Thursday, September 29, 2011

I'm still here!

It's been a long month around here! Michael had neck surgery on August 29 and has been off work since then. Yesterday he went back for his 2nd follow-up appointment and he was released to return to work - FINALLY! Don't get me wrong - I love my husband with all my heart, soul, body, and mind but there is such a thing as too much togetherness! Anyway, today, he went back to work. And so did I!

On today's agenda:
* Bible Study - done
* Wash sheets
* Bake dog treats - done
* Vacuum

* Cook dinner
* Pick up Bobby & his friend from school
* Football practice @ 5:30

Bobby has been looking forward to this day for 2 weeks! Last week he went to his friend's house but this week we are returning the favor. I'll pick up both boys from school and they'll hang out here until time for practice. This is a first for us. The closest we have had is the neighbor's grandson came over for a couple of hours twice. Since he lives in San Antonio that doesn't happen very often.

A few weeks ago, Bobby threw what can only be described as a "party" for the dogs. You'll notice in the picture that there is dog food all over my bedroom. That's Bobby's version of confetti for dogs! When his Aunt Pud found out, she sent us some dog treat recipes. Today I made a batch. Maybe this could be a way to earn some extra income? Okay it's not a full-time job but anything can help us out.

It's time to get back to work but I wanted to show something I have done today in the world of organization. I saw this idea awhile ago on Pinterest and am finally getting around to doing it for my kitchen. The original picture had a small board with cup hooks but I decided that nails directly into the cabinet doors would be fine for my purposes. After all, my cabinets are just plywood and very old. You can see from the picture that there has been a multitude of items hung with tape before we ever moved into the house. I don't know what they were but one of the cabinet doors still had something and I included a couple of pictures of those. One is a Calorie Counter and the other is an emergency information paper.

If you look closely, you might be able to see the phone numbers but just in case:
Local Poison Control 5-3235
    Physician 5-4125

I love this because it shows how phone numbers used to be written. And just think, in larger towns you now have to dial 10 digits!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Organizing 8-19-2011

Today we worked for 2 hours cleaning Bobby's Fathead Life-sized Batman. Yes, 2 hours! I used warm soapy water and a sponge to clean the dust, fur, and dead bugs from the sticky back. It never really stayed up very well and we used pushpins to make it stay but as time went by it got dirty and started falling and tearing small holes where the pushpins were located. Last week it finally fell almost completely to the floor. I bought 3M Command poster strips to attach on the back and rehang it. Five hours later, it is still hanging! We'll see!

My lovely sister-in-law, Ann, told me about Pinterest a few weeks ago. I requested an invitation and downloaded the app to my iPhone but never really messed with it until today. While reading a blog that I regularly visit, I'm an Organizing Junkie, I noticed she had a link to follow her on Pinterest. So I did and what a goldmine Pinterest really is!

Copied from the Pinterest About page:
"Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.
Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests."
 I found some wonderful organizing ideas. Here is one that I used today:

You can't see the labels but they are from top to bottom:
  • Bobby's Medicine
  • Razors & Cough Drops
The drawers are:
  • Ointments - Neosporin, Anti-itch creams, etc.
  • Bandaids
  • Misc. - medicine cups, oral syringes, eyedropper

My other tool we have actually been using a couple of weeks. Bobby was driving me crazy asking "What's for dinner?" I either didn't have an answer or he didn't like my answer. I have attached a dry erase board to the inside of our pantry door. It is labeled with the days of the week and I use dry erase markers to write "What's for dinner." It has been so helpful! Now Bobby will start to ask me what's for dinner and catch himself. He turns and runs to the pantry.

