Sunday, August 31, 2008

R & R

Today we were all in church together for the first time in a really long time. It was nice to take up just about an entire row with our whole family!

After church we had lunch at La Unica. I know you probably think we eat there constantly. That's because we do!! We love it and it's cheap! :)

This afternoon, I got some cleaning and laundry done and then I took a nap. I can't seem to get enough sleep this weekend for some reason. It is just so great being a little bit lazy. Rocky loves to hang out with me on our bed. Isn't he cute?


Sunday afternoons are just the best for napping!

Tonight I made a blueberry pie like Steve's mom showed me! Mine isn't nearly as pretty as hers, but it still tastes good!

I am finally making my way through The Shack. It is really different than I expected! I will let you know what I think after I get to the end. I just haven't had much time to read lately. Our book club is this Wednesday night, but I won't be able to go since it is the same night as our Open House. The next book we are reading is The Friday Night Knitting Club.


Has anyone read this one?

I have two Netflix movies that have been sitting unopened now for several weeks. I am planning on watching at least one of them tonight. I have Vantage Point and The Great Debaters. We are grilling hamburgers for dinner, then I have a date with my couch and a pillow!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Saturday

My house is full of kids again this weekend. And that's the way I LOVE it! Ashley came home yesterday afternoon and Mark got home last night around 7:30. It was so good to see both of them! I'm not as used to Mark being gone, so I have really missed him. (Plus he doesn't call as much as Ashley does!! Boys!)

When he walked in, I gave him a BIG hug and made him a sandwich and started washing his two huge baskets of laundry that I knew he would bring home! It was just the two of us here because Steve had his Fantasy Football draft last night and all my girls were at the mall.

So we just sat and talked and he got me all up to date on everything. He loves college! I am so happy about that. He has a great roommate, likes his classes, had an awesome time at the game Thursday night, and on and on. We even talked a little politics (one of his favorite subjects!) since we were watching the announcement of John McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin.


Hmmmm....I need to get to know more about her! I've never even heard of her! I'm sure she's very smart and capable. To me, she looks like one of those librarians in a movie that if she took her glasses off and her hair out of a bun, she would look totally different and much more glamorous! haha

Anyway...today I slept really late and it felt so gooooood!!! I needed that so bad. I think the past few weeks have finally caught up with me. I tried to do a lot of nothing today because I think I'm coming down with a cold. But I did go to my classroom and Steve was sweet enough to help me get my computer set up where I wanted it and get my Smart Board up and running. I've never had one before and I can't wait to teach with it! They are so cool!


The rest of the day, I have just been relaxing and enjoying the day. We have been keeping an eye on Hurricane Gustov because Steve's brother Mike is down in Louisiana for his birthday. He went with some friends to see the LSU vs. Appalachian State game today and the New Orleans Saints game! I hope that hurricane doesn't hit New Orleans again!! Bless their hearts down there!

I wanted to share two quick fun things today. First of all, I really enjoy the blog Blissfully Domestic. It has lots of contributors and always has good ideas. I was finally catching up with my blog reading today and it had a great idea for decorating your walls without spending tons of money on pictures and frames by using canvases covered in fabric.


I thought these were so cute!

Also...since it is football season again and time to have fun food, I thought I'd share a dip we made the other night when our neighbors were over watching the USC vs. NC State game with us. It is vidalia onion dip. It is super easy and every time I make it, I get lots of compliments on it. It is great to munch on while watching a football game!!

Vidalia Onion Dip

2 c. Vidalia onions, chopped
2 c. shredded Swiss cheese
1 3/4 c. mayonnaise

Combine ingredients, put in a casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Serve with corn chips.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A House Divided

Today was a fun day at our house. It was the first time in a very long time or maybe ever??? that the University of South Carolina played North Carolina State in football! As you know, Mark and Ashley both attend USC right now. But you may or may not know that Steve went to NC State! So....you can imagine the fun and excitement that surrounded this game. I was torn as to who to pull for, but I went with USC!

It was Mark's first college football game. He had some friends from Charlotte go down and had a big group of friends from college that went together. They met up with Ashley and her friends and tailgated before the game.

Here at home, we got wings and made some dips and cookies and a whole yummy spread of food and settled down in front of our big screen TV.


Our friends Skip and Candy and Melissa came over to watch with us because their daughter Kelsey goes to NC State!


