Friday, September 30, 2011

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wedding Activity Books

For our wedding reception, I decided to make an activity book to aid people in entertaining themselves. They were originally intended for children, but I knew going into it that many adults would enjoy them as well. And I have the pictures to prove it. I really enjoyed flipping through the couple of books that were left at the reception, so I thought I would share the best pages on here.

Crayons + candles = art

I forgive you


Peter and I were actually going to do this for one of our wedding pictures, but we weren't able to squeeze it in. However, we have ridden on the same board before!

I don't even know what to say about this one

Mr. and Mrs. Italiano?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

We're married! And have been for 44 days now. I just haven't gotten around to writing on here since before the last minute wedding preparations began. After a night in a beautiful B&B that Peter picked out for us, we spent several days in the Smoky Mountains in Gatlinburg, TN for our honeymoon. Before the wedding, I had the greatest intentions of doing a good bit of hiking while we were in the mountains. In reality, we watched a lot of movies and spent a great deal of time relaxing in the air conditioning. We did venture out every so often to view the surrounding area, and did some mountain exploration in our car. I am proud to say that we did see a black bear. It showed up right under us when we were on the sky lift in Gatlinburg. At the top, we met a cute couple who were celebrating their fortieth wedding anniversary by visiting their original honeymoon destination. They informed us that the town has changed quite a bit since their first visit. Now, it's extremely touristy. Then, you couldn't find a restaurant open after dinner time.

On our way back, we took the scenic route, stopping in Bowling Green, KY to visit the Corvette Museum. Even though I'm not a big car person, I have to say that it was pretty cool to read about the designers and see how much the car has changed. When Peter reads this, I know he's going to be thrilled by the above sentence.

Then we came home and real life began. I'm now working at the Early Childhood Development Center at Notre Dame and Saint Mary's. I spend the mornings teaching Spanish to 3-6 year olds at both ND and SM. In the afternoons, I'm usually in the 5/6 year old room at ND. However, I sometimes go on field trips with other classes or fill in for other teachers when they go on break. I'm really enjoying teaching Spanish to the little ones. It's a challenge each week coming up with something new and exciting, which I'm fully embracing. Along with the directors at ECDC, I decided to center my Spanish teaching on Eric Carle books. I basically pick a new book each week and choose a set of words to read in Spanish. I then create some kind of game or song that will aid in the comprehension of the vocabulary. It's really exciting when children are obviously absorbing the language, and are able to use parts of it freely in their conversations. One other plus to working at ND is that Peter and I get to carpool every day. Going to work every day with your best friend makes getting up easier in the morning.

A couple of weeks ago, we decided it was time to buy a new car to replace one/or both of ours. Peter did a lot of research and we finally decided on a 1999 Volvo v70. We sold the mini van to Peter's parents, but we're hanging on to my vehicle for the time being. This wagon has a turbo engine in it, which makes it awesome to drive. And that's coming from the girl who doesn't really like driving. Peter is standing over my shoulder and smiling right now.

Besides spending some time at the dunes and hanging out with family, Peter and I also completed a 1000 piece puzzle this past weekend. It was quite a bit of fun.

Monday, May 2, 2011

new things

This has been such a busy and eventful weekend!

I had my interview Friday morning, which went really well. I was interviewed by the principal of Moran Elementary in Osceola, IN. I'm not really sure if he was interviewing people for openings at his school or just doing interviews for the Penn district in general. At any rate, the interview went well and I'm glad that I at least know what to expect from interviews now. He also gave me a teaching application which I will be filling out sometime in the next couple of days.

The Bethel Graduate dinner was Friday night. My Mom & Dad, Breagan & Abby, and Peter and I went together. It was fun to reminisce on the four years I've spent at Bethel with my fellow classmates. It was also just a nice time to hang out with part of my family and relax.

Saturday morning, around 8 a.m., Peter and I began packing up our stuff at Breagan's house. All of our shower gifts were there. I had some of my stuff stored in his basement. And of course Peter had his stuff there because that's where he's been living. And let's not forget the huge dresser and desk we had in his back room. Breagan and Abby were gracious enough to help us move our belongings into our apartment. I can not imagine trying to load and unload everything without their help. As it was, we spent the entire morning and part of the early afternoon hauling stuff to our apartment. Peter and I decided to try out the Sonic right beside us (woot!). We were in Peter's van and the back was completely empty. So, we decided to sit in the back while we ate so we could stretch our extremely tired legs. The people beside us gave us some weird looks, but that didn't deter us from having a wonderful Sonic picnic.

With renewed energy, we set out to unpack some of our many boxes. I had a wonderful time washing down the cabinets and figuring out with Peter where to put everything.

We took a break around 6 and headed over to Breagan & Abby's house for an end-of-the-school-year party. It was so wonderful to sit! After the party, we took one last load over the apartment. On our way, we had to stop at Meijer (also right beside us) to pick up a shower curtain. It's amazing the things you don't think about until you're on your own! It was about 1 in the morning before I was able to head back and crawl into my bed. The day was very exciting, but extremely exhausting as well.

