Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween 2010

Overall, I deem Halloween 2010 a success.

I still managed to wear sweatpants and be the polar opposite of "sexy."  I've just resigned myself to that fact.  At least I have a husband who appreciates comfort and humor. :)

Here we are:
 5 Time Olympic Gold Medalists (lame, I know, but easy)

Here are a few other favorite duos from last night:

I saw some other really great costumes on Facebook, etc.  I'm always pretty jealous of people's creativity.  Why couldn't I think of cupcake and baker?  Really.  Oh well, water under the bridge! ;)

TONIGHT, our street was blocked off for a little neighborhood potluck before trick-or-treating.  Jeff and I were totally the awkward ones without kids (well, we were A LOT less awkward than the grown man who showed up dressed as a cave man in LITERALLY only a loin cloth and a wig), but we still had fun.

I love Halloween in our neighborhood.  There are TONS of kids.  (And "big kids" not even dressed in costumes that still carry around pillowcases for candy.  This really irks me.  I am so old and cranky.)

Here are a few more photos of our girl in her "costume" and our candy distribution set-up:

She absolutely HATED wearing her pumpkin hat, and was NOT friendly to the trick-or-treaters.

Approximately two minutes later, Addy was banished to the house...

Happy Halloween Friends!
Here's to a great November!

Friday, October 29, 2010

House Tour: Guest Room

I'm happy to be back at Kelly's "Show Us Where You Live" today.  (Last week was children's rooms, so I sadly had to sit on the sidelines.)  And, even better... this week is Guest Rooms - which just happens to be one of my favorite rooms in our house!  (Only partially because it is also my closet/dressing room.)

I like this room because almost everything in it is a hand-me-down that has been re-done in some way.  It had potential to just be a "hodge podge" of left-over furniture but a few good cans of spray paint went a long way.  I think it is bright, and cozy, and (I hope) welcoming for our guests!

 The bedding is old school Pottery Barn from my room in my parent's house.  (Thank you Mom & Dad!) The bed itself belonged to Jeff in college. The lamp came from a close family friend who I used to babysit for. And, the nightstand belonged to a great uncle -- you can't see enough of it to tell, but it is one of the few pieces I haven't "refinished," I think it's scruffiness adds to the charm.  And, the chair in the corner is from Poppy.  He always complained that that room needed a chair, and then one day I just came home and this was on my front porch.  Apparently, he took it out of his own bedroom and painted it white for me.  So sweet... And, kind-of hilarious.

Also, I wish you could see it in this photo - but the right corner has an awesome wardrobe that belonged to my great grandmother.  My dad painted it green for me and I LOVE it.  It is probably my favorite piece of furniture in the house.  (Jeff took these pics this morning while I was at work and didn't include a close-up of it.  Oh well, beggars can't be choosers!  Maybe we'll get a picture up later.)

This dresser is another favorite piece.  It belonged to Jeff's brother in college but somehow ended up in our basement.  He always said he wanted it back "one day," but that ended after I painted it teal.  :)  For a while, I left the drawers the original wood color, but then recently added a coat (or eight) of white spray paint to them too.  Easy fix!  Fun look!  (I like to think this will be something I can use in a nursery one day.)

 And, here's another view... From the cute hanger (for our guests, of course) I found at TJ Maxx.

Like most of the rooms in our house, this one is pretty simple.  I'm sure if I brought in a decorator they would add curtains and lots more on the walls --- maybe a patterned stencil?  But, I'm happy for it right now.  Simple is good in my book. :)

Can't wait to visit more cute guest rooms today!  It will be like a little vacation!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween Help!

For me, Halloween ranks right up there with New Year's Eve as one of the most "high pressure" holidays.  Ever since high school, there has been this unspoken need in me to not only do something cool on Halloween, but to also look cool - in a costume, no less - doing it.

So far, my track record has not been good.

Exhibit A:
"Pigs in a Blanket" my senior year at Clemson...

