Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The First Day of Christmas...

As I mentioned in my last post, I am "spreading the wealth", so to speak, when it comes to Christmas gift-giving this year and giving my gifts to one relative for each day of Christmas.

Today, Christmas Day, is the day I decided to give my mom her gifts! 

Mom doesn't like the picture, but I love it! I got her the movie called The Way and the newest Mitch Albom book, The First Phone Call from Heaven. Mom is a connoisseur of any and all Mitch Albom books and specifically requested it. The movie, on the other hand, was something I found myself. We watched this movie at church the other night, and I fell in love with it. I highly recommend it for anyone who is looking for something different! It is mostly a drama, but it has its comedic moments. I've included links to both in case you're interested in either! Merry Christmas! :)

12 Days of Christmas, for Real

I haven't been up to very much over the last few weeks, mostly working between the quilt store and babysitting, so I'll spare you the rundown of my life for now :) 

For whatever reason, I just didn't have it in me to do much Christmas shopping or any real Christmas preparations for the better part of this past month. Maybe I was being lazy or procrastinating or I just didn't feel like dealing with huge crowds of people, I'm not sure. I digress. 

I guess the real reason that I didn't feel like Christmas shopping this month was that I wanted to celebrate Advent for the season that it is, and save Christmas for its rightful time. Call me old-fashioned, Scrooge, or disagree with me if you want, but that's what I wanted to do this year. I think that it really served me well, because instead of being ready for Christmas to be over as soon as it arrived because I was immersed in it for an entire month, I am now able to see the beauty of Christmas and enjoy it in its entirety! (Which is until the Feast of Epiphany on January 6th, in case you didn't know)

As it turns out, I have 12 relatives in my immediate family...we're just going to ignore the fact that there's 13 counting, 12 relatives, 12 Days of Christmas, you do the math, and I think you see where I'm going with this! To help myself celebrate the entire season of Christmas, I will be doing my gift-giving on each of the 12 Days, saving one person for each day! I'm not going in any order or theme to match the song, I'm just giving each person their gift when I think the time is right. I can't wait to see how this works out!!

As a spoiler alert, my Day 1 gifts will be to my mom. As Mary was the first one to hold and care for the Infant Jesus, my mom was the first person to know, love, and care for me. I'll let you know what I got her after we open presents tonight :)

Meanwhile, enjoy some wonderful pictures from Mass last night! Merry Christmas, everyone!

After everything this year, I am SO blessed to have another Christmas to spend with Mimi!

Speaking of moms, I love this picture of two of the best mothers in the world! Beautiful!!

The five big boys in front of the Manger scene at church

We FINALLY have a picture of all six boys!!!

Wyatt, Andy, & Jakub...isn't he growing up!!!

Cody, Kyle, & Cole, looking handsome as ever

I almost got a picture with all 6 nephews, but I still love this picture!!!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tuesday News

It seems a bit unprecedented for me to be posting without a month-long gap, but it’s just a testament as to what I am able to do when I’m not bogged down with schoolwork!

We had a slightly later celebration for our family Thanksgiving, which coincided with Kyle’s 7th birthday. It was a great day, and, even better, we had great weather so the boys could all go outside and run, throw, and shout to their hearts’ content! Sadly our celebration was sans Jeremy & Andy, as Andy came down with a short-lived stomach virus and Jeremy opted to stay home with him. Mimi came over, so it was a blast to get to see and talk to her! I’m not sure why, but Cole was Mimi’s shadow all day. Of course, we had more than enough food to feed our clan, but I think that we almost could have sufficed to just have the chicken noodle soup course. The boys pretty much made a meal out of that, as they didn’t quite understand the concept of multiple courses…Oh, good times!

Cody & Kyle looking handsome, as always!

Cole, Kyle, and me :)

This is how Cole spent the majority of the day, right with Mimi

Cody is quite the natural at holding and caring for Jakub :)

After what the boys deemed as “forever”, we began our celebration for Kyle’s birthday. He decided that he wanted cheesecake instead of regular cake, so that served as our dessert. Emily made a delicious original cheesecake, and I made a birthday cake-themed cheesecake, which is definitely a keeper! He received lots of fun presents, including his first fishing pole and a football. So far, I think seven is suiting him well…Happy Birthday, Kyle!

I added the 7 on top for some extra pizzazz...apparently Cole was amazed by it too, as can be seen by the fingerprints on the left edge of the cake!

Happy, happy birthday to Kyle!!!

The highlight since I have last posted is the apparent “snow-pocalypse” that came across the area this past week. The storm came in on Thursday, when I didn’t have class, but thought about going to campus to take an online test. I thought better of it after talking to a friend who lives in town and told me that the roads were bad in town, so I stayed home and watched the Carrie Underwood “Sound of Music” remake.

As a note, you might know that “The Sound of Music” is my absolute favorite musical, and I really wasn’t sure if I would like the remake or not. Since there really wasn’t anything else on TV, I gave it a chance. To be honest, it was okay, but I still prefer the original. I know that they really couldn’t do some of the scenes, as it was a live production and to recreate the scenes from the Alps would be a bit unrealistic. My only real beef with it was that they played lots of the songs out of context. The ones that especially irked me were “My Favorite Things” and “Eidelweiss”. I mean really, they sang the puppet song during the storm scene in Maria’s bedroom, (which is my favorite scene, btw) WHY would you do that?! Being that it was Carrie Underwood’s first acting performance, she did a fantastic job, but seriously, guys, don’t mess with a classic! (In all fairness, I preferred the way they “got rid of” Baroness…or Frau Schrader in the remake—They said that she was a Nazi sympathizer and Capt. Von Trapp, being the Austrian patriot he was, was vehemently against that…and head-over-heels in love with Maria. It makes much more sense than having her mysteriously disappear because she knows that he has the hots for Maria!)

I digress! I pretty much spent all day Thursday and Friday cooped up in my trailer, trying not to go stir crazy. Usually, I crave solitude but when it’s just you, it gets old after a while. I watched gads of movies, including the Smokey & the Bandit movies, Pitch Perfect, Forrest Gump, and Mean Girls, plus many more that I can’t remember right now! I managed to eat a whole 8x8 pan of brownies and drink an inordinate amount of coffee. Oh yeah, I also decided to do some deep cleaning, since I really couldn’t do much else with my life during that time. The moral of this story is that I need to bring more of my books and rainy-day activities like crossword puzzle books to my trailer, so that I can keep my sanity next time! (No, I didn’t have any homework that I could work on or really even any finals to study for!)

