Sunday, December 27, 2009

Life After Graduation (more about christmas to come later)

Well I am currently sitting here typing a blog while my husband and his brother are playing a FIFA soccer game, hence taking over the only TV in the house. We have really got to fix this situation lol! Oh well. Since I do not currently have a TV in my use right now I have used this time to make use of the website teachertube.com.
I was introduced to teachertube.com (a variation of youtube, but it teaches how to do things) in college where we looked at a number of different things. One of these things was something called power teaching. It is a high energy level way of teaching that employs just about every learning style imaginable. It engages students, has them teach a concept, has them listening, moving seeing, everything! It is a really cool thing, one I want to definitely learn more about how to do and how to set up in my classroom. I don't know if I would be able to do it my first year of teaching, when I am just trying to stay alive, but it would be neat to be trained in for sure.
I really enjoy learning, especially learning about things in the education world. I wanna do the best I can to be the very best teacher I can, but I am still nervous. I know I have the drive and the desire, but I am nervous I wont be. What if I fail, what if I get so swamped that I don't know what to do, what if, what if, what if. Thank goodness for student teaching because I don't know if I could have made my way through these fears without it. It has given me the confidence to know that I am ready, if nothing else. No matter what, this is what I have been trained for, this is my calling, this is what I was made to do, and so that is a good feeling, and can get me through all the what ifs that continually run through my head.
I encourage you, if you are an educator, go to teachertube, and type in power teaching in the search. Look at about the third one down or so that says something like power teaching and classroom management, there you can sorta get the jist of what it is about. Then go to the rest that show it in a real classroom, very cool!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

And I'm Done. . . For Now

Well on December 19, 2009 I had a crossed a major milestone and goal in my life, I became a college graduate! Literally, this is one of the most exciting moments of my entire life! It was a culmination of so much hard work and dedication, study, memories, all of it, boiled down into one single moment. The feeling of walking across the stage, seeing my family standing in my honor, hearing my name called out, stopping to get a medal for being magna cum-laude, all of it was so surreal, something I am so happy to have gotten to experience at one point in my life! I am so happy to have such a big thing completed. However, I have a desire to go back and get my masters. I am not sure what in exactly, but I am leaning towards a diagnostician, or counseling, I'll just have to explore my options! I wish ETBU would open up a masters education program, because I would definitely go for it!

Of course after graduation was done, it was picture time! We went outside and took some pictures and then it was off to go out to eat. We opted to go to Longview, figuring everything in Marshall would be full! Jalapeno Tree was calling to us, and so off we went, and it was sssoo good! The food was great, and also getting to see the family and just sit and talk to them. I got some great graduation gifts, one being a beautiful necklace that had my initials on a pendant from Mark's mom and dad. Earlier that morning I had received a Pandora bracelet with a graduation cap charm on it from my parents. I received a journal, some cute teacher christmas cup towels, and ornament and money from my grandparents, my favorite perfume and money from my great aunt and uncle, a pedicure and manicure from my other set of grandparents, I am just ssooo blessed! Thank you to all of them! Mark's graduation gift has to wait until Christmas to be given to me, so I am anxious to figure out what that is!

Speaking of Christmas, I am getting so excited and yet, still have some shopping to do! AGGHHHH! Our Christmases are always busy and this one will be no exception, trying to hit both families at once! It works right now for us, so I am not complaining! There will be a lot of fun to come for the Cliftons in the next four days that is for sure!


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A little long eh Jenni?

Well I was informed by my friend on facebook that my blog was a little neglected so I decided I needed to update it. There is nothing and everything going on at the Clifton household right now! One big on being my graduation from ETBU!! I cannot believe that I am actually old enough to be a college graduate, let along accomplish such a major thing in life. You know, I am not part of the elite statistic (at least it is elite in my mind haha) of "people who graduate college". The greatest thing is that I know I am leaving with a fantastic education that has prepared me for a job I love! I know beyond a shadow of a doubt education is my calling, is what I am supposed to do for the rest of my life, and something I am pretty good at. So yeah, there will be pictures to come of that for sure! Here are a few photos of the Christmas season around the Clifton's!




Above is an ornament from my Noni and Poppy's first Christmas tree, very special!

Below is our finished tree

This is the hutch thing we have in a our kitchen that me and a few youth girls decorated




Merry Christmas everyone from Mark and Kristen

Monday, November 23, 2009

Go Horns, Poor Ellie, Passed Tests

Well it has been a week that is FOR SURE!!! I mean seriously emotions have been all over the place for me! I guess I will start from the beginning. For starters I went to Tyler on Wednesday night and stayed with Mark's parents because I was taking my specialization exam (to say I can teach reading in grades 4-8) in Tyler at 7:30. I got up, made it there, and took my test, which I found to either be A) much easier than the other two, B) I had finally gotten used to the way the test were written or C) I just didn't care that much anymore. Anyways, I finished that in about a little over and hour, and then proceeded on the drive home. The good things about these tests is that they give you the day before and the day of to study and take the tests. So once I was done I came home, spent lunch with mark and then decided I would go on a nice and relaxing picnic, hence the previous post.

The next thing for this week was to go to the Texas Longhorns play this past Saturday. We went with my brother and Mark's oldest brother Wade, which ended up being a lot of fun, but I wish I had a girl there to discuss the cheerleaders with. It was the final home game, senior day, so it was a great one to go to. Of course our Horns won! Yea for that!!! Well about halfway into the second quarter I get wind of some really hard news. . . we had left the dogs in the back fence that morning and my mom went by to check on them, but couldn't find my little Ellie! She looked EVERYWHERE! Well she ended up telling Adam and Mark, but not me because she didn't want to ruin my night. When I finally did learn about it, I was crushed! Nevertheless, I made it through the game, but not before posting notices all over facebook asking people to look for my lost puppy. Mom said our neighbors saw her because she chased their car (which she likes to do) but nothing after that. Her and dad went and looked for her at halftime and then mom went again at 11. I found out how many people really liked my dog, especially my mom :-). She is so good to me. We left the game with no news, and headed back to Dallas to spend the night, only to get up and head back home in the morning.

We started for home, dropped everyone off, then went home, keeping our eyes peeled down 154 for our puppy! I can not tell you how heart wrenching this was, to not know where she was, if she was ok, to not know ANYTHING! We keep driving without seeing her at all, drive slowly around our neighborhood with nothing in sight still, and arrive at our house. We go and let our other puppy Sadie out of the fence and are petting her and looking around for Ellie when all of the sudden I look down and see a little nose frantically trying to get out from under the house. All I could do was shout "Oh Ellie!!" as I was crying! We finally get her out and begin to access the damage. We got her in the shower, watched the water turn BROWN from all the dirt she had on her. We got her all cleaned up and saw she had quite a few scrapes on her back legs and lower belly, and that she was holding up her back right leg when she walked, not to mention she yelped when we picked her up. We decided to give her a day or so to rest and see how she was doing, even just with a couple of hours. Well all night she was moping and limping around, and again this morning, so I called and set up an appointment at Jefferson Animal Hospital for Tuesday at 10:30. Well I got home and couldn't stand it anymore and called and got her in for the last appointment of the day. Mark and I were really debating on whether or not to take her because we didn't want a huge vet bill if all they were going to say was "make her rest".

Needless to say we ended up taking her in, and they were sssooo nice. Anytime we take Ellie to any animal thing everyone says "Oh she she is so cute. She is so good" etc. She was super good, especially since I left in such a hurry that I forgot her leash! She sat there with me and didn't move really (partly because she couldn't lol) until we asked her to go back. We went back and the vet came in and had a look at her. I told her what happened and after some moving around she found the spot that was giving our Ellie some trouble. The good news is her hip wasn't out of place or anything, the bad news was we believe her pelvis is fractured. I know poor Ellie! Thankfully we didn't need to take x-rays because the vet determined since she can still put some pressure on that foot that it isn't a "weight bearing" fracture. We got some medicine and if she isn't better by the Wednesday morning then we have to go in and do x-rays. They kept saying "she got rolled" and when I asked what that meant they said she probably was nicked by a car and then rolled. Good grief! God was really looking out for us, because the bill could have been very high and thankfully wasn't. So now, with just a little TLC she will be better.

In other news, I checked the website and I PASSED MY TEST!!!!! I am so excited! So now all that is left is fingerprints, which is what I am doing tomorrow, and then GRADUATION!!!! I am sssoo excited! This is such a huge relief, I cannot even begin to tell you! To know they there is nothing else that I have to study for, and there is nothing left to do but walk across a stage, wow!!!

