Sunday, August 29, 2010

There’s a lot that could be said…

About our trip to the Swiss Wine Festival yesterday.

We could talk about how Vevay is like Deliverance.  Or our experiences at lunch.  Or the crowded tent.  Or the baby bib that read, “Daddy drinks because I cry.”  Or the roads to Vevay.  Or how much fun it was to see Lauren and Marcus and everyone else.  Or how Andy ordered his Bowties Bolognese as Bologna Bowties at dinner.  Or how Andy and Marcus spent the day finishing each other’s movie quotes and song lyrics.  Or any number of other things.  But really, only one moment took the cake.

Oliver full bladder urinated on my dad’s lap.  That’s what I felt. 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Glad that’s over

So, the start of the school has come and gone.  I have to give out three week progress reports this coming week.    That kind of boggles my mind.

The first week of school was great.  My classes were sweet, things flowed well, and I finished feeling pretty happy.

Then we had a wonderful weekend and I went into this last week thinking that things were going to be great again.

I was dead wrong.

This week was one of the hardest of my career.  I came home every night on the verge of tears.  A few things happened that shifted the momentum of three of my four classes and took my formerly sweet days into a not-so-nice place.

I can’t really go into it, for obvious reasons.  But at the end of the week, I was seriously questioning my sanity.  I’m very thankful for the next two days off.  Because I’m so worn out it hurts.  Even if I have several hours of work to do tomorrow so today’s the only real “off” day.  At least tomorrow I can go work in the quiet of my room with no one else around.

And I might want to homeschool my own kids.  Rather than subject them to this kind of crazy.  I’m mostly kidding about that.  I think.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Dear Monday

Dear Monday,

You weren’t fantastic.  In fact, you sort of sucked.  Sorry to be so harsh.  But you did.  Can you ask Tuesday to be better?



Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Yummy Dinners!

Since we are trying not to spend as much of our time and money at the Taco Bell drive thru, I have had to do some more cooking these last two weeks.  Here are two recipes that we have enjoyed this week that were both super easy.

Pico de Gallo (after having this, it might be difficult to go back to jarred salsa)

2 tomatoes, finely chopped

1/2 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

2 green onions, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 lime

Salt (just a sprinkle)

Mix all chopped ingredients, juice the lime over the top.  We used it on chips and as filling for quesadillas (with cheese).  I might put some of the extra on spinach for lunch tomorrow.  It’s awesome.  It’s supposed to have cilantro, but we kind of hate it, so we leave it out.

My Big Fat Greekish Chicken

I made this up last night.  And it was awesome.  I hid the leftovers from Andy so I could eat them today…and I obsessed about eating them all day.  Lunch was the best part of my day!

Chicken breast—salt and pepper it.

Cook your chicken until it’s nearly finished.  Then zest and juice a lemon right into the pan.  The juices will sizzle and some will evaporate right away.  That’s good.  Then add a good handful (maybe a 1/3 c.) of feta cheese.  Most of it will appear to disappear as well.  It will melt onto the chicken and be perfect.  Top it off with a tablespoon of finely chopped fresh oregano and serve it right away.  Seriously, those flavors together are awesome.  The oregano and the lemon are really fresh and the cheese is salty and tangy and it’s oh-so-good.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Sweet Saturday Morning

So this morning Andy and I did something we had intended to do all summer long….we finally made it to the Farmers Market downtown.  I honestly didn’t know what to expect.  We live in a fairly small town, and I didn’t really know what would be there.  I was totally surprised an in a really good way.  The Farmer’s Market is set up in a really beautiful part of downtown, surrounding the fountain on a street that looks nearly parklike.  There were maybe twenty or so different vendors with a variety of different things.  There were lots of tomatoes, a huge variety of peppers, some beets, potatoes, and other great produce.  I did hear someone say that there was even more in July.  I think the corn, green beans, and peaches were at their end this week.  There were also eggs, homemade soap, and local honey.  And there was a catering company set up making breakfast.  I heard that breakfast was really awesome—the exact quote was, “they have an omelet that is to die for.”  We didn’t try it this week, but we will…maybe next week!  We bought 7 tomatoes, 3 peaches, 4 green peppers, 4 lbs. of potatoes, a container of honey and 10 honey sticks.  It was exciting to make my meal plan for the week around these great ingredients.  As we walked back to the car, Andy looked over and told me that we’ll be back next week.  He wants to go back at least every other weekend.  And that is totally fine by me!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Meeting Baby Benjamin

