|The summer began with a visit from my Danish cousin, Terese, and a weekend-long|
slumber party with my dear friend, Megan!
Between visiting friends, going to a family wedding reception in Seattle, a training and a family visit in Atlanta, a trip to the Western Slope of Colorado, a Camp Chief Ouray reunion, a visit from fire-escaping New Mexican friends, many trips to Fort Collins to hang out with The Dudleys, and a million breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and coffees with long lost friends, it has been a great trip home. In fact, it has felt like I never actually left.
To be honest, after my horrible experience last year, I am just mentally setting the reset button and starting over with my international teaching experience! The best part about coming home, and Colorado will always be home, is that you always feel at home! (Can I use 'home' again in that sentence?). When I was at my training this summer, it didn't even feel like I had worked in England. All of my teacher thinking came straight from CBMS as if I had never left!
So, here are some pictures from my summer. You'll notice that I spent a lot of time with babies and toddlers. Its what I do! :)
|My first summer visit was with The Wolff-Barrys...my favorite twins!|
Clark & Fawn have not gotten any less hilarious while I was gone...more so, actually!
Four is funny!
|Now these aren't toddlers!|
My nanny, Lori, has the most amazing kids ever...Karolina & Kai!
We zooed it up and I can't wait to spend Christmas with them this year!
|My cousin, Annie, took me out for delicious dim-sum while in Seattle!|
We also spent some time with her backyard throwing knives, seriously fun!
|Mount Ranier out the window of the plane!|
The best part of the summer: I got an iPad and was able to catch up on movies
I missed while on all of my flights! This was worth putting down the movie!
|My friend Dawn from CSU was able to come to Seattle from Oregon while I was there!|
Great to catch up with an old friend and to realize that we haven't changed
much since we met when we were 20!
|Family dinner in Seattle. My dad's sister and her family live there and hosted me!|
We had a great time with plenty of delicious food and wine! Big surprise, huh?
|There was a photo booth with props at the party!|
My aunts, JoAnn & Marilyn, are always willing to be silly with me!
I was able to make some good professional connections with several science teachers from around the US who think like me instructionally and we exchanged information and already sent lots of teacher/student documents back and forth through email. I also met a science teacher from California who will be in Germany this summer so we are planning to get together in Düsseldorf. HOW FUN!
The other part of my trip to Atlanta was that I was able to spend time with my cousin Brian (we have twin feet but his are giant...or "superior" he would say!) and his girlfriend Ayla, who is awesome! And, I also got to see my cousin Ryan and his wife, Angie. Ryan and Angie have the most hilarious little girl, Abbie.
|Mona & J-rod were playing "lion tamer" with Daddy as the lion.|
This induced a lot of really funny baby screaming!
|Annika was wearing my empty backpack while we walked|
around REI and then saw this bike basket. She
immediately put it on her head! Very logical, of course!
|Carolyn & Baby Ellie!|
Carolyn, Ellie, and I went through a few outfits on this day!
My other sojourn this summer was to the Western Slope with my mom to visit one of her oldest friends, Joanie! We visited Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, tasted some Western Slope wine, and fought off the worst mosquitoes of my life while camper-camping on the Grand Mesa. We also got to see some of the best, most amazing wildflowers at around 9,000 feet elevation. I was suddenly shocked when random Latin names would escape my brain and burst forth....Thermopsis divaricarpa, Antennaria parvifolia...AAAAHHH!!! (Thank you, Pingree Park, CSU's mountain campus where I spent the most intense four weeks in 1999...so intense that I still randomly bust out scientific names!)
|Joanie, My Mama, and Me at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park!|
|WHAT? Look at these Columbines!|
Everybody knows that I have been a "camp girl" my whole life...having been a camp counselor translated perfectly into being a middle school teacher. So, at the beginning of the summer, Megan and I concocted an idea to have a Camp Chief Ouray 1997 reunion...the last summer we were all there together. Kir and Matt offered to host and it was so fun to catch up with everyone. Although, it was funny to be like, "so, since college, what have you been doing?" since we've all gotten quite old!
From left to right in the back: Megan, Me, Kir, Matt, Beth, Kevin
In the front: Gina & Justin
We were all counselors at Camp Chief Ouray in 1997 (and most people in other years too!)
|The creating begins!|
|The final products! Turned out pretty well!|
I almost threw mine at the very end because I totally screwed up one part....
...but the teacher rescued me, like a good teacher, and the worst part turned into my favorite part!
And lastly, when I wasn't doing all of this other stuff, I spent lots of time with The Dudleys, Natalie, Todd, and Harper! Harper's new thing is to put objects on people's heads and call them a hat and then laugh really hard because they aren't actually hats! She is such a doll and so super smart!
|Harper hammed it up for me! I also taught her how to take|
pictures with my camera which she thought was really fun!
And, as I have been doing all year...I pack. I will be hauling a major load of green chilis over to Germany because I have learned that I CANNOT live without them and they are impossible to find in Europe.
So, it is likely that the next time I blog, it will be from my new apartment in Germany! WOO HOO! Bittersweet to leave (especially all these sweet babies that I hang out with!) but I am looking forward to having my own place, a new job, and a new challenge!