Sunday, October 30, 2011

Princess M

Remember how I said that I order M's costumes early to avoid the holiday rush and picked over costumes?  Well, I ended up having to go in the store a few days ago anyway to do exactly that.

The original costume was cute, but it was literally falling apart when I took it out of the packaging.  Lace was coming off the bottom of the tutu (which I ended up completely taking off) and the costume didn't exactly look like the packing said it would (bogus).  Which was surprising since I didn't order it from some unknown costume Web site, but from Target.com.  In the past I've ordered her costume from Diapers.com, but I didn't see anything there this year.  Anyway, I was surprised that Target would distribute such a low-quality product.  But who am I kidding -- MOST Halloween costumes are low-quality.

So I didn't fret (nor did I have the energy or time to deal with griping and returning), but I knew I couldn't count on that little flimsy bumblebee costume to make it through the rest of our fall festivities.  So I went to Target store to look for something similar (and of better quality). I want to dress M in cute general stuff before she starts asking for things (like characters) specifically.  When she was 10 months old, she was a lion.  Last year she was a gnome.  This year I was so excited for her to be a bumblebee, but I couldn't find another bumblebee costume in the store.  I was surprised to find a Princess Tiana costume (they were sold out all over the Web).  The one I found was flimsy and a size too big, so something told me to check out the toy section where they sell the dress-up stuff for little girls.  Whaddya know -- I found a better Princess Tiana dress that was LESS EXPENSIVE than the costume.  Yeah!

I didn't feel so bad having to buy a second costume because I knew she'd love to wear that one around the house.  The only thing about that is it may not be in a decent condition to put up for her little sister to wear one day.  I'm not preggo, but I have saved all of M's costumes for Baby #2.  If it's a girl, she can wear all of M's costumes, but if it's a boy, he can only wear the lion costume from two years ago.  Either way, I get a warm and fuzzy feeling when I think of using a costume for a second time with a new baby. :)

Anyway, I'm sure you woke up this morning wanting to hear all about our costume issues -- not! -- so let me share some pics I took of M last week before her school's fall festival.

She's so funny -- she insisted that she needed to touch the pumpkins and flowers in order to take the pic.

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It was only fitting that she took Princess Tiana for Show 'n Tell that day, too.

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She had a great time at her class' fall festival party. :)  We went to a couple of fall activities this weekend that I've set to post on Tuesday and Thursday.  Pics to come of M on her first hayride, seeing Plex from YoGabbaGabba, and her night at Boo at the Zoo.

Have a great week!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Extravaganza with a Bumblebee!

Say hi to M the Bumblebee.  

Edited to Add:  Somehow I completely deleted the first paragraph before posting.  I didn't even tell you where we were!  My sister-in-law's employer throws a Halloween Extravaganza every year, and we've always taken M. She had a blast.  She ran around a bunch (didn't really care about any of the many activities they had set up), got a chance to hang with her TeeTee, got a chance to hang with her friends K and N, and went for ice cream afterwards.  She loved it!

I always order M's costumes in September so I don't have to worry about the good costumes selling out/not having her size.  I hid it from her a whole month, though, because I knew that she'd want to wear it every day.  So the night before the Halloween Extravaganza, I tried it on her.  WHAT WAS I THINKING?  She loved it and went CRAZY when I told her she had to take it right back off.  It was bedtime, so it wasn't like I could let her wear it for a few hours to play.  It was PJ time!  

After much drama (including M going into our room, closing the door, crawling under the covers and insisting that she was "sick" in order for me to leave her alone), I eventually felt bad for her.  Not because she claimed to be sick (How does a toddler know how to PRETEND to be sick to get out of something?  Dra-ma.), but because I know how much my child likes dressing up (particularly in tutus/skirts). I can't really expect her to try on a tutu (and wings!) and then expect her to take it right back off.  That's just mean.  So I let her play until her daddy got home.  I knew HE could get her to take it off -- he gives her that serious voice, and she's all ears.  (She totally pretends not to hear me sometimes.)


We have some pictures just like these from last year's extravaganza.  She's still looks the same but has lost some of the baby roundness.  (Oh, if you haven't seen her costume from her first year at the extravaganza, it's a must see.  Total cuteness.)



The kid's still not afraid of characters.  In fact, she gets pretty impatient when she sees them and wants to go hug them immediately.  



We didn't have a Big Al episode like last year.  Thankfully.

Her friends K and N.

N is so sweet to M.


Strawberry ice cream like her daddy (I've never liked strawberry).

She was in heaven.

