Sunday, May 17, 2015

Beach, Movies, a TV show, and Books...

Yesterday we hung out on the beach with some friends and it was awesome. The weather and company was great. So excited about the summer! Friday I took the girls to see "Pitch Perfect 2" and it was a hit. If you like the first will like it. I did laugh out loud a few times especially a scene with "Fat Amy." She is fabulous.

Speaking of movies...there are so many out and coming out soon that I want to see (and Norah wants to see some too!) I saw the preview for "Far from the Madding Crowd" and want to see it. It doesn't look like it is playing in our area!

The preview for "Aloha" looks like the perfect summer movie...will totally be seeing it when it comes out in a couple of weeks!

Norah wants to see "Tomorrowland" and "Inside Out" so I'm sure we will be seeing those together.

I saw the preview for "The Intern" and it looks so cute but doesn't come out till September.

Now for a TV show...I so wish "Homeland" season 4 was out to purchase. I love that show and it would be a perfect summer watch.

With summer almost here...I'm so excited about all the books I can read. I love that I have time to read during the day and have a stack ready to be read. Just started the book everyone is talking about..."The Girl on the Train" so cannot wait to see if it lives up to all the hype.

Here a just a few on my TBR list...I swear my stack of books grows constantly. Plus I add to my "wish list" on Amazon on a daily basis!

A couple of books that will be coming out soon and I cannot wait are..."Circling the Sun" and

"After You" which I am so pumped about! Plus they are making a movie of "Me Before You" which is one of my favorite books!
Well as always today is about getting ready for the week (my last one with my kiddos in class) and a little fun!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Friday Five...

1. Last weekend, Jeff's mom, brother, sister-in-law, and niece came in town. We had a fun night out!

2. Norah had her first real project to do. I asked if she wanted any help...she told me that parents are not supposed to help. She did everything by herself even the research on the computer. She presented it to the class and made a 100. I was very proud of her!

3. Can't forget about Mother's Day last weekend! The rain of Tropical Storm Ana was yuck but otherwise...I love my mom and I love that I am a mom to my baby girl Norah!

Check out my new watch that I got for Mother's Day too! Someone must have read the blog! ;)
4. The weather has greatly improved since last weekend and we have gotten some beach time in this week. Looking forward to the weekend and getting to hit the beach again!

5. Well today is Friday (YEAH!) and Norah has her MayFest at school which she is so excited about! Cannot wait to hear all about it when she gets home.

And to continue the fun on this Friday...we will be going to see "Pitch Perfect 2" today...Norah is obsessed with the first movie so should be fun!

Sunday, May 3, 2015


Last week I went with our 7th and 8th grade students on a field trip to see some amazing things that South Carolina has to offer. We started by heading to Columbia to see the State House where we got to see the House in session...this was super cool to see! We then headed to RiverBanks Zoo and ended at the hotel for dinner, pool time, and the kids getting to have social time.

I love flamingos!

The next morning we got up and traveled to Charleston where he headed to Fort Sumter, the Aquarium, and ended with a party at SkyZone.

These are the two teachers that went...they pretty much are the best! 
Our final day we headed to Awendaw where we went on an Island Quest to Bulls Island. This was amazing! There is also an interesting story about an alligator!                                           

We arrived back and I think I was still on the adrenaline from the trip at this point. I cannot say enough about how amazing this trip was for me. The kids were incredible and my chaperones (two teachers and two moms) were not only incredibly helpful but so fun to be with!

I missed my girl so much while gone. We went to breakfast on Saturday and then got our nails done. I'm so thankful to Jeff, my mom, and friends that took such good care of Norah while I was gone.

Saturday night we went to a Derby Party at one of our school parent's plantations in Georgetown (Annandale Plantation.) It was a gorgeous setting and lots of fun. It is a reminder of how great the parents of my students are...they have made working at Lowcountry for three years so much fun!

Well today I finally feel like I have caught up on sleep. So it is time to do the normal prep for the week but also have some more time with my baby Norah. I think we are going to see "Avengers 2" today.

And to always throw a random tidbit...totally want this watch and glasses for Mother's Day (hint, hint) has a great, local story behind it and they would be perfect to wear this summer! Link to Swell's website where they are having a Mother's Day Sale! 20% off using code MOM15

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sunday Seven...

1. The earthquake in Nepal is devastating. I cannot imagine just sitting there one moment and the next so much destruction without any warning. My heart and prayers go out to all those that were involved or have a connection to those that are affected by it.

