Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Holiday party

Have you ever had to go to an event and have no idea what to wear? Well, this has happened to me a couple times - one in particular this last weekend.

As a teacher, we don't really get work Christmas parties, but thankfully I get to live vicariously through Matt and his work. I've been pretty excited about this for awhile. So, I had Matt forward me the invitation so I could figure out what to wear - a crucial aspect of the evening. Stated on the invite it says:

"Business Holiday Attire"

Now, what in the heck does that mean?!? Well, google didn't know and I didn't know either, so I once again bugged Matt to figure out what his co-workers and their wives were wearing (mistake #1). He came back to tell me "gowns...or dresses". That means fancy, right? I was hoping so, b/c I have this dress I wanted to wear anyways - a red cocktail dress. So I didn't think much more about it (mistake #2). Well, I spend quite a bit of time primping and getting all dolled up before the big night, excited about getting to get all fancy for something. We drive out to the location, for a night of dinner and dancing - even an open bar and live band! (so I thought)

Well...we pull up and guess what I notice...

all the women are wearing pants!!!!

Yes, pants and big embroidered snowmen sweaters! Classic. And here is me with my hair all done up, black heels - and did I mention I'm wearing a bright red cocktail dress?! I was not too happy. I actually really wanted to go home or at least stay in the car for the evening. A nightmare! We went straight to the buffet - and I didn't take my coat off until we sat down, so I could try to disguise my overdressed, embarrassed self. We sat and ate and talked with his friends. I tried to impress as I met his bosses and managers. Though I can't say that I'm good with that. Just smiled and nodded.

Then the music began...played by the DJ - not a live band. Oh well...not a big deal, except for the fact that the DJ was terrible!! I am not exaggerating. He struggled getting and keeping people on the dance floor...even with free alcohol floating around the place. Like, he'd finally get a crowd out there for a song and then would play a completely terrible song like Brittney of course everyone would sit down. It was ridiculous. I honestly don't know what was so challenging about the situation for him. Play good songs = People will dance.

There was a couple that came and joined us at the table that nobody really knew. I start talking with another girl at our table who also happened to be a teacher. We are discussing work and some difficulties of our particular schools and so forth, when the man next to me asks what school I teach at. I say it's a small charter school that nobody has heard of, and he pressed the question. Well, guess what...I come to find out that his daughter goes there. I knew he looked familiar! What are the odds? Seriously!? Great.

Oh least there were door prizes. I encouraged Matt to let us stay til the bitter end in hopes that we would win something...we waited...and waited...and waited...there were basically 10% of the people left at the end (b/c the DJ was that bad) so I thought our odds were pretty good. But no. No door prizes for us...and several wasted hours of listening to ridiculous music.

What an evening! Though, I can say that I ended up really having fun and it was amusing at any rate. I enjoyed meeting the people he works with - they were really sweet. It was nice to put faces with names. I'd go least next time I'll have a better idea of what to wear! :)

This is when Matt and I joined Caitlin and Karl for "White Christmas"

This is us at the party. Being all dressed up at least deserved a picture!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


I went home this past week for more days than I think I've been home in years. It was fun and I got to go shopping with my mom for 2 days straight, and almost have all of my Christmas shopping done (and a few things for myself, oops).
our annual Christmas card picture
the whole family
(literally...this picture contains the entire guest list of Caitlin's side of the family for the wedding)

my grandparents - 50 years later

Monday, November 17, 2008

Bride to Be

My sister, Caitlin and Karl got engaged this weekend! It was so fun to be apart of it. They make an incredible couple and both are very lucky people to find each other. I am excited about having Karl as a brother!

