Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Inspiration comes from the unlikeliest of places

Tonight, as watching "The Biggest Loser" and writing a review worksheet over types of verbs, I was struck with a bit of an idea. What if I turned grammar exercises into a type of competition?

My students hate grammar. Passionately. But they need it. Desperately. Their use of the English language makes me want to skip the country and move to China or India, where they know how to write and speak English.

I cleverly named named their worksheet their "Last Chance Verb Workout" and gave "Trainers Tips" for each section to help make identifying the type of verb easier. I need some advice, though. How do I turn this into a competition? Do I give points for completion/highest score/or something else entirely? Or all of the above? Do I keep it up for the rest of the trimester with all of our grammar lessons? And what sort of prize do I offer? Bonus points? Maybe a free homework assignment for "weekly winners?" If you were in ninth grade,would you like this, or would you think you're teacher was just an idiot and ignore it. I NEED FEEDBACK!!!! Help me, please!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Weekend in Which I learned many things

Andy Cook and I were in Indianapolis this weekend. I have recently discovered that sometimes I call my husband Andy Cook becuause our sweet little friend Trevie calls him by his full name. This weekend, while in Indianapolis, much fun ensued. I got some new pants that fit (my other ones were falling off of me). Now I have these:

Now, I will tell you that I am very much excited about my new things, but that's not the important part. The important part is what I learned about Andy Cook this weekend. My husband is a complete and total packrat. And his clutter makes my skin crawl. And he's a huge dork. He went through his old closets and drawers at his parents house, and I'd like to give you a highlight reel of the things we found. Sadly, I left my camera here this weekend, because this would be SO much better with visuals.
--A Mr. Lawnmower business card (his first business, started at age 13, a homemade business card--and it had Brittany AND Sarah's phone numbers. I suggested we call them up and see if they were interested in a closet cleaning party)
--Every single paper cup from a cup tower we made in Freiburg in 2005. They had phrases on them where everyone had written a way they had seen God's faithfulness during our time there
--His tenth grade student id
--Every birthday card he was given from birth to ?
--54 VHS tapes with DragonballZ episodes taped from Cartoon Network ( I nearly keeled over at this one)
--A bag full of Pogs. Does anyone remember Pogs?
--Lots of bullets. Lots and lots of bullets. Truly. I don't know.
--His schedule from his first semester at Purdue.
--All of the Engineering 106 books from his first semester at Purdue. He was in that class 2 weeks.
--A small knife/sword that has a dragon on it.
And there was so much more. He threw away one bag worth of stuff. I promise you that I will take pictures when he finally cleans it out for real. It's good stuff.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wickedly Funny

Andy and I are looking at tickets for Wicked in June in Indy.  Like the day after Lauren’s wedding.  In my ideal weekend, we would spend Saturday night in WL, sleep in, go to brunch, and go to the 1:00 show.  I think I’ll order the tickets in a few weeks.  Since my last school day is the 5th, it’ll be a perfect way to start off summer—the wedding of one of my favorites, and my favorite musical (Andy’s too…I don’t he’d mind me telling you that he ADORES Wicked…we saw it in Chicago for my 21st birthday).  Tonight, we’re listening to the soundtrack, and discovering something funny happened in transferring my iTunes files.  Apparently some of my songs multiplied like rabbits, because I have five copies of every song on the Wicked soundtrack.  Three of every song on RENT. Three of Relient K.  Man, I haven’t listened to those in years.  Two and three of a few others.  So the same song will play over and over and over again unless I click off.  It’s seriously cracking me up.  Andy has no idea what caused it.  But I can listen to Wicked for HOURS if I want to :)

Coming to you live

from my new-old computer.  Andy discovered that my computer was under the influence of a nasty viral infection that was going to cost me life, limb, and liberty sometime next week.  So instead of waiting around to see what would happen, he gave me a new life.  He reinstalled windows and updated some of my hardware.  I had to back up all of my files and put them back on the computer.  It was weird….I hadn’t looked at some things in years.  This computer and I have been together since 2003.  And now we have a new relationship.  Because it has amnesia.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A few random tidbits

This morning, the ad bar at the top of my gmail account links to a discovery channel story with this title: "Animal inbreeding leads to poor sperm quality."

