Monday, August 31, 2009

Roller Coaster

Today has been a little bit of a roller coaster as far as emotions go.

I woke up this morning, the first day of school, and put on the outfit that I had carefully picked out last night: My favorite teal top, and my favorite white capris.

While I was straightening my hair, Gabby kept trying to attack the bathroom rug (a daily occurance). It was getting really annoying, so I bent down to pick up the rug. That's when I heard it: the horrible ripping sound. I looked down, and there was a gigantic rip in my favorite white capris. Not cool! On top of that, I was feeling some serious first day jitters, and my stomach was a little queezy.

I changed into some black pants, and luckily, things got a lot better once I got to work. It was so great to see all the kids again! I can't believe how last year's 4th graders are taller than me already! And when did skater clothes become SO popular?? I've never really liked them. I felt like a total nerd, though, because I wasn't wearing skater shoes, a funky headband, or articles of clothing covered in peace signs or skulls :-P Is this stuff popular everywhere or just in the school's particular demographic??

Most of the day went extremely smoothly, despite a few glitches in my schedule. (I wonder why the principal doesn't seem to understand that I can't be in two places at once...? By the way, Mrs. M, my last name changed over a year ago. You might want to mark that down since my old last name was on almost all of the staff handouts and schedules). Moving on...I finished decorating my classroom! Wanna see it?? ;-)

Sorry for the blurriness...I was having camera issues.
Math IS fun, isn't it?? ;-)
The room/bulletin boards are still pretty bare. I just found out that I would have this huge classroom on Friday, and had to beg, borrow, and steal in order to find some posters/decorations in the building. Well, not STEAL, but definitely beg and borrow!

Lovin' these nifty little geometry cut-outs from a third grade teacher down the hall. They go all the way across the front of the classroom
That semi-circular table in the middle is where I'll do just about all of the classroom instruction.. I probably won't use the other desks at all
THIS is how I get the students to listen to me ;-) (Not really, but it sure does help!)
PS - I bought this adorable bag at Target for $1! LOVE that place.
And THIS is how I calm my own stress level during the day (The Sour Patch Kids, that is). Chocolate is my favorite, but these are a close second!I'm so glad the day went so smoothly!

After work, I did some shopping, stopped by to visit my grandma, and then came home. That's where I found out some pretty bad news. I wrote awhile ago about how my wedding photographer charged us a bunch of money, and then never gave us our pictures or anything. She did the same thing to lots of other couples, and then we all tried to take her to court. I went to her pre-trial hearing a few months ago, and they decided that the case should go to the grand jury. Today I got a call from the prosecutor, and apparently they've decided that my photographer was not guilty of any criminal charges. Ummm, excuse me. She took well over $10,000 from all of us, we never got our pictures, and we never saw a cent of our money back. How is that NOT grand theft? So I will never see my wedding pictures (other than my proof book and a few that I salvaged from her website) and a lot of money was lost between myself and Luke's family who helped pay for pictures. I'm feeling totally cheated, not just by my photographer, but also by the justice system in general. We can try a civil suit, but she already owes so many people so much money, I don't know if we'll ever see any of ours back. Besides, I don't want my money back...I want my pictures!!!

Mad doesn't even begin to describe how I'm feeling right now. I've been crying since I heard the message. Maybe I'm overreacting, but those were my wedding photos. The pictures hold so many memories of the wedding, so in a way it feels like I've lost the memories, too.

Well I'm off to try to cheer myself up :-P Maybe some ice cream will do the trick! (Yes, I'm an emotional eater :-P)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Weekend Blessings

This weekend was full of blessings! It was great to have such a great, refreshing weekend right before the first day of school :-) We decided not to go to Cedar Point yesterday...we might just wait until next year. We may still go sometime in the fall, but we'll see. It was okay, though, we still had a great weekend!

- Friday night I made a homemade pizza, and rented a couple of movies. It was such a relaxing evening!

-Saturday morning we spontaneously decided to visit Luke's sister at college and watch one of her volleyball matches. She just happens to be going to the same college that I went to! It was fun to be on my old campus and to see what all has changed in the past couple of years since I graduated.

- Before Diana's volleyball game we got to see her cute dorm room, and we also visited some other people from our church who are going to Malone. I only lived in the dorms for 1 of the 4 years I was there, but I forgot how small they are!! I definitely don't miss dorm-life :-)

- The volley-ball games ended up being really intense! It was best of 5 games, and they ended up having to play all 5. It was intense up until the last minute, but they ended up winning! Diana's just a freshman, but she got to play some, so it was pretty exciting!

