Monday, December 17, 2007

holiday season=haven't been able to post

so i realize it's been a few weeks since i made a real post, but it has been veeeeeery busy around here. i've had lots of plans going on, and it's just now starting to wind down before the big push to the end :)

the singing christmas tree was fabulous, as usual, and the concerts at school were also great. we've had events nearly every night during the weekends, but still managed to get some christmas shopping done as well. i cannot stand greenville traffic during the holidays, so i'm trying to take care of it on weekday afternoons, online, or have just put it off until i get out of school and can go during the day. it'll all get done in time...

i reprised my role as joann's surrogate daughter for the ecu economics department holiday party. i am a master at taking coats, putting out food and clearing out trash, and it is always appreciated. i also got to take pictures for my friend emily and her daughters for their christmas card. this was my first time using the new camera, and i'm definitely getting a better feel for it. i used it at both school concerts, which i consider to be difficult shooting environments because of lighting and movement. the first concert was a little rough, but i brought the tripod to the second concert and got some excellent shots. in the meantime, i'm watching the ebay auction for my old camera and hopefully will get a decent price for it.

justin and i went to a christmas party on saturday night for the "young adults without children" church small group that i've been going to for the past few months. though we weren't sure how many people we'd end up knowing, we had a great time and participated in another fun game of "yankee swap" or whatever you want to call it. this is a great group of young professionals who are newly married or just a few years out of college, and we're really making an effort to get to know everyone better. hopefully there will be many more parties and gatherings to come!

and yesterday, i spent about 7 hours total at church. that's when i'm really glad we live only two minutes away. the choir arrived at 8 am to perform at the 8:30 service, and then again at the 10:45 service. after leaving at 12ish, we were back again at 4:30 to get ready for the evening christmas program, which started at 6 and didn't end until after 7. i was exhausted by the end of it, but it was an awesome experience. marilyn and i sang a song together, and it was the first time hearing myself over that large of a sound system with monitors projecting back and everything. i also had the opportunity to talk to the youth ministry leader yesterday about volunteering and getting involved with that program as well. they have some great events coming up that sound like something i could definitely help out with. every week i get more excited about this church and the programs going on--it is such a energy boost, and i can't wait to see what i'm led to do.

and coming up--oakwood faculty christmas party tomorrow afternoon AND...

UNC mens basketball game vs. nicholls state on wednesday night! woo hoo! go heels :) and definitely keep your eyes out for those pictures--sure to be great!

that's all for now. happy holidays! and fts band folk, don't forget to rsvp for the alumni reunion!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

elf fun :)

and some photo booth pics to help out

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

holidays are here...

it's that time of year that i love love love...

we've finished our whirlwind tour of thanksgiving, with dinners in fayetteville and greenville, as well as a barbeque lunch with dad in goldsboro. it was nice to have a few days off after some very busy days at work for both of us. we know it'll be a while until the traveling ends, though--we've been down to new bern, all the visits during thanksgiving, and we're heading back to fayetteville for the singing christmas tree at snyder next weekend. it'll just all part of the holiday season :)

i'm still very much tied to the traditions in fayetteville, and we got to experience a wonderful one the friday after thanksgiving. the dickens christmas is an annual downtown event where they have the official lighting of the downtown area by candlelight. i had a fantastic time taking pictures with my camera, and of course, there are more up on flickr ( below are just some of my favorites...

and now i can't wait for the rest of the christmas season to enjoy my new camera that came in the mail today. we found a fabulous deal on amazon thanksgiving day for a nikon d40 with two lenses. i'm so excited to use it and get comfortable with the settings. in the meantime, we'll also be selling my other two cameras, one online and the other in person, since it has already received a couple of offers from friends and family.

i'm staying busy at work with all of the holiday events and transitions with administration, as well as visits from the new headmaster we'll have next year. this week is spirit week, and tomorrow is pajama day (my favorite day of all time!)

in other news, i'm getting involved with the choir at the church justin and i have been attending recently. i love singing again and being a part of this new group. we've got a music program coming up right before christmas, so we've been working on some new music. i'm also excited about going to the carolina basketball game right after school gets out with my family--there are sure to be some awesome pictures from that one!

that's it for now. later, y'all...

Monday, November 12, 2007

chilly november

it's hard to believe we're already in the second week of november. these past few days have flown by, and it's hard to remember where it all went...

of course, there was trick or treating, where we got to see the brights, the mcanallys, and the britners. other than that, we actually only had a few others. the rest apparently stayed towards the front of the neighborhood. oh well--we have leftover candy that will last us until christmas!

then there was the surprise lunch that i organized for our two mommies-to-be at school on halloween. and my intern, elizabeth, has since welcomed a new bundle of joy into the world...

lilly claire! so cute. i can't wait to see her in person :)finally, i've been getting lots of use out of my camera lately, including some action shots with the soccer team. it was fun seeing what i could capture, and it only makes me want to upgrade to the D-SLR even more. i've been checking out the nikon d40 and am hoping i will be able to get my hands on one by christmas.

and then there are our road trips we've been taking the past couple of weeks, one to fayetteville for the night and another to durham to visit my grandma at duke hospital and do some shopping at streets at southpoint. i think we're ready to have a weekend at home before all of the holiday weekends coming up!

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

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

it's almost halloween...

and fall has officially come to g-vegas. my feet are consistently cold, i get to pull out the sweaters and sweatshirts, and we have stopped using the air conditioning. yay :)

among many of the fall traditions that we have had these past few years, the school halloween dance is one of my favorites. i lead the student government for the middle school, which means i plan lots of dances and social events. i LOVE the halloween dance because it's easy to decorate (you can be tacky and that's totally acceptable), the costumes are fun to see, and it's our first big event of the year. this year, my intern elizabeth and i decided to have fun with a couple of wizard of oz costumes. i was glenda the good witch, and she had a blast being the wicked witch of the west. she also managed to convince her husband time to be one of the munchkins. lots of fun, and we had an awesome time.

i also had to pleasure of watching east carteret perform last week here at rose high school. it's the first time i've been to a marching band competition in a while, and i got to hang out with alan and his other band people before the performance. i also took some fun shots during the show (also on flickr)
and school field trips abound. i got to accompany the kindergarten classes to briley's farm the other day to pick pumpkins and go to the petting zoo. always a welcome change of pace during the day.

