Monday, January 2, 2017

Goodbye 2016!

The last blog post I wrote was a bulleted list of life happenings and a statement of my intention to get back into a habit of routinely blogging. The one blog post I wrote in 2016 is evidence of my failure in bringing that idea to life. My July 2016 post was actually a great prelude to this post as it shared some great memories that we made from the beginning of 2016. As we wrap up the year, here's what I want to remember about the last 6 months of 2016...
  • Our whole family made it through the year staying relatively healthy, minus Dave spending the last few months wearing a boot due to pain in his foot. It's getting better and hopefully the boot will go away soon. 
  • Dylan became a working man and worked all summer as a pool lifeguard. He ended the summer with money to pay for his insurance for a year, plus some. He worked so hard, never complaining except for the time he worked 10 days straight and asked me to look it up to make sure that was legal, HA! I was so proud of his work ethic and attitude.
  • Zoe attended her first, overnight and away from mom, summer camp when she attended the University of Maryland Gymnastics Camp. She spent three nights at the college park campus and while she was pretty nervous she ended up having a blast. 

  • Dave and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary! We visited St. Michael's where we got married and then took a leisurely drive home exploring a couple little towns between there and home. One of my favorite days of the year!!
  • I began my 13th year of teaching and my 2nd teaching an accelerated program. I went Pinterest crazy with a Harry Potter and Hogwarts theme in my room.
  • Dylan began 10th grade and says it is his favorite year in school so far! He is enjoying being part of Project Lead the Way, the enginnering pathway at his high school. He took drivers training during the first marking period. Honors history is his favorite class and he loves to share what he's learning in the class. He was also recognized at a district ceremony for his academic achievement in 9th grade. Lately, he's been checking out colleges who have an aerospace engineering program as that's what he is interested in majoring in.
  • Zoe began middle school and was thrilled to do so! She is kicking butt in 6th grade.  She has some of Dylan's teachers and likes all of her teachers. She enjoys Spanish the most because she says everyday she learns something new. During one marking period she will be able to take an art class and she can't wait. On the flip side she also has to take one marking period of gym, which is her least favorite thing to do in school. Yes, the gymnasts hates gym!
  • I was accepted into a doctoral program at Wilmington University and successfully completed my first two courses with A's. Definitely a learning experience both academically and emotionally, but very excited to have the opportunity.
  • Zoe turned 12 and celebrated with a zoo in our house! A local animal preserve brought a baby kangaroo, coati, python, sugar glider, and tortoise to our house and everybody had a blast holding and playing with all the animals. She still wants to be a veterinarian as of now.
  • The family went to Hallow-Scream in Busch Gardens in October and had a blast. Everybody is tall enough for Coasters now so it was a great day of rides. At night the park changed over to haunting grounds with multiple haunted trails. Way out of my comfort zone, but I was brave and enjoyed family time, even if it was the first time Dylan said he heard his mom say some bad words! Zoe was not a fan of the trails and ended up sitting out for most of them, but we did talk her into joining us for two. 
  • In November, Zoe got to perform in the opening act of the Kellogg's Tour of Champions in Philly. The tour showcased the US Gymnastics Team (who kicked butt in the 2016 Olympic Games) and she did a dance with other local gymnasts while the athletes came onto the floor. 
  • The fall was filled with Dylan performing with his high school band at Friday night games and many Christmas parades. 
  • Dylan turned the BIG 16 and got his driver's license. He is doing an excellent job driving minus the bush that won't be written about, but will provide a great story later!
  • The holidays were spent with family as the west coast and southern Tuttle's came for Christmas. It is always fun when everybody can get together. My parents and little brother went to visit my other brother and his family so it was strange not being with any Lightfoot's, but I enjoyed seeing their visit through pictures on Facebook. 
So that brings us to 2016...

All in all, it's been a good year! There's much to be accomplished in 2017 and I know many more adventures are to be taken with more memories to be made. 

Here's to hoping I write about some of the adventures as we go and not just another bulleted list in the year!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Bullets to fill in the gaps

Since it's been over a year since I last blogged you can imagine that some adventures have been missed. I'm not sure that I'll be able to write posts to fill in all the gaps so going with some bullets because who doesn't love a bulleted list. So here's just some of the memories that were made since last April as in April of 2015...

