Before I die I want to…

Not to be morbid on a Monday, but every moment you’re living…you’re dying. 
The face of the matter is that with every breath we take, we’re that much closer to the last breath we’ll take. 

Toward the end of last week, I was introduced to a social experiment led by Nicole Kenney where she asks people one simple question: “what do you want to do before you die?” and photo documents their answers.  

Y’all might remember the above picture from a few months back. In our neighborhood, just down from RSCF, this board went up and stayed up for a good 6 months. Someone came and washed it away every week and every week people came and listed what they wanted to do before they die. My friend Katie took this picture for me but I didn’t think too much about the board itself. 

I realized that a year ago, this list would have been really different, but through this crazy journey, I’ve found a lot of things that I want to do.

What do I want to do before I die?
I want to…
-Dance with my daddy at my wedding.
-Save a life.
-Inspire someone.
-Join a gardening club.
-Finish my daddy’s dream ranch house with a tin roof and a loft.
-Make tamales with my mama for Christmas.
-Take care of my niece and nephew for their college educations.
-Adopt a kiddo.
-Go to the very top of the Empire State Building.
-Own a house with a claw foot tub.
-Volunteer at an animal hospital.
-Take care of my parents.
-Throw a dinner party for my Uncle Sonny.
-Cook Thanksgiving dinner…while Mama Nancy watches football.
-Throw April and Whitney a housewarming party.
-Live with my sister for a year…so I can take care of the house and the kids and she and Keith can go do everything.
-Learn to play the guitar.
-Walk on the stage at the Grand Ole Opry.
-Buy (and learn to ride!) a moped.
-Make my mama and daddy proud.
-Live up to my Grandma Nancy’s legacy: alegre.
-Watch Kristie act on a national stage.
Cry at Anthony’s wedding. (9/14/2013)
-Cry at Brittany’s wedding.
-Marry a guy that I’m lucky to have and that I’m proud to have a son just like. 
-Teach my kids to work hard.
-Rescue and renovate an old house.
-Walk through the soles of a good pair of cowboy boots.
-Read every word in every book I can get my hands on. 

What do you want to do before you die? 
In case you haven’t yet, today’s the day to start living!

Daddy ain’t raise no fool

Father’s day!

I am super lucky to have not only a great mama, but an amazing daddy as well. And because today’s father’s day, it’s a good time to celebrate him!

I was like, 8. It was a wedding. I didn’t pick my dress. Don’t be judgemental.

Dear Daddy Carlos,

I already sent you a card in the mail, but you’ll read this before you get it (mainly because I had it ready to go and forgot that I needed stamps. And naturally it took me forever to get them. So the card will be late. Some things never change). Everyday I get older, I am more and more thankful for a dad like you.  

Growing up your daughter has been the best learning experience. You are the biggest believer of learning by doing. How do you figure out you shouldn’t touch a hot stove? Touch it.  My whole life, you never ever felt sorry for me. And it used to make me so mad! I would sit there and sulk about problems and life and you’d tell me, “well, quit pouting about it and do something about it.” You had so much faith in me to solve my own problems and you taught me to have faith in myself.

Dad and his take!

Thanks for always reminding me that nothing is ever boring, if you are bored than YOU, in fact, are boring. Thank you for teaching me that the grass is not greener on the other side, it’s green where you water it and that you are responsible for your own happiness. 

 Thanks for teaching me what a man should be and how a father and a husband should behave. Thank you for always making sure that I know that a real man opens doors, is respectful, and does everything he can do to get where he needs to go. 

Dad and my brother, Carlos III

Thanks for always encouraging me to learn everything I can about everything and read everything I can get my hands on. Thanks for teaching me how important it is to develop personal relationships with people and remember things about them. Thank you for teaching me the importance of working hard and earning what you get. It’s a concept lost on so many these days. 

Thanks for being instrumental in teaching me how to be a lady and do the things that ladies do. Thank you, also for making sure I never cut my baby hair and affirming that my curly hair is beautiful. Thank you for teaching me to do a handstand and a one-handed cartwheel. Greatest party tricks ever. 

