Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thanksgiving & Preparing for Christmas

Hey, good people.  I'm doing some unplanned blogging today due to my nerves and the need to do SOMETHING to take my mind off this TIED Iron Bowl game.  For those of you are aren't familiar with the Iron Bowl, it's only the biggest college football rivalry.  Alabama and Auburn play their hearts out the Saturday after Thanksgiving every year as the whole state (and I do mean, WHOLE STATE) watches. If you're from Alabama, you are either an Alabama or Auburn fan.  It's a requirement to live here. It doesn't even matter if you're a graduate of either school.

I happen to have two degrees from Auburn...BUT I roll with the Tide. It's a long story of how I met a guy (who is now my husband) who played for the Tide, was a graduate assistant coach for the Tide, and comes from a family of "Tide or Dies."  All of this was before I became a graduate student at Auburn.  

Now don't get me wrong -- I love Auburn, too.  (Yes, I do.  Auburn was good to me.)  And I actually like when Auburn does well in football.  But when they play EACH OTHER, it's no contest. It is what it is.

*Just witnessed another missed field goal. I gotta keep blogging before I develop an ulcer. I cannot deal.*

So how was everyone's Thanksgiving?  Mine was FAB! Got with my peeps for some good eating!

We ate, played games, etc. - what we always do.  Love my folks!  I didn't take my camera, unfortunately, so I didn't get any good pics. 

My mom took this one for me of M and her cousin MJ (his daddy and I are first cousins). They're the same age and are very much alike! 

Speaking of first cousins, I did manage to get a shot with these two.  These are my HILARIOUS cousins who can make me laugh like NO OTHER.  They make fun of me so badly (always have) and it is SO funny. 

Here's another shot of the fam (this time with my husband in it, though I don't think he was ready - ha!).  My kid is in the very back with my silly cousin throwing up something - haha! 

I  got out my Christmas decorations the next day.  M stayed the night with my mom to spend some time with my niece, so I was able to work uninterrupted - ha! I got the yard decorations up as well as the tree.  I waited for M to decorate the tree, though, which is what we did today:

This year she actually helped the whole time. I let her put most of the ornaments on (which makes the tree hilariously bottom-heavy).

She was proud of her work.

Here's a side-shot of the living room after I put up most of the decorations. I've accumulated stuff over the years through after-Christmas clearance sales and thrift store finds of my mom's (including yard stuff).  I'm on the hunt for a tree skirt because I STILL don't have one (if you see one for the low-low somewhere, please tell me)! there are eight minutes left in this game, and Bama's up by a touchdown. Waaaaaayyyy too close for comfort, and I'm going to have to literally walk away from this TV to keep my nerves from getting the best of me. 

I hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend!  Especially Bama fans! :)


Update: Shocked. SUPER shocked. :-( Congrats, Auburn. That was a beautiful, unforgettable win. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Hey there!

Hey, my people!  Hope everyone is good! 

I'm working on a few work and personal projects that are keeping me busy on top of the every day stuff.  Strategic stuff. But fun, nonetheless. 

Looking forward to the holidays? I love this time of year. Thanksgiving, family, good food, Christmas decorations in the stores...LOVE. 

Speaking of love, here's a fun fact: My blog turns five this week. What started as a little scrapbook website has grown into a HUGE scrapbook website.  This blog holds so many memories for us -- first steps, first foods, fun trips, funny stories, etc. And though I've blogged less than normal the past few months, it is no indication of how precious this blog is to me.  I don't think I'll ever stop documenting our little moments here!

Speaking of little moments, let me share a few recent ones.  

M went to another Bama game a few weeks ago.  She tailgated, ate lots of good food, and hung out with little friends.  She had a great time!

Funnel cakes at the game. She is her mother's child.

M and her buddy, N.

Ozzie Newsome!

M hates naps and avoids them at all costs, so I know she had to be tired. And how she manages to take a nap in a stadium of 100,000 fans is beyond me.  That fun day wore her out. (And I hope this is the start of many football games with her daddy.)

Yesterday we took her to the children's museum.  She has loved this place all her life.  It never gets old. 

