Hanging with Hannah

19 Oct

What are you doing this weekend?

Nope, don’t care… mine’s better.  I am hanging out with my cherished “niece” Hannah Grace.  She is 16 and awesome.







Jealous?  You should be.  We’re awesome.  We might go get tattoos that are the Native American sign for being wasted.  Or we might not.  Currently Harry Potter 6 is occupying our attention.

All we need is the Kik-ster and some Hoedown Throwdown to make this party even more legit.


Catching Up…because, you know, it’s been a while.

18 Oct

I’m going to ignore the fact that you are dying to know how I managed to climb back onto the planet I fell off of 6 weeks ago.  Just so we’re on the same page.  I have my reasons. Moving on…

School- I still like my kids (for the most part).  That’s it.

Volleyball- We don’t suck!

Bible Study- I make it on the Monday nights I don’t have a volleyball game.

Friends- See them less now that school started, but still making the effort.

Mom- keeps forgetting she had hip surgery 3 months ago, so she tries to step up onto things with her right leg.  She cracks me up.

Sister- entering her 3rd trimester with baby Peanut Aloicious Hoffman. (this may not be his actual name once he is born.  I mean, don’t go getting anything monogrammed or whatever…)

But you and I both know that this is what you really care about…







Clarkie has teeth!!  And he can (sort of) stand up!  And he’s still SOOO cute!  And TODAY he is 10 months old!!

Adventures with my mom: cell phone edition

2 Sep

A few weeks ago my cousin Valerie posted on her wall a picture with the caption, “Mother-Daughter Car Purchase”.  She and her mom had bought matching (although different color) cars.  I thought to myself, That’s cute.  Mom and I will probably have to stick with matching flip flops from the Bass Outlet Store or something.

On a somewhat unrelated note, my mom has had issues with her “cell phone” for months.  I have to put quotation marks because… well, here.  See for yourself.

This is called a Doro Phone… so that’s cute since my mom’s name is Dorothy.  This is from a company called Consumer Cellular.  They cater to senior citizens and it was simply a very basic phone.  I told her when she got it that it might  not be super-reliable for very long, and she admitted that I might be correct, but she had to do it her way.  But seriously?  I was right and she told me so last night :)

Let me point a few things out.  I’ll start with the most scandalous.  Yes, there is scotch tape holding the battery in place.

There is a camera.  I think it is just for show since photos were never eligible to be used in any way, shape or form.  This meant that she couldn’t send pictures she took anywhere.

She also couldn’t receive pictures that were texted to her.  Now 9 months ago this was hardly an issue, but then Clarkie was born and out of nowhere a working camera was a ncesessity.

She also had a really hard time texting. I don’t know why.  I mean, look at that keyboard.  It is freaking STATE OF THE ART!!!!

Anyway, back in July we made plans to go get her hooked up with a new phone.  I was going to put her on my plan.  We were going to go on July 16.  Do you remember what happened July 15?  That would be the night that mom tripped while emptying trash and trashed her hip instead.  So we decided that Sept. 1 would be out new Phone Day.  Since I was eligible for an upgrade we went shopping last night.  I got a Samsung Galaxy.

So did mom. (!!!!!)

So she went from the aforepictured to this:

Now THAT’S a phone!


And yay me for getting to teach her how to use it…..

My mom is so cute!

One day short of a full week of school… yay Friday!!

31 Aug

As promised I took pictures of my room at school.

More importantly, after 2 days running a regular schedule I have decided that this group of 8th graders is about as awesome as they come.  For serious.  I don’t know that I will feel this way every single day so today I made something.  It is a sheet of paper that reads:

“These kids….”

Are totally awesome!

Follow procedures really well!

Are well-behaved and do their homework!!

Then I dated it, and any time I feel down on these kids I’m going to look at it and remind myself that they are COMPLETELY capable of doing the right thing and I just have to be firm and stick with the program.

Okay, here are the pictures of my classroom.

This is from the door to my classroom. Note the window… there’s a close up later. Note the bulletin board. 2 boys in my Advisory (homeroom) put the whole thing up!

Okay, this is standing at the front of my room. In the picture, the door is just to the right of the American flag. Check out my Homework that like, 90% of my studnets completed!! WOO-HOOOOOO!!!  Oh and my presidents board topper!

CABINETS!!!! I almost hyperventilate just thinking about them! Also underneath the Texas flag is my technology cart thing. It stores TONS of devices which I am apparently getting tomorrow or something…

Ohmygosh. My favorite thing EVER! The amazing blue/green/teal wall. It is just so pretty! Also, eventually there are going to be small white boards on either side of my Activboard which is why there is nothing in that empty space. Oh and the perspective is from the back of the room next to the bookcase.

