Thursday, December 13, 2007

Hallelujah!


As of 10 minutes ago, my Christmas break offically started!! WHOOHOO!! I just finished recording and posting my last final grade for my last class. I got up early this morning, so I could go ahead and have them done, and for those of you who know how much I like my sleep, and for those who don't, I like my sleep A LOT, you know that was a great challenge. So my finals are all graded, and the grades are turned in. Now, I just sit back enjoy and wait for the emails to arrive.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Anniversary, My Not-So-Naked Tree, and Car!


Monday was our two year anniversary!! Whoohoo! I can't believe it's only been two years; it seems like much longer, in a good way. I still love thinking back to our wedding; I had the BEST time! It was so much fun, if I may say so myself, and of course, look what I got out of it :)Happy Anniversary Sweetie!! For our anniversary, we went out to eat, then we went riding around looking at all the Christmas lights in the "fancy" neighborhoods while listening to Christmas music on my new (working) radio! Then, we came home and clothed our naked Christmas tree! Yea! It was a very fitting thing to do on our anniversary because a lot of our ornaments we actually bought on our honeymoon in Pigeon Forge and Asheville, so it was revisting that whole time again! That's kinda been our thing, whenever we go some where we try to find a Christmas ornament from there to remember it. Here are some pictures of our now clothed Christmas tree and my newish car!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Finals Have Arrived and My Christmas Tree is Naked!

It's finally that time of the year, and no, for us teachers that doesn't mean Christmas, it means FINALS!! Whether it's 9weeks test or college finals, it's the signal that the year is coming to a close and you get more work right before Christmas break, which I know I can't complain because I do get a break, and I LOVE that break!! For me, finals always bring about a hectic 2 weeks of playing catch up with grading and catch up with students. I haven't even gotten my Christmas tree fully decorated yet!! Isn't that sad? It's up with lights on it, but looking so sad with no ornaments! Alan asked last night if we were going to even put ornaments on this year. I hadn't realized it had been up naked THAT long. Anyhoo,this time of year is always the time when students suddenly become worried about their grades. Now, and not 2 months ago when I asked to meet with them or suggested that they get some outside help or when they failed to turn in that paper/homework/presentation. They all want to make up in one week what they didn't do for 4 months!! It only gets better once the finals are over, and I've posted their grades. I will then receive multiple emails that will cover the following topics:
1. Why/How did I receive this grade? I want to tell them it was all those homework assignments you didn't turn it or remember that paper you never did?
2. What can I do to bring up my grade/Is there any extra points I can make up? My response: If the final grade is in the computer, it's too late! Where was this concern 3 months ago?
3. The third type of email is always the most distressing for me because it always includes a family member's death or someone's college career hanging in the balance because of this class grade. There will always be varying accounts of sob stories also. I feel for them, I really do, but I didn't give you these grades in one day right before the end of class. You have earned them over 4 months! If you thought it was going bad, why didn't you do anything about it!!
And that's how my semesters usually end. Same types of questions, just different quantities. Hopefully, this semester will be different. Thanks for letting me vent!

Oh! another thing that helps make this more bearable: I'm getting a new car!! It's actually used, but it's new to me!! I've had my Galant for about 8 years now, which hasn't been too bad, but it's getting on up there in mileage (130,000) and the biggest concern- the radio doesn't work! It drives me nuts! But I, or technically my dad, have found a GMC Envoy, a maroon envoy. It means it was meant to be. You know the best part? The radio works!! It not only works, but has XM radio and a disc changer!! Love it!! I don't get it until Saturday, but it's help make finals more bearable :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

My Thanksgiving was Egg-cellent!


