Saturday, August 27, 2011

School Time is Here Again

I have to admit something: I really did not like my job last year. case you didn't figure that out yet.  I used my blog as a distraction during lunch periodically, hence why ZERO posts during the summer.  A lot has changed including a move up to Fresno and starting a new job, but to sum it all up, I'm A LOT happier.  Graham and I moved into our new place in Fresno about a month ago and it's been a great change!  We've gotten plugged into a church small group with our good friends Becca and Phil and are church shopping at the moment.  We've gotten to see several college friends, and with Graham driving 95% less we've gotten to spend a lot more time together, too. 

New job has been really great, too.  I know it's still very early but the differences between this job and the last have really changed my outlook on teaching.  It's still not what I want to do for the rest of my 35 working years, be in the classroom, but I am excited about this year!  I'm coaching freshman cheer and teaching freshman and sophomore English.  My classroom is ADORABLE!

My red and green apple theme borders on a little too girly for the fellas, but suck it up, guys!  My room is awesome.  Hopefully I will be able to update more often, but one last awesome thing about this year: no name confusion!  Every student calls me exactly what I'd prefer.  :)  It's nice.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

School's out for summer!

I SURVIVED!!!!!!!!

They say that's the tell-tale sign that you'll be an okay teacher, that you survived your first year.  Due to my class assignment, I was definitely in survival mode for most of the year, and there was many an evening where I pouted lethargically instead of continuing to build my nest with my new hubby.  No more dwelling on that though; the year is done!  I have quite a lengthy recount of my job situation went down, so sit tight!

As mentioned in other entries, I got my pink slip in March because I had signed a temporary one-year contract in June of last year and was not guaranteed another year at Mission Oak in Tulare.  Because of this, I hopped on the job-search train and began Mission: Feed my Family by finding a job.  I applied to several places and interviewed at two.  I was offered a job at a middle school in Lemoore (a smaller town about 30 minutes west of Tulare and 30 minutes south of Fresno.  Living either place wouldn't really be convenient and we wouldn't want to live in Lemoore.)  I approached my current principal with this offer and he told me that he intends to have me back, but he can't say anything official until the district says he can.  I really didn't want to take the middle school job, so I told them "no" based on the 80% chance Mission Oak gave me.

I started to settle into the likelihood that I would be returning and began to plan for next year including taking over the yearbook.  I LOVED creating the yearbook my senior year of high school (I did about 75% of the book that year), and I knew early on that that would be a rewarding part of teaching.  It's  a class that students sign up for because they want to, which completely alters the mood of the class.  I didn't have to beg: Doug, the current teacher, was so giddy that I was interested that he practically gift-wrapped the sucker for me.  He couldn't wait to get out of the yearbook seat!  I was thrilled!  This was going to be great.  In the mean time, I kept applying for other jobs as the gig in Mission Oak was not official yet.  It took a while, but all the returning teachers received their contract, while I sat idly by, waiting for any time of surety.  Then Sanger High School called.

Sanger High is a nationally acclaimed school that I had first really heard about when a couple of friends from Fresno Pacific got hired there over the past few years.  It's a small town just south east of Fresno that attracts a lot of FPU grads to apply as it is just 15 miles from the campus.  Then, during my summer of professional development last year, our instructors mentioned Sanger High and its reputation for turning things around and making a successful campus.  They were named one of America's Best High Schools by U.S. News and World Report in 2008 AND 2009.  There has also been a lot of published studies on what that school is doing to achieve in the world of standardized testing and the exit exam.  It's the same demographic and socio-economic status as Mission Oak, so it's not the students; it must be the administration, both on campus and at the district office.  Needless to say, a job here is certainly appealing.  Graham works in Fresno now, too, so being able to move just down the road from his work AND being near all of our good college friends seemed like an awesome idea to me. 

I went back and forth about what to do, though, because we probably want to have our kids here in Tulare and my department here is so amazing AND they pay about $3k more a year.  Tulare still wasn't a done deal, so I needed to watch out for myself.  I blazed through the first interview with Sanger, thanks to my lucky interview shoes, and was called as a top-two applicant for a final interview with the principal.  That interview was so casual and comfortable, and I could already tell this man knew what he was talking about.  Plus, the two AP's were so supportive and welcoming.  As I walked to my car, one of the AP's called me back, saying they were going to briefly speak with the other applicant, and then the principal would like to talk to me once again.  I hung out in a waiting area near the office until they called me in an offered me the job.  I was ecstatic!  He even said that after this year, the yearbook teacher was ready to step down from that position, and he was eager to put me in that spot because of my interest and experience in the field.  I told them I needed one day to talk with my husband and figure everything out.  We left in good spirits about the next year.

The next day, after alerting my current principal of the situation, he asked for 24 hours to get an official word from the superintendent about the funding for my position.  I asked Sanger for one more day, but he said he needed to know by 5:00.  Oh, and this was at 3:30.  I prayed and called my mom, dad, mother in law, and Graham, and we all finally decided that Sanger is the better call.  I called the principal there and accepted the job. He said "You just made the best decision of your life!" and I thought "Thank you, Lord, for that big blinking sign I was praying for!"  He said he'd talked to my principal and was even more excited to have me on now that he knew that my principal and superintendent were fighting for me.  Tulare's principal came to my room not 15 minutes later and said they plan to keep me on.  No contract until the budget is approved on June 15th, though.  I'd already taken the job so I stuck with it, and that is that.

So to close this unnecessarily long story, I am now a Sanger High Apache and start my duties as Freshman Cheer Advisor on the 20th.  Yep, that's part of the gig, too, but the Varsity/JV advisor is really nice and is SO excited to have an extra pair of hands ( that can clap in rhythm) helping out with the girls.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Just planning ahead

I am years away from decorating the nursery, but I need to post this on here so I don't forget.  I'll probably do his/her names in there too but this is just too cute.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The OTHER downside to eating bad food

Food is pretty much my favorite thing.  I'm not the best cook or baker, but I try.  I LOVE when fabulous restaurant folk make me a wonderful meal that I didn't have to shop for or clean up after.  It's pretty much my favorite thing, eating at a restaurant.  My husband is very similar to me in this way, except his preferred restaurants usually come equipped with a drive-thru.  Monday night, to put off grocery shopping yet again, he took me to Panda Express, one of my favorite quick places to eat that he is still learning to like.  Pretty sure my just chow mein did me in as his just rice plate left him satisfied and intact.  I, on the other hand, sat on the couch all day yesterday... well when I wasn't sitting on the toilet (TMI, sorry)... due to my Chinese adventures.  I'm still recuperating but I am back at school.  Nervous, but I should be okay.

On the brighter side, I was able to get a lot of reading down yesterday.  I probably should have been sleeping, or chugging water, or maybe even BTSA, but I read Tina Fey's book.  I've got about 30 pages left.  It's not as funny as I expected it to be, but I did learn lots of interesting things about SNL and 30 Rock.  (Example: Community's Donald Glover was hired right out of college as one of 8 extremely experienced writers for 30 Rock.  Makes me like him even more!)  I MAY suggest it for my mom but probably not.  Her writing style is confusing for a memoir, not chronological enough.  I get mixed up sometimes if she's married or in college or 10 years old. 

