April 4, 2012

New Blog!!

As I've mentioned earlier, I want to start a new blog for our (hopefully!!) fun adventure across the country. I originally created "meandering from the 3rd floor balcony" when I was let go from my job in '09 so I could capture all the things I encountered when I would have normally been working.  But now I am in a completely different time in life with a lot of excitement and endless possibilities of where my life will take me in a new town so I am switching it up and starting a new blog from the suburbs of Colorado!  Please come along side and follow along with me on this journey at:

(just click on the title above or copy and paste the URL below)


Thanks so much for joining me...I look forward to creating many more memories!

April 3, 2012

Day 1 of 4 in Moving to Colorado

Okay, I started this this morning and just don't even know where to begin. So what I've decided is that I'll do this in several chunks and hopefully I can get across my emotions and all else that's happened on the fun little journey we've been on the last week.

Logistically the original plan was that we would rent a 24 ft truck that would pull a rented trailer that would carry Jason's SUV and I would drive my car to Colorado.  Cooper would go with Jason in the big truck and Sam would go with me. We'd pick up the truck on Friday, load up all our stuff in the city then drive out to the burbs and load up all we had in storage (from staging the condo). We'd then head out of the city Friday night to avoid any traffic and make sure everything was out and place was cleaned and head to a hotel in Naperville where my brother's family would meet us for pizza.  We'd get a good nights sleep and then head out early in the morning after having breakfast with my parents.  Along the way we'd stop in Des Moines to see Jason's family, drive another 4-5 hours to spend the night somewhere in Nebraska then drive the rest of the way to arrive in our new home on Sunday night.

While I like a plan (and especially like a plan when it's something as big as moving across the country with a cat who can't travel in a car without whining like an ambulance and pooping and peeing within 3-5 minutes of our departure) my husband decided to switch things up on me.  (okay to defend him a little...in the end his new plan may have saved us about a day's worth of travel but at this point in the journey I didn't know that yet. ;-)   So basically Jason found out he was able to get the truck and trailer a day early so decided to pick them up and came up with a new plan for the two days of packing the trucks. To make a really long story short, when we got to Budget only the truck was available that day, so our plan got way shifted. For the most part there wasn't too much of a glitch though and our biggest concern was that he'd have to park the (half loaded) truck in the city and we were afraid of it being broken into. We said we'd pray and hope that nothing would get stolen...especially parking it on a major street.  Jason went to the burbs on Thursday and my brother and dad along with a few of my dad's friend's workers had the truck loaded in about an hour and a half.  Jason was back to the city by about 8:00.  We were half loaded...and I hadn't lifted a box yet!  Woo hoo!! :)

Okay so we get the great idea to park my car directly behind the truck which would hopefully prevent anyone from breaking into my car.  So after a few hours Jason went outside on the balcony to check on the truck and saw this...

Take a look at the truck.  Do you see a car parked behind it?  My Honda Accord...do you see it? Neither did we, so we of course freaked out cursing the city of Chicago for towing our car when it was legally parked (or so we both thought since we had checked the signs).  We called the city of Chicago...they had no record of anything.  We called the auto pound who also had no record of it.  We were both really really upset with the city and really happy to be moving out not having to deal with this kind of city stuff.  We went down to check the signs once again and as we walked out...there was my car!  It had been there all along.  I took this picture to  prove to you all and myself that we weren't going crazy.  Sorry city of Chicago for cursing you in such a way...we know you'd never ticket people or tow them when not necessarily. ;-)

What a relief to not have to deal with finding my car in the morning. All we had to do was get up, bring Cooper to day care and get the truck loaded before headed out for the long drive!

to be continued...

March 27, 2012

Going Away Party Dos

Saturday was our going away party with friends. We've had it planned for about two months and invited everyone about 7 weeks ago...so for "emotional me," there was a lot of thoughts running through my head about how the day would go and how much I'd be crying.  I had several completely irrational dreams leading up to the day about how the party would go. But it ended up being a really fun, emotional, sort of "out of body" experience.  I've been praying that I wouldn't be emotional at the going away parties and in the end, I wasn't at all.  As I've explained, I get emotional really easily so for me, I wasn't emotional at all.Yet I was truly very very sad saying goodbye to everyone.  I really feel like it was a "God thing" that I was able to be "normal" as I said goodbye to everyone.  I've been journaling and praying a lot every day about saying my goodbyes and am so glad I was able to keep it all together.  I am so thankful for everyone who made it to the party..it was just what I needed.  I would have had a hard time saying goodbye to everyone when I had met for dinners the past few weeks and didn't want to have a long list of goodbyes this week.  It was just the closure that I needed and know I will see everyone again soon, either here in Chicago (probably the burbs) or in Colorado.  A HUGE thank you to all who came to say goodbye!!  I will miss you LOTS!!

New Blog Title and address

I've been thinking for a while that I want to start a new blog when I get to Colorado. I began this one because I had a lot of extra time on my hands after being laid off from my job.  It's been over three years since that happened. I did a lot of nannying, moved three times (going on four this weekend, UGHHHH), got engaged, started grad school, lost my sweet Chaz, got married, went on a honeymoon, student taught, finished grad school and a WHOLE lot of other stuff.  But a new journey is about to begin on Friday...and I think a new blog is in order.  I also hope to keep my Facebook posts to a minimum once I move and would like to keep most of my thoughts and experience solely in my blog.  Anyone have any ideas for a new name or address?  I have about 5 in my head but nothing I'm set on as of yet, so please please share your ideas!

Friday with an old friend and Dinner Memories with the husband

Friday I ran around all crazy trying to prepare for our going-away party that was on Saturday. I also went to meet my friend, Melinda's new baby, Ella.  It was so great to catch up with her and her mom...it's been a long time but felt like not much time had passed at all...not to mention how happy I was to meet her adorable, sweet girl, Ella! Melinda and I were best friends through grammar, middle and much of high school so it was just so wonderful that I got to see her before I left and got to meet her baby.  I'm so excited for her as she is now journeying through this thing we call motherhood, she is going to make SUCH a great mom!!

