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.