Thursday, September 30, 2010

fan club

I came home from work today to find this. Christian and Graham have a serious fan club.

my "already completed" bucket list

Lenessa said she was making a bucket list. Naturally, I had to copy her. That's what friends are for, right?

Since it's not as easy as you'd think, I went online and started looking at other people's lists for inspiration. I found myself saying, "Done that, done that, done that." And then it hit me--I have done a lot in my 28 years! I am one very very lucky girl!

So before writing my "bucket list," and in order to always remember all the fun things I've done, I made myself a "Things I've Already Done" list.

Seriously. This amazes me.

1. Go clubbing in Spain.
2. Island hop in Greece.
3. Learn to play the guitar (yeah--I took Flamenco guitar lessons in Spain and forgot everything...)
4. Backpack/Train around Europe.
5. Go sky diving.
6. Visit the Amazon.
7. See the meeting of the waters in Brazil.
8. See the pink dolphins in Brazil (they were a creepy flesh color...).
9. Go to a professional soccer game in Europe (Barcelona).
10. Snowboard in the Alps (next to the Matterhorn).
11. Shoot a gun.
12. Hold wild alligators, tarantulas, snakes, and not-so-wild wild monkeys.
13. Eat a freshly caught piranha.
14. Go to grad school (and graduate).
15. Go to a filming of The Price is Right.
16. Have a baby.
17. Go river rafting.
18. See Old Faithful in Yellowstone.
19. Hike in Zion's National Park.
20. Hike half dome (twice).
21. Take a road trip across the US and back (I was 11, but it was fun).
22. Visit Niagara Falls.
23. Visit Mount Rushmore.
24. Visit Rome, Florence, Venice.
25. See the Berlin Wall.
26. Watch capoeira in Salvador, Brazil.
27. Run a marathon.
28. Complete a triathlon.
29. See a Broadway show.
30. Visit Washington DC.
31. Marry my best friend.
32. Walk on a glacier.
33. Visit the Eiffel Tower.
34. Go surfing (lessons on wimpy "waves" counts, right?)
35. Race horses down a beach.
36. See the Mona Lisa.
37. Go to a bull fight in Spain.
38. Go on a cruise (still need to go on a real, non-party cruise).
39. Call 911 (it was busy).
40. Cliff jump off an 80-foot cliff.
41. Go to Disneyland.
42. Swim in an underground cenote (cave).
43. Do Bay to Breakers.
44. Scuba dive (Belize, Brazil, and Hawaii).
45. Learn a second language.
46. Sleep under the stars.
47. Visit the Grand Canyon.
48. Visit the ruins in Mexico.

What other amazing things have I forgotten?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

planning out my life

I'm a planner, for sure. I knew quite young that I wanted to study abroad in Spain during my third year of college. I planned out every detail and made it happen. Throughout college I loved planning out my years on paper, altering the plan on a regular basis.

Then there was planning for a wedding. Then graduate school. And a baby. Then planning out the final years of Christian's degree (hey, I had run out of things to plan so he had to humor me).

And now?

Now... there's no plan.

What can I plan?

I can't plan Christian's job hunt. That's one of those things we just have to patiently suffer through.

I'm not about to plan out Graham's life. He's 11 months old, for crying out loud.

We don't need to plan for the second baby. We have what we need and pretty much know what we're doing.

I can't plan classes for myself (like Adult Ed certification or an upholstery class), because with two jobs I don't have time for those kinds of things.

As a planner, it's hard for me to just sit and go with the flow without making a plan.

Last week, Christian brought up the idea of going to graduate school in the near future. Naturally, I jumped on the idea and the rusty wheels in my head started turning. Studying for the GMAT, submitting applications, funding another degree, moving to a smaller place in order to save money. I was in planning heaven. Details, details, details!

I think I overwhelmed Christian. Oops. Maybe I'll wait to plan that out until it's more than just an "idea."

Last night I went to dinner with friends to wish Julie good luck on her cross-country move (we'll miss you, Julie!!) and ended up with this fortune in my cookie.

And I thought, ummmm, what plans??

Thursday, September 23, 2010

things i want

Now for the latest installment of "Things I want."

1. A postpartum belly wrap/girdle. I'd love to try to make one myself (since it's essentially just an ace bandage around your belly), but we'll see if that happens. Has anyone used these? There are so many different types out there. I know Veronica is using this one and likes it. Anyone else?