There she is
-After the games, we went to Best Buy with Luke's parents, sister, and her roommate to help pick out a TV for their dorm room. Luke and I got there a little bit before everyone else, and tried to play Guitar Hero while we waited. The second guitar with the display was not working, so I couldn't play it with Luke. That was probably the biggest bummer of the day :-P
-On our way home, after eating a delicious dinner at Chik-Fil-A (yum!), we stopped at Luke's grandparents' house to see their new truck, and show off our new car. There are kittens living right outside their barn, so we spent lots of time playing with them. One of them looked just like Gabby, and I told Luke that I thought Gabby needed a little brother or sister. He didn't agree with me :-P

- When we got home, we relaxed and watched the second movie we had rented the night before. The movies were due at midnight last night, so when it was over at about 11, we ventured out into town to return them. Luke spontaneously bought 3 2-liters of pop on the way home! This is a serious treat at our house, because we NEVER buy pop. I told Luke it felt like Christmas :-P

- This morning after church, we went out to lunch with our friend JC at The Hot Dog Shoppe. We did not order hot dogs, in case you were wondering ;-) they have really good burgers too. After that, I went shopping with Luke for supplies and decorations for my classroom...can't wait to finish decorating it tomorrow!

-Luke and I are planning on spending the rest of the afternoon cleaning out the new car, and the old car so it's ready to be sold. After that, I plan on spending the rest of the evening with Luke, relaxing. It will be a nice way to spend the last day before school starts!

Friday, August 28, 2009


Walking into the teacher prep. day at school today, I really wasn't sure what to expect. I didn't even know exactly what I was going to be doing this year or where I would be doing it from.

Much to my surprise, I found out that I get MY OWN CLASSROOM!!! Like, a real, full-sized classroom all to myself! The funny thing is, I'll be doing math pull-out intervention, so I'll only have about 5 or 6 kids in the classroom at a time. During certain periods of the day, I'll be doing one-on-one instruction in there! So I've got a lot of extra space. The classroom is at the perfect spot in the building, too. It's tucked away in a quiet corner right beside an exit door. In other words, it will be peaceful, and I won't have to walk a mile to get to the parking lot every day like I have for the past 2 years. Yay! Although it is within hearing distance of the music room. So maybe it won't be totally peaceful (especially around Christmas musical and spring musical times!)

Although I'm really excited, there were a few not-so-fun things that I discovered today: First of all, some of the students I'll be tutoring have some MAJOR behavior issues, which is never fun. Also, I have two duties. I have morning playground duty for a half-hour with all the 4-6 graders who come to school early, and I also have a lunch duty. During the lunch duty, there will be 2 other teachers in the cafeteria, and my only major job will be to oversee one specific student who has major behavior problems (ie hitting others with his lunch box when he's finished eating for no apparent reason). So who knows what to expect with that one. Last year I only had one duty assignment, so that's kind of a bummer this year!

Tomorrow I'm probably spending the day at Cedar Point with Luke. What a fun way to end the summer! And then Sunday I'm planning on spending lots of time in town looking for decorations for my classroom :-) That's the bad thing about not finding out about having my own classroom until right before the year starts: all the other teachers had weeks to decorate their classrooms, but I'm kind of rushed decorating mine.

Have a super weekend!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Back to School

On Monday of next week, it's back to waking up at 6:00 AM every weekday. Back to packing lunches of egg salad sandwiches or leftovers. Back to coming home and barely being able to keep my eyes opened, yet having to cook a meal and clean the house anyway. Gone are the days of waking up late and having no schedule. You can see why it's a little bit bittersweet to go back to work.

Last year, during the winter, I got extremely burnt out. I had had enough of my job, and was too tired to do anything at night. I let housework slide, and probably wasn't too pleasant to be around. I really don't want that to happen again this year. I know I always start things with the best intentions, and then have trouble actually following through. But this year I really want to keep my life as organized and easy as possible so I don't get into an awful funk again this winter.

First of all, my crock pot will be my best friend this year. I don't know why I haven't used it much since we've been married. Maybe because of a lack of planning or a lack of good crock pot recipes. However, this year I'm going to really be on the search for great slow-cooker recipes. I'm planning on making my weekly menu and buying ingredients before the weekend, then preparing as many of the crock pot meals on the weekend as I can, then just throwing them in my crock pot before I leave for work in the morning. Not only will that make my life a whole lot easier, but it will also give me more motivation and time to set the table so that we can eat more meals there instead of in front of the TV. This is one of our bad habits that I really want to break! (And I'm using the 1001 day challenge to help me break it).

My mother-in-law was nice enough to pick up a bread-maker for me at a garage sale a few weeks ago. I was so excited!! I still have to figure out how to use it, but once I do, I'm sure Luke's going to have to pry me away from that thing! My mom used to have a bread maker, and she made all kinds of bread, pizza crust, pretzels, breadsticks, etc. with it. I'll definitely be using it a lot to prepare parts of meals ahead of time. I can't wait to get started!

