Friday, October 29, 2010

Cross-Town Showdown

It's a big day in Abilene today. Some would call it the biggest day of the year. Tonight, Abilene High and Cooper will have the BIG football game. Side note: I am not as into this as I might be making it sound. Just wanted you to know that. However, I used to be VERY into this. We would look forward to Abilene High vs. Cooper for weeks upon weeks. The whole week leading up to the game was so exciting for us back in the day. Lots of excuses for dress up days, blacked out hallways, and an amazing black-out pep rally that consisted of lots of glow sticks and glow necklaces. Yes... I used to think this week was a VERY big deal.

The game tonight will determine who wins district this year. It has been said that there will be 20,000 people there tonight - myself and Ethan included. My Mom called to yesterday to inform me of this:

Mom: Well, the game is sold out for tomorrow night! There are going to be 20,000 people there! You are going to feel like you're at a Tech game!!

Me: Umm, I don't know about that.

You see, my Mom is Abilene High's #1 fan. It started when Chelsea and I were cheerleaders. Now she is the Athletic Secretary, so I suppose that is part of her job.

Whenever I go to a game with her, I know I can count on one conversation:

Mom: Well Jen, does it feel weird to be sitting up here in the stands instead of out cheering on the field?

Me: {Rolling my eyes} No, Mom, that was like 7 years ago.

It never fails.

I haven't been in town for the cross-town rivalry since '04. I will say that the atmosphere around this place today is pretty exciting. Not quite like Lubbock gets before playing UT, but it's still fun.
I mean, poor little Abilene can't help it. They don't have a big college to get all excited about, so this is about as good as it gets.

I hope it's a good game and that we don't get caught in too much traffic. TGIF and Go Eagles!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Rules of Pencils

When you have 120 students in your classroom every day working math problems, pencils are on high demand. Since I don't have a homeroom class, I did not get to benefit from school supplies brought by the students. I provide all of the pencils used in my classroom. At first that didn't seem like that big of a deal, but ohhhhh, it's a big deal. I just might spend 1/4th of my paycheck for the year on pencils.

I have learned many things about pencils this year:

1) Do not attempt to stock your classroom with fun, colorful pencils. They will cause many unnecessary arguments.
2) Do not - I repeat - DO NOT include one fun colorful pencil in the mix of a tub of plain, yellow pencils.

3) Children should NOT be allowed to get their own pencils out of the tub. Even though this means you will spend 1/15th of your day passing out pencils.

4) Under NO circumstances should children have access to pencil sharpeners.

5) Under NO circumstances should you sharpen a pencil for ANYONE during class. You will soon find yourself in the business of pencil sharpening. Did you get your degree in pencil sharpening? No.

6) Pencils will be chewed on. Warning of gross germs will not do any good. End of story.

7) Erasers have a lifespan of 2 days. Once the eraser is gone, the pencil will be deemed worthless by the child.

8) After 2 months of hearing children ask you for a pencil that includes an eraser, you will realize that you cannot STAND erasers.

9) You will decide to tell the children that they will have to start marking out their mistakes instead of erasing them, because you are depressed by the 75 billion perfectly wonderful pencils sitting in the jar abandoned because they do not have good enough erasers.

10) Despite all of this, you will continue to keep your 10 pretty boxes of cap erasers that you searched frantically all over town for a few weeks ago locked up in their boxes in the drawer.

11) Why in the world would you want to deal with the wrath that colorful erasers are SURE to cause if put on the ends of your pencils? Didn't you learn your lesson with the colorful pencils?

12) You realize that you are completely out of pencils with erasers. 200 pencils. Not one eraser. And you are really tired of children raising their hands just to tell you that their eraser doesn't work.


14) Don't say the above statement. Calmly assure the child that this is not the end of the world.

15) Finally give in on October 26th and open ONE box of beautiful, fresh, cap erasers. This will be a test.
16) Put the erasers on 30 wounded pencils and place them in the tub with the rest of the pencils.

17) Hold your breath the first time that you pass out the pencils with the pretty erasers. Make sure that every child in the class gets one of the pencils with a new eraser because you just don't want to deal with it right now.

18) Control your thoughts as the requests for specific colored erasers start being thrown at you while passing them out. "Pink, pink, pink!!!" "....Awww I got blue ughhhhhhhhhhhh."

19) While picking up pencils at the end of the day, notice that at least 10 of your new erasers have mysteriously gone missing.

20) Have no words. None.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Where? How?

I am soooooo envious of people who have vintage furniture. Our house is really lacking in the furniture department, and I would love to find a few really cheap pieces that I could paint and use to spice up the living room and dining room. Where do these people find such awesome pieces of furniture? On the side of the road? Online? Garage sales? Flea markets?

