Tuesday, October 30, 2007

poor pumkins

When Nate was here visitng, we carved pumpkins. They've lasted about a week and a half. Mine is developing a serious underbite- and Nate's looks like he's disgusted by my disfiguration. :) They're still pretty cute....maybe even cuter than before. I tried to post a picture of Josi and I from Saturday in Chicago- but it wouldn't load for some reason. I'll try again later- just to prove that I really did see her.

Friday, October 26, 2007

I'm gonna be alright

We had our "harvest festival parade" at school on Wednesday . That's another way of saying "Halloween Parade", but some parents don't like to celebrate Halloween...so we have harvest festival instead. Here are a few of my students dressed up. Today I had the day off (still)....I've posted a lot since I've been home so much. I took this opportunity to make some pumpkin bread from scratch- real pumpkins and all. Here's the mess I made baking, skinning, and pureeing the pumpkins. It was really easy....
This is me. (obviously)
4 loaves of bread later, I'm sitting in a quiet and still house waiting to deliver them. I was going to take one to my CT, Kathy, and one to my friend, LaVonne from church. The other two we'll probably freeze or eat here- because I don't know enough people to deliver them all. :)
Hope you're all enjoying this beautiful fall day....

My Wild Self!

Here's my wild self. Ha! Thanks Carissa. :)

Thursday, October 25, 2007


I just realized, I never put up pictures from when Nate came to visit! Here are a few...We walked along Lake Michigan Friday- Nate took some great pics....It looks chilly- but it was actually really beautiful. The weather was wonderful the entire weekend and dropped to 50 degrees the day after he left! I'm partial to comfy-clothes weather, but Nate likes warm weather- so it was perfect for both of us. :)
This was at the park by our house...the leaves are BEAUTIFUL right now.....which, I think, is God's way of saying, "I know you want to be home right now, Heather....but look at what I've created for you here! Enjoy this and be distracted by my beautiful creation in this time away from home..."
Carving pumpkins!!!
So- we had a wonderful weekend. It was painful to send him away- but weekends like these mean I'm getting closer to coming home! I do like it here....but my people are there. I need to go back and can't wait to be close to everyone again!

Someone to watch over me....

Renae came to visit!! We went to a great coffee shop here by the Lake, Altera. Here we are, loving our time together. It was a rainy fall night, and when we came out into the parking lot after an evening of coffee and laughter, I noticed that the EVIL SWAMP MONSTER TROLL had been trudging through the parking lot! I knew this because of the huge foot-print that I found. Here, you can see how huge he is....lurking around the city just waiting to destroy.

In other news, today I've got the day off! We have teacher conventions today and tomorrow- I went this morning and picked up some great new FREE pens, notepads, teacher bags, etc..... all those things you don't really need, but are fun to have anyway. I'll use them in my classroom someday... :)

Speaking of which, I need a job! I graduate Dec. 22, so if you are a teacher in Lincoln, or if you know someone who is, KEEP ME IN MIND!! Because I'm so far away now, it's hard to get ahold of people to visit about schools and possible openings. The odds of getting a position mid-year like that are probably pretty slim, but teachers get pregnant, retire, move, etc.....so I'm praying that something will open up. I get so excited about having my own classroom someday... and I know it'll happen, I'm just not sure how soon.

I came back to Caribou today- Nate and I came here on Sunday morning before he flew back home. I found out that refills on coffee are free here- as long as I stay! I could sit here all day drinking their coffee, blogging, journaling, building my portfolio and correcting papers...and I might just do that! I think Owen and Liam are coming tonight while their parents go bowling- so I'll have to get home for that eventually. But for now, it's me, my coffee, and an afternoon full of time.

Monday, October 22, 2007

coming soon...

Renae is visiting today!!! I'm so excited to see her....she's been a great encouragement to me while I've been here. I can't even tell you how many cards this girl has sent....she's amazing.

I've got lots of pictures from my weekend with Nate- I'll try to post some early this week.

Today is better. I'm still sad to be so far from home- homesickness is bound to happen when you're gone for an extended amount of time. I guess it's been long enough.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I miss you more than I should; more than I thought I could.

Nate is back in Nebraska. My heart is lonely already, but he left me with a gift that has rejuvenated my spirit.

