Thursday, December 31, 2009

Speeding into 2010

I feel like life is going way too fast.
My Christmas break is flying by. By the time I look at the clock, it's already 5pm and I think, where did the day go? And better yet? What did I accomplish? (Nevermind the fact that I sometimes don't get up til 10 or 11, no matter how hard I try to be up by 7 or 8... getting use to 4 AM for school is gonna be hard in the next few weeks.)
So anyways, Christmas came and went and was great.
My family got me way too much, and it felt strange seeing my living room floor full of so many gifts, when I truly expected this Christmas to be a bit less because of the economy. I know we have all been so blessed.
I gave Jake his Unicycle, some clothes, a bow tie (his newest obsession, and it was hard to find, too! Penny's, Dillards, and Belk hardly even had them!), DVD. He got some books, and a nice coat from his parents, and gift cards to Lowes & Sears from mine. He got me a KITCHENAID STAND MIXER!!!! I was so excited. He got one of the Professional kinds, not the Artsian. His parents also gave us a set of stainless steel cookware. They game me some clothes and a tea set that I've been in love with. My parents gave me this AMAZING new vacuum that makes cleaning FUN (yes, I really did say that!) and COWBOY BOOTS like I have been wanting for so long!
We had such a big Christmas!
Better than all the gifts was all the getting together. We had all our holiday parties and it was good to see everyone. I just hated that I kinda felt 'out of it' all Christmas, mostly because it felt like it came faster than I ever had anticipated. Like the holidays sped up! Now it's already New Year's Eve?! INSANE.

Well, anyways. Christmas was GREAT & I know I felt truly blessed to have all that I have been given.

New Years always brings a since of reflection to me as I look back over the past year- and it seems 2009 had a lot of sadness for a lot of people. The celebrity deaths this year were mind blowing- Michael Jackson, Ed Mcmahon, Farah Fawcett, Ted Kennedy, Natasha Richardson, John Travolta's son, Patrick Swayze, Bea Arthur, Brittany Murphy, David Carradine, Billy Mays, football players Steve McNair & Chris Henry- it seemed like a lot, and it seemed every time I watched TV, the nation mourned yet another star. Plus, with the economy, it would seem that this year should have been remembered as a sad one. But for me, it's not. A whole lot of good happened this year. My Spring Semester was easy as pie, I learned to love yoga, I made the Dean's List twice, we were given a beautiful March snow, many friends and family members got married and settled down, babies for born, and the economy still managed to pick itself up a little bit, regardless of bleak predictions. I've felt myself grow, change, mature... At the end of the year, I always like to look back at my New Years Resolutions from the year and see how well I did. So, lets look at how I did. My resolutions were to pray more, learn to like exercise, read more, and believe in myself. Prayer life started off well, but I'll be honest, during this last semester I put Him on the back burner a lot more than I should have... yoga helped me to learn to exercise, and I read a lot more than normal (even when I didn't have time!) and I really have gotten better at believing in myself. Over all, I did okay.
I'm working on my New Years Resolutions now, & here are the things I'm planning to do in 2010.
1. Lose some freaking weight. I mean really. 2009 has not been a good year in terms of my waistline. I came off BCP and gained 20 pounds, plus 10 more from stress, holiday eating, and a lack of time to work out. Soooo. By graduation, I want to lose 30 pounds. I am gonna work my tail off to make time for working out and eating right and gonna get it off of me. I hate looking in the mirror these days, and that's not okay!
2. Pray more. When will I learn to put what's on my heart at HIS feet? I really, really need to get better with giving it all to Him. I know I'll never be able to check it off my list of resolutions, because I am a sinner, but I appreciate the opportunity to refresh this each New Years.
3. No shortcuts.
I don't really know how to explain this one, other than making sure that I, as an intern, a wife, a teacher, a Christian... do not want to take the easy way rather than the right way. I hope that makes sense.
4. Be an active part of our budgeting this year. I helped plan out our 2010 budget and I felt proud if myself for staying focused on it and contributing. Usually hubby is the financial planner, but this year we are really working on making it a 2 man operation! :)
5. I want to get on a better sleep schedule. I think this will help with numbers 2 & 3 too!
6. Volunteer. Maybe this summer I will help deliver meals on wheels? I wanna look back on 2010 and know I did something to better my community and myself. :)

There you have it. My 6 resolutions for 2010.
Now, I am posting this blog, and heading off to get dressed for Hubby's family's New Years festivities! Love to all. :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy!

