Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Whining, Tears, Cousins, & Ice Cream

Hey, y'all!  It's been over a week since I've updated my little spot.  Of course the plan was to update over the weekend, but research came first. 

I got my first chapter turned in, and it wasn't quite as bad as I thought (I didn't get to this point the last time I took this class -- I'd already quit by the time the first chapter of the research was due.  No quitting this time.). 

There was a time when I didn't mind writing research papers.  I wrote them all through undergrad and for my masters. But then I decided I wanted a third degree and found that once you get past a masters degree, "research" paper requirements aren't the same.  Not even close.  It's hard core. 

And all this hard core research (PhD-type of stuff) is not my cup of tea.  I'm finding that it's not necessarily as hard as I thought -- I just don't LIKE it.  At all. So mark my words, people:  I'm done with school after this EdS degree.  The end.

I'm done whining now. :-)

How has your week been?  Mine's been pretty cool so far.  Highlights have been:
  • I got M's Halloween costume yesterday. I always order it in September, and this year was no exception.  I have a feeling this is the last year I'll get to choose her costume, so I took full advantage. :)
  • We had our first field trip/student conference today, and it was great.  A couple of the sessions were good for my soul (even though they were intended for teenagers).  It was your typical "set goals for your future, work hard, be ready to face challenges, everything won't be easy" kinda pep talk, which is sorta what I needed to hear since I'm on my way to finishing my last semester EVER of school (and it ain't easy).
  • An old friend contacted me yesterday, and it was SO great to hear from her.  It's been six years (my wedding day, to be exact) since I've seen her, and I've thought about her (and even tried to get to her through other people) several times since then.  She's not on Facebook or anything like that -- do you know how hard it is to get in touch with a person who has almost NO online existence?? Anyhoo, she recently moved back near home, and we're making plans to see each other over Thanksgiving. Can't. Wait.  I've missed my girl.
Anyhoo, here are a few pics from the weekend.  My mom and nieces came down Friday afternoon, so we had dinner and took the girls to a fun play place.  Of course they had a blast.

This was my child's first time at the top of one on those MEGA inflatable things.  She got up there, saw how high she was, and kinda freaked out (tears in the pic above).  Luckily my nieces got up there and encouraged her to keep going.  For about five minutes I couldn't seen them anymore because of the little obstacle course they did once they got inside the inflatable.  I was sure my kid was ruined forever and that she'd be traumatized by the time they came out.

But nope.  She kinda loved it.

And as you can tell from the pic above, she was enthusiastic about going through that big thing for the rest of the night. I was so glad she quickly overcame that fear.

The big girls road go-carts.  M was too small to ride (and there were tears again)...

... but the night ended with ice cream, so I think everyone went home happy.

Mama and the girls stayed the night at our house.  Saturday morning the girls played and played while my mom and I watched a movie.  Good times.  It was a pretty cool weekend (at least the parts that didn't include research).

Anyhoo, I was probably all over the place in this post.  So much to say, so little time...

Enjoy the rest of your week!  Be back soon hopefully!

~ G

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Soccer, Dreams, & Mary Janes

Hey, y'all.  We're having another Saturday at home.  Loving it.  I was actually pretty productive last Saturday.  I got a week's worth of work done for one of my grad school classes.  Do you know how good that feels?  Do you?

I'm hoping for another productive day.  Before my kid even had her breakfast this morning, she was chanting her requests to go outside.  So we got us a good morning walk in that included a stop at the lake and playground.

So what have you been up to this week?

It's been a pretty good week around here.  I slacked on my efforts to get enough sleep at night, but hopefully I can catch back up this week.

M started soccer.  The class is absolutely adorable, but we've gotta work on listening to the coach and focusing.  M wants the ball ALL THE TIME and isn't really interested when she doesn't have it.  Room for improvement, no doubt.

I had a dream this week that we'd gotten a new house.  While the house in my dream was very much just that -- a dream (it was gorgeous, but not something we could afford), it did get me to thinking about our next home.  We're still in our very first home we bought a year after we got married.  That was five years and a baby ago. We've outgrown it.  Another kid will make it even smaller (and take away what I believe is a very necessary guest room). While I'd love to begin the process of getting our house ready to sell (not really -- not at all), I really don't have the time to devote to it at the moment. Unlike Gerri of the Past (who thought she could do it all), I'm going to sit down and focus on what's in front of me at the moment: finishing this degree.  Selling our house can wait. And I'm going to stay off the real estate Web sites drooling over what I think my next house should be.  That can wait, too.

