Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Life in Kirksville: Week 20

Sometimes I have weeks where I feel like I have more to do than I have time for. This last week was definitely one of those weeks. It occurred to me that after Thanksgiving break the month of November will be over. I knew we would be gone the entire week and I wouldn't be able to get much done during that time, so there was sudden pressure to finish all my advent calendars before our trip.

The good news is I finished one of them! This picture was before I added Velcro to each piece, but you get the gist:

As you you can see by this next one, the other advent calendar is partially finished. I have accepted that there is absolutely no way the top part will be completed by December 1st, but at least my small squares are done! I spent the week using fabric stiffener, cutting squares of felt, using E6000 glue and Velcro to get it all finished. I took this right before putting the backing on each square:

In addition to these projects, I worked on my sewing project - a navy skirt for wedding/family pictures next month. I complained about my sewing adventures with the purple skirt. This time around was a LOT better. It was a good idea to do the purple skirt first as a practice round. The skirt definitely has imperfections, but I'm happy with the end result.

Jonathan had a much easier week this week. He had his block exam Monday morning, but everything after that was pretty low pressure. I definitely liked it because it meant I got to see him/spend more relaxing time with him. I think both of us were pretty drained from working/studying so much, so we decided to have date night in our PJs. We played a game, had some donuts and hot chocolate, then watched a movie on Netflix. It was low key, but it was exactly the kind of date we were needing.

We had Thanksgiving early this year. We probably won't be having a traditional Thanksgiving meal on Thanksgiving Day, so we did it Saturday! We cooked a turkey ourselves, made some homemade rolls, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, Dixie salad, and pumpkin cheesecake bars. It was all really yummy! We invited the sister missionaries over for dinner that night.

Do you like our Thankful tree in the background? Here's another picture showing how it's grown each week:

We also had dinner with the Elders earlier on in the week. One of the Elders goes home in about 4 weeks and it is a weird thought to me how I will probably never see these missionaries again. I guess the reason why it is weird is because I have gotten to know both the Elders and Sisters (mostly the Sisters) so much since moving to Kirksville. They're like my best friends. haha

On Monday night we video chatted my family for FHE (singing the opening song altogether was interesting...) It was pretty fun getting to do that. I enjoyed seeing them. And I got to "meet" Tisha, my dad's fiance. She seems really nice and it'll be good to meet her in real life over Christmas break. I will get to meet Chris (my mom's fiance) over Christmas break too. My siblings are lucky they live closer to family than I do - they've both met Tisha and Chris. Kirksville is just so far from Utah and California!

Sunday was probably the craziest day of them all - it was such a long day! We had church in the morning, then the sisters came over in the afternoon (Sister Thorn is a cosmetologist so she trimmed my bangs for me!). There was also a pie night that day put together by the SAA (the club for student spouses). I saw a lot of ward members there. We brought a chocolate mousse pie which we made an absolute mess trying to make. It was yummy though! Later on we had my little piano student and her family over. She is going to watch Alvin for us while we are gone and so I was showing her where everything was (cat food, litter, etc). Then Jonathan studied and I worked on packing and on my projects.

Oh! During church the little sunbeams had a lesson about being thankful and so each kid chose someone to write a 'thank you' card to. One of the little sunbeams picked me and it melted my heart when he came up to me and handed me his thank you card. :)

It has been a crazy week and I'm excited for a week of vacationing!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Life in Kirksville: Week 19

I don't cry very often, but I can think of 2 times I cried last week.

Time #1. Jonathan and I were watching our daily episode of Pokemon on Netflix (judge away!) and it was the episode, 'Pikachu's Goodbye'. I won't spoil the episode for you, but there came a part where it showed a memory reel of Ash and Pikachu and I jokingly said to Jonathan, "No, I'm gonna cry". Seconds later, I was in tears and it was the kind of tears where you don't exactly know why you are crying, but you just can't help it and the tears keep coming. And when you tell yourself to knock it off, you just cry harder. Jeez, I'm such a baby.

Time #2. I tried my hand at sewing for the first time in YEARS. Of course tears were shed.

