Friday, December 31, 2010

How've You Been, 2010?

So! It's New Years Eve. Like many others, I have spent the day so far baking for our partay tonight, carefully selecting a resolution for 2011 (actually it was easy - I barely thought about it at all), and reflecting on the last year.

I will go more in depth on the latter here now.

2010 was a great year. Although, to be honest, I don't know if I've ever had an entire bad year. That would be sad. I'm sorry if you are someone who has an entire bad year.

ANYWAY, 2010. Yeah. Twas joyous.

January: It was cold. Lewis and I both started the final semester of our respective undergraduate degrees. Lewis began his student teaching experience in a fifth grade class with only sixteen students. Lucky.
Later in the month, we snowshoed up to the Y. I'd never snowshoed before, but I really enjoyed it.

February: Still cold.

March: Lewis finished up student teaching in a third grade class with lots more than sixteen students. We took a frigid trip to Idaho to paint my brother's room in my parents soon-to-be home. (And when I say frigid, I mean frigid. Their heater didn't work. I'm still cold just thinking about it.)

My mom and dad moved back to the states from Kenya. I went to a Michael Buble concert with my mom and aunts, which involved a white knuckle drive in some slippery, snowy weather. My first concert ever. (I know, right?) I was also offered an internship teaching fifth grade next year. Boo-yes.

April: Lewis and I teamed up for the Innovative Instruction competition hosted by the McKay School of Education at BYU. Although we were not selected as winners by the judges, we did win the People's Choice Award.

Lewis took over for a teacher on maternity leave. We both graduated from BYU - walked and everything!

May: Having graduated with a degree in human development, it was quite the challenge to head right back to school the next week so that I could finish up my post-baccalaureate teaching certification. The weather finally warmed up to the point where we could wear shorts and roll down the car windows (cause our air conditioner sucks) and then it snowed again. Poo.

June: Lewis was offered a job teaching fourth grade in Saratoga Springs.

Since my job is in Orem, we decided to move somewhere closer to the freeway so Lewie wouldn't have to commute so far. We found a lovely little condo in Pleasant Grove.
In honor of summer and how we love it so, Lewis and I took a morning to hike up Y mountain and back down the other side. I stepped in a creek and soaked my socks. It was hot and we got scratched. I loved every second of it.

We also spent some time in Park City and Salt Lake. We went to the Children's Museum and the Church History Museum and had awesome Thai food at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant.

Lewis and I both attended Alpine School District's Summer Institute, learning how to be grood teachers.

July: We officially moved and discovered that we hate moving! Yuck.

Fourth of July weekend was lovely. I kind of enjoyed that the fourth was on a Sunday. That meant we celebrated three days instead of just one. We watched the Stadium of Fire fireworks on Saturday, enjoyed reflecting on our freedoms on Sunday, got sunburned at the parade, baked patriotic goodies, overate at a barbecue, and oo'd and ah'd at Streetium of Fire on Monday. Word.

A few days after Independence Day, I participated in a girls retreat with my sister-in-law and co up in Park City. Those ladies know how to party, letmetellyouwhat.

With my mom just up north in Idaho, we went up there to visit a lot. In our Toyota 4runner that is lovely indeed, but as I mentioned before, rather stinky in the department of air conditioning. Twas worth it, however.
July also brought Steve Jobs into our lives. That's the name of the 2005 Subaru Legacy we purchased quite literally the day we got back from an Idaho trip. I was to the point that I would take anything with AC. But I'm glad we got Stevie. I love him.

Also in July (busy month, right?), I quit the job I've had for the last four years. It was a bittersweet, but mostly just sweet egress. I'm on to bigger and better things and that includes a salary.
The end of July was the annual Hirschi Family Reunion! It's an epic event, every year. I would tell you more about it, but unless you're an actual Hirschi (by blood or by marriage), you just wouldn't understand.

August: I believe the reunion spilled over into August, but even if it didn't, don't tell me. Immediately following the reunion Lewis and I were invited to go kayaking with some uncles, aunts, and cousins. I'd never been before and I sucked at it and I got a right nasty burn, but I loved it. So very much.
Lewis and I took a day trip to Island Park to visit the site of his family's old cabin. It's beautiful up there.

The fourth was my dear mum's birthday and she celebrated by getting hit by a drunk driver with my sister. Yay! Other than that, I think it was a good day. The wreck happened at the end of it, so it only ruined ice cream.
A couple of days after her big day, Lew and I went camping in Yellowstone for our second anniversary I was most unfortunately sick, but Lewis takes good care of me, even in a tent. Yellowstone was gorgeous as always and I got to enjoy parts of the park I'd never seen before, as well as the world's best fudgsicles. I'm eager to go again, but hopefully healthy this time.

On our actual anniversary, the sixteenth, I was in meetings all day in preparation for the upcoming school year (yay), but we did have a kick-a dinner which included a decadent white chocolate cheesecake.
And then the school year commenced! I was blessed with the very best class in the world, no joke. I don't know what I'm going to do next year. No way my students then will be able to compete.

September: School, school, school, school, school, school, school. My school held their annual Fall Festival (a seriously big deal) to raise funds. I participated by getting dunked by my students in the dunk tank and driving kids crazily around on a golf cart. Lewis came to support me and ended up driving a golf cart too, which he adored. Also, he turned 27. Yay Lewis!

My dad came to visit from Iraq this month. The whole family (minus my brother-in-law, Benjamin - he had to do responsible things) went bumper boating. It was cold and wet and my water shooter didn't work properly, but I loved it.

October: My family came back down from ID to help me celebrate my 24th birthday (and my niece's 4th) on conference weekend. The next weekend, Lewis and I went up to Idaho for Evie's costume birthday party. Lewis and I went as Peanuts ghosts/Lucy and Charlie Brown which is what we were for Halloween last year, yes, but with the school year of crazy, we dealt with it.

Later that month we were introduced to a funny little thing called time off for Fall Break. It is a glorious thing that I recommend to all. We honored it by driving to Disneyland with Lewis' (almost) entire family. What followed was an epic adventure of rides, crowds, and being hit on the head by cast members in costume.

Of course we finished the month of by attending the Halloween party of all Halloween party hosted by one Luke Lewis. We went as Indiana Jones and Elsa Schneider.

November: For his birthday, I gave Lewis two tickets to the BYU/Colorado State football game in Fort Collins. We spent a weekend this month on a road trip for the game, spending two nights in Rawlins, Wyoming at a delightful Hampton Inn. The game was fantastic (we won) and the trip was wonderful.

November means Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving means pumpkin pie. We spent it in Idaho with my mom. She lovingly prepared a pie for me to enjoy when we arrived before the actual holiday, but my nemesis, the dog, got to it first. Luckily my mom is a pie maniac and there was plenty of pie left for the feast, although I was forbidden from touching any until then.

December: Christmas! Need I say more? I love the whole month of December.
For his birthday, my class Skyped my dad and sang to him. A few weeks later, he visited my class and told them all about Iraq and what he does there and presented us with a flag that he flew over his base in Iraq after we sang to him. So cool, right?
Just like Thanksgiving (having my family close by is a rare thing), we went up to Idaho for Christmas. I was (am) so grateful that neither Lewis nor I had to work over Christmas break (like the last two years) and could spend the whole time relaxing. Up in Idaho we took family pictures, enjoyed delicious foods at two Christmas feasts, sang carols at the nursing home, and participated in adventurous silly string and Nerf wars. Plus the ENTIRE family was there. All ten of us. It was absolutely thrilling.

