December 28, 2008

what would you write?

The weekend before Christmas I had one of my grad classes, it's a class that is about teaching writing, but also centers a lot around us as writers ourselves. One of our teachers told us to get out our paper, and then to listen as she read our writing assignment aloud to us. The basic assignment revolved around us writing a letter to someone that was on our "top people in our lives that have influenced us" list that we had made back in August, except... there was a catch! We had to write something in the letter (which, by the way, we were told that we never had to send it if we didn't want to) telling the person something that we had never told them before.

I immediately knew who I wanted/needed to write to. I had been feeling guilty since I started this writing class in August for not having written about this person yet. I got out my favorite bright pink pen and began...with tears streaming down my face here is my letter, to the woman I miss almost every day still.

Dear Grandma,
I think about you often. I miss you. I miss hearing you call me "Bail." I miss everything about you. Your beautiful wrinkly hands, the rollers in your beautiful silver and white hair. I mostly just miss you.
I wish you would have known that you mean the world to me. I wish I would have said more to you at Mayo. I wish I could have hugged you on my wedding day and danced at our reception.
I wish you could see how happy I am now. I wish you could see how much I love being a wife... just like you told me in your last breath "I know you'll be a good wife."
I know you know these things now, because I know you're still around me, but I still wish I could see you and talk to you.
You were the most amazing Grandma that I'll ever know.
I loved "baking" no-bake chocolate oatmeal drop cookies with you. I haven't made them since you've been gone.
I loved taking lunch out to Dad and Grandpa in the field with you. My favorite lunch to take was beef stew, I loved finding the bone and feeding it to the dog.
I'll never forget the last month or so with you. You were so scared and lonely, I could see it in your eyes. It was so scary being by your side, but I knew you needed it, and so did I. Remember when I gave you a facial in the hospital bed? You felt so much better, and so did I.
Or how about the final ice cream party that you wanted in your hospital room. I'll never forget the plot to give you some ice cream as the nurses turned their backs, like we were really going to deny you some ice cream at your ice cream party?!
You couldn't speak, and could hardly write, but yet I knew you loved me and were quietly saying goodbye.
I love you Grandma.
Who will you write to? What will you write that you have never said before?

December 17, 2008

Happy Birthday My Love!!!

Well the day is finally here….I am writing a blog. As you will soon find by the quality of this blog, this is not Bailey. It is Matt. Writing is not my forte so I hope misspellings and miss punctuations don’t bother you.

In case you don’t know, today is Bailey’s birthday!

If you ask her she is practically 30 now. I will not tell you how old she is because females don’t divulge that information very often, but I will give you 25 reasons why I love her so much (not in any particular order).

1. She actually married me! 6 months 3 days of awesomeness so far!!
2. I don’t need a planner anymore.
3. She can put up with enough sports to get me through most weekends.
4. Deb and Rusty (Her parents)
5. All of her family.
6. She is very intelligent.
7. She doesn’t make me write on this blog!
8. She loves me even when I am being stupid…so she loves me all the time.
9. She is strong in her beliefs.
10. She can handle any situation.
11. I have never seen anybody more organized.
12. She knows how to laugh and have a good time.
13. She knows how to cook very well.
14. She is B-E-A-Utiful!!
15. Extremely beautiful!
16. She sleeps on my arm on long car rides (longer than 10 minutes).
17. She respects me and my family.
18. She is going to make the perfect mother someday.
19. She is very adventurous.
20. She can speak fluent French.
21. She has wonderful friends that like me…I think.
22. She is successful!
23. She encourages me to do things I didn’t think were possible.
24. She makes random noises, and I mean random.
25. She is the best thing to ever happen to me!

Make sure you send her an email, give her a call, or message her on facebook to tell her happy birthday because this is the only time this year you will be able to do that! Now that I have lowered your IQ by approximately 10 points with my blogging abilities, I will stop.

I love you Bailey and I hope you enjoy your birthday! We have special plans for supper tonight that you will enjoy! I can’t wait to celebrate many many more of your birthdays with you! Happy Birthday to my wife!

December 9, 2008

oh, how i hate you mr. dentist

Ok, so that might have been an exaggeration, but I really do dislike the dentist. Last week I had the grand opportunity of having to visit the dentist for a filling. My aunt Tammy works at the dentist's office and had the pleasure of having me as a patient. Here is the not so hilarious account of my time at the dentist:

Matt picked me up from school (since we are doing the fabulous car-pooling thing now! =) and we headed up to Waverly to the dentist's office. On the way there I only thought I was going to throw up two times...not too bad for a 20 minute drive. Once we were there I slouched down into the waiting room chair and prayed that they would forget I was no avail. Tammy soon came out and got me, and we headed back to the dungeon together. For some reason I ended up in the back far corner, hmm... maybe they know I need to be secluded? =)

Soon after I sat down I was given the gas...laughing gas that is. Ahh... the stuff of miracles. Many deep breaths later and my legs finally quit shaking and my hands went from white knuckles to bright pink knuckles. After anxiously awaiting the dentist he finally arrived. Mr. Dentist is a large man, he played football at Iowa many years ago, and for some reason his kindness won me over. Tammy asked him if I needed "the needle" and he said he probably would recommend it. I panicked for a moment, but as he undoubtedly saw the fear in my eyes, he quickly reminded me that I would first get the numbing cream for my gums. Now we were talking! Gas, numbing cream, and novocaine. If I still felt pain after all three things, we may have had something to really worry about.

