i’m sorry if i hit on you.

I’ve decided to start a collection.

Not a collection of keychains, Furbies, or pictures of Obama look-a-likes…although I have at one point in my life collected a LARGE number of one of those items. I’ll let your mind wonder as to which one.

My particular collection is going to be the finest writings, sayings, and utterances of the most genius people one will ever meet. People so smart that they endure hours of lectures and ramblings from those who have conquered their place in life and acquired the title ‘teacher’. People so full of wit and humor that the mere sound of flatulence makes them ROTFL (in their native tongue, “text”, this means to “roll on the floor laughing”. Abbrevs are sups pop with this crowd). People so incredibly confident in their ability to interact with the opposite gender they’re even willing to hit on people 10 years their senior. So just who could this hormone-crazy crowd be?

Yes, teenagers.

And these teenagers’ words need to be recorded and collected! I’m not talking about 140-character blurbs (sometimes words, mostly emoticons) about how excited they are to watch “Jersey Shore <3 <3 :) :) :) :)”. I’m talking about the everyday, non-social-network-recorded words they say. Which, if you ask me, are a heck of lot more interesting than those posted on the internet. As a great movie once said “I don’t know what your generation’s fascination is with documenting your every thought, but I can assure you they’re not all diamonds.” Let’s be honest, most of us are guilty of this. And especially teenagers.

{Disclaimer} I love middle and high schoolers. I spent 4 years of my college career studying how to minister to them, teach them effectively, and create environments where they can grow. They are fascinating and in desperate need of mentors and leaders who will lead them toward Jesus. You remember yourself as a teenager, right? I would have loved having more people to love on me during that time and teach me what it meant to be a person who operates in the real world as a mature Jesus follower. I also happen to think that teenagers are hilarious risk-takers who love to push adults’ buttons. It’s awesome.

Back to my collection. Since subbing in the local schools, I have heard some great additions to this collection of mine. But today, I heard one that takes the cake. I knew this kid was trouble when he walked into class, lifted his shirt up and exclaimed “I need to lose some weight!”. It gets better.

Mrs. A:  So like I said, if you have any questions, my name is Mrs. Armstrong.
student raises hand
Mrs. A: Yes? You have a question?
Student: I’m sorry if I hit on you.

Did that just happen? Yes, it did. In fact, it happens more often than I care to record…online at least. Good thing I’m starting that collection.

ghetto-rigged.

To say that our apartment complex is nice is like saying New York City is as clean as a baby’s bottom after a bath.

It’s kind of the pits at times.

Example 1: everything leans a little to the right. This makes spilling coffee on one side of the counter a very unfortunate situation for the microwave and refrigerator at the other end of the counter. Yes, of course that happened. Don’t you know I have jello fingers? My nickname was Butterfingers in high school. Well, I say nickname. It was actually what the opposing crowd shouted at me when I was a soccer goalie. We were losing 14-2; I was asking for it.

Example 2: our walls are as thin as Nicole Richie. We can literally hear our neighbors complaining about us through our kitchen. I’m sorry but I am not the cabinet slammer, neighbs; you are.

Example 3: furnace filters so black with soot our lungs surely have permanent damage from breathing its toxins {dang, I am dramatic tonight}. Whatever white item we had in our apartment is now lightly dusted with this black filth including our dishes. Bumskis.

Luckily señor is handy. So we did a little ghetto-rigging.

It began with cutting the wrong size furnace filter into one that might fit. Ghetto.

But we got cold {heat was off for about 3 hours}…so what was the next best thing? Bake…I mean heat ourselves with the oven, of course. Ghetto.

Aaand hi-oh! Señor saves the day! That smile just screams, “This woman is lucky I love her enough to let her take pictures of me doing this.”

To celebrate our successful heating evening we had us some classy eats.

No more black soot, no more cold, no more baking things that aren’t sugary and pure deliciousness. But there probably will be more ghetto-filled evenings in this apartment.

Score one for first-year-of-marriage living situations. And manly husbands who go all Tim the Tool Man Taylor when there’s a problem.

actually, i’d have to go with the seal.

