Looking back on 2012, I feel that I gained a lot of perspective. 

Learning to find contentment and joy in every circumstance. Choosing to be happy where I am in the moment, rather than waiting for the future to bring bigger and better things. Trusting the Lord's plans and timing rather than my own. 

These haven't been easy lessons, and I certainly haven't mastered them, but they have been so so beneficial for me. Life is what you make it, and 2012 taught me to live in the present rather than always waiting for tomorrow.

Though we usually don't make New Year's Resolutions, Derek said his only goal last year was to find a better job and get out of Garden City. I was in complete agreement because I just had to get out of that place and I wanted to be closer to family and friends.

Like I said though, I slowly became more content over the year and more at peace with our current situation. Realizing and accepting that it was truly where we were supposed to be in the moment. I actually started really loving how things were going, not really worrying about what could make our life better. Life was good.

And then... Derek was offered a "better job that would get him out of Garden City." huh.
God's timing is funny that way. 

It's a bittersweet feeling actually, one I didn't expect. I am so so soooo excited to be closer to "home" and family and friends, but I'm also a little bit sad. I dread leaving my students and the school that "broke me in," saying good bye to my new friends, knowing that facebook will be the only real way to keep in touch, and moving away from our first home together and the community that we've slowly learned to embrace. 

I'm so happy to be wrapping up the year with the feelings of excitement and anticipation that we didn't have last year. I'm also thankful that I have learned to appreciate our first home and will be able to look back on it with positive memories and a grateful heart, rather than with bitterness. 

This year has been better than I expected and exactly what I needed. I hope you can say the same!
Happy 2013!


Oh, November. What am I gonna do with you?! You are so full of bittersweetness I feel like I'm becoming bipolar... and this is just day 1. 

My world is about to be totally turned upside down. I can't decide if I'm beyond ecstatic or totally depressed.  Sooooo many emotions. Seriously!!

One thing I do know is that I'm thankful. Thankful for so many things! 

I've been really trying to live a thankful and content life these past few months, but this stereotypical month to be thankful is really putting me over the edge... happy life changes, fun plans, time with family and friends, early Christmas celebrations. 

And lets not forget happy smells, yummy food, and getting to start Christmas decorating! 

Welcome back November! I think we're gonna be friends. 


Wearing: Teacher Chic I

If I'm honest, one of my favorite things about school being back in session is the fact that I have a reason to dress nice again. I really love dressing up, but always feel silly wearing nice outfits when I'm just going to be home all day, or just running to the store. Such a waste, ya know?!

In other words, I was pretty much a bum all summer and am enjoying feeling human again. :)

I've also recently discovered this new app that totally appeals to my geeky, clothes-obsessed self. It's called Cloth. You should really check it out!

See, I have this weird phobia of always wearing the same outfit over and over and not realizing it. I don't know what's wrong with me, but sometimes I nearly have a panic attack because "I can't remember what I wore last Tuesday and I don't want to wear the same thing this week, and especially not this Tuesday... I mean, heaven forbid someone see me in the same outfit more than once a month, right?!" 

Honestly, I'm not that bad, but these thoughts seriously cross my mind. And yes, I do realize that sounds ridiculous. But it's true. 

So, that's where my new best friend app comes in... it's basically like a clothing diary. You can upload pictures of outfits, write comments about them {like when/where you wore it}, categorize them by where you would wear them {work, everyday, formal, etc.}, and even tag the outfits with different labels {polka dots, stripes, dress, skirt} which makes it easier to find the outfits you've worn in the past. I've been so excited about it!!

My husband is now completely convinced that I'm a big geek, but what can I say, we make a good pair.  ;)

Linking up with The Pleated Poppy


Coming up for air...

Oh geez... real life is back in business! These last couple of weeks have been so crazy. Going to bed at a decent hour, waking up early... getting back into a routine is exhausting!! Not to mention that I actually have real work to do again. 

I have to say, so far this year is so unbelievably easier than the last! So much easier that I almost feel like talking about it will jinx me or something. It's been so nice!! 

Don't get me wrong, I've been stressed. But it's a bearable amount of stress, not a cry-all-the-way-home kind of stress. It's nice to be able to get most of my work done at school and only bring something home if I want to. Last year that wasn't even an option. 

