Friday, January 27, 2006

and it's here!

man, this has been a long week. first full week since december--seriously. yes, i know i'm spoiled.

so work has been busy busy busy and i've gotten tons of referrals for new cases as well as some boiling points for my old cases. good to know that i'm needed :)

social life has been busy, too. going to the gym, hanging out with friends, and our monthly book club dinner. so much fun--and of course, i blushed like 500 times and realized that i have really loud friends. but it was still great, and i can't wait for the next one.

and tomorrow, it's off to fayetteville for the night for early birthday celebration with the family and seeing CFRT's "beauty and the beast." i'm excited. justin's being a good boyfriend.

that's all for now :) later, y'all.

Monday, January 23, 2006

i get by with a little help from my friends...

i love being a social person and having multiple groups of friends. i especially love that i have made such great friends at work, and that i continue to have great friends at church, and most specifically, that i have a wonderful, amazing boyfriend.


i miss these girls sometimes more than i can even explain. i talked to both of them yesterday, and i think it made me realize how much i miss having these two friends around for those moments when i just need to hang out with my girls. yes, i have amazing friends here in greenville still, but there's something about how well ashley and linda know me and how close we were and how i miss them terribly. we're scattered around now, but it is nice to know that they're a phone call away.

love ya, chicas.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

sunday again...

hello, sunday :)

milo loves to nap. and he just looks quite adorable doing it. so i thought i'd share this picture with you

it's been a lazy week, especially with the middle/upper school taking exams. we did get to have casino day on friday afternoon, where the kids celebrate the end of exams by playing poker, roulette and craps. i contributed by having a "glamour photo" booth, where the kids dressed up in fancy clothes and i took digital photos and printed them out. it was a lot of fun and i had the best time setting up and helping the kids relax. once i got home, then i relaxed and justin came over so we could continue our new obsession with "the office." justin bought the whole first season and most of the second on iTunes and we've been making our way through it. and with the local NBC station failing to show the lastest episode on thursday night and replacing it with some lawyer show, i had to see what was going to happen between jim and pam. i am completely addicted to this style of show--documentary-like, with these hilarious interviews and situations and they'll just look right at the camera and i crack up from just the facial expressions. so it was a great way to spend the evening.

saturday, we finally made it to beaufort. we'd been planning this trip for about two or three weeks since i got a gift certificate to buy some artwork from a gallery there, but had to put it off the past couple of weekends until we had time to make a day of it. we got down there in time to buy the art, browse in some shops, eat lunch at clawson's and make our way downeast to the beach. rather than going over to atlantic beach like we always do, i took him through all the tiny little towns past beaufort and we finally got out to enjoy an almost private beach at the cedar island ferry. i had the best time taking some pictures, and you can check out the rest at my flickr site where i've uploaded all of them.

my new favorite picture of justin? this one--so natural, and very very handsome :)
and finally, the artwork that i bought. all by alan cheek. this first one is "lookout night."then there's "change of tide"--with cape lookout again, but more focusing on the water.
and finally, "summertime shoals," complete with dolphins, wild ponies and sea gulls. reminds me of shackleford banks.
now it's time to watch football, do grocery shopping and the like.

later, y'all!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

middle of the week bump

and it's a short week--i know, again, yes, again.

monday was all about relaxing and getting ready to host young adults. i LOVE hosting people. however, the past couple of times, there's always been a concern about setting off my smoke alarm. the food turns out fantastic, everyone gives me tons of compliments--but during the cooking process, something bubbles over, something drips to the bottom of the oven, and it just ends up smoky and smelling like burnt grease. lovely, i know.

