Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The End of an August

I just have a couple thoughts to share on this final day of August (which is really not significant, but pointing it out makes it sound more interesting).

First, today was a busy day. I left the house at 6:50am (20 minutes later than I intended) and got home around 8:45pm. School with no lunch break, straight to the studio to observe and then teach, directly to the theatre for a cast meeting, then to Institute. Whew! No real breaks! When I glanced at facebook my student Ashley's status said something about how tired school makes her. My first thought is, "I AGREE!" But after thinking about it more, I started remembering all the great things that happened today... Ashley and I laughing for 2 minutes straight, eating lunch with Ashley, my cute little dancers, etc... and realized that the day was long, but wonderful! Its like I told Ashley today, "Its hard to have a bad day when I'm around someone so fun." Well, I think sometimes we complain about our long days or our busy days when really they are wonderful... and since they are so wonderful we should be grateful that they are long... more good stuff! Does that make any sense? I've just been feeling very tired and very blessed simultaneously.

Second, Institute had some great messages, but my favorite was a simple thing that Brother Jeppson said right as class was ending: "I just love what He has done with this little life of mine." I wish we all had that attitude more often... one of gratitude and recognition that God is in control of our lives and He has made much more out of them than we could make on our own. "I just love what He has done with this little life on mine."

And finally, BRET AND I ARE GOING TO SAN ANTONIO THIS WEEKEND! If the other thoughts listed aren't enought to make me smile, this certainly does the trick! We're excited to see the Riverwalk and the Alamo, but mostly we can't wait to spend the day in the temple... its been far too long! If anyone has suggestions of wonderful INEXPENSIVE things to do there, let us know!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

First Week Down

The first week of school felt extremely long, but not in a bad way. I just can't believe that I've only been working with Ashley for a week! I feel really blessed to have this job. She is a sweet girl and a fun friend. We get along really well, and though I'm sure we will have our days, I think the fact that I am young and goofy and optimistic makes me a good partner for her because I get what it's like to be a teenager. (Well... mostly... I hear a lot more about drugs and teen pregnancy and terrible language here, even more than in student teaching, and I don't understand that stuff AT ALL.) I appreciate how independent Ashley is trying to be and that she is patient with me when I don't understand what she is trying to tell me the first time. Even though I come home worn out some day, I feel like I am really lucky to be having this learning experience.

Teaching is AWESOME! I love dance. I love dance. I LOVE dance. Do you believe me? I like my bity baby classes and I honestly fell in love with my advanced modern dance class last night. They are incredible ballet dancers, better than I am, and all of them 10-15 years old. However, I have a lot to offer them in modern... they need to learn to let go, breath, think outside the box, etc. But they are sweet, funny and well-behaved and teaching them gives me an opportunity to do what I love: create challenging movement, teach it, and DO it.

Choreographing for the theatre (ACT - Angelo Civic Theatre) is going to be a fantastic opportunity. Today I taught a 30 second sequence for auditions and had a blast. I love the acting and music directors and know they will be great to work with. The kids (8-18) auditioning were really talented and I can't wait to challenge them with dance (their weakest point). You all know I'm secretly a musical nut and I've been singing "There's no Business like Show Business" at the top of my lungs each time I get in the car for the past week. :)

Life has gone from blah to busy, but I'm loving the change of pace. Coming soon... a post from Bret about his week entitled, "Going from Busy to Blah." (I'll see if I can get him to actually write a post!)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Sun'll Come Out Tomorrow... but not by 5:30 am!

Tomorrow is a big day for the Wardles...

Bret has his Neuroscience exam. Neuro has been a really difficult class but a really interesting one. I wish I could comprehend all the little things Bret tries to explain to me... our brains are incredible. He has studied hard and will do great!

