Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

I thought you guys would enjoy this. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

17 Days

I have only seventeen days before I am Mrs. Cox. I keep expecting the whole "I'm getting married" thing to sink in at some point, but it hasn't yet.

Right now I'm spending my last few days at home before moving to Houston to work on wedding stuf. It all feels really surreal. It feels like it will last a week or so and then I'll go back to my normal life. However, marriage isn't a temporary thing. It's for forever.

I'm SO excited!

We're almost there with the wedding plans. There's just a few things to organize. Austin and I decided not to go with RSVP invitations, so we really don't know how many people will be at the wedding. We do know that it will be big, though!

I can't wait to dance with Austin at the reception and then jet off to Jamaica two days later.

We're doing things a little differently than most people. I hear stories of people who drive for hours to get to their hotel, or who end their wedding so late that it's after midnight by the time they reach their hotel, or people who have to wake up at 4 the following morning to make their flights.

Not us!

We're staying just 2.5 miles from the church on our wedding night.

The next day, we are going to go back to our apartment and open presents/relax after the wedding, and then leave for our honeymoon on Monday.

We're going to Jamaica, if you didn't know!

I am thrilled to begin this new life with the most wonderul man I have ever met!

So thrilled.
-Katie

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I'm a Little Teapot...


I woke up this morning feeling pretty crappy. My back hurt, my head hurt, my ears hurt, my cheeks hurt. I was sniffly and my throat felt scratchy. I knew there was no way that I could get sick because I have to go to College Station and Houston this weekend! It was going to be an exciting time!

Darn these sinus problems! I suffer from sinus infections (really bad ones) at least 2 or 3 times a year. I was sick of having to put my life on hold every time the weather changes.

I've been hearing a little bit about the Neti Pot, an easy way to clear sinuses. Apparently Oprah had a show about it, although I never saw it (I don't watch Oprah). Anyways, I decided to head out to my local Walgreens today and buy a Neti. In case you don't know what a Neti Pot is, it's basically a little teapot. I've seen many pictures of ceramic ones, but the one I bought today is plastic. You put some warm water into the pot and then dissolve a packet of the Neti salt in the water. You then lean over the sink and tilt your head to the side. Then you stick the spout into your nostril and wait until the water comes out of your other nostril. No joke. After doing this, you blow your nose gently and dislodge all the nasty stuff that is making you feel horrible! You do this to oth nostrils and feel great afterwards. Seriously, I can breathe now!

This video explains it better:





I know it looks like a joke, but it's not. It's definitely one of the weirdest things I've ever done. But it works, and I'm going to do it every day.

-Katie

Monday, December 15, 2008

Done and Done

"Feels like 14 degrees." That's what the weather forcast says here. It's 27 degrees outside (and will get down to 26 tonight) and the windchill is making it half as warm.

Thanks to the weather and the fact that it was probably 60-something yesterday, I am stuffed up, I have a sore throat, my eyes are burning and I constantly feel like I need to sneeze. I could use a back massage, too.

Yay, weather.

On a very positive note, I graduated two days ago! It feels so weird to be completely finished with college. I don't think it's hit me yet. Student teaching enabled me to slowly disconnect with Texas A&M. My emotional time came in May, when I went through the "this is the last time I'll..." phase. Student teaching in Frisco was great because although I was still a student, I didn't really feel like one. Now, I'm not a student anymore at all. I have a diploma to prove it!

Saturday was the first time I have graduated in my life. I didn't graduate from high school, really. I mean, not in the way that Americans normally do. Since I went to a British high school, all we did was have our "final assembly" and we were done. No diploma. No cap and gown. No nothing. The end. I have always wanted to wear a cap and gown, and on Saturday, my dream came true. However, I didn't have a tassle in my cap and gown set, so that was a bit of a let down. Whatever, I graduated and that's all I really care about!

With graduation behind me, I can focus on the next milestone in my life: marriage.

Can I just say that I get married in 26 DAYS?!?!??? Really, that is so strange to me! I have been working on wedding stuff today and it is surreal that the wedding is so close. I have a lot to do! Please pray for focus and discipline during the next few weeks for me. I tend to get overwhelmed when I have a lot to do and I want to push things to the back of my mind and not even think about them. Not what I need to do when I have a wedding to plan!

I have to go eat now. I'm sorry this is a shorter post, but I thought I would sneak a few thoughts in while I could.

-Katie

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Scary Mall People


I wonder how many times I have been offered a little soap slice when walking through the mall. Each time I shake my head and say "No, thank you." But I still feel a little mean. But really, what am I going to do with a small sliver of soap? Turn around and head straight for the bathroom to try it out? Stick it in my purse and then find it days later when it has melted or rubbed all over the inside of my bag? The poor people operating those soap stands seem to get more and more desperate each time I visit the mall. I think they try to invent creative and charming ways to present you with the soap sample. The tall, dark-featured foreign guy (maybe Spanish?) that I passed today tried to pretend that it was a present for me. He held the little glycerin treasure with both hands and reached out real far, with a desperate look in his eye. "Present, for youuuu!!!!" he exclaimed, but I gave him my "I'm really sorry" smile and kept walking. It really amazes me that these little stands have appeared at malls everywhere, because I didn't think there was really a need for MORE scented body products in the United States. Maybe I'm wrong...?

Oh, and right after I passed Fabio, I ran into another girl who extended her hand to me, only this time it contained a postcard-looking thing instead of a hygiene product. She asked me if I would "take her card", and I thought that it probably wouldn't hurt. It's just a card, right? But as soon as I even applied the slightest pressure with my fingers in order to receive it, she tightened her grip and jerked her arm in a little bit. She stepped into my personal space and examined my face. "What make up do you use?" she asked, as I tried to keep walking, although I knew that I wasn't going to get very far. I answered her question and then she asked me if she could show me something. Oh, crap. I told her that I didn't have enough time (I was starving and I had no idea where the nearest Pei Wei was). "Just two minutes???" she pleaded. I thought to myself, "yeah, right... more like 10" and shook my head again. I could see behind her an array of brightly colored powders and Bare Escentual-wannabe products and realized what I could be getting myself into. And at this point I am still holding on to that darn postcard thing. I told her no, I really didn't have time. I'm pretty sure she clenched her jaw and narrowed her eyes and then yanked the postcard back without saying a word.

Yikes.

I used to be scared of the people with the hair straighteners. One look at my curly hair and they just about attacked me. For some reason, it was really bad in the College Station mall. The same girl would always be working there and as soon as I would venture around the corner in an attempt to visit the JC Penney end of the mall, she would start following me, voice raised. It got to the point that I would have to pretend I was on the phone or something, or wait until she was turned the other way before darting past the booth. I don't know what those people want to do with me. They wouldn't be able to just straighten one lock of hair and not have me look like an idiot. They would have to straighen my entire head, which would take about an hour or so, but it would look AWFUL because of all the gel and cream that is in my hair.

Sigh.

I know that these people have jobs and they have to be somewhat aggresive in order to get clients, but they scare me. And I think there is a line. And I think that line gets crossed more than it should. :-/

Chrissie wants me to help her with her homework now, but before I go, I want to do a little plug:

My sister Kellie, as many of you know, is a photographer. She recently just got her first official website, and it is incredible. I swear, you will be looking at her pictures for hours! http://www.kellierene.com/ is the address. Her work is insane! Go see!

Peace out!
-Katie

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Do People Even Read This Anymore?

Good grief, it's been a while. I promise that I am still here and still well. I haven't gotten sick or anything (which is kind of miraculous considering how busy I have been!).

What's happened since I last wrote? Well, I finished student teaching. That was so sad for me, because I was so attached to my 7th graders. As a token of my love for them, I made 168 cupcakes, which came in three different kinds of cake, two kinds of icing and were complete with sprinkles on the top. My kids loved them! It has been almost three weeks since I last saw my children, and it feels so strange. I hope they are all doing alright.

I have been really busy now with wedding stuff. I have 5 1/2 weeks until the BIG DAY, so it's full steam ahead for me. I addresses most of the invitation envelopes today in calligraphy. I have decided that I really enjoy writing in pretty handwriting. I went out and bought a cartridge calligraphy pen and I definitely prefer it to the felt tip one that I had been practicing with. If I do say so myself, the envelopes look beautiful.

Today I got my wedding dress back from the alterations place, and it fits like a glove. I am in awe!!! I won't lie, my wedding dress is amazing. It is so perfect for me and I can't wait to wear it as I walk down the aisle towards my handsome Austin! Whoohoo! All that I need now is a pair of earrings and my shoes. That shouldn't be too difficult.

