Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas

Christmas started on Saturday, December 20th for us. My family had a family picture scheduled for 9:30am that morning. It was our first family picture in years - probably when I was a 7th grader. It ended up being a pretty good picture considering we had lots of little kids to manage. I took some pictures of my family's Christmas. It is hard not to take pictures of such cuteness! It was a good Christmas celebration at my home. Lots of food as always, but lots of joy and fun as well. My niece got a porcelain tea set for Christmas, so we had a little tea party on Saturday. Sunday, everyone came back to my parents home for more food and more family.

On Monday, I went shopping with Sandy - both of us searching for a few more presents. In the evening, Jeremy and I went to my old youth group get together. It was a sparse gathering as some of the crew were sick and some were still working. It was a good time nonetheless.

Tuesday, Jeremy and I spent time in Canton wrapping up our Christmas shopping. I had a Rockne's gift certificate from last Christmas. We ate there for lunch; it was delicious. For those living in the Canton/Massillon areas, I recommend trying out this restaurant. Yum. That evening, we hung out with my parents. We had waffles and white sauce. Although I felt I had eaten myself silly, I found room for this delicious breakfast dish!

We had the opportunity to go hang out in the morning in Ashland with my brother Nate's family. My little nieces, Sophie and Chloe, are always a ball of fun. Chloe was in quite a mood, but still such a blessing. Sophie and I read about Volcanoes, Earthquakes, and the Human Body. Did you know that if uncut, your fingernails would be 12 feet long? Or did you know that 10,000 strands of hair tied together would be strong enough to lift and automobile... and you have over 100,000 strands of hair on head! So, that one shampoo commercial is real! That evening we headed to the Yoh house to see Jason, Jennifer, and Jeremy's parents.

Christmas day we celebrated first with Jeremy's immediate family, and then we headed to the Bricker Christmas. That is always a festive time. There are about 30 people that gather together in one house to eat, fellowship, and share presents. I got fuzzy bunny slippers from one of the cousins in the gift exchange. They are fantastic! Jeremy got a gift card to Home Depot - looks like some home repairs coming up! In addition, his uncle David had been working to clean up the farm this past summer. During his clean up, he recylced all kinds of scrap metal. He was on his way to recycle the copper wire from an old welder, when he had another idea. He took teh copper to a local jeweler and had pieces of jewelry made for everyone. It is very pretty. Some of you may have read the story in the Daily Record.

Friday and Saturday was more hang out time with the Yohs. We went to MacKenzie's Jewelers in Wooster, ate at the Broken Rock Cafe, and went to the Tschiegg reunion. We headed home on Saturday night. It was good to be back in Columbus. There is just something to be said to coming home! Jeremy is working at the Indianapolis Colts game today - in Indianapolis. It sounds like a lot of fun. Hopefully, it will be. I am sitting here watching movies and doing laundry. I started with One Night with the King, which is the story of Esther. It is pretty good. I also have Catch and Release and The Great Debators on the line up! We hope everyone had a great Christmas and may you carry the hope of Christ into the new year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Yea!

We got it! Well, almost. I am referring to the car that we hoped would be available and hoped that checked out and hoped would fit our budget. I met Jeremy during my lunch hour on Monday to test drive the car. It seemed to drive well and the carfax looked good. We made an offer; they countered with what we hoped for; we put a deposit on it. That is why I said we almost got it. The insurance company is still working to get us our insurance check. When that happens, we can go pay for it and bring it home. :) Oh, I forgot to say what we got... a 2003 Honda Accord, 4-door, in a gray-blue color, with 76,000 miles - exactly what we wanted :) Thank you, God, for blessing us with something in our budget.

In other news, Jeremy is officially done with his first quarter of classes to get his GIS certification, only 2 more to go! I have exactly 3 more days of school before break. I am both excited and dreading it. It will be a lot of work because I am working with my kids to mix cut out cookies, roll out, cut and bake cookies, and finally to frost and eat cookies! Whew! I think it is lot of work to do this on my own; I am sure it will be no easier to do it with 25 high school students. I'm going to try to take pictures; hopefully, I can post some that don't show faces (against confidentiality). We still have some Christmas shopping to do - actually, we have all our Christmas shopping to do! I think this will be a busy few days. Have a great week everyone.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Car Shopping

It is exhausting to shop for cars. There so many different types of cars. In one used car lot, I had a field day because all the cars were unlocked, and I could just climb in and out of all of them to see how spacious they were. It was very exciting! I learned that salesmen are currently desparate people who don't have the time to listen to your needs, they just know what they need to sell to make ends meet. News to the salesman: You would sell more cars if you listened to your customer. I learned that finding a Honda Accord (or Toyota Camry) with decent mileage, in decent condition, for $10,000 or under is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. I learned that I love the heated leather seat, but not enough to pay a few thousand dollars more to get it. I learned that I would like to be done car shopping sooner, rather than later, but I am willing to wait it out for a good deal. That said, we have our eye on a car that will hopefully still be for sale by tomorrow, and that will hopefully have a clean history, and that will hopefully be bought by us! We still have hope. :)

Otherwise, this is my last week of school - yea! I am planning on making cut out cookies with my students. It sounds exhausting, but was not as time consuming as actually starting a new science topic. We'll save force, energy, and simple machines for after the holidays :) I hope everyone has a great week. Stay focused on the promise this season has brought us in Jesus' birth and not the hecticness of the material holiday it has become.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Crazy Week

It has been over a week since I blogged. For those who check daily, I apologize. This week has been crazy. It started Saturday. If you recall it snowed last Saturday. ODOT did not think that they needed to treat the roads; Jeremy and I wanted to go to my staff party down south. We headed slowly, but surely down I-270. We started counting vehicles in the ditch, spun the wrong direction, or otherwise impaired. We were at 17 by the time we reached our destination about 25 miles from home. We looked around the ceramics studio of the woman hosting (an art teacher at the school). She had some great stuff. They also had a small Christmas tree farm. We decided to pick up a tree. (Side note: One of the people in our small group is teaching a boy whose family is transitioning out of homelessness. Their apartment had nothing but an air mattress in it. We collected furniture, blankets, pillows, pots, pans, etc to give them. We thought it would be fun for them to have some Christmas decorations and gifts as well. The tree went to them.) We strapped on the tiny tree and headed out about 4pm. We made it about 8 miles or so traveling at about 35 mph on 33N (near Hamilton Road at Ricart Ford, for those that know the area) when we hit a slick spot in the road. We started to spin to the left; Jeremy corrected the vehicle, but instead of pointing forward we continued traveling around in a clockwise circle. The truck (Toyota Tundra) behind us could not stop and we collided with them. It spun both of our vehicles into the space between the highway and an entrance ramp; that was a blessing from God because we were out of the way of oncoming traffic. Both vehicles did not look great and were not driveable. All four passengers in their truck and we were okay - no injuries. I think it was because we were driving slowly - and God was with us. A random tow truck was driving by and felt sorry for us since it dark and cold and we had a Christmas tree on our roof. They towed both vehicles to their collision shop which was also a rental car facility. So, right now, Jeremy is driving a "sweet" Suzuki Forenza. We learned on Thursday that both vehicles are going to be considered a total loss. Apparently, in addition to the bumber, grill, and hood being damaged on ours, the frame was cracked as well. We received a decent sum of money from insurance to go car hunting. The process will begin today!

I had Parent Teacher Conferences on Tuesday night. That is a bad day to have conferences because you have so many days of the week left to go. I was at school for 13 hours that day. One of my conferences of the night was really hard. There are a lot of issues with the family that explain a lot of what my student is going through. We rescheduled to follow up them for a longer conversation and look at ways to get them help. The next day things spiraled out of control, and the situation just got worse. I can't go into detail, but please pray in general for families. There are a lot of families that don't see the holidays as a joyful time, but one of lonliness and disappointments. It makes me more thankful for my relationship with my family and a God who will never disappoint me.

