My Life: What’s Up

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My Life: What’s Up

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What’s New:

  • She’s okay now, but Madison hurt her leg playing two weeks ago. She was crying and couldn’t put any weight on it, so we took her to the ER vet. The vet said she probably partially tore something in her leg, so we’ve made sure she’s been taking it easy, not walking up and down stairs a lot, not jumping on and off furniture, etc. We also found out she has arthritis in both her back legs, so we are looking into the best ways to help her.
  • This season our team hosted an invitational meet that is annually held between the three high schools in the district and local private high school. It hadn’t been held at our school in almost ten years, but we worked really hard and pulled it off! It went well and I’m glad it’s over.
  • This winter has been brutual! Our district used six calamity days in January alone. I can’t wait for the weather to warm up!

What I am…

  • Reading: I just finished reading The American Heiress (review to posted later this week!). I am going to start reading The Friday Night Knitting Club next. I’ve heard good things about it; have you read it?
  • Watching (TV): My favorite shows are The Mindy Project, Community, Bones, and Parks and Recreation. Are you watching the current seasons of any of those shows? I love How I Met Your Mother, too, but I didn’t enjoy the first couple episodes of this season so I wasn’t anxious to keep up, and now I’ve fallen way behind! HIMYM fans, it’s gotten better, right?
  • Watching (Netflix): Dan and I started watching and quickly finished Orange Is the New Black. It’s an awesome show about life in a women’s prison. I can’t wait for season two! We are currently watching Friday Night Lights. We can’t get enough! Does anyone else love that show?
  • Listening to: Pure Heroine by Lorde. The CD has been on repeat in my car ever since Dan got it for me for Christmas. 
  • Doing for fitness: A couple months ago, Dan and I joined a gym just a few minute drive from our apartment. In addition to swimming at the gym’s pool, I also log time on the cardio machine and do Tone It Up! routines. With swim season, I am have only been getting to the gym a couple times a week. I love coaching and will miss it when the season is over, but I am looking forward to having more time to work on my fitness goals!
  • Posting: I have a fitness Twitter account I have shared on this blog before, but I changed my username recently from @getfitgetstrong to @kcdaily_fit. In addition to my personal Instagram @beagleandbear (which I am a bit obsessed with), I have a fitness Instagram @beagleandbear_fit. Feel free to follow me!
  • Loving: Madison is recovering well, the days are getting longer again, curling up on the couch with a big cup of tea and a book, the White Barn Candle’s scent Winter, snacking on pretzel sticks.

What is new with you? 

My Life: What’s Up

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What’s New:

  • Daniel and I were married in a small, beautiful and perfect ceremony on July 20th, 2013, and then celebrated with an intimate formal reception. I’ll share a link to our professional photos when they are available on our photographer’s site!
  • We went on a mini-moon around Ohio during which we attended minor league baseball games, shopped, went to the movies, ate a lot of delicious food, and visited our alma mater.
  • We had an amazing picnic reception with our extended family and friends on July 27th. Again, I’ll share a link to our professional photos when they are available on our photographer’s site!
  • Back to work and everyday life as newlyweds and we’re loving it!

What I am…

  • Reading: City Girl, Country Vet by Cathy Woodman (not my favorite so far but still enjoying it!) and Truman by David McCullough (loving this, just soooo long!)
  • Watching (TV): Dan & I binge-watched Community earlier this summer and loved it! Now I’m catching up on last season of Parks & Recreation.
  • Watching (movie): On our minimoon, Dan and I saw Pacific Rim, World War Z, and Despicable Me 2. Pacific Rim was all-around entertaining (loved the music!), World War Z totally freaked me out but was awesome, and while I did not enjoy Despicable Me 2 as much as the original, it was cute and funny.
  • Listening to: The Blessed Unrest by Sara Bareilles (beautiful and chill but boosts my mood), The 20/20 Experience by Justin Timberlake (JT can do no wrong), and Pioneer by The Band Perry (my favorite new music purchase of the year!)
  • Doing for fitness: I recently officially became a Tone It Up! member. I had been following the community along from a distance for awhile, and finally decided to take the plunge. After the wedding, things slowed down tremendously and I feel so much more settled and content. I began walking 2-4 miles everyday and eating less processed foods in smaller portions. My anxiety has been much easier to manage and I’ve felt much more positive. Tone It Up! (TIU) is all about eating clean and exercising regularly, so it just felt right for me at this time. I’ll keep you updated on my journey! Loving it so far!
  • Posting: I have a fitness Twitter account I have shared on this blog before, but I changed my username recently from @getfitgetstrong to @kcdaily_fit. In addition to my personal Instagram @beagleandbear (which I am a bit obsessed with), I created a fitness Instagram @beagleandbear_fit for my TIU check-ins and to connect with the TIU community more. Feel free to follow me!
  • Loving: my new running shoes and feeling better running than in the past, the last few weeks of relaxing summer, longs walks with Madison and listening to my favorite podcast, cooking different rice bowl variations, the Cleveland Indians (despite their recent – now broken – losing streak), the approach of a fresh school year, and new pieces of furniture and decor here and there that are making our apartment truly look and feel like home.

