Saturday, October 31, 2015

October 31, 2015 - Life Lately

I know!  I got a post up the first of the month. . .and now it's the last day of the month. . .believe it or not, I haven't even been able to keep up with Picture of the Day lately either. . .but it's a GOOD kind of busy. . .lots going on, lots to do, but not crazy-exhausted-I-need-to-get-off insaneness.  At least that's my opinion.  I'm not one for sitting around :)
 I was trying to find that "one" picture that defined the month. . .this girl turning 15 and soccer mainly sums it up.  I love this girl so, so, so much.  She is strong, smart, responsible and funny.  She is one of those kids that *everyone* is drawn to (adults, little kids, and her peers) and she is completely comfortable with who she is.  Yesterday she got her temps!!!  Of course, it would have been my picture of the day, but I was not getting cooperation on that part.  Super-dad took her out of school early to go wait in line for her to take her test (she passed) -- so proud of her.  I was told she drove home from the gas station (about 1.5 miles away) and that was about it.  I don't think she's going to be a "natural" behind the wheel like her brother was -- so glad our state gives these kids an entire year to get comfortable behind the wheel.  She'll get it, no worries.  She's the one who's already saving for a car -- good girl!!!

Speaking of driving and vehicles. . .we're in the market for a replacement:

Thomas took Marie to practice on Monday. . .as he and the dog were heading home, his back-end slipped out away from him. . .a car hit him as he over-corrected into the other lane.  Luckily everyone walked away. . .the dog was the only one with a visible scratch -- right above her eye from the glass.  I imagine she probably had a pretty big headache too :(
The axle was bent and really, we have been contemplating whether to put any additional money into the truck anyway. . .so. . .Tom put it on Craigslist and within hours it was gone.
I don't think the neighbors will mind not seeing it parked out there anymore.  Thomas loved the truck, that's for sure.  So did his dad -- that's why we even still had it!!  A couple of years ago Tom bought a new one and within a year sold it, keeping this one.  We are currently on the hunt for something for Thomas and Marie to drive.  I have been leaving the house at 6:15 every morning to get Thomas to school at 6:30 (his first class is at 7 a.m.) and then get myself to school by 7:08 (my drive in the morning is about 35 minutes). . .he either takes the bus home or Tom takes a late lunch to pick him up and get him to work. . .then we're back out at 10 p.m. to get Thomas from work. . .or we drop a car off. . .just a glimpse of life lately :)

Speaking of work, this was Red Ribbon Week and also RIF (the kids each get to get a book of their choosing for free!) so school was sort of crazy.  Thursday, when the kids made their book selections, we had "We write our own drug-free stories". . .aka: dress up as your favorite storybook character day.  In my new school teams of teachers get together and do this.  I am NOT a dress-up person (we are a non-Halloween family so we don't have stashes of costumes either). . .and I was assigned the March Hare from Alice in Wonderland.
This was Thomas's "I don't really want to take your picture" picture at 6:15 a.m.

I tried a selfie so I could get Margaret's great ears in.  Tom said I looked "terrible".  Oh well.  At least I was a team player :)
I see I wasn't smiling. . .I don't really know why?!?  Margaret was my go-to person for this costume. . .she went shopping to find the orange "jacket" and "yellow bow-tie" and made those ears for me!! 

This was my entire team at school (nurse, art, PE teachers, music, librarian, behavior coaches). . .I had that unbirthday sign hanging outside my classroom all day and offered all the kids an "unbirthday" treat -- it was a fun day! 

The first grade teachers did Alice in Wonderland too. . .lots of characters walking around the school Thursday!
I had two other favorites though. . .
2nd & 3rd grade as Peter Pan

The pre-K team

I am in an awesome school -- so lucky to have been hired here and hopefully will get to continue to grow with them. 

Last weekend we had a tournament out of town and were able to stay with our cousins.  They were so awesome and celebrated Marie's birthday with a great cake and 15 candles!
 The girl cousins. . .

This soccer weekend was for Frederick - #10

They were wearing pink this tournament for Breast Cancer Awareness month. . .normally they are blue and orange.
These two teams out on the field together looked like Easter eggs!
Frederick throwing in

I haven't been great about taking pictures this season (BAD mom). . .and now the few I took on the "better" camera, I can't get them to download right now. 
This was a rainy weekend. . .it is the only time we have played 8-v-8 this season (Frederick's team is U12 but will move to U13 which is 11-v-11 next season -- the coach moved them up this year but they haven't had much success. . .). We didn't do as well as we wanted/expected, but by this last game the boys really had their groove and were playing well. 
My mom's new house is coming along well!!!  I got to go up and see her during our mid-month 4-day weekend. . .she should be in the week before Thanksgiving.  So excited to see it all come together.

