Thursday, December 30, 2010

Update 3: Indy Day Trip

Many of you will remember that last month I blogged about a taking a field trip gone wrong with the sixth graders I taught during practicum.  Well, the Indiana State Museum got the opportunity to redeem itself in my memory as of yesterday!

Kyle and I went to Indy with my grandparents and cousin to visit the museum and, more specifically, to see the Titanic exhibit that has been there since September.  I was pretty excited because I didn't get the opportunity to see the exhibit when I was there the first time.  It was amazing!  There were so many neat artifacts available for us to see and everyone was given a "ticket" at the entrance that gave details of a passenger that we were to become while touring.  At the end of the exhibit, we could check a list of survivors to see if we lived or not.  Since I was a first class woman, I knew I had pretty good odds and I made it, of course.  Poor Grandpa died.  He did have a heroic quote on the wall of the exhibit, though, informing his "wife" to get in the lifeboat because it was her last chance of survival.  Such a great guy :)

We couldn't take any pictures from the Titanic exhibit, but we were able to get some from the rest of the museum.  Some are of questionable quality, though, because flash wasn't allowed.  Below is the reconstructed mouth of a mastodon.  They were able to build it using information from teeth and tusks and bones found in Indiana fields.  

Indian arrows!  These aren't the real thing, either, but are reconstructed to look like them.  There weren't any real Indian artifacts in the museum after 1990 because of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act that required federal agencies or institutions that receive federal funding (like, ahem, the Indiana State Museum) to return cultural items and remains to Native American tribes.  While I was sad that I didn't get to see any real artifacts from Native Americans, I'm glad they were returned.  I'm sort of a little obsessed with respecting Native American culture, so that's okay.

This is a real-life dentist chair from several decades ago.  My grandma maintained that this is why she was afraid to go to the dentist when she was young!

 This Shirley Temple doll was in the culture exhibit from the thirties and was owned by a little girl from Monroe, Indiana.  Small grandpa knew the doll's owner!

And my personal favorite...everyone thinks Portland is a measly no-man's-land, but check out what Elwood Haynes did for the community!  PS--he was so awesome that we named an elementary school after him :)

All in all, a lot more fun than when I went during the field trip.  Afterwards, we went to Cracker Barrel and had some delicious food.  We came home exhausted!  It was a lot of walking, a lot of reading, a lot of driving, and a lot of eating!

Update 2: Christmas Preparation

I know it's a little bit past Christmas, but there were so many things going on that I didn't get the chance to update about our Christmas plans/happenings!  First of all, the best part about being newly married and celebrating your first Christmas together is that you get to create all of these new, fun things to do that will eventually be traditions in the family.  So, we decided to begin some traditions of our own!  

The Sunday after Thanksgiving (the first Sunday of the Christmas season!) will always be devoted to decorating the house for Christmas!

We spoil our cat--he has his own stocking!

The second Sunday of the Christmas season (which is the first Sunday in December) will be set aside for watching Christmas movies and the Christmas broadcast put on by our church.  The prophet and his counselors always give us uplifting Christmas messages to keep in mind for the whole month!

The Sunday after that is reserved for Christmas cards:

We sent out a lot!  Kyle even personalized the one to his friend Zach and added some "Christmas" drawings from a TV show they watched when they were teenagers:

The week before Christmas is time for making cookies!  Our cookies turned out to be...interesting.  They were tasty, but the process was a little too long for my liking and since I'm not really a fan of sugar cookies to begin with, we probably won't do these again.  I meant to decorate them all nice, but by that point I was too annoyed, so Kyle took it upon himself to make the icing (breaking my mixer in the process) and glob it on the cookies.  

I was so sick of cookies after that night that I didn't even eat any!  So poor Kyle took a calorie bullet for me and enjoyed them all.  Kyle did most of the wrapping this year, and Tiger helped.  He did a lot better around our Christmas tree this year than last, so we're hopeful that next year we'll see even less interaction between him and the tree.

My parents had their Christmas celebration early so that everyone was sure to come.  They got Tiger a mouse and he loved it!  It had been awhile since he'd gotten a new toy.  He even slept with this one!  Once we brought home the toy seal that Gary and Michele had gotten him and given him the mini-mice from his stocking, he didn't know what to do!