Let me elaborate. So about a week and a half ago I got some dresses that I had ordered online. I even typed in my custom measurements so they'd fit. Well, surprise, surprise, they did NOT fit when I ordered them. They were all like 2 inches off in the waist measurement (I doubled checked my order and saw that I had typed in the correct measurement, so it wasn't my fault...) I was really bummed out about it. Especially because one of those dresses was for my mom's wedding and I needed it before Christmas break.

I live in the middle of nowhere and there are like 3 clothing stores to choose from. None of them sell a modest dress in the color I need. So I returned the dresses and decided, "heck, I'll make my own!" I messaged my visiting teacher on Tuesday and asked if I could use her sewing machine. She said yes, and I picked it up that night.

Now, I told you tears were shed. Here's why. While I have used a sewing machine before, it had been a reeeeeeally long time since I'd actually set one up myself. I kid you not, it took me TWO HOURS to figure out how to 1) Wind the bobbin, 2) Load the bobbin in the bobbin case, and 3) Thread the machine. I can do those things in 20 seconds now, but I was so dang frustrated at the time. I just wanted it set up so I could start sewing! This all went down on Wednesday. I started sewing (luckily I was smart and did a practice skirt first) and ran into so may problems. This was the biggest one:

It seriously kept happening OVER and OVER and OVER. Eventually I got smart and used a scrap piece of fabric while I tried to make adjustments to the machine, but of course I had my little blow up session first (involving tears, yelling that I give up and will never sew again, leaving the room and pouting on the floor, that sort of thing.) The most frustrating part was not knowing what I was doing wrong. I sent that picture to my grandma and she told me the tension was off. I unpicked my mess ups for the 42387394568th time, I rethreaded my machine for the 3571845718275 time, and then it occurred to me there is such a thing as bobbin tension. I felt happy and sick when I learned about how to adjust bobbin tension. There's a little screw on the bobbin case. Well.. heh...at one point I ran out of bobbin thread and loaded a new bobbin that was too full. It fit in so tightly that it wouldn't spin, so Jonathan and I tried to take it out. He saw the screw and thought, "we'll loosen it and the bobbin thread will pop out!" Seemed like good logic to me. We took the screw ALL. THE. WAY. OUT. We eventually freed the bobbin thread after some prying, but I had no idea the huge mistake I had made. It was an absolute nightmare trying to figure out exactly how tight that screw needed to be to correct the tension issue I had created myself. Please do not follow in my footsteps. You'll waste 3 hours of your life and you'll go insane. Try to adjust the top tension FIRST, then go for bobbin tension. But because bobbin tension is fixed by making TINY adjustments/turns of the screw, taking the screw out  completely is a stupid thing to do.

I finished the skirt on Thursday and it didn't turn out too awful. There are definitely a LOT of mistakes (don't look to closely at, well, any part of the skirt), but overall it turned out okay. I'll actually wear it in real life, so that's good! At least it didn't cost me much. The only thing I needed to purchase was fabric (I used a $5 bed sheet). And bonus for all your thrifters out there - if you buy a fitted bed sheet, you get a bunch of free elastic! Sure, you've got to do a bit of cutting and you don't get as big a piece of fabric, but for a skirt it turns out okay.

I made a note of all the things I need to do differently and I'm ready to start on the REAL skirt now. I'm a bit terrified and have put off starting it because I'm afraid tears will be shed again, but...I think I have a little more confidence now than before. At least this purple one looks okay from afar!

Honestly I don't have a whole lot else to tell ya about this week. Jonathan had a huge block exam Monday, so he did a lot of studying for that. I worked a little bit on my advent calendar, kept pretty busy with work, but that's about it.

Oh, Alvin was a trouble maker this week. He kept going into places that he shouldn't....

And he is going through this new phase where he thinks it is fun to bite. He's not doing it to be mean and I know he's being playful, but I can't tell you how many times I threatened to pull his teeth out!!!

