Monday, September 26, 2011

Just Doing Life

Today I am just going to play a little catch up with what we have had going on lately. My life makes me laugh sometimes because it never slows down. Oh well....I guess I just have to accept that I live in a rat race! :)

Here are a few of the things we've been up to...

*We babysat for David a few Friday nights ago and he was so precious. We got to give him a bath and he LOVED it. He just cooed and smiled the whole time and I could have just squeezed him to death.

*We have pretty much lived in a steam bath for the past few weeks. The humidity and rain is about to wash us all away. Please, fall, come soon!!

*Steve spent time with Nicholas, his "little brother"...

*The Panthers had their first win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the middle of pouring down rain. That was probably the worst rain I've ever seen during a football game.

*I got all our arrangements finalized for our trip to NYC in a few weeks!

*I attended a choir retreat to start getting ready for our Christmas music.

*I came down with a cold. It is no fun.

*We went to the wedding of one of Ashley's best friends growing up...Erin. She looked to pretty and it was such a nice wedding!

These three girls were like the Three Muskateers back in the day...

*We've been doing normal life, yard work, going out to dinner, hanging out with the kids when they come home, working, church, making plans, doing things with friends...all the same stuff.

So...that's about it for a me right now. I can't believe September is almost over. I'm looking forward to October! I hope you are all doing good!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years

It is so hard to believe that ten years has gone by since September 11, 2001. This weekend, we have spent a lot of time watching all the TV specials that have replayed everything that happened that day. When I see it, I feel like I am traveling back in time and reliving every bit of shock and disbelief that I felt as I was watching those events unfold before my eyes. It still feels the same, even after ten years.

I think everyone has their "I'll never forget where I was..." stories to tell, but I don't think I've ever written mine down before, so I wanted to record it here.

I was teaching second grade at McKee Road Elementary School. My classroom was outside in a mobile unit so I remember what a beautiful, cool day it was. We had our door open and I remember thinking how blue the sky was. It was just gorgeous.

I walked my class into the building to go to art around 8:45 and as I was walking back to my classroom, I noticed a group of teachers gathered around a TV in the library. I walked up to them and asked what they were watching and they said, "An airplane just flew into one of the World Trade Centers!" Really??? I remember thinking, "That's crazy! How on earth was a plane flying that low? Something must have been wrong with that pilot." Then I returned to my classroom and since there were no children in there, I turned on my TV.

I was watching the Today show and as Matt Lauer and Katie Couric were sitting there talking about what had just happened, ANOTHER plane flew into the other World Trade Center tower! This is exactly what I saw...

I remember at that point, feeling a chill run through me. I realized that this wasn't an accident. We were being attacked! I remember my mind racing trying to figure out who in the world would want to attack America? Where was this coming from??? I was glued to the TV for the rest of that period until I had to go pick my class up from art.

Our school was buzzing. Parents were calling and some teachers had their TV's on letting their classes watch the events. That may not have been the best idea, but that is just what was going on.

It wasn't 5 minutes after I got back to my classroom that I heard the Pentagon had been hit. We had been instructed by then not to say anything else to our students for fear of upsetting them, so I quickly wrote a note saying, "The Pentagon has been hit," and I ran out of my door across the sidewalk to the mobile unit beside mine and handed to the note to the teacher in that classroom. We both stood there wide-eyed just looking at each other and wondering what in the world was going on and should we be worried for the safety of our children?

Soon after this, parents started flooding the school picking up their children. Moms were crying as they came to get their kids and it was just such a scary and sad day.

We stayed at school with a handful of students until the end of the day. As I drove home, flags were flying EVERYWHERE! It seemed like every single person in our neighborhood had a flag out.

I came in and turned on my TV and pretty much stayed glued to it for the next week or so. I remember wanting to fight back. I was so mad! I felt like America needed to find out who did this to us and attack them back! I know that probably isn't the best response, but that is how I felt.

The heroism on that day was inspiring and humbling. I remember watching all those firemen and first responders who were so brave and watching how Americans everywhere came together to do whatever they could to help.

I was amazed at how people would give their lives to save the lives of people they didn't even know and I was so proud to be part of such a wonderful country!

There were so many emotions that it was hard to sort them all out. But more than anything, I knew our world would never be the same.
Flash forward 10 years...

I was talking to my third graders last week about 9/11 and none of them were even alive when it happened. One little boy in my class said his mom found out she was pregnant with him on that day...9/11/01.

That was such a metaphor to me. Life goes on. Even in our darkest days, God still surprises us with hope. He lets us know He is in control. He will take care of us and protect us.

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.” Psalms 46:1,2

So that is my 9/11 story. And today I just want to remember all the people whose lives were taken in such a violent and horrendous way. I know I will never forget that day.

The world is a very different place now. But I know I don't need to fear for my future or the future of my children and grandchilren. God is in control and He will take care of us.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

This Week

It has been a nice quiet weekend here. This week went by fast since we only had four days. Several things I was thankful for this week...

1-Since I teach at my church's school, the preschool is also right there. So I got to go down when I had a minute and see David in his little class. I love that I can get a baby fix whenever I want one! That is a definite benefit of working there.

2-I am always somewhat tired on Fridays, but I am much less tired this year than I was last year. Last year on Fridays I felt like I was just dragging myself home and all I wanted to do was collapse on the couch and not move for the rest of the night. But I guess since I have less mental stress, I just have more energy! Yipee! So Friday afternoon after school, I met Ashley and David for frozen yogurt. He looked adorable in his little red gingham overalls. And he was loving that yogurt!

Friday night Steve and I used a gift card to Carraba's that my parents had given us for our anniversary. Then we came home and watched the Dateline special on 9/11. (I want to write more about that tomorrow. What a heart-wrenching time that was!) Amazingly, I stayed up for the whole show! Believe me, that is a small miracle.

