Wednesday, October 28, 2009

American Idol Update-November

As you all know, I am a huge American Idol fan. I just love it. I can't wait for it to come back on in January. I'm really into music and love ALL TYPES except most country and obvious things like polka, jazz, etc. Blake and I have kept up with American Idol really well the past 4 years. A lot of my favorite American Idol alums are coming out with new CDs so I thought it would be fun to post some of their videos/songs.

Of course, my all-time favorite, and 2nd place in last year's competition, Adam Lambert will get to go first. His debut album comes out November 23, and one of his songs was picked for the theme song of the new disaster movie, 2012. Here is his new song, Time For Miracles . And of course a few of my favorite performances from his this year: Whole Lotta Love, Feeling Good, and Mad World, Ring Of Fire, and Tracks Of My Tears to name a few.

Onto one of my next favorites from last season, Allison Iraheta. Her debut album comes out December 1. Here is one of my favorite new songs from the album. So girly and catchy. Blake hates it for obvious reasons(the same reasons he doesn't like any Britney Spears songs that I do)

And next we have one of my favorites from 2 seasons ago, Jason Castro. As we all know, he is an Aggie, so that makes him even cooler. On a side-note, I do hate his hair. Here is his new music video for his song "Let's Just Fall In Love Again" His debut album comes out early 2010. This song is just a great feel good-song. GIG EM JASON!!!

And of course Carrie Underwood. She is as "country" as I'll ever like!

And probably one of the most famous American Idol Alums ever besides Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, and all them, is Chris Daughtry. Here is one of his new songs I like, No Surprise. Blake HATES Daughtry, but I don't mind. Just seeing that some of his videos have over 8,000,000 views says a lot of people like them lol. And he was only a 4th place Finalist on American Idol. Not too shabby. I also like that Kidd Kraddick refers to them as "Lumberjack Rock" Whatever, I still like them!

And then, even though he did beat my favorite contestant (Adam Lambert), and even though Blake and I like to make fun of him because he looks a lot like Brett, is Kris Allen, winner of this year's American Idol. Here is one of his cool performances, singing Apologize by One Republic. And here is his version of Kayne West's Heartless. And of course, "Falling Slowly" Allen's CD comes out November 17.

And of course a quick look at David Cook, another one of my favorites and the winner of Season 7 of American Idol. Here is his music video for Come Back To Me

YAY! I love American Ido! Can't wait for it to come back on!!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Oh the joys of first grade

I am having a blast teaching first grade. The kids in my class this year are really smart, adorable, and not to mention hilarious. Today one of my students waddled up to me and informed me that "His left shoelace got tied to his right one. He REALLY didn't know how it happened. He was just walking down the hallway and suddenly his right shoelaces became double knotted to his left one."
Riiight HAHAHA.

So anyways, our school uses the book and methods of "Teaching with Love and Logic" which is not only an eductional discipline book but is also used for parenting. The book and system are AMAZING. I love everything about it. It teaches kids responsibility for their own actions as well as how to deliver consequences with empathy. And a ton of other stuff. I think I will definitely use it for when Blake and I have kids one day.

So back to the story, when the student came to me to try to untie his shoelaces for him, I responded with "Wow. It seems you have a tough problem that you're going to need to work through. I hope you can come up with a solution. Good luck, let me know how it goes." Then I walked off. He was pretty floored. It was really funny to watch from the corner of my eye. Love and Logic is new to me, so I'm just starting to get the hang of it.

The student sat there for a couple of second, clearly in deep thought. He probably wasn't used to not having an adult immediately fix his mistakes. A few minutes later he came up to me and said "Mrs. Hilliard, I thought about it and I think I'll just take the shoelaces out of my shoes and put them in my backpack for the rest of the day. I can try to work on untying them when I get home." I was very pleased.

Love and Logic teaches kids to take responsibility for their actions and problems, and I guarantee he won't be doing that again now that he knows I won't sit there for a long time and try to untie it for him. And I know he wouldn't want to waddle around all the rest of the day either.

I'm definitely loving my job. It is a laugh a minute. I have an especially funny group of kids. The situations they get themselves just couldn't make this stuff up. I've given up trying to keep a straight face when they say something funny. I think they know that I'm crazy about them and they seem equally crazy about me from all the sweet parent letters I've gotten so far haha.

The workload is pretty incredible though. We actually have each day sectioned off into 12 separate categories where we teach 12 seperate lessons a day in various subjects. Back in Richardson we simply had a Reading, Math, Science, and Social Studies block lol. And the lessons now are extremely in depth and each require a ton of manipulatives and materials that you have to prepare ahead of time. But it's good, because first grade kiddos definitely need that hands-on, interactive learning. That paired with having to learn a brand new curriculum, as well as getting probably over 100 e-mails a day about all various things, tons of meetings all the time, allllll the grading, and about 500 other things I don't have time to even get into, it's just a lot lol.

