Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Spring Break Has Arrived!

The kids are on Spring Break this week, and since I traveled for work on mine I took the week "off." I'm still doing quite a bit, but I'm doing it from home in the moments that I'm not doing something with the kiddos. It's a little nuts, but it's all good.

Unfortunately, Daddy has to travel and is launching his new business this week, so a real trip was out of the realm of possibility this year. Instead, I have promised the kiddos that we will do one fun thing every day.

Yesterday, the fun thing was bowling! We finally went to the bowling alley beside the dojo, and it is our new bowling home! Just look at that form:
 The sheer will steering the ball down the alley:
 The fact that my children creamed me:
 We had a blast. We played skeeball and the claw games. And we laughed. It was a great start to the week!

We also had one of Brad's colleagues over for dinner last night:
I love excuses to pull out some of the nicer things. It was an early evening, which was also nice!

Now, I need to pull a few reports before we start today's adventures!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Terrific Kid and Terrific Nana

Issa received the Terrific Kid award yesterday for good judgement:
We are super proud of her--we always are--but the past few weeks have been a little dicey as her class has transitioned to a new teacher. We have been so proud of the way she has handled it and the choices she has made in spite of some pretty serious peer pressure. She's going to be just fine in middle school.

What I love most about this picture, though, is I didn't take it. We got word Wednesday afternoon that Issa would be recognized Thursday morning--awesome. Brad had his first meeting with his first client for his newly-launched company. I had committed to leading some professional development at a school in Raleigh. We couldn't reschedule either thing on such short notice, so I sent Nana a frantic text. She jumped in as Issa's person and sent me the picture.

We made it for a lot of years without family around, but we just keep asking ourselves how we did it. This week Mom came over to borrow a pot. I stopped by for a cup of coffee. It's just become so normal.

This is the first weekend she won't be around, and it feels so strange. We are already counting down the days until she is back...

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

She Loves Me

Issa packed my lunch today:
I would be lying if I said I didn't open the box as soon as I got to work. She had been so excited to pack it I thought there might be a little surprise. The egg has chocolate in it.

As we are entering these tween years full force, I find the two of us going toe to toe more than I might like. She is a slightly smaller version of me, so I know where she is headed before she gets there--a blessing and a curse. I love seeing the fierce, strong woman she is becoming, but jeez it's exhausting. In the midst of all that, this little note had big pulls on the heart strings this morning. I love, love, love her, too.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Spring has Sprung

We had another lovely weekend.

Friday night, the kids stayed at Nana's while Brad and I had a date night! We had a lovely dinner at Antonia's and then saw Twelfth Night at Playmakers. I had forgotten how truly hysterical that play is, and the music that had been composed specifically for this production made it even better.

Saturday, we had a lazy day. I finally have in to the jet lag and slept. We also finally watched Moana--love!

Yesterday, I went to yoga where a very tricky substitute teacher nearly killed me. I didn't feel like I was working at all, but today I can barely walk. Lesson learned. I spent the rest of the day packing away snowmen and scattering about bunnies. I love how cheery the house looks with all of the pink and yellow scattered about.

The schedule the next couple of weeks looks to be wonky, but we're getting ready to enjoy a little spring breaking next week, which should make it all more bearable.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Beyond Lucky...

Happy St. Patrick's Day! The leprechauns visited us last night. Buddy and Walter actually came Wednesday night and left us rainbow seeds. The kids planted them in sugar, per the directions, and low and behold they grew into rainbow twizzlers for St. Patrick's day:
 The leprechauns left us little jello hats:
 And generally made a mess with streamers.
Our traditional Irish dinner is being post-poned until tomorrow, though, Tonight, Brad and I are going out to celebrate the anniversary of our engagement, the kids are spending the night with Nana, and we all feel beyond lucky...

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Finally Photos...

At long last, I am finally posting the photos from Issa's dance competition! I had about 200 to choose from, but I wanted to post just a few of my very favorites here.

Tap is not Issa's jam, but she hangs right in there:
She does love doing fireballs, though:
 Her solo is stunning this year:

 She has gotten so strong and graceful, and her sense of timing has improved so very much.

Jazz is just fun:
 Look at this air:

 And I love, love, love watching her dance lyrical:
 Just look at that smile:

 Production features a beach theme this year. Trying to choose some pictures where she is visable is tough in a stage full of girls! Looks front left here:
 And center second row here:
 We are almost halfway through the season already! I guess we'll just keeping dancing...

Monday, March 13, 2017

A Whirlwind Week in Italy...

I spent a whirlwind week in Italy for work last week. That is such an odd sentence. I never would have dreamed by work would have me traveling with three colleagues to prepare to take a group of students to Italy this summer.

After a plane, a taxi, a train, and a bus, we walked to our home away from home for the week. We stayed in a little four room hotel above a restaurant:
 My room became our classroom since I had a sofa. We would gather here to plan for the next day and the courses we would be teaching our students.
 I returned to journaling this trip--writing purely for myself. The leather journal, Tuscan wine, and antique key for my room made it a lovely experience.
 This was our breakfast at the hotel every morning:
 Add a cappucino to that and life just doesn't get much better.

We spent the first part of the week in Sansepolcro, where we have our palazzo that will be our home and classroom with students. Tucked behind this door is our own little Italian campus:
 The first night we "just" had pizza, although it was quite amazing. The second night we ate at the restaurant below our hotel, where I had an amazing lamb stew and Tuscan white beans:
 And here is Sansepolcro:
 All of the streets are charming, and after a few days I found my way around quite easily.

After a couple of days orienting ourselves to Sansepolcro and Italian culture, we ventured out to the towns we will introduce our students to. The first was Anghiari, where we toured the Busotti linen factory:
 Their "newest" loom is 107 years old, and the linens they produce are gorgeous. The views from the town over than Tuscan valley are pretty amazing, too:
 And here is the town itself, with its medieval walls:
 From there we traveled to Arrezo:
 We explored the fort that dates back to the 1100s, and enjoyed the sculpture that graces the town:
 We also explored beautiful churches and their art, including the 10 panel fresco The Legends of the True Cross. That night, we returned home for dinner where I had the best gnocci of my life!
 The next day, we journeyed to Florence, which didn't disappoint:
 The cathedral is stunning:
 And the bridges are truly amazing feats of architecture:
 While there, we toured the Ufizzi, an art museum housed in a Medici castle. The art did not disappoint:

 We also enjoyed coffee on its rooftop overlooking the city. We made our way home for one last dinner at Al Cocco, a restaurant owned and staffed by all women. It was a phenominal meal and a lovely way to end our stay before leaving early the next morning for Rome.

We stayed in the same hotel I will enjoy with my students:

 But it was the hotel courtyard that took my breath away:
 We made wishes on coins in Trevvi Fountain:

 And explored the city. I fell in love with the Pantheon, but a picture just can't do it justice. We crossed the Tiber to see the old castle:

 And the Vaticcan:

 We had a final amazing meal in Rome, which ended with the best tiramisu I have ever had:
 We began the adventure back on Saturday, and I was so glad to see my people on Saturday night. The best husband in the world held down the fort with a little Nana back-up, and the board was proof:
I had left the big picture, and he filled in the rest.

I have fallen in love with Italy. The pace of life and the emphasis on people is enchanting, and I really can't wait to introduce my students to her.