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One Year Ago

One year ago, we became a family of five when my Rooster said “I do” to his sweet girl.

The cold, windy day didn’t diminish the warmth in our hearts as we watched them pledge their love and commitment to one another.

Their excitement for the future radiated out as we, along with N’s parents and the judge, listened in.

Rooster would soon be shipping out for basic training; time was of the essence, which was why their courtship was a whirlwind…their engagement a whopping two days.

I love that they are doing things their way, albeit in the Air Force’s timing.

I’ve always said that Rooster marches to the beat of his own drum.  I’m thrilled that he found a partner who’s in sync with him

Happy Anniversary, sweet babes.  I know that you already value the gift of each day having started out your marriage where every second has counted from the very beginning.

You are much loved.

Surprise Visitor

Thursday night, around 10:30pm, I was just about to head to bed when I heard the garage door go up.

What the heck?

I got very scared and hollered out to the Mr., who’d gone to bed a couple of hours prior.

Before I knew it, the door between the laundry room and the garage door was opening.

What the double-heck?

Then I heard the angelic voice of my Chicky, “It’s just me, Mama.”

Oh, be still my beating heart.  My girl had come home for a surprise visit!

It was a good thing I’d just taken off my TENS unit, because I might have had a heart attack from the shock!

Just kidding.  Sort of.

We visited a few minutes before I got up, washed dishes with the extra adrenaline, and headed to bed.

Waking up to her being under my roof…well, is there a better feeling in the world than having your children in your home?  I think not!

How I loved seeing her shoes all lined up.  It takes a LOT of shoes to get through a weekend, let me tell you!

The next day, she came to see me at school during my lunch break…

See how cool I am?

Ahem.

We had a wonderful weekend.  We ran errands on Saturday.  She humored me by going shoe shopping with me.

But first, we had to grab lunch.

Then, it was off to Dillard’s to try on shoes.

Remember that I’m all about Vionic shoes right now because of the support they provide…much needed for my pronated, still-healing-broken ankle.

I spied these and gave them a whirl.

I wasn’t sure about them at first but wound up loving how they looked with my blue jeans (and yes, those are my legs…with torn blue jeans…because I am cool like that).

The saleslady brought lots of other shoes for me to try on…

I am desperate for a pair of shoes to wear with black or grey pants.

Chicky was not fond of these.

The next pair wound up being one of my favorite of the day.

Look how great they go with my blue jeans!  I can also see them with casual dresses (solid) or shorts.

In the end, I bought the first pair…the brown, sparkly ones.  I wore them out of the mall.  ❤

Chicky and I ran a few other errands and then returned home.  I made her a dish from one of my Oh She Glows recipe book, and we enjoyed a quiet evening at home.

She left early Sunday morning so she could get home in time to relax before the weekend was over.

Her visit really lifted our spirits.  Her smile and laugh are always infectious.

She’s been incredibly attentive in recent months, and this makes our hearts light.  She is beautiful on the inside and outside…a true blessing.

 

Thursday Shenanigans

Yesterday was a busy day at Chez Auburnchick.

But first, can I just mention the Survivor finale from Wednesday night?

The entire season was so emotional!  What a bittersweet ending.

So, back to Thursday.

It was my Friday.

I worked so hard at school and cranked out some grading during my planning period, lunch, and my students’ silent reading times.  I am down to two sets of class assignments…both from the seven total school days I was out with my ankle.  I see light at the end of the tunnel.

When I got home from school, my focus shifted from school work to housework.

Yes, that’s right.  Housework…as in the stuff I’ve been unable to do since breaking my ankle.

First up was the bathroom counter.  I didn’t take a “before” picture.  Trust me.  It wasn’t pretty.  Here’s what it looked like after I finished.

Next, I headed to the kitchen to do the second task the Mr. had requested…the stove.

Once again, there’s no before picture.  Just admire the shiny gleam.

I was careful, I promise.  I kept my knee on the scooter and didn’t reach out in crazy directions.  Yes, it was slow-going, but I got both tasks done in plenty of time to wrap my first present of the season.

The Mr. has wrapped all of our other gifts.

After that, I fed the dogs for the first time since I got hurt and let them out to potty.

Go me!

By that time, the Mr. had gotten home from work, so I sat down, iced my ankle, and knit while I caught up on a few shows I had on the DVR.

