Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Fruits of My First Year of Teaching

After a two month hiatus, I am resolved to be better at writing more often.  Things have been going pretty well for Ty and I lately.  We are loving being married (who knew it would be this good!?) and even though we weren't with family for Thanksgiving, we still had a lot of fun with friends in our ward.  Other than that, we have been pretty consumed with school and work.

Work...let's talk about that one.  It's my first year of teaching, and I knew it was going to be hard--everyone says so.  It's hard. It' stressful. And it's basically taken over my life.  It's a good thing I love those little kiddos (most of the time...and most of them).  However, it's starting to take a toll.  I remember my mom telling me in high school and college that I need to learn how to deal with my stress better or it can start to affect my body.  I would try to stop and not get so stressed about everything, but then I would get stressed about how I wasn't supposed to be getting stressed and then I would remember everything on my to do list...and that was pretty much out the window.  Well, I would like to take this moment now to proclaim that my mom is a freaking genius (Tage, that one was for you).

Earlier this year I was told (after one of those invasive colonoscopies....) that I "probably" have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).  Basically whenever I get stressed I get diarrhea   My mom's prophecy was beginning to come true.  Now I know whenever I get stressed because WWIII ensues in my intestines.  But that wasn't all...oh no it was not.

Last Wednesday I noticed a little cluster of zits (or so I thought) on my back.  Thoroughly grossed out at this new appearance of "back-ne" (like acne only on my back), I just tried not to think about it.  But then it started to get all red and really itchy the next day.  So, I thought it was just a weird rash and put hydrocortizone cream on it.  But then it started to REALLY itch and REALLY hurt!  So after consulting with my two nurse moms, I went to the doctor and was informed that I have shingles.  Wait, what is shingles?  I will let these people do the talking:

Okay, it's a little dramatic, but when I ironically saw this commercial while I was home all day yesterday, I thought, "Amen brother, Amen."  What are the odds that I would see this the day I was home with shingles?!  I laughed pretty hard for a while.  Also, notice that these are old people (no offense, Grandma) who are talking about it.  Apparently you usually get it when you are in your 60s or so.  I guess we can draw from this fact that my first year of teaching has officially aged me 40 years.  According to the doctor, it probably flared up due to extreme stress.  That's an understatement! So glad I have a fifty-hour-a-week-causes-my-bowels-to-throw-a-tantrum-and-my-nerves-in-my-back-to-rage-with-pain part-time job.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Home Sweet Home

Warning: this post is kind of long...I just got carried away!

Jane Austen once said, "There is nothing like staying home for real comfort."  How true that is!  It has been a fun adventure the last four months minus one week creating a home with Ty.  I must admit, I was kind of sick of staying at home all day in July and August while I was studying for my Chinese test, especially when the house looked like this (don't judge me):
We called this our "leaning tower of boxes" and it only grew from here.  If ever you need a box, we have only about a million in our basement!

I put Post-it notes everywhere when I was trying to decide where to put everything.  

Scary...I know.  Unpacking everything was quite the chore, and yet as I did so, I was overcome with gratitude looking at everything people gave us for the wedding.  Thank you all so much!! We have been so blessed that truly "my cup runneth over" (Psalms 23:5) and there is not "room enough to receive it" (3 Nephi 24:10). 

But as disgusting as that was, we were finally able to find a spot for everything and it looks much better now!!  I LOVE our apartment!  It is becoming more than just a house; it's becoming a home.  It's where my loved one and I are and where we are building our family.  It's where we can feel the Spirit and feel close to God.  Though we are definitely not perfect, we are growing closer and closer together as we grow close to God here. 

Because most of you aren't able (or want) to spend your vacation here in "balmy" (haha) Wisconsin, here are some pictures of our home so you can see it!: 

Here's the outside of our home.  We rent the first floor and another couple rents the second floor.  They are really nice and super smart. I think they are both scientists of some sort and are in their thirties.  They also have a nice, really old Golden Retriever named George, who we lovingly call Jorge (sounds like hor-hay for you non-Spanish speakers).  He has cancer and struggles going up and down the stairs to go outside, but he's really sweet and his favorite thing to do is shed....which he does really well, just ask our stairway and the cobwebs to which his hair sticks. 

 Look at all our cupboards! I love them!  Except they are a little high so it's kind of funny to watch me get on our step ladder and try to get things down from there.  
 Our kitchen....it's cute and old.  We have a pretty big sink, which is nice, and I'm pretty sure it is the original sink that was in this house!  Our gas oven works well, and I'm glad we finally figured out that it is 25 degrees cooler than it says.  For the longest time we couldn't figure out why nothing was cooking very fast or well in our oven.  Now we know. 

