Wednesday, April 30, 2008

one month to go...

a month from today will be the last day of school and my last day at oakwood. it is amazing how quickly time has gone by, and though a month seems like such a short time, i know it will be filled with lots of the end-of-year activities. we have another round of standardized testing, spring concerts, talent shows, spring semi-formals and exams--and all that is on top of my wedding-related events and wedding itself! i almost hope that i get to enjoy a little bit of summer before i start a new job, simply because i will need a break before i head to work.

after our amazing weekend in ocracoke, we decided to celebrate our anniversary on monday, the actual day. justin surprised me by coming home early and setting a beautiful table, complete with customized menus and our new dishes. we had received a bottle of the wine that was served at our reception as a gift from alan and rachel over the weekend.

he also took the "life is good" shirts that we wore to leave the reception and made an important change--under "just married" he added "one year ago!" how creative.
and finally, we thawed out the top layer of our wedding cake and tried a slice. it had held on to the cake taste, but had the oddest texture--combination of moist from the defrosting and dry from the fact that it had been frozen for a year.
the rest of the week was a blur, and we received some of the hardest news i've ever had to deal with. we heard monday night that patrice had not felt her baby move in a day or so, and when they went to the doctor, they couldn't find the heartbeat. she and matt delivered gabriel matthew on tuesday morning and had his service on friday morning. i had just been in winston-salem to see them a few weeks ago and had taken some pictures of patrice individually and her and matt together. i was afraid that these would become painful for patrice and matt to look at, but they posted pictures from the service and i am so honored that they used one of the photos as part of the display. as they said, if they had to choose between spending time with him on earth and spending time with him in heaven, they would choose heaven, hands down.
they are an amazing couple and i love them dearly.

this past weekend was another full one, with relay for life on friday night. i stayed out at the event until 2 a.m., supporting our school team while also taking pictures for the paper. below is our team photo with everyone who was there to support lida's family, along with a couple of my favorite photos. if you'd like to see all of the ones that i took that evening, check them out at

alan's sr. recital was saturday evening at ECU. justin recorded the entire performance and has posted it for our friends and family to view. the recording is about a half hour long, but it shows the amazing talent alan has and the amount of work that he has done in the school of music. we spent time with everyone who came in to see the recital, and also hosted a bridal shower for rachel and her friends on sunday afternoon. between weddings, graduation in a couple of weeks, and finding jobs, alan and rachel have a busy summer ahead of them!

that's all for now. bridesmaids' weekend in charleston with ashley and the girls this coming weekend!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

busy time of year...

so since i last posted, it's been busy busy busy.

i had the pleasure of going to charlotte last weekend for ashley's bridal shower. all of her bridesmaids were there, and we had a great time meeting everyone and doing the silly shower games that are oh-so-entertaining. i will be seeing all these ladies again weekend after next when we head down to charleston, sc, for the bridesmaids' weekend.

linda and i stayed the night in charlotte and had a great time catching up with ashley and enjoying some quality time with her family. we had an awesome dinner at the bonefish grill and got some krispy kreme doughnuts a la our pirate pack days back in jones dorm. so great to see my girls and talk the night away like we used to.

this weekend, justin and i headed off friday afternoon and caught a ferry over to ocracoke to celebrate our first anniversary. we had been planning this trip for several months and had reservations for the ferry and for a new place (to us) on the island, edwards of ocracoke. the trip was fabulous and we had the most relaxing, restful anniversary weekend possible. we hit all of our favorite eating spots on the island--howard's pub, the flying melon (amazing crab cakes and parmasean encrusted salmon--wow!), ocracoke coffee company (best coffee ever) and more. we rode bikes around to all of the cute shops and art galleries, visited the lighthouse and spent some time on the beach. all in all, a fabulous weekend and i was sad to leave. if i could figure out a way to live there and make a living, i'd consider it...

us with the lighthouse

our boardwalk to the beach--i love this picture!

