>Goodbye 2009, Hello 2010

>I know I am among millions of people who will be blogging about the events of the past year and hopes and fears for the new year. I write to you this morning somewhat drugged on a dose of Sudafed for this head cold that’s coming back to me from a couple weeks ago. However, I am confident that today and the next couple of days to come will be wonderful. Today we have plans to do pretty much nothing at home and then we will be going over to our friend Megan’s house for New Year’s Eve festivities. Friday and Saturday our only plans are to eat at our favorite restaurant in Peoria, Double A’s, and take down the Christmas decorations. Our tree is starting to shed its needles with the help of our kitten Odin.

This break has been full but fulfilling. We’ve spent a lot of time with family and friends alike, and eaten way too much food. ‘Tis the season, right? We’ve also been to the gym a few times and enjoyed working out together. Aaron’s parents gave us heart-rate monitor watches for Christmas. They come with a chest strap that you put on before you go to the gym. Then as you work out, the watch tracks your heart rate (and you’ve already entered weight and height) and your calories. A Body Pump class for me burned about 450 calories; for Aaron, 550. My watch showed that I burned more on the treadmill than what the treadmill said. It’s been rewarding, working out together. Aaron burns probably twice as many calories doing cardio than I do. Of course, he does it every day whether he wants to or not. I need to get back into the swing of it. We feel great, though.

Something else rewarding about this break has been closing out the fifth of six credit card accounts. We had a zero balance on it for a few months but I actually called and closed it a couple days ago. The service rep tried to get me to not close it and even offered special offers and rewards. We were not convinced or persuaded! She even tried to guilt us by telling us that our credit score will go down and that we would not be able to get credit. Shortly after that call we checked our credit score and it was 100 points MORE than it was about a year or year and a half ago, even after closing five credit card accounts. How is that worse credit?! Even so, we will not really need credit over the next few years. We won’t have to buy a house, and if we have to buy a car, we hope to have the savings for the down payment at least. We will NOT be buying a new car until we can pay cash in full.

A funny thing is that I received email notification today that our credit line went up significantly on the one card we have open. Interesting how all these people talk to each other… it’s not even tempting. Just makes us look better because now our debt-to-credit ratio is lower. Haha. They’re kicking themselves in the butt. I love it.

I will post some pictures toward the end of this post. I will be planning my trip to Arizona for Easter/spring break soon. I am excited to meet Aaron’s buddies and to, of course, enjoy the warm weather. We have no idea where we’re going yet; we will keep you updated!

We’ve spent some time reading over break.. here are our current interests:

Aaron’s reading this book:

and I am currently reading the new Dan Brown:

I know the work of Dan Brown is extremely controversial in the Christian world; however, I read it purely as a work of fiction. He’s an amazing writer and keeps the pages turning. This new one is set in Washington, D.C. and since I’ve been to most of the places in the book it’s especially intriguing.

Now, for some pictures: (These can all be found on my Photobucket, listed under My Website on my profile)


Me, Aaron, my sister Emily and her boyfriend Chris, my sister Leah and her boyfriend Nick (they will probably be my brothers-in-law someday!)


Aaron carrying the tree… I absolutely love this picture


I love this picture of us.. we’re so tall, haha


My gorgeous sisters and myself. We’re getting matching tattoos for Leah’s birthday next month!

Oh, so, what about the title? What are our hopes for 2010? I hope we can continue to be healthy, happy blessed, together or not.

>Six days! + work.

>My wonderful husband comes home for Exodus in six days. Honestly, it’s been hard to be outwardly excited about it this week because I’m in the process of writing and administering finals in addition to preparing my students to take it! Everyone already has study guides and everything they need to study. For next week I have to write Spanish 2 and 3’s finals (just finished 1’s today!) and get some review games ready.

My boss observed one of two sections of Spanish 3 class yesterday. I thought that the class went well overall. A few students presented their comic strips and then we did an interactive vocabulary activity and a comprehension activity. Everyone was involved and engaged during the whole class period. The upper levels are what I don’t feel as comfortable teaching since I hadn’t been familiar with tried-and-true methods, but since my conference two weeks ago I’ve been trying different strategies and they seem to be working really well. I’m very happy with the progress we’ve all made this semester.

I got paid today and Aaron gets paid early next week so I will be getting all the bills ready. We pay almost all bills online or they are deducted automatically. I’m also making our grocery list for when he’s home. This week I need to wash sheets, rugs, and clothes and bake some cookies. I know he doesn’t care if everything is perfect, but I care.

Update on the kittehs! They’re doing fine. Odin is now going potty in the litterpan and Isis is getting along with him just fine. I even caught her giving him a quick bath today. I think in the end they’ll be good for each other.

So… six days. There’s so much to accomplish.. I hope I can get it all done, and well!

>An addition to our family.

>

This is our new kitty, Odin. I got him from a coworker for free! He’s about eight weeks old, and I have yet to take him to the vet. I will do that early next week (payday!). I wasn’t sure if my coworker would bring me a male or female, so last night Aaron and I picked out names for both. If it were a female, it was going to be Nyx. I quite like that name better than Odin, but alas, our kitten can’t be confused. Haha. Both names are from Norse mythology. The cat we already have, Isis, is named for an Egyptian goddess. Aaron and I are kind of picky about pet names – we prefer not to give pets human or cutesy names. Nothing against those that do, however!

Isis is doing pretty well. She hisses and growls a little, but she’s mainly just curious. She’s been socialized to a dog of our friends and also the female kitten of my sister. I think they’ll get along fine. We’ve had one accident this evening but I’m confident that Isis will show him the ropes. (I realize I’m talking about these animals like they’re children; give us a break since we don’t have actual children, haha.) Odin’s not hiding out so that’s a good thing. I just forgot how sharp their little teeth and claws are at this age. When the appropriate time comes, he will be fixed and declawed (front only).

Now for a general update. Finals are quickly approaching! I spent the evening multitasking between watching The Biggest Loser finale (new season starting January 5th!) and creating study guides for my Spanish classes for their finals. I’ve found that I’m requiring a lot more this year in general so I’m having to rewrite my exams. Thankfully I have only three different classes, not four.

Aaron will be home at the end of next week for Exodus. I can’t wait to spend my whole break with him… so glad I don’t have to work! We won’t always get this lucky.

Well, beloved cyberspace, I’m off to bed. Have a great rest of the week and wherever you are be safe with the commencement of the winter weather!

>Almost 100 pounds!

>Since last winter, Aaron and I have lost, combined, almost 100 pounds! It feels great! We said that we’d like to run a marathon together someday. We’ll see about that…

Here are a couple of pictures..

At my aunt’s last Christmas break

From Labor Day weekend in September

From our weekend in Phoenix a week ago

During this Christmas break, we’ll be getting some pictures done by Mila, a friend from our old church. I’m excited for those! They’ll turn out great.

Have a nice weekend!

>Back to work.

>It’s felt like such a long week already. I’m glad tomorrow is Thursday. I got home on Sunday at 10:30 after landing in Peoria. Thankfully that flight was just a little delayed. Monday morning I left at 5:00 for Lisle, Illinois (west suburb) for a foreign language workshop. I honestly felt like I was going to fall asleep a couple times. Silly me for scheduling a workshop the day after a trip out-of-state. Anyway, I learned a good deal about teaching reading and vocabulary in foreign language. In fact, I’m already implementing a couple of the strategies presented.

Final exams start two weeks from tomorrow. I cannot believe how fast the semester flew. I have to type up study guides and finals. Unfortunately I can’t use the Spanish 2 and 3 exams from last year because those two levels are at completely different places this year. In the end, it’s a very good thing because they’re ahead, but it’s so time-consuming making new tests. I guess I’d rather make them than take them!

Aaron will be home in a little over two weeks and he’ll be here for about two weeks. I love being a teacher; in what other profession would I get a break that coincides perfectly with his? It will be so nice, almost unrealistic, to spend every day together and not having to work. We have a few things planned; namely, a short trip to Champaign and different family activities, but it should be relaxing overall.

On a different note, I’ve been quite lax with going to the gym lately. I have been going only a couple times a week, doing mainly cardio. While I’m maintaining, even losing, I need to make sure to go more often. Exercise is so great to de-stress and I definitely sleep better. I think I’ve also heard it strengthens your immune system. If that’s true, it’s definitely a plus.

Have a nice evening! If you’re in central Illinois, say ‘hello’ to December weather! I’m off to the gym and then relaxing for the evening.