Monday, July 30, 2012

Summer Reading Wrap-Up

Hey, guys.  Told y'all I've been in a blogging funk.  Didn't even get a chance to post my little flashback on Friday.  Maybe this week.


We wrapped up M's summer reading a few days ago.  I'll be honest -- I've been bad about recording all the books this summer.  We didn't get anywhere close to the goal I set for this year (only recorded a little over 1,000 pages this time), but thankfully it was enough to get the exact prize she wanted:


...a baton -- which happens to be the same summer reading prize she chose last year.  Silly girl.


We also turned in her Barnes and Noble summer reading log.


She earned her free book. (She chose a dinosaur book. Not surprised.).


She also asked me to buy a book from her current movie obsession, Beauty and the Beast.  She knows every single line from that movie, but she doesn't own the book.  So I got it.  Like we need more books in that room of hers...

So anyhoo, although we didn't quite get in as much as I wanted this summer, it was still another successful year of summer reading.  Summer reading rocks and we can't wait to do it (even better) next year! (See last year's summer reading wrap-up here.)

{{{As for me, I finished Water for Elephants this morning.  I'll probably rent the movie in a few days.  I like Reese Witherspoon, so I'm sure she makes a great Marlena.}}}

Have a good week, y'all.

~ G

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

U-verse & Dinosaurs

Hey, y'all.  I've been on a blogging funk the past few days, so today's post is kinda random.

I finished teaching summer school on Monday.  I had about 28 students total this summer (split between two terms).  I've always enjoyed teaching summer school, and this year was no different.  The kids were great, and it's a good way to keep my mojo throughout the summer break.  But I AM looking forward to these three weeks off before the regular school year begins. It seems to be rapidly approaching...

We got U-verse today! DK has been wanting us to get it for a while now.  I don't watch much TV, so I was perfectly fine with our current service (actually I've been asking DK to get rid of cable altogether for about two years now -- not happening.).  But since our cable company seems to be feuding with other companies (not naming names) and I missed an episode of THE only show I watch on TV because of it, I told DK he should go ahead and make the call to switch. 


I pretty much hate everything that goes into getting new cable service.  I hate calling them to set it up.  I hate being given a time frame of when they'll come. I hate having them around the house for hours trying not to watch them work (but being nice enough to have a few conversations with them while they're here).  But it turned out great.  Our guy today was pretty cool and helpful and really wanted us to be satisfied. Not to mention U-verse is kinda awesome.  Took us long enough. 


I finished book 3 of the God Don't Like Ugly series, but I'm taking a break to read something else: Water for Elephants.  Pretty good so far.  Hoping over the next few weeks I can finish it AND read the last three books of the God Don't Like Ugly series.  'Cause once the school year begins, it's gonna be nuts around here.


Anyhoo, here are some pics from the last few days.  Over the weekend, my sister-in-law kept M while DK and I went to a reception.  She took M to the toy store, and my funny girl picked out a lizard and a couple of dinosaurs.

Meet her friend she named Raleigh -- that she insisted should join us for dinner that night.  Poor lizard has had about 10 different names since then.


She's with her Honey and PaPa (my in-laws) for a few days, and boy, do I miss her.  Her being away has given me the chance to get some things done around the house, though.  I've done some much-needed organizing in her room.  That place has been a jungle the whole summer.  


My in-laws have been sending us random pics so we wouldn't miss the little monster so much.  Facetime has made it easier, too.  

She played on the playground at her daddy's old school.
He went there 25 years ago.


Her Honey made her spaghetti, one of her favorite foods.

She killed the spaghetti and apples
 (and dipped the apples in the red sauce to be sure she got it all).
Didn't even touch the veggies.

Taking an evening ride with her PaPa.



That PaPa of hers went and bought her more dinosaurs.  They took a picture of how she lined them all up.  Too funny.

Anyhoo, I'm getting my new dishwasher installed tomorrow, so I'm pretty pumped. I may blog again on Friday with a flashback post.  In the meantime, I hope to do some more cleaning and organizing, lots of reading, start looking at stuff for my grad school class (that starts in a couple of weeks), and do some more research and curriculum planning for a new class I'll be teaching this year.

Enjoy the rest of your week!

~ G

Monday, July 23, 2012

SuperWhy! Live (Review)


We saw SuperWhy! Live this past weekend!  You guys know we love live shows, so when we heard that SuperWhy! was touring America (and the first leg of the tour would be kicked off in the Southeast!) we were pretty excited.

Super Why! is a PBS Kids show created to help preschool children learn to read.  When we ran across it on TV one day a while back, I was impressed (M was already familiar with it as they do SuperWhy! activities at preschool) .  What parent wouldn't love a show that uses literacy-powered superheroes?