He did a great job planning the weekend and keeping it a secret for months! Caitlin got her Aggie ring on Friday night, so I came in town with my mom and grandparents. On Saturday she thought we all left to go home and she headed to work. But what she didn't know is that we all stayed behind and Amy and Kelsey surprised her too by coming. He left a note and rose on her car window telling her he wanted to take her to dinner and he'd pick her up at 7. While we waited at his house, he picked her up and took her to the George Bush Library - where we got to watch him propose from a distance. Then he took to back to her house to at least 50 of their friends waiting for their return. Below are a few pictures from the weekend.

Caitlin getting her Aggie Ring
Karl showing us (the sisters) the ring

Saturday, October 25, 2008

OSU experience

This past weekend, Matt and I drove to and from Oklahoma to enjoy a full weekend of OSU homecoming. It was quite an experience. Everyone kept asking me what I thought of it, but I didn't know really what to say. I thought A&M was pretty intense, but I decided it's like rolling up the weeks and weeks of A&M traditions and such into one weekend at OSU. We went none stop for several days, which means this week I'm getting to play catch up on my down time. :) But it was a lot of fun and not like anything I had seen before.

Here is a picture of 1) us and some of Matt's closest friends at the famous Eskimo Joe's in Stillwater, and 2) Matt and I on OSU campus. On a different note, I thought this was funny with my students. We were doing a health lesson on growing up and how your body changes, etc, and one of the questions that I asked on their assignment was "what happens when you grow up?" These are just a few of the responses...

I will live with my wife
I will at least have a normal job
When i am an adult, life with be hard. I will stop growing. I will get heavier. My body will keep changing.
I will have wrinkles
I will go to work and ride a bike
When you are an adult, you have to take life serious
I will be different b/c i will have a car, a job, a house, a family of my own, a lake, and new friends. (I don't really know how owning a lake fits into that picture, but dream big, right?!)
Being a grown up sounds exciting, huh?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Happy Song

Today I have the day off. A holiday that I do not celebrate, so for me it's just a random Tuesday off. I feel like I haven't worked much this school year yet. It's so nice. I like not working when everyone else is. :) Not in a mean sense, but in a sense that their cars are parked and they are sitting at their office, and not on the streets and at the stores. It is much nicer getting around that way.

Anyways, I just burned this CD from my sister, Caitlin, when I was staying with her about a week ago, because I have found a new happy song. I wonder if anyone else has those. It's a song that I can literally play on repeat for about 2-3 weeks straight and not get sick of it and it makes me in a better mood every time I hear it. I love when I find those songs. Sometimes they are random ones that I find on iTunes, sometimes they are ones I find listening to the radio. Either way, when if I get in a bad mood (which don't pretend that never happens to you), I can plug it in and it all goes away. So...for those who are curious, currently my happy song is...judge me if you will...I'm Yours by Jason Mraz. Oh so good!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Power house

I get home last night from a long week away from home (thanks Caitlin) b/c of Ike, thinking that power had been restored to my area...oh contrare. My house (thankfully) and the one next door do - but every other house in the neighborhood are electricity-less. Crazy. I didn't know that was possible, but apparently we are wired with the apartments behind us, but only our two houses.

So, we are hosting some neighbors at our home. I'm ready for my bed, but what's a couple more nights?

Back to work I go tomorrow. Might be a rough week with the kiddos, I'm sure they will be wired. But I'm looking forward to a routine schedule again!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Another one for the books...

The last 5 days have been total weirdness. Thursday, I arrive at work, business as usual and as the day progressed panicked parents pulled their kids from class right and left to make a run for it before the storm. I had packed a small suitcase, thinking - I'm going overboard with bringing even a couple days clothes, but might as well. Not knowing that it'd be at least a week (and counting) before I can return to my house! The fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants part of me is not currently working out so well.

