frugal fruit

This week has been a busy one, but a good kind of busy. Monday evening Grandpa Jay and Grandma Hazel arrived, and we've spent the last few evenings with them [I'll write more about this later].

Brent and I did our grocery shopping for the month this weekend. We were in the canned fruit aisle, and he picked up some cups of mixed fruit. He thought they would be a good thing for him to throw in with his lunches, and although I agreed, I didn't quite think it the price was right (and the cups only help about 3 bites!). So instead, I bought some pineapple and pears (the only two he really liked in the mix anyway), cut them up, and made my own fruit cups for him. They are still convenient to grab, but there are a lot more! We also decided to buy two more plants for the apartment. I had been wanting to since we moved in, and the plants were on sale, so we decided it was a good time. They are both in the dining room (I didn't take a "zoomed out" picture). Brent named this one "Snazzy." (He has always wanted to get a dog and name him "Snazzy," so we compromised with a plant :)
We had to replace our dying spider plant...so here is the replacement. It is actually now sitting on the cool, old step ladder from Aunt Linda (I'll have to take another picture!)

Here we are after church on Sunday. Brent decided it was time to wear his wedding shirt and tie once more. And I decided to wear my FAVORITE cardigan that I got with the gift card from Micah--Thanks, I love it.
That picture is a little fuzzy, but Brent didn't want to take anymore pictures though, so I was sad:
Today was spent back in my classroom. I'll post more pictures soon. It is coming together. I switched my tables out for desks with another teacher... I'm trying to decide if that was a bad move; it seemed to shrink the size of my room. However, the teacher whom I switched with has an even smaller room, so at least I feel like I did a good deed.

Sorry this post was so random... not much time. But there is more to come.



Just to let everyone know, my tests Saturday were okay. The first one was in my content area (middle school English), and I felt pretty confident about that one. The second was the "Principles of Learning and Teaching, and it was more theories and theorist regarding education. It was all short answer with very little multiple choice (I wrote 13 pages!). I was less confident, as this test is definitely a little more subjective, but by the end of the four hours I was just happy to be done testing! I did have a little bit more time to study Friday evening, as our friend Eric came over for supper and then he and Brent went golfing to leave me some peace and quiet :)

Yesterday I worked in my classroom some more, and last night when I layed down to sleep I was again overwhelmed by everything I need to get done in two weeks. Next week I have meetings everyday, so my work time will be a little more limited. I know I can get it all done, but it's just looming right now! Yikes!

Also, yesterday Grandpa Jay and Grandma Hazel (Brent's grandparents on his mom's side) came into town! Gmpa Jay has a Navy buddy just across the river in Indiana that he had been wanting to visit, and so they went ahead and planned the trip. Mid week they will be going to Virginia to look at some of Gmpa Jay's ancestry, and then are going to come back through and go to church with us on Sunday. It was nice to sit in our apartment with Family again.

Well, as I mentioned I have a lot to be doing...posts may be hit or miss for a little while. I can't believe it's the end of July already! Where has this summer gone?


life in the 'ville

I have spent the morning/afternoon cleaning and "preparing" to study. I have to take my second Praxis test tomorrow, and also a "Principles of Learning and Teaching" test. Both of these are 2 hour tests. Our apartment seemed to get a little out of control this week, and I hadn't scrubbed anything for awhile, so I set to work. I know these two things probably don't seem to correlate, but now that I sit down at the computer to study, my mind is clear, I have nothing else on my plate [for the time being], and everything smells fresh and like clorox and pine-sol. It's amazing how clearing the space and really clear your mind as well.

