Sunday, November 25, 2007

Pooped in Providence, San Antonio and Flat Stanley

We haven't posted in awhile, but we are about to make up for it now! Some of you know that our ward is fairly young; that is, many of our members have not been members for very long. Many of our members are also students, so that means that they are not here during the summer. That means that those of us who have some years of experience are called upon to fulfill multiple callings. Since we moved in, I have been playing the piano in Primary, teaching Primary and doing all the music for Sacrament meeting. Juan Carlos is the Young Men's president, which takes up quite a bit of time. I have felt like the only people in the ward that I was getting to know were the 8-11 year-olds, since that is the class I teach and who I sit with 3rd hour. I love them but wasn't really getting to know anyone else. I still don't know who a lot of my student's parents are. I was talking to Mom on the phone last night and she asked me if I loved my new ward yet and I said no. The Lord must have been listening because today I was called to be Young Women's president on top of all the other callings! Obviously I won't be doing music in Prmary anymore but I will still do sacrament meeting and teach my Primary class. I guess the Lord wants me to have many opportunities to love my ward. JC and I went to a conference on foreign-language teaching last week and we had a great time. Not least of all the fun was seeing Emma and Paul and having dinner on the Riverwalk:
The conference was great and we ran into a bunch of people that we knew in our pedagogy classes at BYU. It was great to see them.
We went on a hike in the hills around San Antonio and spent some time with our friend Scott, who let us stay at his house.
Rachael sent us a visitor named Flat Stanley. Flat Stanley is an elementary school student who accidentally was smashed flat by a bulletin board. Although it is unfortunate, Flat Stanley can be very helpful by sliding under doors to retrieve items and also he is able to travel around the world inexpensively in an envelope. Flat Stanley had Thanksgiving dinner with us and he is eagerly awaiting his next Rhode Island adventure.
I love and miss you all-

Monday, September 17, 2007

It has begun...

My organized desk (It only looks like this in the morning and right before I leave)

School started about two weeks ago and I am finally feeling like I have my head above water. This is the fastest I have ever been able to reach that point. It has taken me five years! Of course I have been teaching in traditional schools where my workload was much higher and at my new school there seems to be a bit more time. Add this to the fact that since we are desperately trying to avoid buying another car and that I ride the bus to and from work every day and you can probably figure out that I just have to use my time at school more effectively. I also managed to finally get myself organized (mostly) BEFORE the school year started. I think most teachers try to manage classes more effectively every year until they finally find a system that works. This is the first year where I felt my system hasn't needed major work.

It's a good thing I feel so on top of things, because I am teaching AP Spanish.

This statement needs to be prefaced by saying that the AP test was reformulated last year and it is now a BEAST. The students are expected to be able to do things that even native speakers can't do (yes, I do have native speakers in my class) and my AP training was, unfortunately, taken when the old system was in place. So all of my extra time is taken up with AP. I am working with a stellar group of kids. Here they are:

So far, so good. We'll see how things progress--it is early days yet.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Walk at Wheeler

Hi everyone-

We started school so we have been pretty busy the last couple of weeks. Today we have the day off for Rosh Hashanah (there is a large Jewish population in RI) so we decided to take Luna out for an adventure. My school has a 120 acre farm in Seekonk, MA and one of the perks is that faculty can use it. So we took Luna today and went for a long walk. It is great because she can be off leash for awhile. She had fun splashing in the pond and rolling in the pine needles and the grass.
We also have new callings in our new ward. I am the ward pianist and the Primary pianist and a Primary teacher for the 8-11 year olds. Juan Carlos is the Young Men's president of all two young men in the ward.

Other than that, our life is full of lesson plans and correcting papers!

We love and miss you all-


Luna loves to roll in the pine needles!

Luna finds Juan Carlos while playing Hide and Seek

Taking a break with JC

Too much running!

