Monday, April 29, 2013

Making Learning Fun

J-man is in 5th grade and hasn’t had homework since October.  In my opinion, it is an outrage and absolutely unacceptable.  I’ve voiced my opinion to his teachers and their response was alluded to the fact that only a small percentage of the students were doing their homework, so they felt it was more constructive to only have in-class work.  I disagree.  Children need to learn how to study for tests outside of the classroom and they need to practice what they learn in school.  Even in grad school, I solidified and sometimes learned concepts through me “homework.”  The repetition is vital for children. 

Since he isn’t receiving homework, my husband and I have given him our own assignments.  We have him read nightly, print and create math worksheets for him to complete, have him write poems which are generally amazing, and most recently, we started reading riddles to him.  This last one is fun for the entire family and really makes him use his brain power and think outside the box.  We only started doing this last week, but it is definitely my new favorite learning tool!  Ryan and I join in on the fun as well and it’s hilarious when J-man solves it before we do.  The most rewarding part is when he realizes that this riddle is like the other riddle with the X, Y, Z characteristics. I can see the wheels turn in his head.  It’s adorable!

Jared’s favorite one is I come once a year, twice a week, but never in a day.  What am I?

There are some wonderful websites that provide riddles of all levels and varieties!  I strongly recommend playing around with riddles with your kiddos!  Learning is fun!  Let's use that brain the Good Lord gave us to it's fullest potential!

Much love.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Dirty & Colorful

This weekend was full of mud, color explosion, friends, and running! Saturday started with an early wake up call, spinach and eggs and coffee for breakfast, and hot pink and black running attire.  That was just the beginning to a very eventful morning.  A couple girl friends and I teamed up for the Dirty Girl 5K Mud Run and it was a blast!  As you can see, we were exuding excitement and energy before starting the race!
The race was for women and only women which made it super fun!  There were kids, grandmas, teens, mamas, everyone and anyone!  The team names were hilarious!  "Jiggling Jugs" was one of my favorite ones! 
We scaled walls, climbed ropes, crawled through mud pools, ran, slipped, and laughed a ton!  It was an absolute blast and we got muddy!!

Yea, that's me on the left.  Go Big or Go Home is my motto!
After the race, there were showers to clean off at and being that I have never showed on site after a run, I had no idea what to expect.  Well, I walked into the tent and it was full of naked or virtually naked women of all ages and sizes.  While I was slightly shocked, I was not at all self conscious of stripping down and I was thoroughly impressed by how comfortable and confident so many women in their bodies.  It was one of those moments that I will remember for a long time because there are so many articles, shows, theories, studies on how insecure women are with their bodies.  Well, go to to a mud run and shower with a bunch of women and you will realize that there are a heck of a lot of confident, beautiful women in this world.  There will always be insecurities, but always remember that we are unique and beautiful in our own special way.   Thank you to the wonderful women at the Dirty Girl this weekend for the reminder!

Sunday was another early to rise morning with more eggs and spinach, but this time instead of hot pink and black running attire, it was white and COLOR!

J-man and I were headed to our very first Color Me Rad 5k!  J-man loves to run, so I have adopted the hobby so we can share something together and so that I can help him pace himself.  He likes to sprint and then virtually walk and then sprint and walk...not how a race is run.  This was the largest scale race he has ever done and it was a roaring success!  He let me pace him and was a little frustrated in the beginning because he really wanted to run ahead, but by the first mile marker, he was quite happy running the pace we were going (approx. 10 min/mile).  
There were five "color stations" that we ran through.  A few were dry cornstarch and food coloring and few were colored water and corn starch.  Oh heavens, the color was flowing and J-man was all about it.  I swear every color thrower loved him and targeted him!  He just has that "throw the color at me" look about him.

Moldy looking teeth.  I'm in his glasses!
I picked up the pace at the 2.5 mile marker (or what felt like the 2.5 mile marker and turned out to be right) and J-man turns to me and says "Can we run faster?" to which I reply "We already are."  He gave me this look of "Oh really, I don't think we are."  Less than a minute later, he says "Yea, we are running faster.  Is the finish line close?"  I just chuckled and said "Stay with me."  We slowed a bit, but the second I heard the music and could see the finish line ahead, we sprinted.  He did phenomenal!!  I am so beyond proud of him!  He crossed the line with a huge smile on his face and then said "I can't feel my legs, but I felt like I was gliding at the end!"  That is exactly what I wanted him to experience.  He finally ran a race at a good pace with a nice close and he knew it!

