Tuesday, December 25, 2007

It's a new blog

So it's possible you noticed that I changed the blog (it's also possible you didn't). The other one was created before I had my Gmail account. Problem with that is I didn't realize this blogger site was linked to Gmail or Google in any way, and so when I did get all hooked up with Google and Gmail and my Google homepage and picture page it sucked to sign into the blog under a different user name because it signed me out of all that other stuff. That said, I also didn't want to just pick up with something fresh and brand new. I thought it was important to keep all the old posts about our whole engagement since that was a lot of the reason I started blogging to begin with. So here I have taken all of the posts from the old blog and posted them at once. While they may have the stamp of December 26th, I left the actual dates within the posts themselves for anyone who cares to read back.

And here's the latest...

Our wedding was absolutely fabulous. Everything went off without a hitch. The place looked gorgeous, everyone was there, and things ran smoothly. I cried during our vows that we wrote but it was just because they were beautiful. We got a ton of compliments on the ceremony and how beautiful it was. Lots of people told us that they cried - even our caterer who was just there to get the event started with us. The reception was so pretty. Everyone said the food was delicious, even though we didn't get to eat a lot of it ourselves. We tried to get around to talking with everyone but as one of our friends pointed out, if we had spent only one minute with each guest it would have taken us over three hours to talk to all of them! The reception was only five hours so we did our best to talk to the closest family and friends and then met others on the dance floor. Sadly I know there were people I never saw. They all seemed to have a great time though and that's what we really wanted. By the end of the night we had to head back to our house, finish packing up some last minute stuff and head to the airport. It was a late night but worth every minute.

We flew out of Dulles at 8:45 Sunday morning. We were both so exhausted that we couldn't hold our eyes open but so uncomfortable on the plane that sleep was out of the question. It was a rough 4 hours. We landed in Aruba at 2:00 local time (1:00 EST) and it was raining, just like in D.C. when we had left. Fortunately the big difference was that it was 80 degrees in Aruba compared to D.C.'s 33. It was clear by the time we left the airport and our week in paradise had begun. We went to the beach every day and also spent some time at the hotel's pools and lazy river.

We didn't venture far from the resort except for a few activities we decided were musts. One evening we went into downtown Oranjestad (the capital) for some shopping only to find that stores close around 6pm. With that we were off to find our fondue restaurant where we planned to have dessert. After walking about 10 minutes through some back streets - not labeled, mind you - we found the place in what I would consider the semi-ghetto beside the police station. It looked like a gingerbread house. I took a picture of Josh standing beside it (it looked to small for him to fit in) and we went in. The place was totally empty. There wasn't even a person at the host/hostess station. Finally someone came from around a corner and asked us if we had a reservation, then assured us we "didn't really need one." Who knew? It was awkward but we ordered our dessert and enjoyed some chocolate fondue with the usuals- strawberries, pineapple, marshmallows, cheesecake, brownies, and some others. When we left it was dark so we walked a little faster to get back to the main road and hopped the bus back to the resort.

Another night we took a sunset pirate ship cruise. It was basically a boat with an open bar. They took us to this cove where some people swung from a rope out into the water. It looked like fun but we hadn't brought towels or anything like that so we just watched. When people were finished with that we began sailing back to where we started from and watched the sun set the entire time. I took a million pictures.

On our last night we dressed up and went out to a fancy dinner at an Italian restaurant beside the lighthouse at the north point of the island. Our reservation was for 6:00 so we were guaranteed a fabulous view of the sunset from our corner table on the patio. It was super romantic. Everyone was getting up and taking pictures. I had to put my fork down because of where we were sitting, I would have been taking a bite of food in everyone's pictures. Just after the sun went down a huge storm cloud rolled over. We were moved up to the covered patio where we enjoyed probably the most delicious meal I've ever eaten. I had some huge tortelinis stuffed with 4 cheeses in a vodka sauce with baked chicken. Josh had chicken parmigiana. We both had a drink and dessert to follow, of course. Any restaurant where you can order a plate of strawberries and a chocolate cupcake filled with hot chocolate is a place for Josh and I. YUM.

Sunday morning we had to check out by 10:00. We were a little early so we just headed to the airport. Our flight out didn't leave until 4:00 but we had plenty of reading material so we figured we'd make ourselves comfortable. As the time got closer we heard that our plane was late because of a mechanical problem. Everyone loves to hear that. Turns out we didn't get off the ground until 8pm. Fortunately, we didn't have any connections, once we landed in D.C. we were getting in the car and going home. Although a place like Aruba is painful to leave, once we were home we were happy to be here.

We got home late on the 23rd, spent the 24th trying to recover and clean up the house a little. Tuesday we went to Josh's parents' for Christmas in the morning and then to my mom's in the afternoon. At her house we eat dinner when everyone gets there, and then open presents after that. We finished everything up around 10pm and loaded up the car. Ben and Jenna decided to come back to our house with us because the boys wanted to play Rock Band on Josh's XBox. We ended up going to bed at 3:45 am. Ben and Jenna spent all of Wednesday with us also. Our parents and other siblings came that evening to see us open our wedding gifts. After they all left Ben and Jenna hung around to play the Newlywed Game with us (lets, face it, they're practically married) and they ended up winning the rounds that we played. Hahaha. We also watched Superbad which I thought was pretty funny. Josh and I love Michael Cera from his Arrested Development days. So finally around 2am they decided to head home after being here for something like 28 hours.

Today has just been a struggle to get wedding and Christmas presents put away. I've washed more dishes than I ever care to for the rest of my life and I know there's more to go. Josh ran out to the store and I need to make a quick pie to take to my mom's tonight. We're exchanging presents with my step brothers and talking about weddings / wedding pictures. Oh what fun! Tomorrow should hopefully be a quiet day and then Sunday is my family's big Christmas party. Monday will be new year's eve and I think we're having some friends over. Tuesday will be my very sad last day of vacation before going back to work. I'm lucky that I'll only have 3 days before another week. That will hopefully make the transition smoother.

