Jay and Stacey

Jay and Stacey

Sunday, August 21, 2011

SUPER Summary Sunday! for 8/6-8/21!

Hello Everyone!

Sorry for the delay, but we were on vacation on the Jersey Shore and didn't have a way to update the blog, THEN this week was crazy busy getting ready for my return to work on Monday :(

The week at the beach was AWESOME! Both of the kids love the water and love to body surf. We rode bikes, rented a surrey, climbed a lighthouse, played mini golf, ate pizza and had a relaxing time. And, Stacey caught the brass ring on the carousel!!!! And, Jay and Stacey went to the restaurant where they -in August of 1998 - decided that marriage to each other would be a good idea. Tisha's was wonderful then and now.

Janey and Daddy in OCNJ.
My silly family.

Mini Golf!!!!!!
Mommy and Jack in OCNJ.



The Monday after the beach we spent a VERY long day at the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair. It was great. Rides, animals, food....

When we returned life got into full swing. There was school shopping, clothes shopping, football practice, horseback riding and last minute visiting with friends before the madness begins.

Janey got a full suit of show clothes and looks adorable. We decided to go to two private lessons per week for her instead of leasing a horse. This gets her way more instruction to hone her skills. Leasing will come next school year.

Pretty Girl!

Jack was issued #7 at football and is loving being a Rockville bear.

Jay has restarted construction on the basement bar. Woot Woot!

Stacey has finished almost all of her summer reading. Almost.

The big push has begun in the house to get our entries ready for the annual Damascus Community Fair on September 9. Janey is submitting a cross stitch, a wooden horse model and a latch hook. Jack is submitting a fleece no-sew blanket, a model animal and a Lego car. Stacey is submitting a cross stitch and some photographs she took. Jay is just cheering for us - very quietly. Wish us luck!

Stacey's big 5K is on Saturday September 3rd. Think good thoughts for her. Please. Pretty Please. She is going to need it.

See you tomorrow for Media Monday!

Friday, August 5, 2011

4 Things Friday 8/5/11 - WootWoot Week

1) The week really began on Tuesday when we found out that Jay DID NOT get laid off from Cisco. This event set up a great rest of the week. The old Jay is back. The funny, calm, amazing guy that disappeared when they announced layoffs three months ago kicked the stressed and cranky Jay to the curb Tuesday night. Life is so good! You don't realize how much stress and angst you are carrying until it's gone.

2)Wednesday was a great day. Janey got a clean bill of health at the opthomologist - another year without retinal damage due to diabetes. Then we went to the barn and Janey had a great lesson - it involved Sunny and cantering, that is always a good thing. THEN,we had dinner with some great friends at a local restaurant called Batik. It was WONDERFUL as always. A Great - but busy - Wednesday!

3) Thursday included a girls' day out. Janey and I got mani-pedis and then went out to lunch and shopping at the bookstore. It really was a wonderful mother/daughter day - Jack hung out with the neighbors! Again, Fabulous Day!

A great pic of us girls at the Keys game in July!

4) Friday started off rough. I went to Weight Watchers and I gained 1.8 pounds this week. I had done everything right - drank water, went for a run, counted my points, ate lots of fruit and veggies......I was so shocked by the weight gain that the lady behind the scale was afraid I was going to cry, and I did, just not in the meeting. I got out to the car and had to chat with someone who could help me through the sobs. Who did I call and who made it all better? Not a girlfriend, but my BEST friend, Jay. He reminded me that even with the gain this week I was still down 41 pounds and that was nothing to cry about. He told me I should be proud of the hard work I put in and that I was beautiful. He said I should think about my weight loss like the stock market. Some days it is up and some it is down but, in the end, what matters is riding out the bumps and staying in for the long haul. Am I mad I gained, yes. But did I LOVE getting a really great amazing reality check and pep talk from the world's best husband? You bet! It almost made the 1.8 worth it!

But the day just kept getting better as we prepared for our annual trip to the Jersey Shore.

But wait, there's more. Now that finances are set, and since we missed the big Disney trip this past July, we are GOING ON A CRUISE with the Horman family in November. Booked the balcony cabin today.