Yea, "sexy" Halloween has never really come easily for me.  Amazingly, sweat suit costumes (two years ago Jeff and I wore matching bright green sweat suits and painted one eye black --- get it, the Black Eyed Peas) don't really make me the "hot item" at all the festivities.  

Last year was probably the closest I've come to a major Halloween accomplishment.  We had two parties to attend, and we crafted this cute Bonnie and Clyde costume on a dime.  

Jeff even approved b/c he got to carry a gun and look super tough.
But, honestly, it just took so much effort.  By the time it was all said and done, we wore it to the first party and then were too tired to do it all over again and go out the next night.  Lame...

And, now, alas... The stinking holiday has snuck up on us again!  I'm considering rebelling this year --- not for religious reasons, or "other plans," but mostly out of laziness and lack of creativity.  There is just too much pressure.  That said, we have been invited to several events.  (It seems to be quite the "craze" this year to have a costume party.) And, I can't really justify NOT going just because I don't have a costume.

So far, the closest I've come to a solution involves a full-body dog costume a co-worker lent me.  (See, there I go again with the sweatsuit-ish attire.)  But, Jeff said that me going as a dog and him as "dog walker" (complete with a poo bag and everything) had a bad innuendo.  I can't figure out what he means... But, it's honestly not worth the argument to me.  (For the record, he also said that about my suggestion to be Richard Simmons and a chubby person.  ???)


Anyways, we clearly need some help.  Got any ideas?  What are you going to be for Halloween?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

In a Funk

I haven't blogged in almost a week... That hardly ever happens.  I LOVE blogging.

Honestly, I just don't have anything to write about.

I am in a bit of a funk....

For starters, I feel really busy at school.  I don't know why exactly (more classes? more preps? more on my mind outside of school?) but I've just had a really hard year so far.  I feel like I'm never caught up with my planning/grading/etc.  I hate that, because I REALLY want to be the best I can be for my students.  I keep hoping it will get easier; but, so far, it's just been a hard year.  I still love it.  It's just hard. 

Jeff is also knee-deep in job stuff.  It's been part exciting and part stressful.  We've decided not to talk too much about his job search on here --- but, I'd appreciate your continued prayers.  Resumes, cover letters, conversations, etc. keep us pretty busy during the little "down time" we do have.

My face is SUPER broken out.  And, I'm awake at 4AM.  (For the record, Jeff is awake too.  We are officially freaks.)  Ugg!

I know this is just a season... And, life is still good.  (For example, we had a really fun weekend out in the country with really good friends... more on that soon.)  

Just felt like I owed you an absentee notice.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness: Etsy Style

October is "Breast Cancer Awareness Month." 

So, I'm "pairing up" (although they don't exactly know it) with one of my favorite shopping sites - Etsy - to show off some awesomely trendy - and meaningful - treats in support of a very good cause...

Enjoy this little collection:  (And, this goes without saying, but there is TONS more on their site.)

1. Pom Pom Earrings from The Green Mum - $7.00 (10% to local charity)
2. Pink Bird of Hope from Middleburg - $37.00 (20% to Susan G. Komen)
3. Hair Clip from Sweetly Fallen - $16.00 ($5.00 to Susan G. Komen of Houston)
4. Layered Brooch from Olivia Rose Boutique - $8.00 ($2.00 to Susan G. Komen)
5. Clutch from K8Made - $30.00 (proceeds go to Susan G. Komen Foundation)
6. Vintage Button Cufflinks from Really Bad Kitty - $15.00 (40% to Susan G. Komen of Dallas)
7. Bib Necklace from Rosebud Lips - $57.00 (portion of proceeds go to American Cancer Society)
8. Necktie Button Bracelet from Ascot Handbags - $20.00 (100% goes to research via Specialty Obstetrics of San Diego)

Not the shopping type?  (Or just on a budget like me?)  You can still show your support by participating in a local event (like the Zumbathon I did) or hosting a "Pink Party" like my mom does every year for the teachers at her school.  Even just wearing pink helps raise awareness - it doesn't get much easier than that!

How do you show your support?