And now it's New Years Eve. Whew. We made it through 2010. We'll be going out for sushi later tonight, and then attending a shindig with the Francises to ring in 2011. I made key lime bars, toffee crunch muffins, and a cheesy jalopeno bean dip and I have it on good authority that the other party snacks will be just as scrumptious. Can you go wrong with starting the new year like that? I think not!

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Twelfth Day of Christmas

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

12 logic puzzles
11 picture poses
10 avocado halves
9 picture outfits
8 cookie batches
7 kids a-screaming
6 Cougars scoring
5 pretty things!
4 lifeguard games
3 days of school
2 loads of wash
And a fifteen-dollar ice cream gift card!

Whew! I did it! The twelve day of Christmas are over and now I can really enjoy my Christmas vacation - not that I wasn't before.

Anyway, twelve logic puzzles. I got this logic puzzle app, which I love, and I completed my twelfth puzzle tonight. Actually, while I clicked on the app specifically so that I could count how many puzzles I had done so far just to see if I was close to twelve, I found that the one I was already working on was the twelfth. Life just works out that way sometimes, I suppose. Or maybe it was just a happy coincidence.

Either way, merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Eleventh Day of Christmas

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

11 photo poses
10 avocado halves
9 picture outfits
8 cookie batches
7 kids a-screaming
6 Cougars scoring
5 pretty things!
4 lifeguard games
3 days of school
2 loads of wash
And a fifteen-dollar ice cream gift card

Today we took our family pictures to which I alluded on the ninth day. These photos included eleven different poses (this is probably not exactly the right order):

1. Whole family
2. Andrew
3. Lewis and me
4. Cassie, Ben, and Evie
5. Evie
6. Joseph
7. Mom and Dad
8. Daniel
9. Just boys
10. Just girls
11. Whole family

You should be excited to see our family pictures when we get them. I know I am. We're funny people. The photographer thought so, anyway.

I'm pretty proud that I didn't have to scramble for the eleventh day and then thank my lucky stars that Tim Tams come in packs of eleven like last year. I even had more than one thing for the eleventh day, but this one works so I went with it.

Actually, this whole twelve days have been pretty easy. The biggest stretch was yesterday with the avocado halves, and Lewis pointed out that I could have done something about the ten people now in my parents' house, since Daniel arrived yesterday. Ah, well.

Anyway, tomorrow is Christmas Eve and the twelfth day... Here's hoping I didn't just jinx myself and that I can find something for day numero doce.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Tenth Day of Christmas

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

10 avocado halves
9 picture outfits
8 cookie batches
7 kids a-screaming
6 Cougars scoring
5 pretty things!
4 lifeguard games
3 days of school
2 loads of wash
And a fifteen-dollar ice cream gift card

Today for dinner, we decided to put together and appetizer buffet. Lewis and I decided to make some guacamole, which turned out amazing if I do say so myself. Other appetizers include a cheese ball, some pot stickers... And I don't know if there's anything else.

Anyway, we used five avocados for the guacamole and I cut each one in half and the sliced the halves individually. All ten of them. What.

It is the YOA, after all.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Ninth Day of Christmas

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

9 picture outfits
8 cookie batches
7 kids a-screaming
6 Cougars scoring
5 pretty things!
4 lifeguard games
3 days of school
2 loads of wash
And a fifteen-dollar ice cream gift card

Today my mom, sister, and I all went shopping for things for our family to wear for our family pictures that we will be taking later this week. It was a long and painful process, not because of the company or the task at hand, but because we spent far too long just looking for a sweater/nice shirt for my youngest brother. In the end, we decided to just not include him in the pictures. Just kidding.

Anyway, the nine is because I had a hand in picking out the outfits for nine of the ten people involved in the photo. Al l but my sister.

Hoo-rah, nine.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Eighth Day of Christmas

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

8 cookie batches
7 kids a-screaming
6 Cougars scoring
5 pretty things!
4 lifeguard games
3 days of school
2 loads of wash
And a fifteen-dollar ice cream gift card

Today, for the eighth day of Christmas, I made eight batches of cookies. Don't be so impressed. They were all from pre-made dough. I was just helping out mi madre and I ended up making eight batches of various cookies.

I also made a giant peanut butter blossom cookie with the giant Hershey kiss I received from one of my students. It just seemed like the logical thing to do.

I will include a picture of the epic cookie as well as fix the formatting of this post tomorrow. I'm on my iPad now and I can't do all that here. And my parents' dog is sleeping in the room with the computer, so there ain't no way I'm going in there to do it now. Deal with it.

Update: Facebook's mobile upload is being stupid, so I can't get a photo of the epic cookie onto the interweb without trying really hard so... maybe I'll post one later. Enjoy this other picture for now.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Seventh Day of Christmas

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

7 kids a-screaming
6 scoring Cougars
5 pretty things!
4 lifeguard games
3 days of school
2 loads of wash
And a fifteen-dollar ice cream gift card

We were in the nursery at church today. Lewis and I work in the younger nursery, which is usually quite a bit smaller than the older one. I guess it was still smaller today, but it was much bigger than usual. We had seven kids. Two left after just a few minutes because they couldn't stop crying (although one came back later and did pretty well) and one had to have her dad stay in the whole time.

Out of the other four, two did great, no problem at all; one did pretty okay, but got upset each of the three times he sat in the doll stroller and ended up on the floor, stuck in it's frame because it collapsed (that's right - three times); and the other one was okay until right at the end when he decided to miss his parents more.

I have dried tears, drool, and boogers on my blouse. But no blood! I call that a success.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Sixth Day of Christmas

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

6 scoring Cougars
5 pretty things!
4 lifeguard games
3 days of school
2 loads of wash
And a fifteen-dollar ice cream gift card

Today at noon, my boys in blue kicked off the 2010 NCAA football bowl season for everyone in the Who Cares Bowl - sorry - New Mexico Bowl against UTEP. I tried to be disappointed in our bowl selection, but the fact of the matter is that we're a six and six team in spite of how well we've played in the last seven games. I'm thanking my lucky stars that my Cougs made it to a bowl at all.

Plus we totally pwned UTEP, so... yeah.

I was hoping that BYU would score six touchdowns in the game so that I could use that or my sixth day. But... they scored seven. No complaints, though. I found a way to make it work.

Six different people are responsible for our 52 total points in this game (seven, if you count our QB, Jake Heaps, but I don't because it's the sixth day and he makes seven - I can't seem to get away from that number today):

1. Bryan Kariya, on a 4 yard run.
2. Luke Ashworth, on a 9 yard pass from Jake Heaps (we'll say Jake assisted, like in basketball)
3. Cody Hoffman had three, count 'em, three TDs (31, 3, and 29 yard passes, respectively - that kid is money)
4. JJ Di Luigi, on a 2 yard run.
5. Joshua Quezada, on an 8 yard run.
6. And of course, Mitch Payne kicked a field goal and all those PATs as well.

On the radio after, Greg Wrubell mentioned that the Cougs broke several school and individual football records, including most TD passes by a freshman QB (was 13 [Ty Detmer, as a redshirt freshman], is now 15 [Jake Heaps]), and most career points (was 333 [Owen Pochman] is not 334 [Mitch Payne]). We were hoping that the 333 point record was held by Matt Payne, Mitch's older brother. I could just imagine the ribbing that would come from that.

