Sunday, March 23, 2014

Happy Now--March 23

Here are my Happy Now for this week:

1.  Husband's Birthday--Darren's birthday was on Tuesday, and I was grateful for a day to celebrate him!  I had fun surprising him with some birthday decorations and gifts and, as always, he reacted to my efforts with such gratitude and excitement.  He also received some generous gifts from both sets of parents and well wishes from other family and friends.  Happy birthday, Darren.  Sure love you!

2.  Birthday Cake--Darren always requests the same type of birthday cake: white confetti cake with rainbow chip frosting.  I definitely don't mind since it's my favorite, too!

3.  Activity Days Moose--We had a surprise visitor during our Primary Activity Days on Wednesday--a baby moose!  This poor thing looked like he'd had a bit of a tough time with patches of missing fur, but he was still cute. ;)  We had to keep the girls inside until he decided to move on, but I was excited to finally capture a moose on film ... and a baby one at that!

I texted this picture to my parents and brother, and I have to include some of their responses.  They crack me up! :)

4.  Spring Flowers--I decided to celebrate the first day of spring this week with some fresh flowers for our kitchen.  There are few things that brighten up a room like some pretty petals, I think.  I am SO ready for this new season!

5.  Spring Cleaning--Putting the new, fresh flowers in a vase totally energized me to start some spring cleaning around our apartment.  I rearranged some items in our kitchen and started going through my closet trying to decide what was ready to go and what new items I might need for spring.  ;)  Have I mentioned how excited I am for some warmer weather?

6.  Base Camp Challenge--Friday I subbed for an 8th grade Language Arts teacher.  This was the last day before Spring Break and, oh my, these students were a handful.  Middle school isn't my favorite, and this day seemed especially rough.  Fortunately, the principal arranged for an assembly during the last hour of school.  The assembly was a competition between 6th, 7th, and 8th grade base camps (homerooms).  The teachers of each base camp were in charge of keeping track of their class's points during the competition.  One of the students I had taught that day came running up to me saying they needed me to fill in for their teacher ... and they ended up winning the entire competition!  The students were SO excited.  It was a happy moment, and I was sure glad to end the day on a high note.

7.  Library Card--I am the proud new owner of a Pinedale Library card!  Pinedale has a beautiful new library.  I have gone there a few times to work on my computer, but I had yet to check anything out.  Now I can (and have)!  It makes me feel like more of an official Pinedale resident.  :)

8.  Girls' Night--I was invited over to my neighbor's house last night for a girls' night.  My neighbor, Sharlyn, is so sweet, and I really admire her family.  She has three boys and three girls ranging in ages from 12 to 2, and they are all so adorable.  Her husband took the boys out last night and Sharlyn and the girls invited a couple of ladies from the ward over to watch the LDS Pride and Prejudice (boy, did that take me back!).  It was so fun to hang out with these women and girls!

9.  New Primary Lyrics--Today during opening exercises in Primary, the chorister asked the kids to close their eyes while they sang "I Love to See the Temple" as part of a game.  I was sitting next to one of the little guys in my class and started to notice he was changing some lyrics.  I know he knows the song, but I guess he was feeling creative and uninhibited with his eyes closed.  He was sitting very calmly with his arms folded.  He would sing the correct words and then insert lines like "I am being so reverent.  I am peaceful" to the tune of the song.  I love these sweet kids!

10.  Sunday Cat Nap--It has been a while since I've taken a Sunday nap.  Today after church, however, I was relaxing on the couch while Darren and I were watching T.V., sun rays were coming through the window and warming the couch, and I began to doze.  I never fell into a deep sleep, always somewhat aware of what was going on on the television, but it was SO relaxing.  It was the perfect way to spend part of the afternoon!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy Now--March 17

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  This post is a day late because I was asked to wait a day before posting my Happy Now #10, and I had to include it!

