Wednesday, September 28, 2011

We will not be old people who cannot do anything!


Last weekend, Craig and I made apple butter!   We made it in the slow cooker, just like my Granny does.  It’s pretty good, even if I did make it! 

Craig went to Scott’s Orchard Friday and bought a half-peck of apples.  We were able to make 2 batches with the apples.  Craig helped took care of the peeling, and even came home at lunch one day to turn the slow cooker down to low.  He also rocks at canning.  Yes, my husband can handle himself the kitchen.  Love it.




So- when we were getting everything together and trying to decide which recipe to use, I said, “Just let me call Granny.  She’ll tell us what to do.”
Craig’s response?  “No!  We are not going to be old people who don’t know how to do anything!” 
Ok. . . so we figured it out ourselves.  I’m happy to say that when we are old people, Craig and I will know how to make apple butter.   All is well.

Side note- I did call Granny when we were canning the apple butter.  I wanted to make sure we left it in the water bath long enough.   She was proud of us! 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sun.Sand.Shopping.Seafood.



Two weeks ago, I got to spend the entire week in Destin with Craig. He had to go for work and I was able to take off for five days. (no more personal days for Leah this year…) I was worried about taking off for the week on the 4th week of school, but also wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to go to the beach for a week. We haven’t been on a week long vacay since our honeymoon in Hawaii. Best. Decision. Ever.

So, we arrive Sunday afternoon and spend the afternoon on the beach. We stayed out till about 6:30 and came in to get ready for dinner. We were worried that going to eat at 7:30 would mean a long wait. Wrong! Apparently, this was a perfect week to go the beach. We walked right into Floyd’s Shrimp House- DELICIOUS!- and sat down to eat.

Monday morning, Craig had to leave at 6:00 with his co-workers to head to Air Force Base. I took the opportunity to enjoy a *hot* run, a leisurely breakfast, and then headed down to my beach chairs about 8:30. Two chairs came with our room-score! I positioned one in the sun and the other in the shade and rotated from chair to chair for the rest of the day. Heaven.

When Craig got back, he came down to the beach and we stayed out until about 6:30. I can NEVER talk Craig into staying out that late on the beach, but it was perfect this time because he hadn’t been sitting out there with me all day. Ahhhhh! We met a group of people he works with that night for dinner at the Crab Trap. Then we ventured down to Destin Commons. By the time we got back I was worn out from a day of vacation!

Tuesday was even better. Craig had to leave again at 6, so I got up and sat on the balcony for a while and watched the dolphins. I love getting up early at the beach and sitting outside. It’s so peaceful to watch the sunrise and enjoy God’s creation. The ocean and beach always amaze me-the vastness, the beauty, everything about it. I ran again- a little later and it was SO hot and humid, enjoyed my breakfast and a little of my favorite morning show- TODAY. At 9:00, I headed to the beach to camp out for the day. Boring? Not a chance. I finished the book I started on Monday right after lunch, floated in the ocean, and listened to Pandora. I couldn’t think of a more relaxing way to spend the day.

Craig got in around 5, and we stayed on the beach until 7:00. That’s right, I was on the beach from 9-7, minus an hour break for lunch!

Dinner that night was The Old Bay Steamer. Craig loved it. I ate shrimp with the head still on. . . .I’ve decided I’d rather not look my meal in the eyes before I eat it…

Wednesday, Craig had to work for half the day. After lunch, he spent the afternoon with me on the beach. We stayed out until about 4 when a little rain shower blew in. We took that as a suggestion to drive to Seaside and spend the afternoon there. Craig and I both love Seaside and had been wanting to go spend some time there. After Seaside, we made a stop at the outlets and did a little shopping before dinner. By 9:00 we were starving and headed to Harry T’s. Yum!

Thursday I was so excited to get down to the beach. All week I had been watching people on these things called paddle boards. Basically, it’s a surf board you stand on and you have a paddle to steer and paddle. Every morning, while the water was so smooth, people were going up and down the beach on these things. I’d talked with the umbrella guy about renting them, and decided to wait until Thursday morning when Craig would be with me. I was bummed to find that the water Thursday was NOT smooth and the waves were rolling in- so my plans got scratched. Oh well! We still enjoyed the great breeze and sunshine.

Friday was overcast thanks to the Tropical Depression stirring in the Gulf. We slept late, grabbed breakfast at Chick-fil-A and made it to the beach about 10. Even though it was overcast, we sat in our beach chairs and both read, took a little stroll, and read some more. By 2:00, we were hungry and decided to go the The Back Porch for lunch. It’s one of my favorite places. After we ate, we both agreed that a nap sounded fabulous. That night, we spent some more time at the outlets, then ate at a fabulous Mexican restaurant- La Rumba. After 6 days of seafood, we were ready for a break.

Saturday we woke up to heavy rain. That was fine, because we had to leave. Boo. We loaded up and headed home. We listened to the Bama game, made a quick stop at Peach Park, and finally arrived at home. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect week!

For those of you who made it through this looooooong post, sorry for all the details. Just wanted to document our trip. Now I’m counting down to Jamaica in June. . . . .


Friday, July 8, 2011

West Virginia

Just a few pictures from our trip to West Virginia. Craig and I have been for the past 3 summers for the White Family Reunion. Craig’s dad grew up in White Sulphur Springs. We usually take a ride through his old stomping grounds. It’s a beautiful area right in the middle of the mountains. This year, we even found the cemetery where his grandparents are buried. We may, or may not, have “trespassed” and I use that term loosely. We just had to drive up through a grassy pasture and then go through a gate.

We saw deer everywhere this year!

Driving through the beautiful mountains near Gap Mills, West Virginia.



We didn’t find the headstone of Herb’s grandparents. Lots of them were very overgrown. I took a few pictures though and we traipsed through the weeds. Craig was very squeamish of the sunken in parts of the ground. It was funny to me to see him that nervous.

One of the places where Herb went to school.

Craig and some of his sweet aunts at the Reunion.

The Igo Bunch

Craig, Uncle Myles, and Herb

We stayed in Lewisburg, about half an hour from White Sulphur Springs. Downtown Lewisburg is cute and has lots of history!





Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Let me guess- Backstreet Boys?



Last week, Abby and I took a quick road trip to Nashville for the New Kids on the Block-Backstreet Boys concert (NKOTBSB). I saw them on the summer concert series on TODAY earlier this summer and recorded it for Abby to see. The performance was SO good and we both got giddy just watching it on TV- while Craig looked confused. We decided to see where their tour would be heading this summer and were excited to find that they would be in Nashville! That was enough for us and we purchased tickets!





The whole way to Nashville we talked about how excited we were, shared about the songs we’d been listening to on our BSB Pandora station, and laughed at ourselves for being so excited. When we arrived at our hotel on Tuesday afternoon, the valet greeted us as we excitedly spilled out of the car. He looked at us and said, “Let me guess, Backstreet Boys?” I guess we gave off the “we’re-so-excited-about-NKOTBSB-concert” vibe. We were not offended.

Our hotel was just a few blocks away from the arena, so we walked and didn’t even care that it was raining. As we got closer, we joined the flock of other women heading to the arena and felt right at home. I cannot even explain the anticipation we were feeling as we got inside and found our AWESOME seats. I don’t think either of us stopped smiling the entire night.


Favorite quote of the night: when the lights lowered and the boys were about to come out and the entire crowd was screaming excitedly, Abby looked at me and said, “I might cry when they come out!” And so began the screaming fest for the night. Yes, we screamed the whole time. The show was AMAZING and I felt like a teenager again as I watched NKOTB and BSB wow the crowd. We certainly weren’t the only ones screaming our heads off. I’ll also admit proudly that we remember all the lyrics. We are true fans.





To top off our AWESOME seats, Jordan Knight came to our seats at one point during the show. Abby recorded it on her phone and I laugh every time I watch it. You can’t even hear what he’s singing for the screaming in the background. Awesome.

They played for over 2 ½ hours. Best concert I have ever been to and worth every penny I paid for my ticket. We got back to the hotel around 11:30 and it took us another hour or so to calm down. I know it was a great time because the show was great, but also because I was with my best friend. And although we are both adults, only my sister could scream like a child with me at the NKOTBSB concert.


The Right Stuff


I Want It That Way



And just to be clear, Abby never did cry. :)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Cooler than the flip side of my pillow--

That’s my husband. Just one of the few reasons I love this guy---when we got home from the river tonight he gave me 3 choices on “the funniest quote from the day.” And gave me options A, B, and C to choose from. They were all hilarious and I was laughing so hard I couldn’t even choose an option. His delivery was the best part. He has a memory like none other, which I love, because I can’t even remember what I had for lunch. . .

Love, love, love the song SMILE by Uncle Kracker. (even if his name weirds me out a little.) We may, or may not have sung along with it on full blast on the drive home tonight. I feel like it sums us up pretty well-

You make me dance like a fool, forget how to breathe

Shine like gold, buzz like a bee

Just the thought of you can drive me wild

Oh, you make me smile

Don't know how I lived without you

'Cause every time that I get around you

I see the best of me inside your eyes

You make me smile

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Channeling my inner Tami Taylor. . .