As far as cleaning goes, I'm just going to have to somehow be a lot more disciplined than last year. I might have to make a rule that I can't go to bed with dirty dishes in the sink or something (because dishes are my absolute least favorite thing to do in the entire world! So I tend to avoid them). Or if there are full laundry baskets. I don't hate laundry as much as I hate washing dishes, but it's hard to keep up with it sometimes even just with the two of us!

I have been bad with my devotions and Bible reading this summer. The lack of a schedule really isn't good there. During the school year, I had been pretty good at doing that before work in the morning, so I'm excited to get back into the schedule of that again.

Finally, I had one fun idea to help me keep my sanity this winter (I really HATE winter, to the point of seasonal depression, I think). Luke and I are going to make a list of fun activities for the winter. Like "watch a movie," "go sled riding," "go out to dinner," "Spend a weekend at Great Wolf Lodge," etc. So whenever we are feeling bored or sick of winter, we can go to the list for something fun to do. I even thought of putting each activity on a strip of paper, and then putting them all in a bowl. When we want to do an activity, we pull a strip from the bowl, and we HAVE to do whatever it says. That sounds like fun to me! So we will see :-)

So lets HOPE I can make it more than 2 or 3 weeks using all of these ideas. I really think they will help me to stay organized and have a better school year than last year!

And before I go, here are some pictures of the newest addition to our family. Okay, so it's not a baby or even a puppy, but I do think we will be spending a lot of time with it! It's technically "my" car, because I will drive it to work, but it's nicer than Luke's truck, so it will be the car we drive on long trips, trips to town, and dates, too ;-) I got to drive it home from Cleveland drives so nicely! I kept having to check the speedometer because it felt like I was going so much slower than I actually was. I better watch out, or I might get my first speeding ticket. All I want to do is drive it now ;-) Luke and I have been talking about taking trip to Cedar Point this Saturday, and I think we definitely will now, because it's a chance to drive the car a couple of hours both ways ;-)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Just a funny story that my sister reminded me of while we were on vacation:

I don't REALLY believe in Kharma, but I did have one thing happen to me on my wedding day that seemed to prove its existance.

My sister and I have a teasing relationship. We make fun of each other a lot, all in honest fun. One day, my sister had a giant zit right in the middle of her forehead. She would NOT stop complaining about it, and quite frankly, it was getting a little annoying. I guess I just didn't think before I jokingly called her "Cyclops." My dad was there with us, and he couldn't help but burst out laughing. I was laughing too. Julie was trying so hard to give us each the death stare, but she also let a little laugh escape from her lips. It was pretty mean of me, but we had to admit it was funny. Julie went on and on about how mean it was of me to say, all while still laughing about it a little bit.

You may be asking yourself what this all has to do with kharma. Take a look at this picture taken on my wedding day sans makeup. Look closely at my forehead:
It's kind of hard to see, but you can probably make out the giant ZIT toward the top of my forehead. Julie was pretty amused and pleased about this. We had to use about 4 tons of makeup for the wedding, and it was still pretty noticeable. Guess that's what I get!

Now every time we hear about kharma, we joke that we have experienced it first-hand. So think twice before you make fun of someone ;-)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I like to tease with that title, because as soon as you hear that word, you automatically think someone's pregnant, don't you? lol...I know I do! Well, that's not the case here. But I do have some pretty exciting news!

Last night, Luke and I drove about an hour from our house to go look at a little VW Passat. As soon as we got there, someone was test driving the exact car we had called about! Talk about a bummer. But the man told us he had another Passat...older, and with more miles, but CHEAPER. We went ahead and test drove that one, and tried to make ourselves like it, because it was cheaper, but we just didn't. The inside was all torn up and there were small dents in it. And it had 120,000 miles, just 1,000 less than the car I'm getting rid of!

So we drove back to the dealership, hoping that the people who had driven our dream car had decided they didn't want it. While those people were talking to the dealer, we got our chance to test drive the car. As soon as we sat down we both just got huge grins on our faces. The interior was so nice! There was a moon roof AND heated front seats!! (The heated front seats are probably my favorite part! lol). And there are only 95,000 miles on it. Apparently, Passats are supposed to last forever, so Luke says that's really not that many miles.

We got back to the dealership, and it turns out the people who had just driven our dream car DID want it. However, they didn't have the money for a deposit yet. I felt kind of sneaky and underhanded, but we gave the dealer a big fat deposit in order to hold the car for us. So it's ours!!!

We still have to apply for a loan today (sorry Dave Ramsey. We are bad people, and NOT following your rule about car payments. But it will be paid off soon!) but we should be able to drive the car home by the end of this week.

