Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Summer So Far

Last week marked halfway through summer “break.”  For me, I’m not sure “break” has been the word—more like “busy.”  Please accept my apology for lack of blogging and the ensuing list of excuses as to what I’ve been up to.

As soon as I packed up my classroom and finalized grades, I hit the road to help chaperone our youth group at church camp on Oak Island.  Caswell has been a longtime summer highlight for me; I always love making some summer memories with the teens that I’m so blessed to help lead at church year-round.  Caswell is an amazing place for strengthening friendships as well as that most important relationship with God, and I highly recommend that anyone involved in youth ministry check in out!

I plan to enroll in graduate school classes this fall, so when I got back from Caswell, I had less than a week to study for the GRE.  I quickly found myself regretting some of the “this is a piece of cake” pep talks I had given my own students only a month before.  I ended up with the scores I needed but not without reaching my limits of frustration and exhaustion.  Being on the taking side of a test again was an eye-opening experience for sure; I’ll take more pity on my students next end-of-grade testing season!

Next came Fourth of July week and we headed off to my parents’ vacation home at White Lake for a few days.  Our dog, Skittles, loves when we go to the lake because it’s the only time she gets a vacation.  She was even more excited this time because our friend Amy was both her backseat and bedtime companion.  My husband Brent, otherwise known as Olan Mills, did some Internet research and came away with some pretty cool fireworks photographs with his Canon digital SLR, even if I do have to admit this after making fun of him for a half hour straight.

The lake weekend began a three-week stretch in which Brent and I lived out of our suitcases and next we headed to Las Vegas.  The reason for the timing of the trip was that I attended the Teachers Pay Teachers Conference at the Venetian, where I learned so much about taking next steps on my TPT journey.  Teacher friends, stay tuned for some major changes from me to this end come fall.  However, the trip wasn’t all work and no play and we also had a great time with our friends Jeff and Janice who came with us for their first trip to Vegas.  We all enjoyed an amazing view from our 53rd floor hotel room at the Elara!  

We were home for less than a week after Vegas before heading to Florida with my sister and brother-in-law.  We visited Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure in Florida for the second time in three years.  Our love for Harry Potter sucked us in both times, but our love for these theme parks will keep us coming back!  We were very impressed by the new Diagon Alley section in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  The Gringotts ride is amazing and Universal outdid themselves with the Hogwarts Express.  It’s definitely worth a trip in itself If you’re a Harry Potter fan. (And who isn’t?)

In a completely unexpected turn of events, I also braved my first real roller coaster EVER when I decided to take on the Hulk.  Anyone who knows me knows this is shocking (I’m afraid of heights and my adrenaline threshold usually maxes out at about 20 mph).  I'm still not sure what got into me and I honestly wasn’t sure I could do it until it was halfway over and I acknowledged to Brent and Donnay that I was still conscious.  I wouldn’t say that I loved it, but I do think I could learn to love it.  I blame my friend Lisa and her daredevil kids who have been dragging me to theme parks and water parks the last few years and slowly testing my limits.

Over the weekend, my parents joined us and we enjoyed a relaxing couple of days by the amazing pool at the Parc Soleil in Orlando.  This was perhaps the first time I had stopped to breathe in weeks and this is when it occurred to me that summer was over halfway over.  While it’s been a whirlwind, I certainly can’t complain about summer so far. 

Now it’s on to next week’s adventure: Vacation Bible School!  I can truly say I’m super excited.  Anyone who thinks teachers prop their feet up all summer doesn’t know what makes a real teacher tick.  Can’t wait to see how much I can cram into these last four weeks! 

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