Friday, October 21, 2011

Thank goodness for MEA

When I think back to MEA weekend as a kid, I remember being excused from school a couple days early by my parents and then we scooted up to Grand Marais for some fall hiking and relaxation.  This was before we had our cabin up there, so we always stayed at the same hotel, in the same room, and sneaked Moose in over the balcony (years later, we would find out that the management knew that we were doing that, and just chose to never say anything about it to us).  To us kids, the over-sized hot tub was amazing, and we would spend hours each night in there, swimming around.  Eventually, my parents sold the old cabin in McGregor and we bought a new one in Grand Marais, so now there is no sneaking in dogs or wrinkly hot tub fingers, and we go up there for more than just MEA weekend.

We miss you Moosie!

Now, I'm on the other side of MEA weekend as a teacher.  I could go to the convention that is held on the Thursday and Friday, but I choose to enjoy the long weekend, and boy did I ever need it right about now.  This year, I am teaching two completely new preps: English 11 and Read 180 (a reading strategies class- I'm working on my reading license, so reading skills and strats are starting to become my niche at my school). 

While I love my job nearly every day I am there, the stretch of Sept. 6-Oct. 20 without any days off starts to take a toll.  Last year, I was busy, but this year I'm feeling kind of pulled in a million directions.  I agreed to take part in a group that meets 1x/month on Mondays which focuses on collaboration for interventions in literacy at the secondary levels.  It's an additional 2 hours after school on those days, plus a couple of all day meetings scattered throughout the year.  On Tuesdays, I am still teaching in the Adult Basic Education diploma program until 8pm.  Now, on Wednesdays, I've added my reading licensure classes which go until 7:20 each week.  And then there are the Thursday conferences/calling times/staff development hours which occur about once a month as well until 6:30.  By Friday, I am beat.  I continue to work for my parents on the weekends (both Saturdays and Sundays), so I really feel like I am working 8-9 days a week.

I made the decision to take off from my parents work over MEA so that I could have a true weekend off, and boy am I glad that I did that!  I think that MEA means even more to me now as a teacher, and it's time that I can use to catch up on my social life, sleep, and my mental health.  This year is even more great because I get to spend the days with Lucy while Luke works.  I also actually have time to get some stuff done around the house and try out some new recipes!  Luke gave me a sewing machine for my birthday, so perhaps I'll even squeeze in a sewing project...  mmmmm.... crafts :)

Yesterday was the most amazing start to the long weekend:  Dog park, Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Shopping at Target (for some reason, shopping at Target just always makes me feel better!), and getting some chores around the house done at a relaxing pace.  Today has been spent so far catching up on Grey's Anatomy and drinking coffee while lounging with Miss Lucy- she even let me paint her nails to match mine:
Pretty in Sparkles!
Here's looking forward to the rest of a relaxing weekend, and coming back to school refreshed and ready to go!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Newest Family Member!

We've decided that Luke must be some sort of reincarnation of Saint Francis or something because he seems to find abandoned animals all the time.  In 2006, he found Snakey the redtailed Columbian Boa Constrictor in our apartment.  In 2009, he discovered Darla, the guinea pig outside of our apartment.  Flash forward to last week and we can now add another creature who has found his/her way into our ever-growing family.

Meet Trogdor...

Lucky for Trogdor, we already have Spinelli and anything a parakeet could ever need, so he definitely found his way into the right home.  Luke spotted him in our backyard, and after confirming that it was NOT Spinelli (I made a beeline to her cage when Luke said that there was a yellow parakeet in the yard to make sure that it wasn't her), we managed to lure him with seeds and a perch, and Trogdor and Spinelli have been bonding ever since.

This little budgie is also much cooler than Spinelli.  Spinelli has never been a very people-friendly bird, but Trogdor will let us take him out of the cage and he'll hang out on our shoulders and not immediately fly away like Spinelli will.

I wonder what we'll find next...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Lucy's Latest!

I managed to teach Lucy a new trick this morning, and I wanted to share it with you all!  She's quite proud of herself :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

2 years!

Happy anniversary to us!  It's been two years since I married my best friend, and we're still holding strong.  Lots of changes have happened in the last year (me getting a full-time teaching job, loosing Dwight, adopting Lucy, and much much more), and Luke has been my rock through it all. 

Here's to another 60+ years!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Yesterday, we got back from Luke's family cabin in Crosslake and Lucy's been kind of pouting ever since leaving.  We had a great time, the weather was excellent, and we came back only slightly crispy!  The weekend comprised of fun lawn games (bags, ladder golf, badminton), lots of drinks, sleeping in the bunkhouse down on the beach, good company, taking Lucy swimming, reading,ice cream, triple yahtzee, grilling, and fireworks. 

