What I Wrote This Week

 Of course, I wrote this stud a little Valentine's message last week.  I'm too private to share even the front of the card, but I have to say that his card to me beat mine by miles.  He MADE his card:  It's a photo card with a picture of us on the front and this sweet message inside.  :)  I took it to work to put on my desk.  It makes my heart melt every time I see it!  I took this photo when testing out my new camera over the weekend.

Tomorrow will be celebrated by two special kiddos:

 Three years ago, Mr. Drake Ryder Lockridge was born!  He is the youngest of one of my best friends (Tasha) and baby brother to Briley Renee.  I actually didn't get to be there on the day he was born (unlike Briley, who got me to the hospital at 2 in the morning!) because I had a night grad class, but I made it up there the next day to meet the little man!  It makes me sad that I haven't gotten to watch him grow up like I did with Briley because I was in grad school the first few months of his life before we moved away.  :(  But I am so thankful for this little boy!  He is a BIG blessing (and a handful)!!

I have this photo on our fridge.  :)

Drake's first birthday at Gammy Renee's
Briley was being a little stinker with the icing!

 Drake's First Birthday

 Drake's Second Birthday
This was after I had been sick and was recovering, which is why I have steroid moon-face.  (My hair was super thin, my face was super fat, I had just gotten glasses.  Blurgh.  I cut my hair off that following week!)  We missed 3/4 of the party because we had lunch with Zach's family, then drove two and half hours to visit my sister Amanda who was down from Michigan, and finally made it to Drake's party after driving another hour.  Then we had to drive four back home!  I'm sad we are missing his party this weekend, but I know he will have a great day at Larry's Pizza!  Happy birthday, Mr. Drake!  Aunt Byrdie loves you!

Tomorrow is also Miss Zoe Alexandria's birthday!  Our dear friends Rob (who has been Zach's friend since Zach was, like, fifteen) and Mechelle (who is actually Tasha's Aunt Tay's best friend) adopted these kiddos last year after much prayer and problems over the past few years.  They have been HUGE blessings to all who meet them, and I'm thankful we will probably get to see them next month at the LEGO meeting.  :)

Zoe with her younger brother D.J.

Zoe with the throne she built during the LEGO club meeting
Happy birthday, Zoe!  We are thankful you are in our lives!

Until we can see these kiddos, I'm sending them some cute cards to tide them over.  :)  I love the kids cards at Target--they are so colorful!

Be Grateful #6

What a fantastic week!  It definitely had its ups and downs, but overall, this week was GREAT!

1)  I'm thankful I survived week two of my new job.  I'm starting to feel like I'm figuring things out...even if my first faculty training didn't go as well as I had hoped.  *lol*

2)  I'm thankful that I work at such a fabulous place!  The dean of our division was so concerned with our safety, he had Emergency Management and Risk organize a shooter simulation for us to prepare.  I don't think it went as well as it could, but the important thing is, is it got us to start thinking about what we would do in dangerous situations.

3)  I'm thankful I'm enjoying teaching Intermediate more and more all of the time.  I do wish I had more time and energy to strengthen the relationship with my Composition I class, but I think that will come in time.

4)  I'm thankful I survived my colonoscopy!  While the day before really stunk, I was actually quite coherent after my procedure and really enjoyed the loopy feeling.  *haha*  I got my the results on Friday:  I quote, "Biopsies showed quiescent crohns colitis changes.  NO DYSPLASIA . . . The small polyp was benign and not precancerous!"  WONDERFUL NEWS!  Praise the Lord!  And as my husband said, we learned new words, too.  Thanks for all of your good thoughts and prayers.  :)

5)  I'm thankful my Martha Stewart Living magazine subscription finally started back.

6)  I'm thankful we got to eat so many yummy things this week:  Sour Patch Kids popsicles (those saved me on bowel prep day!), Nutella croissants, KFC, potato soup, Flying Fish, veggies, roast chicken and baked potatoes, Gusano's pizza, and caesar salads!  And today, we are going to Fred's Hickory Inn for our Valentine's Day brunch!

