Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hey there Delilah

My older sister and her family just welcomed a new little pup into their home-she's precious.

Delilah is her name.

If only they didn't live so far from us-in New York-I could cuddle and play with this little spotted beauty. Thank goodness for FaceTime, so I can watch my niece and nephew enjoy their new friend and listen to their laughter as she tickles their feet. It makes my heart happy.

It's crazy to think that nearly two years ago we welcomed our new pup into the family: Koda (a rambunctious Shiba Inu). Here are some pictures of his baby days.

Just four weeks old!

We were a bit ambitious on the leash size calculations.

"Look! I can climb stairs." (And the chaos ensued.)

He is sweet when he rests.

Although I'm not sure I can endure another puppy season in my life, I do appreciate and love the puppy I have. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

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"Yankee Belle" goes global

Summer is upon us, and so is a new blogging mini-series!

My plan is to capture the most treasured moments of our preparation and frolicking as Chad and I embark on our journey to Europe this July. Growing up with a European father, I have had the privilege of traveling abroad many times. Most often the trips were of the purpose to visit family.

I was fifteen when I first traveled to Europe alone. Meeting up with family in the Netherlands, we explored much of the country I had never seen before, as well as a city with which I would forever be in love: London.

During my sophomore year of college I returned to the Netherlands with a friend and explored my "motherland" as well as a bit of Belgium, but the whole time I was craving another taste of London. A year later, between my junior and senior year of college, I returned to London to study and intern abroad for three months. Exploring every facet of the city, I became only increasingly infatuated. I will always love traveling and exploring, and am psyched to share this love  with my husband.

I have two primary goals in chronicling this journey: (1) to record our travels so Chad and I can revisit our memories, and (2) to share this experience with friends, family, and faithful readers.

We have most of our flights/trains/buses/hotels booked. Our itinerary is as follows:

July 9 - Leave Charlotte for Brussels, Belgium (layover in Toronto, Canada). Pray my aunt and uncle remember to pick us up (and that we find them), and travel back to Gouda, Netherlands.

July 10-13 - Spend time with family in Gouda, Amsterdam, and Rotterdam, Netherlands. There are SIX new toddlers/babies I have not yet met. I cannot wait to snuggle!

July 14 - Cambridge, England; I'm a nerd at heart, so any chance at visiting historically rich universities is a chance I'll jump on. Additionally, my brother-in-law recommended this as a stop.

July 15-17 - LONDON, England; I was able to snag a cheap hotel in South Kensington, the neighborhood I lived in while studying abroad.

July 18-20 - Family time :) We will also be traveling to Bruinisse, Netherlands (in the southern province of Zeeland) to show Chad were my father was born and raised. It is a small mussel fishing village with lots of character. The original brick streets are those laid by my grandfather. I love visiting this quaint place.

July 21-24(midday) - Paris, France; a dream of mine.

July 24(midday)-26 - Rome, Italy; initially not a stop on our itinerary. When I sent my aunt (Tante Tineke) an email letting her know our plans to visit-and our then itinerary-she responded with "Rome is also very beautiful...". We figured "Why not?" and here it is.

July 26-27 - Venice, Italy; Lord, don't let it sink before we get there!

July 28-30 - Savor last moments with family in Netherlands before leaving.

July 30-31 - Toronto, Canada; silly me didn't realize I booked a return flight with a 15 hour layover. Hence, our overnight exploration.

July 31 - Back home to Charlotte

Stay tuned travel bugs...

library cards save lives

Funny story.

When I was about twelve years old, my mother, brother, and I went to visit my mother's sister who lives in a Chicago suburb. My aunt had to work a few days during our visit, one in particular that I remember to be sunny, warm day, just right for sitting outside on the front step. 

There we were, the four of us, my mom, brother, cousin, and I. As we sat on that front step, my mother enthralled in the pages of her latest library find, a brightly colored blue and green bird occupied a tree limb just in front of us. He caught our attention. My imaginative mind believed, and convinced the two younger boys, that if we whistled and held out our hands maybe the bird would come and sit with us on the steps. They obliged. We whistled. We held out our hands. We whistled some more. The bird came to us. Not quite in the peaceful, pleasant manner in which we imagined, but more like a bird intending to harm. 

We scattered. Mom went in the open garage while the boys ran to the neighbor's yard. I left the boys for the back yard and the shelter of the deck. Front the beckoning calls of my mother I could tell she was still terrified by the bird's presence. Who wouldn't be?! A woman- and child-attacking (perhaps eating, as we assumed its intentions were) bird is not to be viewed in the same realm as our tamed furry friends. I could hear by the boys shouts that they had returned to the front of the house and joined my mother in the garage. I looked up, quivering in fear. There he was, death-bird, circling above the roof looking for any signs of human weakness. I didn't hesitate, I ran. 

My lanky legs (thanks early, awkward growth spurt) allowed for a speedy pace. I remember hearing the jingling of my denim overalls as I curved the last corner and entered the garage. He was a brave one. He left his high perch above the roof to follow me from back to front of the house and into the garage. My mother cheered me on toward the safety of car storage. I was welcomed by my brother and cousin behind my mother's protection as I looked up to see the final battle. Bird versus mom. The bird seemingly picked up his pace as he passed oil spill over oil spill. My mother, in turn, reached for her only weapon. The two met with a thud. My mother's thick, hard-covered, Nora Roberts book claimed victory. Thank you New York State Public Library System, I live. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

my new leaf

The reason I moved to North Carolina five years ago was to accept a teaching position at Hopewell High School. There is no doubt in my mind that the big move from New York was all part of His perfect plan; I have my good friend Lynne Marum to thank for making it happen.

In my five years at Hopewell I (ironically) learned to teach, grew as an educator in so many ways, met some of the most amazing people in my colleagues, and had my heart touched by students who, now, are people I know will be in my life forever. However, for the past two years I have felt that it was my time to move on to something else. I wasn't sure where that place would be-teaching or not.

After many resumes, cover letters, interviews, and prayers, I have a new job! Next school year I will be teaching 11th grade English at Community School of Davidson, a charter school about 15 minutes northwest of our home. The high school is still relatively new. CSD has been adding one grade a year; this year its 11th grade. The more I learn about CSD the more I feel I am in the right place. CSD's philosophy of education mirrors mine almost identically. AND service, community, and the arts are just as valuable as academic growth at CSD, things close to my heart. 

Yup-I'm pretty darn excited to be jumping into the mix!