Sunday, August 26, 2012

Saying Goodbye to Summer

Starting tomorrow, the summer is officially over for me!  I start teaching my first college course tomorrow morning at 10am at the IU South Bend Elkhart campus and I start teaching my other English course on Tuesday at 10am at the main campus.  Plus, my graduate classes start Wednesday evening!  I finally got the last of my textbooks in the mail yesterday and I am ready to go. 

Since this is my last year, it's time for me to start thinking about my independent writing project.  After this semester, it's two more classes and a finished writing project and I'm graduating with my masters in May!  This is Justin's last semester for his undergraduate in psychology and religion and he will be graduating in December.  I'm so proud of him!  And the great thing is that there is only one graduation ceremony per year and it's in May, so technically we will "walk" together at graduation.  So exciting!  It's going to be a busy semester for both of us with school, work, moving, and getting married, but I wouldn't change a single thing. 

Yesterday, Justin and I spent the evening with my mom's entire side of the family at my aunt and uncle's house in Walkerton.  We got to answer many wedding-related questions and enjoy good food and conversation with family.  I also got several RSVPs for the bridal shower and wedding!  My bridal shower is only a couple weeks away and the wedding is coming up in 55 days.  (And then our honeymoon in Chicago!  Can't wait!)

My apartment is becoming a bigger and bigger mess everyday.  The boxes are beginning to pile up to the point where I can barely get through my hallway or to any of my storage closets.  I was trying to get all of the packing done before my job and school started, but now all I want to do is get these boxes moved so I have room to breathe!  Justin and my apartment opens up in just a couple days and I can't wait to get in there and start working on the place.  Once the carpet is up, I can actually start moving things over and work on unpacking.  I'm hoping the place will look like home by the time we get married.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Back to School

I spent last Friday and all day today at orientation for my new teaching job.  In the past week, I've put together a lengthy syllabus, formulated an assignment sequence for my students, and participated in numerous exercises at orientation to help me be a successful professor during my first semester of teaching.  I feel prepared, but still a little nervous!

My second year of graduate school starts on Monday as well as my first day of teaching!  It's going to be an exciting week.

This past week has been extremely busy.  Last Tuesday turned out to be an interesting day as I ventured to Fort Wayne to visit my best friend, Deanne, and take her to an appointment with her doctor.  She has been sick for a few months now and ended up in the emergency room after the routine procedure on Tuesday, but tests finally confirmed a diagnosis and she is hopefully on the road to recovery.

I was able to go in for the second fitting of my wedding dress on Wednesday!  There are still some alterations that need to be made, so unfortunately I didn't get to bring it home with me, but I'm going back for my third fitting on September 19th.  This week has been filled with finalizing wedding plans - I made an appointment with a salon for me and my maid of honor on the day of the wedding, Justin and I had our last premarital counseling session, our officiate wrote up an itinerary for the wedding day, and we are sending out invitations tomorrow!!! Our wedding day is so close!

On top of preparing for grad school, my new teaching job, and the wedding, I officially started packing up my apartment this past weekend.  Justin brought me a bunch of boxes from his work and I got to work packing up my stuff.  I am moving to our new apartment on October 12th and will work on unpacking and doing last-minute renovations before the wedding.  (This past weekend, I had my first painting experience helping my friend, Tonya, paint her little girl's room at her new house!  At least I'm a little more prepared to help renovate the new apartment!)  Our apartment will be available to start renovating and moving stuff over the first of September, so I'm trying to get everything but the bare essentials packed up and moved.  It's going to be a very busy fall season, but I feel so blessed.  God is good!

And my bridal shower is coming up in just a few weeks!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Making Memories

My summer as a camp counselor has officially come to an end.  Last Thursday was the last day of camp and we celebrated by hosting a Family Fun Fair on Friday for the campers and their families.  The kids enjoyed playing in bouncy houses, eating lots of cotton candy, snow cones, and popcorn, and spending time with friends.  The weather was crazy enough on Friday to require sweatshirts, yet Justin willingly sat in the dunk tank for over an hour while the kids threw softballs every which way!

The weather provided some interesting obstacles for the day (it rained and the wind almost blew the bouncy house obstacle course away) but it turned out to be a fun end to a long summer.  I got to talk to many of the kids' parents and meet their younger brothers and sisters.  One boy in my group even ran up to me and gave me a hug at the Fun Fair after being very guarded and stand-offish all summer; it definitely made my day and melted my heart.  All in all, the summer turned out to be a great success.  The goal was to impact these kids for Christ and I think we did just that.  I learned so much by spending time with these kids, as well - patience, love, compassion, and, of course, how to be a kid again. 

