Monday, November 21, 2011

Thankful: as told through pictures

I am thankful for...

My parents. Because they love me always.

My brothers. Because they mean the world to me and we will always have a special relationship.

My sister in law. Because she really is like a sister to me.

My grandparents. Because they are devoted and have loved their families well.

My friends. Because they love me for me and understand me when no one else does.

Ralph. Because no matter what he will always hang out with me. And because he's cute.

Nashville. Because it is a wonderful city and it is where I call home.

A college degree. Because I can follow my dreams of being a teacher.

My cohort. Because we survived the College of Education together and through it became great friends.

Auburn University. Because it gave me 4 of the best years of my life, wonderful friendships, and a reason to love Saturdays in the fall.

Music. Because sometimes you need someone else to put into words what you're thinking.

Sonic. Because nothing is more of a comfort to me than a large Diet Happy Hour.

The sky. Because of the beautiful paintings that are often painted there and always being able to look up and be reminded of how big our God is.

The people of Peru. Because they forever changed my outlook on life.

Good health. Because those of us that have it tend to take it for granted. And because of it I am able to do things I love to do.

Faith. Because by it, I am saved.

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Monday, November 14, 2011

10 things I've learned (so far) in Pre-School

1. Wash your hands. A lot. This may be the most important lesson I've learned, the hardest way. I've always been told "You will get sick a lot your first year of teaching!" I kind of pride myself on my immune system. I rarely get sick, and if I do, I usually buck up and get over it fairly quick. Well, my immune system has officially slapped me in the face in the past few months since I started working. I have had repeated colds, sinus nonsense, a nasty cough, and this previous week I had pink not just one, but both of my eyes. All of that to say, hand sanitizer is basically running through my veins now.

2. Children think in a literal sense. Another lesson learned the hard way. I am a very sarcastic person. When teaching preschool, your sarcasm must be minimal...very minimal. I once called a little girl a "cutie bug". She started crying and told me she was not a bug, but a human. My intentions were never to hurt her feelings (actually the opposite), but that was the result. Another example: While examining seashells during Science, I explained to the children that if you hold a seashell to your ear you can hear the waves of the ocean. One little girl refused to participate and seemed frightened, on the verge of tears. "I don't want to get ocean water in my ear, please don't make me listen!"

3. Don't wear your favorite anything. This includes, but is not limited to: your favorite khakis, J.CREW sweater, pair of flats, shirt, get the picture. I speak from experience. I guarantee you the day you choose to wear your favorite ______, will also be the day that one of your precious students will plant their little paint stained hands on you, or the day that one of them busts their lip on the playground and runs to you (and your shirt) for a hug and a place to let the blood drip. Again, I speak from experience.

4. Getting 17 children to lay down, stop talking, and have "nap time" (simultaneously) in one classroom; is the one part of the day that I dread. I have come to terms with the fact that this is a skill I just may never acquire. Of the 3 months I have worked there, only once have I gotten all of them to go to sleep. Or maybe I fell asleep myself that day during nap time and I dreamt it.

5. Three year olds need incentive to do things. The word "incentive" can be exchanged at times for the word "bribery", but the first choice makes me sound like a better teacher. A simple mention of stickers, candy corn, or M&Ms and you immediately have their full attention.

6. Children have no filter. They will give it to you straight and tell you exactly how they feel/what they think. If you already feel like you're having a bad hair day, don't expect your spirits to be lifted when you walk in the classroom. You will most likely hear something along the lines of "Miss Maggie what happened to your hair?!". In hindsight, their nonexistent filter also elicits compliments and sweet words. "You're so pretty! You look nice today. I love you!" etc. etc. The compliments always trump the unintentional jabs.

7. To anyone else, the "castle" on the playground may just be a structure with a few slides and a tire swing. To a child, it can be anything from a space rocket to a royal castle where all the princesses live. And don't be fooled....a simple stick from the ground can be a sword, a comb, lipstick, or a wand.

8. If you are ever trying to convince children to eat vegetables, you will come up with really creative (and awful and cheesy) ways to get them to eat them. For example, to get my kids to eat broccoli, I tell them that they are like little trees and there are birds in those trees. They have to eat the little trees before the birds fly out!'ll never eat broccoli the same now, will you? You'd be surprised how quickly that broccoli gets eaten.

9. If I could have one superpower it would be the ability to press a button somewhere on my body and the result be multiple arms. It really would solve a lot of problems; opening juiceboxes, sharpening pencils, tying shoes, patching boo-boos, wiping noses, giving hugs, patting backs...just to name a few.

