Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Holiday Season

My favorite season is Fall. I love everything about it. I am pretty sure I own every pumpkin scent of everything that is available. Not only does my house have pumpkin scented candles, scentsy, and plug-ins around every corner, but my class room smells of pumpkin as well! I just cannot seem to get enough.

Football is the best sport. There is no better feeling than being in College Station, Texas (God's Country), at step off, with the Corps of Cadets, before a football game. The moment the canon booms and the band roars the sweet tunes of the Aggie War Hymn, every last hair on my arms are standing straight up, and I get that same chill down my spine. It is the feeling of pride that I have for the Aggies, and the commitment that I have to cheering them on every Fall season.

Fall leads up to Christmas, and Christmas is the grandest holiday. The smell of cinnamon sticks and orange slices in the crock pot  fills the house. The wassail is ready to be served, as mom's Christmas mugs are lined up perfectly on the counter awaiting the warm remedy to fill them. Christmas trees of every size are in each room, all decorated to a particular theme. Presents are piled under, next to, and around the main Christmas tree in the living room. All the traditional, matching stockings are hung on the mantel. Holiday music can be heard on the TV through the laughter and cheer of people celebrating the joyous occasion. Children are gathering cookies and milk for Santa to put on the fireplace. Then, they are snuggling up in bed and closing their eyes, hoping that he will come soon. There are so many reasons why Christmas is the best, and those are only a few.

My favorite season is Fall. I love everything about it. Football season, the weather changing from warm to cold, wearing leggings/skinny jeans with riding boots, ridiculously large sweaters and scarves, Starbucks seasonal drinks/cups, Hay rides, the leaves changing colors, school being back in order, and leading up to Christmas are all reasons why Fall is the greatest. I just can't seem to get enough.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The first impression

Tomorrow evening at 5:30pm the students who will be in my class this year will come meet me at "Meet the Teacher" night. In 1 hour, I will meet my entire class and make a first impression on 23 little friends.

During this time I think back to when I was in elementary school and how badly I wanted to please my teacher at all times. I actually remember thinking, "I hope she thinks I'm cool." I remember the week before school, the class lists were posted outside the school windows on large posters. My family would drive by the school multiple times a day to check and see if the list was finally posted. I could barely stand the anticipation of not knowing who would be in my class. Would I have the pretty, nice teacher that all the kids talked about? Would I have any friends in my class? Would my teacher like me? Butterflies would immediately rise in my stomach the moment we drove by and finally saw the colorful posters lined up against the windows. I would race from the car to find the spot where my grade level was posted and then search through every class list until I came across my name. Then I would go through the entire class list and assess the other names on the list. I would count how many friends I had in my class, how many cute boys, and of course, I would take note of any new names that I did not recognize from the year before. Will we become best friends? What are they like?

The night of Meet the Teacher, I would always dress my very best and fix my hair to look as nice as an elementary school girl can. I was always anxious, nervous, and excited when meeting my teacher. I am not and never have been shy. Even if I was nervous before I walked in the room, no one would know. I would turn on my confidence, walk up to my teacher, smile at her through my crooked  8 year old teeth, hold out my hand to shake hers and say, "Hi! I'm Carol Ann." If there is anything my Dad taught me, it is to always have a firm handshake and look people in the eyes when you talk to them. I remember practicing this at home with my parents from a very young age. A firm handshake, eye contact, and a smile tells people that you are confident.

Tomorrow night as I meet my new students, I will remember how I felt when I was in their shoes. I will make sure to shake hands, smile, hug, and tell every single child that I am SO glad that they are in my class and that I am glad they will be part of our "family" at school this year. I am making it a personal goal for each kid to walk out of my room with a smile, feeling confident about being a 4th Grader in my class, and looking forward to the first day of school.

Being a teacher is the best. :)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Verde Coffee

Before we left for Galveston, John and I decided to drive through Starbucks. He would have his first cup of really awesome coffee in over a year. We pulled up to the speaker and I ordered my usual Grande Skinny Cinnamon Dulce Latte. John leans out of the window and says, "uhh I'll have a Verde Coffee." The lady on the other end says, "umm a grande coffee?" John replied, "uhh yeah. Sure." I looked at him eyebrows scrunched in my state of confusion, wondering why my husband had attempted to order a green coffee in Spanish. "John. Verde Coffee?" I questioned. He laughed and said, "haha I meant to say Venti Coffee." I was relieved to know that green coffee was not some new weird favorite drink that he had picked up while living in the slums of Afghanistan for 9 months. Lol 

John is home!!!

The day I had been waiting for for 14 months came last Friday, August 2,2013. My husband returned safely from Afghanistan and was able to meet our 7 month old son for the first time. Words cannot describe how exciting and overwhelming the entire day was. It was surreal to see him hold our son and love on him. It made my heart melt! 

Since last Friday we have had a BBQ at our house in Dallas and all of our family and friends in that area came to see John. After the BBQ we came to Galveston, where we currently are, and have been here a week. It feels so good to be able to relax at the beach house with no agenda. 