Oh on Sunday we had our Primary Program! It went better than I expected it to, to be honest...haha We got off a page at one point and I had no idea what order to play the songs in because of it, but our chorister is amazing and somehow we got it all worked out just fine! Mostly I am relieved that it's over. Playing to accompany the kids in the primary room is one thing. Playing to accompany kids in Sacrament Meeting for the entire congregation is another! I won't lie, I was pretty anxious and nervous at times. Looking at the kids though calmed my nerves. And let's face it - we know everyone in the congregation is focusing on them not the pianist anyway!

Also, apparently I have a bad habit of thinking I'm looking at the camera when actually I'm not... Oh well.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Life In Kirksville: Week 18

What a week.

This week has been full of physical pain. I think I developed a canker sore the day before Halloween, and I was still suffering all week long. Today is the first day where I've felt 0 pain. Teaching was rough. Eating was rough. Drinking was rough. But the worst part was brushing my teeth. My canker sore was on my upper lip right smack in the middle (so it rests upon my 2 front teeth when my mouth is closed). Every time I'd brush the bristles would brush the sore and tears would form at my eyes. Boy, am I sure glad that sore is healing!

The other pain actually was just last night. I was having MAJOR stomach pains. I think that maybe I had eaten some food that was old, because it was worse than my normal stomach pains. From 2:30 - 5:00 AM I just laid in bed in pain.

I went to pick up my prescription for my stomach problems, but my dad just switched insurances (I'm still covered on his) and it is now a plan that only works in California. All my doctors visits and medications are self pay until Christmas when I meet with a new doctor in California. I am grateful for my HSA - which I had when I was a full time employee at Ology. I had quite a bit of money saved up because I didn't go to the doctors much when I was in Provo. Unfortunately now I'm kind of draining that account with all of these doctors appointments. Anyway... I went to pick up this new prescription and told them I was going to pay out of pocket and then she informed me it was over THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS! There was NO way I could afford to do that; especially when I wasn't guaranteed this prescription was actually going to help. So basically now I have to wait 2 months until I can get it from a California pharmacy. I hate insurance sometimes. It's just a nightmare and I don't know why things have to cost so much!

There was a burst of sunshine this week though - at MEDleys practice (our accapella group) we started singing CHRISTMAS SONGS!!!!!! I know that it's too early to listen to Christmas music, but it's fun that we get to cheat and sing songs early since we have a performance the beginning of December and only have our practices once a week. Most of the songs are pretty easy because they are hymns I've sang it church many years. But there's this one song - O Come, O Come, Emmanuel -and the alto part is crazy weird. It did not sound very good when we practiced it....haha good thing we have a few more practices before our performance!

We made it to the temple this week, which I was grateful for. We went to Nauvoo, which is the closest temple to us. It's 2 hours away, but when you've been making 4 - 6 hour roadtrips, 2 hours is nothing! I love the spirit of Nauvoo. I love driving by old historical buildings there and just thinking about how we are in the same spot that the Saints once were.

As you can see, we left around sundown. Sunsets in the midwest are really pretty just FYI. Maybe because it's flatter here. Maybe because our relationship to the sun is different compared to California or Utah (places I'm used to seeing sunsets). On a side note though, I don't like how early it gets dark. Those pictures were taken around 4:30pm. That kind of lighting SHOULD happen at 6:30 or 7! We are entering winter weather. Boo.

Oh! On Friday our ward had a chili cookoff. We did not win, although everyone kept telling us our chili was the most "different". We still don't know if "different" is a good or bad thing. I don't know why I keep making it sound like it was a team effort though - the chili was all Jonathan. He called it "Fall Harvest Chili" and it basically had everything Fall you can think of. It had apples, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, 5 kinds of beans, 3 kinds of meats, nutmeg, cinnamon, maple syrup. It was the most creative chili, that's for sure!

I've been continuing with some crafting. I worked some more on my advent calendar and it's starting to come together real nicely! I'm REALLY excited to use it in December and I'm REALLY excited by the idea that this is something we'll have for YEEEEARS that our kids will enjoy! But as excited as I am for Christmas, I'm trying not to focus on it too prematurely. I'm trying to enjoy the Fall and give Thanksgiving some respect. I even made a turkey craft. :)

Okay, so maybe it looks like a craft a 6 year old could make, but I love the simplicity. And I love the colorful feathers!!!