So yeah, the horns won, Ellie's hurt, and all test are passed, all in all a crazy week in the life of Mark and Kristen!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Test, A Picnic, and A Nap. . . GREAT DAY!



Well today has been pretty amazing. . . I do have to say I LOVE LOVE LOVE November!! I have had the past 2 days off because I had another certification test to study for and take. It has been wonderful to just get a few days to rest and study. I took my test this morning and I think I did ok. . . Either it was easier than the other two, I am getting used to taking these dumb things, or I just don't care that much anymore. Either way, I think I passed and that is the important thing.

After I got home I quickly cooked some taco soup for a supper I will have by myself while Mark is at training tonight. After that and some lunch I decided that I needed to go on a picnic, just me myself and I with my bible and journal, book, camera, and a pillow. It was wonderful!! I loved, loved, loved it! I actually didn't read at all, just took pictures and fell asleep! Some of the pictures I took were of my car so I could post them on here. Here they are!





Isn't it pretty?!?!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Vroom, Vroom!!

Well the new news around the Clifton household is right outside in the driveway. . . That's right you guessed it, a new car!!!!! Well ok, not NEW new, but new to us! We bought a 2005 Pontiac Vibe!! This car is such a blessing to us in so many ways! I cannot begin to tell you how excited we are about it all! We have been on the car hunt for quite some time, but are limited in serarches because we want to pay cash for our car and not have to worry about car payments. I knew the kind of car I liked in a way in that I wanted something that was right between an SUV and a car. I didn't want something huge that I felt like I was driving a truck in and I didn't want something that would be considered a grandma car, like a big and bulky sedan. . . needless to say there are few options that have 4 doors when you really look at it.

So to begin a long story, there is this burnt orange car at a small dealership on the way to Longview. Mark and I were going on a date Tuesday night and called the guy on a whim to see if we could look at the car. This car is also a 2005 Pontiac Vibe, but you can definitely tell it has been used! There are scratches from where it has been egged, and cigarette burns, and so on, but it has only 54,000 miles on it and so we debate it, and decide to go home and scout out to see if we are getting the best deal. As it happens, it is there that I find out I really LOVE the style and feel of the Vibe and I decide it is the car I want. We begin our search on Craigslist and see 2 cars for sale that are potential deals. One is in our price range and is a 2006 with 48,000 miles but only has power windows and no cruise control (big bummer for me). We are thinking this one is the one we are going to be getting because # 2 is $1000 over our budget, however it only has 16000 miles and also comes with power windows, locks, cruise control, oh and a SUNROOF!! This definitely made me very excited so I take it upon myself to call the owner and inquire a little bit more than what was just on the add.

Ring ring goes the telephone, and I am nervous because I have never done this before in my life! Luckily this wonderful woman answers the phone and we begin not only talking about the car, but about life in general. We have this great conversation and end with deciding we are going to go and see the car the next day. I go down and tell Mark about the exciting news, of which he is excited too, but reminds me about the price. He says there is not point in us traveling all the way to McKinney if they are unwilling to negotiate on the price. So I wait until after church and nervously call the woman back to ask her if there is anyway the price can be negotiated, AKA dropped $1000. . . She ends up telling me she is an honest person and she can't stand not beating around the bush and they had discussed selling the car and the lowest they would go was our price!!!! I got off the phone and ran sssooo fast from our house to the church to exclaim to Mark "They said they will take it, they said they will take our price!!" He was equally as excited!! The next day we wake up, go to the bank, and go to look at these two cars.

We finally find the residence and pull up to see this immaculately kept vehicle. It is what I would call an "old lady car" in the respect of it was one of those cars that was driven to the beauty shop, grocery store, and back and that was about it! For it being 5 years old, and to only have 16000 miles that has to be the case! The inside is SUPER clean and even still smells like a new car! The outside is red and just awesome! Needless to say I am ssssoo in love! We got in the car to test drive it and the first words that came out of my mouth were "Oh Mark, can we have it?!?!" to which he responded "Yes, yes you can!" It has been such an amazing find and I couldn't be happier. I have never had a nice car with all the bells and whistles, and so I am feeling kinda spoiled, and have to pinch myself to remember it really is mine! I enjoy driving ten times more and now fight Mark to drive it (something that never happened before). I will take some pictures and post them very soon because I just want to share haha!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I Really Really Really Like Weekends

Ohh weekends! I cannot tell you how much I really like the weekends. They are something I look forward to each week,and am so thankful for when Friday finally rolls around. We have had a good time this weekend, just really doing our own things until Sunday, which we spent all day together then.

On Friday we had a home football game which also means we had the last 5th quarter as well. We ended up losing the game, the 5th quarter went well, but because of all of that we ended up not getting to bed until about 1 or so. However, I was able to sleep in pretty late on Saturday moning, and boy was it nice. Mark had to be in Shreveport early early for something, so he was not near as lucky. I then was able to start some laundry before I started getting ready for one of my really good friend's baby shower which was from 2-4. I went to that and had a blast!! Although it sorta made me really want to have a baby, all of those little outfits, shoes, and toys are just so cute!!! Sadly, this is not the main reason you have a baby, so I guess the whole starting a family thing will just have to wait until later (Mark is in definite agreement with this lol).

After I got home from this Mark and I started getting ready for a Halloween Costume Party that was at a friends house. We had planned in the middle of the week to go as Lucy and Shroder (from the Peanuts comics, the girl that always pulls the football out from under Charlie Brown, and the guy who plays the little piano) but at about 6:20 Mark looks at me and says "I don't really want to be Shroder. . ." Um, the party starts at 8, and I was really wanting to be there early to help her set up and stuff. Needless to say I start flipping out just a little because I had been in walmart not 30 minutes earlier and could have picked us up one!!! Luckily, some friends came to our rescue with a superman breastplate thing, and so he went as Clark Kent and I went as Louis Lane. We had a great time and got to see a lot of people we hadn't seen in a while.

Today was our church's homecoming. Harleton Baptist Church has been around 116 years today and it was a great service. We got hear a youth minister bring the message, some testimonies from various people in the church, and then eat some really, really, really, good food!! After church we just enjoyed a nice November day before leaving to spend the evening with some sunday school friends. All in all, what a wonderful weekend!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Long, Busy Days and Weeks

Sorry it has been so long since I have last reported in to everybody. My life has been gung-ho for the past two weeks, but in a very good way. The recent change has been that I am no longer in first grade or the Elementary school, but in the sixth grade which is over at the Jr. High. It has been a lot of fun, and very very different.

I will admit the first day it was super hard and a HUGE adjustment. I missed my little babies, and even though they have the best teacher in the world, I found myself worrying about them, what they were doing, and if they were getting it all or not. So sad I know! But after a week or so, I got accustomed to where I am at now as soon as I began to recognize the kids and putting names with faces. Sixth graders are ssooo much fun! They are older and are more sarcastic, which is sometimes good, sometimes bad. They are still young enough to not be "too cool for school". Needless to say, I am having a great time and am learning a lot. My new teacher is awesome. She is so much fun, has some great ideas, and the kids love her class! All in all, my student teaching experience really has been extraordinary.

Mark and I have both been busy with the youth, doing Wednesday nights, bible studies, 5th quarters, games, and all other sorts of stuff that has been going on. Both Ellie and Sadie are doing well and being good girls for the most part. They are full of energy, but tucker themselves out pretty good each night. All in all, that is my post for right now. Hopefully I can post some mroe interesting things later.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Bitter Sweet Friday!

Well folks it is the time has finally come when I have to leave the class I have come to love so much, and go on to the new and exciting 6th grade classroom. I love my little class full of first graders and their smiling faces, curious eyes, and learning minds. They are the sweetest things, and I will miss them dearly. I will miss them telling me hello each morning with a hug, telling me I look pretty everyday (even if I don't at all), giving me the sweet things they had made at home the night before, wanting me to look at their paper because they are proud of how they did (and yes that did get annoying after a while, but it is still something I will miss), all of these things.