The numbing cream did wonders. I closed my eyes (God forbid I would see the needle, I most certainly would have been on the floor!) and stiffened up as he gave me the novocaine. A few short stories later about Germany and how I know Mr. Dentist's wife and it was time for....... THE DRILL. Ugh, how I hate the sound of the drill. I wish you were never created stinking drill. It was over pretty quickly, the filling was pushed in, and I was outta there!

Ok... you can laugh now, but at least now you know why the dentist is such an ordeal for me.

November 23, 2008

Christmas at the Kings

We've had a very productive weekend at our house. Not only did I get the first 3 chapters of my research paper completed, but we also completed our Christmas decorations!! Yeah!!! I LOVE CHRISTMAS! I love it for many reasons. I love Christmas because it's a week after my birthday, because I love snow, because Christmas trees are amazing, because I love presents, and because it's Jesus' B-day!

Matt reluctantly (ok, not reluctantly, frankly he was a bit pissed to help me decorate, well at first at least) decorated with me. We headed outside, and I knew it was meant to be when we saw this:

Before pic of our house:

SNOW! (I know it's not much, but I love it!)

Matt putting up the lights

We decided to keep the decorations simple this year, because, we are trying to sell our house after all. For those of you who know me well know that I have an obsession with outdoor decorations. And, I'm not ashamed to admit that I have several blowup yard decorations (ok, so like 6 or 7). =) After many discussions we decided to keep the blowups in the garage for the year, but I did get to do icicle lights and one other decoration... a miniature ski lift that connects to the roof and takes characters up and down the lift, it's way cute, trust me! =)

Here is the final look of our house:

And here is the ski lift:


And our Christmas tree:

(which caused a few curse words from Mr. King because it is a pre-lit tree and several sections would not light up this year, and it's maybe just a bit crooked, but I still love it!)

Our living room:

And MY VILLAGE! My friends say I'm 70 for having a village but I think it's amazing. So far I have the church, with a couple outside on the steps in their wedding attire, a house with a family outside unloading the Christmas tree off of the top of the car, a tree that has carolers all around it, an ice skating rink that lights up has six moving ice skaters!!! A ski lodge that lights up and has a man and woman walking up the steps, and my favorite... a ski slope that has people skiing up and down the slope. And I know I have a few more coming this year from my mom, yes.. she's really not good about keeping secrets.

And a final note to my husband: (that's still weird to see, ha!)

Thank you for making our house a Christmas Wonderland, I love it!!! And thanks for climbing up the shaky ladder and freezing your hands to get the icicles perfectly straight. And thank you also for helping me rearrange the village 7 times before I decided it was perfect. =)

And the last picture... Junie being stinking cute!

November 10, 2008

painting and magic!

Keri was back for the week and you know what that means... quality time with the fam! We went to Picasso's on Main Street to paint some pottery for my dad. Keri had given him a bowl a few years ago that she had painted and he had also seen all of the awesome cups that everyone painted for my bachelorette party in March, so he decided that he wanted a whole set of painted dishes!

So on Friday when I had the day off of school we headed downtown to start our painting fiasco, with the plan of finishing the rest of the dishes over Christmas break when Keri is home again. Dad decided that he wanted big plates, little plates, and bowls. The funny part of this whole story is that Dad really thought that it would take ten minutes to paint each piece. So when he showed up to start helping us and 30 minutes later he was STILL working on this fine plate :

I didn't feel bad, because now he will actually appreciate all of our hard work!

Here is Dad and Keri working:

Matt & I working hard:

Some of our final pieces!

A plate that Matt painted, if you look close it spells out I- O- W- A in a very artistic way!

My last and favorite plate! (In honor of Wilson, Dad's awesome dog that Grandpa & I picked out when he was out of town a few years ago!)

After painting on Friday it was time to gear up for the Hawks game on Saturday. It was the only game of the season that we went to and, if you have seen any highlights on ESPN, it was the BEST game of the year!!!! However, it was absolutely freezing! We had hand warmers, blankets, long underwear, sweatshirts, coats, hats, and gloves! We had assumed the game would be a blowout so I had mentally prepared myself to only have to sit though half or MAYBE 3/4 of the game. I was wrong, but that's ok because the game was awesome!

Here is a section from The Des Moines Register:

No way, said Iowa's Daniel Murray, 45 minutes after making the biggest field goal of his life.

"I knew I was going to make it," he said after his 31-yard kick with 1 second to play resulted in Saturday's 24-23 upset of third-ranked Penn State and turned Kinnick Stadium into a mosh pit - twice.

Fans stormed the field immediately after the game-winner, and then were shooed away as Iowa still had to kick off. They came out again, this time for the real post game party, after Hawkeye Bruce Davis recovered the short boot.
"Biggest win in Hawkeye history? Who knows," said defensive tackle Mitch King, on the field for nearly 36 minutes of the 60-minute game. "Let's just say this is something I'll remember as long as I'm alive."

