Saturday, August 30, 2008

Our 1st Anniversary

Hi all-

Today is Josh's and my first Wedding anniversary. We have had a wonderful weekend fully celebrating it. I'm so thankful that we choose a holiday weekend for our wedding. This way we will always have a long weekend close to our anniversary to make our celebration extra special.

Although, I have to admit I was a bit stumped what to get my dear husband for an anniversary present when I discovered that our first anniversary is the "paper" anniversary. But after doing some research and speaking with some friends I settled upon the perfect gift.

So what was this gift? Tickets! I got the two of us tickets to Les Miserables at the Fox Theater. I am so excited. We won't be going for a while yet...but still tickets worked perfectly.

Then, I began the journey to discover how to present these tickets. Thankfully, a friend helped me out again. And suggested a wonderful presentation technique. What did she suggest? Well, she said to make a small cake (in place of the top layer of our wedding cake). We'll be eating the original later this month). Then to get a basket and champagne glasses as well as a bottle of champagne. I decided to fill the basket with tissue paper and silk flowers too. Then I placed the tickets into the card that I had for Josh. It was great! He was so excited and so was I!

Oh, but let me tell you about my present from him. We'd been talking for some time about going out to eat at The Melting Pot. The Melting Pot is a really nice fondue restaurant. One of my friends at school had mentioned it to me several months ago. I'd said something to Josh about it, and he told me that we were saving it for a special occasion. I am so glad that we did! It was spectacular.

We had what they call "The Big Night Out." Essentially this is a four course meal. It begins with cheese fondue, followed by a salad, then the entree and finally the chocolate or dessert fondue. Wow!!! We both ate our fill. I couldn't have imagined a better place to celebrate.

Then when we got home...I pulled out my present for Josh. We drank champagne (just a little bit for me, since it was a special occasion I decided this would be fine) and we celebrated.

But the celebration didn't end there. Yesterday at church we'd given the flowers to the glory of God and in thanksgiving for our first wedding anniversary...but we also did the blessing of a pregnant woman (me). So that was spectacularly special too.

Which brings us to do today. I did many of the ordinary day before school activities...after sleeping late, of course. One of these was to make sure the house was fully cleaned. Some of the other things I did were grocery shopping, recycling etc...and while I was gone...Josh got out his surprise for me. OH! But before I tell you about the surprise. Let me tell you about the good news as far as recycling goes. Our city now recycles plastic! YES! Up until this week they'd only recycled cans, newspaper and cardboard. We're making progress y'all!!

He got some of the most beautiful roses for me and a really sweet card. OH! But before I forget...we also talked about plans for future generations and Josh has already told me that he thinks we need to go to Italy for our 5th anniversary. :) We also talked about taking a cruise next year...and so as you can see our anniversaries will certainly be something we'll savor throughout the years.

Thank you to all of you who have been there with us through this first year. And I do want to say this...everyone says the first year is the hardest. So I just want to go on the record as saying if that's the's hard to imagine; because this year hasn't been hard. I love being married and simply couldn't imagine my life any other way.

So I'm going to run and finish celebrating my anniversary...but I will be back I can tell you all about our next adventure. Apple picking!! Until then, take care.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

And the rain came tumbling down or should I say flying sideways?

Hi all-

As I am sure the world knows, tropical storm Fay has been quite busy over the past few weeks and Josh and I (and the rest of South/all of Florida) got to experience some of her activities first hand. :)

Fay truly came for a visit down here last Friday. And in anticipation of her visit many schools were closed for the day. Honestly, at the time I felt that the Fay fear was a little over the top. I mean, she wasn't even a hurricane...but just a tropical storm. And living in the part of the country that we do, tropical storms are not typically something that are given a lot of thought...but Fay was different.

Why? Perhaps because she was so slow moving...and because she was leaving SO much rain behind! ARGH!!! As a result, Fay was doing tremendous damage without even being a hurricane.