2. Earlier in the week Norah and I hit the beach after was beautiful! We also got to have some pool time one day too.

3. I finished Season 3 of "House of Cards" and whoa! I didn't even realize when I was watching the last one of the season that it was I now cannot wait for Season 4 to see what happens. It is a sign of a good show when you cheer for Frank and Claire Underwood...I mean they are the worst but you still love them!

4. I got to finish the season up because I have been sick. I can function when I am sick except when I have a fever...then I'm no good. Well today is the first day since Wednesday that I feel pretty decent. No fever...praise it!

5. Last week was the big Lilly at Target sale (debacle) and I actually did score some items for Norah online. They came this week and she really likes them!

6. Speaking of last weekend...was so sad to hear that Jonathan Crombie passed away. I love the "Anne of Green Gables" series. I actually would love to own all the movies but they are not on digital format yet and I no longer even have a DVD! I hope they become available soon. He made the perfect Gilbert Blythe.

7. Jeff and Norah got to hang out yesterday and this morning. Jeff has been a big help while I've been under the weather. Today I'm hoping to catch up on all the things I'm behind on (a lot!) and get ready for the week. This week is the Middle School field trip which should be an adventure!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Weekend in review...

Friday I was able to grab a quick drink with some co-workers right after school as Jeff was taking Norah for a swim. (The water was cold but Norah did not care!)
Then we I got home...Jeff headed out to spend the night out on a turkey hunting adventure. That left Norah and I to have game night. We played Qwirkle, Hedbanz, and Animal Logic (my fave!)

Saturday I had to Allergy proof Norah's room so everything came out...some rearranging, cleaning, new bedding, etc. Hopefully it will do the trick! She still has to stay Gluten Free until we go back in May and then we get to see how taking her off it goes and whether we will have to start allergy shots. Keeping fingers crossed for all good news! Once Jeff got home Saturday...we decided to go out to dinner.

This weekend I did get time to start Season 3 of "House of Cards" and I'm loving it! I'm trying to pace myself so I can enjoy it!

Sunday started with errands and the usual but then an unexpected incident that required a few hours occurred so we changed gears. Everything was okay but it definitely changed up our weekend plans.

Now it is Monday and it was hard to get back to working when I felt like there were things I did not accomplish on the weekend. Oh well...I guess eventually I will catch up!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Spring Break 2015-Disney World and Universal

Last year we went to Washington, DC for Spring Break as a family and had the best time. We decided then that it made sense to have our family vacation during Norah's spring break each year. This year...Disney was picked and it was Norah's first time there. I started researching information and got great advice from friends about the trip. I want to document what we did each day so we will remember everything so this post is for us and will be lengthy. The main thing is that we had a wonderful time! Everyday was fun and an adventure. Norah loved it and already wants to go back!

I've also uploaded all our pics from the trip onto Shutterfly and can be viewed HERE.

I used this book to help plan some (this is the website that goes with the book) but I was also told this book is great. I had already bought the first one so didn't order the Birnbaum's book but may purchase it if we go again for some different insights. Also posting on Facebook asking for advice/suggestions from friends was a big help! The "My Disney" App was key to seeing schedules and wait times. Also I had asked Norah when planning trip if she wanted to meet any characters and she stated "no" so that made it easier to eliminate character meetings. I loved the MagicBands and not dealing with the card ticket. We also lucked out as the weather was sunny and in the 80s the whole time we were there.

We stayed at the Blue Heron Resort and this was fantastic for us! Having a kitchen and den separate from our bedroom was just what we wanted (and needed!) and the view everyday was fantastic. It was a super easy drive in to the parks and I would stay here again in a second! We also did all our laundry there so we didn't come home with any dirty!

Okay...prep/packing: Thought we did great. With Norah's diet right now of gluten free, I made food up ahead and took it down with us. We ate Breakfast and dinner everyday in the condo except one dinner out. I packed sunscreen but only lotion kind and wish I had picked up the spray kind. I also packed a hat but forgot to take it into the parks and wish I had worn it. We packed comfy clothes and shoes which worked out great for all of us.

Day 1: Travel Day. We boarded our dogs here in Pawleys Island and left around 9 am on Easter Sunday. It was an easy drive down and once we arrived at the condo, we unpacked and hit the pool.