Alright, it's back to cleaning for me. I'm looking forward to more regular posts now that things have calmed down considerably!

Don't forget to check out our pictures -

37 Days...

Thursday, November 8, 2007
I heard myself say the other day that the wedding was 39 days away. I couldn't even believe it. Six weeks sounds so much longer than 39 days! And now it's just a couple days away from 5 weeks.Since the last post lots has happened. Biggest and most fun was my shower and bachelorette party last weekend. The shower started at 2, although a bunch of people came early which was fun. Jenna made some delicious food and put together a signature drink for the afernoon - snowflake martinis. I may have had too many (and too little to eat). But they were delicious and they kept me calm... and very very warm. Lots of people got to come to the shower and some of them I hadn't seen for a long time. The only downside was that I felt like I didn't get a chance to talk to everyone. People were yelling from the other end of the room while I opened gifts that they couldn't hear me or see the presents. I think they may have given up on me eventually. But I was feeling my martini's and I already thought I was being silly. I couldn't bring myself to shout and wave the gifts around. I just know I would have broken a lamp or something. The limo arrived at 6, and after a mild wardrobe dilemma, the girls were ready to go! We piled in and enjoyed some champagne Jenna provided for us on the way into Baltimore. We had dinner at Houlihan's at the inner harbor and then headed over to Power Plant to Howl at the Moon. The plan was to go different places, but we ended up having such a good time there that we stayed until it was time to go. It was very entertaining, as always. We laughed and sang and laughed some more. The girls even put together enough money to get me on stage! It was crazy but very fun. I even got called back up on stage later but that time it was to do a dance for some guy's birthday. I opted to do a dance with this other drunk girl who was up there too. We kind of saved each other because neither of us had any interested in dancing for this dude. I was willing to do a variety of shots including an irish car bomb with Jenna, Jello in a large plastic syringe(?) with Annie & Dina, and a girl scout cookie with Sam! It was a blast :o)In other weddinig news, I found my centerpieces and bought my shoes. I've also paid a few more deposits / balances. What fun! I'm excited that things are getting done, I just have to worry about the things that aren't done. Up next- putting center pieces together, buying some decorations for the altar, and some detailed "day of" stuff. Other than the wedding though I have Christmas shopping and a 10-page paper to write for school. Those things intimidate me. Amy volunteered to go Christmas shopping with me though. I've learned that I just have to choose a day and get those things done. I'm hoping I can Christmas shop in one day... we'll see. I'm also pretty sure I can write my paper in one day, or maybe one weekend. Right now ER is on and this little post has taken me an awful long time to write. More later!

What's going on, eh?

Saturday, October 13, 2007
For lack of a better title, this post is basically an update of what we've been doing for the past couple weeks since September 25th. That's what a blog is for, right? Once again, I talk about the wedding and school (both hopkins and banneker) since those things pretty much consume my life. I put subtitles in case some people don't have the time (or don't care) to read this entire, massive blog posting.Wedding- We met with a pastor who Josh's parents knew. He was fantastic. We were very in sync with our beliefs and attitudes about our faith and all that. He was more than willing to do the ceremony for us. He agreed at the outrageousness of the huge price tag associated with "other" pastors (not to mention names). We discussed that and how wrong we think it is to turn church into a money-making business. We also pretty much solidified things with our musicians. They are friends of a friend of Josh's sister. It's a little sketchy, but I think it's going to work out. I've only emailed with one guy out of the quartet. He just needs us to tell him what music we want played. I've never heard them play as a quartet and am not sure how they're going to prepare for the wedding, but I'm just going to have faith about that because it's something that I just can't start over with right now. The friend of Josh's sister is a girl who has studied music at conservatories and such throughout her college years and the quartet are her friends whom I assume have done the same. They are probably extraordinarily talented and are going to do an amazing job. I'm stoked. I also think I have the music selected, I just have to run through it with Josh to make sure he agrees.Work- It's getting pretty crazy around this place. I may have mentioned last time that the kids are starting to come out of their shells and getting more and more talkative. I had to give my first detention for the year to a girl who has huge attitude and refused to do what I told her to. She think's she's something big. Ha. Professionally, I'm also feeling less enthusiastic about that place. Not that I've ever really loved it, but the negatives are building. There are just all of these initiatives and procedures that they expect us to handle and take care of on top of all the regular teaching duties. One big issue right now is an initiative based on "cultural awareness" that basically blames teachers for african-american and hispanic students consistently performing lower than white and asian students. We were literally told that teachers need to take more personal and professional responsibility for student achievement and stop blaming external forces like parents, community, and culture. Ok, biologically the achievement gap shouldn't be happening because by race we aren't biologically that different. But don't tell me that culture plays no part in that. Don't tell me that socio-economic status has nothing to do with it. In fact, socio-economic status is the number one predictor of academic success, NOT race. So maybe we need to close the socio-economic gap and take pains to make sure that less affluent children are achieving at the same level as thier wealthier counterparts. I'm getting really sick of the "blame teachers first" attitude that Montgomery County takes. They think it makes parents happy beacuse parents and children have no accountability or responsibility for anything. But unfortunately it hurts the school system in the long run when teachers get burned out or jaded and have a bad attitude toward their job. I won't lie, staff morale at my school is in the toilet. I'm seriously considering (as I have in both of the past 2 year) attempting a move to Howard county for the next school year. Not to say they don't have their own issues, but at least I can compare the two from my year of internship experience. I know enough to know where I'd be happier.Hopkins- You know, right now it's just another thing I have to do. It's on my nerves and it's depressing to think it won't be over after this semester and that I'm going to have to keep going on like this for several years. I'm hoping only two or two and a half if I can get some extra credits in over the summers. But the papers that are due, when the heck am I going to write them? I can't even get the books read. The material isn't difficult, it's pretty common sense. The biggest issue is time. It's time consuming to read hundredes of pages. It's time consuming to sit down and write a 10 page paper. And on top of the hundreds of papers I need to grade, and all of the other things that go on in any given week there's just not time. But again, I figure this semester will suck big time and then the others will seem easier. I'm also taking classes that are general counseling and not necessarily geared toward what I'm actually interested in doing. It's about deep therapy for people who have big time problems and dealing with them in a way that would be totally inappropriate for school children. Not to mention (and I'll let this be my last complaint) that after working a full day with my little monsters, I don't really feel like sitting in a circle and pretending to be a counselor or have a group discussion with everyone in the room staring at me. I know it's a personal and interactive askill that they are trying to teach us, but I'm just not in the mood for it at that point. Alright, Hopkins crap over.In other general M and Josh news- We painted! It was an adventure. It was a last minute decision because we finally decided to have a housewarming party and figured that could force us into taking care of some of the stuff around the house that we really wanted to do. So I went through all the trouble of choosing a color. I actually had found one of those post-card thingies that shows examples of a color scheme in a room. I really like this one room that had light blue walls and dark wood floors with dark wood chairs and some other dark wood (or black) accessories. We eventually plan to put dark wood floors down so this was perfect. We have kind of a "New England cottage" vision for the decor. Anyway, the color quoted on this post card did not look like the color in the picture and I posited that if we used the color it told us to, Cake Stand Blue, then we would be disappointed because it wouldn't look like the picture but would look like cake stand blue in our house with our lighting. After some deliberation I chose another color that I thought would do. We began painting last Saturday, 10/6. We were so awesome that we painted the whole living room/dining room area in one day. Sadly the color was not quite what I had in mind. It was definitely too dark and too blue. I had been thinking about this as we were paiting but told myself it was just the lighting at that moment or it was that I wasn't used to seeing the walls that color. By the time we went to bed that night I was freaking out because I knew I honestly did not like the color and I didn't know what to do about it. I talked to Josh and he agreed that if I didn't like the paint we could re-do it. I felt awful for wasting the money and time we had already spent but I knew I couldn't look at that paint for any length of time. So the next morning I got up and went to Home Depot and Lowes to collect all of the lightest blue paint samples that I could find. I came home with about a 2" stack of paint chips. I sat down with the picture I liked, the paint chip we had already used, and all of the new samples. I then separated all the ones that were as dark or darker than the paint I didn't like. Once I had the ones that were light enough I had to eliminate any that were too gray, too green, too purple, or too white. Then I was left with about 10 samples that I had no good way to choose between. So I took all of them and stuck them on the painted wall to compare with the bad color and decided to pick out the ones that looked lightest against that color. There were 3. One I decided was too white and I let Josh pick between the other two. He choose one called "Chilly Morning." It took us the rest of the week to repaint. Josh finally finished today while I was at his cousin's baby shower. It looks amazing- exactly what I wanted the first time. Now we have to do the trim, but that's no big deal. At least there aren't any concerns over the color of that. So now that this is officially the longest post ever, I will close by saying that Josh beat the game Bubble Bobble (original NES) and is very proud of himself. I'm proud of him too :o) Thanks for reading!