So, even though the high school where I teach, didn't close on Friday we did release early. And I have to admit it was nice getting out a little bit early. It was even nicer only having 40 minute periods throughout the day. :)

But I was determined, even at this point that Fay was no big deal. Thus, bound and determined I began to make plans for Josh's and my date night. My husband and I started doing these together last winter and let it slide for the summer, but now that autumn activities are upon us, we've picked it back up.
Last weekend was Josh's turn, and he announced that we were going to Tallahassee for our date night. We had a wonderful time...we ate Olive Garden, went to the movies to see Swing Vote, and of course went to Sam's Club. But the on the way home...our car broke date night turned into dddddaaaatttteeee nnnnniiiiigggghhhhtttt! And even though we broke down before 10 PM...the never ending date night, meant we didn't get back into town until after TWO A.M. Yuck!

So this weekend it was my turn to come up with something for date night tropical storm or no tropical storm! And I was determined we weren't leaving town because I didn't want another two A.M. adventure.

But, let me tell you, it's not easy to come up with creative and fun things to do in the middle of a tropical storm. I didn't want to go to the movies...we've done that a lot lately. I thought about putt putt, but it was out went that idea...and what I came up with instead was a progressive dinner.

It actually turned out great...except for the cold wet rain. Here's how the dinner worked. We had appetizers at one restaurant (Blue Sky Grill)...then climbed back into the car...and drove to Applebees for the main course. And it was at Applebee's that it hit us...the rain wasn't tumbling down, but flying sideways! Well, Josh realized it...when I opened my door to dart for Applebee's and he got wet (even though he was across the car from me)!!!!
So we talked throughout our main course about how the storm was much more powerful than we had anticipated...but do not fear, even the strong winds and flying rain couldn't keep us away from Dairy Queen for dessert.

Yes, we topped off our evening with two blizzards from Dairy Queen. After all every one needs a blizzard in the middle of a tropical storm. Right?

Well, let me tell you the Dairy Queen visit was interesting because the light on the drive-thru was literally hanging by it's electric wires and swinging over the car. Yikes! We'd passed a light pole in a car lot that had been knocked completely over...and so it was obvious it was time to get home.

And homeward, we drove. Thankfully, our trip home was was ALL day Saturday. Except for the rain, Friday night, Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon, Saturday night and Sunday morning! The rain was so hard and so steady that I was contemplating singing, "The Lord said to Noah...there's gonna be a floody, floody..." Because that is certainly what it felt like with all of that RAIN!

And by Sunday morning...we'd received FOURTEEN, yes FOURTEEN inches of rain. That's a far cry from what the newscasters were saying with their 6-8 inches expected.

Thankfully though, nothing of ours was tremendously damaged. We have limbs down everywhere, but that's okay. We can pick those up. The creek didn't flood...which is good, since we live right beside it.

But many rivers down here did. In fact, the town where I teach got over twenty inches of rain (and they're just 30 miles down the road) school was called off today.
(A tree down in front of a school in Thomasville)

And don't you know I'm just heartbroken that I had to have a holiday today? But I do feel for those people whose roads were washed out or who had serious damage from this storm.

I think Fay has taught us all a spectacular lesson and that can't judge a storm by it's first appearance. Because no matter what it's called because even a tropical storm can send truckloads of rain flying sideways, not just tumbling down.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Good news

Hi all-

Guess what! Josh and I have some good news that I'm prepared to share with all of you. We are expecting a baby again. As of today I'm eleven weeks, which means that I've made it past the point where I miscarried in January. Whew! That makes me feel quite a bit better. Although I have to admit I'll feel even better in two and a half weeks when I finally make it out of the first trimester.

Our little one is due February 26th and oddly enough this is the exact same day that my department head at school is due. Weird huh?

Nonetheless we are excited and should know whether we are having a boy or girl in October. I'll try to keep you updated as more developments progress.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Paris France

Hi all-

Once again I'm sorry that it's taken me so long to get back to all of you. We had a fantabulous time in Paris. Ah...Paris the city of love. And love it we did! Josh and Annie had never visited France before and even though it was my third trip I fell in love with it all over again.

