Monday, October 17, 2011

La Bella Vita!!!

The beautiful life! Aagh, Italy. I think I am in love with you. Of all the places we mapped out on our European destination map for our July trip, I was most indifferent towards Italy. It, for me, was one of those places that is hyped up and I truly wondered if it could be that awesome. In one word...YES! I love Italy! Italy is a beautiful country, the food is amazing, the scenery is gorgeous, and the people are friendly. It was my favorite part of our trip. We spent some time in Venice, Florence, Sienna, Pisa, and Cinque Terra. I cannot wait to go back. Here is a quick recap of our trip. I will post more detailed recaps by country later when I have the patience to type and post pictures. (I still have not found that patience required for uploading pics to facebook...hmm).

July 22-29- Italy
Day One-Venice
**St. Mark's Square, gondola ride through the city, Colton attempted pasta with black ink squid sauce, and began consuming what would be copious amounts of wine throught the week

Days Two, Three, and Four- Florence & Sienna
**minor hiccup in getting the train, detour to Prato, Italy (which worked out since I teach about the Chinese fabric factories that have relocated there), Accademia to see David, Uffizi to see Botticelli, Da Vinci and company, Pitti Palace, Sienna for wine tasting class, Ponte Vecchio bridge, Santa Maria Novella church, lots of amazing pasta and we tried bistecca fiorentina (which Colton thought would not measure up to Texas beef but it was delicious!)

Days Five and Six- Cinque Terra
**Italian Riviera, Cinque Terra Hike (took six hours! hardest thing I have ever done), swam in the Mediterranean Sea, sun bathing, more amazing food (anchovie pizza and fresh pesto pasta)

Days Six, Seven, Eight, and Nine- Pisa, Munich
** quick stop in Pisa on the way to the airport to Munich, beergardens (our favorite was the Augustiner), Dachau, Glockenspiel, Englisch Gardens, Neuschwanstein Castle in Fussen, Hofbrauhaus (not that great)

Days Ten and Eleven- Amsterdam
**Van Gogh museum, Anne Frank house, lots of walking Amsterdam, Red Light district quick tour, sitting in cafes in the rain drinking hot chocolate

Days Twelve and Thirteen- London
** London Bridge, Buckingham Palace, Parliament and Big Ben, Westminster Abby, London Tower, Hyde Park, tour of Harrod's, pub food

Day Fourteen- Home Sweet Home

I will try to post more detailed accounts of each place for the random reader who cares to know more (like my mom) with pictures! The rest of summer passed by quickly. Colton and I were already dreaming up our next European vacation while sitting in cafes and biergartens across Europe. Colton believes he could live in Munich and we both agree a return to Italy is a must. Next up....maybe Prague and eastern Europe or France and Spain. Who knows?

In exciting news on the home front, Baby Street will be making his or her arrival April 25th, 2012! We are super excited and cannot wait to meet our little one!

Until next time, much love!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Whoop Whoop Holla Holla The Mats are in the House

Cheer camp...ahhh the joy! Of all my responsibilities as cheer sponsor, camp is one I usually look forward to the least. My idea of a fun time is not spending three or four days away from the comforts of my own home supervising anywhere from 15-20 teenage girls every night. It usually looks something like this....

Me during the day- Be nice. Lose the attitude. Work hard. Stay positive. Repeat in some form about 1000 times during the day.

Me during the evenings- Go to bed. Lights off. Quit dancing/texting/screaming/singing/etc. Repeat about 2000 times.

This year was different. We decided to attend private camp at a local gym here in Lubbock. The best part of this camp is it was only during the DAY! Can I get an amen?!?! It was 10,000 times better than any previous camp experience I have had and not just for the selfish reasons I listed above. Since most of our girls are newbies to cheer with relatively little formal training in any type of cheer or dance, they received much more individual attention than they would have had at a larger camp. I am really proud of their efforts, attitude, and focus during these three days. I have a feeling we are going to do some great things this coming year.

To cap off a week of hard work, we celebrated with a day of fun in the sun yesterday at Water Rampage, the mini version of Wet n Wild in Lubbock. I found myself somehow cajoled into attending this fiesta but I really had a good time. 14 of the 20 girls actually showed up and we spent the day playing at the park. I even did the water slide once with them since one of the girls would not go down until I told her if I did it she had to! All in all, it was six hours of team building and fun so I think it was a good time had by all.

I am off to my ten year reunion this weekend. I feel old just typing that. I think I may become one of those people who stops aging after 29. Don't get me wrong. I WILL have a birthday celebration every year but I will just never age. I am going to have to really invest in some good wrinkle cream to keep this charade up.
(Runs off to research wrinkle creams.....)