Regardless, I'm getting back into my reading.  Something Borrowed will be here tomorrow!  I am not letting myself read it until I've finished my BTSA binder though.  Long nights ahead of me for sure.

Monday, May 9, 2011

... so, .... hi ...

It's been a while.  I really meant to stop by more, visit some.  A lot has happened, and I'm really sorry I've been neglecting you.  I have very few excuses beyond regular day-to-day busyness.  It's lame, I know, but I really am sorry.

Update on the job front:
Last week I was offered a job at a middle school in a small town about 35 minutes west of here.  It's not a dream job to say the least and it would be about a $7,000 pay cut, which is NOT something we would welcome any time soon.  It was, however, a job, so it must be considered.  The more I thought about it the more I really wanted to turn it down even though I did (and still don't) know for sure if I get to come back here next year.  I was supported by the ones that matter when it came to the decision, so I turned it down.  I was then told by my current administration that the odds of coming back are VERY likely and I should know for sure by the end of this week, next week at the very latest.  In the meantime, I've still been looking, still letting the dream of an English job in SLO roll around in my head.  If this doesn't work out, I will be actively pursuing jobs outside of education in the Fresno area.  The hubby works up there and many of our college friends are still up there.  It would be nice.

Update on the reading front:
I've been doing much better!  I finished Water for Elephants as previously posted and took another little break.  I have started reading the novels that my classes are reading in their reading groups this grading period.  Just this weekend I finished two, and I have I think six to go.  I'm hoping to get them done in two weeks, but the higher level reading might take a little longer.  I've just been reading the fifth grade level books so far.  I will post a list when I'm all done and see if they average a book a week so I can get back on schedule.  They should.  Hey my rules just say a minimum of 100 pages, nothing about reading level.   I did start Tina Fey's new memoir last night, so I'll be working on that intermittently.

Update on the weight loss front:
Yeah, not as successful there.   I did join the gym with the Mom-in-Law, and when I'm there it's good!  It's just the getting there that's the problem.  I'm going to make a major push though.  Trying to go at least four times a week, and we might start zumba soon or something like it.  I do plan on FORCING myself to go during the summer, make it part of my routine.  We'll see how that goes.  So far no weight loss, but hey! at least we're moving in the right direction.

Just four more weeks of school left!  I am SO good to go.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Winsome, Losesome

Almost two weeks ago now, I wrote out my agenda for Spring Break.  Here is the follow-up to show how NOT productive I was.... or was I?

Agenda for Spring Break, which begins this Friday afternoon:
  1. Finish happiness challenge, or at least really keep up with it  (Failed miserable.  Accomplished nothing with this.  I suck at blogging.  I'm sorry.)
  2. Write and send out ALL thank you notes from the wedding (I'm such a bad bride.)  (One third check - I did all the envelopes, labels, and stamps, and wrote about 10 cards.  I still have quite a ways to go.)
  3. Spend many hours with Rebecca, Phillip, and baby Carter in Fresno (Check!  Well, it was about 7, but it was glorious.  I missed my friends so much!)
  4. Miss Erica, Mat, and baby John LIKE CRAZY!!!   (Major check!  I missed them LIKE CRAZY CRAZY!!!!!!)
  5. Go visit with the parentals some time that week (Check!  I went down to my grandpa's house actually on Saturday so I got to see my family, hang out with Grandpa Jack AND eat dad's killer burgers!)
  6. Eat lunch with the wonderful Mother-in-Law  (Check!  Well, no lunch was involved, but it was even better.  She took me dress shopping!  I got two adorable Easter/Multiple Weddings dresses and my shoes for Erica's wedding.  Hooray!)
  7. Mop the floor and actually put ALL the laundry away (if it'll fit)  (Sorta check.  I didn't mop any floors, but with Graham's help I did get all the laundry put away yesterday!)
  8. Kiss my husband  (Duh!  Like a ton!)
  9. Bake something new (maybe a couple things)  (Check and check!  I made honey bread early in the week and made two lemon meringue pies on Friday morning.  Something I learned this week: Lemon meringue pie should not be stored in the fridge for too long.  They were pretty, but by Easter the crust was complete mush.)
  10. Read at least one book  (Check!  As seen below I read Water for Elephants which was amazing.  I'm going to start Tuesdays with Morrie tonight or tomorrow.  Trying to get back on the wagon.)
  11. Watch the Pride & Prejudice mini-series and not drool too much over vintage Colin Firth  (Fail.  I did finish Samantha Who?, Doctor Who, and Greek though.)
  12. Sleep in!!!  (Check!  I did a bit.  I was finally sleeping until about 10 on Friday.  It was 8 am rises the rest of the week, but it's the not having to set the alarm that is most satisfying.)
  13. And I guess I should probably plan for the final 6 weeks of the year... maybe.  :)  (Yeah, maybe.  I planned out my lessons for the first day back and thought a TINY bit about what to teach for the rest of the year.)
Alright, in addition to this, I also applied to a library job in Sacramento, got my named officially changed at the DMV, did an unhealthy amount of Modcloth shopping, got about 4.5 bottles deep into my 6 bottles of Wine Club wine, and gained two pounds.  I'm sitting here eating my Special K right now and I'm certain that within a week, I may turn this into a dieting blog as well.

Have an awesome Tuesday!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The show must go on.

I finished Water for Elephants yesterday morning.  So good!  Please PLEASE check this book out for something quick but so heartfelt and descriptive.  Sara Gruen went to great lengths in research to create this glimpse into Depression-era circus life, and she is phenomenal.  With the movie coming out this week, definitely try to read the book first.  You know they'll destroy it on screen, plus I'm not overly thrilled with the casting choices.  I have a couple discount Fandango passes that we've been saving for the event, so after the hubby and I go see it next week, I'll let you know.  In the mean time, you can check out my official review up on the book-a-week in review page.

Spring break is officially underway and I'm ready for a change of pace already.  It's mostly because instead of sitting at home in the evening stressing about how much I hate my job, it's not stress all day long about how much I need to keep my job.  It's a scary couple of months ahead of me now, but hopefully we will come out at the end with good news.  Prayers would be most appreciated. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Welcome to the Club

Ahhhhhhh teaching.  Man.  I'm am practically INSIDE the fence on whether or not I like this business.  As of now I have the fullest intention to pursue my Master's in Library Science after Graham is done with school (hopefully two years).  Lots of library jobs are available right now and they massively range in salary.  Fun fact, though: If I eventually get a job as a director a city library, I make over $100k, which is way more than I would make after 25 years of teaching AND I'd get to smell books all day.  Could be pretty awesome.  I"m applying to be a volunteer at the Tulare Public Library this year.  It would be really productive to rack up some hours during the summer.

Graham also was AMAZING and offered to sign me up for the Food and Wine Magazine Wine Club.  A fancy package of wine (plus a free $100 restaurant gift card) will arrive at my door Monday afternoon.  Man, I wish it was today!  I could use an evening of unwinding.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I'm still happy, I swear!

