Monday, October 7, 2013

When in the course of human events...

Let it be resolved that on this day, October 7, 2013, I, Allysa Suzanne Fite pledge to write on this blog at least once per month for the next year.

I am terribly at this blogging thing, mostly because like most of my hobbies, I have little time for it. But in doing away with my facebook for the time being, I feel the need to journal the events of our life somehow... so back to blogging it is. I am planning to be better, and one can only hope that I can pull it off.

I have very few readers, but that's ok. It will be a fun experiment to see who spies on us when we have exciting news to share in the (hopefully) near future. :-)

Oh- and here's a silly picture of our awesome kid! 2 and potty trained! That should be my next post...

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Breaking [Play]Ground

When Andrew and I had our backyard landscaped last October, we had told them to leave a giant dirt patch on the side of the house, knowing that someday we wanted to put in a play set for Annabelle and our future kids. The day the grass was being installed, there was a breakdown in communication somewhere along the line and they ALMOST stretched the lawn and mulch all the way to the fence line. Luckily we caught the mistake quickly and we got our empty dirt spot. We had no idea when the play set would come, but that was ok. We had a little set that Annabelle got from my parents last year and that would be fine until she was older.

Then we decided that with our tax return that we wanted to really go for it instead of waiting. We looked for months for one that was really sturdy and good quality. Our wish list included a wooden top, positive reviews, and a good price (under $900)! We couldn't find the right one, until one day when we went to Costco to renew our membership and saw this cedar beauty! It was listed at $999 but it was $200 off until the weekend. Unfortunately Andrew was going out of town that weekend, so we knew we needed to decide on the spot. Without a chance to do some research, we trusted our gut and just did it. We felt a little sick afterward, but ultimately it was a good choice.

It wasn't until we got home that we knew how good of a choice it was. This play set retails for $1300 and had PERFECT reviews. And it was much more enclosed than the other play sets we had been looking at from other stores. Sadly, we had to wait to put it together for a week until Andrew and Annabelle came home from Cabo. Then the work began.

 We first laid all the pieces out on the lawn and labeled the cardboard with the numbers for easy access. It was so hard to find the first few parts because of the massive amount of lumber, but we got better with practice!
 After the first six hours this is what we had accomplished. The beginnings of the fort were coming along.
 We ended up moving all the wood over because the sprinklers needed to come on.
 The next time we worked, we worked pretty much til sundown, hence why the picture is so dark. Lots of times we would work from the time Andrew got home until we couldn't read the text in the manual anymore.
 This is what we had after 9 hours.


And this is after about 12.
 Finally we finished the play set after nearly15 hours. It said it would be 10-12 hours, but with two major distractions (Annabelle and Rue) and a drill that wouldn't charge, I say we did pretty well.

To finish off the look we bought 80 bags of rubber mulch and some edging. When we pulled up to home depot with two trucks, the employees knew instantly what we were planning.

 The finished product!


 I am very impressed by the design of this play set. Even the back of the slide has creative details that really make every cent worth it. It was a huge project, but it was something that Andrew and I enjoyed building together and something that will bring our family lots of fun in the future!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Pooh Party!



Annabelle is two! Can you believe it? She is such a remarkable little girl, and we couldn't wait to celebrate her coming into this world with some friends and family!I figured this was the last year that I would have any say in what kind of party that we held, so I decided to go all out in something she loved and something I enjoyed too. After a little thought, I found some really cute ideas on Pinterest and decided that was the perfect theme for a party on a budget. I spent less than $5 on decor, $15 on paper goods and less than $10 for favors and games! My most expensive purchase was the food and cake.

The party could not have been on a more perfect day. For the first weekend in March, I was shocked that we had 80 degree weather. It was a good thing that we got patio furniture and a giant umbrella the weekend before. My mom was in town for the week, so with her and Andrew's family, friends from church, and my friends from FPU (and kids), we had a lot of our favorite people there!
This fun little welcome sign was a late night thought. On the day of I was so glad that I did it because the neighbors next door were having a baby shower for a little girl, so it was understably a bit confusing for some people! Without the sign they might have had more guests than they planned.

The food was my favorite part of the planning. I wanted all of it to be pooh related and this is what we came up with! We had Rabbit's Veggie Garden, Hunny Ham Sandwiches, Piglets in a Blanket, and Tigger Cheezy Taters. I also made some "Hundred Acre Wood" Mix as a favor with honey roasted nuts, chex, honey teddy grahams, pretzel sticks, and gummy bears of course!

 






Our decor followed the bright blue, green, red, and yellow colors and was pretty simple. Here I hung a sign that said "100 Aker Wood". I just cut random cardboard I had in the garage in the shape of a wooden sign, painted with red paint I had leftover from a different project, and then hung it with hemp. And with the Winnie the Pooh soundtrack playing in the background, it was a perfect Pooh atmosphere!

This banner I made with my cricket and cardstock. Pretty simple but cute! It also was hung with hemp.