Friday night Jason and I went to where we had our second date, Sushi X.  He'd say it was our first but it was our second. ;-) We sat in the same table as the first time we were there.  It was funny listening to our conversation compared to when we had first dined there, especially now being married and about to do the biggest thing I've never dreamed of, moving across the country together!  I really love him so much and was just such a great night of memories and talk of our future together in our new home.  I'm so glad we were able to dine there one last time. :)

Girls Day in the City and Dad's birthday

Thursday was another super fun-filled day. My mom came down for our last girls day in Chicago.  I picked her up at the train station where I realized we were both wearing the exact same colors... awesome. :)  W began our day with a trip to the Sears Tower for the sky deck.  On our way there we had to walk along Wacker, what a mess!  Seeing the road all torn up (both upper and lower Wacker) was worth the trip into the city alone!  I don't know why I was so fascinated by it, but it was really neat! Not so neat in how it's disrupting traffic patterns in the city, but neat in how construction is done. 

As for the Sears Tower (I will not call it Willis Tower), it was soooo worth the money; very educational and great views! I haven't been up there since I was about 10 years old so of course it was on our "Chicago To Do List." We even went on "The Ledge" which was quite a rush! Anyone who is in Chicago, I highly recommend going up there and especially checking out the new overlook/ledge.

Then we grabbed lunch OUTSIDE (on March 22!), got manicures and pedicures and took Cooper to the dog beach (again...on March 22!!). In the evening my dad came down to celebrate his birthday.  We went to Caro Mio on Wilson and was so good, plus it's BYOB so even better! :)  I'm so glad he was able to come down on his actual birthday so we could celebrate!

Thanks mom for making the trip down, I had lots of fun and look forward to many more girls dates both here in Illinois and when you visit in Colorado!  Love you...and happy birthday Dad...love you too!

March 26, 2012

Wednesday 3/21

I started to write a "Monday Meanderings" post and then realized it was about 10 pages long, so I thought I'd break it up. :)  Here it begins...

The last couple weeks have been lots of fun (while expensive!) meeting up with many different friends catching up and saying our goodbyes. I have eaten at many favorite restaurants while also trying new Chicago places. I haven’t had time to write the past couple weeks so I thought I’d try to catch up as best I can. For those of you who I saw and don’t write about, you know I love you…it’s just been a really crazy month and I can’t find the time to write every night! 

For tonight’s post…I'll begin with this past Wednesday. I went out to the burbs and had a great day reminiscing and eating out all three meals. (oink oink). I met my friend Jolene for breakfast and then she did my hair...went a little darker and love it!  She gave me the cutest going away gift, a picture of her and I at her wedding and then another at our local wedding reception. Amazing how much younger we looked at her wedding! Thank you Jolene for breakfast and for the gift…sentimental me loved it!

After Jolene’s, I went out with my grandma for lunch at our favorite restaurant, Olive Garden.  It's been a monthly tradition for a couple years to grab lunch there so it was great that we were able to fit in one last visit before we head out.  Of course she filled me in on all her kids, grand kids and great grand kids. There may have been some tears shed when I dropped her off, but I look forward to meeting her again when I visit.

The rest of the afternoon I ran errands but I found it interesting that everywhere I had to go brought back some memory. I ended up sort of driving past the house I grew up, went and got an oil change where I went, which gave me a free car wash to the car wash I used to go to, then went to the Walgreens I went to every single week developing pictures. Then was driving down roads in Wheaton where I also used to live and had many other memories.  It was so fun remembering all the times I had growing up and driving the streets there since I was 16. I met my friend, Christy for dinner at my favorite, Stir Crazy, and had wonderful evening catching up and saying our goodbyes.

With such an emotional day I was so impressed that through the entire day I barely shed any tears! It was so much fun being where I grew up and also seeing such wonderful friends and family.  

March 20, 2012

The Hunger Games

I started the first book of the trilogy for The Hunger Games back in January. While I am the slowest reader ever I was also just a tad busy the past couple months but I finished yesterday and loved it! It is such a twisted, messed up story line but I'm hooked! I cannot wait to read the second book but will have to wait. Jason's mom and step dad came up with a great idea and got me the audio CD for my car to listen to on the drive out to Colorado so I'll have to wait. I thought it'd be a short listening time but it's 11 hours...that should certainly help the ride seem shorter! :) Once I'm settled in a couple weeks I'm hitting the theaters to see the movie. Cannot wait!! 

March 18, 2012

Amazing Weekend

This weekend was amazing. Not a care in the world since school is done (forever!) and Jason and I finally had time to spend together and enjoy Chicago.

Friday night we kicked off the weekend at Mia Francesca's, my favorite Italian restauraunt in my old neighborhood.  Though it seemed very rushed, (I think they had us in and out in about 50 minutes!) it was absolutley delcious!  I was grinning ear to ear with my best friend reliving memories we each had in the surrounding neighborhoods and shared some of our fondest times as we drove down Clark realizing how much that scene has changed since we used to be part of it.

Saturday, I treated myself to some retail therapy.  I spent the morning at the wholesale shops along Clark between Sunnyside and Wilson.  I haven't been there in years and am sad it took me so long to get back!  I got SO many cute earrings, a many necklaces, a bracelet and super cute purse all for under $75.  My kinda shopping!!!

The afternoon Jason and I went to a very local bar and sat outside drinking a few green beers while doing lots of people watching.  We both decided that we wanted to make the most of our last St. Patricks Day in Chicago and we had so much fun. After a couple hours a trolley stopped by with bag pipers which just made my night!

the bagpipers :)

Today we woke up early for a breakfast down the street then went to church for another amazing service at Willow. I know I keep saying this but I am going to miss it so much.  I'm thankful for podcasts but it won't be the same.  Next weekend I am sure there will be some tears being shed as it's our last weekend service.  I was super happy to find out Bill Hybels will be preaching...what better way to be sent off.