This is believed to have at least equaled the biggest upset in Iowa football history, according to the rankings.

And for the record, yes, the Leymaster family did join in for the rushing of the field! (Ha, sort of that is. We went out about 5 minutes after the real surge of people... but we were still out there.)

Here are some pictures from the game.

Evan (Keri's best friend) & Keri

Keri & Dad

Mom & I

Matt & I

The winning field goal kick!!!

After the game, see the scoreboard?!? Way cool!

October 31, 2008


I've been waiting for ALMOST A MONTH to post this!

The good news that we have been waiting for has finally come today! Matt interviewed with John Deere (in Waterloo) a month ago and was offered the position today!!! We are both SO excited. We have been (somewhat secretly) waiting to hear this news. Matt will be a manufacturing engineer in the "heat treat" part of the downtown Waterloo location. It has been our plan to move to Cedar Falls for a few months now, but we were waiting on this awesome news. We are currently in the process of trying to sell our house which will be the final step in our process. For now we will at least be able to drive only ONE car to Cedar Falls instead of two cars going opposite directions. Yeah for saving money on gas!

We have begun our search for a house in Cedar Falls. A few weeks ago we looked at 7 different houses around town with our realtor. We found one that we really liked, an older 2 story home with squeaky wood floors ( I always loved that sound) and a great new kitchen but 2 of the 3 upstairs bedrooms don't have closets... so we like it, but don't love it. Other than that our search didn't produce anything to our liking. We will continue to look with our realtor but have jointly decided that if we sell our house and haven't found anything that we're in love with we will A)try to rent an apartment on a month-by-month basis B) move in with good ol' pops for a while (yes Dad, that's you!) We just know that we really want to find a house that we're in love with and can stay for a long, long....long time, and not just settle on one that is "ok". (Matt has insistently told me that we will NOT be moving again soon. Can't blame him I guess. =)

It's amazing how things just seem to "pull together" at the right time. It's so hard to sit back and have faith that everything is meant to happen when it happens, but it's amazing to look back on things and realize just how perfectly God has planned things for us. Another exciting thing for us is that we just completed the membership class for Orchard Hill Church so we are now both members at that church. We are looking forward to getting involved with the church, which will be MUCH easier living in the same town. We just joined a small group of young married couples and have had a lot of fun getting that started. We also have volunteered to help with some committee"ish" things at church. Matt is looking into helping run the computers/tech stuff for one of the services and I am hoping to get on board with the wedding coordinators at the church. (I know... you're completely shocked because I really don't like weddings, ha! I love weddings and can't wait to get started!)

So that's our good news for now, hopefully the next good news is that we've got an offer on our house!

October 17, 2008

Amazing movie!

**Ok, so this isn't the original post that I've been waiting for a few days to post, but I really wanted to share this one too, so I'll keep on waiting to get the other WAY MORE exciting one up soon!**

I'm not usually a huge movie buff, but Matt and I saw an amazing movie last week that I feel compelled to share with everyone! The movie is called Fireproof, and it is a must see in my opinion. Here is the info on the movie:

Fireproof is the story of a firefighter, Captain Caleb Holt, who lives by the old firefighter's adage: Never leave your partner behind. But, after seven years of marriage to his wife Catherine, their own relationship is failing. Neither one understands the pressures the other faces. As they prepare to file for divorce, Caleb's father challenges his son to commit to a 40-day test called "The Love Dare." Caleb starts it, but more for his father's sake than for his marriage.

When Caleb discovers the book’s daily challenges are tied into his parents' newfound faith, his already limited interest is further dampened. Even though he wants to stay true to his promise, Caleb becomes frustrated time and time again. He finally asks his father, "How am I supposed to show love to somebody who constantly rejects me?" When his father tells him that this is the love God shows to people, Caleb makes a life-changing commitment to love God. And, with God's help, he begins to understand what it means to truly love his wife. But, he is unsure if it's too late to "fireproof" his marriage.

I know it sounds a little bit cheesy, but it really was awesome! The movie was produced by two brothers who are both pastors and most of the cast are volunteers from their church. It was such a good movie that Matt even went out the next day and bought the book, Love Dare (same book that the movie is based off of).

Click below to watch the trailer. I know that it is not playing in Cedar Falls yet, we actually went to Cedar Rapids to see it, but I'm assuming it will be coming soon!

October 14, 2008

patience is the key...

I promise I have a great post just waiting to be, well...posted! Just be patient my friends, I'm waiting for the "ok" sign, then I'm hoping to get it up on here in the next day or two.

Fingers crossed!

October 2, 2008

on the crazy train

I posted earlier in the summer that the teacher across the hall (Renee) and I have decided that we would get our Master's together. Our original plan was to take 2 years to complete it, like most sane adults would choose. And then we attended a meeting with the head guy of the master's program here in Iowa and he told us that if we really wanted to, we could graduate this July.

We contemplated it and then decided, SURE... WHY NOT?!? So now we are on the crazy train of classes. Taking between 2-4 classes at a time. We are currently in 2 and will be starting our research class at the end of October, which... we are both dreading. We will then have to complete our research and paper over the next 6 or so months (while taking 5 more classes in the spring), because of course we wouldn't want the normal 9 months to do it!

