Life As It Is: Part Deux

If you have read this post, you will notice that I mentioned that I am trying to live 'life as it is' by taking risks and accepting life as it comes. I said I'd give you more info on that later. Well, now is later. Later is now?

Somewhere along the line I forgot how to take risks. I'm not really sure when it happened...apparently not before I decided to wear this to my middle school dance {the caption says it all}:
As you can see, my middle-school bestie and I shared a last name. Both of our older sisters were named Sara(h)...yes, it got confusing. I mean, not as confusing as the reasoning behind our wardrobe choices, but I'll blame that on the early 90's.

In 6th grade I poured my heart out to a boy only to be crushed {Want the juicy story? Read my old blog to find out.} But that didn't stop me from taking risks. In fact, I'd say I put myself out there even more. Later in 6th grade, I auditioned for a performing arts school with the audition song, "My Favorite Things."
Yes, that really happened. And not well, I might add. Surprisingly, I got in. And once I was in, I continued to audition and get roles. I got out of regular school each day to finish my day at the acting and performing arts school. It was incredible...we even got to travel around the city to perform our stage productions for other elementary schools. I got rejected a few times as I auditioned for commercials and such, but that wasn't it. My risk taking continued as I was moved to Texas and away from my dream of acting. I moved on to other things and kept putting myself on the line.

Through heartache and disappointment, I wasn't fazed. Through friendships turning on me and parents going to rehab, I pressed on as a risk taker. As boys told me they'd rather be friends, my confidence only took a tiny dent.

So why do I consider myself someone who avoids risks now? I'm not sure exactly what happened but I can pinpoint it to the time I became a Christian. No longer supposed to rest on my skills, talents, or abilities, I struggled to relinquish the control in my life. If I had to give that up, I felt powerless over the outcome. Which makes me scared to even try.

Some might point me to the verse 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.' I hear ya. It makes sense. But my heart learns from experience. The more I want or try for something, the harder it becomes to attain. It's a bit frustrating really. But please hear me...this is not how I believe God intended us to feel or live. It's just how I (mis)interpreted 'walking' with Christ and took it to the extreme.

Today was supposed to be a big day in the risk taking department. I was all prepared to share the exciting news, but as risks go, there is always a possibility of losing. And so far in this area, I've lost. So while there is no exciting 'end' to this risk-taking venture, I believe taking the risk itself was huge for me. I'll probably share more on it later, but it still stings. For now, just know that I'm growing in this area and can't wait to keep taking risks, no matter how difficult it is for me.

To end on a happier note, I decided to share a couple pics of a project I did for my classroom. Frankly, you may never need to make one of these, but it just makes me happy to share it and it reminds me of gambling/risk-taking. Ok, so there's probably no real connection, but anyways...

I wanted a box to hold the sets of dice for my classroom and I found one at Hobby Lobby for $20. Um, no. I ended up buying a $3 wooden box and painting my own to match my classroom colors. 

Naked wooden box that I thought I could get away with spray painting: 

Nope. Craft paint it is:

I'm visual so I used dice patterns online and created my own tiny-sized dice template. When I brought it to school, it was all wrong. Is there a standard way to 'number' dice? Too late now, I guess. 

Tiny die pattern:

Burning the midnight oil to git 'er done before school starts. I get by with a little help from my friends. And by friends, I mean baristas at Starbucks:

The final resting place above my math stations and next to the real-but-the-kids-swore-it-was-fake plant:

I lightly sanded the edges and surfaces to 'matte' it out a bit. It's ready for its closeup:
See that little twirly note holder in the background? That came from my family's deli and means a lot to me. I love that the kids love it as much as I do. I swear, I'm gonna create a bunch of antiques dealers...maybe we should take a field trip to Canton? Yes please.


Princess & the Plane: Straight Trippin'

I had plans for a great post that had to do with my trip this weekend. And then life happened, made me bummed, and now I don't feel like writing anything fun.

You see, that's the beauty of goals and plans...they can be changed. I never want to be so on target that I don't give myself the space to change. Or breathe. Or relax.

So, here are a few lessons from the weekend in Orlando (visiting my friend Amanda and her new baby):

--My goal was to write everyday in 2013...except on vacation. New rule. Just decided that this weekend when all I had was a purse and my iPhone.

--News flash! You can pack everything for a 4 day trip into a purse when the airlines decide to charge for anything more than a purse. 
--Speaking of airlines, you can count on Spirit Air for cheap flights and major delays. Always, without fail. 

--Don't go to another gate area to get a Starbucks when Orlando MCO goes into 'International Mode' (it's top secret apparently because no one warned me I'd be spit back outside and have to go through security twice. And therefore forced to gulp down my freshly purchased Starbucks. Grrr.