This afternoon we went to the dog beach with Cooper who was in Heaven.  He has to be in the water at all times, he just loves it.  After the beach we went to O'Donovans for a very late lunch and again got to sit outside in the sun.  This weather is just amazing.  Mild and sunny winters is a big reason why we're moving to Colorado so it's been kind of interesting that this entire winter has been so mild and now it's in the 70's in March.  I along with everyone else in Chicago is enjoying every second of it!

teeny tiny video of cooper loving life :)

Packing begins tomorrow, if all goes as planned we'll be close to arriving at our new home two weeks from right now, so not much time left to pack!  Fortunately there isn't too much to pack since we hardly moved in back in December, but there's always a lot more than you think so I'm on it!

Hope you all got out and enjoyed these warm temperatures and had a very Happy St. Patricks Day!

March 16, 2012

my super cute shoes

As stated earlier somewhere in these blog posts, Jason got me a pair of Toms that I wanted but they didn't fit. (they are way too wide on my feet no matter what size I tried) I also REALLY wanted the (new) ballet slippers.  So after going to Nordstrom, trying them on, finding out they didn't have my size, ordering them to be delivered to my house, waiting a week to get them, trying those on, decided I wanted a different color that Nordstrom didn't carry, researching a million places where I could find THE ones, finally ordering online from Toms, researching coupon codes for the ridiculous shipping costs, waiting another week to get them...they FINALLY arrived today.  My grey ballet slippers. :) How cute are these?!

Really Really Done!

Yes, yes...I'm aware that the last 15 posts have been about another milestone of the degree and how I'm finally done with many things and am ready to graduate but today I am really really done.  You shouldn't hear another word about grad school until June when I actually walk for graduation.  But today, I finished the last week of student teaching/observing, so really am done.  I wrote a couple days ago how great of a classroom I was observing. (actually there were two) and I am soooo excited again about teaching and being with kids with low-incidence disabilities.  Jason and I are going out tonight for a special dinner...things were too hectic the week of my birthday so the two of us couldn't go to my favorite restaurant so we're headed there tonight. :)  I am done.  All I have left to do now is find a job.  There were several posted in the two districts I want to teach in so I have a lot of work to do these next couple weeks, but I'm ready! Bring on me working again...it's been over 3 years since I was laid off or had a "real job" and I am READY. :)

March 13, 2012

Day Two of Observing

It's amazing what a difference a good classroom can make.  I am enjoying my observations this week sooooo much. Since our last week of student teaching is just observing, I decided that since my student teaching placement was so awful I'd switch to a different school and I am so glad I did! I am observing a 3rd-5th grade classroom with low-incidence autism.  The teacher is beyond good, has the room set up right, is teaching with pictures and manipulative, has a reward system in place and there is instruction going on!  Imagine that!  It's amazing, the kids are so awesome and I just love it.

After student teaching I have been really turned off from the school system and have been reconsidering if I want to be a teacher.. I know my calling is to work with kids with special needs but after student teaching I was pretty sure it wasn't going to be in a classroom setting. Thankfully through this brief experience, my faith is slowly being restored.  The teacher I am observing has been in the same classroom for 6 years so it's incredibly overwhelming to me. She has done so much labeling and organizing to her classroom and created so many different materials and lessons for the kids (each at a completely different level) but we all have to start somewhere.  I feel like I've learned more in the past two days that I did in all of my student teaching (in terms of what to do, anyway!). I'm glad to have the opportunity to observe this last week and end this experience on a positive note.  Tomorrow I am going into another classroom, for the 6th-8th graders...I can't wait.  I am a little sponge taking it all in and stealing all their great ideas! :)

March 12, 2012

Church and my Life Verse

I love our church. I just love it.  We've been going to "Big Willow" ever since we moved to our temporary home on the very north side. With the limited number of Sundays that we had left and how much I love love love the worship, we decided to just make the switch for our last few months. Every time we pull into the parking lot I get teary knowing our Sundays are limited there.  The messages always send me off challenged and the worship always has tears welled up in my eyes.  This past Sunday we had baptisms going on during the service which was incredibly powerful and emotional.  I am so so sad that I only have two more Sundays there. 

We are currently in the middle of a series about choosing a life verse.  I chose a verse at the beginning of the year (which I already posted on my New Years post) to help lead my walk but haven't paid much attention to it since. Mine is more of a "season of my life" verse rather than life verse, but it's a good place to start. I thought I would post it again as a reminder to me since I know these next few days, weeks and months are going to be really trying. This verse has already spoken so much truth to me the past three months with passing the three tests, finishing my portfolio, surviving student teaching and starting to say my goodbyes.  God has not left me and has been so faithful through it all and I am thankful to have this truth to carry me through...

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified...for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

Do you have a life verse?  I'd love if you shared with me!

Family Going Away Party

After all the craziness of my day on Saturday passing my two tests and then having my portfolio reviewed, we had our family going away party.  My aunt hosted at her house so most of my aunts/uncles and cousins were there to send us off. It was so nice to see everyone again and give me the closure I needed.  I was prepared to be all emotional leading up to it, but was so busy with everything that was going on with school I didn't really have time to think about it or get emotional.  When we were saying goodbye's to everyone I did get pretty sad and shed some tears.  My goddaughter was crying which really caught me off guard and just broke my heart.  I knew she was upset we were moving, but I didn't really think she understood it to that level.  Dumb me, I now realize that was dumb of me to think that.  Just gives us more motivation to figure out a way to get her to Colorado when she's old enough to visit on her own and of course I'll see her lots when I am back home.  It's just going to be hard to be away and not have our sleepovers or spontaneous dates like we could if I was here.  A HUGE thank you to all my family who came and especially to my aunt for hosting.  Love to all my cousins, aunts, uncles, brother, sister-in-law, grandma and all my favorite kids for making a special night for us.  We cannot wait for you to visit us in months/years to come! xoxoxo

March 11, 2012


Relief!  On SOOO many levels!!!

