Thursday, March 31, 2011

Spring Break!

I've been on spring break all week, and it has been awesome. I've done a ton of lounging, and have mowed my way through the first two books in The Hunger Games trilogy. Oh, friends. Read them immediately. A strong female character to be the anti-Bella Swan that is still relatable, action, romance, these books have it all. I'm mildly obsessed. I'm also super pissed that they whitewashed the characters for the movie version, but that's another post for another time.

Now I realize, you might be thinking "Why Nicole, with all this free time, wouldn't it be wise to update your blog more frequently than you usually do?" and I hear you. I meant to bombard with my usual posting schedule and more but I....didn't. Because I've been sitting on my couch. See?

I'm also being stalked by cats, which is more terrifying than it sounds. I'm fairly certain Dante is judging me for not working while Daddy slaves away in his office all week.

Sometimes, it's so terrifying that I have to flee outside, get on the el, and head off to poke around new places in the sunshine. Today, I'm headed out with my fancy camera to take some pics of the city, and then probably finishing Citizen Girl, a book that ended up being much more chick-lit than I usually prefer. Meh.

If you are rivited by this post of my exciting staycation, follow me on Twitter @colie025, where I will be giving hot updates under the hashtag #springbreakbitches. Also, as a personal favor, if you have a gmail account, please oh please would you follow this 'lil blog? It helps me figure out how many people are reading, and my goal is to hit 50 followers by the end of 2011. So do it, I won't bite. Hard.

Friday, March 25, 2011

5 Things Friday

1) Today, in exactly one hour, spring break will commence. To say that my heart will fill with joy when the final bell rings will be an understatement. I'm going to have an epic staycation at home filled with photo taking, pumpin' workouts, and hopefully some healthy eating. Even though as I write this I am eating a smore. I can always start tomorrow. Besides, I'm still seeing snow when I go grocery shopping (see below) so I'm not too concerned about getting into a swimsuit just yet.

2) My students earned a good behavior party today during which we watched Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2. In this fine epic film, the chihuahuas get married and have babies, but unfortunately the dad just wants to play with his pups instead of being a responsible parent. I would say it was the worst movie I've ever seen, but my dearest husband did subject me to the awfulness of 300, which I haven't yet forgiven him for. This was a close second however.

3) I'm about to start the Hunger Games trilogy over break. I cannot wait. I'm planning on doing a LOT of couch time in the coming days. I'm also going to start Ahab's Wife soon, and I cannot wait. It looks chunky and delicious. Hurray for having time to read books.

4) Speaking of time to read, I start my LAST GRAD SCHOOL CLASS for my masters on Wednesday. Yes, people, my VERY LAST ONE. I am one thesis and one 10 week class from being an officially licensed reading specialist. Booyah Grandma.

5) I can nevr spell the word license. Or exercise. Or Chihuahua. Because of that this has been a particularly difficult 5 Things Friday post to write. Epic fail. Blame it on the spring break brain.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Life these days is pretty freaking good. After all the drama with work and my decision to leave my current school, I have a new job! It's a junior high ELL position a bit closer to our house than my former job, and the pay and benefits are bangin. I didn't realize how stressed I was about next year until I fell asleep last night and slept without waking up.

Going through the drama and emerging victorious has made me realize how truly blessed I am to have Kev by my side. Whether discussing best and worst case scenarios with him through the decision making process or surprising me with some freaking delicious cookies (pictured above) and dinners out, I've realized how awesome it is to be married to him. This is one of the first big decisions we've made since buying our house, and we survived and came out better than we thought we would. I'm slowly learning that decision making is one of the hardest and best parts of being married. I have my best guy to celebrate with, commiserate with, and grow with, and I like to think we are making each other better people because of it.

Oh, and did I mention that spring break is a mere two work days away? Even though we aren't going anywhere, and Kev has to work all week, I'm really looking forward to the time off. I'm hoping to get things in order around the house, start my half-marathon training, and catch up on all the photo challenges I've slacked on over the past few weeks. Hopefully the weather will cooperate. I mean, seriously, I'm not asking for sundress weather yet, but fleece and jeans weather would be greatly accepted.

