Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Pictures of our (almost) completed home!

The last few days has been a whirlwind for Kevin and I. On Friday we closed on our house with no problems, and then headed straight over here to seal our tile, slate, and granite. We worked until very late, and thus were already tired when we started our move at 7am on Saturday. We worked until about 1am on Sunday and then slept for a few hours and started again at about 8am. Again, we worked until 2am in the morning that day. Sunday also included a (not so) fun trip to Lowe's in which we shopped for 3 hours and filled a basket and three flat beds with our goods. Yikes. This is a picture of us checking out, but they already turned one of our flats around the corner!

We got a water softener and supplies to go with it, a utility sink, a trash can, and a ton of light fixtures and fans. We also got under cabinet lighting. What a day!

Yesterday Kevin's dad came over to help him put up light fixtures and fans while I met with the blinds company who is doing our custom blinds, which will be in on Friday!

Everything was going incredibly well, until I found fleas on Bella last night. That's right - there are fleas in our yard, and now possibly in our brand new house. There's not much out here, so I guess bugs are a problem. I went to Walmart at 11pm to get flea spray and took care of the dogs to the best of my ability. Now we have the exterminator coming tomorrow to do a full indoor and outdoor treatment, plus the customary first visit to get us started on a quarterly schedule. This is going to cost us $400. OUCH!

Okay, that's all I'm going to write for tonight. The rest will all be pictures. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Exciting Stuff is Happening!

I know I haven't written in a while, but things (again) have been super busy. Kevin and I have watched our house being completed over the last two weeks. There have been a lot of last-minute things that needed to be changed or fixed, but as of today they are all finished. Which is great, because...


I just got the email and I had to share the news. In case you don't know why that is such a big deal, I'll briefly tell you. Since we bought our first home two years ago, lending guidelines have gotten ridiculously tight and it is very difficult to get a loan. Add that to the facts that we both have brand new jobs in a new city, that much of Kevin's income is based on (at this point,un-provable) commission, and that I took a short term pay cut of 1/3 of my salary through August. As you can imagine, receiving final loan approval is a huge blessing and relief. The last 3 months have been a rollercoaster of emotions and we feel so blessed and proud to be buying this house.

At the same time that the final things have been working with our loan, they have put the finishing touches on our home. I am very pleased overall with the amount of detail and care that has been put into it. For example, as you know Bella is a very small, 6 pound dog. She also likes to escape. With our brand new fence and undeveloped lots surrounding our back yard, we had significant gaps under part of our fence. We asked our builder to fix it and, like a hero, he had the fence guys do a very nice patch job along the bottom so my baby girl is contained and safe. This is a small job, but the kind of above-and-beyond that means a lot to me. We also had a small imperfection in the silestone in our master bath and when the patch job didn't look perfect, they replaced the entire slab. We feel well taken care of.

This week has been full of packing! We did not even take that much with us into our tiny apartment, but it is amazing how quickly our little family has spread out and filled up the place. I am starting to get stressed out thinking about the move this weekend, but I know it will go smoothly.

Tomorrow we will close on the house at 3pm and go to pick up our keys. From there, we will go straight to the house and seal all of the grout between every piece of tile in our house. We'll also be sealing the granite and the slate backsplash. It will be a lot of work, but it'll be exciting at the same time.

Saturday morning Kevin is going to pick up 3 guys who used to work for him at the golf course here, who we're paying to help us move. He will go with them to pick up the truck we're renting and work on moving our things from the storage room into the house, and setting furniture up. I'll be moving clothing kitchen stuff, etc. from our apartment to the new house and then supervising the guys as they bring stuff in. It will be another long day! Then on Saturday night we will spend our first night in the house. :)

There are other thigns to write about, but my break is almost over and this is the major thing on my mind right now, anyway! Have a wonderful day!!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The One About School

I haven't blogged about school in a while. That's because I have found it very difficult to be excited about my new job. We also weren't having much fun up until the TAKS test last week, because the kids were SO FAR BEHIND that I couldn't spare a single minute. The few exceptions were weekly TAKS baseball and a few days of centers with games and practice. But now, that's all changed! I am starting to embrace all of the technology that we have in Klein and to appreciate the personalities of my new students. I still wish that I had more of a peer group at my new school, but that will come with time.

We do this really great thing for promoting kindness and caring about others. It's called "Bucket Fillers" and it goes with Carol McCloud's book "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?". The idea is that everyone in the world walks around with an invisible bucket, and that their bucket is filled when people say or do kind things for them. However, the bucket is "dipped" out of when someone says mean things or acts like a bully. We teach our students to be "bucket fillers" and not "bucket dippers." When you fill someone else's bucket, it makes you feel happy so then you are actually filling yours at the same time. I spend a lot of time saying "Oh my. When you called Paul a huge dork were you being a bucket filler or a bucket dipper?"

To go along with it, we have little paper buckets with slips that others can write on to fill our buckets with. I made each student a checklist of all of the other students so that they can keep track of whose buckets they have filled each week. So far they are really loving it. Here are some pictures:

I've also implemented "Fun Day Friday," on which we do literacy stations during the whole ELA block. This is fun because I am able to do a station at the StarBoard. I am also in charge of teaching art and taking grades for it to my own class, so this is when I incoporate art. We had to do Fun Day Friday today this week because the rest of the week is too crazy with field day, book fair, etc. Here's what we did!

Station 1 was the StarBoard. I had the kids playing a basketball game with common and proper nouns and then playing a grammar scavenger hunt. They LOVE it:

Station 2 was art. I had them cutting words out of magazines to make a verb collage.

Station 3 was research. I gave them a choice between 4 different presidents to research using Net Trekker and they had to write facts about him.

Station 4 is where they work in small groups with me. Today, I was helping them revise and edit their Writer's Workshop rough drafts.

Last is Station 5, which is poetry. Today they were working on Acrostic Poems and they turned out to be very adorable!

I've also added another "treasure" to my list of things you can purchase with tickets. Teacher's Assistant comes at a hefty price of 40 tickets!

Also, this post would not be complete without showing off my first gift for Teacher Appreciation Week this year:

Yes, that is a silk, zebra-print tank top.