Ready to go home

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Back in Utah Again

We are back in Utah again! We will be heading out to Texas in a couple of days but we have had a full schedule since we arrived. We had a family reunion at Moon Lake in the High Uintahs. We had a great time but it was a bit stressful, mostly for my Mom. She had a digestive problem one night and we had to drive an hour and a half to the nearest hospital. She was fine in the end so we headed back to Moon Lake. The next day she tripped over a tent stake and did a face plant into a tree trunk. The worst thing is that she has to do a reading at my sister Emma's wedding on Saturday and she has two big scabs on her face. The next day she wasn't taking any chances and she left a couple of hours before everyone else. This morning she packed up the van with wedding items and my sister and her three kids and headed out to Texas. What a lady! She threatened me with death if I posted any pictures of her, but I am sneaking one in. Here are some pictures of the trip. Notwithstanding all of the trauma, we can't wait for Moon Lake 2008!

Luna's first swim

My cousin Rachael with her great catch
A visitor to our campsite
Everyone having dinner
Juan Carlos with Sue's three kids
JC and Phebe
Luna fishing with JC

Monday, July 23, 2007

Family Fun

I have been in Utah for the last three weeks visiting my family. The object of my visit was to help my mother sort through a lot of family history papers and things since she has more than she knows what to do with. Of course things never go as planned. We haven't opened a box since I arrived three weeks ago. I have, however, been kept busy by all my nieces and nephews and my brothers and sisters. My sister Susanna came to stay the first weekend with her 2-year-old twin boys and her 1-year-old, Phebe. Here they are:

As you can imagine it was a very hectic visit but I think my favorite part was taking the boys to the Scera Waterpark. They loved the water but the real hit was the slide that went into the shallow end of the pool. The twins went up and down the whole time they were there. The third weekend of my visit was spent with my mom. We stayed at Sue's house with the kids while Sue and Josh had an anniversary getaway. I have a new appreciation for moms with small children. I had a blast though,

My sister Sarah and her family came up for a week while I was in Orem. Here is a picture of her kids:

I also got to spend some time with Rachael, who is my sister Sandra's youngest. I don't have a picture of her but we had a great time and we went to see Ratatouille, which was super cute.

It was a great visit, but I am glad to be home for a week before we go off to Utah again for two weeks! I bought Harry Potter 7 in Utah hoping to save it for this off-week, but of course I finished it within 24 hours of purchasing it. It was great and a fitting end to my "vacation".

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Wilsons

This is Frere and Soeur Wilson, a couple that was on a geneology mission when I was a missionary in France. I went to see them yesterday since I was in town visiting my Mom. I met Frere and Soeur Wilson when I was serving in St. Brieuc, which on the northwest coast of France. It was a small city of 40,000 people and was probably the most difficult place I served, missionary work-wise. The branch met on the top floor of a small commercial building in the industrial area of the city. I rode a bike for the 4 months I was there since there was no public transportation. Try riding a bike in a dress sometime if you want a laugh. I remember that my bike was named Daisy because there were flowers all over it.
Anyway, my first month in St.Brieuc was really a healing time, since my new companion Audrey Wood and I had just come off of some difficult months. Unfortunately we were only together for a month, but it was truly one of the best months of my mission. My mission was pretty strict about our schedule. Every hour had to be accounted for. Most of the time this was not a problem, because what are you on a mission for if not to do missionary work? As a missionary (just like every other job), you really need a change of scene now and then. In Paris it was great because there was so much to do and see in Paris on preparation days. In St. Brieuc there was really nothing. As a missionary you work harder than you ever worked in your life. You work to the exclusion of everything else. And as a result you get really tired and worn out, albeit in a good way. Anyway, the Wilsons were an integral part of those months I spent in St. Brieuc. The couple missionaries had a little more freedom as to what they did with their time once their work was done every day. Once or twice they would notice that my companion and I were looking a little haggard and they would find some obscure referral out in the country and call and set up an appointment for us. Those were some of the nicest discussions I ever taught. Of course the Wilsons would take this opportunity to say "Since we are in the neighborhood, we are going to go and see...." We protested that we needed to be contacting or knocking on doors or whatever and they said "Okay, do it where we are going!" Sometimes we did and sometimes there was noone around to contact. They gave us a much needed break and helped us feel that we were still doing our job. The Wilsons served another mission to Montreal, Canada in 1999 and then were transferred to Boston in 2001. For the last 18 months they have been serving a welfare mission in Springville. As you can imagine, they have really supported the young missionaries wherever they have gone.
What a great example they were (and still are) to me. I love them so much.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Luna Lovin'

