Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Functional but not Decorated

So Battle of the Books happened and my cute little team of all sixth graders placed 15th out of 36 elementary schools competing. Not bad for our first year. I'm so impressed with all those readers! The judge's meeting was so serious. The auditorium was full of parents and siblings wilting in the stuffiness. It was a great day!

I decided to post a few photos for the sake of having a memory of moving into our fifth home. Nothing is really decorated, but we're getting our place to be a bit more functional. The kitchen counters look a little bare, but no worries, we can mess that place up and cover all the counters with dishes in no time at all. We had a whole chicken cooking in the crock pot on Sunday. I need to decorate the tops of the cabinets with something someday (but what?), however, the counters may always remain quite bare because I am just enjoying all that glorious work space so much! I told K that we would have to have a family council over anything that goes up on the walls. Might be awhile.

I didn't mean for the dining area to look so..."country"...but the table and hutch have belonged to my parents since I was born. There are a lot of invisible memories around that little table and I've always liked the hutch, so there you go--sentimental. The cookbooks aren't really meant to look cute or decorative...it's just a functional use of the space. There are trays and baskets stored in the cupboard underneath. So, we'll see how this goes. I don't love it (love the hutch, but don't love everything I've put on it) yet I don't know what else to do with it. And I don't know when I'll have time or money to do anything further. I would like to get a circular or oval rug for underneath the table, but K is against this idea.

Both bathrooms are up and running! What you see is what you get. We'll get a couple of nature photos up on the wall. Someday...

March is a wrap and my students are just a little too stoked about April Fool's Day, so I emailed the assistant principal who'll be visiting my class tomorrow to see if she has any cool pranks to pull. I also emailed the music teacher to see if we can come up with something there. And since I'm fairly confident none of my students read my blog, I'll go ahead and mention that I'm trying something new this year...I made a word search puzzle about Immigration and Industrialization, but none of the words are in the puzzle! They won't be able to find a single word! I'm wondering how long they'll look for words before they figure it out. Got any other ideas for me?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Spoiled and Blessed

I am so blessed to teach elementary school. I love my students and am continually blown away by what the parents do for teacher appreciation week. I loved my cute door once again this year. For me, decorating a teacher's door would be a nightmare, but every year, the amazing parents come up with something spiffy!

FYI: prior to moving into our new place, I was carrying 17 keys! Now I only carry 11!

I had to say goodbye to my fitness center. My new one is climbing to the top floor of the buildings in our complex and otherwise walking around the neighborhood (sometimes with no sidewalks). Haven't landed in the irrigation ditch yet...

Someone gave me a candy bar poster when my car was hit twelve years ago tomorrow. I remember because it started out saying, "Heard you had a little CRUNCH." This one just brought a couple of tears to my eyes...my second ever candy bar poster. My students gave me several other really sincere thank you notes and it lets me know I might be doing something in the right direction. The Mister really enjoyed adding some stash to his treat cupboard from that poster, though he's not fond of Sour Patch Kids!

I guess my room mother told everyone to bring flowers on Friday and I guess I must have written on a paper last fall that I like the color orange. I had no less than four vases of flowers to take home! These tulips were just so pretty.

And although we're not completely unpacked (almost), we are settled enough that we're chopping vegetables and so forth. The Mister's new Treat Cupboard is even more out of reach than his last one. I know because even if I do use the tongs, I can't reach anything. His stash is safer than ever. I would have to be fairly desperate to drag a chair over. It does make me laugh though because not pictured are the candy bars from the poster. What is pictured is hard candy, Girl Scout cookies, caramel popcorn, chocolate covered "wax" donuts, those fruit pies from the cheap bread store, a large bag of peanut M&M's from Costco, and another bag of Easter chocolate courtesy of Hershey. It's almost as if the Easter Bunny started rounds early!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Leaving a Pleasant Place

Today is moving day so of course I'm blogging when I should be packing those last couple a boxes...

