Thursday, May 28, 2009

I'm so excited...and I just can't hide it!

Today I'm feeling so excited I could pee my pants! I'm not even joking. It's one of those feelings where you have a lot of nervous energy boiling inside your body and your body is kind of shaky and you notice that you're just smiling out of nowhere. Maybe no one else is like that, but that's how I get when I'm excited about something. Today was a "staff planning day" at my new school and although I didn't really "plan" anything, I was just excited to be there. I was able to meet several of my future co-workers and get to talk with some of the ladies with whom I'll be working closely. It wasn't my first visit to the school, but it's starting to feel real to me that I'm going to be having my own classroom and students very soon! When I think about making themes and lesson plans and activities I just get the goosebumps!!! In my head all day I had ideas just flowing of materials I want to have in my room, lessons and concepts I'm excited to teach and other classroom planning things! I really should start writing it all down. I honestly think I could sit down and write out lesson plans for the whole year the way I'm feeling...maybe I should!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Summertime...and the livin' is easy!

Shortly after my family left to head to Illinois, I decided I needed to go there as well. Since my hubby and I are so blessed by his employment with Southwest Airlines, I can jump on a SW plane at any off peak time and do that! My sister, Dana, found out she had a couple days off from summer school, so we made the most of that opportunity to spend time together. I flew into St. Louis on Thursday morning and stayed with my family until Saturday. During that time, Dana and I layed outside on the grass (no fire ants in Illinois, only biting gnats), attempted to do gymnastics in our backyard, and went to a baby shower for one of her best friends, Rebecca. It's a blessing everytime that I can spend time with Dana. She is the best sister anyone could ask for and a wonderful and beautiful woman of God. She spurs me on and keeps me accountible! How awesome is that?!

Then I came home to Dallas to spend Memorial weekend with my sweet hubby. We spent Monday on Lake Ray Hubbard on his Dad's newly purchased boat. We had a blast soaking up the sun!

Rebecca and Dana
Super Ross
Feeling like we're on a vacation in our own backyard!
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See how the flowers of the field grow...

Following my graduation ceremony, my mom and Grandma Sue stayed with me for a few more days. We had a lovely time during their visit. Ross had to work during the days, so the ladies were able to spend time doing lady things! One of our days was spent at the Dallas Arboretum. It was an absolutely gorgeous day...perfect weather and beautiful sights. My mother and grandmother both love flowers and gardens. And they both seem to know A LOT about the flowers! I was surprised that they seemed to know about each flower and how it is best grown (in the direct sun or in the shade, what time of year, etc). I couldn't stop taking pictures of the flowers. The colors were just amazing! We also ate lunch at the DeGolyer tea room there. We sat outside and overlooked the gardens and the lake. My grandma is a HUGE fan of tea rooms and has been to tons, so I was pleased that this one met her standards. :) Another one of our days was spent with Ross's mother, sister, and our niece. We drove out to have lunch and shop at some little stores in Rockwall. Following the shopping, we went to a little cute tea room where we chose several types of loose leaf teas and then had them served to us in little teapots. It was very enjoyable and I would definitely return...especially since one of my graduation gifts was a little teapot! It's so fun to try new teas! :)
Carole and Sue at the Arboretum.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

School's out for summer...School's out FOREVER!

I graduated! Here's proof:
Video of me getting my diploma!

This weekend was my official Commencement ceremony! I had a wonderful weekend and was honored in so many ways. First of all, I was blessed to have my family from Illinois be here with me. My parents, 2 grandmothers, and sister traveled all the way from Illinois to see me graduate and spend the weekend with me. This was not an easy task! My Grandma Joan has only flown one other time in her life and doesn't travel that often, so she was brave enough to get on a plane with my parents and spend a weekend in Dallas! My sister had to skip a required class and miss an assignment because her flight got canceled and she had to speed to the airport at a last minutes notice to catch a different flight! Everyone made sacrifices in order to honor me and I feel very blessed! My mom and Grandma Sue are world travelers and are ladies of leisure since they are both I'm not sure if they sacrificed anything to be at my graduation...but they have certainly sacrificed hard earned dollars to put me through 6 years of college and countless hours of supporting me at events and activities over the last 24 years of my life. I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for my family's endless support of me.

