Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Swift Summers

Hey, guys. Hope you're all having a great summer.

It's been a minute since I've popped in here, but that's only because summer is moving at lightning speed. So much to do, so little time.

Our days have been filled with:
  • Bike-riding
  • GoldieBlox-building
  • School-year prepping (teaching a new class next year - excited!)
  • Playground-ing
  • Summer reading
  • Library shows
  • Friends and family 
  • A summer field trip/conference (we took 16 students to Chicago a couple of weeks ago)
  • Movie-going
  • House-cleaning/organizing (much-needed)
  • Museum visiting
  • Crafting
  • "Math"-ing
  • Professional development 
...and other stuff in between.  And THIS:



So I've got plenty of updates for the blog...at some point. :) Right now, I'm just enjoying the summer days with family and getting ready for an exciting school year. 

Thanks for stopping by the blog. Don't take my bloggers card -- I'm just trying to soak up every minute of summer. 

Hope yours has been a great one, too. I'll be back here soon for some updates. 

Gerri

Saturday, May 9, 2015

* Life Lately *

Hey, good people! Hope life is treating you well. I am so happy about this warm, beautiful weather. Spring and summer are my favorite times of year.



It's been a pretty busy year so far (can you believe we're almost halfway through 2015?). We've been spending time with family, traveling a little, and enjoying the outdoors. I'm putting it all in one post today. With that being said, this post will be all over the place. So bear with me as I recap our last few months. 

First, we got a chance to see my niece play softball a couple of weeks ago. I even got a cool "auntie" shirt to wear to the next game.

So proud of my niece -- she's smart and athletic. 
M and her cousin adore each other!

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On another note, my Dad's birthday was back in March. This was the first year I couldn't talk to my dad on his birthday. I was dreading the day. It still hurts like crazy. Surprisingly I wasn't sad that day, though. We took M to get a cupcake for her Big Daddy's birthday. 

I know he'd be tickled that his grandbaby got a treat on his birthday. :)

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Speaking of being tickled, look at what we took this kid to do recently:

She has her own bank account now. Over the years whenever she's gotten cash from relatives, we'd just stash it in her piggy bank at home. That piggy bank turned into two, then three. My mother-in-law has been urging us to go open her a bank account, so we finally did. The people at the bank treated her like a real little customer and let her answer questions and fill out paperwork the best she could as as a six-year-old. It was adorable. And we feel better that her little cash is safely stashed away.

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We recently took her to see the movie Home. She loved it. DK and I thought it was cute, too. Of course I also loved that the main character was a little brown girl with curly hair just like M.  :-)

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Like I said, I love spring and summer -- mainly because I like being outdoors. One day when M was away with my in-laws, DK and I brought out the bikes. We went riding on a local trail.


It was fun! It was DK's first time on this trail. 

Speaking of DK, I've been with this guy 13 years, and he still makes me laugh and blush like he did back then. He makes me so mad some days just like any husband would, but he's still the guy I would pick any day!

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We've done some more biking since then -- this time with the little one.


We've gone to our favorite downtown park.


We also took the little one to try that trail. I was a little nervous -- there are hills and bridges and curves -- but she did great. 

Speaking of being outside, we went to a state park in our area last weekend to do some canoeing. 



My sister-in-law and I were in one canoe while M and her daddy were in the other. 



Good times!

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Speaking of good times, my nephew recently turned ONE. It seems like he was just born, y'all.

Cutest. Baby. Ever.

As excited as I was about going to his first birthday party, I was sad that my dad would not be there. All week I couldn't help but wonder how I'd handle being with my stepmom and sisters for the first time since... 

Not only that, but my nephew was my dad's little man -- I imagined how Dad would have played with him at his first birthday party. I thought back to M's first birthday party, and how my dad played with her at every exhibit. I wanted that for my nephew. 

But the day of the party, I wasn't sad at all. It was a fun celebration for our big boy! He is soooo precious!


My sisters!


