Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day!


I love Memorial Day, not only because of what it stands for, but because it is like the start of the summer season.

I feel like singing, "It's the MOST wonderful time of the year!!" I can't believe I am so close to having made it through this year. Only 9 days of school left! This weekend felt like summer was already here and that makes me so happy. I absolutely love this time of year. I think when you're a teacher, you are just as excited as the kids for school to be out.

We have had a fun weekend. Saturday night Steve and I went downtown to Speed Street. Charlotte is the home of NASCAR. (Some people are very into racing here...I'm not one of them). But every year, Speed Street is a pre-race event that is held right before the Coca Cola 600. This year, Eddie Money came in concert. We used to love his music back in high school! Here is one of our favorite albums from back in the day...


I have so many memories of us while we were dating listening to his music and the last time I saw him was when I was at Baylor. Some friends of mine and I went to the University of Texas in Austin to seem him perform with 38 Special. Haha! Wow...I am dating myself now! Anyway...as soon as Steve saw that he was going to be here, he decided we were going. We had dinner at an Italian restaurant called Mama Ricotta's on our way downtown and then had a fun night going down memory lane at the concert. We even stayed out till after midnight! I have no idea when the last time we did that was!

Sunday night we had fun grilling out with our neighbors. We always have a good time with them and the food is always good! My neighbor Carol made a yummy cake that I thought was so good. It is super easy to make and it is really light for the summer. I thought I would share the recipe with you...

Mandarin Orange Cake

4 eggs
Yellow cake mix
1 c. oil heated (45 seconds in the microwave)
11 oz. can mandarin oranges with juice
Mix 2 minutes. Bake according to package.

Frosting:
16 oz. Cool Whip
16 oz. can crushed pineapple with juice
Small instant vanilla pudding
Mix pineapple and pudding, then fold in Cool Whip. Refrigerate.


And today has been wonderful...coffee with friends, napping, hanging out on the porch, getting frozen yogurt with Steve, shopping for flowers, catching up on blogging, grilling out. Yep...that is my kind of day!

Did I tell you that I planted an herb garden recently? I planted mint, oregano, tarragon, basil, cilantro, and rosemary. Now I am on the lookout for good recipes that I can use them in. I heard that Ina Garten has a good chicken salad recipe with tarragon, so I am planning on looking that one up! Let me know if you know any other good ones!

Before I go, I wanted to share this cute face...


I got to keep him all day last Saturday and he was a precious angel all day. I love him to death and he is one of the reasons I can't wait for summer to get here. I will get to see more of him!

I hope you are having a good Memorial Day weekend. I am so grateful for the men and women who have served our country in the past and are currently serving now. I am thankful for my dad who served as a chaplain in Viet Nam. I know there are so many families that are sad today, missing their sons, daughters, husbands, and wives. I want to remember that even while I am enjoying my family and friends.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Thankfulness

Today I am thankful for....


*No lesson plans this week. It's EOG's and at least that's one good thing about them!


*Mark made our dinner tonight! (I know....be jealous!) He made taco soup and he did a great job. He is a good cook! Who knew??


*While Mark was making dinner, I got to take a bath and read. Wow. When was the last time that happened on a weekday? It was wonderful!(This picture really does remind me of me with Rocky lying right by the tub...which he loves to do! haha)


*It is a cold, rainy spring day today, but that is fine with me. I know the sun will come back and it's actually kind of cozy.


*I got all my errands run this afternoon and got to mark a whole lot of things off my to-do list. I love doing that!


*I am soooo happy that summer is just around the corner. 17 days, people! Yippeeee!



"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. "
-- Melody Beattie

Sunday, May 15, 2011

10 Things

10 things on my mind today...

1. I'm glad my kids were home this weekend.


Mark brought his girlfriend, Kate, home. He met her in Spain and she has never gotten to meet the whole family yet. It was definitely a trial by fire experience because we have TONS of family and it was another busy, family-event-filled weekend. She did good! I hope she wasn't too overwhelmed.


2. My niece Brooklyn turned 2 this weekend. We had fun going to her party yesterday.


She is getting so big and is the cutest thing you've ever seen. She is prissy and girly and sweet and I could eat her up!