Anyway, it was a great game. Makes me really excited for the next season, although sad too because there's no more BYU football to watch this year. But then again, there is a lot of other football to watch, what with this being the first bowl game of the post-season and all.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Fifth Day of Christmas

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

5 pretty things!
4 lifeguard games
3 days of school
2 loads of wash
And a fifteen-dollar ice cream gift card

Today was the last day of school for 2010. Ergo, I was showered with gifts by my students and fellow teachers. I feel like I could classify five of them as "pretty." Five pretty things.

The gifts I got included,

* A pair of earrings and necklace (made by the mother of one of my students)
* Gourmet hot chocolate in a mug
* A bath set with bubble, salts, lotion, and bath petals
* A plant that I am afraid of killing over the break, so I will take it to my father-in-law until January - he's good at plants.
* A Santa ornament
* A lovely cookbook
* Homemade fudge
* Homemade toffee
* Truffles
* Belgian chocolate covered cookies
* Homemade jam (berry plum)
* Fresh honey

And even more. I just don't feel like typing/remembering it all. Especially since Lewis got just as much if not more from his students, so basically... we're pretty spoiled.

And now it's Christmas break! I cannot put into words how happy this makes me feel. I don't have to work! I don't have to do ANYTHING! It's Christmas break!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Fourth Day of Christmas

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

4 lifeguard games
3 days of school
2 loads of wash
And a fifteen-dollar ice cream gift card

Today is Thursday, and we have P.E. on Thursdays. (Just Thursdays, you ask? Yup. Bummer, right?) Since it's the second to last day of school for the year 2010, I let them play an old favorite, "Sharks and Lifeguards." In this game, you have x number of sharks and x number of lifeguards. Everyone else sits on the floor with their legs under a parachute, shaking it. The shark trolls under the parachute, snagging unsuspecting swimmers (everyone else), by pulling them under the 'chute by their ankles. If you get pulled under, you become a shark yourself.

The lifeguards are their to save the swimmers from certain doom. If a swimmer feels a tug, they raise their hand and call for help. The lifeguard, if s/he can get there in time, will pull the swimmer back up.

The sharks always win.

Favorite moment from today: I wanted to increase the odds for my poor little swimmers and lifeguards, so we started out the last game with three lifeguards and just one shark. The lifeguards distributed themselves evenly around the parachute circle, waiting for the shark to make her move. She did it at exactly the right time, lying in wait until the lifeguards relaxed and then BAM! The smallest girl in my class was gone in the blink of an eye. It was amazing. You probably had to be there.

Anyway, great game for great kids. Especially since we have P.E. towards the end of the day so I didn't have to try and calm them back down again after.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Third Day of Christmas

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

3 days of school
2 loads of wash
And a fifteen-dollar ice cream gift card

(I had to blog this this morning, because if I waited until tonight, there would only be two days of school left.)

We have just three more days of school. Three days and then we're free. Free for two whole weeks. No lesson plans to write, no papers to grade, no kids to yell at... Just unadulterated freedom. I mean, I love my job and I love my students, but... Let's just say that Christmas break comes at exactly the right time. Towards the end of the break, I'm sure I will be missing my kids like crazy (they are the best students in the universe, no joke), but for now: THREE DAYS OF SCHOOL LEFT!!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Second Day of Christmas

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

2 loads of wash
And a fifteen-dollar ice cream gift card

You may be thinking, Alyssa - you do at least two loads of laundry every Tuesday! What's the big deal that makes it Twelve Days worthy? Well let me tell you what the big deal is. The next time it is Laundry Day, I will be on Christmas Vacation 2010!!!! WOOO! I've spent the last two Christmas breaks working full time. I am BEYOND delighted to spend all of Christmas break relaxing and spending time with family. PLUS, Lewis doesn't have to work either. What, what!

Although, to tell the truth, I will probably (definitely) have to do the laundry again before we leave for Idaho next week. Unless I want to travel with dirty clothes that is. (Hmm...) But still. Today is the official Laundry Day, so it counts. Finding numbered things for twelve days is hard.

Only ten days to go!

Monday, December 13, 2010

The First Day of Christmas

Well, it's that time of year again - the twelve days of Christmas. I've got to be honest: I might not make it all twelve this year, and I am CERTAINLY (probably) not going to find numbered things like I did last year. I am a first year teacher, after all. I'm busy.

Anyway, the first day of Christmas is bit of a bummer. On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

A broken into elementary school

Yep. My school was broken into last night. I won't go into detail (it just makes me feel icky), but it was definitely not a fun thing with which to be greeted this morning. I mean, even though my own classroom was not broken into, the whole idea of some creeps pawing through my workplace is just gross.

Not to mention the fact that these thieves were stealing from children. At Christmas. I mean come on. Who does that?

Gah, I can't allow that to be my first day! Not from my true love!

Okay, how about this. On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

A fifteen-dollar ice cream gift card

Even with the break in bummer, school wasn't all bad! We had a gift exchange at collaboration today and I ended up with a giant Symphony bar and a $15 certificate to Baskin Robbins. (There was a $10 limit, so props to whoever managed to snag this beauty and was willing to donate it to the cause. I'm just glad I ended up with it.)

The certificate does have a stipulation, however: All fifteen clams must be spent in one visit. So... who's up for some ice cream?

Yeah. That's a better first day than the break in.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Germs, Germs, Germs

I recently discovered that being a schoolteacher has made me a total germaphobe. I guess it all started back when I did my first cohort. Yep. I'll blame my mentor teacher from that practicum. She was pregnant and therefore freaked out about all kinds of potential germs for her baby. (Ironically, as I discovered when she got a substitute, she did not regularly wipe down her kidney table. The sub and I cleaned it off for her and the used Clorox wipes were gross.)

Anyway, she gave me all sorts of advice for keeping the germs off. Don't touch students' pencils, don't give hugs, and above all else, sanitize, sanitize, sanitize. Hand sanitizer was an absolute must at the start of the school year.

Now don't get me wrong. My students are very clean. Consciously, I am not really worried about getting any germs from them. But unconsciously? Well that's a different story. Unconsciously my old mentor teacher's fears got into my head. Especially since I hate, hate, hate getting sick. And it doesn't help that I am currently nursing my second cold in less than a month.

But now the germaphobia has spread into other things. I wince at touching the handrails to stairs. I hesitate at grasping public door handles to enter a building. I don't even like to unwrap my silverware from their napkin at restaurants because then I have nowhere to put the knife and fork but on the table. And don't even get me started on shopping! (Read: I'm going to start talking about shopping now.)

If you know me at all, you'll know I'm not a big shopper. I don't dress very stylishly because I don't like spending money and cute clothes are expensive (lame, I know). I like to look nice, but shopping is just so much work! And now germs have ruined even what little appreciation I had for buying new clothes. People touch those things! They put them on their germy bodies! Yuck!

Shoes are the worst. Feet are just gross. I know must shoe places provide little booties so that people can at least have some semblance of cleanliness. But a) those things are little, rip easily, and don't stay up, b) not everyone uses them, and c) people who just wear their own socks might have sweaty socks.

