Thursday, May 24, 2012

19/30: If I Could Live Anywhere

If you're stopping by for the first time, check out my previous posts here to catch up on things 1-19!

19/30: If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?

I know this is going to sound a little silly, especially since yesterday's post was all about my new house and how exciting it's going to be to actually be able to move in, but if I could live anywhere I would want to live in New York City - Manhattan to be exact, right in the middle of everything, channeling my inner Carrie Bradshaw! (Hey, if you're gonna dream, dream BIG right?)

I first visited New York on a school trip when I was a senior in high school. Just like that, I was hooked! 

Me and my best friend Logan in Times Square January 2007 (ignore my not so delightful fashion sense). 

I went back two years later with Robbie and his mom, again in January of this year with Robbie, and we may or may not already have a hotel booked for this coming up January. (One of the things I love about Robbie is the fact that he's equally obsessed with the Big Apple as I am!)

Us in November 2008

Again in January 2012

I would never want to settle down permanently in New York. I am definitely a small town, southern girl and will always have roots firmly planted in little ole New Bern.

However, there is something thrilling about being among the hustle and bustle of the city and I definitely wouldn't mind spending a year or two as a resident. 

In fact, between us, it's something Robbie and I do talk about every now and then - packing ourselves into an overly priced teeny one-bedroom apartment, quiting our successful careers that we've worked so hard to obtain and waiting tables in Times Square, leaving the only place we've both ever lived behind and starting something completely new and different - it's definitely not a realistic plan.

But let me tell you, if the cards fell in the right place and we could make it happen, I wouldn't think twice. 

What can I say?



Wednesday, May 23, 2012

18/30: Forgiveness

18/30: What has been the most difficult thing you have had to forgive?

I sometimes feel like I might harp on this too much, so I'll keep this post short (and I have some much more exciting news to share anyway). 

My parents' divorce has probably been the most difficult thing for me to overcome and required a whole new level of forgiveness I didn't really know I had. Throughout the whole process, I went through a roller coaster of emotions. Anger, betrayal, disappointment, panic, relief, frustration, annoyance, sadness: you name it, I felt it. 

I had to learn to forgive my parents for the mistakes they both made so that we could all move on to a new (and at times, better) family. 

With all of that being said, forgiveness is often something that I offer up too easily. I have a really hard time staying mad at people and tend to move on past things pretty quickly. Most of the time this is an okay way to be. But there are those times where I get caught up in the "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me" mantra.

Either way, I think forgiveness is a crucial part of life and something everyone should learn to do. Just remember, forgiving is different than forgetting. While you shouldn't stay hung up on things that have happened in the past, you should always learn from your mistakes while offering the necessary forgiveness when it's deserved. 

Moving on......I have HUGE news!

Robbie and I are officially homeowners!!! (Scary - I know - but oh so exciting!) We closed on Friday and it is officially ours!

We won't move in until the middle of June because the lease on our other house isn't up yet and there's a lot of work that needs to be done first.

And let me tell you, work is what we've done. 

Our first job was to rip out all the carpet, which my beast of a husband did in about two hours Friday night while I was at a dance recital! 

Next, we knocked down a wall (with help from my father-in-law and step-dad), opening up the kitchen/dining room/living room area.

It's hard to tell from the pictures, but it has made the biggest difference already.

Once that wall came out, we got to work stripping wallpaper and patching holes (I am the Queen of Puttying by the way!)

Next on the to-do list - sand the walls and start painting! We've already had the ceilings repainted so now we get to start the fun stuff! I'm not a huge fan of painting, but I'm excited about seeing everything come together, and getting paint on the walls is going to help with that a lot.

I will say though - it has been an exhausting 5 days. Being at school 8-10 hours a day and then working on the house for another 2 hours, plus keeping the house we're actually living in right now clean, cooking dinner, grocery shopping, and taking care of two dogs is hard work. 

With that being said....this girl is going to bed early tonight!

I hope you're all having a nice (not too busy) week!



Thursday, May 17, 2012

17/30: I Wish...

17/30: What is the thing you most wish you were great at?

This is hard. I'm pretty much great at everything already ;) ha....just kidding. 

But this is hard, I'm not sure I can pick just one thing I wish I were great as. I'm sure I've mentioned before my ever ending need to be perfect (it's sometimes a problem) and the fact that I am my toughest critique. 

So instead of one big thing that I wish was great are several little things that I wish I better at. 

