Sunday, September 20, 2009

It's My Blogaversary!! (and a giveaway)

One year ago today I started my blog! I was looking back over all my posts recently, re-living some of the events of the past year. It made me wish I had started a blog earlier. There were several events I had forgotten Buddy's Citizen Arrest. Or the time I sent a wormy apple in his lunch. Or the Honey Baked Ham I found on our doorstep.

So I've decided to do a "Top Ten List" of my blog posts. These were the top-ten posts with the most comments for this past year.

Take a trip down memory lane with me. And then leave a comment on your favorite top-ten post. One lucky reader will win a $10 Walgreens gift card. You know how much I love getting good deals, and I've gotten a lot of them at Walgreens this year. (I'm hoping this will help bring some of my readers who never comment out of the shadows!!)

Do you remember....
#10--Quinn's Artistic Debut click here.

#9--My Mom's Miracle click here.

#8--Mr.Fix-It Click here.

#7--6 years of marriage click here

#6--Leaving my comfort zone click here.

#5--Why I didn't win Mother of the Year click here.

#4--The Pumpkin Patch click here

#3--Quinn's 1st Haircut click here

#2--Popcorn for two click here

and the number one post with the most comments

#1--My 100th post click here.

I will be leaving the comments open on this post for several days...probably until Thursday or Friday. Then I will close comments and announce a winner!

Thank you for following along, because This Is My Life!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The 5th grade version of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar"

I'm sure you are all familiar with the classic children's book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle. This is a wonderful story about a cute little caterpillar that eats his way through a whole bunch of things, only at the end to turn into a beautiful butterfly. I would say this book is probably appropriate in pre-K up to maybe first grade.

In fifth grade, though, the book should be changed to "The Very Weird, Horned, Ugly, Humongous Caterpillar and How It Scared The Teacher". Because that's what we discovered on the playground yesterday at recess.

Check him out....wouldn't he scare you if you saw this crawling around under a tree?

Of course all the students wanted to know what kind it was and what it would turn into. Was it poisonous? What are the spikes for? And about a million other questions that I won't bother typing up here. Of course this happened to be the time when the WHOLE 5th GRADE was outside, so I was getting these questions from all three classes, not just mine! So, like the good teacher I am, I spent the majority of my planning time on Google, researching this particular caterpillar.

This caterpillar is known as the Hickory Horned Devil, and is the larvae that turns into a Regal Moth. The caterpillar can be up to 5 inches in length. It has five pairs of antenna that resemble horns on its head. These "horns" and the black spikes along its back are used for scaring away its enemies. It has three pairs of legs directly under its head area. It has several pairs of darker "feet" that are actually not feet at all, but structures to help the caterpillar grip the bark of trees more easily.

The Regal Moth is nocturnal and has a wingspan of 5-6 inches! (Well, you would expect a big caterpillar to make a big moth, right?) It also has no mouth, so it only lives long enough to mate and then lay its eggs. What a life, right?!?

And here is a picture of the Regal Moth, what this caterpillar will turn into.

I can only imagine what kind of tales were told by my students when they got home. Would you really believe your kid if they came home from school and said they saw a huge green caterpillar with spikes and horns that makes it look like a dragon?? I wouldn't have believed it myself, either!

PS...these pictures are courtesy of The pictures I took were on a co-worker's camera and the files ended up being too big to post on the blog. However, if you are my Facebook friend, I've posted pictures of my caterpillar there. It was quite the learning experience yesterday!

Friday, September 11, 2009

9-11-01 will never be forgotten

Today is the 8th anniversary of the September 11th tragedy. I can hardly believe that eight years have gone by since this terrible day. When I was growing up, I would always hear people talk about where they were the day President Kennedy was shot or older people telling about where they were the day Pearl Harbor was bombed. I'll never forget where I was when our country was attacked on September 11, 2001.

I was just beginning my junior year at Clemson. It was a Tuesday morning and my first class didn't start until 9:30, so I usually took my time getting ready. I had just gotten out of the shower and turned on the TV so I could watch the Today Show while I was getting ready. It was about 8:45. Not long after I turned the TV on, Matt Lauer announced that one of their cameras had caught images of a plane hitting on of the towers of the World Trade Center and they would be cutting to this camera and find out what was going on. Within a few minutes, I watched the second plane fly into the other tower. I remember thinking what in the world is going on....are we at war...was this a terrible accident? No one seemed to know what was happening. I continued watching the news until I absolutely had to leave for class. I remember that as I walked to class, I kept looking up into the beautiful blue sky, wondering how something like this could happen.

It only took me about fifteen minutes to walk to class, but by then people were sharing new details. A third plane had hit the Pentagon. Both towers had fallen. A fourth plane landed in a field in Pennsylvania. I don't remember learning anything in class that day. Within a few hours, a lot of professors began cancelling classes, out of respect.

We all know what became of this day. We remember the stories of survivors talking about all the firefighters who were running into the Towers as civilians were trying to get out. We remember the stories of the people on that fourth plane taking matters into their own hands to keep the terrorists from committing a final act on our country. We remember watching all the members of Congress standing on the steps of the Capitol Building, singing God Bless America.

But now eight years have gone by. Are our memories of this day as fresh as they were that day? Probably not. No one wants to constantly re-live the worst day of their life. Just as we want our worst memories to fade, the memories of this day are fading too. However, we should never forget.