I think I just prefer to shop online. And then if what I order doesn't fit, I'm too lazy to send it back so whatevs.

Ahh, who am I kidding? I'll just have to suppress my wild, germy imagination and go get clothing when I need clothing. I'm slowly becoming a more snappy dresser anyway. Just ask my husband and the kick-a coat he boat me last night.

After all, I still go into buildings even when I think the doorknob is gross.

And in the end, even with all my clean habits (I love me some hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes), I'm still nursing my second cold in less than a month.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Fifth Grade Revolutionary War

You may not know this (I didn't until a few years ago, but that's just because I lived overseas for some of my elementary education, but I'm told that this is common knowledge for most people - wow that was a long explanation for incidental information), but fifth graders get to study American history. I say "get to" because let's face it - we've got some pretty darn good history in this here country.

In my fifth grade class this week, we are studying the Revolutionary War. As an introduction to that, I did something a little different today than I would normally do for social studies. We had a lesson on the lead up to the war that sort of lasted all day long. Now don't go thinking we forgot about math and reading and all those other important things. This lesson went really well around all that.

It is a lesson called "The King's M&Ms." The main objective of this lesson was to learn about taxation without representation. For classroom management purposes, I have a mug of popsicle sticks in my class, and each popsicle stick has the name of one of my students on it. This is a great tool for random selection. I used the popsicle sticks to select five students for this lesson. Two kids would represent tax collectors, two would be members of the British Parliament, and one would be King George III. Incidentally, all the names I drew from the sticks ended up being girls. Several boys were unhappy about this, but they could not deny the randomness of the popsicle sticks.

All the remaining citizens became colonists. Each colonist was given a small bag of M&Ms. Throughout the day, the King could ring the bell three times. When she did that, the members of Parliament would select a card from a stack I prepared beforehand and the tax collectors would collect an M&M from each colonist who met the criteria on the card. The cards said ridiculous things like "All wearing jeans," or "All with blonde hair." If anyone had a question about whether or not that had to pay up an M&M, I deferred to the King. After the tax collectors got M&Ms from everyone who owed candy based on the selected card, they would divvy them up. 50% of the revenue went to the king, 30% to the Parliament, and 20% to the tax collectors.

The first few times King George rang the bell, the students would pay up their M&Ms without a problem. Sure, some of them would complain, but they would pay in any case. Slowly, however, some small rebellions began.

I noticed one boy grinning at me suspiciously. When I asked him what was going on, he whispered to me, "I stole the bell. Don't tell." The King didn't know how to call for a taxation without the bell, so instead she promised two M&Ms if whoever stole it returned it right away. That was enough for the bell-snatcher (the bell got stolen several more times, but the King and Parliament always found a creative way to call for taxes).

Several other students tried to bribe the King, Parliament, and tax collectors so they wouldn't have to pay. This only worked some times.

Other students began talking about ways they could rebel, making references to their knowledge of the Boston Tea Party and the Revolutionary War.

After a while, we started running low on cards (tax cards as we called them), so I let the king and the parliament write out a few more. They wrote out several specifically targeting people they knew were involved in revolution talks. This squashed those ideas, but only briefly.

By lunch, two of the colonists had successfully bribed the King into letting them work as slaves rather than pay taxes. This let them be involved in the government's plans for how to tax the people the best. The government faction decided to meet back in the classroom after they ate to work out how to best prevent any revolutions from starting.

Unfortunately, the beginning part of lunch recess was deemed an inside day, so the government faction was met with three-quarters of the colonists when they entered the classroom. They chose to defect to the library because of the sheer numbers of the colonists. The colonists took this as a victory and tried to rally and form a plan. This became a challenge for the handful of kids who felt passionately about the need for a revolution as many of their fellow colonists were apathetic about the idea. Once the front office told everyone it would be an outside day after all, many colonists decided they would rather play football or four square than play a revolt.

The few colonists that did stay, however, brainstormed a variety of ideas for rebelling/overthrowing the Brits. One girl had the idea (from the book her literature circle is reading, in fact!) to have all the rebels sign a Round Robin. This is a petition that everyone signs in a circle so that nobody's name is on top so you can't tell who started it. This would have been a fantastic idea were it not for the fact that the government sent spies to find out who was organizing the revolution.

The spies took this information back and the government quickly began making tax plans that would target the rebel leaders.

The rebels, on the other hand and to their credit, decided that the best way to escape the taxation was to challenge the King and members of Parliament to a game of either four square or chess, winner take all. This would have been a brilliant plan... had the government been willing to accept.

When class started back up again after lunch recess, the taxation began again and with a vengeance. Several colonists decided straight up to just not pay. This caused the government to put them in jail (a spot on the floor where they had to sit and complete their assignments. They could only move from that spot if invited by a member of the government or by me). The tax collectors and parliament members gave the jailbirds several chances to be freed, if they would simply pay double or triple taxes.

At this point, what with all the taxation going on, many students started getting upset. They came to me complaining that the whole thing was unfair. My response? "Exactly. It is supposed to be unfair because it was unfair for the colonists. That's what made them rebel and start the Revolutionary War." (There was a point that I stopped everyone and reminded them that this was all pretend and to not get too emotionally involved. They're just little guys, after all.)

I don't know when it happened, exactly, but I discovered that one of my tax collectors started sympathizing with the colonists and began to play a role as a double agent. This just added another level of authenticity to the simulation.

At the end of the day, I had everyone pass in their M&Ms (what few they had left), re-divvied them up so that each table got the same amount, and allowed the kids to munch on them while we debriefed the simulation. Each of the students had a worksheet where they were to be writing down their feelings about what was going on throughout the day. Several students spoke up about how unfair they felt that it was. We connected these feelings to how the colonists felt when they were being taxed without representation. We discussed what taxes are and what they are used for - and how they were being abused by the King of England and Parliament in the 1700s. We touched briefly on the Boston Tea Party and how that was such a significant act of rebellion.

The worksheet included a few other questions that I gave the students time to fill in. I asked the students who represented government officials to answer the questions from the colonists' point of view - and was surprised and rather touched by the level of their empathy towards the colonists. They had fun collecting taxes, but they were aware of the toll it took on their classmates.

The last question on the worksheet was a deep one and I was impressed with the sensitivity and sympathy with which my students answered it: Would you be willing to go to war over this issue? Why or why not? All of my students said that yes, they would be willing to go to war over it, but with the caveat that they would be safe or, more commonly, that their family would be safe. This segued into a discussion about what risk is and what makes something worth the risk. The kids connected this back to their ideas of challenging the government to four-square or chess. Each side had to genuinely believe that they had a shot at winning for the risk to be worth it (probably the biggest reason why the government peeps rejected the proposition). On top of that, the colonists had to be positive that what they were fighting for was worth the risk of all-out war.

This was a really cool activity. True, it was not the most fun for a lot of my students. I'm pretty sure many of them full-on hated the simulation because of the injustice of it all (here's looking at you, colonists). But boy-oh-boy, it was effective. My students didn't just read about the Revolutionary War. They got a taste of what the actual colonists felt that incited the revolution. There are things I would change if I taught it again (I'm already making plans for next year's simulation - fingers crossed I'll be teaching fifth grade again), but the outcome of the lesson as is was exactly what I was hoping for.