Tomorrow I will begin my residency in Instructional Leadership at Bob Jones High School. I will be working with one of the assistant principals for 10 days during summer school. I’ve got my dress ironed, my bag packed, my folder ready, and the coffee pot set. I know what forms I have to complete for each day and what standards I need to make sure I cover. I’ve met with the administrator, and I know where to park and what time to arrive. I’m ready . . . right?

Craig and I love the show- Friday Night Lights. Actually, we became addicted to the show, and when the last episode aired this season, I cried. It was such a real life kind of show, based on a high school football coach, whose wife, Tami, was a high school principal and counselor. Tami is my all time favorite character. Classy, sassy, and always dressed to the nine. I love that she can rock boots with her dress (the show is set in Texas) and that she is a mom of 2 and dedicated educator. She (well, her character) cares about her students and always makes the right decision in tough situations. The way she runs her school and fights for what she knows is right is what I love about her. And I think it’s awesome that she is a female high school principal.

I am completely aware that the show is fiction, no worries, but I love the way she embodies the job of principal. Tomorrow, when I enter BJHS, I will be envisioning Tami Taylor. While I may not be rocking the cowboy boots, I hope to have an ounce of her confidence to get me through the day!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Kirill's Story- Please read and PRAY!

The following story is from a precious family I went to church with in Tuscaloosa, Greg and Tesney Davis.


From Tesney:

Please feel free to share the following on your blogs. It is a summary of our adoption journey so far. Please help us spread the word. We are hoping somehow someone will be able to help us.


Two years ago Greg and I began praying for God to do whatever he wanted with our lives. We handed him a “blank check” so to speak, and told him to cash it. He opened our eyes to children with disabilities wasting away across the ocean in Eastern Europe. We joined God and started our adoption journey.

Our family is more than equipped to handle a child with special needs. I have a degree in Early Childhood Education. I am a member of the Board of Directors of Best Buddies of Alabama. I have volunteered for RISE and Eagles’ Wings. All of these organizations serve individuals with special needs. My husband I have close friends and family who have special needs and we are a big part of each other’s lives. Our wedding party included some of these special people. Our involvement with individuals with special needs led us to adopt a child with special needs; specifically, we chose Down Syndrome.

As we prayed over the faces of thousands of orphaned children with Down Syndrome, we ultimately chose a little boy named Sergey from Russia. Eight months later, as we neared the finish line of our adoption, one of Sergey’s family members in Russia stepped forward to adopt him. We were heartbroken for our loss, but God showed us that we were following him, and his ways are perfect. We knew we still wanted to adopt, so the way we saw it, two children would find homes because of our journey…Sergey went to his family and now we would choose another child to come into our family. We took great comfort in knowing that God could see this when we first committed to Sergey! We were honored to be a part of his plan.

Shortly after losing Sergey, we received a new referral with a grainy photo of a four-year-old blond-haired boy wearing pink glasses named Kirill. We were instantly in love with him. We had to re-file a lot of our paperwork because of the change in referrals and regions of Russia, but we were fast and we thought we were looking at three more months at the most until we would have Kirill home.

That was well over a year ago.

Since then so many things have happened. A tragic story of an adoptive mother sending her child back to his country alone on a plane with a note pinned to his shirt rocked our world…he was from Russia. Adoptions in Russia came to a screeching halt. Kirill’s region stopped processing adoptions for eight long months. The judge refused to accept any Amercian adoption cases until an official treaty was signed between the United States and Russia.

Even though we wouldn’t be able to finalize the adoption in court until the treaty was signed, we were allowed to go visit Kirill and sign our official petition to adopt him in August 2010. We fell more deeply in love with him. This was our son.

During that time, we found out that Kirill is the first child from his region EVER to be adopted with Down Syndrome. A birth mother keeping her child with Down Syndrome is unheard of in this area of the world. Adoptions of children with Down Syndrome just don’t happen there, these children are literally hidden away from society in orphanages and mental institutions. As our process continued, it became apparent that Kirill would be a pioneer. If our adoption was approved, it would pave the way for other children with special needs to be adopted from this region.

Then, a miracle happened around Christmas and the judge in this region suddenly changed her mind and began processing American adoptions again. We were elated. Could this be the light at the end of a very long tunnel? I was somewhat nervous about Kirill being the first child adopted with Down Syndrome from his region, but our agency was very confident that if we got a court date, our adoption would be approved. In seventeen years, they had never had a case rejected IF the family was issued a court date. We were told not to worry, so I didn’t. After meeting the judge’s requests for several supporting court documents, we were finally granted a court date-March 17, 2011. St. Patrick’s Day…I was thrilled. This would be our new favorite holiday! Our son was coming home!

