South Africa

Elliot in the Morning (a radio station here) had a contest to come to South Africa when they take the show there in 2 weeks. The requirement was to send in a 2 minute video explaining why you should be chosen. Naturally, I hopped on the chance to win and made my video.

They announced the winner this morning and I wasn't chosen, but I'm still pretty proud of my video considering I sent it in one hour before the deadline. Check it out...


I mean who could have been more creative than that?!!

Anyway, the GOOD, INCREDIBLE news is that the entire third grade has been approved to go on a tour of the WHITE HOUSE the day I would have left for South Africa, so it's not all dissapointing:) I've never been inside the White House and I am so, so excited.

I'll just have to find another way to go on an African Safari!


Much to Celebrate...

So many wonderful things have been going on lately!

1. At the beginning of Spetember I started ROUND 3- my third year teaching 3rd grade! The beginning of the school year has been stressful, but has gone even better than I had hoped. I changed classrooms, changed my entire classroom theme from jungle to ocean (Welcome to Robinson's Reef!), met my 24 new students (which became 25 just yesterday), and have gotten down to business teaching them every single procedure imaginable: where do their backpacks go? Where does homework go? How do they line up? How do they work in partners? How do they check out a book? How do they take care of the classroom library? How do they choose a just-right book? How do they walk in a straight line? Where do they put their supplies? What's the morning routine? What's the pack up routine? How do they copy an asssignment from the board to a notebook? You get the point... it's a rude awakening to realize that the almost-4th -graders I said good bye to last June are not the just-out-of-second-graders sitting before me. However, my new students are AWESOME and I am anxious to teach them all that I can in the next 10 months.

1/4 mile swim, 12.5 mile bike ride and 2 mile run later, I ran across the finish line. The strength, pride and utter joy I felt was so intense that I started to cry for a few seconds. As I came into view of the finish line, I could see and hear my mom, my dad and Chris cheering at the top of their lungs. I started similing and pumping my arms in the air, victory style, and the moment just took me over. I had never pushed my body so hard physically and it made me feel like a rockstar.
What was hilarious was that sometime around mile 9 of what felt like Tour de France on the bike I started cursing the world and actually thought to myself "if I had my (explative) phone I swear I'd stop this sh*t right now and tell them to pick me up". I rode past a police officer and yelled out "how..ugh...much...ugh...longer" and this guy, the little devil, yells back "about 3 miles! All down hill!" Well! That made sense since the last 9 miles had been like riding up Mt. Kilimanjaro!
However, not 20 seconds later I was peddling UP another hill thinking of all the ways I could mangle that police officer. I'm sure he got a big kick out of lying to me, but he's lucky I din't see him after the race.
Meanwhile, while I am sweating and peddling for my life, do you want to know where my dad and Chris went? DUNKIN DONUTS! Yes, that's right, they cheered me on out of the water and saw me off on my bike and then drove and got a hot dozen! Lucky for them they were back before I was done with the bike or I think my mom may have killed them:) .
Anyway, I ran past them, noisemakers and all, yelled out that my legs were going to fall off, dropped off my bike and started the 3rd leg- the run. With one mile left of it to go, with "That's What You Get for Waking Up in Vegas" blasting in my ears, I got a rush of energy and suddenly became like cheerleading captain to everyone I ran by. I couldn't help but yell to everyone I passed "you're doing great! We're almost there!!" etc. If only they could have heard me an hour before on my bike!
Next up, next spring, will hopefully be an Olympic length triathlon.

3. I pulled off a FANTASTIC party for the Big Mama's 60th birthday!
My mom turned the big 6-0 this past weekend, so the weekend before I threw her a birthday bash in a private room at Clyde's in DC. I made party favors, created a power point trivia game called "Who Knows Big Mama Best", we had a keraoke machine and Jeff was our dj. We ate, drank, laughed and danced the night away. The evening ended with "Shout!" blasting through the speakers and Jason, the Big Kat and me doing the gator in the middle of the dance floor. As she thanked everyone for coming over the microphone, she said that it was the best birthday party she'd ever had.
On her real birthday, she, my dad, Chris and I went to Old Town Alexandria, walked around and had dinner out doors on the water. We toasted to Big Mama over and over again for several different reasons. As everyone who has ever met me knows, I think my mom is the best thing going. She's my biggest fan, constant supporter, and the person who taught me unconditional love. She gives me advice, she makes me laugh and she's discovered how to be the perfect balance of mom and friend. For these and a million other reasons, on such a big occasion, I wanted her to feel like the Queen she is. I think I succeeded!
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