Well, it's been a week since my last post and quite a lot has happened since then.
Last Sunday, we went to a Christmas party with our new friends! The young couples group that helped us move in very kindly invited us to join their Christmas party. It was a progressive dinner and ended in a limo ride, touring town looking at Christmas lights. We all got dressed up, men in suits, women in dresses.
Here we are, all cleaned up:
It was really fun getting to know everyone. They are all so fun and nice, and we all laughed a lot. One of the most fun things was the East Peoria Festival of Lights. It was the coolest Christmas light show I've ever seen! Seriously. I told Nathan I wanted to go again, but he's making me wait till next year. (You can check out a promo video for the light show here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FhdlKS7izE) Nathan got super excited when he saw Christmas light displays of a Star Wars X-Wing. Actually, all the guys seemed pretty excited (they were also all SUPER excited by one of our White Elephant gifts, a book of Star Wars Mad-libs). And they are all exactly our age. I'm the oldest of the whole group by one week. The youngest is 24. When we drove home, I was just so happy! I'm so glad that we have friends already!
On Monday, I had my first day of work. I was nervous, but I think it went really well. I helped out in the 3-year-old classroom, the "Oaks." The teacher in there was really nice. She's newly married, 24-years-old, and she is an amazing teacher. She was very encouraging to me as well, which put me at ease right away. I did my best to observe her closely and learn as much as I could.
I worked again on Tuesday and Thursday, working in several classrooms. All the teachers are really nice, and my boss is super fun. Of course, there is never a shortage for funny conversations when working with children. A couple of stories from my first week: (Names are changed to protect the innocent =)
A sweet little boy was quietly asking for his mommy while sitting next to me. He has such a cute voice and drops his r's, which just melts my heart. I tried my best to console him and redirect his attention to something else. Just as I began to cheer him up with another activity, another little girl in the class joined us (she happens to be a lot younger and louder than the rest of the children, and though she is sweet, tends to get on their nerves). She started repeating rather loudly "I want MY mommy" over and over and over, in our faces. About the 10th time, the little boy couldn't take it anymore and shouted (dropping his r's) "SA-WA! YOUR MOMMY ISN'T HEE-UH!!" This cracked me up all week.
The next story involves the same little boy. It was close to the end of the day, and he got bonked on the head while playing with some of the kids. I sat down to comfort him and place him on my lap. He was really sad, so I asked if he liked songs. "Ya." -Sniffle- "Do you want me to sing jingle bells?" "No... I like Star Wars." He began humming the theme song and I joined in. So I sat on the floor, cradling a 4-year-old in my lap and humming the theme to Star Wars. Practice for soothing Nathan's children? Needless to say, my husband thought this was AWESOME.
On Thursday, I got to work in the classroom I will be taking over in January, the "Twigs." They are the 2-year-olds and they are all so sweet! They remind me of my wonderful 2-year-old friends back home: Caleb, Andrew and Toby. So glad I had spent so much time with the little guys in the past couple months back home. It really prepared me for my new job! And I got to hang out with the other two year old teacher, Jimmy. He is super fun and has a great sense of humor. Truthfully, I love EVERYONE at my new job. They are all really nice, great sense of humor, and have been really welcoming. One teacher told me I am a "great new addition." Another told me I should be "a comedienne if working with kids doesn't work out for me." Another told me that a coworker texted her "I love Marie" after meeting me. While I'm not sure about the comedy career, nor the love at first sight, I'm happy to have made a good impression and be welcomed by new friends (especially since my last job was really more like a family).
Friday I started to come down with something, but I had to take my finals for this semester. The finals for the online community college course I have been taking needed to be proctored, so I had an appointment at a local community college to take 4 finals on Friday morning. I really wasn't feeling well, but it was the last day of the semester and I had to take those finals. I took some Dayquil and powered through. After the finals, I got my second wind and did some shopping for the house. It seems everyday we find something else we are in need of: a shoe rack, plastic bag holder, garbage can, bookshelves, and on and on. The most fun store I visited was the local teacher supply. I picked up a book for lesson planning, and I'm so excited to use it!! So I did some shopping, then went to pick Nathan up. By then I was wiped out. Definitely sick.
So Saturday, Sunday, and now today, Monday, I've been home sick. I haven't left our basement since Friday, except to shower and sleep. I wasn't even up for church. Again, I'm thankful for the great food delivery around here. It snowed this weekend and I wasn't up to making myself dinner last night, so I ordered salad and a small deep dish pizza yesterday. I will need to join a gym soon, or all this delicious delivery food will take up residence in my backside. I'm really sad to be missing work today, but I'm trying to get better quick so I can join all my friends tomorrow.
As for Nathan, he was busy with household projects on Saturday. He assembled bookshelves in the basement and did a lot of sorting. His "man cave" has really shaped up. It's the coolest room in our house and we spend a lot of time together down here. He assembled a shoe rack for me, finished organizing our closet, and even shoveled the driveway for the first time. Then quickly realized we don't have the right kind of shovel. The other driveways look spotless, like a machine systematically removed every scrap of snow. Our driveway looks like a child hacked at the snow for an hour and then gave up. It wasn't his fault. It really was the shovel. And it didn't take him an hour. But now we need to buy a different shovel. Another thing for the list.
Then last night, the guys from our young couples group had a video game party. Nathan went over and played for 6 hours. Needless to say, he found his people.
I'm just looking forward to being over this cold and enjoying Christmas in a couple days.