During this snow storm, I learned the hard way that there is no winter road maintenance down here at the lake, as we still have lots of lovely, icy roads down here. Bedlam really couldn’t have come at a better time, because it meant that OSU & Stillwater were all over getting the highways and campus-adjacent roads cleared off. It really makes contending with the slick roads here much more bearable, when I know that I have clear roads awaiting me once I get to the highway!

So, obviously, I have to mention Bedlam. I have lots of highs and lows from the whole experience, so here goes! I’ll start with the worst first, as we say in one of my classes. Obviously, losing when we were the favorite was pretty rough. I had never experienced a loss at a home game yet, and Boone Pickens Stadium was an intense place afterwards. All of my friends who are seniors were really bummed to have to end their time of attending games as students on a home Bedlam loss that could have given us the Big 12 Championship. And it was cold!!!! In all honesty, I wasn’t that cold during the game, as I had on 3 pairs of pants, 4 shirts, 2 pairs of socks, snow boots, 2 coats, 2 pairs of gloves, ear grips, and a stocking cap, plus Hot Hands packets and Toe Warmer packets. Really, I was only cold on my face, and I fashioned my scarf to cover my face for most of the game! I felt a little bit like that kid from A Christmas Story who goes out in his snowsuit, but I could actually move fairly freely! :)

I’m pretty sure there was a black market for Hot Hands, as it was next to impossible to buy them on Saturday morning. I was told that, honest to goodness, there were ticket scalpers selling Hot Hands with their tickets. I am thankful for my friend Sara, who hooked me up with Hot Hands because I shared one of my body warmer packets with her at the Baylor game!

We did have a nice indoor tailgating breakfast at church before the game. This was a definite plus because it saved us from having to pay $8 or some other exorbitant amount for a tub of popcorn at the game! We had a large group who went to the game; I think there were 14 or 15 of us sitting together at some point. Games are always much more fun when you go with a group, as opposed to just one person! Maybe this is just a culture shock for me, but the student section seating is not for the faint of heart. I inevitably always end up sitting in front of some drunken frat guys who think that they should either be an ESPN commentator or Mike Gundy and don’t hesitate to scream all kinds of profanities. It’s a good thing that no children are sitting in the vicinity, as I would not want them to be exposed to their behavior. With that being said, you can imagine how all of the “bros” reacted to our loss; now just multiply that by 1000, and you might have a better idea of the postgame atmosphere inside the stadium. Yes, I’m disappointed that we lost, but I don’t really see why people thought it was necessary to throw ice/snow/popcorn/Hot Hands packets on the field/at players/at refs after we lost. Let’s just say that Bedlam really brings out the worst in everyone, Sooner and Cowboy alike. I am glad that I went, though! I really did have a great time up until the last 2 minutes :)

Our big group during halftime!
Front Row (L-R): Thomas, Amanda, Andrea, (I can't remember the next 2 people's names), Jeff, Sara (Amanda's sister), & Lisa
Back Row (L-R): Ryan, Libin, Me, Anna (she's kind of hidden behind Andrea's head), & Kevin
Right now I am in the midst of my first finals week at OSU, and it is going quite well for me! I only have 2 real finals and 1 attendance-based final (aka show up, watch presentations, and go home). Of the 2 finals, I was only halfway concerned about one of them, which was Linear Algebra. I took that final yesterday, and I’m not sure how I did, but I’m over it! I feel pretty good, but it’s hard for me to get too terribly stressed about anything after my experience with Physics last year. My next final is tomorrow, and it is for Adolescent Psychology. It shouldn’t be anything stressful at all. So, I am essentially on the downhill slide this week! Hallelujah!!!

Since I wasn’t too stressed about finals week, I decided to do something fun for all of my friends. We have a tradition of having Wine & Cheese nights, which are essentially just another excuse for us to get together, but differ in the fact that we go to someone’s house and have a classy meal with wine, or a non-alcoholic alternative for the two of us who are still 20 :) I’ve been to quite a few and decided that it was my turn to host. It was a dual purpose night, because it also served as a “thank you” to everyone who helped with my video, since I can’t realistically pay anyone for their time…and they did an AWESOME job! After some hemming & hawing, we decided that it would be a great adventure to have dinner here at my trailer. I feel like nature was trying to plot against us, what with the snow and bad roads and everything else, but I couldn’t have asked for a better night! I’m starting to think that hosting get-togethers is just ingrained into my being, because I loved the entire process!

It was the first time that I have ever entertained here, and it definitely won’t be the last. The menu was a bit sparse, now that I think about it, but we had lasagna, garlic bread, and Kool-Aid pie, and they were a hit! I was hesitant to bake in my oven, because it’s more frustrating than it should be, so I decided to seek out a recipe on how to make lasagna in my crockpot. Thank goodness for Pinterest, because that’s how I found my new favorite way to make lasagna!!! It was a hit, and it was a perfect way to feed everyone! Here's a link to the recipe in case I piqued your interest! My Kool-Aid pie was a hit as well; even better, it’s super easy! I've included the link to this recipe in case you're needing a quick dessert for a Christmas party!

The night was absolutely perfect with lots of great food and great company! Even better, there was just enough food that everyone had plenty to eat, but not so much that I’ll be eating lasagna for weeks! We had lots of laughs and great conversation!
Front Row (L-R): Nick, Kevin, William, & Me
Andrea is laying across everyone in the middle!
Back Row (L-R): Anna, Rebecca, Lisa, Mari, & Ryan
It probably took us a solid ten minutes to get this picture perfect, as we used the self-timer on my camera and sat it on my counter, but it was a reflection of how great our night was! I couldn't ask for a better group of friends!! :)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Update

What a crazy month it has been for me! Lots and lots of happenings in my life, as I suppose is becoming the new normal for me! Here we go...

