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.