What in my email inbox could possibly lead them to believe I'd be interested in that?  Seriously, Gmail?  What?


Second, after watching last night's Jon and Kate Plus 8, I'm more in love with Ann Taylor LOFT than before.  I would have never paired up the outfits Kate did, and seriously....I truly didn't think it was possible for me to love the LOFT more than I did.  Especially with my teacher discount.  But I do.  I have a few outfits in my "shopping cart."  But not as many as I have in my Old Navy/GAP/Banana Republic shopping cart.  I explained to Andy my shopping method...I put lots of things in my shopping cart, and if they go on sale, I order them.  If not, I let them go out of stock and remove them.   

Also, when the Gosselins were on Oprah, she told Oprah that she runs on the treadmill for an hour every morning before the kids get up.  That is my new goal in life.  1 hour of running each day.  I'll be to it by January, I'm sure.  Maybe.  We'll see.  Maybe January 2011.  We are considering joining a local gym, because Andy is sad about losing some of his bulk, and would like to start lifting and running again.  I'm encouraging this, because I know how much he enjoyed it at Purdue.  Seriously, the man is still a beast and is still tremendously strong, but not working out for the past three years is getting to him.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Catching Up!

Spring break is here!  Finally!  It didn't come a moment too soon.  It may have been late, really, in my estimation. 

Since this is Monday, it's really my first "official" break day.  And I'm starting to feel the life come back into me.  I have rested some, and started to be able to carry on full conversations.  It's amazing!  With my newfound energy (from rest and the spoonfuls of homemade chocolate cinnamon frosting) I have decided to catch up on a few things....so here are some stories from the past few weekends.


Three weekends ago, I was in WL, home of the Sweet Sixteen bound Boilermakers, and my former place of residence.  I was there for a bridal shower for my sweet and darling former roommate Lauren.  The shower marked the start of the pre-wedding festivities, and it was so exciting.  It was seriously the best bridal shower I have ever been to.  Lauren's mom has such an eye for details, that everything was just stunning...from the location, to the decoration, to the food placement on plates, and the wrapping on the giveaway gifts.  She is everywoman.  Seriously.  The hostess with the mostest.  Look at this beautiful (and delightfully delicious) cake: 

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And the fruit!

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And the bride (Lauren, I'm so sorry....somehow I don't have a picture of your eyes open)--isn't her purple sweater/purple and white dress combination DARLING?

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Truly, the only thing that wasn't perfect about that day was the six hours I spent on the road...it was windy, and my car is small.  For the next shower, I'm hoping to convince Mr. Smooch to drive me and go see some of his friends.

We also went to a nearby town to do some shopping with friends that Sunday.  On that day, I made a solemn pledge to never try to pick out my own lipstick shades again.  I hearby nominate the people who choose the Clinique bonus gift to forever pick my lipstick colors.  Because the last four colors I've gotten for "free" are my favorites.  Very few that I pick out for myself work.  My favorites are:


Bamboo Pink                    



Raspberry Glace (it's very sheer, so it's not as IN.YOUR.FACE. as it looks)

I just looked up the Indianapolis area Bonus time.  The Macy's by Andy's parents has Bonus Time from April 5-19, and the Saks right by their house is April 19-25.  I should see if I have any plans on April 19 :)


The following weekend began with a misunderstanding.  I told Andy I would like to redo our bathroom in "the coming weeks."  He heard "this week."  So he got a bit irritated with me and started ripping out the bathroom floor.  A day later, and we had an entirely new bathroom.  Here's the evolution of this bathroom since we have lived in this house:

When we arrived:

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After we had the subfloor fixed

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Leftover tan paint

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And now:

Where are we going?

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Oh, I know!

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This fella redid that whole floor and played with electricity.  Then he took pictures too!  He is everyman. 