But I'm not good at dealing with strangers, so I avoid Craigslist and garage sales like the plague.

This is a real pickle. Sounds like I'm just going to have to keep my eyes peeled every time I take out the trash and hope for a miracle!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Home or Homeless?

Ethan and I were talking the other day about how we still think of Lubbock as home. I often find myself planning for an evening at a Lubbock destination, or thinking about what errands I need to run and I have the Lubbock location in my mind instead of the Abilene location. Yes, I realize that sounds weird. We've been here for three months... you think I would have figured out what town I'm in by now!

It's weird because for my first several years in Lubbock, I always knew that Abilene was where home was. Lubbock was just a pit-stop. Then somewhere around my 5th year in Lubbock, the tables turned. I thought that once we moved back to Abilene I would just go right back into my old state of mind. Instead, it seems that I see Abilene as a place from my past... the place where I grew up and hold my fondest childhood memories. Lubbock is home to me as an adult, as an independent person. I can't help but wonder if it would take years to return to the mindset that Abilene is "home".

So I miss Lubbock. A lot. And when I lived in Lubbock, I missed Abilene a lot. I must be bad at moving.

Either way, tomorrow I get to go back to Lubbock for a little day trip with my mom!! To shop and eat at all of those glorious places that I took for granted when I lived there. Can't wait!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Everlasting Pillow Search

I have finally started putting together the guest bedroom! Whether or not it will come together nicely is a different story. On Saturday I went to seven different stores in two hours trying to find the "perfect" throw pillows.

None of these stores had even one of the pillows that I had in mind. I would try to explain the perfect throw pillows to you, but even I am not sure of the details.

I have started noticing a trend in this type of behavior. I get an idea in my mind of what something should look like, and then I cannot settle on anything unless it is nearly identical to my original idea. The downside to this way of shopping is that I often dream up the perfect pillow pattern, wall hanging, or whatever the object is without ever knowing if such an item actually exists. Which means that it probably does not. And it especially doesn't exist in Abilene, Texas.

So I run all over town hoping that one of our seven stores might have happened to read my mind. It never happens. Eventually I usually give up and settle for an item that pales in comparison to the original imaginary item. After that, I spend the next 6 months staring at the room in question, trying to figure out exactly what it is that I don't like about the room.

Clear as mud.

Monday, October 18, 2010


If you have ever worked in an office with a lot of women, you probably know what I mean when I say that scents can be a battle. Someone always thinks someone else's candle is too sweet, too sour, too strong, too fruity. I've never been extremely sensitive to scents, so really I couldn't care less what someone else chooses to use in their personal office.

When you spend all day trapped in a room with 20-something smelly children, you learn real fast that you're going to need a little help overpowering those smells. I was in San Antonio the weekend after school started and came across a Scentchips shop. Scentchips is the original wax chip manufacturer, or so they say. And even though nearly half of the teachers at school are Scentsy consultants, I decided to purchase a Scentchips wax warmer instead. Dare to be different.

Keeping in mind my previous experiences with wax warmers in the work place, I was pretty paranoid as I chose my scents. I had the kind saleswoman help me choose the least overbearing scents in the entire store. I didn't want ANYONE to speak badly about my wax warmer.

The following Monday I unwrapped my precious little wax warmer. Rather than placing the recommended 10 chips on the warmer I only used 4, for fear that the scent might wander down the hall (more than once I have listened as other teachers talked about how horrible so and so's from down the hall's new Scentsy flavor is). I was NOT going to be that girl. No sir. And as far as I know, I wasn't! I added a chip per day for about a week until I reached the recommended ten. The smell was oh-so-pleasant and I received several compliments.

Last week I noticed that I could no longer smell anything, so this morning I replaced the old chips. This time (having now gained a certain trust), I put all ten chips in. Fourth period rolls around. The teacher of the class comes up to me after a few minutes and says "It smells like someone is wearing REALLY strong perfume in here. Or maybe hairspray." I just smiled, with my first thought being that she really did think someone had on perfume. Then I remembered who was making the comment and said "Really? Huh. My nose is stopped up." .....I mean... what ELSE do you say when someone is passive-aggressively dissing your wax warmer?

When she walked into the hall after class was over she commented to another teacher about how badly it smelled. As loudly as she possibly could.

I quickly turned the burner off and may never use it again.

Being the new kid in school is hard. :(

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My Little Pumpkin Patch

Last night we went on a pumpkin hunt. To United Supermarkets. 
I may have gone a little bit overboard.

I have big plans for a few of these little guys. Perhaps something like this.
The rest will live on the porch like normal pumpkins.

And don't mind Henley. She's just trying to figure out her Halloween role.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Jeg What?


