Sunday, November 27, 2016

Post-Thanksgiving News

Last time, I left you with the promise that I'd tell you more about the impending changes for Thomas and me vis-à-vis where his job is taking him. So, without any further ado, here it is: in July 2017, I will become a resident of the state of Texas and move to Dallas. After a little bit of upheaval and uncertainty surrounding the details, it has been decided that he’ll move in the days leading up to Christmas, and will start at the Dallas office a few days later. For the time being, he’ll live with his parents, which will give us a little bit more time to find somewhere to live that is right for us in every way. Honestly, I’m equal parts excited and bummed about this. I’m excited because I know where we’re going (finally) and because it gives us a little more direction on everything else. (We have been decently concerned about post-wedding logistics, honestly.) Also, Thomas (and eventually me) will have the opportunity to get to spend more time with his wonderful family after the last few years of us only getting to see them sporadically. Furthermore, Dallas is full of adventure and opportunity—what an exciting place for us to start our marriage! 

However, I’m also a little bummed out, because this move will put Thomas a little bit farther away from me than he is now. Can you blame me? I love this man more than most anyone else, and I just want to live near him already! (I know, we’ll have all the time in the world after July…trust me, I know.) Also, I’m already trying to mentally adjust to the idea that I for sure won’t be able to live right by my family after the wedding. That stresses me out a little bit too. (Yes, I know that it’s almost 2017, and we live in a world that constantly connects us via technology. And we’d only live about 250 miles away. I’m fully aware, but still.) I’m working towards being 100% okay with everything, but I’m still a work in progress. Like I’ve said before, be patient with me and continue to pray for me. I need both desperately!

Okay, let’s move on to better things, only because I really don’t want to go into that rabbit hole right now. What else have I done since last time?

I’m coming to the end of my week-long Thanksgiving break. I’m very happy to be here, because I think we all were ready for it. As a student, I never realized that school breaks were every bit as much for teachers’ sanity as it was for student/logistical benefit. The days leading up to extensive breaks are chaotic, stressful, and leaves students difficult to contain in every way. It makes teaching anything of value nearly pointless, when you know that you’re about to be on a week-long break, during which time, students will all but forget your name, their schedule, and everything else you’ve covered already. I can’t believe that in three-ish short weeks, we’ll be starting Christmas break. I’m sure the time from Christmas break to the end of the school year will fly by in the blink of an eye!

I really had a great break! I was able to rest up, spend time with my family and a few friends, and just “recharge my batteries”, so to speak. Highlights of the week:
-I had the privilege to be a bridesmaid for my good friend from OSU, Maria! She and her husband had a beautiful wedding Mass! An added perk of attending her wedding was getting to see my other good friend, Celeste, who was also a bridesmaid! It was my first time being a bridesmaid as an adult, and it is equal parts delightful, fun, exhausting, and beautiful! I loved it, and I loved being there for Maria on her big day! I also loved getting to meet and be a part of her big, awesome, incredible family for the weekend! They have had lots of weddings in their family (there’s lots of girls), so they had lots of great advice and insight for my upcoming day! It was a blast all around!

-This definitely isn’t a highlight, but still…a couple of weeks ago, on my way home from visiting Thomas for the weekend, I had a literal run-in with a deer. I was only 4 miles from home, so it was a bit depressing. (Tangent: I’m becoming a statistic…both of my major auto incidents have occurred within 10 miles of my house.) Thankfully, there wasn’t much damage, relatively speaking. The deer struck the driver’s side of my car, mostly by the back door. At first thought, I really thought that it’d buff out, but a visit to a body shop quickly squashed that notion. Thankfully insurance will pay for most of it, and it won’t cause my premiums to go up. In good news (?) I will be taking my car in to start repairs, and hopefully it’ll be back to normal by the end of the week. I’m cautiously optimistic, at best! This whole ordeal has been largely annoying, but I guess I can chalk it up to life experience. So life goes!

-I’m almost done getting bridesmaid dresses fitted! Only one more to go, then I’ll be able to order and move forward with that! Woohoo! On a somewhat related note, I had a great lunch with Tonisha and Mary last Friday (Thomas fourth-wheeled…haha!). It was great to see and catch up with them again!

-Although it was a little touch and go for a short while, Thomas ended up being able to come over on Wednesday night and stayed through today! This was probably the longest stretch of time we’ve been able to spend together for quite some time! It was great to get to spend Thanksgiving with him and share our family’s celebrations. During his time here, we were able to find/buy his wedding band! We bought it from a lovely local jeweler. Even better, since we bought it during their anniversary sale, we got a pretty decent discount on it! Also, our photographer finally finished editing our engagement photos, so we were able to pick those up! After getting those, we started browsing ideas for save-the-dates. As it turned out, today was the end of a really good sale on Shutterfly, so we took full advantage of that and ordered those today! Thanks to some good planning on our part (and sheer luck), we managed to only spend $16 on our (huge) order of save the dates! Anyone who knows me knows I love a good bargain! I’m beyond pumped about all of this. I’m even more pumped that Thomas and I accomplished so much. I’m the most pumped that I get to marry this amazing man in 7.5-ish months! :)

-Our Thanksgiving celebrations this year were vastly better than last year’s, if only because we weren’t grappling with the sudden, tragic death in the family and because we weren’t in the midst of an ice storm. On the day of, my parents, Thomas, and I traveled to Perry to celebrate with Gina, Jeremy, and his family. We had our big family celebration yesterday, and it was about perfect! Dad cooked a turkey on his Traeger grill, Mom took care of stuffing and the other miscellaneous things, my sisters took care of the sides, and I had us well-stocked on pies! We had a great feast with tons of fun! We happened to pull out an old family video of my Grandma and Grandpa Hladik. The video happened to include footage of Uncle Joe (who died in the bicycle accident last September), Mimi, and Grandpa Rudy. It did my heart good to see their faces and hear their voices again. My heart was full.

