Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cowboy Boots

So, I have been wanting a pair of cowboy boots for a long time now. When I first saw the movie, Hope Floats I really fell in love with tall cowboy boots. Sandra Bullock looked so cute with her boots, sundress, and cowboy hat, and since seeing that movie with her parading around the dance floor I've wanted a pair. Now, being the country girl that I am- you'd figure I'd already have a pair, but I don't. (Yes, I am country- whether you believe it or not. I lived on 10 acres, with a log home; we had cows and horses; and I was raised going to rodeos. If you've ever met my daddy then you know I am legit when it comes to country.) So, anyways, Lantz and I give ourselves an allowance each month, and I think that over the next two months or so, I'd like to save mine up to buy a pair of cowboy boots.

I thought that I wanted a pair like my mom's and I've been doing some research to find a great price on them, but then I went browsing yesterday. Lantz took me down to Boot Barn (yes, we have a Boot Barn in Vegas- I couldn't believe it either) yesterday to do some sizing and pricing. They didn't have any like my mom's, but I found I pair that I fell in love with!!! They are really tall, and really cute!! I thought that I wanted a solid pair, but after I tried these on I fell in love with them. They are Tony Lamas, and they just happened to be the most comfortable pair I tried on yesterday too! Lucky me, cute and comfy. So, hopefully I'll be buying a pair sometime over the next few months. I am so excited! Here is a picture:

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Back in the Rhythm....

Well, I am officially trying to get back into the rhythm of things. It's hard to get up at 5:30 am, work all day, work-out, cook dinner, and take care of "chores." Oh sweet summer, where did you go?

Funny story... I have been told several times over and over since last school year that this year I'd have one accelerated reading class, two regular reading classes, and 2 inclusion/regular reading classes. So, first period was supposed to be my only accelerated class. On the board I have a different place where they copy things down, and we do slightly different things together. Tuesday, I was looking through some "important" documents and came across a typo (or so I thought). It said that my second period class was accelerated, and I was like, "hey that's not right, my first period is accelerated." So, I checked my first period papers, and they said accelerated, and so I was like, "Great... there's probably a huge mistake and I'm going to have to re-sign every kid back in second period." So, I call my assistant principal who is over the important documents, and he was like,"Oh no! I'll double check, and call you back." Well, within a few minutes he and my principal where in my room with papers. They were like, "Um... apparently your second period is accelerated too. All the calendars and schedules say that your second hour is regular, but it's actually accelerated." They were like, "Is that okay?" Um... yeah, it's cool, but who was going to let me know that? I just kept wondering if I hadn't spotted it on that paper, when I would have found out.

So... I gave this huge speech to 2nd hour on the first day of school how they should be careful copying down their objective, and not to copy down the accelerated one. Not one of them raised their hand to inform me that they were in an accelerated class, and they all knew, cause apparently their schedules all said accelerated, it was just mine that didn't. So, on Tuesday when they got to class I asked them,"How many of you know that I made a mistake yesterday?" The entire classes hand went up. Are you kidding me!?! There was not one bold enough 7th grader out of a class of 35 to raise their hand to inform me that their schedule said accelerated. Too funny!

So yah... maybe that wasn't as funny now that I think about it, but it was at the time. You should have been in my second period, we laughed and laughed about it on Tuesday. Silly kids. I love teaching.


On another note, Lantz is training for a triathlon in October, and so we got a membership to the Y so he could swim laps. I have been trying to go up and use the YMCA since we are now paying for it. I have been trying to run on the treadmill some, and tonight I swam some laps. (Yes, I am still doing P90X also. I am just trying to add to some of my workouts.)

Also, tomorrow night we are having our neighbors over for dinner. 4 houses of neighbors. We have been talking about it since we moved in 4 years ago. You know how that works.... you say over and over how you need to do something, and you never get around to it. Well, Lantz and I made ourselves commit to it. We walked around to our neighbors houses on Sunday and invited them over for tomorrow. They all said they'd come which was way exciting! So, tomorrow we are feeding 12 adults including ourselves and 2 kids. We went to Sam's & Smith's tonight to get food. We are going to cook: jalapeno poppers with cheese and bacon for an appetizer; grilled asparagus, squash, zucchini; pork loin & chicken legs/drumsticks; baked beans; and then for dessert we are making some coconut chocolate chip dessert bars with home-made ice cream. It should be yummy and fun!

Happy early Friday to you all, and happy late birthday to my friend Lauri-Anne!

