Thursday, June 24, 2010

Travel Plans for July!

My month of July will be spent traveling (and practicing braille from the passenger seat).

Chris loves baseball and wants to visit all 30 major league baseball parks in the near future (not all on this trip). I love to travel and have visited 49 of our 50 beautiful states.

Chris and I are both teachers and not only have this summer off, but we are both taking this summer off (not working a summer job) to travel, relax and visit friends and family.

So far, in our relationship we have visited Coors Field in Denver, Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay, and Busch Stadium in St. Louis...

Coors Field in Denver where the Rockies play:
Tropicana Field where the Tampa Bay Rays play:Busch Stadium in St. Louis where the Cardinals play:
From July 1- August 1, we are taking the road trip of a lifetime. We are going to see games in the following games in cities on the following dates:
  • July 1 Pittsburgh Pirates
  • July 2 New York Yankees
  • July 3 Boston Red Sox
  • July 5 New York Mets
  • July 6 Philadelphia Phillies
  • July 7 Detroit Tigers
  • July 8 Chicago White Sox
  • July 10 Houston Astros
  • July 11 Dallas Rangers
  • July 15 Los Angeles Angels
  • July 16 San Diego Padres
  • July 18 San Francisco Giants
  • July 19 Phoenix Diamond-backs
  • July 20 Los Angeles Dodgers
  • July 21 Oakland A's
  • July 24 or 25 Seattle Mariners
  • July 30 Minnesota Twins
Other adventures will include visiting friends all along the way, visiting MAINE (my 50th state!), Disneyland, Yosemite National Park, High 101 up the Pacific Coast, Yellowstone National Park, the Jacob's Family Reunion and MANY MANY hours in the car! :-D

I'm currently reading Eat Pray Love and I love the following excerpt from what I've read of the book about travel:

"... to travel is worth any cost or sacrifice. I am loyal and constant in my love for travel, as I have not always been loyal and constant in my other loves. I feel about travel the way a happy new mother feels about her impossible, colicky, restless newborn baby -- I just don't care what it puts me through. Because I adore it. Because it's mine."

Honestly, I hope to adore my future newborn babies more than travel... but I do love the adventure of crazy travels - and I don't care what it puts me through or what kind of sacrifice is involved.

On this trip, I have no doubt, I will sleep at awkward angles in the car, shower at truck stops, feel too car sick to read or study braille, get tired of Chris' radio choices, and start to wonder if my body has actually attached itself to the upholstery of the car...

But on this trip, I am going to go places I have never been, see things I have never seen, travel the country with the man I'm falling in love with, learn more about my beautiful country, see friends and family I haven't seen in years and make memories I will have my whole life.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Big Announcement: ALL I SEE IS VISION

Thank you for being patient in anticipation of my BIG NEWS. I had to tell a few people in person before I could announce it here.

First of all, I must say -- I am clearly at the age and stage of life where, when I say BIG NEWS, people think I'm engaged... because the only guess numerous people shared with me was, "Brooke! ARE YOU ENGAGED?!?!" Well, I am not engaged. Maybe that will be the BIG NEWS another time.
The News:





As of 8:15 this morning, I've officially resigned as preschool director and accepted a job as an itinerant (traveling) teacher for blind and visually impaired students.

This might be a good time to tell you that I have a Masters degree in teaching students who are blind and visually impaired and teaching that population is truly my passion. I was offered a few jobs teaching vision when I left Vanderbilt, but none in Eagle County, which is where I wanted to live.

Now, a job teaching vision has become available and been offered to me basically covering all of the counties between Eagle and Grand Junction. I will travel to different schools where children with visual impairments are students and I will teach them specific skills, and then work with their classroom teachers to make sure the instruction is accessible for them. This job (called itinerant TVI - teacher of the visually impaired) has not been available in about 25 years. The woman who had the job is partially retiring but has taught vision in this area for the past 25 or more years. I marvel at God's timing.

I will miss my preschoolers and my awesome preschool staff, but I am BEYOND excited to get back to teaching vision.

When weighing my options and making a Pro/Con list to help me decide, one factor made my decision pretty easy: When I think about jobs in my future, all I see is vision. I may not always be teaching children or I may not always be in America, but I always see myself working with people who are blind or visually impaired.

I have a lot of knowledge to catch up on (it's been 1.5 years since I taught or studied vision) but I've got the summer to bulk up.


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Monday, June 21, 2010

June Fun in Saint Louis

Here are posted some pictures from my recent trip to Saint Louis.
Here Chris and I are on a hike:
We went catfish fishing at his Grandparent's house. Notice the dark clouds... it rained from the moment we cast our fist line for the entire time we fished.
I kept hearing of some grand daddy catfishes in this pound... but this is all we caught:
Can you tell from this picture that it is pouring down rain and we are soaked... because it is pouring down rain in this picture and we are soaked!
This is Chris' dog nephew, Jazz. By the end of the week, his sister was calling Jazz my new boyfriend because we loved to play together.
He's a Great Dane, and so we appropriately saw the movie, "Marmaduke." It was cute and made more funny by the fact that Jazz is a playful, mischievious, and lovable Great Dane, like Maraduke.
Chris and I did the Anheuser Busch tour... and we thought it was funny that the tour guides looked like they were in middle school -- maybe all the tour guides are underage to keep guides from over-sampling?!?!? Just an idea.
Beautiful and Famous Anheuser Busch Clydesdale...

