Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day!

I hope everyone has had an excellent, long weekend! I know I have. It has really felt like summer, and I'm pretty bummed that I have to go back to work tomorrow! But only for one more week, and then summer will officially start for me!

My wonderful weekend began Friday night with my sister. We both went shopping for all the Memorial Day essentials we needed for the weekend: food, beverages, and graduation party cards. We then headed over to my parents' house for chocolate milkshakes while we watched the Indians lose again :-P It was a great night to chill and get ready for the weekend to come.

Saturday morning I woke up bright and early ( 8:45AM :-P) and headed over to my friend Rachel's surprise going away party/brunch. She is a friend from church and she's heading off to Colorado for the next few months. We had delicious food (french toast casserole...yum!!) and had fun talking and spending time together before she leaves. It was a gorgeous morning, and we headed out for a little photo shoot after we ate! The party was at my aunt's house, and she has beautiful flowers and gardens all over her yard
I know somebody got a really cute picture of all of us on this cute little bench by a tree, courtesy of the self-timer ;-) But I'm not sure who took it, and I haven't seen it. Instead, here's one I snapped of Rachel, and my cousin whose name also happens to be Rachel ;-) With all of the weird friend-issues I've had in the past year, I'm blessed to call the group of ladies who were there my friends :-)
Later I headed over to my parents' for the day to get my tan on ;-) And after that I had two more parties to head to! It was a busy weekend! First I headed over to my friend Kristin's...I brought these cute Pillsbury pre-made American flag cookies. I just love these! They're sooo easy and quick, and they taste delicious!
At the first party, we made hot dogs over the fire, and had a lot of other delicious food. It really felt like summer
I headed over to the second party, where Luke was, after a few hours. It was almost a half-hour's drive from the first party. I got there, visited for a little while with everyone, and then everyone started to leave! lol...I only stayed for about 40 minutes total. So I guess I should have either stayed at the first party the whole time, or driven over earlier, because the 30 minute drive was almost not worth it! It was fun, though, even though I wish it had lasted longer.

Sunday morning was church...we had an amazing acoustic worship set, and I really enjoyed the morning! After that it was time for...guess what...another party! This time it was a Memorial Day party with Luke's family. We ate the delicious food, and then just sat around visiting all day because it was just. too. hotttt. to do anything else! And then we headed over to my parents' house because they had invited us over for pizza in the evening. I think we probably gained 5 lbs each this weekend! ;-)

At Luke's family party, his aunt was talking about Lost and what a great show it was. I have never watched it before, but I knew we had it on Instant Netflix, so I decided I'd give it a try. So last night when we got home I would do a load of laundry, and then watch an episode of Lost. Then I'd go do the dishes, and then watch another episode. Do more laundry, and watch another episode. lol...does anyone else do this? It helps me to not burn out while I'm doing chores! Anyway, I am totally addicted to the show, now, and I plan on watching it whenever I have free time this summer! I tend to catch on to big shows like this a little late.

This morning I woke up and continued my Lost/chores marathon ;-) It was a pretty low-key morning in our house, as I was watching Lost on my computer and Luke was watching the marathon of Deadliest Catch on The Discovery Channel :-) It was kind of rainy and dreary, so it was nice and cozy!

Later it got sunny again just in time for us to head over to a graduation party. Whew, our final party of the weekend! And we actually skipped two parties! So after the last party we went grocery shopping and got ready for the week ahead, and I plan on taking it easy after all that partying!'s time for more Lost and then The Bachelorette later.

So it was a good, but very busy weekend. It was so much fun! I can't wait to see what other fun things this summer will bring. Just 4 days until freedom!! ;-)

P.S. Don't forget all of the men and women who have fought for our freedom! Praise God for their bravery and selflessness.

Friday, May 28, 2010

I'm Going to Miss Them!

I have waited for this time for sooo long...the end of the school year, that is. I have had a countdown going for so long, I can't even remember when I started it. The excitement that summer is a mere WEEK away is almost more than I can handle.

However, today was track and field day, and the kids were all just extra happy and excited to be together and to have a whole day off from doing schoolwork. I realized something while going through the line of kids asking me to sign the back of their Field Day shirts (this is a big tradition): I'm going to miss them! ALL of them!

