Sunday, March 25, 2012

Trips to Atlanta

Last week while in Atlanta, we did some reminiscing about previous trips. My brother moved there almost 21 years ago, and I have been visiting every since--by myself, with my parents, and with my family. This post really has no point, other than to share some memories of trips to visit my brother. Here's some of my memories from these trips:

My brother used to work for the airlines, so I would fly down there on free passes. The only catch was I was flying standby. I had to look presentable since I was "representing" the airline. (can actually remember the first time I flew in non-presentable clothes and was so happy to be comfortable!) One trip took me from KC to Wichita to St.Louis to Atlanta.

Another trip I got stuck in St. Louis for hours, getting bumped from one flight to the next. I sat there reading a book, and calling my mom on a pay phone. Looking back now, I think that could have been a scary situation. I was 16 or 17 years old, before the days of cell phones, alone in St. Louis. What if I hadn't made that last flight out?

When I was in high school, I would fly down to visit every fall and spring, missing a day or two of school. I thought that was pretty cool, and still do. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for letting me do that.

The summer I graduated from high school, Mom, Dad and I drove down. We stayed in Nashville a day or two, Chattanooga a day or two, then moving on to Atlanta. I remember Dad sitting in the hotel room watching OJ Simpson's trial while Mom and I went to the outlet malls. 

When I was 19 and Bobby and I first started dating, we drove down for spring break. Our first trip together!

Several times we've used Atlanta as our overnight stopping place, to continue driving to Florida the next day. Once I was pregnant with Macy when we stopped, and my sister-in-law loaded me up with baby blankets and some of Lauren's old clothes.

We were laughing this week about two trips in particular...Rod remembers a trip when we drove my Jeep (pre-kids) and when we got there, we said we couldn't hear anything because the road noise had been so loud.

And I remember a trip where Bobby and I thought we could drive through the night--with a 4-month-old Macy. I remember stopping at a gas station somewhere, sleeping under the streetlights, hand on Macy's carseat in case someone tried to take her. And I remember stumbling into their house, handing Macy, still strapped in her carseat, to Julie and saying "Here. Take her" and falling asleep on the bed.

When my niece graduated from high school, we went with my sister and her newly-adopted daughter, Hannah. Hannah was not used to car rides, and had to stop every hour (it seemed) to go to the bathroom.

There was the trip when Josh was born, when Lauren got married...such wonderful memories.

Since the girls have been doing this trip their whole lives, they don't think twice about driving 12 hours to see their aunt and uncle and cousins. Other families I know couldn't fathom driving that far with their kids, and we've done since they were babies.

We have a certain pattern--gas in Warrenton, MO, look for the arch, look for the Superman water tower in Metropolis, IL, Paduch, KY is a good half-way spot when spending the night, look for the Batman building in Nashville, love to look at the lakes in the beautiful Land Between the Lakes area in KY, count how many Rock City billboards there are leading up to Chattanooga, TN... all just part of the trip.

Like I said...this is a long rambling post that really has no point, other than for me to get some thoughts and memories out. Thanks for bearing with me. :)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Spring Break 2012

Had a fantastic week with my brother's family. We left the dogs in good hands with one of my high school students, and headed to Atlanta to see Rod's family. It was a pleasant trip down--I graded Huck Finn tests and re-read The Hunger Games.

Highlights of the week:

My nephew Brandon and his girlfriend Laura have built a ferret complex in the basement. The girls were fascinated by these animals--seemed part cat and part dog. They are high maintenance though-- we'll just stick with the dogs.  This one really likes shoes. The other one likes to lick your toes.

We got to see Josh play soccer.  I asked him if I could yell, "Go Stars!" He replied, very matter-of-factly, "People don't really do that." It was a beautiful night. Can't tell if his team won or lost. I can remember watching Brandon play t-ball on my visits when he was little.
The next day we headed downtown to the Georgia Aquarium. The girls had been looking forward to this for weeks. Macy, you know, wants to be a dolphin trainer or something similar.
I really liked how the aquarium was organized--there was a huge open area in the middle, and all the different exhibits were off of that. Made it easy to go in and out of the different galleries.

This is one of the first ones we went in. This scuba diver was cleaning the tank, and motioned to get closer for a picture. We did, then she went back to cleaning. It was pretty cool.
Almost every aquarium we've been to has a tunnel now, but this one had a moving walkway you could stand on. That was pretty cool. Here's the girls and Bobby pretending to surf on the walkway.
The dolphin show was included in our ticket, so we watched that. We were in the 3rd row--got a little wet, but not bad. Had excellent seats! Couldn't take pictures inside the show, which I'm sad about. The dolphins were RIGHT THERE in front of us! It was amazing. Here's one of the dolphins in the tank after the show.
In the penguin exhibit, there was a tunnel you could crawl through. Then there were these pop-up areas where you could be with the penguins.
After the aquarium, we headed next door to the World of Coke. These bottles were from the 1996 Olympics, held in Atlanta.  The highlight of the World of Coke was the Tasting Room, where we could taste samples of coke products from around the world, and we got to take a glass coke bottle with us. Pretty cool.
These are out of order--this is from the first day. We took Moose the dog and the kids up to the Etowah River to play in the river. We forgot to bring towels, and there is a lot of red clay that is gross when it gets wet. 

