Let the Good Times Roll

18 December 2010

I am already loving having the time off from academics. It's so much more relieving than a standard Friday. I've been lucky. Last night I played Cranium with my sister and her boyfriend, and today I returned my books to the store (and got, for the first time ever, a decent amount back), went out to dinner with friends, played Hearts, and watched Elf. Yeah, I'm pretty pumped that it's break.  I'm a little bit down that I missed my church's caroling tonight which makes me even more glad that I could go with CKI last week!

Oh, this morning Noah took me out for a little breakfast downtown which was over-the-top pleasant & cute before heading to walmart where I got to put some money in the salvation army bucket. Do you do that at christmas time? I love to go up to bellringers and put money in. Some years I really want to collect money to donate to a cause (like animal shelters or cancer). Have you ever done this?

These are my reasons to smile today! What are yours?


16 December 2010

Well, beyond the fact that I feel worried about not going in to do research I'm doing pretty well. I finished my last final yesterday at 3pm and it feels good to know that I've got a few weeks respite before getting back to the grinding block.

First off, I want to say that my roommates are awesome all the time but I especially appreciated them this finals week. I've heard several stories from partners on projects, friends, and my sister about their roommates beginning to drive them crazy. I think it's a girl thing. We get stressed about all of this work and everyone tries to be overly polite and then people begin to get a little....well, we'll say unpleasant.  My guys have been awesome though and if anything I'd say they help me relax.

Now that my finals are over I'm ready to take a break and kick back. I want to find a good book to read, go downtown and visit restaurants, and volunteer at the SPCA. The only problem is we're snowed in! That's right. The reason I'm not going in today to do work is because the roads are white. I've seen people driving on them but my sister called and said she saw people skidding on the roads. Not worth it!

Well, hopefully the next week or two will become easier with checking up on blogs, commenting, and posting. I will try and get back on the horse and catch up with you all! Hope you're staying warm and cozy!

Let it Snow

14 December 2010

We've had some snow here although fortunately it didn't stick on the pavement or sidewalks for too long.  It's pretty while it falls though. Only about 24 hours left for my finals which is fantastic. One of the best parts about college is that once you've worked for a long time (going crazy!) you get to take a month off right in the middle of it.

Hope you're having a wonderful time and are staying warmer than were are in Virginia!

Loch Lomond

13 December 2010

This is one of my favorite songs and has been for years. I'm not sure where I first heard it but I remember being overly happy when we decided to play a version of this song in high school. I think my favorite arrangement is by Ticheli (which you can listen to here - with a wind symphony).

I hope it brings a smile to you today.


12 December 2010

So, um, yeah..... My brain is a bit fried from working for six hours on a project - straight.  My partner and I designed a probe that would go to Jupiter to test whether the core is made of diamond.  Yeah.  We're awesome like that.

As a result, I feel like a zombie and I am beginning to have mini freakout sessions about the rest of my work. With that, I bid you adieu and will see you in another day!


10 December 2010

Circle K offered caroling this week and I went along with a few other girls to sing at a retirement home nearby. Every year in my hometown my family caroled with a church group to shut ins and nursing homes so I jumped on board to do this.

It is a very rewarding experience. Many of the people you sing to smile and sing along or thank you for coming, wish you a merry christmas, or tell you that you are a wonderful singer (even when you noticeably are not - like me).  Let me tell you, our group will never attempt to sing The First Noel again but we're pretty awesome at Hark the Harold Angels Sing & Jingle Bell Rock.

Of course, there were a few hard times, there was a group of elderly women who didn't want to be sung to. It was nothing personal, I'm pretty sure they were just really into their Uno game. There were also a few people asleep in the rooms we sang in.... Still, we were smiling a lot, singing terribly & loudly, and it was a pretty good time all around.

Have you ever been caroling? Do you have a favorite Christmas song?  A common request is always Silent Night. My personal favorite it O Holy Night.


09 December 2010

I've found myself fantasizing a lot recently.... Whether it's about painting the apartment, decorating like crazy for Christmas, or throwing books at my professors and screaming "no more!!!", I'm finding myself periodically slipping away from reality to get lost somewhere else.

Know what this reminds me of and makes me fantasize about now? Books. Lots of books. Books that make you step out of your own world and into another, where you feel like you are right there with the character experiences all the same tastes, smells, and sights as them.

