The Evans Four

blogging about our life as a family

All moved in June 1, 2009

Filed under: celebration,family,monday monday,moving,school,work — aarontori @ 4:03 PM

I have a few moments before Tori gets home and we go to her sister’s for dinner (with another of her sisters and her family), so I thought I’d update everyone.

We’re all moved out of our old place in Fort Worth, and are now house sitting for one of my professors for a month while they are out around the country. We’re taking care of their new kittens (Ozzie, Kati, Chewy, and Vanessa) and also taking care of just general things around their house (the yard, fish, plants, etc.). For the next month we will be doing that and working as much as we can to save up for the trip to PA.

Things look pretty good here. I’ve finished my summer course with an A, and am officially done with my undergraduate degree. We’re all settled and taking the opportunity to relax and not have classwork over our heads. That’s about all we have to report right now! It will be a sad month, with lots of saying bye to friends, but we look forward to PA.

 

-insert celebratory dance here- May 12, 2009

Filed under: celebration,family,food,fun,holidays,illness,plans,school,travels,vacation — aarontori @ 1:39 PM

I did it, I am officially finished with my undergraduate degree. I’m seriously excited!

I just got out of my last final exam (which I totally rocked).

Aaron’s graduation ceremony was this past Saturday and mine is this coming Saturday.

Lots to report here, but I’m going to go sell back my books and head home (maybe…depending on what I hear back from my boss about work tonight).

This post is to be continued…..

 

I’m a Bad Blogger April 15, 2009

Sorry for not posting anything new in about….3 weeks. It’s been crazy around here. I will eventually finish posting about our vacation I swear.

I really want to update everyone (or the 5 people that read this regularly) on how we’re doing.

School:

We had a slight scare that Aaron wasn’t going to be able to walk at his graduation. He found out about 4 weeks into the semester that he is missing a Psychology credit he needs for his degree. To make a VERY long story short: he took the CLEP exam, missed it by one point (according to TCU’s standards, he was well above the college board standards), made an appeal, it was denied, he is now enrolled for a may-mester (3 week mini semester in May) course in general psych. He was told he could not walk at graduation, but appealed and is walking on May 10th with everyone else (if we can pay the summer tuition by the 1st of May).

Other than that school is going well for Aaron. He is very much enjoying his time as a crisis counselor at the high school and is by all accounts doing great there. He finished his honors project for the honors program and presented it on Monday and will present his departmental honors project today/thursday at their research symposium. He just needs to tweak his final paper and submit it by May 5th.

As for me, things are going well. I and a friend were selected by our department as Outstanding Undergraduate Students of the Year, which is pretty cool. We were presented with a certificate and what looks like two ashtrays (but is actually a trinket box/candy dish) at the UNT honors convocation. As a result of my award, I have decided to go ahead and walk at the UNT graduation on May 16th. I’ve got two big projects to finish before the end of the semester (one is due the 30th and the other during finals week). I feel good about them both and am so looking forward to graduation day(s).

Summer:

After graduation, it’s going to be pretty hectic while we pack up/sell our things in preparation to move out of our apartment. We’re going to move our stuff to Aaron’s grandmother’s house. She agreed to let us store our stuff if we clean out the garage and make room (such an awesome deal!). We also need to go to the doctor and dentist to get checkups and have them fill out medical/dental histories for us to present to Camphill so we can get on their insurance. For the month of June we will be working and house sitting in the Fort Worth area.

We’re going to a family reunion on July 4th and then on the 6th we’re headed to Colorado to visit some friends we haven’t seen in a of couple years. After that we’ll visit my mom in Oklahoma, a short stop back in Fort Worth, Del Rio to see my dad and Phyllis, Houston to see Aaron’s parents, then a stop back in Louisiana for our one year anniversary (we’re staying at the Oak Alley Plantation B&B), then Alabama to visit my sisters and their families. After that a very long drive up to SW New York to visit my grandmother, then finally to Pennsylvania where we’ll stay with Aaron’s best friend’s family for a couple of days before starting at Camphill Soltane.

It’s going to be a very busy and wonderful summer, I can tell. Lots of time with family and friends. I’m very excited to see my grandmother. I haven’t seen her since I graduated from high school and this will be the first time she and Aaron will meet. I’m also excited to visit Salamanca again (where I lived from age 3-13); from what I saw on google maps street view it hasn’t changed much.

