Wednesday, December 31, 2008

More than you ever wanted to know

So, I read All & Sundry that is written by Linda. Each year she does this questionnaire and I decided to do it this year. Read on to find out more about me! (Like there's anything you don't already know about me!)

**If you don't read All & Sundry you should. She is a terrific writer with two ADORABLE boys. She also recently committed herself to getting healthy with amazing results!

**Feel free to copy this and do it on your own blog - or in the comments section of my blog. If you do put your answers on your blog, will you let me know?

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?

Got a job as a reading specialist, took the kids to Houston on vacation

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I don't think I even made any resolutions last year. I might make some this year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?


4. Did anyone close to you die?

No, thank goodness

5. What countries did you visit?


6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?

patience with my children

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

several that are school related - July, November, December all having to do with changes

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Getting the new job!

9. What was your biggest failure?

not being patient with my children

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

No, Garrett struggled with sinus issues though.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

I'm thinking it will be the new camera I just bought but I haven't learned enough about it yet!
I dropped my old one : (

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Jimmy's for putting up with me!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

No one that I can think of.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Bills, eating out

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

My new job! Garrett and Meagan doing well in school.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008?


17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? happier
b) thinner or fatter? about the same
c) richer or poorer? about the same

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

exercise, try to stay organized

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

be negative/complain

20. How did you spend Christmas?

We stayed in town as usual and had my parents over on Christmas Eve and then went to Jimmy's mom's house on Christmas Eve and for Christmas Day lunch

21. Did you fall in love in 2008?

I fall in love a little more with Jimmy each day. He is always doing something for me. I mean the thoughtful things that he does like bringing stuff to me that I forgot at home, making sure I unplugged the iron for me (I call him almost every morning to ask that question!)

22. What was your favorite TV program?

LOST, Bones, House (I'm sorry, was I only supposed to name one??)

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?


24. What was the best book you read?

Schuyler's Monster by Robert Rummel Hudson (I found his blog through All & Sundry too!)

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

David Cook

26. What did you want and get?

lots of stuff - hubby spoils me

27. What did you want and not get?

nothing - see #26

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

I'm not a big movie person.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 31 and I don't remember! I'm going to guess that we went to Chili's or my mom made roast and all of the trimmings - my two favorite dinner options. (In my defense my birthday is January 8th so I'm gearing up for my next one already. Last year's birthday was a long time ago!)

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

to stick to a healthier eating/exercise plan

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
What's clean and doesn't need to be ironed.

32. What kept you sane?


33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

The election. It was very interesting to see so many people finally get involved with something EVERYONE should be involved in all the time (voting) Of course, I am a total loser when it comes to understanding politics but I do vote each time an election rolls around.

35. Who did you miss?

My friends Amy and Emily who moved away in last few years.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

??? I have no idea. I'm sure I met someone new this year but I am drawing a total blank!

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.

See #38

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Home by Chris Daughtry - I tend to be a "grass is greener" type of person. I need to remember that what I've got is better than anything out there! (This is in relation to material things - nice houses, fancy cars, etc. The people I have in my life are more important that any of that stuff.)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My kitchen must hate me

I love to cook but HATE to clean up.

Last night I made a Paula Deen recipe that actually did NOT call for a stick of butter. (If you've ever watched any of her shows you know that almost everything she makes starts with "melt a stick of butter" and then continues to be a high fat, rich something or other! The only thing I do different for this recipe is not cook it as long as it says to after adding the macaroni. I also add a jar of mushrooms (drained) because I LOVE mushrooms.

My kids even ate it!

I also made corn muffins from a box to go with the goulash.

As I was making the goulash I also made biscotti cookies from scratch. They are good but seem like they are missing something. I thought I would look around on the internet at other recipes to see if I could add anything else to them to make taste like the ones I buy at Half-Price Books.

Tonight I made hash browns (from scratch) for the first time ever. They were good but I think I started with too much oil so they were a little greasy. They were crispy on the outsides but in the middle they were mushier than I would have liked them to be. They did have a really good flavor though!

