Friday, February 26, 2010

Friends, Romans, Countrymen

That title really has nothing to do with this post... Except that my students had to recite this famous quote from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar today in class.  (We also had "Italian Food Day" for extra credit... There is nothing quite like lasagna and cheesecake at 8:30AM. Haha!)

Anyways, I want your opinion on something, as my blog friends...

I want to open up my 30 Before 30 list for EVERYONE to join in. 

The idea is: We all would make lists of 30 goals/projects/etc. to complete by our 30th birthdays!  (This is the next milestone for me... But you would certainly NOT be limited to that... You could pick any milestone birthday you wanted  to shoot for!)  Then, on March 26th - my Golden Birthday - we'd all link up and post our lists for all the [blog] world to see.  From there, we could follow each other on our journey to "cross off" items and accomplish things we've always wanted to do.  (For example, my list has BIG things like writing a book, and small things like planting a garden... Anything goes!)

But, here's the deal... I'd like to have an idea of how many people would be interested.  **I'm a little nervous about doing a linky and only have one or two friends join in.  Also, if we have a little crew, I'd like to get a blog button designed so that we can post them on our blogs as "30 Before 30" participants.  PLUS, if you want to do it, you probably need to start working on your list - mine has definitely been a work in progress.

So... be honest with me folks (I think we've reached that point)... Who's in?

(P.S. Jeff & I will be out of town this weekend for a Young Life Leader/Committee Retreat.  So, as hard as it will be, I won't be checking my blog until Sunday night.  Leave your comments and we'll see where we are on Monday!  Have a great weekend!!)

Yellow Books

Today at Kelly's Korner, we are showing our collections.  And, no, I do NOT collect phone-books.  :)


I do, however, collect any and all yellow-bound books.


I got the idea to group monochrome books from a Pottery Barn catalog about two years ago, right before we moved into our new house - which already had these fantastic built in bookshelves flanking the fireplace.  Considering that my past "collections" included items such as: clowns, porcelin dolls, and pig figurines, this seemed to be a more "grown-up" and less creepy alternative.  Paired with the light teal back walls (suggested by a home stager) and a much smaller collection of white dishes etc., it makes a simple (and affordable) design statement.  Plus, being an English teacher and an avid reader, it seemed perfectly appropriate.  I love it!  It is probably one of my favorite things in our house.

No, I haven't/don't intend to read all of these books.  If I actually read a book that happens to have a yellow spine, it is considered an extra special gem!  (The Help is one of those!) Probably the funniest titles I have are: Confessions of a Sociopath, and Escaping the Hostility Trap... I'm willing to sacrifice a little of my reputation for the sake of home decor. :)


Mostly, these are yardsale and thrift-store finds.  (I try never to spend more than a dollar on a "decorative" book.)  My mother-in-law, and a few really fun friends, have also given me several books.  And, some are "antiques" I found in my grandparents' basement etc. - i.e. my poor Poppy's National Geographic collection that I played "school" with when I was little and wrote ALL over. They are little treasures to me. 
 

Yes, when I visit your house, I probably am scouring your bookshelves to see what I might - one day - be able to add to my collection.  Donations are graciously accepted.
 

Oh... And for the record, I also started a collection of YELLOW FUR about two years ago.  It is a very successful collection, tripling approximately every two hours.  I just can't seem to slow it down... Thank goodness I love it even more than yellow books. ;)

Edited to Add: Once you've checked out all of Kelly's links, head over to The Shabby Nest to see her readers' Frugal Decorating Finds.  :)  I decided this post fit into BOTH categories!  Enjoy!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Creative Dessert

Today is our friend Howard's 25th Birthday!!

To celebrate at our small group last night, I made a yummy yellow cake with chocolate icing.  In my normal fashion, I was running slightly behind schedule and Howard was already at the house when I finally finished icing and realized I didn't have any candles for the cake.

Thank goodness for Jeff's innovativeness.


25 tea-lights.

Classy.  (And appetizing... Yes, there is a cake under there!)

Happy Birthday Howard!  We love you!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Minor Slip Up

No... this post isn't about my diet, although I do "slip up" relatively frequently there.  It is about, literally, my slip. 


HOT huh!?! If you are thinking, "Who wears slips these days anyways?" I understand.  Really, this was my belief too.  Old people wear slips.  

Until... 
I wore an adorable cream-colored cotton dress, that I had just found on clearance, to work one day last spring.  (I had a spray tan, ok?  I know my skin well enough to know that cream isn't really a fashion "do" for me!)  I was well aware that this was risky; but, I wore beige undergarments (because everyone knows that white will show through), and I asked Jeff to examine me in the bathroom lighting - oh boys!  I'll admit, I left the house feeling pretty good.
Then, around 2nd period, one of the "more experienced" teachers at my school "politely" pulled me aside and said: "You REALLY need a slip with that dress.  You can see right through it, and all the boys are probably looking right at your underwear."  Excellent.  Not only did I then feel super professional but, at least for the next six classes, also totally obscene.

Adorable cream-colored cotton dress went back on the hanger, never to see the florescent light of day again.

Later, when tights and leggings season approached, I thought my problems had been solved.  NO ONE can see through opaque black tights.  Need for hideous slip = gone.  Excessive static electricity that made sweater dresses stick to me in a grossly unflattering way = very present.  And, so, the search for a slip officially began...

This started with a change of attitude.  I told myself that a slip was just like a camisole for my bottom half.  Then, I purchased two half slips - simple beige and a black half - at the Jockey outlet this winter.  I was well on my way to becoming a frumpy, slip-wearing, non-vulgar, teacher.  And, of course, I proudly showed of my new purchases to said co-worker. 