i wish i had more room when i'm hosting people. i'm always worried that it'll get too crowded and people will be uncomfortable. in a perfect world, i could have enough space to host about 15-20 people comfortably, with a couple of different rooms and twice as much counter space for food. but without at doubt, i can cook. i have had atleast 5 or 6 people tell me that my lasagna was some of the best they've ever tasted. gotta love that :)

it's exam week. my middle/upper schoolers leave at noon, and are taking exams all morning. this means my life is has a lot less drama, and i get to focus on my elementary school kids for a week. it's actually a nice change of pace, and it's given a few of us plenty of time to prepare for casino day on friday afternoon (where the kids celebrate the end of exams by playing poker and roulette for tickets). i'm running the "photo booth" with some fancy dress-up costumes and a digital camera. perfect!

i have my colorguard's outfits--school colors, cute, hip and works for everyone's body types. first performance is in two weeks. keep your fingers crossed (and yes, i'll take pictures).

and last night, as we watched "american idol" (just to see the crazy bad auditions), i folded laundry and justin checked his website feeds and it was just a lazy, relaxed evening. and i realized that i liked the feeling of it. not exactly exciting, but just comfortable.

this weekend--beaufort (finally!) to buy some artwork and enjoy the beautiful weather. until then....

Sunday, January 15, 2006

end of the week

thank goodness!

i have to say that this past week has been one of the craziest and most stressful so far. it's testing me, but i'm making it. it's just not an easy process. i won't go into details online, but if you're curious, just ask.

finished up a long post i've been working on for a while. scroll down to check out my "year in review."

have had a nice relaxing weekend involving lots of laziness and a little bit of productiveness. dad came up yesterday to return his christmas present and we had lunch and watched the unc basketball game.

church today, and then i've been cleaning up and getting ready for hosting young adults tomorrow night. menu is lasagna, salad, garlic bread and some sort of dessert. i'll have all day tomorrow to plan and prepare :)

watching the steelers play at the moment. i'm keeping my fingers crossed, though having to share my birthday with the steelers at the super bowl is not my first choice. we'll see what happens...


Monday, January 09, 2006

back into the week...

the weekend was terribly relaxing. we did absolutely nothing all saturday afternoon and left only to get the stuff to make a fabulous dinner and watch a movie saturday night. so great... :)

sunday--some excellent shopping after church. great to see everyone for the first time in a while, and also some great sales.

work's keeping me busy--i'm never quite sure what i'll get during the day, but it's fun and keeps me on my toes.

and i'm not really in a blogging mood tonight. sorry--but i'll update again when i have more to say :)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

and we're back...

so glad that it's a short week this week and that friday will be here before i know it. and that next week is also short cause of our half day on friday. and the next week is MLK holiday on monday and exams for middle/upper school which means my schedule will be totally thrown off. and we might get back to normal sometime by the end of january, but let's face it--things are just more fun when they're not normal.

i feel confident putting this on here cause i'm positive no one will know this student and if you do, it's actually a very positive comment. i am learning that at independent schools, you play many different roles and they don't necessarily correspond with your actual degree or what you were officially trained in, but a lot of times just draws on your own skills and interests. i've seen that in tutoring a student in spanish twice a week. he'd never had it before, and even though we were trying to put him in the lowest level possible, he really needed that individual attention to catch up so that next year, he'll be ready to join the rest of his class. so we meet twice a week and have been working on basics like colors, numbers and small talk stuff. well, i decided on tuesday that we'd try conjugating a verb but was sure to be patient. when i had helped him while he was still in the class, conjugating a verb sounded very much like a rendition of "who's on first?" with him totally confused by pronouns, verb endings and everything else. we would go around in circles because i didn't want to give him the answer, and yet he'd guess at everything and would eventually guess correctly, but had no clue why it was right. but tuesday, as i wrote out the steps and helped him follow along, we conjugated a regular, present tense -ar verb and you could physically see the light turn on in his brain. it was one of the most rewarding experiences i have had all year. wish i could say that it came from a counseling situation, but i now understand the utter frustration and simultaneous joy that is being a teacher. and this morning, we did a stem-changing verb. i've never been so proud :)

in the meantime, the kindergarten class is my favorite place to hang out during the day. here, you're confronted by much more amusing issues like who drew pictures on their legs last night with magic marker (he proudly explained that it was an anaconda) and whose overactive imagination is getting her in trouble (in art, the teacher was talking about cave drawings that were found about 60 years ago and she said, "i saw that!" and when told that she couldn't have, it was 60 years ago, she said, "then my great-great-great-grandmother did!") gotta love it.

been to the gym 6 out of the 7 last days. and i'm feeling good :)

alright, gonna enjoy the evening with justin. later!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

the classic do-it-yourself couple portrait. but oh so cute :) do i look happy? i think so...

