Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Letter from Santa

One of my best friends/old roommates, Krystal lives in Alaska. She also happens to be one of the nicest, most clever people I know! Every year she writes my nieces and nephews a letter from Santa and has it postmarked from the North Pole (she lives near the city North Pole)! This year she sent one to my students. She included things that were specifically about my students. I wish I had recorded their response as I read it because they FREAKED out! They couldn't believe Santa knew all of those things. It really is pretty adorable!

Thanks KDawg! 


Baking with the Greenwood Ladies

Every Christmas the Greenwood ladies (Lisa, Debbie, Nicci, and I) get together. Normally it's Cheesecake Factory for about 2/3 hours and then a little gift for each other. Our schedules were all a little crazy this year and we decided that we should have a baking night instead. For our presents we each brought recipes printed out to share. We are hoping that each Christmas we can add to our recipes and end up with some really great stuff!

Baking night was a blast and VERY interesting! The conversations were about marriage, guns, works, dating, coworkers, and of course baking. Meanwhile we were making a mess! Nicci and Lisa were laminating our recipes. Debbie was trying out the new shortbread recipes I gave her and I was making some peanut butter, rice krispie, chocolate treats. I also decided instead of making frosting for Nicci's sugar cookies like she asked I would make a double batch of sugar cookies! I was in a zone and not paying attention and read the wrong recipe. Flour ended up on the floor, the dog was in Heaven, and we had a lot of laughs all night.

We all had a ton of fun of course! Here are just a few photos of our fabulous night!
Love my Greenwood girls!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Lucky Lady

I'm pretty lucky to know the people I know! My job has led me to some of the most amazing families I have ever met. I've talked about them before, but seriously...I can't get enough of them. 

Last night the girls had their gymnastics performance. I had promised to go and luckily I was able to keep that promise. They did such a great job. I can't even do a cartwheel and here they are doing flips, back bends, jumps, etc. Afterwards we got a little silly and took some pictures!
Gracie (top left) is a 7th grader and a spit fire! Kade and Ali (twins on the top right) were celebrating their 6th birthday! Paige and I (bottom left). Paige is a goof ball with a heart of gold! Lastly Rhett (bottom right) is one of my most favorite students ever. I just love seeing him in the hallway and wish he was still a 2nd grader so I could hang with him every day. Mike and Kim aren't pictured, but they are amazing as well. I'm so lucky that they let me come do fun things with their family!

Thursday, December 13, 2012


I got an email tonight from Carrie Rickard and it totally made my night!


Who doesn't love a little mistletoe??

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Today is one of those moments in time where it won't ever happen again. Never will a date repeat itself like today. Since that is the case I figured I better blog about my day. Sorry it really is nothing exciting, but here I go:

I will never get tired of seeing a mountain sunrise on the way to work.

I had my last meeting with Dr. Brady (my knee surgeon) today! He said everything is healing up nicely and to just finish up physical therapy as planned and I'm good to go!

I shopped at the Scholastic warehouse sale today. Found it funny that I could buy books and guns in the same parking lot. I chose books today!
I went to Red Robin to have a mini bachelorette party for Shanelle! This is an old picture of us, but it's the only one and we are wearing camo!
After some Christmas shopping and chatting with Ashley about life I headed to bed to relax and read with a warm cup of cider!

12-12-12 you have been good to me!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Letter

We've had a rough time this year in my class. Unexpectedly I had a student's mom pass away, leaving 5 children behind. I've had another mom find out her cancer is back now in her liver and much worse. I've also had another mom find out she has breast cancer. I watch these 8 year olds have to deal with so much at such a young age. I don't know how they do it because I honestly don't think that at 29 I could handle it. 

Today in class we practiced writing letters. The assignment was to write a letter to a parent and tell them what you would like for Christmas and why. Here is one of them:
It's a pretty basic letter and then you get to the last line. "I also want mom back". I stood there reading it and trying to correct a few errors as I tried to hold back the tears. 

I'm so blessed. I have so many wonderful things and people in my life. I'm grateful that I have my whole family still here with me, even if they are far away. I'm lucky to get to see them in 11 days! You better believe I'll be hugging them a little tighter and saying I love you a lot more.

We never know what is going to come our way. Make sure those that you love know it.

Temple Square at Christmas

My favorite Utah Christmas tradition is going to Temple Square to see the lights. They are the same every year, but still so beautiful. It's amazing to see the temple so lit up and full of color. It was a little chilly last night, but I bundled up and made the most of it.

We went over to City Creek first to grab some food and see the lights.
 Temple Square snap shots
 Every year we take a roommate picture by this tree. Only 3 of us could make it this year. We added Melanie at the end because we wish she were a roommate!

I love the Salt Lake Temple. Truly a beautiful place!
It's getting closer to Christmas and looking and feeling a lot more like winter here in Utah!

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Mountains

Favorite thing about Utah...the mountains! 
This is what I see every morning on my way to work. 

