Wednesday, December 31, 2014

happy new year!

My favorite 2014 Moments:

5) Turning the big 2-5

4) Starting a new school year as team leader in a newly renovated school

3) Meeting my nephew Jake

2) Going on our Honeymoon

1) Marrying Austin

Wishing you a happy, healthy 2015!  Happy New Year!

Friday, December 5, 2014

the birthday boy

Today is Austin's 26th birthday!  This is the sixth birthday of his that we have celebrated together, but it's the first one as husband and wife.  Every "first" thing that we're getting to do as newlyweds is so much fun!

We kicked things off last night by going to this thing called "Brewhaha".  Brewhaha is a series of comedy shows in Dallas that take place at different breweries around DFW.  We went to one about a month ago, and last night was the final show of the tour.  We went with a few friends and had a great time.  You pay like 20 bucks and you get 3 beers from the brewery that's hosting, a pint glass, and a comedy show.  I think that's a pretty good deal!

Tonight we are going bowling with some of our Dally pallys, so that should be fun.  I was pushing for bumpers, but the birthday boy says they are not allowed.

Anyway, because it's his special day, I wanted to show Austie Marie a little love on this ol' blog of mine.  And what better way to show my affection than with a list...

5 Things I Love About My Husband:

1) He is oh-so-handsome.

Let's cut to the chase here.  Austin is a good looking guy, and I am definitely not mad at the fact that I get to wake up to his cute little face every morning.  

2) He is determined.

If Austin wants something, he is going to get it.  He is not afraid to work hard for things and to put in as much effort as necessary to get them.  The cool thing about starting to date Austin in college is that  I got to see him go through the process of getting his dream job.  He has wanted to work for The Richards Group since he was at A&M, and he did whatever it took to land a job there.  He's been with TRG for a few years now, and he is a great employee.  They are lucky to have him.

3) He is funny.

I love being married to a guy who can always make me laugh.  Even if I am in the worst mood and have had a terrible day, Austin can always make me smile.  The fact that we have a similar sense of humor is one of my favorite things about our relationship. 

4) He likes to be active.

If you know Austin, you know that he really doesn't like to just sit around and do nothing (unless there's football on TV).  Whether it's going to the gym, playing on his softball team, hanging out at a new spot in Dallas, or just throwing the football around, Austin is into it.  We balance each other out in this area, so I'm grateful that he pushes me out of my comfort zone every once in awhile.

5) He loves his friends.

One thing that I've always loved about Austin is that he makes a conscious effort to maintain good relationships with his pals.  He would also do just about anything to help his friends out if they needed it. 

Happy 26th birthday, Austin!  I love you, and here's to many more...

Monday, November 3, 2014

happy halloween!

As promised on Friday, here is my big ol' Halloween post!  Austin and I dressed up as Wayne and Garth from Wayne's World and headed over to a friend's Halloween par-tay.

I think we came pretty close to the real thing!

Party on, dudes!

Alan and Shannon were our hosts, and they did a great job of setting up a fun little get together.  We did dinner potluck style and had a nice variety of breakfast foods.  I made doughnut hole skewers and rice krispies treats.  We also had chicken and waffles, breakfast tacos, bacon and sausage, and witch hat cookies.  Yum yum!

Other party guests included:

Santa Claus

Bob Ross and Regina George

Willie and Korie from Duck Dynasty

Bonnie and Clyde

3-Hole Punch Jim and a Cat

Right about the time we were wrapping up the picture taking, I got a call that my sister was in labor!  What a fun twist to our evening!  Austin and I ate a quick dinner and then we headed to Ft. Worth to wait for our nephew.  My parents joined us around 2:00 am and Jake Zackery was born at 6:03 am on November 1st.  We are so glad he is here and that everyone is happy and healthy.

What a cutie!

Friday, October 31, 2014

book club

A few months ago, my friend Ashley came to me with a fun opportunity.  She and a small group of girls have a book club and they were looking for a new member!  Since I'm all English-teachery and everything, they thought I would be a good fit.  I was really excited to start this new activity and meet some new gal pals. 

Each month there is a "host" and she picks a book for everyone to read.  She also chooses a restaurant to have our meeting at and comes up with discussion questions to go along with the book.  Before you start calling me a total nerd though, let me clarify that we spend about 10-15 minutes talking about the book and the rest of the time sipping cocktails and catching up with each other.  It's nice because it's not a huge commitment (I can definitely swing once a month for a few hours) and it's lots of fun!

"What kind of books do we read?", you ask.  Read on, my friends!

Lunatics by Dave Berry & Alan Zweibel

The first book I read was Lunatics.  It was hilarious, so if you're looking for a good laugh, add this to your reading list.  The story is told in a back-and-forth format by the two main characters, Philip and Jeffrey.  The two meet randomly and then they just keep running into one another until things get seriously ridiculous.  I would definitely recommend this one!

For our meeting, we ate at Blind Butcher which I would also recommend.  The sausage and brussels sprouts combo is hard to beat!