Not only did we hit all of the highlights, and spend a full ten days there, but we even explored some of the more obscure (for tourists) that is. For instance, our last day we spent at the Musee Decouverte (Discovery museum). It was amazing, but let me back up and tell you about our days before that.

Our first day in Paris we checked into the hotel and caught a quick nap before heading out to see the Arc de Triomph. Then we walked all the way down the Champs Elysee to the Jardin (Garden) de Tulieries. It was a LONG walk, but well worth the effort. We found apricot sorbet and took a seat at a fountain outside the Louvre. The plan was to go ahead and get tickets for a few days later, but it turned out the Louvre was closed on Tuesdays. Oops! Nonetheless, the jardin was wonderful and actually ended up being one of our major hang out places during our stay. There was a carnival present along with pony rides, three fountains and children playing with wooden toy boats.

Several days later, we rented one of these same toy boats for Annie to play with the Parisian children. She thoroughly enjoyed it.

After supper and another leisurely walk we headed back to the hotel for the evening.

The next morning we were up bright and early so that we could visit the Tour de Eiffel also known as the Eiffel tower. :) We later visited it again in the evening and on both occasions traveled to the top floor. It was a special experience both times. But I have to admit the sparkles, stars and such made the evening adventure even more special.

After the Eiffel tower we visited Notre Dame, which we also returned to in the evening many days later. Josh got some of the most amazing photos from this evening adventure.

Then we headed out for Sacre Coeur. I do believe that I forget every time how many stairs are involved in this journey. Annie and Josh swore that we walked up 2 million, but I have to admit that I floated up many of them since I actually communicated and received directions in French and understood them. This was only the first of many times that I received directions or instructions from a Parisian without them changing to English and I have to admit that I beamed each time it happened. It was nice to know that even though my French is rusty it is still effective.

Then after visiting the Sacre Coeur we discovered the metro had a train that scaled the incline. Oops! But the stairs were good for us. And we walked over to the Hotel de Invalides where Napolean was buried. I translated all of the display explanations for Josh and Annie, but I thoroughly enjoyed learning so much about what Napolean had believed in. He truly had some good ideas and I can't believe we don't hear more about his ideas today.

(Napolean's tomb)

Other day trips that we explored during our ten days were a full day at the Louvre, with one of the highlights being the Mona Lisa (of course).

And then we also spent a full day at Versailles. Annie asked many questions and all three of us fully enjoyed each exhibit at the Louvre. But at Versailles I have to admit that I was more struck by the tour that we took than by Marie Antoinette's village. Last time I'd visited the village was my favorite part and it still ranked quite high, but the tour was wonderful. It was about Louis the XIV and XV's apartments.

(Marie Antoinette's village)

We spent half a day at the Musee D'orsay. And I fell in love again with the Impressionist paintings.
Annie and I spent Sunday shopping and Josh went off to explore more castles and such. I think everyone enjoyed themselves.

Sunday evening we also took a dinner cruise. WOW! It was amazing. Not only did they give every person on the cruise a sampler of all the appetizers but they did the same with the desserts. Also we had an apertif and wine, as well as a regular beverage and coffee. Wow! And on top of all that there was an upper deck that we could stand on and watch all of the lights on the various buildings, Eiffel tower etc. It was definitely the best dinner cruise I've ever experienced.

But lastly let me tell you about the Discovery museum. It was so much fun. Not only did we get a lecture in English about the school for rats and the way that they are trained in mazes, but we also went to the Electrostatics lecture. In this lecture both Annie and Josh were volunteers. Josh got shocked to show the difference between electricity and static and Annie's hair stood on end.

