Here are all of the noteworthy things that happened in my life this year! I am so ready for 2013 to be over, haha.

+ My brother left for his mission.
+ We started a new semester of school.
+ Scotty turned 24.
+ There was that day with freezing rain. People were literally skating across campus. Google it.
+ We got a new computer, and got KSL-screwed on our old one.
+ The Believe Acoustic album was released.
+ I quit my job at the BYU Student Employment Office.
+ I ran over a bumper and ruined our perfect little car. It looks ugly and broken.
+ I became obsessed with the movie Pitch Perfect.

+ We sold Scotty's truck.
+ I watched Top Gun for the first time.
+ We bought an iPad Mini.
+ We celebrated Valentine's Day at Cheesecake Factory.
+ We visited baby Eva in the hospital!
+ I went to my first blogger party.
+ I started my practicum.
+ We went to a Jazz vs. Celtics game.

+ Both of our moms came into town! (in the same week)
+ We boycotted St. Patrick's day.
+ I took the PRAXIS (licensure test for teaching).
+ Scotty got a new position at work.
+ I successfully hid an entire box of girl scout cookies from my husband.
+ My family visited during their spring break. We went to a BYU game.
+ I was offered a teaching job! We celebrated.
+ We sold our bunny.
+ Scotty bought Les Mis for me.

+ Ron and Kim visited!
+ Jen and Tony invited us to General Conference with them.
+ Scotty upgraded his phone to an iPhone 5.
+ The iPhone 5 was stolen off his desk at work.
+ I got a ticket. Stupid HOV lane.
+ Scotty's hard drive crashed, erasing every single homework assignment, work project, etc.
+ We went to St. George for our cruise friends' baby blessing.
+ The "Ship My Pants" commercial came into my life. Never gets old.
+ We went to a BYU Baseball game with my my aunt and uncle.
+ We finished another semester of school.
+ I enjoyed my four-day break before summer school started. Projects and relaxing.

+ It freaking snowed. In May.
+ We went to Vegas for our niece Dakota's baby blessing.
+ Scotty drove a Ferrari.
+ My family visited for Memorial Day.
+ Great Gatsby. We loved the soundtrack more than the actual movie.
+ I started my second practicum.
+ We talked to my missionary brother on the phone!
+ Scotty bought equity in his boss's company.

+ We saw Ron and Kim while they were in SLC for girl's camp.
+ I went to Vegas with Jen for less than 24 hours.
+ I passed my statistics class (PRAISE THE LORD!).
+ Scotty got a ticket for crossing over the trax tracks. What a joke.
+ I spent a butt-load of time making and buying things for my classroom.
+ The rest of June was a blur... I was gone for 13 HOURS A DAY. I left every morning at 7, had classes from 8:00 to 3:00 with no breaks, I spent 3:00 to 5:00 doing homework, then I went to a statistics class from 5:00 to 7:00, which put me home around 7:45 or 8:00. Scotty was running the call center. His hours started later to match when people would be home to call, so he wasn't getting home until 10:30 pm. We were both working really, really, really hard. It was stressful and exhausting. And it sucked.

+ We celebrated the Fourth of July.
+ We drove to Daybreak every weekend to drool over houses. Free and fun entertainment.
+ We swam in our pool a few times trying to make up for the fact that we didn't get to go to Oceanside with my family or Huntington Beach with Scotty's family.
+ We dressed up like cows to get free Chick-fil-a.
+ We were locked inside our apartment complex's laundry room for 20 minutes.
+ Again, kind of a blur with our busy schedules.

+ I finished my classes at BYU!!! Happiest day.
+ Our cruise friends came to visit.
+ My mom and Tanner also came to visit.
+ Scotty's boss gave us a $100 gift card to Gap, which was kind of amazing. We were so poor all year, we rarely went shopping for fun.
+ I got called to work with the young women in my ward.
+ I started using DoTerra oils.
+ Our Lake Powell trip was canceled. We were seriously heartbroken.
+ We went to Las Vegas for a weekend.
+ I fulfilled my life dreams by setting up the cutest classroom and teaching the cutest students.
+ My first day of school was amazing. 
+ I survived the intimidating Back-to-School Night.

