Saturday, October 27, 2012

Strawberry at the Zoo (and Random Tidbits)

Is this not the cutest strawberry you've ever seen?

Okay, I'm a little biased, but I just love this little costume.  (Who doesn't love a kid in a romper?)  I'm sad that as kids get older, costumes become less adorable.  (Remember this?  And this? So precious!)  This is probably the last year I'll be able to choose M's costume, so I went with something super cutesy.

We checked out Boo at the Zoo again this year.  I was surprised by how much this event costs.  It's pretty pricey if you want to do everything they offer (not sure how I didn't remember this from last year). On top of that, zoo members don't get a discount.  But oh, well.  The Strawberry had fun, so I won't complain.

This year we went on a Thursday evening right when the zoo opened.  I'm not sure if it was because we were there on a weeknight or because we were there so early, but we didn't have to wait in many lines at all.  We could walk right up to just about anything we wanted to do. Loved that.  ('Cause three-year-olds have this much patience.)

Last year it was FREEZING.  This year, it was very pleasant (the high has been 80 here all week).

We checked out the Candy Land part where the kids walk around getting candy from local companies.  Total trick-or-treating time?  No more than 10 minutes.  My kind of trick-or-treating!

In fact, this may be the only trick-or-treating we do this year.  I'm just not feeling the whole neighborhood walk thing. Our neighborhood is a popular one on Halloween (think police officers at both entrances monitoring the flow of non-residents), and I'm just not sure I feel up to it this year.  Plus this may be the last year I can do it without my kid knowing she's missing out.  At least she'll get to wear her costume one more time for her school's fall festival...

Best part of Boo at the Zoo this year?  Seeing the Lion King animals displayed.  This is, by far, her favorite movie right now, so this really made her night. That smile was priceless. :)

And now a few randoms:

My kid brings home her little preschool work every day, but I have yet to establish a system for saving /scanning them (they're kinda everywhere).  So I recently decided to save one of M's random iPad drawings to the blog (the only scrapbook I have).  I want to remember simple things like the fact that instead of drawing one dot or a circle for a nose, M always draws two dots.  (Nostrils, maybe?)

She can write her name now. Well, kinda...  Do you see it?  Morgan? :)

This was from last night -- with no help with spelling or handwriting (obviously). I can't help but smile at that "g" and the backwards "a" - ha! :-)  I'm just amazed at how quickly children learn at this age.

And another cool tidbit from the week -- our school's annual 3K race.  For the past three years, our Junior Class Officers have hosted a 3K race (right on campus during the school day) that raises money for breast cancer research.  Between all the students and teachers, over $5,000 was raised.  I LOVE that.

I was worried about the running part once again.  Our campus has some hills -- hills SCARE me.  Plus this was my "week off" from running, so I hadn't been training. I felt like giving up several times, but I ran the whole way. I have to admit, it was slightly satisfying passing some of the teenagers who gave up on the hills, though. It made me feel kinda young and fit.  My time wasn't great, but I already knew that needed improvement.

My Department 

I talk about work all the time -- how much I love teaching and my students. And I'm sure I've mentioned this before, too, but my department is full of rock stars.  The people I work with every day (these five and then a guy - not pictured) are all smart, hardworking, and kind. Over the years, they have taught me so much about what a good teacher looks like.  I'm so lucky to be surrounded by the best in the business.

So it was a pretty good week.  I hit a roadblock earlier this week that still isn't 100% resolved, but I've been praying on it and trying not to worry. I know God's in control and has a plan, and that gives me peace.

Anyhoo, let me get back to my weekend duties.  I need to get some more things done while my kid naps.  My kitchen looks like two or three tornadoes hit it, and I've got hours of lectures to watch for grad school. Hoping to knock a lot of this out today!

Have a great weekend and week, everybody!


Sunday, October 21, 2012

For the Love of Pink (& My First 5K)

Hey, y'all.  Hope everyone's weekend has been fabulous. Mine was. Instead of spending Saturday doing research, writing, or watching lectures, I spent the day in bed watching Lifetime movies.  My little one was with my sweet in-laws (and the husband watched football all day), so it was the perfect time to watch Steel Magnolias and The Carlina White Story. They've been on my DVR for weeks now.

But before I started my day of complete laziness, I actually ran my first 5K!

