"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places." Roald Dahl

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

This weekend I headed to Myrtle Beach with another coach and 8 swimmers to change things up, swim outside, and get some really good training in.  We ran on the beach, did some creative dryland on the beach, and did some open water swimming as well.

It was a blast!









 It's nice to be back and now I only have 4 more days of teaching!!  8 more days total, but I don't count test days :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

100 Things About Me: Part 1

I am going to attempt this.  I hope that you don't get bored before the end.  And I'm still trying to come up with 100 things...requests are welcome!

1. I am one of three girls.  I love having sisters!  At times growing up, I wanted to kill them and I'm sure my parents might have wanted to kill us all, but now that we are older we are really close friends.  I wouldn't trade them for the world.



2.  I am the middle sister.  Some say this has largely affected my personality.

3. My astrological sign is "Leo."  I don't really agree with anything that goes along with this description.  I hate being the center of attention.  I hate having all eyes on me.  It makes me cringe, shake, and literally faint.  I hate it.

4. I am incredibly clumsy.  I have numerous scars and broken bone stories as a result of things I have walked into, tripped over, etc.  Land sports were not my thing.

5.  I was born in Salisbury, North Carolina, but only lived there for a little over 3 years.  I did, however, live there long enough to develop a little bit of a southern twang that shows through sometimes now that I'm back in the south.

6. I moved to Pennsylvania from  NC and lived there for 7 years.  I am still in touch with some of my friends that I had there while growing up.

7.  From PA, we went to Illinois when I was 11.  I spent my awkward middle school years and my high school years there and refer to it as my "hometown."  I love it there.  I love going back to visit the cute little downtown area and reminisce, especially when the Christmas lights are up.

8.  I am tall.  Abnormally tall.  I often have random strangers ask me where I play basketball or how tall I actually am.  Funny...if they had ever seen me on a bball court they would not be so inclined to ask.  I used to hate my height, but I have learned to love it.  I am somewhere between 5'11" and 6ft.

9. I speak Spanish fluently.  I fell in love with traveling and continued studying it.  I traveled abroad in Granada, Spain and San Joaquin, Costa Rica.

10.  I am a high school teacher and they provide me with endless entertainment and frustration.  When I was a teenager did I also think that I was invincible?!  Most likely.

11. I have one tattoo.  It's tiny and located on my foot; but it is meaninful.  My little sister, Catherine, and I got the same one - an infinity symbol.  It reminds me to follow my dreams and that the possibilities are endless.  Paula did not get one (even though we did our best to peer pressure her into it) but she was present during th einking, to hold our hands and take pictures.  We got them done during a sister trip to Raleigh in February of 2009.

My feet are the ones all the way to the right, the tattoo is on my left foot...who can spot it?
12.  I tried out a ton of sports/activities when I was little (even though sometimes it seems like all I did was swim).  I played soccer, softball, and volleyball, was a brownie/girl scout, and rode horses.

13.  My mom is a saint for driving us to all of our activities because my sisters were involved in just as many, if not more, activities as I.

14.  I love to swim. I started swimming competitively when I was 6 and kept going until I was 20.  Paula and I joined our first team "Fanny Chapman" together.  My high school swimming years taught me a lot and shaped the person that I have become.  They also left me with some great memories and amazing friendships.



15.  I was a distance swimmer.  I don't have many fast-twitch muscles.  It normally took me a while to get going and I was always yelled at for negative-splitting my races.  My favorite events were the 200 Back, 500 Free, and 400 IM.  They were also my least favorite events, if that makes any sense, because they were the most painful.

16.  Swimming helped me pick my college and I went to the University of Illinois.  If you had asked me where I wanted to go to school during my junior year of high school, U of I is a school I would have told you I would never attend...but I went for one visit, met the team, and I was sold.

17.  I swam on the same college team as my older sister.  It was a great bonding experience and it helped me a lot during some of the tougher college days.  My little sister swam at Michigan.  We still support her even though she chose a rival school.

At her Conference Meet two years ago.  Matt still refuses to wear the "M".
18.  I started college as a nutrition major.  I took three full semester's worth of classes before I switched.

19.  I am not a perfectionist.

20.  My worst grade in college came from my Chem Lab.  My experiments never went well.  Luckily, I had a very forgiving lab partner, but whenever I measured or observed, I always thought it looked "close enough".  Believe it or not, my lab partner and I are still friends.  He kept the major, I switched to elementary ed.

