In October Zach and I began a new exciting adventure by taking in a foster greyhound. This means we let an extra hound into our house and care for it as one of our own until their perfect family comes along and adopts them. I thought this would be a wonderful rewarding experience, so I filled out an application online. I told Zach that it would probably be few months before we were given our foster, but it actually a few days. Our first foster was a greyhound mix named Timothy. Timothy was a very young boy and still had quite a bit of puppy in him. We had fun playing frisbee and fetch with him, but the two emergency vet visits (once due to chocolate ingestion and the second due to a possibly swallowed razor) were not so fun. He thought "No!" was a game and was constantly in trouble, but it all paid off when we delivered him to his new home, which included a whole acre to run on and two friends to play with.
Our new foster, the beautiful Gigi, is almost the exact opposite of Timothy. Where Timmy was outgoing and playful, Gigi is shy and reserved. She is not quite comfortable with humans yet and will back away when you try to pet her, however she Penny and Leo make quite the pack. When I get home from work and let the dogs outside Gigi's personality shines! She and Penny like to chase Leo around and pick on him (on a long stretch Leo is the fastest but the girls have better turning). We are working on getting Gigi more comfortable around people and hopefully she will find her forever home soon, and we are happy to have her until that time.
Saturday, September 8, 2012
First of all we our now proud owners of a three bedroom two bathroom two car garage house in Northwest Fort Worth. The extra space is wonderful and the dogs love the yard. We are slowly filling it with furniture and decorations and it is starting to feel like a permanent home; something which we lacked in the apartment. The homebuying process was long and envolved a lot of name signing and initialing. But we finally closed on May 11, 2012 and haven't looked back since.
I also recently accepted a job as an elementary school music teacher at a charter school in Coppell, TX. So far it has been a lot of fun, and I have learned so much about children. At first I was hesitant about working for a charter school, up to this point I had no clue what a charter school was. I feel a lot better about it now and I'm finding out that there are some perks to working at a charter school. In most public school elementary students go to music class once a week for 45 minutes or maybe an hour (a very long block of time for a kindergartener), which is not much at all. I see my kids everyday of the week and I only have Kindergarten for thirty minutes and first grade for forty five. I can do so much more with them than I could with just one day a week and shorter kindergarten classes are a life saver.
All and all Zach and I are happy with where we are in our lives. We love our house and our furry family member and most of all we love each other. Life is so much easier when you have someone to share it with.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
From Zach and Nichole’s Honeymoon Journal
< June 12, 2011 >
We got up this morning at 6:30am to eat breakfast and pack luggage. The breakfast was great! We had fruit, omelets, biscuits, and bagels. We got on the hotel shuttle at 8:00am to go to the airport. We got through security fine, but I forgot to sign my passport. Luckily the bag check lady reminded me to sign it. We waited around for our 10:45am flight. Zach tried to do the smart phone check cashing with no success. Finally it was time to board. The ladies at the desk told us that our carry on was too big to carry on and we had to check them. The flight was boring. We read and slept, and I got a Dr. Pepper. I was happy they had them on the plane because the airport was all Pepsi. The lady sitting next to Zach was from Ukraine but was living in New York and was in the Army. She was coming from Colorado which she hated, but she said she loves New York and partying. I asked Zach where his passport was and he said it was in the he had checked! I was a little annoyed that he failed to take it out in case something happened to the bag. We finally landed and went straight to baggage claim, which was an hour away (not really, but close), and got our bags. We had to go through security again! because we had left the airport. Before we went to security we stepped outside the airport to say we have been to New York City. In the security line we found out that Yankees are rude and have no sense of personal space! They don’t mind cutting in line or shoving you. You would think a simple excuse me is foreign to them. There were also many different languages being spoken in the line. We then got Chinese food and ate at the food court. After dinner we walked around, bought headphones, almost bought some rum and played on the people mover conveyer belts. Now we are just waiting to board our flight at 7:55pm.
~ Nichole Whaley ~
< June 15, 2011 >
(This entry will cover June 13 through June 14)
We landed in Fiumicino airport on time, 10:55am, and hit the ground running. After dropping off our luggage in the apartment we went straight to walking the streets of Rome. We brought a map with us, but rarely used it. Our first stop was Fontana di Tritone, which we originally had mistaken for the Trevi Fountain. The Tritone Fountain was a small fountain that had four mermaids holding Triton, the son of Neptune. Our travels eventually brought us to a sign that pointed us to the direction of the Trevi Fountain. It took us a while to actually find this elusive fountain, even though the monument is enormous. When we finally entered Fontana di Trevi, it was amazing! A huge statue of Neptune stood in the top center followed by flowing water, mythical sea horses and two tritons. The water was clear and peaceful. Nichole and I each made a wish and tossed two coins into the fountain. One to ensure a safe return to Roma and another to grant our wish.
Our next stop became the Piazza Colonna which holds the Colonna di Marco Aurelia. The structure is a tall tower made of Luni Marble and features carvings spiraled upward that tell the stories fo important battles of the Emperor Marcus Aurelias. The Piazza Colonna also sits right next to the home of the Italian government. After wondering around with virtually no guidance we finally referenced our Roman guidebook, which gave the wonderful suggestion to take Via del Corso all the wat to the Piazza del Popolo. This was by far the coolest walk so far. Via del Corso was littered with shopping stores and amazing architecture. Eventually our eyes caught the front of Piazza del Popolo, and it looked awesome! The Piazza was huge with giant obelisk in the center, fountains on either side and sphinxes and the twin churches of Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria di Monte Santo. We then began to wonder aimlessly into a beautiful garden area called Villa Borghese. This was a side of Rome we had not thought to see. Tall trees, open grassy fields and love stricken picnickers were everywhere. We worked through the greenery for nearly an hour until we happened upon a wonderful building on top of a long set of stairs. I asked out loud what this place was, and was answered immediately by two American girls. They said we had found Piazza di Spagna or the Spanish steps. the steps were beautiful and once at the top gave a wonderful view of the nearby streets. After spending nearly all day walking the entire area, we decided to make our way back. At the apartment we slept until around 8:00pm, found a Ristorante on our street and ate our first Roman dinner. The food was great and the wine even better.
