Friday, August 31, 2012

Fill in the Blank Friday

Linking up with Lauren for some Fill in the Blanks! 

1.  Over this labor day weekend I will be    catching up on laundry and cleaning while trying to relax. We were thinking about going somewhere for the weekend but then we were asked to dog-sit so we couldn't.  It'll be a boring weekend and I'll probably be homesick on Monday but I'm super thankful for the time to clean and get myself organized and rested while getting some quality time in with Jason  .

2.  With the political debates going on right now, my thoughts are   that this is a messed up government with a bunch of liars    .

3.  Today   was a long day but a fun one and I'm so happy it's Friday!   .
4. The best thing I've cooked recently was     a frozen pizza lol...I haven't done much cooking this summer.

5. The last thing I bought was   a new pair of jeans...I love that I've lost weight since I moved here but still have a ways to go.

6. The best movie I saw this summer was   Hunger Games...don't see many movies in the summer .

7.  The best book I read this summer was    Catching Fire...I also didn't read much this summer  .

Happy Friday all!  As I did this post I realized I really take advantage of the outdoors in the summer.  As much as I love summer I'm excited for fall and cooking, cuddling up on the couch, some hikes and other fall-like activities.  I keep hearing how we actually get four seasons here and with how hot the summer was and the sun never going away I'm excited to actually see the winter here! Hope you all have a great long weekend!! 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Friday night Jason and I went to see the local performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  I noticed about 2 months ago that it was coming to the (very) local theater here and tickets were really inexpensive.  Being that I've seen the musical a couple times when it was in Chicago (once with Donny Osmond) and have listened to the CD about 500 times so know every single word, I was excited for the opportunity to bring Jason so we could see it together.

Friday was already a great day at school but knowing we had date night was an added bonus.  Jason and I are together so much now that we're here and still don't have friends but date night was different.  We got  a little dressed up and actually had somewhere to be! 

Joseph was great!  Just as I expected it to be, the ticket price matched the performance and props/costumes if you know what I mean but it was a perfect way to spend our Friday night. After the play we went to a local restaurant for tapas and drinks. Great Friday night date night with my best friend!

Friday, August 24, 2012

First Week Update

So I have worked a full week and am loving it!  Being that I work at a school I am not going to share many details for obvious reasons so I'll just say now that I am super happy, I love my students and think this is exactly where I am supposed to be right now. I work with some wonderful people and minus having to wake up at 5am, couldn't be any happier.  It's challenging in all the right areas and I am already feeling more confident as a future special ed teacher.  I think it's going to be a pretty long 9 months since I want to be the teacher and not aide but for now can see the benefits of taking this time to learn what I need to learn to be the best that I can be. :)  Cheers to having a job, feeling like I have a purpose again and to having amazing students who have already motivated me to try the best I can and learn as much as possible.  Happy weekend to all!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Boulder Heart & Sole 10K

As I've mentioned, I registered a while back for the Boulder Heart & Sole 10k and was hopeful that I'd be able to run the Denver Rock & Roll 1/2 this year.  Well of course, in true Stephanie form, during my training for the Heart & Sole, I had some serious issues with my IT Band.  I had to take a couple weeks off which really killed my training.  In addition, the summer here was hot so I had to get my runs in and finished by around 8:00am and with me not being much of a morning person it just didn't work as I'd planned! 

I tried to do a lot of cross training at our community gym this time to avoid injury while also keeping up with the cardio portion but I knew I wasn't near ready for this run.  I ran the 5K last weekend just to see how I would do and I was able to finish but I felt like I was dying for the last part of it.  Then for my runs last week I could barely run a mile without walking (no exaggerating) and generally quit because I got so bored, my lungs felt like they were going to explode and was feeling so out of shape. 

This past weekend I was dreading the 10k, especially because it's over an hour away and I had to be there by 6:45am.  Well as it turns out, I am so glad I made the trip up there and gave it a shot because I was able to run the whole thing and it was probably the  run and prettiest run I've ever done! My pace wasn't my best but given the hills and altitude I was beyond proud of myself for not walking at all.  I didn't even allow myself to walk through the water stations! (But to be honest...I was mostly afraid if I walked I wouldn't be able to start running again!)  Such a great way to end the weekend and my last day of summer before my job started!  A super big thank you to Jason for getting up so early with me and driving out there to then just have to sit around and wait for me to finish.  It was great to have you there with me to celebrate with the post-race food and beer!

Before the race - pretty sure I'd have to be brought back in a golf cart!