Tomorrow I am getting a haircut at a CURLY HAIR SPECIALIST!!! I am so super excited about this! The hair guy has curly hair himself and has been learning how to care for and cut curly hair for the past 18 years. He has some certification that means that he knows a lot about curly hair. I can't wait to see what he does! My hair appointment comes complete with a "class" on how to care for and style my hair. How fun is that?

Well it's time for me to go eat some pizza. My stomach is rumbling.
-Katie

Monday, November 10, 2008

Right Now

Hello, world.

I'm here. I'm okay. It's been a while, but I can finally spend a little time by myself on my blog. Translation: student teaching is slowing down!

I have written about 27 posts in my head in between my last real post and this one. I have played with words in my mind and tried to find some worth posting. Yet now, on this stormy evening, I have forgotten every word that I meant to put on here. Instead, I am left with me, now. My mind at this very moment.

Right now, I am tired. I just finished my last two weeks of full responsibility in the classroom. It was so busy that I could barely keep my head above it all. I was doing everything. My students forgot that they even had another teacher, and in fact, MJ was gone last week for 3 out of the 5 week days. The other two days, she stayed out of the classroom all day. I got used to being the teacher, and I loved it. The kids became mine, and today was my day to give them back. When I told my kids that this week was my last week, one student said, "Who's going to be our teacher?" as another student rolled their eyes and replied, "Our teacher!" I had to laugh, and felt quite proud of myself. It meant that my students saw me as a real teacher, and it made me happy. I can't wait to have a classroom of my own, where I am the actual teacher, and I don't have to leave my kids after 12 weeks.

Right now, I am reunited. This weekend we had our annual family reunion for my dad's side of the family. I got to see my aunts and uncles as well as my cousin and grandfather. It was a wonderful weekend full of conversation, memories and laughter. Austin was able to meet everyone and it was special. Everyone loved him and told me so. Last night, we had "Celebrate Pop" night. We had a cake specially made in honor of my grandfather, and everyone presented him with handwritten notes that we had made for him. It was better than any gift we could have given to him. Now everyone is gone back to their respective states, and the house feels empty. I have my bed back, but I didn't even mind giving it up. It was a great weekend.

Right now, I am learning. The weather seems to be reflecting my life lately. The major theme right now seems to be "change", and I am experiencing much of it. There are so many things that I have been learning recently, most of which relates to marriage. Austin wrote up a budget for us, and explained it to me. We are going to be saving anything that I make and putting it towards a house and kids' college stuff. Hopefully, by the time we are ready to have kids, we will have a house and have saved up a good amount for their college expenses. Austin is so wise with money. I love that he seeks the Lord and is so generous yet smart with what he earns. He is a wonderful provider and I know that I am in good hands!

So, that's Austin's thing. My thing has been my charting. I am convinced that most of the couples who have difficulties getting pregnant wouldn't have problems if they charted the woman's waking temperatures and CF. I have learned so much about my own body by charting! I discovered that I have a short luteal phase (the second half of my cycle) which can cause difficulties when trying to get pregnant because the baby needs at least 10 days for implantation to occur. However, I found out that the problem can be easily corrected by taking vitamin B6 supplements. I started taking it today so I'm going to see if it helps. It is insane how much I am learning just after two months!

Right now, I am trusting. I have been reminded many times recently that I am not God. I often feel overwhelmed with how much I have to do in the next two months, but I know that God is faithful and that I am not alone. Things don't always go the way that I want them to, but I have to keep trusting that God is in control.

Goodnight, world. I'm sorry I haven't updated recently. It's been crazy around here!

-Katie

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

No Time to Write

I have been dying to write in here but I haven't had any time. Teaching has suddenly become more challenging and I am swamped with stuff to do. It doesn't help that I have been getting home really late the past few days!

Pray for energy and time for me to get my list of stuff done. I have a feeling that it's not going to slow down until I'm finished with student teaching... and then a whole other pile of stuff will be added to my "to do" list.

Whew.

I'm getting ready for bed.

-Katie

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Turtlenecks and Cardigans

My room is smelling oh-so-great, courtesy of Bath & Body Works. I got a free mini-candle today since I spent $10 there, and I love that my room is filled with the scent of "Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin" now.

I can't wait for it to get cold! This scent is making me feel cozy and warm... now if only it would be cold outside! I finally unpacked the suitcase containing all my fall/winter clothes tonight. I realized that I own a lot of turtlenecks and cardigans. I am the sort of person who gets stuck in a rut with certain clothing items. If I find something I love, I tend to buy lots of the same type of item. I love the way that turtlenecks feel: they keep your neck warm and make you look sophisticated (most of the time). Cardigans are great because they can be dressed up or down, and they're so easy to wear.

I also want it to get cold so I can make hot cocoa all the time. :)

Claire went to her first Homecoming tonight with Ian. She looked so beautiful in her little black dress! I hope that she is enjoying herself and feeling quite grown up. I was never a huge fan of school dances when I lived in England. I never had anyone to go with and to be honest, I probably wouldn't have enjoyed myself if I would have had a date. I didn't learn how to enjoy dances until I met Austin. That's probably because he taught me how to dance and takes the time to have fun and live it up at parties. Hopefully our wedding will be a really fun party. We'll be dancing all night!!!

Right now I'm going to go finish The Blessed Marriage, a book that Austin bought for us to read. I want to finish it before he does (which may be impossible since he was reading the last chapter this morning)... :)

Goodnight friends!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Things I Will Never Do

After being at school today, I started to make a mental list of things I will never do. I figured that I should post it so that y'all could read it and add your own things. Here's the beginning of mine:

  • I will never get a puppy before I have kids. I know it's the cool thing to do when you're a young newlywed couple, but Austin and I will not do that. I like dogs, but it just seems like a big pain. You are constantly tied to a little animal that lives on a schedule but can only leave your house when you go to dog-friendly places. I don't want to be married and worried about going on a trip or something because my dog needs food at whatever time and has to have a walk every day. Oh yeah, and I don't want pee all over the place. Austin and I think we will wait until we have kids and they beg for a puppy. I just want to enjoy being married for a while. Plus, I want kids way more than I want a puppy. I think we both do.
  • I will never use the name "Bubba" as a nickname for one of my children. I think it's downright weird. I think it's especially weird when parents get their older (like 2 or 3 years old) children to call their baby brother that. When I become a parent, I know that I will think long and hard of a wonderful name to give my child. I want to use that name and get any siblings or relatives to use it, too.
  • I will never give my children McDonald's almost every day for lunch. I've seen one teacher at my school do that and it's really nasty.

That's my list so far. I'm sure there's more things I will come up with.

On a different note, my mom had her back surgery today. She will be in the hospital until Sunday night. Please pray for her - she has to be in a neck brace for 6 weeks and she cannot drive until it is off. The operation involved cutting into her neck/throat in order to repair whatever was damaged, so her throat is going to be really sore for a while. Please pray for a quick recovery and minimal pain. :)

Oh, guess what?! I got a call saying that my wedding dress arrived today! I am going to pick it up tomorrow. It's convenient because I was already planning on going tomorrow morning to order bridesmaids dresses! I'm so excited!

I have to go pick Claire up now, so I need to end this. Goodnight!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Bouquets of Sharpened Pencils...

****Lauren kindly pointed out that I am an idiot. Then she laughed at me. ;-) I swear, spending all day with 7th graders does something to your brain! I changed my mistake!****

I absolutely love the fall. I think that secretly, it's always been my favorite season (there you go, Lauren). I love the whole back-to-school vibe and I get excited when I go shopping for new school supplies. Fortunately, I chose a career where I can still buy school supplies (year round!). I'm like a kid in a candy store when I walk down the office supply aisle! My new favorite things are Papermate "Flair Bold Colors" marker pens. I use them for everything: grading, taking notes or decorating my science "scrapbook" (as Austin calls it).






More than office supplies, however, I love this weather! It's a little chilly in the morning, and I actually have to turn my car's heater on to lose the goosebumps. By mid-day, it's warmed up a lot but still not overwhelming. I wore a long sleeved shirt today and started feeling a little toasty after 20 minutes of standing outside during a fire drill. Or fire. Us clueless teachers still aren't sure if it was real or not. Anyways, I am just excited that the weather is starting to cool off, even if it's just a little bit. Soon it will be winter... which means that Christmas is near (can you believe it?)... and it also means that I will be married soon! I calculated today that I get married in 14 1/2 weeks. Craziness.

To be a little more exact: 101 days. :)

I have a lot of grading to do today, so I will have to quit writing right now.

But before I go, name the movie my title is from. Amy, you should get this one! ;-)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Short and Sweet

I have been pushing myself so hard for the past however many weeks and I really haven't stopped. This weekend was just as crazy as the weekdays were - I went to College Station for the game. I feel like I'm running ragged and will eventually get sick if I don't slow down soon.

