Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Kauai 2012

Today is my first official day back to work. We had some "pre-season" professional development last week, but today is the first day of contract.
This was at the sandcastle contest in Hanalei. 
Finally I am getting around to posting about our vacation! The Mister and I are so thankful to be able to have gone to Hawaii, for the second year in a row. Kauai was just as beautiful and wonderful as it was last year. Because we had already been once, we didn't really feel the need to do a ton of activities while we were there. Most days we had no plan, and just picked a beach and hung out/snorkled. When we were hungry, we'd get a snack and head to a different beach. It was a tough life, that's for sure. :)

Each day that we were in Kauai, I wrote out a postcard saying a couple of the highlights from the day. I mailed them off daily, and when we got back there was a couple waiting for us, and we got one a day for a few days after we were home. It's fun reading back through what I wrote and remembering some of those little things that we may have forgotten.

We hiked the Kuilau ridge trail. It was an easy 4 mile round trip hike, but it was gorgeous!

We made it down to Poi Pu a couple times. Poi Pu is on the sunny south shore and it had AMAZING snorkeling. I am not a great swimmer, and where we were was super shallow but there were a TON of fishies in like 2-3 foot deep water. We also made it to Puka Dog. I had seen it on the Travel channel and it was pretty yummy!
That cat reminded me so much of my Allison kitty. He had a tag on and was just hanging out in the life guard tower.  There was a lot of time when there were hardly anyone on the beaches with us. It was so nice!

Some other highlights:
The mister really wanted to lean how to stand up paddle board, so we took a lesson one morning. It was pretty fun, but I probably won't do it again, he really liked it though. We went to a luau on Tuesday night, and the fire dancer was bad ass. For reals. I ended up seeing 4 sea turtles and 1 Hawaiian monk seal. We had shave ice 3 times and Banana Joe's frosties twice. Gosh, I would LOVE to have some shave ice over mac nut ice cream right about now.

What's your favorite vacation you've been on?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Weekend Adventures!

I only have one more weekend left until the kiddos come back to school. I tried to push that little fact out of my brain while I enjoyed this weekend!

Friday: The mister and I had a little date night!
A little BWW and a yummy summer ale!
The movie was okay. The first half was by far funnier than the second half. 
There is a local organization that I am a volunteer for called Salem Harvest. Basically farmers can donate their fields (for what ever reason) and then volunteers go out and pick the fruit/veggies. Half of what we pick gets donated to the local food bank and the other half we can take home. We were fortunate enough to get a blueberry field donated. The bushes had been machine picked, but there was still tons of fruit left on the lower branches. My friend Kimberly (and her babe) and I signed up to pick and got a ton of fruit to take home.
Baby Ethan was not impressed.
After that, the Mister and I got some fro-yo, then picked up some yummy Hawaiian food and headed out to the river to enjoy the evening.

Sunday was a pretty relaxed day. We did some laundry, grilled a little bit, and I finished 50 Shades. Oh, and our second toilet broke so now we are down to one bathroom. Boo.

How was your weekend?
Just Sayin'
Linking up with Alison

Friday, August 24, 2012

Book Club!

While we were on vacation (recap coming soon!) I was a reading fool. Reading is one of my favorite things to do on the beach, and the trashier/fluffier the better. I found some fun ones, so I thought I would start sharing some of my favorites!
Undead and Unwed (Queen Betsy, Book 1) Publisher: Berkley Sensation
From Good Reads:
It'a been a helluva week for Betsy Taylor. First, she loses her job. Then, to top things off, she's killed in a car accident. But what really bites (besides waking up in the morgue dressed in a pink suit and cheap shoes courtesy of her stepmother) is that she can't seem to stay dead. Every night she rises with a horrible craving for blood. She's not taking too well to a liquid diet.

Worst of all, her new friends have the ridiculous idea that Betsy is the prophesied vampire queen, and they want her help in overthrowing the most obnoxious, power-hungry vampire in five centuries - a badly dressed Bela Lugosi wannabe, natch. Frankly, Betsy couldn't care less about vamp politics, but they have a powerful weapon of persuasion: designer shoes. How can any self-respecting girl say now? But a collection of Ferragamos isn't the only temptation for Betsy. It's just a lot safer than the scrumptious Sinclair - a seductive bloodsucker whose sexy gaze seems as dangerous as a stake through the heart...

What I thought:
To start off, I like Vampire books. The Twilight series started me on the supernatural story lines, my hubby got me to watch all of Buffy and Angel, and I also LOVE the Southern Vampire novels. I think what I like about them is I know that this stuff isn't real, and it's fun to be lost in these worlds about what it could be like if there were vampires and shape shifters and all that.

This book was just what the beach ordered. It was light, fun, and actually made me laugh out loud. It was a lot less sexual then the Southern Vampire novels, which can be a good or a bad thing :) If you like the grown up Twilight books, this one is a fun read. I've recommended it to a few friends already!

