Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Lesson in Optimism

Fact: I have a new recipe to post soon, as soon as I get the pictures uploaded. I'll give you a hint: we had to drive to San Antonio to get the ingredients, but you will probably only have to go to your local grocery store. If we had one of those, I would have gone there!

In the meantime, I have been lovingly pestered by my dear family and friends to update. The reason I haven't updated since I got my job, is, well... my job. In short, this job is the most exhausting, ideal-breaking, bubble-bursting, intense struggle I have ever gone through in my life. I could write for days about my experiences and why, in general, I'm finding it difficult to love my job. But I won't.

I have been called some form of "Sunshine" all my life. I'm blond, generally happy, and I try really hard to find the positives in life (I am my mother's daughter, after all). Looking back, man, that was easy. I've had the best life ever. My family is jam-packed full of love. I have always had all my needs (food, shelter, etc.) met. I went to three amazing schools and got a terrific education. In spite of all my faults, I am quite talented in a variety of different areas. WHAT was there ever to not look on the bright side about?

Well. I am quickly learning that optimism is about staying positive when maybe things aren't so great. Now, the above things are all still true. But a quick look at my life now will show that everything is different than it was before I got married and moved. As I quickly near the 6-month mark as Art's wife, I can't believe how different it is.

More than ever, I have to count my blessings. And I don't mean proverbially, as in, "just get over yourself," which is how I would have taken that phrase before. Literally, out loud, say everything I am thankful for. It's a routine I've adapted every day on my way home from work. It changes every day, but a few things make the list daily:

1. I have the world's best husband. Art was always nice to me, and the fact that we have been together for 8 years usually was enough to make other people jealous. When I came home crying from my first (and second... and third... and fourth...) day teaching, dinner was made. My lunch is packed almost every morning, and I get a hot breakfast almost every morning. I haven't done the laundry in a really long time. He lets me talk on and on about the same stuff every day, and listens like it's the first time he's ever heard it. I don't know how he knew exactly the support I would need as I try not to drown during my first year teaching, but he did.

2. I have a beautiful house, and it is something I share with above husband. It's the first house where we started our family (and yes, I consider us a family even though we don't have kids!). It's withstood a lot of storms.

3. Most people wish they had my dog. And how could they not.

4. Minus this moment right now, I am healthy. And I have a lot to be grateful for.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Our first visitor... and some GREAT news!! :)

Last week, Art and I got our first visitor from Ohio!! Our friend Jamie, Art's former boss and roommate, was at a conference in Abilene and decided to rent a car and visit us for the weekend. Now that he's been here, Jamie might rather have had us drive up to Abilene, but we enjoyed ourselves nonetheless.

The Rio Grande and Lake Amistad have been flooding crazily since Alex and the subsequent tropical storms rolled through (here's something I didn't know: the desert gets hurricanes. Bizarre.), which made for some bummer weather lately, but while Jamie was here we got one day of good sun! It was so awesome to show someone from our hometown what Texas border life is really like! :)

Jamie got to see all the Del Rio landmarks: the Walmart, Wings & Rings (our only sports bar), the Herald (best restaurant in town), the Veranda (one of two wine bars... we don't have a fabric store, but we have two wine bars.), and a delightful Laughlin tradition: Drop Night. Of course, I think Lake Amistad is the best thing about Del Rio, so on Saturday we hit the lake with our friends Paul and Maria and their enormous puppy, Bud. Good times, as usual!

And, for those of you who are wondering, the answer is no: Art did not wear his stand-in wedding ring to the lake. :) We were out on Paul and Maria's boat when Art's ring was lost, and they noticeably went this time sans wedding rings as well. We were happy to spread caution! :)

The day Jamie got here, I got a call from the principal of Del Rio Middle School, asking me if I could come in for an interview the next day. I didn't want to abandon Jamie, but of course I took the opportunity!! She offered me the job at the interview (crazy!), it was approved by the school board that Saturday, and I'm scheduled to sign my contract on Wednesday of this week.

I am Del Rio Middle School's newest 8th grade English language arts teacher!! I cannot explain how excited I am to have been given this opportunity. I student taught math at Mad River, and had always thought I would teach math, but I came into this position as an English teacher and I couldn't be more excited about it. Of course, this is the one time where being the cheapest grad student ever has failed me: I got all my Language Arts methods books from the library at UD, and thus returned them, so much to Art's chagrin, I had to purchase them again today. But I am truly exploding with ideas about writer's notebooks, classroom library, book assignments, and first-week teambuilding. I spend pretty much every day writing things down that I want to do with my students. I'm so excited to get to work with them on a subject that I've had such a passion for all my life. I am truly, truly thankful that God led me to teaching at just the right time. Such a gift! :)

Speaking of gifts... look what came home with my wonderful husband on the day I got the job:

Lucky me. :)

For tonight's dinner, I made homemade pesto (with my Aerogarden basil!) with spaghetti and chicken cutlets with a Parmesan/sage crust. I hope someone is making you something special tonight! :)

Monday, June 28, 2010

USA! USA! USA! ... and a major bummer.