Day 2: We got up around 6 am, ate breakfast, and headed to Animal Kingdom right when it opened at 8 am. Easy drive in and the park was not nearly as crowded as I expected which was a positive. I actually never used my +FastPasses this day because we did not have to wait for any attraction other than one (Rapids.) Here is what attractions we did at Animal Kingdom:
Expedition Everest (Norah's first ride and how I knew she then could ride anything!!)
Primeval Whirl
TriceraTop Spin
Face Painting
It's Tough to be a Bug
Met the characters from the movie "Up"
Flights of Wonder
Kilimanjaro Safaris
Festival of the Lion King
Lunch: Yak and Yeti (Tuna nachos were awesome but the rest we had was just ok. They had gluten free buns for a cheeseburger for Norah and they fry their french fries separately for allergies so she had those too.)
*The only ride we waited for was the Rapids (an hour wait) and we were about to get on the ride when it broke! Norah was disappointed.
**We stayed in the park from 8 am-4 pm. The park definitely got more crowded as the day went on and when leaving the attractions started having long wait times. The lunch reservation which someone told me to make one each day was awesome. It was so nice to sit away from people in air conditioning each day for a break. We all loved Animal Kingdom but I especially like it as I loved the shows and safari since I'm not really a "ride" person. Once we got back to the condo, it was pool time and dinner.

Day 3: Again, we got up around 6 am, ate breakfast, and headed to Magic Kingdom right when it opened at 8 am. Easy drive in and the park was not nearly as crowded as I expected which again was a positive and surprising. Here are the attractions we did this day:
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Peter Pan's Flight
Mad Tea Party
Splash Mountain
Jungle Cruise
Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade
The Walt Disney World Railroad
Show at Castle before parade (not sure what this is called)
Lunch: Tony's Town Square (awesome...had tomato/mozzarella salads and then Jeff and I split a flat bread pizza. Norah had gluten free pasta and meatballs with fruit)
*Rode Bus into park from parking lot and monorail back to lot at end of day. Bus was super fast but monorail had issues so took forever
*Again left around 4 and did the pool, etc. back at the condo.

Day 4: Same morning routine and we got to Universal at 8 am opening. We did preferred parking which was recommended and it was super easy to get in and out. Worth the extra $8.00. Now we went to Universal to see Harry Potter World. To do must buy a park to park ticket as half of Harry Potter is in Universal side and the other half is in Island of Adventures side plus that is the only way to ride the Hogwarts Express. We all thought the Harry Potter world was extremely well done and all of us loved riding the Hogwarts Express (even Jeff who doesn't really know much about Harry Potter thought it was cool.) Seriously I was giddy with delight to see everything in person. However, Jeff and Norah waited about 20 minutes to ride "Flight of the Hippogriff" and then that was the only ride...the two other Harry Potter rides... "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey" and "Escape from Gringotts" both had 2 hour waits in the 8 am time frame! Norah did not want to wait that long so we opted not to do those rides. I used Universal's app to check wait times and all of them were extremely long early. Jeff ended up waiting 40 minutes for a roller coaster and did it by himself. We tried for the Despicable Me ride but it too had a two hour wait. Needless to say, it was decided to end the day early at Universal. We found it not to be the best for younger kids like Norah but more of a place to take 12 and up. We did have the best lunch at "Cowfish" before leaving as it reminded us of Charlotte! I think Universal is geared towards the older child/adults and I think beside Harry Potter (which I still think about!)...we were not at a stage to enjoy Universal as much as we thought. Leaving early also helped let Norah have more pool time in the afternoon and allowed Jeff and I a little bit of a breather for the week so it worked out nicely.

Day 5: We headed back to Magic and literally got there before the gates even opened! We felt really prepared today having been there before...we were like Disney professionals at this point. ;)
Here are the attractions we went to:
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Astro Orbiter
Stitch's Great Escape (Worst thing ever...wish I could have gotten those minutes back...yuck!)
Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin
Space Mountain
Tomorrowland Speedway (Norah drove me and I laughed so was awesome!)
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
PhilharMagic Movie
Swiss Family Treehouse
Sorcerer of Magic Kingdom (We happened upon this and so wish we had found it the first day we were there. This is a magical scavenger hunt throughout Magic Kingdom and Norah loved it so much! She honestly wants to go back to just play this!!)
Walt Disney World Railroad
Lunch: Liberty Tree Tavern (meh...nothing great...we had burgers. Norah actually said her gluten free bun was the best gluten free bread she had had so win for her!)
*We took the bus again in the morning and ferry back that day. We were sad to leave this day and I actually wish we could have had one more day in Magic Kingdom...and Norah did too!

