Monday, May 30, 2011

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

To Do 
After tonight, Lord willing, my after-school to-do list will be complete and my cleaning-out-the-apartment-to-get-ready-to-move and planning-middle-school-English-lesson plan lists can begin. Suddenly, that sounds like a lot of work. Hmm . . .

Moving On or Why Apartments Get Old Fast
There is nothing particularly nasty about our apartment. It's been a lovely "just married" nest. But it's time to go.
  • Having no room for bookshelves, my boxed up books are screaming to be released. And my closet is wailing to have all the book boxes removed. So, you know, I can actually walk to the back of it and really hang my clothes up so they aren't just leaning against box mountains. You may say this is a sign of too many books, and in response I say "There's no such thing as too many books." All that to say, I'm looking forward to bookshelves. And more space. Period. 
  • I also look forward to living without the paranoia that the neighbors hear everything. Including my early morning conversations with the cats. I've stopped singing all together because I don't want to irritate the neighbors. I can't jump around and dance because I might disturb the neighbors. I'm afraid to vacuum because it may be too early or too late for the neighbors. And those are the LEAST of my audio worries. Yikes. No one's complained, that we know of, but still . . . walls are only so thick . . . 
  • Not having to walk across a parking lot and up stairs with tons of groceries. 
  • No pet limitation. Now, before you think that I'm going crazy cat woman, no; our apartment complex has a two furball limitation. Meaning, with our two cats, a pup is just not an option here. There, it will be. And we are so excited. Oh please, Lord, let it be a good dog and not a furry case of chaos. Please please PLEEEEEEEEAAAAAASE.
  • Having a yard with flowers and a private dirt road for walking/running will be splendid. Here, if I run, it's in a tiny gym that may or may not be open or the single treadmill or elliptical occupied. Plant-wise? We have a potted bamboo plant that also serves as a cat chew toy. We wish it didn't.
    But my First Grade classroom parents just sent me home with this:
Favorite Flower. And WOW. LOVE!!!
The interesting thing with moving to "the cottage" is that the current renter can't find anything nice to say about it (the bugs, the water, the tile, the appliances . . . the list goes on). But the renter before her can't find anything bad to say about it--she says it was the most wonderful place ever and she and her family absolutely adored it. I think it has everything to do with attitude and very little with the 29-year-old cottage in the woods. At least that's what I'm hoping.

Where Flowers Bloom . . . 
Speaking of gardening and plants, we had a cookout at my parents, so I decided to take some snaps of Mum's flowers. She has butterfly gardens in the back and front yards, and I just love them. This is the time of year when everything is blooming and fabulous. No color editing on these because, really, God's artistic efforts are flawless.

Turtle Tale
Later this afternoon, the boys visiting and my baby sisters found a Gopher Tortoise. You can imagine the great excitement that ensued. That poor turtle.

No, we didn't hurt the turtle. It didn't even seem too upset.
Eager to escape, yes, but I don't think it was having a heart attack.
At least, I hope it wasn't.

Still how fun is this? And how CUTE is that tortoise?

Run little turtle! Run!
P.S. That little tail? Love. So awkwardly adorable

Can you find the turtle?
Another fun creature. Chris caught the shot of this skink and was pretty proud :]

Teacup Conversations Episode VII

Do you know what makes dieting extremely difficult? Having a husband who is bound a determined to thwart all my plans.
"Sarah, are you hungry? I think you are. Hmmm . . . how about Taco Bell?"
Oh cruel, cruel man to use my kryptonite against me. I can't help it if I salivate. That's like asking a cat to resist scratching/ruining the furniture. It just doesn't happen.
"Oh, wait? I think . . . a supreme chicken chalupa? Yes, chicken and cheese . . . and the sour cream . . . a touch of tomatoes and lettuce? Ah, yes perfection. Wait . . . maybe a chicken quesadilla? Chips and cheese? Yes, yes, yes. I think so."
"Nom, nom. no, no--NO!!! No!! I didn't mean to say that! Oh, crap! You're vile!"
Chris is dying. And grabbing his wallet. "So what will it be? Nacho Belle Grande or the Chalupa?"
"Neither! I'm not hungry!"
Chris lays his ear to my stomach. "VILE LIES!!! It speaks to me, and it says it needs Taco Bell!"
"No, it does not!"
"But you just said you were hungry! Come on, let's go get Taco Bell."
"I can't be eating this late at night! It won't leave!"
"Exactly! Now, let's go! You know you want the delicious chips and cheese. Mmmmmm. Chalupa. Come on, you're drooling. Chips and cheeeeeese . . ."

