Thursday, December 2, 2010

the cutest advent calendar ever...

...was recently created by my mother!  She made this for Gavin and now we're all coveting it.  :)

It was hanging up at my mom's house when we were there for Thanksgiving.  I think my dad was hoping it would stay at their house (my dad is the biggest fan of Christmas...EVER).  However, I believe it is now out in Maple Valley hanging with the it should be.

How sweet are all of the little mittens?  We used the Cricut to cut out the tiny numbers.  Then, my mom glued them on to these tags she had covered in festive papers. 

Since last year, my mom's had a plan.  She knew she wanted to do something like this for her grandchild.  (Gavin was a little too young to appreciate it last year.)  So, grandma was on the lookout for mittens.  She made some, bought some and found some in her own decorative stash. 

There's plenty of room inside these little mittens to leave behind an advent treat.

Jamie was insisting that she should get the advent calendar since my mom has known her much longer than she has Gavin.  I'm not sure that's fair play, but she's got a point.  :)

Can't wait to see what grandma has in store for Gavin's little sister.  :)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

hope you had...

...a Happy Thanksgiving!  Below, you'll find my virtual gift to the world. 

This is my third attempt at making some delicious and beautiful Jenny Cookies.  If you have the time and money, I would highly recommend taking one of Jenny's classes.  She's amazing (not to mention super nice, sweet, kind, beautiful, creative, and down-to-earth)! 

My cookies are nothing compared to hers (but they have improved slightly), so don't judge her abilities by mine.  Check out Jenny's website and you'll see what I mean.  Incredible...and oh, so yummy!

Gobble, gobble...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

thriller...teacher version

We surprised our kids again...this time around it was in honor of the fact that we reached our school goal and raised more than $47,222.31 during our magazine drive.  It's far from professional, but that's what makes it SO.MUCH.FUN!

Check it out! 

(I can't put it in the post right won't let me.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

please help...

Update: Riley was found late last night.  Thank you for your prayers!

One of my students has gone missing.  She left home Monday morning, around 7, and hasn't been seen since. They (the police and her family) believe that Riley ran away from home, but this is totally unlike her.  So, I ask you all to pray!  You've graciously lifted me up in prayer and now I'm asking you to rally around this family.  Pray that sweet Riley is quickly and sound!  Pray that the Lord would equip our staff to handle the other students and all of their questions/concerns.  Pray that through this difficult time, the Lord's power and presence would be felt by ALL!

Here's a link to the Facebook page her family has set-up.  They have promised to keep it updated.  I'll keep you posted as well...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

no pictures, lots of words, but from the heart...

Things are about to get real personal (and a little lengthy too).

What I’m about to discuss is something that it typically not talked about. It is kept hidden until change occurs…then, it’s not as likely to upset or offend. I don’t think that should be the case. Instead, I think it should be something that is openly spoken of and prayed for. You may choose to disagree, and that’s okay…perhaps a bit sad, but acceptable none-the-less.

Some may already know this; others, might not have a clue. Regardless, it’s a huge part of my life and that’s why I think it’s worth sharing. I can post a million crafts, a ton of family pictures, stories about my role as a teacher, what it means to have a relationship with Jesus, and gush over my husband. However, if I fail to mention this, I’m leaving out a huge piece of my story…the one that God is knitting together.

It is my hope and prayer that this post would allow others to see that they’re not alone in their struggles. This isn’t something you have to be afraid to share. I also want those in my life to know that they should not feel as though they have to hold back and avoid the topic altogether. The Lord has designed my life and this is obviously part of His plan. I trust Him fully, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t experience some pain and frustration along the way.

Here it goes…

In May of 2008, Ben and I decided that it was time to open up our lives to the possibility of having children. We knew it was something we wanted, but we also had a strong desire to wait until we had an opportunity to experience some time alone in our marriage. We felt it was important to wait a bit before having children. During those 21 months, we grew in our relationship and felt more prepared to welcome a child into the world. We also felt the Lord prompting us to pursue this avenue.

Now, if you’re any good with numbers, you can see that it’s been almost two and a half years and we still don’t have any kids.