Anyway, at the end of the day on Friday I come waltzing back into my classroom after helping my mom over in her office, open the door, and hear a chorus of "SURPRISE!" coming from 22 little mouths. I look up to find Miss Newsom, my classroom teacher, standing there, camera in hand, taking pictures of my very shocked face. My eyes then dance their way around to the table where low and behold, there sits a cake, and presents, and juice all waiting for me! I could hardly contain my excitement. I walk over to view the beautiful chocolate cake and find it says "Good Luck" on the top and then "Mrs. Kristen" on a cookie on the side.It is a two tier cake, and around the sides of it there were frosted cookies that said a name of every child in my class! It was the cutest and prettiest thing ever!I thought Miss Newsom had gone to some fancy cake store to get it, but come to find out, Mrs. Cheryl Hardy from right here in Harleton whipped that up for me! That made it 10 times more special!There were also presents all around of items that I would be able to use in my future classroom! One big thing that I have been looking for and wanting very badly was what I call a "teacher bag" where I can put all of the papers and things teachers have to take home in and is very cute and stylish. In the bag where different miscellaneous items, stinky stickers, a cool folder to leave for subs, post it notes, ect. Mrs. Lloyd, the teacher right next door also got me a bag of goodies which included a bunch of things you never think about such as a tape dispenser, paper clip holder, orange handled scissors ( which are super hard to find), markers, the list goes on!

One of the parts that meant the absolute most to me was the people that showed up. My mom came which was so sweet, because as Mrs, Amy, our speech teacher said, "Aw it is like it is coming full circle for Traci, since this was her old classroom and all. How cool for her." Mrs. Amy was another one, Mrs. Lisa (mom's best friend and the fine arts teacher), Mrs. Wendy (the school principal and my fourth grade teacher), Mrs. Kay (Mrs. Amy's boss), the other first grade teachers (for a second), I mean it was a party. It was just so nice to have all those people there in support of me and what I am about to do. To know that I have multiple people who think I am ready for this and are encouraging me is extraordinary.If anything else, I know there are lots of people who like chocolate cake like me haha. Seriously, it was like a coming of age thing as an adult, an entrance into the world of working people, something I will remember for the rest of my life. A funny story from this party was one of my little girls told my mom "She is never coming back." Mom replied, "Yes she will, she will come back and visit you." The girl looked back at her and shook her head side to side and said "Nope, I'm never gonna see her again." We then told her I would come back and visit, but isn't that just the sweetest thing in the world!?!?

So yeah, get ready sixth grade, cause here I come!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

What I'm Thinking. . .

I decided to do something a little bit different.

What I am thinking. . .

1. I am so glad I was able to make it to the test center in enough time to be able to take my PPR(Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities) exam for to become certified to teaching. I thought the test was at 1 for the whole month I was signed up for it, only to find out this morning it is really at 12 and I have to be there 30 mins beforehand. It was 10:32, and it takes over an hour to get to Tyler, which is where I was taking my test! Can we say panic much?!?! Yeah, luckily I made it and they let me in and take the test, which I think I did ok on. We will see the results in a week or so, therefore everyone keep your fingers crossed!

2. I am so thankful for the beautiful day that we are having! I love fall!! It is my absolute favorite season, although I am sure I have already said this. It is getting cooler, less humid, and I am a happy girl. I am ready for the leaves to start changing and falling off the trees, that will make me very happy.

3. I am sssoooo ready to go to First Monday Trade Days! I have a shopping list already of things I am going to be looking for! We are going tomorrow and I am so excited! I will be looking for these special shoes for my up and coming teaching career. Also any other tid bits for my home and classroom will be scouted out as well!! Super excited and ready to go.

4. I had fun tonight with my husband visiting some really good friends from Tyler. I love just sitting around a fire catching up and talking about random happenings and topics. I miss them a lot and wish we had them closer to us. Sometimes it is a little tough being back home in Harleton, because although I love my home town and don't desire to be any other place, I miss my friends and not having hardly any married friends that live around here. Life is good though, I can't complain.

5. I am ready to start teaching. I am ready to get into my own classroom, with my own students, and bringing home my own paycheck. I am excited to be able to finally start contributing something to our bank account. I am super excited about my career, and am just ready for it to be here.

6. I am ready for Monday to be here. NO not because it signifies the start of another work week, or due to the fact I just totally miss my first grade babies so much of the weekend lol (though sometimes I do), no it is because that is the day we are scheduled to receive a home phone, cable, and INTERNET!! YAY!!! No more long times in between posts or having to post on the fly, or at the church, or packing up my computer to take to my mother's house! I can finally get farmville on facebook too!! It is going to be a glorious day.

7. I am sad I didn't get a chance to Skype with Matt and Sarah today, our friends who moved away to California so Matt could go to seminary. I miss them a whole whole whole lot, but I know they are right where God wants them and am excited for this new and exciting adventure. So Matt and Sarah, know I love you guys a lot and we miss you tons!

8. I am beginning to think I need to really start becoming more conscious of my healthy, and living a more healthy and better lifestyle. I need to start eating right and exercising now, while I am young, and get into a routine, that way it wont be so difficult a few years down the road. Even if it just starts out as learning how to eat right, that is fine.

Well I guess that is really all that is on my mind for now. . . Hopefully on Monday I will be able to post something from the comfort of my own home on the couch! Time will tell!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Welcome Fall!!!

Fall is finally upon us! I am so excited! I really don't think there is anyone else more excited than I am. I am the biggest fall lover there is! It is my favorite, I look forward to it every year!! I so enjoy the change from hot to cold, watching the leaves change color and fall off the trees, every little part of it. If I could have had it completely my way, I would have had my wedding in November, my absolute most favorite month out of the entire year!

Anyways, enough about my crush on the fall season and onto life as we know it right now. There are plenty of things going on to keep us busy, all that come with the start of school, football, and cooler weather. There are classes to go to, parties to plan for and attend, youth events to go to and set up/break down, football games, little league games, the whole nine yards!! It is so exciting and reminds me of how much I love life in this little town. School is still going well too. This week I am taking on every subject, completely being the classroom teacher for a few days all on my own. I am a little nervous about it and how much stamina it will take, but I know it is doable, thanks in part to my teacher who has eased me into things, having me pick up a subject here and there until I now have everything! Pray for me please in that area!

Well I better get going to visiting with family! Hope everyone has a great week!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Still Going Strong

Welp, I am still alive, never fear. I just have no internet to update this thing with a computer at my house. There really hasn't been that much to update about anyway, just life as we know it now.

Student teaching is going well. It is hard to believe I am heading into my 4th week of at my first assignment. I only have 2 more weeks left in first grade before I have to switch over to the 6th grade. I am really not wanting to leave at all. I feel as if I am just hitting my stride, getting the kids to really respond to me, and actually teaching halfway decently. I wish we didn't have to move classrooms at all. I know it will be good to see how an upper leve does things, but I am so much enjoying where I am at right now. My teacher and I get along so well, I am learning so much, and enjoy her as a person, while respecting her as a teacher. She does such a good job.

I talk to Mom almost daily about what is going on in the classroom, my funny story I have from the day (which I have at least 1 per day, just ask Mark haha), and telling her how much 1st grade really does matter in aspect of a person's education. Mom, who taught first grade for around 17 years, said her and the other first grade teacher used to say the students are "blank slates" that you get to right whatever you want on them. This is completely true. You learn so many core aspects that you will use for the rest of your life. I cannot tell you how many lessons I have started off with that saying. For example, when I was teaching them how to write the numbers 1-9, I told them, that if they dont learn how to do this then you wont know how to write any number over 10! Small as it might be, it is completely true.

I also got the joy of watching reading and learning to read certain words and a story click with a child! I wish everyone could have seen his eyes light up when he figured out he could read all these new words. He was ssssooo proud of himself, it was ridiculous! He put up his book when the teacher asked him to, only to pull the small reader he had in his desk out saying "I want to read this now". I also caught him later when we were supposed to be packing up, "reading" that same reader at the end of the day. This is truly one of the highlights of my college career!

Mark is doing well too. He told me the other day that he is feeling more comfortable going into the schools. He is getting to know more kids, so that always helps. Since school has started back up the attendance has risen some on Wednesday nights, which is always fun. I am enjoying getting to know the girls a little bit better. We started a new bible study last week, so I am looking forward to that.

That is about all that is happening in my corner of the world!! Hope everyone else has a wonderful week!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The First Day of the Rest of My Life. . . Well, Almost =]

Well it is official, student teaching is now underway, it has begun,it is currently happening!! FINALLy is all I can say!! Woohoo!! And let me tell you it is so awesome, I am completely LOVING it!! Seriously, I love it so much even I can't believe it! Ok, I guess I will start from the begining.

