Saturday, April 20, 2013

St. George and Sunshine

Bridger, Mason, Kelsey, and I all had spring the same week this year. We decided to spend it at Mom and Dad's new winter home in St. George. We all traveled down there the Monday before Easter. Sadly, John had to work and couldn't come until Friday. We had a blast! It was great to have a break from all of our busy lives.
Here is a blow by blow of what we did on a daily basis.
Tuesday: We went on a hike to Red Cliffs. It was a beautiful day! I never knew how pretty the red rocks of southern Utah were.
The highlight of the hike was scaling a small waterfall via some holes in the cliff and an old rope. Trust me when I say its harder than it looks. When it's warm, people slide down the waterfall and into the pool for a nice soak. The weather wasn't quite warm enough to entice us to jump in!

 There isn't much of a trail after this point so we went exploring. We were able to find our way to the very top.
Afterwards, we had lunch at the bottom of the trail. Then, we went back home stopping along the way to get some yummy ice cream. Later that night we all went miniature golfing. Mason kicked our butt's of course.

Wednesday: Boys went golfing, Girls went shopping. Both parties felt like we were getting the better end of the deal. The ladies had a good time cruising the outlet malls, cruising the cute downtown shops, and eating lunch at the original Cafe Rio! The city was beautiful this time of year with all of it's trees in bloom. We even had time to stop in and get a tour of Brigham Young's house.

Thursday: We spent all day hiking in Zion National Park. The weather was perfect! We spent the first half of the day cruising the slot canyons. There are no designated trails and so you just explore on your own hoping you will find some great spots. We were pleasantly surprised about what we stumbled on.

Afterwards we had lunch at checkerboard point.

The last stop at Zion's was the Overlook trail. You hike several miles along the cliff edge to end up on top of a partial arch and an amazing view of the entire park.

Friday: We hung around the house anxiously waiting for John's arrival. We then went on another great hike, this time to Snow Canyon. We were like little kids as we tried to climb up and over everything in sight.

At the end of the hike, my parents made us wait around while they went up the trail to create an Easter egg hunt. When they said it was all clear, we ran up the mountain in search of eggs. We had fun trying to out "egg" everyone else. 

Later that night, we went to Mesquite. My parents had hid money in the eggs so that we could use it to gamble with. Aren't they the best parents ever?! We also ate at the all-you-can-eat lobster buffet.

Saturday: We went to the craft fair at Tuachan. Kelsey and I both bought new purses!

We also went to the craft fair in downtown St. George and the Classic Car show in Hurricane.


Sunday: We had to say goodbye and make the long trip home. We are grateful for the great weather, great entertainment, great company, and grateful hospitality that we experienced on our trip. We can't wait to go back!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Our New Year's Eve Trip to Orlando

I am FINALLY getting around to blogging about John and I's trip to Orlando at the beginning of the year. We had a wonderful time and thoroughly enjoyed the warm weather Florida had to offer. For the entire vacation, we stayed at Derek and Brandy's house. John and Derek met at college and have been best friends ever since. Here is Derek and Brandy's house:

And here is Derek and Brandy:

They were very gracious hosts. We enjoyed having them around not only for the great company, but because they got to show us around Orlando. They particularly enjoyed taking us out to eat:

And out to eat again...

And out to eat some more...

By the end of the trip, our taste buds were feeling very well pleased, but our waistlines were feeling rather larger. It's hard to feel guilty when the food is just sooooo delicious! Plus, what's a vacation for if you can't indulge a little bit? When we weren't feeding our faces, we were entertaining ourselves with the best Orlando had to offer. First we went shopping!

Although we were the ones excited to shop in the big city, Derek and Brandy ended up buying a lot more items than us. I guess they needed an excuse to go shopping! The next stop on the vacation train was the Animal Kingdom!

Derek's Aunt Pam used to work for Disney and was able to get us into the park for free! Thanks Derek for having such great connections!!!

We particularly enjoyed taking pictures on Derek's new fancy camera. Check out this great picture of a gorilla eating his own poo!

 Next stop on the vacation train was attending the Capitol One Bowl. John was pretty excited when his favorite team was scheduled to play their bowl game in Orlando the same week that we had already scheduled to be there! Derek and I humored him by wearing our Nebraska paraphernalia.

The next stop was my personal favorite. It had been years and years since I had been to a Sea World. We had a great time! Their two roller coasters, Manta and The Kraken, are not for the weak- kneed. Their many wildlife shows are fun for all ages.  

We had fun feeding the Sting Rays. You put shrimp between your fingers, place your hand at the bottom of the pool, and wait for a Ray to swim by and suck the shrimp away from your hand.

We decided to spend our last day in Orlando at Daytona Beach. We were prepared with towels and swimming suits in hand ready to spread out and enjoy the sunshine.
However, we were greeted with cool weather and blowing winds- not ideal for lounging on the beach. We ended up just eating at Joe's Crab Shack, walking along the beach, and cruising the shops. We had fun browsing and making fun of the white-trash themed shops and attractions!