How could anyone lose weight under such conditions?!
But yes, in case you're wondering, I resisted.

We just stayed up watching Weird Al music videos instead.
Because we're such grown ups.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Friday Favories

friday favorite things | finding joy

Natural Beauty
Don't you love a good, healthy way to be beautiful? Yeah, me, too :]
Yes to Carrots Inc.--an organic beauty product company--has stolen my affections and devotion. Sorry Pantene and Nexxus. Sorry St. Ives. This stuff just can't be beat.  I'm not one for bandwagons, but this whole organic trend is starting to make sense. Or maybe I'm just being brainwashed. There's always that possibility, right? But seriously, I started using their tomato facial wash over a month ago, and I have had maybe three zits. This is a big deal, peeps. It's not a harsh wash, like I used to think I needed for my oily skin, but gentle and effective. I'm trying their carrot shampoo out, and I can tell a difference just in one wash. Ever since using Aveda shampoos, the non-organic stuff just feels stiff and dirty. I needed a less expensive but equally awesome natural wash, and voila! Yes to Carrots!
They can be found in your local drug store, grocery store, or on their website--no trip to a fancy salon!--and most products are $10.00 or less--Yay! Money!
Anyways check out the company and all of their fabulous, all-natural, no-cruelty products on their website 

We've Got Class
So these are some images of my first grade class. Golly, I am going to miss all of these sweet cuties. These kids and their families really have blessed my life and taught me so much. I'm excited about moving up to middle school, but very little in this world beats having seventeen kids beg for hugs, draw you masterpieces, and proclaim their love day after day. Oh, and have I mentioned that they're hysterical??
Here are some pictures I took the last week of school. Really going to miss all of these lovely faces!

The whole shebang. They're masters at silly faces

Picture Book Character Costume Day! We had secret agents, a bounty hunter, a pirate, a luau dancer, cats, a tea-party-goer, Brigid from Purple, Green and Yellow, a ballerina, a dalmatian, a fish, and Fancy Nancys. So much fun!
I couldn't convince him that Boba Fett was cooler than Jango Fett, but hey, this costume was fabulous. And, seriously, his "best bounty hunter pose" is intense, right?
Reading our picture books :]

Ok, so not only is this one of the cutest costumes ever on one of the cutest little girls ever, but this book, Purple, Green, and Yellow by Robert N. Munsch is fabulous. On an unrelated note, an almost as wonderful book (especially for cat lovers) is Slinky Malinki by Lynley Dodd is so much fun.

"Give me your best Captain Jack pose!" And, really, he didn't do half bad :]
My Fancy Nancys
Could I have asked for a better group my first year teaching? I think not :}

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Letter to My Car

Dear '02 CRV,

You've always been my favorite. No, really. Well, after the dreams of VW Bug, Mini Cooper, and '57 Chevy, but those are behind me, now, I promise. You are the only car for me.
So why on earth do you insist on making life difficult, dear vehicle?
I've never let you run out of gas, and I do my best to keep you tidy. I even give you a little window scrub every time we stop by the gas station just to keep you beautiful. I always bring you to necessary check-ups and oil changes without hesitation. I've even gifted your windshield with a Mystery Science Theatre 3000 decal to let everyone know just how cool you are.
A year ago, you decided to give me the silent treatment. You isolated yourself from the remote, deciding you needed to be an individual, and I had to unlock you with the key instead. Your alarm never went off, not once. I saw it as aging gracefully, dear lil Honda. Apparently not.
When you realized that the silent treatment was not giving you what you wanted, you decided to start screaming at me randomly. In public. How un-embarrassing. I love having everyone stare at me as they observe me breaking into and stealing my own car. Not.
Sometimes, it's if I unlock the passenger door, first. Other times it's the drivers side. Sometimes, it's not until I flip the "unlock" switch so I can load my groceries in the back seat. Today, you started shrieking when I got OUT of the car . . . as in you had been running with all the doors unlocked, I turned you off, opened a door, and you went car-banshee on me.
Seriously?! Really, dear, these games need to stop. You still haven't made up with the remote, and we need to work on that. I'll find a good counselor if you need, or maybe just a new battery.
I'll pamper you a bit more, if you need, but please, understand, while I'm at this apartment, I'm limited to shaking out the rugs and window scrubs at 7-11.

So please, for the love of God. SHUT. UP.

The person who keeps you running

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish . . . "

The entire time I was at Sea World, this phrase/song kept flashing through my head.

