Thursday, March 31, 2011

Letters to the Universe

Dear cold and gray Thursday,
You make me tired and lazy, which is not good for the line of work that I'm in. Maybe you could visit less often?

Dear clouds,
Quit being a bully, I think it's time you let the sun come out and play for once.

Dear tights,
I love you a lot for keeping my legs so warm this week, but I was really hoping to put you away for awhile. Your friends skirts and shorts would like to come out of the closet without your help.

Dear fluffy bed,
You are so warm and cozy. Maybe a little TOO warm and cozy. I wish we would hang out all day.

Dear sore throat,
I know that you're in town because my students were such tyrants last night and Mrs. Richards had to put on her teacher voice. Please don't turn into anything more than just a little ache, I would really appreciate that.

Dear doctor,
Does eating a pear a day keep you away? Or does that only work for apples? I simply cannot quench my appetite for pears this month.

Dear April,
March was cool and all, but I hope that you bring lots of sun, and smiles, and hang outs with friends and family.

Sincerely,
Dana

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Weekend Update 3/27

This weekend was really awesome, and I'm pretty sad to see it go so soon. How is it already past 7 on Sunday? Does anyone else agree that weekends fly by too fast?

Here is a recap from our weekend:

Friday nights at work are usually torture, but this week seemed to flow very well and was actually manageable. I set up to do an art project with any interested kids, and I wasn't surprised when the only student to sit down with me was my little favorite, Mohamed. We made "stained glass windows" with construction/tracing paper. He made a volcano with some giant pterodactyl/bird things (note the person riding the bird haha). It was A LOT of fun, and made for an enjoyable evening.

His / Mine

After work, Keith picked me up and we had a super relaxing night over beers and burritos at our favorite local spot, Baja Burrito.

Saturday we managed to fit in some brunch eating, picture hanging, tv watching, and nap taking all before heading over to Trent's new place to spend the night with some of our best friends. I love living in Nashville simply to be able to hang out with these people on a regular basis, and I think we've done a great job of getting together often, despite everyones busy schedules. One of the best parts of the night? Issac and Carolyn brought baby Sage along with them! I know this sounds crazy but I had a little fear that once they had Sage they wouldn't be hanging out with the group as often, but we are super thankful that they love sharing their little girl with all of us :)

The beautiful new mommy, Carolyn

Mom-to-be Chelsey with Sage and Jordy

Soon to be parents meeting newborn Sage :)

Keith and Sage coordinated their outfits haha





Jennifer and Ives!
We did dinner potluck style and Trent and Jordy really blew us out of the water with their meal. Jordy made an amazing foccaccia bread that I could NOT stop eating and homemade meatballs and marinara sauce. I was crazy impressed and so was my tummy :)

After completely stuffing ourselves, we came home to OUR little baby... Theo. He may not be a human baby, but he certainly does cuddle and cry like one haha Though it seems like we've been sucked into the baby craze, Theo is more than enough for us right now!


I've been lazier than ever today, mostly due to this terrible gray weather which made it perfect for pajamas, an SVU marathon and a piping hot bowl of chili. Hope everyone else has had a great weekend! I'm going to go convince Keith to take me to Sonic for some milkshakes....

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Collection

5 Things That Made My Night:


 Warm and yummy banana bread. I was cleaning out the refrigerator at work and found some bananas that were just a little TOO ripe. We were supposed to throw them away, but I snagged a bundle to make some bread. Keith usually eats all our bananas before they get ripe enough for baking, so I seized the opportunity. How perfect! Keith is currently warming up a couple slices in a frying pan mmmmm

 Student art :) my heart melted a little when my favorite student presented me with this adorable coloring page. It is currently on our fridge. Just look at those colors!

 Pajamas! I put these on the minute I walked in the door tonight and it felt SO GREAT.

 A well deserved glass of wine. Keith made a delicious dinner that included wine which was the perfect excuse to have a glass or two. Happy Tuesday!

