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Monday, January 26, 2015

Birthday Weekend

Yes I know it's crazy but Tommy and I share the same birthday. Always seems to surprise people and I get it because it surprised me too at first! If I have to share my birthday with anyone I'm glad it's with him! Anyway on to the weekend of celebrations. 

It first started out with a lunch and dessert with my team at school. My good friend, Sarah, also had a birthday this weekend so we had a combined birthday celebration with Mellow Mushroom pizza and GiGi's cupcakes! Yum! 
(Yes, my coworkers bought me a Spanish card because that's just how it goes at LF)

Friday night Tommy and I went to see American Sniper which was a great movie. The story is tough but it was so well done. Bradley Cooper deserves a win for his performance in this movie! 

Saturday we met friends at Fado Irish Pub for bottomless mimosas and lunch. It was a great time with wonderful friends!

After Fado, we headed home for a little cat nap before heading to East Cobb for our great friends', Caroline and Drew, engagement party. Drew is one of Tommy's oldest friends and was a groomsman in our wedding. Caroline is one of my great friends (and former roommate) from College. It was a great celebration and I unfortunately forgot to take any pictures! The Stellings and Whitemans put on a great party to celebrate the two of them! 

Sunday was our actual birthday and we had a great day! Tommy and I played a tennis match (our team was so great and brought us a birthday cake to celebrate!). We played eh and lost in the third set. We will just blame the festivities from the day before is why we lost. It was a beautiful day though to be outside and playing tennis. 

My parents stopped by during the day to bring our birthday presents from them and I'm so excited because they bought me an armchair for our living room! 

Later that night, we met my parents, Nana, Tommy's parents, Bonnie and Brett for dinner at South City Kitchen. It was a big hit for the whole fam! Wish that James and Claire could have joined us but it's too hard to come back from Athens just for dinner. I will see them soon I'm sure! 
Just YUM

It was a wonderful weekend surrounded by family and friends. We feel very loved. I have a feeling 26 (and 27 for Tommy) is going to be a great year. Lots to look forward to in 2015 with the people we love. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Meeting Hylan Marie Coleman!

Today was a special day because I got to spend the day with some of my favorite people and their little humans! My good friend, Jessica, had a baby girl named, Hylan Marie, just two weeks ago. (the bows I bought her are just a tad too big ;) )

I was dying to make a trip to go meet this sweet girl so Lindsey, Catherine and I decided to take their three kiddos for a road trip to visit Jessica, Burke and Hylan. We loaded up Lindsey's car with the three kiddos and headed out on our trip to Sylacauga, Alabama. 
 Woody and Gracelyn

We came bearing LOTS of Sonic for lunch! 

Jessica looks GREAT! I unfortunately didn't get a single picture of or with Jessica (so stupid!) 

We got to Jessica's around 10am her time and played with the kids and caught up on everyone's lives for hours. It was as though I had seen Jessica just last week. It's hard to believe the last time I saw her was my wedding and the last time I saw Burke was way before that. He has gotten so big! He is such a talker and growing up into such a big boy. 

The weather was beautiful and the kids enjoyed playing outside with each other. They all have such different personalities and it's so fun to watch their interactions. 

I am so lucky to have all these mommas in my life! I was petrified going into my first year of teaching and the best thing I have gained from my teaching experience thus far are these wonderful friendships. Lake Forest brought me some of the best people I know and it's been such a blessing to watch all their families grow over the years. It's crazy to think I have seen these littles ones since they were just days old. I love to see Jessica, Catherine and Lindsey with their children. Burke, Woody, Gracelyn, Gaines and Hylan are so lucky to have these strong women as their mothers. They have been mentors to me over the years in teaching and in life. God has blessed me by their friendships and I can only hope I'm as good of a mom as these three are when the time comes for me. Today was a great day! 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

When you finally feel as though people may listen...

Oh it's like to be a teacher...

