Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Crazy Wonderful Year

Hello Friends! I'm on Christmas break right now and I absolutely can't let it pass without popping in for an update.

What a crazy, wonderful year this has been, with lots of turmoil and so, so much to be thankful for.

When I left the classroom in June, I had every intention of stepping up my blogging, and as you can see, that hasn't happened. I don't have a good excuse. I've certainly had the time. I just haven't had the blogging mojo. I think about it all the time. I just can't seem to dig up the motivation to sit down and write.

Often I'll have something small I want to share and I can do that much easier and quicker on Instagram or Facebook, so I'll go there. I'm not ready to give the blog up though. I'm just not that into it right now. I hope that will change.

I think a lot of it has to do with the changes I've had this year. Leaving the classroom has given me some wonderful opportunities and I have been thoroughly enjoying myself, but there is a part of me that misses it terribly.

In my new position I'm at the high schools frequently and I've seen a lot of my former students, and it makes me long to be back with them. 

As sure as I was about leaving education earlier this year, I'm looking at teaching in a whole new light. If, or maybe I should say when I go back, it has to be different. I knew when I left that I was part of the problem. A big part of the problem. I put too much of myself into my job and there was nothing left for me.

My new job has been such a gift. I feel like it has thrown me a life raft and said "Hang on. It's not over yet. Take some time to recover and then get back in the pool." Truly the best part about what I'm doing right now is helping teachers. I want to do whatever I can to ease their burdens.

Enough of the heavy stuff. I don't want Zoe Bug all up in my business about always whining about my job.

Did I mention that I'm on Christmas break? Wa-HOO! It's a beautiful thing.

I'm dedicating part of my break to working on Stinkerbell's stocking. I'm only a third of the way finished, so there's no way it will be ready this week, but next year it really should be. If it isn't, well then I'll just suck that much more.

And Stinkerbell reminds me about the stocking often. She's all "MOM! I'm 12 now. Do you think you could finish my stocking before I go to college?"

Well, I'll certainly try, Sweetie.

For years we've had three of our stockings finished, and Stinky's stocking is still on the cross stitch frame. It's so sad. It's like she's the orphan child.

In order to motivate myself to work on it, I listen to audiobooks or stream Netflix while I'm working. If you've never done cross stitch before, it's tedious. When this project is finished, I will never cross stitch another thing, as long as I shall live.

I have another tedious project I'd like to work on over break, but I'm not making any promises because it's one of those projects that I find depressing to look at.

It's this table. Take a moment to drink it in.

Actually, now that I'm staring at it, it doesn't look that bad. It just looks like I don't want to do it. And I really, truly don't. I'm such a whiner.

This is something else I want to spend some time on. I am now six years behind on my digital scrapbooking. It wouldn't be so bad except 2009 was a very long winded year on the blog.

Geez, I'm bored with myself already. Thankfully I also went back to work that year and I didn't have as much time for all the yapping, so things should be picking up here soon.

I've started using Digital Project Life with PhotoShop Elements, and it has changed my life. It's so much easier and faster to get my photos into books now. No mess either.

I'm hoping that future books have more than a year in them. I work on pages until I have enough to fill the maximum number of pages that Shutterfly will print (over a 100), and then I let them sit in my cart until Shutterfly runs a 50% off sale.

I started taking piano lessons in September. It's something I've always wanted to do and I'm so happy to be doing it right now.

Things were going great until a couple weeks ago when I realized I wasn't really learning which piano keys played which notes, or even what notes they were, but instead I looked at a note and by its position knew which finger played it. Well, playing the piano isn't like typing, apparently.

Dang it.

I feel like I need to start all over again. I'm a little frustrated, but not frustrated enough to give it up. I just need to start fresh.

Peanut Head and I did our usual holiday baking this year, but while attempting to apprentice Kimikaze and Angelina Ballerina, the crazy science teachers.

Man what an organizational juggling act that was. The flip side was that it was a blast. An exhausting blast, but it took the chore out of the process and put a whole lot of joy in its place.

This is Angelina Ballerina. She was all business showing up with her apron and everything. We had a hard time trying to get her to focus on Bon Bon and Buckeye nights though. The middle school boy in her was fixated on the spherical aspect of the treats. We're not going there, just setting the record straight.

And then there's Kimikaze. This girl is a handful and she puts the snap in Gingersnap. 

We had a little chocolate fight, and I'm not afraid to say that I won. She was a chocolate mess. There were pictures, but they were all too blurry on account of we are lightning fast like ninjas.

Check out our ornaments for this year from Liane and Alison. Do you recognize them?

If not, go refresh your memory with my Crazy Town post. Alison, you nailed it.

Gunny Man!