Date Night

Our ward was having a Christmas Date Night on Saturday! Decorating cookies and wearing ugly sweaters sounded like a great way to spend my Saturday night. Dustin and I went together and we doubled with his brother Josh and my friend Ashlee. Yes she is awesome and spells her name with two ee's also! We hit up Red Robin and then made our icy way over to the institute building. We were excited to decorate cookies and then they added a would have to have one arm tied to your date. That made things pretty interesting. To make things a little more interesting our group decided to start a frosting fight with each other, which then turned into frosting on others, etc. It got a little crazy. We did get the Bishop though who then smashed Dustin's cookie into another guy's face. There were many other incidents like all of us in the boy's bathroom trying to get clean, running out of the girl's bathroom because the guys realized someone was in there, spinning donuts in the parking lot, and Duck Dynasty. It was a successful date night for sure!
The Ashlees rocking our Christmas sweaters!
 It's hard to see all the frosting here, but it was everywhere, including my hair!
 We didn't win the cookie contest. Dustin's cookie was decorated as a smiley face, but this was the replacement one after it got smashed in someone's face.

A Warm Christmas

Every year Riverton Elementary puts on a Christmas party. Last year my grade was in charge and we felt pretty good about our chocolate fountain, traditional dinner, and minute to win it games with prizes. This year 3rd grade totally beat us! We had Rumbi for dinner, the gym was decorated like an island escape, the entertainment was awesome and we even played a fun game. I really love the people I work with. I'm lucky to have such good friends surrounding me all the time!

 Just a few pictures from the party!
 Thank you Jib Jab for creating these keepsakes...
This is Scott, one of the 4th grade teachers!
 This is my principal who hates wearing hats... Good thing it was just a video
 Kathy won the game and won herself a new coconut bra and skirt!

Thanks 3rd grade!

Monday, December 3, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

The house has been decorated! The fireplace has been turned on! Christmas Shopping has begun! The Season is here! I'm for some reason in a super Christmasy mood this year and have found myself doing way more Christmas things than I normally do. I'm loving it so I'm going to stick with it!
Our two new additions to the house...Megan and a Christmas Tree! Ted at Lowe's was super nice and extremely funny. We had a blast picking out this beautiful tree!
This gives you an idea of what our living room looks like. I think it turned out wonderfully! I personally have taken advantage of it and sit by the fire every once in awhile!
 I also went to the festival of trees this past weekend. I had always heard about it, but never went. I'm so glad I did. There are hundreds of trees decorated all being donated to Primary Children's Hospital. People bid on the trees and the money all goes to help out these children and their families. It's incredible. Such a fun way to kick off the season.
These were just some of my favorites!
 Katie and I dream to someday have a gingerbread house that looks this good!

Christmas is in full swing around here. I'm okay with no snow yet either. I can handle 40's and 50's in December!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Kicking Off Christmas!

My friend Katie Lee invited me over to make a gingerbread house the other night. It was a great way to start the holiday spirit. Since then the house has started to get decorated and we are getting a tree this week! I love our house at Christmas. I even listened to Christmas music...I think I'm starting to enjoy Christmas more and more! 

Decorating got a little intense! Charlotte broke a few things, Katie got crafty with the glue gun, Megan got sticky fingers from decorating the tree, and I just did a little bit of everything.
 We were very pleased with how the roof turned out! The tree is a little jankity, but I love it! Notice the logs in the back of the house. And yes, that is a bear walking on water!
Katie then worked her photo magic on Megan and I and took this lovely tree shot!
We are a little excited for Christmas!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Thanksgiving to Remember: Part 4/5

Finally it was Thanksgiving! Mom and Dad got to cooking. Dad was a champ and peeled all the potatoes. It was a lot because my mom was making sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, and then she needed diced potatoes for my turkey pot pie. Mom and I were busy looking through ads so we could shop that evening. Cami and Ryan were packing up their things and the kids were running around being crazy. We had a very yummy Thanksgiving with lots of giggling in between. I'm so glad that I could have some of my family come out for the holiday. It was fun to have the house filled with family!
Camden helped me write in my gratitude journal and then drew a hand turkey! Haddley fell in love with my guitar and spent most of the morning just strumming away. Camden and Haddley loved using the banister as a race track for their cars. We had a little bubbly with dinner! Dad and Parker keeping the Hoppes tradition alive with the turkey leg. Haddley loving her dinner. Camden and Parker trying to pull the wishbone. Camden, Haddley and I went to the park to shoot some hoops. Camden and I being silly and making faces during snuggle time!

Once the house was cleared it was then time to shop. My Dad at first wasn't going to come at all, but then decided he would come with us and then head home around Midnight. I won't go into details about the evening, but it was long. We started at 7pm and ended around 7 am. We shopped the whole time...well actually most of that was spent in lines! I HATE LINES! By the morning Mom and I were feeling the pain in our backs and for me especially in my knee too. I came home for a quick power nap and then we organized it all into suitcases. The good news is that I got most of my shopping done! It might not look like much, but that was the second half of the evenings bags. My Dad has already brought in the first half.
Photo: This just happened...well for the last 12 hours!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Thanksgiving to Remember: Part 3

Temple Square
We decided to take a trip down to Salt Lake to see the temple. I wish the Christmas lights were on, but it was still beautiful. The kids loved seeing the big temple and walking around the vistor's center. We also stopped by the conference center and City Creek!

