Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fear of the Assigned

What once was my best friend has transformed into my most feared enemy.

I have always been obsessed with list making and scheduling. Subsequently, I became obsessed with seeking out the perfect agenda year after year.

This year, I settled on the perfect little black (agenda) book in which I wrote 
assignment due dates, upcoming tests, scheduled work-outs, time frames for laundry days, birthdays, phone numbers, grocery lists... you get the point.

As of recently, however, I have been terrified to even open that little black book of mine. The once half-filled, neatly color coded pages are now cluttered sheets of ceaseless assignments and looming due dates in permanent black ink. 
I'm afraid that if I open my planner, a new assignment will surge off of the paper to be the final assault in my student teaching demise.  
I know I can't possibly be the only one living in fear of the assigned. Right?!

There are only two short weeks left of method assignment stress and project due dates before winter break.  With the grace of God and Caffeine on my side, I will persevere and make it out of these last two weeks alive.  

Who's with me? 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The One with the Fastest 10 Days of My Life

It feels like it has been forever since I last blogged, and for that I apologize.  Life has gotten in the way of my writing and after a ten day vacation (?) at home for Thanksgiving I think I've finally caught my breath long enough to share some of the goings-on in my life as of recent. 
Football, Food, Family, Friends, Food... in that order. 

Had to try two of the 900 cookie recipes I pinned from Pinterest this break. One of the recipes turned out delicious, the other, not so much. I'll be sure to post a review in the near future, but for now, How darn cute is my sous chef?!?!  I got to visit my precious girls whom I have been babysitting since this little first grader was an infant.  They need to stop growing. But we had a blast baking (and eating) lots of Nutella cookies! 
Thanksgiving Eve I participated in the requisite High School Reunion at the local bars. The night was a blast; two bars, a whole lot of reunions and two broken glasses later, I was ready for my Turkey the next morning.... to say the least. 

This Thanksgiving was a chaotic as usual with my huge extended family, but I wouldn't have changed a thing. I made sure to wear a dress so I could eat as much as I wanted, and ate I did.  We played games, watched football, and listened to Uncle Bob sing and play his guitar. Always a treat :) Did I ever mention I love Thanksgiving?

This year we had family that I hadn't seen in a few years come down from New Hampshire to join us for the weekend. It was really nice to visit with them and catch up, and even nicer to meet this handsome little man! Meet my one-year-old cousin, Kaleb. 

Hope you all had a wonderful week with lots to be thankful for.

Now it's back to the regular grind... two more weeks of stressful school work and then Christmas break! Can I get a Hallelujah?!! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Truth be told, I am a very sentimental person. I cherish traditions incredibly, and for this reason I think Thanksgiving is one of my very favorite holidays.  Traditions are strong in my family; we eat the same food, go to the same house, even play the same games simply because "we did it last year."

My favorite is absolutely one that my mother introduced quite a few years ago at our farm house (the traditional Thanksgiving locale prior to my grandfather getting sick.)  She pulled out a white table cloth for dinner that afternoon, and told us by the end of dessert we all had to write down one thing we are thankful for, sign it, and put the year.  
I was thankful for "my family and electricity" in 1998 (age 8)
My sister was apparently thankful for "The Pilgrims" in 1998 (age 6) 
"Never stand under the stars and complain about the lack of bright moments in your life"- Aunt Kimberly 2001
"I am thankful for my wonderful family,...for all the fun we have on Thanksgiving! Also, when the kids play outside and don't bother the adults." -Aunt Kathy 2001
PS- She wrote "I look forward to seeing what Maggie writes next year!" This is the year I wrote I was thankful that "my dad was on a diet so he didn't eat all the food." Sorry Dad!
In 2010 I guess we grew up a little bit... Kaylynn said she was thankful our oldest cousin finally stopped picking on her. (age 14)
C was thankful for his health last year, as was I :) 
Maybe this year I'll be thankful that Steven is still in school. Apparently he can't count .. Hey Steve, last year was 2010. 
Today the table cloth has multiplied and we now have two cloths and a runner bearing our blessings and thanks from every year etched forever in permanent marker. No one ever grumbles or groans anymore when Mom sets out the fabric markers during dessert, because reading our "I am Thankful for's" the following year is something we look forward to perpetually.  