I will leave you will my favorite picture of the weekend, and if you're interested, you can see more at Lucy's blog (click on the link!)

A man and his dog.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

We heart Xcel!

Seriously, we love Xcel energy right now.  A few weeks ago, a nice young man stopped by our door to see if we were interested in partaking in having their Energy Squad come by our house to make our home a bit more energy efficient.  Normally, I am one to say "No thanks!" and shut the door in their faces before they can even finish trying to sell me anything, but I was feeling nice, so I let the guy tell me about it (it was also 90 degrees out with 80-something % humidity, so I felt a little bad for him).  Turns out, it was a good thing I didn't pretend to not be home, because it ended up being a great deal for us!

For $50, we were able to have the Home Energy Squad come in and have them install the following:
  • Weatherstipping on our attic crawlspace door

  • Programmable Thermostat

  • Faucet aerators in both bathrooms and our kitchen

  • A water-saving showerhead in the basement

  • 8 decorative CFL lights in our kitchen/dining room
They also rated several appliances in our house, and let us know what the recommended rating was.  What I really liked about the whole thing was that they were no-pressure people.  They basically just said, "Here's what you got.  Here's what we recommend it be at.  Here's where you can find information to upgrade it if you like."

Since it was such a great deal, I want to give everyone else the opportunity to benefit from Xcel as we did.  If you want to schedule a visit with the Home Energy Squad, you can call them at:
(651) 328-6220

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Officially Summer!

The school year ended rather uneventfully, with some teary goodbyes after our last day in the building.  I was all set to teach summer school, but earlier in June, the enrollment was down, so they were unable to keep me employed.  Oh shucks.  Now I actually have to enjoy a full summer break.  What a bummer :)  Instead, I got to focus on the first class of my Reading Licensure program at the U.  We crammed a 3 credit course into a 2 week window and yesterday was the last day of it.  I have been living/breathing/eating this class for the last 14 days, and now I don't really know what to do with myself!  I'll be subbing a couple of times in July for one of the night school English teachers, but other than that, I'm student free!  There are some projects around the house that I would like to get done (plant more hostas in the garden, find new curtains for the dining room, create a succulent terrarium like the one below)... but I'm sure a lot of my time will be dedicated to keeping Lucy happy and the house clean.

Yesterday, Lucy had her very first experience at the dog park and she made some pretty awesome new friends.  Humphrey is her new gorgeous boxer boyfriend, and he showed her the ropes of the park.  I was a nervous mama at first (not wanting to let Luce off her leash because it's not a fenced in park), so Lucy and I started on a walk around the trail by ourselves, while we adapted.  When we were on the return part of the trail, that's when we met Humphrey and his humans.  His mom asked if we wanted to keep walking, so I agreed, and allowed Lucy off her leash.  While I was silently panicking, I was reassured by Humphrey's mom that they would always come back- which fortunately they did!  I felt much more confident by the time we got back to the kiddie pool, and chatted with some of the other people who were with their dogs.

Now, I can't remember if I mentioned this or not, but I was in a car accident on June 1st, during the last couple weeks of school.  The other day, we found out that the car has been deemed totaled, so I had to go clean it out.  I hadn't actually seen the damage on the car until last Friday when I went to the dealership.  To be perfectly honest, I kind of internally freaked out a bit when I actually saw what happened to my truck...

So now, we get to start the always fun process of buying a new car. We've got to figure out what we can afford, but hopefully we figure it out soon, because the last 4 weeks of driving Luke to work at 4am has been hell. Right now, all we know is that we'll need something bigger than Luke's 2 door hatchback Hyundai accent... So if you have any recs for crossovers/small suvs/wagons, I'd love to hear it!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Meet Grizzly Kleinberg!

My mom and dad FINALLY found themselves as proud new puppy parents last week! 

Griz is a chocolate lab vizsla mix, with the potential to be a very energetic dog.  Lucy had the opportunity last weekend to meet her Auntie Griz and they got along famously.  It was wonderful to be able to see Lucy be so gentle with such a tiny little puppy, since most of the time, we've only been able to see her interact with dogs older and larger than she is.  Even though Lucy could have kicked Griz's butt on many instances, she just let the little one climb and paw and chew all over her.  Even when Griz would start to whimper, Lucy would come running from where ever she was to check on her newest family member.  Since Griz is only about 4 months younger than Lucy, it will be great for them to have LOTS of puppy playdates to tire each other out, and to see them grow up with each other.
"Are you my mother?"

Griz = Auntie, Lucy = Niece

The look that tells us that she will be trouble!

Griz loves her human sister!

