Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Greetings

Merry Christmas to all! We are having a quiet Christmas this's the first time since the nieces and nephew were born that we aren't with extended family. Meisels and Brethours are celebrating in Bali, Whites are in Colorado, and we (and the dogs) are chillin' in Apple Valley, UT. We have a beautiful tree (thanks to the girls), cookies (thanks again to the girls), lights around the house (thanks to Andy).  There's a warm fire and Neverland on the DVR.  I decided I should update the blog, since it's been a while.

Andy and I had pictures taken this year. One of my kids last year gave me a gift certificate for his mom's photography business. She did a great job and we got a CD with a bunch of pictures. One we used for the Christmas card, and I'll post another couple here. Now, people will wonder why we didn't include Sadie or Tempest in this photo shoot. Truth is, they just don't love picture-taking...

We will be guiding a Mild 2 Wild tour tomorrow...should be fun and beautiful weather. New Year's we will hang with Dee and Steve. Then I go back to work on Jan.3, and Andy starts back Jan.9. If 2012 is anything like 2011, it'll pass in a blink of an eye...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Andy's HOME!

Happy's turned chilly here. We woke up yesterday to a little bit of snow! Not enough to stick, but a nice thin coat of white. Then we went out and did some errands. It is so nice to know that everything here is not just on my shoulders! We've been resting and catching up...  I will post more later, but for now, things are good here in So. UT!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Still here...

Dear Family and Friends...
as far as I know, everything is okay. The house is still standing, not as clean as it would be with 2 people doing maintenance; the dogs are good, a little bored because they don't get as much exercise as they would like; there are 2 less of them, since Gus and Rebel have officially gone home;

 and I am surviving. Andy is in CO, being a fantastic uncle and brother, and enjoying several inches of snow as of this morning. When the storm passed through here a couple days ago, it was all rain, so I have...mud. It's not as bad as it was a few weeks ago (see pictures of Lake White), but the dogs track it in, so I am taking a few minutes out of my sweeping to update the blog posts. 

I am also including this year's school picture. Don't you "regular" grown-ups miss this? It's official, I am getting to look less and less like the "me" that's in my head.  I don't look this old in my head - where are those wrinkles coming from?  The blond is my "scar" from where I had blue this summer. I really loved the blue, but am considering another color for next summer... I'll take suggestions!

 On Wednesday, I am headed out to CO for my fall break long weekend. I will trade cars with Andy, who will need the Nissan for the mountains. MB will come watch the dogs and have a little "me" time. She so sweetly purchased us a spa package from one of the hotels there in Central City for our anniversary, which we will celebrate a few days early while I'm out there. It's been 13 years! (ouch, but better than the 24 that we've actually known each other)  Sarah's birthday is the next week, also. She will be 4...such a big girl. She's REALLY calmed down in the last year. I can trust her to hang in the general vicinity and not be too pesky, so she and Sadie came to a neighborhood get together last weekend. Everyone was happy to see us, and missed Andy...but not as much as I do!  Going to Dee and Steve's for a wine-tasting this year, the grapes had a rough summer, so no stomping this time. Will catch up with other mutual friends as well. Then I have my first performance with Lieto!, the choir I joined this fall at Andy's urging. We are doing a short set at a ceremony for the Hunstman World Senior Games. I love when people from all over invade Southern Utah. There's a bigger crowd everywhere, people actually go to the liquor store, and there are the inevitable gawkers at the ladies of the FLDS. It always makes me happy to see different cultures interact. Hope your fall is starting off well...I am enjoying the lower temps, it makes it bearable to exercise later in the morning and earlier in the evenings, so I can get some walks and bike rides in and still sleep! Signing off for now...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

8 Days and counting...

I thought I was tired before? HA!  Just as we were settling in to a "normal" routine, life up and happens again...

Andy has been in Colorado for a week now, hangin' with the family (there's more to it, but we don't do laundry here :) Anyway, he's being Uncle Andy and chillin' with Justin when he's not at work. MB is there to provide maternal influence. Evidently the girls are doing well in the new school year, and things are as positive as can be expected!

