Sweet December


Whelp, I feel like I say this every month, but December literally just passed by in a blur of Christmas carols, Starbucks hot-chocolates, last-minute present-wrapping, attempts at teaching despite upcoming holiday-induced craziness, and fun times with friends and family.

I look back at my last post, and try not to sweat the fact that it's been over a month since I've blogged. I've got my reasons. There was the stress of wrapping up my grad-school assignments for the semester in early December, followed by the devastation at Sandy Hook Elementary, in which I couldn't and still just don't have to words to speak or write of. There was the week leading up to the holiday break, in which I literally had a Christmas party 4 of the 5 weeknights. And, then it was time to pack up for the holidays!

 But, that doesn't mean I want a whole month to go undocumented. Especially a month filled with...

1. Awkward Self-Timer Christmas Card Photo-Taking

Yes, we totally took our camera & tripod into the woods off of a trail in our neighborhood, sat on a towel, and self-timed this fabulous holiday photo! Next year, I vow to get a professional!
2. Chemo-Completion Celebration for my dear friend and former co-worker, Carol!

3. Wedding of one of my oldest child-hood friends, Jannell, and her sweet guy, Brian, who went to high school with us!

4. Tacky Christmas Sweater Parties

Please note the scarf Kyle is wearing...recognize it from above Xmas-card photo? Yes, I married that guy!

5. Early Present Exchanges

6. NC State Basketball Game

7. Horse-Drawn Trolley Rides

Kyle's parents & us...missing Ryan

8. Bowling

9. Christmas Pageant at My Grandparents' Retirement Home!

Starring us as Mary & Joseph... proof of how much I love my grandmother that I agreed to this!
10. Christmas Eve Dinner w/ both our families

Love Kyle's family's tradition of everyone popping their "popper" and wearing the crown inside!
11. Christmas Morning Excitement

12. A White Day-After Christmas in Virginia

13. Game Nights w/ the Cousins

14. Birthday Celebrations

15. Play-Time & Snuggles w/ This Cutie!

Other highlights include...

 A 5-hour drive on Christmas Day to Virginia with my parents, grandparents, Kyle, and me all piled into the car!

Our annual Gecko Girls Christmas Party, complete w/ Reindeer Chow & Holiday Cheer!

Polar Express Day w/ my kiddos on the last day of school before break!

Seeing Les Miserables with Clan McLeod...so amazing!

Port City Java Date w/ my friend, Becca

And, lots of other good quality time with Kyle's and my family!

Fa, la, la, la, la!

Birthday/Turkey Day Photo Re-Cap


So, if you read my last post, you saw that I'm having trouble uploading photos with my regular blogger account, so my temporary fix is to use another email address that I've invited to "contribute" to my blog, and so far, it seems to be working! The only hitch is that I can't go back and update any previous blog posts, hence the whole separate recap post of just photos!

Birthday #1-- Kyle's!
Early B-day Dinner w/ Kyle's parents!
The Birthday Boy who scored 2 slices of cheesecake!
Happy 26, Kyle!
Birthday #2-- Mine!
B and Kelly at my b-day dinner!
Mom and Grandmother!
Grandaddy and me! Yikes...I blend into the wall! 
Thumbs up for birthdays!
Yay for my b-day presents from Beebs! This is the photo I sent her in which I attempted to display everything she bought me...scarf from Urban Outfitters, Under Armour Fleece, and 3 UA thongs! Love, love, love!
Cookie Cake = my favorite!

Thanksgiving 2012
My Turkey Trotter and me!
Go, Kyle!

Patriarch and Matriarch of Clan McLeod!
4 McLeod girls and 1 soon-to-be in-law!
The Whole Clan, minus 3!

Perfecting Grandmother's Rolls
Mount Rushmore of Manly-ness!

Birthdays & Turkey Day Recap


Raise a hand if you're still feeling full from your Thanksgiving feast! I should probably raise both hands considering my feasting has been going on for the last 2 weeks between Kyle's and my birthday! I'm so sad that November is almost over because it's one of my favorite months of the year, but what an amazing month it's been!

Back on November 14th, my amazing hubby, Kyle turned 26. We celebrated early with his parents at one of favorite restaurants, had a little surprise dinner with friends on his actual birthday, and had a joint-celebration a few days later with friends and family! Not too shabby! We decided not to do gifts this year because we're trying to save up for a big trip, but I did at least get him 2 slices of cheesecake so he wasn't completely deprived on his big day!

My birthday was this past Wednesday, and I made a very important decision early-on that I was going to go about enjoying my birthday treats the same as I would if the next day didn't happen to be Thanksgiving! I mean, what's one extra day of good eating? I didn't have the day off completely from work, but I did have a teacher work-day and was able to leave a little early to go the gym before getting picked up by Kyle to go to lunch at one of my favorite restaurants! I got my usual, fettucini alfredo, but was really waiting for the chocolate chess pie for dessert! We relaxed for the rest of the afternoon until my brother and his girlfriend, Kelly, arrived, followed by my parents and grandparents. My birthday dinner consisted of the most delicious pizza at my new favorite pizza place! It was a very fabulous birthday!