In the following picture, Bobby has written Saturday's menu. I asked him last week to pick something he wanted to eat from his New Junior Cookbook (Better Homes & Gardens Cooking) He chose Chicken Strips, but being the terrible mom that we can all be from time to time, I didn't realize that I was out of chicken breasts! So, it got postponed a few days. Then it got postponed again due to Michael being out of town and then Bobby had a sleep over. I had him erase it and rewrite it on Saturday night.
Our Friday night is almost always pizza night. I think I might have a Bobby's choice night and maybe even a Daddy's choice (although he usually doesn't care except nothing weird, no casseroles, or spaghetti!)
The final part of the menu is "YOYO" night. I read this on another blog that I can't remember where but it stands for "Your On Your Own." This is the night that Mom doesn't cook except maybe heat up something for Bobby. It seems to be working!

Sunday is blank because we ate out. Monday was quesadillas. Tuesday was YOYO. Wednesday is blank because I was home alone until around 8:30 when Michael got home. Thursday night we had roast and potatoes. Friday is our usual pizza. And Saturday night, Bobby and I will make chicken strips with Cheez-It crackers!

Some of my meal ideas are taken from my E-mealz subscription. What a great idea! Dave Ramsey had recommended it and then I found out another lovely sister-in-law had used it when they were working through their Baby Steps with Dave Ramsey. They are money saving meals and are available with approximate costs based on different stores. You can subscribe for 2 or 4 people, the grocery store, and even diet specific needs. I download my meal plan every Thursday or Friday and copy the recipes into BigOven, a digital cookbook. I can access my recipes on my laptop, online, or on my iPhone! Awesomeness!

WOW! Lot's of information today! Two posts in one day? Scary! Of course that means I probably won't post again for a week! LOL! No, I'll probably be back early next week to report on my job interview on Monday. Also, I have a surprise for Bobby's teacher to share with you but I want to wait until after Monday just in case she reads this!
Last night was Meet the Teacher night for Bobby. I was dreading it all day. Finally, it was time to go. As we were driving to town, I could feel myself starting to panic.
"Breathe deep. Deep breath."
I turned on some music to give me some direction. Barlowe Girls "Enough" came on.
"Awww that's the stuff! Relax. Breathe deeper. You can do this. Bobby's worth every ounce of discomfort."
I thought about just walking around the side of the building and totally avoiding the foyer, but it was time to face my demons. We headed into the building. We walked in and my foe didn't even have the decency to speak to me, just Bobby.
But the best part was when it was time leave. We were standing in the foyer and all of a sudden a small child runs up and hugs me. I looked down and saw my sweet HG! She remembered me! I did make a difference! I know that my average IQ kids will remember me but when a child with special needs, like HG remember you, it's amazing!
So I did it! Was it worth it? YES!!! I felt so much better afterwards for facing my foe! I know now that I can do this. Yeah me!!
Monday, I have a job interview for a secretarial position in Gainesville! This weekend I'm going to work on my two minute sales pitch (have to sell myself to the interviewer!)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Book Sneeze!

No, I didn't just sneeze all over my new book! But thank you for the bless you anyway! Can't hurt! Actually, a few months ago a fellow blogger friend had mentioned she was getting FREE books from Book Sneeze. All you have to do is write a review of the book on your blog. Sounded easy enough so I signed up but none of the books really caught my eye so I didn't request any. So I just signed up for their RSS feed and moved on with life.
Fast forward through life a few months to last Wednesday. I'm reading through Google Reader and noticed there were some new books available and some of the author names looked familiar - Patsy Clairmont, Lisa Harper, Nicole Johnson, Sheila Walsh, & Jennifer Grant. These lovely, talented women are some of the most powerful speakers from the "Women of Faith" conference.I have attended this conference for the last 4 years in Dallas and will be returning this year in August. There is nothing like American Airlines Center filled with a ton of women all worshiping and praising God. AMAZING!
Anyway, I couldn't wait to sign up for a book and chose Stumbling Into Grace by Lisa Harper. Less than a week later, my book arrived! I'm so excited! The cover has the most adorable little girl with the "I'm so cute" head tilt, her mom's jewelry, ruffly skirt, pink shirt, green & white striped tights, & untied pink converse shoes! I just want to to hug her cute little neck!
I have already read the first chapter and am in love! Lisa uses real life stories to remind us that God gazes adoringly at us and moves heaven and earth for us!
At the end of each chapter, are some questions for reflection or group discussions and a journal entry.
I honestly don't know how long it will take me to read this book because my reading of traditional books, as opposed to e-books, has really slowed down. Right now on my coffee table, I have 5 in progress books, not including this one! Two of those books are Beth Moore Bible study books that I have been working through with some ladies @ church. So, stay tuned and I will do my best to keep motivated to finish it quickly. After all, there are more books on the site that I'm interested in, too! I encourage you to check out their website and sign up.
Take care - remember God moves heaven and earth for you!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Sharing a wonderful blog