+ We felt really old while chaperoning a church youth dance.
+ The LDS Business College reserved an endowment session for all of the students and their spouses. All of the workers at that time were professors and other school administrators. It was seriously one of the coolest experiences! Before the session, everyone met in the chapel and the temple president spoke to us. So so special!
+ I barely slept because I had no idea how to grade papers, plan lessons, etc.
+ I deactivated my Facebook for a month. So nice!
+ I went to the Relief Society Broadcast with my grandma, aunt, and cousin!
+ We fell in love with iOS 7
+ I went to a football game for two of my students.

+ General Conference again!
+ We had dinner with Jen and Tony. Love them.
+ We had a relaxing weekend in Brian Head and Bryce Canyon.
+ Scotty got called as the Ward Mission Leader! He is amazing at it. I am so proud of him. 
+ We went to two Halloween parties.
+ I got a pell grant! Wooo!
+ ... and I used it to pay tuition for the last time ever. Greatest feeling. 
+ My mom visited us.

+ We celebrated our second anniversary! We went to Benihana and the Natural History Museum.
+ Scotty bought me an iPhone 5S. Gold. Beautiful. 
+ We said the prayers in sacrament meeting.
+ We set up our Christmas tree.
+ Scotty bought equity in a leather bag company, Gobi. 
+ I had my first experience running into a student outside of school. It was at Chilis, and his face when he saw me was freaking priceless.
+ I survived parent-teacher conferences.
+ My family visited my classroom. It totally made the list of top ten best days of my life.
+ Thanksgiving with a ton of my mom's family.
+ I found SIX gray hairs. I kid you not.

+ The first snow of the season. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm starting to not hate it. I still don't like it, but hey... baby steps, here. Be proud.
+ We went to a bunch of plays and performances.
+ We went to a holiday cookie swap.
+ I ate lots of cookies before, during, and after the cookie swap.
+ We freaked out because we thought we were part of the Target fraud crisis... but we weren't :)
+ We loved getting Brazilian food with Angela, Shawn, and baby Eva.
+ I got my nose waxed... seriously the best thing ever. Don't think about it, just go do it.
+ We went to a UNLV basketball game.
+ I turned 23.
+ We spent time with our families in Vegas.

2013 was difficult. I faced a lot of trials and struggles. Without the support from Scotty and our families, this year would have been impossible! I am so thankful for the loving relationships in my life and the blessings I have been given. I'm hoping 2014 will bring a diploma, a new apartment, and financial stability. And I guess a smaller pant size wouldn't hurt :) Here's to a new year and a fresh start. 


A Classy Christmas Season

December was an exciting month for us! We enjoyed many different things. Usually we spend our quality time at the mall, Target, the movie theater, etc... the usual. This month, however, we felt extra cultured as we attended all kinds of artistic events! 