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And a closer look at the light fixture (which I love)

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And a truer look at the colors (top half--Benjamin Moore Saint Martin Sand, Bottom--Benjamin Moore Rich Clay Brown)

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And now, we're finally catching up!  These people came over Friday night

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Note: These pictures were taken at my birthday a month ago.  There is not a Crate and Barrel in my backyard.  But I sure wish there was.

And were joined by these people on Saturday

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Upon entering the house, the gentlemen went back to the bathroom and started to shout, "DEAR, YOU WERE RIGHT.  THEY REDID THE FLOOR."

Can I tell you how much I love that my daddy calls my mama "dear" after 26 years of marriage?

Then when the mama went to the bathroom, she shouted back, "Oh!!!  This is beautiful!!!"

Can I tell you I think it's a little weird that my parents were shouting at us from my bathroom?

Then the mama, the Lauren, the Marcus and I went to Cincinnati to go here

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Where I controlled myself far better than I ever have before.  I bought some curtain ring clips, a towel stand, and three houseplants.  And drooled over this:

In my ideal living room, there would be two of those, opposite a chocolate brown loveseat, with a chocolate brown sofa in the middle.  All of them facing the television, seated on this (which my mama loves too...so we may end up with matching ones, which is fine, since we live so far apart)

Give me a few months.  Or a year.

Lauren ended up with more than anyone.  She got bamboo, a rug, curtains, and a shoe holder.  And maybe more, but I don't really remember.  I feel like mom bought  a few glasses and some houseplants for school. 

Then we came home, watched Purdue win, had some dinner, and mom and dad left.  Sunday, L and M left while we were at church.  A and I had lunch at the Hoffman's...and pretty much spent the rest of the day sleeping or resting.  Well.  I did.  Andy did some freelance work.

And now you're caught up to today.  I'll post more this week, since I have the time :)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Apparently I meant way later

I have to keep my secret just a little bit longer. Mr. Cook has requested that I not reveal until after my parents have been here this weekend. He wants to see if they notice our "secret project." I'm certain that they will. It's so totally obvious. Mom guessed it's related to the toilet tonight....because she's brilliant like that. I still haven't taken pictures off my camera yet, either, because I'm lazy. So it looks like I'll be recapping three weekends in one this weekend.

Truly, that's fine by me. Not a lot is happening, but a lot is happening. Confusing enough? I've sort of hit a wall these past two weeks. I'm exhausted.

Like, more exhausted than I've ever felt before.

It's been a struggle to get out of bed every morning this week....I've literally been coaxing myself out of bed by repeating, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength...even getting out of this bed." Then when I get home, it's all I can do to get dinner on the table (or floor, since we have been eating most of our meals on the living room floor) and get myself to the sofa. I have a stack of stuff to grade, but I can't bring myself to look at it. I just want to go to bed. Andy has been doing some outside work, so he's been busy...which is probably good, because I wouldn't be good company.

So my spring break plans: SLEEP. And lots of it.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A preview

Big things have happened at the Cook house.  Things that may or may not involve me still being awake at 3:30 in the morning for the first time in years, and a conversation that went, "Why don't you Google "I put the toilet in the shower and the wax ring got all over' to see if you can find a way to remove wax."

I know you can't wait.

I'll tell the whole story later...and post pictures and stories from last weekend.  Because I'm a little behind.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Books 12-16

In January, in the middle of all of my snow days, I read almost all of a series of books.  I was holding off writing about them until I read the second one (yes, I did read slightly out of order).  I finished it about three weeks ago.  I'm a little behind.

I read the Redemption series by Karen Kingsbury and Gary Smalley.  Kingsbury had been recommended to me by an acquaintance in college, but I had never actually read any of her books.  They are quickly addicting, sweet, serious, and I don't know that I have ever cried more in my life.  I truly enjoyed these books.


