March 23, 2009

Lessons Learned in the Drive Thru

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:48 pm by livethelifeyoudream

Do you ever feel like God is trying to teach you something? Like he’s looking down from heaven and talking directly to you.

I was waiting in line at the McDonald’s drive thru after just ordering my dollar soda. The truck in front of me was lost. The employee was trying to offer directions.

I can be impatient. Certainly there is a better way to get directions! Go inside the store. Ask at a gas station, but not in the supposed-to-be-fast drive thru. This McDonald’s also has a concrete barrier between the drive thru and the parking area. Even if I had wanted to get away, I was trapped.

Up walked a gentleman maybe 40 or 50 years old. He was alone. His disheveled appearance led me to believe that he was probably a hard worker, but simple. The town I was in has seen a lot of economic hardship. He wore a jacket from the former town grocery store. A big conglomerate bought out the small grocery franchise. In ten seconds of seeing this man, I formed some not-so-nice opinions.

He stood on the concrete curb and said somewhat quietly, “Where do ya want to go?” The driver and the Mc Donald’s worker didn’t hear him. He said it again. Oh, how nice. He was going to try to give directions. I was totally patronizing him in my head.

Then I heard the most selfless words, “I’ll take you. Follow me.” The gentleman walked back to his rather new looking Jeep and away they went, the truck following closely behind this considerate citizen.

As nice as I think I am. I wouldn’t go out of my way like this for a stranger. Sometimes I grumble under my breath as I wait to hold the door open for someone. I am pathetic, I know.

I was wrong. Very wrong to judge this man. I pulled up to the window and got my dollar soda and drove off.

Yes, God, I’m listening.


March 16, 2009

Sometimes you have to roll with it. . .

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:12 pm by livethelifeyoudream


In my house we have clearly defined roles. Call me old fashioned, but I like it that way. My husband takes care of all of our car issues. Magically my tires get rotated, the oil changed, and Rain-X applied. In short, he is the diagnoser and fixer of my car-going-wrong problems.

Things aren’t one sided. I take care of most of the cooking and “management” jobs like typing up a contact list for my husband’s class. I like these clearly defined jobs. I find comfort in knowing that I have one less thing to worry about.  

That is until today.

I was driving to work and heard a currblunk. It’s dark. I was entering the highway. I was pretty sure that the noise was not coming from my car. I glared at the driver next to me: He should really take care of that noise.

The currblunk grew a little noisier and the car just didn’t feel right.

Call it a woman’s car intuition, but I rerouted to the next exit and pulled into the nearest gas station. I was a fully functioning grownup when I got married. I could certainly handle this myself.

The front driver tire was fine. The back tire looked full. I rounded the back of the van and stared at the exhaust pipe. As far as mufflers are concerned, mine looked pretty ordinary. I stepped back and that’s when I saw it. Flat as a pancake. Wheel rim on pavement. I had a flat tire.

I was confident that although 40 miles away my husband could take command of the situation. It is, after all, his job expertise. Fast forward to the wrecker being called, the spare tire not budging, and several more calls to my husband, and I realized that I am capable of handling this. I might not want to, but I can. So I did.

 Two hours later, the purchase of two additional lug nuts, and I’m a proud owner of a Gold series 70,000 mile tire. Today was a nice reminder that I don’t need my husband to function or to swoop in and handle everything for me, but I sure do cherish and appreciate his help and support. I value his knowledge. I’m blessed to have him as a help mate, and I’m thankful for his willingness to be the “car guy.” We complement each other like that.

Even though I was able to roll with the punches today, I am happily content to relinquish any and all car maintenance responsibilities and go back to more important things like vacation planner and clothing shopper. It’s my “job”. Somebody’s got to take the hard ones.  

March 12, 2009

“Eye” Opening Beauty Tips

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 11:46 am by livethelifeyoudream

It’s no secret that I don’t wear makeup on a daily basis. I am partly too lazy and partly unable to apply it properly.

I found this great resource on the Mary Kay website. It actually shows you how to apply your makeup! The videos are very simple and easy to follow. My favorite is the eye shape tips. Who knew that not all eyes were the same!

Check it out for yourself.

March 4, 2009

Celebration Suitcase

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 10:44 am by livethelifeyoudream

 The anticipation of a trip is half the fun! Why not turn the wait into a fun, educational experience for the entire family! Each month we have a trip celebration day, and what’s a celebration without a quiz and some prizes!