What books are on your "to read" list? Any recommendations for me?
Go check out what everyone else is reading!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

It's That Time of Year

I have my first required training of the new school year on Monday. That's just not fair. I mean my brain is still in the mind set where my biggest problem is what beach to go to. (I will be posting about vacation soon enough! Promise!) E,myself and I is hosting a teacher link up, and I want to get in on some of that.

This will be my 8th year of teaching. That means, someone gave a 23 year old a classroom. Full of kids. Are you kidding me? It was pointed out to me that my first classroom was in fact a gym. But that gym had 50+ students in it several times day. Throwing things. At people. On purpose. I don't see how that is any better than putting a 23 year old in charge of 30 in a classroom. Do you? If you are a 22-23 year old, and are thinking I am some crazy old lady for thinking that you are not responsible enough, come back when you are in your 8th year of teaching, and you will see. I felt plenty responsible and grown up too. Now I think my principal was crazy to hire someone a young as I was.
This is me. AFTER my first full year teaching. I was in Germany, not sober (if you can't tell by the drink in my hand and the red face) AND I am posing with a German police officer. This person was in charge of shaping the minds of today's youth. (Well, I was teaching them how to play team hand ball, Frisbee golf and how to throw a football, so that's the same.) But seriously, would you trust your child with this person? Would you feel better knowing that this same person slept in a train station in Belgium on this trip because we forgot to make any sort of hostel arrangements one night? Seriously, bad decisions left and right.

Any who, in these last few years of teaching, I have become a pretty decent teacher if I do say so myself. Each year I learn new things, and not the stuff they push on us at our monthly professional developments. I mean real stuff. The stuff that can only be taught in two ways: trial and error or by the most ruthless teachers of all, the students themselves.

I teach middle school. I am now out of the gym, and I teach health. Which I love. And luckily, most of the kids like it too. And, for the most part my students like me. Those two things make my job about a thousand times easier. I mean, there are kids who don't like health class (a girl told me it was stupid, pointless and boring this year) and students that don't like me (one time for saying that left handed people don't live as long as right handers- it has something to do with accidents or something. He apparently was left handed, and didn't like me after that) but for the most part, I have a leg up on things.

Here are some things I have learned:
*I finally have a decent system for absent kids/make up work. I have folders for each class period, if a kid is gone, I write there name on whatever it is they missed and I put it in the folder. Above where the folders are, is a piece of butcher paper that I list the notes we have taken each day. If a kid is absent, it is there responsibility to make up those notes.

*Our school focuses a lot on note taking-- well Cornell Notes. My 8th graders are pretty good at taking notes. Getting 8th graders to keep their notes has been a tricky one. I know in the future (assuming they still use paper in the future) keeping the notes they take is super important. Last year we started making little foldables for each unit that they keep their notes in. They turn them in at the end of the unit, and it has worked pretty well.

*Student work is hard with 125 students. A couple of years ago I had a sub one day. This substitute had been a teacher for 30 years and she is a wealth of knowledge. She did one small thing that had changed my life- she alphabetized my students work (by class) before it was corrected. That one act has made the  tedious task of entering 125 grades into the computer a billion times easier.

*Handing back work is also hard. I use a big 3 inch binder to hold my attendance and seating charts. Each period is separated by a folder. I put the graded work in the folder and hand it back during work times, or I give it to a student who is done early. It's not perfect, but it works for me.

*In the words of Harry Wong, "procedure, procedure, procedure."
If you don't have this book, you need it now- If you are a teacher that is
I have reread this book every year for the last 5 years before school starts. No joke. It was a required text book during college, and I didn't look at it for a couple years after I graduated, but it is seriously the best book I got during college. Procedures must be taught. How to enter the room, how to leave. (Push in your chairs, yo!) What to do when you get to class (bellwork) and what to do if you finish early. At first I hated to teach this stuff, I mean my students are in 8th grade, not 1st, but after a few bad starts to new semesters I realized: they aren't acting our because they are naughty, they just don't know what to do. Now I do it pretty heavy at the beginning of the semester, and we review at the start of each grading period. 

What I love about my job (besides the summers  students) is the fact that I am always changing and developing. Classroom organization is something that I struggle with. Those make up work folders and the binders are one small step in the right direction. This year I have also put together pencil boxes with art supplies in them, one per group, to try and keep tabs on my supplies. I will be numbering them to go with each table group. Hopefully that will work. 

Are you a teacher? What are some of your tips?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Gone Fishin'

Well, probably not fishing. But I am on vacation!
At  3:00 3:15 this morning (I'm guessing, because really, we never leave on time and I am writing this on Thursday night) the Mister and I left our house and headed the hour+ to the airport for our vacation. This summer has been rough on us, and we could not be more ready for a week of
Boogie Boarding:
I love dogs on surf/boogie boards
Fruity Drinks:
 See you all when we get back! 

You can follow me on Instagram if you miss me :)  

Thursday, August 9, 2012

It's OK!

It's Okay...
Its Ok Thursdays

...to feel like I have accomplished something when I write out a "to do" list.
... that I have watched the clip from the France/Spain basketball game where Nicolas Batum punches a Spanish player in the crotch about 100 times. And I laugh every time. (You'll have to Google it to find it. They keep getting removed from youtube.)

