Memorial Day 2010

5.29.10 - 5.30.10 Night 27
Charlottesville, VA
Chris had the great idea to go away to Charlottesville for the night over Memorial Day weekend to explore the vineyards and see Monticello. So off we went!
Monticello was so crowded that we decided to skip it and just go see more vineyards. 
Wouldn't you ;)?
Here I am with our new best friends, Bob and Helen. They own a hole in the wall BBQ place and we literally ended up staying there to talk to them for an hour and a half. By the time we left they were handing us free bottles of wine and we were promising to come see them in July when we're in Charlottesville for a wedding. See you soon, Bob & Helen!
This is a peach and apple orchard where we stopped for a little R & R and to take in the views
Here we are in DC. We got back on Sunday just in time to go out for our friend's birthday!

Today we hosted our friends over for a little Monday Funday action:) 
Gotta love 3-day weekends!

It's Grillin' Time!

I've been trying to cook more lately, and in the last week I have made crab cakes from scratch and shrimp, scallop and chicken paella! I am very proud of myself because cooking these things involved planning ahead (which I am horrible at) and going to the grocery store (which I rarely do). Anyway, they were both so delicious that Chris aka the Grill Master decided it was his turn to make me dinner. Here is what he made me. It looked (and tasted) so great that I just had to take a picture!


Happy Anniversary

On May 20th my parents celebrated their 38th wedding anniversary. 38 years. WOW. 
38 years, 3 normal children (well, some of us anyway), and enough laughter to float on for decades.

Thank you for teaching us the meaning of family.


Come With Me!

I started a new "page" on my blog a while ago and I just got the chance over the weekend to upload a few more of my travel pictures to it, so I decided to "publish" it:) It's nowhere near finished, and I'll always be adding more, but here's what I've done so far! Just click on Come With Me on the left hand side of this page!


Georgetown & Sunday Funday!

Chris and I spent Saturday afternoon in Georgetown. We had a great lunch @ Clyde's and did a little shopping :)
I did a lot of work over the past few weeks to get our patio area ready for entertaining. We had our friends and my parents over for our first Sunday Funday of the season on Sunday, and even the rain couldn't stop our fun!
We spent all afternoon outside talking, playing ladderball, listening to music and EATING!
Here is part of our garden in progress!


Not So Silly Bandz

This time last week I had never heard of Silly Bandz. Now they have taken over my entire classroom and I want to harm whoever invented them. NOT because I don't think they're kind of cool (I did wear 5 of my students' all day yesterday), but because the timing of their infiltration could not have been worse. Why, oh why, 5 days before I have to give my students the biggest set of standardized tests they have ever taken, did someone have to invent SILLY BANDZ? Sorting, stretching, trading, you name it, it's like they're hypnotized by the freakin things! I mean my student traded her chicken nuggets for one of them on Wednesday and spent the rest of her time at lunch starving!

If you have never heard of Silly Bandz, let me tell you a little something about them. They are different colored rubber bands shaped like animals and symbols that children have taken to wearing on their wrists. But of course they can't just stay on their wrists; they insist on sorting them by animal and color numerous times throughout the day, just in case a new one somehow creeps onto their arm between 9 am and 4pm.

At first I didn't know what they were when I saw them on my student's desk. I thought they were those gummy toys that you throw and stick to the wall and I could not imagine why she thought it was ok to be playing with them. But when I told her to put them away and she slid them on her wrist, I knew I was in for some trouble. As I looked around the room I realized that 2/3 of my students had these little colored strands of distraction and horror lining their lower arms and I knew it was me against the Silly Bandz, every man for himself.

Every time this past week that I caught my students playing with them, I took them away. And no it is not because I secretly wanted to wear some. (wink wink). The black market trading of the Silly Bandz got so bad by yesterday afternoon that I had to tell them that they aren't allowed to wear them all next week during testing. The last thing they need to be thinking about during the tests is what they can trade to get a hippo on their arm. The first question someone asked when I banned them? Can we still wear them on the bus? ARE YOU KIDDING?
So, no Silly Bandz in the classroom until June 1st. I'll probably wear mine next week just to rub it in.

