Somehow I managed to celebrate yet another Thanksgiving without taking a single photo. I blame it on having fun with family and not having my phone attached to me (for once!!!).
Thanksgiving has always been a special holiday to me- although sometimes a bit bittersweet. But it has always been the holiday where I am able to spend time with family (Christmas is usually just me and Austin and then me and my parents when he goes off to work). But Thanksgiving? It's a time to be surrounded by loved ones. And while it use to mean traveling to see out of town family, the past two years we've stayed home.
Then of course Saturday after is always the BIG game (Auburn/Bama- in case you couldn't tell from the pups above picture). And this year....we WON! WAR EAGLE friends!!!!
Suffice to say, I have a lot to be thankful for!
Thank you long weekend for me to recoup.
Thank you Auburn for an amazing win.
Thank you family for the love and support you always give.
Thank you friends for spending 8 hours at a bar with me to watch my game.
Thanks husband for always making sure I know you love me.
Thanks pups for modeling for me--- and the cuddles.
And thank you!!! For reading my blog. I am appreciative of you and I should totally say it more!!
I'm sure that you've probably heard of/seen/been a part of the black and white photo challenge on instagram and facebook. And yes, I obviously took part (I was nominated, it was like I had too....)
But seriously, I really did enjoy it and it got me thinking about the whole photography thing. For a long time I had wanted to make photography my second career (and I don't know, maybe I still do a bit). BUT it has been forever since I took a photo not on my phone and not for our school fall festival. So basically, I'm just not doing what I love and sometimes I wonder- is it because I've given up, or because I'm too busy, or have I just given up the idea that I'm good at this? I would love to make photography something that I can give my full attention to, learn more about, get better at, and then make a business. However, I think I'm at a loss of how/where to get tips and training.
I don't want to spend a ton of money.... in fact a part of me even thinks that if I don't have it - I just don't have it. This would also explain the whole me giving up on it altogether.
One of the habits that I hate the most about myself is that if I don't excel at something pretty soon off the bat, I tend to give up somewhat quickly. (Yea- awesome idea right? NOT).
Anyway- tips for how to better my skillz (or lack there of) would be much appreciated!
Just about every time I read a book, I seem to find that a million more have been added to my want to read list. (But really, is that a bad problem to have?)
Currently these are the books that I am either reading, just finished, or want to read in the near future.
1. Before We Were Yours. A tragic story based on real events (which I never knew about!!). The heartbreaking tale is centered around 5 siblings that get kidnapped and put into the Tennessee Orphanage in the 1930's. Their story shares the abuse and unfair adoption process (most kids already had parents and had just been taken from them) that one woman disgustingly got away with for 30 years. I know it sounds awful, but honestly it was a well told and heartwrenching book that I would recommend in a heart beat.
2. The House I Loved. I read a book of hers previously and loved it (although a completely different subject- it was based during WWII). This book is based in the 1800's in Paris and is about a woman who is forced to give up her house (along with many other families) to create a more "upscale" Paris. I'm still in the midst of reading it, so I'm note entirely sure how I feel about it.....
3. Everything is Illuminated. Another story based around WWII. I haven't read it yet, but I did already check it out from the library.
4. The Tudors. Yea, I have a problem. Between WWII and Tudor history, I feel like the biggest nerd (and proud of it). It's an extremely long book, but very detailed about the Tudor reign. It's note told in chronological order though, which bothers me a bit.
5. Happier At Home. Another book on my to read list. I bought it for under $3 on kindle a while back and cannot wait to dive in. I really love this author's previous work, so I'm hoping I feel the same for this one.
So 14 years later and I still feel like this song is so accurate, which also makes me a bit sad.
Let's be real y'all. This world is insane and sometimes I feel like it's only getting worse.
When this song came on in my car today, I turned it way up and started belting the words (glad you weren't there, I know). But seriously, where is the love? I don't understand hate. Anger, yes. But hate? Especially for races or people you've never met? Why hold on to that? Love is so much more freeing and sometimes I don't understand why people can't just try.
One of my favorite quotes is from MLK, Jr. "Hate doesn't drive out hate, only love can do that".
I don't know about you, but I'm going to keep trying to find the positive in everything, to hug my loved ones a little harder and longer, and love more.
I can't believe I just found out about this....this site allows you to look up CW shows by episode and check out outfits of main actors to get their "look"! (Don't judge me for the show I was looking at- I just started watching (okay binge watching) Hart of Dixie.)
reading Memoirs of a Geisha. This is a book club pick and while I am not too terribly far into it, I am really enjoying it. It's sad though.
watching The Wire. Okay, I know it's been off the air for what, a decade? But Austin put it on the other night and I got addicted. Currently binge watching Season 2.
listening to everything. I keep trying to add songs to my spotify list. My goal is to make the most amazing list of songs that I love so that they rarely repeat. Right now I have only 140 songs. But I keep going back through old mixed cds from friends and trying to find new songs from artists. Currently, listening to Handsome Furs, The Raveonettes, Swell Season.