For the first year or so, we didn’t really think too much about trying to get pregnant. We felt like the Lord would bless us with a child in His timing. However, once May of 2009 rolled around, we started to wonder. I found a specialist and decided to ask her about our struggle. She ran a bunch of tests and it looked as though everything was “normal.” She didn’t see the need to test Ben. Instead, she suggested we try for a few more months.

It’s important to note that I’ve never been regular…never. So, the fact that I was only having my period once every few months left us with a smaller window of opportunity. In the hopes of getting my cycle on track, the doctor had me try one month of birth control followed by one month off. Did you know that you’re most fertile when coming off birth control? Unfortunately, that didn’t work for us.

Flash forward a few more months and I’m back at the doctor’s office. This time around, she wants me to use some ovulation kits to see if I’m even ovulating. Really? Obviously, I wasn’t paying close attention in my high school health class. I didn’t know you could have your period and still not ovulate. Shows how much I know.

Since those sticks can get rather pricey, I found a place online and ordered in bulk. I just had a feeling (call it a prompting from the Lord) that we would need a large supply. So, my batch of 50 ovulation sticks arrived and we set off on the next leg of our journey.

During this time, I can honestly say that although I was discouraged and upset on occasion, I could also see the Lord’s hand in it all. Ben and I would talk about how difficult it would have been to have gotten pregnant right away. Since he was in school and gearing up to go back for another round, it was a blessing to see that the Lord kept us from conceiving. We were also able to take a few trips, get more involved at our church, cabin lead at Lakeside, love on our nieces and nephew, and take on more at work. With a child in the picture, those things might not have been possible.

Two years into it all, and I find myself back at the doctor’s office. That’s when things got a bit more serious. I wasn’t ovulating. As a result, the doctor prescribed some Clomid. I waited for a few months (since I didn’t get my period regularly) and then finally had a chance to take the medication in July of 2010. Nothing. The following month, nothing.

Since the first few cycles of Clomid didn’t work, the doctor increased my dosage. Instead of taking 50 milligrams, I was now taking 100 milligrams. Thankfully, I haven’t turned into a monster or anything. I know several women who openly admit to having been rude, mean, and cranky…all thanks to the Clomid. I’ve been able to avoid that side effect.

This pretty much brings us to today. We’re gearing up to try the third round of Clomid at 100 milligrams. I called my doctor (it was after hours, so I left a message) this week to see where we go from here – assuming that I don’t ovulate this next month. I’m supposed to call back today, after work. (By the way, I absolutely love this woman…she is so calm, and reassuring. If anyone out there needs a doctor, let me know. I will give you her info. At this point, she only accepts referrals – that’s how good she is.)

What am I supposed to say when people ask when we’re planning to have kids? Up until now, I’ve just kind of laughed it off and made comments like, “Any day now.” Otherwise, it makes for an awkward conversation. What am I allowed to share and what’s considered too much? How do I let people know that the Lord has blessed me with the ability to see children as a gift and a true miracle? I know many women who have struggled with infertility and as a result, they can’t go to baby showers, they get upset when people announce they’re pregnant and they find it difficult to rejoice in the addition of a new life. Not me! If anything, I feel as though I am able to see just how much of a miracle a baby can be…not all of us are guaranteed this gift. This is something that obviously comes from God!

On the flip side, I can tell you that I struggle when folks complain about how long it took them to conceive – four months, six months, etc. Inside, I’m screaming out, “Talk to me when you’ve been trying for two and a half years.” I know this isn’t a Godly response, but I’m being honest. I’m sure there are others out there who have been battling this for much longer. To them, I am certain that my voice is rather annoying.

I also find myself getting upset when people speak of their accidental pregnancy. That’s hard to hear. Again, I know this isn’t the right response, but I’m laying it all out on the table right now. Those who have struggled with infertility probably have their “hot buttons” as well…maybe they’re the same, maybe they’re different.

We might not know exactly what the future holds for our family. However, we are trusting in the Lord and His perfect plans. We know there are options out there, but we don’t yet feel called to pursue any of those (other than what we’re currently doing). There are many people surrounding us who have adopted – and rather recently. So, perhaps we will be contacting them in the near future for advice and feedback. Maybe this journey will come to an end next month?