The last few years, people have told us that we look alike. I never see it when we're actually together, but sometimes when I look at pictures (like this one), I DO see it.


And here's my sweet stepmom holding the birthday boy. I actually put him to sleep. :-)  I was just getting my hugs and snuggles before we headed back to Alabama when he fell asleep in my arms. The party wore him out! ;-)

Speaking of cuteness, how cute is my baby sister's little belly? (I totally stole this pic from her Facebook page.) She and her husband are expecting their first child later this year, and I was able to see her baby bump for the first time last weekend. 

I cannot wait to meet my niece!

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Finally, I probably should document our trip to Chicago. My professional association's annual conference was in the Windy City this year. It was actually during our spring break. I've never been able to truly enjoy Chicago because my first and last time going (I think it was 2007) was for work, too.


But my family was able to enjoy the city. Not only was DK able to go with me again this year (like last year in LA), but we brought M, too. 




She was soooooo excited about flying. She's flown a few times in her life, but her last time was two years ago. For a six-year-old, two years ago was a loooooong time. She barely remembers her last flight (when she flew to meet the President)...


Clearly she was more excited about the flight than anything.


She made sure we knew that the window seat was hers (like we didn't know that already), and she looked outside almost the entire flight. 


Oh, to see life through the eyes of a six-year-old. 

She took some time out to read the safety manual, too. She loves this stuff. 

I knew it was going to be a great trip when the staff saw that I'd brought a little person with me, and they went to get a little friend to keep her company during the trip.


How sweet, right? (Quick plug: The staff at the Chicago Marriott Magnificent Mile is incredible. Stay there when you're in the Windy City. Great service.)

I was a bit nervous about this trip because I was co-presenting a session again (one similar to the ones I did in LA and Little Rock last year). This time I was co-presenting with my co-worker, G. It was her first time, and she did great!


We presented twice at the conference on recruiting and branding, and our session was packed both times. It was fun, we had great audience interaction, and we got our reviews back two weeks ago. They were GREAT! Whew!


We saw some of our peeps from Alabama there, of course: 


These two are actually my former professors from Auburn.

I was also able to hang out with some of my buddies from other states.


And Ken from Canada. We've been taking a pic together since Boston years ago.

More friends:

We got out of the hotel one night and explored a little of downtown.. 




It was an incredible conference. I learned, networked, and grew professionally. I'm looking forward to next year's conference already (Vegas)!

While I wasn't able to see the city during the day with my family, they didn't miss me very much. They had a great time without the Mama! They did the zoo and the planetarium.




They took advantage of the indoor pool.


And M talked her daddy into taking her here. I was not thrilled about that at first. I think those dolls are WAY too expensive. But my sweet girl loves it, so I'm over it. :)

Leaving Chi-town...waiting for our shuttle.


We had a great trip.



So that's our life in the last few months. We're wrapping up yet another school year (it's been a great one) and are preparing for a busy summer. 

Happy Mother's Day to all the mamas out there! We'll be spending the day with family -- swimming, eating, and enjoying each other. Cannot wait.

Speaking of mothers, I'm so thankful for mine. I could say so much about her love, sense of humor, faith, and ability to put up with me. Those things alone make her pretty incredible. I'm actually blessed with many "mothers" in my life -- my mother-in-law, grandmother, stepmother, and aunts who have all influenced me tremendously.  Feeling so grateful on this Mother's Day. 

Thanks for reading our little blog! Enjoy the rest of your spring!

Love,
G

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Life Lately

Y'all.  Three months. It's been THREE MONTHS since I last posted. That's definitely a record, but it's no surprise since my blogging has been sporadic the past year. I'll say it then and I'll say it now: my blog isn't dead. I may not post a couple of times a week like I used to (I have no idea how I used to have time to do that), but you should be able to come here every few months and see some new stuff. I think I still have somewhere on the sidebar where you can sign up to receive an email when a new post has gone up. I honestly have no idea if that button still exists/works, but it's worth a try. 