I dropped him off at the airport early this afternoon and drove west on I-94 with tears falling from open eyes. Once again, he was too far. Our weekend together was so good for my heart but the absence of him left me feeling like I had forgotten something. To distract myself, I called my good friend and roommate back home, Megan Joy. We visited for a short time and when she asked me how I was, the tears began to fall again. "I may have something that will cheer you up," she said, "Look for something in your room that reminds you of me..." I was confused but immediately turned to a photo of the two of us that sits on my dresser. Tucked behind it, there was a note card with Nate's thin black handwriting, "To start this scavenger hunt, look for a 'raw' scarf. Look deep!" Buried inside my knitting basket was clue #2- which led me to more and more notes. He stayed in my room this weekend while I was in the guest bedroom with Anna. While he had time, he hid notes and clues all around my room. What a wonderful man.

The last note led me to a book that is a compilation of notes from many of you back home. A black journal with my name spelled out in Scrabble pieces holds encouraging verses and notes from many of my greatest friends. I curled myself between my bed and the wall and read through my new book. I cried, laughed, responded out loud to messages and notes. I loved every page and came away feeling refreshed and homesick all at the same time. I know this is a season of growth. My time away from home has been difficult on my heart but has led me to find strength in the realization that God brings us to different seasons for a variety of reasons. Sometimes we cannot see so clearly what the purpose is- but that is where our strength comes from the Lord and we continue forward in faith, knowing that we are taken care of. ...even if we are away from those we love most; even when we feel lonelier than we'd ever imagined; even when our pillows are tear-stained and wet from the heartache of being so far from home. It is in these moments that our God pulls us to his chest and delivers some sort of comfort that can never be explained. It is in these moments that we are remembered by our closest friends; we are given a note (or book) of encouragement, a hug from a far-away visitor, a CD in the mail with a new autumn mix to be listened to with a fresh pot of coffee- from a dear friend who has shared these moments in the past, a phone call from a family member 'just to check and see', or a care package from mom and dad. I believe it is these things that God sends to remind us that we are loved; that He has chosen very certain people to be in our lives at a particular time- to encourage and bless us with their words, voices and occasional touch.

It is these things for which I am so thankful; knowing that God has my heart in mind and is holding it even more carefully now than ever before- keeping it safe until I am back with my community in Nebraska- at which point, He will gently set me back into my flock to encourage and uplift my family there....always keeping an eye on his little Heather.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

a little sunhsine in my corner

Nate is visiting. (!!!!!) We've had a wonderful time so far. I went to Madison on Thursday after school- he, Jason- his brother, and I had dinner there to celebrate Jason's birthday, which is this week. We stayed to watch Grey's Anatomy there (which, by the way, is getting really kind of sad... )

Yesterday we ran around Milwaukee- exploring together...shopping, taking pictures....etc. My heart is so happy...

I picked up a pumpkin for him when we were at the pumpkin farm, so now....we're planning to carve them this afternoon with Anna. :)

I'm going now.....to spend time with my man.....because he is here. :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pumpkin Farm, Anyone?

Today, you guessed it, we went to the pumpkin farm! (Otherwise known in Nebraska, as the "pumpkin patch".... Anna is here visiting from Florida. She is my cousin's daughter- Ray and Ruth's granddaughter. So- she's staying for the weekend and we made plans to meet Owen, Liam and Cathy at the punkin' patch. Here we are in order: Anna, Ray, Cathy and I. How tall this fall? Oh...around 5'5.
Here are the kiddos playing with the pumpkins. Very cute.
This was funny- no one wanted this pumpkin out of the patch....wonder why.....
Here's a video of Liam rolling his giant pumpkin....

Grandpa and Owen are getting to be great buds- Ray reminds me of his dad, my grandpa, who happens to be one of my favorite people in the entire world. ENTIRE world....
Here's a picture of Ray and Ruth- they are my family this semester- they have been extremely welcoming and very generous this fall. It's going to be VERY hard to leave them in December....

It's raining like crazy here tonight. Tomorrow is supposed to be wet as well- which I love. I also love the fact that NATE IS COMING TOMORROW!!!!!! I can't wait to see him- he's flying in tomorrow morning, his brother is picking him up and I'm going to go to Madison to meet up with them tomorrow night. We'll have dinner to celebrate Jason's birthday and then Nate will come with me back to Milwaukee for the weekend. It's going to be so fun to show him my new area- the things I've discovered....where I teach, where I live, the grocery store I shop at.... those little things in life that you just like to share with people you love....that's what life is all about.

Miss Mullen, look what the toads are doing!

It happened. I heard the inevitable statement, "Miss Mullen! Look at what the toads are doing!" And guess what the toads were doing....."giving piggy-back rides". I looked into the tank and continued my math lesson without the bat of an eye. I was proud of my "teacher response".

