Williamsburg Shots

Adam was away in Charlotte, NC for a seminary class this weekend and I figured it'd be the perfect time to get to know my new camera. So my mom and I headed up to Williamsburg to spend the day taking pictures. We made a pit stop in Hampton for lunch at the Grey Goose, a cute little tea restaurant. Their signature salad is pictured below...shredded lettuce topped with a slice of pineapple, half a peach, their special dressing and a cherry on top.
Then we went on to Williamsburg to have fun taking pictures.
I spent the afternoon playing with my new camera, the Nikon D60.
In the shot below of the hedge you can really see the depth of field, which I captured by accident, so I'm still figuring that skill out...depth of field is one of the major reasons why I wanted a more advanced camera to begin with. Right now I get excited when it happens, but I haven't fully figured out how to control when it happens.

Then we continued walking around... After a couple hours of walking around taking pictures, Mom and I decided to stop at the well known Williamsburg Restaurant at Merchant's Square, The Trellis for their dessert Death By Chocolate. I had always heard of it but had never had a chance to stop in.I have been dieing to have a camera that takes pretty pictures of food...since I do sometimes post recipes and shots of my latest creation on the blog...but my little point and shoot camera always came up short on making the food look as yummy as it usually was...this may no longer be a problem. Check out these shots...they still make my mouth water!

and after! Seven layers of chocolate goodness!

When we walked out of the restaurant and were thinking of heading home, we happened to run into a photographer who was also taking some shots around Williamsburg. Well we must had the luckiest timing because he told us that his photography club was just getting ready to meet up and shoot some pictures at dusk, which I later learned was the magic hour because of how the light bounced off the atmosphere. He invited us to join them and boy did I learn A LOT! Here are some shots I got at dusk and night WITHOUT a flash!! Shutter speed is a NEAT thing let me tell you! All I need to invest in now is a tripod because I kinda used my mom's shoulder as what we took to calling a bi-pod to reduce the shake when the shutter was open longer. I'm sure it was quite the scene, but we had the best time and learned a TON!

I will never look at glass the same again! Check out that reflection! Well, it's a start to my new photography hobby and I can tell this new photography club is going to teach me a ton! I can't wait for their next gathering next month.

Warm It with UVA

Recently I've joined the UVA Alumni Chapter's board here in the Tidewater.

Thursday night I attended my first event with the group at the Chrystler Museum called Warm It, which is an event that the museum holds on Thursdays in February to invite a younger crowd out to the museum. There was music and ordeuves and a pretty good turn out of alumni. I'm looking forward to getting more involved with the chapter as I continue to help organize local events. On a side note...my goodness the Chrysler Museum is a beautiful, elegant place.

Waves Winter Retreat

This past weekend was our first winter retreat with the Waves.
We stayed at a conference center in Waynesboro and enjoyed the slopes at Wintergreen.The weekend started out Saturday night with worship and some crazy games.
Jason from Deep Creek Baptist lead worship for the weekend. The same youth pastor who partnered with us for the New Years All nighter. He's a lot of fun and the worship was great.
Then there were the always necessary crazy games...such as bobbing for Venanna Sausages in Jello followed by making BP&J with feet...
Then a team member had to actually eat those sandwiches!
They all performed like champs.
Our retreat speaker Scott encouraged the students to step out of their comfort zones and talk to a stranger to find out about their story and to try it for homework at the ski slopes. He also wanted to reshape how we see our relationship with God and Jesus. He explained that rather than Christ creating a bridge for us to cross to be with God, he actually come down into the chasm where we were in sin and lifted us out. It was an encouraging message on how we are to act as Christians as we partner with God while he works in the lives of those around us. (I had a chance to practice the homework on Sunday when my car broke down and I rode from Charlottesville to Virginia Beach with a very nice tow truck driver. I learned a lot about him and it was a bit of an adventure...but that's another story.)Sunday began with breakfast and a team challenge full of more team building games. Then there was another session with Scott who spoke on our view of authority and how authority is meant as a means of protection rather than a means of power being forced upon us. Then everyone got ready to head to the ski slopes for an evening of night skiing, snowboarding and tubing. Thankfully there were no major injuries, only a few bruises. However, Adam still got to take his first trip to the emergency room with students...they all checked out with a clean bill of health though thank goodness. (I headed back to Virginia Beach at this point since I had to be back in town to teach on Monday, which had been a holiday but became a make up day after our "NO SNOW DAY".) They had one more session on Monday with Scott and then headed back to the beach.
This display was waiting for Adam and I when we returned to the Shed. Wasn't that soooo sweet! It was a huge Valentine's Day card to Adam and I signed by our students along with balloons, flowers and a frame. It was REALLY thoughtful. We feel so loved!

