Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Up in the Night

I'm sad and sorry that my blog posts have become few and far between. Tonight (last night?) I never fell asleep, so around 3:30am I came downstairs so my tossing and turning wouldn't disturb Josh. Now it's about 4:45am and I figure.... why not write a blog post? I've already tooled around on Facebook and read the weather and news.

So, my last post was on the first day of my second summer class and I feel like I've been non-stop ever since. That was Thursday, then Friday and Saturday I also had that class from 9am - 4pm but in addition we had company until midnight both nights! Friday night Josh's college friend Jimi brought over his puppy who we volunteered to dog-sit over the weekend. Her name is Bella and she is some type of Rottweiler mix. She looked a lot like Josh's parents dog that is lab + shiba inu. Anyway, she was very fun to have around and I got kind of attached. We had her until Sunday evening. Saturday night Connor and Kelly came over -- well because that's what we like to do on Saturday nights. They're great kids to hang out with. We always have a good time with them. I think we just had dinner and watched Arrested Development. Sunday we didn't do much at all - thankfully. I was pretty well wiped out.

Yesterday was exciting. I had my new employee orientation for Howard County. I got to sit in 2 giant meetings and stand in one giant line to learn all about the benefits and fill out endless paperwork. Seriously, it was more than when we settled on our house. My finger hurt from pressing the pen against it. I also got fingerprinted, always a joy. And to end the day I stood in line for an hour (no joke) to have my ID badge made. I still don't know what school I'll be in, but most of the people I met yesterday were in the same position so that made me feel better. The cut-off date for resignations is July 15th, so just over 2 weeks away. That means if any other positions are going to open up, it should be by then.

Also last night, Ben and Jenna came over for dinner. Jenna (alias: Regina Phalange, for confidentiality purposes) volunteered to be my "subject" for a battery of psychological tests I have to give for one of my classes. Yesterday we did an interview and three tests (depression inventory, anxiety inventory, and IQ estimator) and tonight in that class I got two more huge ones to give (an achievement test and a personality test). Wohoo! At least it's intersting in addition to being time-consuming.

And finally, the remainder of this week (really, today and tomorrow) will be spent getting ready for our trip to Florida. Josh's cousin just returned from a 2-year mission trip to Taiwan so we're going down for his homecoming celebration and to just spend a few days with the family. I have my 9am - 4pm class on Friday and Saturday, then we leave Saturday evening. We'll be back on Thursday the 3rd, just in time for 4th of July celebrations! YAY!

So this could be my last post for about a week or so, hard to say. I'll do my best to pick up the pace when I get back! :o)

And here's Bella.....

Thursday, June 19, 2008

12 Hours of Class + Surprise Job Interview

Today was the first day of my Thurs/Fri/Sat class. It's from 9am - 4pm. It's actually very interesting. It's all about the different disorders our counseling clients may be diagnosed with. Basically it's a class about using the DSM-IV. Anyway, as I'm walking out the door this morning, arms full of papers, purses, school stuff, etc., and my phone starts ringing. I got the door locked and pulled out the phone to see that it's the human resources guy from Howard county (whom I'd conveniently emailed the previous afternoon). He said there aren't many openings, but he was going to send me to this one school - Mayfield Woods Middle, it's right around the corner from our house. So he said call them and set up the interview.

I got to class, about 10 minutes into it my phone rings. It's Mayfield Woods Middle. The principal leaves me a voicemail saying she wants to interview me TODAY because she's going out of town tomorrow for the next week. Inconveniently, I'll be out of town the following week. The worst part is that I have class all day from 9-4 and then my night class from 6:50-9:20. I decided I'd go ahead and squeeze it in between the two. Ouch.

Fortunately, by some act of God, I had decided to dress somewhat decently today - a bold blue top and khakis. I looked kind of cute. But I was lucky I wasn't in shorts and a hoodie! Sheesh. So the interview seemed to go really well. The principal was really nice and appreciated me coming in on such short notice. She did say that she'd had several strong interviews and was trying to rank-order the candidates. And she said she thought she would have two openings instead of just one so I thought that was promising.