3-The weather has finally cooled off a little, praise the Lord! One afternoon this week I just took a book out on my porch and read while Steve mowed the grass. It was so nice and pleasant outside. I think fall is finally on its way.

4-This morning Ashley brought David over and we went on a little walk around the neighborhood while it was still cool. That was so nice. I hope I can do that more since I won't have to sweat to death.

5-And finally, two teaching things...

First, I bought this book this week and it is really good. I happen to love Ron Clark and think he is one energetic, dedicated individual. I wish I could visit his school just to admire the work he and his staff of teachers do. They inspire me!

Second, Pinterest is a gold mine, y'all. Seriously. I love all the teaching ideas (and just ideas in general!) that I have gotten on there. This is one new teaching blog that I found...

It is full of good ideas and information. I can't wait to browse my way through it.

Tonight we are making some chili and watching the South Carolina game and not doing much of anything. That's a good Saturday to me!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

So Ready


Summer is my favorite season ever. I love everything about it. But towards the end of August/first of September, I have to say I am done with it. I am just over it and ready to move on. Right about now, I start wishing for fall & looking forward to football and chili and pretty leaves and holidays and all that stuff. I am so ready for fall. Who's with me??

So today I'm doing a little fall dreaming...

(...and sharing a couple of cute ideas and recipes I've found over a Pinterest!)

First of all, I am ready for cooler fall weather, aren't you? All of us here in the south are so tired of the extreme heat (and mainly the humidity) at this point. It has definitely got to go. I love summer clothes, but fall clothes are fun too! I am all about sweaters and jeans and boots and scarves. I can't wait to pull them back out!

In October, Laura and Lindy and I are going to New York for a long weekend. I am soooo excited about that. I have been to NYC lots of times, but never in the fall. I know Central Park is going to be gorgeous. We are all really looking forward to it!

In addition to all the things I'm looking forward to doing, I am also looking forward to trying a few new ideas this fall. Here are a few fall recipes & ideas (from Pinterest, of course) that I thought looked cute and yummy...

*I saw this idea over at Munchkin Munchies and I loved it! This would be perfect for teacher gifts or just little neighbor/friend gifts, too!

*Allyson Baker Design had the cutest idea for mini-carmel apples. I loved how they turned out. When my kids were little, we used to get together with our neighbors on Halloween night just to hang out and have hot cider and snacks and I thought this would be fun to have at a party like that!

*And speaking of apples, this baked apple recipe comes from the Skinny Chef. (And you can feel good about it because any recipe from a name like that has to be pretty healthy, right?) I like that they go in the crock pot. That makes it easy.

Aren't these jars cute?? Here is the link...

And one more adorable idea from gracious rain. These are made with donut holes! :)

And just to get you in the fall mindset, here are some gorgeous fall pictures from Pinterest. (You can click the picture for the link on Pinterest!)

So, don't waste another minute! Pumpkin Spice Lattes come out today at Starbucks! Go grab one and start some fall dreaming, too!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Getting Together

The past two weeks have been full of lots of friends and family. I feel so blessed to have good friends in my life. Sometimes when life is busy and I'm going in a million directions, it is hard to make the effort to get together with people I love. But-besides God, of course-they are what matters most to me in life, along with my family, so I don't want to forget to do whatever it takes to keep up with those relationships!

Last Saturday we had a cookout at our house for our Sunday School class (about 30 people.) Steve and I co-teach a class of young married couples along with my parents. It really isn't true that we teach anything. My parents teach it all and Steve and I just host socials and baby showers and help arrange taking meals to people and kind of keep up with everyone.

We had a good time having everyone over. We played corn hole and caught lightening bugs and hung out on our porch and played ping-pong and ate alot! We have such a sweet group of families in our class who love each other and pray for each other and just enjoy being together. One of the couples in our class was leaving the next day to move to San Fransisco, so we were there to say goodbye to them, too. It was a fun night.

The next day, Ashley and I went to a wedding shower for one of Ashley's best childhood friends, Erin. She is getting married in September and we are so happy for her. Her aunt just happens to be a sweet friend of mine since high school and she had the shower at her house. Every time I go to her house, it brings back lots of memories because she babysat for my kids every day after school when they were little. They stayed at her house and played with her two kids until I could get out of school to pick them up. Plus she used to teach kindergarten with me, so we have had some good times together. Anyway....I was glad we got to spend some time celebrating with Erin!

Friday night all my kids came home from college for the long weekend. One of our favorite things to do when everyone is home is to have a big family dinner. So that's what we did! We grilled out some chicken and I made mashed potatoes, salad, green beans, rolls, corn on the cob, and fried squash. Over the summer, my sister-in-law introduced me to the BEST way to fry squash or okra or anything else. It is Zatarain's Shrimp Fry. Trust me, it will make anything you fry taste delicious!! It is my new favorite thing.

Then yesterday we had our first football game of the season! I am so excited that football season has started. Now if the weather would just cooperate! It was extremely hot yesterday & soooo humid. We went with our neighbors and some other friends. We seriously made enough food for an army and pretty much ate like pigs. But that's half the fun, right? East Carolina was playing South Carolina so we were torn about who to pull for. I figured that we were in a Win-Win situation with that one! It was loud and crazy and we sweated like pigs all night, but we still had a great time!

Tomorrow is Labor Day and we had planned on going up to Boone (up in the mountains) and going hiking and hanging out with Laura. Ashley and John were going to come, too, and bring David. But we just heard it is going to rain all day. I don't think we'll have fun hiking in the rain. So maybe Labor Day is going to be a quiet, cozy kind of day. That is just fine with me!

I hope you all have a nice long weekend!