Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

Happy birthday Jesus!


We had our first real snowstorm last Wednesday. I was (obviously) hoping to wake to a snow day setting my alarm early to allow extra time for driving in case I wasn't so lucky. Instead I woke up to completely dry roads and grass. Booo! So I went back to bed like normal and woke up a half hour later. While getting ready Jason tells me it started snowing hard and was already accumulating.

I've learned the hard way that a little snow on the ground in Colorado means an added 20-30 minutes to my usual 30 minute commute. First off, Denver doesn't get the amount of snow that everyone thinks they do. Yes, they get lots in the mountains but snow doesn't fall that regularly here. And when it does, no one can drive! I'm going to blame it on all the transplants from California or Texas but whatever it is its really annoying.

So yes, I was about 5 minutes late to work but at least that meant my students bus was also stuck behind the crawling cars so my student was even later than I was!

As I type this, be reminded that I'm writing this from a Midwesterners viewpoint so a little naive in how Colorado does things but in my 18 mile commute I didn't see a single snow plow! I did see one car who meant to turn but instead crashed head-on into a light post. I was shocked at the lack of effort as the snow was beginning to accumulate.

So I made it to school safe and sound and as the day went on the snow continued to fall. It was so pretty! I was convinced we'd have had a snow day if it had started falling over night as predicted. I've been told we already have two snow days built into our school calendar so why not? Guess I'll never know. It did stop snowing around 2:00. As I left the school I realized none of the sidewalks were shoveled and none of the parking lots were plowed. Weird..and my trusty Honda accord wasn't appreciative of this one bit.

Day went on and I went to bed.

When I woke up I was shocked that the roads weren't much better than the day before. They had not salted anything. Roads were still snowy and slippery! Why hadn't they salted at all?

Well as the day went on the sun came out. Nearly all the snow melted and the roads were completely melted. By 5:00 the roads were not only melted but completely dry! That is why they didn't salt! Naive Midwesterner that I am can't even fathom the snow melting in a day!

Snow is a completely different experience in Colorado and we love it!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Apparently I've been living under a rock the past 33 years but I decided to come out tonight and watched a Charlie Brown Christmas! Oh my gosh that is the cutest and funniest Christmas movie!! I was laughing hysterically at Snoopy and his amazing guitar and dancing skills! It was so wholesome, simple and sweet. This movie will definitely be added to our must watch Christmas movie list and will become a tradition with our future kids! Love, love, love this movie!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Grown-Up Decision

Jason and I made a very grown-up and responsible decision the past month.  As everyone knows since I will not stop talking about it...I want a house. And bad!  We've looked at many and found many we can afford and love but every time it came time to make a decision we've felt this wasn't the right time. I've had the hardest time explaining it except that God was telling us to wait.

Through the waiting and after much praying, discussing and looking at our finances we made the decision to hold off on the house and instead pay off all my grad school loans.  The rate was ridiculously high on them (over 6%) and over a ten year period which meant the payments were high. We agreed this was the wisest financial move for us.

Paying off my loans means we will have a pretty long time ahead of having to save to replenish our funds for a down payment for a house but we both knew this was the route we are supposed to take.  I blame Dave Ramsey for this prompting...but in all seriousness it's the most freeing feeling too.

I have still looked at homes on Zillow every single day...sometimes several times a day but at this point I know it's just that -- just looking.  I'm getting more and more comfortable with the idea of living in our apartment for a (long) while longer.  I'm so thankful that both Jason and I are on the same page and listening to God and where He's leading us.  The feeling of being (almost) debt-free is pretty amazing.  Seriously, thanks Dave Ramsey for all you've done to help us get here!  Buying our dream house someday will really be one of the most rewarding feelings!