Thanks, TeeTee, for a great night!  Have a great weekend, guys!  

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Learning As I Go

One thing about being a teacher of business and technology is that my content is always changing.  Every year (every DAY for that matter) there's something new and exciting going on in my area.  It's truly one of the things that makes my career so sweet.

Since I've been a teacher, I've attended conferences here and there.  This past year was the first time I attended my state, regional, and national conference all in the same year, and boy have I learned a lot.  This past week, I got the opportunity to meet and network with teachers from my own state as well as teachers from Florida, Arkansas, Kentucky, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

I mingled with these top notch teachers and professors and learned from greats like Misty Freeman (among others).  I also represented my state as a Leadership Delegate at this conference and was given the awesome opportunity to attend a session with Dr. Patricia Moody.  LOVED HER. She held a session for the delegates, and I walked out of that room feeling lucky to have even met her.

You go to these conferences knowing half of what they are going to tell you, but being reminded of some of these things is priceless and always seems to come on time.  Here are some things Dr. Moody shared with us between all the awesome conversations and activities (mostly about leadership):


  1. Get up every morning with the drive to "beat" yourself.  Always strive to be better than the  ______ (insert your name here) you knew yesterday.
  2. When she asked everyone on the spot to list good things about themselves, you'd be surprised how many of us came up with only a few things.  She said if she'd asked us to list bad things about ourselves, the list would have come easy.  She said that we need to start focusing on the POSITIVES about ourselves and build on those great things.
  3. Don't do everything by yourself.  I'm particularly guilty of this -- personally and professionally (because I tend to think that MY way is the best for ME, and that's not always necessarily the case) -- and I've truly got to work on this.
  4. Be willing to fail.  And admit your mistakes.  You've got to make it so that your people know that it's okay to make mistakes and learn from them.  Leave room for imperfections. It's how we grow.
  5. Failing is okay, but constantly pursue excellence.
  6. Great leaders make people WANT to follow them.  Make your climate one that everyone wants to work in.
  7. Pull people along with you -- don't PUSH them.
  8. Dare to be different.  Get out of your comfort zone.
  9. Be an active learner.
  10. You can't be super at everything.  You can't be good at everything at the same time.
The last one hit home with me.  Here is this woman who raised two children with her husband and climbed the career ladder to be one of the most respected in the profession, and she simply told us that everything at home and work won't be perfect at the same time.  Boy, I needed to hear that.  She particularly said that if you clean that dust off your coffee table every day, know that it's coming back tomorrow.  Spend time with your children instead.  I am a big advocate for this whole mentality, and it felt good to know someone I admire feels the same way.   

At the conference, I also got a chance to attend some great sessions that focused on instructional strategies and innovative products to better meet the needs of today's students and teachers.  I even got a great contact I could use for my EdS field project.  I also got a chance to briefly chat with both of my professors for this semester, and I walked away feeling better!

The older I get, the more I see how beneficial it is to be involved in professional associations.  And that really applies to ANY profession.  The networking and knowledge you get by being involved is truly priceless.  I am lucky to have -- literally next door to me and across the hall from me in my very own department at school -- former state officers and last year's national president. I'm not sure I'll ever want to hold such high offices, but I know that I am literally surrounded by greatness.  I'd be stupid not to soak up every little thing I can learn from them.

Anyway, just wanted to share a little about my experience this past week.  I don't blog enough about my career and aspirations, and they're obviously a big part of my life.  Maybe I'll try to do a little better with it.  I wish I could say that I'll blog more about my awesome students and amazing school, but I've never felt comfortable with that (plus, it's sorta illegal).  So I'll stick to the general stuff. :)

Hope everyone's having a great weekend.  After waking up at 2:00 AM to catch a super early flight that ended up being delayed three hours, it was great to finally making it home.  Morgan and I had lunch with my mom today and then came home and did a few things around the house.  Before I knew it, it was her bedtime.  And I all of a sudden had the energy to post this to the blog.  Yay me.  (See?  Celebrating myself already.)

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mo the Clown (& Eliminating Distractions)


Hey, guys!  Just popping in for a minute to say hi and share this hilarious picture of Morgan her teacher emailed me last week.  Not sure what this lesson was about, but they dressed up as clowns that day.  SO FUNNY.

Morgan amazes me every day with all the things she does and says.  She has SO much personality and spunk, and she learns and comprehends at an amazing rate.  I've said several times that one of the sweetest gifts God can give us is the chance to watch our own children grow and develop.  It's a super-amazing experience that I don't take for granted.  I thank Him all the time for every single day He gives me with Morgan because I know that in reality, she belongs to Him. I'm having the time of my life every single day with her.