Anyhoo, here are a few pics from the week.

Such a big girl.

The view from my classroom this week.

It was homecoming, so that meant music in the courtyard.  There are always these awesome student bands that play during the lunch periods (think Stevie Wonder, Maroon 5, etc.). Since my room faces the courtyard, my students can listen to the music while they work.

Why yes, this kid DID dress herself for the playground that day.  This would be -- not one--  but TWO skirts, a pair of leggings (that are inside out), and a pair of too-big Mary Janes.  She even added an extra bow or two to her hair.

Remind me to never let my kid wear too-big shoes to the playground.  Because guess what?  When it's time to play, she'll want to take them off (duh).

I'm a sucker for Mary Janes -- no matter the style/print.  These were a Zulily blow-out sale find from last winter that she still hasn't quite grown into.  Got 'em in green, too.

Well, I'm off to do some research, do some laundry, play with my kid, and clean my messy kitchen.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend...

...and the week ahead.  Be back soon.

~ G

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Life is Good.

Hey, y'all.  Just wanted to blog a little today.  We are home on a Saturday (rare during this time of year), which is lovely.  And though I have housework to be done and grad school work to do, I thought my little blog could use a little visit.

We had a big win last night.  It was our first area game of the season, so we're off to an awesome start.  My husband rarely smiles in a pic, so I had to save this one. :)

M got a chance to play with her friend N at the game.  He's so sweet and patient with her, but I know these days are limited.  After all, he's in "2nd grade" now (and days like this and this will no longer be cool to him).  But for now, I'm glad he lets her tag along. 

We just wrapped up our second week of the school year, and it's been great.  I think I love my job more and more every year (and I can't believe this is my seventh year teaching).  I have a much more diverse group of learners this year (I used to teach one course to mostly freshmen), and it's proving to be a great learning and growing experience for me.

M's preschool is going well.  She's not exactly the quietest kid in the class (translation: she talks too much), but I just love the way her teachers handle the classroom.  They are so patient and loving, yet firm and consistent.  This is an exciting year because she's learning to read.  I know she's more than ready because over the summer, I noticed her making the connection between letter sounds and entire words.  It's pretty cool to watch.

Grad school is going much better than last fall.  I'm much more relaxed and in control this time around.  I'm trying to take better care of myself and be more strategic with my time. I'm also running about nine miles a week, which I really think is helping to keep my stress level down.  I really hope I can keep it up.

So anyhoo, just wanted to pop in while I could.  This week M will be starting her little soccer class. This one involves the parents a lot more (I'd be out there with her), so I'm not sure if I'll get a chance to take pics.  Maybe I'll snap one or two.

In the meantime, hope you guys have a good weekend and week ahead.  Be back soon.

~ G

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Dallas with the Tide

Hey, y'all.  Hope you're having a good week.  I wanted to pop in and document our 'Bama weekend in Dallas.  The trip was short (just 24 hours), but SWEET.  My sis-in-law had rooms at the Gaylord Texan. Have you ever stayed at a Gaylord hotel?  Aren't they beautiful?  The indoor gardens and waterways never get old to me.  I hate that my little one missed out -- I know she would have loved it, too (and I know she doesn't remember when she was at a Gaylord three years ago).

Anyhoo, believe it or not, the facility that impressed me the most while we were in Dallas was that dang Cowboys Stadium.  

I mean, an 80-yard jumbotron?  Really?  It was SO awesome.

As for the game...well, the Tide made poor Michigan look like...well, I kinda felt sorry for Michigan.  Especially since I thought the fans were pretty mild-mannered (nothing like the SEC folks down here).

But oh, well.  Nice doesn't win games.  It was awesome watching 'Bama whip up on 'em.  

I took my camera but didn't take nearly as many pics as I'd planned.  Luckily other folks were snapping, so I stole a few from Facebook and texts.

Lunch before the game.

See that lady in the houndstooth dress?  That's my awesome mother-in-law.  SHE HOOKED US UP...

She got us all earrings, hats, and cowboy boots. Made us all Texas Tide girls. 

Snuck a quick pic of DK in front of the stadium.

The fam (probably my favorite picture from the trip)! Love them!

Kinda random, but on the way there, I was wondering why we never pass other planes like we pass cars on the road.  I mean, I know WHY (and maybe we DO -- we just aren't close enough to see them), but I thought it'd be cool to actually see it.  And no kidding -- five minutes later, I look down to see a plane crossing below us (see the white dot in the pic below?).  

Does this happen all the time and I just never see it?
I thought it was kinda cool.  I should start looking out the window more.

