Sunday, March 28, 2010

Being Content

I hate words that mean different things based on the context in which they are used... such as the word content. It can either mean the content contained within something such as a "table of contents" or a state of being. Today I am referring to the state of being.
Sparky and I went to church today on this lovely Palm Sunday. I wondered where the name "Palm Sunday" came from, so here you go:
According to the Gospels, before entering Jerusalem, Jesus was staying at Bethany and Bethphage, and the   Gospel of John adds that he had dinner with Lazarus, and his sisters Mary and Martha. While there, Jesus sent two disciples to the village over against them, in order to retrieve a donkey that had been tied up but never been ridden, and to say, if questioned, that the donkey was needed by the Lord but would be returned. Jesus then rode the donkey into Jerusalem, with the Synoptics adding that the disciples had first put their cloaks on it, so as to make it more comfortable. The Gospels go on to recount how Jesus rode into Jerusalem, and how the people there lay down their cloaks in front of him, and also lay down small branches of trees. The people sang part of Psalm 118 - ...Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father, David. ... (Psalms 118:25-26). Where this entry took place is unspecified; some scholars argue that the Golden Gate is the likely location, since that was where it was believed the Jewish messiah would enter Jerusalem; other scholars think that an entrance to the south, which had stairs leading directly to the Temple, would be more likely (Kilgallen 210).
 Anywho... the message today was about being content. I really cannot explain the message without butchering what Tom had to day, so as soon as our church's website has the audio file uploaded, I will post it here so everyone can hear it.
You know those days when the sermon at church seems to be written just for you? Today was one of those days. I need a big dose of contentment. I began a gratitude journal last week and am working on being happy with what I have instead of being annoyed with what I have to do (master's degree work, bills, clean, diet) and regretting what I don't have (baby).

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dooms Day: Bum, bum, BUM (should sound like the music in a scary movie)

Well, you all know I got my period so there is no little baby Conrad or Hollynn (rhymes with fallen) this month. But my wonderful mother got me this:
Have I ever told you how wonderful my mom is? Well, you all should know she is the best. She was the oldest of four children. Her mother stayed at home and her father worked as a banker. Being a Catholic family, all four children went to private Catholic school. With real nuns. As you can imagine, with only the single income of a banker, they were not rolling in money. Their idea of "Friday Fish" was frozen fish sticks. My mom won't go near sea food to this day.

Well you might be thinking, "But her mother stayed home, so she must have some wonderful family memories with a stay-at-home-mom." Nope. She recalls her mom laying on the couch reading romance novels. I cannot picture my rosary-carrying grandma reading that trash, but apparently she did. A lot.
To make up for all of this, my mom set out to be everything she always wanted. She played with my sister and I all the time (stopping, of course, to clean and re-organize everything because she LOVES organization). She made sure all of our holidays were really special. She decorated the house for every holiday and season and created wonderful family memories for me. She even MADE our Halloween costumes. Who does that other than Martha Stewart? (I am the cute little blond in the following pictures. My sister, Kim, is the other kid in each shot.)

You might be wondering about wonderful memories for my sister. My sister has no memory. It is true. She didn't have an accident and loose her memory or anything. She just doesn't have one. She has all of her memories tucked away into about 5 boxes in her guest room closet. She cannot remember diddly-squat. Apparently she is getting better though because she is in law school and doing VERY well in all of her classes. (Go Kim!)
 Anyway, my mom has always gone above and beyond the call of duty and she has struck again. She is great at buying gifts and surprising me with wonderfulness. Just this weekend she surprised me with some really cute shoes and some salsa from Harry and David. Yum. She is the best mom ever and I am glad she is mine. Muah. (That was a kiss, mom!)
So that has absolutely nothing to do with the blog title. I just went off on an "I love my mom" tangent and had to share.

The Doom's Day news is..... I got RIFed today. RIF stands for Reduction In Force. Strange, because the word "in" is not large enough to warrant its own letter in an acronym, hmmm.... This means that because of my school district being $3.someting MILLION in the hole I got laid off. When they start re-hiring teachers, they have to call me first and everything is based completely on the type of degree held by each individual and the number of years experience within the district.