Now you know what’s going on in our lives…the good, the bad, and the ugly. We have hope in Christ Jesus and without Him I can’t imagine traveling this road. We have learned so much about who God is and what He wants for us. We have been able to see blessings where it is often difficult to see at all. We will continue to praise Him and seek out His plan for our family…whatever that may look like. Please, feel free to join us in prayer!

If this is something you’re struggling with, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment – I would love to be able to lift you up in prayer! There’s something so freeing when you realize you’re not alone.

I’m tired of tip-toeing around infertility. Sure, I could have waited to mention this until we found out we were pregnant, but that doesn’t help to paint an accurate picture of our lives. Instead, the Lord calls us to share our story so that in turn, He may be glorified! We continue to praise Him in this “storm.”


Friday, September 17, 2010

too bad...

...I don't know any educators who get overly organized for substitute teachers.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

my bucket list...

Now, this is supposed to be top-secret.  So, I hope I'm not ruining anything for the six of you who still read my blog.  A few months back, I was part of Seattle's Glee Flash Mob (that's not the secret).  It was so much fun!  Fast forward a few months and there was another opportunity to be a part of this same group.  We were going to learn a new dance and then perform it for an even bigger crowd.  Turns out, we're the halftime show for an upcoming Seattle sporting event.  It takes place on Sunday and that's all I'm saying.  :)

Last night we had a dress rehearsal at the venue (providing you with more clues as to our event time, location, etc.).  It was absolutely insane.  There were nearly 2,000 people in attendance and we were running around the field, through the tunnels and dancing our hearts out.  The teacher in me (and Kristina & Katie) became a bit annoyed with the lack of organization and planning.  As a result, we turned into three of the most obnoxious students, I'm sure.

Here we are (me, Katie, and Kristina) showing off the yellow whistles we were given.  Somehow they'll be incorporated into the routine.  We've also got some yellow flags to include.  (I might have been using my district-issued camera to catch these moments...hence the less-than-stellar quality.)

This is my favorite picture.  No, it's not going to win any awards, but it simply shows you what the view from the tunnel was like last night.  Keep in mind, all of the soccer stuff was set up for tonight's game.  So, it will look very different come Sunday!  :)

This picture best captures how I felt last night, as we were leaving.  A little bit of excitement, a touch of nervousness, a ton of frustration, and TOTALLY tired.

I've don't know that this is something I would have initially written down as a life goal.  However, performing at halftime for a crowd of 70,000 is pretty cool.  So, I'll be adding it to my list and then promptly crossing it off said list.  I'm not saying it's going to be a perfect routine or anything...far from it.  But, you'll see a field full of smiling folks who have enjoyed practicing and working together (and how cool that I've been able to share this experience with two of my co-workers?!?!).

I'm still not sure how this is considered a "flash mob."  In my opinion, it's more like cheap (a.k.a. free) entertainment.  We're like a miss-matched drill team...although that might be giving us too much credit.  Regardless, I'm going to have a BLAST!  :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

rebecca's space...

A couple weeks ago, my friend Hillary and I got to decorate her sister's place.  Rebecca lives in a cute studio apartment in Bellevue.  (I've tried convincing several people to move into this building...great location, super nice staff, decent garage, sweet interiors, etc.)

We'll start with the before pictures.  Oh, and please excuse the photo quality.  I used my small camera and I haven't quite learned how to utilize it to it's fullest.

The view from inside the front door looking towards the hallway & living area.

From inside the main living space, looking towards the hallway/closet & front door.

The kitchen area...& Noah!  Did I mention that we decided to take on this project during one of the hottest days of the summer?!?!  Rebecca had a few fans, but it was beyond hot!  Needless to say, after we left, Rebecca went out and bought herself an A.C. girl.  :)

This is the wall opposite of the bed & the kitchen.  If you can imagine walking in, this is the wall on the left side of the room.

This is the view as you enter the main living space.