February 14th...on the 13th

Since we were off to the winter retreat with our students on Valentine's Day, Adam and I celebrated Valentine's Day (and my first paycheck) on Friday the 13th and by no means was the evening a horror film.Adam brought me a BEAUTIFUL bouquet of roses and they've only gotten more lovely as they've continued to bloom.We went to my favorite restaurant down at the beach...that's right, Il G's.
You know I LOVE that spot and the dinner was divine as usual.
Another wonderful Valentine's celebration together.

757 Bonfire

The night started out in the hay maze. Here's the teams ready to head in. It was quite the adventure.

There's our tough guys all ready to head into the maze.
Here's the funny moment when the teams thought they had found the way out, but had actually just found their way back to the beginning. Can you see Adam peeking out from the entrance?VICTORY!! Our guys made it out first!The rest of the evening we enjoyed hanging out by the camp fire complete with smores and there was even a hay ride. It was a night full of good company and laughs.

Happy Birthday Robin

We were able to celebrate Robin's birthday with all the Virginia Beach Herndons.Everette bought fillet mignon and I made two new vegetable recipes by my favorite food network cook, Giada, out of my new cookbooks that I got for Christmas and Evan and Amy brought a cake to round out the birthday celebratory meal.

Both dishes were a hit. I'll have to post the recipes soon. They were pretty simple too.

Happy Birthday Mom!


I hope you feel the love today and have an opportunity to spread it as well!

Updates...coming soon

While things have gotten busier with work, I don't intend to ignore my blog. I promise updates are on there way later this weekend after I get back from our youth group winter retreat.

You can look forward to pictures from...
1. Robin's birthday
2. 757 young adult bonfire and hay maze
3. Valentine's Day
4. The Winter Retreat

and...there could be more that I come up with. Thanks for being patient and for still wanting to keep up with our lives. You know we like keep up with all of yours!

You will be missed!

My Grandpa passed away today and he will be missed greatly! (That's my dad's dad, not to be confused with my Papa). It was such sad news and a little unexpected even though I knew he had been in the hospital. However, I feel so lucky to have had him there at my wedding to celebrate with me and Adam. It was such a blessing to have ALL eight of our grandparents there. I'm also thankful that I got to spend some time with him this past June when he and Grandma joined us for Anna's graduation. He had been pretty sick, so at least he's resting in peace now.
We're really going to miss you!

Drum Roll...The New Job Has Begun!

Today was my first day teaching on my own and it went well! Last week I had to attend a training so I could hit the ground running with the ESL standards that Virginia is now implementing as of this year. I met my ESL mentor who I think will be fantastic because she seems knowledgable and organized yet cool and collected, which seem like important attributes to have with all the paperwork and responsibility we're given.

Thursday I met the remainder of my elementary students and played a cut throat game of Scrabble with my new 7th grade students (it was the other teacher's last day with them so we had some fun).

Friday was a teacher workday, so I headed into school knowing there was a lot to be done. We had a two hour faculty meeting where one highlight was how Virginia Beach will be trying to avoid laying off teachers at all cost next year, which is great news because even though positions are going to be cut the district is going to do everything in its power to keep current teachers teaching somewhere in the dirstrict by moving them around. The only down side to this is that there will be less new hires next year. At least it sounds like we won't have to fear being laid off, which is good news in this crazy economy. It just makes me that much more thankful that I WAS able to get a job this school year because next year could have turned out to be even harder to find an openning than this year already was. Then, I was introduced to the school's French teacher and we proceeded to have a conversation IN FRENCH, which was fun even though I was a little rusty.

At the end of the day, there was a teacher of the year ceremony and I started to feel like a member of my new school's staff. I spent the rest of the afternoon organizing my classroom and looking through numerous materials which you can imagine are broad since I'll be teaching kindergarten-8th grade. I was at school till about 7:30 cleaning and organizing and I guess I made some headway because when the night custodian came in she said the room was cleaner than she had seen in six years because I had gotten rid of a lot of boxes and reorganized where things were being stored. I'll post pictures of my new room when I get done with the more decorative elements of the room like the bulletin board. After leaving sub plans for Monday morning since I was going to be at another training, it was home for the weekend.

Today started with another training on the new LEP standards with the company of our administrators and then it was back to school to teach away the afternoon. My students' first assignment was a personal narrative telling their new ESL teacher about themselves. It should be a good initital assessment of their langauge to get our year together off to a start. Wish me Luck!

My Big Sis in Virginia

Liz came into town for a Gamma Phi wedding, so I got to visit with her!We grabbed lunch and celebrated her birthday. Liz, I'm getting spoiled seeing you so often between this summer in Atlanta and this winter in Virginia.

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