-It turns out that for Christmas this year (weather permitting, of course), I’ll be spending it in Texas with the Lieses! Thomas and I realized that in the almost-two years we’ve been together, I’ve never spent a major holiday with his family, although he has spent many with me and my family. Since he’ll be moving back to Texas a few days beforehand, we felt like it was only fair for it to work this way. I’m hoping the weather will cooperate so I can celebrate with them!

I think that’s the extent of my life’s happenings from the last few weeks. I’m sure I’ll think of 4 other things I should’ve added after I post it, but oh well…story of my life! I’ll end by sharing a few of my favorite engagement photos! All picture credits go to the amazing Rachel Hawk of Hawk Photography! She is beyond awesome!

Back in the chapel at St. John's where it all began!

Taken on the park bench we sat on during our first date :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Early November Happenings

It's been a while since I've shared what I've been up to, so here goes!

October was a blur, as evidenced by my lack of posts. How is it that we're already in November? (Heaven knows it sure doesn't feel like it outside!) Work has been good, but crazy as usual. All in all, this year is really going much, much better than last year. If this year had been identical to last year, who knows if I would ever consider teaching again. Life is much better not being a first-year teacher. Furthermore, even with the craziness of my day-to-day life, I don't always feel like I'm drowning in lesson plans or anything of the like. Fall Break came and went we're on the countdown to Thanksgiving Break (16 days and counting, in case you were wondering). After having an 11-week-long first quarter, we now are in the midst of a 7-week-long second quarter. By the time you factor in semester and nine-weeks testing, you really only have six weeks to work with...yikes! I can't believe we're shockingly close to finishing the first half of the year...on a different note, I still adore the great team we have at my school. This year has really taught me the importance of collaboration and teamwork. I love it all!

Outside of work, I've gone on all sorts of adventures. Thomas and I attended an OSU football game with amazing seats. We went on a weekend excursion to Eureka Springs. My mom hosted the Hajek family reunion (Mimi's side of the family) at our shed. Jakub turned 3, and Dad turned 60. Cody finished his 6th grade football season undefeated. Thomas's parents went on an extensive river boat cruise of central/eastern Europe (including the Czech Republic...yes, I was jealous!) So many things have happened, it's all a blur!

On a different note, as sad as it sounds, I'm really doing everything I can to avoid thinking about the upcoming presidential election. We're one week away, and it couldn't come any quicker! I've avoided the topic as of yet, but I have to take a moment and say a few things. Sadly, I cannot wholeheartedly stand behind any presidential candidate. Donald Trump is a raving, pompous, madman who should NOT be this close to being the leader of the free world. Hilary Clinton, in my eyes, is untrustworthy and has always left me with bad feelings. I could stand behind Gary Johnson, but I don't agree with most of his stances on issues relevant to me. Furthermore, I can't even stand to "vote for the Vice-President", as some have suggested. (That doesn't completely make sense to me, honestly.) I feel like the only option I can, with a clear conscience, stand behind is to not vote for a presidential candidate. However, that goes against everything I believe in. Regardless of me not wanting to vote, this election will still take place and a winner will be decided. Furthermore, I will effectively cede all rights to complain if I don't take part in the democratic process. Most of all, this is my constitutional right to vote. Women have not always had that freedom, and I'd be doing a disservice to the pioneering women to not vote. I'll vote, but I'm still not sure who I'll choose. I'm guessing it'll be a gut feeling when I get to the voting booth, if anything. It is what it is.

Furthermore, I'm tired of everyone being so divided. I'm tired of hearing the media twist everything around or only report on things that support their rather obvious biases. I'm tired of seeing people blindly share propaganda from either side, and also of seeing people become armchair political analysts, calling people out that they need to "fact check", when they probably don't do much of that themselves, especially in years that don't include elections. I appreciate that people are taking an interest in the election, but I hate how much hate it is causing. No one likes to mention this, but I think the explosion/misuse of social media and pervasiveness of media are key parts of the problem. Everyone constantly has a place they can get on his/her soapbox. (As I'm doing now...the irony isn't lost on me, I promise.) Everyone is constantly partaking in the steady stream of vitriol from both sides. I understand that people want to share their opinions, but no one can seem to be okay with the fact that others disagree with them. More than ever, I have seen many people empirically believe that if someone doesn't support x candidate, then they are an awful human being who is part of the problem. I hate it. I hate all of it. As childish as it may sound, I just want people to get along and be kind to others, regardless of their opinions/beliefs. We are all children of God, created to live lives of love and service to others. I think it's time we start acting like it. Okay, I'm done talking about politics online for now.

I'll end with happy thoughts, because that was a somewhat depressing rabbit hole I just went down.

In a few weeks (2.5 to be exact), I get to be a bridesmaid in my friend Maria's wedding! I'm so excited that she has asked me to be a part of her big day! I can't wait to stand beside her as she joyfully enters into the sacrament of marriage! This weekend is her shower, and I'm excited to get to see her and try on my bridesmaid's dress!

One other exciting happening is that Thomas and I will (weather permitting) have our engagement photo shoot this Saturday! I can't wait to see the end product!!! After we get these photos, we can really start rolling with more planning...think save-the-dates! Currently, my plans for Christmas break mostly consist of addressing those. Otherwise, there are lots of big changes looming, but I'll wait to announce those until everything is a little more ironed out. (Basically, I know where we're moving, but I'll tell you more about that next time...promise!) It's an exciting, yet crazy time...all a part of our journey.