So I vaguely mentioned starting a new job the last time I wrote. Well, let's just say that that job did not quite work out for me, and I quit after a couple of weeks. Maybe it was premature of me, but it just wasn't working out, and I figured that there was no point in staying at a job that was obviously making me unhappy. Thankfully, my boss (who goes to church with me) was quite understanding, and there are no hard feelings between us! I am happy to report that I have procured a couple of employment opportunities for Christmas break, and I am excited! One is a regular gig babysitting Gina's friend's daughters who I have watched most of this semester. I am particularly excited about the other gig, which is a return to the quilt shop!!! In what could possibly be a move of insanity, I decided to go back in time for Second Saturday, just to get myself back in the swing of things. I am excited to return to the quilt store, and reunite with my fun co-workers!

I also finished my urban observation experiences a couple of weeks ago, much to my pleasure! While it was a learning experience, it was mostly learning about what I don't like and what to avoid. Despite the fact that I was not very impressed with this experience, I loved the connection that I was able to make with the students in the short time I was there. They were almost always the bright spot in my stressful day, and nothing made me happier than hearing them tell me how excited they were to see me! Most of them were able to remember my name by my last visit, even if it was slightly mispronounced, it still made my day! Here's hoping I marry someone whose last name is easier to pronounce by sight than mine is now...I'm not sure if I can take a whole lifetime of being known as Ms. Hadlik or Ms. Hadik!!!

I have discovered a few new aspects of living in a trailer, much to my displeasure. Over the past few weeks I have become increasingly thankful for the fact that my parents only live an hour away and are readily able to come down for an evening to help me out!!! The morning of my last observation was punctuated by me finding out that my water line broke and I had no water in my trailer. Awesome. I had to be the bearer of bad news and call my dad at 6:00 AM to see if he could help me fix it that evening. After a few hours of work, my parents and I managed to get my water line in working order again! Just Friday, my heater decided that that would be an AWESOME time to go on the fritz, which isn't really *that* big of a deal, minus the fact that it was 20-ish degrees out, and it actually was a big deal. Thankfully, mom & dad brought down some space heaters that night to get me throught the night. Even better, Dad brought our neighbor Burt, aka the heat & air guy who rescues us every time our A/C is on the outs, to look at my heater the next morning. After a while of examining, we figured out that the problem literally may have been as simple as loose connections in my breaker box. I love it when big problems can be solved by simple solutions!!! Ever since, I have been enjoying a pleasantly warm trailer, and I will be making Burt one of my famous turtle cheesecakes as a token of my gratitude! I really do enjoy my trailer, but I can honestly say that I am looking forward to finding something bigger and obviously more permanent after graduating!!

Have I mentioned that I have been busy with school projects lately? I have, but I fear that it is par for the course. I have had my first taste of lesson planning, and it is not my favorite. I say that only for the fact that we have to do lesson planning that is far more intricate than anything we will be expected to do in an actual teaching position. I understand why we have to this, but get mildly frustrated when having to work on them. As I hope you saw, I also had the project of making a video for my EdTech class, which is easily my favorite of all my classes! As a happy sidenote, my professor for that class is trying to "headhunt" me for a Master's program he is leading up! Granted, he probably encourages many of his students to join it, but still. The program focuses on Educational Technology, which is literally spending two years going more in depth on the class I'm taking on it right now. How awesome would that be?! We'll see where life takes me!

Because my duties at my now old job were rescinded, I was able to make it to the Baylor game this past weekend! It was a huge weekend for our campus, as ESPN's College Game Day program filmed at OSU. Okay, so I've never actually watched CGD, but I still know that it's a big deal when they decide to film at your campus, which would probably explain why I still did not go to the filming. I know, I probably should have gone, because what are the odds that they'll be back within the next year, but my heater being fixed by Burt the wonder-man was a bigger deal than possibly being shown on national TV. (Have I officially become an adult? I was actually at the game, which was also on national TV, so that counts, right?) That was probably the single best game I have ever attended, and I am even more excited to go to Bedlam here in a week or so! Yes, it was ridiculously cold at the game, but I had enough foresight to buy some Hot Hands, Hot Toes, and Hot Body packets that made my three layers of clothing almost warm!! (Looks like I'll be needing to buy more because Bedlam will be just as cold, if not colder!!)

 The set-up of College Game Day on the Library Lawn

Me with my friends Lisa and Sara, waiting it out in the long, cold student line!

My seats weren't quite as close as last time, but we still had a great view of the field :)

Little Jakub is now one month old, and has grown so much! It makes me sad that I haven't been around for the better part of that month, but it also makes me really happy when I do get some time to snuggle my adorable little man! I think that Cole has recognized that he is no longer the "baby" and is acting as such. Maybe it's just having Jake as a comparison, but I feel like Cole has grown up so much in the past month!! His speech is improving by leaps and bounds, and he is very much in the repetition phase. He is slowly getting to the point where he will converse a little bit more; how exciting! Andy is still loving big brotherhood, and loves helping Gina. He still watches Jakub like a hawk and gives him "lovings" frequently! Kyle will turn the big seven on Sunday, and is pretty pumped about that! His biggest happening lately was that his class performed a dance to the song "Turkey in the Straw" at the annual Thanksgiving band concert at their grade school. Unfortunately, he "forgot" his dance when we asked him to recreate it yesterday...or he was too shy to do it alone; I'm leaning towards the last one, though! Wyatt is doing well, but will be experiencing a big change next week. As evidenced in his first eye exam last week, he will be getting glasses to help compensate for his far-sightedness and a lazy eye. Thankfully, he is looking forward to this change, and I hope it will help him! Last, but definitely not least, is Mr. Cody, who is working toward mastering his multiplication tables. I believe that he is currently working on sevens, but I can't quite remember! I am looking forward to getting to spend much more time with my awesome nephews over Christmas break and going on adventures with them!

Due to scheduling conflicts, our family Thanksgiving will be on Sunday, in conjunction with Kyle's birthday, and I am really looking forward to it! I hope that everyone will have a great celebration, no matter how or when you celebrate! Although I always consider myself blessed, I recognize it especially now!

"Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus."--1 Thessalonians 16-18, NAB

Monday, November 25, 2013

Video Fun :)

You can obviously assume that my lack of posts is due to my busy school schedule right now, but I will be posting some of my happenings in the coming days! Until then, enjoy my most recent assignment which was to create a video for my EdTech class! After about one week's worth of work, I finished my masterpiece last night! Special thanks to all of my amazing St. John's friends who stepped up and took time out of their busy schedules to help me out!!!! They are the best :) Hope you enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed making it!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Barn Parties, Beard Shaving, Babies, and...Homecoming?

