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.
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