Can we talk irony for a moment?  I started a new sock project right after my surgery and, without realizing it, have been working on the right sock…which I can’t try on until I get my cast off.  Sigh.  I’ve modeled it on the left foot for now.

It was weird…watching TV while knowing that I didn’t have to go in to work the next day (Friday).

We were staying up later because we had special plans.

It got dark, and we got in the car and drove to the airport.

We sat and waited about 45 minutes…

I couldn’t keep the smile from my face…

Time quickly passed, and before I knew it, I was crutching my way toward my sweet boy and his girl…reunion in full-on mode.

Y’all, I’d anticipated this moment for weeks.  In the last few days leading up to the evening, I’d gotten teary-eyed a few times just thinking about it.

Of course, my plans had originally included a tackle hug, but after my little “fall,” I had to reimagine the affair.  It turned into a careful, step–by-step walk into my boy’s arms.

Cue the tears…for real this time.

I hugged his girl afterward, such a sweet young lady she is.  The bonds are strong after having weathered basic training separation anxiety together this past spring.

Having them in the car with us as we drove them to the house was pure bliss.  Going to sleep knowing that they were only a couple of rooms away…well, I don’t even know if I can describe the feeling.

They’ll be on this side of the states until after Christmas.  You know that I’m going to enjoy every single second of it.  More shenanigans are to be had, that’s for sure!

Forever Catching Up

Y’all.  It’s been over a month since I last blogged.

This.  Must.  Stop.

For real!

I love to write.

I need to paint word pictures with something besides my voice, which gets old to listen to.

It’s a promise I keep making to myself and then failing.  All I can do is recommit and keep trying, so here goes!

What’s been happening these past few weeks?

Well, for starters, I had to get my classroom ready for a new crew of students.  It’s always extremely intimidating and overwhelming to walk into my room that first day.  The sheer amount of work that needs to be done makes me hyperventilate.

I went in a couple of weeks before I “had” to report back, just to arrange the furniture.

As the days drew nearer for school to start, I received the following email from a student I taught this past school year.

I had to chuckle.  This girl has a great sense of humor!

The whole getting ready for school thing made me crave comfort food, so I whipped up a batch of my Molly Weasley’s Magically Easy Fudge…veganized, of course.

All work and no play makes Auburnchick a very boring person indeed, so I treated myself to a new book…Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

It was written in a play format, which took a bit of getting used to, but oh my.  To be caught back up in the world of all things Harry Potter made my heart so happy.  I read this in just a few hours.  I simply could not put it down!

Of course, there was napping.  A day without a nap is like a day without sunshine.

There was more reading.  Kwame Alexander is the MAN.  This book is part prose; the subject is basketball and life.  I hope my boys will give it a chance.

There was time with the pups.  They’d been so spoiled having me home all summer.

Six-day-a-week Hammer and Chisel workouts continued to occupy my time.

Wine, knitting, and Big Brother always hit the spot as well…my non-guilty pleasures.

Then, there was the day that I sat at Rooster and his girl’s apartment while the movers came and packed them up.

Did I mention that they are now married?

Oh yeah.  I didn’t.

See, here’s what happened.  Back when Rooster was getting ready to leave for Basic Training, he approached us and said that they wanted to go ahead and get married before he left.  It would be easier for her to get on his orders…something that takes forever.  All the way around, it made sense.

So, and hold on to your hats, they got engaged on a Friday, which I shared before.

That Saturday we started trying to find a judge to marry them.  We have a couple of friends who are judges, so we reached out to them.  They needed to be married by Monday so Rooster could get the paperwork back to his recruiter in time for it to be submitted.

Rooster’s girl’s parents drove down from Alabama that Saturday while she and I got pedicures.

That Sunday, we skipped church, ate lunch together, and then met the judge at a scenic location in town.

I took a LOT of pictures since it was just the seven of us…no photographer.

It was very sweet.

Rooster left two weeks later for Basic.

Which brings us to early August.  He got to come home for a few days when he transitioned from one phase of tech school to another.  He’d gotten his orders; he was going to a base out West.  She was on his orders, so she would be going with him.  The timing, much like their marriage, was harried.  They didn’t have time to drive to the base, so they flew out, six bags in tow, and left everything else here.

I cried the entire way home from the airport and the entire day.  Sending your baby across the country isn’t the easiest thing.

Life moved on, and two weeks later, I found myself sitting at their apartment.