Luke took a picture with his iPhone as we were leaving. Isn't it pretty?? (We're going to fix/clean the headlights so they don't look so yellow and yucky)

I'm pretty excited that I'll not only have AC and a moon roof in the summer, but I'll also have heated front seats in the winter! It's definitely a few steps up from my 1999 Dodge Neon. I told Luke that now all we need is a garage so it doesn't get all rusty. But maybe by the time we buy our next car, we'll be living in a house with a garage :-)

So I'm pretty proud that the second day of my 1,001 day journey, I was able to cross off a huge item from my list: buy a new (to me) car.

Last night I was also able to work on another item on my list: Eat at 5 restaurants where I've never been. On the way home, Luke and I ate at Sonic. Now, I don't know if this is technically considered a real "restaurant" since it's fast food. But Luke and I have been wanting to eat there FOREVER. For years, we kept seeing mouth-watering commercials for Sonic, and yet we had never actually seen one in real life. There were NONE anywhere NEAR us. We started to wonder if this Sonic place with the hilarious commercials and delicious-looking food was just a myth! That is, until we heard about a Sonic that was being built in a town about 45 mintues from our house. Last night we drove past it on our way home from the car dealership, so OF COURSE we finally ate there! It was pretty good, too! And I'm counting it as a restaurant on my list. One down, four more to go :-)So it's been a good week so far, and it's only Tuesday! I'm glad this fun stuff is happening to keep me in a better, less-stressed mood before the school year starts.

Monday, August 24, 2009

This & That

I've got a lot of things going through my mind this morning, so I thought a misc. post was in order.

1. Yesterday was a great day! I know I only have a few more days left of summer, so I'm trying to milk it for all it's worth. After church yesterday, we went over to Luke's parents' house for burgers and sweet corn. His little sister is home from college this weekend, so that was the reason for the festivities. It was fun :-) The food was delicious, and after we ate, we relaxed and played a little Wii Sports Resort, our new favorite game. Then last night, Luke had a bunch of guys over for a fantasy football draft party. My friend Sarah came over as well, so I was luckily not the only girl there! We talked and watched Planet Earth while the guys were glued to their computer screens.

This picture was taken of me and Luke during the evening. I think this picture basically sums up our relationship. I had just done something really embarrassing, so I was covering up my face and laughing, and Luke is just looking at me and laughing, but in a loving way. Things like this happen daily around here :-P Haha...glad he loves me anyway!
2. During the party last night, Luke and I made a little deal. Basically, the guys couldn't leave their computers because they were in the middle of their drafts (okay, so I think the concept of a FF Draft party is ridiculous, but that's a whole other story). So Sarah and I ordered a pizza for them, Sarah made a really declicious appetizer for them, and we brought all of their food and drinks upstairs to them to enjoy. We kind of felt like we were treating them like kings, so I decided I wanted to get something out of it ;-) So in exchange for treating Luke like a king last night, he has promised me a board game night this week. We will play the Friends Trivia Game (which I got at a garage sale for $1 or $2!) and Scrabble. I know he would have agreed to the game night without all the compromise, but it made it a little bit more fun ;-)

3. After 5 years of driving my little, blue Neon, (and 5 summers with no AC, too!) it is finally time to say goodbye, and move up in the world a little bit. Luke and I are going to look at a VW Passat after he gets home from work today. I'm excited to get a new car! But I will miss my little Neon. It has been with me through a lot! Like driving me to college every day for 3 years; being parked in the garage at our first apartment together (with Luke, that is); it made the move with us to our first house; helped me arrive at the destination of my first roadtrip alone; and it's driven me to the locations of 5 different jobs, including my very first "real" job. Is it sad that I'm getting sentimental over a car? Isn't she cute, though? (Yes, she's a girl!)Sure, she has no AC, the CD player display is broken, and the speedometer only works correctly if you smack the top of the dashboard just right. But I will miss the car that brought me into independence :-)

4. I have found a new addiction: Bricks Breaking. It's a game that I play on facebook. My spare time has become consumed with trying to make the high score! It's a little pathetic.

5. I tried Hot German Potato Salad for the first time at Das Festhaus in Busch Gardens while we were on vacation. Oh my goodness, I am in love!! I'm looking for a recipe, and am planning on making it as a side dish sometime this week. I'll share the recipe if it turns out okay :-)

6. I accomplished another item on my bucket list on the last day of vacation! It was #76: Find sunglasses that I LOVE. I found them at Target, of all places, and it's like they were made for me. For some reason, I just can't ever seem to find sunglasses that look right on me. (Same with my head shaped weird or something? :-p). But I really like these! I'll share a picture if I ever remember to take one.

