Monday, May 30, 2011

Kicking off summer...

It is just after 2:30 am in Abu Dhabi and 90 degrees according to my widget.  For once, my NH temperature is almost the same as my soon to be home (95 at 6:30 pm).  I received an email from ADEC and filled out my travel information. It is hard to believe but I have only 2 months before the grand adventure begins! 
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This past week, we've had 2 softball games, I did my parent duty by running the snack shack for one of the games, Belle learned to swim.  We went out to dinner to celebrate and Belle took a lovely picture of my new haircut. 

My students have contracted a serious case of senioritis. The only cure is graduation. For the first time in years, I feel it too.  This week, my seniors will take their final exams, I will approve the remaining speeches, and help them prepare for the commencement exercises that will fill the following week. Needless to say, don't expect to see a lot of postings until the end of the year calms a bit....


Yesterday, we went down to DHMC to visit our friends who have just had their first child, a little boy.  We didn't get to see them, but are so happy that they are doing well and should be able to come home at the end of the week.  Belle and I also got brand new Tevas - mine are teaberry and Belle's are cactus flower. Even better: they were on sale! :) They are very comfortable and should be perfect for all the hot weather we will enjoy this summer and in the UAE.

For our Memorial Day holiday, we remembered the soldiers that have died for our freedom, and then did our annual Echo Lake visit, where we saw a bunch of friends also enjoying the frigid water on this hot day.  The ducks were out, even if there were no lifeguards on duty. Rob took a bunch of kids around the shore to catch crayfish and minnows. Belle ended up with two minnows thanks to his & Emma Jean's efforts. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Party planning and play dates

Friday evening, Erica & Jen came over to christen the summer home. We made delicious crab rangoons & fruit filled spring rolls (the recipe is from this delightful blog).  Belle had Rochelle sleep over after softball practice and I made them Belgian waffles in the morning.  After our breakfast, Belle & I did the weekly shopping, and then she was off to Nicoria's magician birthday party. Which reminded me that I have a little girl with a birthday coming up... and for the first time in her life, we don't have the space to have the party at home.  After spending a couple hours researching all the local fun spots, and remembering the uncertainty of NH weather, I selected an indoor venue and booked it. The invitations are addressed and will be delivered tomorrow.  And Belle will be able to show off her new swim skills!!! :)

After picking her up from the party - what is the first thing my darling daughter asks me? Yep, for a play date with Mackenzie because she has not seen her friends in oh, so long.... I completely understood her request, being the social person I am, and could not refuse it.  And after church today, I took Belle and her cousin, Ana, to the park to play and out for ice cream.  I even got in a short visit with Loretta, but it was only long enough to realize that we need some serious quality hanging out time in the near future. 

We are all settled into the summer home. What we need for the next couple months is unpacked, and I am going to start to pack the first of the suitcases.  Tomorrow we are back to school, and Belle has a softball game (of course).

Monday, May 16, 2011

Moving forward

This past week we have been busy ridding ourselves of many of the possessions we accumulated in the ten years we lived on Grove Street.  During that time period of home ownership, we celebrated many milestones and memories (both good & tragic): our wedding, September 11th, the birth of our daughter, the weddings of family members & friends, and the births of our niece and nephews... We celebrated a number of birthday's from Rob's 30th to Belle's 7th, the loss of several family pets (our first family dog, the cat, and Belle's mouse), and the acquisition of our rabbit; my two college graduations, and Belle & Rob's first days of school/college.  We learned how wonderful neighbors could be and developed a soft spot for the street we lived on and its people.  This weekend, with the help of some incredibly helpful and hardworking friends, Erica, Ashleigh & Liz, we emptied and prepared our former home for its new owners (who take possession on Wednesday).  I thought it would be hard to say goodbye and there were a couple moments in Belle's room where I got a little choked up, remembering the time spent transforming the space into a princess room.  I found out that it wasn't hard to move on. I'm ready for this new adventure, and eager to start it.  After selling our living room couch, I came back to our summer home and ordered the two suitcases that will carry my remaining possessions with me across the ocean and a continent.