I get hung up on those happiness challenges that require updated pictures.  When I get home from work, I hit the couch, grab the computer, start the Netflix on the TV, and stay... for four hours.  I don't want to get up and go plug in my camera.  :)  Anyway, this is just a post to say, I am certainly still happy and certainly still challenged every day, but the happiness challenge will continue soon enough.  It IS nice to hear from my hubby and parents and friends that they miss my blog. 

I haven't been reading.  This sucks.  I was finally going to complete a year of a New Year's resolution.  Lame.  I'm starting Water for Elephants this week because Graham and I want to go see the movie soon.  It's in present tense, which always bugs me, but I'll manage.  Anyway, should have an update later.  Maybe I'll read SO much during the summer that I'll be able to average out again.

Work has really been stressful the past couple of weeks, but Counseling has finally worked some magic and will remove one of my most problematic students after Spring Break.  That lowest level class certainly has more challenges without her, but I'm hopeful that things will improve enough to survive the rest of the year.  If anything, I've got a couple students who learned something.  Keep praying for me, though.  It's no picnic.

Agenda for Spring Break, which begins this Friday afternoon:
  1. Finish happiness challenge, or at least really keep up with it
  2. Write and send out ALL thank you notes from the wedding (I'm such a bad bride.)
  3. Spend many hours with Rebecca, Phillip, and baby Carter in Fresno
  4. Miss Erica, Mat, and baby John LIKE CRAZY!!!
  5. Go visit with the parentals some time that week
  6. Eat lunch with the wonderful Mother-in-Law
  7. Mop the floor and actually put ALL the laundry away (if it'll fit)
  8. Kiss my husband
  9. Bake something new (maybe a couple things)
  10. Read at least one book
  11. Watch the Pride & Prejudice mini-series and not drool too much over vintage Colin Firth
  12. Sleep in!!!
  13. And I guess I should probably plan for the final 6 weeks of the year... maybe.  :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Proof of Happiness: Day 20

Define happiness in your own words.

Happiness, at least to me, is living without worry.  Obviously there are always some things worth worrying about like paying bills or making sure the car runs, but the foundation of a happy life has no worry.  This lack of worry--deep, scarring worry-- comes first from God, who straight up tells us not to worry about anything, to just pray about it.  In light of my grandmother's passing, I am starting to become more accepting of a life after this place, and knowing where I am heading helps ease the worry.  Secondly, I have a family - including my husband - who love me unconditionally.  I am not worried about where my support will come from.  I know they are there.  

When I was in high school, I was genuinely happy.  I was not worried about college acceptances (I wasn't applying to any Ivy Leagues so I knew I was okay), my family didn't have financial worries, and things were set.  When I went away to college though, I was on my own and responsible for myself.  I started worrying about money, credit card debt, grades, workload, social life, long-distance boyfriend, respect for my parents' wishes, and so forth.  This is where the UNhappiness set in.  Even after moving schools and alleviating much of that worry, I still wasn't happy.  I started piling on the things to fret over (I can't get a boy to commit; I can't catch a break with this professor; I'm not the first choice for this job; Should I really be a teacher? etc.), and I think it's obvious that this was the time when I was furthest from God.  

Finding Graham and finally grasping that he was not lying when he said "I will always love you," that he wasn't kidding when he said "Will you marry me?" and that he stood up there with me and said his vows, (yes it really took that long) I finally understood that I don't need to worry when it comes to him.  That is when I started finding true happiness again.  At the same time I started growing closer to God.  It has made such a difference.

Of course we still have things to worry about, but that deep worry that hangs over head, that's gone now.  I am finding my way back to happiness.  Over the next month or two when Graham and I start worrying about my job security and how we'll pay our bills, I know that that happiness is still there, because that deep worry is gone.  This isn't a sappy answer, but it is what I thought of and have developed into a really good theory for myself.  Happiness is very different for everyone, but feeling safe and secure is important to me.  I am no longer worried because I have my Savior and I have the man He made for me.  Nothing can stand in our way.

A Break From the Happiness - Sort Of

I'm taking a break from the Happiness Challenge to post this really great article I just read.  I got the link from Shondra, the amazing mommy blogger at Walk With Me.  Definitely worth passing along.  It's a brief explanation on how to "date your spouse" but it is completely applicable for unengaged daters as well.  Give it a read!  Link below.

For me, it means I'm going to have to watch even more baseball, but we'll both be happy doing it!  Especially if the following week we get to have Japanese food and ice cream for dessert.  :)

The Best Way to Date Your Spouse

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Proof of Happiness: Day 19

Something you found while searching "love" on Tumblr

The Story Behind It--

I hate this Tumblr thing.  Bleh.  So I just google image searched "love" ... and I didn't like what I found there either.  This is a picture that describes part of what I love.  If you haven't picked up on my obsession with Pride & Prejudice yet, well, you obviously don't read too closely.  I really do love England, especially the countryside.  I have a huge movie poster of the film hanging right about my work computer so that I can look up and their lovely faces and that lovely scenery each day.  This picture is something I love--the English countryside.  I think I would honestly be happy forever if I got to live in a beautiful home like this, drink tea, eat chocolate biscuits and write more amazing love stories. Like, I would like this view from my living room window or the small deck out back where I sit and read when the weather is nice.  This is obviously impossible, but man, I would love this!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Proof of Happiness: Day 18

Something on your dash that makes you happy.

The Story Behind It --
Again, this happiness challenge was supposed to be done on Tumblr, which I hate more and more each time I go there.  I don't have a dash on Tumblr but I do have a dash on Blogger, so I'm going to share something on there that makes me happy.

My cousin Amanda's blog! 
The Forever Endeavor
She's fabulous and really great at this blogging thing!  Check out her blog because it really does make me happy, and it will make you happy, too.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Proof of Happiness: Day 17

What inspires you?

Mine is more of a "Who" inspires you...  My parents.

The Story Behind It--
My parents did a pretty freakin' good job with my sister and me.  There are so many things about them that inspire me to be a hard working, devoted wife and mother, and I could not be more thankful for the life they've given me. 

Dad made sure I was on top of all my school work, kept my eyes out for the best job opportunities, and stayed on track to graduate in four years (plus a year of credentialing).  He helped with interviews, words of wisdom, car trouble, and so many more things.  How my dad handled my wedding was just the most touching thing I think he's ever done for me.  He told me how much money I could spend and then stepped back and let me do it.  He never criticized (at least not to me) and never pestered about the budget.  I think, in the end, I went about $750-$1000 over and I never heard a word.  All I heard from him was how wonderful everything turned out to be!  How much he loved the food and how the DJ just made the event and how pretty I looked.  It was so great.  My dad inspires me to be responsible, caring, and level-headed but to always remember what is really the most important thing in life: being there for and loving your family.

Mom and I had a very different relationship than many other mothers and daughters, at least the kinds of daughters I see in my classroom now.  By 5th grade I was taller than her, which changed the dynamic of our relationship a lot.  Without much choice, it became more of a friendship much earlier than it should have.  We butted heads a lot growing up because we are VERY similar in our stubbornness and heightened emotions.  Thankfully, problems were always easily resolved.  We went to our separate corners for a few hours and everything was fine again.  In high school, she was always there for me, sacrificing not only at work but also with my dad to make sure I got to see a certain boy or go to a certain place.  She fought my battles for me, and I know that was really hard on her.  As I've gotten older, we really have become much closer.  I look to her for guidance now on how to handle strong-willed men (like my dad and Graham) and how to focus on God when things get stressful.  She is an amazing woman and has worked hard throughout her life.  Just like my dad, she did what she needed to do to make sure my sister and I were well taken care of.