Sunday was graduation day! Part of my family came in the morning for church. This was their first time in our new church building, which was pretty cool. Also, Peter was playing, which made it even cooler :) After church, we all had a wonderful meal of McDonald's cheeseburgers and fries and subsequently all got cheeseburger breathe. From there, the afternoon was a whirlwind. Picture with the Education graduates at 1:20. Graduation rehearsal at 1:30. Commencement at 2:30. Mingle with friends, family, and professors at 4. Fun party with family at 6.

After the party, Peter and I took a few more vital things, such as our microwave, to the apartment. We traveled separately so I could get back home. On his way, Peter stopped at Meijer to get a plunger (another necessity) and a cute apron I had seen a couple of days before. He gave it to me as a graduation gift when he got to the apartment. The apron of course :)

And now, the only big thing approaching is our wedding! 19 days!!

Of course, between now and then there are a million little things to do. Like apply for my teaching license. Apply for multiple teaching positions. Find a summer job. Finish all of the little wedding details. Figure out what things I'm leaving at the apartment and what I'm taking home. These next three weeks are going to be fun!

Thursday, April 28, 2011


I have my first interview tomorrow morning! Somehow, I've arrived at the stage in life where I need to begin looking for a real job. To help prepare me, and all of the other Bethel seniors getting ready to embark on the interviewing process, Bethel has been sending me emails about what to do and not do in an interview. Well, the one thing they stress is the importance of first impressions. Naturally, one's outfit comes to mind. I decided to invest in a new top for this interview (and any others that may be coming along). My original plan was to go to Target and get this really cute top I had found online, but as things usually go, the Target I went to didn't have it. I was kind of bummed, but decided to try Marshall's. I found several blouses that I only kind of liked before coming upon this top.

I don't really wear peach that often, but I liked that this was springy, yet classy. I also knew I could pair it with a jacket I already had but don't wear too often because of a lack of shirts to wear underneath it.

One specific thing that the interview material Bethel sent me highlighted was the fact that your shoes matter. And potential employers notice if your shoes have been shined or not. So I thought, "Why not!?" and decided to try my hand at shoe shining. My Aunt Lucy happened to still have some old black shoe wax, polishing cloth, and buffer brush which she let me borrow. I was pretty excited to realize that I knew what the kiwi bird on the wax tin was too.

I think I did a fairly good job, considering this was the first time I had ever shined my shoes. Maybe I can make a summer job out of it!

broken record

In other news, the song Grace Kelly has been stuck in my head for about 24 hours. It all started last night when Peter and I were listening to a conglomeration of songs in our attempt to pick songs for our wedding. This one popped up (not as a choice, but more as a relief for our ears and brains). Peter also found the sheet music so I could learn how to play it, which I mostly successfully did this morning. However, I can't seem to get the song out of my head!

Crayola makes my day

The other day, I unexpectedly received a tax refund check in the mail. Unexpected because my mom filed my taxes for me, so they weren't even close to being on my mind. Well, I was pretty happy to have a little extra money on hand. Today, I spent every last cent of my check. On crayons. I bought a box of 800 Crayola's that were on clearance at the teacher store.

I think they were discounted because the crayons were all mixed up when I got them. My organized little brain had quite the thrill putting the different colors back into their correct places. There is just something about colors neatly contained that makes me really happy.

I did have an excellent reason for buying so many crayons. For our wedding reception, I'm making activity books for the guests who are children (or children at heart). To accompany the books, I decided to create bundles of crayons. Hence the 800 crayons I bought today. After about 45 minutes of work ...

If I was a kid coming to my wedding, I would be super excited. So hopefully the actual kids who are coming will be too. My next endeavor is to put the activity books together.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Valentine's Day Week

This week has been completely different than last week. A large contributor was a change in my attitude toward life in general. Over the weekend, I realized that most of the time, I'm concerned with doing things my way and having things be just so. In other words, I'm a perfectionist. Anyone who has entered an elementary classroom knows that this mode of thinking clashes severely with the reality of the classroom. Naturally, this caused a lot of inner turmoil for me. Back to the weekend. Prompted partially by the reading of "Me, Myself, and Bob," by Phil Vischer, I decided to let go of myself and all my desires, hopes, and plans for the day and instead focus on living in the center of God's will each day. That mental decision made all the difference this week! I've had fun. I've been much more relaxed and flexible. I'm suddenly not concerned with the amount that I'm teaching, but rather the impact I'm having on my students.

Monday was Valentine's Day, so my teacher and I decided to make everything center around Valentine's Day, ending the day with a party. I have never seen so much candy and sugar in my entire life. The Friday before, I had sent a newsletter home with my students, mentioning the party and that each student should bring something to share. They definitely took my request seriously! All I can say is that I'm glad we had the party at the end of the day, right before all the kids went home.