They are just like family to us. Candy and I teach together and she brought her school stuff and spread out on the floor to collate and staple. :)

I had to stop watching before the game was over because it was getting late and I have to get up so early! But South Carolina was ahead when I went to bed. I can't wait to talk to Mark and Ashley tomorrow and hear all about it.

We also TiVo'd the DNC so we can hear Barack Obama's historic acceptance speech. I watched a little bit of it and the crowd was electric!


I think it is really cool that he was able to give this speech on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech!


We have come so far in the past 45 years. I am thankful for that!

Tomorrow is FRIDAY!!!! I made it through the first week! Yay for the weekend!!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Don't Worry...Be Happy!

Well, the busy craziness continues! I have worked literally non-stop for the past few days and I am really feeling it right about now. Getting out of bed at 5:30 this morning was sooooo hard!!!!! But as I was driving home from school really late today I was thinking about how truly blessed I am. I started making a mental list of at least five things I am happy about.

1-I have been blessed with another precious class this year! Oh my goodness, they are so good and so sweet. I just already love every single one of them!

2-The first week of teaching second grade is about five thousand times easier than teaching the first week of kindergarten!! They can do so much for themselves and they don't cry at the end of the day because they are tired or miss their mommy!

3-I know fall will be in the air before too long. Yayy!! I am ready for this rain from Tropical Storm Faye to be gone! I am so looking forward to some Friday night high school football games, watching the Panthers on Sundays,


cool air, pumpkins, apple cider, fall clothes and beautiful leaves!!


4-Things are beginning to settle back down and fall into a routine again.

5-I get to see Mark this weekend! :)

So...despite the business and the long hours...LIFE IS GOOD!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Double Blessing

Today is Laura and Lindy's 17th birthday!


I will never forget the day I found out I was having twins. I already had a 3 year old and a one year old and we were just going in to find out what the sex of our baby was. Well, the ultrasound technician was scanning around and she said, "There are two heads in there!!" WHAT???!! My first crazy thought was that I was having a two-headed baby! (I know that's extreme, but seriously I had images of the National Enquirer headlines!) Then once it dawned on me that she meant twins, I just started laughing and crying and the same time. I was excited, but wondered how I was going to cope with so many small children at once. Steve's face was looking pretty pale, too. I think he had dollar signs flashing before his eyes! haha

My pregnancy was high risk and I had to go on bed rest in June. I also had to be put on medicine to prevent me going into labor early and I had to have an amniocentesis as it got closer to their being born to make sure their lungs were developed enough. That was a difficult time because I had two little children at home to take care of and I was supposed to be on bedrest??

Laura and Lindy got here a month early. I remember they were so tiny they almost looked like little baby birds. They each weighed about 4 1/2 lbs.



Their lungs weren't quite ready, so Laura stayed in the hospital for 2 weeks and Lindy stayed for 3. I was not ready for that. Leaving the hospital without your babies is NOT fun!!

For those three weeks, I juggled my time between the hospital and being home with Mark and Ashley. I had help, but it was one of the hardest times in my life. I was so torn and already an emotional/hormonal wreck. When they finally did come home, they had to wear a heart and breathing monitor for six months because they had apnea (where they would stop breathing) and bradicardia (where their heart rates would drop). That alarm would go off in the middle of the night sometimes and Steve and I would jump out of bed so fast and race over to their bassinets. Sometimes they would be blue! It was so scary!



But, God brought us through that extremely difficult first year and things got so much better. Laura and Lindy soon became little butterball babies like I was used to.


They were really so good. And they had so much fun together.

In Florida

Blowing Bubbles

I wish I had a dime for every time someone said they looked like Mary Kate and Ashley!!


In the playhouse


Two cuties!




They have always been my little fashionistas...the ones who loved dressing up and buying new shoes and doing hair and painting nails.





Singing and dancing to "Grease"...one's the sweet Sandy and one is the sexy Sandy. Poor Mark got roped into it, too. He does NOT get into stuff like that! haha

They love to dance!



They loved taking dance and learned to play the piano. And they are the biggest readers you've ever seen. They fly through books like crazy! Laura told me she wishes she could make a Barnes and Noble candle that smelled like coffee and books because those are two of her favorite things! :)

Plus, they are very domestic. They both love to cook and lots of times they whip up something really yummy for us for lunch or dinner or just a fun dessert! They even surprise me sometimes when I get home and they have cleaned for me and have everything looking so great. You gotta love that!!


Today we went to Kabutos for lunch and they took two of their sweet friends Hannah and Melissa. They are having a real party in a couple of weeks.