Monday, January 02, 2006

year in review

alright, so i know that 2006 is already here and a year in review blog might seem a little past due. but humor me as i count down why 2005 has been one of my best years ever...

my friends and i, in many of our countless conversations, have talked before about our "favorite year." for a long time, it was 10th grade. or maybe it was 6th grade. it probably all depends on when the conversation occurred. but now, i know that 2005 was the year of lauren. there were so many thing that happened that have made me grow up, realize my future and turned me into such a strong person. i think it goes without saying that i can't wait to see what 2006 brings, but here's why 2005 was such an awesome year (with pictures when applicable)

in no particular order....

getting to see many sunsets--and a few sunrises--and being able to capture them on my camera. my love for digital photography really came alive.
joining the oakwood family, and bravely chaperoning my 8th graders to camp cheerio

spending my last few months living with this girl--and, of course, still getting to see her every so often. it was a big step for us to move off and live on our own after spending the past two years together. and i don't know that we ever got emotional about it--that's just not how we are. but there are times where i seriously miss having her there, whether it's going out for some ice cream, wandering around the mall, or tell her about my latest adventure at school or who i ran into while i was out. she's currently traveling around the country and has a fabulous apartment in virginia beach that she spends too little time in--but i know she's always just a phone call away! love ya, linda :)welcoming a couple of babies into this world--including seth...
and joseph...

continuing a great friendship with my friends and trying out my first organized sport--church-league softball :)spending time with my was one of my first full years of really being on my own, and when i get to spend time with my family, it's special. also spent a good length of time with my dad for the first time in a while as he recovered from his cancer treatments and surgery. that will always be something i remember in 2005---a scary, stressful time that made me strong and also brought me closer to my dad and that side of the family.
lots of time at the beach. i mean LOTS of time.

especially with this guy. of all my 2005 moments, this has to be the best. the first year of a relationship that has many more years to come. did i mention the sunsets? and the water?

road trips. we traveled everywhere this year. across the state, halfway across the country, short trips to the coast, to raleigh, to fayetteville. but i think the most exciting trip had to be cedar point. a dream come true--and one of the most amazing experiences i've ever had :)
before oakwood, there was st. mary's, and i had about 150 kids that i saw every week. my internship kept me busy, taught me a lot, and it was hard to leave.

but it was also great to graduate! two degrees in four years--it's actually nice to have a break now :)