It's storming in Del Rio right now, and if there's one thing Peanut hates, it's thunder. So bear with me - if it looks like I have a crazy typo, it's because of the 12-pound Chiweenie trying to get as close to me as physically possible.

This weekend, Art and I had a few people over to watch the World Cup game, USA v. Ghana. As Art said, "you don't have to love soccer, just America." So I whipped up some pico de gallo and guacamole (nothing more American than that, right?) and Art made me a pitcher of margaritas. Well, it was intended to pass around, but for some reason I was the only one who decided to take part. How strange.

Unlike this picture shows, we actually do have plenty of seating in our house. I guess these guys just really wanted to sit by each other.

Kirby, Art, and Paul... really into the game, I suppose! You can see Peanut's little ear next to Art's leg... all the boys on the couch!

Unfortunately, USA lost the match. We found ourselves wondering what to do with our Saturday. Well, we live in Del Rio, so we did what every Del Rioan should do on Saturday - we went to the lake!

This is my brother-in-law Kirby. As you can see, it's hard to be grumpy on the lake! Especially when you are full of margaritas!

Art and Paul, standard.

I'm pretty sure these people told me their names, but I forget. But we enjoyed some good time in the lake, and I attempted to swim.

Then... bummer.

What you are looking at now is the final resting place for Art's wedding ring. Yes, just shy of the two-month mark, the original wedding ring is gone. :( It was a total accident, but unfortunately there isn't anything we can do. Kirby (bless his heart) called a scuba diver friend of his who said he'd go dive for it, but we aren't feeling very optimistic. I cried a completely ridiculous amount over it, but once we got out for the night I was fine. Fortunately, I was given a plain silver band my senior year from my sorority, Pi Beta Phi, that fits Art perfectly, so that is what he is currently wearing. It's kind of cool, actually, because Art's grandmother and great aunt were both Pi Phi's, so it has a little bit of meaning. We are going to San Antonio to get a new one this weekend, and then hopefully we can have it blessed and have a little ceremony with the priest here. I'll post some pictures if we do that! :)

Not too much on docket for this week! Just cleaning and hanging out with my family. Just another day in paradise!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Prayer request!

UPDATE: Owen has come out of surgery and is doing just fine! :) Glad to hear the good news.

For those of you that believe in the power of prayer, and even for those that don't, we are asking for some good thoughts to be sent to my cousin Krissy and her husband Andy. Their beautiful baby boy, Owen Andrew, was born two days ago. He has quite a few heart complications, and is in open heart surgery at this moment. As far as I know, the doctors and nurses expect him to pull through just fine, with little long-term effects, if any. This is their first child and I know they would appreciate some prayers!!

You can read the updates here: owenandrewdursch.blogspot.com

Monday, June 21, 2010



I would post a picture of my overjoyed face, but it was Core Synergistics day in P90X land and I look a little like any one of the seven men after they got finished ridding my front yard of weeds. I smell very similar, too. In either case, be glad you aren't in my house right now.

We have been Bulls on a mission the past few days, trying to get our house in order. We are having our first visitor in two weeks, and we want him to know that we don't just sit on the porch swing and drink wine all day. Well, at least we both don't.

We spent an entire Sunday organizing and cleaning the garage and back porch, and although both are still works in progress, it looks so much nicer and neater than it was. I decided that Art isn't allowed to comment on my lack of motivation organizing the sewing room, because we unpacked several boxes that he never got to when he moved into the house--over a year ago. Of course, he has a 70-hour-a-week job or something, and (as stated above) I sit on the porch swing and drink wine all day, but I will conveniently ignore that fact unless it supports my current opinion.

Here's your before picture. I'll let you know when I get to the after..

Dinner tonight is turkey mushroom goulash and salad, one of my favorite meals. I've never eaten it in 100-degree weather before (which, by the way, is not hot by Del Rio standards.), so we'll see how it goes!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Weeds, license woes and teaching an old dog new tricks

I'd like to illustrate just why our front yard is in desperate need of attention:

See all those rocks? Supposed to be there. See all the green? Not.

