The Fourth in Photos

There’s nothing quite like a weekend at the lake. Well, maybe a weekend at the beach. But North Carolina’s coast is current swarming with sharks, so I’ll stay up in the mountains and stick to lakes, rivers, and pools for the foreseeable future.

I got to make an extra long weekend out of the 4th of July (Saturday-Tuesday) so Charlie and I headed down to the lake Saturday.

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PSA: I would like to note that the car was not in motion in this picture. I hate when people post pictures that were obviously taken while they were driving. Eyes on the road, people! I’m a bad enough driver as it is without having to deal with you weaving all over the road. *End PSA*

We got down to where my parents were camping at the lake just in time to change into my swimsuit…and then sit and wait out the rain.

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Cue some waiting out the rain selfie taking.

The weather finally cleared up and my parents, aunt, and I headed out on the lake. Here’s Charlie demonstrating proper boating safety.

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We got him a life jacket because we are fairly certain he can’t swim with his weak front leg. We have yet to get him in the water past his belly, though, so his swimming abilities remain unknown. A water dog he is not.

We enjoyed a few hours of general laking (cruising, floating, swimming, sunning, etc) until my parents’ boat starting having problems. I’m told it involves a cracked manifold. I don’t know what this means in technical terms, but it meant the end of our laking for the day. A bit of a bummer, since it was the first day of our long weekend and my fiancĂ© hadn’t even made it down to the lake yet.

Never fear, though. We found plenty of things to do. We took lots walks through the gorgeous campground.

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I took that last picture about 2.1 seconds before Charlie tried to eat that bee. He’s very interested in hunting flying things- bees, moths, lightning bugs…luckily he wasn’t successful this time.

There were also plenty of good things to eat. Burgers on the grill…

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Grilled pizza (if you have never had grilled pizza, I insist you try it immediately. So. Dang. Good!)

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Ice cream from a random, hole in the wall coffee-doughnut-ice cream shop.

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Here’s a face that hasn’t been on the blog for awhile- Callie!

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Callie’s been coming the the lake with us for several years now. She travels amazingly well for a cat. We let her go outside only in her crate so she doesn’t wander off, but she doesn’t seem to mind too much. She and Charlie also seemed to make some progress towards coexisting peacefully. They even snoozed on the bed together for awhile. Of course, Charlie got himself locked in the bathroom when we went out and I think his noisy flailing freaked her out a little. But hopefully that didn’t set them back too far.

We also found a marina near by that rented boats. That meant we got to upgrade to a super fancy boat for another day of laking!

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Charlie co-piloting.

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My happy camper 🙂

There was plenty of flailing- I mean swimming!- too.

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Water ballet, or desperately trying to keep my hair from getting wet? I’ll never tell.

Eh, okay. I hate getting my hair wet. Not because I’m “that girl” but just because it takes 5 or more hours to air dry. If I hash tagged we’d call this #thickhairprobs.

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Did I mention this was our view every morning? It was a perfect weekend. I hope everyone else had a wonderful 4th as well!

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My first year of teaching

My first year of teaching wrapped up recently. The last day for students was about two weeks ago, but then we had a few teacher work days. Immediately following that I started my waitressing job again. This was Friday…

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Holy guacamole. No wonder my feet hurt. Anyway, that’s been my life lately. This post probably would have been more appropriate on one of my actual “last days” but oh well. 

The end of the year was a welcome relief but a bit sad at the same time. I had to say goodbye to one of my two schools as I will be at the other school full time next year. While I am excited to be at one school (which just so happens to be the school at which I spent the 9 years of my elementary and middle school career, and at which there are some truly fantastic teachers I have so enjoyed working with) full time and thus have a much less complicated schedule that doesn’t require a degree in theoretical physics to make possible, I will miss the students and teachers at the other school that helped make my first year a great one. 

 I’ve learned a lot this year. The first few months, when I was still figuring everything out and learning the ropes, were rough at times. I’d still rather not know exactly how many paperwork mistakes I had to correct…ugh. But as the months went on and I became more comfortable with my coworkers, students, and responsibilities (and figured out the paperwork basics!) I grew to love my job. That was the best part- realizing that I was looking forward to going to work and seeing the kids grow and learn. 

I had a professor once tell me that the first year of teaching (maybe even the first two years) is more about getting your feet wet. Learning how to apply what you learned in college in a real world situation. Finding out that a lot of what you learned just plain won’t work. The next years are when you really begin to develop as a teacher and can start honing your craft, so to speak. I’m so excited to begin (or at least be closer to beginning) that phase of my career. I already have a list of things I want to do, not do, remember, try, forget, and continue next year. While I fully intend to enjoy my summer (I’m only working 3 days a week), I am also really looking forward to next year. I love what I do, and I’m so glad I can say that. I know not everyone can.

