Friday, December 29, 2017

Rylan at 10 Years Old

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Rylan at Ten Years Old
  • favorite color: blue
  • favorite food: shrimp alfredo
  • favorite dessert: buckeyes
  • favorite thing to do: play video games
  • favorite video game: Pokemon Ultra Moon
  • favorite subject in school: science
  • favorite book series: Percy Jackson

What is the meaning of life?
  • to live with Heavenly Father again

What do you want to be when you grow up?
  • an astronomer

What makes you happy?
  • family

What are you afraid of?
  • creepy clown killers creeping in your closet with creepy chainsaws

If you had one wish, what would you wish for?
  • I would say unlimited money, but now that I think of it...world peace

What is the funniest word?
  • purple

What is the hardest thing to do?
  • go to a planet that's really far away

What is the easiest thing to do?
  • breathe

What is the best thing in the world?
  • Breathing! No, no, family.

What is the worst thing in the world?
  • Don't write this down, but I say it's Eli's face.

What makes you mad?
  • Eli's face. Um, um, let's see...Cole and Eli annoying me.

What is the meaning of love?
  • red (This is how Robbie answers all questions.)

If you had all the money in the world, what would you do with it?
  • I would split it into three halves. One for me. One for charity. One for me.

Cole at 14 Years Old

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Cole at Fourteen Years Old
  • favorite color: green
  • favorite food: I don't have one. (Eli says, "You're turning into your father...")
  • favorite dessert: cheesecake
  • favorite thing to do: play basketball
  • favorite video game: I don't have one
  • favorite subject in school: Social Studies. The teacher is the best.
  • favorite book you read this year: The Light Fantastic 
  • favorite music: the music he wrote himself

What is the meaning of life?
  • 42

What do you want to be when you grow up?
  • a music engineer

What makes you happy?
  • No Eli. No, don't put that. Lots of things make me happy...Like spending time with my family and seeing a movie or something.

What are you afraid of?
  • Having appendicitis. I get scared of that all the time. Every time I get gas, I assume it's appendicitis.

If you had one wish, what would you wish for?
  • To be immune to appendicitis. To have my career made out for me. And world peace.

What is the funniest word?

What is the hardest thing to do?
  • stopping eating when I need to stop because otherwise I'm going to get sick

What is the easiest thing to do?
  • stub your toe

What is the best thing in the world?
  • love

What is the worst thing in the world?
  • non-love

What makes you mad?
  • non-love

What is the meaning of love?
  • to be happy

If you had all the money in the world, what would you do with it?
  • I don't have any particular interest in spending money on anything in the world except when I'm at the grocery store check out line. (This is an answer that he stole from Eli. The real answer is that he would buy lots and lots of name brand clothing.)

Eli at Twelve Years Old

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Eli at Twelve Years Old
  • favorite color: red
  • favorite food: burritos
  • favorite dessert: cheesecake
  • favorite thing to do: sleep in
  • favorite video game: Star Wars Battle Front (PS4)
  • favorite subject in school: language arts
  • favorite book you read this year: The Outsiders
  • favorite music this year: Ed Sheeran

What is the meaning of life?
  • to return to Heavenly Father

What do you want to be when you grow up?
  • an architect guy

What makes you happy?
  • When I don't have to wake up early in the morning to go to school. And elephant jokes.

What are you afraid of?
  • Crabs. And bad elephant jokes.

If you had one wish, what would you wish for?
  • Cole to get appendicitis.

What is the funniest word?

What is the hardest thing to do?
  • whistle

What is the easiest thing to do?
  • eat

What is the best thing in the world?
  • food

What is the worst thing in the world?
  • Rylan. Wait, probably the hour and a half on the school bus.

What makes you mad?
  • When the school bus is late. (What makes his mom mad is when the school bus is early...)

What is the meaning of love?
  • personal space

If you had all the money in the world, what would you do with it?
  • make it rain


20171001_152716

A Hard Day for Dreaming

This is a novel I wrote once upon a time. It's been gathering dust in a google drive for a few years. If you're not doing anything with the rest of your Christmas break, you could read it. I'm pretty proud of it.
...

A HARD DAY FOR DREAMING

In her last semester of college, Emma Whitacker is torn between two men. She feels a connection with steady but stoic Thomas thanks to their shared love of indie bands, and when he tells her that he loves her, she believes she has found true love. But when her friend Will impulsively kisses her, her confused feelings leave her questioning how you know when you've found The One. Ten years later, married to one man but dreaming about the other, she can’t help but wonder, “Did I make the right choice?” Pulled between the past and the present, Emma contemplates what it means to fall in love, to be married, and to become a mother.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Mom, Dad, and Kellie (and family) came to our house for Thanksgiving this year. Michael made his traditional pulled pork and cranberry stuffing. I made some pies.

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Kellie's husband Alex is an ice hockey fiend, so we took him and our own ice hockey boys to a skating rink. This was my second time ice skating in my 40 years. I actually think I'd enjoy ice skating if I could do it more often. Too bad it's so expensive.

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While they were at our house, I put my mom to work making me a work of art to hang over my table. I don't know if you'd call it a painting or what - it's just a quote from my favorite book ever. I can't decide yet if I want to frame it, but currently it is unframed. Either way, I love it.

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween 2017...It happened

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Mad scientist, the 11th Doctor, Hype Beast

Saturday, October 14, 2017

My narrative nonfiction example

My students are working on an assignment in which they have to interview someone and then use that interview as the basis for their own narrative nonfiction piece. They were having a hard time with the assignment, so I wrote my own example.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Mika the Terrible

After we got back from our beach hopping adventures, I started hounding Michael to let us get a dog. His criteria for years had been that I get a job in Wake County, and since I had finally met that criteria, I figured we'd better hurry up and get a dog before I started work. After a couple of weeks of scouring the websites of all of the animal shelters in the area, I came across this dark chocolate pit bull mix named Mika, and I figured it was fate. (If Michael and I had ever had a girl baby, we'd planned to name her Mika.)