~ Zach Whaley ~
< June 16, 2011 >
On Tuesday, June 14, we got up early and headed for the metro. we stopped off to get coffee and a crossant at a Cafe on our corner. We got to the metro station at Barberini and headed to the train that would take us to the Vatican. We got to the Vatican and skipped the long line because we purchased the tickets ahead of time. We waited for all of our tour group to arrive then began the tour by learning about the Sistine Chapel, since you are not aloud to talk inside. We found out the Vatican is mostly gardens for the Pope. The tour took us through the Museums, which hold lots of sculptures from ancient Egypt and the Catholic Church. It was nice to get into the Vatican early, but the tour felt like we were being herded like sheep through the Holy See. the tour finally ended in the Sistine Chapel where Michelangelo’s painted ceiling and last judgement were. We were told not to talk or take pictures, but apparently no one listens to the Vatican police. Zach snuck in a few photos until the police caught him. Our tour was over, but our tickets gave us access to Saint Peter’s Basilica. This church sets the standard for Catholic ostentatious churchiness. The Basilica was filled with huge dead pope tombs, altars, and many works of art. We think we even saw a red carpet pope run way. The inside of St. Peter’s Basilica obviously led to the outside of the Basilica, which is where we went next. The Piazza had, of course, a large obelisk waiting for us in the center. Nichole and I were beginning to think the Romans had a bit of an Egypt complex. For those of you who are Angels & Demons fans, we found the altar of Air next to the obelisk. All in all the Vatican was a beautiful place filled with some really cool things to see.
~ Nichole & Zach Whaley ~
< June 17, 2011 >
On Wednesday, June 15, we took the Metro south to see the ruins of Ancient Rome. Our first stop was the Coloseo. At first sight the thing looks big but when you get right next to it, it looks HUGE! The Colosseum required a ticket, so we waited in line for 30 minutes only to have a very rude family from France cut in front of us. Luckily we met a very nice Canadian couple who we talked to. They didn’t believe we were born and raised in Texas. I guess we didn’t say “Howdy y’all!” enough =) After some pushing and shoving we had to deal with, we were finally inside the great Colosseum. This building was huge and everything about it reminded me of a modern day football stadium (makes you wonder if Jerry’s world will ever be an ancient ruin, that scholars believe was used to worship the great Star of Cowboy Jones) From the Colosseum we walked through and in the Roman Forum. This was some of the earliest Roman architecture and very little remained. We saw a very old church and some area where virgins were kept to keep some fires burning. we spent near a whole two hours in ancient Rome and be the time we had returned both Nichole and I were red, crispy and sunburnt. We had packed sunscreen, but forgot to use it. So we stopped at a localfarmacia to get some aloe vera. What we thought was going to be a pharmacy filled with drugs, Band-Aids and cough medicine looked more like a small Ulta. We really had to look to find any drugs much less a bottle of aloe. We bought our €14 travelers aloe that smelled like vinegar and left. That night Nichole ate a margarita pizza and I had some pasta. We had our waiter choose the wine for us, which was really good. We ended up paying €40 for the wine alone and decided never to ask waiter for their suggestion of food or drink =)
~ Zach Whaley ~
Finally we come to our last day in Rome. Somehow my phone’s alarm refused to wake us in the morning and we slept until 1:00pm. This was really weird because our bodies have still not fully acclimated to our new time zone and it felt like a nice 7:00am in the morning. We started our day by taking the metro to Barberini to visit some churches. unfortunately Nichole and I forgot the camera! So we made our way back to the apartment bickering about whose turn it was to bring the camera and how much responsibility we each had. After making it back and locating the camera we started off again. This time we made it all the was to Piazza del Popolo and realized once again we did not have the camera! Once again we set off back to the apartment, with yet again more bickering between one another. Finally with our main documentation tool safely tucked away in Nichole’s purse we went back to the Piazza del Popolo. We visited three churches; the Santa Maria di Vittoria which houses the sculpture of an orgasmic Nun laying next to an angel, this church is the altar of Fire. The second church was the Santa Maria del Popolowhich was the church was the altar of Earth. The third was a set of twin churches sitting at the entrance of Piazza del Popolo. From Popolo we ventured again into the gardens of Villa Borghese. Nichole and I got gelato and walked around. We found a look out over Piazza del Popolo where we got to witness some kind of political rally. While walking through the Borghese we noticed that the teenagers of Rome are not shy about their physical love for each other. We saw many young couples making out on picnic blankets. I tried to tell Nichole that “When in Rome…” but she stopped me with a glare before I finished =) Our next was going to be Piazza Navona which is the fountain of the four rivers, also the altar of Water. But due to some half hazard navigating and the rally we saw early that blocked our bus, we decided to skip Navona. We went to Trastevere to try and find a Ristorante some fellow American tourist had suggested. We gave up trying to find the place and ended up at a Osteria that had wonderful food, wine and music. Ironically we found that the elusive ristorante was next door. We had a great time, until a rude French couple came and sat next to us, but we didn’t let there obnoxious attitude phase us.
~ Zach Whaley ~