looks like

At the end of this past semester, I really needed a break!  Even though winter break just happened, it wasn't long enough. Phaidra, Erin and I finished a huge collaborative project on Thursday that involved all choir, dance, and musical theater students (about 200 kids).  It was a musical review fundraiser for our New York tour. We raised $8,000, which was our goal, and the kids did phenomenally.  It was a huge relief. (Thanks to all friends and family for your generous support! I love you!) Needless to say, it was a lot of work and I was anxious for some down time after it closed. 

So this is how I, Katie Houston, do downtime during the space of a long weekend.

1) Take a day off work to fly home and escape freezing temperatures. My mood immediately improved when I walked outside.  I even texted Dave and told him it made me want to cry tears of joy.

2) Hit Hamburger Habit with my mom on the way home from LAX, making sure to order a chocolate shake.  Nothing like it.  (Did you hear they are bringing a Habit to SLC?!)

3) Head straight for the bathtub with a fairytale novel, Spindles End.

4) Chill upstairs in my parents' room to watch the entire season 2 of Downtown Abbey, plus the first 3 episodes of season 3.

5) Snuggle in bed and read books with Anna by my side.

6) Get pedicures with my mom and Anna

7) Eat at Chili's with the fam and order queso as the appetizer

8) Go to church and catch up with long time friends (great R.S. lesson, Vulsie!)

9) Watch funny videos on with Phil and Anna

10) Receive a "back to school" blessing from my daddy dearest

11) Have lunch with Cha Cha and my mom in L.A. on the way back to the airport

12) Read, read, read on the flight home until my second book, A Christmas Wish (a regency novel) is completed

13) Meet sweet Dave at the SLC airport and head back to reality!

It was well, well, WELL worth the money spent to fly home (not to mention I got a slamming deal on my flight because of credit card rewards points! Love that program.).  Thanks, Mom, Dad, and Anna for all the TLC you showed me!

Friday, January 18, 2013


In a courageous move, my brother has gone independent and is attempting to fulfill a lifelong dream of creating his own video game.  I have no doubt in his abilities to be successful in this endeavor!  He needs help spreading the word so he can raise enough money to kickstart the project.  Below is part of an email he sent out to friends and family that explains how people can help get his game out in the public eye through email, facebook, etc.
The Kickstarter campaign for our indie game "Unwritten" has just launched.
Sharing this link is vitally important to our success. No matter how you share, (e.g. Facebook, Reddit, email, tip submissions to gaming sites, plain old word of mouth), it's all good stuff. Getting exposure will be our biggest challenge, and you can help us get started.
Also be sure to "like" our project page on Kickstarter, and back us with a contribution. If possible this is best done early in the campaign. A strong initial showing increases our chances of being noticed as a "staff pick" or "popular" project, further increasing our chances for the future.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Couldn't have said it better myself.

I had to laugh when I saw this on my desk calendar.  This is EXACTLY how I've felt this school year.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Calling in Reinforcements

My choir crossed the line on Tuesday.

They are all good kids.  We hold no animosity for one another. 

But they just will not focus during class. We get nothing done. We have a performance in less than a week.  It is crunch time.

I sent an email out to all their parents petitioning help during class.  Today when the kids showed up, there were three mothers standing by the door.  I announced that I had called in reinforcements to help monitor.  Their main two jobs were to watch for cell phones and monitor talking.  I told the kids if they got a tap on the back, it meant they had to leave the room.  I recognized that it was a bit like Kindergarten, but reminded them it was not unlike how they acted last class period.  I also revealed that I had parents lined up for Monday's rehearsal as well.  That was met with audible expressions of surprise by the students.  I warned them that I would have parents come to every rehearsal until the end of the year if I had to in order to get work done in class.

I had the moms sit right behind each section.  And rehearsal went GREAT.

I have struggled with discipline all five years I've been teaching.  It was a tiny victory to find something that actually worked.