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For the first few days after she came home with us, she was an angel. Then I took her to dog training classes for the first time, and she turned into a terror. She did not like the trainer's dog and spent the whole time growling and barking at him. Truth be told, she didn't like being around any dogs; she couldn't understand why we wanted her to sit quietly and behave when there were other dogs to play with.

Then she started testing the boundaries at home, nipping at the boys and running in crazy circles while on a leash (which is not fun for the person holding the leash!). Finally, I was getting really worried about having her around the kids - not because she was mean but because she was too excited and would lose control. I wanted to take her back to the shelter, but Michael convinced me to hire a dog behavior specialist, who came to our house, observed her, and gave us some tips. Mostly, she just put my mind at ease. We finished up the dog training classes, got Mika somewhat under control, and we're all very happy to have Mika in our home now. Even Michael (even if he says he just tolerates her).

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One day, a neighbor's dog wandered into our yard, and Mika thought she'd died and gone to doggie heaven.

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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Beach-Hopping 2017: Angel Tree and Charleston

Michael made his way home from Tybee, and the boys and I continued on our beach hopping adventure. We originally intended to do a couple of days in Charleston, SC and then make our way up to the Outer Banks for our final destination, but by this time, the boys were beached and camped out. We ended up staying in Charleston for four days, part at a gorgeous KOA on an old plantation and part at a Holiday Inn. Then we headed straight back to Raleigh.

On the way to Charleston, we took a side trip to see this amazing 400-year-old tree.

Charleston

Charleston

On the first day in Charleston, we took a boat tour of an old fort and walked along the river. The boys were so grumpy this day and bickered constantly about the heat, so the next day, after we'd moved to the hotel, I told them I was leaving them while I went sightseeing. So of course, they begged to come with me and swore they'd be good. (They were mostly good.) On the last day, we found a spot to watch the fireworks for the Fourth of July.

Charleston

Charleston

Charleston

Charleston

One other crazy memory from the KOA in Charleston: one of the other groups of campers had two dogs with them, and we were woken up to the sounds of them shouting for their dogs, which had jumped the fence to get a flock of ducks in the lake. One of the dogs swam back, but the other kept going and going and disappeared into the distance. I have no idea if the campers ever got him back. It was insane.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Beach Hopping 2017: Savannah

On the day before we left Tybee, Michael and I took the boys into Savannah for some last minute sight-seeing. Savannah is a beautiful city, and I wouldn't mind if one of my kids ended up there for college so I can visit often.

Savannah

Savannah

Savannah

Savannah

Savannah

Beach Hopping 2017: Tybee Island

From Tampa, we met my family on Tybee Island, GA (near Savannah) to celebrate my parents' 40th anniversary. My sister rented us a beautiful beach house, and we settled in for a week.

One of the first things we did there was visit Tybee's lighthouse, my first time going inside a lighthouse. There was a lot of singing about our "razzle dazzle" day. Some of the littler kids did not like how steep the stairs were, and some of the parents were freaked out by how easily a kid could climb over the railing and fall to their doom. Fun times!

Savannah

Savannah


The rest of the week, we toured Savannah (both during the day and at night on a ghost tour), rented bikes and rode on the beach (so fun!), went to a Savannah Bananas baseball game (with the most hilarious dancing first base coach), and just hung out and enjoyed each other. Photo dump starts now.

Savannah

Savannah

Savannah

Savannah

Savannah

Savannah

Savannah

Savannah

Savannah

Savannah

Savannah

Savannah

I also had an interview via Skype with Green Hope High School in Wake County, and apparently I come across better over Skype than in person because I was offered the job.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Beach-Hopping 2017: NASA and Tampa

Michael planned to fly down to Florida and meet us in Tampa, where his grandmother lives. On our way there, we stopped at the Kennedy Space Center so Rylan, our future astronomer, could revel in space exploration. I handed my camera to him and let him go crazy while we were there, so the photos are not up to my blog standards...I do really love this photo we had taken with an astronaut, though. Wish I could remember his name, but we listened to him speak and it was awesome. My favorite part of the Kennedy Space Center.

Kennedy Space Center

In Tampa, we had our first Airbnb experience. It was about the same price as a hotel, but we each got our own room, we had a kitchen for cooking meals (again keeping the costs down), and the boys got a few days to catch up on TV and video games. We would definitely do it again.

Michael's Grandma Lavers sends us THE BEST Christmas letter. It is one of my favorite parts of Christmas, and I look forward to it every year. She really knows how to work retirement, getting heavily involved in her senior living home and also helping out with dog shows. Going to see her in Florida has been on my to do list for the past few years. We took her out for dinner, which involved multiple trips in our one car between her house and the restaurant, so unfortunately, we goofed up the photo op and only got pictures with Michael and Rylan.

grandma lavers

grandma lavers with rylan

The next day, Michael took the boys to the beach in Tampa, our only Gulf Coast beach on the trip, while I went to the Salvador Dali museum. Some of his art was really cool, but my favorite part by far was the museum itself. Such cool architecture and fun gardens.

Tampa

Tampa

Tampa
On the way out of town the next morning, we had breakfast with some old friends from Raleigh 4th ward, the Andersons. Again, I flaked on the photo ops, so I have no photographic evidence. But we did really enjoy seeing them!
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