Sunday, August 21, 2011

L is for Love

Disclaimer: It's a long one.

As I mentioned in the post about Lily's birthday, it's our First Anniversary! Josh and I were married on August 21, 2010, in a wedding that was perfect for our personalities. And now, here were are, one year later, with new accomplishments, new goals, new perspectives and the rest of our lives ahead of us. But, as promised, our story:

The very first time I met Josh was at Gladstone Christian Church. I should preface by saying that Kody, my younger brother, had been in a bible study with him for a while. I'd heard Kody talk about Josh before, but it didn't mean much since I'd never met him. Apparently, Kody had told Josh "You should date my sister." Josh asked "Is she cute?" To which Kody responded "Well, she's my sister, but I'd say she's pretty cute."

Head back in time with me to the summer of 2008, Gladstone's Sunday evening service. This tall, skinny man was sitting in front of me with a little blonde girl, and Levi (who I'd only met a couple times at this point). I put the pieces together, and figured out who that guy was with Levi. After the service, I was introduced to Josh and Lily, chatting with them, Levi, and some of my family for a little while.  After Josh, Levi and Lily left, Kody informed me that he told Josh he could date me. My response? "Great, I don't even know Josh." 

Not long after, Kody was moving to California to be close to his soon-to-be wife, Emily. My parents threw him a small going away party. Guess who came...Josh and Levi. At one point, Josh was sitting next to me, and started reading aloud a text I had received from a friend. Feeling like I'd been invaded by someone I barely knew (although unbelievably cute), I wasn't sure what my opinion on him was. I mean, really, who does that?

Fast forward one year. I'll spare you the details of our both of our journeys over the course of that year. We had gone our separate ways and learned more about ourselves than I think we ever could have imagined. But, as God planned it, those separate paths led back to each other on Avery's first birthday. Josh and Levi had spent some time with Erik, my brother-in-law (although I'll refer to him as my brother, because, well, he is my brother now) and they'd formed some pretty good friendships. So, there we are. Both available. With Kody's suggestion of dating back in our minds. 

At Avery's Party
I'd be lying if I said there wasn't any flirting. I know that day that Josh was husband material.  Maybe I even knew that one day he'd be my husband. Ok, I knew. I can't explain how I knew, but I knew. *Pause* At this party, people were already scheming about Josh and I getting together. Tabitha partook in this by trying to text me that we would have cute babies. Instead, her text said "You would have cute bacon." HILARIOUS.

After that, conveniently, if I was ever going to hang out with Steph, Erik and Avery, Josh would be there. If Josh was helping Erik with their bathroom, I would get invited over. Subtle, right? But it worked. We spent alot (ALOT) of time together that summer, including beach and camping trips (not even dating yet):

I think the key to lasting relationships is building a friendship first. Even though I knew that we would date and marry one day, I enjoyed being Josh's friend. He made me laugh, was lighthearted, and listened to everything I said. He would repeat back the most random things that I didn't even remember saying, leaving me to wonder "How does he know that about me?" While being his friend, I started falling in love with him, whether I was ready to admit it or not. I think he would say the same. Josh and I would talk about our relationship on occasion. He would tell me about how he was waiting for God to tell him it was time. He was serious about it, and I respected that, even appreciated it. It was amazing to see a man wait and rely on God to show him the right time.

On the way home from a beach trip, Josh *finally* asked me on a "light date." This date was coffee and a walk, which I think ended up being about 4 miles or something. We talked the entire time, enjoying each others' company to no end. A few days later, we went on a real date. But before we could do that, Josh wanted to assure my parents that his intentions were good. Let me tell you, if you haven't experienced a man traditionally pursuing you, it a special feeling. It was so reassuring to hear him speak highly of me, to my parents, and to hear that he had the best of intentions for me and for our relationship. If I didn't know before, I knew then that he would be my husband. He even brought me flowers; but not traditional flowers. Yellow gerber daisies and pink calla lilies. My two favorite colors and two favorite flowers. See? He listened to everything.