I’m sorry for my lack of posts lately, but I’ll chalk it up to a combination of not having internet at home and being busy! The thing is, usually when I have internet access during the week (at school or at church) I am either working on homework or hanging out with friends, so my blog has become slightly neglected as a by-product.  And, I have had lots of great times and big things happening during the last two weeks, so get excited about that! Also, get ready for LOTS (and I mean lots) of pictures! (Spoiler alert: Same as last time, I did NOT acquire a boyfriend…or elope…sorry to dash your hopes!!)

Being that it has been long enough, I only remember the highlights from last week, which is probably a good thing because there were really only three-ish items of note from last week, and everything else would have paled in comparison! Last week was Homecoming at OSU, which is a HUGE deal. Our homecoming has been dubbed the “Greatest Homecoming in America”, so I was excited to experience it for myself! Of course, the fountain water in front of Edmon Low was dyed orange. (Fun fact: they dye it more often than during Homecoming, as I have seen it dyed at least three times beforehand since I have started school there…but it still is cool to see it during Homecoming week!)

Last Friday (10/19/13) was walk-around, when all of the Greek houses show off their house decks. Of course, I went with a group from church and we had a great time, minus the fact that it was 40-ish degrees out and drizzling for part of the evening! Originally our group had around ten people, but we ended up losing three by the time it was all said and done, because of how many people were there…needless to say, if you ever plan on going with a large group, have a plan in case you get separated or split up from the get-go, because it is super easy to be separated within mere seconds. All of these details are great, but I think the pictures are better, so here they are!

Theta Pond, all lit up and pretty looking!

Because of the intermittent rain, I didn't get as many pictures of the house decks, but this was one of the more spectacular ones...if you notice in the lower left corner, they made the OK state seal & in the middle is the cool is that!

You can't see the orange fountain water, but you CAN see how the belltower is lit up with orange lights...I thought that part was pretty neat, myself!

After we made it back to church, my friend Rebecca (who lives there, btw) and I decided to make some hot chocolate for everyone so that we could thaw out for a while. After we were nice and warmed up, we (as in Rebecca, me, and a few other church people) went contra dancing. When they invited me to go, I had no idea of what to expect, but they told me that it would be fun, so I took their word for it! They were right, because I had a blast and can’t wait for next month’s dance! Okay, so what’s contra dancing, you ask? Think square dancing, but less corny…LOTS of spinning in circles & getting up close and personal with everyone on the dance floor…and folk music. I’m not sure if you remember me mentioning a while back that I would love to learn how to dance better, but I think that’s why I loved this so much, because I have now fulfilled that life goal! That, and the fact that I was able to dance with guys who were good dancers and were willing to dance, which is incredibly hard to find, if you can believe that…that was also a high point of the evening! :)

The next day (Saturday) was the long-awaited barn-warming/beard shearing party at home. Although the hours leading up to it were mildly stressful, the party was an overall success!!! The biggest highlights were the fireworks show, a slideshow I created, and, of course, my dad being shaved by my mom! Mom got quite a kick out of cutting his hair and was so happy when she finished! It turns out that Mom wasn’t the only person who was ready for the hair to go, because Mimi was ecstatic to see Dad clean-shaven! (Dad claims that she was the reason he decided to shave, which it probably was, to an extent, but I think he was also tired of having his hair blow in his eyes!) When it was over, Mimi cheered and gave Dad a huge hug, and she proceeded to tell him that she was happy that she lived long enough to see that happen!! (Have I mentioned how much I love Mimi? :) ) Okay, here you go…more pictures!!!

If you look closely, you can see my mom smiling as she takes the first cut!

We were tempted to leave it like that! (Not really, but it is a great reference as to how long his beard really was!)

I hope this picture conveys just how happy Mimi was to see Dad clean-shaven!

We managed to get the whole family in a a couple of adoptees!

I love this picture of Jake, Liz, Evan, and me soooo much!

I love this father-daughter picture! I'm not sure the last time we took a picture like this, but I'm glad we did :)

I’ll keep the momentum up and skip directly to the other huge happening from the last week—Gina gave birth to Baby Jake!!!!!!! She had her c-section and he was born this past Friday, October 25th, at 7:19 AM. He, like his brothers/cousins was healthy-sized, weighing 9 lbs, 11.1 oz, and was 20.5” long!!!  After much debate between Gina and Jeremy, they decided to compromise on his middle name and give him two middle names, so his name is Jakub Matthew Allen Mattson! They decided to go with the traditional Czech spelling of Jakub, which is how Liz’s brother Jake spells his name, and how a great-great (I think) grandpa on Mom’s side spelled his name! Gina really wanted Matthew as a middle name, as she has since they started having children, but Jeremy wanted Allen, which is his dad’s middle name. After debating for a few months, they settled on the decision of using both, which I think will suit our little guy perfectly! Apparently, having a baby was the thing to do last week, as Gina was almost sent home due to the fact that there were already nineteen babies in the nursery! Crazy!!! (Or as we put it, there was almost no room at the inn for Baby Jesus...okay, Baby Jakub!) Of course, here's some pictures of my newest nephew! :)

Mimi and Jakub had an instant bond :)

This is really how Andy spent the majority of the last two days...kissing Jakub! So far, big brotherhood is suiting him well, as he is fiercely protective of him! Andy also spent quite a bit of time "wuzzling" Jake. (Dad always did that when he had his beard, which basically entailed rubbing up close to someone with his beard.) We told Andy that he was going to rub all of Jake's hair off if he kept it up! 

This little guy has already won my heart!

I sure think he's a cutie pie, but I might be just a little bit partial ;) 
(Did you notice how much hair he has?! None of Gina's kids have ever had that much hair!)

Emily is quite the proud aunt, too!!!

Wyatt was VERY excited to see Jakub!

I love the pictures of Dad holding the boys at the hospital!

Minus the fact that Jakub is ticked off, I love this picture of just the three of them!

This could be my favorite picture of my mom with any of the boys so far! I love the wonder you can see in her face of the miracle of life, especially a life that stems from your own life!