So I have to call the HR guy back tomorrow and see what he says. The principal said she was going away on vacation so I don't know when she'll be making any kind of decision. I'm very interested to see if there are other schools with openings that I might get to choose from though (since that is the nature of my contract).

I will update soon!

Monday, June 16, 2008

6 Months, 1 Day, and $100 Richer!

Here I am, I survived the last few days of school. The pool party was wonderful. I can't complain about field day since I essentially did nothing. They shut down my post and no children came to the activities at the back of the building where there was shade and a perfect breeze. Darn.

Friday was spent packing up my classroom and frantically running around the building to get this huge checklist signed off. When I arrived at school (9am) my classroom had already been emptied. Desks, shelves, cabinets, gone. Nothing but my desk remained with a heap of crap on top of it. I started cleaning it out and then had to go out into the hallway to dig stuff out of my cabinets and shelves. A lot of stuff was blocked in like my TV cart which I couldn't return because there was no way to get it out of the corner it had been shoved into. Oh well! Friday night I was wiped out and we decided to watch a movie. We watched Children of Men. I don't recommend it. It's another massive death and destruction story. I don't think there was more than a 30 second span of time in that movie when there wasn't machine gun fire. It was one of those long journey/quest stories and everyone dies along the way. Every new character you encounter you immediately know is going to die an awful and untimely death. Even the main character who is on this quest, in the end dies. Lame. Save your time.

Saturday morning we got up to go to our friend Ray's tee-ball game. He's the 5-year old baseball / Orioles expert. What a cutie. It was fun to visit with him for a little bit and see him in action on the field. He plays all positions since other 5-year olds have no where near his understanding of the game. It's really comical. After tee-ball we went to a cookout that our realtors have every year. At this cookout you get a necklace to wear and in order to keep it you can't use the words "house" or "home" just like the games you play at baby showers and wedding showers. The difference here was a prize of $100 to the winner. I'm not really a fan of those games. They just force otherwise nice people to annoy you. So I had my necklace and didn't care less if I kept or lost it. I wasn't going to nag other people to take theirs. Until...... the reigning 2-year champion of this game, a kid about 11 years old came over to our table. While explaining the game to a team of three little girls, he actually used the words 'house' and 'home.' He was standing right next to me, what was I going to do? I took his necklaces. He had about 6, giving me 7 total. At some point I said "townhouse" and Josh took them away, but his money is my money so I didn't care. We ended up making a deal with the kid that in the end, we'd give him his necklaces back if he split the money with us, and he agreed. As the day wore on, and the end of the competition got close, the kid had made a major comeback and had easily more than anyone else. But to our disappointment, he reported that "combining" necklaces was against the rules and he would not be able to split the money with us. Unfortunately for him, when Josh walked away to move the car, the kid came up and asked me where my "homedog" went. I actually felt bad, but took all 15 of his necklaces giving us 23. Josh caught one more person who had another 15 for a grand total of 38. We decided to give the kid $50 since he had worked really hard to comeback and win all those necklaces, but he had a real tantrum when I took them and stormed off to pout. The realtors tried to take his picture with Josh when the game was over and he pouted. It was really bad. So we said, he's won 2 years in a row, and he's having a tantrum. He'll survive. We went home and bought pizza and hung out with our friends!

We spent yesterday with Josh's family since it was father's day. It was also our 6 month anniversary of being married. We went to the Oriole's game with all the Becks plus uncle Frank and some of Nathan's in-laws. It was a good game even though the O's lost in the 10th inning, 5-4. After the game we came home and had some food with Josh's parents and Connor. Then we celebrated being married for 6 months by playing original Mario Bros. on an original Nintendo. It was great fun. Tonight we're picking up my family's old Super Nintendo at my mom's. Oh the memories, I can't wait!

So, I do apologize for this post being extraordinarily long (or maybe it just took me that long to type it). But I'm hoping the posts will be shorter and more frequent now that I'm home during the days!

