The last few months have been packed full of so much stuff! Buckle up for a longer post, but full of lots of pictures and funny stories! Here are the highlights of the past few months...
Trip to Utah in November - November 6-9, 2015
In November, we got word that Grandma Irion was not doing super great. She had a fall awhile back and had taken a downward spiral since then. Poor woman lost her appetite and had a difficult time eating or drinking anything, which only caused her health to fall more. Since the family wasn't sure if she would make it til Christmas, we decided to fly home to spend a long weekend with her and our families. It was so great to spend some time with this sweet lady.
Grandma flexing her muscles to show us how all that muscle milk is paying off. Also, Russ in his spinny hat that Grandma commented on about 10 times.
I also got to spend some time with my sister and her kids while in town and it was so great. I love those little munchkins. This trip Logan and I started a new hobby of doing "her karate." Her heavy, concentrated breathing kills me. Hahaha.
Thanksgiving this year was such a blast. We got together with the entire Irion crew (which is no easy feat) in the great state of CALIFORNIA! Rich and Gloria rented a condo for the whole week, but Robbie and I were only able to come for the last half. We went to Knott's Berry Farm one day and did ALL the rides (the best of which was hands down the Xcelerator. 0-80 in two seconds. Literally.). It was so much fun. Plus, we were all matchy matchy, so does it get any better than that? Other than amusement parks, we spent the weekend playing games, laughing, eating AMAZING Asian food, going to parks, and just lovin being together. The only bummer was a few of the crew got sick and were having the throw-ups. Somehow they were all still troopers and the week was so much fun!
Substitute Teaching - Thanksgiving through Christmas
After Thanksgiving, I finally got to start substitute teaching! I had been working on all the paperwork and background checks and all that for over a month, but I was finally in the clear to teach. And let me tell you, it was hilarious.
I had the opportunity to teach from elementary on up through middle school and high school. Surprisingly, the easiest grade was 11th and the hardest, by FAR, was 4th. It turns out, I'm not good at tears. I don't know how to respond when the crying starts. My previous experience in middle school involves more sass than tears and thus, did not prepare me well for this. Are these little ones crying because they are actually sad? Are they really just using tears to manipulate me into doing what they want? (I'm pretty sure this was the case more than once). So hard to tell! They were still pretty stinkin cute.
The most entertaining days happened with the older kids. Always trying to charm me to get out of doing their work. This was one of the typical conversations I had.
Students are supposed to be working on their packets:
- Student: Hey Miz I?
- Me: Yeah?
- Student: What color yo eyes, Miz I?
- Me: Did you need some help?
- Student: They blue?!
- Me: What was your question, bud?
- Same student: "Hey, Miz I?
- Me: You have a question?
- Student: Yo eyes is gray!
- Me: What was your question?
- Student: Finally gets to point.
These kids are the funniest. All in all, they were pretty good-natured and sweet and I loved getting to hang with them for awhile. However, we discovered that subbing doesn't pay as well as we'd originally thought, so I'll be looking for something different after the holidays. Fun while it lasted!
Fun Stuff in Florence
We have started up a few new hobbies lately! We have found some fun things to do around Florence, like....
Tennis! (I have hit it over the fence more times than anyone ever should)
Golf! (The real kind, not the mini kind).
It took me an average of 8 swings to get the ball off the dang tee.
We had done a little yoga before our move, but have made it our weekly ritual now. Our teacher LOVES Robbie because he's so good at it. (This is real, not sarcastic. He's amazing at strength poses!). It's been so fun!
Christmastime - December 18-29, 2016
Before we headed to Utah for Christmas, we had our own little celebration at home. We even went and saw the Nutcracker for my first time ever! (Which if I'm being totally honest, felt more like a really trippy dream than a classic Christmas story). However, we definitely took advantage of every Christmas-y thing we could before heading to Utah.
Once we got to Utah, we had such a blast hanging out with family! We played the chimes, went sledding, had chocolate fondue, played Around the World non-stop, had make-your-own-pizza night and just played all day every day. It was really the best!
We also got to hang out with some good friends (including the Tucano's Tradition, of course)
And we got to see our sweet grandmas! We spent some time with Grandma T for a Christmas get-together and it was so great.
