Thanksgiving break brought welcome relief from the stress of the 5th grade & school work. By the time the break came, I finished my 2 weeks of teaching in 5th grade (although I continued to teach after the break), completed all of my school assignments and had my exit interview for my Master's program. Whew! It was a lot of work to get it all done, but it was so nice to be able to relax and enjoy the break! Another exciting thing about the break was that I got to see Matt. We hadn't seen each other in almost 7 weeks by the time he made it to Oklahoma for Thanksgiving. Thankfully, our time of living in separate states is now over & we survived! It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, although I wouldn't really recommend it or want to do it again! Anyway, I wasn't very good about taking pictures on Thanksgiving, but here's one pic that I have. It is of me, my mom, my dad, and my cousin Brook. We were all busy cooking Thanksgiving dinner. If you're wondering what Brook is holding, it's the Tofurkey. Don't worry, my family isn't weird or anything. We have regular turkey & ham, but Brook (being a health nut) thought she wanted to bring a tofu-turkey. Gross!
Busy 2 weeks:
The 2 weeks after Thanksgiving was a flurry of activities, packing, and goodbyes. I still can't believe I managed to fit so many things into 2 short weeks! I finished up with my 5th grade internship. Although the 5th graders mostly drove me crazy, I did start to love them by the end of my time with them. I learned a lot during those 8 weeks, and when I finally realized the best way to relate to them, I actually found myself enjoying them more and more. On my last day of 5th grade, all 3 of the classes gathered in the cafeteria to tell me goodbye. They gave me a framed picture of all the kids, and each class made a book for me, with each student writing why they thought I would be a good teacher. I must admit, reading what they had to say brings a tear to my eye. It was very touching. After they presented the presents, the teacher asked if any of the kids had anything to say to me. A few kids said "goodbye" and that they would miss me, and then one boy raised his hand. To be honest, I was surprised that he would have anything to say because he was one of the "cool kids" that always acted like he was too cool for school. So, when the teacher called on him, I wasn't sure what was coming. Well, he proudly announced, "I think you're pretty!" All the kids clapped, and I cracked up laughing. It was so funny, especially the proud look on his face. The teacher said, he's probably been waiting 8 weeks to say that! That definitely helped end the day on a light note!
Packing was a challenge all of its own. No matter how much I tried to get rid of stuff and clean out my room, the boxes and bags of things seemed never ending! After several trips to the trash can and the storage building, I finally managed to get all of my things together, and did my best to get the things I would take with me down to the bare essentials. After all, I am moving to a 12x14 apartment & I have to share with Matt who already lives there! Clothes and toiletries are all I have room for, although I did manage to pack one small box of scrapbooking stuff to take with me. I will need something to keep me busy while Matt is busy studying and working! I have to say, although I was excited to get to live with my husband again, I was sad to leave Rebecca's house. We had some good times over the semester, and I really enjoyed living with her. However, I'm sure she will be glad to get her guest room back!
I've never understood why it's called a "party" when someone is moving away. Personally, I don't like goodbyes at all. Although, I did have a good time with all our friends at the 2 parties I had before I left. The first one was with friends from work at Peggy's (my boss) house. It was a lovely Sunday afternoon, and her house is absolutely beautiful & the view is spectacular! It was nice to spend a few hours with people I have worked with over the last 3 years. Time went so quickly, and I developed some wonderful relationships with all of them. They were so sweet and started a scrapbook for me, so I could keep a record of the places that Matt and I live. The first page was of Alabama & had a picture of everyone in the office, as well as my Master's class. I also got a giftcard to Lowe's, since it's our favorite place to shop on our Friday night date nights! Now we can actually buy something there!
The second going away party was the night before we left Alabama. This one was with the many wonderful friends we have made in Montgomery over the last 3 years. Thankfully, Matt got to be there for this party, so we could say goodbye to our friends, and Montgomery, together. To be honest, when we moved to Alabama I didn't think I would be sad when we left. I just felt that it was a place we needed to be for a short while, but that I wouldn't ever feel at home there. However, as the time came closer to leave, I quickly started to realize that I would miss it. Well, not necessarily Alabama, but the people. We made some wonderful friends and have wonderful memories there. Matt wrote in his blog about our time in Alabama in the last paragraph of this post, and expressed how I feel about it so well. I will cherish the last 3 1/2 years in Alabama forever. As we were saying goodbye after dinner, Emmy Hunt gave me a hug and took off her scarf and put it around my neck. She told me to wear it in Chicago and always remember that she was thinking of me, praying for me, and giving me a hug when I needed one. Even as I write this, her support and encouragement over the past few months bring a tear to my eye. Without being asked, she looked out for me and gave me encouragement at every opportunity. She was truly like my mom, and I only wish I had more time to spend with her. She always made me laugh, and made my heart happy, even if I was feeling a little sad or lonely. Thank you, Emmy!
What a relief it was to finally graduate! Although I may have been more excited and relieved when Matt finished law school (it was longer & more intense than my Master's), I was so happy when graduation day finally came. Although the happiness was mixed with a little sadness, since it was also our last day in Montgomery. My graduating class was the first class to complete the Master of Education program at Faulkner, and it was a great sense of accomplishment as we each crossed the stage and received our diplomas and hoods. Although everyone in our program was close over the 2 years, those of us who did our internships in Elementary Education this semester got especially close over the past few months. We leaned on each other for support, encouragement, ideas, and sometimes for our sanity! But, we made it at last!
Matt and Me at Graduation
The Elem. Ed. Graduates: Monica, Me, Vivian, Whitney, & Frank
Whitney & Me
Dad, Me, and Mom
Our "Christmas Break" has been quite extensive this year. We left Alabama on December 15th, and Matt doesn't start back to school until January 20th. So, we took this free time to spend quality time with family and friends. We spent a few days in Duncan with my parents, went up to Oklahoma City for a surprise birthday party & a graduation party, spent several days with our nieces, went to Broken Arrow for a few days & Christmas Eve, back to Duncan for Christmas Day, to OKC for a weekend visit, back to Duncan for New Years Eve, to Grand Lake with our friends, and we're now in Kirksville, Missouri. Wow! It's been a busy few weeks. We also added in a few trips to OKC and back for Christmas shopping and visiting friends. I just realized that I wasn't very good about taking pictures, but here are a few that you might enjoy.
Aunt Paula, Aunt Robbie, and Mom in their matching Christmas pajamas
My cousin Zack & Me
Austin, my cousin Amy's baby
Chloe & Allie with Santa
Well, like I said, it's been a busy month! We have had some wonderful times with friends and family, and spent a lot of time travelling! Tomorrow we head out for Chicago, and I will get to see just how tiny our apartment really is! But our vacationing isn't over just yet! Thanks to the generosity of Matt's cousin Heath, we're headed to a resort in Galena, IL to spend a few days together before Matt starts back to school. I pray that God is blessing you in this New Year, and that you take advantage of every opportunity you have to make precious memories with friends and family. We have been so blessed over the past few weeks & look forward to many more adventures to come!