One Little Word: TODAY

No day but today written in calligraphy

It’s December 31st again, what? This year has flown by, and I’m excited to get into the next one. Usually I’ve got a touch of seasonal depression around this time of year, but I’m feeling really good right now about, well, just about everything! Teaching, my students, lesson plans, our photography business, Chris, the cats, my awesome friends, creating projects, and everything else this new year will hold. It all just feels right at the moment, and I honestly can’t remember a time when that’s really been true about everything in life. (Wait, am I jinxing myself? Knock on desk.)

This year I actually chose a phrase for my One Little Word: NO DAY BUT TODAY. The song “Another Day” from Rent is one of my all time faves, and I’ve been getting goosebumps listening to it (on repeat) lately. It’s also a great song to rock out to in the car.

So much will happen this year, so much of it which will take a lot of time, but I’m determined not to let TODAY slip by. Over the last few years, I’ve dedicated a lot of my free time to my job. Like, a lot. Way more than I probably should have, but I’m a perfectionist when it comes to creating and designing for my classroom. Would it be super fast and easy to hand write all my quizzes and tests? Heck, yes, but I just Can’t. Do. It. I have to have them in the same template and format as all my other assessments, and I have to make it professional looking. I just have to. Luckily, after several years of going about lesson planning this way, I’ve got a lot of ready-to-go resources, or at least templates to streamline things. So this is the year I give myself a deadline on planning each night. I’m excited to think of the fun projects (or even just emptying the dishwasher!) that I’ll be able to get to with this extra time.

This is especially exciting because I got a Silhouette Cameo for Christmas, and I’ve already had so much fun with it. Creating with that guy, and really working on Project Life this year to get down our stories as they happen (instead of 3 months later, or over summer break), are my two big creative plans this year.

TODAY also means making time now to be healthy and get my exercise in. I like to play the, “Oh, I’ll go to the gym tomorrow,” game… everyday. Chris got his membership a few months ago, too, and I thought the accountability would be good for both of us, but we’re both just the worst. So we, along with all the other new year’s goal setters in the world, are planning to make more time for the gym this year, along with choosing healthy foods over junk. We’ve slowly over the years begun introducing more unique ideas and foods into our diets (almond milk instead of cow’s, Ezekiel bread, green smoothies, flax and chia seeds, ultimate salads, etc.), so we’ve at least started in the right direction.

TODAY will also mean embracing changes and challenges. I tend to shy away from change. Change scares me. It’s different, and I don’t like it at the time. Yet I always end up loving the “New”, whatever it ends up being. New job, new house, new friends, new cameras, even new office chairs. We’ve got quite the big change coming this year– we’ve decided this is the year we try to bring a tiny human into the world. Yes, the ultimate change and challenge. I am equal parts terrified and so excited, and we’re not even pregnant yet. This is something we’ve been looking forward to for so long, and now that the time is finally right it’s easy to feel a bit overwhelmed. I am hoping by taking time for myself this year, and releasing the “teaching is my whole life” aspect, that I’ll figure out how to balance the work life with the new family life we’ll be finding ourselves in. It will be big changes for both of us, work-wise, but like I said at the beginning, I’m feeling surprisingly good about this year and what’s in store.

So that’s that! My word for this year, my reasoning, my hopes and fears, and all that good stuff. This is the last post of 2014, which was a great year. We worked hard and played hard, took time for friends and families, loved on our cats a ridiculous amount, and came out of it stronger than ever as a couple. Here’s to 2015 being an equally fabulous year, if not more so!


Happy Christmas!

Family dinner at Christmas

From the T family! We’ve had a scrumptious time eating delicious food and enjoying each other’s company and thoughtful gifts. Lots of creativity-enabling gifts all around this season, so it’s sure to be a crafty year for all of us!

January Goals + One Little Word for 2013

Here we go, January! Rather than make sweeping declarations for the entire year that I know I’ll fall short on, we’re going to take it one month at a time this year. I like being able to adapt as needed. 😉

One Little Word 2013: Overcome. 