At first I didn't know what to expect in the live show since the actual show is animated, but the live characters were so adorable and energetic. I particularly appreciated that they stayed true to the show.  Everything kids see on TV, they saw in the live show...


...and even more.  Like when Princess Pea imagined herself a rockstar.  M loves Princess Pea (or Princess Presto, when she's in superhero form).  I'm sure M was thrilled to see the princess in a skirt and leggings since she has a slight obsession with those, too.


The only thing that M didn't necessarily like about the show was the "confetti boom" (you know where it sounds like they fire a cannon but instead it's ton of confetti?).  But she has always hated loud, thunderous noises, so I'm sure the confetti boom (which I think happens twice during the show) excites most kids. :-)

Other than that, she was just in awe the whole time.  She LOVED seeing Whyatt, Pig, Red Riding Hood, and Princess Pea in person.  As we were leaving, she said, "Great job, SuperWhy!" :-)  I couldn't agree more.  (The show also made DK and I feel kinda normal when we sang along to all the songs and knew all the phrases - and every other parent in the concert hall did, too. Ha!)

M in her souvenir shirt!  When I asked her to let me snap a pic of her in it, she went into full performance mode -- singing the songs and doing the dances.  She's still pumped from the show (and will tell anyone who listens that she went).

Go to SuperWhyLive.com to find a show near you.  (This is the first leg of the tour, so if you don't see your city just yet, check back later.)  It's fun, high-energy, and educational -- a win, win, win, in my book!

Disclaimer:  We were provided complimentary tickets to the show, but all opinions are 100% mine.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Bowling Love (or Not So Much) -- Happy Friday!

Happy Friday, y'all.  I thought about doing a Friday Flashback post today (I have some old pictures already saved to this blog ready to be posted), but I didn't want our bowling pics from earlier this week to be forgotten about.  I may have done that a few times.

We took M bowling for the first time.  She caught on pretty quickly (and had the help of the little ramp thing).

The funny thing about it is she didn't care about the game itself.  After she'd release her ball (instead of waiting to see how many pins she'd knock down), she'd run back to the dispenser and wait for her ball to re-appear.  It must have been like magic to her because the ball dispenser was much cooler than bowling itself.  Silly girl.



She also liked "reading" the screen.  Her daddy showed her who was first, middle, and last on the monitor, and she enjoyed telling us who was next up to bowl.

But it's safe to say that she won't be asking us to take her bowling again anytime soon because she was ready to go after 30 minutes. "I'm hungry!"  Never has food been more important than the outing itself for her, so that lets us know that she REALLY didn't care for bowling.  Ah, well.

It did ignite competition between the husband and me (ever-growing -- trust me).  While we were trying to give the little one her first experience, we were still playing each other. (He won.  This time.) Our early dates included bowling, and he now claims that back then he let me win a few.  Whatever.  

Anyhoo, hope y'all have a good weekend.  We're seeing SuperWhy! Live, which M has been looking forward to all week. Click here to see if SuperWhy Live! is coming to a city near you (if it's not, remember this is just the FIRST leg of the tour).

Have a good weekend, y'all!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I Live with a Star

Did I ever tell y'all my kid is an actress?  

She has that typical preschool imagination where she pretends to be Princess Tiana or Belle or the frogs off Letter Factory. But she's pretty serious about it, y'all.  She practices her scenes quite often and whenever she feels like it.  In the car.  In the store.  At school.  It's to the point where I have to sometimes explain why my child is speaking in dramatic tones (to no one in particular) and making various facial expressions.  "Oh, she's acting.  It's a scene from her favorite movie." It's a hoot to watch, I tell ya.  

She's doing it more and more these days. Not to mention she's perfected the fake cry (no tears whatsoever) and can almost convince you that an old boo-boo (which is completely healed) still hurts.  It's hilarious.  My sister-in-law jokes that she can make us money with all the acting she does - ha! Not sure about that, but it sure is fun to watch.  


I caught her mid-scene one day.  
Isn't that "surprised" look convincing?


Happy Wednesday, y'all. :-)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Awesome Anniversary Date (+ Some Fun for the Little One)

Hey, guys.  Hope y'all had a good weekend.

DK and I just celebrated six years of marriage.  Not sure how I got so lucky, but I certainly realize that I am.  I often joke that when I first met DK (almost 11 years ago), I knew he'd be my husband and the father of my kid(s). That's actually a true story.  Not sure how I knew it (at 18 years old, I should add), but I did.  Good instincts!

DK can make me madder than anyone else on this planet, but he can also make me smile bigger than anyone.  The latter far outweighs the former, so I guess I'll keep him around. Ha! All jokes aside -- I love DK so much, and I'm so glad God chose him for me.  (Now.  Enough of all the mushy stuff.  Plus if he finds out I put this on my blog, he's gonna totally make fun of me. Have I ever told you that he makes fun of me and my blogging sometimes?  It's hilarious!)

