Thursday, March 26, 2009


Please see the button in my sidebar - "Praying for Stellan"

Stellan is a living miracle who now needs a miracle. By clicking the button you can read the story of Stellan's beginning and why he now needs our prayers. Please take a minute to check out that blog. His mother "MckMama" is an amazing woman of God with faith like I've never seen. She needs us and her family needs us. Stellan is already living, breathing, heart-beating proof that PRAYER WORKS, and that God HEARS US. Help keep his amazing story going as a testimony to the world!

McMama's Blog:

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

It's Almost Heeeeeerrrre!!!

SPRING! And the warm weather that comes with it! And summer soon to follow! My feelings on spring are much like a 5-year old's feelings about Christmas... I. CAN'T. WAIT. And today's random 65-degree weather (especially after what has felt like a week straight of cold, clouds and rain) is a perfect reminder of all the things I love about spring.

While I was driving home from work with my gigantic sunroof open, I started thinking about some of my favorite signs of spring. I decided you would like to know what they are. Here you go...

(in no particular order)
  • When the sun feels warm again. There are sunny days in winter, but the winter sun doesn't make your car warm, or feel hot to your skin. There's always that one day in spring when I realize, I can feel the heat of the sun again! It's an extremely happy day.
  • Daffodils! They have to be one of the cutest flowers on the planet and they just happen to get the privilege of being one of the welcome signs of warm weather.
  • Flip-flops. Here's the magic of flip-flops: They scream summer time, however, with jeans and a hoodie you can still pull them off in early spring and convince yourself that they are totally appropriate footwear. If I weren't a bigger baby, I'd straight up wear them all year long.
  • The park. Sheppie just LOVES to get out and go to the park. We have a super-tiny yard and our "neighborhood" is one court, unless I want to take route 108 over to the next neighborhood where they have sidewalks and roads that don't just make a circle. So when the weather is warm enough Sheppie and I love to go to the park and walk, or even just sit under a tree and people-watch. Sometimes he helps me study or grade papers.
  • Two words: SPRING BREAK. After a long stretch of teaching since Christmas, spring break is a much needed and much deserved reprieve from the banshees I call my students. This year my students are better than they ever were at Banneker, but teaching takes it out of you no matter which way you slice it. And the lesson-planning this year... well you know aaaalllllll about that :)
And last but not least.........
  • Spring is just one big sign of SUMMER!!! Aaaaaahhhhhhhh, soooooooo clooooooooose!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Storm-Cloud Known As Grad School

Yes, that's him. For all of you who have not had the joy of experiencing the Storm-Cloud known as grad school, that's him. I just want to say, I'm ready to be out from under this storm cloud. It's just exhausting always having something hanging over your head. I hear other people with normal jobs who aren't in grad school talk about their lives, and it sounds like a dream. If only I could do whatever I wanted when I got off work! Ok, sorry. I know I complain about these choices I've made ALL the time. I decided to be a teacher (don't ask me why), and I decided to go to grad school. My fault - I get that. Anyway, I finally got my paper finished this afternoon after doing research all Friday night, composing all day yesterday (literally from breakfast to dinner - worked through lunch), and then composing all afternoon today. I had to get up this morning to go check in on my dad which was a welcome break from the dumb paper. It's a long drive so I had about an hour and a half of time in the car with just me, my ipod and my thoughts. It was a happy time :)

So I know that there's light at the end of the tunnel, but when a weekend gets sucked up like this one did, it makes that light seem a little farther away. Plus the instructor I was writing this paper for is terrible at creating rubrics. They're very unorganized and give a vague description of what the paper is being graded on, but its nearly impossible to make sense out of. All I can say is that I'm happy it's finished and I'm not looking forward to the next one!

I am looking forward to the next weekend however, when I get to throw Jenna's bridal shower and bachelorette party (with assistance from the moms and bridesmaids, of course). I think everything is going to turn out so fun. I've got a busy week ahead, but I'm excited to get all the details taken care of.... and honestly, for a night out! I enjoy getting dressed up and heading out for a night of carefree fun on the town! Do keep an eye out for pictures :) We're heading BACK up to Eburg to have dinner at my mom's. I hate being out on Sunday nights, but that's usually the only time I see my mom or siblings, so we go whenever we can. I love hanging out with them even if it means getting home AT bedtime. This is why I could never move away from my family.... but that's another post for another time :)

Have a great week... and a GREAT St. Patrick's day... Erin Go Bragh! :)

Friday, March 13, 2009

This Weekend is Wild on the Flop

Ever make fun plans only to realize that they really just aren't in the cards?

