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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Saturday, February 23, 2013

300 Down... Many More to Come

This is my 300th blog post. 

I can't believe it. 

I have been in the blog world since May of 2009, and I gotta say: I love it. 

I am so glad I started this blog. It's my little corner of the web and I like to think people enjoy the things I share. 

One thing I have struggled with, especially in the past year, is feeling like my blog isn't good enough. Or that people don't really care. I see other blogs with tons of followers and tons of comments being left, and I think- how can I make my blog like theirs. 

And this is what I have figured out: 

{image via

And I am finally fine with myself... or I should say my blog. I am happy that this blog is part inspiration... part journal... part venting... part recipe sharing... part crafting... and part sharing myself with y'all. 

At the end of the day, I think what I write is awesome, and so does Matt. Honestly, that's what counts the most. I am happy with my blog and I am proud that I take the time to write my feelings out and share them to the world. It's a great feeling, and I definitely recommend it!

So here's to a Happy 300! Enjoy. 

Love, Alex 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday Flashback #40

As I mentioned a couple of months ago, when I was home in December I found one of my old journals.  (The same journal I found my 50 by 50 in.) 

This journal was from August 2007-August 2009. 

When I read through it I could not stop laughing at the big things I skimmed over and the little things I went into so much detail about. Anyway, I took this journal back with me (despite not having a lot of space in our apartment) because I wanted to share my journal with you guys. 

And what better place than in my Friday Flashbacks! 

Here is something that was (who am I kidding- still is) important to me: 

Sunday, January 20, 2008

"I am glad I made it home over break. I also read these books called Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse. They are by Stephanie Meyer and so good!"

*This was written a sentence after I talked about going to a funeral.* 

Sunday, May 11, 2008

"I am reading the Twilight series again- so good! Movie comes out in December. So excited!"

Thursday, November 20, 2008

"For English, I am writing an essay/ research paper on The Mysteries of Udolpho and Emily and Twilight and Bella- it is about the role of women and how they become the protector even though they are physically weaker. So I read Twilight again! And the movie comes out tomorrow, but I am going to the midnight showing! I am so excited. I wish I could be a part of the movie! Rob Patinson (Edward) is so cute. I want to find a British man to mary! :) I like the accent."

So basically the year 2008 was spent obsessing over Twilight, but not much has changed since I am still extremely excited the final movie is coming out on DVD.

Hope that made you laugh. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Eli Update

This last weekend Eli had his baby blessing. Matt and I weren't able to make it, but we got see some great pictures. Here are some I wanted to share. 

{Seriously, one of the funniest things I have seen.}

{My Abuela made this hat for Eli. I am very impressed.} 

Wish we could have been there. P.S. thanks for the pictures. Keep them coming. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Kids Say the Darndest Things

February 14th was our first day back at school from our intersession break. While my kids were intersession, I assigned them a quick assignment to get them thinking about Social Studies. 

My students needed to pick two of their favorite places on Oahu and describe why they enjoy those places. {We are talking about human and physical characteristics of certain places in the Pacific Islands.} 

Anyway, these projects were due Friday and being the great teacher I am- I graded the projects this weekend. 

Some were great and some were not so great. Here are two paragraphs from two different students. 

{I don't know what makes me laugh more: "disserts" or that fact that "Frod and Sam" go to this restaurant.} 

{Ah the perfect student... his favorite place is the LIBRARY!}

Same project... same age... same grade... completely different quality. Oh the joys of teaching 7th grade! 

I love my kids! I really really do! 

A Whole Bunch of Mail

Matt went to check the mail today, and I am so glad he did because we had a ton of love waiting for us! 

 {A Valentine's card from my Abuela and Papa.}

{Shot glasses from my Bates family- including a lovely note. If you can't tell- I was really excited I got these. I love them!} 

{Valentine's Day gifts from my love.}

{A thank you note from my niece Sophia. So very impressed she is writing thank you notes.}

{I couldn't wait to put all the cards on our frame wall.!} 

Thanks everyone for the love! 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Favorite Things: Downton Abbey

I love Downton Abbey. I really do. And if you haven't watched this show... stop reading my blog and go watch it... go... now! 

