Thursday, December 30, 2010

More changes! This time: the Room

I have a big project coming up for a certification I'm working on.   So I wanted to change around my room because I'll be writing a lot of papers and I don't write well when I'm boxed in.   Even having my desk up against a wall felt boxy.  So I changed it.

Check out my new situation:

No longer backed up against the wall...

With my beloved laptop, I now have lots of desk space to organize papers and books and notes while I work on my papers.

The view from my new space.  Yes, of course I'm watching Friends. **note the super organized closet.  It was a productive couple of days.

Let's get to work!


Before shot-- super long!!

 After shot.  Minus 4.5 inches!
I love it sooooo much and I also love the glasses mark on my nose.  Classy!  :)

December 30th- time to share my biggest accomplishment of 2010

I didn't have a ton of goals for 2010, but I had one in particular.  I wanted to get myself Healthy.  It's been a resolution of mine for many years, but I didn't want to turn 30 *Sept. 2, 2011* being as overweight and unhappy as I was.   So, my plan was to lose 30 by 30.

It's taking a lot for me to share these pictures with you... but I'm doing to do it...   

Here I am at my biggest:
 Jan. 2010
 Jan. 2010
 Sept. 2009
 Sept. 2009
December 2009 
Winter 2008, I think

It's hard for me to share those because those are pictures that I'm not proud of.  I may look like I'm having fun, but I feel like there is a lot of hurt in that girl.  Hiding?

So, on January 7, 2010, I joined Weight Watchers.  I started going to meetings every Thursday night and I followed the plan.  It taught me how to eat, how to take care of myself and how to be responsible for my health. 

On June 10th, I had lost 28.7 pounds!!    I had a wonderful summer and put on a couple of pounds, but I am taking those off now and here's me now...

 Sept. 2, 2010 (my 29th birthday)
July 2010

I've kept off 25 pounds since last January.  Sometimes I don't give myself enough credit for doing that.  I am still on the journey, but I am definitely proud of how far I have come.  

Here's to keeping it off in 2011 and becoming an actual runner!  

Christmas Blog

Here is the Christmas re-cap in pictures...

The beginning of the snow.   Mom's porch was covered!

Here's Mom's GIANT tree!  It was huge this year...
 And then with low lights... so pretty :)
 Sometimes little dogs get tired of having their picture taken...

This Christmas season happened with some very sweet cards... here are my 3 favorites...

A present tag from my mom that I really liked. (She saves Christmas cards, then uses them as present tags the following year.  Genius!)

A Christmas Card from my little buddy at school... (I like the Believe in Santa demand)

My Christmas card from my daddy.   Man I love him.  

It was a snowy, warm, loving, cozy Christmas.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

December 28th

Long Lost Friends.

Today was an awesome day.   The snow and ice finally melted enough for me to go a-visiting.  I got to visit with Andrea and baby Jack for awhile this morning, then I had a special daddy-daughter lunch.  Then I went to visit my high school friends Amy and Jenny and their family.  It's so amazing when you see people you haven't seen in 5-10 years and you just fall back into it.  

mmmm.  Even though the snow got me down for a couple of days because I didn't think I'd get to see anybody, this has been a wonderful holiday and vacation. 5 days that I needed.  So much sleep that I needed.  A break that I needed.

Tomorrow I return home to my northern va home and friends.  I'm excited to get re-settled in and make a to-do list.   I guess this vacation is over!


 YAY!   I got to see Owen again today!  He's still so cute and he has the best chubby cheeks!  

I saw Chase on Christmas.  And tomorrow I'll see Jack.  Then I will have seen all the new baby boys of 2010!  I love holding these little guys.  Who knew I loved babies so much?  I think a good part of that is the amazing friends and family that produced them, but still...

Oh, baby!

Monday, December 27, 2010

December's Almost Over

I have to be honest, I'm running low on posts.

Christmas was great, nice to see all my family, nice to have my pup with me everywhere even though she has a lot of work to do in the behavior department.

Then it snowed. And it snowed and it snowed. Ordinarily I like snow. But when 8 inches of snow keeps me cooped up in a house and I can't go visit my Chesapeake friends that I rarely get to see-- then I get a little bit cranky.

Melt, ice on roads, melt. now!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Very Christmas- December 24th

Very Christmas Eve!

After a beautiful Moravian Christmas celebration at a church near us (they put on a "Lovefeast" with tons of carols and candles and even cookies and warm cider in the middle of the service!), I got home to see that one of my favorite movies "The Holiday" was on!