Day 6: Travel Day. We left around 8 am and traffic was worse the whole time compared to our trip coming down. Still an easy drive and we got home, picked up dogs, and crashed! :)

I must say that I went into this trip a little hesitant since I'm not a "rider" (I really enjoyed people watching while Jeff and Norah rode most of the rides...and being outside in the beautiful weather while waiting was a plus too!) but I can truly say that we had an amazing time. I actually will admit that I would like to go again with Norah...we will see! I think the biggest thing is planning and really talking to Norah about the trip and what she wanted to do. Of course you tweak as you are there but having a plan really helped us do all we did. Norah loved it all and the excitement she had the entire trip was amazing. She was so happy!

Yesterday was spent getting back in gear and back to the normal routine. We did get to go to a friend's last night for oysters, crab, fish, various apps, wine, and lots of adult time...which was needed! Plus Norah enjoyed playing with kids! Now I'm off to run errands and work some before our Spring Break comes to an end. I hope I covered everything!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Super Busy and Movies/TV...

I hate that it has been a month since I posted as I have forgotten all the little cute details of Norah's life and slacked on pics. It is that time of year that becomes very busy at school...come on Spring Break! Plus there is always something going on anyway when you have a here is a brief recap. Unfortunately...I know I'm leaving things out but hopefully I will do better in the future.

Norah's class dressed up and 2nd grade did a program regarding a book they had read. Her class was to dress to represent China by wearing red. They sang a song in Mandarin which Norah thought was so cool. I was glad that I got to see her in it!
They played a game that was a Chinese version of "Duck, Duck, Goose"

This is Norah and a cute friend in her class. Norah loves all the kids in her class! She went to a birthday party for this sweet friend at MagiQuest and had a blast!

Jeff and I squeezed in a date during Happy Hour one Friday and it was really fun!

Norah and her dogs! Finn turned 4 years old this Month and Darcy will be 4 in April....kinda hard to believe.
Another thing that has kept us busy...Disney World planning. It is almost time and we are all excited about having a vacation!
We live in a great neighborhood and it is nice to have a last minute get together! Oysters, beverages, kids playing....and burning trees! Always fun!
Jeff and I were talking the other day that this April we have been together 13 years...seems long and short all at the same time. :)
There have been other things...Norah still going strong academically and loving school. We were in a little fender bender (not my fault and everyone ok), Norah had her physical for camp and still off the charts, and embarked on the Gluten Free way for her which we are figuring out. Norah has a new playroom set up which she is loving including her own "couch" and new TV. Jeff and I have been busy at work and trying to get some house things done. We have been trying to get back in gear going to Church more regularly and find that going to the 8 AM service is a better fit for us lately as it allows us to still have the day to do the usual run errands, work, etc. Anyway...on to a few fun things I actually remember! ;)

We have seen some great movies lately. First one..."McFarland USA" which Norah actually picked. This movie is fantastic! Every family should go see it and I think schools should take kids to see it...wonderful story. I hope I can instill half the work ethic, team spirit, perseverance, etc. in Norah...the kids prove that hard work pays off.
My mom came in town which we enjoyed! So she, Norah, and I went to see the new "Cinderella" movie and it was done right! First....I do love all things British so that is a major plus. Effects, wardrobe, was all great!
Today we had standardized testing at my school so we watched "Big Hero 6" in the afternoon...another super cute movie! I love all these movies lately where a character is so selfless and kind. (Baymax reminds me of Groot in "Guardians of the Galaxy.")

Now I admit that up until this weekend...Jeff and I have been non-stop with "things" to do. But this weekend we actually had some down time which was extremely needed. So instead of reading (which I am behind on!) I watched some via Roku. First up, "Death Comes to Pemberley"...which not only do I love all things British but Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice it. Of course Matthew Goode and Matthew Rhys are not bad to look at either! :)
Jeff did not watch the above with me but we did watch two episodes of "The Affair." Once it started...I admit it was nothing like I expected. I find the set up of the show split into two segments where Noah retells the memory and then Allison retells the same memory from her perspective...and to see the differences an incredible way to do a show. I think that is fascinating how people remember certain details differently. I also wondered if their names, Noah and Allison, related to names in the book/movie, "The Notebook"...anyone know? Oh well...hope to watch some more of that and still saving "House of Cards 3" for binge watching soon!

Hard to believe it is April next week but I'm excited for warmer weather and soon summer!