Great room area


Another shot of the great room in relation to the kitchen and the sliding back doors.  That's my sister and mom backlit in the photo.

I really, really want to decorate this space!!

I think she is hiring someone to help her out -- will love to see how it all comes together.

This will be a nice-size kitchen for her -- the bar will have an overhang to sit at -- the sink and dishwasher are in it.  The door in the background is a pantry.

My photos are certainly sparse this month. . .
While I was at my mom's we did some major purging and packing. . .and came across more than a few gems.  Here are some favorites that I snapped photos of:
My senior/my sister & Tom's junior prom with my mother. . .Jodi and I went together with Tom and his best friend
 This was Tom's and my first dance together -- Homecoming 1989.  He is the same age in this picture as Thomas is now (almost - Tom had just turned 17 here; Thomas will be 17 in a couple of weeks)

My high school graduation -- we ate at Max & Erma's and Jodi & Tom had an eating contest (the are both fast eaters).  I forget who won???

And a recent picture of us:
Wow!!  That's what 25 years does to you I guess :)

I think this was Tom's birthday (in September). . .

Marie and I seem to have the same tired eyes in both pictures. 

So that is October for us.  Nana and Grandpa visited, but I wasn't here so no one was taking pictures. 

My beautiful niece, AVJ, had her homecoming and I did receive a picture from my sister:
 Man, I love this girl so much too.  Talk about smart and talented and athletic -- can't wait to see how she, too, impacts this world!  (She and Marie are 3 months apart in age.)

So. . .that's October 2015 for the Bells.  Soccer is over for Thomas -- over for good, he's decided to not play any longer -- Frederick has one more tournament coming up, Marie's school season just ended with a trip to State (for varsity -- they lost the first round) and now her travel should begin any day. . .her first games are next weekend!  Margaret's cheer season is about to start. . .they have been practicing since June so it's a long time coming.  Frederick and I are hoping to pick up tennis this winter -- I have to look around and see what our new town has to offer.  The house is STILL not unpacked -- I think we have counted 3 weekends that we have been home since we moved in the first week of August. . .
Looking forward to this season of Thankfulness as we head into November. . .and celebration of our Savior's birth as December follows. . .onward and forward!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

October 1, 2015

My kids were looking over my shoulder while I was pulling up some blogs from my sidebar and they were like, "Mom!  Why do you have those OLD pictures on there?!?"  I thought it was funny that they noticed -- and it *is* sad that I haven't made the time in two months to sit down and record our blessings.  Sigh.

We moved at the end of July. . .the week I went back to school!!!  Oh, did I ever record the fact that I got a job. . .??  Hmmmmm. . .

So. . .in an attempt to put something new up, here are some unedited phone pictures -- even my Facebook "Picture of the Day" hasn't been kept up :(  Life, y'all.  Life.  A full, happy, sometimes stress-filled, busy, wonderful life.

We went to Atlanta over Labor Day weekend for soccer.  Originally we were going for Thomas's team (he still plays for Cookeville, although we now live 1.5 hours away) but then Frederick's new club needed a few guest players for one of their teams so they both ended up playing.  This was Sunday, after they both lost their morning matches so wouldn't advance any further.  We went to the iconic Varsity to eat, although not the one downtown.  From there we headed to The World of Coke, but no one wanted to stand in the enormous line. . .we walked around a bit, thought about going on the CNN tour like we did years ago with Margaret. . .but, in the end, ended up at the Body Exhibit.  I really, really liked it, but it wasn't worth the money for the kids to go through.

Grandpa Foster has been down to visit twice since we moved. . .I think we had just taken the dog to one of our many wonderful dog parks and stopped for a treat on the way back.  We *love* having guests -- we always have, of course -- but even more so here because they have their own room and bathroom!!!  That part is really super great for everyone :)

Speaking of jobs, Thomas is now gainfully employed at Chick-fil-A!  Frederick was sneaky and got a picture of him one Wednesday night that the younger two and I went up there for dinner.  He seems to like it, but wordy kid that he is. . .you just never know.  It seems like a good place to work.