We have a membership, but only have time to go during the summer and holidays. NEVER on a "football season Saturday."  But thanks to the ESPN Watch app, my husband was able to watch his games on his phone while hanging out with us. 

Technology.  And men.

I love that my girl is not a girly girl. She'd pick a dinosaur figurine over a Barbie doll any day. In fact, she has two dollhouses -- both of which are occupied by dinosaurs (tickles me every time). I hope this is an early indication of a love of science and math. We need more girls in that area! (Speaking of which, have you seen this video?  A fun watch if you have a daughter!)

We're really looking forward to Thanksgiving with family.  I'm trying to kill the urge to get out my Christmas decorations before then.  I've shamelessly done so the past couple of years, but got a few more things on my plate this year to distract me. And don't get me started on my Christmas Pandora stations. *sigh*  JUST A FEW MORE DAYS!

Have a great week all, and Happy Thanksgiving!


Monday, November 11, 2013

Vets Day with the Animals

Hey, good people. Just poppin' in for a second. 

Hope everyone had a great weekend. My plans were to tailgate for the big game (Bama/LSU), but it didn't work out. My in-laws made it a no-children tailgate (which I LOVED, because tailgating with kids is work and I was looking forward to just chillin!), but it ended up not working in my favor - ha! My mom, who would have been my sitter, had a very busy weekend herself.  Of course she offered to give up her Saturday so that I can finally get to a home tailgate this year, but I wouldn't let her do that.  She does a lot of volunteer work through her church, and this was a big weekend for them.  "Thanks for NOT working the health fair, Mama, so I can go live it up in Tuscaloosa!" Nah, couldn't do it. 

So M and I stayed home and chilled.  It worked out great because I was able to get in M's room and work.  I separated clothes for donating, selling and keeping, packed up old toys to give away, organized her bookshelf, etc. M is ME all over again, unfortunately, with the way she keeps her room.  Now I know how my mother felt all those years.  (I'm sorry, Mama!)

Anyhoo, we'd been in the house all weekend, so we couldn't wait to get out today.  We were off for the holiday, and wanted to take advantage of the 70-degree weather.  I recently won zoo tickets at a school event, so it was the perfect day to put them to use. 

The fall colors around the zoo were breathtaking! I wish all the leaves wouldn't fall off so it could be this pretty all fall!

My sweet girl had fun. I love how outings like this are even more enjoyable as she gets older. Good, good times.  

Last, but not least, I'd like to say THANKS to all the men and women who have served -- including my ol' man (stole this pic from my sister's Facebook page): 

Dad served when I was a little girl, so I don't know much about his time in the Army.  But I'm still proud.

Have a great week, everyone.  Be good and be safe.


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Bumblebee & a Weekend at Penn

Hey, good people!  Hope all is well!  Did you see all the trees finally start changing last week? SO, SO gorgeous.

I snapped this pic exactly four years ago as the leaves started changing.  Fall colors make my heart sing!

Speaking of my heart, check out my little bumblebee before her school's harvest party last week:

She was so excited about Halloween this year. Unfortunately we didn't get to do our typical Halloween stuff because of how busy the month was (and the rain Halloween night).  So I was very grateful for her school's harvest party. They did the costumes, jumpy house, hayride, etc. all in a school day. It worked out. 

Another thing I missed last month is the Komen Race for the Cure. :-( That's something I've been doing with my family the past few years, but couldn't this year due to a conflict with my schedule -- particularly the conference I attended in Virginia a few weeks ago. Hopefully next year they won't fall on the same weekend.

Speaking of conferences, I recently attended one in Philly. I participated in the PWC and KWHS Seminar for High School Educators on Business and Financial Responsibility. Sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers and Knowledge at Wharton (University of Pennsylvania's prestigious business school), it was such a RICH experience.