The fam and I did the Komen Race for the Cure early yesterday morning.  This wasn't at all my first 5K -- but it WAS my first as a runner.  I'll admit, I was a little nervous all week.  I knew I could run the distance  because I literally do a 5K three times a week.  But I was concerned about the difference in the course.  I run on a mostly-flat indoor track, so the thought of running on roads that included hills/inclines made me kinda nervous.  I was afraid I'd get too winded and have to stop.  And I would have been SO disappointed because I never have to stop when I train.

Well, turns out it was perfect practice because I never stopped running Saturday either.  I kept it moving the whole race!

I was a tiny bit disappointed in my time.  While I obviously finished at least 20 minutes sooner than I have in previous years (as a walker), my running time was four minutes longer than my average running time when I train.  I knew it would be a little off since the beginning of the race involved  lots of weaving through walkers mixed in with runners, but I never expected a four-minute difference. I clearly slowed down at some points during the run -- I assume on the hills and inclines. 

But that doesn't even matter.  I'm stoked anyway.  I pushed through and ran the whole time.  I'm proud of my 34:40 finish.  Plus, I placed smack dab in the middle for my age group -- which isn't bad for my first 5K, I guess.  And having my first "official" time now gives me room for improvement and something to work toward for future races.

My partner!

One of the sweetest things about this year's race is my husband did it, too.  He's never done this event but he agreed to this year.  We've both been running for a few months now, so I knew it'd be rewarding for him, too.

But...I have to brag a little...I finished three minutes ahead of him.  Woohoo!!  In his defense, he has shin issues.  And because of his work schedule, I run one more day a week than he does.  But still - I beat him!  (I have a feeling this will be the first and last time I say this, though.  He typically beats me in everything!)

And look who joined our team this year:

That's my grandma and her sister!  These two young'uns recently got back from a senior citizens' trip to New York City.  I think that's the cutest thing -- senior citizens hitting up NYC together. Ha! 

We ran into my cousin again this year (pink shirt), who always participates with her employer.  And of course there's my awesome mama (far right), who ALWAYS does these events with me.

Cousin and sister-in-law with their super cute shirts!

Tutus are a popular accessory for this race, and J rocked it! 

We had a few folks who couldn't make it this year. We missed y'all - we know you wanted to be there!

Special thanks to my co-workers J and M for helping me raise $75 for the cause. I always feel kinda weird asking folks for money -- even if it is for a good cause -- and I didn't start asking for donations until a day before the race this year.  But these two jumped right on it and helped willingly, and I really appreciate that.

I always share statistics when I recap these events, but I'll save that today -- I'm sure you've heard quite a bit about breast cancer over the years (plus you can always go here).  I just ask that you consider giving your time by participating in your local race and/or giving to the cause (if you haven't already).  We've all seen breast cancer touch the lives of those around us (some have seen it in their own families).  There is always something you can do to help.

So, yeah, it's been a pretty awesome weekend.  Hope it's been a fun/productive/restful/whatever-kinda-weekend-you-needed-it-to-be weekend for you.  And I hope the week goes the way you need it to as well.

Be back soon, folks.


Previous years' races: 2011 |  2010

Friday, October 19, 2012

Love in the ATL

Hey, y'all.  It's a Friday night and I'm listening to my husband's football game on the radio.  NERVOUS.  Tonight a regional championship will be won by only one of the teams, and it's too close for comfort right now.  I needed something to distract myself, so blogging it is!

We spent last weekend in Atlanta.  We actually didn't go to ATL at all this past summer.  Not sure how that's even possible since that's where a lot of our peeps are, but I guess we were too busy.  We almost made up for it this time, though, because we got to see friends AND family (missed a few, but there's always next time).

Morgan spent Saturday with my dad and stepmom.  They took her to the Sweet Auburn Music Fest where she had a great time (and had cotton candy). She saw the MLK Historic Site and Ebenezer Baptist Church for the first time.  So glad my dad and stepmom took pics!

Loving on her Big Daddy (my dad).

Dad and me.

(I had a pic with my stepmom and sister, but I think my stepmom's eyes were closed.)

While the kid spent the day with them, I had some long overdue girlfriend time (the husband was at another friend's house watching football).  None of my friends from "way back when" live near me, so we don't get to see each other often.