Help me keep my fantasies alive won't you? What are some good books you've read lately?

So It Doesn't Look Like Much...

07 December 2010

but it's SNOW and I'm happy. This was actually taken Sunday morning after a few light flurries on Saturday. You can see where the sun is that it melted rather quickly.

I went Christmas shopping today and I only have two people left to shop for! I love shopping for gifts. I was having a fun time. Plus I bought coordinating wrapping.

Recently I've been procrastinating on my work (some of it's due at 11:30pm tonight)..... I just bought nachos for a snack. I've been craving them for an hour and after talking with my roommate for half an hour about possible futures for human/transhuman life I decided I would cave, get the chips, type a quick post, then do homework.

Do you love postponing everyday life for Christmas fever like I do? I'm caroling at a retirement home on Thursday night and possibly ringing bells for the salvation army charity at a local supermarket. I'm ready for lots of holiday cheer. Can you tell?

Take some time to relax & grab a mug of tea (or you know, the less cute route of nachos & cheese) and sit back and watch your favorite show.

If you have a spare 2:05 listen to this wonderful rendition of Baby It's Cold Outside.

Christmas Time is Here

06 December 2010

I'm beginning to get distracted by thoughts of sugar plums dancing in my head. Oh right that's another twenty days away. Right now my thoughts are scrambled with presentations, projects, units, and tests.

Two presentations were completed this morning with two more to go tomorrow. Today will be over-the-top busy....just like yesterday (over eight hours in libraries yesterday - say what?!). Fortunately most of my Crazy (with a capital C) for this week is over by Wednesday evening. Then Finals week happens.

Luckily winter break is right around the corner! I want to decorate so badly but lack the funds to do it. I do have a little Christmas tree as you can see in the picture above adorned with lights, candy canes, and ornaments. It adds a nice bit of cheer to the apartment for the season.

I need Christmas music playing, cookies baking, and gifts to be wrapping right about now. Just a few weeks and I'm starting to feel it.

Have a wonderful Monday & hope you can keep happy holiday thoughts in your head at the start of this week!

Wish List

04 December 2010

My current wish list?
  • Time with the fiancĂ©
  • Money galore to eat out.
  • Vanishing homework... you mean I have to complete all of it??
  • Cute gift wrap so my present will look super cute.
  • Two additional hours in each and every day for a nap.
Yeah, that sounds about right.  There's one more week of classes before exams coming up that everyone here needs to power through. This means posting will be sporadic.  ... and has been sporadic. 

I'm starting to crave pizza & mexcian food like nothing else and I wouldn't say no to a fancy drink either.

It sounds like a great way to relive stress. I think try to eat all my problems away sometimes.... :) 

What are ways you manage stress?

So I don't forget, here are my reasons to smile as well (tell me yours too!):
-I'm fortunate enough to be at a school I love
-My sixth graders have been awesome this semester!
-A three week breather is right around the corner
-My Macbook Pro is saving my butt
-Possible free engagement photos

Bigs & Littles

01 December 2010

I know I've mentioned Circle K on here before but I'll let you in on a secret.... I was skeptical of one of our "recruitment techniques" this semester. For the first time ever we decided to start a Bigs and Littles program.

I did not like the idea of our club being in any way related to a sorority or fraternity. Yes, I know that greek organizations can do a lot of good, but the fact of the matter is that at my university they're mostly known for their parties. Sure, they do community service but only to get school money to pay.... for alcohol.  At least, that's their rep.  We do have a few awesome Greek Orgs that do as they should and honestly help the community though to be fair.

Anyways, as an officer I was obligated to become a Big and I didn't like the idea.  We were basing our Big/Little pickings off of a one page survey. I was skeptical.

Turns out, I was wrong. I love both of my Littles and I can't believe how much I have in common with each of them. They're incredibly kind and helpful (as any one in Circle K is) and I'm so glad that this program is helping me to talk to more members in our club and truly get to know them.

They're each awesome young ladies and I hope they decide to stay with Circle K throughout their college career and volunteer in the community for years to come.

Moral of the story: Don't stick to assumptions.  Things can turn out amazing if you just give them the chance.

PS - Giveaway at Jill of All Trades.

Quick Recap

28 November 2010

I'm exhausted (yes, at 10pm) so I'd better get off to bed.

I had a great break from the semester for a week and boy was it needed!