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Monday, August 24, 2009

First Day Back

Well, today was my first day back in the swing of things. The first day of school is always so exciting, because I love to meet all of my students, and there is no pressure to "teach" something. There is so much house keeping stuff that has to be done, and so before you know it, they are all gone and the next group is in. This is my 5th year teaching 7th grade, and I have to say that I love this age group. They always surprise me and entertain me in new and different ways. They are at that age where they are developing their personalities, and what type of person they want to be. I like to think that I get a chance to mold a little bit of that.

So, what did we do today? First thing I had to do today with my students was to sign them each in. (Yes, we have to sign each and every single kid in all day, all classes... strange. I think it's a Nevada thing.) Not to exciting, but it was something that had to get done. I also handed out a project. I know, I know... it's so mean that I not only gave out homework the first day, but I gave out a project. Oh well. I like to set the standard of "this is a class to work in and not play in" on day one. I loosen up as the school year goes on. Besides, it is not that hard of a project. The students make a mini poster about themselves with information describing them and a picture of themselves. I hang everyone's on the wall and keep it up all year. It is my official wall paper on one of my walls.

Okay, so far my biggest class is only 36 which is a really good thing. But.... there are kids still enrolling, and supposedly our numbers are only going to go up. Last year I had a class of 42... yep... 42 seventh graders and one me. I have had up to 180 students in one year. Yikes! I know, HUGE right? This year I think I'm at 150 right now which is a good thing. I am praying that my numbers stay in that ball park and don't go up much.

Oh... one more thing. This year my school switched out dress code to a Standard Student Attire, and the kids look so good! (It's basically like uniforms, but not so strict.) They have to wear a collard shirt in a color of: white, navy, gold, or maroon, and a pair of pants/shorts or skirt in black, khaki, white, dark jean, or navy. The kids just looked adorable today! What a huge difference this new dress has made on our school. I love it! (And, no, teachers do not have to wear the new dress code- which is even better!)

Hopefully all you teachers out there who started today had a great first day back! Also, all of you parents out there who sent your kid(s) to school for their first day- I hope that they had an amazing first day and some awesome teachers!

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Movies

Lantz and I have watched several different movies over the past two weeks. I really enjoyed all 4 of these videos. Don't really know why we've watched so many recently, I guess we are trying to soak up the last few minutes of summer.


Hannah Montana and Inkheart were really clean. Although they are both geared for kids, Lantz and I both liked them. They were very cute with positive messages. I'm kind of a sucker for teeny bopper movies.


17 Again and Taken were not as clean, but they were super good. I liked the message in 17 Again. It really brought up some valid points like abstinence, popularity, showing love to others, and living for each day as it is presented to you, but it did have a lot of sexual references in it. Taken was very suspenseful and it really made me think about things. If you're looking for a good movie to watch then I don't think you could go wrong with any of these.

SIDE NOTE: All of you starting back to school this week I pray that the LORD blesses you with amazing classes and uses you to influence your students for HIS glory.
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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Blonde or Brown

So, I am having a hair dilemma. My hair is dying, literally, because I keep killing it with bleach, but I like my blonde. I have said recently over and over that I am soon going to dye my hair back a dark brown. Everyone in my family has dark brown hair, and so I'm like the outcast (not really). I had blonde hair all the way up until like 6th grade then it changed to a weird color, and in in 8th grade, I started highlighting it blonde. I have always felt blonde, and when I look at myself in the mirror, regardless my hair color at the time, I see a blonde girl.

So, why go brown you ask? I love my sister's dark brown hair. I think it looks gorgeous on her, and part of me wants that for myself. I also need to give my hair a break. Every few years after I highlight my hair blonde, I typically go natural, or dye it brown to give it a break. I've been blonde now for over 3 years, and so it's time for a breather. I keep having to cut it shorter and shorter due to continuing to damage it with the bleach.

Don't ask about going natural. I really hate my natural hair color. It's not blonde, it's not really brown. It's just blah. It's like a really nasty mousy brown. Some people have a very nice mousy brown, but mine is not nice. It's ugly. So yeah- that is not an option.

Here are 2 photos of myself. One from 3 & 1/2 years ago when my hair was super long and brown (ignore glasses), and one from recently- blond and short (Not the greatest pictures, but they'll do). I'd love to hear your opinion. I have not made my mind up yet about what to do next the time I go in for my hair appointment. Stay blonde a little longer? Go dark brown immediately? Low lights for a while and then dark brown? Keep it short? Grow it back out? Okay... yeah, let me hear what you have to say.



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Saturday, August 15, 2009

This Week....

So, this is my last full week of summer vacation. Next Wednesday I have to go in for 3 days of Staff Development days, and then the kids come in the following Monday. So, what exactly have I been up to my last week of freedom? Well, not much.