What is new with you? 

my life: missing sasha

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I’ve mentioned a lot had been going on in my life lately, mainly focusing on work. However, some more personal, weighty things did take place. A couple weeks ago, my family unexpectedly lost our dog Sasha.

We adopted Sasha eight months after losing our first family dog, Charlie, who, despite being a husky-German shepherd-black lab mix (so basically, a big dog), lived to be 15 years old. He was an amazing dog – loyal, loving, adoring, fun, wise – and our family wasn’t sure we would get another dog for a long time after we lost him.

However, my dad saw a picture of Sasha in the local newspaper. Then named “Snowy,” she had been at the local animal shelter (the one I volunteered at in the spring and summer) for a few months, and the paper was featuring her in hopes it would lead to her adoption. She had been a stray and was estimated to be one to two years old.

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My dad read about her, thought about her, went to visit her, and fell in love with her. My parents adopted her within days, right around Thanksgiving of my freshmen year of college.

Sasha loved to play, walk, and run, and was super vocal. She loved to cuddle and demanded the attention of every creature she came into contact with – human, cat, dog, whatever. She was extremely smart, but instead of using that intelligence to be as human-like as possible, sort of like Charlie did, she used her smarts for the most clever, dog-like means. We originally thought she was a border collie-retriever mix, but as the years went by, we weren’t sure if that was right and could never quite pinpoint what breeds she was. We think she was probably a retriever of some kind and possibly American Eskimo as well.

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She was beautiful, sweet, loving, loyal, sassy, and full of energy. Everyone always asked if she was a puppy still – but she wasn’t, she was six or seven. So even though she was older, we were worried when her energy started to decline and she seemed sort of depressed. We noticed swelling under her chin (where she loved to be scratched) and went to the vet. He discovered a puncture in her mouth (we thought it was from playing with Dan and I’s dog, Madison) and gave her antibiotics.

Sasha just got worse. We took her back to the vet, who sent us to a dental vet specialist. The specialist discovered that it was not a outside action that caused the puncture, but rather inoperable tumors rapidly spreading. Sasha had cancer, and though it was so sudden and we weren’t ready, not even in the least bit, we had to let her go.

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We all miss her still, every day. Here is what I wrote on my personal Facebook the day we had to say goodbye: “Losing a pet is hard, because what we see consistently in pets is what we wish we steadily had in ourselves – loyalty, compassion, and joy. The ability to let go of small betrayals or mistakes easily, the instinct to always help those in need and protect others, and the happiness in all blessings, no matter how small or big….a cuddle, a bright summer’s day, a person’s kindness. Pets are the ultimate optimists, the most enthusiastic beings, and the best of friends.”

It’s easier when we are away from home, in places Sasha normally wasn’t. And that is another reason, I finally realized, why losing pets is so hard and it hurts to see pets scared, in pain, etc. I finally realized why I never doubted or questioned pets being part of the family, and just inherently felt it and accepted it as truth as a child in a house with animals – Pets make a house a home. It feels emptier with them gone. Life is missing a substantial measure of love, acceptance, and warmth. And if those things aren’t what makes a person feel at home, I’m not sure what does.

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Miss you, Sasha. So grateful and glady you were part of our family and home. Love you always.

 

my life + musings: finally a new post!

 

 

It goes without saying that I haven’t updated this blog recently, and when I was updating it wasn’t frequently.