1. Organization
2. Cooking
3. Putting together cute and original outfits
4. Saving money
5. Trying new things
6. Singing
7. Classroom management
8. Planning creative activities/things for my students
9. Not stressing out
10. Driving

Okay...enough of that. The big news is:

Testing is OVER!!! (well kind of) We still have a few re-tests to take in a few weeks but for the most part we are done. an attempt to go ahead and accomplish number 8 on the list above: 

I gave my kids sweet treats each morning before their tests this week. You saw my "smartie pants" treats for Tuesday. 

Wednesday my kids got "starBURSTS of energy" for their tests (I forgot to take a picture before my children devoured them).

And today we celebrated being almost "o-FISH-ally done with our tests" with these cute goldfish snacks.

You can snag your own cards by clicking here.

Enjoy the rest of your evening! And TGIF tomorrow!



Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Taking a Break

I have to stray from my usual list of things to blog about today for two reasons. 

One - It's End of Grade Testing week at school and I'm exhausted.

And Two - I have something completely unrelated to my list that I HAVE to share.

Obviously this past weekend was Mother's Day and I was super excited to spend the weekend with both of my amazing mothers! 

As I've already mentioned several times on this blog, my mom is pretty much the best and I feel honored to have any excuse to celebrate her wonderfulness.

I've also been extremely blessed with a wonderful mother-in-law. Not only has she been a significant role model in my life, but I've always seen her as a support system and (now more than ever) a friend. 

I realized this weekend though, that I probably don't tell either of these women how appreciative I am of them. My mom has done SO much for me over the years. Her passion for life, unconditional love, and constant strength are just a few of the things she's shared with me in my lifetime that I will forever be grateful for. 

It's my mother-in-law, however,  that gave me the most important thing in my life: my husband. And let me tell you.....she gave me a good one.


All my life I've had a pretty good idea of what I wanted in a mate. Loyalty, passion, commitment, etc. However, after being married for almost a year I've realized that it's the little things Robbie does, the values and expectations he has ingrained in him (from his mama) that make me fall in love with him all over again. 

I came home from school on Friday afternoon and saw four beautiful plants sitting on our front porch. My mother-in-law had told Robbie she wanted a plant for her garden for Mother's Day. While he was out picking it up, he (on his own mind you) decided to get one for our grandmas too. He didn't have to be asked or reminded. He just did it. It was Mother's Day, which in his mind meant every mother, even GRANDmothers deserved a small token of recognition. 

He also thought PUPPYmothers needed a teeny bit of recognition too. Robbie and I aren't planning on having children any time soon. (The four-legged kind are all we can handle right now...and some days that's pushing it.) But on Sunday morning I woke up to wet noses and a present from my very thoughtful husband - "for the mother of my dogs, of course."

All it needs is a picture of our sweet family and it'll be ready to hang in our NEW house. Yes, I said NEW (more to come on that later). 

I could spend hours blogging about all the reasons I am madly in love with this man, but I'll stop with here (for now). 

Thanks to all the mamas that are working so hard to raise wonderful children....they are our future after all! :)



Monday, May 14, 2012

16/30: Accomplishments

16/30: What are you 5 greatest accomplishments (thus far)?

I added the thus far because I'd like to think that I have many more big accomplishments ahead of me.

1. Becoming a teacher - It's been the one dream I've had my entire life and the fact that it is now a reality is still mind blowing! 

2. Graduating college (with honors) - I know this kind of goes along with becoming a teacher but college was something I had worked for my whole life. Going to college, specifically going to NC State University, had been a goal set for myself since before I even started high school. I knew from a very young age that I would have to work hard and make good grades in order to go to the college I wanted to. The fact that I made that happen is a huge accomplishment for me. 

3. Making my own BIG purchases - having my name on a car title or a house deed is a HUGE deal to me. (Being the one responsible for the payment isn't quite as fun.) But knowing that I was mature and established enough to make such a huge decision is a big accomplishment.

4. Going to the doctor by myself - Okay, okay I know this one is silly, but over the past few years I've had to go to several different doctors a lot, often by myself. 

A few months ago, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, after dealing with 4 years of fuzzy diagnosis', trial medications, and various doctors. Since I was living in Raleigh when I first started having symptoms, I wanted to find a doctor up there. That meant leaving the comfort of my small-town doctor's office. Once I found a rheumatologist (that I loved), test results revealed that I needed to find an opthamologist, get regular blood work and x-rays done, and find a reliable pharmacist to fill all the prescriptions I was going to start taking. It was a bit overwhelming for a college sophomore. And honestly, it hasn't gotten much easier to swallow. I now have a new rheumatologist in Havelock and get Humira injections shipped to my house monthly. 