First, we went to Savior of the World. It is an annual program put on by the church held in the conference center theater downtown, and my good friend/coworker performed in it. Scotty doesn't usually like the singing-dancing stuff I drag him to, but this one was so different. The play depicts the Savior's birth and death. Scotty and I both got teary; it was absolutely beautiful! This performance was the perfect thing to put us in a spiritual christmasy mode. 
Another classy thing we went to was The Nutcracker. One of my cute students was performing in it, so I just had to go!!! She did great. Scotty had never been to a ballet before, so I was surprised when he told me he enjoyed it. He recognized most of the music, and I think he liked the fact that there weren't any cheesy broadway-type songs being sung :) I personally love ballets! I am always mesmerized by the jeweled costumes and graceful dance moves.
Then we went to the Music and the Spoken Word slash the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert with our good friends Jessica and Wade! Wade scored four tickets and was kind enough to think of us to invite! We are lucky to have such good friends. 
Mo Tab never disappoints! I loved listening to the hymns. My favorite was Angels We Have Heard On High. So so powerful! It was also fun to see the organist's feet move crazily back and forth, and to see John Rhys-Davies fly off the stage and hover above the audience! Intense special effects in that conference center, haha. The prophet attended the concert as well -- it's always exciting to be in the same room as he is. 
 Lastly, we went to Temple Square with the Zeiglers and saw the temple lights! I love this tradition! It's always a treat to visit the Salt Lake temple and remember the church's history. I feel so blessed and honored to be a part of the LDS church. I love the magical spirit of Christmas I feel when I see their lights. 
A beautiful display of architecture and electricity. 
So beautiful, in fact, that some would recommend holding a camera in each hand: 
I love her haha! We are so happy we found some fun friends in our ward. It is starting to feel more and more like home. 
What a fun month! Now we are in Vegas making more memories with our families and friends. I am so grateful for all the people and experiences I've been blessed with in this life! Merry Christmas! 


How's teaching?

When someone asks, "How's teaching?" I get embarrassed because there's really no simple answer. I can't just say, "Oh it's going great!" or, "Actually, it sucks!" or, "It's freaking exhausting!" or, "I love it!" because any one of those phrases alone would give someone an incomplete idea. Teaching is great! and it does suck! And jeeze, it's exhausting! But I really do love it.

But now the problem is if I respond with something like, "It's great, sucky, and exhausting, but I can't get enough of it!" people will think I'm going insane. Send me to a nut house or something. All I can do to prove I'm not losing my marbles is provide stories that support each statement.

It's going great: 
Teaching IS going great! My kids are amazing! They are so smart and so capable. They did reports on Utah's state symbols in small groups and they completely blew my mind. They created posters, planned the presentations, and researched the information all by themselves. I almost teared up on presentation day. They are rock stars. For the most part, I've stayed organized and clean, which I'm incredibly proud of. I don't know if you've looked at any other teacher desks lately, but I'd say being able to see the top of mine is a pretty big deal. On another happy note, I've had a few parents donate supplies to the classroom and I'm just tickled pink about it. Some of my lesson plans are just straight up amazing and creative. I'm super proud of that. I mean, come on, I used Taylor Swift's Red to teach similes and metaphors. Genius. My management has been pretty decent, and it's getting even better. My relationships with my students are all positive, but professional. It's great.

It sucks:
Teaching really does suck. It sucks! Kids get bullied. Feelings get hurt. I have to mediate arguments and disagreements. I hear the most depressing stories about home and family life. They break my heart. I'm emotionally drained after being supportive and concerned for 24 other souls. I have to do recess duty in the cold, and after-school duty on occasion. I have to hold my pee for 4+ hours at a time. I can't munch on snacks whenever I want to. I'm supposed to be all-knowing and able to supply my children with bandaids every five minutes when another scab is scratched off. They are always wanting to share irrelevant stories. They need to get a drink every two minutes, and then cry when I won't let them. They complain about handwriting time. I even have to buy their supplies with my own money. I catch their colds, I watch them pick their noses... the list goes on and on, people. It sucks.

It's freaking exhausting: 
I feel like every first year teacher should have to sign a form saying "I UNDERSTAND I WILL ONLY SLEEP, EAT, AND BREATHE SCHOOL FOR THE NEXT 6 MONTHS!" I knew it would be really time consuming, but I thought it'd at least still have time to communicate with the outside world or itch the occasional scratch. Planning, preparing, shopping, grading, and making crap for my classroom is taking up my life. I can't catch a break and it's killing me. I rarely get to sleep before 12, and I'm out the door by 7. I work from 8-6, come home and stuff some food down my throat, then I'm back in my corner grading and planning. Then the process starts over. The sad thing is, I work so hard to prepare for the next week, and then there's a new week after that. and a new week after that. and after that. Sometimes I feel like it's never going to end. I don't want to neglect my poor husband, but I feel like I'm giving my whole self to barely hit the minimum amount of work I need to do. Oh, and my feet are practically falling off. Any good shoe recommendations? I'm dying over here. It's exhausting.

