Saturday, December 31, 2011

We visited the snow for Christmas...

We spent Christmas with the Bricker family in Flagstaff. It was so much fun. We need to steal some pictures, but here is a snapshot of the show.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pumpkin Carving at ASU

Arizona State University's (ASU) American English & Culture Program (AECP) has an annual pumpkin carving contest for their students. The students are grouped together by their reading and writing teachers. You have 30 minutes to carve at least one pumpkin. We carved two and then decided which one we thought looked the best. My students... and just about every other student loved Eliza's costume. We all love hand-me-downs!!! Thank you Malia!

She had at least 20 students ask to take a picture of her and or with her. So funny. I had flashbacks of being in Costa Rica or Albania and children walking around in traditional clothes, BUT if you took their picture, you had to pay like $5. I was so tempted to say, Of course... that will be $5 per picture. It is never too early to start saving for college, right?

You may notice and Eliza and I are dressed in short-sleeves... that is because it is still very warm here. The picture with the waterbottle is after she has been walking around for awhile, that is why her hair is sooo sweaty from where her flower hat was.

After the party, we decided to have authentic Chinese food. It was pretty great. Everyone that walked in was either Asian or with an Asian. So, I think that means that we ate real authentic food. It was right next to an Asian market. I definitely decided not to go there. My sense of smell is a little too acute right now, and I could smell the fish from our car.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Guess what is the size of a plum?

Our baby #2!!! I am happy that the first trimester is drawing to a close. If this pregnancy mimmicks Eliza's, then I will feel pretty good in about another 2 months!!! YEAH!

Luckily, I am feeling a little better this time around. I think that the weight-loss over the summer did its job. So far, I weigh the same at 12 weeks that I did at 8 weeks last time. :)

Eliza kisses my belly. It is pretty cute, but she thinks that she has a baby in her button (belly button) as well. Oh well.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Are you serious?

I have asked myself this question quite a few times since I moved to Arizona. I don't ask anyone else that because it is usually just a response to something I think is illogical. Particularly this is in relation to the heat. August had a record breaking amount of days over 110 degrees. Needless to say, it has been hot. There are two observations that I have made recently that make me ask the question, "Are you serious?"

1. I don't see the value in palm trees. I think they are striking, but when it comes to providing shade, they just aren't good. I have tried to walk in the skinny little shade the is provided by a palm tree. It is quite less effective. As I have been walking through the enormously large log 59 trying to get to my car, I wonder, why is the parking lot full of palm trees. They don't shade the cars, or the poor people trying to get to their cars. These palm trees are huge, so maybe no one wants to dig them because they have been there awhile... but really, they don't have that much green, so they can't be producing that much oxygen, and they don't provide shade. Thus, I suggest digging them out and replacing them with trees that not only provide shade, but also help the struggling drivers get enough oxygen to breathe.

2. I understand that when people are hot, they usually wear fewer and lighter clothes. This general concept is one that I am quite familiar with. Except for those who are trying to be "modest" which comes in varying degrees on ASU's campus. By the way, I found myself right in the middle of that spectrum. There is a phenomenon that I just don't get at all: some girls walk around campus with daisy duke shorts on, and a thin skimpy tank top. This is not surprising. It is the smallest amount of clothes that you can get away with on campus. What is surprising is that they will then have long hair that covers their shoulders and back. How does this make sense? If you are trying to stay cool by wearing fewer clothes, wouldn't you also pull your hair back? Or if you weren't concerned about the heat, wouldn't you wear more than what a lot of people wear at the beach? This is my quandry. I want to bring elastics to campus and hand them out to the girls in this situation. I could show them how to pull their hair back in a pony-tail, braid, or bun. However, I haven't quite come up with a line to say before handing them something to pull their hair back. Any suggestions?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Shannon and Ashleigh came to town...