WARNING: Long post ahead. Sorry for the cheesiness of the title, but I can't help it. I also can't believe we won the Egg Bowl, but more on that in a minute. A quick rundown of the Thanksgiving break: Monday- went to work and picked up papers in all four of my classes (what was I thinking?) to grade over the break.
Tuesday- chilled at home grading papers. I was proud of myself since I got a whole class grade :)
Wednesday- beginning of Thanksgiving festivities. We went to Thanksgiving over at Alan's cousin's house in Millport,AL. Usually, this is held at his Uncle Richard's, but he has been in poor health since his stroke last year, so please keep him and his family in your thoughts. After Thanksgiving lunch, we came back home and chilled (I graded another set of papers) I also made supper, Mexican, what everyone should have to get over the overstuffed feeling from too much turkey. Pregnant April and Robert came by the house later that night! Yea!! I haven't seen them since last March, but the four of us haven't gotten together for a relaxin' night probably since our wedding. It was so good to see them and see how cute and pregnant April has gotten :)
Thursday- woke up a 4:00 AM, yes, that is AM. For all who know me, you know I don't do the AM. It is with heavy heart that I wake up at 5:50 am to go to work, but I was a nice wife this Thanksgiving (which should be remembered for Christmas hint,hint) and dropped my husband off at my dad's deer camp in Scooba, MS. Then, I drove on to Mom's and went back to bed for another 5 hrs. We had the Belvin family Christmas later that night, which was yummy as usually.
Friday- Left Collinsville early, and we drove up to Starkville for the battle for the golden egg! It was a beautiful day for football. Nice and cold, but not sleeting. The game itself was uneventful (I wanted to go to sleep by the 3rd quarter) until there was about 8 minutes left in the 4th, which was unfortunate for all those fans who left with 10 minutes left to go in the 4th. That's when our guys finally woke up and played like they have been all season! I woke up the next morning and my biceps were so sore from ringing Alan's cowbell the entire time! It was beautiful.

Saturday- Graded papers (big surprise) and went to go see Beowulf with Debbie and Tommy. I did my student teaching under Debbie at New Hope. As an English major, I thought Beowulf was interesting, more like what really happens versus the story that gets glorified and passed down orally through the ages. Having the whole movie in CGI is very interesting also. It looks so realistic in parts that you'd swear it was a real shot instead of CGI.
Sunday- John Austin was christened in Starkville, so we went over for that and came back to, yes, you guessed it, grading papers and hoping to avoid going back to work!
Sorry for the long post, but it's always easier just listing everything out. As you can tell by the amount of grading that took place during the week, I'm ready for this semster to be through. I haven't even put up my Christmas tree yet! Maybe Thrusday. Hope eveyone had a great Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2007

It's Raining Babies!!

Guess who's pregnant (and IT'S NOT ME!)? This is how many of my conversations with people have started in the past few weeks. Suddenly, everyone around is having a baby or has had a baby. Something must be in the water, and no, I'm not drinking from it yet. Now, don't misunderstand me; I love children, and I'm SO happy that many of my friends have them or are now pregnant, but that train has not stopped by the Leonard household yet, thank goodness. One day, but not today, God willing. But two of my bestest friends are pregnant: Amanda Williamson Posey and April Frazier Wallis!! Amanda is a little over 2 months along, too early to tell if it's a boy or a girl! I found out early on that I'm going to be an aunt! I found out last week that April is four months pregnant and having a boy!! I'm so happy for April and Robert because she was pregnant before, but had a miscarriage. So please my few but faithful readers, keep my friends in your prayers.

Also on the pregnant list is Alan's friends, The Clarks, who already have a 3 yr. old boy, and my cousin Robert and Ruby, who have a 3 yr. old girl and who swore that was going to be the last, famous last words :) Friends that have had babies recently: JD and Rachel with John Austin; Tori and Bo with Brayden; Haley and Patrick with Grayson (that goodness he's doing well); Morgan and Tart are joining soon with Ella; my cousin Tori and Dusty with Cade; and my officemate from grad school Sarah is due in January with Austen. I'm swimming in cute babies everywhere and couldn't be happier! So if anyone has any cute or helpful ideas for baby presents, please let me know!

Also, I didn't get to blog last week, but my niece Meredith turned 4 last Sunday!! I can't believe how big she has gotten. It seems like just last week, she was 2. She truly is a miracle. For those of you who might not know, my niece was born a little over a month early. Of course, she went into NICU, but her artery running from her heart to her lungs was not completely formed or closed yet, so she was flown to Ochsner's Hospital in New Orleans, where she was in NICU for a couple of weeks. To see her now, you would never know that little Miss Diva was a preemie. The Lord definitely answered our prayers for her and Jackson (her brother, who was also a preemie).

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Let's Go Bowling!!


Who would have thought last year at this time that we would be sitting around discussing the Bulldogs going to a bowl game?!! Heck, I was just hoping for a season where we won more than 3! Well, in case you've been off the planet, the MSU Bulldogs beat the ranked Alabama Tide 17-12 and are now in the running for a bowl game!! You couldn't have set it up better with us playing Alabama because if there is a team that most Bulldogs can't stand more than Ole Miss (or at least equal to) it is Alabama, especially if you are like me and live in Lowndes county. There are SO many Alabama fans. That's all we've been hearing, the miraculous turn around of the Tide. Blah, blah. That's two in a row Bama!! Yesterday was a great day! I haven't been to such a nailbitter, especially at home, in a while! Dawgs won in both football and basketball. Ohio State lost! All is beautiful in the world. I thought I'd include a picture sent to me by our friend Brock. I thought it would sum up the day nicely. Go Dawgs!!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Nashville and Willie!


It has been too long since I've posted, but here's some catch up! Our weekend in Nashville for Alan's B-day was fabulous! He had a great time, and even if I do say so myself, it was the perfect gift. It's been the first time in a while that we've just gone somewhere by ourselves. We first went to Country Music Hall of Fame, which was so cool, especially since this was my first trip. And while we were in there we got the awesome news that our Dawgs had beat Kentucky!!! Which only made the trip that much more fun! After the Hall of Fame, we went walking downtown and then drove out to OpryMills for supper before going to the Grand Ole Opry. I LOVE OpryMills!! So much fun! The Grand Ole Opry was a lot of fun too, much different than I expected. I didn't realize you got to see SO many performers in one night! Some of the highlights were Little Jimmie Dickens, Rissi Palmer, Vince Gill (loved him!) and Josh Turner (HOTTIE!), who was being inducted into the Opry that night.




On Sunday, we went to the Parthenon in the park in Nashville and then downtown to the Ryman. Then, before we left we stopped by OpryMills for a little shopping time! We can't wait to go back; it was a blast!! Then, last Sunday night, my parents came up to Columbus and we all went to the Willie Nelson concert in Tupelo. So many singers in so many days! I'd heard a lot of different opinions on Willie's concerts, but I must say that I had a blast! It was a lot of fun and beautiful music. Alan can finally cross Willie's name off our list of people to see before they die! P.S. I even got to see the Honeysuckle Rose.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Happy Birthday to You!!


Yesterday was Alan's 30th birthday!! The big 3-0! The loss of his 20s! Does that sound dramatic enough? For all the drama, he had a great laid back b-day week. It all started last Friday when West Point played West Lauderdale. For those that don't know, which the two or three people who read this thing should, West Point is where Alan works now and West Lauderdale is where I went to high school, so my alma mater played the school that pays the mortgage! I cheered for both even though West Point did win. After the ball game, we chilled at my parents' house. It's always good to chill with them since I miss doing that a lot now. Usually, when we're down for Sunday there's a crowd, and we always have to leave soon, but Friday night was a nice relax night. Saturday, Alan and I went hunting, although not together. He went bow hunting in the woods and I went clothes hunting in the mall! I love it when a couple hunts their own respective game. Then, Saturday night we came back up to Starkville for a birthday celebration at Mugshots! One of Alan's favorite eating places! JD, Rachel,and Elizabeth were there, and my friends from down home came, Amanda and Kylie, and my brother. It was a fun night of celebrating Alan and telling stories on him! :) Last night on his actual birthday, we ate with his mom at our favorite steak house, Martie's in Columbus, gotta try it! To continue the birthday celebration, becuase I do believe birthday should last all week not just the day you were actually born, Alan and I are going to Nashville this weekend to see Vince Gill (Alan's favorite) at the Grand Ole Opry! I've never been to Nashville, so I'm looking forward to it just as much as Alan. Keep ya posted.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Happy Homecoming!!


Yea!! I love a weekend when my Bulldogs win! We went to Homecoming Saturday and had such a good time, but I couldn't believe how hot it was for October! It was ridiculous! My best friend Amanda and her husband Jason were up from Meridian. She hadn't been to a football game since she'd graduated, so I had to show her some of the changes made to the campus, like the "great" way they're doing away with all our roads. Anyway, since it so humid outside and they're seats were in the nosebleed, we all decided to stay in the M Club in the nice AC during the game. I know who comes to a football game to sit inside, but it was worth it on Saturday. Here's a picture of us staying nice and cool. (I know I'm a wuss).

In other sports news, my weekend and Monday ended nicely because the Red Sox won their series three and out, and now the Yankees are done as of last night!! The Red Sox are in, the Yankees are out, and my Bulldogs have the best record they've had in at least 3 years!! Whoo hoo! Go Dawgs!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Twelve-Step Program

Hi, I'm Ashley, and I have a grading problem. Yes, it's true; when faced with a huge amount of grading, I can't commit. I look for anything and everything to do from cleaning my house, laundry, TV, blogging (for example), etc. If I call you on the phone, I'm probably trying to avoid grading, which I'm doing right now. More on this phobia later. Right now, I have a grammar irk. I can't stand the use of the word "thing". As if "thing" tells a reader exactly what he/she needs to now. I'm sick of my students using it, and I now realize that I have a "thing" problem or maybe it's just a grammar problem. Am I the only one? I admit to using thing in conversation, but when your teacher writes for the upteenth time that thing is too vague...STOP USING THE WORD!! There's my venting for this hour; Now, back to grading.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Little Q's

Today has been one of those days when I just feel blah. I've got a pile of papers all needing to be graded, sitting there staring me in the face. I know I won't get to them all, and today, class was just mostly blah. I went over grammar (which never gets a good response of course), and I felt that most students just tuned me out, and I hate having that feeling. Most of the time, I assure myself by remembering that was usually the response in most of my college classes, students sitting there in silence, but I don't want my classes to be that way; however, they were today (at least my Comp I's). Then, as I sat down in my office to begin the arduous task of grading, I was reminded why I love teaching, especially college level. Two of my students came in to turn their papers in, and they asked my opinion on renting an apartment. Now I know that doesn't sound like much, but after the response I've had all day, students asking for help was a blessing. I sat there listening to their plans for next year and the places they looked at and the questions they had about rates, utilities, and leases; then, I flashed back to 7 (?!) years ago when I was in the same situation with the same questions and all my college years laying before me. Ahh, memories. It's times like this when students have questions about living on their own for the first time or where to find things on campus or in town that I truly love teaching at State. I love when people actually need my help, and sometimes, especially at the beginning of the semester, you don't get that. Students either don't need it or (more than likely) won't ask. Were we like that? I'm sure. I don't remember many times in college that I actually went to a professor for help, especially during undergrad.

One last point, how about those Dawgs? I was so happy this weekend to hear about my Dawgs beating Auburn! Fingers crossed for this Saturday! Go STATE!!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Go Green Wave!!


No, it's not what you think from the title. I am not cheering against my Bulldogs this Saturday (GO STATE!). For those who don't know much about my husband, he is in teaching and coaching, but for the past year, he has been working in business. Now, he has gotten back into his true love, which is at the school. He is a World History teacher/ Economics (a subject I never learned much about thanks to Mr. Zeagler) and the assistant baseball coach of the West Point Green Wave (hence, my go Greenies). As an assistant coach, the school usually makes you coach something else because they need free labor, so Alan has also been the assistant slow pitch softball coach. It has been an awakening experience for him since he's never coached girls before, and it has been a blast from the past for me. I didn't realize how I missed softball or what a great team we had at WL (4 State Championships from 1993-1997)!! However, the Lady Green Waves do not resemble the Lady Knights, nor does the head softball coach. They have struggled big time, 10 run ruled or 15 run-ruled. Then, the heart breaking lose by a point or two, but last night the Lady Green Wave had their first victory!! They played like a team who knows softball (which is a huge improvement), and they didn't give up when the other team was ahead for an inning or two. So, the Lady Green Wave improves to a 1-7 record so far! It makes the games a lot more fun when you win or at least improve!

