Saturday, June 23, 2012

Colorado Trip

Joe and I got to go visit Mal in Colorado Springs before she moved back to Texas. It was beautiful, and we had such a good time just hanging out with her and seeing all the places she has grown to love. Mal's currently in Africa living out a life long dream of hers, and she's on my mind. Decided I would post some pics from our Colorado trip.

We had a blast feeding otters and the grizzly bears. Yes, that bear is licking Joe's hand. How cool is that!!! And of course, hanging out with the giraffes was one of my favorite things.

We also took the Cog Train up to the top of Pike's Peak, which was so cool! It was a beautiful day, and we couldn't have asked for better weather.

I can't wait for Mal to truly be back in Texas (hopefully for good) so that we can spend some more time together. I'm so proud of her for what she's accomplished in the last year, and I can't wait to see what road lies ahead of her.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Lessons from The Lorax

Joe and I had a mid-week date night tonight, and it was so fun! We went to the theatre in Forney and saw The Lorax. Cheap (or at least cheaper) movie ticket + popcorn for dinner + adorable movie = wonderful date night! It was nice to have a break in the middle of the week to just enjoy being with my husband. And to top if all off, we were the only people in the theatre! Awesome!

If you haven't seen The Lorax, you need to! It was such a fantastic movie. Cute singing animals AND a great message... How can you go wrong!?! As I watched the movie, I couldn't help but relate several of the quotes to marriage. I know that was not the intention of the writers, or Dr. Seuss, for that matter, but they were so applicable. In a time when marriage is viewed by so many as a temporary situation, or as something that is easily dismissed when problems arise, I feel like we need more movies that show the importance of staying true to commitments and following through with good intentions. Here are several quotes from the movie...

"Do you know which way a tree falls? A tree falls whichever way it leans. Be careful where you lean." - First of all, I want a poster that has this phrase on it, because I think my students need to be reminded of this daily. But then again, don't we all. Be careful where you lean. So simple, and yet, so powerful. LOVE IT!

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing's going to get better. It's not." - Teaching people to care about things beyond themselves is not an easy task. I'm so glad that this movie is trying to help kids (and adults) see that what they do is important in making a difference in the world around them, whether for good or for bad. I thought about this quote in the context of marriage. If you don't care about your marriage an awful lot, it's not going to get better. It's not.

"Let it grow. Let it grow. You can't reap what you don't sow." - This was from the song near the end, and I thought the whole song was adorable. But this quote stood out to me. How do people expect to reap good, happy, stable marriages without being willing to sow the seeds of patience, love, perseverance, and commitment first.

Just a few thoughts from a wife that is committed to doing what it takes to keep my marriage in tact. I know we've only been married 9 months, but I can't imagine ever giving up on Joe. I'm saying a prayer for married couples to start stepping up to the challenge, and show this world what true devotion to someone else really means.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

I'm Back!

I've been away from blogging for a while, simply because my life has been busy busy busy! So much has happened since my last blog, and I would hate to forget some of the precious memories. Christmas was a whirlwind mainly because Joe was super sick, and two days later, he shared it with me. Not exactly the way we envisioned our first Christmas as a married couple, but we made the best of it, and definitely have some memories that we will never forget. The week between Christmas and New Years was so chaotic because we were packing up our apartment and moved into our house on December 29th. We are now all settled in and loving it! We actually hung the first few things on the walls last weekend, and it was a big step. I've been slightly uneasy about putting holes in our beautiful, clean walls. I'm also thinking about rooms I might want to paint during Spring Break, which is one week away! I figured that would be a good project to tackle on a week off from work, but painting is such a big commitment, so I'm nervous. I'm also in the midst of my 6th grad school course for my masters degree in school counseling, and that's keeping me very busy on the weekends. All of my homework is always due on Sundays, so being the procrastinator that I am, Sunday afternoon naps are a thing of the past.

I plan on going back and putting up some pics about the events that have happened over the past few months, but here are a few from this weekend for now.

We went to the Mavs game for a much overdue date night. So fun!