  • Noah & I were toasted at his family's Thanksgiving
  • Food. Lots of it.
  • Lots of oohs and aahs over a certain piece of jewelry
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Shopping
  • New boots
  • Free computer bag
  • The, um, Camping Game
  • Scrabble
Yeah, that's a very quick recap and I'll be back to more regular posting this upcoming week! 

I hope each and every one of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. You know what? Only about four weeks until Christmas. Hard to beat that!

PS - If you want to see cats playing patty-cake, Noah's cousins enjoyed this.

Happy Thanksgiving!

25 November 2010

It's Thanksgiving in America today and I hope we can all take time to be thankful for many things in our lives.

I'm thankful for:

  • Having a wonderful fiancĂ© (that word is so much fun to say)!
  • Getting mashed potatoes today - favorite food ever
  • Having time off from my academics
  • A wonderful VAST conference
  • Wonderful friends and a future family
{image via}

The Proposal Photos

22 November 2010

Here are the photos from during the proposal! I'm so lucky to have him in my life and I look forward to our future together. For more than five years he's been the rock in my life through loss of family members, the stress of college, and investigating careers. He's encouraged me every day. My reason to smile today? We're engaged!

We're Engaged!

21 November 2010

Noah proposed last night! Of course, I said "yes!".  He popped the question on the Kissing Rock which on our campus is legendary. (When it used to be an all girls college the boyfriends would drop them off and give them a goodnight kiss behind the Kissing Rock so the teachers wouldn't see. Now it's said that if you kiss on the Kissing Rock you'll get married to that person.) 

He suggested we take a walk on campus and take some pictures.... we often take pictures on campus just for the fun of it so that wasn't too out of the ordinary.  We stopped at the special landmarks such as the Centennial Fountain, Wilson steps, and James Madison statue.  Then we ended up at the Kissing Rock. We talked for a bit while the sun was setting and were waiting a little for some people nearby to leave. Then he got serious though - by serious I mean down on one knee - and my sister actually came up behind us and started taking pictures! I haven't seen the shots yet but she took pictures during the proposal. How sweet! 

Between the proposal, dinner reservations, and Harry Potter (yes, that's right) last night I was calling family and friends and telling them the news. It was a wonderful evening and I'm so happy!

When I get a copy of my sister's photos I'll put them up and I'll tell you more about my Science Teacher Conference this weekend too. Hope you've had a marvelous weekend as well!

Craving: Adventure

17 November 2010

{Playa Del Carmen in Mexico, 2008}

Tomorrow evening I'm leaving for a conference (for Virginia Association of Science Teachers - VAST) and I will be coming back home on Saturday. Just a heads up that it'll probably be a few days between posts.

My research professor, an earth science teacher, and I will be doing a seminar on fossil use in the classroom. I'm a teency bit nervous but I'm not doing too much talking so I should enjoy the majority of my time. On the bright side, we present on Friday morning which means I'll be done with the nerves for the rest of the day and Saturday.

Currently, I feel like I'm just waiting for break. I still have a paper to get done today (after practicum, a three hour lab, and a test). On the bright side, Noah and I are getting a meal tonight then watching Eat, Pray, Love on campus for cheap.

It's only a matter of days until break.... I count my break as starting officially on Sunday.

I have several things on my to-do list for Thanksgiving. I would love to get back to DC again when it's not as crowded as it was at the rally. I think Noah and I would have a great time going in on our own and exploring some museums. Then there's the traditional thanksgiving with his family (thank goodness I have that second family to take care of me, have I mentioned lately that I love his dad?).

{White House in 2009}

Also a tradition is our Post-Thanksgiving Hike. My dad, "uncle", sister, and I would often go to Shenandoah National Park on Black Friday and do a hike for the day. Instead of going into the insane stores we headed out into nature. For the last couple of years though I've been taking a group of friends up instead and it'd be nice to get out again this year.

There are several towns nearby that I'd like to visit as well, plus see Harry Potter, take the metro, perhaps visit Baltimore? I'm just pumped for break, even if there is some work to do during the week. I'm ready to get out of the apartment and out of work mode and go on an adventure somewhere.

Doesn't an adventure sound nice?

This is My Tuesday: Happiness

16 November 2010

At Red Boots it's time for another installment of This is My Tuesday and the theme for this week is happiness. This week I'm actually sticking to the one picture idea.