For Christmas Eve, we spent the whole evening watching epic movies (this year the extended Lord of the Rings movies), read scriptures about the birth of Christ, made some homemade pretzels, and drank some sparkling grape juice in our fancy glasses.  We had a lot of fun.  On Christmas morning, we had biscuits and bacon and videotaped the opening of stockings and presents.  We spent a lot of time with family around the holidays, and it was so much fun!

More updates and pictures to come!

Update 1: Bookbinding

This past semester I took a senior seminar class that included writing a manifesto and binding it in my own book.  As part of the course, we learned how to bind books from basic materials--paper, glue, thread, chipboard, etc.  It was quite a learning experience!  I started out binding using some different techniques I used in class but ended up liking two of them the best.  These are displayed below:

 This type of book has a case binding.  That means that the book is sort of encased by its cover.  It's very a very traditional hardback book with a spine.

 A little bit about the text:  I wrote my manifesto in dialogue-form and really wanted to explore the idea of being a stay-at-home mom.  I know a lot of stay-at-home mothers and would really like to become one myself when the time comes.  Outside of my friends, though, I've gotten a lot of criticism for wanting this because I'm college-educated and have the ability to earn a salary (and why would I ever want to demean myself to simply staying at home and taking care of my kids when women have rights now?).  So I wrote these two dialogues in attempts to mimic the technique used by Plato in his writings called The Republic.

This technique used by Plato involves two characters for every scenario (one of which is usually Plato himself).  In the scenario, Plato tries to persuade the other by soliciting answers to thought-provoking questions.  The point is that Plato will convince his friend of the truth without ever actually forcing him to believe it (or coming right out and saying it), and the friend arrives at Plato's conclusion on his own accord.  The dialogue in my books is between a mother and her daughter (in volume one the daughter is six and in volume two she is seventeen).  The problem?  The daughter wants to be a stay-at-home mom, just the mother herself is (or was, in the case of the seventeen-year-old).  So, this being said, the daughter doesn't understand why she should go to college to get an education if she doesn't necessarily need one to be a mom.  The mother then attempts to persuade her daughter that it is actually a very wise decision to go to college before becoming a wife or mother because she could use her education to be a better parent.  In my books, the mother is a teacher and she and her daughter discuss how her decision to become such has made her a better-informed, more patient, and loving parent than she would have been without the degree.

I bound the two volumes together but wanted to make sure that everyone got the idea that they were supposed to be two separate books (and two separate conversations not necessarily between the same mother and daughter).  So I did what magazines do and bound them upside-down from each other!  I felt it was quite effective.  I didn't do as well on the project as I had hoped, but I was very proud of my work!

For my project, I used a program called InDesign to get the text on the inside so that when I folded my pages the text was in the appropriate order.  It's a lot easier to bind blank pages, though!  The other book pictured here is one that I did for my sister-in-law for Christmas.  It's a lot bigger than my miniature books for class and has room for her to paste 5'x7' pictures inside and write captions with them.  It's still a hardback book but the binding is exposed.  I threaded beads on the binding to make it a little prettier and to really showcase the NMU's school colors:

It only took me several hours to do this ;)

And the best thing of all?  She loved it!  I'm so glad.  Otherwise, I would have probably taken it back and kept it for myself!  Hopefully she'll have some fun scrapbooking in it!

I've done some other books, but they're not as good of quality because they were some of the first I've done, so I didn't post pics of those :)  But I'm teaching the Young Women on at Mutual next Wednesday how to bind books, so hopefully I'll get some more practice in before then!

Sunday, December 19, 2010


There were a lot of good messages today at church.  It made me start thinking about becoming a better person.  I'd really like to give it a shot, and since Christmas and the New Year is coming, what better time to start?

Here are a few of my goals:

I'd like to spend more time with Kyle building up our little family's spiritual reservoir.  

I'd like to spend more time with both of our families.

I'd like to take the time to pray more sincerely than ever before at every possible moment--in the morning, before bed, before meals, before preparing lessons (and not just church lessons...lessons for my 7th and 9th graders next semester as well).

I'd like to enjoy the scriptures and take more interest in studying them.

I'd like to be sure that my visiting teaching isn't just "done" every month--a connection is a lot more valuable than just a contact!

I'd like to ensure that we figure out a better schedule for paying our tithing! 