A message to all of America's toy makers: In the future, please refrain from releasing any toys that could potentially turn into crazy fads during the month of May. The 3rd graders of Virginia have way too much to think about.


I have had my Nikon D60 for a year and a half and have wanted to take a photography class (number 16 on my Life List) since then to learn how to take pictures with it manually. I haven't been able to find one yet that would fit my schedule, so I had to take matters into my own hands! After playing around with it for a few weeks, I have FINALLY taught myself to take pictures completely manually!! Here is the picture I took of my garden! I will definitely still take a photography class whenever I get the time, but until then I am very proud of myself!


What a Weekend!

There is only one word to describe the weather this weekend and that is G.O.R.G.E.O.U.S! It was so beautiful that I spent every waking hour of both Saturday and Sunday outside soaking up the sunshine. It was heaven!

First stop on Saturday morning was DC's Eastern Market to get fresh fruits and veggies!

Everything looked so delicious!

While I was interested in all that the market had to offer, Stephanie was content just stealing free samples from the pickle tent...

After I got back from Eastern Market, Chris, some of our friends and I spent the entire afternoon outside in our backyard talking and laughing. But of course, I couldn't let the day go by without putting on my gardening gloves and going to town! The garden is looking more beautiful by the day!

These roses are so incredible that I just had to take pictures of them! They are in full bloom in the garden.

On Saturday night we went to a friend's house for dinner and we sat outside from 7:30 until almost midnight with them because we just couldn't get enough of the weather!

On Sunday we woke up to the sun shining through the windows, and I was so thankful to get to spend another whole day outside! I took Kenzie for a long walk, Chris and I rode our bikes, we had a great lunch outside @ Big Buns in Ballston, and then I spent another 3 hours gardening (what can I say- I love it!). I also sat on our hammock and continued to teach myself to take manual pictures with my camera (I'm determined to be a pro by Europe this summer!).

The finale of the weekend was the Mount Vernon Wine Festival last night! I had been looking forward to it for a month and it could not have been a more perfect night for it.
This is Mount Vernon, George Washington's house. The house is set on the Potomac River and the views from the property are stunning.

As we arrived the sun was starting to set!
We tasted wines from all over Virginia, had a picnic on the river, and listened to live jazz all night long!

What a weekend!


It's a Black Tie Affair

Here is the one picture we managed to get taken of us before we left to come home!

I was annoyed that we'd only gotten one picture, so we just had to take matters into our own hands.

Every special occasion needs at least one prom photo! Unfortunately for us, we had to take them separately because Kenzie has not yet mastered the art of taking pictures.

Last night Chris and I attended a black tie dinner in the city to honor Akbar Ganji, an Iranian author and democracy activist. Now, while I am impressed by everything this man has achieved, let's be honest ladies: it's really all about the shoes.

You have to remember that I spend my entire day running around with 8 year olds. So fancy heels (unless you're my friend Nina) are unrealistic. I leave the house every single day in shoes with less than half an inch heel on them. In fact, you're lucky if they're not Rainbows. So when I found out we were invited to this function, the first thing I thought was black tie dinner = permission to buy new gorgeous heels.

But when to find the heels?! We only found out we were invited 10 days ago, and that's not a lot of time to find something appropriate to wear when you spend all day at work. The last thing I want to do when I leave school is go to the mall!

Lucky for me, I have a personal shopper!
Name? Big Mama. Motto? Shop 'til You Drop.

The second she found out about the dinner she went into hunt down mode. She scoured the racks while she was out running errands and told me which stores were worth going to. This exercise cut my mall time in half. She ended up finding me the dress and the heels I wore last night. If it weren't for her I'd have shown up in workout shorts.