I love it:
I LOVE IT! I promise! Even though I spent the last two paragraphs complaining about it, it's amazing. There's nothing more thrilling and rewarding. I have 24 people who write me notes, draw me pictures, and laugh at my jokes. It's great. I love getting them excited about learning and watching them progress.  It's amazing to for me to watch a student struggle, present the material to her in a different way, and see the light bulbs come on. A few weeks ago, one of my girls couldn't round numbers to save her life. Rounding! She just didn't understand. I worked with her in a small group setting and one-on-one until she felt comfortable enough to explain rounding to me. We took our unit 1 test a few weeks ago, and she got 16/17. It's incredible. Some days are bad, but I always have a second chance. There's always the next lesson. My students are so passionate and dedicated. We learned about evaporation, and a few of my students went home and conducted their own evaporation experiments! I love sharing my enthusiasm with them, and singing with them, and learning with them. Watching Bill Nye, conducting experiments, and writing metaphors... how could you not love it? Right?

So... that's my answer.
And here is a picture.


Halloween 2013

Scotty and I have now been together for FOUR Halloweens. The sad thing is, none of them have been particularly festive. Let's recap:

Halloween 2010: Ah, young love. We'd only been dating 3 months. Our Halloween was a fun trip to Texas with the Marx family. We went to a wedding, ate Chick-fil-a, and toured Fortworth! A great trip, but I spent Halloween day in the airport haha. No costumes, no carving pumpkins, and no candy. (Although, Scotty was wearing a ridiculous orange shirt which could have resembled a pumpkin, and my eyebrows were scarier than any monster I've ever seen!)

Halloween 2011: SO ANXIOUS TO GET MARRIED! Just a mere 11 days away! I spent the weekend in Vegas getting a marriage license, going through the temple, and wedding planning. Halloween was the following Monday, which I spent getting my IUD in and sleeping for the rest of the day because I was knocked out on drugs. I woke up at 7 p.m. and did homework. No costumes, but Scotty and I carved pumpkins and ate a pack of sweetarts. I posted this anti status on Facebook: 

Halloween 2012: Our first Halloween together as a married couple! I dreamt of cute themed couples costumes and pretty Halloween parties, but reality had a different vision. I had to work a carnival at BYU, so Scotty stayed home and handed out halloween candy all alone. We DID go to Jen & Tony's to watch the presidential debate and make Halloween wreaths. Also, I made a skeleton cut-out shirt with Lauren for the carnival. And who could forget the mini pumpkins Scotty and I carved? A little more festive, but still missing some essential elements. 

This year was bound to be special. After three years of boring, we dressed up, celebrated, and went to parties!

Halloween 2013:
Our festivities started on Tuesday night with an awesome Halloween party at our friend's house. We ate gourmet french toast, played mafia, and took pictures in a spooky photobooth. On Wednesday, we went to our ward Halloween party and Trunk-or-Treat. We passed out candy, stuffed our faces with cheese balls and pumpkin bread, and mingled with friends. I tried not to be pissed toward the other couple wearing our exact costume. Thursday, I went to the Halloween carnival at my school, and then Scotty and I watched all the Halloween episodes of The Office. We bought candy to pass out, but sadly not a single trick-or-treater came to our door. Boo! However, I'd say this year was the most festive we've ever been; take a look at our sweet bank-account-inspired costumes!
Happy Halloween!