We are really enjoying getting to know Luna, the downs as well as the ups. We have had only a couple of accidents so mostly she is just great. She is very low-key and lies around most of the day. Here are two pictures of her in her favorite occupation:

I particularly enjoy the second picture, although I don't see how she was able to sleep for an hour like that.

Today was also the day that everything went wrong. I could make a list:

1. We took Luna out this morning and locked ourselves out of the house one hour before I was supposed to be giving a presentation at Stonehill College for some of Juan Carlos' colleagues. He had to break a window to get in.

2. Our contractor (for the basement) had to come and babysit our plumber, who did everything wrong, while we went to said meeting.

3. The inspector for the plumbing came before we got back so we had to set another appointment.

4. The plumber who moved our washer and dryer put the water pipes right in front of where the dryer vent is supposed to go out and has spent two weeks doing something other than fix our washer and dryer so JC had a miserable afternoon trying to maneuver the dryer vent through the pipes.

5. Luna peed on the floor.

6. We still can't do laundry now that the dryer is hooked up because when we went to plug it in the outlet was different from our plug. ?!?!?!?!?

With all of these things it was easy to be frustrated. However, some good things did happen today, and I was very grateful for them.

1. My friend Nancy came by to visit.

2. The town fireworks display is phenomenal and we got to watch it out our front window.

3. We had dinner with a couple in our ward, Josh and Kristen Wilde, and we really enjoyed their company.

4. Luna went pee and poo outside!

5. Our plumbing for the basement bathroom WAS, finally, approved by the inspector.

6. The gas company came and told us which meter actually belonged to us. (Apparently they are all mixed up)

So as you can see, it may sometimes feel like everything is going wrong, but lots of things do go right and it is important to remember that. Just like when you are in a traffic jam and every lane seems to be going faster than you, everyone IS actually moving at about the same speed, even though it seems like you are just sitting there. Things usualy do even out.

So it was an okay day, all things considered.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Presenting a new Martin

This week we took the plunge and added a canine companion to our family. This is Luna:

Luna is a Bernese Mountain Dog. My brother Ray has one where he lives in Alaska and we love visiting her. Every time we meet a Berner we are impressed by what calm and sensitive dogs they are, so we decided this was the breed for us. We put a picture of Luna's mother so you can see what she will look like as an adult. (She was still slightly large because she has been nursing eight pups!!!!
We were worried that there would be a lot of crying, but so far we only had one episode from 5:30 to 6am. Then she quieted down. We are totally impressed! The Bernese Mountain Dog is from Switzerland and was used to watch over sheep and also to haul carts full of milk and cheese to market in other towns. Here is a picture of my brother's dog fulfilling her calling:

Having a dog is a huge change for us and I feel very apprehensive and worried that I will not meet her needs. When they put her in my lap for the ride home yesterday I felt like a huge responsibility had been given to me. I wonder if that's how you feel when you have a baby--although I am sure it is more with a child! I said a prayer that Heavenly Father would help me be a good dog-parent to this beautiful creature of his.
We are loving our Luna already--I am leaving for three weeks and I know I will miss her! She is coming to Utah in August with Juan Carlos and me to meet the rest of the family and her canine cousin Sage from Alaska.
That's it for now. I am sure I will be posting more often since I now have something very fun and wiggly to post about!!!!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