Monday, September 3, 2007

The Joys of Back to School and MSU Football



For the few and faithful who do read my posts, I apologize for the long delay in putting up some new material. School started back for me two weeks ago, and as usual, I kinda disappear trying to get everything in order, but now I'm back and you only have to worry about me disappearing when I have to grade papers, which is like every other day pretty soon. The new school year started off rather well. I've got 4 classes this semester, but instead of teaching just 2 subjects (2 Comp I and 2 Comp II), I've got 3 subjects (2 Comp I, a Remedial, and a Comp II), which is fine because the Remedial English only has 15 students in it. So far, my classes seem to behave fairly well (you wouldn't think that would be an issue in college but these are freshmen). My Comp II class seems very sedate, which means I'm just waiting for them to come out of their shell. Then, last Thursday, in case you missed it, we had our first football game of the year against the LSU Tigers. I love football game days in Starkville. Everyone's festive (read happy and tipsy), cheering, there's hope in the air (especially since this was our first game) that maybe this would be our season, maybe we could pull off the upset. Alas, in case you missed it, we did not, but it was still a football day in Starkville. And yes, I was that teacher who had class the Friday after the ballgame. :) I was missing my share of students, but I will give them kudos that the majority of them showed up on Friday, so I'm lookin forward to a good year! We'll talk about the football season later :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Bible School Revelations


Okay, now that the trauma is behind me somewhat, I'm ready to talk about it. Last weekend, I had the "pleasure" of helping out with Bible School at my church in New Hope. First of all, it was held on the weekend right after the kids just started school back. Not only that, but they decided to squeeze 5 days of Bible school into 3! We went from 5:30 to 8:30 on Friday night, from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm on Sat., and from 9:00 to 11:30 on Sunday. Then church started at 11:30. Now, I don't know about everyone, but I can speak for the CUMC group that Vacation Bible School, first off, takes place during the summer, hence the Vacation part. Two, that you spread it out over the week so the kids don't go crazy and now I firmly believe so the teachers don't feel hostile toward the children in church. I know we live in a different time than when I attended Bible school (shout out to Aunt Gayle, Mrs. Wanda, and Mrs. Nancy!), BUT some things need not be changed.


Now, granted everyone knows I'm not the kiddie teacher type, hence why I teach college, but I figured, hey, it's church kids, I like kids. I need to get to know them and the other adults, you know, participate with the church, so I thought why not? I've done Bible school before at my home church, always liked it. That's where the mix up happened. Letting my memories of Bible school at a place that I knew like the back of my hand (home) and a different time (I swear kids are truly different now) cloud my judgement. I had a group of 4 kids in the first and second grade. No biggie right? OMG! They all had attention problems and attitude problems, not to mention one kid had already been to this Bible School at another church, so not only where we doing 3 days on 1 day, but he already knew what was going on, and at 9:45 on Sat., he was already asking when they got to go home. I told him he'd have to wait another 7 hours. Finally, on Sat. morning, one mom admitted to me that I had the worst group, and if I needed backup, that her husband was there. Well folks, I'm not proud when I've been wrangling and screaming at kids constantly for 2 hours to behave and listen, so I called for back up. Did it help? Well at least, there were 2 of us watching them now. They were better, and bible school wasn't as bad as it seemed. Some of the children were even endearing once I got passed how I wanted to wring them or their parents' necks.


Moral of the story: When people say kids today are different, they are absolutely right!! Why? Because they didn't have your parents raising them. And remember your childhood with fondness, but also know that you can never really recreate it.


P.S. When I told this story to my mom, the first comment she had was that Alan shouldn't have let me do it because now I would never want kids :) And you know what, that was my first comment to Alan after my horror day on Sat. Moms always know what you're thinking.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Bourne Ultimatum



This could also be titled The Hot Matt Damon Movie. We just got back from seeing the Borne Ultimatum, and I'm telling you it was awesome! After a whole weekend with children (vacation bible school, I'll post on it later), a hot action movie was exactly what I needed. Alan and I give it four thumbs up!! If you haven't seen the other movies, you may be lost, but as a whole it is a very action packed movie, but not too special effecty. All the action sequences and stunts are believable, and it has an excellent plot line. Did I mention Matt Damon's in it? Anyway, I think anyone would enjoy this even if action movies aren't really your thing.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Reasons to Start a Blog

  1. Because apparently your not busy enough with your job, husband, family, life...
  2. Everyone else is doin' it.
  3. You have a job where you talk all day long, but not about what your thinking.
  4. Keep in touch with friends and family that don't see your every day life.
  5. To stop your best friend, sister, cousin, etc. nagging you about getting a blog
  6. To feel very Carrie Bradshaw like
  7. To find a hot date that would know all about you (doesn't count for us married folk)
  8. To be able to get that song, quote, saying, etc. that's been stuck in your mind out of it.
  9. To show off your excellent typing skills.
  10. To prove just how boring your life is. :)
  11. Did I mention everyone else is doin' it?