I also made waffles, bacon, and scramble eggs tonight for dinner.

Needless to say, my kitchen is a HUGE mess.

(I even had to wash forks so we would have something to eat dinner with tonight but shh . . . don't tell anyone!)

Christmas Day pictures

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Eve Pictures

I already wrote about our Christmas Eve but I wanted to show ya'll the pictures we took.
I finally went to my mom's house and burned the pictures to a CD. (Remember how I dropped my camera? Because of the screen on my camera being broken, all of these pictures were taken on her new camera. But don't worry, I also got a new camera. More about it later!)
My pictures of Meagan's baptism came out too dark so I am waiting for Jimmy's sister to send me the pictures she took.
The funny look on Garrett's face is partly his smile and partly his face being swollen. Thankfully, the swelling went down on Christmas day. He's feeling better now but still has lots of congestion. Darn those fronts!

Here are my parents with the kids.

Garrett shows off one of his gifts. It is a 60 piece puzzle of a farm scene. He was able to put it together all by himself today. Someone (not me bacause jigsaw puzzles drive me nuts!) has taught him the proper way to put a puzzle together.

Grandpa helps Garrett open a breakable gift. It is a figuine of a fireman.I have lots of other pictures but they are turned the wrong way right now. I'll post them as soon as I figure out how to get them turned the right way!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Profoundly Seth

So, it's Christmas break for me and instead of cleaning and organizing my house the way I should be, I've been spending some extra time on the computer. I know, you are shocked at this revelation of mine!

Anyway, I recently found a blog called Profoundly Seth. I found it through the Not Me! Monday blog post on MckMomma's blog (click on the black and white picture on the right of the screen to see that blog).

The blog tells the story of Seth who is profoundly deaf. His mom writes about her life with him and his brother and sister. Seth is a candidate for a cochlear implant.

I have been interested in implants since hearing about them on ER (Ok, Ok, I know TV shows are not good medical sources, anyway) and reading about a micro-preemie twin who has an implant on a different blog.

Also, I'm nosy and reading other peoples' blogs allows me a glimpse into their lives okay??

Anyway, check out Profoundly Seth! She's currently hosting a give away to celebrate her site receiving 10,000 hits!

Watch out Chef Duff

Mom came over last week with one of those pre-made gingerbread kits. Even the icing was easy to make - all you had to do was add water.

We started at the top of the house where Garrett insisted on making a pattern with the gum drops.

Grandma Silly
(my mom)
A pastry chef in the making??
Meagan has a try with the icing. She realized that it isn't as easy as it looks!
Brotherly and Sisterly Love
Please ignore all of the junk on the desk behind the kids!
Our finished gingerbread house
We copied this wreath from the picture on the box - not exactly the same - but close enough!
Thanks Grandma Silly!
We had lots of fun!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Day

Christmas Day was also really good at our house.

Meagan woke us up at 6:59. "Mom, it's seven! Can we please get up now??" (She was under strict orders to wake us up before she went into the living room to see what Santa left her. A few years ago she woke up, took all of her stuff to her room, and was getting toys out of their boxes before we woke up!)

Garrett was still asleep so we left him alone and went with Meagan into the living room.

She was thrilled with her gift from Santa. (I would be too for that matter!) She received an iPod Nano and an iTunes gift card. Her stocking was also full of goodies. She got a High School Musical 3 game for her DS, some bangle bracelets, socks, some candy, and lots of other little things.

In his stocking Jimmy got a new equipment bag for kickball, some duplicate line-up sheets for kickball, Reece's Peanut Butter cups, and other odds and ends.

In my stocking I got new socks, the new David Cook CD (which is awesome!), some new pens, an iTunes gift card, some candy, and various items.

Garrett finally woke up around 8:00 or so. Santa left him a silver Nintendo DS and a Mario game. In his stocking he got an M&M racing game for the DS, a cover for the DS, a small lego kit, and lots of other goodies.