In case you didn't have a chance to read the previous post, I am in Miss Newsom's first grade classroom. To be completely honest, this was not the grade I wanted to be in at all! Not even a little bit. I really wanted 2nd, but I also like the bigger elementary kids (2nd-4th or 5th). However, there was no one else available that had either been teaching long enough, or didn't already have a student teacher, hence me going to first grade. Let me tell you though, I could not be HAPPIER! I am so glad I am there. The first day of school was great, it was wonderful to watch exactly what it is I should do when that door finally shuts behind me and I am left alone in a room with around 20 little faces looking at me for what to do next. This is vital, and something I was so excited to see.

We do have a room full, 23 students to be exact, which is one over the limit, so we have now reached the "exception" zone with class size. The other 2 first grade classes have 22, making it reach a grand total of. . . get ready, 67 six to seven year olds. Needless to say, it gets a little crazy! I don't really feel the pressure of having so many kids, but that's probably because I have a great teacher! We get along great, and that is such an amazing blessing, and probably what has made this transistion so smooth!!! I am trying to remember to write everything down, so that way I will help myself when I have my own classroom.

Speaking of my own classroom, that is the thing I am most excited about, having my own classroom. I was walking through the hall the first day thinking to myself, "This is great, I am having a blast, I really actually love what I am doing. This is exactly what I am supposed to be doing, and I know this because I get a joy out of being here." It isn't a happiness, it is a joy, and that is so much more than I could have asked for!! I was worried before (like I do everytime before I go into a classroom) then I got in there, and was like, "Yes I can do this for the rest of my life." Wonderful stuff to find what you are supposed to do and actually be trained and able to do it! God is so good!! So yeah, that is the chronicles of the almost first day (not the first day, since it is not my first day as a classroom teacher).

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Changes

Changes are happening all us right now in the Clifton household. For starters we now have a new member of the family, s little black lab mix , 6 week old puppy named Sadie. Yes in case you're wondering she was a spur of the moment thing! We took friends over to get one of the 8 puppies left at Kandis and Charlie's house and came back with one of our own per Mark's request. He has always wanted a lab puppy, and said he wasn't planning on getting one until he was leaving and couldn't put the one he was holding down! I know, I know, what were we thinking? To be honest with you I'm not sure yet. She is just a baby, but training her to use her crate and all has been much more of a challenge than it was with Ellie! We will continue to press on though and see where thiz takes us! Right now I'm trying to keep her awake sp she will sleep when I leave ( though I doubt thAt happens, she isn't too fond of being in there right now).

I was telling Mark I think I got too spoiled with Ellie and how good and easy of a dog she was and is to train and take care of! She really has been wonderful and a great addition to our little family! I can't imagine life without her now! We have really bonded over the summer! I have always wanted a dog relationship like that. One that is just easy, almost like they just understand and get you. I love how easy she is to travel with and how much Mark and I love to take her places! It is a blast and really adds to a trip, plus she loves the car so that is good! She has taken well to Sadie being here, playing mommy since she is bigger right now! I'm worried about her though because he hasn't been eating very much in the past couple of days and now she is limping around:(. We are giving it a couple more days to see if it gets better! Poor Ellie girl!

Also on the horizion is student teaching! Woohoo! Finally at this point in my college career and it feels good! I'm excited to see alm the stuff I will be doing and to learn the tricks of the trade! I mean come on, what other profession to you get this kind of opportunity with? Tonight is the Elementary Open House/ Meet the Teacher day, so I will be there with the teacher whose room I am in. It is a first grade classroom, and I have Mrs. Newsome, whom I love! I am excited about this upcoming year, now that I have had a chance to come up and meet her! Well until there is more time! I'll try to post s pic from the phone if I can!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures!

I have finally downloaded pictures from my camera onto my computer, so here a few of them. Some with captions, some without, all fun!

These first few are from World Changers!



These are the great kids that made up my crew for the week! We had a blast and got stuff done!

These are a two of Mark's face a couple of days after the incident! It is looking much better each day though!



These next few are some of what we did today. We got up, ate some breakfast, watched some television, and then talked about what we were going to do that afternoon. We have both been wanting to get out of the house and take Ellie to do something active and all, so we thought, "hey we should go to the lake, take a picnic, walk around, and swim, and have a nice little family day!" So we get up, make our lunch, get on lake attire, pack up Ellie, and step outside. . . only to be greeted by dark clouds, and a humid rainy day! We then felt like big dummies for getting everything ready for a lake day without looking outside at the weather! However, this does not discourage us long, and we decide to go ahead and go and make the best of it. When we make it there, it is dark and windy, not looking to good for our picnic day at all. We end up eating in the car, which actually proved to be a lot of fun, and we had a good time with it. After we finish that, we decided to get out in the rain and let Ellie out to run around! She LOVED IT! She just ran around, smelling everything, and inspecting all spots! We are getting her more accustomed to water, she isn't afraid of it necessarily, just gets tired of having to hold her own body weight and swim at the same time. We ended up heading out after a couple of hours of just good wet fun because the thunder wasn't letting up and we didn't want to chance anything! It was so fun, to just decide to do something spur of the moment, and the adapt to the conditions surrounding us.

This was our picnic basket

Me sad it was raining

Us before we all got wet!

And after a good day in the rain!


I have also purchased new items to help complete the look of our house, but haven't had the chance to take any pictures!! Let me tell you how excited I was to get the things I did! I went with my mother and the first stop we made was at Mardel, this new Christian and Education store in Longview! They were having a HUGE sale on teacher stuff so I just had to go! I was able to get many items for myself and a couple for friends too! Everything I purchased was on sale for five dollars and most things were over ten dollars without the sale price! I spent the some of my birthday money on this, and it was well worth it. Then we headed to Hobby Lobby which is right next door, and saw they were having a sale on their furniture! Inside the door was a hutch type thing that I had been keeping my eye on for the past month and a half. It had consistently been going down in price and was there marked down to $166 from $500. I knew this was my last chance to get it, since me and about 4 other women were eyeing it at the same time. I called and checked with Mark before purchasing it, but not without having another $20 taken off for various damages! I was so pumped, and it looks great in our kitchen! We then headed to the spot of the day that we came for, TJ Max where I had planned on buying stuff for our master bath since we having nothing for it! I ended up finding hand towels and curtains to hang up to disguise the washer and dryer spot. Mom was able to find another thing of curtains that were marked down to $10 from $17 and we got ours for that price as well! Since it was all purchased at TJ Max it was much cheaper then at an actual department store! It all looks so good and I am happy with my purchases!

Speaking of the curtains, they aren't just disguising a hole in the wall where a washer and dryer should be, but there is an actual washer and dryer there! Thanks to the GENEROSITY of my Noni and Poppy we are now washing clothes in our house for the first time in our marriage! They decided to buy a new washer and dryer and gave their old ones to us! I cannot tell you what an enormous blessing this has been, or how incredibly thankful I am for this gift!

Well I think that is all for now! Should be enough, don't you think =]

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Things are Finally Starting to Slow Down

Well our busy busy summer is finally starting to slow down! I have had a blast, though it has been exhausting, I wouldn't have traded it for anything else in the world. I am so excited for this next semester as I begin my student teaching (in the 1st and then 6th grades), but also very nervous about being at the school so early everyday! I am nervous about being able to learn everything that comes my way, and retain it all. I want the experience to be a good one (and I am confident it will be) and to get along with my teachers, and leave a good impression. I just want to do as good of a job as I can, and am worried I guess, but in a good way.

There are so many changes going on. I read all my friends blogs talking about the things that are going on in their lives and it serves as even more of a reminder that adolescent life is really behind me, and I am now lodged full fledged into this adult world of work and bills and responsibilities. I love it when I am able to go back to my parents house for a while and forget this is the place in life I am =]. I am super excited for my friend LeeAnn, her blog is called The Good Old Days, and is on the right side of my blog, as she is setting up and getting ready for her first year as a classroom teacher. She has a few pictures up on her blog and it is starting to look really good! YAY for her!! I can't wait to hear how her first year goes as she starts teaching her sweet little first grade babies! I need to go and see her and her new place, so LeeAnn I know you read this, let's get together!

Mark and I are doing ok. Mark actually had a tiny accident with a burn barrel, trying to be nice and burn some trash for my parents while they were gone to see Adam in SD. He has never used a burn barrel, and decided that gasoline needs to be used to start the fire going. Well you are not supposed to do that! He dropped it in, and it shot flames up and they singed his face and hair. He is fine, but looks like he got into a fight with someone. His nose and cheeks are blistered, and he had to cut his hair shorter than usual. He came back in laughing, and told me he had to go home and take a shower because he burnt his hair. It made me not freak out from the beginning. So be praying for him, as his face is soreish from what all has transpired. If he lets me take a picture I will and place it up here later.