21.  I changed my major again to Spanish at the end of my second year and retired from swimming to study abroad.

22.  I took five years in college due to my indecisiveness.

23.  During my fifth year of college I debated between taking a sales job in Chicago or pursuing teaching.  About the time I had to respond to the sales job I went to a career fair at U of I and was offered a job teaching in North Carolina.  I flew down with my mom to take a look, fell in love with the 75 degree March weather and was sold.

24.  I made the 16 hour drive down with my dad in July of 2007 with all of my worldly possessions packed into my old Ford Explorer.  And yes, it all fit.  That's how much I had.

25.  I found my first NC roommate on Craigslist...She was not an ax murderer...she was actually pretty great and we still talk!



This is too much to do at once...and I need time to come up with the rest...so I will leave you hanging with the last 75.  :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

100th Post

This is actually my 105th post.  I guess it is a tradition in the blogging world to write a list of 100 things about yourself for your 100th post.  Well, I obviously messed that up, but I could still do it...if I could actually come up with a list of 100 things about myself.  I did start one, and I currently have 26 items on it.  I am just about out of ideas, too.

If you have any ideas for things I can write about, feel free to leave a comment.  Or, if you have any questions for me or things you want to know about me, please feel free to ask...I need ideas people.

This post may or may not be coming soon, we will see.  Either way, it is very crazy that I have actually created 100 posts.  What is even crazier is that people actually read them!  Not a ton of people, but some people.  Thank you to whoever you are out there that actually read this, I hope you enjoy it.  It helps me feel like I'm keeping in touch with those far away, and sometimes its just an emotional outlet for me.  I've thought a few times in the past few months if I should keep blogging or not.  For now, I am continuing, and I hope you are enjoying it.

Now, please tell me what to write about...100 is a lot...and I need a lot of help.

*In other news, Chicago Code had it's series finale last night.  I really wish they hadn't of cancelled that show so fast.  I loved it!  Rumor has it, another network might pick it up...maybe I should start a petition...they would listen to me, right?*

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Rita's

This was a great weekend.  I worked a bit, got in a few good workouts, laid out at the pool, ate at a cute new restaurant, and tonight after dinner, Derek and I stopped for some Rita's Italian Ice.  A perfect end to a great weekend.



It was delicious.  Much better than ice cream, which was my original idea.  I can't believe I hadn't tried it before today.  I will be back.

  


I have 9 more days of teaching, then finals.  Summer, please, hurry up and get here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Summer, Are You Here Yet?



Did you know that the closer you get to summer, the crazier students (and teachers) start acting?  Seriously, I wonder how I haven't yet pulled my hair out.  I have 12 more days left...and I am just trying to make it.

The students don't want to work, but they all want good grades.  They don't want to be quiet and listen, but then they wonder why they don't understand.  They are driving me crazy!  So, (mom, you would be very proud) I pulled out my best "grown-up" teacher face today and gave them a little talking-to.  It worked...for the time being...hopefully the effects will last until tomorrow, but I know that is just wishful thinking.

If anyone has any wise suggestions, I am open to them!  Please help!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Weekend in STC

This week end was amazing.  It was so good to see my family and friends...some of whom I have not seen in forever!

Friday we had a family dinner and it was so nice to have everyone together.  Paula and Matt were there, with Chief, and Cath and her old roomate Emily were there, as well.




Saturday, we all went to get our nails done, just for fun.


Then we posed for pictures with the old family taxi.  They are donating it this week.  (It's about time.)  But, we've had some good times, so we all had to pose with the van one last time.


We spent Saturday afternoon and evening at the wedding.  It was a beautiful ceremony and Ashley was absolutely stunning.  I had so much fun and it was so good to see so many people.  It was like a high school reunion!  I got to see a lot of my friends, but also their parents, and even my swim coach.  It was hilarious to chat and we might have caused a scene once or twice.

The happy couple (picture take by Nicole)

Nicole and I

Us with the bride and groom

Elizabeth, Ashley, and I

 Sunday morning, we all went out for breakfast before I left for the airport...Egg Harbor.  Yum!  Catherine and I had to do our usual photo-shoot...


In case you are wondering why we have scarves on...it was cold.  Really cold.  Someone needs to tell those people up north that it is May!  That means spring/summer weather...not 50 and windy...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Happy Birthday Corey

Today is Corey's birthday.  It stinks I'm missing it, but I hope you have a wonderful day!

Happy Birthday Corey!



Have fun celebrating tonight!

Old Friends!

Tomorrow I am heading back to Chicago to see my family and attend a friend's wedding.

I will get to see lots of people...

Obviously, my sisters!