If you have any recommendations, please tell me!!!
thinking about the stupid hurricane- Irma. We here in Florida had a rough go of it, but luckily she left us quickly. (And even more luckily, our family didn't have any serious damage!!!)
dreaming of Disney! I want to go back asap.
(below photos from our Disney day a couple of weekends ago).
I absolutely love this song. As far back as I can remember my mom would play Earth, Wind, and Fire and we would dance and sing (in the car, living room, weddings....wherever). It is just such a happy song, with so many happy memories attached to it.
And of course, it being September 2, it's quite a fitting time to share it.
This month has started off so awesomely (and I'd like to think the good vibes from this song help, ha!)
Football season is here!!!!! My favorite season, y'all. And Auburn's first game was a WIN!!!!!
Austin and I are also planning a Disney day for this weekend. So double win!
To everyone that read and/or contacted me about my last post about my dad, thank you! I cannot express in words how much it meant to me to know that so many of you still remember him or know the feeling. I truly felt surrounded by love and the lonely, scary feeling evaporated.
So thank you for reaching out! I wish I could give all of you a giant hug!
It's hard to believe that a teenage life ago (16 years) I lost my dad. My life literally turned upside down. And while this blog has been a space where I share how I feel about this day, sometimes I feel weird doing it. Am I sharing too much? Am I not sharing enough (but then again, I don't want this to be like a diary).
I remember in the beginning- thinking, wishing, praying that it wouldn't always hurt so badly. Then the memory of the day reached a point where I felt okay (well, as okay as it can be). I didn't cry all day long. I didn't feel this giant hole that ripped apart my heart. And then, it started to feel foreign. I've spent more than half of my life now without a father- my father. Certain traits and familiarities I once could remember so well, I can't now.
So it's now been 16 years.
I'm still sad- there is a big part of me that is missing. A huge player in my life that never got to see me grow up, graduate high school and then college, become the teacher I always wanted to be, get married..... There aren't many people in my life these days that had met him. Which I guess is partly why I feel so bizarre on this anniversary. It's a sad one and most of the time I don't feel like there's anyone to talk to about it. No one mentions him to me outright, even today. And I feel like most people don't want me to bring it up-- I get it, it's a depressing subject. "So today is the anniversary of my dad's death." "Hey can we talk about my dead dad?" "So can I just mention my dead dad, because I don't really have a lot of memories of him anymore, so it's not like I can share those with you." Because the awful, terrible truth is that the memories I do still have are slim. They are memories that seem not worth sharing- we hung out on Sundays. We made a habit of going to blockbuster and subway. He bought me my first and only skateboard. Who wants to hear uninteresting stories like that???
I'm not trying to sound emo (I'm not even sure if that's "the" phrase to use anymore). I'm not writing this to get pity, in fact, I would hate that to be the outcome. I also don't want to bring anyone down (which is another reason I never talk about this to people).
The truth is, I feel like the world has forgotten this incredible man, and with that, I am forgetting him too. It's a flipping horrible feeling.
And yes, I've tried the "old fashioned" way of journaling memories. I even have a book of pictures to remember events and him. But it's not the same. Not having anyone to talk to me about him, it just plain sucks. No one else remembering what today is (and having only one friend send me their thoughts and love today) sucks. But I don't expect anyone else to remember I guess. And I don't want to be the debbie downer that brings it up. So I guess this is the catch-22.
So I am obviously adding this song to the 2017 playlist because of the solar eclipse yesterday. Pretty awesome, even if it was cloudy and so my kiddos and I didn't get to see anything in real life (but we did live stream it from Charleston, which was pretty cool).
Anyone get to actually the eclipse clearly????
This song also reminds me of a kid of mine from 3 years back. Everyone kept yelling at one girl to turn around (because she kept staring at them). Instead, this boy slowly stood up and started singing this song.... "turn around...". I think of that jokester every time I hear this song. Man I miss him!
Okay all, I promise this is the last wedding song (for now.....) ha!
At first, I had really wanted this song to be our first dance, however; Austin was able to change my mind.
Instead, he ended up serenading me at our wedding with this song! It was perfect.
When Austin and I first started dating he would play this song when we were with friends (they are the "let's take out our instruments and randomly play" kind of awesome crew). I think I might have fallen hard for him that night because of him singing this song (and he killed it). So when he surprised me and sang this to me at our wedding, I melted.
I would like to promise that this is my last wedding song....but I doubt it will be. I started down this nostolgic train and I don't think I'm getting off any time soon, ha!
So this song.... Austin and I thought of a few songs for our first dance (and I honestly believed we had picked the song numerous times) but eventually we realized this song was just too perfect for us and our relationship.
I really loved having fun dancing to it (although I wish I had known how long it is.... that is a long ass time to dance in front of 100 of your closest friends and family members).
Picking a song for after the wedding as our exit song to was not as easy to pick as the others were. I wanted something that was happy and fun (and honestly because Austin and I both love Passion Pit so much, I wanted one of their songs to be incorporated into the wedding). I searched the internet for ideas and while I had originally thought of this being the one I walked down the aisle towards Austin to, I switched things up. I felt like it was the perfect exit song.