But the absolute best lecture had to be the liquid air. Wow! I'd never seen anything like it. Although it looked like dry ice, the experiments proved it was something way more impressive. I think we all were shaped by our day in the Discovery museum.
You know, I worried some about being the tour guide for this adventure to Paris, but it turned out to be a wonderful one. We had a laid back but fun time. And I can only say I look forward to the next vacation that Josh, Annie and I take. And of course I look forward to telling you all about it...but in the meantime there are many more adventures to share.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Summer Adventures

Hi all-

I'm so sorry that it's taken so long to get back onto my website. I've honestly been going non-stop and truly enjoying every moment of it. This has been a BUSY summer!
Nonetheless, let me try to give you the run down...of what has happened since we last visited. I believe I was just about to head out for my Advanced Placement workshop when we last chatted. Right? Well, that's long since completed. And now I'm fully AP certified. Yay! I can hardly wait to teach those AP Literature classes year after next.

However, the classes required to receive this certification were boring (and fairly uninformative) to say the least, BUT I did learn some things here and there while having a wonderful time enjoying a week in Athens. One of my good friends and I took the class together and so we were able to treat the evenings like a mini-vacation. We had a blast going out to eat each night with other friends. We had some of the best and most diverse foods. We ate Thai, Indian, Gourmet, Deli, Mexican, and Vegetarian. Needless to say it was amazing and so much fun...

Then, after we returned home from this adventure, I headed out for North GA so that I could to go my doctors appointment (following up) from my back surgery. Thankfully, it was a quick and pleasant appointment and now I've been fully cleared now both by my surgeon and by my physical therapist. More good news, huh?

So after receiving such wonderful news, I drove back down to South Georgia and my fantastic just in time to host a 4th of July party. This was our first year having a party like this and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We had our friends and family over. We played croquet and had more to eat than we knew what to do with. All in all it was an more fun than any of us imagined it would be and we can hardly wait to host our next holiday party.

But the summer fun didn't stop there. So a few short days later, I headed out for North Georgia (once again) so that I could go on the semi-annual family journey to Arkansas and Mississippi. Momma and I took all three children on this trip and it was amazing. Not only were all of the children wonderful travelers, but it was also so nice to get to spend some quality time with extended family. The boys and Annie had a blast playing with their cousins in Arkansas and in Mississippi. Not even to mention, the fun that they had on the farm. The boys and Annie, ran, swam, rode horses, tractors and four wheelers. Needless to say no one had problems sleeping on this trip.

And yes, my frantic, but fun pace has continued. Thus, a day after our return to North Georgia, I headed home, back to South Georgia, so that I could could repack and put things in order before heading out of the country.

So with all of these adventures relayed, that brings us up to date! And as tomorrow, my wonderful husband, niece and I will be beginning our European adventures as we climb onto a flight for France! We can hardly wait! It will by my third trip to France and their first. I just know that we're going to have SO much fun. And of course, I look forward to telling each of you about it when I return.

But, it may be a couple of weeks before I can update again (due to travels). But in the meantime, I hope you are all also enjoying adventures of your own...and that your summer is going as spectacularly as mine is.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Family visit and upcoming conference

Hi all-

Well, things this summer have continued to be quite busy, but I'm having a blast. This week has been especially nice because my Momma, niece, and nephews came to visit. I wish all of you could have seen me waiting for their arrival. I was literally like a child waiting for Santa Claus. I couldn't sleep even though it was the middle of the night when they arrived.

Oh it was wonderful to have all of them here for a few days. We had many adventures. The first day they were here I took them to Wild Adventures. It was amazing! The park isn't very crowded during the week (except for Friday). Every ride that the children wanted to ride had very little wait. In fact, there were several rides that they literally had the ride operator running the ride for only them.

And then there was the Veggie Tales show! Wow! That's all I can say. All the children thoroughly enjoyed it. Amazingly it was the perfect show for each of them, and that's not an easy accomplishment since they range in ages from nine through two.

Finally, there was the water park. They loved it. I discovered what a true dare devil Danny is. We slid down many water slides together. I'd explain to him that the water was going to splash his face when we got to the bottom, but he honestly didn't care.

