Sunday, July 21, 2013

Catching up! What a WEEK! (and 2 days!)

It feels like I haven't blogged in ages! I have a lot to catch up on!

First things first: MY DONORS CHOOSE PROJECT WAS FULLY FUNDED!


I'd started to feel a little guilty for blowing up my friends' Facebook news feeds with pleas for donations & celebratory notifications when donations came in. Luckily, my project for 2 iPad Mini tablets was funded in 6 days! I highly recommend Donors Choose to get projects funded for your classroom.
What a blessing!
It feels really good to know that my friends and family believe in what I'm doing. So much that they're willing to put up some of their own money to benefit my students. So commendable! I want to say something about a village but you've heard all that before. It's just really refreshing & awesome to see something come to fruition before my eyes!
I found out on Friday evening & was absolutely FLOORED!
Seriously, it was 6:00 and I hadn't even got out the SUITCASES for our vacation (we were leaving early the next morning). I wrote a thank-you letter to those who had sponsored me, did a little celebration dance (think Carlton mixed with Pee-Wee Herman mixed with James Brown), and packed my laptop away & begun packing. That night was kind of a blur!
I should be receiving the iPads around the start of the school year. I welcome any recommendations for first-grade appropriate apps & ways to use these tablets. I am SO excited to get started with them!

Like I said, we were leaving for vacation the next morning, and I somehow, amidst the hustle & bustle of getting ready, we made it out the door ON TIME and with everything we needed.
We managed to avoid construction delays & my Dad & Grandpas would be glad to know that we made "good time" and found ourselves at our super-trendy-hotel at just the right time. (What a deal! I used Priceline's "Name Your Own Price" option and scored sweet hotels for cheap on our trip! Woot!)

We were spending the first two nights of our vacation in Maryland at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia at the Saturday & Sunday Phish shows. Saturdays show was sold-out and we were worried that we would't be able to find tickets, but luck was on our side and we got in without a problem! Then, as dark clouds descended and a heavy rain fell over the crowd (it was actually pretty awesome because it was SO HOT out!) we managed to find ourselves on a newly-sodded hillside under some trees that blocked the "raining-sheets-of-water" effect that the clouds produced.

Unfortunately, the running theme of this year's Phish tour has been RAIN. They've had to cancel a show in Toronto because of localized flooding & this-past Friday in Chicago, they had to close out their show only 2 songs into their 2nd set, because of lightning & rain. It would take a LOT more than that to slow down the faithful Phish followers, so, as it always seems to go, people just adjusted to being soaked & continued to embrace the feeling & the flow of the show. It was great!

During the day on Sunday we ventured out around our hotel for something to stock our coolers & a bite for lunch. A recommendation from a guy at the liquor store (travel tip: ask the locals! They know where the good eats are!) led us to a GAS STATION for the BEST tacos I've had in a long time! We went to R&R Taqueria which has been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives!



Sunday's Phish show was awesome! We were so tired by the end, but it was the BEST kind of tired! Our super-rad friend Erin stayed with us for the weekend and although we were sad to see her head back to Ohio, we were anxious to get to the BEACH!

We arrived at our hotel on Monday afternoon & were seriously dorking out about seeing the ocean! The Hubs did ALL the driving & took a well-deserved nap while I unpacked & tried my best to make myself look like I wasn't on-and-off napping in the car all day. Monday night we found a great Mexican restaurant near our hotel & then headed to the coast. We took in all the craziness that is Virginia Beach! The souvenir shops, the loud music, the kids,  the families, the different languages you hear as you walk, sometimes shoulder to shoulder, among the crowds. It's summertime and the livin's easy.
I love it.



Tuesday was our first official "beach day" and after a quickie breakfast we were off! We spend the day splashing & sunning (I used SPF 70, Mom!) and just enjoying everything.
I must say, in the last week or so, I've had MANY occasions in which I've made myself stop-- and enjoy the moment. I'd say a little "thank you" of gratitude and smile.
THAT feels good.
Having that feeling on the beach, well, that's REALLY good.

Wednesday, in an effort to stay out of the sun if possible (we were a little sore) we ventured out onto the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.  We stopped at a visitor's center and got some directions to a local beach.

We happened upon Cape Charles, VA. What a cute little town!

Lots of sweet & savory balsamic vinegars. We brought some home! So good!


The Eastern Virginia shoreline. Beautiful!







 .
A little rain shower popped up. Luckily, we were under a pavilion on a pier!


My Mr. He gets the participation award for willingly going on all these random adventures!


We stopped at the Brown Dog Ice Cream Co. What a fun little place!


This is a waffle ice cream sandwich! One side had milk chocolate and the other side had peach-blueberry swirl. It was definitely the kind of thing that you have on VACATION! 


Back on the bridge we went. We had plans that evening in Virginia Beach!


We made a stop at one of the "islands" and watched some fishermen at work. We saw stingrays & some kind of GIANT fish swimming near the rocks under the pier.


We headed back towards Virginia Beach and found our destination, just off Shore Drive: a sunset dolphin cruise! What a beautiful night!










 Thursday started out with a trip to O'Doodle Doo's Donuts! A place I'd read about through the Urbanspoon app on my phone. It's a little donut place with some amazing flavors!


We got (top to bottom): toasted coconut, chocolate-banana, rocket ship (chocolate-on-chocolate), red velvet, and 2 maple-pecan-bacon. Holy moly, these were good! We packed them away in the cooler & headed back to the beach for one last day of sun, sand, and surf.


King Neptune statue. A Virginia Beach destination!




What a wonderful week we had! We headed home EARLY on Friday morning! My hubby had golf league at 5 that night and wanted to get back in time. He's nuts!


Again, we managed to avoid traffic & construction on the way home & the addition of some new 70 mph highways made the ride through the mountains of Virginia and West Virginia kind of exciting! 



...and all-too-soon we returned to the land of unopened mail, a cat who had escaped when my Mom was letting the dog out (she finally came back into the house YESTERDAY...crazy cat), sand on everything, and a mountain of dirty laundry. 
Oh! And to a BRAND-NEW nephew! My brother & his wife had their second son, named Logan Benjamin. He's my second nephew and an absolute DOLL!

Stretching! So precious!


Logan's proud Daddy (my little brother) and big brother Ian.

 

It was nice to get back.
We've slowly assimilated back into day-to-day life with the sweet memories of an adventurous week 
We needed that.

Now my mind is starting to wander into 'back to school' territory. 
I'm almost ready to get back into my classroom
I'll make it in there this week.
I'm going to bring home my rocking chair & stool for a painting-makeover. I'm thinking bright colors!
I'm re-charged and ready to get creative!

Have a great week, everyone!