Tomorrow is the first day of school for me and I have tried to take my own advice about anticipation to heart. On Friday, about an hour before going home for the weekend, I was taken out into the hall and introduced to Estella and told that I would also be assisting her. She also has Cerebral Palsy and has a wheelchair, but she doesn't have the same speech impediments as Ashley does. I keep checking my email for info on how they expect me to aide two students at once, but I think the final conclusion is that we kind-of have to wing it. For now I will be focusing on Ashley, but taking Estella to the bathroom between each class. I don't even know Estella's schedule so I guess I really will be winging things... wish me luck!

On another note, church was wonderful today. Two sisters were called to be nursery workers so we can finally implement a Jr./Sr. plan and have more helping hands. Yay! Our Sacrament meeting was also fabulous. Our friends, the Jeppsons, spoke and provided a daddy/daughter duet. It was so sweet and my cheeks got very wet. With the nursery lesson being on how Heavenly Father and Jesus love little children, I couldn't help but feel an overwhelming love for all the children in our ward and their parents who set such good examples for Bret and me. When little Meg and her daddy sang to us I felt the spirit testify so strongly that families and children bring us the most joy in this life and that when we focus on making our homes happy places we will feel the Savior's presence there. I know He loves ALL His children... even his children who are "all grown up." What wonderful feelings to have on a Sunday and what a good way to prepare for our manic Monday ahead.

"Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow! You're only a day away!" (from "Annie")

Thursday, August 19, 2010


to think, speak, act or feel an emotional response in advance

I chose this word as the title of today's blog because much of my time lately has been spent anticipating my two and a half jobs. I like the definition because I really have been thinking, speaking and acting based on the emotional responses I am feeling in advance.

Some days, for example, I get this proud, confident feeling about my jobs based on the premature assumption that I'm going to be fantastic at all of them. I feel relieved because I picture Ashley and I getting along perfectly, her teachers respecting and utilizing me, and my colleagues being impressed by natural "gift" as a Special Ed aide. I also picture myself teaching incredible modern dance classes, having ballerinas fall in love with their bare feet and beg me to teach them more contemporary dance. On these days I speak, think and act with optimism and confidence. I am so excited for work and feel like I have the best jobs in the world.

More often than not, however, I feel a bit of anxiety and fear, topped off by a huge "U" that screams "YoU are Unqualified! Ashley will get frustrated with you because you're going to be a horrible aide who doesn't know how and when to help, and who is really nervous about feeding and changing her incorrectly. And those little 3-5 year old dancers you're teaching tomorrow morning will be upset that you don't know what 'marshmallow walks' or 'the bouncing song' are (since no one has explained the syllabus to you yet) and tell you that the activities you planned instead 'are not what our other teacher does.'" Yikes. During these moments I do nothing. I feel trapped because I can't really plan or prepare for these situations... I just have to show up, do my best, and THEN adjust and plan from what I LEARN.

My "half" job leads to these feelings of anticipation, too. I was asked to choreograph for the San Angelo Civic Theatre Children's Production of "Annie Get Your Gun." I am incredibly excited and feel lucky to get involved in a musical, since that has always been a passion of mine. Some days I picture people shaking my hand after the show, complementing the great dancing... other times I envision stressful rehearsals where the director tells me it stinks. (I consider this my "half" job because I'm barely getting paid, so its more like a fun project that will give me another foot in the door with the arts in San Angelo.)

And speaking of trying to increase the level of arts in our lovely little town, I also find myself feeling anticipation about things that don't even exist... my future dance club at Lake View (which will probably happen in a few months as the administration is making a huge push for more clubs)... my future dance company at Lake View (which is very unlikely, but I'd like to try)... my future dance program, complete with Dance 1, 2, 3 and Company classes (nearly impossible for many reasons)... and finally, my future career as a star dancer on the exquisit community performing company I single-handedly create (ok, just kidding about that one). Really though, sometimes I find myself feeling elated because an imaginary future dance club member wants to start a petition for a school dance company... and sometimes I feel dejected because as hard as I try, my future dance program is not as well recieved by the students here as it was at Westlake (where I student taught) and I feel like I'm failing all my teachers and mentors who modeled such perfect classrooms and programs.

PHEW! Isn't my brain exhausting?! (Actually, I think all women's brains work this way, more or less... maybe men's brains do too... maybe we all wear ourselves out thinking about the future!) But although my brain truly is in a constant anticipation mode, I am so happy. I am grateful for all the wonderful people I know whose examples remind me that no one has to be perfect, they just have to try their best. I find inspiration in the words of Elder Wirthlin who taught us to "come what may, and love it," and President Uchtdorf who reminds us that "happiness is [our] heritage." A rather cheesy poster hanging up at Lake View has the meaningful quote, "If you don't succeed today, try again a different way." And I think the most comforting bit of advice comes from our Prophet who always encourages us to be a little more kind and thoughtful. I have memorized this poem he quoted in a conference talk and it runs through my head often:

"I have wept in the night for the shortness of sight that to somebody's need made me blind. But I never have yet felt a tinge of regret for being a little too kind."

This doesn't exactly seem like the right kind of advice for someone with anticipation issues, but it gives me hope that by being a kind, genuine, respectful person my shortcomings will be forgiven, my lack of qualification forgotten and my efforts appreciated. Hopefully as I try to compliment the good in others they will do the same for me (or at least try not to look for the bad). The truth is, none of us is truly qualified or prepared for every circumstance in life, but we are always capable of learning new things, choosing an optimistic attitude, and deciding to be the best, kindest, most Christlike person we can be regardless of whether we succeed or fail.

So for all of us with a little bit of anticipation... for school, for a test, for work, for a church calling, for ANYTHING... let's not let our premature emotions dictate our thoughts, speech, and actions, but let it motivate us to look to Christ as our rock, put on a happy face, and go for it!

PS- To my most avid (maybe only) reader, my wonderful husband, THANK YOU for making me happy and showing incredible patience when sometimes anticipation leads to sudden mood changes and self-centered, repetative conversations. I love you.

Friday, August 13, 2010



I started work on Wednesday! Yay! We've just been doing faculty training so far and I feel like I've been walking around with a big question mark on my head. I've learned a million names and failed to learn a million acronyms. I am quickly realizing that half the meetings we have don't apply to me and that I have a very rare job. While most of me aches to be starting a dance program at this school, actually teaching students and creating movement, I'm getting excited to work with Ashley and know that it will be a good experience. I really love how friendly, helpful and encouraging the faculty have been and am glad to be working at Lake View High School.


Bret took his anatomy final on Wednesday, thereby finishing his first class at ASU with flying colors. I am so impressed with how well he has done in this class (an I know his peers look up to him too and appreciate how humble he is about his success). Anatomy ended early because his professor has been asked to go to Korea for a few weeks... something military related. This is great because it means that anatomy is out of the way so they can really hit Neuroscience hard. (By the way, aren't these pictures crazy? People wearing their anatomy on their skin...? Luckily Bret gets to study the real deal.)

Most of the other things that happened this week revolve around food. On Monday I felt like baking and wanted to make some thank-you treats for people. I made a silly mistake with one of the recipes and accidentally doubled one major ingredient because I had extra sitting on the counter. The dough was WAY to sticky when I tried to spread it into the pan so I caught my mistake and doubled everything, leaving me with a kitchen overflowing with treats. The treat total: one huge Texas sheet cake, one large and two small cookie sheets of pan sugar cookies and a whole bunch of cracker candy. I delivered 8+ plates of treats and harly made a dent. Let's just say our freezer, fridge and bellies are enjoying the leftovers.

I also tried a lot of new meals this week that were a big success. Wahoo... that doesn't happen very often (new meals OR big successes!). We had southwestern crock-pot chicken, chicken fajitas and bbq ribs. Mmmm. If you want some new recipes try sisterscafe.blogspot.com. We've really liked the two recipes I've tried.
Finally, Bret and I ate out for the first time in about 2 months. We joined his classmates for a celebration at Bonsai. It's just like the Bonsai in Salt Lake... they make the food at your table on a big grill. We were skeptical about using our splurge dinner on Japanese cuisine, but we loved it. I even tried a shrimp (yes, for the first time ever, please don't judge me). It was alright so I ate the other one on my plate too. I just wish they weren't so pink and swirly... its hard to get over. Take the picture above for example... can't you just picture it's little head sitting right on top? Luckily mine was cooked more than that so it looked less creature-like.

