Wednesday, April 02, 2014

the first day of school...

Today was the first day of school for me at CWU - exactly 2 weeks from the day I actually applied. Talk about crazy fast! I think it's better this way - just jumping right in rather than stewing about school and getting myself all worked up and anxious all spring and summer long if I had stuck with my plan of starting fall semester.

I signed up for two classes, (a 300 level and a 400 level class) which are 6 credits total. Both are for the Elementary Education endorsement I'll be working one - one about Health Education curriculum for students and the other is about Physical Education activities for children (yes, PE!).

It's exciting to me to be back in school because I love learning and feel up for the challenge of working towards this endorsement. But can I just say that I also was very nervous this morning?! Going back to college 20 years after when I first was a freshman at BYU made me feel so old. I knew that some of my classmates would literally be young enough to be my kids. Now if that doesn't make a girl feel old, I don't know what else would!

So I dressed in very comfy clothes - my favorite jeans, a new top I sewed to help hide those extra cookies sticking to my middle these days, warm boots and a sweater.

Troy gave me a blessing this morning just like he does with the kids on their first days of school. I then said my own prayer, took a deep breath and hit the road.

And you know what? The day went great! I found parking, picked up my books, got a student id card, then got a parking permit for better parking in the future, and found my classes. Phew!

In one of my classes I am pretty sure that I am the oldest person in the class. And most of the students seemed to know each other (as happens when students move through a program together for a couple of years) but the girls I talked to were still really nice and friendly. In my second class, I definitely was not the oldest student, for which I felt very grateful. One woman even brought her 7 year old daughter to class and the professor didn't mind at all. And in this second class (Health), the professor had us interact in a couple of ice breakers and it was a great time getting to know other students and getting enthusiastic about the class.

*A few interesting and amusing things I noted that were different from my time at BYU:

1. I felt a little overdressed. The just-rolled-out-of-bed look seemed very popular on campus. Now that I know that, I'm all for sweatshirts and ball cap days!

2. Tattoos and pierces are also very popular with college students at CWU. Like, a LOT of tattoos. Now that's something I definitely did not see at BYU.

3. Came across quite a few smokers on campus. Smoking wasn't allowed at BYU obviously, but these days I just don't really see smokers even around my town very much. Why are college kids smoking? Why oh why?!! Are kids seeking a college education not reading those pesky articles about cancer and all that stuff?

4. And one of my favorite things - you can now rent textbooks. Yes, RENT! I purchased a used textbook (used was $114 versus $189 for new) and fortunately, a girl I was chatting with in class mentioned that I could rent textbooks. Back to the bookstore I went, returned the book and rented the exact same textbook that I just returned for only $24 for the term. Is that not great or what?!

That was my day in a nutshell. I'm now a CWU Wildcat!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

dusting off my student backpack...

Yesterday I went to an orientation at the local school district for my new job as a substitute paraprofessional. And today I was accepted into Central Washington University. Big changes, right?! I've been thinking about taking both of these paths for a while now, in particular going back to school for additional education.

I have loved being a stay at home mom and felt extremely blessed that Troy has worked hard through the years to make that possible for our family. There is truly no more important job to me than being a mother. Over the past few years, I prayed that we would have been able to have even more children for me to mother. But that wasn't to be and I accepted that a while ago and just love the three we have even more.

Once all the kids were in school, I had time to pursue hobbies and interests I had set aside for a long time. Well, when I wasn't working on finishing our house that is, darn painting! In the back of my mind has also been the thought that I'd like to put some of my extra time into working with kids in a teaching capacity. Over the last few years and right now, I've been volunteering a little each week in the classroom and sometimes reading room also at the girls' school and at PTO functions. And at church, I've had the opportunity to work with teenagers and young children for years and I really enjoy working with kids of all ages.

And since I did get a B.A. in Art Education K-12 way back in 1999, it was inevitable that the teaching bug would bite me again at some point. I was pregnant with our first child while student teaching in college and after graduation I stayed home with our new baby boy. So I never did have the chance to have my own classroom and teach full time. Even after many years have passed since I graduated I still think about how I'd like to be a teacher one day.

This year I decided to do something about that desire. At first I wanted to just be a substitute teacher occasionally. But I discovered that for now I can only apply to be a parapro in my school district because not only is a Bachelors degree required, but your WA teaching certificate has to be current.

Some states (like Utah where I went to college) don't even require a bachelor's degree of any type for substitute teachers. Check this list out for various state requirements. I don't think it's bad in any way that subs in WA need to have a degree and teaching certificate because then our schools have subs that are much more prepared to work in the classroom. It just makes it a little hard to get a sub job though!

So no substitute teaching for me yet. I was told that after I've worked as a parapro for a while, then I can get on the emergency sub list probably. Parapro work is important and needed to as well of course so I'm looking forward to gaining work experience that way and getting to help students. I'm just hoping I also will have the opportunity soon to also substitute teach.

And not only for subbing, but if I ever do want to teach full time I need to get a Washington teaching certificate. My initial teaching certificate was for Utah since I graduated from BYU in Provo, Utah. When we moved from Utah to Washington in 2002 it just wasn't a priority at the time to keep it current in Utah, though I should have transferred it to Washington at least before it expired.

So that's what I'm working on now - getting my Utah license renewed and after that I can then transfer it to Washington. One way to get renewal points for my certification is to take classes which is why I applied to CWU. That, and I'd like to gain additional education and work on an Elementary endorsement as well so if I decide to teach one day, I'll have more options than just Art (since art teaching jobs aren't available very often around here).

I'm excited and also nervous to be back at a university! Excited because I love to learn and I really enjoyed my time at BYU years ago. But I'm nervous because I'm now 20 years older than the incoming freshman and it's been a long time since I had to submit work than anyone graded. Eeek!

And did I mention I start classes next Wednesday?! Yes, in one week! I had started my application process with fall semester in mind. But since there was just enough time to apply and register before spring term began, I made a million phone calls and transcript request to try and get into spring and with the help of a great admissions employee at CWU, I made it into spring and registered yesterday. I'm excited and also nervous to be back in college. Wish me luck!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

2014 is flying by!

Well, I obviously haven't kept my 2014 blogging resolution to post something at least once a week. Oops! Does anyone else feel like the years fly by faster and faster as you get older? That's how I've felt especially the last few years and I can't seem to quite keep up with anything! But I just keep on trying and I suppose that's all we can do.

As for this year, here are a few of the things that our family has been up to that I might get around to posting photos of. Or I might not ;)

Christian turned 15 years old! Time is going by so fast with him and I'm very conscious of the fact that we only have a little over three years left with him before he graduates.

The girls have been learning to sew a little more with me. Each of them made a doll quilt and a couple of other things.

I have also been sewing a lot lately and am challenging myself to a year without buying any store clothing and making anything new I need or want (with the exception of socks, shoes, or undies). It's called a RTW (ready to wear) fast and I'm in a group of about 200 other sewists doing the same thing.

Troy and Christian camped in the freezing snow for Boy Scout winter camp. Boy Scouts are crazy!

Anna entered her science experiment called "Electrons in Motion" in the school's science fair and won first place over all. She gets to enter it in the state fair now coming up in March.

Troy had a birthday, kind of. He's a leap year boy so he didn't technically get a birthdate this year but we still celebrated.

I attended the Sewing and Stitchery Expo on the west side (Puyallup at the state fair grounds) at the end of the month for two days. It was my first time ever at a sewing thing like that and I had a blast!

All three of the kids competed in the Chess tournament (the local one that Troy and his brother have hosted the last 8 years). Out of five games each, Emily won 1 1/2 (second was a draw) , Anna won three, and Christian won four.

Troy took the girls to the local daddy/daughter dance and the girls loved it!

I finished the painting touchups in a couple more rooms in the home. Very close to having the interior painting in this house finished! I only have Anna's room and the office to finish up.

Anna turned 10 this month! Can hardly believe the baby we prayed and waited for so long many years ago is now in the double digits.

Christian joined the tennis team and is on junior varsity. He has had his first two matches this month and won (along with his doubles partner) both against his opponents.

Troy started work on a greenhouse out in the garden area. He prepared the forms for the concrete foundation and the concrete was delivered a couple of days ago. A concrete truck delivered it and Troy brought it into the garden area with many wheelbarrow loads while I shoveled and filled it into the forms. Not fun work. Not fun at all.

And a couple of new developments for me that I've thought about for a while. I decided that I would like to occasionally work in the school district and I was hired on as a substitute paraprofessional. I've also decided to apply to the nearest university to go back to school. More on these two things later!

Well, there is our life in a nutshell! So much going on that I really will try and post more often.

Friday, February 07, 2014

first time skiing!

In December I went skiing for the first time ever. Yes, the first time in my entire life! I just have never been interested in skiing to be honest. I'm not a snow fan and I'm not a fan of thrill seeking fast activities. I've always been that person that loves to stay home with a good book or a sewing project.

But Christian and the girls have been nagging me to go skiing with them ever since they learned to ski. Which for Christian was in 2012 (thanks to winter sports Boy Scout merit badge) and for my girls just once actually. All three of them loved it. I think that was due in large part to great lessons that Troy signed them up for.

I I finally caved and we had a family skiing day right after Christmas. And you know what? It wasn't quite as scary or as miserably cold as I thought it would be. Troy made sure I had all the right layers to be bundled up in. He even went with me to help me found a good jacket since all my coats are girly, non-active types. He bought be a helmet too and then signed me up for a beginner class, of which I was the oldest person out of 4 women. 

And I had a very fun time! I only biffed it about 4 or 5 times (which was double what the other women did in my class, but I am so NOT sporty or coordinated so I can live with those embarrassments) and I came home with nothing broken which was my major worry. Of course, I was on the bunny hill the entire time. But I got to see my two cutie girls frequently (whizzing past me of course) and that made it really fun!

I think this was Christian's 4th or 5th time skiing so after hanging out with me and the girls for a few minutes, he headed to the bigger hills with Troy while we were in our class. He looks like he means business in his fancy googles, right?

Troy snapped this lovely shot of me the first time I grabbed onto the rope tow as I'm involuntarily shrieking. I promise that I did actually get the hang of the rope tow and stopped making crazy faces and sounds after the first couple of times. ;)

Friday, January 17, 2014

goodbye 2013, hello 2014!

The end of 2013 was nice and relaxing for our family. The kids kept hoping that we'd get snow but sadly, this winter has been even drier than the last several years and there was only a light dusting of snow from November to the very end of the year. So that meant the kids weren't really interested in playing outside and we had a lot of inside family time for the two weeks Christmas break. Basically, lots of board games, lots of wii games, lots of television time, but also a lot of time sewing, playing with new Christmas gifts, and reading for the kids (yay for that!).

We were invited to play board games with friends for January 1st but Troy wasn't feeling great this week, so we just had fun at home both New Year's eve and New Year's day. We rented a couple of movies, chose our favorite holiday goodies to buy or make, and played a couple of our favorite games.

 Ticket To Ride (aka the train game) is one of our family's favorites!

Amazingly, the kids hung in till midnight and we all watched the ball drop in Times Square on the tv! Happy new year, everyone!!! 2014 is going to be a wonderful year!

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Happy 2014!

 I love the start of a new year! It's a chance to work harder, be better, and try again at things that didn't go so well the year before. One of those things for me was blogging. I really don't mind if no one out there reads my blog. Though it is nice to hear from friends and family in the comments sometimes. I really like to keep this blog mostly for my own record of the events in our family, as our basic family history. So my blogging resolution for 2014 is to blog at least once a week. Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

super Scouting summer!

At the court of honor this week, Christian earned 17 merit badges plus a fourth Eagle palm, the National Outdoor Adventure Award badge, his second and third National Outdoor Hiking Award gold devices (extras for lots more hiking after earning the national outdoor hiking award previously), his second National Outdoor Award Camping gold device, and the On My Honor Award (the LDS church's religious Boy Scout award) and advanced to the Brotherhood Honor level in Order of the Arrow.

He has a goal to earn all the merit badges like Troy did as a boy so he works a lot on Scouting. And this summer he worked especially hard (pretty much an hour or two or often more every day) to complete as many as possible.

It helped that he attended the national Boy Scout Jamboree but frankly that experience didn't produce nearly the amount of merit badges I had expected. Christian also went to regular Scout camp this summer and earned a few there.  But most were completed during his free time at home (and they each took a lot of time so it wasn't easy!) with the help of Troy and many other local resources. 

The bottom right badge wasn't in yet so he will get that later but from left to right and top to bottom they are:

Scuba Diving
Small Boat Sailing
Insect Study
Public Speaking
Indian Lore
Farm Mechanics
Fly Fishing

This brings his total up to 101! His short term goal is to get to 120 which will completely fill both sides of his sash after which he will start overlapping them. We are very proud of our boy! To earn the rest of them he has thirty-some left which includes several that have been announced that are not yet available. 


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