10. "Patience is a virtue". Those words have never rung more true. People always told me "you must have a lot of patience to want to teach!" I know I have been gifted with patience, and have a passion for working with children; but if anything has tested my patience it has been managing 17 three year olds on a day to day basis. But in a weird way...I love it. It has only confirmed my desire even more to be a teacher. I have to think...that sometimes they have to be patient with me just as much as I have to be with them.

We're all learning here. As you can see I've already taken away 10 very valuable lessons from them.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Monster Munch!

I don't do scary...ask anyone who knows me. But for some reason, Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. I always loved that time of year at school because everything was fall themed--bulletin boards, art projects, activities, games, etc. Now I'm the teacher, and let me just say; not a day has gone by since the first day of fall that my preschoolers haven't done something in our class with a fall theme. Skeletons made from pasta noodles, ghosts made from bowls and tissue paper, bats made form toilet paper rolls...we definitely played to the theme. We even have a class scarecrow that we named "Macaroni Puppy" teachers we are encouraged to allow for creative thinking and teamwork. This was a unanimous decision made by seventeen 3-year-olds. How could we say no?

Our preschool Halloween party was this past Friday. I imagine the school decided a party for a holiday centered around sugar and costumes would be much better suited for a Friday than a Monday, the day Halloween happened to fall on this year. The kids were absolutely precious. With a few Buzz Lightyears, 2 firemen, several Disney princesses, 3 puppies, and a few others; I felt like I was on the set of a Disney movie. My co-teacher and I both joined in on the fun. I've always been one for dressing up. I dressed up as a ladybug, and she as a Ninja Turtule, Michelangelo to be specific. The Ninja Turtle costume really dated both of us, when we realized none of our sweet little friends were familiar with this teenage mutant.
The dynamic preschool teaching duo!
One of my favorite things about Halloween is the candy! I'm a sucker for anything chocolate. But my favorite thing is the seasonal candy, and by this I mean candy corn! I was at a tailgate a few weeks ago in Auburn and there was a sweet and salty mix that immediately caught my eye, because of the candy corn of course! So after eating enough handfuls to hold me over until next Halloween, I took a mental picture of this delicious concoction and decided to create my own! I went and visited one of my dear friends, Taylor last weekend in Atlanta. Our friends are good at many things, one of which is eating. So I decided this would be a perfect time to try out my new mix. It travels well too! Oh...and i decided it deserved a proper title as well. So I dub this fall mix, "Monster Munch!" Enjoy! Happy Halloween!

Monster Munch
Life cereal
Graham Cracker Goldfish (Honey and/or Chocolate)
Caramel Corn (I used pecan--if you like it nutty!)
Candy Corn
Reeses' Pieces

Mix all of these ingredients in a big bowl and ta-dah! You have your very own Monster Munch! Best part about this recipe? Not only is it super easy, but you get to decide the measurements! In my opinion...the more Reese's Pieces the better!

Munch ingredients
Monster Munch!
Taylor and I in Atlanta! I think we ate half of the jar...oops!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Nordstrom says it perfectly

I am a big believer in celebrating holidays one at a time. It makes my skin crawl when I see holiday items and decorations in stores and displayed on lawns a good month (sometimes longer) before the holiday. However, the worst is right around this time of year when three holidays fall very close together: Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. I love holidays, and I love decorating for them even more. But sometimes people jump the gun and go straight from singing summer songs about the beach to singing Jingle Bells and I Saw Mama Kissing Santa Claus. I love Christmas music too, but pump the brakes folks. You can still listen to your music after Thanksgiving, the lyrics will not change. And as for you early decorators, your inflatable Santa and accompanying reindeer don't need to go out any earlier than they have to. I'm doing you a favor by sharing this me on this one.

If you think I feel strongly about this, you should meet my dad. Halloween has always been one of his favorite holidays, which is kind of funny if you know my dad. That is probably the last holiday I would ever choose for him as a "favorite". He told us this week, "I love Halloween. I do it big on Halloween. Open the door, put out a bowl of candy, and listen for trick or treaters." Real "big" huh? From the sound of it, he likes Halloween because it requires very little of him. 

