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   .

The In Colorado Post

So I've been in Colorado for about 36 hours.  I was very excited to make the trip our here by myself but obviously very nervous about taking my test tomorrow.  Everything has gone along really well since Jason dropped me off at the airport.  I got an aisle seat in the second row on the flight when I was like one of the last ones who got to board (Southwest).  We landed over a half hour early and I was greeted in Denver by sunny skies and about 60 degrees which eventually turned to 70 degrees!!  The best part was that when I went to get my rental car it was the car I've been DYING to drive because I am/was hoping to some day own.  (A Mazda CX9).  I was overjoyed, practically jumping up and down when I saw it.  (It's the little things.)

After getting settled in my hotel and kicking myself for not bringing my running shoes and clothes for the bike path that is literally outside my front door, I hit the roads to look at some houses/neighborhoods that are for sale.  I spent the whole day exploring the area we hope to move to and getting so excited to move here.  Everything is so new and different and the air is just so fresh! So fresh (or shall I say thin?) that I've had a headache since I got here and huff and puff after only walking up a flight of stairs but know after a while I'll adjust. Oh, and the dryness has caused me to go through about a gallon of lotion and 10 lip balms...just in 36 hours. I hit the hay very early since I was exhausted after being up at 5:00. (little different from the 9:00 wake-up I've been experiencing the past few weeks!)

I had a sleepless night filled with some really random nightmares (tend to have this when I sleep in new places...it's great. :)  I spent the morning doing my devotions then headed up north to the high school where my test will be tomorrow. I needed to scope out the route and get a feel for where it'll be so I can be on time tomorrow.  I then met with a leasing agent where we hope to rent when we move until we found our permanent home.  Again, I fell in love.  They even have a big dog park that has Coopers name ALL over it.  The rest of the afternoon was spent checking out more neighborhoods and houses to get a feel for the area.  I finished up the night with a movie, "Young Adult" (don't waste your time on this one) and now here I am with nothing on the TV and no one to talk to so...I'm spending tonight with you. :)

I cannot even put into words how excited I am to move here.  It is more of a reality being here alone because I know once we move Jason will be busy with work and I will be in desperate need for my "human interaction" as I call it.  I'm really lonely but am convinced that if I can get through the first year or so and meet people, I will really love it here. I am most excited to raise our kids here.  I believe it will be such a great place to grow up with so much to do!  I kept thinking all day, if I could just pack up all my friends and family this would be the greatest place in the world for me. Won't you all just pack up and move out here with us?! Since that probably isn't going to happen, I just pray that I'll meet people and quickly.  I really believe this is where we're being called to. I'm also at peace that we'll rent for a little while so if not...we can move back.  But I must say...it's truly like another world out here.

I'm so excited for this next chapter of my life...for the little taste of it this weekend.  And at the same time I am so excited I get to go back home and live it up in Chicago with my friends and family until we are able to make the move here.

Please say a prayer for me and this test tomorrow.  I'm nervous about how I'll sleep tonight after my sleepless night last night and the test itself.  Then it's "go-time!" for the test!  I'm meeting Jason's step sister for lunch afterwards then hope to find a church to attend tomorrow night before I leave on Sunday.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend and enjoy that crazy warm spring-like weather!

January 5, 2012


While walking through Midway Airport this morning I went to get a drink from the drinking fountain and saw this...
YAY!  It is about time!  Rather than having bottled water sold everywhere I would LOVE to see this in malls, schools, hospitals, etc.  As I wrote about here, I really hate the whole idea of bottled water when we live in a country with safe running water with just a flip of a faucet.  I'm super excited to see this concept at the airport!  I think I will go fill my water bottle before I leave. :)

January 1, 2012

Happy 2012!

Every year I like to post my year in review and reflect on how I've done in my "positive changes" (as I like to call them rather than resolutions) while also making some new positive changes for the new year. This year I will continue with this but also add a Bible verse which will hopefully guide me through the new year.

Last year was the first of Jason and I being married for a full year.  Marriage is a lot of work and I learn that more every day but I've also learned as we've grown together how amazing, wonderful and rewarding it truly can be.  It's amazing what comes of something that God has designed and I am so grateful that He brought us together.

We also brought our first puppy into our lives as a married couple (and for me it's my first dog ever).  From the million posts I've shared it's not secret how much joy Cooper has brought to both of our lives.  I really had no idea just how much happiness a dog could bring to us...I can only image how a child of our own will make me feel!

We made a huge decision to move our family to Colorado so put our condo on the market and made a temporary move to the north side of Chicago and I also finished up my last quarter of grad school.  It's really been quite the year.

I've tried to reflect back and capture the highlights. There were plenty of good times spent with family and friends including many breakfast, lunch, dinner and coffee dates.  I'm sure I'm forgetting plenty but for now this is what comes to mind.