The series follows a family of five adult children (and their parents and families) who live in Bloomington, Indiana.  Each book focuses primarily on one of the kid's, but all are involved in each.  They deal with adultery, forgiveness, marriage, redemption, returning to faith in Christ, struggling in your Christian walk, disease, family tragedy, Alzheimer's, and so much more.  Each book was packed.  And I loved them.  I saw where there were continuations of the series that didn't necessarily focus on these characters, but they were still involved.  You can bet I'll be checking them out soon. 

Sunday, March 8, 2009

More Mouse Tales

I have had lots of fun and exciting things occur this weekend.  Many of them sweet, fun stories....stories I will get to sometime this week. 

This is about a slightly different type of story. 

I already wrote about our mouse issues last week, and the hillbilly manner in which my husband chose to "solve" them.  Well, consider this Part II.

Late in the week, we started to feel like the house had a bit of a smell.  At first, we thought it was the trash, so we changed the bag and took it to the garage.  It seemed to take care of it. 

Last night, I got home from a long day of traveling (I left at 8:30 in the morning, got home at 9:30 that night).  The first thing I noticed upon entering from the garage was a strong smell of rot. 

Something was awry.  And we thought it's name was dead mouse.

After church, we pulled out the stove to get to cabinet that we thought was the source of the problem.  As we pulled out the stove, the smell became UNBEARABLE.

Andy's parents arrived and joined in the great Gag and Sniff fest of 2009.  Andy's mom pinpointed the location of the smell--the top back panel of the stove.

After they left, and took our buddy Keegan home, it became time to deal with the smell.  Because having a house that smells like rot isn't enjoyable.   My superhero husband opened up the stove, and found our good friend, El Fried-o, melted to the ignition of our stove.  It looks like he was scurrying through the stove when I turned it on one day, and got electrocuted and fried.

I'll save you the gory details, except to tell you that it was gory.  And smelly.  And bad.  I may or may not have stood at the other end of the kitchen gagging as Super Andy fixed the problem.

There is truly no moral to this story.  Just something I'll want to remember later and share with our kids sometime.  The mouse?  He's pretty gone.  But the house?  It smells less and less like rot with each passing hour.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Because that totally makes sense

This morning, I woke up to find an old book shoved under one of my kitchen cabinets.

Side note. I truly couldn't remember how to spell shoved for a second. I thought it might be like this: shuved. Which is why I need to move away from hillbilly land.

But back to the book being stuck all up under my kitchen cabinet. I may have hollered (please, let me move) for Andrew Cook. It may have sounded something like, "Andy, why did you shove a book under my cabinet."

Turns out, I didn't really want to know.

Because that book? It's keeping the mice inside their hole.

Or the mouse inside his hole. Whatever.

There's a mouse and there's a hole.

And I'm so not pleased.

Did I mention I want to move?

And the book? Well, Andy doesn't want to set a trap while Keegan is here, because he's afraid the dog would get snapped in it. So, I guess until Sunday, we're stuck with a book shoved under our cabinet.

Lord, let me move quickly.

Monday, March 2, 2009

A New Week

It's time to move on.  My sickness is lifting (just clearing the crud out now...gross, I know), and it's almost the end of the trimester.  3 more days!  Then school is 2/3 of the way over!  I drove to school in the light today, instead of the dark...for the first time since October or November.  It was glorious.  Total change in my morning attitude. 

I have decided that this is going to be a good week.  Andy and I are going to book our vacation to the Caribbean tonight--which is totally exciting!  I have exercise with some ladies at church tonight (nothing like booking a Caribbean vacation to make you excited about exercise...I told the two teachers I see every day that the prospect of spending six days in sundresses and swimsuits was enough to motivate me to diet and exercise).  Speaking of sundresses...what do you think of these?  Should I order?


And I'm almost caught up on my grading!  I'm going to swipe lesson plans from the veteran teacher next door to make it through spring break...so all in all, things are starting to calm down around here.  And it feels good.  I am looking forward to this weekend--the first bridal shower for my sweet former roomie, Lauren!  I'm so excited to be in WL and to spend time celebrating sweet Lauren.  And I have a baby shower in Louisville the next weekend.  All sorts of fun coming up!