Thursday, July 14, 2016

Fun with the Alleys

Josh and Jaime have been visiting for a few days, and we've been having a blast! We went swimming, played at the Durham Science Museum, and had a water fight.

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And of course, we did a lot of this...

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Kentucky in July

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We took our annual trip to Kentucky in July. It was as hot as usual. Which is to say, as hot as North Carolina. If we were smart vacationers, we would go someplace cool in the summer.

One way to beat the heat in Kentucky is to take a hike through Mammoth Cave, so my mom got us all tickets. I was not thrilled at first (I grew up in cave country; I have been in a lot of caves.), but it turned out to be really fun. We took the historic tour, which led through some narrow, stooped, winding passages. Kellie, Alex, and Michael had to duck for half of the tour, and the Fat Man's Misery was a squeeze for anyone over the age of 12.

We spent the Fourth in Tennessee with Michael's family, where the boys enjoyed the annual Blowing Things Up celebration while I went on an eight mile run. (Kellie and I are training for a half marathon in August.)

Orange Belts

Eli and Rylan earned their orange belts in tae kwon do in June.

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Monday, July 11, 2016

DC Trip 2016

In lieu of a big trip this year, we are going to paint and freshen up the basement area (family room plus all three boys' rooms), so we only took a couple of small trips this year.

The first trip was to DC so the boys (just Cole and Eli because Rylan was with my parents in Kentucky) could revisit some places they haven't seen since they were little. We started off at Gravelly Park on a Saturday night to catch up with my friend Leigh from high school. Cool park and fun to see her!

Miriam met us at the hotel room late that night, and on Sunday, we trekked into DC to see the monuments. Between the heat and the walking, Cole and Eli were not the most pleasant travelling companions, but peace was restored with lunch and a quick nap (me!) at my aunt and uncle's house in Virginia. My Grandma Alley was staying at my aunt and uncle's house for a few days, so we planned our DC trip so we'd be able to see her. At 92(?) years old, she's still as upbeat and amazing as ever.

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On Monday, we went to the zoo - I think the first zoo the boys have been to while old enough to remember it. When we lived in DC, we went to both the Smithsonian zoo and the Philadelphia zoo many times, but that was 8 1/2 years ago. Surprisingly, Cole and Eli both really got into the zoo and wouldn't let us skip a single animal until we'd been there for HOURS and HOURS and they were ready to go.
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Miriam was leaving us from the zoo, so the boys and I took the metro back to the hotel. This was a feat considering that I haven't taken the metro in the aforementioned 8 1/2 years. Plus, half of the blue line is closed down for construction. But we're still alive!

Our last day was spent at some of the museums followed by a quick stop at Ikea on the way home. A trip to DC is not complete without a stop at Ikea!

Rylan's Appendicitis

In March, I got a call from Rylan's school saying he wasn't feeling well. Michael picked him up from school, set him up with treats and games on the couch, and worked from home the rest of the afternoon. When I got home around 5 or 6, Rylan was writhing on the couch in pain. I asked him where it hurt, he pointed to his right side, and I said, "Michael, I think he needs to go to the emergency room. I think it's appendicitis."

I took him to Rex because it was the nearest hospital, but it turned out that they didn't have a children's surgeon on staff and that I would have to take him to Wake. They told me it would be faster if I took him myself rather than waiting for an ambulance, but because of legal paperwork mumbo jumbo, it took another full hour after that before they released us. Plus, they took out his IV, and it had to be replaced at Wake. So frustrating!

Once we got to Wake, though, things moved pretty quickly, and everyone was treating it like an emergency. Michael arrived at Wake about the time we got there. I had called him from Rex and asked him to come give Rylan a blessing and stay to give me moral support. I was pretty emotional and just needed someone to hold my hand.

Rylan and I had to stay one more day at the hospital, but all went well. Thank goodness for wonderful surgeons and nurses.

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In a lot of pain here prior to surgery, but grinning and bearing it.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

One Thing They Don't Tell You

One thing they don't tell you when you're studying to become a teacher is that one of your students will be arrested and charged with first degree murder, and when you find out, all you can think is, “Him? No. That can’t be right. He was a sweet kid. Always hung out in my class during lunch.” But you look it up, and it’s true.

And a few months later one of your students will be arrested for throwing bricks off an overpass, which is hilarious, but not really, because he was a bright kid, and now he's in jail too, and his life is ruined, and there’s nothing you can do.

And they don't tell you that one of your students will die in a tragic car accident - two years after surviving cancer, three days before receiving his diploma - and you’ll cry on the way to school, but you’ll put on a brave face before walking into the building because being a teacher means pulling it together for the students that need you.

Being a teacher means spending your whole Christmas break worried about a student who always wanted to join the military until he found out that he can't join the military because his parents brought him to this country illegally when he was a baby, and he is so upset that he skipped class and sat in your room during your planning period, saying nothing for ninety minutes because Latino men don't cry.

Being a teacher means holding your student while she weeps after her grandma died, and you cry a little too because she's sad, but also because when she broke down in math class and they asked her what she needed, she said you.

One thing they tell you when you’re studying to be a teacher is not to let your students hug you, no touching, a pat on the back is fine, a side hug if you need to, but not a true hug with both arms, it’s asking for trouble. But being a teacher means letting your students hug you anyway on the last day of school because they love you and you love them.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Various Updates and Miscellany

I have a new co-worker this year who is not a fan of the South. She hasn't ever come right out and said, "I hate living here," but she sure hints at it. I imagine that today, on the first day of our 2016 snowpocalypse, she's sitting at home, shaking her head about the South's extreme over-reaction to snow. I, on the other hand, may not be a true born-and-bred Southerner, but I sure know how to rock a snow day. Got milk, got bread, read a whole book in one day, and only left my bed today to pee and eat.

Michael complained at dinner that he had to work today, and I teased back, "You might make four times as much as me, but I get snow days!"

And now I will take this lazy day opportunity to update ye olde crusty blog on the recent happenings of the Peters Family Band.

Did I mention that we moved?

After six years of living downtown, Michael and I decided that it was time to move for the seventh time in our fourteen years of marriage, so we hired a realtor, made an offer on almost the first house we saw, and moved in over Thanksgiving break.

Besides unpacking boxes, we spent our Christmas break at Miriam's house in Philly with the whole Alley clan. We also stopped in Virginia to see Michael's brother John and his family.

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Rylan and Violet

Rylan turned eight right after we moved, which made his baptism kind of awkward. We held the baptism service in our new ward building, but pretty much the only people that attended were from our old ward plus my family, who drove down after Christmas. Still, it was a beautiful service, and I'm so proud of this big eight year old!

Rylan's baptism

My wonderful sister planned and paid for a girl's weekend to Universal Studios. I am normally not a fan of amusement parks, but she was smart and bought us all fast passes. If I had to stand in line for an hour to ride a mediocre minute-long ride, I would have been mighty disappointed, but since the fast passes reduced the waiting time to about 10 minutes, those mediocre minute-long rides were awesome! A couple times, we got off, looked at each other, and said, "Let's do that one again!

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Harry Potter World is cool, but way too crowded, even in January. The rest of the park, though, was relatively empty and has these cool simulation rides that I found fascinating. It's crazy how they can trick your brain into thinking you're moving.

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And that brings us up to date! Happy snow day!

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