By the end of August, we were pretty much inseparable from then on. I think we probably spent time together every day unless he was out of town working. Then, on March 20, 2010, Josh and I had a weekend where Lily was with her mom (his planning, I'm sure) and we were able to head up to Seattle for the day. I thought it was like any other day, and was just excited to get out of town and have a Saturday of from school. As I look back now, I realize that Josh was super nervous, distracted, and a little high strung. But at the time, I had now clue. We met up with my friend Tonya for lunch at Pike Place Chowder (if you've never been, you HAVE TO GO! Best chowder ever.) and then parted ways. Josh wanted to go to the EMP, but we were thoroughly disappointed to find it was closing right as we got there. Josh played it off really well when I suggested "Well, let's go up the Space Needle instead." While up on the observation deck, Josh proposed, and it was beautiful and perfect. Once back inside, Josh informed me that we had reservations in the Sky City Restaurant at the top of the Space Needle. Me response: "What? You planned all of this?" He didn't even care about the stupid EMP. 

Calling my parents

4 months later, on August 21, 2010 we were married in a beautiful wedding:

One year later, here we are. Josh has finished his plumbing school, I finished my Masters in Teaching, and Lily is going into 4th grade. It was a long, busy year, but I wouldn't change it for the world. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

R is for Roses

When I finished my student teaching, my amazingly wonderful mentor teacher gave me a tiny yellow rose bush. They were super cute and smelled fantastic. They came in a little disposable pot, but the tag said that we could plant them and it'd be a bigger rose bush. So, Josh helped me, and we planted it in a bigger pot (since we don't have a yard). At first we thought it was dying. Maybe because the leaves turned brown and fell off. But then all of a sudden one day, we had four little buds! And today, I found a fifth one. We're super excited that it's thriving.
Some of the leaves also got holes in them. It really bothered Josh, so he went out and tried to figure out what was wrong. Apparently he found a bunch of itty bitty green caterpillars eating them (I pictured the Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle and was obviously sad at first). I realize they had to die in order for our bush to be healthy though. But we also had a spider friend eating some of them, so the leaves toward the top where he lives were all good! But anyway, the roses are a symbol of tons of hard work and a new phase of life. Plus, they'll always remind me of Kristi, who I can never thank enough for everything she taught me about teaching...and the friendship I gained during that experience.

Here they are...

This is actually about the size of my pinkie nail!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

J is for Job...or lack of one.

I recently finished my Masters in Teaching (in June) and am now on the job hunt. I remember the day of orientation in October 2009, our adviser at CityU told us that we "will be graduating at a great time. Our economy should improve, and teacher jobs will increase in the next two years." HAHAHAHA....oh, that wasn't a joke? Well, schools are desperate right now to cut back on spending, and have almost no job openings. Plus, even if there are job openings, do you think districts want to hire someone who has 3 months of student teaching under their belt, and no other experience in their own classroom? Probably not. But, I do know that God has a plan for me, and that I'll know it on His time, not mine. I've heard this quote numerous times, and I wish I knew who said it - "God is never late, He's seldom early, but He's always on time." I have to remind myself of that quite frequently, as I want to know the future all the time.

I got my temporary permit in the mail today. This just means my official certificate is on it's way (12-14 weeks seems a bit excessive) and for now, I'm ok to teach with the temp permit. How exciting is it?

I have to admit, I did have a job offer. The church I go to, First Evangelical, has a school as well: Hosanna Christian School. Pastor Steve, who is also Hosanna's principal, has been talking with me off and on throughout the summer about possibly having a position open, most likely part time depending on student enrollment. So, yesterday I met with him, kind of officially, and he offered me a part-time position teaching math and science to 7th and 8th graders. Oh my, was it a tempting offer. Yes, I want to work. I want to plan my own lessons. I want students to teach. I want consistency (as much consistency as you can get as a teacher). BUT, my ultimate goal is to be in a public school, full time. It was so so so tempting to accept, but I felt as if I would be settling, and not pursuing my dreams. Not that working for Hosanna is settling by any means, but to work only part time, and having virtually no opportunities to get my face and name out in the public schools would be detrimental to what I feel called to do. It was really hard to say no to a job. I cried about it. I prayed about it. I talked about it. I sought advice about it. And here I am, wondering if I made the right decision, but knowing deep down that I did.