So in an attempt to relax tonight, I got my work done early when I got home and now I'm making myself a cup of hot tea. It is my personal belief that hot tea makes everything better. My tea of choice right now is Tazo Zen, a green tea with added essences of lemongrass and spearmint. Delightful.

I'd love to be in bed in an hour, but dinner isn't even ready yet. Being at home and having my mom cook for me every night is AMAZING during student teaching! It is the hugest blessing.

I need to set the table now so I'm going to cut this short.

I hope you are all having a great start to your week!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Whoohoo! Temperature Shift!

Maybe I'm normal after all. :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Lady-Comp Update

I've wasted entirely too much time tonight. I've been trying to write a lesson plan but I can't finish it because I don't have all the information I need.

I'm listening to Jason Mraz, getting way too interested in changing my blog's layout and settings. It was too busy and crazy for me with all that brown scribble. Does anyone know how to put pictures up by the blog title and actually have it work for them? For some reason, my picture does not fall within the border given. I am fed up trying to resize it. I appreciate any help I can get.

So, after I told you that nothing really amusing happens in class, two kids broke a thermometer during lab. This occurred yesterday, while I was alone in the classroom with the worst class of the entire day. I wanted to throw the children out of the classroom, but I had no idea where to send them. They were so scared and I was so mad because I had just given instructions which they did not obey. They were lucky that I am a huge softie inside because otherwise, they would be doing some serious work to fix their mistake. My mentor teacher and I came up with a wonderful punishment: to clean ALL the lab equipment we used. Believe me, that's a punishment. They will spend hours in there.

Lady-Comp update: I have been using my new contraption for nine days now, and so far, so good. The electronic gadget works great, but it's my own body that I'm worrying about. I'm on day 18 and I have not yet experienced a shift in temperature. I fear that something is wrong with me. Is that normal? I told Austin about this yesterday and he pretty much told me that I was overreacting and that I'm probably not going to die.

I like the Lady-Comp, though. It wakes me up in the morning with a beeping noise that starts pretty quiet and gets gradually louder. I have been plotting my temperature as well as letting the gadget do it. I want to visually see what is happening to my body temperature. It's really interesting. I feel that I was missing out in not knowing that my body followed a certain pattern each month. No one ever told me that your temperature rises halfway through your cycle. I think this should be common knowledge for teenagers! There is so much cool stuff that your body does that just amazes me.

I hate to end here, but I really need to get to bed and I haven't even made my lunch yet. Gosh, I miss the days where staying up till 1 was no big deal.

-Katie

Monday, September 22, 2008

I Wonder What Accupuncture Would Feel Like

It seems like most teachers come home with scores of "student stories" to share. For some reason, hilarious moments never seem to occur during my teaching experiences. I'm trying to rack my brain right now so I can share an anecdote with you, but nothing comes to mind. It's not that teaching isn't eventful, because every day is so busy and crazy that I barely have time to breathe. Maybe it's something to do with the 7th grade. Honestly, the funniest moment that I can think of is when one student asked the girl across from him for her number. In the middle of class. She felt so awkward and I was standing right next to their table. Poor girl.

Teaching is a tough job. Way tougher than I ever imagined it to be. My first week of full responsibility started today, and everything went smoothly. Everything except the fact that my supervisor failed to show up today to observe me. She missed the last appointment, too - well, she forgot about it and came an hour late, but by that time we were doing other things and she didn't get to see me teach. Which is why she scheduled an observation for today.

Sigh.

I am so tired right now and to be honest, I shouldn't be on here. I need to grade papers so that I can go to bed early. (And when you consider that "normal" time is 9:30... early is pretty early.)

If I could have one wish right now, it would be to curl up on my bed in my fuzzy blanket, have someone bring me a cup of hot tea and give me a foot massage. :-) (Austin, this is what you get to look forward to when we get married!!! Haha!)

One more thought: The Office comes back on Thursday. I honestly can't wait!!!! It will be the one time I turn my TV on every week. Seriously.

-K

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Love Surprises!


I just found out that Austin is going to be at my house in a few hours. I nearly lost it after school because I got a text message that read:

"Do you want to watch a movie tonight?"

Seriously, I just about peed my pants. I was going to smack him with a baseball bat the next time I saw him if he was joking with me.

Turns out, he wasn't joking. His family had to evacuate because of Ike, so he decided to drive all the way up to Dallas and spend the weekend with me and my family. Wasn't that sweet? I'm stoked. And yes, I just used that word.

Random question: what do you do with cocky kids? I mean, I love all my students, but there's one kid who is really starting to bug me with his arrogant attitude. He's extremely bright and really "cool". 7th grade cool. This guy is going to be an engineer one day, I just know it. A cool engineer. And I think he knows it. I am very impressed by his knowledge, and I complimented him the other day. I told him that he was "way ahead of the game" and I don't think I should have. Ever since then, he's been asking me things like, "Are we going to study radioactivity?" or "Do we get to learn about quarks?" ...in front of the whole class. I mean, he'll stick his hand up in the middle of lecture to ask a question like that. Today I caught him telling his entire group that he has been G/T since he was in 2nd grade.

I love his enthusiasm for science and learning, but the arrogant attitude he has is going to slap him in the face if he's not careful. I want the best for all my students, but I can tell that the other students really don't care. They are just struggling with the fact that protons are positive but neutrons are not negative.

Sigh.

Teaching is so much more than I thought. I love it, but it is SO HARD. I thank God for giving me strength every day to face the 6 periods I have to teach or co-teach.

-Katie

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Oohhh, she said "period!"

Wow, guys! I was really blessed by the responses I got on that last post. I had no idea that
a) so many people read my blog, and
b) I am not alone on this issue.

It was a blessing to hear your responses. Our God is good!

My Lady-Comp is due to arrive on Monday, so I am checking my doorstep every day until then. I am anxious to figure out how it works!

So guess what? In four months, I will be married! That makes me so excited and a little nervous, because I have so much to do before then. I feel like all my energy is focused into student teaching right now, and all I have when I get home is enough energy to eat, grade papers (if needed) and get prepared for the next day. Wedding planning is a slow process right now. I am having a difficult time believing that I will be a wife in four short months. Sometimes I don't feel prepared for that task!

Austin has been looking at places to live. Right now we are looking at Alief and Katy. (ASHLEY!! I could live so close to you!!!) I really don't know anything about Houston, so I'm very clueless. Everything about living in Houston seems strange to me. I know that I have moved countries before (heck, I've moved continents!), but moving to a new Texas city seems scarier. It'll be a lot to adjust to. Gosh. There's going to be a ton of change in four months: I'll be married, living with a boy, be hundreds of miles from my family, be a graduate, and be living in Houston. I might need therapy...

On a different note, I am really enjoying student teaching. I am already teaching for most of the day, and I've only been at the school for 2 1/2 weeks. My mentor teacher told me today that I didn't seem like a student teacher to her. I guess that's good, right? I really love my students. They are all so different and unique! I love standing at the door at the beginning of each period and shaking their hands. They love it, too. Some of them will walk up with their arms extended, ready to shake my hand. Haha, some of those 7th graders haven't quite mastered how to give a handshake. There's a few guys who have really great handshakes, but most of the girls are "limp fish". You know what I mean? :)

I'm really getting into the groove of teaching, too. At first it was a little frightening, but now it's fine. As long as you say something with confidence, they will listen and believe you. (I guess that's a little scary... haha!) 7th graders are wonderful. They have so much life and are simply hilarious. We are doing chemistry right now in science and we have been studying the Periodic Table. I think it's hilarious when I talk about "periods" on the table because you can tell that they giggle a little bit and squirm in their seats. That word still makes them embarassed, bless them.

I can't help but think about how I would love to work with that age in a church. They're so impressionable and enthusiastic. I just want to be able to talk to them in small groups and know what is going on in their lives. But then I think about how that would be weird if I taught 7th graders in school and also in Sunday School. I'd be different in each of those situations and I don't know if it would be a good thing.

Anyways, these are just thoughts right now. I'm craving a bath so I'm going to go relax a little.

Enjoy your Wednesday night!

-Katie

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Yes, I'm Actually Telling You This!



Note: the topic of this post is controversial. I am sharing my opinion, but I am not saying this is the only way or the best way to do things. I will share my research with you on this topic and the conclusion I came to. Please understand that I am not judging you if you do things differently! I just wanted to share this with my readers because it was a big decision in my life.

* * * * * * *
I am waiting for a package right now. You know what that feels like! I'm excited but a little anxious at the same time. Austin and I ordered the "Lady-Comp" a few weeks ago and it should be arriving at my house any day now. I'm a little anxious because this is a territory that I have never ventured on before:

Birth Control.