The next morning, we woke up bright and early to head to Wake Forest for the Gobbler Run that Kyle and some of my other family members were participating in! We all sported our Clan McLeod shirts and had so much fun cheering each other on! We spent the rest of Thanksgiving at my Peyton cousins' other set of grandparents' house! They were so gracious to host all of us since my grandparents had moved to Wilmington, and we no longer had our central gathering spot! It was bittersweet to be back in Wake Forest and not be at my grandparents' old house where we have literally spent almost every holiday since I was born, but I know it's the people who make it home, and it was so great to have our whole family back together for this Thanksgiving...probably the first one in a good 7-8 years that every member has been able to be there! We had the most amazing feast full of so much love and laughter...and the traditional "press conferences" that we, the grandchildren, always have to give to update everyone on our lives!

And, as always, I am reminded of how blessed I am and how much I have to be thankful for-- the most amazing family, wonderful friends, my faith, having my basic needs met and then some, healthy families, and so, so much more.

I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving too!

**Side note-- I tried to upload photos to this post, but it is saying that I've reached my maximum storage limit and that I have to pay get more storage space...has anyone ever had that happen? Help, please!

Fill in the Blank Friday :)


Y'all, I need this 3-day weekend. Like seriously NEED it. What a long week, and the kicker is that I only had to actually teach Wed-Fri this week. Anywho...on to more exciting things, like my first Fill in the Blank Friday in forever!

Here we goooo....

1.  I like  leggings & boots, lazy Friday nights with the hubs, mocha shakes, and hugs from my students...just to name a few!

2.  A life goal of mine is  to be Teacher of the Year at my school...shhhh, don't tell!

3.  The last thing you would ever expect me to like (even though I secretly do) is  watching fights that break out at sports games...highly entertaining!

4. Some wise words that I love are   from one of my co-workers/parents of a student, who told me today after a not so fun moment this morning that I had to stop caring about people's opinions who I don't respect...so true!

5. Most mornings you will find me  scrambling around my classroom to get ready for the day wishing that I hadn't watched Gossip Girl while eating breakfast that morning!

6. Right now I am super into  skinny cords & boots...and I always love my scarfs!

7.  Right now I am super over  facebook discussions of politics, yogurt shops (seriously, we have about 6 in a ten mile radius from our house), and grad school.

Happy Friday, Friends!

Exercising that Right!


I know that I already mentioned that I early voted and showed this picture, but I'm feeling like I want to devote a whole post to it...just so that I can remember how excited I am to vote!

I remember watching my parents vote when I was little, and I saw all of the voters that turned out at my elementary school since it was a polling spot! It was awesome to see the power of voting at a young age and to know that it was something I wanted to do when I was old enough!

As I got older, I learned about the struggle for the right to vote for so many marginalized groups of people. As a woman, I feel like I would be letting down all of those amazing women who fought to earn me this right to vote. I feel so proud to exercise this right!

I am proud that my first election back in 2008 was also the same election where our first Black president was elected because how cool will that be to tell my children when they learn about that in their history classes! And, I can't believe that I just voted in my 2nd election! 

As a teacher, I feel like there is so much I need to model for my students. We have had some wonderful conversations about the election and voting! It was so exciting to hear all of the parents mention how "into" the election their child was after all of our talks at school! I love that I'm doing my part to encourage these kiddos to grow up to be good citizens in this way!

I feel lucky to live in a country where we're allowed to have different opinions. I love that all of my best friends from high school and one of my best friends from college have different political views than me and that we can have educated conversations about our differing opinions and still love each other! I also love that most of my family, teacher friends and one of my other best friends from college have the same views as me and that we can talk so passionately about what we commonly believe. 

I can't say that everything about this election has been awesome. I certainly have my beef with many of the comments on facebook that alienate or bash people with different beliefs. 

But, mostly, I just feel proud and lucky to have voted!

Happy Election Day, everyone!

Our First Rodeo...the Food Truck Kind!


My weekend was simply blissful. Good laughs with friends on Friday night and a lazy Saturday, but the cherry that topped my weekend was our visit to our very first Food Truck Rodeo on Sunday! So amazing for this foodie soul!

First Stop... American Meltdown...home of the most delish adult grilled cheeses!
Anna got the "Pigs-N-Figs" 
Kyle and I split the "The Orchard"
I was just a wee bit excited to try it!
Next Stop...Baguett About It...I think the names speaks for itself!
We split the "Kellye's Favorite"...sweet Italian sausage w/ peppercorn sauce & parm cheese!
Stop Numero Tres...The Parlour...serving heavenly home-made ice-cream!

Vietnamese Coffee & Salted Butter Caramel...so amazing!
Next Stop...Waggin' Wagon...even the doggies need a treat!
Matt & Anna had to pick up something for their canine baby, Charlie!
 My last stop...Monuts Donuts...bet ya' can't guess what they serve?
We got there too late for me to try their famous "Maple Bourbon Bacon" donut...I tried their  Glazed Yeast donut, and it was pretty good!

Kyle's last stop...Sympathy for the Deli...get your sammies here!
Roasted Turkey w/ Swiss and Bacon...nom nom nom!

Last few bites!
And I don't blame you if you now that you think we're total pigs! We definitely left with full bellies...


Happy Hearts!

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

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