Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Honeymoon Day 1

Unfortunately I wasn't able to make it online before Christmas to wish everyone a wonderful holiday, so here is a late Merry Christmas. I hope you all had a beautiful day.

In other news, my husband and I began our honeymoon today! We flew out of North Dakota down to Denver in the tiniest plane I have ever been on. My legs were quite grateful that the trip was only an hour long. Our "normal-sized" plane from Denver to Los Angeles was late getting in and quite late taking off (which adds up to lots of lateness). By the time we arrived in LA, we had 15 minutes to connect to our plane to Honolulu. The LAX is not conducive to 15 minute flight changes, so our plane to Oahu flew off without us and we are currently waiting for pizza here in LA at the lovely Courtyard Marriott. I'm a little disappointed (there was a tiny bit of crying at the airport), but we have a flight out of here to Honolulu tomorrow morning so I can't complain too much. I will be one happy girl tomorrow afternoon when we finally get there!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Classroom

Last week, the National Honor Society students decided to organize a Christmas decorating contest. Each grade was assigned a classroom and the group with the best decorations won a pizza party and cake.

The 7th-graders were given my room to decorate. While the contest and rules were explained last week, the 7th-graders thought it best to wait until this week Wednesday (the last day to decorate) to get to work. They only had 50 minutes to decorate, but look at everything they accomplished. (Slap a thick helping of sarcasm on that last sentence.)

Can you tell that their original theme was Scrooge? Are you surprised that they didn't win the contest? I hope you answered no to both questions.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Longest Week Ever

Is anyone else ready for this week to be over? I swear it has been the longest five days on record!

Sunday, December 16, 2007


I got ketchup on my finger at dinner and this is what my napkin looked like after I wiped it off. I thought it looked like a butterfly so I had to share. I know you're all so very glad that I did.

Christmas in the Park

Have I mentioned how much I love Christmas? If I haven't, here it is: I LOVE Christmas. It is by far my favorite holiday. Nothing quite compares to the magic of the season and the joyous, light-hearted mood that everyone seems to be in.

Last night my husband and I went to "Christmas in the Park." I love riding in the car, heat blowing on my face and festive tunes filling my ears, looking at the Christmas lights and displays local business have set up. Even though it only lasts for about ten minutes, it's a ten minutes I enjoy experiencing year after year.

I hope everyone had a festive weekend!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

13 Days

3: Inches of snow I brushed off my car this morning.

14: Degrees below zero (-24 with windchill) in the forecast for tonight.

2: Degrees (-12 with windchill) for the high tomorrow.

13: Days until my husband and I fly to Hawaii for our honeymoon.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Every time I do a note-check with my 7th-graders, I have one boy who writes this on the bottom of his paper:

Multiplication, division, adding and subtracting; They
All come together
To make
Happy lives easier

As a math teacher, you can't help but smile when you see that.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Carefree Days of Adulthood

Today during Algebra, a student of mine was telling me which boys couldn't play at tonight's basketball game and why they couldn't play. He said "look at everyone we have to think about" and then proceeded to say "and you think you have a lot to worry about."

He's right, I don't have nearly as much to worry about. I'm so lucky to be past those stress-filled days of 8th-grade. I've made it to the carefree days of adulthood!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

My Treat

I have had a very productive weekend. Yesterday I worked on my sister's Christmas present and then decorated the apartment for Christmas. Today I wrote lesson plans, lesson plans, and more lesson plans. Because I worked so hard these past two days, I'm going to treat myself tonight to ABC Family's "Holiday in Handcuffs" (I'm a sucker for cheesy movies) and then "A Charlie Brown Christmas" with my husband.

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Chocolate Moose

Yesterday my husband and I bought our Hallmark Christmas ornament for the year. While it isn't an "Our First Christmas" ornament like we were hoping to get, we thought this little guy was quite cute. You can't go wrong with a moose made out of chocolate treats!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


I have officially joined the club of those who hate Windows Vista.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Picture Perfect

Today was a "picture perfect" day. It was a day that reminds me how wonderful it is to spend the holiday season with my family.