Hillary was given a $200-$300 budget - I can't remember exactly how much was spent.  We met up one day and did the bulk of our shopping (Joann coupons can save you quite a bit).  Hillary also tackled a few projects before the big day (painted frames from Goodwill, created a chalkboard, had the headboard made, etc.)  Being prepared ahead of time allowed us to decorate and then shop for those items we still needed - all within the same day.

Now for the after pictures!  Again, same the picture quality isn't all that great.

I didn't really take a "before" picture of the hallway wall.  However, if you look back at the ones I posted above, you'll get an idea as to where this is.  I had 4 mirrors that were just taking up space in a closet at our place.  So, we were able to use a few of them throughout Rebecca's place.  I think the black piece pictured below is something that was already at the apartment...not sure though.  Since it matched, we used it!

As you come to the end of the short hallway, you'll see this!  I love how it all turned out!  :)  Rebecca's colors were black, white, and then a pretty blue-gray.  Noah's still looking pretty cute too.

Here's the view that you see when sitting on the bed/couch.  Hillary had all of the photos printed in black & white...good call.

Now, if you were to stand where Noah is (above) and turn around, this is what you would see.  Hillary decided that since the space has to function as a bedroom and a living room, it would make sense to create a padded headboard and then set it up like a day bed.  It's super comfy and cute too!  There were four pillows to begin with...and we found 2 more (Pier 1) to help give it even more of a plush feel.

Leslie, Hillary & Rebecca's mom, was kind enough to sew us some curtains for the room (just to the left of the bed/couch).  Unfortunately, we didn't do a great job with the measurements for her.  So, she's planning to add a contrasting fabric to the bottom of of these ones.

To the right of the bed/couch is the kitchen area.

We used another mirror above the sink and then installed a small rack (IKEA find) for some kitchen items.  This is where I should give props to Steve, Hillary's husband.  He came in and helped us with a ton of the hardward/hanging/manly stuff!

We put another mirror above the stove and this was an item that Rebecca had it was free.  :)  The mirrors really helped to open up the space a bit.  It made you feel as though there were more windows in the apartment too.  Take note that we also included a few coordinating dish towels.

 I should have taken pictures of the bathroom before, but I forgot.  (To help visualize where this is at, just inside the front door, there's a bathroom to your right.)  Here's what Hillary did to change it up...I think Rebecca said this is now her favorite part of the apartment.  The sconces were something Hillary had and the small wooden wall hanging is a piece that Rebecca had.  The flowers on the wall were something we stumbled upon at Bed, Bath & Beyond - along with the little hand towel.  So simple, but so fun!

 The shower curtain was a great find at Bed, Bath & Beyond...half price!   It matches so perfectly too.

There you have it!  We had a ton of fun doing this and we joked about how HGTV would just love to have us on their network.  Ha, ha...  It was a blast getting to do this for someone else.  I think there was less pressure and that made it more fun.  Seeing Rebecca's response was the best part of the entire experience.  I should have captured that on film.  Next time...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

he's the best...

It's currently 12:40 in the morning...that means it's officially our anniversary.  4 years ago today, we were in Hawaii, playing shuffleboard, swimming in the pool, and then things quickly shifted.  I put on a dress, we all wore our leis, the photographer took some pictures, and then I walked down the isle and married the sweetest man alive.  We were on a beach with a small crowd of family and friends and it was better than I could have ever imagined.  We ended the day with a luau and it all felt so surreal.

Here we are at camp a few weeks back.  This is where we met 5 years ago...and then got engaged 6 months later.  It's amazing how the Lord has used this place to bring us together...then and now.  It was so much fun to be back up there with Ben.  Serving alongside him at LBC made me excited for our future summer schedules - two teachers with 2.5 months off each year!