From left: Daddy Carlos, Tio Leonel, Tio Romeo

Thanks for teaching me to be a tough girl, dig a hole, shoot a hog, throw a punch, skin a snake, cook a stew, grill a steak, and (maybe most importantly) dance. Thank you for not letting me wear makeup until I was 17. Because of you, I still don’t wear very much. I save money AND my skin still looks good. Thanks for passing down your awesome eye color even though your eyes get more and more green every year. 

Thanks for making me a strong girl. A girl who is capable of anything and believes in her abilities. Thanks for giving me the strength to have the drive and determination to do whatever it is that I could possibly want to do. Thank you for raising a woman that “no man can handle” 😉 Thanks for being such an amazing idol that I have trouble believing that any man could ever live up to you.

Most of all, thank you for being a dad and never my friend. You and mom both always said that you were my parents and that I have enough friends. Thank you for always making the difficult decisions to make me better and for sacrificing whatever you had to for your family. 

I love you con queso.

Baby Girl

From left: Little girl, Dad, Baby Girl

Also, if you’re in the Katy area, the Benefit for Randa Sixkiller is happening in LESS THAN ONE WEEK! On June 22, please make sure that you head out with the Sunday Funday crew and eat some grub to fight cancer! Head on out to Texas Borders where a percentage of your food purchase will count toward fundraising efforts.

If you can’t make it to Katy, please make sure you head to the Sunday Funday website and purchase a shirt! Purchases of shirts will go to benefit for Randa.

Thankful Wednesday: 5/15/13

I might be losing my mind. I swear, today I feel incredibly scattered and a little overwhelmed. And yet, I managed to remember that today is Thankful Wednesday and we must always, always, always find things to be thankful for.

Things I am thankful for today:
1. Flights from New York to New Orleans
2. Sisters
3. Last days of school
4. My health

In just over 24 hours, a flight from New York to New Orleans will be bringing one of my very best friends, Kristie, to see me. She is a badass actor getting her MFA from Columbia. She is way smart and my same brand of awkward. It has been incredibly hard having her so far away because sometimes (especially in college) it feels like she is the only one who understands what the shiz I’m talking about. So thankful that some air planning genius decided to make a pathway for her to get to me.

This is something called The Crescent Route that I just found out about. Clearly it was developed specifically for Kristie to make it to me. Obvs.

I am way thankful for my sister, Celina. I get to visit her in less than a week and she’s only the best sister ever. Way better than yours, probably (no offense, it’s just true). In fact, I’d bet bottoms to burpees that my sister could beat your sister up. She is wildly supportive and she has the best friends. I cannot wait to see her, my sweet niece and nephew and my awesome brother-in-law. We plan on having an excruciatingly good time with bbq and (paleo) drinks.

Probably us. Sisters helping sisters since 1987.

I think all teachers are probably thankful that the last days of school are upon us. There is light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not a train, y’all! I hope everyone is as amped as I am, have gotten your SLTs in (unless you don’t have SLTs…in which case, we’re not friends), and have your finals ready to be taken and done. Go us!

My health. I am so thankful for my health. Even though this past month has been really rough and I’ve been living off of little to no sleep, I am really thankful that (so far) I’ve been able to stave off sickness, especially working in a school full of kids that are constantly sick. I truly believe that getting in shape and changing what I eat has made all the difference in improving my immune system.

Thankful Wednesday: 5/8/13

Another week, another Wednesday.
More things to be thankful for!

So things I’m especially thankful for:
1. Teacher Appreciation Week
2. Kids that “get it”
3. Accidentally overpaying bills
4. Other -awesome- blogs
5. You people

It’s teacher appreciation week. Who knew? Not this girl. This week, I pretty much felt just as underappreciated as always…UNTIL I was presented with a glorious candy bouquet and super sweet card (which was in my favorite colors). Even though I can’t eat the candy (because it’s clearly day #3 of #aceandsteph’s60daykickasschallenge) it was a super thoughtful thing to do that completely made my day. I also had a student bring me a teachers appreciation day probiotic cleanse drink because “she and her mama baked brownies for all the other teachers but she knows I don’t eat them, so they got me this instead.” She also added, “it’s sugar free and gluten free!” I am way thankful that I have students that are sweet enough to do that kind of thing.