I made homemade biscuits and bacon and eggs for breakfast. After we ate Jimmy broke out the Batman Lego game for the Wii that the kids got the night before and I spent a while on the computer figuring out how to download music into the iPods Meagan and I received. Meagan bought Taylor Swift and Jonas Brothers songs with her iTunes gift cards.

We went to Grandma and Pawpaw Blair's for Christmas lunch and enjoyed visiting with family. We also opened our stockings that Santa and Grandma Blair fill for us there.

Elaine came by and visited with us before she went back to Houston last night. (She is very busy with preparations for her show which opens on January 9th.

I also talked to Crystal who is in town for the holiday. We made plans to get together today.

All in all, Christmas was great!

I'll post pictures once I have a chance to download them from my mom's camera.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!
We had a wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas day here at our house.
On Christmas Eve, we went to church for the evening service. Meagan was baptised along with another member of the church. It was a beautiful service and, of course, I cried. My mom and dad attended along with Jimmy's mom and two of his sisters and their families.
After church we went back to our house and opened gifts with Grandma Silly and Grandpa. Garrett received lots of Batman goodies and Meagan was thrilled the money that Grandma and Grandpa gave her. The money is for her to go shopping for clothes.
Mom and Dad gave me my very own mixer! (I guess Mom is tired of me always borrowing hers!) What I am very impressed about with the mixer is that Mom and Dad went to Wal-Mart on Black Friday to buy it. If you know my dad, you know how amazing that is!
Jimmy gave me a beautiful Willow Tree angel "Mother and Daughter." He said he felt it fit the theme of the evening.
After a dinner of assorted snacks/finger foods went went to Grandma and Pawpaw Blair's house. We opened gifts there (I got a gift certificate to Barnes and Noble :) Can't wait to go buy some new books!) Meagan and Garrett got lots of toys and Jimmy got an Astros t-shirt and Miami Dolphins salt and pepper shakers.
All of Jimmy's sisters and their husbands and Jimmy and I do a gift exchange. We call it White Elephant. Everyone draws a number and then you open gifts according to the number you drew. You can also "steal" other gifts that have been opened before yours. I came home with $20 in lottery tickets and Jimmy came home with a serving platter that can be kept warm. Of course, Jimmy and I agreed to trade gifts when we got home :) He won $14 off of the lottery tickets.
We got home really late and tucked our kiddos into bed. Garrett was feeling really miserable. He had sneezed and blown his nose ALL DAY and his eyes were almost swollen shut. Whatever blew in with the latest front REALLY bothered his allergies. Wait until you see the pictures - he looked terrible. He even took a nap during the day on Christmas Eve. When he fell asleep I knew he was feeling bad!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Chocolate Pixies Before and After

Baking update:

I forgot to take a picture of the dough before I rolled it into balls. The dough is really thick and chocolatey. You roll it into balls and then roll the balls in powdered sugar.
After you bake them they look like this. Yes, they are extremely messy. My table is still covered with powdered sugar.

Sorry the pictures aren't straight. I dropped my camera the other day and broke the screen. It still takes pictures (obviously) but you can't see what you are taking a picture of until after you download it to the computer.

I still need to make more gingerbread men at some point today. They are Jimmy's sister Tina's favorite cookie.

This post has nothing to do with Christmas

Jimmy recently coached winter kickball for the first time. He coached with another kickball friend of ours. (Neither one of them had enough girls for a full team so they combined the two teams.) I didn't do much coaching wise this time because I was busy taking Garrett to soccer practice and such.
This league is run by the Boys and Girls club - not the Little Miss Kickball organization. Each girl gets to kick no matter how many are on the team and you can sub players on the field every inning, not just at the 4th quarter. No official score was kept and there were no rules other than three strikes and you are out and three outs in each half of the inning. A total of five teams played in the junior division. All of the teams except one were coaches that we played with in the spring league.
Meagan had fun and even scored a few runs this year. It was very different playing in the winter instead of spring/summer. We actually wore sweats and jackets to the games for the most part! It's also more difficult to practice when it gets dark at 6:00!
These pictures were taken right before the last game of the season.