Not the greatest of pictures due to it was dark and I only had my phone, but you get the idea! We had a great time. I still can't believe that it was almost 60 degrees outside at 8:00 at night at the end of November! AMAZING!

A Thanksgiving to Remember: Part 2

Although I'm not a huge lover of the snow, I do enjoy playing in it a little. I decided to take the family up to Silver Lake which is my family place in Utah. We had the whole place to ourselves and loved every minute...well until the kids got cold! Really we were very lucky and had perfect weather!
Camden has seen/played in the snow a little bit in Oklahoma, but never THIS much snow. Haddley was hesitant at first, but then she loved it!
 Parker's first trip to the snow!
 Grandma taught the kids how to make snow angels!
 The whole gang had a great day!
 Now that they know I have snow in Utah I think they might come visit a little bit more!
It was probably my favorite day in the snow in a long, long time!

A Thanksgiving to Remember Part 1

This Thanksgiving I decided to invite some of the family to Utah! I love California and thank goodness get to go home for Christmas, but I really wanted my family to see where I live, work, hang out, etc. Lucky for me, they LOVE me and came for the visit. 
I had a few things that I really wanted to make sure we got to do while everyone was in town. First things first was of course bring the kids to school day!
When Camden and Haddley ask why I have to go back to Utah I always tell them it's because of my students. It was fun for them to see my school and to get to meet my students. Plus my students LOVED having them there.

Next was TACO time! My family laughed, but I really wanted to take them to Lonestar Taqueria! I love this place. I've mentioned it before. My family needed to taste it! Everyone agreed it was a great meal! PHEW...I told them I would disown them if they didn't!
Since we were over by the freeway I decided we needed to go to Scheels. I knew the kids would love seeing the animals and everyone else could enjoy shopping!
Clearly my Dad had a great time as well!

 Over all it was a WONDERFUL first day together!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Holding Out For A Hero

I recently watched the newer version of Footloose. Yes, I realize this came out a couple years ago. Amanda and I finally had time to sit and watch it. I actually really liked it. The best part was this song. Ella Mae Bowen does a fantastic job singing it. I love the lyrics. I think we all need a Hero. I often play it on repeat when I find I need to be reminded that I deserve a Hero. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Painter Family Sunday

I taught Rhett last year (you may remember some posts about him). They are one of the greatest families on Earth. A huge blessing to have in my life. When I'm bored I text Kim. When I'm needing some kid time I go hang out with the kids. When I need a haircut, I call Kim. When I need a good meal, I go to the Painters! Yesterday I went to church with them because 4 of 5 were in the primary program. They were adorable of course. This then turned into come over and make apple pies and dinner! This lasted from 3:00 to 9:30pm. When you are having fun at the Painter's house you just don't ever want to leave!

The girls were big helpers! Rhett...he just wanted to eat the pies!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

My Best Friend's Wedding

7 years ago I met Lisa! We were both teaching at Greenwood Elementary. I was teaching 4th grade and she was teaching 2nd. The principal asked us to all pick a lower grade to be reading buddies with. We both kind of looked at each other and said yeah? Well that is where it started. That year we became friends and then I moved to the 2nd grade team. Do you know how fun it is to go to work with one of your best friends every day? It's amazing! We started branching out from just being work friends and doing stuff outside of school. Then we decided to be travel buddies. We have gotten lost in Greece, zip-lined in Costa Rica, snorkeled in Honduras, and so much more! Yesterday Lisa married Devin Walker and things will of course be different, but I still look forward to meeting up for Thai, gchatting at work, texting about dates late in the night, craft nights with the girls, etc. 

 Of course we had AMAZING weather all week long and then the snow storm hit Friday carrying over to Saturday. Poor California got a white wedding. It was beautiful, but very cold!
They were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple!

 Super blurry but the only shot with my shaky cold hands!
 Isn't she beautiful?
 Lisa knows how to party! Amazing food! 
I tried everything and was full the rest of the evening!
 Their reception was at the Grand America Hotel in downtown SLC. 
It was the perfect location for this fancy and fun day.
 Random shot, but LOOK AT THAT DRESS? 
I was in love with it. Lisa had stressed a little about the dress, but she for sure picked a winner. It was stunning!
 Cake time!
 First dance
(Love her veil)
 The snow finally stopped for a little bit and it made for a beautiful day at the SLC temple!
I'm so grateful for Lisa and all that she has done for me over the years. I'm lucky to have her in my life. I'm so glad she is so in love and happy. I can't think of someone more who deserves it!

Lisa and Devin
November 10, 2012
Lisa Gardiner became Lisa Walker!