Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I Can't Believe My Eyes

You know when you just CAN'T believe your eyes? Remember seeing something that you just COULDN'T believe was real? Your first glimpse of Disneyland. The presents under the tree at Christmas morning. Seeing something for the first time.

One of my students had that feeling today and the way he explained it was too cute not to share.

At the beginning of each year, I ask each parent to bring in a laundry list of school supplies (that the district no longer supplies for teachers). One of those items I ask for is a pack of glue sticks. Six-year olds go through A LOT of glue, so I like to start off prepared. I empty out each package and put them in a huge Tupperware box. 

Today, one of my students asked for a new glue stick, and apparently, he'd never seen my glue stick stash before. I opened up the 'magical lid' from the glue stick box ... and his eyes nearly BUGGED out of his head.

As I pulled back the lid and his brain registered with what his eyes were seeing (A TON of glue stick in a huge box), he said, "Oh wow ... that makes my eyes flutter."

I kinda giggled because I thought it was such a great description for how that feels.

The Evergreen State

One of my students brought this in today and I thought it was cute.

Things To Do While In Washington:
1. Throw a salmon at a fellow human.
2. Watch a hydroplane race.
3. Snowboard every mountain in the state.
4. Crowd surf at a Gorge concert.
5. Pretend I'm Lewis (or Clark) and wander the forest.
6. Tell Someone they look like an ant from the top of the Space Needle.
7. Catch a Geoduck.
8. Eat a Geoduck.
9. Find out what the heck a Geoduck is?!?
10. Visit the largest airplane hangar in the world.
11. Get lost under Seattle.
12. Try not to break something at the Museum of Glass.
13. Spend my entire savings at Bellevue Mall.
14. Golf 72 holes in one day for a week.
15. Drink 40 shots of espresso.
16. Talk to the richest man in the world.
17. Talk to the richest man in the world's bodyguards.
18. Make a fresh apple pie.
19. Attempt a dunk at Hoopfest.
20. Spend a day recovering from the Bloomsday run.
21. Find Sasquatch's current address.
22. Raft down the Columbia, Snake, and Yakima Rivers.
23. Hand out with a 9,200 year skull. (I used to LOVE going to the Ye' Old Curiosity Shop!)
24. Learn to fly fish.
25. Learn how to untie fishing knots.

On With The Positive

On a positive note:

Go Obama!

OK, I'm going to get off my Political Pedestal now ...

PLEASE Don't Speak For Me!

I listen to The Today Show every morning when I get ready for work. I was particularly looking forward to it this morning since they're airing their much-anticipated 'Where In The World Is Matt Lauer' segment (yesterday he was in Argentina!). This morning, The Today Show was on pause while our President addressed his country.

Now ... I'm not a huge political person, but I know who & what I DO and DON'T like. Listening to Bush speak literally KILLS me. Not sure which one is worse: his southern drawl (which makes him sound unintelligent), his jokes at the media (which comes off as inappropriate, insensitive, unprofessional, and jabbing at the reports expense) or what he's ACTUALLY saying.

I understand that Bush is the leader of our Free Country. And because of this, I will quietly stand by him ... but I don't agree with MOST of what he says or how he carries himself in the public eye.

By the way ... after all these years, I STILL can't believe he was elected for a second term.

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. Now ... on with my day.

P.S. Matt was in Amsterdam today.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Pay It Forward

When my ex-husband and I bought this house, quite a few of our friends already lived in the neighborhood, and still do. Since my divorce, "the boys" in the neighborhood have taken me under their wing. They help me take care of some of the areas I lack in. Examples: house maintenance, yard work, computer problems, lifting heavy things, fixing small car problems, etc. I repay them any way I can: with baked goods, girl advice, ice cream, etc.

Today, my friends surprised me in a MAJOR WAY! When I pulled into my driveway after a long day of work, I was BLOWN AWAY! While doing their own yard work today, they mowed, weed-whacked and fertilized my lawn!

I am very touched, grateful and humbled by your generosity and help. 

Thanks boys ... you did a selfless thing today and just MADE my day.

I'll be sure to Pay It Forward!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Come And Get It!

My neighbor's pile of "free stuff" grew overnight. It now includes a park bench, same dang lawn mower, a hanging basket (I still refuse to take that thing), a planting box, Columbia Winery wine box and something in a bag that I didn't recognize. I took the picture too fast to see what's in the box over the lawn mower. 