When my sister in law told us about a sign she saw in the window at Nordstrom, I immediately searched for it on Google. If my dad had the means to do so, he would have this copied and reposted in store windows throughout the United States. Wouldn't even be surprised if he came up for one similar to hang on our door. Thank you for this, Nordstrom. I couldn't agree more. Happy Halloween! (the next big holiday)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The baby's growin' up

Today the baby of the family turned 19 years old. I still can't believe he is 19 and in college! This is the first birthday he has spent away from home. My parents are convinced he is feeling the sadness of not being with his family on his birthday for the first time, but I am convinced they are the sad ones and they are just hoping he feels the same way. Seeing that he spent a fun weekend with some of his new pledge brothers in Birmingham, I have a hard time believing he didn't enjoy his birthday weekend. Although I know my parents will read this, so for their comfort, I'm sure he missed a home cooked birthday dinner prepared on the red "You Are Special Today" plate. McKinney family tradition. 

The birthday boy
He is truly a joy in our family and brings lots of smiles and laughter. I envy his wit and humor and energetic outlook on life. He is always fun to be around...unless: 1) Auburn has lost 2) he has gotten an inadequate amount of sleep or 3) you make a comment about him being on his phone or his inability to take care of it.

I have always been like a "mother" to David. I have had a motherly sense about me ever since I was little and when David was born, he wasn't just a baby brother to me, he was a real live baby doll! Sometimes my parents had to step in and kindly remind me who his parents were. They still have to do this from time to time. When I played "house", he was my child. When I played "dentist" (yes, I played dentist) he was my patient. When I played "beauty shop" he was my model. My older brother joined in for this fun. We actually dressed David up, painted his nails, and did his makeup. Oh, and we named him Barbara. As David got older, my mom told us Barbara would be no more. When I played "school", he was my student. I made him call me Mrs. Landers, and I also gave him tests...I graded them harshly. I vividly remember one time in the playroom (A.KA. my classroom), David didn't do well on one of my test and I wrote an "F" on his paper and told him I would be calling his mother. I wasn't sure who to call...myself or my real mother. The roles got very confusing. He was a good sport, putting up with my antics. But I like to think I contributed to his manners and well being today, along with my parents who actually did the raising of this baby turned 19-year-old.

Needless to say, we have had some great times together and he is truly a blessing in my life. I value the relationship we have, as well as the one all three of us have together. I am extremely fortunate to be the only girl in the middle of two amazing young men. (Dave, I guess since you're 19 you're now old enough to be called a "man")

Thanks for being a great little brother and such a wonderful person! Love you! 

P.S. For your sake, I won't post any Barbara pictures...wouldn't want those to get loose on the web.

Even in a 'stache he looks good
David's High School graduation! May 2011
McKinney sibs. Love them so much

Monday, October 17, 2011

"You shouldn't have!"

"You shouldn't have!" We've all heard someone say it, and I'd venture to guess you've been guilty of using this phrase at some point in your life. Three words that pack a heavy punch. Three words that are in fact wrapped in sarcasm, but covered with a giant bow of (fake) gratitude and appreciation. Funny that we're on the topic of wrapping and bows, because those two things actually contribute to this phrase's frequency; in my opinion at least. How many times have you opened a gift and experienced the following: A) What is this? B) I think I opened someone else's gift. C) How in the world am I supposed to react? D) This person clearly doesn't know me at all. E) ALL OF THE ABOVE.

If you're like me, your answer was E. Unfortunately I'm not here to give you a "What kind of gift receiver are you?" Quiz and provide you with proper receiving etiquette for your "type" once you finish the quiz. In fact, I'm here to seek advice, because it is beyond me.

Tomorrow is my dad's birthday. My gift receiving skills, or lack thereof, come from this guy. Like father like daughter. If you ask him what he wants for Christmas, Father's Day, or his birthday, his answer is always the same. "I don't need anything. All I want is to spend time with my family". Yeah...he's one of those. And it always elicits the same response from all of us: rolling of eyes and a push for a better answer. Granted, that is what I want for my respective gift receiving days as well; time with the people I love. However, that is usually a given, thus take this opportunity to be selfish and ask for something you might want or need! do get to be selfish every once in a while.

Now back to this request of his about not needing anything. Obviously we are not going to let him have a birthday without getting some sort of gift. Because, (and he won't admit to this) I believe if we did in fact honor his request, he might be slightly disappointed if there wasn't some sort of gift. He wouldn't let off this feeling of disappointment, but we would hear about it in some sort of joking tone at some point later on down the road. Thus, we give him gifts, and usually his response is less than thrilled because he doesn't actually like the shirt or the CD we chose. And that is why gift receipts are kept. Dad, if you'd be a little more specific, we wouldn't have to do this every year.