2. This adorable Melissa & Doug walker for Graham. He probably doesn't need it, but how cute is this??

3. An adorable newborn beanie for baby #2. My absolutely favorite newborn picture of Graham is of him wearing the pumpkin beanie I drooled over for weeks. I'd love to have something similar for #2, but it will be Christmas time. Not that I want a Santa hat or snowflakes--I just can't decide what.

4. Rain. I want to wear my rain boots. :)

5. A maternity unitard.

Ha! Not really.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

illustrations and worksheets for teachers

So every once in a while I come across a web site I really like. The other week I was lucky enough to stumble upon the most helpful ESL (English as a Second Language) site ever! I am forever struggling to find useful worksheets and images for my beginning ESL students. is my new favorite site, and I feel like my curriculum is going to be much more complete this year thanks to what I've found here. Here's the thing--you can use a lot of his images and worksheets for elementary-school classrooms or at home with your kids!

The web site is put together by an ESL teacher whose passion is illustrating. All the downloadable images and worksheets on his site are free, which absolutely blew me away. I donated to his site via paypal (and would recommend that you do the same if you end up using lots of his stuff). He deserves it! It is obvious he has put a lot of time into the site just to help out fellow teachers. (Plus he gave me a shout out on his podcast, which totally surprised me!)

I'm tempted to use some of his adorable illustrations as decorations in Graham's room. Love them! See for yourself...

Animals and the Alphabet

Occupations Flash Cards

Verbs Flash Cards

Vocabulary Flash Cards

Grammar Worksheets

This may sound silly, but finding this site feels like such a blessing in my life right now. I often don't have as much time as I'd like to prepare supplemental materials for my classes, and being unprepared often makes me feel like a bad teacher. Add that to the fact that I don't see Graham at all on the days I teach, and it can get me pretty down. In just one day I was able to find supplemental pictures and worksheets for half my curriculum thanks to this site. I am grateful!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

graham's shenanigans

Just a couple of phone pictures...

From Ashley's phone: On Saturday we went to my parents' house. Graham crawled around in planter boxes while my mom weeded and I picked chard for dinner. He sat on plants. He chewed on rocks. He ate dirt. He played with Scout. He loved it.

From Christian's phone: Graham climbs on everything. Looks like it's time to get rid of the big box of books that has been taking up space in our kitchen.

Monday, September 20, 2010


The older I get, the more I'm convinced this is the best time of the year. I used to think Spring was the best time. Perhaps that's because I lived on the edge of the countryside and could see the hills turn green and our garden burst to life. Now I mostly just see a parking lot, the train, and my cubicle. Perhaps if I move back to the country, Spring will take the #1 spot again. Until then, Autumn has a firm hold on me.

What I love about Autumn:

1. The weather cooling down. Wind. Rain. The air. You can feel it.

2. The colors. Liquid Amber and Chinese Pistache trees turning bright red.

3. Boots and long-sleeved shirts.

4. Pumpkins! Gourds! Autumn leaves!

5. Anything made with pumpkin. Cookies, cakes, bread. You name it.

6. The smell of apple cider. I don't need to drink it. I just like to smell it.

7. My birthday!

8. Christian's birthday!

9. Graham's birthday!

10. Halloween candy.

11. Thanksgiving feasts. I don't need any turkey. Give me yams, rolls, and jello. Mmmmm.

Today I went on a little walk and picked some autumn leaves to hang in my cubicle. This way I can enjoy Autumn from my box.

Friday, September 17, 2010

marshmallows and such

(Photo source. Check out the recipe there, too...)

Eating too many marshmallows makes me sick. When I was younger, I ate so many marshmallows my dad used to say that if I kept eating so many I'd turn into a marshmallow. Words of wisdom right there. Luckily something clicked in my body and at some point in my adolescence, I started feeling very sick whenever I ate too many marshmallows. I can handle a handful, but I now I know to stop after that.

I once had a dream that I was eating marshmallows and I woke up feeling sick. (No, my pillow was not missing.)

Today I got this great idea to make carmel and chocolate dipped marshmallows for Graham's birthday. Doesn't that sound so yummy? (Yes--I'm already thinking about throwing him his first birthday party.)

So, naturally, I started looking up recipes for yummy dipped marshmallows.

I looked at a few too many.

I now feel sick as if I have eaten too many marshmallows.

It's got to be psychological.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

double stroller

In the words of Christian... Thar she blows!

(Scored off Craigslist from a couple in Tiburon who just happened to be meeting up with their parents from Mountain View today. Christian only had to walk down the street to get it. So incredibly excited.)

my goals for this ESL year

1. Focus less on grammar.

2. Focus more on speaking and listening skills.

3. Plan more activities specific to the literacy students. ("Literacy" level usually refers to students who don't have strong literacy skills in their home language or English.)