I have taught so many children over the 17 years with so many different diagnoses and levels of health and abilities. I am always reminded of the story "Welcome to Holland" by Emily Perl Kingsley which compares the arrival of a child with a disability to making plans to take a vacation to Italy and being told when your plan lands "Welcome to Holland."
Most families are extremely lucky to never experience Holland like this mother describes. In my family, we have had a couple of incidents, one 2nd cousin with Down's Syndrome & a 3rd cousin born completely blind. Michael's family had a recent experience with the loss of a baby by the name of Maggie who was a distant cousin. Maggie's parents kept a blog describing their journey through pregnancy, diagnosis of Maggie, Maggie's birth, and the passing of Maggie. Joy, Maggie's mother, recently posted her views on healing. She & Stephen are so eloquent in their pain. Throughout their journey, they have never lost sight of the big picture - God is in control. I hope you will enjoy their story as much as I have.

Our baby girl

Friday, July 1, 2011


Am I extreme couponing?

I wouldn't say extreme couponing. I'm just saving money. I won't go to a bunch of stores. I went to two stores yesterday - Wal-Mart & Tom Thumb. I'm using some apps that give digital coupons & one that helps me track the paper ones. But I only buy what I need. I used yesterday and saved $3.25. Also, cellfire allows you to add more savings to your reward cards. I actually saved over $20 @ Tom Thumb! It's a little exciting!

I had to buy a new smoke/CO2 detector for $38 and in a roundabout way it was free because of my savings yesterday. I was excited; Michael thought I was a little crazy but if it works... I'm also going to keep close track of my savings using Quicken.

You know what they say “Curiosity killed the cat - satisfaction brought him back!”

Oh, yeah - don't forget to go to the manufacturer's websites and like them on FB because they have some coupons there that are exclusive.

I set up a 2nd email account just for coupons & sales. This way I can sign up for any website and not worry about junk mail as much because it’s just gmail and not my Windstream account. I know it’s kind of crazy but it’s the best way for me to keep my sanity when it comes to all of those emails!

A hard part for me is tracking sales. When you live in the country it’s hard to get sale ads. Plus your store choices are limited. I won’t drive to kingdom come to save money especially when gas is so expensive! I only go to Gainesville so my choices are Wal-Mart & Tom Thumb. Sometimes going to CVS can be a deal too.

One of the things I learned yesterday was in my shopping list, I need to note how many of each item has to be purchased in order to qualify for the coupon. Also, don’t give up on using a coupon. If you have to, ask to see the manager. I had a coupon for 2 free dog treats with the purchase of dog food. When I picked up the items, I read & reread the coupon to make sure I picked up the right things. When the cashier scanned the coupon, the register kept kicking it out. I asked for the CSM who read the coupon, verified my items, and gave me the $5! It was worth it!

Will I do this again?
Yes, definitely! It’s going to be hard when I’m working full-time but in the long-run it is worth it!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Last Chapter

Friday, June 3, 2011 was the closing chapter of part of my professional life. (Sounds pretty ominous, right?)

