iced in...sort of

There was no school [again!] today. We got freezing rain and snow this morning and they tried for a late start but had to go ahead and cancel. So I slept in a little bit, went to the caf for lunch [which I haven't done in a very long time], then made my way through the thick flakes to the business office where I officially made my LAST PAYMENT EVER! [Until the loans start rolling in...I suppose]. I was almost in tears as a good friend's gift made this possible this month, and was overwhelmed by the goodness of God and reminded of how truly faithful He is.
I took advantage of the gift of time I was given and cleaned today. We have a "catch all" closet in our apartment that has taken some abuse this year and so I spent some time wrestling with that. It looks much better and now we can actually find things--a truly novel idea :). I even dusted, my least favorite of all chores, as my mom can attest too. However, I did not shake any rugs as that really gets my allergies in full flare [oh wait, that's Kali's excuse, woops :)].
Speaking of my sister, around Valentine's day she posted some old pictures of her and her husband, Dan, as Valentine's day was their first official date. Strangely enough, Brent and I started "dating" around the exact same time as them [same year, everything!]. Some of our friends even sent our Dad a "Sorry for your Loss" card in the mail :). It was a fun time as Kali and I were able to share sappy stories and long sighs over the phone. Well, I thought I would follow suit and just for kicks and giggles put up some old pictures of Brent and me as well.
We officially talked about us being an us February 8th, 2004, and on valentine's day Brent came over to my house and sang me the first song he wrote me [one of many more to come]. By the time the first few words were out of his mouth, When I look into her eyes, the beauty captures me like the morning sky, he had me hook line and sinker. And as he wrapped up, she laughs with no fear of the future, when she speaks her words are wise... it's so amazing how God's reigned down on her, all His love and grace...I knew I would never celebrate Valentine's day with anyone else. [Briefly after he sang me this song he left and I went and babysat because, like every V-day before, I figured I had no plans and made myself available for a shew-in night of sitting]. That was the only Valentine's day I got to spend with him, as the rest we have spent over distance, but he still calls me up and sings me a new song each year :)
Okay, now to the pictures-- These were all taken within that first year:
His prom:
My prom...yes, I know, he was lucky enough to get to go to TWO proms [he was a good sport]

On one of our first dates [the one that I wrote a post about a long time ago-- Oct. 24 : It Is Well With My Soul is the post]

I think I will entitle this one "puppy love." I mean, seriously, get real :)

And I will end with those because I am afraid they are probably too much to bear!


farewell seniors

After a crazy trip back from Missouri [which I may write about later], I was able to celebrate my last day with the seniors. Along with the teacher, they planned a party for me [one of my students made the cake pictured above], and even pitched in to get me a gift! So every hour I ate and I ate and I ate...it was a good last day! Everyone also wrote me a note and attached their senior pictures, which meant so much to me. I can't believe how fast the first 6 weeks went! All in all it was a truly great time and I really enjoyed getting to know my students. It was a little bittersweet leaving them, as I felt I had really just connected, but I suppose that is the nature of student teaching. I did snap a quick picture with all of my classes:

Now it's off to the freshman! I'm sure the next 6 weeks will go oh-so-fast again...


valentine's day

I woke up this morning and in the bathroom the medicine cabinet above the sink was open. Inside was a valentine [disney, thank you very much] addressed to me from my roommate Deb [the NATIONAL player of the week, by the way -- and the GPAC player of the week...she had 47 points at Saturday's game-- sorry, sidetracked]. It read:

"Happy Valentine's Day!! It's a holiday... so take a shower ;)"

Boy does she know me or what?!

Hope your Valentine's day was a fun one!
[Here are my roommates and me: me, Deb, Amy, Renae: after a home game last week against Dordt...we won, by the way!


ahhh...to be spring again

Today I received three emails from my dad--the great white hunter as many of my male counterparts call him. They are all worthy of a little "blog time."
#1: The first was in response to some quotes I sent him from To Kill a Mockingbird [Brent and I are in the process of reading this together at night, on the phone--- which my students think is the weirdest thing ever]. These were the quotes I sent him [if you haven't read this book...go to your local library, check it out, read, and send me your report--you will love it!] :
--Scout: "I had recieved the impression that Fine Folks were people who did the best they could with the sense they had."

