Wednesday, December 29, 2010

ISU Winter Get-Together



I had a great time hanging with my girls in Buffalo Grove/Arlington Heights/Palatine yesterday. We, Lisa, Lilian, Jessi, Danah, Heather and I, got together on 12/28/10 for a day of impromptu fun. We had fun at Jason's Deli catching up and making Lilian totally squirm with our conversations. We also went shopping and bowling. It isn't too often that I can enjoy winning with a score of 113. That was a blast!!! We also went out to a nice Mexican restaurant. Jessi and I loved the day so much, we just didn't want to leave and we finally took off at 1am and I got home safely at 4:05 am. What a day!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Blessings

I am finding that this time of year I can really appreciate how truly blessed I am. I am so fortunate to have a family in good health and that will pour out love and blessings over me. I am also feeling fortunate that money isn't too tight when it comes to paying all the seasonal bills. I attribute this to my Father who provides. I also am thankful that I have wonderful in-laws that give so generously.

I have been wanting to repay these blessing and after hearing WBGL's ads for the Random Acts of Christmas I finally obeyed the call to give. If you read any of the needs listed on their website, you might have also found yourself teary-eyed as I was. Some people wanted things like a couch to sleep on, postage stamps, a car to get to work, groceries, car repair, cabinets, cleaning supplies, dog food, cat food. It just makes me put my life in perspective. Today, my husband and I had the opportunity to bless a family in Mahomet. The sparkle in the mom's eye as I gave her the small gifts made my heart happy. They will have something to open this Christmas.

I just wanted to share this small piece of love I got to experience today and maybe you could help out someone this season too. Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

My first newborn photo shoot

So, Amy was great enough to let me try out some photography on one week old baby Troy. He was so precious! He was such a good model, and mom was a great sport even though wardrobe and position changes stressed out Troy.

Here are a few of my faves below:














Friday, December 10, 2010

Christina's Senior Recital

Monday night Christina, my sister, had her recital in Decatur. She did good! She got an A. Here is a video collage of the event...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Good weekend

Friday night was like a fairy tale come ture. I got to eat out at TGIFridays with the family: Rose, Michael, Stephanie, Olivia & Vivian. We went to the Hilton Garden Inn where Rose was staying and swam in their heated pool. As I sat in the jacuzzi, huge snowflakes began falling to the ground. I could watch them from the comfort of the tub. I really enjoyed it. The drive home was a bit long due to inexperienced drivers in the snow.

Saturday was pretty nice in that I got to go out to eat with the hubby. We ate at at the Great Impasta and I enjoyed the meal with my bubbling Moscati to wash it down.

Sunday, Chris and I spent a few hours in the kitchen making healthy meals that lasted all week. We made spaghetti with whole grain noodles, ground turkey, zucchini and squash. We also made turkey & veggie chili. What a good weekend!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving and Christmas preparations





I have so much to be thankful for including a job, a great family, house, and two cars that are completely paid off, a great dog(son), friends and so much more. I enjoyed spending so much time with the family over break and it just seemed too short with everyone.

Friday (after I woke up from napping after a midnight-7am shopping excursion) I got the house feeling and looking like Christmas... take a peek!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Eating Worms





My students and I just finished the book, "How to Eat Fried Worms." We concluded by making our own rendition of "fried worms" using tootsie rolls that were rolled until gooey and then smothered in graham cracker crumbs. We had fun doing it and sampling those worms!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Baby shower









.... No, it isn't for me! ;-) My friend is expecting a baby in December!

She had a cute baby shower today complete with a nice lunch, fun baby games, and LOTS of presents! Congrats Amy on little Troy!

Teresa's B-day


So, Friday was Teresa's birthday and my dad, Teresa, Ben and I ate at Cheddars for an amazing dinner. Teresa and I had the most relaxing night getting a deluxe spa pedicure which included the usual plus a sea salt rub, mint rub followed by hot towel wrap, but the best part was ending with a hot stone massage! Our toes looked great! (We failed to take pics though). Teresa and I then walked around Target and enjoyed looking at baby things for my friend's shower Sat. I was really deliberating on if I should go with a puppy theme or a monkey theme. But, in the end it was all so cute!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cooper's first Trick-or-Treat





On Halloween, I had a great time going to Rader's family farm in Normal, IL with Heather and her boyfriend Vince.