I wish I could tell you that all my problems stopped here.  But, alas, that was not the case.  As it turns out,  my little "fashion must have" keeps riding up on my legs and forming a tire-like formation around my midsection.  Trust me, I do NOT need this.  I'm pretty sure I'd rather people just see my underwear.  (At least they are cute.  Slips are just ugly.)

What should I do?  I'm considering suspenders under my dress.  Any better options?

Please help!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Oh No You Didn't

First of all.... Can I just say that I LOVE Chris Harrison.
 
He might be the wisest man in the world.  I mean, he just offers so much to all the Bachelors and Bachelorettes.  Don't we all need a Chris Harrison in our lives?  (I can just imagine now... Whenever Jeff and I got into a little "tiff," Jeff could go into a beautifully decorated living room and stare at a framed picture of me - looking my very best - and ask Chris for his advice.  Of course, Chris would always side with me.  It would be excellent.)

Anyways, back to the matter at hand... Can you believe that ole Rozzy drug Chris into her romantic love-triangle drama?  HOW DARE SHE?!?!  I could handle her denying her "relations."  I could handle her attitude with the girls.  I could EVEN handle her swearing on her child's life --- although, really, what was she thinking?  BUT... I will NOT tolerate her making a judgement of Chris's character.  If we can't rely on Chris to be a good man, who CAN we trust?

Oh well... I guess Roz was just in a bad mood because she, clearly, was attacked by a wild bear on her way in to the studio.  (Pictures to come in the AM.)

Until next week...

Not Me Monday


Last week...

I did not convince myself that it would snow and, therefore, excuse myself from all regularly scheduled household chores over the weekend.

Because of this, I did not allow my house to become so totally unorganized and disgusting that I had a mental breakdown.  And, I definitely did not attack my sister and an unassuming friend who arrived early for Bible Study on Wednesday night to "help" me clean my bedroom.  I would never ask this of a guest. 

On Friday, I did not clean my house while friends played board games in the dining room.  I would never miss an opportunity to socialize because of an obsessive compulsive disorder. Not to mention, vacuuming with company is incredibly rude. 

Since I did not do all of these things, I had no need to spend the prettiest day of the season in the house vacuuming mini-blinds and under furniture all day Saturday.  I don't even notice dirt and dog hair. 

I am totally relaxed and normal.  I will be great at handling a house full of kids one day.

Edited to Add: Just in case you were wondering... I also did NOT try to get away with lighting candles in my classroom today (I mean, it's NOT like were having a funeral for Julius Caesar or anything) and get "caught" by the assistant principal.  I know better than to try to use fire products with teenagers.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Rejected

No one likes being rejected.

And, the feeling is multiplied when the world knows... Because the person doing the rejection put a big ole sticker on her with a giant X and the word "REJECTION" in ugly capital letters.

Embarrassing.

My poor little car.  She failed her annual inspection.  And now, she is humbly sitting in my driveway wearing a humiliating pink sticker on her windshield at the mercy of ME to get her fixed.  Bless her little engine.

My dad is incredible about things like car inspections.  I guarantee you that at any given moment he could tell you the exact day when his car inspection expires.  He goes to a local mechanic named Rex who lowers a car a good five feet when he sits in the driver seat.  (Side Note: His business is actually called "Rex A. Cars."  I do not lie.)  Anyway, growing up, I NEVER thought about silly things like the date of the sticker on the front of my car.  Then, I got married. 

Jeff takes a different approach to car inspections.  His belief falls more in line with "cheating the system" to see how many extra months you can get out of an inspection sticker before actually getting a ticket, at which point - according to VA law - you have 30 days to get your car inspected and the ticket is void. He is an expert at this method.  Last year, he received approximately four tickets in the month leading up to his well-timed $16 inspection.

I am proud to report that this year, I had successfully made it three months with an expired sticker and was going strong.  Then, ENTER POPPY.  (Some sister - who will go unnamed - had to go and rat me out.) At 91, if you notice something that isn't right you, quite literally, have NOTHING else to do but think about it ALL the time.  (Example: Last week, he called THE MAYOR'S OFFICE to complain because my neighbor's trash hadn't been picked up.)  On Thursday, he called me at work to tell me he had made me an appointment with his mechanic for that afternoon.  Operation aborted. He called me four more times to remind me of the appointment.  So I went,  and she failed.  Stupid airbag light.

To make matters worse, ONLY the one Toyota dealership in town can fix this problem.  Oh, great, they aren't busy with maintenance right now at all. 

I have 15 days to get this problem fixed.  Toyota can't see me until late next week.  They quoted me between $50 and $80 just to run a diagnostic to  find the problem... Then, who knows.  If it takes longer than 15 days to get the needed parts etc, not only will I have to pay for them... But I'll also owe another $16 for a whole new inspection.

I was better off with an old sticker.  Jeff, you are so wise.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Young Life

Today, over at Kelly's Korner, everyone is chatting about their ministry.  I am truly looking forward to relaxing after a long week (the first full week I've had in a LONG time) this afternoon and reading some of her followers' stories and passions.

I don't have an incredible tale of trial and redemption.  In fact, I honestly can relate more to the 2nd son - you know, the lame one who stayed home and pouted at the party - in the Parable of the Prodigal Son.  I like rules.  I like "being good."  I thought for most of my life, that these things made me a Christian.  Thankfully, my sophomore year of high school, a few young adults chose to invest in my life and my heart through the ministry of Young Life, and things have never really been the same...