I hate thinking about the fact that we are all growing older, Billy is engaged to be married, three of us are in college preparing for the rest of our lives, and holidays are beginning to change a little bit as our family grows and extends. Even if things can't stay the same, if not all twenty of us can come to my mom's house for Thanksgiving dinner, if we can't all fit in the kitchen to play Scattergories after dessert, at least we have our memories and this tradition to carry on no matter where we are during the holidays.  

There are countless things that I am thankful for, but believe it or not, I still haven't come up with something to write down on this year's table cloth.  It has been an interesting year (to say the least) and with so many blessings (although sometimes in disguise) it is hard to just pick one thing to encompass my thanks for an entire year.  I am thankful for the support my parents give me in everything I do, for my boyfriend who motivates me to be a better person, for my girlfriends who never cease to make me laugh even on the worst of days, for the opportunity to student teach and excel in my passion for education, for my bed at the end of an exhausting day, for my computer with which I can write and blog, and for so many more blessings I can't even put into words.  I'll be sure to report back with what I decide to write in permanent marker to remember for years to come...
Maybe this year I'll revert back to my thanks in 1999 (age 9) - "I am thankful for everything I have..." 

What are you thankful for this year?

Monday, November 21, 2011


Sweet, sweet Kate at Stripes and Polka Dots awarded me with the Liebster Award. I love reading Kate's blog and I hope you all go check her out!  This award made my day, thanks again Ms. Kate! xo

Liebster means "favorite" or "dearest" in German.  This award, which originated in Germany, recognizes up and coming bloggers!  In accepting this award, I agree to:
  • Thank the person who gave me the award and link back to their blog
  • Copy and paste the award to my blog
  • Reveal the 5 blogs I have chosen to award and let them know by commenting on their blogs
  • Pay it forward to 5 blogs

Whenever the holidays come around, I am reminded that I love giving way more than receiving. There is something about watching a person open a new gift that is makes me feel so happy.  Thus, I am ecstatic to be able to pass on the award to five well-deserving bloggers. There are so many blogs I read, and so many readers to choose from, but I narrowed it down to five of my fav up-and-coming bloggers who I appreciate not only for writing awesome blogs, but also for sending sweet comments my way. You go girls :) 

1. Sarah @ Simply Sarah
3. Stephanie @ Living with Intention
4. Miranda @ Aimless Translation
5. And of course, a real life BFF, my girl Ashie @ Ashley's Heart of Life

PS - These ladies have also contributed to this blog's 50+ followers!!  A year ago when I started this journal for friends and family to follow me abroad, I never would have thought I would be making blog friends or having strangers want to read my random musings. Trust me, I would keep writing even if no one was reading, but the fact that you all support me makes it that much more rewarding :) Thanks a million xoxoxo

The End of an Era?

Since sophomore year of high school I have looked forward to the weekends, sitting on cold metal bleachers, sporting #50, or more recently, #49 across my back, cheering on my favorite football player until my throat was sore.  In high school I looked forward to sitting under the Friday night lights, cheering on number 50, all the while praying my high school crush stayed injury-free for the entire night so we could enjoy our weekly post-game trip to the diner.  
Senior Yr HS '08 
C's Groupies @ Snapple Bowl '08 
Freshman year @ MU
Sophomore year @ MU

Junior year @ MU
Senior year @ Villanova

(For the record, we didn't take a picture at the actual last game of the season. He claims we have too many that look exactly the same.  Point taken, but I still don't care how many of these we have!)

Seven years later, a senior in college,  I found myself teary-eyed in the Monmouth University stands as I heard #49 called out onto the field to be recognized as a Senior; hearing his name called over the sound system made the end of an era of collegiate football games that much more real.  

