Edit: After re-reading this, it sounds like a lot of complaining. I apologize - I DO think it's pretty rad that I get paid to dress up & be crazy with teenagers, and I'm so blessed by my kiddos and co-workers. That being said, it's still a crazy week, and I want to share it with you!
In terms of school, the month of January is best summed up in one word: MADNESS.

After Christmas break, school started back up on Jan. 4th. We had two weeks before midterms - just enough time to wrap up a unit and review everything from the 1st semester. But were students preoccupied with the impending exams? Of course not! Because the week after exam week was SPIRIT WEEK AND HOMECOMING.

No school on Jan. 18th for MLK, Jr. Day, then midterms started that Tuesday. We had half-days every day, which one would think would make for an easier week - and as far as grades and lesson planning go, that's true. But let's not forget that SPIRIT WEEK AND HOMECOMING were the following week... so, in summary - no rest for the weary.

Fast forward to Friday & Saturday of exam week: HALL DECORATING begins. 15 hours of painting, gluing, cutting, taping, paper-crinkling, stapling, paper-chain-linking, etc...

Oh, did I mention that SPIRIT WEEK was also the first week of the SECOND SEMESTER? Minor detail. Don't get me wrong - Spirit Week is definitely a blast, but it's also absolutely exhausting. So here we go:

Monday, Jan. 25 - "Come As You Are Day"
(aka Pajama Day)

Tuesday, Jan. 26 - "Hippie Day"

Assembly: Class relays.
Did you know you can...
Get 5 teenagers to go through a hula hoop twice,
make a teenager act like a cat and lick up whipped cream,
have a teenager spoon feed baby bananas and pepsi in a baby bottle to two other teenagers,
wipe peanut butter on a teenager's face and throw 10 Cheetohs at them,
get 15 teenagers to chug pop and make a pyramid with their cups,
get 11 teenagers to form a pyramid with their bodies,
have two teenagers pop a bunch of balloons, run, and
knock over a bunch of dominos
in 6 minutes and 16 seconds?! It's true (and the sophomores won!).

Peace, love & the coolest sponsors ever.

Wednesday, Jan. 27 - "Famous Person Day"
-No pictures. Oops.-
I was going to be Rip Hamilton, because I have his jersey, but then we weren't allowed to "cross dress," so I was "Rip Hamilton's Publicist". Does he have a female publicist? No clue. Is she famous? Clearly not. Oh well.

Thursday, Jan. 28 - "Class Theme Day"
Also, my 25th birthday. If there was one thing I would choose to do to celebrate my birthday in the whole world, what would it be? The chance to wear a wig, take off my pants and dance in front of the whole school? ABSOLUTELY.
Fans adoring the eagle...
Just 4 average citizens?
Think again.
Syndrome & his cronies...
Incredibles & retired superheroes
(We took 3rd place...)

Mrs. Incredible & Edna... oh, the things we do for our class.

Friday, Jan. 29th - "PCA Spirit Day"
Also my co-sponsor & dear friend Marisa's 30th birthday!
(kid in red changed his shirt because he would later be duct-taped to the wall)

The homecoming game was that night (was that really last night?!). The sophomore class is in charge of concessions for games throughout the year, so Marisa & I were in charge. We decided it would be a good idea to make cotton candy. Unfortunately, the rental company did not give us a cover for our cotton candy.
It got everywhere.
(Note the plastic bag tied around my Smartboard projector!)
So, got to the school at 7:15am on Friday morning and got home at 12:15am on Saturday morning.

Saturday, Jan. 30 - today!
I went back this morning for an hour to finish licking cleaning cotton candy out of the carpet. Tonight is the Homecoming Social, which I be supervising... then SPIRIT WEEK is OVER!


recently i'm...

Reading: Ragamuffin Gospel

Listening: Glee Soundtrack, Vol. 1 and David Platt podcasts

Watching: Modern Family and The Office and 30 Rock (online... when time allows.)

Cooking: Steak & Potatoes

Wearing: pajama pants to work today (love homecoming...)

Wishing: I could go to Haiti and adopt a baby.

Thinking: It's a shame that people (myself included!) get in the way of the beauty of Jesus.

Craving: chocolate milkshake from the Java House

Digging: (500) Days of Summer

Excited About: CDC's upcoming warehouse transformation!

Laughing At: Doug semi-bowing to the hostess at Antonio's

Hoping: my evaluation this week goes well

Annoyed With: rude teenagers

Feeling Bad: that it rained and ruined the ice sculptures in the park

Grading: NOTHING

Loving: when Zooey tries to hide from her bath


investing time, energy & seams

Friday & Saturday were hall decorating days at school. The homecoming theme this year is "Superheroes" - my class is The Incredibles.
Our poster

Our hallway (note silver monster piercing the wall & the Southfield eagle [our homecoming competition] being held captive!)

We have to do a lip sync... for which I have been made "Mrs. Incredible". Part of my, um, choreography involves a cartwheel. Yep. Pretty much all I have to say on the matter. Except - word to the wise - don't buy American Eagle jeans if you plan on cartwheeling in them. Whoops.


resolution update & awesome recipe

Still going strong! (only 3 weeks in...)