1.  Kindergarten Class:  This week was the first time I subbed in a kindergarten class.  I was pretty nervous beforehand.  Kindergartners have such short little attention spans, and there were quite a few of them!  It didn't help that the assistant principal took the opportunity to walk me to the classroom so that she would have time to tell me about one particularly difficult little girl.  I expected to leave the classroom crawling from exhaustion.  I was thrilled to find as I sat down at the teacher's desk during lunch time, however, that I was actually really enjoying myself!  There was something about their energy, too, that was contagious.  What a pleasant little surprise!  I definitely admire those sweet teachers who are in the classroom with these little ones full-time and give them such a positive introduction to formal schooling.

2.  Spanish Globe Game--The day after subbing in Kindergarten, I subbed in a high school Spanish class.  Most of the periods were required to take a quiz and then play a Spanish-themed game.  The last period of the day chose to play the "Spanish Globe Game."  This game required the students to get in a circle, each choose a different Spanish verb, and take turns throwing a fabric globe to different people in the circle to practice saying the verbs while someone in the middle of the circle tried intercepting the pass.  Make sense?  Well, the main point is that after about 5 minutes of playing they invited me to join the game.  Since high school was the last time I was in a Spanish class, they assigned me the word "hola" instead of a verb.  Nice.  Fortunately, I caught every pass and could remember enough verbs to pass the globe without going in the middle.  Whew!  I actually thought it was sweet of them to include me and was a nice way to bond with the students, something I don't usually get to do as the sub.  It was a great way to end the day and the week. :)

3.  Minestrone Soup--Last week my mom sent me a crock pot recipe for minestrone soup.  This week I got around to making it, and it was delicious!  Although the sun is making more frequent appearances in Pinedale, there is still plenty of snow on the ground (see the picture below).  Soup was the perfect evening meal!

4.  Let's Go Fly a Kite--Speaking of the increasing sunshine, Darren and I took the opportunity to get outside on one of his days off this week.  Feeling the sun on my face for what felt like the first time in months was HEAVENLY.  Before we were married, Darren bought a big kite board to use at the ocean or lake.  Although we can't take it to the lake quite yet, he did want to open the kite in the backyard and see if he could catch a little wind.  The wind ended up not being strong enough, but being outside with him and the kite board made me SO excited for summer and more sun!

5.  Planning Parents' Trip--This week I spent some time on the phone with my parents discussing a visit from them in mid-April.  I received some e-mails from my dad a few days later with their flight/hotel reservations.  It's really happening!  I can't wait!!

6.  Spring Gift--We received a surprise gift from my parents this week with some spring goodies, including a beautiful platter with pictures of oranges and orange blossoms and a citrus loaf pan.  This little gift made me so happy!  About this time of year in Redlands, where I grew up, the orange blossoms started blooming and filling the area with their delicious scent.  The smell of orange blossoms will always remind me of spring.  Between the extra sun and this gift, my need for a little spring pick-me-up was definitely met this week!

7.  Frozen Yogurt Shop--I was driving down our main street this week when I noticed a new sign being hung outside of a previously empty store.  Upon further inspection, I found out that a new frozen yogurt shop (Pinedale's first) is opening up soon.  Yippee!!

8.  "Grit with Chip"--I had a great book talk with my mom on Saturday.  We are reading Amy Chua's Triple Package and talked about her explanation of finding success when "grit" (or drive and determination) is combined with "chip" (having, in a sense, a chip on your shoulder or the need to prove yourself).  This phrase resonated with both of us, and we could each think of a time when we felt a drive to accomplish something with a bit of an "I'll show them" attitude.  It was a fun talk and made this phrase something that I'll remember.

9.  Prank Videos--Darren and I spent a little too much time watching some prank videos on youtube one evening this week.  I had followed one from a link on Facebook, and once I started watching I was hooked and began searching for more.  I had to bring Darren in on the fun.  I was laughing so hard at some of the pranks pulled on innocent bystanders, I almost felt guilty.  Some included a fake spider, which made me laugh the hardest ... probably because I am known to giggle uncontrollably when I'm nervous/watching something scary (PSA:  I am not a fun person with whom to watch scary movies).  Laughing that hard with Darren by my side made my night.