I actually feel like I could have a real life this year. Key word being could, of course. In my world, real life means having time to watch TV at night and maybe do some blogging, so that term should be taken loosely.  :)

I guess what I'm trying to say is, life is crazy, but life is good! Lets hope it stays that way!!

By the way, this where I spend my days. My housing class redesigned and painted my classroom last year, and in my opinion did a great job! Wouldn't you agree??

Happy Monday!


Easiest Pizza You'll Ever Make

Can I just say, I looove me some pizza!!! I could probably eat it everyday, and honestly any way... the only pizza topping that I always try to avoid is Italian sausage, just not a fan. But other than that, load it up! Hubs, on the other hand,  is a strictly pepperoni and cheese kind of guy, so personal pizzas are the way to go in this house. 

Fortunately for me, in a moment of brilliance, I came up with the easiest, most delicious, time saving meal of all time! That's right, of all time. It's just that tasty and just that quick. 

Seriously people, you're gonna thank me for this...

The ingredients:
- Pizza toppings of your choice {in this case: pepperoni, canadian bacon, mozzarella cheese, pineapple, mushrooms, and banana peppers... I decided against the tomatoes this time, but if you've never had a pizza topped with tomatoes and bacon, you're missing out!!}
- Pizza sauce {I like to use crushed tomatoes instead of actual sauce}
- And the magic ingredient: Garlic Naan, that's right, as in the flatbread you get at Indian restaurants. It's the perfect size for a personal pizza and if you get the garlic kind, it becomes a nicely seasoned crust for all your delicious toppings. So good!!

All you have to do is preheat your oven to 400 degrees, top it like it's hot {the pizza that is}, and pop it in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
The longer you let it bake, the crunchier the crust will be. I usually think 12 minutes is just about perfect... the crust is still soft, but has a nice crunch to it too! Seriously, my mouth is watering right now.

There you have it peeps... the easiest, most delicious, time saving meal of all time. 
I think I'm gonna copyright that! :) 

Go make it. Like right now! Seriously!!


Wearing: Lake Style

Sunday we got to have church at the lake! We go to a small start-up church here in GC and it was our first annual church picnic. Growing up, church picnics are some of my favorite memories... we had them every year around the 4th of July, down by the river. So much fun!! So I was pretty excited when I found out that our new church's picnic would be at the lake! Water and Jesus, what more do you need?!

I have to admit, the first time I saw this "lake" I was pretty disappointed. Derek and I rented a cabin here to celebrate our 1 month anniversary of being married. It was a sweet trip he had planned long before I even moved to GC and we were so excited! Unfortunately, I was pretty disappointed when we arrived and I saw what appeared to me to be a large pond. This was not a lake.
It's amazing what a year can do on a person's perspective... when we arrived to Scott Lake this past Sunday, all I saw was beauty! Not the mere size of the body of water in front of me, but the beauty of God's creation. 

As much as I complain about our current circumstances, I really am learning so much about contentment and gratitude and joy. Perspective changes everything.
I honestly had planned to share a new recipe today {from a new dish I took to the picnic}, but decided better of it. The dish wasn't a complete flop, but just wasn't that great either... so I'll show you what I wore instead. :)

Nothing to write home about really, just a couple tank tops, bermudas, and shoes {that were quickly changed to flip flops}. I'll be honest, I'm not much of a fan of summer clothing... I love layers and scarves and close-toed shoes, but when you're at the lake, those things aren't really ideal, if ya know what I mean.

And in case you were wondering, this is what happens when you try to have a photo shoot with my husband... 

Happy Wednesday {my last Wednesday of freedom, btw. I'm not freaking out or anything.}!

Linking up with The Pleated Poppy


When life gives you lemons...

If you happen to follow me on instagram, you might have noticed that our a/c decided to quit working on Thursday. We were somewhat in denial and decided to "wait it out" but by Friday morning we knew it was done for. Derek told our landlord, who sent someone by in the afternoon, but unfortunately it was more complicated than the maintenance man could handle and we had to wait until Saturday for someone to come by and completely replace the unit. 

