Friday, August 27, 2010

Lions, Reunions and Bears, oh my...

My intention was to post this last week on Monday, but since this was the 1st week back to school for our students, Anna and I have been beat all week.

What a great time we had together last weekend. We drove to Maryland on Friday and spent the evening and following morning with Mom and Ed at their new place in the Youghiogheny Mountain Resort ( If living in the mountains surrounded by bear, deer, ratttle snakes, mountain lions, etc. is your thing, this is the place for you. It's almost an everyday occurrence bear and deer pay them a visit. Mom sends us pics all the time of the wildlife.

After sleeping in their bunkhouse adjacent to the main house, we woke up and ventured out on an ATV excursion. We visited Muddy Creek Falls (Maryland's leargest), Swallow Falls, and the Yough River. All these are basically in Mom and Ed's back yard and are just a short ATV ride and hike to get there.

ATV's ready to go...

Anna ready to ride...

Anna in motion...

Me coming back from checking to see if the trail to the falls was open enough to get through...

On the way to the falls, Mom and Ed stumble upon the largest rattle snake they've ever seen, resting on a rock in the middle of the trail. That says a lot considering Ed has killed about 50 in his lifetime. He tried making it "51" but the snake got away. Hiding angrily in a bush next to the rock, the sound of it's rattlers were crazy loud. It sounded like there were a hundred of them, but abruptly ended when it slithered away.

At the falls...

Yough River...

Taking a break after hiking back to the ATV's from the falls...

Another highlight was meeting an incredible lady named "ND", whom Mom has gotten to know over the past few years. This is one of the most amazing things Anna and I have ever seen. A number of years ago, ND (a tiny lady approximately 60 years old) decided to live a completely different existence. Fed up with the rat race, she gave up her government job in the DC area to live the simplest, most basic existence we've ever seen. She owns 3 lots in the Yough Mountain Resort, about a mile or so from Mom and Ed. She ended up there years ago when she told her realtor she wanted to buy land in a fairly secluded area away from everything. On her property, she built (with her bare hands) the most modest home we've ever seen. It's been an ongoing process that's lasted a few years. As she was constructing her home, she lived in a tent. Keep in mind this is one of the highest elevations in MD where they get crazy amounts of snow each year (over 24 feet last winter). "ND" has roughed it through quite a few winters there (nevermind all the wildlife). Plus, she just recently got electricity hooked up. The pics of the house are deceiving, as it's smaller in person than they make it look. The floor space of the whole house is approx. 8' by 8', and is divided into two parts. One, a foyer-type area that has a dorm-size refrigerator and a hand-made stone oven/stove. The other half of the house is just big enough for a wood slab for a desk, a chair, and a perch above the desk to sleep on (she has to step onto the desk to climb into bed). "ND" is a very private person, so Anna and I were surprised when she allowed us into the foyer area. After ducking through the entrance doorway, there was just enough room for ND, Anna, and myself to stand, and barely enough room to even turn around to exit. We didn't get to see inside the other area. From what we know, Mom is the only person who ND has invited in that area. ND is currently building another house by hand (this one round) about 30 yards from her current one.
So, what is ND like? Well, if you judge a book by it's cover, you'd probably have a number of incorrect thoughts going through your head. In speaking with her for about a half-hour, she's quite possibly one of the most intelligent people we've ever met, whose also very deep into her religion. She has written 3 books on religion, but is not quite sure what she plans to do with them. She thinks she most likely will just put them out on the internet. She has very intelligent political views, as well (she keeps up with current affairs by riding her bike to the library in Oakland, MD almost daily). We wanted to take more pics (we took these from the ATV) but were afraid to ask so not to offend her privacy. We told her so many people could learn so much from her, and encouraged her to share her story with the world (it would make an awesome documentary), but she declined. Unfortunately, the homeowner's association has tried to run her out a number of times.

After we left Mom and Ed's, we stopped to visit with Grandma Sines (95 years old). We were surprised to hear her favorite TV show is Sponge Bob Square Pants :)

After leaving Grandma's, we checked into the WISP Hotel, which was where my 20-year high school reunion was held that evening. It was great seeing and catching up with lots of old friends...


Danielle + Earl ( = waves (

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

first grade photos

At NMBP, some teachers asked our staff to bring in a picture of ourselves in 1st grade to use for a bulletin board. Of course... loving pictures... I was excited to go home and dig through old photos of Kirby and I to find ours. After about an hour, many pictures, and a lot of stories... I found them!

Aren't we precious!? ;)

Sunday, August 15, 2010


This is what Kirby has been up to lately...

His back has been giving him problems for about 2 years or so and once it gets better, it's not too long before he hurts it again. Usually he's not doing anything too strenuous. It's the little things that always seem to do it. So... after getting an MRI last summer (5 bulging discs), going through rehab, trying a chiropractor, daily stretches, and icing... decided to give this a try.

It's an inversion table. He did some research and we talked to some friends about it too. Everything we've heard seems to be good, so we bought one Friday night. It's slung up here in our office right now... good decoration, right? We'll see if it works for him.