not to mention the homecoming game where ecu stomped all over uab, our fun experience of planting trees during a drought with hard-as-concrete dirt, and plans i've been working on to help us celebrate halloween at school (and recognize a couple of our soon-to-be mommies).

that's about it for now. trick or treat :)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

by the way, i'm back :)

from camp cheerio, where i led a group of 28 7th graders with two other faculty members for four days. we canoed, we caved, we hiked, we made s'mores. it was your typical camp experience.

and fall was in full force up there. i miss fall. i'm waiting for greenville to remember that it's supposed to be fall.
we're also back from busch gardens, where i led a group of 23 high schoolers along with justin and four other parents. we rode all the roller coasters, went through crazy scary haunted houses, and circled the park more times that i'd care to count.
i also had fun with shutter speeds and the new dive coaster, the griffen. awesome ride, but makes a pretty cool picture as well.
and when i returned to work this week, i opened my door to a desk full of flowers in appropriately recyclable cans and bottles. my friends at work had been ribbing me about my recycling habits and decided they would decorate my office while i was gone. the flowers are still beautifully displayed in my office, but the bottles and cans are in the recycling bin. of course :)
and now i'm gearing up for halloween, football games, homecoming and school events. should keep me plenty busy, but i'm looking forward to some relaxing times as well for me and justin to celebrate our six month-iversary on sunday.

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

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

back from the highlands...

so after an exciting weekend at the buckwheat festival, we're getting back in to the swing of things here at home. i just got the pictures up on flickr for the festival, and it's easiest to look at them in the set on the right side of the page.

i've added a few of my favorites one here, like the buckwheat cakes...the great festival food...
the parades...
the livestock...
and the fair displays...
it was great seeing all of the sights around preston county and spending time with justin's family. we had an awesome visit, except for an awful drive back down i-95 with a big accident and several detours. we ended up not getting home until 11:45 that night, about more than two hours after we were expected home. we're already looking at new routes to take up next time.

now that the wv trip is done, i'm focusing on my next two trips--the busch gardens day trip this weekend with my older students and faculty friends, and camp cheerio next tuesday with my 7th graders. these trips have taken a lot of time and effort over the past few weeks, and i'm ready for them to be here! between collecting permission forms, lining up buses and telling everyone what to pack, it's been a busy planning time and have caused some stress around school. now that they're almost here, i'm just hoping they go off well.

also this friday is our fall festival, and i'm excited about face painting all night long. this is one of my favorite things to do during the school year, and i've already got the supplies ready to go.

mom and grandma are getting ready for their big trip to new england and canada, and alan's getting in the middle of marching band season. i'm so excited for fall to get here, especially after getting a taste of cooler weather up in wv this past weekend. camp cheerio should definitely do that for me, but it's still a little too warm around here to feel like it's really autumn.

that's about it for right now--check out the new pics on flickr :)

Monday, September 24, 2007

so it's been a while...

things have been busy around our house lately. between work, school events, spending time with family and football, we've stayed quite occupied the past couple of weeks.

highlights are as follows:

-ecu vs. southern miss game last weekend: we had tickets for the highest row in the upper deck. great view of the game and the town. long walk up the stairs, and long game with a dissapointing end. sigh...

-lunch with dad in goldsboro that same day. always good barbeque and good conversation :)

-teacher appreciation dinner this week: fun times with my coworkers while we felt quite appreciated and quite stuffed!

-getting ready for our trip up to WV for the annual preston county buckwheat festival. we'll be leaving on thursday and enjoying all of the festivities on friday and saturday. i can't wait to take pictures and enjoy the fresh mountain air.

-enjoying the sounds and the heat of the river rock festival last saturday at the town commons. i'm becoming a big fan of live music around town.

-of course, the very live sounds of the dave matthews band in raleigh last tuesday. i won tickets on the radio the week before and justin and i headed over to walnut creek right after work that night. we grabbed a couple of subs, ate them in the parking lot and headed in to stake out our spots. i will say that the fans at a DMB concert are more mellow than some of the other concerts i've attended. no fighting over spaces, everyone being nice to everyone else, and lots of sharing... at any rate, once the haze cleared, it was an awesome concert with one of the best bands out there. and one of our cheapest dates ever :)

-and the promise of fall. we got a taste of it last week and i'm ready for it for good. there's something about being able to pull on jeans and a comfy sweatshirt to go out and enjoy the season.

that's all for now. new pics up on flickr--check 'em out!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

it's a football saturday

fun notes as i take a moment to post in between social outings today:

*we are now the proud owners of a 42' HDTV that is sitting happily above our fireplace. check out justin's website for more details and my photos to see the newest member of the family. though it has proven quite popular for football games and movies, this week i used it for something i knew i would love to see in high defintion--DCI finals on ESPN2. awesome, awesome, awesome. congrats to carolina crown for placing in the top 6 for the first time!

*to ECU for a fabulous showing at virginia tech last week--a highly publicized game that gave our school some wonderful positive publicity. and today, as we take on carolina at home for a sold out crowd, i will unfortunately have to watch it on tv somewhere around town. i'll be cheering on my pirates, though! (heels, wait til basketball season. then i'll put on my carolina blue.)

*to seeing my lovely linda and having a great lunch at mcalister's where we sat a couple of feet away from dave mirra and his wife. he was at the table next to us on the patio, and it was after a couple of fans came up to say hello that we realized we were sitting next to one of the most famous bmx bikers in the world. so cool.

*i am three weeks into the school year and taking on so many new projects. getting student government started up, planning camp cheerio, organizing a trip to busch gardens for the upper schoolers, trying to figure out what is and is not my responsibility, and getting to know our new teachers better. fall festival is coming up soon, as well, and i cannot wait for it to start to feel like autumn.