7)  Speaking of Valentine's Day, I'm so thankful for my wonderful husband!  He is THE BEST, hands down.  We started the day with chocolate pancakes (imprinted with a heart) and strawberries.  At work, I got a goody cup from one of my new co-workers, and after work, Zach surprised me with a box of chocolates made by the culinary department AND Starbucks hot chocolate.  Then we came home, made dinner, and opened presents.  I got him a LEGO book, Jelly Belly Cinnamon Bears, and some pilsner glasses; LEGO, candy, and beer are some of his favorites, so I think I did well.  BUUUUT he did way better than me!  I GOT A CAMERA!  Just like I suspected!  ;)  Zach went ahead and gave me my birthday present early:  a Canon Rebel T3i!!!  He did so great, and most importantly, he saved me the stress of trying to find the "perfect" camera.  :)  I can't wait to finally get to use it today!  (I was behind on lots of things, but have caught up mostly, so now I can play.)  Today, we are exchanging cards--since his to me hadn't come in yet--and going for a walk to use my camera.  Don't you just love LOVE!?

8)  I'm thankful I'll get my permanent crown on Monday.

9)  I'm thankful I got a TON of work done yesterday.  Overall, I was pleased with my students' reflection papers.  Most of them developed their topics well and described them in a balanced combination of sensory details and engaging emotions.  I was very happy to see that not too many of them used fragments although they did forget commas with coordinating conjunctions and had far too many comma splices.  You win some, you lose some.

10)  I'm thankful we have so many friends from work and so many friends in the area now.  We had to go to the Jam Night because of Zach's new position, and I was so tired I was sure we wouldn't have much fun.  But it was a BLAST!  And that is thanks to the wonderful company we had.  :)

11)  Although I was sad we didn't get a snow day, I am thankful I got to see a little snow fall.  There's always this week...


What I Wrote This Week

Instead of mailing something, I actually sent something digitally this time around.

Arkansas Children's Hospital is asking for Valentine's for their patients.  The goal is for each patient to receive 10 Valentine's Day cards.  This is a GREAT hospital; it was always where my family took me when I was really ill, it was the hospital my primary physician would always refer us to (and not just because it is a children's hospital), and this is where I was diagnosed with Crohn's and put in remission for several years.

I tried to add a punny little message with each one I sent.  For example, with the Honey Bee one, I added a tongue twister:  Buzy buzzing bumble bees buzz busily below the beehive.  It was a lot of fun, especially knowing how nice it was to receive little "happy's" while I was in the hospital.  To send your own Valentine's, visit here.

How are you spreading the love this year?  I can't wait for our little celebrations this week!

Be Grateful #5

If you thought last week was crazy, this week was crazy x infinity.  Whoop.  I am tired.

This is a series of photos from our celebration at Mimi's Cafe.  We never got a great picture, but I enjoy these.  :)  The food was amazing (though I didn't care for their mojito and they ran out of chocolate mousse), and our waitress even gave us free muffins!

I started my new job this week as well as continuing on with my three classes.  I am hoping that I will get back to posting sooner in the week rather than later although it may be better to move this to the weekend when I have more time to write.  *lol*  I've been working until six or seven each night to make up my hours in the classroom.  A stomachache also took over one night, so basically, I've been getting home, grabbing something quick to eat, and going to bed.  Here is a quick run-down of things I'm thankful for:

1)  I am thankful for my new job.  It has kept me busy but in a good way.  I feel like I am going to be making a valued contribution.  It's not that I didn't feel that way before, but now it feels even stronger.  I'm still getting my feet wet and imagine I will be over the next few months; I think I'm going to keeell eet.

2)  I'm thankful for my husband who refuses to take things lying down.  I'm also thankful he helps me and pushes me to get stuff done when I doooooooon't waaaaaaaaaaant toooooooooooo.  *cue whininess*

3)  I'm thankful I didn't kill a co-worked on my first day.  I brought a banana for lunch, and he's allergic.  Thankfully, things were so busy that I didn't have time to eat it!

4)  I'm thankful for how shocked and stunned and somewhat outraged my students were when I told them I was leaving.  They know how to make a girl feel special!  And I'm thankful that they are likely going to like the new instructor at least as much as me if not more.  (She has a nose ring and red streaks in her hair.  In short, she is COOL.)  Hopefully, this transition will be easy and smooth.

5)  I'm thankful that old students feel like they can reach out to me when they have an issue or question.

6)  I'm thankful for the support I've received from everyone at work, whether they were involved in my old position(s)  or are part of my new one(s).