In the evenings I have spent my time at VBS (Vacation Bible School) helping with all the little people. I have slept in most mornings. I have been doing my P90X workout each day trying to get back on track after a week of sweet tea and junk food in Texas, and I have also gone up to the Y to walk/run on the treadmill. I laid out to at the Y outdoor pool too. Oh yeah, Lantz and I have also gone to the Y to swim laps this week. Lantz is currently training for a sprint triathlon in October. I'm super excited for it because all of Lantz's best friends are coming out to do it with him, and all their wives are coming for some girl time! Yeah fun!

I have also been eating lots of fruit parfaits. Lantz's friend Delwyn made us some fruit parfaits when we stayed with him in Lubbock last week, and I really like them. I don't like, or I didn't think I liked yogurt, but apparently I like the non-fat, vanilla yogurt with fresh blueberries, strawberries, and granola in it. Yum! Thanks Delwyn- I've had like 3 every day.

Thursday night all the teens came over after VBS and we watched Inkheart. I was not expecting this to be a very good movie, but it actually was. It was super cute, and very interesting. It was fun to hang out with the teens. It's crazy how much they've all grown up.

Lantz and I also got a new decorative picture for our bedroom. We are going to hang it over our bed. We also got some 1/2 price black frames with white mats, and we printed some of our favorite Europe photos in black and white. I am going to make a picture collage up the hall way stairs. Photos to come of those two new things in our home.

We went to Shawna's mom's memorial service today. It was a really beautiful, touching ceremony. Her mom seemed like a very special woman. I wish that I had known her.

The worst part about the week was that I had to go in for jury duty on Wednesday. Super stressful. I don't drive down town (strip area) very often, hardly ever actually, and I had to go down there to the court house. I had to park at the Fremont Street Experience parking garage and walk like 4 blocks. That's the only place you can park to get it validated. So, I went all the way there and got divided into a group of people that had to fill out huge packets for a case starting this coming week. I had to call back last night, Friday night, to find out if I got picked to go back in. Well, wouldn't you know my luck that I have to go all the way back down there on Monday to see if they pick me for the case. I hope that they don't. It's a really big case that will probably last for a few weeks or months. I really don't want to miss the first part of school. I want to get to know my students and start the school year out right. Selfishly I am praying for myself that they don't pick me, and if you think about it, maybe you could raise a prayer up on my behalf. Thanks.

So, the best part of the week..... tonight. Lantz and I grilled out. Yummy! We grilled some steak, asparagus, jalapeno poppers, and then we had some 9 grain bread. Julia came over to stay the night with us too, so she ate with us. We are about to watch the movie Taken. We have never seen it, so I'll let you know how it turns out.

So yeah... that was my week. Sorry I have been really bad about blogging lately. Maybe I'll be able to get back to a normal blogging routine with school starting soon.
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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Abilene= Amazing!

I used to have a hard time imagining missing Abilene, but once you've been gone from Texas as long as we have it really starts to take a toll on you.

Abilene is not the place where most people would plan a "mission" trip, but it really does help you to see that there is mission work anywhere and everywhere- including the Bible belt.

The 10 of us that planned to travel to Honduras where very sad when the group as a whole decided that it would probably be best not to travel there during this time of political chaos. It was a hard decision not reached lightly, and I have continued my prayers over Mission Lazarus and the work that they do there. I would encourage you to add this group to your prayers as well.

With that being said, it was a strange decision to make to travel to Abilene. Our old youth group that we worked with while I was in school at ACU found out about our cancelled trip and invited us to join them for a week that they called Mission Abilene. So, we packed our bags and drove 18 hours to our old stomping grounds. With the new change of plans we lost 2 of our original mission team members, but gained 2 new ones that both wanted to participate in our Honduras trip but were unable to do so for different reasons. With the cancelled trip to Honduras and 2 open spots to Abilene, Lexi and Julia jumped on board for the opportunity. We called the high school kids in the youth group on Thursday and told them that it would be a first come first serve opportunity and that we'd leave Friday morning. So, Julia and Lexi didn't have much time to plan. We were super glad that they both joined the trip.

We had such an amazing time in Abilene. We were blessed to work with Love and Care Ministries and Global Samaritan all week long. At Love and Care we built relationships with some of the homeless in Abilene, we fed them, we cooked, we worked in the food pantry, we worked in the clothing pantry, and we went on Street Feeds. This is an amazing organization, and if we ever live in Abilene again, I know that Lantz and I will work with them again. At Global Samaritan, we did A TON of organizing for them, cleaning, and outside work. The majority of the time was spent organizing medical supplies that will be shipped all over the world. What a great organization!

We also got to enjoy some awesome devo times. Lantz's cousin Brazos did a potter devo at ACU's ampitheater, and it was really encouraging!