Somehow during all of my recess duties and lunch duties, my days subbing and my daily walks through the halls, I have really gotten to know almost all of these kids! I could almost name every single one of the students in kindergarten through sixth grade at my school (I think I may even know more of their names than the principal does! Although, I know the secretary has me beat. She knows them allll).

I'll miss the clingy fourth grade girl who would not leave my side all year during recess duty in the mornings.

I'll miss the kindergarten boy who always asked to go to the restroom during lunch even though his teacher had just given the entire class a restroom break. I will not forget his cute, ornery smile during the summer months.

I'll miss my morning hugs from the second grade girls who always seem to catch me right as I walk to my classroom in the morning.

I'll miss the sign language lessons that I would randomly get from the deaf sixth grade boy who was in my math class.

I'll miss another sixth grade boy in my math class who was usually grumpy, but on a good day, would break out in random song and it would allllways make me laugh, no matter how bad of a mood I had been in before.

I'll miss the entire first grade class that was always way too talkative during lunch time. Mostly because they call me "Mrs. Walrus."

And even though the three fifth grade girls I had for reading almost drove me to the point of banging my head against the wall with their cattiness, gossip, and flippant attitude, I will miss them. I will miss their smiles and their cute little trendy outfits, their talk of Justin Bieber and iCarly. I'll even miss them breaking into Emily Osment's "Once Upon a Dream" every five minutes or so, no matter how many times I told them to stop singing and get to work.

I'll really, really miss the little sixth grade girl from my math class. The one who I've somehow ended up working with every school day for the past three years. Her sweet attitude and strong work ethic, even despite all of her learning disabilities, have made such a great impression on me. I will REALLY miss her next year as she will be at the jr. high :-(

I will miss my lunches in the teacher's lounge, just catching up, comparing lunches, discussing last night's episode of The Bachelor, finding out that somebody's pregnant (which seems to happen all the time! :-P), or even just venting.

And I will miss so many more people and things.

So anyway, I might shed a tear or two next Friday. I cried on my way home last year on the last day! I'm such a nerd :-P But as soon as I get home, I will switch right to summer mode. And I probably won't give too many thoughts to the afore mentioned people or activities for the next three months;-)

Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Professional Wedding Photos...Just Two Years Late!

My wedding photographer was a con-artist, basically. I paid her the money, she took our wedding pictures and gave me the proof book, and then basically disappeared. She did this to 10 other brides, and we have never seen our pictures or gotten our albums. We took her to court, and the case was dropped which makes me completely lose faith with our justice system! She stole over $11,000 so that's grand theft. I try not to dwell on it...

Anyway, I decided to take the nice Nikon D90 that I'm borrowing from JC, and take pictures of the tiny, tiny pictures in my proof book (there are 15 of them on one page, so that tells how small they are!) Some of them are pretty blurry, but some of them are okay! I'm still upset that I don't have the actual good-quality copies or anything, but this is better than nothing.

So since I have so much new wedding material, Wedding Wednesday will be returning from June until our 2-year anniversary on July 12! Last year I posted wedding recaps every Wednesday for about a month or so leading up to our 1-year anniversary. So this year I will be just posting pictures every Wednesday.

I know it's Thursday, but here are a few as a preview, just for fun:

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Something to Think About...

The other day I was out on playground duty with the older kids in the morning. It was just an ordinary day, and I was totally zoning because of the boredom.

Subconsciously, I thought to myself, "Wow, I wish my stomach was that flat." I immediately snapped out of it, and realized I was looking at an 11-year old girl's stomach. A girl who hadn't even reached puberty yet.

Apparently, I have been conditioned to believe that my body needs to look like a 5th grader's. I want to be that skinny.

What does that say about our culture?! And I consider myself to be a pretty secure person as far as my body image goes. Scary. I'm seriously scared for all the pre-teens and teenagers out there.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I Did it!!!

I am feeling slightly accomplished today. With only a few days left in the 2009-2010 school year, I think it's safe to say that I've pretty much survived it. I still have to help my fifth-graders successfully complete their end-of-the-year projects, deal with terrible end-of-the-year behavior, and play in the end-of-the-year teachers vs. 6th graders kickball game (totally got roped into this one and I'm not looking forward to it :-P) but that is nothing compared to all the other stuff I've had to endure this year.