On another note, I've recently been working on eliminating distractions from my life.  It honestly got to the point where I said, "Okay, something's gotta go.  I can't live like this."  I was becoming disgusted with how "busy" my life was.  So Facebook and Twitter were first on the list.  I didn't delete my accounts, but I've stopped checking them for the sake of checking them.  I never really actively posted on either a whole lot, but would check them at random times from my phone.  I just realized how completely unnecessary it is for me to read status posts of people who don't directly affect my life (including celebrities on Twitter).  I haven't logged in to Facebook or Twitter in a week (unless I've gotten a notification or direct message), and I don't feel like I'm missing a thing.  (I know blogs involve reading about people that don't directly affect me, but reading blogs is therapeutic for me.  Plus, I don't have time to do it like I want.  Even if I did, I'm not sure it's something I'd be willing to give up. Ever.)

I've also been working on getting some things out of my house.  Clutter is bothering me these days, too.  I remember when Danny and I bought our house, and how much bigger it felt than the tiny one-bedroom apartment we left behind.  Then along came baby and the house all of a sudden felt much smaller.  Then over the years, we've just accumulated STUFF.  Combine that with the fact that we don't have a lot of storage space (and haven't bothered with putting things in our completely empty attic), it doesn't make for a very tidy setting.  And I'm sort of tired of that.  So I'm getting rid of stuff.  Maybe I'll adopt the minimalist lifestyle.  Just gotta get rid of these unnecessary distractions.

I actually have time to blog tonight because I'm out of town for a work conference.  I'm in Orlando, which means I'm seeing a ton of kids and their families who are doing the Disney World thing.  I've wondered how so many families are doing their Disney vacation in the middle of the week in the middle of the school year.  Fall break, maybe?  We had lunch at Downtown Disney today and I found myself gazing at little kids around Morgan's age.  I miss my little munchkin!

I have to admit, though, that it feels good to only feed and dress myself in the mornings and only get myself ready for bed.  That's an hour extra of sleep! :-)  And being away from home, I don't have the constant urge to load/unload the dishwasher, load/unload the washer/dryer, pick up toys off the floor, try to keep my kitchen table from drowning in clutter, and all that other stuff that completely fills my evening after the babe goes down for bed.  Now I can blog, grade projects, and work on grad school stuff. 

Speaking of grad school, both of my professors for this semester are here at this conference. Think I should beg for mercy from the one that's killing me this semester? No? 

Well, I should probably end this post.  I only got one hour of sleep last night, so it would be smart to get some shut-eye before my seminar in the morning.  I hope everyone's having a great week!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Racing for a Cure

Picture this scene:  Seven of your relatives (or friends) and you are sitting around having dinner.  You're all laughing, talking, and having a great time.  Perfect, right?

Now look around again.  Did you know that one of you will likely be diagnosed with breast cancer?  Let me say it again:  It's likely that ONE OF YOU WILL BE DIAGNOSED WITH BREAST CANCER.

Not such a pleasant thought anymore is it?

Over 230,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year alone.  And over 2,000 men.

Almost 40,000 of these women will die of breast cancer.  Over 400 of the men will, too.


I'm not sure about you, but I'm just not okay with that.  Especially since there are over 2.5 million survivors.  People are beating this disease every day, yet we're still losing thousands of mothers, grandmothers, relatives, friends, co-workers, and neighbors.  One is too many, let alone thousands, so we've got work to do.

My family and I (plus some friends of the family) did the Komen Race for the Cure again this year.  Although the Race for the Cure is a ton of people coming together because of something so unfortunate, it is a beautiful event that is uplifting in so many ways.


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Our Team:  Pat, Val, Elida, Alethea, Lois, Beverly, Gerri, Ashleigh, Megan, and Carmelanie

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The final numbers haven't been released yet, but there were at least 16,000 racers.  

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Morgan is too young to participate this year, but I am so glad my niece was able to experience it.  

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Chances are you know someone (or are someone) who has battled this disease.  I can easily sit here and preach about early detection -- but this is something we all know.  Early detection helps our problem, but it won't fix it -- especially when three-year-old Aleisha Hunter was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was just two years old.  And Hannah Powell-Auslaum when she was just 10.  No one is expected to check their child's chest for lumps, yet, breast cancer found its way in the lives of these children and their families.  NOT OKAY.

We've got to find a CURE.  And that comes with increased awareness and funds for research.  And that really starts with us.