On my blog last night, I talked about a garden statue of a little girl she's trying to give away. I stand corrected. This morning when I went over to get a 
better view, I actually realized it's a little boy. Very feminine looking a may add.

She Was Loved

While eating my Cheerios this morning, I perused through the obituaries in the Seattle Times. I love to read what people say about their loved ones. Why don't we say these things to each other while we're alive? 

I came across an obituary this morning that was hands-down my favorite one I've ever read. Here it is in it's entirety:

August 24, 1959 - April 23, 2007
Now each year as the tulips bloom we are reminded of that beautiful spring day on which God chose to welcome you back to heaven. You were a true caregiver; as a mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend and registered nurse, your caring smile, soothing voice, wisdom and healing touch are greatly missed. Anne, you were loved, are love and will always be loved by the ones you left behind, each of us knowing you are preparing the way for us.

I don't know HOW or WHY she died, and it doesn't matter, because what I DO know ... is that she was a woman who was loved.

What more can we hope for?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

She Confessed!

I feel like I haven't blogged in a long time. I've been VERY tired and to be honest, too tired to even THINK about typing. I've been coming home from work the last few days, taking a long nap, waking up for dinner (can't miss a meal!), and going back to bed. I have some neighbor updates though. 

On Thursday evening when I was taking out my garbage, Jennie offered me a hanging basket. Very nice of her. I declined. She insisted. I stayed strong in my conviction to NOT receive ANYTHING else from her.

I woke up this morning and saw a new pile of "free stuff" in front of her house. Of course I took a picture (I'm just waiting for the day she catches me taking pictures of her "free stuff" piles!). This particular picture is of the hanging basket (that I turned down) and a plant. 

Today, while I was cleaning out my garage (she inspired me to clean stuff up, I guess) Jennie came home from work. She immediately changed into 'grubby' clothes and started right up with yard work, tidying up her garage, etc.

I thought, "That's it ... it's time she tells me." So ... I said, "Man Jennie, you are doing some SERIOUS cleaning and yard work!" 

And she said, "Well ... I'm selling."

THAT'S IT!!!!! I had built it up SO MUCH in my mind, that I was actually kinda disappointed when she told me. We talked a bit about her plans, where she's moving, etc. And then ... it was over. My game of "when is she going to tell me" was over. SAD!

I AM happy to report that Jennie is still offering me free stuff though. I think that may be my new game: "What will Jennie offer me next?"

Today, she offered me an (empty) wine box from Columbia Winery and a FREAKIN' piano. Like a HUGE, NICE piano. I don't play piano, but she said she'd be happy to donate it to my school. Isn't that so sweet!?! 

Seriously though ... how many people get offered a FREE piano? 

Here is a list of the things she's offered me so far:
1. Beer
2. Wine
3. Tree
4. Lawn Mower
5. Hanging Basket
6. Plant
7. Wine Box
8. Piano 

I'm going to miss her so much.

As I type this ... there is a garden statue of a little girl on her curb.


I'll try to take a picture of it tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Why Won't You Just Tell Me?

My neighbor is selling her house.

She hasn't told me this yet, but another neighbor casually brought it up in a conversation last week. When he told me, I thought, "That's weird, she hasn't told ME she's moving!"

How self-centered am I?!? But really ... why hasn't she told me?

So, for the last week, whenever I see her, I talk to her to see if she'll tell me. I don't know why I play these ridiculous games.

For example, last week when I was mowing my lawn, she was outside REALLY doing yard work. I mean, like "I'm about to move and want my yard to look good" yard work. We're talking MAJOR weeding, trimming, weed whacking, edging, etc. I said something lame like "So ... doin' some pretty serious yard work huh?" DORK!

She lightheartedly said, "Oh yah, just trying to spruce things up!"


I was leaving for my walk yesterday, when I noticed my neighbor cleaning out her garage. REALLY cleaning it out, with boxes. I thought, "Ah ha! THIS is my chance!" I stopped in and said, "Hi Jennie! Cleaning out your garage huh?" 

UGH ... but I just CAN'T help it!

She said, "Oh, Lisa, just the cutie I was looking for (she really said that .. isn't that sweet?). Perfect ... do you want some beer hon?" Note: she's from the South and always calls me things like Hon, Sweetie, Cutie, etc.

"Oh, no thanks, I don't drink beer Jennie." I replied.

"Oh, you're not drinking beer anymore?"

"Jennie ... I don't EVER drink beer. I don't like it." I kindly reminded her.