--Atticus to Jem: "I wanted you to see what real courage was, instead of getting the idea that courage was a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do."
Dad sent me back this one from John Wayne [sigh, another American classic]:
--A hero isn't any braver than any other man, he's just braver five minutes longer.
#2: He took this picture in our backyard...he said they eventually counted 32 deer! I find this completely insane and almost a little bit creepy: [kind of hard to see, but all those black dots, DEERS! -- yes I know the plural form of deer is deer, but the s was added for comic relief]

#3: To understand this email you have to know I took a trip to Glacier Park, Montana with three other girls last May [after school]. We DROVE all the way and CAMPED for a week [I slept in the car because I was afraid of da bears!]. It was absolutely stunning country and it was a pretty decent time [sometime, you'll have to ask me how I raised money for said trip if you do not know, because it is an interesting story]. A few pictures now to share this trip with you before the email from Dad:

I was very proud of how we loaded the trunk. This is the luggage of four girls AND camping supplies AND food for a week-- I think we loaded and reloaded this thing 5 times a day!

After a very long day/night in the car, me and the chicas arrived at 10 am-ish. We really did not want to put that tent up! But it was beautiful surroundings!

Absolutely stunning: the view, not so much the girl standing in front of the view who had been in a car for 14 hours.

We got pretty creative with meals while we were there [by the way, did I mention these were "primitive campgrounds"-- which meant no showers froa week...check out the nest of hair on my head!]

At night it got down to the upper 30's/lower 40's. We slept with a lot of layers on-- and prayed we didn't need a "potty" break in the middle of the night.

All in all, it was a good trip with beautiful surroundings [check out the TEAL water behind me...apparently the water runs off the rocks which are this blue/green color and ends up making the lakes the same--our guide for white-water rafting, which we got a discount on because the water was barely above freezing in May!, told us this information.

All in all, like I said, it was a good trip and I was happy --- except when I saw the occasional RED SIGN!

Which brings us back to the email my dad sent me today [remember, the great white hunter?] Well, the email said the following: These pictures are from a guy in Montana, he came across a dead deer while hunting, so he set up a trail cam to see what critters might show up...he was rather surprised when he downloaded the photos.

I don't think I would have wanted to wake up to those brown eyes!!! You should all be thankful I'm still alive. And I'll leave you with that as this was a rather long post today...sorry!


winter blahs

There is an epidemic sweeping northern Iowa right now--- literally. Everyone is sick. Fortunately I've been able to escape the bug with lots of hand washing, vitamin taking, sleep, and veggies [gotta love those green beans, thanks gma and gpa!]. My roommate slept on the couch last night as to not keep me up with her coughing...thoughtful of her, but it made me feel a little bad because she is sick and should sleep in her bed! [Apparently though not everyone is as pathetic as I am when I am sick...besides my sister, who may even top me]. A few schools have cancelled because there are so many students gone, and at the school I am at, when the students bring back a laptop [they have a "mobile lab" how nice] the teachers have to sanatize it before passing it along to the next student. I'm going home this weekend, and I really feel like if I can make it through the week a good dose of mom's cooking with keep me healthy for the rest of the year!

In other news, there is a snow storm upon us and we got out at 1! I think it is surprising to most students that the teachers want to get out as bad as they do... I'm thinking 2 hour late start tomorrow would be absolutely fantastic as well! :)

I was invited to go shoot clay pigeons this afternoon by two of my, oh how should I put it, less motivated students today. I turned them down because, well, obvious, but I think they would have been pleasantly surprised at my ability to go SNAKE EYES.