Friday night I got the results back from the last two teaching tests I took last month to get my teaching certification in Illinois.  While I don't plan on teaching in Illinois I still had to pass all three (one I took last year) in order to graduate.  I thought I did terrible on them last month, and was extremely nervous to get my results knowing if I didn't pass I'd have to come back to Illinois just to take the tests...which would obviously be really stressful.  But I got the email with my results on Friday and somehow managed to pass BOTH tests.  Woo-hoooooo!!!

In addition, my last day of student teaching was on Friday. I couldn't even begin to express how relieved I am to be done with this experience and be able to move on.  The entire experience was less than desirable and every day was a countdown of having one more day done.  While I look back I can't believe it went that fast but as I was in it each day, the hours spent there felt like days. I feel like I could write a book about all I experienced in my short time there but hope to just journal about it when I have the time.  I have been very turned off from the experience and have been reconsidering my route to teach special ed. However, the last few days I have had to remind myself that it is kids with special needs that I went into this for.  My heart is HUGE for these kids and I've never had the calling to teach kids in a resource room.  I may have to take a different avenue to get to what I want but this experience had reinforced what I don't want to do.  While my supervisor from NLU didn't seem to understand my desires, I'm thankful I no longer have to answer to her and instead can follow my own heart and God's calling for me.

Along with my student teaching being over, I also completed my portfolio last Sunday.  This process began back in March 2010 when we had to create an online portfolio of what we wanted to learn through the program and how we were going to learn it. The grad school programs was set up that by the end of the schooling we should be able to show how we learned all we wanted and were supposed to learn under specified categories created by some high-up person at NLU though the classes we took.  It was a tedious process where we had to show work we did to prove we learned what we did in twenty different areas, write up an explanation of why that artifact helped me demonstrate that I learned what I was supposed to and then write a reflection on my own work and why it worked or didn't work.  It was so time-consuming to find the work to enter in each area (a few I had to create from scratch) and then enter them and do each write-up.  I spent countless hours on it and am so thankful to have Jason at my side to take care of Cooper, dinners, cleaning and anything else life brought our way the last month.  Yesterday we had our final seminar and had our portfolio reviewed.  After one mix-up and scare that I had done something wrong I ended up getting "target" on all the areas and ended up passing and being told I had a "solid" portfolio.  Another HUGE relief. Portfolio is done, reviewed and approved! In addition, I turned in my last paper of grad school ever!  I had to analyze how my teaching worked for two student and then reflect.  Ohhhh, it's so good to be DONE.

I have so much left to learn but I am determined to get my head back on straight and focus on what the calling is -- to work with kids in a low-incidence program.  This program was a stepping stone (a very long, hard and time consuming stone!) but one that is now over and allows me to do what I have wanted to do since my trip to Mexico in 2009. (read about that here) I never in a million years would have thought I'd have completed my masters...just completing my associates agree was a huge success but I did it. Graduation is set for June 23 and there is no way I'd miss the chance to come back and walk in cap and gown to receive my diploma. :) Until then, I'm off to find a job doing what I've been called to do!

Play date with Kaylee

Monday I spent the morning with my precious niece Kaylee.  I had off for Casimir Pulaski, (thanks Casimir!) so took advantage and picked Kaylee up from daycare and brought her back to my brothers house to play.  I spent 2 1/2 hours chasing, tickling, changing (2 poopie diapers...what kid poops twice in two hours!?) feeding, reading, playing and everything else imaginable with my favorite 19 month old.  It's amazing how much she has grown in just a few weeks and what a fun little personality she has.  She knows what she likes and doesn't like and wasn't afraid to let me know! When I dropped her back off at daycare she gave me two hugs goodbye and I wasn't even out the door yet and tears were streaming down my cheeks. By the time I got to my car I was sobbing. (see recent post about my emotions) I am going to miss her so much. Every day is a new milestone with kids and it's going to be so hard to miss out on so many of them.  I'm thankful for the times I will get to see her and so thankful for Google Talk, the phone and plane tickets for when she gets older, but it wont' be the same.  Such a sweet sweet girl, fall in love with her more and more each day. :)

March 10, 2012

Crazy Emotions

Today was too much...but amazing.  I had my portfolio reviewed at my last class EVER for grad school (and passed) and then had our family "going-away" party.  Those two events could have been emotional enough on it's own to last a month.  Apparently, I like to keep things crazy and have it on the same day.  I can't even begin to process my thoughts so I'll leave it at that and hope to write more tomorrow.  Wow...amazing day.  Thanks to my family for being there and thanks for all my colleagues who were there to get me through my portfolio and thanks to my wonderful husband for all your support. Night night, this girls exhausted.

March 7, 2012


Here it is, another week has gone by and no posts from me.  It is the time in my life where I wish I could capture every single thought and feeling about my life as this has been one of the most emotional few months of my life with moving in a few weeks and with the student teaching joys...or lack there of.  So while I have about 57 different topics I've been thinking about and wanting to write, I haven't had the time.  But another thought has occurred to me, that most of the posts I want to share with my reader (and document for myself so I can later reflect on later in life) and will want to post involve some form of crying. (ex, wet eyes, tears formed, tears flowing at a slow pace down cheek, tears flowing rapidly down cheek or sobbing uncontrollably complete with red cheeks and runny nose).  So I thought it was important that before I begin posting anything these next several weeks leading to months I should share a little something about me so my very few readers won't think I'm a total weirdo!

These past few weeks of crying are pretty normal. I cry at just about everything.  I tear up (eyes just get a little watery, no actual tear flow down cheek) about twice a day and actually cry hard on average about once a month...but with the months I've had while student teaching and now with the move nearing, the tears and crying have become much more frequent.