Along with 130 other teachers across the nation (I was the only from my state), I participated in sessions and discussions led by Wharton professors and partners from PricewaterhouseCoopers.  We discussed everything from marketing to management to finance. I didn't know what to expect from sessions with Ivy League professors -- I kinda had an idea in my head of how professors from such prestigious schools would be. How I'd understand maybe 5% of what came out of their mouths. But I was proven wrong.  They were highly intelligent, as expected, but they were also funny, likable, and HUMAN.  And they didn't lose me when they spoke.  Well, except for the economics professor - ha! In his defense, economics has never been my thing. (I understood his humor, though. Well...most of it.)  

Anyhoo, I applied for this opportunity over the summer when they had it in San Francisco, but got wait-listed for that location. So of course I was thrilled when I learned I was accepted to the Philly location -- woohoo!

I've been to many professional development conferences/seminars, and this one was definitely one of my favorites.  It was SO engaging, and they scheduled it so that we were constantly up and moving (and eating -- sooooooooo muuuuuuuuch foooooood).  Though it was intensive (we met from sun up to sun down), it was worth every minute.

Here are a few pics I took. 

Main meeting room. I sat in the front/middle area.

Since everyone flew in from different states, you didn't really meet any other attendees until you got there. 

But the two of us were lucky. We met at the airport waiting on the shuttle. We met back up in the hotel lobby the next morning, and naturally became conference buddies. 

I met SO many people, but spent the most time with these ladies. From left to right, you've got V from St. Louis, M from Boston, D from Brooklyn, G from Mount Ulla (NC), and me.  

I met S the last day, a math teacher and chess coach from a town in Pennsylvania. I told him I'd briefly met Salome Thomas-EL (another Pennsylvania educator and chess guy) when he spoke to at my school earlier this semester. S insisted we take a picture and tweet it to Principal EL - ha! :)

One evening we had dinner at the Penn Museum.  I'm STILL thinking about a crab cake appetizer they served.  Oh, my gosh, it was the BEST.

We were entertained by Penn's Penny Loafers at dinner that night.  What a treat.

One day when I had a little time left after lunch, I took a walk on campus to clear my head. I HAD to snap a few pics of this beautiful campus (all phone pics - I wish I'd taken my real camera).

(Did you know that Ben Franklin founded Penn?  I didn't.)

I wish I'd had more time to explore the campus. 

I had a great time that weekend learning and networking.  I'll never forget the few days I spent with these ladies. (The one on the far left looked familiar from the moment I saw her.  We finally figured out that we must have seen each other at a conference we both attended back in the spring.  Small world.)

Here I am with the main reps from Wharton and PriceWaterhouseCoopers.  They were such nice people. I was sure to personally thank them for the opportunity.

Not only was this weekend rich in networking and learning, but it cost me (nor my school) nothing. Wharton and PWC covered airfare, ground transportation, hotel, and meals (we stayed at the beautiful Westin).  How amazing is that? I'm going to recommend this opportunity to every teacher who teaches anything that involves business.  It was an experience like no other!

Now that October is over, I'm gonna slow down and get my house back in order -- literally and figuratively. I'm getting my health back in check (and hopefully lose these eight pounds I've gained over the last couple of months...YES.)  More importantly, I'm going to get back to focusing on my most important job:

I've been working a lot this year -- bringing work home and everything -- which is not something I like to do. M's age brings so much independence (she can spend an entire evening in her room playing), which has made it easy for me to work at home.  But I'm someone who likes to leave work at work, and I'm gonna get back to that.

I can't believe my baby will be five next month. She is such a hoot right now. She loves to laugh and be silly like her mama. She also loves to read just like I did at her age (she's doing well with her reading -- I'm proud). Right now, she's into chapter books (though she doesn't read those herself...I read them to her).  She really likes the Junie B. Jones series and often asks for "one more chapter." I love it.

She's still Chatty Cathy at school and basically gets in trouble every week. The struggle is real, people. I teach 120 teenagers every day and have them completely under control, yet I can't get my four year old to be quiet at school. Parenting can be so humbling.

Anyhoo, I've got to get our stuff together for the week, so I've gotta end this post.  I really hope everyone is doing well.  Be good and be safe!


PS - I hope to start back blogging more often!

Stuff I Talk About

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