I am (at this very moment) surrounded by SIX (yes, 6) dogs. Sarah, Sadie, Gus & Rebel, Mojo & Gracie... it will be VERY QUIET when the number drops.  Diane got a chance to paddle from Glen Canyon dam to Lee's Ferry, so I said, "the more the merrier!"  And of course, we had bad weather move in. So they stayed inside today, which was good for me because I had to come straight home. It's possible Gus and Rebel could be leaving us in less than a month! Abby's doing so well, they may be home (STG) the beginning of October - can you imagine? Heart transplant 7/12 and home (5 hours from major hospital) in 3 months?

I take my husband for granted... I'm still NOT a morning person. He helps me so much in the mornings! And since I can't function for myself in the am, I've taken to setting up as much as possible the night before. Even when I try, I am not getting to bed before 11pm, and usually not getting to sleep before 12, and getting up at 5:15. It's just not enough sleepy time.

School is going pretty well, though. I still love all my kids...yes, even 6th period. End of the day, 21 boys to 8 girls, tween craziness. Yep, I love 'em.  Hard to get back in the Language Arts swing, and I hate having to justify my effectiveness by creating my own job description when it comes to GT, but we do what we gotta do, right?
Love you guys...gotta go grade. I'm aiming for a 9 pm bedtime!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Whole New Year...

It's amazing how tired you can be at the end of one week.  I think I like starting school in the middle of the week; it's nice to have a few days and then a break.  This has been a wicked-long week, but a lot of fun.

My schedule runs Prep- Social Studies-Language Arts-Language Arts - Lunch-Language Arts-Social Studies...and we haven't started Thunderbolt time yet! I didn't appreciate having that break in the middle of the day until this year. 1st period prep may wear me down! (Judging by the exclamation points, my enthusiasm lingers despite my protestations :)

The kids are good...many have had older brothers or sisters in my class, a bonus of having stayed put for a few years. Most of us are loving the increased focus on reading; we have adopted the Book Whisperer "method" this year for 6th grade language arts. I love my 2/3 period combo for Language and Social Studies, I'm just going to have to remember - BALANCE.

With the Gifted services, the new language arts, the new grading, keeping balance in everything else in life is going to feel like a real challenge. I am determined not to backslide with the health changes or to become old and stodgy (never willing to learn something new). It just feels like there's SOOOO much! I want to spend more time doing EVERYTHING, but there's not a lot of wiggle room right now.

Andy's all ready to start back to school as well. He's got his books and schedule all printed out... The Summer of the Rattlesnake is over! He enjoyed his internship, and will continue to do volunteer work for the Parashant office throughout the fall.  By the way, he's living proof that too much candy is not great for you. He had 2 new crowns, a root canal, and a cavity the other day. He's sworn off study aids with processed sugar!
Just had the Doman clan over to visit Gus and Rebel...they were loved and petted for a good 45 minutes, and are currently curled up dreaming about it!  Abby looks good; I can't believe that just over a month ago (July 12), she got her new heart. Cross your fingers that she'll be back in school in November, their family reunited permanently (with all members, 2 and 4 legged), and life, sort of, back to normal. They have persevered during this obstacle with faith and determination...I certainly shouldn't complain about my burdens!

 Well, it will be an adventure, as always... stay tuned!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Just in time for Back to School...

I would have said, "Back to Business," but you know we don't do that here ;)  Anyway, we've had some good times with John and Amber the last 2 weeks. Just before they came, Andy went to California for Megan's 9th birthday party...
...lots of fun, lots of pool time. Andy even got a makeover from the girls (no pictures of that tho' :( )

Things went pretty smoothly, we had a GREAT long rhino tour with Buddy (Mild2Wild) the first day,
then Vegas for a couple of days for the wedding, then back home for some more local fun!

We did the Rainbow Bridge boat tour - which was fun, the water is HIGH this year.

They spent a couple of days exploring the local parks, Amber's got a real gift of the photog...she caught this desert storm from the moving car..

We did some local sightseeing last night - petroglyphs and dinner in Springdale.

Then Andy drove them back to Vegas to catch their flight this morning...that's when it got bumpy! Security took too long, and they ended up missing their flight (well, evidently you can't catch your flight with 5 minutes to spare, even if it isn't your fault). So they will fly out tomorrow, but fortunately another stranded passenger (same flight) was able to get them a room for a discount - who says people aren't nice to strangers?  Anyway, we are watching Shark specials, and I'm trying to get my summer reading crammed into the next 3 days... then back to the grind! I'll be trying LOTS of new stuff, so I may forget to blog for a while, or I may get on and vent... stay tuned.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The most important blog post of recent history...