Anyways, I decided to stay at Matt's place with 6 other people, since he lives farther out west and wouldn't get hit as bad. It only took me about 1 hour 15 min to go about 10 miles down the road. I could have walked faster than that. We hung out for about 24 hours - cooking, watching movies, enjoying electricity - before we truly hunkered down in preparation. Friday night, around 4am we ended pulling the blow up mattresses into hallways and closets to avoid windows and the crazy loud 100mph wind. At Matt's house not much went wrong except the fence and a small leak in the roof. At my house, not so fortunate. Apparently, the ceiling in our laundry room caved in, a huge old tree fell over into our driveway (thankfully my new car wasn't parked in it!), and another fell next door ONTO the power line and knocked it over. What does that mean for me? - I'm a lucky one that will not have power for probably quite a while, and the worst part is all that frozen food I just stocked up on is now gone to waste. Sad day.

I wish I had my camera when we drove around checking out the damage. It really is incredible. Streetlights scattered in the streets. Huge signs blown to shreds. Roofs far from where they belong - on top of a building. Trees uprooted everywhere. Like a movie. And that wasn't near downtown, which got the brunt of it.

So, Saturday when we woke up with no power and no water and report of "complete failure" of the electric company - saying it might be a MONTH before we all get power back, we decided to high tail it to College Station and bunk with my sister. Her and her sweet roommates welcomed us in. We have slowly been trickling back to Houston (some have work, which is ridiculous!), but I now remain alone. Still no power at my home front. Workless until at least Thursday. And about 3 t-shirts to wardrobe me until I return. Had I known I was going to be getting quite a vacation I would have packed better and at least gone somewhere exotic. :)

I can now add to my list of unique life experiences...
#37 I have been through and survived a hurricane

(and if you ask me what #1-36 are I'm sure I can come up with them. But #37 just sounded like a good number)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It's official

It is final. I have made my first big purchase. I think that makes me an official adult, so I decided. I feel grown up at least, which is what matters, isn't it? My wonderful boyfriend, Matt, spent ALL day Saturday with me hunting for the best deal on a car - and surprisingly still likes me...miracle. Then, my grandfather told me he knows someone who knows someone who for some rhyme or reason wanted to give me an incredible deal on this amazing car on Monday. The Lord definitely blessed me with this one. So, I wanted to share...

Off with the old Honda, on with the new Corolla!

In the last few weeks, I have also started my 2nd year of teaching 3rd grade - which, by the way, I plan on having some great stories this year, my students are hilarious! I also traveled to Ft. Worth for a wedding of a childhood friend and then to Oklahoma for fantasy football event, which if you know me...really? Yes, it is true. Branching out.

Here are some documented pictures from the wedding:

Karl, Caitlin, me and Matt

My beautiful sister, Caitlin, and me

Matt dancing with my mom

We are the only ones on the dance floor...thanks Matt.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

So it begins, again.

Back to school has a whole new meaning when you become a teacher.

First, I'd like to say for the first time I have a job 2 consecutive years in a row, and I'm looking forward to it! If that's not God's work, I don't know what is.

I started back about a week and a half ago for countless (quite meaningless) meetings. I survived, because thankfully I work with a group of ladies that make those thrilling times more enjoyable. So, after a week of mtgs, setting up my new classroom, catching up with co-workers, and slightly preparing - we had a school-wide orientation for families to meet the teachers. I was stationed in my room while all day long parents and students came in to meet and greet. Then I remembered...I had conveniently forgotten over the summer about this tiny aspect of teaching...

...the parents...

Many quizzed me about how I was going to challenge their student and meet their expectations and what is this and what is that. Like I was at a job interview when I already have the job. I even had a couple get quite angry with me and threaten me.
So, a few reminders to myself as the year begins:

1. I can't take it personally.
2. I need to look confident and composed no matter what.
3. Be careful with my words, they can come back and haunt me later.
(Don't always say what I want, usually it's more beneficial to just nod and redirect)
4. For every hard parent there are 5 great ones, and I need to focus on the positive.
5. Though I aspire for it to be a team effort, I need to do the best with the circumstances I've been given.

