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...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Long Overdue Update

I can't believe it's been over two months since I last blogged. Joe and I have been adjusting really well to married life. We are currently both trying to get over being sick. I got sick on Sunday and missed two days of work, and now Joe's fighting the yucky cold symptoms. He missed half a day today. I guess that's part of being married. In sickness and in health, right? On a positive note, we're officially all settled into our cute apartment. We even bought a futon for our guest bedroom, which I'm so excited about! We're expecting our first house guest this coming weekend, so that was our motivation to get the guest bedroom in order. I'm excited to have one of my roomies from ACU, Cagney, coming in town to stay with us next weekend. We're having a mini ACU reunion with all of our friends, and it's going to be so much fun! New husbands. New babies. Lots of changes since the last time we were all together, so I can't wait to spend some time with my girls!

Another exciting piece of news, we got our wedding photos back from Chelsea and they are awesome! Here are a few of my favorites!

Joe messed up on part of the vows, and this picture really captures that moment perfectly lol

Not sure what we were talking about, but I like my face in this one. :)
Hope you're all having a great week! I'm really going to try to get back to blogging more. I like having a place to get my thoughts out and keep track of what's going on in life. Now that things are slowing down, surely I can find more time to blog, right? We shall see.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Mr & Mrs Thompson

It's official, we're married!! Woohoo! The wedding day was everything we could have ever imagined and more. I truly had a fairytale wedding. It was amazing! Thank you to everyone who helped make it possible. Here's a few candid shots I got on my camera.

Joe and I at the Ritz Carlton

Here's a link to a sneak peek video of our wedding:
Clay Hervey is so talented! I can't wait to see the full video.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Teacher Moment

Here goes a post that is not wedding related.... I know... Crazy right?!?!

Today was a bittersweet day in my teaching world. TAKS scores came back for my precious sixth graders, and I get the unwanted responsibility of telling them if they passed or not. It's a bittersweet day because I LOVE getting to celebrate with my babies who have worked super hard and passed, but having to tell the kiddos that didn't make it, that the failed is just so difficult. I always try to present it in the most positive way that I can, but it's still tough.

One of the biggest highlights of the day happened in 1st period. I was pulling kids out individually into the hall and telling them their verdict. One of my boys that has been coming to tutoring since March to make sure he was ready for TAKS came out. I told him he passed and a huge smile appeared on his face. I sent him back into the classroom to get the next student. A few minutes passed and he stuck his head back into the hallway. He looked me in the eye and said "Thanks for teaching me, Ms. Griffith." I told him he was very welcome. It was one of those moments in life that you think "If only I could take a picture of this moment so that I never forget it." (Have any of you ever seen The Office episode where Jim and Pam "take pictures" with a pretend camera when something sweet happens - that's how I felt). The best part is that this kid is one of those that knows how to push my buttons at times. So, for him to take the time to stop and say that to me truly warmed my heart.

It was a reminder that even when I am frustrated, tired, worn out, at the end of my rope, someone is counting on me to help them. Someone is looking to me for guidance and direction. I hope I never take advantage of the little opportunities (i.e. students) that God gives me each school year. As this year comes to a close, I hope that my students know that I love them and that I believe in them.

On that note, 7 more school days until summer :)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Picture Overload

Ok, I promised pictures when I found my camera cord, so here they are. Enjoy! :)

Everything was so girly, which is just the way I like it to be!

My wedding shoes were the inspiration for the day

Lots and lots of presents = So much fun to open!

Love it!

These cleaning gloves are so cute!

Me with my bridesmaids minus Megan

I set this up at the apartment after the shower. I'm loving our new dishes!!

I think that's enough for one post. There are more that I need to get off of my mom's camera as well. Also, this weekend we had my Bachelorette Party, so I'll definitely be adding some pics from that really soon. Happy Easter!