My point in all this, is that while I had the support of my family throughout the whole ordeal, every decision I had to make concerning my medical needs was MY decision to make. I think it's a big accomplishment to look at all the facts and options and make the most beneficial decision, despite the bad news you've just been given. Ultimately, I feel like I smartly weighed my options and made the best decision.

5. Surviving my first-year of teaching - While becoming a teacher alone is a big accomplishment, getting through this first year (16 days left my friends) will possibly overcome every other accomplishment. I'm so proud of myself for reaching my ultimate goal of becoming a teacher. Getting there alone was challenging at times. However, the real challenge, I learned, really began AFTER I got the degree and became a teacher. This year, as I've mentioned before, has been both rewarding and challenging and has really taught me a lot about who I am as a person and a teacher. Getting through this year, and taking all that I've learned to shape the years to come, is definitely a HUGE accomplishment. 

Speaking of surviving's standardized End Of Grade test week and my 3rd Grade "smartie pants" are ready to show what they know! :)

(Thanks for the inspiration Pinterest!)

Is anyone else taking standardized tests this week? Good luck if you are! 



Saturday, May 12, 2012

15/30: If I were an animal...

15/30: If you were an animal, what would you be and why?

Easiest. Post. Ever.

If I could be any animal in the world, I would be a dog. But not just any dog. MY dog, Willow.

I mean, hello?

Not only is she the cutest animal EVER...

But she also lives a pretty cushy life....

Exhibit A: Snuggly naps any time of day. 

Exhibit B: Delicious treats that she never has to cook for herself.

Exhibit C: All the toys she could ever want.

Exhibit D: Play time with her best friend every day/

Exhibit E: Lazy mornings in bed watching TV.

Exhibit F: No laundry for her....just another excuse to snuggle.

And of course, she has the BEST puppy mommy in the world.

However, the mom part is something we already have in common - because I too have the best mommy in the world. 

Wishing all you blogging mommies a Happy Mother's Day! And everyone else, be sure you let your mama know how special she is! :)



Thursday, May 10, 2012

14/30: Strengths and Throwback Thursday

14. Describe 5 Strengths You Have.

1. Persistence - I never give up. I'm as stubborn as they come, which drives my husband crazy, specifically in the middle of a disagreement. But I definitely consider this my number one strength - now more than ever. When I set my mind to something, I'm going to get it done. I don't particularly enjoy a challenge, but I don't back away from one either. When the going gets tough, the tough get going, and even if it kills me, I'm going to stick something out to the end. If for no other reason than to at least be able to say I did it. 

2. Trusting too easily - I know, I know. This is also listed as a weakness from yesterday but like I said, I think, I think it can be a strength too. I always try to see the good in people and even when it's hard, that's what I try to focus on. I like to believe that people mean what they say. I know it's not always the case, but it's the world I like to live in. 

3. Organization - I have to work really hard at it, but I think I'm pretty good at being meticulously neat and organized.

4. Empathy - I've always tried to relate to people and personally, I think I'm pretty good at it. I try to put myself in other people's shoes and am usually able to see, and relate to, both sides of a story. 

5. Being Opinionated - I think it's important to have opinions, be willing to share them (in a civilized way), and be confident enough in them to stand by them. Having strong opinions about certain things is definitely a strength. 

Now for a little Throwback Thursday fun - 

With everyone talking about graduation, I can't help but think about where I was in my life a year ago. It has been a crazy eventful year. I know I'm not taking it way back but...

This time last year:

Wedding Season was in full swing - Robbie and I were being showered with gifts and love.

I was finishing up student teaching and stocking up for my very own future classroom (with a little help from some very sweet Kindergarteners.) 

I was celebrating graduation with my best friends.

(My sweet Kindergarteners were there for graduation too.)

Willow was brand new!

And I was frantically preparing for the "real world" - job searches, house searches - this time last year, I didn't even know what city I was going to be living in! 

Like I said, it has definitely been a whirlwind of a year. 



Wednesday, May 9, 2012

13/30: Weakness

13/30: Describe five weaknesses you have.

1. Trusting too easily - I have a tendency to live in a very naive bubble at times and usually tend to see the good in people, even if it's not really there. Most of the time, I consider this a strength - a positive character trait of mine. However, sometimes, being so trusting and forgiving can get me in trouble, and sometimes taken advantage of.

2. Fiesta Ranch Dip - I am so obsessed with this stuff, I could eat it everyday! And on top of being absolutely delicious, it's super easy to make. Maybe I'll post the recipe one day....if I feel like giving out my secret ;).