7)  I'm thankful we got to celebrate my new job and his new job last weekend and that this weekend we enjoyed a fantastic lunch with friends and a night out at Crystal Bridges for the Black Hearts Ball.

At the Black Hearts Ball, they had funny conversational hearts around the entrance and cafe.  Zach took this one of the wall and tried to pin it to me because of my new job.  He hopes to Photoshop in an "S" before "HE" before I share it on Facebook.  *lol*  They also did a scavenger hunt based on whether or not you were single or taken for one free drink.  We were given clues about an artwork, and when we found the artwork in the gallery, there was a box with coasters for a free drinky drink.  :)

8)  I'm thankful for fun money!  And having a new job means more fun money.  Yes, sometimes I'm shallow, but I want to go shopping.  ;)

9)  I'm thankful Valentine's Day is this week and that we are going to Fred's Hickory Inn this next weekend for brunch to celebrate it.  I have part of Zach's gift, which he already knows about, but I am waiting for another part to come in.  He gave me sheets last month; they were part of my Valentine's, but he was afraid I wouldn't like them and/or would be disappointed on the holiday, so he gave them early.  Zach is giving me my birthday present this week because HE CAN'T WAIT!  I think I know what it is (as mentioned before).  I'm going to go ahead and offer a little something-something here to show him I can guess presents as well as he does.  *haha*  Here is a riddle to figure it out:
What sees, but never is in sight, closes but is never shut?

10)  I'm thankful that my colonoscopy is tomorrow and that I'll be eating some Flying Fish at some point.  Fingers crossed that all is well in Tummy Town!  It's not much of an extra day in the weekend, but I am going to make the evening--after I wake up and am feeling better--count!

11)  And I almost forgot:  I am thankful that Keegan arrived on January 30 at 9:15 p.m.  He was 7 lb. 2 oz. and 19 inches long.  I can't believe I forgot him!  It's probably because I haven't had a chance to see him yet and take pictures.  :(  BUT I am enjoying all of the ones I see on Facebook!  He is a beautiful baby!!

What I Wrote

I've been writing and sending cards and such--I just have been bad about posting that on here.  The following are what I have sent the last three weeks.

My friend Monica has a friend named Stacy who lives in Arizona.  She is so sweet and funny and always sends us a Christmas card though not even I have met her!  (We did talk on the phone once or twice.)  Her friend's little boy has had health problems since he was born, and recently, he was diagnosed as possibly having a germ cell tumor and will have to undergo chemo at some point.  A few weeks ago, his dad asked that, if folks were willing, they could send him some mail.  I found this sweet "Get Wellelephant" card after I had searched high and low in the card aisle at Walmart.  (Um, there are not many "Get Well" cards for small children.)  But this turned out to be perfect as Logan LOVES elephants!  Stacy said he hung it in his room.  We also sent some Batman stickers for his sticker book.

I believe I have mentioned a little boy named Easton on here before.  I went to high school with his parents, and in the summer of 2011, he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.  Praise God, he is in remission now!  When I started following his Facebook page, I also found a page for a little boy named Kipton.  Kipton also was diagnosed with ALL around the same time Easton was, and February 10 marks one year since his rebirth--when he went into remission after receiving a bone marrow transplant.  His mom asked that "Kipton's Krew" (his supporters) send postcards to celebrate his rebirth.  I decided I needed to send one of the Walton 5 & 10, now the site of the Walmart Visitors Center, since we live in the town where Walmart was started.  Can you believe this postcard was 25 cents?!  That's almost five-and-dime prices!  This is an artistic rendering of the center, but here is an actual photo:

I've learned that if we open our eyes, there are people all around us that can use some encouragement.

Finally, my niece Lexi turned 17 (!) yesterday!  Since we couldn't be there, we mailed her birthday present and card.  I found her some darling jewelry--matching blue necklace and earrings, purple earrings and a ring to wear on pep rally days (their high school colors are purple and white), and some silver bird earrings.  She LOVED them and called today to thank us for them.  She also loved that Zach didn't sign her card because he didn't want to contaminate it with germs.  I love that sweet girl!  Here are some photos from over the years (since I didn't get a picture of her gift):

 a picture of Lexi (age six-ish) and me (sixteen, almost seventeen!) at Christmas
Gosh, her hair already looked much better than mine!

 at my wedding reception in December 2009
Lexi was thirteen, and Will was seven.

our most recent Christmas celebration