{This contains season 3 spoilers. So don't read if you plan on watching the show.} 

So where was I ... oh yeah, I love Downton, but sometimes that show just makes me so mad. 

I was sobbing when Sybil died this year, but now this. 

What the hell Downton? 

I know Dan Stevens asked to leave, but this seemed like a little too much after Sybil's death. 
{If you have no idea what I am talking about read this.}

I knew what was going to happen and I still cried. 

I even wrote this in my 5 year journal on Sunday. Haha 

And now we have two babies that are living without one of their parents. That seems a little extreme for  20th century England. 

Anyway, regardless of what Downton did this season, I am still a huge Downton fan. 

But does anyone else get a little confused with the timeline. I feel like in seasons one and two they did a good job of placing a timeline, but season three they lost me a bit. 

If you feel the same way. I found a really good Timeline for Downton. 

What I really love about Downton is that Matt is secretly into it. Every week I ask if he wants to watch it with me and he says no. And then about 20 minutes into it he comes and sits a little bit closer. By the end, he is completely watching it. 

This happens every week! He loves it.

I mean who could not love this:

 I will faithfully be watching season 4! 

Weekend Update

Matt and I had a great weekend. 

One of our goals this year is to get out more. To enjoy the island while we are here. For the past few months, we have been so overwhelmed with work, school, and internships that we have forgotten to enjoy Hawaii. 

Since we don't know how much longer we will be here, we wanted to make sure we leave with no regrets. Sometimes that is hard because we have been here for SO long, and our weeks are SO long.  But we have a goal and we are trying to stick to it. 

This Saturday we woke up and took a walk to a locale breakfast place called Huiklau Cafe. It was a beautiful day for a walk and an even better day for good breakfast. 

Later in the day, we went down the street and spent some time at the beach. It was nice to just lay out our towels and relax. We could only stay a bit because I didn't want to get burned, but it was perfect. 

That night we even took in a movie at the theater in town. Matt toughed it out and went with me to see Safe Haven. It was pretty good and a cheap date since we got student prices! 

Sunday was spend relaxing, grading papers, and going to church. And it was even better because I didn't have to go to bed early because today is a holiday. 

Thanks Mr. Presidents! 

Today Matt and I drove around the island and just had a bit of casual fun. 

Regardless to say, Matt and I had a great President's Day weekend. 

How was yours? 

It's Journal Time

Throughout my life, I have felt that journaling is one of the most important things I could do. 

I have always loved to document my life, and now I am loving documenting my life with Matt.

When I was younger, I thought I was journaling because I wanted my future children and grandchildren to have a piece of my history {I mean volumes of my history :) }. But as I look back at my old journals, photo albums, and blog posts I realize I was journaling for myself as well. 

I love reading my old journals and seeing the person I was then. I love re-remembering all the things that happened all those years ago. 

I know that eventually my future generations might get a kick out of my old stuff, but I don't think it will be as big as me sitting down and reading all the things I don't quite remember. 

A few weeks ago, Matt and I went to dinner at our friend's house. They are a newly wed couple, and as these things go the men formed a little group and started talking manly stuff {read video games} and us women started talking about girly stuff {read crazy things our husbands do}. 

As we were talking the topic of journaling came up. I shared with the newly wed how important I thought journaling was in our marriage. I expressed how much I love going back over old blog posts and seeing all the things Matt and I did. 

Like I have said before, I consider this blog to be a journal of our lives. I take the time to update as often as I can so we can remember all the small and large things we did over the years. 

Another form of journaling I have started doing are my Gadanke journals. 