*finding the live music scene in greenville. something justin and i have tried to get into over the past couple of weeks. we took the opportunity to check out courtyard tavern's live music on the patio last sunday night for labor day weekend, and then last night we had an early dinner at wimpie's where a band was playing and then went to the patio at moe's for some more live music. there are some great bands playing around greenville if you take the effort to go find them.

that's it for now. go pirates! arrrrrrgh!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

in the groove...

so we've almost completed our first full week of school. schedule glitches have been ironed out, responsibilities have been correctly delegated, and i'm getting used to having an intern around for half the week. a big plus--my computer got an upgrade! i went from an iBook g4 to a MacBook, complete with built-in iSight camera and a bunch of new applications. i lost about half an hour the other afternoon exploring google earth and putting down little push-pins around the globe :)

mom's birthday party was quite a success, with lots of family there to visit and some wonderful home-cooked food. we had a great visit there, but headed back on saturday night to celebrate justin's birthday here at home. it was a quiet evening with take-out chinese and a movie, but the perfect way to celebrate after two weekends full of big parties.

we also have gotten started back up with fantasy football and are preparing for the beginning of real football season (both college and NFL.) justin's trying desperately to sell the mustang in order to fund the purchase of a new HDTV in time for the season opener, and i'm hoping to make it to as many pirate games as possible this year, even though tickets are supposedly sold out. there's something about this time of year that makes me miss the friday night football games terribly. i think i should adopt a local high school and go to all of the games for fun :)

finally, we're getting ready for a couple of trips during the next couple of months. the end of september, we're planning on heading up to WV for the annual "buckwheat festival" in justin's hometown, where you can eat buckwheat pancakes and sausage 24/7 and watch livestock shows, parades, and play bingo to your heart's content. then a couple of weeks later, i'll go on up to camp cheerio for the third time with my 7th graders. this annual trip has become one of my favorite activities, and i'm especially looking forward to it this year. we're trying to make this year a great one despite of all the changes around school.

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

Friday, August 17, 2007

back to the grindstone

so it's been a crazy few days... let me enumerate:

1) after 170 questions, about 2 and a half hours, and a couple months of studying--i passed the clinical social work exam. quite exciting, though everyone's asking, "so, you're a fully licensed clinical social worker now?" no... still have about 2,100 clinical hours to log, which will take me about 2 years in my current setting. so, in a little over two years, i'll be fully licensed. this is just sorta a big hoop that i had to jump through. i'm very happy to have it over with, though.

2) i had planned to go out and purchase the new harry potter the moment i got back in greenville as my reward for passing the exam. fate was working for me, though, and i ended up getting it before then. i passed one of my coworkers on the highway as i was driving back home and called her up to chat while we were both on the road, following one another. i was telling her how excited i was to get back and buying the book, and she said, "don't do that! i have it in my trunk. pull over at the next exit." we pulled off at a little country gas station, she gave me the book, and i went straight home and started reading. the next afternoon, i was done :) soooooo good. so good, so good, so good.

3) we're back at school, and kids are coming in four days. this has become a comfortable routine now, but with new staff members and some changes around the school, it's not "same old, same old." i really like the new teachers we've hired, and i'm excited to see how the year starts out.

4) students are coming back to the university. i drove by college hill this week and saw colorguard auditions going on down at the field--made me miss it just a little bit (but not enough to be out there in the almost 100 degree heat). traffic is crazy, all of the stores are crowded, and parents are moving students in and stocking up on dorm/apartment supplies. as easy as it is to feel like a college kid still living in a college town, i realized today that i am getting past that point. i saw a girl today who was in the middle of shopping with her mom after moving in to the dorms. it was the middle of the afternoon, at least 95 outside, with a heat index of somewhere over a hundred. she was in target with a hooded ECU sweatshirt on. SWEATSHIRT. obviously an effort to wear something ECU for the move-in even though that was the only thing she had. i just had to shake my head and keep going.

5) we're celebrating justin's birthday tomorrow with family. it isn't until next friday, but this weekend worked better for everyone. we're grilling out, showing off the house, and having ice cream cake. doesn't get much better than that :)

alright, that's it for now. welcome back to school, everyone! bouquets of sharpened pencils and what-not... later, y'all :)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

it's a little steamy out there...

so it's hard to believe that i have only a week left to enjoy the freedom of summer. i'd love to have just a couple more weeks... sigh...

but at any rate, here it goes:

i had the pleasure to take dinner to katie and nathan and seeing adorable rory (and got to hold her while they ate!) forgive me for the sideways photo, but i forgot to rotate it and blogger won't do it for me.

also got to enjoy john mayer/ben folds/james morrison. the first photo is john mayer (you can tell more by the screens, i guess) and the second is ben folds (big grand piano gives him away). awesome concert, and i had such a good time going there with my coworker kelly. the pictures aren't great, but i didn't bring the big zoom lens camera cause i thought they might not let me take it in.

and the other big event in the last two weeks...linda and brandon's wedding. this is only one of many photos that are up on flickr, so please hop over there and check them out. i have to say i'm quite proud of this girl and how calmly she handled the whole weekend. she was gorgeous, the ceremony was beautiful, and we had a rockin' time at the reception. it was also great to catch up with some old EC scholars friends--ashley and mark were there, as well as john and his new girl sarah. i can't wait to hear how their honeymoon went in st. lucia in a couple weeks...

and the day is finally set--i'll be heading to fayetteville on sunday night to take the LCSW exam on monday morning. i've gotten into heavy duty study mode this week, studying for a couple of hours each afternoon and reviewing lots of material. i'm feeling pretty good about it, but i don't want to be overly confident cause there's a possibility that i'll have to take it again in another few months... nope, nope, positive thinking. and when i pass it, i will run right out and buy the new harry potter because i've been holding off until studying time is done. then, it'll be two awesome days of reading for hours until i go back to work :)

i've been trying out a gym that's close to the new house and i'm really liking it. it feels good to get back into that routine, because even though i've been walking and doing light weight-lifting, it's nice to have access to all of the big weight machines and classes.

and i think that's about it...later, y'all.

