Archive | June, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday…. Yes, I know what day it ACTUALLY is. Whatevs :)

27 Jun

I just didn’t have anything last evening and I never want to write just for the sake of keeping a schedule. So, today I have been thinking a lot about school and the way things just didn’t work out for me to move up to high school.  So, I am staying put for another year.  I know a lot of my co-workers are glad for this… 🙂

Anyway, I decided that I’m done wallowing in the whole “no one will hire me” quagmire and I choose to progressively think about things to be thankful for.  So, thus the post entitled:

Top 10 Reasons I am thankful to be at Northbrook Middle School

10. I have an incredibly easy drive to and from school.  I very rarely get caught in traffic and I have great morning radio shows to listen to.

9. Compared to other middle school buildings (some anyway) ours is very nice.  And, it will be even better once the renovations are complete (which, PLEASE LORD, let that complete date be BEFORE we have to go back to school so that we don’t have to start in the vacant lot in the middle of August!!!)

8. Mrs. Minga and her talented moms make breakfast tacos for us every Tuesday morning!!  YUM!!

7. Monday jeans passes.  I LOVE wearing jeans on Mondays!!

6. Our kids tend to be really well-behaved on field trips.

5. They are FINALLY putting in a Starbucks VERRRRRRRY close by (like, less than a mile from the school)!!  Yay for possible mid-day runs when you are just having “that kind of a day”!!

4. My principal is really good about letting me take time off for major events like a death in the family or a nephew being born, which will really come in handy next January…. 🙂

3. Coaching.  I have always loved sports, but I didn’t play volleyball or basketball when I was in school, so I didn’t think that they would want me to coach.  I was wrong.  YAY!!  I LOOOOOVE coaching and I love the people I get to coach with!

2. I teach exactly what I want to teach right now.  I teach 8th grade US History.  It is precisely the grade and topic that I want to be teaching.*

1. I have AMAZING co-workers!!!  Seriously.  I can’t even tell you how I would have gotten through my dad’s hospitalization and subsequent death without my peeps from NMS.  In various ways they supported me; letters, cards, gift cards, notes from the kids, checking in on me constantly on fb, coming to the viewing and/or the funeral, bringing food to my mom’s house.  They were amazing.  I really do think that when I do move on, I won’t ever find people like this.  We are family and we are tight.  I am so thankful for them!


In the words of The Rolling Stones, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just might find you get what you need”.


*Okay, technically what I want to be teaching is 11th grade US History, but for middle school, this is exactly what I want.


Monday Blues? Not here!!!

25 Jun

What a fun day!!  Today was our first day of VBS at BridgePoint Bible Church.  Our theme this year is “Daniel’s Adventures in Babylon”.  I am in charge of the Bible lesson, which is really a skit performed by “Daniel”and his chief advisor “Ashpinaz”.  They are fabulous and have the ability to ‘make it work’ when the situation calls for it.  My very good friend Tamara is the director of all of VBS and so I have had the privilege of seeing this whole thing come together from the very beginning of the planning process to the first day of execution.  She has worked SO hard and there are so many moving pieces that she has had to place.  Obviously she isn’t the only one working hard.  Katy rocks the world of registration, Sue is the Pre-school princess, Kalsey is the most loving but firm disciplinarian (for those out of control moments) around.  There are so many others.  SO many.  I am very fortunate to have friends like these.  Honestly, whenever I feel extra-loved by my friends I think of my sister.  She has friends in Ohio, but I don’t think she has a Tamara or a Katy or an Allyson or a Brandy.  I could go on on.  I am so blessed to be able to go on and on.  

So this afternoon I called my sweet sister.  And we talked for a little, but then she had the BRILLIANT idea to Skype!!  So they ate dinner (with Clark in his Bumbo in the middle of the table…) while we talked.  I took about 23 screen shots.  This was the last one and it is my favorite.  I think it just sums up this family and why I love these kids SOOOOOOOO much!!


Here are some of the others…..


I didn’t even have to tell her to do this. She just did it…. I love that about her. Then we talked about how that is actually bad manners…. because I don’t want her to be uncivilized!



Kaylee dancing on her chair. Clark putting his appendages in people’s food 🙂



Abraham’s big smile. I will never get tired of the way he loves to talk to me!!



Sweet 6 month old!!! Look at all that hair!