As snow fell gently outside, Christmas music played inside and the aroma of cookies filled the air. My mom, sister, and I spent the afternoon baking sugar cookies (and maybe goofing around a little), while my dad started working on his backyard ice-skating rink. I couldn't imagine a better way to kick off the start of December and the Christmas season.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Christmas Ornaments

I have spent these past three days in my hometown for a conference (a beneficial conference at that!). Lucky for me, I have had a chance to spend some quality time with my family in the evenings and last night that included decorating the Christmas tree with my sister.

Do you have any ornaments that go on the tree every year and Christmas just wouldn't be the same without them? We have several like that, one our favorites pictured below. We're not sure where she came from (if it's a she), but every year she hangs at the bottom of the tree, dangling and spinning in circles.

My Christmas would definitely be a little brighter without the ornament below. I hate the thing (can you blame me for not wanting to see my 6th-grade picture displayed year after year?) but it sure brings a warm and fuzzy feeling to my sister who insists on hanging it at the top of the tree every Christmas. She calls me the "family star." I think I've been the "star" long enough.

*For more ridiculous school pictures, click here.*

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Happy Life Day

Today is Life Day, the holiday my sister created seven years ago and my family has been celebrating ever since.

On November 28, 2000 my sister was in a car accident that involved her sliding off a hilly road, flipping her car upside down, and coming to a stop in a small creek. She left the scene with nothing but a scratch but it could have been a lot worse and she realized how lucky she had been to walk away.

The following day she sent out an email to friends and to tell them about the accident and remind them to never take life for granted. She asked us all to stop and think about our lives and to focus on those things we were thankful for, to remember that no matter how bad things may get we're very lucky to be alive.

May everyone have a wonderful Life Day!

Monday, November 26, 2007


Other than not being able to spend the holiday with my husband, Thanksgiving break was wonderful. Most of my time was spent at my grandparents' farm, where my father's family gathers every year.

The trip to my grandparents' was entertaining, as to be expected when my sister is in a vehicle.

As soon as we arrived at the farm, the wine-tasting began.

My sister had honor of making the mashed potatoes this year. My grandmother's mashed potatoes are absolutely amazing. It can't have anything to do with all the butter and cream that she adds to them, can it?

Like usual, there was a ton of food and it was all delicious so everything had to be tried. I cannot remember the last time I ate so much.

Every year at Thanksgiving, butchered hogs are brought out to the farm and the family cuts up the meat for pork chops, ribs, and then later grinds it for sausage. My family makes wonderful sausage and I feel sorry for those who don't get to have homemade meat.

The afternoon passed quickly and night brought a beautiful sight. We had the unique opportunity to see a ring around the moon. (The picture doesn't quite do it justice; there's only so much one can do without a tripod.)

I am thankful for the wonderful family I have and the memories we make together every holiday. I cannot wait to see everyone again at Christmas.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


I met my new laptop today. I think we're going to have some good times together.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Thankful Series

Last Thursday I had planned on starting a week-long "Thankful" series in which I would share something every day for which I was thankful, up until Thanksgiving. I had seen other blogs that were doing this and thought it was a great idea. My computer, however, did not feel the same way. It quit working and I will not have access to a new computer until Sunday. I'm a little bummed, to say the least. I am, however, thankful for the savings account that has money in it for a new computer.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Ann Goes Banann

My sister started another blog where she will be writing about her life! I'm so excited (and impressed since she's not a computer person - that's another story, though)! If you have a minute, stop by and say hi to her!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Fam Jam

My parents and sister came east this weekend to visit my husband and me and my uncle came west to visit my cousins. We all met up for a family-filled weekend of fun.

Friday was pizza night. As to be expected, I was up way past my bedtime. Fun is always plentiful with family visits, but sleep is definitely not.

Saturday involved shopping, seeing a movie, playing Apples to Apples (I highly recommend this game, especially for large groups), dinner and drinks (and dessert, drinks, appetizers, drinks, and a few more drinks) at my parent's favorite restaurant, then a bar visit because there was not nearly enough alcohol consumed at the restaurant. My family really knows how to have a good time and I love that about them. I do not, however, love driving the mini-van needed to haul them around.

