Thursday, October 31, 2013

October 2013 on FB

Oct. 2: Tried a new kind of float tonight: chocolate ice cream with ginger ale. The best part about it was drinking it with friends! So grateful that Tillamook ice cream & ginger ale were both on sale. And SOOO blessed to have incredible, understanding, hilarious, talented friends!

Oct. 5: loved going camping & soaking at Challis Hot Springs this weekend! and watching Ammon run his xc meet was an added bonus, especially since he got 3rd place! I've truly enjoyed the extra day off from school--what a blessing to have 4 days with my family.

Oct. 6: Spending the next 3 days in McCall with my husband is just what my inner doctor ordered. So glad I listened to my heart, as my mind is already beginning to feel better here.

Oct. 10: Our "Lil Munchkins Patch of Pumpkins" opens this weekend! Open Fridays in October 12-6, and Saturdays in October 10-6. Located on Corbett Lane (7 miles south of Salmon on Hwy 93, turn at Shoup Bridge, follow signs). We have orange, white, and blue pumpkins for sale in several sizes. Also, there's a haybale maze, cornbag toss, guessing games, and food made with fresh pumpkin!

Oct. 14: Pink is on my mind right now--partially because it's all around for breast cancer awareness, but mostly because I'm going to P!nk in concert this week! (CAN'T WAIT!!!), and because of her song I'm singing with Amanda Vermaas Evans at Salmon Idol in 2 weeks, and for my costume theme based on her for Halloween!!!

Oct. 16: For 2 months I have looked forward to going to the Pink concert tomorrow. It just got rescheduled. To October 29. Which is the night I was scheduled to sing a "Pink" song at the Salmon Idol Contest. What a terrible dilemma I'm faced with....

Oct. 16: I'm so proud of Ammon Tolman! He went hunting and shot his own deer ALONE this week! And he just completed his cross country season today with another 3rd place finish! Definitely some happy moments for him and his parents!

Oct. 22: I'm lovin' this Halloween-themed week: carved pumpkins last night, finished making costumes tonight, church party tomorrow night, school carnival Thursday night!! I like that Halloween is more spread out this year instead of everything on one day/night!

Oct. 25: Dear Fall, Oh how I love you so! And the recent warmth and sunshine we've received lately makes me adore you even more!!! Also, capturing images of you in your prime makes me so happy...

Oct. 25: a trip to the temple and a meal of sweet pork from Costa Vida made my day complete!

Oct. 28: painted small pumpkins with the 3 younger boys tonight. We each did 2 and we worked on them for several hours. What a fun creative project! I just love how they turned out!

Oct. 29: I can survive any tough long as I have my good friends and this sexy man by my side!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Post from Halloweens Past

I was looking at my blog stats to see what my most popular blog posts have been, and was a little surprised to discover that a Halloween post from 2009 has the most hits--over 1,000 in fact! Some of the more popular posts are about family reunions, or about a friend's death, or when the boys have had accidents or birthdays, or about our dog-biting incident this past summer, but I'm astounded that a post about our costumes from a past Halloween tops the list!

Here's the link to read this very popular post (in case you haven't already) which includes the time our entire family dressed up as a SpongeBob character for the church Halloween party:

Oh, and Happy Halloween!!! I sure love this holiday!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Monopoly Math

Kanyon has loved numbers ever since he was a baby. Before he was 2, he could count to 20; even before he could speak in sentences or express his feelings, he knew his numbers. His favorite subject in 1st grade is math--he even enjoys doing the homework!!

One of his new favorite games this year is Monopoly. Josh and Ammon both already love the game--and now Kanyon has joined their club. As a 6-year-old, he loves the math aspect of this game. He loves adding and subtracting the dollars, and buying properties, and counting out the beginning cash for the players. He has asked Josh so many nights to PLEEEEASE play with him (he doesn't even bother asking me because I haven't liked that game since I was in high school--it's far too long and I always lose), and most nights Josh willingly agrees! 

Monday, October 21, 2013


That's almost the number of hits I've had on this blog site.

Are YOU my 50,000th visitor? (The counting ticker is at the bottom of the right-hand column in a small rectangle box.)

I've been looking forward to this number ever since I reached the 25,000 mark in February of 2011! I started this blog in 2008. So since its beginning 5 years ago, I average about 10,000 hits a year. That means I probably won't hit the 100,000 mark until 2018! And who knows if I will even be blogging then. So here's to 50,000!! And if you're the lucky visitor (or not), THANK YOU for reading my blog!!!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

What's red but looks gray?