The week just continued to be stressful as we waited for news on our car and tried to make decisions. I have been more optimistic than I anticipated, which is also a blessing. I have one more week of school, and Jeremy has one more week of latch-key work before we are off for Christmas break. We are looking forward to going to my family's Christmas celebration this coming weekend. Then, enjoying Christmas Eve and Day with the Yoh's and the Bricker's. I hope that each of you will take time to enjoy family and the blessing of our Lord and Savior during this Christmas season. (And I will try to blog a few times this week!)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Countdown: 10 School days

Really, this is the New York Update, but it feels so good to say I only have 10 more days of school. Today, one of my students that is out in the general education class decided to jump up as entering the classroom and hit the exit sign at the beginning of 7th period. Not the best idea, as the sign sparked in many directions, and led to the power going out throughout that wing of the building! When the teacher asked why he did that, he said, "Because you never said we shouldn't." Duh. We'll have to deal with that on Monday - funny and stupid all at once!
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So New York City... We arrived at Jennifer and Jason's apartment about 10:30pm or so. I was very tired. We went to bed not long after arriving; thank goodness! The next morning we woke up slowly. We talked about what we wanted to do on Friday. Somehow, going to Macy's made it to the top of the list! So, we took the train to Mahattan and joined the millions of people already at Macy's. You can see Jennifer, Jason, and I outside one of the entrances. The interior shot was taken while going up our first escalator. This is the first floor craziness. We continued to travel to the 8th level where the toys and the North Pole were. Jeremy and I were able to get our picture taken with the moose man :) We also went to Rockefeller Plaza to see the very BIG Christmas tree and ice rink. It was pretty, but not what I pictured in my head. The one picture is of us with the tree in the background. We headed back to the house after eat lunch at a little Italian eatery. We cooked up Thanksgiving dinner for the evening. You can see the tables where we ate; there were eight of us with Jason's friend and Jennifer's boyfriend. It was good, and obviously filling meal. We managed to get to bed quite late Friday night.
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Saturday, started about the same as Friday - getting up slowly and deciding what to do. We decided to try to take the ferry to Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. This ended up being what every other visitor in town decided to do. So, we changed our minds and headed to South Side Bay (I think that was the name). They have small shops, big, tall ships, and a museum. Jeremy, Jason, and I walked past the previous site of the World Trade Center, since I had never been there. It was all under construction and there was not much to see. The one picture is of Jeremy with the Brooklyn Bridge in the background. The other picture is of Gloria and I with the big, tall ships in the background.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Countdown: 13 days

Yes, that is my school days countdown to Christmas vacation. This week has actually started off fairly well. Learning about density is a ton of fun - really, because it has a lot of demos to do to show the kids what density is.

We made it home from NYC at 6:30pm on Sunday night. I will blog about the trip AND post pictures; I just haven't had the time. Until then, I hope everyone has a great week.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving

I can't believe it has been a week since I last blogged. Time is flying by! This week in science we made Flubber on Monday. It was pretty cool. I would recommend making flubber with any kid you know. Jeremy had made it Friday with his latchkey kids, so he recommended it to me. Today and tomorrow, we are watching the Disney movie, Flubber, starring Robin Williams. It is funnier than I remember; it has been a long time since I saw it.

This weekend Jeremy, his parents, and I are driving to New York City to be with Jennifer and Jason (Jeremy's siblings) for Thanksgiving. It should be fun, but the 9 hour drive does not excite me. We haven't seen Jennifer and Jason since last Christmas, so it is a welcome trip in that way. I need to pack tonight. We are also trying to clean out the fridge. We ate leftovers tonight. I made apple bars with the plethora of apples I bought on sale last week. They should be delicious, and I will share with my co-workers tomorrow.

I realize this is a really boring blog. I hope this was not too boring.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Good Day

Yesterday was a GREAT day! I took the day off to go with Jeremy to a financial advisor about his 401(k) that is quickly diminishing in size. We slept a little late, went to the appointment, and had lunch. I went for a chilly walk in the afternoon - day 5 of exercising... in a row!! Then, I rented two chick flicks - Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2 and 27 Dresses. I really liked both of them, but I am a sucker for the chick flick. Jeremy went to the hockey game to do some of his security thing. I went to small group.

Today, I went back to school, and it was a GOOD day. My kids behaved well and did work for the sub yesterday. Today, we worked on volume of a liquid using a graduated cylinder. They measured a specified amount, brought it to me to check the accuracy and either got my signature for approval or had to go back and re-do it. It appeared that they were having a lot of fun - getting down at eye level, watching for the bottom of the meniscus to hit the correct increment on the graduated cylinder (lots of vocabulary words in that sentence). The sub that was there for another teacher (who I share the room with) said she wanted to call me Queen Yoh because I just sat on my "throne" as they brought graduated cylinders to me. I thought that was a cute metaphor. It was a relaxing and enjoyable time. I came home and did a yoga strengthening DVD - day 6 of exercising ... in a row! (I really need a reward for making it a week, but I don't know what that would be that costs no money and is not food which will conteract the exercise benefits....)

Jeremy had an interview for an internship for a GIS position. He said the interview went as well as he could have hoped for, and that, unlike other postings, he will know within a week one way or the other. Please pray for confidence and patience regardless of the outcome.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My How Time Flies

I thought I just blogged and then I realized that that was Tuesday - 5 days ago! This week was really long for me, but I guess that happens. My students were good; it was just long. On Friday, I used this techie gadget called an ELMO in my science class 3rd period. (See picture to the right of what ours pretty much looked like.) I was late arriving and the science teacher was covering for me until I was released from a meeting. So, she had bought this thing for her class. It made 3rd period so fun! All it does is project your actual paper - colors and all - through a projector onto a screen. I also put the calculator under it so that kids could see me (my actual finger in 3-D!!) pushing the buttons. Yes, it takes very little to get excited. We also took time to put faces, IDs, shoes, and other miscellaneous items under it. Teaching would be so fun if everyone had an ELMO. :)

Jeremy and I went out on a date on Friday night. We headed to Lucky House for some Chinese food. We haven't had Chinese food, or eaten out at a nicer restaurant, since last month. It was good to be able to just sit and talk without any distractions. I know for many of you the distractions are kids, but we don't have kids, and I still feel like we have very little time to talk about more than what stresses me out at work, and what Jeremy has been up to all day. So, this was a real treat. Saturday, Jeremy went to a training on communicable diseases, while I washed clothes. I also went for a walk in the drizzle and planned meals for next week. Fairly productive, but relaxing day. Today (Sunday), is cold, cold, cold and windy - bad combination for motivation to do a whole lot of anything. We are home from church and a youth leader training. Jeremy is studying for his upcoming mid-term, and I am blogging - trying to be motivated to do some school work.. yuck. Hope everyone has a good week.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ummm

I don't really have much to blog about, but I realized it had been since last Thursday when I posted anything; be prepared for randomness.

Jeremy and I went to the 30th birthday party of one of our friends (Stacy) on Saturday night at Hoover Grill. It was a fun time. There were about 20 people or so there. It is good to have a social life again.

In school, my kids took a test - a hard test (over chemical bonds, chemical reactions, and physical and chemical changes) - on Friday. Most of them got As, Bs, or Cs. I had two Ds and no Fs. I was very proud of them. This week we are learning about mass and volume, using graduated cylinders and scales. Hopefully, all the hands on stuff will be a good thing. I don't have any good stories I can tell off the top of my head, so this is about it.

Jeremy's grandma had knee surgery this past Friday. Apparently, it went pretty well, and she is home recovering. His grandpa was also in the hospital for other health problems, but he, too, is home. Please pray for energy for their "kids" as they take care of them.

Tonight we have dinner with the older people in the church, the youth, and our small group. It is a potluck style event. Hopefully, it will be enjoyable. Unlike at Salem, we rarely have fellowship meals at Westerville Christian Church because it is so large. The rest of the week is pretty low key. Jeremy is doing some youth group work tomorrow with Nick. On Thursday I have a really late night volleyball game again... it's like they think I am a college kid! On Saturday, we have the opportunity to go to a "Bond, James Bond" Party.. which is really just going to the theatre to watch the newest Bond film with friends. We'll see about that. Okay, that's it. Hope everyone is having a great week.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Short Week

This week of school was only three days long which is wonderful, right? In general, yes. I think it still feels like a full 5 days somehow. The students have been relatively good. My science kids have a test tomorrow (Friday). So, today we played Trivial Pursuit with the test topics. Hopefully, that got something out of that. I am really worried that they don't know this information very well. I think I taught it in an understandable manner, but maybe didn't spend enough time on it. I just can't think of enough creative ways to do the same thing to reinforce a topic. I think that is the hardest part; I am always searching for resources.