The occasion was my friend T's new home.  She's been texting me pics for months of the builder's progress, so it was awesome to finally be there to see her beautiful new place.  Five bedrooms, four baths, formal living and dining rooms, big kitchen, and a HUGE master bedroom. Seriously, a house you can live in forever.  A very smart investment, indeed, though I'm not surprised.  T's always been very smart, and she just keeps getting better with age.  She's that friend that I want to "grow up and be like."  She's raising two children, works full time, is THIS close to finishing her PhD, and actually cooks every day.  I'm 99% sure she was born with superpowers.  

Real life Superwoman if you've ever known one (front).

The one in the very middle (in the colorful necklace) is the one I've been friends with the longest.  Since we were little girls.  Lots and lots of memories with her.  I love her like a sister. She's my Forever Ride or Die chick.  

The one second from the right (back row) is a college friend of T's.  We were in T's wedding together years ago.    She always looks SO pretty.

And the one in the hat is a hometown girl, too, whom I haven't seen in YEARS!  She recently moved back to the South from California. It was so awesome to see her! And she has two daughters who are SO beautiful just like their mom!

The three of us share a lot of history.  We have memories that date way back -- many from the summer before our freshman year of high school.  We were roomies in a summer program. Good times!  

Being with them just reminded me that I could really use more "girlfriend" time.  Why do all my (longtime) friends live in other places? 

***Sidenote (something that LITERALLY happened as I was typing this post  -- kinda scary actually): I got a voicemail from another of my best friends (not pictured).  I called her back and guess what she told me:  She's moving back home (from Atlanta) by summer!  MADE MY NIGHT!***

And while we're speaking of Atlanta, I was there again on Tuesday:

I accompanied my school's Finance Academy on their trip to CNN this year.  I've done the CNN tour once and thought it was pretty cool. I was glad to go back again. We also toured the Georgia Dome, which was something I'd never done. I was impressed with the facility's suites and such, but probably more impressed with the cleanliness.  That place is spotless -- it's hard to believe they hold events there all the time.

Anyhoo, my husband's team just won the regional championship, y'all.  This post will probably be all over the place, but I'm signing off now.  So happy!

Enjoy your weekend! 


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Day at the Pumpkin Patch

Hey, y'all.  Hope everyone's having a good week so far. Grades are due for the first nine weeks already.  That means 1/4 of the school year has already passed.  Really?  How?

But I'm not gonna talk about how it's been a crazy fast start to the school year .  I'm gonna talk about my kid's first ever field trip.  Her preschool class recently visited a pumpkin patch. I've always wanted to take her to a pumpkin patch, but October has always been so busy for us.  We've never had time to go. So I was glad to learn her school had a trip all planned out.

She's only three, so there was no way I was sending her on a field trip without me. (Some of y'all can probably do that because your kid is always well-behaved and follows all the rules.  But my kid is a bit of a rebel and sometimes has an agenda of her own.) My mom went on the trip, too, which helped out a lot.

The pumpkin patch was cute and had plenty for the kids to do - inflatables, petting farm, pony rides, tractor rides, and hay rides. The kids also took home their own pumpkin from the patch.

My favorite part of the field trip, though?  They had funnel cakes and candy apples.  Be still my heart. 

And they were SO good.  (That's right. I had both.)

And guess what? I didn't even have to share with the kid.  She was either busy playing while my mom and I shared the funnel cake, or napping  in the car home while I enjoyed an entire candy apple.

Oh, don't act like you don't/didn't sneak to eat snacks so you wouldn't have to share with the little person/people in your house. It never fails -- they get ONE bite of your delicious snack and it magically becomes theirs. I made SURE that didn't happen this time.


So it was a good day.  A great first field trip for M!

Feeding the cows and goats.

I left that to my mom and M.  NO THANKS to goat slobber.

Pretty sunflower garden. 

My two favorite girls.

The trip was lots of fun, and even put my kid to sleep on the way home (which is rare these days).  Success!

Enjoy the rest of your week, folks!


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sunflowers and a Break

Hey, y'all. I had to pop in for a minute.  It's been almost two weeks since my last blog post.  I try not to go that long between posts, but life happens.  You know how that is.

I haven't necessarily been busier than normal. It's just that I'm trying to manage my time well and stay focused.  My week consists of work, soccer, running, grad school, and trying to keep my house from drowning in clutter. Unfortunately for the moment, the blog is pretty low on the list of priorities.

