Monday, April 29, 2013

The Power of a Melody

You ever have those songs that, for one reason or another, speak to you in a weird way… every time you hear them? Well, I do. They aren’t necessarily your favorite songs of all time, but every single time they appear on your playlist or the radio you just stare off into space, or feel like floating, or you feel like crying, or your heart starts beating really fast, or you feel a sense of calm rush over you, or you become pensive… whatever the case may be, I seem to be experiencing this more and more recently.

Wow, long run-on sentence, but whatevs. Here are some of the songs that bring out one or more of these emotions/feelings…

9. Black Tables – Other Lives (yes Court, this was in Grey's)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday Five!

{All Day IPA + Founders Live Music = my favorite Thursday evening}

Things are looking up…. work, our house hunting goals, the weather, you name it. It’s amazing how one insignificant thing can change your whole outlook on…. well, everything! For me, it was hearing Sheryl Crow’s “Everyday is a Winding Road” on the way home from yoga Wednesday night. Honestly, not sure why, but I just started bellowing along and by the time I was home, my whole attitude towards the entire week had changed.

This weekend I’m heading to the country for the Maxey family (and friends) annual “Wild Game Day”, which will commence in Dowagiac on Saturday. In case you’re unfamiliar, “game” means food… aka animals hunted for sport. I find this slightly disturbing as I was not raised in a hunter family, so, as per usual, my contribution is portabella mushrooms. People hunt mushrooms apparently too, so I figure it’s appropriate. Such a different world I was raised in…

Even though I’m not a big fan of the premise of this weekend, it’s an event I look forward to every Spring. It’s always good country-bumpkin-fun, which I’ve found is good for a person’s soul from time to time, regardless of how much you try to fight it (which I did for years, and still do occasionally). It’s great food (hellloooo taco dip!), hilariously great people, and an overall great time. Never a dull moment in Dowagiac J

(makes me want to take a road trip)

{sifting through house listings that meet our criteria}

{Kashi Cereal + Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Coconut Milk… my favorite after workout snack}

{grandpa’s baby ring? started wearing this just for fun, but it’s turned into something a little more sentimental… grandpa’s trendy}

{gifted candy dish from the G-Rents – I foresee this on our kitchen counter for years and years to come}

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Summer Bucket List

{max and I on the lake a few years ago}

Recently, Court has been talking a lot about bucket lists. So when Max and I were asked to come up with fun summer dates as part of our marriage counseling homework, it seemed very natural that I turn it into a summer bucket list for the two of us.

1. Explore Easttown… starting here and here
2. Visit the Zoo.
3. Take weekly walks and feed ducks by the pond
4. Continue the Brewery Tour! Including here, here and here.
5. Sunday Funday at Craigs Cruisers (reliving the original Meg & Max photo booth pics)
6. Hit up the driving range
7. Go to a Friday night baseball game
8. See live music at the Intersection.
9. Have a picnic at Reed’s Lake, reminiscing about the first time we talked about getting engaged nearly three years ago J
10. Watch the sunset in Holland

What is missing from our list is the obvious… house hunting, wedding planning AND spending as much time outside as possible! Including, but not limited to, boating, grilling, and seeing as much live music here and here as we can fit into our schedule!

I shall update you on our progress...

image via

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sisterly Love

A few weeks ago, I was at my parent’s house strolling down memory lane, also known as our photo album CLOSET (I think this is why I always feel the need to keep up on photo albums!). I spent hours looking through pictures, all the way from my mom’s Bridal shower, to my sister and I when we were both under 10 years old, to my College graduation and everything in between. It was a blast! While I mostly enjoyed reminiscing on fond memories of grandpa, I loved looking at pictures of me and my sister when we were younger. We both had some interesting “styles” to say the least but I wouldn't trade my childhood with her or my family for anything! Love you, Court (and fam)!!!

*Since these were pictures taken of pictures you'll have to excuse the quality... 

My Office

Since living far, far away from home, the family and I like to provide each other with lots of visuals from our lives.