7. I'm already working hard on my 101 things in 1,001 days list! I'm planning on accomplishing or beginning a few items this week alone: play Scrabble with Luke, begin volunteering in the church library, set up a regular prayer and devotional time and place, eat at the table at least once a week for the duration of the 1,001 days, and possibly buy a new (to me) car! I'm not really thinking that I'll be accomplishing that many list items every week, but it feels good to be getting a good start on them all :-)

8. Luke and I received another gift card to Carrabbas as a thank-you for watching Max this summer. People must know us well, because Carrabbas is probably our favorite place to eat out together :-) I'm excited to get to use the card sometime in the next few weeks! Watching Max is SOO much fun, I really would be happy to do it for nothing in return. Spending time with him is reward enough! So the gift card is just icing on the cake :-)

9. I begin my teacher's meetings this Thursday, and the kids' first day is next Monday the 31st. That's all I'm going to say about that because I'm still working on having something good to say about it :-P

10. Yesterday was a little overcast and cool. Luke spent the afternoon (after visiting his parents) and evening (before his friends came over) watching pre-season football games while I lounged around playing Breaking Bricks. It felt like fall already, and consequently, it was the most comfortable and stress-free afternoon ever. Why do I associate fall with good feelings and calmness? I'm not sure, but I love it!!! I love it so much, that I'm almost ready for football season to start just so I'll know that it's here! (I hate football) I'm officially ready to say goodbye to the 80s and 90s and humidity, and hello to beautiful fall leaves, cooler temperatures, and yummy, comforting fall foods! Who's with me??

11. Yesterday Luke and I had a random "baby talk." He told me that although he would be sad to lose some freedom, the MAIN reason he wouldn't want to have a baby yet is because of money. I can understand that. He assumed that I would immediately quit my job if we had a baby. So that gives me even more motivation to find some way to work from home, or make some extra money somehow. Not sure if I will still pursue the medical transcription thing or not, because I'm afraid of everything becoming automated in that field sometime soon. But it's been kind of fun thinking of fun ways to bring in another income from home. But I think we still have a little while to wait until I need to worry about it too much! I'm slowly learning to be patient during this time :-)

Guess I had more to say than I realized :-) Overall, it feels good to be home from vacation, and with the new school year starting, I sort of feel like I get a fresh start. I'm ready to go back to work for sure (despite my negative comment earlier). So in general, I'm feeling pretty good these days :-) I hope the same is true for you!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

101 in 1,001...Because I Love Lists

Okay, I'm going list/goal crazy. I already have a bucket list: 100 things I want to do before I die. I have weekly to-do lists. I just completed my goal list for vacation. But there's something missing...

One night during vacation, I couldn't sleep. I got on my computer at about 3 AM and just started reading random blogs. I found a bunch of blogs with "101 things in 1,001 days" lists on them. I had been contemplating making one for awhile, and that night I was sold. It just seems like so much fun! I know my bucket list already has 100 items on it, but I have my whole life to complete that. 1,001 days is just a little under 3 years, so I thought it would be great to write a list of goals that are for this specific time in my life. Goals that are very possibly attainable right now, and not so "out there" like some of my bucket list goals. But you'll notice that a lot of the items overlap or build upon one another. So here we go, another list of items to try to fulfill. I'm getting a small rush just thinking about trying to complete all of these goals in just under three years!

So without further ado,

101 Things to do in 1,001 Days: (Start date: August 23, 2009. End date: May 20, 2012)
(Red = Complete) 60/101
Health/Personal Wellness
1. Run at least 100 miles
2. Lose 10 lbs - lost 11 as of 4/6/12
3. Try at least one new sport or physical activity - 1/16/11 (hiking)
4. Give up pop for a week - March 2012 - present
5. Keep a Food Journal for a Week - March 28 2012 - present

Spiritual Wellness/Giving Back
6. Read through the entire Bible - 46/66 books read
7. Volunteer in the church library - August 2009 - Present
8. Find a Bible study to attend regularly - September 16, 2009
9. Fill shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child
10. Donate old clothes to someone in need - 4/6/12
11. Fast
12. Do an anonymous, unexpected, good deed (How fun if this could turn into a weekly or monthly habit!)- December 2010
13. Set up a regular prayer/devotional time and place. Stick to it!- August 31, 2009
14. Donate hair to Locks of Love - 4/20/11
15. Participate in a 24-hour prayer vigil
16. Start a recycling system and stick to it.
17. Start using reusable grocery bags.- 11/2/09
18. Make and use at least one homemade cleaning product.