Here are some pieces of artwork from our hallways- this bat is from a younger student- kindergarten, 1st or 2nd, i'm guessing.
Some of the upper-graders made these "ugly dolls". I think they're hilarious. This one is my favorite- for obvious reasons.
This one is great- the teeth are my favorite part.
and this.....just doesn't need any comment.
This one is cute- all the different colors.

The point of the art project WAS, in fact, to make the ugliest doll. So don't, for a moment, think that I've hurt someones feelings by calling their creation ugly. They are.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Number one is "villi", V-I-L-L-I.

5th grade science. yikes! They've been learning about plant and animal cells. Mrs. C has been teaching this unit- and for that, I am thankful. I will work my way into this subject in a couple of weeks...

I haven't posted for over a week. This is unacceptable. My deepest apologies. I had a nice weekend- Mrs. C invited me to go to her daughter, Alex's, gymnastics meet on Saturday. It was a lot of fun- I'd never been to a meet before. They then took me to a restaurant called "Chancery"...very good food. It was nice to get out and away from my correcting and lesson plans. I also got started on a project I'm working on for a Christmas present. I wish I could give more information, but unfortunately (and fortunately), the recipient reads this blog very regularly. Perhaps after the holidays, I can post photos.

I've turned in applications for teaching and substitute teaching for the spring- a nice weight lifted off my shoulders. Now I've got to focus on finishing up other things before graduation in December- finally!!! Before I left Nebraska, my dear friend, Renae, gave me a bunch of letters to open over the months here. I opened one couple of weeks ago that was an invitation to our graduation on December 22nd. Ha! She's a riot....thanks for the invite, Renae. I'll try to be there! :)

I'd better get back to my kiddos....hope everyone is having a fantastic Monday.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

a day with the boys

Owen and Liam stayed here for the weekend.....we had a LOT of fun....but I am VERY tired....Ruth and I took the boys to the zoo Saturday morning. I had to take a photo of my very favorite animal......as many of you know, I am an elephant girl....don't know what it is about them. I even had a dream last night that I found a baby elephant, the size of a small puppy, and kept it in a shoebox. She was so cute- and was almost crushed by a dog, but I rescued her and took her home to my room with Renae.....I'd never been there before, but she had decorated it beautifully. :) Funny thing is, Megan is my roommate when I move home.....
Liam and I were able to feed the giraffes. Ruth bought us tickets for a ridiculous price so that we could feed them crackers and leaves. They are only fed twice a day, so this was a very special privilege. She has the photos on her camera- I'll have to get them from her.
Here we are waiting to feed the giraffes. Liam is 5 and in Kindergarten this year- a very sweet boy. We are becoming very fond of each other as we are able to spend more time playing swords and catch. He continues to let me know that I'm "not very good" at playing football. :) It's good that children are so honest- they keep us humble. :)
Here is Owen at the zoo exploring dead leaves.
When we got home, Ruth (grandma) had to go to work, so I made lunch for the boys and took them to the park. We played on the swings....
...rolled in the grass for a bit- which was VERY itchy, we noticed, after the fact....And went back home for some more time outside in the yard. Liam had a stomp rocket that was fun for about 2 minutes....after that, we played catch with the football.....and that's when he let me know how bad I was at it. :) My favorite part is when they're tuckered out and cuddly. Here I was, exhausted from the day- not even showered yet, and happy as a clam because I had a snuggly, sleepy baby in my arms. We had a wonderful weekend. I've had time today to correct papers and prepare lesson plans. I've also started Christmas presents, which makes me very excited. I love the holidays.... they mean time with family, comfy sweaters and blankets, hot tea, coffee, cider, fireplaces, changing colors, cold nights, blowing winds........and curling up to a great book inside.....everything warm and cozy.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Look what I did....

I was so proud of this. One of the middle school teachers, Jane, is a good friend of Mrs. C's and she happens to be the science teacher. As many of you know, science teachers have really fun things to play with. Here is her spider- her pet tarantula. She's very nice. Here I am with the spider. She was walking all over and I had to try really hard to keep a hand underneath her. This photo shows her pretty well...she was walking quite a bit, so she's kind of blurry.....
What a cutie..... :) Just so you know, I felt very brave and tough as I was holding this giant tarantula. Look at how happy I was..... :)

We had a work day at school today......it was wonderful to catch up. Owen, Liam and Cathy are coming to visit tonight. We're going to a concert with Ray and Ruth...In fact, I think I just heard a car door.....