If you don't know my sweet mom, you must understand she wouldn't stand for a birthday without gifts. She loves making people feel special on their birthdays. Having a mother who does in fact give great gifts and puts a lot of thought into them, means suffering from BOP (Bad at Opening Presents) makes you feel quite terrible. Again, I'll blame it on my father. I swear its genetic. Now hear me out, those that suffer from BOP are not heartless or ungrateful or rude. Those are all negative connotations that people like to associate with BOP. I like to look at the positive. We fear that our reaction, wether fake or real, will not please the giver. We are also very honest people (see? that's definitely a positive!). Example: If we open an ice bucket on our birthday* we don't know how to create the appropriate response, when all we want to do is laugh and ask "Did I give off some sort of hint that allowed you to think an ice bucket was what I wanted?"
((*Based on a true story. To protect the giver/receiver of the gift, names were not used and the gift giving occasion was changed. No, the gift was not changed. It was in ice bucket.))

Us BOPers, or at least this one, are also much better at giving than receiving (another positive). I love picking out presents for my family and friends. I love knowing I got something I am absolutely certain they are going to love and seeing the look on their face when they open it brings me so much joy. You'd think someone who loves seeing that excited face would be capable of imitating it upon opening a gift themselves...nope, can't do it. My attempt at doing so results in failure almost every time.

Think about a common gift giving scenario. You're in a room full of people, wether it be 5 or 20. You have a box in front of you. In this box is a gift for you. Someone has spent their time selecting this item for you. They spent their money on this item. They wouldn't be giving you this item if they didn't think you would like it. Do you feel the pressure yet? They are staring at you (along with everyone else in the room) expecting the response they want post-gift opening--excitement about their gift they selected with you in mind. If you ever wanted to be an actor/actress here is your chance! And talk about improvisation...I bet Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are really good gift openers. The minute you see what's inside of the box, it's gametime. You should take about 3 seconds to examine it yourself, so you can atleast identify the gift. Next, and you always include this step, take it out and hold it up for everyone to see. This not only gives you a few more seconds of planning your response, but also provides great opportunity for an onlooker to comment which may benefit you. Example: After holding up an outift, unsure if it is a jumpsuit or matching pajamas, a party guest says "I have some of those pajamas! Love them!" Ding ding ding! Saved by the guest. Be sure and send them home with extra leftovers as a thank you.

The final, and most important, rule for opening gifts following the independent examination and the viewing for guests, comes the 3 words: "You shouldn't have!" Works like a charm--IF you execute it properly. Practicing in front of a mirror is not frowned upon. Better to be safe than sorry. This simple phrase works in 2 ways. 1) Makes the giver feel if they have gone above and beyond in their gift selection while 2) allows the receiver a cop-out while even still not lying...because they meant it literally when they said "You shouldn't have".

My dad has vowed he is going to be better about opening presents. Pressure is on tomorrow big guy. Although, I must say he is making improvements as far as responding when we ask if there is something he would like. He actually told us recently he would really like a "rolling ice chest". I'll give you one guess as to who was the giver of the ice bucket came in my previously mentioned story...bless his heart, he really does have good intentions.

Happy Birthday Dad, love you!!!

He still gives great hugs and kisses...even though he's getting older :)

Disclaimer: This isn't to say that I don't love gifts of mom just read this post and said "I sure hope your friends don't read this...don't expect gifts from any of your readers especially" please take note, I promise I will love anything you'd like to give me. (minus an ice bucket....). My birthday is November 4th. :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fall in a Muffin

Fall is finally here! It is my favorite season for so many reasons; the weather, the colors, the smells, football, the warm clothes, Thanksgiving, and food! Now I must admit I get a little cynical when it comes to some peoples' obsessions with seasons; especially fall. If you have a Facebook or if you're on Twitter, I'd venture to guess in the past month or so you've seen at least one, if not 20, posts regarding fall. Words included in these post may include, but are not limited to: cold, warm, candles, fires, boots, cuddling, scarves, sweaters, coffee, 'a good book', pumpkins, and my all time favorite (the most overused 3 words used all season) pumpkin spice lattes. I honestly don't know how it is not a trending topic worldwide. Now hear me out...I love fall and everything that comes with it. But if I had a nickel for every time someone has mentioned a "pumpkin spice latte" via some social media source; I might actually be able to afford one from Starbucks. I haven't actually tasted this notorious beverage, but if I ever do, I'll be sure and tell the barista at Starbucks they've got quite an advertising crew via my Facebook and Twitter feed. 

People really do get excited out about pumpkin season. I love the taste, but too much of it will make me sick of it real quick. I like it baked, usually in bread form; wether its bread, cookies, or muffins. For some reason I can't do pumpkin pie. Something about the texture just does me in. 

