Monday, March 30, 2009

Road Trip

I can now call this a road trip. We have stopped at Cracker Barrel for lunch. I have been thinking about whole wheat sourdough french toast with fried apples on top and a side of hashbrown casserole for the last three hours. We should make it to Ft. Walton this evening. If you can read this, I have figured out how to post from my phone!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

And We're Off

I have just a minute...the Irishman and his parents are downstairs. I am supposed to be packing. They decided yesterday at noon that we would leave at 2pm (as in 2 hours from when they told me) for the Florida Panhandle. Needless to say it is Sunday and we haven't left yet. I need more than 2 hours notice!

My in-laws have the keys to an empty apartment in Ft. Walton Beach and we are going to spend Spring Break there. (Remember I should have been on a cruise today but I prefer my husband not to be deported so I get the Florida panhandle instead. Sigh)

The apartment has no TV. My father-in-law is already going into CNN withdrawals.

The thing they most want to do on the trip? Drive to Alabama to mail a postcard. No offence to anyone from Alabama, but really? I am not getting this...

So, I am off for the week. I may see if I can figure out how to post from my phone. I'll have plenty of time to figure it out!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Vacations to Go

I am SO happy with our online travel agent right now!

I mentioned yesterday that I was going on the cruise the Irishman and I booked without the Irishman due to a fairly serious and extremely stressful mistake paperwork error on our part that I still can't really talk about yet.

Last night I called the cruise company (again) and they told me I would have to take it up with our travel agent...and good luck. The customer service representative also said the best we could hope for if we were lucky is to change the name of one person on the reservation.

An e-mail to our friends at Vacations to Go has us on another cruise with the same cruise line. All we had to pay was the difference in the price. The woman we worked with is WONDERFUL! We have been sending e-mails and voicemails back and forth all day. She just finished helping us AT HOME. Her shift was over so she finished by e-mail at home.

I decided to buy from this company after a parent at school recommended them. Now I know why! I am SO impressed! Now we just have to hope to have our paperwork situation resolved by then...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I'll explain it all in time...

There has been a lot going on around here lately...but most of it I can't completely post about yet. (Please don't ask...I'll update when I can!) Let's just say we have been up to our eyeballs in alligators!

UPDATE: I've already gotten one worried phone call in the 15 minutes since I posted. It is all okay. I am not dying or anything. Relax!

It looks like the Irishman will not be able to go on the Western Caribbean cruise we booked for next week due to a fairly serious and extremely stressful mistake paperwork error on our part. I am currently going back and forth between the cruise line and the travel agent. We've been told that we can change one name on the reservation, but now they are giving us the run around regarding HOW to do that. Fun times. At this point our best option would be that my grandmother would come with me on the cruise and my beloved Irishman would spend the week off enjoying his parents' company. Not at all ideal, but it looks like the best we can do.

In other news, it is not a good sign when a doctor gives you a diagnosis and then follows it with, "but promise me not to google it." Errr...more about that later, too. (Remember, not dying!)

Despite it all, life is good though because someone else cooked dinner tonight for me! The Irishman's parents are town through the end of April. I am extremely embarrassed relieved to have dinner waiting for me when I get home and to find my house tidied while we were at work.

(Side note: A booking in the guest room limits my computer posting may be a little more slack. I also still have THREE wonderful awards to write about...but that takes time and I have a stack of papers to grade by Friday that is taunting me. Spring break cannot come soon enough!)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Birthday Bucket

It has been a week since the Irishman's birthday, but he finally cashed in the promise of his birthday present. You see on his birthday I had nothing for him. At all. It was embarrassing.

On the way to work that morning we'd talked about his birthday dinner. The original plan was Moe's. (Not my favorite)

Then I thought of the ultimate dinner spot for the Irishman. The one place that I would usually NEVER agree to.

He was a good sport about this picture. Right after I snapped it he said, "You can't put that on your blog." Then he dug into the bucket before I could take another picture of it...

Happy belated birthday babe!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Washer Woes

The Irishman has made a real effort around the house this week. He was working late today, so I stopped at the store to pick up the cat food/litter, folded all the clothes, and put a load of laundry in the machine.

Unfortunately the washer is still full of water.

The dirty wet clothes are on a clothes horse in the guest room bathtub.

It sounds like it is raining in my guest room.

I now smell like dirty wet clothes.


The only good thing about the situation? A few months back we realized that we had a number of big ticket items around the house that were ready to go any day aging. Out of fear for our travel budget great wisdom we purchased a home warranty.

That home warranty covers the aforementioned washer.

Now we just have to wait for the $50 service call. Thank God for small blessings!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick on Parade

Saturday was the local St. Patrick's Day Parade. In typical South Florida fashion, it was sunny and hot! We've been meeting the same group of people at the parade for the last 4 or 5 years.

