Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Who's Who of 2010...

2010 was SUCH a blessed year for David and I, and there are many people who helped contribute to those special blessings. As this year comes to a close, I find it important to reflect back on some of these moments... :)
In February, we welcomed a new addition to our little family. We were looking to find Daphne a playmate. Ever since we moved into the house with the backyard, we thought she would be more active and enjoy the extra room. But without someone to run and play with, she was the same lazy pup. ;) One of David's co-workers had family members that were looking to get rid of their long-haired dachshund, and Dexter came to live in the Martinez home. :) I will always love my Daphne; she is so special to us, but having Dexter in my life is so amazing. Whereas Daphne is very independent and likes her space, Dexter always wants to know where I am and what I am doing - he is my little shadow. I can't tell you how good it makes me feel to know he is content following me around, and he is the sweetest snugglebug there is! He has come such a long way from the scared, schizo, squirting dog we met in February. We tease him and say that he is the "stupid one", but we are learning that he is much smarter than we give him credit for! I have recently learned something funny about his eating habits. I never understood why he was such a messy eater - food ends up all over the floor everytime he eats. As usual, he was hogging all the food one day and I wanted to make sure Daphne got some. I put my hand in their bowl to get a handful for Daph, and all the food is wet. ?? So I stop and just watch him eat. This little turd sniffs and licks each piece of food and only picks out the red and green ones. Sure enough, the ones all over the floor are the brown and yellow ones he doesn't like. So THAT'S why he rushes to the bowl when we put down food... he wants to go through and eat what he likes, then spit out the rest to leave it for Daphne. Mean pup. ;) He has so many quirky qualities like this, and I swear it makes me love him more. Him and Daphne bring SO MUCH JOY to mine and David's lives, and we are so blessed to have found them both!

In 2010, David and I celebrated 6 years together and 2 years of marriage. I am so unbelievably blessed to be his wife. I realize that the only difference between our relationship and actual marriage was a piece of paper, but knowing that he is mine forever and feeling the pride and joy of being "Mrs. David Martinez" are things I am so grateful for. He truly is the very best friend I have ever had, and I am so excited for our future. It's so easy to take for granted things that you experience everyday... I love always having my best friend around to make me laugh, to support me when I am upset, and to just be around and enjoy the company. With him, life is full of silken moments that I will treasure forever... and it is still only the beginning. :) We have a lifetime together ahead of us, and that is more exciting to me than I could ever express! I love being in love with the man of dreams... everytime I look at him, I know that God loves me. :D

In March, we said goodbye to one of the best men I have ever known, my Papa. St. Patrick's Day will hold a much different meaning after this year. I miss him very much, and it does make me sad to know that he will never get to hold mine and David's babies, but I know that he was in so much pain in his wordly body. He lived a full and happy life, and I know he is pain-free and even happier looking down on us from heaven. I am grateful that he did know my nephew, Andrew, and that he was there the day I walked down the aisle. The rest he will just have to watch from his bird's eye view! ;) His memory will forever live on, especially through my little brother. Not only is he the spitting image of my Papa, he is a great man of honor and integrity, just as my Papa was. I am grateful to see my Papa everytime I look at my brother and I know that Papa is proud of the man he is becoming.
2010 was DEFINITELY the "year of the baby". My friends Tiffani and Amanda had beautiful babies, and my sister Wendy had our Baby Meatball!! :) Jackson Thomas is the perfect addition to Wendy and Jesse's amazing family, and I am the proudest Auntie ever! It's hard to believe that Andrew is already six, we needed another baby around! ;) My nephews are so amazing and I am definitely blessed to be a part of their lives. Wendy makes such gorgeous kiddos, that's for sure! Looking at her as a mother and the sweet, sweet boys she is raising, definitely makes the baby itch even stronger for me! Both her and my own mother set such wonderful examples about the mom I hope to be someday. I am in such awe of Wendy and her boys...what a blessed little family they are!
Let us never forget the importance of amazing friends!!! This year, I was lucky enough to patch a friendship with an amazing woman, my dear friend Roxy. Life takes us all down different paths, but I find such comfort in knowing that there are certain people who will always be a part of my life, even if we go through rough times. Roxy is a giving, loving, and wonderful woman, and I am blessed to have known her for so long. Having her in my life makes me a better person, and I love her very much! Stephanie and I have been friends since the 7th grade. We were roomies in college, we were in each other's weddings, and here we are 14 years later, living only 5 minutes from each other! I am unbelievably blessed to have a friend like her. I love that I can go over in my PJ's and just sit with her and Hannah, and still leave feeling like I've just had the best time ever! She is definitely my FOREVER friend and I love that we have each other. 2010 has been awesome with her a close part of it... we even get to work together again, just like the old Saltgrass days! The events of 2010 have brought us closer than ever, and we have shared some amazing memories. :)
2010 was FILLED with so many other amazing things as well... our dear friends Brittney and Austin were married (and Britt became an Auntie as well!), my sister-in-law Genevieve went off to college, my other sister-in-law Liza came home, David got a promotion, my Nana made a HUGE recovery from her illnesses, and we all celebrated another year of health and happiness. :) 2010 was filled with many changes as well, but I wouldn't change a THING. Some people walked out of my life, and for the most part, I am grateful for the positive changes it brought everyone involved. I am thankful, also, for the new friends that God brought into our lives, and all the happiness we feel daily. David and I are truly very, very blessed and 2011 promises to bring even more joy. Thank you ALL for being a part of our lives and part of the reason we are so happy. HAPPY NEW YEAR and many blessings to you all!