"Oh, bummer, well, do you know anyone who would want it? Any of your friends maybe? It's good beer (not that I'd know) and I REALLY don't want it to go to waste."


At this point, I got so tired of talking about beer (and a bit discouraged we got off the subject of me trying to get her to admit she's moving), that I just TOOK the dang beer!

So anyway, I remain uninformed. I heard her outside tonight while I was eating dinner but I didn't want to get offered anything else.

She's already given me beer (that I'll never drink), three bottles of wine (yah!), a tree (I'm not kidding) and a lawn mower (that I actually turned down). See above picture. Water-warped sign reads: FREE LAWN MOWER ... needs a tune-up.

I'll let you know once she confesses the truth ...

Froggy Style

Sorry about the title. I just couldn't resist.

Back to me being totally immature and LOVING things that are inappropriate:

I take my students to the Woodland Park Zoo every year for our End of the Year field trip. My parents were so sweet last year, quite a few of them took a TON of pictures and burned them onto a CD for me. One of my room mom (yep Sheri ... that's YOU!) took this 'special picture' for me! Here I am, cruising through pictures of the kids viewing various animals ... and I come across THIS ONE!

Once a again ... AWESOME!

I picked up the phone IMMEDIATELY and called Sheri (to THANK her, of course)! I was so proud of her for taking that picture!

I was a bit sad (and disappointed) to learn that these are not actually real frogs. But now I can't stop thinking .... why would somebody put this in a zoo when they KNOW thousands of kids a year will be looking at it?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Dressed To Impress

I've mentioned before that I have a lot of boys in my class this year. In fact, the boy/girl ratio is 19:5. Last year, it was the exact opposite; the boy/girl ratio was 6:16.

Last year, I used to care (more) about what I wore and how I did my hair at work. The girl ALWAYS noticed and LOVED it when I wore a skirt, curled my hair, got a new pair of pumps, etc (anything that they deemed as 'fancy'). 

This year, I'm sure the boys wouldn't notice if I shaved my hair or cut off a limb. I'm more about jeans and khakis this year along with my hair straight; either up in a (boring) ponytail, or down. NOTHING SPECIAL.

With that being said, I made an attempt to look nice one day by curling my hair. I felt really hopeful. I was giving my students the benefit of the doubt. Surely they'd notice. Surely they'd just LOVE it and think I looked lovely.

Here is what I got from a student the (one and only) day I wore my hair curly this year (I should note, this is was as they were walking through the door, FIRST THING in the morning):

Student: Ms. Diederichs, what happened to your hair?
Me: What do you mean?
Student: Why didn't you do it today?
Me (totally irritated that a 6-year old was 'calling out' my curling skills): What do you mean I didn't do it? I curled it!
Student (long pause, contemplating response): Why did you only curl half?


UGH! I give up.

Earth Day Shenanigans

This is a picture a student drew for me today. He said "It's a picture for NO LITTERING!"

While the kids were walking into class this morning, I was saying, "Happy Earth Day!" to everyone

Most of them mechanically said, "Happy Earth Day!" back to me.

Except one (and I'm still trying to figure this out). He looked at me and said, "Yea! We get to go to space!"


I'll never know.

Earth Day Joke (from the mouth of a 7-year old):
Question: "What do you say to someone if they are born on Earth Day?"
Answer: "Happy Bearthday!"

I enjoy turning my students into earth-conscious people. I'm an avid recycler and constantly reminding them to put things in the recycle bin apposed to the garbage. We do many things throughout the year that the kids and I are very proud of. We just finished reading 100 books (through scholastic.com/ClassroomsCare and rainforest- alliance.org) and helped to save 100 acres of rain forest! Earlier this year we read 100 books and were able to donate books to kids in need. I am proud of my students for eagerly wanting to help make our world a healthy (and happy) place to live.

So today, I was really excited to lead a class discussion on Earth Day. Here are some of my favorite responses:

Question: "What does Earth Day mean to you?"
Answers (and I quote): "To protect our planet."
"Discover the earth."
"It's Earth's birthday."
"A day to celebrate the Earth, kinda."
"A day when you help our environment."
"A day when you make Earth a better place."
"You like, celebrate like, the Indians because they first came to this land."
"In the High Flyer magazine we read, remember when those airplanes were flying? I think Earth Day is when those planes take off and see if anything bad is happening to the earth."
"The first day the earth was discovered. 3,000 years ago or something."