This is the boat!

And lastly, as a reality check to myself, I tried on a formal dress that I have not fit into for about 8 years. I have kept it all these years because I love it and I had hoped to fit back into it. Tried it on - it fits. Now I want that dress to be too big - it just takes time.

This is that dress...soon it will be too big...soon it will be too big!

See you Sunday for the weekend Wrap-up!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wordy Wednesday for 8/3 (a bit late)

SO.......Still trying to read Ethan Frome.

Think I might put him away for a bit and read some of the short stories that I will need to use in September for AP Literature. I love short stories because they can be incredibly complex even though they are often as short as only 2 pages. The writng of a good short story is masterful - and in my opinion - often more difficult than constructing a novel.

Here is a list of the things I need to read/re-read:

1) "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlott Perkins Gilman. AMAZING! Love this story and cant wait to teach it.

2)Artist of the Beautiful by Nathaniel Hawthorne - a favorite of the other AP Lit teacher I will be working with. I have never read it but look forward to it.

3)Little Things by ...can't remember who wrote it. I hate when that happens. EXCELLENT. Very Short and Very disturbing. Ohhhh, Raymond Carver is the author. WooHoo! I look forward to student reactions to this one!

4)The Trout by Sean O'Faolain. A good Irish author. I'm bound to love this.

5)I Stand Here Ironing by Tillie Olsen. Early feminisim. I will probably love this one too.

6)The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant. Heartbreaker, but I love it. Hope the kids get it.

Busy, busy, busy. I will review the new stories for you next week.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Media Monday 8/1 - All About Teaching

This blog entry is all about my CHOSEN profession, teaching.

I am including my 2 FAVORITE videos about teaching. One is VERY new and one is pretty old, but they are both amazing and powerful. One is by the son of a teacher and one is by a teacher, both are heartfelt.

This past weekend, Matt Damon - the son of a teacher - said some AMAZING things at the Save Our Schools rally in DC. His comments about the current state of teaching are right on target. I have to admit, I got a little teary listening to it. It's good stuff!

Taylor Mali is a poet and a teacher. This is a cute video someone made to accompany one of the best descriptions of teaching I have ever heard.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Sunday Summary! 7/31/11

Congratulations to us! Today is Jay and Stacey's 12th anniversary! And it is hot as crap just like it was 12 years ago. No, I think it was hotter then.

We went out Friday night for some family fun. We had dinner at our local diner - The Star Diner - where they know us pretty well. While eating we decided we needed an adventure. What to do? How about some duck pin bowling?!?!?! The alley was pretty empty and we had a blast. Mommy won the first game and Jack won the second.

Saturday morning began with Stacey's weigh-in at Weight Watchers. I'm down another 2.8 this week!!!! This is almost 45 pounds total since I started.

After WW we headed out for our weekly farmer's market trip to Rockville. The peaches, green beans, corn and tomatoes looked fabulous! Can't wait to dig in!

Saturday was also the Mary of Nazareth "Taste of Maryland" picnic. We bought this dinner at the MoN gala in March and most of the price we paid went to the school. It was just a cool opportunity to get together with 10 other couples - and no kids - and hang out and eat good food, like CRABS!!!! Having our trusty babysitter made it easy to relax and have fun.

Sunday was a laid back day with each of us spending it doing stuff we love - just not necessarily together. Jay cleaned his car, took a 4 hour nap and watched some baseball. Stacey cleaned her car and watched an "Iron Man" double feature. Janey and Jack played with their friends. THEN we all got ice cream at Ben and Jerry's. It was a pretty good day ;)

Friday, July 29, 2011

4 Things Friday for 7/29/11

Here are 4 cool things this week:

1) Tuesday night we went to the Kennedy Center with Jay's mom to see "Wicked" the musical. OMG! it was fantastic and amazing and funny and wonderful! As you can see, we liked it.

2) Wednesday, Stacey got a bit of "me" time when she had her hair done. Ralph, the hair stylist, said that I needed cool new hair to go with the cool skinny me - so I became a red head! Super fun.