Mrs. A {das me}: What kind of animal is the safest when it is sleeping at night?
Student 1: The bat because it sleeps during the day while every other animal is awake.
Mrs. A: Uhh, I don’t think they makes it safe.
Student 2: The giraffe. It has long legs.
Mrs. A: Ok…
Student 3 {with wide eyes, certainty…and a lisp}: Actually, I’d have to go with the seal. It can shoot through the water like a torpedo and has slick skin to get away from predators.

Yes, a seal. As in “ar-ar”. As in “I live in the arctic but don’t know what my purpose is other than having adorable big puppy eyes” seal. As in this kind of seal. He is fat. That is why he is cute. And he looks like Jabba the Hut.

{little known fact about Laura Armstrong: I am a Star Wars geek}.

Back to my point.

A few times of a week, I have the joy of substitute teaching at the local schools. These times have  been very…educational. More for me, less for the students. The middle school being the most enlightening experience. Let’s flashback: I have not worked with junior high kids since camp, mmk? And for whatever reason, state law isn’t too fond of singing “King Jesus is All” in the classroom. So how on earth am I supposed to relate to these kids when I can’t be Cool Camp Counselor Laura who let’s them do crazy things like where socks on their hands, stand on chairs while they eat, and run around like banshees screaming “Cannoneers! Boom Boom Argh!” at the top of their lungs to win the spirit flag??!!

Well thank you, substituting, for revealing facts and quirks about middle school children that will help me better relate to this painfully awkward age group in an educational setting:

  1. Texting in class is to 2011 as passing notes in class is to 1999.
  2. Justin Bieber hair automatically makes you a chick-magnet. And the target of ridicule for other males.
  3. The few who have discovered deodorant have more friends.
  4. Never start a sentence with, “When I was in middle school…”. You are immediately out of touch.
  5. Children with lisps are adorable. Like Student 3 who said the quote in the title of this blog.

Student 3, Jack, is potentially my new favorite student at this middle school {names have been protected for privacy…and because I can’t remember his real name}. Not only is Jack easily 3 inches taller than me, he also has a a large overbite and lisp comparable to “The Spleen” on Mystery Men or Thomas on The Ringer {look them up on YouTube and you will see my point}. It’s the kind that starts in the back of your throat…and makes every word he utters about 10x more difficult to understand. But he doesn’t let that get him down and he isn’t the slightest bit embarrassed about it. He is precious, kind, intelligent, and actually wants to learn–one of a kind for a junior higher.

Even though the days of subbing have been filled with loud, obnoxious children who care more about sitting next to Beiber-wannabe in class than learning that reading really is a valuable subject, he brings me hope that middle school kids can be genuine, eager students in the classroom.

So yes, Jack, I’d have to go with the “kstheal” as well.

one year.

On Sunday señor and I celebrated our 1-year dating anniversary. And now we’re married. We waste no time. We spent a fair amount of time reminiscing about the past year, laughing at how ridiculous we were, and praising Jesus for all the blessings that have come despite our downfalls.

So while the following memories aren’t all the things that we talked about or all the memories worthy of joining this list, they’re at least the ones that I have pictures of. Hizzah!

Without further adieu…2010’s 11 memories 2011 has to live up to.

11. Hittin’ up the beach more than once. Make that 3 times. In 3 countries.

10. Roadtrips. Lots and lots of roadtrips.

9. Long chats with best friends in cars that kind of suck. Like Big Momma.

8. Moving into my very own grown-up apartment.

7. Visiting 2 natural wonders with a wonderful man (punny!).

6. Essentially made Taylor student life a blast with people who love college students as much as me.

5. Getting a college degree along with some of the best people I’ve ever known. They will surely change the world.

4. Seeing beautiful people get engaged. Oh, and I did, too.

3. Attending 5 of the 10 weddings I was invited to. ‘Twas a year of the Mr. and Mrs.

2. Threw a killer party (also known as our wedding).

1. Began dating, fell in love with, and married the man of my dreams.

I am so blessed. And have major expectations for 2011.