My roommate is still sleeping and her deep breathing is luring me in... WHY NOT! No school, right? I hope this post finds you enjoying warmer weather and healthier surroundings.



another more

I thought it was about time to add another story I wrote for my "Growing Up Carroll" book at Christmas. This one is about my Dad:

It is funny to me that people use the word “capture” when speaking about pictures. Oh he really captured her personality in this one. I have a picture on my desk of my dad, my older sister Kali, and me, and quite honestly it upsets me because it has captured hardly anything. I try to not look at it too directly. If I look too long I remember that it was taken when I didn’t know the quadratic formula or that such a thing could happen in Rwanda—when my sister was tangibly so much closer in age and my dad was not yet a deacon.
When looking you can clearly see that we all have on hunter orange, which doesn’t “capture” much. I don’t know if he had gotten a turkey that day, or a deer, or even what season it was. Dad is holding a muzzleloader, so there is a good chance it was deer season, but I just can’t remember. Maybe Kali had gotten to go with him this day, or better yet, maybe I had been chosen.
Being the chosen one meant a ride in dad’s “stinky old pickup,” a thermos of tea or hot chocolate and sometimes a dozen of my mom’s freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies. It meant sitting in the woods, as silent as possible and speaking dad’s language.
I spoke his language at other times, wrestling in the living room after evening meals, or reading him my library books. I mostly just made up the story based on the pictures in my books, even though I could read the words perfectly, but he didn’t care. I also spoke his language at t-ball games and during late night prayers or after a bad dream. I had a weird habit during the night—I would only call for my dad if I needed something. He would get out of bed and come across the hall to my room. Typically it was nothing to cause alarm, but occasionally he had to rescue me from thirst, or the shadow on the wall, or from restlessness. Sometimes I would only say, “Dad, can you go get Mom for me?” On special nights he would read to me from the Journals of Lewis and Clark, stopping every few paragraphs to explain or expand on the writing. When I got older he would leave me notes on my bathroom mirror after basketball games. One time I was selected to the KAAN all-star team, a local radio station’s top picks in the listening area. He left me a note that read, “Way to go Kels—Mom and I get a dinner out of this one!” And at the banquet he just looked so proud to be my dad.
But on the days in the woods with the world around us and a part of us, I would say so little and I would catch glimpses of my dad. There were times I would see him as a little child himself, splashing through puddles to get to our location. At other times I would see him as a learned scholar, showing me how to track animals or create my own shelter. He heard every branch move, every leaf rustle. These fall days burn in my mind and even if I look at the picture on my desk I can’t smell the presence of these moments on my dad’s neck.
When you process film you freeze images, people, in a moment, but that is not how life is. It is more fluid than that. We are more fluid than that. My dad is not captured in this picture because you can’t see the dirt under his fingernails from landscaping. You can’t see the paintings he has created and even though you can see his wedding ring, you don’t know that he never removed it from his finger for nearly 20 years. You can’t see him come up behind my mom and give her a hug while she is cooking supper in the kitchen. Even though you can see that Kali and I are crowded in, arms slung confidently around his shoulders, you do not know how much we miss the warmth and smells of this moment.
And for everything the picture is missing, I can still see God in the details of his face—in the lines creasing his brow when he smiles and in his stark blue eyes. I see God in the details of his marriage and his home. God has been pushing and breaking and bending and changing him, and now I look at him in that picture on my desk, and I see God in the details of my dad.


little bits of tid

[tidbits...get it?]
A few thoughts/stories from this week:
My mom's trip up here was wonderful. It was short but very sweet and we were able to visit Grandma and eat good food. I was thinking about it when she was here and we were all sitting around the table, how strange it will be next year to not have these moments with Aunt Linda and Uncle Alan. I've already told Brent we'll have to make some trips up here so we can once again grill with them and I can eat string cheese from their fridge [they get the good Kraft stuff :)] and he can eat an entire box of their cereal in one trip :).