  • Ben, you're the most forgiving man the world has ever known...seriously!
  • You have a heart for worship (and you're good)!
  • It's incredible to watch you with our nieces and nephew.  Your face lights up and you can't help but talk about them to anyone who will listen.  You'll make a great dad someday!
  • I especially admire your passion to serve the youth...of our church, community, camp, etc.
  • You put up with me and do it without complaining.
  • I love it when you share what you're interested in.  I've been listening closely, as you tell me all about the wonderful world of sports.  You've opened my eyes to statistics, trading, fantasy leagues, and so much more!
  • Ben, you work hard.
  • You are quick to admit your faults and take ownership of those things which need improving.  I wish I could say the same about myself.  Instead, I'm trying to learn from you.  (Hang in there.)
  • Babe, you're super funny.
  • With so much on your plate these last few years, I stand in awe of all that you've accomplished.  You've completed school and returned for more.  You left one job and then quickly found another.  Then you endured the nasty world of retail.  Now, you've left that behind and you're on to the "real job" - the one you've been preparing for.  I can't wait to see how much you'll enjoy teaching!  Your students and the staff are going to love you too!
  • It makes my heart happy to know that although we won't be together to celebrate today, you're serving the Lord.  Those campers are blessed to have you there this week.  I'm so proud to call you my husband!  Besides, we can celebrate once you're home.
  • I LOVE YOU H.B.S.P. 
(Here's another thing I love about Ben.  I never wanted a traditional wedding. I always envisioned that I would go back to Maui - where my extended family had vacationed over the years - and exchange vows on the beach in front of a small group. Thankfully, Ben thought it sounded great too.  That family vacation/wedding is something we all still talk about.  We are determined to return sometime soon too...maybe we'll celebrate our 5th anniversary there?!?!)

Monday, July 26, 2010

now that life is slowing down a bit...

Perhaps I'll have a chance to try a few fun projects!  Here are a couple of ideas...
  • Maybe I could use these when writing to my campers?!?!  Super simple and inexpensive...but thoughtful, of course.  :)
  • This is one of those things that would be fun to do with kids...however, we're short on those around here.  So, I'm thinking this might be fun for our next family gathering.  My brothers would go for it, but my dad might take a bit of convincing.
  • Maybe I should make a few of these sets now...then I'll have them on hand for any upcoming baby showers.  Too cute!
  • After this last week at camp, I've decided that it might make sense to have some traveling pillowcases.  Instead, we've been using old, mis-matched cases (one of mine is Lion King, the other is a floral pattern - Ben got stuck with a plain, nasty colored green case).  Now, if I were to make these, adjustments would have to be incorporated for Ben's.  The super-girly look would not fly!  :)
  • So simple.  So unique.  So easy to try on my own.  I can't wait to play around with this one.
  • This makes so much sense!  I have some new towels that I picked up the other, a transformation is in order.
  • Finally, I did something like this a while ago...only they were enclosed balls.  This seems more useful and I really like the overall look.
I have a few pictures to post from camp, along with some of the crafting I've done lately.  Ben's cousin Ashley (I refer to her as my cousin-in-law) is getting married later this month and I've had the privilege of making some things for the festivities leading up to the big event.  I've got pictures to prove it too.

Monday, July 5, 2010

sioux falls...

I failed at photographing our time in Sioux Falls.  Since I didn't have the nice, big camera, I slacked-off.  Wish I would have captured a bit least Julia came through with a boat-load of pictures.

We'll begin with Ben's bug bites...

Oh, and here are a few more...

Next up, I had a chance to go on a nice date with these three.  We had a delicious dinner and then hit up a movie.  Good times!  ;)

Finally (yep, that's all I captured), we've got the group pictures - minus the bride and groom.  My bad!  These guys were such troopers...most of them had just woken up and we were on our way back to Minnesota with Patti & Jason.  So, it was now or never.  (Blake is missing from this photo.) 

Here's the next family portrait minus Scott...but now you're able to see Blake in the mix.

We were teasing Scott that perhaps he should simply have his own solo shot.  I think he liked the idea.

Now, for a much better section of photos, I would encourage the rest of the world to take a look at the fun here.

I would like to think that we were having way too much fun to stop and take pictures.  Although we certainly had a blast, I think that excuse is rather weak. 

I had no clue that Sioux Falls could bring so much joy to someone's life...I think it might have something to do with the entire Iversen clan!  :)  We were blessed beyond measure to spend a few days with these fun folks who love each other and Jesus.  I can see why Ben has enjoyed them so much over the years!  I can't wait for the next big event.  (Hint, hint: Janelle, Blake?)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

for evie & ella...