4. Recruit volunteers to come help the literacy students. (Anyone feel like spending an evening or two in East Palo Alto with me?)

5. Arrive early so students can ask questions outside of class time.

6. Be more organized and fully prepared for class in advance.

7. Speak less Spanish.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

pictures from my phone

I think some of my favorite pictures come from my phone. Here is the latest installment (so that I can delete them from my phone).

Waking up while Christian was at Zion's Camp. I slept in Graham's room all week and got to pull him in bed with me when he would wake up.

Graham loves the washer and dryer. Our neighbor loves to bang on the ceiling when Graham crawls into the laundry room anytime before 9am. I can only imagine the terrible ruckus a 19-pound baby makes crawling around in his pajamas...

He loves to smile for the camera.

Christian may never forgive me for posting this. He fell asleep looking for a job. Hand on the mouse and everything.

When did this kid start looking so old??

First ride on Caltrain (just last week). We will be riding the train home together every Monday. Christian and I swap at Stanford when I finish work and he starts.

My first harvest of the season. The world's most perfect pepper. This is not a chili pepper. It is a piquillo pepper from Spain, saved from the seeds from last year's CSA.

Yesterday on our walk home from the train we stopped at the grocery store. I only purchased the essentials, as you can see...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Utah pictures!

I will now make up for the horrible lack of photos on this blog by posting way too many at once. You're welcome.

As you all know, Richard left on a 2-year mission for our church a couple weeks ago. So he jumped in a car with Dianna, Paula, and Steve, and Christian and I followed the next day with Graham. Road trip to Utah!

Side note: In case you were wondering after my bad mood post from the other week, no, Richard did not finish cleaning out his room despite getting mad at us for even hinting that he might not. And, yes, I was fuming mad all the way across the desert to Utah. But it turns out all you need is a day in the car and the realization that you're sending a family member away for 2 years to make you realize it really doesn't matter. (Not to mention Dianna and Bob came and took care of almost everything when we got back, meaning the pregnant girl who is about to start her second job doesn't have to. Thank you, Dianna and Bob!) We'll just make him wash our cars and bathrooms when he gets home from his mission as pay back. :)

We had a super fun time in Utah with Christian's family. It was so fun to have everyone together, especially since we never see Veronica and Josh!

On to the pictures!

Pit stop on the 13-hour drive to Utah (Saturday).

We were greeted by a very fancy looking Savannah!

Sunday we completely botched an attempt to hang out with Jared and Michelle. I was so bummed!

Instead, we went to a family BBQ after Mae's baby blessing. Richard and Graham chilled on the grass.

Beautiful Veronica!

We took advantage of the hotel pool before and after church. Had to get our money's worth. (The pictures that included Josh and Savannah were super blurry.)

Chillin' with V poolside while the boys swam with the kids.

Monday morning most of the family went and did a session at the Salt Lake Temple. Veronica and I joined them on Temple Square afterward.

Next up was a trip to the Salt Lake Zoo. I love going to the zoo! (Still Monday)

Christian, Graham, and I popped over to see my good friend Meredith and Coco, and we lucked out--Hilary and Landon were there, too!

Turns out Meredith's lawn was the perfect place for a little kid tossing.

Then we met up with the family for dinner at PF Changs. Richard, Veronica, and new little baby Mae! (All still on Monday...)

To top off the day, we swung by the Salt Lake City Library to visit Ryan at work. Graham and Ryan get along smashingly.

On to Tuesday... We spent Tuesday in Eden, up in the mountains above Ogden. We all packed into a condo and hung out for a day. We swam, we ate, we went on walks, we played games, we laughed. Christian spent the entire day in bed with the flu. Poor guy!!

Graham saw his first grasshopper (a big lazy one).

We took the fastest family picture ever taken. I think my family could use a few pointers on taking fast family photos... Although I could probably use a few pointers on lighting. Oops!

This is how Christian felt all day.

So we joined him on the ground.

We played some Book-of-Mormon-themed card game that was actually really fun. What's it called? I can't remember. Regardless, the best part was when Steve threw a card down so fast that he somehow flipped his piece of cheesecake onto his fork. No one can figure out how he did it.

Wednesday we drove to Provo, had lunch at Cafe Rio (yummy), and dropped Richard off at the Missionary Training Center. So exciting!

Then we drove to Tahoe! However, considering how long this post was, the Tahoe pictures will have to wait until another day...