For those of you unfamiliar, Young Life is a worldwide Christian outreach ministry that aims to show teenagers the joy of the Lord.  Our philosophy is to meet young people "where they are" - in the high schools, at sporting events, etc. etc. etc. - and offer them a FULL LIFE through a relationship with Jesus.  We don't just TALK about this relationship... We live it.  At fifteen, because my YL leaders cared enough about me to invest their own precious time in my little life (and trust me, now I KNOW how precious that time really is), I began to understand the concept of grace for the first time, and being loved not because of who I am, but because of who Jesus is. Young Life introduced me to a God of adventure and freedom... Not just a God of rules and traditions.

Since high school, I have had the opportunity to become a volunteer YL leader myself in Clemson, SC and back in Roanoke.  And, this year, Jeff and I stepped into the (very grown up) role of YL Committee.  Incredibly, the ministry has not only drawn me more towards communion with God, but it has also showed me a tangible picture of true community through WONDERFUL friends in each stage of my life.  (I promise, if you are ever moving to a new city and want to meet amazing people, contact the local Young Life director. Seriously.)  In addition to this, more than ten years since first being introduced to the ministry, I continue to see God coming ALIVE in kids lives through Young Life.  Working in the high schools, I see SO many teenagers hiding behind masks and fake identities... When I get the chance to sit in the back of a YL club or camp and watch "tough" guys sing their hearts out and laugh until it hurts... that is when I know my Jesus BEST.

To sum up... here are a few pictures of some of our recent "adventures" loving teenagers - and the wild extremes we sometimes take... because, after all, Jesus was all about wild extremes and breaking social norms.  Thanks for visiting!!



"If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin[a] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." - 2nd Corinthians 5: 13 - 21

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A few more answers...

Q: How do you really feel about living in the same town you grew up and teaching at our old high school?! Do you run into people you know everywhere you go? From Amanda (WHERE are you moving in Virginia? How exciting!)
A: I could write a whole post about this, but... the simple answer: I really love Roanoke. I am so thankful that I was able to spend my college years in South Carolina and a short little stint in London during college. I think, because of that, I've never felt confined or trapped here. Teaching at ole CS is fun, honestly. SO much has changed since we were there, that it usually feels like a totally different place. BUT, I do appreciate the traditions more and my students LOVE to search out my maiden name in the yearbook and tease me about being editor of the newspaper.
As far as running into people all the time - yes and no. I see lots of familiar faces, but I like it that way. Two years ago, Jeff and I hardly knew ANYONE our age that we DIDN'T go to high school with. Now, that group has grown, AND we have an incredible community of new friends from ALL OVER that we've met at church, jobs, Junior League, etc. I hate when people say there are no young people here - we TOTALLY disagree! :) We have a lot of fun and feel really blessed that we get to share our lives with our families, old friends, and new friends.

Q: What is the recipe for that chicken quesadilla dish you make? And what is the "most difficult" meal you have ever prepared?
A: I'm not big on "difficult" meals.  The other night I made homemade Shepherd's Pie - which was a little hard b/c I had to do the mashed potatoes myself.  Does that count?My chicken enchilada recipe, on the other hand, is SUPER EASY and really really delicious.  If you've ever eaten at my house or had me deliver a meal to you - it was probably this.  It is my "go to."  Eat your heart out... literally. :)
Ingredients:
3 chicken breasts (cooked and shredded/cut-up)
2 8oz packages of cream cheese (softened in the microwave, not melted)
1 can black beans
1 can Mexican corn
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can green chilies (depending on how much spice you like!)
2 cans green enchilada sauce
8 - 10 burrito tortillas
Shredded Mexican cheese

- Mix first 6 ingredients together (Drain all canned items)
- Spread mixture generously in tortillas and roll them.
- Place them in a casserole dish
- Top with cheese
- Cover with Green Enchilada Sauce
- Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes

(This recipe makes A LOT of food... I usually place them in two casserole dishes and freeze one.)
(I promise... they TASTE a lot better than they LOOK.)

Q: How did you start blogging? What made you wanna do it?
A: I've always been a "writer."  When I was little, I read and wrote my own stories ALL the time - like, while other kids were playing sports... see, this explains a lot about me.  In high school (and a tiny bit in college) I was on the newspaper staff and always enjoyed "Featurey" stories about people's lives etc.  Then, enter GPAs/jobs/real world, and my "writing life" plummetted.  I became an expert at the 5-paragraph essay and the analytical paper; but, I mostly stopped writing for me.  
Ok, then this story gets corny...  I'd said I wanted to write a book for YEARS, but the story just never really came.  Then, I saw the movie "Julie and Julia" this past summer and realized - I could do that!  (Well, not the cooking part... but you know... I'm especially good at the laying on the floor having break downs part.)  I started blogging in June 2009 and have been going ever since. I've always said that I wished TV and movies would leave out all the "drama" and just tell about regular people... Well, that's what my blog lets me do.  For the first time in years, I get to write with no agenda; and, I hope, give some sense of community, contentment, and laughter to whoever winds up on my page. I'm still VERY much a beginner at this... I just spend a lot - too much - time looking at other blogs to be inspired and learn.  It is an awesome world out there in wide web.

And the WINNER is... (Plus a few Q & As)

Well, my first blog contest was a success. I really do LOVE you guys, and I've made lots of new friends (ahem, Followers) this week. :) Thank you for visiting me!!!