With Luke:
19. Go on at least one vacation - 1/12/11 - 1/18/11 to Arizona
20. Go camping- July 4-5, 2010 at Kelleys Island
21. Go on a double date- April10, 20110 (Dinner and a movie with Sarah and Tim)
22. Try at least one new thing together
23. Volunteer somewhere together- October 31, 2010 (Trunk or Treat night)
24. Reach our faith promise goal for giving which was set in fall of 2008 - December 2010
25. Have a "staycation" weekend: Spend an entire romantic weekend together at home.
26. Make Luke breakfast in bed
27. Make a family photo album for every year
28. Make a wedding scrapblog, which I will print out and turn into a wedding album (since we will probably never get the one we were promised from our photographer). - June 2011...Julie actually made a scrapbook for us, so I'm counting that :-P
29. Cook a meal together - December 13, 2009 (We made brunch together)

My dreams:
30. Save up enough "splurge money" to buy a dSLR camera
31. Try to play the violin; decide if I want to pursue it.- December 25, 2009
32. Save up at least $6,000 for a down payment on our "forever" house.
33. Buy a camcorder
34. Become pregnant
35. Visit at least one of these parks in Orlando: Disney World, Universal Studios, or Sea World.
36. Take a fun class (ie photography, cooking, writing, nutrition, cake-decorating, etc.) - March/April 2010: Creative Writing class
37. Get my flute out of the closet and begin to play it again.

38. Try okra
39. Try soy milk (Since I'm slightly lactose intolerant)- July 22, 2010
40. Invent a recipe - 9/12/09 (Spicy cheese dip).
41. Bake a cake from scratch
42. Bake a pie from scratch - 10/14/11
43. Bake lots of Christmas cookies and send them to friends, neighbors, and relatives - December 2009
44. Learn to make bread, pizza dough, breadsticks, pretzels, and more with my breadmaker
45. Try a new soup recipe - Butternut squash soup - 10/24/09
46. Try at least one new food not already mentioned - 3/30/10 (Eggplant Parmesan)
47. Eat at 5 restaurants where I've never eaten before - 4/5 (Sonic 8/24/09, IHOP 12/6/09, Five Guys 1/16/10, Winking Lizard Tavern, 8/5/10, Andrea's Garden 8/9/10)
48. Make a binder full of my favorite go-to recipes, complete with pictures and my own reviews - June, 2011 - I started a board on Pinterest with my favorite recipes. I'm going to use that instead. Times have changed since I wrote this list :-P

Other Domestic Things:
49. Sew something - 2/5/11 - curtains
50. Make and sell something on
51. Start an herb garden - 4/24/11
52. Grow my own tomatoes and other veggies
53. Learn to knit- 9/12/09
54. Plant flowers in my flower bed - Spring 2010
55. Eat at the table at least once a week for the duration of the 1,001 days (honestly, this just might be the most difficult item on the list!) - FAIL! :-P

Just for Fun:
56. Convert one of my photos to canvas for our living room
57. Keep this blog up and running for the duration of the 1,001 days
58. Try kayaking
59. Visit Lindsey in Chicago
60. Try Skiing
61. Get a manicure
62. Go biking
63. See a play or musical - Phantom of the Opera 8/14/10
64. Buy a new (to me) car - 8/24/09
65. Ride in a plane - 1/12/11 and 1/18/11 (on our trip to AZ)
66. Ride in a convertible - 11/29/09 (although the top was up, so I don't think this technically counts!)
67. Ride in a limo
68. Visit the zoo - 11/6/11
69. Visit a museum - 1/13/11 (The Birdcage Theater Museum in Tombstone, AZ)
70. Laugh until I cry - Nov. 6, 2009

71. Bring wildflowers to my grandpa's grave
72. Read an entire book in one sitting - 2/13/2010 (A Walk to Remembmer)
73. Take a long bubble bath with candles and music - many times
74. Spend an afternoon at the library - Did this multiple times in the summer of '11. At the church library.
75. Start writing in a personal journal again...because there are things you just can't share with the whole world on a blog :-) - 10/24/10
76. Float in the pool/sunbathe for an entire afternoon - 6/18/10
77. Buy Aromatherapy stress-relieving bubble bath from B&B Works.
78. Have a chick flick night with friends - 5/1/10