I was able to catch the end, including this part: (please only watch about 3 minutes of this, after the Jack Black/Kate Winslet part, stop!.... well, or keep watching if you want to see a sweet ending to a movie whose beginning you missed)

So sweet. And just the warmth I needed this evening.

Love. Merry, Merry.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Very Christmas- December 23rd

In 2010, I have loved Coming Home.

Chesapeake is my home. I was born in Norfolk and lived in Portsmouth for the first couple years of my life, but the first house I remember growing up was the one on Silverwood Blvd. I've considered that my Home Base for 25 years. 25 years! I went through primary and elementary school, the awkward middle school years, the fun and sporty high school years... all of it through that front door.

But what's behind the door (and around the corner, and in nearby neighborhoods, and in Virginia Beach neighborhoods)... are my Home family and friends. My family is here. Mom, Dad, Stepdad, Stepmom, younger brothers, stepfamily. My friends are here, a lot of whom have known me since preschool, and they are definitely forever friends. They are the ones who know all my quirks. Some I have known and loved since preschool, some elementary school, and one elementary through college and I was in her wedding.

Sometimes I let the bustle of life sweep me up and I don't keep in touch with my Home family and friends as much as I would like to. But they are always in my heart. The Ones Who Know Me... and love me anyway.


It's good to be Home.

Very Christmas- December 22nd

In 2010, I am so thankful for my friends.

The end of 2009 was pretty rough for me. I started 2010 with a lot of goals in mind, personal and otherwise. Sometimes I didn't know where to start, but I knew at that point that I couldn't do it alone. I have a hard time trusting people, but I have a core of forever friends that I'll always trust and I opened up to a group of girls in northern virginia more this year and they have all helped me so much that words can't describe how grateful I am.

I couldn't have made it through the end of 2009 without my core friends. But I'm glad I let my guard down, started opening up, trying new things and letting myself trust new people.

My friends and family have helped me so much in 2010. I have more confidence because of all their support. I did something in 2010 that I've been wanting to do for years. I will be posting about it around the end of the month. And I did a lot of it on my own, but I still couldn't have completely done it without the love and support of my friends.

I hope they know how much they mean to me. Love you, friends-- far and near and forever.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Very Christmas- December 21st

In 2010, I have been so thankful's headlines. Every day I check my blogs on google reader, then I go to to see my headlines. I have learned so many cool things, helpful things, important things, serious things and ridiculous things through this.

You judge for yourself which category you'd put this one in:

Monday, December 20, 2010

Very Christmas- December 20th

In 2010, I have loved teaching third grade.

Today was especially quotable.

(while working on multiplication word problems) "Ms. Meehan? Can we sing... jingle bells?" (answer: "Of course, as long as you keep working." And they did.)

Same question-asker came up to me later, breathless and said, "Ms. Meehan, I just did a lot of counting. I'm a little sweaty."

Here's to a quotable 2011.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Very Christmas- December 19th

In 2010, I got a macbook pro.

I am SO GLAD I did. It changed my life. I know why people are obsessed with Apple products. This computer is amazing and out of control cool.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Very Christmas December 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th.

In 2010, I have been very happy with SNOW!

In February, we got a huge snowstorm, canceling school for a week.
Remember it here: Snowtorious B.I.G

We had some magical school snow yesterday. The kids were so excited. We went on a Snow Walk. We talked about snow. We looked at snow. Then we got sent home two hours early! And we got to come in two hours late today!


even tiny dogs think so

Monday, December 13, 2010

Very Christmas- December 13th

In 2010, I'm happy about sleep.

In fact, I'm going to get some.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Very Christmas- December 12th

In 2010, I am thankful for Lazy Sundays.

Every single Sunday this year (with the exception of Maybe 5), there are anywhere between 3-10 people in our living room. Watching movies, watching tv, ordering food, making things, watching football, hanging, laughing, looking at things on computers, etc, etc, etc.

It's been a lot of fun!

Very Christmas- December 11th (a day late)

In 2010, I have Christmas Spirit. I don't know where it's been for the past few years. But it's here and it's Loud!

Last Monday, we got our tree. We had space limitations this year. Our tree had no choice but to be TALL and SKINNY.

Lou, Alli and Kate and I put it all together. Alli and Lou did the lights. Then we all started putting on the ornaments.

Here you can see the decorated doorway and the stockings hung by the chimney with care.

Our tree was SO tall that there wasn't enough space to put the star on the top. So we got creative with some lights and some snowflake ornaments.