Anyhoo, we celebrated by going to dinner and a movie (thanks to my sweet in-laws, who were happy to keep the little one for us).  We ate at one of our new favorite spots and saw the Spiderman movie (SO good).  Let me tell you the best part of our anniversary date, though (which pretty much confirms that I'm officially a grown-up):  we had a little downtime between the dinner and movie, so we planned to use it to start the search for a new dishwasher (ours died six months ago).  Both of us HATE shopping, so we quickly found a few that were in our price range, read online reviews, made a choice, bought the thing, and set a delivery date.  All in a matter of an hour!  Dishwasher will be here next week!  The fact that we were able to go to dinner and a movie AND purchase an appliance for our house in one evening makes it the best date ever!

Anyhoo, the little one had some fun this weekend, too.  We took her to Chuck E. Cheese's Friday night.  She wasn't feeling it at first, but she eventually found a few games she liked (she apparently enjoyed it more when she went
in 2010 with my sisters).  Of course she loved meeting the mouse (again).  I didn't realize how inexpensive this place was.  I found a coupon online and was able to feed all three of us and get her 30 tokens (more than enough for a kid her age) for less than $20.  Not bad! (Join their e-club to get this particular coupon.  My favorite coupon site also has some good ones.)



Chuck E Cheese flashback (in 2010 with her aunties)!
Anyhoo, add in a birthday party on Sunday (my kid's the one picking her nose on the group pic), and it was a pretty fun weekend!  Hope you had a good one, too!

~ G

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Relaxation in Miami

My husband and his sister are no strangers to impromptu trips (remember our quick trip to New York?).  Well, their latest workings landed us in Miami for a few days. My sister-in-law scored us an insanely inexpensive rate at one of the swankiest hotels in Miami, so it was a deal we couldn't refuse.

It worked out perfectly since summer school was out for the week.  We spent three days just relaxing by the pool and on the beach.  It's rare that I can truly relax and do nothing.  Even if I'm childless for a day or weekend, I still have tons of stuff to do (home, school, work -- you know how it is).  But this little trip gave me the opportunity to do NOTHING, and boy did it feel good. We obviously went without a baby this time, but we thought about her a lot. :-)  {See last year's Miami trip with baby.}





With my beautiful SIL -- my husband's twin (not really, but they look alike) and partner in crime when it comes to these impromptu trips.  She actually had to leave Miami a day early for another obligation -- a vacation in the Dominican Republic that she and a friend had planned.  I admire her willingness to just get away when her work schedule allows. She works hard and deserves it!


My friend, J, lives in Miami (we went to the same grade schools and college).  She took time out of her day to pick us up from the airport.  We had dinner at one of her favorite spots on South Beach.  Isn't she gorgeous?  (And you should see her figure...let's just say that J-Lo and Bey have NOTHING on her.  She makes me want to RUN to the gym.) 


I absolutely adore the hotel we stayed in.  DK and I have already agreed that it will be hard to stay anywhere else in Miami in the future.


Kinda random, but I saw this humongous grasshopper one morning while we were running. I Googled this sucker to find out exactly what he was because he was freakishly big.  Glad he didn't spray me when I naively got close enough to take this pic on my phone.  *shudders*


I knew that celebrities often stayed at the spot where we were, but I never expected to see any.  But we did. We ran into Ceelo on an elavator and saw Tank (hot, hot, hot!) hanging out at the pool one day. I didn't hesitate asking Ceelo for a pic (he just seems like cool people), but I left Tank alone since he was with a female companion.   (Not that it stopped a swarm of groupies from going right up to them.  But both Tank and his girl seemed nice, so he gets cool points in my book.)

I have no problem asking a celeb for a quick pic -- particularly if they're alone.  I'm not celeb-obsessed (they're just...people), but I do think it'll be fun to look back on these pics years later when I'm old and they're old, too.  :-)  Plus anyone who can go up to Boris Kodjoe having the worst hair day EVER and sporting a big, frumpy sweatshirt CLEARLY has no shame in her game.

No shame in April 2011. Ha! :-)
Anyhoo, we also met Levi Forte. If you know who he is, then you're good -- because I didn't.  But after he told us everything he did in his career in the five minutes he talked to us in the hallway, I did my own little research (what did we ever do without the Internet at our fingertips?).  He's kind of a rock star himself.  Consider me informed.

We had a great time in Miami.  It was a vacation I didn't even realize I needed. I came back so refreshed (and with a pretty, browner complexion to sport for the rest of the summer).


