Friday, October 15, 2010

A Day Off

Good morning!  Can you just wait a moment while I run to the kitchen and get my cup of coffee?  I turned the pot on about 20 minutes ago, but haven't gotten up yet to actually enjoy my morning beverage.  I'll be right back.

That's better.  I've got my favorite brew in hand - a homemade cup of Einstein's Hazelnut Coffee..... mmmmm delicious.  I've been drinking cup after cup of tea recentely (I have a nasty cough), but I just needed a cup of goodness this morning.

Today I have a day off. 

It's not like a day off, it is a day off. 

We worked parent-teacher conferences the last two nights, and since they can't pay us for it, we get the next day off.  Hence, no going to school for me today.  However, I apparently don't know how to take a day off.  I made my to-do list for this weekend, at least half of which I hope to accomplish today.... it includes grading all the work for my online class I got behind on when I was grading all the work for my IRL classes before PT conferences (I don't have any more abbreviations, or I'd throw them in just to be funny), grading workbooks, planning the next week of online curriculum and getting it uploaded, doing laundry and putting away the piles that are still out in the basket from last week, cleaning the living room, kitchen, dining room, birdcage, master bathroom, master bedroom, guestroom (and, in all that cleaning, hoping to freshen up the house from the "dog" smell we have now), walk the dog and walk the horse. 

But I'm also drinking my favorite coffee, wearing my favorite sweatpants.  And later, I'm going to spend the evening with some of my favorite friends at small group.  And walking the dog and horse (not simultaneously, of course), is fun for me and fun for them.  And I hope to see my parents and sister sometime this weekend.

And having the chance to stay home instead of go into work truly makes it, regardless of what I am doing here, a day off.

Love it.

Here are a few pictures I'm dying to show you!

A double rainbow (the top is very faint) we saw on our drive to Wyoming to see Husband's family.

The first leg of Grandma Harriett's retirement / birthday party - she's the one dressed like a prisoner.  The theme of the party was her parole, as she retired from working at the Wyoming State Penn.  It was quite a fun night - after this stage, the party continued with close family friends and their kids and kids' friends (all now in their 20s) talking, laughing, singing (oh yes, singing), and more.

Here's a picture of our little snuggle bug - she seriously loves to cuddle, although she still wants to play a lot of the time!  We decided to name her Ginger, but call her Ginny for short.

And I'm in love with fall (although it's a little warm again today) and wrote a post about it here, but wanted to show you my mantle.  I love it.  It's a little busy, I know, but it's beautiful to me.

Happy Friday!  May your day be like a day off, too.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fall Has Arrived

I love fall.

Don't get me wrong - I also love summer, winter, and spring.  Each season claims something incredibly wonderful - winter brings snow days and Christmas and hot chocolate, spring brings flowers and newness and color, summer brings sunshine and outdoors and vacation. 

But fall, oh, I love fall.

Fall brings beautiful colors. 

When I first moved here, I missed the vibrant reds and oranges and yellows found in the fall colors of the East Coast.  I've learned that there is almost nothing more beautiful than a sea of dark evergreen and golden yellow as the aspen groves mingle among the pine trees.  And scrub oaks, while ordinarily nothing special, turn a brilliant red for a pop of sensational color every so often.

Fall brings crisper weather.

I do love sunshine and outdoors and summer fun, but after months of being hot, I love to put on a pair of jeans and a sweater.  To go outdoors and feel my cheeks get a little pink from the cold.  To go outside and watch a football game without being hot or cold, but just perfect.  And since this is truly the land of sunshine (sorry Florida, you're not really the sunshine state), crispness is usually accompanied by the sunshine, and it's lovely.

Fall brings muddy dirt roads and much needed moisture.

After a dry, almost rainless summer, you know fall has finally arrived when the clouds roll in one day, the fog is heavy, and finally, finally, the dusty roads out at my parents' house are no longer dusty, but even a little muddy.  When the grass has droplets of water and the air smells like rain. 

Fall brings special occasions.

Fall starts a series of my favorite occasions - college football games with family, high school football games where Husband and I cheer on the kids I spend so much time with.  My birthday comes towards the end of October - and while I'm not a huge birthday person, I still love celebrating the possibilities of what the next year may hold.  Thanksgiving, a family favorite, with good food, the Christmas tree, and the first watching of A Muppet Christmas Carol.  The holiday season, with decorations everywhere, goodwill towards others, time with friends and family, a respite from work, a chance to celebrate the best Gift ever.  And, of course, the arrival of the Gingerbread Latte, my personal gift from God.  (Seriously, if you know me at all, a Gingerbread Latte makes everything better.)

I love Fall.

And it has finally arrived. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Stephanie's Ponytail

Have you ever read this story?
I hadn't, but my little sister read it to me the other day.  When I say little, I mean younger.  She's 22 years old and doing her student teaching this year.  She's just finished up a rotation in first grade, and it's been a really good experience for her, I think.

See, Sister went into this year pretty much freaking out about whether or not she was going to be able to be a teacher.  She wasn't sure she was grown up enough, or if she was brave enough, or if she could balance classroom management and good interaction with kids.  We of course, knew she could, but she needed to know herself.

So on Sunday I was at her house hanging out with her and saw "Stephanie's Ponytail" on the floor.  As it was a children's book I'd never read, I asked her if I could look at it.  Her response, "No..... But I'll read it to you!"  And so she took the book, sat on the floor "criss cross apple sauce" style (umm.... Indian style, from my days of elementary school) and read me the story.

And she was fantastic.  As she read it, she interjected little anecdotes about what had happened as she'd actually read it to the group of 1st graders - where they had laughed hysterically, when they clued in to the repetition of some of the lines and started saying them with her.  At one point, when even all the little boys in the story had ponytails "coming right out the top" of their heads, her little Haitian boy Djimmy grabbed the top of his head and said, "But I have no hair!" 

My point is this.  My sister is awesome, and, despite her own misgivings, is clearly going to be an incredible teacher.  Here's to you, future elementary-school teacher of the year.  You're the bestest.
Sister giving the best toast ever at our wedding a few years ago - already proving that she does a great job in front of a group of people.

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