We are loving life... the beginnings, the endings, and everything in the middle!

Monday, August 9, 2010

High Points and Little Moments

A few days ago a friend and I had a conversation about how things we see in the media (especially our favorite: chick flicks) give us a skewed perspective about love and relationships. Often we find ourselves wishing our lives could reflect those seemingly romantic, dream-come-true stories. What we fail to remember is that those movies are just snipets... just high points and key moments that are universally appealing. We don't see the mundane, everydate encounters, the frustrations or the regular conversations. The scene ends right after the kiss, the wedding or the incredibly well-spoken phrase. There is always background music, good lighting and a perfect wardrobe.

Let's face it... this is not real life!
However, we talked about how real life, though different, is so much better. Each of us could compile our own movie-worthy story if we were to take the high points of our relationships and glamorize them a bit. They might seem more appealing this way, because they would mostly include the good stuff and just enough drama to make the good things seem even better. But real relationships aren't made up of a string of high points with a few dramatic challenges. High points will always be great, but relationships are built upon the everyday occurances, the small and simple things that make us smile.
Today I just wanted to thank Bret for all the little things this weekend... for dancing with me when I was frustrated, singing to me in the kitchen because I was in a silly mood and giving me a little backrub because I really wanted one. For the fun night of watching "The Office" on my computer and for being patient while I told him all the details about the movie "Amazing Grace" last night. For not caring that we ate dinner at 9:15 and had to put the chicken back in the oven when it was still pink; for telling me it was delicious anyway. For being so sweet about helping in nursery and for being so cute with all the little kids (he has his own 2-year-old fan club!).
I love all the little things that make our marraige such a blessing. Individually, these moments were small and simple; they passed quickly and could easily be forgotten. However, I think that when we take the time to remember the little moments they do seem special and they start to add up and you realize that life is wonderful... REAL life is SO WONDERFUL.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

I've Got The Urge...

This urge is nearly impossible to predict and always comes on strong. I am not an impulsive person, but when it comes to cutting my hair, I act fast. If I can hold out for even two days it is a major triumph.
Recently I told Bret that I was pretty sure I'd keep growing my hair out this time since it's already to my shoulders. NOPE. Can't do it. Getting it cut just sounds much more fun!
So today I am doing what I always do when the urge hits... scouring the internet for that "perfect hair style." However, there are some problems with this:
1. Having a great cut is futile unless you know how to style it well, and that is not my forte.
2. All the pictures online are either celebrities (who are going to look good in ANY haircut, even if its not that great) or hair salon pictures (which are usually way too extreme).
(Cute, right?! Or is it? If my hair looked like that would I love it or would I be irritated that it was flipping in different directions? Did she have to have a hairstylist do it for her? Could I do it? etc etc.... Get the problem?)
Another set-back in deciding how to chop is that I always want to be daring yet I want to play it safe. Can you do both? I think you can but I have yet to venture over to the daring side.
In the past 5 years I have gone to a different hair-cutter nearly every time. I am always going for the best bargain, which means beauty school students, which means a little less experience. I am usuallypleased with whatever cut I get, but because I don't know how to describe anything other than "a bob with a slight A-line and some simple bangs," the only thing that really fluctuates is length.
So today should I pay $6 for a cosmetology student to try something daring or should I dish out a little more dough and have a more experienced person chop off my hair? I know the smart answer, but I'm so cheap! What a dilemma!
I need something new. I need something that makes me look older (don't want to be mistaken for a high school student at my new job). I need something easy to do. I need something that's still me.
But mostly I just really need to cut my hair!