  • Dylan conquered his first year in high school!
  • Zoe conquered her last year in elementary school!
  • Both kids maintained high honor roll for the whole year.
  • I finished my first year teaching accelerated students in a brand new program.
  • I completed more college classes and earned my certificate so I could teach gifted and talented students.
  • The whole family visited Tulum, Mexico (our first trip to Mexico) in April 2016. Maybe this will make it's own post sometime soon!
  • Dylan swam on the high school swim team and was invited to swim in the team relay at state champs where he realized he was a little fish in a BIG pond, but that swimming is where his heart is.
  • Dylan also ran track in the spring and decided that running is not at all him and he will never do that again.
  • Zoe kept on flipping in her gymnastics competitions ending the year being 3rd all around in the state.
  • In May 2015 I was admitted to the hospital with a pulmonary embolism. Dr. Garcia at the walk in clinic saved my life! I could have died, but I didn't.
  • Dave, Zoe and I saw Meghan Trainor in concert and she was amazing!
  • Both kids made the local papers...multiple times...Zoe for earning honorable mention in a statewide writing contest and gymnastics and Dylan for swimming on the high school swim team and sharing his experience of swimming on the local team too.
  • I interviewed for an assistant principal position and for the first time ever did not get a job I interviewed for. Learned a lesson in humility. But, then learned that sometimes not getting what you want is a stroke of luck as other obligations and opportunities came about.
  • Dylan passed his lifeguarding course and got his first job as a pool lifeguard.
  • We saw the Blue Man group.
  • Enjoyed a visit from my grandfather and uncle. Got to show them around the beach!
  • Spent a few days in Williamsburg exploring and visited Busch Gardens and Water Country USA where Dave and I went on our honeymoon.
  • Celebrated Dylan's 15th birthday, Zoe's 11th, and Dave and my 16th anniversary!
  • Dylan has had three girlfriends (shhh, don't tell him I told you that) and Zoe still things boys smell (which is fine by Dave and me).
  • I attended ISTE,  a HUGE instructional technology conference and it was so much fun!
  • Enjoyed quite a few beach days, snow days, and holidays.
  • Enjoyed friends and family in this thing we call LIFE!
As I'm thinking about what to add to my bullets I can't help thinking that it's been a pretty good 15 months. We've accomplished a lot, made some great memories, and enjoyed what life had to offer. Sure all of that was between carpooling everywhere, chores, homework, and all those other things that fill in the days. Of course there is much I've missed. I'm sure I'll remember something that I just have to come back and add over the next few days. 

All in all #lifeisgood. Now to not have to write another bulleted list in a year. Instead, hopefully I can get back to recording the good times complete with posts and pictures.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Sometimes you just have to write...about the first funeral

I've had an itch to write lately. There is something therapeutic about putting feelings and thoughts into words and letting them flow. It's been awhile since I've visited my blog. Today I spent some time reading old posts and recounting memories. There are a lot of memories recorded on this here blog considering it has been documenting my family's life since Dylan went off to Kindergarten and he will be heading into 10th grade this fall!

Today, was a pretty emotional day. One of Dylan's friend's dad passed away from brain cancer earlier this week and today was his funeral. Dave and I have kept open communication with Dylan throughout everything. We discussed the funeral and Dylan said that he felt that it would only be right that he attended. We are not friends with the family, but I told Dylan that I would be happy to go with him if he would like. His response, "No thanks, mom, I've got this."

This morning I dropped him off at the church to attend the funeral. Watching him walk into the church alone was painful. I ended up driving home with tears in my eyes as I thought about him experiencing his first funeral, thinking about his friend, wondering what to say, and how to act. I thought about his friend who lost his dad when he was so young and then thought about Dave and Dylan. I thought about his friend's mom who lost her husband and was now raising a young man (and a sister) on her own and then thought about me with Dave and our own two. I cried for Dylan and for the family.

When Dylan came home, he said he was glad he went. He sat with another friend during the service. I had prepared him for how the service would run and that there would probably be a luncheon of sorts afterwards. To keep things light I had joked with him to not eat all the free food because humor is how our family deals with stress! He told me he didn't actually eat anything because he just didn't feel like eating. That's how I know my son was touched by the experience.