I hope the rest of the summer goes by nice and smoothly and prepares me for this upcoming year and semester.

Monday, July 13, 2009

We're Back! (For Two Days)

Hello blog!! It has been a while! Well let me say it has been that way for good reason! As said in the previous entry we are runnin' and gunnin' going here, there, and yonder with our youth! And let me tell you what an awesome youth we have! I could not be more impressed by or excited about the kids that are in the youth group. Each and every one of them are so special, add in part to the dynamic of the group, and are just all around good kids.

We went to youth camp first and had a blast. It was a good time to get to know all the students and for them to get to interact with us even more and really to just be thrown into it so to speak. God really spoke to a lot of the kids, and kicked off the summer in an amazing way. I really believe it helped set things up for World Changers and the upcoming school year. One thing that was really cool from the week was the way God spoke to many of the students about foreign missions. We had around 3 students within the course of one night come up and tell us at different times they felt God saying they/the youth needs to go on a foriegn mission trip. To my knowledge the church has never been on a foriegn mission trip, and Mark and I had discussed earlier how cool it would be to take the youth on one about a month before camp happened.

Then there was a week in between the day we got back and the day we left for World Changers. If you don't know what World Changers is, it is an organization through the North American Mission Board in which churches can bring the youth group up to work on houses in various cities around the nation. There was actually one going on in Longview the same week we were gone. The kids (and adults) can do anything from roofing a house, building a deck, putting up vinyl siding, painting, just anout whatever you could possibly think of. While they are doing this, they also go on walks around the neighborhood, telling others what they are doing, asking if they need prayer, and talking to them about Christ. It is a long and hard week that has your days begin at 6 AM with breakfast, and out the door by 7 and at your jobsite from then until 4 (and you aren't allowed to come back earlier). You are put into "crews" usually with someone from your church and people from other churches. It is fun, stretching, and completely something that a youth group needs.

I was put on a crew with no one else from Harleton on it at all. Everyone had atleast one other person they knew, except for me. Hwoever, I could not ask for a better crew. I had prayed about it real hard a few days before we were actually there, just that I would be on the crew God had for me, that group dynamics would be good, etc. He answered my prayer above and beyond, and for that I am grateful. I couldn't jabe asked for better people to be with all week. We were in Henderson, Kentucky, where the weather is a little more bearable, and not so stinking muggy! Mark and I once again got to learn a lot about some of our youth, God continued to reveal the desire in some to go on a foriegn mission trip, and just worked all around. One of our students didn't get put on a crew with any other high schoolers from Harleton, and was in fact the oldest student in her crew by a good two years. She was bummed the first day, and frustrated becuase she felt that way because she knew "God has a reason for it." It was really cool to talk to her on the next to last day and hear her say, that "Even though I didn't get what I wanted and some other people did, I got exactly what I needed." God works in awesome ways and I am so excited to be serving Him right now.

Tomorrow Mark and I head out again for another camp where Cliftones are the band. This one is in Quaw Paw, OK at a Sky Ranch camp. The church that will be there is Macedonia, where Mark used to work, so it will be exciting to see some familiar faces we haven't had the chance to see in a while. Please pray for us that it would be a good trip, that God would continue to move and speak to us, and that we would be open and listening to what that is. It is the end of a long stretch, so pray for strength, patience, and understanding for us as well. We are tired, but in a good way.

Well until later. . .

Thursday, June 18, 2009

On Your Mark, Get Set, GO!!

Woohoo, summer sure is in full swing now! We are getting ready to hit the ground running so to speak. There is so much to do and it semms like never enough time in which to do it. My list gets longer and longer as my motivation, endurance, and desire get shorter and shorter.

We have gotten quite a few things done this week that were necessities. For instance,we have started digging post holes and placing posts in for a back fence (thanks to Mark), we put in a washer and dryer in our house (still waiting on complete hook up, but at least they are in), gotten Ellie groomed (she looks GORGEOUS btw!), written thank you notes, paid bills, made dinner, cleaned dishes (no small feat in our house), and started weeding the flower bed. However there is still a ton left on our plate.

Let's start with the flower bed. My grandparents have lovingly picked out and up flowers for us to put into this thing, and showed us how to do it all (plant, weed, water, etc), but right now it looks like a grass jungle! I feel so bad about it! They have put in so much money, time, and effort into showing us the ropes and getting everything started, but we havn't been home enough to keep it up! I am trying my best though to get out there at night and begin just getting grass out of the way, that was we can see to pull up the root! It just needs a little TLC, and it's getting it, just in doses!

There is also the mess that is now our house! Like I said, we pass ourself coming, so unpacking and repacking are always happening and always looking as if the suitcase blew up in our room! The kitchen counter and table are a catchall for anything and everything, not to mention the two rooms now packed with all the wedding gifts we weren't able to have before hand for lack on room! It is sorta driving me crazy, but everytime I think about doing it, or look at it, it becomes so daunting a task! Still I must get it done! Between work, church, camps, nights out, and so on, I don't know when I can do it!

Now I must start repacking for youth camp this coming up week! I am super excited about it and think the kids are gonna have a blast! I am praying we all learn alot and really grasp the jist of what this Christain walk is really about! After that it is back to work for a week and then it is off for around 8-9 days for World Changers! This is going to be a blast as well! We are super excited about going! Then its back home for four days and off with the Cliftones to play at Macedonia's Youth camp! Poor Ellie! We are currently trying to find a place or a person to keep her while we are gone soo much! We thought my parents were going to be able to, but dad was seriously allergic (though we got her cut, so maybe it will be different now haha lol). So we are back at square one. If anybody wants to dog sit or house sit for a couple of days or so be our guest haha! She will be fine, my mom can come and let her out and all, it just wont be the same.

Anyhoo, I better get back to work, it is actually going by halfway fast today (thank goodness). Tomorrow we are going to tie up loose ends from the mission project a couple of weeks ago, then I have a hair and eye appointment (not at the same place thankfully), then church, then camp!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Happy Anniversary To Us!!!!

One year ago today I was just waking up, eating breakfast with my bridesmaids, and getting ready for the day I had been looking forward to my entire life. Now I am laying in the bed, arguing with my husband that I can blog and talk to him at the same time! He says "whatever" and gets up, he really wants to go and work out.

Anyways, back to what I was saying. One year ago today I was prepping for the most important day of my life (well one of them), having fun with all my girls, and anxiously awaiting the "I Do" moment. One year ago my dad looked at me, took me by my arm, said "You ready kiddo?" and walked me towards my prince charming and the rest of my life. One year ago today, my mom helped me slip into my wedding dress, zipped me up, looked at me, and we both lost it. One year ago today, I walked down an aisle, got married by a great friend who performed his first wedding ceremony with us. One year ago today, I wore the most beautiful dress in the world while listening to the sweetest song I had never heard before , written for me by a fourteen year old boy, and sang to me by the same 22 year old man. One year ago today I cut into the perfect wedding cake, enjoyed amazing wedding punch, talked to wonderful people, and finally left under a sea of rose petals into a beautiful charger limo provided by my aunt and uncle! Needless to say, this day was and is pretty special to me, it is one I will not forget for my entire life, and it was the most special day I could have asked for!

Right now we are in the Gaylord Texan hotel in Dallas, getting ready to go Grapevine MIlls Mall! It is an anniversary get away and perfect! We are having a blast and it is so special to be celebrating today with him by just having fun! I will post more later about what we did and pictures from around the hotel!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

On the Inside Looking Out

I posted this on the website I created for my girls in teh youth group in the blog section, so I thought I would also put it here. . .

Right now I am sitting inside the Children's Hospital in Plano, Texas. My cousin Emilie has been in here for the past week or so because of various infections that have settled into a lymph node in her neck. . . Today is Sunday and they will be here until Tuesday when we will know if the anitbiotics are working or if surgery is needed! We are hoping the meds will do the trick and surgery wont need to happen, but her health is definitely first priority.