Last Tuesday, our friends Andy and Mandy welcomed their first son, Benjamin, into this world. 

Andy Cook and I got to meet him tonight.  And my stars is he ever a cutie.  He was a tiny thing (a full 2.5 lbs. smaller than the last newborn I held) with a full head of dark hair.  Andy and I both go to hold the sweet thing and we were over the moon.  Andy asked all sorts of questions about all the things about childbirth and babies he has ever wanted to know…and got a little lightheaded and queasy at some of the answers.  I watched him swallow hard a few times and clear his throat….both signs that he feels a little like throwing up.  It made me giggle.  We did decide something in talking to Andy and Mandy….and it was something we had already discussed.  When they had Ben, no one came to the hospital with them.  Their family didn’t arrive until the day after they got home.  They had the chance the bond with their son before others came in and wanted the chance to hold him.  They got to recover and just spend time as a new family of three without worrying about the comfort and entertainment of others.  They told us about the couple next door (Ben was the only baby born in the hospital on his birthday…that’s how small our town is) who delivered the next day.  They had tons of family there and it was a really loud and boisterous time and the father had to keep running in and out giving updates instead of focusing on his wife.  And during her recovery time, they were surrounded by others.  Another woman at church had told me the story about her son’s birth when her whole family saw the baby before she did.  And I don’t want that.  Andy and I are definitely more keep to ourselves and do things ourselves kind of people….so I would prefer Andy and Mandy’s way when we eventually get around to having kids.

As we left tonight and headed to our car, Andy looked at me and told me that he wanted one of his own.  He thought Ben was pretty cute …and he thought Theodore was pretty adorable when he saw him in June, so he’s decided that he needs one of his own now.  I got pretty tickled.

Friday, August 6, 2010

My summer music favorites

So…..I have a slightly obsessive personality.  Which probably isn’t so surprising.  But when I like something, I REALLY like it.  Like I like it until I wear it out.  Like…watching Grease multiple times a day over Christmas break in sixth grade.  Like…the summer LK and I watched Angels in the Outfield at least once a day.  Like….the continual repeat of Gilmore Girls seasons my junior and senior of college.  Like….watching every episode of The Office on my honeymoon (Andy hadn’t seen them….and I was sick).  You get the picture.

It hasn’t changed.  I’m still obsessive.  It might be shows about serial killers in Miami, or it could be shows about telling your kids how you met their mother, but it’s really these two cds.  These are my summer obsessions.

First up: Jake Brothers “Reflection of You”


Jake was the worship leader at camp this year, and I was truly impressed with him.  He was a fantastic worship leader with a real heart to serve the Lord.  He is the music pastor at a church in Indianapolis and does retreats and events on the side.  Honestly, he was great.  And so is this cd.  It’s really beautiful and I love it.

And the second: Adie “Just You and Me”


Adie is Adie Camp…Jeremy Camp’s wife.  This is her second cd (I have the first was the obsession a few summers ago).  This cd is so peaceful and so beautiful.  It has been in my car cd player nearly constantly this summer.  I so love it.  Her voice is so sweet, so gentle.  I just love this cd so much.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

What I will miss the most about this summer

Spending my days with sweet puppy eyes


and cute puppy smiles

CuteSmile CuteFace


and the cute look the boy gets when he’s caught doing something bad


Usually he dips his head a little more.  Basically, I will miss the boy.  I feel guilty that he has to go back to his cage all day.  Poor boy. 