Plus in the end, all the kids got to eat M&Ms. I've found that nothing brings divided 10- and 11-year-olds back together into a team better than candy.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

I'm in Love with a Boy

Three years ago today, I was dating a guy. Not the guy I married, but a guy. At the time I probably wouldn't have admitted it, but now I can fully and without embarrassment admit that he was a rebound. From another guy.

Anywho, back to three years ago today. A friend of my roommate's had invited us all to his Halloween party which, to hear my roommate tell it, was going to be legendary. And epic. And overall not one to be missed.

That wasn't enough to convince my boyfriend, who had to do something I had heard my professors talking about once... homework I think it's called. Whatevs. I was cool with it. I'd go without him.

Unconsciously I was very much not cool with it, as was evident by my over-zealous (for me) effort to put together a super awesome Little Red Riding Hood outfit. I even put on lipstick. Lipstick, people! This was a big deal.

We went to the party which was legendary and epic and not one to be missed. Especially so since I met this new guy, who was dressed as a Village People-esque Fireman, and who gave me the attention that I was missing from my homework-doing boyfriend of the time. And also other-party attending boyfriend. After finishing his homework, he apparently went to a different party, one that was being thrown by some girls in his ward. Oh no you didn't.

(In hindsight, I'm sure the other party was perfectly innocent. But come on, dude. The whole relationship was a rebound. You can't do such things. They upset the fragile balance.)

So this attention thing was nice. And in my passive aggressive awesomer-than-thou state, it was just what the doctor ordered to turn a happenstance meeting into something great. Plus since he was clearly dividing his time between me and my roommates (see picture), it was all allowed. Right? Right.

Halloween 2007

Two years ago today, my dear husband and I had been married for a few months. This legendary and epic and not one to be missed Halloween celebration was going down again. We went as the classic Atari game of Pong, which in my humble opinion did not get as much credit as it deserved. It was excellent. But we didn't care; we were newlyweds and crazy about each other.

Halloween 2008

One year ago today we three-peated our tradition. The venue was unusual - the regular locale was unavailable - but the party elements were all present. Me and this guy with the unfailing attention presented a double-whammy with our costumes: We went as Peanuts ghosts AND Charlie Brown and Lucy (under the ghost sheets). We were still newlyweds and still crazy about each other. Life was good.

Yesterday we enjoyed out fourth Halloween party together. We've been married for over two years and are still considered newlyweds by many. Not to be cheesy (read: cheesy part coming next), but it feels like we've been married only like a week and yet we've known each other forevah all at the same time. (Yeccch. That was hard to get out.) This year we went as Indiana Jones and Elsa Schneider. (From Last Crusade. The Nazi chick.) A lot has changed over the past three years, and not just for us but for the plethora of people involved in making the annual Halloween fiesta legendary and epic and not one to be missed. I am eternally grateful (Yuck. Cheesy pun.) that I did not miss it. Cause I'm crazy about this guy who gave me attention. And continues to give me attention every day. In fact, I love him.

Halloween 2010

The moral of the story? Find a girl you like and pay attention to her. It worked for me, anyway!

A special thank you goes out to Luke for hosting the party in question, Mary for making me go, and Becca for being a part of our couch pictures and making the initial attention okay. And to Lewis cause he's just great. I'm crazy about you, dude.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

So Pretty Much My Students are the Bomb Dot Com

As you are probably not aware, social studies is not a tested subject in the elementary grades. Because of that, it often gets forgotten or overlooked by teachers. Math matters. Science matters. Heaven knows reading and writing matter. But social studies? Eh.

Personally I feel strongly about the importance of social studies. That's where you learn how to live in this lil world of ours. It provides a lot of the 'social' learning in school, if you will. Through social studies, kids learn how to be citizens of, well, life. It's pertinent, mmmkay?

But the fact remains that it is not tested and there's barely enough time to cover the stuff that is. I mean, school's been in session for a week and I'm already behind (ssh, don't tell). So what do you do? Integration, integration, integration. Anywhere you can integrate social studies into the curriculum, you do. Need to teach geometry? Use Native American tribal art. Looking for a quality book for a guided reading group? Historical fiction comes in all reading levels. Trying to develop class rules at the start of the year? Create class rights and responsibilities, just like old pros known as our Founding Fathers did.

I started the year with the goal of integration already in mind. I was very fortunate to be placed on a team of teachers who all make a concerted effort to integrate socials studies into the other subjects. As the school year began, I felt reasonably prepared to integrate social studies.

I was less prepared, however, for a class that accepted my integration efforts so easily and smoothly. I've been explicit with them about how we're studying American history and government this year so we are going to base a lot of things off of that. And my students, my fabulous, phenomenal, fifth graders not only accepted that as a way of life (of class?), but they welcomed it, embraced it, and improved upon it.

In an effort to make my class a democratic one, I've encouraged a lot of class discussion and even debate on various things throughout class. I feel like I've been successful with this. My students have responded well. One even pointed out that what we were doing was
Iike what the founding fathers did and what our lawmakers do all the time (albeit perhaps more civilly). Point one for integration.

Earlier this week, my students asked if they could hold elections for a class representative. I told them I would think about it. And then they just wore me down with their incessant and remarkably fantastic arguments about why they should hold these elections. So I told them everyone who was interested in running for the position could submit to me a report detailing what they would do as class representative and I would pick two students to run (we'll vote for a new representative each month).

In the reports I was expecting things like, "I should be class representative because I'm awesome and it I was we would have recess all day and parties [this is a very pro party class] and so you should pick me.". What I got were well thought out reports, full of reasonable and really quite good ideas for improving our class.

It was incredibly hard to pick the students to run for the position. Each of the reports submitted was quality. I only selected the students I did because they both had ideas that I'd like to see implemented at the beginning of the year. The next step was for each of them to give a speech convincing their peers to vote for them.

Again I had just average expectations. Again, they were exceeded. I wish, I wish I could post the videos I took of their speeches. They were so good. One girl gave a speech about how we are a team and used a really great football analogy to illustrate her point. The other wrote a big long poem about her ideas, read from a Santa's list-length scroll. Awesome. Just awesome.

Two other students sacrificed their recess to make a voting booth so that everyone could cast their ballots privately, and a representative was elected in a fair and valid manner. The whole thing was so incredible and I am beyond proud of all my students.

I met with my new representative and vice representative today to talk about ideas and implementation. One of the first ones they brought up? Integrating service projects and class social events into our curriculum. Bless them.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

This is my Friday Night

Well it looks like I survived my first week of teaching (okay just three days). Not only that, though, I LOVED it. I know that I'm still in the honeymoon phase with my kids and that their eager to please teacher attitude won't last, but I really do think they are just a fantastic group of ten-year-olds. Really quite splendid. And even though I'm bone tired, I've just been loving every second of teaching.

Some highlights:

-One of my identical twins told me that he and his brother like to play tricks and change places, but I'll know when it's happening cause they can't stop giggling (I made a mental note here of things to include in sub plans).

-Quite possibly the tiniest girl in my class declared in her "Student Interest Sheet" that she is an avid hunter. Later when we wrote personal narratives about birthdays, she talked about how she wanted her mom to let her make a pinata out of a deer carcass and fill it with red candy. Yep. (Her mom didn't let her and she had to settle for a pony pinata with antlers attached that everyone shot with arrows before they beat it with a bat. Yep.)

-My parents sent me these lovely flowers as a surprise on my first day.