I'll admit I was a little humbled.  I like to believe there are thousands of you out there reading and just dying for a "Virginia is for Lovers" t-shirt.  But, alas, of the nine comments one was from my mother - who didn't even ask a question, just introduced herself like some kind of celebrity... She obviously just learned how to comment and make her picture show up -  three were real life friends who I'm pretty sure were just being nice, and one was actually mine.  Awesome.  Anyway, as promised, I used Random.org to calculate a winner.  (You are going to have to trust me on this one... I wanted to do one of those cool "screen shots" to prove it, but I can't figure out how.  For the sake of competition, I did include 1 - 9 in the generator, BUT I, of course, wasn't going to take the prize myself.) Man, I talk WAY too much.  Getting on with it...

THE WINNER IS...

Commentor #5 - JOE.  (Ridiculous... of all the people to win... Honestly. Hopefully we can at least expect an acceptance speech/ guest blog post later this week!)

Now, I know you all are just dying with anticipation for the answers to my "I Heart Followers Q&A."  Calm yourselves... The wait is over.  I will do a few today, and then finish up tomorrow. 

Here we go:

Q: What are your favourite and least favourite things about being a teacher? From Rinniez
A: I could honestly write pages about my job.  I LOVE it. I love that every day - sometimes every 45 minutes - is different. I love that I get to play a role in helping teenagers figure out who they are.  I love seeing kids "get" something for the first time.  I love that it keeps me young.  I love corn dog nuggets in the cafeteria on Fridays.  (What? I do!) I love that I get to be creative and thoughtful every day. I love that it keeps me humble and reminds me not to take myself too seriously. *I know a lot of people don't get to have a job that they actually enjoy.  I try to constantly remember how blessed I am! 
My least favorite things: standardized tests, grading research papers, politics, and attitudes (from teenagers and, sometimes, my colleagues).

Q: What is your favourite movie? From Simply Stacie
A: Steel Magnolias.  My sister and I have every line memorized, and I had an armadillo - shaped "Groom's Cake" (although the groom had absolutely no say) at our wedding in honor of it.  I highly recommend the movie for a little taste of the South.


Q: If you had a bucket list to do before you died what would be the top 5 things you want to do? ( I am not trying to be morbid - just creative ha!) From Allyson (Who I really feel like is a REAL LIFE friend and not just a blog friend.  I love it!)
A: One. Write a novel. Two. Run a marathon. Three. Adopt. Four. Visit all 7 continents. Five. Get my Ph.D. and teach teachers.  (P.S. I'm releasing a list of 30 things I want to do before I turn 30 on March 26th.  AND... I'm thinking about opening this up as a McLinky for everyone.  Should be interesting!)

Q: If you could be in any artist's music video, who would you choose and why? From Joe (of course)
A: Michael Jackson, of course.  I'm pretty sure if I had this opportunity and chose ANYONE else, Jeff would  never speak to me again.  I think my life would be very different today had I had the opportunity to learn dance moves from the King. 
(Actually, now that I think of it, that face is my signature look on the dance floor. No wonder people flock to me. Now, if I could only get an outfit like that, I'd be set.)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Operation Bikini Bottoms

Woot woot!  I'm doing my first ever Guest Post today over at Sonja's For the Love of Stilettos as part of her Operation Bikini Bottoms series.  (Shh... I would never wear stilettos... but I DO love her fun, girly blog!) Go check out my post and stay awhile to look around.  You will not be disappointed.  (Or, you can just read it below... but that's a little lame.)

Ok ladies, if you are anything like me, now that Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Valentine's Day, and the Chinese New Year are over, you have absolutely NO excuse NOT to get started on Operation Bikini Bottoms.  (Or, let's face it, you just watched The Bachelor in St. Lucia and never want to see yourself in the mirror again!) 

A good first step? Making the dreaded pilgrimage to the gym. Trust me, I know first hand, the insecurities this can bring up.  Seriously, I often consider lipo, a spray tan, and a whole new wardrobe just to show my face among those girls who seem to OWN the treadmills and stairsteppers.   So, to prepare you, I'd like to introduce you to a few regulars...

1.) The Crazy Kickboxer. Danger - Objects are Closer than They Appear.  You may THINK that attending a class is a safe way to ease into exercise; but, beware, Crazy Kickboxer makes sudden movements with absolutely NO regard to the rest of the room.  She will do her own moves at lightening speed and, occasionally, even plug her ears with her fingers to block out the music. It will be difficult, but you should avoid watching her at all costs to eliminate the risk of a.) being completely confused about the routine and b.) throwing up.  For an extra challenge, imagine HER face when boxing. 

2.) The Pregnant Instructor.  Yes, she has a belly the size of a watermelon, but she continues to wear trendy lycra hip-huggers, proudly flashes her bellybutton, and can WHIP your butt at Step Class --- even doing the harder "Option A" when you opt for the "Walking in Place" option instead, because YOU feel like you might go into labor at any moment.

3.) The Old Friend.  You know the one.  She was "chubby" in high school, but has since lost thirty pounds, while you have gained a pound (or five) per year.  She will undoubtedly NOT drop a single bead of sweat, and WILL be able to carry on a full fledge conversation catching up on the last ten years of your life WHILE lifting weights and doing crunches.  You will inevitably be wearing too-tight of shorts and feeling especially fat on the day when you run into her.

4.) The Inappropriate Dresser.  A man in jeans.  A woman in a camo skirt.  A girl in a white sports bra. ANYONE in a spandex leotard.  Need I go on?