Question: "What will you do for Earth Day today? What will you do to help our earth?"
Answers: "Respect it and take care of it."
"Use as small a paper as possible."
"Don't litter."
"Save our world and be healthy."
"Pick up litter and trash."
"I might plant a flower."
"Pull weeds."
"This is for when I grow up: Take off in an airplane and check out our earth. And, pick up trash at the beach."
"Not drive a car and ride my bike instead."
"We shouldn't use our lawn mowers because they have piston-engines that give off pollution."
"Grow peas."
"Um, take out the garbage for my mom and dad."
"Don't chop down trees."
"Don't crack off branches of trees."
"Save the jungle."
"It's a good thing no one said, "Chop DOWN trees, because trees actually make air!"

Happy Earth Day!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Was That A Compliment?

This morning, I was jamming my face full of coconut-covered donut holes (how teacher-cliche is that?) when my principal walked into the Staff Room.

With my mouth TOTALLY full, I said, "Good morning!" What? ... I didn't want to be rude and ignore that fact that he entered the room!

He laughed (awkwardly).

I said, "I know ... I'm super professional."

He said, "Yes Lisa. You are" Laughing. Walking out of the room.

Was that a compliment?

I'm thinking 'no.'

Earth Day 2008

Tomorrow is Earth Day. April 22, 2008.

Many of you know that we had the AMAZING privilege of hosting the Dalai Lama in Seattle last week. I read this in the Seattle Times today and thought you might enjoy it, in light of Earth Day tomorrow:

"The Unites States and other wealthy countries need to downscale their lifestyles and try to focus more on inner contentment, the Dalai Lama said on Sunday.
There simply aren't enough natural resources on the planet to support all 6 billion people on Earth imitating Western lifestyles, which consume large amounts of water and electricity. Because there are limitations on external material resources, but not on internal ones, it's better to seek contentment and peace rather then material things, he said."

What will you do for Earth Day tomorrow? Plant a new flower in your yard? Take a walk and soak in the beauty around you? Pick up trash off the ground? Make a commitment to be better about recycling? Turn off lights when you leave a room? Turn your dishwasher onto the quick cycle?

Whether you do something small or big ... your little bit will make a HUGE difference.


I'm A Tanned Goddess

I went to Costco on Saturday with absolutely NOTHING to buy and A LOT of time on my hands. With that said, $80 later, I ended up walking out with the following items:

A Calvin Klein shirt
Crest Toothpaste
Crest Mouthwash
Jergen's Self-Tanning Lotion
Lever 2000 Bar Soap
Two Books (Beautiful Boy & The Friday Night Knitting Club)

I've never bought self-tanning lotion before, but my new goal of NOT going to a tanning bed is JUST KILLING ME! The last time I tanned was almost a year ago, and I'm standing strong in my pursuit to maintain my youthful skin, even though I HATE my pasty-white complexion. 

That said, I decided to buy the dang COSTCO-sized tubs of lotion. Well that, and it was TOTALLY on sale. Two HUGE tubs and one small one for $11.99 PLUS an INSTANT $3.00 rebate. I mean, COME ON! Who couldn't resist that?!?

I didn't realized how truly awesome the picture on the package was until I got home. Let me start by saying that I LOVE looking at pictures that marketing companies choose to put on their products. These ladies are BEAUTIES! Am I going to look like that soon? Will I lose 15 pounds, gain 7 inches of height, and have long, luscious, dark locks of hair and a golden tan?

Man ... why didn't I buy this stuff sooner?

Take a LONG look at the above picture. I'm gonna look like that soon! I'm gonna be SMOKING HOT!!

Why didn't I give up tanning sooner?

Let me know if you want any ... I have A LOT!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Fire Station 7

On my way home from pretty much anywhere, I drive by our local fire station. They're always putting up thought-provoking quotes, birth announcements of babies born to fire fighting members and advice on their reader-board.

On my way home from my parents house tonight, Fire Station 7 had this on their reader-board:


Ah ... I can just imagine it!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

I Love You Neti Pot!

So ... I'm the girl who's sick with a sinus infection, all year long. I have allergies to every imaginable thing on this beautiful earth. Trees, weeds, molds, pollen, grass, dust, dogs and cats. My allergy to cat-dander is so severe, I have to carry an Epi-Pen. I have developed all these allergies over the last four years. Lucky me.

EVERY one of my girlfriends have suggested I use a Neti Pot for cleaning out my sinuses. Please refer to the AWESOME images I uploaded for your viewing pleasure. I chose the picture on the left because of the sweet action-shot and its OBVIOUS outdated features. I chose the picture on the right because she had good cleavage and looked like she was about to work-out directly after using her Neti Pot (of course), which cracked me up.

