Katie’s Biannual Update

Oh hi.

So, yeah, this site still exists. As do we, we just really suck at keeping up our online presence. We are busy, and to me, my day to day life is not exactly worthy of documenting in the great inter-web for all eternity. Alas, this blog was created as a way for us to keep friends and family updated on our comings and goings. There may be about three of you out there that want to know what’s going on, so I will grace you with my biannual update, as has been my habit the past two years. Actually, I take that back. I posted three times in 2015. Go me.

When we first started this blog I had visions of sitting in coffee shops, spouting great wit and wisdom, reviewing all those books I have piled up that I have definitely had time (and motivation) to read, and connecting with all the people. Then again, when we started this blog, I was unemployed and admittedly feeling rather sorry for myself and looking for ways to make my time valuable. And although I do presently find myself sitting in an aforementioned coffee shop, the thought for this post came from a desire to procrastinate.

It is the Thursday of Spring Break, and I suffer from an extreme case of “cannotworkathometosavemylifeitis.” Lucky for me, there is this great little place called Shenandoah Joe that is walking distance from our Charlottesville apartment, plenty with coffee, wifi, and electrical outlets. Andrew and I come here often; it’s one of the treasures we’ve found. I came here to work on IEPs and lesson plans, which successfully happened for about an hour. But it is Spring Break, and I did get some work done, so…time for a break!

I suppose I owe a little update on the occupational changes I’ve experienced. Since beginning this blog, I have transitioned from substitute teaching, to teaching in a private Christian school, to currently filling the role of Special Education teacher in a public school. Man, oh man, has it been a whirlwind! It challenges me in ways I never imagined. I struggle sometimes, and I am stressed to maximum capacity sometimes, but I really do love it. Not every second of every day, but students are learning how to read before my eyes, and it is a beautiful thing that keeps me going. Plus they’re hilarious. Plus I work with wonderful people and am very supported. Couldn’t really ask for more.

Andrew previously wrote about our move to Charlottesville, Virginia, so I won’t rehash that same event. I will say that it is beautiful here, and spring begins at a reasonable time of year. Flowers and trees have bloomed and the weather is warm, which does the soul such good. It is taking a while for it to feel like home, though. I occasionally find myself quite homesick for Rhode Island. About an hour ago I experienced the most extreme craving for a lobster roll, I could actually smell the inside of Anthony’s Seafood. Looking at Rhode Island pins on Pinterest definitely does not help – pretty sure that’s what incited the lobster roll incident. I do like Charlottesville very much, I just wish I could be on my island with my ocean a little more often. At least there is fresh seafood here – that certainly helps.

Anyway, back to C’ville. There is an overwhelming amount to see and do here, but I guess it is that way in most cities. Such a beautiful place to walk around, it never gets old – we love to explore. There are so. many. places. to eat here, it’s ridiculous, and most have been very good! The real challenge is remembering to try someplace new once we’ve found someplace excellent. Plus for every new place we try, we discover two more to add to the list as we wander through side streets and get to know our new city. Not a bad problem to have.

I still love to cook, and have been experimenting with making pasta and bread. The pasta has been a great success, the bread not so much, but I’m not giving up! If anyone has any great bread making resources, please send them my way. Cooking is my stress relief. I can come home and completely focus on something that has nothing to do with school. It is the only thing that truly clears my mind.

We also recently adopted a cat! Her name is Molly, she has crossed eyes, she’s the best, and she deserves her own post. Sorry if that never actually materializes. Perhaps my real problem is too many things to blog about and an inability to commit to a single topic. I bet posting more than twice a year would help with that. We may never know.

This is getting a little ramble-y, so I’m gonna go. Thanks for bearing with my train of thought hodgepodge, I hope it’s coherent. I am sorry for being horrific at staying touch. I genuinely intend to be better about it, but my track record is not promising. I’ll do my best.

~Katie

Goodbyes

Yesterday morning, my sweet grandfather passed away. My heart is broken. The anticipation of this news has been building for a long time, but the sting still cuts deeply. Every time I spoke to him on the phone this week, I knew I was saying goodbye, and he did as well. We spoke of the weather and hospital food, as usual, but we also spoke of memories, including the one I am going to share. I got to tell him I love him and I how thankful I am that he is my grandpa. I got to hear him tell me he loves me too. For that, I am grateful.

My grandfather was one of the most loving men I have ever known, albeit a little blunt in the delivery of that love sometimes. He never failed to speak his mind and tell you exactly what he thought no matter what – a true believer in tough love. But he loved fiercely, and I am proud to be his granddaughter. I am proud to be a Schulz.

These past weeks have been filled with the memories I carry of my grandfather. Camping in the Redwoods, a trip to Disney World, listening to his stories, playing slot machines together, dancing at my wedding. . . There are too many emotions flying around inside of me right now to put into words, so let me try to convey a snapshot of my grandpa with one story in particular.

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One of my earliest memories of grandpa is captured in this photo, and I love it, so please excuse the poor photo of a photo quality. When I was seven or eight years old, my grandparents were visiting us in Rhode Island. Whenever they came, they would be with us for several weeks and we would go on all sorts of adventures. This particular trip included a day at Battleship Cove in Fall River, MA.