You see, I have always been a pretty emotional person.  My college roommate, Stacy and I used to fall asleep with the TV on but when the Pampers commercial with all the little baby animals came on, we'd both start crying.  I loved that I wasn't the only one who would cry at a sappy cute commercial of baby animals.  I've been known to cry at Hallmark commercials, The Lion King (all 327 times I've watched it) and every other Disney movie for that matter. I cry at sad stories, happy stories, ALL love stories, sappy movies, funerals and weddings, even when I don't know the person/couple. I just cry. I am a super emotional person. What is interesting about all that is that growing up, I would never cry for anything that involved me.  I was very proud of the fact that I never cried, no matter what the pain. It wasn't until a little therapy with a counselor in my 20's that I learned how to feel my emotions and OH DO I EVER!

Ever since then, I cry at every little thing that I feel for someone else AND my own emotions.  I'm such an emotional person. With all this about crying, it's worth saying when I am happy I am REALLY happy. And generally when I am crying it's because of something really happy or that I am just emotional...not that I'm incredibly sad.  But on the flip side, what would make another person a little down, I sob.  I really hate it.  But it is who I am, and thankfully I dated Jason long enough and fell in love with me before he saw the waterworks that I am.  And now he just laughs are me. :)

So point in me sharing all that is that it's an emotional time right now when I think it'd be fairly normal to be a little sad, to possibly even shed a couple tears, but for me that means, crying and sobbing like a baby.  I have a lot of goodbyes to say these next few weeks and while I know it will be hard, I think my biggest challenge will be to keep myself composed enough to just say my goodbyes and be level-headed through it all.  My biggest fear of our "going-away" parties these next couple weeks are that I am going to be a blubbering mess before I even see anyone, let alone say our goodbyes!  So as I write and share thoughts about how I'm feeling, know that this is just how I am.  I cry really easily and while it annoys the heck out of me (imagine me in professional setting, happy or sad) it is who I am.  You can laugh as you read, but at least now you know I am aware that I would agree...I'm an emotional one!

March 1, 2012

Meanderings for March 1

Happy March 1, the day after Leap Day! It's been a long week but it's nearing the end!  I am so thankful for Jason who has taken over all of my responsibilities every day so I can come home from school and work on my portfolio and go straight to bed.   As I've said before, I want to be a good wife and now that I'm "working" all day I still want to do all the things I've been doing when I wasn't working.  Well with the portfolio due on Sunday and lesson plans that need to be done, I don't have time to take Cooper to the dog park and get dinner on the table.  He's done both of those plus way more for me every day.  Thanks Jason, I'm so thankful for you and how well we're working as a team through this hard time!

Very exciting news for us is that we  signed our lease yesterday so now have an address in Colorado!  So all of you now have a place to come visit so mark your calendars!  Maybe I already said this but when our townhouse fell through initially I was very discouraged, I quickly realized that it was really a good thing.  Since the renting is only temporary we figured it makes more sense to save now for a house later.  So, it's official...we have a place to call home in 30 days!

Now that it's just 30 days it's hitting home.  I have to get through this week and then I can really focus on what is left to do while here and make the most of it.  I hope to write as much as possible leading up until that day.  One awesome thing I found out about our move to Colorado is that I do NOT need to take a written test to get a new license.  (these are the kind of things I'm worrying about right now). I also was upset I have to give up my license when I get there because it has sentimental value to me.  The day we got back from our wedding in Mexico I went and got a new picture with my new last name.  I hate to have to give that up so soon!  But, I guess I don't get a new license until either 1.) I get a job or 2.) I have lived there for 90 days, so that buys me some time. :)

I took a sick day from student teaching today. I am not feeling well (as the day has gone on I keep feeling worse), but was hoping to get a lot more of the portfolio done.  I got some done, but not as much as I wanted. However, I'm thankful for the morning of sleeping in (until 7:30!) and not having to go to the school for a day.

Ohhhh last bit of really great news this week is that I found out I get to finish my last week of student teaching at a different school.  I observed last week at a classroom with kids with autism and it was amazing.  I learned so much in the very short time I was there so I got it arranged that I can spend my last week there. I hope to learn so much and am so excited!  Oh, and did I mention they are not one of the "extended school hours" so 8:30 start time.  Soooo much better! :)

Happy Thursday all! Hope your week is going well...mine sure will once the portfolio is submitted!

February 26, 2012

Birthday and Weekend Update

My favorite day of the year happened on Friday - my birthday! It was the slowest day ever until 3:30 and then it went by super fast. I didn't even have time to check Facebook all day. (that's what you really know its been a busy day!) I came home and my parents were already on their way downtown.  We had decided that my birthday weekend was the perfect time for them to come stay the weekend with us for the last time.  We all went to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, Rose Angeli's which is on my "Chicago To-Do List" for before we move and it was just as I remembered. While I didn't love my dinner I got Chocolate fondue which came with a candle in it. (Thanks Dad for telling them it was my birthday!)

When we got home we opened presents (I love presents- haha!). Thanks Mom, Dad, Judy and Mark for my gifts! Thanks to Jason too who surprised me with a pair of Toms shoes I have wanted and a Coach purse.  Man he really pays attention to what I want!!

Saturday we had breakfast at a local breakfast joint them headed downtown to be tourists.  We did some returns along State St.  My dad and Jason hit up Garretts. We went to the bean (which never gets old!) and went to Macy's to exchange my Coach purse. Long story short...the one he bought I loved but the straps were too short. I found another that was on sale about 75% off and is just PERFECT. I am sooooo excited. :) We were going to go to the Sears Tower which is another on my "Chicago To-Do list" since I haven't been since I was about ten but we ran out of time.

It was a wonderful birthday weekend.  Thanks Mom and Dad for coming and making my day and weekend special.  Thanks to my wonderful husband for knowing just what I wanted for my birthday when I didn't even have to ask for it and thanks to all of you for all the birthday wishes via text, email and calls!