That is why me, along with a lot of the other first grade teachers, are there from 7:00-7:00 pretty much every day. It's kind of weird though, because the school day FLYS by. I mean it's 7:00 and the next thing I know, I turn around and it's time for them to go. All the while I'm running 90 miles a minute lol. For example, a typical lunch for me is I start walking the kids down at 11:30, then have to get their lunch cards for them and get them pointed in the right direction. That puts me back to about 11:40. Then I will either have a parent call or some other task I need to handle immediately. And that puts me to about 11:50. And 5 minutes to eat since I have to head down at 11:55 to get the kids.

I've learned to hold my bladder so well haha. It's like, well I need to pee, but I'll need to wait about 3 hours until my planning period if I have time to swing by the restroom. I think only super high energy, multi-taskers, and people with a huge heart for kids can be teachers. I mean its seriously hard work. My goodness. But I love every minute of it.

My deal is trying to set SOME time aside for myself as well as for me and Blake. We've been doing pretty good about that, making sure we eat together, and if I'm home working on school stuff, we still are hanging out. During the school year, it's just hard for me to get my mind off teaching. I told myself that I would ABSOLUTELY NOT do ANYTHING for school tomorrow, and just save it for Sunday when we have our school's dedication at 2:00 and after that I'll get all my work done. But I can just visualize all those papers in my take home bag and they are just waiting to be graded. Not to mention the lesson tweaking and Center ideas and prep I still want to do. But I'll try to not do it until Sunday. We'll see how it goes.

Somehow I haven't really gotten stressed about anything this year yet! I think I'm just so thankful to be able to teach at such a wonderful school. A lot of teachers teach a long time before they are able to get into a school like this. I have a great team to work with and all the teachers at the whole school are so nice. And don't get me started on how much I love my kids. And there are definitely perks, all my awesome parent volunteers who take care of all my copies, any cutting, laminating, and any other tasks I need done. And not to metion that one of my kid's parents who buys and brings me lunch every Friday hehe :) I did offer money repeatedly, but they refused. They rock!

I am just loving life right now. And Blake and I are celebrating our anniversary tomorrow! 2 years on Tuesday! Look for a blog post about that soon....Maybe...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Our next vacation

We decided that the next vacation we want to go on in about a month or so is to swim....with...manatees. We really like snorkeling and what could be better than snorkeling with a bunch of manatees. We loved snorkeling in Maui and swimming with dolphins was pretty much the most fun we've ever had in our lives. Manatees are so playful and docile I think it would be a really neat experience. It's also cool that the river water is so clear, like swimming in the ocean.

Blake came across this article tonight and it has inspired our destination choosing. This was from a list on of the "10 best spots to snorkel in the world"

The info from the article...
Crystal River, Florida

The best place in the country to experience the gentle West Indian manatee is in the springs and protected estuary of this coastal hamlet. Guides will gladly help you with manatee etiquette; for instance, gentle contact is allowed, but only if initiated by the manatee.
On-site secret: Swim slowly and stay calm and you may enjoy a manatee encounter for 15 minutes or more. Keep an eye out for: a whiskery face nuzzle, a flipper hug and a full-body rub. Though the manatee defines your interaction, they can be very sociable.

Tracy's side-note...After researching more, I just found out that there are alligators in Crystal River.... not surprising in Florida that may be a deal breaker for me. Should it be? What are your thoughts? Would you go?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Starbucks vs McDonalds

We keep hearing that a lot of people now prefer McDonald's over Starbucks for coffee. Since we go to Starbucks all the time, tonight we decided to give McDonald's a chance. We normally steer clear of any fast food, and especially McDonald's, but we wanted to see what all the fuss was about.


When ordering, the guy had a lot of trouble getting our order right and was really thrown for a curve since Tracy wanted sugar-free syrup. He eventually decided that they were out of sugar-free syrup after a long wait. He also was definitely not fluent in English.

Then when we got our drinks, Tracy's was a medium instead of a large. When we corrected them, they said "That drink only comes in medium" That seems like the kind of thing they should tell you when ordering. Not to mention that their website and menu says they have that in a large. When we had our first sip while driving away, all we could do was laugh at how inferior it tasted. Even the whipped cream tasted off. Needless to say, we'll stick with Starbucks.

FYI: We didn't order straight coffee; maybe that's not as bad?


My review:that was awful.

I tried getting a Nonfat Vanilla Latte with sugar free syrup, which, in a large, was only 50 calories. Since they didn't wind up having the right ingredients, it went from a nice 50 calorie drink to over 300 calories. Definitely not something that a health food nut wants to eat. Needless to say, I took one sip and gave the rest to Blake. Who still hasn't drank it. The drink itself tasted kind of like burnt coffee beans mixed with a lot of water and a ton of sugar. EWE. But really, what were we expecting from such a high quality establishment such as McDonald's!! Now I remember why I haven't gone there since I was a kid. Soooooo, my review is this...I'll stick with Starbucks Skinny Vanilla Lattes!