You see, this year was probably the most difficult year of my life. And the year before it wasn't much easier! Last year we got married, moved, Luke switched jobs, and we became landlords. It was a hard year because of all the changes. But this year has been hard because of all the challenges.

First of all, there were my health issues. from September until about February, I kept going through these really sick spells. I still to this day don't know what it was, and my doctor wasn't very helpful. I was losing weight and basically couldn't eat anything. I was having stomach cramps that were so painful I would curl up on the floor and shake and almost pass out (I should mention I have a very low pain tolerance). We were worried for awhile that it was my gallbladder or something. But in the winter when I went off the pill, all of my problems seemed to go away! I have been pretty much pain-free since about February, eating anything and everything that I want. Praise God!

Next, there were the car issues. We bought it in September. In October we found out the entire engine would have to be rebuilt, costing about the same price as the car itself. Our car was in the shop for over 2 months. We got it back just before Christmas. After that, we noticed that there were large amounts of smoke coming out of our car every time it was stopped. Ugh. Apparently the turbo charger went bad after the engine. The car went back to the shop for another month-and-a-half to have the turbo charger rebuilt. It wasn't cheap, either. We got it back in April, I believe, and just last week we had to send it back in because some censor or something went bad (I don't even really know what's specifically wrong this time!) But this is going to be a cheap, easy fix and it should be back in the next few days. But needless to say, this has been stressful. I haven't talked about it a lot, but it has caused so many tears and so much anxiety for me. And Luke too, minus the tears. But praise God that it has all been fixed (well, almost :-P). I can't wait to drive that cute little thing around all summer instead of Luke's big, green, non-feminine truck that I've been driving off and on for about half of the year.

Next started the relationship problems. I don't really want to go into details, but lets just say Luke and I learned a lesson about friendship this year, and who our real friends are. We felt betrayed by some people, I guess, for lack of a better word. But it brought us closer together, and taught us to treasure the genuine people in our lives.

I can't forget about last winter when we got our fun "surprise" at tax time. We ended up owing money. Like, a lot of it. It came out of nowhere, and we had no idea how we were going to pay for it.

And of course, there were some job issues that I'd rather not go into. We all have them from time-to-time, I'm sure. This year was my first year with my own classroom, so this was the first year I had to deal with them all 100% on my own.

On my worst days I would wonder how in the world we were going to pay for our car repairs. And how much longer we would have to borrow a vehicle while our car was in the shop. How could God let this happen to us when we had just gotten completely out of debt a year before? It will probably be forever before we're ready to have kids now that we have so much debt, again! Why was all this bad stuff happening to us? Why are our "friends" being so cliquey? Why does everybody take advantage of me at work? And I was having all of these thoughts and worries while suffering terrible stomach pains every hour or so for weeks on end.

There were definitely lots of pity parties during this past school year. Lots and lots of tears in the shower (my mind is on turbo-speed while I'm in the shower for some reason. If I need to cry, I do it in the shower. Don't ask me why! I also get all of my good ideas in the shower. One of my crazy quirks I guess :-P) I was really struggling with seeing the big picture; seeing past my immediate worries and my pain.

Now that I'm on the other side of it, I can almost laugh at myself. Why was I so worried?! So many people have it so much worse than me. I am so blessed. God carried me through every one of those trials. Our car is being paid for, our taxes are taken care of, after this week we'll have a perfectly running car (knock on wood!), We have realized that we overreacted about the friend situation, and God has also brought lots of new friends into our life. And one of the best things about the year is that I know it has brought Luke and I closer together. I'm sure this is only the tip of the iceberg of trials we will face in our marriage, but I like how it feels having come through that first set. We know how to work together better during stressful times, and I learned that sometimes I just need to shut up and let him lead (I never thought this whole Ephesians 5 submission thing would be so hard!)