We are as different as the sun and the sea

This week has been a revelation for Juan Carlos and me. We have moved at least 4 times since we got married and we managed to do just fine. The move to the new house (where we are finally installed, by the way!) has been horrific. We are finishing our basement and we have a bunch of guys working in the basement. The plumber cut the wrong tube and shut down our AC for the two days in Rhode Island when it happened to be 93 degrees outside. The builder we purchased from has not taken care of anything we listed when we did the walkthrough. On top of this our plumber also hasn't finished some adjustments to the hot water heater so we have had no hot water for three days (although this was not a hardship on the hot days). Our reaction to all of this is pretty interesting. Juan Carlos paces back and forth until he can't stand it anymore and then goes into a fit of cleaning (I guess there are worse things to have a fit about). He grumbles under his breath, expresses his displeasure to the workers, and generally climbs the walls. He just cannot handle it. My reaction to his shouting is to shut down completely. I just can not communicate with someone who is not in control. I can't do it. So we growl at each other throughout the day, forcing ourselves to be polite.

I, on the other hand, sit down and wait for whoever to come fix whatever it is. I just feel like getting upset does not make things happen faster and is also a waste of energy that I cannot afford to waste. Juan Carlos has extremely high energy though, so he must have an extra supply. So I don't yell and I sit and read or do whatever in the 90 degrees indoor heat. What else can you do? This is when Juan Carlos looks at me like I am an alien.

It is true that Juan Carlos' way sometimes gets results faster, but he is jumped up and stressed out for hours or days after things like this happen. However, Juan Carlos definitely gets more done than I do. I feel like I keep a more stable emotional level, but things might take longer to get done--sometimes too long.

Juan Carlos comes from a family and a culture that is very expressive. (of every emotion!) I, on the other hand, was never allowed to express extreme emotion--either out of control happiness or out of control anger-- while growing up. I don't know that this is the best approach, but it certainly makes me more non-confrontational. (Although I can be plenty confrontational when a student is out of line).

Anyway, it has been a TERRIBLE week for the both of us and we look forward to putting a leash on our snarling beasts and getting on with life. The AC is back on and it's amazing how it lightens up the mood around here.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Some thoughts

Again, I found this fun personality test on Lara's blog. It is pretty interesting. Click here to see my results. I was surprised at how accurate some of the statements are. It is also interesting to me how different I am as an adult. A lot of this is because I wanted to change some things about myself, but it seems like more change than what I consciously thought about. I think of how I was as a child and even a young adult and the difference is startling to me. I wonder if this happens to everyone.

On a different note, school will be over (finally) next week. The end of every school year is hard for me. I love my students and have a great time with them, but at the end of the year they walk away and you never know whether you actually contributed something to their lives. I think part of this is feeling tired and worn out. I have asked some colleagues, however and they admit to feeling the same way. I suppose teaching is different from most professions because you do not see the results of your work; indeed, they run out the door at the end of the year and you never see them again! So I am always a little sad at the end of the year. I will miss my students and I hope they will remember something from Ms. Martín's class.

I am more than ready for the year to be over, but the summer is going to be busier than I would like. I will be spending a good part of July and August in Utah and also attending the wedding of my sister in Austin, TX. All of these things are wonderful and I am excited about the visits, but I wish I didn't have to spend so much time on airplanes! :-)

And on a last note, Juan Carlos and I went fishing off Cape Cod for our 7th anniversary last weekend. We had a great time. Here is a picture of Juan Carlos at one big moment.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Here to Stay

We have had a very long year and have made it through our first New England winter. It has been a little more difficult for me to adjust than it has been for Juan Carlos. I am not sure why. I think it is a lot of things together: the extremely high cost of living, the job that doesn't pay enough, (Boy, has my testimony of paying tithing grown!) or maybe just the fact that people are not that friendly here. We have made some commitments though, and it looks like we are not going to be giving up on New England anytime soon.