Monday, December 27, 2010

New Year's Promises

This comic sums it up perfectly. The idea of "New Year's Resolutions" have become sort of a joke... you set a few and then not much ever comes of it. I know that I am guilty of this, but I hate it! New Year's is the "standard" time to start thinking about things I'd like to change, but the truth is I should be thinking about these things all the time, not just when this time of year rolls around! However, it does make sense. New year, new beginning, and hope for what is to come in 2011 gets us all thinking about the future. So, this year, I am hoping to make just a couple "New Year's Promises" that I can hopefully keep. :) I know it will take WORK on my part, but I know enough to see that a change must be made, so now I need to commit to that change... the hardest part of all!
1. I promise to get back into a regular exercise routine. This has been soooo difficult for me. I loved my yoga and once I had to let go of that, I have let my commitment to exercise falter. My Christmas gift to myself was 20 Bikram Yoga classes in 60 days, and that is how I am starting my year. It will be a hardcore way to get back into that habit since I will have to go 2-4 times each week to redeem my classes before the 60 days is up. Then I just have to KEEP it up. We have a treadmill, 2 dogs and a gorgeous park to walk around, bikes, and a WiiFit for crying out loud. There should be NO reason why I can't find some form of exercise to keep my attention for at least an hour a day!!! I started my weight-loss journey in January of 2007 and in January 2011 I find myself halfway back to where I was. Now is the time to get it under control. I realize that it's just a few pounds each year, but that adds up and I CANNOT let myself stay on this track! I did NOT lose 60 pounds to gain it all back! I know I have the self-discipline in me, I just have to MAKE IT HAPPEN!!!
2. In 2010, a friend from high school did something where he posted a picture a day for all 365 days of 2010. I LOVE this! We take for granted how many beautiful and interesting things we encounter everyday and I am definitely someone that CONSTANTLY has my camera handy... I need to do this! Since I hope to be blogging more (thanks to Mom and Dad's Christmas gift of a new laptop!!), my goal is to share at least a picture a day of the beauty and wonder that is around me! I think it will definitely make me more aware and appreciative of my surroundings, and it just sounds like tons of fun!
3. I WILL find a teaching job for the fall!!! I believe that everything happens in God's own timing, and I also believe that my time is coming! I know that I love what I do, I LOVE to teach, and that my hard work and dreams will be realized!
4. And finally..... shhh, let's keep this one a secret ;) ... I am DETERMINED to thwart my husband's commitment to this 5-year plan. ;) I am wearing him down, I CAN FEEL IT!!!!! :) :)
So, for now at least, these are my hopes for 2011. I have many, many more... but here are a few that I feel most passionate about and those I KNOW I CAN do if I just put my mind to it. I can't believe we are about to enter into 2011... what a year it has been! I am grateful for the many, many, many blessings and memories that 2010 offered... 2011 is going to be even better!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

