Walking around my room today I found this:

Yes, this is THE Michael Jackson, and not some unfortunate fifth grader.
Yes, Shania is 10 years old.
Yes, she talks about him/writes in her journal about him constantly (I asked her how long she had liked him and she said since she was 8.)
Yes, Joseph is his middle name- definitely didn't know that before.
Yes, we have been in school for 6 weeks and her name tag already looks this bad.

I love my job.



Cute Kirsten (who just had an adorable baby boy) tagged me in the Honest Blogger Tag. Here are the rules. List ten Honest things about myself and tag 10 other bloggers who I think are honest in their blogging.

So, Here are 10 Completely Honest facts about Rachel:

1. When we have kids, I really really want us to have a girl first. I want dresses and bows and pink and ballet shoes. I want an organized and responsible da
ughter to help me take care of the rest of the troop and to be my best friend. I'm afraid I'll be very sad if I find out a boy is coming. I'm just hoping the motherly instinct will kick in and I'll love a boy just as much. (ps, this is not an announcement)

2. I love dressing up for work, even though I spend my day with a bunch of kids. I often come home very dirty and with aching feet, but I think it's worth it. I love feeling like a professional and spending time to get ready for my day. I love that my kids notice what I'm wearing and compliment me occasionally.

3. Bryan is a much better cook than I am. When I have a recipe, I am usually successful. But he can just make things up that are completely delicious. Take tonight's dinner for instance:

4. I don't like animals. They smell, are dirty, have fleas, make a lot of noise, and scare little children (and me!) I wish people would spend more time helping other people than helping animals.

5. I like doing dishes. I love that my dishes can go from completely disgusting to sparkly clean in just a few minutes because of my hard work.

6. I don't shower every day. It took me a few years living in Utah to realize that this dry weather gives me the freedom to not wash my hair every day. Every once in a while, I'll just wake up, put on deoderant and a little body spray, get dressed, brush my hair, and go. These mornings are glorious, but by the end of the day I feel very wilty. (Do you not want to be around me anymore??? I'm sorry)

7. I love to decorate, but it stresses me out because of cost and making big decisions that will last for a while. For these reasons, all of the pictures that we own have been spread around the floor of our living room for the past week waiting for me to decide where and how to hang them.

8. I HATE to be late. I get an antsy and uncomfortable feeling because I know I am going to miss something important. I also hate it when other people are late, but I guess I can't change that so I'll just have to deal with it. :)

9. I don't like cake. Growing up we always had some variation for my birthday dessert: cheesecake, cookie cake, ice cream cake, etc. until I finally found a cake that I like: chocolate chip cake (perhaps I will post the recipe sometime.) I can eat minimal amounts of cake, but I get sick of it very quickly. It was almost tortuous to have to eat a whole piece of our wedding cake.

10. I love Miley Cyrus. When my family was visiting, we watched the Hannah Montana movie three times in one weekend. I definitely listen (and sing along and sometimes even dance) when no one else is around.

I tag Lisa, Judi, Shauna, Amy, Tiffany, Lindsay, Kali, Katie, Anna, and Ashley.


Day of Surprises

This afternoon we had Parent Teacher Conferences. For those of you who aren't teachers, this is the day we dread. It takes so much time to prepare all of the reports to give to parents. Then, you have to get all dressed up and teach a day of school. The kids get out early at 2:00, but that's still a lot of time. Then we sit there for hours and hours (2:15 until 8:30) filing families through while smiling and talking and remembering every score for every one of our 27 students and doing our very best to give parents the impression that we have it all together (I obviously do not, but hopefully I convinced them.) It really is fun to talk to all of the parents and get to be with the kids one-on-one, but it is an extremely exhausting day.

I was expecting today to be long and difficult like all conference days, and it was, but it also had a few great surprises mixed in.

At lunchtime I dropped my kids off in the cafeteria then started back to my classroom. From a distance I saw a tall, beautiful girl walking into the office and I stopped dead in my tracks. This girl looked so much like my dear friend Lisa, but it was impossible. She lives in California. When the girl turned around it was my Lisa with Cafe Rio (my fav) for lunch. She had come at the last minute to help her dad with a deadline at work and decided to surprise me for lunch. It was my best lunch yet this school year and gave me the energy I needed to make it through the rest of my day.