The bad news: Massachusetts is too expensive for us. There is no decent place in the state where we can afford to purchase a home. (Where do all these people work that they can pay $300,000 for a two bedroom house built in 1850?) Also, taxes are astronomically high and health care is almost unaffordable. I always thought that the health care issue was no big deal, but the truth of it is that isn't a big deal in North Carolina. It is in Massachusetts.

The good news: We are moving to Rhode Island. We found affordable housing in Pawtucket and so we are about to become homeowners for the first time. Unfortunately the affordable housing does not run to actual houses. So we are starting with a condo. Maybe someday we will have a house! (Pics below)

The bad news: My job (and job enviroment) has been very difficult. I have discovered recently that I am making a lot less than even public school teachers. The mistake I made was thinking that a Catholic school in North Carolina (which I loved) is the same as a Catholic school in Massachusetts. It's not the same (except for the salary!)

The good news: I have found a new position (hopefully a permanent one) at the Wheeler School in Providence. I will be teaching AP Spanish there. This will be a challenge but I am looking forward to it. It is better money (not a lot but enough) and a much needed change of atmosphere. It will be nice to get back to an independent school setting, as well--it fits my teaching personality more.

The bad news: One sad thing is that our ward here in Massachusetts has been one bright spot in a difficult year. We are really going to miss it.

The good news: We haven't ever been in a bad ward so we are looking forward to getting to know the members in Rhode Island.

Some random good news: We went for a walk tonight and saw a whole lot of Canadian geese with their goslings. It made me happy beyond all reason. (Pic at the bottom)

It has been a hard year. But we still feel that this is where we are supposed to be, and the Lord has provided the way and the means.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Funny Boys

Last month I had a great trip to Utah to visit family. Here is a video I took of Sue's boys, who have just learned to wash their hands.



Monday, March 19, 2007

Annie's Cranky

This has been the week of pain for me. I have had a terrible cold (it is UNBELIEVABLE how much mucus one head can produce) and today I went to the endodontist and he said I had broken a tooth and would need to have a root canal today. Fortunately my nose decided to temporarily unplug so I could breathe during the whole thing. It went lickety split and was over in about 15 minutes. Amazing! I am very grateful that we have anesthetic now or I would be in a much worse mood. Speaking of anesthetic, I remember when my sister Sue was little and when they would numb her face it would make us laugh when she would try to smile. We would tell her to smile just because it was funny.
Anyway, hopefully I will have something better to contribute next time.


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Play on Words

English is not Juan Carlos' first language. Spanish is not my first language. At home we try to stick to Spanish but sometimes a strange hybrid creeps into use when we aren't paying attention. Inevitably, we each make mistakes with the other's language. Most of the time this is just irritating, but sometimes we really crack each other up. Since most readers of this blog would not understand my mistakes, this post is for the amusing contributions JC has made to the English language.

1. "I am going to kill the bird with two stones." Meaning to say "kill two birds with one stone"

2. "What is the windshield factor?" Instead of wind chill factor

3. "My stomach hurts-right around my button-belly."

4. "Can I have some hot chocolate with wiped cream?" Instead of whipped cream

5. "It has cring chiss" Instead of cream cheese

6. "Excuse me. I burp." Instead of I burped

7. To the dog: "Sage! Rolled over!" Instead of "Roll over!"

8. "What do you want on your tomestoon? Instead of tombstone

9. "I think we need an aisle for the kitchen" Instead of island

10. Waitress: " Do you want soup or salad?"

Juan Carlos: "Yes."

Waitress: "You want soup, or salad?"

Juan Carlos: "Yes."

He thought she was saying super salad and he wanted one!!!!!