All I can say is I’m not made to be full-time blogger, I suppose. I love the blogging community and I’ve dreamed of working from home and blogging full-time like every other blogger out there, or at least of having a blog that reaches many people and creates  a mini-community itself. But my life isn’t fit for that. Blogging semi-regularly, in ways that enrich the activities I already engage in? That encourage me to be a better person? Yes. But full-time, scheduled, disciplined blogging? No, at least not right now.

I think a hard part of growing up, at least for me, is letting go of expectations. Specifically, expectations I have for myself. I was that kid in high school, and I guess in college, who wanted to do everything, be everything, and do it super well. Not be a jack of all trades, master of none, but a master of all trades attempted. I still have been attempting to do that in life. Be the best daughter, fiancee, friend, coach, teacher, blogger. Be good at cooking, cleaning, working out, being on top of things. I can do it all and I can do it all well.

This is a stupid, obvious thing to say and I’ll probably come to this realization over and over again in my life: “I can’t do it all and do it well. I can do some well and I can do some others decently. Other things, I just don’t have time to do in a positive manner or plain just can’t do. I definitely can’t please everyone. I can’t achieve all I want. I will fail. I will let people down. Things I want will take time. Everything will be okay. Most things are not as big of a deal as everyone makes them out to be.”

My life is fit for a unique sort of rhythm, and I have to find ways to make it the strongest, most beautiful rhythm it can be – not alter it. Change the tempo, change the volume, sure. Change its basic make-up? No. And that means realizing what is most important to me in life, and not apologizing for it: my family (fiancé, his family, and our dog included) and our all-around health; my friends and my career; pretty much everything else. Unfortunately, highly time-consuming hobbies? Turns out they are not a great fit for what has become the natural rhythm of my life the past several months or what I currently anticipate my life will be like…and blogging is definitely a time-consuming hobby.

So the past few months, blogging was toward the bottom of my daily agenda. I was hired as a long-term substitute for at my alma mater, an urban high school in a suburb of Cleveland, where I taught and cotaught U.S. Government. Though it took up every ounce of my time that wasn’t reserved for eating, sleeping, family and friends, and then some, I was thankful just to have such an opportunity. Little did I know how much it would truly impact me.

It was stressful. I am highly knowledgeable in my content area, and due to my participation in a special program during my undergraduate studies, I do have more experience in the classroom than the average first year teacher. However, having control of your own classroom for the very first time is so much trial-and-error, especially when you work with students who are not always very motivated or organized. I learned so much every day. Was there ever a second where I didn’t feel like the stress was worth working through? Absolutely not.

If you have read this blog in the past, you probably know I have anxiety. When I get overwhelmed, I try to reason with myself if what I am worrying about actually matters. When I would worry about my job and ask myself that question, the answer was always YES. It did matter, because it would impact if a student understood something about the government of the nation in which they live. It did matter, because it would impact grades in a class required for graduation in the state of Ohio. It did matter, because it influenced young adults’ attitudes toward learning, responsibility, and themselves.

Instead of overwhelming me, it empowered me. I can’t let my students down, so I better suck it up. They are struggling, so I better show them what a product of this school can grow up to be. They may not remember me, but they are as sure as hell going to remember the lessons I teach them.

However, my long term sub position ended due to some reassigning of teachers within the district, and I was hired as a district substitute, meaning I work every day at various schools in the district as a sort of “teacher on call.” While this is a wonderful opportunity that does provide for more free time outside of the work day, I greatly missed my students, so I added this new cache of unused energy and time to my coaching efforts. So after time with my family and friends, and career efforts, I haven’t had time to blog. I’ve barely had time to plan my wedding, get a good night’s sleep, make it to the gym. Do I want to live every year of my life like that? No, of course not. You have to take care of yourself if you are going to effectively take care of others. But will I ever regret or resent sacrificing for students in my classroom or on my team? Never. Learning how to balance all aspects of life comes in time, especially once you have a firm grasp of what those most important aspects are.

Since graduating from college, I’ve learned a lot of life lessons, including about what is important in life – what’s worth worrying about, what you should cherish, how you should approach situations. But the past few months deepened these lessons. They filled in the details and hardened the roots. This year was pretty hard at times, but it was also pretty darn great. It taught me so much – how great the people in my life are, the power of staying positive and focused on moving forward, how to take better care of myself, how to take balancing life demands day by day, the importance of relaxing and enjoying life, and that working and waiting for a full-time classroom position is 150% worth it.