I chose this picture for happiness because band has meant a lot of things to me since I joined in sixth grade and although I don't currently play in any bands I wouldn't trade those memories for anything. It was because of band that I gained confidence in myself. I was terrified of solos (and I still am) but it made my fear of public speaking go away. After playing solos on an instrument in front of people using my voice was no longer scary.

Plus I made nearly all of my friends in high school through band. We spent all of our time together so you sort of ended up finding some friends whether you wanted to or not. Of course, I always do so that worked out well. Weekends were spent at football games or at festivals with these same people and I smiled and laughed a lot.

The best part of all though was meeting Noah. I know he's a common theme on here but he really does make me incredibly happy. Since he's a year behind me in school I doubt I ever would have met him (or at the very least would have noticed him) the way I did by being in band with him.  Heck, if we weren't placed so close on the field my sophomore year maybe I wouldn't have met him either!

Band provided a lot of opportunities for me and I'm still grateful four years later. I think I will be the rest of my life - it's what made me happy.

Games & Love

14 November 2010

Yesterday was the last football game of my senior year.  While I'm staying around for a fifth year to get my Masters degree in the Arts of Teaching, a number of my friends will be leaving.  It's been a wonderful three and a half years so far and I'm sure we'll finish strong.

The game provided time for Noah and I to get together for a fun activity (plus Student Tickets are free at our University).  We had a great time with our friends, grabbing nachos, watching the marching band, and beating each other with our noise-makers. It was great to finish the Praxis then go hang out with my friends. Last week was a lot of work so I'm hoping to take it a little easy this week.

We had a great time yesterday and I hope to have just as much fun today! It's wonderful to set some time aside to enjoy the company of your friends. We had a private shuttle over to the game which was fun plus we ate on campus afterwards. My reason to smile is that my coursework should be slowing down a bit, Thanksgiving break is five days away, and my guy is super sweet to me.

Happy Sunday everyone!


Have you noticed that sometimes you have just settled into the motion of things and have stopped appreciating what you have in your life? I think the past couple of weeks have turned into that a little bit for me. I've been slowly coming out of it but yesterday was a sort of kick to my bum. I've become motivated to take these last weeks by the horns and show them who's boss.

My Mother's Ring

13 November 2010

This morning started off early enough for a Saturday (7 am) and it wasn't necessarily my own choice. Today I had to take the Praxis II which is basically a big standard test I need to officially get into graduate school. I've been conditionally accepted but I need to pass for it to be official.

After the two hour testing period I came back home and found a paper snowflake on my bed with a message on it. In the middle of the snowflake was my mom's ring!

She had two rings, one that was her engagement/wedding ring and another (the one above) that my dad bought her for their 22nd anniversary. I received this one but it was always much too big for me to wear and I refuse to lose it so it's been sitting in my jewelry box for just over two years now.  Noah did me a huge favor and re-sized it for me and I'm so happy! Plus he was super cute about the delivery.

I typically wear my college ring on my right hand but I'll probably switch back and forth now depending on the occasion or what I'm wearing. It'll be nice to have a little reminder around with me.

I apologize for not keeping up with posting this week but I did two full lessons in my sixth grade classroom this week on top of a test, two projects, and assignment, and trying to organize a group presentation.  I'll try to do better this upcoming week!

What little surprises did you come across this week?

This is My Tuesday: Family

09 November 2010

Wendy at Red Boots started a theme for "This is My Tuesday".  She gives topics each Tuesday and invites other bloggers to post as well.  This week's theme is family.

 I must admit that my definition of family has been forced to change through time.  When I was little it was very simple.  I had a mom, a dad, and a sister.  Done and done! Of course I had grandparents too although at the time I hated visits because I couldn't stand the smell of my grandparents house (my grandma smokes). To be honest I still hate the smell but I value time with them much more.  There was extended family on both sides but we usually only visited at fourth of July or Christmas. Family was easy. Family was happy. Family was home.

Then my concept changed. After losing my mom our family fell into havoc.  My sister and I had not been overly close with our dad and we did not have any way to communicate between us.  My grandparents are... gruff people. I hadn't been close to my aunts and uncles.  I relied on my friends to get me through this. Noah and my sister were the biggest helps but being able to get out of the house and be with people who cared about me was what was important. They became my not-exactly-family family.  