Do I have time to post today? Not really. But we're home today because of projected snow. And while I could certainly be grading, cleaning, planning, etc., this blog of mine needed some long-overdue attention. I got up this morning with a goal of updating it, and I will meet that goal today.


Anyhoo, life has certainly been happening the past few months, and, as usual, I've broken it down into various posts. Read as you please. 


My Dad
Alabama Football
M Turned Six
And a Whole Lot More 

I hope you and your family are well!

Love,
Gerri

My Dad


This blog has served as my "memory book" for over six years, and not once did it cross my mind that I'd one day have to write about the death of a parent.  On Saturday, December 20, my dad passed away unexpectedly. 

It has been two months, and I admit -- I'm still somewhat in a state of disbelief. The week it happened was a blur. I felt like I was having a complete out-of-body experience as I watched everyone around me process it in their own ways. I was quick to assure everyone that I was okay.  And I really was, because to me, there was no way my hilarious, always laughing, always joking dad who we were JUST WITH for Morgan's birthday, was gone.  Sure, I'd had tiny, sporadic moments of reality at night (they were always at night), but when the sun rose, it felt like a dream again.

Gradually and naturally, it is becoming a reality, though -- a heartbreak that is indescribable, and a reality I'm still not sure how to process. But along with it, I have become so grateful for time I had with my dad, and for the love he had for my sisters and me.


Anyone who knew knew my dad knows the he LOVED HIS GIRLS.

But no one knew that more than my sisters and me. Our Dad loved us like crazy, and even occasionally showed his crazy. 

This picture of my baby sister and her boyfriend at the time (now husband) is a perfect display of it.

And Dad made sure we knew we were loved. He would call and leave me crazy voice messages about how I never answer my phone (he knew me well), but he always started his messages with "Hey, baby" and ended them with "Love you." Every single message. In fact, I still have over 20 of them on my phone.



And boy, did a new type of love come when I had M -- and when my oldest little sister had her baby boy. He loved his grandbabies



Up in a jungle gym entertaining his "itty bitty."



I took these pictures one day he and my stepmom drove to Birmingham to spend some time with M. I'm so glad I did.  She will always have these, and she can always see how much he loved her.




And many times we'd go to Atlanta, he and my stepmom would keep M while DK and I would go do grownup stuff with friends.


And he loved every minute of it. 

It reminds me so much of my time with him as a child -- summers and holidays.

I would joke with him that now that Morgan was here, he didn't care if he spent time with me - ha! He would be very quick to correct me and tell me that he still gets giddy when he's getting ready to see his "first born," as he always called me.



My dad's memorial service was PERFECT. You're not supposed to cry at these things. While that's much easier said than done, I laughed soooooo much as well. So many people got up and talked about how my dad had an impact on them. Everyone talked about his jokes (he was always crackin'), but they also talked about how he showed a much tender side of himself -- like always offering his home to family/friends who needed it, and always bragging about his girls. It showed me that my dad was a lot of things to a lot of people, and I could not have been more proud. I left my dad's service feeling a sense of peace and love, and I am so grateful to the many family and friends who were kind enough to get up and share their love for Dad. 

I am also grateful to the family and friends of mine who called, texted, dropped everything to be with me, sent cards, traveled with me to Atlanta those days, checked in on me often, attended the memorial service, etc. and made sure that I knew they were there if I needed it. You guys have NO CLUE how grateful I am for that. I needed it, and I didn't even know it.

Today, while I'm heartbroken and probably will be for a long time, I'm also just THANKFUL. I had 32 years with my dad --  many people don't get that. And in those 32 years, my dad loved me and told me OFTEN how proud of me he was. He gave me two beautiful sisters and a sweet stepmom.

My daughter got a chance to know her Big Daddy, and is at an age where she will remember him. He was proud of her, too, and bragged on her just like he used to brag on me.  I will never, ever let her forget how much he loved her.

I love my old man. I miss my old man. His love for us is still alive and well in our hearts. Nothing or no one could ever take it away. And I'm at peace knowing that that's exactly what he would want. 

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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