There is always a story to tell. Some are more interesting than others. Some are more personal than others. Some are funnier. Some are longer. Some are life-changing. I like blogging because I like telling the stories of our lives. I like writing down the details of these stories, because the details help me remember and retain the memories better. I don't want to forget the little stuff, but unfortunately, most of the time I do. Thank goodness for my journals and for my blog posts, because these memories and the details surrounding them are not completely forgotten.
There's a difference between writing the facts, and writing with emotion. The latter is much more interesting to read, wouldn't you agree?! For example, I could say "I got my hair colored", and post some pictures, and be done. The facts & photos would be accurate, but not all that interesting. Or I could tell you the circumstances of what happened when I got my hair colored...which would be more interesting, so that's just what I will do.
One day back in August, I had the sudden urge to color my hair--in red and blonde streaks. This was a huge idea to me, because I don't believe in coloring my hair for several reasons: 1. I believe God gave me the hair color I have and I should try to make do with what I've been given. 2. Once you start coloring your hair, it's a constant process of keeping up on the color. 3. I've seen people who's hair has been destroyed from bleaching and coloring too much, and I don't have that much hair left to ruin what I've got. 4. It's expensive to color and I don't usually spend a lot of money on things for me.
So, I've been against coloring my hair for years, despite the encouragement from several hairstylists I've gone to. There was 2 times in my life that I did get highlights, though: once when Josh and I were separated 12 years ago, and I wanted to feel better about myself so I got some blonde highlights and once 2 years ago when I was feeling down and I got some dark brown lowlights for my birthday. Neither one of these was a huge change, and eventually the highlights faded or grew out.
When I had the sudden urge to color it, I told my friend Amanda (who's been my hairstylist for 3 years now), and she was so excited that I had finally swayed my thinking to believe in coloring my hair! I think I just wanted something bold to change my appearance because I was nervous for my upcoming surgery in the middle of August. So, shortly after I expressed my desire, I changed my mind and decided I didn't want to color my hair because I didn't want to do anything too drastic and regret it. But, she wouldn't let me forget what I'd said, and she had Krissy (our other friend) make sure I wouldn't forget it either. They made an appointment for me in September, and Krissy brought food, and Amanda got all the hair colors ready, and I couldn't back down at the last minute. I felt like I was forced into it, and I felt guilty for having Amanda take her time to do it, and I felt unhappy that it was happening.
But, as soon as it was all done, and I looked in the mirror, I loved it!!! I immediately felt tons better and I loved looking at my reflection and all the red and blonde streaks! I felt so pretty and I was so grateful to Amanda and Krissy for making me follow through with my urge! Then we laughed and ate and talked for hours afterward, and I had a great night with them!
I got home late that night, and Josh was already in bed. The next morning, when he woke up and looked at it, the first thing he said was "you look more gray". I was soooo mad at him, so I got out of bed and got ready for church and primped myself up until I felt like I was lookin' good. I figured I'd get lots of compliments at church that day, and that people would notice because it was such a big difference in my appearance. I ALWAYS notice when others get their hair colored or cut, so I figured somebody would return the favor.
Unfortunately, that was the day that we got a new Bishopric, and nobody was looking at me or my hair, they were all focused on the new changes in the ward. So, at the end of church, I felt like crap. I came home and cried. I was sad that Josh had made that comment the morning after my new big hair color change, and I was upset that not a single person noticed my hair (except for a little girl I passed in the hall from the other ward). So, I got a complex about it and I worried that it didn't look good, which is why nobody wanted to say anything about it.
Because my new hair color was such a HUGE change for me (both emotionally and physically), I just expected it would be so noticeable to others too. When I told Josh why I was upset that afternoon, he felt bad about what he'd said that morning. His excuse was that his eyes were just focusing, and he was looking at the back side of my hair (which is more blonde), and in the dim light of the morning, it appeared gray. He tried to make up for it then by telling me that he thought it looked good, but I didn't know if he really meant it or if he was trying to make it up to me to counteract the earlier comment. Let this be a lesson: don't EVER tell a woman who's trying to feel more pretty (as she's aging) that she looks more gray!!!!
During the next week at school, only about 5 students (out of 320) noticed my hair, as well as a few teachers. But in the last month since it happened, I've gotten lots and lots of compliments, so I don't have a complex about it anymore. I feel better about posting pictures of myself with my new hair on here now. It's interesting that more people noticed my new hair after about 2 weeks after it had happened!
These pictures were taken on the day after I got it done--when I got all primped up to look nice for church.