My favorite part of the evening was at the restaurant when my family got emotional and inspired (I think this occurred around the same time the alcohol took effect - could there be a correlation?). During this time, we made a list of family goals to accomplish within the next few years. Everyone contributed a goal and the rest of the family agreed to do it with him/her. We had:

*Swim in every lake in Minnesota (lake is defined as anything that made it onto the map)

*Attend a SuperBowl

*Have a Fam-Jam session in which the family jams together musically and makes edible jam

*Attend an Olympics

*Complete a 720-hour MovieFest (720 straight hours of movie-watching)

*Run a marathon

*Bike 120 miles in two days

*Hike in the badlands of North Dakota

*Take the train to Whitefish, Montana and ski at Big Mountain

We're an ambitious group, huh? Can you tell which three goals were made by the sober people and which six were made by the drinkers? We're going to be pretty busy these next couple of years. The alcohol consumption will have to be limited for training purposes and, more importantly, so we don't come up with any more crazy plans to add to this list.

Families are great.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veteran's Day

Thank you to those out there that have served or are serving our country. God bless you and your families.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


I have wanted a dog for as long as I can remember but have yet to own a pet that didn't carry a shell on its back. Through the years I have had the opportunity to spend time with friends' and relatives' dogs so at times it has felt as if I have had a dog. Though the dogs were never really mine, you couldn't tell that to my heart.

Yesterday, I found out that Spike, an old boyfriend's dog, had to be put to sleep last week. Despite the fact that I probably never would have seen him again, it's very sad to know he's not around.

I was very lucky to know this little guy. He will be missed.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Conferences - Round 2

Round 2 of parent-teacher conferences did not go as smoothly as last week. In fact, it didn't go smoothly at all for about half an hour. Long story short - both parents were yelling, I ended up crying, and the principal had to get involved. Professional, huh? I can't wait to see what spring conferences hold for me with this family!

On a happier note (which I'm trying to focus on), a mother of two of my students told me that she really wants me to continue teaching here at their school. It was nice hearing that, especially after my conference earlier in the evening. It's parents like her, with kids like hers, that make me happy to be part of this town and school. I'm going to try and keep her kind words with me when things get tough with other parents.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


While reading a health magazine the other day, I came upon an interesting article entitled "What's Making You Tired?" This caught my attention because I am always tired and have always been tired for as long as I can remember. Getting enough sleep doesn't seem to help and exercise does not give me more energy like the experts promise. So, I started reading the article, hoping they'd provide me with some insight. Here is what I learned:

The half-moon area at the base of your fingernails has a name - lunula. Interesting, huh? Even more interesting is that people with small or nonexistent lunulas may have a slow thyroid. Guess what? I don't have lunulas on any of my fingernails. Other signs of a thyroid problem: low blood pressure (the doctors are usually surprised at how low mine is), irritability and anxiety problems (this could be a thyroid problem or the fact that I have to deal with 30 7th-graders on a daily basis!), thinning hair (while I still have hair, I lose a great deal every day), feeling cold when others don't (I'm happy at 80 degrees or warmer - anything below that requires me to wear layers). The article recommended taking a supplement of selenium daily for 90 days to help regulate the thyroid hormone.

Willing to give it a try, I purchased a bottle of selenium tonight while my husband and I were at Target. The pills smell and taste like urine. This could be a long three months.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Not You, the Other Holly

For those of you who don't know me, my name is Holly. (Hi, nice to meet you.) My husband also has a cousin named Holly. Whenever we spend time with my husband's grandparents, cousin Holly always manages to come up in conversation. Yesterday was no exception.

To keep from confusing my husband and me, grandma always quickly proceeds her cousin Holly stories with "Not you, the other Holly." I'm glad she tells us that because we probably would never have figured out that she wasn't talking about me (to me!). For example, during yesterday's visit: "Holly is due any day now. Not you, the other Holly." Really? I thought I was nine months pregnant and ready to give birth!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Cloud Appreciation Society

While looking through one of my trashy, celeb-gossip magazines I came upon an interesting article. The page was filled with photos of clouds and gave mention of a Cloud Appreciation Society. Who knew such a group existed? I checked out their website today and I had a blast looking at all of the cloud photos. If you enjoy cloud photos make a trip to their site - you won't be disappointed.