Anyhoo, the trip was great.  The Tide won.  It was an exciting open to the season.  Repeat of last year, maybe?  The national championship IS in Miami this year. :)  Anyhoo...

Roll Tide, y'all.

Enjoy the rest of your week!

~ G

Monday, September 3, 2012

Summer Wrap-Up

Hey, y'all!  Hope you're enjoying the holiday. I'd love to be resting up from our fun weekend, but I have a super cluttered house, piles of laundry, grad school work due, a kid who won't nap, dinner that needs to be cooked, clothes that need to be gathered for the week, a sticky kitchen floor, and lots of other random stuff.  No time for chillin'. 

Luckily today's post was already written for the most part (yep, it's the one I forgot to post last week).  Summer ended three weeks ago for us, and I like looking back to see what all we've done.  This list (taken from this page on my blog) was done at the beginning of the summer to give us some fun things to work toward.  We did a lot of the stuff, but there are still plenty of things left to move to our spring To Do list.  (Yes spring, not fall.  Didn't I tell you fall would be crazy?)

  1. Go the zoo.  Check.
  2. Blow bubbles.  Check.
  3. Bake cookies. We watched M's sugar intake a little closer this summer, so my dreams of baking every other day were kinda unrealistic.   
  4. Bake cupcakes. See #3.  And we didn't even go get cupcakes from the bakery.  A first for us!
  5. Build a sandcastle.  Somewhat attempted on our recent beach trip.
  6. Go on a nature walk. We didn't exactly do one at home like we did last summer, but we did go on a Tyke Hike.  See #14.
  7. Draw on the sidewalk.  Check.
  8. Go to a play/show.  The picture at the top of this post is a never-posted pic from one of the free shows we attend at the library this summer. We also saw SuperWhy! Live.
  9. Go out for ice cream.  M went a couple of times with my in-laws, and DK and I went for one of our dates.
  10. Go camping.  Never got around to it.
  11. Go swimming. Check.  Several times.
  12. Back to school shopping. I did a little, but a big shopping trip wasn't necessary.  M can still fit most of her clothes from the spring/summer, and she still has some she hasn't even worn.  
  13. Take lots of pictures.   Check, check, check, check, and check.
  14. Go on a tyke hike. It wasn't pretty, but we did.
  15. Go to the art museum.  Check.
  16. Go to the children's museum.  Check.  We only had time to go once this summer.  Boo!
  17. Start journaling with my daily devotionals. I process things a lot better when I write, so I know that including it with my studying will help me understand some of the more complex books of the Bible.  Luckily I could easily reflect on the books I read over the summer, so writing wasn't really necessary. 
  18. Go to a movie.  DK and I went a couple of times.  We didn't get a chance to take M.
  19. Plant something.  At the beginning of the summer, M was into "gardens" and called our empty flower bed in our little front yard a garden.  I had every intention to plant something with my little wanna-be-gardener, but it never happened.  Mom of the Year, I know.
  20. Donate toys. Check.  Got another bag in the garage waiting to be taken to the Salvation Army.
  21. Go visit my dad, stepmom, and sisters.  I cannot believe we didn't go to Atlanta AT ALL this summer.  So unlike us.  But we did see them in April, so it hasn't been that long.
  22. Go home and chill with family. I only live one hour away from my hometown, but I never have time to go home.  I hate that!  I did go one time in May, though, for Relay for Life and my aunt's birthday party.
  23. Go "out" with hometown friends.  Seriously, I had every intention of going home and going "out" with the old crew, but that didn't happen, either.  The last time we got together was for a painting class a year ago.  :-(
  24. Play board games.  M discovered a little stack of board games in her room that I'd bought her and had a little too much fun taking out all the pieces and mixing them together.  I was too lazy to separate them and place them in their correct boxes, so they're still all mixed up today.  Oh, well.
  25. Visit the waterpark.  We live less than 10 minutes away from a big water park, but we didn't get a chance to go this summer. 
  26. Paint toenails.  This was for M, but I totally forgot.  Plus she hasn't really asked for it, so I may wait until she does.
  27. Complete at least two separate summer reading programs. Check.
  28. Try a gymnastics class. I bought a LivingSocial deal for this back in the spring but let it expire.  It still has its paid value, so I'll maybe use it next spring.  (Did Gabby Douglas not make you want to run and sign your little girl up for gymnastics, though?  So proud of her and the rest of Team USA.)
  29. Try a dance class. Another Living Social deal I purchased for a nearby dance studio (for M).  It doesn't expire until December, though, so there's still time to get this deal.