John is catching on to Jackson's schedule very fast. It's weird how before coming home he had never changed a diaper in his life, and now he is changing poopy diapers, bathing, feeding, and cleaning up after Jackson like he has been here from day 1. I am so proud of how John has jumped in head first and is already being the best dad! 

I am very excited to see what the future holds for my sweet family!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

5 Gallon paint bucket stools- father/daughter project

Last year I bought stools for my classroom at Ikea. They were terrible. The screws always came loose and the stools fell apart. This year I decided to take a different approach to stools. 

While I was in College Station, Texas (Home of Texas A&M University!!!) visiting my parents, I went to Lowe's and bought  six 5 gallon paint buckets with the Texas A&M logo on them. My dad bought sheets of 1.5in. thick plywood. He measures the circumference of the paint bucket lids and went to town on cutting them out with a saw. Next he placed the newly cut piece of plywood on top of the lid and drilled a hole through both of them. He labeled each lid to its matching plywood with numbers. 
Next, he placed a screw through each piece of plywood.

To make cushions for the stools I bought a twin size egg crate mattress topper. This was cheaper than buying individual pieces of foam at Joanne's. I used the cut plywood as a stencil on my foam. 

Then, I also used the cut plywood as a stencil on my fabric that I would use to cover the entire seat. I bought a chevron black and white patterned fabric. I cut out 6 of these circles of fabric for my bucket seats.

Next, we took the circle plywood that had a screw through it and placed the egg crate on top of it. Make sure the flat side of the crate is up so you aren't sitting on bumps. Next, we wrapped the fabric around the plywood and foam and used a staple gun to secure it all together. 

After we had secured the foam and fabric to the plywood using a staple gun, we took the newly made cushion and a lid and pushed the screw through the hole that was previously made with a drill. Next, we put a washer flesh against the lid.
On top of the regular washer my dad added a different kind of washer to double secure the lid and the make sure when we tighten the bolt onto the screw it won't break the plastic.
The last step is to add the bolt and tighten it all the way until it bites up against the washers. Done! Now, you have a great cushion for your buckets and they can be used as stools! 

I know that many teachers have secured their cushions to the lid by using hot glue, but I feel like that will only last for so long. With the students constantly wiggling around on them, they need to be very secure. My dad is such a smarty pants for coming up with this great way to make cushions!

I went back later and hot glued some ribbon onto my buckets. 

You could also paint your bucket and jazz them up! Get creative!

Below is a pic of my dad in his taxidermy studio where we made my stools. He's awesome!!!!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Galveston-Summer 2013

After a long drive to College Station from the Frio river, a semi-short drive to Katy from CS and an easy drive to Galveston from Katy, we finally made it! We are unpacked and settled in for the week at my Grandmas bay house in Jamaica Beach, Galveston, Texas. 

Recently Jackson has been extra fussy during feeding time. He hates to drink his bottle and he fights me on it the whole feeding session. It has been exhausting the past couple of weeks. My mom and I were thinking that maybe he is teething and his gums are sore so sucking on the bottle nipple is painful. However, we have been in Galveston for 2 bottle feedings and both times he drank the whole bottle with no complaints. It was such a relief. I have been dreading feedings recently due to the constant crying/screaming on Jackson's part verbally and my part mentally. He also ate carrots and apple sauce for dinner. He opened his mouth for every bite and did not give me any trouble. It was really great. I am hoping that he keeps it up!

My grandma has tempurpedic mattresseson the beds in the sailboat themed room. They are amazing! She didn't think they were comfy enough so she bought tempurpedic mattress toppers as well! Basically, it is a dream bed. 

I really enjoy coming to this house. My grandma is super chill and laid back so you can do as you wish. That means if you want to lay on the couch and watch the Tour de France all day, go for it! Or if you want to take the kayak or paddle board out in the canal or ocean, she's cool with that too. 

My Uncle took my little cousins to the beach tonight while I stayed back and gave Jack a bath and put him to bed. They also took Kyle (my dog) with them to the beach. When they got back they told stories about Kyle jumping in the ocean to fetch after a ball. They even said that a man came over and asked if he could throw the ball/play with Kyle for a while because he loves dogs but due to his hectic work schedule can not have one. My uncle mentioned that more than one person came up to him and told him that he had such a cool dog. I guess people are amazed by a wiener dog who loves water! 

I am excited to take Jackson to the beach this week for the first time! I will for sure take lots of pictures!

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Dollar Game

Tonight our family played our annual "Dollar Game" at the Frio River. There are about 50 people that attend our family reunion, including family friends. To play the game we connect all the picnic tables from our cabins so there is room for everyone to consolidate in one area. 

Game directions: Each person starts with 3 dollars. You roll a die, if you roll a 1 you pass a dollar to the left, roll a 2 and pass a dollar to the right, roll a 3 and put a dollar in the middle, roll anything else and you keep your money! Simple and sweet!

The best part of the game is that even if you lose your money, the person on either side if you could roll a 1 or 2 and put you back in the game. Eventually, only one person is left with a dollar or so and they get ALL the money from the middle!