I seriously considered deactivating my Facebook account this week. Not because I feel I waste too much time on Facebook (although maybe I do), but because I could not stand all the debating and arguing going on over the new LDS church policy. I've been conflicted on what I'd do in my blog - share my opinion or not. I decided I will because as much as I'm tired of hearing all the viewpoints right now, I'm sure one day I'll look back and wonder what my thoughts were when I first heard about the policy change.

I decided pretty early on I didn't want to read too many Facebook statuses because I did not want my opinion to be developed from other people's comments. I wanted to go straight to the source - lds.org - and find out for myself what the policy was/ what the LDS church is saying, and then develop my own opinion. What I understand the policy to be is 1) If an individual is in a same sex marriage, they are considered to be apostate. 2) Children of parents who are in a same sex marriage cannot join the LDS church until they are 18 years old.

1) If an individual is in a same sex marriage, they are considered apostate. This point did not surprise me too much. The church never supported gay marriage. Now gay marriage is legal in the US and other countries. The church isn't saying someone who is homosexual is apostate. If the individual chooses to engage in homosexual behavior (or marry someone of the same sex), they are committing a serious sin (see For The Strength of Youth, https://www.lds.org/youth/for-the-strength-of-youth/sexual-purity?lang=eng). Serious sins often require church disciplinary council, which are designed to "save the souls of transgressors, protect the innocent, and safeguard the purity, integrity, and good name of the church. (True to the Faith, 2004). My understanding is many bishops had questions about what to do in church disciplinary councils for individuals who chose to marry someone of the same sex. To clear up any confusion, it was decided it would be cause for loss of church membership. Again, this doesn't surprise me too much. The LDS church believes in marriage between a man and a woman (The Family: A Proclamation to the World). If a member of the church marries  someone of the same sex, they are knowingly going against that teaching.

2) Children of parents who are in a same sex marriage cannot join the LDS church until they are 18 years old. The first time I heard that, I was a little shocked. Not shocked like, "What the heck?! This is absurd!' It was more like, "I wonder why?". I watched the interview with Elder Christofferson and I gave it some thought. I have 2 main thoughts. 1) Why would a same-sex married couple send their child to an LDS church in the first place if they know the church is against gay marriage? They probably wouldn't. Sure, maybe the child is introduced to the gospel when they are 10, or 12, or even 15. According to church policy, they still wouldn't be able to be baptized. That leads me to my second thought: 2) I believe this policy is in place to protect the family relationship. If a child is a member of the LDS church where they are taught homosexual behavior is a serious sin, and then they go home to an environment where their parents are in a homosexual relationship, this can create conflict. Does a child abide by the teachings of the church, or their parents? When a child is 18 and legally an adult, they can choose for themselves if they would like to be a member of the LDS church. They will be welcomed with open arms. Also, it's important to note that this is a policy, not doctrine. Church policies may change, but this is the policy that is currently in place.

So there are my 2 cents. I can understand why some individuals have felt hurt or confused by the policy changes, but what I've learned about the gospel of Jesus Christ is that every principle taught is simple until we make it complicated. I believe that the prophets and apostles are called of God. I believe they are inspired. I want to follow this simple belief and trust that though I may not understand everything perfectly, everything is put into place to protect us, to help us be truly happy, and to lead us back to our Heavenly Father.

Now since I know not everyone will agree with me, let's change the subject by showing a cute picture of Alvin.

He jumped up on my lap and cuddled up to me. It made my heart happy. Also, last night when I was lying in bed crying and my stomach was killing me, Alvin cuddled up on my shoulder and put his little paw on my face and started to purr. Whoever says cats have no emotion and don't care about people are WRONG. I felt so much love from that little kitty last night. He's a keeper! :)

Speaking of keepers, I also think I'll keep this guy. He is my best friend and I love him:

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Life in Kirksville: Week 17

Sometimes I feel like weeks here go by really fast. Last week was one of those weeks. I don't know if it's because we had quite a bit going on, I don't know if it was because of the holiday (Halloween), or what....but I'm already a little in shock that it is November.