Suns already out and shining - and I forgot my hat and sunglasses!!!

And we're off!

Crowds already starting to thin out

Last bit of the road before the trail began (and you can see the trail up ahead before it turns)

Cows to my left - it was odd that it was so rural there but it was gorgeous!

Somewhere around miles 3 or 4 we ran along the canal - peaceful!

While running these yellow flowers jumped out at me, so pretty and natural in it's surrounding

Another view - somewhere around mile 4 or 5

Gorgeous views the last couple miles

I did it! Thanks Jason for supporting me!!!

Eating some brats and chilling!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Community Impact Day

Saturday our church went into the community and helped different families in whatever need they had.  I've always loved serving in this capacity and was excited to learn that we could get involved in this type of project right away.  Well as time went on I realized I started my job the day before and also that we needed to be to church by 7am and that with my 10K the next morning even earlier I was nervous about working all day and being up so early so we decided to only commit to half the day.  It worked out because they were able to get a trench digger which saved countless of man hours and was still such an amazing day. Basically we weeded and raked, then put in a sprinkling system and laid sod which completely transformed a women's back yard.  I have a few pics I took but will post if I hopefully get more of the transformation!

Through the process I learned that doing lawn work can be kind of therapeutic to me and I kind of enjoyed it!  Both Jason and I learned a little bit about sprinkling systems and other DIY projects in the yard!  It was a huge blessing to both of us and loved that we could be part of what our church is doing in the community and in others lives!

 The rake was as big as the little boy - it was so cute!

My handy husband laying the sprinkler hose :)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom!!

Today is my mom's birthday and I am super sad I can't be there with her.  As a tradition I have spent just about every birthday weekend with her and my family at the lake house for as far as I can remember.  One year I remember clearly heading out early but as I started driving back to Chicago for the Air Show I ended up turning around so I could spend the whole weekend with her.  Kills me to be so far away this year but I love you Mom and have been thinking about you all day!  Glad you enjoyed the morning with your grandchildren and Shawn and Tiffany!  Hope you're all enjoying your dinner out too!  Thanks for being such a wonderful mom! XOXO

*pic was today of the Birthday girl and her adorable granddaughter -- I just love how Kaylee is looking at Grandma with inquisitive loving eyes!

Fill in the Blank Friday

Linking up with Lauren for Fill in the Blank Fridays!  Have a great weekend all!
1.  The best thing to do on a hot day is  sit on a patio with a pitcher of sangria   .

2.   The best place to be on a hot day is      at my parents lake house, Chicago street fest of my latest favorite is our community pool      .

3.  The best thing to eat on a hot day is   ice pops - until I realized they were 1 WW point!! I never would have guessed   .

4. Hot days       are my favorite, I love summer   .

5. My go to uniform on a warm summer day is   a sundress .

6. The scent that reminds me of summer is   grilling out  .

7.  My favorite thing about summer is   too many to count but I really love the longer days of sunlight   .

First Day of Work - Success

The first day of work was great! I got to meet the team and two of the students, one who I will be spending most of my time with.  I think it's going to be challenging but from what I have heard and can tell, it's a great group of people with a lot of support and the students are wonderful. I pretty much didn't do anything today and am exhausted.  I cannot handle waking up that early and my body is in shock. ;-)  I'm hopeful that this is where I'll get the experience I was hoping for!  Oh and the teacher I'm working under has 10 years of teaching's his 2nd with the district but I stand corrected when I thought it was only his 2nd overall.  So again, a major plus!  Have a great weekend all! 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Job Interview in July

I hope I'm not too premature in writing this but when I wrote about the theater shooting I said I'd share about the interview I went on and now I have reason to actually explain it all.

As I wrote last week, I have had way too much time to analyze the decision I've made with the teacher vs. teacher aide position and all the other options out there regarding other teaching jobs, aide positions, or even subbing.  But I believe that yesterday I got the confirmation again that God has his hand in all this. 


About 2 weeks after I accepted the teacher aide position, I got an email that the teacher who I was supposed to work under had switched schools so my future "boss" wanted me to come and interview for the teaching position.  I was ecstatic!  Many days passed but the interview was scheduled for Friday morning, 8:00 am July 20...when we had Jason's brother and sister-in-law would be here. (not good have company and an early morning interview planned!)