Aw, my dear friend Melissa at Little Mrs. Married gave me an award! Why, I don't know since I have been doing so bad at updating! LOL. It's a happy blog award! As a recipient, I am supposed to list 10 things that make me happy & then pass this award along to 5 blogs that make me happy. Being that I am so incredibly blessed, this list won't be hard at all.
1. My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
With all the Holiday Hooplah (see last post!) and having to clean and cook and shop and having company over, we missed a couple of weeks of church and it really dawned on me that part of my difficulty with this holiday season in particular is that I have been inundating myself with the secular side of Christmas and not really surrounding myself the most important religious aspect of Christmas. Sure, I love Rodolph and Frosty and magic of Santa, but they are nothing compared to the magic of the birth of Christ. There was something about singing "O Holy Night" as a congregational this past Sunday, surrounded by all the lights and poinsettias (our church is breathtaking at Christmas... just sayin') and looking around at the faces of our church family and seeing Christmas carols of songs of real WORSHIP and not just holiday songs we sing out of habit kind of blew me away. It dawned on me that CHRIST was what was missing in my Christmas spirit and I felt so overwhelmed. It was definitely one of those moments when you feel Christ's hand on you, and I can definitely say it was moment of pure happinness. :)
2. My grades this semester!
I made 3 As, 2 Ss (S means Satisfactory- I had two courses listed as S/U as in satisfactory or unsatisfactory; basically pass or fail, and one B+ and I made the Dean's List again! :)
I don't have to tell you how HARD this semester was and how happy this makes me!
3. Family Togetherness!
I recently hosted one of the family get-togethers for the holidays and had 32 family members packed into my house. Yes, 32. Only my cousin's wife (who was working) and his son (who is in the Army and wasn't yet home for Christmas) were not there. Now, it was a tight squeeze because our house isn't that big- it's just a 3BR average brick home- but seeing everyone gathering in my kitchen, filling up my living room, and all together for the holidays made me so happy.
4. Traditions
Jake and I have this tradition of drinking a glass of Duplin (a NC winery, my favorite) Christmas Eve wine and eating a slice of Southern Supreme fruit cake before going to bed on Christmas Eve. I love things like that!
5. Goodwill- I love being thrifty. :)
6. Cookbooks
I read them like novels, cover to cover. They make me smile.
7. Bust-a-gut laughter!
Nothing feels quite as good as laughing until you can't breathe.
8. My camera.
My Canon Rebel makes me happy because nothing makes me more UNHAPPY than crappy pictures! And my Canon take good ones!
9. New bedding
Soft pillows, pretty patterns, the smell of Gain or Downey or Snuggle?
Need I say more?
10. Winter snow!
Snow balls, snow men, and best of all, SNOW CREAM!!! I AM SO READY!

Thanks, Melissa!
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Now, I am passing this on to-
Charlotte, Krystal, Brooke, Amie, and Jessica! :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Holiday Hooplah! (How do you spell hoolah?)

Okay, so the semester has officially ended and I have left the land of exams and deadlines and school and somersaulted over the fence to the land of domesticated homemakerness! Yay! Actually, I still have a few things to submit, but eh, there are no deadlines soooo, I'm not rushing to anything!
Good things have happened in the week or so:

1. Whitney invited us to be her guests at the Debutante ball, so Hubby and I drove down last weekend! I loved it! She was debuted our freshman year and it all seems so magical to me. Granted, I'm a southern gal, but the closest thing to debutantes I grew up with were the girls (like me) who owned as many pairs of heels as they did hunting boots! I knew one girl, oh wait, 2... growing up who got debuted, and both of them had daddys involved in local politics. So, it was a new experience and one that was super fun. I would love to be able to have my (future) daughter have the chance to be debuted and all! Plus, one of the best parts was that hubby and I drove 4 hours down to the coast (where Whit lives) and 4 hours back in one weekend, and going both directions, we hardly listened to the radio- we just talked the whole way there and back!