Bobby, Kaili, Munen, and I headed to the school @ 8:00 to pack up the remainder of my classroom. I wasn't sure I could do it without having a complete mental breakdown. I had been told so many lies over the last year and especially the last week that I didn't even know what I would find when I got there. I went expecting the worst. After all, I had been told that I wasn't allowed to be on campus except from 4-8 on weekdays and that the locks had been changed. Once again these were lies told to try to control me. Anyway, we brought boxes and got to work! Four hours sure didn't seem like enough when we began but we had it knocked out in 2 1/2 hours! We even had the vehicles unloaded by 11:00! It was a lot of work but it was such a stress relieving expedition!

The next step will be to purchase plastic tubs to properly store everything. We didn't worry about how anything was packed. It was get it in a box and get it home as fast as possible!

Michael's comment was simply "I hope that's all there is!" It's quite a huge stack!

I also took some time to organize my yarn stash. I am just like every other crafter in the world. (At least I hope!) I didn't realize I had so much yarn until I gathered it all together. Here's the picture:

I have now organized it into a few categories and inventoried it. There are 3 large bags under my bed, a couple of baskets in my 'craft' closet, and the scrap pieces are in the bottom of a large wooden chest. It's exciting to have it all organized and know what I have available. The sad part is... NO MORE YARN BUYING FOR A LONG TIME!!!!

I have four projects on hook and in the meantime I'll try to plan some projects for each of the yarns. Good luck, right? LOL!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Calm again

Life seems to be calm again. Last week was a difficult week since it was the week that everyone began finding out about my resignation. The comments that people have made have all been positive which is letting me know that this decision has been the right one. Even though I was not the instigator of the decision I know that it is the right one for this moment in time. It is something I've wanted to do for a while now but didn't have the guts to try it.
I have labeled my calendar to show how many days are left - 33 days.  Staying motivated every day is going to be difficult. I have had a daily schedule for so long that I don't really know how to function without one. I think I need to rely on the Flylady again. I may need to have a written schedule so that I can become more organized in my tasks as a wife & mother.
Today, I teach the Children's Theater and then we have the annual egg hunt and potluck lunch at the park. Yet once again I have forgotten to prepare anything! I will check out the pantry and hope to find SOMETHING! We will stop by the grocery store and buy a 2 liter root beer. Luckily, the Easter bunny had already purchased candy for Bobby's basket and we were able to use that candy and left over eggs so that is done. Bobby fixed those last night. He said he felt like the Easter bunny!
This week Bobby was taking achievement tests along with the other lower grades. After the first day, I asked him about his tests. He said the test was really hard. I questioned him about what was so hard and he replied "Staying in those little bubbles! It's hard trying to keep my pencil inside those little bubbles. I tried to color outside of it and then erase but that just wasn't good enough." When I questioned him about the questions he said those were easy. That evening after reading, he fell asleep for 2 hours and only woke up long enough to get ready for bed. Those bubbles are really tiring!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Difficult decision made!

Friday afternoon was a terrible day professionally speaking. I was informed that I would not be rehired for the 2011-2012 school year. I had been given two choices:
  1. Turn in a resignation letter
  2. Allow a non-renewal to appear on my record.
Now what do I do? I have been told that I'm not good enough to be rehired. I intended to retire from Saint Jo and one person was able to change the course of my history. I was DEVASTATED to say the least! All weekend I had to pretend everything was okay when I felt like my whole world was coming to an end. I placed a call to ATPE, told my parents, Michael, & Munen.

Michael, Bobby, & I drove to College Station for Jeffrey's wedding, which was beautiful! I did my best to hide my emotions from the other family members so that it wouldn't ruin everyone else's weekend. Success!