Think School Started?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007
I realized that I haven't posted since the first day that I returned to work from summer break, August 16th. It has been nothing but chaos ever since. Wedding plans, new school year, grad school... all those things I talked about in that last post have consumed my life. If I hadn't just broken my Adobe Reader a second ago, I'd still be doing homework. Do you believe it's been so long that I forgot my password to this thing? Yikes.An update on wedding plans- invitations are sent and responses are coming in. It's very exciting! I am still struggling to find a musician for the ceremony and I think we have finally gotten a preacher to agree to marry us. I also have my first dress fitting on Thursday. We'll see how that goes. I'm a little intimidated by the seamstress because she didn't want to do any weddings in December, but agreed to do mine and she's like a friend of a friend of a friend (or something). So I feel guilty that she's doing mine, as if I'm putting her out. I hope she doesn't get mad at me for anything. I'll let you know how it goes. And, we have rehearsal dinner booked which was a delightful adventure in itself. Dinner will be at Matthew's 1600 in Catonsville. My stepbrother just had his there last week and I decided to visit after hearing my mom rave about it. Josh and I made those reservations ourselves and weathered a brief storm with his parents as a result. But, no surprises there.An update on school- this new "ActivBoard" that they put in my classroom is a neat little thing. Only trouble is, it takes twice the time to plan a lesson because you have to do all the ordinary planning and then build a "flipchart" to be able to teach the lesson using the board. It's supposed to be interactive so the students are using the board, but sadly I have little time to incorporate things like that into my lessons because we still have our standard amount of planning time during the school day. Mine usually gets used to show directions or vocabulary words. Sometimes I use it for visual aids (pictures and such) if I can throw it together in time. Other people use theirs for all kinds of sound effects and videos and have kids doing neat things with them. I have my theories, but I honestly don't know where they get the time.An update on grad school- it's going well. I have to say it takes up every second that I'm not at work or driving to or from work. As soon as I get home in the afternoons I start reading and/or writing up an assignment. Josh has been good about making dinner, soI get to eat, and then it's back to work until shower time. I'm interested in what I'm studying, but at the same time I have so much else going on that I almost feel like I don't care. I've resorted to reading chapter summaries in my one textbook and have no idea how I'm going to finish 196 pages of another memior-type book by next Wednesday. It's a common complaint amongst any college student, but it's like these professors think all you have to do in your life is their classwork. I don't know what I'll do when the research papers are due. Unfortunately it will be at the time that I am busiest with wedding stuff.And I just have to note, my stepbrother's wedding on Friday night was exquisite. It was at the Elkridge Furnace Inn. The ceremony and reception were both outdoors, the weather was perfect, the food was amazing and I got some fantastic pictures. I will post them somewhere as soon as I can. I do have them on my computer, they just aren't published anywhere yet. Their wedding made me so excited for mine. They were second out of the three we had this year. Now it's just us that's left. I really can't believe it. And I really can't believe October is staring us in the face.Speaking of October, there are thoughts of a housewarming party somewhere in there. Keep an ear/eye out for more info. Nothing's for positive yet :o) Hope all is well!