This morning I woke up to my old administrator posting on Facebook an open letter written by my county's Superintendent, Robert Avossa. I can't explain how much I felt like screaming "FINALLY" to myself! This is my fourth year of teaching and I have seen SO many changes in my job description over these years. My first year was tough solely because I was on my own in a classroom for the first time, but the added stress wasn't quite there like it has been the past three years. My second year of teaching was when common core came into Georgia schools and we weren't quite sure if we were teaching everything correctly and how the testing was going to look at the end of the year. This same year was when the change of how we were evaluated as teachers came in. Last year was a continuation of figuring out common core and our evaluation system but this year has been a nightmare if you ask me. Georgia decided they were going to create our own new assessment for the end of the year. 

"Teaching" is a relative term these days. We are so bogged down with assessments that are mandated that the "fun" has been taken out of our days. We can't just enjoy our students and helping them reach their potential because we are on such a tight lease with no time to explore with our students. Testing now takes a significant role in every classroom from Kindergarten through Twelfth grade. I am in fifth grade and the type of testing my students are expected to be mastery at is similar to tests I took in my latter years of high school and in college. No longer do you "Show what you know" but you have to be an analytic thinker at the age of ten. The demographics at my school aren't ready for this type of assessment. My students are still trying to figure out the language never mind be able to analyze between two long pieces of text. 

I am proud to say that I work with amazing people and I really think Fulton County has their heads (and hearts) in the right place when it comes to how they want us to be educators and how they feel about their students. You can read the open letter here. I can't explain the relief I felt that he actually has been listening to all of his employees and how they truly feel about their jobs today. It really is a shame that our government doesn't come to educators to ask us how we feel about what education is today. People in education (not just my school) are burning out at a rapid rate and if things keep progressing the way they are, then no one will want to come into the teaching profession. If a sophomore in college were to come to me and ask me if knowing everything I do now would I still have wanted to get my degree in teaching? I would most likely say "no." There are a lot of other jobs out there that you can help others, feel rewarded by your work, get paid more, and feel like you have a say in what your day to day life is like. This year I feel as though I have NO control over how I do my job and there is no way to change that. 

I sincerely hope (but highly doubt) that our legislature will take to heart what was so elegantly said in Dr. Avossa's letter or we are going to have a really long road ahead in our education system. 

End rant

Monday, January 5, 2015

New Years Beach Trip 2015

This year a group of our friends decided to plan a beach trip for New Years and it was the best decision! There were 11 of us that rented a house (dog-friendly I must add!) in Cape San Blas, Florida.
(I have never seen Cooper as happy as I did this weekend. He sure loves the beach!) 

It was such a relaxing trip because it's a pretty secluded beach with very few houses around. We were able to have the dogs off their leashes and build bonfires every night. You can't get much better than a house on the beach surrounded by great friends. We left Atlanta on the 31 in the morning and came home January 4th. Tommy took the 31st off so we headed out early morning so we could enjoy the afternoon on the beach. We couldn't get into the house before four but it worked out fine because we just sat on the beach in front of the house and played with Cooper. Everyone trickled in between 4-6. New Year's Eve we all did our own thing for dinner then celebrated by a fire on the beach. It was perfect! I celebrated in my sweats. I must say I enjoyed not having to dress up, spend a fortune to get in anywhere and not having to pay surcharges for an uber home. It was fantastic!! 

The rest of the trip involved daily walks on the beach with the girls and the dogs, delicious meals (we each paired up to take on dinner or lunch each day and did our own things for breakfast) cold beverages, snores, bonfires, frisbee, bocce ball, football and quality time catching up on life. 

Our last full day there we decided to go out for some seafood for lunch. We had been recommended Indian Raw Bar and it was exactly what we hoped it would be! Lots of seafood was consumed by all! They also had the honor system as far as beer went. You served yourself and just told them how many you took when you paid. Such an interesting concept! 

I couldn't have asked for a better way to end my break from school and starting the new year. Life in the Robinson household is about to get quite hectic. A new year means a new job for Tommy. His last day at Penske is tomorrow and he flies out to California on Sunday for the week for training. He is starting a new sales job for Yellow Pages selling digital advertising. I am nervous but excited for this new venture to come. Tommy has been wanting to go into sales for awhile now so I am hopeful this is the right fit for him and our family. On to new beginnings in 2015!