The movers did a quick job of packing.  The timing was perfect…two or three days before I had to report for my first “official” day of pre-planning.

It was bittersweet.

And life moved on.

I did some retail therapy.  This necklace has quickly become a favorite…hand stamped by a friend’s daughter who has her own Etsy store.

I took moments to enjoy unexpected wildlife appearances.

And I napped.

With school drawing nearer, I reacquainted myself with the art of multi-tasking.  Lysa TerKeurst spoke somewhere, and I enjoyed watching the broadcast from my First5 app.

Her interview with Tim Tebow was amazing!  I’ve never listened to him speak before.  His story is a powerful one!

We had a pretty intense storm during our pre-planning days.  Thank heavens for sandbags!  Podunk, USA offered them for free, and I snagged six.  My porch routinely gets water on it when it rains heavily.  The sandbags worked like a charm!

The week of pre-planning, I gave a Smartboard presentation at the school I taught at my first year.  I went from working out to dressing up…all within an hour and a half.

Weekends continued to be mine, though.  Days at the pool and beach are respites from the stress of work.

I also ordered and received DVDs for my next two Beachbody programs…

Ever the planner.

Meanwhile, as the beginning of school got closer and closer, I got closer and closer to finishing my Hammer and Chisel program.  Balancing classroom prep, exercise, and errands for home became the name of the game.

I made some decisions for my classes.  I’m teaching two Honors English classes this year, and I wrestled about whether or not to include silent, sudent-selected reading.  I love this poster, which echoes my feelings exactly…

For the record, my Honors students are reading silently…and loving it.  That’s a story for another day.

Classroom prep had me making numerous reminders.  The beginning of the school year is absolutely exhausting.  For every sticky note I got rid of, I wrote three more to take its place.

My shirt echoed my sentiments…run, run, run.

One of my planning days was made a lot brighter when a former student, newly graduated, stopped by my room to visit.

This young man will forever be one of my favorite students ever.  I taught him when he was a ninth grader.  He has a joy for life.  I’ve rarely seen him without a smile.  He has the kindest heart, and I look forward to seeing what he accomplishes in his life.

By the end of that last planning day, my room was as ready as it was going to be.  I was pleased with the results.

I was ready for school.

I think I’ll end this post here.  I’ve let it go on far too long, and if you’ve read to this point, just WOW!  Thank you for sticking it out!  I’ll try to finish my catch-up post tomorrow and then stay on track.

Ha!

Pokemon No

Guess what time it is?!  Yeah, it’s time for the Hodgepodge!  You’ll see the theme of time in this week’s questions.  Answer on your own blog and link up with Joyce.

1.  Pokemon Go…your thoughts? Are you playing? Do you even know what it is?

I have mixed feelings about this app.  The lengths people are going through to collect the characters is ridiculous.  People are throwing caution and respectability to the wind because of a virtual game.  Really?

On the plus side, it is getting people moving.  I use the app Charity Miles, which partners up with different sponsors who donate money for how far people move their bodies (inside, outside, and biking).  This app had record-breaking numbers a few days ago because of Pokemon Go, and charities benefited.

For fun, have you seen this video…Chardonnay Go?  Oh my.  It’s totally more my speed!!

By the way, when I was on the hunt for this video, I googled “Chardonnay Run” by mistake and discovered that there is a Chardonnay Run in San Diego!  It’s a 5k, and you get to do wine tasting after!  Sign me up!!

2.  What was something you collected as a child? Do you still have that collection? If you’re a parent what’s something your own children collected? Have you ever camped out, stood in a crazy long queue, or paid a ridiculous sum for a ‘collectible’?

I cannot think of anything I collected when I was a child.  I don’t have many things left from my childhood other than a few books.

My children collected a few things.  Chicky collected key chains and American Girl dolls.  Rooster collected Hot Wheels cars and baseball cards.  Both children had large collections of books.  Reading was a big thing in this house.

Have I ever stood in a long queue to get a collectible?  Not that I recall.  I never really bought in (pun intended) to fads such as Bratz dolls (remember those) or Pokemon cards.  We didn’t have the money, and I wanted my kids to be their own people.

3.  “Collect moments, not things”…tell us about a moment you’ve added to your collection this summer.

My summer has been especially quiet now that Rooster is officially on his own.  My social media posts have included a lot of beach and pool photos with the hubby.  We are empty nesters now and are learning how to live life in the slow lane.  We treasure our weekends and downtime from work.

