Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thank You x 365

I love that we have a holiday dedicated to being grateful. I read an article about a book that's coming out soon. The author was in the middle of a divorce, with a struggling business. Instead of dwelling on his misfortune, he decided to embrace an attitude of gratitude by writing one thank you note every day for a whole year. I'm kind of intrigued to read this book because I honestly feel that gratitude and humble service help to overcome any of life's challenges.

We really feel so blessed. We have so much to be grateful for. We have jobs, a house, a free nation, functioning cars, amazing friends and unbelievably supportive families. We are super thankful for the amazing food we get to eat on this holiday. We are also so grateful for the knowledge we have of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Our gratitude list goes on and on. And I'm really going to work on being aware of that list 365 days of the year and write a few more thank you notes.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

did you know...?

FYI- It's not Thanksgiving yet. I've been holding strong to my belief that I won't put up Christmas before Thanksgiving. I don't know why, but this year I've been super tempted to pull it out.

Maybe it's the fact that it's a high of 71 this week that keeps throwing me off. If the Christmas decorations are up, maybe it will FEEL like Christmas time- even though the weather is far from the white Christmas time I'm used to.

Ok, I'll admit, I have started listening to some Christmas music on the radio even though it's not Thanksgiving, but I'm still staying strong on the decorations and the wonderful movies. The amazing Christmas movies are what get me the most. So... to fight the intense desire to watch the "Home Alones" and "It's a Wonderful Life," I have been watching movies that remind me of Christmas time even though they are not entirely Christmas movies.

For example, "Harry Potter." Why do I feel Christmas-y watching those movies? I do not know. But I have been watching a few of those- including HP7! I still love my Harry Potter!
Another Christmas-y movie but not a Christmas movie that I watched lately is the wonderful "Meet Me in St. Louis."

It's absolutely wonderful and a musical. The best part is it has all the seasons in it, so I kind of crave watching this movie all year long. Did you know that "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" came from this musical? Because it did. So if you are in need of a great movie that can go with the awesome Christmas Classics, I seriously suggest you add "Meet Me in St. Louis."

Sunday, November 21, 2010

...looking on the bright side...

Never fear we have a Cafe Rio here. (It's only 40 mins away instead of every 10, but hey- it's still good.)

I think eating there for dinner after going to the beautiful Mesa Temple was pretty darn good medicine for the crappy week I endured. How blessed we are to have a place as wonderful as the temple to go to to escape the world and be reminded of the things that really matter. I'm grateful I know these truths.

We had a great day yesterday with the Baers. We went to an Art Festival in Scottsdale. We had gone to one in Litchfield Park a few weeks ago and LOVED it but we hadn't been able to stay very long. So we were super excited to hear about another one. Scottsdale's was much bigger, but more on the pricey end. I still loved being able to sip my strawberry lemonade as we walked around enjoyed some booths, people watched, avoided some awkward booths, and were creeped out by some- huge paintings of dogs in human bodies?! Really? Of course, my favorite part of the festival was the food. We had these amazing chips after I watched a man take out two real potatoes and put them on this awesome screw machine thing that cut them up in the awesome curly shape. Definitely worth it.

I think the amazing food throughout the day definitely helped my mini-golf game later that evening. I totally won the first 18 holes. And I got a hole in one as well as a few 6 putt maximum scores on the last 18- not as hot. But, still a great weekend.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"Always look on the bright side of life."

I need to be honest. Growing up, I always wanted to be a teacher. I played school with my siblings and stuffed animals. I always said I was going to be a teacher. I took any class I could to be a teacher. And now...I am a teacher.
I love my job. I do. I do. But, boy oh boy, I sure do get sick of putting up with crap all day. I don't know if it's just one of those groups of kids or if I'm a burnt out teacher at the age of 24 (can that happen?!) or what. I swear I used to be able to not give reactions to my students, but this year, some of the students can really make my blood boil. I have had a few occasions where I get to the point where I feel like I'm either going to scream or break out crying. That's when our class has a heads down on our desk and think about the better choices we could have made time.