Margaret's school team cheered at our local fair.  They came in second place, but won a spirit award which they were *very* proud of.  She has a really great coach that wants the girls to do more than just cheer at the basketball games, but be leaders in other ways also.  They are "sponsoring" a 6th grader in their school who is fighting a rare form of cancer.  .they are "Ethan Strong", putting his number on their muscles while cheering to remind everyone that it's not just about the competition or the cheers, but they also support their school and classmates all the time.

Last weekend a few of Marie's friends came to watch her play in a tournament that her school was participating in.  That was really neat for her!  She played downtown at 8 and 10:30 then we took them to one of our favorite places to eat.  She talked them both into fish & chips :)

Speaking of guests, we have gotten to host our good friends and old neighbors twice here in our new city. . .once for a Sunday cookout and then one night they came over after a soccer Saturday -- the kids are all old enough now that they stayed home and WE went out -- ha!
How is it that we get pictures of the kids but forget to get one of the four of us???

Oh!  Here's a picture of my love and me. . .probably the only one taken the last 6 months - ha!  This was his birthday dinner, a few nights late.  We tried a new Italian restaurant that was recommended by some of my coworkers -- it was just "ok".  They did put us in a tiny private booth, though. . .that was kind of special :)
A picture into my day. . .I think these are 2nd graders. . .I teach 6 classes a day, 5-K and on Wednesdays I also have Pre-K in.  We are on a 4-day rotation so I see each class K-5 for 40 minutes once every four days.  My October plan book (I don't even have my TWO weekly Wednesday meetings on here!)
My wonderful mother gave me a "back to school" and "happy new job" gift -- this awesome Erin Condren planner.  Yes, it is worth every penny -- I *love* it!!!

Well, this doesn't even begin to encompass everything on our plates these days. . .but glad that the kids shamed me into getting some new material up.  I left the house at 6:32 this morning (normal) because my day starts at 7:08, 35 minutes away.  Yes, I have it down to the minute :)  We had our first Parent Engagement night tonight and I was asked to present some technology so I didn't sign out until 7:30. . .home at 8:05.  That is unusual though. . .I can be home as early as four on days that we don't have meetings after school.  I'll try to find time to blog more about my job another time. . .it really is the perfect fit for me and the "dream" job that I begged my old school for many, many times (they still don't have a technology teacher).  My grant from the state of TN last year really opened up some great doors for me!

It's now 10:05 and my alarm will ring at 5:30.  The dog has an appointment at a new vet tomorrow afternoon.  I just realized she isn't in any of my recent pictures. . .you can tell I'm not an at-home mom anymore. . .she and I spent a lot of time together March-July!!  She's so spoiled. . .we brought "her" sofa with us from the apartment and put it in our room -- yes, the DOG has her own sofa in our bedroom!!!  Ridiculous.  
Yes, I just snapped that picture.  Yes, we still have LOTS to unpack.  Remember, the movers packed and moved us THE WEEK I BEGAN SCHOOL.  It will all get done. . .hopefully before the holidays.  We shall see.  
This is the only piece of furniture she is allowed on and we're not even really sure how that happened.  Oh well.  She's happy. . .we're happy. . .life is GOOD.
It's now 10:18.  Goodnight!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Checking In - mid-July 2015

So much is going on, yet this is one of the *most* relaxing summers we have ever had.
Maybe I feel like it's been relaxing because Thomas hasn't been home (at the apartment) all summer and there is usually another one gone too.  Both Thomas and Marie spent 4 weeks serving at Cedar Lake Camp - Thomas as a Jr. Counselor and Marie as a CIT (Counselor-in-training).  Marie went the first four weeks (it's a 5-wk long season at CLC) and Thomas the last 4 weeks.  I was finally able to get them together last weekend to get their annual picture.  We picked up Margaret yesterday and she was not nearly as happy to get her annual picture (she was a camper last week).
Ugh.  It was a great day, though, because we all ate lunch together -- all 6 of us!!  Frederick had gone to a place in Cookeville a couple of times with a friend and convinced us to try it -- it was definitely worth it, and we'll go back since it's convenient to our trip coming home.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, IDK), I didn't get pictures of our house/moving process this weekend.  As frustrating as it is, we still have not been able to sell our Cookeville home.  Our new realtor took pictures last week before we packed and packed this weekend. . .we still have LOTS to go but needed to get back to our new city too since Marie leaves for high school soccer camp early this morning.
Here is our new listing.