This is our dishwasher!!! I am so grateful for it because I can't imagine what it would be like having to do all the dishes by hand (Grandma, I have a whole new appreciation for you).  It took me a while to figure out how to hook it to the sink and even longer to figure out that if you pushed the little button on the side when it was done, it would drain the water and not squirt you in the face when you took it off the tap...yeah.... 


This is our pantry in our kitchen, which we lovingly named "the cupboard under the stairs."  Sometimes I pretend I am Harry Potter.  I may or may not be a little obsessed.  

When you walk out of the kitchen (which is at the back of the house btw), you come to this little hallway where we put up a Chinese scroll Bridgette gave me.  In front is the bathroom, to the right is the bedroom, and to the left is the dining room/family room.  

Minuscule bathroom with a cool black and white checked floor: 

I love our toille bedspread we got from Ikea.  Ty didn't want a "girly" one but he said this one was okay.  
Yes, there are golf clubs by Ty's side of the bed.  A few weeks after getting here, we had the window air conditioner on (used to be in the window by the clubs) and didn't know that if we didn't shut the door tightly, the air conditioner change of pressure would slam it shut.  It scared the living daylights out of us the first couple times it did it because we thought someone was in the house.  Ty has kept the clubs by the bed every since...haha. 

Wait, Kelsi.  Aren't those supposed to be bookshelves?  Why yes, yes they are.  But they were WAY cheaper than nightstands, so we converted them:  

This was a project I started before I got married, and here is the finished product!
Now my necklaces won't get all tangled!

This might be getting boring...sorry...but look how cute this is!!!! I am in love with our dresser!  We got it on Craigslist for $80 and it is really nice and in great condition.  It fits perfectly in the house! I wish I knew more about this company who made this, but I do know it is Wisconsin based and it's pretty old.   

Here's a cute little dining room with our lonely Chinese scroll on the wall (we're working on getting more pictures up).  I love our table!  Our upstairs neighbors were giving a bunch of furniture away in June when Lisa (my mother-in-law) and I came out.  So they just gave us the table for free!  It's beautiful.  A few months later, after using card table chairs (thanks Beth and everyone for those chairs or we would have been toast) we found these chairs on Craigslist.  I love them...some have mystery stains, but we'll take care of them.  They are really nice looking, and I am pretty sure the same company who made them made a bunch of the furniture in the Chicago temple (which is the one we go to).  

Here's our family room.  It's nice and spacious with higher ceilings so it doesn't feel all dungeon-y.  

Our first fire in our fireplace!  Ty was feeling pretty manly after this amazing feat.  The spark of pyro in his eyes was a little frightening.  We roasted marshmallows over the fire on a wire hanger and Ty had fun looking  at the fire.  For some reason, our house smelled a little campfire-ish afterward....hope it doesn't always do that!

AAAAANNNNDDD last but not least, here is our little study/sun room.  This is my happy place.  Is that a piano? Why yes, yes it is.  I love my husband.  He. Is. Great.  He actually has a friend who moves pianos for a living and he got this one from him for FREE!!! It may or may not be almost a half step flat in some areas, but an out-of-tune piano is better than no piano at all.  We could spend the money to get it tuned....but we're only going to be here for less than two years and aren't planning on bringing it home (it's not great quality).  

Kind of a blurry picture, but this is from the study looking into the family room.  I love the glass french doors.  

Our cute piano and more bookshelves.  Can you tell we love books?!

Aside from how fun it has been cleaning and organizing and decorating our physical home, it has been an amazing journey so far building our family spiritually.  In The Family: A Proclamation to the World it says, "Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreation activities."  On my mission I would teach people about this and how the gospel blesses families.  I don't think I ever realized to what extent it really does bless families.  Ty and I are striving to build our family and our relationship on these principles.  We pray together every morning and night and read scriptures together.  We strive to help each other build our faith in the Savior, forgive each other when we mess up, and try to plan fun, wholesome recreation activities for FHE and date night.  I have noticed that as we do these things, there is a feeling of peace in our home and a feeling of security.  It brings me closer to my God and closer to my husband.  I am so grateful for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ in my life.  I know it is true and that it will improve the quality of our lives.  If you are wondering how to improve your family relationships, I would encourage you to visit this website http://www.lds.org/topics/family/happiness?lang=eng.  Our message is powerful and true and will bless your life.  I love the gospel, and I love our Savior.  I am grateful to have a wonderful home with a family built on the gospel of Jesus Christ.  

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Slice of Happiness

Life is so wonderful.  They say time flies when you're having fun, and I agree!  I can't believe it has been three months and twelve days and seven hours since Ty and I were married!  Sigh...I love him.  And it's his birthday today!!!!!  Talk about the coolest birthday ever this year--10/11/12.  Here are some reasons why I am so in love with this man:

1.  He always puts the Lord first in his life.  Case and point:  even though it's his birthday and he is on his way home from Appleton (about two hours away where he was in a satellite dental clinic this week), he is still insisting on going to institute. He is such a good example to me.  No matter what and without fail, one of the first things he does every morning is read his scriptures.  He is always sharing the gospel with those around him and has true charity.

2.  He works hard in school to provide for our family someday.

This is in front of the Marquette School of Dentistry...I guess that was kind of self-explanatory from the picture.

3.  Because works hard in school, we get little perks like one of his professors giving us some of his season tickets to the Brewer's games.

4. He is teaching me to take time to stop and smell the roses....or in our case right now, the autumn leaves.  Look how beautiful the leaves are here! These pictures just don't do them justice!  Tage and Lisa (Ty's parents) came out to visit this weekend (WAAAAYYYYY fun!) and between conference sessions we went walking in parks and up Lapham "Peak" by my high school (peak....hahaha that made me laugh...it's really just a hill).

4.  He supports me in everything I do, especially with my crazy job.  I am so grateful for his love and patience with me and for all his "talking-me-off-the-ledge" counseling sessions when I threaten to quit my job.  He keeps me sane.

5.  And lastly, I am grateful for all the humor he brings into our home...including all the times he hikes his pants way up and walks around like a nerd just to make me laugh.  This picture should explain it all.  It needs no words:

Yeeeeeppp....he's all mine forever.

But seriously, I love him and besides the gospel, he is the greatest blessing in my life!!!! Happy Birthday Ty!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Why "Most Excellent"?

I feel the need, just like all the other blog-creators before me, to explain the title.  It all started on December 18, 2011 when I was walking down the hall to the Gospel Doctrine class.  I was right about to round a corner when who did I see but the very handsome and spiritual giant Ty Flint, who I secretly had a crush on for five years.  He pulled me in for a hug and said, "Hello, my love!" and then I thought, oh if only I really was your love!  kind of creepy right?  Maybe that's why I attracted all the creepers and weirdos in previous eons, centuries, years of dating.  Anyway, at that moment a spark ignited, and over the next few weeks and months (and by months I mean two) it kept growing and growing brighter and stronger until this happened:

I used to raise my eyebrows at couples who got engaged after only a few weeks of dating.  But I have since repented.  When I prayed about, and went to the temple for, and fasted about marrying Ty, I felt better and more sure of this than anything else I have ever prayed about.  I knew in my heart and mind that this union would please God and that we were prepared for each other.  I feel so blessed to have this blessing of him in my life.  Over the next five months, we did a lot of this:

And I couldn't wait for Ty to come home so we could do this:

and this:
Kissing in real life is so much better than kissing via Skype, let me tell you!  

June 30, 2012 was the greatest day in my entire life.  It was the crowning event thus far of all my years, the day that my love and I were sealed for time and all eternity in the holy temple of God.  We were able to kneel across the altar and covenant with each other and God that we would be true to one another and always keep the commandments of God.  What a wonderful way to begin a life together!  

Thank you everyone for all your support and love throughout the years (and especially the crazy months preceding the wedding).  We could not have done it without you.  We love you and thank you.  

Wow!!!  Are you beginning to see how blessed I am?  And I couldn't even upload all the pictures of everyone who helped (thank you so much aunts, uncles, and cousins!!!).  "Most Excellent" is how I would describe my life, and it has been and continues to be full of adventures! The best part is, I get to share it with a man whom I love "to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach" (thank you Elizabeth Browning for your beautiful poem). And all of this because of our Savior and His gospel.  The Book of Mormon tells us, "But in the gift of his Son hath God prepared a more excellent way; and it is by faith that it hath been fulfilled" (Ether 12:11).  The "more excellent" or the "most excellent" way is in the Son, our Lord and Redeemer.  I am so grateful for the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ that we enjoy now.  It has blessed every aspect of my life and blesses every aspect of our marriage.  I know that through Jesus Christ he can comfort us in times of sorrow, strengthen us when we are weak, and deepen our joys in times of happiness.  So here's to a beginning of a wonderful life with my love of "most excellent adventures."