Hope everyone is well.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

We've had a death...

This morning when I got to school, Mrs. C (identity held for her protection) :) brought over our little newt on a napkin and said, "we've had a death....". Poor little guy. We're not sure what happened...there weren't any battle wounds that would lead us to believe that the toad attacked him. She's going to the pet store today to pick up another one.

A couple of the boys were looking in the tank today...."Miss Mullen, where did the newt go?" I looked at them and pursed my lips, not saying anything. "Did he die?" I nodded my head slowly with a sympathetic smile. They were so sad. The joys and sorrows of life and death.....even for a newt.

Mrs. C was sick yesterday and so we had a substitute. She spent the entire day labeling maps and circling restaurants and places for Nate and I to see and visit when he's here in a couple of weeks. How kind of her! I was so excited- lots of museums, bike trails, coffee shops, farmers markets, etc....all kinds of things.

I have visited with my supervisors, mentors, advisers, etc. to figure out what needs to be done for my return to Nebraska in December. It looks like I'm set to go- applications just need to be finished and sent in. I'm feeling good about the next step. I know what I need to be working for.

I'm loving my time here- I went to Bible study last night- the second time we've met- and there are some really neat women there. There were 11 of us, ages 23-75-ish....a wide variety of experiences and personalities. I loved it- what a great feeling to have that kind of a group to meet with and share life- even if just for a season. I'm finally meeting more people that aren't still in college and wanting to go to the bars every weekend. I don't like that....I'm not in that season of life anymore. I want more meaningful relationships. I desire friends who can challenge me and people I can rest with. People who want to meet at coffee shops and talk about how we've been inspired; what we've been learning; how we've been growing.....I long for that. I'm sure they're here....but it's taking a while to find these friends.

In the meantime, God is preoccupying me with the beauty of the trees and changing colors against a canvas of grey and blue skies. Lake Michigan is beautiful to drive by every day; the cool damp mornings and wet streets at night. I love this. I love fall. If only I could experience this joy with everyone I love.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Back from my home

I had a wonderful weekend in Nebraska......and I'm confident now that that is where I need to be. I'm enjoying my season away, but there's no doubt in my mind that Nebraska is home... and that is where I will return to in December.

It was SO GOOD to see my man. Friday we made dinner together and spent the evening catching up and enjoying the quietness of just the two of us....which was my favorite part of the entire weekend. The rest of my time was spent visiting loved ones over lunch, coffee, church, etc....my parents came to town to see my brother, Nate and I.....that was also really great. I was completely overwhelmed in church during worship- I forgot how much I love singing those great songs! It made me realize that I may need to try to find a church here that impacts me more than the ones I've been trying out..... I need to get involved and be growing spiritually; being challenged....

Here's a photo of me sleeping on the way home. Nate sent me with one of his sweatshirts- which, of course, smells like him.....and I can't leave it alone. I've been wearing it or smelling it ever since I left Panera on 48th & O....... :)
In other news, here are some pictures from school. I finally, (thanks to my wonderful big brother, James) have a regular camera- I don't have to carry my laptop around anymore to take pictures!!!! Here's the door to our room......with the kiddo's names on the apples.
This is our classroom- I know you've seen this before, but I thought I'd put it in for good measure.
Notice the sweet trees hanging from the line in front of the window- these are an art project from Friday....showing the fall leaves on the trees.
Here's a closer shot.
Something I noticed about Nebraska is that it isn't fall there yet. Here we've got misty evenings with wet streets and orange glowing streetlamps....weather perfect for wearing your boyfriend's big comfy sweatshirt around..... :)

This is a picture of the wall of autobiographies that they wrote for me. We worked on these for a couple of weeks...they turned out really cute.

This morning we got our new classroom pets- a toad and a newt...salamander or something. The toad is beautiful! Look at his belly......very pretty.
And here they are being buddies.....pretty cute little guys. The kids were really excited.
So, I didn't realize that there are so many people who read my blog. I had no idea. Now I'm feeling like I should be a little better about posting......just another boost of encouragement. :) Thanks to all of you who do read.....it's nice to know that people are still curious, even though I'm so far away. It really means a lot.

I'm off to write lesson plans. It was wonderful to see everyone this weekend.....and those of you who I missed, (Melissa.....Meg....) you know who you are, and I'm very sorry.....early service was calling my name. Hope to catch you for coffee next time. :)

lots of love from the fall-filled state of Wisconsin....