(Don't mind the dumb music in this video, Paige and I were having a conversation about dog poop that I didn't think everyone else wanted to hear!)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

May Updates

So, at this point, we are only halfway through May, but there are all sorts of updates to be told!

Back in March, I was pink slipped from my teaching job.  Fortunately, they were still hiring for my position and two days ago, I re-interviewed for my job.  I was up against several highly qualified and amazing candidates with years of experience, but ultimately, my experience over the last year at Crossroads, the reading skills I implement into the English classroom, and my strong desire to come back won me back my job.  While it will go back down to the .67FTE, I was told by one of my APs that there is a very good chance that it could become full time before the school year starts!  While Luke and I can afford for me to continue the part time position, it would be awesome if they could bump it back to full time...  All I have to say though, is that I am SO glad to not have to fill out teaching job applications this summer.  Those are super time consuming.  In fact, if I could only use one phrase to describe my summer of 2010, it would be Applications!

Our school is getting a new principal (our current one is retiring at the end of this school year), and it was just announced yesterday that one of our current APs has been hired for that position!  I'm very happy with how the principal interviews resulted because Nancy has been in my corner all year and has been enthusiastic about my professional growth since September.

Lucy is now 4.5 months old and is growing like a weed!  Here she is a month ago in the Dwight chair (we call it the Dwight chair because for Easter, we purchased the IKEA chair for ourselves, and since Dwight was our little Easter bunny at the time, it became his gift to us):

And here she is this past week:

It's hard to believe that this little cuddle bug (who is currently curled up and sleeping on my lap right now) will become a giant dog in just a short amount of time.  We continue to take tons of pictures and videos of her, so feel free to visit for more updates on her!

In other family news, Luke's sister graduated this week and got a job offer all in the same day!  Congrats to Becca!  Also, my sister, Lauren, graduates from UMD today with her degree in English (for being someone who never wanted to copy me, I find it highly entertaining that she has the same B.A. as me!).  Congrats to Lauren!

Only 18 more school days until summer :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Walk for the Animals

This is plea from me as we go into the last week of fundraising for the Animal Humane Society's Walk for the Animals on April 30th.  My goal is to raise $250, and so far I've raised $110.  This will be Lucy's first Walk for the Animals and we appreciate any monetary support we can get (every little bit helps!)

This is an event that Luke and I have a very personal investment in.  Our little Dwight was adopted from the Golden Valley site, and want to be able to give back to them as much as Dwight gave to us during his time in our family.

Please Please Please consider donating (it is tax-deductible).  The animals appreciate it more than you can ever know.

To donate, click on the link below.  Then click on the blue star that says "Make a Donation in My Honor" at the top of the page, and then follow directions for a credit/debit card payment.

Friday, April 15, 2011

We Love Lucy!

To keep track of her growth, I'm taking as many pictures of Lucy as I possibly can, and can't wait to be able to compare them as she gets bigger!  Instead of completely filling up this blog with pictures of Lucy, I started another blog that is dedicated to her:

Lucy's blog (We Love Lucy) is more for Luke and myself, so that we can sort and organize the evidence that our soon-to-be mini-horse was once the size of an average dog... but feel free to check it out from time to time!  My goal is to update it with at least weekly pictures of the crazy terror dog. 

P.S.  Lucy's link will always be located on the right side of this blog.  Just click "We Love Lucy" and you'll be there!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Miss Lucy

Dwight's passing has left a very huge hole in our lives.  A hole apparently big enough that only a Great Dane mix puppy can fill...

Meet the newest member of the Lorenz family- Lucy!  Lucy is almost 15 weeks old and is a Great Dane mix (we don't know what kind of dog her dad is).  While she's only been with us for a little over 24 hours, she already has us wrapped around her humongous paw!

Keep an eye out for her adoption story coming soon :)

Friday, April 8, 2011

See you later, little Bunny

Over the last few weeks, Dwight had been battling a nasty UTI, and potential GI infection.  After two visits to the vet in less than a week, two antibiotics, one steroid, medicated shampoo, diluted disinfectant, ointment, and subcutaneous injections of fluids, Dwight decided that enough was enough and passed away last night.  While we were doing everything we could to try to save our spunky little bunny, it wasn't enough to give him the will to fight the infection that was making him feel so horrible.

Dwight took his final breath laying in his favorite spot by the back door, looking out at the deck, where he used to spend hours just sitting and watching.  While sadness had been a major member of our family for the last week (watching Dwight get weaker and thinner each day took a huge toll on us, and resulted in multiple nights of tears and comforting), when Luke told me that Dwight had gone, the first thing I felt was relief.  Relief because I knew that he wasn't suffering anymore.