I am reminded that I need to regrow that thick skin and quick on my toes attitude. Or actually, maybe I never had it, so maybe I should work on that. If only I could invent a rude comment/harsh words/attacker deflector. Maybe then I could retire early, after only my two consecutive years of work...:) Who am I kidding, I probably miss it too much.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Back and ready

I'm back. After a long month (actually, I was so busy, it seemed to go by rather quickly thankfully), I have my life back! Yay! I'm ready for routine again and a full nights rest. I'm ready to be able to chose what I eat and when I eat it. I'm ready for my classroom of 3rd graders (I realized I'm not cut out to teach high schoolers). I'm ready to spend adequate time and energy on people I care about (here's my shout out Matt:)). I'm also ready to get some down time...which I've been utilizing my last few days of freedom before school starts back up.

I journal a lot, people process things different ways and this is how I do it. Another perk of it is going back and reading my past thoughts. Sometimes it's discouraging, because it doesn't appear that much has changed. Sure, life circumstances have frequently changed - the places I've lived, the roommates I've had, the jobs that have employed me, but has my heart? my way of thinking? the unique, internal challenges that I face? They seem to reoccur over and over again. Unfortunately, those things don't happen overnight on a whim, like a move to a new city. These changes can take years - possibly one's whole life. And I'm learning that the journey of life causes it to change faster or slower - for better or for worse. Thankfully, God allows and urges my heart on in His timing and His placement. And while I can try to control the outward circumstances all I want, it is only with God the inward can change. Makes it seem a little less lonely and little more possible.

I came across this quote I copied down back in 2004 - and not surprisingly, I still really like it, so I thought I'd share for those of you who are interested.

In my moments of fear,
Through every pain, every tear,
There's a God who's been faithful to me.
When my strength was all gone,
When my heart had no song,
Still in love He's proved faithful to me.
Every word He's promised is true;
What I thought was impossible, I see my God do.

He's been faithful, faithful to me,
Looking back, His love & mercy I see.
Though in my heart I have questioned,
Even failed to believe,
Yet He's been faithful, faithful to me.

When my heart looked away,
The many times I could not pray,
Still my God, He was faithful to me.
The days I spent so selfishly,
Reaching out for what pleased me;
Even then God was faithful to me.

Every time I come back to Him,
He is waiting with open arms,
And I see once again,
He's been faithful to me.
-from Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Medical World 101

This past week I began my new job for the summer - faculty advisor for NYLF (National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine). Sounds smart, I know. What am I doing there? Well, I am working the next month in downtown Houston with high school students who come in all over the country to learn about the medical career path. It's amazing where you can end up with the right connections. Let's just say I'm the only elementary teacher in the 30 staff members. This week was training, and on Saturday I move into the Renaissance Hotel for the next several weeks. Kinda funny since my house is just about 10 minutes away.

I have come to the point this week, where I am completely aware of my incredible lack of knowledge in medicine. The patience of the medical students as they explain simple concepts to me has been very much appreciated. I have learned about triage, how to suture a wound, read someones blood pressure, discuss medical ethics, debate controversial issues, and thankfully, something I have a little knowledge on - how to deal with students. I'm really enjoying it! I mean, once the 10 straight 7am-11pm workdays begin, that might change.

Anyways, that's what I'm doing with the rest of my summer. Be back in 3 weeks (hopefully with some good stories, and possibly a new career path). :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Disney...there we went

So I just spent the last week in the land where dreams come true - so they say - with all 3 of my sisters. It was fantastic...well, most of it. It was great to spend time with them, with no other holiday/family get-together distractions and busyness. It's fun to see as we are all grown up now (tear) who we have become, what we have done, and where we are headed. Growing up, having 3 sisters was not always fun (sharing one bathroom and all), but I wouldn't trade it for anything now.

Now, I'd like to be helpful to you, so through my experience, I'd like to share a few pointers for those of you who are contemplating visiting this vast land they call Disney World.
  • My first recommendation is if at all possible, try to visit in the months OTHER than June and July. I do not believe they could possibly cram one more person in, and it is a very large place!