  30. Ride a horse. I've got a co-worker who loves horses and has extended an open invitation to bring M to ride.  We didn't get a chance to this summer, but maybe in the spring.
  31. Have a sleepover.  I wanted to invite M's cousins over for a little sleepover, but never got a chance to.
  32. Go outside a lot.  We're really big "outside" people, but this summer I don't think we did it as much.  While M spends at least a couple of hours outside every day, most of that time was from her schoolday or at the nursery class at our gym.  I can't think of too many times where we went to park for no reason at all like we used to.  Gotta get back to that.
  33. Finish Mary Monroe's six-book God Don't Like Ugly series.* I only got through Book 3.  The remaining three are on the agenda for 2013.
  34. Start training to run a 5K.* Check!
  35. Eat better. Um, not even close.
  36. Practice handwriting and phonics.  This was something I'd planned to do if I didn't teach summer school and M didn't go to her preschool over the summer.  While they don't do new material in the summer, they still get lots of practice on stuff they've already learned.  I've seen her handwriting and drawing improve a lot.  I'm also seeing early signs of reading.
  37. Craft.  We made her daddy a Father's Day present, but that was about it.  Again, she was at school this summer, so that pretty much took care of that.
  38. Go on a road trip.  I sooooo wanted to visit the mountains in Tennessee this summer, but we never got to it.  Definitely a trip for the spring!
  39. Go to the beach.  Check.  I still need to post a couple of pics from M's most recent trip.
  40. Watch the fireworks on the Fourth of July.   Check.
  41. Make a bird feeder.  I kept running across easy bird feeder activities and thought it'd be a fun way to introduce M to different types of birds.  But we never got around to it. Womp womp.
  42. Grill.  I love when DK grills, so he hooked us up a few times over the summer.
  43. Date nights.*  Yes!  Love those, and we got several over the summer.
  44. Go on a picnic.  I snatched up a cute little picnic blanket on clearance at Target, but never put it to use.  Hopefully in the spring.
  45. Visit a petting farm.  M seems to like animals, so I want to keep encouraging that.  Unfortunately we didn't get to a petting zoo this summer.
  46. Send a message in bottle.  Completely forgot to do this at the beach. 
  47. Visit a botanical garden.  Check
  48. Go pick peaches (or some other fruit).  We love fresh fruit but have never picked our own. Maybe next summer.
  49. Go bowling.  Check.
  50. Visit a state park.  We have a really nice state park that I've yet to take M to.  My spring list of things to do is already long, but I'm adding this to it.
  51. Start making plans for the fall's Komen Race for the Cure.  I'm late on this one, but this will probably be my side project this week.  October is almost here!
  52. See my friends!*  All my childhood/college friends live in different states and cities, so I can't really see them whenever I want.  I did get to see my friends E, K, and J this summer, though. And that was pretty awesome.
  53. Nap on the beach.  It's "motherly impossible" to nap when you're at the beach with your kid(s) -- even when there's plenty of family there to keep an eye on her.  I just can't close my eyes knowing my kid is anywhere near water.  But I did get to nap in Miami. Yes ma'am, yes sir.
  54. Blog a little more since it's summer.  I think I did pretty good here.
  55. Take a class toward my EdS degree.  Check.  I took a class that was math-focused.  I was nervous about it (it's been a long time), but I aced it.  Go me.
  56. Make paper bag puppets.  Oh, we could do this any time.  In fact, it might be our little activity before bath time tonight.
  57. Ride bikes.  I considered buying bikes for DK and me this summer (M already has one).  Still considering it.  
  58. Create a binder with all our important documents.  Yeah, still need to do this.  Kinda important.
  59. Replace our dishwasher.  Check!
One thing that wasn't on this list but was definitely in my plans was swimming lessons.  I really needed to put M in swim lessons (like last year) and the plan was to do it this summer.  Of course when we went to sign up the classes were full (except the one that conflicted with our schedule, of course).  So that's something else we've gotta do soon.  Spring probably.

Overall we had a great summer.  I taught summer school, we took a couple of trips, we did fun some things in our area, we accomplished some goals, and DK and I went on dates.  Yeah, I'd say it was a pretty good summer. Only nine more months before we get to do it again! :)

Later this week I hope to post some pics from our Dallas trip.  We had fun!  In the meantime, I should start back doing all the stuff I do every day.  This lady says it best:

Haha!  Don't you love these?

Enjoy the rest of your week!

~ G

Stuff I Talk About

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