Thursday night we all went to grab dinner and drinks but I had to be in bed super early for the nterview.  When my alarm went off, I woke up to all those texts , missed calls and emails about a shooting and had to watch the news and try to understand what had happened. It was all just way too much for me needing to be at an interview at 8:00am.  But I did and despite the chaos and sadness of the morning, it went really well. So well that I got a call back for round two which would be at 11:45 that same day.  The second interview was with the principal which also went well. I was told to expect a call with the decision later that day.  I got a call around 4:00 but found out the principal was taking the weekend to decide. I figured they had offered the job to the other candidate who was just taking the weekend to decide.  After a long weekend of wondering and assuming the worst, Monday I got the call that I didn't get it but I was assured that the principal really took the weekend to decide and he was impressed and that the other teacher has some 20 years teaching (of some sort...not necessarily in the classroom) experience. 

Okay, so then things got kind of weird.  Because now I would be working under a teacher who "beat me" on the job and from what I can tell, I don't believe she has any special ed experience which was the whole point of me taking the aide shadow a good special ed teacher and learn. Needless to say I was a little disappointed in the outcome.  However, many pluses came of the whole experience.  I learned that I impressed them enough to first be asked to apply, then to be interviewed and then move that far along the process.  I got to meet the principal and talk to him about my goals as a special ed teacher. I got to see more of the school and learn more about the principals goals for the school and the special ed department.  I got to see a side of the school I probably won't get to see as an aide. 

So after all that I was really questioning where this job was going to take me working under a new teacher and in a classroom that isn't exactly what I hope to teach someday. 

Yesterday I got a call to tell me about my first day, where to be, when to be there, what to wear, etc.  I also learned that I have been switched classrooms!  I've been switched to a classroom with the (types of) students I hope to work with someday and with a teacher with a (little) experience teaching.  (only a year but that's a step up from the other teacher from what I can tell.)  I  have my ideas as to why I was switched but think it's the best situation for me all around.  And I never even asked for it.  I am so thankful!  Very very happy to start on Friday and learn if this is really something I should be excited about. :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Today I got a haircut. I don't know where we went wrong in the description but it ended up way shorter than it was supposed to be and I don't like it at all.  Its choppy or something.  Its just off.  It'll grow back so I 'm not freaking out, but am disappointed.  Maybe once I style it myself tomorrow I'll like it better or maybe I'll take a scissors to it and that'll help?  We shall see.
And no, there will be not posed pic to post.  I'm sure I'll have pics soon enough.

Tasty Tuesday

I've noticed I've had a food of the week lately.  Just a food I've loved and can't get enough of - this week it's blueberries.  Yummy goodness blueberries. The produce here is just weird, I haven't been able to find good produce so when I do it's a big deal!  Mmmm blueberries!

Monday, August 13, 2012

New Glasses!!

So so excited! I got new glasses!  It's been almost 4 years since I got new ones.  And the ones I had before that were thrown out by my husbands brother (not knowing they were mine when I left them at his place.) So even though I got new ones 4 years ago, they were my glasses for everything and got beat up very quickly, especially considering I sleep with them under my pillow. The old ones are so beat up now, Cooper even got a hold of them in his puppy year and while he didn't chew on them, his teeth scratched the lenses.  The air here is so dry that contacts do not agree with me anymore, so I'm pumped to have an alternative.  Still hate (with a passion) wearing glasses but it'll be nice to have some to wear when I cannot wear my contacts any longer or  just need a break!

Yeah, posting this pic reminds me how much I hate the way I look in glasses.  Though they're a necessary I am very thankful I can now see!

Weekend FUN!

The past two days have been the complete opposite of how I was feeling when I posted on Thursday.  So typical of myself with how emotional of a person I am and so typical of God to switch things up for me in that quick of a time!

Thursday night we went to a "young married couples" group through our church. I found out about it a couple week ago but had to wait two weeks to attend.  I was nervous as could be going in, knowing everyone already knew each other and just hate the "house party" feel of any type of gathering!  But everyone was super welcoming and nice!  We watched the Bears/Bronco's game, then spent some time reading and digesting a story from the Bible and then finished up with some smaller group discussion.  I had so much fun meeting some new people and just being around people with similar interests!  The night was such an answer to prayer and am already counting down until we meet again in two weeks!

Friday Jason and I started our evening out in the pool which as sort of become a little tradition for us on Friday early evenings. I'm going to miss the pool once it gets colder here!  Then we went to dinner for some sushi which I have been craving since we moved here. Yum is all I can say.  While we can't BYOB here and it wasn't at an outdoor patio in the city, the sushi was delicious and I was so excited to have some good food!  The rest of the evening we stood outside the restaurant and listened to a Police cover band while watching a lot of older folks get down on the dance floor. Hilariously entertaining!  Great date night for the two of us!