3) Thursday, Janey got to have a play date and sleep over with her friend Jessie. She had a blast! They went out to dinner, went to the pool, made arts and crafts, and played with Jessie's dogs Bear and Goldie!

4)While Janey was having fun girl time, Jack and Mommy did back to school shopping. Holy Crap was that expensive! $300 later all of the school supplies for Janey and Jack have been bought. Pencils, markers, index cards, paper, pens, dictionaries, flash drives, back packs and a million other things - but at least its over!

It was a light and fairly uneventful week - that was a nice change!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wordy Wednesday for 7/27


That is about all I could say when I finished the Dickens novel "A Tale of Two Cities" While I had been avoiding it and had no real desire to read or teach it, my move to teach AP Literature next year made it a mandatory summer read. The reason I say that "Wow" was all I could say was because I was too busy openly weeping to say anything else. If you've never read it or haven't read it since high school - try it again. It is a beautifully constructed piece of literature.

For book club this past month we read "Breakthrough" about the discovery of insulin. I read it aloud to Janey and we LOVED it. It lent itself nicely to discussion - is the gain we make through animal testing worth it? would you jump your child in ne for a new drug if it meant she would live but another might die? Good stuff and a fast, good read.

I am now falling (or sledding) into the depths of despair as I reread "Ethan Frome" by Edith Warton. This is another AP text; the difference here is I read it in college and hated it. Hopefully I will like it this time.

Last, but not least, I am reading "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Running" in preparation for my 5K in September. Learning lots of cool stuff and worrying lots too. I hope I'll be ready....

Happy Reading!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Summary Sunday 7/24

This weekend's highlights:

Yes, that's 102 on the car dashboard!

1)Friday we got a blessed break from the crazy heat (it was only 89 degrees) and met up with Cub Scout Pack 76 at the Frederick Keys game. We Won!! There were fireworks! And the kids got to run the bases after the game! A super fun time for Jay, Stacey and Jack!

2)Saturday we picked Janey up at Lion's Camp Merrick in Nanjemoy, Maryland. She had tons of fun, but a broken camera means there are, sadly, no pictures except the couple Mom took with her phone at drop off. She did give us some cool details:

a. Her best friend while there was Maddie, they exchanged numbers and we hope to get the girls together before camp next year.

b. She won the award for amazing archer. Who knew she could shoot a bow and arrow.

c. She was asked to the Last Night at Camp Dance by "Nate" - he was a nice boy and there was plenty of space between them during the slow dance so we don't have to break his kneecaps.

d. Her team won "color wars" which is a game we have not quite figured out.

e. She has all these new hand clapping games she keeps trying to teach us. We are not very good at them.

f. She wants to go for 2 weeks next summer and she wants to be a counselor when she is old enough.

3. We went over to the neighbors house for a combined dinner last night and ended up staying for a viewing of "Smoky and the Bandit" which was hilarious. We love the Leacock family - which is a good thing since Janey and Adam are best friends!

The 4 Amigos
Jack, Jane, Adam, and Deane

4. We visited 3 farm markets today to get lots of yummies. We got cantaloupes, corn, green beans, tomatoes, peaches and watermelons. Ahhhh, I love summer!

Tune in next time for more of our adventures!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

We're Baaaaaaacccckkkk!

So after several requests from people in the last few days, I will start blogging again.

We have been VERY busy since I last wrote to you in June. Here are some of the highlights:

1) Jack had his tonsils out. That made for a ROUGH 2 weeks, as he did not/would not/could not really eat or drink. Not even ice cream. So our little guy became a littler guy when he lost 7 pounds over the course of 2 weeks.

2) Our little guy got the OK from the doctor to be active again and started FOOTBALL CAMP! He got suited up with a helmet, and pads, and cleats in the 90 degree heat for full contact tackle camp! He told the coach it was the best week of his life. He was hot, sweaty, sore, tired and SUPER HAPPY! He did a great job, but has to put on some weight to be ready for the fall football season. Go Rockville Bears!