Yesterday he had a fun time helping our neighbor, Mitchell, build a roof for his riding lawnmower. Kirby enjoys doing those types of projects and so he was excited for the challenge. After 3+ hours working... here's the final project.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

ice cream, games, and Mexico Lindo

3 days... 3 groups of friends & family... 3 great times!

Wednesday night we drove down to Myrtle Beach and met up with my cousin Megan, her boyfriend Matt, and his family. We met up for ice cream at Fat Matt's Ice Cream Shop and hung out for while. We caught up with Megan and got to know Matt and his family. It was such a nice visit! :)

Thursday night was game night with Brenda and her family. We brought over some brownies and games and had a night full of laughs. We had a great time playing Catch Phrase last year (click here) so we played it again this year. We also taught them Mad Gab and LCR.

*The videos aren't loading, so I'll try again later.

Friday night we finished off the week with a trip to Mexico Lindo with the Stewart family. They visited 2 years ago (click here to see that visit), so it's been awhile since we saw them last. Poor Rachel didn't get to hear the good stories about Nana or even eat anything. As you can see from the pictures, she slept all through dinner and woke up when we left. We already talked about seeing if Mexico Lindo measured up to their favorite Mexician restaurant back home. We'll see about that.... ;)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Back to School

Kirby and I started back to school this Tuesday. The kids come back on Aug. 23rd. Summer flew!!! We probably won't be able to blog as much because we'll have less time... which I'm sad about (as you can imagine).

Here are a few pictures from our lunch break today. We had a meeting in downtown Conway and decided to go to Rivertown Bistro for a nice lunch together. :)

{About half of the 1st grade teachers}

{Mrs. Ellison & Mrs. Bryan}

{Mr. Soon to be a Daddy Ball & Mrs. Edith Crean}

{Mrs. Matthews, me, Mrs. Markham}

Monday, August 9, 2010


As you read in the previous post, it was our anniversary Monday! :) My eyes quickly welled-up with tears as I read the kind words he wrote. He's such a good writer and I know it was all genuine and came from his heart. Just one of the many reasons I love him.

He's everything (and more) I could have ever imagined I would marry! He is...

*a good listener
*a kid at heart
*a hard worker

This wedding photo is one of my many favorites. I really think it captures "us". We can always be ourselves, laugh, and have a great time together! I love it!!

Well as you may already know, we have just a few restaurants around town that we frequent when we go out to dinner. But since it was a special celebration, we passed up Mexico Lindo this time and went to Miyabi's. We both had only been to a Japanese steakhouse once or twice before, so it was a fun experience. A few hours later, after a game of Rummikub at home, we took a ride to Myrtle Beach to get some ice cream. It was a wonderful night with good food and great memories of our 2 year anniversary.

I can't wait to celebrate so many more years together as husband and wife!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Happy Anniversary, Sweetie!

Happy Anniversary to my soul mate, my best friend, my beautiful wife. I can't begin to put into words how happy I am to be your husband, and for you to be my wife. You're the most selfless and supportive person I know. Thanks for always taking an interest in everything I do. Thanks for always being there for me and supporting me in everything I attempt. Without that support, I would accomplish less. Without you, many things would not be possible. Thanks for being the strongest person I know. In the 4+ years we've been together, I've watched your confidence rise sharply. You've gone from being someone who shied away from making decisions, to someone whose made some of the toughest decisions any one person could be faced with. I don't know many people who could endure what you've endured, and stand as tall and strong as you. I can't tell you how proud I am of you professionally, either. In the 12 years I've been in education, you're the best teacher I've ever seen. No, I'm not saying that because you're my wife. Nor am I saying that because it's our anniversary. I'm saying it because it's true. I've never met a teacher who shows compassion toward their students as much as you. I've never met a teacher who cares for their students as much as you. I've never met a teacher who puts in as many hours as you. Not only am I proud of your actions in the classroom, but also your accomplishments outside. Your expertise "went public" this past year when you were hand-picked, along with a few other teachers in our entire school district, to lead staff developments and train others in the area of Social Studies. That's quite an accomplishment!

It's hard to believe it's been two years since we both said "I do". They've been two awesome years and I look forward to many, many more with you. I love how we continue to grow closer and closer with each passing day... especially from those hour-long, after work talks we have with one another discussing our days. I'm greatly looking forward to adding to our family in the near future (only one more year before we start trying). You're going to be an awesome mother when the day arrives!

I know today is our anniversary, but I hope it's no different than any other day we spend together. Perhaps that's my biggest compliment to you... you make everyday feel like our anniversary, just as it should be. Happy Anniversary Anna! I love you!!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Game Night 2010

Our final night with Kirby's sister and kids was last night. ): We had game night for the 3rd year in a row (click here for last year's game night) and once again had a blast! And what's a good game night without some Domino's Pizza. We even took some pictures to enter Domino's Pizza Free Photo Contest – What do ya think? Could we win $500 and an ad on TV?

This game night was jammed packed! We started off with Phase 10, then Catch Phrase, and finally LCR.

If you looked at this pic, Katie gets to punch you in the shoulder. :)

Mr. Text-er himself... on his 1990 Blackberry. If I remember right, Kailee couldn't get off her phone last time we hung out and now it's Josh!
It was great to spend time with family this week. I'm already looking forward to their next visit in October and then seeing again for Thanksgiving in Maryland!