Monday, June 27, 2011

For my amusement...

I've been super busy lately and for once, it's been fun stuff and not work!

On Friday (the 17th), I went out to eat with my Uncle Dale and cousin Travis in Colonial Heights. We went to Ruby Tuesday's, which I hadn't eaten at in years I'm sure. The last time that immediately comes to mind is sophomore year with the suitemates.

Anyway, they mentioned that they were meeting Devon, Rich, and the kids at Busch Gardens the next day and talked me into joining them.

After Ruby Tuesday, I rushed back to Dinwiddie to Lindsay's birthday party, where I got to spend time with lots of people, whom I hadn't seen in awhile. I had a ton of fun and didn't get into bed until 4:30.

So I woke up at about 9ish with every intention that I wasn't going to make it to Busch Gardens. Then my uncle texted me to tell me that Travis had just woken so I could still make it! So on about 4 or 5 hours of sleep, I went to Busch Gardens.

I had a splendid time. I love hanging out with my cousins! I've been very lucky to get to see Devon, Rich, and the kids a lot lately, which makes me happy since they live almost in Charlottesville, which is a ways away and before that they lived in Oklahoma. Also Lucas and Meredith are two of the smartest, most well-behaved, adorable kids I've ever met!

At the end of the night, Travis and I decided to bite the bullet and upgrade our day tickets to fun cards, so that we can go as many times as we want to until September 5th.

After our long day, I stayed the night in Carson and we slept in! Then we headed to Colonial Heights three times in one day; first for lunch and shopping, second for shopping, and thirdly for dinner. All in all. it was a long fun-filled weekend.

Then on Tuesday, I headed back to Busch Gardens with Tori, Linz, and Elizabeth for a girls' day out! And we rode everything (just about everything); some things a couple of times! Elizabeth and I couldn't work up the courage to ride the Griffon! But in our defense, we did ride the Loch Ness 3 times!

That's what I've been up to lately! What have you been up to? Does anyone else have season passes to Busch Gardens?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

DHS Class of 2011

Dinwiddie's Class of 2011 has a special place in my heart. Firstly, I've known a lot of those kids since they were in kindergarten. I watched them interact with each other at Skate Nights while they were in elementary school.

They were the first graduating class for whom I got to substitute teach since November. I've watched them prepare college applications. I've read scholarship essays for them. I've given them advice about college.

Class of 2011 was also the largest class to ever graduate from Dinwiddie High School, at about 397 students.

Also, this is the last graduation that I was obligated by law to go to. Not exactly by law, but my youngest sister graduated this year. Not only did she just simply graduate, she graduated at the top of her class! We are immensely proud.

As much as we were looking forward to this graduation, I can say that it did not go as planned. Who are we kidding?; it is Dinwiddie. Has anyone heard about last year's?

Anyway, graduation was slated for Thursday. June 16 at 7 p.m. We arrived at 5 p.m. to get to good seats, since we are the family of the valedictorian. We brought with us huge umbrellas as gray clouds were looming above us with the threat of rain.

It poured down at least twice while we were sitting there. We were then told that a storm was moving our way, but that graduation has not been cancelled. They told us that they will try and get the ceremony started by 7:30 p.m., which was very confusing because it was supposed to start at 7.

Anyway, the weather was perfect from about 7:00 to 7:30 and they finally bring the graduates out. As soon as they were all lined up, it thundered and there was lightning off in the distance. The principal came out and told us that graduation was not cancelled but that they were taking the graduates back inside until further notice.

We sat and waited for the weather to pass. They finally began at 8:10. They opted to present the diplomas first, speeches after that, and to do away with announcing scholarships and perfect attendance awards. It kind of sucked that they did it this way, but at least we finally got through graduation!

My sister, the valedictorian, receiving her diploma.

My sisters and I, all graduates of Dinwiddie High School now!

Friday, June 17, 2011

I love a good road trip that ends in Cake...

This past weekend, I traveled north on 95 (from one end of the area code 804 to the other) to spend some time with one of my favorite roommates, Patti (or Cake as I call her), her boyfriend, Ben, and her wonderful family that I adore (because they treat me like I'm one of their own; let's be honest, I am!).

The plan was for me to go to Stephanie's graduation party, which was on Saturday; but since I hadn't seen Patti since October (WHAT?!), we decided to make a weekend of it.

It hadn't really felt like I hadn't seen Cake in so long because I talk to her all the time! But I'm not used to not seeing her!

Long story short, we lived in the same suite sophomore year; she lived in the apartment across from me junior year; and senior year we lived in the same apartment (though Patti graduated a semester before me).

When I got to her house after Dylan's graduation, I had every intention of going to bed immediately. Instead, I was up for another two hours catching up with Ben and Patti and looking up random stuff on UrbanDictionary, a very dangerous thing to do.

Saturday, we woke up and all got ready. Then we watched movies, looked through pictures, and played arts and crafts! Then halfway through the day, we headed off to Aunt Hilary and Uncle Jim's for Steph's party.

When I met Patti sophomore year, I had the pleasure of meeting Patti's family! And I absolutely love them! They are always so nice to me; it's always a great time seeing them! I hadn't seen a lot of them for awhile so it was good to catch up. And I got to meet Aunt Hilary, Uncle Jim, Meghan, Jake, and Aidan for the first time.