My cloud photo was taken on Easter of 2006 on a hill by my grandparents' farm. I like looking at this photo when I need to escape for a while. Blue skies and clouds are great for that.

Friday, November 2, 2007


During our grocery shopping tonight, my husband and I thought we would check out the Halloween aisles. You can't pass up decorations and other knick-knacks when you see those 50% off signs. We found a plastic jack-0-lantern, the spooky tree you see pictured (it's made the list as one of my favorite Halloween decorations), and a bag of ChocoMallows.

My husband was a bit leery of the chocolate marshmallows after my chocolate gum purchase of last week. Unlike the gum, however, the marshmallows did not taste like cardboard but a cup of hot chocolate. Needless to say they won't last long and I'm glad my husband was brave enough to spend the fifty-cents on the bag.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Conferences - Round 1

I survived the first night of fall parent-teacher conferences. Other than the dad who tried telling me there was no way I was on time for work everyday (of course he's right - in fact, some days I don't even bother showing up) and the mom who started crying when telling me about her daughter that was killed two years ago (what do you say to that?), the night went pretty well. Let's hope round two goes just as smoothly.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I'm No Bowler

Apparently I suck just as much at pumpkin-cat bowling online as I do at ball-pin bowling in real life. I guess I can cross "Become a professional bowler" off my list of goals in life.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Weekend in the Twin Cities

My husband and I spent the weekend with his parents in Minnesota. Here is a little re-cap.

The ride to the Twin Cities was quite amusing. My husband, when not driving, acts somewhat like an 5-year old who just inhaled a pound of sugar. For entertainment he used my broken shoelace to spin his wedding ring around in circles. Of course this only lasted two minutes or so because he had other activities to get to. When our children are diagnosed with ADHD, we'll both know where they got it from.

We checked into our hotel to find little square pillows the size of my father-in-law's head. I thought they were quite cute and in the hotel's defense, they did provide two per person.

The afternoon and early evening was spent at the Mall of America. While shopping is not really my thing, I always enjoy browsing the specialty shops and eating foods I normally don't get to have.

Sunday's event was the reason for our trip: the Minnesota Vikings vs. Philadelphia Eagles game. Football is BY FAR my least favorite sport and the one I know the least about but what can you say when your father-in-law offers you free tickets? (Yes is the correct answer here.) Despite the fact that I couldn't even follow the ball or understand any of the calls made, the game was enjoyable. As you can tell from our jerseys, we were not there supporting the Vikings. My father-in-law is originally from Philadelphia so our family was cheering on the Eagles and I'm happy to report that they won.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Chocolate Gum

Today was the end of my school's first quarter; only three more to go! I hope they all go this quickly!

I was passed by a Sara Lee truck on the way to school this morning. I'm not sure what the company is trying to prove, but I'm sticking with the "Nobody does it like Sara Lee" slogan no matter how many times they park near my car or pass me on the road.

I caved and bought a pack of Bubble Yum's chocolate gum. It was not everything I hoped it be, but everything I feared it would be. It smells like chocolate but tastes like cardboard. At least Bubble Yum tried. I'm going to give them points for the attempt.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sara Lee

I always thought the slogan for Sara Lee was "Nobody does it like Sara Lee." This morning when I pulled up to the school, there was a Sara Lee truck in the parking lot and written along the side was "Nobody doesn't like Sara Lee." I talked to my husband when I got home and he also thought the slogan was "Nobody does it like Sara Lee," too. Apparently we were both mistaken.

I eat Little Debbie.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

60th Wedding Anniversary

My husband and I joined my father's family this weekend to celebrate the 60th wedding anniversary of my grandparents.