We’ve got a lot going on right now, but I’ll do my best to keep this thing up to date. I’ll get to the vacation stuff eventually (hopefully before I forget what all we did) 🙂

 

The Scoop on Camphill…Finale March 7, 2009

Filed under: camphill soltane,family,holidays,plans,school,travels,work — aarontori @ 2:30 AM

It’s been a while since the last post. Sorry, but we’ve been pretty busy around here. We just got back from Spring Break (post on that to come later) and before that we had midterms.

Here it is, the third and final installment of our blogs on Camphill

I’ll just go ahead and do the last one because Aaron has been a bit busy/stressed out lately (more on that later t00).

So, onto the final few questions:

“What about grad school?!”
Well, we’re obviously not going right now. I hope to eventually get my Master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology. I will have to take a few prerequisite undergraduate courses (4 or 5) prior to enrolling in a graduate program so it might take a little while. As for Aaron, he hasn’t really decided what he’s going to do next. He has really enjoyed working at the high school so far this semester and maybe will someday work as a crisis counselor. That’s completely up to him. Our plans for the near future (other than Camphill) are a little bit up in the air at the moment. We’ve decided to keep our stay at Camphill open-ended. If we love it and they love us, we might stay for a second year (you can qualify for the Americorps grant twice so if we do decide to stay a second year we’ll get the same grant again).

“Why aren’t you getting a ‘real job’?”
Prior to getting married I decided that I wanted to give back in some way. I applied for and was accepted to go on a summer-long mission trip to India last summer. However, I ended up staying due to my financial situation. I had a really nice-paying job that was helping me to also pay for school, and they definitely wouldn’t hold my position for me over the summer. So I stayed and we moved the wedding up. We had discussed it and Aaron also wanted to serve others in some capacity, although he definitely had a desire to serve more locally. He’s the home-body type and holds to the idea that we should serve here in our own country.

So when we weren’t really sure what we were going to do after graduation and felt sick at the idea of starting more school up right away, we began searching for service opportunities. We found Americorps, but didn’t see anything in their listings that caught our eye. Then I found www.idealist.org which is basically an awesome search engine for service opportunities and news. We found the Camphill Soltane listing and it sounded perfect for us. We immediately loved the philosophy they have and decided to apply. It may not pay like a “real job” but it most definitely will be an amazing experience that cannot be duplicated in any other sort of setting. It’s a way for us to serve others and grow (and it doesn’t look bad on a resume by any means). There’s plenty of time for “real” jobs in the future anyway.


“Will you be able to come back for _______?”
Honestly, unless it will somehow miraculously take place in Pennsylvania or during one of our holiday breaks, probably not. It’s not that we don’t care or that we want to miss out on things like graduations, weddings, birthdays, holidays, etc but we have made a committment to work 6 days a week, every week. We do recieve time off for holidays but even then it’s not cheap to travel from Pennsylvania to Oklahoma and Texas. We’ll definitely do what we can to visit, but it will most likely be on a long break and only a short visit with each part of the family. You’re more than welcome to come visit us though! According to what I’ve read Camphill loves visitors, but be warned: if you plan on staying more than a day or two they’ll put you to work 🙂

“What are you going to do after Camphill?”
Good question! That means we’re not really sure yet. We’re going to use our time at Camphill to figure that out for ourselves. Don’t worry though, we’ll let you know once we know.

I hope that this has answered most if not all of your questions. If you have any others or just want to know more about it, give us a call or shoot us an email.

 

The Scoop on Camphill…Part Two February 27, 2009

Filed under: camphill soltane,plans,school,travels — aarontori @ 2:53 PM

Onto part two of our series on questions we receive about Camphill

“That’s awfully far away, are you sure you want to go?”

In short, yes. We understand that it is in Pennsylvania and that yes, Pennsylvania is rather far away from Texas/Oklahoma. However, we wanted to get away from this area for a while. We’re not saying it to be mean. We’re not going away from anyONE, just craving a change of scenery. We actually decided that Camphill Soltane sounded amazing and wonderful and we wanted more information about it even before we knew that it was in Pennsylvania.

“Won’t you be cold?”

Well, probably. Especially in the winter. However, I do have some experience with the winter up there (I lived pretty close to the Penn border in New York from ages 3 to 13). We’ll have good warm winter coats, boots, gloves, earmuffs/hats, and scarves. It’s all about layers. Promise we’ll use our brains on this one 😉

“Are you crazy?”

I believe that this question was less a question about the sanity of our decision and more about the idea of willingly going to a climate that has snow. The answer, by the way, is no.

“How much does it pay?”

This is a VERY popular question from family. We aren’t doing this for the money. With that said, we won’t be left penniless afterward either. We have free housing and food the entire time we’re there, plus after 3 months we’ll have fully paid-for health insurance. We get a monthly stipend of $170 each. We won’t have any bills to pay so we can save pretty much all of that each month.