Meanwhile, my way of coping included escaping to my classroom to get some work done as well as posting pitiful pictures like these:
I also did a lot of reminiscing about the semester I spent in Tanzania... I lived in Africa for an entire semester without an air conditioner, but it's just different when you actually have one and it's not working, ya know?! 
Such an injustice! haha

I also became very thankful for 1. The invention of a/c 2. Being a renter and not having to shell out the dough for a replacement and 3. An awesome husband who helps turn everything into an adventure!

Our first night without air, we we went to bed with the windows open. Our bed is right under the window in our bedroom, and luckily there was a slight breeze... however about 10 minutes later the breeze was accompanied by the first rain we've had in months! Normal people probably would have closed the windows as quickly as possible, but not us! 

We left it open as long as we could stand it, enjoying the rain drops and their lovely scent. We probably would have left the window open all night, except the lovely scent quickly turned into a smell that made you wish you didn't have a nose!! Ick, gotta love SW Kansas... smells like money. And if you're not aware, "money" smells like cow poop. Gross, gross, gross!

Day two without air was considerably hotter... by the time we were getting ready for bed our apartment was 97 degrees!!! Insane! Chocolate in the pantry was melting; things were falling off the walls in Derek's office. 
Insane, I tell you!

While some people moped around and posted pathetic pictures on instagram {me} other people {Derek} came up with brilliant ideas... like sleeping on the balcony! No need for a tent when you have a deck, right?! 
As soon as Derek even mentioned the idea I was packing up blankets and pillows, completely on board! We entertained ourselves with our tablets and dogs, and also met our new neighbors {who probably think we're complete weirdos now, but what can you do?!
I can't say it was the best I've ever slept, but at least I slept! And, not to mention, made yet another memory with my man! 

When life gives you lemons... sleep on the balcony!


Who needs an Olympic medal...

I got a blogger award!! 

How cool, right?! Now I'll be honest, I'm not exactly sure how these blogger awards are supposed to work, but I was still excited to be given the honor by the lovely Danavee of This Vintage Grove! She's my only real "blog friend" so far, but I definitely found a winner! She's so so sweet and I have come to enjoy our little chats. 

So, about the award... I received the One Lovely Blog award and from my understanding it means I'm supposed to tell some random facts about myself as well as give out some blog love by nominating others. Seems easy enough... so here's some facts that you probably didn't know about me and maybe didn't want to. :) 

  1. I played 4 years of varsity soccer in high school. 
  2. I also played the tuba. Yep, that big ole' brass thing. I've always had this weird thing about being unique, so I guess in 6th grade that translated into choosing the instrument that only boys chose? Makes since, right? :) 
  3. Although I teach Family and Consumer Sciences, I never took a FCS class. I loved all the subject areas, but always chose other classes instead. 
  4. There are 5 nationalities represented in my family... American {duh}, Mexican {uncle}, English {aunt}, Indian {cousin}, and Haitian {2 aunts and 1 uncle... who happen to be in 10th, 8th, and 6th grade. nbd!}
  5. By the time we were married, Derek and I had actually lived in different states longer than we had lived in the same city. When he moved to Kansas we had been dating about a year and a half... the rest of our "dating"/ engagement was just a little bit longer than that. Glad that's over! 

And now, for my nominations... Since I'm pretty new to the whole blogging thing, and don't currently have too many blog friends, I decided to nominate just a few of my "real life" friends who happen to have blogs! 

Drum roll please... The nominations go to:


There you have it ladies, all you have to do is link back to me, share a few random facts of your own, and nominate some other worthy bloggers! Or just make up your own rules... like I kind of did. :)

In other news, since this is kind of a wordy post, here's a sneak peak at a project I will be posting about next week! 
What could it be?? I love surprises! 

Happy Friday! :)


This is the month I return to the real world.
This is the month I begin year two of my teaching career, a year that is hopefully much less stressful than the last.
This is the month I get serious about eating right and regular exercise {that's the plan at least... wish me luck!}.
This is the month I get to cheer on the US as they compete in the Olympics {though obviously that's already started}. My favorite is women's gymnastics!
This is the month I begin waking myself up in the middle of the night with new ideas and back-to school nightmares {oh wait, that's already started too! :(}
And this is the month my parents celebrate 34 years of marriage. I'm so thankful for their commitment to each other and our family!