Monday, July 30, 2007

where has the summer gone?

it's quite hard to believe that tomorrow is the last day of july. i'm really not quite sure where all of the days have gone, but i'm slowly facing the fact that i will return to work in a little over two weeks. sigh...

in the meantime, i'm getting back into the swing of things here in greenville after spending a week at oak island last week and atlantic beach two weeks ago. the week in between was somewhat random--mainly getting stuff settled for my P-LCSW stuff and studying for my upcoming clinical exam (ugh!). it'll be 170 questions over four hours, and i hope to take it right before school starts. it's been a while since i've really had to study, and let's face it--unless you're doing psychoanalysis all the time, you really aren't familiar with the 20 some defense mechanisms that freud listed. theories, vocabulary, treatment methods, medication symptoms...i'm cramming it all back in after finishing grad school a couple of years ago. luckily, most of it is coming back quickly.

i'll take a break from studying when i head to raleigh tomorrow for the john mayer/ben folds/james morrison concert at walnut creek. so exited about this...the last time i saw john mayer in person was three years ago, when i was the corrupting older sister and took alan to see him and maroon five the night before classes started. it was one of the best live performances i'd ever seen, and i have no doubt that tomorrow will be just as good. i'm riding with a friend from work, and we're going to picnic in the parking lot beforehand and just hang out and people-watch. perfect :)

recent fun/exciting events:
the arrival of rory to proud parents katie and nathan last thursday. yay!

linda's bachelorette party this past saturday night and her upcoming wedding weekend beginning friday with a bridesmaids luncheon and rehearsal, and the wedding on saturday. it'll be a busy time, but she and brandon make such a happy couple and i'm looking forward to being a part of the big day. i had a great time hosting her and the rest of the bridesmaids this weekend, and i must admit--i love actually having the space to do that!

and of course, ashley and mark's engagement and the beginning of the planning for their may 2008 wedding in duke chapel. also looking forward to being a part of their wedding when the time comes.

and justin and i are working on the plans for a house warming party sometime in august. keep your eyes out for a date and an evite. we want to celebrate with everyone who has been so helpful during this long process. we just haven't gotten around to actually planning it :)

continuing summertime goal: toilet training the cats. it can be done (google it, seriously--there are videos) and we're in the middle of the process. today, i went from litter box on top of the toilet to litter box in the toilet. i made the switch this morning... and there's no evidence yet that they've actually used it. this is the step in the process that actually concerns me cause it's the biggest change for them. i'll keep ya updated...

alright, that's it for now. check out flickr for new photos from the beach soon--i'm working on getting them up in the next couple of days. later, y'all :)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

hot time in july...

so we're having a blast in july--with fourth of july fireworks, grilling out in the evenings, and lots and lots of yardwork.

i'm currently posting from the beach, where we're wrapping up the end of a week-long vacation with my family. it's been days of sun, surf, swimming and visiting with family around here. hard to believe that the week is almost over, but we have another vacation coming up with justin's family, so i still have that to look forward to :)

grass is coming, thankfully, after a veeeeeeeeery long day of tilling, raking and seeding our yard. i'm not a big one for yard work, but justin says it's making progress back at home.

that's about it for now. beach pictures should be up soon, but in the meantime, check out my photos on flickr and our updated house tour video on justin's website.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


and the living is easy...well, getting easier.

we're quite settled in. the returns have gone back (almost). the boxes are unpacked (well, most of them). and the decorations are falling into place (except for those empty picture frames). the one thing that seems to be a common theme is that the moving is never done.

the most difficult part of the whole "new house" process? the new yard. we gave up on the seeding that the builders did and decided to do our own. so three hours on sunday afternoon, another $50 in mulch and grass seed, and our new lawn was set and ready to grow. until...

a half-hour thunderstorm on monday afternoon washed it all out. i mean, torrents of water down the lawn, washing all of our hard work and seed going down the drain--quite literally. i think we're coming up with plan B for this weekend. in the meantime... hey, we don't have to cut the non-existant grass!

i'm still making it out to school a couple of times a week, particularly with all of the commotion that has gone on recently. let's just say i hope oakwood is as wonderful an environment for me and all of my friends next year as it has been for the past two years--but there are a lot of changes going on.

i have been relaxing, watching some new movies (finally got to see "dreamgirls"!), and keeping up with the always varied options of summertime TV. a couple of things i'm looking forward to--the return of "the world series of pop culture" on VH1, and TBS's "my boys". i've also enjoyed watching samantha brown's new series, "passport to latin america", and she continues to have my ideal job. anytime she wants a break, i'm ready and willing to fill in.

i've kept a steady schedule of working out three times a week with a coworker, keeping busy with my other out-of-school teacher friends (katie's about to pop! anytime now, anytime...) and had a wonderful trip to benson for a DCI show last week. pics should be up soon, along with updated photos of the house. i'm still taking care of photos from the bar mitzvah, but i should have time to get things up in a day or two.

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

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

playing house :)

so we're in, we're somewhat settled, and we're learning all of the things that go along with having a house.

for example--trashcans and mailboxes don't come with the house. you have to get those. you don't get mail until you have a mailbox.

blinds, too.

and in our case, grass didn't come either.

but other than that, it's been wonderful and such a learning and growing experience. i love having space for everything, even though i don't like figuring out where to put all the stuff. i love having room for all of our furniture, though we're still figuring out how to make it match--and some of it might not, but we're atleast attempting it.

we have more channel options on satellite that we know what to do with, and i'm getting caught up on all of those summer doctors, vet and dentist appointments that i always try to schedule for the week after school. milo's going to the vet tomorrow--and after our embarrassing display last time where it took the vet, vet tech, myself and a towel to restrain him, we have some pills to sedate him and hopefully make it an easier time for all of us.

i'm still in that weird transition time, though, between school and summer when i'm not quite sure what to do with myself, and feeling a constant need to be productive. i am getting up to work out with a friend from work in the morning during the week, and i'm loving the weather in the evenings for walk around the neighborhood. it hasn't quite hit that humidly hot weather yet--except, of course, on the day we moved. otherwise, it's running errands, doing stuff around the house and making plans for the rest of the summer. it looks like there will definitely be some beach time in there :)

alright, that's all i can ramble about right now. i promise to have pictures up of the house once it's in some sort of order. later, y'all

Thursday, June 07, 2007

i am surrounded by boxes...

two cats, a bunch of plastic bags, and more stuff than i know what do with.

moving is fun, right?

well, school is out--for good. we had our last day of teacher workdays yesterday, wrapping everything up with a bowling party. this was after we were out late on tuesday night for the board of trustees dinner and some fun afterwards at chefs 505. and, of course, the three days of meetings. don't forget those! and erin's wedding on, lots of social stuff with work lately.