It is not certain that C walked out onto the turf for the last time on Saturday, as he is eligible for a 5th year of representing Monmouth University Athletics.  However, he has not yet made a decision about whether or not he wants to go through another physically tolling season of the sport that has defined the last 16 years of his life with hard work, determination, sweat, teamwork (and concussions.)

Maybe it's the uncertainty of what is to come that has my stomach in knots still... 2 days later.  

I always liked knowing that every Saturday I had something to look forward to, that if one week's game went wrong, there was always next week - or next season. I appreciated knowing that my boyfriend's dedication to the year-round challenges being a student-athlete would inspire me to work hard and motivate me to do my best. I fell in love with the sound of the never perfect, but always spirited, college marching band. I looked forward to the blue and white pom-poms I collected at every game but never remembered to bring the following week. I even stocked my closet in accordance to my beau's team colors. In high school it was red, which was nice as I moved forward into UMD where I could continue to wear red proudly.  Since 2008, however, I've been steadily collecting as much blue and white as I could get my hands on.  Looks like I'll be wearing a lot of blue from now on, even if C won't be.  

It is his decision to make, but I can't help but selfishly think of all the reasons I hope he continues to play. I'm not yet ready to be rid of Saturday games that hold so much meaning. Not to mention the way a pair of tight football pants so wonderfully enhances a defensive end's rear end ;)  (As C would say, "hey, it was lookin at me.")
Who doesn't love a man in uniform ;) 
Whether C decides to come back for another season or to end on a high note (with the second most tackles on the team against Wagner thank you very much) I will never forget the seven seasons of weekends revolving around football.  I am thankful for the excitement each weekend held, wins and losses, and for the amazingly dedicated man #49 has become in part due to this incredibly demanding sport.  He definitely loves this game more than most things, and I was fine being second to football for seven years; I truly believe it has made him who he is today: strong, motivated, and disciplined. Even if he laced up his cleats for the last time on Saturday, these are qualities that will last a lifetime, and Lord knows I will cherish the memories forever. 

All good things must come to an end, anyway. Right? 

Love this one - all his roommates/ the best of the D-Line :) 

Love you, Chris.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday

Haven't linked up with Jamie in a while ... thought I'd share with you guys what I'm loving this Wednesday. 

I'm Loving...
... that the "Hunger Games" is coming out with a line of nail polish
 I can't imagine Katniss Everdeen had manicured nails, but if she did I would want mine to look exactly the same.  
... that the oh so sweet Kristen @ Joyful Ramblings hosted a blog giveaway...and I WON!! I can't wait to receive the vera bradley apron and recipe box she is so generously sending me! Thanks again Kristen xo 


... my sixth graders. They could make me laugh for days.  This week I received a letter from one of my boys telling me about his experience as a sixth grader thus far.  One of my favorite highlights from the letter:
 "I have had a longgg journey pre-k to 5th.  Here I am in sixth grade, struggling to make it to seventh grade."
Sorry you've had it so tough in your eleven years, kiddo. Gotta love it.  

... my Yellow Roomers.  No one can argue that they are the damned cutest kids in this world. One of my little ones requested I call her "Princess Popsicle" from now on. Because she "loves popsicles and cupcakes and cake," and why not? 
...BodyPump80 was just released and is currently in my possession! I finally mastered 79, now I need to memorize 80 to start teaching in January .. woot woot
Hoping to look like this one day? Maybe? Please?

... that there are only two more days until I return to NJ to see this boy 

and that in two days I will officially be in NJ for all of Thanksgiving week.  Now that is something to be thankful for.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

(Inconsequential) Reflections

My coffee was blacker than black this morning and I'm ready for a full week of teaching 6th grade.  I'm not sure why I have a compulsive tendency to brew my coffee entirely too strong. Perhaps for the same reasons I always over scramble my eggs: nerves and overcompensation. 
And for this precise reason, God created the K-Cup

Last night I laid out out the clothes I wanted to wear today. I took the brown pinstripe pants and coral sweater off my chair and got dressed at approximately 6:10.  At 6:53, two minutes before I had to be out the door, I slipped out of my fuzzy slippers and into matching shoes.  The shoes that matched beautifully but to my surprise were too low for the hem of my pants, and I found myself in a fashion dilemma.  With no time to change, I walked out of the apartment with brown pants, black heels, an aura of shame, and discomfort.  