Okay, from here on out, the updates will largely pale in comparison, but are just as awesome in my books! For starters, I was finally able to see Tonisha for the first time since August!!!! She was in town this past weekend for her grandma’s 80th birthday party, so we spent Saturday morning catching up over some Schieber’s donuts! (Fun fact: Jakub & Tonisha’s grandma share a birthday! That just makes me all kinds of happy!!) Even though we have stayed in almost constant contact, there is nothing like actually getting to sit and talk to someone face-to-face! She is doing well in Wichita and is plugging along in her new job. I’m not sure when we’ll get to meet up again, so I savored all the time I could spend catching up with her!

I skipped over this to tell you about Jakub, but it is a big deal—I started my urban observations last week. I am already not as excited about this experience for multiple reasons. It’s not that I don’t like it in general, but I just feel a bit out of my element in the urban school. (Maybe that’s how everyone from OKC felt during the rural experience?) I had a mildly traumatic morning before I even entered a classroom, which entailed my first experience driving through the inner OKC area by myself. I’ll spare you the gory details, but I have come to realize that I am not meant to live anywhere that will entail me driving through OKC or other big-city morning traffic …I legitimately thought that I was going to have a panic attack at some point; that’s how stressed I was from it! (I also ended up driving the wrong way on a one-way street…not my finest moment, but everything ended up just fine, and I didn’t get in a wreck!) When I arrived at the school, I was told that I hadn’t been assigned to a teacher because I wasn’t even on their list of observers. REALLY?!? I’m not sure about the particulars of the situation, but it was a slight mix-up on their part and they found a teacher who was willing to let me observe her. Since I can’t give details, I can’t give you my rant about the rest of the day, but I’ll just say that this is turning out to be a learning experience of what NOT to do. I am trying to be objective and to not be too self-righteous, but there are quite a few things I would change in this classroom, if I could. I’ll probably say this again soon, but I am simply not cut out to work at an inner-city school. It is rough on my emotions, and it only leaves me wanting to change lots of things that I can’t necessarily change. This could be a long month for me…

On to happier news, I will be starting my new job this Tuesday!! I am excited to see how this will go for me, and I am even more excited to have an income source again!! I actually don’t have much else to say about my new job, but it is definitely worth mentioning!

On to other things, our flag football season is over, after we thought that we were on the verge of a comeback, of movie-worthy proportion. As you knew from my other posts, we had lost the majority of our games, but had somehow won enough to qualify for playoffs. We ended up winning our first playoff game, thanks to a great 4th down interception/touchdown from our star freshman player! We rode that wave of confidence on to the next game, which was more of what we were used to…losing. I’d like to think that we had a moral victory in the fact that we were the classier of the two teams from a sportsmanship standpoint, but the fact is that the team we played crushed us. They were really cocky and I think we all wished that it was real football, not flag football, so that we could have just tackled them and released our aggressions. But it wasn’t, and we had to keep our cool enough that we wouldn’t be penalized. I’m aware that I’m profiling, but it helped nothing that the team we played was a sorority/fraternity team…I think that had a lot to do with their overall attitude, just saying! But the game/season is over, and at the end of the day, it’s just a game, and, honestly, it was just co-ed intramurals, not the NFL, so we’re okay! Soccer is going much better, and we have also made the playoffs in that sport! I think they start next week, but I’m not sure. I have a better idea of how the game works, but I still spend an inordinate amount of time aimlessly running across the field. I haven’t incurred any other injuries, but my soccer ball bruise is still there, lines and all. (It is almost gone, but it has also been three weeks! Sheesh!) I’ll give you a more definitive update after the season is complete!

In the last bit of randomness, I just remembered a couple of fun times from Homecoming week, both of which include pictures!

One of my good church friends, whose name is Mari, studies architecture, and I have come to learn over the past few months that that major is not for the faint of heart or anyone who is remotely interested in an active out-of-school social life…or a full night of sleep. She works really hard at her major and has a true passion for it, which is why I know that she will be successful once she graduates and enters the work force. We have a long-running joke at church about how the architecture students practically live at the studio, and have even gone so far as to call it Narnia, because they spend inordinate amounts of time there and usually emerge looking frazzled beyond all measure! Well, Mari and I had some time a couple of weeks ago, so she decided to take me on a tour of the architecture building! I had a blast and loved getting to admire their work!

These are some of the design projects that they have created, which mostly entailed recreating other famous architectural works. 

This is Mari and her work space in the studio...did you know that they have to purchase their own computer when they enter the upper levels of their studies? 

Many of the other work spaces include mini fridges and microwaves. Apparently, students have also been known to bring pillows to stay the night there, too. (I told you it was like Narnia!)

This is an overview of the other work spaces within Mari's studio...let's just say that I felt out of my element in there!

I was amazed by this contraption...I'll explain what it is: When they build their models, they often need to know how light will hit it at various times of the year, in order to design them to be more energy efficient and make best use of natural light. This machine has a compass on the gray plate, and there are dials on the side that can be used to simulate the sunlight at specific times during specific months. I think you can fine-tune it a little bit more, but I think it's awesome, nonetheless!

That night at church, we decided to have some fall fun and carve pumpkins! Surprisingly enough, I had never carved a pumpkin until then, so my friend William teamed up with me and showed me what to do! Everyone had a great time, and after we finished, we sat the pumpkins on top of one of the awnings and lit candles inside of them! I didn’t have my camera with me that night, but I remembered to snap a picture before the pumpkins started looking gross and wilted, so enjoy!

My pumpkin is the fifth from the right...not bad for a first-time pumpkin carving, right? William actually did most of it, but I think I did a good job on my part! :)

Now, you're all caught up on my life, and all of the great times I'm having! Here's hoping everyone has a great week!! (PS--I now realize how crazy I sounded when I was worried about finding friends and enjoying life outside of school! :) God is good!)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Fall Break Update!