The cakes were made by Walmart. It was originally supposed to be only the brown cake, but because of a little mix up we got the colorful one too! All in all the cake was delicious and we had two flavors for people to choose from: white or chocolate with caramel filling.
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For games I made a "Pin the tail on Eeyore" game for the kids to try. I cut paper tails for each child and they all did quite well placing the tails. I also covered beach pails with pooh characters and we played a ball tossing game like the Bozo buckets from the 90s (anyone remember that clown?). The kids liked this the best, I think. They all wanted to play over and over again.

I made my own labels with the quote, "Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in our hearts" to cover some bubbles for the kids. They all loved blowing bubbles all around the yard, except some like Annabelle got more bubbles in their tummies than in the air! Silly girl! See the bubble mustache?


The kids were all so excited to help Annabelle open her gifts. She didn't seem to mind the company though!


Even though it was a lot of work, I was so happy with the way the party turned out. We had many more guests than I anticipated, but it was great to see everyone and to share our house and daughter with them for an afternoon. We are very blessed and I can't wait to do this for many more years to come!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Graduation Day


4.5 years of education are now coming to a close. Here is the post I put on facebook that pretty much explains my educational journey:

From Golden Eagle to Cougar to Giant to Sun Bird to Bull Dog...

I started my education four years at my beloved BYU, leaving my family and thinking that I could do anything. And then I failed my first college science test and knew I was going to have to work much harder than I anticipated! I worked harder in that year than ever before.

Then I moved to California to marry my sweet Andrew and attended the tiny but cute COS. It was fine at first, until a year in when I was pregnant and was throwing up before, during, and after every class. But I did graduate with an AA, and made some great friends.

Next Miss Annabelle came, and school became that much more complicated. I was not accepted to the local state college because of transcript issues, and I felt broken. What was next for me? I'm a new mother, not working, not in school, what could I do now?

Then a friend told me about Fresno Pacific's Degree Completion program. She said it was an 18 month program designed for parents and working adults who wanted to be teachers but couldn't attend traditional classes. I thought, how perfect?! The only problem was I was too young... But with a little prayer and persuasion, I was accepted into LA 60, the best and most inspiring group of 22 people ever!

And today I graduate. I am excited, and very humbled. I know the Lord was guiding me every step of the way and showing me that this is where I needed to be. I hope I have touched people along the way, serving those in need, and sharing the gospel when possible. I am thankful to be graduating and moving on with my life, and I will cherish these memories forever.

Now I continue on to Fresno State (who rejected me before haha) where I will get my teaching credential over the next year. I am that much closer to my dream job and hopefully touching more lives!

A special thanks to the Fite family as they have helped along the way with babysitting on weekends when I had 12 hour field trips, helping me with assignments, etc. Thank you also to my husband and family for listening to my ideas, stories, and other nonsenses along the way as well.

"Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve." -BYU Motto
  

It was a very laid back day. I thought the ceremony was interesting and well planned out. It wasn't nearly as boring as I had anticipated, at least to me. Apparently to the audience it was a little long.
But it was nice to be handed that diploma: A Bachelors Degree in Liberal Arts!



It was really great to have my family there. After the ceremony we all went to enjoyable dinner at Macaroni Grill with Andrew's family. I could not have imagined a more peaceful day.

But I am very grateful for the opportunity I had to do this degree completion program. It was really the only way I was going to finish on time with a job and family at the same time. I met some really great people and am much more prepared to be a teacher than ever before. 

 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Goodbye To You.

Today was bittersweet. Mostly bitter... It was my last full Friday at Reagan. Coincidentally, today also marks my 1 year anniversary at Reagan. It was one year ago today that I first walked into Room 5 and met the kids who would make the next year of my life so very interesting. At first, the job was very stressful. I didn't really understand the lingo or the protocols of special ed. I felt like I had no autonomy and no control over the organization of the teaching. But once I started diving deeper into the curriculum and developing a relationship with Caralea, my master teacher, everything felt better. In June, when she gave me the task of ordering supplies for the classroom for the next year, I knew that we had turned a new leaf. That made coming back in August much easier. I then understood the programs better, and had a better grip on the vocabulary of special ed. I also felt like I could make decisions on my own without consulting Caralea all the time, especially when it came to discipline. The kids knew me better, and I knew them in return. I had an invested interest in them and I cared about them. I could actually say, "I love my job!"

I haven't told them that I'm quitting yet, but it was on my mind all day. Part of me is waiting because I really don't want to let anyone down. Another part of me is waiting so I don't have to deal with the awkwardness of it. And the other part of me is waiting because I'm attempting to live in a fantasy world where I could teach at Reagan, be a mom, and continue my education at the same time. But I can't. It is physically impossible for me to work and student teach at the same time. There are simply not enough hours in the day. I have spent months struggling over this decision, and it has been one of the hardest I have had to make in a long time.

