Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A week in review

This past week has been extremely hectic and I have already tried to write this post twice (but failed to do so due to bad internet connections). 

I have also had a difficult time emotionally this week.  This is the first Christmas away from my family and I have been having a really hard time dealing with it.  I love Ben's family and I am happy they are so welcoming and loving, but it still isn't the same as being with my own family.  As I posted earlier this year, my mom had a heart attack in September, and I am so thankful to have this extra time with her because she is alive.  But I did not get to spend the holiday with her and it has been extra hard knowing that I could have lost her this year.  While pondering and dealing with these emotions this week I have leaned on my husband every moment and I cannot express how thankful I am to have such a loving and supportive husband.  I pray daily that my faith in God and the support of my husband will help me through this difficult time.

Although this week has been a challenge, it was also filled with happy times and we made some wonderful memories.  I shared some of my family traditions with Ben's family and we started some new ones together.

Here is my week in review (of pictures):
Christmas Eve.  Don't you LOVE Ben's tie and Adam's sweater?

Christmas Eve we had this cake.  Delicious!

Christmas morning.  One of my family traditions to
open "poppers" and wear the crowns that are inside.

I had a white Christmas!

Time to open presents!!!

All the cousins at Aunt Barb's house (Christmas Day).

Dec. 26th - Driving to Deep Creek. 

Our house at Deep Creek.

The view from our room.

The pool at our house.

The ski slopes.


Snow angel.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

We drove to Pennsylvania today for Christmas.

Smile. You're in Pennsylvania.

Merry Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Princess turns One!

Last weekend Ben and I drove down to Columbia, South Carolina because our favorite adopted niece, Emmie, was turning 1 and having a big party to celebrate!

While we were in Columbia we caught up with a bunch of friends and I definitely felt the holiday spirit reconnecting with people I don't get to see very often.

We spent most of the weekend hanging out with Stacy, Paul, Emmie, and of course Franklin.  Emmie had a fabulous pink and green birthday party on Sunday afternoon and we are so happy we got to be there.

Hanging out with the birthday girl on Saturday afternoon.

Emmie loves her Uncle Ben!

The birthday girl in her beautiful birthday dress.

Stacy giving Emmie her first birthday cupcake!


Emmie opening the gift we got her, a Disney Princess Ride-On
(She is a Princess after all)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas spirit

I guess the snow we had today has put me in the Christmas spirit.  I love this time of year and the early release from school helped me enjoy some extra free time that I desperately needed.  Our home has been decorated for several weeks and I have been taking pictures of all things Christmas in and around our house.  I hope you enjoy!  And... Merry Christmas!

This is our Christmas Wreath on our front door.  I love it!  I got it at Home Goods this year.

Our stockings.  I made Ben's last year and my mom made mine when she was pregnant with me.

One of our Nativity scenes.

Our Christmas Tree.

Another one of our Nativity Scenes.
Frosty shots.  Yummy!!!!  These are a delicious holiday "adult" treat.

One of our holiday table runners.

This is our Christmas Card.  Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010


— n

1. a way of regarding situations, facts, etc, and judging their relative importance
2. the proper or accurate point of view or the ability to see it; objectivity: try to get some perspective on your troubles

3. the theory or art of suggesting three dimensions on a two-dimensional surface, in order to recreate the appearance and spatial relationships that objects or a scene in recession present to the eye
4. the appearance of objects, buildings, etc, relative to each other, as determined by their distance from the viewer, or the effects of this distance on their appearance
5. a view over some distance in space or time; vista; prospect
6. a picture showing perspective

My perspective is constantly changing.  In the morning I am trying to view things through my students' eyes, at night I am trying to understand my husband's point of view.  The way I look at a task is completely different than the way my brother, grandmother, mother, or even mother-in-law will interpret it.  My sister is 10 years younger than me so her outlook and my outlook are polar opposites.  My best friend, Stacy, is a mother and her perspective is now even more different from mine.
I lost a friend last week and it was more difficult to handle than I thought it would be.  This friend was a co-worker, a mentor, a leader, a counselor, and a supporter.  Though I have only known Mike Vitez since I began teaching this year, I have found his death to have overcome my thoughts this week.  Mike was from Pittsburgh and seeing as I am married to a Pitt Alum, Mike and I were instant friends.  Everyday we talked Steelers, football, and weather.  Mike was hosting his annual trip to New York in the spring for students and needed teacher chaperons. I instantly signed myself and my husband up because Mike was in charge and I knew it would be a great time. 
The sudden and unexpected death of a friend always causes me to pause and examine my perspective.  Unfortunately, Mike is not the first friend to pass away and I know he will not be the last.  Death has no prejudice and that's the scariest part of all.  When I found out that Mike had passed away I immediately called Ben to tell him the news and to tell him how much I love him.  I know I tell Ben 30 or 40 times a day that I love him, but is that enough?  How can I truly express to my husband that he is the world to me and that I would be lost without him?
Perspective.  It changes all the time.
3 years ago, I didn't know who Ben was and he didn't know me.  I was in graduate school and my plan was to become a teacher in South Carolina and hopefully meet a nice man.  Then I met Ben and he completely changed my perspective on love and relationships.  I realized after a few shorts months that Ben was the man I was going to marry and that my life would never be the same.  Ben gave me a new perspective on relationships.  On real relationships.  He taught me what it meant to really be in a relationship.  I can never thank him enough for that.
After this week of roller coaster emotions, there is one thing I am certain of:
Always tell someone you love them today, because they may not be here tomorrow.
Ben, I love you.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

2nd Annual Holiday Party

Last night was our Second Annual Holiday Party!  We had some much fun celebrating with our friends and enjoying the holiday spirit.  Ben made his home-made eggnog and I provided lots of goodies like crab cakes, quiche, and veggie, cheese, and meat trays.

Ben and I both had co-workers come over along with friends from our neighborhood and Adam and Brigette came down from Pittsburgh.  Our friend Dan came down from Philly because he loves a good Novak party. 

Before the party we watched the South Carolina game and sadly turned the game off during the 4th quarter and turned on the "fire".

Hope you enjoy these pictures!

Ben and I in our festive attire!

Ben and his co-workers.

My co-workers.

Adam and Brigette.  I love her tights!

Our candy bar.  We wanted our guests to leave with a holiday treat!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I had Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday off from work for Thanksgiving!  My grandmother flew in from Texas on Tuesday afternoon and my mom, brother, and sister drove up from Atlanta on Tuesday and arrived Tuesday night.  Ben took off Wednesday and Friday so he could hang out with all of us as we enjoyed a nice 5-day weekend!

Wednesday we took my family by my school and then went to DC and showed them a few sights.  We went by Ben's office then walked over to the Botanical Gardens, The Capitol, and then drove by the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.

Here are some pictures of our shenengians from Wednesday.

This is my grandmother, brother, me, my mom, and my sister at the Botanical Gardens.

Us in front of the Capitol.  Isn't the sky cool looking?

Ben with my family with the Washington Monument in the background.

After a fun day out in DC we got together for my cousin Jessica's 23rd birthday.  My aunt and her boyfriend joined us for dinner at Ted's and then we went back to Jessica's apartment for birthday cake!

Thursday was Thanksgiving!  And Ben and I cooked for my whole family!  Ben made the turkey and I made 4 casseroles (with Ben's help), pumpkin pie, biscuits, and mac n' cheese!

Our dining room table!

The turkey meat from the turkey Ben made and carved!  He is so awesome!

All the goodies!

Happy, full family.

Isn't my husband so cute?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Yesterday was my birthday

and I spent half the day in a health class that I need for my Virginia teaching license.  But... after class I spent the day with Ben.  We hung out, went for a walk around the neighborhood, opened presents, and went to the Melting Pot for dinner.  After dinner we went back to our apartment and watched a movie that Ben gave me for my birthday (The Hangover).

Ben brought me birthday gifts one-by-one and took pictures.  Here is the first thing I had to open.

This box came from my family in Atlanta! 
Inside I had presents from Mom, Andy, Anna, and Lucy (the dog).

Reading the birthday card my mom sent.

I am so excited I got this book!  I didn't even know Jan Karon had written
a new book in the Mitford Series.  This book deserves two thumbs way, way up!!!

This is the book of a birthday card that Ben gave me.

The Hangover!!!

The beautiful brown knee-high boots that I wanted!!!

Ann Taylor Loft gift card (I think I ended up with 4 or 5 of these
so I have some major shopping to do.)

The Melting Pot for dinner.  Yum, Yum, Yum!!!!

I want to say thank-you to my wonderful husband who created a wonderful birthday weekend for me.  I also want to say thank-you for my wonderful family in Georgia, Texas, and Pennsylvania for a wonderful birthday!