Even though I was on the swim AND dive team in college (I sucked by the way ... I only joined because I figured it would be a good way to stay in shape), I'm the girl who plugs her nose when jumping feet-first into water. So you can imagine how long I've procrastinated to try the Neti Pot. I'd say I spent a GOOD 2 years procrastinating. I just couldn't imagine the benefits of jamming the end of a teapot up one nostril and allowing water to run along up inside your sinuses, and out the other nostril. Um yeah, no thanks!

All that aside, I woke up (extremely stuffy) this morning and LITERALLY thought "Today is THE day. Today is the day I buy a Neti Pot." So, when my errands were done, I went to Central Market and spent a GOOD 20 minutes staring at the Neti Pot box and contemplating its directions. 

I should note here that buying the Neti Pot made me really uncomfortable for some reason. I felt like I was 15 years old and buying a box of Tampons again. It just screamed the embarrassing equivalent of "HEY EVERYBODY, I'M HAVING MY PERIOD RIGHT NOW!" 

With that said, I made some 'I'm uncomfortable with you knowing I'm buying this" jokes to the adorable 20-something checker at the grocery store. I said dumb stuff like "Can you imagine how much fun I'll be having at MY house tonight?" And "See this woman's picture (pointing to side of box), imagine my face instead of hers and that will be me in about a half-hour." 

Why am I saying these things? They aren't even funny comments and it's making the poor guy wonder what the HECK a Neti Pot is, anyway!?! Torturing jokes aside, I bought the dang Neti Pot and made my way home.

And guess what you guys? I DID IT!

And guess what else? I LOVED IT!

I'm now a full-fledged Neti Pot junky!

If you're stuffy and need some sinus relief, I'm gonna be your girlfriend who says, "You should totally try a Neti Pot!"

Zippy Reminds Us

I just finished reading A Girl Named Zippy by, Haven Kimmel. It is an adorably funny book about growing up in Indiana in the late 1960's, early 1970's. The author's humor is wonderful and her stories are hilarious!

The ending (I won't give anything away) was really touching. The final chapter had the author looking back on Christmas' of the past. She was from a rather poor family. However, she and her family went over to their friend's house (who were well-off) for a Christmas Eve celebration every year. I thought this part was particularly thought-provoking:

"And then in the living room I saw the tree. It was enormous and sat directly on the floor, instead of on a table, as ours did. This was a thing with both depth and circumference, and it smelled of pine, rather then like the back of my parents' closet. Santa had not even come yet, but there were dozens of presents under the tree, including a basket of nuts with a nutcracker, and another with, oh, my God, oranges. I feared for my friends, and I also wanted to be them. I wanted such a tree in my house, and so many presents that they could simply be scattered about. It is an amazing moment, when one goes from being grateful for what one has to longing for what is impossible."

Made me think of the AWAKE retreat when Neely said, "When we compare, no one wins."

But remember being jealous of friends? Wanting what your friends had? It's human nature to want what others have. 

We should ALL spend more time being grateful for what WE have instead. Thanks Zippy (and Neely!), for that reminder!

Snow in April

Yesterday's weather was CRAZY!!

I can't believe this it's the middle of April and this is what it looks like outside. 

Here is a picture of my house. Look how much snow we got, up in the Mill Creek neighborhood!

The other picture is a bird bath I have in my front yard. Look how much snow accumulated on the top of it!

CRAZY!!! When will Spring come?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Heavy Heart

Tonight, my heart bleeds for one of our Cottage Lake families. Two beautiful kids lost their mother yesterday.

I've thought so many things today:
1. It's not fair.
2. Why THEM?
3. Those poor kids.
4. What can I do to help?
5. How can I soothe their hearts?
6. How will their dad manage?

Please pray for them. I've prayed that they feel God's love. That they feel a sense of security and comfort and know that their mother loves them very much.

* * * * * * *
I went to my mom and dad's house tonight and melted into my mom's arms. Cried. No ... sobbed. I feel SO LUCKY that I CAN hug my mom. Tell her that I love her.

I'll fall asleep tonight, thinking of you, you two beautiful angels.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Fun With Names

I live in a mature woman's body, but I'm not all THAT mature inside. For example, I love potty-talk and anything remotely close to being naughty and/or inappropriate. I'll give you an example.