When we got home, my family came over to see Cooper in his costume. They got to see a few trick-or-treaters too that knocked on our door. After a while, Cooper and I went off to our first trick-or-treat experience. (A neighbor friend that we walk with almost daily.) I promised Cooper a treat and instead he got an orange. I gave him a yummy dog treat when we returned. He seemed quite satisfied! ;-) It was a good first experience. I wonder what he'll be next year?

Sister Teresa and Ewok Cooper

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Year round school?

Lets just say the past few days haven't been easy. I'm overworked and underpaid. I keep getting subtle reminders though that it isn't all about the financial or emotional rewards. Its just about knowing that I can make a difference. Even, if that difference is only in my attitude about things. In which case, I am so thankful for the beautiful life I have and the people that continue to bless each day.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Cooper's Costume


My mom just stopped by. She is working on making Cooper a Halloween costume. Here is a little preview. He was pretty cute!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Day off...

I love that the weather today was so fabulous- sun shining and 80 plus degrees. I took advantage of the day off to get a little work done at school. After 4 hours at school, I got to come home to Chris, Teresa, and Mara and we ate Little Caesars for lunch. I enjoyed the company; Chris got a nice hair cut; and heres to hoping I don't feel like I'm behind this entire week!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Teaching Adventures begin...

So, I've been thinking about how my life feels uneventful since school resumed. Sure, there have been cool tidbits here and there but nothing major. Well, here is how I plan to remedy this. I will tell you about the fun things that happen at school. So here goes...

9-8-10: Teacher Institute Day... Guest Speaker Larry Bell... (wish I had a video clip or two) Larry Bell is a very dynamic speaker, similar to listening to a Southern Baptist preacher (can I get an Amen?) which he actually said multiple times. There, he taught us how to dance and rap to a song about his TWELVE POWERFUL WORDS. Let me tell you that if you didn't participate, you were on the gym floor performing for the rest of the school staff. So, the part I needed a video camera for was the part where he did pull teachers out and made them do ridiculous chants! I enjoyed his ideas and his positivity. But, as a special education teacher, I struggled to agree with all the ideas he shared. Not all of my students can get 100% on tests, and that is okay. He thinks that his tools will teach them to pass, and for many it will help. But, some of them, I'd be pleased that they can consistently spell their name each time they are asked, let alone spell his powerful words.

After the speaker, I learned about a great tool called Audacity which I plan to use in my classroom- ask me about it sometime!

Friday night was fun as I got to play with some of my favorite boys- Brandon 4 and Liam -7(?). I brought Cooper and they had such a good time playing soccer and keep away with him.

Sat. was pretty good too considering that I drug my husband around to quite a few garage sales and I ended up with some really great loot! I got a really nice quality wool sweater, never worn, for $4. I got 4 name-brand dress shirts for $10. I also found some cute decorations for halloween and christmas that I'll have on display. Of course, I bought a few more books for my classroom library. And I found a car seat suitable for Mike & Steph's newest addition to their house. She'll be moving in this week and I was glad we could bless them. I think it is so honorable of them to take her in and I'd love to find other ways to help.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

It's Been a While

Hello again,

It's been a while since I've updated. I haven't felt like I've had much to say lately. Most of my updates would be about how I haven't had a life since school started. However, some good events have happened.

Last weekend was a great one. Chris and I savored having our house to ourselves for the first time in 6 weeks and we went to the Pet Fair with Coop, to Meadowbrook park, we cooked two amazing meals and enjoyed two meals out.