We had Sister Davis and Sister Zendejas over for dinner last Monday. We made chicken noodle soup (Aunt Wendy's recipe) and it was really yummy! I like having the sisters over A) because of the spirit they bring, and B) because they're pretty much my best friends in Kirksville.haha oh and C) they entertain Alvin for us, which is a nice break.

We had our 4-month-iversary on Tuesday! I've heard people say before that the first year of marriage is the hardest. But so far I wouldn't say being married to Jonathan is hard at all. Sure, we both are still continuing to learn things about each other, and sure things aren't always 100% peachy around here. We have personal struggles and weaknesses, but I love that we can turn to each other. I love the good habits we've put in place and I love that we communicate with each other. I know I can be stubborn and caught up in myself sometimes, but Jonathan is so kind and patient with me. He loves me dearly and I can tell. I'm so grateful for him.

Also, on a side note, you'll see I've been rocking the ponytail lately. This is a hairstyle I've typically avoided in the past and I have no idea why. A way to do my hair that requires no flat iron, curling iron, or hair spray? Yes please. Now I can do my hair in 10 seconds rather than 10 or 20 minutes. This means 10 to 20 minutes extra sleep. I'm all for that.

Oh, last week I was informed that Ology was getting a new manager. My old manager's last day was on Friday. I was really shocked to hear she was leaving, but luckily I kind of/sort of know who the new manager is. (I've met her before, but I only talked to her for like a second.) And I've already talked with her about continuing the data analysis project next semester and continuing teaching online classes. I was so scared I would be forgotten about, but the new manager is totally for me continuing those things next semester. Yay for having a guaranteed job January-April!

Lucky Alvin had a vet appointment last week. We needed to take him in to get his booster shots as well as his rabies vaccination since he's old enough now (4 months). He did surprisingly well. He was super calm and chill, which was unlike last month's trip to the vet. Last month he meowed in the lobby the whole time and wanted out of his cage. This time he literally laid down in his cage and didn't make a sound. And he officially does well in the car now!!!! We have taken him on multiple car rides and he does great. Sometimes he'll give a little meow, but for the most part he just looks around and behaves.

Kirksville law says cats and dogs need to wear a collar with their tag that shows the have their rabies vaccine, so Alvin looks like a pet now. He has a cute little collar that jingles when he walks around. We got him a cat leash too, which we've used a few times. It's basically a little kitty harness and then you attach the leash to it. We can't really take him on walks the way you take dogs on walks, but it's nice because we can let him explore outside without the worry of him running away.

He's still got a weird fascination with the sink, but he also has a thing for plastic bags. Sometimes he'll sleep on the blanket on the couch, but half the time he would choose to sleep either in the sink or on this plastic bag that fell on our kitchen floor:

Alvin wasn't the only one to have a doctor's appointment. I had one on Friday. I had a doctor's appointment a couple weeks ago, which I briefly mentioned. I was supposed to go a week after my first appointment, but we just kept forgetting to schedule it. Anyway, I made it back. The reason was to figure out what my stomach problem is. We had ruled out gluten intolerance (thank heavens). We talked more about patterns we saw and noticed it wasn't really linked to a certain food I was eating, but rather that my stomach problems acted up when I was stressed out. The doctor told me it sounded like it is Irritable Bowel Syndrome. (Brownie points to Jonathan because that's what his guess was when I first told him about my problems). But basically what this means (in the words of someone who doesn't know anything about diseases, syndromes, and medicine), is when I get stressed, my digestive system stops working properly. The blood flow that is needed in my gut isn't doing it's job - the blood flow increases in other places. The doctor explained to me when your flight-or-fight response turns on (which happens when stress is introduced), the blood flow goes to your hands (for punching) or feet (for running). Since I get stressed and anxious so easily and frequently, my gut isn't getting enough blood flow to have things working right. The processes slow down and then I experience pain. I guess IBS is actually a pretty common thing and unfortunately something that doesn't really have a cure. The doctor gave me a prescription that is suppose to help, but we'll see if it makes any difference. I guess I'm going to need to learn to manage my stress better!!