Have a great weekend!!! XOXO,

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Waiting for Superman...a thought or two

Some of you may have seen the documentary Waiting for Superman. If you have not, please go and rent it. I have heard about this documentary several times in the past few months and made a mental note to watch it. Since the hubs is OOT, I was perusing the film que on our on demand section of tv and saw it was now available. I decided to go ahead and rent it tonight since he wasn't around to encourage a choice of the Hangover variety. I didn't expect to find myself tearing up throughout the film but there I was on a Saturday night holding tissues under my eyes as the tears flowed.

A little may not agree with everything in the documentary. Rent it anyway. That is just the way documentaries go. You might agree with parts and disagree with others. However, as a teacher, I think it's worth spending a couple hours of your life to watch this film, for no other reason than to feel inspired. I am definitely the sentimental type so I can find inspiration in anything and a reason to cry in almost anything I watch. But, this film reminds us of the important task we, as teachers, have been given and it reminds us of our responsibility to make sure we continually work to improve the lives of kids.

Here are a few of my thoughts about the documentary...
1. I liked how the filmmaker put faces with statistics. It was not just numbers being spouted off at you. It was stories about real families in real places. Much more powerful.

2. I felt incredibly sad that so many children's hopes rely on a lottery system to get into charter schools in their neighborhoods. All public schools should be of the same excellent caliber that children learn equally and are challenged. Unfortunately, that is not the reality. It really doesn't seem fair that where you leave determines the quality of education you receive.

3. I found it inspiring to see the educators in the film who are working to find better ways to meet the needs of our students. It's motivating to see people who decided not to accept that status quo and who challenged typical ways of doing things in their respective hometowns.

4. I shed many tears because I could connect the stories in the film to many of my own students lives. I saw a lot of shared problems from the students in the film with the ones I see on a daily basis. It made the film more real to me.

More than anything, I liked this film because it reminded me that my job is important and their are people who are willing to dedicate their lives to building a better education system for our future generations. The system may be broken but I have faith we will find a way to fix it. I sincerely hope I will be part of that plan, however small or short lived my contribution may be. I hope to make a mark.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

A fresh start...for the blog that is.

Summer is finally upon me and with it has come a sense to purge everything. My closet was the first victim of this purge. I finally let go of some of those old college tops that I will never wear again. Also on my list of victims is the cheer closet at Estacado. We had uniforms from the late 70s in there! Up next...the closets in the guest rooms of our house and the garage. I figure since I have all this time off I may as well make good use of it. My hubs has been working diligently every night for the past two weeks to finish building our bookshelves for either side of the fireplace so it only makes sense that I contribute by cleaning out the junk so our new home looks good. From all of this, I decided to carry over my purging to the blog. I started out with great ideas about what this blog would accomplish and I wanted very much to have a specific purpose for it. However, life happened and I really did not blog as much as I wanted to and most of the posts are more of updates rather than specific posts. So, I accepted this and decided to make a few changes.

The first change is the removal of my 101 in 1001 list. While well intentioned, a list of 1001 things to do for me was not realistic. I rarely remembered to update the list (even though I could have checked off more things) and it became something I had to do rather than something I enjoyed doing. As I get older, I have really started focusing on only doing things I really want to do so I think a shorter list is in order. It is more realistic and more focused. Here are a few goals I would like to accomplish:

1. Continue to grow in my spiritual life. For me, this means reading my Bible cover to cover and praying more frequently. I already attend church on a fairly regular basis here in Lubbock.

2. Take measures to make us financially secure. I am in the process of reading Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover at the suggestion of a friend who had success with it and I must say I am very excited about it.

3. Continue to nurture my relationships with my family and close friends. Growing up and living apart is much harder than people realize and it's important to continue to make the effort to keep these relationships intact. Family is very important to me and I am very blessed to have a strong group of girlfriends from college who support me and keep my spirits lifted.

4. Stay physically fit. I know I will never have my college body back but that does not mean I cannot be healthy and fit. Gone are the days of being able to eat queso and not pay the price. However, I am learning to enjoy eating better.

5. Seek out learning opportunities, whatever they may be. I love to learn new things, whether they be related to teaching, baking and cooking, gardening, managing money, exercising, etc. I hope that I will always continue to learn and try new things and cultivate new skills to make myself a more well rounded person.

6. Travel. I want to see as much of the world as I can in this lifetime. C and I will take our first big step toward this goal together this summer as we head off to Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre, Munich, Amsterdam, and London. We also still have plans to make it to Japan to see Adam and Shelley but the earthquake/tsunami postponed them a bit. Colton and I did make a bucket list of places to see (which was on my 101 in 1001 list) and we hope to make progress on it each year, be it big or small trips.