Thankful today for kids that “get it”. Too often, I encounter kids (and adults) that just don’t get it! They don’t see the value of hard work and effort. SO thankful for this kid, from Baton Rouge’s own McKinley High who understands that a teacher-any kind of teacher-can only give you so much. It’s up to you to do something with what anyone gives you and make it great. The only thing I’m sad about is that this clearly awesome kid has chosen to change his career. Kids need more kids like you, D’Marqus.

I got my water bill today. And it was ($24.00). I was confused. I was like, “why are there parenthesis around the number?” and, “why is my bill so low?” So naturally, when I don’t know the answer to a question, I googled it. Turns out, after a review of my account, I overpaid my water bill last month. Substantially. How did I do it? I don’t know. Do I care? Hell no. NO WATER BILL PAYMENTS FOR ME THIS MONTH!

Other (awesome) blogs. Like pimpin’, bloggin’ ain’t easy. Sometimes, it’s hard to figure this shiz out. Like, what’s a button? HTML Code? A link up? WTF. But, by reading other blogs, I’ve learned a lot about blogging and I get to read other cool stuff, too. So I’m super thankful for the awesome people that started bloggin’ before me so they could pave the way…’n’ shit. Some of them are fitness bloggers, some are DIY, some are inspiring, some are just funny as f-word. Feel free to click on their buttons below and check ’em out. 

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The Daily Tay

Last thing, but definitely most important, I am thankful for people that have my back no matter what. Whether it’s having my back with my dieting (hey, steph!), encouraging me in the gym, or being right along side me when I’m in a fight (I wish this were just a hypothetical situation), I am so thankful for anyone who cares about me or my story enough to help me. Through this journey I have made a lot of friends and I have lost a lot of “friends”. Some of my best friends now, I have never met, and yet they manage to encourage and support me in my (sometimes seemingly aimless) journey. Thank you to every person who ever believed in me, shared my story with friends, did a giveaway with me, or just dropped me a note to tell me that you appreciate me. It means a lot more to me than you can possibly know and more than I can possibly express (mainly because my vocabulary is limited. I need to read more. I’m getting more dumb as days pass with no additional reading.)

What are y’all thankful for today?
(ps: if you can’t think of anything to be thankful for off top, just know that there’s a giveaway starting today on here. GET SO EXCITED.)

Thankful Wednesday: 5/1/13

Today I am thankful for:

1. To-do lists
2. My senior kiddos
3. Sleep (when I can get it)

I am thankful for my super awesome (but discontinued) 365 day, 8.5″x11″ planner from Mead. It gives me a page for everyday that I manage to fill up with ridiculous things to do. I am thankful that I actually find time to get some (if not all) of the things crossed off my lists everyday. I do my best! I am really pissed that Mead no longer makes my awesome planner. Color me disappointed. 

Y’all see this? I even have to plan for packing things and when to do my laundry. Geeze.

This is the last week of school for my senior kiddos. I always say to  myself, “you will not get so attached. You will not attach yourself to these kids this year.” But, inevitably, I do. Dammit. And I get all sad and weepy when it’s time for them to leave. And I get especially sad for my seniors because they’re leaving to be real people and I am sadexcitedscaredexcitednervousexcited for them. In spite of themselves sometimes, I love these little boogers a lot (even though I would never, ever tell them to their faces. But if they’re reading my blog–which some of them do–they know now.)

With my ridiculous work schedule, I don’t get a lot of it, but boy have I been thankful for the 3-4 hours I’ve been getting every night. I am sincerely looking forward to summer when I can get more zzz’s and workouts in. EEK!