We had been planning for weeks to take Lacy and Leo this weekend. We LOVE having them at our house for sleepovers and it turned out that my sister was scheduled to work and needed a babysitter tomorrow. So Josh and I volunteered to pick them up tonight and return them tomorrow evening. Well, apparently cosmic forces had a different idea. Here's how it broke down...

Last weekend the weather was so beautiful that all we could talk about while walking around Centennial park was how much we hoped it would be that nice when Lacy and Leo were with us. Last time they came over it was way too cold to play outside, and the time before that it poured rain all weekend. Of course as the weekend approaches the forecast shows temperatures in the 40s and a chance of rain. What a bummer, but we still figured we could have fun inside.

Then in one of my graduate classes an assignment was cancelled. That's fine, but another paper was then pushed back a week to be due on Tuesday the 17th. Because of lesson plan writing and class and taking care of my dad, my schedule is very inflexible. Therefore, this rearrangement really threw me off. I didn't have time during the week to write the paper, and this weekend we were having the kids. Monday I have a different class, and Tuesday the paper is due. Ugh. So I figured I would just get one of those big energy drinks and write the paper tonight after the kids go to bed.

Last but not least, Leo had to get a few shots at the doctor's this week. Sounds routine, nothing big. Unfortunately he had a scary allergic reaction to the shots and his arm swelled up. It has been swollen for days and my sister has been giving him Benadryl. It's supposedly a common reaction, but I don't need anyone going into anaphylaxis while in my care. It's just something I'm too afraid to risk and then you have people going - why didn't we just reschedule???

So we decided to reschedule. All the sudden our fun-filled weekend turned into rain and writing a paper while hoping Leo's reaction calms down. Super, right? All you can say to that is that it clearly wasn't in the cards! We'll have to try again soon. Maybe I'll download tons of pictures of them to make myself feel better this weekend... ooh, and I might paint my toes in hopes of nicer weather :)

Enjoy your weekend!

PS- We did book our cruise last night, and we are soooooooo excited!!!!!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

So Much to Be Excited About!

... And to be thankful for, really. As much as I've struggled [and complained] through this school year, it is actually, finally winding down. And as God would have it, a lot of things are falling perfectly into place. I honestly feel like I can take a big deep breath and know that it's all going to work out. This is not to say that I'm one to easily lose faith. I always know that things will work out in the end, but in the throws of all the chaos it's just really hard to SEE things working out.

Ok, so you're wondering what am I going on and on about. First of all, I'm in a fantastic mood because of the weather this weekend. It's GORGEOUS here, and I'm just dying to get out and walk around Centennial lake in my flip-flops with Sheppie (hahah, good story). I do plan on doing that today, though! So that is just my little reminder that summer is on it's way and I just need to hang in there a little bit longer. I'm also having a really great weekend in general. Last night we hung out with the Cookes, who are still in town from delivering their 2nd gorgeous baby girl. We had pizza, then the boys went off to see Watchmen while Laura, myself, and the baby girls went back to the Cookes' house to watch TLC and chit chat the rest of the night. It was very much needed girl time :) and I can't say enough about how fun it was to hang out with the babies! It truly did me some good.

If that wasn't enough enjoyment, I had mentioned that we've been thinking about vacations for this summer. However, planning a vacation completely depends on when my classes are going to be taking place this summer. They're the last 3 I need before my internship so I have zero flexibility in when and what to take. So we had pretty much decided through our discussions the past few days that we really wanted to go for the cruise. My sister is right - if we don't do it now, who knows when or if it will ever happen. Well this morning I woke up and thought - you know, it's a weekend, registration is somewhere around the end of this month, maybe Hopkins has posted the course schedule. I've been checking almost daily for about a month now to no avail. So sure enough when I logged in, one of the announcements on the page was that courses for 09-10 had been posted! I was so thrilled that I immediately started searching. As God would have it, all three courses I need are being offered and one of the cruise weeks is entirely open. Hooray! So that really made the decision for us. We're aiming to depart from Baltimore on July 16th and return on the 25th. Here's the itinerary...

It's a 2-day trip to and from Baltimore, and a day at each stop!