She is doing really well, in fact she hasn't stopped talking since we arrived. Her parents took a trip back to the house to shower, get clothes, check on dogs etc, and to have a much needed break. . . The hospital here is REALLY nice, and is exactly as the name says, for children! We are actually in the play room right now playing jinga. There are so many cool things to do inside this hospital, games, television, and a WONDERFUL cafeteria where you can definitely order ice cream for breakfast, almost like a kid's dream except for one small detail. . . she is here because she is sick.

As good as the hospital is, it isn't home and she still misses the comforts of her own house. She is not allowed to go outside, and must tell the nursing staff where she is going whenever she leaves the room. her dog isn't allowed in and friends can come visit her, but they can't stay the night necessarily, and there is a constant stream of nurses comign and checking vitals all night long. So much is uncertain here and it is hard.

I can sorta make this a comparision to life and situations I have experienced. We all go through phases, especially in our spiritual walk. I know personally I have my own struggles and dealings with sins that are appealing at the time, but not what God would have me to do, which can make me stagnent and take me out of God's will. I build these walls because this becomes a safe place for me. I ccould stay there, and not do anything to get out because lets face it, things are pretty good for me, nothing is going wrong, and life seems dandy, except for the fact I'm stuck. Eventually I will and do get tired of being trapped inside the walls I have built myself, and the outside, though a challenge and somewhat unknown, is looking better all the time. Because the outside is where I am MEANT to be, where I can let God be in control and drive me "home" to the center of His will. According to John 10:10 The devil comes to "steal, kill, and destroy", but Jesus comes so that we may have "life and have it abundantly." I don't know about you, but abundant life sounds way better than milk chocolate Blue Bell ice cream for breakfast any day!

Please continue to be in prayer for Emilie and her family, that the infection would get smaller and surgery would not be needed. Pray for rest and renewed strength for her family too, I know they are tired of being here as well!


Despite the odds she really is doing pretty good, though I know she is ready to be home, she misses her dog Coco! She is running around playing games and just having a good time!!! I am glad she really isn't in any pain and is tolerating things well! The staff and hosiptal envirionment does a great job at making this place not so scary and kid friendly, so that helps a ton! She certainly is the princess here right now, and righfully so! She is so funny, saying she would like to play a game and then "I would recommend 'Sorry!'". Welp I think we are leaving to go on a walk with her stuffed animals around the hall! Should be fun!!!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Just in Case

Just in case anyone is really concerned or wondering, Ellie is doing great! Poor thing was so happy to see us, it was definitely evident even though she was still pretty sedated and drugged up! As I said before the people there are wonderful! They just loved on her, complimented on what a well behaved and great dog she was, the whole nine yards! We ended up taking them a huge thing of paper towels and toilet paper as a donation, and they were soo grateful! The lady told us she said to the staff earlier "We are on our last 4 things of paper towels and that is it unless someone brings some in tonight!" I was so glad we could help and wished we coulda done more! They also helped us in so many more ways. They were able to give us an estimated age on her, 9 months to a year, which is younger than we thought (we were thinking at least a year and half), and thought she was a definitely a spaniel mix, springer spaniel to be exact (a lot of spaniel according to them). They also clipped her nails down for us for free, instead of the $10 charge!

Needless to say the poor girl had been through it. She has a sizable incision that they sutured up, and was also given 3 or so shots, plus tattooed, and had a heart worm blood test performed. To say she was sore would be the understatement of the century. The poor baby was walking so slow and easily it broke my heart! The sad thing is she didn't want to be away from us! When we ride in the car usually we put her in the back, but she ends up puting her front paws on the middle console, with her back feet on the back seat. She tried to do that, but we stopped her and I decided I would sit in the back with my baby. There was a baseball game for the high school going on in Longview, so we went by to watch that (after checking to see if that was ok). She had to walk down a TON of steps and it was sssoo sad, because it obviously hurt! We finally got her home and comfortable, and she has been recovering nicely. I think she is tired of laying down, but she can't run or do anything crazy for another 3 days. She wants to, and tries, but is still having to move pretty slowly! All in all it was a successful trip with good results!

This weekend for us is pretty stinking crazy! We have a Sunday school party tonight, Sonfest which is a concert all day thing that the Cliftones are playing at, youth breakfast Sunday morning, a senior service at the school Sunday night, and then Monday comes around! Yeah I know makes me dizzy just thinking about it!

I do just want to say Mark and I are incredibly blessed! So many people have come up and told us they are praying for us everyday, saying what a good job he is doing, encouraging and supporting us, it is just unreal! We really are loving it, but it is nice to know we have the support of parents and church members! People are so generous and for that we are ever grateful!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Time's just ticking away

Time seems to be just flying by here on this wonderful Tuesday at work. . . I am thinking about posting this and leaving! I got here a little later than normal, but didn't take a lunch, so will be able to get off earlier too! Gotta love life. . .

This week started off on a good, but sad note. We took Ellie yesterday to get her "fixed". There is this low cost spay nueter clinic in Longview that we were referred to by the pound. They were great people, everyone working there obviously LOVED animals and we think are doing this for little or no pay! It is $40-$60 or so to get your pet spayed or neutered which is really great! They can also give them all their vaccinations as well. Since we got Ellie from the pound, we got vouchers for most of these. One voucher covered the entire spaying, and another covered a rabies shot! Believe me this all adds up after a while, even with it being low cost! We still ended up paying around $65 in order to vaccinate her against distemper and bordetella, as well as get her tested for heart worms and get a 6 month supply of preventatives for that as well. They are in need of certain items, such as paper towels, old bath towels,rubbing alcohol, etc. Here is the link so you can look around and see what they are about and need Animal Protection League

Anways, we get there and there is already a decent size line of people with various kinds and sizes of cats and dogs. We wait our turn patiently, all the while getting asked what kind of dog she was and where we got her. They were all pretty surprised to hear she was from the pound. We kept getting compliments on how good and pretty she was. . . I felt like a proud mama =] We get up to sign her in and they come weigh her, and them comment to us on how sweet she is, which I agreed too, and then whoosh, she was taken back to the back! I was like well alright. We then figured out she had to stay overnight! I was like oh no! We didn't feed her anything all day because some friends told us when they took their dog, they weren't allowed to let her eat or drink the day of. Well now she can't eat or drink anything until tomorrow morning I think! I feel so bad, I don't want her to starve!! Anyway, just a worry of mine.

We went over to the next line to pay for the things they were doing to her, and I presented my humane society vouchers and you woulda thought I had handed her a diploma! She thanked me so much for choosing to adopt a dog! She was like "that is such a great thing, thank you so much for doing that! I am so happy you adopted your dog!" I felt so good, and it only confirmed the decision we made to do it!! So today we are going to go and pick her up. I'm so excited to see my baby girl. I hope she isn't hurting too badly. We shall see how she does!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dodge This


Well the dodge ball tournament was yesterday and it was a success!! I was so excited that several kids came that we hadn't seen before and everyone there really seemed to enjoy it! Mark did great at getting everything together and organizing it all! He even made the big sign himself and hung it up, which I thought was pretty creative. While the students were playing I was going around taking pictures and threatening everyone upon penalty of death if I got hit(need I say that I HATE dodgeball, terrifies me really!). All in all it was a totally great night and I hope the students enjoyed it as much as we did!


Right now I am at work trying to just stay awake and sane in the middle of scanning all of these files into the computer! It is nice to be in the airconditioning and all but sometimes I wish I was outside for just a little bit more in the day. Today is Wednesday and so that means church tonight! We are actually taking the kids to a community wide service in Hallsville called Downpour. It should be fun, and we will be able to see the students from the other churches we have been a part of the past couple of years there as well. All in all, should be exciting and a great experience I think.

I'm still currently trying to get a website up and running for the girls in the group. I have started one and updated it somewhat, but really want it to be a place the girls connect with and be interactive on. . . if anyone has any ideas please let me know them or feel free to offer suggestions. The site is www.faraboverubies.weebly.com so go and check it out and let me know if there is anything I can do differently. Well today is proving to be long and boring, so you might hear back from me!

Monday, May 11, 2009

So it begins. . .

Summer is now officially here for me!! Woohoo!! No more school until august! Isn't it wonderful?!?! Today I am sitting at work (with the internet yay!!)scanning my life away so I thought I would take a mini break and blog a little!

Last week I spent at home, partly because I was supposed to be gone that week to Mexico. . . However, the swine flu decided that week was the absolute best one to begin an epidemic and had us cancel our plans that took us a year to finally get nailed down. Now we are going to the Dominican Republic the last week in May and hoping no major illnesses that no one has ever heard of decide to outbreak! I kept saying to Mark all last week "I should be on a beach right now" when I was doing something a little less fun like cleaning the house and junk! Oh well, now I have something to look forward too and a week to relax before our summer kicks into high gear!

