new, new, new

Well, new apartment, new job - I figured that wasn't nearly enough change in my life, so I got a new haircut.


(Please note nervous expression.)


And after!!

Definitely can't see the thumbs up I was doing, oh well.

I love it! I feel about 5 pounds lighter and 5 times more chic. 
Thanks to Amy for the referral!!

& here's me last night, heading off to Parent Orientation - I was super nervous, but it went really well. The parents were very welcoming & friendly. Must have been the hair.

Now bring on the students!


our apartment

I'm finally getting around to posting pictures of the apartment, and you can thank Charles Dickens for that. My head was getting ready to explode, and I think lesson plans are leaking out of my ears; so I decided to take a break and my camera was conveniently located.

People - a warning - I didn't clean up for this photo shoot. This is what I like to call "Mill House Mid-Week" - that wonderful time when you're caught up in the week's events and know that no one is coming over, so you just leave things laying around. At least that's what I do. Anyway, here are the pictures I took. An abbreviated tour of Mill House.

Part of our living room. Please notice sewing materials lying on the floor...

Kitchen, as seen from living room. 

Cute little laundry room.

Our bathroom, looking much darker and weird than it actually is. My apologies for the open toilet...

Part of the office. 

I just realized I didn't take a picture of our bedroom, but I've been sorting laundry in there and the bed isn't made. Please - I'm not THAT shameless. But getting there, with every Great Expectations lesson plan I do...


summer reading

As promised, the month of June was spent reading textbooks & half-hearted wading through Great Expectations.

Um, about Moby Dick... never made it past the first 4 chapters. I wonder if my reading partner had any better luck??

In July, I buckled down & actually read Great Expectations. Good grief, those poor freshman students. I do think if I had picked up the novel on my own, I would have enjoyed it substantially more.

My book for August was a novel called The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. The description sounded intriguing - it's based on Genesis 34, which is the rape of Dinah. Diamant decided to approach the story from Dinah's perspective. Interesting enough idea, but I haven't decided whether I liked it or not. It clearly contradicts scripture on multiple occasions, but I don't think Diamant meant to undermine scripture. From what I have read about her, I believe she is Jewish with what appear to be feminist tendencies; hence, her desire to give women in the early Old Testament a voice.

ANYWAY. Boring entry!

I had my new teacher orientation on Friday, and in-service starts tomorrow morning, so my summer is almost over. We do have one more get-away planned for Labor Day weekend, but after that, another school year arrives and another summer passes.


the essence of summer

One of my favorite parts about summer is YARD SALES! Or, more common around here - the suburban garage sale. There is something about looking through other people's stuff & never knowing where little treasures may be that makes something inside me leap with excitement.

This summer I have only gone to 3 garage sales and 1 yard sale. The 3 garage sales were uninspiring, but the yard sale was awesome. I went with my friends Ellie & Sara to Ann Arbor to visit an enormous & awesome Habitat for Humanity ReStore, and we stopped at the yard sale on our way home. I only purchased 1 item, but I could have easily nabbed quite a few more things if I wasn't worried about what my husband's reaction would be...

That adorable little blue pitcher & basin?? A whopping $1.50.
Oh, and I picked up cute vase at a consignment shop for a pricey $3.00.

I also picked up a couple things at the ReStore in hopes of accomplishing a couple projects in the near future. Doug & I don't have a bed frame, so I want to make a faux headboard. Sara - who is completely innovative in home furnishing - suggested that I use an old door for that purpose. After browsing the multitudes of old antique doors, I settled on this one, which put me back $10:

As I'm thinking about the school year approaching, I'm hoping to have this project done by the end of September, but realistically, let's just say I'll try to get it done before Christmas!


11 years ago today

Jayne Elizabeth ~
As soon as you were old enough for your personality to begin shining, we knew life with you was going to be FUN. For the past 11 years, you've kept us laughing with your cheerful disposition and your unflagging vitality. You are sweet & precious, and I am so blessed to be your big sister. Happy birthday!
Love always,

P.S. I hope you don't mind Jayne, but I'm going to share a few stories about you for those who aren't fortunate to know you or spend enough time with you...

-When Jayne was about 3 or 4, she was climbing on a fence propped against the barn wall. She missed a rung and bumped her way to the ground (only about 3 feet, but still a good tumble for a little kid). She stood up immediately and looked around quickly to see if anyone had observed her moment of clumsiness; when she noticed my mother's look of concern, she threw her arms up in the air and announced proudly, "Ta-DA!"

-About the same age, Jayne must have been learning about sharing in Sunday School. She hated sleeping by herself and would climb into bed with whichever sibling she chose. One night, she was trying to crawl in with Robert, who sleepily grunted for her to go upstairs with Emily. Not without noticeable frustration and a sense of injustice, Jayne scolded, "God says we should sleep with everyone!"

-Jayne is not a picky eater. I don't know if I've ever met someone who enjoys food as much as she does. One morning I was getting ready for school, and Dad had me stand still and just listen to Jayne for a second. She was at the table by herself, eating a bowl of cereal, just humming to herself. In her own little world, as happy & content as can be. Jayne also enjoys experimenting with various combinations of food. She's been known to down large helpings of spaghetti noodles with ranch dressing. My mom recently forwarded me an old email she got from my dad, titled "your daughter," about Jayne's meal choice of the day: "scrambled eggs for lunch. scrambled with vinegar."