Jeremy's time at the Y latchkey program is always exciting. He managed to beat some 4th graders in Connect 4 this morning. I learned there he knows a sure win strategy :) He also had the opportunity to play paper football with a "Dennis the Menace" kid in the afternoon. Oh, the things he gets to do - and get paid! Please keep praying for his job situation. We are still waiting to hear about one of the jobs that he applied for previously. There are also some internship opportunities that are coming up starting in January. In security news, he could work the Metallica concert this Sunday night, but he thinks it would be a lot of work... could be fun (with the earplugs), too! :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy Election Day

Our polling site is one that is being broadcast around the world. There is a Japanese station there, Columbus stations, and more! We have not been to vote yet, but apparently there is 1-1/2 hour wait right now at 8:30am. We plan to go a little later in the morning.

This weekend we went home on Saturday for my little nephew's 1 year birthday (Sam). It was so fun because my whole family was there. I am posting some pictures of this. Sam is the one on his new firetruck. Paxon is playing "horsey" on his daddy's legs. Cale is a bit older with the ribbon in his mouth. Lilli is getting up close and personal with the camera (then she wanted to "see Lilli" on the digital screen). Chloe is munching on crackers. Sophie is grinning for the camera. And those are all my adorable neices and nephews who make our family gatherings so entertaining and so crazy!
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We stayed at my parents' house that night. On Sunday morning, I went to breakfast with Sandy. Then, we went to Salem Mennonite for church. We headed out after church to meet Jeremy's parents and grandparents for lunch. It was Gloria's birthday lunch which was another reason we were headed home. After a leisurely lunch, we went to Mohican State Park and hiked to Lyon's Falls. Lyon's Falls is a drip coming off the side of this rock overhang. The trees were gorgeous that towered at the top. We also stopped at the Gorge Overlook to take in the varied colors of fall. It was a cool day with less sunshine than I expected, but still a great fall day.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Andrew Peterson

Last night, Jeremy and I went out on a date - Yea! We went to eat at Fazoli's and then went to see Andrew Peterson in concert at a nearby church. Andrew Peterson is a Christian singer that is a little folksy. He usually has a number of band members with him, but not this time. He was promoting his new album by giving free concerts around the US. So, it was just him, two guitars, and a piano. We ended up buying the CD for only $10. What a deal - a concert and CD for $10! I would highly recommend you find an album of Andrew Peterson's to listen to. It is a uplifting experience to listen to his music. So, that's my plug for Andrew Peterson.

Otherwise, not much is happening. Elections are coming up if you haven't noticed that. I am about fed up with all the commercials and news time that is dedicated to junk about the candidates - locally, statewide, and nationally. If they were honest and serious, I would deal with it, but they really aren't. The other day, a man with the Obama campaign knocked on our door. He asked who I was voting for. I said I was undecided. I am not really undecided, but I really don't think it is any of his business. Okay, that is it. My timer rang for baked chicken and potatoes. I'll go see if it is ready. Have a great remainder of the week.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

weekend

Friday night Jeremy and I attempted a date night. Because of strange start times for the movie Fireproof, we were only able to go out to eat. So, we went to Steak n Shake. I was craving a good hamburger and shake. On the way there, we were at the stoplight of Sunbury and Morse Rd (very busy place). While we were sitting there at the light, we witnessed a collision between a car attempting a left turn and a car going straight. It looked like it all happened in slow motion; it was very weird to actually watch something like that happen. We made it safely, and I ate my hamburger and milkshake. I realized that I must be used to the 1/2 sugar-1/2 fat ice cream because the vanilla shake was really rich! I almost couldn't finish it, but you can't really waste ice cream, can you? When we returned home, Jeremy studied for his mid-term exam, and I watched whatever was on TV Friday night.

Saturday, Jeremy got up early and went to take his test at Columbus State; I slept til 10:10am!! I have felt tired all week and am still getting over some of this ear infection stuff. I played volleyball from 2-4pm with a group of people. It was a lot of fun. We played 3 versus 4 most of the time. I love playing with lower numbers because you get more contact with the ball, and there is less of a chance of getting in everyone's way. I am extremely sore today though and had a headache last night. I think that is what happens to overworked muscles. It is a good sore though. :) Jeremy worked security at the Ohio State vs Penn State game. He is usually stuck watching an entrance and missing the game. BUT this time, he was on the OSU sideline making sure no one was hit by the boom camera, so he had to watch the game. I know what a sacrifice. Apparently, Lebron James hung out down on the sideline too. Jeremy didn't have time to strike up a friendship with him though - maybe next time.

Today, we went to church, came home, ate breakfast for lunch, and then Jeremy headed out to do security at the Crew game. I think I am going to work on school stuff now. So, until later...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Health returns slowly

So, my ear is congested still, or I am partially deaf because I don't hear my students very well. However, I don't have pain radiating through my head thanks to amoxicillin. I played Chutes and Ladders Vocabulary today with my students (this is my own creation using the Chutes and Ladders game board). Most of my students had never played Chutes and Ladders before. What is this world coming to? I think that all kids should be playing board games, so that they learn how to play them and learn game etiquette - how to wait their turn, how to lose, how to win, and how to be civil. It was fun to play, just a learning experience for all of us. I don't really have much else to say. I am looking forward to playing volleyball with a group of people this Saturday afternoon. I lifted weights while watching Oprah yesterday in my living room and ran outside under the beautiful blue skies today. I think that's it. I hope everyone has a great rest of the week.

Monday, October 20, 2008

My first sick day

It is always fun to wake up at 2:30am because your ear is aching so badly it pulls you out of a deep sleep. I am obviously being a bit sarcastic, but this is what happened to me last night. I ended up getting up and working on sub plans since laying down only seemed to make my ear ache worse. I went into school at 6am, printed off work for the kids, and came back home. I managed to get an appointment with my doctor at 2pm so I could get on some antibiotics. The rest of the day, I did school work, read The Shack, worked on sorting Colorado pictures (still), and bought groceries when I picked up my prescription. The only good thing about an earache is it doesn't necesarily put you down (like the flu would); it is just uncomfortable. I will head back to school tomorrow all drugged up. Ahhh, isn't life great?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Weekend Update

I had a three day weekend. On Friday, Jeremy and I cleaned the house and went for a walk before I worked on school stuff for a few hours. I packed my bags and headed to Ashland, Kentucky for a reunion with Molly and Kendra, my first roommates after college. We hadn't seen each other since before I had left for Colorado, so we had a lot of catching up to do. I made the 2-1/2 hour drive down, which was well worth the time. Both of them are pregnant. Kendra is about 30 weeks along; Molly is more like 24 weeks. I thought their bellies looked about the same, but what do I know. We neglected to take a picture on Friday night when we looked good, so the picture I am posting is on Saturday after we have laid around most of the day, went for a short walk, and did not shower. In other words, we do look better than this! :) I came home on Saturday night.

Today, while Jeremy did the YohShow at the Awakening at church, I helped Blair (the youth pastor's wife) with the two year olds class. We had about 8-9 kids. They were all really good, and that is such a cute age. This afternoon we went to Andrea's house for a little get together with some people we hadn't seen since returning (and some we had). It was a good time to reconnect. I am always just a little sad at how seldom these gatherings happen. I think we are always playing catch up. It is still worth the effort when there is an opportunity.

So, all in all, it has been a good reconnect time with friends this weekend. I am a little stressed out about school this week. I am proctoring for the OGT during my first period planning; therefore, I will not have the time I usually do to prepare for the day. Please pray for my sanity this week.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Short week = Long week

Yes, those are equivalent in my world. I feel like when we have a short week, they feel sooo long. I think it is because I anticipate the week to go quickly and plan activities for the three day weekend. So, it is dragging by at an unbearable pace. On a positive note, the week has been good. I mean there has been no major discipline issues, the kids have been on task, it has been fairly stress free. I suppose that beats out a stressful, but quick week. On a funny note, we played UNO today because we had a mixed up schedule at school. In my fifth period class, the student who won performed a very intense celebration dance. I told him he should be penalized for excessive celebration like they do in the NFL. Regardless, it was fun to see such enthusaism.

Jeremy has learned of a possible job opportunity. It is nice to have something in the works. I think that a new possibility is always uplifting. Please pray for guidance and patience on that.

