Sunday, October 11, 2015

on getting back to blogging for the 50th time.

I've missed you all. And while I've been busy missing you I've also spent some time traveling, falling in love with teaching, hanging with my friends and family, and living an amazing full life. So I've only kind of missed you. Sorry boutcha. I am nothing if not honest.

Before we get back to it I have a little housekeeping to take care of.

1. We are not going to talk about the fact that I have had 5 million "I'm going to start blogging again" posts. The sooner you accept the fact that this blog will be here for a while and then gone for 6 months, the easier life will get for everyone. This is obviously going off the assumption that you depend on this blog like it's your life line. If you do not in fact care as much about my blog as I think you do, then it disappearing for indefinite periods of time is not even an issue for you. And my life got a little more depressing. So thanks for that.

2. If you came looking for perfect grammar then you can just pack your cute little self up, grab your Eats, Shoots, and Leaves book, and hightail it outta here. You ain't gonna find that here. What you can count on is the oxford comma. Hashtag oxford comma for days. If you're willing to sift through rambling sentences, misplaced commas, and confusing thoughts you will find a little beacon of hope. A little comma that says "wow, she did go to school; she paid attention after all. She remembers something about grammar. That list was so much clearer because of that well positioned comma. It gave me hope in this blog and therefore hope that she will continue to improve and grow. It gave me hope for freakin' America."

That comma is a chatty-kathy. Just let it speak. 

3.  I realize that I don't need to use two spaces after every sentence anymore. That rule is gone. Was it ever a rule? Why was I taught that way? You know what though, I have zero clue how to break that habit, and quite frankly I have enough bad habits to work on breaking so this one is just low on the totem pole. So i'm gonna two space all day eryday, and you're just gonna have to deal with this blog being double the space long. 

4. And finally, for those of you whole barely know me and are now only getting to know me better through my writings here, well, I'm sorry. Things might get weird for you. It's a scary thing to let someone into the inner workings of your mind. It's scary for me, but quite frankly it's scarier for you.

So there we have it. Business be done.

And since I said we aren't going to talk about how many times I've had to update you on a 6 month period of my life, we are not. I'm just going to update you and not apologize for my sabatical, and you're just going to have to deal. My blog my rules. And this is a good time to thank you for reading. I'm lucky to have such devoted readers, so kind, and loving. Oh, pray tell, what was that you say? Did I just spot an oxford comma? Did that comma just make that list so much more readable? You're welcome. That was my little gift to you for reading this. Loveyoumeanit.

Thing #1
This pooch is in my life.  Her name is Adelaide. She's named after my favorite character I have ever played in a musical (Miss Adelaide from Guys and Dolls). Which yes, is a little narcissistic of me, but  it could've been worse. I could've named her Cara.

I never knew I could love an animal this much. She was cuter when I got her because she was a puppy, but she's still cute now and some how I love her more. 

When I rescued her I had to decide if I wanted to make a 10-15 year commitment. That seemed like such a long time. Now it doesn't seem long enough. She promised me she would live longer than me so I would never have to live with out her. That means I'll be kickin' the bucket by 40. If I haven't and she seems to be getting sick I'm going to need one of you to just take me out to the pasture and shoot me. It's that serious. I love this little homie, and she makes life pretty freakin' awesome. It's weird to have someone so devoted to me. Like if I forget to feed her, or mix up her and another dog at the dog park, or get upset with her, she still wants to spend all of her time with me. (wow I sound like the best dog owner right now). And yes, I've confused my dog with another before - which is why I got her the worlds cutest collar. She's the most stylish dog at the dog park (which may or may not have been a personal goal).  I've never had someone this excited to see me when I get home. It's pretty awesome. My ego needed this. 

And much to your disdain, she will not be the focus of my blog. I thought we should rip that bandaid off right away. Don't want to be setting unrealistic hopes and dreams only to have to bash them later when reality hits and not every single post is about her. 
And now that I've said that I realize I have more pics of her on this post than anything else I've talked about, and if she could be a guest writer I would definitely ask her.

Thing #2
I had my first summer break as a teacher, and it was the bee's freaking knees. I took a course (Orff level 1), slept in, moved (just to a different apt), read, spent hours at the pool, traveled to Key West, took a mother daughter trip to Arkansas, had no schedule, went to the grocery store at 1 in the afternoon, worked out at 10 am, and basically just lived the life that everyone in the world wants to live. So ba-da-bing, ba-da-boom! 