A retirement incentive package was created and we just found out that at least 30 people signed up for it! I am really thankful and praising God right now, because that most likely means that I will be called back.
I was one of three classroom teachers (in addition to our Librarian, English as a Second Language teacher, two music teachers, and one PE teacher) who got this notice today in my building. The next person on the seniority list got hired a few days before one of the teachers in my building who got cut.
Meaning:
Person A was hired 7/5/07 and is still employed
Person B was hired 8/12/07 and was RIFed
Person C was hired 8/20/07 and was RIFed
and I was hired 8/21/07 and was RIFed
Of course I made up those exact dates because I am not the Rain Man and don't remember what they were, but I know they are within a couple days of being accurate.
Since Person A didn't get RIRed that means I was only about a month and 20 days or so from not getting cut. Because there were at least 30 people who are retiring, I SHOULD be hired back to fill one of their spots. Of course I won't know until it is time for school to start next August, so in the mean time, please pray for me. I would really appreciate it.
Please pray that I get hired back and that the financial crisis does not cut me again in the following school year. I am not sure what God is teaching me through this, but I know Sparky and I will make it. Even if we have to live on his $34,000, minus the $200 a month to add me to his benefits, a year teaching salary. He will provide.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." (Proverbs 3:5)
" I will instruct you and teach you in the way should go; I will guide you with My eye." (Psalm 32:8)
 "For this is God, our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even to death." (Psalm 48:14)
"The Lord will guide you continually ..." (Isaiah 58:11)

Oh! I thought I would leave you with a picture of my Mumsey. This was when we were leaving the hospital. I am the baby. I have started scanning in all of our old photographs, but I have only gotten to 1988 when I was four. Apparently my mom took most of the pictures instead of being in them.
Here she is more recently, all the way to the right. But even this picture is really dated. Hmm...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

um... what's going on here?

**Update: AF has arrived and kicked my dreams out the window for at least another month.

So I mentioned at the bottom of my last post that AF was late. It should have started on the 20th (see ticker below). I am not really sure why I thought it was late on the 19th, oh well. I always start first thing in the morning or overnight, which is really convenient. So the 20th came... and went... and no period. One day late. This is the 21st, still nothing. My ticker from this post is telling me that today should be day 2 of my new cycle.
I took a test around midnight and it was negative. What do you think?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Blessings

I cannot believe it. I have been blind-sided day after day after day. I routinely follow about 23 blogs. I have them all categorized on my Bookmarks and I just click the little "Open All" button. As they open, if the most recent post is old, I click the little x to close the screen. I am sure there is a more efficient way of checking for new blog entries, but this way works for me.
Anyway, over the past...maybe two weeks... I have been struck again and again by some news from SIX of the different blogs I follow. I don't know these people in real life, well I know one of them in real life, but I haven't talked to her since cheer-leading in high school...but that is beside the point.
Guess what they all have in common.
Go on guess...
They are ALL expecting. ALL OF THEM! Not just one here and one there... but one here, there, there, there, there, and there. And that doesn't even count this one who was pregnant when I began following her blog.
I am actually kinda surprised because after the initial feeling of being punched in the stomach, the feeling has gone away because I like these people. Of course, I don't know them, but reading about people's lives makes me feel like I know them. I know they are loving parents to the children they have, I know they are calling their new fetuses "blessings" and will treat them that way when they arrive into the world, and I know they will love and adore their babies when they are born. That makes it easier. That and AF is late. Of course, I am really crampy and bloated so it could literally just be one day late...but who knows....maybe my blog will make it SEVEN. :o)

Ladies and Gentlemen!!! Step right up....