...that I am excited about going back to school. I have some fun stuff that I have been thinking about/planning and I want to implement it! (Please remind me of this in October when I am ready for winter break!)

...that I get sad when I drop my dog off at the kennel when we go on vacation. 
Don't leave me!
...that I just got a smart phone. I'm on instagram now. Follow my vacation!

...that I haven't posted anything to instagram yet. I will. Promise. Follow me and witness the first photo! :)

...that I FAILED my summer bucket list. 

...that I went to 2 different Target stores yesterday. 

...that I am leaving on a jet plane in the morning!!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Another post on the Olympics

I am sitting here watching the Women's Olympic marathon, because you know, it's hot as balls outside. Once upon a time (in 2010) I made the dumb decision to run a marathon. I don't regret it, I am super proud of myself for doing it, but I am 99% certain I will NEVER DO IT AGAIN. That 1% is a part of me that would like to get a better time, and maybe not do it in pouring down rain. Anyway, watching this marathon and thinking back to my own, a few thoughts popped into my head...

1) The announcers just said that the runners were keeping a "comfortable 2:25 pace." That would mean running the ENTIRE marathon in under the time it takes to watch Hunger Games (plus a couple minutes of previews.)

2) 2:25 is NOT a comfortable pace. That is a 5 and a half minute mile. I can't even do one mile in 5 and a half minutes, much less 26.2 of them.

3) Its raining in London today. It was raining in 2010 in Portland when I did my race. That's like the same.
Me after the 2010 Portland Marathon
4) Each runner had bottles filled with "their own concoctions" at each water station. Would it be against the rules to have a crystal light/vodka in the water bottle?

5) The women are essentially running in bikini bottoms and a sports bra.

Chaffing much? I guess if you have -3% body fat you don't have to worry about your thighs rubbing together.

6) The winner just took a victory lap, holding the Ethiopian flag above her head. (She was from Ethiopia so it wasn't weird or anything.) When I finished (in 6 hours 10 minutes) I could barely walk to the car, much less hold anything above my head.

7) Does anyone else think they should give more than 3 medals in the marathon? How is it fair that these athletes who are running 26.2 MILES get the same number of medals as the athletes running 100 meters. Yeah, they run those 100 meters super fast, but come on, even the slowest person was still done in under a minute.

The Olympic athletes are continuing to amaze me. The runners, the gymnasts, the swimmers- all of them. The Mister is less than amazed. Equestrian was on earlier, he watched it for a few minutes and then announced "This British rodeo is boring." (I kind of agreed. But the show jumping is fun to watch.)

Are you still watching the Olympics or has it lost it's luster? Would you run a marathon?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Friday letters: search terms edition

After this week's heavy post, I thought I should lighten it up a bit. I'm linking up with Ashley for Friday Letters. This week, I found some inspiration from my Google search terms.

To the person looking up "I'm Jealous of my cat," I don't know how I can help you. My guess is you were directed to my post about being jealous that my neighbors have a Schwans man, or the post where my cat pooped on my dogs new blanket. Either way, I don't think this is what you want.

Dear "Christina Aguilera boobs/boobs falling out" I have to apologize that you were directed to this corner of the interwebs. You must have been quite disappointed that I don't have any pictures of boobs, just complaints that Xtina can't find a properly fitting shirt when she judges The Voice.

Yo, "Noodles through a colander:" I love Spaetzle. I hope you enjoyed the recipe. I think I want to make some right now. (Spaetzle is a German noodle dish. And it is fantastic.)

To the people looking up eggnog coffee cake, candy Christmas decorations, and Christmas ornaments: It's July/August. 'Nuff said.

Handsome Olympians Collage: I believe I have Googled the same thing. You are welcome.

One last letter: Dear Summer, slow the F down.  Love, Casey

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


I've struggled with if I would write this post or not. Part of me thinks I shouldn't because it's not my story, but it has impacted our lives. One week ago, our friend's husband died suddenly of a major heart attack. He was 36.


He was a teacher, an athlete, a coach and a father. They have two little girls- 6 and 4.  I cannot imagine what she is going through this last week. They live in California, and the memorial service was this last weekend. My husband just couldn't manage to get a day off to allow us to be able to head down there. Another friend of ours has been putting together a care package to send down to her and the girls, but what can you do? A card? Gift cards to help with everyday financial stuff and meals? Does any of that really help?

I am not a mom, but I am a wife. My husband and I have built a little life for ourselves here in our small town and I can't even think what it would be like if something happened to him. I know I would have the support of friends and family, and I know that slowly things would become a new normal, but nothing how I picture my normal to be. And if I was a mom? I guess you just put on your strong face, and you are there for your kids, because they need you more than you need to hide from every thing.

If you have some time, could you fit this little family in your prayers? And spend some time with those you love. Just a few days before his heart attack, he had surprised his family with a spur of the moment trip to Disneyland. Those are priceless memories for that family. We should all make those memories with the people who are close to. Why does it take something like this to make us remember that?