3. I finally got all the pieces to the baby crib that I need so I can now set it up for when David comes over. Steve is going to help me put it together this week since I will need it next weekend when I am keeping David while Ashley goes out of town for the day.

4. My dad preached this morning at our church and it was so good. I miss hearing him preach, so it is a treat when he gets to. I grew up on his sermons and I may be biased, but I think he's one of the best preachers around!


5. This is one of the first days in it seems like forever that it hasn't been so humid you could just about cut the air with a knife. It feels so great outside, so I am spending the whole afternoon on my porch!

6. One good thing about having EOG's next week is that there is no planning to do! Woo hoo!

7. I only have 3 more Mondays to go. I think I can, I think I can....

8. I am getting a pretty long mental "to-do" list going for when school is out. We have some vacation plans starting to shape up and some projects around the house and some little road trips we are planning on taking. Dear Summer....please get here SOON!

9. The Amazing Race is over. Boo! Not sure what to watch on Sunday nights now. Maybe I'll just read???

10. So much has happened in the news lately that I haven't had time to blog about. But here is a quick run-down of my thoughts on a few things that have happened recently.

Osama Bin Laden-Thank you God that our Navy Seals finally found this man and he is no longer a threat to our country. I do not rejoice when anyone dies, but I feel like justice has been served and we are much safer because he is gone.

American Idol-I think I'm done with this show for the season. Nobody I liked made it to the top three. I wanted James to win and I don't care a thing about Scotty, Lauren, or Haley!

Arnold and Maria-I hate it when anybody's marriage fails. I was really sad to hear that they broke up after 25 years. Marriage is hard. It must be extra hard when you are always in the spotlight. Sorry they couldn't make it work.

Steve and I are back to our empty nest again. All the kids went back to school today. I miss them, but I am looking forward to a quiet, slow week!

Hope you have a great week, too!

Friday, May 13, 2011

May Madness

I think May and December are the two busiest months of the year. I am always running around like a chicken with my head cut off in December and then it always happens again in May. I think since I am a teacher, I have an extra dose of business during May.

Over the past few weeks I have been trying to get my students ready for end-of-grade testing which is next week. We have been working very hard at school, plus I have been tutoring them after school two days a week. It has also been a very busy month of family events with lots of birthdays and Mother's Day. All my kids came home last week from school so our house is buzzing again with people coming and going and more activity. Plus we have lots of church activities that we are involved in, so you get the picture.

Laura and Lindy have been really sweet and helpful while they have been home. Since I have been so busy at school, they have cooked dinner for us several nights. One night they made some delicious grilled chicken with roasted asparagus and baked potatoes. I am glad they love to cook!


They even set the table with the new placemats they gave me for Mother's Day...


And yesterday when I got home from work, they had cleaned the whole house, vacuumed, and done all the laundry! I've always said I needed a wife and this week I've had two of them! haha

To be honest, I wasn't sure if I was going to make it to the end of this week. I have to admit I am a little stressed out and tired right now with so much going on. We have had two nights this week with really bad thunderstorms during the middle of the night and Rocky goes CRAZY when it storms with barking and whining and shaking. We tried to give him a sedative, but it didn't really work too well so he kept us up both nights. I was exhausted, but I did make it! And now we are down to 19 days left of school, so I keep telling myself I can do it.

Please pray for my class next week as they are taking these tests. They have worked so hard and so have I, but many of them don't speak English very well, so this is going to be hard for them.

Tonight we went out to dinner to celebrate Ashley and Mark's birthday. Mark's birthday was back in March, but Steve's dad passed away right after his birthday, so we never got to celebrate. So tonight we went out to Kabuto's Japanese Steakhouse and took the whole family.


John's parents kept David so Ashley and John could have a relaxing night out!


Mark brought his girlfriend, Kate, that he met in Spain...




It was a fun night.

Laura and Lindy are going back to school on Sunday for a "May-mester". When they get back home in June, I will be done with school, so I am looking forward to hanging out with them more then!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day 2011

We had such a nice day yesterday! I was so glad I got to have all my kids home. I love them all so much and am very thankful that God gave them to me--four perfect gifts. I always wanted a big family and now I have one! And being their mom has probably been the biggest blessing in my life (next to a great husband)!