i've learned that the end of the school year is tough on me, very bittersweet and nostalgic. trust me, i'm happy when summer gets here. that's one of the perks of being on the summer schedule. you work really hard for 9 months and then get three months off as a reward. however, the transition time is difficult. i love my routines, i love seeing my favorite students all the time, and when it's time for people to move, or leave, or teachers to get switched around, it always leaves me wanting things to stay the same. i'm going to miss some very sweet kids next year, i'm going to miss some fabulous co-workers, and i won't find out what that's going to feel like for another two and a half months.

back to erin's wedding--erin has been my fellow bride-to-be this year. she was a new teacher, i came back to school engaged, and we realized our weddings would only be a few weeks apart. it was so nice to have someone with which to comiserate when you'd made your fourth trip to david's bridal in a month, or you couldn't figure out where to hold the rehearsal dinner. we had a great time at each other's showers, planned the talent show together at school, and i was always dropping in at her chorus class (just cause it made a nice end to my day). her wedding was beautiful, at the episcopal church downtown, and just so "erin and matt." i mean, who else but a couple of chorus students would have the bride walk down to a choir singing acapella latin hymns? the reception was held at their home on 5th street just a little ways down from the university. gorgeous, even with a little drizzle of rain, and i've never seen her look happier.

and now, with all of those social events over, it's time to focus on the move. we have our final walk-through and closing tomorrow, and then we pick up the big truck and get started. it's overwhelming right now, but i know it'll turn out okay has before. and it's so nice to know that this is the last move we'll make for several years. as someone who has moved every year for the past six years...i'm excited about a feeling of permanence. it will be a couple of weeks before the place truly feels like it's our own, until all of the little details and touches are taken care of. but tomorrow, it will be OURS and that's an awesome feeling.

(and justin is a wonderful husband cause he's letting me go off on saturday and take pictures for a student's bar mitzvah and i'm leaving him there alone to set up the house and all of the electronics--he's so good to me).

alright, i suppose i should pack...

later, y'all :)

Monday, May 28, 2007

three and a half days...

that's all we have left of the school year with kids. granted, there'll be three more days of meetings the next week, but still... it's getting close.

justin and i celebrated our month-iversary on monday of last week. it's hard to believe it's already been a month, and we're also nearing our next milestone--the house closing--in just a little under two weeks. i've already started packing boxes, but it's awesome to know that this is the last time i'll be packing things up in several years--YEARS! as a girl that's moved atleast once a year for the past six years, this is a huge sigh of relief.

our weekends have been crowded lately, so it will be nice to be a little settled in a while. we're busting out of the apartment, between justin's stuff and wedding presents, so it's actually been good to be out of the place during the day. maggie's wedding in winston-salem was fabulous, a classic southern affair in black and white, complete with horse and carriage, champagne toasts and huge oak trees. the next weekend was a weekend of showers, with linda's bridal shower brunch on saturday and katie's baby shower on sunday. and this past weekend, for the holidays, we headed to fayetteville to redo my room at home so it is now gender neutral, clean, and can accommodate justin and me quite comfortably. we were also able to squeeze in a trip to the beach yesterday for justin's sister's birthday. though it was crowded in the parking lot, fighting the traffic was well worth it once we got on the sand and in the water. a beautiful day for beaching and cooking out.

and today--well, justin had to work, so i'm catching up on cleaning, errands and packing. quite productive and preparing for our last week of classes. summer's almost here...

later, y'all.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

the honeymoon

if you need to get caught up, read the previous post. then start here :)

so with a 8 am flight, we needed to be at the airport around 6:30. we caught the shuttle from the hotel and made it through check-in and security without any trouble. during the flight, we got to see charleston, sc, and kennedy space center from the air. we landed shortly after ten, and not knowing when the next meal might be, ate a quick lunch at the airport. as we went towards baggage claim, i heard my name being paged and headed over the baggage counter as quickly as possible.

on our flight, we had a passenger in a motorized wheelchair that was stowed under the plane with the luggage. this was a fairly small plane, though, and the weight distribution was thrown off so a few suitcases had to be left behind to follow on another flight. they assured us that it was luggage that had been checked plane-side. however, as i made my way to the baggage counter, it became obvious that that wasn't the case. we were reassured that my suitcase was coming on a flight from atlanta and would definitely be here in time to get on the boat (to lessen the suspense--it did).

so then it was over the ship on the bus and through the long process of checking in. we were actually in our room by about one o'clock, so we ate lunch and explored the ship, had our muster station drill, and came back to find that yes, my suitcase made it. we got cleaned up and had our first dinner on the ship, watching the sunset off the stern of boat afterwards.

our two days at sea were a lot of sleeping in late and having breakfast in bed, lounging around on the sun deck (well sun-screened, of course), exploring the ship, taking in movies on the big LCD movie screen, watching shows in the theater, and enjoying huge five course meals. though we enjoyed our time on the ship, it certainly was exciting to wake up wednesday morning to bright sun of st. maarten/martin.

we boarded our bus outside of the ship to take us on our tour of the island. we stopped first at a souvenir marketplace called the village plantation, where we were offered rum punch and the chance to buy various trinkets. the rum punch became a theme at all of these places--more likely for you to buy things, i suppose. next stop was the flea market in the french capital, marigot. this was my favorite stop, simply for the photo opportunities and the wonderful crafts that were being sold. we picked up a small watercolor painting there, as well as a quick snack to tide us over until lunch. i loved the colors, the sounds, the smells, the whole environment of the flea market. we took our still-warm sandwiches back to the bus and headed on to the beach.

the boo boo jam beach (yes, actual name) was located on part of orient beach, the widely popular "nude" beach on the island. though our touristy beach section was pretty much free from nudity (thank goodness) we did see some as we strayed away to more public sections of the beach. the water was gorgeous, though, clear and amazing blue all the way out to the horizon. we slathered on sunscreen, drank lots of water, and swam to keep cool in the almost noon-day sun. alas, this where i got my sunburn for the week, but it was a great beach experience otherwise.

we headed back to the ship to shower and eat lunch before we ventured off once more, just long enough to explore the shops around the port and get a drink at one of the bars nearby. as we watched catamarans come in and all the passengers walk back and forth from the dock, we talked with the locals working there and took it all in. such an interesting island--a mix of french culture, dutch heritage and the tropical lifestyle.

