Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Update on Things

I looked at my poor, neglected blog and thought I might need to let everyone know what's been going on with me recently. Since school's been out, I've been working really hard on my tan, swimming a lot at Nana's pool with the boys, and trying to find time to read.

The entire family made a quick trip to Siloam Springs to meet my new niece (alright, she's my cousin, but I'm still going to be her aunt) Parker EvaMarie Forrester (Jami and Greg's new baby) who was born May 13th. Braden attended the Southside basketball camp for the second year and has been busy trying to either beat a game on the X-box or swim under water the farthest! He also attended the swimming lessons sponsored by the Batesville Kiwanis program. He has become so proficient with his swimming, he was allowed to jump off the high dive!

Landon has been attending Southside Preschool this summer and has started swimming like a little fish. His favorite thing to do in the pool is to be thrown as far as possible and as high as possible. He is so funny! We've also been reading a lot at night. His favorite book so far has been Shel Silverstien's "Where the Sidewalk Ends." He even memorized one of the poems... I'll have a video soon!

Dad has been working really hard at the bank and trying to go to the pool whenever possible. We did have a scary time on July 6th, when dad went to the emergency with chest pains and trouble breathing. After being examined and tested, it was determined that he had had a cardiac event- not a heart attack, but an event. They performed the dye test and did find a small blockage on the back of his heart. Dad now has a stint and is on sick leave for a few weeks while he recovers. He did try to go back to work out of boredom, but no one is letting him (ha!).

Mom's had her fair share of surgery too. In June, she had cataract surgery and a new lens implanted into her left eye. Her eye doctor told her earlier that week that she would not be able to pass the driving test because of her vision. After her surgery, she now has 20/20 vision in her new eye. She's been having a little trouble since her right eye surgery isn't scheduled until July 19th. Keep both of my parents in your prayers!

Jonathan's doing good as well. He recently came off the third shift and moved to second shift, which is better for him, but he doesn't get to spend a lot of time with the boys. He did get a new police cruiser, so when you see the charcoal or gun metal Dodge Charger police cruiser with the two fleurettes on the back bumper, give him a honk! He's got the only one like it in the county.

Needless to say, we are having a busy summer, and hopefully when I get home I can upload some video and pictures for you!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Ghostly Nights

Recently I've become a fan of the Travel Channel program "Ghost Adventures." The premise: three guys are locked into locations overnight and experience all kinds of paranormal activity. Some of the shows are really intense, and they've even been to Arkansas for an episode. Sometimes in the investigations, the guys use digital still cameras to see if they can capture anything. I have always been a little skeptical until I captured this:

This was taken at 12:32AM on January 31, 2010 as I stood on my driveway, looking into the yard at my dad's truck. I only recently discovered this photo as I was cleaning out my files on my computer. If you look at this light anomaly, the first thing you notice is the weird shape of the path of the light. It looks as if the light is traveling from the right to left and back again as it travels from the top of the frame to the bottom; you can also see it looks as if it's going away from me and then changes direction to come back toward me. Next, I noticed that whatever is moving through the frame is also spinning from right to left. The glowing green light behind it could be caused from a shaking of the camera, but I was using a tripod and a flash, so shaking should not have been a factor. I researched what the temperature was that night and the low was listed as 9 degrees Fahrenheit, so I don't believe it was water dripping from the trees. I also don't believe it was an insect of any kind, with a 9 degree temperature reading. And I don't believe it was a snowflake falling, since the temperature that day had been above freezing a little, leaving a crust of ice on top of the snow, and the setting on my camera was set at f/3.5 with an ISO 200 (my camera was not set to be very sensitive to light). My mother thought it might be a double exposure, but I have never had that happen with digital photography. And that would only explain the weird green light, not the white light speeding toward me.

So what do I think it is? I have no idea. Any suggestions?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Book Suggestion

Imagine that it's about 200 years in the future. The world as we know it today no longer exits. The continent known as North America no longer looks the way we know it. The ice caps have melted and the seas have swallowed a large portion of the east coast. Earthquakes washed almost all of the west coast into the ocean. The area is now known as Panem and consists of the Capitol (the main area for all business and livelihood for Panem), located in the Rocky Mountains, and twelve outlying districts that incorporate the remaining land mass. The Capitol is in complete control of the districts way of life, from work to play. No one is allowed to do anything that isn't sanctioned by the Capitol. The reason for the control: seventy-four years ago, during the Dark Days, the rebellion was defeated and the districts lost everything to the Capitol. One way the Capitol keeps the districts in line and to remind them of their loss in the rebellion is the Hunger Games. Every year, the districts are required to send one male and one female tribute into the Hunger Games, the ultimate reality show where the tributes battle in an area specially designed by game makers until there is only one person left standing, all while the entire nation of Panem watches on television. The catch- the tributes are between the ages of twelve to eighteen, the youth of the district.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is a fantastic book. It takes you to a place you've never seen, even though some of the landmarks are very similar to what we know. It follows the journey of a Hunger Games tribute, Katniss, as she battles in the Games to save all those she loves. This is a fairly quick read, aimed mostly at young adult audiences. There are several graphic scenes that young children probably shouldn't read. It's great for either boys or girls with lots of action and a little romance. I've read all three books in this series, and I read them in three days! I loved The Hunger Games so much, I downloaded the audio version to keep on my iPod in my car and reread all three.