Overall, things are going great in our neck of the woods. I'm proud of the way we are growing together, I'm relieved to be gainfully employed in a career that always makes me think, and I've got a great family, awesome friends, and a kicken husband to celebrate with. Huzzah, indeed.

Friday, March 18, 2011


I reached into the depths of my work bag today and pulled these out:

Perhaps I need to get more organized.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

5 Quick Things

1) I've been crazy busy with work lately, as it is report card and parent teacher conference time. I'm really proud of myself though. I feel like I tackled some tough discussions this time (bullying, lack of attendance, recommending a child repeat kindergarten, and domestic issues to name a few) and I did it with grace. I'm so blessed to work with such great parents and for the first time ALL OF MY PARENTS SHOWED UP FOR THEIR SCHEDULED TIME!!! Woop woop.

2) I think spring is finally starting to arrive to Chicago. I wore a dress to school today without freezing my patooties off. I even threw on some open toed shoes. It was awesome. See? Sun.

3) Kev and I are starting to feel like roommates. Stupid grad school raining on our fun. While I love my friends, I feel a date night might be in order soon. Time to start planning something mysterious and fascinating where I can utterly charm my guy.

4) All of the sundresses in stores right now are taunting me and its not fair. Yes, it's getting warmer, but it's still not warm enough to be ogling the potential lounge-ability of the dresses. Harumph. STOP TAUNTING ME TARGET.

5) I'm in a real conundrum about a job offer. Do I take it even though it isn't my ideal position? Or do I hold out hoping one of the other places I applied pans out? Door Number One? Door Number Two? Ack. Being a grown up stinks sometimes.

Alright friends, off to do my LAST CONFERENCE of the school year. The life of a glamorous. I can't wait to get in my car and drive, drive, drive.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

March Classics Challenge Update

As I've mentioned before, I'm a bit of a book nerd who loves to read anything, but sometimes needs a bit of a nudge to get more reading fiber in her diet. As I've alluded to before, I'm participating in three reading challenges this year: The What's in a Name" challenge, the Chunkster Challenge and the Classics Challenge I'll be posting a more general monthly reading wrap-up at the end of the month, but here's the progress I've made and some bite-sized notes on each book that I've read for the classics challenge.

Yes, I also realize that I haven't been posting as regularly lately. It's report card and parent teacher conference time, people. I'll try to get back to a regular posting schedule later this week. I swear.

Classics Challenge Requirements:
1) A Banned Book- ??
2) A Book with a Wartime Setting (can be any war)-??

3) A Pulitzer Prize (Fiction) Winner or Runner Up: To Kill a Mockingbird- I hadn't read this book since I had to read it back to back years in eighth grade AND freshman year of high school, but I got so much more out of it as an adult. Awe-inspiring, beautiful and full of life lessons in a story that moves at just the right pace.

4) A Children’s/Young Adult Classic-Farenheit 451- I would never have picked this book up without this challenge, and I'm so, so, glad I did. It is on my list of favorites of all time. Haunting, beautiful tale written in the 1940s about the dangers in a world where books are forgotten. Prophetic and wonderful.

5) 19th Century Classic--
6) 20th Century Classic-- The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton- This book, about a girl who loves the champagne life on a ramen noodle budget hit a little too close to home. I loved the tragically flawed character of Lily Barth, but the book moved a little too slowly at times.

7) A Book you think should be considered a 21st Century Classic-
8) Re-Read a book from your High School/College Classes -

I'm planning on re-reading The Great Gatsby because I love it as my re-read, and I haven't quite decided on my other options. Does anybody have any strong opinions on a book that you think SHOULD be considered a 21st century classic? I haven't quite decided mine yet, but I'll keep you posted when I do.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ash Wednesday

As a catholic school girl for one third of my total years of education, and a Catholic for my 26 years here on Earth, today is a big day. Ash Wednesday. Traditionally, Catholics (and, I think, many Christians as well) give something up for the 40 days of Lent in remembrance of Jesus' sacrifice for us.