My command center. It’s hard to say what my favorite part is…. no it isn’t. It’s the multi-colored drawers next to the mini-fridge. I love them!

From my desk, looking out the door.

My window. The flag…. thing… whatever was given to me by another teacher!! This window also now sports blinds. It didn’t yesterday :)

I (try to) run a tight ship. These are my class procedures.

Have I mentioned how glad I am that tomorrow is Friday???  AND… bonus!!  Monday is a holiday!!!

The last, last, last day of summer vacay :(

26 Aug

School starts tomorrow.  I love my room at school.  It isn’t quite done.  It was just constructed this summer and the workers have a couple more things to do.  But hopefully by Tuesday I will post pics!!

In other news, this kid…



turned the big 0-4 yesterday and his impossibly awesome aunt got his this stylish fireman’s outfit.  Clearly she is awesome…. As those of you who frequent this blog know, Abraham LOVES dressing up.  I love this kid!!!

In other news, kind of related, but only because it involves my sister’s kids.  This adorable young man


is also going to be a big brother!!  Yep, Teresa is expecting the little peanut in January.

Annnnd that’s all I got for now!

75 days of profound thankfulness

16 Aug

On June 2 I woke up to my first official day of summer vacation.  Of course most of it was spent packing for the Washington DC trip starting the next day, but I remember waking up that Saturday morning and thinking, “This is it.  My summer WILL rock.”  And then it did.

Now let me begin my telling you what my summer has been like for the past several years.  June is always busy.  Always.  But then July hits and I begin my marathon “will she or won’t she leave the house today and take a break from the Bones or One Tree Hill episodes on Netflix” coupled with, “hey, I have plans one whole day this week!  SCORE!!!” and of course, “why aren’t any of my friends calling me?  I’d do something it someone asked me, but no one loves me enough to call me”.  Ugh.

I’m not going to give too much of this away because you can read about it on my friend Lindsey’s blog next week (or whenever), but I realized that my friend skillz were seriously lacking and I needed to quit being a gloomy gus and make things happen for myself!


I’ve spoken about the goals that I had for myself; and the fact that I finished the book was monumental.  But what I really want to tell you about, what excites me to the point that I don’t think I can truly explain it with words is the way that many of my friendships developed.  I’m going to tell you about three of them.  Now, it took a village to give me the summer that I had and I don’t want anyone to feel left out.  At the same time I can’t tell ALLLL the stories.  They are too many to name.  Actually , you know what?  I can’t narrow it to 3.  I just can’t.  So I’m going to do this instead:

Jessica- I am so thankful that after 3 years at Northbrook, 1 early morning parking lot dance session (caught on camera), 1 raucous season of volleyball, 147 various types of markers, a shared obsession with Tim Tebow, lots of Starbucks and knowing that I can always show up in jeans, a t-shirt and sneaks we are still growing in our friendship and I am SO glad that we became friends.  You have helped make my summer amazing!!

Kyle- I don’t know what we are going to do without Van this year, but at least with Susie in the mix we are “the blondes of Area 5″!!  Thank you for organizing all our Monday meals.  I had so much fun meeting and discussing our various adventures.  I am so thankful for your friendship.  You have helped make my summer amazing!

Tamara- You started the whole thing.  You told that I needed to change the way I though and YOU WERE RIGHT!!  Thanks for inviting me to home school family events, for opening your home when I wanted to kick off my summer right by dropping in unexpectedly, for letting me come to the Lake House, for all the swimming fun that we’ve had.  You are the kick in the pants that I need and I adore you!  You have helped make my summer amazing!

Lindsey C.- I had so much fun teaching Madeline about Texas, hanging out with Collin at Tamara’s (before broken arm-gate), learning that I will get much further with Jude by giving him a high-5 than tickling his little tummy and getting smiles from Spencer.  More than that though, I love how we have bonded over writing, insanely cute dresses, making groups of 4 when Katy very specifically said 2’s or 3’s, and allowing God to transform the way we view others.  I am so thankful that we are getting to know each other better.  You have helped make my summer amazing!

Julie- I can’t imagine how messed up I would be without you to even me out!!  I am so honored to be Marisa’s Aunt KK!!  Thanks for all the lunches, dinners, breakfasts, trips to the mall, rides to and from the airport and being the best pre-editor a girl could ever ask for.  You have helped make my summer amazing!!!