We are actually going to be enrolled at Camphill as Americorps workers (Americorps is the same concept as Peacecorps, only you stay and work in the U.S. instead of going to another country). At the end of our time at Camphill we will have qualified for a full Americorps grant of $4,725.00 each for our year of full-time service. That grant can be used either to pay off student loans or toward tuition at an approved institution (there are lots of colleges and universities that accept Americorps grants). We have 7 years from the end of our service to use those funds.

Aaron doesn’t have much in the way of federal student loans, but he can pay off what he does have and then use the rest toward his master’s degree if he wants. I on the other hand have almost all federal student loans so I’ll use mine toward those. Also, since we will be working in an Americorps program, our student loans will go into deferment just as if we were still in school which means we won’t have to make payments on them and any time left in our grace period will still be there when we finish at Camphill. Most loans have a 6 month grace period after graduation and so since we’re starting at the end of August we’ll still have 3 months left once we leave Camphill before we’ll need to make any payments.

I am very meticulous about money (I actually keep a hand-written ledger and budget). I’m also a good bargain hunter (not to brag or anything), and Aaron is a tightwad. Between the two of us we’ll have plenty of money saved up before we ever leave for Pennsylvania.

We’re so very excited about Camphill. We received our paperwork in the mail last week and I filled mine out the next day, but Aaron has been seriously swamped with school and work stuff, but already has a reminder set on his phone to fill his out on Sunday so we can mail them on Monday.

The next set of questions that I (or maybe Aaron) will answer are: “What about grad school?!”, “Why aren’t you getting a ‘real job’?”, “Will you be able to come back for _______?”, and finally “What are you going to do after Camphill?”

 

Final Semester, here we come! January 14, 2009

Filed under: camphill soltane,movie review,plans,school,travels — aarontori @ 1:18 PM

It has officially begun, our very last semester here. Aaron had his field seminar and his one class on Monday. Yesterday was his first day at Haltom High School. We went shopping for some work clothes for him this past weekend (more on that later). We both got up at an ungodly hour (6:30). I tried to be funny and take a picture of him on his “first day of high school”, but the camera batteries were dead.

Aaron decided to take the Corsica, so he left at 7 just in case it broke down. I had the day off so if need be I could go get him and take him there, or he could take the Versa if the Corsica refused to start in the cold. Surprisingly, it not only started but got him to and from Haltom City without incident. We’re looking into other options for him, since we just don’t trust the Corsica to be reliable all semester. He’s called about getting on a van-pool/car-pool through the T (the public transportation system here), but we haven’t heard back yet. If that doesn’t work out, then I think we’re going to buy another cheap car (the Corsica only cost $1250 when I got it 5 years ago).

I have not officially started my semester yet (classes start Tuesday), but have gotten my class and work schedules all figured out and started planning some things for church. Aaron and I will each be leading a college small group Bible study. Today I met with my co-leader and we discussed what we wanted to study, how we wanted to format the study, and when/where we want to meet each week.

This semester I will continue to provide therapy to the same little boy and will add another client that lives relatively close-by to him. She’s younger than him and needs lots of help with her speech, which is great since that’s an area that I’d like to focus on more. I will only have 16 hours this semester, so that’s a relief. On Monday and Wednesday I will work with the little girl in the morning, then go to my one class for the day, and then head over to his place and work with him. Tuesday and Thursday I have the rest of my classes and will work with them afterwards. Finally, on Friday I will have team meeting for him in the early evening. I’m off on Saturday and Sunday, which will be nice.

So, back to last weekend. It was good, but VERY busy. My mom flew in on Thursday night and I drove to pick her up at DFW. We came home, had dinner, exchanged Christmas presents, and just sat around talking until late (except for Aaron who went to bed early because he was tired from a long day of work).