Paula
Cath
And my parents!

and Elizabeth and Nicole...and I haven't seen Nicole in ages - maybe a year and a half? I'm pretty excited!
Liz and Nicole
And of course, the beautiful bride, Ashley, and the groom, Chris.  This is one of their engagement pictures...gorgeous!  I have known her since the 6th grade.  In high school it sometimes felt like we were a part of each other's families and I'm glad I'll get to be there for their big day.

It's going to be a good weekend, I'm pretty excited!  (can't you tell?!)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mother's Day Weekend

This past weekend passed so quickly, I feel like I was in a blur for most of it.  I was actually really busy and got a ton of stuff in, but I felt like it flew by...


Friday afternoon, practiced was cancelled so I went for a long run on the Tobacco Trail and the weather was perfect.  I know I've been talking about this a lot lately, but really, you can't beat great weather!  I went 4 miles at a pretty brisk pace.  After that I got all cleaned up and met my friend Rachael out for sushi.  We went to a great new place and it was so good to talk to her.  She is in education, but we work at different schools so we don't get to see each other as often as we'd like.  She has also had an unbelievably busy semester.  I can't believe some of the things she has dealt with; she is pretty tough.

We obviously didn't beat the crowd...

Saturday, I met Karen to go to Peak Fest.  Once again the weather was perfect!  We got there early to beat the crowds, wandered the streets, parused the hand-made jewelry, and even poked around in a used book shop (that I loved!).  I want to go back.  That downtown is really cute.  I have a few new restaurants that I want to try out and the boutiques had some really cute clothes.  It was all surprisingly affordable, too.

We also found this guy on the way out...Iron man?  Little kids were giving him hugs...what?
We finished off the morning with an amazing lunch from one of the vendors and then I headed to coach for a bit.

Sunday I coached most of the morning again and then we met up with Derek's family for lunch and to celebrate Mother's Day with his whole family.  I hope Jan had a great Mother's Day!  Thank you for including me in the festivities.  

I hope everyone got a chance to thank all of the mother's in their life and make them feel special for the day.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Every day I catch myself becoming more and more like my mom, and that's alright. She's pretty amazing.

Do you see a resemblence?

Aren't they cute?

Us girls, just being goofy.
She has always supported me, and never fails to remind me how proud of me she is.  She is incredibly strong, loves her career helping others, and she has a great sense of humor.  I'm a pretty lucky gal.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

I hope you and your sisters are having a blast with Grandma at the beach.  Love you all!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cinco de Mayo

Today is Cinco de Mayo and that means it's Sarah's birthday!  Happy Birthday Sarah!!


We celebrated her birthday last month when we were all together, but I hope she is having a wonderful birthday today, as well!! Love you Sar.

Cinco de Mayo is also a popular day to celebrate.  Lots of people go to Mexican restaurants but...does anyone know what they are celebrating?  Today I asked my students what Cinco de Mayo was, and they all said it was the Mexican Independence Day...Wrong!!  (Yes, I do feel it's my duty to inform people about this.)  

May 5th, 1862 was the date of a huge Mexican victory against France during their fight for independence.  The victory eventually resulted in Mexico gaining their independence, but their actual independence day is September 16.  

Here, in the US, we celebrate Mexican heritage and pride, but in reality, the holiday is not widely celebrated in Mexico.  They acknowledge the date's importance, and in the region of Puebla (where the battle was fought), there are some celebrations, but it is nothing like what we do here.  I think it is important to celebrate Mexican pride and heritage, and it's also important to learn the why behind it.



That being said, I still am a Spanish teacher, and I love any chance to fit culture into our busy curriculum, so we had a mini-lesson today, along with a craft project.  It was really fun!


Do you think my students would have let today pass without any mention of it...no way!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Running



I have a love-hate relationship with running.  When I am in shape, I love it.  When I am out of shape, I hate it.  When I'm still getting into shape, I love it.  And sometimes, no matter what kind of shape I'm in, if the weather is gorgeous and it's not pollen season, I love it then, too.

Today, I had to stay after school for a parent conference, then I made a stop at a co-workers baby shower, and when I finally got home I was in no mood to run.  I forced myself to put my workout clothes on and figured once that happened, I might make it out the door.  I did.

I am not currently in great running shape, but today was one of those good days.  The weather was pretty warm, but there was a nice enough breeze that it was just perfect.  The pollen count was low and I had no trouble breathing.  I just went.  I had no idea how far I was going to go, and I ended up getting three miles in, just in time to arrive back home to get ready to coach.

Today is an I-love-running day.  I love the way I feel after a run; no matter how long, or short it was.  When I got home from school I was ready to fall asleep and now I feel great...I'm very glad I decided to head outside today :).