I promise I want to be a good teacher and I try to be a good teacher. I want my students to be able to make the decisions on their own without someone telling them exactly to do. Which is what most of my students this year are used to. I want to be able to help them. I have one student that is completely banned from saying, "I don't know." or shrugging his shoulders at me. He's done it so much that now if he does it, he has to say three nice things about himself. I have two other students who have officially and completely changed my perspective about medication and students with A.D.D. because they are totally different kids without their medicine. I have a student who calls out and argues with me about everything so much that they now have to take away a minute of recess for every call out and two minutes for every time they argue. (That adds up quite quickly) And for the ultimateness of crap I put up with each day, I have a student who will roll her eyes at me and have mini temper tantrums and get all huffy. Sometimes she's just great with no problem but then she'll start pouting about heaven knows what. I'll say in a very nice teacher voice, "student, (name omitted) you need to get on task." MANY times and she'll huff about something over and over and over again and say, "I can't". This happened so many times, that I finally had to say, "What can you do?! Problem solve. What CAN you do to figure it out?!" All the while trying not to scream or pull my hair out.

I feel like my lucky eternal companion gets the brunt end of my patience level. If he taps his toes or clicks his pen, I automatically ask in probably not the nicest tone, "CAN'T YOU JUST SIT STILL!?" Or he and I will be having a conversation in which he will politely say something and I will word vomit something like, "WHY ARE YOU TALKING BACK TO ME?!" Or he will ask me a perfectly harmless question and I will respond in teacher voice, "YOU ALREADY KNOW THE ANSWER TO THAT QUESTION!" I may or may not say a few other very teacher comments to my full-grown husband!

I know this is a super vent-age post, but it's just a bit frustrating. I guess weekends and Thanksgiving break can be added to my list of things I'm thankful for this month.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Like ants to a picnic...

I'll tell you what- lately the streets around here have really looked a lot like this:

Because of the races that are going here this weekend:

And it's really starting to remind me of this movie:

Apparently to get to the Phoenix International Raceway, you have to drive down the main roads around my area.

People in our ward have warned us that sometimes traffic gets so bad on Sundays that we might not be able to just get across the main road to get to church...Really? We'll see how that goes.

All I have to say is I hope I don't see any of this:

Thursday, November 11, 2010


"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest
appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

I saw this today and I think it really hits the spot on this special holiday. I'm very glad that my school recognizes the holiday so I can have the day off and because I honestly feel it makes me appreciate it more. It's definitely a holiday that can easily slip by without the recognition it deserves.

Thank you veterans for defending the freedom that I enjoy.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It's going to be legen-wait for it-dary!

We may or may not have just booked a little trippy poo to here:


And other places in this region:

It's going to be pretty unbelievable... Thank you tax benefit.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Out-of-towner

Last weekend, we had our first official out-of-towner house guest- my mom! I LOVED having her down here. Some coworkers started making fun of me because all week I kept saying my mom's coming to town! My mom's coming to town! Well, I don't care what they say because I love my mommy and I don't care who knows it!

She flew in Thursday. Michael was able to pick her up from the airport.
His work is 5 mins away- so convenient. I raced home from my work to meet them at home. We were able to show her our house. She and my dad had a 2 hour lay over in Phoenix in July so they were able to see the starting of our house, but it was fun to show her our projects and our rooms without boxes everywhere. She spoiled us to dinner here:

It was delicious! What a great way to start out her visit! We then ran some errands- including an infamous jaunt to Wal-Mart as previously mentioned.

The next day, she came to school with me. My class was amazed that my mom was there and that she had a different name than me. (Mrs. Ostler vs. Mrs. Shields) I loved having her there because she can now fully understand when I talk to her about having a rough day. She was a big help with our Halloween party. She took on the hardest task of the donuts on a string. It was awesome.

Friday night she came and watched our first co-ed softball games. I felt bad because going and watching sports games is very much part of her daily routines, but I loved having her. And I don't want to talk about how sore I was the next day just from two softball games- yikes!

Saturday we dragged her to the nursery to help us pick out some plants for our backyard. She knows her stuff! We got all that we needed. She even spoiled us and got us some of these beautiful plants:

They are Gardenias and they are going to look beautiful! We then enjoyed the afternoon in Mesa with my uncle and my mom's college roommate. We finished up the evening with the Baers and the perfect scary movie for Halloween:

Sunday, she got to enjoy my Nursery class with me and all that that entails. Bless her for being there. Monday, I took work off and we went out shopping. Then the time came when we had to drop her off at the airport. Saying goodbye is definitely not my favorite thing to do, but it had been such a good weekend. I loved having her here. I loved being able to talk to her about anything and everything. She is one amazing lady. When I grow up, I want to be just like my mom!