4.  What’s something collecting dust in your home right now? Any plans to do something about it?

Ha!  What’s not collecting dust?  I’m home on summer break, and while I should be catching up on cleaning and whatnot, I’m filling my hours with other activities.

What I really need to do is go through my closet and prune rarely-worn / too-large clothes now that I’ve lost weight and am back in shape.

I also need to get in my attic and decide what needs to go.  Empty nesting has that effect on you…you want to purge.

5.  A favorite song relating to time?

A song I always use in the end-of-the-year slideshows that I make for my classes is Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) by Green Day.

I first used this song when Chicky was a senior, and I put together the slideshow for her school’s soccer teams’ banquet.  This was her senior class song, and it spoke to me on so many levels.  I still think of that special soccer season with her (the girl’s team went to the Final Four playoffs…unheard of for Podunk, USA).

It seems that my life lately has constantly been about crossroads…paths diverging…saying goodbye to what has been known and hello to what is new.

This song ALWAYS brings tears to my eyes.

Oh, and here’s something for you…

I typed this post late yesterday afternoon and finished right before I left for dinner.  The hubby and I met some friends at a place on the beach.

When we arrived, our friends were sitting at a table behind the guy playing a guitar and singing.

The song?

Good Riddance.

I looked over at the Mr. and said, “Hey, I just blogged about this song.”

It was meant to be.

6.  What’s been your most frightening or your most interesting encounter with wildlife?

A number of years ago, the kids and I were taking down plywood that I’d put up around my screened-in porch after a hurricane had passed by.

When I lifted one piece, I discovered a very large, red snake that had somehow slithered between my brick and the wood.  The snake and the brick were the same color, so I almost put my hands on it!

I screamed bloody murder.

There were kids playing in the yard of the house behind mine, and they stood on their trampoline and stared at me.

Fortunately, the Mr. had come home on a break, and he was inside the house.  He came out, grabbed a stick, and took the snake to the pond across from our house.

Lord have mercy!!

7.  On July 20, 1969 Apollo 11 Commander Neil Armstrong set his foot down on the moon. If you could travel to the moon would you go? Why or why not?

If I knew it was completely safe, I might.

I recently finished reading the Lunar Chronicles series that I bought for my classroom.  A good portion of these books take place on the moon, so now I’m curious about what it’s really like up there.

8.  My Random Thought

Can we talk fitness?

Oh my.

I’m working through my second round of Beachbody’s Hammer and Chisel (I don’t sell it, so please don’t think I’m trying to push this on you).

I’m working extra hard and seeing some great results.

What I like about doing this program again is that I can actually process some of the funny and motivational things Sagi and Autumn say during the workouts.

First of all, who made the schedule?  Look at what I circled below…two Leg Hammer workouts consecutively.  Say what?  These are after the other videos in the boxes.

You use a medicine ball with the leg workout, and it is so dang hard!  I’m only smiling because I’m done.

The payoff on Monday was worth it…BIG calorie burn!

Then yesterday, I did Chisel Agility, which I really like (except for the jumping moves, which are freaking hard).

Autumn said something toward the end that I had to write down, “She doesn’t quit when she’s tired.  She quits when she’s done.”

I’m going to use this quote in my classroom.  My students often get tired.  That’s when they need to push through.  The payoff will confidence and, although sometimes unseen, progress.  I’m proof of that.

It’s a great motto for life.

A Box of Goodies

Empty nesting is an active verb around here.

Namely adjusting to empty nest is the ongoing action.

It’s still hard to walk through the grocery store, see things that Rooster likes to eat, and then be slammed with the knowledge that he’s not home eating these things.

We no longer keep cereal, ice cream, or Cheez Its in the house.

It’s strange.

Unlike Basic Training, where care packages are strict no-no’s, tech school attendees are allowed to receive them.

I still had one box of Krave cereal from a Buy 1 Get 1 Free deal I’d taken advantage right after Rooster went to tech school.

To this cereal, I added the other items you see below…

I got out the pad of paper I’d purchased right before Rooster left for Basic Training and discovered that I had one sheet left.

That’s a lot of letter writing, y’all.

I added my words of love to the box.

He’s probably the only Airman who’s received a box that claims it has knitting notions inside.  You’ve gotta love recycling!

This box was h-e-a-v-y.

It cost me a pretty penny to mail this thing off, but it was worth it when I talked to him a week later.