First determine what it is you want to learn about the trip. For our upcoming cruise, we had celebration days that focused on each island, the ship, and shore excursions.

Next go online and gather information. The “education” part of this can be as in-depth as you like. The kids can research with you, you can provide reading materials for them to read, Netflix sometimes has some great videos you could use, or you could just blindly “test” your family. This is the one I like best!

I create a quiz (true false or multiple-choice) to go along with the information I researched. A sample question from our last trip was about the Disney Cruise ship:  The ship is nearly as tall as what major landmark? a. Statue of Liberty; b. Eiffel Tower; c. Sears Tower; d. Our House. I usually put between 8-10 questions on the quiz.

The winner, in my family everyone is a winner, gets to pull one strip from the celebration suitcase. The person with the most correct gets to pull two strips. On each numbered strip is a prize. The prizes don’t have to be elaborate. Some of our prizes we have used in the past have included: pick your own seat on the airplane; you get the tv remote at the hotel for the night; five dollars in souvenir money; a special snack on the airplane, etc.

If you don’t want to give prizes, you can always put facts on the strips of paper and your family can learn about the upcoming trip that way. Get even more creative and plan your meal around the celebration day.

Directions for making your own celebration suitcase:


You will need scissors, a pencil, ruler, box, and stickers for embellishment.

I purchased the box at Michaels for .89 cents. It is 9X4X4.  

Draw a line across the front of the box approximately 1 inch from the top. Draw a second line .25 inches from the first. This will form the opening. Carefully cut the opening and assemble the box. 

Fold a piece of computer paper in half and cut out strips. Write prizes on one half of the strip and insert them into the celebration suitcase. I number the part of the strip that sticks out of the box. If you don’t want to give prizes, you can also write facts on the strips of paper instead.

The best part is that the box folds up for easy storage until your next celebration or trip. All this fun for under $3.00!



Check out We are that Family for other great tips.

March 2, 2009

Launching an Idea

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:35 pm by livethelifeyoudream


I’ve always said that Monday is my favorite day of the week because it is a chance for a new beginning, a new start.

I had an idea this morning while driving to work.

Somewhere on the highway before the truck stop and the college, it just popped into my head. Really, that’s how it happened. One minute I was listening to Taylor Swift and the next thing I knew there it was an exciting, thrilling idea.

Dare I say it. A dream.

One handedly I rummaged through my school bag to find a pen and a piece of paper. I had to capture this idea. Make it concrete before reason and doubt took over.

I called Paul to discuss the possibility of this dream becoming a reality.  He’s used to my crazy ideas: reflective strips on deer, cars that drive themselves, GPS for cats, and my best one yet, car aerobics.

Paul would be objective. He would be the voice of reason. He would introduce the obstacles that I didn’t yet see at 7:10 this morning.

But, he liked it. He thought this was a good idea.

I’m excited. Scared. Ready to begin.

Why haven’t I thought of this perfect idea before?  Maybe I have. Maybe my brain is just recycling an old idea, but now I am ready to act.

Maybe now the idea is ready to take off and fly.

Maybe this Monday is the Monday that I begin to live the life I dream. 

February 26, 2009

I’m Breaking all the Rules

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:59 pm by livethelifeyoudream


I’m trying to find my bloggy voice today.

I love to read blogs that sound real. I can picture the writer. I laugh with her, rejoice in her success, and empathize with her pain. If you visit other blogs, you know that there are a lot of really great writers out there.

My problem is that it is hard for me to drop some of my writing habits. Perhaps I’ve been a teacher for too long, but finding my bloggy voice has challenged the rule follower in me.

First Up: Contractions. What can I say? I’m a fan of contractions, but they don’t always make it into my writing.  I’ve noticed that by writing out the contraction it makes me sound. . . uptight. Which I am not, ThankYouVeryMuch. Well, maybe a little.

Next: Creative punctuation and sentence structure. Right now my students are learning all of the comma rules. Yes, there are actual rules. Too many, in fact. But, in blog writing some of those rules are relaxed.

Fragments. Ok.

Making up the word bloggy. Not a problem.

A one sentence paragraph actually works in blogdom!