There are several memories from that day that I remember: exploring a submarine and dad talking about his time in the Navy, being anxious about getting locked in one of the ships because they kept announcing the closing time over the intercom (me? anxious?), and most vividly, the carousel. Most kids love the carousel, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t even ride on one of the stationary horses until I was at least 6. Until then, I was all about the sleigh bench, and even when I did get on a horse, I needed my dad right next to me.

Well, on this particular day, dad put us on the carousel and then proceeded to depart and stand outside the ride, probably to take this picture of me and Rachel. I was not. happy. I remember beginning to panic, worried that somehow I’d never find my dad again. What did grandpa do? He got on the carousel and rode it with me and Rachel. He even got on one of the moving horses while I was safe and sound on a stationary one! This is the kind of man he was – stepping in to save the day. He was always there when needed, especially for those he loved. I miss him.

My grandfather leaves an amazing legacy  of children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great great grandchildren. None of us would be us without him. Please keep my father, aunt, grandmother, sisters, and many cousins in prayer as we mourn and weep together.

I have so much more to say, but I am out of words. There are too many stories. Too many memories. Too many thoughts. Perhaps more of them will formulate as time goes on, but for now,  all I can say is that I miss him, but I am grateful that his suffering is at an end and he has peace. He remains an important man in many lives and always will be. Thank you to everyone who has reached out to us – your kind words mean more than you know.

2016: Let’s Try This Again

Happy New Year! 2015 was quite a year for us! I started my very first teaching job, we traveled to new places, visited family and friends, saw people we love get married and start lives together, and felt ourselves ease more into this little Pittsburgh life we are living. There were many moments of 2015 that I fully intended to share here. I will be the first to admit, I am full of good intentions – it is my follow through that needs some work.

This week has been the second week of my Christmas break from school, and during that time I have been thinking a lot about what celebrating the New Year entails. It is a time of friends and family. A time of reflection and resolutions and left over Christmas cookies. A time of feeling a little sad that the holidays are over, mixed with a dash of excitement and anxiety for what is to come in the next year. If I am being perfectly honest about those reflections and resolutions, though, I have mostly been reflecting on failing the resolutions I made last year. This blog was one of them, and we can all see how well that worked out. Honestly, I dislike making New Year resolutions. I think it is kind of silly to think that you must wait for the New Year to make a change or recommit to something you know you should be doing all along. Cause let’s get real, March is going to roll around and I am going to be sitting on my couch eating cookie dough ice cream out of the carton when I should be at the gym. I’ll be tempted to say “oh well, maybe next year,” when really I just need to put on my sneakers and go to the dang gym. (Sweats will obviously already be my attire.)

The only resolution I was even partially “successful” with last year was to exercise more and to have healthier habits. I will give credit where credit is due and say that Andrew’s stink eye when I skip the gym has served as some kind of incentive. All in all I do feel healthier and stronger now and a tad less guilty when I eat half a pan of brownies over the course of one weekend, so that’s something I guess.

I figure if I can continue with my current rate of being moderately successful with one resolution a year, this blog is bound to have its year eventually! I am recommitting myself to this blog as well as taking more pictures. I want to document my life better, even just for myself.

I am recommitting myself to read more often with a goal of one book per month. I did reasonably well with this at the beginning of last year, however, when school began, those good intentions went right out the window. Netflix may have been involved, too.

I am recommitting myself to procrastinating less, which is already off to a rocky start considering I go back to work on Monday and the pile of papers to grade is sitting in the bag I brought it home in, untouched. Oh well. This may not be procrastination’s year.

I could go on, but I am sure all that would get me is the topic for another blog post in April when I haven’t posted since today and will simply talk about the list of resolutions I’m not keeping up with. I do not measure the success of my year in my resolutions, although following through with something I commit to always feels good. My life is abundantly blessed, regardless of whether or not I always recognize it and certainly not because I deserve it. My lack of resolve in my resolutions just reminds me how many things do NOT hinge on me, but on God. He is good, always, and I am excited to see what He has instore for us in 2016. I truly promise to try to document our 2016 moments better here for those of you who wish to keep up with us. Full disclosure though: no promises.

No More Employment Blues!

It has been 87 days since my last blog update. So much for posting once a month, huh? Those 87 days have been filled to the brim with visitors, trips to see family, lots and lots of substitute teaching, a job interview, a job rejection, more subbing, a few friends, lots of food, and no blogging. We have been busy busy busy, and we love it! I wish I could go into detail about every little thing that we have been up to. Just know that we are well and enjoying life and each other each and every day. Maybe I will retrospectively share some stories from the last 2 months in the coming weeks, for I am going to try and be better with this thing over the summer months. (More than one post a month? Maybe? No promises though.) Not that we are going to be any less busy, but you know, goals.