And on top of it, Renee and her husband Drew are expecting their second child in February, so I guess I shouldn't be the one complaining. =) All of this will lead to a week long class in July in Wisconsin (where the University is at) and graduation on July 17th, 2009. Dear lord will we ever make it....

So if my posting starts to fade to once a week (oh wait, that's all I'm finding time for now!) then you will know that I'm alive, just stuck in some corner reading or doing other crappy grad work.

Enjoy this beautiful fall weather for me... because unfortunately I'm guessing I won't have much time to enjoy it this year. $5,000 pay raise... $5,000 pay raise and a chance to move to a new position... I just need to keep the goal in mind! =)

OH, I almost forgot to share this. The house that we really wanted (the crappy boarded up one that we loved, see picture below) got an offer last week. We haven't heard if they accepted the offer or not but we're assuming it's sold. =( Only 2 tears were shed, and now we're on the hunt again. AND we have someone coming to look at our house next week, YIPPEEE!!!

September 23, 2008

oh, how i love the biggest loser

Why is it that watching extremely obese people workout makes me workout 10 times harder?! I don't know either, but I won't complain. Tuesday nights are the one night of the week that I actually feel motivated to workout, and that the time actually flies by, and I LOVE IT! If you don't tune into Biggest Loser (NBC, Tuesday nights at 7pm central) you're really missing out.

Not only are the people phenomenal, hello, they lose over a 100 lbs in the time they are on the show, but the two trainers are amazing too! Jillian and Bob are in your face type of trainers. They yell, scream, and sometimes physically drag the people on their team to success. If only I had the money to hire a personal trainer like that... then maybe I could have my dream body too!


So tonight (in less than an hour!) I look forward to a heart pounding, leg trembling, sweaty 30 minute elliptical workout in front of our tv, all thanks to one exhilarating show!

Enjoy the show folks!

September 17, 2008

we're moving!!! (well...hopefully!)

So I know I've been awful about updating the last two weeks, but I have some good reasons. First, with grad school and teaching finally getting going life has been crazy. Second, I've had nothing else on my mind except for this darn house stuff!

We will have our house up for sale after this weekend...WHAT?! (I know that's what you're thinking). I know, we only bought our house 7 months ago, and yes... we are crazy for moving again already! (We fully understand that!) However we're ready for this move. We want to be in a town that actually has umm, A GROCERY STORE! Let alone a mall would be nice too, or yes, even a real restaurant! And we would really like to be near our families, especially since we find ourselves making the hour drive to Cedar Falls EVERY SINGLE weekend! So we have decided to put our house up for sale by owner and see what happens...frankly we're just hoping to break even. We have spotted a house in Cedar Falls that we're in love with! It's boarded up, has yellow stained walls, boards for siding, and a roof that is sliding off, and we love it! (shh... don't tell anyone about it until it's ours!) =)
Isn't she a BEAUTY!!

It's in an amazing location and we're hoping we can make it our home! We are in the process of getting some contractors to give us bids and then we'll be able to put an offer in, with the contingency that our house sells. It's all too exciting, in fact, Matt and I have both lost sleep thinking about what we want to do to the house.

So... if anyone is looking for an amazing 5 bedroom walkout ranch in Urbana with a pool, cherry kitchen with island, 2 car attached garage, master bathroom with whirlpool tub and walk-in closet and 3/4 acre lot let us know!
So that's the latest news from the Kings. Other than the worrying that we might lose the house we want, life is great!

August 31, 2008

amazing love

So I promise I didn't create this blog to make it all mushy and to constantly talk about the cliche idea of "how happy we are now that we're married". However, I wrote this poem for my writing class that I'm in and one of my friends said I had to put it on here, so here it is:

Amazing Love

I thought I was in love… I was, but not like this.

I thought I knew what love was, and how to show it…I did, but now I know better.

I thought that you were the perfect guy… you were, but now it means so much more.

I thought that we were meant for each other… we were, but now I truly know it.

I thought we were going to make a great family of our own someday… we will, and I can hardly wait for it!

The way that God has worked in me and you is inspiring. He has taken the two of us and molded us into exactly what the other person needs. You are more perfect to me now than you even were on our wedding day.

I love how you kiss me on my forehead to say goodbye in the morning when I’m not even fully awake yet.

I love how you pick up our kitty and hold and kiss her each day when you get home from work at night.

I love that you call my mom and dad just to talk, because deep down I know you are the son that they never had.

I love how when I’m mad at you for not doing something you said you would do, you simply meow or make some other obnoxious noise to make me laugh and all is good again.

I love how I’m more in love with you today than I was 3 months ago on our wedding day. I
know you better, for good and bad, and somehow that has turned into loving you more deeply now than before.

And finally, knowing that I love you more now than ever before makes me so excited and more in love with you and anxious to see how much more my love for you can grow.

August 21, 2008

the first days...