I also celebrated the NH region's Scholastic Writing Awards on Friday (part of the work of the National Writing Project in NH), and had the honor of presenting a silver key to one of my own students (I did not take part in the adjudication) and received a teacher's pin as recognition for being a key winner's teacher.  We also had copies of Middle/High School Voices available for purchase or included in the registration fee for the earlier writing conference with local poet and Plymouth State University English Department chair, Liz Ahl.  During the conference, I learned about the Arabic poetry form called the ghazal and I am eager to use it in my creative writing class later this week (it seems like everything is pushing me towards my destination this summer).  I've turned in my award selections for the end of the year assembly and I'll be presenting three scholarships/awards on the behalf of my English department and teacher's union at the up-coming graduation ceremonies.  The year is quickly coming to a close, and I provided my senior students with their writing portfolio requirements for their now remaining 14 days of class.

Life is going to be busy in the next few weeks with end of the year events, grades, softball, and swim lessons (and probably one more yard sale to empty our storage unit), but it is nice to know that our first move is completed and we're beginning to prepare for the next one.  And today, the Abu Dhabi Ministry of Education announced the school calendar for next year. Off to update our checklist page...

Monday, May 9, 2011

Debris

Our house is a mess. Literally. We have plastic bins and laundry baskets filled with clothes from dressers that have found new homes.  Our sunroom, guestroom, dining room and kitchen have all been stripped of their furnishings, and our laundry room will lose its remaining appliance today.  Last night and this morning, totes were turned into makeshift tables for meals and I went grocery shopping for the last time for this residence - buying only the things we need to make it through this week.  Our garage/barn is holding the remnants of our yard sale.

Today, I return to school and am wondering how we will accomplish all we need to each evening...sandwiched between doctor & dentist appointments, softball, and swim lessons.  Did I mention I also have lunch duty this week and the NH Scholastic Writing Awards and Middle/High School Voices Conference & Publication Launch?

I'm going to take a deep breath and begin. 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

It's all fun and games until...

On Friday, I took one of my two remaining personal days because we had to prepare for the yard sale. I rented our first PO Box, and while I was there, was alerted about an available rental.  One of the mom friends I've made alerted us to an apartment that will be referred to as our "summer home" because our house has been sold and the closing is this month.  So, after a week of freaking out about where we will be residing, we found a home that will allow Belle to finish the school year at her school, and we'll stay in town for my summer writing camps. Thank heavens for small towns.

The first day of our massive possession purge has been completed, and the Tylers are universally exhausted. We are prepping the remaining pieces of furniture and looking forward to some much deserved sleep before doing it all over again tomorrow. We couldn't have done it without the help of so many of our friends who came early bearing coffee and cheerfully lugged boxes, books, and furniture out; brought us lunch when we started to droop from hunger; or stuck around in the afternoon to keep us company and help secure items (and even help with the sales).

We even had a visit from our local law enforcement because they had received complaints from the amount of traffic, so he was required to pay us a visit to alert us to the popularity of our sale. Yes, we were visited by a friendly police officer because of our perfectly legal and legit yard sale.

The highlight of the afternoon was a "lost" Good Humor truck coming down our street - so Belle and her friends (and her parents) could all experience the novelty of buying ice cream from a truck.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Fridges, fondue pots & freak outs

I've come to the conclusion that my husband and I own way too much stuff. Ten years ago, we bought our house, and wondered how we would fill it... Now as we prepare for the big sale, we wonder how we acquired so much stuff. Case in point, in our basement refrigerator (that seemed a good idea at the time when we had regular gatherings and needed that extra fridge space), I discovered ketchup and mustard bottles from last summer.  Then there are the sippy cups. Why did I save sippy cups? No one reuses sippy cups once their child has aged out of it.  Belle is going to be 8 in just about a month, and I still had her sippy cups. Wow.