We are grateful for the opportunity we had to take a vacation together to celebrate our 1 year anniversary. We are also grateful for wonderful friends who make great efforts to stay in touch. May our next vacation be just as fun and rewarding.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Teachers Make the World Go 'Round

The past three months, I have been completing my student teaching at Teton High School. All education majors must participate in a semester of student teaching the last semester of their college career. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to student teach in my home town for the high school that I graduated from. Here is the desk that I have sat and worked at all semester.

When you do your student teaching, you are assigned a cooperating teacher. You work with this teacher and slowly take over all but one or two of their classes. I was assigned to Brian Schultz. He has taught at THS for about 5 years. His first year of teaching was actually when I was a senior. Thus, I already knew who he was even though I never had him as a teacher. He as been very patient and helpful to me this semester. He is also the volleyball coach. I had the chance to practice with the varsity volleyball team about once or twice a week during the season. That was a lot of fun! Here is Mr. Schultz right here.

 I have really enjoyed this experience very much. It has been challenging but also rewarding. I have learned that teaching is hard work. Some people think that teaching is an 8:00 - 3:00 job. However, teachers spend all day trying to teach kids important lessons and life skills when many of them are unresponsive and unappreciative of anything you have to tell them. Then you go home and grade papers and create lesson plans until your eyes want to bleed.  Even though you do get some of those kids that make you want to never procreate, the majority of them are great. Some other lessons I have learned from student teaching are:

1. Your room will constantly smell like stinky feet if have multiple classes of 30 hormonal freshmen coming straight from P.E. who try to make themselves seem cool as they do their math.

2. The more you make students laugh, the more likely they will come to like you as a teacher.

3. At the beginning of the semester, all of the students will think that you are a strange alien from outer space since no person on Earth would want to do and teach math for a living. At the end of the semester, they no longer think you are an alien but rather a normal human being with a personality and interests. (Though they will still think you are weird because you like math.)

4. Even though you think you are teaching students a lesson by giving them more homework, you are really just creating extra work for yourself. Who do you think is going to have to grade all of those assignments? The Algebra Bunny?

5. Students think that if they aren't looking at you then you can't see them.

6. Freshman are more forgetful than a 95-year-old man with Alzheimer's. You could do an entire test review and tell them to study 5 times during the class period, and they still won't remember there is a test the next time they show up to class.

7. Students will drop $5 a piece to go on a donut run, but they won't drop $12 to buy a calculator to bring to class.

8. There will always be those kids that you find to be very strange. Then you go to parent/teacher conference and realize that those students got their weirdness from their parents.

9. You will enjoy your job even more if you spend time with other teachers outside of the classroom. I joined an exercise group started by some of the female HS teachers. I have thoroughly enjoyed this experience. Not only do I get to exercise on a daily basis to feel healthier, I get to gossip about students and other teachers to the ladies in my group. Most of the time I am simply listening and soak up all of the juicy, juicy stories.

10. Teaching is worth all of the effort when you get those seldom parents who tell you that you've made a difference in their child's life.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hermes' Heels

This last year took up running and it has been very rewarding. I randomly decided to run a 5k at USU during the school year thanks to some urging from my friend, Laura. 
From here I was hooked! A few months later, I jumped at an opportunity to run another 5k with my sister-in-law, Dana. It was called "Color Me Rad" and the object was to see how colorful you could become by the end of the race. At the beginning of the race, you look like this:
And by the end of the race you look like this:
This was a total blast and I recommend it to anyone who is looking for a race to run in the future. After this other race, I was really hooked on running! I made the decision to train and run in my first ever half marathon. I trained all summer with my friend, Stephanie. Let me tell you...thank goodness for Stephanie! I could not have trained without her. We trained faithfully and fervently. On August 25, was the Mesa Falls Half Marathon. On August 23, I got the flu! The morning of the race, I was still terribly sick and not to mention nervous. However, I decided to still go through with it since I had trained too long and hard to not to. (Plus I had already paid my $60!) Here is me and Steph at the beginning:
The race started off smooth enough, but with each mile came more and more pain. My sickness soon overcame me and the remainder of the race was slow, long, and agonizing. I did finish, but I finished the last of my age group. Although I was disappointed, I am even more motivated to compete in another one next year. Maybe I'll actually have a good experience next time! =) Who knows, maybe John will run with me...At least I got a medal for finishing though:
Since my half-marathon wasn't so satisfying, I ran the 10k at Old Bill's Fun Run in Jackson Hole last weekend just for fun. My faithful partner, Stephanie, was there as well. Our other friend, SaraLee, joined us and ran the 5k. It was particularly fun because we got to run on the Elk Refuge, I got a free shirt, and the local pastry shop provided refreshments at the end of the race.
If anyone is looking to get in shape, lose a little weight, or just feel better about themselves, I strongly recommend taking up running. It is a challenging, yet extremely satisfying hobby. It may start off slow and disheartening, but trust me that you will progress at a faster rate than you think. Happy September!