Monday, April 18, 2011

April Showers

On Saturday, we had our first wedding shower. You would have thought that it was Christmas, by the way I laid in bed wide awake on Friday and woke up at 6 on Saturday morning. I was just so anxious to see everyone and to celebrate with friends and family. So many of the people that Joe and I love and adore were there, and it ended up being a blast! Not to mention, my hostesses did an AMAZING job of decorating. I was going to post pictures, but I have misplaced my camera cord, so the pics will have to wait. BIG thanks to everyone that joined us at the shower, and especially for those that helped organize and decorate. I could not have asked for a better day with those that I love most.

Sunday, Joe and I spent time putting away our new stuff in our pretty apartment. I need to post pics of that too... Man, that camera cord is causing all kinds of problems...

This week, I'm taking a "me" day on Friday. My bachelorette party is on Friday, so I want to have time to rest up for all of the fun that is going on that night. I can't wait to spend time with some of my favorite girls!

With so much going on, I've gotten behind on blogging. So, if you're still out there reading this, thanks. :) I promise LOTS of pictures are coming ASAP.

Friday, March 18, 2011

100 Days

In exactly 100 days, I will be marrying the love of my life. I can't wait to be Mrs. Miranda Kay Thompson. :)

Mal and I just got back from a Spring Break trip to Austin to visit my grandparents. Memaw and Pepaw sure do know how to have a good time! We got there on Wednesday and we went to the outlet shops in San Marcus. Pepaw is so cute when we go shopping. He comes along, but never intends on shopping. He moves the car up and down the shops wherever we need him. Then he sits and reads his book until we need him to move closer to us. We walked out to the car once we were done, and he had escaped. We called him and found out that he was getting ice cream right by the car. So we joined him, and it was perfect weather for sitting outside and enjoying a sweet treat.

On Thursday, they took us to Fredricksburg, which was a lot of fun. We walked up and down the main street and bought a few things here and there. The atmosphere of Fredricksburg is really neat. If you haven't been, you should definitely check it out. Then, Pepaw "surprised" us by taking a small detour to Luckenbach. We walked around a little and listened to a Willie Nelson look alike singing and playing his guitar. What a cool place! I could have sat there for hours. It was well shaded and such a pretty day for enjoying some time outside and listening to good music. And, according to my Pepaw, we are now officially Texans since we've been to Luckenbach. :)

Other fun things about our trip: dinner at Chuy's with Terri and Rita, playing games of Phase 10 at night, a visit to Charming Charlie's, jamming out to old songs with Mal and just enjoying one another's company. There's nothing like spending time with family. I feel like one lucky girl.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Let It Snow, Let It Snow....

I still can't believe that we have had 3 snow/ice days in a row! Snow days as a teacher, are just as exciting as they are as a student! Some teachers complain about them, because it just means that we have to make up the days later in the school year, when the weather is nice and pretty. But, I would much rather take the unexpected day off to enjoy my nice WARM house, rather than have to get out in the freezing cold weather to drive on icy roads to get to school.

Needless to say, I've really enjoyed my 3 days off. Day 1 consisted of watching tv and hanging out with Mal. Day 2 was a chick flick movie marathon with Mal and working on invitations. Day 3 consisted of watching more cheezy movies and spending A LOT of time on invitations. I have now completed 76 invitations.... I haven't stuffed all of the invitations, but the pieces are complete. I can't believe how much I've gotten accomplished over the past two days! I told Mal today that I hope that my wedding guests can tell how much time and love I put into these invitations. I've really enjoyed making them, but they are definitely time consuming.