7. Cultivate new interests and friendships in my new home of Lubbock, Texas. We have been here for a year and I am finally making new friends. I am excited about the possibilities and want to continue to make a life for myself here.

As for the rest of the blog, I really have not changed much. I added a label tab and rearranged the side bar. The main change I hope to accomplish is to blog more often and to use this blog as a way to update those interested in the happenings of our life here in Lubbock. Sometimes you might see a cooking post or a  travel post (look for those in July with our trip to Europe) or a post with just some daily musings. I hope to use it to share things about my life with others. I have accepted I am not going to have a blog dedicated to one pursuit and therefore I am okay with it being a jumble of thoughts and stories.

May the beginning of June bring you summer fun in the sun!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Count Down Begins

Three more Mondays until blissful freedom! That's heard me. Three more Mondays until my first year at EHS is complete. Summer is upon us and I, for one, cannot wait! Since the state of Texas feels it is necessary to test the crap out of the kiddos at the end of the year, many of the students have already mentally checked out. The routine of school has become boring and dreams of hot, sunny days invade their thoughts. I must admit I am guilty of this too. The last few weeks have been quite busy with all this TAKS hoopla but knowing the end is in sight makes it all bearable. One bright spot in this past month has been my co-workers. I have met some really awesome people who keep my spirits up and never fail to make me laugh (although my students do a pretty good job of making me laugh on their own-both intentional and unintentional).

For those of you who cannot bear another moment of ignorance on the Street family daily activities, here is a quick update for you.


EHS Prom- Yes. I returned to prom after a brief 10 year hiatus. The scene has changed. No longer are couples the main attraction. Groups of singles (boys and girls separate-obviously) were the main form of prom dates and the main music-why rap/hiphop of course. I rather enjoyed my self at prom, made better by the fabulous teachers who were there with me. I even helped set up. There was one brief moment of panic when a male student walked toward me when the call for all teachers to hit the floor came over the mic but I quickly warded off said student by pretending I was super busy looking in the cash box at the door. Whew! Scene of embarrassment avoided-I only dance if there is wine involved. It helps me dance better (at least I think so).

Street Family Reunion- For the second year, we have spent Easter with Colton's extended and rather large family. This year, we rented cabins on Lake Alan Henry. Now, anyone who knows me knows I am not much of the outdoorsy type. I can hike with the best of long as it doesn't involve getting dirty. But...I did have lots of fun hanging with all of Colton's aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. I love being a part of such a close-knit family. And..Louie made the trip with us to the lake. Quick story about Lou Dog-
     On the first day, Louie decided during his first trip by the river that he would take a little dip. Now, no one was prepared for this and Louie has never swam before. One minute, Louie is staring into the frothy brown water next to the bridge and the next he has jumped into the water (we think he thought it was dirt). So, in what seemed like eternity but probably was only five seconds, Louie disappears under the murky brown water and does not come up! So we wait, and wait, and wait. At this point, Louie's head bobs up above water and then disappears right back under again. This whole time SuDe (Colton's mom) is screaming her head off and when Louie goes back under she pushes Chase into the river to "save" Louie. So into the river goes Chase (sunglasses, cell phone, keys, and all) who promptly surfaces with Louie and saves the day!
After that river scare, Louie decides he rather likes the water and spends the rest of his doggie vacation running along the muddy banks of the river and occasionally splashing through the water.

EHS Midnight Madness Volleyball tournament- My good friend Sarah coaches the freshman volleyball team and they held a fundraising tournament up at the school. She asked me to play along with some other new teachers. This is how I found myself face flat in the grass on a Saturday evening in April wearing a bedazzled team shirt and neon shorts (naturally, what else would I be wearing?). It actually was a lot of fun and I was able to get my overhand serve back quickly (during practice-game time was a different story). For most of us being fairly young and still in decent shape, you would think we would have done better than we did. I spent most of my time diving for balls (it made me look like I was good-right?) and laughing uncontrollably. We definitely were not the best team there but we were not the worst. My bruised up knees paid the price but I did get a pair of brand new neon Nikes out of the deal since I convinced Colton I needed new shoes for the day.

Now that April 2011 is in the books I look forward to May flowers, hopefully a few rain showers that never made their appearance in April (West Texas is DRY), a trip home to FW to visit my family, and wrapping up the school year. Summer 2011 is not far off and looks to be busy and tons of fun!