Now that these "familiar faces" have been identified and dealt with... You should feel free to lace up your own tennis shoes and hit the sweat station.  Afterall, there will always be someone who looks MORE ridiculous than you!  Bikini Bottoms - here we come! :)


Oh, and one last day to leave a comment here for a prize. :)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Not Me Monday


If you know me at all, you know that I would NEVER show up to work, after close to two weeks off due to snow, and have an absolute panic attack because they installed a new Active Board in my classroom and now the organization/zen is totally ruined.

NO WAY did I spend the first two periods of my day forcing my innocent students to do manual labor and move furniture around.  I did NOT make them move all their desks at least three times while I stood at the front of the room frowning and shaking my head.  I did NOT start physically shaking when I realized that the "artwork" I had so strategically placed on the back wall was now off-centered, and there was a huge blank white space in the middle.  And, of course, I did NOT crawl around the room picking up little gum wrappers and dust bunnies because I couldn't stand waiting until the end of the day for the custodians to get it. NOT me.

Furthermore, I most certainly did NOT hear one student say to another on their way out of the room, "I always thought Mrs. Chapman was crazy, but now I know she is!" My students would NEVER think this of me.  They think I am beautiful, intelligent, wise, creative, and incredibly put-together. 

And, I did NOT have to then spend 45 minutes surfing the Internet to de-stress. Instead, I did something much healthier to manage stress- like jumping jacks and prayer. Exactly.
In conclusion, my super neat classroom, totally calm nerves, and I urge you to NOT go to McMama's Not Me Monday page to check it out.  There are way too many people NOT doing funny things today.  ;)


Oh... and two more days to leave a comment here for a chance to win a prize! Haha - come on - humor me!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Movie

Jeff sucked it up and went to see a chick flick with me today.  We saw, of course, "Valentine's Day."


I strongly recommend it!  Very cute.  Very real.  (I think Jeff even liked it - although he did act pretty manly the whole time.) It reminded me of "Love Actually" except, I thought, better.

Take your Valentine (or BFF) and go now... I'm sure you can still catch a late show!

Ok... going to make spaghetti.  It might snow again tonight. Awesome.

My Valentine

Today, I will celebrate (probably at home with wine and a movie) my 9th Valentine's Day with THIS GUY. My best friend and partner in crime. :)

These lovely photos were taken on February 14th, 2003 in my college dorm room. (Isn't it a little sad that we couldn't even find someone to take a picture of us together? Thank goodness we got these individual shots to document the day.)  Jeff had just driven in that afternoon to visit for the weekend, and I had borrowed my roommate's pink blouse to look extra special for him - and hung some really romantic "conversation heart lights" in the room!  (Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine we'd grow up, get married, and live this life together.)
This was my freshman year at Clemson in South Carolina. Jeff was still in our hometown (six hours away) working and attending a local college. I had some strict standards about not being "that girl" whose boyfriend visited every weekend, plus, I didn't have a car.  So... needless to say, it was a hard year - LOTS of insanely high cell phone bills, crying in the hall bathroom, staying up way TOO late on the phone, arguing over busy schedules and new friends, dragging out monthly visits, etc. etc. etc.

To date, I think we would both say this was the most trying time in our relationship. BUT, it was also one of the most defining and strengthening. That year, for the first time, we learned about choices. We learned about fighting for a relationship, and perserverance.

I honestly don't know why, but God had his hand on our lives even when were 18. (Seriously, we look 12 in those pictures, don't we? Not that much different either, right? I know.) Today, I am so thankful that we learned love is a choice early. It wasn't pretty; but it was good, and it has made us the couple we are today.

So... this post is for MY VALENTINE. I can't wait to see where we are in another nine years! I love you!

P.S. Don't forget to comment on yesterday's post for a chance to win a little treat!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I Heart Followers

In the spirit of V-Day weekend, I just wanted to tell all my "Loyal Readers" how much I love you!

Thank you so much for being interested in my silly life.  You have NO idea how much joy my blog has brought me --- it's so corny, but it is true. I LOVE making new blog friends and having someone to laugh with me at this crazy adventure of growing up.  You guys are THE BEST!

So... to celebrate my 50th Follower (KJ - I think that was you!) I am going to do one of the trendy Q&A/Meet & Greet posts out in the blog world these days.  (Yes, I spend A LOT of time looking at blogs... Allyson, you inspired me!)

Here's how it works:

One. Become a follower (if you aren't already)

Two. Leave a COMMENT to this post telling me SOMETHING ABOUT YOU.  (I genuinely would love to meet you all... This is the next best thing!)

Three. Ask ME a question - about anything. I will spend some time next week responding. 

Then. I am going to try one of those "Random Number Generators" to select ONE commentor to WIN this t-shirt with my state's slogan on it - just perfect for Feb. 14th.  Who doesn't love a new t-shirt?  (Other colors are available, & I promise it won't look that "manly" on a real body... Unless you are a man, of course. Then, it will make you look even MORE manly.  Ok.  I'm done.)  *I will leave the "contest" open until Tuesday at 11:59PM.
Won't this be fun?  Get started now!

I love you guys!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Nose Big Deal

Just in case you thought my life couldn't get any more ridiculous...

I have a broken nose.

Honestly, it isn't very bad.  In fact, I think it actually "broke" on Saturday when I was wrestling with Addy and friends (dogs, P.S.).  I have been complaining for a few days... But TODAY it started swelling and bruising on the outside.  I went to my school nurse - because I love chatting with ALL people of the medical profession about ANYTHING related to my health - and she said it was definitely a break.  In fact, she kept saying how bad it looked - but I think she was just confused because of my NORMAL dark undereye circles. 
Anyways, apparently it is kind-of normal for it to be several days before "symptoms" start appearing.  I look a little odd, but I feel MISERABLE.  It hurts to move my mouth - which is great for my teaching.  (I might try to post a picture when I get home today to see what you guys think.  We'll see how my nose-confidence is.)