Abby got her heart last Tuesday! She is doing really well, and may get to move out of the ICU today. She will still need to be in the hospital for a while, so her mom will be "decorating" her room. I sent the world map last week, and will send up pictures and postcards from Mom and I in the next couple of days. If you've sent a postcard, thanks! If you can do so in the next couple of weeks, that would be great!
Go HERE to check out her blog and see how she's doing...

I love Coca-Cola! and other adventures...

 I love Coca-Cola...the original. In high school, I collected cans and bottles and had them around my room. I think I still have about 6 bottles. I discovered the Coke store in Vegas years ago, and every time I go, I like to go and look around. This time I had some "newbies' with me, so I didn't feel so bad that I had to get a hat (and a charm) because Sheryl got one too. I have some Coca-Cola items at is a mini tray that Andy found somewhere, a bottle opener I want to mount (just can't figure out where), and some t-shirts (different languages). Evidently I love Coke so much I can tell the difference at 2:00 am and slightly impaired - just ask Andy and Chad (but don't tell my mother!) ;)  Anyway, just thought I'd share...

Can you tell I spent last week in Vegas? I went down for a conference on Differentiated Instruction with 2 other teachers (soul-sisters, really) and our principal. We learned a lot, and talked a lot, and walked a lot (gosh, there's a lot of walking in Vegas, even if you're just across the strip). I came home brain-fried! But... I bought some books (shocking, I know). My favorite new toy is my Nook, with which I can hop online during a presentation and wishlist a great new book that the presenter talks about!!! But I shop with my phone - "Hmm, I might want to come back and get that, let me take a picture!"  Here is the stack of books and papers I brought home...
Plus, there was the 8-year-old laptop (ouch!) which will be retiring soon - it's old, cranky, and WAY TOO HEAVY!
Of course, in and amongst all the learning and shopping and talking and walking was some eating (speaking of heavy)... I came home about 5 pounds heavier (SIGH) than when I went. We went to only the best places, of course, Cheesecake Factory (still have never repeated a meal), Hard Rock - the restaurant is cooler now with interactive displays, I had a good burger, but is WAY too expensive-, PF Chang's - yummy-, and most decadently, Serendipity 3. I'd had the frozen hot chocolate at MB's house for Christmas a few years ago, but in person at the restaurant was even more impressive. (The picture is not mine, I Googled it, but NOT kidding, it looked like this!) Now, I must be even more disciplined. Good thing I will only be there about 48 hours next time!

Other than Vegas, we hosted the Meisel/Brethour clan (most of it) for a few days before I went to Vegas. We went to a football game, tubed the Virgin (good photo Mom!) River, and they all got off without a hitch last Sunday/Monday. Andy and I also went with Buddy and Susan to see Cars 2 and Texas Roadhouse for her birthday... (hmmm, am beginning to see a pattern here...even with eating "healthy choices", restaurant food is restaurant food!). We are now foster-parenting a set of Shi-Tzus for the Doman clan.  Gus and Rebel are ADORABLE...even if Gus is magnetically drawn to Tempest (the Cat). They have made themselves right at home...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

MORE more fun...

Summer 2011 is shaping up to be one BIG busy fun-fest.  Here are some more pictures from the Texas trip...

Nana and Papa (also sometimes lovingly referred to here as MIL/FIL or Mom and Dad) rented a HUGE water slide for the weekend! The kids loved it...even Aunt Krista.

Grandpa Don came down from Casper to see us all in one place...

 The party went off without a hitch...lots of friends from the OLD (for example, the Fletchers - at least, Barbara and Marvin) days, the semi-old days, and new neighbors were there.  It was great to catch up with everyone!

This past Tuesday afternoon, the "Grand Junction" rolled back into our driveway (it lived here for 4 months when we were building). Nana and Papa "camped" from Houston to Utah with Logan and Ivy. They visited Carlsbad Caverns, the Petrified Forest, the Grand Canyon, and Sunset Crater.  Lots of fun, but soon the Brethours will be headed out to CA and the Philippines, and Mom and Dad will be going on the "Grandparent" circuit.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

More fun from the last couple weeks...