Speaking of summer being busy this coming up week is going to be a slightly more hectic one. On Tuesday we have a dodgeball tournament for anyone who wants to play. . . I think it starts at like 6 but don't quote me on that haha! So if you wanna come and get your dodgeball skills on, then HBC Tuesday night is the place to be! Then this Saturday is a lake day down at Lake O' The Pines! We are gonna leave at 9 and get back at 4! It should be a blast! I think I am going to be exhausted by this Sunday though!

Several other happenings have gone down in the Clifton household. One being Mark got his dream toy, a motorcycle, a Honda Shadow Spirit 750 that he was able to pay cash for!! He got a really awesome deal on a beautiful bike and is like totally in love now! He is taking a motorcycle safety course this week to prepare him for getting his license, and then oh goodness!! Well because he got that, I made a deal with him as well. For my toy I got an iphone!! Woohoo!! I now have internet at the house!!! I am totally stoked! It actually is going to turn out cheaper as well, because internet for the whole house is around $60 and up per month, while the iphone plan is just $30. So yeah, but now we are back to saving our money and all like before :-( haha!

Anyways, that is life as of right now! i am really missing my teacher friends though! I would love to all get together one time this summer for something!! I already told Traci, so this is for Lee Ann, two words: Road Trip!! All right, enough of my randomness!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Bittersweet goodbyes

Well yesterday was a bittersweet wonderful day!! ETBU's graduation was yesterday, two of them to be exact. It was great being able to be there to celebrate with friends I have come to know so well, to stand up in honor of their accomplishments, to watch them take the step from one point of life into the next. I couldn't wait until it was over and I could find everyone and hug them. I found Chelsea first waiting on her family and then it was off to find the girls I had got to know so well over the past year. I looked outside and inside and couldn't find them anywhere!! I went up to mark distraught saying "I can't find my friends!" he looked around sense he is considerably taller than me and said "there's Traci, and Lee Ann is right beside her." I'm pretty sure I ran through two families taking pictures to reach them. When I did we all squealed and hugged, together for one more time. Pictures were taken (which will be uploaded later)and then it was time to go our seperate ways...

I pretty much am coming to the realization that college life is coming to an end. I am happy for those who are graduating but sad at what that means... College has been great, better than I could ever have imagined in fact, so knowing it's time for something different is taking some time. However life is good, more than I deserve really, I can't ask for much more than that.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Last Week of Classes

This is my last week of classes here at good ol' ETBU. I still have student teaching to do next semester, but as far as classes go, I am through after this week! WOOHOO!!! *Doin' the happy dance* Haha, now all I have is the summer ahead of me, which is something in and of itself.

We are heading out to Cancun, Mexico next Monday for our honeymoon, a year later than what it is supposed to be, but so good all the same. I am excited about going to an all inclusive and just getting to relax after a stressful year in school and to celebrate life this past year. I have to say I was slightly nervous that we never would get to go on a honeymoon if we didn't go right after the wedding, but it actually is happening, and I am sssooo excited!! I know there is a swine flu epidemic in Mexico right now, that would be our luck, but hopefully it is far away from Cancun!!!

Well this past week was a doozy of sorts! I was sick the entire week with sinus stuff. We are talking nose running, throat itching, achy feeling, just nast! I think Lee Ann and I caught it at the same time, because she was starting to feel it too when I went to help her pick out an outfit to wear for her job interview at Marshall, which went extremely well!!! I am soo excited for her and for all my friends for graduating and finding their places in the world! It is crazy that we are finally in that stage. I was talking to a couple of people the other day and was like "I honestly don't feel a day over 18, even though I am 21, it just doesn't feel like it."

Anywho, this week marks the week of finals, of which I only have 3 so I am thankful! Yay for school being out for the summer. All I want to know is, what am I supposed to do for internet if I am not at work haha?

Friday, April 17, 2009

internet and tv-less

I am currently at my parents house tonight using the wonderful internet, and watching a little bit of tv!! Since we have moved to Harleton we are currently without internet and tv, which has been quite interesting. It has actually been sorta fun trying to think of things to do instead of going straight to our defaults for time wasting. However, good ideas are running slim around the Clifton house, even with the new addition of Ellie (which definitely has helped a ton!!) it has gotten a little tough. I was asking Mark and Adam to go and get a movie from Noni's or something, and Adam said "Go borrow from Bro. Scott." My first thought was "I cannot just waltzed down there, knock on the door, and say 'hey I'm bored can ya help a sister out?'" However, luck was upon me when I looked out the kitchen window and saw him and Suggie standing outside talking! I grabbed Ellie and begin the walk down the road.

Both Suggie and Bro. Scott laughed at my poor, pitiful, and sad circumstances of boredom, and then gave me three choice to help, which they did. I received two Tim Hawkins DVDs and Night and the Museum. We watched a Tim Hawkins DVD and laughed so hard! For those who don't know Tim Hawkins is a Christian comedian who is HILARIOUS, seriously everyone should go and youtube him or something. Anyways, I was temporarily relieved of boredom with the generous help from my pastor haha.

Tonight Mark and the Cliftones are practicing so I am stuck waiting on them to get home. I did however get most of an art lesson that usually takes a good hour and half to do during the week, so the night was actually beneficial. One other thing I am also trying to do besides school is put together a website for the girls in our youth group. Right now I have made a site at www.faraboverubies.weebly.com where I hope to update information regularly. The homepage is kinda like a newsletter, where things are kept up with and talked about, a fun random fact, and an application section. Then there is a Coffee Shop Talk page, which is like a forum discussion place for the girls to interact with me and each other discussing various topics. I am really hoping the girls like this and that I can keep it up for them. I am enjoying it so far, but if anyone has any ideas I would love to hear them.

Well I guess that is all of the random babbling for tonight.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pictures

I tried to upload a pic for the end of the post at work and it wouldn't work with me, so here are some!

Mark and Ellie


Ellie Girl


Me and Ellie

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Busy, New, and Wonderful Weekend

Wow, what a weekend it has been in the Clifton house! It was a crazy, busy, and oh so much fun type of weekend, but I guess I will start from the beginning which in this story happens to be on Wednesday night. The conversation went something like this. . .

(Mark and I are in bed about to go to sleep, discussing plans for the rest of the week)

Mark: So yeah, I'm off for good Friday. . . It's going to be a long weekend.
Me: Oh that will be good, we get a holiday together!
Mark: Yeah I am so ready to move and get out there to Harleton.
Me: I know this place is a wreck, but I can't do anything about it because we are sorta in this limbo stage!
Mark: Well when are we gonna move?
Me: I dunno. . . we should just move this weekend! (I am totally kidding here)
Mark: That is not a bad idea, becuase when would we have another chance or free weekend? (This leads to an intense discussion of dates before the end of April, which brings us to the conclusion, there really isn't a better time than this weekend)
Me: It is just going to stink, because I am going to have to be the one that gets up early and drives! Plus there is no cable or internet out there!
Mark: But it will be so worth it!
Me: I will only do it if I get to get a puppy.
Mark: Fine, we will get you a puppy!
Me: So this weekend huh? We really are gonna move?
Mark: Yep this weekend. We will need to get a truck, the trailer, everything packed. . . (trails off as he goes to sleep)

So yeah that is how we decided we were moving on this weekend (actually on Friday), in bed Wednesday night! Needless to say there was a lot of work that needed to happen between now and then. Sadly nothing really did get accomplished haha! I didn't get a chance to do any packing at all before Friday came, but I have good reason and here it is. . .

Thursday night I had class and actually got out of it early for a change (ususally she keeps us the whole three hours). I had already decided beforehand that I was going to go and get an easter dress that night, and had seen one online at Target for cheap! So I caught up with Anna who was also going to go by herself, and decided we would meet up in L-view after she got off work. Well with me getting out around three that left roughly 2 hours or so of downtime for me. I had been looking for a long time online at petfinder.com to find a puppy, but it is so hard to do when you don't really know if they are there or not. So I decided with my extra time I would drive to the Humane society and check out what they had.