I always greet this day with a bit of dread. I never quite know what to give up. I mean, 40 days is a long time. I'm just not good at the self-sacrifice thing. At all. Which, I suppose is the point, if you get down to it. I remember sitting in church during one Sunday of Lent when I was in eighth grade and the priest announced that really, Lent was actually longer than 40 days because the Sundays didn't count. I was overjoyed when I realized this meant I had a cheat day each week on which I could eat sweets. My mom, on the other day, was less than thrilled by the advent of the cheat day.

It has been interesting to read Facebook today. Most of my friends are also some type of Catholic/Christian, and the messages have been interesting. I've seen a lot of people posting about giving up pop/sweets/all carbs/treats/alcohol. Good for them. I, on the other hand, feel that I do not have enough willpower to think in such absolutes after my rounds of Game-On dieting this summer and fall, so I've decided to make other sacrifices.

For Lent this year, I'm going to church once a week. I'm thinking that weekday night masses might be the best for my schedule, but who knows, maybe I'll even pop in of a Sunday. Growing up, my parents made sure we were at mass, well, religiously. Since I've been a grown up, I've slid on this. Considering I'm job hunting, getting into the final stages of a school year, and in the final stages of grad school, I'm thinking some quiet space to listen might be exactly what I need these next forty days.

I'm also giving up unnecessary shopping. You know what I'm talking about. That cute cheap(ish) t-shirt that jumps in the cart when you swear you were only at Target to buy cat litter? Those Goldfish that appear in your hand when you were in the gas station paying for your gas? That shampoo that makes your hair super shiny but you can only buy when you are at the salon so you HAVE to get it every time even though you don't need it? I'm a terrible sucker for those types of things and it has to stop. Lent, here I go.

By no means am I suggesting that you are remiss if you don't observe Lent or give things up. I just know for me, it seems to be helpful to have a regularly scheduled time on the calendar to do so. Wish me luck. Goldfish would be really delicious right now, and its only day one.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Cookie Monster

This weekend, Kev and I had a killer dinner party on Saturday for a few friends complete with fancy shmancy cocktails, a delicious corn chowder, and some fab steak fajitas with tomatillo sauce. All of these tasty treats were cooked by my fabulous husband. Have I mentioned that I am the luckiest girl in the world because I have a husband who likes to cook? Because I am.

Because I was feeling so lucky, I was also feeling generous, and busted out the remainder of our Girl Scout cookies for dessert. Together we consumed some of these:

And some of these:

But none of these, because they are Kev's favorite and thus already consumed:
Pictures courtesy of and as I was too busy eating to whip out my own camera

I was feeling all contented and hostess-y and mellow as I bid my guests adieu. Then I closed the front door, reached for the boxes of cookies only to realize that they were all empty. All of them. Gone.

Thus, today I was forced to compose this frantic email to one of my dinner guests this morning:

Hey Lady,

You said a girl scout might be coming by your office today taking orders. If so... I need some replacements:
3 boxes thin mints
3 boxes samoas
1 box tagalongs

Please, please order these for me and I will give you cash. Yep, we're fatties.


The worst part is that I'm not even ashamed.

Friday, March 4, 2011

It Never Ends

Yep, it's late. I realize this. I just got home from an after work happy hour that ended now, at close to midnight. No, this is not a reason to call teachers irresponsible either. Harumph. Also yes, I'm probably irresponsibly blogging. So there.

Kev and I had planned to spend tonight staying in. We spent last weekend in Madison toasting my sister's 21st birthday, and tomorrow we are having a dinner party for some of our favorite people. Accordingly, we decided to stay in tonight for a date night with wine. Until I got these messages yesterday:

Kevin: Do you have plans tomorrow night (1st Friday club?)
me: nope
zero plans
Kevin: My coworker Alex has a bday party
at The WHistler
me: nice!
Kevin: it's in Logan Square
me: we have a work happy hour after school
so I probably won't be home til 530 or 6ish
Kevin: Sweet - would you want to go with me?
me: totally!
Kevin: or is your happy hour going to be like last time
me: no, its not

(Sidenote the "last time" Kev is referring to is the blizzard, when we knew we would have the snow day off. We got rowdy on a Tuesday, which is a foreign concept for teachers (and therefore spouses of teachers) and it was awesome)

The interwebs are a hard place to have a change of heart. I didn't see Kev last night because of his grad school, and therefore spent most of today trying to puzzle out whether he really wanted me to come meet up, or he needed space. The sad part of all of this is that it wasn't an issue either way. I was just confused because I couldn't read his tone over computer, and tried to back up because I didn't want to be the obnoxious wife tagging along. I ended up having an unexpectedly great night with my coworkers, and all was well.