Now... Well, I'm still a bit confused about who exactly I count as family.  I rely less on blood ties than others do probably because I think you should be with people who are healthy for you more so than be obligated to be around people who damage your emotional wellness. I do count my blood family as family but when I walk through stores and see picture frames that say "Family" on them with little quotes it just makes me a little disgruntled. I don't have pictures to put in a frame like that.

More so, I look to the future. I see my future every day, ever morning, every evening. It's a very bright, warm, happy future in the form of a handsome young man.  He is my family.  Or, at least, my future family.  My sister is another rock in my life, the only person who has traveled this world fully with me.

I guess now family is a mixture of all things. I accept the flaws in my family (and myself in not being ready to correct the past) and move forward with them. Yet, I think this is only possible for me because I formed a second family of sorts to carry me through.  That is my reason to smile, that life throws challenges at us but that were are given the gift of friends and family to pull through.

Happy Change

08 November 2010

In Circle K we used to pass around a bag for a Cause-of-the-Month.  As each member put their change ($$$) into the bag they would give a reason for why they were happy that week.

Now we have a few too many member (aka 94) to pass around a bag at the meeting; it would take ages.  Occasionally we do get some "Happy Change" going on.  It's nice to see the reasons people have to smile throughout the week. Mine has a heart beside it!

If you were giving Happy Change, what cause would you want it to go towards and what is your reason to be happy?

Temporary Gleek

07 November 2010

I am by no means a "Gleek". I've seen one episode of Glee ever and while it was cute (Kurt, a gay boy in high school, came out to his father) I never ended up watching another one.  This week that will change.

I've mentioned A Very Potter Musical on here before and maybe how I've been semi-obsessed with it. Well, Darren Criss plays Harry Potter, sings some features, and actually wrote many of the songs in the Musical and the Sequel.  I'm not a crazy fan girl about Darren by any means. I think he has a nice voice but not my favorite in the world, but the reason I'm happy with this Glee episode is because Darren is getting a starring role in it.

It's great that people like Darren (and the rest of the cast from AVPM) can move up in the world from "no one" to famous because of their own talents and abilities. One of the great aspects of our connected world today is the ability for your own hardwork to get you somewhere high.

Hope you enjoy the video (Darren is the main singer in the clip!).

Happy Sundays! Did you enjoy your extra hour of sleep?

A Day to Enjoy

06 November 2010

Today has been heaven compared with the last couple of weeks. Noah and I came to our hometown to spend the weekend and for the first time in a long time I've forgotten about work.  Well, half an hour ago I remembered and I've been feeling a bit guilty since then but for the most part it's been a grand old time.

Today was the local Kiwanis Pancake Day which is fun to go support.  Plus I met up with one of my girlfriends for her birthday and even got my ears pierced! I wish she was still at University with me but at least she's from my hometown (we didn't get to know one another until college).  Then Noah & I went to see my grandparents.  I've been feeling guilty about not seeing them for the last..... couple of months. I know, I'm terrible! Then Noah and I relaxed. Naps, nice dinner, some tv, and an apple pie for dessert.  All in all it's been a great mini-vacation day!

The sunrise this morning.

Noah was feeling the pancakes!

Kara's birthday cakes!

A local ice cream joint. It's closing for the winter this weekend!

My second piercing. I'll have to be good about it for the next six to eight weeks but it shouldn't be too much work for me. 

One of my favorite girls in the world! She's so good about making me smile and we can talk about anythings. Love, love, love her!

Out My Window

04 November 2010

Time to catch up with a few "Out My Window" Photos.  When I find a beautiful sky, sunset, or sunrise I like to share them with others! Here are a few pictures from the last two weeks. Some aren't necessarily out of my bedroom window (could be car or a passerby on the street) but they were pretty nonetheless! Keep in high spirits - tomorrow is Friday!

Noah's parents are coming through town tonight and will be taking us out to dinner as a special little treat. I love eating out - my biggest weakness currently.  I just love food too much! My personal favorite is El Charros, a Mexican restaurant right across the street! Where's your favorite place to eat out?

The 2nd to last photo is of a sunrise and the last is of a sunset that you've seen a few times before now. It was just so glorious I had to throw one more in (though it may be a teency bit blurry because I was in a moving car).  Enjoy and happy Thursday!
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