Our new shower curtain. It took us forever to make a decision on a shower curtain last night at Target, but I'm really satisfied with our final choice! The pattern makes me smile. 

Hope you're having a great week!

Routine


On a lighter note.... my new favorite breakfast treat is an everything bagel, with cream cheese, tomato and avocado. SO YUMMY! That coupled with getting some time to read a good book at the dining room table... perfect morning :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Reality

The reality is, that my students live in a very dangerous and unpredictable neighborhood. I'm there everyday and know the friendly faces, so it is easy to be naive to the crime and the drugs, but that was very quickly broken down for me at work this evening.

Tonight as I was teaching my lesson I had the back door to our classroom open to let the nice breeze come in. At 6:32pm we heard shots fired just  a few feet outside the door, and saw men with guns running past our window shooting at each other. My kids got immediately silent. We quickly shut the door, closed the blinds and continued with our lesson. Without skipping a beat. I didn't want to alarm them, so I just acted like things were normal. That ISN'T normal. Problem is... these kids see things like this way too often, and they just accept it.

I haven't been that scared in a long time. The reality is, that I'm not the one who needs to be scared... because I have a safe place to come home to every night and THAT is what really broke my heart tonight. These kids didn't choose a life of poverty, they were born into it and because of that factor they don't have the same sense of security that most of us grew up with.

I don't want this experience to make me feel bad for these kids, I hope that this will help me to continually encourage them to be better than this. To go places, and be proud of their accomplishments. To not become the people that they are currently threatened by. To break the cycle of poverty.

Let's just say it was a rough way to start the week... and there are hardly enough words in the world to describe how much I ABSOLUTELY HATE GUNS.

10 Things to Love

Here are some things that made me smile this weekend:

1). Parks and Recreation I'm a little obsessed with this show... one of the only shows on TV right now that I actively look forward to each week (even more than Modern Family!) This season has been absolutely hysterical, I recommend that you get into it.


2). This beautiful summer weather! As much as I'm excited for the sun to finally be showing itself... it's such a tease to live SO far from the beach :( I miss Florida. Here's to being able to wear 90% of my wardrobe though haha this Florida girl has LOTS of sun dresses, shorts and sandals to pull out of the closet. If only my legs weren't such a scary shade of white....

3). Easter Candy I have no idea why, but Easter candy is my absolute favorite. Maybe it's the pastel colored wrappers, or the obvious egg shapes... but there is just something special about the candy they bust out for Easter. I loveeeee robin's eggs, and those magical butterfinger egg things. Even reese's peanut butter cups are better during Easter because when they're shaped like eggs you get way more peanut butter! Mmm Mmm Mmm! Sidenote: as much as I just stated my love for Easter candy... I DO NOT like peeps. Ick.

4). A new hat Last summer I rocked a big floppy hat for maximum sun protection, but I think my go-to this year will be this baby:
via H&M
5). Our new kitchen art We recently ordered some postcards from a local print shop that makes fun posters of all the Nashville hot spots. We can't wait to hang some more in our house but also to send them away to our favorite people :)
You cannot visit Nashville without a trip to Pancake Pantry

6). Baby Sage The boys went out on Friday night to have a cigar and celebrate Isaac being a dad which was the perfect opportunity for me to hang out with Carolyn, Jordie and of course... Sage. She is the prettiest and sweetest little baby :)

7). Spending a day in the park with friends Hopefully the first of many similar afternoons:







8). Finding an awesome Italian Restaurant! The south is known for lots of things but great Italian food doesn't usually top that list. After watching an episode of Diner, Drive Ins and Dives my dad suggested that we try this great local place called Savarinos Cucina and we were definitely not disappointed. It's the kind of family owned place that you would expect to find in NYC which was pretty unexpected and extremely satisfying. My favorite part was their selection of pastries and gelato which made me miss one of my favorite spots in Boca, Sonny's.


