Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Near and Dear to My Heart: Bulldog Pups Need Your Help!

I am teaching a new course at Springdale High School called Service Learning. We work on different service projects around NWA including Polo of the Ozarks, Autumn Festival at the Jones Center, play bingo at Walnut Grove nursing home, etc. The 19 students in my class attend Head Start once a week and Jones Elementary in Springdale once a week. I was visiting with the principal last week and she was telling me about her demographics and the projects they are trying to accomplish this winter for the kids. Jones Elementary has approximately 598 students in the school, of which 97% are free and reduced lunch (essentially meaning poverty level)!!!!!!! That means 15 students pay for their lunch (6 of those are students of teachers). She said every year companies call and ask if they can adopt a family for Christmas. It is so hard to choose because all of their students need it, so this year they are trying something different. They would like to send each student home at Christmas Break with a full stocking stuffed with at least one book, toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, soap, etc. I know the toiletries wouldn't seem exciting to a small child but they will be beyond joyful. They are also trying to put together food bags to send home with their kids for the break. Many of their students do not receive meals at home (the school has a weekend food program but not for an entire holiday). As you begin thinking about the holidays and what groups or organizations you would like to help out, please consider this project. I will gladly come pick up any of the presents you would like to donate or if you would like to give money the counselors at the school say they know how to make a dollar stretch:) One book, two books, toiletries, stockings or more, I would forever be grateful to you for helping any way you can

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hello Blog, I Have Missed You!

Whew! It has been forever! Life has been so crazy busy that I haven't even had time to look at friends' blogs either. I am very lucky today that I have had the opportunity to spend time with one of my best friend's, Frances. She was in town as a keynote speaker for a foreign language conference. We woke up late, Andrew made us breakfast, we went for a long walk, ran by Target, window shopped at Riffraff, bought some delicious raspberry yogurt covered pretzels, played with the Petersons, watched every episode of Modern Family, ate baked potato soup and are now watching Transformers 2. It has been a great, relaxing and lazy day. I wish she lived in Northwest Arkansas. Andrew and I are constantly bugging her to move up here. She is such a fantastic friend and person! It will be sad to see her leave in the morning.

Since the last time I blogged I have had Homecoming, went to Tulsa with Andrew for the Dave Matthews Concert, watched the Hogs and Bulldogs win some ...and lose some, helped run the Circle of Friends Fall Carnival, took 100 students two days in a row to Van Buren for volleyball state playoffs, throwing our 2nd annual Halloween party and tons of other time consuming, fun things. Most of any extra time left over has been spent trying to improve my tennis skills and working towards being a better teacher. School has been great this year, even busier though due to my new Service Learning class but it is so heart-warming to see my kids working in the community and making a difference in the lives of children in Springdale. Andrew is very excited because he has just accepted a position at the Walmart/Sam's Club Home Offices. He starts in two weeks and is really ready for a change. I am so proud of him. I am looking forward to a leadership conference with my students on Tuesday and a ride in the spirit buses down to Russellville for the state football playoffs. My friend Stephanie's birthday is this week too. What I am looking forward to the most though is my first training session back with Mitch. I have gained some weight back in the past few months and have become uncomfortable. I am excited to get back on the health bandwagon. It will be a great week! I hope you have a great one too! Here are a bunch of pics from the last couple of months! Love, Ali
Andrew with our niece Olivia on his shoulders celebrating the Hogs victory over South Carolina. Go Hog!
Ruby and Graham made friends over some popcorn and skittles.
Love my husband!
They are growing up too fast! Our niece and nephew: Olivia and Graham
Bear gearing up for game day!
Best part of Halloween: carving the pumpkins
Striking resemblance to Fred Flinstone
Painting the rock monster for the Fall Carnival
Picking our pumpkins at Dickey Farms Pumpkin Patch
Lawson and Lyla helping us craft at Hobby Lobby
Fall was so beautiful this year.
We took Ruby to a Red Dog game. She loves the Bulldogs.
Showing off her school spirit.
Auburn game...a little early, a little cold:) Thanks Em and Matt for going with us!
Waiting for our cab to the Dave Matthews Concert in Tulsa...it never showed. Cab service in Tulsa is terrible!
The McBirney Mansion in Tulsa. I would definitely recommend staying there.
Our 3-D adventure to Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.
Go Hogs!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Little Bit of Randomness

Good Evening Friends!  I am up posting a new blog too late in the night.  I should be in bed, actually I need to finish some invitations first. But, I couldn't help but share my canvases I picked up from Chris Stinson tonight.  He is such a great photographer!  I am so excited to put up pictures of my little one, Bear.  She is a good subject for picture-taking!
I just finished some curtains for my friend Lauren.  She has a really cool dining room with lime green under the chair molding and midnight blue above it.  We used a cute patterned cotton on top with a rich, beautiful orange gathered polyester on bottom.  She picked a velvet and beaded trim to finish off the look.  I am very pleased with the way they turned out and I think she is too!

Last weekend we went to Small Hands Big Dreams, supporting the Children's Safety Center.  Molly and her committee did such an amazing job and we all had so much fun!