These include changes we make in our homes, new clothes, haircuts, neighborhoods, and work spaces.

I talk to my mom at least one morning a week on the way to work, and recently she said she was unable to picture me at work because she hadn't seen my office yet.

Well, wonder no more...

When I walk in my door, this is what I see. 

This is the office for the Division Heads--there are 3 of us at my school--so I share the space. 

From left: Pictures of my children, figurine of Chicago that my mom got me on a business trip a long time ago (it finds a spot on every desk I have), picture from our wedding day, picture of mom and I in South Haven when I was...3 or 4 years old. My students always get a kick out of seeing Mrs. U when she was a little girl. 

The desk of the person right next to me. I ADORE her, but she's not so neat. Sometimes I find myself organizing her desk...and she happily allows it...she gets me. 

Essentials for starting each morning: 
Coffee thermos & mug,  banana, water bottle (thanks, mom! I took that from your basement on my recent visit!), my binder with the week's notes & reminders, my computer (duh) and my favorite pen 
(not shown: walkie talkie & whistle).

Believe it or not, there is a very specific purpose for each one of these binders....and I foresee about 4 more developing before the year is over. This has been a yearlong project for me: I've collected resources for teachers in 4 different grades...such a vast collection must be organized in a purposeful way. Though this library will never truly be complete, I am much more equipped to serve as an instructional coach to teachers of PreK-2nd grade. 

Exhibit A

 The two student desks are for when kids come in to my office to cool down...they sit there and either talk to me or work on word searches, coloring sheets, mazes or read a book until they're ready to talk to me. This is something new I implemented and it's been pretty effective. 

Posted on the obscenely large heating & air conditioning unit is:
Student data, schedules, state protocol flowcharts and, of course, more pictures.

Next to the picture of the doggies is a picture of grandpa.
My students have all been writing me notes and making cards since finding out that he passed. In their culture, many of them are being raised by grandparents, so they have a keen sense of what it's like to lose one.

Finally, here I am in my office. 
The angle of the picture is not for artistic affect...a student took it. 

I have to say that no matter how hard my days can sometimes be (and I admit, I complain a LOT) you just can't beat 
spending nine hours a day with kids. 
They they're like a breath of fresh air. 
They help you put your life into perspective.   
They make you laugh, you miss them when you're sick and have to stay home, and they make you so glad you chose the profession. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Monday Motivators!

My husband comes home today, after being up north for a week...and I'm as excited to see him today 
as I was to become his wife almost 3 years ago. 
Having the place to myself has been cool, but I'm over it now. 
I'm ready for this house to be full again. 

I'll kick off the things that are motivating me this morning with a song  conveniently titled for the great start to my week. 

 New bag to bring to work (on the days I don't bring my backback).

We will (finally) be solidifying our work plans for next year THIS WEEK.

So glad to finally know where we'll be for the next year or two. We can settle into our home and focus now. It may not be exactly what we were expecting, but it is--by far--the smartest move.

Tuesday marks ONE MONTH until Meggie & Max come down to NOLA to visit!!  I've already started my list of things to do while they're here!

Finally, this week marks Earth Day.

 Make it a point to plant something (it will make your air healthier!), eat something wonderful the Earth has provided you, or simply get out there and enjoy the beautiful space we live in. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

New Orleans Courtyards

If my husband and I were to live here forever, we'd buy a house that had an incredible courtyard garden. 

These magical nooks all over the city make me feel like I'm inside a book. They're all so utterly unique, quaint & beautiful... 

I can see myself having coffee or drinks with friends here. 

Sometimes, walking in the French Quarter, this is the only glimpse you the rest is up to your imagination. 

Many restaurants here in NOLA welcome you with 
brick patios like this one.

We'll be sure to actually go INSIDE this place 
when Meggie & Max visit next month. 

Though this one is public, it's accessible from where I live and quite charming at night. 


Imagine this one at night....

I would spend every second I could here if this was my backyard...

But, in the meantime, I make my own attempts at a lush tropical garden escape on my balconies at's a start!