9). A clean house It took all day to get there, but our guest room is finally complete (with a queen sized bed and all) and the closest is finally organized and accessible. This was no small feat... but I'm heading to bed with a smugly proud smile on my face (and an incredibly comfy bed thanks to these freshly washed sheets!)

10). Chocolate covered popcorn Need I say more? I had some left over chocolate chips I wanted to get rid of, and wasn't in a baking mood so melted them and smothered it over a bowl of popcorn. It was utterly delightful and took like 3 minutes (plus another 10 to harden in the fridge... which was fine because we still needed to digest our dinner haha)

The theme of our weekend was REST. We slept in embarrassingly late on Saturday morning and spent the rest of the day lounging in the park and even ended our night with a fire out back to check out the supermoon. It was a pretty fabulous day and weekend overall.

We burned our Christmas tree and the flame got REALLY big haha
Another awesome thing about this weekend? Keith's best friend and Best Man at our wedding Jonathan Hillyard got ENGAGED today!!! We love his fiance Erin a whole lot, and are SO excited for them. Congrats to the happy couple!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Leprechaun

What a perfect day to watch one of my favorite youtube videos :)



St. Patricks Day is one of those holidays that I always forget about until the day of and get caught wearing nothing green. Keith reminded me over and over to wear green today, but of course it never crossed my mind this morning. I walked in the door at work and got pinched around 40 times. I looked at my students and said "Do you even know who St. Patrick is? Do you even know someone whose Irish?!" Those questions were immediately answered for me when one girl said "What's St. Patricks Day? I thought it was 'pinch people day'". Their cluelessness is endearing.

Instead of going out and drinking lots of beer today, I am hanging at home and catching up on all the things I've DVRed in the past two months. Boring, I know. I thought about stopping for a drink after work, but my friend Sarah and I both agreed that it would probably just make us more tired than we already are. Anyway... HAPPY ST PATRICKS DAY EVERYONE!! Keith's out with friends cheering on Belmont's basketball team, so not only will I be parked on the couch... I'll probably be eating ice cream and popcorn for dinner haha This is the life :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Today...

I celebrated Spring Break with my students, meaning I got off of work at 4pm instead of 7pm, yipee! Today I nearly lost my mind watching young kids ride go karts and I had a vision of what an overprotective mother I'm bound to be, oops. Today I had to console a student who ran her go kart into one of the track employees and broke his ankle... really? REALLY? Welcome to the chaos of my job and my life. Today I shook my head at fellow employees who laughed at me when I refused to ride go karts because of how dangerous they are... look whose laughing now. Today I ate a disappointing sack lunch and pouted because back at the center it was free chipotle day, boo. Today I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't have to watch Yogi Bear at the theatre because enough kids wanted to see Narnia, score!! Today I realized that I'm pretty willing to do a lot of personally undesirable things to make sure that my kids have a fun and fulfilling childhood.

Now tonight, I will bake 60 cupcakes for the party they're having tomorrow that they do not deserve because their behavior this week has been ridiculous. Tonight I will breathe a giant sigh of relief that I do not have to go anywhere near work on Friday... this upcoming long weekend is the only thing keeping me sane this week. Spring Break isn't what it used to be, where are the margaritas?

Pretty Spring buds on the mini golf course

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Dinner Diary

I just wanted to quickly share one of our new favorite dinners! It has some really long fancy recipe name, but they're raviolis with a creamy artichoke sauce and peas. It tastes CRAZY good, and I'll probably eat some leftovers for breakfast in the morning because of how much I love it. I found this recipe in an issue of Food Network Magazine and convinced Keith to make it for me a few weeks ago. He was slightly disappointed with how the sauce turned out because it was kind of runny, and he was not excited about making it again. Since he loves me a lot, he indulged me with another go at it and even he was pleased this time. I scarfed down everything on my plate with a big smile on my face :) I would highly recommend this super quick (15 min!) dinner if you're looking for some kitchen inspiration!

via foodnetwork.com

Don't be discouraged by Keith's original dislike because I loved it just as much the first time as the second, though it is a good little tip to let the sauce thicken up before serving. Check it out here

Monday, March 14, 2011

Georgia Love

We had such a great time in Georgia this weekend that we were not the least bit excited to head back to work this morning. I spent most of my day today at work walking around like a zombie with my eyes half open... let's just take that as a sign of a well enjoyed trip haha. Moms wedding was SO much fun. It was such a great chance to catch up with people we don't get to see often, and it offered up an excuse to start drinking beer at noon :) we're fans of that, obviously.