We were even able to spot Khole Kardashian. She's sitting behind the kid in the orange. She's wearing a long sleeved white shirt. She was by herself, which kind of made me sad. Joe and I teased that we watched her more than we actually watched the game.

We had such a good time just laughing and being silly together. Before the game, we went to Victory Tavern, which is a nice restaurant right by the American Airlines Center. It was delicious, but I forgot to take any pics there.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dinner and a Lesson

I know, two posts in two days... That's gotta be a record or something. But, this story MUST be told because it's just too good to keep to myself. :)

So tonight, I decided to make this yummy new dinner from a recipe that I found on Pinterest (where else?). Here's the link to the recipe so I don't have to retype it all.

Cooked noodles laid out to try to keep them from sticking to each other

The recipe called for chicken, but I used ground beef instead - added with various cheeses and some milk

Spread the cheese and meat mixture over the noodles and rolled them up

Topped with more sauce and some parmesan cheese

And then came the problem.... It said to cover the dish and put it in the oven for 30 minutes. Joe walks in the door with about 10 minutes left on the oven timer. About that time, I said "Something smells burnt... Did you turn on the heater?". I head to the oven and open it to find a pretty good amount of smoke and this...

So sad....

I pulled the pan out as quickly as I could and at that point, I was certain that my hard work had all gone to waste. Thank goodness I was able to lift the lid off before it actually touched the food and our meal was saved. The funniest part is that we have the most sensitive fire alarms ever, and they didn't even go off! They go off when I'm baking cookies and the oven door is open, but not when our apt fills with plastic-smelling smoke. Go figure...

Two positive things came out of this experience, besides the awesome meal, which I'll definitely be making again. 1.) I now know that plastic melts in the oven (Who knew?). And 2.) I have something to add to my Christmas list because I ruined one of my favorite wedding gifts! Oh the joys of a new cook in the kitchen. :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Giving Thanks

Just a small list of things that I'm super grateful for right now (and an update on the life of the Thompson's):

1. As always, I'm super thankful that my family is healthy and happy. Joe and I have been blessed by time with different parts of our family in the last few months, and we're so looking forward to all of the various family gatherings in December!

2. Our new home!!! We have been looking/researching homes over the past month or so, and we found one, fell in love, and bought it in a matter of a few days. Crazy, I know. People keep telling us we are so lucky at home quickly this process has gone so quickly and smoothly. For those of you that don't know. The house is in Forney, and we are set to close on December 29th.
We can't wait to move in and get all settled. I guess we should start packing, huh...

3. Fun times - I've gotten to spend time with different friend groups over the last few months, and every one of them has been so special to me. From the fair weekend when Mal came in town, to the Taylor Swift concert, to the Halloween party, to the rockin' awesome Spazmatic's 80's concert we went to last weekend. I'm so blessed by so many amazing friends to enjoy all of this fun stuff with!

4. And today I'm thankful for Christmas music. I LOVE the anticipation of waiting for Thanksgiving to be here so that I could officially allow myself to listen to all of the joyous sounds of Christmas music. My awesome mother -in-law bought me the new Michael Buble Christmas CD this past weekend, so I got to kick off the season with a fresh new Christmas playlist. Next up on the Christmas list is Glee and N*SYNC! Don't judge me :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Gentle Reminders

**I'll warn you ahead of time, this is a long post. I just feel like this is something I need to document for myself and my fellow teachers. I tried to shorten it several times before posting, but it was pointless. :)

Today, I was reminded of why it is that I became a teacher, and what my goal is when my students leave my room every day.

Here's the back story:
On Friday, this young lady really frustrated me. I actually wrote my first office referral of the year because of what she did. She's one of those kids that teachers get annoyed with very easily. She's a kid that makes small bad choices here and there and you really worry that they're going to come back to hurt her in the end. Despite all of this, I give her the benefit of the doubt, more often than I probably should. Some might think this is because I'm naive about her intentions when she asks for something, but really it's because I feel like she needs someone to be on her side. There are always kids that stick out each year as someone that you would "go to bat for" because you want to see them be successful. This is my girl.