The event was a total blast. The speakers were interesting, the people we were seated with were funny, and I got to see Chris in a tuxedo (H.O.T.) The best part was that I got to wear KILLER big girl shoes for a whole night :).


Love What You Do

This quote was in the back of the book my students made for me & I think it's great.

One Hundred Years From Now (excerpt from "Within My Power" by Forest Witcraft)

One Hundred Years from now
It will not matter what kind of car I drove, What kind of house I lived in, how much money was in my bank account nor what my clothes looked like.
But the world may be a better place because I was important in the life of a child.



Here are some of the flowers my students brought me for Teacher Appreciation Week. All of their flowers combined literally made nine huge bouquets. They spoiled me rotten with these and gifts and cards and hugs. They even gave me a book full of reasons they think I'm the "best teacher ever".
I know that I'm biased, but I think I have some of the best students in the whole world. They're funny, they respect each other, and they love learning from me. That in itself makes me feel appreciated (most) every day of the year:).


I had kind of a rough day at work on Friday (the SOLs are 10 school days away!), but when I got home there were 2 new bottles of wine on the kitchen counter. Chris had made a detour on his way home from work to my favorite wine shop to surprise me and cheer me up. Does he know me well or what?!

The best part was that we spent the entire evening laughing and playing games outside in our backyard with that wine, and in his company my rough day was replaced with a great big smile. He always knows just the right way to make that happen.


Mothers Day LOVE

Today is one of my favorite days of the year because the entire Robinson clan gets together to celebrate all of our wonderful mothers. This year we honored 5 and a half moms: My grandmommy, my mom, my Aunt Tricia, my Aunt Vicki, my cousin Shana, and my pregnant cousin Summer (I'll count her in full next year). We spent the day laughing, talking, eating, and playing outside with Jack. And as usual when I'm with my family, I wished the day would never end...
The One and Only Big Mama Robinson. Thank you for loving us so much.
Chris and me, full and happy!

Chris said that Jack is going to be "one heck of an athlete!" Here's his precious face as he works his soccer ball

The Big Kat with Grandmommy, the matriarch of the Robinson brood
Pat with Tory and Tara
Jack and I went "digging for snakes", which he takes very seriously. This is his snake stick.


Race for Hope

Last weekend I participated in the Race for Hope 5k in support of finding a cure for brain cancer. This year I ran for 2 people. I ran for a 17 year old named Krista who I had the great pleasure of getting to know before she passed away 2 years ago at the age of 17, and I ran for my mom's best friend's sister, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor over a year ago and is putting up one heck of a fight.

There was such a great vibe at the race. People cheering, hope floating, survivors walking with their families.

Team Krista raised money all throughout the year, and this year we met our goal of raising over $40,000. I was so proud to be one of the 200 people to wear my green Team Krista shirt and run my heart out to honor her tremendous life. We were a sea of green as we held hands across the finish line, and I was really thankful to be there.



Thank Goodness it's SPRING! Itchy eyes, runny nose, sinus headaches, BRING IT ON! I love spring time so much I don't know what to do with myself! The fact that I suffer from the worst allergies of anyone I know and still spend every sunlit hour of my free time outside might be a clue as to how much I crave this time of year!

I have already gone to work on my garden! This year I am going to (attempt to) grow: 2 kinds of lettuce, broccoli, green peppers, strawberries, grape tomatoes, and "yellow pears", whiiiich come to find out are actually also tomatoes. What's up with the name?!! I was convinced I was buying the beginnings of a fruit stand! The kicker? I hate tomatoes!

I have also planted basil, rosemary, and oregano in my strawberry plant (again not sure about the name- it's actually a big clay bowl with holes in it), and of course I am going hog WILD with the flowers. I spent 4 hours last Saturday and 3 hours yesterday planting and marveling at all of my beautiful flowers.

I absolutely love to garden because it's like a big puzzle to solve. How everything will fit together, how I'll keep it all alive. It slows me down for a few minutes. And the best reward is when it all begins to grow and I get to see what the puzzle has created.

Happy Spring!
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