To continue on about my weekend...After all the festivities, Jason and I went to church. Another amazing sermon at Willow. Have I mentioned how much I am going to miss that church?!  Then I came home and worked on schoolwork.  Today we slept in (LOVE having the option to go to church on Sat nights!) and then I spend a  majority of the day working on my portfolio.  I treated myself with a break with a trip to Ulta and Old Navy but quickly learned that I was too late and both were closed when I got there.  So the rest of my night was more schoolwork and portfolio.  I didn't get as much done as I wanted but am making progress!  One week from tonight and I'll be DONE!!!

Two more other updates are that 1.) We gave Same his trial of meds for the road trip and it was a bust. While it certainly affected him, he just became more needy and more alert with some drowsy eyelids.  We were instructed to give him a little more of the pill if that happened but I am trying to decide what to do.  I don't feel right giving him meds but also know he gets SO nervous in the car. (poops, pees, cries) 2.) We found out our townhouse in CO won't be available.  While we were very disappointed to learn the news, we quickly realized that God still has his hand in this and has opened our eyes to other possibilities.  Needless to say, I will be very relieved once we know where we'll be living in just over a month.

Last update of the weekend is that my cousin got engaged today...Congrats Amy! Couldn't be happier for you and Troy!

Thanks again for all who shared in my birthday! Hope you all had a wonderful weekend as well! Countdown is at 3 weeks until I'm done student teaching...but only one until my portfolio is due and two until my paper's due and portfolio is reviewed.  It's going to fly by!

LOL where's Stephanie and Jason??

Dad, Mom, Me and Jason :)

February 23, 2012

I'm Surviving... :)

Just thought I'd take a quick minute to blog since I miss it so much!  I'm actually doing really well given the circumstances of all that's going on right now.  So either God is really good and giving me peace or next week is going to be nuts and I'm going to have so much anxiety I won't be able to function. I think it is probably a little bit of both.  But just the fact that I think I can take a couple minutes out to write says that I'm doing okay!

Today I survived my "midterm" assessment by my NLU supervisor.  She has been observing me the past few weeks while I've attempted to teach. It is nothing that any of my colleagues have been doing but it's just as challenging in a completely different way.  Quite honestly, I feel like it's challenging in all the wrong ways.  However, I am so thankful for my faith because I honestly have no idea how I'd have gotten this far without God at my side and knowing that there is some reason (which I may never know) for being in the situation that I am.  But hey...just 3 weeks and one day more and since we're off on Casmir Pulaski (gotta love being in Chicago!) it's really only another 15 days.  But who is counting, right?

Everything with "the move" really still hasn't hit me.  It completely consumes my life and is pretty much all I talk about to almost everyone but it still hasn't hit me.  I am scheduling "last dates" with friends and have our going away party planned.  We've taken Sam to the vet to get his meds to help his long drive go better. (he does NOT travel well).  Jason has started packing boxes and has ordered the rental truck.  God willing, we are signing a lease in the next week or so (or will be finding a new location/lease to sign. Lots of things are moving right long but it really hasn't sunk in yet that we'll be gone in 36 days. OH MY GOSH.  36 days...maybe it will start to hit me now.

Thank you for all your prayers thus far with my portfolio and finishing up my student teaching.  Like I said...I totally feel God's presence through all this and pray it will continue through next Sunday night.

February 20, 2012

My Presidents Day Update

I am so thankful to have today off. I found out on Saturday that my portfolio is due a week earlier than the original date so I have two weeks to get everything completed. Portfolio Review Day is March 10...I will be celebrating like crazy if I pass. This quarter has been so hard with student teaching (especially with my placement) and my portfolio being due and the paper we have to do for our student teaching...and moving in 6 weeks. There is light at the end of the tunnel!! Two weeks and my portfolio is done. Three weeks and my paper will be done and portfolio will be reviewed. And in four weeks I'll be done student teaching! Then I have two weeks off to pack, spend time with my wonderfully supportive husband and see friends and family before we head west!! Please pray for me especially these next two weeks and on March 10 when my portfolio will be reviewed! Happy Presidents Day!!

February 15, 2012

Cooper and daycare

When we got Cooper our neighbors also got a St. Bernard puppy and cooper and him became best of friends. At first he was bigger than Macallan but as time passed Macallan quickly grew to double the size of Cooper. It's quite a laugh to watch them play because Cooper definitely thinks he can still take down his best friend in any wrestling match and does all he can to take him down. (picture little 50 lb. Cooper taking down a 100 lb. St. Bernard.)

After our terrible boarding experience at Happy Tails and Trails in November I have been hesitant to bring Cooper anywhere for daycare or boarding. I was trying to wait until we moved so we could find a place we liked and use forever. But now with me working everyday we had to find somewhere we could take him the weeks Jason travels for work. Macallan goes to daycare and loves it, so I thought its be good to bring Cooper where he'd already know a dog and the owner. (we brought him on a tour where he checked out the facility and met the owners withus).

Jason brought him in last Tuesday for his trial day. We were told if he didn't do well, we would get a call. 8 hours later I picked him up and he came bouncing into the waiting area, tail wagging, tongue flailing. :)

Needless to say he had a blast. His buddy Macallan was exhausted as well so I imagine they had a very playful day together. Cooper was such a sweet loving dog Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday! Last Wednesday I took him for a run and Thursday Jason brought him to the dog park but only for 25 minutes...and he STILL got tired! It's my dream dog...loving, sweet, loyal and still playful, just not an attack dog the second I walk in the door.

Goldendoodles just have SO much energy...I'm so thankful for daycare for him to get his energy out.

I took him again yesterday because they're running a great promotion now that allows us to take him five times before it starts to break the bank. I'm so excited for cooper to have a LONG chance to play and for us to have a break from his crazy playfulness and energy. :)

February 7, 2012

Rings and a Cat

After being married for 17 months I finally got my rings soldered together and I'm wondering why I waited so long to do it. I have a certain someone to thank for helping me realize that I wanted to do it.