3. Tears - I hide this weakness pretty well. "Dry up and move on" is a phrase used often in my classroom. As far as my kids are concerned, I don't have time for tears. However, inside it really breaks my heart to see my kids cry, especially when they're sincere tears. Shhh....don't tell my third graders!

4. Being oversensitive - Again, not something I particularly like to admit, but I can be a little sensitive sometimes. Like I said before, I tend to live in a very naive bubble and when it gets popped with a harsh does of reality I sometimes take it very personally. This year I've really been working on growing thicker skin. It's (kind of) working. 

5. Being a (tad bit) controlling - (Side note: I'm really becoming less and less of a fan of this post.) As I've mentioned before, I do have a slight case of OCD and tend to take the saying "my way or the highway" a little too seriously. I like to get my way and I like for things to be done my way. This has been something I've had to work on, especially now that I'm married and living with someone who does certain things differently than me.

Monday, May 7, 2012

12/30: A Day in the Life

11. Describe a typical day in your current life. 

WARNING: My typical days are very monotonous, and while I find them pretty eventful at times, most days are rather boring (and very grown-up).

  • 5:40AM - Snooze my alarm, (because, let's me real, 5:40 is way too early to be awake)
  • 6:00AM (okay, sometimes it's closer to 6:10AM) - Rise and Shine! Time to frantically get ready for school, while my sweet husband continues to sleep (hate him for that).
  • 6:50AM - Make the trek to Cove City, driving within the speed limit the whole time, of course. ;)
  • 7:15AM - 7:40AM - Mentally prepare myself for the day ahead, make sure my classroom is (somewhat) organized and ready to go, and chat with my teacher friends down the hall. 
  • 7:40AM - 2:40PM - For the next 7 hours, I am officially Mrs. Dunn, in all my teacher glory. Lesson plans, behavior management, lunch money, parent letters, timed multiplication tests, AMath, AR, Science experiments, library books, Guided Reading, Guided Math, read alouds, Writer's Workshop, office referrals, uniform checks, Morning Meeting shares, grading papers, homework folders, behavior logs, snack counts.....and that's just while the kids are there.
  • 2:40PM - usually no later than 4:30PM (I've had to limit myself) - Once the kids are safely on the busses headed home, I start a whole new slew of teacher duties: parent phone calls, filing papers, preparing for the next day, making copies, staff meetings, IEP meetings, committee meetings, extra paperwork, lesson plans for the following week, progress reports, etc. 
  • After school - As of two weeks ago, I now come home and it's time for Insanity with Mr. Dunn. For those of you who don't know what Insanity is, I have two words for you: pure hell. I hate it. However, I am glad to finally be back on a workout schedule again. And even though the program is kicking my butt, I do feel better after I've sweated out the stresses of the day. (I'll keep you posted on results!)
  • After our workout together, it's time for dinner and lounging. Sometimes cleaning and errands get thrown in there, or dinners out with friends and family. I try really hard to not bring any school work home, but I'm also trying to not stay at school so late so it's hard to do both.
  • 9:30PM or 10:00PM - Bedtime (lame, I know, but 6:00AM comes quicker than you think) and then I start the cycle all over again. 
However.....this will be my typical schedule for only 22 more days, because then I will be on my summer schedule, which is usually no schedule at all! :)

What do your typical days look like?



Sunday, May 6, 2012

Weekend Recap and 11/30: Pet Peeves

Sorry I've been MIA all weekend. I just got home from a much needed girls' weekend in Raleigh with my college roommates. Of course, I had every intention of taking a ton of pictures to document my trip but, as usual, between the talking and laughing we didn't get a single picture. The fact that it was Cinco de Mayo didn't really help my case either! Regardless, the pictures couldn't have effectively captured the fun we had anyway. 

I took a half-day Friday and met my roommate, Caroline, to make the trek to Knightdale to meet our third roommate, Abby, for the night. We went to see Wicked at DPAC and it was sooooo good! This was the third time I've seen it, but the first time I've seen it somewhere besides New York and I must say, I was very impressed. If you're looking for a musical to go see, Wicked is a must. 

Saturday, we of course had to go shopping. One of the (many) things I love about my roommates, is their ability to find wonderful discounts! This week at the Loft is Teacher Appreciation, so we of course, racked up! 

Saturday night we met up with another girl we went to school with for dinner and a little downtown Raleigh bar hopping. 

It was so nice to be able to catch up with old friends and to be back in the "big city". I literally spent much of the weekend in tears from laughing so hard. Simply a wonderful weekend!

Now, it's back home and back to reality. I was glad to see my quaint small town, my sweet puppies, and my wonderful husband (who did three loads of laundry while I was gone!) Life is good. 