I just wanted to say something about this, Our First Home. We never thought we could afford it, but we've afforded it for over ten years. We are the last original tenants of this place which isn't a great claim to fame, but after hearing all of the disparaging remarks made by others about our choice to rent for so long (keep in mind that while we've rented here, we've simultaneously had to rent in three other places!) I wanted you all to know that this has been a GREAT PLACE for us! Truly, a blessing from Heavenly Father. We were so discouraged looking around the valley for our first apartment. There are some dumpy places out there. K wasn't ready to buy anything right off the bat so we decided to rent and thought we would for "about six months." This place was just built with all new appliances and fresh paint and carpet. After that first six months, we renewed our contract for nine months. Ha! We have been blessed and protected here and so has all of our worldly stuff. We have had kind neighbors (Jenna!) some of whom are still on our annual Christmas Card mailing list. We have LEARNED SO MUCH! We have laughed and we have cried. We have recovered from six surgeries here (me four, he two). We have had the Spirit in our Home. It has been a blessing to live in a 700 square foot area and now that we're moving we're so thankful that we've been forced to keep our stuff to a minimum. Stuff is just stuff and it's not what you have it's who you're with. So rather than feeling like we can't wait to blow this soda stand, we're actually a little melancholy and looking back to see the Lord's hand in our lives. Lastly, I'm certain we will miss the maintenance guys, Craig and Jose. We're growing up and on our own now. "The Maintenance Guys" just got a whole lot more expensive.

I confiscated this precious note during an assembly last week. Best note ever! I've never seen anything like it. Just so you know, Seth was NOT the thief so we chatted about false accusations. The Pencil Problem has been solved. If it weren't for little notes like this occasionally, I would be clueless about the sub-culture in my classroom each year. I adore fifth graders. You never know what they're thinking. The diagram of our seating arrangement really made me chuckle. I also like the way the file is stamped in red and misspelled, "Classified." Hil. Ar. I. Ous.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Keys and Gift Basket

So we bought this condo. And everyone is so excited. In fact, the only comment we've heard from everyone is, "That's so exciting!" We are grateful, but the excitement isn't there for us yet. Here's why: a home purchase is a pile of money and a pile of work. Also, it won't really be ours for thirty years. Until then, the bank will allow us to live in it for a small monthly fee. When a child is born, it really is yours immediately. When you purchase a shirt (assuming you don't buy it on credit), it really is yours. You can be as happy as you'd like about it. But when you purchase a car or a home, it's not really yours until it's paid for, you know?

Some other comments people have been adding on to their statements about being so excited:

"It's your FIRST home!" Actually, nope, it's our FIFTH. We've lived (received mail, hung up shower curtains, whatever you want to call "living") in four other homes. We don't own this one any more than we've owned the other ones. The only difference is this one is sort of like "rent-to-own." Here's another comment..."You can do what you want...you can hang pictures on the wall!" Well, we've actually been hanging stuff on the walls (not that we're ever home to see the stuff on the walls) all along. We don't have plans to start construction or tear down walls or paint or put new carpet in or anything of that nature because we can't afford any improvements. We can't do what we want because we don't have enough money to pay for our wants. And one more comment people throw in: "It's a different feeling when it's yours. It really is." Well, so far, we don't have any different feelings, but I'll let you know if that changes. We are grateful for nice shelter and hope that all the tax breaks that everyone talks about really do come through for us. We have faith that purchasing a home is a financially wise decision, but the earthquake could hit at any time so I personally prefer not to get too excited about a worldly thing such as a condo.

Most of my life is really spent in an elementary school building. With children. And I really, REALLY care about children. Which is why I'm posting a photo of some of my students running their own Author's Chair activity where they read aloud from their own original writing and accept critiques from their classmates. They LOVE doing Author's Chair and I'm so pleased with the way they've taken ownership of it!

I'm also throwing in a couple of pictures of some murals within our new complex. Random, I know. There's a little "flavor" to the new digs.

Our real estate agent has been so wonderful! She made this amazing gift basket for us and presented it after we got our keys. She has bent over backwards to assist us and we appreciate her so much. Our mortgage broker has also gone above and beyond and we are so fortunate to have folks like this shepherding us through our first home-buying experience.

Yesterday I kept thinking about why people are so willing to help us celebrate when we go into debt. People get pretty excited about new cars, envious even. Yet, no one mentions the debt and the interest, and the REAL cost of that new car. We got a gift basket for purchasing a new home (and the in-laws are SO happy for us), but will there be a gift basket when we pay it off? No, nobody celebrates true home ownership, at least not in our culture. They're all just super happy about others going into mountainous debt. I suppose what they're really happy about is seeing some tangible progression TOWARD home ownership, but each time someone makes a comment I can't help but think, "Wait. We are feeling way too responsible to feel your level of happiness about this pile of debt." Ah, well, now to pay the thing off. Here's to learning about the blessings of home ownership. Everyone says it's great! Guess we'll find out. Here's to the next thirty years.

It's March. The ranger will be leaving me once again, sooner than later. Home is where he is. The condo doesn't matter when he's not there. It's the emptiest place on Earth when he's not there.