It's the topic that every engaged couple should discuss (but I'm not sure all couples talk about before they get married).

People don't talk about it very much, and to be honest, I have no idea what any of my married friends are using, if they decided to use birth control. I wish I knew more about this part of married couples' lives, but for some reason, no one seems to mention it, at least not to me.

I believe that all decisions, especially one like birth control, should be prayerfully considered and Biblically researched. The problem is, the Bible doesn't have any specific chapters regarding the subject. The only one I know of is in Genesis 38, and that story is apparently very controversial.

My assumption for most of my life was that birth control = the pill. Honestly, I thought that was really the only way to go (and I'm not quite sure what I thought the purpose of condoms were if you were using the pill...). Anyways, I just thought that was the norm. You got engaged, you went on the pill. You wanted to get pregnant, you stopped taking it. Simple.

Then several months ago I started thinking about birth control more. More and more of my friends were getting married, and some people seemed to get pregnant straight after their weddings. If they were all using the pill, and it was supposed to be so effective, then why was this happening? It dawned on me that maybe not everyone chose to use the pill. I started doing research and discovered a whole world that I never even knew existed. Sure, we had that nurse lady come and talk to all of us in 9th grade, and sure, I had heard the names of other forms of contraception such as "spermicide" and "diaphragm" but I didn't know much. And I didn't really listen to the nurse lady because I was nowhere near marriage.

During my time of research, I tried to figure out what I believed. I had no reason to think that the pill was the best thing out there other than the fact that most people seemed to use it, so I was going to go into the research with an open mind. My mom had told me that she could never use the pill because it made her crazy. Completely insane. The same thing happened to a friend of mine who was engaged, and it made me think about them: what was the solution?

I started with the pill. I was actually on the pill for a year and a half because of acne, but eventually I went off of it because I didn't have a strong reason to stick with it, and because they didn't sell the same pill in the U.S. that I was taking (it was a British one). I ended up with headaches every month after getting off the pill and never thought the two were related until my mom suggested it to me. I had heard other negative things about it from someone else, so I decided to find out exactly what the pill does.

Basically, it delivers hormones to your body and suppresses your period each month. The only reason you bleed is because your body goes into withdrawal since you don't take the pills for seven days each month. It's not an actual period. It fakes everything. The only reason why you take these fake pills (or no pills at all) for seven days each month is because doctors thought it would freak women out to not have a period at all. It's all psychological. It's funny because now there is a pill called Lybrel that suppresses your period all together.

The pill is medically designed to do three things:

1. Suppress ovulation
2. Prevent the sperm from meeting the egg by thickening the body's mucus
3. Prevent a fertilized egg from implanting on the wall of the uterus.

Did you read that last one correctly? Yes, a fertilized egg can die because of the pill. The pill is not actually a contraceptive because it may allow conception to take place. If you believe that life begins at fertilization, then you have a problem on your hands because that little baby embryo, no matter how small it is, is left to die since it cannot implant. The pill is actually defined as an abortifacient. Seriously, look it up online, it's everywhere. I was shocked when I read that because I had no idea that a baby can actually be made when using the pill. I honestly thought that its purpose was to suppress ovulation. No egg, no baby, right?

What I discovered was that it's the estrogen that mainly suppresses the ovulation. However, pills are containing lower and lower doses of estrogen now. You've heard of "low dose", right? That's talking about the estrogen content. There's even a progestin-only pill (the PoP), which doesn't contain any estrogen at all. Therefore, ovulation is barely suppressed and so job numbers 2 and 3 (listed above) happen more and more.

Another shocking thing I found out was about the morning-after pill. Most of us know it as an emergency early abortion pill (sometimes called "Plan B") which can be taken up to 72 hours after having sex. It causes a very early abortion and the baby is flushed out of the uterus, pretty much. Well, I found out that the morning-after pill is just a high dose of progestin, the same stuff in the regular pill. Yep, same darn stuff.

I had no idea that the pill caused early abortions!

Some people don't have a problem with this fact. I talked to my grandmother about it (who is a super conservative southern Baptist) and she didn't think it was a big deal at all. But for some reason, those facts really bothered me. I also didn't like the way the pill completely reverses everything your body is made to do. God made us in such a beautiful way and it works so wonderfully naturally. The pill pretty much screws everything up and makes your womb so foreign and uninhabitable for life to occur. I just didn't like that. There are also other nasty side effects like blood clots and headaches (like the ones I suffer from now).

So anyways, my research of the pill left me feeling uneasy and weirded out. I knew that I couldn't use the pill when I was married and feel completely comfortable with it. I began to pray about it, even though I wasn't engaged at this point, and I wanted God to show me His plan for my life in regards to birth control.

I researched other things:
-male and female condoms
-spermicides
-the IUD
-diaphragm
-cervical cap
-sponge

Almost everything I read about had something about it that I didn't like. I didn't like the IUD because it did basically the same thing as the pill. I didn't like spermicides because I didn't like the thought of putting a foreign chemical inside my body, especially one that some people are allergic to. The diaphragm weirded me out and it seemed kind of old-fashioned.

I couldn't figure out why on earth I wasn't at peace with anything I was reading about! I wasn't even engaged at this point but I wanted to figure out what God's will was for me. (I got engaged about a month or two later, though!)

I don't remember why I started reading about natural family planning. I honestly don't know why I started finding out about it. At first, I was completely against the thought of not using any form of contraceptive. I didn't want to be pregnant for the rest of my life! Natural family planning was so foreign to me. I read about taking your temperature each morning, charting it, and looking at cervical mucus (ewww) every day. I also read about how it increases communication between the husband and wife and how you actually learn more about your body. And an added bonus is the fact that when you want to get pregnant, it's a lot easier!

People sometimes use 1 Corinthians 7:5 as an argument against this method of contraception. I have thought about it, too. However, the Bible says that one of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control. We can learn to control our own bodies! Also, the husband and wife may be separated for various reasons during their marriage (business trips, going to see family etc.), and of course they cannot have sex then...! If you both agree to abstain during certain days of each cycle, it's okay. I don't see a problem with that. (You're only fertile for 6 days out of each cycle anyways!)

Another thing: natural family planning is accepted by Catholics, and they do not agree with using any other from of contraception. I'm not Catholic, and I don't see a problem with using a condom during those fertile days if needed.

I discussed these forms of contraception with Austin about a month before we got engaged. It was a general conversation, not talking about us personally or assuming that we would get married. Come to find out, he didn't really like the fact that there were health risks associated with the pill. He also didn't have a problem with the fertility awareness method (what you call the non-Catholic version of natural family planning). Austin's best man is Catholic, so they have talked a lot about it and how good it is.

It's good that we discussed birth control before we got engaged, because it made it a lot easier afterwards. We agreed that we would use the fertility awareness method once we were married. Good grief, never in a million years did I think I would do that!!! I seriously could not have guessed.

I discovered something online called a "Lady-Comp", which does all the temperature readings and charting for you. After it gets to know you and your cycles, which takes a few months, it can accurately tell you whether or not you are fertile each day. It gives you a red, green or yellow light depending on if you are fertile, unsure, or infertile. I liked this concept because charting seemed like a pain to me.

It was expensive, but not compared to using the pill each month! One of those little gadgets works for about 10 years or so. Austin bought it for me and so I should be receiving it any day now!

Oh, and one thing I forgot to mention about the Lady-Comp (and natural family planning/the fertility awareness method in general): it's 99.3% effective. Seriously. That is, if you use it correctly!

I am so surprised that I just wrote a whole post about this. I'm honestly interested to see what people think. I would love to hear from you guys. It's ok if you don't want to post on here - you can email me. Are there other people out there who use the fertility awareness method? Does anyone have a Lady-Comp? Is anyone using the pill? I'm just curious. This really is a whole new world for me!!!

Well, I'm tired of writing so I'm going to end here. If you have any questions about anything that I wrote about, I don't mind listening and answering. I'm not an expert by any means and I am still learning myself. I might have gotten some of the terminology messed up since I'm not a doctor, but I did my best!
Also know that I didn't write this to try and make anyone on the pill feel guilty, or try to persuade everyone reading this to buy a Lady-Comp. I simply wanted to inform you on our decision and let you know why we chose the fertility awareness method. Yes, we could get pregnant on our honeymoon, but so could anyone. We trust that God's plan for us is best and the He knows what He's doing. Choosing the fertility awareness method was a huge step of faith for me. I want to be in control of my own life, and by deciding not to use the pill took a lot of trust. (And honestly, if you're married and you get pregnant, how could you not be excited about that?!) So there you go. I'll let you all know how the Lady-Comp is once I receive it!