TTFN :o)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

It's All Over But the Shoutin'

Actually, the shouting is all that's over at this point. Today was my official last day of teaching even though school isn't out until Thursday. We finished giving our "exams" today. They really aren't anything more than the usual unit tests. They're just called "exams" because it's the end of the school year and administrators want students trapped in classrooms until they're literally clawing their way out (or each other's eyes out). So our schedule gets all jacked around -- as if the usual rotating schedule isn't haywire enough -- to create two 2 and a half hour blocks at the beginning and the end of the day. It's the worst idea you can ever imagine. My unit test takes about 40 minutes. Then I have to kill almost an hour and a half with a class that has already taken their final test. I try showing movies but they don't want to sit still. My last class today would not quiet down for the movie, I had already sent two kids out, and I finally told them we were going to have to do text book work. It was a total waste of time. It only punished the well-behaved kids because everyone else just continued talking. I'm so happy to be leaving that school and all of those awful unparented children.

Tomorrow I have my planning period exam block (the only good thing about the god-forsaken exam schedule) which means 2 and a half hours of planning to start the day. At that time all the sixth graders will report to the cafeteria and we're taking them to the pool for the rest of the day. I do like that field trip. There are lifeguards who watch the kids so teachers basically sit under an umbrella and socialize all day. We deserve it. I have to think of something to pack for lunch though....

Then Thursday is not only a half day but field day also. It will be a whole lot of nothing for me. For some stupid reason (noticing a trend at this school) we have 25 minutes of first, second, and third period in the morning before field day begins. But once it does, I signed up for two shifts of watching this totally unnoticed, unused door on the bottom floor back of the building. Awesome! I'll bring magazines to read or something.

Anyway, I should get myself to bed even though I don't technically have to be on time for work tomorrow. I do need to get some things done during my planning time.

Later kids :o)

Sunday, June 8, 2008


As some of you may know, Josh and I got engaged on August 7, 2006 (8-7-6). And over the course of our long discussions over a wedding date, we discussed setting the date for yesterday, June 7, 2008 because it was 6-7-8. Obviously we didn't because we just couldn't wait that long. People asked us non-stop as it was "why are you waiting so long?!" It was 16 months which was more than enough time for us. I can't imagine if we had waited until yesterday. First of all, massive temperature difference. On our wedding day we had the threat of a wintry mix, today it was code red heat. My girls wore navy blue floor-length duchess satin dresses. I suppose today they would have needed something lighter in both color and fabric. Not to mention that I was good and toasty in my dress in December, so I can't imagine being under that much fabric on a day like today. There are of course many more differences that I won't bore you with. I just thought I'd point out the fun of yesterday being 6-7-8 on top of it being a former potential wedding date for us.

Instead of getting married yesterday we went to the Westminster City Park for the annual Cystic Fibrosis Foundation charity walk. We arrived at 9:30 in the morning and it was already over 80 degrees. In the past we've worn sweatshirts to this walk. Not today. We met up with our team that consisted of our family and Gregg's family (Lacy's dad). Gregg's wife had made us all t-shirts with a "Team Lacy" logo on the front and our names on the back. They were very cute and really made us stand out as a large team (almost 20 walkers!). We raised OVER our team goal and the largest amount of money at our walk site. While this is an amazing thing, it might have felt more fulfilling if the actual walk had been a bigger success. In past years this walk has been a huge event drawing families and groups from miles around to participate. They had a DJ, tons of food and drinks (at the site and along the walk route), a volunteer who would lead the walkers in a warm-up routine, games and activities for kids, and a silent auction with really nice prizes (baseball tickets, memorabilia, art, crafts, dinner at local restaurants). This year a lot of that was missing. There was no music or dj, there was very little food and no grill (we had to borrow from a nearby church), there was nothing organized for the children, and sadly few walkers. We made the best of it and got by with what there was. We also met with the coordinator for this site and volunteered to form a committee for the planning of next year's event. Hopefully next year will be a bigger success. In related news, Inspire Pharmaceuticals has recently completed a successful trial of a new drug which offsets the basic defect of the cystic fibrosis gene. You can go to and click on the news article to read more about this breakthrough in CF research.