I'm proud of him. He thought about his friend enough to put himself in an uncomfortable situation to show his support.  I made sure to tell him how proud he made me.

Then, this afternoon I spent time with my son, doing what he wanted to do. We played games, took a walk, he talked, I listened. Tomorrow is not a guarantee so for today I will enjoy every moment!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Pretty Much the Best Vacation Ever

This spring break we went big. European vacation BIG!

My brother and his family have been stationed in Rota, Spain for the past three years. We've always planned on visiting and since they are preparing to return stateside this summer it was now or never. So off to Spain we went!

We started on a plane...

Then switched to a train...

We had 10 days of action packed adventures and the best part we got to share it all with my brother, sis-in-law, nieces, nephews!!

The day after we arrived in Spain, we jumped on a ferry and actually headed to Africa. My sister-in-law had booked us a trip to visit Tangier, Morocco. We had an amazing time with Jamal our tour guide showing us around. We got to take a camel ride along the beach which was incredible. We got to enjoy mint tea and a delicious cake with argon oil as well as a lamb tangine. The rug shops and markets were interesting as we bartered our way through purchases. I don't know what I expected Morocco to be like, but it was different than expected. My sis-in-law wrote a great blog post about our experience visiting Morocco and she shares some great pictures too so check it out!

One day we went in to the town of Sevilla, Spain to hang out at Isla Magica, an amusement park. Anybody who knows our family, knows we LOVE amusement parks. Every spring break we hit some type of park so we searched to see if one would be anywhere near where we were staying and voila, there was. The best part was the amusement park had different "lands" and we got to visit the land of America. Too funny!

On Easter, we headed to Arcos, Spain for the annual Running of the Bulls. WOW! What an experience. My brother was the only one brave enough to actually run. The rest of us sat behind a nice metal fence that was bolted into the ground. The streets were crowded and boy do the people know how to party! After the bull run we climbed the steepest hill I've ever seen to reach the castle at the top. The views were incredible! We also found some birds to hang out with way up there.

We took one day and made the trek to Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory. It was nice to hear people speaking in English. We had a fabulous lunch of fish and chips before heading up the rock. Of course the monkeys that live at the top of the rock were a huge hit. One friend tried to steal my glasses!

After Gibraltar, we headed to Portugal to spend two days in Lagos. It was spectacular! We rented a house since we had a party of 10 and spent the time exploring in the old city. The shops and restaurants were adorable and everything was so clean. Unfortunately, it was very windy and gray while we were there so we weren't able to check out the beautiful water that we saw in pictures. According to Dave though we are going back one day so hopefully we can see it then!

Finally, we ended the vacation actually exploring Rota, Spain where my brother and sis-in-law live. We braved the streets on our own without my SIL who had played tour guide all week. It was another lovely day of exploring castles, churches, and quaint restaurants and shops.

How's that for a vacation?
Four countries...Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar, Morocco!
Two continents...Europe and Africa!

The whole family now has an itch to travel more. We're already thinking of where we should go next. Everybody was so friendly and helpful. I felt very safe traveling and making our way through all the towns. Now that we have our passports, watch out world!

So now after many planes, trains, and automobiles rides, oh and a ferry boat ride too we are back home getting ready to head back to school tomorrow.

We went, we conquered, and we made incredible memories!!

We took lots of pictures so check out my facebook page to see the albums.

Changes Ahead

This year is my 10th year of teaching. Where did the time go? I've taught both 3rd and 5th grade throughout the years and enjoyed both.

Next year though I'm trying something new! I've been hired as the teacher for a brand new accelerated program within my school. I will be teaching an ELA and math class of mixed 4th and 5th grade students. Since the program is new there is much to be done, which is both exciting and overwhelming at the same time.

As the teacher of this program, I have to go back to school to earn my certificate as a gifted and talented teacher. Being a lifelong learner, I could not wait to start my graduate classes and I'm happy to say that I'm halfway through the first two of five classes I must complete. I have already learned so much!!

I won't lie though. It's been quite challenging balancing being a graduate students, college teacher, and 3rd grade teacher along with wearing the mom and wife hat. But, I know it will be worth it. Change is good!!

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