Alright, so I need to be studying but I wanted to get a few recent pictures up here [thanks again, Micah...you have no idea how much we are enjoying your camera! :)]

First stop, MY CLASSROOM! That's right, my classroom. I went up the other day to talk about some curriculum with my coordinating teacher [two of us split the 8th graders, and therefore teach the same stuff...it's really nice because I'll meet with her everyday, during one of my TWO prep periods]. So this is exactly how I found the room, before I touched anything. You may realize why I was so overwhelmed! A lot to do yet, but I'm getting there [more pictures of that later!] Here is a shot facing the door to the hallway:

The front of the classroom is pictured below. Every classroom comes with a ceiling mounted projector, so I can project anything from the computer, tv, vcr etc up there. I also have a nifty tool that I can place over a paper/whatever and it will project that up there [much like the "old" overhead projectors...I can write on it and everything will show up on the screen]. Apparently there are a lot of "gadgets" I will need to figure out...they even have little lapel mics for each teacher that is directly routed into the sound system in each classroom...so no more yelling for me, I can teach in my normal voice. Beautiful:
I wish that I had desks to begin with instead of tables, mainly for classroom management, but I hope these work out okay. I actually think I have to squeeze in one more, as this year's 8th grade is fairly big-- I will probably have about 30 per class. Here is "my corner" of the room. Again, this looks different now, but I had to leave the main stuff here as it is all hooked up over here. The big green board on this side is actually a bulletin board. Like I said, I hope many changes take place and I make this space more inviting.
Now to Brent's job. Here I snapped a quick shot of him in front of "his" building. It was dark so it was a little fuzzy.
Here he is keeping score during some slow-pitch men's league softball. One or two nights a week he doesn't go in until after noon and stays later to work the games.
I like to join him at these games when I can. He actually played this night, so I just stayed afterwards and helped keep score and pick up when the games were over. I didn't get any pictures of the actual game becuase it was a little misty and I didn't want to hurt the camera. He played shortstop and made some great plays [and has a huge strawberry on his knee and hand to prove it!]
As a "thank you" to all the 500 odd volunteers that help at the sport's ministry, they treat them to a Louisville Bats game once a year. Every volunteer gets not only a ticket, but some "Bat's Bucks" to spend at the park. Between the two of us Brent and I got 20 Bat's bucks and I got to indulge myself in overpriced ballpark food!! It was wonderful! [The Bats are the the affiliates for the Cincinnati Reds]

Eric is the summer intern with Brent, and we've become good friends with him. He's actually the one that got us tickets to the Derby race last month! He and Brent are very much alike, and so both of us easily get along with him :)

And one last thing I enjoy?? BURNING my candle. Yep, you heard me. For the 4 years I lived on campus there was a strict "no burning" policy. Not that this was a huge setback or that I had major withdrawls... but it is nice to strike a match and invite your kitchen to smell good again :)


an open letter to myself

Dear Kelsey,

I am writing this so that you remember what it is like to be passionate about your job. I am writing this so that you remember the rush you felt when you walked into your classroom for the very first time.

You will, unfortunately, be used and manipulated, and you will be tested by students who want to get a step ahead, but when they look back in 30 years they will remember most how you responded to their efforts. Remember your classes from college-- sitting around tables, brimming with excitement when you discovered a new teaching method that worked. Getting that report back after student teaching that said, "I feel like you've been at this for years."

Don't forget this is your dream Don't forget the imaginary class you used to teach in your bedroom--wind whistling through your missing teeth as you read Dr. Seuss to stuffed animals.
Don't forget this is your gift. The Lord has blessed you with the abilities to control a classroom and hold student's attention. To bury these gifts would be a shame. Don't forget the notes you received from your Seniors when you finished student teaching, or the money your freshman raised for your move to Kentucky. Don't forget what it felt like to leave those students and know you had given them 100%.

You will get tired. You will get sick of the routine...but so will your students, and they are looking to you to see if you will break this time. Don't break. Let them know you need their support as much as they need yours. Let them know that you expect the world from them...and don't ever stop believing that they will give you anything less.

Don't forget the time everyone around you was confused about the direction they were headed; about what career they would land........and then remember that you've always known-- that "I am a teacher" comes as easily to you as your name.

When papers stack up to be graded, write each comment with compassion, like you always said you would. Your students will read your scribbled writing in red, "Be sure to pick past/present tense and stick with it throughout-- it will make this beautiful story even stronger." And they will hear in those words, "Someone still is taking the time to believe in you."

Remember to wear comfortable shoes because you need to be actively moving about your classroom all day.

When at first they don't understand Shakespeare, stick with it and remember the not you received from jock Jake's mom that said he was coming home talking about Romeo and Juliet.

