Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Post Vegas

I would have posted earlier, but I am still in recovery mode.

Where to begin.

First of all, I flew in Friday morning and met my sister and her friends at the airport. I arrived at the airport before Mindy, so it was one of those rare post-911 moments when I was actually able to wait for her at her gate when she got off the plane. We were super excited to see each other!

We took a hummer limo (as seen below) to the hotel, where we promptly put on our swim suits and went to the pool.

Now you may think, "Hotel pool. That's not too outrageous. That seems relatively calm."
But you'd be wrong.

It turns out, D.J. Pauly D from the Jersey Shore was there to spin some music. He was supposed to be there at noon, and didn't show up until three. But that didn't deter the almost four thousand people from paying an outrageous $50 cover to get in and wait for him. Luckily, as hotel guests, we didn't have to pay to get in. Which was good since we literally couldn't find a place to put our things. The entire place was packed like I've never seen. I friend of mine commented on facebook that it looked like I was in the scene of MTV's Spring Break. Yep. Felt like it too.

Then in the evening we got ready to go out to a club. I put on my tall gold heels and was ready to go. We stayed out super late, and had a great time.

The next day we went back to the pool, which was wasn't nearly as busy as the day before. But I still found it weird that I was I.D.'ed at the door when it was only 9 a.m. Apparently beer and alcohol is served at the pool from the moment it opens in the morning, to when it closes in the evening.

After a day at the pool, we went back for a brief nap, and then started getting ready for dinner. We walked through some gorgeous hotels before finding a spot for dinner. Then we went to a wonderful show.

That's right. We say Thunder from Down Under. I don't really have anything else to say about that. Google it if you wish.

After the "show" we went to a series of clubs that were within out own hotel. One of these clubs was having Shaq's retirement party. At about 2 in the morning, I finally gave up and walked back to our room by myself. I was having a great time, but 2 in the morning was about all I could handle. I was exhausted.

The following morning we spent some time in the hotel spa. The hot tub and steam room was just what my tired legs and feet needed after two super-late nights in heels.

After an afternoon spent walking through more hotels and seeing some beautiful shopping, we made our way back to the airport to fly home.

I had a wonderful time with my sister. Mindy was absolutely gorgeous, and I the entire trip made me even more excited to see this beautiful sister of mine marry the man she loves. I've never been happier for her! Here are some of my favorite Mindy pictures from the weekend!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

If the Shoe Fits...

On Friday I'm flying to Vegas. Yep. Me. In Vegas.

My little sister is getting married in August, and her bachlorette party starts Friday in Vegas. Friday is my birthday. This is terrific because Scott and I got married on my sister's birthday. Yes, it is possible to narrow down every Saturday in an entire season and arrive at only one possible date that just happens to be your little sister's birthday. She was cool with it, but made us promise that we could get married on her birthday only if we shared our first anniversary with her on her twenty-first birthday, which of course, we did.

So now her bachlorette party is on my birthday.

My sister and I are not alike at all, but we're super close. Many qualities that I love about her are those I wished I possessed myself. However, with those differences comes this Vegas trip. My sister will probably rock the Vegas. Me... well, not so much. When I got the itinerary of weekend events, I just about fell out of my chair. Let's just say there will be lots of... "clubbing." Me. In a club. (Its okay if you giggle, I giggle nervously just thinking about it.)

I don't want to be totally out of place in this Vegas scene, I mean my little sister has ten other friends coming, and as the risk of sounding like a high schooler, I want to fit-in at least somewhat. And I didn't think my typical Loft sundress and fake pearls would do the trick. So Scott and I went to the mall and I got some "appropriate attire" that I'm sure I will never ever wear again.

Today I returned to the mall to get a pair of shoes and a couple pairs of earrings to go with my new "Vegas outfits." My friend Amber went with me, and I told her that I was thinking about getting some gold flats, like some gold hercules sandals. Maybe something like this:

Amber just sort of looked at me, and asked if I had talked to Mindy about this. I told her that I'm sure Mindy would agree. Amber insisted that I call Mindy right then and there and ask her opinion.