When do you go back?

Thursday, August 16, 2007
That's a really evil question. For some reason non-teachers think that it's a good conversation starter. As a teacher, I don't want to think about when I have to go back. Yet, once August hits and the entire "Seasonal" section of Target is piled high with fresh school supplies, everyone wants to know when we have to go back. When you're going on vacation, do you like to think about and talk about when you have to come home? Not unless your house is flooding or there is something equally alarming or exciting waiting for you.In spite if my desire for eternal summer, the beginning of a new school year is both alarming and exciting. I always look forward to a new batch of kids and imagine them all being tiny and nice, unlike the creatures I have so recently bid "good riddance. " I look forward to putting new policies into place and seeing how they'll work out. I look forward to doing better this time and growing as a professional. I get excited to set up my classroom, hang my posters, and do my best to make it look like an inviting learning environment. I get excited to make the students excited about learning.But, a new school year is also alarming. It's alarming that I'm starting my third year already. It's alarming that I'm basically starting over as far as lessons go because my room has been outfitted with this state-of-the-art "ActivBoard" that has replaced my chalkboard, overhead, and tv. I am very excited to use this nifty piece of technology, yet alarmed that I will be observed by the higher-ups on an almost daily basis to ensure the board is being utilized properly and to evaluate its effectiveness. I'm alarmed at the thought of another group of kids even approaching the little terrors that I had last year. I am comforted only by my 4 summer school kids who were so nice.Above and beyond all that, the start of this school year means my life is that much closer to changing forever. In a few short weeks my step-brother gets married. Just less than 3 months after that is my wedding. Balances are due, parties are being planned, details and decorations are being decided upon, and invites are being addressed. All of the many details are going to have to get worked out while I'm teaching. More than that, I start grad school on August 29th, two classes, two nights a week. It's going to be a challenge to get all the fine details settled while so much else is going on. Let's not forget, planning 5 lessons for a substitute while I'm gone on my honeymoon.In other words, we know it's going to work out. Just wish me luck. And somebody, please, tell me if I'm becoming bridezilla :o)


Tuesday, August 7, 2007
We have been engaged for 1 year today! I know a lot of couples don't end up being engaged for a whole year before their wedding, so for us it was a fun date to recognize and celebrate. I can't believe it has been a year. The time goes quickly, and yet I can barely remember what it was like before we were together. A lot has happened in a year that we have to be grateful for. We have been very blessed as a couple. That reassures us that beyond a doubt we are meant to be together.At this point, a year after getting engaged, we have most of our wedding plans made. And I'll be honest, I thought I'd have more made by now than I actually do. I taught summer school so that slowed me down some. But other than that, things just take time. Meetings have to be scheduled, research has to be done. All in all I'm very happy with my progress though. We have a place, food, drink, music, flowers, dresses, photography, invitations, and at least ideas for most of the remaining things. Right now my biggest focus is on tuxedos, creating the "altar" since we aren't getting married in a church, rehearsal dinner, and getting invitations addressed. I have dates for my shower and bachelorette party that the bridesmaids are lovingly planning. It's not half bad. The only thing I have some minor stress over is our ceremony musicians whom we haven't heard from recently and need to talk business with.Josh had originally planned to take off work today so we could spend the day together. Unforutnately, I had to attend a training for work this morning in Rockville so he decided to pick a different day instead. As a result, I will be spending the rest of today putting the dresser together (yes the dresser), cutting down some hedges in the front yard, and possibly giving the dog a bath. I also need to go to the store- there is no bread, milk, or bottled water. And since 90% of our diet includes cereal or sandwhiches, there may as well be nothing to eat at all. That's a little "engaged-couple" humor for ya ;o)And Amy, you should defnitely start one! If you can't decide, go back and read my very first post

Worth an afternoon in Philly

Sunday, August 5, 2007
How far would you go for matching furniture?This is a question I had to answer yesterday. About a week ago we bought a dresser from Ikea to match our bed and nightstands. For some reason we didn't think to measure before we made the purchase and discovered that the dresser was to big for the space we were putting it in. We decided to head back to Ikea and see what else they had that would be a reasonable replacement. We looked at the dresser that was the next size smaller (6-drawer instead of 8). It was discontinued in the finish we needed. We looked at a dresser of similar style but the finish was too different for our taste. We looked at a wardrobe in the same finish but decided it might be impossible to move once assembled. We considered closet organization (which was far more expensive, at least by Ikeas pricing). And after all of this decided to just go home.Upon returning home we did some quick online searching for the 6-drawer dresser. As luck would have it, there were 30 of these dressers in stock at the Philadelphia store. So we called to see what our options were. They would not transfer it, and because it was discontinued would not hold one for us until we could get there. We decided our only choice if we wanted matching furniture would be to take an impromptu road-trip to Philly for the afternoon.So, with that we packed up the car with a box of cereal, a bag of Goldfish crackers, and a bottle of water and hit the road at 3:45pm. It's only a 2-hour drive to Philadelphia. We arrived at Ikea at 5:45 on the dot. We found our way to the self-serve furniture and the correct aisle/bin where the dresser was supposed to be. NEAT- it was on sale for $159 instead of $219 on account of its pending extinction. However, there were only two boxes on the shelf, both ripped open, and both were box 2 of 2. Josh went to ask someone and returned with a concerned expression. The dressers were there, however they were up high and could only be retrieved after the store was closed. If we wanted to wait around until closing at 9pm, we could have the dresser for $109 instead of $159. Was there even a choice? We had driven two hours, if we left we would probably never get our hands on a dresser that matched.James, the kind associate, gave us suggestions about how we could kill 2 and half hours in that part of Philadelphia. We decided on a bite to eat at Chick-Fil-A, a walk through Target, and a walk through Best Buy. That got us to 7:00. We spent the rest of the time sitting in all the little rooms in the Ikea showroom picking apart what we liked and didn't like about them. I think we even picked out a scheme for our own living room.At 8:45 we made our way back down to self-serve furniture to find James. He promptly made a call - "That couple from Baltimore, they're back" he said. When he hung up he walked us to the registers, had a little chat with the guy who was monitoring self-check out and then waved us to the next open register. He put in our special price and sent us over to the Swede Cafe to wait with our receipt. We stood there from about 9:00-9:40 watching customers pass through with their "final selections" and associates buzz around tidying and closing things down. As the lights around us began to turn off, we saw in the distance a cart being pushed by James who was running toward us with it. He came to a skidding stop on his sneakers and presented us our cart with a bow (no joke). We shook hands, thanked James, and James thanked us, and then we were off.Pulling out of the Ikea parking lot at 9:45 we decided the day hadn't been half bad. It wasn't a long drive, we got to have our fill of south Philadelphia- diminishing any need to return to the city, the Ikea staff was more than obliging, and we got our matching dresser. "Tell me you love this thing," Josh said. "It's perfect," I told him. And we decided that made it well worth an afternoon in Philadelphia.