Thing #3
Finally, teaching this year is awesome. Having my first year under my belt makes the world of a difference. I've got a kajillion things to learn still, but I'm so glad to be on year two. Knowing what to expect (even if what to expect is very difficult) is a game changer. Oh, and knowing all 450 students names is also a game changer. It's a lot easier to address a child if I don't just have to say "hey you".

Well, I hope you all have enjoyed this TREMENDOUSLY. In my mind you did. If you didn't I don't want to hear about it. Actually, I'd prefer you to lie and tell me you loved every word. Actually that doesn't sound fun either. I'm just going to let your conscience take it from here. 

Happy Columbus day tomorrow. I don't have the day off, but the kids do which means training for me. So no kids seems like a day off, and I'll take it! Do something fun -  like sail the ocean blue. 

Be sure to check back in tomorrow (or in 6 months) to hear about ACL and duck hash. Wow, things just got exciting around here. Gotta keep my readers on the edge of their seats! It's the least I can do.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A new year.

I meant to write a post to recap 2014. And then I meant to write a post to share my hopes and dreams for 2015. And then I meant to write a post about the first week of 2015.  Or the second week. Or the third. I also meant to write a million other posts. So since we've established that I'm the world's best blogger, let's just let this be a schmorgasborg of hopes and dreams.

You're welcome. 

2014 was tough for me. It started with a breakup which just isn't a super fun way to start a year. My family went through some difficult times, but we powered on. And overall I feel like 2014 was a personal lesson in how weak I am and how much I need Christ. So I guess you can say that is a good year, and perhaps the end result was wonderful, but during it I don't think I felt like it was so great.

I did learn some valuable lessons, though. The majority of them are for my own personal life to mull over and processs. But there are about 5 that I could share with my 5 million best friends (because in my mind 5 million people read my blog.) No, 5 is not the majority - I learned a lot this year.

1. It's ok to be sad. 
You may think I'm crazy, but this was a big lesson for me. I used to allow myself certain time allotments to be sad, to cry, or grieve. I think in 2014 I learned that yes, there is something to be said for putting on a good face and a cute outfit and going out to kick some ass, but it doesn't have to happen asap. First you cry, and you cry, and you bawl, and you look horrendous and have huge gross tears and heavy sobs and use a whole box of kleenex. Then you kick ass.

2. Never underestimate the value of having someone believe you can do it.
My family and close friends cheered me on and rallied behind me this year.  I was vulnerable with them about my struggles and they loved me. I told them I wanted to be a teacher and they said I would be the best teacher (I'm not). I said I'm going to wait tables until I teach and they said, you're going to be the best waitress and you won't do it long because you're going to land a job this year as a teacher. Even when I didn't believe I could do it, they told me I could. And guess what, I did it. So there's something to be said for knowing people are rooting for you to succeed.

3. A cute outfit goes a long way.
This may seem to go against #1, but it's really just a second step. "First you cry, then you kick ass" I think I could have let myself be bummed all year. One thing after another kept happening and right when I was getting back on my feet and excited about life, I felt knocked down again. So guess what? At some point you just stick it to the man (the man being the mess that keeps happening), put on a cute outfit, do you hair and makeup, and you smile at everyone you meet. Some days this just made me feel so much better. I could have stayed in bed all day, but at some point I had to choose to move forward.

4. I can't control it.
I can control my attitude. I can control my effort and actions. I cannot control my results. There were a lot of things that I wanted to happen this year. There were  a lot of things I wished happened this year. Some did and some didn't. Que sera sera.  Halfway into the year I had the most freeing feeling -  I trust that God has a great plan for my life. I will work and apply myself. I will plan and invest. I will move forward. But if I've done all I can and something doesn't turn out the way I had hoped, then I don't need to fret. I can't control that. 

5.  I don't have all the answers.
There are questions that have been raised this year about so many aspects to my life. I researched, I prayed, I searched, I asked.  Conclusion: I still don't have all the answers. It would be lovely to have an answer for every single one of these questions, but I don't have those answers and it doesn't need to change how I live my life. 