And better than anything else, I have become so much closer to my Lord. When I was sick and lying on the bathroom floor, I just remember feeling so close to God. I knew that I needed him so much at that time because everything in my life felt like it was falling apart, and I seriously thought the pain was going to kill me (Did I mention that I have an unbelievably low pain tolerance? :-P). I knew that God would get me through it, and He did. I understand why He lets us go through things like this now. If he never tests our faith, how are we every supposed to build it?

So anyway, all that to say that I have come through the hardest year(s) of my life, and for the moment, everything feels pretty much at peace. I'm so excited about my future, and I'm learning more about my savior, my husband, and myself every single day. You better believe I am going to use this summer as a time of celebration and praise! I am going to let myself feel God's peace wash over me, and I'm going to let go of all of my worries! For three months, I'm going to just rest in His love, and let Him take me wherever He wants to. And I can't wait!

I know that since I just wrote that, I will probably have to suffer some massive attack on my spiritual life :-P It always seems to happen that way, doesn't it? But even if that happens, I know I will be okay. God works all things together for good, so what do I have to worry about?

This was a long post, but I really wanted to reflect on all that has happened in the past school-year. I hope it gives you hope if you are going through a rough time!

Monday, May 24, 2010

1,000 Words

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I figured I'd just shut up today and SHOW you what has been going on in my neck of the woods the past two days :-) With a few captions, of course

Happy Birthday to my grandma yesterday
A walk through Grandpa's beautiful garden
Enjoyed my mom's flowers while lounging by the pool this afternoon
Also enjoyed Holly with Mom
And later I am going to enjoy a fun night at small group, and then two late softball games with Luke. And if I'm lucky, I'll get to watch my DVR'd episode of The Bachelorette later ;-) I'm not counting on that part, though!

Busy, busy these days!

{10 days and counting!!!}

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Our Weekend Getaway

Luke and I arrived home from our little weekend getaway after midnight last night. It was a great couple of days spent together!

We were due to leave early on Friday morning. Thursday night, the forecast did not look good. 70% chance of rain on Friday, and 80% on Saturday. Luke and I were super bummed as we fell asleep that night, because we thought our trip was ruined and our money was wasted.

We woke up and got on the road Friday morning, and our fears were confirmed:
It was the ugliest day we had seen in awhile. We almost decided to spend the day shopping or going to a movie in Sandusky instead of hitting up Cedar Point. Something made us turn toward the entrance, though. We paid our $10 for parking and decided to wait it out in the parking lot. We sat there for an hour just hoping there would be a break in the rain long enough for us to head in and ride a few of our favorite rides.
After about an hour of sitting there, it seemed like the rain was letting up a little bit. Luke checked the radar map on his iphone, and sure enough, it looked like there just might be a short break in the rain, long enough to ride a few rides, hopefully. We decided to take our chances, put our hoods up, and head inside the park. What a sloppy, wet mess it was!
We walked to the back of the park, toward one of our favorite rides. Because of the rain, it wasn't open yet. there was no one else near it, and Luke wanted to just stand near the entrance so that we would be the first to ride it when it opened. I rolled my eyes, grumbled and complained, knowing that it probably wouldn't open for another hour or so. I decided to agree, though, and watched the cute geese nearby while we waited.
We had been standing there for about two minutes when a crowd started gathering. I guess people saw us there, and assumed that the ride would be opening soon. It wasn't long before a line started forming. Eventually, the line stretched back so far I couldn't even tell where it ended. And we were at the front of it! Well, almost. Some annoying people pushed past us, even though we were technically the first ones there.

Anyway, after about 20 minutes of waiting there, the rain stopped! A few minutes after that, it was announced that the ride would be opening. The crowd cheered! We ran on up and basically walked right on one of the most popular roller coasters in the park. In the first row! The 20 minutes we waited in the rain was much shorter than the normal 1-2 hour wait for that ride. Score!

So we rode that ride and then my favorite non-roller coaster ride, Skyhawk
At about that time, Luke decided to check the weather on the radar map again. To our surprise, it looked like there would be no rain coming our way anytime soon!

A little while later, The clouds parted, revealing a beautiful blue sky and sunshine! Here is what the park looked like when we first entered:
And here it is a mere 2 hours later!
What a transformation!! And what a blessing :-) We did not end up getting so much as another drop of rain the rest of the day or evening! It was such a wonderful surprise! There were periods of cloudiness, but no more rain!