st. thomas was our next stop, and the morning presented itself rainy and windy. i had invested in a floppy straw hat after my day in the sun before, but that proved not to be a problem on thursday morning. we ran through the pouring rain from the ship to our open-air safari vans. thankfully, the rain let up in time for the tour to start, and it was overcast but comfortable for the rest of the morning. we visited mountain top, where we sampled their world famous banana daquiris, drove around to various vistas off of the moutain roads, made another stop at st. peter's great house where, yet again, rum punch was available, and then headed to downtown charlotte amalie where they were celebrating "carnivale"--their own version of mardi gras. the streets were crowded with locals in very skimpy carnivale costumes, roads were closed, traffic was crazy and as we were let off at one of the major intersections, that's about the time that the bottom let out and it began to pour again. we took a wrong turn, ended up in the not-so-good neighborhood, and had to walk back to the shopping area in the rain.

this was the point at which i had my mini-melt down. i don't like being lost in a place i don't know surrounded by lots of locals in the pouring down rain. it's slightly stressful and not that much fun.

justin saved the day by getting us back to our starting point and taking us far enough in the downtown area to catch a cab going to the other end of the town. we finally got to our destination, paradise point, and rode tiny trams up to the top of the mountain where we were greeted with shops, a wonderful restaurant and, eventually...sunshine. after some food and an amazing concoction called the bushwhacker, the sun came out and we were able to enjoy our view of st. thomas and charlotte amalie before heading back to the ship.

our day at sea was a busy one, with a tour of the galley and cooking show in the morning, ice carving demonstration in the afternoon, and a big event for me--the "on deck for the cure" 3k walk for the susan g. komen foundation. this was the first week the ship had held the walk, but they're trying to raise $1m for breast cancer research along with other ships in the industry. though it was warm, it was definitely worth it and i had a great time (and have a cool hat to remember it). we got ready for our last formal night and then had a full evening of dinner, comedy, hypnosis, champagne waterfall and "london pub night" which kept us out until 1 am.

we did have to get up the next morning for princess cay, the cruise ship's private island in the bahamas where we were able to snorkel, swim, eat (of course), and relax along the sandy beaches as we watched people fall off the banana boat rides. seriously, they had a ton of watersport activities with sailing, paddleboats and those big bike contraptions to keep everyone entertained. after a few hours on shore, it was time to take the tender back in and prepare for our last night on the ship.

along with a wonderful dinner, our last night was spent staking out spots to watch our favorite entertainer, bert. i first heard bert the second night of the cruise as we walked past crooner's bar along the atrium. he was leading all of the audience in his own rendition of "sweet caroline," and i told justin, we should come back and see him tomorrow night. well, we did and we were both hooked. he's a combination of jim carrey and victor borga at the piano, with an awesome repetoire of broadway, oldies, rock and roll and his own material. he coins phrases, encourages audience "participitation," and actually makes you sing parts over again if he doesn't feel you did it up to snuff. we ended up standing outside of crooner's several nights singing along with bert, and made it to his full show in one of the lounges as well. i can't really explain why he was so addicting, so you can look him up on youtube or check out his website, he actually has fans that book their cruises based on which ship he's on at the time.

other interesting notes about the ship:
justin ate a ton of food. those of you who know justin know that he is not a big eater. but man, there must have been something in the water cause the boy ate all the time. didn't gain a pound, but atleast he tried :)

only one towel animal, but he was cute.

best coffee i've ever had from a non-coffeehouse place. i had coffee all the time just because it was so consistently good.

i remembered to tip people. made me feel very grown-up :)

and finally--if you have the pleasure of going on a cruise, eat dessert. every night. trust me.

disembarkation was uneventful, and we had way too much time to kill at the airport before our flight. the transition from cruise food to airport food is a difficult one. and now we're back and in to the end of school routine, waiting patiently for our house to be ready so we can sign the papers and move on in. we had the joy of watching maggie and baxter get married last weekend in winston salem, and this weekend i'm helping celebrating linda and brandon's upcoming nuptials and the arrival of baby girl mcanally with katie and nathan with a couple of showers. life is good for everyone right about now...

check out flickr for pictures and anything else i might've missed. videos are posted on justin's website, the link is to the right.

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

"mrs. thorn, please call 210, mrs. thorn, call 210"

so i'm still getting used to hearing that over the intercom at school. almost a week back now, and i'm never quite sure what i'll be called, or what to call myself as when i'm introduced. guys never have to worry about this, but i must admit--i love it.

it's my first post back, and i imagine this will come in a couple of drafts. there's so much to share since i last wrote, and it's hard to put it all down into words, but i'll try.

we're married, we're living in my tiny one bedroom place for the next month, and we haven't even touched the majority of our presents. it's nice to be home, and it's wonderful to be back in the real world as a married couple. yet it's so hard to believe that just two weeks ago, i was heading to fayetteville to get ready for the bridesmaids luncheon and all of the last minute details before the rehearsal. it feels like ages ago--and yesterday--all at the same time.

so i'll do what i can to touch on the past two weeks. i might even add some pictures, though if you want a full run-down photograph-wise, you need to go to my flickr site. there are quite a few. just click on the "wedding weekend and honeymoon" set and put it on slideshow.

friday, april 20th--we start off by running a few errands and heading down to the kyle house for decorating, and the church to figure out where people will sit, where the wedding party will change, etc. i manage to meet linda downtown and she goes with us to pick up my bridal pictures before we all head to my bridesmaids luncheon at john and mary's house. it was a beautiful afternoon--kinda chilly, but we were able to eat outside, have our "charm pull" for the cake (i got the castle meaning "happily ever after" while grandma got the engagement ring--ha!) and spend time with all of the wonderful women in my life. afterwards, the girls and i went back to my mom's house and painted our nails before we all left to get ready for the rehearsal.

the rehearsal was at 6, and we all began gathering at the church to do a run-through. it was amazing to see all of our family there together. with the distance and family situations, it's rare that you see them all in one room at one time. but tonight, almost everyone was here and it went so smoothly. we practiced the ceremony once, gave the guys a lesson in ushering, and before we knew it, it was time to eat again!