Misc: (because I forgot to add them earlier, but don't want to re-do all of my numbering :-))
79. Go on an international mission trip (and convince Luke to go, too!)
80. Watch an entire football game with Luke and don't complain! - 2/6/11 (the Super Bowl)
81. Visit The Great Wolf Lodge with Luke for a long weekend in the winter
82. Host a party - 9/12/09 (OSU/fall party)
83. Play Scrabble with Luke (I bought it for him last Christmas, and it's still sitting in our closet in the shrink-wrap) - 11/30/10
84. Go to a concert.- 11/13 & 14/09 (One80 Band, Remedy Drive, Run Kid Run, Francesca Battistelli, Leeland, and Brandon Heath).
85. Buy a little black dress - 4/27/11
86. Sing in a choir at church
87. Go on a nature hike - 1/16/11 in Sedona, Arizona
88. Go bowling
89. Read at least one classic novel- 3/25/11 (Anne of Green Gables)
90. Read all of the Harry Potter books
91. Finish reading the books in the Twilight series- 10/3/09
92. Keep my pictures in organized, ordered folders on my computer. 
93. Back up all the pictures and important files on my computer. - October 2011 (got an external hard drive)
94. Build a snowman
95. Send Christmas cards - 12/17/09
96. Watch a sunrise - many times
97. Watch a sunset- July 4, 2010
98. Research my family tree and Quaker heritage
99. Have a complete fondue dinner
100. Try on an outfit that I would never buy and/or could never afford - 8/5/10
101. Do Project 365 - fail

Don't worry, I promise my whole blog will not revolve around this list all the time. But I will make sure to update as I complete items. I will probably focus more on this list now than my bucket list, because it purposely contains some of the same items from the bucket list, and because these are more immediate goals.

Oh my goodness, if you have not done anything like this for your life, you should! Maybe it's my Type A personality, but I just really get excited about things like this!

Should I change my blog name to "Lists for Life?" Just kidding, I promise to lay off the list posts for awhile :-) This week be looking for posts on back to school, a new recipe, and how I plan on using my crock pot to save my life this school year :-) Also, I'll probably be writing about our Sunday, Cedar Point plans, and a library meeting at church on Thursday...I'm finally starting to volunteer there! (Which just happens to be one of the items on my list).

It's great to be back and caught up with all of your lives! Have a great week!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Home at Last

Luke and I arrived home from vacation earlier this afternoon. It was a great week, but it feels good to be home, too!

Yesterday was another fun day at the beach. The waves were HUGE because of Hurricane Bill. They were fun to ride, but a little scary, too! In late afternoon, I built a sandcastle on the beach while Luke made his script Ohio in the sand (I think it's going to become a tradition every time we're at the beach). In the evening, Julie and I cooked dinner, and then Luke, Julie, and I went on one last souvenir run in town.

Oh yeah...Julie and I tried skim boarding one more time yesteday. We still didn't catch on!
Script Ohio
My sandcastle - moat and all!
Mom and I took a walk on the beach, and saw lots of birds and beautiful scenery

Okay, so now that I'm home, I'm going to re-check my vacation to-do list, and see how many I accomplished:

1. Try skim boarding for the first time: CHECK. (Although I certainly have not mastered the skill!)
2. Take a walk on the beach at midnight: 1/2 check. we crammed so much activity into our days I just couldn't make myself stay up that late. Although I took a walk on the beach at 10:00, so I'm giving myself half a check for that :-)
3. Build a sandcastle: CHECK. And we also made a sand turtle earlier in the week :-)
4. Fly a kite: CHECK. It was a pretty cool kite, too.
5. Ride a bike on the boardwalk: Big, fat no for this one. I guess we just ran out of time.

6. Ride all the roller coasters and other fun rides at Busch Gardens: CHECK
7. Watch at least one show at Busch Gardens: CHECK, at Das Festhaus
8. Explore the nature preserve by our condo: 1/2 check. We went on a nature walk at the aquarium, and walked to the beach part of the preserve, but didn't actually explore the entire preserve.9. Prepare two meals for the family during the week: Check. A chicken casserole one night, and a spaghetti dinner another night.
10. Visit Jamestown: No check. We ran out of time for this, but would definitely like to check out Jamestown or Yorktown next time we're there.

11. Get up early one morning and watch the sunrise: No check again. I decided that sleep was too important to get up at 6 to watch the sunrise! I get grumpy if I don't get enough sleep, and like I said, we kept pretty busy. I did catch the sunrise in PA on the way there last Saturday, though. Does that count?? :-P

12. Work on my photography, and take hundreds of pictures: Check. My camera was attached to me all week. I took around 600 pictures in all.13. Try at least one new thing that I've never tried before (skim boarding doesn't count): Check. This is a little lame, but I tried boogie boarding. I'd never done that before! We usually use biggger blow-up rafts to ride the waves. Boogie boards were pretty fun, because you could stay lower in the water, and actually steer a little bit.14. Swim in the condo pool: Check. Sure, I was only in for about 2 minutes, but I did try it out! We decided that they kept the water too warm, and it just wasn't refreshing in the 90 + degree weather.15. Visit the nearby aquarium: Check. Although my pictures are all on my parents' computer, because we were having memory card problems that day.