On Sept. 27th- Cooper officially has lived with us for one whole year. He is such a good family member. He is such a good friend to me. Also, that day Chili's was doing a fundraiser for St. Jude's Children's Home and 100% of sales went to the hospital. Last year, they raised $30 million. Stephanie met up with me and I really enjoyed catching up with her. I've got a super great family!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Unusual Day


We are dog-sitting for the weekend and we had a border-collie mix stay over night last night. Cooper was thrilled with this development and reminded me so at 2 am, 3:30 am, 6:30 am, 8:00 am and 8:30 am. At most of these times, I was having one bizarre dream or another. One dream I have analyzed today and I decided it was related to my grandfather's passing today. I dreamt that the Reinhart family had a gathering and my uncle and aunt were sad. They had to move to VG and sell their farm. It wasn't profitable any more. It was sad to see them go through such a big loss. Well, this morning I was told that my grandfather passed and that aunt was sitting with him and my grandmother as he died peacefully in his sleep. I guess that is the real loss that had to experience today.

My grandfather was an extremely hard-working, family-oriented man. He will be missed. His passing was expected as his health has been declining for nearly 2 years now. I think that my grandmother will have it really hard being in a big farm-house by herself. My dad and his siblings are coping well. I imagine it'll be hard to see them though at the funeral on Tuesday.

Beyond that, today I've taken on the role of watching two dogs. It is much easier caring for them when hubby helps I learned. I was hoping today would be an uber-productive work catch-up day. Instead, I cleaned the house, did laundry, dishes, organized coupons, went shoe, camera, and grocery shopping. Of which, only one was successful (groceries).

I'd hoped to have a fun afternoon with the hubby and end with a romantic dinner date and movie. Turns out that that was not successful at all. Chris and I have been bickering all day. Turns out that I don't want a date with him tonight as it wouldn't have much romance at all. Instead, we are not speaking much, eating $3 Frozen pizza and watching a rented movie. Which is more thrilling because my brother is having friends over to watch a movie too. Yay! What a heck of a day! Tomorrow will be better!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Glutton for...

Thursday August 19th marked a very EXCITING day! After an entire summer of seeking out a teaching job, I got an interview that resulted in the magic words "we'd like to extend a job offer to you." Well, if you know me, you know that I was a giddy girl who jumped up and down for a while after the job offer.

Well, that excitement quickly led to some major tear-shedding on Friday August 20th. You see, the job I interviewed for (or thought I was) was going to be teaching self-contained Special Education in the morning at the Jr. High and co-taught in the afternoon at the High School. Well, Friday morning, there I was at Teacher Institute meeting a LOT of new faces, getting keys, seeing my rooms for the first time, getting rosters, materials, making lists, and unpacking my already jam-packed car because I had been storing these items all summer. Little did I know that I was about to take on more than I realized. I found out at the high school that I wouldn't be co-teaching, rather I'd have a second classroom in which I'd be the teacher of Algebra 1b (Soph-Senior) and Algebra 1A (Freshman) as well as Biology and a class called Link. Wow- after the 40 min drive to get a TB shot read (which by the way had a reaction- an ALLERGIC one). I got home and had a major meltdown. Luckily, (or unfortunately) I had planned to have a garage sale Saturday and babysit 7 hours after that so I didn't have much time to fret on Sat. But Sunday, I just couldn't decide what to do. You see, Danville High School called me on Friday (while driving home) to see if I was interested in teaching there. What would I do there you may ask- teach one class (in one classroom) all day. Wow! SO MUCH LESS PLANNING and SO MUCH MORE PAY!

I decided that I'd already committed to one job and that it was too much to ask myself to do it all perfectly at the beginning. So, I've been setting up my classrooms and teaching simultaneously and so far, things are going okay. My co-workers are supportive and my students are much nicer than last year. So, I'm praying that this turns out to be the God-send I thought it was when I was jumping up and down Thursday Aug. 19th. However, I do have a few prayer requests... namely, that I get the appropriate technology needed to teach a classroom. Secondly, that I find a way to budget my time so I am not working the 14 hour days (or more) that I've put in thus far. Third, that I get a easy to use system to run my Reading-Language Arts class in a room full of students with various needs. With love, Care

Monday, August 30, 2010

reminder

Someone remind me why I went into special ed?!?!?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Got a job and MUCH more


Okay- so I got a job teaching at PBL today! I start tomorrow and I am so relieved. God certainly tested my faith but my spirits never did waiver. I mean, I did pray and fast for a job last spring! So PBL Jr High/HS, here I come!