Our cars are old. I am trying to admit this to myself and having a hard time. The Toyota is a 1996 (my graduation year); the Honda is a 1999. I feel like they should not be that old. In reality, they are old by car standards. This has been brought to my attention because the muffler on the Honda was loose. We took it to get fixed, ended up having to buy a whole new muffler, and learned the brakes were down to the metal. The price was not right for us, but I certainly want brakes on my car to work . Then, the Toyota went in today for an oil change and came out with a new radiator hose, as well as a laundry list of things that should be fixed in the near future. I am pretty sure at this point the mechanic felt sorry for our bank account and didn't push to fix everything! On a positive note, they should run for a few more years after we get it all fixed. Otherwise, life is good.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Tagged!

I was tagged by my fellow MVSer, Emmy Lou. She has a great craft blog (knitting and spinning along with other things) that I enjoy reading and looking at even though I do none of this crafty stuff! (Check out her link; if you like her stuff, she sells it on Etsy.com and you can get to her store by clicking here or through the blog.) I am supposed to write seven facts about myself and then link with seven other blogs; however, I don't know seven people that have them time, but I guess I do know a few. At any rate, here are my facts...

1. I miss Colorado and even (gasp!) the San Luis Valley. It grows on you, being able to head to the mountains any time you want.
2. I might actually like teaching. I left teaching last year to see if I would miss it. Although there are some things about this year I could do without, I think I like a lot of parts of what I do.
3. I want to have some kids. No, I am not pregnant. No, I am not planning on becoming pregnant soon. I am just stating a fact.
4. Some days I really hate exercising, even though I have done it almost 5 out of 7 days of the week for my entire life (well, since at least junior high).
5. I am scared of heights. Yes, I am admitting it. I am scared of heights when they involve steep drop-offs with no rails. Yet, I enjoy hiking mountains, climbing to high locations, and peering over waterfalls.
6. I bake cookies just to eat the cookie dough more times than not.
7. Sometimes, I think I should turn myself in to What Not to Wear, so I can get a new look, but I would be scared they would take away all my comfortable t-shirts and jeans. (I can look good when I want to, but it can be a lot of work.)

Those are my seven facts. You may have already known many of them; if not, you learned something about me. If you want to share seven facts about yourself, I would love an email. I have tagged ...
Updates from Gerbers
Dear Bloggy
Hilo Verde
If you have been tagged just follow these rules, it's fun!
1. Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog - some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blog.
4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Have a great Thursday. I have to go make spicy chicken soup for supper and quit killing time. Toodles :)

October, 2nd Week

I can't believe it is the second week of October and only 2 weeks away from the end of my first nine weeks back at school! Wow, time sure does fly. I feel like my individual school days fly by as well. This is a good thing, not because I don't like it, but because it keeps things moving. Today, I made chocolate oatmeal no bake cookies with my science classes. One of my classes in particular was the best at working together. They are my lowest functioning intellectually, but probably my best workers. In contrast to other classes, they helped each other hold measuring cups when spooning peanut butter or oatmeal. They would do one task, look at directions as a group, and then move on to the next step as a unit. It was actually amazing to watch. If only adults, world leaders, and families worked in such harmony!

Otherwise, Jeremy is getting the hang of his GIS classes. He took his first quiz online. There was an hour time limit, and I'm not sure how much he used, but I think time limits on online quizzes could be a test of typing skills and not knowledge. What do I know, I have never taken an online course. He had a long morning at latchkey because there was a scheduled delay; I haven't heard how exhausting it was to be with the kids two extra hours, but I am sure he'll have some stories when he gets home from round two. He had the opportunity to go to the City of Columbus offices for GIS and look around. He said he didn't know what he was really looking at, but I think it was probably interesting to see what this certificate could lead to.

Last night we ate at Fujiyama, a great Japanese steakhouse near us. It was so delicious. If you have not ever had this experience, I highly recommend it. Hope everyone is having a great week.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Catching up once again

Once again, it has been a long time. I was reprimanded by a friend for my lack of blogging.. in my defense, she isn't keeping a blog for me to read :) This week was exhausting and that is my excuse. School has been okay this week. I had my first test over atoms and their structure this week. I was impressed by the grades. I will say the test was not hard, but it did cover the information we have learned, so I was proud of my kids. I also had them work on presentations about a family on the periodic table. They worked in pairs to do some minor research, make a poster, and orally present their findings. It was a good experience for them to get up in front of everyone and have to say something, and everyone said something. So, my goal was acheived. I had parent teacher conferences on Thursday from 4-8pm. It was one of the busiest conference nights I have ever had. I was busy from 4:30 - 7:15 with no breaks. On Friday after school, I headed to Dalton. My brother, Ben, and his family (Steph and Cale) were moving to their new house this weekend. I figured I owed Ben for all the times he has helped me move and also I hadn't been home since Labor Day. I worked for about 6 hours on Saturday cleaning walls and floors for them. It will be fun to see what their place looks like when I come back to Dalton the next time. My dad is still healing from his back surgery. He is showing great progress; in fact, on Saturday morning, he walked for 2.2 miles! That is quite a feat. I told him that is farther than I walk in a day right now! It is encouraging to see him feeling better. On moving day, I had a lot of fun seeing everyone again. Nate and Jen brought their kids out on Saturday, too. I miss the time I had when I lived in Ashland to hang out with them almost daily. Steph and Luke were also their helping, so I was able to spend time with their two kids. And Cale was staying at my parents while his parents were moving. Some of my little nephews are great about flashing their grins, and you can't help but smile back. I came back on Sunday after lunch.

Jeremy has been working at the two elementary schools he helps at for the latchkey program. Also, on Tuesday, he headed to Smithville to help his dad with Shepherd's Guide stuff. He stayed overnight to help Ben with some intial move stuff then on Wednesday. He did not return with me this weekend because he started getting a cold on Wednesday and felt wore out and sick still on Friday. So, he stayed here instead of spreading germs to small children. He seems to be doing better today - lots of rest, I think. I am sure watching the Buckeyes win on Saturday didn't hurt his recovery either :)

I don't know what this week will bring. Hopefully, Jeremy and I will have a few more nights to spend together. I will work to blog a few nights this week, so that my blog is not so wordy. I hope everyone is doing well.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Work, Work, Work

So, this was interim week at school, which means that it is halfway through the first nine weeks. I can't believe how quickly it is going. I guess it probably helps that we didn't attend school for almost a full week! This week went so quickly. It was our first full week of the year; we had one other full day week, but we had a late arrival day in there. I am feeling like I have a better hold on school stuff now. I still stress over stuff - is this IEP right? am I getting to my students enough? are the kids understanding anything I am teaching? I don't know if the answer is yes to all of those, but I don't feel as frazzled as I did for the past 4 weeks. I had my first IEP meeting today. The parents were great - chatty, but great. They are very supportive and genuine in their questions and concerns. It went well. I enjoy - more times than not - meeting and talking with the parents. I guess this is a good thing. We have parent teacher conferences this coming week. I have 2 IEPs and 2 parent conferences; this will be the busiest parent teacher conference of my last two years for sure! We played Jeopardy in my classes today for review. It went really well; the kids work so hard getting their brains wrapped around this science information. We'll see how the test goes on Monday.

Jeremy has had an exciting week. On Wednesday, his work life began. First, he had training for the YMCA latch key program both in the morning and afternoon. Then, his mom and dad came in the evening for dinner and work talk. Jeremy is also doing some part-time work for his dad's business, The Shepherd's Guide. Then, Thursday he officially started with kids at the before/after school program. He was there in the morning from 7 - 8:45 and at a different elementary in the afternoon from 3 - 6:15. In between, he met with Nick (the youth pastor at our church). Jeremy is again helping with youth group. At the Sunday morning youth group time, The Awakening, he is going to have a segment called "The Yoh Show". It should be a lot of fun. Because of this, Jeremy is going to meet with Nick on Thursdays. Today, he had the before and after school times again. I think the K-5 age group has the potential to really wear him out! He has some good stories and likes to tell me how cute I would think the kids are - I think he thinks they are cute, too! He plays the game Stratego in the morning and tether ball in the afternoon. Tetherball even earned him an injury on Thursday! :) Tonight, Jeremy is working the Saving Jane concert - a free concert to welcome the OSU students to school. He will be gone until late tonight. Tomorrow, he is working security for the OSU football game. Oh, yeah, his online classes through Columbus State started this week also! Whew, it makes me exhausted just typing it. I am very proud of the work he is doing and how he is juggling his time.