Saturday I did the run which I already blogged about here.  I love starting my mornings with a race, makes the whole day feel a lot lighter!  After the race we met with a Realtor who showed us a home we were interested in seeing.  We thought it may have ended up being our future home but after some thought and learning about some other things we have decided against it, but it made for a fun and emotional Saturday and Sunday with the possibility of placing an offer!

Immediately following the house we went to Taste of Lone Tree which is a town here in the south suburbs.  I got tickets from Living Social which only cost us $15 for all you an eat and drink for the entire day until 6:00!  We brought Cooper who caught everyone's attention.  Everyone wanted to talk to us about him and pet him which then led to some interesting conversations.  I think it was the alcohol that got people talking to us but we met so many people!  Probably no one we'll see or talk to again but it was so nice to actually talk to people and see how friendly people were in that kind of setting. Plus, we got to try all sorts of foods from different restaurants in the area and learn about different places to try or check out.  It was such a fun day!

Yesterday was early church because I tried serving in the Sensory Room during the later service to see if that's somewhere I want to continue to serve. During the day I got to talk to my brother, sister-in-law and two nieces through Skype.  It brings me so much joy being able to see the girls! I had to drop Jason off at the airport in the evening but am really looking forward to a quiet week with just me and the animals before I start work on Friday!  I have a fun week of pool-time, running/working-out, reading, pampering and just relaxing planned while I try to get my schedule closer to a in bed by 9:30, up by 5:30 schedule.  Woo hoo, so thankful for a great weekend!  Hope yours was just as great!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

First 5K in Colorado DONE!

I'm supposed to run a 10K next weekend but I've been slightly injured with my dumb IT Band.  So I haven't really been able to run nearly as much as I planned.  I saw there was a very small 5K in the next town over and decided I'd try it to see how I'd do since I always can run a lot further and faster when there's others around me. The weather was perfect, warm but the sun disappeared just long enough for the run, part trail, partly cement, barley any hills (except for right at the end when it seemed huge!) I am not sure about my official time yet but I think I did really well for me, so I'm pleased. :)  Thanks Jason and Cooper for coming out to support me!

Beginning of the race -- I'm off! We started by going around the parking lot so I passed Jason but then it was out in the open field

part of the trail run

Mile one - over a bridge

Mile 2 (that biker probably wasn't pleased to have to be with all us runners on his morning ride!)

My cheerleaders :)

After the run

Can't really see my face but finished my first Colorado 5k and very proud. :)  (have to wear a hat here while I run or I can't see with the sun!)
Notice how blue the sky was after the run and how cloudy it was during - it was perfect for the run!!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Lesson on Waiting

Last week was a really hard week and I wanted to post about how hard it's been not knowing anyone and wanting so badly to make new friends or at least start meeting people but life got in the way and I never posted. And as the weeks gone on it's not gotten any easier. Things have just felt "off".

Everyone told me when we left Chicago that everyone in Colorado is a transplant (which is so true) and that they all too were new at some point so would know how it felt to be alone and want to meet new friends. All great in theory and as encouraging words as we left everyone to come to a place where we basically knew no one.  However, I feel it's the total opposite.  Everywhere I've gone, Colorado has this "small town" feel (which I must say is totally foreign to me and could be a whole other blog post) and it seems like no one I've encountered needs or wants another friend.  

Then there is the job.  I am so thankful that I got a job and that I'm excited to start one week from tomorrow! (yelp!!)  But I haven't started yet. The whole job process was a lot of "hurry up...and wait."  In this waiting time I have had plenty of time to review my decision to accept this job, turn down the teaching job and not look for a different position all while wondering if I've made the right choice.  It's hard to get really excited about starting a job which requires me to be up by 5:30 every day and barely help to pay the bills. So there is confusion there and has been too much time to over-analyze the decision.

We've started looking at different neighborhoods for our future home. (another whole blog post could be and probably will be written about that!) When we felt the prompt to move here we knew we needed to do it before we started having kids because it'd be way too hard to leave once we had kids.  But I envisioned moving here to get a house with a yard, garage for Jason, popping out 2.5 kids who are running around the yard and house. I'm driving an SUV to and from swim/dance/insert whatever sport here. Of course we'd have awesome neighbors, go skiing on the weekends (probably in our mountain condo), me being this amazing special ed teacher changing the lives of every student and family I've had and just about everything else you could imagine for this "life in Colorado." I saw my Colorado life as my future life...I forgot all the steps it takes to get there. Okay so honestly I didn't really imagine all that or really forget all the steps to get there but in order to pickup and move across the country I had to see the big picture and that was that we didn't want to raise our kids in the city and think about the opportunities that Colorado offered for our future family.(as for the condo in the mountains...that's probably more part of Jason's dream...but I'll just go along with it because it sounds pretty nice!)  So when we moved here and got a beautiful apartment and things are moving along just as they should be only 4 months into living here it's just like, "Ahhhhhh I am so bored and so out of my comfort zone with everyone here and no friends and no kids and no job and no idea what I am supposed to be doing every day!"