Seriously. Haha. How do these things happen to me?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Valentine's Day Ideas

I'm sure you will be SHOCKED to know that Jeff and I aren't big on Valentine's Day celebrations and gifts. Our first together (senior year in high school), while everyone else was spending their parents' money at expensive restaurants, we got take out pizza and watched a movie. This year will be no exception.  In fact, we got some gift certificates to three downtown restaurants a few months ago, and when I suggested that we use one to go out to celebrate the "love" holiday, he responded: "Fine.  But not on the actual day.  It will be way too crowded."  (I guess I can't complain really - Poppy gave Granny her early gift today - $10.00 cash.  I hope she will be able to contain herself.)  Anyways, I'm actually looking forward to a quiet Sunday with my Valentine. . We have old souls.  What can I say?  I'm not a flowers and candy kind-of girl anyway.  (I usually just buy flowers when I want them, and goodness knows I don't need the candy.)

However, as the self-designated spokeswoman for gals everywhere (or at least to the five guys from Roanoke that read my blog), I've decided to give a few Dos and Don'ts for V-Day.

DO
Give her a card.  (Yes, even if she says she doesn't want anything.) This reminds us that you, at least, remembered the day existed.  And, please, don't just sign your name.  Write a little something special.  THIS is our favorite thing.

Plan something. Most girls really don't care how much money you spend.  But, people are constantly asking "how did you and  ____ celebrate V-Day?" A hike is fun - if there isn't a foot of snow on the ground.  Iceskating is good too.  A candlelit dinner is nice -- but please refrain from inviting a friend to be your "waiter" and dress in a tuxedo.  This is corny and extremely awkward.

Be sincere. Save the Shakespearean poems and pick-up lines for the movies.  Tell us how you feel.  We REALLY like that.

Remember your mom, grandma, sisters, and girl friends. My dad gave my sister and I a dozen roses EVERY year for Valentine's Day growing up.  This really doesn't have to be an awkward "Single's Awareness  Day." Even girls, believe it or not, recognize that  there are lots of different types of love. :)

And, no matter how big and bad you think you are, WEAR RED AND/OR PINK.  I, for one, think it is so cute when guys do this!  Be proud.

DON'T
Make your first date on Valentine's Day.  You can do better than this.

Propose on Valentine's Day.  *Unless, your girl is begging for it... in which case, we don't care when you propose... just go on and do it already!

Be surprised if you get a REALLY LAME gift from us.  There really aren't that many options for what to buy guys for this occassion.  Just ask Jeff how many pairs of heart boxers and pj pants he has.

Attend something lame like our local radio station's "Bitter Singles' Mixer."  Honestly?  Is this really how you want to meet someone?  Thinkaboutit.

And finally...

DON'T suggest anything like this.

You still have a few days to prepare... Happy Valentine's Day! :)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

WooHoo My Very First Blog Award

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! To my friend Tessica over at I Hate When He Steals the Covers for the Beautiful Blogger Award.  Secretly, I've been covetting something like this to dress up my page and boost my ego for some time now. ;)  Tessica and I went to school together to be English teachers at Radford University, and we have just recently been reunited via the blog world.  So fun!

Anyways, on to my "Acceptance Speech." 
Here are the requirements:
1. Thank & link to the person who gave you the award - DONE!
2. Pass this award on to 15 bloggers you've recently discovered & think are fantastic.
3. Contact said blogs and let them know they've won - CHECK!
4. State 7 things about yourself. 

So... FIFTEEN blogs huh?  And, what exactly does "recently" mean?
Here are some friends and favorites worth checking out:
Katie @ Loves of Life
Nikki @ Design Blooms
Crystal @ Little Bit Funky
Lauren @ Lovely Life of Lauren
Abby @ Babbling Abby
Erika @ Something Beautiful
Allyson @ The Blackwoods (My No FaceBook Feb. partner in crime!)
Elizabeth @ A Wedding Story
Lindsey @ We are Schuberts
Amanda @ Weaving Our Webb One Day at a Time
Ashley @ The Schnabel's (What is it with me and "Sch" friends?)
Holly @ Life in the Fun Lane
Melissa @ Stafford Stories
Sonja @ For the Love of Stilettos
Kelsey @ The Seattle Smith's
I don't know most of these bloggers, and some of them are kind-of "Blog Celebrities" as I like to call them, so I doubt everyone will follow-up.  BUT, these ladies have kept me successfully entertained for 3+ hours this morning and always brighten my day with their creativity, passion, humor, and honesty.  Hope you enjoy!

And... 7 Things About Me:
  1. I have a very serious addiction to Diet Dr. Pepper.
  2. I absolutely HATE ketchup.  And doing laundry.
  3. I asked my husband to 3 out of 4 high school dances.  He said no.  He finally asked me to our Senior Prom. I said yes.
  4. I could clean out closets and drawers ALL day. 
  5. My sister is the funniest person I know. Joe Richmond is close competition.
  6. I LOVE being a teacher, but I still hope to be able to stay home with a house full of kids one day.
  7. One of my favorite things in the world is my dog Addy's nose.  Gross, but true.
Thank you again Tessica for giving me something to do with my time today!  (And, yes, I have been playing with my blog ALL day.)