We also got to go see Grandma Irion. She's been steadily getting weaker and weaker. As we left, we were pretty sure this was the last time we would see her and we both got a little emotional as we walked out. This woman is the sweetest, peppiest, little angel.
New Year's Eve in Orlando! - December 31-Jan 2, 2016
We got home from Utah on December 29th and decided to take a spontaneous road trip down to Orlando to celebrate the New Year. We stayed in an airbnb and it turns out, our hosts were a young LDS couple that just moved there from Provo a few months ago. We had no idea! It was the craziest coincidence!
So we spent two full days in Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, mostly so that we could experience....
GUYS! Harry Potter World is AMAZING!! I understand that it was probably made more for children than for 30-year olds, but you would never know it if you had been with us on this trip. We were enchanted by every single thing we saw.
We were scared the butterbeer would be overrated. Let me just tell you, it's not. It is one of the most delicious things I've ever tasted. We decided that, for the sake of science, we needed to try every single kind, and here are our findings (in order of best to good): Hot butterbeer, Frozen, Ice cream, cold. The rides were actually really awesome too (especially the Dragon Challenge). In the Hogwartz castle, you actually feel like you are playing Quidditch at one point!
Besides the Harry Potter aspects, the rest of the park was so fun! I sure love this sexy bald guy of mine.
Of course, we were so exhausted from all this running around (we are not teenagers anymore, you know) that at one point, I came out of the restroom to find Robbie like this. Fast asleep.
Our actual New Year's Eve was one of the biggest parties I've ever been to. It was a big concert put on the main stage in Universal Studios. The band, Orange Avenue, did a bunch of covers of songs we know and love. The last thirty minutes, the band did "Thirty Years in Thirty Songs in Thirty Minutes." They did one song from each of the past thirty years which, coincidentally, is exactly how old we are so they were all songs we grew up with! It was amazing.
Ohio Trip to see Marci! - January 7-15, 2016
I've been wanting to go to Ohio and see my sister for awhile now. She had a new baby girl back in November, plus her adorable foster baby is about a year old, plus the two cutest little boys in the land. I used the excuse that she needed my help because she was so busy with the two babies, but really, it was just a really good reason to hang out with some of my favorite people for the week.
Some of my favorite memories from the week:
They got their FIRST snow and Sawyer was told he could go outside to play in it at 9:30am. He sat in his snow clothes, snowboard in hand, staring at the kitchen clock on that stool for about 20 minutes.
He also came out in this Man in Black get-up. When I asked if he was supposed to be Inigo Montoya, he looked appalled. OBVIOUSLY he was Thorin Oakenshield.
On that note, he is OBSESSED with the Misty Mountains song from the hobbit. All week, he would ask for my phone (knowing it had no games on it) just so he could look up that song on youtube and hold it up against his ear as he walked around the house. He would repeat the song over and over until I asked for my phone back. At one point he said, "If I could listen to this song all day, I would. I would rather hear this song than have ipad or TV time all day." Hahaha.
This was how I usually woke up every morning. I slept in the boys' room and this little man does not sleep in much. My worst mistake was on my first day. I told them I thought we should get up early to make breakfast for their mom and dad. I had no idea what "early" means to Sawyer the Destroyer. Starting at MIDNIGHT, I hear this yell/whisper coming from the top bunk, "Angie! Angie! Is it time to get up and make breakfast yet?" I responded, with "Whoa, what? No, bud, you've only been a sleep a few hours. We have a long ways to go before it's morning. Go back to sleep." I got to sleep for awhile then, but about 3:30am I hear the same thing coming from the top bunk. Those requests to get up and start making breakfast happened about every 15-30 minutes from 3:30am until 6:00am. Finally, at 6 I couldn't hold him back anymore, so we finally got to go make breakfast. That kid....
This cute Grayson boy was always playing all week. I rarely saw him without one of his dresses on. He even put one on over his pajamas before he even came downstairs in the morning. One day, we watched Cinderella (the real one) and he had to find his best twirly dress so that in that scene when she spins and the Fairy Godmother changes her dress, he could time his spin right along with her. Adorable.