I have really come to love those kids, and it pains me to leave them with the instability of a changing teachers, changing classes, etc. I sincerely want what's best for them, but everyone keeps reminding me that doing what is right by them is putting my family and myself behind. Not to mention, while making this decision, Andrew and I concurrently were making the decision to wait to have another baby until I am finished with student teaching. Therefore, the longer I take to finish my education, the longer we are putting off our family. As you can imagine, I have spent many nights crying over my confused emotions. Everyone keeps saying that I have to do what's best for us, but it's not easy to make that choice when I know so many people will be affected by it.

I want another baby (badly), but I also want to be a real teacher already. I'm so close that it actually feels strange. I have been preparing for this stage of my life for years! And now that I'm here, I'm having to make some really hard choices. When I am especially consumed with the stress of the decisions, I think to myself, "Why isn't being a mom good enough for me? Why do I need this to make me happy too?" I know part of it is fear; fear that without school I will be nothing. Because what am I good at? Not really anything. I'm not athletic, I'm not musically talented. I can't do anything artistic, and I don't have any especially marketable talents like speaking many languages or being a computer genius.

Parenting and education is all I've got, and if one of those things is taken away from me then I will not be whole. In those moments of emotional desperation, I also have to remind myself that I know that my calling on this Earth is to teach. I know that it is, because I continually pray that if it is not that our Heavenly Father will close that door. But the door remains wide open. In fact, as I get closer I feel more and more affirmed that it is right for me.

Gosh, I'm really going to miss those kids. One silver lining is that if I get the job I want at Sanger High, I will see them when they are all grown up! But in the meantime I have been trying to do whatever I can to set them up for success for when I am gone. I am trying to keep really good records, organize the classroom, and prepare the kids the best I can in my lessons. I hope all this isn't in vain. I hope that I can heal from this, knowing that in order for me to help more kids in the future, I have to move on from this now when the opportunity is available.

So unfortunately,  I'm going to have to say goodbye. I just hope it hits ME the hardest.



Monday, December 3, 2012

Rue

 

When our sweet dog Zero passed away suddenly in September, Andrew and I were devastated. It was my first experience with death and a lifeless body, causing it to be especially painful for me. Even though we only had him for a short while, I had loved him. So without him, our house and hearts felt like something was missing.

We had discussed the possibility of getting another dog, and at first I was repulsed by the idea. I didn't just want to replace Zero, like he was just a possession. But as my heart healed, I longed for something to take care of. And Andrew, feeling like he didn't do his best by Zero, wanted to try again. When we mentioned it to KC, she told us that a family in our ward had some Australian Shepherd puppies for sale. I wasn't too sure about it, considering that I had never heard of these dogs before. But we knew we wanted a puppy and a girl this time. The territorial marking was too stressful for us!
We called the family from church and were able to see the dogs the next day. They were so cute in person, and I knew we were going to adopt one of them. I had my eye on a quiet boy, but Andrew knew immediately which girl would be ours. She was noisy and active and came right up to Andrew. We talked it over, and she became ours the next day. Our little Rue!

The first night was painful! She cried all night and had us up every hour or two. I remember thinking terrible things like, "Zero never whined like this" or "Zero never would have pooped in his own bed and walked all over my kitchen tile with poop on his feet", but that wasn't really fair. I was not anticipating the work it would be to have another baby in the house, and I certainly was aggravated that my already short sleeping schedule was being interrupted some more. But after a few nights we figured it out. No food and water after dinner time and setting an alarm every 3 hours to let her out helped prevent any accidents and put us all on a schedule we could handle.

That was 9 weeks ago. Since then she has more than quadrupled in weight (she seems like she is bigger every time I see her) and has become completely house trained. The only "accidents" are from retaliation when she knows we are planning to leave her in the house alone. She sleeps for about 8 hours without needing to go out (thank goodness!) and has mostly stopped peeing in her bed. A lot of people have said that Aussies are really smart dogs, and it shows by how easy it has been to train her. She now goes in and out of the house through a doggy door that Andrew and Eric installed. Much to my dismay, she loves to play in the mud and therefore takes a bath almost every day. And she chews EVERYTHING. Hats, toys, paper, bottles, jackets, SHOES, crayons, flies, etc. Andrew has even taught her to return a frisbee and play fetch.

It is hard to believe how much she has changed in just a few weeks. Tomorrow she has her final round of shots, and then next week she is losing her lady parts. Sorry, girl...

Oh, and as far as her namesake, this is our train of thought:
Po (like Kung Fu Panda) would be cute because she looks like a little panda, but that name is too close to No... so what is something Australian?... Kangaroos... Roo is cute. But I like Rue better than Roo. And we like the hunger games... ok, Rue it is. Haha









Rue and Annabelle are best friends. As I type this post, they are both laying on our bed playing tug of war with the belt from my robe. I'm very glad we have a dog to be a part of our family and to give us the opportunity to love again.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Vegan?

Today I read a book about veganism and I was quite intrigued. I don't know if I could ever live a vegan lifestyle ( I love STEAK and burgers), but I was inspired by the author's message that changing our habits is an easy way to make a big difference. There are little things we can do to make a big difference in all aspects of our life, and this book shows just a few ways that is done. For more info check out this glog I made for a class project.

http://allysafite.edu.glogster.com/veganislove/