Happy kiddo!

We did it!!  My elbow is still stained blue because that's where I sweat.  lol

To close the day off, we cleaned, gardened and made homemade tomato soup, little man's favorite!  I used some herbs from my garden too which makes me so very happy!

I hope your weekend was stellar!
Much love.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Derek Hough + Virginia Beach = Happy Sarah!

Do you watch Dancing With The Stars?
Have you ever watched Dancing With the Stars?
Do you know the hot blond, Derek Hough?
Come on. I know you secretly adore him.
He's cute.
Has wicked  awesome moves.
Uses his hands when he talks.
Flirts with old ladies.
And smiles a lot.
Oh yea I met him on Saturday.
I kept my cool.

On Saturday, Derek came to Virginia Beach for STYLElicious A Show for Women and Arthur Murray Virginia Beach franchises opened the show!  Wendy and Taras are absolutely stunning dancers.  They feel every ounce of the music through their bodies.  It's breathtaking and beautiful.  I know I say this often, but I truly am extremely lucky to be part of such an amazing studio.  The passion, the love, the true friends that I have made, the exercise, the high expectations, the constant challenge, the's perfect!

For the ladies... DEREK HOUGH!
I adore the facial expression!!!  
He's a hand talker!
Asking a lovely lady to dance!
Rocking the dance floor and I seriously mean rocking it!  The both had moves! Just check out the faces in the background! Everyone was stoked!! I will be her when I'm 70+ years old!
Much love.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

It's a'Sproutin'

What's sproutin' you ask?  My garden!  It's not even close to finished, but what has been planted is flourishing, even my garlic!  Each year I try to plant something that I didn't the year prior and this year, the winner was garlic.  I literally placed a garlic bulb an inch under the soil, watered it in the evening ever other day and two weeks later I have 4-6" shoots!  Yeehaw!  I love watching my garden grow! 

This year I decided to invest in a raised garden bed and luckily Home Depot was having a sale and I had a $5 off coupon!  Thank heavens for good deals.  The kit was meant for a 4 foot by 4 foot square, but my yard doesn't allow for that very well considering I need an area with full sun.  So, thinking outside the box, I made a rectangle using the wooden from from the raised garden bed, my fence and rocks!
This picture was taken around 6/7pm and there is still some light on the garden.
So far I have planted sweet mint, basil, parsley, cilantro, a jalapeno pepper plant and 4 bulbs of garlic.  

Sweet Mint
I don't have pictures of the garlic, but follow me on instagram @xsarexbearx and you'll be seeing them soon!  I also just planted the basil this afternoon because my lovely best friend/neighbor/babysitter gave me a sweet basil plant over the weekend!  Sweetness!  I need to get some tomato plants this weekend and I'll probably grab a few more herbs and possibly another jalapeno pepper plant because we make a lot of salsa.

Opening day was the other weekend and I am kinda diggin this picture I took while I was there...

Much love.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Baptism & First Holy Communion

At the Easter Vigil Mass, J-man was Baptized and received his First Holy Communion.  
It was a very long, but extremely beautiful Mass.  
The church was completely dark and began to be lit only by candle light from the outside to the center and at the center were the baptismal candidates and their Godparents. 
It was beautiful!

J-man has been in CCD since September and asked me to be his Godmother.  He has put a lot of time and effort into receiving his Baptism, learning the faith and gaining vital morals and values.  
I am very proud of the questions he's asked and the knowledge he has gained.  He is a very sweet boy who is quite happy be baptized and able to receive communion.  It's a huge deal for him!  He always asks me "Did I do ok?" 

Little Facts: 
He has hiccups the first hour of the Mass.  It was hilarious!  
After he was baptized with water, he was so excited to get his candle and stole that he walked away from Fr. Mario before being blessed with chrism.  Silly boy.
My parents, sister and brother were there for the Mass (8-10:45pm) and then drove 5 hours home afterwards.  They are the best!  I am very lucky to have such a wonderful family!
We cut a mans tie so that he could wear a real tie! 
I will forever feel guilty for not thinking to get a suit for him.
He picked out a cross as his baptismal gift from me.