The founder, Katie, has the greatest message for fellow journalers, or want to be journalers: 

"I believe an incredible thing happens when we pause to celebrate our stories. IT GIVES US MEANING. The ordinary starts to feel downright awesome.
I help women find their voices, capture memories, and celebrate themselves. In the Gadanke world, there is no meaning of “if only”. It’s a world of thoughtfulness, creativity, and empowerment.
Let me guide you and cheer for you in this brave journey of celebrating your story." {From Gadanke} 

When I found Gadanke, I immediately bought the Love fills a Lifetime journal, and the Love Where We Live journal. 

Then I bought the Christmas Joy to the World, and Baby Hello journal for my mother-in-law. 

I am currently wishing for the Love Letter mini book and the A Note to Say Hi journals. 

Katie makes recording your stories extremely easy, and her prices are great. If you are stuck and have no where to start- I recommend Gadanke

I started with our Love Fills a Lifetime Journal and I love the way it turned out. In fact, I have asked Katie to share my journal on her main web sight for others to see! I am so excited for people to see a part of my story. 

Here are a few pages from this journal: 

{A score card from when Matt and I played miniature golf.} 

{For this journal, I pulled all my wedding planning stuff out and made this a wedding book/ journal of the day.  I put our save the dates, photo booth pictures, magazine pages that inspired me with the planning, fabric swatches, my bridal shower invitations, and cards people got us. Anything that reminded me of my big day, or dating Matt I put in the journal.} 

My Christmas Journal was just as fun to put together. As you know, Matt and I went home this year and I needed something special to document it! 

{For this journal- I added any pictures we took, movie tickets, a peppermint bark candy wrapper, and anything that had to do with the holidays.}

I am going to give you a piece of advice- journal! If writing every day overwhelms you then pick up The Question a Day 5 year journal from Amazon. 

Or write in a spiral notebook once a week. 

Or start a blog- even if it's private- you are still writing. 

Or buy a Gadanke journal. Just get your story down! 

There are some many cute journals out there- there really is no excuse. 

Have a great week and remember- start journaling! 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Love Letters- Keep on Coming

Some of my favorite from the last few days. 

Matt and I decided we weren't going to let the fact that Valentine's was over to stop writing love notes. So we are going to continue until the month is over. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Friday Flashback #39

I could have a problem....

This little habit has covered two continents and many different species. 


Valentine Love

I hope your Valentine's Day was as great as mine, and maybe even a little better since I only saw Matt for about 30 minutes! 

Last night I set up everything for Matt to find in the morning. 

While I was on intersession, I decided to list a few of the reasons I love Matt. {This was one of my ideas in my Valentine's gift post, and I realized I had never done this for Matt.} 

So I took a pack of playing cards I had, some shipping labels, markers, and a small piece of sandpaper (which I borrowed from our cousins) and made made this little Love Booklet. All I had to buy were the binder rings I used to bind the cards together, but you could use twine. 

{Thank you Nana for always buying me Betty Boop stuff! These cards were perfect for this.}

{I wrapped the booklet in the tin the cards came in and put it in our red mailbox with a note saying "Open this while you are waiting for your bus." The top right picture is the card Matt made me. This is the second year we have made cards for each other and I have got to recommend this for you guys! It is awesome. Matt makes the best cards. The M&Ms are from a student!} 

{I used shipping labels to stick on the cards. I didn't want to deal with tape or glue, and I think this turned out great.! And I love how every card has a different picture of Betty.} 

This was a big hit with Matt and all I spent was like $1. 

I found this Valentine holder at Wal-Mart and I knew I needed to get it for Matt. So I bought it- filled it with candy- wrote this Valentine card (thanks Pinterest) and stuck it in Matt's dresser drawer for him to find this morning. {Matt loves Star Wars and Yoda is kinda a little joke between us. My gift for Matt on our wedding day was a surprise groom's cake in the shape of Yoda's head.}

The Yoda Valentine holder also came with these Valentine cards which I stuck on the bathroom mirror and his lunch box. 

When I woke up I found this lovely note on our mirror. 