A few years ago, one of my college friends had made pumpkin muffins, and after eating one, I could have easily eaten the entire pan. I believe I would have gone into a sugar coma. You'll see why after I share the recipe. When I came home for Thanksgiving that year I tried out the recipe myself. They didn't turn out as good as hers on my first attempt, but they still got eaten. Having two brothers (with hungry guy friends) means "Cook it and they will come". I've made these muffins every year since then and I must say I think my batch this past weekend was my best. This year my little brother was the one coming home from college instead of me, and I sent him back to Auburn with a container full of muffins for him and his friends. I'm not sure if he decided to share or not...but that was the idea. 

If fall had a taste, it would be the sensation you get when you bite into one of these muffins. A little dramatic? Don't knock it 'til you try it. And if you're one of the many that have fallen victim to the Pumpkin Spice Latte phenomenon, I bet one of these muffins would compliment it quite well!

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins
1 cup canola oil
4 eggs
1 16 oz. can pumpkin
2.5 cups flour
3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1.5 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cloves
Chocolate chips (you decide how much!)

Combine oil, eggs, and pumpkin. Mix well.

Add remaining dry ingredients and beat until smooth.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Pour into muffin tins. (I spray the muffin tins with Baker's Joy so they don't stick!)

Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Makes about 2 dozen muffins.

**You can also use loaf pans with this batter if you'd rather. Bake at 325 in 3 small loaf pans for 45-55 minutes. Cool in pans before removing.

Happy Fall! Enjoy them! I know this guy does...he even helped me make them last year! (Stirring and posing for this picture was about the extent of his "help")

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Now Playing

Living in Nashville means living amongst musicians, songwriters, and artists. Those that don't already hold one of those positions either work in the music business or aspire to be any of the previously mentioned. I can't tell you how many times I have met someone whose parents "work in the music business" or themselves "work in the music business". Whenever I tell people my family moved here from Little Rock, I often get the question "Did you move here so your dad could do music?" Now I should probably give my dad a little credit here, because he is the only family member that is actually musically inclined. He has a beautiful singing voice and is a very talented pianist. In fact, he recently discovered the piano app on my mom's iPad. Despite his aversion to advancing technology, he was very entertained by this touch screen handheld piano. His musical abilities, however, don't lend to his career path. So to answer your question, yes I live in Nashville, no my father is not "in the music business".

So back to my point about living in music city...there are always concerts and music events going on. I wish I was a little cooler, a little more "Nashville cultured", a little more in the know; because I know I don't take advantage of this town. Since moving back home, I have joined a Nashville twitter (keeps me updated about what's going on in Nashville), signed up for Groupon and LivingSocial, and have even started reading the paper (online...but it still counts, right?). I'm trying to become a good citizen to this place. Really I'm just trying to find things to do, since I already lost some cool points by living at home with my parents (Kidding...I know they're reading this. Just a little joke for them. Love ya roomies!) So one of my first big contributions to becoming "more Nashville" was this past weekend. My sister-in-law and I went to the Taylor Swift concert. Yeah, I know. Talk about being in the know. You would literally have to live under a rock if you weren't aware that T.Swift was on tour right now, better yet that she was doing two shows in Nashville. My SIL and I have been counting down the days, hours, and minutes since we got the tickets in March. It was better than we ever dreamed. Surprise guests? Nashville celebs: Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw. It was truly magical. She is amazing!!
Krista & I ready to see our BFF, Taylor. Cowboy boots and all.
If this guitar ever went on eBay, I'd be the highest bidder. Sparkle guitar? Yes, please.
Tim McGraw--Taylor's inspiration for her first hit song.
One of my favorite bands, NeedToBreathe opened, which leads me to my next point (I'm feeling very musical can you tell?). They just released a new album this week called The Reckoning. Go buy it! Favorite songs: White Fences, Angel at my Door, Slumber, Able.

No, I'm not done yet. Who knows, you may be one of those people that stumbled upon my blog, happened to have received an iTunes gift card recently, and have been thinking "I wish I knew of some good tunes to buy with this!"...well now you're in luck!! Next album that is currently on repeat on my iPod is Ben Rector's new album Something Like This. Favorite songs: She Is, Hide Away, You and Me, Wanna be Loved, Falling in Love (Seriously...this whole album is amazing-all of them are great. His other albums don't disappoint either).