A lot of my free time this week was spent on getting things ready for Trunk or Treat. I worked on making Alvin's costume (a Koopa Troopa), sewing some hook and eyes onto Jonathan's costume, and painting a backdrop to use for our trunk. I just bought a trifold (the kind you use for science fair projects) and painted a Mario theme. Here's what we ended up with:

We actually went to 2 different Trunk or Treats. The first one was on Friday with our ward. We were really late because Jonathan had a lab till 5 (the Trunk or Treat started at 5:30), then we tried to get some dinner in, got changed, and then picked up 2 people that needed rides. Anyway, I think most people had probably left by the time we got there, but it was still fun seeing some of the kids from primary.

The second Trunk or Treat was on Saturday and it was put together by the club of student spouses. That one we were on time for and I saw a lot of people I knew (as well as didn't know). We brought Alvin with us to both Trunk or Treats. He was pretty scared and overwhelmed. I'm not sure if it was the cars, the noise, the crowds, or the weather. Maybe a combination of everything? But all the little kids loved him and wanted to pet him. One little girl (maybe 3 years old) even tried to offer him some of her candy! It was adorable. I let Alvin in the car after awhile and he just chilled in there and took a nap...I guess he felt safe in there.

Jonathan and I had to carve some pumpkins before Halloween. I think we carved them on the 30th, so we didn't get to enjoy them for too long, but it was fun carving them. We watched Monster House and had some homemade donuts too. It was a fun date night.

All in all, it was a pretty good week! Like I said, it went by fast, but it was good!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Life in Kirksville: Week 16

We finally finished painting pumpkins for Halloween! This project has been about 2 weeks in progress (which is pathetic because it really shouldn't take that long), but it's finally done! You've seen the minion and the Frankenstein, but now we've added a black cat to the party.

I really think I've been bit by the Craft Bug. I can't stop thinking of crafts I want to make. I think it's a good sign because it means my creativity is coming back, but it's also a bad sign because craft supplies cost money.

Piano lessons this week was (brace yourself) FUN. I've got to be honest, teaching piano has not been my most favorite thing in the world. I guess it was because I went into not really know what to expect. Part of me thought it was going to be a lot more fun and a lot easier than it actually is. Maybe I've been doing it wrong. But anyway, my point is that this last week was more interactive and I was actually excited to make a lesson plan. I also think my piano student is finally warmed up to me and so that helps.

I drew that purple keyboard and then I had my student (we'll call her K) come up and write the name of the note. Sometimes she writes "d" when she means "b", but that's just because she is 6... Then I gave K a cup full of little strips of colored paper. I told her to assign each color a note. So she did.

 Then I'd say things like "Okay, put all of the orange papers on the keyboard." So she'd think about what note "orange" represented and then put the papers down. Then I'd say something like, "Now put the papers on all of the B notes." She's still learning, so this activity took longer than I expected, but overall she did a really good job and seemed to like it! It was worth all that time it took to cut the strips of paper and put painters tape on the keys beforehand...haha

End result. It was so beautiful. 

Other beautiful things happened this week in the form of food. Jonathan made up Navajo tacos! I hadn't had Navajo tacos in awhile, but they brought back fond memories of roommates at BYU and times we'd have Navajo tacos together. Funny how foods can link to memories the same way songs can. Anyway, these Navajo tacos were HUGE. Mine was literally bigger than my head.

I went with Jonathan to Pack Meeting this week. I like tagging along because 1) It gives me some social interaction, 2) It gives me an excuse to spend time with him, 3) Sometimes I see one of my favorite little persons (I'll call her C) in our ward. The activity was pumpkin carving and Jonathan and I were asked to supervise one of the boys whose parents weren't able to be there. He is a typical 8 year old boy and so his pumpkin was very...interesting. Pumpkin guts coming out of the eyes and splattered on the side of the pumpkin. It was lovely. I saw C there! Her brother is in scouts and she came to carve a pumpkin too. She is a very talkative young lady. She always has stories to tell! I subbed for her primary class a few times, and so now she knows who I am. Primary kids are adorable. They just idolize you.