-Katie

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Alleluia


I changed to a picture of me and Austin because in just over four months we will be one person, pretty much. Four months!!! I am freaking out thinking about it. I don't think I realize how much my life is about to change. I can't believe that I won't live at home anymore, I won't be close to my sisters anymore and I won't have to rely on my parents for anything. I don't like thinking about not seeing my family that often. How often will I get to make the drive from Houtston to Dallas? It seems so far.

Having to drive 30 minutes to get to school in the morning isn't as bad as I thought it would be. It's become one of my favorite times in the day because I'm not in any rush (I get to school with plenty of time to spare), I usually have some sort of hot drink with me (today it was green tea) and I can listen to music and watch the sun rising in the sky.

Thou burning sun with golden beam,
Thou silver moon with softer gleam!
O praise Him! O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia!

It was so neat seeing the sun's orange glow become stronger at that point in the song.
Thou rising morn with praise rejoice,
Ye lights of heaven, find a voice!
O praise Him! O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia!

Beautiful.

Don't you just love the fall? I love everything about the back-to-school season. I love new pens, pencils and school supplies. I love the way the weather slowly cools down. I love the way that I can start wearing sweaters and closed-toe shoes. I love drinking hot tea when I drive to school and also when I relax after the long day. I love hot baths that warm me up after being in a cold classroom all day.

I love how I can see God's beauty from my window. All I can see are tree branches, leaves, squirrels and a blue sky. Literally - that's all I can see from where I'm sitting! I am enjoying living at home more than I thought I would.

Well my friends, I have things to do. And dinner to eat.

-K

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Growing Up Makes You Tired

Yesterday I bought my first pairs of "teacher shoes". They are comfortable and kinda cute, and look like something I would never wear. Well, one pair does, anyways. I have spent a week on my feet and it didn't take me long to figure out that if I was going to survive student teaching, I would need some decent footwear. I got two pairs of shoes and so far, so good. Unfortunately my feet are still recovering from blisters I got on Monday last week...

Austin and his family were here this past weekend and I had so much fun. We set up our registry with Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond and enjoyed our time looking around in the stores. It is so strange to be scanning things that we want, as if it's a Christmas present wish list. It's so funny how Austin and I are so similar when it comes to stuff like that. We take our time considering the price of the item, whether or not we really like it and really need it, how much we will use it, and who would buy it for us as a wedding present. Only when we're really sure will we scan the barcode. It took two full afternoons to scan items at the stores, and we still didn't get everything (mainly bedding stuff left).

So, Austin started his job at IMG Financial Group today! I was so excited for him. It's all official! On Saturday he takes his third and final test, so after that, he will be able to sell insurance and make money.

As much as I would like to continue writing, I need to go get ready for bed. I am absolutely exhausted and I would love to be asleep by 9.

Goodnight!

-K

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Humpday

Maybe I've got this "waking up at 5:20 am" thing down. I am not a morning person, and I never was. Something in my body makes me wake up whenever it gets dark. It's like a strange curse. I could have been up for 20 hours and be completely exhausted, but once it gets dark outside I get energized and decide that there's a million things I want to do. Oh, me...

Student teaching is still going well. It's tiring, especially in the afternoon. I have four classes back to back, and it begins to feel like a broken record after a little while. Last semester wasn't as monotonous since I taught 7th and 8th grade. But since it's only 7th grade this time, six classes of the exact activities gets to me a little bit. My main challenge now is memorizing names. I have a good chunk memorized now, but there's still those kids whose names I cannot remember for the life of me.

"Tristan" was a popular name for 1995-1996. I have four of them. So were the names "Haley", "Chandler", "Zoe", "Madison", "Madeline" and "Ashley/Ashlyn". It's so funny. If I forget a girl's name, I can usually guess it by saying one of those names.

I have been learning so many new strategies and activities to use in the classroom. I also get a hard "master copy" of every activity we do in class each day. Oh, and my mentor teacher is going to let me hook my hard drive up to her computer and take all of her documents and lessons. Did I mention that my mentor teacher is awesome?! Seriously, she is great. She is so flexible and laid back, but SUPER organized for every class. I have a composition notebook that I take with me every day. I write in it different strategies that I like, ideas I have, and things to apply to my own classroom. The kids love her and she has amazing classroom management. I think she is Superwoman in disguise!

On a little bit of a different note, wedding planning has slowed down recently because of student teaching. I feel like my evenings disappear so fast! I get home at 5:00, relax a little, eat dinner, take a bath and then go to bed at 9:30 or so. It's just ridiculous! There's barely any time to do any sort of major planning. Tomorrow I am going to order my wedding dress, though, so that should be pretty exciting! I love it.

Austin and I have gotten some of the major things out of the way so far: date (January 10, 2009), ceremony and reception site, some musicians, rehearsal dinner site, honeymoon location and tickets are booked, wedding dress is chosen and about to be ordered, and I've thought some about colors for bridesmaids' dresses. I want to use blue, and I like a darker, deeper blue that is sometimes refered to as "midnight blue". It is SO hard to find in a style I like and for a price I like!
Well, I need to go get ready for bed now. I really want to be in bed and ready to go to sleep by 9:00!! (Let's see how much luck I have with that...)
-Katie

Monday, August 25, 2008

Oh, Now I Remember Why...


I was reminded today of why I decided to become an education major.

I was reminded today of why I stuck with it.

I was reminded today of why I love the classroom.

Today was my first day of student teaching, and I loved it. I woke up at 5:25 and left the house at 7:00. MJ's classroom was clean and organized, and she was pretty much 100% ready to go. We went over classroom procedures and she explained what the class time would consist of today:

1. Bell Ringer
2. Seating explanations and organization
3. Introductions
4. Pig personality profile
5. Syllabus review

Simple. Fun. Efficient.

I am so glad that I was able to observe the first day of school with an amazing teacher. The kids already love her and her classroom management style is great! I am going to copy her when I become an official teacher.

The day blew by and I learned so much. I am going to start journaling and writing my ideas down during the day. There is so much to take in and so much to learn.

After all, I'm a student too.

I loved walking back into that classroom after being completely out of the "school" mindset this entire summer. Everything I love about teaching rushed back into my blood and I felt at home. The nervousness subsided. My heart beat faster after looking at the brand new pens, pencils, paper, binders, markerboards...

But what really made me melt was meeting the kids.

All 142 of them.

I shook their hands as they came into the classroom and introduced myself to them.

They are all completely different. Some kids are bigger than I am (which I predicted), and some kids look like they could still be 8 years old. They are tiny! I praised God for human life and variety as I saw each class and the colorful display of skin, height and personality displayed.

I met confident, healthy children.

And I met broken, hurting ones.

I love them all!

This semester is going to be amazing, and I can't wait to put to practice the things I learn. I am blessed to have an incredible mentor teacher who knows what she is doing.

I'll share more about my experiences later, but since I have been up since 5:25, on my feet for at least 7 or 8 hours, and since I ran a mile once I got home... I am exhausted. It's 9:18 and I'm going to sleep.

Tonight I praise my Father for life and breath and relationships. What a beautiful experience I am going to have for the next few months!

-Katie

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I Finally Found It!

After hours of trying on dresses and spending time at several bridal boutiques, I have finally found the perfect dress. It's not what I originally thought I would have wanted, but I'm sure there are millions of brides out there who say the same thing when they get their dress! Here's a picture of what I hope to look like:




I decided to go with a "Lord of the Rings" theme. I'm even going to straighten my hair and dye it black. What do you think??


Haha, just kidding. No offense to anyone out there who thinks that's cool.

I am not going to describe my dress to you, but if you really want to see it, I can try to send you a link.

My biggest challenge right now is bridesmaids dresses. I want something classy and fun for my bridesmaids at a low cost. Not just for them, but for my poor dad, who has to pay for 4 dresses since all of my sisters are in my wedding. If you're married or engaged, where did you get your bridesmaids dresses? This is something I need to take care of soon since they take a while to get in and then get altered!

On a different note, I start student teaching on Monday. I'm excited and nervous all at the same time. I don't feel completely prepared, but hopefully tomorrow I'll have time to get ready for it.

I'm going to bed now since today was a long day. Long, but productive! :)

-Katie

Monday, August 18, 2008

Wedding Planning


Casually planning a wedding in your head before you get engaged is completely different to actually planning one. I've been engaged for just over a week and I'm already feeling overwhelmed. I didn't realize how many different things there are to organize. Nothing is a huge surprise, but when you put it all together with the understanding that everything must be sorted out in five short months... the task seems a little daunting.

