22 December 2006

New Ride, New Job


For those of you who don't know, we bought yet another vehicle. In x>5 months, we have bought 3 and we certainly hope this is the last. We were down to one car for a while, but Patrick kindly bought me this Ford Ranger so he could cut out 1.5 driving hours from his daily schedule.


In other news, sometime in November I fell into the volunteer position of Assistant Dance Coach. I'm not sure how it happened, but by the end of the semester, I did a step/hip hop routine with my 40 girls to Sean Paul's "Temperature." Starting in January however, there will be around 80 girls on the dance team. I have been promoted to Co-Coach with another teacher at our school.

This time I get paid, but I may have to use that money to take dance lessons! Anyone who has been unfortunate enough to witness my moves knows I have not been blessed with the gift of dance. And somehow, I am supposed to teach these girls to dance. Is anyone looking to make $20/hour every Friday? Maybe you could take over...

17 December 2006

U.S.S. Lexington

The U.S.S. Lexington is a museum built on an authentic WWII aircraft carrier. The history is fascinating--we both wished our parents were with us because they would have loved it.



The museum is enormous! We spent three hours there and did not see everything.




Keep an eye on the rising sun. In the next photo, you will find the same symbol, showing the exact spot where a Japanese kamikaze plane hit the Lexington.





Do you see where it was hit? The kamikaze pilot's mission was highly successful, killing 50 people and injuring 132.








On the flight deck...We couldn't believe how tall it was.








Corpus Christi

As we were leaving Malaquite Beach, we met the volunteer host couple. They live at certain parks in their RV for months at a time, and recently returned from a stint at Bryce Canyon. This is definitely something we want to look into when we retire.

We heard great things about the restaurants and shops at Water Street Market, so we assumed it would be something bigger than this sign. It wasn't. Oh well.

Selena's spirit is still thriving in Corpus Christi. We only visited the memorial, "Rua de la Flor," but next time we may need to stop in at the Selena museum, the Selena gravesite, and stroll down the Selena Walk dedicated to her memory.

The Texas State Asian Cultures Museum was interesting and is one of five in the United States. The artifacts were a personal collection prior to being donated. Once you have looked at everything, you can try on hats, use chopsticks, and make paper cranes. Patrick is trying to blend in by squinting his eyes, but it isn't terribly convincing.



Next post...the U.S.S. Lexington. Stay tuned!

16 December 2006

Padre Island

During Thanksgiving break, Patrick and I explored more of Texas. We journeyed to Corpus Christi for a short stay, which is about 4 hours south.

On the way down, there were honey and pecan stands. We couldn't resist such Texas charm.



There was also a biker crew I couldn't resist taking a picture of. One woman's jacket said, "Property of Los Malos" while another said "Los Malos in Training."



We didn't arrive at our campsite until the evening, so we couldn't scope out a good spot, but luckily some regulars showed us the ropes. This is what we woke up to.








Our campsite.











Patrick LOVES the beach.










One of my students saw this picture and commented incredulously, "Wow Mrs Ordinary! You look so happy!" Maybe I need to start smiling and stop disciplining :)







As we walked along the beach, there were sandcrabs of every size--and they were all over the place! At night, it was kind of creepy since they were scurrying around at our feet, but we coudn't see where we were going. In the morning they weren't quite as intimidating. Can you spot the tiny one in this picture?

26 November 2006

Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving was pleasant. We missed being with family, but we are grateful for the chance to spend time with friends.




Stereotypes were flying as the men put a table together and watched football...








...while the women slaved away in the kitchen.











Electric knife-wielding Patrick should always be avoided as he takes the part a little too seriously.












Featured: Nick & Alissa, Us, and Ryan & Sarah. Good times were had by all.










We thought these were cute decorations.






Finally, a true Texas Thanksgiving would be incomplete without these Texas-shaped tortilla chips. Honestly, you can find a Texas shaped anything here.

Chocolate...Mmmm

Some of the girls met for an afternoon at The Chocolate Bar which has created a delectable menu of different chocolate creations. Heaven. Pictured are Amber Whites, Nicole West and niece, Alissa McClure, Amanda Malnar, Me, and Rachel DeMartin.




Later that week, Jeff and Courtney Paul joined us for fondue night. Delicious.

14 November 2006

PDAS

The results are in...Exceeds Expectations!!!

My principal conducted my PDAS (Professional Development and Appraisal System) Thursday, which determines if I am qualified to teach. This brief, 45 minute evaluation determines the entire year! Most importantly, it dictates if I will receive certification since I am on a probationary certificate. I was shocked to find out that she was conducting it so early since my teaching experience began in August and my entire year would be based on my 2.5 months experience in the teaching field. I figure it is better to get it over with early and I'm glad it is over.