Growing up, my family and I used to feed the homeless in downtown Seattle every Thursday night. We'd make stuff like spaghetti, franks & beans and sandwiches ... and head downtown. 

My cousins and I LOVED doing this. Besides the rewarding feeling of helping others, there was another reason we loved going. 

There is a memorial wall on 4th & James with HUNDREDS of names of men (I don't even know what war the memorial is for. We TOTALLY oversaw the significance of it). One of the names on the wall was for a man named KENNETH LIPSCHITZ. Are you KIDDING ME?!? Lipschitz! Could I PLEASE say that word over and over again and NOT get into trouble!?! This was like a dream-come-true. 

My cousin's and I would incorporate Kenneth's name into our everyday lives. We'd say things like, "I love you Kenneth Lipschitz" while saying bye to each other. Or "Why don't you go tell Kenneth Lipschitz?" if someone was saying something we didn't want to hear. 

We were RELENTLESS! We still talk about him. God rest his soul.

So ... I couldn't help myself the other day. While waiting for a doctor's appointment, I started reading the Building Directory and I came upon ... Dr. Slutsky (see picture for visual reference).

I was in heaven.

OF COURSE I called my cousin RIGHT away! 
OF COURSE I took a picture of it on my cell phone and IMMEDIATELY sent it to as many cousins as possible. 
OF COURSE I'm still talking about.

I hope I never mature.

Why My Heart Is Warm

I love the phrase "My Heart Is Warm." It's such a great descriptor for having 'warm fuzzies.' Here's are some reasons why my heart is warm today:

1. One of my students wore his pants WAY to high today. All day. Made me smile each time I looked at him.
2. I went to dinner with Cindy and it was SO MUCH FUN! I just feel GOOD when I'm with her. I told her something that has been weighing heavy on my heart. She was gracious and listened with her heart.
3. When I tripped in class today (a daily occurrence), none of my students laughed (like I have trained them) ... but instead asked me if I was okay. Adorable.
4. I went on a nice walk with Cooper and he hunted birds and bunnies. I love watching his intent determination.
5. Jay brought me a latte'!
6. One of my students told me I was a good teacher. I don't care if he was lying. It doesn't matter he said that while he was getting in trouble.
7. I got my new sheets in the mail today that I ordered online. I'm washing them right now. It will warm my heart when I get into bed tonight.

It Massages

This year, I have 19 boys and 5 girls in my class. That's right. 19 boys. Bless my soul.

I can't tell you how many times I've taken a nap after school, skipped a spin class out of pure exhaustion, or thought "this will be a night where I have a glass of wine." These boys TIRE me out. And I'm only 31 years young!

Here is a PRIME example of the boy-ness in my room this year:
Me: Oh my goodness! Why are you wearing your pants like that?
Student: I don’t know. I just like to.
Me: But it can’t be comfortable sweetie.
Student: It is. I like it. It massages.

Oh boy.

Me: Massages what? (VERY scared to ask, but come on ... I couldn’t resist.)
Student: My chest.

Thank God.

He’s been wearing his pants like that all day.


So, here I am bragging about my cards last night. The whole time thinking about Rhiannon. I have a girlfriend who is a card-making MASTER! Rhiannon was BORN to be crafty. It's her calling. Well, THAT, and being a WONDERFUL mommy and cook!

When she invites you over, YOU GO! You are GUARANTEED to eat well, get great crafting ideas and get lots of opportunities to cuddle with her kids.

Check out her blog. I put a link to it under my LINKS section. Her name is Rhiannon Christianson. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Few Cards

A few years ago, I went to a card-making party with a girlfriend ... and I was hooked. I love making cards for people. Check out a couple pictures I took on my cell phone.

I made this card for my mom and dad for Easter. A cute little stamp with my 'brother and I' in the car, driving to mom and dad's house with a load of Easter eggs.

I made this card for my dad's birthday. Its always fun to use 'hardware' (the border around the word 'happy.') but you have to use it on an occasion when you're going to see the person ... it's too expensive to mail!

My Little Man

I was sleeping in on Sunday morning and Cooper came up and snuggled right up to me ... laying his head on my chest. I grabbed my cell phone and took this picture. 
Cooper is a spoiled dog.
Understatement of the Day.

Usually I have my seats folded down for Cooper, but on this particular trip, we were on our way to pick people up, and I needed the back seat for human passengers.
Doesn't Cooper look pathetic?!?
He stared at me like that the entire time I drove.