I’m breaking Standard English usage rules left and right! You know what I discovered? I like it. It is kind of freeing.  Maybe blog writers understand that some rules are made to be broken.  

Watch out world I’m livin’ on the edge today!

February 19, 2009

All the things I don’t know

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:31 pm by livethelifeyoudream


I went to a conference today.

It was a conference of English teachers, not as boring as it seems. We were working together to create an end of the course assessment that fits what the state wants and what our district can live with.  

We talked. We exchanged resources and ideas. I left with a list of websites to visit, a vocabulary quiz created, and new pre-advanced placement resources to buy.  Amid all of this information I realized that there is still a lot I don’t know.

Even after ten years of teaching, countless hours spent preparing at home, years spent obtaining a master’s degree, there is still a lot I have to learn; and my lack of knowledge or ignorance doesn’t just apply to my work.

I don’t know how to say I’m sorry to my husband when I know feel I am right.

I don’t know how to organize my life so that my house is always clean, the laundry always folded, and dinner always planned ahead of time.

I don’t know how to make Alden stop picking his scab off when he gets nervous or anxious when he is away from home.

I try.

I do know that as much as I like to think I have a handle on the world and can figure things out on my own, I can’t. I succeed at times. I fail at others. Sometimes sharing with someone really does help.

So, I am asking you, my few readers to help me learn.

There is so much to this blogging thing and so much that I don’t know. What resources would be good for me to read? What websites should I visit? What advice can you give me?

February 18, 2009

25 Things About Me

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:10 pm by livethelifeyoudream


The “about me” section intimidates me. I see it looming at the side waiting for me to write something witty and wonderful, but I want to say just the right thing.  I’ve lived through a lot. I don’t want to define myself based on what I have done—teacher, wife, daughter—but who I am as a woman.

So, I give you the abbreviated version “about me.”  I promise I will fill the empty page, but for now I give you 25 interesting mundane things about me. Yes, this is taken from facebook, but I’m sure you don’t mind, do you?

  1. Sometimes I wish I had a pocket “Paul”—my husband. He could be in my pocket all day so that I would have someone to share my thoughts with.  I want a pocket version because if he became too opinionated he would still be small enough to stuff in my school bag.
  2. I am an introvert. I need alone time.  
  3. I like to subject my family to “double-blind” tests. These tests usually revolve around food. I will make a dish and change something and then ask if they liked dish A better or dish B. I don’t tell them what I have changed. I find this game fun.
  4. On a day-to-day basis, I don’t wear any make-up. Well, I do wear cover-up under my eyes
  5. because  I’m not a morning person, and  I have to cover up the dark circles somehow.
  6. I only leave myself 15-20 minutes to get ready for work. I shower the night before because of #6.
  7. I don’t eat fruit.
  8. I dream of one day visiting all the Disney parks.
  9. I love Tupperware.
  10. I am honored to be selected for jury duty. I am determining someone’s future; I take my civic responsibility seriously.
  11. 90% of my clothes come from Talbots or Lands’ End. When I find a store that I like, I stick with it.
  12. I have never had a desire to own an iPod, but now that I have an iPod touch, I can’t imagine my life without one.
  13. When I was about ten, I really wanted my name to be Victoria, not so much now.
  14. I have been using the “reuse” grocery bags even before they became popular. I like going “green” and helping the environment.  My husband calls me “light green” because I still buy plastic water bottles.
  15. We have a cat named Alex and we talk about him like he is a real person. Alex is in first grade. Alex rides the bus to school. I might write a book one day about Alex’s adventures. Kind of like the book Dewey.
  16. I long to live in a state without snow and cold winters.
  17. I love teaching, but it doesn’t mean I can’t see myself doing something else later.
  18. I’ve always wanted to go on a game show. Someday I will. I would prefer wheel of fortune, even though I am a horrible speller or Deal or no Deal.
  19. I am a Republican. I know it isn’t popular, but I can’t imagine voting any other way.
  20. I believe that there is a creator.  I am trying to determine how much control he has over my life.
  21. I’m sensitive and take things personally.
  22. I can be critical. I am working on it.
  23. I am seriously considering going back for a second master’s degree.
  24. I could travel for all of my 108 vacation days.
  25. Monday is my favorite day of the week.

 I’m not sure why the numbers are all goofy. I am still learning how to work the program.