Hence the lack of posts. I still greatly enjoy blogging! and I hope you still enjoy reading my blog when there is new material, and that you will continue to do so. I just wanted to share why it hadn’t been updated much and why sometimes there might be lulls in my posting pattern. Because despite my best intentions and efforts, I can’t be a master of all trades attempted. And I’m okay with it : )

Here’s to a great 2013, full of all the things we love and cherish. I hope it’s even better than your 2012 was.

 

 

my life: hello again and some great news!

Source: google.com via Kelly on Pinterest

 

Hello everyone! Long time, no see, huh? Sorry about that. It’s not because I’m still sick like in my last post! No, luckily, the absence has been due to something truly wonderful that occurred around the same time – A JOB : )  I have accepted a position as a full-year, long-term substitute for a teacher on a year-long leave of absence. The best parts of this development (other than getting to do what I love and get paid for it)? It’s at my alma mater, the school where I am also the head swim coach. I’m mega-comfortable with the building itself, have the most supportive co-workers ever because I’ve known them for years, and I’m teaching U.S. government, which I have experience with because I taught it during student teaching. Plus, since I am living with my parents right now, it’s a two minute commute!

The worst parts of this development? The sudden and complete lack of time to do anything besides drink coffee, go to school, go home, drink coffee, plan, and grade. The first year of teaching is totally overwhelming and exhausting. Just think about it: you are creating all your lesson plans/strategies and gathering all your teaching resources from scratch, you don’t have a routine set yet that you can fall back into so you’re trying to find a rhythm that works well for you, you’re still relatively inexperienced at classroom management, and while you have led a classroom before, it’s the first time the ultimate responsibility for everything falls directly onto you. It’s a lot to take in and balance.

 

Source: dailyspark.com via Kelly on Pinterest

 

 

It’s definitely a challenge…but I love challenges. They drive me to try my hardest, do my best, learn lessons, and do it again. Have I been stressed? yes. Have I felt lost? yes. Have I had some victories? yes. Is making me happy? totally.

I want to thank you all for your support the past year during the discouraging job search. While this isn’t a permanent position, it is an incredible opportunity and you better believe I’m going to embrace every second of it!

…which means, as you can probably guess from the date between my last post and this one, that I won’t be able to blog as much. I’d like to say this is temporary, just until I get into a routine, but once I get into a routine swim season will be starting and I’ll be thrown for a loop some more. I am for sure going to continue blogging – because I love it and it’s a great creative outlet – but I can’t do five posts a week anymore. I’m not sure how often I was doing that this summer anyway, unfortunately, but it was always my plan and, even though this is a hobby I do for my own enjoyment, I would feel guilty if I didn’t! Crazy, right?! So just to be upfront with myself and you all, my awesome readers, I will most likely only be doing 2-3 posts a week for the near future. If you are looking for other places for entertainment and inspiration on the other days or just in general, be sure to check out my recommended reads page!

 

 

Again, thank you all for your support. It means the world to me on this journey! What is new with you? Any exciting developments, challenges, or victories? What topics would you like to see focused on with only a couple posts a week?

Hope all is well with everyone! Talk to you soon : )

 

my life: under the weather

 

Monday evening I fell ill and was sick all day Tuesday. This morning I’m still not feeling my best, but I’m definitely doing much better, thanks to a (safe) combination of medication and other little comforts, such as:

  • Ginger ale
  • Naps with Madison
  • Sweatpants and blankets
  • Texts from great friends
  • House Hunters and Arrested Development
  • A long, hot bath
  • A warm pasta meal when I felt up to eating
  • Laughs with Dan, who took care of me so wonderfully

What makes you feel better when you’re sick?

 

my life: keep moving forward

 

I graduated from college with a degree in 7-12 social studies education in May 2011. I spent all last summer applying for jobs and not getting one (since my degree is in an oversaturated licensure area for my home state of Ohio). I accepted a job outside of my licensure area at a charter school based on promises and pure panic of the unknown. The job turned out to be a bad fit for my career aspirations and my strengths and passions. Add in family issues, and I quit two months later. I’ve been coaching and subbing the past school year, and I truly loved it. It was really hard, but I felt like it was what I needed my first year out of college.