Dwight's favorite spot

It's amazing how such a small little guy made such a huge impact on Luke's and my lives.  Just under 5 years of being a family together taught us a lot about patience and personality (Dwight's personality was at least 20x bigger than his body size), and his passing has already left quite a hole in our hearts.  We may still have 10 pets in our house, but walking downstairs for the first time this morning forced me to feel how empty it already feels.  This morning, when I was on my way out the door to go to work, I walked over to the spot under the lilac trees where we laid him to rest, only to find that earlier Luke had put down some carrots for him on his way out to work (as close as we'll ever get back to that morning ritual of treat-time before heading to work).  As I sit here now, in the back room, I occasionally see him hop and kick his feet out of the corner of my eye, but by the time I turn to look, he's gone.

Thanks for the good times, Dwight, and we'll be seeing you again later someday.  Keep an eye out for us...

By the edge of a woods, at the foot of a hill,
Is a lush, green meadow where time stands still.
Where the friends of man and woman do run,
When their time on earth is over and done.
For here, between this world and the next,
Is a place where each beloved creature finds rest.
On this golden land, they wait and they play,
Till the Rainbow Bridge they cross over one day.
No more do they suffer, in pain or in sadness,
For here they are whole, their lives filled with gladness.
Their limbs are restored, their health renewed,
Their bodies have healed, with strength imbued.
They romp through the grass, without even a care,
Until one day they start, and sniff at the air.
All ears prick forward, eyes dart front and back,
Then all of a sudden, one breaks from the pack.
For just at that instant, their eyes have met;
Together again, both person and pet.
So they run to each other, these friends from long past,
The time of their parting is over at last.
The sadness they felt while they were apart,
Has turned into joy once more in each heart.
They embrace with a love that will last forever,
And then, side-by-side, they cross over… together.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Before Spring Break started, I knew that I wanted to accomplish some sort of home improvement project before going back to school.  Since the first part of the week was spent in Colorado, I really only had a couple of days to pick which project I wanted to get done in the next 48 hours.  Since we've been in our house, we have painted the basement, kitchen/dining room, basement bathroom, our main floor bathroom, and the unfinished storage room (soon-to-be office space that included painting the walls and the floor).  Originally each of the rooms were a standard beige color (we're pretty sure that the previous owner hired painters just before putting the house on the market, and painted every room the same), except for the basement, which was the yucky fake wood paneling.  Since I believe that the easiest way to make a big change for little moola in the shortest amount of time is to throw a new color on the wall, I decided to paint the guest bedroom. 

Here's a reminder of what the room looked like before:

On Saturday, Luke and I took a trip to Home Depot and Menards to pick up some much needed items for our projects (Luke's working on finishing the ceiling in the old storage room.  More on that when it's closer to being completed!).  Originally, I went in there thinking that I wanted to go with Behr's Shale Grey (kind of a brighter blueish grey), but after some deliberating in the paint chip aisle, I walked away with 2 gallons of Glidden's French Grey, which was a much bolder color that I had intended getting!  We couldn't remember if we had any rollers left or if we had any clean paint trays around, so we went home to tally up our supplies and planned to come back the next day for the rest of our necessities.

Sunday morning was spent at Menards, picking up a short handled brush, a wide paint tray, a new roller brush, painter's plastic and more Frog Tape.  As soon as we got to the house, I jumped right into getting the room prepped and taped, and I was painting by 2.  Getting both coats on took me until about 7:30 Sunday night, with only brief breaks for snacks and fresh air.  In the end, I was very pleased with the results!  As for the trim, Luke and I have decided to keep the oak trim the way it is, despite the fact that we know that the room would look even better with crisp white trim.  We just haven't figured out if it would be too weird to have just one room with white trim, while the rest of the main floor has oak.  Since this will be a kid's room eventually (provided that we're still in this house when we have kids), our opinion might change by then.

After shots (be warned, some of the shots do not show the true color of the paint.  For some reason, some of the pictures show the French Grey as brighter than it really is)

In progress

In progress

Immediately after the tape came off, but before the outlet plates were put back on.

To the left of the craft table is where the photo collage will go!

The bedding definitely doesn't match the walls as much as they seem to here...  A nice white bed frame will also help contrast and define the colors!

This picture captures the color the best.

Ugly light fixture that will also need to go...

View from the hallway.  Any ideas as to what we should put on that wall of the guestroom?

The next steps are to buy a new white bed frame (IKEA, here we come!), a queen sized mattress and to create a frame collage thing on the wall next to the closet.  The plan is to start off by printing some of my youngest sister's photography work and put in in white frames and then going from there.

As of right now, this is one of my favorite rooms in the house now to just sit and catch up on emails, read, etc.   I just can't get over how much I love the color!