And it was my first Mother's Day as a Nana! And you know I was taking advantage of every minute of that baby love! :)




Since our family is so big, it is full of lots of wonderful moms.


I feel very blessed to have such a wonderful mother who has always been so loving and supportive of me throughout my whole life. She was a great mommy when I was a little girl and now she is not only a wonderful mother, but a sweet grandmother and great-grandmother, too! I love talking to her and I know that she will always give me good advice and will be praying for me. She is smart and she is a wonderful teacher. All my kids love to call her or go to lunch with her so they can discuss theological questions and issues. And there have been many times when she has helped them with a school project or edited a paper they were writing. She is intentional about keeping a close relationship with her kids and grandkids and is always ready to do anything she can for us. Thank you Mom! I love you!


Steve's mom is a wonderful mother-in-law, too. I have known her since I was 15 when Steve and I started dating. She has always welcomed me into her family and made me feel so loved. She is friendly and outgoing and very creative and crafty. She has a green thumb and a beautiful yard. She has tons of friends and loves to play Bunco and cards. She did a wonderful job raising 5 children of her own and is a fun and loving grandmother and great-grandmother. She always had something fun planned for my kids to do at her house when they were growing up and they still love going over there to eat some of her good cooking or play dominoes or cards.


And this year was Ashley's first Mother's Day. That girl was born to be a mommy. She is a natural. Babies don't stress her out at all and she is having the best time staying home and taking care of David. (I have to say she is alot like me in that way. I always wanted to be a mommy and I loved every minute of staying home with my kids. I enjoy teaching, but I was never bored staying at home and I loved being a homemaker...cooking, cleaning, rocking babies. All those things were fun to me.) Ashley is such a good mommy already. David is blessed to have her!


I also have five sisters-in-law and they are all wonderful mothers, too. Each one has their own strengths and their own style, but they are all completely devoted to their kids and love them so much.

Yesterday after church, Steve cooked out hamburgers for the whole big family and all the guys brought something to pitch in. Laura and Lindy and Mark all helped cook and clean too. (Laura and Lindy made a carrot cake for my dad since his birthday was this past week!) We just hung out on the porch and enjoyed the AMAZING weather. We stayed outside till almost 5:00! It was such a perfect Sunday afternoon. I couldn't have asked for a better Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sweet Boy

So...I have been a Nanna now for about 9 weeks and it has been so much fun! David is one of the sweetest little babies ever. (And, yes, I realize I am a little prejudiced, but that's okay, right?)


He is so good natured and hardly ever cries! (Only if he's hungry or tired.) He actually had a screaming fit the other night on the way home from La Unica because when he is hungry, he is hungry NOW! It was pitiful. (Can't you tell Ashley starves that poor little thing!? haha)

I had always heard that being a grandma was wonderful and it has turned out to be just as good as I thought it would be. I practically kiss that baby to death every time I see him just because he is so cute.

He is so alert and curious and has the brightest eyes. The other night Ashley and I took him out to dinner and we were in a booth. I was holding him up on my shoulder and he was straining his neck to look over the seat and see what was going on in the booth behind us. (Some little girls were waving to him and talking to him.) It was so funny. He's only two months old, but he thinks he's a big boy already.

He can almost sit up all by himself in the Bumbo and he loves to straighten his legs out and stand up in your lap. He follows things with his eyes and smiles all the time now. He loves watching my dog Rocky and he wants to be in the middle of the "action"!

Last week, our sweet blogging friend, Faith (who designed this blog, by the way!) came over and took some adorable pictures of him. She just did it right in my foyer! We opened the front door to get some good light and she started snapping away. I LOVED how well the pictures turned out and wanted to share them with you!

This one is my very favorite...


But I love this one too...


We wanted some cute little "bootie shots" and these turned out so good. But David actually peed ALL OVER Ashley! We got a good laugh out of that! :)


So sweet...


I can't wait to get some of these framed! I am so glad Ashley lives here and I get to see them alot. Having a grandbaby is all the fun and none of the stress. You just get to love on them and then send them back home with Mommy. :) That sounds like a good plan to me!

(PS-If you are in the Charlotte area and need a good photographer, you should call Faith! She is one talented girl!)