I'd like to get rid of the clutter in my mind.  I don't know how to be specific, but I'm sure all of you know what I'm talking about.  The judgemental clutter.  The worry clutter.  Drama clutter.  Tiredness clutter.  Any mental baggage that I don't need in order to better love my Savior, my husband, my family, my students, etc...I just need to throw it out!

I'd like to visit the temple more often (because you can never go too many times).

There are so many other things, of course, but these are just a few that I've been pondering lately and I feel impressed to take care of.  I'm going to try so much harder and learn to love a lot better :)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

An Ending and a Beginning

So this week brought about one new beginning.

The beginning of break!  I'm pretty excited about it.  Our finals are finally done and we're pretty confident about them.  I managed to not have a meltdown and didn't even have to pull an all-nighter (thank goodness) and Kyle only had to pull one!  He finished his senior seminar paper and we're mighty proud of it.  It's 112 pages long!  Possibly the longest paper written by anyone I know.  He worked so hard on it and it's such a good paper.  I love love love my smartypants hubsand!

Also, there was an ending.

It was the end of my computer's life.  It happened on Wednesday night while I was typing out some 500 word essays for my Brit Lit final (which was Friday).  My computer wasn't responding and I had the color wheel of death, so I force-quitted everything and when I tried to restart my computer, all I could get was a blinking file with a question mark (sounds ominous, huh?) and a terrible grinding noise from inside my laptop.  

It's sort of like I knew it happened before I really knew for sure.  Kyle was out returning some things to the library.  You might think it's ridiculous, but I sat there and cried silently while watching the blinking file until he came home.  Maybe I was just emotionally touchy because it was a stressful finals week and super-late at night, but I felt as if I'd lost a friend who'd been with me since the summer before I began school.  I'd written every single paper and completed every single project on that computer.  I'd taken it to almost every single class every single day of my college career.  My backpack was heavy because of the computer.  I'd done my genealogy using that computer, and I began my relationship with Kyle through that computer.  I researched the church during my investigation on that computer.  I knew it had to happen someday, obviously, but I supposed that I would be super mad because I would have lost so many files.  Now that my semester is over and I'm never going to write another paper or do another project again (because I'll be student teaching and then graduating), I didn't react that way. 

I'm thankful that it didn't happen any earlier, though.  I still lost a lot of things.  Sure, there were powerpoints and chapter reviews that I no longer need, but I lost some of my pictures that I didn't post on facebook.  I lost the music that I'd collected over the last 3 and 1/2 years.  It's not like these things will tear me up, but it's still a little sad.  I'm going to chat with one more person, I think, about whether or not anything can be retrieved from the computer, but I doubt it.

So now we're going to get a desktop computer.  I don't want another laptop.  I couldn't ever get one that I'd like as much.  Laptops are for staying up late and working on papers.  Laptops are for facebooking and surfing the net while your prof is lecturing.  Laptops are for watching movies on because you don't have a TV.  Laptops are for college students.  And even though I'm graduating, I just don't feel like a college student anymore.  I'm not going to be doing those things anymore.  So no more laptops.  

Maybe this isn't about the laptop afterall.  Maybe this is about me being a little surprised that I no longer have classes or papers or projects or lectures or...well you get the idea.  It's just a little surreal.

I'm at peace with it, though.  RIP Mac laptop and old college life.  It's been fun while it lasted!

Monday, December 13, 2010

My Thoughts on Bond.

So I know I haven't been posting too much lately.  We've been awfully busy with the last week of classes and now finals...scrapping everything together and getting it all turned in.  We're very excited for the next three weeks!  Today I had two finals and Kyle had one.  After we got home, we decided to take a little break before going back to the grind for tomorrow.  We took a nap, made a breakfast pizza, and watched On Her Majesty's Secret Service (a James Bond movie). 

Let me just say to all of you...there are currently twenty-two (official) Bond movies.  You should make it a goal to watch all of them.  Or if not all of them, at least several of them, and definitely one from each of the men that played Bond.  I actually quite like all of the men as Bond...except for Roger Moore...and I'm not too much of a fan of Timothy Dalton.  All six of them are good for their own reasons (from left to right starting at the top):

1) Sean Connery was the first and original James Bond and in five official (and one unofficial) Bond movie.  In my opinion, Sean Connery is the real and true James Bond.  Definitely the best.