And just for fun, here are my two boys.  How did I get to be such a lucky girl?


Blessed, I tell you.  Jus blessed.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Good Deals on a Wednesday morning

I did some online shopping this morning.  It started out as a comparison thing, but then I just went for it.

Shopping Stop #1:

Oliver eats Hills Science Diet Small Bites Puppy Formula.  It’s quite a mouthful.  But not really because it’s the small bite formula.  Ha.  I crack myself up.

Ollie’s food is kind of a pain.  There are only two places it’s available in our town—the vet’s office and the Tractor Supply Company.  The vet only sells the 5.5 lb. bag, and we use that WAY too quickly, so it’s out.  Tractor Supply has the 15.5 lb. bag, but it’s like 30 dollars.  It’s a bit more expensive than if we buy it at PetSmart or Petco…but the pet stores are a 45 minute drive.  So, I have to weigh that out.

Last night, I saw the PetSmart commercial talking about their sale…and decided to see if I could get a deal on the dog food.  And I did!  A 35 lb. bag of Oliver’s food was on sale for 39.99.  Then I found coupon code using that helped me save another 10%.  And I used, where I could earn 6% cash back.  The shipping was pretty high, but there was no way I could get out of it.  In total, I paid 6 dollars less for 35 lbs. of food than I would have if I had bought two 15.5 lb. bags at TSC. Plus I earned a little cash back.  So, I’d call that a success.

Shopping Stop #2: Old Navy (.com)

While I was on ebates (seriously…if you’re not using this and you do any online shopping…start now.  Better yet, let me know that you want to start now and I’ll send you a referral) I saw that Old Navy was offering 10% cash back.  And I had a coupon code for 15% off and free shipping in my email.  And I have very few short sleeved shirts for the start of the school year, and the whole record setting heat business kind of made me think I would want a few more.  And the slub knit rosette tee that I have been drooling over all summer long and that had disappeared when I went to order it a few weeks ago had reappeared.  


So I bought two.  It will be perfect for the first weeks of the year…and I can always put something under it later on.  I also got an oxford shirt and a necklace.  And I paid 30 dollars less than full price.  And I earned 5 dollars cash back.  All for things I needed!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Why I puffy heart love high school students

I love my job. I love teaching high school students. The hormones, the sweaty palms, the need to fit in. The ridiculous sense of humor, the desire to stand apart and be unique just like everyone else. The different groups, the kids who try so hard to be different…and the kids who try so hard to be the same. The puppy love, the heartache (I don’t love that so much). The goofy jokes, the practical jokes. The surprising conversations and the days where everything seems to go wrong, but then ends up being just right. Andy commented a few weeks ago about my love of tv shows that deal with the school experience—namely Glee and Friday Night Lights. He thinks that they are too extreme and dramatic in their portrayal of high school. He can’t believe that students actually have lives like they are on tv….and to some extent, I agree. But I see the moments of truth in them.

I see the boy with no father, trying to help his mother and do the best he can to make her proud and to get more from life, like Finn on Glee.

I can see the girl who feels stifled by her small town and the reputation of her parents, like Julie on Friday Night Lights.

I see the boy who wants desperately to have a better life, but keeps getting dragged into trouble, like Vince on FNL.

Or the girl who wants so much to be perfect that she alienates those around her, like Rachel on Glee.

The struggles with weight, with eating disorders, with suicidal thoughts. Those are real.

Some of the relationships between parents, the torment of relationships with the opposite sex, the struggles with teen pregnancy and the fallout of sex in high school. I see all of that. Every day.

The bad decision that hurts your reputation. The hateful bullying. The power of friendship. The fight for status. All of that is real. Basically, as overly dramatic as teenage life seems on television…I think it might be worse in real life. Because in real life, things don’t always end nicely. There is no one hour limit to the drama and the pain.

