Happy Good Friday!

The Academy is closed on Good Friday and I am very thankful to have today off! I am spending my day cooking and cleaning the apartment in anticipation for my parents coming to visit! They will be staying with us for an entire week and I can’t wait to share with them the life that we have made here. Overall, I had a really great week. The Academy has what they call “No School-School” on the days that public schools are closed (such as Spring Break). They offer care for older siblings of kids who regularly come to the preschool. I was responsible for planning a daily schedule of activities for 4-6 first graders and two Kindergarteners while they were on “Spring Break” this week. I came up with the idea for the students to earn jellybeans for good choices throughout the week. They each started with three tally marks (or three jellybeans) each day and they could either make choices to earn more jellybeans or lose jellybeans. It worked so wonderfully! And the kids couldn’t have been more excited about taking home their reward at the end of the week! One parent even mentioned that her child had been more well behaved at home this week (bonus for me!).

The most students I had in a day was eight and the least I had was five, so I had a pretty good group with such low numbers. I planned a craft activity for each day along with other activities. The first day, the kids made these pretty cool Easter crosses. On Tuesday, I attempted trying a craft that my brother had made when he was in elementary school. It was an Easter egg made out of string, but unfortunately it was a teacher fail for two reasons. I used yarn instead of embroidery floss AND I only had the kids wrap in an up-and-down direction rather than across and all over. Sadly, when we popped the balloons the yarn imploded as well. This was the result:

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But no worries! The kids weren’t too upset. I made it into a teachable moment by pointing out that teachers don’t always get it right the first time either. Wednesday’s craft was a little easier with coloring, cutting, and gluing chicks in an Easter basket. The last day they made a bird’s nest with little chicks inside. They turned out quite cute!

I’m working on recovering my joy of teaching so that I can look forward to my job rather than dreading going to work. After reading this note from one of my students this week, I’m sure it won’t be long. He is in Kindergarten by the way and made only one spelling error! Pretty impressive:

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I hadn’t really thought about what Robert and I would do to celebrate Easter, but we were surprised when we had to choose from several invites of where to spend Easter lunch/dinner on Sunday. It’s been such a huge blessing to have people reaching out to us and inviting us to various events. I’m really looking forward to the worship service on Sunday morning! We actually have enough Praise Team members to form a small choir (about 10 people) and still have a few people on mics. Pastor Sean and Kaley will be opening with Don’t You Worry Child/Beautiful Day mash-up. Everyone else will be singing Alive, Because He Lives (Amen), and Anthem (I chose this link because we are only singing the chorus for the service , but this family did an AMAZING job, especially the key changes!) for our Easter celebration. When we practiced on Thursday night, it felt like an epic dance party/concert on stage celebrating Christ’s resurrection.

tfcCan’t wait to celebrate on Sunday! Hallelujah, Christ has risen! Happy Easter!

Blog#8

Teaching at Last!

I started my new job last week at The Academy. Don’t ask me if I like it yet, because I haven’t decided. During the day, I basically fill in for absent teachers with kids aging from infants up through second grade. If all the teachers are at school, I do miscellaneous jobs like folding laundry and distributing it to classrooms or helping out in the infant room. In the afternoon from 3-6, I am the lead teacher for the kids who stay after school since their parents are still at work. It has been pretty chaotic since there is a wide range of ages (3 years old to seven years old) and they all come to the back room at different times. Fortunately, I have two teachers helping me because we have up to 30 kids in the room at any given moment.

Over the weekend I worked on setting up a schedule of activities for the afternoon. There are a few things I can’t change like snack time and outside time, but the kids definitely need more structure rather than tons of free play. I’m planning on adding a song time and a game time. Possibly a craft time, but that will be more demanding since I will have to plan a craft for every day, gather all the materials, AND modify it depending on the age. Songs and games are a little easier to incorporate for several age groups. I am excited to see how the kids respond to the activities I have planned.

The Academy currently has a Kindergarten class and a combined 1st/2nd grade class. I was informed upon hire that both teachers will not be returning next Fall, which is good news for me! Since the students will be moving up next year, there will be a need for a third grade class, which is my preferred grade. I’m hoping to step into that role when we return to Florida in the Fall. One thing I am excited about experiencing is the class sizes. The elementary school isn’t advertised much, so the Kindergarten class this year has a total of 7 students, 3 1st grade students, and four second grade students. Hence why they combined 1st and 2nd grade for this year. I’m really looking forward to actually being able to connect and have a relationship with each of my students.