A blurry pic of our creative tree topper.

Happy snowman stocking hanger.

Catie Hackett, we miss you! We still put out your gold reindeer every year!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

200th Post

Holy Moly!

This is my 200th post!

And I can't think of anything important to say. I started this blog in October of 2009. And in over a year, I've written 200 posts!

I bet I'll get to my 300th before next year!

Thanks for reading, those of you who do.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Very Christmas- December 10th

2010: when I completely fell in love with my dog. She's not always the most well-behaved, but she is mine. We started dog training. Somehow she sneaks her way up to the top of the bed to cuddle in the mornings. I am SO glad I got a dog. And particularly this one:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

True or False...

I made my students do this at recess today:


Very Christmas- December 9th

In 2010, I am glad that I could laugh. And laugh and laugh and laugh. I feel like I've laughed more this year than I have in years. GOOD laughing, HARD laughing. With friends, with family, with my class.

And at my favorite TV show...



REALLY REALLY one of my favorite moments on this show:

Obviously you know who my favorite characters are... but this show is SO funny... if you haven't watched it, do. Make it your 2011 goal.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Very Christmas- December 8th

It's officially Christmas... tonight Jaime and I watched:

Bring on the Love, Universe!

Today at school we had a Christmas Cookie Exchange! 8 of us baked different cookies and we each got to take some home... mmm...

Here were my contributions:

Mama's Snowball Cookies.
Butter, Sugar, Rice Krispies, Pecans, Dates... all rolled in coconut. Oh. My. Gosh. I haven't made them in about 5 years, but they remind me of my mom and I love them. Plus, they are freaking delicious.

Christmas Shapes with a Sugar Glaze.
I remember this from my youth, as well, except it reminds me of Grandma's house. I had never tried a cookie glaze before, but it turned out SUPER yummy!

I do have more Christmas Spirit this year than I have had in about 4 years. I can feel the peace coming slowly but surely.

Be on the lookout: House Decorations and our Gi-normous Tree post coming soon

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

December 7- a Christmas Blog Name Change

I saw this on one of my student's desks today. It's such a darling mistake of english for an english language learner Plus a sweet philosophy for the season.

From now on, my December blogs will be called "Very Christmas- December 7" (etc).

Very Christmas, everyone!

Today I am glad that I read my horoscope. I don't read it every day. But I get on and sometimes I read it. And 9/10 times, it gives me hope. I think that's what's missing these days. Hope. Fearless Hope. I let too many other things make me stress or worry or distract. I've let experiences in my life make me fear and doubt and question and distrust.

But to accept and embody that simple idea of Fearless Hope that I used to have...
my, that sounds nice.

Here's my horoscope today, for example:

Something is brewing, and it's shaping up to be a special (and very positive) influence in your life. This could be an unexpected phenomenon, but more likely this is something you have been wishing for and working on for quite a while. Keep your lines of communication open all day long -- make sure your phone is turned on and charged up, because one call could bring everything together in an instant. Things are getting started whether you are ready for them or not, but you should be excited.

How could I not Hope? ... I'll give in... just a little...

Monday, December 6, 2010

December 6th

In 2010, I made my first turkey for Thanksgiving. After many many many many many calls, some Skyping and some text pictures to mom, I did it. And it was delicious... for several more days.

There was a lot to be thankful for this year. But I do love my class... and this is shameless, but they I guess they think I'm ok, too...

Or they are kissing up a little...

Or they don't want to offend any of the teachers or specialists that come into our room to help, so they specify...

But they know that I am thankful for them, too.

I hope the 2011 part of the school year will be as cool as the 2010 part :)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

December 5th (the real one)

Most assuredly, some of my favorite parts of 2010 were the births!! There were three very important babies born within months of each other...

Andrea and Ed's Jack

Heather and Brad's Chase

Joy and Kevin's Owen

I got to spend a little time with Owen today. I gave him the Kevin Henkes book "Owen" and made him a yellow blanket to go with the book. I hope he'll like it when he gets a little older. I got to hold him for a Long time! He fell asleep on me a couple of times. ahhhhhh

Congratulations, families! Can't wait to watch these little guys grow up :)

Lost and Found

I'm going to be pretty honest here. For about 3 weeks, I have been a little blue. Inexplicably. And not exceptionally noticeable. There's so much good in my life and in the world and I definitely see and appreciate all of that, but there is still something plaguing me. And I don't know what it is. I've tried to figure it out. Is it my job? I haven't been 100% happy there, except when I am teaching my kiddos. Is it something else? Is it a combination? I'm still trying to figure it out so I can feel the warmth and peace that I enjoy this season. I can feel it...

