Thursday, January 31, 2013

Chocolate and Flowers

February is coming up!  It might sound funny, but February is my favorite (and busiest) time of year.  My birthday is the 10th and Justin always has something fun and exciting planned to make my birthday special.  Right after my birthday is Valentine's Day!  I love Valentine's Day.  I actually have class until 8:00pm on Valentine's Day - to skip or not to skip?  Then after Valentine's Day is Justin's birthday.  He is turning 25 this year!  It's hard for me to believe we are that old already (although I will only be 24 on my birthday this year) since Justin was only 20 when I met him.  Can't believe how fast the time goes, but I'm glad I've been able to spend it with him.

School has already been in session for a month.  (That means I'm one month closer to graduation!)  My last two classes of my graduate career are going well and I ordered cap and gown packages for Justin and I for graduation!  Teaching has been going great, as well.  I feel so much more prepared this semester after teaching two classes last semester.  The first batch of papers will be coming in from my class next week so it's back to grading for me.

Things are getting busy this weekend.  Justin and I are leaving tomorrow to go with our bible study group to a winter retreat in southern Indiana.  He is singing and playing guitar in the worship band there so I am very excited to see him play.  I have a feeling it's going to be a great weekend - working on a service project, enjoying fellowship, and meeting new people. 

We will come back from the retreat on Sunday and then Justin and I are headed to Fort Wayne and back on Monday, probably stopping in Warsaw to have dinner with my parents on the way back.  (And then we'll be back in Warsaw the following weekend to celebrate our birthdays with my family.)  Like I said, I love this time of year.  Who doesn't love birthdays and holidays that involve chocolate and flowers?

Until next time, I'll be trying to fight my lack of motivation to do anything school related.  Graduation is almost here!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Hot Cup of Tea

I'm sitting here drinking a steaming cup of tea and contemplating how to make my presentation (due tomorrow) for my New Zealand literature class (weird, I know) more interesting.  Each of us in the class was assigned a particular aspect of New Zealand culture to research and present for this week and I'm doing mine on moko, traditional Maori tattooing.  Why am I taking a New Zealand literature class, you might ask?  I have no idea.  I just know this is my last semester and I needed a class to fulfill my final requirement.

This past week has gone by in a blur.  My best friend came up from Fort Wayne last Friday so we could celebrate her 24th birthday (which is actually today).  We had breakfast for dinner at Nick's Patio, got frozen yogurt at Urban Swirl, went to see "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" at the movies, and finished off the night with drinks at Granite City.  (The movie was fantastic, by the way.  I highly recommend it).  The two of us went for an early breakfast the next morning before she had to head back to Fort Wayne and had one of our awesome conversations that we usually have.  I'm very thankful for our friendship.  Oh, and happy birthday!

This week is the second week of the semester and I'm already experiencing severe graduate senior-itis.  May can't come soon enough!  I'm so excited that Justin and I will be walking together at graduation; it's amazing that we get to share that experience together.  Now to just finish these last couple months off strong.  I'm still waiting to hear back from my project director about my proposal (for my independent writing project to graduate).  In the meantime, I'm working on lesson plans for teaching and trying to stay focused on the reading and homework I need to get done for my classes. 

My grandmother has been very sick lately and has been between the hospital and the nursing home the past few months.  She actually started getting sick the day of my wedding (back in October) and wasn't able to make it.  It was hard for me that she wasn't able to be there because we are very close, but I just wanted her to get better.  She's been in and out of the hospital since then and went into a nursing home for the first time during this period.  It's been difficult for me to see her health decline, especially since she keeps getting worse despite all of the treatments she has been receiving.  If you can, please pray for this situation.

Tomorrow is my last work/school day of the week and then it's time to catch up on reading and homework again.  I'm proud to say the New Years goals I've made for myself are coming along nicely. 

Now I just need to finish this presentation on New Zealand.  Ugh.  At least a cup of tea makes everything better.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Back to School

My winter break started at the beginning of December and officially ended today.  It was a long, much-needed break after the chaos of last semester and I appreciated the extra time off to reconnect with my husband, myself, and the things I love.  (One of the perks of working where you go to school is having a nice, long winter break.  Now what to do over spring break??)  Last semester was filled with remodeling our apartment, moving, planning a wedding, getting married, going on our honeymoon, and teaching two classes, so needless to say, I rarely had the free time to enjoy the little things.