So this weekend will make six years of marriage for my husband and me.  (We started dating almost 11 years ago -- crazy.) We'll find a way to celebrate.  I'm thinking dinner and a movie (still my favorite kind of date).  Other than that, we'll be having a laid back weekend.  Probably take the little one somewhere fun.  Something inside since we're expecting rain all weekend.

Anyway, hope you guys have a great weekend.  I'll be back next week.

~ G

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Shower Love!

Happy Wednesday, y'all.  Hope everyone's having a great week.  I've had a few little issues this week that I've tried not to stress about. Thankfully God always reminds me that He is in control...that He will take care of me even when things don't go as I planned them.  I am so, so grateful for His love and mercy.  

On another note, I wanted to blog today about a shower I went to a couple of weekends ago - my friend E's. I LOVE showers. I love the laughing, the fun, the food, and the excited bride- or mother-to-be.  E's bridal shower was one of the best I've ever attended.   

Food was EVERYWHERE (which automatically made it top of the line for me - ha!).  It wasn't your typical shower food, though.  We were handed a drink AS we walked in the door and were told to get appetizers immediately.  After shower games (love shower games!) and a few speeches, we were served dinner.  The selection was CRAZY (and so good).  And the desert selection was plentiful, too.  E's shower was so beautifully decorated and she was just-a glowing -- it made for a perfect Saturday night.


With the bride-to-be 
(and my game prize, a shower t-shirt)! 

It was great spending an evening with E, who I don't get to see often.  I just love her (for many reasons).  She's such a fearless, calm soul who is creative and smart and beautiful.  I'm so happy for her and her husband-to-be (who happens to be a guy we went to high school with -- sweet, right?). 

Now, whenever they decide to have a baby, I will be sure not to miss that shower.  'Cause they throw some great showers! :-)

Have a good day, y'all. 

~ G

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hiking Adventure


M recently had her first little hiking experience. A local outdoor organization holds a free weekly hiking activity for children that I've been curious about for a while now.  I knew M would absolutely love it, so we finally got a chance to go about a week ago.

I almost didn't blog about this day because it was just NOT a good day...but I didn't want to lose the memories of her first hiking trip.  M loved the hiking part -- no surprises there (she would live outdoors if we let her) -- but the day came with some mischief and misbehavior that I wish I could forget.  It was one of those times where I went to bed that night thinking, "I must have this parenting thing all wrong." *sigh*

Let me just give it to you in a nutshell:  Imagine a little three-year-old having her own agenda on the hike.  There were times when she wanted to go ahead of the group, and times (when she found something extra interesting) that she wanted to stay behind.

Not so bad you say?

Well, insert the tantrums and crying and fits, then you have yourself a very embarrassed mama who, at the time, made a mental note to never take her child anywhere else in public.  (Okay,  that was a little much, but I promise you I had similar thoughts that day.) She'd already been in a yucky mood that morning at home (maybe tired from the long drive back from Raleigh the day before), but I thought the hike would make her feel better -- get rid of some of that energy.  I should have trusted my gut and stayed home that day.
 

But trust me, I won't need very much warning next time.  In the future, if she wakes up in a yucky mood, we'll be home ALL DAY.  (Can you tell I'm still salty about it?)

Anyhoo, I guess the fact that she really enjoyed the hike made it all worth it.  I guess.  I managed to snap some pics during the drama-free times of the hike.



She was thrilled to be surrounded by rocks, sticks, and dirt.  Doesn't take much to please her.


One of the dads caught a tadpole, so the kids had fun looking at him.


The kids were encouraged to touch just about everything along the hike.




Except the bees, of course.


The hike leader encouraged them to poke at this old, fallen-over tree to find hidden insects.  M really enjoyed this stop.  A little too much actually.


When it was time to move on, she did NOT want to leave this dang-on tree.   


Anyhoo, this cute little boy took a liking to M as soon as the hike began. He insisted on holding her hand, and at one point told her,"Come on, girl."  M wasn't interested, but was nice the first few times.  Then she eventually just told the little boy, "No!"   (Haha!  M was on a mission to find sticks and bugs -- no time for boys.  I hope she stays that way for the next 20 years!)


The hike leader was really sweet to the kids and very informative.  She told stories along the way and kept it preschool-ish despite the fact that a few big kids were there.



Sweet face, tough girl. 


Like I said, M enjoyed it quite a bit.  And for that reason we'll probably be going back.  But not before this little girl and I sit down and get some things straight.

(I manage to teach 125 teenagers every year who apparently like me but have admitted to being "intimidated" by me enough to behave in my class, yet my little three-year-old will test me in a heartbeat.  Someone explain that to me 'cause I don't get it.  I need her to be intimidated, too!)

But anyway, that was our first hiking trip.  Wish us luck on the next one.  Happy Tuesday!

~ G

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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