I am also blessed to have such loving and supportive in-laws. Ross's mom hosted a graduation brunch for me at her home in Rowlett, TX. It was absolutely wonderful! So after graduation I was able to spend a relaxing afternoon with my family. Also in attendance were Ross' sister and her husband (Stacy and Jonathan), my niece (Anika), Stacy's in-laws (Jack and Elizabeth Reaves) and the Schiebers (Laura, Chad, Wyatt, Henry, and Frances). So, I felt very special and honored that so many people could spend the day with me!

Me and my sweet Grandma Sue: This is the coolest grandma on Earth!
Me and my sweet hubby: Could I even get through a day without him? I think not!

On the top of the world

I think my recent posts give the impression that I am always having a "girl's night". This really isn't the case though!! Up until the last few months most of our "hang outs" have been in the classroom! It's only recently that we've had the free time and felt the urgency to spend a lot of time together before parting ways. Last Thursday, we all decided to go out for drinks and desserts at Wolfgang Puck's restaurant in Reunion Tower. We were spinning around the city of Dallas at 560 feet up in the air! It was a pretty neat experience, not to mention how delicious the desserts and appetizers were! Here are some pictures.

Kelsey and I: Kelsey is very outgoing, social, and always speaks her mind. She has a great smile and strong personality that can light up a room. She is very stylish and always wears fun outfits and bright colors. I am blessed to have her as a friend!
All the girls: We're all so unique and different from each other. I think that's why we make such a great group! Look out working world!
Molly and I: Molly is such a thoughtful and genuine woman. She is so relational and wears her heart on her sleeve! I love this girl!
Molly and I admiring all the wine! :)
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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Rock-a-bye Baby Shower

Argh, I forgot to blog about the baby shower I helped host last weekend! Last weekend several women and I had a couples baby shower for our dear friends Joseph and Melissa Moore from church. I had never thrown a shower before so it was a little shocking for me to help with a true-life Texas baby shower. I am learning every day how true the saying "Everything is bigger in Texas" is! Luckily, several of the other women involved knew how to throw a Texan style shower, so I was mostly just taking directions and doing what I was asked. Melissa is the worship leader and Joseph is the sound engineer at our church. They are both incredibly gifted and talented as musicians, so clearly this child will be a rockstar...hence the theme ROCK-a-bye baby! Everything was inspired by music and rock n roll!

Check out these pics!!

The cake was strawberry cake with buttercream filling on the bottom layer and Mexican chocolate and Vanilla Bean on the top layer. Looked totally amazing and tasted delicious! Believe it or not it was made by two of our hostesses! (I helped by making those tissue flowers at the base, haha)
These are the centerpieces we had on each table. Some of the others said "My mom to sleep" and "Party at my crib, 2 am, BYOB".

The sweet couple and the baby boy in utero.

We catered from Tin Star and served everyone fajitas, beans, rice, chips and all the fixins. We played one game called "He will/She will" and then while the girls watched Melissa open gifts, the men played Rock Band. At the end of the night I was exhausted, but it was well worth it because we were able to honor and bless Mel, Joe and their baby. They felt so loved and were so thankful. Now I can't wait til the little guy arrives!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A trip to say goodbye

"A Symbol of Acceptance"

Today I spent the day with my friend, Steve, and some of his buddies. I met Steve during my undergrad at University of Illinois when he hired me as a "personal assistant" or "PA" my junior year of college. Steve lived at a place on campus called Beckwith Hall, a fully accessible housing option created for students with significant physical disabilities. Beckwith hires people, like me, to provide assistance to the students living there with any of their daily living activities. Beckwith provides a place for people with disabilities to learn how to be independent. It's a great transition for students who had previously lived at home and not had experience with living independently. Beckwith helps these students gain experience with living independently by having them hire, train, and manage their own personal assistants. It also provides around the clock workers to help with meal times and any other random needs that the residents might have.

The majority of my time working there was spent with Steve. We became great friends and I learned a ton about Disability awareness, acceptance, advocacy...and much more. Through Steve, I also met his sister Annie, who also had SMA and lived at Beckwith. Annie and Stevie were a dynamic duo. They were both had such vibrant personalities, were full of life, and could always make me laugh. Both were really passionate about whatever they did and both had entrepreneurial spirits. One of the projects they started while we were in school was "Rock for Research". This project brought bands together for benefit concerts for disability related causes. They had just started this endeavor when I started hanging out with them and so I was able to take some part in promoting the concerts. The two of them spearheaded so many projects that promoted disability awareness and empowerment. Both of them are natural leaders and role models and I was blessed to have them in my life.