On Wednesday we hiked up Kennesaw Mountain. We've done this many times before, but this time, instead of turning around at the top and hiking back down, we went down the other side, and went on the trail that runs around the base. We ended up hiking 5.4 miles--not excatly what we'd set out to do. But it was beautiful, and so fun.

It was a fantastic trip. Although it was short and we really didn't do much, I love being able to spend time with my brother's family. We don't see them often enough, so the time we can get down to Atlanta and be with them is priceless to me.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Things that annoy me Thursday:

Uncooked, limp fries
Students who don't pay attention to directions
Adults who are mean to my daughters
Little girls who are mean to my daughters...and that will only get worse, I'm sure
Always being the mom who carts all the other kids around, and the favor is never returned
People who are secretive
People who don't know what March Madness is. Really?
The stack of papers I need to grade and can't bring myself to start
Always being the mom who volunteers for everything while others sit at home and do nothing
Lemonade that tastes like pineapple juice

On a positive games start today!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Dear children,

Dear children of mine,

I love it when one of you gets in bed with me while your dad is at the fire station. I have fond memories of doing this myself when Dad was at work. I love it when you snuggle up next to me, all traces of the day's disappointments/let downs/anger are gone.


When both of you do this? With me sandwiched in the middle? I do not love this. You are both cover hogs, pulling it back and forth across me all night. You are both restless, elbows and arms and legs swinging out from both directions hitting me in the head, or the stomach, or the leg. You both sigh loudly, and, like your dad, talk in your sleep.

Our Queen sized bed is not big enough for all three of us. 


Your Mom who finally got up and slept on the floor at 5 am because there was no waking you two

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Musings about nothing

Tomorrow we are headed to Columbia for the state basketball tournament. Our school is only in its 2nd year, and we are in the state playoffs. It's an incredible electric feeling at the high school, and is doing so much for morale. Some of the kids really didn't want to come over to the new school, and this is helping school spirit so much. We are taking two friends with us, and I can't wait to take a picture of Tess (KU lover) in front of a Missouri Tiger sign. :)

Slowly getting back in the running saddle. I shouldn't have ever fallen off, but I did. It was so easy to pick back up where I left off, though. I'm at 2 miles running right now; didn't have to quite start from zero. Signed up for the Color Run in June--it's not a timed race, but a 5k where they throw color on you every mile. Macy is signed up too and is so excited. Doing a Mother's Day 5k, Hospital Hill 10k, and the 1/2 marathon in October again.

I had a traumatic experience at the dentist on Tuesday. I have to go back on Thursday for a couple more fillings, and after this week, I'm really dreading it.

There's only 8 weeks of school left. How did that happen?

Monday, March 5, 2012

A first

What an emotional day. The guidance counselor came to see me 2nd hour, and said that the father of one of my girls in 7th hour just arrived home from Afghanistan after 6 months, and wanted to surprise his daughter in my class! Was I okay with it? Uh, yeah. What was I supposed to say? :) She filled me in on the details, and the day dragged on and on. I cleaned my desk, and the area around the front of my room where things tend to collect. I kept watching the clock for 2 o'clock.

Finally, 7th hour started. My kids were unfazed that 4 extra students were sitting in the room (yearbook and newspaper students) but noticed the large Channel 9 camera right away. I had to play it off--oh, they are filming us for some future segment on the news--and they were all excited about that. I could hardly get them to calm down. Class starts at 2:01, and I was told they'd come in at 2:07. So I rambled, and rambled, not really sure what I talked about. I was so nervous my hands were shaking. I was terrified I was going to mess it up somehow. The kids were settling down at this point. But they still weren't coming in, and it was after 2:10. I'm sure I sounded like a blubbering idiot to the cameraman, because I was just rambling incoherently about who knows what.

Then the guidance counselor came in, and her dad followed. I think everyone else in the room saw him first before she did...took her a few seconds to look up. But oh....when she saw him. Words can not describe when she saw him. At this point, my class figured out that this was something special, not just some random future segment. Most looked surprised, many smiling, some looking like "what just happened?"

Apparently the hallway outside my room was filled with students from yearbook next door, teachers and secretaries. Someone said there was probably 20-25 people in the hallway outside my room, trying to see, most of the women crying.

Lots of pictures and video were taken in the front of my room by the door, then she floated out on a cloud with her dad, leaving all her stuff behind. I packed it up and sent it with her mom.

It was an amazing, moving experience. I've never experienced anything remotely like that in my classroom in my 14 years teaching, and I'm sure nothing can top that. I feel so honored to have been apart of it, and I can't wait to see her in class again to find out what she thought.

Some pictures from our yearbook photographer:

And here's the video that ran on KMBC tonight at 6.

What a day. I'm still getting goosebumps just thinking about it!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

This pretty little girl

had a music concert tonight. We found out at noon today, because I am the world's worst mother, and don't read the notes that come home from school apparently. Another mom found out an hour before the concert started, so at least we had a couple hours warning more than her.