After I got married,I did some research on the Internet and asked around and all I heard was "don't do it!!" The main reason I heard was because if I ever wanted to wear just my wedding band I obviously couldn't once they were permanently joined together.

Well a few weeks ago I got out of the shower (the only time I take my rings off) and couldn't find my engagement ring anywhere. I usually put them on the counter and my wedding band was sitting right where I left it. However, my very playful cat, Sam, was also on the counter next to my wedding band with a sly grin on his face. After looking all over the counter, floor and everywhere in between I finally figured out it must have been knocked into the sink by Sam and fell down the drain.

I'm sure Jason was thrilled to be woken up by me asking him to take apart all the pipes and plumbing in the bathroom all before I had to leave in the next 15 minutes. Great guy that he is, he had the pipes apart and had my ring back on my finger in about five minutes. This situation surely only grew Jason's already profound love that he has for Sammie! (if you didn't catch the sarcasm...he's not a huge fan of my cat:)

Through this early morning experience I realized how much it bothered me going to work without my rings on so figured I'd never have a reason to wear just one at a time and made the appointment to have them soldered. Also while that was being done, I had them re-dip them (I'm sure there's a better word for that) and of course they cleaned them so it's like I have a brand new ring. My rings always stay together and they fit much better now so they're no longer flipping all the time. I didn't realize how annoying that was until I got them joined.

Moral of this story...when you have a playful kitty who follows you everywhere and bats around just about anything and everything...put your rings somewhere safe that he can't get them.

February 5, 2012

Student Teaching Beginning Week 5 of 10

I cannot believe I've been student teaching for 4 weeks already and am about to begin week number 5.  It's been a pretty amazing month thus far.  I was originally in a primary self-contained classroom with eight students, seven with autism and one with downs syndrome.  It was my ideal placement minus the grade level since I really want to work with middle or high school. After about 2 minutes in the classroom I fell in love with each student and realized that teaching kids with special needs is definitely my calling.  I'm so excited to teach special ed! Plus, now after spending 4 weeks in the primary classroom I am definitely more open and excited about the opportunity to work with elementary aged kids. :)

On Thursday I was switched into a different classroom, now I'm with 6th, 7th and 8th grade in a cross-categorical room., so it's a completely different experience!  I feel like I'm at a bit of a loss with only 6 weeks left and 4 of those weeks supposed to be me teaching the class on my own...plus the papers I have to write for my seminar but I am thankful for the switch.  Very thankful...I can go into more details once this experience is done and I have landed my first teaching job but for now I'll leave it at that.  What I just blogged about and how tired I have been...with this new switch, I'm hopeful that I won't be nearly as emotionally drained at the end of each day.  I'm very excited for the next 6 weeks to see how much more I can learn through this experience! :)

Fitting it all in

I miss blogging so much. I know not many people read it but I love capturing all that's going on with my life plus I love how writing helps me process my thoughts.  There's been no time lately and I've been having a hard time adjusting to the early mornings and crazy schedule.  We have such a limited amount of time here so I have filled my schedule to the brim meeting with just about everything.  I have friends I want to see (each about 5 times!).  Family I want to spend time with (also spending lots of quality time with each).  Chicago things I want to do (I actually have a Chicago "to-do before we move" list). Groupons and YouSwoops that need to be used up. Willow Church services to attend as many times as possible. And just about anything else you can think of.  All of this on top of adjusting to working every day all day (I know...woe is me, but it's been over a year since I had that schedule and it takes time to adjust. :) A CRAZY wild dog who needs an hour at the dog park every night unless I want him barking, biting and jumping on me all night. (I thought after a year his energy levels would go down...wishful thinking).  I'm still trying to cook dinners, do the laundry, clean the condo and do all the wife responsibilities that I have been very proud to do as a wife. I started a new devotional (that I LOVE!) which is helping me stay on track with my quiet time with God, but obviously this takes time too.  And through all this, I've realized I HAVE to have my full 8 hours of sleep at night which means I have to be in bed by 9:30...lights out at 10:00 so I can set my alarm for 5:45.  There is just not enough time in the day to do it all.  Thankfully, I have a wonderful husband who is helping me realize I can't do all the "wife" things while also working (for free!) full time and trying to do everything I want to do before we move.  I just feel we have such a limited time here and want to get everything in that I possibly can. I know in only 8 weeks I am going to be all alone in CO, probably without a job and all this free time wishing I could be with friends and do all the stuff I want to fit in before I leave...so I MUST do it all now. If only I didn't require soooo much sleep every night, all my problems would be solved. Wouldn't it be nice if it was that easy? :)

January 27, 2012

Fill in the Blank Friday

Ohhhh how I miss blogging!  So so much!  Student teaching is really exhausting. While I would love to blog about my experience, I want to be professional about it so I won't be sharing too many details on that. I wil say that it's not a "typical" student teaching experience.  I hope to write more in the coming days as life is crazy and I have been busy busy busy!  Miss you all...thanks for stopping by Fill in the Blanks Friday.  Join Lauren here! :)

1.   My favorite place i've ever traveled to is   Europe and Mexico...too different to choose just one     .

2.   Australia and S. Africa (are)      is somewhere I'd love to go someday.

3.  I pass the time on a plane (or bus, or car ride or train) by     talking Jason's ear off and being bored...I'm a terrible traveler      .

4.  My three must-haves when I travel are    my iPhone     ,   headphones    and     computer   

5.  My favorite travel companion is    Jason  .

6.  The craziest thing that ever happened to me while traveling is   when United Airlines lost my luggage on my way TO a cruise...I had no clothes, make-up, blow-dryer, swim suit, shoes, etc for 3 days. Oh and when I finally got it, half my stuff was stolen.  .

7.  The most exotic food I've ever tried while traveling is   I really have no idea?   .

8.  If I could live anywhere else, I'd live in   I'll try out Colorado and see how that works out...if I ever could move again it'd be somewhere warm.  AZ maybe?   .