Enough sentimental stuff, though. Let’s focus on the start of summer- Huzzah!!

  

  

  

I actually read a book! At the Water’s Edge Review

I can’t remember if I’ve addressed this before, but I remember being told by several of my former teachers that they didn’t get much reading done during the school year. Since reading has been my main hobby ever since I successfully read Amelia Bedelia all by myself, I was baffled by this.

Now I am a teacher too and I completely understand. While I still love to read, some days I just want to come home and take nap, watch House Hunters on Netflix for hours on end, or stare at my ceiling fan. You know, something mindless that requires little to no effort on my part.

Consequently, I have read less this year than I have…probably ever. So the fact that the book I read last week was good enough to pull my out of my end of year testing caused stupor is really saying something.

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Source

I have been a huge fan of Sara Gruen’s for a long time. While most people probably know her for Water for Elephants, I first read her books Riding Lessons and it’s sequel, Flying Changes. After my years of reading young adult horse stories, these books were a refreshing and grown up change of pace- plenty of horses, but even more real life. Just how I like my books 🙂

While At the Water’s Edge doesn’t have any horses, I was totally okay with that. It follows socialite Maddie as she, her husband Ellis, and his best friend Hank head to WWII era Scotland to prove the existence of the Loch Ness Monster. While Maddie is not particularly crazy about the plan, she finds herself with little choice after she and her husband socially disgrace themselves and are cut off by his wealthy parents. Now Ellis is seeking to prove himself by succeeding where his father failed, and Maddie is along for the ride.

Frequently left to her own devices while Hank and Ellis go monster hunting, Maddie at first finds herself woefully out of place in the inn where they stay. The gruff inn keeper, Angus, and the barmaids Anna and Meg don’t know what to make of their unusual guest and are temporarily put off by her obvious wealth and assumed snobbery. Slowly, though, Maddie befriends the locals and grows more and more suspicious of her husbands motives. She ultimately must make a dangerous decision regarding her future that could possibly wind up costing her everything- and everyone- she has come to love in Scotland.

This book reads much like Sara Gruen’s other novels- it’s realistic, at times humorous, and when I read certain parts (especially descriptions of a place or person, or of a strong feeling) it made me understand what Maddie seeing, or feel what she was feeling and experiencing. It’s relatable and smartly written, but never over done or excessive, which is one of the main things I consider the mark of a good book.

There’s also just enough intrigue and a slight element of mystery and unexpected twists that makes this book more of a page turner than some of Gruen’s other books. I certainly had a hard time putting it down, at any rate. Side note- after reading the author bio of this book, I did a little Googling and found out Sara Gruen lives about two hours away from me. Cue fan girl moment.

Bridesmaid Invitations

Apparently the new trend (at least I think it’s new- I’ve only heard of it in the past few years, at any rate) in the world of weddings is to come up with a fun way to ask your bridesmaids to be in your wedding. Pinterest is full of tons of super cute DIY boxes and gifts, but I didn’t know if I was up to the task of making a DIY project look good at the moment. So when I asked my bridesmaids, I opted for these incredibly cute cards I found on the Etsy store Archer and Olive to convey the message. There were several adorable options to choose from, but these floral print cards seemed the most…me.

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For the record, I added the names in myself with a calligraphy pen along with a message on the back. I don’t actually know how to do calligraphy, but the pens make my handwriting look far better than normal so I break them out on special occasions.

The cards also came with very pretty envelopes.

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I was very happy with the invitations, and I’m already trying to come up with more ways to use some of the other awesome things in the Archer and Olive store.

On a slightly related note, yesterday I got to have lunch with my maid of honor before she goes running off to another continent because she’s a jet setter like that. She brought me some “gourmet edible cookie dough” that was to die for. I love cookie dough and have been known to buy it solely for the purpose of eating it. I may also have a bad habit of digging all the cookie dough chunks out of cookie dough ice cream while leaving the rest of the ice cream in the container…

But now I have a really good excuse to eat straight up cookie dough!

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I’m told there are other flavors, so I will definitely be on the lookout for them!

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I know the lid says “Eat it, don’t bake it,” but I can’t help wonder what would happen if I tried. In my experience, exceptionally good cookie dough usually leads to exceptionally good cookies…and I’m okay with breaking the rules when it comes to dessert. I’ll have to give it a go and report back.

 

 

 

A day at the lake

There are six weeks of school left. I’m channeling my inner ostrich at the moment and burying my head in the sand to avoid thinking about all the things I need to do before school is out for the summer. 