We ate, played games, and spent time together celebrating Stephanie's high school graduation and her acceptance to Appalachian State (which was very hard for me...but the JMU vs App State thing is definitely another story)!

Stephanie, our new high school graduate and her brother, Jim!

Jim & I

(Patti's dad has the good picture of Stephanie and I).

On Sunday, we woke up and ate breakfast, got ready, and took pictures on Patti's dock! Then Patti took Ben and I out on the boat for awhile. And then I sadly said goodbye and raced home for my little sister's baccalaureate ceremony.
Patti & I!

Patti, Ben and I on Lake Caroline.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Proud Big Cousin!

For those of you who know me irl, you know that I absolutely adore my cousins. And I have a ton of them!

On Friday, I had the pleasure of attending my little cousin, Dylan's preschool graduating! You know how emotional people get when they see their eighteen year olds in caps and gowns? Your heart will melt when you see these 4 and 5 year olds in their tiny cap and gowns!

Aren't you melting right now?!?!
Dylan's graduation was especially special because Dylan was born when I was about 17 1/2. He attended my high school graduation when he was an itty bitty thing! We took pictures of little 6 month old Dylan wearing my red DHS cap.

Me, Dylan, & Hollie at my high school graduation!

Three years later, he attended my sister, Dani's high school graduation. He was 3 and a half during her graduation and still didn't quite understand the point of graduation.

In fact, when we told him he had to say "Yay!" when they called Dani's name, he informed us that he wanted to say, "basketball" or "Paul Gasol" instead.

Dylan and Dani - He was tired!

Finally, Dylan made the long trip up to Harrisonburg to see me graduate from JMU (or the school with the big dog, as he calls it)! I have a photo of him (that took some convincing) in my purple JMU cap!

Future Duke?
His graduation ceremony was adorable. The kids recited a poem, sang, and danced!  And there were cupcakes aftwerward! Doesn't get much better than that!

Dylan & I!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Spanish Praxis II

I took my Spanish Praxis II test on Monday, even though I'm not taking that job in Charlotte (btw, they just sent me a confirmation of my withdrawal a week after I e-mailed them).

It took me forever to find the place in Glen Allen. Good thing I left so that I'd have plenty of time to get there. I found the place and then I rushed off to Food Lion because I hadn't had time to eat breakfast before leaving home.

As soon as I got there (the second time), I pulled in next to a car with JMU stickers on it! That made me smile. When I went in, there was a girl who had been in my Spanish 307 class in there who was taking the Spanish Praxis II as well. She had just graduated from JMU a couple weeks earlier with her Master's (she did the 5 year teaching program!).

Anyways, we wished each other luck and then I went to begin my test!

It actually wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, at first. The reading and the listening were way easier than I expected, though I had been practicing those two skills.

However, the writing was much harder than I thought it would be. And the speaking part, I probably sounded like a babbling gringo.

I should be receiving my scores on June 22 and I'm very anxious. I'm hoping that since the reading and listening parts are worth more of the test that hopefully I got a passing score of 168.

If I didn't pass, it was a good practice and now I'll know what to expect. Come on, Jume 22!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Update on the job front...

For those of you who have been following my efforts of finding a future, here's an update for you!

As you may know, I had an interview down in Charlotte for a teaching fellows program. I wasn't sure how the interview went, as there were four main components of the interview.  But I felt like for the most part, it went well. 

I was delighted when I found out 2 weeks later (at like 10:45 at night, mind you. Which is very late for the girl who had been checking her e-mail obsessively since she woke up that day) that I had been offered a spot.

I took some time to weigh my options and decide if it was doable. I got myself all psyched up and enrolled in the program.

Today, regretfully, I have decided that this program is not for me. I am happy that I was given the opportunity but I'm ready to begin my teaching career using an alternative route.

And this way I don't have to miss my sister's graduation!

But I am confident that there is another job opportunity out there for me. I just have to find it!

How long did it take for you to find your future (after high school, college, etc.)? Or are you still looking for it? 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Missing My Boys Already...

I spent my Memorial Day at a cookout with one of my favorite families! Not only were we celebrating the day off and honoring the soldiers who serve, we were preparing to send off our very own soldiers.

Today Chris and Eric left to prepare for their deployment to Iraq, where they'll be a little more than a year. We're going miss then immensely!

I've been friends with my Manda and my Chris since I was 14 and I met my Eric not too long after that. In all the time I've known those boys (about 9 years!?), this will be longest we'll have gone without seeing other. Which is going to be mega weird! Some of my best memories have been spent with Manda, Chris, and Eric. And some of my best sleepovers have been with those boys. That is when they are not trying to wrestle me! Which happens often because they love to pick on me. I believe this photo was taken either right before or soon after Eric decided to spill water on me...just for the heck of it. Good thing I love them so much! =]

Chris (in sunglasses), Eric, & I
May 30, 2011

But I know the time will go by super fast and I cannot wait to start sending them letters and awesome care packages! I'm trying to figure out something cool to do for them while they're away. Something cool for them when they get back. Because I know they'll be back before we know it! But if y'all could keep them in your thoughts and prayers, that'd be greatly appreciated!

Do any of you have any family, friends or loved ones who are overseas (or far away) serving our country? What kinds of things do y'all send them?