Meanwhile, a HUGE thank you to all of you who took my reader survey earlier this week!  (If you haven't yet, please head  here to do it now!)  I am anxious to sit down and check out all of your awesome blogs this weekend --- just as soon as my grades are in and I'm officially enjoying a three-day weekend from teaching!  

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Soundtrack of My Life

The year is 1991.

I am in first grade.

I have a boy haircut, my nose is in the Babysitter's Club, and these boys just released their first hit R&B single.

Fast forward...

1996.  I am attending my first EVER boy-girl dance in middle school.  I am wearing a black jumper and white Keds.  (Thanks Mom!)  I have my first "slow dance" - an arm's length apart, of course - to their "On Bended Knee."

1998. I have my first heartbreak over a "break-up" note between eighth grade Civics and Language Arts.  (Who knew I could "fall in love" in just three short months.)  I listen to "Four Seasons of Loneliness" on repeat for hours.and.hours.and.hours.

2000.  I am newly sixteen, packed in a girlfriend's Oldsmobile Cutlass singing along to "I Can Love You" as we "stalk" our crushes and (only once) get the car stuck in a ditch outside one of their houses. ;)


 It is 2010... I am visiting my friend Courtney in Columbia for a "work weekend" in preparation for an upcoming English teacher's conference.  And... we pause for... a Boyz II Men concert.

The following are ACTUAL photographs taken from the 3rd row at the South Carolina State Fair this past Saturday night:

That's right folks, I saw THE Boyz II Men live this weekend.  And, let me tell you, even 20 years later... they've still got it! ;)  *P.S. Michael McCary left the group in 2003... So, yes, there are only three Boyz now.

I had forgotten how much I LOVE this group. Seriously, it was like I listened to a little soundtrack of my life Saturday night.  SO fun!!!

Courtney (well, her husband Adam) even caught a rose tossed out during "I'll Make Love to You."  Dreamy... ;)

So... what's your favorite Boyz II Men song?  What memory goes with it?  Do tell!

Oh, and, this is slightly off topic but... I had to share this snapshot from the fair:

Only in South Carolina! ;)

Why I Use Fake Fruit

Around these parts, people are always joking about my excessive use of "fake fruit" for decorating.  Just right now, I can think of a bowl of fake lemons, a bowl of fake pears, a bowl of fake apples, and a plethora of fake gourds in my house.  I just love them.

And last week, when I got home from work, I remembered WHY I like fake fruit so much...

My beloved painted pumpkins?!?  Well... the "N" rotted.  We're talking stuck-to-the-mantel-mold.  Not so cute anymore.

"Hello there, welcome to the Chapma's."  (It has a nice ring to it, no?)

I'll stick to artificial, thank you.;)

(Oh, and, if you haven't already... PLEASE take a minute to fill out my "reader" survey here.  I am LOVING finding out more about YOU!)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Getting to Know You

Hi friends!!  All THREE HUNDRED of you!

After a fun, but tiring, weekend in South Carolina (more on that tomorrow), I was delighted to see that I've crossed the 300 mark on blog followers tonight!

NEVER did I imagine this blog would be read by so many people, OR (more importantly) that I would cherish the community and friendships I have in the blogosphere like I do!  Seriously, I say this a lot; but, blogging has become one of my very favorite hobbies.  It is SUCH a blessing to be able to share my life with friends all over the world through my writing.  THANK YOU!!!

To celebrate this landmark date, I'm going to shush for a little bit and take some time for "Getting to Know You". After all, it's not really much of a friendship if you guys do all the listening, right?

So... here goes!  (Even if you aren't a follower - heck, especially if you aren't a follower - PLEASE take a few minutes to respond to my little "reader survey.")

Thank YOU!

Plus, if you have any questions for me.... now's your chance to leave them in the comments section below and I will answer them later this week!  Have at it!