There is one exciting piece of news to share, though, which is probably the most important new development over the last 87 days. I have been offered and accepted a teaching position for the 2015-2016 school year! Halleluiah! I will be teaching 3rd grade in my very own classroom! The school is a small, private, Christian school close to where we live, and it is filled with the most fabulous educators whom I am so excited to work with and learn from. To everyone who has kept my job situation in prayer for these many months, thank you. Looking at the experiences I have had and the people I have met over the last 10 months, I can see God’s guiding hand in bringing me to this opportunity, and I could not be more grateful.

I am not going to lie, I have thrown myself more than one little pity party over the past year while I failed to rely on God and instead felt that I needed to make things happen on my own. I would not say that I always handled being unemployed gracefully, as I am sure Andrew will confirm. There were moments of stress, feeling overwhelmed, frustration, anger, and hopelessness. Yet once again I am reminded of the great provisions only God can bring! He brought about a job that I never could have found on my own. He closed doors that I would have chosen and brought me where I needed to be, and I never saw it coming. Once again I am humbled at my need of Him, and my prayer is that I will enter this new position fully reliant on Him. And as I prepare for the fall, I pray that when I start to feel stressed again and overwhelmed, I am reminded to be one thing above all else: grateful.

With all that said, you must excuse me. I have a very large pile of children’s literature calling my name.

Happiness is… a new bed.

We got a new bed! And not just any old bed; a QUEEN sized bed. No more nights of elbows is sides. No more legs mysteriously appearing in the space meant for my body after coming back from the bathroom. No more struggling to roll over (or breathe) without shaking the entire mattress. Hallelujah! This was probably the highlight of the entire month of February.

For the last six months Andrew and I have been sleeping in a full sized bed. For some, that might not seem like a big deal. Yes we fit fine, but here’s the difference: this is a full sized bed that Andrew had spent about 10 years of his life sleeping in alone (read “diagonally”), so sleeping in it together was quite an adjustment. But now we have a new, big, beautiful mattress and it is like sleeping on air.

Okay, great. We have a new mattress. Why is this blog worthy? Well, here it is; the story of the “slight mattress fiasco of 2015.”

The mattress arrived on a Sunday. At 12:15. Right in the middle of church.

Wouldn’t have been a big deal if the most us thing ever hadn’t happened.

We even had a plan! Andrew’s sister Anne was visiting so we were able to take two cars to church. Andrew was going to leave when the mattress guys called so he could let them in and Anne and I were going to stay at church so she could meet some of our new friends. Simple right? What a fool proof plan! It would have worked absolutely perfectly…if we had remembered to bring two sets of keys to the apartment.

Que phones ringing during sermons, feeling pretty silly, rushing out in the middle of church, confused looks, Anne not being able to meet a single one of our friends, and arriving home to Andrew and two very large plastic wrapped things in the hallway. Missed the delivery by about 2 minutes.

How very us. At least we have a story.

Employment Blues, Part 2

Seven months. That is how long I have been trying to figure out what I should post here. When Andrew first broached the idea of having a blog together as we began our new married life I thought it would be fun. I had toyed with the idea of starting a blog before but never did it. He made the site and even made a post and then the ball was in my court. And there it has stayed. For seven months.

The main reason I have yet to post is that I haven’t felt that I really have much to say. We have been in the Pittsburgh area for nearly 6 months now and until quite recently, I was the one stuck in unemployment land. All summer while Andrew was dealing with similar situations, I would tell him to be patient; that everything would come through and that he should cherish this hiatus from work. “Enjoy the time,” I would say as I went off to work each day, for he would never have so much time to do whatever he wanted again. And for the past 6 months, he has been saying the exact same things to me. Funny how it doesn’t really make you feel any better. Due to piles of paperwork and the wonderfully efficient systems we like to call bureaucracy, it took me until the end of December to have my name changed on everything important and to get my background clearances done to begin working with children. Granted, plenty of things have happened that I could have written about. The wedding, the move, frustration over talking to yet another automated phone menu, but I’ve been in kind of a funk. Not being able to work has made it really difficult to feel motivated to do anything at all.

Which brings me to another reason (and major personal flaw) that has prevented me from posting until now. In all honesty, if left to my own devices with nothing urgent on my plate, I tend to lean towards laziness. Not always and not about everything, but combined with feeling down in the dumps about being unemployed, it has been a real struggle throughout the fall. Anyone who knows me knows how much I procrastinate anyway (which I believe is genetic. Sorry mom.) Everything always gets done, and I have never missed a deadline, but I am the kind of person who thrives in the craziness of the last minute. It’s really no wonder that I began drinking coffee in college. So, if I don’t have to make a blog post today, I probably won’t, even though I really want to.

How am I going to fix this problem of never posting? Well, as one of my New Year’s goals, I want to post at least once a month on here. (Considering it is February and this the first post, you can see how well I am doing so far.) I really want to keep doing this because I think it will be cathartic in some ways, as well as a way to keep far away friends and family semi-informed of our life. Not that we are all that interesting, but hey, occasionally we have some pretty good stories, too. Also, on the plus side, I have begun substitute teaching! I am so excited, for I know the business is healthy for me and I am finally able to go to bed at night feeling like my day was worthwhile.

So, if you are even a little bit interested in keeping up with the new Joneses, this would be a good place to do it.