I called Mindy, and the conversation went sort of like this:
Me: Hey Min. I'm looking at shoes for Vegas, and I'm thinking about some gold hercules sandals. That's fine, right?

Mindy: Wha??? Flats? In Vegas? I don't think they even let you in the club with FLATS?!? No Malisa, no way... (laughs and giggles in the phone at her big sister's ignorance of "appropriate Vegas club attire")

At this point, Amber asks to talk to Mindy. I hand her the phone, and this is what I hear:

Amber: Hey Mindy, its Amber.
Amber: Yeah I know, (rolls her eyes playfully at me) Uh huh... I know! That's what I told her..... Yep.... (laughter) yeah, I will... no problem... bye!

I get the phone back from Amber.

Mindy: Boy I'm I glad that Amber went with you shopping today. YOU should be glad too! Flats in Vegas! Hahahahahaha!

The phone call ends.

So, Amber and I spent the next hour and a half looking for appropriate foot attire. And these are similar to "wonderful appropriate club foot attire" that we found.

If a single pair of shoes could symbolize the difference between my sister and I, these shoes do it. Pray for me. I don't want another broken leg. I hope my sister appreciates all the sacrifices I'm making for her. :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


One of our favorite restaurants to go to for lunch after church used to be Chipotle. When we lived in Fresno we would go frequently with the Portelas. Obviously we missed this restaurant when we moved to SC, so we were thrilled when one of our favorites opened on Harbison Blvd.

We've been several times, however I've noticed a trend that I don't care for. Every time I wait in line to get my food I watch as the people in front of me give their order, and when things don't look just right, the food is thrown away and the server starts over.

Last time we went, the waste was extraordinary. First of all, the lady in front of me asked for three steak tacos. Apparently the server thought she meant three orders of steak tacos. There are three tacos in an order, so the server began steaming tortillas for nine total. The customer quickly realized the miscommunication and explained it to the server, who promptly threw the extra six tortillas in the garbage. Then the customer asked for one with rice and beans. The server thought she meant one with beans, and another with rice, but no. The customer wanted one with rice AND beans, and the others with none. This resulted in adding beans to the one with rice, and throwing yet another tortilla (this one with steak too) in the garbage.

Then we began our order. My mother in law said that she wanted black beans, the server added pinto. Another burrito in the trash. I asked for two burrito bowls. The server steamed two tortillas, and then upon realizing her own mistake, threw both tortillas in the trash.

But the real clincher was with the kids' orders. I ordered quesadillas for the kids, with Emily's being a full kid's meal, complete with a side of both rice and beans. I watched as the server wasn't pleased with cheese the oozed out of the foil during the heating process (she threw these away) and then when adding the rice and beans to the kids plate, she didn't like the way the beans overflowed in to the next compartment of the disposable tray, so she threw the entire thing away and started again.

Now I realize that in the restaurant business you give the customer what they want and yearn for complete satisfaction and yada yada yada. But really? I was shocked at the waste.

Scott's class went on this awesome trip to a camp north of here. There are many things that he shared he loved about this camp, but one of the big things was the kids are taught not to waste anything. The camp emphasizes making meals without waste and the kids are expected to take only what they will eat, and the group strives to complete a meal without waste.

I could only wonder what these kids would have said in this situation. I wish I could have known what an appropriate thing would be to say, however I sat their silent. Bummer.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Every once in awhile Scott and I will find ourselves looking for something to do after dinner is over and the dishes are put away. Many times we find ourselves going to Rita's for italian ice, and then to Barnes and Noble. For some reason, this happened many Friday nights in a row. A few of those times I had a gift card to spend.

Spending money at Barnes and Noble has never been an issue for me. However, I always find myself in a quandary. I will walk straight to the kids section, and begin perusing through the newest children's literature. But then I wander over to the newly expanded "young adult" section and find several titles there too. Eventually I remember that I AM an adult, so maybe I should check out the best sellers shelf, or find one of those titles my friends have mentioned were great.

