Thursday, July 31, 2014

Seven Summer Things

We have been traveling so much this summer, but we have also had a lot going on here at home. We have just been doing all the regular summer stuff and all those simple things are a big part of what make summer so much fun to me! So, today I wanted to highlight some of the every day things that have been happening around here.

1-Keeping up with Mark.  

Did I tell you that Mark has been in Santiago, Chile this summer for an internship?  He has been working for a law firm and he just got back yesterday.   It was so good to see him!  We have missed him, but he has had so many amazing experiences and has seen so many interesting things. I am really glad that he got to go!  Here is a picture of him in the Andes mountains.

We spent a long time last night looking at all his pictures and hearing all about what he did while he was there.  I am so proud of him.

2-Spending time outside.

I love to be outside.  I try to spend as much time as I can outside in the summer unless the heat and humidity are too high and then I just want to sit by the nearest air conditioner!

This summer I have been able to spend lots of time on my porch.  I hang out here almost every single day. And at night, Steve and I will get some ice cream or a drink and sit outside just catching up on our day.  This is definitely one of my favorite summer places!

3-Hanging out at the pool.  

Let me explain my love of the pool.  When I was really little, we didn't have a swimming pool in my neighborhood, but I still loved it so much.  I remember getting to go swimming at Henry Horton State Park in Nashville in that big Olympic size pool and thinking it was soooo much fun.  That is where I learned how to swim.  When our family went on vacation, my mom said that she and my dad could barely get the suitcases out of the car before my brothers and I would have our bathing suits on-- begging to go to the pool.

Sometimes in the summer, I would go stay with my grandparents for about a month up in the mountains of North Carolina.  Two of my aunts were still in high school at that time and they would babysit us during the day.  They had a pool nearby and I would wake up ready to go every day!  We would go in the mornings, eat our lunch there, and not come home until late in the afternoon.  That pool had a slide and a high dive that I must have jumped of off a hundred times!  I'm sure I drove them crazy with all the begging to go to the pool!

Then, when I got to be in junior high, my family moved to Charlotte and our neighborhood had a pool!  I was so happy!  This is where I would meet my friends every day during the summer for all kinds of fun.

We would play tennis, swim, get grilled burgers and fries from the snack bar, put tons of quarters into the jukebox to listen to our favorite songs, and go to pool parties on Friday nights.  I LIVED for the pool when I was that age.  My mom could get me to do ANYTHING for her if she bribed me with getting to go to the pool.  I could burn through a long list of chores if I knew that reward was waiting for me!

I continued my love relationship with the pool on into high school and college and once I had kids, we would go to the pool almost every day during the summer.

Now I get to do it with my grandkids!

I think it is a great way to teach kids to swim and also just a fun way to spend a summer day.  I love taking my headphones, a good book, and a drink and spend my day enjoying the sunshine outside!

3-Trying to stay healthy.

I love all the fresh fruit and vegetables that are in season right now.  Going to the Farmer's Market or produce stand is one of my favorite summer things.  We have been eating tons of salads, smoothies, and fresh veggies this summer.

On our way home from Portland, we had a layover in Phoenix, so we met Steve's sister there for lunch.  We ate at a restaurant called Chelsea's that had a really yummy recipe for kale/quinoa salad.  I fell in love with it and made it when I got home.  Here is the recipe if you are interested!

I  have also been walking as many days as I can.  I love walking early in the morning before it gets too hot.

I even did yoga one day with Lindy.  She watches the Do Yoga With Me channel on our Smart TV.

4-Reading lots of good books.  

I already told you how much I loved the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed.  But I have also read some other great books this summer.

I read Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist (one of my favorite authors and speakers!)

I loved both of these books!  Shauna Niequist is such a good writer.  I love her style and I can relate to so much of what she writes about.  Her dad is Bill Hybels, pastor of Willowcreek Church in Chicago.  She also speaks all over the country at various events.

I just finished The Mockingbird Next Door by Marja Mills.  This book was just okay to me.  It was about a reporter that developed a friendship with Harper Lee, the author of To Kill A Mockingbird.  Harper Lee was very reclusive after she became famous for her book.  Marja Mills, however, developed a friendship with her and earned her trust.  She even ended up moving into the house next door to her.  This book is the story of their friendship.  Even though some parts were interesting, I thought the book was a little too slow for me.

I have also read some professional books this summer.  My favorite was Teach Like Your Hair's On Fire by Rafe Esquith.  He is a wonderful teacher in inner city Los Angeles.  I love how he takes children in a Title One school and does amazing things with them--even teaches them Shakespeare.  Seriously.  Some people are just gifted teachers and he is definitely one of them.

I also got the DVD called The Hobart Shakespereans.  It is about the same teacher and it shows all the things he does in his classroom to help his students become all they can be.   So inspiring!  I gave it to Ashley to watch when I was done.  We can both relate since we have both taught in Title One schools.

I am now reading What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty.  I just started it, but I am excited to read it since I heard it was really good!

I am also determined to read the Bible through, so I have been making my way through the Old Testament.  It is so interesting to me.  I love history and the way the whole Old Testament points us to Jesus.

5-Catching up with friends.