This was my horoscope today:
It's time to go back to the beginning to get the inspiration you need today. Remember back when you were enthusiastic about where you were going? The passion is still there, you just have to dig down deep enough to find it! This process of digging will take your mind off of the work you're doing right now and help you stay distracted enough to not worry -- worrying is not going to help you one bit, so why bother? Call up a fun friend and get back in touch with what really matters.

Ok. I need to dig deep and refocus and get back to what is important to me. I think some Lists are going to come into play...

December 4 (a few hours late)

2010 brought me back to life in a lot of ways. I took control of what I was eating and lost (depending on the week in 2010) between 23 and 29 pounds. Now I'm taking control of my exercise. Soccer is a thing of the past, it doesn't interest me as much anymore.

So I'm starting to run.

Today I ran a 5K beside a girl I taught in 1st grade and then again in 3rd grade. It was awesome! She was such a trooper! It was cold but it felt wonderful to be part of it!

Friday, December 3, 2010

December 3rd

I should be asleep right now because I'm running a 5K with one of my students early tomorrow morning.

But it's blog time.

One thing in 2010 that has made me Really happy is Skype. I first got on Skype at my aunt Martha's house in New York and got to talk to my cousins in Austin, TX. Then we Skyped with my brother and Sofia in San Diego.

Then I got my new computer (heart). And now I can Skype with my mom, my dad, my brothers, Joy Kevin and Owen, and tonight I got to meet my cousin's new baby via Skype!!

It's so comforting to see your family. It makes me feel warm.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

December 2nd

I decorated my house for Christmas tonight.

It took me four hours.

I enjoyed every second of it.

More to come...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December 1st

It has been brought to my attention that I have not been blogging as much recently (thanks, carm). So I will. In fact, I am going to challenge myself to blog every day in December.

I need to blog. And the December blogs will have a purpose. I am going to blog about things that:

1. make me happy
2. have made 2010 an amazing year
3. I learned in 2010
4. demonstrate the magic of the Christmas season/the magic of the world.

For Tonight's Installment, I will tell you some amazing stories about the Kindness of Strangers.

Story #1: Mom's Wallet

Last weekend, my mom came to visit. We had a very lovely time (I still feel bad that Sunday we started to watch a movie and I completely passed out nap-style almost as soon as the movie started-- sorry, mama, you have more energy than I do. Always!) and Sunday evening, I dropped her off in BUSY downtown chinatown DC so she could catch her bus. It hurt my tummy to leave her there but there wasn't any other option. Her bus was supposed to come at 7:45pm. It didn't come until 9:00! Then I got a phone call from her at 10:45 from Richmond. She didn't have her wallet. NOOOO. Panic set in me immediately. I called, I texted, I looked up phone numbers for every place we went that day. I retraced our steps. You had it after IKEA because you used your card at the grocery store... your purse fell off the chair at Kate's house, maybe it's there... But it wasn't anywhere. My mom finally made it back to Newport News and I talked to her on the phone until she was in my stepdad's car. Then at 12:30am, I got another call from Mom. When she got back to the house in Chesapeake, there was a message on the answering machine from the DC metro police department. Someone had found the remnants of my mom's wallet on the street in DC (we assume that somehow it fell out of her purse and someone snatched it) and turned it into the police. I went down to the DC police station at about 1:30am to get it.
**This is not a great story. A wallet was stolen. Credit cards were taken out. Fortunately, there was only one small $7 charge to McDonald's. So, we are choosing to look at it this way:
1. A Kind Stranger could have thrown away my mom's wallet (with her SS card, School ID card, grocery store cards, Movie tickets, Old family pictures, Gift cards, etc, etc) but they gave it to the police because there was still some good stuff in it.
2. My mom "gave" someone a meal who probably needed it.
3. They took $100 in cash... and I am choosing to believe it was for Christmas presents for other people.

Story #2: Dad's Cell Phone

Right around Veteran's Day, my dad and brother were traveling up to DC to go to a CAPS game. As they were traveling (and I was at work), I got a phone call from my dad's cell. I was able to check it 2 hours later during my lunch. This was the message. "Hi Cait, this is Chris. I found this cell phone in the parking lot of the Harris Teeter off Ferrell Parkway in Virginia Beach. I am turning it in to the Customer Service desk." My jaw dropped. First, I called my stepmother so she would know/could go get it. Then I called my brother's cell phone and it turned out that I actually Told my dad that he lost it! (he didn't know) Dads are so cute. :) What a lovely act from a Stranger. Pay it forward. If you ever find a cell phone, do what that guy did!