Another bonus during mom's visit was that she got to come to church with me. I started going to Trinity this year and I absolutely love it. We are currently in the middle of a series on Joy and it was just such a wonderful sermon to hear. The day mom visited there was a "parade of joy" and people held up signs with somethin that could potentially steal their joy, and then they flipped it over and on the back was the reason they were still have to have joy. Mom and I were both in tears, and it was just a really neat sermon. I'm very thankful I've landed in that church for the time being. We even said the Lord's prayer at the end and I'm sure both mom and I were hearing Grandpa's voice in our heads as we said it.... at a pace so slow it's impossible to say along with him. :)

One more interesting thing that happened this week was that I got another dose of what it's like as a teacher, as I was able to hand back papers and assignments that I had graded. I got to hear all sorts of complaining and questions... but a few kids were pretty proud of the grade they got. English tends to be very subjective when it comes to grading, so I really know I'm going to have to learn to take a lot of the "oh mannnnn... why'd you give me this?" comments-- but I put in about 15 hours grading the papers and writing comments, so I was confident in how I had scored them. I also got my next batch of papers to grade [it's really never ending]... and I was so shocked when I started looking over one in particular: The assignment was to write a 2.5 page personal narrative on a significant event in your life that affected you/made you think/changed you in some way. I started reading one young man's---and I kept reading and reading.... AND THERE WAS NOT AN ENTIRE PERIOD IN THE ENTIRE PAPER, EXCEPT AT THE VERY END [ON THE THIRD PAGE]. There is one comma at the bottom of page two, and one elipsis [...], and a whole lot of "and then's." I showed it to the teacher I work with and we both just got to laughing so hard we were almost crying...

I really don't know what to say about that.

Beyond that it's been a pretty lowkey week. Yesterday Brent and I "celebrated" our 4 year mark. By celebrated I just mean that we called each other and said, "Hey, we've been together 4 years now." But still, worth mentioning.

And last but not least, I just spent the past 4 hours cleaning my apartment. All of my roommates are gone to play basketball this weekend and so I did dishes, picked up, swept floors, scrubbed the shower, and scrubbed and scrubbed and cleaned the entire bathroom. I really don't mind cleaning too much when I've got nothing else to do. It's kind of nice when no one's around and I can crank up to music and just clean. [I know my mom is probably thinking...what?! right about now...but it's true, don't let her fool you].

Okay, that's about all the little bits of tid I have for now. I hope you have a wonderful and restful Sabbath tomorrow.


One man's junk...

You all know the saying:

One man's junk, another man's treasure. Well today, like so many other days, I was reminded how true this statment is. After school today I went to the local thrift store [This is actually a really neat store-- 100% of the proceeds go to buying bible's for Haiti]. I always want to make sure that I have suficient time to survey all the "goods."

Today was a pretty decent sweep. I found a basket to keep my programs in at the wedding. I'll tie some ribbons on the handle and it will work as a nice holder and will fit the outdoor theme.

I also found a super cute Old Navy coat for a little fellow I babysit. It is navy blue courdorouy with a gray fleecy lining and double brested buttons. Very stylish for a 10 month old. I brought it over to his mom tonight and she loved it! [I brought it over before I took a picture...]

I also found a 25 cent frame to surprise my roommates with--- we love F.R.I.E.N.D.S. [the t.v. show] and watch many an episode a day [although I happened to give it up for lent currently, harder then it sounds :)]. Anyway, if you are familiar with the show you may remember the fancy picture frame that Monica keeps around the peep hole in her apartment. Well, this makes due for us-- my roommates loved it :)

The rest of my purchases were books-- I figure that any good english teacher keeps her shelves stocked. I found a neat old copy of Huck Finn, The Pearl-- by Steinbeck, The Great Gatsby [which I still can't believe I haven't read...now I can, for 50 cents]. I also found a neat, old "Webster's Dictionary for boys and girls." I thought this would be cute on a shelf, or to put in a future child's room-- I always liked looking through stuff like that when I was little.