Robert and I have been spending more time outside our apartment with some of our new friends. Last week, Robert participated in a basketball tournament that was hosted by our apartment complex, Cabana Beach. Click here and here to see pictures from the event! Our new friend Tyler (wearing blue in the pictures) called in some of his basketball buddies to be on the team for the 5 on 5 tournament. He played college basketball, so he had some pretty legit connections, included a guy who used to play professionally for the Spurs. Needless to say, their team won the tournament and walked away with $10 Chick-fil-a giftcards each!

We also attended a small cook-out/dinner and made some new friends through Tyler’s other connections. The hosting couple, Tyler’s best friend’s parents, has the most beautiful house in Haile Plantation (a wealthy community in Gainesville) on the edge of a golf course. Tyler had a few games planned for us including taste testing those nasty jelly beans you can buy at Cracker Barrel, as well as an intense game of charades. One team would come up with a person, action, and place for someone on the other team to act out for their team to guess. I’m not very good at guessing, but apparently I’m pretty good at acting. The other team won, but it was still great fun and great company.

Well, until next time leave your comments, suggestions, encouragements below! Thanks for subscribing to my blog!

Blog#7

It’s Hard to Tell

The family I was going to start nannying for with the three month old decided they didn’t want me after all since I have no experience with infants. This is obviously a little frustrating since I just turned down yet another job offer from a school because I had already committed to nanny for this family. So basically I had my ‘Spring Break’ early I suppose. I was on call two days this week, but never actually had to work. Robert started his Spring Break this week, but I’ll be filling in wherever Christy needs me to nanny this week. At the moment, it looks like I’ll be watching three kids (ages 7, 5 and 3) for a couple hours each day next week.

After talking with Robert, we decided I should call the school and see if the job had been filled. I was only able to talk to the secretary of the school and she didn’t seem to know too much about it, so I have another interview on Monday at the Academy. I’m not exactly sure what I’m interviewing for which makes me a little nervous. When the assistant director called the first time to offer me the job, she only shared the hours I’d be working and mentioned that the position was in the Elementary School (Academy is also a preschool). The secretary said the interview on Monday would be to discuss the job description. I just hope the job doesn’t run through the summer, because it will be pointless for me to even go to the interview if that’s the case.

Prayers will definitely be appreciated!

On a happier note, we decided to get Robert a new bike! It’s really sweet and he’s really been enjoying riding it to school instead of having to ride the bus. wp-1456710488460.jpg

I was also able to complete my DIY wreath! I’m really proud of how it turned out. I think it looks pretty neutral so I can keep it up year round. I’ll probably make another one at Christmastime. wp-1456710492888.jpg

I’ve worked on a few other projects this week too. I saved a cereal box and cut it into the shape of a magazine holder. I found some purple and blue chevron duct tape to cover the box. Unfortunately, I ran out of tape, but I only left one inside section of the box uncovered. My other little project was taking a few envelopes, licking each one and sticking them together to make a wall decoration to hold coupons and receipts for various items. It sounds cheap and tacky, but it actually turned out really cute! I printed really nice labels for each envelope and glued them on to make it more decorative. I also started working on a puzzle! It has puppies on it playing in paint and making a huge mess. Well, now that I’ve officially bored most of you with this post, I’ll end it here. Miss all of you and thanks for keeping up with my blog!

Blog#6

Consistency ‘Til Summer

Robert and I recently returned from our all too short trip to Charlotte, North Carolina. It was a great break from typical every day life (or least the way every day life has been going for the last month). We both had an exciting time! Robert and his buddies went to…five disc golf courses I believe over the span of two days. We drove down Thursday afternoon/evening and came back Saturday evening. It was great getting to spend time with my friend, Joy. We visited some coffee shops and definitely spent some time at the Charlotte Premium Outlets.