We should never forget that almost 3,000 innocent people lost their lives that day.

We should never forget that 343 firefighters lost their lives that day, simply doing their jobs and answering the call of duty.

We should never forget what our country went through on this day.

We should never forget.....

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Labor Day Weekend 2009

We spent our Labor Day weekend at my sister-in-law's house. You may remember reading about our previous trip to "Aunt Kristel's" house back in the spring. We always have fun at their house. Buddy has three older sisters, and Kristel is the youngest of the girls. Her youngest son, David, is three months older than Quinn. The boys really had a fun time playing together this time. Our first visit since both boys were born, Quinn was barely crawling. The visit back in the spring, Quinn was still very unsteady on his walking. This time though, they ran around playing together. It was so sweet to watch them.

Kristel and Ed didn't have too many plans for us, so we went back to the park we went to before. The weather was so nice this weekend, so we did more of the outdoor stuff. Back in the spring, the weekend we were there was so cold and rainy, that we did the indoor stuff.

Saturday was a beautiful day so the first thing we did was ride the train around the park. Quinn had never been on a train before, so I was really excited to get to do this with him. This is us waiting our turn.

Because Kristel and her boys have ridden the train before, Kristel stayed on the deck and took pictures for me. Quinn and I rode the train with my nephews. Trey is the boy in the blue shirt, and you can't see David who is sitting on Trey's lap. (Trey is a SUPER BIG BROTHER, by the way!!) Quinn was too busy checking things out to "pose" with me!

After the train, we went to the park area. Quinn of course had to slide down the slide. Here he is climbing to the top with cousin David. Cousin Trey was waiting at the top to help the boys.

For some reason, Quinn wouldn't slide by himself this time. I think because the slide had a twist in it and he couldn't see me while he was waiting at the top. He made Trey slide down with him.

We came home and ate Chick-fil-A that Buddy and Ed, (our brother-in-law), brought home for lunch! That's mine and Kristel's favorite place! The little boys took naps in the afternoon, while Buddy, Ed, Trey and I took in some target practice. Ed's dad has some land nearby and so we went down to the field, set up a target and took aim. Turns out: I'm a pretty good shot!
Ed did some grilling for us for supper, and afterwards we all went outside to play. Quinn found a tricycle and tried his best to ride it like David. Quinn is tall for his age, but David is about two inches taller....which makes his feet hit the pedals. Quinn's feet just didn't quite make it! He had fun sitting on it though.

This is Quinn and Uncle Ed riding on the 4-wheeler. Now, don't worry. Uncle Ed did not drive very fast at all while riding with the little guys. I believe he didn't get out of first gear. Either way, it was fast enough to get a smile out of Quinn.

Then Buddy and I got to take a turn. We went faster, and it was so much fun. Ed and Kristel's yard is plenty big enough to go for a ride. If only it wasn't soybean season and we could have ridden in the field as well. Maybe next time.

Then Buddy took Quinn around a few times. Doesn't it look like my boys had fun?!?! And check out the sunset in the background. It was such a beautiful evening.

Here's Kristel and Trey. Trey's a big middle-schooler this year.....6th grade! Kristel is a nurse. Besides David and Trey, they also have a daughter named Rebecca. (Doesn't it look like Kristel's shirt coordinates with the sunset??)

After having lots of fun outside, we all went back inside. The little boys and Rebecca went on to bed and the rest of us tried to watch a football game on TV, but one by one we all crashed! Playing with toddlers is tiring!! We had hoped to watch our CLEMSON TIGERS play, but the game this week wasn't televised. We still got the win though! I've mentioned before that Buddy and I are both Clemson Grads, but so is Ed....he got his Masters at Clemson.
Kristel, Ed, and family...thanks again for a wonderful weekend. You all are welcome at our house any time! Love you!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Miracle on a Mountaintop

Yesterday I was checking my Facebook account, as I often do. I noticed that both my cousin Hannah and her mom had status updates that said they were at a hospital, thankful for good doctors who work on the weekends. My first thought was that my uncle had a relapse with his back. (He has an issue with his spinal cord that has rendered him unable to walk, but that's a post for another day.)

When I was finally able to get in touch with Hannah, I discovered that her boyfriend, Dave, had been in a bad motorcycle accident. Now, being a part of the fire department, I have been on the scene of many MVAs (motor vehicle accidents). Some have been as simple as fender-benders. Others have been much, much worse.

Dave had been on a motorcycle ride in the mountains and wrecked into a tree. Due to his location and distance from the hospital, he had to be air-lifted out. From the perspective of an emergency responder, this sounds about as bad as it can get. Amazingly enough, he barely had any scratches on him! No broken bones! He's been monitored and is already out of ICU and in a regular room! Praise God!

I know God has a plan and a purpose for everyone....and Dave's purpose didn't end on that mountaintop, as it easily could have. I've not yet had the chance to meet this young man, but I know that there is a reason he is still here. God wasn't ready for him yet. This story is just another one that proves that your life can change in an instant, yet before anything even happens, God is already there. God knew what was going to happen to Dave on Sunday. God even put that particular tree in the spot it was growing. And God left Dave here. Dave has a purpose.
Here's a fairly recent picture of Hannah and Dave. Please continue to pray for Dave as he heals and recuperates.