Fall is upon us and as usual, so are a few new interesting fads. When I first heard of jeggings last spring, I must say I was appalled. I still haven't even gotten over my disgust of skinny jeans. As much as I would love to look great in a pair of skinny jeans, a v-neck tee and ballet flats (love both of the latter), it just isn't going to happen. I'm 5'1" for crying out loud. My legs are only about 2 feet long. So why in the world would I ever be caught dead wearing the even skinnier version of skinny jeans?

Then it dawned on me: I wear leggings almost every day of the week in the winter. Aren't jeggings just leggings that are disguised as jeans? Couldn't I wear them with my Uggs without even having to strategically tuck them in? 

As much as I hate to admit it, I might have to order a pair. It's a definite possibility.

But don't worry, I will only be wearing them with very very long shirts.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Ultimate Fair

I had been looking forward to this past weekend for a long time! We made yet another trip to the DFW... this time for the State Fair and Tech vs. Baylor. Friday evening kicked off the weekend with a first short trip to the State Fair. We spent a good hour and a half of our fair time caught in traffic, so it was a shorter evening than we had hoped. We met up with Sarah and Shane for some great food, some not-so-great food, and other normal fair activities. We all decided to try the fried beer, which is new hot item at the fair this year. I absolutely cannot STAND beer so I knew I might not enjoy this experience. Fried beer is actually a ravioli with some beer squirted into the hollow center and then fried. The little raviolis are served with melted cheese. It looks alright on the outside, but when you bite into it hot beer squirts into your mouth and we were all gagging as we tried to choke them down. Absolutely awful. I enjoyed my TCBY ice cream much more.
We attempted to take a timed photo but it didn't turn out real cute, so we asked a random man to take a picture for us. For some reason he felt the need to kneel down as he took the picture. Always a horribly unattractive angle. He also wanted to take a picture of us standing in front of some palm trees so we could look like we were in Vegas. I spared you this one.
Sarah and I had the BEST time watching this baby llama in the petting zoo. He was only about a week old and could not figure out the art of walking for the life of him. It was my first time to see a baby llama so I had no idea how hilarious they are! We could have stood there watching and laughing at the poor little guy all night long.
The next morning we got up bright and early to head to the Tech vs. Baylor game at the Cotton Bowl Stadium. It was pretty toasty outside but I didn't care. I have been waiting to go to a game for months!! I was prettyyyy nervous because we had been predicted to lose. The game was a nail biter for sure, but somehow we came out ahead.
After the game we met up with Ethan's family and spent the rest of the day walking around just taking in the fair and all of its interesting sites. I wish we could have stayed for another two or three days. It was a ton of fun and so great to get to see everyone! Can't wait til next year!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Let the Sun Shine

What is it about a little fresh air and some extra sunlight that always has a way of making things more pleasant? I am lumping today into the stressful category. At least so far. 

I have learned that if I open the back door, a stressful day becomes a little more bearable.
 {Courtesy of my Blackberry, obviously.}

Such a simple fix for such large results. It's also great for clearing out the smell of little kids. I am sure going to miss this quick fix during the winter!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Mothership of Post-Its

These were part of my birthday gift from my sister. Probably the most amazing post-its I have ever seen. And soooo great for organizing the post-it frenzy known as my desk. If only I had discovered these while I was still working at my last job!!!


This past weekend I turned 25. What a tough thing to say! Luckily, I had already pretty much gotten used to the idea. I was so freaked out on my 24th birthday due to the fact that I was only a year away from 25 that I came to terms with 25 when it was still about 10 months in my future.

When I got home from school on Friday afternoon, Ethan surprised me with tickets to the Rangers game on Saturday!! I was really excited. He had also invited my parents and my sister and her husband to the game. I hadn't been to a Rangers game since high school, so it was a wonderful treat! (And also much better than having to watch the Red Raiders lose to Iowa State.)

I also got to do some shopping while I was there, which always makes for a great birthday. Now I have the next five years to come to terms with turning 30. :)

Friday, October 1, 2010


I am so excited that it's October again. I always forget how much I enjoy this time of year! The other day one of my students said, "It smells like October. I love that smell." I laughed at her at the time, but when I think about it, I think October just might actually have a smell. A crisper, fallish smell.

And it brings so many great things with it. One of my favorite October things in Lubbock was the Corn Maize. I didn't get to go every year, but it was such a fun thing to do with friends.

I always say that I hate fall clothes, but one thing that I do love is North Face jackets. They are my weakness and I have accumulated a few too many over the years.

Mom and I are going to make a quick trip to Lubbock in a couple of weeks because I just can't bear the thought of going through the fall without stopping at all of my favorite stores for fall necessities. Abilene, of course, is very limited in this area.

October also brings really good football, so we all know I'm excited about that. I can't wait to see what this month will hold!!

Have a marvelous weekend!