Well, that's it. I have no big plans for this weekend, except making a sample poster for the Element Family Project my students will do next week. I hope everyone has a relaxing weekend.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Concert of a Lifetime

(Okay, there is some sarcasm in that title, but not much, and this is a good story - I think.)

Monday, I had a pretty good day at school. Nothing too exciting, just school. I came home to no electricity and a pot roast trying to cook in the crock pot (thanks for the help, Jeremy). I just put on my walking clothes and left hoping for the best. By the time I got back (45 min later!), the power had been restored. We were able to eat the pot roast for supper after turning it on high for a few hours. Thank goodness! Around 6:45pm, I decided to go to the library and find some good books; for some reason, I have been picking uninteresting books recently and was in desparate need of a new one. I stopped first to fill up my tank with gas at a local gas station. Two things happened here...

1) Jeremy and I decided to use cash to pay for gas and hopefully control our spending a bit. This was my first time pre-paying with cash ever - in my whole life! So, I walk in and asked the cashier how I this really worked, "Do I just give you money and then if it is too much, I get change back?" He was, I am sure, thinking, How did this lady get her license? The guy behind me in line starting laughing and said, "No it's just a tip for the station." Anyway, I gave him some money and returned to pump my gas. (I did go in and get my change by the way... it's not really a tip, if some of you are wondering.)

2) When I returned to the pump, a lady leaned out of her car window and randomly asked me, "Do you like Celine Dion?" I was like, "Um, yeah, she's okay." I learned the lady had won tickets at work and was unable to use them for the concert that night at 8pm. She asked if I wanted them. I said I could take them and call around and see if any of my friends wanted them. I was unable to get ahold of only a few people, and they were either uninterested or unable to go. When I finally got ahold of Jeremy (out of cell phone hearing), he said the cable was out and we had nothing else to do. Adding, that he had dragged me to a good number of concerts with him, and he probably owed me one if I wanted to go. He did have a point that there was nothing to do. (We are on a tight entertainment budget right now, so there is always a desire to go do something fun.) So, the curiousity and boredom won out over my meticulous need to always plan ahead, and we jumped in the car and headed to Value City Arena.

The highway was backed up as we approached the exit - for a Celine Dion concert... and arriving late! We parked in the middle of nowhere, walked at least 1/2 mi (if not farther), and entered the arena about 45 minutes late. As we entered, a woman looked at our tickets and exchanged our nosebleed seats for seats on the first level in row Q - center stage! Even if you do not love a performer, it becomes more exciting when you get to sit close! I would post a picture so you could see how close we were, but my cell phone pictures mostly just show a really bright spotlight. It was, I will admit, a much better concert than either Jeremy or I expected - not nearly as much cheese as one might expect. She had a great light, dance, stage show. I was completely entertained until 10:50pm when the concert finally ended. I did not get to bed til midnight and ran on only 5-1/2 hours of sleep today. But I will say that it was definitely worth every penny!!!! :)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Weekend

This weekend was not that exciting, but it was relaxing. On Friday night, Jeremy and I hung out. We played the game Qwitch, which we received as a wedding gift and are just now playing (thanks, Rach!). It was a lot of fun. I think I lost all three games. We also watched The Conscientous Objector, a movie Jeremy checked out at the library. It was about a Seven Day Adventist during WWII who wanted to be a medic, but refused to carry a gun. It was a little slow because it was a documentary, but the story of his courage and his decision to stick with his beliefs was neat to watch. He received a medal of honor from the US Army for his work in the army as a medic.

On Saturday, Jeremy woke up before me to go work at the Buckeye football game as security. He worked one of the gates and then manned the locker room in the fourth quarter. While he was gone, I worked on lesson plans for two weeks from now - never hurts to get ahead! I also entertained our eight year old neighbor kid who rang the door bell and invited himself in. We had a serious dicscussion about Santa, and how when you get older sometimes you get fewer gifts, and sometimes Santa knows what's good for you and what's not. He agreed with that last one because last Christmas he didn't get the violent video game he wanted. When Jeremy came back, our neighbor, Julian, came back again to hang out before supper. After supper, Jeremy and I had another game night (I guess that what you do when you are on a limited budget). We opened another wedding gift and played Scene It. Jeremy, once again, beat me.

Today, has been quite relaxing as well. We went to church and helped with the youth group's worship time, The Awakening. I took an hour and half nap. We went grocery shopping. Jeremy made a guess (jokingly) that our grocery bill would be $56.29 this week. Shockingly, it was $56.27! Unbelievable! That was our big joke of the day - it doesn't take much. I called my mom and talked til my cell phone battery died. It was good catching up with her. She had been having some back problems and is finally feeling better. Dad is improving too. It is fun to hear the updates on all my neices and nephews from her as well. Well, we are wrapping up our day by watching our 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th ...??? football game of the day - Packers vs Cowboys. I'll make it til about 10pm, and then I'm off to bed.

At church we are in the midst of a series called Jesus for President; we are learning about the traits of a good leader based on the example of Christ. Last week we learned that a good leader has an outside source of strength - God, and is strengthed through prayer. This week at church we talked about how we should do what's right no matter what. A good leader should be a person of character and comptency. It is a good challenge for me - am I being a good leader? is my character consistent, even when no one is watching? Hope everyone has a great week - be a leader based on Christ's example.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hi, Sandy.

This blog will not be too exciting. I promised Sandy I would blog a bit so that she had something to read. Reynoldsburg City Schools were all in session today - except the high school.... so, I have officially one calamity day left for the winter weather. Hopefully, we will be back to school tomorrow, so we don't use them all! Talk about a short week :) I really haven't done anything too exciting. Jeremy and I went and took the written driving test so that we could get an Ohio driver's license. We both passed and took beautiful pictures, of course. I have talked to my dad every day this week to let him know I don't have school, get his Sam's card number so I can order a new pocket chart for school on line, ask how mom's back is doing, and just chat. I don't know what he'll do when I can't call him every morning around 10:30. Jeremy keeps working on resumes and job searches. He has an interview with the YMCA for part-time work at their before/after school program tomorrow. I am sure it will go great. We'll see what days he may work. I really think that's it. I hope everyone is having a great week. Until later...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Happy Snow day????

Just kidding, we have no snow here. We did - as I noted on Sunday - have lots of wind.... from the looks/sounds of it, so did a lot of people. (The Bengals vs Titans game on Sunday was a joke, by the way. Jeremy says it is part of the reason he lost his Fantasy Football this week...) We lost power on Sunday around 5:30pm. We kept the fridge and freezer shut to try and save all our food. We wore our headlamps - which my dad thinks is hilarious! - around the house instead of carrying a flashlight. It would be a great investment for power outages - your hands are free to carry things, read a book, or brush teeth. It is fantastic! On Monday, I had no school; I got the call at 6am and crawled back in bed. Jeremy and I worked at cleaning up branches and pine needles. One benefit of a small yard is there is less yard to care for. This is one of our neighbors standing next to a large tree that fell just next to their home; you can see how close it came to the sidewalk on the left of the picture. Yikes! Then, we decided to go to the Westerville Library, which for some reason had power restored. So, we hopped on our bikes to avoid the downed traffic lights and pedeled our way on the bike trail. The trail was slow going as it was covered with downed trees, branches, and general debris. We made it though and were able to get our exercise in. We chilled in the library for awhile before heading home. When we arrived home, our electric had been restored - yea! That was sometime around 4:00pm on Monday. We relaxed with lights, ate meatloaf prepared in the oven, and caught up on computer stuff. I received a call at about 8:30pm that Reynoldsburg was cancelled on Tuesday too! This is one of the first times in my life I have wanted to go to school. It is a shame to waste snow days so early; hopefully, it will be a mild winter.