I have been sitting outside, enjoying the rare sunshine, pretending I am by the beach while reading Water for Elephants. I am not going to lie, based on the picture on the front, I thought the book was about someplace in the Middle East. Considering it references elephants in the title and there is a picture of the back of a person dressed in bright colors entering a tent.... well I think it was a pretty normal assumption. But then I picked it up and read the back. You know what it is about? The CIRCUS!!! Who doesn't love the circus? Well, other than the carnies with little hands and the creepy clowns...
I just finished reading the book. It was amazing. I wanted it to keep going.
After reading the book the author included some facts she learned while doing extensive research to write this book.
One fact that amazed me was: during the book she mentions a hobo camp where there were lots of young boys sleeping with their shoes tied to their ankles to keep them from being stolen. She found out that during the 1930s 80% of all hobos were under the age of 21. When I think of a hobo I think of this:

Not this:
But I suppose it makes sense when I think back to what I know about the Great Depression era. Many men lost their jobs and offed themselves due to mounting depression as a result of feeling like a failure to be able to provide for their families. Of course, this left a lot of single women with children to feed. Even the men who suck around were out of jobs, making many families nomadic. This was in the times before birth control, so families had many children. It would only make sense that a majority of the population would be the young children of the jobless families. Who can forget this image:
I seriously hope that the economic crisis we are currently in never gets to the status of the Great Depression.

Back to happier things... at the Ringling Brothers' Circus Museum there is a to-scale model of what the circus looked like when they traveled around in the 1930s. To get a sense of scale, look at the person to the right in the bright green shirt. This picture was taken by someone from the second story observatory.
The large tent is obviously the Big Top there is a small roofless tunnel leading tot the main tent from the menagerie where all the exotic animals were kept. People were funneled into the menagerie to see the wild animals before the show, then they were led through the tunnel into the big tent for the show. They exited through the other side of the tent.
Here is a video for a better tour of all the small tents and side shows:



These videos are from http://www.squidoo.com/Circus-Sarasota

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Easter is coming!!!

It is beginning to look like Spring!
And my favorite of all:

video
Does anyone else pick wine based on how pretty the bottle is? Or is that just me?

Christmas in March

This weekend was the beginning of Spring Break! We welcomed Spring Break by getting a visit from Sparky's brother, sister-in-law, nieces, and nephew. It was great to see them all. It was rainy and gloomy but we headed out to show them Nashville and the college campus anyway.
While in Nashville we found the best toy store EVER, and I have wanted to go back a couple of times since then...
Because Sparky and I got married in December, the week of Christmas, our family Christmas celebrations were not on any normal schedule. We went to my parents house quickly one evening, I exchanged gifts with my sister one weekend, and Sparky's parents while we were in Florida (I think). We couldn't come up with any time to meet with his brother and his family. They live in Kalamazoo, Michigan so it is not like we can just hop over there for dinner. It is 5 hours away.
While they were down here I gave them their Christmas presents!
I think Bella really likes her "Sophie" the giraffe from Land of Nod:
Levi loved his Tinker Toys, also from The Land of Nod:
And Nyah loved the diaper bag I got her from Pottery Barn Kids:
We also got Kristen a personalized necklace from Etsy and David got a camel-back from Oakley.

Dr. Seuss and Beauty and the Beast

What do those two things have in common? Absolutely nothing, other than they are going to share one post. :o)

I created one bulletin board design at the beginning of the school year and kept it up until a couple of weeks ago. The idea was to keep up the one design all year and rotate student work. Well, I got bored.
To teach the children how to write letters I read the book The Lorax and had the kids write letters to the Onceler to tell him what he did wrong in the story. While doing this project I realized that the kids could use this same story at the end of the year, after Earth Day, to write persuasive essays to the Lorax to convince him to move to our town. Well, my Seuss wheels got turning.... then we had Read Across America....and I wore my Thing Two shirt all day... and I decided the bulletin board had to change!!
I made the home of the Onceler where he lerks in his lerkum:
Do you see him lerking up there in his lerkum?
And here is his pail, where you need three dimes, two nails, and the shell of a great, great, grandfather snail:
Standing at the bottom is the poor Lorax, thinking back to the days when the sky was blue:
When the Truffula Trees grew their great truffula tufts:
And the Bar-ba-loots played in the shade, in their Bar-ba-loot suits
And the Swamee Swans sang in the crisp cool breeze:
The only thing I am missing are the Humming-fish, but I ran out of room.