Last weekend we drove down to Brian Head to play with my family. On Friday, we ventured off to Bryce Canyon National Park! I have a new life goal to visit all five of Utah's national parks... I feel it's a necessity for my Utah-history-and-geography-teaching self! The views were stunning and the company was even better. I love my family! 
Don't laugh at our outfit choices... My dad informed me he would be taking lots of pictures to blow up and hang in his newly-designed living room. We looked so out of place next to all the serious hikers and campers. 
We love tanner 
... and canyon-gazing.
My cute parents. 
Tanner was loving all the photo ops. 
We had such a relaxing time. Some other highlights of our weekend include:
+ playing card games 
+ watching modern family 
+ making frothed milk & pumpkin drinks
+ eating caramels
+ 4-wheeling adventures 
+ watching movies 

... and one other event (I wouldn't really call it a "highlight," but it needs recording) was being Tanner's photographer while he climbed a ski-lift pole. A perfect balance of horrifying and hilarious. The things we do for the sake of Instagram!


Remember Me?

Today marked day 5 of my fall break. I forgot how good it feels to sleep in, lounge around, and communicate with family and friends! Don't get me wrong, teaching is great! But holy crap it's life-consuming. I am excited to have three weeks off so I can catch up on my life. I have a lengthy to-do list, but a lot of the items revolve around me relaxing :) Here are some snippets from my life during past two months: 
 So much support from day one. Thanks, friends. 
My new get-up. 
 Being sick the first week of school was the worst.  I think my body is slowly adjusting to the whole "constantly being around 25 other people at the same time" thing
 Grumpy cat. 
 Class on class on class. So bored. 
 A portrait from a student :) 
My favorite time of year: pumpkin recipe season!
 Who has time for that? 
 I almost had an anxiety attack when I left my students for half a day. I had to go to a class, so I left my kids with a sub for the first time. It was horrible. I missed them and worried about them the whole time. My team laughed at me for laying everything out like this before I left.  
 My proudest accomplishment is my clean desk. 
Sometimes I eat with the little people. 
Maybe one day I won't be the last person to leave the school. Maybe.
I survived my first glitter project.
I'm surprised the custodian doesn't hate me.

And that's my life in photo-dump form.
Here's my view for the next three weeks:
Movies, grading, and cleaning!


Days 1 & 2

I'm sure you're all dyyyying to know how my first days went, right? Sorry to leave you on such a cliffhanger last week :) Honestly, those first two days were pretty emotional. So feel free to continue reading, but this in-depth documentation is mostly for my own sake!
(fourth grade and fourth grade)
Day 1: 
I woke up so enthusiastic and excited. I curled my hair, ate breakfast, and practically skipped out the door to my car. I pulled into the parking lot and in my whirlwind of excitement, I didn't even put the car in park before turning it off. However, once I got to my classroom, the confidence and joy slowly transformed into anxiety and fear. I was terrified. I embarrassed myself in front of a parent (don't you think fanning yourself and hyperventilating just as a parent walks into the room is a little embarrassing?), and I felt flustered and unprepared all morning (even though all my materials were laid out in order and I've had my plans ready for two weeks...). The kids came into my room and I felt okay. We were all kind of shy and I didn't feel like I was being myself. It was going alright, though. I realized after two minutes that I hated my bathroom procedure, so I just pretended it didn't exist and went the whole day without one. They asked me questions I didn't have answers to, and I felt stupid. Then a kid told me he had diabetes, and I realized I didn't know anything about diabetes... at all. He told me he needed to "check blood sugar levels and get the nutritional information for the school lunch" and I didn't know what the first thing was or how to do the second thing, so I told him to wait. STUPID!!! STUPID! STUPID! I now know that was the stupidest choice of my career. He got really low, and came up to me again a little shaky and said, "I need to check... like right now!" I freaked out. Left my class (bad) and ran down the hall with this kid, hoping he wouldn't pass out under my watch. I couldn't wait until lunch, so I could drown my sorrows with carbs and reconsider my occupation.