So really, could my Monday have been any better?  I think, NO 🙂

Things I love today

23 Jun

1. Neighborhood swimming pools with plenty of shade, but also plenty of sun, diving boards, community noodles and a super-fun family who is willing to share it all with me 🙂

2. Starbucks.  Of course, I love that almost every day.  That’s a given.  Today however, I loved it because of good friends who call you to hang out.

3. Chik-fil-a.  Yum.

4. Olympic trials.  I am seriously addicted.  Tonight is track and field and later the men’s 3m synchro diving finals.  

5. This video which was brought to my attention by my friend Kara (  

I hope that worked…. I still haven’t figured out how to do much more than insert photos and write actual words…. Have a grrrrrrreat weekend!!

Three Things Thursday

22 Jun

These are three things to do on a rainy summer day when you also don’t really want to spend money so you just stay at home even if it means you don’t get your requisite human interaction for the day.  This may or may not have been a real life scenario yesterday…

1. Discover that your Amazon Prime membership allows you to watch Ally McBeal reruns that you haven’t seen in a hundred years.  Proceed to watch 2.5 episodes.  This also allows you to take a break from watching Dawson’s Creek reruns on Netflix. Wonder how we did not know how stupid our clothing, specifically our shoes looked back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.  Seriously, what were we thinking?  Hmmmm.  That may be a good post….

2. Get sucked into the vortex that is the Olympic trials.  Proceed to watch 3 hours of men’s platform diving.  DIscover that although David Boudia and Mark McCrary will probably represent the US in the men’s 10 meter, you find yourself rooting for Thomas Finchum.  This may lead to questions such as, “Do they ever hit their heads on the platform when they don’t jump out far enough?” and “Do they ever land in such a funny way that their speedos fall off?”.

3. Realize as you are reading her memoirs that if you are Mindy Kaling were introduced, you would probably be very good friends.  Wrack you brain trying to come up with a legitimate way to meet Mindy Kaling.  Price flights and hotels online “on a whim” to Los Angeles.  Realize that’s ridiculous and price bus routes to Chicago instead.  Because that’s more realistic.  


Wednesday was pretty enlightening.  I was SUPER happy to have plans today 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday

20 Jun

I’ve been thinking about this post all day today.  This is a topic I have been meaning to hit on for a while.  So here we go.  Summer can be the very best time to catch up on reading.  I LOVE young adult fiction.  Seriously.  LOVE IT!!  So here are 10 of my very favorite young adult books.

10. ANYTHING by Andrew Clements.  He is legitimately one of the very best kids’ authors ever.  I absolutely love his stuff!

imgres.jpgimgres.jpg imgres.jpgimgres.jpg

These are some of my favorite Clements books.  The Last Holiday Concert was the basis of out fifth grade play back in 2006.  We called it “The Last Elementary Concert”.  It was pretty awesome!

9. Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly.  This is the story of a 17 year old girl in Brooklyn who goes to Paris for Christmas and through various events becomes very familiar with the story of a young girl during the French Revolution.  I basically devoured this book.


8. 10 things We Did (And Probably Shouldn’t Have) by Sarah Mlynowski.  This is a cautionary tale of what happens when you let a 16 year old girl live with her 17 year old best friend (whose mom tours with a theater production and thus is never home).  A highlight includes buying a hot tub to keep in the backyard.  


7. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson.  A girl receives a mysterious package from her aunt who died about 6 month earlier.  She embarks on an elaborately planned trip full of adventure and self discovery.  The sequel is called The Last Little Blue Envelope and there is a similarly written book called Girl at Sea.

imgres.jpg  imgres.jpg  imgres.jpg

6. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares. Eventually this series grew to be 5 books long.  The first, however is my favorite and the only one that I have read over and over again.  


5. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.  Do I even have to explain this one?  


4. 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher.  A girl commits suicide and leaves behind cassette tapes that explain she did this.  A very powerful story of how “innocent” teasing and a lack of someone to talk to often lead to deadly consequences.  


3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  This has been a favorite of mine ever since I first read it in 9th grade.  Atticus Finch and Boo Radley were characters that I had nothing in common with, but totally understood.  An American classic if there ever was one.