This week I made 3 new recipes!

-Tues: Grilled Chicken Parmesan
I discovered I don't like regular chicken parmesan, but my friend Sara made amazing grilled chicken parm & I sort of improvised the recipe because I couldn't find the one she used. Pretty good, regardless!

-Weds: Chicken Broccoli Bowl
From Rachael Ray Everyday - pretty good, but not as good as my Thai recipe.

-Thurs: Shepherd's Pie Remix
Also from Rachael Ray Everyday - I added the "remix" part, though. Her recipe calls for mushrooms, which I don't like, so I threw in corn & peas. I forgot garlic, but it was still delicious.

PLUS - last night I made dessert too! Mint Molten Lava Cake!
Yet another Rachael Ray. This was AMAZING. I should have taken them out of the oven 2 minutes sooner, but still delicious. Here's the recipe:
1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter (6 oz), cut into cubes
6 oz. semisweet chocolate
3 large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
4 1/2 Tbsp flour
6 chocolate-mint wafers (I just used Andes mints & broke them in half)
confectioner's sugar, for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 450. Grease & flour six 6-oz ramekins. In a double boiler*, melt the butter and chocolate over simmering water, whisking until smooth. Remove insert from pan.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat the whole eggs, yolks and sugar at high speed until pale and very thick. Whisk in chocolate mixture, then add flour until just combined.
3. Divide batter among the prepared ramekins and submerge stake of 4 chocolate-mint pieces in center of each. Place ramekins on baking sheet and bake until set but still slightly jiggly in center, about 12-14 minutes.
4. Invert cakes onto plates, wait 20 seconds and remove the ramekins. Dust with confectioners sugar and serve immediately.

You will want a big glass of milk!

*If you're like me and don't own a double boiler, this explains a great alternative. I will melt chocolate this way from now on!

Also - - thanks to Katie for my subscription to Taste of Home! I'm excited for further adventures in new recipes.


quick & random

1. I want to adopt a Haitian baby - - Sara, let's go.

2. I accomplished my 3-meals-a-week goal again this week: Oven-Fried Chicken, Chicken & Broccoli Braid (thanks, Mandi!) and Tacos!

3. I'm currently reading Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. So good.

4. Current favorite song: The Wonder of the Cross

"May I never lose the wonder,
The wonder of the Cross.
May I see it as the first time
Standing as a sinner lost,
Undone by mercy and left speechless,
Watching wide-eyed at the cost.
May I never lose the wonder,
The wonder of the Cross."

5. New York tomorrow.



Happy 22nd birthday, Robert!

I know you can't read this now (apparently Internet isn't widespread in North Dakota?), but I hope this next year is filled with lots of exciting adventures, good health, growth in your faith and abundant blessings.

I love & miss you so much.

zooey saves the day!

So, one of our pet peeves with Zooey (see what I did there? Pet peeves?) is her tendency to bark every morning around 5am because her little bladder is on the verge of exploding. I'm thankful for my saint of a husband, who gets up with her every morning, allowing me a precious 45 extra minutes of sleep!

This morning, true to character, Zooey started barking around 5:15. Doug mumbled something about "just want to sleeeeep" - so for some odd reason, I got up to let the dog out. On the rare occasions that I let Zoo out in the morning, I leave all the lights off, hoping she'll come back in, go in her cage and fall back asleep. So I stumbled, half asleep, through the kitchen to her cage and let her outside without turning on any lights.

This time, however, Zooey continued barking while she was peeing, which is not normal. So I was at the door, watching in confusion, when I saw a light through the window of our garage. At first I thought maybe it was a reflection of a car driving by, but then I realized, "No, that is an LED flashlight IN MY GARAGE." At the same time I had that realization, Zooey let out this absolutely ferocious growl that could freeze blood and started freaking out, barking viciously.

So I RAN back through the house and yelled up the stairs, "DOUG! THERE IS SOMEONE IN OUR GARAGE!" Then I ran back to the door, at which point I saw a MAN WALK OUT OF OUR GARAGE with Doug's golf clubs over his shoulder! So I screamed, "HEY!" - and the guy started running, then I heard him drop the golf clubs, presumably to move faster.

Right after I screamed at the guy, Doug ran downstairs and out the door, yelling after the guy... barefoot, in his boxers with a baseball bat. AWESOME.

Long story short - dude got away. We're assuming he parked around the corner and took off. The cops came (after Doug was clothed...) & everything, but not much they could do since he hadn't taken anything and was gone.

So pretty much, Zooey is a hero and I won't be complaining about her bark anytime soon. AND now I have a really good excuse for why Doug needs to be the one to get up with her in the mornings! Score.

Also, for your enjoyment:
Doug's bare footprint.


dealing with addiction

Fact: My dog is obsessed with food.

She lives to eat. Seriously. We feed her twice a day, but every time we do, she acts like she hasn't eaten in 3 weeks. She wolfs her food down in approximately 10 seconds and then walks around sniffing everywhere like there must be something she missed.
The dog loves food.