the haymont grill and steakhouse holds many childhood memories for me--i remember going there as a kid after church for lunch and getting spaghetti, or the hamburger steak. it was the best option for us when we started looking at banquet rooms, and they accomodated us so well. i went around to all of the tables, playing hostess, and enjoyed visiting with all of our family that had come in town. we had toasts, including a touching one from scott, a funny one from linda, a suprisingly calm one from justin and as for me...well, i told myself i wouldn't get choked up, but it didn't happen. we had the best time, though, and afterwards, the bridal party headed back to the hotel where most were staying and had a quick drink before bed. though i had been afraid of not sleeping, by midnight, i was exhuasted and immediately fell asleep.

we started off the morning with a quick visit to great harvest for some scones, hot coffee and well-wishes from the bread heads there. with time to kill, we headed back over to the kyle house to help with decorating with grandma and all her friends. then it was off to lily's for the third and final styling of my hair. sprayed in place, we went back home where i did my make-up, figured out what was going with us to the church, and picked up lunch from subway decked out with my veil (that got a few looks). quick lunch in the fellowship hall, fun times getting dressed, and the photographers appeared. i was handed my flowers and waited patiently to see my groom. though he had seen me in my veil earlier, this would be the first time he saw the gown and jewelry and i was so excited to see him in his tux.

he walked in to our quiet little space tucked back behind the sanctuary, and we had our moment just to look at one another and take in everything. we hugged and shared a sweet kiss as the photographer snapped away. i got teary and was quite happy to have had my waterproof mascara. after a little bit of dabbing and a couple more pictures, we went out to join the rest of our group for the formals.

suprisingly, a half hour passed by and we were done. justin and i got whisked away as guests started arriving, and we did a few pictures in the back, as well as some fun shots with the bridesmaids. there's a lot of time to kill that half hour before the ceremony. i do remember waiting outside as my bridesmaids went down the aisle, hiding behind the door until they called me into the narthex. everyone said i booked it down the aisle, not that i was really paying attention to my speed, and suddenly, there we all were.

i don't remember specifics about the ceremony except that my feet were starting to hurt being in heels and standing on a slope up front. i shifted my weight back and forth the whole time. justin's hands were sweaty, and he had a little bit of trouble putting my ring on. we tried to speak clearly. according to everyone, we did and it was great cause sometimes you can't even hear the vows.

we kissed, turned around and smiled, and i kept justin from going down the wrong aisle. then we were whisked away again until the majority of the guests left and we could come back in to recreate a few key moments for the photographer. we piled into justin's car, drove the three blocks to the reception, and came in a very crowded house with a lovely tent out back. i found my beaded white flip flops as soon as possible. if there's one piece of advice i'll give any bride, have a back up pair of shoes. you'll be grateful. trust me.

we ate, we did the whole champagne thing, we got frosting on each other's noses, i threw a small bouquet, justin threw my garter, and we faked our exit with lots and lots of bubbles. in between all that, i saw tons of people and said "thank you" a million times and posed for pictures and caught up with old friends. it was so awesome--everyone was so happy, and it was like everyone that i loved and cared about the most was there to see me and my wonderful husband. it was the biggest and best party i could have ever been a part of.

i could've stayed there forever...
but we had a 8 am flight in the morning and reservations in raleigh. so it was into our "just married" life is good shirt, back to pick up my big 'ol suitcase, and off to prepare for our tropical vacation.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

last post as a single girl in g-vegas :)

so it's been quite a week, and the handy "countdown" on my google homepage says that the wedding's in 3 days.

my first inclination is to say, "no way, where has time gone? it feels like it shouldn't be that close." but i would be lying. it should be that close. it should be here. and i will love every minute of it, and love the fact that i will have a week off for my honeymoon. no more putting this off, saying there's so much to be done. it's done, i'm ready for it, and if someone were to say, "hey, want to have your wedding in the next five minutes?" i'd say "sure thing, show me the dress."

i think this might be what happens to all brides the week before their wedding. i've tried to play it off all this time, saying i'm not a bridezilla, i've been very low-key and really stayed calm through some trying times. but this week--all bets are off. the one thing i can say is that when friday gets here, i will be ready to see my friends and family, celebrate and enjoy this entire experience. until then, it's somewhat stressed-out, tired, emotional and hanging on by a thin thread of sanity lauren. she's a fun version of me :)

non-wedding related news--we have a very complete looking house. only missing carpet, some major appliances and a yard.

talent show auditions today, and my school has some talented kids. can't wait for the show in may.

this weather is way too cold for april, i'd like to say.

praying often for the students of VT.

and excited about seeing all of the people coming in town.

that's it for now. i'll be unavailable until the 30th. but i'll be back with lots of stories and pictures :)

later, y'all.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

tick, tock, tick, tock..

so i'm in fayetteville, getting all of those last minute details finished and taken care of. the end is in sight, and i'm ready for it to be here :)

in the past 24 hours, we've gotten my car to the shop, my dress to be steamed, the programs printed, the bridal portrait chosen, frame for the portrait purchased, the check-in for the caterer (and tomorrow, the florist and the rental people), thank you notes written, and... well, if i think of anything else, it'll get done tomorrow.

things that i am looking foward to:
-packing for the honeymoon, and let's face it, the honeymoon itself. the fact that in just a little over a week, i will be on a balcony of a cruiseship, heading towards the virgin islands--that's just awesome.

-seeing all of my friends and family that are coming in town.

-getting dressed up. as much as you may not pin me as "the girly girl," i have to say--putting on a big white dress and a veil makes everyone feel like a girly girl. it's fun, and if only for the afternoon, you feel like a princess.

-being one step closer to having our house. soooo excited about that.