After our fun with the family at the walk, we returned to our car to go home. We actually really wanted to go to Josh's parents' house to go swimming since we'd been out in the heat all day. Unfortunately, Josh's car remote wasn't working so we had to call Amberly to come pick us up and take us to her house. She was kind enough to let us take her car around Robin Hood's barn to find the stupid battery we needed for the remote. We finally found one and got everything squared away. We made it to his parents' house and had ourselves a good long swim. After that Josh went to his old roommates' house and I spent some time at my mom's with Amberly and the kids. It was a long, but fun day.

Today I wrote some thank-you notes and now I'm going to go outside to work on my tan a little more. I think Ben is coming over later. Mostly it's a lazy day. I have two days left to teach, then a field trip to the pool on Wednesday and field day on Thursday (also a 1/2 day). I also need to completely tear down and pack my classroom this week since I'm not coming back next year. I'm trying to leave as little as possible to do on Friday (our professional day). We'll see how that goes.

This time next week I won't have the looming threat of Monday morning clouding my Sunday :o)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I Love Being Powerless ;o)

Hooray! Today I'm randomly off work -- FINALLY! You may not understand, but I wake up in the morning praying that something has gone wrong at my school- floods, fire, nuclear explosion... anything. But nothing is ever wrong. The day after some major weather event there are always a bunch of schools in our county that close because of flooding or roof damage or a leaky faucet. My school, old as dirt, open every day. We actually once had an honest to goodness flood during the school day. The ceiling fell through and a waterfall was pouring down into the second floor from the first - I witnessed this with my own eyes. Did we close? OH NO.... we just kept all of our students out of classes mind you, but corralled in random corners of the building for 4 hours! Doing NOTHING! You can imagine the chaos and mischeif (to use an understatement). Several days later I pulled up in the parking lot and saw the MCPS building workers outside wearing waders (huge rubber boots). Yes, we had a flood, but school was open as usual. And beyond all of this, we've had TWO special elections this spring at OUR school where every random stranger in the community trapses in and out of our building at their leisure -- did we close? NO, why would we? They're just un-identified strangers, these are only children (some of whom with protective orders against parents and other family members). So anyway this is all to show you that my school NEVER closes. Therefore you can imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning to find that MCPS schools were closed due to widespread power outages in the county. Granted, this is not a closure due to an issue at my school, but if I don't have to go to work I don't complain. I'm sure if OUR power was out, they would bus all the kids in anyway and tell the teachers to open their blinds to teach by natural light. We'd figure out how to proceed from there. The most important thing is to make sure we're trapped in that building regardless of whether there is learning going on or not.

Before you get too jealous though, I do have to go to my own class tonight (unless their power is out.....). And although I know you've thoroughly enjoyed my rant, I'm heading outside to work on my tan! :o) Enjoy your Thursday!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Best 2 Years Ever

Well the fact that I've been trying to write this post since last week shows how busy things have been. I'll start with a brief re-cap of Memorial day weekend and just run straight on through this one. I know you guys have missed me :o)
Memorial day weekend was much like yours, I'm sure: one cookout after another! Saturday kicked it off with a cookout at my mom's house. Josh's parents were also having a big cookout so we decided to divide and conquer. Josh went to his parents' and I went to mine. It was a really fun day. My step-brother Ricky and his wife came up and I hadn't seen them since Christmas time. On Sunday we partied with Jenna at her dad's house to celebrate her graduation from Gettysburg College. This was a truly unreal moment because we've known Jenna since she was in the 8th grade. She's always been the younger one, 2 years behind Ben who is of course the youngest in our family. So having her finish college was big. Now she's preparing for medical school (we thought we missed her while she was in Gettysburg) while working at National Institutes of Health for the next year. Finally on Monday I decided I wanted to lay out and tan a little since it was so warm. Living in a townhouse though, our deck is literally inches from our neighbor's deck. Not usually a problem considering they don't have so much as a chair out on their deck and have not used it once in the almost year that we've lived here. But of course, it was Memorial day weekend and they'd had a big party for which they rented/borrowed a large canopy and a bunch of chairs. So once I got all lotioned up and ready to go outside I looked out there to see the neighbor just chilling on his deck. I had to wait him out but luckily it didn't take long. After about an hour we got a phone call from Jennie asking if we wanted to hang out. So her and Michael came over and we got some Little Caesar's pizza (a bit of a tradition for us) and watched Superbad. It was a perfect relaxing way to end that busy weekend.