2) George Lazenby only did one Bond film, but it was absolutely remarkable (this one was the one we watched today--On Her Majesty's Secret Service).  Nobody liked him though at the time because he was replacing Sean Connery...who everyone thought shouldn't be replaced.  Which was too bad for George, because he should have done more films.  He was a great Bond.

3) Roger Moore made seven Bond films, and he was a hokey and goofy Bond.  Not at all cool, in my opinion.  Plus he was super old, so it's not even believable.  Roger Moore = ew.

4) Timothy Dalton did two Bond films in the 80's.  They were good films, but I just didn't like him as Bond.  They were....too action-y for my taste.  Typically the Bond movies do have some romance or wooing involved, and these two had less of it.  And, although that's not a bad thing necessarily, that's just not Bond.  We watched a documentary on the Bond girls some time ago, and the Bond girls in the Timothy Dalton movies discussed this point.  They concluded it was because AIDs was a super big deal at the time, and the movie people didn't want Bond to look completely irresponsible contracting something like that.

5) Pierce Brosnan.  Oh, Pierce.  He was the first Bond I'd ever seen, and he'll always hold a special place in my heart for that.  Pierce made James Bond look good.  I like Pierce.  He had the best gadgets, too, in my opinion, although some of them got pretty ridiculous and unbelievable at the end of his time as Bond...

6) Daniel Craig....ooooooooooh.  He's a cutie!  And the first blonde Bond!  I like Daniel Craig because he's a super tough and believable James Bond.  And the plots of the two movies he's done leave nothing to be desired.  These movies don't have any gadgets, though, so if that's something you like...sorry!  Casino Royale is one of my favorite Bond movies!  It has a sad ending, just like On Her Majesty's Secret Service

So there are my thoughts on James Bond, in a nutshell.  Check out the ending of the one we watched today...super sad :(

Also, I still have more to blog about (just no time!).  I'll have to post pictures of the books I've bound for class as well as our Christmas decorations! 

To be continued....

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Birthday week.

So it was my birthday on Thursday, and I did a little celebrating gradually throughout the week because I knew that my actual birthday wasn't going to shape up to expectations.  How did I know this?  My syllabi informed my planner :(  I never really thought of it this way, but for the last three years it's really been a bummer to have a birthday so close to finals.  It's really a shame that I was born in the first week of December...why didn't my parents do some better planning around March of 1988, huh?!  Actually, next year it won't even matter so oh well.

But I knew I'd have this HUGE project due on the 3rd and I'd be up all night long on the 1st and 2nd working on it, meaning my birthday would be a day that I would hardly be able to stay awake.  I had to get up early to teach, and that didn't go too well, either, because I had some discipline issues that I had to work out with a student.  Then I had class (which I ended up skipping, thankfully) and work.  No, I couldn't even have the day off work.  I only get two days off work a month that I can choose and I decided to not be selfish and use one day to have Christmas with my side of the family and the other on my anniversary because my horrible husband blackmailed me by dangling an expensive dinner date in front of my face.  Jeez!

So I bought doughnuts for myself on Wednesday.  Lovely, lemon-filled doughnuts.  Six of them.  For $1.50.  And I had three and gave the others to Kyle, who complained the whole time he ate them, hahaha.  We're on this healthy diet, you see, and he was so dedicated to helping me stick to the diet that he offered to take three "fat bullets" for me.  Better for me in the long run, he says.  Yeah, I bet the doughnuts were pure torture.

On Thursday my sister did the dishes, though.  And Kyle made me two little mini-pizzas on flat pita bread for dinner after work.  And then on Friday, we went out to Texas Roadhouse and we got dinner AND a blooming onion (we don't usually indulge in appetizers)!  Then to see the Harry Potter movie, which was quite good, in case you were wondering.  

Then I came home and fell right to sleep.  And I continued to sleep like a rock until about 7 this morning, and my internal alarm clock prodded me awake and I thought I was late to teach.  But no such thing.  Saturdays are glorious!

I guess some people make A Huge Deal about their birthdays and think they're entitled to everything on that one specific day.  I prefer to compromise a little, be a bit more realistic, and have small splurges throughout the week to make up for it.  It's so much better that way!