Wednesday, August 27, 2008


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...)

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!


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! :)


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!

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.


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.'

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.


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.