Many, many thanks to the family and friends who raced on Saturday.  We had a great time for a great cause. Go ahead and start recruiting for next year.  Last year there were five of us, and this year we doubled that.  Let's double it again. :)  And a special thanks to my husband and Aunt Linda who personally helped me reach my $100 fundraising goal.  Your support means more than you'll ever know.

If you want to learn more about breast cancer, find a race near you, or simply make a donation, visit komen.org.  Together we can do this.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Checking in With Ramblings

Hey, guys!  My ramblings are all over the place today, so I'm going to number stuff -- sorta like my friend Hope's Ten on Tuesday.  Except I can't call it that since it's Wednesday.  But you get the point... {Edited to Add:  I read this post the next morning and realized that yesterday WAS Tuesday.  My days all run together -- I just know Mondays and Fridays.  Everything else is just a big ball of mush with too many things to do.}
  1. First of all, I miss the blog world!  I was never a heavy blogger myself, but I have always enjoyed reading other people's blog every day.  Now, I'm lucky if I read blogs once a week.  And this whole blogging community of women on the Web is just amazing to be a part of.  I've "met" so many great women with whom I have so much in common .  And I like checking their blogs to see what they're up to.  I have a ton of favorites that I miss dearly.  Such as my friend Hope's.  I just linked one of her latest posts, but I haven't even had a chance to read it!  And her photography blog?  Ah-mazing.  Speaking of amazing photography, there's another mama I love following, and that's Vanessa at De Su Mama (and if it wasn't for a quick Facebook check on my phone, I would have missed her big announcement today -- congrats, Vanessa!!).  I've been so MIA from my blogs, that I didn't know until days later that Vanessa mentioned me in one of her recent posts about her beautiful daughter Alina's love for a new book series (adorable pics included).  And then there's my favorite med school mama, Jasmine, who blogs about everything from her faith to her two-year-old to her med school happenings.  And of course my favorite fashion blog, Kendi Everyday (she is so funny and creative).  And there are so many other women I love following -- many of which have recently had great things happen for them - new business venture, new baby, new pregnancy, etc.  I've got to find time to keep up with these ladies.  They're all an inspiration to me in some way!
  2. I recently finished a big project for one of my EdS classes, and I feel so glad to have it out of the way.  Maybe this is why I found the energy to post tonight -- I can breath JUST a little. For now, anyway, since it's actually not the biggest project in the class.  After the typical research, reading, and writing, the project included a 25-minute presentation that I actually recorded at home (more on the reason for that later).  Do you know how hard it is for a perfectionist to record a presentation without starting it over because you didn't like the way something came out?  Well, I'm not half the perfectionist I used to be because I only started over twice.  Now a few years ago, I would have driven myself crazy...
  3. It ain't all peaches and cream with my EdS classes.  There's still "that class."  Let's not talk about it until I feel a little better about it *if that ever happens.*   :)
  4. A lot of my family and friends joke with me insisting that I'll go back for my PhD because it just seems like something I'd do, apparently.  Well, I'm putting it out there for all to see.  MARK MY WORD.  After this EdS, I am DONE WITH SCHOOL. Plus, I'm hearing from all these mamas with kids in elementary school that the homework load in these early grades are unreal.  So I've gotta give myself a break before that starts.
  5. I recorded my presentation at home (versus at work) because my little M has been a little under the weather.  When DK went to pick her up from school one day last week, her whole table had been sent home for -- I'll spare you the details -- a stomach virus.  Use your imagination on what I've been cleaning a lot of the past few days. Ha! :)  She'd also had a fever and cough earlier that week, so it was your typical week of preschool germ-spreading.
  6. Um, do y'all remember the book Cat in the Hat?  We all do, right?  Well, did you know it is about 62 pages long?  NOT a good book to read at bedtime when your two-year-old is already up past bedtime.  And this same two-year-old loves going back through EVERY page picking things out, finding colors, and counting things.  And don't try to skip a page.  Not happening.  She knows.  And will kindly (or maybe not so kindly) flip the pages back.  Sixty + pages, y'all.  DON'T READ THE CAT IN THE HAT AT BEDTIME.
  7. It's the end of the first nine weeks at school.  Grades are due from us teachers on Thursday.  Where is the time going?  Didn't school JUST start back?
  8. I have the best job in the world.  I feel so blessed to love what I do every day.  I love my students, my co-workers, my classroom, my content area, and the fact that the subject I teach requires you to be a lifelong learner.  No time to ever get bored!
  9. Morgan was the helper in her class one day last week.  Her teacher sent home this cute, detailed note about how Morgan was so particular about how things were stacked.  Too cute.  Total heart-melter.  Now if I could only get her to stack her things neatly at home...
  10. DK and I are just enjoying seeing our little M blossom into this funny kid!  The things kids say -- it's just amazing how much their little brains soak up.  M remembers EVERYTHING, and it's getting really had to trick her these days.  Just today, she noticed one of her old riding toys in the garage and wanted to play with it.  She's too big for it now, but I messed up and told her it was "broken."  That used to work like a charm.  Wanna know what she told me today?  "Mommmmmy, I'll fix it!  I'll fix it, Mommy!"  What do you say to that?  Nothing.  You go along with it, tell her it's AWESOME that she's going to fix the toy, and grab the old thing and bring it in the house. Time for new mommy tricks!
Here are some recent pics:

Dinner one night last week.

 Being silly M as usual.  At the mall today picking up Race for the Cure packets (notice the pink ribbon on her shirt).  Race is this weekend!  So excited!

After we took our team packets back to the car, we ate "mall food court" food! 

Fun pics with my favorite girl.

And this pic was from last week on our "sick" day at home.  Though she had a slight fever for a day and was super stopped-up, she felt great.  The pic says it all.

I hope everyone's having a great week! *So proud that I got a decent post in this week!*

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

He's 32!

Danny's birthday was Sunday!  Our birthdays are actually four days apart.  This year has a little added sweetness because he and I started dating shortly after his 22nd and my 19th birthday back in October 2001.  We're now 32 and 29.  So, yep, it's been 10 years (we don't even seem old enough to have been together that long)!

I won't get mushy or anything, but I still smile and get butterflies when I think back to when we first started dating.  Danny was everything I hoped God would one day bring me in a guy, and I remember thinking he was too good to be true.  I still remember our first kiss (don't worry -- this isn't mushy). He asked me for a kiss and I leaned in and when I didn't feel anything, I opened my eyes to see him laughing at me.  This was our FIRST KISS people (how dare he, right?).  I knew right then and there that he was special because I love nothing more than laughing and joking.  The rest is history...

We spent the weekend in Atlanta again for some food and football.  Bama played away, so the Ws hosted another "tailgate party" at their house.  I didn't even call my family this time because the person they wanted to see didn't come on the trip - ha!  M stayed back home with my in-laws.  So it was a kid-free weekend for DK and me. :)

Touchdown!


The guys sitting on that little couch.  Too funny.





Due dates wait for no man (had to mix WORK in with play).
With the birthday boy.

We had a great weekend, but was glad to see our little munchkin when we got back.  She had a great time hanging out with cousins and my mother-in-law, so she didn't miss us a bit.

Hope everyone's having a great week!  By the way, I'm hiring.  If anyone out there is willing to be my assistant and can put up with me, then the job is yours.  The pay is very little (okay, non-existent), the hours are a little crazy (you don't sleep until I sleep), and the job description is lengthy.  Only inquire if you are serious. 

Now I'm off to check my inbox since I know it will start filling up with inquiries the minute I publish this post...

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Stuff I Talk About

2011 30 day shred age update AKA animals anniversary appreciation aquarium around the house art museum Atlanta baby/toddler sleep issues baking bama football beach birthday birthday party blog awards blog buddies blogher books camping causes celebrations celebrities cheer days childhood children's museum children's theater Christmas christmas card class reunion college days concert conference cousins crafts dance date night dating days deals decluttering dentist Disney dk easter engagement facebook faith fall fun family family fun fashion father's day favorite blogs field trip field trips football friday flashback friends fun event funny pic Gaylord Opryland genealogy girl scouts goals god grad school grateful graves' disease Halloween health holidays Hollywood honeymoon instagram Iron Bowl key west kindermusik learning letter to my daughter library Los Angeles m me miami mlk day morgan is three museum Nashville national championship game natural hair nature new look new orleans New Years nyc out on the town parks parties phone fun pinterest play days at home playdate playground action pregnancy professional development Race for the Cure raleigh ramblings reading Recipes relay for life school program shows singing skating snow soccer social networking sorority spring break spring fun stress summer summer fun summer reading summer to do list teacher life technical difficulties terrible twos Thanksgiving the girls the park theme park thomas and friends three thyroid tragedy trains traveling tricycle trips twitter valentine's day video walk for autism water play we love being outside wedding wordless wednesday work wrapup Yo Gabba Gabba zoo
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