Right now, our barn is full of appliances for the big sale - because when we bought the house we had a washer & dryer and guess what appliances came with the house - a washer & dryer.  Rob & I moved the fridge from the basement to the barn with the help of the tractor.  I've started to empty the cupboards and discovered unopened containers to make your own popsicles, ceramic soup bowls for french onion soup (or other oven occasions), a coffee bean grinder, hot pot, three (yes, THREE) crockpots - one is still in the box, wooden chopsticks from Thailand (that I have never learned to use), and a fondue pot set still in the box.  First, where did we fit all this stuff? And two, why did I think I was domestic enough to need it? So because we are running out of space in the barn for all the yard sale stuff, I am starting to put things into the sunroom, which was emptied of one of our living room sets last weekend, so blessedly, has some space.

Obviously, Rob & I are freaking a little because our leisurely preparation for our move has gone into hyper-speed with the contract on our house and approaching closing date. Suddenly we are looking for a short term rental and preparing for not one, but two moves....  I guess it will ready us for the flexibility we will need in Abu Dhabi.  I feel bad for Belle because we were so stressed, that I accidentally sent her to bed almost a half hour early and she came down to tell me it wasn't even her bed time yet. Oops.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Softball and Pink Slips...

Things are moving forward. Thursday night, Rob & I stayed up late pricing things for the big sale starting this coming Saturday. On Friday, our house was thoroughly inspected. Then we got up early to get ready for the opening day of AVS Softball. This is Belle's fourth year playing and first year on the 8U league. When we return from our overseas adventure in two years, she will be in 10U for one season.  At 9:00 I ran out to get her the maroon socks for her uniform and then we headed for the field for the opening day celebrations. Rob received his first official assistant coach t-shirt, although he's been filling that role for several years.
After freezing through the ceremonies - it was not the 60 degree weather promised by the weather man! (and as I write this, the Abu Dhabi widget informs me that it is 97 degrees there) - we went home to find warmer clothes for the game. Thank goodness we did because we spent over three hours at the field (the game lasted for two hours & despite the cold, the sun did come out so I have rosy red cheeks. :) It was so amazing to see the girls apply the skills/knowledge and teamwork they have developed over the years, handle getting outs (this is the first year) with grace, work together to make plays, cheer on their teammates and be good sports towards their competing teams (especially because they are filled with their friends & classmates!).

Obviously softball was exhausting for this bleacher mom, so I came home & took a nap - making me late for what I thought was going to be a simple girl's night out at my friend Kim's - you know, hanging out, eating pizza, etc.  Luckily, my friend Erica sent me a sneaky text asking me what I was up to & telling me how she was out-of-town. I promptly invited her over if she was coming back (yeah, I'm that kind of person) to hang out with Kim & I.  The text woke me up, which caused me to be only 20 minutes late for what turned out be an amazing pink slip party. Yes, my friends & I celebrated my layoff (and my new adventure) with a party, because we are that kind of people (it's called fabulous if you are looking for the word.). ;)  The food was incredible - deviled eggs, seafood & regular lasagna, strawberry cupcakes with almond buttercream, chocolate dipped strawberries, toffee squares, shrimp, a vegetable & fruit salad (mixed together - amazing!).  And there were presents!

Which if you consider how I am purging everything in my possession, you would think would be odd (which I so gracefully reminded my patient friends as I opened the humungous box - seriously, I wonder how they put up with me), but the gifts were oh so perfect for me & for fitting in my 2 suitcases & 1 carry-on (yes, I'm obsessing about how little that means I will be taking). I received a book filled with personal messages from all my soon to be former co-workers, a musical cd recording the soundtrack of my WHS days, and the Kindle ereader I've been patiently saving for! Yes, this post deserves every single one of the exclamation marks I caution my students against using because I am that excited and enjoyed myself that much. The best part is I have more memories to take with me of these wonderful ladies.