So now it is Sunday. My dad said to call him when we got home from the wedding and we could talk. He had lots of good questions and made me think about my options. While I was on the phone with him, the ATPE lawyer called the house. She also had wonderful questions for me!  And most especially - wonderful answers to my questions:

The final answer is that there are no options for me but to resign. However, to help me with future jobs the lawyer has some recommendations for me.
  1. Email the principal in the morning confirming her intent to not rehire me. This will create a kind of paper trail that I can use to hopefully claim unemployment.
  2. I will also request a meeting with her to discuss updating my PDAS to reflect my efforts to change.
  3. I will turn in a resignation letter tomorrow.
I have begun to reflect on my studies of Esther from the Bible. An important verse at this time is

Esther 4:14b "And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

I have come to realize that God is speaking to me and I haven't been listening. He is showing me a different way to go but I have to find that way still. We all know that God shows you the way in His time not yours. So I will pray and continue to study His word. I will find the right may take some time but that's what I have, right?

To all of those who have supported me through these years and this momentous decision, I would like to say Thank you! I wish I could reach out through this computer and hug your neck! I pray that you too will listen to God's word and that He will show you the way!

Love, Kirsten

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Long weekend

It has been a very long weekend emotionally for me. I'm struggling at work with learning recently that the people I work with are not my friends after all. In church this morning, Curt spoke about the crazy people in your life than can cause you to make wrong decisions in you life. This applied to me so much that it was difficult to concentrate carefully but I did take notes that I will use to look over and remind myself as the weeks of this school year drag on. Unfortunately, the people at work are actually the "For Yous." These are the people in your life that you think are your friends but then you do something they don't like, they turn against you. This is how I feel right now. People that I thought I could trust to tell my secrets to have turned their backs on me. It appears they have turned around and went straight to the principal. I have been questioning myself all weekend about how to handle this.
  1. Confront (which I know in my heart will only make it worse even though the temporary relief would feel so good!)
  2. Ignore - I know this is the right way to go but I feel so beaten up and bruised that I "allowed" this to happen. In reality I know that I didn't cause it to happen. I didn't ask to be treated so poorly. I didn't ask to be betrayed. I'm being tested.
As Curt said this morning, the closer I come to Jesus, the more I will be tested and I have to remain strong. Look to the Bible to find out what my decision should be.
So the question is "who is my Daniel?" Who is the person I can trust to keep me from making bad decisions? Who is the person that keeps me from making CRAZY decisions? I know God is there for me and I need to listen and talk to him. I haven't been doing that enough. I trust that Michael is also my Daniel. I know he has my best interest at heart. I believe and trust in him, too.

Where's Your Daniel?

Now, back to Esther. She has been a busy woman. She has fasted and not your typical fast. She went without food and water for 3 days & nights. Usually, fasting didn't involve going without water and certainly not during the nights also! This was very dangerous for anyone, especially during the Bible times. She asked Moredecai to go out and ask the Jews to join her in this fast and then she would go before Xerxes without being summoned. So 3 days later she has dressed in her robes and gone to Xerxes. He has extended his scepter to her. She has touched the tip...
We have stopped there for a day to ponder on the picture that has been painted. This beautiful woman, who had spent THREE days without food and water, probably appeared to be tired & drawn. Her eyes were probably sunken in and had black circles. She was probably very weak and tired. But she knew that if she did nothing that not only would she die but so would her family and all the other Jews in Persia. So, a nervous young woman has dressed up in her finest and has walked countless feet to stand in front of the man that can change her life - for good or bad. And what happens, he is so taken by her beauty, "pleased with her," that he extends his scepter. AMEN! What relief she must have felt knowing that he won't kill her for coming to his presence without being summoned. But that hasn't taken away all of her stress. What will he say? What will he do? I can't wait to find out!