I think by now you should know that if I go a couple of weeks or so without blogging, one of the following has happened: 1) I have been terribly backlogged on homework, 2) I have been terribly tired, 3) There is nothing blog-worthy happening, or 4) Big changes are imminent! I could let you guess at which of the four is the case this time, but I'll save you some time & say that it is a combination of #1 and 4. Lots of homework, lots of papers, lots of random stuff to do for class...oh, and big changes, I'll let you think on that one for a while! :)

Praise God, fall break is this week! I can't tell you how long I've waited for that! Unfortunately, it's only officially on Friday. Lucky for me, I don't have Thursday classes, so I end up with a four-day weekend after all!! Sometimes I get lucky on these things...not always, but sometimes! :) So far, my only real plans are to get my hair cut & possibly sleep in once or so, but you know as well as I do that anything can happen, so we'll see what happens!

I just received news of our second placement for observations, but I still don't really know much about where I'll be going because our placement sheet only gave us contact information for the principal of our assigned school, and he'll give us our teacher after we contact him. It's a little irritating to jump through the extra hoops, but I'll figure it out! This experience will be at a middle school in the OKC area, so it will be totally different this time! Nevertheless, I'm still excited to see what will await me this time!

One of the facets of education majors nowadays is the Portfolio which we have to complete at various phases of our Professional Education courses. We have to complete three submissions during the span of our junior and senior years, as well as take three certification tests and apply for state licensure. The good news is that I have already taken one test (the OGET) back in April, and I only have one Portfolio submission during my junior year! (Everything else will take place at different phases of next year.) This is, by far, the easiest submission we will have, and I am almost done compiling my required materials. It is all done in an electronic format, which makes the process much easier, because some things are as simple as copying and pasting them in from a Word document. Thanks to some help from my friends from my education classes, I finally figured out how to navigate the website & make everything look like it's supposed to! Here's hoping I'll be approved on this submission and won't have to go back to fix anything!

I also went and talked to my adviser last week to figure out which classes I will need to take next semester. As far as I can tell, my classes will be pretty math-centric until my student teaching semester, but I welcome the change only because I'm getting burnt out on reflection papers, writing assignments, and other stuff of the sort. I will be taking fifteen hours again next semester, with twelve of the fifteen being math classes of some sort. One of the classes will be a math history class and another will be an upper-level statistics class, so I don't feel like either of those classes are anything I should worry about! (I'm also taking a math teaching methods class, in case you were wondering.) I can't remember the other classes right now, but it's okay. So out of all of this, there's a good news/bad news part to this. Bad news is that I will have to take a summer class, which pretty well changes my plans, but the good news is that if I take one summer class, I won't have to kill myself with fifteen hours of math classes next semester and eighteen hours overall! I'm not a huge fan of summer classes, but I'd much rather do that and keep my sanity in the process. After making that decision, I have heard plenty of good things about summer classes at OSU from my friends, so I believe I'm doing the right thing. Oh yeah, I am officially pursuing a double major in Secondary Math Education and Math, which sounds super ambitious, but really isn't, because the math education degree is essentially a math degree, minus one class. Obviously, I'll pick up one class that will help me earn my math degree, and all will be well with the world...I hope!

Last week, the international student groups hosted an international food festival during lunchtime. A guy from church is from Africa and is quite involved in one of the groups, so he invited us to visit him there and try some great food. I was pretty excited about the event, and it didn't disappoint! I decided to step out of the box and try foods that I have never tried, as opposed to getting tacos from the Hispanic students or Chinese/Japanese from their respective organizations. Kofi suggested that I try the chicken sate and jerk chicken, which are Indonesian and Jamaican, respectively. I LOVED both dishes immensely and have been scouring Pinterest to find some good recipes so that I can recreate their goodness! The best part about the chicken sate was the peanut sauce that was served with it...kind of a sweet and savory blend, if you've never tried it. I also tried some Argentinean cookies with a dulce de leche/coconut filling, and some Sri Lankan cashew rice, which were both equally delicious! Once again, OSU campus events are totally awesome and worth attending, especially when you have friends to go with to these events!

This week, I managed to run into one of my church friends while I was walking to class. I love seeing friends when I expect to see them, but there is nothing better than randomly meeting up with a friend outside of your usual context! After getting over the initial surprise of seeing each other, she and I had a great chat before we had to go our separate ways for class. Even among the crowds of OSU, there's always a friend close by!

There are some huge things coming up for my family in the next two weeks...First is my dad's shed-warming/hair shearing party next Saturday. I think that it will be a great time, complete with smoked meat, good people, and fireworks! If you're in the area, you should definitely stop in for supper, because we'll have enough food to feed a small army, and we'd love to have you! :)  I can't believe it, but my dad is ready to cut his is hoping that he will be getting his long-haired mountain-man look out of his system after this time of growing his hair out! Even better, the following week, Gina will be having baby Jake!!!!!! I am SUPER excited about this, because I LOVE babies and am ready to be able to hold my adorable baby nephew for the first time!! I'm not sure if Andy really knows what is about to happen, but I've been saying lots of prayers that he will adjust just fine, so here's hoping! (Andy has a tendency to gravitate towards Gina, which is the main reason why he might have a rough time with Jake coming.) Wyatt seems pretty excited, although he pretty much has the big brother gig down pat. Hopefully, he'll be able to show Andy the ropes soon enough! Once Jake is here, I'll definitely be posting LOTS of pictures, so don't worry about that!

I vaguely mentioned joining an intramural football team at church a few weeks ago, but I hadn't mentioned much else since. For posterity's sake, here's how that's going...Right now, I believe we are 2-3, but one of our wins came from a rain cancellation. In happy news, we won this past week's game and have earned our spot in the playoffs, which, apparently, is unprecedented for our team! I have finally become comfortable with playing and know what I'm supposed to do while out there. As it turns out, my strength is playing defense and "blocking" people. I say that only because we aren't supposed to make much contact since it is flag football, but let's be honest, there is still lots of contact! I am having a blast, and I am so glad that I decided to go outside of my comfort zone and try this!