At the same time, I don’t think television can accurately portray the depth of relationship in high school either. The girl who goes out of her way to stand up for someone else. The brother who fiercely loves his sister and will spring to action if she is hurt (even if she’s the only one who doesn’t know it). The care and the concern for one another when something is wrong. The rally around in the midst of personal tragedy. TV can only cover so much of that. I can even see where my kids care about their teachers. They want to help them when something is wrong. They know when something is off, and they want to help out in any way they can.

But my favorite part? As much as Mr. Schuster and Principal Taylor have relationships with students and help them, the real life is better. I can see the kids who want to change. Who want to do better. They are real, physical bodies in my classroom, asking for more. More out of life, out of themselves, out of their futures. For every heartbreaking story in the classroom (and there are many…so, so many), I cling to the hope that there will be successes.

I love the hormones, the crazy ideas, and the passion of high school students. I cannot begin to imagine having a different job. As long as I am working, I want it to be right where I’m at.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Dear Banana Republic

Dearest Banana,

I love you.  I just wanted you to know that.  My feelings for you have long been on the passionate side, and I do so love the opportunity to purchase your clothing.  I think I love you the most, because I can visit you so rarely.  You see, dear Banana, I am what you might call a cheapskate, and your prices make my blood pressure rise in a not-so-good way.  But sometimes, sometimes, my dear one, you are totally and completely worth it.  Especially when you are thirty percent off.  You see, my sweet Banana, I really love your timeless tees.  They are seriously the very best t-shirt I have ever worn.  There is no comparison.  I feel sad when I have to wear other t-shirts now.  Because you are my one true love.  I thought that I loved Target’s t-shirts.  But then I met you.  And I have worn my black and white timeless tees every single week this summer (sometimes more than once….I’m ashamed to admit it, but a few times I sniff checked and re-wore…that’s how much I love you).  I want another of each….I feel like I can work out every school outfit for at least 90 percent of the year around these two shirts.  Probably.


Last week, I found a new love.  You see, my old black pants had been from your less fabulous (but still lovely) sister Old Navy.  They were fine, but they were sort of itchy and fit funny.  I decided to give them to new owners and find a new pair.  Then I found the Jackson Wide Leg suit pant.  And the world was right.  Those pants fit me perfectly.  The skimmed properly, they fit well all over (well…the waistband is a bit snug, but that’s not your fault…that’s excessive consumption of Schwan’s Sweet and Salty ice cream and macaroni and cheese and I’m attempting to rectify that at the gym).  They are the perfect black pant.  I have long loved Ann Taylor LOFT’s Julie pant….but I think Jackson may be the winner in this battle.   And since I’ll probably wear them twice a week for the next 36 weeks, I was totally fine with paying a little more for them.

bananajacksonpant x

In short, dear BR, I just want you to know, I’ve got your back.  You’re my BFF, and I will totally splurge on you for wardrobe staples.

Until next time,



PS—Don’t even get me started on how much I love you sister GAP’s men’s clothing right now…..seriously.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

August Goals

With the start of the school year looming close at hand, I thought it was time for me to buckle down and start becoming a productive member of society again.  You know, to wear real pants and shower every day and accomplish some things on a regular basis.  Not that I wasn’t doing those things all summer long….

So without further ado, here is my list of goals for the month of August:

1. Finish the living room: hang pictures, find a few more frames, get bookshelves, make art for above television, finish pillows, etc.

2. Get all of my pictures organized and backed up in multiple places

3. Have heavy coats dry-cleaned because the cold weather will be upon us before we realize

4.Get all flower beds thoroughly weeded

5.  Finish school project, get room organized and paperwork under control

6. Take my daily pills daily

7.  Walk Oliver 4x a week

8.  Put in three miles on the treadmill/elliptical at least three times a week and do leg workout daily

9. Stay on top of finances and cleaning

10.  Eat out fewer than 4 times in the whole month of August

11.Read two books

12.  Visit the farmer’s market and buy produce there