I just hope I don't actually have to line up parents for the entire year.  I know my threats are big, but the follow through would be a real pain in the neck!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

And we had fun fun fun till school and work took our va-kay away!

Mimi's Cafe with the Richins

"Adopted" sister, Shilo, and her family (minus 1).

Girls Night Out
First, to Rumbi and the Sweet Tooth Fairy...
...and then to the Nutcracker, performed by Ballet West, at the Capitol Theater!
Our family has had very close ties to the Nutcracker for over 20 years.  My sisters have the show memorized, I'm sure! It was so fun to see it performed by a professional company. So amazing.  I try to make up for my lack of dancing skills in my appreciation of it.
This was truly a highlight of my holiday break.

Michelle's "19th" Birthday!

Michelle got a spontaneous birthday song at Zupa's during lunch!
She was joined by many friends (most not pictured!) for a birthday dinner at Goodwood.
Much to my chagrin, Michelle went and bought her own birthday cake! So Clark and I had to make sure it got decorated properly.
Thanks for being such a great roomie, Michelle! She has been so awesome to live with.  I feel so grateful!
(More) After Christmas Shopping

We checked out the new Alpine outlets and got some great deals.
My dad loves budgeting so Anna saw this New Year's bank and knew he had to have it.
Anna and my mom picked out this outfit for Paigey. Is she the cutest or WHAT?!
 Snowboarding at Brighton

How did THAT get there? :-)
Thug 1
Thug 2
Thug 3 (Thug 4 not yet pictured).

We've had that red heart beenie I'm wearing for as long as I can remember.  I thought I lost it in the lodge and I was fairly distraught.  (And how much was my jacket you ask? Oh, $12.99).

This was Anna and Dave's first time on a board!
We all took a beginning snowboard lesson with Daryl.  I've been like 7 times and I'm still at the beginning level.
We all did our fair share of falling!

I love this picture of Susan.  We all had on an assortment of mismatched ski gear from the magic ski gear bag that my dad has kept all these years.  All I cared about was staying warm! Fashion was essentially a non issue.
Birthday Celebration at Tepenyaki

Anna and Tina celebrate their birthdays 9 days apart in January so before my family left for Cali, we had a joint birthday party for them. 2013 is big year for the three daughters...Anna turns 18, Christina turns 25, and I turn 30! Joe is just plain old 33 :-)
They matched! Awww....

Dave came to so many family events over break...what a guy. We all love this kid.

Tina got a new fleece from Anna!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Small and Simple Things

When I get out of my routine, I let a lot of important things slide.  Over break, I have really neglected my personal scripture study and prayer and have felt a great void because of it. I haven't been the same person.  Today, I decided I needed to try harder.  I owe it to my Heavenly Father and to my loved ones.

I have my graduate placement exams tomorrow and Friday and my co-worker let me borrow a theory book to study.  This morning, I couldn't find it.  This stressed me out for two reasons: 1) I need to study from it and 2) it belongs to someone else. I wasn't sure what I was going to do.

As previously mentioned, I knew I needed to get my spiritual life on track. I decided I needed to kneel and say out loud prayers for the first time in a long time.  As I was praying, I thought about the book.  Such a simple, small, insignificant thing in the great scheme of things.  Why would that be something of import to my Father in Heaven? But, having just read about Enos who was granted enormous blessings because of his faith in God, I decided it was worth asking.  I even said, "I know this is something really insignificant but..."  When my prayers were over, I went and looked on a shelf where I had already looked.  Not there.  My faith started to waver.  Of course I was being silly to think that Heavenly Father would grant me such an immediate response.  But, angry at myself for starting to doubt once again, I literally repeated over and over to myself "I believe" and went to the front room.  I pulled out a basket from my shelf and there it was, along with one of my own theory books I forgot I had.  Within 120 seconds of my prayer, the missing book was found. 

You may read this and think, "Okay, that was a coincidence." But I know it wasn't.  I could feel that it wasn't.  Heavenly Father was teaching me a very important lesson.  By small and simple things will miracles occur in our lives.