Friday, December 31, 2010

10 Great Things in 2010

I’ve decided to compose a list of the top ten things that we did in 2010.  Here is the countdown:
10.)  In November we went to a Skillet and Toby Mac concert.  At first we were a little skeptical, mainly because we had forgotten about going with our friends and mom and dad were in town and A&M was playing Nebraska.  We said that if it was bad we would leave… however it was AWESOME!  Great concert and a lot of fun!DSC01015DSC01032
9.)  Going to the Ranch with the Youtsey family.  We went several times out to the ranch with Morgan and Cohlby in 2010 they were lots of fun!!
8.)   Summer!  It was great having the summer off, I wish that Russell had it off too.  However, in my time off I was able to go to camp with the high schoolers in Orange Beach, Alabama, went up to Dallas for a whole week for Lauren’s wedding, and I went to Nashville to see Christy.
7.)  Our one year anniversary on March 7.  It is so crazy that we had been married for a year (almost two now!).  I have a wonderful husband and I am blessed to have him in my life!
6.)  Christmas 2010.  We had an awesome Christmas this year.  We hosted Russell’s family the Tuesday before Christmas.  Then we went up to Dallas to see my side of the family.  It was nice to see everyone again, and we got some good stuff too.  Tony gave us a Wii, so that provided a ton of entertainment over the break, mom and dad gave me a Kindle, and Russ gave me a new laptop (which is awesome).  We also had money where we were able to give some really good gifts this year (at least I thought so).
5.)  Over Spring Break we were able to go visit Russell’s family up in New York.  It was the first time that his grandparents were able to meet me.   It was great getting to know a little bit more about Russell. 
4.)  Getting the Corvette.  This one was at the top of the list for Russell, but since it’s mostly my blog it got demoted just a little bit.  But it is always nice to see someone’s childhood dream come true and that’s what happened. 
3.) Cancun!  We got invited to join Russell’s parents down in Cancun over Thanksgiving this year.  It was an awesome time to get away and relax. 
Cancun (39)
2.)  May 2010 I graduated with my Master’s in Education, focusing on Curriculum and Instruction.  It was nice to finally be done with school and see the fruits of all my hard work.
Drum Roll please……….
1.)  Getting a job!  Technically I was hired in December of 2009, but I didn’t start until Spring semester.  I was hired on to teach World History at Cy Creek High School, and even though I switched to Geography and World History at Cy Ranch, it is nice to have a job.  I love teaching teenagers (even though I might complain).  It is a very rewarding job, and after almost 10 months of searching I am finally a productive member of society!
I hope that God continues to bless us in 2011 and you as well.  Happy New Year!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Welcome! A Christmas Newsletter

Hopefully there are some new readers to the blog after I sent out our Christmas cards this year.  If that's you, welcome! Please stop by often, I try to update at least once a week, a little more if its a particularly exciting week, a little less if it's boring around here.  Please feel free to comment, I like reading the comments!  I didn't write a Christmas letter out this year and send it out, but I will write a little synopsis of the year, feel free to go back through the blog and read about it first hand.

What a year!  For me personally 2010 brought much change.  In Decemeber of last year, I was hired on at Cy Creek High School to teach 10th grade World History.  If you would of asked me then, World History was probably the subject that I wanted to teach the LEAST, that I'm certified to teach... but after months of searching for a job I was not going to be picky.  It was an exciting/crazy/busy/chaotic January getting settled in, learning the ropes, teaching, all the paperwork that goes with it, and brushing up on my world history.  It turned out to be a great experience, I had great kids, and wonderful co workers.  However, I'm not going to lie, I was excited for June to come for summer!

Over Spring Break we went up to New York to visit Russell's family, mainly his grandparents.  In the 5 years that we had been together, including the 1 year of marriage, they still had not met me.  So it was exciting to go up there and meet the, learn more about Russell and his family.  While we were up there we went to Cooperstown to see the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Next time we go up there (hopefully sometime in 2011) we can go see Niagra Falls.

This summer was a busy one for me, unfortunately Russell was left out of many of these adventures, the perks of teaching and having the summer off.  Jeremy (my youth pastor/brother-in-law) asked me if I could come and chaperone high school summer camp.  I said well I work with high schoolers every day and free trip to the beach... why not!  So I was headed off for the week with over 500 high schoolers in Orange Beach, Alabama.  It was lots of fun seeing so many high schoolers having fun and worshipping God!  But after a week away I was happy to be back home with my husband.  Later in July, I headed off to Nashville for a long weekend to see Christy, my best friend that I met while living in Colorado, and have seen every summer since we left.  It is always great to see her, especially because she had just gotten engaged!  I am her maid of honor in her wedding coming up July 2011.