We love you, Jayne! You've enriched our lives in so many ways.


feeling like a fifth of myself

When I still lived at home, I occasionally found myself wallowing in self-pity over the fact that I was sort of the oddball out with all my siblings. As soon as Ethan was old enough to roll a truck around, Robert realized that palling around with a bro was way better than being subjected to hours of "school" on the side porch with his big sister as teacher. Emily was born when I was 8 years old, which is a pretty substantial difference, and then 5 years later, Jayne was born. Emily & Jayne's close age has made them the best of friends as well, which left me to my own devices (i.e. singing Little Mermaid in my room and reading Janette Oke's tales of wild, romantic western Canada). 

However, as I've gotten older, I realize that my position as the oldest has allowed me to form unique relationships with each of my siblings, and I wouldn't trade my childhood for the world. In many ways, I feel a fierce, parental protectiveness over my little sisters, and I also worry for my brothers (especially their safety on various motorized vehicles...) the way I would imagine a mother might. I am in no way attempting to take credit (or responsibility!) for my younger siblings; I'm just saying that I think oldest children might have the tendency to feel more protective of our younger siblings. I've always felt sorry for only children - it seems like only children would just be bored silly all the time and missing out on a whole lot of fun. My siblings are such a huge source of joy in my life.

Which brings me to the way I'm feeling tonight...
The hardest part about living in Michigan is feeling like I'm missing out on my little siblings growing up. 

I feel like my brothers & sisters should all be the same age as when I originally left for college. Robert is still 15, Ethan is still 12, Emily is still 10 and Jayne is still 5. There's no way my baby sister is going into 6th grade. It's impossible that Em will be getting her driver's permit in a mere 9 months. Ethan - little ET is senior in high school? And Robert? He's almost 21? 

I guess I'm just feeling a little nostalgic & a tad bit homesick this evening...


real life conversations, pt. 2

While getting ready for work this morning, as Doug was in the bedroom and I was in the bathroom...

Doug: inaudible mumbling
Rachel: What?
Doug: Nothing, I was just rapping to myself.


weekend update

Yet another exhibit of why I love weekends, especially long weekends:

Thursday night: 
-house-sat for Doug's CEO.

-Doug took the day off & we lounged by the pool ALL DAY with Kress & Debbie
-Imprint - best one so far! 

-slept in 
-pancake breakfast
-7 mile bike ride
-walked to get ice cream
-napped with Doug on our swing in the backyard
-went out for dinner at Cheeburger Cheeburger
-watched Rick Warren interview Obama & McCain
-watched Michael Phelps set more world records

-cleaned the house
-finally put up our shelves & sconces 
-grilled brats & hots for dinner
-did lots of laundry

This upcoming week is my last 3 days of work at Doug's office and my new teacher orientation on Friday!! Holy cow, summer is almost over.

p.s. speaking of summer's nearing end - check out a sneak peek of some new stuff at the Good Apple!


back to school

Central Detroit Christian (CDC), the same organization heading up Peaches & Greens, is holding a "Back to School Extravaganza". The purpose is to raise school supplies for students in Detroit who are unable to afford the necessary materials for the upcoming year. Our church partners with CDC in many of their efforts, so Doug & I found out about this one Sunday and decided to purchase some materials. In addition, we sent a mass email to his office, and with their help, we were able to put together 7 bags and 3 backpacks. In a city where the high school graduation rate is an abominable 21.7%, it's really the least we can do.


god bless america

Right now you might be wondering, "Rachel hasn't updated her blog in a few days. I wonder if it's because she's been watching the Olympics and has a crush on Michael Phelps?"

The answer is YES.

But don't worry, Doug has a crush on him too.


best purchase of my life

So I bought this super cute shirt from J. Crew (with a gift card, let's be serious). I didn't even try it on - I was THAT confident. The shirt fits perfectly and it's SO CUTE, but it totally makes me look pregnant. And before anyone gets any ideas or starts any ridiculous rumors, let me nip that in the bud - I am NOT pregnant. 



Sidenote: holy long neck!

With child:

Despite this shirt's tendencies to make me look like I'm entering my second trimester, I have gotten several compliments on it. There have been the typical "Cute shirt!" comments from female co-workers, but there have also been some unusual encounters. 

This morning at work, I went to the bathroom, as I sometimes do, and while I was drying my hands, a teenage girl who was cleaning the sinks turned to me and commented quietly and rather bashfully, "You look pretty." I replied, "Oh - thank you!" 

Then, 2 weeks ago, I was walking home from work in 85+ temperatures, and I got honked at! By a middle-aged man in a truck. I was like, "Seriously? I'm wearing khaki pants, sweating profusely and practically pregnant."

Anyway, all that to say - ladies, bust out the babydoll shirts. Popular among teenage girls and businessmen alike!


college couple reunion

This past weekend, Doug & I drove with our friends Kress & Debbie to visit our friends Steve & Heather. The 3 boys lived together their senior year of college, and Debbie, Heather and I lived together their senior year of college - my sophomore year.

We haven't been able to see Steve & Heather very often since their return from Africa, but whenever we do see them, it's always a fun time. We're so glad we were able to see their cute new home!

It was pretty much boys hanging out with boys and girls hanging out with girls the whole weekend...


Also typical.

Saturday we girls hit up the beach...

Did a little modeling, naturally...

Climbed some trees...

And of course, had a dance party.

Complete with tunes that Heather and Steve bought in Africa.

Love these girls!!

What a bunch...

This pretty much sums up our friendship...

Love this picture, even though all the boys look a little suspicious.

Castles, Partons & Towleys - can't wait for the next reunion!!