From a student perspective, it seems like subbing would be the crappiest job on earth. But from a new teacher's perspective, I'm excited about it. I'll be developing classroom management skills, which literally can make or break a teacher. And there's always room to improve in that area. I'll get to experience a wide variety of students, schools, staff, ages, and will know for sure what I like and what I'm good at...and yes, even what I need to work on. I'm ready though. Ready to work. Ready to be a teacher.

Monday, August 15, 2011

N is for.....Nine?

My step-daughter, Lily, just turned 9 years old on August 1st.

I was thinking back to the very first time that I met her. She was about 5, and was small with the roundest little face and long blonde, curly hair. At the time, I had no idea that she would ever be my step-daughter, nor that her handsome dad would be my husband and love of my life within the next few years. I'm working on an anniversary blog, so you can read our story in the next week or so (our 1st anniversary is August 21st!). 

But back to Lily's Birthday...Unlike my mom, I'm not a cake decorator, nor am I super creative. So, I took to the internet in search of something fun for a cake. When we were younger, my mom never failed to create some awesome cakes, complete with a Lego scene of varying kinds each year, each kid. Let's say we had these cakes each year until we were about 12 (just a guess), multiply by 4 (one for each kid) - that would be approximately 48 cakes over those years. Did I ever see a repeat of any of those cakes? Never once. Let's just say: I felt some pressure regarding my skills in the cake department. But what I found seemed somewhat easy, and pretty fun to do. Since Lily likes horses more than anyone else I have ever met in my life, here's what her "cake" looked like:

CUPCAKE HORSE! I originally wanted to make it brown, with black hair. But after desperate attempts at brown frosting (without cocoa powder) and ruining a whole batch of frosting, I nixed the idea of any type of realistic look. I went for the white frosting (no food coloring needed), and with the suggestion of my ever-supportive husband, she became a somewhat My Little Pony horse with a pink mane, tail and hooves. It's definitely not as awesome looking as the one that I stumbled upon online, but it's my first attempt at any sort of frosting decorating. Not too shabby. 

Since we have a tiny apartment, my sister Stephanie graciously allowed us to host the party at her house. Not thinking clearly about transporting the "cake," I did all the decorating at home, and then thought it would be a grand idea to try and bring it in the car without any issues. HA! I was getting INTO the car, and dropped an important cupcake on the floor. The mouth/nose cupcake was frosting side down on the driver's side floor. When I picked it up, most of the frosting was still on the cupcake, and you could still tell it had a mouth and nose. So, thinking I avoided a major tragedy, I pretty quickly moved on.....only to hear Lily say from the back seat "Well, I guess I don't have to choose between the one with the mouth or the one with eye anymore." Of course, I had to ruin one of the front-runners for her birthday cupcake. But it turned out ok in the end. Here is a *small* glimpse of the her fun presents:

This is where she opened the most exciting gift of all: Money. (Good call, Uncle Preston)

I didn't even show half of it, but Lily received TONS of clothes, and got some sweet books, barbies and crafty-type projects. She felt really loved on her birthday, which is most important for a 9 year old girl who goes between her mom's during the week, and dad's on the weekend. Thank you to our family and friends who helped us make her day special.

Side Story: I told Lily she should try on her clothes before returning to her mom's for the week, so that if needed, I could exchange anything that didn't fit before the next weekend. At one point during the party, the following short conversation took place. Lily: "Can I just try them on next weekend?" Me (laced with sarcasm): "What? You don't want to do a fashion show??" Lily: "OK!" Me: Complete Shock. She gets embarrassed when she thinks everyone is looking at her, so I really expected a no answer. But, she spent the next twenty minutes trying on EVERY piece of clothing, and showing them off. Thank you to Levi, Lynn, Grandma Wava, Al, and Josh for humoring her (and my niece, Avery, who decided a fashion show was way too much fun to miss out on...wearing the same dress the whole time).