Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Who's Type A?

It seems that I have always been the one pegged as the "Type A" in Robby's and my relationship. And it's true. Robby has joked that the best complement he can give me each day is telling me that I was very "productive." However, I think he is showing his true Type A colors since we have moved into our house. He has done an incredible amount of work -- by himself, in a very small amount of time -- often working late into the night to finish a project. His latest project was a path in our backyard, which he finished last night at 11:00 pm. It is absolutely beautiful, and completely changed the look of our backyard.

Last week, the path was cut, but no stones yet.
An up-close of the lovely stones we chose
And ta-dah!!! Now our grass won't suffer as we walk from our house to the patio.
I love the beautiful path my true Type A has created for me. And I realized two Type A's in one house is not that bad, as long as one stays outside.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

When the cat's away, the mice play.

Or, when the owner's away, the cat plays!

Today I came home from school to find in my kitchen the paper towel dispenser hanging from the string on the window blinds. The paper towels were on the floor, unrolled and covered in teeth marks. I have taught Calla not to get on the counter when I'm cooking, but apparently, she disregards this rule when I'm away. It looked as if she had quite a time.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

One Week

I completed my first full week of my second year. Things are definitely better this year. My students seem really fun, my procedures and lessons are clearer, and I feel much more prepared. We shall see if this up-swing continues!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Beebs

Camille (whom we all call Beebs, whether she likes it or not) celebrated her 20th birthday this past weekend. My parents have no more teenagers now. We had a great time at Fugazzi's, and Camille was pretty thrilled with her awesome watch, which she picked out. That's the way to do gifts, right?

A Painful Beginning

Physically painful, that is. Sunday, the day before all of our crazy meetings started at school, I woke up and turned over to look at the clock, when something pulled in my neck. Immediately, pain was shooting through my back! I woke Robby up and carefully and painfully got out of bed only to find myself started to black out and throw up. (I guess because of the pain.) I had never experienced anything that intense before. I was able to calm down and rest and make it to the couch where I stayed all day. All day! With the aid of muscle relaxers, ibuprofin, and some really great back rubs by Robby, I was able to move around okay by the end of the day. I was still concerned about starting school, but thankfully the next day the pain only felt like a dull ache. By Thursday (the day students came), I was pretty much back to myself. The first two days of school actually went okay with only one student rising to the surface to rear his ugly head. I believe I shall have to give him a pseudonym for my posts, but I haven't thought of one yet. Thank you all for your prayers for healing and surviving!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Real Deal of the Week

This was a great find at the Farmer's Market. Chelsea, my mom, and I went to get a few things for dinner tonight, and my mom stumbled across these beautiful dried...
(Can you guess what they are?)

...artichokes!
They just might have outdone the lamp as the real deal of the week because they were 50 cents. Without a store credit. Quite a bargain.

Over Already?

It seems just yesterday I was writing the post that said I had two months of vacation, and in just a day and a half, it will be over. This is my first summer ever to have completely taken off - usually I'm teaching summer school or taking summer school (or both when I'm feeling really insane). This summer, I was able to enjoy so many fun and relaxing things, and I was able to have the time to process some difficult things. I feel blessed and rested and (surprise!) even ready to return to school.

Yesterday, Robby and I had a nice "last day" together because, as I always say, Weekends don't count as vacation. I had a doctor's appointment in Fresno in the morning, so we did that, then had lunch together at Elephant Bar (we miss that restaurant), and shopped a bit at Home Goods where I purchased my "Deal of the Week" - a really great chrome lamp to go behind my reading chair. And it was less than $10! Okay, it was $40, but I had a $32.00 store credit. It's just what I was wanting for that spot. Afterwards, we came home, took a nice nap, and later went downtown to have dinner and browse the First Fridays Art Walk, where local artists display their artwork in select businesses and restaurants. (Thanks, Chels, for telling us about this.) It was a very nice day.

"Deal of the Week" - modern lamp

And my final week wouldn't have been complete without some crazy project to work on. I decided to finish the office, which was the last room to have boxes in the closet and piles of papers to be filed. It took me all of Wednesday. I was finishing it up at midnight. But at last seven months of bills and receipts have been filed away, and the lovely baker's rack my mom gave me has finally been put to use.

Before: Lots of little stuff and clutter

After: Neat and clean! (Even the closet)
Now to get my classroom as ready as my office...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Granola Breath

I tried two new recipes this week, both of which are healthier choices. They come out of a new book I've been reading: Sara Snow's Fresh Living. (You can check out her website and the recipes there.) With the new school year beginning, I've decided to try and create healthier snacks for myself and my snackaholic husband, although I'm not sure if he will ever choose granola or oatmeal bars over Taco Bell and candy. At least I can say I tried.