Oh yeah, I also ended up joining the church's intramural soccer team, only because they needed more girls or they risked getting fined...and we have lots of fun people on the team! Obviously, I've never played soccer and have even less of an idea of what the rules are as opposed to flag football, so that made for an interesting first game! Thank goodness for the guys on our team, who are all great players, and were sweet enough to give me a few pointers before the game. Our soccer team is doing quite well, as we are 2-1, although we should have been 3-0, but no one asked us. I never realized how much stamina soccer requires, because I almost passed out after running the field a couple of times. (I should really start running again, btw.) I also realized that soccer really is a contact sport, even though I always thought that it wasn't, for some reason. I mention this because I have managed to get hit by the ball in some way or another a few times. This week, I was playing defense on this guy who was right next to me, and he was gearing up to kick the ball. Let's just say that I underestimated his power, and the ball proceeded to connect with my thigh. I was told that it ricocheted a good twenty feet or so, but I'm really not sure because I was staggering off the field at that point, trying not to cry, cuss, or make any more of a scene than there already was! (I can see some humor in the situation, so it's okay if you do, too!) It happened right before halftime, but that was the extent of my playing time, because my leg was throbbing. The good news is that I'm just fine, minus the massive bruise I obviously incurred...

If you look close enough, you can even see a honeycomb pattern in the middle of the bruise! 

Okay, so I've left you hanging long enough on the big news portion of my life: I found a new job!!! (If you thought that I went out and eloped, or more realistically, found a new man, I'm sorry to disappoint you...I'm nowhere close to either of those things happening!) Yes, just when I figured that I'd probably never find a good job until Christmas break, something presented itself to me, just like I hoped it would! My job is at an OSU apparel store that is right next to campus and is owned by a lady from church. I am really hoping that I can keep working there until I graduate. If that would work out, I will be able to "land" for a little bit and not keep jumping from place to place! I don't start until the end the month, but I am a little bit sad to have to give up quite a bit of my free time, but I also know that I really need a job, so I'm willing to make that trade...and the store's hours aren't totally unreasonable. The only downfall of this job is that everyone works all day on game day, but it makes sense, because those are the store's busiest days. (Honestly, I'm pretty prepared for this after having worked the register at the quilt store's Second Saturday event...if I can survive that, then I can survive almost anything!) In good news, I won't be starting until after Homecoming, so I'll get to go to walk-around, but I probably won't go to the game, because that's the same day as Dad's party. I'm sad that I won't get to go to the game itself, but I've been told by all of my friends that Walk-Around is much better than the game itself, so I'll survive!

As a last thought, here's a picture of my adorable nephews in a typical farm kid pose on Dad's haybales...I think it made his evening to see all of them (minus Cole) running along the bales. 

I love these crazy, ornery, sweet boys! They're the best! :)

Have a great week!!!

Monday, September 23, 2013

An Overdue Update!

It’s been quite a while since I've updated my small, but loyal following on the exploits of my life at big, bad OSU, so here we go…enjoy!!!

I have been crazy busy as of late. Last week, I thought I was about to be pushed over the edge of sanity, but I am pleased to say that I made it through and had a much better week this past week! I’ll give you a bit of a class-by-class update: My Adolescent Psychology class is fine, besides the fact that it’s at 8:30 and I often question my sanity for allowing that to happen. On MWF, if I want a chance at getting a parking spot in one of the closer lots, I have to leave my trailer no later than 7:35. Oh well, I guess it’s just training for my future life as a teacher! Linear Algebra is going alright, although I feel like I probably could have done a little bit better on the test I took this past Friday. I guess I know how I will be spending more of my spare (???) time!

 I have spent the bulk of the last two-three weeks immersed in a group project for my EdTech class. I should go on the record of pointing out how much I usually hate group projects, because I inevitably end up being the only one in the group who puts out any measurable effort. I am pleased to say that that was NOT the case this time, as I was blessed with an amazing group! Our project was to actually teach this past week’s chapter content to our class. Our topic was using technology for assessment, which left a little bit to be desired content-wise. Going into the project, I seriously had no idea of what to do, what to expect, or anything. Thankfully, my great group and I pulled it together and had an AMAZING week of peer teaching!!!!! We had our rough spots, but those mostly happened on Monday…the rest of the week was smooth sailing from there on out! We were able to keep our class engaged with what could have been boring content that we managed to turn into three lessons worth of EdTech gold! :) Now that I have that project out of the way, I am starting to get a little bit more excited about the next time I have to peer teach in a few weeks. Actually, I’ll be more excited if I end up with an equally great group for the next time, but I’m not going to worry about that right now!

My Role of the Teacher class has left some to be desired, mostly because of my professor. I feel like we never accomplish anything that we should, and end up having to listen to her tell us awkward stories about her life that have zero relevance to our class. We had to take our first test in there this past week, and it was nothing spectacular. I am pretty teed off about the fact that we never discussed the bulk of our test material in class. I understand that at this point in college, we can’t be spoon-fed all of our information and that we should take ownership of our education. On the other hand, we are all paying good money to get a quality education and our professor is failing us in that respect, because she “doesn't see the point in teaching us something that is only mentioned in our book once, because it obviously isn't that important”…except it’s important enough to be included on our test. Okay, now I’m ranting, but I feel better now that that’s off my chest!

On to better topics, like observations!!! I am still loving my observation times and my cooperating teacher! I think I only have one week left at that assignment, a week or so of dead time, then four more weeks of observations somewhere in OKC.  Holy cow, this semester is flying by!!! This next week, I will get to teach a Geometry lesson/activity, which my cooperating teacher promised me would be fun/easy to teach, so I hope she’s right! The huge news for the week is that, after a month of waiting, we FINALLY received our official observation/student teaching name tags to wear to our schools! I think I’m more excited than I should be, but this is one of the first concrete signs that my childhood dream is about to come to pass! It is also a huge reality shock that in the near future, people will solely know me as Ms. Hladik, not Amanda. That could be the strangest/most surreal part of the whole deal! Here is my name tag, in all of its glory!

Another high point over the last two weeks is that I experienced my first OSU game/tailgate! I decided to splurge and get the $250 all-sports pass, which gives me student admission to all home sporting activities, including football and basketball. I can easily say that that could be the best $250 I have spent as of yet, because I had a blast at my first game! (Except for parking…it was almost impossible, but I ended up parking at the grocery store four blocks from campus.)  I started out by attending my first tailgate at St. John’s. Like every other event sponsored by them, it full of good food and great friends, which equates to an all-around great time! When I went to the tailgate, I initially had no clue who I was going with, but I ended up going with another girl from church (Jenni) and her friends from the school of architecture. We had tons of fun and had some A-MAZ-ING seats, thanks to Jenni's friend who camped out in line for two hours before the gates opened! The game itself was a total blowout, because we beat Lamar by 56 points, which meant that I had LOTS of opportunities to learn all of the touchdown cheers. I am almost proficient in the touchdown trilogy cheers, although “Ride Em, Cowboys” is a little rough at the end…I’ll figure it out sooner or later! Okay, so here’s my photo montage of my first OSU game day! 
Me and my tailgating buddy, Lisa!