10.  ENGAGEMENT--We found out Saturday night that Darren's brother, Steven, got engaged to his sweet girlfriend, Brittany!  We are SO excited for them!!  Welcome to the family, Brit!  They have yet to set a date, but we are looking forward to a wedding this summer. :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Happy Now--March 12

Darren and I had the chance to take a long weekend in Pocatello and Salt Lake this past weekend, hence the late post.  Darren got some quality family time while I enjoyed a wonderful weekend with these dear friends:

Katie, Melissa (Many), and me at Art City Trolley

I'm going to focus my Happy Now this week on the top ten moments from my roommate reunion (we missed you, Tessa!):

1.  High School Tour--Since Katie had Friday off from school, I met up with her as soon as I arrived in Salt Lake.  As soon as Melissa was done with teaching at one, Katie and I drove to meet her at her classroom (I think we arrived about one second after one o'clock).  We were so excited to start our weekend together!  Melissa kicked off the weekend by giving us a tour of the new high school where she teaches in Draper.  Katie and I were so impressed with the campus and all of the resources available to the students.  It was beautiful!  A few students stopped by Melissa's classroom after the tour, and it was easy to tell that she is loved and respected as a teacher.  It was so fun to see Many in her element!

2.  Community Benefit Concert--Speaking of seeing my friends in their element, we had the opportunity to watch Katie perform at a Community Benefit Concert hosted by her students Friday night.  She was amazing!  Like Many, it was so obvious how much Katie's students adore her.  And Many, who saw the music for this number for the first time at the concert, accompanied Katie on the piano.  I have such talented friends!!

3.  Magelby's--Magelby's restaurant was a favorite when Katie, Melissa, Tessa, and I were roommates together.  It was, therefore, a must during our weekend together!

4.  PEI Videos--Katie's parents were kind enough to let us stay all weekend at their beautiful condo in Provo.  Before going to bed Friday night, Katie, Melissa, and I decided to pull out some old videos from the Prince Edward Island trip we had taken with Tessa when we were roommates in 2009.  The videos were hilarious to watch (probably in part because we were all so tired) and I was definitely crying from laughter by the end.  I love the fun memories I have with these friends!

5.  Magelby's Part II--Why not hit Magelby's twice in one weekend?  We went to Magelby's Fresh for its amazing french toast Saturday morning!

6.  Nails--Many's birthday was Monday, March 10, and we wanted to celebrate while we were together on Saturday.  We decided to kick off birthday celebrations in style by getting our nails done. We discovered a great new salon in Provo and all chose bright spring colors to go with the beautiful weather we were having!

7.  Birthday Dinner--Many chose to have a birthday dinner with friends at the Art City Trolley in Springville Saturday night.  Besides the delicious food, it was so fun to be back in the area where Darren and I had our first home together.  It brought back some wonderful memories.

Part of the birthday dinner crew.
8.  Birthday Games--After dinner, we all returned to Katie's condo to play games.  I had a great time getting to know some of Many's friends better and really enjoyed the games they brought!  My favorite of the night ... Spot It!

9.  Surprise Gift--Darren visited SLC with his family Saturday and stayed with his cousin into Sunday so that he could be there to drive home with me.  When I met up with him on Sunday, he presented me with a small gift from a store he had visited with his family the day before.  I'm grateful for his characteristic thoughtfulness.

10.  Conversations--Before Darren and I left on Sunday, Katie invited Melissa, Darren, and I over for lunch after church.  Darren was then kind enough to leave us a couple more hours together for some last minute "girl talk."  Having such wonderful friends with whom I can share everything is balm for the soul.