You want to know what's sad? Sea World shows used to be as awesome as they are in that video. BUT there was an accident . . . involving a Killer Whale . . . that resulted in a tragic drowning of a trainer. Rather than stop the program and lose income, the organization decided it would continue the shows but very few if any trainers would get in the water. So they've compensated with lights, fountains, and acrobatics in colorful but dorky costumes. It used to be educational and now it's . . . Disney wannabe. But, I digress.Still, it's my favorite park. The aquariums are wonderful, and the park itself is beautiful. If you can, GO. It's fabulous.

Most out-of-towners assume that Orlandonians like myself spend every weekend at the parks. The first misconception is that we go all the time. (Do you know how much a ticket costs? How much an annual pass costs? And you think I have that kind of money?? Pffffft, you're silly). The second is that we go on weekends. But if you've lived in the theme-park world long enough, you learn a few tricks. Having been a summer employee of a major park for five years, I think I'm giving you the inside scoop. Usually we charge for that, but I'll let it slide.

  1. If you can, pick a weekday. When school's in session. You'll run into lots of international tour groups, but the crowds will be so incredibly minimal compared to attending during a summer Saturday. Of course, this may be unavoidable . . . which is why peak season is the way it is. Oh well. No harm trying. 
  2. Minimal clothing . . . within the realm of decency. However, most people skip the decency part . . . including people you never ever EVER wanted to see missing bras or in shorts too tiny. I learned more about anatomy working the park registers than school could have ever taught me. *shudder*
  3. Never ever EVER wear white or really light colors if you plan on riding water rides or sitting in splash zones.Sure, it's cute, but so is that turquoise underwear underneath that everyone's staring at. Yup. Try to cover THAT up. 
  4. If you see a mass of bright yellow spandex, avoid at all costs. Turn around. Hide in corners. Take an alleyway. These are the Brazilian Tour groups. They are infamous for a reason. They're a locust swarm in disguise.
  5. SUNSCREEN. You will burn. 
  6. You will be overcharged. For everything. Most of which, you can find at Wal-Mart for a quarter of the price. Just accept it. 
  7. It doesn't matter which park fast food joint you choose, it will all taste the same. The healthy stuff tastes worse because they don't know what that is. Fancy in-park restaurants, though, are delightful. And overcharge.
  8. Somewhere, somehow, you WILL be standing next to someone who doesn't believe in deodorant. Brace yourself. 
  9. The jump-the-long-line passes? Not worth the arm and the leg they charge you. Sometimes, it works out, but, as a clerk, I was always ASTOUNDED at what people would pay to be impatient. Yes, the lines are long, but, if you see Point 1, that can be avoided. 
  10. DRINK WATER. While soda and other sugary drinks taste great, they will dehydrate you rather than hydrate. You will find yourself feeling worse or even sick. Gatorade/Powerade and other drinks with electrolytes can be the exception, but, still, nothing beats good ole H2O.
And now for the oodles of pictures of Chris's free birthday trip to Sea World. So much fun!

Mandatory "Cute in the car on the way" pic

Stingrays are my absolute FAVORITE. I could stay at this exhibit ALL DAY. No joke. They're like flat, slimy puppy dogs. LOVE.
The Mime before the Seal Lion and Otter Show. He seriously must have the best job ever. He gets paid to make fun of people. And the crowd loves it. Best part of the show.

Jellies are also a big fav. There's no editing on either of these pics. They're just that gorgeous

Chris at dinner at the Sharks Grill. It's a restuarant located beside/inside a giant shark tank. Loved the atmosphere--low lighting, smooth jazz, and nature's greatest predators side by side. Oh, and the food: DELISH. So worth the price.
I don't know what these are, but they WILL be grown outside "the cottage"

There were five different whales performing. Such awesome and beautiful creatures. 
And that's Sea World via Boccis' pics. :]
Next post will be picture heavy, too, I'm afraid, but with my first grade students in costume. Let the cuteness begin!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Husbandry and the Like

Nearly all marriages, even happy ones, are mistakes: in the sense that almost certainly (in a more perfect world, or even with a little more care in this very imperfect one) both partners might be found more suitable mates. But the real soul-mate is the one you are actually married to. 
--J. R. R. Tolkien
All love that has not friendship for its base, is like a mansion built upon sand.
--Ella Wheeler Wilcox
So this is the hubs . . .