Much love. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Nourish Youth and They Will Blossom

Five years ago I witnessed my best friend open her acceptance letter to one of the most prestigious Southern History PhD programs in the country.  Five years ago I promised her that I would be there when she received her Doctorate.   Five days ago I witnessed her defend her dissertation on Lincoln and become a Doctor!  Five days ago the pride and pure admiration that consumed me almost escaped through tears of joy, but for her sake I kept them in.  This is extremely challenging for my to put into words, but I am going to give it my best.  

Sarah and I met during freshman orientation in the summer of 2008.  My mother told me she was my going to be my best friend; I told her no way.  Sarah and I moved in freshman year and were diagonally across the hall from one another.  Within 48 hours we were sitting in the hallway until the wee hours of the morning just talking.  Within a month, we were known as "The Sarahs."  We were best friends.  It was a done deal.  Never doubt your mama, they always know best!  We spent four years making beautiful memories and learning about ourselves.  Our relationship is unconditional; we can always be honest without hesitation.  Regardless of what states we are living in, and they are rarely the same, we make time for each other.  She flew to Virginia when I moved here and Ryan wasn't able to be with me.  Having her with me that first week in my new home will forever hold a special place in my heart.  We've both flown in for weddings, bridal showers, and "just because time."  

This last trip was one of the most meaningful and special trips for me.  I've been battling with my own issues, but Sarah has always been a constant and seeing her was exactly what I needed to revamp.  Not only did I get to hang out with my best friend, but I had the honor of watching her in a professional academic environment present and defend her work of art, her Lincoln dissertation, her life long dream.  She was poised, sharp and extremely humble while exuding an aura of confidence.  Watching and listening to her defend thoughts of how far she has come danced through my head.  She set a goal for herself over five years ago, work diligently while also falling in love with her now husband, and completely dominated her goal. Watching her become a doctor is a feeling that I will never be able to fully describe, but Sarah, know that I love you unconditionally and am beyond proud of you.  You are an inspiration to me.  I am truly blessed to have you in my life and I look forward to a zillion more memories like book signings, "I'm pregnant" calls, joint vacations, half marathons, Grady reminiscing, and the list goes on!  I love you lady! You're definitely Sarah #1 or should I say Dr. Sarah #1!  You've blossomed beautifully and I am excited to see how you nourish the minds of the youth.

Much love.

Joy Dare: A Gift Hiding, Held, Heard

I’ve been sleeping with the windows open and that means that I’ve been waking up to the sounds of birds chirping!  Oh heavens do I wake up happy now!  Waking up next to my husband with the sun streaming in my window, a gentle breeze blowing the curtain and the sounds of birds, makes for a wonderful start to my day!! That’s certainly my gift heard! Thank you Mother Nature!

My gift held is my decade rosary.  I hold it every night while I fall asleep.  It brings me comfort in my slumber and reminds me of the importance of having a strong relationship with God. 

A gift in hiding…my high spirits have been hiding for quite a few months…maybe even a year or so now, but I feel the stirring.  While they may be in hiding or partial hiding, they will escape soon and I am so excited!  The feeling of being naturally happy is indescribable and I am ecstatic!  

On the way to work this morning.  Sunroof open and sun is shining!
On a side note, I had a very productive day!  Work was crazy as always, but I survived and went on a 3 mile walk at lunch because it's my lunch break and I deserve to take it especially when I am fried and stressed at work.  After work, I went to Home Depot and purchased the makings of my vegetable garden!  I have a 12 foot by 3 foot garden staked out, 4  large bags of soil, and a few plants I couldn't find all the plants I plan on planting.  I was super motivated today, so I decided to clean the garage and the coat closet.  Neither of these were small tasks, but they are done and I feel amazing!  It probably has something to do with this 85 degree weather that has been dazzling my days!

Much love. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Joy Dare: Three Gifts White

The first thing that came to mind was my very fair complexion.  While I complain about it at times, I do love the classic beauty that is found in fair skin.  There is a purity about it that I adore.  My father always told me that fair skin, red lips and dark hair is a beautiful look (probably because my mom is fair skinned with dark hair and she knows how to rock red lipstick!)