My Affair with Online Shopping

I love this time of year for many, many reasons and one of them is a normal girly reason... I love to shop! The problem is, while I love window shopping as a form of "retail therapy", I cannot stand getting out into the stores during Christmas season. It's always a madhouse, and so many RUDE people forget the reason for the season and are real Scrooges, no matter what! Couple that with the fact that the slightest change in weather makes Texans forget how to drive, and almost any shopping experience turns into a headache... lovely Christmas music playing in the background or not.
My answer to all of this... online shopping. :) I have been an Amazon advocate since my first year in college... I really can't get enough of it! I love being able to surf the web from the comfort of my couch, find an awesome deal, get free shipping, and have it show up on my doorstep a few days later. I know, I know, so many people are cautious about shopping online. With all the identity theft and credit card fraud that goes on, I can completely understand the hesitancy. For that reason, I usually won't order from just any website... but I have found that Amazon is a secure and reliable place to order from. I also won't usually buy clothing items online; you just never know how well they will fit!
Other than the couple of gift cards we are giving this year, ALL of mine and David's Christmas shopping was done on Amazon. And guess what? They are already wrapped and under the tree. Which means I can REALLY enjoy my holiday instead of trucking around town to every store in the Christmas crowds to try and track down the best deal on that thingamabob that so-and-so really wants this year.
Knock on wood... I have never had a problem with Amazon. There was even one occasion, about 5 years ago, when UPS dropped my Amazon order on the front porch of our old house... a house with no blinds, furniture, or ANYTHING indicating that people actually live there. Of course, the package was stolen. It was a few DVD sets for David's birthday. They weren't cheap, I was so upset, and UPS wouldn't do a darn thing. I called Amazon, but didn't figure they would be able to do much since it was technically my fault that it got sent to the old address (I forgot to change my default shipping address with the move). Not only did they replace the whole order for free, they upgraded it to 1-day shipping, no charge, to make sure I could still give it to Dave on his birthday.
So now I am sold. Online shopping is for me. :) I don't at all feel like I am missing out on something by choosing not to brave the stores this holiday season. Plus, no shopping headaches. :) For me, it doesn't get much better than that! The only real problem I can see with my love for Amazon is that sometimes it is hard to refrain from logging in and getting something I really want or want for someone else, even if there isn't an occasion to merit it! I guess moderation and self-control really do apply to all things in life! ;) Happy Holidays!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Our Puppy Pound :)

We are watching Tiff and Marco's dogs this week while they are out of town. They are such sweet, well-behaved pups, so we knew this was going to be fun! I do NOT know how people keep numerous pets, I will tell you that! Our two are a handful enough... having 4 dogs around the house these past 5 days makes me feel like I am running a boarding house, haha! They all are getting along so well, and I am grateful for that. It's funny, though, Dexter has to be sure and assert his dominance as the alpha male... he is trying to be such a bully! Luckily, he's a tiny little turd and while the other 2 won't cross him, they know they don't have much to be afraid of either!!
Molly and Miles look out for each other so well, and even share a kennel. It's so cute! Their kennel is quite a bit bigger than Dex's since they share, and Dex has had his eye on their "upgraded" model. ;) Tiff and Marco forgot to bring Molly and Miles' bed, so they have been sleeping in their kennel. It has been so cold at night, so after their first night with us, I put one of my blankets down in the their kennel to make it a little warmer and more cozy. That was all the invitation Dex needed to try and take over! I guess since he smelled "home" on that blanket, he was all of sudden ok with trying to steal their kennel! I couldn't keep him out of it! He would even crawl in with Molly and Miles would just sit outside and cry like, "what about me, guys???" The next night, we are about to get into bed so I tell Miles and Molly to go to their cage. Molly goes right in and guess where Miles goes... straight into Dexter's kennel. "Well, if that mean ole dog can take MY kennel, I am taking his!!" It was really precious! We let him sleep there all night... I bet Molly and Miles felt like they were in some fancy hotel... each with their own kennel! :)
Both of the dogs are so quiet and mild-mannered, we haven't really had to worry about either of them getting into trouble... until Thanksgiving day! We have been eating around them all week and neither Miles or Molly really tried to beg or take food off of our plates, so we were fine with letting them roam the house while everyone was here for the holiday. We were all sitting around watching the Cowboys game when we hear a crash in the kitchen. The platter of leftover ham and turkey that was sitting on the island is now on the kitchen floor next to a very guilty-looking Molly! Oh no!! ;) I guess I shouldn't have left the plate on the lower level of the island, but I am used to my stumpy-legged little ones that could never reach the counter! Needless to say, it was an eventful moment and we all had a good laugh, but no leftover turkey this year, haha!!!!
It will be nice to get back to normal once Tiff and Marco come by today, but we truly have enjoyed our little visitors! We love watching all 4 of them run and play in the backyard like they are all family visiting for the holidays and just having a blast together! Now if only I could talk my hubby into working on a backyard full of "actual" kiddos ;)...maybe soon!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

