Monday, July 25, 2011

Home Makeover - Raulerson Home Office Edition

Preston and I drove to IKEA in the Malibu with the intention of furnishing his office space. We spent quite a bit of time designing and picking out possible furniture options and layouts for the space. After what seemed like hours, we made it out of the store with several boxes that somehow managed to fit in the car. Preston was excited that he was getting to have an office of his own where he could be productive (and creative)... 

Unfortunately, instead of assembling the furniture when we returned, we had to deal with a broken AC. Thankfully, our house has a dual zone and our master bedroom was still being cooled. However, the rest of the house was sticky and humid as the outside temperature neared 104 degrees. On Saturday, we had to wait for several heating/cooling companies to call us back, since most of them are closed on the weekends. Thankfully, we found someone to come out and save us from the heat!

While we waited for the house to be cooled, Preston insisted that he pass the time by assembling IKEA furniture. 

side desk for extra work space and storage

Preston's innovative desk...

As you can see, there are still more boxes... We have a shelving unit to go on the back wall for some extra storage. Our plan is to paint the knotty pine walls soon. We'll be taping everything off and sealing the walls soon. We haven't yet decided on the right color conducive to creative thinking (says Preston). We're hoping to replace a fluorescent light with some simple track lighting.

To be continued...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

James River

With my husband in Baltimore for work, I decided to grab my camera and head to the water this evening... 

Friday, July 8, 2011

To Infinity and Beyond...

A memoir of the Space Shuttle Program

As a child living in the Space Coast, I remember watching the launch countdown on the news and running out of the house as it approached takeoff. My sisters and I would run out to our driveway and look up into the sky, waiting to see the big clouds of smoke that resembled popcorn. We would watch the fiery flame push the shuttle up further into the clouds and wait until we saw the two rocket boosters falling through the sky. It was a competition to find those little black specs that were gracefully floating through the air before they landed in the ocean. Hearing the sonic boom as the shuttle left our Earth's atmosphere allowed us to breathe a sigh of relief and feel joyful as we walked back into the house, like we were celebrating a victory.

In elementary school, all classes would cease so that we could make it out to the playground in time to watch the shuttle lift off over the Indian River. All grades, preschool through 8th would be standing in groups looking up into the sky. At the time, I focused more on the act of getting out of class than the breathtaking experience of the shuttle launch that not many get to experience. Now, after moving to Virginia, I realize just how fortunate I was to be able to take part in such an extraordinary sight.

As a teacher in Florida, I was able to take my classroom outside to undergo what I had as a child. When I saw the amazement in their eyes, as fifth graders, I knew that I was sharing something exceptional with them and that they, too, would remember this forever.

After moving to Virginia, I was able to appreciate the shuttle launch in a different way. This past school year, with the final Endeavor mission on April 29th, my fifth grade class and I viewed the space shuttle launch on the television. Some of these students never saw a launch, never heard about Kennedy Space Center or knew where it was, and didn’t really know anything about their missions to the ISS. This day will always be memorable and is one of the most incredible “teachable moments” I’ve had as an educator. My students had so many questions to ask me, they were curious and wanted to discover more about the space mission. This beats any lesson I’ve ever prepared that correlates with the state standards that I will be held accountable for later on in the year with a multiple choice test. My students were interested in learning and were engaged in conversation. They didn’t even get to experience it firsthand like I had so many times in the past.

Looking back now, I will always have these memories to share with my children and those children that I teach, wherever I go. As I viewed the final shuttle launch this morning from the living room of my house in Virginia, I feel a sense of pride for having been able to be part of the Space Coast for so long. So many emotions overwhelmed me as I listened to the final countdown and watched all those who, fortunately, were able to make the trip to Brevard County to see the shuttle for one last time. I will forever remember those field trips we took to Kennedy Space Center in elementary school and the amazement of watching those astronauts risking their life to explore space so that we may discover new things about our planet and about our solar system. Today, I'm thankful that I've been able to experience such a monumental part of history. 

Good bye, Atlantis. What a ride it’s been… 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fourth of July!

Our friends, Garrett and Caroline, joined us in Richmond for the weekend. We were excited to have them come stay with us in our new home and check out the city we live in. We drove downtown and strolled along the Canal Walk to find quite a few people enjoying the beautiful weather and jumping off the railroad tracks into the James River. 

We had our first cookout with friends to celebrate the Independence of our country! Raena, a friend from Preston's work, and her boyfriend Jesse brought along their bundle of joy to test out how our house would hold up with a dog running around. Bouvie was very well behaved and quite the entertainment! We used our new grill to cook up some hamburgers and ribs... thankfully Jesse was Preston's right hand man on the grill and made sure everything was cooked properly! We really enjoyed spending time with friends (something we don't get to do enough).

On Monday, we drove to Washington D.C. with Garrett and Caroline to join the other several hundred thousands of people celebrating our Independence Day. We went to the Holocaust Museum and the Museum of Natural History, walking around for a few hours and enjoying the sights DC has to offer. We made sure to bring chairs this year to watch the fireworks show on the Mall. It was a great show and we managed to make it out of DC relatively quickly.

All in all, we had a nice weekend with good friends. Hopefully we won't have to wait for another holiday to have a cookout with friends or family!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Outdoor Living with the Raulersons

In anticipation of the July 4th holiday and the arrival of our friends, Garrett and Caroline, we decided to purchase a grill for our first house. Preston has been researching the perfect grill ever since we moved into our new house a month ago. As soon as we unpacked it from the Lowe's rental truck, we had to go to the grocery store to find what would be our first meal on the Master Forge. Preston didn't do so bad for his first time with the grill! Hopefully we've had enough practice for our cookout this weekend... 

The Grill

The Grill Master