One day, Marci made these rolls for dinner. I was holding Stella baby over in the family room when I hear Grayson yell, "The butt cheeks are ready!!" Hahahaha, apparently the boys think these rolls look like butt cheeks so that's what they call them now. Truth be told, they're kind of right...
I had a pretty hard time ever letting this sweet new Stella babe leave my arms. Her double chin, huge eyes, and crazy hair just made her the sweetest, cutest thing. She even learned how to smile while I was there so we did all we could to get those smiles out of her all week.
Her big sister was never short on smiles. That girl's whole face lit up every time you even looked at her. For confidentiality reasons, I can't put any photos up of her, but we got plenty of her with BIG ol' smiles and videos of her laughing at the boys. She is just the best! She is trying to start communicating and you can tell when she really has something she wants to say, but she just can't get it out.
Best of all, I got to spend some time with my amazing sister and brother-in-law. We had such a great week, filled with lots of treat-eating, playing, puzzle-doing, cooking, and mostly chatting. Sure love this lady and her sweet family!
Utah trip for Grandma's funeral - January 16, 2016
While I was in Ohio, we got word that Grandma Irion had passed away. I flew straight from Ohio and Robbie flew from SC and both got there Friday, Jan. 15th. Her funeral was Saturday the 16th and it was such a great tribute to an awesome lady. And most of Robbie's cousins and aunts and uncles were in town so we got to spend some time with them and I got to know them a little better. What a great group.
Rob had to leave on Sunday but I stayed a little while longer and got to hang with my family. I luckily got to hang out with Britt before she and her littles headed to Harry Potter World! (And I obviously couldn't stop talking excitedly about how much they were going to love it). I also got to hang with my parents and experience my dad's new hobby: the art of meat-grinding! At first it grossed me out, but by the end, it was actually pretty fun! (Not to mention really delicious once it was cooked)
Just before Christmas Robbie and I got new callings. Rob was called as Elders' Quorum Secretary which he's great at and I was called as the Activity Days leader, which was super awesome....for one day.
We had my one and only activity decorating Christmas cookies with the girls before we left for Utah for the Christmas. However, right after getting back from Utah, I got a new calling...
Young Women's President.
Hahaha, what?! Lots of scared feelings accompanied by lots of really exciting feelings! I haven't served in Young Women's since I WAS one. But we've got great girls in our ward, and y'all know I love working with this age. Turns out, it's a pretty crazy schedule. Between teaching on Sundays, activities on Wednesdays, monthly Stake activities, planning for the big things like New Beginnings, Girls Camp, and Youth Conference, and then just worrying about the girls themselves, this calling is on my mind most of the time. And it's only been a few weeks! I have so much respect for all my Young Women leaders growing up. This calling has really given me a chance to think about how much those leaders influenced my life. I still remember some powerful YW lessons on Sundays and experiences at Girls camp. As scary as this new calling is, I am so grateful and excited for it. AND I have an amazing presidency to help carry the load. I can't imagine anyone better.
Angie's New Job
I FINALLY got a job! After realizing that subbing, though crazy entertaining, was not going to help us much financially, I began searching for something more permanent but had little success. I decided to take a long shot and reach out to a company I used to work for in Salt Lake. Luckily, they are swamped and in need of some extra help right now. And they don't even care that I live in South Carolina! So for the next while at least, I will be working from home for the Graduation Alliance, an online drop-out recovery program. I love this company and all my old co-workers (some of whom are still there!) so I'm really excited. It's temporary for now, but with the possibility of going permanent after a couple months. So woot woot! And it could not have come at a better time, because guess what?
A House in the Works
We are buying a house! Actually, technically building a house. We searched all over Florence for months looking for a more permanent place to live and, ironically, we ended up deciding to build right across the street from our apartment. It's a small guy, just 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, but it works for us right now. And, much to Nuca's future excitement, it has a backyard. Not huge, but enough that she can finally run around on her own again without being on a leash. So we've still got a few months until it's done, but because we live so close it's fun to see the progress on it every day when I take the pooch for walks.
So those are some of our highlights! Busy busy, but life should slow down for the next while as we both settle into our new routine. I love this guy and this pooch and this life so much!