On Wednesday of this week, a new girl joined our class. She's a sweetie. Thursday was the last day for another girl who is moving to a different district. Things are always changing and that's ok.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Hanging on for dear life

Sometimes I feel like this frog ...
Sometimes my days are crazy and I feel like I'll never be able to get everything done. Between planning my lessons, working out the final details of our wedding, and the latest, looking at housing options (we think this is the place we're going to go with - the second 1BR video), I feel a little overwhelmed. But things are coming along and God always gives me enough strength to meet the needs of the day.
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” Lamentations 3:22-24

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Student Teaching and Job update

So far, I'm enjoying my student teaching fairly well. I've been able to get to know a lot of the other teachers, which just makes everything nicer. At the beginning of my placement, I was having some issues with another teacher treating me like a teacher and not a gopher. I realized this week that somehow, our relationship has changed and she treats me much more like an equal than before. My teacher is fun to be with. She loves to teach and has tons of great ideas. I have had some trouble adjusting to her style of teaching ... she tends to yell, which I do not do nor do I want to do it. Last week I found myself contributing to the negativity. Since then, I've done my best to encourage students and point out the good that a few might be doing in order to motivate the rest to behave.

My current goal is for my students to walk quietly in the hallway, in a single file line, with their hands behinds their backs. This is the schoolwide procedure, but my students somehow missed the memo. We've been working on it last week and this week. They are definitely getting better! Again, I've found that positivity and praise has better results than telling the students what they're doing wrong.

Starting next week, I should be teaching full time. Right now, I'm supposed to be teaching everything but two things. However, most days that doesn't happen. That is probably my biggest frustration right now. At the beginning of my placement, my teacher and I sat down and plotted out when I would begin teaching every subject. But, for whatever reason, she will often teach it anyway. Or, we will get extremely off schedule and won't have time for certain subjects. I'm at the point where I know I can teach on my own (my teacher was sick and not at school on three different days and I taught everything) and, while I value her input and advice, I just need to teach. And, as silly as it may sound, I think the biggest thing that annoys me right now is that we are way off schedule, both daily and for the longterm. What can I say ... I love my schedules!

Fun fact, I've only had one 5-day week so far! Between meetings, snow days, and teacher inservice days, I've really lucked out!


In other news, Peter was hired at Notre Dame last Friday! He will be working at the OIT help desk. We originally heard about this job opening last September, around the same time we decided to stay in South Bend after we married. The job didn't actually open until December. Peter applied and had his first interview two weeks ago. He received a call a week later telling him the position was between him and another applicant and he would have to do anther phone interview. No pressure! Well, about ten minutes after his interview, his boss called and offered him the position! God is so good! Deciding to live in South Bend was a huge step of faith for us. It meant that Peter had to leave his job in Michigan and move here with no way to provide for himself or us. But God has always been faithful to each of us and has always provided what we needed. This is a testimony of His power and goodness!

We are currently looking for a place to live. Originally, we were going to rent a house, but we are now thinking that renting an apartment/duplex may be wiser financially. We would both like to pay back our college debt as soon as we can, while saving up for a house of our own.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Attention World!

I'm growing up! I can now say that I enjoy chocolate! Even the dark stuff! I'm not sure when this change occurred in my life ... I believe it has been a slow transformation, aided by the many gifts of chocolate by my lovely friends. I became aware of this life change last night, when Peter gave me a bar of dark mint chocolate. As I bit into a piece, I didn't shrink away from the bitterness. I allowed the 70% fair trade cocoa bar to engulf me in a wave of ecstasy as the chocolate and mint combined to form a rich and refreshing sensation in my mouth.Even as I write this, I am being soothed by the Divine embrace of Heavenly Chocolate with a heart.

However, if you search long enough, you will find evidence that I am not growing up ...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

new year update

I'm not one to make New Year's resolutions. I have tried a few times, but I usually break them within the first month. However, if I were to create some this year, blogging more regularly would make the list (my last post was in May!).

Tomorrow morning, I will partially step into the real world as I begin my fifteen week student teaching assignment. I will be teaching under second grade teacher Mrs. Miller at Warren Primary Center in South Bend. The first week or so, I will be observing her as I get a feel for her teaching style, become familiar with the routines, and get to know the students. Although I'm not yet completely familiar with the school and classroom, I am excited based on what I have seen in my previous visits.

I will also be taking two college courses this semester: orchestra and world civilizations. I had to get that last gen. ed. out of the way!
In other news, on New Year's day, Peter officially launched Envision Skate Collective at 1:11 p.m.! I am so excited to see how God is going to bless other people through this business. I know that already, through the whole process of creating the business, my faith has been strengthened as I've watched God provide in so many ways. Tonight, as Peter and I were praying together, God brought to my mind Luke 19:17.

‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’

I believe God is going to bless the little that Peter has been entrusted with and do something so big with it, that no one will be able to say it wasn't of God. I believe God is going to put Peter in charge of "ten cities" and I am so excited that I get to be part of it!
Peter and I also started working on our wedding website last night! We haven't done too much with it yet, but hopefully in the next week or so we can make it look pretty and find a replacement for the default picture. We also set up a google voice phone number to use as a wedding RSVP number. We're going to be all trendy and not send out RSVP cards with our invitations.