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!