I want to be a parent like my parents are.  There are things that aren't perfect, which is absolutely true of any set of parents, but there is so much I gleaned from them and will make sure my children receive as they grow up.  My parents inspire me to be a strong, family-orientated person, and I hope to show them just how awesome of a job they did as time goes on.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Proof of Happiness: Day 16

Tell about the happiest day of your life.

Graham hates to dance in front of other people.  He tries to make a joke out of it because he knows he doesn't dance very well.  We talked for months about dancing at our wedding, and I was pretty sure with the exception of our first dance and his dance with his mother, I wasn't going to get another dance out of him.  By the end of the evening, we were so tired emotionally and physically that we couldn't wait to get out on the dance floor and get all that stress out!  Graham was great!  We had so much fun out there for the thirty or so minutes of dancing we had.  Our ceremony was later than most and our reception had a lot going on.  With it absolutely pouring outside, most people were gone by 9:30 or 10:00.  The dancing was brief, but this is one of my favorite pictures from the evening.  I had so much fun with him that day.  It was definitely the happiest day of my life for SO many reasons, but this picture captures one of the major ones: how much fun I had/have with my best friend.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Proof of Happiness: Day 15

A television show that makes you happy.

The Story Behind It--
I bought the first four seasons of How I Met Your Mother on Amazon's Deal of the Day.  I had been meaning to get into the show, so being the impulse shopper that I am, I snatched it up.  I watched the first season by myself and instatly fell in love with Marshall... and Ted a little bit, too.  Graham felt a little left out and decided he wanted to watch it, too, so I started over to include him.  He loved it!  We watched all five seasons out on DVD and now catch the new episodes on Monday nights.  We go through withdrawals when we don't watch it, and we really do consider them our friends.  I know, it's not extremely healthy, but it makes us feel better.  We've just started seasons three for the second time through, (Worst season by the way.  Bleh!) but our friends our awesome.  Please watch this show.  You will thank me.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Proof of Happiness: Day 14

My apologies for the delay on this.  I have been focused on family this week.  I haven't read more than 50 pages in the last two weeks either.  I need to get back on the horse.  Here is a blog post, and the reading will kick off again tonight.....  as will my new exercise/diet plan.  Gaining ten pounds since my wedding (only three months ago!!!!) is not a great thing.

A conversation that makes you happy.

This is a conversation that occurred with my grandma about 9 months ago.  Graham had just proposed a few days earlier, and we went to visit her for the first time since our engagement.  By this time, Grandma's hearing was very limited, so conversations tended to repeat themselves.  She was always very proud of her air conditioner that Dad put in a few years earlier, so she always talked about that.  Anyway, this day she devled into something deeper than usual.

Me: So, Grandma, we got engaged this week!
Grandma: Yes, I heard!  Your mother told me.
Me: I figured.  We're really excited!
Grandma (to Graham):  Now look here, mister.  You better take care of her.  She is a special gal, and you better be good to her.
Graham: I will.  I know she's great. I will take care of her.  Don't worry.
Grandma: Okay, good.  Now give me a hug.

I found out later that Grandma is the only one to have given Graham any warning like this.  Not even my dad, who has made it his mission to make sure Lauren and I end up the best way we can, said anything to Graham.  It was Grandma Louise who put Graham in his place.  It makes me smile, and it makes me love her more knowing she cared so much.

Don't worry, Grandma.  He's doing a great job.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Proof of Happiness: Day 13

A movie that makes you happy.

The Story Behind It--
I cannot get enough of a great romance story.  Though this movie has its share of drama and tears, the love between these people is one that warms even the coldest of hearts (obviously, as Darcy is now all warm and fuzzy on the inside, too).  It is my second favorite movie of all time and I will always dream of being Mrs. Darcy and to feel the love that these two share.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Proof of Happiness: Day 12

A description or picture of someone who makes you happy.
The Story Behind It--
These are my favorite people (non-family, of course) in the world.  These are definitely the people that make me happy.
Tiffany is one of my oldest friends, though our friendship didn't really mature and become something great until our first year at Fresno Pacific together.  She was my room mate that year and just the most amazing friend.  Since graduating and moving away, we haven't seen much of each other but I like to think that she will always be one of my dearest friends and certainly about the best human being you could ever meet.
Sarah is my first cousin and so completely sweet.  There is hardly a Christmas memory that doesn't include her, and visits to her house growing up were always so exciting.  We haven't been able to see much of each other as we've grown up, but Christmas Eve at my parents' house would not be what it is without Sarah and her big smile there.
Rebecca is the epitome of sweet and salty, if that makes sense.  Your first impression of her will always be that she is pure sugar in its best form (chocolate of course).  Being around her cheery smile and kind words is all the motivation you could need to put a smile on your face.  She is never without a word of encouragement or a hug to give, and she loves like no one can.  Then after you get to know her, you realize she is so spirited and full of life!  She loves adventure and trying new restaurants and sinking deep into those awesome television dramas or just a great book.  She was born to be a mommy and is just an all-around magnificent person.
Lauren is my little sister but is certainly becoming a woman all her own.  I told her recently that when people ask me how old my sister is, I instinctively want to say "12," even though she'll be 20 in May.  I think I just really liked us when we were 16 and 12.  Now she is all grown up and getting ready to move away to finish school in Sacramento.  She is making big decisions and becoming her own person, someone separate from the world of "Lesley's sister," and I could not be more excited for her.  She will make you laugh for hours, and as we recently learned, she might have a career in children's books.  :)  
Erica is an incredible person.  I met her on my second day at Cold Stone Creamery in June of 2004 and we have been incredibly close ever since.  Work was not dreaded work for me because I got to sing songs with Erica and laugh and have fun while making tips!  It was great!  Since then she has become a complete inspiration to me.  She got pregnant almost two years ago and had to make some major life decisions, all of which I am so proud of her for.  She now has a GORGEOUS 15-month-old son and is busily planning her wedding to Mathew with whom she recently celebrated three years together.  She's moving across the country very soon and I will miss her something extraordinary, but she will always be one of my best friends.
Samantha is just awesome.  She was my suite mate during my sophomore year of college when I was her RA and she was one of my little freshman room mates.  It did not take more than a day or two to become very good friends.  I didn't have many close friends my freshman year there, so it was SO great to meet someone this awesome just a few days in to the new school year.  We both had a life-changing year and made some big decisions and some big mistakes (like all college girls tend to do), but I wouldn't have made it out without Sam.  I moved to Fresno the following year but we both have made a strong effort to visit at least twice a year and it's like time hasn't passed.
and then there's Graham, my rock and my cuddle bear.  Even during our worst of worst fights, there is an anchor in my heart that tells me that this is not the end, that Graham will still be there at the end of this, trying to make me smile.  I have not made it easy for him, but he has lived every day of our relationship trying to make me happy the best and most genuine way that he can.  I need to try harder to learn from his example of love.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Proof of Happiness: Day 11

A story of something that made you happy this day.