  • Drove to Wisconsin and picked out our little Cooper
  • Passed the LBS 1 test
  • Another trip to Wisconsin and brought Cooper home!
  • Turned 32 years old
  • Began leading our small group
  • Saw Chris Tomlin at Willow Creek
  • Mark and Judy visited Chicago over St. Patrick's Day

  • Cubs season began - Went to about 1-2 games a month...they did not win the World Series this year as I'd hoped...
  • Participated in the 5 Day Food Challenge at church
  • Went to CO and made the final decision that we're moving there once our condo sells
  • My goddaughter, Katie, visited Chicago for a sleepover

  • My first outing with Kaylee to Cosley Park
  • Brooke brought me to the Cubs/Sox game and I got to sit in first row behind home plate

  • Trip to Sioux City for 4th of July - Coopers first long road trip
  • Started my summer babysitting job
  • Staged our condo (what I consider move # 1)
  • DMB Caravan

  • Rode the Critical Mass all around Chicago
  • Lollapolooza (Phil and Laura visited)
  • Kaylee turned one 
  • Fun at the lakehouse
  • Put the condo on the market
  • Sioux City again (wedding season began)
  • Went to see a movie all by myself  
  • Celebrated our first anniversary
  • Ran Race for the Cure 5K
  • 3 weddings - All beautiful

  • Started Bible Study in S. Barrington that was transforming
  • Trip to WI to hike
  • Ran the Bucktown 5K
  • Kaylee sleepover in Chicago
  • Found out we’re going to be an aunt/uncle again!
  • Jason and my first experience watching a polo tournament

  • Accepted an offer on our condo  :)
  • Found out we’re moving to north side of Chicago until March
  • Our Honeymoon to Cabo San Lucas
    • zip lining
    • ATV'ing
  • Ran the Hot Chocolate 5K
  • New windshield – Totally felt God’s protection over me

  • Hosted Jason’s cousin and friends in Chicago where he proposed to his now fiance
  • Moved to north side of Chicago
  • Found out student teaching placement
  • Willow Creek Christmas Service with my parents
  • Christmas in Iowa with Jason's family
Last year I decided not to share my personal changes publicly so can't share my progress but this year I am keeping it simple. Positive Changes for 2012...
  • I'd like to plan ahead with meal planning so I can grocery shop by Sunday night
  • I am trying to stick to the devotions I was given as a gift from Jason's aunt
  • Jason and I want to stick with a couples devotion we started today
  • Ummmm...less wine, more working out and losing weight - it's my standard positive change that never seems to stick.  Maybe this is the year?!

2012 has some really big changes for us as we plan to move to Colorado.  I'd like this years verse to really sink in and carry me through the big changes as I know it's going to be really hard but hopefully bring us both joy.  My verse of 2012:

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

Christmas With my Parents

Since we spent Christmas in Iowa, my parents came to Chicago for Christmas. It was wonderful.  We decided to have snacks rather than dinner so we had some snacks.  My mom made some chicken wings which made the smoke detectors go off every few minutes.  Then when my dad pulled the wings out, a napkin was pushed near a candle flame which cause it to start on fire {insert a very panicked Stephanie here} but everything was okay. We opened presents (I got my crock pot!!) and then played some Apples to Apples.  It was a super quick night but a lot of fun. :)  Thank you Mom and Dad for coming down to Chicago so we could celebrate Christmas with you both.

New Years Eve

I've never been a huge fan of NYE, for as long as I could remember I just don't' like it. We all know how much I love my sleep so obviously it makes perfect sense that I'd probably not enjoy NYE. New Years Day on the other hand, is one of my favorites!  Before I met Jason I would babysit on NYE, it was safe and a great way to make a lot of money while avoiding the crowds and craziness.  Once we met, Jason and I have gone to a nice dinner and then come home and I've been asleep before midnight.  Since this was our last year in Chicago he wanted us to go out and celebrate.

My friend, Andrea, told us about a great bar pretty close to us with an even better deal.  We were excited to go out and I had a system down...lots of water and some diet coke mixed in with a few beers so I'd be able to stay awake.  The night ended up being a lot of fun, we had a great time catching up with Andrea and Kyle. :)

I have to say though that I am still a hater of NYE.  All this anticipation (3 1/2 hours for us since we got there at 8:30) and all for what?!  We counted down those last 7 or 8 seconds of 2011 and then....HAPPY NEW YEAR!  We clanked our plastic champagne glasses, Jason forgot to kiss me and then people started popping the balloons that had fallen from the balloon drop.  I mean honestly...3 1/2 hours of waiting for that.  Booooo.  Plus the last 30-45 minutes before midnight I always have a mini panic attack in my head about what the next year may bring.  Yeah, I am a freak, I know.  It just always scares me a little bit, I hate change so it makes sense that the new year brings a little anxiety to me.  But I am super thankful we did go out. In a way I feel like a grown-up again for actually making myself go out and for making myself stay awake.  And like I said, it was probably our last NYE in Chicago and what better way to bring in the new year than with one of my best friends and her boyfriend and my favorite husband in our favorite city?  Right...there isn't one.

Hope you all had a wonderful New Years Eve...Cheers to you and many blessing in 2012!