Christmas Present...a Little Early

Jason told me he wanted us to do a joint present this year.  I agreed (I mean he must have a great gift idea in mind so why fight it?!)  As soon as that conversation was over he began hinting at it and wanted me to know what it was.  I love surprises and love the anticipation of waiting until Christmas so I kept putting him off.  Finally last week he said, "you know what the gift is because it showed up on Mint" which is how we track our expenses. At this point I was pretty sure I had figured it out from his many hints plus I knew he just wanted to know.

He got us an iPad!  I am so excited!  The only reason he wanted me to know about it was because we'll use it for the trip back to Illinois so we want to get it all set up before we leave.  I am so excited!  I had one for 3 months while I student taught but being that it was for school, I didn't really use it that much for personal use. Now the sky is the limit! Right now besides all the many obvious reasons I am excited, I am happy we'll have  FaceTime!  While I have it on my phone the iPad is so much bigger...who uses FaceTime or something similar and wants to chat!?

Thanks Jason! I know we're going to love this new little gadget!

Fill in the Blank Friday...on Sunday

Happy Sunday! I am a couple days late in filling in the blanks but after learning about the shooting on Friday I didn't have it in me to write a joyous 'Fill in the Blank Friday' post.  My heart goes out to the families and community of Newtown, Connecticut and I will continue to pray for them.  

As for the Blanks...I loved this one so much that I had to do it!  Join Lauren next week and every week!

1.  When it comes to holiday shopping, I   absolutely love it!  Growing up I would always find myself out shopping last minute on Christmas Eve to finish or sometimes just begin all my shopping. Back then it was a rush to be able to find that perfect gift in a short amount of time!  But as I grew older and once I lived in Chicago it was really hard to get all the shopping done how I wanted to at the perfect stores so I would take a day off work and drive out to Yorktown and get 90% of my shopping done there.  This year I completely forgot about my day of shopping and couldn't get a day off work so had to do it in pieces but still loved every minute of it. Next year I will plan accordingly and take that day off to do it the right way!      .

2.  A few things on my Christmas wish list are...   Ha!  What isn't on my list?!  I love getting gifts so while I have a really long list out to each family member it's really more about the thought than the gift!     .

3.  An intangible gift I would like to receive is  enjoying time with my family and being back home this year.  I am really looking forward to seeing my nieces and spending quality time with my parents and family. An added bonus is that we get to spend a couple days in the city..I miss Chicago so much!   .

4.  A gift I would like to give this year is    all the gifts we're giving. We did the Operation Christmas Child for the first year this year..Jason gave to a boy, I gave to a girl. I'm excited to make that a tradition for us each year and we've been talking about how we're going to get more involved next year in giving back to our community and those in other countries. I've already set a reminder in my phone for October so we'll have plenty of time to plan ahead   .

5. My Christmas will be spent    in Illinois with my parents.  Christmas Eve will be with my brothers family and then later at my grandmas .

6. My most favorite Christmas gift of all time was   a horse!  How many girls can say they got a pony (in my case,a horse)for Christmas? Best present ever! .

7.  The best thing about the holidays is  the season of giving and loving on others.  I am trying so hard to remember the 'reason for the season' and I just love everything about Christmas time!  The lights, the Christmas tree, all the sweets around the office (or in my case, school), Christmas songs, the gifts, the parties, the decorations, Santa, hot chocolate Christmas cards ( I LOVE getting mail!) Love it all!   .

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A New Job (AGAIN!)

Yes I know I just started a job in August so it's kind of unreal to be posting that I will be starting a new job in a little over a month but in a way that only God can make happen...I am.

Back in July I posted here about my job situation and my decision to take a teacher aide position over a teaching position. Over the past few months I have been praying for an opportunity to get into a teaching position but it was not something I would seek out on my own and it would need be very clear to me that it was specifically meant for me.  Selfishly, I want a teaching job because that's what I went to school for and the pay as an aide doesn't even begin to cover my student loans, let alone allow us to save.  But I would never have sought out a new job on my own as I had committed to this student and school for the entire year.