One of the very best ways to unwind after a long week, though, is to spend a day on the lake. My fiancĂ© and I spent this beautiful Sunday on our favorite lake. Charlie got to go along for his first lake outing, too! 

  

We had perfect weather and the lake was not crowded at all- excellent for some cruising and some floating! Charlie absolutley loved it too!

  

  

It was over far too soon, but at least I feel ready to take on the upcoming week! 

Sunday Catch Up

Hey there! It’s been awhile since I had the motivation to blog. It’s only been a few weeks, but they’ve been a jam packed couple of weeks. 

I’ve done some work in the apartment and while I still have a lot to do I’m really happy with how it’s coming along. We have a new TV stand that I’m in love with, a light weight summer bedspread, and several decorative pieces. Oh, and organized pots and pans! I may be most excited about that. As soon as I’m finished I’m thinking about writing a post on “how to give your home a complete overhaul without losing your mind and/or spending your life’s savings.”

My 23rd birthday was last Sunday and I spent a wonderful day with my family. That was also the day I got engaged! 

  

I am so happy and so excited. I am also completely in love with my ring- the boy did good!

  

It’s exactly what I would have picked for myself! There are no definite plans for the wedding yet but I’m really looking forward to planning. 

School has been good (and busy). We only have two months left. Some days that seems like forever (mainly on Mondays) but I know it will fly by!

I worked at my restaurant job yesterday. It was the second day of the season and we had beautiful weather for it. We were able to seat on the patio which is always preferable to being inside. 

Unfortunately I got rid of my old work shoes and couldn’t get new ones ordered in time. I had to wear my super cute black ballet flats that were SO not made for waitressing. I can deal with sore feet, but these shoes rubbed my heels raw. By the end of the day I was limping and bloody (ew, gross, I know.)

In light of my pathetically sore feet and the fact that we both worked six days this week, my fiancĂ© (!!!!) and I spend this Sunday being lazy. 

We are also under a flood watch, and who wants to get out in that?

  

  

Our meandering creek is now an almost mini river. 

Now I’m going to go plan a suitably stylish and functional outfit for the forty days of rain I suspect are forthcoming. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

6 Months with Charlie

Today marks 6 months since we first brought Charlie home! This little guy continues to be such a ray of sunshine in my life. Everyone who meets him remarks on his sweet, friendly nature. I can’t say enough about how much I love this dog. In honor of having put up with us for half a year, here’s an update profile on Mr. Charlie.

Age: 1 1/2

Weight: Right around 40 pounds

Dog Food of Choice: Charlie eats Blue Buffalo. Until recently we were feeding him the chicken and brown rice flavor. To help with some food boredom and also hopefully help his dry, itchy skin we switched to the fish and sweet potato flavor.

People Food of Choice: Cheese. And peanut butter. But mainly cheese.

Tricks/Commands He Knows: Sit, Stay, Shake, Beg, Come are rock solid. Lay down is a little rough, but we’re working on it. Roll over is also a work in progress.

Favorite Things: Cuddles, going for walks, running and playing chase, wiggling on his back in grass, car rides, eating, and giving kisses.

Favorite Toys: Until very recently Charlie had zero interest in toys. It was like he didn’t know how to play. Then my friend Laura sent him a rope tug toy and he LOVED it. So far that’s to only one he really likes. Well, he does like his Kong. But since his main interest in that involves getting the peanut butter out of it, I don’t think it really counts as a toy.

Dislikes: Being home alone, smoke alarms (which I set off at an unfortunate rate), and the vacuum. We haven’t experienced a thunder storm since we got him so I’m not sure how he’ll do with that.

Speaking of being home alone…: I’m so happy with the progress Charlie has made with his separation anxiety. After consulting a vet, he began taking a very low dose of Prozac (yes, really). Along with some good, old fashioned time, it seems to have made a big difference. Charlie still hates being left alone and does still whine (and occasionally bark) but it is much quieter and less frequent than before. Just yesterday I set up my laptop to record him while I was out for a few hours and he spent probably 70% of the time just laying on the bed. Maybe 20% was spent looking out the window, and only 10% of the time was spent making noise. Given that when we first got him he would literally bark nonstop, this a HUGE improvement. I can only hope that time will continue to make him more comfortable being on his own.

Dog Friends: Charlie loves to go to the dog park and really enjoys playing chase with dogs that are his size or smaller. He also likes to stop and visit with dogs we meet on walks. He is, however, still very intimated by dogs that are bigger than he is unless they are also very friendly.

Now enjoy some pictures of my favorite mutt.

Sunday cuddles

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His beloved tug toy

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Being brave and making friends with the Great Dane at the dog park

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More friends!

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Can you spot the Charlie nose?

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Knee is good spot. I will nap here.

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Bedtime cuddles

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