The books: The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay
You can find Suzanne Collins's website

If you read it, let me know what you think!

"[The Hunger Games] is a violent, jarring, speed-rap of a novel that generates nearly constant suspense...I couldn't stop reading." --Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly Review

"I was so obsessed with this book I had to take it with me out to dinner and hide it under the edge of the table so I wouldn't have to stop reading. The story kept me up for several nights in a row, because even after I was finished, I just lay in bed wide awake thinking about it...The Hunger Games is amazing." --Stephenie Meyer,

"The Hunger Games is as close to perfect an adventure novel as I've ever read. I could not put it down. Collins has transformed the ancient Labyrinth myth into a terrifyingly believable tale of future America. Readers will be hungry for more. --Rick Riordan, author of The Percy Jackson Series and The 39 Clues

“[The Hunger Games] is a great book, and very thought-provoking. Read this along with your teen and discuss it.” --Charlaine Harris,

"BEST. CHILDREN'S BOOKS. EVER." "A Recent Book That Rocked My Dystopian World" --Jon Scieszka, Newsweek

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Before and After

The full moon has been extrordinary the last two nights, especially with the winter weather we've had. Here's a shot I took last night...

After the clouds began moving in a little later...

And finally tonight, an icy-snowy-super-cold mess.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Charlaine Harris Books

I've had several people e-mail me about the Charlaine Harris books I started reading this summer. Mostly they asked me if they were worth reading. My answer: absolutely! I think I became a little obsessed with this series. After I finished the last book, I was sad there were no more new stories to read. I loved the stories, I loved the characters, and I loved the plots in each book. I also love the fact that Charlaine Harris is an Arkansan, living in Arkansas, and writing about the South.
Okay, here's the premise of these books. Vampires are real. They have been living in secret for centuries. After a Japanese company created a synthetic blood substitute, TrueBlood, the vampires decided to "come out of the coffin." The stories are set in a small rural town in Louisianna call Bon Temps and focus around a young heroine named Sookie Stackhouse. Sookie seems to be a normal young lady, normal except for her disability: she's telepathic. But her telepathy doesn't reach the vampire mind, so being around vampires offers her a new solace in life that she has never had.
The books are often very funny and are really easy to read. The characters are great because Ms. Harris has no limit to the amount of history these people can have. And I love the fact that I've been in a lot of the locations she sets her stories in.
If you get a chance, you should at least read the first book. HBO thought it was good enough to base an entire show on, for three seasons and counting.
My recommendation: read them for fun!

Billy and the Nephews

Wow. I can't believe it's been over two months since I posted something on the blog. That's horrible.
Well, a lot has been going on in the Brown house since September. The boys have become obsessed with a couple of things. Braden has been reading like there's no tomorrow. Actually, he reads because he has to do so, and then gripes and complains about it afterwards, but he's reading! Landon has become the poster child for anything John Deere. He won't wear anything unless it's got the Deere logo or has the green and yellow colors. Not to mention that anytime A&E has a "Billy the Exterminator" marathon on, we have to sit through about three hours of rodent, reptile, and insect removal.
Our family is going to be a little bigger in a few months. My cousin Jami is expecting her first little one the end of May. We can't wait to meet Parker Marie (notice my statement of faith for a little girl there. We've got so many boys!). Congratulations Jami and Greg!
School has been going really well. I have the same issues that all teachers have- discipline with certain students, writing lesson plans, developing materials, having fun with music, etc. I've got what I call Bedlam happening over the next three weeks. I've got four performances coming up the last two weeks before the break, including a full on Christmas concert with one of my schools (grades K-6). Pray for me!
If we can and if the weather is nice, hopefully we'll have a new family picture this weekend. We are going to try to fit that in between decorating the yard for Christmas, shopping, and watching Auburn kick South Carolina in the patooty so Arkansas can go to the Sugar Bowl. Go Auburn! Go Hogs!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

New Site!

Well, since I've changed school districts, I've had to change my class website. The Batesville School District lets all teacher have the ability to create their own webpage for their class. I've been working on moving my wikispaces website over to the Batesville site. Check it out if you get a chance!