april fool's day. i think it's always been well known that i am A) gullible B) jumpy and C) amusing when you pull off one of those two. these guys pulled off an april fool's joke that no one bothered to tell me was over after everyone else found out (and i wasn't there) and so it continued on for about a week or so before i found out and they didn't KNOW that i KNEW and i decided to plan my own joke back. i made them t-shirts (just in case they ever forgot) that read "i pulled an april fool's joke, forgot to tell someone it was over, she got revenge and all she gave me was this lousy t-shirt" plans for this april fool's are in work...
milo came into my life. he's grown a lot over the past year and is no longer the tiny kitten but is now quite the crazy tomcat. yet with all of this idiosyncracies, he's made himself fit in with me and grace (and secretly, i think justin likes him more than he'll admit)
i still keep up with these amazing friends from high school. whether it be visiting maggie up at wake forest for "shag on the mag," meeting up with megan at moe's here in greenville or visiting elizabeth in NYC over spring break and having her show me around the brooklyn bridge, there are some wonderful people who stay in my life no matter how many months pass between our last visit or how many years i can say i've known them.
this was just a fun picture. from my birthday last year. ribs and karaoke. doesn't take much to please me :)
continuation of the road trips. i love that i've found someone who enjoys traveling and that we can find things to do on our trips that both of us appreciate. "big historic houses" and "amusement parks" were the themes this year. coming up, we're talking about skiing, a big interest in charleston, and by the time summer gets here--you know we'll be at the beach again! these trips are important to us because it shows that we can handle the planning, the hours of driving, the many many hours just being together and coming through it without disagreeing or getting tired of each other. even when things don't work out (i didn't remember that the corn maze was having a paintball day!), we're able to improvise and keep on going.
ahh, NYC. this was my last spring break trip in college, and i have some amazing memories from it. seeing a broadway show, doing all the touristy stuff like the statue of liberty and the empire state building, and even attending a taping of a show in the NBC studios. but of course, nothing beats the simple pleasures--like a piece of new york cheesecake and a cup of coffee.
and my MSW crew. we bonded as a group over our year together and shared many memorable experiences--through braving exams, working on group projects together, many afternoons at moe's and coldstone, and then supporting each other with everything after graduation--new jobs, new houses, engagements and marriages. i might not see y'all as much as i used to, but i always know that you're there for me and how important you were in helping me get through one heck of a year.

and that's it for now... what a year, and i'm excited to see what'll happen in 2006 :) take care, everyone, and let me know if i forgot anything!

happy new year :)

happy 2006. and i've had a great time ringing in the new year.

it was wonderful to visit seth and leigh the other day and help her out with calming him down and giving her some free time. seth was about a month old and is a hefty 12 pound baby. he's got a set of lungs, some active arms and legs, and the beginnings of some killer blue eyes. can't wait to see how this kid grows up... (by the way, this is a picture of jennifer and seth, not leigh and seth--but it's a cute one!)

friday night was spent hanging out with the church crew for the first time since the middle of december. i had spent enough time on my own at the apartment and was ready to be social again. so we met at bear rock for some dinner and then headed back to my apartment to watch football and play some games. i had asked for some board games for christmas and had gotten scattergories and pictionary. so after playing a couple of rounds of scattergories, everyone else headed home and i got ready for new year's eve.

honestly, new year's eve was pretty calm. justin and i had waited until the last minute to make any plans because we were waiting to see if anything would work out with his friend kenny or if the young adults group would do something. young adults ended up coming through and was much more low key, which is what we needed since we were traveling to raleigh at way too early in the morning on new year's day. so we went over to kenny and jennifer's for tacos, more football (isn't it over yet?) and video games. the guys had a great time with joe's new xbox 360 while the girls stayed occupied with seth, gracie and cara.

but that didn't keep me from trying it out, too. i'm always the girl who's willing to give it a shot, even if the guys beat up on me. and as you can see, i give it my full concentration....

sunday morning, we hit the road bright and way too early for north raleigh united methodist for baby joseph's baptism. i hadn't seen my cousin in about 2 or 3 months, and he has grown quite a bit since then. i must admit that i am absolutely smitten by this kid. he has the longest lashes that shouldn't be allowed on a baby and the most laid-back, easy going personality. made it through the entire service without getting fussy, can be passed around from person to person with no problem, and is woken up from naps smiling and cooing. justin said he should get a little onesie that says, "yeah, i'm cool with that."
afterwards, there was a drop-in reception at billy and maryanne's where we got to meet lots of their friends and also do a little belated christmas. i'll be taking a trip to beaufort next weekend to pick out some artwork from the alan cheek galleries--very nice! i also got lots of great pictures of joseph and the rest of the family, which i'll add here at the end. i love the ones of him with my grandfather, the older joseph william. there is definitely an uncanny resemblace going on...

now it's just a matter of getting ready to go back to work after two weeks off, which involves laundry, dishes, taking the christmas tree down and all sorts of fun stuff. it's been a great break and i'm ready for the new year :) hope everyone else's vacations went well, too! later...