Friday, October 15, 2010

House Tour: Multifunctional Office

TGIF.  It's Friday again!  And, you know what that means... Kelly's Korner "Show Us Where You Live."
 This week, we're "talking shop," or OFFICES:

First off, when you're a teacher, most of your work is done on the sofa during a movie or over cereal at the kitchen table.  RARELY do I find myself actually sitting at a desk when I am at home.  However, I do have a perfectly cute space at my house (complete with our hanging diplomas) just waiting for me in case the urge ever strikes.  In the meantime, it is an excellent area for magazine-holding, Pandora-playing, mail-collecting, etc. ;)

Umm... And, just for the sake of honesty...
Here's what the room usually looks like:
(And this is on a good day.)
Happy weekend!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Move Over Adelle! (Babies and Dogs)

There's a new "Addy" in my life...

Welcome to the world Miss Adelaide Elizabeth!!!

My friend Lindsey (one of "the twelve") and her husband Jason welcomed their first little bundle of joy on Tuesday in Fredericksburg.  (I was going to swipe a picture of her from FB, but Jeff thought that was terrible... So I'm not.)  Just IMAGINE how adorable she is!  And, you know I LOVE her name! What a sweet reminder of God's goodness!  Congratulations! I can't wait to meet her in person!
In the midst of all the excitement, I've also been thinking about Adelaide's new big brother: Nacho.  (You may remember him as my Addy's boyfriend.) 

He is a boxer, but when Lindsey and Jason adopted him about a year ago, they realized he had never had his tail clipped.  And, I know from personal experience, that his tail is WILD & UNCONTROLLABLE.  Just what you want running around the house with your infant!!  (I suggested that Jason make him a custom "tail cover" using a swim noodle before the baby arrived... I'll let you know what he decided.)

Anyways, this got me pondering the relationships between babies and dogs... (That and the fact that Addy all but made-out with the babies at our house for Bible study tonight.)

As you well know, I can't WAIT to have a baby.  BUT, I also ADORE my four-legged girl!  (I mean, just look at that face.)  As corny as I know it is, she IS my baby for now!!

And, not to judge, but I just get so sad hearing about people getting rid of their pets when they have kids.  I know I don't know what it's like yet... And, maybe my heart will change.  BUT, I just feel like our pets are often our "first kids;" yet, we just give them the boot when baby comes along.  You don't see people putting their first child up for adoption when they have baby #2 do you?  Of course not!  NO ONE would think that was OK!  (Maybe that was a bit harsh.. We also wouldn't think it was acceptable to lock our babies in the basement when we have company, but I do that. You get my gist.)

Anyways, I'm looking for some success stories... for Addy, and her namesake.  (I'm fairly certain Lindsey doesn't mind me calling Adelaide Addy's namesake... Even though I'm also fairly certain that isn't really true!) 

Did you figure out a way to have a fur-baby AND a real baby? Did you solve the dangerous tail dilemma at your house?  Is your pup your #1 babysitter/ playmate?  Please share!  We need to know there's hope!!

A Facebook Found Poem

Let's just go ahead and call this: The Official E, Myself, and I Facebook Week of 2010.

Ok, now that that's out of the way... I'm spicing up "Midweek Laughs" today...

 The basic topic is:
What makes you laugh about FACEBOOK? (Of course!)

But... here's the challenge.  I'm writing a FOUND POEM using only - you guessed it - FB STATUS UPDATES!  (How fun is this?)

What is a "Found Poem" you ask?  

According to
Found poems take existing texts and refashion them, reorder them, and present them as poems. The literary equivalent of a collage, found poetry is often made from newspaper articles, street signs, graffiti, speeches, letters, or even other poems.

A pure found poem consists exclusively of outside texts: the words of the poem remain as they were found, with few additions or omissions. Decisions of form, such as where to break a line, are left to the poet.

It's pretty much the easiest form of poetry, because you don't have to do any of the actual writing yourself.  (And, no friends, it does NOT have to rhyme!) 

So... I bring you:
What's On Your Mind?