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Fish rights,grilling, and personal space

This blog entry will be pretty random, as they mostly are when I(Tracy) write them. First topic of the day is over the question "Is fishing cruel???" Blake and I and some friends went to the lake house last weekend and had a blast. I discovered a new interest of mine and that's fishing. I wound up catching 9 fish in a span of probably 4 hours or so, not counting the 4 or 5 that I "caught" but just couldn't get out of the water. Feeling the bobber go down when I had a catch was an incredible rush for me, no matter how lame that sounds. It made me so excited!

So everything was great and fun until we were driving home and I started wondering what happened to all the fish I caught and threw back. Did they die? Are they swimming around crying little fish tears from the pain? Are they going to suffer a slow and painful death because of me? Before and while I was fishing, Blake told me their brains are so small that they don't feel pain....but now he tells me he wasn't serious. So I'm not really sure what to believe. I did some research into it over the internet and found results everywhere from telling me that fish are worthless, basically like moving plants, to others telling me that fish can be trained to tell time. Everyone I've talked to at work and everywhere else thinks I'm being stupid for even considering fishing being cruel. I mean, I eat hamburgers and chicken all the time so what's the difference right? I guess the difference is I wasn't the one to PERSONALLY MUDER THE ANIMAL....So this new hobby will go one of two ways, I'll either decide it's cruel, never fish again, and say a little fish prayer that all the fish I caught at doing okay....or I'll decide it's not and go fishing all the time. Dad has already told me that he has a bunch of fishing gear I could use if I wanted to and my friend Ashleigh at work likes to fish too so she's invited me out. I guess only time will tell what I decide!!!

In another completely unrelated topic, Blake and I went to this really great local Austrian restaurant in Plano tonight called Jorg's. I will say I wasn't a fan the first time I went there with him, but this time I got something completely different and it was AMAZING. I think it was chickensnitzel or something, who knows. Quick background info, we were eating at a table that was actually two small tables pushed together. When the host sat us down, we didn't think anything of it.

But then 5 minutes after we get our food, the host comes and sits down this older couple right next to us at the other table that was pushed into ours. They were literally sitting at our table. Both Blake, I, and the other couple felt extremely awkward. I hate situations like this. I have no idea who these people are and we can hear everything they are saying and they can hear everything we are saying...because, they're sitting 2 inches from us. I think they thought it was even more awkward than we did though because the first 10 minutes or so they didn't talk to each other at all hahaha. The whole time neither us nor them looked at each other or even acknowledged each other were there, possibly to help with the awkwardness of it all. Normally I would ask for a different table, but it's a small restaurant so I could see that there were no other tables open.

One thing Blake did that I'm sure he thought was funny is he told me that he left the house without putting Penny in her crate "because she looked comfortable on the couch", which he knew would get me riled up because anytime that has ever happened, she's destroyed anything she could. She mostly will head straight for my shoes. But I think it amused him to know that I couldn't freak out or argue with him about it since, of course, we were sharing our table with guests hahaha.....And he really did put her in her crate, he just wanted to see my reaction.

I also didn't know if I was supposed to say "bye" when we were leaving hahaha. So this situation brings up the issue of personal space. We Americans sure do like it and are definitely out of our zone and uncomfortable when this is taken away from us.

And lastly, Blake and I are super excited about our new grill! Jim and Tamara got Blake one(they're ordering it-it will be delivered Tuesday) for his birthday. We already went out and got new patio furniture in preparation for it. It's a really cute circular black table with 4 chairs and I picked out cute black and white patterened seat cushions for them. We're also going tomorrow to Lowe's(Blake says thanks for the gift card Claudette!!) to look at adding a little more lighting to the backyard as well as mosquito lanters or options to keep bugs away since we are now going to have a really nice outdoor living space to enjoy! We both don't know much about grilling but are really excited to learn and will definitely be having some fun cookouts and will be grilling out dinners probably once a week! I can only imagine how good yams, asparagus, and chicken will be on the grill! And of course I'm sure Blake will love grilling out all types of sausagey things! Blake also loves the guitar pedal that my parents got him and says thank you for that too! Overall I'de say he had a great birthday!!!

P.S. Look for an update and pictures later this week of our new grill and re-decorated patio!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Extreme Backyard Renovation!

Our backyard is amazing! It's unrecognizable and now you can actually enjoy spending time outside! It now is truly an outdoor living space.

Flash back a day and a half ago. The yard consisted of weeds and dirt, the ground was covered with hundreds of rotted peaches, trees were literally growing into each other, the trees were so thick and low hung that to walk around the backyard you had to duck, there was clutter everywhere, and it basically just looked like a tornado had blown through it! Blake and I used to never go outside in the backyard because it honestly was just disgusting and not to mention anytime it would rain it was a complete and utter mud pit!

Now onto present day and time, our backyard is now....simply beautiful!

How did we do it do you ask? Step one is I have an amazing mom and dad who volunteered to help us through the whole process. They brought over all the tools we needed, spent countless hours in the 90 degree heat with us doing manual labor, and of course, brought the "know-how". Not to mention how much money they helped us save. Who knows how many thousands of dollars it would have cost to hire people to till all that soil, lay all the grass, cut down the trees, and heavily trim the remaining trees. So there you go, definitely a huge thanks to my mom and dad whom I love very much.