The rubric is as follows: Exceeds Expectations, Proficient, Below Expectations, and Satisfactory. My principal told me not to expect anything higher than Proficient since I am a first year teacher (a newbie as some of the others fondly refer to me as). It is the same scale that all teachers are graded on so I should be very pleased with a Proficient rating.

I received my results yesterday. I was given "Exceeds Expectations" in three domains and "Proficient" in the remaining two. My principal said I received one of the highest evaluations she has ever given to a first year teacher, which of course left me beaming. This was exciting to hear because the pressure to impress my principal is off. Unfortunately, the pressure to pass TAKS (state standardized test) is even more overwhelming since my principal is expecting me to perform like a veteran. I'm confident I can do it though and am excited to see how the year will turn out.

:D This is me smiling after I received my results

12 November 2006

Tolmans in Town!

Jessica and Lance had a three hour layover so we were able to meet for lunch at a Subway near the airport.




I was waiting ever-so-patiently for flight 365. In case you can't read the sign, it says, "Luchalibre and Suma Waliki Bienvenidos and Sawadee"







Jessica learned some rather savage ways of eating while on vacation...Yikes!






For the record, we wanted to publicly announce that Lance was right. In the car there was some confusion about which terminal they would depart from. Jessica thought Terminal E while Lance was firm on Terminal C. After looking at the tickets, Jessica said, "Oh, I was wrong. You were right." The week in Cancun wasn't incredibly enjoyable, but being "right" in front of witnesses made the trip worthwhile for Lance. He made her repeat the phrase three times in order to prevent possible memory lapses in the future. Don't worry Lance--we heard it too.

You drive me...

We decided to have a "Driving" date on Friday. Here was the agenda:


We started off the evening with Patrick trying to teach me how to drive a stick shift. We are down to one car and I can't drive it yet!






We then went to the driving range where I sliced miserably (probably due to bad form). There was a guy next to us wearing a Trading Spaces shirt. I wanted to ask him if he was on the show, but it would have embarrassed Patrick too much.





We finished our driving date with dessert at Sonic--America's Drive-In.

05 November 2006

Beautiful Sight

Two nights ago, we saw the most beautiful sight. The full moon was extremely high with a perfect circle surrounding it (think of a CD: the small, cut out circle in the middle would be the moon and the outer edge of the CD would be the circle engulfing it). The outer circle surrounding the moon was actually a rainbow with the red on the inside instead of the outside. It was a gorgeous halo. We tried to get a picture, but it was too big for our camera and the night was too dark. Although we don't have visual evidence, we still wanted to share it with all of you anyway.

I found a website that sort of shows what we saw: http://www.rain.org/~mkummel/stumpers/08mar02.html
It is the photo that says, "Ring around the full moon at night." What we saw was much prettier, but this will give you some idea of what we're talking about. I wanted to place the photo on here (or at least create a link to take you directly there), but I am not very blog-savvy.

29 October 2006

Take a Tour With Us!



Many of you have not had the opportunity to visit, so we decided to take you on a tour of our apartment. We extend the invitation to come stay if you would like to. Our door is always open (figuratively speaking as it is clearly closed in this photo) and we love visitors!

Living Room

Here is our living room. We are thrilled with our newest purchase. The red couch comes in three pieces (one with two seats and two individual ones). We bought it yesterday for $200! It was such a great deal and SO comfortable. What a steal!



It goes well with our other couch, but the two together don't match the decor incredibly well. I'm sure we can make it work until we buy our house, though.

Laundry Room





VERY convenient.

Dining Room





Kudos to IKEA for providing this table.

Kitchen

We absolutely LOVE our kitchen. There is plenty of counter space and more cabinet space than we can fill up. The mirrors on the wall also make it look even bigger.

Bathroom


Our bathroom is long and narrow and complete with a garden tub.



Bedroom




We have two bedrooms which are nothing special to look at. Here is our walk-in closet, which is the nicest feature of the room. If you want to see more, come visit us! We would love to have you.

Halloween with the Whites

While walking past the pumpkins at the grocery store today, we realized we didn't have anything planned for Halloween!

Robbie and Amber are trying to figure out how to create ears and eyeglasses, but Amber has won the Blue Bell pumpkin carving contest before so she is very confident.






Patrick is hard at work...








...but not working quite as hard as Robbie.







The finished products. The picture isn't that great, but hopefully you can see the Whites chose to add glasses to a more traditional Dracula (right). Our pumpkin (left) was inspired by the famous luchador, Nacho Libre.

Yearbook Photo


This will be my yearbook picture this year. Too bad I look like one of my 5th graders.