We have our Primary Program coming up and so this last Sunday we practiced for it. I've been working hard on learning the songs all week. I'm definitely improving and learning that the saying "practice makes perfect" has some truth to it. In case you are wondering, "He Sent His Son" is probably THE HARDEST primary song. I've got 2 weeks to get it down. I'm almost there, but jeeeeez. I don't know why I struggle so much with it! I really love my calling though. I was secretly a little terrified when I was called to be Primary pianist because I can't sight read very well and I knew I'd have to play a bunch of random songs on the spot. But I love being surrounded by the primary kids. And last Sunday was fun because after we practiced the songs, I helped C's primary class work on memorizing their speaking parts. Maybe I don't learn as much in Primary as I would in Relief Society or Sunday School, but I love hearing the simple and sweet testimonies of the primary children. I love hearing the simple messages that maybe I forget about sometimes because I over complicate them. Primary is a great place. I think everyone needs to serve in primary at some point. 

We had a bit of fun with Alvin this week too. I took him for a few short rides in the car to kind of train him that the car isn't that bad. Our last two roadtrips we've left him at home but we're going to try and take him with us on our next one (over Thanksgiving break). He did pretty well in the car! He didn't cry too much. And then we took him on a little walk with us. He was so curious and fascinated by the outdoors.

Alvin has also been extremely fascinated by our sink, which is gross, and I'm not okay with it. He also is intrigued by our shower curtain and anytime I'm showering, he'll jump on the side of the tub between the shower curtain and the shower liner. I don't know if he just has this need to be wherever the people are, or if he's just a weird cat. Maybe both.

As much of a trouble maker he is, we really do love our kitty. He makes me happy! He is the most friendly and affectionate cat I've ever met and I'm so happy I get to call him mine!

What else can I tell you about this week? We made a trip to the city! We went to quite a few stores actually. We had about $300 worth of Bed, Bath and Beyond gift cards from our wedding that we still hadn't used, so we went there and Jonathan was in HEAVEN. He got so many fun kitchen gadgets. He was just like a little kid in a candy store. Then we went to H&M and I was a little kid in a candy store. We also went to Kohls, Target, Michaels, and Sams Club. All of those stores are places I used to live relatively close to before moving to Kirksville. Now we literally have to drive an hour and a half to get to any of them. The whole living in a small town thing is crazy. I'm getting used to it, but I'll admit it is a bit of an adjustment. It's hard having everything so far away! Although, it probably saves us a lot of money....haha If we had a mall nearby or a Target, I'd probably buy clothes more frequently than I need to.

I only have one picture from our trip to the city. This gem here: 
PS, no I didn't buy it. But I was tempted to. Jonathan is actually the one who found it. haha

At the beginning of the week (sorry this is so out of order) Jonathan and I had a Medley's performance. Medleys is the name of the accapella group we're in. There was a memorial service at the school and we sang Amazing Grace. The memorial service was to pay respect to individuals (many were professors or doctors) who died on a plane crash 11 years ago flying into Kirksville from a conference. It made me think about how you never know when your last day is. It made me sad for the individual's families, but I also thought about how grateful I am for the Gospel and to know that when I or my family members pass away, I will be able to see them and live with them again. That gives me a lot of comfort. Seriously though, I am SO grateful for the Gospel. Not only does it provide me with comfort and hope, but it really and truly brings me joy. I love it.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Life in Kirksville: Week 15

Last week was a pretty easy week for me because it was fall break! That meant I only had to work half of the week instead of the full week. Work is going pretty well. The semester is officially halfway over (which blows my mind) and things are definitely picking up pace for my students. I'm starting to worry a little bit because they took their first exam that is a significant chunk of their grade and it made me realize some of my students aren't understanding the material as well as I thought. It is really hard to gauge student comprehension when teaching an online class. I try my best though, because really that's all I can do!

I think the worst part of this week was that I had to eat gluten free all week long (doctor's orders). I mentioned this before, but I've been having stomach aches pretty much every week (sometimes multiple times a week) for over 6 months now. The doctor thought it might be a newly developed intolerance to gluten, but I ate gluten free and still had the same tummy troubles. I need to go back for a follow-up appointment sometime this week. Even though the stomach aches were no fun, I was glad they meant it wasn't a gluten intolerance. Gluten free bread is just not the same, my friends.... And a gluten free diet can quickly become expensive! Jonathan did a bit of baking, but we had to use special flour which was pricier than the regular stuff. All I can say is I'm excited to start eating pasta and pizza again! (haha which was exactly what I ate on my first day back on gluten).