No More Birthdays

At the beginning of each school year, I like to see which students know their own birthday month. I call-out each month: “If your birthday is in January, you may have a seat in Circle Time.” “If you birthday is in February, you may have a seat in Circle Time” …

This year, I got the most unusual response ever. There were two kids left, after I had gone through all the months.
I said to one of the students, “When is your birthday?”
“I don’t know, my mom never told me.” He responded. Odd, but good enough. I told him he could have a seat in Circle Time.
I turned to the other student, “When is your birthday?”
“I don’t got no more.” She said.
Hmmmm …. How to respond!?!
I say, “What do you mean?”
“I used ‘em all up.” She explained.
Wow … I’m at a loss here.
I said, “Okay, have a seat in Circle Time.”

But I couldn't stop thinking about it (and still can’t). How COMPLETELY PISSED would you be if you were only 6 years old and you thought you’d used up all your birthdays!?!

Materialistically Speaking


I’ve noticed that a lot of people with blogs, have adorable children to write funny things about. I have a dog. He doesn’t speak or do funny things, so I’m left with myself. It seems extremely narcissistic of me to write about myself every day. Today, in an attempt to get-it-out-of-my-system, I’ve decided to write the most vain, materialistic, shallow (though it really IS what I think about) blog possible. Here we go:

I’ve been on my own with my single-girl, teacher salary for over a year now but I still have nicer clothes from when I was married (read: two incomes = more shopping).

I wouldn’t say I’m a materialistic person. I’m not attached to ‘things.’ However, that being said, I LOVE nice clothes. I do. I’m not gonna lie (and why would I?).

So, here’s my new thing (now that I’m a mortgage-paying, super-budgeting, spending-conscience, do-you-want-to-eat-or-have-those-shoes type of gal): I LOVE mixing nicer clothes with less expensive clothes.

Here’s are some examples of my favorite outfits:
1. Lacoste shoes, Citizen’s of Humanity jeans with Target zip-up hoodie. LOVE IT!
2. Franco Sarto boots, Paige jeans, shirt from Target.
3. Nine West pumps, Anthropology skirt, Target long-sleeved Mossimo shirt.

Here are two games I play:
1. “How ‘inexpensive’ and ‘cute’ can my next purchase be?”
2. “How long can I go without buying a clothing item?” I’m actually really good at this one!

I have yet to buy clothes anywhere but Target, but I’m totally excited to. If any of you know of great places to buy clothes, let me know!

I also have to admit that I LOVE getting compliments on my cheap clothes. My favorite of all time was when a woman working at Nordstrom, complimented me on my (fake) Chanel purse.
I’ll never forget it:
Nordstrom Lady (in a fancy voice): Oh. My. Gosh. I just LOVE your bag!
Me (totally freaking out that I’ve tricked her!): Thank you!
Nordstrom Lady (same fancy voice): Did you get it here?
Me (contemplating whether to lie): No.

And I left it at that. I just said No. Not “no, it’s fake”, but just “no.” That way, I didn’t LIE and therefore could keep my dignity (and morality) intact.

After all, if she can’t tell it’s fake, why should I?

My Heart Is Warm

Yesterday at lunch, my student noticed I wasn't wearing my diamond encrusted dolphin necklace. SHOOT!! I felt terrible. I had left it on my desk the day before, in an attempt to remember it.

Alas. I forgot.

Why are kids so DANG observant about that kind of stuff, but TOTALLY oversee things that are important to US, like untied-shoelace-danger?

So, this morning, I took off my (stupid) Tiffany necklace, and promptly put on my brand new, straight-from-the-heart necklace!

Here's the best part, when my student saw that I was wearing my necklace, she yelled, "YEAH! ME TOO!!!" and showed me that she too, was wearing hers.

They are so easy to please.

Sigh ... my heart is warm.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Gifts From The Heart - Part 2

Oh ... My ... Gosh. 

Update on the adorableness (I think I just made up that word) of my students:

Gift #1: Dolphin necklace from Sea World. Her mom just informed me that she spent $50.00 of her OWN allowance to buy gifts for people. SO THOUGHTFUL!

Gift #2: Hibiscus 'Hawaii" pen. Her mom told me that she 'fretted' the ENTIRE vacation about what to bring back to her teachers. Her mom suggested "get them something they can use, and think of you!" YES!!! I will think of you EACH time I use my pen.

Thank you to ALL my sweet, thoughtful students. 