Last year my word was real, and while I promised to expound on it I never did. I don’t really remember my exact reasons for it anymore (that’s why you should always expound on things…), but I do feel I was real this year. I was myself. My crazy, kooky, weirdo, musical loving, nostalgic, picture taking, scrapbook nutso self.

This year, overcome has a variety of meanings for me.

I want to overcome my feelings of anxiety toward creating wonderful lesson plans and reaching every student perfectly. I’m finding life isn’t perfect. Some kids don’t want to be taught and some kids do need to be reached in different ways. But I can decide what to do in each situation without stressing out about it beforehand.

I want to overcome my caffeine addiction, specifically in the form of soda.

I want to overcome my intense desire to come home from school and immediately fall into a good nap, thus wasting away the precious hours of my evening.

I want to overcome my selfishness in doing what I want to do and do the things that Chris needs/wants me to do as soon as possible. He puts in a lot of work for our business while I’m napping after work!

I want to overcome sensitivity. I’ve been told a gazillion times this year that teachers need to grow thick skins. I have translucent skin. Small words bother me a lot. I agonize over harsh conversations. I need to learn to see every confrontation as a challenge to either be better or give grace to myself.

I want to overcome my hatred of running. I’m not good at it. I’ve never been good at it. It baffles me that people can run more than a couple minutes without stopping, let alone run 26 point something miles in a marathon. But right now it is free exercise, and I need me some exercise.

I want to overcome anxiety in general. I’ve lived much of my life with an anxiety disorder and I hate that it has severely affected some aspects of life, and in some cases entire years. I’m glad that these disorders have become less taboo over the years and that I’ve discovered others that are close to me who share the same struggles, but I am so over it.

2013 will be a year of growing and stretching. This year I’ll finish my first full year of teaching and start my second. This year will be the year that our photography business becomes bigger and we have to somehow find even more time to devote to it while maintaining our other full times jobs. This year, instead of chipping at my college debt, we’ll smash off chunks every month and hopefully be done with it once and for all. This year Chris will turn 30 and I’ll turn very close to 30. This year we will take on challenges and walk by faith, and hopefully we’ll come out in December thinking, “wow, that was an intense ride, but we did it!”

Hello, 2013.

New Year’s Eve: A Low Key Affair

New Year’s Eve was certainly quiet at our house. We tried to scrape some plans together sort of last minute, but it the end, all our peeps were also having low key celebrations at their own house. Much as I love a reason to party with our people, it really was a great relaxing time at home with just Chris and the munchkin kitties. I don’t know if it’s just the first year of teaching mayhem or what, but I’ve enjoyed this Christmas break so much more than past years. Maybe it’s because I truly feel I’ve earned that quiet and solitude this year… whatever it is, I’ve been loving being at home, getting to practice my sewing skills (still working on them), playing around, and just doing things slowly. Sigh. It’s going to be so sad to go back to craziness on Monday.

Our New Year’s Eve day looked something like sleeping in to an unholy hour I won’t even write here, and then it was off to lunch at Subway and to Ikea to pick up a new bookcase for my classroom. I’d decided it was no longer a matter of choice, I needed something with which to organize everyone’s homework, all the daily handouts, and piles of stuff that grew every day, and my projector cart just wasn’t cutting it anymore. Chris put the bookcase together in my classroom for me and I seriously love it already. There’s nothing even on it yet, but I love it. It will organize so much of the kids’ stuff on a daily basis, which means I can focus on the teaching and not so much on the keeping track of everything.

After our Ikea adventure, we decided in exchange for Chris putting my bookcase together, I would vacuum the house with the serious shopvac and overall clean up the place so we could ring in the new year with a newly organized house. So the house looked amazing for 2013.

We phoned in a huge sushi order (so we could eat all evening) and popped in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One…

… while keeping Jack from stealing our red dragon rolls.

For some reason, this was the Harry Potter movie Chris decided he wanted to know what was going on. So we paused a lot while I explained the intricately woven details of Harry Potter’s journey… maybe with more details than he wanted. I mean, who can say? Harry’s got a lot going on.