Let me give you a brief overview since my last post...

Tuesday was good- I went to the pool with Paula for about 4 hours in the cold overcast day. So much for not seeing students at work (as several co-workers had said) I saw 4!!! I had pizza with Tony and Chris and I watched the Changeling- good movie but it angered me a lot!

Wed- I got my Physical and TB test done and will need to go back tomorrow to get the results. I made lunch with Chris, swam with Trisha, went wedding dress shopping with Jessi, dropped off water at RUM and took Paula to swim therapy. I also got a call saying that I would have an interview thurs.

Today- I interviewed, beat myself up most of the drive, got groceries at Meijer, went to the Library, napped, walked the dog, showed Jessi how to use a wedding budget tool and found out I got the job and set up a garage sale and loaded my car with teaching supplies...

I am ONE BUSY GIRL!!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pools, cards, birthdays, and more

So, let me get you up to speed since Friday. Friday, at some point, I strained a muscle in my back which led to me getting little sleep on Friday night. Sat, when my alarm went off after staying up late, it was really hard to get up. However, I made it on my way to my 3 hour trek to Lil's place. Lilian had Lisa, Heather and myself over for the day. We totally had a blast! We ate great food at a deli (http://www.jasonsdeli.com/) and then went swimming at her local pool. This pool wasn't like the one we have in Champaign though- it was much nicer! It has lap lanes, huge tube slides and water slides, it also had diving boards and a waterfall that you jump off. (Since no one had a camera- Google images below)


We had so much fun and the water made me temporarily forget how much pain my back was in. We had dinner at Fox and Hound which turned out to be great and we enjoyed playing cards (well maybe not Lil as much) . I had so much fun- the pace was totally my speed. To me there is nothing better than sitting around talking/ playing cards/ just being with friends. I also got to show Lilian the wedding budget tool that made my life so much simpler when planning our wedding. (http://planning.theknot.com/wedding-budget)

Sunday, we got a late start getting up because we stayed up til 3 talking. So, we arrived at the very busy restaurant a bit later than planned. But, breakfast was amazing. Lilian ordered this apple pancake which looked more like apple pie and tasted like cinnamon rolls with apple.
(The picture below was the closest resemblance I could find on google images)

I got this amazing Banana French Toast that was rolled in corn flakes and topped with bananas- delish! I truly enjoyed every moment spent with my girls! On the way back, I missed my road when it split and had to take an alternate route. I arrived at my niece Olivia's 2nd birthday party late but I did get to see her play with her new toys (wooden make-up kit, bubble blowers, wagon, "whooshing" and more)


and I got to watch her eat her chocolate cupcake with green icing!! We hung out all day and played some cards until nearly midnight.

Today, I woke up so exhausted that I hit "snooze" for an hour. I don't do that- EVER! I had a great "Back to School Breakfast with my old co-workers: Jackie Baxter, Jill Cappa, and Carah Ferrill. Afterward, I decided to "suck-it-up" and pick up a substitute application that turns out to be a book and a mile long list of things to do before getting hired. This evening, I volunteered at our church's "Back to School Blast" and I felt so overwhelmingly humbled and grateful for my church. They gave out so many freebies to the people in our community who just really could use a hand. Our church gave our backpacks and school supplies that our members donated. They gave free professional haircuts, family photographs, manicures, dinner, food from the food pantry to take home and they also had inflatables and games set up in the gymnasium. After I painted nails of some very familiar faces for 2 hours, I got my free dinner and I sat so awed at how wonderful our God is and how grateful I am to be a part of such a generous group of believers.

When I got home, Trisha came back and we walked Cooper and Deja together and watched the dogs play together. We did several rounds of card games that ended around 11:30. It has been so much fun lately!