I am so blessed to have them. We love hanging out together and they are always fun to talk to. I am praying that God will bless them this year....their last year at home! Happy Birthday, Laura and Lindy! We love you!!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Five Minute Update

If you read my blog much, you might remember that at the beginning of August I talked about what a busy month this was going to be for me. Well, I wasn't kidding!!! I have been spinning so fast the past few days so it has left me very little time for blogging. I saw this picture today and it made me laugh because it is about how I feel right now...trying to get some rest, but overcome with crayons and glue and bulletin boards and workbooks, etc.....


Tomorrow is my Meet The Teacher day at school, which is always fun because I get to meet all the sweet boys and girls and see their faces. I have spent this whole week preparing for that and there is still lots to do to get ready for next week. Monday is the first day of school.



Today we our PTA gave us a very nice luncheon with a luau theme. They go all out for us and it is so nice. I won a $25 gift card to a really good restaurant here in Charlotte called the Flying Biscuit! I've never been, but everyone has been telling me to try it!


I'll have to take Steve to breakfast soon!

Today was Mark's first day of classes at USC and I can't wait to talk to him tonight about how it went! He is already loving college like I knew he would.

And Ashley had her first day of school in fourth grade where she is doing her student teaching and she is so happy and excited. She called tonight and told me all about it.

This weekend I am taking dinner to a friend who just had a baby, Steve and I are finally celebrating our anniversary, and Laura and Lindy are having their 17th birthday. Maybe I'll have more time to blog after tomorrow!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Six Random Things Tag

So...Meagan tagged me today to post six random things about myself. So I am gladly playing along since I am so busy with back to school stuff, that is just about all I have to blog about right now!!

Ok, here they are:

1-I am a magazine freak! I LOVE reading magazines and sometimes I just go in Barnes and Noble and pick up a stack and then sit down with my hazelnut latte and read through them all! My favorites are Real Simple and People!


2-I love styrofoam cups with lids and crushed ice! Mmmmm....they keep drinks so nice and cold! I wish I could find some styrofoam cups with lids somewhere, but I haven't had any luck with that! The best thing to put in these cups is COKE!!


3-When I sleep, I barely move. When Steve is out of town, all I have to do is slip out of bed and smooth the covers up, put the pillows back on and I'm done making the bed! When he is here, however, the sheets and blankets are in a wad because he tosses and turns like crazy!


4-I have a VERY keen sense of smell. If something doesn't smell good, it really bothers me. So I love perfume and candles and scented soap and mouthwash and gum and all that smell good stuff!!


5-I am directionally challenged. Something is totally wrong with my brain when it comes to figuring out which way is which! I need a GPS system attached to me, seriously! I get lost all the time! :)


6-For some reason, people I don't know tell me their life stories! I can think of so many times I am just out in public somewhere and before I know it, the person next to me is just chatting away about anything and everything and telling me all kinds of personal history and information! Steve can't even believe it! I am always amazed at how quickly some people will open up. But I love talking to people, so I really don't mind!


Well, that's it for me! I tag anyone who would like to play! Hope you are having a great week!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

23 Years!

Today is our 23rd anniversary! We've been so busy that we aren't really going to celebrate today. We are going to wait until next weekend when we're not so tired.

I will tell you a little bit about us....I met Steve when we were both in 6th grade. He went to my church and was in my Sunday School class. But once we got to high school, I really set my sights on him! He was so cute and so popular. He had tons of girlfriends, so I knew I would have to win him over.

He has a twin sister that I was really good friends with so I got to go over to his house and spend time with him there and we had some classes together, too. Plus we both got jobs scooping ice cream at Baskin Robbins. Our whole sophomore year we just became the best of friends and always had so much fun together. He was so easy to talk to and friendly.

Here we are at Myrtle Beach...we were 17 I think here.


In April 1980, for my birthday, he gave me a dozen roses and the rest is history. We dated for five years. My high school years were really idyllic in that we had such a great group of friends and we were the couple that stayed together the whole time and everyone thought would get married (including me! I KNEW we would!)

This is from our senior prom.


After graduation, Steve went to NC State and I went to Baylor for two years in Texas! But when I transferred back to University of NC, we decided it was time to tie the knot!! We got married after our junior years of college, August 17, 1985.


Of course, our life together has been full of all the ups and downs life offers. But I am so thankful that God has given me a partner to make this journey with that is perfect for me. He is still my best friend and my encourager and he is such a great provider and father. God has been good to me!!