Out of all the food Zooey likes, her favorite is popcorn, without a doubt. Chick goes nuts.

So, of course, I like to use this obsession as a practice of self-control.

Pictured below: FREAKING OUT.

Honestly, have you ever seen torture look so cute?


new year's resolutions

So I made a bunch of unquantifiable resolutions for the new year and ONE quantifiable resolution: Make dinner at least 3 times a week. I know, that's pretty sad. As it is now, I make dinner 1-3 times a week, then we rely on leftovers/sandwiches/frozen pizza/mac & cheese in a box/the occasional take out/etc.

Anyway, so my goal is to encourage me to branch out and experiment with new meals (i.e. explore the realm outside spaghetti and pancakes... just kidding. Kind of.).

On Saturday, I felt inspired and made a nice little meal for our little family (me, Doug & Nic). I made baked pasta, roasted asparagus and French bread. Yes, HOMEMADE FRENCH BREAD. And if I may say so myself, it was pretty awesome.

Tonight I have small group, so unfortunately, the boys will be left to their own devices. At least they have leftovers...


re: re: re: re: whose spider is that?

Just in case anyone hasn't seen this...


hope for 2010

Just watched a fabulous David Platt sermon with Doug, and I want to share this. Take 50 minutes - watch & listen.

"In 2010, hope in this: God will be true to his character.

[...] We can know that no matter what happens in 2010, God will be loving and God will be merciful. God will be good. God will be wise and God will be just and God will be sovereign. He will be in control of every single detail in 2010. In a world where everything is unreliable and inconsistent and shifting, brothers and sisters, God is constant. And he does not change like shifting shadows, and all throughout 2010 we can hope in this: he will be true to his character in every moment and every situation.

[...] None of us have the promise that our health will be good in 2010, or our job will be secure or our finances will be there or the world around us will be safe. We do not have promises like that. But what we have from God are promises far, far greater than these things. [...]
There is nothing the world can do to us that can take away that hope. God will be faithful to his word in your life. Put your hope in that, find joy and peace in that. Don't look other places for hope - let him be your hope.

[...] Christ is the hope in our lives, in our marriages, in our children's, lives, in the world around us, and in the nations.
Christ is our hope."

nine was fine

Dear 2009,
Well, you were awesome, rough, fun, difficult, crazy & fun while you lasted, but now you've gone. You taught us a lot about marriage, family & faith, which has made you unforgettable. Let's take a look.

January 2009
-Victoria & I put Good Apple on Etsy... and subsequently sold our stuff & haven't updated it. Oops.
-1st experience of homecoming as a teacher and a class sponsor
-Decided to take a break from Facebook.
-Turned 24

February 2009
-Jeanette had a baby! Elijah Parker (a.k.a. Master P) enters the world!

March 2009
-Started listening to Tim Keller.
-My fam (sans Robert & Ethan) came to visit & we toured Detroit.
-Doug & I became credit card debt free!
-We found out Deb & Kress would be in Michigan indefinitely!

April 2009
-I finished Moby Dick. BOOYA.
-Spent Easter with my family, and Emily came to stay with us for a week!
-My friend Marisa had a baby and allowed me to practice some photography.

May 2009
-Swine flu epidemic freaks out everyone. Benefit: no school.
-Emily turned 16!
-Wrapped up my first year leading a small group.
-Fell in love with my husband all over again.

June 2009
-I finished my first full year of teaching.
-I got Facebook back.
-I started working as an intern with the youth group & subsequently went to Tennessee for the first time ever.
-Had an awesome yard sale with fabulous friends.
-Ethan graduated from high school!

July 2009
-Celebrated 4th of July with the Bannister-Nesbitt clan.
-Celebrated 2 years of marriage with Dougie.
-Went to Jamaica with the youth group. Subsequently fell in love with Jamaica.
-An uninvited guest showed up.

August 2009
-Lyndsay & Andy came to visit!
-Took my first senior pictures.
-Finished summer internship with youth group.
-Our family expanded by one.
-We moved to our new apartment.
-Jayne turned 12 and Ethan left for Grove City College!

September 2009
-Started my 2nd year at PCA.
-Started my 2nd year leading a small group.
-Doug & I took Zooey to Fall Festival where she was an instant hit.
-Went to Spiritual Life Retreat with my class for the second time.
-Girls' Road Trip 2009 with Katy & Sara to WNY!

October 2009
-Took some more pictures.
-Victoria & Jeremy came to visit!!
-We took advantage of the beautiful weather.

November 2009
-Ethan turned 19.
-We went to Africa. Subsequently, I fell in love with Africa.
-We went to WNY for Thanksgiving with my family.

December 2009
-Doug got a promotion!
-Doug turned 27!
-Zooey continued growing & learning awesome tricks.
-We went to WNY for Christmas with my family.

And with that, 2009, it's time to put you in the archives with all your other friends who have come and gone. Thanks for the memories, but now it's off with the old & on with the new!


Dear 2010,
Let's rock & roll.