The other day my friend and her husband both had to go out of town, but they had tickets to go see Beauty and the Beast. Their seats were right by tickets my mom and dad got. I was very fortunate enough to be the beneficiary of their bad luck! Sparky was also out of town so my mom called my cousin to go with us. It was wonderful! Here are a couple of pictures from before it began:
It was great and the woman who played Belle did an AMAZING job! I came home and put in the tape (no, not DVD, I said tape...like VHS). Um, it was not very good. The story was good, the songs were good, the characters were cute, but the quality was horrid and the beast was really scary. I do not remember it being like that. The Belle on stage sounded much better than the Belle in the movie.
The VHS felt kinda like the reaction I had when I watched Cinderella II: When Dreams Come True. I was shocked and somewhat repulsed by the voice coming out of my beloved Cinderella. It just wasn't right. That was not the same voice that Cinderella had in the original film and nothing else would due. Now, the proper voice for Belle is not the one in the video. Maybe Disney will unlock their vaults and release an updated refurbished version of Beauty and the Beast that will live up to my expectations. I am hoping the decline in my appreciation for the original movie is due to the deterioration of the actual VHS tape....

Ode to Gaby

I bought my little puppy an outfit for Easter. For your information, he wears a size 6-12 months and prefers stretchy cotton. No, I am not a crazy lady, but I had a little baby outfit upstairs and put it on him. And it fit. I already bought Easter Eggs for him that I will put little treats inside of and then he will have to find them while Sparky follows behind with a basket. Adorable. I can see it already. Anyway, I decided Gaby needed a little cute outfit to wear while searching for eggs. I found it at Carter's outlet for a couple of dollars and you will have to wait to see it until Easter. Here are some pictures of what he said he would rather wear.

Valentine's Day...

... yes I know Valentine's Day was a month and three days ago. But I didn't get around to uploading my photos from my camera until today, so here it goes.
On Valentine's Day Sparky and I went to World of Wheels in Indianapolis. Yes, we are so romantic. Nothing like the smell of rubber tires to invoke feelings of love.

I took a lot of pictures of the cars I like. It turns out they were all of the same kind of car. Hehe. I really wasn't even doing it on purpose. I LOVE the Chevrolet Bel Air 2 door hardtop. The little fins on the back and the swooshey on the side are just to die for. They just don't make cars like this anymore:
1957
And look! This car has a matching golf cart. Be still my heart.


Another 1957, I also like this color combo. 
Here is a 1955 Sedan. Not a 2 door hardtop, which Sparky assures me that I like better...
...but then again, Sparky also tried to tell me the 1956 was the best. I disagree (1957 all the way), but make up your own mind. Here is a 1956:

We then came across a booth where some futuristic looking car was set up. Apparently Sparky used to work for the guy so I got to take a lot of pictures of his two cars:
Then we walked around the corner and I saw this little cutie!! Sparky is SOOO making a couple of these for our kids. Pedal cars make my heart skip a beat. I am so fortunate that I married someone who can make them! I can't count the number of times my sister, friends, and I played "gas station." I think we would have gone nuts if we had a "real" gas pump instead of the garden hose!!!
We went on to the next room full of cars and you would not believe who was parked there. Sparky had some cylinder heads that he painted for his friend Crazy Steve, picture this:
 Anyway, Sparky sat in the living room for hours taping off sections of this cylinder head before he could paint it. Low and behold, those same cylindar heads were there at the show. Can you see them (the black part of the engine)?
The engine is inside this car:

 We stopped and talked to the car's owner for a while. Then found stuff more along the lines of what I could build (if I had A LOT of time and really wanted to, which I don't):
 Yes, those are made out of K*Nex

 Then at the very back of the last room you will not believe who was there:

 Can you tell who that is? Let me give you another hint:

 What do you mean you don't know who Brenda Song is? Does this help? Think "Disney channel"

That's right. Brenda Song, from Suit Life of Zach and Cody and Suite Life on Deck was there at the car show on Valentine's Day, in Indianapolis. I am sure she was thrilled.