Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Embrace The Season

I have one day left until my students come back to school on Thursday.  I still can't believe how fast this summer went and that it is already time to go back to school.  Somehow this summer disappeared before my eyes!  I have been working non-stop in my classroom, though,  and I feel like I am ready.  I got to meet all my students on Saturday and I already love them.  I know we are going to have a great year!

Steve and I had a really simple anniversary dinner on Saturday, which is just how we wanted it.   We have done so much lately that we really didn't want to make a big deal.  We just went to dinner at Bonefish Grill and then split some dessert and coffee at Cajun Yard Dog afterwards and that was perfect for us!

Sunday morning our children led us in worship at church.  We have the BEST children's ministry and I got to see several of my students up on stage.

Plus our pastor preached an awesome sermon on forgiveness.  It was a really good day.

Lindy and I decided to go see The Butler after church.  We loved it.  I am a history nerd and this movie had lots of history in it, so it's right up my alley.  It kind of had a Forrest Gump feel to it.  It is definitely worth seeing!

Sunday night, Ashley and John went out to dinner and we got to keep David and Caroline.  They were so precious.  Tarzan happened to be on the Disney Channel and David was enthralled with it.  He could hardly eat his dinner because he was so intent on watching it.

Steve also played trains and cars with him and took him outside to ride in his Lightning McQueen car.  He is at such a fun age.

And Caroline was in the best mood.  She was so cute and smiley the whole night (except in this picture!  haha).  We have discovered that she LOVES music.  Anytime music comes on, she is extremely interested in it.  And one of her favorite things is for me to dance with her.  I just love spending time with her.

This girl is one chubby butterball, too.  She loves taking her bath and I love kissing all her cute little rolls!

Now I want to get some advice from you.  If you have read my blog very long, you know that I always get so many sweet gift cards from my class.  I have two gift cards from Nordstrom that I need to use very soon and I am thinking that I would like some jeans.  I have several pairs of skinny jeans, but I need some new regular boot cut jeans.  I want them to be comfortable and since I am very short, I would love for them to make my legs look a little longer!  If you have a favorite brand of jeans, I would love to  know what you like about them and give me some recommendations!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

28 Years

Today is our 28th anniversary.  It is pouring down rain here and only in the 60s.  (What happened to August?)  Our wedding day was actually a lot like this.  There was a tropical storm coming through and it rained all day.  It was much warmer that day than it is here today, but I remember my dad being a little stressed that is was so rainy.  And I also remember that I didn't care one bit.  I was just so happy that we were finally getting married!  We started dating when we were 16, so it seemed like I had to wait forever for that day to arrive.  I used to feel like the Beach Boys song, "Wouldn't It Be Nice" was our theme song!  I couldn't wait to get to spend every day with Steve and then when the day was over, we would still get to stay together!  That sounded like heaven to me.  And it was every bit as good as I thought it would be.  Of course, every marriage has its ups and downs and no marriage is perfect.  But even after 28 years, we are still having fun together and I am still so glad we get to spend every day and every night together!  (Cheesy, I know.  But it's the truth!)

This week was Back To School week for me.  It is always such a busy time of year.  I had to go back to work on Wednesday and every day has been spent getting my classroom set up and attending meetings.  I have the best group of people to work with though, so that makes it more fun.  I am so blessed to have such a wonderful place to work.

I had to move classrooms this year, and I am in a MUCH smaller room.  It was a challenge to organize my room in a way that would maximize the space, but I feel pretty good about how it turned out.  Here is a picture of what it looks like.

The best part of this week is that we get to come in a little later and we can go out to lunch.  I always have fun catching up with all my teacher friends over a nice lunch somewhere instead of a noisy cafeteria where I eat most of the year.  One day I met Ashley and Lindy at Chick Fil A.  Ashley brought David and Caroline since CFA is their favorite!  We were laughing that Lindy meets the height requirement to play on the playground!  :)

David was so excited that he got a cow watch!

Today was Meet The Teacher Day.  That is when I get to meet all my students and their parents and they all get to meet me.  It is always fun to start putting names with faces and start learning who everyone is.  Steve took this picture when I got home.

I am looking forward to a good year.  The other day, my sweet friend Caroline put these words on her Facebook page and they so resonated with me because this is exactly how I feel each year.

