Sunday, March 31, 2013

Spring Break 2013

One of the things I enjoy (among many) about being a teacher? School breaks! I thoroughly enjoyed having a week away from school/work, but I am ready to be back tomorrow. I feel rejuvenated, and I'm ready to tackle the last quarter of the school-year! Spring break was adventurous, though, so I'm going to recap through pictures.

1. I started spring break by enjoying an ice cream party with my colleagues and students! Our hardworking 8th graders deserved that little party for working so hard and behaving to their best abilities during testing. They asked me specifically to bring ants on a log (for an ice cream party... I know...) so I did! I also took homemade chocolate chip cookies, though -- don't worry!

2. Dan and I spent that Friday evening enjoying free Panera and then just hanging out. We hadn't spent time with each other in nearly three weeks (aside from a few hours one Sunday), so it was really nice to just get back into the rhythm of being a couple! We also bought all of our seeds for gardening this year, and I found my all-time favorite soda (and I don't drink much at all) at Ace Hardware of all places... On Saturday, we cleaned my entire house and ran several errands... and went to church/dinner! I took a selfie picture when I was bored in the middle of cleaning, and then Dan lounged with his favorite cat (Stormy) on the couch when we were all finished! 

3. On sunday morning, we woke up at 6:30 and set out for Glenwood Springs. It was a place we had always wanted to visit, so the road trip was totally worth it! We crossed it off of our Colorado bucket-list. I got to meet up with a friend, and Dan and I checked out the hot springs for a few hours. It was a lot of fun, and the drive was BEAUTIFUL! Oh, and did I mention that I found an ice cream cupcake at a gas station at 7:30 in the morning while it was snowing? This crazy girl could never pass that up, and it was delicious! We checked out a local brewery, and they had a reuben made out of tempeh that I ordered. It was SO good, and it was nice to have that taste again after nearly five years meat free. 

4. On Monday morning, we headed back East to Copper Mountain. We stayed in a hotel in Silverthorne, and we spent two days at Copper Mountain skiing and then one day at Winter Park skiing. It was tiring because I am no good at skiing, but spending time with my sweet fiancé is totally worth the pain/struggle. We also met up with a friend and his family at their condo in the mountains, and that was really nice. Dan and I drove to Breckenridge one evening to go shopping, and I was SHOCKED to find TWO ITEMS with my name on them! I have NEVER found anything in a store with my name, much less spelled correctly! I *ALMOST* bought one of them just because, but I decided I didn't need them. Wednesday morning, we found a few inches of fresh snow on our car when we headed out, and that was also a nice, fun surprise! :)

5. On Wednesday, we headed to Denver International Airport to pick up my mom on our way home from skiing. I somehow managed to take ZERO pictures while she was here (except at the Wolf Sanctuary, but I will make a separate post about that excursion soon), so I don't have too much to show. We went to Heart of Jerusalem, though, as always, and I took my mom to a couple places she had never been as well (Jack Quinn's and Jose Muldoon's). We also made homemade broccoli cheese soup, beer bread, and brownies one evening (recipe for the soup coming soon), and we spent some time at Garden of the Gods. We didn't do too much, but it was nice having my mom in town for a few days. She got to experience Dan furminating both cats (and you will see just how much they LOVE that process), and after she left, we started our seedlings in cups so they can get a nice start before we transplant them to the garden beds outside after Colorado decides to stop freezing randomly. For Easter, Dan woke me up at 6:00 to go to the Sunrise Service at our church at 7:00 (which was held outside and FREEZING cold, might I add), but then we had a productive morning afterward while we waited for Dan's sponsor family (Mike and Ellen) to come over for lunch. We had a great time talking to them and grilling out in what felt like EXTREME HEAT after this morning, and yes, I do have a sunburn from eating outside. Oops. 

Spring break was pretty busy, but it was so nice to finally spend some time with Dan again! Sometimes I feel like we're still in a long distance relationship despite the fact that we live 15 miles from each other. It's an odd feeling for sure. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

What I'm Looking Forward To

As work is at one of its busiest points of the year, I have been feeling a little bit overwhelmed. This feeling is NOTHING compared to how I felt last year at this time, and I am incredibly thankful to teach in such an amazing little school. However, we just wrapped up our state standardized testing (TCAP in Colorado), and it has been ROUGH. Proctoring test after test gets tiring, and the students have not been themselves. They have been bored out of their minds taking so many tests, and I can't blame them! Tomorrow, we are rewarding them with an ice cream party at the end of the day -- it should be SO much fun!

Because I've been feeling stressed out, I decided to come up with a list of things I am looking forward to in the near and distant future.

1. SPRING BREAK. It starts in less than 24 hours. I am STOKED! Tomorrow and Saturday, Dan and I are just hanging out and relaxing. We leave early Sunday morning to head to the hot springs for a day/night and then to Copper Mountain to ski for a few days. We will head back to Colorado Springs on Wednesday evening, and my mom flies in then to spend a few days here. I don't know what all we will do, but I am looking forward to sleeping in.