Friday we slept in, then started some homemade sauce for manicotti. It was absolutely gorgeous and so went to the park and threw around a frisbee and just enjoyed the weather. Then we went to Central Market and got a few things and some gelato….mmm. We went back home, let the sauce finish, and then we cooked the noodles, I made the filling and stuffed them, and then we covered them in sauce and baked them in the oven. It was a VERY good dinner. We made a double batch so there were lots of leftovers to freeze/give away. I still have some sauce in the fridge that I need to freeze, but there’s just no room in the freezer. After dinner, we taught my mom how to play guitar hero. It was pretty fun to watch, and I think she started to enjoy it once she got the hang of it. 🙂

Saturday we lounged around most of the morning and then left for Dallas around 3. We picked our friend, Megan, up from the Dallas airport at 4. We then went to dinner at Trinity Hall Irish Pub. It was a little expensive, but the food was good, and the dessert was awesome. After that we had some time to kill before the movie we wanted to see started so we went and bought our tickets, then looked around Urban Outfitters for a while. We got a 3×5 rug for our living room for $9! Then we went and saw Milk, a movie about the first openly gay elected public official in the U.S. and his assassination (not a spoiler, it’s in the trailers and you’re told right at the beginning of the movie). It was about the first gay rights movement and the battle against Prop 6 (a proposition that all gay school teachers and those that support them, should be fired). It was painfully familiar with the recent events surrounding Prop 8. It was a very good movie. Sean Penn was fantastic. After the movie we drove back, dropped Megan off at her dorm, and then came home and crashed.

Sunday, Aaron and I woke up and got ready for church. We went and saw lots of people we hadn’t seen in a while (all the TCU people were getting back for classes), and met a couple new people too. Then we came home and Aaron made burgers for lunch. Mom finished packing up all of her stuff and then we drove to DFW and dropped her off at her terminal. Then Aaron and I went shopping nearby the airport. We went to Old Navy and got him 4 pairs of pants and 4 new polo shirts for work. We went to Target and got a couple of things for the house, then went to Best Buy and Aaron got a 3 month live subscription for the xbox 360 (so he can play games online with other people) and I got a DVD. Then we still had some time before we needed to pick up our friend, Caity from DFW so we went to Outback and split a meal and small cheese fries. We had gift cards for Target, Best Buy, and Outback that we had received for Christmas. Finally, we picked up Caity at 8:30 and drove back to Fort Worth. We decided to stay a little while over at the house and visit with everyone. Then came home and went to bed.

Like I said, it was a very busy weekend (with lots of trips to the airport).

In latest news as to future plans, Aaron and I have applied to Camphill Soltane (check out www.camphillsoltane.org for more information) for next year and they are supposed to contact us sometime this week to set up interview times for us. We are crossing our fingers that we get it, and so is Jason Fish since if we do get it, we’ll be within an hour of him.

I’ve got to get going to work now. I’ll let Aaron write up about how his first day(s) at his field placement were.

 

It’s Beginning to feel a lot like Christmas December 17, 2008

Filed under: holidays,school,tejas — aarontori @ 12:01 AM

Hello internet! Just wanted to post an update on how we’re doing.

I have finished my classes for the semester (thank goodness) and all of my finals are behind me now. Just one more semester to go! Taking 21 hours this semester was brutal and taking 4 finals in one day was pretty rough as well. Next semester I’ll only be taking 16 which will be a lovely change of pace. The only downside is that I will have to drive to Denton EVERYDAY because I have a MWF course. I do have a job for next semester though. I will be continuing to work with the kiddo that I’ve been doing therapy with this semester and possibly adding another client if I have time (we’ll see).

Aaron is done with his classes and is in the midst of finals. He had one test Monday evening, a paper due Monday afternoon, another test Tuesday, and one more on Thursday. I know he will also be glad when this semester is over with. Next semester he will have his field placement at a high school in Haltom City (about 30 minutes from our house) and two classes on Mondays. He will most likely only be able to work on Saturdays because his field placement will take up most of his time.

We will be spending our first Christmas together at a resort in Tyler, TX. Thanks to Aunt Pam and Uncle Wayne, we have 2 days and 2 nights at an all-inclusive resort. We’ll check in after 5 on Christmas Eve and check out the afternoon of the 26th. After that we will drive up to Mt. Vernon to Grandma Ann’s farm. Aaron’s parents and sister will be driving in on the 26th as well. We’ll have a big family dinner on Saturday night with relatives from around that area and then drive home on Sunday.

As for the rest of our winter break, we will be working our tails off since our income will drop next semester. We will also be making plans for after graduation and definitely relaxing and enjoying the break from classes and studying.

In other recent news we had our annual Christmas party with our TCU “family” this past Friday. It was bittersweet since it will be the last Christmas party we have together. It started with about 10 people our Freshman year and this year there were 17 people at the party. We will most definitely miss all of them. Most of us will graduate in May and move away to grad school or jobs. It was a very fun time. We had our secret santa gift exchange, visited, played the endless setlist on rockband (which Aaron was seriously excited about), and capped off the evening by celebrating our friend, Phillip’s 21st birthday at midnight.

I’m going to stop for now since it’s late. Goodnight.

 

 
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