One of my students broke down in tears mid-division-lesson.  Turns out, his tears were the result of a warning he received just moments earlier for talking during class.  My heart ached for his saddened, swollen puppy dog eyes as I offered him my tissue box.  ...And then I remembered that this is sixth grade and, hello, we don't cry over warnings. Fortunately, my Goody Two Shoes student stopped sniffling by recess and all is good again in Room 13.  

Along with appropriate shoes, my planner was left behind this morning.  I felt lost and confused, and a little bit lonely because I had never been away from my agenda for too long.  

At least we are one day closer to Friday.  Hallelujah.  

Monday, November 14, 2011

Movie Review Monday - Bridesmaids

I finally got a chance to see what all the hype was about this weekend and rented Bridesmaids.

For months now, I've been dying to see this movie and just never got around to it.  When it first came out, my movie date never wanted to take me to see this "chick flick" and Lord knows I've been too busy as of this semester to set aside time to watch an entire movie. 

Well, this weekend Lauren and I decided to head over to our trustee Redbox and finally rent the movie all of our friends have been raving about since last May. We surrendered our Saturday night to Kristen Wiig and her cohort of female comedians, and in no way do I regret doing so.  

I won't go into a detailed review considering I was probably the last girl on earth to see it...but let me tell you this, it was freaking funny.  Not at all what I expected, either.  I was prepared for a Hangover: Girl Edition, but what I got was much more. The complexities of life-long friendship, female jealousy, and insecurities are all explored, yet still disguised enough by laugh-out-loud moments of vulgar bathroom humor and witty comments so that the men in the audience are equally as entertained.  I loved that a group of brilliant female comedians could mock the ridiculous tendencies women have when it comes to weddings while still giving empowerment to the main character, Annie (Kristen Wiig) who is suffering the loss of her business, her boyfriend, and enduring life living out of shoddy car and more than unfortunate roommates. There is not much action nor adventure, so if you're looking for a thrill... look elsewhere. If you're looking for a good, real, laugh, seek no further. 

Overall, I laughed... a lot. And I highly recommend this movie for anyone looking for a comedy with just a touch of sincerity and spectacular acting. Kristen Wiig is brilliant, Melissa McCarthy is embarrassingly funny, and Maya Rudolph (who usually irks me to no end) perfectly portrayed the soon-to-be-bride fallen victim to the disillusionment that comes with wedding planning.  

"Why can't you be happy for me, and then go home and talk about me behind my back like a normal person?"

^Reality at its best, my friends. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day

I would like to take this time to acknowledge all the men and women who have selflessly served in our armed forces, protected our rights and our freedoms, and who gave us the precious gift of security.  

It was a little sad to see more recognition amongst my peers for today's binary date than for the men and women who have served our country. However, I was proud of the community members having memorial services as I drove down route one, and of Google, who simply, yet powerfully, reminded everyone what today signifies. 

On a personal note, I hate today, and I'm glad it's almost over. I may not make wishes when the clock hits 11:11 like most, but I do wish  a Happy Veteran's Day to those of you who have a veteran in your life, and I'll remember the veteran who meant the most in mine.  

Words cannot describe how sad we were to see our favorite veteran pass on Veteran's day three years ago.  

Thursday, November 10, 2011

It's OK ...

... if my boyfriend and I both have major crushes ... on the same person ... because that person is Carrie Underwood. In the words of C, "Carrie Underwood's legs are pure art." Can I get an amen? I'm working on getting there one day...


... that I've let myself get so stressed out, and have been on such a junk food binge that my face is all kinds of broken out.  OK, maybe that's not OK, but this conversation with my yellow roomer makes it slightly better(?):

"Mrs. Lensis, did you ever have da chicken's pox?"
Nope, actually I've never had Chicken Pox. Can you believe it?
"Den how come dere is dots on your face?"
Well, Beauty... because sometimes that just happens when people grow up.