-and, of course, being mrs. thorn. it's gonna be a great 10 days... :)

later, y'all.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

two weeks... seriously?

so as we're nearing the two week countdown to the wedding, things are amazingly busy--and not busy--at the same time. it's like running a race in slow motion. the days are full, but not necessarily of the immediate things. there are things that still need to be done, but they're always "well, next week," or "on spring break." so it'll be crazy when that time finally gets here and those things need to get done.

it's been standardized testing for the younger kids at school, and i've been helping out with a small group that gets extra time and read-aloud for the test questions. wow... talk about exhausting. there's also been planning for the talent show next month, the semi-formal, and all my typical appointments with kids.

outside of work, it's worship focus committee for church, doing all the last minute details like programs, dress steaming, florist/caterer/photographer check-ins, etc.

and, of course...
my bridesmaids weekend in virginia beach.
i have no pictures for this yet, though there should be one out there of me with a light-up sash and sparkly "bachelorette" tiara with about a dozen strands of beads around my neck before we went out. when i get that one, i'll let you know ;)
let's just say it was a fabulous weekend with my dear girls, where we got to have a great time together, see linda's new apartment, eat at some fabulous restaurants and stay at the hilton garden inn at the virginia beach town center. couldn't ask for a better time!

and tomorrow, i get to enjoy a potluck lunch at work for my other fellow bride, erin, and me. justin and i will head to fayetteville on saturday by way of clinton, have easter sunday at hay street, and head back in time for his family's celebration. and then....

spring break. hallelujah.

later, y'all :)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

where's the time going?

it's been another hectic week with wedding deadlines, busy times at work and an ever-productive social calendar. i'll be looking forward to the honeymoon just to have a week of doing nothing...

so--here are the highlights:

the lovely weather and a trip to little washington on friday night. i finally got to try out "backwater jack's" and their amazing sweet potato fries. SO GOOD. also enjoyed the sunset and a lovely walk along the waterfront. pictures at flickr, of course.

another great photo shoot with my girl michelle. also on flickr :)

final marriage counseling session and getting together the wording for the program--coming together, finally.

hail storm last night, leaving some lovely dents in my car hood. nice...

oakwoodettes final party today after a rousing performance at auction--also fun times.

and last but not least, packing for virginia beach and a wonderful weekend with my bridesmaids. i'm very excited about seeing my girls!

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

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

one month

that's all i'm saying. one month from today...

Monday, March 19, 2007

i'm digging the cough syrup with codeine...

so i've been sick for the past few days, and i'm just now getting my normal voice back. lots of coughing and hacking and a fever will do that to you, but i'm starting to feel much better. the cough syrup helps with that :)

so it's been a crazy couple of weeks, with lots of stuff going on at school. changes in staff, auction, my health classes, practicing for oakwoodettes--all taking up tons of time. again, we should be finally slowing back into a normal schedule around there. the auction was fabulous, with a wonderful performance from all of my fellow oakwoodettes and a great time with my friends.

wedding stuff is moving along as well... marriage counseling, bridal portraits, favors, napkin designs and all the rest of those little details no one really tells you about at first. it's hard to believe that it's only a month from wednesday. whoa...

and i leave you with pictures from st. luke UMC in sanford, where we're meeting carl for our marriage counseling. i loved the stained glass in the sanctuary and decided to take some pictures while i was hanging around. more on flickr, of course.

later, y'all...

Saturday, March 10, 2007

quick notes:

-bridal showers? check

-pictures from those showers on flickr? check

-thank you notes for all of those tons of gifts? check

-turmoil at school? check (but hopefully being resolved)

-updated house pictures also on flickr? check

-paint on the walls, vinyl/carpet, lighting fixtures and appliances chosen? check

-wrong countertops put in? check (unfortunately, but also hopefully being resolved)

-bridal portraits taken? as of monday--check

-carolina in the acc tournament final? check (and i'll be watching tomorrow until we leave for marriage counseling)

-ready for my life to no longer be a bunch of list? check...

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

stopping to breathe...

so it's been a busy weekend, with showers on friday and sunday and an evening out to the theater on saturday.

the "tool time" shower with the girls from work was fabulous. they had a custom cake, fake hardhat and tools, and all the hoses, shovels and laser levelers i could ask for.

saturday, after we checked out a few places for house stuff and updated registries at a couple of stores, we got ready for a night out on the town. dinner out and then over to ecu for their most recent musical, "urinetown." i was excited to see this unconventional musical and show justin that musicals are not just "rodger and hammerstein" stuff. overall, not bad and definitely not your typical stage show.

sunday, mom and grandma came into town and joined me for my shower at church. my friends got pictures of me and justin, decorated the place and had some great food. it was amazing and such a great time. i should have some more pictures up soon.

and the fun times continue this coming weekend in fayetteville. i'm so excited to see some old friends, and of course, my bridesmaids who are able to be there. it feels impossible that tomorrow is march and we're only about 7 weeks away from the big day. where has the time gone?

okay, that's all for now. gotta start dinner. later, y'all :)

Monday, February 19, 2007

big weekend...

the rest of the week flew by after valentine's day, and before we knew it, it was time for our three day weekend (or for us oakwooders, three and a half days--i LOVE half day fridays).

so justin and i continued our house search and stopped in at the model home of the neighborhood at the top of our list. i had gone to an open house last weekend and talked to a real estate agent there, and he happened to be at the model home that day. we looked at floor plans, got to see a couple of homes that were in progress, and by the end of the afternoon, had seen a house that was about 4 months away from being completed. if we got in now, we could choose our carpet, tiles, paint colors, countertops, lighting fixtures, appliances--pretty much everything except for the vinyl siding and shutters (which was already on the house, obviously.)

we left the house and i said to justin, "i really liked that house." he replied back, "i loved that house. we need to get it." and coming from his background of architecture and designing huge, luxurious homes, that's saying a lot. i had been reminding him that we weren't going to be able to have our "dream home" in our starter home. however, in this situation, i think we're going to be able to come pretty close. granted, it's not the exact layout that he's had in his head for years, but it's definitely a great way to start out.

so we spent the rest of the weekend talking to a few more mortage places, and on my school holiday today--i went and signed our contract for the home. we put some money in escrow (i keep thinking of joey on "friends"--"and i looked on the map and i can't even find 'escrow'!") and now have a ton of paint, countertop and marble samples to choose. just when i thought all the decision making had ended with the wedding planning--we're back to square one :)

but we have a closing date (june 8th--right after i get done with the school year) and a lot to be excited about.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

sights of valentine's day at work...

valentine's day at any school is a little hectic. lots of candy, emotions running high, and tons of class parties. so while i had some free time this afternoon, i went around and took some pictures. enjoy my favorite pictures from today and more, of course, to the right on flickr :)