2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  I know this is all the rage right now, but I was firmly on board about 2 years ago when almost no one had heard of these books.  My dad even liked them.  He read the first one and when I asked him what he thought his response was “Do you have the next one?”  So creatively written…


1. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton.  I will forever be in the debt of Mr Funck, my 7th grade English teacher.  He introduced me to this book and was the first person to teach me how to read books objectively and in comparison to other books.  He also brought out the writer in me.  This is absolutely one of the very best books I have ever read in my life.  


Please note that these books are 10 OF my favorites.  I could have gone on and on and on about all the books I love.  Let me know if you want more recommendations!!

Ties and Baseball

17 Jun

I miss buying ties.  I really do.  I used to LOVE finding ties that my dad would like.  Usually I did pretty well.  He wore ties a lot.  Almost every weekday and Sunday he would put on a tie, so having many (like probably close to 40 when he died) wasn’t a ridiculous notion.  

I had a gift bag that I basically reused every year.  It, coincidentally, had a ribbon-woven tie on the front of it.  Every June (and again in July for his birthday) I would take out the bag and put whatever gift I had bought into the bag and present it to him, usually, at Texas Land and Cattle where he, my mom and I would be having lunch.  However, there was one year that was notably different….

First, some background: In October of 2004 I was invited to an Astros game.  I wasn’t particularly into baseball, but the guy had good seats, the people going were people that I wanted to get to know better and it wasn’t as though I hated baseball… I never saw the bandwagon coming, but it scooped me up and I have been firmly rooted to my spot on said bandwagon ever since.  The more I got into it, the more my dad got into it also.  In 2006 I bought our first pair of Opening Day tickets and thus a tradition was born.  We went every year after that.  2010 was our last one.  My dad was so committed to our tradition that he purposely scheduled his Pacemaker maintenance surgery the day AFTER Opening Day so that it wouldn’t interfere.  


This was taken in 2008 in my very most favorite seats in the whole ballpark!! Crawford Boxes in the 104 section. YAY!!

In 2007 I decided to change things up a little for Father’s Day.  Like this year, FD was on June 17.  Problem: the Astros were away that day.  Hmmmmm.  We couldn’t go on the 10th because that was the Inaugural Sunday at our new church building and Teresa and I were singing.  So, June 3 became the answer.  I bought tickets for my dad and my mom as well as myself.  Field Box tickets.  Up until that point these were the best seats I had even been in.  

Seeing how much my dad loved going to games; the batting practice, the National Anthem, the line up- it always made me wish that we had started the tradition sooner.  Regardless, I am so glad for the opportunities he and I had to share our love of baseball like that.  I have a panoramic shot of Minute Maid Park at the start of the very first World Series game ever played in Texas back in 2005.  Of course we lost, but that is so not the point.  In the bottom corners I have 2 ticket stubs.


The “Father’s Day” game, 2007


Our very last Opening Day, 2010

My tendancy to keep anything with sentimental value paid off big with those two 🙂


Three Things Thursday!!

15 Jun

This week I have been teaching Texas Camp.  

“What on earth is that?”  You just asked your computer.

Texas Camp is my invention. Basically, about a year ago some mom friends of mine who homeschool asked me to consider teaching a Texas History “class” for their kids.  I, loving adventure of all kinds, gave them an enthusiastic “YES!!”  So this week I have had the privilege of teaching and mentoring 12 kids ages 6-(almost)13.  Here are three weeks I have learned this week.

1. I am definitely teaching the right age group on a regular basis!!  Middle School (and older) kids I can teach with my eyes shut.  Younger kids?  Yeah, not my forte.  But I LOOOOOVE them and I love getting to know them.  I just have no desire to ever teach kids that age daily or weekly 🙂

2. Texas History, for me, was 5 years of getting paid to talk about how awesome Texas is.  This camp is like taking  my very most favorite things and getting to teach them for 3 hours a day for 5 days.  And then I get to go swimming.   YAY!!

3. I have known for months (MONTHS!!) that I needed an assistant of some sort, but nothing felt right.  At Baccalaureate on the Sunday night before Memorial Day, while watching her speak I decided that if Morgan Conder wasn’t busy the week of June 11-15, she would be PERFECT!!  Lucky me, she was 7 different ways of gung-ho and thus, I got the BEST assistant I could ever have asked for.  Double YAY!!!

This week has been great.  I am so glad I did this.  However, after being in Washington, DC last week and doing Texas Camp this week, I am ready for next week when my responsibilities equal a big, fat nothing!!  Call me for a movie or for coffee or for lunch if you are of the inclination!