Tomorrow I will do my best to follow God's word and not allow other people's 'fickle friendship' affect my attitude!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I'm back

I have been studying the book of Esther in the Bible the last couple of weeks. Wow what a life this young woman has had up through chapter 4. We are using a Beth Moore book called Esther: It's Tough Being a Woman in our women's Bible study. Every Thursday, a group of around 20 women from our church and local churches gather together to watch a video of Beth Moore talking about what we learned in the previous week and what we are going to be learning in the coming week. She is a very dynamic speaker and has an amazing ability to take apart the verses so that you gain an understanding of them and then she knits (or crochets in my case) them back together so that they are meaningful. It seems that many times people will take apart portions of God's word and make it fit whatever their needs are. Beth doesn't do that. She helps you see it through His eyes and ties it to other portions of the Bible. There is no doubt in my mind that this is a God-given talent that she uses and shares with everyone. When I grow up, I want to be Beth Moore!
Each week, Beth gives us a scenario that starts with "It's tough being a woman..." This week is:

It's tough being a woman thrown a giant-sized weight.

This is what is happening to Esther in chapter 4. She has just learned of the edict ordering the death of all the Jews in Persia. Since she too is a Jew, it's reasonable to assume that she will be killed unless she as the Queen of Persia does something QUICK! I can't wait to see what she does next. Bobby told me just to read ahead and find out but I just can't do it because Beth presents each section in such a way that I believe I will understand it better if I just wait. Even though it's killing me!

So, why start this blog again? I wish I knew. I have so many friends that are struggling right now with family issues, professional issues, health issues, personal issues, etc. Sometimes I feel like I need an outlet. Maybe this form of journaling is what I need. Not only are my friends struggling, but I am too. I'm healthy and so is my family but I'm struggling with professional issues and parenting issues. Professionally, if you have watched the news in TX then you know about the possibility of huge budget cuts. No teacher is ever guaranteed their job year to year. Every year around this time, we wait to get that little letter that says the district has decided to extend our contract for another year. The sad thing is that even if you sign that contract, you are still not guaranteed a job. They can back out of it easier than we as teachers can. Sometimes I wonder why I put up with all this bureaucracy, but then I go to work the next day and see my sweet little kids faces and I remember -  I LOVE WHAT I DO!!! It's so exciting to see their faces light up when they do something for the first time or when they see their friends! I can't help but love it!
As for parenting issues, Bobby is really testing the waters the last week. He is pushing me at home and pushing his teacher at school. It's like there's a line in the sand and he's tapping it with one toe saying "What are you going to do about it? I didn't cross the line!" I don't know what to do and I feel as if his daddy doesn't even notice what's going on. I just need to remember what Angie told me - be firm, consistent, and FOLLOW-THROUGH! If  I don't get this under control at 6, things will only get worse!
So, I guess in closing I would like to say a prayer for some special people and for some unknown people. I pray that the family that is struggling with lies & rumors will turn to God for guidance and support. I know that your first instinct is to lash out but you know that isn't the right way to handle the situation. You have to be strong and reach out to God for his help. For the unknown people that are saying terrible things about this family, please repent and ask God to forgive you. Spreading rumors is hurtful and useless. You aren't hurting anyone else but yourself. That family is stronger than any horrible thing you could ever say. They have suffered through so much and have turned their lives around to be on God's side. They know that the truth will come out and that through their beliefs God will strengthen them.

Dear God,
I want to thank you for your loving words that teach us how to be more like Jesus Christ Your Son. I would like to lift a special family up tonight in my prayer. They are suffering a terrible grievance at the hand of others. I can only imagine the pain they are feeling tonight. I pray that they will feel Your loving arms surrounding them and giving them strength to make positive choices.
God, I also want to lift up those that are causing so much pain to that family. They too are suffering in a different way. They need Your help more than the family does because they don't know You! They need to come to you and learn to live in a world that doesn't have to involve hate or gossip. God, I have been that person who talks badly about others not thinking about the consequences. I'm struggling with it still today. I continue to pray for guidance in my words and actions. I pray that I can become one of those people that can be trusted to "Keep my mouth closed!" It is so hard not to get caught up in that web but I will continue to come to You through prayer and through Your word for guidance and strength.
Thank you for sending Your son to take away our sins. Thank You for loving us so much that You have it all planned out for us. How great is Your love!
In Your name I pray,