9.  I have been to   27   
states in the U.S.

January 16, 2012

We Can MOVE!

After last weekend in Colorado I was beyond excited about our future move but we still weren't sure when that was going to happen.  The day before we moved to our new place on Irving, we learned that the closing of our condo wasn't going to happen on the scheduled date of December 15 due to the lender not approving the loan.  Long story short, it wasn't because of the buyers financial state but instead was due to the number of CHA (Chicago Housing Authority) units and rentals in our building...all things that we or the buyer cannot control.  The night that we learned of the news, we were told that the buyer may have been scared away by the number of CHA units in our building (though we quickly learned that that number was incorrect) but we all know how easily they could turn away from our unit and move on to find another house.

We were literally less than 12 hours hours from moving out so we decided that we'd move forward on faith.  How could God have brought us that far with everything being so easy and perfect to just close the door on us?  Saturday morning we moved. Then we prayed and prayed.

It's been a long month of not knowing.  I haven't really moved in and unpacked boxes.  Knowing we are moving out in March is one thing, but thinking there was a possibility of moving back to Old Town,\ I just couldn't bring myself to unpack.  But as the month went on, we learned that we were getting closer and closer to clear for closing.  Finally, after learning that the closing was scheduled on Wednesday we learned that we weren't cleared to close and would have to wait another week or so.  Then on Tuesday we learned again that we were clear to close on Wednesday at 2:30.  I waited all day for the text from Jason and it finally came around 3:45.  Everything was finalized. We no longer owned the condo in Old Town!!  We went out that night to celebrate but it still hasn't really sunk in.

I've been freaking out all week trying to figure out how I'll see everyone enough times before I move.  That with adjusting to my new schedule of working every day (more to come on that!), I haven't really accepted it all.  I am super excited to move though.  I can't explain the relief it is to know we are moving the end of March and can finally move forward in planning our lives together.

Thank you so much for all who have been praying. God has certainly had his hand in ALL of this from the very beginning.  So thankful to have His direction and guidance through it all.

January 8, 2012

The In Colorado Post Part Two

Hi!!  I am all done with my test!!  I am overjoyed! I had no idea it was weighing me down as much as it was, but it is OVER.  Last night was another unsuccessful night of sleep, tossing and turning and then finally waking up at 4am.  No nightmares though so that was nice. :)

I got out of bed around 5:00am and was out of the hotel by 6:00.  I was able to find a Panera that opened literally the minute I drove up at 6:30.  As I was driving to the school about 3 miles out I just started freaking out and started crying.  By the time I pulled up to the school I was sobbing.  I was so incredibly nervous...I felt so much pressure to have to pass this test after spending all this money to come all the way here.  I am also sure the tears were a result of the lack of sleep (I cry really easily when I'm tired) but I also felt a lot of pressure to pass this thing. (I'm slightly embarrassed I'm admitting how much I lost it!) But once I got there I ended up being switched classrooms that only had 4 people taking tests (the class I was supposed to be in had at least 30 people...and when I took my LBS-1 test in IL it had about 100 people in it, so I was SO relieved!)  I have the hardest time staying focused when someone coughs or clears their throat so having just 4 people in the room was wonderful!  I think I did okay on the test. I won't find out until Jan 23 but I feel okay about it.  There were about 4 questions pertaining specifically to Colorado law but I did my best.  I'm praying I passed, praying, praying, praying.

After the test I felt such a huge relief and was on Cloud 9. I met Jason's step sister for some great conversation and sushi in some cute town...I think it was the Highland(s) neighborhood? Super cute area.

After lunch I drove back to my hotel hoping to head back out to check out the mall near where we plan to move but pretty much passed out as soon as I got home.  I took a nice little nap and woke up to snow!  I have been loving the extremely mild winter in Chicago so definitely not complaining but really miss the snow, so was really excited to be able to enjoy it here tonight!

Now that I was well rested I headed up to a church in Parker for worship.  It was a nice church but made me realize how much I am going to miss Willow. There's nothing quite like a church experience once you've been to Willow and we've pretty much made S. Barrington our church home for the past several months.  I'm thankful I get to go home and enjoy it these last couple months and pray we can find the right church when we move here.

After church I got dinner to-go and a Redbox movie and drove home in the snow (realizing again how much I love the Mazda and how well it handled the snow!)

Came home and chatted with the husband for a very long time (I miss him..a lot.) and was so excited to watch my movie but my computer can't read the DVD...so here I am. Again, spending my night with you. :)  Thanks for keeping me company and reading.  I LOVE this state and am so excited to move here.

SO thankful the test is over and a huge thank you to everyone who facebooked and texted me today. I felt the love and really felt the prayers while I was taking the test. I long for the day when I never have to take another test again.  I know that is a long time from now...so thanks for your thoughts and prayers!

Love to you all and I'll bring some snow in my carry-on home to Chicago!  See you all in Chicago! xoxo

January 6, 2012

Fill in the Blank Friday!

Linking up with Lauren at "the little things we do."  Join me! Happy Friday!

1.   One of my favorite things to do when I have free time is    run, watch Ellen and/or cook    .

2.   When I have free time I tend to   waste my time on Facebook  :( (this needs to stop!)     .

3.  If I had an entire day completely to myself I would    I don't really know...I've had a lot of time off lately and when you have too much time off you don't really make the best use of it.  I'd like to say I'd sleep in, do my devotions, then go for a run, have lunch with a friend, take Cooper to the dog park, make Jason and myself dinner and then hang out with Jason.      .

4.  I would prefer to spend my free time (alone or with others...)    both...I can't be alone too long before I go nuts (usually about 7 hours is my limit) but I also love my alone time too    .

5.  Most of my free time happens   when Jason travels   .

6.  The best thing about free time is   sleeping in or taking a nap   .

7.  The next time I have free time I should probably    get our condo organized (it's still a mess since we moved in)   but instead, I'll probably    waste time on the internet   .