I know what you're thinking - does it get any better than that? Could there possibly be MORE good news? There is!! If you don't know already, I've been rather stressed out about my internship next year. There are a lot of hours I have to complete and, while working full time, I've been worried about when they're going to get done. On top of that it's the time of year when administrators start making schedules for the next school year. So another concern of mine was - what will I be teaching next year? I've worked really hard this year to archive all of my lesson plans so I'm not writing them next year (since that has been my #1 stressor for the past 6 months-- and I can't even believe it's only been that long). However, if I end up teaching something different next year then all of that doesn't really help. So once again as God would have it, while at the copier on Tuesday morning, my department chair walks by and tells me he wants me to consider something for next year: GT (gifted & talented, for those non-teachers). Right now I teach 3 classes of honors US history and 2 classes of standard world history. So I promptly explained that I have NO problem teaching GT next year as long as I'm not teaching a new subject. And he said - Ok. Done. You've got honors and GT US next year. I almost jumped for joy right there in the copy room! One of my other fears about next year was that they would give me the same subject, but all regular level kids. Nothing against them, but regular kids (which include below grade-level) take a lot of energy I'm not sure I'm going to have next year. Managing behavior is probably my least favorite part about teaching, and regular level kids give you a run for your money in that department. No thank you. I will be perfectly happy with my honors and GT :) The only thing left to work out is still when/where I'll be doing my internship hours. But I can hardly bring myself to care about that right now :)

Well, I'm guessing this has been long enough for you (for now). I still need to get myself together a little, pull out the flip-flops and take Sheppie over to the park! Then we're heading over to OM to see my kids perform "The Wiz." After that we're meeting friends in Fells for a birthday -- what a night! Tomorrow I'll be back up to Westminster to check in on Dad and then meet with the sibs to figure out what our next steps are. I've found that he's doing really well for the most part and we can probably cut our visits to 3-4 times a week instead of 7. I can't lie, driving up there twice a week has done a number on my mental health, gas tank, and most importantly time with Josh. But I know it's the right thing to do, and I'll never look back and wish I hadn't taken care of my dad when he needed us.

Ok, I'll end for real now :)

Monday, March 2, 2009

One More

And probably the last snow day of the school year. But that means I actually have enough time to sit down and write a blog post! I know, you're excited :) Check out the snow.....

I wish I could say there's lots going on, but it's really been more of the same. Lots and lots of work, the grad school semester has started back up, and my poor husband has been making great strides in his video games as a result. Though I must say he's turning into quite the chef as he has basically taken over the dinner duties. It has been a life-saver and it's so fun to come home and have surprise dinner cooking!

We're inching ever closer to Ben and Jenna's wedding. I'm now in the throws of planning her shower and bachelorette parties which are coming up in three weeks! It's going to be a lot of fun. Our [bridesmaid] dresses came in this week and they are lovely! It goes so well with Jenna's dress and the color is going to be very hot. They are moving right along with tastings and such. They've booked rehearsal dinner and are down to some of the fine details. I can't wait! I also need to be working on my speech. Want to see my dress? (picture it in burgundy... and on me!)

Additionally we're getting ready to do some big projects around our house. With our tax return we're planning to put new flooring on our entire main level. Right now we have a light wood (oak) laminate, and are planning to put down dark wood instead with less grain and wider planks. I think the contrast with our barely blue walls and white trim will look really nice and add a tad of sophistication to our casual little townhouse. We're also buying new living room furniture since our current set belongs to Ben and Jenna. Since they'll be moving to their own new place soon, we will be left with nothing to sit on. We've already done some shopping and decided we didn't want to pay a big price for really nice stuff since it will likely see the start of our family over the next few years and it's just not worth having furniture that you can't change a diaper on or can't risk a little spit-up on. So after looking around at a few local stores we decided to check Ikea. We looked at the Ektorp series of furniture that has a 10-year warranty. It also has full slipcovers that can be changed and/or cleaned. We decided this was probably the way to go for our current point in life. Have a look.....
In other news, my very good friends Andy and Laura Cooke just welcomed their second baby girl, Molly Rose, into the world on Saturday night. I was so excited that they decided to deliver at Howard County General since we're right down the street. We went to visit last night and spent several hours just talking and laughing. It was very fun to catch up with them, and very fun to cuddle with a brand new baby! We're planning to get one more visit in with them before they head back home to Frostburg. Here's Molly...

Outside of all that fun...

I'm just counting down to summer time and trying to plan a nice vacation. If there's one thing I need after this school year it's a week at the beach! We're considering either a week at the Outer Banks or a cruise- since they have ones that depart out of Baltimore. That would save the expense of driving, paying for food and entertainment. There's a 9-night Royal Caribbean cruise of the Eastern Caribbean that we're seriously considering, but everything depends on my grad school schedule. I have to take three classes this summer so I have to work around those. But I am determined to get a week of vacation this summer. We'll work something out!

Anyway, I think that's about it for now. I've been composing this on and off for most of the day. It has been a really nice relaxing day though. I have actually been talking to my sister on IM for a good part of the day too, which we never get to do! This is all in between meals, tv shows, loads of laundry, planning Jenna's shower menu, and other various and sundry lazy-day activities :)