Story #3: The Accident

A few Christmases ago, my mom was driving on her lunch hour to go pick up a gift for my Stepdad. She was traveling down the road and someone sideswiped her and drove off. To compensate, she veered into the other lane, sending another car into the metal guardrail. Of COURSE, my mom stopped ahead and came back, feeling HORRIBLE. Apologizing all over the place and trying to explain that she was sideswiped. Then she saw a man on the other side of the guardrail stop his car (he was going in the opposite direction), climb over the guardrail and wait for the cops to come so he could tell the cops that he saw someone sideswipe my mom. My mom was so touched by this random act of Kindness that she said, "Why on earth would you do that for a complete stranger?" He said, "My wife is in labor at the hospital right now and I am on my way there, but I couldn't bring my baby into the world knowing that I could have helped someone but didn't." Amazing.

December 1st... here's the beginning of the Christmas cheer... May your days be merry and bright.

see you tomorrow :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Random cools

Here's some of the random of today:

1. Short day at school! Principals gave us the "Gift of Time" so when the students left at 1:00, so could we. I drove right to the grocery store and got all the things I need for Thanksgiving.

2. After I unloaded the groceries, I went upstairs to catch up on my blog-reading. Here is the weirdest thing. I turned on an episode of Dexter (my new obsession, thanks to COUNTLESS recommendations) and I was lying on my belly with a pillow under my head watching. Then I think I touched my tooth or something because I woke up 20 minutes later with my hand in my mouth. (??) I also rolled over and took a 4 hour nap. FOUR HOURS!?! Either I was actually exhausted, my body really need it, or I'm catching coma naps from MCubed. At any rate, when I finally woke up and rolled downstairs, I actually felt awesome. Way to go, coma nap! But will I fall asleep tonight? This remains to be known...

3. I skyped with Mom today on her birthday :) and I also skyped with Joy, Kevin and Owen! Kevin was sweet enough to take Owen out of his snuggly carrier so I could see his cuteness. Oh my gosh, he is SO cute! I just can't wait to go see him. I'm trying to go out there on December 5th. It was really nice to see Owen's parents, too. They look wonderful and I miss them. Can't wait to see the whole Ackert fam.

4. Lou and I watched "Oprah's Favorite Things" tonight. This year, because Opes is in her last season, she decided to do TWO Favorite Things episodes. The first one was great. I always watch these episodes sitting on the ground, close to the TV so I can feel like I am part of it. I saw more women and men cry, lose their cool, drop to the ground, and I SWEAR (check the DVR!!) I saw a man run into a wall in absolutely ecstasy. He ran into a wall. Like he just couldn't control himself. It was amazing. So, the first episode was awesome. I was watching it and she just kept giving away amazing thing after amazing thing. And I love this show and the giving spirit. At one point, she was giving away this amazing hair care line. My mouth was hanging open but then I got SUPER impressed when one of the parts of the hair care line was this little make-up pencil for hair so that you can touch up your roots. My jaw dropped open completely and Lou burst out laughing. She's been doing this a lot lately. She laughed and said, "I can't believe how much you just lost it over something you have absolutely No use for." true story. But it was still cool! I guess the number of people waiting to get on the first show was huge, so the Oprah show had to turn some people away. But they brought them all into the studio and surprised them with a 2nd favorite things show (which I personally think was better than the first). It was amazing. And the audience was filled with do-gooders and people who spend their lives giving back, so they were all so deserving and humble. Lou and I both got a little teary when this older woman just mouthed out to Oprah (who definitely couldn't see her) "thank you".

5. I'm starting to get some ideas together for 2011. Grand plans for my 30th year of life.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Happy Birthday, Mom. I love you a lot.

You found an ad in the paper for a black cockapoo last year, so you came up and we went to go get her. You helped me pick out my best friend and we discovered that she makes a nice hat. You stayed here with me through her first couple of puppy days and I cried when you left because I wanted you to stay.

We can really tear up some weddings. Here's us at Anne's...

And then gettin' down to Justin Timberlake at Jess and Jay's. I also think we did the Justin Timberlake routine at Liz and Dan's wedding.

This is my favorite picture of the girls...

And the birthday card from my 3rd grader... he wanted you to have a good day and just to remind you of what I hope to be.

Love you, mom! Happy Heinz Birthday!