And last but not least I found---------drum roll---------- a copy of my dad's favorite book [well, one of his top five: a few of the others would be 1776, The Journals of Lewis and Clark, When Character Was King, ...etc] okay back on track, the book I found: Centennial, by Mischner. This book is 1086 pages long [small print]. Dad told me that if I read it he would pay me $25 dollars. I was young and unexpereinced and fell asleep on the first page [a very detailed description of the landscape...yipee]. However, I saw it on the shelf today and I just had to pick it up. I figured a]I needed it in my collection because of it's nostalgic value and b] i really do hope to read it someday and cash in on the $25 dollars [and of course reap the benefits of reading the wonderful stories of the West, Dad :)]

I passed up a few other items but felt like all in all it was a good day at the thrift store. I always look forward to the random bits and pieces, and finding the occassional "steal." Afterall, one man's junk is another man's treasure!

[by the way: I'm looking for a couch-- not huge, not a love seat..... check the thrift stores near you! :)]


Literary Devices in Iowa

Yesterday I taught a review lesson on literary devices. I found some song lyrics that had some interesting ones, and my classes looked at them and figured out which devices the artist had used [a lesson for them in finding literary devices, a lesson for me in what-i-think-is-a-fun-activity-apparently-bores-my-students-to-tears]. Before doing this I thought it would be wise to discuss some of the main devices as a refresher for my [always need refreshed] seniors. The following is a dialogue that reminds me of the moments that will keep me sane as a teacher:

Miss Carroll [that's me]: What's a simile?

Random Student A: A comparison ...

Miss Carroll: A comparison of two unlike things...correct...using what words?

Random Student B: LIKE or AS!!

Miss Carroll: Exactly. Good.

Miss Carroll: What is a metaphor?

Random Student C: Cows to roam...

Miss Carroll: ...wha.......ohhhh.....what's a meta-phor...

Other Students: huh? i don't get it....

Miss Carroll: What's a meta-phor...a meta-for?.....a meadow-for? Cows to roam in...a meadow...get it?

laughter. mayhem. chaos.

Only in Iowa :) I thought it was pretty clever.


end of the week thoughts

-- my mom is coming! I'm so excited to get to spend some time with her. She'll be here in another hour or so, so this is quick :)

-- 2 more weeks with the Seniors- and I still haven't blogged about it?! I got some feedback from my professor and from the teacher I work with: My prof. said that it seems like I've been at this for a lot longer then I have been [which for all practical purposes is true...I mean, hello, I started when I was 5!] and my teacher said that when she was filling out her midterm report for me she couldn't think of anything bad to say [she said usually she has comments in this section about classroom management/discipline situations, but that I really know how to handle it well (note my "teacher face" to the right) and seems natural for me...I told her about my 4 years of daycare and she said it all made sense :)] I also got my first senior pictures from some girls AND have stacks and stacks of grading to do--I guess I'm official.

-- My roommate Renae said I don't give her enough credit on this blog: RENAE, I LOVE YOU. Tonight I will be going to a movie with her as she purchased us movie tickets as a "Hooray for your student teaching" gift to me.

--Speaking of roommates: my roommate Deb is in the sioux city journal yesterday--- front page: Debbie Remmerde--the person. We had some reporters "hang out" for about two hours just asking random questions. Renae made the pictures, Amy made the quotes, and I made the "her other three roommates" with no mention of my name at all [I was at school while all of this happened...] Oh the perks of living with a star. You can see the canvases I painted in some of the pictures of our apartment though! :)

-- LOST started last night. I'm a big fan. That's about all for that.

-- 127 days until I get married, in case you weren't keeping track :)

-- We're having a super bowl party at our apartment on Sunday. Amy always gets a party sub from Subway and we cook up a storm. It is her 4th year of hosting this event and it is probably her favorite holiday next to Christmas.

-- That's all for now-- a little last minute cleaning and bed making needs to happen before mom appears. Have a great weekend!