It was awesome to still be able to see some snow this winter! It snowed for about 23 minutes and 42 seconds around lunchtime on Friday. It was enough to make my car look like it had gone through a snowstorm, but nothing substantial enough to stick to the ground or cause any traffic delays. On Saturday, Joy and I decided to experience The Fairy Houses Festival that was going on in Huntersville, NC at the Latta Plantation. All I can say is, wow! It was quite the experience! It sounds a little cheesy, and of course we got a few comments from the guys, but there was so much to do! If you have a child (boy or girl) I would definitely recommend going! They have it every year on a Saturday in February.

Everything at the festival was free except for the food venders and fairy wing retailers. However, they were handing out free bags of popcorn! They had little white tents set up all over the plantation and signs labeling the activities. Down by the lake, they had a Fairy Boat Craft Area where you could create your own boat using sticks and twigs. They provided branch cutters and twine to make the experience a little easier. They also had an area where kids could build their own fairy house! This was probably the coolest part. It was really something to see so many dads out there helping their kids build these little houses out of anything they could find in the woods. Some other things to do included face painting, roasting Smore’s by the fire pit (or just warming up!), storytelling, gnome geocaching, pony rides, crafts, and not to mention a surprise appearance from the one and only Tinker Bell!

While we were away, I got an email from the owner of Twinkle Toes Nanny Agency (Kristy) letting me know that the regular nanny I had been subbing for had returned and planned to start back on Monday. I was a little sad since I didn’t really get to say goodbye, but excited to have some time off this week. (Maybe I’ll get to work on my DIY wreath!) I’ll be covering for another nanny just for a few days this week. Kristy also mentioned that she had a family who needed a nanny starting February 22 and running through June 1. After discussing it with Robert, we decided it would be a wise choice for me to take it. I will be taking care of a three month old boy and occasionally his four year old brother. This will give me a consistent job until we return to WV for the summer.

Blog#5

 

Time to Think

Well, I just started my second week of nannying. The first week went pretty well with the exception of the first day. The first day was honestly a little scary and overwhelming. The one year old I am watching was getting used to the idea of me being there with him and it was really hard on both of us. He cried for what felt like the entire day and once I had fed him, changed his diaper, and gotten him up from a nap, I didn’t know what else he could be crying about! I felt so incredibly helpless that I couldn’t help this little human and make him feel better. Looking back, I’m pretty sure he was just missing his mommy and still a little apprehensive about me being there. The next couple days improved with him crying less, and me crying less, too.

I really like the family I’m working with and the child is definitely growing on me. However, the arrangement will not be long term. It would be nice if I could continue until May, but I’m sure they’ll appreciate having their regular nanny back. This job has given me a lot more time to think about life and what exactly I want to be doing with mine. There is a common trend of advice that has been given to me many times recently and that is how I am in this stage of life where I can do just about anything. I should go try new things and get into areas of study that I won’t be able to experience 5 or 10 years from now. Sounds pretty reasonable, right? Sure, but I am also a future thinker and I want to make sure that the career or job field I get into will be a good fit for a newly married couple, but also a family.

I have many mixed feelings about jobs for the time being. I know I won’t be able to find the perfect job, but at least could it be something that I look forward to each day? A job where I don’t mind getting up early as much because I love what I do? I’m positive that something like that exists for me. Lifeguarding was like that. Unfortunately, even in sunny Florida the pools are closed from November-March so that’s not exactly ideal. Some of the characteristics I’m looking for in a job are flexibility, enjoyment, spiritual environment, and an element of variety. With lifeguarding, the element of variety would be the weather and people. Sometimes I would get off work early due to weather and there were always different people coming to the pool. With teaching, there’s always an element of variety. There are occasional snow days or assemblies, fun events such as the 100th day of school or reward parties, and plenty of other variety in a classroom setting.

I’ve contemplated finding a job where I can work from home because that would give me a good bit of flexibility. I haven’t totally given up on teaching, but there just isn’t anything available at the moment. My tentative plan is to get a teaching job next year and see how it goes. Other jobs I’ve thought about include a receptionist (preferably at a spa, but I would also be willing to try a doctors office, clinic, or a church office, etc.), Zumba instructor, background singer, songwriter, event coordinator, proofreader, and probably a few others that I’m even less likely to become.