Monday, December 22, 2008

It's starting to smell like Christmas around here

Last weekend the kids and I made some cookies to take to their teachers at school. We made gingerbread men, chocolate pixies, and forgotten cookies.

I made the dough for the gingerbread men and rolled and cut them out. Once I put them on the pan Garrett placed the eyes and buttons on them.

We gave away (or ate) all of the gingerbread men so I plan on making some more in the next couple of days. Next time I will try to get an "after" picture when they come out of the oven.

The chocolate pixies went so fast I didn't even get a single picture of them! They are these wonderful brownie like cookies that you roll in powdered sugar before you bake them. When you bite into them, powdered sugar falls everywhere. I also made the dough for these cookies and then Meagan rolled the dough into balls and then rolled the balls in the powdered sugar. I did the actual baking.

The forgotten cookies are super easy. They are meringue cookies with chocolate chips folded in. I don't like them but several people at work do so I made them. They are SUPER easy to make (especially if you borrow a big fancy mixer from your mom like I did) and take next to nothing to make. To make 45 cookies you only need 2 egg whites, a 2/3 cup of sugar and one cup of chocolate chips. This year I used the mini morsels since the cookies themselves are pretty small.

I plan to make more cookies today. I LOVE biscotti and have wanted to try to make it for years, but I have just never gotten around to it. I am going to make plain almond biscotti. I love to dunk it in my hot chocolate. Of course, it is going to be 80 degrees here on Christmas so I don't know if I'll be drinking any hot chocolate. Why can't the weather get the message that I want it cold on Christmas Eve and Christmas day, not two days prior??

I'll post later with a baking update!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Holiday Crafts

Mom bought Garrett and Meagan these cute craft kits for Christmas. Garrett's kit contained magnets for the refrigerator. He had a santa, a snowman, and a penguin. He really had a lot of fun gluing them together. He was able to do most it all by himself.
Meagan made ornaments for the tree. She had a snowflake and a wreath. She got to use glitter so she of course had a lot of fun!
Thanks Grandma Silly!

Happy Anniversary Jimmy!

Twelve years ago today I married the man of my dreams.

He was 21 and I was 19. I was a college sophomore, commuting one hour each way two days a week for college and working five nights a week at the local bowling alley. (Which incidentally, is where we met. My mom actually met Jimmy first and introduced us.) Jimmy was working six days a week for his dad at his service station.

We had been dating for four years. Our first date was on November 14, 1992. I was 15 and he was 17. We went to the movies.

During the movie we were shushed by the people in front of us for talking. After the movie, he took me home. We then talked on the phone for most of the night.

We were married in a baptist church surrounded my friends and family.

I know that many people thought it wouldn't last.

Nine months later when I was a college junior, I found out I was pregnant with Meagan.

When Meagan was 18 months old, I graduated from college with a Bachelor's Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. I took several tests and became a certified teacher.

The stars must have been aligned correctly because I had a full time teaching job lined up the day I crossed the stage to receive my diploma. I was the first person in either of our families to have earned a college degree. I like to think that my parents' (and a lot of other people of course) dream came true that day.

Two weeks later I began to work at the school where I still work today. A few weeks after that I started school once again. This time my goal was to earn a Master's Degree in reading.

On December 6, 2002 our son Garrett was born.

On December 14, 2002 I crossed that stage once again, this time earning that master's degree.

Two days ago I was promoted to Reading Specialist.

Dreams really do come true for those that work hard and are willing to sacrifice things like free time and fancy cars and Jimmy was always there working (at work and at home) to make sure I was able to fulfill my dreams.

It hasn't always been easy but I always knew that I could do whatever I set out to because Jimmy was there behind me, standing just off stage, supporting me.

He is quiet to my constant chatter. He is patient and calm to my hot headedness. He puts clothes in the dryer for me and washes dishes and bathes kids and gives them medicine and brings me lunch and helps me grade papers (red pen only for him please!) and a million other things that I know I am forgetting here.