So I finished 11/15. Not too bad! I think it was a good idea to make a list of goals for our trip. It became a challenge to see how many I could check off by the end of the week. I know I probably never would have tried skim boarding if I hadn't written it down as one of my goals. But don't worry, I took a lot of time to just relax, too!

Now I'm probably going to spend the rest of the evening recuperating, and catching up on all of your blogs! I know I've been pretty absent for the past week, but I'll be commenting like crazy tonight :-) I missed hearing about what's going on in your lives! :-)

Friday, August 21, 2009

5 Years Ago

I'm taking a break from vacation posts today as I finish packing up to come home. I'll fill you in on the rest of our trip the next time I post. But right now I thought I'd take the time to write about what I was doing 5 years ago today.

I remember the day perfectly. I had spent all day working at the pizza/ice cream shop where I worked 40-50 hours a week the summer of 2004. It was my last day working there, because school was about to start. I remember having butterflies in my stomach the whole day at work, because I had a hot date for later that night ;-)

I got off work at 6, and had just enough time to get ready before Luke picked me up on our first date :-) We went to Tinseltown to see a movie. I remember most of the way there we talked about a young adult worship service our church was planning on beginning. It's crazy to think that now that service has been going on for almost 5 years, and Luke is the drummer for the worship band.

The movie we went to see was "The Village." It was a really ridiculous movie, and we both hated it. But we still both had a perfect evening. After the movie, Luke dropped me off at home, and I remember not wanting the night to end!

Who knew that that was the beginning of a relationship that would last a lifetime? Well, I did actually :-) I just KNEW that Luke and I would end up together. I even wrote about it in my journal later that night.

I can't believe we've been together for 5 years now! That's 60 months. 1,825 days. 43,800 hours. 2,628,000 minutes. 157,680,000 seconds. Crazy if you think about it like that! We have spent roughly 1/5 of our lives together. And it's just the beginning.
Here's to many more years together!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Day 6 - Fish and Family

Unfortunately I have no pictures to share today. Luke and I bought a new memory card at Wal Mart right before vacation. It has been acting funny all week and giving us problems. Today we keep getting a message on the camera that says "File Error" and it's been locking up our camera screen and our computer whenever we try to do anything with the pictures! Has anyone else ever had this problem or know how to fix it? I know it's not Wal-Mart's fault, but I can't help but hate them a little more for it :-P

Anyway, today we visited the Virginia Aquarium. It was okay...Luke and I went to Ripley's Aquarium on our honeymoon, so it didn't quite live up to that. But still a nice little trip to see some fish :-)

Next we went out to lunch at Max and Erma' that place! And from there the girls spent the afternoon shopping while the guys went on a naval ship tour. Luke's really bummed that pretty much the only pictures he took this week (of the ship) seem to be the ones that messed up the camera...We can't seem to get them off of the memory card no matter what we do! Ugh, it's affecting my mood a little, if you can't tell :-P

We spent the evening at my aunt and uncle's house for dinner. They live in a beautiful neighborhood. After dinner, we all walked down to the pier on the bay where I took tons of pictures, and also walked around to look at the mansions on their street. Luckily, I took the pictures tonight with my mom's camera, so I do have access to them...I just don't feel like uploading them all now.

Tomorrow is our last day here before the drive home on Saturday. It's been so much fun, but I'm ready to head home. I miss Gabby! Plus I feel totally refreshed and ready to take on another school year, so I'm ready to get it started! I think we should try to go away a week before school starts every year! ha!

At the mall today, we visited a pet shop where we saw some kittens. I think that's what really made me miss Gabby! I am such a pathetic pet owner. She has somehow become like our child. I'm sure my mother-in-law is taking great care of her, though! But I thought I'd close today with a picture of her, just because I'm missing her so much :-PThis was taken the day before we left. Gabby followed me around all day as I was packing, and she kept trying to play with the sheets as I was putting the clean ones on our bed. I can't wait to see her cute little face on Saturday night!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Day 5 - Beautiful Scenery

We spent today on the beach, and then came out to fly our kite after dinner (another item to be crossed off of my bucket list!) It was extremely hot today, and for some reason, the water was FREEZING! So it wasn't the most fun day at the beach we've had so far. But for some reason, everything just seemed extra beautiful today! I took over 100 pictures today alone. So for this post, I thought I'd just share a few. I'll post them all on flickr when I get home.

Our condo is just so much fun to take pictures of
Here I am flying the kite!
I really love this picture of Luke flying the kite:
After all of that, we went to the movies. The boys went to see District 9, and the girls went to see The Time Traveler's Wife. I cried through about half of the movie :-P But overall it was a fun night! Tomorrow we're going to the aquarium and then to dinner at my aunt and uncle's house. I can't wait to get caught up on all of your lives, because I haven't had much time to read blogs this week!! I feel totally out of the loop! ;-)