I like this picture with our reflections. The guide commented about how old this building is... and said that the building is old enough to have seen the Cubs win the World Series -- Cubs v. Cardinal animosity runs very deep in this town.
Quite the family portrait
Notice this assembly line... 1950 and 1650 cans PER MINUTE!!!!
Like at a winery, we got some beer samples at the end of the tour. I really like the glasses with their emblem.
I found it really interesting that the Saint Louis Anheuser Busch factory survived during the depression by manufacturing ice cream, breakfast drinks, soda pop, syrup and baker's yeast. Because the plant remained open and creative, they were ready to reinstate beer production as soon as the ban on alcohol was lifted -- they delivered some of the first legal beer after prohibition to influential lawmakers who worked hard to lift the ban. I love American ingenuity! However you feel about drinking, I think one must admit that shows great creativity and resourcefulness.
Cardinals game v. the Seattle Mariners in Busch Stadium

See the Arch behind us?

This was Pujols' hit that WE thought was a home run... but it hit the guy's glove, so it was a double. But check out my shot... I think this is a cool picture.Some of Chris' family with whom we went to the game. His Aunt Sharon (left), Aunt Nancy (next to me), and sister and brother-in-law, Beck and Daniel.
A better one of the group. Back: Daniel, me, Chris; Front: Nancy, Becky, Sharon.
After the game, we got famous Ted Drewes frozen custard.
Jazz really liked the steaming dry ice that came with the frozen custard.
My last day in St. Louis, Chris and his mom and I did a tour of Grant Farm (as in President Ulises S. Grant, who commanded the Union Army during the Civil war). The farm is now owned by Anheuser Busch and is sort of like a free-roaming zoo.
Here we are in the train:This macaw did his impression of the eagle Anheuser Busch logo.
When I left St. Louis, Chris texted me this picture of him saying "I miss you." He's so handsome!
Lexie greeted me home. I love her!

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Lexie's Father's Day Advice:

Lexie loves my dad (her "Papa"). My dad won't admit it, but he really loves Lexie too.

Lexie sent a Father's Day card to my dad that had a picture kind of like the one below where a cat is guzzling milk from old fashioned milk bottles on the outside of the card and it says, "It's Father's Day". Inside the card it says, "Enjoy a few cold ones."

Lexie also had some thoughts that she asked me to hand write inside the card:

"Dear Papa,
Lexie knows how hard you work and she thinks you should spend Father's Day taking after her. She thinks you should spend today eating, drinking, playing, taking a few cat-naps... and rubbing up against the person you love.
Happy Father's Day, Papa!
Love, Lexie"

I think my dad will get a kick out of it.

Happy Father's Day, to a great Daddy!

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Operation: GRAD PAPER

Through a kind of complicated story, I have had one outstanding paper for my Spring graduate class. A few of my paper throughout the semester were mildly overdue... a few days, a week (always with the permission of my professor).

This last outstanding paper is... seven weeks overdue. Still with the permission of my professor, but nevertheless - SEVEN WEEKS this has been hanging over my head.

Today I wrote that stupid final paper! I still need to proofread it tomorrow, but for me, proofreading is not a big deal - maybe an hour and it's done. How long did I spend today on the paper, you ask? Twelve hours.

When I emerge myself into a paper like I did today, it is not a pretty picture. Thankfully my roommates are both out of town so I could turn the family room into an uninterrupted work space (aka disaster area):
Some parts of the paper were like pulling teeth, where I would tell myself to focus long enough to complete one task, or write one section, and then I'd reward myself with a few minutes of The Food Network and a quick jump on Facebook. Other parts of the paper flowed really well and I lost track of all time -- and I didn't pay attention to the oven timer thereby burning my lunch:It was during times like these of great focusing that Lexie sometimes decided that I needed a break. And she climbed on my shoulder making it so I had only one hand to type, or she simply sat down on top of the work in front of me, blocking my research articles and my computer:
Also, on paper-focused days, I look AWFUL! Seriously.

I get out of bed, and never shower on paper days. I don't really know why, but I just never shower on paper days. I wake up and get in really comfortable clothes, make coffee and start working. Let's pretend that the only reason I look so bad in this picture is because I didn't shower this morning and I was wearing paper-writing "focus" clothes:When the paper is done (literally 12 hours after I started... 9:00am-9:00pm), this is how I feel:And this is how I relax:And this is Lexie peering around the shower curtain while I'm in the bathtub:What a great feeling to have this nearly behind me. One hour of proofreading and I AM DONE!

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