Most of the time I'm a very laid back and relaxed sort of person. Exceptions to this come when I am late for anything or when other people around me are freaking out about unncessary stuff. Before I was engaged, I would hear about ideas and think, "That's a great idea for a centerpiece" or "I like that dress", but now things are completely different. Espcially since I have a budget to think about.

After I got engaged, I went and bought three bridal magazines (you have to start somewhere) and a Real Simple Weddings planner-helper type deal. Flipping through the pages made me realize that this was going to be a busy semester. Austin and I are getting married in Houston, so planning is going to be even more difficult since I am going to be north of Dallas. I can't just stop by to talk to a florist or go talk to a DJ.

Thank goodness I have Austin to help me! He is so great. Today we have been looking at honeymoon stuff. Since we'll be getting married in January, we want to go somewhere that isn't freezing. Right now we're researching information about Jamaica. I love that he is so involved in the planning process. It is going to make things so much easier.

Wedding planning is the kind of thing that can really mess you up. I'm beginning to see that very quickly. It's easy to get caught up in tiny decisions that really don't matter. Sometimes decisions will start to overwhelm me, and I'll have to close my magazine or walk away from my computer and just pray that God helps me to focus on what is really important. No matter what happens, Austin and I will be married in five months. That's the whole point of having a wedding - to get married. Years from now no one will remember if the cake wasn't so great or the music wasn't awesome. No one will care, not even us.

God is faithful to continually give me peace and guidance through this whole process. People plan all sorts of weddings all the time, and this is just another one of them.

I can do all things through Him who gives me strength. -Philippians 4:13
Does anyone have any tips or hints? What was the hardest thing about planning your wedding? Any ideas from non-engaged people? I love advice!
-Katie

Friday, August 15, 2008

Engagement Story

****EDIT**** I just added pictures of the engagement. If you want to see my entire facebook album, go here.

I got back this evening after spending three days in Arkansas with my family. Because that's what you do when you get engaged, right? Leave the state for a little bit? It was a great time to get away and think without being able to use the internet or phone. But since I'm back, it's time for me to tell you all the story of how Austin and I got engaged. It's going to be a long post, I think.

Pre-engagement

I am still in shock that I'm actually engaged. I keep looking down at my left hand and noticing that there is now a diamond on it (actually there are 13). I think back to last weekend and wonder if the proposal actually happened. It feels like a dream that I will eventually wake up from. It really is the weirdest feeling. Before Saturday, Austin and I did not talk about getting engaged. At all. We never used the words "when we're married" or even "if we're married". There were some implications and hints, but nothing direct or outright. Most people think this is really strange, but Austin had his reasons. He actually told me before we even started dating that he didn't think he would talk about getting engaged with whoever he married before proposing. Although there were times in our relationship when I wondered what on earth was going through his mind regarding our future, I am so glad that I never asked him and that he never told me. Austin knew that girls get emotionally attached easily, especially when marriage is talked about in a relationship. Expectations begin to form and if the relationship ever had to end, the pain is so much greater than it would be if marriage was not discussed. By not talking about marriage, Austin was guarding my heart and preventing me from forming expectations before commitment was made.

The words "do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires" are used on three separate occasions in the book of Song of Solomon. I think Austin tried his very best to prevent me from thinking about our relationship on a different level until we were engaged. That level of love was not ready to be awakened yet. I realize that most people choose to talk about marriage before a proposal happens, and I know that this makes most sense to them. Please know that I do not think that our way is "better" or "ideal". I do not think that one way is better than the other. I only know that I could not have been more pleased with the way that Austin handled everything in our relationship. He kept my heart from longing for something that had not been promised and my mind from drifting off into daydreams.

Even though Austin and I never talked about getting married, before we got engaged we discussed many important topics: church, sex, disciplining children, adoption, financial issues etc. You name it, we probably talked about it. We viewed marriage as a possible goal/end to the dating process, and we wanted to make sure that we were on the same page with the issues that we talked about. Getting engaged was not some wacky, crazy thing that just "happened". Although I was surprised and couldn't have predicted when it was going to happen, I knew that it was somewhere in the future. We were serious about our relationship with each other and knew that we would probably get married. We just didn't say that.

There were many points in our relationship that I just wanted to know. I was especially nervous about what I was going to do after graduating in December. Austin would reassure me, saying, "I promise that everything will be fine." At one point he told me, "You don't need to worry about what will happen to you after graduation. Just focus on being a good student teacher and I'll take care of the rest." Yet I still became unsure and uneasy about my future! I would tell my friends my thoughts and they would advise me to "just ask him". That doesn't sound like a big deal, but if you understood our relationship and how Austin does things, that wasn't some small thing. Not only was I not trusting in what Austin had told me, but I wasn't trusting in the Lord. He was using Austin to lead in our relationship, and yet I wanted to take control and sort things out for myself. I wasn't trusting God's perfect timing and I wasn't trusting that what He had for me was the best. It was a trust issue. I have had large trust issues with God in the past. Some of them didn't go over well, but in the end I was always kicking myself because God was always right. Always. He has never disappointed me. (Side note: This doesn't mean that God has always given me what I want! He always does what is best for me. Sometimes this is very different from what I think is best.) Anyways, I am so glad that I never confronted Austin, because I knew deep down that I should just trust in what He had said and trust that God would lead him.

Engagement Day - Saturday, August 9, 2008

Austin graduated the day before. For those of you who don't know, he was a finance major at Texas A&M and has a job working as a financial advisor for IMG Financial Group in Houston, starting in September. His family planned a graduation party at "the farm", which is some land his family owns about an hour away from College Station. He invited my family to come, and to my surprise, they all agreed to be there. My family drove to College Station on Friday night and attended Austin's graduation dinner. The next morning, we drove to the farm and made it there by 9:30 or so.

I had completely forgotten to bring my tennis shoes to the farm so Austin presented me with a brand new pair of $20 ones he had bought the day before. I thought it was completely unnecessary, and suggested that we just didn't walk around on the land. After a few seconds I realized that he really wanted to go on a walk, so I dropped it and accepted the beautiful white, gray and pink tennis shoes.

We hung out with the family for a little while, and then at 10:45 or so Austin told me he really wanted to go on a walk with me before it got to hot. I began to suspect something, but I calmed myself down and told myself not to get my hopes up. There was no way that he was going to propose! We walked around the land for a while, looking at frogs and cows and other nature, and then he led me around the pond into a grove of trees. I spotted rose petals on the ground and knew immediately what was going on. Apparently, I started squeezing Austin's hand and shaking nervously, and I said, "Wow, this is pretty" or something equally dumb.

He had a blanket laid out by a fallen tree, and had placed two things on it (it wasn't until later that I saw what they were). By this time I was shaking uncontrollably, and so Austin told me that "I better have a seat". I sat on the fallen tree, and he sat beside me. He started it off with "I know you need clarity, so I'm going to be very clear here..." (a day or so before this we were talking about how we started dating and how I wasn't sure if we were boyfriend and girlfriend for an hour or so... and how I needed clarity in relationships). Austin then asked if I saw the tree, and pointed behind me. I turned around (and I don't know how I missed this) and saw a gigantic tree behind me with the words, "KATIE, WILL YOU MARRY ME?" carved into the trunk. I remember at that moment feeling completely overwhelmed and amazed. It truly was like something from a movie.





I don't think I knew what to say or how to react, but Austin said some sweet things to me and then showed me a box he had made. The top of the box looked like a treasure chest, and the bottom part looked like the trunk of the tree that he had carved into. He actually carved the bottom part himself, that talented guy. He opened up the box, which had a ring box inside of it. He then opened the ring box, took out the ring, and got down on one knee. Austin asked me to marry him, and I said "of course!" and he slipped the ring on my finger. I wanted to cry, but I was too happy and so tears wouldn't even come! We hugged and talked about everything for a while. He had carved the words in the tree earlier this summer, when he lived at the farm for a month. Apparently he would come out to the tree every day for a week and carve for a few hours. He handed me a plaque after proposing, with a poem on it that he had written. One of his friends burned the poem into the wood. It says:

"'In the midst of the garden
And bearing God's Son,
Trees often were used
for God's purpose,
As when it started
Twill be in the end
Where the tree that gives life
Will sustain us.'
~A.H.C."



We had our very first date underneath a tree (it was a picnic) and began dating in a tree (kinda), so Austin carried on the tree theme with the proposal.



I was amazed at how much planning he had put into the entire proposal. It was insane! After an hour or so, we headed back to the farm house where our families were sitting, all in a circle. We walked out, holding the box and the plaque, and I simply held up my left hand and was giggling like crazy. Everyone knew except for our grandparents and my youngest two sisters. We had a wonderful time talking about the proposal and future plans for our wedding. And of course, everyone wanted to see the ring.