Unfortunately, it's back to reality tomorrow. Well, semi-reality really. It's a staff development day, so I'll spend the morning at my school, hearing from a guest speaker (which I'm looking forward to) and then the afternoon is math training with other math teachers across the district (which is always nice since our math coordinator is awesome). So, overall, tomorrow should be a good day. Of course, I'll miss being in my pj's with Mal, but I guess I can handle it for one day. ;)

**Side note: Just last week, two of my girls asked why I still had a sign up that said "Let it Snow" in the classroom. I told them that winter wasn't over (even though it was 70 degrees outside) and that it could still snow. I can't wait to see them next week and tell them that this week is exactly why I still had the sign up. lol

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I'm in love

Joe and I had a date night on Saturday, and I was reminded of yet another reason why I'm marrying this amazing man. He planned this date night all on his own. We had been looking forward to it all week long. Joe actually managed to keep all of the details of our date night a surprise, which is a major accomplishment for Mr. Joe Joe. He kept all of the details super top secret, which was fun. Well, Saturday finally gets here. I ran around with my mom and sister and did a little shopping, which was fun. I was looking for boots for date night, but just couldn't find any that I liked. So, I came home to figure out what I was going to wear. I started scrambling around and just couldn't find anything. Girls, you know what I'm talking about. It was quickly turning into one of those situations where NOTHING looks the way you want it to look. With the help of mom and Mal, I finally found an outfit that was acceptable, but now, I was running late. If you know me, you know that I love being on time. Actually, I love being early. I am not a late person. I just don't like the way it makes me feel when I get in the car to go somewhere, and I know I'm going to be late. So, I call Joe to let him know. I'm frustrated, and feeling down about the whole situation. Joe reassures me that everything will be fine, and that we're going to have a great night. Then, a few minutes later, Joe calls me back. He tells me that he has called the restaurant to let them know that we may be a few minutes late, and he wanted to make sure that was ok. They of course said it would be just fine.

It might seem like a simple story, but I was totally taken aback by it. The fact that he realized this was truly stressing me out, and he came up with a quick solution was so sweet to me. I love how thoughtful Joe is. I was instantly reminded how lucky I am to have someone so considerate in my life. I truly cannot wait to call him my husband.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Top 10 of 2010

My top 10 favorite memories in 2010, in no particular order.

1. The Cruise - I loved having an opportunity to travel with Joe and we had such a good trip.
2. Getting Engaged!! Obviously one of the greatest blessings this year.

3. Moving back in with my sister (and mom and Bri of course). I'm looking forward to many nights of watching silly shows together and playing the Wii.
4. Christmas Tour 2010 - We had a crazy busy Christmas, but I wouldn't have traded it for anything. Getting to spend time with each of our families was very important to me.
5. Discovering the Couch to 5K program. I know that I didn't complete it, but I'm thinking about starting it back up again. I loved feeling like I was doing something I never thought I could do - running. Maybe this time I can stick with it and actually run a 5K. :)

6. Going to Vegas with Mal and Memaw. We had such a good time, and I'm so glad we got to do that. Thanks Memaw for taking us on this trip!
7. Spending more time getting to know Joe's family. There have been several opportunities for me to be with his family this year, and I've enjoyed each one of those events. I feel very blessed to have Joe's family welcome me in like they do.
8. Wedding dress shopping - That day was so much fun! I'm so glad that Joe's mom got to come and enjoy this special day with me and the girls in my fam. We had such a good time, and it's a memory I will cherish forever.
9. Booking our honeymoon - Thanks to a couple of amazing Christmas/Wedding presents, we're going to Sandals Grande Antigua. It's so much fun looking at the pictures and thinking about relaxing on the beach for a whole week with my best friend. BIG thanks to Memaw and Pepaw and mom and Brian for their help with the honeymoon. We are so very blessed.
10. Camp Erin and GriefWorks - These two things were new for me in 2010. After my mom losing a good friend, Jean, to earthquake in Haiti and watching the Ross/Bizaillion family losing Jenny, I became inspired to do something for kids that are left behind in the wakes of grief. Camp Erin was a weekend camp spent with some sweet, sweet children. I will never forget the stories or memories that were made there. And working with GriefWorks has been such a blessing.

Here's to 2011. I'm looking forward to all that the new year holds. May you be blessed and feel God's love this year.