I've gotta admit, it was kind of hard to come up with a list of what I'm looking forward to this month... don't get me wrong, I'm excited to get back in the swing of things, but summer is just so great!

Here's to August... may it be just as fun and exciting as it will inevitably be stressful! :) Happy August everyone!


July in Instas

Can you believe July is over?? This month was so much fun, but went by way too quickly! 

We had our last hoorah of the summer this past week and were able to see some family and friends before reality kicks in again. It was a great way to wrap up the month, but I'm so not ready to get back to the real world... I told myself I have to get serious this week. That means organizing and setting up my classroom, getting on a running routine, and starting to eat right. 

I'm determined to make August my month of motivation! But for now, here's some highlights from July:
We took a little day trip to a nearby town to see Dorothy's heritage, tried the "Best Burgers in Kansas" {though I'm not completely sure I agree}, and reminisced about our big day. So hard to believe it was a year ago!! Read about it here, here, and here.
We were able to spend some time with my parents both here in GC and in Missouri. We love having company, but hardly ever do since we're so far from everyone. Our visits included a trip to the zoo, movie night, and a piece of our "wedding cake." My mom had one made for us since we weren't able to save our top layer {didn't want to transport it 9 hours!}. So sweet!! 
We celebrated our first year by taking a trip to Kansas City... I surprised Derek with an original page of a  Captain America comic by an artist he likes, we went to a Sporting KC game {so much fun, we love soccer!!}, and Derek indulged me by taking me to a fancy restaurant and letting us stay in a nice hotel! We had a blast!! {And I may or may not have made up for the fact that I never shop in Garden City... shhhh! Teachers need new school clothes too! ;)}
After Kansas City, we decided to head down to the Springfield area to visit family and friends for a few days before heading home. I was able to spend some quality time with my favorite little girls, kill myself relax at the lake with friends, and stuff my face full of the best Chinese food ever. If you live anywhere close to Marshfield, you've gotta get yourself some Oriental Inn!! It's sooo good, people!

Such a great month!! What were some of your July highlights?


Year One...

{via Twin Town Studios}
This is the year I moved nine hours away from "home" to build a new home with my love.
This is the year I probably cried everyday for six months.
This is the year I started a "big girl" job, and didn't think I would make it to December {let alone May}.
This is the year I realized that marriage is awesome! But it's not always awesome.
And this is the year I learned that I might not be as perfect as I probably thought I was.


This is also the year that I realized even a couple hours with the man you love is better than 24 with anyone else.
This is the year I learned to truly appreciate my family and friends and not take a single minute for granted. 
This is the year I realized that joy, happiness, and gratitude are decisions I must make everyday.
This is the year I learned that it really is the small things that make life great... and that a dance party with the man you love can turn your whole week around.
And this is the year that confirmed I've found my other half.

Crazy, crazy year one, you have taught me so many lessons in your short 12 months. Thanks for the memories!

Love you Derek, thanks for choosing me!!


Best Day Ever, part 2

In honor of our anniversary month, I've decided to share some of my favorite pictures from my favorite day. Today I'll be sharing our more "traditional" wedding pictures. I shared our wedding details here and the story of my wedding dress here! Be sure to check them out if you haven't already!

We definitely wanted to get the pictures out of the way before the ceremony. It was nice to be able to simply relax and enjoy ourselves at the reception and not have to worry about extra pictures.

We decided to keep our wedding party pretty small. Derek chose his two brothers and a friend he's had since middle school {Josh was actually in all 3 of the Thompson weddings, he's practically a brother}. I chose my 3 bffs who are all basically sisters, since I don't have any of my own. I've known Maryl since I was born, Kimberly since she was born {6 weeks after me. We're cousins, too}, and Anna since first grade. Don't know what I'd do without those girls!! Our flower girls were Kimberly's oldest daughters, Addie and Emme and our ring bearer was my cousin Eli.