Speaking of my house drowning in clutter, my house is currently drowning in clutter. I've never been the neatest person (like ever), but good grief -- I've gotta make more time for my home. I talked with my grandma on the phone a couple of days ago, and she told me that I had no excuses -- that she kept a neat home while working two jobs and raising her girls. I appreciated the pep talk, though it just confirmed for me that the Superwoman gene skipped me.  Darn.

Grad school has been going fine.  It's mid-October and I haven't become super-stressed yet. It's mainly because I've been laying low on the weekends.  NOT trying to do every dang-on thing. I've been spending plenty of hours on the weekends just focusing on my studies.  You know, like I'm supposed to?  And guess what?  It's working.

We were supposed to get a couple of edited chapters of research back from our professor last week, but it looks like she hasn't quite finished them yet. When I hadn't heard from her by Friday, I knew it was gonna be a good weekend. So I made the most of it.  I hung out with some longtime/childhood friends in Atlanta this weekend to celebrate the beautiful home one just built. I believe the unexpected weekend off was God's little way of saying to me, "Well done.  You've worked hard.  Now treat yourself." And I did.

I hope to post a few pics from that soon as well as some pics of M's recent adventures -- her first ever field trip at school, and then her day on Auburn Avenue (Atlanta) with my dad and stepmom.  Good times, y'all.

In the meantime, I hope y'all have a fantastic week. Be back soon.

~ G

PS - The pictures are a couple of snapshots from M's field trip where there happened to be a beautiful sunflower garden. Who doesn't love sunflowers? 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Turning 30...

So Friday was my 30th birthday. :-)

I've never thought turning the big 3-0 was a big deal.  Because it's just not.

But something weird DID happen with me a few days before my birthday.

I started getting this funny feeling.  It was like I needed to hang onto something.  Like I should have been DOING something to cherish my last few days in my 20s.  I even grabbed a couple of friends at work to be in my "Last Day in My 20s" picture.

Still 29!


But those little weird feelings ended up being a whole bunch of nothing.  Just silly jitters about no longer being able to say I'm "20-something." So silly.

The night before before my birthday, I went to bed so happy.  I felt really good.  My 20s have been good to me, y'all -- lots of cool things happened.  I:
  • Graduated college
  • Got married
  • Bought a house
  • Got my masters 
  • Had a baby
While all of these are common life occurrences, I don't take any of them for granted.  I've been blessed.  I've also made a LOT of mistakes, learned a lot of lessons, and grown so much as a person.  I imagine I'll be doing that for the rest of my life, but it's amazing how much the journey itself teaches.

I had it all planned out, y'all (didn't we all?).  By 30, I'd be married, in a career I love, I'll own my home, have a degree or two, and be a mother of THREE.  Ha!  Don't you just love how God reminds you that HE is in control of all of this?  His plan for me just HAPPENED to be similar to mine -- but the joke's still on me. I don't control any of this.

I still have so much to look forward to.  I'm now convinced that when you turn 30, the party's just beginning. :-)

Here are a few pics from my birthday weekend.  We didn't really do anything special FOR my birthday, but there were lots of life's little treasures mixed in (a football win, chocolate cake, etc.).

This big sign was taped to the wall near the classroom when I showed up to work Friday. Ha! :-) 

Another co-worker brought my favorite desserts -- YaYa's Chocolate Cake from Zoe's. 
(If you've never tried this, DON'T. Trust me.)

My mom came and stayed with us a night.  She went to the football game with us Friday, and then we had Japanese for lunch on Saturday.

It was our (my husband's school's) homecoming, and we got us a good win!

And then the cards, texts, phone calls, emails, and Facebook messages -- that just never gets old to me.  I appreciate them all.  This was a sweet one sent to me by one of my dearest friends.

I also came through on my birthday present to myself:  to become a runner.  I started the Couch-to-5K program back in June, finished it in August, and have run nine miles a week since then.  I've been skeptical about calling myself a "runner," but when you run three miles a day, three days a week, I'd say you've earned it.  So Happy Birthday to me. :-)

It was a good birthday. Turning 30 was fun. 

Now my HUSBAND turns 33 TODAY.  Happy Birthday to him!

Have a great week, y'all!


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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