2. Celebrating Dan's birthday in April. He turns 24, and I love the few months when we only have a one year age difference. My birthday is in July, and then we'll be back to two years apart. I have a pretty fun gift for him this year, and I can't wait to give it to him!

3. Running a fun 5K! I get to check one off for the year in April, and I'm pretty excited! I am running The Glow Run with Dan and some people on his Flying Team. It's on April 27th, it's at night (in the dark), and lots of glow sticks are involved. I CAN'T WAIT! For fun, here are a couple pictures from The Color Run last year...

4. Engagement Pictures in Colorado! Dan and I are having our wedding photographer take engagement pictures of us so we can get to know her style, etc. I have been dying for pictures at Garden of the Gods, so guess what is in our future... ;) A friend took some gorgeous photos for us last fall at the Air Force Academy, and they turned out great, so I'm excited for this last set of pictures before our big day!

5. Finishing my novel! I actually finished writing it in 2010. I didn't look at it once in 2011. I did one edit in 2012, and that felt WONDERFUL to finish. Now that I'm in my second edit, it's tougher. I love the story. I love the characters. I am just a little bit tired of trying to make it all perfect... but it will come together. I enjoy working on it when I can find the time, and I am looking forward to several Saturdays doing just that this spring while Dan is flying. I love going to La Baguette downtown to work. The atmosphere is great, and the food is even better!

6. Spending some time at Garden of the Gods. It is my favorite place in the world (so far), and I always feel completely at peace there. I could drive through it, run, hike, whatever... it's just SO nice. Dan and I picnic there sometimes, and it's so romantic and beautiful. I could basically live there. And hey, rent would be a lot cheaper too!

7. Exploring the outdoors with Dan as it continues to get warmer. This is something we both love. Hiking together is great, especially if there is a picnic in the middle! I can't wait to take our British friends hiking in gorgeous Colorado this summer when they visit. This state is so wonderful for doing things outdoors.

8. Starting our garden again! There's nothing like growing your own food. It's amazing to watch, and it tastes ever-so-slightly better... just because you watched it grow from day one. Last summer, we got several veggies, but since I didn't move into this house until July, we didn't plant seeds until mid-July... so I KNOW we will yield even more this year. We have mapped out what we want to plant, when to plant it, and where to put it. I am looking forward to lots of fresh vegetables this year!

9. Going home to Missouri for part of the summer. I do this every year when Dan is busy. I look forward to the drive through Kansas by myself because it is so calm. I take the cats with me, and we drive almost straight through for ten hours. I stop once for gas, food, and a bathroom break half way, and I make CDs to listen to for the parts where the radio doesn't even work (gotta love middle-of-nowhere Kansas). It's always fun, and I enjoy seeing my family and friends when it's nice outside... because the only other time I go home is in the winter. I always go to a Royals game while I'm home, and I can't wait to do that again this summer!

10. Marrying my handsome fiancé in just over a year and finally calling him my husband! I enjoy being Dan's fiancée, sure, but it gets old not being able to see him during the week, not being allowed to live with him, etc. I am 25 years old, and I am READY. I have been learning how to be patient (and let me tell you -- it's gotten much better over the past few years). By our wedding date, we will have been together for five years and three months -- plenty of time if you ask me! Our wedding date is just two days after his Air Force Academy graduation. Since he's not allowed to be married while he's there, we aren't going to waste any time afterward!

Well, that was fun! I highly suggest writing out all of the things you're looking forward to the next time you're stressed. Going through old pictures makes it even better. I am in a VERY happy mood right now! I just need to make it through tomorrow, and I will be on spring break for nine days! Life is good. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Military Monday: Uniforms

As a language arts teacher, I really like words that flow together. Military Monday seems to do just that. If there happened to be just one more word that started with an "M", it would even be alliteration. Maybe I should call it "Magnificent Military Monday" instead... or perhaps "Marvelous Military Monday". No? Okay, I'll stop nerding out now.

The real point of this post is not about word choice, though, but rather it is about military uniforms. Maybe I am just missing Dan an extra lot right now, but hey, spring break is JUST around the corner! We have to make it  through only four more days of school / work before an entire glorious NINE DAYS together! Did I just digress again? Oops.

So, for those of you who are dating a man in the military (and even those who are not, I suppose), which is your favorite uniform? Dan is in the Air Force, and I like him in all three uniforms that I've seen him in with any regularity, but my favorite uniform? ABUs, hands down. I LOVE seeing him in that camouflage! However, his flight suit is a close second, which I suppose is good because that's what I better get used to seeing him in. Service dress is nice and all, but it's not my favorite. I have yet to see him in Mess Dress (but I will in May for USAFA's Ring Dance!), and I didn't include PC Gear in this. I also like Dan in his civilian clothing, but hey, there's just something sexy/handsome about a man in uniform!

ABUs (Air Battle Uniform) -- my #1

Flight Suit -- luckily my #2

Service Dress -- nice, but only my #3

Civilian Clothing -- always nice, but it's nothing special! 

So, what order do you like the uniforms?