Tuesday, December 25, 2007

My First Christmas Snow!

I want to be a weather man because according to The Weather Channel yesterday, it was not supposed to even rain today. (If I had that poor of an accuracy rate at my job. . . well, you know what would happen.)

So, I tried a lot of different shots, but since the ground was too warm for it to stick and it was really very little flakes, the only way for me to show this to you is this way. Apparently, even if snow won't stick to the ground or the cars, it will stick to the black lab.

This is officially my first ever Christmas snow:-)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Light Show

This man is smarter than I can ever hope to be! This is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. We have seen a couple others, but this is the best one, by far. These guys also have more time on their hands than I can ever hope to have:-)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Yummy Dip

This is the dip recipe that everyone liked and was asking me for at our Roerdink Christmas dinner. I know I served it with tortilla chips, but it goes really well with a soft cracker like Ritz or captain's wafers. I think it would also be good with cut up strips of a crusty bread or pita.

1 pound mild sausage, browned and drained well
24 oz container sour cream
8 oz package cream cheese, softened
2 cans Ro-Tel tomatoes (you find these in Mexican food section), drained

Mix it all together and heat it in a small crock pot on low until it is warmed through. You will want to keep an eye on it because if the sour cream gets too hot, it will begin to break down. Serve warm (right from the crock pot works well).

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Marathon Grading Day!

75 Reading Response Journals
75 Writer's Workshop Notebooks (notes section only, thank goodness! If I don't grade it, they fail to keep it organized.)
75 Word Stem Tests
75 Pieces of Expository Writing

I want to get as much of it done today as possible, even though grades are not due until 2:00 on the day we come back in January (the 7th) because I want to take home as little as possible. I already know the expository pieces will be coming home with me because I have wordy gifted kids (when we did narrative, some of them wrote 6, 7, 8, 12! pages.). But everything else will be in the grade book program before I leave today even if I have to stay until 5:00.

I remember when I started and I taught regular ed. and I had 120 kids. If I still had 120 kids now, I think I would have jumped off a cliff already. Or, maybe just dumped the grading off the cliff.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Jeff's second fire

Gwinnett County decided to send Jeff's class on another overhaul yesterday. This was an apartment fire that was caused by someone disposing of cigarettes inappropriately (the only good way to dispose of those stupid things is to never make them). It was really sad to see the footage of the apartment building and realize that one person's careless made so many people homeless last night.

Here is the news report:

Monday, December 3, 2007


This is the the steam engine of the Tennessee Valley Railroad doing their fall color tour. The ever so slight red neck dialogue that is going on in the background just adds to the charm of the video. This train is another reason that I love living in LaFayette. Nothing says, "It's fall!" like sitting in church on Sunday morning and hearing that train blow its whistle.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Eeeeeee! It's Christmastime!

About a mile from our house begins the City of LaFayette's Christmas display, where they have put a different set of decorative lights on the power poles. This runs all the way through downtown and almost to the middle school where I used to work (I still work for the middle school, just at the 6th grade campus now). When I saw the lights come on this Wednesday, I knew that it was Christmastime, so I went home and began working on this:

We had to buy a new tree this year because some of the lights went out on our tree last year (once I discovered pre-lit trees I decided I was NEVER putting lights on a Christmas tree again) and we were both too dumb at the time to figure out how to get them to work again.

So, we saw this baby in the Home Depot and said, "YEAH! Let's get a big tree!" We are in a much bigger house this year than either of us have ever lived in. But, the one thing that we both failed to take into account was diameter. So, that separate dining room that we were both so happy about is now the home of our Christmas tree.

The first thing I said to Jeff when we got it put together was, "I think we're going to need more ribbon." But I managed to make what we had from the past five years spread out enough. At the rate I receive Christmas ornaments from students, this thing will be full by the end of this Christmas anyway;-)

I have decided that these will be my favorite Christmas ornaments this year (I actually think that they look as good sitting here on my dinning room table as they do on the tree). They were a gift to me in January. They are very precious because they were made by a Roma person, better known to the rest of the world as a Gypsy. The Roma are very poor people and very discriminated against. Many turn to crime to survive, hence their bad reputation. But, as you can see, many also develop a trade to survive.

I have a very difficult time finding memories where my dad was happy at Christmas. He was often angry, but seemed to be even more irritable at Christmastime. But this ornament represents a surprising and precious memory to me. I still to this day do not know what sparked the desire in my dad's heart to do this, but I remember that I was out with him on a trailer run one day during Christmas break when I was a teenager and my dad wanted to stop at Roger's Christmas House off of I-75. When we left there he had bought these birthstone angels for my mom, my sister, and for me. I thank God that he gave me this memory to hold on to.

I have had this ornament since I was maybe four or five years old! I remember always thinking that this was me and Ann. As kids, I was blond and Ann had brown hair. I have always been about that much taller than her, too (except of course when she was born because there is a HUGE difference between a 14 month old and an infant).

This was one of the ornaments that mom let me take for Jeff and my first married Christmas. We would have had a starkly bare tree if it weren't for mom, Linda, and the ornaments that I got from my students that first year!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

3 Donkeys

God's timing is perfect. I know this shouldn't come as a surprise to me, yet somehow, often times that He shows me His perfect timing, it does kind of sneak up on me.