I really do love this time of year! We are doing Thanksgiving here at our home for the second year in a row, and I am really loving the new traditions that we are starting!!
We generally do a huge, extended family Thanksgiving... I think we had around 48 people over last year. It really is nice to see family that you don't get to see often and celebrate each other, but I have to admit, I am more excited about this year!! Our holiday will be much more intimate than usual, and I am so thankful! It will just be my parents, all their kiddos (and their families), my nana, David's parents and all their kiddos, and possibly my uncle. It means, to me, that the day will be low-pressure, relaxing, and that I will get to spend time with some of my favorite people!! The day before Thanksgiving I am headed home to make bread with mom and the girls in my family. This will be our first year trying this, and I hope it's a blast that we can make into another annual tradition!
I am beyond grateful for the family God has given me. Each of them has played an important part in helping me become the woman I am today, and I am so blessed to know each and every one of them. I can't wait to make some new memories next week!
Of course, all of my Christmas decor is going up this week. I want it to be cozy and inviting when we sit down to dinner next week and I am ITCHING to get all my fun Christmas stuff out! We brought it down from the attic last week and it's all burning a hole in my office floor! Must... decorate... ;) That will be a fun Saturday project, for sure! :) :)
Happy Thanksgiving to all who read this! I am thankful for every friend who cares enough to read my ramblings ;) , and may God bless your holiday!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Doing what you love, and loving what you do!

So, I have to admit, it is getting more and more frustrating to know that I still am not teaching in a classroom full-time. There's even a part of me that was beginning to question whether or not this is the right path for me to be on... shouldn't all of my hard work have yielded some results right now? Maybe I am aspiring to be a part of the wrong profession... maybe I am not meant to be a teacher.

Then, almost a year ago, I decided to quit my stable, full-time job and become a substitute. I knew that being in the classroom would help soothe my worries and remind me why I am doing all of this to begin with. I am SO glad I made that hard decision. Yes, I didn't get a paycheck all summer and subbing really doesn't pay too many of the bills, but I really, really needed this.

Everytime I walk into a classroom and read the lesson plans, I get excited. Teaching children and being involved in their everyday learning is something I absolutely crave, and for now, subbing will have to satisfy that. ;) For now, I am thankful that there are enough teachers in CFBisd that trust me with their classes that I stay busy and get to implement lessons instead of only busy work. Not only is this great practice for me, but it reassures me that this IS where I am supposed to be. The kids respond well to me and my enthusiasm, and I very often hear, "Mrs. Martinez, can you be our sub everytime our teacher is out?" and "Why don't you teach here everyday?" Of course, I never know how to answer that last one and I am always tempted to say, "Well, tell your principal to hire me!!! " ;)

I have full faith that there is an opportunity out there for me and I just have to be patient for it... but I am very ready to have my own classroom. Even to think about finding something for next fall seems like a lifetime away. Plus, after 3 summers of teacher Job Fairs and passing my portfolio all over town, I don't find much encouragement in knowing that I will be going through the whole process all over again in a few months.

All that being said, I am very grateful to be subbing right now. It is such a gratifying and exciting job that holds new surprises everyday! If there is a kid in a class that I cannot stand, I know I won't have to deal with him tomorrow! ;) I have the opportunity to teach middle school english one day, 5th grade another, and high school science the next... and I love it! It keeps me on my toes and give me great practice with all ages and all subjects... and I find myself surprised at the things I am learning about myself! While I still have a strong desire to teach secondary-level English, I am amazed at how much I am loving elementary school! The amount of love those kiddos have to give is unmatched, for sure. You can't help but be happy and feel loved around those little ones!

Also, enough cannot be said about the good it does for another teacher/administrator to offer me a compliment. I love that I am now building relationships with certain schools and they LOVE to have me there... sometimes 3-4 days a week. It really reinforces that I am on the right path and just need to wait for my open door. Not to mention the big smile it puts on my face for a principal to walk by my classroom and stick their head in just to say what a nice job I am doing... and for the word of mouth to spread around to other teachers that will eventually need a sub. This week, I am subbing 2 days for a very organized and OCD middle school science teacher. The administrator told me yesterday how nervous this teacher was to leave her classes for 2 days, but the administrator assured her that I would have everything under control and she could feel confident that her kiddos were learning while she was gone! Wow! I was so grateful to know that these things are noticed by people that matter. ;) (Now where the heck is my full-time job?)

I guess, bottom line here, my point is that while I wish had my own classroom to manage, right now I do love what I am doing. I am also making the best of it, and choosing to see all of this as a learning experience and some pretty darn good practice for my future.
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