The post without a purpose

Tuesday, July 31, 2007
No surprise, last week was a busy one. Hence why it's almost a week since my last post. The craziness started with Tuesday night at the 9:30 Club. We went to see Silverchair, probably Josh's favorite band of all time. Some of us were familiar with them in middle school for an album called Frogstomp and/or a song called Tomorrow. I have to admit that I haven't listened much to them since then. There have been songs on the radio that I've known by them without realizing it was Silverchair. But since dating Josh I have been caught up on the music I've missed over the years since Frogstomp. The newest album, Young Modern was just realeased in the U.S. last week on the night of the concert but Josh had ordered it months ago from Australia so we had been enjoying it since then. The concert turned out to be a blast. I hadn't been to the 9:30 Club for years and I knew pretty much every song they played-- all those songs from the radio over the years.Wednesday night we went to the Verizon Center for Ben Folds and John Mayer. Anyone who isn't familiar with Ben Folds should get to know him. Every piece of his music is loveable. John Mayer is more of the pretty face, but I always enjoy his music too. This concert had a little less energy than Silverchair though because we were in seats and considerably farther away from the stage. But my back hurt less when it was time to leave.I think we didn't have any plans on Thursday so we stayed in and watched Arrested Development. Then on Friday we met for lunch at Red Robin with some of Josh's co-workers and he surprised me by taking the rest of the day off. We went home and took a little nap lasting from 2pm until slightly after 6. Then Josh's brother Connor and his friend Jason came over and brought us a washing machine since the one at our house was leaking transmission fluid. Who knew your washing machine would do that? Then it was off to the party at Josh's old roommates' house. As a result of our 4-hour nap, we were awake until about 4am.Saturday was spent doing things around our house including buying some needed furniture and hooking up the washing machine. On Sunday we had a cookout at my mom's with my step-brothers and their girlfriends. It was a lot of fun since my one step-brother has been in some trouble and we haven't seen him for a few years.And here I am back into the work week, but luckily it's the last week of summer school. This week is pretty low-key, hey maybe I'll get some wedding plans made! But next week is shaping up to be pretty crazy again. I'll catch up with this when I can :o)

Two down, Mine to go!

Monday, July 23, 2007
Another spectacular weekend has come and gone, and so has another beautiful wedding shower. That leaves just ME of the three we were part of this year. I'm totally amazed that I am going to be married soon.Our weekend was practically a blur. Friday night we didn't have plans so we drank wine and watched Arrested Development. I think I said this before, but you really should pick those up. It was fun to just sit around and laugh together at all the dumb things we think are funny. Saturday morning involved some sleeping in, snuggling, and then a lot of housework. We worked really hard all day trying to get our dining room cleaned out, bins labeled and stashed, and some shelves put together and filled. It was fun to go through some old books and pictures and actually sit some of them out. I finally have a place to do that. About 9:00 we stopped and decided we should have dinner. I threw some chicken tacos together and we finished eating right before Ben and Jenna came over for a sleepover. We had stuff to do with them on Sunday so they came to hang out with us Saturday night. We somehow got to talking about people from high school and ended up looking through old yearbooks and talking about people. That is always a blast. Sunday everyone had to be up early. Josh and Ben were going to play paintball all day while Jenna and I were attending Annie- my step-brother's fiance's wedding shower in Annapolis. We had a very pretty Spanish themed brunch and watched her open her presents. It was a lovely time. I'm really excited for their wedding. I'm not sure how many of you know about this year's wedding trio between Josh's family and mine. We had three big family weddings this year. First was his brother Nathan's on June 16th. Three months later is my step-brother Rick's on September 21st, and three months after that is ours on December 15th. We knew this year would go by quickly once the weddings started because they were all only 3 months apart. So this weekend was the shower for the second of those three. That means I'm next! It also means we need to get busy with some of the plans we still have left. Upcoming this week however, we have a Silverchair concert at the 9:30 Club tomorrow, a Ben Folds/John Mayer concert on Wednesday at the Verizon Center, a party Friday night and a cookout on Sunday. This is what lists are for. I think I'll go make one. More later! (i.e. whenever I can) :-)