It is the most gorgeous ring I have ever seen! I could not have chosen a better one myself. I love that I did not give him any advice or help with it. He did everything - EVERYTHING - himself! It is beautiful and very suited to my taste. I love it!


Wedding Stuff

We got planning right away - like five minutes after Austin proposed. We are thinking about getting married in early January, which is pretty soon considering that the average engagement period is 16 months. I have started playing around with colors and flowers, and we've been doing some research for a location. We'll get married in Houston, but we're not sure exactly where yet. Austin is so good when it comes to wedding planning stuff. A few weeks ago he was telling me that he thinks it's silly when the wedding is thought of as just the bride's. For many couples, the engagement period consists of the bride doing a ton of work, and the guy just sitting back and doing whatever for however many months. "And that's how you start off your marriage??!?!" Austin says.

Austin is such a wonderful leader, and so wedding planning is a beautiful way to practice the husband's (or future husband's) leadership before marriage. Right after proposing, he showed me a list of things to discuss and think about that he had made on his computer. He is definitely taking the reins and I feel so at ease with wedding planning. He is so wonderful!

I still can't believe that I am engaged. I keep looking down at my ring, thinking, "this is the same ring that I will look down at when I am 80 years old" and I'll think about Austin and think, "this is the same man who will help me move our college kids into their dorms". It is surreal. I am so excited about marrying him! I have to admit, I freak out a little when we talk about getting married since we didn't talk about it at all before Saturday!
. . . . . . .

I have a lot of topics that I want to write about on here regarding marriage and preparation for marriage. There are a lot of topics where I would LOVE to hear your opinions (those of you who are married). I desperately want to seek the counsel of older men and women. I want to hear advice and wisdom that will help me prepare for marriage, so if you have anything to tell me, please let me know! (You can email me if you like.)

I hope you don't get sick of hearing about marriage stuff. I hope that what I think about and the experiences that I have will help those of you who are not married yet, when the time comes for you to plan a wedding. I desire that this blog would be used for God's glory and to benefit the body of Christ. Hopefully I can address some topics that a lot of y'all are wondering about!

It's getting late here so I'm going to stop writing now. I'll add pictures later so check back for that.

-Katie

back soon

I'm on vacation but I'll be back tonight to write about all my exciting happenings!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Real Post to Follow...


Sunday, August 03, 2008

Happy Birthday

Austin is 23 today! Go wish him a happy birthday!

I am going to bake him a cake and then we're celebrating later on tonight. He is working on a group project now so I'm sure it doesn't feel much like a birthday, but hopefully tonight will be a fun little party.

I'm going to take a little nap now before I begin baking (carrot cake, if you're wondering) so I'll have to write a better update later.

And College Station is awesome, by the way.

-Katie

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Chelsie Got Voted Off and I am so Sad


...It's true. My favorite contestant on "So You Think You Can Dance" got voted off tonight. I was devestated because I thought for sure she was a shoo-in. I wanted Courtnie to go. I liked Mark, too, but I thought Joshua and Twitch were better. (I want Joshua and Katee to win now.)

Anyways, I've been meaning to write all day but to be honest, I've just been lazy about it. Tomorrow I get to wake up and drive to College Station, which is pretty exciting. Tracey gets married on Saturday and then Austin's 23rd birthday is on Sunday. Big weekend! Thursday marks our 1 year anniversary (awwww) and Friday Austin graduates, followed by celebrations on Saturday.

It's going to be an eventful week.

Carolyn got her wisdom teeth out yesterday and I thoroughly enjoyed watching her act "totally normal". Basically, she was slurring her words a little when she got in the car and insisted that I buy her a "cheap toothbrush with hard bristles" so she could "brush the teeth". I literally laughed out loud in the grocery store because if you know Carolyn... well, that's just funny. She honestly wanted to scrub off the wisdom teeth that the dentist gave her to save. She was so proud that she showed them off to me twice during the journey home. "That black dot is a cavity!!!" Now she's back to normal (by my definition) and can eat applesauce without it spilling out of her mouth.

Christina has insisted that she sleeps in my room for the second night in a row because she "forgot" to wash her sheets. Basically, she wants a slumber party. Unfortunately for her, Carolyn and I are old now and go to bed at 11. Nevertheless, she has made a pallet on the floor near our bed. She's so funny. She gets nervous when meeting new people but does not want to sleep alone. Before Carolyn got back from Africa, Chrissie would sleep in my bed with me every night. Claire wanted to sleep in the same bed as me one night and so I tried it out, but it ended with her butt in my face, legs on my side of the bed and a very grumpy and sleepy Katie in the morning. I love her, but she is a difficult person to share a bed with!

I bought some bright yellow high heels to go with my little black dress. They were only $10 so if Austin hates them or if they break or something, it won't be the end of the world. I am just trying to be a little more crazy when it comes to my wardrobe. I am a very safe dresser most of the time.

My mom's birthday is tomorrow but she has to be at UNT for Kellie's orientation all day, so I won't get to celebrate with her. By the time she gets back, I will already be in College Station. I am very sad about this, but thankfully my family will be joining me in Aggieland for Austin's graduation festivities next weekend.

Well, my teeth need to be cleaned and I need to get some sleep now. I might not be writing on here for a little while, but be warned: I will still be stalking blogs every day! :)

Love to everyone.
-K

Monday, July 28, 2008

It's Weird Having Married Friends

Last night I came back from a whirlwind weekend in College Station. My friends Ryan and Erin got married, and I got to witness it! I was surprised at how well everything came together. It was beautiful, and the reception was so much fun! I got to dance a lot with the best man, who was really cute. ;-)

Here is a picture of me with the bride:


It's funny having married friends. It feels weird to me that I am entering the chapter of my life where I have married friends who are my age (or younger, for that matter). Soon, most of my friends will be married, and then we'll all have kids... and things will get even weirder... oh gosh, I am finally growing up!

Anyways...

After the wedding, I got to see The Dark Knight, which was really good. I am so bad at following fast-paced movies, though, so I should probably watch it again to understand it better.

I was uploading my photos to my computer and noticed that there were pictures of my little scorpion friend on it. I think I talked about him in one of my other posts. I think there are two scorpions because the first one was huge - about 3 inches long. He appeared in my mom's sink while my parents were gone, and then later that day disappeared. Right before my mom came back, another scorpion showed up. I wasn't going to let him get away, so I plugged the hole at the top of the sink with a cotton ball and then put cling film over the top of the sink to make sure that he couldn't get out.

Check it out:


Look at our lovely invention!




I'm sorry for the hair in the sink. I think he came out of the drain and brought some hair with him. I just thought it was cool that there was a scorpion in the sink.

Well, Kellie wants me to go watch a new TV show with her, so I think I'm gonna jet.

Peace out, friends.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Little Black Dress


I am completely exhausted after taking TWO trips to the SAME mall at DIFFERENT times today. My feet and calves are aching and I wish I had someone to give them some relief! It was a very successful shopping day, though. I got a pair of brown heels to use with the dress I'm going to wear to the wedding this weekend. Carolyn is a speed shopper, and so focused. She doesn't mess around looking at other things along the way. She hunts: she knows what she's looking for and go from store to store until she finds it. She's in and out in less than 5 minutes. So I have my heels and they are great!

The other thing I got is something that apparently all women need.

The "little black dress" is supposedly a wardrobe staple, and I got one for the first time today! I definitely wasn't looking for one, but after I got back from the mall the first time, my mom decided that I don't have enough dresses (true story). After going through the whole mall looking for dresses, we found the perfect dress. It's the right cut for me. It fits me like a glove. It is timeless. It can be worn for years to hundreds of different functions. It's now my favorite dress. I think it's all the things that a little black dress should be.

I have to admit that I feel very shallow and materialistic writing about this, but I am honestly pretty excited. I'm going to wear it to Tracey's wedding next weekend.

I'm very tired now and since I'm going to College Station tomorrow, I should get some sleep. Goodnight, world!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

They're Back

I picked up my mom and Kellie from the airport this evening. It is great to have them back from England. Both came bearing gifts and I am now the proud owner of a new floral skirt, which apparently is very "in" right now. It's so pretty and feminine and I will be able to wear it at school!

The next two weekends will be wedding-filled, and I am so excited! I get to hang out with all the B-Co people this weekend, and see all of my "original" college friends the next. I can't wait to see everyone at Tracey's wedding. It's been far too long!

I don't really have a lot to say right now. Hopefully I can update soon, but right now I need to go to bed.

Goodnight!

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Random Smattering of Thoughts

I am constantly amazed at how my British high school friends have been able to remain friends with each other over the past four years. Most of my friends in college haven't kept in contact with a lot of their high school friends, and even if they end up going to the same school, they don't hang out all the time.