At the end of the school year, I was told that there were too many teachers at my school, so me and a few other teachers were going to have to find another school within the district to teach.  Unfortunately, that opportunity did not present itself right away at the beginning of the school year, so I was back at Creek "team teaching" until something opened up.  Fortunately, after a few weeks another school in the district needed another teacher and hired me on.  I started at Cy Ranch teaching 5 sections of World Geography (9th graders) and one section of World History (10th graders).  I am very happy at Ranch.  Not only is it 5 minutes from my house (Hallelujah! - Creek was almost 30), it is a new school (only it's 3rd year open) and they have set high standards and the kids are great.  It is a challenge teaching two entirely different subjects (plus honors and on-level kids within geography) but I like it.  Ranch will also give me the most opportunity to teach economics- which is what I most want to do!.  Right now there is only one Econ teacher (because it is their first senior class this year) and so within the next year or two that's where I'll be.

Over the Thanksgiving break, Russell's parent invited us to go with them to Cancun for their week in their timeshare.  Over course we said yes!  It was an amazing trip, fun times with fun people, his parents, his brother, and his uncle from New York.  It was nice and relaxing and for 5 whole days I didn't think about my kids (just kidding every time it was supposed to be 6th and 7th period, they are my worst classes- and I prayed a little for the sub- haha!).  However, our time there passed way to quickly, and back to real life.

Since then we have just been finishing up the semester and working.  We attend the MET church in Cypress, and help out tearing down every week, as we meet in a middle school for now, and grow more involved with our small group.  Russell is still working at Baker Hughes as a mechanical engineering in one of their oil tool manufacturing plants.  Though his job is sometimes stressful, sometimes boring, he likes his team and his daily duties.  We are thankful that God has provided him with a steady job, he will start his third year in 2011, and me with a good school and good kids.  We are now spending some time back up in Dallas with my family, before the new year.  I hope life is treating you as well have a blessed Christmas with family and friends. 

Please come back throughout the year  and stay in touch!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

McCarthy Christmas

Tonight we hosted Christmas for the McCarthy's.  Unfortunately only Russell's parents and brother live in the state, so it was just a small family dinner, no other relatives.  I was excited to host it and put all my cooking skills, and wedding gifts to the test!  I think I used every pot/pan I had, and all my serving pieces.  I made candied pecans and sausage balls for appitizers, along with M&Ms and herseys minitures.  Which I am glad I made appitizers because Russell's mom locked her keys in her car when she was in Clearlake for a work Christmas party earlier, so she was running late.  However, we were still waiting me to finish cooking.... I was 20 minutes over my ETE (estimated time of eating).  I made a honey glazed ham, roasted carrots (with the ham), mashed potatoes (that took forever to boil, hence the 20 minutes late), pineapple cheddar casserole, and Kathy brought her broccoli cauliflower casserole, and crescent rolls.  For dessert we had brownies and pineapple jello "salad".  I also had made some apple cider, but lets face it nobody wanted it because it was freaking 80* outside.
you can kind of see in the picture we had cloth napkins with "M" monogrammed in them.  I saw those at Bed Bath Beyond when I was doing some Christmas shopping, and for $15 (minus 20% with my coupon- because that's how I roll- lol) I couldn't pass it up.
My first ever attempts at making a ham were actually pretty good.  I bought a hald ham that was pre cooked, and Russell said you definitely need more than that.  So I bought another half, and guess what we had a whole half plus some left over.  No worries I sent a bunch home with Tony, now that he has moved out, and some with Kathy and Max.
After dinner we opened presents.  I felt kind of bad.  We (Russell, Tony, and I) gave his parents a new grill.  However, we didn't have it with us because we don't have a truck to go get it from Lowes yet.  So they had no presents to open.  And Tony is going over to their house Christmas morning, so he only had a present from us. We had gifts from them, and also we exchanged most of our gifts from each other.  So it was pretty one sided present opening.  But still fun.  Russell got Bear Grylls survior pants, a knife, and some dvds.  I got lots of jewelry, a new hair dryer (I decided when hotels have nicer ones, then its time to upgrade-lol plus mine is about 10 years old, and was $10 new, and takes about 10 times longer to fry my hair than need be). 

Russell also got these cool beer glasses.  They say McCarthy's pub on them!
Here is a picture of our outside lights this year.  We added the lights down into the yard.  We have several boxes of more lights in the garage, but didn't put them up.  For the longest time we were "that house" that had random sections out.  Apparently the box doesn't lie when it says only plug in 2 strand of the big light at a time, we kept blowing fuses, and then needing more extension cords.  So next year we will have red and white rope lights around all of the columns, lights down on the other side of the yard, and red lights around the garage. 
Here is the front door, looks the same from last year, but this year I got a poinsettia. 

I LOVE our entry table, it is the perfect place to decorate for the holidays.  The natity scene found its place here this year.
I found this cute "JOY" sign at target, it was too small to go outside and be seen, so we put it over the fireplace, I think it looks nice... though it's kinda hard to tell in this picture.

Russell being artsy with our new camera!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Last day of the Semester!!

Today was the last day of this semester.  Even though I just had a week long vacation in Cancun, I was so excited for it to come.  The kids were getting very antsy as well.  They had midterm exams starting from Tuesday, so a lot of grading to get done in a little time, but it all got done.  I never want to read about the differences of the Soviet Union and present-day Russia, but I dont' have to until probably this time next year- lol.