Today (Tuesday), Jeremy and I went for a run in the morning - after I slept in, of course. Then, I showered and headed to school. I wanted to get a headstart on planning for next week. I was there from 11 - 2:30pm. It was a great time to just sit, focus, and learn about chemical bonds, chemical reactions, and how to balance an equation. I have sketched out the next 4 weeks or so, which should help with planning. What a gift it was to have time to do this! The school had some power restored, but still no phones and they were still working on getting the fire siren to work in case of emergency. I have no word about tomorrow, but I am really hoping to be back in session. There are (as of 6am today) still 242,000 people out of power in Franklin County. We'll see what happens. Jeremy and I are headed to small group soon. I hope everyone has a good week. Please continue to be safe driving on roads still possibly littered with debris.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Another week

Man, it is windy! I am thankful that tree trunks have the ability to sway in the wind; if not, our home would be destroyed. I can't believe this wind! I think it rivals many of our windy days in the Valley of Colorado.

This week, I did a horrible job blogging. I am trying to get in a rhythm at work and at home, and it is taking quite awhile. School is going well. I am enjoying the opportunity to challenge my students and see how far I can push them. I personally think they enjoy the challenge. But I am having a hard time getting to all my LD kids that are just doing their thing in the regular classrooms. They aren't in the habit of finding me on their meeting day, so I spend half of my period running around the building to find them. I have taken to wearing tennis shoes, regardless of what they look like with my outfit. I have been staying late on Friday (til about 7pm) to plan for the upcoming week. Ideally, I want to have the week planned, copies made, last week's homework graded and posted in the grade book online. For the first two weeks, this worked. I was defeated this week, and still have things to do. So, my new goal is to plan one day for the upcoming week each day in planning. For example, on Monday, I plan for the next Monday, and Tuesday, I plan for the next Tuesday. I don't know if this will work, but it sure sounds good.

Then, at home, I am trying to get everything else to balance - social life, marriage, chores, sleep/relaxation, exercise. We had Brent (one of Jeremy's previous roommates) over for supper Wednesday. This was a lot of fun to finally be able to connect with him; we had not seen him since returning. On Thursday, Jeremy turned one year older. We went to Cheesecake Factory for dinner. We had only eaten out one other time since returning from Colorado because there had been no money coming in. This week I was paid for the first time in a year! Boy, does a paycheck feel good. I am doing pretty good getting enough sleep. Jeremy really helps to get work around the house done. On Friday, I was so thankful that he was able to wash the bedding for his mom and aunt who were staying the night at our house. I am still working on exercise. I went for a long run on Monday, a short walk on Wednesday, and played 2 hours of sand volleyball on Saturday - better than some weeks.

Well, I am sure that this is pretty boring to most of you... except maybe my parents and in-laws. I'll try to give you some better stories next week - and maybe more often. This week in church we were reminded that Jesus found his source of strength in God. He often went off to lonely places to pray. Take time (and this is definitely a reminder to myself!) to be alone and pray - both speak and listen. God loves us. Let us return His love with authentic time in conversation each day. Have a great start to your week!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Long Time

So, Ohio information is not as exciting to write about as Colorado life. Probably because this feels "normal" and Colorado was different, exciting, and picturesque (sp?). But life here is good, too. Today, I passed out progress reports updating the students on their grades and my science class - and they cared if they were good or bad! One student had a 83%, a B. He asked, "Is this good?" I said, "Yes, that's very good for you." He was very excited, saying he was going tell everyone he knew! Yea :) So, that's fun to see.

Jeremy is out enjoying the Wayne County Fair, after helping his dad fold and stuff 500 envelopes for the Shepherds Guide. Hard work and then play makes for a great day. I was here this evening alone. I sat on the couch for awhile after school before motivating myself to get off the couch and go for a walk. I talked to a lady down the street for almost a half hour before finally hitting the pavement. I walked (19 min) and ran (24 min) to Easton and back (about 3 or so miles). I was very proud of myself because it is longer than I have made it running in a long time. Then, I had a nice hour long conversation with the computer repair man - Fred - while he worked his magic on the desktop computer I've had for 7 years. He was a really nice man that knows a lot, but I don't think our computer is very fixable - 2 Trojan viruses! (for some of you this may mean more than it does to me) He went home after an hour to help his wife out with their 5 year old and a very cranky 17 month old. He will come back tomorrow to help restore the computer. UGH, technology!

This has been a good Monday for me, hopefully for all of you as well. I am looking forward to a week of Good Days. That's my new thing this year - keeping a journal of good things from each day. I titled the journal "Today was a Good Day." This way I leave school on a positive note. It may give you the boost you need to. God loves you all! Until later...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I wish I were in Colorado

Yes, I am longing for Colorado. No offense to everyone in Ohio - it's not you, it's me. I love, love, love the dry climate of the San Luis Valley. I also thought the cool nights were incredible. I liked that I could wake up at 6:30am and go to the gym to work out when I still had energy. I enjoyed that others cooked meals for me, and I only had to really cook one day a week. And last, but not least, the lack of planning required to volunteer with La Puente Home was super nice.

That being said, I don't hate it here. I am having a good year to be honest. It is exhausting though. I get home from school and buzzing around the school building all day - literally. I think that I sit down 1st period during my planning period if I'm lucky, and at lunch 6th period. So, by the time I return home, I do not want to walk more - especially in the heat and humidity. I will get motivated at some point and decide to do something physical. Keep that in your prayers though - although it seems minor, it is important to me to feel like I am doing something to stay physically healthy.

My class with the ED (behavior) kids have been great the last two days. They did an amazing job matching definition cards to the vocabulary word. I couldn't believe how focused they were. Nor could I ask for anything more as I explained the history of the atom using the felt board Jeremy made for me. It was good. I think laughing and joking around in a safe environment does wonders for kids (and adults!). I hope everyone is having a great week. Enjoy the Friday God has given you by being a blessing to those you interact with.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day Weekend

On Friday, I stayed at school until 6:30pm to get things ready for next week. Hopefully, this will lead to a less stressful, more enjoyable, less tiring week of school.

Sandy and her sister - TRACY - came to visit me this Saturday. (I need to highlight Tracy because I failed to mention her name in the previous blog and was told I would be beat up if I didn't give her credit for being someone more than "my friend's sister".) It was a lot of fun to see them; I hadn't seen Sandy since Christmas. We went to eat at Cuisine of India in the Polaris area. It was a delicious buffet where we all ate too much! We came back to my house to just relax. Mike and Jeremy went on a really long bike ride, so we had the house to ourselves. Sandy helped me decide where to put a few pictures, which Jeremy and I will hang later. Then, Sandy painted my toenails and Tracy (and her own) fingernails. (See picture of the toes and fingernails!) So much girly stuff in one afternoon...

On Sunday, Jeremy and I went to early service at church. Then, headed to Wayne County for the big Bricker Reunion. There were about 50+ people that attended which was a good surprise for everyone, I think. Then, in the evening, we went to my parents' house for night. It was good to see them. Dad is doing much better. He looks better and seems to be moving around more. He is still a slow mover, but at least he is up and moving!

On Monday, Mom and I went for a walk. I always enjoy walking with my mom because it gives us time to talk without any distractions. I also needed to walk after the big potluck at the reunion! Then, the rest of my family came over with a last minute invitation for lunch. I didn't expect that, but it was a good surprise. It is a crazy, crazy place with everyone there. I don't think there is any down time at all! But the kids are so darn cute. When we returned to Columbus, Jeremy started working on his homework assignment from me - a felt atom that we could add the nucleus, protons, neutron, and electrons to. It will be amazing and hopefully help my kids "get it". (This is Jeremy perfecting the feltboard.) Now, I am blogging and waiting for the new One Tree Hill. This was a show Sandy and I got hooked on during its first season. In reality it is a pretty cheesy show, but we indulge. I missed it all last year, so I will probably be a bit confused this season. Hope everyone has a great four day week.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

School is cool?

I don't know why I put that title, but I'll go ahead and leave it. School officially started for me this week. On Monday, just the freshman came. I think that is a great idea because the school can be very intimidating and they have no idea what they are doing. On Tuesday, all 2300 plus students came to school (well, not really, there were a lot of absences). So, that was my first day to be "on" all day. It really is like performing every period and really gearing up to be with each class even if you just taught the same material a period ago. My classroom students are so different than previous years. In the past, I have worked with students included in the regular class who have IQs of 70 and above (average IQs are 85-115). The students I teach this year have IQs between 50-70 and are not included in the general education classes. They have reading levels between K-6 (grade levels). I say this because this is the generalization of any student classified as "cognitive disability". They are a great bunch of kids. They have a great sense of humor. Really, they are very similar to everyone else, they just learn at a slower pace. So, it should be a good year. I am still excited for what the year could bring. We are learning about atoms this first nine weeks. Very exciting :) I was most tired this morning when I had to get up. Three mornings in a row to rise and shine at 5:40am is enough; unfortunately, I have at least two more this week. I came home yesterday and went on a short run/walk. Today, I came home, laid on the couch, and went into a brief sleep induced coma.