Well the first two days of school have come and gone and I find myself thinking that there are a lot of days left! Don't get me wrong, my job can be fun, rewarding and somewhat challenging, but not yet. During these first few days I find myself wandering the halls, helping cute and lost kindergartners to their rooms, fiddling around on my computer and the usual walk across the hall to Renee's room to see what's going on.
I finally was able to start pulling some 1st graders today to test. The test that I give to them is 6 parts, most of the parts get quite repetitive and I want to strangle the author of the book The Hippo in the Hole. It might be a good book if you didn't have to listen to a bajillion first graders read it to you over and over. I forgot how much these first few weeks of testing really do stink!
I'm ready to get into the teaching part of my job and done with the monotonous testing part. I'm ready to see students learn to read and see their excitement when they figure out that they actually can read!
I'm also ready to tell some exciting news...however Matt has put the kabash on letting it slip out yet, so a few more weeks and I'll be letting everyone know! (no mom, it's not baby news, not even close or in our thoughts yet, so relax!)
Another thing I'm maybe not excited for but anxious for is grad school. In about a month Renee and I will be starting our first of the Friday/Saturday classes and I'm ready to get them started. The sooner we start the sooner the end is near! I don't mind school but I am definitely not looking forward to being in class on Friday nights and all day Saturdays, yuck!
Even though I find my life to be somewhat boring right now I had a "moment" the other night. Matt and I were sitting in the living room, we had just made an awesome dinner, the kitchen was cleaned up, we had finished taking down all of our incredibly hideous borders in the house during the week, and had just finished painting the kitchen that night...and all of the sudden we found ourselves laughing hysterically, to the point of tears. (I'm not sure what it was about...ok, I lie. I do remember, but it involved flatulents and you really don't want to know the whole story, trust me.) It was at this point that I realized life is good, and I couldn't be more happy if I tried right now.
It still amazes me that every night I come home to actually be with Matt, and that I'm not waiting for the weekends to see him anymore. I'm pretty sure Matt has probably heard at least once a week something along the lines of, "It just still hasn't hit me that we're married, it's so crazy!" He probably thinks I'm crazy since I keep saying that, but it's true... it hasn't hit me yet. I'm glad it hasn't hit me to be honest, because every time I sit and realize how awesome our lives are right now and how much fun we have together and that we are actually married, I get happy. And I like that feeling. So I'll take the boring job for a few more weeks and try to concentrate on the happiness.

August 13, 2008

the old man takes a dive

My dad called me last week and informed me that he was going to go skydiving on Sunday and wondered if I wanted to go along and watch. The "airport" (aka little shack in a field) is located in Vinton, about 5 minutes from our house. So I of course said yes, pick us up. So this past Sunday dad picked Matt and I up and we headed out to have dad pushed out of a plane. We sat around and watched a video and dad signed some papers that in summary said: if you die because of us, or our equipment, it's not our fault. right!

Dad getting his harness on (watch the boys, right dad? =):

After the video dad got all strapped up, and I mean TIGHTLY strapped up, Matt and I were actually laughing watching it happen. A man named Don Briggs, you may know him for several reasons. He used to be a famous wrestler, he is currently a teacher at UNI in the physical education department, and this past winter he was the guy that attached a hose to the top of our silo and made it into an ice climbing wall. Anyway, he is a trained sky diver and offered to take dad up on a tandem jump...which is how we got to the point of Briggs tightly strapping dad's harness on.

The sweet football helmet from 1950:

After they were all hooked up and ready to go they loaded the plane and took off. About 10 minutes later we finally saw a few of the people start dropping through the clouds. At this point they all looked like little birds so we had no idea which one they were. We soon figured it out since they were the only tandem team, and therefore the only ones with 4 feet dangling down.

Dad & Briggs coming in:

Dad & Briggs walking in ( i think this picture is way sweet with the plane
just leaving behind them):

And so another wild and crazy event crossed off of dad's "Bucket List". Below you can click on the blue link to watch the video that Matt made of dad's jump. (the song in the video is Dad's FAVORITE song, it's from Forrest Gump and we've seriously listened to it a hundred times in the car, #18 on disc one, incase you were interested!)

Click the link below to see the video Matt made of the skydive:

August 11, 2008

don't mess with God's plans...

I received an important lesson today, and I'm pretty sure it was sent straight from God.

This whole "lesson" started last week. I had a voicemail waiting for me last Friday. During my lunch break from class I listened to the message from my principal to call him as soon as I had time. I called him and he proceeded to tell me that there was a good possibility that the 3rd grade teaching position would become available during the week, and was wondering if I was interested in it. After he told me I had 30 seconds to decide and I laughed out loud, he told me to get back to him over the weekend with my decision.

Third grade has always been the grade that I dreamed of teaching. They still like school and their teacher, they are just starting to really get into some fun and interesting science units, they are more independent than 1st and 2nd graders and they are starting to understand my humor (let me tell you, 1st and 2nd graders are a tough crowd!).

After spending all day Saturday and Sunday running to the bathroom because my nerves were going crazy, except for when we were out at the skydiving place watching dad jump (more to come on that later this week after Matt gets the video posted) I knew I had to make a decision. I had JUST decided last week to start grad school this semester and I was really worried that with grad school and starting a new position a week before classes started that I wouldn't be able to put all of my energy into a new position. I went back and forth all weekend and eventually came to the decision that I couldn't let my dream position pass by. However, it is important to know that even if I had decided to take the 3rd grade position it wasn't guaranteed to me because the principal would have to find a qualified candidate to take my position. Meaning, that the applicant would have to have a reading endorsement or minor in order to teach reading, otherwise they would only be qualified for the 3rd grade job.