Can you notice the color from these angles? Here's a much closer look at the red/blonde streaks of color in my hair:

I've heard from several people that it's much more noticeable in the sunlight, so I took a few pictures last week in the outside daylight, and I don't know if that's true or not...

It took me a couple weeks to decide that I like my hair, regardless of whether anybody else notices it or likes it or not! And I think I've decided that I will continue to change up my hair color once in a while. Next time, I'd like to try more red, and less blonde. I'm so blessed to have a great hairdresser, and awesome friends who convince me to do things that are ultimately good for me!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Walls and Wheels

I really enjoyed decorating my classroom this summer. The maintenance staff worked over the summer sanding and repainting my stage, and then they repainted my walls, too. It felt like a whole new room, and I've loved being in the updated space! When I started teaching in this space in February of 2011, the walls were completely bare. I've purchased several items over the last 3 years to bring color and interest to the room. I don't have any "before" pictures of the space, though. In fact, other than productions on my stage, I don't think I've ever posted pictures of my classroom on this blog before, so here's a little photo walk-through of the space I occupy daily during the school year:
When students first walk in the door, there's a little hallway to enter my room. I created a new bulletin on the left side of the hallway about stars (that's my class theme), and the 2nd, 3rd, & 4th grade students helped me decorate it the second week of school. They picked words that described stars or how people are like stars, and they're written in the yellow & orange stars around its perimeter. Then they colored their own unique star and put their names on it. I love all the colors and patterns on the little stars! (I wish the photo was more clear to show them) It's now our own Star Wall Walk of Fame!
On the right side of the entrance hallway is my office. It just occurred to me that I didn't take a photo of that space. I worked on it a lot the last two years, reorganizing the instruments and materials in the small space so that it all fit and the space was efficient. Our school adopted the "Leader in Me" theme this year, and we are teaching the students about Covey's 7 Highly Effective Habits. For each habit, the principal asked me to make up a song and teach it to the students. Our first song was called "Be Proactive", and the tune was to the "Sponge Bob Square Pants Theme Song". I put some of the words in the song on my office door, and put a full-length mirror next to it. As soon as they enter into my room hallway, they see the mirror. Then I added a Sponge Bob image to the mirror, and cut out the eyes so each of the kids could see themselves through the "Proactive SpongeBob". A lot of the younger students like this new addition to my classroom hallway!
This is a view of the right wall in my classroom. You can see the entrance hallway & Star Wall walk of fame in the right side of the photo (to the right of that is the beginning of the stage--all you can see are the stage curtains). Above the doorway is a clock, and I added a music note decoration to it this year. I like the musical note clock! I rearranged the posters on the wall, and added several new instrument posters, making a more colorful wall filling up some of the white space. I painted the bookshelf blue this summer to match the trim on the walls. It used to be a pink/tan color and was so ugly! The colored music textbooks on the shelves are for different grade levels. The equipment next to the bookshelves are: TV/Video cart, computer/projector cart, and CD player/speaker cart. 
This is a closer look at the photo displays I made for that wall, using pictures of the student productions from last year and the previous year. I spent several hours making the colorful collage display, and I really love the splash of color and all the pictures of the kids! They like seeing themselves on the wall, too!
On the left wall, I rearranged some more music posters. The door on this wall faces the street, and I unlock it on days when we have student musical productions. My main piano, the darker upright one, was tuned this fall, and it sounds beautiful! The piano is over 100 years old, and I love it's classic sound! There are two sets of chairs: one bigger set for the 5th grade, and a smaller set for the elementary students.
My favorite addition to my classroom this year was a musical rug. I've wanted a rug ever since I started 3 years ago. The floor is hard, and for times when we sit down to hear a story, I've desired a rug. So, I put it on my request list this year. It was the single most expensive thing I purchased: over $300. But it was SO worth it! We use it all the time now: for roll & tell sharing time, and individual dance time, and story time. I love all the color it brings to my classroom!!
When the students come to class, they sit in chairs in a U-shape around the rug, facing me. My chair & stand are in front of the removable white-board wall. It's my main instruction area.
 I've also added a few 7 habits posters to the lower portion of the wall sections since I took this next photo. At the right of the photo, you can see a gap in the removable wall. That's the opening for the bathroom/drinking fountain in the adjacent room. The removable wall gets pushed into a wall cavity when there's musical productions, doubling the size of my classroom for audience members to sit. 