Robert has pointed out to me that the reasons I give for not wanting to work a certain job are generally because the jobs are unfamiliar and that scares me. I don’t know exactly what to expect and what my day will look like. Since I’ve had a few “first day” experiences lately, I dread first days because they are unknown, for the most part, and I really don’t like not knowing. I almost wanna go back to the drawing board and start job shadowing people who have careers that interest me. Everything looks easier on the outside looking in than when you’re actually performing the job yourself. I’m also considering working part-time, if our budget can handle it, of course. I’m just throwing out all my thoughts and ideas that have been rolling around in my mind lately. Please leave me some feedback! Tell me what you think or if you have any suggestions for me. Thanks!

Blog#4

Temporary Full Time Job

I found a temporary full time job! Yay! I met with a family this morning and met their 2 kids. They have an almost one year old boy (birthday in one week!) and a three year old girl. Their three year old will be at day care during the day so I’ll just have the one year old to myself. I’m super excited about it! They have a beautiful home only 15 minutes from where we live and a friendly dog, too. I start on Tuesday and I will have him M-F, 8-6 on a typical week. I will only be with this family for a month while their regular nanny is out of town, so I’m sure it will go by very quickly.

A few days ago I had my second interview with Varsity Tutors and I was able to sign a contract with them to tutor students online in various subjects including Reading, Literature, Phonics, Writing, Essay Editing, Grammar, Public Speaking, Study Skills and Organization, and Elementary Math. I plan on holding off taking any tutoring jobs until I start nannying, so I can get an idea of what a typical week will look like for me. As of right now, I just have a lot of little jobs, so I am still looking for something full time to finish out Robert’s graduate school year.

I recently interviewed at The Academy, a small Christian school/preschool that is a ministry of the church we attend. I had a really good experience talking to and interacting with the assistant director. Unfortunately, they don’t have any grade school positions open at this time and could only offer me positions in their infant room, 2 year old room, etc. Definitely not where I want to be at this point. It was very encouraging when she prayed with me just before I left. I was able to meet the director on my way out, who also encouraged me to come back in 10 months for the Fall of 2016 and apply again for potential openings in their elementary school.

On a more festive note, I received my monthly package from my mom and put up all my January decor today! I love decorating and making our apartment more home-y. It’s been really hard having all this extra time and not being able to go spend it shopping for items for the apartment. Hopefully, next month I’ll be able to purchase something new for the living room or otherwise. Well, new to us. I’d really like to get a sofa in addition to the one we have (since we can’t get rid of the one we have because it came with the apartment and it’s SUPER uncomfortable…not). I’d also like to get a shoe rack in the hall and an end table for the living room. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the pictures from my decorating of the day! Don’t forget to leave any comments down below! I want to hear from my readers! 😉 Have a great Saturday!

Blog#3

And the Job Search Continues…

I feel a little lazy staying home most of the day, just doing household chores while everyone else is back to school and off to work. Don’t get me wrong, I am definitely enjoying the extended time off! It’s amazing how stressless I have been feeling the past couple of days. I even made a delicious meal for us the other night! Crockpot Italian Chicken, loaded mashed potatoes, and broccoli with cheese. So yummy! Visit my pinterest for the chicken recipe: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/503277327088142254/ 

Dinner

Any who, Robert started back to school yesterday. He has 3 classes MWF and he teaches 2 Calculus classes on Thursdays. As for me, I was offered a sub nanny job for a month. It starts on January 18, and having the temporary job will give me more time to nail down another temporary job until the summer. Haha. Sounds great. I’m also going through an interview process to be an online tutor. I had a phone interview yesterday and my follow-up video interview is next week. I have to take some assessments to prove my knowledge of the subjects I’m interested in tutoring, which I should probably be working on now, but hey, I have until Tuesday before my interview starts!

I’m excited to start the tutoring job because it pays really well, but Robert thinks it will be hard to earn a lot of hours tutoring. He should know, he has had plenty of experience tutoring math. I have applied for so many jobs at this point, I’ve lost count. I’ve applied to at least 3 teaching positions, nannying, tutoring, and also swimming pool maintenance. I’m praying that God will open doors for me and show me where he wants me to be working.

Please continue praying for us as Robert begins his second semester of grad school and I continue my job search. Thanks for being supportive!

Blog#2