Here's a little play-by-play of how everything went down. Blake and I rented a high horsepower tiller from a tool rental store. My parents came over Friday night to help us get a start on the work so it wouldn't all be left for Saturday. On Friday, Blake spent most the night tilling all the grass and soil, going over the whole backyard 5 or 6 times to really get the soil prepared. Dad went at the trees with a chainsaw. And I mean went at them. There were times when Blake and I would just stop and watch because it was pretty cool to see large trees get chopped up and fall down so quickly. Dad's a pro at this and definitely efficient. Mom and I spent most the night dragging all the tree debris to the alleyway and stacking it into piles.

Saturday morning we got a 6:45 start and got to cracking on finishing tilling the soil and doing a few other jobs. The grass arrived around 8:15, thank God. They don't guarantee a time and said what time you get the grass depends on how the route is for that day. So I guess we were lucky. We spent the next 7 or 8 hours laying all the grass out. Talk about manual labor. Blake kept saying that he "didn't know it would be this much work." Haahaha.

What was pretty depressing was to really be trucking along good laying down squares and to look over and see that you've done about 1/30th of the yard. But we were able to finish it without dying of exhaustion from the heat and labor! The whole time we kept going back and forth on whether we would have enough squares since it's really hard to estimate how much you would need, and believe it or not, we got it almost perfect! We were only about 3 grass squares short, which is unbelievable if you think about it. Kudos to me and Blake for using our prior knowledge of high school math to calculate the square footage in our backyard correctly! 1,960.5 square feet!

Mom and I then went to Lowe's and got 15 bags of mulch to lay out around the trees as well as an area of heavy shrubs in the corner that the dogs love but that turns into mud when it rains. Problem solved! We also got a bunch of large rocks to go in 2 sections of the patio that was previously just dirt which also turned into a mud pit when it rained. Problem solved again! And we also got some really pretty flowers for the patio.

All-in-all, I would say that Blake and I are EXTREMELY happy with the results. Everything turned out so wonderful and we can't say "thank you" enough to my parents for all the help they gave us. We are really going to enjoy spending time out there. We are so proud of our backyard now and are going to make this one of our new hobbies-working in the yard! It will be fun to see what we'll do out there. Blake wants to get a grill so we can have our friends and family over for cookouts, so look for an invitation in the near future! We also think it would be cool to get a fountain with flowing water for the whole peaceful effect. But all in time! For now, we are just as happy as can be! Blake had the nice idea of having a picnic in the backyard tomorrow to celebrate, so that we will!

Check out my Facebook here for the full album of before pictures, as well as action shots.

And here for our "After" album.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bargain shopping...complete with pictures!

This may be random but I seem to get a lot of compliments from people about the clothes I wear, and it usually ends with people asking where I shop. So I thought it would be fun to let the secret out to our blogger followers too. So, here goes. I get most my clothes from....

Can you believe it? My friends always poke fun at me because I'm always buying the latest COACH bags and such, but I'll be honest...when it comes to clothes, I am a real penny pincher! I usually don't spend over $15 on shirts and $20 on pants. Are the clothes made of the absolute highest quality? Who knows, or cares! I just buy whatever I think looks cute at the time. So as I just got back from a recent shopping trip, I thought it would be fun to post a few pictures of things I got along with how much it cost me compared to what it would cost at a department store....Now, of course, they could be making up any random price to compare it to, but it's still exciting if it's true. But I do know it's cheaper than department stores because I don't think I've ever gone to Macy's and gotten a $10 shirt.

The thing that I've noticed about ROSS (and TJ Maxx for that matter) is I will either go and end up buying at least 10 items or I'll go and find nothing. It's pretty hit or miss. Also, you do have to do a little bit of digging around to find stuff that you like. Another tip is to go to one that's located in the NICE parts of town. I've been to some that weren't and there was merchandise thrown on the ground and it all seemed pretty trashy. My favorite ROSS is the one by Stonebriar mall, they always seem to have a bunch of good stuff. Same thing for the TJ Maxx there.

So, onto the pictures, complete with the "before" and "after" prices that make me so excited!

This top normally costs $32, but I snagged it for $10!

Here it is in a little better light:

My next purchase was a skirt to match. I picked this up for $7 as opposed to $35!!

And speaking of skirts, I was needing a brown one for work and got this for $10 as opposed to $40!

And I know I shouldn't, but I buy in duplicates a lot when I find something I like. I also have this type of shirt in black. This set me back only $12 as opposed to $32!!

Here's something I can wear for work. The top only cost $8 opposed to $28!

And the full outfit:

This shirt was $10 compared to $30

I also needed a new black skirt for work, and of course, I found one at ROSS. $20 normally $50:

A mere $10 opposed to $30

And finally, possible the best find....$7 white capris!

So, I hope you will start saving money by shopping at ROSS and TJ Maxx. I know a lot of people are turned off by the fact that they are a "discount" store, as I was...until I actually went there for the first time and was pretty impressed with the prices.

Until next time!