Just in case you laugh too hard, remember it goes both ways! My nieces and nephews have a hard time saying Juan Carlos so they call him "One Carlos". I think it's a fair trade.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Annie's ABC's

I saw this on Lara's blog and thought it was fun. I am trying to get JC to do his as well, so stay tuned!

A Aphrodisiac. What turns you on? Singing and Juan Carlos’ dancing.

B BFF. Who’s your best friend? My best friend is JC. Best girlfriends? Probably Mom and Sue.

C Celeb. Favorite? Most annoying? I don’t really have a favorite. I don’t think there is a most annoying.

D Drink. What’s your poison? Orange juice. You CAN drink too much.

E Everyday essentials. What do you use everyday? My computer.

F Fav. color. What’s your signature color? I don’t really have one, I like all colors.

G Groove. What music are you enjoying today? Annie Lennox. What a voice!

H Hot! Who’s hot? Who’s not? I think Juan Carlos is hot. I decline to comment on who is not, unfortunate souls.

I Indulgence. Dish about your guilty pleasure. I love those fuzzy chenille socks.

J {dream} Job. What would you do? I would love to do opera full-time, but teaching is a very close second and much more stable! (Plus the world needs more Spanish teachers than opera singers!)

K Kitchen Companion. Most used item in your kitchen? I am not really sure about this one, but it is probably the water faucet.

L Life is incomplete without. . . ? Juan Carlos, the gospel, books.

M Mc. . . What would you “Mc”? McMartín. Come on, I had to say that.

N Natural or dyed? Natural, although I dyed it for a few years in college. Now it’s just brown.
O Outrageous Outfit. What’s hiding your closet that you’re dying to wear?
Unfortunately nothing.

P Pet Peeve. What makes you absolutely crazy? Politics.

Q Quote. Share some inspiration. "Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone." ~Pablo Picasso. Lara had this on her blog and I like it a lot.
R Restaurant you give rave reviews. We don’t get out much, but we went to one restaurant in Providence called Oki’s. We can’t wait to go again!

S Starbucks order. BEST hot chocolate that’s not homemade.

T Television. What keeps you glued to the couch? The Westminster dog shows. (I know, it’s so boring that I can’t believe you are still reading!)

U Ultimate Vacation Destination. I know this is probably lame, but I would just love to go back to Utah and spend time with my family.

V Virtual Babe Name. What’s your online ID? harpyno1

W Wonder Woman. What woman leaves you in awe? Mom definitely and Sue is a close second.

X eX - _______________ Ex-single person? I can't think of very many things I've been that I am not anymore.

Y Youth in a bottle. What keeps you feeling young at heart? Working with teenagers.

Z Zodiac sign. Leo

Monday, January 01, 2007

Alaska Adventure 2006

Mom with the sled dogs
Emma, Paul, Mom and Ray with the sled dogs
Juan Carlos and Sage
Juan Carlos and Sage

Phebe and Stephen

Juan Carlos and I are slowly recovering from the flight from Alaska, where we spent our Christmas holiday, back to Boston. It was truly awful, but the trip was worth it. My sisters Sue and Emma came up as well, and both my parents arrived on Christmas day after they found out (at the airport!) that their Christmas Eve flight had been cancelled. Once we all arrived the fun began! My mother realized her dream of riding with an Iditarod dog sled team, my sister Emma and her fiance Paul had their engagement pictures taken, and probably the best part of the whole trip was meeting the newest members of the family, Phebe (6 months) and Stephen (3 months). Juan Carlos and I enjoyed the snow (it has been about four years since we saw any) and Ray and Kary's Bernese Mountain Dog, Sage. Juan Carlos earned the nickname of "dog whisperer" and "baby whisperer", since he taught Sage new tricks and quieted the fussy babies when noone else could. He also shoveled more snow than I have ever seen. We enjoyed being with family so much. I don't think that kind of Christmas will happen ever again, and I am so grateful that we were able to be with everyone at the holiday season.

Here are some pictures of our Alaska adventure.