2. Did I mention I'm out of school and the most difficult semester of my collegiate career is history?!!!!! Blissful cooking, cleaning, and sleeping in!

3. In all my freedom, you'd think I'd be in the Christmas spirit but I haven't! I have been such a scrooge! Maybe because money is so tight this time of year, maybe because Christmas means cooking, cleaning, and shopping (which are things I usually love...) and that takes energy and work and maybe I'm just not up to it just yet? Who knows why, but I have been so lackluster and blah! Going to look at the Christmas lights didn't really help either! Anyways, Mama and I went shopping yesterday and I finally got a good jump on my shopping. I will never understand those people (like my aunts) who get it done so quickly! I am now about half way done. Shopping (and laughing) with Mama helped get me in the spirit a little more... I think part of it also is that I am not really a "Christmas person" to be honest. It's not my favorite holiday- Easter is my all time favorite. I think that I just want Hubby at home... All that's really missing is him. School gets out Friday, so I think I am just anxious for him to be out and home with me everyday. I know the students are ready to be out of school and on break, too! LOL.

4. Speaking of teaching, I PASSED the PRAXIS II with FLYING COLORS!
On the PLT (Principles and Teaching and Learning- basically educational theory and practices) I made a 190 out of a possible 200, and I only needed a 160-something to pass. On the Middle School English Language Arts content area test, I made a 195 on it out of a possible 200. I am so excited about this. I just gotta take the Social Studies content area test in January and then I am free and clear! :)

5. My sister in law got me a new puppy!! I know, like I needed one!
But, we have always said, IF we were to ever get another dog it would have to be:
- a rescue dog (I really don't believe in paying big bucks to breed one just because you want a certain kind just for a family pet -I mean, it's one thing if you are raising show dogs or hunting dogs or something specific!- but when so many in shelters need loving homes...rescue dogs just make sense.)
- a miniature dachshund - We've always thought that they were super cute, small enough to be easy to handle, and we like their personalities!
- in dire need of a home... we weren't going to actively seek another dog, just be open to it if we came across what we had always hoped for.
- preferably a year old or less
- mostly housebroken and crate trained
- bubbly and sweet and liked by Bella (a dog she would see as her "sister")

As you can see, we had a very specific idea of what kind of dog we would get and under what circumstances we'd get another dog. Well, my sister in law heard that someone she knows at school found what looked like a pure miniature dachshund in a ditch and rescued it. She took care of it for a while, but couldn't take it in herself and had no choice but take it to a shelter.
Sadly, the local shelter is not one of those no-kill facilitates and they actually euthanize dogs after a week or so. And this poor little doggie had been dropped off a few days before, so her clock was ticking!
My sister in law rushed over to the shelter, called my husband and asked if she could adopt it for me as my present for Christmas, and they discussed it.
This sweet puppy fit all of our hopes and circumstances and it seemed like a perfect match.
So, they couldn't wait til Christmas and surprised me with her this week. I named her Lucy. She's kind of crate trained and kind of house trained. We have had a few accidents, but no more than Bella did when we got her (at about the same age) and Bella RARELY EVER has any sort of accidents and will actually wake me up with her nose if she needs to go out and knows to get into her crate as soon as I put my pocketbook on my shoulder. Plus, with Bella's example, Lucy is learning fast. They get along well, and are (as I type this) currently curled up together beside me, snoring in sync. It's darling.
I kinda freaked out at first worrying what would people think about us having 2 dogs... would it be too much mess, too much work? Put it dawned on me that we had such a specific situation and such a well thought out plan, that Lucy being the perfect dog and having all the qualities we were looking for has to be a sign. I can't help but feel like she was supposed to be a part of our family. It just makes sense in my heart, and I realized that PLENTY of our friends and family have more than 1 dog and they make it work and still have clean homes and busy lives, and furthermore, if I felt lead to give this sweet puppy a family than whose business is it and why should I worry about anything except following where my heart leads?
So, needless to say, I am so very happy about having Lucy join the family. :)
With all the holiday hooplah around, I feel like the Christmas spirit is slowly but surely creeping into me. It just took a very successful and fun shopping trip with my mama, and sweet little puppy to jump start it!
Pictures from the week:


Thursday, December 10, 2009

I'm a little wierd.

I was just thinking the other day how I have some strange tendencies... and I like some weird stuff. So here's a little confessional of things I like and do- and please tell me if you do too!

- I am terrified of chin hair. Not kidding. I think this comes from the fact that my grandfather told me I was getting some "peach fuzz" on my face when I was about 12 or 13. Needless to say, I was mortified and have been paranoid of facial hair ever since.
-I'm obsessed with junk yards. You know, where there are tons of old cars, wrecked and in pieces... when I was little, my baby sitter lived near one and the mom of a boy I went to elementary school with worked there, and sometimes my Daddy would stop by there and get random parts for a truck or something he was working on and we would get to explore. I was always curious and loved looking at the jumbled metal and wondering what happened and who the cars and such used to belong to. Kinda of like what stories the cars could tell, if they could talk? I still have this strange fixation with junk yards and it's always tempting to go walk around one. But, I never do. What would I tell people? Sorry, I'm just browsing making up stories in my head? LOL. Weirdo!
- "Grandma Gowns." Okay, so if you came to my lingerie shower back before we got married, you know I have and love pretty, frilly, girly underthings, especially from Victoria Secret. But really, everytime I go in there, what do I look at the most longingly? Nightgowns. Like sleep shirts. And you know what, those are the things I wear most often. I seriously have gowns that look like they should belong to my grandmother- you know it's bad when you go visit a NURSING HOME and see old ladies wearing the basically the same gown you wore last night. Am I horrible? True story, I'm wearing one right now. They are just so soft and comfy!
- Christmas sweaters... you know how there has been this trend of "ugly Christmas sweater" parties lately? What happens when you love them all? I really love Christmas sweaters. Well, holiday sweaters in general. Part of the allure of being a teacher was simple so I could wear them and not get laughed at. In fact, I wore one that wasn't so dramatic, but was one that my mom picked out and was super cute. I actually had a kid compliment me at school while I was teaching! Now granted, I have middle school kids so she could have been secretly making fun of me but I didn't care, I loved wearing it. And then one of my classmates (lovingly) told me she wasn't wearing holiday teacher sweaters until she was forty. I smiled and thought to myself "this is just one more reason I know I'm an old soul!" and walked on. But what's bad is that I remember wanting to wear them at 16 years old, knowing if I dared grace my high school doors with one on, it'd be all she wrote for me.

So, there are 4 quirks I have. 4 things that I know that make me a little wierd, and 4 things that make me me!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Lunch success;

I just got home from my first final and selling back some of my books. Blah! I cannot find the words that fully express how much I LOATHE this semester. It sucks.
We're a little (okay, a lot) broke this time of year and I haven't had the time or cash to go get groceries, so I'm taking notes from my sister in law and making what she calls "cream of cabinet" which is essentially totally yummy things thrown together using whatever is in the cabinet or fridge. So here is my cream of cabinet lunch.
I wanted Mexican and some coffee, so I made myself a hot turkey and provolone sandwich and put some Mexican spices on the turkey and it was actually really good. I found some captain wafers salad crackers in my takeout canister (where I keep the extra duck sauce, honey mustard, etc) and put some peanut butter on them and had them with my sandwich. I was actually filling and yummy. But I still had the hankering for coffee, and lo and behold we are out! So on the back of the Equal box (We have been using Equal found in the back of the cabinet (where else?) since we are out of Splenda too!)I find this easy-peasy recipe for a Chai Latte. Close enough right?
So I put my own spin on it (as usual) and it was FABULOUS! So, here it the recipe in case you every get in a similar predicament! LOL

