Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"She gets up while it is still dark"

If I didn't already know that Proverbs 31 is not a checklist for women to follow to be the "perfect wife," but rather a beautiful representation of Christ's love and diligent care for the Church, I would be jumping up and down right now pleased that at least I was getting verse 15 right!
Being a teacher (even a student teacher!) means you have to be at school by 7am. And to be at school by 7am...lets just say it's not pretty. I would love to say that I am a morning person (and really, I think I could be...if it weren't pitch black when my alarm goes off!) but 5:15 is a cruel and unusual time to be alert.

I am continually blessed by the fact that Jesse has gotten up with me every morning and made breakfast for me while I get ready so that we can sit together and enjoy our little bit of morning together. He's taken my spot on the porch now and waves while I'm the one driving away in the car. He even takes care of watering my flowers on the days I forget! Which...I think has been 7 of the 7 days I've been student teaching so far...

Yesterday marked 100 days of our marriage. While talking about it last night, we realized how much our love has changed--deepened--since the day we were married. I thought back when we were dating that I couldn't love him any more than I already did without making my heart burst with the greatness of it all. But being able to spend so much time together this summer--from a beautiful honeymoon in Cancun Paradise, to days where we were working from morning to night on our home, to evenings where "privacy hours" or "curfew" no longer exist--makes me realize how much more wonderful our relationship is now. Although we are still definitely ourselves (with our own loveable quirks and uniqueness) we are growing so close together. We truly are a team, and that makes me so happy to realize.

If that's how much things have changed in only a little over three months, then the rest of life is looking up!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

first day of student teaching!

Today was my first day of student teaching. I'm so happy to finally be starting! It was a long wait...and kind of nerve-wracking at times (are they going to get a spot for me? What will the teacher be like? What grade will I be put in? What if I DON'T get a placement???)

I woke up at 5:30 this morning so that I could give myself extra time to find the school (sad news is that I'll probably get to "sleep in" til 5:45 from now on...) I'll need to be there at 7:15 every day. Thank goodness that the school is 10 miles east of our house (a 20 minute drive) as opposed to 10 miles west of our house (heading into Los Angeles during rush hour? good luck!)

Jesse woke up with me and had eggs and toast ready for me by the time I was dressed. What a guy! Have I been incredibly blessed, or what?!?

My CT (Cooperating Teacher) is Mrs. Shelly Inglish. The minute she opened the door for me this morning, I knew we would hit it off. She is warm and supportive, and I'm really thankful to be working with her (apparently, one of the other kindergarten teachers was supposed to get me, but she opted for a Kindergarten/First grade combination class over taking a student teacher! Praise God for putting me somewhere where the teacher was happy to have me!)

Because of my love for preschool, I've been wondering for the last year or so if elementary teaching was really for me. Today made me happy to realize that Kindergarten is really a perfect balance of everything that I love about both, so I'm very happy about that. I'll be interested to see what I find when I move up to 3rd grade for my next part of student teaching.

On my drive home today, I was wishing that Jesse would be home when I got there so that I could tell him all about my first day. Not that that would ever be the case (except on his day off!), but tonight will be especially late since there is a church council meeting, and I won't expect him to be home by 9:30, if that.
As I was feeling sad about having to wait until late tonight to share my day with him, I realized that I was coming upon the freeway that leads to church. So in a split-second decision, I jumped on the 605 and headed to see my husband. I'm so glad that he's only a 15 minute drive away! Maybe that will mean we can have lunch together sometimes...? :)

It was so nice just to be able to pop in and surprise him like that today. He decided to take a lunch break when I got there, and we hopped in the car and headed for some of Del Taco's amazing "Taco Tuesday" deal. Just sitting next to him at Del Taco made me so happy. I love him!

Oh! Funny story: the kids have to call me "Mrs. Brubaker," and it was definitely an experience adjusting to hearing that today (it doesn't happen at church because all the kids are on a first name basis with Jesse, so why would they be with me?). "Brubaker" is quite a name for 5 year olds to handle, but my favorite of the day was when a child raised his hand and called for me in all innocence "Mrs. Blueberry!"

Mr. and Mrs. Blueberry

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Sometimes when I wake up in the morning and walk through the house, I'm still amazed at all that has transpired here within the last few months. I was completely in love with the house from the first day we came here to see it and meet Mrs. Yurada, but who knew that it would change so much and look like this?
It took a LOT of hard work, and when I look around, I see the faces of the people who worked here with us and helped us fix up our home sweet home. I remember my three siblings walking out the back door with the horrible green carpet from the guest room and a look of triumph on their faces; I remember Bianca in the kitchen, tossing out canned foods that had expired 15 years ago; I remember my dad working tirelessly to paint the ceilings and teach the rest of us padowans how to paint an even coat; I remember my mom outside with a bottle of Windex swiping through years' worth of grime on the windows; and I remember Jesse and our faithful friend Greg ripping out the orange carpet from the front room and scraping up the disintegrated rubber mat underneath--two days before our wedding!

Well, here it is folks, the culmination of all of our work so far (with many things still on the to-do list, but here's what we've got right now!)

The before and after pictures you've been waiting for!

The front room on our first day with the keys to the house:

The front room now (give or take a sister or two!) beautiful wood floors were hiding underneath that old yucky carpet! This is now our music room (in case you couldn't tell!)

The dining room had antique gold wallpaper...nasty stuff.