The point of all this? Jimmy, I love you and my life would not be complete without you. You are the reason I am who I am today and for that I will be forever grateful.

Thank you so much for being a wonderful husband and my best friend.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

My new title shall be . . .

Reading Specialist!

I got the job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I got the news yesterday. My principal called me into the office at 2:00 or so and gave me the news.

When we go back from break (January 5th) we will start interviewing people to fill my teaching position.

Once the district hires someone, I will team teach with that person for a week or two and then get started on being the Reading Specialist.

We have two weeks off for Christmas so I plan on going in and organizing my room and packing up some of my stuff to get it out of the way. I won't pull everything that is mine out of my room right now. For one, I have no where to put extra stuff and two, it wouldn't be fair to my kids to take everything that they are familiar with away from them.

Hopefully by the end of January I can have classes of my own started. I am really excited to work with kids from all of the different grade levels. I have spent the last 10 years working with 8 -10 year olds and think I will really enjoy the change.

I will be working with dyslexic students using the Language! program that our district has adopted.

I don't know what room I will be in now. Our old specialist used part of the computer lab but that isn't the plan for me. I think we are going to move some things around in another room to give me a new classroom of my own.

I am really excited about it but I don't think it is going to totally sink in until I actually start setting up my new space and setting up groups and lessons.

I know that leaving the classroom full time is going to be hard. I cried on Wednesday when one of my students moved to Houston so I can only imagine how it is going to be to leave 19 of them at once!

I am also going to REALLY miss my teammates. I have posted before about how well we work together.

The good thing is that I will still be on the same campus. The more I learn about where I work the more I am convinced that there is truly no place like home.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Gulp . . . I hope I don't regret it . . .

I just submitted a proposal for a reading conference in April. This conference is held each spring at the college that I graduated from. The man that talked me into getting a master's degree in reading is now running the doctoral program at this college. This is the college that I would love to go back to and attend the doctoral program. I actually enjoy going to school and attending class. I'm a nerd like that.

I think the proposal I typed up sounds good but what will they think?? I usually don't care too much about what people think but these are people that I admire for their education and impact on the reading community. My former professor is a past president of the International Reading Association. He's well known far and wide.

I haven't done anything with the college for the last several years because of my commitment to my school and kids. Lots of activities that the college does are at night or on the weekends. I tutor two to three days a week after school and on LOTS of Saturdays. I have been away from the academic side of my life for several years and lately I really find myself missing it.

One of the consultants that I work with through my school is currently working on her dissertation at the college so I love to talk school with her.

Maybe I'm finally ready to jump back into the world of academia.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Playing around with the self timer on my camera

So what do you think?

We had to try about 5 times to get this one and people were getting frustrated so I stopped with this one.

We went to church this morning - which is why we are all dressed up on a Sunday morning and my hair is done and I have make-up on.

After the service - which was very moving for me - I always feel like Brother R. can read my mind when he preaches - we talked to the pastor about Meagan being baptised. She has been wanting to for a while but I have been a slacker mom. Anyway, she will be baptised on Christmas Eve. How perfect is that? Like Jimmy said, I can't think of a better time to do it.

I am now doing laundry and trying to keep the kids quiet so Jimmy can watch the Dolphins. They are in the running for first place in their division which is FANTASTIC seeing as they only won one game all of last season.

I also need to do dishes so I can roll out, cut out, and bake the gingerbread men I want to send to Meagan's teachers this week. I borrowed my mom's heavy duty mixer and made one batch of dough last night. I love how all of the spices make the kitchen smell. I'll try and post some pictures of them when I am done with them - if anyone of them make it long enough to be photographed!

100th Post?? More job ramblings . . .

Who knows?

Anyway, I am still waiting for news about the job.

Let me fill in a little information about the job that I interviewed for.