This is the verse that was on another blog today that I frequently read:
Zephaniah 3:17. The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.

I had an incredible time at our Thanksgiving celebration with our "put together by God" family. I met 3 donkeys, a horse, a cow, and a dog named Racer who was so chubby that she did not look like she would be racing anywhere. I though about how blessed I am that my family is more than just my bloodline (or this would have been a lonely holiday). I thought about how blessed that I am that I get to spend four days in a row with my husband (an EXTREMELY rare commodity these days - come on February!).

Then I thought about how overwhelmed I can let myself get with stuff sometimes, and this verse was just the reminder that I needed today to commit to memory so that hopefully the next time anxiety threatens to overtake me, I can recall this promise in my mind and let God's love quiet me.

I wish I had photos of the donkeys to share, but no one told me that I was going to want to bring my camera to John's house:-(

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Local Heros

I love living in a small town. The thing that I love the most about LaFayette right now is how they take time out each year to honor each one of their fallen veterans. Every Veteran's Day (for the whole month of November, actually) for nearly a stretch of a mile, if you drive on the Highway 27 bypass behind LaFayette Middle School, this is what you will see. Each cross bears the name of a veteran and the war in which he died. Jeff and I followed it to the end on Veteran's Day this year and discovered that the last war where LaFayette lost a soldier was Vietnam. But what a magnificent way to honor those who gave all to protect the ones they left behind.

At the battlefield

It occurred to me that we are so blessed to live in the area that we live in. There is a great combination of rural country and just enough city to get the things that we need with relative ease. On Monday, as we drove through the battlefield where the Battle of Chickamauga was fought during the Civil War, we were graced with the following sight:

Daisy and Gizmo

Um, our "kids" I guess.

I am not particularly sure that this is normal cat/dog behavior.

Can you see why we called her Gizmo? Because she has such frappin' huge ears!.

Of course Daisy will always be our first love. The cat was quite on accident.

She looks really ticked here, huh? Like, "Get the heck out of my face!"

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Bad Manners

The jury is still out on this one whether or not this was bad manners or if this woman just thought she was impressing me because I am an educator.

Tonight, I was enjoying a night out at dinner alone with my husband. Then, standing there at our table is the parent of one of my students (who happened to also be employed by the restaurant. She begins to question me about a certain grade in my grade book (our grade books are on line so parents can log in to their child's account to see how they are doing). First, it was a passing grade. Second, I don't think that I would ever walk up to her when she was out with her husband and demand to know why the price of a certain meal at her restaurant went up.

Maybe it is because I live in the South that she thought this was acceptable? Or maybe because we live in a small town? She was not being short, just questioning why I exempted her child from an assignment. But I would sure like to enjoy my dinner on a Sunday night without having to think about work.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

My Fireman

Jeff was involved in his first fire ever on Thursday. Well, his first fire professionally, that is. (He was a Walker County volunteer, after all). It wasn't staged as part of their training. They got to the academy on Thursday morning and the instructors said, "suit up and let's go."

The lumber yard had been burning all night, and by the time they got there, they were really just helping with the clean up. But I am sure it was a great adventure for him anyway.

Here are some photos from the news. I don't think that Jeff is in any of them, but these are his classmates. They are the ones that are standing all around the school bus in photo #10.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Too Good To Not Share

This was just too good not to share. Jeff wanted me to try out the landscape feature on our new camera (our other one just refused to communicate with the computer, any computer, anymore). So we went into the rose gardens at the Marsh House and right as I was ready to snap the photo of this flower, this guy sticks his little bee butt out at me. Do you think he was mooning me? "Take an uninvited picture of my home, will ya?! Well, take that!"

Fall Adventure, Part 2

Again, you'll have to turn your head sideways. This is in our back yard. Yes, that's a golf course behind the tree, and yes, that white stuff on the ground is frost. It finally decided to be fall here.

I waited and waited for the semi to move. For two days I waited. When I finally realized that it was not going anywhere, I just came back and took the picture.

These trees are probably both just plain old dead from the drought, but I wanted to get the historic academic building in the photo. It is in the same park that some of the other photos from the previous entry were taken.

I am not sure who these two idiots are, but they kept getting in the way of the tree, so I took the picture. At least they look happy. I don't know. Maybe it has something to do with only seeing each other on weekends for the past 9 months.

This One's for You, Mom!

Mom always said how much she liked fall colors. Since she has been stuck in Florida for the past 30+ years, sooooo far away from anything that resembles a fall color, Jeff and I took on a mission this weekend - scour LaFayette for the best fall colors. I still haven't decided if the wonder of these fall colors is a good trade off for these 26 degree nights we've had the past three days. Brrr. Bye, bye snap dragons. First drought, then this. I give up.

These are the results of our work:

This was taken at the track where I do my three mile run every day.

This is the pond behind our neighborhood. I guess they had to give the golfers some place to lose their golf balls, as if my back (and front!) yard was not enough. In the past 9 months we have collected 47 golf balls from our yard.

This one is right on Main St. I drive by it every day on my 1 mile drive from home to work.

You'll have to turn your head sideways for this one, because I can't figure out how to turn it. It was taken at the park in front of the Marsh House (the historic plantation house in LaFayette).

More fall photos to come, but the bolgspot will only let me publish four at a time.