Wednesday, July 27, 2016


I don't know how it happens, but somehow - even though I'm working less, summer always ends up so busy! So here's the scoop on what I've been up to in short in the past few months, largely in pictures ;)

-In April, we took a weekend hiking / cabin trip with some friends down to Hocking Hills. Beautiful weather that weekend and we always enjoy hiking in that area.  On our way back we hit up a little winery for some tasting :)

We also went to my dear friends' wedding n Virginia that month. SO happy for the couple and SO good to see my friends in that area! We had a great time :)

In early May I went to Pittsburgh to run the 5k and the Half Marathon (the "Steel Challenge"!)  I spent a lot of time with some awesome friends from around the country and ran the half with a very good local friend/running buddy! I'm still so proud of her for finishing the half and hopefully we can do another one together in the future :)

May also brought a trifecta of insanity: The end of the semester, moving, and planning a surprise party/surprise scrapbook for my in-law's 40th wedding anniversary! Everything went really well (and the party was particularly awesome, and they were indeed surprised!), but it was a lot of work. We're still not done with the unpacking part of the move (fortunately, we only moved upstairs in our duplex, so for anyone wondering why you don't have a new address for us - that's because it's still the same!)

This is the chaos of my car at the end of the semester...  The joys of teaching in 4 different locations!

Paperwork, potlucks, and presents from students :)

Conway is still not sure how he feels about these stairs....

In June I was off of my regular job, but I taught a 4 week seminar for a super awesome program that  does professor-let literature seminars at different work sites across the country.  The program is based in Cleveland and I feel very lucky to be a part of it! My group that I've now worked with twice is small, but mighty and they were already talking about what book they want to read next time I work with them :)    June also featured a visit from my parents and it was really great to see them! And, finally, J and I went to our church's big national conference in June.  I spent most of my time volunteering on the green team (helping educate about recycling and compost practices at the conference, and making sure everything is in the proper place) and attending workshops about interfaith partnerships and immigration issues.  I wish I could remember some of the more profound things I learned there, but I suppose that's what happens when you wait a month to blog about something. 

June was unfortunately not all fun and games. We also lost a dear friend, who passed away suddenly at the age of 31. We were glad that we were able to go to his memorial service, but I think we're still processing things a little bit.  Hold your loved ones close, because you never know when they could be gone....

July has been pretty good to us. We spent the Fourth of July weekend at J's parents' lake house and
watched fireworks there.  I'm now back teaching summer classes, and even that is half over now!  I'm also involved in starting up a new teacher mentoring program at work, which is both exciting and intimidating. But  I think it will be quite helpful for our new teachers and I wish there had been something similar when I started!

  I also recently attended the Thirty-One National Conference in Columbus. It was great to reconnect with my teach AND to get a chance to see the new fall products and prints.  Trust me, you are going to LOVE them!

Our conference goodies!

I love Thirty-One's partnership with Girls on the Run!

A few miscellaneous things that don't really fit anywhere else. We've had a few fun trips to the ballpark and are hoping to go back again this weekend. I love watching baseball on a beautiful day in the summer!

We've also enjoyed some great concerts in the past few months, including Cleveland Orchestra's "The Firebird", The Dustbowl Revival at Music Box Supper Club for my birthday, and Old Crow Medicine Show and Brandi Carlisle.  Plus my own concert with the summer band I play in!

I've also been enjoying time both in my own garden and taking advantage of my membership to the local botanical gardens!  First, some pictures of my garden so far this year (from the past few months):
Ready to be planted outside


Our community garden plot a few weeks ago

Some of my indoor tea garden

And some pictures from the local botanical gardens

Not flowers, but how happy do these cute service pups in training make you!?

And my new sewing room is finally mostly set up, so I've reacquainted myself with my sewing machine and have been working on a few small projects. I have a pretty big pile of projects I'd like to do and am looking forward to tackling those!

And, finally, one last plug for the fundraiser I'm doing that will end on Friday (July 29!). It is for the Parents Advisory Network (PAN), a group in the Philadelphia area that supports NICU families. I will be donating thermal totes for them to give to NICU families, but I need your help! You can sponsor a tote for $15! We've had 40 donated so far, and PAN said if we can get to 50,  they can gift them to the NICU families in all THREE of the hospitals they support! These thermal totes can be used by NICU mothers to transport breast milk to the hospital.  You can sign up to donate here and I will contact you with payment details :)  Big HUGE thanks to everyone who has donated so far. 

Whew! Hope everyone is having a great summer so far and my apologies for the long (and long overdue!) post!