The outside of the stadium

No, I did not zoom in on this shot...this is how close we were!!!
Meiwoo, Jenni, and I at the end of the game! Good times :)
Speaking of St. John’s, I still love it, and I still practically live there! I have grown in my friendships with everyone there, and I am finally at the point where I know almost everyone’s names, thank goodness! I can’t remember if I mentioned it or not, but OSU is lucky enough to be able to have four campus missionaries from the FOCUS program staying with us for the school year! There are two guys and girls, and they are really becoming a fixture in our lives. All of the missionaries lead Bible study sessions for all of us students throughout the week. I love my Bible study leader, Heather! She is from Florida and recently graduated with her Bachelor’s. She is tons of fun to be around, and she always makes Bible study the highlight of my week! It makes me a little bit sad to think that she and her compadres will be leaving at the end of the school year, but that seems like forever away, so I’m not too concerned right now!

Okay, so from here on out are random musings from my life over the last two weeks, so bear with me!

First things first, this past Saturday marked my half-birthday, which only means one thing—I am six months away from turning twenty-one!!! I am really excited about this, but not for reasons you might think! It’s not so much that I want to go out to bars and be constantly wasted, because that’s NOT what I’m about, but I would love to be able to buy a bottle of wine and have it to sip along with my supper. It’s the simple things in life, I tell you!

Talking about being twenty-one reminds me of my favorite twenty-one-year-old, Liz, who I miss like crazy! We text almost weekly, but that’s nothing like actually getting to see her face-to-face. That should change for the better in a couple of months when her volleyball coaching duties are over for the season, but until then, I’ll have to be patient! I would be totally remiss if I didn't mention Tonisha, either. It’s been a lot longer since I've seen her and I miss the heck out of her! If I had internet here, or if it wouldn't be awkward to do so at church, I would Skype her, but since that isn't quite an option, I broke down and called her the other afternoon. We talked for almost an hour and a half, and it was wonderful to catch up with her! She should be coming home to visit at the end of October, so I should be able to hold out until then. Thankfully I’m making some new friends so that I’m not totally preoccupied with missing my two other besties, otherwise I would definitely go crazy!

Speaking of missing people, I decided to drop in on everyone at the quilt store on my way home this past weekend. It amazed me how much going back to the store felt just like going home…lots of friendly faces and kind words! They still promised me a job whenever I come home for break, so here’s hoping they’re true to their word! It was great to talk with everyone there, although I was sad that some of my favorite co-workers weren't there that day, only because it wasn't their day to work! Such is life, I’ll see them again!

I’m not sure if any of you heard about this or not, but I am super excited about the fact that I personally know this year’s Oklahoma Teacher of the Year!!! Peter Markes, who I have known for my entire life, won the award last week! Back in the day, he used to go to our church, although he still comes back on occasion to dazzle us with his beautiful violin skills. He is an orchestra teacher down in Edmond, and he has a clear passion for what he does. Through the years, I have come across many people my age from the Edmond area. We have inevitably come upon the conversation topic of where I’m from, which often prompted them to ask if I knew Peter. After telling them that, in fact, we went to church together, they would always gush with his praises, telling me about how great of teacher he is! I think what makes him such a great teacher is the fact that he has a clear passion for what he does, which is what sets a great teacher apart from an okay teacher. It is with that inspiration that I am going into the rest of my education classes and career as an educator. I can only hope that I can have that sort of impact on my students as the years progress!!! Way to go, Peter!!!!

Random confession time: I am currently obsessed with the wedding boards on Pinterest and I have no immediate plans of planning a wedding. There, I said it, and I feel better! I don’t know why I love this page right now…I don’t even have a man in my life! I’m not even somewhat talking to a guy! A wedding is nowhere in my foreseeable future, so I really have no business preoccupying myself with this stuff!! I don’t get it, but that’s how it is, so I’ll accept it and move on…besides, admitting you have a problem is the first step to getting help! :)

Last bit of randomness, I had an amazing weekend with my family! Cole is not usually that close with me, as he usually prefers Emily, Scotty, or my mom to anyone else besides maybe Cody or Andy. Well, that wasn't the case this weekend—he was my little red-haired shadow! He followed me all over kingdom come and back, played with me, and even ate off of my lunch plate today! (He was quite the broccoli bandit, in case you were wondering!) Needless to say, I feel quite successful as an aunt and as a Cowboy…okay, Cowgirl…I taught Cole how to say, “Go Pokes!” and make the pistols firing gesture! It was one of my proudest moments in life, teaching him the ways of the world :) I also taught him how to do the OSU arm gestures, although “S” is still a work in progress…he has “U” down to an art, though! I love it!!! Okay, words don’t do it justice: Here’s a video!!!! (I’m not sure why I can’t rotate it, but bear with it being sideways…it’s cuter to listen to anyway! PS, Don't mind him picking his nose at the end!)

Also, my dad has been growing his hair out since December. It has been a point of contention between him and my mom for a while, but he will be cutting it when his shed construction is complete in the coming weeks. Because Duck Dynasty is the rage right now, his beard is oddly in vogue. That always seems to be the case with him; I’m not sure how, because he is the least fashion conscious person I know. He wore Wrangler jeans to church, then all the farmers started wearing their Wranglers. He wore what we used to think were awkward looking Roper slip-ons to church, suddenly everyone was wearing them. He wore flashy colors like pink, everyone else does, too. (You get the picture.) He starts growing out his hair/beard, Duck Dynasty beards are suddenly cool. I don’t get it at all, but I find it oddly hilarious that he is in style without trying to be...that’s just my dad for you! So the point of this is that, since his hair is so grown out, we have been able to experiment with different hair styles on him, like these French braids I did last night! He really didn't mind me doing it, although he guilted us into not putting pictures on Facebook. I think my blog is an exception, because it’s a different type of social media with a different audience. Regardless, here are some shots of my dad’s braids…enjoy!

With that said, I hope you all have a wonderful week!!!