  • Second, having a personal tour guide who knows the ends and out, gets discounts (and rather good ones at that), and illegal "fast passes" is the best way to go. Kelsey, my sister, has spent the last 5-6 months living in this fairytale land being "friends with Mickey" (if you know what I mean...). We spent 2 days visiting the 4 parks and hit up every ride. And let me tell you, that is a miracle as I said in point one, there were waaayyy too many people there.
  • Third, I'm still contemplating if bringing small children is a smart move. They slow you down, whine, cry, can't go on all the fun rides, and did I mention throw fits out of crankiness? Yes, they bring joy - b/c they do get quite excited, but an entire trip seems like a lot. So, we came up with a great system that I might propose to Disney - "Rent-a-Kid". This way, you get the joy of a small child for a short time span and then get to give them back. Perfect.

  • Forth, much against my sisters' desires and attempts, I will NEVER have my entire family match outfits when traveling together. I have never seen so many coordinated families in my life. And I'm not just talking about matching color t-shirts - like handmade mickey head to toe outfits. Moms, dads, children, grandparents, cousins, etc. I just want to think what those dads thought when mom pulled out the outfit and declared matching wardrobe day.

  • Fifth, and most importantly, a trip to Disney World can put a dent in the old wallet. If you need help cheating the system to make it work for you...give me a shout. We got pretty good at it over the last week.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The RunDown

I haven't been blogging much lately...ok, not at all...but here's a quick rundown of some life lessons I have learned recently:

1. Teaching is the best job. Yes, it has its horrible (yet sometimes fantastic) moments throughout the year, but these summer breaks are worth every minute. :) And I have survived my first year - so I figure it can only go up from here.
2. I learned I do not like being taken care of, and can be kinda stubborn in that area. But I do have many people who care for me and for that I am grateful. But I need to learn to need people.
3. There is something about a Starbucks and a good book that will never get old to me.
4. Apparently, when I turned 25 my body broke down and it's still a medical mystery. I have spent over 9 hours in doctors offices in the last 3 days alone several weeks post my ER scare - me and a large handful of senior citizens.
5. Houston does not seem that bad when you don't always have to drive around in rush hour traffic. Yet somehow the galleria area is still busy in the middle of the day - don't people work?
6. No matter how much time you can have on your hands, life will always seem be busy. I am still learning how to make that stop, and somehow I feel I've gotten worse at this.
7. The fact that the gym has valet parking, I think is quite ridiculous. If you need help spending your money or walking those 20 extra feet on your way to work out, give me a call and I'll help you realize the irony of the matter.
8. No matter how much sunscreen I put on, I still burn and always will. Hello skin cancer.
9. Though my passenger door doesn't always open, I have a huge dent in the back, the a/c doesn't cool well, and the paint is rusting - it still gets me from one place to another and that's what counts right now. Let's hope it holds out just a little longer.
10. Lastly, I have been reminded how I am blessed with some incredible people in my life. I don't deserve them, but I'm glad they have come into my life for some rhyme or reason.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

baby steps

It's amazing when the purpose in so many of life's circumstances become clear. Rarely it's in the moment, but like the old saying goes - hindsight is always 20/20. Lately, even though life has been crazy, I think I have been blessed with the answer for many of the "whys" of the past. And maybe not the complete answer, because really, I don't deserve the complete answer, but nothing happens for absolutely no reason. Yes, some things can effect you in a negative way - for just a time or sadly for the rest of your life, it's your decision - but you also have the choice to do good with it and let God use it. I wouldn't even say I'm thinking about one specific circumstance in my life right now, but just the journey I have been on so only the 24 years I've been here. Whether it's the challenges, joys, trials, sadness, experiences, relationships, or whatever -- it shapes who you's shaped who I am...and is always used in preparation for what is to come. God's cool like that. He has a path laid out in front of me, and I can rarely even see the next step, but at least I can look back on where I've been and see how and why I have gotten exactly where I am today. And I think that is what increases our faith. Even when God or circumstances don't make sense, we can trust that eventually it will make sense.