The reason that I'm blogging about all of this now amidst a healthy buzz is because while relating my story about potential plans for this evening one of my coworkers looked at me and said "Wow, I didn't realize awkward moments still happened after marriage." Until she said it, I hadn't had that realization either. And you know what? It's all okay.

I'm good with the uncertainty, because it means my boy will be home later. I have the confidence and independence to make other plans because I have a safety net that will come home eventually, even if it means I will go to bed and see him in the morning. At this point, half of the fun of being out separately is that we can have a gossipy catch up tomorrow morning. Despite my sometimes misgivings, we thrive on letting each other make our own space separately. I feel this is one of the ways we have grown together the last year that we've been married. Awkward moments still do happen, and I'm getting better at embracing them as a wife. I've learned over time that the best part of being married is that I have someone who loves me for my awkwardness, and not for my constantly date ready state of preparation. Oddly enough, I'm good with that for now.

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

MCP Project 52-Week 3

Yep, I'm behind, but I'm okay with it. Ideally, the challenge is designed to spend a week photographing a theme, and then posting your results. I haven't really gotten up the courage to submit any of my photos to the actual blog, mostly because the featured photos tend to be by professional photographers. You know, not teachers...real photographers.

Despite my insecurities, I am learning a lot from this challenge on my own. I've been using my Droid camera more, simply because I don't always have the space in my purse for my big camera. I've become one of those crazy people that stops in the middle of the street to whip out my camera and take a photo. The pics below are a mix of Droid snaps and pics with my big kid camera. Below, here are my interpretations of the theme "Shades of gray." I used this assignment to really look for interesting textures in the day to day of my life, with some interesting results.

From the walk to the train after work, these next few are taken with my phone cam:

Later in the week, when I was at home with the fancy camera:

Still in the mood for more gray? Check out the winning photos from the actual challenge here!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Oscar Commentary

Sunday night, after an eventful weekend in Madison toasting my sister's 21st birthday, Kev and I came home and flopped on the couch. Being the elderly folks that we are, we were exhausted from a weekend of trying to keep up with college kids while drinking. Luckily, the Oscars were on.

I love the Oscars, mostly for the outfits. I love to see what people are wearing, although I rarely watch the movies that are up for awards. (I did watch The King's Speech and loved every minute of it. Huzzah for Colin Firth.) Below, some actual texts exchanged between my mom and I during the show. We like to pretend we are Joan and Melissa Rivers.

Regarding this: (pic from

Me: Yikes on the Mila Kunis neckline
M: Looked like her boobs were tattooed. Your sister loved it.
Me: Definite tattoo0-age. Or pasties.

Me: Colin Firth better win or I will be in a snit.
M: A bloody snit?
Me: Indeed

Regarding Nicole Kidman's white dress and red shoe combo:
Me: Love Nicole's red shoes
M: Ugly dress though. At least Hugh is hot
Me: Kev just said the same thing. About Hugh.

On Oprah:
Me: Oprah has some hideous makeup
Mom: Oprah looks great. She's got some big girls! (Momspeak for boobs)

On Jennifer Hudson:
Me: Jennifer Hudson looks amazing. Love the color.
M: Holy cow. J Hud is beautiful. Implants?
Me: Real. She's the current weight watchers spokeswoman and has lost a crapload of weight. That color is unreal on her.
M: After this, they will all be signing up for WW tomorrow.

Back to Halle:
Mom: Halle rocks it every time.
Me: Agreed. Flawless.
Mom: Between our people mag talks and this text stream I've never felt so deliciously shallow.
Me: Agreed. Awesome way to power down the brain before the weekend ends.

Sometimes, it's great to have a mom and sisters. As much as I love my husband, I don't think he would have offered quite the running commentary I needed. Although he would have at least as many boob comments. Every married girl needs her ladies to keep it real.