So which books do I get? Almost all of the time, I go for the children's lit or young adult. I guess there is something so wonderful about sharing a great book with somebody that makes it that much better. Some favorites I enjoyed talking with kids about this year were The Hunger Games Trilogy (I also loved talking about this books with several friends of mine who also loved this book), The Evolution of Calpernia Tate, The Underneath, and A Long Walk To Water. (Though I think I'm missing some...)

This summer started out with my reading through so many things. I re-read Crazy Love. And then I sped through the latest Nicholas Sparks book. But then I started reading what just may be the best book I've read in years. I just finished it today, and I think Scott is thrilled because he's been claiming neglect for the past couple of days.

The Help is an amazing book that looks in to the relationship between female black maids an their female white bosses. Its brilliant in every way. It was one of those books that I had to make myself put down. Several times I just couldn't, like the time this week that I stayed up until 2 a.m. reading. Then when I did put it down to MAKE myself do housework, I couldn't stop thinking about not only the characters in the book, but the lives of those who lived in Mississippi in the 1960's... both black and white. I've always thought that the best books were those that continue to make me think and question long after I finish the last page. This certainly meets that requirement.

The movie comes out in August, and while I'm certain it will not be as good as the book, I've already told Scott I want to see it. Here's a trailer:

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Every summer I have a lot of things I want to get done. Of course, not everything gets completed before the summer ends, but I do accomplish many of my goals. This summer is no different.

I was thinking this evening about everything I wanted to "get to" this summer. Things like learning how to pickle cucumbers, reading certain professional development books, and cleaning out my closet (I still have my Y2K millennium dance party in there from college!)

Emily was sitting beside me as I went through this mental list. So I started talking with her about things she wanted to do this summer. At first she told me about going to VBS, visiting family, and going to the beach. But when I started telling her about the things I wanted to learn this summer, she immediately responded with what she wants to learn. She said she wants to learn how to tie her own shoes (Boy do I hope she's successful with that one!) in addition to learning how to whistle and snap her fingers. She also said that she really wants to lose a tooth.

Whistling, tying shoes, snapping her fingers, and losing teeth. In my mind, these are all rights of passage that come with growing up. Then it occurred to me: She wants to grow up!

I don't know I how I feel about this. On one hand, I remember so many things that signified growing up when I was little. Not things that many of us share like learning to drive a car or staying home by myself for the first time, but specific things that signified "growing up" for me. Things like the "Moving Up" song at RBG. (Talk about building school community!) and getting to go off the high dive at the pool. Others I thought about were not going to children's church during the service, but actually having to sit through the whole sermon. Or getting to ride my bike on the other side of Kranenburg Ave. without my parents watching me cross Nord Rd. Thinking about this made me wonder what specifics will enter Emily's mind as a symbol of growing up. I can't wait to see what those things will be for her.

But on the other hand, I can't believe my little girl wants to GROW UP! How can this happen? I'm frequently reminded how fast time goes, and with each passing month that my twins are not just two, but two and a few months now, I just can't help but wonder how this can be possible. And to think Em will be in the first grade next year makes me second-guess myself and think maybe I miscalculated somehow.

Somebody once explained to me that the older we get, the more years we have in our memory. So each year becomes a smaller percentage of our entirety. For example, for a 6 year old, one year is only 1/6 of their life, or 17% of their life so far. Whereas my birthday next week makes me 31. Making my past year only 3% of my entire life. Doesn't that automatically make a year seem to go by faster and faster?

Maybe this is the reality that I face as I get older. Perception is everything I guess. And it seems to me that my Emily has grown way too fast, and it doesn't seem to be slowing down any time soon. I guess the only thing to do is hold on tight.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Things you may not know about Scott Johnson...

Scott and I have some friends who marvel at the many new things they learn the more they hang with Scott. A similar comment was made to me by a neighbor this afternoon, and yet again a few days ago. I started to think about it, and decided this was worthy of a blog post. I'd be curious to know which things shocked/humored/horrified you the most...

