Tuesday, April 30, 2013


On June 14, 2013, Andrew and I will have been married for 10 years. An entire decade.

To celebrate, we are going to Italy! I could not be more excited about this. Aside from our honeymoon, we've only gone on one trip, just the 2 of us, that does not involve family. It was a 3-day weekend trip to the Outer Banks, NC for our 5th anniversary. I am not complaining, we are truly blessed and have no regrets - but this is, undoubtedly, going to be a once in a lifetime adventure for us!

We began planning in February. It was Italy or England. What a tough choice! On one hand, England might be easier as first time travelers to Europe, as they speak the language. However, Italy seems far more exotic!

First step - we called Sandy Harrison, one of my mom's oldest friends. She has been a travel agent for approximately 1,000 years. We told her our meager budget, and our dreams. Her response was very kind, but not what I wanted to hear. She was encouraging us to try a Caribbean cruise, as it was more suited to our budget.  We looked at a few, but felt like we really wanted to do something much more memorable. After careful planning, on her part, she figured out how we could spend 10 days in Italy on a teachers' salary.

So - we're going to Italy on July 1st! We'll visit Rome, Naples/Sorrento, Florence & Venice. I have absolutely no idea what to expect, but am so completely thrilled to get to see another part of the world. I'm very, very excited to see the Vatican City, the Trevi fountain and David - the Sistene Chapel! I'm also pumped about visiting the Amalfi Coast, and the Island of Capri, and all of the natural wonders Italy has going on. Our hotel in Sorrento has a view of Mt. Vesuvius! Are you kidding me?!

Then there's the food...Naples boasts having the best pizza on the planet (and if you've met me, this is a major ordeal for me - I love pizza) and if you've met Andrew, you know that pasta is his favorite thing in the world. We are going to be in heaven. We may come back 20 pounds heavier...but we recently joined a gym...so here's hoping that it works itself out!

Not only that, but we'll be celebrating a marriage that has been through the fire and has come out refined by it.

I already can't write about what our trip ended up being like. The sights, the people, the food...

No longer the rookie

Found this gem from last June:

So this was my first full year as a real, live school counselor. What a year it has been...

When we moved here last July, Andrew and I were 2 of the 5 new employees for the county. There are typically many, many more than that and training sessions are held, orientations are given, etc.  Not this year - instead, we were tossed right in and it was a learn-as-you-go experience.  Everything from signing up for health insurance, how to take a sick day, to daily job requirements was left up to us to figure out. Luckily, we're surrounded by wonderfully helpful colleagues who made life a whole lot easier for us. I'd be lost without them, that's for sure.

From day 1, I knew I was going to love the school where I was. I've had some ridiculously difficult days, and some incredibly rewarding ones as well. However, after one year, filled with challenges and breakthroughs, I can still say that I absolutely love my job!

If I had to pick a high point for the year, it would be difficult. I've had so many great moments with these students. One that comes to mind was fairly recent - I was in the classrooms and was having the students complete a "climate survey" about the school for our county. One young man, who I'd seen on several occasions for his anger issues, called me over to his desk and said: "Mrs. Hutcheson, look - all 3 of these questions are about you!"  With fearful trepidation, I looked at the questions. "1. There is an adult at my school who cares about me. 2. There is an adult at my school who I can trust. 3. There is an adult at my school that I feel safe talking to." 

It was all I could do to not get teary-eyed.  If students really do think that about me, then I've done my job.

I can think of two real low points right off the bat. One includes Baker Acting a student. That may have been one of the most difficult decisions I've made to date, accompanied by one of the most sleepless weekends. The other involves me painstakingly and meticulously planning an elaborate event for our students, only to have my carefully laid plans uprooted by my boss' boss - who then blamed me (read: yelled at and berated me) in front of a room full of parents and school board members. I may or may not have used the word "frickin'" in my response to her...because she's the one that caused the chaos in the scheduling, that I, again, had orchestrated perfectly. Not cool.

I know it's only my first year, and while I have several, several white hairs as a result of it, I can tell that this is where I am meant to be.

I joined a gym.

I joined a gym today.

I've never belonged to a gym, but today, Andrew and I joined Planet Fitness. It is new to Palm Coast, and in this relatively small town...we were patrons #942 and 943. Should be interesting.

In college, I went to the gym on campus a handful of times. I even went with my friend, Leah, over the summer when I was done with physical therapy for my broken leg. When we lived in an apartment in New Albany, OH, our complex had a small gym and we visited it a few times. I've never belonged to one before, though.

This is the dawning of a new era...or at least I hope it is!

Andrew bought me an elliptical machine one year for a birthday, and I have it, in my house, it couldn't be more easily accessible. But I don't use it. There's always an excuse.

There are so many benefits to exercising - better sleep, reduced stress, and the health benefits seem endless - so why don't I? I understand that my job is demanding and wears me out a lot of the time, and the only thing I want to do some days is crash on my couch and not see anyone else in the world...aside from Andrew...usually ;) So I hope this sticks. To be honest, I am not 100% dedicated, but I want to be. That's something...right? I have a secret goal of dropping 10lbs before I head to Italy in July. What have I done to reach that goal? Not a thing. Not yet, anyway...

Wish me luck...