Peppermint Chai Latte
1 cup of Peppermint-flavored tea (freshly made)
4 packs of Equal or Splenda
a capful (1/4 tsp?) of Vanilla extract
1/4 to a 1/2 cup of half and half

While boiling water to make tea, put vanilla extract and half and half into an Irish coffee mug and microwave for about 30 seconds. Pour water over tea bags in another cup and add in the sweetener. Pour in the sweetened hot tea over the hot vanilla milk mixture and stir briefly. Put a couple of spoonfuls of Cool Whip or Ready Whip on top and garnish with a peppermint stick!


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Yay for throwing things together and being successful!

Now, back to studying!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Bidding

You know you married an overgrown kid when everything on his Christmas list can be found in the toy section. True story, I just put a bid on Ebay for a unicycle.

Oh, I love him so.

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Amie, I'm stealing this from your blog!!! It looked fun! :)

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? - Wrapping paper all the way- so much more fun!

2. Real tree or artificial? - I love real trees, but I just don't like having to wait so long to get a real one so that it stays alive and doesn't loose it's needles by Christmas morning, so we have a fake one.

3. When do you put up the tree? - Around Thanksgiving, ASAP.

4. Do you like eggnog? - Nope, but Hubby loves it! And I hear some of my sister in law's friends make some that's amazing.

5. Favorite gift received as a child? - My Barbie Jeep. You should see the pictures. Pure and complete joy!

6. Do you have a nativity scene? - I have a glass one on my coffee table.

7. Hardest person to buy for? - Hmm. Hubby. He never wants anything and I can't keep a secret from him. AT ALL!

8. Easiest person to buy for? - My daddy, I just by camouflage things and he's happy, lol.

9. Mail or email Christmas cards? - Mail! I just ordered our cards today!

10. Favorite Christmas movie? - I love the classic cartoons. Frosty, Rudolph, Charlie Brown. <3

11. When do you start shopping for Christmas? - Black Friday, usually.

12. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? - I love it all, but the first thing that popped into my mind was potato candy, sausage balls, and peanut butter balls. :)

13. Clear lights or colored lights on the tree? - Colored- it's what I grew up having so it's my favorite.

14. Favorite Christmas song? - Anything Karen Carpenter sings. "No place Like Home for the Holidays" and "Merry Christmas, Darling" are two big ones and I really love "What Child is This?"

15. Travel or stay home at Christmas? - A little of both, we travel pretty close to home.

16. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? - You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer abd Vixen, Comet, Cupid, and Donner and Blitzen. But do you recall, the most famous reindeer of all? Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer!'

17. Angel on tree top or star? - Angel

18. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? - Christmas morning. Sometimes Mama would let me open one on Christmas Eve. :)

19. The most annoying thing about this time of year? - Money being tight, the rush and the crowds sometimes.

20. What I love most about Christmas - The time with family, friends, and the whole spirit of Christmas! I love the magic of the season. :)

Monday, December 07, 2009

I'm back! Sorta of!