Remember your "mission statement" in college that you wrote saying you will "Teach students, not subjects." Remember your college's vision for "Teacher as a Servant,"---that you aren't doing your job completely unless your students feel as if they are being served. Remember that Jesus was a great teacher. Remember to learn from your students. They have so much to teach you-- don't become too proud and forget this.

Above all remember that you love what you do. And remember that nothing done in love is ever wasted.



portable poetry

Someone once told me that poetry is portable. You can take it to someone like a casserole.

I thought of this becuase I was at the pool [again] and without even trying I thought of some lines from a poem. They traveled with me all these miles from a cold classroom in Iowa.

I remembered one of my favortie lines from "On Turning Ten," by Billy Collins. In the poem he is remembering all the memories he associates with each year of this life, and the invinciblity of childhood. In the end, however, he says:

"It seems only yesterday I used to believe
there was nothing under my skin but light.
If you cut me I could shine.
But now, when I fall upon the sidewalks of life,
I skin my knees.
I bleed."

I feel a little bit like ole Billy these days, realizing that the "simple fixes" of childhood are far behind me now. A kiss and a bandaid don't fix it so easily.

I don't write this because I have deep scars or noticeable scratches. I write this becuase I realize this sidewalk of life is bigger than I expected. I write this becuase I didn't learn to ride my bike here, on this sidewalk.

I write this because I want to be only light underneath.

I write this because I am trying to learn to ride my bike agian.


thoughts on a humid monday

#1: I finally was able to get in my classroom today...I HAVE A CLASSROOM. Scary and exciting all at the same time. I'm a little overwhelmed at this point because I have A LOT to do as far as getting it "ready." I want it to look nice and I want to feel comfortable and I want my students to feel comfortable there...which will take a lot of work. Classes start the 13th. Yikes. But I know what is most important is not what is on the wall...and I feel prepared for that part. :) [More about all of this later].

#2: Things by the checkout: I know everyone at some point or another has fallen for the flashy, over-priced, very convenient to grab, items near the checkout at just about every store. Brent almost did the other day when we went in Target. He was thirsty [and I don't blame him, it is SO hot here], and I think I had driven him to needing some caffeine, and so the little cooler by the checkout lured him in. He looked at me with pleading in his eyes and asked if he could get a Pepsi. I surprised him, and said, "yes." But there was a catch, I made him walk clear back to the pop aisle and get a 2 liter bottle. And you know what? That two liter of Pepsi cost 50 cents less than the 16 oz bottle near the register. It cost him a few more minutes, and it wasn't instantly cold [but don't worry, he still opened it and drank some in the car!]. And the rewarding part of it? We still have some [cold!] in our refridgerator [which is a treat for both of us who hardly ever drink pop]. Just goes to show that a couple more minutes and a walk to the back of the store will serve you well!

#3: My mom taught me number 2.

#4: My dad would have bought the cold Pepsi. :)

and lastly,
#5: I'm getting a little tired google-mapping everything in order to know how to get places. I'm just saying this, not to complain, but to remind all of you to be grateful to live in a place you know well.


a new place to call home

Thanks for all the comments regarding my hair. I know it doesn't seem like a big deal, but as it is a big change for me the encouragement and words of approval mean a lot to me! :)

Now for some pictures of our new apartment. There are obviously still a few things that need to happen, but for right now we are feeling quite settled.

When you open the door, we will greet you like this:

Just kidding...but for now, I will be your tour guide:

Looking out our balcony. We would still like to get some small, patio furniture to put out here, and I would really like to get a couple hanging ferns:

Our little office space in the corner of our living room, with a desk my Grandpa made me when we moved to the new house my sophomore year of high school. My Grandma refinished the vanity seat:

If you didn't notice, here is my wedding boquet, revamped for its new function! Cheap flowers that never die...BRILLIANT! [also note the postcard from NW..."all country roads lead home!"]

The canvases I painted for my apartment at college fill up this wall in our living room nicely, and the old army trunk that I found at a garage sale for $5 not only provides a nice tv stand, but it also helps with extra storage!