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Temptation has a name.....

and that name is Cadbury Egg. Every year I eagerly await the Easter candy season with feelings of excitement and joy over the vastly superior (in my humble opinion) selection of candies. The mother of all those candies....the Cadbury Creme Egg....has long been a secret vice of mine. Okay okay...not so secret but nonetheless  I have enjoyed them for many years now. It all started when my father brought home these delicious creme filled chocolate eggs back when I was growing up. (I have no idea how long ago he first started getting them) I would eagerly wait each day before Easter to see if he had brought home any more eggs and in my haste to enjoy the yummy goodness of them I usually ate all of my allotment in the first two hours and would then resort to begging my sister to give me one of hers. (I sometimes think she did this on purpose to annoy me.) So began one of my Easter traditions and each year parents (my mom joined in on this eventually) would shower me with Cadbury eggs. When I went off to college, I would get care packages of them delivered to my dorm and my post college visits home would always end with a pack or two of Cadbury Creme Eggs. And then this year I had to go all crazy and give them up!

Yes, my friends, I have briefly parted ways with my Cadbury eggs. In a crazy plot twist, this year I am aiming to slim down a bit (baby, these hips don't lie) just in time for summer and swimsuit season. My upcoming reunion and vacation played a prominent role in this decision as well as my desire to just feel better about myself. So, with much trepidation, I gave up three things I love most for Lent....any chocolate in candy form, queso, and sodas. The only caveat to this is I do drink diet cola if I have an alcoholic beverage...Malilbu and orange juice just isn't the same. (Note- I am Methodist but I decided to participate in Lent this year.) Every year I claim I will give something up for Lent but this is the first year I am actually doing it. And let me tell...I have not cheated. Not once. No sodas, no queso, no chocolate candy until Easter weekend. It has been a struggle but I am managing.

To add insult to injury, upon her most recent visit to Lubbock, the weekend after Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent, my mother brought me not one but TWO boxes of Cadbury Creme Eggs. Not only are there two of them staring me down every time I open up my refridgerator door but they are extra value packs, meaning there are five eggs in there instead of four. FIVE EGGS! Five eggs of yummy creamy chocolatey goodness just teasing me every day! And I am most proud to say I have not cheated once!

My diet these days consists mostly of meat, veggies, and fruits, with the occasional indulgence in white carbs or frozen yogurt (if you live this close to Bless your Heart, you have to make allowances for their yogurt). I have more energy and I feel a lot better, especially seeing the scale slide down every few days. But what, you might ask, about those delicious eggs?

Ask me about them again after Easter.....


Monday, March 14, 2011

Spring Break 2011

Usually, I cannot wait until Spring Break but this year it snuck up on me. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that I have been going ninety miles an hour since I first started school back in the fall. I can now officially declare cheerleading season is over! Thank goodness. Until next week....when we start try-outs for next year's squad. This will be followed by uniform fittings, fundraisers, and practices to prepare for camp. break from cheerleading will last ONE week. Though, to outsiders, on paper, it may look like I have three months off in the spring. Not true! However, I do enjoy my job thoroughly, maybe more so than any other job I have had. This makes all things bearable, including no off season for cheerleading.

In other news, our good friends, the Harkriders, are alive and well in Japan. They survived the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan last week. We are so very grateful for their safety and we continue to pray for the others affected by the tragedy in Japan. See you soon, my friends!

Spring break brings the bliss of no plans! While I do have things to accomplish, I have no set schedule and therefore can go at my own pace. Like I said...pure bliss! I have managed to accomplish one thing thus far...tanning. I am currently sitting on my couch blogging (instead of completing online training..which is, of course, not my fault) while I wait on my new bronze spray tan to settle in. I plan on telling the kiddos when I get back my glow is natural. Shh...don't tell my little secret!

Other things to tick off my list this week include:
  • spring cleaning
  • online training
  • lesson plans
  • car wash

Those are the necessities so we will see how much I get accomplished. My parents arrive at the end of the week for a visit. It will be their first visit to Lubbock since football season so they have not seen our new bedroom furniture or tv in the master bedroom. It will be nice to have them come stay at our house. I am looking forward to it.

January and February were fairly busy for us with basketball games every Tuesday and Friday night but we did manage to get down to Dallas at the end of January for Ford's thirtieth birthday party. It was a throw back to the eighties and tons of fun. I also managed to sneak in some girl time with my girlfriends, which is always therapeutic and always fun. We also managed to make it to Houston for the rodeo cook-off with our friends the McKnights and Jordan/JT. It was sort of a mini-reunion from our trip to Boise last August for Susanna's wedding. It was lots of fun. We did the rodeo cook-off Friday night and we went out to an Irish pub and another Houston bar Saturday night. I think my favorite part of the trip was sitting on a patio with Jordan and Amelia drinking mimosas and talking. There is nothing a good chat with your girlfriends can't fix!

Well, having done my duty to update this blog, I am now off to enjoy the rest of my spring break. Here's to hoping for beautiful weather and sunshine this week!