As I was preparing my classroom for the start of school at the end of August, Josh was also preparing in a completely different way for the beginning of a new school year. Josh's school board term was finished at the end of June. Then he began training and taking tests to become a school bus driver. Yes, a SCHOOL BUS DRIVER!!! He studied, took multiple written and driving tests, attended a driving course, got a new CDL endorsement on his drivers license for passengers, and had to have several hours of supervised driving before he could begin. He was SO nervous the first week of school driving school bus for the first time, but he's gotten in the swing of it now. He drives a regular route morning and afternoon, and also takes trips driving for athletic events. The big reason for him to take on this extra job is the benefits. For the first time since moving to Salmon, he finally has health insurance. It's worked out pretty good with his golf course job, too. He goes to work in the morning at the golf course, then drives bus, then goes back to the golf course, then drives the bus in the afternoon. I see him a lot less now, but the benefits far outweigh that fact! Plus I think he's a mighty handsome bus driver, too!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Students, Backpacks, & School Supply Stacks

Back-to-School Orientation Day was on Monday, August 26. We had 13 weeks of summer, and yet it still didn't seem long enough. We didn't feel ready for school to begin! We went school shopping in mid-August, and then had to go again in town on Monday after we got new items added to our lists at orientation. This is the stacks of school stuff JUST for the twins:

On Tuesday morning, the boys got up bright and early, put on some of their new clothes and shoes, and were ready for school, toting all their supplies in their backpacks. After attending orientation the day before, and seeing who was in their classes this year, they were actually excited about going on the first day!

Kanyon is in 1st grade this year and his teacher is Mrs. Born. His best friends Keagan and Wyatt N. are in his same class, which is such a blessing! He was SO happy to be attending school, for which I am SO grateful! He struggled a little bit at the beginning of his Kindergarten year with the new routine, but he has done amazingly well so far this year! He loves school, and he likes going all day now and having 3 recesses, and he still enjoys math tremendously and has liked learning how to read, too.
As a 1st grader, he now has his own desk--last year he just had his own little paper cubby in his Kindergarten classroom. He likes having his own supplies and his own workspace. Notice the earmuffs on his desk? Last year, he had difficulty concentrating because of the noise (he has super sensitive hearing), so over the summer we got him 2 pairs of earmuffs: one for school, and one for home. During the 2nd week of school, he informed me that the best part about school was that "it wasn't as noisy in his classroom now", so he hasn't had to use the earmuffs yet at school!

Micah and Jonah are in the same class again this year as 4th graders. This is the last year they are in the elementary school. There is no room for the 5th graders at the elementary school, so they attend the middle school. We have a small elementary school and an old Jr. High school in Salmon, but the community has voted no on a new K-8 school building 8 times now in the last ten years. It's sad for me to know this is my twins' last year the elementary school! I can't believe how old they are getting! Their teacher this year is Mrs. Baker--who they had 2 years ago in 2nd grade before she was married and known then as Ms. Schauss. They were happy to have her again, and also glad to know that one of their best friends Mason was in their class with them again.

Micah chose to keep his Mohawk hairstyle this year! Some of the kids in his grade/class/school recognize the boys by either their haircut or their shoes. Micah also chose to have very bright shoes this year:

Jonah wanted to keep his straight buzz cut that he's had in years past, and he chose more conservative shoes!

This is the last year they have "cubbies", because in 5th grade they receive lockers! Their cubbies are right next to each other this year!

Ammon is now an 8th grader, which is the final year he will be at the Middle School. This means that next year, I will have students in all 3 schools: one in elementary, two in middle, and one in high school. WHAT?!! I can't believe Ammon will be a freshman next year! That's seems crazy! He has a great schedule this year, and has several friends in his classes. He has 7 periods each day: science, math, english, band, history, p.e., and tutorial (the first year he's had it and loves having time to do homework at school). He is an excellent student and has some nice friends, and he seems to be fairing the early teenage years really well!
P.S. The 3 older boys all wore "Fox" shirts to school on the first day,
and seeing these photos of them wearing the fox symbol
reminds me of the song they've all been singing lately:
"What does the fox say?"!!