Promotion and Fall Commotion!

First: I'm soooooo excited for fall! It's my FAVORITE time of year because of the holidays and family time :D and, pumpkin. everything. Mike's is fall also, but more particularly new year's because of the sense of renewal.

Time has gotten away from me and I didn't realize that it has been over 3 weeks since the last post. Several significant things have happened of awesome importance!

As some of you know, Mike was "promoted" to a Junior Project Manager position. This included: 10 hours of mandatory overtime and a lot more work. The end. Well, as of last Friday, Michael is officially salaried and earns a good amount more than before, so we're finally in a breathable position with finances! Yay! Before this we were scraping by, using leftover wedding money for groceries.

As for me, the only upcoming job I have is 9 hours a week for 10 weeks in fall and another 10 in spring. What I'll be doing is playing games and sharing mini-lessons with elementary-aged children who need help with literacy. I look forward to it for sure, I just hope I get on some substitute lists to keep me busy during the day.

I recently had a hardship (and other teachers were stuck in the same boat) where we were being told to give a $3 per textbook shipping fee - for books we wouldn't get to keep, mind you. My initial impression during week 2 of class was I'd be chipping in $10. However, during the last week of class, my paycheck was either going to have an involuntary deduction taken or I had to pay up in order to even receive my check. A few other teachers had to pay $100, I only had to pay $60, but it was obvious that some real extortion was going on. It was especially frustrating because I didn't even use one set, and s&h was never mentioned for the other set. It was frustrating but I'm moving past it with my last paycheck in hand.

Yesterday was my last day of teaching the kids. Sigh. We had some good times but I'm glad it's completed. There was such a big difference academically in the boys at the 7th/8th grade level compared to the girls. However, I did have a couple of struggling girls and overachieving boys, so my previous generalization can't blanket everyone.

Last weekend, my first not tutoring, I was able to visit home! I was so excited. My Dad is recovering well from his surgery and we helped out with mowing the lawn and walking the dog. This weekend we're covering the lawn duties again while they are visiting my sister, and enjoying an air-conditioned home with Junior the cat. I also plan on washing my poor car, which has been covered in dirt and whatever else for months.

For MBKB, I donated two photo sessions to raise money for the Ruby Jane Foundation. Ruby was diagnosed with liver failure as an infant and didn't make it to age 1. Since her passing, I saw the family's friends coming together to donate items in order to help them cover medical bills since the last month of Ruby's life was spent in the hospital. We're happy to say we've raised $300 for a good cause and gave away three photography sessions, one of which will be in early November of a newborn <3 LOVE newborn photos. It'll be fun to see how these turn out :)

One of my goals this coming month will be to amp up the photo business. We'll be doing a few fall promotions for family photos and Halloween portraits for kids. Besides the auction winners, I'm also taking some photos at my sister-in-law's wedding and some portraiture for a client who is making a gift for her husband (nothing inappropriate mind you ;)


Wrapping Up Summer Already?

I only have two more weeks teaching summer school. Could it have flown by so fast? In a way I'm grateful for it to be winding down, but also grateful for the employment. The hunt continues. We're both working hard at finding better opportunities each day. I was just hired by The Literacy Project, a non-profit organization that uses Get Set Read! programs and games to help elementary school kids improve word recognition. It's only going to be 2-9 hours per week, depending on how many groups and days I'm assigned, but the pay is decent. Even if I only get one group, I still feel good about it because I get to play games and teach mini lessons to kids who want to be there and have fun, and contribute to the community at the same time instead of twiddling my thumbs. Keep the prayers coming that we'll get more opportunities, and keep spreading the word about our photography if you can, we love to do that especially.

I've been fighting off a cold and both Mike and I have felt greatly fatigued this past week. Not sure if it's work stress, the heat, or sickness, or a combination, but we needed the weekend desperately. Yesterday I visited my Aunt Pam and Uncle Mike and really enjoyed socializing and a yummy barbecue. I'm so glad we're close enough to make this a regular thing. It was great to be able to pet a dog too, and play with their cute chihuahua mix Izzy. Such a cutie. I'm also excited that my next weekend is free, so I get to see my parents! YAY! Our friend Melissa is also enthused about teaching Relief Society for the first time as a convert, so I'm going to visit my old ward and support her.

Today at church I feel like we're getting more into the swing of things. It's a busy three hours for us. First we have sacrament, then today I helped Mike with primary. He teaches the 9, 10, and 11 year-olds, and today he had about ten kids, but they were SO reverent! I don't think I could handle all of them myself, Mike is more patient. Then I went to Young Women's for their opening exercises and then had the option to sit in and watch some of their classes or go to Relief Society. I opted for the RS lesson since it was about eternal marriage and I wanted to hear most of it. It's nice to have people start to remember who we are when a family ward can be very chaotic.


Photography Blog

We've started a new photography blog/website (layout look familiar?) Check it out! :) MBKB Photography

Otherwise, not a lot to report this week. My last day of Saturday tutoring is coming up and I couldn't be more excited. Then, I finally get to visit home! We're still fighting the good fight and trying to find more work. I can't wait until the photo business starts moving along.


Mid-to-late Summer

Summer has been passing by for us, week by week. Since I last updated this, we've been able to go to the OC fair with my aunt and uncle, which was a lot of fun. We love doing things with close family.

Summer school has been challenging day by day, but satisfying, which I love. In one class I have a struggling learner and a highly advanced learner, so there is the challenge of differentiating their work and how I teach. The next class is full of rowdy 8th grade boys, but I respected them first so they respect me back. My last class is all girls and 1 boy (wonder why it's my best class ;) and we have really great conversation, and they care about the deeper issues in what we read. I'm going to miss it all when summer ends, but hopefully another opportunity will come soon.

Last week I had lunch with two sisters from church who are SUPER awesome. Even though we don't have any immediate friends, we're starting to get to know people more and it feels good. Mike and I gave talks in church last Sunday and everyone loved them (we even got a few tears). Our topics were from April 2011 conference: Eternal marriage, and Whom He chastens, He loves (Sunday PM session). Last week I also hung out with Vasty and her boys. It's really nice to have a friend close enough to chat with and vent to/with and just have girl time (even though her boys were there :P). We got a few casual shots too, since she doesn't have hands free often to get some of her own.

I can hardly wait until I don't teach on Saturdays so we can take a weekend trip to my parents' house! I feel like my weekends are taken too soon :\ Last Monday was pretty funny though. I started pretending to be a baby in the morning, stomping and whining about it being Monday, and took off my clothes one by one and chucked them at my pillow, saying, "Mondays, take THAT!!" and then Mike started saying, "Ooo, I like Mondays! Yay Mondays!" LOL.

Aaaaanyways. I've kept myself busy with job apps, Wii fit, the gym, couponing, etc. and now I talk to Mom every Friday on the phone. Miss my parents tons. Mike and I really want a pet, it just feels so weird without one. 

We're having a contest for our photography page on Facebook. Just "like" the page and get 5 friends to "like" it as well, and you're entered to win a free photo shoot or Blu-ray copy of "Snow White." So far it's slow-going, who knows if it'll help spread the word, but it's just a shot at a marketing tactic, so we'll see! We'd love to take photos for a living, it's so fun. Someday...

And, today I had lunch with Mike down by his work at Five Guys. The verdict is in: In-N-Out > Five Guys. (For you non-math nerds, In-N-Out is greater than Five Guys.) I could make a better, healthier, less-greasy burger at home. Nom nom In-N-Out. They have their own unique taste.