Monday, October 28, 2013
Monday, October 21, 2013
Remember back in the "olden days" when a boy asked a girl to the high school Homecoming dance? If they weren't dating, the young man simply asked the young lady, "would you like to go to Homecoming with me?" The answer was a simple "yes" or "no." End of story. Not today. No one would ever do something so SIMPLE. Everything has to be not only complicated but a competition as well. I personally think it's a response to the Disney movie "Prom" that came out a few years ago. Although it was a well-intentioned script, the many different scenarios that played out within the story lines lent itself to a new fad. Not only does the girl get warned by her girlfriends that she's going to get asked, but then she also expects an original proposal. It's so over the top. But then I'm sure our parents categorized our behavior the same way back in the 80's. All this to say, that my poor little freshman was feeling some of the pressure when all he wanted to do was go to the dance and have fun with a group of friends--and a date.
I came home from work one night and Ian told me he wanted to ask a certain girl to Homecoming but it felt awkward because this certain girl happened to be the younger sister of his older brother's girlfriend. Are you following? I told him he should do it if he wants to and not let that fact deter him. Being that Ian's a simple guy, I thought he would just ask her and be on his merry way. Silly me. He got an idea from an older guy and decided to run with it. This particular creative idea also meant that we had to drive all over town to find a goldfish bowl and a small, plastic fishing rod, He was so cute and excited, and he rarely asks for anything, so I had to indulge him. The next day, with the help of his prospective date's friend, he filled the fish bowl with Goldfish crackers and put it on her desk in her first period class. Alongside the bowl was the fishing pole with a note that said, "Of all the fishes in the deep blue sea, will you go to Homecoming with me?" I have to admit it was pretty darn slick. She loved it. He texted me after class with a simple message, "she said yes."
I made the suggestion that the two couples double date. Bad idea. The older couple would have none of it. Going with Freshmen could potentially damage their social status or so it seemed. The best I could do was insist on a picture of all 4 of them at the girls' house before they went their separate ways.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Sunday, September 15, 2013
Sunday, September 8, 2013
And so the new chapter begins. As I've said before, this school year represents all of us turning a page to a story that has had many twists and turns; the characters have endured many changes; a little mystery has been thrown in there and now the plot thickens. The English teacher in me would describe this as "the climax of my personal narrative." The protagonist (me) has finally reached the place in the book where the action heads into high gear. I have successfully completed my first full week as a middle school student teacher.
|Junior Year: Positively thrilled.|
|Ready for my 6th graders.|
Friday, August 23, 2013
As last summer began, I jotted down a bucket list for June, July & August. I managed to cross off 4 out of 11. In teacher speak that's not even close to a passing grade. I think I got a little overzealous last year so I never actually committed to completing a list this summer and yet I still remembered the "biggies" that didn't happen in 2012. In the back of my mind, I still wanted to accomplish at least one or two. Well, as it turns out, I did do #4, 9 and 10--and all 3 were a disappointment but I did bring my grade up to a C-. See below for the details.
Dana’s Summer Bucket List 2012
3. Make a rope swing with my kids.
4. Early morning run on the Northshore Trail.
5. Go to a Drive-In movie theater.
7. Sleep under the stars.
8. Fish in the lake and eat my catch for dinner.
9. Make a batch of homemade ice cream.
10. Visit a local farm for fresh produce.
Monday, August 5, 2013
|This was AFTER the trip. We didn't even get wet.|
|Enjoying a tropical mojito.|
|21 years and still smiling.|
Thursday, July 11, 2013
Amelia Island holds a very special place in my heart. It's by far my favorite place on the eastern seaboard. Trey's parents began building their retirement home there the year Quinn was born (1997). From the minute the house was completed until we moved out west (2001) we spent many a long weekend there making memories while trying to wear out our tireless babies and toddlers on the beach, in the pool and on the golf course. It was our "go to" place and the only way we got a vacation during those early years. I can still envision trudging out to the beach with an enormous supply of paraphenelia to dig in the sand, play in the water, protect the kids from the scorching sun and feed their hungry stomachs and thirsty mouths. Even though it was a gargantuan effort, when I look at the pictures, the fondness I feel reminds me it was always worth the effort.
When we landed at Jacksonville airport 17 days ago at 11:30 p.m., it was 82 degrees and glorious. After retrieving our luggage and the rental car, we hit I-95 then A1A, crossed the causeway and turned on the Parkway. The entire time filled with boys commenting incessantly with the "Remember When...." stories. It was music to my ears--especially when the teenagers moaned and groaned beforehand about not being able to see their friends for two whole weeks. The walk down memory lane was punctuated by all they had planned for the long summer days ahead of us. "We need to call Uncle Mike and see if we can borrow his surfboard." "I'm going to eat at Chick-fil-A every day." "When do we get to see Baby Wynn and the rest of our cousins?" We arrived at the house close to 1:00 a.m. and Mimi & Papa Jim were on the porch to greet us. That porch was also covered in bikes, boogie boards, a surf board, beach toys and beach chairs. We were well on our way to making some new memories.