The theme this year was Jamaica Me Irish. (I really would like to know who thought that one up! Seriously people!) Thankfully most parade participants decided to stay Irish and skip the island beat. Most of the favorites (including Petuna the Pig) were wearing green and ready to celebrate.

Sue was not impressed that I again failed to wear the "proper" shade of green, so she forced me to wear handed me her glasses and added a sticker to my face. The tie my husband is wearing? Sue forced that on him thought he could use a singing tie to complete his ensemble. The flag? Also belongs to Sue. (And to think we no longer work for her anymore! Gotta love her!) Unfortunately the picture of the Irishman and Sue is on his phone. You will just have to trust me when I say they were a sight together!

We all met in our "usual spot" across from the English Pub. Same spot, same sun, new additions! Make way for the strollers! The event again ended with promises that next year we will all be IN the parade. (A kazoo band? Really, Sue?) All in all it was a great day!

For more St. Patrick's Day fun head here:

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Shamrock Shakes

Our Irish friend Lyndsay had never heard of Shamrock Shakes. (Until Saturday after the parade when we treated her to her first frozen green delight!)

On my first trip to Ireland, the Irishman and I enjoyed Shamrock Shakes from McDonald's as we watched the parade.

The minty green shakes are available on this side of the pond as well if you can find them! Our local McDonald's carries them, but not all do. (There is even a really bad website devoted to tracking which McD's carry the shakes.)

And because of my love of cheesy Irish-ness, I have to share these...

and better yet...

I'm loving it!

The Celebrations Begin

I think I need a weekend to recover from my weekend.

Saturday we went to a local St. Patrick's Day Parade. It was unbearably hot sunny and warm. In typical fashion we took WAY TOO MANY a fair number of pictures. I uploaded the pictures as I finished my Shamrock Shake from McDonalds. Yummy!

(I am actually posting tonight so that I will not get it in my head that I should try to edit the pictures in the morning and post them then. I know myself...this would only lead to me late to work...again! I am going to work on that tomorrow night. Really.)

My husband is the best ever...on Saturday night he made his own belated birthday dinner. We have had a joint birthday for Morgan and our neighbor Dave for the last three years. This year the Irishman wanted corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes. I can cook, but those things are his specialty. (Side note: He learned to cook those things to appease his American friends, not because they are Irish!) Lyndsay and Dave couldn't get a sitter, but the twins were sound asleep and the baby monitor was on so we brought over the feast Morgan had prepared and had a wonderful meal on the patio. It was fantastic!

This morning we taught our CCD class and then enjoyed Mass with an Irish flair. There was a bag piper outside of the church. The soloist from our wedding also sang a few Irish hymns during the Mass. We were also stopped by Monsignor and one of the Irish nuns with St. Patrick Day well-wishes. It is a good thing I wore my bright green sweater.

After a quick stop at the mall to pick up a green work shirt for the Irishman, we went to my grandparents house for a joint birthday dinner for my aunt Emily and the Irishman. Grandma's cooking NEVER disappoints. I needed to be rolled out of there!

I said I was going to take a short nap when we got home. The Irishman went off to look at highlights from Liverpool's BIG WIN over Man United this weekend. At 7:15 he woke me up. I had NO idea what was going on. I was SURE that it was morning. But he seemed so calm as he told me it was time to get up. I must have looked thoroughly confused...he had to tell me it was night time. I still feel a bit disoriented!

I think I need a weekend to recover from my weekend!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Boys


This week’s You Capture challenge was texture. Cats may not seem like the obvious choice for this, but it was what I felt like photographing this week. I'd planned on editing them in Photoshop Elements, but I accidentally opened the pictures in Picasa and decided to go with it thought I would try something new.




The first two are my favorites. I was just happy the boys agreed to the photo shoot! For more You Capture Challenges, visit Beth at I Should Be Folding Laundry.

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Works For Me Wednesday: Test Anxiety

This week is our big Florida testing. I teach third grade and there is mandatory retention for third graders who do not pass the reading portion of the test. I am NOT here to debate the rights and wrongs of testing though!

Some of my students each year have been terrified by overanxious parents display a bit of testing anxiety. My first year teaching a little girl put her head down and cried as soon as I put a practice test on her desk.

I've come up with an activity that works well for most of my high anxiety students. I tell the class that there is no room in their heads for worry. We need all that room in our heads for now we need to get our worries out.

I give each student a sheet of paper with "FCAT" written in the middle of the page and then have the students write how they feel about the test. I've had them write things like "It makes me feel like I am having a heart attack." "It stinks." "I hate it." "STRESS!!!" Some have true worries, some are just being dramatic. Either way, they usually fill the paper!