About three weeks into the school year our Reading Specialist was moved to central office to fill an open position in the testing department. As soon as I heard Mrs. S. would be leaving, I called my principal and let her know that I was interested in the job and that I have a Master's Degree in Reading and hold a Reading Specialist Certificate in our state. (She's new to our campus this year and I wasn't sure if she knew I had a Master's Degree.) I then contacted our personnel director and let him know of my interest in the job and sent him an official letter of interest with an attachment explaining my degree/certification.

Over Thanksgiving break I saw in our local newspaper that they were advertising for several open positions in my district. The Reading Specialist job was one of those positions.

When we got back to school after the break I called the personnel director just to check in and see what was going on with the position. He said that my principal should be holding interviews soon and hopefully a decision would be made before the Christmas holidays.

The very next day the secretary told me that my interview was scheduled for Thursday morning (the next morning!!) at 9:00!

I went home after school and couldn't focus on anything!! I brushed up on my dyslexia information and read some interview questions on the internet (you can find anything on there I swear!) and redid my resume. I finally went to bed around midnight. Walking to bed I remembered about some experiences I had working at the college that I did not include on my resume, so I set the alarm for 5:00 a.m. I woke up with my alarm and redid my resume.

I feel that the interview went well. At first my heart was pounding but as I started answering questions I relaxed. There was one question that I felt I really didn't have a good answer for but as I answered the next question it helped answer the other one. (I have NO idea if that sentence makes any sense.)

That was on December 4th. I know there were several other interviews.

Tomorrow starts the last week of school before the holidays. I would LOVE to find out before the holidays so that I can either move my stuff around (if I get the job!) and get my room ready for a new teacher to come in and take over my class (sniff, sniff, I can't imagine leaving my kids) OR so I can cry all of Christmas Break and adjust to the fact that someone else will be the Reading Specialist! :(

If I do get the job I will be working with small groups of kids who are at-risk in reading. I will be working with kids from all grade levels K-4 and with teachers to help them help their students. I will still write lesson plans but instead of lesson plans for whole group lessons they will be for small groups. I will also work closely with the teacher who takes my place to get her settled in and make the transition a smooth one for my students.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pins and Needles

First of all, I am totally confused about my number of blog posts I have done. My archive says I've only posted 98 posts but when I log in my number reads 100. So, anyway, my last post might have been my 100th post or my next post will be. Whatever.

I decided to post tonight because I noticed I had 10 hits today! So, I guess a few people are actually reading my blog. If you could, I would LOVE for you to leave me a comment. Just click on comment under the post and follow the directions. You can click on anonymous if you do not have a blog or blog profile of your own. Thanks to Cindi for always commenting! You can check her blog out at Another Day in the Life which is listed on my blog roll on the left hand side of the screen. I would also love it if you added yourself as a follower. You can also do that on the left hand side of the screen.

So, now onto real news, Garrett's party at McDonald's was okay. Garrett was cranky because he fell on the slide and hurt his arm so he was shyer (is that a word?) than usual. The seating area that was reserved for us was really sunny and bright so not many of my pictures turned out that well. I don't think I took any pictures of the kids actually playing in the playground area. I have no picture of Garrett blowing out his candle because he didn't blow out a candle. This is because his candle broke as he was handing it to Jimmy to put it into the cake. (It had broken earlier in the day and I managed to fix it but Garrett dropped it again and it didn't survive.)

The great thing about the party was lots of friends and family showed up and had a good time (hopefully)! Garrett also got lots of great presents. He got some new jeans, a couple of shirts, a dart gun, some cash that he can't wait to spend, Hulk gloves, and Batman figures. I'm sure I'm forgetting some things. Thanks again to everyone who attended the party.

Now on to the pins and needles part of my post. Long story short, I interviewed for a new job last Thursday and I am still waiting to hear if I got the job.

I'll post more about the job in my next post.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

100th Post/My Baby Boy's Birthday!!

I can't believe Garrett is six years old already!!!

This morning Meagan and I were gone to a DI training in Corpus so Jimmy took these pictures for me.
I can't believe my baby has gotten so big! What is a mom to do??
I'll post more pictures tomorrow after his birthday party. We are having it at McDonalds.