However, I’m back into the job search again now that it’s summer and schools are again searching for new hires. I’ve been rejected from the only three full-time positions I have received interviews for and have been crying my eyes out, doubting myself. I keep thinking: “Why did I choose this degree? It’s my passion and I’m good at it, but there aren’t any jobs in Ohio. When I was 18 and had never lived outside of my childhood home, I thought I’d be okay moving states away for a job. Five years later, everything is different and I know that’s not right for me at this point. But I have student loan debt! And I’m planning a wedding and living with my parents! What am I going to do? Should I completely change my career? My resume and references are so solid, why does no one want me?” And everyone – friends, coworkers, people I’ve just met – has some opinion on my life: “Why would you major in such a populated field?” “You know, there’s plenty of jobs in Texas.” “Why do you want to be in public education with the changes going on?” “You’d make a great lawyer. Have you thought about law school?” “You’re too young to be married.” “You have plenty of time before you need to settle down.” etc., etc.

 

 

I know, despite the stresses I’ve mentioned, that I am extremely blessed. My life is spared from incredible hardships that so many others have to navigate, oftentimes with less than ideal resources. But it’s hard, it’s so hard, to not get bogged down in a pity party. To look at what others my age have achieved and the life they’ve settled into and not feel like I must be doing something wrong if I can’t get there, too.

So I let myself have a pity party. I normally try to limit my moping to one day per bad news item/setback. Back-to-back bad news yesterday and Monday lead to two depressed days in a row – but that’s enough. Time to keep moving forward.

I’m going to practice gratitude and look on the bright side. I’m going to keep applying for teaching positions but (try) not to obsess over the whole process. I’m going to have faith that things will work out in a favorable way as long as I continue to work hard and pursue challenging opportunities that bring out my strengths, feed my passion, and bring me joy.

It will be okay. I am blessed. Life is good.

 

 

 

P.S. Special thanks to Daniel and my best friends for their kind words, as well as to favorite blogger Jess for this post. I needed a bit of a nudge to buck up and keep going : )

my life: today’s my 23rd birthday

 

 

After my sophomore year of and graduation from college (both major milestones in my life), I didn’t think I’d have another “milestone year” until my first year as a full-time teacher. Or the year I got married. Or the year I lived totally on my own. Something like that. However, while nothing like that happened to me this year, but I still consider my 22nd year – one in which I got rejected from jobs, accepted my first full-time job and moved, quit my first full-time job and moved again, got rejected from some more jobs, got engaged, became a high school head coach, and worked part-time as a substitute teacher (despite my need and best efforts to gain more hours), only to start the whole full-time job search over again just like last summer – to have been one of the most important years in my life. 

I learned SO MUCH. I learned how truly stressful all of life can be when money is tight and you are living a paycheck-to-paycheck existence. I learned how to let go of the money worries, do my best, and trust it will be okay. I learned how very lucky and blessed I am to have supportive parents and future in-laws who are willing to help me out while the education job market is tight. And at swim meets. And planning my wedding. And pretty much anything I go to them for. I learned that $2.75 beers of the month and $1.29 Redboxes add just as much fun and memories to a night as $5.50 craft brews and $10.00 movie tickets. I learned I can handle almost every age group or subject in grades 7-12 and if a lane line breaks in the middle of a swim meet I won’t have a breakdown. I learned to always ask a question if you don’t know what you’re doing and never to apologize for it. I learned I missed the city of Bowling Green and Northwest Ohio even more than I anticipated I would. I learned how to be in a long-distance relationship with someone I used to be with for hours every day. I learned to say “no” sometimes and not feel (too) bad. I learned how to stop making excuses and just do what I need to do. I learned I’m going to screw up and mistakes are stressful but you just have to keep moving forward. I learned that just because life isn’t going the exact way you wish it was, doesn’t mean it’s not truly beautiful.

Yes, I’m working on getting my career where I want it to be, planning a wedding, and getting healthy, all while spending as much time with loved ones as I can. It can be overwhelming at times, but my life is so full of joy. I can’t wait to see what lessons and memories 23 brings me.