A couple months ago I was told about a job opening at an elementary school that would be a long term sub position for a teacher who is going on maternity leave for 3 months.  I originally said no.. It came up again and I said that I didn't want to leave my student and the school I was at because I had made a year-long commitment to the school.  But after more praying I realized this opportunity was exactly what I had been praying for...it was job that I didn't seek out, someone recommended me for and brought to me, plus it's an elementary school! I called the teacher and talked to her about the opportunity.  She was excited to talk with me since I had come recommended by someone she trusted. Just in our 30 minute conversation I knew this was the perfect opportunity for me to get the experience I want and need without all the anxiety that I have previously had. She plans to come back after her 3 months are up but then next year I can apply and interview for her position because she doesn't plan to come back in the fall.  I set up a date to meet with her and see her classroom.

About 3 weeks ago, I got to see her classroom with students in it for about and hour, met most of  her aides and sat down with the principal.  I was there for 3 hours that night and while I think it's going to be soooo much work, it's the ideal situation   It's all I could have asked for and more!

After doing the necessary online paperwork and steps, I had an interview this past Monday night.  I was incredibly nervous but had asked some friends to pray and when I went in I felt it was a great interview.  I could be honest and open about where I may need support and just felt really comfortable.

I can only attribute this opportunity to God.  It really came to me and is everything I think I would want in a job.  The teacher seems to really have a grasp of how special ed is run (I have some really big shoes to fill!!!) but special ed is hard.  Really hard. But in this situation, I have to start somewhere and everything about this position seems right!

My last day at my current job is January 11. I plan to sub until she has her baby (due Feb 1) and will also be able to spend sometime in her classroom while the kids are there (as long as she lasts until past January 11!) After the 3 months are up, I can sub for the remainder of the year.  It will be hard to leave the student I'm currently working one-on-one with but hope we'll be able to stay in touch.  (ummm, he has a goldendoodle, even the same color named Cooper...how cool is that!?  We're thinking we'll have a doggie play date soon!) But initially it was a hard decision to leave him and all the people I work with who have been really supportive of both my role as a para but also to my moving here to a new state not really knowing anyone.  I'm so thankful for the few months I got (and  month I still have) at my school but am so excited a doors already been opened for me as a future teacher!  God is so good!

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Good and Bad to my Car

Back in 2004 I really wanted the new Honda Accord Coupe. really really wanted it!! lucky me, I got it brand new with only 8 miles on it and have tried to take really good care of it. Within literally a week of owning it, I went to a Relay For Life meeting for one of my co-workers and there were really high winds that night and I came out to find THE LARGEST door ding on my car. Only a year later when I was parked at work I came out to find that some (idiot!) jumped on the hood of my car creating a huge indentation. Also being that I lived in the city and parallel parked every day/night my bumper is a typical city bumper. But with all that being said, I really have tried to take care of it and have loved my car.

As I've posted before, Jason's a sweetheart and has been known to take my car on Saturdays to get it washed. Well last weekend he did just that and I got a text that my car rolled faster than the rollers and hit the car in front of it - Oops. The car in front was actually a truck and that truck had a very large hitch. So now there's a big hitch indentation on my hood!

But...that means the car wash is paying for a new hood for me! So if all goes well with the body shop and rental car this is really a win for me because I get that huge dent from whoever jumped on my car fixed!!! :)

And also...this proves that my car really does roll faster than some people drive!! ESPECIALLY people in Colorado (slowest drivers ever here!!) So if I get a ticket soon that's my excuse! :)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Weekend of Sking and Catching Up

This has been another very busy weekend but I did catch a bit of a break today!  Jason and I planned to go skiing all weekend booking a hotel in advance.  We got up really early yesterday and were on the slopes by 9:30.  It was a pretty great day of skiing.  There were a lot more runs open than last month and the conditions were pretty good!  I did about 6 runs and Jason boarded much longer, doing about double what I did.  We went to get dinner at a local brewery and while there it started snowing...a lot!  It was so much fun to be in a town where everyone is excited to see snow and lots of it!  I have always loved snow but I feel like no matter where I'm at there are people who complain about it.  Totally not the case in the mountains!  Loved it!