It also slightly reminds me of my dad, so being able to incorporate him into the wedding as much as possible was awesome.
It also still makes me smile. I really hope that never goes away.
Another wedding song from last year!!! I think because our anniversary was a couple of weeks ago I've been especially nostalgic.
So this song.... first of all I love Milo Greene. They are definitely one of my favorite bands. However a couple of years ago my best friend was getting married and I started day dreaming about the day Austin and I might possibly get married (of course he hadn't even proposed yet...). When I heard this song, I immediately knew. If Austin and I were to get married, this was the song I needed to walk down the aisle to.
This probably should've been a part of last year's soundtrack (except I didn't make one...oops). However, every time I hear it I am catapulted back to our wedding day. This was the song that we decided Austin and our wedding party would walk down to the aisle to. It's so perfect in regards to mine and Austin's relationship (plus Pink rocks)!!
So the beginning of school is finally here. And while the students don't start back until Monday, I've been back in the thick of things for awhile. I've been doing a lot of trainings this summer (and learned a lot) but I wasn't able to get into my class until last week. A part of me wishes I had done more at home this past summer, but it is what it is now.
So how is it going?!?! Well, if the picture above tells you anything, its going a bit slowly. Luckily my mom showed up for about 8 hours today!!! She's seriously amazing.
I think that I forget how much goes into making a classroom every year. It's totally worth it, but I seem to always be in a slight panic about getting everything done in time.
But I'm excited for a new year! (I also have been missing my past kiddos-- so glad that some of them visited me today though!!)
Happy new school year to all my fellow teachers (and the kiddos out there)!!! I hope its all our best yet!
I can't believe it, but it is almost time for we teachers to head back to work (although I kinda already am between meetings and trainings that I've been going to). So I compiled a list of some awesome things that hopefully will get you ready to tackle the new school year (it did for me anyway)!
I've been looking for a way in include standard trackers into my students' interactive notebooks and this is an amazing way! I already edited it for our math unit 1!!!! (I'm geeking out, can you tell?)
Since Chattanooga is a pretty far drive for us and the route took us through Atlanta, we decided to stop at The Varsity downtown. I had no clue about this place, since it was my first time in the city, but Austin suggested it and I am so glad he did. Such great food (with awesome views).
I found out later that my grandfather (mom's dad) use to visit this place all the time when he attended Georgia Tech. I never knew my grandfather (he died 2 years or so before I was born) so having this place to "share" was really an amazing experience!
Our hotel, The Read House, was absolutely gorgeous! It looked like it was out of the 1920's. Of course the first night we were there, we came back from dinner and heard a ghost tour going on. Austin and I refused to look up anything until we left, but the last night we (okay, really it was me) caved and looked up the haunted stories. Turns out our floor (the 4th floor) was haunted, as is the room 311 (where Al Capone once stayed while awaiting federal trial).
The second day (first full day) we were there, we decided to go up to Lookout Mountain by way of the incline train. The photo of me above is from the top, where you can see 7 states!!!! I still can't get over the impressive views.
Okay, so you can't really tell here, but if you look straight up (middle of the photo) to where the mountain meets the horizon, you can see a building. That's where the cable car for the incline train takes you. It looks awesome until you notice the almost straight upward incline it makes at the very end. I'm not going to lie, it was intense.
The views from the incline train as it takes you up are pretty breath taking. Of course, nothing beats the views from the top......
Later in the day (after my legs stopped feeling like jelly) we headed over to Ruby Falls. The whole experience in those caves were incredible.
Then, because we still hadn't done enough in our day, we went to the Tennessee Aquarium. This place is huge!!! There's a massive building for river animals and then another for ocean animals. Of course my phone died and my camera battery was also on it's last leg, so I didn't get as many photos as I wanted. However, Austin and I took the time just to enjoy being out of the heat and seeing all the amazing animals. I have to admit, one thing I love about us as a couple (and especially as a partner in Austin) is that we love doing tours and learning. Even on our honeymoon we tried to do the same thing. We are such nerds (and I absolutely love that)!!!
This is a horrible photo of me, but I had to capture it. So as soon as I walked into the butterfly area, one landed right on my shoulder. I wasn't entirely sure how to get it off either, so it just stayed there and hung out for awhile.
These above photos are really the best in honor of shark week (one of my favorites)!!!
The little sea creature above is now one of my favorites. It's called a sea walnut and it is by far one of the coolest organisms I have ever seen. You can see the entire organism (inside and out) and it lights up rainbow colors as well. I can't explain it in great enough detail, so just go visit the link and see all about it for yourself (you can thank me later).
Our last full day we went to Rock City. Of course silly me not only didn't bring my camera but I also wore sandals. How do I always manage to wear sandals on the days we walk the most??!?! So be forewarned, if you plan to go to Rock City, yes it has shops, but it is mainly trails. Wear sneakers (ha!)
The swinging bridge above is one of the scariest things I've ever done. This is probably in part to the dad in front of me walking on the outside of the planks instead of the middle..... if I could've turned back I might have....
Such an amazing trip! I loved every minute of it!!!
So now we're trying to figure out where to go next year!!!!! Any suggestions??