The Hundred-Year House by Rebecca Makkai

Last month, we read The Hundred-Year House.  I was a bit of a slacker and waited until the last minute to start this one, so I read it very quickly.  The book is broken into parts- part one takes place right around Y2K (it was fun re-living all the craziness of that), the second part flashes back to a period from 1920-1950 when the house served as an artist colony, and the last bit happens during the early 1900's.  There is a lot of mystery surrounding the house and its inhabitants, so it was interesting to see how everything unfolded.  Again, this is a book I would recommend if you're looking for a good read.

Our host invited us to her house and made us dinner for this meeting, which was awesome considering she's a chef!  We had a lovely cheese board with one of the best appetizers I've ever tasted (grapes wrapped in goat cheese and rolled in crushed pistachios) to start, butternut squash tortellini in a brown butter sage sauce with sausage and a baby kale salad for the main course, and pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for dessert.  Let's just say Alyssia's hubby is a lucky, lucky guy.

Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster

This month we are reading Bitter is the New Black.  This is an older book, but I had never heard of it or read it.  I finished 'er up this week, and I really enjoyed it!  The book is a memoir.  Jen tells us about her journey from a job that pays six figures to standing in line at the unemployment office.  It's a really clever, funny story, and I enjoyed reading it!  

I'm not sure where dinner will be this month, but I'm sure Ashley will pick somewhere delicious!

Happy Halloween, everybody!  I'm planning to post about our costume and plans next week, but for now I'll leave you with a clue about our garb: Party on!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

quick dinners

I wanted to write about some of the dinners we've been munching on lately, but I don't have a lot of free time these days.  So, the theme for today's post is the same for my life at the moment: fast and furious.

Pita Pizza

I think I've written about this dinner before.  It's simple, quick, and delicious.  Perfect for a busy weeknight meal.

Lettuce Wraps

These taste very similar to P.F. Chang-a-langs.  Perfect when paired with some crunchy snow peas.

Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi with Orzo

How pretty is this?  If you've never had orzo before, this is a good dish to start with.  It's also a winner if you're a fan of shrimp, lemon, and fresh herbs.

Mexican Pizzas

Another quick dish for busy week nights.  The perfect thing to satisfy Austin's "Mexican tooth"!

Crock Pot Maple Dijon Pork Chops

I think you are supposed to use bigger chops for this, but oh well.  It still turned out yummy.  Great flavor, and who doesn't love a good crockin' recipe?

Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

The Pioneer Woman is such a gem.  This pasta she makes is di-vine.  I obviously added some chicken to the mix since I live with a man who needs his meat.

Orange Peel Shrimp

If I had to choose a least favorite from the bunch, this would be it.  The shrimp was good, but I think it would've been better if I worked in a Chinese restaurant.

Friday, September 19, 2014

classroom tour

Normally teachers post "classroom tours" right around the first day of school.  I wasn't able to do that this year, though, because my school was renovated over the summer!  Our school looks great now, but getting everything set up was pretty hectic.  So now that we're 4 weeks into the year, my room is totally done and I'd like to do my (better late than never) classroom tour.  

Because of all the construction that was going on, we weren't able to get into our rooms to start working until a week and three days before the start of school.  Here's what my room looked like when I walked in on that fateful Friday:


I'm not going to lie- it was a hot mess in C103.  As you can see, there were desks along the walls and a mountain of boxes (all my stuff) in the center of the room.  I definitely had my work cut out for me.  After a LOT of work and many, many trips to various teacher supply stores, I'm in business!


Let's take a full-circle tour...

This is the wall right by my door.  I have my discipline hierarchy on the wall; a table for classroom logs, library and bathroom passes, a turn in tray, and tissues; and my bookshelf where we keep workbooks and folders for each of my three classes.

Next to the bookshelf, we have my desk!  The wall behind it is where I will post any information (bell schedules, school mission, tutoring days, etc.).  The folders underneath are for detention slips, homework club forms, and testing lab forms.

Here's my desk from another angle.  I spy cute pictures of Austie!

This is the front of the room.  I have a lovely SMARTBoard (that started working a few days ago) and a nice sized whiteboard.  You can also see my media computer on the far right.  This is how I display things on my SMARTBoard.

Closer up on my grid calendar:

The side of my room has a built-in cabinet and book shelf.  The shelves were the last things to go in our rooms, and I love the way they turned out.  So much space!  I use them to store our textbooks, dictionaries, and my classroom library.  The "bookworms" wall is a space where I post any books that my students finish during the year.

The back of my room has my big bulletin boards and a reading corner (blue chair and lamp).  The "Say What?!" wall is where I put all of our vocabulary words throughout the year, the "Great Work" wall is where I display student work, and my calendar wall is obviously where I put our calendar. 

I also have to mention our new desks.  Do you notice how there is not a bar on either side, so kids can get in their seats from the right or the left?  Very nifty!

Like I said, the first weeks back at school were c-r-a-z-y, but I think I'm finally settling in and finding my groove.  I like the way my room turned out, and I hope my kids like it too!

Have a great weekend!  BTHO SMU!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

our wedding video!