Our other son, Clayton, who had just turned three when we started this adoption process, has prayed fervently for his brother. He is now almost five. When we told him Kirill was coming home, oh my…we had an excited big brother on our hands! At one point he even went to his room, dumped out his toy cars and divided them into two stacks…one for him and one for Kirill.

Last week, as we sat in the courtroom and suffered through five agonizing hours of difficult questioning, we were not prepared for anything but an approval of our case. Two doctors, two social workers, and the Minister of Children’s Services all made very strong statements on our behalf. They fought for us. Hard.

But when the ruling was read, the judge said, “Your application to adopt is rejected.” The basis given was that Kirill was “not socially adaptable” due to his “medical condition” and he was better off in an institution than in a home with a family. As the judge read her ruling, she stated several times that we were a good family, that we met all the criteria to adopt a child, but that she would not approve our adoption because Kirill has Down Syndrome and "he is not socially adaptable due to his medical condition, therefore his needs are best met in an orphanage." She told us that we could adopt another child, because legally our application had no problems according to Russian adoption law. She said she would approve our adoption for a “typical” child, but not this child. Why? The only reason? Because he has Down Syndrome. Even though we were approved by our home study and by the USCIS to adopt a child with special needs. It makes no sense whatsoever. Denying a child a family because he has Down Syndrome is a violation of human rights at its most basic level!

It was like a terrible dream. We were so unprepared for this outcome. As we left the courthouse in a mental fog, the doctors and social workers that had testified came to us and said, “If you appeal, we will fight for you. Appeal. Fight this decision.” Of course we were going to appeal…I could no more walk away from our biological son, Clayton, at this point. Kirill is just as much my son.

So here we are, asking God to move the mountain that is standing between Kirill and us as we appeal to the Supreme Court in Moscow. There are also three other families who are in various stages of adopting children with Down Syndrome from Kirill’s region; one of the families has a court hearing set for next week.

We are hoping that someone will hear our outcry and help us bring our son and these other waiting children home. His adoption will set the precedent for many other children in his region. There are 98 children in his orphanage with special needs alone. It is one of many orphanages in this region that houses children with special needs. This is about more than just one child, the lives of hundreds of children with special need are at stake. Please help us.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mercedes Marathon

February 13, Abby, Amy and I laced up our running shoes and trekked 13.1 miles through Birmingham for the Mercedes ½ Marathon.

We made a quick weekend of it, going down on Saturday afternoon, Craig and Jeremy in tow. We ate dinner that night at Firebirds- our favorite restaurant in B’ham. If you’ve never been there, it is highly recommended by all of us. We discovered it last year. It’s just behind the Galleria.

We ate early because my sweet husband wanted to be back to the hotel in time to see the race that night. NASCAR is a really big deal in our house and we take it very seriously! ; ) After a pit stop at Publix to get bananas and peanut butter for our pre-race breakfast, and fruit snacks for that night, we were ready to cheer on Junior!

This was Abby’s first half-marathon, so we turned in early- or tried to. None of us could sleep and ended up watching that movie with George Clooney where he travels a lot- UP IN THE AIR, maybe?? It was weird, but one of those movies that kind of sucks you in.

4:30 came VERY early. Abby and I got up and got dressed so we could got downstairs to eat. We were in for a rude awakening when we got downstairs. NO FOOD. WHAT!? Apparently, this place doesn’t serve breakfast until 7am. I’ve never stayed at a hotel that didn’t at least have coffee and toast out before the hot breakfast. We were able to convince the front desk guy to make us some toast and thank goodness we bought the bananas and peanut butter the night before. What a mess.

After waking the boys up, we headed to meet Amy at the start line. It was a cold, but clear morning. The sun was out and it turned out to be perfect running weather.

The course offered us a few more hills than we were expecting. . . but we powered through them. It helped that Craig, Jer-Bear, Robert, and Gayla found us along the course to cheer us on. We ran through The Highlands, which was gorgeous, and through parts of the ghetto, which was. . .interesting. Abby did fantastic for her first ½ marathon.

When we were nearing mile 12, we heard sirens behind us. I was afraid someone had gotten hurt. But no worries, it was just the first finishers of the MARATHON! The police cars came by first, and then the first 2 men in the lead of the marathon. They were flying and looking great to be a mile 25 of the race. It was cool to get to see that. Amy and I kept telling Abby how special it was- and then we laughed at ourselves for getting so excited about it.