This past January, Annie passed away from a medical complication. The news was abrubt and extremely shocking. Although I hadn't seen Annie in a couple of years, I had followed her through blogs, facebook, and her 3Elove (see website below) project. She was a woman with a big heart and a mission to change the world. My life will forever be impacted by the way she lived.

After Annie's passing, her brother and some friends decided to take a month long roadtrip to remember Annie and embody some of the things she valued (having a free spirit, stepping out in boldness, trying new things, overcoming challenges, loving life, etc.) They are calling it "A Trip to Say Goodbye" (see website below).

One of their stops was Dallas, so I got to spend today with Steve and all the guys at the Arboretum. We had a picnic, toured the DeGolyer mansion, took pictures with the gardens, and sprinkled some of Annie's ashes (I think illegally, but who's gonna know...except for you).

It was a fun time seeing Steve, catching up with one another, and recounting old memories. I realized how quickly time passes and yet how naturally you can fall back into a friendship. Steve and I hadn't seen each other in almost 3 years, but after hanging out I felt like we hadn't missed a beat. Seeing him reminded me of my passion of disability awareness and spurred me on to get active in my community to educate people about disabilities and encouraging people to live life to the fullest.

Me and Steve at the Dallas Arboretum.

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Friday, May 8, 2009

And now, what you've all been waiting for.....

Today I am happy to announce that I officially have a job secured! I signed my contract this morning, so I feel comfortable sharing my great news with everyone. I appreciate all your thoughts and prayers for me during this process. The job I'm taking is at Oak Hill Academy. It's a private, non-profit school for children who are at-risk or have been diagnosed with learning differences. I will be the core teacher and SLP for all the preschoolers. I really feel that I'm just walking into the plans that God has for me and I've really felt him closing and opening doors for me in the job searching process. I am so thankful for how He has blessed me with this job and for making it so clear to me that this is where I need to be!

Yesterday was a big day for me as well. I had my "graduation check-out" meeting with all the Communication Disorder graduates and my program director. She helped us go through all of our licensure forms to make sure we fill them out correctly and then signed off on all our forms and files to say that we are ready to be official Speech Language Pathologists! Very exciting and surreal! Afterwards, my group of girlfriends and I went out for lunch at the Twisted Root in Deep Ellum. It was so fun to hang out together and try a new place. These are the girls that I began this adventure with and the ones with which I'm ending. I LOVE these girls and will miss them as we part ways, however I'm hoping that we can all stay in touch and have reunions at the annual TSHA conventions!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Birthday Fun

Sorry it's been awhile since my last post! ;) I keep waiting for something really interesting to happen, but then I remembered that my blog can just be about everyday life. And everyday life doesn't have to be blow-you-out-of-the water exciting to be interesting or special. In fact, good things happen everyday and it's good to find the golden nugget that each day brings.

Today is Ross's Birthday!!! He turned 24. :) We had a great weekend of celebrating in different ways. On Friday, we went out to Rowlett to spend the night at his parents' home. I attended a Women's conference at Stacy's church (Church in the City) and Ross hung out with his dad. The next day we had lunch at a little Italian Cafe called Palio's with all the family and then headed home.

At the last minute Ross and I decided to have a party to celebrate his birthday and me being done with school so we invited all of our small group and a few others over. We were so blessed that so many people were able to come since it was so last minute. We seriously have the best friends. They are all so thoughtful and genuine. We had about 13 people over to our apartment and we made Sangria which was a huge hit! It was our first time making it, but it was totally refreshing and delicious.

On Sunday, we had church and then saw the matinee of X-men Origins: Wolverine which we both enjoyed. Then we had dinner at Cowboy Chicken (one of our sweet spots) with Monty, Melanie, and Abram and then hung out at their place while working on centerpieces for Melissa and Joseph's baby shower.

We definitely had a fun filled birthday weekend with friends and family. As we dive into another week, I pray that I can cherish the nuggets of joy that God puts in our life each day and treasure our everyday life!