Uncle Ben and Auntie Anne ran into the Backyardigans while on vacation.  So, these pictures are for Evie & Ella.  We love you both and can't wait to see you!  :)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

suggestions, please...

The summer is right around the corner - Thursday at 9:26am is when it truly begins for me.  In the meantime, I've got some things to do here at work (yes, I'm here on a beautiful Saturday).  My room has to be cleaned, my grades posted, papers graded, books organized, supplies tallied, etc.  To keep me sane - and motivated - I want need some new music.  So, please feel free to leave me a comment with your recommendations!

I promise to think of you as I close-up shop for the year and blast my music!  :)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

following directions...

...or not!

Here's what we did in class today.  This lesson never gets old, NEVER!  :)

(Please excuse the quality of these photos.  I had used the Print Screen option to make this show up.)

Any of you actually follow the directions? 

I had 2 kids in my 1/2 block (of 32) who did what they were supposed to.  The rest of the class simply untied their shoelaces, crawled under their desks, spun around a few times and failed to carefully read the assignment.  Regardless, this task always creates great discussion...and a reminder as to why we read directions!  

Monday, May 24, 2010

a few of my summer plans...

The countdown is on...there are only 17 days of school left (including today).  So, with more free time on the horizon, I've got a few creative plans.
  • I would really like to make a cover for my camera strap.  This one is pretty cute and so is this one!  It's also possible that I'll modify mine to include a ruffle.  We'll see.
  • One of my missions this summer is to make enough cards to last me until next summer.  This is a simple design that's super sweet!
  • Every spring, I host a classroom party.  We celebrate everyone's birthday on the same day...that way those born in the summer aren't left out.  This little party looks similar to an end-of-the-year celebration.  We play games, create teams based on birthday months, and enjoy some yummy snacks - what's a party without food?!?!  I want to make these for the annual celebration.  They would hold-up well and keep me from having to buy streamers each year.
  • Some people belong to a book club, others are party of a dinner club.  However, I'm thinking I should start some sort of craft club.  One of the first projects I would tackle?  This one!  It looks so cute...and seems pretty simple too.
  • I would love to have these on hand for those rare occasions when we have folks over for dinner.
  • This is a brilliant idea!  I need to get these made ASAP...that way I can use them throughout the summer.
  • I wonder if Gavin or the twins would find this book to be kind of fun?!?!
  • When the sun finally decides to stick around for a while, I want to try this little recipe.  It seems easy enough.
There are a ton of ideas I have saved here on my computer.  Perhaps I'll post a few more as I get a bit closer to summer vacation.  In the meantime, please feel free to share any ideas you might have!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

can you imagine... much fun this would be!  :)

When you get to the post, make sure you scroll down to the actual video footage.

(This was posted on one of the crafty blogs I read.  I couldn't pass it up.)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

what's one to do...

...when there's no Home Group on the first Monday of the month?  I probably should have graded papers, cleaned house or finished up some laundry.  However, I decided to put my creativity to use.

Let me introduce my meal planning menu board.  I had set of pictures framed in our kitchen already, but I had been wanting to do something different.  I contemplated changing out the three pieces of artwork that were being showcased, but that didn't seem too exciting.  This is a bit more fun, and useful too!  :)

(These pictures were taken once it was dark outside, so the flash had to be left some crazy images on the left side near the knives?!?!  Strange.)


  • I don't often follow recipes...hence the open spaces where I wrote in some items.  If I need the recipe, I can easily clip it to the proper clothes pin.
  • Since it's just the two of us, we're not all that great about sticking to our menu each week.  Instead, life comes up...which is something we enjoy!  So, this makes it easy to move things around without having to think too hard.  :)  
  • Saturday and Sunday are great days for consuming leftovers from throughout the week which is why I combined the two on my chalkboard.
  • I'm linking up to this blog (below) for the first time ever...could be fun!  :)  
All it took for this project was some chalkboard paint (already had some from another project), clothes  pins (I've had those FOREVER), a bit of acrylic paint to transform said clothes pins, glue, the already-mentioned-frame, and a bit of chalk (again, something I had in my crafting stash).  Super easy project and I think it will come in handy.

Now I'm going to try and fall asleep...