On Friday, however, she broke my trust. She asked to go to her locker, and instead decided to skip part of my class so that she could roam the halls for 15 minutes. Needless to say, I was very annoyed by this. When I got her back to my classroom (after having to track her down on the other side of the school), I had a talk with her in the hallway, and I let her know how disappointed and upset I was. This particular incident bothered me the most because I do always give her the benefit of the doubt, and I felt like she made a fool out of me. After lunch, she came up to me and said "I'm sorry that I made you mad. I realize what I did was wrong. I don't want you to think that I'm one of those kids that doesn't care". I accepted her apology and told her it was ok, but that she had broken my trust and that it would take a while to build that back up.

So, back to today. The student came in for some after school tutoring. After we discussed her grades, she sits down in front of my desk and says, "Mrs. Thompson, I never knew that you felt that way about me". (I should also tell you that English is her second language, so sometimes it takes a few tries to really say what she's trying to say). I asked her what she means, and she began to cry. She goes on to tell me that she didn't know that I trusted her, and that no one in her life has ever trusted her, not even her mom. She said that she didn't like that she had disappointed me. My heart simply melted. Our conversation continued and I encouraged her to learn from her mistakes and to remember that life is full of choices, and now is such a pivotal time in her life to decide what paths she's going to go down.

All I kept thinking was here's this young lady that God has placed in my classroom for a purpose! This sweet 12 year old girl is just looking for someone, anyone, to give her a chance. What an amazing reminder of why I have a passion for teaching and a passion for children. They need me. I need them. God needs me to be their beacon of hope. As a friend put it tonight at dinner, "You may be the only Jesus that she ever comes in to contact with." How powerful, and scary! I'm not so sure that I am always ready for that big of a responsibility, but I'm so glad that God is a good God, and He gracefully sends me reminders of what my purpose is. If I can teach a kid math, I'm doing good in the eyes of my administrators and the school district. But if I can teach a kid to make good, moral choices and to learn from their mistakes, I am doing what God has designed me to do. I'm leading them to Him. It's a slow process and I rarely get to see the end result, but how rewarding to see glimpses into how my influence can make a difference.

Thank you God for today.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Teacher's Woes

I'll be honest, I need to vent for a few minutes.... If that makes you not want to continue reading, that's fine. You won't hurt my feelings. I just need a place to make my voice heard today.

I have spent the last two days giving my students a district-mandated timed test. My students had 60 minutes (spread out over two days) to complete 20 in-depth math questions. If you're not a teacher, let me give you some background information here. The state of Texas will be giving a new standardized test this year, called the STAAR (State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness). The test is going to be timed, so in preparation, our district has started timing the kids on various tests or assessments, so that they can get used to the pace that they are going to be required to work at on the future test. I totally agree with the decision to do this. If they're going to be timed on the standardized test, then we're going to need to help them build up their skills to be able to master that test.

So back to my venting. I have spent the last two days watching hard working 11 and 12 year olds read questions, underline and circle important information (strategies I really stress in class) and solve problems to the best of their ability. When I say they were hard working, I truly mean that they worked REALLY hard for the 60 minutes that they got. Did I have the occasional student doodling with a highlighter on their pencil or staring off into la-la land for a few minutes? Yes. But the majority of them really gave me 100% for the hour that they were working.

And despite their strong efforts, I had at least 40 kids (throughout the day) that were not able to complete their test. So now, I will get their results back and know that there not an accurate depiction of what my students are capable of. Needless to say, this does not make me happy. I hate that they worked so hard for that hour and will have nothing to show for it because they did get to finish. I hate that I had to pressure them throughout the testing time to "make sure they were keeping a good pace so that they would finish on time". I hate that there are kids that rushed through it for fear that they wouldn't finish in time. I hate that one of my students felt the need to apologize to me because she just couldn't finish it. **Side note - She was so sweet in her apology, and I assured her that it was in no way her fault that she didn't get to finish and that it was not going to impact her math grade.**

Don't you think our kids have enough pressures in their young lives, without having to worry about how fast they can solve math questions?? I just want to know who makes these crazy decisions. I know it's not a teacher, that's for sure...