 Thanks, friend, for your poor cell reception...
You know it's going to be a bad day,
when you run over the toll booth.
It's true... You can wear Birks
....and [be] weirded out by the Santanna-Brittany make out session.
I have a UTI, and just saw
an old man riding a bike with a big fluffy white cat in a basket.
I could literally burst into little bits!
Am I crazy?

I just ate an entire head of garlic.
What will the Creatures of the Night think?
I can tell,
Tonight is gonna be a red wine and sleeping pills kinda night,
and I am going to lose all my friends.

Either way,
I had a great afternoon just
watching the Pupcake.
Plus, there's another casserole in the freezer...
It smells like it's brewin' a mighty fecal stew
of medicinal ice cream just administered to my throat.

By the way,
If you tick me off, and I don't say anything
It's not because
I'm getting ready to walk down the aisle as a groom's-maid.

I miss you, Carl Sagan
but, don't I interact with seniors enough already?
Honestly, I'm really wondering...
"Have you touched President Obama?"
Best thing I ever did;
but, it ended in throwing up.

Thighs MaGee

*For the record: None of these are my words;  they were found entirely in the status updates of my friends (via the public domain that is FaceBook) over the course of the last 48 hours!

Now, try your hand at social network poetry and link up below!  (Or, you can always just post about what makes you laugh on Facebook!)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Great Facebook Debate

Obviously, I'm still thinking about "The Social Network."  

Mainly, I'm thinking about the same thing I've been debating since the beginning of the school year: Teachers & Facebook

It's a pretty big topic in the media these days - "Google" it, and you'll find over 180,000 posts - including articles in The Washington Post and other major publications... It seems that everywhere we look, a teacher is doing something stupid on Facebook and losing his/her job.  And, by "something stupid," I don't just mean the obvious --- people have been suspended from their jobs even over the comments or pictures their "friends" have posted on their page.  It's a dangerous world (wide web) out there.

... I've never really worried about my own involvement on Facebook.  I led Young Life for several years and have lots of friendships with high school kids (at other schools) so I've been "censoring" long before my school told me too.  (Not to mention the fact that my life is pretty clean cut and "open book" as it is.)  I follow all the basic rules: I set my privacy setting to the max, I don't accept student friend requests (sorry guys: it's a prompt "ignore"), I don't post inappropriate status updates or photos, and - honestly - I don't really do things in my "private life" that I'd be ashamed of if they became "public."  BUT, I still worry.  I can't help it.

Some things are out of my control.  I can't always control (well, honestly, I usually can't) what other people post on their pages or write on my wall.  And, I've heard of people getting in trouble for less.  

Is the occasional reconnection with an old friend or easy "event planning" tool really worth the stress of constantly worrying what might go on in the realm of my Facebook page?  I just don't know.

That brings me to my second point...

There is a quote in the movie where Zuckerberg's ex-girfriend says "The internet is in INK, Mark, not pencil."  (Or something like that.)  What I might have written six years ago when I was in college and first started using Facebook - long before I knew I would be a teacher - doesn't just go away.  It stays out there... forever.  Even, as I've recently noticed, after I die.  That's kind-of scary.

Last year, the seven o'clock news ran a clip on being addicted to Facebook and they included a photo of MY profile.  (No lie.) They didn't ask me.  They didn't care that I was a teacher and didn't exactly want it advertised that I'm out there.  It was in the public realm.  

I like Facebook. A lot.  But, I have to admit that recently I've been considering getting rid of it all together.  (I know, Mom, you'd flip!) 

With all good things, come bad things.  Have we created a monster?  OR, is it possible to really be a good, honorable person and use Facebook as a fun tool to stay in touch with friends and nothing more?  Am I being naive?  I am overreacting? 

Your opinion?  Let's talk...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Social Network

First of all, thanks to all of you who prayed for my family this weekend... It was really nice being with family and having some closure after a heavy week.  I LOVE seeing my dad with his brothers and sisters.  Seriously, it is one of my favorite things.  He and his three brothers could easily be mistaken for quadruplets... Makes me want to have a lot of kids, and wish I had more siblings (not that Kathryn isn't enough to handle on her own!)  And, that I got to see all my aunts and uncles more often.