The Story--
Because this post is going up in the morning, (and a story about having prep period making me happy would just be too boring), I will write about what made me happy this weekend.

On Sunday, Graham; Graham's brother, Joel; and I drove to Irvine to celebrate Graham's Great Aunt Jeanne's 90th birthday.  This day was difficult for me.  My own grandmother passed away last Monday at the age of 86, and we were very close. 

From about the age of 3 to 13, I spent every weekday afternoon at her house while my parents worked.  My sister and I spent every summer there, too, playing cards or Guess Who?, watching old VHS tapes over and over again, and hiding rocks as though they were Easter eggs in the backyard clover not having any idea how mad they would make Grandma's gardener.  Grandma came to every softball game, every play performance, every church solo, until her health prevented her from such big events.  She was able to attend neither my college graduation nor Lauren's high school graduation due to the heat.  She was so sad to miss them.  I started dating Graham three years ago this Thursday, as my relationship with Graham began to grow, he started to build a relationship with her as well.  He did not have a grandmother figure for much of his life, and my grandma welcomed him with open arms, literally.  During my bridal shower, she insisted on speaking up to the whole group: "That Graham, I just have to say, gives the best hugs."  (Nice and loud for all to hear, of course.)  Grandma was able to attend my wedding in December, which meant the absolute world to her.  I was so glad beyond words that she was there, too.  Now knowing that this would be one of the last times I would see my grandma, I wish I would have stopped by for a few more hugs and a few more pictures before the night was through.

Even though her health was starting to deteriorate, her passing was a complete shock to my family.  My aunt spoke to her at 4:00 on Monday and she was as cheerful and well as ever.  Then when my mom went to visit at 7:00 and couldn't wake her, we learned from the paramedics that she must have passed a few hours earlier.  Mom noticed her TV had not been turned to the news channel at 5:00, something she never misses.  This means my aunt spoke to her within minute of her passing.  She simply nodded off for a usual quick nap, her book in her hand, and is now with the Lord.  All things considered, this is the absolute best way she could have gone, "the way she deserved to go" as my mom put it.  It was so sad, but my family and Graham and I have found joy in all the memories we shared with her during her long, full life.

I chose to go with Graham to his family's celebration because I learned this past week that one must take every available opportunity to visit with and hug the ones they love.  I avoided visiting my grandma many times and regret that entirely now.  It was such a blessing to meet these extended branches of my husband's family, to hug these inspirational women, and to cherish my husband's relationships with his relatives first hand.  Graham's great aunt is a lot like my grandma: strong, compassionate, a little feisty, and a true woman of God.  Seeing all those people show their love to Aunt Jeanne made my heart so warm, not only because this wonderful woman is now a part of my own family, but because my grandma would have had the same response from all of us on her 90th birthday.  Along with my cousin Mark, I will be speaking at her funeral on Friday.  I am still looking for the right words to say, but I know they will revolve around her unconditional love that she had for us during my childhood and now adulthood.  I wish you could have known the wonderful woman that she was.  Your life would truly be better for it.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Proof of Happiness: Day 10

A Youtube video that makes you happy

The Story Behind It --
I found this a couple of months ago.  I wish so much that my little girl will be this awesome some day!  With a history buff for a daddy and an English teacher for a mommy, I think my odds are good.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Proof of Happiness: Day 9

A site that makes you happy

Baked Bree

The Story Behind It--
I found this site a week or two ago, and I absolutely love it.  She makes amazing recipes and the photography makes me want to cook everything on her site.  Please go check it out.  It's fabulous.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Proof of Happiness: Day 8

Something you found while searching "happiness" on Tumblr

The Story Behind It--
Something so true that I struggle so much with.  As mentioned in the introduction to this challenge, I am having a hard time cheering up after the wedding.  When money is tight and my job is often less than enjoyable, I find it difficult to choose happiness.  Graham encourages me, but hopefully I will get there soon enough.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Proof of Happiness: Day 7

Something you found while searching "Smile" on Tumblr

The Story Behind It--
I've never used Tumblr before.  It was confusing.  Like Twitter but with blogging and Flickr-esque photo posting capability.  (It's even missing that final vowel in its name.)  Of the many random shots, this one was the most ambiguous as far as photo focus, but also cheery and fun.  It does make me smile.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Proof of Happiness: Day 6

A picture of someone famous smiling

The Story Behind It--
Julia is my very special friend.  (Notice how we're on first-name basis.)  She makes us big-teethed girls feel alright about ourselves.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Proof of Happiness: Day 5

A song or song lyrics that make you smile

"Wouldn't It Be Nice" by The Beach Boys

The Story Behind It --
This was that song that I would tear up to in high school and college when all I really wanted was a man to hold me for ever and ever.  I was one of those girls who thought every boy I dated was "the one," but it wasn't until Graham that I knew the difference, of course.  This song makes me smile both because it's bubbly Beach Boys, and you can't help but smile; but also because it makes me think of how silly I was back in the day... but how so true this song is now knowing what it's like to be "older and we wouldn't have to wait so long."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Proof of Happiness: Day 4

A picture you think will make someone else smile.

The Story Behind It --
This is my dear friend Erica's fabulous little boy, John.  Graham and I spend many an evening cooing and giggling over pictures of this little fella.  You can't not smile when you look at a picture of John.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Proof of Happiness: Day 3

A text that you saved because it made you smile

I don't do this anymore.  I used to, when I was a dreamy little college girl who got texts from boys from far away.  Now all my dreamy texts from boys come in the form of "What do you need from the grocery store?"  So for this day's Proof of Happiness, I submit all of my texts from Graham.  The fact that I get those "grocery store" texts means we share a refrigerator, which means we share an apartment, which means we are married, and for us, that's excellent proof of happiness.

I don't have an iPhone, but I want one!  I really hope Graham gets the hint that I would LOVE one for my birthday in a couple of months.  :)

Proof of Happiness: Day 2

A quote that makes you smile

"Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known."

- Winnie the Pooh, Pooh's Little Instruction Book

The Story Behind It --
Graham and I talk often of the little babies we will have one day, and it was decided very early on that we would have a Classic Pooh nursery.  The adorble innocence of this silly ol' bear is often teaming with some of the most profound outlooks on life, and Pooh certainly takes that "faith like a child" concept to a whole new level.  We hope our little babies enjoy the World of Winnie the Pooh as much as we do.

Lesley H. and the Lightening Scar Boy

I have reached the end!  I made it!  I read about 500 pages this weekend alone, but I finished the 7th book!  My opinion of the Potter boy and his prodigy friends has certainly changed over this journey, and I am SO glad I set this goal.  What a great story!  ...even if she did get quite a bit wordy there in the middle. Check out my review of the book (and my rating of the series) in my Review page above.