While I was away in Texas, Andy entertained the ladies of the White family. They went camping (yeah!) and had a tea party. Then he went back to work...and played with a rattlesnake! Andy's list of summer work opportunities now includes: working with high schoolers at camp (see pictures below), fence maintenance, spring repair, ecological studies, range impact studies, botany, LOTS of hiking and chain-sawing, and feelings of ambivalence for our national park and monument officials... But, he leaves the pavement on Monday morning and doesn't hit it again until Thursday night - he's pretty happy about that. He's looking forward to shadowing an archaeologist and a "cave" biologist in the near future...
Great site!


Very pretty table :)

And the traditional bubble dance ;)
The snake was coiled up in the truck, almost in the engine compartment... before he was freed!

Here are a couple of pictures from the Color Country Natural Resources Camp from a couple of weeks ago...
These girls fish with electricity!
Proud campers! Andy used to think I was crazy for organizing Outdoor Ed, but now he wants to help with this camp every summer...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Blue Hair, Rebels Game, and Flagstaff

I will be catching up on my blogging in bits and pieces. A lot has happened in a short space of time... I dyed my hair blue (a stripe), went to a football game for Abby, went to a conference in Logan for GT, and drove to Texas! Since there are lots of photos, I will do a bit at a time.
Blue Hair - The blue hair is one of my weird bucket list items... I have wanted to do a "non-dress code" hair color chunk for years. I finally decided that I should do it before I am COMPLETELY too old for it. I should say that I have gotten a couple of compliments on it, and provided a topic of conversation for a Texas backroads diner...

SRIS crowd at the Dixie Rebels (semi-pro) game

Jackson family (most of it) in Flagstaff

Sarah and Sadie watch me load/unload at Amarillo Motel 6

Mom and Kate at George W. Bush Presidential Library

Hula hooping (best $2.99 Kate ever spent) and bean bag toss - an evening's entertainment!

Friday, June 3, 2011

You can skip this if you aren't like me...

MB (mother-in-love) and I have been hanging out the last 2 days. Andy's up at a high school science camp this week, so we've been "girlie". Exercise, shopping, and chilling out on the couch today. We've walked, aqua-zumba'd, and water aerobicized; shopped for odds and ends, grandkids/nieces, and books; eaten salads at Durango's and yummy Chicken Caprese sandwiches at Red Robin. Our sojourn at Barnes & Noble was a frappuccino-filled, book-juggling hour before we escaped with what was left of our bank accounts...which leads me to my topic today.

I am addicted to 2 things (if you don't count red-heads) - books and music. There are several things which feed these addictions:1) being a teacher, 2) American Idol, 3) my NOOK, and 4) my family (born into, married into, and friends - they count as family...just ones you choose). This year at my school, every teacher had an erasable "What I am reading now..." page. Mine was probably written and erased a LOT. I also have students who regularly ask me what my favorite things are (books, movies, music, sports, foods). So... I buy books from Scholastic book clubs, Walmart, and Barnes & Noble. I borrow books from the Hurricane Library (Washington County) , the school library, and my friends (NOOK and paper). I am usually reading about 2 (one paper, one NOOK) and listening to another (books on CD!!!) as I drive. Wishlists are the bane of my existence... I can't keep up with the library and my B&N account! I have a list of real books and NOOKbooks on my B&N account...someday I'll have to combine in one place. I can't always keep track of the different authors or series that I've read/started/want to start... I love that authors now have web pages where I can go to check in on new books. Here are some of my all-time favorites. They are a mix of kids, young adult, and grown-up books. WARNING: I have a few rules about books...1) NO animal stories- Where the Red Fern Grows ('nuff said) and 2) I do prefer fiction to non-fiction - is not life "real"enough for you people? I also definitely have a lean towards 2 genre/categories: fantasy(some sci-fi) and historical. I will admit that I am SERIOUSLY deficient in the classics, and am making an effort to remedy that situation. These are NOT in any particular order... I cannot do that.
Outlander Series - Diana Gabaldon ...hello, it combines ALL my interests with a hot red-head :)
Twilight Series - Stephanie Meyer ...ever been a teenage girl? gets the emotions(insecurities) right!
Little Women, Little Men, Jo's Boys - Louisa May Alcott of the BEST of all time (and semi-classical)
Mortal Instruments Series - Cassandra Clare ...again, a mix of things (wish I could be the girl)
anything by Phillipa Gregory ... she writes historical novels, primarily Tudor England
Hunger Games series - Suzanne Collins ...good, even if EVERYONE else on the planet thinks so too
As the Crow Flies - Jeffrey Archer ...I haven't read one of his books that I haven't liked, but this one is the best!
Memnoch the Devil - Anne Rice ...this book is probably the one that made me say "My Favorite", but I can't share it with my kids (not appropriate for their age level). I keep meaning to read "Paradise Lost", because I understand that there are a lot of references there. If you haven't read it, or if you haven't read any Anne Rice on principle, fine...but I'm not judging you! I also read all the Lestat(Vampire) novels, and the Mayfair Witches books - couldn't sleep for 2 weeks during/after Witching Hour - good and terrifying!