Jeremy has put his application/resume with two different companies. Please pray that these will turn in to positive leads. Here is my sexy husband getting ready for the job interview he had about a week ago. I just now got the card out of the camera so I could post the picture. I thought he looked very good and professional. Otherwise, he is enjoying taking longer bike rides during the day, repairing things around the house, researching job openings, and cooking supper (chickenetti on Tuesday in the crock pot!). So, that's that.

Hope you all are having a great week. We are headed home for the Bricker Family reunion this Sunday. My friend, Sandy, and her sister are coming to Columbus on Saturday to eat some Indian food with me - yum! And on Monday, we will enjoy relaxing; love the three day weekend.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

In-Service

Well, I am mostly going to talk about my work life, but first I wanted to pay tribute (and add a picture) to our co-ed softball team that we had so much fun with in Colorado. The team was amazing, and I think it really helped make the end of our time in Colorado special. We left with about one week of the regular season left and then the tournament. Our team lost the one remaining game in regular season. BUT, they dominated in tournament play - beating last year's champions to win it all. I was so exicted for them when I got the call at 1am Ohio time on the night of the final (way back on August 6th). So, for those that want the play by play, there was a great article in the local paper, The Valley Courier, that you can read online at http://www.alamosanews.com/V2_news_articles.php?heading=0&story_id=8699&page=79

Today, I went back to school - officially. No, there are still no kids, but it was an in-service day. This means lots and lots of presentations by everyone in the district. This year, I think was the first time I have felt very positive coming out of the day. We have a new superintendent, new asst superintendent, new high school principal, and there are four other new administrators in my building since I left (a few had been there last year). This just felt good to me. I think that there is great vision coming from the superintendent level. There appears to be great potential guidance and leadership from our new principal as well. We'll see how the year continues. It was really good to see teachers again that I had worked with in the past, and get to know the ones that are new to me. It is a good feeling when people are again excited to see you; you feel loved/appreciated. It has also been really cool to hear that some of the teachers were able to keep up with the blog this past year. I know how busy we can be as teachers, but I appreciate that some made time to check up on me (and Jeremy). I have a very positive outlook for the year, and I hope I can continue to keep that. Thank you to all those who have been praying for me and my stress level. I have almost 5 weeks of the year sketched out for my physical science class.... I have been learning a lot about atoms, the periodic table, and will soon get into bonds! I want to leave you with one of the things the superintendent used for inspiration is this clip from youtube. It almost made me cry. You do need sound, but I hope you enjoy it. :)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1k08yxu57NA

I figured I shouldn't leave mention of Jeremy out of this. He is working tremendously hard on finding his feet in Columbus again. His situation is much more difficult than mine in that he came back to no job. He had an interview this past week; we are still waiting to hear about that. Since then, he has been tweaking his resume for search for part time work until he is able to secure a job. He has also reinlisted as security for Nationwide Arena. He will be providing security for the Jonas Brothers this Saturday night; we both hope his eardrums survive the thousands of screaming adolescent girls! He is great though and helping me with supper most nights by manning the grill. We are also enjoying all the Olympic action. Hope everyone has a great Friday. Keep reading, and I'll keep blogging!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Trip Home: Part 3 (last part)

Devil's Tower, Wyoming...
On our way from Buffalo to Custer, South Dakota, we stopped at Devil's Tower. With that we had seen the first national park (Yellowstone) and the first national monument (Devil's Tower). When my friend, Sandy, and I had taken similar trek a few years ago, we decided not to drive back to the base of Devil's Tower, but just to admire it from afar. Jeremy and I had a national parks pass which admits us "free" to national parks, forests, and monuments; it is a pretty good deal for only $80. Anyway. The Tower is not that much more incredible up close. We walked around the whole base of it; that trail is 1.3 miles. You can see the ridges better. They are like flat sections that climbers really enjoy defeating. The best part was probably Prairie Dog Town. It literally was prairie dog town. There were a lot of them peeping out of their hole and darting from place to place.
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South Dakota...
We arrived to the Mt. Rushmore area late morning. We first drove through Sturgis. This was the weekend that begins Sturgis week. This is a HUGE motorcycle rally. Some people say there are about 500,000 or more in attendance. When Sandy and I went to Sturgis, the little town was dead. I mean, nothing was happening. When Jeremy and I went to Sturgis, the town was crazy!! There were tons of cycles, vendors lined the street, and the place was like a fair on main street. (These cycles ar in Deadwood, not at all the production as Sturgis.) We drove through, turned around, and headed to Deadwood. This is where Wild Bill was shot (Jeremy at the exact location); it is also where Sandy and I stayed, so I wanted to show it to Jeremy. We ate at Diamon Lil's, which is Kevin Costner's restaurant. We both chose to eat the "Dances with Wolves Buffalo Burger." It was delicious. There was a lot of memoribilia from Costner's many movies. Then, we went to the Mt. Rushmore. Mt. Rushmore is cool, but there is not a lot to do at the actual monument. You walk in, look at the rock, watch a video, and head out. (We later learned that you should really get the ice cream while you are there. If only we had known...) But, nonetheless, it is a place that is great to visit once or so. We then went to Crazy Horse, which when completed will make Mt. Rushmore looked like a drop in the bucket. It is a publicly - not federally - funded, so the work is taking longer. There was some work done (I think) since 2005 when I was previously there. We ate in Custer at Pizza Works. A tasty little pizza place. Then, we headed to Richard and Melita's home. They are a couple who were a part of Mennonite Your Way, a hospitality outreach organized by some Mennonites. They were gracious hosts - fed us pie and ice cream during relaxing conversation and sent us off with a tasty breakfast.
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We made the trek across South Dakota on Saturday. There were so many motorcycles. Jeremy thought he would count them to 100 and see how long it would take while we were on I-90. He made it to 100 in about 2 minutes. Crazy. On our way, we stopped at Wall Drug. It was a great stop for people back in olden day when they could stop for free water. Now, it is a pretty large tourist trap, but it makes for great pictures... and gets you out of the car. These great photos are from the what they call the Backyard at Wall Drug. We also stopped at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota; this is another must stop if you are traveling on I-90. They change the outside of the Corn Palace every year. The 2007 theme was Everyday Heroes. We caught this one before they change it late this month. It is pretty impressive. We also made a stop at Cabella's in Mitchell where Jeremy found a raincoat for a great price. Finally, we got to our hotel in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I called 4 hotels that afternoon looking for lodging for that night. Because of the Sturgis Rally, only one had a room available! We slept soundly that night.
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Sunday...
We had a tasty breakfast at Denny's before hitting the road on Sunday. We went as far as Pine Lake State Park in Iowa (just east of Waterloo). It was miserable. When I stepped out of the car, I thought I would not make it. It was soooo hot and soooo humid!!!!!!!! We had lived in one of the driest areas for the past year with near perfect temperatures. This was ridiculous. I thought, If this is any indication of Ohio's weather in August, I don't want to go back. (Thankfully, it has been extremely nice here with low humidity since we returned. We do need rain though, so maybe I should start wishing for a bit of moisture.) This is the campground to the left. We set up the tent and stared at each other before deciding we needed to find something to do. So, we went to the town of Eldora, population 3,000. (Apparently, I learned while looking up the population, this town was the filming location for the 1996 movie Twister. Cool.) Anyway, they have a cool downtown theatre that was air-conditioned, inexpensive, and was showing Dark Knight (the new Batman movie). It was 2-1/2 hours of luxury, and actually, a pretty good movie. We went to our campsite by 9:30pm, laid on our sleeping bags, and hoped for the slightest of breezes.
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Monday...
We left the state park early; I didn't think the weather was much better and who wants to sit around in that longer than necessary. We found an IHOP in Waterloo to eat brunch at... yum. Then, we went to Dyersville, Iowa where Field of Dreams was filmed. The family who owns the property has done a great job maintaining the field and the grounds. Plus the corn was incredibly high and made for a great backdrop. We even got to hit the ball on the Field of Dreams. Jeremy, the star player, returns to the corn after playing in the pic to the right. For those who are worried, we did not leave Dyersville without visiting the National Farm Toy Museum. We were able to re-live all the International Harvester years and a little bit of John Deere. Amazing. We did miss the Doll Museum; you can only do so many museums in one day. From there, we headed on to our destination, Joliet, Illinois. We had a hotel reservation; thank goodness! I say that because that night we experienced some of the worst weather we've had in a year, and I would not have wanted to be camping. The area we were in (including downtown Chicago where the Cubs were playing the Astros) was under a tornado warning. It was blowing, raining, and lightning in a way that was very scary. We survived intact.
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Tuesday...
Homeward Bound, finally! We were excited to be on our last day. The trip had been great, but after so many days, you are just ready - especially when your car is really loaded down and gas is not cheap :) In Goshen, Indiana, we stopped to see my friend, Rachel. She (and her husband, Tex) have a little boy, Josiah, who was tiny at Christmas. Babies sure do grow up and remind you how time passes. It was good to spend a few hours just catching up with her. Then, we were on our final leg with no more stops. We got to our place about 6pm. As you know from a previous blog, we decided to spend this night with our gracious friend, Andrea. I will leave you with one last picture - our moving crew (on Thursday). From left to right: Nick (youth pastor at our church), Nate (my older brother), Jeremy, Jason (Jeremy's youner brother), Luke (my younger brother), and Ben (my younger brother). Thank You!!!
Now, you are completely caught up. I am going to keep blogging; so, keep checking back periodically. Teacher in-service days start tomorrow (and Friday) for me; students come on Monday, August 25. I hope I'll be ready. Jeremy is still out job hunting and holding the fort down. Hope everyone is having a great week.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Trip Home: Part 2

