Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all!

Click on the photo to see a large portrait of our year. We have had a great year and feel very blessed in our lives.

2009 began with Brooke student teaching kindergarten at Sheppard Elementary, which was a great experience. In the spring, Matt traveled to San Antonio, TX for a few months to transition to flying the T-6, the Air Force's "new" primary trainer. He returned to Wichita Falls in May to join the new 459th Flying Training Squadron at Sheppard and then later go back to the 80th Operational Support Squadron as a Military Training Officer. Brooke enjoyed the summer off as she pursued teaching positions. She finally accepted one at John Tower Elementary in the Burkburnett ISD and began teaching kindergarten there in August. Since then we have both enjoyed sharing the hilarious similarities and differences between teaching five-year-olds and student pilots.

The photos are in approximate order of the year. Starting at the top left is Matt taking a T-37 Tweet to the boneyard in Tucson, AZ for its retirement. Next is a family photo at Saltlick BBQ in Dripping Springs, TX. Mike and Cindy came to Texas to visit us in February (and continue on a cross country trip). Together, we went to Austin to visit Gary, Emily, Abby, and Sarah (Matt's uncle and cousins) as well. In March, I came to visit Matt in San Antonio (he was there TDY) and we enjoyed a trip to Canyon Lake near New Braunfels. The water was freezing, but the lake was gorgeous! We enjoyed spending time at the lake in Wichita Falls, also, but especially at Lake Murray in Oklahoma (this is where the big picture in the center was taken). In June, Brooke made a trip to Colorado Springs to visit Beth. We had a great time hiking and catching up. Also in June, we had a baby. His name is Shelby and he is a 2007 Ford Mustang Shelby GT. This "baby" is Matt's dream car and we have really enjoyed the new ride. Later that month, Brooke went to Michigan to spend time with the Davy girls (Mom, Marcy, and Lisa). It was wonderful to get some quality time together at a friend's lake house. Shortly thereafter, Matt joined the family in Michigan and we enjoyed Brian and Kristen's wedding in Portage, MI. The final three pictures are Matt and I with the T-6 on Spouse Taxi Day at Sheppard. Last year I got a taxi in the T-37, and this year we got to go in the T-6, Matt's new plane.

This has been a very blessed year. We are so grateful for the new experiences and lessons God has provided as we have journeyed with him. We look forward to all that 2010 will bring.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My classroom

I have been promising pictures of my classroom for a long time. I have taken pictures sooner than this, but then I always change something. My room has undergone five or six major rearrangements. It is very time-consuming to do this, but always so worth it because the whole classrooms functions better. Plus, it's much more fun to rearrange furniture and decorations than do any real work! This picture is the entrance to my classroom, room 205 (same as our apartment, strangely).

The first glimpse. The children's lunch choice is in front of you: fish nuggets or chicken sandwich, mmmm. Basically every kindergarten teacher starts in this room. It is the one no one wants. It has become quite home-y to me though, and I don't see myself moving even if another room becomes available. I've worked too hard on this one already!

Elementary classrooms always seem so cluttered to me. Now that I'm in one everyday (again) though, I see why. Every square inch must be used as efficiently as possible to make things work:). This is my desk area, the art center (foreground) and our carpet for large group times.

The chairs are up because it's time for Christmas break (yayyyyy!!). Sorry they block your view a bit. This is our math board, which we use every day for calendar and all kinds of counting. The blue table is my teacher table for guided reading, students who need a "special concentration spot," and temporary storage of junk.

On the back wall is our word wall. I just redid it this way so the whole alphabet could stretch out in one line. The posters above it, Grandma, are from a Mary Anglebreit calendar you gave me a long time ago. They are so cute, with great sayings, and I put them up first thing when I started in this room.

The monstrous box in the back corner is "the cage". It's actually called a study carol, but Matt calls it the cage. It's basically a desk with three walls. I have a student who's had to live there (thankfully not anymore), and sometimes students go there when life is just too overwhelming.

I have lots of great windows. We get so much light in fact that it blinds us during phonics and we have to close all the blinds. We keep the lights low to keep our cave cool.

Storage and cubbies for students occupy the back wall, along with two bathrooms (one of which works without flooding- at the moment). When I first arrived the cubbies in the back were all the nasty yellow color of the ones in the corner. They were also falling apart from past bouts with termites. I have been warned (by everyone) about the termites. Apparently they didn't come out last year, but they've heard they can remain dormant and come out any time. It happens in the spring, at which time we may have a several-week-long in-depth investigation of termite behavior. I managed to get the maintenance staff to replace and paint (a decent color - the yellow is gross up close) the middle set of cubbies. Maybe one day they will return, as promised, to do the others and add some in the left corner.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

We're alive!

Hello out there! We really are still here. These last few months have absolutely flown by. Matt has always been busy with his long days at work. I have not been this busy in a long time though. Our toilets go weeks without being cleaned, our groceries dwindle to the very back of the pantry before being replenished. This new teaching job has worn me out! My work days are about as long as Matt's now, 10-12 hours.

Slowly we are learning this new way of life. And while we enjoy being Dinks (Dual Income, No Kids) for the time being, I would not want to go on like this long-term. It takes its toll on us and our relationships. For the next year and a half that we are here, though, this will be just fine. By the time we leave our student loans will be long-gone, and we should have some good savings for whatever the next phase of our life brings. That's a fair reward for wrangling 20 five-year-olds for seven hours a day, right (and in Matt's case trying to survive flights with who-knows-how-many newby, cocky 20-something almost-pilots)?

Truly though, I'm glad we are where we are. God continues to reveal to us his plan, and it is very good. I am so grateful I don't have to go at this alone. Without God I would have been squashed like a bug on day one of kindergarten, and many times after that. This has been the most spiritually difficult time of my life, which tells me it's a crucial time. More demons have walked across my path and invaded my mind than I have ever known, and they aren't done yet. Each time though, my Rock holds me up, purifies me, and kicks those demons' butts. There is still much to learn. Nonetheless, I am comforted knowing:

"Suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who he has given us." Romans 5: 3-5

Now if I could just keep from running up ahead of God, and finally let Him lead me.
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