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  • Archive for January, 2016

    Goodbye 2015

    2016 - 01.02

    It’s been a while since I last updated, but I cannot believe just how quickly 2015 went by. My husband and I didn’t have any significant life changes. I’m still teaching high school English, and I hope to continue to do so next school year. But so far are some highlights of the year.

    January and February 2015 (Snowpocalypse)

    We kicked off the very first week of 2015 with a big snow storm that blanketed much of Southeast Missouri. I was still on Christmas break, and the heavy snows and icing actually ended up closing down school for another week! In all, we had a three-week Christmas break, which was perfect because I wasn’t ready to go back. We had additional snows through January and into February. As a teacher, I pray for snow days.

    Summer 2015

    School let out on May 15 for summer break. The break is always a welcome respite, but the beginning of my summer was eventful. An uncle of mine passed away just before Memorial Day. None of us could get to the funeral because my parents had non-refundable airline tickets to visit my brother and his family. While my parents were visiting them, my dad was airlifted to Salt Lake City after suffering such severe cramps in his legs that he had some kind of attack. I’m definitely a daddy’s girl, so it was pretty scary. Thankfully, he was okay once he was straightened out. In July, my uncle, Jeffrey, moved from Tacoma to live with my parents for medical reasons.

    After school was let out in May, I also started my novel! Writing an 18th century historical fiction/fantasy novel takes quite a bit of research, but I kept notes and saved most of my webpages to my history on my browser. On a weekly basis, I got to meet with by bestie, Rachel Stiber (author of Elise’s Choice), to roll ideas off her about the plot of my book. It’s so nice to have a sister that I can bounce ideas off of. She’s been a huge help with helping me. Of course, I did not get nearly as far in my novel as I wanted, I am hoping to put even more work into it this coming summer. The publishing part will likely be the most difficult. I think I will probably hire a professional editor to read my manuscript while I figure out how I will go about publishing and marketing my book.

    On a side note, my husband and I celebrated out 11th anniversary on June 19th. We didn’t do anything particularly special this year, but I am hoping next year, we can afford to go on one of those Amtrak train vacations out west.

    Fall 2015

    School began very early in August, so I had to halt work on my book since my teaching job takes precedence over pretty much everything else I do. This semester has been particularly rough because A. I have a rowdier group of freshmen this year and B. I graded five-paragraph essays and constructed responses on top of one another, which is an absolute nightmare for an ELA teacher. I didn’t get done with all of the essays and constructed responses until the first week of December (I had assigned the five-paragraph essay at the end of October and the constructed response around the beginning of November). Next year, I am hoping that will not happen again!

    With the addition of school starting, I lost a childhood friend of mine due to an unexpected heart attack. My friend was born with an enlarged heart, and she died from a heart attack at just 30 years old. I had only just reconnected with her, and I was hoping to go visit her next summer in Kentucky. She will be missed.

    In September, I had my 33rd birthday (God, I am getting old), and my husband and I decided that after aggressively saving for the past several years, we would come close to paying off our house! It was a big risk but we put almost everything we had on the principal of our home. Right now, we are so close to owning it free and clear.

    My brother was deployed overseas in October, so we did not get to see him for deer season. However, my 9th grade classes signed Veteran’s Day cards for his unit, and my Anime Club helped me put together Care Packages to send overseas. My brother received the packages just in time for Christmas, and the men and women of his unit were really happy to receive the boxes. The students drew pictures and even designed a banner for them where everything was hung up in their mess hall.

    Also in October, my 93-year-old aunt passed away. She was my grandmother’s sister and the last of my grandmother’s siblings to pass away. Her husband is still alive, and he will be 100 years old next year. He is in pretty good health and of sound mind. Plus, he has many friends and family who love and care about him. Although my aunt will be missed, she is in a much better place with God.

    December 2015

    I hate fall and winter because of the snow, cold weather, and the fact that it antagonizes my allergies, but I love Christmas. Unless my brother comes home for Christmas, my parents usually have dinner at my house. I cooked a nine-pound turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, green beans, corn, dinner rolls, salad, veggie platters, and meat and cheese platters. Mom brought three pies, pecan, apple, and pumpkin. After eating, we opened gifts. My husband got some goodies for me, including the Game of Thrones box set of books. I also got a Cricut cutting machine, which I can hardly wait to use in my new classroom next year.

    Even though I dislike winter, we were blessed with some unseasonably warm days for most of the month with temperatures staying up in the 50s. The week of Christmas, we had temperatures up to 70 degrees. With warm weather also comes storms. Much of our region was wracked with severe storms and tornadoes. One morning, we had a squall line of storms come through bringing 70 mph winds with it. Two days before Christmas, a tree blew down onto our house. It cracked a couple of rafters in the attic and split the soffit from the roofing on the side of the house. We had to pay money to get rid of the fallen tree, and we are still waiting on the insurance to give us a check before we can commence on repairs.

    Right after the storms, we had some severe rain drench us to the point of flooding. The Mississippi River is expected to reach a record crest, and the Meramec River closed down two interstates and several areas in and around St. Louis, including I-55.

    This month has also suffered a couple of human losses. A friend of mine and my husband’s passed away the day after Christmas, and a senior student at my school passed away after being taken off life support. Just days before Christmas, she was accidentally shot when a black powder gun went off in her home. Both were buried yesterday, and both will be dearly missed.

    All in all it’s been a good year. I am hoping 2016 will also be a good one. In 2016, I really hope to finish – or at least be close to finishing – my novel. I also hope that I will continue to work at my school (I don’t have tenure, yet, so I worry every year when rehire comes around). I am also hoping we will pay off our house in 2016 so we can finally start making some upgrades to the house. But most of all, I hope everyone else has a happy and prosperous New Year.