Zoe took this awesome picture of him with her phone. She's taking a photography class at school and has been taking some crazy good pictures with just her phone. Most of the pictures on our Christmas card were taken by Zoe.

Zoe has also been taking hours of video footage of Gunny jumping and we set up a You Tube channel just for him called Gunny Bun Bun. Click on the link if you want to check out the one video we were able to upload successfully. 

We're having some serious technical difficulties uploading videos because Zoe made the movies in iMovie and they are in .mov format when they need to be in .mp4 format. Does anyone have any experience with converting those files that can give us some advice for converting those videos? We are pulling our hair out trying to figure it out.

Lastly, I leave you with our Christmas card and "This is How it Really Is" letter, should you care to read it.

I hope you all have an amazing, restful, peaceful, and healthy holiday season.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!                              

I know you’re probably wondering why there are three pictures of the dog on our holiday card, and only one each of our two children. Well, it’s partly because we have more pictures of Gunny than anyone else in the house, but mostly because he’s such a lovable guy. He’s never grouchy or unpleasant to be around (except when he has flatulence), and he will let us dress him up in practically anything we’d like. In fact, as I type this letter, my friend Betsy Wetsy is making him a reindeer hat. He is very excited about it. And since our kids no longer let me dress them, the Bunnery Sergeant is now my favorite child.

Now that that’s out in the open, here’s an update on the human kids.

Zoe is 14 and a Freshman in high school. She’s always doing homework and doesn’t have time to get into trouble (as it should be). She thinks she needs to start Drivers Ed in January. I don’t know what’s wrong with Idaho, but kids can get their driver’s permit at age 14-1/2. She’s barely out of diapers, for crying out loud! One thing is certain, and that is that we are not teaching her how to drive when there’s snow on the ground. So let’s have some snow, Weatherman, shall we? On the other hand, we still have the mini van and I am itching for a new car.

Zoe has started setting up obstacle courses for Gunny to master, and I am astonished at how high the dog can jump. He will do anything for Zoe Bug. She has taken to making videos of his jumping and we have more video footage of Gunny than any new parent has for miles around. She has gotten pretty good at trimming and editing video as well. Now we just need to set up a You Tube Channel for Gunny and we’ll be set.

Annika is 12 and in seventh grade. She has been wearing a very short haircut this year (lately sporting blue bangs as well) and is regularly mistaken for a boy. She doesn’t help matters when she wears boy clothes and walks like a truck driver, but she doesn’t seem to be bothered in the least by people’s gender identification mistakes. On the contrary, I think it amuses her. We went out to dinner one night and a little boy followed her into the women’s restroom. When he realized where he was he looked at her, alarmed, and exclaimed “We’re not supposed to be in here!” She just stared at him with her stone face, compliments of her father. I’m pretty sure it bothers me more than it bothers her. Before school started, I ordered her a couple t-shirts with #notaboy printed on the front to help people out. Middle school is awkward enough. Why make it harder, right?

I had a job change this year and I left the classroom at the end of the school year. I am now working in the same school district as a Math Specialist for the middle and high schools. It’s a curriculum position where I get to nerd out on data and help teachers. I’m on a teacher schedule (same days off and vacations) without the stress and bringing work home. It has been such a wonderful opportunity for me, and I have learned so much. The only negative is that it’s only a one-year gig. It has the potential to be extended, but there are no guarantees. It’s okay, though. I am so thankful for the time I’ve had to put the focus back where it belongs. I do miss the kids and a lot of things about teaching, but right now I’m just enjoying my free time. I’m finally taking piano lessons, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time.

Clark hasn’t had any changes in his job this year. Last spring we decided to start getting our house ready to sell. We’d like to have some land and eventually Zoe would like a horse. We’ve both been pretty busy working around the house, replacing things and sprucing it up. We were going to try to put our house on the market by fall (just passed) but we’re not sure now when we will. Maybe this summer? There’s no rush now since the bond for our school district finally passed (after four tries), so we are no longer in a rush to get out of this house.

We still have five chickens, two gerbils, one cat, and one dog. Lucy (the cat) has taken over sleeping in Gunny’s bed when he’s not in it. We recently bought him a second bed to keep in the living room because he’s such an old man when it comes to his bedtime. As soon as the sun goes down he starts rolling his eyes and trying to get us to go to bed. Now that he has a bed in the living room, he’s in it all the time. Last night Zoe was yelling at him because he wouldn’t get his gnarly carcass out of his living room bed to go to his bed in her room. His living room bed is much more plush, you see.

As you can see, all is well in Idaho. We are happy and healthy and so thankful for what we have. We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a very happy and healthy New Year.


Clark, Jill, Zoe, and Annika