Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Family Vacation!

Our 2nd annual family reunion is coming up in just a few short days. All of my moms' side of the family are heading to Galveston, TX for a week of fun in the sun! Last year we went on a 7 day cruise to Cozumel, the Grand Cayman Islands, and Jamaica! Here are a few pictures from last year.

This year we will be staying in Galveston and hanging out at the bay house. Since we can't all sleep at the bay house, we are staying at the Diamond Beach Resort! It is absolutely beautiful. It has three pools and a lazy river that I am sure to enjoy. Since Pops lives on the bay, we will be able to see all the 4th of July fireworks that go off in Gavleston, Kema, and Houston! It will be a great show. We are planning a girls shopping day in Houston and a family trip to Schlitterbahn, which is an awesome water park in town.

All of the cousins are so excited, and we are so thankful for our time together. The Lord has blessed us with a close-knit family, and they are priceless. I know that it will be a week filled with laughter, fun times, and many memories! My moms sister, Bonnie, lives in Oregon so we don't get to see their family as often as we would like. Marie also moved out to California, so we don't get to see her often anymore either. Even though it's only once a year, we cherish our time together. I am so happy to know that I not only call my cousins my family, but my friends as well. There is nothing that we would not do for each other, and for that I am certainly blessed!

I am flying out tomorrow and will arrive a few days before the rest of the crew gets to the island. I am going to help Nana and Pops get ready for 26 people to bombard their house! We have lots of errands to run and grocery/Sam's Club shopping to do. I am looking forward to my last week of vacation because when I get back its time to get a head start on the school year!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Praise the Lord!

As I put on Facebook earlier, I am now an employee of the Yazoo County School District. I am beyond thrilled! The school that I am working at was my top choice of schools, and I am so thankful to be working there. I found out while I was in Switzerland (how cool is that?) that they wanted to offer me a 4th grade position. It was the only place where we had Internet 24/7, so I was able to communicate with the principal very quickly.
Once I got home, I called the school to make sure they had emailed the right person! HA. It was just so hard to wrap my head around it while on the trip. I talked with the principal and she encouraged me and said that she was excited to have me. This past week I was able to see my classroom and meet two of the teachers who I will be working with. There are four 4th grade teachers, so thankfully I will have 3 other teachers as my support system!
I am slightly (ok maybe extremely) overwhelmed! I am not sure what I need to do for preparation, and it is not something that the other teachers can just tell me to do. They were able to answer my questions, but it seemed with every answer I had more questions! I didn't want to be annoying so I tried to keep my questions down to a minimum. If you know me, then you know this was not easy! I am a planner, and a "big picture" girl. Right now, I am not sure what to be planning for and I have no idea of any type of "picture" of how the school year will go.
I am very excited to start looking at the curriculum and frameworks. I also can't wait to decorate my classroom! My mom has given me some great canvas paintings over the last few months, and I can't wait to put those on my walls to spruce up the place a bit.
I am over the moon about teaching, but I am also terrified! I know that I will mess up, but I will put my heart and soul into teaching those precious children. God has given me a gift of loving children, and I want to do all that I can for them. I am praying for my students right now. I know that they will be in my classroom for a reason, and I hope that I can show the love of Jesus to those kiddos. I know this year will be rough (for many, many reasons), but I am confident that I can do the job. I loved student teaching, and I am excited about having my own classroom.

Thank you Jesus for my job!!!!!

Monday, June 13, 2011


Rome was really great. Out of all of the Italian cities that we went to, it was the most "city" like. It was very Americanized and was extremely touristy. We arrived in Rome around 4pm. We had to wait on the street for about 45 minutes for someone to come let us in our apartment. The area that we stayed in was not unsafe, but we felt like it was because we were targets with all of our stuff sitting on the street. It was like we were yelling "3 girls are staying ALONE in an apartment with all of their stuff!" Not good. Anyways, someone finally came and she spoke no English. We got on an elevator that was probably installed the year that elevators came out and rode to the 5th floor. (Note-we used the stairs the rest of the trip.) The lady showed us to our apartment which was not great but not terrible. We decided that we needed some food and we needed to go explore Rome a little bit! I suggested that we try our key to make sure that it worked and we knew how to use it before everyone went out of the apartment. Thankfully we did that because we literally could not get our key to open the door. All 3 of us tried to open it for like 45 minutes. We then spent another 45 minutes trying to communicate with a company who only has Italian speaking employees. We finally got in touch with someone and they said that a man would come by around 8pm to let us in our apartment. We were exhausted, frustrated, and starving. We decided to leave and go get dinner from a nearby place and then go back to the apartment at 8. Well the only place around there was a a place that is not even a restaurant. Imagine an American gas station but without having gas. That is where we ate. It was disgusting. We were all pretty discouraged and very unhappy. BUT we sat there for a few moments and then we all decided to change our attitudes! WE WERE IN ROME!!! So we laughed (sorta) and reminded ourselves that we would one day laugh about that night. We split a pizza and decided to really go eat after we figured out how to get in our apartment. Long story short (kinda) the man let us in, and off we went to explore! We found a nice restaurant a couple of blocks away and had dinner. We walked back at like 10pm, and we didn't quite feel very comfortable. We basically ran back to our apartment, ran up the stairs, and locked the door! We got ready for bed, promised to readjust our attitudes (again) for the next few days and hit the hay.

The next morning we stopped by a coffee/pastry shop and then headed to the Colosseum! It was an incredible experience. Aside from communion in Westminster Abbey, this was my favorite touristy thing that we did the whole trip. Knowing the history that had happened in the colosseum, especially what happened to christians in there made the whole experience very real. I have read A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers a million times, and the way that she brings the colosseum to life is vivid. When I walked into the colosseum I pictured what she had written about and I was in awe. I almost felt bad to take a picture and smile inside of there because so much evil had gone on in the arena. I was moved to tears at one point just because of the emotions that were running through me. We then headed to the Roman Forum and Capital Hill. We stopped by Mamertine Prison which is where Peter and Paul were held in jail.

We saw the Pantheon and we loved that area of town. If you are heading to Rome, then stay in that area! It had lots of quaint restaurants and a fun atmosphere. We got gelato from Giolitti's which is Rome's most famous and oldest gelato place! It was AMAZING. I got a pistachio and chocolate cone the first time and then a chocolate and cinnamon cone the next time. They also put a dollop of fresh whip cream right on the cone. Delicous! My mouth is watering just thinking about it. We walked by the Spanish Steps and there were tons of people sitting on them. They were also a lot smaller than what I was envisioning.

Rome was a great city, but I would not necessarily want to go back. There are other parts of Italy that I would want to go back to and lots of new places that I want to go to. I am so thankful for the opportunity to go, and I will always remember my time in Rome!