When the secretary brought them in, one girl said, "Oh, they're from me. I wanted to be teacher's pet."

-I taught my kids that when I say, "Give me five!" when they are standing in line, they are to assemble themselves into a perfectly straight, perfectly silent line. When I went to pick them up from recess yesterday, they watched for me at the door and then got into a five line without me asking, just as a surprise. Bless them.

-During the open house on the night before school started, a parent overheard one of my girls saying to another, "You'll like her. She's pretty." (Yes, I am vain like that).

-We've had some rather deep discussions on what our rights and responsibilities are in this country and then connecting those to what our rights and responsibilities are in our class. This is certainly a bright bunch of students.

-We had an impromptu discussion on acronyms. I let them guess what FBI stands for (several students yelled out, "Police!") and when I told them the B was a French word, they started guessing things like baguette and bonjour.

A lot more happened, but I don't want to bore you to death with things that I've found to be adorable. So pretty much just know... it was an awesome, awesome week. Three days.

When we came home last night, Lewis and I were both beyond exhaustion. Lewis fell asleep for an hour and then made macaroni and cheese for dinner (healthy, no?). At ten o'clock we were both pretty much just sitting there staring off in to space. But in the spirit of Friday night is date night, we tottered off to Macey's to get some Ben and Jerry's. Then we watched an episode of a TV show on Netflix, read a chapter of Harry Potter, and were dead in bed by 11:30, lamenting the fact that we stayed up so late. Yep, we're the vision of youth and vitality. Mid-twenties, you know.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bring it on.

It's okay. I'm better now. I met all but ten of my students tonight at my school's open house and they did not eat me. In fact they were quite delightful, as were their parents. Downright adorable (the kids, not the parents). I'm sure my preparation and confidence will wane within the next few hours, but for now I feel like I can do it. I can teach.

Monday, August 23, 2010


I changed my mind. I don't want to teach. I want sit at home all day, eat bonbons, watch soap operas, and get fat. This teaching thing? Not for me. I'll be bad at it.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Look Out Students... Class Just Got Cooler

There I was, minding my own business, when my principal rolls a cart into my classroom bearing this:

A bona-fide Epson computer projector. Quality, people. Quality.

As he described it, our school was finally given the go-ahead to join the 21st century. Each classroom now has one. Basically it means my class will be tons cooler. I don't know how yet because I didn't think there was a prayer in the world that I would get a computer projector (heck, I just recently commandeered an overhead projector!) so I haven't been planning on having one, but never fear students... This technological beaut will be used frequently.

Now if only I could get my hands on a Promethean Board...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Grizz was in the Navy

So the other day I was in my classroom working on stuff for the upcoming school year (seeing as school starts in a week - gasp, gulp, gasp - I've been doing that a lot). As I was sitting there writing names on popsicle sticks or something, I hear a pint size voice from my doorway say, "Hi Miss Young." (I have a nameplate above my door.). I turn to find a little boy, maybe a first or second grader, just hanging out at my door as if it's the most natural thing in he world.

I greet him and ask his name (Jared). I start to ask him how his summer is going, but he talks over me to tell me that the hat he is wearing is fifty years old. And that it's from the Navy (which, funnily enough, I had deduced from the fact that it said "NAVY"). He obviously was very excited to be wearing such an accessory and was bursting to expess the awesomeness of it to anyone he met. That doesn't exactly explain what he was doing roaming the halls of Foothill Elementary two weeks before school starts, but never fear, he did not go unclaimed. An older sister appeared to collect him shortly after our conversation began, but not after I validated how fantastic his hat was.

My point is... I'm excited to be spending so much time in a place with such uninhibited beings, who get excited fit to burst about the little things in life like that Navy hat which I'm sure Jared begged his dad for weeks to let him wear just this once. Because, well... I get excited about those kinds of things and want to share them with whoever I see too, okay? So eat it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Two True

In honor of our second anniversary, here are the top two reasons why my marriage is awesome, cause srsly. Have you met Lewis? He's pretty much as awesome as a husband can get and that's no lie. I like him lots and so I'm glad we wed two years ago.

(In no particular order):
1. Lewis gets as excited about I do about the little things in life, especially when it comes to teaching.. Mmm curriculum mapping... Ooh yeah management plans.
2. For my birthday last year, Lewis bought me a KitchenAid. This morning I made a white chocolate cheesecake with it. Nuff said.

Happy anniversary Lewie! You plus me equals us.

Friday, August 13, 2010

I'mma Be a Professional

Dear beloved blog readers,

First, an apology: I have left you without for over a month. I am truly sorry that you have had to go so long without the blessed opportunity to read my words.

Second, a justification: Dude. In less than two weeks, I will have 25-30 young souls in my care for 6.5 hours a day, 5 days a week. So eat it. I've been a little busy.

Third, another apology: That was rude. I'm sorry.

Fourth, a request: I am taking a break from developing my first-week-of-school class schedule to write this post to ask for your help. If you were a brand new fifth grader, what would you like to do during your first week of school? What did you do during the first week of school back in the day when you were a small child? If you teach/have ever taught, what did you do with your students during the first week of school?

Thanks readers. You are all gentlemen and scholars, lacking merely education and couth.

Sorry. That was rude too.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Thrilling Conclusion! Or is it?...

I realized that I hadn't ever posted the conclusion to my microwave drama story (parts 1 and 2).

On the very same day that I renounced all my old microwave ill will, Lewis' mom bought us a brand spankin' new microwave for graduation. With all the bells and whistles. And it pops popcorn beautifully. Yeah. Karma works that fast.

So we've been enjoying this new microwave for the past few months. Some popcorn here, a microwave s'more or two there, maybe a bit of defrosted chicken or ground beef. And this microwave heated them all to perfection. What a champ.

The moral of the story is that karma is a downright ho bag when you disrespect shim. But when you are kind to karma and you give karma karma's dues, karma is just about the nicest lil ol' thing you'll ever meet. The end.

Or is it?!


Since we, you know, graduated, we had to find jobs to, you know, pay for stuff. I already had one lined up by the time we graduated, but Lewis was still looking. Fortunately for us, Lewis is basically the Chuck Norris of elementary school teachers, so er'rybody wanted him. He is so awesome, he got a job offer from Jordan School District - the district that was planning on firing 250 teachers earlier this year. What, what.

In the end, Lewis took a position at Saratoga Shores Elementary, fourth grade. Great school, great team, great grade - he's pretty dang excited about it. However, Saratoga Shores is on the other side of Utah Lake. My job at Foothill Elementary is in south Orem. These are not the two farthest schools apart in all of Alpine School District (an enormous district), but there are not many that are farther. Not to mention the fact that Lewis' has to be at his school a whole hour before I have to be at mine. A second car and new home became stark requirements.

Fast forward to present day: we found a lovely condo just off the freeway in Pleasant Grove. Dishwasher, pantry, actual counter space, two bathrooms, washer and dryer, a deck, a pool... oh my goodness me, I love this place. We applied, got approved, and signed a contract all within a week. Right this very moment, as I type these words, Lewis is moving us in. (No, I'm not helping. Who do you think I am?) It met or exceeded all of our requirements for the time being, especially in terms of location. Fifteen minutes to Foothill via State Street; 25 minutes to Saratoga Shores via the freeway. What the freaking what?