The afternoon began with an open-house for friends and family to come and congratulate the couple (let's just say there were dozens and dozens of treats and while the self-control theme was in my mind, it was not registering with my mouth). After the open house, we went to mass and then out to my grandparent's farm for dinner. It was a nice celebration and a great deal of fun seeing relatives that I hadn't seen since our wedding.

My grandparents are amazing people. They have experienced a lot together in their 60 years - much more than I could ever imagine. My grandfather has eaten 60 years of my grandmother's amazing cooking and my grandmother has listened to 60 years of my grandfather's crazy jokes. They have raised 11 beautiful children and spoiled 23 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. The dedication they have shown for one another and their family is truly inspiring. I have been truly blessed to have these two people in my life.

Happy Anniversary grandma and grandpa!

Friday, October 19, 2007


The theme for this weekend:


(Definition of self-control: Only two candy bars, not four, before dinner)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

One or Two

Instead of enjoying my day off by sleeping in, I got up while still dark and ventured out in the pouring rain to have my eyes checked. It has been over a year (in fact, I think it's been several years) but more importantly, I am out of contacts and tired of wearing my glasses.

My appointment went well - my prescription remained nearly the same and the new pair of contacts I received was much more comfortable than the last brand I had been wearing. The doctor I saw, however, will never compare to the doctor I had back home. Despite the fact that she was very nice and had the largest degree I have ever seen (apparently Indiana likes to give out GIANT certificates), she didn't have the voice. My doctor back home had a magical way of saying "one or two" when asking you to tell her which line of letters was more clear. Anyone who has had this doctor will tell you her sing-song, happy voice makes the whole process quite enjoyable. You don't feel as if you're being examined by a doctor, but playing a game with a friend.

So, in my opinion, the thing to look for when choosing an optometrist would be the quality of his/her voice. Never mind the schooling and credentials - it's all about the "one or two."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Wedding Photos

I know I've already posted pictures from the wedding day, but I thought I would share a few that we received from the photographers. Enjoy! (Check out my nails in the last picture! That is the longest they have ever been and will ever be!)

Monday, October 15, 2007

My Little Sister

Here are some photos of my little sister enjoying herself at the pumpkin patch. She is a ridiculously fun person and I can always count on her for a good laugh. Looking at my pictures of her always brings a smile to my face. I'm so very lucky to have her!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Bowling & Pumpkins

My husband and I went home this weekend. While the time goes way too fast and I rarely get as much sleep as I'd like, it's still a lot of fun and I always look forward to going back.

So as not to break tradition, my husband and I ate at Big Boy when we rolled into town Friday evening. It was the start to my healthy eating weekend. I lost any self-control I had the minute we pulled into town. The "NO RULES" light flashed in my mind and I went with it! I'm sure it comes as no surprise when I say that I'm not feeling my absolute best right now and look forward to my visit with the treadmill tomorrow.

Saturday afternoon, my husband and I bowled in a charity event with my parents and several of their friends. I definitely did my fair share in bringing down the team's average. It was ugly! I bowled a 61 in my first game! This, of course, put me in a very crabby mood. (Those who know me well understand the love-hate relationship I have with the game and the mood swings I often have while participating). By the third game, however, I was feeling pretty good and managed to get over 100. Too bad that was our last game! Needless to say, I won't be joining any leagues any time soon.

Despite complaints from friends, my husband and I spent Saturday evening with our parents. We ate pizza, played cards, and watched the wedding DVD our photographer had made for us. It was a fun evening and hopefully we'll have time in the near future to see those friends that we didn't get to see this weekend.

This afternoon, my husband and I had the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful fall day with our families out at the pumpkin patch. I have always loved going out to the pumpkin patch - it is a wonderful way to celebrate the fall season. There are great activities, such as the bale maze, pony rides (which my husband opted not to do this year - I'm sure the pony was thankful), a barnyard/petting zoo, a nature trail, and a pumpkin launcher. The pumpkin patch is a great place to watch families enjoying one another and the perfect place to capture beautiful scenery. Fall is definitely giving spring a run for it's money as my favorite season.

I hope everyone had as wonderful a weekend as I did!