me on the beach (courtesy of justin)

our wedding glasses that we brought to commemorate our anniversary weekend (we'll try out our cake on monday, the actual date)
enjoying our glasses and an awesome bottle of italian sparkling wine called tinturo (from the wine shop in downtown fayetteville--so good!)
and so it's back to the real world. we're doing standardized testing and finishing up my intern's last few days at school this week. one question mark that has been answered (or turned in to a period, so to speak)--i found out that i will not be at my school next year. i have already been on one interview and am waiting to hear back from several other applications that i put out earlier. this is a great opportunity for me and i see it as perfect timing in the grand scheme of things. it will be tough to leave the kids, families and faculty members that i have grown to love, but i will also get a greater opportunity to work with populations and programs that can use my experience. so i will try to keep everyone updated as that progresses.

in the meantime, i have had some unique photo shoots lately. pigskin pigout (with the parade of pigs) last friday night, carnival rides at the grifton shad festival on wednesday, and, bringing out my southern accent while i talked with the chefs, a wild game and seafood feast for the boy scouts on thursday night. check them out at under the photos and videos section.

next weekend (get ready)--half day at work, ropes course with the faculty, relay for life friday night into saturday, family coming in, alan's senior recital and reception following, then on into sunday with family spending the night and a bridal shower for rachel that i'm hosting in the afternoon. wooo! it's gonna be a busy one.

so that's all i have for now--later, y'all.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

tough week...

so since last thursday, it's been a long week. we spent all day last friday working on the yard. justin broke up the desert area in our back yard that stubbornly hadn't grown grass with a 5 lb. mattock (a pick/sledgehammer type tool.) he busted it up into huge chunks of concrete-hard dirt, and we finally got it to the point where we could spread topsoil on it and plant grass seed again. while he was doing this, i removed the pine straw from the front yard flower beds and replaced it with our brown mulch that we had delivered. below are pictures capturing the whole process...

justin with the mattock in his paul bunyan pose
a piece of the dirt that we dug up
our new front yard flower beds (and the flowers that have bloomed already)

the back deck with mulch and the plants grandma has given me from her yard
after all that very hard, back-breaking work on friday, we took it pretty easy on saturday. it turned cold and rainy (which made it difficult to do my latino spring festival shoot) so we spent plenty of time inside enjoying a new game together. it's called "zack and wiki: the quest for barbados' treasure" which is best described as a puzzle/adventure game. the puzzle part is what i really enjoy, and we easily spent several hours on saturday and sunday solving the puzzles together. you are basically placed in a game level with the goal of reaching the treasure chest or treasure map, and you can manipulate many different parts of the level, change animals into objects, use objects and basic physics to make actions occur, etc. great game and we are getting close to finishing it :)

monday was a tough day--we've had an employee--and friend of mine--at work who was diagnosed with liver cancer over a year and a half ago. she was receiving treatment for over a year and earlier in 2008, they told her that there wasn't anything else they could do for her. on sunday evening, after many months of treatment and battling cancer, she passed away. she has two wonderful daughters--one who is a 9th grader at oakwood--and many family members and friends who loved her very much. it was a diffcult way to start back after spring break, and as much as i had imagined that day to be, it was amazing how the teachers and faculty members pulled together at work. i had many tough conversations with the students and tried to support the other faculty members as much as i could, and i had also planned with other therapists and had them on call in case things got overwhelming. by the middle of the week, things had somewhat returned to normal, but we have big plans for relay for life and her memorial service before the end of the month.

the rest of the week should have been relaxing, but it wasn't--with many plans for next school year coming out and my attempt to make plans for the student government for the remainder of the school year. it's getting to the crazy time of year where i have wedding/bridesmaid/alan's graduation plans nearly every weekend, and i'm just preparing myself for things to be wild. there are still some major question marks for what will be happening over the next couple of months, and it's going to be tough waiting to find out how things will fall. i'm just asking for patience and understanding as i gear up for alan's senior recital and graduation, our anniversary, ashley's wedding, the end of the school year, and alan and rachel's wedding. whoo, it's going to be crazy!

and finally... go UNC! final four weekend, and i'm ready for the game. i'll be watching my heels tonight and (hopefully) monday night :)

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