All in all this year I think I learned to always move forward. Don't let life knock you down. Junk happens. I'm excited about 2015. I'm ready for a good year, but I definitely don't think I am owed a good year. So all I can do is enjoy the things that I have been given. The things, the people, the activities, the jobs, the places, the resources. Enjoy the hell out of them. Move forward and be intentional. Don't quit. Don't look back. If I'm focused on the past, what happened or didn't happen, then I'm stuck there. I'll move in the direction I'm facing. It's truly exciting to see where I was at the end of 2013 and where I was at the end of 2014 and the change that happened in one year. My Lord carried me and walked with me. And no matter what I never quit or gave up, which I think is sometimes all we can do. 

So here's to 2015. I rang 2014 out with great abandon. Get ye behind me 2014. I'm movin' on and raisin' my glass to 2015.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

On everything.

A few minutes ago when I decided to blog again I thought I should totally revamp "Girl Who Dreams". You know, give it a cool brand, a cool new look, maybe even a cool new name.  5 seconds later I decided "let's just see if I can blog more than twice a year, then I'll consider a new vamp." So to all you bloggers out there, if I'm doing this in the total wrong order don't tell me. I don't want to know.

Guess what? I'm a music teacher now. I worked hard for this career, and I love it. I teach at a low income school with some tough kiddos. My expectations have drastically changed since I began. Let me put it simply. Before I started I was convinced that all these kids needed was a little TLC - you know, someone believing in them and spurring them on to goodness. They would naturally respond like little cherubs just soaking up all the TLC and as a thank you behave and be inspired by their 140 min a week in music class.  All the right material for a lifetime movie to be made out of my story. I think I pictured it going something like School of Rock. They use to hate music and never behave, but shortly after i start teaching they become inspired, well behaved, and we go on to bless the world with our musical abilities.

Well, in case you have been anxiously awaiting said movie, it's time to stop. There will be no movie.  Things didn't work out quite as seamlessly as hoped for. It turns out that a class of 30 2nd graders sitting on the floor doesn't just instantly start acting like cherubs the moment you say "I believe in you."

All that said, teaching is fun; classroom management is challenging, and there is NEVER a dull moment. The kids are hilarious, and they keep me laughing all day long. And oh my soul! It's almost November. How is time going so quickly?

One other thing. How in the world do mother's do it?  My respect for mothers who also teach school all day has sky rocketed since I started teaching. I honestly can't fathom teaching all day and then going home and taking care of more tiny humans. When I come home I look a little like this, and I don't even have a dog to care for.

So shout out to all you mom/teachers out there. Or just all you moms in general. You're super heroes in my eyes.

2 weekends ago my sisters and I boogied off to Austin for a delightful sisters weekend. These are some of my favorite weekends all year long. I want them to happen every weekend. They don't though, so we soak up every second of the weekend to last us until the next time we get together. For the sake of time I'll just recap in pics.
We took a photo at this wall because we had to. 

All of us needed new running shoes so we made an event out of it. 

You've gotta test them,

Kelsey's boyfriend stayed up most of the night making sure the meat he was smoking turned out perfect. If there was ever a way to our hearts he found it - delicious food and home-brews on tap. 

When we're together we take a million pictures and we don't feel ashamed.

The perfect spread with the perfect crew. 

Last weekend I went to Grand Rapids, MI for a conference. We flew into Chicago and drove to Michigan, but we stopped for a detour at a light house and at this little campus called Notre Dame.  Oh my soul. And I thought Howard Payne was the prettiest place on earth.

If you are ever in Grand Rapids, MI go to "Uncle Cheetah's Soup Shop". I found it on Yelp, and the reviews did not lie. They change out their soups, but if they have the Sherry Mushroom, GET IT!

I took a photo of this wall because it reminds me of Fall in Texas. 

Touch Down Jesus. 

This is what Rudy must've felt like.

I imagine if my dorm looked like that  I would stay in college for years.

This was my favorite house I saw while driving. I mean seriously.

So there you have it. Tonight I'm staying in eating pancakes and drinking wine. That combo doesn't make sense, but it's working for me - because it's wine.

That's a wrap. I'll talk to you tomorrow or in 6 months.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

on celebrating birthdays.

Good news! My birthday is tomorrow! There are few things I enjoy in life more than birthdays. I don't care if it's my birthday, your birthday, the cat's birthday, a half birthday (which should always be celebrated), or Obama's birthday. They should ALWAYS be greeted with much enthusiasm and festivities. And since I do love all things festive and celebratory, I plan to do it up right on the ol' 26.  That's right. Ya heard me. 26.