Last day of summer break. Tomorrow I go back to start my 10th year of teaching High school art. I can hardly believe it. I've shared this before but every year the same Nichole Nordeman song settles in my heart & I begin to pray this chorus.....
"I want to leave a legacy 
How will they remember me? 
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough 
To make a mark on things? 
I want to leave an offering 
A child of mercy and grace who blessed your name unapologetically 
And leave that kind of legacy"

I get 1 year. 1 year to pour everything I have into a huge set of students that I KNOW The Lord hand picked just for me. So my prayer each year is that I point to HIM enough to make a mark on things. 1 year... Believer, non-believer and all the religions in between.... I want to leave a legacy. Not wasting time, not withholding... Just choosing to love. ...... This year is yours Lord. Make me a fragrance that draws them to you. Protect and guard me. Use me up and flow out of me great love for each student! What an honor it is to represent you!!! Thank you thank you!!! Amen

I wanted to tell you one more thing before I go.  My daughter Lindy has a new blog that she is super excited about.  She was a fashion major in college and she wrote fashion columns at East Carolina University for their school's newspaper The East Carolinian as well as being the style guru for College Fashionista!  She has also had experience working for magazines and has even been published in USA Today!  She loves talking all about the latest trends in the fashion world along with just regular stuff going on in her life.  I know nothing about the fashion world, so she keeps me up to date on everything.  I am very proud of her and just wanted to share her blog with you.  You can follow her at TrendyLindy.com.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Law School

This weekend we took Mark to Washington, DC to help him move into his new apartment.   He is starting law school there in a little over a week at American University Washington College of Law.  He has worked really hard to get to this point, so we are pretty proud of him and excited about this new chapter in his life!

He made the rounds all week last week seeing everyone and saying goodbye to his friends, then on Thursday night, we took him out to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Cajun Yard Dog, since that was his last night in Charlotte.

Friday we spent the day getting everything packed up and in the car.  (It kind of seemed like deja vu since we had just done this with Laura back in June!)  Mark and I picked Steve up from work and the three of us headed out of town around 5:00.  We didn't get to Washington until close to midnight!

Even though we were tired, we got up early on Saturday morning and went straight to Ikea to get all Mark's furniture.  Ikea is such a neat store, but it is very "do it yourself".  If you buy anything from there, you have to put it together.  So, needless to say, a lot of the rest of our time this weekend was spent putting together furniture and making trips to Target and running other errands.  It was definitely a working weekend.

We did take a break on Saturday night to take a little tour of American's Law School and see where Mark will be going to class.

We also went out to dinner and celebrate his first night in DC!

Sunday morning we woke up and worked all day making sure he was all set and had everything he needed.  I hated to say goodbye.  (I pretty much hate all goodbyes!)  It felt kind of like college all over again.  But he is ready and he is going to do great!  I was telling Steve that having kids far away from you is so much easier now than when we were in college or living far away from home.  We love to Skype and we are always texting and calling and emailing throughout the day so really, it doesn't seem like they are quite so far from home, which is perfect!

I am so proud of my boy and pray every day that God will use his life and all the gifts and talents he has been given to do something that will honor Him and make the world a better place!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What's Happening On Wednesday

Today marked something very important on my calendar.  I now have exactly one week until my summer is over and I start my new school year.  *sigh*  As much as I love my job, it is still very hard to say goodbye to these carefree summer days that I love so much!!  There are a lot of things I am looking forward to about fall, but getting up really early and having way less free time are not on that list!

This week I have enjoyed being back at home after lots of traveling over the past month.  I have been trying to get organized before the school year starts back up.  I have been doing lots of school planning in addition to trying to do some things at home that will make my life easier each day that I am working.  One of those things is meal planning.  I have found the BEST website for meal planning and I have had so much fun using it this week.  It is called ZipList.  Have you ever heard of it?  You NEED to take a minute to visit their site and see how awesome it is.  All you do is put their little button up in your toolbar and it works very similarly to Pinterest.  Each time you find a recipe you love, you just click on your ZipList button and it pins your recipe into your recipe box.  Then when you go to plan your meals for the week, you pull the recipes you want out of our box and assign them to a day of the week that you want to use them.  And the best part is, it takes all the ingredients from your recipes and makes a grocery list for you!!  Yay!!  It is so easy.  Plus you can sync it to your phone so your list is right there when you go grocery shopping.

We have been trying to spend some time with David and Caroline this week, too.  I really missed them while we were gone!  Ashley and John had us over for Mexican food on Saturday night and David was his usual cute self.  We played with sidewalk chalk and played cars and got some little boy smooches.

Then Monday I went to the pool with Ashley so David could swim for a little bit while I held Caroline.  He is doing so well with jumping in and going under!

And today I kept both of them while Ashley went to lunch with Lindy and my niece, Brianna.  Caroline is cutting those two little bottom front teeth and she has started sucking her bottom lip all the time.  She is so cute I can hardly stand it.

Meanwhile, I am almost finished with my latest Kindle book...Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist.

I have loved it.  I just love her writing style, plus it has some really good recipes in it!  She has two other books that I'm planning on downloading now since I liked this one so much!

One more thing...I am so excited about my new blog design!  I have been wanting a more updated look and something just really clean and streamlined and I think Aubrey Kinch Designs did a perfect job at helping me get the look I wanted.  Thank you Aubrey!!

So, that is what is happening here on this Wednesday.  I hope you are having a good week, too!

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Pacific Northwest-Part 2

Today I wanted to finish up our trip to the Pacific Northwest.  The last place we went was Vancouver, British Columbia.  I had never been there and it was so beautiful.

Here is the view from our hotel window...

What I loved about it was that it was a big city similar in a lot of ways to New York or Chicago, but it was very clean and there were beautiful mountains and water all around it.  So you kind of got the best of both worlds!