--I took a big risk in my life and lost (more on that later, I promise!) Or did I gain? Life is all about perspective, I suppose.

--2 Month old babies can capture your heart in 2 seconds.

--Orlando drivers ARE.THE.WORST.
--I love my best friend more and more as I watch her evolve in her God-given role. She is a phenomenal mother and wife, and I am inspired to live like her if I am blessed with a family in the future. 


More Mustache Love

I finally got around to taking a picture of my mustache B in its perma-home. This is the reading area in my classroom (obviously. And wow, I need to organize this sucka!) I apologize for the lighting...it was taken with that ol' dinosaur iPhone 3GS. And by dinosaur, I mean 2 years old.
My classroom theme is non-cartoony vintage owls. Specific, I know. {And she wonders why she's single.} Not really sure how mustaches come in to play, but who cares?! Look how perfectly random it fits in there. I found a black metal tray on sale at Hobby Lobby and spray painted it glossy white. I used to have the most darling burnt orange ceramic owl from Dollar Tree in place of the plush owl puppet from IKEA, but it got broken when I had a sub. boo. Some would say that you shouldn't put glass or breakables around children. I would say, children need to learn that the world is full of breakable and beautiful things. So if my $1 loss is this child's gain, then it was worth it. He (and the other witnesses) will be better off seeing me react with disappointment and grace; and this sheltered lesson on taking good care of things may help them think twice about running around stores or museums like bafoons.

If the thought of having glass around children bothers you, then you are gonna poop when you see the left side of this shelf. eek.


The Before & After & After Again

Remember the time my school workroom was all messy? 

And then, after one very long Saturday before school started, it wasn't?
Yeah, me too. And then this happened the week before school started (and had things added to the pile over the first semester):

My Poor shelf! It's CRAM-packed!

 It has stayed this way for a while because as you know, when life happens, who has time to clean out a random workroom you barely use (or would you if it was clean and organized?)

This past weekend, I went up to the school with the express purpose of making it 'eat-off-the-floor-or-do-a-ballet-recital-in-it' clean. I wasn't sure how long it would take, but after 4 hours and LOTS of heavy lifting, it now looks like this:

My trick with any de-cluttering {because, let's be honest, it is loathsome} is to start on one side and work left to right around the room. So basically, control my ADD urge to bounce all over the place. If I go from one side to the other, moving items to their rightful place or getting rid of things, I have a starting/stopping point where I pick back up each time. For some reason, this works for me psychologically. Oh, and a Venti Starbucks no-water chai helps with the motivation. 

Let's hope it stays this way for a while. Which, in teacher land, means for the next week or so.

I liked the cleanliness so much I decided to set up a (rough) Keurig station:

I wasn't kidding when I said I want to be able to relax in there. Maybe I should add a yoga mat or a napping couch?

Got any genius de-cluttering tricks that you use?


loved and lost

lonely in a crowd
lonely on the street
lonely without you
holding onto me

wishing you’d come back
wishing you could see
wishing you would realize
you didn’t set me free

trying to move on
trying to forget
trying to find new love
that won’t end in regret


Ps. This is dedicated to those asking, “IS it better to have loved and lost...?”

Pps. If you haven't gone to see Silver Linings Playbook, go see it. Beautifully realistic.


My Imaginary Life

Sometimes I like to look back on my iPhone camera roll and take a gander at the things I felt were interesting enough to photograph or document. Occasionally, I like to share them with commentary like I did here and here.

Happy Friday! Enjoy my randomness in the form of photos:

Believe it or not, this used to be a fairly full fake plant. And then, just like life, it's fullness got plucked away over time. Sad, huh? What's even sadder is that it took me that long (until there were only 2 fluffs left!) to throw the dadgum fake plant away. I'd like to think it's because on any given day, I'm either feeling like this:

 Or this:

I'd like to think I'd be more with it if I could settle down one day, preferably with this guy (and no, it's not off the internet...my friend took it on her iphone when she was a few feet away from him! ahhhhh.): 

We could have some babies, which would then prompt me to buy one of these (and of course, I'm SURE the model for this pic really did just have a baby and is really nursing. She couldn't possibly be just a regular model with a flat stomach & oversized tatas...no way. And why do I have this on my iPhone? Your guess is as good as mine.):

Regardless of the number of babies I have, I will make sure to always have stellar birthday parties for my other babies (these aren't mine, but are one of my FB friend's dogs. I laughed so hard I cried when I saw this and I REGULARLY look back at this pic for a dah-hah-ha laugh/cry. I mean, look at their hats people. Look.at.their.hats.):

In addition to having these wonderful celebrations, I will make sure my kids grow up to fear the Lord (remember the good 'ol days when we thought the world would end? And then it didn't. So we left up all the billboards to have a good laugh):

Wait, I'm sure I won't teach my kids THAT kind of religious fervor. Maybe it's better to balance it out with more of a passionate love, like how you feel toward a spouse. Or how I feel about this band:

 (That's Coldplay by the way. And if you needed this side note, you are missing out. jk. kind of.)