Ben Rector
And my final suggestion for your listening pleasure is a new artist who I was recently introduced by one of my Nashville friends (who is clearly cooler than me and knows about up and coming artists). She's super hip and trendy and is actually friends with this guy; who in my opinion will soon become very well known. His name is Steve Moakler. Strong voice, talented musician, and incredible lyrics (and he's extremely good looking--Steve, if you're reading this...we both live in Nashville, are you single?). Buy his recently released album Watching Time Run. Favorite songs: Best Thing, Thing About Us, Truth, This Ain't Rock and Roll.
Steve Moakler
Ok, I'll get off my soapbox now. Just thought these new albums deserved a little recognition. So if you need some new jams to cruise to this weekend, or just a change from your same old, same old--go download these! You won't be dissapointed, I promise. Happy listening!!

P.S. If you've got some suggestions, please pass them on. Like I said...trying to be musically cultured.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

new season, new state, new job

I have really got to get better about being more consistent with this blog. Making a vow now: I will be more consistent with this blog. Well that was easy! But really, I will try. The past few weeks have been a little crazy and so much has happened!

Most importantly, football season has finally begun! This means many roadtrips south to the loveliest village to see my Tigers play. It is so weird going back to Auburn, using a regular "non-student" ticket, and also seeing my little brother a student! The past two games have been such fun reunions with friends and even better because we won both games!

sweet friends!
an Auburn tradition...War Eagle!

McKinney siblings--"Fam Jam 2011" as we called it

In addition to following Auburn football in the fall, Sundays are spent watching Titans games, sometimes attending them. I'd rather watch college football than NFL any day, but I watched the Panthers play for the first time this past week. Why you ask? Their newest addition is actually my boyfriend! Cam and I plan on marrying soon, save the dates coming to your mailbox in the near future.

Cam Newton. Need I say more?
Labor Day weekend was spent at the lake with family friends. It is a Labor Day tradition and we always head there after the first Auburn football game. Unfortunately, this series of tropical storms not only sent us a cool front, but also lots of rain. Lake time was minimized, but it was still a fun and relaxing weekend with family, friends, and some intense board games.

My older brother and his wife are moving to Dallas in 3 weeks. I am so excited for them and selfishly can't wait to visit. I've never been to Dallas! Of course I am sad that they will not be living here in Nashville anymore, but newly married, I know this will be a fun and exciting adventure for them. At times challenging, but I have no doubt they will learn so much on their new journey. My sister in law is going into it completely ready to join the Texans that love their state so dearly. I honestly think there are few states that are prouder of their own. She has even told me she would like to invest in running shorts that resemble the state flag. I laughed at the thought of this (and honestly thought she was exaggerating), but after Googling what I thought would be nonexistent; I found them. So despite the hesitations there may be about this move, and aside from the bittersweet feelings from both families and friends, I can be at peace knowing that on a sidewalk somewhere in Dallas, Krista is running in Texas-flag shorts, proud to be where she is, and excited about a new adventure in the Lone Star state.

I finally have some exciting news in regards to the job hunt that has been taking over my life for the past 3 months. I AM OFFICIALLY EMPLOYED!!! I only use CAPS if I would yell the sentence if speaking it aloud. Trust me, I would scream it from the rooftops. My goodness what a process it has been, and such a relief to finally have a job. I will be teaching Preschool full time. I have already met my class, and they are just the cutest little angels I have ever seen. I honestly never thought my first job would be with Preschool, but since I am early childhood certified, I'm glad I will finally get some experience with this age group. Today was my first official day and I can already tell I am going to love it. Have I mentioned the benefits? Please, that is the best part! Everyday includes 2 hours worth of naptime, 2 recess periods, 3 snack breaks, AND as if that isn't enough, every Friday is FOOTBALL FRIDAY. Again with the CAPS I know. This means on Fridays I'll be rocking the following jersey. All for you Cam. War Eagle, Go Panthers.   

Purchased this jersey around this time last year-best investment ever! 

Friday, August 26, 2011

25 Things

I've seen other blogger friends do this and I enjoyed reading random/entertaining/bizarre things about them that I definitely didn't know beforehand. So I've compiled my own list. If you're bored and feel like reading some useless information about me, enjoy!

25 things you may not know about me...

1. I love snail mail. I prefer written notes and letters over the e-stuff any day. I have a box in my room filled with anything from notes passed in middle and high school to birthday cards and encouraging notes from friends. I get it from my dad, the writer in the family. Many of the notes in this box come from him.