Snow!  I love fresh falling snow.  It's almost blue it's so white.  
Side note: I've learned through my photography there there are several colors of white light.  Sounds contradictory I know, but it's very true.  White light coloration can trick your eye and the camera especially when a few are blending together.  It's a challenge I am working on overcoming.  

White flower petals!  There is something about a starch white flower that just pops among a garden of colors.  

Much love. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Blog Lovin

I was told to join Blog Lovin so other bloggers could follow I did...and I have to post this link.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Apparently Google Reader is going away or something...

Botanical Gardens

My parents came down to my house for Easter weekend and I was far less prepared than I every imagined I could be.  I cleaned, but I didn't scrub.  I went food shopping, but I didn't prep food very well.  I did laundry, but I didn't iron.  I did a lot, but I didn't do everything.  It was good for me.  I stayed a bit more relaxed because I always had something to do.  Having my family here was amazing! They make me so very happy!  The are easy going, interesting and just love doing things.  Since my dad is a huge flower gardener and my mom loves vegetable gardening, I took them to the Botanical Gardens.  While most flowers weren't in bloom yet, there were still some beauties!  I was able to take lots of pictures and my dad made a list of about 10 flowers that he wants to add to his property!  Bonnie and Mike had fun tromping around too!  Bonnie misses her siblings, but especially Mike, dearly.  

Purple Daisy

One of my favorite flower pictures of the day.


Pansies for my best friend who lost her mother at a young age, but to this day plants pansies every spring because they were her mama's favorite!

My little sister who is growing up far to fast!  She doesn't look it in this picture and that's why I love it!

I love the way the sunlight is shining through the petals of this tulip. 

It's a daffodil (I think).  I just love the antique look of this picture. 

Sibling love!  This was them a lot of the time.  They are wonderful together!

The prettiest blooms are under the tree where the elements are more gentle. 

Simple and Pure.

My loving and completely adorable parents!!  So happy they are mine.
I hope your Easter was beautiful!

Much love. 

DC Freestyles 2013

Last weekend I was in DC for my second dance competition with Arthur Murray!  It was a wonderful success.  I felt much more comfortable and confident in my ability this time around.  I knew what to expect and believe that I handled myself better.  My mentality was to live in the moment and take note of what I need to work on.  With each competition I have a goal that I want to accomplish/improve upon.  For the next competition, I want to be more consistent in my dancing.  I don't want to make silly mistakes.  I also want to work on my arms and posture.  If I focus on technique, I believe that I will be a much stronger dancer.  Smiling and having fun aren't issues for me.  

This competition was different for me because we had a much larger group from our studio in attendance!  It made for an amazing time on a social level as well as a competition level.  We had individuals in virtually all categories, so there was always someone to cheer for!  It was a wonderful experience and I am looking forward to the next one.  

Here is a video of one of the Hustles I did with my instructor.  It is a freestyle, meaning that it is all lead a following with zero choreography:

I have other videos, but I am unable to add them to this post. If you'd like to see a mambo or a cha cha, email me and I will send you the link.  

Here are some pictures from last weekends dance competition: Arthur Murray DC Freestyles Spring 2013. I took screenshots with my phone because I don't have any photos of myself dancing.  TimeLineMedia took all of these photos and did a wonderful job. 

Here are three photos of my rhythm dress.  It moved!

Here are three photos of my smooth dress.  I don't have any full length photos, but you can grasp the different style between the rhythm and smooth dresses.  

My only complaints about the weekend were the floor and my back.  I have a chubby back and I will be working on that one ASAP.  The floor on the other hand was completely out of my control, but was very unsatisfactory.  My shoe got caught several times and even tore at one point.  For a dance competition, the floor is of vital importance.  Other than those two things, the  weekend was filled with lots of dancing, great conversation and my amazing family and friends!  My parents, sister and best friend all came to watch me dance!  It was amazing to see them and show them what I love to do!  Thank you for coming to watch me dance!  It means the world to me!

Oh and LaSalle won twice that weekend!  While they didn't make it past the Sweet 16, they did make it to the Sweet 16 and that in itself is very sweet!  Proud to be a LaSalle Explorer!

Much love.