I ended up finally making it there (it is way on the backside of downtown)and am excited about what I might find. Mark and I decided we wanted a medium size puppy we could train and make our own, and have it end up the way we wanted it to, so I go in and look at the puppy room first. This is filled with tiny puppies, and one very yippy chihuahua dog that is barking and making every other dog in there bark too! I didn't see any that I just fell in love with. I mean they were cute, but they weren't the breeds I like or we were looking for. So I go out and look at the adult dogs. There were plenty out there, all different kinds for all different families, but one in particular caught my eye. There was this one little black and white dog, that in the midst of all this barking was just laying there looking at me. I was drawn to her immediately. The lady there warned me she was shy and that could potentially be not good for a youth ministers house, but I asked to see her anyway. She went and got a leash to go in for the dog, who shied away from her and made me think "oh no she was right". The dog also didn't walk out, but had to be dragged out of the cage until she got to me. However, once she was at my feet it all changed. She allowed me to pet her and also to walk her into this little visitation room where I could let her off leash and talk with her. She was just so sweet and melted my heart, I wanted to take her home right then but Mark wanted to meet her, so I just filled out paper work on her that said I wanted to adopt her and would come back! I then went to petsmart while I was waiting on Anna to get there and dreamed about having a dog of my own while walking aimlessly down the aisles! I also found my easter dress and accessories which made me feel good!

I returned back in the middle of storm, which made out lights go out in the new house! We spent sometime over at my grandparents with my aunt and cousin that had come in! I also told Holly I would watch Emilie (the cousin) while she and Ballou went to a funeral and she could help us pack and move.

Whew hope you're still with me! This brings us to Friday, moving day! As I said we didn't have anything packed and or ready, so it was an early morning trying to get it all together! Adam came down to help with the big stuff and we got the trailer and truck both loaded down with all the big things (couch, bed, tv, bookshelf, nightstands, dressers, boxes, etc) and got it all moved to Harleton! I went and got Emilie who helped us by crumpling newspapers for extra padding! She did so good and worked so hard. We get out to Harleton and Ballou and Holly come over and help us get everything situated and moved in! We then spend the rest of the day getting everything in its place, Mark, Emilie, and I head back to Marshall to get another load while Mom, Noni, and Ballou stay and clean like they have been all day! It was a team effort and couldn't have been done without the efforts from everyone! We ended up eating pizza that night with everyone, and Emilie stayed over and watched Alvin and the Chipmonks before going to bed with us!

This brings us to Saturday, which was the day of the community wide Easter Egg hunt that our church puts on. Mark gets up early and goes to get everything prepared because he is doing the music for it, and I had a booth to run! It was a blast and lots of people showed up! After it was all said and done I decided to hold Mark to his promise and convince him to go and get the puppy I saw on Thursday after the egg hunt. I give him enough time to eat and all, but then we are headed out, him apprehensive because of all the changes (he likes to have time to take it all in while I am like Why not today?). We get to the pound and talk a little bit before going in (which comes into play later). We go in and get what I think is the dog I saw, but with much shorter hair. I count it up as they gave her a haircut and we get to see it and Mark gets to visit with it which was good. Even though it is more hyper than I remember we decide to get it! I finish the paper work and they are putting it in, and I say "I hope this is the same dog, let me check" and I pull out my phone where I took a picutre of her on Thursday and it isn't the same one! Yikes! We were filling out the correct information, but they had accidentally sent the dog to Kilgore for an adoption day type thing! They were bringing her back on the truck then so we had to wait on her.

While we are waiting though, we have to pick up bbq to take back to our house where everyone in the family (including Mark's parents) are coming in to eat. Mark decides it would be better to go and get the meat while we are waiting and proceeds to look for his keys, which he can't find until he checks the locked car! By this time, the weekend is too much, and he hates doing stupid stuff like that, so he is not so happy! It takes another 20 mins, a hanger, hammer, and screwdriver later, and we are in, pulling away with our new dog, the right dog, Fluffy, who we change her name to Ellie! We make a mad dash into Target and Petsmart to get essentials like collar, leash, food and water bowls, and a brush for her shedding coat, and rush home! We make it there in time to brush out Ellie and greet his parents! We have a nice supper and Ellie is loved by everyone!!

Sunday is Easter and comes in stormy! We go to church and have a great Easter service and then come back and get Ellie before heading out to eat at my Aunt Lori's house! She is loved by everyone again, and makes and great first impression!! After leaving there it is finally down time! Mark, Ellie, and I spend the afternoon on the couch with a movie in and being lazy!

So there you have it! Our long and crazy weekend! I applaud you if you have made it to the end!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Forever!!

Wow it has been a while! And I never posted pics!! I am such a horrible person I know!!! Oh well. . . I will post some when we are all officially moved in! hehe!!

Mark has been at the new job for about 3 weeks now and he is LOVING LOVING LOVING it as am I!!! We are ssoo where God wants us right now and it has just been wonderful!! He is actually "staff" here, which means he gets salary and A DAY OFF!!! That has meant more than you can even imagine!! Since he technically "works" on Sunday he is given a day off during the week, sorta like to make it a weekend. Since he was part of the secretary staff at Macedonia he had to be there mon-fri, and work all day Sunday too! It wasn't bad, this just frees us up to do "weekend" type things (fri and sat) without losing hours. We do really miss all of our friends at Macedonia and hope they are all doing well and we can catch up with them sometime soon!!
He is doing such a good job getting to know the kids and settling into life in Harleton, he is even more ready to move out there than I am ! He works so hard and is enjoying getting to be mentored by the pastor Bro. Scott, its just been great!

Anyways, so more news is there is now a dishwasher installed in my new house!!! I CANNOT begin to describe to you how ecstatic and happy this makes me! I went over there last night just to see it and run it (without dishes but who cares) and just grin at it!! The men who worked on the house have done AMAZING! It looks like a TOTALLY different place!! I am so excited to move into there!!! Sadly though we are puppiless at the moment, our dog had an accident when he slept under Poppy's tire and sadly passed away :-(. Mark has promised me another puppy as soon as we move though, so I have been searching for the perfect one!

Well I better go and pack now! I am taking our girls to SAGE a girls conference in Tyler and Mark is with the boys playing and youth ministering at Dude camp! Then there is SNAC after church on Sunday with an easter egg hunt for the youth, so it should be a busy weekend ahead!! I cannot wait!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Week of Painting!!

Well it is the last day of spring break and I can confidently say I only did a small amount of homework :-)But this is NOT because I was being lazy and sitting around all week, no way, I have been painting like a mad woman!

In case anyone doesn't know of I have forgotten to tell what is happening, Mark got the youth minister position at Harleton (yay!!) We are so excited and couldn't be happier! Well along with the many perks of the new job (such as a day off, that was AWESOME, a gas allowance, insurance, and so many more)comes a place to live. Now this is not just any "place to live", this is a 3 bedroom, two bath, massive house (especially when you compare it to the one bedroom apartment we have been staying in at ETBU). We are estatic about living there and all the freedom the church has graciously allowed us to have, one of which was painting.

You see, the house is huge, but is ALL wood panneling, and when I say all, I mean everything, every wall, was wood panneling! Wood panneling is not my favorite thing, and I have been wanting to paint something (make a house my own) since we got married, and the church allowed me to do it! Such a huge gift, I don't think they know how happy it made me. I got to pick all my own colors and everything, decide what I wanted where and was able to get in there and do a lot of it this week that I had off.

Of course paiting doesn't come without its bumps in the road, and this project was no exception. We decided to go with an orange for the office room, and got a color we thought would be great, but it turned out to be WAY to bright. It scared everyone, so after seeing that two coats didn't help the color, we had to go back and get a deeper orange. Luckily that was the only paint change that had to be made. We painted the living room/kitchen area, as well as the hall, a khaki color, that turned out to be way prettier than I thought it was going to be. The master bedroom is a light blue that matches our bedspread and will look great with all the dark furniture we have! By the grace of God we ran into one of the men that has been working on the house at Lowes one morning and he told us to have them tint the primer, which in turn saved us a step of painting. Instead of painting primer and then having to do two coats, the tinted primer took care of the primer and the first coat. It also saved us money which is always good!

All in all we got everything done but the guest bedroom and bathroom!! I couldn't have done it by myself, that is for sure. My family was phenomenal, with everyone coming to pitch in EVERYDAY, spending their spring break working as well! I don't know about you, but not many parents, grandparents, or brothers would do that willingly! I am so grateful to them and ALL THE HARD WORK they put in! It looks amazing and got done in half the time it would have if it had been just Mark and me painting.

I am on my mom's computer right now trying to upload the pics, but it isn't working! I will do it when I get home!