Wednesday, June 3, 2009


In groundbreaking news, we hit up Sonic tonight for the free root beer float promotion that they had going on. I've never really done the whole "get free stuff at this certain time thing"and now I know why. It was like a hungry shark feeding frenzy. The Sonic person would come out with a tray of 50 floats and people would immediately mob her and they would be gone in 2 seconds. It was actually pretty entertaining to watch. But I don't think I'll ever be doing one of those things again.Blake and I were able to each get one and it was actually pretty good.

I did feel a little bit guilty, since I'm still going hardcore on my healthy eating thing. I've lost 27 pounds so far since I started in February by only eating whole wheats, fruits, vegetables, lean chicken, and other healthy stuff, and running at least an hour everyday on the treadmill. Blake has also lost 10 pounds, but without exercising. What I'm cooking is what's doing it for him lol. Overall, I'm definitely happy with the results. It's definitely needed for me since I have the WORST sweet tooth ever. I love any types of sweets and would eat them all the time if I could. It must be genetic since granny is a huge sweets lover and, well, dad is the manager for Blue Bell, so he's gotta like ice cream!!

In our home improvement news, we are going to have to wait a couple of months to replace our kitchen floors. I really want to get a high grade porcelain tile, but Ginger (our Empire representative who we've used before for other projects) came out to give us an estimate, and it turns out it would cost around $4,000! We don't want to spend all our savings each month on home improvment things, so we are going to wait a few months to get this done.

This also made me realize I should shop around and do some price comparisons. I'm bad about seeing something that I like and rushing into buying it without seeing if it's the best price. I know a lot of what you are paying with Empire is the shop at home convience as well as the next day installation. So look for updates in this area, I'm going to check out a few other places to see what I can find.

Another thing I've done is I've gotten a notebook together and tabbed it off into sections by rooms that I want to work on. For each room I've written what I want to do as well as printed off pictures I find on the internet as inspiration as well as in real life. One room I want to model our master bath off of is Blake's dad and Tamara's lakehouse bathroom, it's SO CUTE!

This is about the color I want to get for our kitchen floors:

And for the fun of it here are a few other ideas I have in store for our house eventually...

I want to put a vessel sink in the guest bathroom downstairs because I think they're really cute and modern:

The upstairs bathroom is going to have a black and white theme with pops of red. This is one of the bathrooms where I got my inspiration:

As you can see, clearly home improvement and decorating is one of my main interests. My next career choice would definitely be an interior decorator.

So in other news, we just finished Season 8 of 24. Yet another great season in our opinion. We are huge 24 fans and think it's just a really well-made and exciting show. Can't wait for the next season to get here. Here's an interesting trivia fact: apparently Kiefer Sutherland and Sarah Jessica Parker are best friends. Who would have thought?

And now for a few dog pics...

This is what happens 2 minutes after I throw the pillows on the ground to make the bed:

120 pounds of laziness:

And Blake has a STRICT "No dogs on the bed" policy. His reasoning being that if we bought such an expensive Tempur-Pedic bed, we better keep it nice. But I guess he isn't that mad if he's taking pictures of us during our nap time.

Until next time!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tracy's Running Program Questions??

This post tonight is just from Tracy. Blake is involved in a serious game on he says hi, but that's all he has time for. He's a busy guy, what can I say!

So I've been doing really well running between 4-5 miles a day since early February, but it's starting to get a little boring and I want to try to incorporate intervals into my runs. I printed out a few sample programs that I'm going to try.... but where I get confused is, how many days a week should I run? (I'm currently running 6 days a week) And also, how many of those days should be long runs and how many of the days should be interval runs? Also, is it better to run really fast for shorts periods of time or run at a more steady, comfortable pace for longer periods?

ELICIA GRAVES you are expected to comment on here and give me your advice since you are one of the main marathon running gurus I know. Or I guess I could just ask you when I see you on Saturday.... I also wanted to ask Nikki, another running guru, but I don't have her e-mail address and am not sure if she knows about or reads our blog!

Any answers will be much appreciated, as well as any other fun running and exercising tips!

P.S. I know there are a lot of people out there reading our blog because we get asked about our posts all the time by many different people.... but yet hardly anyone chooses to comment which makes Blake and I look like real losers! So be sure to comment if you see something that intrigues, perplexes, astonishes, flabbergasts, infuriates, or flat-out bores you. We won't take it personally!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

American Idol Finale Review

So this is like 2 weeks late, but we have been pretty busy lately and haven't been able to give our thoughts on the finale. But now we have a moment, so here we go...

We really liked the finale and thought it had an awards show type feel. We liked all the performances and duets.

Our highlights of the show were Norman Gentle being his usual self, Kara showing up bikini girl, and Tracy's was Adam Lambert singing with Kiss and Queen.

But when it came time to announce the winner, talk about melodramatic. When they announced that Kris had won, it's like everyone gave a yawn followed by a golf clap. We weren't that excited either. He definitely wasn't the most exciting contestant, but we figured he might win by getting all of Danny's votes. Him winning just felt so wrong.