So I got a hold of my principal and told him that I would like to move to the 3rd grade position, assuming that they could find a replacement for me (ha, like anyone could really replace me, I am pretty much the most fun reading teacher ever! =). He told me that that sounded great and then he explained that the interviews were to be Monday morning and that only one candidate had a reading endorsement. I left that conversation feeling a bit worried. However, he said that he would let me know the decision by early afternoon Monday (today).

About an hour ago I received a call from him... the teacher they would like to extend a contract to does NOT have a reading endorsement. Bummer. However I somehow knew this morning when I woke up that I would not be scrambling to set up a classroom this week, I had a calmness about me that knew I would be in my comfortable and somewhat more relaxed position again this year.

So now I sit, knowing that life will be a little bit less hectic this year than I had hoped for. That I won't be spending weekends at school setting up fun science experiments and picking neat books to read aloud to the class. (when you only have 3-5 kids at a time, read alouds don't really happen too much) And to be honest, I'm okay with all of this. I know that SO many things in my life have worked out EXACTLY as they were supposed to, and I'm taking this decision as another one of those things.

I'm ok with life

and life is ok with me.

Things are rolling along just as they are meant to be.

August 3, 2008

the grad decision

Last week as I sat alone in our quiet house, in our quiet little town (less than 1,000) I decided that I needed something to do again. I've spent the last year and a half planning our wedding or at least thinking about it nearly every day. Now that that is over and we're not ready for kids I decided that I needed something else to keep me busy (I get REALLY bored and cranky REALLY fast when I have nothing to do). So I decided that I wanted to look into grad school. I did some research online and talked to a few other teachers who have recently pursued their Master's Degree in education. I was specifically looking into UNI, where Matt and I both got our undergrads, or Viterbo University.
Viterbo University is a Catholic college in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. They offer a quick and dirty graduate program all throughout Iowa and Wisconsin. There are lots of different "sites" around the state that offer classes for credit with Viterbo and one is right in Cedar Falls. There are 5 core classes that have to be taken and 7 elective classes, equaling 36 total hours of graduate credit. The final 3 credits come from a week long "seminar" in LaCrosse the week of graduation which will be July 1010 (I'm the first to admit that seems like it's darn far away still!).
So I got some information and then called my best friend from school, Renee. Renee teaches special ed at the same school that I teach at and also started there last year. She was my personal attendant in my wedding and has been an awesome friend. I told her she needed to look into this program because we could get it done in just over a year and a half.
So the decision has been made... I start classes tomorrow. I have to admit, I'm both excited and a bit sad. Excited because I've always loved school, the classes haven't ever been too challenging, the people are fun and it's always been pretty easy for me overall. Plus, a $5,000 pay raise won't hurt either! But the other side of me is sad. I just signed up for this first class on Thursday, and now I suddenly find myself on the last real night of my summer vacation, instead of still having one more glorious week. I had counted on having next week to finish some stuff up (mainly get some sun in our pool) but instead I'll be sitting in class Monday through Friday 8am to 4pm. I know deep down this is a good thing, but it's also going to be a decent amount of work. Most of the classes are held Friday nights from 5pm-10pm and Saturdays from 8am - 6pm. If you know me well enough you know that I'm usually asleep by 9pm (and I'm not kidding, ask Matt) so the thought of sitting through a graduate class until 10pm makes me wonder if this will work for me...nevertheless I'm giving it a shot.
The class that I am taking tomorrow is a 4 hour elective course. We will have class this entire week, 2 or 3 weekends during the school year, and then ended with another full week next June. It is a writing class, focused mostly on how to run a good writer's workshop in your classroom, I think?! Like I said, I just signed up on Friday, so who knows what it will be about. All I really know is that it's dirt cheap because the school district is covering part of it, and Renee will be there. =)
So wish me luck as I take another big step for the year and become a grad student (really... wish me luck, I'm going to need it on those looooong, winter, Friday nights!)

*Oh yeah, I almost forgot! Tennis match number 2 with the rents was held today... and WE WERE VICTORIOUS AGAIN! Although we only played one set to 8 because it was SO hot out!

July 28, 2008

the greatest tennis match ever

I sit this morning with a sore forearm and sore abs... but it is ALL worth it! Yesterday afternoon Matt and I accepted a challenge from my parents, Rusty & Deb, to compete in a Leymaster/King tennis match. Matt and I gladly accepted as we knew we could undoubtedly beat the old folks (actually, I'm pretty sure they've beaten us before, so I figured we would lose and that would pretty much ruin my day because I'm slightly competitive, but I figured it was better than a traditional workout).

We took to the court a little while after the thunderstorm blew over, with serious and competitive faces. After a VERY short warm up (looking back I'm pretty sure that was part of my parents' plan!) the match began. It was to be a regular match, with the winner taking 2 sets of 6 games. Matt and I started out about as worthless as you can get. We found ourselves down 0-4 and I was starting to get the "give up" feeling in my head. And then we realized that we were finally warmed up and ready to put the real heat on. A few games later and it was now 5-5! The Kings were in the process of making an amazing comeback! And then we choked... and lost the first set 5-7. But at least now we had the confidence that we could stinking win a game!