I know I am going to have a hard time investing in new characters now that this is over.  I have spend nearly 5,000 pages with these kiddos, and it will be tough to say goodbye.  Because of this, I'll probably move on to a nonfiction book like the last Donald Miller book I haven't finished, or Graham's really been on me to read Moneyball... for about three years now.  Maybe I'll throw him a bone.  :)

Now is really the time though.  Suggestions, please!  Tell me a book that changed your life, or made you cry, or is just something everyone should read.  I need ideas!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Proof of Happiness: Day 1

A picture of you smiling

The Story Behind It --
The last morning of our honeymoon.  The rain had finally lifted and we got to enjoy our oceanfront balcony.  The trip was over, but our life together was just about to begin.

Proof of Happiness: Introduction

Got this from the lovely Karissa's blog (Pretty Things) and I've been needing some happiness lately.  I think I'm suffering from the post-wedding blues, when all this anticipation has built up over years and years, and then when things don't quite measure up to what I expected, it seems as though everything is horrible.  Okay, not horrible.  Things are actually wonderful.  I married a wonderful man.  With concerns over my job future (got my pink slip this past Monday) and money stuff, however, it's just been rough inside my head lately.  So... the happiness challenge.  I like it.

Each day I will post something on here (which will make Graham happy because he says I'm not using this thing enough) following the assignments listed below.

30 Day Challenge 
A Picture of you smiling
A Quote that makes you smile
A Text that you saved because it made you smile
A Picture you think will make someone else smile
A Song or Song Lyrics that make you smile
A Picture of someone fameous smiling
Something you found when searching “Smile” on Tumblr.
Something you found when searching “Happiness” on Tumblr.
A Site that makes you happy.
A Youtube Video that makes you happy.
A Story of something that made you happy this day.
A Description or Picture of someone who makes you happy.
A Movie that makes you happy.
A Convo that makes you happy (from a movie or chat or whatever)
A T.V. Show that makes you smile
Tell about the happiest day of your life.
What Inspires you?
Something on your Dash that makes you happy
Something you found when searching “Love” on Tumblr.
Define Happiness in your own words
A Picture of the last time you were happy.
A Picture that gives you hope
An Activity you find fun
Dedicate a post to someone telling them what you think about them (positive things)
Post a stickey note or sign somewhere with a nice message. (take a picture and post it)
Promote a blog that makes you happy
A Picture of a heart, smiley face, peace sign, or any other symbol of happiness.
Post something that you dream about.
Make a list of 50 reasons to be happy daily.
Reflect on the past 29 days, has your life gotten better? Do you feel any differently about things around you?

Monday, February 28, 2011

Five years down, two more to go!

I finally made it through Year 5.  See my review in the link above.  It was tough. So glad it's done.  I was going to take a break and read The Time-Travellers Wife but I didn't feel like investing in new characters just yet, and that book is rather confusing in the way it's written.  I will read it some time soon, though.  Instead, I'm about 20 pages into Year 6.  I will be really happy to finish this up!

On a teachery note, I got my unofficial pink slip last week from the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources of all people.  It was positive though, and it was not a surprise.  I'm on a temporary contract, so they have to do this.  I have to wait until April or May when all the retirees have said "See ya!" or other people move around.  They seemed hopeful.  We'll see.  I'm still going to start collecting letters of recommendation and keep my eyes open for other opportunities.  Who knows?  Maybe this our chance to get out of the valley for a little and go explore new, warmer places (that all have Sherwin Williams stores, of course).

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

God bless my KitchenAid mixer

I just had to share the adorable cupcakes I just made for tomorrow's English Dept. potluck!  I used a red velvet box mix, but I used this recipe for the white vanilla icing.  Super easy and pretty darn tasty.  Then I bought a tube black frosting and piped the punctuation marks and parts of speech abbreviations. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

To read or not to read: That has never been the question! ...'til this year!

The first grading period of the second semester of my first year of teaching (phew!) is almost done.  There's talk of possible layoff but also of adding more sections of English next year, so who knows.  I have until March 15th to hear the news.  I don't get a raise next year, and I don't suck (at least I hope I don't), so I feel somewhat secure.

This reading thing had been going really well!  I love reading all this young adult fiction and then gabbing with my kids about wizards and things.  Okay, actually NONE of my students have read Harry Potter and are not interested in the slightest.  Thankfully, I can still talk Twilight with a few of them.  I've been keeping up with my resolution, but it's been an excuse that has caused my grading pile to grow to an obscene height!  I have not grading ANYTHING besides the couple of tests and qizzes I've given.  I was supposed to complete about six hours of work over break and have just started it today.  It's due next Tuesday!  Too much reading!  So, since I read Crank this weekend (See "One-Book-a-Week in Review" at the top for my less than impressed review), which gives me TWO books for last week, I'm going to admit now that HP Year 5 will not get finished until next week.  Way too much grading.  So Crank counts for this week, okay?  Okay, good.

Update on my ear (see previous post): I went back to the doctor yesterday.  He said it's still infected but definitely better.  I had a fever and Strep-like sore throat, which completely confused them since I was already taken antibiotics, but that has seemed to subside.  He put me on another antibiotic, so hopefully by next week I'll be good to go.  It only hurts when I burp, cough, sneeze, or yell at my sixth period class.  :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Can you hear me now?

As if the stolen truck wasn't enough...

Monday was the Graham-ster's birthday, and in tradition, we went to Olive Garden.  I stayed home sick that day because I was miserably exhausted all day Sunday and absolutely could not handle my 5th period class on Monday.  I rested more, ate some fruit, and went for a walk.  I started to feel a lot better.  I took a shower to get ready for our dinner-and-a-movie date, which was a fabulous shower, and began my daily hygiene routine, which ashamedly includes carefully cleaning my ears with a Q-tip.  This day, I had the overhead ventilation fan on as I'd just taken a shower and was rustling through my medicine cabinet while I carefully swabbed, when I thought I heard a soft knock at the door.  I was a little jumpy but thought it must have just been the sound of the bottle I'd just put on the counter top.  All of sudden, Graham comes pushing through the door, "Babe? Are you..." and I start screaming and shrunk to the floor clutching my head.  The Q-tip had slipped and stabbed me square in the eardrum.  It took me a while to calm down, but the pain was still there, with sharp throbs every few seconds.  My hearing started to go a bit fuzzy, like I was driving in the mountains, but there was no plug like in higher elevation.  I decided to fight through it so that we could have a great birthday date.

We went to dinner and it started to feel better.  By the next morning, my hearing was still fuzzy but the pain was almost completely gone.  My dad, who has Meniere's Disease, was emailing me every hour telling me to go to the doctor.  Everything online said it should clear up on its own, no problem.  I backed down, though, and went to a walk-in place after work.  "Traumatic Middle Ear Infection," he says. I got a shot, two antibiotic prescriptions, and some all too expensive ear drops.  I'm now fighting this very drippy ear, but at least my hearing's back.  I go back to the doctor on Monday.  Hopefully everything will be okay.  For now it's just messy and a bit inconvenient.  My students think it's funny, though, that I have a snail trail of drops and drainage running down my neck half the time.  Yummy.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Officially married with pictures to prove it!

Graham and I are officially married!  Okay, yes, it's been over 6 weeks since our wedding, but we just got our official wedding pictures back!  It was so fun going through them together, reliving such a great day.  I'll post a few at the end of this post.