Painted and set for dinner!

I fell in love with the kitchen at once

It (besides the bathrooms) is the only room in the house that we didn't paint.
I love yellow kitchens! (good thing too, huh? Not much you can do when there's yellow linoleum too!)

I love the vaulted ceiling in the den...the fact that it has a fireplace...
and the beautiful hand-built bookshelves that are on either side of the brick fireplace

Here it is with our furniture in it:

Our room was already painted blue, but we gave it a fresh coat (and a lighter hue) anyway

The beautiful quilt on the bed was made by Jesse's Aunt Leann--isn't it gorgeous?!?

The guest room is one of the rooms that made the biggest transformation. From this...

To this...

And of course, one can't forget the patio out back!


It has been a lot of work (a LOT of work) but we can't be anything but sooo grateful for all of God's blessings!

Friday, September 5, 2008

time to catch up!

So, Jesse and I are in the living room right now. He's preparing his Sunday School lesson for this week and I realized that my time could be better spend catching you up on our last week instead of sitting around watching him like a pot waiting to boil.
It's been quite a week! Last Saturday, Jesse and I spent the whole day working around the house. We went to Lowe's and bought new handles and hinges for the cabinet doors above the closets in our room and our guest room. We also picked up some pretty mums to perk things up in our front yard. When we got home, it was time to trim the hedges, weed some areas, and plant my new flowers
Jesse and his crazy task: trimming the hedge!

happy to have flowers again!

We were very excited to be the hosts of this year's Labor Day with our family. Dad and Mom Mueller came from Oxnard with Kate and Laura, and Jon drove up from Biola after recovering from an "overnight Odyssey marathon reading" (or whatever it was called--pretty cool! why didn't they do things like that at my college?!?), Gramma and Papa came from Costa Mesa, Momma Bianca came from San Bernardino, Uncle Todd came, and our neighbors, Perry and Siby (who are absolutely adorable and I just love!) came over too. It was a full house! We're looking forward to hosting Thanksgiving here this year too, but I think we'll have to buy more chairs first!
Anyway, here's the whole group eating dinner:

We had a wonderful time! It was so much fun to have everyone over to our home--especially for those who hadn't seen it yet :)

On Tuesday and Wednesday, I got horribly sick with swollen lymph nodes. Here is a prayer email that I sent out, which I should have posted here too:

I just wanted to ask you to pray for me. For the past three weeks, I've been getting swollen lymph nodes under my left arm. It causes me a lot of pain and makes me feel weak, nauseous, and tired. Everything that I read online said that swollen lymph nodes are common, and can last up to 2 weeks. So far I've had 3 swollen lymph nodes, all on my left arm, and none has lasted a full two weeks. Yesterday, Jesse finally convinced me to go to the doctor, and I was told that I have an infection. The Dr. gave me an antibiotic and told me that if the swelling doesn't go down within 2 days, I have to go back for cultures. Last night another one began--this time in my right arm. It hurts a lot, and I don't know what to do.

Student teaching is supposed to begin any day (all I'm waiting for is a phone call telling me where I've been placed). It's been a frustrating experience waiting to hear where I will be, and the further I go into the school year without a placement means that my chances for getting a job in the spring are getting less and less. Jesse pointed out last night that "God knows what He's doing" since He hasn't put me in a classroom this week. Now I am thankful for that, because it's given me the ability to rest and be sick the last two days.

Please pray that the antibiotics help the swelling to go down so that there will be no need for further treatment. And also, please pray that I will hear about student teaching soon.

Thank you!

my love to all,

No fun! But God was amazing, and by Thursday, I was feeling much better. The swelling has gone down, and there is barely any tenderness left. I'm so thankful!

Also, good news about student teaching! I received a call yesterday letting me know that it is *almost* official that I will be placed in a kindergarten classroom at California Elementary School in West Covina! It couldn't be any better if I'd planned it myself. I've been thinking for a while now that Kindergarten may really be my niche, and I'm thrilled to get to do part of my student teaching in that age group to see if it's really for me. I'm also really blessed that this school is 10 miles away from my house, and in the right direction, traffic-wise. The next option was to place me in a school in East LA, and on top of being kind of scary, that would take forever to commute to because everyone is heading into LA in the mornings. But not I! Thank you, God!

I was feeling so good today that Jesse (whose new day off has officially switched to FRIDAYS as of this week) and I spent the day at the Long Beach Aquarium. We had a wonderful time. I don't think I've been there since high school, and I have so many fond memories of going there with my grandparents. Jesse had never been, so it was a lot of fun to show him around--and also be amazed with all of the changes they've made since I was there last.

This picture is especially for Papa Chuck:

After spending about 4 hours at the aquarium, we walked around Long Beach and enjoyed the harbor and some of the shops around there.
They have to have the biggest Borders over there that we've ever seen. Book stores kind of attract Jesse and me like moths to a flame, so we went in and enjoyed one of our favorite pastimes: reading childrens' books!
Good Ol' Shel Silverstein :)

Oh! I almost forgot to add one of the highlights of the day: there is actually a Bubba-Gump Shrimp Co. right across from the Aquarium. Here's Jesse's best Forest imitation :)

Well, that's it for me tonight. I feel a Scrabble tournament coming on!

p.s. I just realized that all of the pictures are pretty small. But if you click on any of them, they will show up in their own window much larger :)