1. Scott was originally a music major before he changed majors to education. He marched in the Rose Parade carrying his tuba three years in a row.

2. There is a large tattoo on his upper right arm.

3. When he was (much) younger, he got in trouble with the cops more than once. One specific instance was when he and his brother were throwing hot tar off the top of a building down on to the cars below.

4. He spent a month backpacking across Europe

5. He's had seven different surgeries

6. He accepted Christ on March 26, 1992 when he was 19.

7. He once lived with a friend's grandmother. She spoke no English, so he learned quickly. I still love to hear the way he orders at a Mexican restaurant.

8. Scott listens to crazy rap, heavy metal, and various other genres of music. (all but country, which he swears gives him headaches.) His favorite group is Rush, but he's also a big fan of Ozzie Osborne.

9. He was once a state ranked tennis player

10. In high school he had long blonde hair and wore a long dangly skull earring.

11. In high school he had a teacher tell him that he would never make it in college. His teacher also told him that she hated him.

12. While living in southern California he would ride his bike from the city of Santa Fe Springs all the way to Seal Beach every day.

13. His wife loves him! But I'm sure you already knew that!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011


The twins love to color with Emily at the table. So the other day I decided to get out some water colors and let them try it out. Elsie took things very seriously, and sat for over thirty minutes with the paints and her masterpiece. Emily has always loved to paint, so Elsie just sort of watched her and caught on to dipping the brush in the water and then the paint. Eli caught on to one thing: Dumping the cup of water upside-down. We had a short few minutes while I took pictures when things were relatively calm with all three, but shortly afterward, Eli had to be removed from the table. He's such a boy!

Monday, June 06, 2011

Sunny, with a chance of afternoon thunderstorms

Summer always comes with a series of loud afternoon/evening thunderstorms. Last night was no exception. Emily had a friend over and they were watching a movie and munching on popcorn. Emily is sort of weird like her parents, and she typically marvels at the thunder and lightening. It was very apparent that her friend was very much afraid of the storm. As Emily watched her friend cringe at the flashes and jump at the rumbling that shook the house, Em tried to make her feel at ease by saying, "Ya know... that loud thunder is only the sound of angels bowling." (Just as she said that, one of the loudest bolts struck in a simultaneous whip of thunder) Emily paused, and then said, "See! There must be an angel up there doing a victory dance because she got a strike!"

It was a good effort. But it didn't help. Her sweet little friend was scared silly.

By this morning I thought the thunderstorm was a something of the past, so I was a little surprised at the following (precious) conversation that we had on the way to the grocery store:

Emily: Hey mom, take a look at the sky
Me: Yeah, what do you notice?
Emily: Do you see all those clouds gathered around the sun?
Me: Yep
Emily: Its like the clouds are the angels and the sun is God and He's gathered them all around to make an important announcement.
Me: So, what do you imagine that announcement may be?
Emily: I think He's telling them to stop bowling, because its scaring the kids.

All I could do was smile. Because once again, Emily Grace left me speechless. I love that kid.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Summer is here! (and so is my first of many posts!)

Sometimes things just turn out perfectly for me to go to Em's school and participate. Water day was one of those days. My own students had 10:45 dismissal every day last week, and for some reason (I hear something about snow day make-up hours) teachers were able to leave at 11 a.m. This worked out just perfectly for this mom! I raced across town and enjoyed every moment during the final days of Kindergarten!

With summer comes the opportunity for me to update the blog more often. Like most teachers, summer is a time of reflection. A time to consider all the wonders of the year that has passed and to consider the different ways of approaching the year to come. I have many thoughts, ideas, and questions as I form my goals for the next year with fourth graders. But one goal I have for home is to update this little blog weekly... even during the school year. A task that will be fun, I'm sure!

Until then, I'll enjoy every moment of this summer with my sweet family. And what a better way to start off the first blog post of summer than to show of our sweet Emily and her classmates during the last day of school!