- Sheppie at my mom's cookout-

- Lacy & Leo being their cutest at the cookout-

- Evan being the cutest baby ever-

-My awesome dirt cake (being awesome?)-

During the week - Wednesday - Josh and I celebrated being a couple for 2 years! He brought me flowers because he's fantastic like that. Then we worked outside in our garden until very late. We previously had shrubs in front of our house but we took them out last fall. Since then it's just been some stumps and dirt but this spring we decided to make it a flower bed. We got the last of the stumps out (also last weekend, in the mornings before the cookouts) and got some landscaping stones from Lowes. We sat out all evening Wednesday with the level putting the stones in very carefully. At about 8:15 we realized we needed just 5 more stones to complete the job so we made a last minute run back to Lowes. We also decided to stop in Costco for slices of pizza -- our very romantic anniversary dinner -- since we had completely forgotten about dinner. At the end of the night our wall looked great. Thursday afternoon my mom came over and helped me fill in the flower bed and plant some New Guinea Impatiens with some grasses. The impatiens are a very tropical bright pink so they brighten up the front of the house in a big way and make it look so cheerful.

-Where the shrubs used to be-

-"Stanley" who helped keep things level-

-The completed wall & flower bed!-

-The front of our house looking cheerful-

All of this gardening we wanted to have done in time for Saturday (yesterday) when we had invited our families over for a cookout. Usually in my family when it's someone's birthday they pick a restaurant and we all go out for dinner together. So for my birthday this year I thought -- money's kind of tight, maybe it would be fun to just grill at my house and people can bring some sides. Everyone seemed onboard with this idea. We also ended up inviting Josh's parents and siblings which made it a considerably larger event. And of course the forecast was calling for severe thunderstorms with hail and possible tornadoes. It still worked really well. We just brought our deck table & chairs into the house and pulled the grill over close to the door so we could pop in and out easily. We all ate, played Rock Band and had a great time visiting. Then later we all met up with a bunch of friends at Nottingham's to celebrate the rest of the night away. I must say, I haven't had a night like that since college. Almost everyone we invited made it out including my step brother and his wife who we've never been out with, and AMBERLY who never gets to go out. It was such a fantastic time- we just told stories and cracked up the whole night. There are a lot of pictures, we got very silly with our cameras... and just silly in general. You'll have to look at the pics because there's no way I could recap it all here. I'll just say, I think I laughed off every calorie I consumed. How could I complain about that?? :o)

-Annie, Rick, Me, Amberly, Ben, Jenna-

-Me, Ben, Amberly-

-Amberly & Me-

-Nathan, Me & Josh-

-Self shot at the end of the night-

So today is my actual birthday. We're getting ready to make a massive breakfast (belgian waffles!!) whenever Ben and Jenna wake up. Then I'm not sure what I'll feel like doing the rest of the day. Definitely some general relaxing. Josh already surprised me this morning with a pantry packed full of my favorite cereal (Quaker Oatmeal Squares -- if you've never had them, you must). He always takes care of me in special little ways like making sure I have my favorite things. I definitely lucked out in the husband department :o)
I hate to close on this note - but you're about to lose me to grad school yet again. My first summer class starts Tuesday night. It runs for 6 weeks ending on July 10th. The second class is on Thu/Fri/Sat. for the last 2 weeks of June. And somewhere in there (June 28 - July 3) we'll be visiting family in Florida. But such is summer, that's what it's for right? Maybe not the school part, but summer is always busy. Hopefully in my next post or two I will have found out which school I'll be teaching in for next year!

I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend - and HAPPY JUNE!