These don’t even include how much, despite the whole broken hip unpleasantness, I enjoyed hanging out with my mom.  She is doing so much better, by the way.  She goes to physical therapy twice a week and she is currently living with her 88 year old Aunt.  They have walker races and stuff.  Because of her hospitalization, both at Methodist and then at Rehab and then because of the fact that she can’t drive (because she broke her right hip) we have spent A LOT of time together and despite what she thinks, it was NOT a bother at all!!  Mom, you helped make my summer amazing.  Also, my sister and her so-cute-it-should-be-illegal children… they definitely helped make my summer amazing.

So you see, blessed doesn’t even begin to cover it.  Naming those 5 (well, 7 counting those related to me….) doesn’t even skim the surface.  There are so many things I want to say, but I just can’t even find the words.  Every one of those 75 days I was thankful for my friends and family.  I thank God for all of you; for the support you have been, for the encouragement, for the prayers, for the words of tough love, for the hugs, for the investment.

YOU have made my summer amazing!!

My Favorite Olympic stories (part 1)

8 Aug

You just really can’t even begin to understand how much fun I have had watching Olympics for the past 10 (or whatever) days.  I will watch just about anything which was evidenced the day I sat there and watched pretty much the entire cycling road race, a 150ish mile ride through London and the surrounding countryside.  The thing takes an average of 4 hours.  And I basically watched the whole thing.  Yeah….  But there has been quite a bit that I have LOOOOOVED.  Some of this may be old info, some may be brand new information.  Some you may be completely sick of hearing about.  Oh well :)


1.Kieran Behan- You probably have never heard of this guy.  He is an Irish gymnast and he did not make too much of a splash at the Olympics.  He stepped out of bounds on his floor exercise and he fell on one of his skills on the floor also. But he was all smiles the entire time; one of the commentators remarked that Kieran knew he wasn’t going to do too much at the Olympics, but just being there was his dream; just tumbling on the Olympic floor was the reward of working hard for so long.  He had such an amazing attitude that I had to google him.  Here are some other facts: he is only the second male gymnast ever to to qualify for the Olympics.  But there’s more…. when he was 10, Kieran had a tumor in his leg removed.  He was temporarily confined to a wheelchair, but 15 months later, defied all odds and returned to the gym.  Less than a year later he fell from the high bar and sustained brain damage.  Once again he was confined to a wheelchair and had to relearn things as simple as raising his head.  Once again, he fought through it and 3 years later returned to gymnastics.  In 2010 he ruptured his ACL in both knees, but one knee at a time.  Finally, in 2011 he triumphantly made his mark at the World Championships and in 2012 made the Irish gymnastics team.  I can’t even tell you how impressive this kid is to me.  I wish I had known all of that when they showed his brief time on the floor in the qualifying round.  I can’t even read back over what I wrote without tearing up.  This is what the Olympics are about!!

2. John Orozco- Keeping with the theme of men’s gymnastics, John Orozco was the top qualifier at the Olympic Trials back in June.  His story has been all over the place at least during gymnastics events.  He is from Brooklyn where he lives with his adoptive parents.  Being a young, black man in Brooklyn who does gymnastics was not always easy for John.  He got made fun of quite a bit.  But he persevered.  When his family was  having a hard time making ends meet he immediately asked if he could work at his gym and he gave all of his money to his parents to help pay the mortgage.  And when Team USA fell apart at the team finals last week, John was very quick to insist that HE let his team down.  It broke my heart to see this kid who has taken on so much more than any kid should have to allow the nerves and the pressure to get to him.  I was so sad for all five of the team members.  Mostly though, I was sad for Jonathan Horton.  Jonathan is a Houstonian and an outspoken believer.  His testimony and leadership to his team have been invaluable.  I am so thankful that he had a second shot at the Olympics.

3. Caitlin Leverenz- In the midst of all the hoopla over Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin, Caitlin is a swimmer that may have gotten lost in the shuffle.  Caitlin swam the 200m Individual Medley and she earned a bronze medal.  Obviously others have done more and done better, but what made Caitlin stand out to me was her reaction to her 3rd place finish.  She cried for joy. Like, almost sobbing in the pool with excitement.  After watching swimmers earn silver or bronze and act disgusted with their not gold freaking Olympic medal it was refreshing to see a girl be that excited.  When she was interviewed by the ever-present Andrea Kremer, she still couldn’t control herself.  She said something like (because this was several days ago…) “I get to stand on the medal podium!  I get to see my flag raised for me!  Even though it isn’t my national anthem, I get to see my flag!”  THAT is what I want to see from our athletes!  Now that isn’t everyone’s style, but Caitlin Leverenz made quite an impression on me.


I have so many more stories to share, but I don’t want these posts to be ridiculously long.  So, I’ll see you again tomorrow!!



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