Here's Derek, Brady, Josh, and Chris making sure we're on schedule. They all wore antique pocket watches passed down from their grandfathers. How cool, right?!

 Maryl, Kimberly, me and Anna chillin' at the reception. We just pose like that naturally.

I didn't want a boring traditional family photo, so we made a heart! :) Everyone in this picture is related to us, but there's a lot more that couldn't make it. Fun fact: out of all these people only 6 of them are from Derek's side... I have a big family!

We had a community prayer with our immediate families and wedding party after we lit the unity candle... maybe my favorite part of the ceremony.

Don't let this picture fool you, we lasted on that bike for about 15 seconds... that's why we don't have a better picture!

I hope you've enjoyed a peek at our special day. I can't believe it was already almost a year ago! Do you have your wedding pictures posted? I'd love to check them out! I love weddings!!

Our photographer was Adie Gateley of Twin Town Studios and I absolutely loved her! We had a horrible experience with our original photographer after our engagement pictures and were fortunate enough to book Adie pretty late in the game. She understood exactly what I was wanting and was so great to work with. I would definitely recommend her! 

*Some of these pictures were also taken by our friend Les. He doesn't have a business, just a nice camera and a good eye. Thanks Les! 


Wearing Wednesday: Wedding Style

With our anniversary coming up, I've decided to make this week "Wedding Week!" I wasn't able to blog about our special day last year because I literally got married, honeymooned, moved to a new state, and started my first "real" job within a matter of 3 weeks. If that's not stress, I don't know what is {and I don't want to find out}!!

You can see the detail shots from our wedding here, if you haven't already.

I found my wedding dress at Karl's Bridal in Springfield. 

The funny thing is, I actually saw it on their website and loved it before I was even engaged {yes, I started planning before I was engaged, who doesn't?!}. My mom and I were browsing some different dresses online and we both loved it, but in the picture it looked more formal than what I was wanting... definitely bummed.

When the time came to actually look for dresses {after we were engaged}, Karl's was about the third place I went. I had found a dress at David's Bridal that I really liked, but didn't want to commit too soon, so I ventured on to my next appointment at Karl's. 

This dress is one of the first they brought me and I really liked it, but then when I realized it was the dress from online, I knew it was the one! 

The reason I had loved the dress so much was because it had a really unique feature...

See how I'm wearing a short dress in this picture? It's the same dress from above, but the bottom portion comes off, leaving a cute, lace cocktail dress!! How cool is that?! It wasn't necessarily the easiest transition {ask my mom and cousin!}, but definitely a fun idea!

The only problem was that the dress I liked at David's had a really cute flower at the waist... the dress from Karl's didn't and felt a little too plain to me. 

I could have bought a custom-made flower for around $100 {no thank you!!}. But fortunately the staff at Karl's was amazing and did some calling around. They remembered a girl who's dress came with a flower, but didn't plan on using it. Sold for $30... that's more like it!

When I first started wedding planning, I would have never guessed I would end up with a dress like this {I was envisioning long, lacy, and simple}, but I'm so glad I did! I absolutely love that dress!! Simple, unique, and somewhat difficult to figure out. Definitely me. :) How did you know your dress was the one??

Linking up with The Pleated Poppy today! 


Best Day Ever, part 1

Since I wasn't blogging this time last year, and in honor of our anniversary month, I've decided to share some of my favorite pictures from our lovely day. Today is for detail shots! 

With the amazing help of my wonderful family and friends, we handmade almost every detail of the wedding, from the invitations to the food at the reception. 

I know I couldn't have pulled off my dream day without the help of my family, even though the perfectionist in me probably rubbed them the wrong way a time or two. ;) 

These details, in my opinion, are what made our wedding my absolute dream day. They also kept the cost waaaaay down {I'm talkin' less than $6000, people!!}. Thanks family!

Oh, I just loved this day!! 

I'll be posting more "traditional" wedding pictures on Friday! Be sure to come back and check them out!

Our photographer was Adie Gateley of Twin Town Studios and I absolutely loved her! We had a horrible experience with our original photographer after our engagement pictures and were fortunate enough to book Adie pretty late in the game. She understood exactly what I was wanting and was so great to work with. I would definitely recommend her!