We started our trip by hitting the road south-bound at noon on Friday and made our first stop at Ikea to grab some things we had been saving for. It makes me a little crazy that there isn't an Ikea in Nashville... but maybe it's a good thing, since I would probably want to go there every weekend haha. It wasn't AS successful as we would have liked because the coffee table and tv stand that we spent an hour deciding on was out of stock with no sign of return, AND they didn't have a coat rack we could agree on. Bummer. We did get some of the little things we had been wanting like a clock for our kitchen and a light to hang over our dining room table. My wonderful husband has already installed both of these, and I couldn't be happier! After Ikea, we made our way to the restaurant where all the out of town guests were gathering and had a fair amount of beverages and fun. Aka, we stayed up way too late haha

Saturday we began our morning early at breakfast with Jonathan and his girlfriend Erin and then hurried back to his house to get ready for the wedding. We met Tami at the hair salon and I helped her get into her beautiful dress and then we took some photos at the town green before we went to the venue. For real... this wedding was a blast!! The ceremony was the sweetest.. it was short and to the point, just an honest expression of love. I won't go too in detail because I had the flip cam with me and hope to edit some of the footage this week so I can share it (I'm terrible about being on the ball with that stuff, hold me accountable please?).  Keith and I did A LOT of dancing at the wedding, since dancing in public is apparently our thing haha. We were pretty wiped out by 5 pm, but we cleaned ourselves up, changed and headed to Dave and Buster's for the after party. We didn't last long there either, and spent the rest of our evening chatting on the couch chatting with Jonathan and Erin.

Sunday we slept in (which was AWESOME) and when Jonathan got back from church he invited a few friends over to grill burgers and hang out. The rest of our afternoon was spent with mom, Joe-Dad and the out of town guests at the Georgia Force Arena Football game. I've never been to a real football game before, and while this wasn't NFL it was still pretty fun. Overall it was just great to see everyone for a little bit longer. The game ended around 7 and we got on the road home right from there.

Here's to a great weekend! It was super memorable, and made us really nostalgic about our own wedding. As with most of the trips we take, we were thankfully to get out of town but we're kind of looking forward to next weekend where we can hibernate at our house and catch up on sleep.

Here are some quick snaps from the big wedding day!










Congrats to the happy couple!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Hockey Chaos

Tonight we took the Elementary students to a Predators Hockey game, and I was thankfully allowed to invite Keith to join us. I'll begin by saying that we ended the night by stopping by the bar... it was that necessary haha

My students are great and I love them to death, but growing up in the projects with parents who have generationally lived in the projects doesn't set you up very well for acting normal in public. They really have no idea how to function in reality which is part of the reason why we take them out into the world and part of the reason why we always regret it afterwards haha. We had GREAT GREAT seats, donated to us by someone who was obviously rich, right on the ice and I sat with a group of girls who kicked the seats in front of them and complained about how bored they were. My conscience wanted to scream at them, but instead I let the lady seated in front of them complain like heck, and that really shut them up. It was awesome to have Keith there because he's pretty great at crowd control, but also so he could catch a glimpse of why I'm so tired every night haha. These kids are just plain crazy. I'm not sure if any of them learned a thing about hockey, or about manners but there were a few key moments that made it all worth it. I LOVE seeing my students building a relationship with Keith, and telling me how cool they think he is, and I also love seeing how great he is with kids. Much much much more patient that I can be with them haha.

Let's just say that I'm glad I don't have to go in to work tomorrow :) Vacation here we come!!!