2. I have a slight obsession with school supplies. The word 'slight' probably doesn't do it justice. Nothing makes me happier than freshly sharpened pencils, fresh markers, the perfect writing pen, and a sturdy pencil pouch. Target could hire me just to stand guard on the school supply aisle to attend to children in search of the perfect notebook. Glad I decided on the teaching field, I will always have a valid excuse for these purchases.

3. I can tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue.

4. There are 3 foods I could eat all day everyday if it met the criteria for a balanced diet. The first, Kraft macaroni and cheese. No, not homemade. Leave the gourmet and give me the blue box. Second, peanut butter. It is my downfall. JIF Extra Crunchy, or the fresh ground from Whole Foods. Pretty sure I could never marry someone with a peanut allergy. Which leads me to my third, peanut M&Ms. If you wanna get real crazy, mix them with goldfish. Best. Combo. EVER. Portion and control are two words that become nonexistent the minute any of these foods are within reach.

5. I worked at Subway one summer. Yes, I had an apron that read "Sandwich Artist". It was an interesting experience to say the least. The smell bothers me to this day.

6. I chomp on ice like its my job. I don't like using straws because I can't get to the ice. I have never understood people who order drinks "hold the ice". Do they know what they are missing out on? I'm that annoying person...that asks for extra ice. My dream kitchen could be the size of a small closet with minimal counter or cabinet space; as long as there is a good ice maker, I am happy.

7. This sort of goes with #6. I am addicted to Sonic (and Sonic ice). I probably haven't eaten there in 5 years, but if I kept all of the cups from the drinks I get there, I could probably build a house of styrofoam. My mom and I share this fetish. Between the hours of 2 and 4 everyday, you could probably catch one of us at America's drive-in. Happy Hour, half price drinks, duh.

8. My first babydoll's name was "Bzzzzzz". Yes you are reading that correctly, like the sound a bee makes. I wanted to be original?

9. I have overactive tear ducts. After consistent watery eyes and a visit to the eye doctor, that was the diagnosis. When it is windy and cold, I sometimes look like a sad sob story, but don't be alarmed. Its just the tear ducts acting up.

10. I've broken and bruised my tailbone. It is one of the most painful things I've ever experienced and wouldn't wish it upon my worst enemy. I had to sit on a pillow at school for 4 weeks. It was in 5th grade. As if that stage of life wasn't awkward enough, let me carry around a pillow everywhere I go.

11. I have a terrible habit of picking my fingernails. It really is awful. I have exhausted every solution and nothing has ever worked. It drives my parents crazy.

12. I have never been to the tanning bed. I will never go to the tanning bed.

13. I am terrified of roller-coasters. Nothing about them is exhilarating or fun in my opinion. That free fall feeling has never been something I've had a desire to experience just for fun.

14. I love surprises. I have been known to plan my own. Ironic, I know. When I was in first grade, on April Fools' Day I wanted my dad to surprise me and play a prank on me. I begged him to do something funny and surprise me with a prank. When he wasn't cooperating, I took a box of toothpicks from the cabinet, emptied them into my lunchbox, and during lunch pulled them out and started laughing hysterically. I looked around and announced to the lunch table "My dad is SO funny! He totally surprised me with this prank and poured a whole box of toothpicks in my lunchbox!!!" Gosh...things I did for attention.

15. I love Christmas with all my heart, but Christmas music should only be played after Thanksgiving, not a second before. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays and shouldn't be rushed by Christmas. Same goes for decorations.

16. I am a grammar nazi. My friends know this. Your and You're should never be confused, nor should their, they're, and there. Never end a sentence with a preposition. "Where are you at?" literally makes my skin crawl. Spelling, punctuation, and pronunciation...use it correctly. (I have my father to thank for this quirk).

17. I am 22 years old and have been braces free for 7 years and I still wear my retainer to bed every night. I am paranoid about my teeth. I broke my retainer last semester and drove 5 hours home and skipped a day of my internship just to get a replacement.

18. I was homeschooled for a few months when I was in 3rd grade. When we were in the middle of our move from Little Rock to Nashville, it was easier for my mom to homeschool us until we could start school in October. It wasn't a long period of time, but it was just enough for me. I hated every second. I love school and wanted organization and a schedule. My mother had other plans. She tried, she really did, but there is a reason she is an accountant (and a great one at that) and not a teacher. To this day I am not good at rounding numbers and I know it is because my mom and I never saw eye to eye on the concept.

19. I have song A.D.D. It is near impossible for me to listen to a song in its entirety.

20. I have had a recurring dream since I was little that I am running on a path on a steep cliff that drops off into a fast flowing river. Captain Hook is chasing me. He has yet to catch me. I still have this dream.

