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 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 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'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 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'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!