After we've gotten out our worries/thoughts/concerns, we rip up the papers. They LOVE doing this. We talk about how we are getting rid of the worry space so that we have more room for thinking space.

And what to do with the paper? That is the best part. All of that torn paper looks surprisingly like confetti. It stays neatly in a bag stored someplace safe because we use the "worry confetti" to celebrate after we've taken the test.

So there you have Works for Me! For more WFMW tips, visit We Are That Family!

Monday, March 9, 2009

An Announcement

I'll apologize now if the title made you expect major news. Nothing THAT major here. That would be a BIG announcement. We're still waiting for God to decide it is time...

Anyway, yesterday was my one year blog-a-versary. Somehow I missed the occasion. The only thing that made me think of it was that I was considering another post like this one. Some things never change!

So, now the announcement:
The Irishman and I have been talking about it, and I am going to change the name of the blog. (Life changing, I know! Humor me, please!) He is often the star of the show...and he is beginning to be okay with that. So instead of "Jenny's Journal," this will now be "Irish by Marriage." The address will stay the same...I just changed the name on the header.

I know you will sleep better tonight knowing that!

Happy Monday!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

February Beach Reads

I took this picture last week while the Irishman and his sister went for a walk. I find his late February beach read a bit peculiar. He would never pass the height requirement is a bit tall for an elf...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

St. Partick-itis

It started simple enough.

When the Irishman moved to this side of the pond I made a huge fuss for St. Patrick's Day so he wouldn't feel homesick. My in-laws contributed by sending "authentic" decorations from Ireland. We made corned beef and cabbage. (which they really do not eat in Ireland like everyone thinks they do...)


We joined other Irish friends from camp and attended the local St. Patrick's Day Parade with a crazy Irish-obsessed American friends of ours. We now have a "usual spot" along the parade route ironically enough in front of an English pub. Go figure.

My obsession has celebrations have grown a little each year. I LOVE St. Patrick's Day and cheesy St. Patrick's Day decorations! It has gotten to be a little more than your usual holiday. My third graders learned that -itis means inflammation. I think St. Patrick-itis is a good description for my ailment!

With that being said, here is a preview of what is new this year:
We bought $1 hats for our co-workers from Target. Of course I couldn't pass up the PJs...they have my birthday on them. (Which is a little odd, but still cool!)
The Irishman and I are a bit particular when it comes to shamrocks. We don't want anything to do with the four-leaf clover thing. St. Patrick converted the island using shamrocks. Rafa was kind enough to pose with my newest decorations. (They passed the shamrock test!)

(Not pictured: a wreath for the front door and a welcome sign with shamrocks for outside)

I also found a sign at Homegoods that said "Genuine Irishman for Hire." I was being good though and put it down. Three times. Although I have 12 days left (according to the countdown sign in my classroom) and make no promises that the sign will not end up at my house by the 17th.

Are you feeling the green?

Monday, March 2, 2009

I'm losing it!

Today was one of those days.

I started the day looking for a container to pack our sandwiches in. I found the lids. I found no bottoms. I was going nuts. My sister-in-law came down the stairs to talk to me. I heard nothing. I was unsuccessfully trying to pack lunches.

Then I got to school and I went to get the overheads of a practice state assessment my kids took last week. Forty sheets for math and forty sheet for reading. I had all 80 sheets in a folder on top of the bookcase. Until today. They are still no where to be found.

I spent both planning periods looking for them.

The Irishman would ask if I'd prayed to St. Anthony. I grew up Catholic but was not introduced to St. Anthony until I moved to Florida. St. Anthony of Padua is the Catholic patron saint of lost items. Can't find your wallet? Ask St. Anthony to pray for you. Your passport has gone astray? Did you ask St. Anthony for help?

My in laws take it to another level.

They bribe make a cash donation in St. Anthony's name. Your glasses showed up after you asked for his help? That is an extra 5 euro in the collection basket. You can't find the folder you needed for work? You will give $10 to the collection basket when St. Anthony helps you.

I stopped short of offering money today. Maybe that is where I went wrong...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I SHOULD be sleeping...

...but I'm not.

**Warning: Brothers and Sisters Spoilers follow! If you recorded it like I should have, you will want to wait to read this!**

We are watching the 2 hour Brothers and Sisters special event. There may or may not have been left over cheesecake involved.

I am SO going to regret this in the morning.

There are about 20 minutes left.

The previews said someone will die. There has been a heart attack and a birth, but so far all are still living. The Irishman is driving me crazy with his going nuts making predictions.

I SHOULD be sleeping. I SHOULD be grading papers...

...but instead I am joining the Irishman and his sister downstairs for the rest of the show!

UPDATED: So it turns out the "shocking death" was the short time the senator died because of his heart attack. The Irishman is not impressed. He feels cheated.