WHOA.
What a stinking semester it has been.
When I started this blog, I decided to write for myself, just because I'm one of those reflective types who write to hash out what's in my head. Since then (and it's been two years since I started this blog!) I've been fortunate to get a handful of followers who think my measly little thoughts, stories, and musings are interesting enough to read on a regular basis, and to you guys I apologize for the last month of inactivity. As I warned, this has really, really been the hardest semester ever. Possibly the hardest months of my life. So I guess I should give a short synopsis of what I've been up to.
September- I really got into my field experience and began teaching. Basically, my schedule became MWF- Teaching, and TR- class all day long. It was tough, but Hubby and I got through it by sticking to schedules and taking weekends to go camping when we could.
October- I had my midterm exam in my field experience and was really happy with the results. I'm not gonna lie, my mentor was tough. She was not the type to just say "Good job!" and let that be it. She always had ideas for improvement and little things that made huge differences. And while my peers were teaching lessons planned by their mentors, I had to do all my planning. But I never got frustrated or anything because she was always great about encouraging and giving me positive feedback, plus it was obvious that I was learning and growing as a teacher. :)
On Halloween, we stayed home and I did homework of course, and we watched scary movies and waited on trick or treaters. Last year, we were out on Halloween because of my friend's wedding and the year before we had just bought the house and I hadn't moved it yet. SO, it was my first time handing out candy. There were only 3 kids, but I suspect it was mostly because of the rain and that next year will be better. :)
We also went camping in November and spent some time on South Mountain, taking a day trip up to Blowing Rock and got to see snow. I tried to balance all my work with school by taking time to do stuff like that.
November- Most of November was spent cooking and planning for Thanksgiving and doing school work. Lots of all nighters. My computer started going down hill. It stopped letting me log in to anything Google related, including blogger and gmail, so the only way to update the blog was to do it at school. It started getting worse and I lost a lot of school work. I cried a whole lot! Trying to finish my Thematic Unit was pure misery. By this point I also decided that I pretty much hated my English methods professor (really) as much as I tried to pretend and convince myself she wasn't that bad. Thanksgiving was great- oh and this may be TMI but I have to share- LAST Thanksgiving I decided to come off BCP and hadn't had a cycle since then (yes, a whole year!) and the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, almost one year to the day of my last cycle, surprise! It finally happened. :) It's a good sign my hormones may be getting ready to balance themselves out. Finally. Oh, and if you remember my crazy hunting accident from last year... how I ended up in the ER with stitches after shooting a gun, you'll remember that I have a slight fear of shooting guns as a result, and well, over the break I shot my 30-3O and got over the fear! It was great, but yeah, I could blog about those emotions in a whole new post, lol!
December- While it's only the first week, jeez, it seems like a whole month has happened in the last few weeks. Mama's birthday was the first, the same day as my major due dates for school so she said to just plan to celebrate it over the weekend, which was great for me because I was pretty much dead from all nighters. So this weekend, on Saturday, we went out and celebrated with a nice dinner to one of her favorite restaurants- oh and I got her a snuggie. :)
Friday, I had a nice little dinner party with some of our friends and cooked up a storm. Whitney, my best friend, drove up, and we cooked together. Since I am at the point in the semester when all the classes are done and all that's left is finals, we were able to take the time to just hang out and cook and there is nothing better than messing around in the kitchen and dirtying up every dish in the house with your best friend! We had soooo much fun. It was a great weekend. :)
Now, I'm on final exam mode. I have lots of studying to do, so that's my plan for the next week- study, test, study, test. But this weekend, we will be heading down to Whit's to go as her guests to the annual debutante ball where she was debuted our freshman year of college. And YAY! my dress is the dress I wore to Jake's winter formal his senior year (my sophomore year) of HIGH SCHOOL. It was simple and elegent and it still fits! :D I can't wait.

So that's my last few months. The changes I've felt and the ways I've grown and lesson I've learned is a whole nother post that will have to wait for another day. I have tons still to do and the Late Show is coming on already so I need to get in gear. I'll try to add some pictures as I can and update as I can, but sadly, my computer is still dead so I took it today to the IT people at school to see if they can salvage it. For now, I'm using Hubby's school laptop, but he has to take it back and use it himself, so I won't be able to be online as much. LOL, story of my life. No time to blog when I have a computer, and no computer when I do have time to blog. Oh well. I appreciate the patience this semester, and I can't wait to get back to dishing all my deep thoughts and wonders. It seems that this semester has been so hard, so valuable, and so... instrumental in changing me that I have a lot back to reflect back on, but yet, it's exhausted me so that I just don't have the energy to hash it all out. Hopefully after exams, things will be back to normal.

Love to all!