Sentimental Favorite:
Celeste DeBlasis - everything she wrote... I still have those old paperbacks that I re-read every year in junior & high school.
Westing Game - I still haven't figured out who done it...

New favorite Kid (juvenile) and YA (young adult) books:
2 words: Rick Riordan - the man is a genius...very entertaining!
Fablehaven series - Brandon Mull
39 Clues - various authors ...awesome for mystery lovers and boys, especially
House of Night - PC Cast ...don't ask
The Shamer Chronicles - Lene Kaaberbol

I'm not adding any of the "grown-up" kind of books that might make you think I'm mature... deal with it! I could go on with the listing...but at some point, you just have to stop.

Music: at this point, I can't even think... I fried my brain on the books. Let's just say this: "I am addicted to American Idol. This was the best season (voices) EVER. I find a lot of new (to me) artists when they do songs every week. I have over $500 of wishlisted music on my iTunes." I am still eclectic when it comes to music. The only thing I REALLY struggle with is Rap - not sure it's music...some of it is okay for poetry, but most just bugs me. I HATE elevator music. I have Barbra, Glee, Barry Manilow, reggae, rock, alternative, country, and today's pop on my playlists. I am a HUGE Gaga fan! I also love international music - zumba's great for that! Did you know that you can change your country at the bottom of iTunes and find out what's popular around the world? Can't wishlist from there, though... :( Gotta go...this reminded me that I need to find a song to add to my wishlist.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Remembering the little things...

You should see my planner/calendar in my purse...this only helps if I remember to look at it!
I put the things on the whiteboard that anyone coming to my house should know about the next month...ditto to the above ending.
I went to Old Navy and found some cute things on clearance...and forgot to use the coupon in my purse.

I forgot to put Abby's blog address on here...
I just looked at today's update and while I was reading Michelle's words, Imagination (Glee Cast version) was playing from my blog music in the t shirt is soaked from tears (there are no kleenex in here).

So far, 48 hours off of school...hours of relaxation? the 2 I spent in the bathtub last night reading... how sad is that?


Saturday, May 21, 2011

I am now officially...

A mountain biker! This will shock the Meisel family from the reunion about 8 years ago, but I've come around. Now, there are NO competitions in my future, but last weekend Andy and I got up Saturday morning and rode about 15 miles, up to the Gooseberry trails area, and around the windmill, then out to the overlook (if you've been to visit, we've probably taken you up there). We felt so good that we decided to do it again this week... we took a different trail out to the side of Gooseberry that overlooks the highway - about 18 miles. I'm riding up hills, over slick rock, and through rocky, muddy patches. Andy's a great coach! I'm getting better at downhills, but it's still a scary proposition. Today we saw TONS of other bikers (nice weather for the first time this week) and even got complements on our bikes...I believe the word was "sexy". Funny, huh?

Had a tough week at school, beyond the normal "last full week" nonsense. We had a student who collapsed during PE Wednesday (one of my girls from 6th period) and she's currently in ICU at Primary Children's Hospital (SLC), and on the heart transplant list. Tuesday she was just a normal, happy, bright little girl... very sad. Anyway, the students at our school had a choir concert on Thursday night, and they did a "little" fundraiser for Abby - $2000.00! They have a goal of $3500 by next Wednesday. We are sooooo proud of them! The part that makes it almost as hard is that her mom is a (GREAT, GT interested, fun) teacher at our school. She was actually not at school on Wednesday because her older daughter was scheduled for knee surgery...our hearts hurt for her!

Andy was out camping on the Arizona Strip (aka Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument) with his internship team, collecting seeds! He goes out again this week...

We are going to an open house for David West (photographer extraordinaire!) this evening in Springdale, and then to a concert in the amphitheater there for Lieto! Voices, a choral group I'm considering joining in the fall.

Hope you all are doing well and getting ready for a great (but busy) summer! :)