When I finally came home at 9:00 I walked into my apartment to find that Bryan had rearranged our furniture! We have been talking about it for a few weeks. We thought it would give us more space, and maybe help our tiny apartment look new and exciting. We've been so busy and haven't gotten around to it, but Bryan must have found time today. It was so exciting to come home to a new house (kind of.)

My life is so great. I do not deserve these people.


Big Chief and the Buffalos

This morning Bryan, Roger, Shauna, Rob, and Anna ran a marathon. They finished in just 3.5 hours. They also carried a baton the whole time.

At 5:45 this morning we left for the Utah Marathon Relay. Since there could only be 5 runners (26.2 is easily divided by 5 to get 5.2ish miles each) I volunteered to be the Equipment Manager. All through the morning we cheered and passed the baton. Shauna started, and ran in the freezing cold, with Rob finishing the team off in extreme heat. They all did an awesome job and made great times. I was busy pinning numbers, transporting gear, taking pictures, keeping the time, and grading approximately 5,000 math pages during the down time.

After much brainstorming and voting, Big Chief and the Buffalos was chosen as the team name. Any questions about the Big Chief part should be directed to the Big Chief herself. Recently Shauna learned that her friend's little baby has Cystic Fibrosis, which was the cause the race was supporting. So, on Friday night we made shirts with a Buffalo on them and wrote "For Baby Tyce." I think the matchiness added to the unity and success of our group, plus we just looked really good.

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Rachel on Politics

I don't claim to be extremely political, but I am interested in politics even if I don't always understand all the issues. This week my role as an elementary school teacher threw me into a dramatic political adventure.

When I first heard about Pres. Obama's speech to the kids, I'll admit my first reaction was, "Sweet, 30 minutes of peace that I don't have to plan or worry about managing my kids." Not the most noble of reactions. But as the controversy unfolded I couldn't believe how ridiculous some people were being. Of course we're showing our kids a speech on education and staying in school from the President of the United States. I am no big Obama fan, nor did I vote for him but he is our president. He is the man that Americans chose to lead us at this time and I refuse to hope that he will fail. I think it is terribly un-American to deny children the right to hear an inspirational message from their president.

Needless to say, I did show the speech in my class today. Our district sent a letter home telling parents that we were going to show it, but that they could opt out of it if they wanted. None of my students brought a note, so we all watched together. I thought it was great. I was surrounded by my sweet children, many of whom do not have money or an ideal family situation. These kids have a difficult life ahead of them, and I'm so grateful that they could be inspired and motivated to realize what they can achieve. They were excited that the president cared enough to talk to them, and I could tell it really made a difference to them. I even got a little teary-eyed as I participated in this special event, and I felt very proud to be an American.


Biking Adventures

On our last trip to California we decided to bike around San Francisco for a day- something I would highly recommend because we had a wonderful time. I borrowed a bright yellow old bike from Bryan's parents' garage and that day the bike and I bonded. Bryan's dad kindly fixed it up and insisted that I take it home with me. I didn't feel too guilty since I am the shortest in the family by about half a foot and I didn't think the bike would fit anyone but me!

Bryan has been into biking for a while and I was always content to have it just be his thing. And I still am content to let him keep doing his extreme mountain biking all on his own. I think I'll stick to a paved trail, thank you. But I am excited for us to be able to bike together as a family.

We've been on a few biking expeditions together and I'm proud to say I've had my first biking injury. I was turning a corner and just fell over, I'm not sure really what happened. It was totally embarrassing because Bryan was behind me watching and so was this random guy on the sidewalk. But, I did get a nice scrape and bruise. I'm hoping it will leave a scar so I can tell my great grandkids about it.

{I tried approximately 500 times to take this picture in a way that didn't make my calf seem so huge, white, and disgusting but had no success. I hope I haven't offended anyone}

The other night we went up Rock Canyon so Bryan could show me some of his tricks (Rock Canyon is a dirt path so obviously I was using my feet as transportation that night.) The sunset was beautiful so we attempted to figure out some of the settings on our new camera and get some cool pictures.

{He's so fast we call him The Blur}

{Bryan popping a wheelie, what a stud}