3) Stacey finished up her 15th year of teaching with Montgomery County and is now half-way to retirement! She also took a week long graduate class to be certified to teach AP Literature - a college level course taught in the high school. It was a rough week and continues to be a busy summer as she reads the 10 novels, 8 short stories and bazillion poems to be ready in August.

4) Stacey also had to buy new clothes as she no longer fits in 22, 20, 18 or 16. She sold all those sizes at the yard sale and bought 14s. She is down a total of 40 pounds this year. 40 more to go, but the running she is doing to get ready for the 5K on September 2nd will help with that. Stacey now says she will always be a member of Weight Watchers and looks forward to making her weight goal.

5) Jay has been AWOL at home a lot recently because of a busy work schedule. We did all take time out to do some fun things like:


A Frederick Keys Game

A trip Kennywood

and some crabbing

Look here soon for the debrief on Janey's week at diabetes camp. We dropped her off on Sunday and she will be home Saturday. We miss her but know she is having a BLAST!!!! Jack says this week without Janey is his second favorite week of the year. Ah, sibling rivalry at its best.

Speaking of Janey, she has been riding Sunny every week and is doing a great job. He is a kind and gentle horse and Janey keeps asking if we can lease or buy him - every girl wants her own horse, I guess. She has walked, trotted, jumped and cantered on him and has only fallen off twice. This makes Janey happy and irritated - you see a "real rider has to fall off 100 times to be a real rider" and she has 98 more to go.

Janey Trotting on Sunny

Janey with her Show ribbons.

So, as you can see, we have been busy and having fun. TTYS!

Friday, June 3, 2011

4 for Friday - June 3

1) Stacey bought new bathing suits in a size 14 - a size she hasn't seen in many years. At one point during the bathing suit selection Jack called her "sexy mommy' and she was very happy. One of the suits is a "Michael Kors' and makes her feel very posh. Another is red and low cut and makes her feel very Marilyn Monroe. She only needed a small drink after such a traumatic experience.

2) Jay got to go to a baseball game at Nationals Park. He got to watch from a club box which was amazing. We might all need to go to a game soon.

3)Damascus High School class of '11 officially graduated on June 2nd. Stacey is very proud of her babies but she will miss a few of them very much. This would have been the year that Ryan Didone would have graduated, but he was killed in a car crash in 2008. Graduation was bittersweet, but made Stacey remember how precious her own children are. The beauty of graduation day was watching another student, who was very seriously injured in the crash that killed Ryan, get her diploma. God works in mysterious ways. I'm sure he has a plan, sometimes I wonder what it is.

4) Janey got to go on a trail ride at horseback this week. She had a blast and is doing very well on the horses. She wants to lease a horse but mom and dad are still a little nervous about that kind of commitment to a 4 legged animal of that size. We shall see....

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

All About Books - AKA Wordy Wednesday

I decided that Witty Wednesday should be about cool things I read or learned this week. I could call it Book Club Wednesday, but it lacks alliteration. So, Wordy Wednesday it is.

I am in two book clubs - a regular club and a history club - so I am constantly reading new things and learning things I never knew. This summer I will be doing lots of reading for work and for pleasure so this is where I will compliment or complain about what I am reading.

For example, two months ago our book was "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand (the lady that wrote "Seabiscuit") and I learned about Japanese POW camps during WWII and how badly they treated American soldiers. Wow, that was tough stuff to read but fascinating. If you haven't read it, give it a try. It is a fast and interesting read. Very moving and motivational too.

This week, for history book club, I am reading "Founding Brothers" by Joseph Ellis, which is about the founding fathers in the years after the Revolutionary War. I just finished the chapter on the Aaron Burr vs. Alexander Hamilton duel. Burr won, but he was a real schmuck, too bad the ending didn't go the other way. Hamilton was a real patriot and upstanding guy; Aaron Burr, not so much....

For AP Lit in the fall, I am STILL working my way through "Grendel" by John Gardner. This is a retelling of the story of "Beowulf" but told from the monster's point of view. Very interesting but also kind of daunting as there is a ton of stuff about philosophy in it. Arrgghh. It is also pretty funny in places so that makes it easier. I am just bogged down with work at school so it is taking longer. Alas.