Lots of love to everyone!  Go Hogs! Beat Georgia!!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Hootie Hoo for Brooke's Bachlorette

Home Sweet Home!  I just got home from a fun trip to the beach with a bunch of friends for Brooke's Bachlorette Weekend!  It was a totally different experience in Grayton Beach than what I am used to.  We spent our days on the beach (for some reason I took no pictures on the beach) and shopping/art exploring in Seaside and our nights at good restaurants and the bars of Grayton and Seaside.  We had a really great time celebrating Wes and Brooke's upcoming nuptials. My only complaint was that anytime we would strike up a conversation with a fellow SEC member, they would always want to know why we hate Houston Nutt and what an amazing coach he is...Oh my!   I hope everyone had a safe and fabulous Labor Day Weekend.  
Lots of Love,

Doodling on our table with my Sharpie Pen:) at Shorty's in Grayton Beach.  Best sushi in SoWal! Please go there to eat if you are down that direction (it is across from the Red Bar).
Me with the bachlorette, Brooke.  Those are some serious heels Miss Bride!
Laura, Ann, Martha and I enjoying Arkansan-owned Red Bar. Yum!!!
Jenny, Suzy and I.  Can you ever get away with not wearing something silly during a bachlorette weekend?  I think we looked great!!!
The whole crew at Red Bar.
What a cute bride?!
Me, Court and Laura
Dancing the night away at Bud and Alley's
Courtney, Ann, Martha, Theresa, Laura and I ordered the entire menu at Broken Egg for breakfast.  Ooo..it was good!

On our way home today we stopped in Paul Michael. It is a fabulous home decor store in south Arkansas.  Most of the girls had been before but I had not. They already had out Halloween and Christmas decor. I must say I was in holiday heaven.  

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Happy Days!

It has been quite a long time since the last time I posted or even read anyone's blog.  Starting school was a little crazy.  We have decided it is really important to condition weeks before so you aren't so tired.  Andrew and I had a great weekend!  We went to see Second City at Walton Art Center on Friday night.  We ate at Hugo's with Emily and Matt before the show.  The four of us spent a lot of time talking about why we love Hugo's so much.  It is such a great Fayetteville staple, it is underground, it is always packed and loud, yet you can hear everything at your table very well.  Plus, their food is always good.  Saturday we met my family's new foreign exchange student, David.  He is very nice.  Andrew and I took the Peterson girls for a walk so Brooke could take a much deserved nap.  Here are some pictures from our adventure.

Sooooooo cute!  
Taking a break on Andrew's shoulders
Lyla was in a trance the entire walk.  She fell asleep.

Today, Ruby, Brooke and I had a girls' tennis outing.  We had a great time.  Although this was only Ruby's first time to play, she very quickly became the teacher.  She kept telling Brooke and I how to play and when we needed to take breaks. Hysterical!
Telling Brooke she just lost.
"Ali! Ali! We are going to have a talk right here.  You need to listen and you are not allowed to go outside of the court.  You are a kid and only the teacher can do that!"
I don't think I was listening...
Bear playing with her new owl dog toy from Ruby
Jake and Matt had an end of the summer party: Hot Summer Days, Hot Summer Night.  We had a great time.  I would have had lots more pictures but my phone died.  Jake and Matt throw great parties.

I promise not to talk about my students too much, but those who know me well, know I love to brag about my kids.  This is going to be a great year at Springdale High School.  I am teaching three sections of AP Gov't, two sections of World History and my new class, Service Learning.  It has gone great so far.  My Service kids have some great ideas, and will begin traveling to Head Start and Jones Elementary in the next couple weeks.  They spent Saturday afternoon playing Bingo at Walnut Grove Retirement Center.  They sent me texts saying how much fun they had.  The picture below is from the first day of school.  Each student wrote their expectations of my class on post-its for three minutes.  The result was really cool.

My classroom
One of the new quotes I painted on my wall.

Another quote

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Grayton Beach with the Dolans and Wooldridges

Hi Everyone!  Hope you all have had a good beginning of August.  August is really one of my favorite months of the year because I love back to school shopping, both clothes and school supplies.  Some of my favorite memories as a kid were going with my mom and sisters to pick out clothes (especially the all important first day of school outfit) and clean, shinny new folders, markers, pens, pencils, etc.  I just got home from my final summer trip, vacation in Grayton Beach with my brother and sister in-law, niece and nephew.  We also had Mike's friend David Wooldridge and their family with us.  We had an absolute blast "soaking up the sun" (literally and semi-stalking Sheryl Crow who owns a house a couple doors down from my inlaws on the beach), having dance parties, visiting with Nannnciee, and having delicious meals.  It is sooo good to be home with Andrew and Bear.  I missed them terribly.  Graham, my nephew, asked me everyday where Uncie Andrew was and when he was going to meet us at the beach.  I had to remind Graham his uncle couldn't come because he was at work.  It was weird to be at the beach without Andrew  but we still had lots of fun.  Here are some highlight pictures of the trip.  Have a great week! Wish me luck, as I start back to school this week!  I am very excited to meet my new Bulldogs and make more memories with Bulldogs of the past. Love, Ali

P.S. Andrew and I will be celebrating our 4 year wedding anniversary on Thursday! My how time flies when you are having fun!

Graham and Andrew at U.S. Pizza prior to the trip.  I love this picture so I had to include it.
Sheryl Crow's house.  She was on the beach and we were walking past her.  I acted like I didn't recognize her but told her her son was super cute.  We had to play cool even though Dawn was giggling the entire time we walked past her.
Dawn, Lindsey and I taking a pic at our bestie's house
These pictures are fuzzy and so was my hair:)  
The whole vacation crew.  Forgot my shoes were on, the ultimate beach pic mistake.
Olivia and I on are last night at Shorty's
This is what a 4 year old looks like after a week at the beach.
Graham and Olivia flying their kites
Bailey and Blake flying their kites in the beautiful sky
Loving our lounge chairs
Olivia's annual air-brushed t-shirt
Our little shark

Sunsations had 5 hats on display showing airbrush.  Oddly enough two of them had Mike and Lindsey's name on them. Fate! I could hardly take the picture because I was laughing so hard.  I wish they would have bought them, even if Lindsey's name was spelled wrong.
Jogging is not my favorite thing to do but with Coldplay in my ear and a setting like this, it is hard to beat.  
David and Graham starting the dance party
Little Miss Sassy!
I don't know why but this picture cracks me up.