I’m clearly blonde enough without highlights…

So, remember how I wasn’t going to walk at graduation?  Well, I may have accidentally picked up my cap and gown yesterday.  So you’re all invited to come 🙂


In other news, let me tell you my blonde moment of the week.  Or maybe the month.

I went to Barnes and Noble to return a book.  I had the gift receipt.  I was set.  I handed it to the lady.  She took it and picked up the gift receipt.  She looked at the receipt.  Looked at me.  Looked back at the receipt.  Then said, “um, this is from Target.”

Huh.  Apparently you can buy books other places besides just book stores.  And this is why if you are literate you should take advantage of that and read.  It will save you from embarrassing moments later 🙂

March Madness Ignorance

This morning I opened up my email and found a message from my brother inviting me to some family bracket fun for march madness.

Before we go any further, I should probably tell you that I enjoy watching sports.  In person.  I get bored and distracted when watching sports on tv.  I’m just being honest (although, if we’re going to be honest, I get bored and distracted watching many things on tv).  I love going to sporting events in person.  I love the energy and excitement in the air.  If for some reason I don’t have a stake in the game, just tell me who to cheer for and I am in wholeheartedly.  I once sat on the floor at a Timberwolves game and it was amazing.  Your son has a little league baseball game?  I’ll be there.  Anything to do with the Twins?  Without question.

All that to say, I don’t follow college basketball.  Not because I dislike sports, but because I just don’t like watching sports on tv.  I do however support those who do (much like Derek Zoolander, when he says, “Sting would be another person who’s a hero. The music he’s created over the years, I don’t really listen to it, but the fact that he’s making it, I respect that”).

Back to the story at hand.  I got this invite and I thought, sure I’ll do it, but what do I know about March Madness?  Then I signed into Facebook and saw links to these two blog posts: March Madness from Women at Hope with some NCAA tournament basics as well as a couple tips for bracketing, and Cor’s post, which I knew would have good stuff too.

I was feeling prepared, and even went so far as to create my log in for the family pool, but then I did other things, like make hair appointments, do my taxes, read for Bible study, and wash my clothes.

Good thing I didn’t fill out my bracket yet.  Knowing my ignorance and my love of ridiculous “news” articles relating to sports, my mom sent me this link to the Huffington Post’s article on picking your teams.  It is worth the click.  Now after reading it, I’ll go bracket-it-up, keeping gems like these in my back pocket:*

Tip #2: Pick a team with blue as one of their colors to win the tournament.

Tip #5: Grasp on to any inane reason or urge you have to pick one team over another (as long as it isn’t basketball-related)

Tip #1: Do not, under any circumstances, watch a college basketball game before the start of the tournament.

Tip #9: Don’t spend more than, like, five minutes filling out your bracket.


Tip #4: Defend any pick you make to your basketball-savvy friends by saying “They’re a second-half team with strong guard play.”  This means literally nothing and can be applied to any team.

*previously stated gems/tips come straight from Huffington Post. They are not my own brilliance or the brilliance of anyone I know.

I will now set my pretty new kitchen timer from anthropologie that I got for my birthday to replace the pretty new kitchen timer from anthro that I got for Christmas and promptly broke, to five minutes and go fill out my bracket.  You should too.  Except find your own bracket, because you probably aren’t in my family and thus aren’t invited. Sorry!  I wish you all the best in all your bracketing endeavors.

Memory Laning: lost luggage

When Tiffany and I went to Guatemala, I learned a valuable lesson about packing appropriately.

I’m going to skip the flight down.  That was trauma enough.  Then there was the most confusing layover of my life in Mexico City.  Also, let’s not dwell here.

Eventually, we landed in Guatemala City.  We arrived in the middle of the night and waited for a long time for our luggage to arrive at baggage claim.  Except it never did.  Eventually we had to concede that it just wouldn’t be arriving that night.

Our dismay over our meager belongings.

Putting on a happy face and excited to explore Guatemala - luggage or not.

We took a cab to our hostel.  The thing is, they didn’t want to let us in the hostel gates.  We’d told them we were coming late, but apparently that didn’t matter anymore.  We were terrified that our cab driver would desert us in this dark road outside the hostel gates in the middle of the night in Guatemala City, when neither of us speak Spanish.  Call me crazy, but that seemed a bit on the unsafe side.  We refused to let the cab driver take our carry-ons from the trunk until they opened the gate for us.  That night we laid in the dark on two semi-clean (emphasis on the semi) twin beds, listening to airplanes fly overhead, just counting down the hours until morning when Amber would come pick us up and bring us to Antigua.