By the Numbers

You wouldn't believe how hard it is to come up with good blog posts when ALL I am doing is sitting around the house... SO... hope this will at least keep you coming back when my life returns to normal... one day!

Photo from www.roanoke.com
35 (Thanks Megan!)
Approximate number of inches of snow we've had this winter.  Of course, this morning, I can't find the official number anywhere.  Oh well, you get the idea.  I haven't seen my grass in close to two months!

1.75
The number of days I have worked in the last TWO weeks.  For the first time EVER, this morning, I was actually disappointed when the "Instant Alert" phone call came through to tell me that schools were closed.  My house is clean, my laundry is done, my school work is planned up through about May... I am "snow-dayed" out.

2
Number of times I have been on FaceBook this month.  Once was to get a picture for Friday's blog post, and the other was to send a panicked message about my missing Kindle.  I still haven't looked at any photos, updated my live feed/status/etc.  What IS my mom up to?  As much as I miss FB, it is probably a really good thing I'm fasting from it this month.  With all of this free time, I would probably be in Facebook Comatose by now!

45
Days until the 10K in Richmond.

3
Number of times I have run since signing up for the 10K three weeks ago.

2.5
Pounds GAINED since the start of the new year.  Awesome.  Oftoagreatstart.

6
Movies watched in the past two weeks.  Last night I saw The Time Traveler's Wife.  It was no where near as good as the book, but worth watching.  Today, I'm hoping to venture out to see Dear John.

5
Average number of cups of coffee I drink a day now.

749
Average number of times I check my blog and everyone else's for updates.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Oh Girl, You are a Hot Mess!

Photo from www.abc.com

Was anyone else SHOCKED to see Ali go on The Bachelor last night? At least she went with dignity and beauty. (Note sarcasm.)  Honestly, I consider myself a compassionate and empathetic person... But I was about to LOSE IT if she didn't stop crying and just leave already! It made me think about all the ridiculous times I've cried my eyes out to Jeff and he's had to just put on his sad eyes (like Jake did last night) and let me be a girly mess. Poor Jake.  Poor Jeff.  (P.S. I still think she is going to win... She'll be back!)

Ali-drama aside, did anyone notice that Tenly did not have any ARMS at the "Rose Ceremony?"  Cute dress... But you've got to be careful about those arms disappearing on you - they are always sneaking off!

Vienna's dad's name is VINNY.  I couldn't love anything more than this right now.

And, Gia's mom - oh, bless her heart.  She cracked me up.  I would LOVE to see my mom on this show.  She would literally redecorate the ENTIRE house before we showed up with our crew.  ABC would love her!!

And finally, I'm angry at The Bachelor's producers b/c for weeks now they have led me to believe that someone is PREGNANT (namely Tenley) in their previews etc.  Has anyone else heard these rumors?  I know this is THEIR JOB, but I've had just about all the suspense I can take... I mean, the rose ceremonies are enough!  Ha!

Until next week...

Monday, February 8, 2010

Super Bowl 2010

Disclaimer: I attended two Super Bowl events.  I watched approximately eight minutes of the game. 

I was happy the Saints won because it led to a parade around the house to "Oh When the Saints Come Marching In."  I love parades.

I was also happy because, according to my mother, if the Saints won, Reggie Bush (New Orleans running back) was going to propose to his girlfriend Kim Kardashian.  Among many other things, I can relate to Kim in this area.  During our dating years, Jeff constantly tried to dump me if we lost in any form of competitive team sport - i.e. Monopoloy, Poker, Putt-Putt - AND once, I made him promise he would marry me if I finished a half-marathon.  (Side Note: We have been married for almost three years, and I've STILL never even come close to running a half-marathon.)  Anyway, I'm happy for Kim, I understand her.  (Photo from www.zimbio.com)

Finally, of course the commercials were my favorite part of the night.  It seems Doritos and Budweiser have not been as affected by the downward economy as everyone else this year.  My favorite?  Doritos: Underdog
Most thought provoking? Skecher's Shape-Ups. Is anyone fooled into thinking Joe Montana really wears these ridiculous things.  Come on America, do some leg lifts! Even I am not that lazy. 

What were your favorite Super Bowl highlights?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Found: One Kindle

You guys can all stop looking.  I FOUND MY KINDLE!

Occasionally, maybe not often, my OCD comes in handy. In fact, I'd like to pay homage to it now for the role it played in the search for my long lost Kindle last night.

At approximately 11:50PM, after I had been whining/pouting/sending annoying emails and texts to everyone I knew for eight hours, our friend John suggested that we do one final search of the house.  This sounded like an excellent idea to me, until I realized that several boys were rummaging through all of my drawers and closets a few seconds later.  Oh well, either way, I had to be SURE the Kindle was not in the house.

I will be honest, I was only halfway looking.  I had already looked EVERYWHERE and was sure it wasn't there.  But, alas, I noticed a soda can in our upstairs bathroom trashcan.  Now, I have a very strict policy about food and beverage related trash staying ONLY in the kitchen trashcan.  I was disgusted.

BUT.... It made me think about TRASH.  And, it made me remember that I had placed an open-top paper bag full of trash right next to the staircase last night.  Immediately, I ran to the basement, flung open the door to our backyard, and into the industrial size trashcan I went.  (Well, not literally, but you know what I mean.)

A few layers of tissues, pizza boxes, and coffee grounds and... amazingly... THERE WAS MY KINDLE. 

Here I am celebrating her safe return home.

Thanks for all your prayers.  (Seriously.)  And, in case you were wondering, I will continue "mushing the bag" of dough until its rightful owner claims it.