But with my British friends, this is different. If two of my high school friends ended up at the same university, they are still good friends. I can look through any of their Facebook photo albums and see more than one of my high school friends in it.

Even if my high school friends don't end up going to the same college, they are still best friends again when they go home. I can stalk Facebook walls and see things written like,

"what date are you back?? do you reckon you might want to come out to ibiza or nat? lots of special kisses xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx"

or

"We need to arrange a weekend to get everyone together for some fun and frolicks xxx xxx"

or

"Miss you loads, looking forward to seeing you in three weeks!! lots of love xx"

Those were actually copy and pasted from different friends' walls. I hope they don't mind.

Which brings me to another thought: What the heck is up with the little x's??? This is a very British thing to do. At the end of any message, letter or email, British people put tiny x's. It's so weird to me and looks strange in my opinion. In the United States, the "x" stands for a kiss, but in England I think they are past that point. It's really just "something they do", and it doesn't seem to stand for much anymore. It's just so bizzare.

Anyways.

I just took some cupcakes out of the oven. It's the second time in less than 24 hours that I've made a batch of cupcakes. Last night I made some from scratch, and they were pretty good, but today I went for the boxed ones. It'll be a taste test.

As most of you probably know, I am playing "mommy" around here right now. My parents are in England and so Carolyn and I have been holding down the fort. It's been a pretty interesting week, to say the least.

We cook and clean every day, but most of it has been playing taxi. Claire was involved in Vacation Bible School every day last week, so we had to take her and then pick her up afterwards. And then she would hang out with friends in the afternoon. Or friends would come over here. We've had sleepovers galore, and I am feeling the stress of becoming a "mom" prematurely.

I actually have to leave to pick Claire up in 10 minutes.

We've had some funny things happen this week, though. Like the time that we found a 3-inch long scorpion in my mom's sink and then it disappeared 10 minutes later. Or the time that we had to have a back-to-basics talk with my not-so-young sister to explain that ovulation does not occur during menstruation. That was a fun evening.

Fun week.

Oh gosh, I have to leave. :-/

More later!
-K

Friday, July 18, 2008

It's Like Austin, Only Smaller (I'm Talking About the City)

Moving from College Station to Denton didn't seem like as big of a change as it actually has been. I'm not really talking about how my schedule, friend group, church and living accommodations have changed. I predicted those changes and expected them. I'm talking about the actual towns and their cultures. Those are big changes.

College Station is such a conservative town and I can relate to most people there. I share the same values and am on the same page politically with most people in the town. Not to mention I'm the same age as about 90% of the residents (well, that could be an exaggeration...) and everything is just great.

Denton, on the other hand, is a different story. Although there are two universities in the town, both of them are more geared towards liberal arts majors. Therefore, the town reflects the interests of these types of people. There is art and music everywhere (and I love both, so this isn't a bad thing), but there are also interesting people everywhere. It's perfectly normal to smoke in all areas of this city, and I think it's so gross. I was used to Coffee Station, where you might see the odd person with a cigarette. Jupiter House on the square here is just nasty. The whole place smells like an ash tray. I miss the nice workers at Coffee Station. I shared the same values as most of them, and they were all so friendly and helpful. They knew my name, too. Until recently, the workers at Jupiter House were rude and loud. The last time I went in, the girl that helped us only had half of a shirt on. I'm serious - the entire back of her shirt was missing except for a couple ties to keep the material in the front on. There was just skin. And their coffee isn't nearly as good. The atmosphere is cold and impersonal. Did I mention that I miss Coffee Station?

Denton has this sort of run-down-yet-we-like-it-this-way atmosphere. Maybe it's just old, but I'm pretty sure that College Station is old, too. I think that Dentonites embrace the dilapidated buildings and ghettoish areas. I bet most of them would say that it adds to the character of the town.

And I have to agree - the town does have some character.

One thing that I love about Denton is the fact that is has a square. I think all towns should have one. I absolutely love the courthouse and all the surrounding stores.

I love that emos (or is it emoes?) sit on the steps of the courthouse at night and film themselves playing their guitars and making up songs.

I love the Christmas lights that they leave up year-round in the trees around the courthouse.

I love that there is an old-fashioned ice cream shop on the square with the best ice cream ever. It makes me think that I live in a different era.

I love the hardware store and the pawn shop. I love the mini mall, old theater and of course--the recycled book store. It used to be the opera house. How cool is that??

Denton is filled with hippie-type people, health food stores galore and unique individuals. I will be driving down a street in town and Carolyn and I will see people and say, "Where do people like that come from?" We do this on a regular basis.

It's strange to me that the church I go to here is known as the "mega church" in the area. I admit, it's big, and a HUGE change from ComChurch, but it's a good church. It's been hard to find people my own age, but I bet that will change once school starts up. I will either get involved in the college ministry or the singles ministry. What do you think?? I don't feel old enough to be in the singles group but I feel like I'm done with college since I'm about to graduate and I'm no longer taking classes at A&M. Hmm...

It's just been a big adjustment this summer. I'm glad I have the summer to get used to the area, though, before school starts. That will be a big enough adjustment in itself.

So to sum up, I guess I just miss people who wear maroon t-shirts and jeans all the time. I miss the friendliness and approachability of the citizens of College Station. I miss knowing everyone and being about to call someone up and hang out 10 minutes later. It's hard to come to the realization that those days are over - OVER! Completely over. A new chapter of my life is starting. I just need to embrace it.

-Katie

P.S. I just tried to upload some pictures but they didn't work. Oh well.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Too Scary?

Is my picture too close-up and weird? It's just my head and I'm a little self conscious about it.

What do you think?

Fun Houses

I watched No Reservations last night with my family and fell in love with New York City again. I've never been to New York City, but I've always wanted to go. My dad told me that I might be able to go in the fall because he has to take a business trip there... I really hope I can go!

I have a several dreams in my life, most of which will probably never come true.

One of my dreams is to live in a New York apartment for a little while. Not too long, just long enough to get a feel for the city and not feel like a tourist. I love watching movies and TV shows where the characters live in these beautiful old apartments on streets lined with gorgeous trees. I think it would be so fun! However, this dream will most probably never become a reality. I'm okay with that. There's really no reason I would ever move to New York. (I love Texas way too much!) I'm really just in love with the old apartments.

Another one of my dreams is to live in an old house built somewhere between 1900-1930s. I have a picture of the kind of house in my head, but I don't know how to describe it. There's probably a name for it, but I don't know what it's called. I'm trying to find a picture on Google but I can't. It's a small type of house, with a porch... nothing fancy. I just love old houses because they have so much character. I love the old wooden floors and cool doors and fireplaces. They're just so much cooler than brand new cookie cutter houses.

Hahaha. Even though the world won't end and I won't cry if these dreams don't come true, I think it would still be fun!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Underdogs and Looking Old


I've been listening to old school Audio Adrenaline today. When I was fourteen, Underdog was my favorite CD. I loved it! As I was listening this morning, I remembered a conversation I had with Christina years ago.

She was probably six or seven, and we were sharing an iPod on our way to school one morning, listening to "Underdog" (the song). After a minute or so of listening to the song, she quietly asked me what an "underdog" was.

"It's like a weakling, someone who isn't strong and always comes in last place... kind of like a failure. No one really likes underdogs."

She nodded and kept quiet for the rest of the journey.

After school, we got back in the car and started listening to the music again. After a few minutes or so, she turned to me and simply asked me,

"Am I am underdog?"

Bless her. She had been thinking about it all day!

Haha, Chrissie just came in here and read the last paragraph or so and was wondering what I was talking about. I told the story to her and she laughed and said, "I don't remember that! I don't remember asking if I was an underdog!"

Speaking of Christina, yesterday I took her to American Eagle. While we were standing in the check out line, an elderly lady sitting on a stool near us looked at us and said to me, "You and your daughter are very beautiful."

Hold up.

My daughter???

Do I really look that old?

Either I look
a) 37 (if I had her at 24)
b) 29 (if I got pregnant in high school at age 16)
c) my age (22 - which means I would have gotten pregnant when I was seven).

Or maybe Chrissie just looks young, which is unlikely, since she is only 2 inches shorter than me and looks like an average 13-year-old.

Good freakin grief.

I politely told the lady that Chrissie was actually my sister.

It reminded me of the time an elderly lady told me I looked eight years old when in fact I was at least 10. It really offended me back then, and I haven't forgotten it.

But seriously - do I really look that old? Austin has always told me I could pass as a high school student or even junior high.

"You're just as tall as the kids you'll be teaching."

Haha.

What do I need to do to look my age?