That meant that we all went up to Flagstaff. We hung out at the cabin, went shooting, experience a Flagstaff fair in the park. We ate greek food and watched belly dancers. Then we drove to Sedona and held live snakes and tarantulas, then tried to shop at the outlets. We drove around the red rock and downtown Sedona. Then we headed back to Flagstaff. We ate at a small Chinese place and then ate coldstone for dessert. After that we watched Stardust. It was pretty fun. The next day, we went to church, went on a walk, and ate brownies. Today we have been chilling and chilling. It has been so fun! Eliza is pretty spoiled because she has so many fun people around who love her.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Islam and America

I have now moved to a program with a very high number of Arab students. We have far more than what I have been previously teaching. I have always been concerned that the relationship with the Islamic world would be too tense in America. I feel like an exception because I have lived in and loved an Islamic country, Albania. With that said, Kelly Zirker, posted this article on her blog,
It turns out that right now, Muslims in America are more satisified with their life than other Americans.
Thank you America for realizing that extremism and terrorism are not a necessary part of Islam. I really do believe that America can be a wonderful mix of cultures and an inviting space for those who choose to come here and contribute to this great country. I absolutely love living in my bubble that I call teaching ESL in America. It is so rich with culture and curiosity!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Our transition

We officially moved to AZ on Sunday August 14th. We were sad to go but ready for our new adventure. Skyler and I were both wearing University of Texas- Austin T-shirts to celebrate our moved out of state.

Since then we have been
1. organizing our stuff at Skyler's parents house. We bought big tupperware boxes at Wal-mart which we hope to use in our future garage for storage, but for now they are our expansive clothes organization system.
2. getting really good at inflating and deflating my mom's queen aerobed. We inflate it as part of Eliza's bedtime routine. Our sheets just stay on it , so we don't have to redo our bed everyday. Eliza has been sleeping quite well on some blankets. Who knew we didn't need a pack 'n play or crib? In the morning, we deflate the airmattress and make room for Rylee to use her school room.
3. weaning Eliza off the bottle. It is official. She doesn't take a bottle anymore. She is definitely a BIG girl now!
4. fixing the car. Skyler and his dad have been working hard to make sure that we can drive our car. The windshield was replaced this week and it is amazing how clear and easy it is to see everything without the cracks and dirt. Pretty soon we will pass our inspection, get our salvage title, and then get our check from USAA. YEAH!
5. driving around a lot. Especially during the first week, the whole family was in the car A LOT!!! The sticker books have been really great!
6. following up on jobs. Skyler has had two interviews since our arrival and one job offer. We are waiting to hear details about it, but it isn’t a good time to find a job in recreation management. One job already decided not to hire anyone.
7. navigating the highways. I have been driving on my own with different freeways and commuting about an hour each way. I am a big girl because I can find a lot of places, but particularly ASU and MCC.
8. teaching new classes. I am teaching a level 4 grammar class at MCC and a reading & writing class at ASU. It is definitely busy to get into the groove of those classes all at once. MCC’s department is really laid back. ASU’s department is definitely more structured. There is one shared faculty room at MCC. It has been pretty empty when I have used it. ASU gave me ½ of a ½ desk. Yes that equal ¼ of a desk. It is a little cramped, but my desk buddy and I are trying to figure out our schedules better so that we don’t crowd each other out.
9. living the dream! That is our phrase for this phase of life.

Monday, August 15, 2011

We made it!

It definitely feels like we are on vacation since we have visited so many times in the last month... but I think that in a week when reality hits, we will realize that we actually MOVED to AZ.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Feeling like Nephi

I might have mentioned this before, but I have been feeling like Nephi for a couple months for various reasons related to our move to AZ. Recently, Skyler and I have been reading 1 Nephi because it has been very inspiring. For example, Nephi saw "many eafflictions ... nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God... Right now it feels like we have many afflictions but are also blessed as well. I love how Nephi says that he is telling this history to show "that the tender cmercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of ddeliverance." We have definitely gotten a lot of tender mercies recently. I will have to write a post about that someday, probably in AZ.

Also, we are moving to Phoenix early Sunday morning. That means we are leaving Provo, where I have lived for almost 10 years. It is interesting how a place is so much things all wrapped up and full of emotion. I am definitely in complete denial, excited, sad, and EVERYTHING else.

One of my students from Colombia talks about how she is never 'satisified' because when she is in the US, a part of her yearns to be in Colombia and vice versa. I think when we die we end up with so many different "homes" really. It is weird to call Provo "home" but it really has been. Eliza Lane will never remember it, but it has been our family's home for almost 3 years. We were going to have a goodbye party... but with the accident, a totalled car, injuries and the stomach flu we decided not to.

Sunday, August 7, 2011