{Enjoy innocence and pre-pubescent youth while you have it, my Yellow Roomers! xoxo}


... that with the Holiday Season comes all self-control and motivation in regards to healthy eating. Although I could use someone to motivate me a little - currently accepting applications for personal motivator to get me through the holidays. 
... to be absolutely over Taylor Swift. Enough is enough. The teenaged girl squeels and cries were cute three years ago, but you've been on the scene way too long now for it to be acceptable to scream like a child every time you receive an award. Nor is it acceptable to read a thank-you speech off the sharpie ink on your arm.  If you are privileged enough to work with Tim McGraw (Tim McGraw for Gosh sake!), you do not need to write his name on your hand like a last minute homework assignment. Time to find some grace and composure if you are going to walk across that stage in the same category as female musical legends. 

... that Martina McBride could sing "Happy Birthday" and it would bring tears to my eyes.  It also doesn't help that "I'm Gonna Love You Through It" is one of the most personal and beautifully written songs on the radio today. 

... that I was obviously watching the CMA's all night instead of doing anything on my to-do list. OH WELL! 

Its Ok Thursdays

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Discipline in the Eyes of a Catholic School Student

Every night before I get ready for bed I call my boyfriend, and every night he asks me how school was that day and I always give him every last detail. It's always more information than he cares to know, and usually I just get grunts and "uh-huhs" in response. But ever since I started 6th grade I get a little more response.

"I'm tired of hearing about this new school education crap. Go old school Catholic school teacher on them. I swear I thought for the longest time nuns really did have eyes in the back of their head. Act like a nun."

-Sorry you had no fun in grammar school, but us public school kids actually liked the majority of our Elementary school teachers and I want to be one of the likeable ones.

"No, be a bad ass Magg. Just because you're cute doesn't mean you have to be nice. If you need lessons on being a bad ass, let me know."

-Ha! Ok I'll let you know if I need teaching lessons from you, my boyfriend who last week got in a fight with a 10 year old on the Dining Hall lunch line.

"Give them more homework. And tell them it's GRADED. Yeah! Grade their damn homework. them POP QUIZZES. Kids f*%$#*n hate pop quizzes!!!! Show 'em your tough Magg, show em who's boss. "

These conversations usually always end in giggle fits on my end of the phone. But don't get me wrong, because I always go to him for advice because I seriously value it. And actually, after today's school day I decided I think I might just grow a pair of eyes in the back of my head.

I love love love my kids, but I don't want to cross that faint line between friend and teacher. Right now the distinction is blurred for some students, which I think is fine, because I believe a teacher can be a confidant. But not necessarily the type of confidant you would consider a peer. 

For days like today that are just a little bit too rowdy, I'll be Sister Margaret. Thanks for the advice, C.

Love this picture of C and my little cousin.
Kids really love him, especially my cousins - can you tell the feeling is mutual? 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

Another 10 on Tuesday post hosted by Roots and Rings. Enjoy :) 

1. What’s your favorite television show  for each day of the week?
I only watch Parenthood on Tuesdays, and Modern Family on Wednesdays, but if time allowed for it, I would love to get into some of the shows my friends are always raving about on Thursdays.  My two-show limit suits me, though. On Tuesdays I cry during the 10 o'clock hour, emotionally connecting the characters of Parenthood, and on Wednesdays I laugh so hard my abs hurt by between 9:00 and 9:30 when the funniest show since FRIENDS airs, Modern Family. 

2. How many times do you wear your jeans before you watch them?
Depends which jeans, and depends what I do in them.  Jeans I wear to the preschool are generally washed after one or two wears depending how sick/sandy/muddy the children are that day.  Typically I try to get 2-3 wears out of most of my jeans.  

I read somewhere that LEVI's recommends going six months before washing their jeans. SIX MONTHS?!! Is that not the most absurd thing you ever heard? I imagine my jeans would fall to my ankles with the weight six months of grime would add to denim. 