We finished up our visit at the park by all having dipping dots. But the best part, for the five of us the entire admission cost just $30. Okay, let me explain. Josh and I have annual passes to the park and Danny was free because he's not yet three. Josh and I also had two guest passes (for free) so only Momma had to pay to get in...and we found a deal online to help with that. Not bad, huh? I'd definitely say it wasn't bad at all.

The next day, Annie and I took Josh down to the airport and Momma, Gabe and Danny went to the children's movie. It's a great deal, free admission and $2 for a child size coke and popcorn. Wow! Anyway, they had fun watching Mr. Magorium's Magic Emporium or something like that. And Annie and I had fun visiting with Josh on the way to the airport and singing country music songs and talking on the way home.

When we got home, everyone had lunch. The children played and then we had "rest time." I do believe rest time is one of my favorite parts about summer. It always reminds me of naps during college or lazy summer afternoons as child. So we all rested and read books, or rather Annie, Momma and I read books the boys napped.

Once rest time was over the children began to play some more and I decided rather than visiting the pool down the street that the children could play in the sprinklers and pool here. They loved it! Interestingly enough it all culminated with them actually asking to take a bath. :) I'm sure our jacuzzi tub had "nothing" to do with that. Ha ha!

(pictures of "the sprinkler playing" soon)
But our day was far from over. After the bath and supper Momma and I decided to take the children back to the movies. This time we all watched Kung Fu Panda. It was a good child friendly movie and was thoroughly enjoyed as was demonstrated by playing "Kung Fu Panda" when we got home.

Things have been a bit more quiet since they've headed home. But I've still had more than enough to keep me busy. I headed back to PT yesterday and learned some new exercises. I caught up on my house cleaning. Thankfully, I'd done my "house blessing" (dusting, moping, sweeping, vacuuming, polishing mirrors/doors, and changing linens Sunday night so I had Monday free and Tuesday is always my "free day." So the visit worked out just perfectly.

This week coming week will be a bit more complicated though. I'm going to be out of town, but I am determined not to fall too far behind on my cleaning. SO I went ahead and did the cleaning for this week and next week (Wednesday, Thursday, and today). Thankfully, I've finished it all up now.

And no, I'm not talking about just a light cleaning. Honestly since beginning Fly lady, the surface cleaning of the house has been simple. So I've found I've been able to go more deeply. This week alone, I've cleaned out the medicine cabinet, the cabinet and drawers in the bathroom, the drawers of my desk in my office, my vanity and nightstands drawers and my dresser drawers. WOW! Lots of trash going out this week. Well...I didn't clean out my keepsake drawer in my dresser, but that's a LONG job just itself. Last week, I cleaned out my decoration closet, guest closet and straightened up my closet some. Whew! But you know, the accomplishment that I feel when I'm more powerful than I can describe.

So why is all of this falling into place and why do I have the time to do all of this? The best answer I know to give you, is to check out Fly lady. It helps set up a routine and helps keep the house us well enough that there's time to do the deeper things.

But enough about the cleaning let me tell you a little about my upcoming trip. I'm going to a workshop for Advanced Placement certification. In lay terms, this means I'll be able to teach college level classes in high school once I've finished this workshop.

I'm getting the feeling that the studying this next week is going to be very vigorous. But I'm up for the challenge. And I have to admit I'm particularly excited about this next week because I'm going to be rooming with a co-worker that is one of my closest friends. I'm convinced we are going to have a blast (at night) after each day's hard work is done.

I'm already looking forward to many of the restaurants and night life of the town. Of course,my husband has reminded me (on more than one occasion) how important it is that we take this course seriously and don't play too much. I've assured him we'll be good...but nonetheless, I'm sure we're going have fun too.

What can I say? Men. After all he's off to Las Vegas this week for a conference and I have to admit I've never once considered that he might be focused on other things that work. :) Guess it goes with the territory that he'd worry about us when we, ladies, are off on our own and such.

Nonetheless, I look forward to telling you all about our adventures when I return, that is if I don't manage to do so before that.

But until then, enjoy your summer!