I vowed to make winter break a time of reconnecting with the things I missed out on last semester amongst the craziness of life.  Firstly, our bedroom at our cozy apartment is by far my favorite room at our place.  The orange walls that I picked out, artwork, and bookshelf stocked with my favorite works and authors are just a few of the things that make our bedroom my safe haven.  Many nights during winter break, I escaped to the coziness of our room to read a good book (including the books my hubby got me for Christmas) or flip through a magazine.  If I wasn't in the mood to read, I was in my art studio throwing something together or blogging from the comfort of my bed. 

I definitely needed a break from school.  My brain was overloaded from all of the end-of-the-semester grading and paper writing, but I still managed to take my journal with me everywhere and write whenever I had a spark of inspiration.  Even though winter break was an amazing time for me to be creative and spend time enjoying my husband and the comfort of our home, I was glad to get back to work and school today. 

Teaching went well today and I think I have a great group of students this semester.  (One of my students says she loves Pokemon - what's not to love about that!?)  I am very happy to have teaching experience under my belt going into this semester.  While I was still slightly nervous today (as I always am the first time I get up in front of a class), I felt more prepared and knew exactly what changes to make this semester to make the class's learning experience and my teaching experience go much smoother.

I had my first graduate class of my last semester of graduate school this evening!  It seems like just yesterday that I was applying to various grad schools and now I am a few months away from graduating.  I couldn't be happier.  I keep looking into PhD programs in my free time, but I know the timing isn't right.  I need some time away from school after I graduate.  After all, I've been going full-time since I was five.

It's been a good start to the semester.  I'm married, I'm an experienced teacher, and I'm almost finished with my masters degree.  I feel so blessed.  And I found a great online ASL program and am on my way to learning to sign!  My New Years resolution is underway. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2013!  This is the year I will graduate with my masters, Justin will graduate with his bachelors, we will celebrate our 1-year anniversary, etc.  2012 was an amazing year for Justin and I and I can't wait to see what God has in store for us in 2013. 

I've been enjoying our long winter break so much.  I've loved being able to spend quality time with my husband and catch up on the things I normally don't have time for during the semester.  Justin got me several Stephen King books for Christmas (my favorite!) and I've been reading whenever I get a chance.  Relaxing, sleeping in, shopping, and not having to worry about homework have been some other great things I've been enjoying about break thus far. 

Justin and I celebrated our first Christmas together as a married couple by spending time with his family in Granger and visiting my family in Warsaw.  My grandma has been in the hospital in Mishawaka so we have spent quite a bit of time around here, as well.  I had the flu over Christmas but Justin still managed to get me to the movie theatre to see Quentin Tarantino's new film, Django Unchained

My little brother, Tyler, was able to come stay with us a couple days ago and we had a blast.  We made our traditional trip to the mall to buy our favorite candies from Inside Scoop, picked up some snacks at the grocery store, went bowling (where Tyler beat us!), watched movies, and played video games.  I was sad when he had to go back home; I wish we could spend more time with him.

Last night, we rang in the New Year at a party at our house.  Lowell and Katie hosted a New Years Eve celebration for friends and family and we played games and ate lots of food.  (Justin had a serious sugar hangover when he woke up this morning.  Someone needed to cut him off from the candy!)  We shared a kiss at midnight and enjoyed our first New Years together as Mr. and Mrs. Samson.

School and work starts back up again in a week.  I'm teaching one class this semester, taking two graduate classes, and completing my independent writing project to graduate.  It will be busy, but I'm so looking forward to achieving my goal of getting my masters degree. 

I've been contemplating New Years resolutions the past couple weeks and have come up with a few I'd like to stick to.  For one, I want to learn American Sign Language this year.  As a hearing impaired individual, I've never learned sign language but it has always been a goal of mine to communicate with other hard-of-hearing people.  Now I just have to find a program/website that will help me achieve my goal.  Any suggestions?