I have been able to meet lots of my friends this summer for lunch or coffee or ice cream and it has been so much fun!  Almost every week I have had the opportunity to get together with someone I don't get to see very often and catch up on their lives.  I love doing that.  When I am teaching full time, it is so hard to get together with people because I am so busy.  I am thankful I have such sweet friends.  I love spending time with them.  My assistant, Lyndsey, and I have gotten together several times too.  I will miss her so much this year, but I know we will always be friends and hopefully she will be back at my school once she is a real teacher!

One night this week I took my sweet Brianna out to dinner for her 12th birthday.  I have loved her ever since the day I met her on her first day of third grade.  If you have been reading my blog long, you know how special she is to me.  I loved celebrating her birthday with her!

6-Watching The Good Wife.

I had planned on watching Grey's Anatomy this summer because Lyndsey loves it so much and all year she would tell me how I needed to start watching it.  But somehow, I got sucked into The Good Wife and I have almost gotten through Season One.  Yay for shows that aren't silly and that actually make you think.  I think The Good Wife has really interesting story lines and smart writing, not to mention good acting!  I usually watch one or two episodes at night if I don't have anything else going on.  Steve even watches it with me and he likes it too!

7-Spending time with three little cuties.

I am so thankful that I get to spend as much time as I do with these three little sweetie pies...

I know how fast the years fly by and I want to be as involved in their lives as I can.  I sure do love them!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Boston/Bar Harbor

Right after school was out in June, we made a trip up to Boston to visit Laura.  She has been there for one whole year now and I could almost cry with happiness at how much she loves it there.  God has worked out every last detail for her.  She has had some of the most amazing experiences and has met some of the best friends of her life there.  I am just so thankful.

We had so much fun visiting her.  First of all, we enjoyed getting to know all her friends.  We met them for pizza and candle pin bowling the first night we were there.  I had never done that before (apparently it's a New England thing?), but we had so much fun.  And then went to lunch after church on Sunday with them. What an awesome group of people.  They love the Lord and they love each other and they sure do know how to have fun!!

We had our usual fun shopping, sight seeing, and eating at amazing restaurants while we were there.

We love shopping on Newbury Street...

....and walking around the beautiful Harvard campus.  I always feel smarter just being there! :)

Plus we have to visit some of our favorite restaurants like Border Cafe and The Biscuit!

We are all chocolate lovers, so we also made a stop at L.A. Burdick Chocolate.  Laura said their hot chocolate is especially good and on a cold, winter day!

Laura treated us to Top Of The Hub for dinner one night.

I have the best kids.  They are all grown up now, but they are still such a blessing to me every day.  Laura was so sweet to do that for us!

Here is the view overlooking Boston that we could see out of the window...

Our dinner was delish.  I got chocolate creme brulee and coffee for dessert.

After dinner, Laura took us salsa dancing at Cuban dance club!  Haha!  That was definitely a first for us and we had such a fun night.  Laura and her friend, Claudia, are pros at it.  Steve and I, not so much!

For Father's Day, Laura got us tickets to a Red Sox game.  We ate dinner at Sweet Cheeks restaurant before the game where I got maybe the best barbeque I've had in forever.  North Carolina is known for its BBQ, but this gave us a run for our money!

We had such a good time at the game.  It was a little rainy when we got there, but we didn't let that stop us from having fun.  I had never been to a Red Sox game before.  They definitely have some of the best fans in the world!

We always have a great time when we are in Boston and I loved getting to see my girl.  It was a really fun weekend.

While we were in Boston, we decided that since we were already up in New England, we should explore a little bit and see some things close by, so we decided to drive to Maine for a few days.  We stayed in Bar Harbor and had such a good time sight seeing and enjoying all that cool weather.

Bar Harbor is a quaint little town with cute shops and restaurants.  It is right on the water and very near Acadia National Park and lots of natural beauty!  One of the things that is so pretty in Maine is all the lavender and lupines that grow everywhere there!

We walked all around the little town, got ice cream, people watched, and browsed through the shops looking for a sweatshirt for me.  It was chilly!

Here is the view from our hotel room.

It was pretty cool outside, but some people thought it was warm enough to swim!  I loved that the pool overlooked the lake.

The first night we got there, we went to Side Street Cafe and I got lobster stew.  You can't go to Maine and not eat lobster!   They sell lobster all along the side of the road just like we sell barbeque here in NC.  As you are driving along, you will see big lobster pots just ready to cook a lobster!  

I loved my dinner.  If you are ever in Bar Harbor, you need to go to this restaurant. It will not disappoint.

In the morning, we got up early and headed to Acadia National Park.  It was so pretty, but oh my was FREEZING with the wind blowing off the water!!

We spent most of our day just driving around and exploring the area.  Dinner was a perfect way to end our day.  We listened to live music and ate at McKay's Public House.  It was so relaxing and fun.

We were only able to stay for a couple of days, but we had a great time.  I know I have said it before, but we just really love traveling together!  There is song by Jake Owen called Anywhere With You and we sing it to each other sometimes because the words are perfect for us!

Pick a spot on any old map
I travel light and my bags are packed
Just as long as I'm where you're at
I'm gonna have a real good view
I'd go anywhere, anywhere with you.....