I am now in the world of the gainfully employed!

A bit of background: I'm a certified social studies teacher and have been unemployed/subbing for the past 6 years. Being hired by school districts in my area is an incredibly difficult prospect. I have interviewed countless times, but have always gotten the "you're a strong candidate, but we decided to go with someone else" phone call each time. At one point, I told a friend "if I hear the phrase 'strong candidate' one more time, I swear I'm gonna take a hostage!"

I recently applied for, and interviewed for, a long-term assignment teaching high school social studies. The teacher who was leaving the position was one I had subbed for frequently. I knew his classes, his routines, and his students very well. But, yet again, I got the "strong candidate" phone call. I was DEVASTATED!

Yesterday, however, I got a phone call from the principal at this high school. Evidently the guy they hired was "unable to fulfill his contract" (her words), and then offered me the position. I was in the middle of subbing at another school, and I literally started doing the happy dance in the middle of class. Yes, I got many strange looks from the students. I then wrote out the sign above and showed it to them, all while still talking on the phone. Smiles and cheers replaced their quizzical looks.

I know this is is only a temporary position, and I am not taking it for granted that I will be hired on permanently (been down that disappointing path before). But, I am still over-the-moon happy. First - I get to teach for 2 months. I get my own classroom. I set my own agenda instead of deciphering other teachers' agendas. But most importantly, second - I feel validated. Even though I am their second choice, I was still selected. After the year that I've had, this is huge!

Happy Vernal Equinox 2016!

Yes, Spring has sprung!

Here in Montana, we were blessed with an early Spring. My crocuses were sprouting in early February and were in full bloom by the first of March - a full month earlier than normal. The lilacs, daffodils, and crabapple trees have all followed suit.

Given the crises and sadness we've experienced over the past six months, an early Spring is definitely welcome. There's just something about the growth of new life that puts things in perspective for me, that things will get better. My heart has definitely felt lighter the past few weeks.

Of course, our early Spring will come at a cost. We haven't had any significant precipitation since the middle of January. I've already had to water my gardens, a chore that normally I don't have to begin until June. We could be in for a bad drought and fire season this summer.

But right now, that seems so far off. In the meantime, grow little plants, grow!

December Daily Wrap-Up and Video

Well, I didn't do too well on keeping up with December Daily, did I? Oh well! LOL

I did finish the album, though, and that was my main goal.

I put together a video walk-through of my album so you can see the pages I didn't post here.  The video is split into three parts, so you don't have to watch the whole thing at once. Thanks for looking!

December Daily - Days 6 & 7

So after some great advice from my friends on Facebook, I figured out how to deal with the 2x2" pockets.

The Story: On Sunday, my hubby dragged all of the Christmas boxes out of the shed and I set to work Christmas-ifying the house. This was extremely important to me. First, given all that's been going on, I desperately needed some cheer and twinkle in the house. Second, living in Montana, it gets dark here really early so having the extra light inside makes things a bit brighter.

I love our Christmas tree!

The Design: Given the constraints of the page protectors I had allotted for this day,  I placed the journal card and picture of the tree outside of the protectors. I cut one side off the 2x2" pocket page and used my Fuse tool to seal the pockets with the sequins.

That washi tape on the right side of the card? That was used to cover up the fact that I punched the holes in the card on the wrong side. Ooops!

Here's the back of the two inserts:

And here's my Day 7 Spread:

The Story:  I'm a substitute teacher, which can be incredibly boring. Today, I spent the entire day watching students do bookwork. It got so bad that I decided to clean out my purse.

The Design: I kept it simple for today. Just some stamping on the photo, glitter tape on the journal card, and that's about it. Easy Peasy!

Thanks again to everyone that helped me through my mind block yesterday!

December Daily - Getting Stuck

One of the goals I had for December Daily this year was to complete pages daily. That way, I wouldn't get behind, get frustrated, and give up. I did what I could ahead of time to make the process easier: make foundation pages, limit and organize my supplies, etc.

One thing I did not account for: what to do when I get stuck with a design.

Included in Ali Edwards' main kit this year are several page protectors that consist of 2x2" pockets. In her plan, she dispersed these pages throughout her album. I followed her lead, assuming that I would suddenly be inspired as to know how to use them when the time came.

Guess what - that didn't happen.

I sat at my desk last night, with those stupid 2x2" squares staring at me. I didn't have any pictures that would really work cropped down to that size. I didn't want to do a page of just "fluff" (not adding to the story in any way). Not to mention, I was really tired, had a headache, and just wasn't thinking clearly.

So, I set it aside. But, I was determined not to let it deter me.

I asked for help.

The Facebook community for December Daily is a tremendous resource. I put up an SOS post last night, asking for inspiration. This morning, I had lots of replies, all with pictures, to help me get un-stuck.

And now I know how to finish that spread!

I'll post Day 6 along with Day 7 tomorrow.

December Daily - Day 5

Today mostly revolved around visiting my father-in-law in the hospital, so I decided to tell a story that happened in the end of November, but is still holiday related.

The Story:  The Saturday after Thanksgiving, my husband and I went to see The Nutcracker. I have loved The Nutcracker ever since I was a kid. I used to take ballet lessons and was a dancer in the iconic ballet when I was 8. I was one of the little kids who comes out of Mother Ginger - the lady with the huge skirt. As an early Christmas present, my mom got me 2 tickets to see this year's production. Rob was very patient with me, but I could tell that the ballet just wasn't his "thing." For me, however, it was a magical thing. Seeing the dancing and listening to the music brought me back to my childhood, when I would play the music in my bedroom and make up my own rudimentary choreography. And of course seeing all the little girls in the audience in their fancy dresses totally won my heart.

The Design:  This became a multi-page spread. I had quite a bit of journaling, so I wrote it out on a 3x8 sheet of lined paper and included it in its own page protector.

Here is what it looks like outside of the album.  The front:

and the back:

Here's how it looks inside the album (please forgive the glare on my photos):

As Gretchen Rubin (my favorite author) says, "onward and upward!"

December Daily - Day 4

Thank you, everyone, for your prayers and well-wishes regarding my father-in-law. He continues to be stable, but he's still in the ICU for the time being.

For Day 4, I decided to celebrate the little joys life offers in the face of hard times.

The Story: My kids are both adults now. One lives on his own and the other lives at home part time and in Bozeman part time, depending on her job situation. Between their crazy work schedules, it is a rare treat to have them both together, so I celebrate those moments when this mama bird has all her birdies back in the nest.

The Design: I had the "ho ho ho" paper and the "4" card already in place from my foundation pages. I decided to print the photo in black and white, partly because the photo was poorly lit (taken inside Buffalo Wild Wings with my daughter's Samsung Galaxy 6 phone) and partly to coordinate with the black-white-gold theme I had going with the foundation pages. I used the "filled with joy" card for my journaling, thinking it went well with both the theme of the page and the color scheme. I kept the embellishments simple, mostly just to spread the gold across the pages to create a sense of unity.

I also added in a transparency page from Ali's main kit. I figured it would be a good fit here, mostly because the "ho ho ho" page isn't essential to the story, so it wouldn't be like I was cutting the spread in two. I ran a strip of gold stripe washi across the center of the page and adhered one of the rubber banners from the main kit.

Here's what all three pages look like outside of the album:

And here is what they look like in the album with the transparency page added:

Thanks for taking a peek today. On to Day 5!

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