Today's his birthday . . . and these are the reasons he's awesome:

  •  He loves Jesus totally and completely, and is passionate about both the love of Christ and justice. His faith is constantly challenging and encouraging me.
  • He plays guitar . . . really, really well. Sometimes, he'll play to put me to sleep. 
  • He has a witty response for absolutely everything. It's hysterical and maddening all at once, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
  • The man sticks to his guns. Once he's taken a stand, it takes the power of God to move him. 
  • He's sensitive--he laughs with me, cries with me, holds me when I desperately need it, even when I don't realize it.
  • Well . . . *wink* . . . and I'll leave it at that. 
  • He gets along wonderfully with my family, and loves that I love them, that we're close
  • I cannot count the times every day that he tells me I'm beautiful, that he loves me, that I'm the only girl he'll ever love. 
  • He's spontaneous, which gives little planner me the joy of surprises and just being random. Love it. 
  • He makes mistakes, and he apologizes for them and tries to fix them.
  • If we fight (and we do), he's the first to try to fix it.
  • He challenges me to be a better person. I may not always like to hear it, but I need to, and he's so often right. 
  • He loves it that I'm wacky. I can be myself around him with no shame whatsoever. 
  • He is a total and complete nerd. And golly, I love it. 
  • He has great taste in t-shirts  . . . which means my wardrobe kind of doubled
  • He is absolutely fabulous with kids
  • The man's a thinker--not a "I think I'm intelligent so I'm going to act like I am and come off as a total moron" thinker, but honest to goodness thinker. Sometimes his ideas are a little extreme, but he has a good argument for them. I thought I was good at debate until I met Chris, and goooooollyyyy I don't hold a candle to this man. 
  • His hair. I love his hair. And his eyes -- dark, shaggy hair and big, expressive, yellow-green eyes. Totally my ideal dream combination. 
  • He actually helps with housework. I never have to worry about cat litter, putting away leftovers after dinner, or garbage because he takes care of it.  Sometimes, he'll scrub the kitchen spotless or fold laundry just to surprise me if I've been at work or running errands all day.  
  • He's Chris, and that means he's just awesome. Period. 
I could go on . . . but I have a feeling you've already puked due to excessive ooey-gooey coupleness.

Happy Birthday, Chris. Love you like crazy!

Our first "couple" pic, Thanksgiving 2006

P.S. You are now two years away from the big 3-0 . . .

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Favorites

friday favorite things | finding joy
Check out Rachel' s delightful patch of blogdom, Finding Joy. You will be blessed :]

The End is Nigh . . . 
Today was our last Friday. Our last extracurricular day. Most of it was spent rehearsing for the "E-Zone Extravaganza" tonight in which almost every class will either display their work or perform . . . or both. Oh, and we spent all day signing t-shirts. The kids all wear a designated E-Zone t-shirt (aka a casual uniform of blue jeans and that special T), and, the last day of the year, they sign them. Did I mention they signed mine, too? I have notes like "I like you so much" and "You're the Best Teacher." Love my kids.
But I'm glad it's over. I was in bed by 2:15 and slept until 6:30. WOW.

Tuesday is our official last day, and, in first grade, we're having a costume party. We're dressing up as our favorite picture book characters. Chris was kind enough to pick up this little gem for me:

 A. if you're a redhead or have freckles or both, this book is beyond adorable. Props to Ms. Moore for not only performing beautifully on screen but on writing such a delightful romp of childhood :]
B. Easiest costume EVER. I just show up in a ponytail with a cute top, jeans, and flip flops and TA-DA! It's a shame my make-up covers my freckles. I suppose I'll just draw them on.

New Snacks
I am officially addicted. These were BOGO at Publix ,and good golly, I'm like a drug addict who's just rediscovered crack. I mean, anything with peanut butter is bound to be lovely. These are great. Totally satisfies any cravings for sweet and crunchy. Nom nom.

Speaking of new snacks . . . If you're trying to find a handy way to cut back on the pounds, try Instead of "dieting" by telling you to cut out certain foods, it lets you decide by counting calories. You tell it your goal weight and how much you want to lose a week, and it tells you a calorie limit. It's an easy program to use. Easy food-wise? Let's say it's a lesson in self control and self-discipline. I can have all of the flavor in a smaller portion OR workout to melt those calories away. I've been on it for a month and can already tell a difference. Now if I can just get the camera to do the same . . . hmmmmm . . .

This Guy
 That's "The Birthday Hat." Two years ago, one of our Japanese students bought it at Disney as a gift for my mom. It makes it's appearance every birthday. Chris's is Monday. Twenty-Eight, peeps. The man will be 28, as in 2 years away from 30. I like to tease him about that ;]
And this. This is a big favorite. Every time we go to my parents', Ellie begs Chris to play Legos with her. So he does. Love it.