And to catch up on my 30 things.....

11/30: Describe 10 Pet Peeves You Have.

1. People reading over your shoulder.

2. Walking really slow in the middle of the aisle, preventing anyone from passing you.

3. When people don't go the speed limit.

4. Lip smacking.

5. Dishes left in the sink to "soak" for more than a day.

6. Wet towels/washcloths in the dirty clothes hamper.

7. Having to repeat myself....more than twice.

8. Lame excuses.

9. When people order a salad or other "healthy" options, and then ask to have some of my french fries or other "unhealthy" options.

10. Violations of personal space.

After such a fun weekend, even these pet peeves don't seem so annoying! Enjoy the rest of your Sunday night loves!



Thursday, May 3, 2012

10/30: Most Embarrassing Moment

10. Describe your most embarrassing moment.

Sorry I missed y'all last night....and I hate to break it to you, but this most isn't going to be very juicy either. 

I can't think of my most embarrassing moment.

Not because I don't have one. I actually embarrass pretty easily....and often. I am all the time saying something or doing something that could be deemed "embarrassing". 

I'm not an impulsive person by any stretch of the imagination. But I do have a tendency to say the first thing that pops into my head, which isn't always the best or brightest thing to say in any given situation. 

I'm also very clumsy. I run into things and trip over things all the time. I've tripped over the computer cord in my classroom too many times to count. Which I'm sure is a safety violation, but my kids just think it's hilarious. 

None of my embarrassing moments have too much of a lasting impression, which is a good thing. I don't think I'm permanently scarred from any misstep I've taken over the years. 

(Watch, now that I've posted this, something super embarrassing will happen to me tomorrow. Don't worry, I'll keep you posted either way!)



Oh, and look who figured out her fonts! Yay me!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


I'm taking a break from my 30 things for tonight.

Instead, I'm spending the evening watching this superstar (my brother-in-law) on the baseball field!

To be continued tomorrow....

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

9/30: Influential People

9. List 10 people who have influenced you and describe how.

**Disclaimer - I only did 7. While writing this post, I realized how much everyone in my life has influenced me in one way or the other...some for the good and some for the bad, but either way, they definitely influenced me. I chose to write about my top 7 - the ones who have had a really big impact on my life over the past few months. My list could go on and on, but since it's a Tuesday night, I won't get too lengthy with it.

1. My high-school sweetheart (now husband) - Mr. Dunn and I have dated on and off since we were fourteen, so obviously, we've been through a lot of huge milestones together. He's always been my best friend and the first person I go to for advice. Now that we're married, the decisions I make don't just effect me. I've always been considerate of Robbie's feelings, but now it's much more important to tackle life decisions together. I like to think, in that way, we influence each other.

2. My mom - as I've mentioned on day 3 my mom is a pretty amazing woman. She has definitely always been a huge role model for me.

3. My dad - I can't mention one without the other, because I wouldn't be who I am with one and not the other. My parents truly are a perfect balance of each other and I like to think some of that balance got carried on to me. My dad has always influenced me to chase my dreams, despite the challenges that sometimes arise.

4. My cooperating teacher - I had the absolute BEST student teaching experience I could have ever imagined. My cooperating teacher was so helpful, encouraging, and fun! She welcomed me with open arms into her classroom and gave me the opportunity to find my teaching voice. She gave me so many useful tools that have come in so handy this past year. Her kindness, determination, and passion were just a few of her admirable traits.

5. My college roommate - aka my soulmate. Caroline's the best friend I've ever had and I honestly wouldn't have made it through college without her. We didn't meet until the end of our senior year when we decided to live together, but I feel like I've known her my entire life. Over the past few years, she has been one of my biggest support systems and motivators. 

6. Mrs. Buckner - This is a 4th grade teacher at my school that has truly been my saving grace. She was one of the first people to reach out to me this summer when we were setting up our classrooms and immediately took me under her wing. She (among many of my other coworkers) has been a listening ear when I needed one the most. She is always encouraging and helps in anyway she can. A part from being an amazing teacher, she is also a truly great person! (And it's only her 3rd year teaching...definitely something to aspire to.)

7. Aunt Susan and Uncle Archie - my mom's older brother and sister-in-law were also high-school sweethearts and even though they've been married 25+ years, they still act like love-struck teenagers. They are amazing parents and grandparents, devout Christians, and the epitome of what true love looks like. 



P.S. I'm not sure why my font is different than usual once I publish my posts. The OCD in me is not okay with this. The tired-teacher-who-hates-Tuesdays in me is okay with this....for now. To be fixed later.