Enjoy the Super Bowl! (We are watching with my mom and she keeps talking about how exciting it is that Kim Kardashian and Kendra - from The Girls Next Door - are in the stands.  Should be interesting.  Haha.)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Trade?

Um... So, my Kindle e-reader is missing.  I'm literally heartbroken.  It was last seen wearing a cute brown leather case and sitting on the banister at the top of my stairs last night at approximately 8PM.  At this point, I've enlisted several search parties and torn - my - house - apart.  No luck.

Interestingly enough, I DID find something strange in my house this morning.  At first glance, it was just a plain paper grocery bag; but, upon further investigation of its contents, I found: 2 Old Navy Women's Tops - Size Medium, 6 drinking glasses (each wrapped individually with plastic bags), and... a baggie of Amish Friendship Bread/ raw dough.

Here is photographic proof, in case you think I'm making this stuff up.



Could this be some twisted form of ransom?  A trade?  What kind of world do I live in? Honestly.

I'm sorry... but, as nice as these items are - and as valuable as that bag of yeast is - they are no replacement for my Kindle.

To the Owner of the Bag:
I was planning on letting your bread die.  BUT, luckily, the instructions call for the responsible party to simply "mush the bag" on days 1-9.  I feel like I can do that.  I will take good care of your dough, but I do expect you to treat my Kindle with the same respect.  Your glasses, on the other hand, may or may not be taken by scavengers (i.e. my brother in law) who are trying to furnish their kitchen.
Sincerely,
E

Friday, February 5, 2010

Battle of the Beauty Philosophies

So far, I've been right with Kelly on her 2010 Show Us Your Life topics. Then, today's topic came up... Beauty Tips & Favorite Products. Yep, she has officially lost me.

This is the girl who - I PROMISE - puts on a full face of make-up every.single.morning. and by the time the first bell rings at 8:25 is unintentionally sporting the au naturale face look. My mom asks me, oh just about every time she sees me, IF I am wearing make-up and acts SHOCKED when she can see a little mascara. Seriously, my face rejects goo. I can't help it.

Luckily, there is a beauty expert in my family.  Yep, you guessed it... My sister!

I asked her to write a Guest Post for my blog today... But, since I disagree with about 90% of her tips and this is MY blog, I decided, instead, to bring you...

The Battle of the Beauty Philosophies:
Face:

I'm not into "goo."  Period.  I embraced my freckles a long time ago, and I think it looks AWFUL when girls try to cover them up with foundation.  I truly prefer the "natural" look.  Bare Minerals face powder is my tride and true!  (Although, I admit, more of it ends up on my bathroom floor most days than actually on my face.)

First and foremost ladies, no matter how pretty you are.... Or more importantly, how pretty you THINK you are, you will always and I mean always look better with make up. Forget the "I want to look natural" stuff, it takes a lot of make up to look "natural." I promise. If you're anything like me, the more face make-up, the better.  Please, at the very least, use concealer.  No one wants to see your acne.

Blush is my go-to.  I LOVE it.  If I had to be stranded on an island and could only have one product - or just run to the grocery store quickly before taking a shower - I would choose blush.  Truthfully, it will be soaked into my skin and non-existent in an hour... So I say, the more the merrier!  I like rosy cheeks.

My sister LOOOOoVes blush, don't get me wrong, I love it too; but I'm more of a bronzer kind of girl, who the hell doesn't want to look like a greek goddess? I know I do!

Eyes:

Boring brown eye-shadow.  Brownish/Black Mascara.  A good Q-tip for blending and removing.

I can't stress it enough, wear eye liner. I don't care if it's electric blue, or light brown, PUT IT ON! Ugh. I'm obsessed with eye liner. Mom says I sometimes look like a hooker, but whatever.

Lips:

Despite my New Year's Resolution, I HATE lipstick. I will never be a lipstick wearing gal. Sorry mom! (Once my mom told me she would ONLY buy me the beautiful sunglasses I was covetting, IF I put on some bright red lipstick at the Clinique counter and kept it on all day as we shopped.  I did it.  I looked like a clown.  I got the sunglasses.  That's pretty much the end of my relationship with lipstick.)

This is tricky. I have tiny, thin lips, WHAT I WOULDN'T GIVE FOR HUUUGE LIPS (You can quote me... I WILL get my lips done later in life.) Sooo... most days I just wear pale pink Lipslicks from Cover Girl, it makes 'em look bigger. But, if I'm feeling like a vixen, then I'll definitely go for the bright red. Big Apple Red from Mac is awesome.

Hair:

This is kind-of a sore subject for me.  I know all the things I'm supposed to do... But I usually opt for an extra 30 minutes in the bed instead.  I'm working on mastering the perfect hair-cut... One that requires nothing but a blowdryer and a brush.  The one I have now - the wedge with side swept bangs - seems to be the most low maintenance.  If one side flips out and the other curls under, it looks like its meant to be that way... At least that's what I tell myself.

Okay, here the part where I rip on sis. If you have frizzy, not sleek hair, run a straighter through it. It won't kill you, I promise, and while you're at it, all you lazy ladies, put some hair smoother in it. For real, it takes 2 seconds, costs 4 dollars and without a doubt will make you look like ten times better. I promise.


This picture, from Christmas with our good friends Alex and Emily, pretty much sums up our differences.  (And, for those of you wondering... I DID go on Facebook for .5 seconds to get this photo... BUT, I did not read any messages or even update my feed.  Don't judge.)

Honestly, HOW are we even related?  :) 
Whose philosophy do you live by?


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