It will be fun to see what the contestants come out with in the future. We predict big things from: Adam Lambert, Allison Iraheta, and Kris Allen. There has been a lot of talk of Adam Lambert being the lead singer of Queen, which would also be interesting to see. Only time will tell!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

American Idol Review 5/20/2009

There will not be an American Idol Review over the Finale tonight as Tracy is on suicide watch until further notice.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

American Idol Review 5/19/2009

Tonight's finale was great. Both contestants did a really good job, save for the song that Kara wrote, which we thought wasn't very well suited for either contestant. Paula's fake tan and hair were also a little confusing and weird tonight. As for our official predictions:

Blake: Adam for the win.

Tracy: I hope Adam will win, but the only thing that COULD let Kris win is the fact that Danny's voters will most likely vote for Kris, since Kris is more similar to Danny than Adam is. I really think it's too close to call at this point, but I'm hoping for Adam. But no matter who wins, Adam will be the most famous, be on the radio the most, and sell the most records by far.

One point of annoyance, Blake decided to emotionally abuse me tonight by voting for Kris every time I voted for Adam. It makes me furious. Every time I would pick up the phone and say something like "time to vote for Adam", he would mimic me by saying "Time to vote for Kris" and then he would vote for Kris, even though he doesn't care that much. It just makes me so mad because he knows how much I hate it and it's totally cancelling out my vote, making me madder. Why must my husband torture me this way???

On another note, we watched the Glee premiere , and I thought it was so/so. Some of it was kind of corny, but I do love the main singer Rachel, and anytime they do group singing stuff. I'm just really into musicals and stuff like that. We'll see how the show is in September.

Expect a post tomorrow about the results show!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

American Idol Review 5/13/2009

Wow. What a shocker tonight! We definitely thought Kris was going to be going home, even though we didn't want him to. We couldn't believe that Danny got kicked off, considering that he hadn't been in the bottom 3 all season and seemed to have a lot of fans. We are definitely excited about the finale, but a little scared. We think that Kris may be getting more of Danny's votes than Adam since they are more similar. This will definitely be a really EXCITING finale next week.

Let's hope Adam wins because he's the most talented Idol contestant ever, an amazing performer, and has an incredible voice.

Can't wait for next Tuesday/Wednesday!

Blake is making me say that he is pulling for Kris. But he's only rooting for Kris just to annoy the crap out of me.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Tracy's Summer Job

I am happy to say that I got the summer job the I really wanted!!!!

It's basically my ideal summer job, and one that I will probably do every summer when I'm not teaching. I interviewed for it last week and was called back about an hour ago with an offer. It's a summer camp called The Children's Ark and is part of a ministry of a church located only 5 minutes from our house.

One of the best things about the job is the field trips. We will get to take the kids on field trips 3 days a week to places such as: Swimming, the movies, Hawaiian Falls, The Dallas Zoo, American Airlines, Ripley's Believe It Or Not, Sandy Lake Amusement Park, and Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey's Circus, to name a few. It's great because I like going to those places on my own time, so it will be great to get to take the kids there and get paid for it! The pay is very respectable, and I will actually be getting paid the exact same amount that I get paid for subbing because she said I have a lot of experience. Pretty sweet deal!

The actual facility where I will be working is REALLY nice. It's in a really nice area of Plano. They have flat screen T.V.'s everywhere, Wiis, indoor basketball courts, rock climbing walls, and all these really cool murals and decorations everywhere. I don't know much about the church it's connected to, but obviously the parioshners there are pretty generous when it comes to donations! I'll just have to take pictures of everything when I start there, because it's hard to describle.

I'm going to go in sometime this week to fill out all the paperwork, and I'll get to find out which age group I'll be in charge of. It's split up between K-2 and 3-5. I really would like either age group, I'll have fun with either group!

Also, I have another full time teaching interview tomorrow, so keep your fingers crossed about that! Again, it's for Frisco ISD. This one is for a second grade teaching position. I definitely get the most calls from Frisco, but that's okay because they are a great school district!

I'm sure there will be more updates to come as I start the summer job, but until then, I'm super happy and excited that I got it!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Our trip to Beaumont

We just got back tonight from our trip to Vidor, Texas to attend Blake's grandma Van's funeral. It was a lovely ceremony, and, although I've only met Van once at our wedding, I can tell that she was a great lady who touched a lot of people's lives, and is survived by many people that really love her.

On our way home we visited a place called Alligator Country in Beaumont. It really was a lot of fun. Blake and I got to hold a 9 foot long python, a baby alligator, and see Big Al, the largest and longest Alligator in America. For the sake of not having to post pictures twice, I've emedded the facebook link below so you can see all the pictures of us visiting the alligator farm!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Comments Section Fixed

We finally figured out why people were not able to leave comments on here, and we fixed the problem.

Post away!!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Tamara's Birthday Celebration

Last night we went to Mansfield to celebrate Tamara's birthday. We had a really good time and enjoyed seeing everyone and eating all the yummy food. Here are some of the pictures from last night!

Home Improvements

Here are some of the home improvements that we've been working on lately...