More books next Wordy Wednesday! See you then!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Summary Sunday AND Media Monday - Memorial Day Weekend

SO....Sunday's and Monday's blogs are being combined this week because we have been soooo busy. It is a long one, but stick with it because it is full of fun!

The weekend started Saturday with packing the car and heading off to Black Hog BBQ in Frederick, MD for lunch before the big Cub Scout Camp out at Washington Monument State Park just outside Hagerstown,MD. It was...AMAZING! When we arrived at the camp site the Boy Scouts were there to help people set up their tents. The boys were so kind and polite and helpful it was encouraging to think all these crazy 7-year-olds will be like that in 5 or 6 years (hopefully). The Johnson family called our tent set-up "The Marriott" as it had 2 blow-up mattresses and could house a small army. We didn't mind the ribbing because the tent was SUPER comfy - a necessity after all of the day's activities.

After tent set up was "the hike" UP to the monument. It was a bit of a climb through rocky terrain, but the kids were great. Some of the adults were a little out of shape, but the Cub Scouts were very patient with them. (On a side note, Stacey felt great during the climb and wasn't tired or winded at all. It helps to be hiking carrying 40 pounds less than this time last year!)The view was beautiful and the kids got to meet and chat with several Revolutionary War reenactors that were there.

The Sign

The Monument

The View

After the hike was the cooking demonstration. The Boy Scouts taught the Cub Scouts how to make Peach Cobbler in these GIANT cast iron dutch ovens. According to one of the den leaders it was a bit like "herding cats" as most of the boys lost interest after a couple minutes. I say MOST, because JACK stuck with it the whole time and was a great audience. Jay and I were so proud of him! Prepping the cobblers for dessert took a bit longer than expected, so as the Cub Scouts and parents were eating dinner, Stacey helped the Boy Scouts finish up the cobblers. This meant that after dinner Stacey got the nicest piece of cobbler as a thank you. Those Boy Scouts are awesome!

Then came the entertainment: songs, skits, campfire and s'mores. It was a blast. The skits were actually funny, especially the Tiger Scouts "Wee" skit and the den leaders "Biker" skit. Jay and I still haven't gotten over how well run the
evening was; we had a FANTASTIC time.

Then the night hike, in the dark, with 20 7-10 year-olds. This was a bit stressful especially at the top of the hill when the boys were climbing on the wall of the monument in the dark. The reenactors, who were sleeping at the base of the monument, were probably not to happy to hear us at 11pm, but oh well. Stacey impressed the den leaders with her magical skills by saying "1,2,3 eyes on me" and having all the boys respond "1,2 eyes on you" and then proceed to get into silent lines. She still has some mad skills left over from her middle school teaching days.
Then, finally, BED! Saturday was a LONG day.

Sunday began at 6:30am with bacon, eggs, sausage, pancakes and COFFEE cooked on a camp stove. There has NEVER been a better cup of coffee, ever. Everything was yummy and the Boy Scouts did a fantastic job again!

The drive home was rough because we were all so tired. The 4 HOUR LONG nap we took after arriving home helped a bunch to get us rested for the rest of the day Sunday, which was also packed full of things to do. First there was the opening swim of the year at the Lakelands pool! It was a beautiful day!

The Pool

But the day wasn't over yet! Off to the drive-in in Dillsburg, PA. Yes, there are still drive-ins around. We saw the double feature of "Pirates of the Caribbean 4" and "Thor" - a great LONG night of films. "POTC" started at 8:45 and "Thor" ended at 1:15ish. "POTC" was almost as good as the first Pirates movie, which was our favorite. The plot was great and the filming was good. "Thor" had a good plot line was was super fun!

Here is the "Thor" trailer:

We hope you enjoyed this super long version of Summary Sunday and Media Monday. We look forward to seeing you for Witty Wednesday.

Happy Memorial Day to everyone, thank you to all who have served our country and God Bless America!