I got some caffeine and food into my body, and I felt slightly better. I returned to my classroom feeling disappointed and blah. I've been waiting my entire life to experience THIS? Embarrassment, frustration, and failure? Then something magical happened. Pure magic, I tell you. We got back from lunch and I told the kids they could color while I read a book aloud to them (Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, by Judy Bloom. Classic.). They seemed excited and I felt like for once I had done something right. I didn't care if they weren't paying attention to the book, I just wanted it all to end. I read two chapters and told them to put all their drawings and materials away. I walked over to my desk to put the book away, and when I turned around I had a line of 10 kids waiting behind me. One by one, they all handed me carefully drawn love notes, portraits of me, and thank you letters. My heart filled up with that excitement and confidence that had been buried away, and I felt like I could save the world! I returned to the front of the room with a sparkle in my eye and my head held high! I gave the most engaging lesson about our classroom rules. My students and I became a team as we solved potential problems, recited our class rules, role played, laughed, learned, and sang together. They understood alliteration. We made our own superhero shields, and they were amazing. They were so creative and funny. I fell in love with them. I wanted to hug and squeeze every single one of them, but I think there's some stupid and unspoken side-hug rule in place. At the end of the day, they told me they didn't want to leave! "I wish time would speed up so it could be morning and we'd be in class again!" "I don't think I've ever had this much fun at school!" "This is going to be the best year ever!" ... AMEN! I couldn't wait for Friday. I high-fived all my kids on their way out, calling them by name and feeling like a rockstar. I left feeling so fulfilled and so incredibly happy. I knew teaching children was truly my life calling.
Day 2: 
I was antsy to see my 24 beautiful kids again. I strolled into the office and grabbed my mail, confident as ever. I was surprised and a little irritated to see a "NEW STUDENT" slip, but I figured what the heck. Surely one more angel would not make a difference! (Even though 24 is the perfect number and my desks were in perfect rows for partnerships, small groups, and back-door partners). I hurried to get my new student's materials labeled, and tried to decide the best place for his desk to go without ruining my perfect arrangement. Done. Easy. Right? My new student came into the room and it only took me about 3 seconds to realize he does not speak English. At all. Maybe 5 words? I almost crapped my pants. I tried to remember ANYTHING from my college courses that could help me out, and nothing came to mind. Nothing. (What did I pay those professors for?) ... Nothing? Okay, then. I welcomed the rest of my students and taught them some things. I got them started on an assignment and called my precious new student to the back table. I downloaded a translator app on my iPad and started "talking" to him... I spoke into the iPad in English, he read what I said in Spanish, he responded in Spanish, and I read his response in English. I thought to myself, "If I have to do this the whole year, I swear on my life....." and tried not to cry. THEN, another miracle happened. One of my sweet, sweet babies came up to the back table. He must have realized the new student and I were struggling, and he started translating for me. HELLO! It made my whole day. He was totally willing to help and wanted the new student to succeed. I buddied them up for the rest of the day and things went smoothly. I'm still figuring out how to approach this barrier between us (because let's be honest, he needs to learn english. USA!), but my angel translator will do for now. Aside from temporarily losing a student, making a boy cry, and one of my girls getting kicked in the face at recess, the rest of the day was filled with productivity, more love notes, gifts, fun educational projects, and happy students. Another day under my belt, and I felt good.

As you can see, it's been a wild ride. I'm hoping things will get easier with experience. I'm also hoping my students don't grow out of their angelic phase. At the end of the day, I'm happy I chose this job. I knew it wouldn't be easy, but gosh dang it, it's hard! Thank you all for your love and support!


le tour de classroom

Well people, my big day is almost here. After three solid weeks of sweat, tears, candy, hyperventilation, and a disgusting amount of trips to Wal-mart, I am sitting in my bed -- patiently waiting for my alarm clock to ring at 6:00 am.  I spent the entirety of today putting the finishing touches on my classroom and getting all of my materials ready for the first day of school. It's crazy to think I've waited my whole life for a moment that is just a mere 12 hours away! My to-do list has transformed from a massive piece of construction paper to a tiny post-it note. I am ready! Here's a sneak peak at what's in store for my students tomorrow: 

Wish me luck! I'm sure it will be a super day :)