Two Down, Two to Go

Friday, July 20, 2007
Today ended week 2 of summer school! Yay! It's finally a weekend again and we don't have anything planned for tonight. I think we're trying to kill a bottle of wine and laugh our asses off watching episodes of Arrested Development. (Real mature, right?) If you never watched that show, you should go out and buy the seasons on DVD. There are only three, but don't let that deter you- it was a fantastic show. I myself never watched it until after it had been canned.Shockingly I don't really have anything new to report about the wedding except that it's closer. We're officaially inside 5 months at this point. It still feels far away. But you know how Christmas and the whole "holiday season" always seem to creep up out of nowhere? Suddenly it's Christmas an everyone's in a mad rush? It always feels like you still have plenty of time until one day you realize that there are 2 shopping Saturdays left until the 25th. I'm pretty sure my wedding is going to do that to me. Hopefully I'll be prepared. I'm trying to do things extra early like sending invitations out 3 months ahead instead of two, ordering everything early and so forth. I just want as much done before school as possible and school is all too close.In other news, Josh just got promoted on Wednesday and it couldn't have come at a better time. We're getting ready to make our first mortgage payment and this just makes me feel that much better about our chances of survival on whatever money we have left over. Ok, so I'm confident we'll survive, but it's still a little scary. I should post some pictures of the house since lots of our friends have not been here to see it. We decided not to have a housewarming until after the wedding when we have all of our new stuff. We still have a lot of boxes around and other things that I'd like to take care of before we have any serious company. I really want to paint.But for now I want some dinner. I had a slice of pizza at 11 am and it's now 5:40, ugh. I'm in the process of getting pictures set up on my shutterfly page- but it's definitely a process. I'll put links in the blog when I get everything posted. Keep an eye out!

The End is Near

Sunday, July 15, 2007
Our trip to New York last weekend was an absolute blast. We stuck pretty closely around midtown and hit all the points of interest in that area. We started with the Empire State Building. Josh pointed everything out to us from the top including Yankee Stadium, Greenwich Village, the Friends apartment building, ground zero and the general location of the Ghostbusters firehouse- a personal favorite of his. After that we headed downstairs to have lunch at Heartland Brewery and sample some of the beer. We then worked off our lunch calories by traveling to Rockefeller Center, NBC studios, FAO Schwartz, and a stroll through Central Park. We finished up back in Times Square at Toys 'R Us (Josh is very at home in a toy store). There was just enough time after that to grab a slice of authentic New York pizza and a delicious smoothie from Jamba Juice for the bus trip home. Although exhausting, a day in Manhattan is never less than exciting.
See our pictures!As for the rest of the week, I made it through the first of 4 weeks of summer school. My students, all four of them, are very nice and well behaved. At first I wasn't sure how all of the activities would work with only four students. Some things were planned for groups and rotating around the room, but most of that was impossible with so few people. So, being the super teacher that I am, I adapted most of the activities to suit my class. If we finished things early, we chatted and got to know each other or took water fountain breaks. And by the end of the week, every single one of my four students had raised their grade from their pre-test scores at the beginning of the week. All in all, I considered it a successful start.
I was very happy for another weekend to roll around. Getting up at 6-something in the morning came back and hit me hard. By mid-week I was barely able to hold my eyes open when 3:00 pm rolled around. We had a really fun weekend though. Friday night we had no plans so we just got to hang out and spend time together. Saturday we made a lot of effort at getting things done and seemed to be foiled in every attempt. Best Buy didn't have the right hard-drive casing Josh needed and Jo-Ann's didn't have the boxes I needed as part of the centerpieces for the wedding. After multiple trips out to multiple stores, we were finally able to track down one of the needed hard-drive casings. Then it was time to go to Nathan & Erin's "Housecooling" party where we drank, caught up with friends, and relaxed for the rest of the night. This morning we got up and headed to Perryville for our "neice" Lucy's baptism. It was lovely and she is an incredibly beautiful child. After her baptism we made a quick run to Pasadena- actually to a skating rink I used to skate at when I was a little kid- for a friend's son's birthday party. The kids were pumped about their Transformers gift cards. If you haven't seen them, go to Target and find one. It's a gift card that actually transforms. How cool, right? And now it's time to settle in and prep for week two of summer school. After this summer school will be half over, leaving me 2 more weeks of teaching and only a week and a half after that before pre-service week starts. And you know that once school starts this fall my wedding will be just around the corner! I'm pumped :o)

Hell Hath No Fury...

Friday, July 6, 2007
Ok ok, so he wasn't that mad, but he wasn't that happy either. If you've been following the story in my blog, I'm talking about our pastor whom I had to tell recently that he was no longer officiating at our wedding. I sent what I thought was a very kind and respectful email explaining that a family member was going to perform the ceremony instead and that this in no way meant anything about our feelings towards him or the church. Nevertheless, I got an email back that I wish he had been as careful in writing as I was with mine to him. He was clearly offended or insulted and wrote with a very condescending tone. He even made a few assumptions that were wrong and as a result offended us. How sticky! You never want to think negative things about your pastor, but it's often not until you get into a personal situation such as this one that you actually see the person instead of "the guy who gives sermons on Sundays." And we're all human so sometimes the real person may come across as all too real/ordinary when we were expecting extraordinary. Sure, we all get offended. We all have tempers. Heck, we all like to get our way. But most of us know to be careful what we say because of how it can be interpreted too.On a lighter note, we are headed to New York City tomorrow to sight see with fellow couple, Andy and Devin! Josh and I love to tour NYC and go whenever we get the chance. Look for pics soon! :o) Have a great weekend!