We came home from Northern Virginia late last night, and Jeff I decided to have a "date day" today, since the last few weeks have been so crazy & busy.  First, we played hooky from church (don't judge) so that we could have our relaxed coffee time!  (This is something we really try to do every Saturday morning, just the two of us; but the last two have been neglected because of other obligations... So, we had some missed time to make-up for.) It was nice having some time together without a real "agenda."  We (as in, people in general) don't do enough of that.

Anyways, As part of our "date day," we also saw the movie The Social Network.  Have you seen it yet?  I really loved it!  I learned today that the CEO - Mark Zuckerberg - is exactly the same age as me!  He started the company (which is now worth 25 BILLION dollars) when we both were sophomores in college.) It was cool seeing how Facebook got started from behind the scenes, since I definitely remember it hitting the "college world" my junior year...

Photo Credit
When Jeff and I left for a semester in London - people were still into AOL and "instant messaging" each other.  We had "away messages" and did all of our social planning and communicating through this.  In fact, I still refer to some of my high school & college "friends" strictly by their AOL screen names.  (Mine was "Izzy2002" - Haha!)

By the time we returned, in December of 2004, EVERYONE was talking about "The Facebook."  (Which, by the way, I still call THE.Facebook and still type out "" every time I want to go to the site.  I'm old school.  Clearly.)  I created a profile before all the colleges even had access to the site (I specifically remember waiting for some of my friends at smaller colleges to "get it"), much less high schoolers and senior citizens!  (No offense high schoolers and senior citizens.)

It is pretty wild to think about how much Facebook has shaped my generation.  How words/sayings like "Facebook me," or "It's Facebook official," are totally common in conversation, etc.  Communication will probably NEVER be the same.

I mean, let's be honest... Last year I actually had "No Facebook February" because I'd become so addicted. I also wrote this post about how it gives me a complex sometimes.   It is the world we live in.

Awesome movie.  It makes you think.  About a lot of things. Watch it.

Friday, October 8, 2010

House Tour: Kitchen

I'm happy to brighten things up a little this morning with a tour of my sunny kitchen... I know most of you have already seen a lot of these; but, one more glimpse won't hurt!

Here you go...
(FYI: Fridge is just to the left of this photo at a right angle.)
 Dear neighbors, I hope you don't mind watching us wash our dishes.  We quite enjoy spying on your dinner time!  ;)

 One of the few bowls of REAL fruit I have in the house!

 FAKE fruit and an apron WAY too cute to actually cook in.  I have ruined many a shirt in favor of preserving the apron - a wedding gift from my "trendy" friend Amanda.

And the infamous... "Wall of Fame."  (Sorry friends - I hope I didn't invade anyone's privacy too much here!)

I like our kitchen a lot - especially the bead board back-splash (say that six times fast) and the color... Neither of which we picked out.  (We bought from a family with great taste! *Many of you have asked for the names of paint colors recently.  I promise, I'm not avoiding those questions on purpose.  I just don't know!  A lot of our stuff was already done when we moved in, and often I'll have a color custom done at Lowe's to match something else.  Sorry!)  

BUT, in our next place... I would definitely NOT want white cabinets/appliances!  Those blasted things are NEVER clean!  Not good for a slightly obsessive compulsive scrubber...

Finally, although it's not very big, there is plenty of space for what I do in it.  I don't think I'll ever be one for investing TONS in a gourmet kitchen... I'm really more of a "living room" kind-of gal.  Small, bright, non-white, and stainless steel for me please!  (Check out more kitchens at Kelly's Korner!)

Oh, and a BONUS:
 A close-up of the hearty beef-stew my cute "House Husband" made for dinner last night all by himself.  I realize that a close-up of stew isn't exactly pretty; but, I wanted to document this to show our kids one day! ;)

We're off this afternoon to Northern Virginia for my Aunt Trisha's memorial service.  Please say a prayer for my family... That there will be peace and sweet time together!  Love ya'll!

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