21. In high school my dad and I had a morning ritual. He came in every morning 30 minutes before my alarm would go off and ask me if I wanted 30 more minutes to sleep. Of course the answer was always yes. My alarm went off 30 minutes later, giving me a 5 minute warning, followed by the final alarm 5 minutes later. At the final alarm my dad would come in, sit on my bed and say "Good morning sweetie!"...My brothers never received this treatment. Oh the advantages of being the only girl.

22. I will always confuse the meaning of a zip code and an area code. I also still have to use a trick my dad taught me in 2nd grade to remember the difference between a nickel and a dime. I have to stop and think about both of these scenarios before acting on either.

23. When I was little I had imaginary parents. Most children have imaginary friends...I decided to take it a step further. I would literally excuse myself from the dinner table and announce that I needed to go eat with my "other" parents.

24. I love nothing more than belting out a good song while in the car by myself. When I pull up to a stop light or a stop sign I hold my phone to my ear and continue to sing. This gives people around me the the impression I am simply talking on the phone, not singing alone in my car.

25. One of my dreams is to visit all of the Spanish speaking countries before I die. There are 14. So far I have only been to three: Peru, Mexico, and Honduras.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Oh to be a freshman again...

A couple of weeks ago I said goodbye to my little (bigger than me) brother as he headed off to the loveliest village on the plains to begin his freshman year of college. My older brother and I have instilled in him the excitement, along with the jealousy, we have for him has he begins this journey. What I wouldn't give to be in his shoes. Freshmen year really was my favorite year of college. Everything is new and fresh and exhilarating. They don't call it Freshman year for nothing. You're getting a taste of living on your own, while still living off of your parents. Have you really thought about that...? Let's be honest, it doesn't get much better.

My sweet parents have been dreading this day for a while now, taking their last one to college, officially earning the title "empty nesters". I like to subtly remind them that I am back home, still living under their roof, still sleeping right across the hall from them....and still unemployed. That last one doesn't really help my case. Of course they are glad to have me here, but their last one has fled the coop and they are going through a phase in which they feel they must "redefine" themselves (their words, not mine). I can hardly say David's name without them getting emotional. I have also learned the hard way, that it is not yet appropriate to make jokes about him being gone. The day they got back from moving him in, I tried to lighten the mood with "One good thing about Dave being gone is that the bathroom stays a lot cleaner!" I immediately regretted my words. My mom quickly rebutted "I'd rather have a dirty bathroom and David here than a clean one with him gone!" I learned my lesson. Too soon for jokes.

He really is doing great though and is loving Auburn so far. Thanks to the newest Facebook addition, video chat, I got to see his smiling face a few days ago. He is still making time for his sister, and for that I am thankful. I'm so proud of him and know he is going to love it down there.

The day my parents returned from moving him in, I sat in the kitchen with them and soaked up their somber moods. I tried to be understanding, but knew their wasn't much comfort I could give them. I had pretty much worn out the "Hey, at least I'm still here!" line. My mom told me that after having moved all three of us into college, not one of us turned back after they said goodbye to us. I tried to explain the emotions I had when I said goodbye to them. Of course I was sad, but the feeling I had of excitement and freedom cannot even be described. I remember walking back up the stairs to my new dorm room, my new roommate, my new home, after saying goodbye to my parents; and being absolutely thrilled about starting a new chapter. I barely knew a soul, I had no idea what to expect, I had one friend-my roommate, but I was on my own, and felt like I was starting with a blank slate. The thought of meeting new people and living in a new place excited me! I explained it to my mom as "playing house". I grew up with a very girly imagination. I played house and school on a daily basis. I used to pretend the upstairs was my apartment. So when I had my own dorm room, I felt as if I was playing house, for real!

I know David of course wouldn't describe his new adventure as I would. Playing house was never really his thing, unless I made him play with me. But I do hope that this beginning is just as thrilling for him as it was for me. No year compared to freshmen year for me, and I hope he will soak up every second.

After 4 years, you could say I accumulated quite a bit of "stuff" that now sits in the basement. This contributed to one of my dad's greatest goals for moving David to college; that he would be a minimalist. I think they did pretty well. Here are some pics of David's new room/move-in day, and mine from 4 years ago. My how boys and girls differ.

All of David's friends the night before he left for Auburn
The newest Empty Nesters moving their last one to college. 
Dave's new humble abode. Such a boy-minimal decoration

My sweet friends the morning I left for Auburn- August 2007
Move In Day!! August 2007
Lindsey and I on our first night in our new room