100 Years of Happy

Monday, July 2, 2007
It's Monday? Well I was going to say "yesterday" but since it's already Monday, I have to say that on "Saturday" we went to Hershey Park. For any who know me, they know what Hershey Park means to me- Heaven on earth. Josh's mom won 4 tickets to the park that a radio station was giving away in celebration of Hershey Park's 100th birthday. She decided to send Josh, me, Connor (Josh's brother) and his gf Kelly. We had so much fun and Josh even got on a roller coaster with me- the Great Bear! He hated it and I felt pretty bad about that afterwards. Luckily Kelly likes rollercoasters and she went on Storm Runner with me. That was intense! I was really glad I didn't ask Josh to ride that one. At the end of the day we bought some goodies at Chocolate World and most importantly a fantastic chocolate milk shake, which was my favorite part of the day.Sunday was basically spent visiting our parents because we had forgotten to get one thing from his parents and one thing from my parents house while we were there the day before. Blah.So now we're back to Monday and I'm doing laundry, blogging, and getting back to those wedding plans. The situation with the pastor and pre-marital counseling is pretty much solved. Upon talking to our parents about it all, we discovered that Josh's dad can perform marriage ceremonies. So we asked him if he would be willing to officiate at ours and he said he would. Now I just have to email the pastor back and basically "fire" him. I'm not gonna lie, I don't have warm fuzzies about doing that. This also leaves us with no place to rehearse since the ballroom where we're getting married is booked for events on both Friday night and Thursday night before our wedding. I'm considering just holding a "meeting" for the rehearsal where I get some poster board and explain the ceremony on a diagram. It is always nice to walk through it, but half of my wedding party is married and the others have all been in weddings before. The guys might be a different story. At least we have some time to work it out!And some final good news to part with- my purple exclamations on checklist are down to 2: book ceremony musicians, plan rehearsal dinner. Wohooo!

Flowers, invitations, hotels.. oh my!

Monday, June 25, 2007
I remember when I couldn't wait for summer break so I could just go nuts with the wedding plans. Well, here we are at summer break, and go nuts I have. Remember those pesky purple exclamation points I talked about before? They're still there. But this week I have been productive.I have spent a good part of the week printing Save The Date cards and little stickers to go inside that people can mark their calendars and planners with. This idea came from Martha Stewart and I thank her sincerely. Once they were printed they required separating, folding and the little stickers had to be cut and glued in. That stuff took up most of today. What did not take much time was ordering my invitations on Monday and getting them in the mail today. Yay!I have also spent this week trying to make a decision about flowers. My experience with two local florists was less than spectacular. I first just dropped by each place to talk to someone briefly about what might be available to me in December. That would at least give me a starting point to think about what I wanted. One place was very kind and showed me pictures and chatted about colors and so forth. The other place will remain nameless but could apparently offer no information about flowers because "the wedding lady" was not there at that time. Ok fine, I didn't have an appointment. So I called the next day and made an appointment for two days after that. Well surely I show up for this appointment and "the wedding lady" is just sitting down to her lunch. Needless to say she was no help to me. So I promptly pulled out my phone, took pictures of the arrangements in the book that I liked, and told the ladies I wasn't feeling well. Tomorrow I am going back to the first place (with an appointment) to place my order. Yay!One thing that is not going well at all is our required pre-marital counseling. Don't get me wrong, we haven't started the counseling yet. Scheduling it is the issue. Today I finally got in touch with the counseling service my pastor referred us to. Now mind you, this was not a suggestion, we were told this is the counseling service our pastor has a relationship with which we needed to use. I am told by this place that they actually require more counseling than my pastor does. Josh and I would need to have 10 one and a half-hour sessions of counseling to the tune of $160.00 per hour. An email was sent to the pastor saying we were unwilling to agree to this. More details as this story develops...And tonight I'm really feeling summer break-ish so I'm up way later than usual. I'm pretty excited to watch Conan O'Brien for the first time in a very very long time. That's where I'm off to. More later!

School's out for the Summer!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Our busy weekend has come to an end. Nathan and Erin's wedding was gorgeous. We had such a wonderful time. The ceremony started at 11am, followed by a reception until 5:30, and an after-party until about 10:30 that night. It was a long day of fun with friends and family. Everyone was beautiful and we all had a great time eating, drinking, and dancing the day away.Sunday was Father's day which we spent with Josh's parents and some of the remaining out-of-town guests. Then it was back to the work week for most people. For me, Monday was the first day of summer vacation! YAY! I got to sleep in and then spend the day cleaning at the new house. It felt good to be productive even if that meant scrubbing bath tubs and mopping floors... all the things I never have time or energy to do during the school year.Yesterday I had my graduate school interview at Johns Hopkins University where I am applying to the Master of Science in School Counseling program for this coming fall. The interview went well, and wasn't really much of an interview. My advisor, Dr. Alan Green, was a tall African-American guy wearing a Hawaiian shirt and dread-locks to his waist. He came across as slightly less than an intimidating figure. We sat down at a small round table where he asked me where I'm from, where I went to college, where I live now, and what I do for a living. He then asked why I chose counseling, and why I chose Hopkins. Upon answering those two questions, he began making suggestions for what classes I'll want to take in the fall, and then in the spring. He proceeded to have me sign a paper or two stating that I understand the expectations of the school for my performance and asked if I had any questions. "Yes, just one." I replied, "Does 29th street go back to 83?" He assured me that it would if I turned left. And we parted with a handshake and "Have a nice days." Simple as that, I'm officially a grad student.Today I need to go see a florist to talk about flowers for the wedding. has been keeping me on track with what to take care of and when. Not having planned a wedding before, I don't always know when it's time to start planning this piece or that piece. So I've been overdue on several things which is indicated by a purple exclamation point next to each overdue item on the checklist. Flowers is a big one. We did finally book our DJ, but we are still running behind schedule with flowers, invitations, and ceremony music. Oops. And with that, I'm going to run upstairs to get myself together and head over to the flower store!