Things have continued to be pretty crafty here. We made a trip to Walmart and picked out a few pumpkins and painted them for FHE. Jonathan painted a Frankenstein pumpkin and I painted a minion pumpkin. We have one more pumpkin we are still working on. You'll have to wait till next week's post to see it.

Guess what else?! I finally finished cross-stitching the squares for my Christmas advent calendar! I think the goal was end of August, and it's now mid-October (oops). I have no faith that I'll be able to complete the actual calendar part in time for Christmas though. It's just too time consuming and I have other things I want to work on. For example, I have a second advent calendar I've been working on! It's a felt one modeled after the one my grandma made for our family. It was one of my favorite advent calendars as a kid and I'm excited to have one for my future kids! :) I am confident I can have that one completed in time. It's my focus right now.

In other news, Jonathan and I pretty much have everything we need for our Halloween costumes. We're planning on being Mario and Princess Peach. We volunteered to help out at this Fall Festival thing, but it actually got cancelled....so now we're banking on our ward holding a Trunk-or-Treat (we've heard nothing so far!) If that doesn't happen, I guess we'll have to throw our own little Halloween party or something.

I've also been spending a lot of time shopping online. There are a few upcoming weddings that I will be attending and in preparation for them I was instructed to find a navy dress and to find a teal dress. In case you have forgotten, we live in the middle of nowhere. There are maybe 4 clothing stores and I've checked all of them already. I have found it is quite time consuming to find a dress that A) Has sleeves, B) Is knee length or longer, and C) Is petite enough to fit my body. It seems like I'm either going to have to buy a dress and then pay for alterations separately, or I'm going to need to order from a custom dress website. Wo is me, right? I just needed a place to vent about it.

We spontaneously decided to road trip this weekend. We want to hit all 50 states eventually as a married couple, and so this past weekend we added Minnesota and Wisconsin. It was a really quick trip. We drove 6 hours there on Saturday. We dipped into Wisconsin to take a picture at the state sign. It was in a really inconvenient location, traffics was nuts, and I was stressed out. That was pretty much all we did in Wisconsin.

Then we drove 20 minutes to cross into Minnesota. There we went to a temple session at the St. Paul temple. I love the temple. It calms me down. After the temple we drove to Mall of America. Unfortunately we got there pretty late - maybe 8pm or so and it closed at 9:30. I wish we had more time to really see it, but at least we can now say we've been to Mall of America! It was huge. There were rides INSIDE the mall, which was weird to see. There were also a lot of attractions. For example, we did a mirror maze. It was odd though because it was just sandwiched between 2 stores. It was like, 'Oh hey, there's Payless Shoes, there's Pac Sun, oh and there's the mirror maze!' The mirror maze was cool, but overpriced. I'm still glad we did it though. After the mall we made a trip to Walmart to get toothpaste and then headed to our hotel. I don't know how else to explain it other than I felt like I was in the dorms.

Sunday we slept in because we were both pretty dang exhausted. We went to a ward that met at 11 and left after Sacrament meeting. It was a really good meeting though; all the talks were awesome and uplifting. Then we drove to the largest park in Minneapolis and did and short walk and picnic. Then we were back on the road. I think we probably got to Kirksville around 9:30 at night.

It was too dark to get a picture by the Missouri state sign. But in case you're wondering the geography: it goes Minnesota, under that is Iowa, under that is Missouri. Wisconsin is the state east of Minnesota.

Alvin missed us like crazy and was starving for attention when we got home. We had contemplated taking him with us because our apartment was pet friendly. Ultimately we decided to leave him at home though because he doesn't like the car and 6 hours with a crying kitty didn't sound too fun.

This is cheating because we didn't take it on Sunday, but I have to post a picture in our "spot"! Especially because Kirksville is looking like Fall now!