We did so many fun things while we were there.

We walked along the sea wall one day (which is a VERY long walk, by the way!).  Our hotel was right on the water and little planes took off and landed in the water all the time from here.  It was so interesting to watch!

We shopped and browsed in the city.

Lindy and I spent an afternoon together shopping one day while the guys did other stuff.

We went to Stanley Park and saw some GIGANTIC trees and beautiful nature trails.

We hiked in Cypress Provincial Park.

Lindy and I didn't go quite as far as Steve and Mark did.  We wanted to go back a little early and get some drinks in the lodge!

We saw the most amazing sights like these that made me just in awe of God's beautiful creation.

And we ate some really good food!  The Cactus Club was probably our favorite restaurant that we tried.  This quinoa salad was so yummy...

On our last night there, we went to Gastown, which is a quaint little part of Vancouver, and got dinner.  It has lots of shops and restaurants and we had a good time hanging out and having dinner there.

When we left Vancouver, we headed back to Portland, but on our way we stopped at the Columbia River Gorge, which is so pretty.

Then we did some hiking at Multnomah Falls.  That might be the most beautiful waterfall I have ever seen!

We spent the night in Hood River before flying out the next morning and ate dinner at Brian's Pourhouse.

I got fresh trout, cheesy polenta, and sauteed green beans that were delish!

We had the best time together and made some really fun memories.  I am so glad we got to go on this trip together!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Pacific Northwest-Part 1

Last week, we got to go on a fun trip to the Pacific Northwest.  Steve's company is based out of Portland, and I have been out there with him a few times, but we thought it would be fun to take Mark and Lindy with us this time since they've never been.  Our kids are all grown up now and I know that we have very few chances left to go on vacations with them before they are out on their own.  Laura is already on her own working in Boston and Ashley is married with kids.  Mark leaves for Washington, DC next week to begin law school and Lindy is on the job search as we speak, so I don't think it will be long before we are back to just the two of us.

We flew out on Thursday night and our first stop was Portland.  Here we are on the flight being silly together...

Portland is such a fun city.  It is super active with a funky, artsy vibe.  It is known as America's "greenest city" with lots of fun restaurants and shopping.  It's easy to feel healthy there because so many people are eating organic and biking, kayaking, and hiking all around you.  If you lived there, you could easily get on board with a healthy lifestyle!  Steve had to work on Friday, so Mark, Lindy, and I were on our own for most of the day.  We ate at Little River Cafe for breakfast.  It is down on the waterfront and one of my favorite places near our hotel.  There was a cute little group of senior citizens right outside with their life jackets on and paddles in hand getting ready to go out on the water.  They looked like they were having the best time talking and laughing together.  I hope I'm that active when I get to be that age!

After breakfast, we strolled around the city and we went to Powell's City Of Books which was seriously the most gigantic bookstore I have ever seen or been to!  We could have spent hours in there!  It was a fun place to browse.

We just walked around in Portland most of the morning, browsing and shopping and hanging out.

We ate lunch somewhere in downtown.  I forgot the name of the restaurant, but I know I got an eggplant parmesan sandwich! :)

Later in the afternoon, we headed back to the hotel to meet Steve and drive to Seaside Beach for the night.  We got to Seaside Beach in time to see the sunset and eat dinner and go to bed.

The next day we went to Cannon Beach, OR.  That was the most interesting beach I have ever seen.

It has huge rocks just jutting out of the coast and as we were walking, we noticed that lots of the rocks were covered with starfish, sea anemones, and barnacles that were all living.  I have never seen a live starfish that close up in its natural environment.  It was so interesting!!

Cannon Beach also has the cutest little town right there.  We had fun browsing around in all the little shops and getting coffee.  We ate lunch at a place called Pizza a Fetta.  If you are ever in Cannon Beach,  you need to stop there.  It was so good and the owner was very friendly!  He stopped by our table and chatted with us for a long time and made us feel so welcome!

When we left Cannon Beach, we drove to Seattle.  That is such a fun city.  I loved the waterfront area.  We spent a lot of time there the first night.  One of the things we did on the waterfront was ride a huge ferris wheel that overlooked the city at night.  It was a lot of fun!

The next day we got up and went to Pike Place Market.

We went to the fish market and browsed around all the flower shops and fresh food stands, and, of course, we had to get coffee from the original Starbucks!  It is pretty basic really but it was neat to say we had been there.

For lunch, we rode a ferry to Bainbridge Island.  From there, you can see the skyline of Seattle.

Bainbridge Island is really quaint and cute.

We ate right on the waterfront and I got a yummy hamburger!

I wish we would have had more time there, but we had to get on the road to head to Vancouver, British Columbia.

I will tell you more about Vancouver soon since it would probably make this post a little too long!  :)  I am so glad we got to go on this trip together.  There are lots of ways you can spend your money, but one of the ways we feel is important is to travel and see the world and make really good family memories together.  That is one of those things that is irreplaceable and priceless!