He seemed happy to receive it, although he wasn’t sure if he’d be able to finish the snacks before moving on to the next phase of tech school.

I told him to make a friend and share.

🙂

I’m eking out every last chance I get to spoil him.  His girl will be the one doing that soon enough.

Never Say Never When You’re Hodgepodging

The Hodgepodge…it’s the happening thing today.  Join in by linking up with Joyce!  Since I’m in a rush (it’s 2:30pm and I’m only now answering my questions), let’s get to it!

1.  Do you find yourself influencing your world, or is it more the other way around? 

I usually think of myself as a follower; however, the longer I teach, and the older I get, I’m discovering that I’m becoming more of a leader.  This could be due to maturity.  It’s probably confidence.  As such, I think I am influencing my world through my work in the classroom, my sharing (or oversharing, as the Mr. would say) on social media, and my blogging.  I’m not as quick to jump in on trends (hello, Pokemon Go…no thank you).

2.  July 14th is National Tape Measure Day…the device was patented on this date in 1868. When did you last use a tape measure? Do you always know where to find one in your house? Tell us one way in which you feel blessed ‘beyond measure’. 

I last used a tape measure two days ago when trying to determine how much fabric I would need to line two stockings I just finished knitting.

I keep this particular tape measure in my knitting bag.  I also have a tape measure by my workout DVDs so I can do before and after comparisons.

We have a couple of tape measures in the toolbox in the garage as well.

How am I blessed beyond measure?  I’d say with my husband and my children.  They are my world.  I am so grateful that God has allowed me the privilege of being a mom to two amazingly independent and successful children and having a husband who loves me the way he does.

3.  The Plaza Hotel (Eloise), The Land of Oz (The Wizard of Oz), Narnia (The Chronicles of Narnia), The Hundred Acre Wood (Winnie the Pooh), Wonderland (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland), or Never Never Land (Peter Pan)…which storybook land (on this list!) would you most like to visit and why? 

I think I’d visit Never Never Land because it’s a place where you can indulge your inner child.  That’s so important in this modern day of technology and rushed schedules.  Getting back to the simple pleasures in life sounds like paradise.

4.  Where and when do you get your best ideas? 

My best ideas ALWAYS come to me in the shower.  It’s the oddest thing, but I’ve noticed this trend for a few years now.  I suspect that I’m most relaxed in the shower, with the hot water working out the tension of my day.  I’ve had the BEST lesson plan ideas while I’m in the shower.  I kid you not.

5.  So what have you been watching on TV this summer? Anything good? 

I love my summertime, non-teaching schedule.  My go-to shows are Big Brother, Next Food Network Star, MasterChef, Wayward Pines, and the Olympic trials.  I watched the EUFA tournament (Euro Soccer)…so much fun!! I’ve also got Netflix, so I’ve been working my way though Agents of Shield.  Oh, and there’s been a lot of Chopped playing on the TV.

6.  ‘Don’t swim for an hour after you eat’, ‘Dog days of summer’, ‘Knee high by the Fourth of July’…choose a summer saying from the list or share one of your own, then tell us what image or memory comes to mind when you hear it spoken.

I’ll go with “dog days of summer.”  I’m spending a lot of time with my fur babies.  They are so funny and just plain old precious.

I took this video of Pele.  He loves bath time, so I thought he would like his own little pool.  You can see from his reaction that this wasn’t quite the case.

7.  In a single sentence, sum up one life lesson you’ve learned. 

My current motto is this:  “She believed she could, and so she did.”

It’s a motto I came across after I started “running” (more like walk/jogging) last fall.

It’s a motto that says so much to me.  I have always lacked self confidence.  I have NEVER lacked determination.  Because of that determination, when I set a goal, I usually obtain it.  It doesn’t matter if it’s getting back into shape, becoming a teacher, or learning a new skill.  I don’t let obstacles get in my way.

8.  My Random Thought

Yesterday, I had to move some things to get to my sewing machine (an epic fail, by the way).

One of the things I moved was this picture…

Oh y’all.  This picture took me back…wayyyyyyy back.  These two have my heart.  My Chicky is still every bit as spunky as you see hinted at in that mischievous smile of hers, and my Rooster is still just as cute as ever.  Both are grown and pursuing careers of their own.  I miss them so much and treasure the memories that flood in whenever I give myself a moment or two to gaze upon their faces in the framed photos that are sprinkled around my house.

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