We went to check into the hotel to quickly learn that our room was actually booked for next weekend, not this weekend.  Oops.  And being that we now had about 2 inches of snow in a little over an hour and expecting up to 9 inches more overnight the hotel was booking up very quickly.  We were able to get a pretty discounted rate given our wrong date booking but considering we may not be able to get our money back for next week's reservation we decided to brave it back home.  The roads were a mess but Jason did a great job getting us home safely!

Jason couldn't really find a plus side of us not being able to ski/board in 10+ inches of powder today but I could!  First off the temps today were in the single digits, with wind chills making it feel like -1 degree.  Ummm, yeah, spring skier me doesn't do well in those temps.  Plus we got to sleep in, go to church, get some Christmas shopping in, finish our Christmas cards, I got to take a nap and get some laundry and cleaning done today.  And I get to spend some time blogging for a change! I am looking forward to getting back on the slopes again very soon but as for this weekend I'd say this has been pretty amazing!

Friday, December 7, 2012

5 Years Ago Tonight

Jason and I had our first date.  Awwwww. It feels like it has been so much longer than that, I can't believe its only been 5 years considering all that's changed since then.

It was such a fun night that we now love to tease each other about...him showing up with his cousin and me thinking it'd just be him.  Loved everything about that first date and then the first "real" date that followed later in the week.

Love you Jason and so thankful for this night 5 years ago when you texted me to meet you out for a drink!  Cheers to many more dates in our future!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Sick Day

I had to actually use a sick day for being sick!  Not fun and not what I had been planning on! After the game last night I got sick in the middle of the night...several times. And might I add, Jason slept through it all!

I took it super easy today only eating a little chicken noodle soup and some rice then thought I was better so had some yogurt and now am all queasy again.  It's no fun. Thanks to Jason for going out to get me some Sprite to hopefully help settle my stomach a little. On the plus side I got to finish up the laundry, cleaned the apartment a little and got to watch a couple episodes of Ellen! Hoping I am better after some Sprite and more Ellen!

First Broncos Game

Yesterday we went to our first Broncos game!  We were invited by friends from church and I have been looking forward to it for the past couple weeks.

Awesome time and the Bronco's even won!  Thanks so much Sarah and Randy for the invite!  

Thankful Thanksgiving

It's been almost 2 weeks since Thanksgiving but I've been way too busy to write.  I didn't write as many "Thankful" posts as I had originally intended but one that I really wanted to write but never had a chance was how thankful I am for my family. 

My family has always had traditions of what we do for Thanksgiving and Christmas and birthdays.  Thanksgiving was always at one of the aunts houses and for Christmas we always went to Christmas Eve at my grandma and grandpa's.  I grew up being very close my 6 cousins, always begging our parents if we could have sleepovers every time we were together. My cousins Laura and Tim were a little over 10 years my senior but I always looked up to them so much! Tim was the older "cool" cousin and Laura was super pretty and basically could do no wrong in my eyes. I've always felt like we were so alike and I can't help but find the similarities when I look at the places we've lived. We literally lived on the same street in West Chicago, then both moved to the "big" city of Chicago when we were old enough and then both made the big move to Colorado when we were much older.  Though we were almost never living in the same city at the same time I still look up to her a lot!

I have three girl cousins who were all close in age...the two sisters, Annie and Amy who lived in a different town and Karrie who went to school with me just trailing a couple years.  I have an older cousin, Joey, who I also really looked up to.  In middle school I thought it was the coolest thing that we both ran track together.  In high school he always had my back no matter what...he played that "older brother" role for me. My cousin, Wade and I have recently gotten back in touch thanks to Facebook!