Thursday, the last day of camp, was definitely a test in patience.  The camp director had planned an entire day of outdoor "messy" activities for the campers and it ended up pouring rain all day long.  We had to improvise and I think everything turned out in the end.  We started the day with "cupcake counselors" where the kids got to decorate their camp counselor's face like a cupcake.  As I sat in the rain, I got M&Ms stuck to my forehead and frosting smeared in my eye.  The kids had a blast even if I couldn't wait for "cupcake counselors" to be over!

We took the kids to the playground hoping the rain would stop, but when it didn't, we proceeded with our outdoor messy relay race.  The kids dug around in pales of alphabet noodles, put their faces in spaghetti to find gummy worms, army-crawled through a slip 'n slide covered in shaving cream, and used their feet to find marbles in bins of tapioca pudding.  My group ended up with third place and I got tackled and hugged by many shaving-cream-coated eight-year-old kids.  We ended the day with a water balloon fight in the pouring rain.  (Did I mention I went with Justin to the dentist after this!?)   

It's been a fun summer, but it's getting closer to a day I've been waiting for for a long time - my wedding day.  I'll have a couple weeks to focus on finalizing wedding plans, packing up my apartment, and preparing for my second year of grad school and my upcoming teaching position!  I've already started sorting and packing up my stuff to start moving to the new apartment after the renovations are finished!

I was able to spend a little more time with my brother, Tyler, yesterday before he goes back to school on Monday to start his sophomore year of high school!  (I can't believe he's that old already!)  My parents came up to South Bend and we did a little shopping, had dinner together, and then went to a Silver Hawks game at The Cove.  Tyler and I had been talking about going to a game all summer (because the LaFollettes LOVE baseball!) and we never got a chance to, but luckily to whole family (minus my older brother) got to go last night.  I had an amazing night with my family.  We had awesome ballpark food, watched the Silver Hawks win 7-2, and watched an amazing fireworks display after the game.  It is a memory that I will cherish for years to come.  (And a great way for Tyler to end his summer vacation!)

Tyler and I waiting for the Silver Hawks game to start.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Life is Good

There are many changes coming up fast in my life.  This past week, I've tried to get organized and prepared for some of the changes ahead.  For starters, I have training coming up next week for my teaching job starting August 27th!  To prepare for the training, I've been asked to put together a preliminary version of a syllabus for my class and it's been more work than I thought it would be!  I always hated getting a 10-page syllabus for a class in college, but mine is shaping up to be quite long once all of the required university policies are included alongside the grading scale, course goals, assignment descriptions, etc.  I'm hoping the two training sessions I will be attending will be help me narrow down my syllabus and prepare me to teach my first-ever college course!

This past week also led me to start doing one of my least favorite things ever - packing.  When my best friend and I moved into the apartment I still live in over a year ago, I vowed never to move again after how much hard work we put into it.  But here I am, two months from my wedding day and less than a month away from when Justin and I can start remodeling our new apartment in Mishawaka and moving things over there.  It's almost a surreal feeling, but I'm so happy about the exciting adventures Justin and I are about to share together as newlyweds.  Lowell and Katie (our friends and soon-to-be landlords) are letting us replace the carpet, remodel the kitchen, and paint which all need to be done before we can start moving things over!  I'm excited for Justin and I to take on this project together and it make it our new home.  Getting all of my stuff and his over there is a different story!  Did I mention I hate moving!?  Since I left for college when I was 18, I have moved a total of 13 times.  Oh, the life of a college student.  I'm definitely ready to settle down.

I ordered my textbooks for my upcoming semester of graduate school a couple days ago.  I'm taking a poetry writing course with my favorite professor as well as a film theory course.  And this is my last year!  In May, I will officially have my master's degree in English with a concentration in creative writing.  Now I have to start thinking about my independent writing project for this year.

This past weekend, I was able to make a short trip back to Warsaw.  It turned out to be just what I needed.  I was able to spend time with my entire family.  I had my mom's homemade ice cream, picked fresh tomatoes and cucumbers from my brother's garden, watched the Olympics with my dad, and did some shopping and catching up with my mom.  I even managed to have lunch with my parents and both of my siblings on Monday.  My mom and I talked about plans for my wedding and I found out my aunt has everything squared away for my bridal shower in a few weeks!  Life is good!