Along with our photographic proof, we recently experienced what I like to call our first "Us Against the World" predicament.  Last week, during the middle of our liquid+soup diet, we decided to cheat and go to dinner at Chili's.  We went into the restaurant around 5:30, came back out around 6:20, and the truck was gone.  Graham's precious baby was stolen from the complete well-lit and very busy Chili's parking lot around 6:00.  We filed the police report and hoped for the best.  Graham got a phone call early the next morning saying they found it in a field about 25 miles south of where we live.  It was missing both doors, the carpet, and the odometer as well as the really nice bed cover.  Didn't take the wheels, left the engine untouched and all the pieces they didn't need like the seats, were neatly put back where the belong.  Other pieces were thrown in the back.  They left loose change, my old debit card, a couple gift cards, things that could have easily been taken without us really noticing.  (That bank account was closed about 6 months ago, so no major threat there.) 

So now we're waiting to hear the damage and how insurance will work out.  We planned on trading in my old Focus in a year or so and getting me the SUV I want, but we didn't plan on getting rid of the truck for at least 4 or 5 more years.  It's really sad.  We'll see what happens with insurance and everything.  It might not be totaled.  We'll see.  He's enjoying his Impala rental right now.  :)  We were successful, though, us against the world.  It was/is extremely stressful, but we did it together!  Those are good moments.

Here are a few more great moments!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Glad I Hopped on the Band Wagon

Finished Year 2 this morning!  I am so glad I finally got around to reading these.  I'm going to start Year 3 tonight and might possible finish it before the weekend is up.  You don't understand how big of a deal this is!  Aside from the last Twilight book and the novels I actually taught last semester, I read NOTHING last year.  That's why this resolution is so great for me!  I decided that if I lumped up all the hours I spend watching TV shows on Netflix, I could get a LOT of reading in.  It's been great!  I'm already noticing an improvement in just my daily vocabulary, and, even though Wuthering Heights was SO dull, I started using THOSE kinds of words in normal conversation.  Most obscure, to say the least.  :)  So here we go!  Another week down, another book read (book and a half actually), and I'm ready for more!

Friday, January 21, 2011

and Failure

I can't do it.  Wuthering Heights is just too boring to do in one week.  I'm about exactly halfway, and I've decided to put it down. It will get finished some day, just not this week.  All my Harry Potter  books came in the mail yesterday, so around 7, I quit Bronte and picked up Year 2.  I'm a bit over 100 pages in and will certainly finish by Saturday.  This means I haven't broken my resolution yet. 

I'm sorry, but those Heights characters just won't shut up!  And about the silliest things, too!  I honestly can't see why this is such a classic.  Sure, there are some shining moments where the wording is just superb, but bleh!  The plot is just annoying as can be! 

So Harry Potter it is!  Be back Saturday with a review of the second book and an udpate on my total pages read for the year.  Happy Friday!!

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Two weeks in and still going strong!  I  have never stuck to a New Year's Resolution this long before.  It's great!  I finished Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone around 4 yesterday.  My students actually got really into my reading progress and checked in every day to see what page I was on.  I really hope I can get extra benefits out of all of this reading and inspire a little more "fun reading" in their life. 

So let's keep going!  I know I listed Harry Potter as my first book of choice, but just to be fair to the "New Year" concept, I did read House on Mango Street Friday evening (Jan 7) because I will start teaching that novel this coming Tuesday.  So the count so far is (Jan 1 - Jan 7) House on Mango Street, and (Jan 8 - Jan 15) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.  I just placed my Amazon order for the remaining HP books and the first two books in Ellen Hopkins' Crank series.  Several students in my 2nd period class are reading that right now, so next week I may take an HP break and pick that up.  Anything to start a literature-based conversation would be great!  This week, because Amazon order won't be here until the end of the week, I'm going classic.  I started Wuthering Heights around September of last year, but with my only reading time being the 20 minutes I get here and there during the kids' silent reading, it was too hard to keep up with.  I started reading novels that went with their curriculum, which actually was really rewarding!  (Check out Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli if you want something cute, short, but still super insightful.)  I plan to pick that back up again this week.  It's definitely stepping up the game from HP, but it should be great!

I'm adding a page at the top for book reviews, too!  I will post books I've read as well as my own thoughts.  This way we can all track what I've read when, and it'll serve as a nice token of achievement when I make it through.  You know what the crazy part is?  I don't even miss Netflix one bit!

Oh, and we're FINALLY going to buy a REAL dining table today!!!!!  No more meals on a card table!  Serving steak on a card table to four people, while extremely hilarious, was nearly impossible.  It'll be our first big married purchase, and we're both pumped!  Check back for pictures later this week!

Friday, January 7, 2011

New Year's Resolution: Book of the Week

I am a HUGE hypocrite when it comes to being an English teacher.  I love, love, LOVE the concept of books, of reading and writing, but my attention span is so short.  I love movies because the good ones can tell a complete story with stunning visuals in a nice, compact 2 hours.  Books take days!  And my own imagination!  It makes me head hurt.  This year, however, I've decided to make a change.  This is a huge challenge to myself, but if I stick to it, I know I will be handsomely rewarded with too many characters to count. 

New Year's Resolution: I will read one new book a week* for a year. 
Larger books can take up to two weeks, such as any over 500 pages.  So that's approximately 30-50 books in one year.

I'm already nervous.  I am creating a bulletin board for my classroom right now with my fabulous new last name, some pictures of Graham and me, some notes from students, and the book of the week.  I will post it up on this each week as well, and if you've read that book or have any suggestions on books I should read this year, please let me know!

I am starting with the first Harry Potter book.  I read the Twilight books last year because I thought it would make me a better English teacher.  I did a little.  I have tried to read Harry Potter three other times and I always get too bored.  I am going go make it through this time, though.  I promised my sister I'd have all the books read in time for the final movie this summer.  With this new plan, I should be there in no time!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cheers to 2010!

As a way to get to know me better, I thought of a fabulous idea!  This past year was by far the best year of my life (for obvious reasons), but to bring some cheer to this now foggy, dismal, and "nothing to look forward to until Easter break" couple of months we have ahead of us, here is a list of just why 2010 was two thousand awesome!

1.  January
First real subbing position in an English classroom.
Hey it was only three days, but it was my first real taste of day-to-day proceedings as a teacher.  I subbed off and on for about four months (junior highers are horrible, horrible people, by the way), but this was an actually enjoyable experience.

Graham's 25th birthday.
A quarter-century old.  :)

2.  February
Realizing just how much the Graham-ster really loves me.
I love Valentine's Day.  Top-three favorite holiday.  Graham hates Valentine's Day.  Bottom three, and that's saying something.  We got into a fight after I didn't LOVE the gift he threw together at the last minute (Hello?  Winnie the Pooh on DVD???).  That made two years in a row with big fights on Valentine's Day.  Through all the harsh, "honest" words, he stayed.  I was a complete butt and he stayed there talking everything out with me.  He didn't give up.  He needed me to understand that it wasn't about the flowers and the teddy bears, and I finally got it.  Sure, I want those things still, but I have a man who loves me.  Some things are just not as important as others.