Jack and Sawyer slept between us for most of the evening, except in the beginning when all Jack wanted was for Chris to hold him. Jack loves Chris. Way more than he loves me. And he loves me a lot, so that’s saying something.

We finished up both movies with a few minutes to spare, so we snapped one last “Chris and Jordan 2012 picture” while people started throwing fireworks off outside our house. 
Then we crawled into our warm bed, cranked the bedside heater up and talked about how we could be better to each other in the new year. It was a delightful little conversation, perfect for the opening hours of the new year. I decided I would be better at doing things right when Chris asked me to do them. (I am horrible at putting things away for “later.” He’s going to work on wanting to help me do things like put bookcases together more. I lobbied for him rinsing all the food off his plate when he puts it in the sink, but that just started an argument on rinsing vs. washing, and I gave up. 
Happy 2013!

Christmas pictures

We got an email today from Chris’ mom about doing family Christmas pictures while we’re up in Redlands for Thanksgiving. That of course led to me reminding Chris we need to do our own Christmas pics. Which led to the following conversation:

C: “Everybody wants Christmas pictures from me!”
J: “Well, I don’t want it to be like last year where I looked like crap just because we ran out of time and happened to find a wild field at sunset after a family shoot.”
C: “That’s not my fault. You should be prepared at all times for Christmas photos.”
Touche. From here until December 25, I’ll be glamming it up on a daily basis.
Flashback to last year’s “just-finished-a-shoot-and-hey!-look-there’s-a-cool-field” last minute photo shoot.
And for those of you who are noticing that it’s been almost two months since my last post, yes, I am still alive. Teaching 8th grade Algebra is literally taking up all of my time. Between lesson planning, and making instructional videos, and grading, and inputting grades, and creating tests and bellwarmers and interesting activities, I think I’m just lucky to be able to sleep. First years at a new school are the worst. Fortunately, my co-workers are all great and encouraging.

Photographers Shooting Photographers

These are our friends Courtney and David Matranga of Day Photography & Co. We like hanging out with them. On Monday night we went to their place for a delightful dinner and some quality time, but before we went out to this abandoned field near their house in Lakeside and took turns photographing each other. Surprisingly, I think Courtney and I found it weirder to be back in front of the camera than our guys did. Chris and David seemed to jump right into the fun poses and nose nuzzles, while I felt a bit odd (and I think Courtney did, too) trying to be cutesy for the camera. It’s been awhile since we haven’t been the ones wielding the cameras, and it’s definitely funny to hear someone directing you with the same stuff you’re constantly telling people: “Brush your hair out of your eyes.” “Tilt your chin down a bit.” “Look up at him even though you can’t really see him.” Etc. 
Anyway, it was super fun. I was excited to download the snaps we got and start editing them a bit, and I’m also excited to see what they got of us. Fellow photographer friends are awesome!
Before our shoot, I took some time to dye a dozen eggs, thinking we could use them as props. We only kind of did, so it was a bit of a waste of eggs. But it was fun all the same.

Mmmmmmmm… not the same kind of egg, but even better.

Christmas once again in Yucaipa

Happy Christmas, everyone! We’re up at the Trementozzi’s house to celebrate for a few days, but don’t get any ideas of sneaking into our house- my sister’s standing guard for us with a couple of ferocious(ly cute) kittens.

If you’re new around here, Trementozzi Christmas is an all-day event. We’re gearing up to have some breakfast and start the present unveiling soon here. Then some lunch, and more Christmas presents. Then some dinner, and more presents. There’s a system here. For Chris’ take on it, here’s last year’s blog entry, and here’s the awesome video he made from setting his camera up on the china cabinet and using the remote to click throughout the day.

Fingers crossed I get an iphone!

(Just kidding. I have to wait till Jan 27 for that thing. Silly upgrade policy.)

Christmas (with Kittens)

The kittens love the new Christmas tree. You’ll notice that there are no actual ornaments anywhere near the parts of the tree they can get to. Our tree is very top heavy with ornaments.