We removed a fenced-in garden from our backyard. All Blake has left to do is dig up the 3 remaining posts, which is predicted to take forever.



We also wanted to get rid of a large plastic covering that was attached to the top of the patio. There were a lot of large pieces missing which let rain in, and it was just kind of an eyesore.



Here we are hard at work:

Some of the disaster area. It literally took us all afternoon to pick up all the sharp pieces of plastic around the yard to make sure the dogs wouldn't swallow any of it.

Now for pictures of our backyard renovation inspiration. Blake and I agree that my parents have one of the nicest backyard we've ever seen. One of their most recent additions was a really cool pond/fountain, equipped with coy fish and a running waterfall.I really don't know how they can build this stuff themselves!

Our next project is going to be planting grass in the backyard. Look here for updates!!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

American Idol Outrage 4/29/2009

I am simply outraged and in shock that Adam Lambert was in the bottom 3 tonight, and even more specifically in the bottom 2! How ridiculous! He's clearly the best one in the whole competition, and the most popular in terms of media coverage, so what happened? How did someone like Kris or Allen get more votes than him? I voted 12 times, so it's not my fault. I guess everyone just assumed he would be safe and didn't bother voting for him. The same thing happened to Michael Johns last season, except he was actually kicked off. At least now people will be careful and actually vote for Adam.

What a shocking results show!!! Thank goodness Adam didn't actually get kicked off, but I did nearly almost have a heart attack tonight waiting for the results.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

American Idol Review 4/21/2009

Disco night. I know they are trying to keep from going over again, but it was weird and unfair how they let some people talk before their performance but not others. We're both ready for Lil and Anoop to go.

Tracy: Adam was my favorite, as always, with Kris and Allison being in second and third. It looked like Paula was crying/shaking during Adam's performance. It's always funny when they show her face while he's performing, it's like she's in love with him or something. But he is clearly the top runner amongst the judges, and with good reason. Danny still has a really neat tone to his voice, but his performances just aren't that exciting for me.

Blake: I think in the last 2 weeks Kris is becoming my favorite. I used to like Matt and Allison the most but not so much anymore.

Congrats to Randy for finally going one night without saying "For me for you."

Tracy's Job Search Continues

I got a call from a principal from one of the schools that I interviewed at in Frisco for a 2nd grade position. I was politely informed that they went with another candidate. She was very positive with me though. When I asked her if she had any advice for me regarding my interview skills, references, or my resume, she said she didn't have any and that I did a great job. She said I was confident, knowledgeable, and a great interviewee. So at least that's one positive thing to come from this.

But then she was brutally honest. She let me know that they were re-vamping their whole 2nd grade team and were looking for someone with a lot of experience teaching specifically second grade. She said that they went with someone who has taught in that grade for over 10 years....

Well, I can't compete with that. But it does make me wonder why they even call me in to interview. My resume clearly states which grades I've taught as a lead teacher(1st and 3rd). Nowhere on my resume does it say that I have experience in 2nd grade, because I don't...unless you count things like observation in classrooms back in college, volunteering, etc. At least it gave me good interviewing experience.

She did ask if I minded that she forward my information and notes onto other Frisco ISD principals since she liked me, and I told her of course, please do. She did let me know that Frisco is tight this year due to the economy. Not nearly as many teachers are willing to give up their jobs seeing as how things are so unstable nowadays. She also said don't get discouraged and that she's hired teachers on literally the last day of summer and also into the school year.

So I'm going to just keep trucking along. I do wish that she had even a LITTLE advice for me so I could try to work on something for future interviews. But I can't help that I've only taught for 2 years as opposed to 20 years.

In the meantime, I'm really enjoying substituting and being in the classroom. The computer program that Blake wrote for me to automatically search for substituting jobs got me 5 different jobs in one day today! So we are definitely keeping busy. I'm working every day, which I love. I also love being in all the different grades different days. It's fun going from 1st grade one day to 6th grade the next.

I'll be teaching a Kindergarten class tomorrow so keep your fingers crossed for me, kids that age wear me out!!!


Monday, April 20, 2009

Speaking of home improvements...

Yesterday we found a small, slightly damp, hole in the wall. At the same time we found some strange substance on Penny's lips. Surely this wasn't related?

Then later that day I found her literally trying to bite through part of the wall in the kitchen downstairs. We were just recently considering letting her roam the house when we're gone or asleep (she currently stays in a crate). Should we do it?

- B

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Home Improvements

Hope this post finds you well. We've been doing great! We had a pretty relaxing weekend. We spent the time mainly just lounging around, getting Alisha a wedding gift, grocery shopping, and playing with the dogs. Blake actually used our treadmill for the first time yesterday. It was exciting! I hope he keeps it up so I can have a fitness buddy! He ran for a pretty long time, I was impressed!

We rented the new James Bond movie on Saturday, and both of us were very unimpressed. It was borderline boring, and just so unrealistic that it's hard to take seriously. Maybe we are just so used to Jack Bauer being awesome that anyone else like him just seems lame.