Monday, February 25, 2008

slap = growth...sometimes

i'm incredibly tired. and clearly i'm not working. even though i'm at work. ironic. but i'm kinda unmotivated at the moment and i don't have students for another 45 minutes. so my logical conclusion? post on my blog. :)

i just got through with this crazy weekend. i could go into all of the stuff that went on - from the 5mile fun run i did, to the certification test i finally took (yes, i'm teaching and not certified...yet), to the retreat i showed up to a day late, and then coming back and hanging out with 2 of my favorite people - but I will spare you the details. The funny thing is that in the midst of all the stuff, God can and will still shake my world (or mind). Sometimes I envision it as one of those smacks in the back of the head - like "hello?! what are you doing?" that you see angry moms do to their rebellious, obnoxious kids in the grocery store and you don't know who to feel more sorry for - the mom or the kid. but then i know that God is gracious, and it's probably not a slap to Him but a "friendly reminder" (like those emails i frequently get from my principle about meetings and such). anyways, I'm glad God does that. b/c I don't want to stay in one place. i want to move. grow. change. and for me, that has most frequently happened through those breaking moments, which seem horrible at the moment - but are later proved fruitful.

which has also made me so thankful for friends. those that are safe and you don't care about how you come across. you can just be. b/c you know they will love you no matter what. there's no pride or insecurities or fear. and i think that in a lifetime - there may only be a handful of those. and different seasons bring different people. and maybe some of them only come for awhile, but how they are a gift. and for that i'm thankful. i'm glad we don't have to walk this life alone. that would be horrible and terribly boring and hard. i mean, if you don't have a friend that you can call at 3am, laugh with, cry with, vent frustrations, get advice from and just be with - life would be rough. i mean, this life is already rough enough as it is.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

new profession?

So if you know me, you know I'm always up for something new and different. If teaching doesn't work out, the options are endless. Including...

For some reason I was volunteered to demonstrate. Those oxygen tanks are heavy, geez!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

peace like a river

"then your peace would have been like a river" (Is. 48:18)

It's amazing how you can read something a million times, and then one day it just has a new meaning...and makes sense. I guess that's what's cool about the depths of the Word. I think for the past couple years, i have searched and longed for that "peace" that the Bible talks about. And recently a lightbulb has gone off that maybe, just maybe, my definitions of certain things that I long for might just be thwarted. Peace being one of them.

When i think of people that appear peaceful, I think of calm, ho-hum, happy. BUT God describes having peace like a river. A river. One of my favorite things is to be outside and to seek out bodies of water and just sit - especially waterfalls. I love them. Something about them just brings me a sense of...peace. :) Rivers have all different pieces - places of being stagnent, slightly flowing, rapidly moving, and finally reaching its destination. In Colorado, I remember doing a scouting trip to some lakes found in the tops of the mountains. After hiking this rough trail (and getting slightly turned around), we finally got there and came across this swamp land, filled with mosquitos. Sick. Thank goodness, that wasn't our final destination. We then came upon this huge, beautiful half-frozen over lake. Maybe one of the coolest places I've ever gotten to see. On our way back down we followed the river down the side of the mountain, and came across a few waterfalls. This is where we would fill up our waterbottles, because here water runs over huge boulders, rocks and gets purifed. To me, waterfalls end up being one of the most beautiful parts of creation.

Sometimes, my life seems like that nasty swamp. Where nothing seems to happening, there are pestering "mosquitos" - just blah. Other times life sometimes resembles that beautiful lake - still, easy, and wonderful. Then, more than often, it seems life resembles those waterfalls where life is throwing us around, but the outcome is purity. But through it all, there can be peace. And that is what I want.