3.  March
Student Teaching and my first quasi-real classroom.
I started teaching freshman English at my alma mater in March this past year.  It was tough, and some people were more difficult to get along with than others, but I got to teach 100 14-year-olds how to properly punctuate!  It was wonderful!  My student teaching mentor was so helpful, and I made some really great friends along the way.

Oh, and Graham and I celebrated 2 years together!  He's the best!

4. April
The hunt for the official career began.
This wasn't exactly a good thing, but a very monumental thing to say the least.  After four years of undergrad (which weren't all puppies and rainbows) and now nearing a fifth year with my credential classes, it was time for the big moment.  In April, I started putting my resume out to every district in Fresno, Tulare, and Kern counties (so pretty much the entire central San Joaquin) hoping someone would bite.  There was one job I really wanted, though--one of three English positions at the new high school in Tulare where Graham was up for the head varsity baseball coach position!  It would be a perfect scenario, but it meant attending (and totally dominating) the Tulare County Teacher Job Fair in April.  It was scary, but I got to meet the principal and hope for the best.  My snazzy suit was certainly one of the best there.  (Thanks, Mom!)

5. May
Got my first job offer.
I was offered a job teaching 7th grade English at the middle school in my hometown.  I knew I did NOT want to stick around, but it was SUCH a relief to get a real job offer (it meant we could finally GET MARRIED!!!).  I was still holding out for that job in Tulare, though, and put in my application as soon as the official position posted. 

Finished my student teaching assignment.
I learned a ton, but I was so glad to get the heck out of there!

6. June
Ahhhhhhhh, June.  :)
Interviewed for the job in Tulare.... and got it!!!
I got my dream teaching job!! (at least for my Graham and me... wouldn't Carmel High School be the best???)  I learned later that over 50 people applied, 20 were interviewed, and I was one of three selected.  Granted I was definitely one of the cheapest, but it was those lucky shoes I'm sure.  I've worn them to at least 4 interviews, and I've always gotten the job!

Finished my teaching credential.
Got all my classes done, passed all my tests, and walked away with ... a digital password to access it online.  Not even a hard copy to frame.  Whatever.  Just glad that that HUGE formality was done and over with.

My birthday.
I turned 23 in June of this year.  Graham came up to Fresno where I was living for the summer, and we essentially reenacted our first "dinner and a movie" date.  It was SO much fun!

Oh yeah, and I got engaged!!
Graham proposed on my birthday with a book he made.  It had pictures of us and all the places we've been and things we've done.  It was so great, and the ring was BEYOND AMAZING!  Now THAT was a surprise!

7. July
Started my first real teaching job.
Thankfully, my new school district required three weeks of summer workshops to teach the current teachers how to work with this great new curriculum.  I walked into a three-week course on how to be an English teacher there.  What a blessing!  I would have drowned without all that time to plan and prepare (and bond with all the awesome members of my department).

8. August
School started!
It was time to begin.  Stressful.  Extremely stressful.  So glad to have this job though.

9. September
Moved to my first real place on my own.
Having my own place was great.  Now I have to share it with this big guy.  Oh well.  He's cute.  This made things so much better now that I wasn't having to commute an hour each way to work.  I also got to see Graham every day, which was a completely new thing for us since we'd always lived close to an hour away from each other (except for the first two months).

10. October
Started really building my home with Graham and hitting the wedding planning hardcore.
New house, new job, and a wedding to plan.  It was insane!  SO glad I had my mom and future mother-in-law to help.  They both were SO awesome.

11. November
Wedding planning!
Mom and I emailed every day about how we wished we had at least another month to prepare.  There was so much to do! 

12. December
Finished my first semester of teaching.
I survived!  They all said that that is how you know you're going to make it--if you survive your first semester.  I just feel bad for all the kids I have this year and for the next few years.  They're sort of getting gypped since they're teacher doesn't quite know what she's doing.  Oh well.  As we're learning, we're not teaching future English majors; we're teaching all students.

I got married!!!
After almost three years together (and deciding we wanted to marry each other only 5 days in... seriously), we finally got married!!!!  It was beautiful!  A Christmas wedding, and even though it poured rain, it was such a beautiful thing.  I cannot wait to spend my life with this man, even if he does weird things with his facial hair from time to time.  He's my rock, and I honestly don't know who I would be without his faith in me.

So that's 2010 in a nutshell.  So much fun and I could not be happier.  Bring on 2011!  I bet this one will be even better!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Nocturnal Vacations

Good morning ;)

Our school district here will always have a special place in my heart.  An extra day at Thanksgiving, three full weeks at Christmas, an extra day at Easter, oh and next year?  A full WEEK at Thanksgiving!  It's awesome!!!  So here we are at the first day of my third week of vacation.

Week 1:
We got married the day after vacation started, so the first week was spent on our rainy but wonderful honeymoon in Oceanside.

Week 2:
We came home just in time for Christmas.  All the craziness of the wedding happened a week before Christmas, so the holiday took a bit of a back burner, which is completely unlike us.  Graham and I are OBSESSED with Christmas, hence why we chose this season to get married.  We did get a nice tree and a few decorations up in my/our apartment before the wedding preparation got too excessive.


Graham got the flu just after Christmas, so I spent a lot of afternoons and evenings with my best friend, Netflix.  For most of my college years, I worked on campus, which means I got to use Christmas vacation time as a break from work as well.  I tend to become somewhat nocturnal--sleeping until noon and staying up until 3 or 4.  This year, with Graham's being sick and still having to get up for work at 5:45, I stayed up until 1:30 or 2 most nights.  Sleeping until 10 has been fabulous.   Come New Year's Eve, Graham was feeling much better and got the nice idea to shave his winter beard into a mustache.  It's disgusting, but there are only a few days left until he shaves that off, too.

It's now the first day of week 3, and I suppose it's time to actually be productive beyond laundry and emptying the dishwasher.  Only a week until I'm back in the classroom!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

It's the first day of 2011.  This will be my first full year of being a wife and a teacher (hopefully).  So, in true form of this Internet generation, I have created a blog to share all the burnt lasagnas and trips to Disneyland that my new hubby and I will experience this year.  Also, just for funsies, I will also have fun stories of my little freshmen as this is my first year of teaching as well.  I hope you're excited as I am for this journey ahead of us!

Hello, my name is Lesley.  I am a first-year English teacher and a first-year bride.  I want to use this blog to bring to my life my adventures this year (and years to come) through stories and pictures for everyone to experience and enjoy.  I used to be a huge blogger back in my early college years.  It was MySpace blogging, so it was a while ago.  It's now 2011 and I am a completely different person and not at all where I'd expected myself to be.  Honestly, though, I am so glad that that is true.  With that, I will introduce you to myself as well as a very key person in my life.  As time continues, I will capture many of our fun adventures together (for example, yesterday, Graham shaved his lovely beard off into an icky mustache and, of course, I have pictures).


This is me.

This is my husband, Graham.

Things are just getting started, but I will have lots to share as time goes on.  Today is our two-week-iversary, and it's already been an adventure!  I hope you will continue to follow and we can share together in all these years of married and mommy and even classrooms that we have ahead of us!