I was reading Sophia's blog today and she said exactly what I wanted to say...

She said, "...in my opinion, young love may be bliss but old love... well... old love...it's bliss improved every day, sweetened through time and years together! It just doesn't get any better!" EXACTLY!!

I LOVE YOU, STEVE!!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

I Hate Goodbyes...

Well, we got Mark moved into USC today. It all went really well, but I have to admit my heart is still sad! I have been totally okay all week knowing he was leaving today. Even yesterday I wasn't sad at all!! But last night it just hit me that it was his last night in our house and from now on things would never be the same. He came in to our bedroom before he went to bed and hugged us and said, "You guys have done so much for me and I wanted you to know I appreciate it. I love you!" That was such a sweet thing for him to say! Steve and I were both very teary. God has blessed us so much with such a precious boy.

This morning Steve's mom and dad came over for breakfast and to say goodbye to Mark. My parents came by yesterday, but they missed him. They dropped off candy for him, though! :)

This is Mark and me right before we left.



We headed out about 8:30 and got to Columbia around 10:30 (we had to make a few stops). Mark was on the 7th floor and the elevator lines were SOOOO long, so we all just carried everything up the seven flights of stairs. My legs were like jello. But guys are so much easier than girls! Mark had about half the stuff Ashley had! He doesn't care if anything matches or is decorated cute.



He did take a poster I made for him a few years ago. It is a collage of all his favorite basketball players.


Mark is so lucky to have three sisters. They were all just buzzing around making his bed, hanging up his clothes, hanging posters, setting up his desk, folding his clothes and putting them in his drawers. Mark didn't have to do a thing!!




We had lunch together and made a Target run. Then when we got back to the room, we set up his printer and TV. Here is Steve setting up his computer.


We got everything finished around 4:00.

Mark walked us out to the parking lot and we hugged him goodbye. I didn't want to let go!! I didn't cry, but I had a huge lump in my throat. It was so hard seeing him walking away. But he is ready and was anxious to start checking everything out and calling his friends to get together. I love him so much (it makes me teary eyed just typing this). I want him to have a great year and meet lots of new friends and absolutely love it. And I want to be okay with him being gone. Our family will be different, but I know we will get used to it.

We will be doing this again for the last time next year. So we are making the most of our time with Laura and Lindy!

PS--Congratulations to Michael Phelps. He is just AMAZING!!! 8 GOLD MEDALS!!!!!!

And, in honor of the Olympics and Mark's favorite commercial.... (love this one!!) If you want to see it and other music is playing, go to the playlist on the sidebar and press pause!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Birthday Fun & Bump Ups

Laura and Lindy have been doing lots of birthday celebrating this week (even though their real birthday isn't until August 24th.) Their birthday is 3 weeks after their cousin Brianna's, so they always celebrate together. Brianna is my brother Blake's daughter and she is one sweetheart!! She is vice president of her senior class and she cheerleads. She is so smart and so caring. Laura and Lindy love spending time with her.

So, for their birthdays, they had lunch together at PF Changs. Here are some pictures of their fun!




Look how sweet! This is Laura, Lindy, and Brianna back in the day!






They always have a good time.




Then, today, my parents took Laura and Lindy to lunch at 131 Main, a really cool restaurant here in Charlotte. After lunch, they were treated to an ice cream sundae to celebrate!


My parents gave them spending money (what teenage girl doesn't love that??). And my mom also gave them a beautiful box with lots of files full of information she has been collecting on different colleges and options after graduation. She made one for Laura, Lindy, and Brianna since they are all beginning their senior year. It was a very thoughtful gift and Laura and Lindy really appreciated it. My parents also wrote them a very sweet and touching letter telling them how loved they are and how they will be praying for them as they start to make lots of big decisions this year.

Right after Laura and Lindy left the restaurant, Lindy was headed over to fill out some paperwork for her new job (she got the job as Justice--the little girl's boutique I was telling you about!) As she was backing out, she bumped another car in the parking lot. It barely made a tiny scratch on the lady's bumper, but Lindy was so upset! She just melted down into a puddle of tears when I got there.

I settled all the insurance information and traded phone numbers with the lady. Then Lindy got into my car and just sat in the air conditioning and tried to get herself together so her eyes wouldn't be all red and puffy when she went to her new job. It was very stressful.

I finished fixing up my classroom! Here are a few pictures.








We have Mark all packed up and ready to go. We are leaving at 8:30 tomorrow. I will tell you all about it when we get back!!