Grand Teton National Park ...
From Idaho Falls, we headed to Grand Teton National Park. We left after breakfast on Monday morning. The drive was nice. We climbed a very high pass. I think the grade was 10% (I am sure Jeremy would remember), and the pass was about 10,000ft or more. We came back down and entered the Teton Range in a fairly flat plain area. The mountains were off the the left (I believe that is west). They looked high, jagged, and pretty incredible. The reality is that they were lower than most of the mountains we had been gazing at the past year. Grand Teton, which is the highest mountain there, is under 14,000ft. That being said, these mountains are very difficult to climb because of their jagged peaks. We set up camp at Colter Bay Campground. It was a short walk to a large lake bordered by the Tetons. We took it pretty easy at this park partly because Jeremy's knee was giving him trouble. So, we took a blanket and our books and headed to the lakeshore to enjoy the day and the view. We went back to watch the sunset as well. The picture to the left that has Jeremy's feet in it was at sunset with the rays of sunlight streaming between the mountains. The view was a bit hazy, but they said it is due to the wild fires all the way in California! It was still pretty impressive. In the evening, we went to the Ranger Talk. She has been a ranger here for over 13 summers. During the year, she is a fifth grade teacher in Florida (I think). It was interesting to hear her experiences and look at her pictures. She also showed us pictures of her climb up Grand Teton - lots of technical rock climbing involved! We left the park on Tuesday morning to see if we could catch some of the wildlife in Yellowstone, which is only about an hour from Grand Teton Nataional Park.

Yellowstone National Park...
We were at Yellowstone from Tuesday morning through Thursday morning. This was the longest we stayed in any location. We arrived to the park through the south entrance. Although we were hoping to see some wildlife in the early morning, we didn't get lucky enough to see any. We traveled to the west to Old Faithful, which was our first stop. Old Faithful is a great geyser. It is not the biggest geyser, but it is one of the more reliable ones, and it is impressive. So, we waited for a short time before watching it in all its glory. From their we continued north through the rest of the geyser basin. We did take on trail to an overlook area (see pic on left) and then around to a waterfall (see pic on right). It was a good hike with a great view of most of the geyser basin to the south and all the way back to Old Faithful. The waterfall was pretty cool too. It was not huge, but it was pretty. There were a lot of people there - a whole boy scout troop, I think. So, our pictures seem pretty crowded. (Side note: This was probably one of the busiest places we visited, but we were lucky enough that it was not so busy as to get stuck in traffic jams.) We continued on through the smelly section of the park to our campgroud at Madison, near the West entrance. We set up the tent, hopped back in the car, and continued north to sight see in the upper loop. On our way, we pulled over at a large gathering of cars - usually this means great wildlife - and we were not disappointed. We walked into a grove of trees and saw two elk with the biggest set of antlers I have ever seen. I tried to get a good picture. We were only 20 yards away or so (I know that is not very smart), and I was nervous. They were pretty magnificent! (Note on pictures: The pictures are taken at two separate times in the same location. The one on the left is when we went into the woods. The one on the right is the next day; they look like similar elk.)
We traveled all the way to Mammoth and all around the loop back to Madison before dark. We stopped at a number of places along the way, but saved the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone for the next day. We went back to the campground for night. We went to a ranger talk that night (surprise, surprise) on the reintroduction of wolves back into Yellowstone.

The next morning we headed first to Grand Canyon of Yellowstone where you can see upper and lower falls - very beautiful. We got there early, which was nice because there were lots of people crowding the area by the time we were leaving. We drove pretty much right to the upper falls overlook. (This is Jeremy to the right at the upper falls.) It is a cool sight. If you have been to Niagra, you have an idea of how it feels to stand right at the brink of the falls. We hiked a short path to see the lower falls. There was no one at this falls, which made it really peaceful. This view is equally impressive. Apparently, the falls are higher than Niagra is, but the width does not rival Niagra. We then drove to Artist's Point. This is where a lot of pictures are taken, paintings are painted, and postcards are made. We took pictures too (see left). From here you look back on lower falls, but upper falls cannot be seen. We left the falls area and headed south to Yellowstone Lake. On our driving route today, we saw a few buffalo posing alongside the road and couldn't resist the picture - YIKES! We stopped at Bridge Bay for a picnic. We looped back around west, saw Old Faithful again, ate at the lodge, and took a walk on the boardwalks to see more of the geysers and hot springs in this area. The walk was long, and soon all the geyers and springs looked the same, but it was nice stretch our legs. We headed back to our campground before dark. Jeremy headed down to a stream in our campground to flyfish. I took a book, a blanket, and the camera. I don't think he caught anything, but if he did, he just released it anyway. This night we didn't go to a Ranger talk. We took our tired selves to bed instead.

Thursday morning, we headed out fairly early after eating breakfast and cleaning up the tent. We first stopped at the Norris Geyser Basin for this cool shot to the right of all the steaming geysers. We were headed out the northeast entrance through the "Serengetti of Yellowstone." It is an open plain area. This is where the wolves were re-introduced. We didn't see wolves, but we did see, on our way there, a black bear!! It was on one side of the road foraging for food when we stopped to watch; it then meandered across the road - right beside our car! - and up the hill on the other side. It was crazy! We saw big herds of bison roaming the plains area. They are awkward looking creatures, but make great scenery. This was Jeremy's favorite area of the park. If we had had more time, I thnk we would have watched the bison for quite awhile. It was animal central on our way out. We took the scenic drive into Montana via Bear Tooth Pass. This was one of my favorite parts of my whole trip home. It was so beautiful. I don't know if captured it with the camera, but we tried. It was breathtaking - lots of mountain lakes, snow still on the ground in places, and green grass growing as well. Awesome! This is a pull over spot that we had some great people who had also stopped take our picture. We continued along the scenic route until we hit I-90, which we followed until heading south at some point to go see Little Big Horn Battlefield National Monument. For those who don't know, this was the location of Custer's Last Stand. We made it to the Monument just in time to hear a very desciptive Ranger talk of the battle. I didn't remember a whole lot about it, so it was a good learning opportunity for me. It was very hot here. From there, we continued south to Buffalo, Wyoming where we stayed in a very small cabin the size of our Four Runner (see bottom right pic). We went to historic downtown Buffalo for some ice cream. We visited the Occidental Hotel. It was a "full service" hotel (if you know what I mean) back in the day when all the outlaws would come to this area to seek refuge. The shot to the left is of the lobby area. It was really cool.
Well, I think this was long enough. In the next post, I will tell you about Mt. Rushmore and the rest of our trip home.