The next 14 days were filled with constant activity and family visits--and lots of Chick-fil-A of course. While we were playing in the pool with the younger kids, I had flashbacks of Quinn, Ian & Ben at those tender ages of 3 & 6 when life was in continuous movement and sitting poolside for more than 5 minutes wasn't an option. It was nostalgic but also very sobering. On July 1st, Trey, Quinn & I took off for the day and headed to Gainesville. Trey had a customer to see so we took advantage of the timing and scheduled a tour of the University of Florida.(one of Quinn's top 5 on the college wish list.) The possibility that the campus could one day be home to my firstborn was surreal but exciting. After returning from UF, I was privvy to a conversation between Trey & Quinn that hit me like a ton of bricks.
It poured the day of our tour, the day before and the day after. Not just your typical southern summertime afternoon thunderstorms but all day long rainfall. While listening to our 16-year-old grumble about how bored he was, how the weather wasn't supposed to be like this, how he missed driving his car, etc. Trey had a stern talking to with him and reminded him that since we only visit every other summer, this could be the very last time our whole family is together in his grandparents home for the rest of their lives. No one knows what the future holds and where he'll be at this time post high school graduation. Although his grandparents are in good health now, none of us can predict how quickly that could change. I'm not entirely sure how much of an impact these words had on my son (teens can rarely see beyond today) but they were not lost on me. It made me think about the brevity of life and the importance of being fully present in the here and now. I am guilty of "waiting for someday". I have put off so many tasks, dreams and adventures waiting for the right circumstances. "When I'm done with school." "When I have a teaching job". "When the kids are gone." "When the house is paid off."
Even today, I found myself starting to do that as I looked at the suitcases on the floor; the mound of laundry in the basket; the pile of papers on my desk; and the projects pinned to my boards on Pinterest. I found excuses to put them off telling myself they would still be there tomorrow. And then I remembered the promise I made to myself while being unplugged from technology and the normal demands of family life. I want to be present and try to do one new thing every day. It can be as small as unpacking the suitcase within 24 hours (which I actually did and this is a first) or trying a new recipe. It's time for the summer bucket list to resurface from last year (I did 5 out of 10) and start crossing items off and adding new ones.
My father-in-law said the sweetest thing to me during their visit for Ian's 8th grade graduation and I want to continue to live it out. He told me, "When the boys are gone, you and Trey aren't going to look back with any regrets. You have made the most of every single moment with your kids." Thanks to him, we have had the privilege of enjoying many of those moments at the place he & Mimi call home.
Back to my original reason for this post....................(a lot of) pictures from our vacation below.
|Everyone loved playing with "Baby Wynn"|
|Amelia Jane making Quinn laugh.|
|Cousin Chris taking it easy while we played with his kids--ask him what he was doing when we had kids and he didn't. Probably the same thing as in this picture.|
|Wynn trying to shoot his big cousin|
|The tour ended with a visit to the infamous football stadium "The Swamp."|
|Wouldn't it be cool of he could stand here wearing one of their uniforms one day? It's a long shot but we were dreaming anyway.|
|Ben doing his magic trick for Aunt Nancy and Uncle Jim. He's a wizard, that Benny.|
|Elizabeth is such a good big cousin to Amelia Jane and Wynn|
|After Trey let him go under the wave, Wynn announced: "He drownded me."|
|A game of Corn Hole before the fireworks.|
|All the Sturgeon cousins.|
|Aunt Nancy & Uncle Jim take a break from the stress of checking on their house being built on the island.|
|Amelia Jane told me she loves her "big cousins."|
|Everyone rushed to take a picture of our 4th of July visitor.|
|We affectionately named him "Uncle Sam" because of his Independence Day visit.|
|Quinn patiently taking his little cousin on the water slide for the 50th time. "Do it again" was all Wynn said to him that day.|
|Re-enacting a photo taken of these two when Ben was a toddler.|
|Another thing we miss about the South.|
|Chasing the waves.|
|My beach boys.|
|Each visit his head gets closer to the stop sign.|
|We did feel welcome.|
|This is where you could find Ben most days.|
|Yes, that is a Chick-fil-A cup.|
|A double "selfie."|
|Have soccer ball, will play.|
|More pool antics.|
|One last game of Mexican Train.|
|Getting crazy with Uncle Mike.|
|Not sure what this was but they were laughing a lot.|
|Quinn got to drive the Miata.|