Now, here is the deal.  I knew that you should pack certain things in your carry-on suitcase in case your luggage gets lost.  However, I learned a valuable lesson about how much to back in your carry-on.  In attempts to pack light, I’d brought a backpack as my carry-on and I had just one or two changes of clothes.  That doesn’t help in the pajama-ing, showering, or climbing a volcano situations.

I got a lot of use out of that tank top...

Amber called the airport every day as our fearless interpreter.  Every day they put her off.  I quickly ran out of clothing, but Tiffany-the-wise-packer did not.  She showed off on a daily basis, putting on her new, clean, cute outfits 🙂

When it was time for us to climb a volcano, I had nothing appropriate to wear to accommodate for the shifting temperatures so I bought this sweet long sleeve t-shirt at the market.  A moose.  Abercrombie. And a Sesame Street tag.  That is class, right there.

After our trip was half over, it was discovered that our luggage had indeed arrived.  If memory serves me right, it arrived the day before, but was sent to the hostel in Guatemala City, not to the address of our hotel in Antigua where we had asked for it to be delivered and we would need to go fetch it. 

We were pretty ticked.  But then we were mostly just happy to have the rest of our luggage. 

If you are ever headed to Antigua, be forewarned that I checked with a lot of people, and it turned out that everyone and their brother loses their luggage on the way to Guatemala, and on average it takes 3 days to be reunited with your belongings. 

Now, if I’m in a situation where I am going to check luggage, I make sure and pack a lot more in my carry-on.  Like a boyscout: be prepared.

Schoolhouse Rock vol. 13

Here is a favorite conversation from yesterday.

The scene: we are sitting out in the hallway together.  She is done screaming and crying and we are debriefing about what happened.  Then out of the blue she says…

Student: When I grow up I won’t know you anymore.

Me: Well, you can come back and visit!  I’d love to see you when you are in high school and when you graduate from high school.  And then do you think you’ll go to college?

Student: Yes

Me: Awesome.  What do you think you might want to be when you grow up?

Student: (answers confidently with no hesitation) A princess.

Me: That sounds like a fun idea.  What does a princess do all day?

Student: Listens and be good.

Me:  Hmmm.  that sounds an awful lot like a kindergartner!

A Favorite Day

One of my favorite events at Hope Community Church is 707 Film Fest.  You make a team, you get a genre as well as a mandatory prop (shovel) and line (“whoosh, whoosh, whoosh”) and you go to town for 3-5 minutes.  Then everyone dresses up for the big awards night as well as the viewing of all the movies.

Or you skip the making a team etc, and you just curl your hair, put on a dress, and show up excited to be entertained by other people’s hard work.  You may not have been at the event, but don’t worry.  Not all of them on up on the internets, but I tracked a few of them down for your enjoyment.  You are welcome.

The Delivery: “Your pizza will be there in 30 minutes or less.”  “We’ll see.”

Church Crashers: You are probably thinking, “like Wedding Crashers?”  Yes.  Like that.  But different.

Step by Step: The Legend of Wei the Racewalker: Subtitled Documentary on Racewalking.  Epic.

A Guide to Christian Dating

Shovel Fight Club: Yep, it is exactly what you think: Fight Club.  Shovel style.

Sh*z No Hopester Says: What you need to know to be on the inside of the inside jokes: we are kinda bursting at the seams right now as far as attendance vs. building size, so parking and generally walking around at church are both kinda tricky.  And the average age of church attenders is 24.  And most importantly my favorite line is, “Thanks tiny steps!”

I Guess You Can Date My Girl: Music video about, well, the title sums it up nicely.  So so great. To the tune of Are You Gonna Be My Girl

The Audition: Film Noir.

Final Cut: a murder mystery

Hopelandia: Have you seen Portlandia?

Nicely done, people of Hope Community Church.  Way to be awesome.

Schoolhouse Rock vol. 12

Subtitled: Can I just go home now??

Subtitled: Sometimes I just shake my head and smile.

This has been quite the day.  I’m so glad to have meetings all afternoon to get me out of my classroom…

One lesson I learned today is to choose your words carefully.  This morning we learned how some illustrators cut out paper and glue it together to make their illustrations instead of drawing or painting.  I told the kids that at one of their centers today, they could try their hand at making this style of illustration.

Guess what 80% of the children made?

We even got a hand turkey turned in!

Yep, they tried their hand at it traced their hand.