I'm still enjoying substituting. It's keeping me busy everyday and has been going well. I'm to the point now where schools are requesting me specifically, so that really help me get jobs everyday.
Blake's been enjoying his job, he was able to work from home everyday last week. Penny really liked that, she bothered him all day long!

Our next Home Improvement project is going to be tackling the grass, or lack there of, in the backyard. The backyard right now is in really bad shape. It's mainly dirt sprinkled with a few weeds. Lovely. So the bad thing is that ANY time it rains, the backyard becomes a mud pit.
When we have to let the dogs out to potty in the back, their feet are covered with mud and it gets tracked all over the house. Not good. We've even tried cleaning off their feet before they come in, or having them wait on a towel, but it doesn't get even half of the mud off. I've gotten so frustrated with it that I've picked up Penny and just given her a bath for the sake of not having to clean up the entire floors all over the house. But that is pretty pointless considering I can't pick up Barney to give him a bath, so he just makes a huge mess, counteracting the clean Penny. Lately we've resorted to letting the dogs potty in the front yard when it rains or the days following, which I'm sure the neighbors think is pretty weird. But if they saw our backyard, they'd understand.

To remedy the situation, my parents are going to help us cut down some of the trees in the backyard to try to help with the lack of grass. That and some of the trees are running into each other. We are very appreciative of their help, considering we found out that to hire someone to do it, it would cost around $600 per tree! Cutting down a tree is not an exciting home improvement that I went to spend money on. After we cut down the trees, we are going to till the soil and put down plots of grass all over the yard. And voila, we should have a nice grassy backyard. Of course we'll have to keep the dogs out of the backyard for a while, and definitely limit Penny-The-Annihilator's time out there, but it will be worth it!

One project we've already completed last weekend was tearing out Blake's mom's "Orthodox herb garden." We had no need for it, it was kind of weird, and most the things in it were dead or dying. We still have to tear down the three posts that are still left that were holding up the fence around the garden, we think that's going to take a while. Blake dug for about an hour on just one post, and we still didn't even see the end of the concrete. So that's one project that will just be requiring sweaty, manual labor.

The next Home Improvement project that we want to tackle after our grass planting is replacing the hardwood floors in the main room downstairs. It's in really bad shape with black spots and stains everywhere from when "the previous owners" never cleaned up when their dog would pee inside and just let it sit on the wood. Pretty gross. So we would like to replace that instead of having a constant reminder of where Roly Poly decided to mark his territory for the day. I'm not sure who we are going to use for that, but probably just whoever we can find that can do the best job matching it to the existing hardwood throughout the rest of the hose.

After that we want to paint the interior of the house a nice earthy color, maybe a light brown. We are going to hire someone for that since it will require scaffolding and a lot of work!

Then after that we'll work on replacing the white tile kitchen floors(a bad choice with a dog, especially 2 dogs right now!), taking down the wallpaper border, staining or painting the cabinets, and adding hardware to the cabinets.

There are a lot more projects, but those are just the ones we want to get started with first. Of course this will take time, we are only going to do it as we save up money for it. But be looking for our "before and after" pictures of our backyard either this month or the next!

Until next time,


P.S. An easy way to tell if it's me or Blake posting is if it's a "marathon post" (as Blake calls it), then it's me. If it's short and sweet, that's Blake. Just so you know!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

American Idol Review 4/14/2009

Tonight's Idol was surprising. It was interesting having Quentin Tarantino give musical advice.

Tracy: My favorite tonight, as always, was Adam Lambert due to his amazing vocal range as well as his excitement factor. Honestly, this was my least favorite performance of his this season, because I think the song "Born To Be Wild" will always be lame. But his performance was still my favorite of the night because it again showed off the fact that he's by far the best singer in the competition. My second favorite was Kris Allen's version of Falling Slowly. I also thought Allison did a great job. My least favorite performance of the night was Lil Rounds. In fact, she's starting to annoy me. She keeps picking boring songs by outdated artists, even though the judges tell her to pick something new and relevant every week. I predict her to be voted off tomorrow. And then I think Anoop will be next to go after her, even though I like Anoop. Until next time!

Blake: My favorite was Kris Allen's performance of Falling Slowly, largely because I really like that song and "Once" is one of my favorite movies. If I were on American Idol tonight (in an alternate universe), that would have been the song I would have picked. I think if they would have given all the judges time to talk they would have all disagreed with Randy on how well he did. Anyway, as far as who should be voted off this (lil) round, I think that's obvious.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Welcome to our blog!

Hey everyone, this is our new blog. We plan to update this regularly to keep everyone current with our lives. We've been doing many home renovation projects, and will be posting our "before" and "after" pictures as we get them completed. You can also expect weekly American Idol reviews!

We recently had Tracy's side of the family over for an Easter meal on Sunday. Tracy got to host her first family dinner, and everything seemed to turn out great! We are very excited about being an Aunt and an Uncle. Congrats Phil and Elicia!

Religious updates: We have been regularly visiting one of the local Episcopal churches and really enjoy it. We still want to "shop" around a little bit more before we make a decision, so look for updates on that!