At the end, Abby had a burst of energy and our “sisterly competition” kicked in as we neared the finish line. I was NOT letting her get across before me! We all 3 crossed together and found our fans waiting for us. It was a great race with 2 of my favorite girls!
Our matching attire was not planned... this happens to us all the time. Call it a sister thing!

New Toy!

So this week my days have been spent with this:

I LOVE my new mixer. It was a surprise from Craig a few weeks ago. I came in from class one night to find it sitting on the counter. So at 9:00 that night, I made red velvet cupcakes and butter cream frosting, of course!

Since then I’ve made cake, cookies, meringue and frosting with my new favorite kitchen tool. (I’ve also been running a few extra miles to balance out all these delicious goodies!) Yesterday, I made homemade ice cream in it- SO good!!! I found the recipe on one of my favorite blogs. I highly recommend it!

MOCHA ICE CREAM

Ingredients:

½ cup sweetened condensed mil

1 teaspoon of vanilla

pinch of salt

¼ cup of sour cream

1 ¼ cups of heavy cream

I used FF sour cream, lite syrup, and FF condensed milk & it tasted great. I'm sure it would taste even better with the "REAL" stuff!

Mix 1 heaping teaspoon of instant coffee powder with 1 tablespoon of boiling water.

Mix condensed milk, vanilla, salt and sour cream until well combined. To it add the coffee mixture, along with a generous squirt of chocolate syrup.

Mix your heavy whipping cream on high {it would love a cold bowl and cold whisk too} until stiff peeks form {3 or so minutes}. Whisk some of the whipped cream into the condensed milk mixture until incorporated and then gently fold the rest of the whipped cream in. Place in an airtight container and freeze 6 hours before serving!

My kitchen helper who couldn't understand why he couldn't have a taste. . . .

Craig isn’t much of a sweets eater- but these cookies I made last night he loved! I made them to send with my sweet cousin Lane on his flight back to Oklahoma. So easy and pretty good! I turned them into double doozies with some butter cream frosting in the middle. I never realized how easy homemade frosting is, and now I don’t think I’ll ever buy a can again. . . well, unless I’m in a hurry!

Cake Cookies

½ stick of butter

½ block of cream cheese

1 egg

1 tsp of vanilla

1 box cake mix

*Mix the 1st four ingredients together until blended. Then add the cake mix. Roll in powered sugar and cook at 350 degrees for NO MORE than 15 minutes. My oven takes about 12 minutes. Be sure not to overcook them!!

I made one more batch tonight to take on our camping trip tomorrow. That’s right. Leah is going camping! First time ever! AH! We set up our tent in the FRONT YARD this afternoon to make sure everything was there. I’m sure the neighbors thought we were crazy--- as if they didn’t already think that coming from the house that frequently has deer, ducks, or muddy four wheelers in the drive way!

There will most definitely be a post about the trip- it’s sure to be entertaining.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Snow Break!


Tuesday of this week was my first day back to work from a 10 day snow vacation. Talk about a rude awakening. For the past 10 days, I have been living it up at home, enjoying myself, watching all 4 (yes, I said 4) hours of The Today Show, and hanging out with my sweet husband and puppies. Monday we woke up to 10 inches of beautiful snow. I was like a child on Christmas morning. Craig and I decided we would make a big breakfast, call Ab and Jer and Mama and Daddy, and enjoy playing in the winter wonderland. We spent the day riding four wheelers, throwing snowballs, and warming up by the fire. It was a fabulous day.


Each day, Madison City would let us know by 2:00 if we would have school the next day. I’ll confess, each day at 2:00 I was waiting patiently by the TV to see the verdict for the next day. I can’t believe we were out of school for an entire week- but I loved every minute of it.

When we came back to school Tuesday, I didn’t know what to expect from my class. They surprised me by being angels. Sweet JT came in the room and said, “Mrs. Igo, I feel like I’m in 3rd grade!” When I asked him why, he replied, “Because we’ve been out of school for so long!” So true.

Today at lunch, I had the privilege of sitting at the table with my kids for lunch. Normally, we have a teacher’s table, but for this week we’ve been “asked” to sit with our kids. During lunch, a sweet little girl told me all about the new diet her entire family is on right now. I asked her to tell me about it and this is what I got: “Well, it’s called the healthy eating diet. We can’t eat things with sugar and food coloring.” I was curious about the food coloring and asked her to tell me what kinds of things had food coloring. She said, “Well, you know, popsicles. . . .that stuff I used to mix in my water bottle (crystal light), and. . . .Easter eggs.” Oh, of course, why didn’t I think of that! No Easter eggs on the healthy eating diet! Sounds like a diet I could handle.