The kids had a half day today, and the teachers had lunch provided by Student Council while we waited for all the grades to go through problem free.  Lukcily this year I only had one failure, basically because he has been absent 14 days this six weeks (just so you know truency is 9 absences for the YEAR).  While we were waiting, we all contributed a dollar (or more) and whosever name they drew would get the pile (over $300).  I didn't win :( but we all did get free long sleeve t-shirt, which is nice because now my Ranch shirt count is up to 4!

There are only 8 days left until Christmas.  I have everything ordered that needs to be ordered, and just a have a few more small gifts to get from the mall.  I tihnk I will wait until Monday morning, just because I know the crowds will be crazy tomorrow.  I also ordered some photo cards today, so those will go out on the look out. 

Russell has all next week off as well.  I guess technically he used vacation days for next week, but we are both excited to just relax around the house.  We are going up to Dallas to spend Christmas with my family on Wednesday and will come back late Christmas night.  So we are going to celebrate Christmas with Russell's family on Tuesday.  We are having it at our house, so this will be my first holiday dinner to prepare and host.... hopefully it all goes well.  I'll keep you updated!  Until then....happy shopping!

Sunday, December 12, 2010


After Thanksgiving we had the priviledge to go to Cancun with Russell's parents.  They have a timeshare down there and asked us to go with them this year.  It was lots of fun.  Tony (Russell's brother) and Doug (Russell's uncle from New York) came too.  It started off great with a ride in a limo to the airport.  It was actually the cheapest way to get us all there, with our luggage.  We liked riding in style. 

We flew down on Saturday and unfortunately we had to leave on Wednesday.  The school district on allows for you to take three consecutive days off.  So that kinda stinks, but I guess they figure we gave you two months off why didn't you take a vacation then. lol.  

Cancun was wonderful.  We did a whole bunch of nothing, it was perfect.  We layed around the pool and the beach and read.  The resort where they have their timeshare is actually three resorts combined.  It was cool because you could walk around all of them, and go to all the different resturants.
The weather was perfect when we were there.  It was low 80s in the day and high 60s at night.  After we left Russell's parents said that it was really windy and rainy.  So I'm glad we left when we did.  However it was hard to come back.  But in the meantime here are some pictures of paradise!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Brady and Olivia's First Birthday

Last weekend we got to go see the most adorable twins turn one.  It's hard to believe they are already that old.  Brady and Olivia are my cousin Jenny's twins, they live in the Woodlands.  They had a great turn out for their party.  It was a lot of fun.  It was great to see all of that side of the family, and Dwain and Denise and their kids came down for the celebration.
It was safari themed, and they even had a bounce house for all the other older kids that were there.

Me and Brady!

Olivia liked playing on some of her gifts

eating some yummy cake, after Olivia discovered that yes she could eat it, Brady figured that out right away

Emma enjoying some bubbles

Opening presents

And the newest addition to the Smith side of the family, Lyla!

My Favorite Clark Sisters

A few weeks ago we went up to College Station to see Heather and Michelle.  Heather had come down to go to the Tech game.  Since College Station is only an hour away, we didn't mind going up after the game (which we won!) to see them.  We went and picked them up after the game and we went out to eat.  We actually went all the way to Bryan to eat, since CS gets super crazy crowded on game day.  Afterwards we went over to Michelle apartment and hung out some.  I really miss the college days when all our friends were within ten minutes of each other.  Now we are all scattered out all over the nation and hae real jobs that take up all of our time.

Happy Belated Halloween

Sorry school has gotten crazy, so sorry this is like two weeks late. 

Halloween goes big in our neighborhood.  I have already shown you a picture of wolfman that comes out every year.  But I think this tops it all.

We decorated a little, but more on the inside, and it's more fall than Halloween.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New Classroom

Here are some pictures of my new classroom.  Some of it is the same stuff from last year, but now I'm incorporating some more geography items.

Here is the side wall.  It has my cabinet and filing cabinet.  The bullitin board has my rules, calendar for both world history and geography, and lastly "today in history".   The reason it says geography at the top is becuase I will have 5 geography classes and only 1 world history- I guess majority rules.

Back wall (yes it's a partition wall, but they are the sturdy good kind).  It has my maps and the 5 themes of geography.  Can you name them all?  (hint: Mr. Help) Movement, Region, Human Environment Interaction, Location, and Place (geography 101- thought ya'll might like the little lesson)

This back corner has little post cards of probably over 50 of the major cities/historical sites in the world.

My college board made it back!  And my desk.  I sewed the blue curtain around my desk and put the ribbon on.  I was proud of that. 

Looking at the front wall.  There is a world history timeline across the top.  And I found these great wall quotes that you rub on.  The one one the left says "We are the HERO of our own STORY" and the one on the right says "CHARACTER be true to your word, your friends, and yourself "