I don't have much to write about for the second set. It was a BLOWOUT!!! 6-0 Yes, the Kings 6, the Leymasters 0!!! We dominated them, serving lightening fast down the middle, overhead smashes galore (which would be why my abs are sore today) and a little trash talk to get in their heads.

Which leads us to the final set... we're all tied up at 1-1 and this is for "the whole match, the world championship, the whole shebang" as my dad put it.

My mom stepped up to the baseline to serve first... we won the point. After a quick tap of the rackets I knew Matt and I had this in the bag! We ended up winning the game and now had a 1-0 lead, I knew the first game was critical to set the pace so I was pretty happy. I then served and we won that game as well, we were now up 2-0. Dad served next and held his game so we were only up 2-1. Matt served and won his game, 3-1 the Kings. Deb served and won, 3-2 the Kings. I was up next, I knew the mo-mo (as my Dad called it, momentum for everyone else) was shifting. I held serve and we were up 4-2, only 2 more games to win the and the championship was ours! And then things started to change...we found ourselves tied up at 4-4. I could tell the sun was starting to make me tired and I could tell we were going to lose. And then, a glimpse of an open corner and we nailed the final shot of the game to go up 5-4. Now everything rested on this last game, we either win or go on to have to win by 2.

Somehow we pulled the strength from our souls and took the last game!!! We had won, beat the old folks, and now had bragging rights for at least a week!!!! God is good! A chest bump and a fist pump for the champs!

I'm convinced that it was a fluke, although I'd never tell my parents that. Usually Matt and I aren't exactly a team on the court. I have my precise way of playing, and he attempts to be Andre Agassi and smash it down every one's throats the whole time only to send the ball flying into the fence (which he did do a mimimum of 10 times yesterday, but I've seen worse). But somehow (maybe being married and having to learn to "play" together has helped us) we pulled together and played as a team.
I think next week I'll be "sick" so that we can at least remain on top for 2 straight weeks. =) Either way it was a fun afternoon haning with the "rents".

My mom and I

My dad and I

July 21, 2008

tears and one month down

One week ago today I was feeling daring and decided to actually turn off the air conditioner, and open a few windows. Nearly half of the windows in our house don't have screens (don't ask us why, there are lots of things "missing" in this house). Since there are three windows in the living room all in a row, I chose to open the middle window which was farthest from the end table and the tv stand. I thought I was making a good choice. I figured that Juney most certainly can't jump from the ground, and I was 99% sure that she couldn't maneuver the jump out the window from the end table.

I then began cleaning the house and our crazy messy office filled with wedding presents, yes people, I did say cleaning. I checked in on Juney every 30 minutes or so and every single time I found her laying on the couch dead to the world. At about 2:30 I started organizing some of the crap in the office (and you need to understand that I love organizing, so I got pretty into it). It wasn't until 4:00 that I realized I hadn't seen the cat and I began my man hunt for her.

I looked EVERYWHERE! Not only did I look everywhere, but I looked everywhere 3-4 times. I looked under the bed, under the dresser, behind the couch, downstairs (which she doesn't even know how to get downstairs yet, but I still checked), I looked in the cabinets which she happened to climb into last week and get stuck, and yes... I even checked the refrigerator. You laugh, but I swear to God she managed to crawl in there last week without me seeing and I finally heard her crying 5-10 minutes later only to find a little kitty starring up at me with REALLY cold feet and a freezing little nose.

It was at this point that my heart started to race a little and I decided that she must have made the darn jump out of the window so I headed outside. I walked around our house, down to the garden, near the creek, and looked across the street in every direction praying that I wouldn't see her in a pile in the street... still no Juney. As I was starting to get tears in my eyes (sad, I know) I got the courage to ask the 3 neighbor boys next door if they had seen a little brown, black, and white kitty, they said no.

It was at this point that I headed inside and got my phone. I quickly hit the speed dial for Matt and could tell as he picked up that he was just leaving work. In a panicky voice I told him that I couldn't find the cat and could he please hurry home because I was really worried. For those of you who haven't seen me with this cat you may not understand the severity of this situation. I love this cat like my first child, I talk to her during the day (ok, and at night too), I give her baths, I clean her ears out for her, I carry her around, I even take her with me if I'm leaving town because she probably would be too scared and lonely to stay home alone. =) So the fact that I think I've lost her has me on the verge of tears and starting to panic. 15 minutes later I call Matt again, this time with real tears, only to find out he's still 25 minutes away. Apparently I thought that the normally 45 minute drive could be done in 15 if I really needed him. =)

Matt eventually came home to find me on the couch in tears. He took off through the house looking for the cat, and then it happened..... he appeared with Juney in hand. The little shit had managed to crawl behind the nightstand, under the pillows (that Matt never puts on the bed, why? because they're only for decoration, not actually to be used) and was dead asleep! How she ever slept through my yells and pleading to come out I'll never know. What I do know is that I was absolutely the most thankful person in the world to see this little furry, spotted, face come around the corner in Matt's arms:

As soon as Matt threw her at me he walked out and came back in with 3 dozen beautiful roses, because through all of this mess I had completely forgotten that we had made it through exactly one month of marriage! I've always known Matt was smart, but he proved it to me again. He didn't come home and give me the flowers right away because he knew that until we found our cat I really wasn't going to care about the flowers like I should have, instead he waited to save the day and THEN give me the flowers. I guess I'll have to wait and see what excitement will come with month two!