So here is what we did with the remainder of our sunny day:
*Rode Top Thrill Dragster, one of the tallest and fastest rides in the is a view from behind it, looking up:
*Rode two of our favorite rides, Maverick and Millennium Force twice! And all of our other must-ride attractions once.

*Enjoyed the beautiful scenery! Cedar Point is right on Lake Erie, and there are some beautiful views from some of the rides

*After riding everything we wanted to and more, we hit up some gift shops, and walked back through the park toward our car in the twilight. The overcast evening with everything all lit up was somehow really beautiful to me, and I took a few pictures. These were taken in one of those moments when you are exhausted, but so content. All of my worries had melted away during the fun of the day and all felt right with the world :-)
*At about 9:00, we headed to our hotel to get settled in. It was the cheapest hotel we could find and the furniture was definitely straight from the 70s. But it was clean and charming in its own way...I wouldn't mind staying there again :-)

*At 10:00 we realized we had eaten nothing but an overpriced gourmet pretzel that day. So we made a late night trip to Steak and Shake, right down the road from our hotel. We basically ate our frisco melts without talking or breathing because we were so famished at this point! Then we headed back to the hotel for a good night's rest.

And that concludes Friday's festivities. Saturday we were planning on heading on over to Cedar Point again. However, we decided that we had already done all we wanted to do and more there, so we changed our plans. Here is what we did on Saturday instead:

*Slept in until almost 10! We decided we'd rather sleep than eat the free breakfast offered by the hotel :-P

*Shopped around Sandusky, and discovered that Sandusky shopping is not good. I guess if your city holds Cedar Point, Castaway Bay, Kalahari, and Great Wolf Lodge, you don't have to offer much else ;-)

*Ate lunch at BW3s...again, we were famished after not eating breakfast!

*Headed to Cleveland! First we hit up Tower City Mall. It was pretty, but certainly not as nice as we remembered it. And they didn't have much to offer as far as shopping goes, either. Perhaps it has gone downhill with the economy :-/
We did find it funny that all the Lebron James items in every sports store we visited were on sale
It was also funny that there was a whole Twilight section in FYE. Of course the Jacob doll is not wearing a shirt
*We then went to see a movie at the Tower City Mall Movie Theater. I thought the theater would be nice, but I couldn't have been more wrong. Old, dirty, dated, broken was a nightmare. And we were the only ones in the theater for the movie we came out Friday. Weird. The movie was not good, either. This was a bust.

*After the movie, we decided to head on over to Progressive Field to check out the Indians game! They are not good this year, so tickets were only $10. We figured, why not?

*We got to the field super early, and had a chance to watch batting practice

*It was slider figurine night! How lucky are we? :-P

*After batting practice, we headed on up to our seats in the nosebleed section. It was Ohio Night, because the Cleveland Indians were playing the Cincinnati Reds. So Brutus Buckeye and the part of The Ohio State Alumni Band were there!

*It was supposed to rain. We lucked out again, and instead, it looked like this ;-)

* We watched the game, enjoyed some delicious, overpriced ballpark food, and had a great evening. Even if the Indians lost (it was okay, we weren't expecting a win!) What a beautiful evening it turned out to be. I love sitting on this side of Progressive Field with the view of the city in the background.
And the best part of the night?.....FIREWORKS after the game!!
Here we are...the only picture I took of the two of us the whole weekend. You can tell by looking behind us just how crowded the ballpark was :-P

What a fun weekend! I feel like Luke and I reconnected this weekend. It was so nice getting away from our lives for a few days just to have fun! I feel like my stress-level has gone down so much after this little trip. We should do it more often!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! Sorry for the picture overload. Back to the regularly scheduled programming tomorrow ;-)

Friday, May 21, 2010

My Favorite Place

Today I thought I would write about my favorite place in Ohio, since I'm THERE right now ;-)

That place is Cedar Point. I am a somewhat new roller coaster rider, but in a few short years I've become a roller coaster junkie. And Cedar point is the place for roller coaster junkies!