Shazeedra and Elena

Isha sat on my lap for the game since our seats were all scattered around the section 

I accidently told Keith to put Elijah on him lap forgetting that he peed his pants earlier in the night, oops haha

My bored, seat kicking girls 

Eligh, Marvis and Shy-Kia

Keith later switched to Bryson on his lap (I wonder why??) :)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Little Miracle

Life has been pretty hectic recently, and I feel like I haven't really had a chance to record, let alone process all that's been going on. This weekend we're headed down to Atlanta for the big wedding extravaganza, and we have plans every single night this week therefore I'm feeling a little out of my mind. Thankfully tonight our plans included visiting the hospital to say hello to a beautiful little baby girl :)

Our great friends Carolyn and Isaac welcomed the prettiest baby ever into the world yesterday, Sage Elizabeth Ezell and we're so thankful that they invited us to come and visit them tonight. We got the chance to watch Carolyn's belly grow and grow since we moved to Nashville, and it was so amazing to finally meet their little miracle. For a newborn baby, she really was SO pretty!

*** newlywed couple disclaimer *** NO! We're not planning on having a kid any time soon. NO! There is nothing in the water. NO! we're not going to see all our friends having kids and want one of our own asap. NO! I don't need you to ask me if I'm pregnant every time I say I have "big news"! Phewwwwww.

Sorry for the rant. Here are some shots of us with Sage tonight:






Excuse the iPhone photos, I left my camera at home but I'm sure there will be plenty more opportunities to share pictures of this little one.

One more thing: Carolyn Ezell is my hero. She went into labor on Friday night, and didn't deliver Sage until 10am Monday morning! They had planned to delivery her naturally, but after 60 HOURS she had to give in and get an epidural so that she could get some rest and avoid getting a c-section. What a champion, I can't even imagine!!!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Crummy

This morning Keith and I hosted a community breakfast at our house, and it was a pretty great time. We invited everyone that we knew in Nashville to come by as they pleased and enjoy a home cooked breakfast on us. We love having a community of friends here, and wanted a way to open up our home to them but also to introduce people who may not know each other and just to spark great conversations. I don't think that either Keith of I knew what would come of it, but we're definitely hoping to do it more regularly. We had about 10 people come through our door, but regardless of the amount we both love cooking/baking for others and feeling like we could bring some joy to their day.

Keith was a champion and stood in front of our griddle all morning long cooking up all kinds of breakfast meats, but thankfully my contribution was a little less strenuous. I made a loaf of banana bread and mixed up the batter for blueberry and raspberry pancakes (sooooo good!!!) and also made a fabulous crumb cake.


This is something that made a pretty regular appearance in my house growing up. Not necessarily the homemade kind, but the ever amazing Entenmann's Crumb Coffee Cake. This brings up so many taste memories for me, because this used to be one of my favorite things to grab for breakfast, and it was something that my Grandmother usually had ready and waiting when we arrived at her house to visit in New York. The last time that we were up north, I asked my aunt if she had my grandmothers recipe, but forgot to write it down while we were there. Out of the blue last week she sent it to me in the mail, so I took that as a sign that this cake needed to be present at our breakfast this morning. Now that I know what all goes into making that delicious crummy top, I'm a little less inclined to eat it for breakfast regularly haha but at least I know why it tastes so good? Keith just called out to me, "who decided this was supposed to be eaten at breakfast? It's just cake!". This is true. It is just cake. I guess you're supposed to eat it while drinking your coffee? My favorite part about it is that it's impossible to eat without getting powdered sugar all over your shirt/lap. 

There was definitely an advantage to pre-making all my breakfast contributions because then I got more of an opportunity to chat with everyone who came over and to eat some breakfast myself. After community breakfast we took a nice long nap (probably from our carb overload haha) and have been lounging around the house since. I briefly considered going out tonight to the Art Crawl but the cold, misty rain was more than enough to keep me inside. Hope that you are all having a great weekend as well!