This is when you first step into our apartment. The "office" is in the far left, as is the balcony.

This was our project today: yesterday we did our final take backs and gift cards from the wedding. We purchased these cubes and awesome picture frame with our remaining gift cards [the frame was marked WAY down...a steal!]. Brent was enjoying some cereal after his Sunday nap...I think I caught him off guard:
Brent had the idea to print 4 X6s of a picture to fill out the frame and look like one giant photo. It took a little while figuring out the measurements etc, but we are really pleased with the way it turned out:
Here is a closer shot of the masterpiece, with a huge glare, sorry:
Here is more "art" in our living room/dining room. These beautiful, old plates are from a wonderful woman at my church. The note framed in the middle explains where they came from [her great aunt]. They are very special to me. Now we will venture to the dining room [can you find Waldo in this picture?]. Oh, and the beautiful and comfy and washable throw pillows on the couch were made by my very talented Grandma as well:

Here is our BEAUTIFUL table that my grandparents purchased at an antique store and refinished for us. It even has a leaf that folds out, and could easy fit 6 around it [come on over!]:

Isn't the table wonderful?

Looking back towards the living room from the "dining room." There is also a great walk in closet to the left that holds ALL of our storage, what a blessing.

I wanted a big mirror for this wall, but didn't quite have the budget, so I created this look with smaller mirrors and black frames, some empty, some with b&w photos.

Turn left and welcome to our kitchen:

We have more counter space then I thought we would, a garbage disposal, and a dishwasher. Not too bad for a first apartment.

I added this "window mirror" above the sink, as the kitchen tends to close in a little bit since there are no windows and not too much light.

We found the framed scripture [fruits of the spirit], on the clearance rack at BB&B for 5 dollars, since the glass was missing. I used the colors in it to determine the rest of the kitchen.

This corner cabinet is great! It holds a lot and made a HUGE difference when it came to finding places for everything... and it's very convenient!
Now let's go down the hallway [first door on left is another closet!] The second door is our bedroom, straight ahead is the laundry room [yep!! you heard me right], and hang a right at the end and that's our bathroom:

Our bedroom, complete with an entire bedroom outfit from Brent's grandparents, that my grandparents refinished beautifully [yet again!]. I didn't have any canvases that matched so I painted these shortly after our move. I also had this "coffee table" [at the foot of the bed], that was an olive green color, so I sanded it and painted it black to match the rest of the furniture. It serves as a nice bench where we can put our shoes on:

More closets! One for both of us:

We wanted to keep the well wishes from family and friends nearby, so it found its home here:

Another shot of the "new" bedroom outfit, complete with new hardware:

Don't worry, Brent doens't have two guitars, we moved it to the other spot shortly after taking this photo. I still would like to get curtains up in here. Next on my list:

This is how Brent sleeps [Dad, he wanted me to take this one for you]:

Our laundry room! Still need to get a shelf up in here as well, but this is wonderful to have right in our apartment:
Our new vacuum!! [You're allowed to get excited about small things when you just get married :)] We also found this on the clearance rack at BB&B, simply because the box was damaged! It was half-off!! It makes it a little more fun to vacuum :)

Now here we are in the bathroom. This over the stool shelving unit was a great addition, and helped me "spice up" the bathroom a little. I wish there wasn't wallpaper in here, but at least it's a bearable pattern:

We even found a shower curtain that matched our bedding [I liked to think of a future "master suite" that would have a consistent pattern :) Dream big, right?]

We found this Bible commentary at a used book store, and I thought the bathroom was a fun place to display it! The little photo is from a children's dictionary I found at a thrift store. It says "splash" and uses the word in a sentence :) . I also have "bath" on the second shelf! [By the way Dad, I know the root beer at The Battle of Lexington was expensive and you and mom never wanted to buy it for us, but I'm glad Grandpa gave in because I have kept this bottle all these years!!]

Here I thought it would be funny to frame a little piece of one of the wedding cards we received. It's obviously hanging above...what else...our towels!
Well, that's all for the tour. Know any of you are always welcome to come kick your feet up with us :) [to watch sport's center, apparently].