I am of the opinion that no birthday can be considered successful until you have spent part of your day watching these clips. Can I get a "what what!"? That's what I thought.

And then this. 

Now, hear me clearly on this. If you disagree with my requirements for a successful birthday I am going to need to hear from you a very well thought out reason.  Because, as a self-proclaimed birthday champion I am convinced that these two SNL videos can make any birthday successful.  Also, I'm open to suggestions on what else should be added to the mix. I'm not too prideful to admit that there may be some birthday shenanigans I am unaware of.  I am however, just prideful confident enough to admit that when it comes to birthdays, I know what I'm talking about. 

Alright, let's get right down to business. Since my birthday is tomorrow I am now accepting gifts. Though, there's not really a day of the year when I don't accept gifts. So if you are wondering what to get me I'm going to go ahead and list it out for you. 

You're welcome.

1. Since I'm now training for a triathlon I need these.

Those would be my first choice because...well isn't it obvious? Intense. If finances are a little tight though, I'm not opposed to these bad boys:

I'd also gladly welcome these. Mostly because I'd feel like part of the cast of Back to the Future. And who wouldn't want that?

2. A Vespa.  

I hope you're not saying "why would you want that?" That shouldn't even be a question, but since I'm afraid it is, I will give you a few solid reasons why I (and you) should want a Vespa.

A. If you google images of Vespas you'll find that those who own vespas live much cooler lives than you and I do. Case in point:

B. I think Vespas make you sexier. When have I ever looked this good posing in Italy?

C. 2 words: SIDE. CAR.
In case you did not know, I have always dreamed of riding in a side car. 

3. A swim cap. See option 1 for the reasoning here.  Or I can tell you - try swimming laps and doing flip turns with hair in your face. I already look like a floppy fish when I'm swimming. Best case scenario a swim cap will help me look like a professional out of water. My expectations aren't high here. If we're being perfectly honest, I just want to look cool.

So there you have it. Happy Birthday to the ground.

Monday, March 10, 2014

That awkward moment when...

This is awkward. In fact if there was ever a time in my life to say "that awkward moment when..." it is now. I've never used that phrase. I think it's dumb. You know you do too. People follow it up with things like "that awkward moment when you are going for a walk and your dog breaks off his leash." People, why is that even awkward? Balls up and deal with it. There's nothing AWKWARD about it.

However, this truly is an appropriate time to present to you my first ever "awkward moment when..."

That awkward moment when you try to pretend like you didn't just skip 3 months of blogging.  My first response is to pretend it didn't happen.  You know, jump right back in as if literally nothing happened in my life from Dec to March. I don't think I can pretend that well though, so I'm gonna just acknowledge that I haven't blogged in 3 months and catch you up.

Hold on to your hats - we're gonna move fast.

1. I started training for my first ever Half Marathon.

2. Went through a breakup. I had to decide if I would acknowledge this to you or not. I decided I had better so you don't think I'm just a really bad girlfriend who never talks about her boyfriend. Don't be sad for me though - we have been able to stay friends. How cool and unusual is that? All the respect in the world still for this guy. 

3. Since I'm currently working weekends, Monday's are my new Saturday. I get to spend them every week in Dallas with my 4 favorite kids. I knew moving closer to the fam bam would be a solid choice.

4. I sprained my ankle 3 weeks before the half marathon. Which saved me from having to run during the weird ice weather Texas had this winter. 

5. I got closer to my goal weight. Once I reach it I'll be in maintenance mode. Read: work out just so I can eat more.

6.  I decided to be a school teacher. I'm working on my Alternative Certification so I can teach either Elementary Music or Middle School Theatre. I feel like if there has ever been a place for me to truly shine it's middle school theatre - the land of true awkwardness and goofballness. The land that gladly welcomes all people who have decided they are not cool and should just have fun instead. You would want to be in my class. Don't even try to tell me differently. 

7.  I decided to post a picture a day on Instagram. Partly because I'm vain enough to think people actually care, but mostly because it's a really fun way to document my year. I can look back throughout my days and see a moment recorded from each day of the year... and mostly I can look back and realize that I love to eat. A lot. #caradaily2014

So there's my 2014 so far. Glad we got you caught up. I know you'd been missing me :)