I miss my nieces, I miss my parents, I miss my family, I miss all my friends in Chicago, I really really miss running along the lake!  I miss parallel parking. I miss all the dining and food choices in Chicago. I miss good sushi. I miss the hustle and bustle of Chicago, I miss walking out the door and seeing 100 people all in a matter of a minute. I miss my parents lake house. I miss the Cubs. (not really on this one this year!) I miss my parents dog. I miss my Goddaughter. I miss all the fun summer activities; Lolla was last weekend, the million street fests, the air and water show is coming up, my cousins wedding is in September that we'll have to sit out on.  I miss the humidity. It's true. I do miss the humidity. I miss half priced pitchers of sangria on every other Chicago patio. I miss Willow Creek. There is something about Chicago that I can't really explain, but just that I knew what to expect from people. I knew the culture there. And I really miss feeling that.

Being here has made me realize just how comfortable I was living in Chicago. I found it to be so easy to make new friends in Chicago, to be alone in Chicago, to be single, to be married.  But I know that isn't at all where I am supposed to be now.

Which leads me to the point of this post.  Today while running I listened to a podcast by John Ortberg and it was about waiting. Waiting, of how I hate to wait! Don't we all?  He talked about how today is not where we're going to be forever.  It was so encouraging. I had tears rolling down my face. I know I followed Gods calling which was to come to Colorado.  Jason nor I chose to move here on our own doings and for all we know we could move a bunch more times before our lives are over but every day is one step closer to this feeling more like home. I've had a lot of amazing things happen in the short amount of time being here. I've found a church and already attended a month long Bible study which already has taught me how to study the Word and hear how God wants to speak to me.  Jason and I have spent an amazing amount of time in the mountains. I've been to my first Rodeo, gone white water-rafting, gotten connected to horses again and decided to get certified as a therapeutic horse back riding instructor. I have done so much in such a short amount of time but it's hard to realize all that when I'm clouded with loneliness and a need for everything to happen now.

I am definitely being taught a lesson on waiting. A lesson on waiting for just about everything I desire right now.  I am learning how I need to be comfortable with where I am right now and with a God who so loves me and wants me to rely on Him. I have always hating wishing any bit of my life away yet I've found myself wishing for more which obviously means I am wishing time away.

So as I take a step back this morning I realize I have a lot to be thankful for. I have an amazing husband to enjoy this journey with (and it has been quite the journey even in our marriage these past couple months where Satan has really tried to have his way!) I have a job lined up and still have a week to enjoy before I start complaining about my early mornings. ;-) I know I'll meet friends in the right time. I just have to live now and know that better things are to come for me.  It excites me even as I write this knowing that this is just a waiting period and probably the longer I wish for things the longer I may have to wait. I need to be content in Him and wait on Him.  And for that, I am so thankful.

Thanks for coming along side me in the journey!  Thanks for supporting me on my sadder days and for all your encouragement to bring me to lighter place of contentment.  I appreciate being able to be honest here and look forward to continuing to share in this journey. God is so good.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Lone Tomato Plant

I bought two tomato plants this year because I absolutely love home grown tomatoes and have been very successful in the past with growing them.  Since at the time when I bought them we were really trying to get our budget on track, I was able to rationalize the plants as part of the grocery budget because of course some day in August they were to produce enough tomatoes to feed us for a couple weeks.  So far the tomato plant never grew and the grape tomatoes have produced one little lone tomato that was eaten by me in about .02 seconds!  There's still hope for the grape tomatoes but as for saving us any money on just buying tomatoes...I'd say this was a fail. ;-)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Happy 2nd Birthday Kaylee!

Wishing my adorable TWO year old niece, Kaylee, a HAPPY birthday!!  I so wish I could be there today and have been there for her birthday party a couple weeks ago but I did get to talk to her and hear her adorable voice today! (which totally made me cry and miss her even more!) Miss you sweet girl and hope you had an amazing morning at the zoo and afternoon doing all your favorite things!  Love you lots! xoxo