Overall, it was a perfect weekend.  I'm so grateful for wonderful friends like these in my life.  Can't wait for next time!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Happy Now--March 2

Here are the Happy Now for this week:

1.  Downton Finale--"I'm never watching this show again" are words that have crossed my lips more than once since I've started watching Downton Abbey.  With every new episode, however, I have always come crawling back.  There is something I love about the setting, the costumes, and (for the most part) the characters.  The seasons always go by so quickly, and I was surprised to find the season finale was upon us already last week.  As I realized this, I braced myself for some kind of tragedy.  My mind immediately went to which character(s) could possibly be killed off in this episode and how.  The fact that the finale was relatively tame and ended with two characters happily holding hands was a breath of fresh air.  It was as if Julian Fellowes was tipping his hat to us and saying, "Well, ladies and gents, I've certainly put you through the ringer as of late.  Thanks for sticking around.  I'll give you a break."  I'm sure glad he did since, let's face it, I'll be watching again next January.

2.  5th Grade Class--This past week was a busy subbing week with opportunities to be in all three schools.  This was the first week, however, in which I was asked to sub in a 5th grade class.  Subbing in the jr. high and high school (and even different elementary grades) has certainly put me outside of my comfort zone at times.  It was so nice to be back in such a familiar setting, feeling really comfortable with the curriculum, and knowing what I can expect of the students.  It brought back some wonderful memories!

3.  Classroom Poster--I saw this poster in a jr. high classroom this week.  Heaven bless this teacher.  I can certainly empathize with the sentiment. ;)

4.  Project Life--For Christmas I received a gift card to start scrapbooking with Project Life materials.    Since I didn't start blogging until several months after Darren and I were married, I wanted to find an easy way to scrapbook the beginning of our life together.  I picked out my binder and kits a few weeks ago, but this week I received some pictures I had ordered.  It has been so fun to get started!  I'm realizing how few pictures I have from when Darren and I were dating, but it has been fun to go through the pictures I do have and recall dates and times and wonderful memories.  It has also motivated me to take more pictures (and learn how to use a better quality camera) of our life together now.  Project Life makes the scrapbooking process so simple, but still allows you to be creative and journal alongside the pictures.  I'm loving it.

The journaling still needs to be done, but I've enjoyed picking out and arranging some pictures!

5.  Birthday Month--We are officially in the birthday month of both Darren and my mom (as well as a couple of close friends).  It has been fun to start getting gift ideas and planning festivities.  I'm so grateful for these wonderful people in my life!

6.  New Glasses--That's right.  After almost ten years of contact- and glasses-free eyes thanks to laser eye surgery, I began to notice some blurriness.  I recently had an appointment in Jackson where it was determined I would benefit from the occasional use of glasses.  So, I bit the bullet and am now a (somewhat) proud owner of a new pair.  I tried to find the "coolest" pair I could, but I'm still not convinced that I can pull them off in public (hence no picture).  It is certainly nice to have them, though!

7.  New Book Talk Book--It was time for my mom and I to choose a new book talk book this week.  My mom suggested the new Amy Chua book, The Triple Package.  It is a book about three traits that Chua claims has influenced the success of certain cultural groups in America.  I read an article about the book recently in the Deseret News and agreed it sounded interesting.  It should be an intriguing read!

8.  One Summer--Who else loves the feeling that comes with finishing a book and then getting to choose which book to pick up next?  This week I finished Bill Bryson's One Summer.  I was fascinated by all of the events that took place over the span of just a few months in the summer of 1927.  What an amazing time!  While I felt that Bryson's portrayal of some historical figures weren't always fair, I loved the opportunity to learn more about our country's history.

9.  Home--One of the books I was excited to start this week was Home by Julie Andrews.  Oh, my gosh, I am LOVING this book.  I decided to listen to the audiobook since Julie Andrews reads it herself.  I love her voice and the classy way in which she writes.  She writes about the significance of the word "home" and the love of nature she received from her father.  I can certainly identify with her love of English landscapes.  It makes me reflect on the feelings I want associated with the home I'm helping to create and so excited for the snow to melt and the green grass and flowing rivers to return here.

10.  November 27--I received a text from my dad yesterday that said he had a fun tidbit to share with me.  He had been going through some old journals and realized that he and my mom had discovered they were pregnant with me on November 27, 1982.  It was exactly 28 years later, on November 27, 2010 at the age of 27, that Darren and I got married.  Twenty-seven must be my lucky number.  I love little things like that!
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