Busy Little Bee

Friday, June 15, 2007
I only have a few minutes to type this while my laundry is washing. It's been a busy week and the weekend is about to get busier...Everything went well with settlement on the house and moving in. YAY! It is so fun to have our own space. Although for the past week we've been sharing it with a kitten who finally went home to Josh's aunt and uncle this morning. Boy was he cute, but he knew how to pluck your nerves (among everything else a kitten plucks - socks, cardboard boxes, shoes, and bare legs). He was the cutest kitten I have ever seen but I'm glad that he's not in my care anymore. I'll still get to see him when we visit Josh's aunt and uncle.Aside from all that, it was also the last week of school. I have been busy packing up my classroom and getting clearance signatures from pretty much everyone in the school saying that I've tied up all my loose ends around the building. Not to mention controlling the out-of-control children who were also aware it was the last week of school. I did such an awesome job of that actually that I was able to go in for just an hour this morning to turn in my keys and wait for the principal to see me and my list of signatures.The rest of the day today is being spent preparing for Nathan's wedding tomorrow (Josh's brother). We have a family lunch at 1:00, rehearsal at 6 and dinner at 7. Then tomorrow the wedding is at 11:00. Today I need to wash all kinds of clothes and pack up clothes for going out tomorrow night, and Sunday since we're staying in Frederick after the wedding. Sunday will probably be spent at Josh's parents' house since it's father's day. And what will I do with myself after such a busy week and no time to rest on the weekend??? It doesn't matter because I'm off work for the next 3 weeks :o)

Home Sweet Home

Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Tomorrow we settle on our house! It is one of the most exciting and scary things I've ever done. Josh and I are both very ready though. We have both lived on our own in less-than-ideal situations and now are just so happy to have a place of our own. There is so much that we're looking forward to.First of all, ownership in itself is huge. There is simply that much more freedom to make the place our own that you can't get when you rent an apartment. We're also really happy to have the freedom to live life on our own schedules. Currently we spend a lot of time visitng- we have to visit with each other, our parents, roommates. Having a house that is our own kind of gives us the chance to make our own schedules even if that means doing nothing. It's not that we don't want to visit with people, but when all of your time is spent visiting it's hard to ever get that relaxed feeling of just being "at home."I personally am very happy to have a fresh, fairly new (as houses go) space to inhabit. My parents' house is fine, don't get me wrong. But the house we bought was built in 1999 and almost everything is still fresh and bright and pretty looking. It's updated enough that we don't have many changes to make yet it's neutral enough that we have options to do whatever we want.Our concerns are naturally money, repairs that we'll be responsible for, and things like that. But the fact that we got this house with the contract we wrote convinced both of us that it's just plain meant to be. Every part of this home-buying experience has gone so well. We both have a lot of faith that everything is working out (and will work out) exactly how it's supposed to.

Birthday Weekend

Sunday, June 3, 2007
I'm 25 now! My actual birthday was Friday June 1st, but the celebration lasted all weekend. Friday was just a great day at work. It started with a planning period which is always great and my team leader treated both 6th grade teams to donuts in honor of my birthday. Throughout the rest of the work day my students were uncommonly well behaved. I even had 2 girls who I taught last year come down to my office during lunch time and bring me flowers, balloons, brownies, and a candle. The day also ended with a planning period which means I could have left early but I had hall duty so I graded some 3-week old papers instead.After school I had some time to relax with Josh before we met up with my familiy for an awesome dinner at P.F. Chang's in Columbia where I enjoyed crispy honey shrimp to the fullest. We followed dinner with brownies and ice cream at my mom's... delicious!Saturday morning was spent watching our favorite 4-year old, Ray play in his last tee ball game of the season. After that it was back to my house to prep for the party. We shopped, chopped, ate and entertained. The party was a blast. Almost everyone was able to make it and I had a great time getting to talk to everyone and catch up. I even got to meet Andy & Laura's new baby, Lucy who was precious beyond words.This morning when I woke up we still had some left over guests who enjoyed waffles and pastries with us for breakfast. I couldn't have asked for a better birthday weekend. And now that it's all over I have one last 5-day week of school remaining during which we will pack ourselves silly, settle on our house, and hopefully get Josh moved in. I can't wait!

One Year and a House

June 3, 2007 5:02 pm
Yesterday was our first anniversary. Hooray! First year of dating over.That said, we've come a really long way in one year. The biggest thing going on right now besides our wedding being 6 1/2 months away is that we've just bought a house! It was almost by accident. We just randomly started looking around at places to live-- inspired by my desire to work at a different school that the one I'm in now. Naturally, I discovered a place I just had to have. And Josh being the dedicated darling that he is got on the phone with the realtor (friends of his roommates) the very next day. As luck would have it, the place I just had to have was already under contract. But the realtor promised to find us something similar. Within a week's time we looked at a place on the Columbia/Elkridge line that was a tad out of our price range. Of course, we don't realize this until we walk through it exchanging adoring glances at the turn of every corner. But my husband is in the business of salary negotiations so when we sat down to write a conract it was for significantly less than the asking price and included all closing costs. We left feeling like it was never going to happen for us. If the seller countered it would probably bump the price out of our range. The odds of them accepting was slim. Nevertheless, we got a phone call the next day from our stellar (really stellar) realtor saying that our contract was accepted! We could hardly believe it but were incredibly excited. All we could say was that it must have been meant to be!Our seller had already moved to Florida and wanted to close as soon as possible so June 7th we settle and hopefully move Josh in over that weekend. I'll be there a heck of a lot, but won't officially move in until after the wedding.And of course as soon as we get set up we'll invite you over to check 'er out :o)

Try Anything Once

Tuesday, May 29, 2007
I'm trying a blog. Why? For a few reasons. I've never been crazy about these things. My thought was always, who cares that much about my life to read about it online? But I have been wanting to keep a journal lately. Sometimes I have sleeping troubles and I've been told that journaling can help. Though don't expect the deep dark secrets of my life... because there aren't any. But also because I've realized that I've gotten too busy for instant messaging. What has life come to when we feel to busy to instant message for goodness sake. You know we all do it: the perpetual away message so people won't talk to you when you don't have time to get into a conversation. Or not sending a message to someone even though you have something to tell them because you don't have time for a whole conversation.I decided that this was problematic lately when there has been so much going on in my life that even some of my closest, dearest friends don't know about. If that's not a sign you're getting too busy and out of touch, I don't know what is. So my solution was to create a blog. This way friends can read up whenever they have the opportunity, I don't feel like I'm becoming detached, and it saves you all from getting one of those long, lame letters at Christmas time.So here it is. You can thank me later (like at Christmas time).