But really, I just hope my kids (these imaginary, future kids I have with Ryan Gosling, remember? C'mon, keep up!) grow up to be Godly & passionate, sweet and loving. Like a little group of my current students...they took their ENTIRE indoor recess time to make this message for me out of pattern blocks. They kept whispering and hiding every time I walked by until the very end. Right as I said 'clean up', they called me over to read the message together. I actually teared up. Can you read it? (It's ok, I pretended but I really couldn't.)

 "We Love U"

That says is all. Enjoy the weekend!



I'm kind of in love with mustaches. Not the real ones that make just about any guy under the age of 35 look pervy...the cute little cartoon drawing ones. My friends know this about me and several friends share in this love with me by buying mustache-printed items as well.

I pretty much hope this fad doesn't die out any time soon. In fact, I just recently purchased a new pair of gray Tom's with teeny embroidered mustaches on the sides (I know, stop already with the Toms! is what you are thinking. But did you hear me? There were tiny mustachios! I couldn't help it.)

Anyway, I passed by this patterned duct tape at Office Max (of all places) and well, it ended up in my cart without question. But what was I going to do with mustache duct tape?? Where is my dad when I needed him? He always made the most random 'fixes' with duct tape {As well as sporting the perv-stache. But we won't hold that against him.} We are STILL finding his duct tape creations in the nooks and crannies of our junk drawers. 

As I was fixing up my classroom in August, I thought it'd be fun to feature it there in a place I look everyday. That way, it can bring joy to me every morning! So, I settled on this project. Super easy & a fun outcome. 

Here is the roll (adorable, I know!):

I bought a chipboard 'B' at Hobby Lobby:

I unrolled a line of tape and smoothed it down...folding the ends over the edges. I had to do some fancy cutting on the corners to make it lay flat. Think 'making a bed' and do the corners the same way.

I decided I didn't feel like cutting the tape so that it would line up but not overlap. I went ahead and overlapped it so that all the mustaches would be perfectly in line. This saved me from fighting with duct tape and scissors. I was grossly underprepared in the tool department on this one. I mean, I LITERALLY was laying in bed when I decided to do this and didn't want to get up...see the pink decorative pillow from my bed underneath? Yeah, I'm not kidding. I leaned a little farther than I wanted, just to grab the scissors.

So, if you are feeling more adventurous (and by that, I mean Type A and/or willing to actually get up and fetch an exacto), feel free to do all that and prevent an overlap of tape.

Once I covered the whole 'B', I used scissors to poke a hole in the middle of each cutout in the B-Bumps (the B's lady lumps?) and started folding the pieces around to the back. Like I said, save yourself this step using an exacto.

Here's the finished Mustache Duct Tape Letter B for my classroom! To be honest, I kind of like the inside curves of the B to have tape on them as well. If I had used an exacto to trim, I would still probably have left a little edge to fold over. It's much cuter in person!

Stay tuned for a pikkie of it sitting proudly in the reading/bookshelf area of my class. The kids love it too! They helped me find ANOTHER place I can use my Mustachioed Duct Tape...and.it's.adorable too.

Anybody else love mustaches, real or cartoon? How would you use this tape...I need some more ideas!! You know I bought a whole roll, right?


WIWIW: Joyfolie

Since it is Wednesday, and tons of other peeps are taking pics of What they Wore, I thought I'd continue to show you What I *Wish* I Wore. You may remember why? If not, read this and this and you'll see that this way REALLY is better!

On to the beauty that is Joyfolie. Once you click over, you may see this...

and be thinking, 'You want to wear baby girl boots? Whaaa?'

Well, yes. I wish they were in big girl sizes, but look a little closer and find the 'Women' section. It is only a few items, but she is expanding. And so is my wish list. For every item she puts in there, I find myself drooling over it. 

I already own these:
 but I got them for a ridiculous discount. I'm so glad I did!

I just adored this whole outfit and I'd totes dress like this every day if I wasn't fending off rogue sharpies and spastic sneezy-snot children: 

I did, however, buy those boots for Christmas (at another amazing discount...see a theme here?)

The sad part has to do with my trying them on. See how they look so roomy with her darling jeans all tucked in? I was like, 'oh, I'm sure these will fit my 

ginormo man calves if she's swimming in them!'

Um, no. Could.not.zip.them.up. Almost but not quite. Surrriously?! I'mma have to send these back because my calves are massive and fit no boot on this earth? Dag.