(Lest we forget about my post from a year and a half ago, it might even meet all those desires. We haven't found out about the History Channel yet, but we know cable comes with the unit.)

There is one other thing that it comes with, and this thing is very important because otherwise this story being here in epilogue form would not make any sense: A microwave. Yep. This lovely, lovely condo includes a hanging-over-the-stove microwave. Which I love. But now we have a few-months-old fantastic microwave without a home.

There are many options for our old new microwave. Storage is one. We've had a few people suggest putting it in our TV room for - wait for it - popcorn. But the TV room is connected to the kitchen where the current new microwave is (a great room), and if we can't walk all the way over there for popcorn, we don't deserve a microwave in the first place. Lewis mentioned trying to return it to Kohls, from whence it came. I think I like it too much for that one, though. We'll need it eventually, just not right this second. Maybe I'll put it in my classroom. Some teachers have mini fridges; why can't I have a microwave?

All of this debate could be completely moot, however. We have not yet tried the current new microwave's popcorn capabilities. It could suck.

If that's the case, well... maybe this story isn't as done as I've made it out to be...

To be continued. Maybe.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Super Alyssa World

If my walk to work every morning were made into a really lame video game (the likes of which you would get as your toy in a Happy Meal) it would be something like this.

Super Alyssa World!

Objective: Get to work on time.

Two Settings: Walk and run. Running is faster, but it makes you more susceptible to slipping on wet ground and running into various objects. Three hits of specific objects mean death. If you die, you get sent back to the beginning of the level. If you die three times, you have to start the whole game over.

Level 1: Wymount. Your goal is to make it from you apartment front door to the corner of 900 East and University Parkway. You have to smile and say some variation of "Good morning!" to every neighbor you pass. Failure to do so will result in a fist fight. Do not get into a fist fight. Halfway through the level, you pass two large dogs on long leashes. Since you are terrified of the dogs, you must successfully evade them while traversing wet sidewalk and cheerfully greeting the dogs owners.

Level 2: 900 East. Your goal is to make it from the corner of 900 East and University Parkway to the lawn in front of the Morris Center. You can either cross the street here at the light or walk down to the flagged and light-less crosswalk. The flagged crosswalk takes much less time, but it is dangerous because there's no guarantee the cars will stop for you. Throughout this level you will have to dodge bike riders and joggers.

Level 3: The Lawn. This is the shortest level in the game. You simply have to make it from the front of the lawn to the Morris Center. However, there are high-power sprinklers watering the lawn and sidewalk that you need to take. If you get wet, you drown. You can either time it just right and walk down the sidewalk, or you can time it okay and make a run for it praying that you don't slip and end up on your can. Everyone who has made it so far has run for it, but it's scary.

Level 4: The Morris Center. Your goal is to make it from the front of the Morris Center to the edge of Heritage Halls. The most direct route is blocked by an enormous gaggle of hungry EFY kids, waiting to get into the cafeteria for breakfast. You can either go around the cafeteria line, which is very safe but very slow, or you can try to push your way through the line. Pushing your way through means you run the risk of being trampled by spiky gladiator sandals and/or smothered by Axe body spray.

Level 5: Heritage Halls. This level is that simple one that everyone thinks has some catch they are missing. Your goal is to simply wind your way through Heritage Halls towards Campus Drive. The only obstacles are poorly placed EFY scripture study groups that you have to avoid. Most players take this level at a run because they wasted a long time taking the long way in the last level because, let's face it: being smothered by Axe is a crappy way to go.

Level 6: Campus Drive. Your goal here is to make it successfully across Campus Drive to the Wilkinson Center parking lot. The traffic lights might seem to be a challenge at first, but they are actually very strictly timed and once you figure that out, it's a piece of cake. The quickest route depends on when you actually approach the first traffic light, but it sometimes requires a bit of running, which as we know holds its risks.

Level 7: The Parking Lot. Your goal here is to make it across the parking lot into the Wilkinson Center. This is the penultimate level, so most people take it at a run. It looks very innocent. But just as you are about to run up the stairs to success, a conglomerate of old ladies from the Nutrition Conference streams out the front doors. Adapt! Adapt! If your eyes are keen, you will notice a side door to the right.

Level 8: The Wilkinson Center. If you get into the building before 7:59 am, you've won the game. You just have to walk up the stairs into your office. However, if you get into the building after 7:59 am, you have to sneak quietly past your boss' office while wearing flip flops. If you make it to your desk without your boss noticing, you're in the clear. If you do not, you will be defenestrated.

Friday, June 18, 2010

To the Parents of the World

If your child is old enough to open the front door and walk outside, he/she is old enough to know when and how to properly cross a street.

Let me explain.

As we were driving home yesterday, we noticed the car directly in front of us unexpectedly stop. Confused, Lewis reached up to honk the horn. We were driving on a fairly busy street and desired to continue smoothly on to our final destination. Right before Lewis actually honked, however, we noticed the cause of their stop. A four-year-old girl was crossing the street.

It was ten o'clock at night.

As we sat there in our car, we watched this small child make her way across the street, never looking left nor right. Her eyes were on one thing and she was determined to reach her goal. She wasn't in a hurry to reach it, as was clear by her slow and even gait, but she knew where she was going. Luckily no cars came from the opposite direction and the car in front of us saw her at all. The driver mentioned later that he thought she was a dog when he first saw her, just out of the corner of his eye.

When she made it to the other side of the street, she opened the door of a car there, calmly climbed in and began honking the horn and playing with the lights.

We pulled over, as did the car in front of us. Lewis was ready to call 911, but I told him we should go knock on doors first to see to whom she belonged. The driver and passenger of the car in front of us were knocking on the door of the house it looked like the kid might have come from, while Lewis knocked on the door of the house across the street. They said that it wasn't their kid, but nobody answered the door the other driver knocked on. That is, until he gave up and was halfway back to the street. Then someone finally came to the door.

If I was a mother and someone came to my door telling me that they had almost hit my child because he/she had crossed the street by him/herself without even looking I would have freaked out. So I guess maybe this lady's stoicism is something to be envied because she didn't bat an eye. Rather, she stood there calmly while her ten-year-old daughter walked across the street in a remarkably similar fashion as her little sister to investigate. Mostly, however I was just disturbed by her behavior/attitude.

That mother should be counting her blessings that nothing happened to her daughter. This occurred on the main road of a neighborhood. Now to be fair, at that time of night (ten freaking o'clock!), it is normally not a very busy road. However, last night was Game 7 of the NBA finals, and it was clear from the volume of cars parked on the street that many households in this neighborhood were hosting parties for the game, and since the game had ended by this time many people - us included - were driving home from watching the game. PLUS the stupid Lakers won, so I'm sure lots of people were riled up about the outcome, not to mention the near-disastrous placement of that Amber Alert. In short, good thing that one driver was paying enough attention to notice a tiny person on the street in front of him.

I keep replaying it in my mind. It was freaky the way that girl was just all of a sudden there, barefooted and ghostly in the headlights (although the freaky aspect might just be because I've been watching too much Heroes on Netflix). What if the car hadn't seen her? What if he managed to miss her and we hit her? What if she had made it across the street safely without anyone noticing and tried to cross it again to get back? What if a creepo saw her and took her? (Like I said, there was an Amber Alert so kidnapping was on the brain)

The point is, keep an eye on your four-year-old, lady! Especially at ten o'clock at night and especially on a busy street like that. More importantly, teach your kid how to cross the street! A four-year-old should know that she shouldn't cross a street without an adult. At the very least, she should have learned to look both ways before crossing!