Sawyer has developed a thing for my socks. He loves pulling open my sock drawer and grabbing the closest sock. Then the next closest sock. And the next. Until he has a pile of socks outside of the sock drawer. But his favorite socks are these Christmas funky colored ones I got from my roommate Jen two Christmases ago. When he gets a hold of one of those, he tugs it around the house with him, and we end up finding it in the strangest places. As you can see, he also likes pulling it up to the bed and cuddling up for a good nap with it.

The kitchen pictures… really have nothing to do with Christmas. I just thought it was funny that I set myself up in the dining room to get pictures of Jack being bad by getting up on the counters. And other places. Have fun playing where’s Jack with those pictures!

You’ll also notice you’re seeing a lot of Green Mouse in these photos. Green Mouse (as Chris calls him, not the green mouse), is the current favorite toy. This is actually the second green mouse. We got a two pack when we first got the kittens, and they liked them enough, but both were supposed to have little bells on their tails that were missing. Green Mouse 2.0 has a full functioning bell, and Sawyer especially carried that thing around with him everywhere he went the first day we brought it home. (Sawyer might be a hoarder, now that I think about it.)

Merry Christmas, from Jack and Sawyer!

What I did on my Christmas Break (Week 1)

Made green smoothies. (This one’s got blueberries, which masks the green.)
 Got artsy with some paints
Had steaming hot bowls of chili that were oh so satisfying in our cold, cold house.

Made my awesome spicy chicken soup and added way more spinach than normal, just to get rid of it in my fridge. (You could tell there was way more, especially with the cilantro, and the additional fresh parsley, which I was also trying to get rid of. It looked like green soup until I added 8 more cups of water to balance it back out.)
 Was amused every time Jack sat in front of the kitchen sink and gave me this look. This is his, “please, sir, can I have another?” plead for more treats. Did I mention I taught my delightfully smart kittens to sit on command for treats? Now Jack just goes to the kitchen and sits, staring at us with that look, until we’re so enamored with him that we cave in.
 Updated the audio books on my ipod. I’ve been going through the Harry Potter series while in my car. It’s fantastic, because I love multi-tasking and I certainly have no time to sit and read lately. Next up: Order of the Phoenix.
This is Jack’s “What is going on up there?” face, as I was chopping the spinach and carrots, and little pieces of carrot kept flying off the counter and on to the floor.
 Same sentiment as before, just trying to get a better view.
 This is what Sawyer does while I’m cooking. Sits on my feet in the corner. Sometimes he brings Green Mouse with him and flings himself and his toy around my ankles.
 This was a real, true green smoothie in every sense of the word. But we left it in the fridge for three days, and they’re not even really good after one day, so cleaning all the stuff we’d left to sit in the fridge that we’d “eat later” was another one of my tasks this week.
 Chris has been in “come home from work, play video games” mode lately. It’s his de-stresser. 
 Finished product. This was the first time I’d crock potted it, instead of cooking it over the stove. And it was a good thing I’d made a huge crock pot batch, because we had surprise visitors that night!
 Chris’ new laptop/monitor setup. Dual screens. And there’s our Christmas picture photo up on the laptop!
 Why is Chris smiling here?
 Because of our surprise guests!
 What I love about my old roommate Mandy is that she’s totally willing to come over spontaneously at 10pm to make sure she gets in hang out time on her short trip out here. She’d been hanging with my sister Britt and their reunion small group party, heard Britt was stopping by to exchange gifts, and decided she’d come too! My phone was on silent when she called to inform me of this, but when we finally spoke she said, “I figured I’d just come over anyway!” That’s what I love about favorite friends. They totally know they can stop by at any hour, because seeing them trumps sleep any day! 
Mandy came with baby Judah and husband David. And I had plenty of warm soup ready for them, just as a good hostess should.
Also of note: hearing someone will be arriving at your house in five minutes sets you in a whirlwind streak to clean up the house. Before I’d even gotten off the phone, Chris had made the bed and hidden the laundry. We got all the dishes done and took the recycling to the garage, and even had time to light warm pumpkin spice candles (as a good hostess should always have lit when guests are coming). 

Next time on the blog: The kittens meet a baby for the first time.