We got to enjoy some great food including: Rosas, Whataburger, La Popular, AM donuts, Cajun Cones, Chicken Express, and Chick-fil-a. We have none of these places in Vegas, or none close to them, so it was a real treat to introduce the kids to these places.

We also got to take a tour of LCU and ACU's campuses. Very cool to show off our Alma Mater's to our kids! Um... can I just say that I think ACU's campus is like 80 bazzilion times better than when I went to school there. Why wasn't it that nice when I was there? Crazy how things change!

One huge perk to going to Abilene was getting to see some family and friends. My mom and Lantz's mom both drove down to see us. It was so awesome to get to spend time with them because we probably won't get to see them again until Christmas. We also got to see Lantz's dad, step dad, uncle & 2 aunts, some of his cousins, his grandmother, and he got to see 4 of his best friends. We also got to meet Daniel and Natalie's new baby boy, Kason. He is such a cutie! We also got to meet Robert & Lauren's new baby girl, Reagan, and see little Lindsey who has grown up way too fast! What an encouraging time for us!

God sometimes knows what's best even if we aren't sure why. We were not sure why God worked in our hearts to tell us that going to Honduras wasn't the right thing to do at that time. Well, after our week in Abilene I know for sure 2 reasons why we did not travel to Honduras. One happy and one sad. One reason was for Julia, and one for Shawna.

Julia started coming to church over a year ago, and we've been studying together for a majority of that time. Her family is not a member of the church, and studying with her has opened my eyes and strengthened my own faith. Julia decided to commit her faith and life to the LORD through baptism on Sunday night while in Abilene. Lantz and I got to baptize Julia at about 11:30 pm at Jacob's Dream on ACU's campus! What an amazing thing to get to participate in. Julia is one of the most amazing people I have every known, and her faith is incredible. She has truly become one of my very good friends over the last year, and it was an honor for me to get to share in her baptism. Please keep her in your prayers though, because I know that her family is not supportive of her decision. Her dad is atheist and her mom is Catholic. She has a long road ahead of her. She also wants to try to get to ACU in January. This will be difficult for her financially and also emotionally with her family. She is so awesome, and I just ask that you pour out prayers on her behalf. Thanks.

Another prayer request I'd like to pose for you is for Shawna. Shawna is my age, and she came as a sponsor on our mission trip. She was originally supposed to go to Honduras with us, and was just as disappointed as we were about not being able to go. She decided to stay with the team and go to Abilene. Thursday night Shawna received a phone call from her sister telling her that her mom had been in a car wreck and was killed. Her niece was also in the car and was in ICU. We were able to get Shawna back to Vegas early Friday morning to be with her family, but it was a very upsetting time. My heart goes out to Shawna and her sisters and brother during this awful time. Her niece is doing much better and they think she'll recover from all of her injuries, but are currently keeping her in ICU to watch her lungs. Shawna's mom was a Christian, and so it is a peaceful thing to know that they'll see each other again in heaven one day. Please cover this family in your prayers during this sad time.

So, I think that the LORD blessed our trip through many different avenues. We were encouraged through the faces we saw at Love and Care, the work done at Global Samaritan, the joy of Julia's baptism, the faithfulness of God in allowing Shawna to get back to her family quickly and safely after tragedy, the love of family and friends, and the feeling of yummy food in a familiar place. Here are photos from our trip:



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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sorry....

So sorry to all my blogging friends out there. I know that I have left you high and dry for over a week. Apologies..... I know it must have been so hard for you not to have known what has been happening in the Howard life here in Las Vegas. Well, we have not been in Vegas. Remember our mission trip to Honduras that we'd been planning for over a year now? Well, unfortunately due to the political situation in that country, we had to cancel the trip 2 days before we were supposed to leave. It was a hard decision to make, but we really prayed hard about it and sought a lot of Godly council. Our prayers are with Mission Lazarus during this political chaos, and we pray that God will continue to reveal his righteousness and grace to the people living there. We also pray that one day we will be able to go to Mission Lazarus and partner with them in a short term mission.

So, where have we been the last week? Of all places you will not believe it.... Abilene, Texas. Yep, that's right the buckle of the Bible belt. Long story short, some friends from the South 11th and Willis church heard about our trip falling through, and invited us to join their youth group for an event that they were already planning on doing called Mission Abilene. So, since we were already planning on doing mission work last week, we packed our bags and went to one of my favorite places ever, Abilene.

There are so many things I want to share with you about our trip, but I am so exhausted. I just wanted to catch you up quick. Come back tomorrow, and hopefully I'll have some stories posted for you. Much love to those of you who have stuck with me even though I haven't been around.

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