Oops!  🙂

A Day at the Orphanage (potentially)

I just thought I’d share a typical M-F daily schedule for the orphanage I will be at this summer. 

7am Assist children with getting ready for school

7:30-8am Breakfast

9am School – younger children stay home & do classwork

 12:30pm Prepare lunch

 1:30pm Lunch time

 2pm Nap time for kids – rest time for students & staff

 5pm Play time with children or assist with preparing dinner

 7pm Dinner Time

 8pm Devotional Time for children

 9pm Bed time for children

 9:30pm Devotional time for students & staff

I’m definitely praying for what specifically God would have me do this summer with these precious children.  It is really up to me to take the initiative.  Some ideas I’m excited about are to do pre-school lessons with the kiddos who don’t go to school yet.  I’d love to come up with some fun Bible themes to teach about Jesus and Bible verses and also incorporate letters, shapes, colors, numbers, etc into it… similar to what I did at the child development centers that Bethel runs.  If I’m able to raise more support than what the orphanage requires, I’d love love love to bring fun supplies with to teach with when I’m there and then leave behind for the kids.

I will also have opportunities to cook, clean, take care of sick kids, play with the kids, and help with the weekly grocery shopping at the market.  Each week, I can take a day to go into Kampala and see how God is working in the city and volunteer and serve with other organizations.  Because I can’t go for too long without a Beth Moore fix, maybe I’ll even bring her along  😉

So there you have it: the daily schedule and basically a lot of question marks for what specifically I’ll be doing in Uganda 🙂

*Photo credits Rafiki Africa Ministries

Schoolhouse Rock vol. 11

The question: What are some emotions you feel, and when do you feel that way?

We discussed happy, sad, mad, scared, nervous, and brave.

One child wanted to talk about feeling creepy.  Yes kids, let’s talk about when we feel like creepsters – knowing too much from facebook stalking?  peering in windows?  driving a shady van and offering kids candy?  I don’t think that is actually what you want to talk about.

Some favorite answers:

  • I feel happy when I come to school
  • I felt nervous on the first day of coming here
  • I feel sad when someone takes my toy
  • I feel mad when someone goes home and I have to stay and clean up
  • I feel scared when vampires eat my brain
  • I feel brave because I know that God is always by my side
  • I feel brave when I save someone (has this happened often?)
  • I feel mad when people won’t stop crying (you might think that was my answer after last week in kindergarten…)
  • I feel happy when I share
  • I feel happy when I help someone

How are you feeling today?  I’m feeling excited because the countdown to spring break is officially started (4 more days!)

Schoolhouse Rock vol. 10

subtitled: The Very Hungry Caterpillar

During our unit on art in children’s literature, we learn about both how illustrations help you understand the story and also learn about various illustrators’ creative process as their illustrators go from beginning to end.

One of my favorite children’s books is The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  It happens to lend itself very nicely to both of these lines of inquiry.

I start out by reading it in German to the children.  This royally ticks them of, and outraged, they ask, “Why are you speaking Chinese????”

They are shocked when they realize they are still able to retell the story because, the illustrations helped them understand what was happening.

Then we head over to Eric Carle’s sweet website and watch the fascinating process of how he creates his collage style illustrations with tissue paper and paints.  (after we get over the fact that tissue paper does not mean he is painting kleenex).

Next we try it ourselves.  Using regular paper and sponge painting with sponges instead of carpet. And each kid only gets to paint one oval for a class caterpillar. And then we turn it into a giant version of the Very Hungry Caterpillar on our wall. 

None of this would be complete without “cooking” an adorable very hungry caterpillar snack.  They were super excited to eat their caterpillar: cucumbers for the body, a tomato face, grape ears, and craisin eyes, nose, and legs.  

And as a reward for reading an entire post about kindergarten adorableness in learning, I will share this quote from Dr. Seuss’s birthday today.  We were reading Dr. Seuss ABC and on the O page, one student shouts out, “I know that ostriches are fast!  Because they have human legs!”  creepy!


reliving my last graduation ceremony in honor of finishing my master's program!

Thursday night.  March 1.  2012.  The night that Laura finished grad school forever.

That’s right folks!  After a lot of work, a little bit of learning, and 2 years of sitting in class when I could be spending time with my friends, I am finished with my master’s!

It was heartwarming tonight to hear everyone’s challenges and triumphs in their final presentations.  And it is always bittersweet when things end.  I will miss my cohort – who I have spent the last two years with.

But man, am I happy to be finished!

First order of business: making sure people address me as Master Laura instead of just Laura.  I need something to show for this degree!