Austin and I got some very good news recently: our wedding "highlight video" is here!

After doing the happiest of happy dances, we watched it and were even happier!  Our videographer, Daniel Routh, is so awesome, and we love love love the way that he captured our day.  If anyone is looking for a videographer for their special day, we would highly recommend Daniel!  Here he is with his second shooter in the photo booth at our reception.  

(That's Daniel on the right, wearing a sombrero) 

One of the things we loved about working with Daniel (and Amanda too) is that they both got great footage of our day without being "in the way".  I've been to weddings before where it feels like the freaking paparazzi are there.  That's fine if that's what the bride and groom want, but it definitely wasn't what Austin and I were looking for.

Anyway, we are thrilled to share our highlight video with everyone.  I hope y'all like it because I think it's perfect!

Friday, September 5, 2014

10 things no one tells you about planning a wedding

1) You will spend an ungodly amount of money on stamps.

Save the dates, invitations, thank you notes, oh my.  Stamps get expensive, yo!  Especially for your actual invitations.  If you're doing traditional invites, those things are probably going to need a few stamps each.  It ended up costing us about $1.50 per invitation, and we sent out about 120 total.  I hope e-vites are socially acceptable by the time my kids get hitched.

2) Even if your parents are footing the bill, you will still spend money on wedding stuff.  Like, a lot of money.

Austin and I were so lucky that my parents could foot the bill for our entire wedding (thanks again, Jimbo and Sherbo!!).  However, we still had to buy other stuff that was wedding related.  New clothes and hair/make-up for the engagement pictures, the presents you buy for each other, "thank you" presents for shower hostesses, clothes and swim suits for the honeymoon, the actual honeymoon, a new dress/outfit for every party, shower, and the rehearsal dinner, and a million other random things.  

3) One (or more) of your vendors that you originally book (or something else) will probably change before your actual wedding day.

Everyone tells you that "something will go wrong" or that you "might have a little hiccup" before or on the big day.  It's my opinion that something will most likely change over the course of your wedding planning.  This may be something you choose to change, or it may be something that's beyond your control.  For example, the lady that was supposed to do my hair and make up had a family emergency two days before our wedding and had to cancel.  Luckily, she was very professional about it and arranged for one of her friends to replace her.  It was definitely stressful, but it all turned out ok!

4) No matter how early you start planning things, you will still be scrambling at the end to get it all done.

Austin and I were engaged for almost 2 years.  However, I was still working on the seating chart the morning before our wedding.  As much as I tried to do things early and stay on top of everything, there is just SO much that has to get done right at the end.

5) People who RSVP as a "yes" won't come.

My wedding coordinator mentioned something about this, but I really didn't think it would happen.  Sure enough, people didn't show up for one reason or another even though they said they would be there.  The seating charts had already been printed, and their food and drinks had already been paid for, but oh well.  You just have to realize that things come up and try not to stress out about it!

6) There is a tax for EVERYTHING, and it's expensive.

Don't budget based on the original numbers you are given.  Always estimate more for that damned tax.

7) Your apartment/house will look like a wedding shop and a UPS store had a baby and then that baby blew up all over the place.

If you're lucky enough to live in a house, devote a guest room or large hall closet to house all of the "wedding stuff".  If you live in a one bedroom apartment like me, just be prepared for chaos.  Between all of the wedding junk (pictures, sparklers, invitations, gifts for the wedding party, the guest book, programs, the seating chart, random doo dads) and the gifts people send, you'll be out of room quick!

8) It's kind of awkward to be the center of attention at your shower(s).

Your wedding shower is really fun, but it's pretty awkward to be in the hot seat while everyone is watching you open presents.  I felt kind of like some weird museum exhibit that could only be viewed by women in uncomfortable shoes, sipping mimosas and filling out their bridal bingo cards.

9) You will have to go to the stores where you registered a LOT to return stuff and fix the registry.

I'm not sure why, but we got a lot of repeat gifts, and our online registry was never a true reflection of what we actually had and still needed.  (I hear that's pretty common.)  I'm definitely not complaining about people buying us stuff (thanks again, everyone!), but I may or may not be on a first name basis with a few of the cashiers at Pottery Barn.  I tried to return things as we went along so our registries would stay as accurate as possible, but nothing was ever perfect, and that's ok!  

10) Once your wedding day actually arrives, it's best to just let everything go and enjoy your day!

Okay, I'm sure you've heard this before, but it's really true.  I was SO stressed and anxious for a good two weeks before our wedding.  I wasn't nervous about the whole "being tied to one man for the rest of my life" thing; Austin is my main squeeze, and I couldn't wait to be his wife.  Instead, I would find myself constantly checking things off in my head or wondering if I should email the groomsmen a schedule and packing list reminder just one more time.  Once our ceremony started, though, I just pulled an Elsa and let it go.  It was out of my hands, and guess what?  Everything went just fine!  It went incredibly, actually.  Austin and I had a blast, and I think our guests enjoyed themselves too.  It was the perfect day, and I'm not just saying that.