The next day, I thought I'd give them one more go just in case I was having a fat calf day before. Maybe I could start a Project Shrink the Calves?? Well, whuddyaknow? Zipped right up.

So, hope to be sporting these soon (apparently, depending on the day.) But sadly it won't be with that gorgey outfit and it'll be a hearty hell no to tucking in anything thicker than a human hair.

Anyone else feel like this when they are trying on boots?

No? Just me then?


Princess and the Poem

to be single
to live a life of waiting
clenched teeth and true heart
congratulations on your new baby
pounding blood
eyes sting
nose tickle
yes I know it’ll happen for me too
to be married
to live a life others complain about
   so I can complain too

*Disclaimer: This poem was written to represent a snapshot of emotion, is not altogether personal (though I feel it aplenty) & is not an indicator that I live in a continual state of judgey-ness or despair. Thought is was worth a mention so that, in the event of my death, people don't try to dissect my sadness like we did in our Freshman English poetry unit.


A New Kind of Craving

In my classroom I've learned that if you are working with first graders, structure is key to staving off chaos. Nothing brings crazytown faster than lulls in the day or a random schedule. Don't believe me? Try coming in on one of our 'safety days' where we have all our safety drills back-to-back in one fell swoop. Efficient, yes. Good for little ones, nope. That one day can throw a wrench into our weekly routine faster than Santa and his little elves. Veering off of our normal schedule happens a lot and it is inevitable. We just brace for impact and try to resume regular programming as quickly as possible. 

What I realized a few years ago was that it is not just a little people thing. Yes, kids need structure. Blah, blah. We know this. But I started seeing this through an adult lens when some things in my life were going sour a few years ago. I realized that we ALL crave routine and structure...it's just that we are {usually} more refined than kids in our expression of that need. Where they run around like banshees when their nighttime routine is off, we grown ones might suffer a distracted mind, insomnia or mild depression symptoms. Or maybe you run around like a banshee too, I dunno.

I'd like to take it a step further than merely routines. I believe children (and therefore, adults) need rituals. It seems to me that rituals take it from the level of routine and kick it up a notch to something more important. Almost spiritual. 

To be honest, I struggle with routines and rituals. I never seem to do the same thing twice when I wake up in the morning and I cringe if I'm made to participate in a liturgical church service (remind me to tell you that story!) I couldn't even listen to some beautiful French monks because their unified singing voice felt like a practiced cult. I had to walk out early...I know, I'm weird. But Katie don't do no cults.

There is a part of me that feels that by joining the ranks of the routine, I'm giving up my individuality and choice. So generally, I rebel and then pay the price. But at least I'm free, darnit! Free to feel WHAT exactly? To feel lost, unsure, tired, achy, lonely, distracted, late, annoyed...sometimes I even mistake some of these feelings for how I see my self in relation to God. What I really think is that I just need some structure. And maybe some sleep.

I've long since introduced rituals in my classroom (Firelight Friday, anyone?) so I decided to tackle my personal life. Therefore, I've been identifying chaotic areas of my life and have started examining the ritual that might fit my style in that area. Examples you say?

I have a friend who takes a bath every night to get ready for bed. I love that! However, I can't stand getting wet (oh, come on! I'm not the only one, surely) so that may not work for me. But turning out the lights at 9:00 and reading a book by candlelight?
Yes, please.

I know someone who wakes up 1 hour before her whole house to she can drink a cup of coffee and pray, then she'll go run and shower. So great! I mean, I could stand just to wake up more than 15 minutes from when I have to leave, but you get the idea. I could at least give myself some time to soak in the morning instead of racing out with my makeup bag and a coffee-to-go.

Another ritual I've always connected with was on one of my favorite movies, Lucky Seven. {BTW, if you haven't watched this movie, do it. It is great and Patrick Dempsey is in it. So is a performance by EastMountainSouth. I will not need to twist your arm further. Go! I'll wait while you google it, stream it, or rent it.} 

Like I was saying, in the movie, she has a standing weekly dinner date with her sweet dad where they get out the nice dishes and talk about their week. She goes to this dinner no matter what and no matter how old she gets. ugh.love.it. That ritual resonated with me and my love for family (and food! boo-yah. Mum, I comin' over with a soup tureen.) After you are done looking up Lucky Seven, you can look up soup tureen...don't worry, I had to as well. Better yet, here's a pic:

 I guess I'm still figuring out which rituals I want in my life so I'll keep you updated. But I think that's the key: they need to be rituals I *choose* to put in place, not ones that develop by chance. Like a river carving its winding way through rock, habits form from repeated action over time. Routines (good or bad) will develop regardless of your rebellion. Take it from me, it is better to build in great ones that feed your soul than to succumb to the messiness of chance or apathy deciding your routine.

Any ideas out there for awesome rituals? What is something you consider a great routine in your life?