While over the years cousins slowly started moving away, I still feel the closeness that we all shared growing up.  I'm particularly close to Karrie and Joe(y)'s kids since we lived within a few short miles when they were born and have tried my best to keep in touch with the cousins who aren't as physically close.

In addition I am close to my aunts and uncles.  My aunt Shelby has helped me through one of the hardest times of my life and for that I am forever grateful for a bond we share. Growing up we joked that I thought maybe I was really her child instead of my moms since we were so similar but as the years have gone on...I'm becoming more and more like my mom so I know that's not true! :)   I am also super close to my Uncle Dennis.  He's always been sort of like a second dad to me always sharing in my personal milestones. I know if I ever needed anything, each of my aunts and uncles would be there for me and what a wonderful way to go through life!

My grandparents on my mom's side have also helped shape me. They were such great examples of what a family should be.  No matter who I was dating, they would love on him like he was a grandson...and now that I am married they have another grandson who could do no wrong in Grandma's eyes. :)  I remember many trips up to their mobile home when I was little.  They never missed a birthday or big event.  Over the past few years I've gotten even closer to my grandma with our almost monthly trips to Olive Garden and now that I am in Colorado we have sleepovers when I visit. It is there that I am getting to know my Grandpa who was very quiet when he was still with us.  He was such a great family man who was a great example of a man who lived his life for the Lord.

My Grandma on my dad's side was one of the sweetest ladies on the planet.  She taught me how to make the tastiest scrambled eggs and that you should always try a new food because "if you don't like it, you don't have to eat it!"  I miss her so much and wish I had spent more time with her while she was here.

My parents are amazing and I've tried to honor them in past posts from Mothers Day and Fathers Day and will continue.  They have been so supportive of me over the years always providing for me in the best way possible. They have given me the opportunity to travel to other countries and many different cities   They gave me the gift of a horse when I was 10 which has completely changed and shaped me as a person.  Putting me on ski's and then sticking me in ski lessons for days while the family all went skiing made me a little bitter when I was a kid but has allowed me to have one of the best shared interest with my husband.  They've always encouraged and supported me when I changed my major about 10 times in college and took 7 years to complete my undergrad.  Their love and support continued through my studies in grad school which was immeasurable. What I have appreciated the most from them as of late is that they have never made me feel even a tiny bit guilty for moving to Colorado.  I can't imagine that that would be an easy task for a parent but they've been nothing but supportive.  This move has had some pretty hard days and I can't even put into words how much it means to not have the guilt of my parents missing me to help me through.

My brother and I had our typical brotherly sisterly relationship growing up.  He wasn't really interested in having a little sister when I arrived and we were as opposite as could be. But by high school when he went on to college we were practically inseparable   I was at his college several times a year and he would write me cards and letters to keep in touch.  He even set me up with my first email account way before anyone was using emails.  He was always there to help me with my computer problems and had me chatting away in chat rooms and on the very first version of AOL.  As soon as he got his licence we would jet out of Thanksgiving dinner a little early so we could hit up the newest movie at the theater.  Once we were a little older the scenery changed from the movie theater to a bar with a local cover band. This went on for years until he got married. He now has a beautiful family who I am so thankful for.  I've known his wife Tiffany since Shawn's college days and she even came and visited me with Shawn one year when I was at ISU.  I've appreciated her help and wisdom in the world of teaching when she's always been there to help me on my new career path. Their daughters, Kaylee and Kaitlyn have opened up a completely new world for me (and Jason).  They are amazingly wonderful and while I still cannot believe my brother who pretty much hated kids is the best dad to those little girls.  They are such great parents and have given me two of the most precious nieces!

This year Jason and I spent Thanksgiving far from my own family but instead in Iowa with his family.  I am so thankful that he has a family who has been so welcoming to me into their family!  They've taught me a lot about the life in a farm country and small towns and are so great to me!

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and are as blessed as I am to have a wonderful family!