3. What is your favorite pasta shape?

4. Do you read newspapers?
Only when I'm at my parent's house. At school I don't have time to read newspapers.... sad, I know.  I keep myself updated via Twitter updates throughout the day and the Today Show stays on in the background when I'm getting ready in the mornings. 

5. Do you sleep in socks?
Those who know me know that I hate when my feet are hot any time of the day. Therefore I abide by very strict rules prohibiting UGGS and socks whilst sleeping. I'm getting claustrophobic just thinking about that, actually. 

6. Favorite genre of movies?
 I don't know, I'm a big movie person. I like a lot of movies. Is it OK if I don't want to tie myself to one genre? 
(But if I had to choose, I guess comedy.)

7. How do you feel about wrestling?
I feel .... fine? I don't know. I was the wrestling "stat girl" in high school which was fun and weird at the same time.  As for professional wrestling like WWF (does that even still exist?) I feel absolutely nothing. Never watched it, probably never will. 

8. Should men pluck their eyebrows?
Um, yes. Who wants to look at a furry unibrowed man? Not this girl. 

9. Do you have dimples?
I have one single dimple on my right cheek. My sister does too. The boys in my family have one single dimple on their left cheek. Weird, huh? 

10. Do you like to camp?
Can you picture me in the wilderness with wild animals and no electricity nor running water for any amount of time? I think not.  Although I do really enjoy camp fires, and water sports, and the occasional hike, as long as I can be put in a bed surrounded by more than flimsy fabric walls afterwards.  

Monday, November 7, 2011

Miscellaneous Musings

So it's Monday night and I'm sitting in my living room, surrounded by the coziness that our half-lit Christmas lights, a glass of red wine and the lull of the tumbling dryer provide.

It's 10:47 and there is nowhere else I'd rather be. With a neglected textbook by my side, I sip my wine only to be interrupted by random spurts of side-splitting laughter.

Allow me to give you a glimpse into my simplistically humorous day.

Twenty minutes before I had to leave for class, the fire alarm went off in my building and I impressively threw my makeup in my back pack and rushed out the door almost completely ready to begin my day.  I'm happy I haphazardly gathered my belongings in a rush out the door because we were assured by half-asleep young man in flannel pajamas that this was "Not a drill. I repeat, not.A.Drill." (Everything was fine.)
Then I got in the car and spilled an eighth of the contents of my water bottle on my lap, leaving me with an uncomfortably cold sensation on an already brisk morning, and an unfortunate shading on the inseam of my pants suggesting I didn't make it to the restroom.
My day got better at the CYC thanks to entertaining conversations with my babies.

The Blonde Brigade: "Ms. Alensis come look at the bridge we built!"
Me: Wow boys, that must have taken you a long time! I love your sand structure!
Blondie 1: Yeah we worked really a lot.
Blondie 2: Too bad it's going to be destroyed by hot lava any minute now.
Me: Oh no, hot lava? Where does it come from?
Blondie 3: Volcanoes.
Blondie 1: My mom told me where volcanoes come from. They come from amusement parks. You know the kind with dinosaurs. WATCH OUT THE HOT LAVA IS GOING TO EXPLODE RUN RUN RUN

... end of conversation.

Words of advice: hide-and-seek is less fun when you are always the counter, and when those who you are seeking only hide in one of two chosen hiding spots, for twenty-five minutes straight. There are only so many times I can count to 10 and pretend to search the playground before Ms. Alensis loses her mind, kids.

Then I played the politically-correct version of the game formally known as Hangman, Build-a-Man, four times in a row with a four year old who only knows how to spell "Horse."  

I baked spaghetti squash for an hour and it wasn't completely worth the wait.  Good thing I ate one slice of savory pumpkin bread and one slice of delicious banana bread in the mean time.
My roommates are fabulous.

On Google and their work site amenities: 
"Don't they have goats that cut their grass?" - Anonymous Roomie 

On doing tax homework:
"I don't understand why I have to do this.  There are minions that can crunch numbers while I'm sleeping so I can do the things that really matter when I wake up." - Anonymous Roomie 2

Good idea... write that in your application to Grad school.
Happy work-week!
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