Thankful Wednesday: 4/17/13

Typing from Texas!
See? Chillin’ at my mama’s house with my favorite mug. Best thing about mama’s house? There’s ALWAYS fresh coffee.
It’s Wednesday so it’s time, once again, to reflect on things I’m thankful for…so here it goes.

Dear Texas,
Mother of all things bluebonnets, Buc-ee’s, Texas country, and boot scootin’ boogies. Thank you for always changing enough to keep me on my toes, but never so much that I forget that I’m always seventeen in my hometown.
Look at this stuff! Who doesn’t love bluebonnets, buc-ee’s (it’s a beaver!), and Texas Country?!

Dear Steamed Carrots,
Thank you for reminding me why pre-k kicked ass and for being so easy to cook AND eat. Forks? Who needs ’em? Not this girl.

Dear SugarToast,
Thanks for being the best freakin’ dog a girl could have. I really appreciate that you get overly excited every time I come home and that you are my partner ‘n’ crime. Thanks also, for always minding your manners and taking naps with me whenever I need one. You are the bomb dot com.
My super sweet girl: SugarToast
What are y’all thankful for today?

Thankful Wednesday on a Monday?

I normally do Thankful Wednesday on…uh…Wednesdays, but I had to post this today. 

Most of you know that I’ll be starting a new adventure this summer. I’ll be heading to Graduate School at LSU where I’ll study Kinesiology. I am super excited about it and I’ve been really looking forward to it. The one thing that’s really been stressing me is: how am I going to pay for it and how am I going to survive while I’m in graduate school?

I am a teacher and while, yes, the paid hours are pretty good, most people don’t really realize how much time and unpaid hours it takes outside of school to be a good teacher. There’s 
more grading, 
more planning, 
planning for the unplanned, 
developing alternate assignments for gifted students, 
and developing alternate assignments for students who need extra help. 
It’s kind of a lot. And that’s just when you teach one subject. If you teach two or more subjects like me, take everything I just said and multiply it by 3. 
And let’s not even talk about how it’s been made so complicated for me to finish my certification program. Gotta be kidding me!

So over the weekend, I did a lot of thinking and a lot of discussing my options with Mama Nancy and Daddy Carlos. 

And, finally, we came up with a plan:
Begin my program this summer and continue with a minimum 9 hours of coursework every semester.
No teaching next year-I want to make sure that I can focus on school and getting the best grades (and experience) I can.
Re-prioritize my budget to shrink down bills and consolidate money to save.
Ultimate goal: complete grad school program in a year (year and a half-max) and return to the Lone Star State.

Decision: made.

And with all that stressful decision making out of the way, I wanna take a moment to say how THANKFUL I am for my parents for putting up with me and my crazy life.

So thankful for these guys! (And no, that’s not me with my daddy-it’s my sister, Celina. But it’s the best picture of our dad!)

Mom and Dad,
Thank you so much for always supporting my crazy dreams. I know sometimes it feels like I change my mind every other day, but thank you for always keeping me grounded and focused on the things that I need to do. Thank you for always filling up my gas tank before I head back to Louisiana from Texas. Thank you for always making sure that my meals are paleo when I come home and for keeping my room open for me when I visit. Thank you for never erasing the height marks that Anthony, Brittany, and I made in my bathroom (although, to be honest, we made them in brown eyeliner pencil, so I’m not sure they’d come off anyway). Thanks for letting me sleep in when I’m home even though “sleeping in” now is 730 am. Thank you for the endless pots of coffee, always answering the phone when I call, and daily morning text messages. Thank you for making continuous strips of bacon, taking me shopping when I need new clothes, and Sunday afternoon phone calls. Thanks for all the “phone call favors” you call in to St. Jude for me and always praying that I’ll find happiness in whatever I do. Thanks for being involved in my crossfitting and always asking how it went, what I’m doing, or what PR I’ve hit recently…even if y’all do think every lift is called “snatch”. Oh, and thank you for finally reading my “blog-journal-thing”. It means a lot to me that you guys realized I write good stuff sometimes. 

I love you both, big big.
-Aislinn Alysse