I went for the first time, at least since I've been old/tall enough to ride the rides, while I was dating Luke. His whole family went there and stayed at the campground one year. It was so much fun! I had ridden a few roller coasters before, but nothing too scary. Luke basically forced me to ride all the rides, and although I think I almost passed out from fear on a few, I found that I LOVED it. The feeling of exhilaration as you free fall hundreds of's just amazing. Terrifying and amazing at the same time.

If you've never been to Cedar Point, I'm going to do a commercial for you right now. First of all, they have some of the most amazing roller coasters in the world. Here are a few of my favorites (although they have something like 16 in all!):

Raptor - the best feet-hanging ride I've ever been on (I know there's a more technical name, but I don't know what that is!)

Wicked Twister - this coaster is basically right on the beach by lake Erie. The ride gives me a headache every time, but it's so worth it!
Mean streak - A great wooden coaster that actually doesn't beat you up
Maverick - This ride is one of my top 3 favorite roller coasters. It's so smooth yet windy and hilly...and the first hill is actually steeper than 90 degrees...such a cool feeling!
Millennium Force - I have a panic attack every time I ride this, but it is amazing! Being scared is half of the fun :-) I felt very accomplished the first time I rode this. When it was built, it was the tallest, fastest roller coaster in the world at 310 feet tall and 93 mph. And I conquered it!
And just for fun, here is the view from the top. I'm usually closing my eyes, holding my breath, and PRAYING at this point :-P
And now for my favorite ride of all time: Top Thrill Dragster. It only lasts for a few seconds, but it is such a thrill! This one makes Millennium Force look like a babyride at 420 feet and 120 mph. It just shoots you out, up, and down, and then the ride is done. But it is unbelievable. Again, it was the tallest, fastest coaster in the world when it was made, until Kingda Ka was built. It is just a few feet taller and a few mph faster, and they totally copied :-P So Cedar Point is still the best! ;-) In the picture you can see it towering over Millennium Force. It is taller, but not as scary, because you don't have all that anticipation of climbing the hill slowly.
Somethings, it does not clear the hill though, and I think that would be TERRIFYING to just fall backwards and get shot up again. But then you get two rides for one wait in line, so I guess that's not too bad!

In addition to awesome roller coasters, there are other great rides at Cedar Point as well. Like:

MaXair...This ride is so much fun and sooo smooth. Such a cool feeling as it whips you around, back and forth. It's actually kind of relaxing compared to the other scary rides!

And my favorite non-roller coaster ride, Skyhawk. The biggest swing ever made. I could ride this over and over, all day long!

So there you have it: my favorite place in Ohio and our claim to fame. Did I convince you to come?! You totally should, and then we could meet in real life! :-) Anyway, I'm there right now, and probably riding one of these as you read. Here's to hoping that the rain and my headaches hold off!

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Last night, my friend JC let me borrow his camera for the next week or so! I am so excited, and have barely let it leave my side. Unfortunately, I haven't had too much to photograph besides animals! I'm hoping I have some more opportunities in the next few days to try it out on some other things, though!

So here's what I came up with while I was dabbling. It was on auto pretty much the whole time because I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing, but I think some of them turned out okay :-)

This picture of Ellie made me laugh so hard! She looks like she is sticking her tongue out at me.

I liked this one of her too (Gabby seems to be terrified of the camera, so I couldn't get any good ones of her!)

I took a picture very similar to this last year with my p&s...I actually like that one better b/c it was taken on a rainy day and the coloring was just better. But I like the one below, too.

I like taking pictures of things with different textures

And I LOVE playing around with depth of field...see the difference?

I had to pick Luke up from work today (MORE car problems). He works at a park (or a set of like 7 of them) so I got out and took pictures at the creepy duck pond while I waited for him. I say creepy because there are like 500 ducks living in this tiny pond :-P (I'm exaggerating a little!) But anyway, I think this is my favorite picture I've taken so far. SOOC (straight out of camera)
I'm sure I will be snapping lots and lots more pictures while I am borrowing this prized possession of JC's. JC, I am forever indebted to your kindness for letting me borrow this! :-)

Tomorrow Luke and I are off to Cedar Point! I scheduled a post tomorrow, though, so you will still be hearing from me this weekend ;-) Have a great one!