Minus the two or three cacti, all green has got to go. The craziest thing is that Art weeded this entire yard, coming with two giant bins full, the week of our wedding. Lucky, I found someone to come out on Monday and get the green away, for really cheap. Success!!

My second triumph today was getting my dog to sit and lay down on command. Yes, Peanut is 5 1/2 years old, and doesn't do any of that stuff. Truly, it's because he's cute enough to get anything he wants ever without having to do anything. I mean...

Would you ever say no? No, you wouldn't. But I was alarmed to discover that he won't sit or lay down on command, so we have been practicing. And today, he did both on command!! I shrieked and gave him like 10 dog bones, which probably was a little overkill. But look at his face. And his ears. Especially his ears.

I also discovered today, with the help of my friend Betsy, that I have to take three tests in the state of Texas to get my teaching license. These three tests cover exactly the same material as the three tests I took in Ohio not one year ago, so you can imagine my frustration. Especially because each test comes with a $120 price tag. I am taking the English language arts test next Friday, and the math test next month. If only I would have kept my PRAXIS flash cards!!

Dinner today is a basil crusted roasted chicken, mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus. I hope someone is making you something tasty! <3

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New digs!

I have moved my blog... sort of.

Here, I will continue the crafting/cooking posts I so (un)faithfully shared with you over at Creative Therapy, but I will also add in some nuggets about our adventures in newlywed bliss. I couldn't let the antics of our first year of marriage go undocumented, and I thought it would be fun to invite you all to share with us. Please feel free to leave comments and to share the site with anyone you think would be entertained by our Del Rio wedded bliss!

For my first post, I'll recap the first month of our marriage (I can't believe it's been over a month!)... it was full of a few surprises, a lot of heavy lifting, and some good laughs.

After our wedding, we left for our honeymoon on the island of Great Exuma in The Bahamas. This was Art's baby, as he had been planning the entire thing without even telling me where we were going!! We stayed at the Sandals resort there, and came back fully recommending the all-inclusive deal. The particular resort we were at was very secluded, with little nightlife, which was great for a honeymoon, but if we were just vacationing there we would have gotten very bored very quick. We had two butlers, Imran and Deepak, who did silly things like draw us baths with floating flowers and bring us drinks at the pool or the beach whenever we wanted. It was a dream vacation and a wonderful way to start our marriage!

This is the view of the resort from the pool. Wish you could see the swim up bar!

The beach, Emerald Bay. I couldn't believe the water was really that color in real life. But it was!

Of course I had to take pictures of the food. This is Art's rack of lamb he got at the 4-star restaurant on our resort. I got the lobster risotto and died. Here's something else I got...

 I can't believe I'm secure enough to actually post this on the Internet, but it's too ridiculous not to share. If you've ever gone on vacation with me, you know that if there's a bizarre ailment to be contracted, I will be the one that gets it. On my honeymoon I discovered I'm allergic to a particular type of sunscreen called Panama Jack's. I discovered this because my face began to double in size in the course of a few days. This picture was actually taken before I woke up and couldn't open my eyes, so it unbelievably got worse after this was taken. They had a nurse on staff at Sandal's, so I was able to get some antihistamines and look closer to human than Klingon by the time we got home.

This was taken the last day. Klingon no more!

This was sunrise the morning we left. You can see the pool, the swim up bar (between the lights, and the ocean. I really looked at this every day for a week!

After we returned back to Dayton, we left in Job, my little Jeep Wrangler, to make the 22-hour drive to Del Rio. We were expecting the car to huff and puff and chug and die 20 times on the way there, but he worked like a charm and we ended up being able to make the trip in two days.


This is our beloved house in Texas, although the front "yard" is currently overgrown with weeds. I've been given the task of finding a landscaper to come help us out, but I've managed to put it off for two days now. Tomorrow, I swear.

We are, for the most part, all settled in. The movers arrived the first week of June with more stuff than I ever remember packing, and we've managed to give most of it a home. Unless you enter our third bedroom, which, ideally, will house my sewing and crafting stuff as well as operate as my office. That's a disaster.

Art's back to work as usual, and I spend my days working out, going to the pool, drinking wine and cooking. It's a really rough life, but I'm trying to work through it. I am currently in my second week of P90X, which is the most absurd thing I have ever said. I really like it, and I pretty much hate any exercise that doesn't involve lifting a drink to my face. I will really surprise myself if I make it all 90 days, but so far, so good!

 That's all for today. :) I'll leave you with a picture of my good ol' dog, Harry, who went to doggie Heaven on Sunday. He died of being the oldest dog ever, but he left us with lots of wonderful memories. We sure will miss him!