Gifts From The Heart

One (of the many) things I LOVE about kids is how generous they are. Students bring back the most ADORABLE gifts from vacation. Today was the first day back to school after Spring Break and I just LOVED the array of gifts I received.

Allow me to share:
1. A DIAMOND encrusted dolphin necklace from Sea World (my personal favorite). See picture for visual reference.
2. A pen with beautiful purple Hibiscus flowers on it, with "Hawaii" etched down the side. Note: this student actually bought several pens, all different colors and let each teacher pick her favorite. SO sweet and thoughtful!
3. A wood key-chain with my name engraved on it from Mexico. My FIRST name. LOVE that!

However ... the winning gift was won (in a contest I made up in my head called "Who Got The Coolest Gift?") by my grade-level teaching parter. She was given a (large-ish) dried starfish on a rope, to be worn around her neck. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!? That is SO AWESOME! I'm a bit jealous, I'm not gonna lie.

I am in NO way making fun of these gifts. I LOVE them all. I LOVE that the kids picked them out for me. SO SWEET and thoughtful! The gifts put a smile on my face ALL DAY!

I heart my job.

I LOVE my students.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Last year, when I was teaching my 1st graders a math lesson on 3-d shapes ... things got a BIT out of control.

One of the activities they had to do in their math workbook was to look around the classroom and find objects that look like cylinders. I used the Diet Coke can I was drinking out of as an example. I walked around and monitored the children, dishing out help and giving encouraging words.

I thought everything was okay.

Later, as the kids were at PE, I sat down to look at everyone's work. Low-and-behold ... I came upon THIS!

WOW!!!!! Those SURE don't look like "cylinders" to me!

Is my mind in the gutter?

Is that REALLY a "pop" and "lipstick?"

I shall not state names to protect the not-so-innocent!

I Was The One

1. steadfast adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.
2. the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished
(Thank you dictionary.com!)

There are so many things in our society that want to temp us. Lead us astray and cause us to lose our focus: Society. Social Pressures. Media Images. Jealousy. Greed.

With so much temptation to think a certain way, or be this-way-or-that, how will I lead a life of integrity? How will I lead a life that is TRUE to myself?

My definition of INTEGRITY is this: knowing what is true for me, and acting on it.
What I know: I want to live a HAPPY, LOVING, FULFILLING life that is SAFE for me and other people.

I catch myself, and recognize when I am NOT living in my self-integrity. Here is a perfect example. This weekend (at the AWAKE retreat), we had an interesting exercise. After a wonderful talk, we were given the option of the following activity: Think of something that you have allowed yourself to believe, write it on a piece of paper, and nail it to the cross in the middle of the room.

My thoughts came to me so quickly I couldn't decided which one to write. "I'm not pretty enough." "I'm not skinny enough." "I'm not smart enough." "I wasn't a good wife enough." My thoughts went on and on, and came at me surprisingly fast. When I finally made it up to the cross, this is what I wrote on my paper: "I'm not _______ enough."

I couldn't think of JUST ONE thing to write. How sad is that!?

I was embarrassed to write it, but it was true. THAT was what I had allowed myself to believe.

The next day in one of our workshops, the speaker was talking about that exercise and said, "Last night I had the chance to look at some of the papers that people put up on the cross and it just broke my heart. So many women wrote 'I am not something enough.' In fact, someone actually wrote I AM NOT and then put a blank line ENOUGH up on the cross."

That was me. I was the one.

So, what did I learn from that? I've learned that I have a LONG way to go on my journey. That I'm still truckin' along on this journey that I call 'getting to know (and love) myself.'

Why is it that we're so able to love others for who they are, but it's so hard to extend that same acceptance to ourselves?

My Intent

I've been wanting to set up a blog for a long time now. A place to share my thoughts and experiences. I am a 31 year-old woman who has been given the gift of a few difficult years. Because of this, I have grown in unimaginable ways and I'm loving myself more, each and every day. I find joy in things I didn't notice before, value myself in ways I never knew possible, and I'm continuing my journey of surrounding myself with positive, supportive, loving friends and family. It's interesting that as you get older (and wiser perhaps?!?), your Circle of Friends get SMALLER, but STRONGER. Amen to that! I had the wonderful opportunity to attend AWAKE at Overlake Christian Church this weekend (thank you JODIE!). I was once again reminded that God loves and excepts us unconditionally in our times of struggle and need. I'm learning to extend that same generosity to myself. I look forward to sharing little tidbits about my life and journey of self-discovery and learning to unconditionally love myself, like other's do so freely.