July 11, 2008

our newest addition to the family

I don't know what it is about being married and suddenly feeling the need for a pet, but it is true. Matt and I went out to a friend's farm and picked out the cutest, sweetest little kitty ever last week. (At least that's what we thought until she started biting this week!)
Talk about a tough decision... We stood above 7-10 little, cute kittens as they ran around and climbed on each other. Each one with their own unique personality coming through in only a few short minutes. Matt was immediately drawn to the black one, who was fairly quiet and kept to himself. And I was drawn to the two calico cats who had the prettiest eyes and were playing with each other. And last on our list of possibilities was a silly orange cat (although we had decided that we did not want orange). This kitty was a character to say the least. She, or was it he, would fall over as it tried to jump, make funny noises, and overall make us laugh. But, we had decided on not getting an orange cat, so as quickly as she was considered she had to be dropped from "the list".
So we stood... watching the kittens, picking up the one we wanted, and then stood some more. About 20 minutes into it I knew we had a situation on our hands. Matt suddenly said, "Why don't we just get two of them hun?" Are you kidding me!? We're not ready for two cats, the vet expenses, the litter box cleanings, no no my friend, just one today. So then we were back to standing, watching, trying to wait for the other person to give in and see just how adorable the kitty was that each of us wanted.

And then finally, it happened. Matt put down his black kitty and picked up the cute calico and we were off, 30 minutes and one darn cute kitty later we were on the road to a happy family. .. until she pooped in my hand in the car, maybe I wasn't ready to be a "parent" yet.

So without further ado, meet Juney! (yes, we got married in June, and got her in June)

Is she not the cutest little thing ever?! Well, at least after she got a bath she was much more beautiful! Here are the bath pictures, she really didn't mind the bath, which was surprising.

This past week I had to take her to the vet, alone. Before I even left I was nervous to take her. One, because I don't do needles and the thought of me having to hold her while she got a shot only gave me a mental image of me on the floor and the vet standing above me horrified. And two, I didn't want to be the bad parent that took her somewhere she hated and received pain. Nonetheless I was off to the vet with Juney. At first I was pleasantly surprised at how quiet and calm she was. Then, as if some divine power told her the vet was coming, she flipped out. The vet simply waved his hand in front of her cage and she started hissing like a wild animal. I was mortified, and then I was even more mortified when the young 20something vet looked at me and told me that I could get her out if she was going to be like that. Great, I thought to myself, you piss off my cat then let me jam my hand in the cage to get bitten. Luckily though, she was much calmer when I got her out. A few shots, clipped nails, an ear cleaning, and a worming pill later and we were finally on the way home!

Which leads me to the last couple of days. This is how the week started:

She LOVES to sleep on our shoulders

And I LOVE to sleep with her =)

And then we reach the end of the week...and suddenly a need to bite us! I'm not sure if kittens go through a biting stage like kids, but this seriously needs to come to a stop. I have to muster up the courage to flick her little nose and tell her no, which about breaks my heart. At which point she just bites me again. Anyway, we are learning to "parent" as we go along. I figure we can't really mess a cat up too much, so we're good to go.

And in all of this I must admit, although I know we're not ready for "real" kids (and believe me, I understand that a kitten is NOTHING like a child), I must admit that I absolutely can't wait! The way Matt picks her up and talks to her like a child, and carries her to her little box in case she needs to "go potty" just makes my heart smile. For now, we'll perfect the cat world and worry about little kings later.

July 3, 2008

a change of habit

As the new Mrs. King I often find myself wondering "when will this become normal?" When will it be normal to hear King instead of Leymaster, and when will that not make me sad? Or when will the word husband not make me giggle? When will I actually think it's ok that we're now living together? I have many other questions that I wont bore you with, but nonetheless they are running through my mind.

Don't get me wrong, 3 weeks into married life is a good place to be, but it's also an awkward place to be. Does it take months, years or never for things to become normal to me? Now I realize that yes, it's only been 3 weeks, and I obviously need to give it more time to become a habit, but part of me wonders if those words will ever flow out of my mouth without a smirk.

The task of trying to figure out who's toothbrush will go on which side of the sink will someday be a habit, and likely I will look back at these weeks and laugh. Or finding the oh-so-dead/will never come back to life plant outside and wondering if I will ever become a gardener. And then there's the hardest one of all... making ourselves workout without an incredible incentive dangling in front of us.

When all is said and done and we've reached our 25th wedding anniversary, have a few kids (hopefully out of the house ;) and look back at our first year, hopefully we can have a few laughs and remember "the good times".

Below I've posted some of my favorite wedding pictures (we just got them back yesterday so I may have to post some more favorites later too).

The first time we saw each other

showing some love in downtown cedar falls

i loved my long veil even though it was a pain on such a windy day

going down the isle with my dad ( i really didn't think i'd be that emotional)

the whole gang (they were awesome!)