And for goodness sake, care more when somebody tells you they almost killed your child! Or at least show it more! Good heavens.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I Am a Total Summer Junkie

The other night when we went to bed, it was a little bit hot in our apartment. Holding off on putting the air conditioner in the window for as long as possible, Lewis put a fan in the living room window on full blast. We closed all the doors except for the one to our bedroom, hoping to tunnel the cool air straight to us.

As I settled down under the covers into the soft folds of our pillow-top, a wave a comforting nostalgia washed over me. I remembered many summer nights from my youth where it was just this side of too hot, but heavens I could never sleep without the covers (still true). Those summer nights were the eves of glorious summer days full of running in the sprinkler, climbing trees, and washing the car - aka the best dang times ever.

Sure. I complained all summer that I was bored. I probably was even excited to start school again when the end of August showed up. But after a week of that crap, I was ready to be back to summer vacay.

As I grew older and my parents realized how expensive I was to keep around (I'm very high maintenance, you know), I obtained a summer job. Lifeguard. Pretty much I was paid to go swimming and get a tan. I spent most of most days in nothing more than a swimming suit and a tank top and/or swim shorts (although my parents preferred me to put on pants at the dinner table). My only regret from that three summer long job is that most of my heroic saves occurred on the cold and drizzly days where you had to pay me to jump in that frigid water (good news for the drowning kids: they paid me).

Back to the other night and the nostalgia wave. As I lay there in bed, I thought about all the things I wanted to do the next morning. I wanted to go swimming. I wanted to run around aimlessly outside. I wanted to climb a tree and read a book. I wanted to eat an ice cream sandwich on my porch.

Then I went to sleep. When I woke up the next morning, I went to work and spent six or seven hours in a chair at a desk in front of a computer, listening to screams of delight from the EFY kids during lunch.

Now don't get me wrong. I have a great job, a fact of which I was forcibly reminded of just last week. But man-oh-man. I most definitely picked the right career for my desired lifestyle.

The good news is, I have a dear husband who has a similar attitude toward summer adventures as me. Our apartment is a mess right now because we chose to hike around Y mountain, go to an outdoor barbecue, and engage in a summer evening swim rather than clean it. Such activities are bound to continue during the evenings and weekends until July the twenty-third when I am done with my job. Then we can play all day for almost a month before we have to start making the big bucks.

But in the meantime, I'm just dreaming of the future. A life of summers off? Yes, please.

Friday, May 21, 2010

My Spouse, the Fashionisto

The night I met my husband, he was dressed like this:

Hot, right? Little did he know that his fashion choice of the cutoffs so short that the pockets were hanging out was ahead of its time.

That's right, a mere two and a half years later, I discover that according to Victoria's Secret (I get their catalog. What of it?), cutoffs so short that the pockets hang out is in.


I would show you multiple examples of this style (there are several) or in the least post a link to Victoria's website, but goodness me people, this is a family place! If you want further proof that Lewis retroactively kick-started a booming summer trend, go find the website yourself.

The moral of the story? You should be jealous that Victoria's Secret doesn't get fashion advice from your husband.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Eat It, Yahoo! I'm Going for Happy!

There is currently an article on Yahoo outlining the top ten worst-paying college degrees. I'm sure it's no surprise to anyone that Elementary Education is on the list. Number two, in fact. So if there is anyone out there who believed Lewis and I are only going to teach for the money, you can now lay your doubts at rest. There is now empirical evidence to suggest that fiscally, we are crazy people for going into this career field.

You think we're poor now as we barely scrape by each month between rent and groceries - ha! Just wait til we have younglings and a mortgage!

But dagnabit, we're going to be happy. Cause teaching is fun and we like it.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Thank You, Captain Obvious

I just read an article in Time about serial marry-ers and how marriage is the one area in life where we allow repeat offenders to do it over and over again. Hazardous drivers get their licenses revoked; failing college students get kicked out of school; doctors who violate their codes and creeds and crap could lose their license for just one infraction, but any single consenting adult can marry any other single consenting adult any time they please. The story cited Larry King who is currently getting divorced for the eighth time. It talked about a variety of celebrities with multiple ex-spouses - Liz Taylor, Mickey Rooney, William Shatner, etc.

The story then went on to talk about the late Linda Wolfe of Indiana who got married 23 times (although the last one - just the last one, mind - was just a publicity stunt). She is official record holder. Even with 23 marital failures, Linda was not to be discouraged and before she passed said that she wouldn't mind marrying again. That declaration had a caveat, however. She would only marry a straight man. From the article, I quote, "On the two occasions she married a gay guy, it didn't take."

Uh... She's been married and divorced 23 times. I'm pretty sure NONE of them took. And I'm willing to bet that her husbands' sexual orientations had nothing to do with that.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Have I Become a Hippie-Dippie Granola?

Carrot sticks.
And last but not least, some homemade granola balls - easier to make than bars.

This is what I've eaten recently. And I've been enjoying it!

That's HOMEMADE granola.

I mean, this is a good thing, no doubt, but what the what?

That's all.

PS: Lest you fear for my poor health, Lewis went out to dinner last night with his friends, so I had macaroni and cheese for dinner last night. With side of Kinder Eggs and apple juice.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Karma Comes Back Around

I just recently posted about how we got a new microwave and we are oh so delighted because it has buttons, right? In particular, we are happy because it has a popcorn button. That has been Lewis' dream for a while: to have a microwave with a popcorn button. It's a simple dream, but he owns it.

Naturally, when we were finally able to put the microwave up (we managed to make room on the shelf, and although we can now fit fewer items on that particular shelf, and in spite of the fact that I am certain it will all come crashing down and smash our table, it looks nice up there and it works) we wanted its maiden voyage to concern popcorn. So we threw a bag in there and hit the blessed button of popcorn.

And the microwave sparked.

Thinking there might be some metal in there, we took out the bag and inspected, both the bag and the microwave. Nothing. We put the bag in and tried again.

And it sparked again.


We finally have a new microwave and it's sparking like it's got a roll of aluminum foil inside. Fantastic.

I immediately knew what the problem was. I had publicly dissed our old microwave, the one we got for free, the one that was donated to us by my dear, loving sister. Call it karma, the force, string theory, whatever. It had caught up to us.

The next day I decided to try microwaving something else. Maybe it just needed to settle or something. I noticed the inside could use a wash, so I stuck a bowl of water I there so I could wipe it down with ease.

And... It didn't spark. It ran beautifully, as if it were new.

What the what? You mean my "settling" theory was correct?

Hardly. I put another bag of popcorn in there and guess what? It sparked.

It's a marvelous machine, unless you want to pop corn. Then it decides to recreate Dante's inferno right over its turn table.

So we finally get a microwave with a popcorn button and what does it have problems with? Popcorn. Is that irony? Or just interesting? Either way, I've been craving popcorn ever since.

In any case, I hereby renounce any ill will I had towards our old microwave. Your knobs and lack of reasonable second intervals give you character and remind me of simpler times. You were a shining beacon of hope in our dimly lit apartment. May you rest in peace on the chair under our coat rack and next to our keyboard.
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