Matt had stuck a bunch of notes around the house for me to find this morning. It was awesome. 

The last gift I had for Matt was this coupon book I had made from Datevitation. I hand picked a bunch of coupons I thought Matt would enjoy and had them made into a personalized coupon book. {Another gift from my Valentine gift ideas.} It turned out great and Matt loved it. Plus, I used a coupon code and got a really good deal!

There are a few coupons I am nervous for Matt to redeem {Chinese Food}, but it's all in the name of love! 

Matt and I didn't get to see each other that much today because of our busy schedules, but I did get to spend my night with this cutie. 

All in all it was a great day. I am so lucky to have Matt in my life and to know he loves me so much. 

I think we might celebrate tomorrow night with some one on one time, but all these little notes and treats have been perfect. 

I also spent my night giving out all my candy grams for my RACK of the month. I just left them on the doors, and it felt really good doing this small thing for my neighbors. I even ran into a friend of mine and she helped me drop the packets off. It was nice to chat with her and get some quality time in. {Click here if you have no idea what I am talking about with the RACKs.}

{I changed the quote from the Mother Teresa quote I shared in the previous post to this one from William James.} 

Happy Valentine's Day! Muah and Much Love! 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Loving More and Random Acts of Kindness Month 1

Throughout the month of December, Matt and I really tried to take part in completing RACKS (otherwise known as Random Acts of Kindness). When December was over we realized we didn't want to stop, but we hadn't done anything since the holidays were over. 

Then I came across this blog post from Thirty Handmade Days. In January she sent out a challenge for people to commit RACKs in honor of her son's 13th birthday. And she got tons of people messaging pictures and e-mails of the acts they completed that day. 

She had such a blast that day she has decided to dedicate the 14th of every month to RACKs, and she has challenged everyone to join her. {She even created a free RACK tag for you to use!} 

Needless to say this is exactly what I was looking for!  I have taken the challenge and I am excited to get started! 

I saw this printable with the phrase "Love More". And I fell in love with it. Sometimes we get in the habit of just rushing through life and often times not thinking of others. 

This phrase "Love More" fits perfectly with the RACK challenge. 

This year I am going to try to Love More and really think of others while I am going through my days. 

Since the 14th of this month landed on Valentine's Day, I wanted to give some special people a Valentine's Day treat. 

There is a couple that go to church with us, and they had their first baby a few months ago. For the last couple of weeks, I have seen them at church and I can tell they really love their new baby. But I also noticed that they look a little bit tired- not a bad tired, just a we have to continue our classes and work and take care of our baby kinda way. 

I felt like I should do something to help them out and one thing kept popping into my head: Offer to watch their baby. And I kept pushing it aside. I mean, I know this couple, but I don't KNOW this couple. And I have never held their baby- let alone babysat it! 

But the thought kept popping in and I knew I needed to offer to watch their baby. 

Last Sunday, I asked if they had anyone lined up to watch their baby for Valentine's Day and she replied "No." 

In which I said: "Okay, you two pick a date and Matt and I will watch the baby." 

Wife: "Are you sure." 

Me: "Yes, of course." 

Wife: "What is your rate?"

Me: (with a confused look) My rate? .... Oh my rate... Free!" 

Wife: (with tears in her eyes) "Are you serious." 

Me: "Yes- pick a date and let me know. 

Seriously, the best feeling ever. I am so excited that this young couple gets to go out and have some fun. And I get to take care of a baby for a couple hours! 

*I also wanted to do something small for some others that are around us. So I decided to make candy goodie bags and give them to our neighbors. 

I am pretty excited to hand them out tomorrow. I think I am going to just leave them at their door so they are more anonymous. {Although, if you happen to read this, and you happen to be my neighbor, and you happen to get a bag of candy- I guess the surprise is ruined.} 

Here is how they turned out: 
{I didn't have time to print the free printable, so I just made my own version. I will print them next time.}

I encourage you all to try to complete at least one RACK this year, and then share it with me!