Here are my thoughts on these two recipes. The first one is a recipe for "Healthy Oatmeal Cookie Snacks". Out of the two recipes, this was the best and my favorite. Maybe because it actually called for sugar and butter, which I am pretty sure are necessary ingredients to anything tasting good. (1 stick butter and 1/2 cup sugar still is pretty good, though.) They have somewhat of an oatmeal and bran flavor, and the dried fruit really adds a yummy punch. I'll definitely be eating these as a snack or a quick breakfast.

The second is "Fresh Baked Chunky Granola". Now I am a huge granola fan, but these fell a little flat for me. Okay, okay, I burned the almonds that were supposed to be toasted, but I think the real problem (can I call this a problem?) is that the only sweeteners in the recipe are juices and honey. I'm going to give it another try, but in the meantime, if anybody has a healthy granola recipe that tastes pretty good, pass it on to me.

The best part of both of these is that they are low in sugar and have lots of good-for-you ingredients, like oatmeal and fruit.

If you try these out, let me know what you think!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Third Time's a Charm

In my recent post about VBS, I wrote that I went into the event not really expecting God to work, and by the end, I was humbled again by the way he moves. This past week, Rob and I and one more counselor took nineteen students to Jenness Park, a camp up near Sonora. I wish I could say that I had a great attitude going into it. Afterall, I had just learned a valuable lesson from the VBS experience. As you can imagine, I did not. I did not have a good attitude nor did I have high expectations of what God was going to do. The first night and the first day were tough for me, and an hour didn't go by when I wouldn't ask myself why in the world I came. Rob could have easily gotten another female counselor, one who actually wanted to go. I felt like I was a waste - I wasn't getting any of the many things on my to-do list done (clean my house, organize my pantry, decorate my classroom...you know, important things), and I also wasn't serving with a good attitude. I started to wonder how I could make it through the week. Even though no one would have noticed that I was struggling (I still led my group during our discussion time, I still had a smile on my face, I still participated in the events), I could feel inside of me tension and anxiety, even anger.

By the end of the week, I was completely surprised by God. A change started to take place late Tuesday night and continued through Wednesday, and it seemed God just spoke louder and louder to me. I finally heard him. I thought I was going for my husband, to do him a favor, because he needed me there. But I came to realize it wasn't Robby who called me there, but God. God was allowing me to be used for his kingdom in ministering to students, but he also was speaking to me personally. He wanted me there. He had something for me to learn. I went thinking I was doing Robby a favor (one that I would never do again), and came away knowing it's not about Robby or me. It's about God and what he wants to accomplish.

So, I am humbled (again). I am amazed that God wanted me, the person who would rather re-organize her pantry than go to camp. But that seems to be what God loves to do in order to reveal his glory. There is no doubt in my mind that it is the Holy Spirit who changed me, and this is glorious.

Here's a glimpse of our week:

Two of the nights were themed as 70's and Sporty. You can imagine the chaos of fifteen girls dressing up for these, sharing hair spray, clothes, make-up, and one mirror. But the outcome was super cute. Here we have a bunch of tree huggers. My 70's contribution? A glow stick necklace. Not sure if they had these in the 70's.
Sporty night was a little easier, and even I participated in this one.On Friday, all of the teams competed in a "Mega Relay", which is basically a chaotic mess of completing at least a dozen relay activities. The students take this very seriously. Ours made shirts and painted their faces.Even I got into it, sporting the awesome shirt a couple girls made for me.In our heat, two adult groups, an 11th/12th grade group, and a college group all competed. And the winners...
The week wasn't all fun and games. There were worship sessions, Bible studies, group talks, and church devotions. This painting that a group of our kids did captures the main concept of what was learned. In the painting, there are four things represented: fire, thorns, cross, fruit. The fire represents the "hot times" we go through, and the result is our thorns. They rise to the surface, and we see the ugly parts. Through the cross, however, God can take that trial and those thorns and turn them into fruit.
Maybe next time I will expect the fruit.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Worlds Collide

I have two wonderful friends who are both a great part of my life. A week ago, these two friends indirectly came together. Kelly, my first real-life "adult" friend, is getting ready to have a baby very soon. Stephanie, my old high school friend-turned college roommate-turned wonderful woman who still cracks me up, has become quite the little seamstress. So, I had Stephanie make Kelly a beautiful baby blanket. I gave the blanket to Kelly at her shower this past Saturday.

Stephanie with Molly and baby Will (about a year ago)
Kelly at her showerSteph with her gorgeous finished project
Time for a quick pictureOpening the present
Kelly holding babyAnna's blanket