We have bought a home here and hope to close (I say "hope" because the loan process has been quite difficult -- I don't think it's us as much as the bank we have gone with) this Friday!!  Yahoo!!  We had a walk-through on Thursday -- this is only the second time Frederick and Marie have seen the house.
We are excited and hope all works out so we can spend NEXT weekend in our new digs :)  We plan to move the apartment Friday-Saturday and then move the Cookeville house (with the help of movers) the following week.  

It is a little more crucial now than it was this time last week to rush and get this all done. . .because. . .last Monday I went on an interview. . 
Took a picture to let Tom know I made it there!
. . .for a job I didn't even apply for!  I've applied for probably 50-60 jobs in this county, filled out many questionnaires, gone on an interview at a private school for 6th grade social studies (it was something I would have really liked to have tried -- especially because I could have transferred any of my kids there), and an interview at a public Title I school for 6th grade ELA (not as excited about that one but I really liked the principal and the support that seems to be in that community), and was invited to participate in a Vice Principal Leadership Assessment that lasted all day last Friday.  Then, another principal called and said my resume had been passed on to her by THE tech leader in this county -- wow!  She described the job to me and it was a job description I would write if I could make up my dream position in any school!!!  She invited me to interview on Monday, hence the picture above.  The downfall to this particular school, though, is that it couldn't be further away from where we live unless it was in another county!!  Oh well.  I went, met many people on her leadership team, and walked away thinking that it would be wonderful to be offered this chance.  I truly didn't expect to hear anything before this week but. . .Wednesday I got the call!!  I was sooooo excited -- it just really seems perfect. . .well. . .except for the drive.  And except that I'm a middle school teacher -- elementary will be new territory for me!  Very excited for the challenge. . .this is a new, created position in her school so it will definitely be a year of "firsts" for all of us.  Yea!  So. . .with that all said. . .summer is going to end a bit earlier for me but all for a good reason :)

Twenty minutes after I received THAT phone call from our county HR department, I received a call from Cedar Lake Camp.  The nurse was calling to say that Thomas had sustained 2nd and 3rd degree burns on his legs and that they were going to take him in to a local hospital for treatment.  Luckily we were at home at the time and Marie and I could leave within ten minutes (it's an hour and a half drive from here to the hospital).  I called ahead to the emergency room so they would know they had permission to treat and when I would be there.  Marie went with me but Frederick decided to stay home with the dog (and Margaret was already at camp -- found out later she knew nothing about it -- ha!).  We called Nana and Grandma on the way so they would know what was going on and made it without incidents.  

Thomas was working as a CIT instead of a counselor this week (the difference is counselors work with the kids and CITs do all of the work around camp -- kitchen, bathroom, maintenance,  keep up the grounds, etc.).  Apparently, he and a couple of other younger guys -- he's the oldest, but certainly not wisest -- were burning boxes in a 4-ft metal can.  Being boys, they decided to make it "fun" by jumping over the burning barrel.  Adding lighter fluid to the fire made the ground slippery -- Thomas slipped and fell IN the fire.  Their supervisor was driving by and saw the barrel fall on Thomas, came over and asked if he was alright.  He said, "yes" (of course).  A few minutes later he got a little smarter (or the pain got to him) and decided to tell the nurse that he hurt.  The following are the pictures I took when I got to the hospital:

Yuck.  He said it didn't hurt. . .we just don't see how that's possible!
Here is was getting bandaged up. . .
And still all smiles with his counselor and Marie:
Marie was lamenting about her height. . .these 2 are exceptionally tall!
We left, I took the boys to eat since they had missed lunch and sent them on their way with bandages for the nurse so she could keep him covered the next couple of days.  Thomas would NOT consider coming home (although we thought he should) and since his counselor was there to get all the directions -- no water, keep covered, etc -- I let him go back.  He *swears* he wasn't in pain.

Friday when I meet him in Cookeville for another doctor's appt this is what his injury looked like:

The doctor (his dermatologist) nor I were happy with the healing progress. . .she changed up his treatment and told him he couldn't go to camp this week.  He was supposed to help out at Lighthouse Christian Camp with my dad -- they served together last year and were hoping to make it something that they did together annually.  I know he was bummed about that but he needs to heal!!!  She is most concerned about those middle two pictures -- the back of his knee.  Depending on how it scars, it could impair his movement since the burn is over a joint.  


Time to wrap this post up!  Things got away from me Sunday night and yesterday (Monday) seemed to be run, run, run.  With the new job, I have lots of inservice days before school begins for the kids August 10th -- which means I have very little time here to prepare for the move.  When it rains, it pours -- that's o.k., I enjoy a full, busy life.  

Frederick's video for you: