Sunday, August 10, 2008

The End of Summer

Summer is over! Hard to believe! I start back to school tomorrow and Nathan continues going to Fernbank. He really hasn't had a summer break which was hard to get used to :)

My room is ready go. I spent the entire week at school sometimes until the evening hours. I met most of my students on Thursday. It looks like I have a pretty good class this year. I have some really bright kids. I'm looking forward to the school year!

Along with working in my room we also were able to babysit our godson and his siblings Wednesday night. It was a lot of fun. We picked them up from daycare, went to a Mexican restuarant for dinner and then on to their house to wait for their parents.

Saturday night we went to the apartment complex across the street from the church and did a block party for them. We gave out free hot dogs and chips, did face painting, had a live band, and inflatables for the kids. It was a great time! We saw about 150 people. The college kids helped us pull the event off. They did a great job!

That about sums up our week. I'll check back in next week for a report of our first week at school :)

Sunday, July 27, 2008


We have just spent a great week with family. We flew up to Indiana last Monday and spent the night at my parent's house. Tuesday, we drove to Indianapolis and had lunch with Nathan's aunt. We headed to Plymouth from there. After a quick stop at the doctor's office (I ended up with an upper respiratory infection) we had dinner with Nathan's dad, his wife and the kids. They gave me my birthday gifts and a cake!

Wednesday we spent with Nathan's mom, helping out around the house and doing a few errands. We met up with Andy and Lisa, Nathan's brother and sister-in-law, for dinner. They are expecting their first child in February. We are super excited! Nathan has already been shopping for clothes and little toys!

Thursday we continued to help around the house at Nathan's mom's. His other brother, Brad, came over for dinner that night. He just returned from a New York trip so we got to hear all about that.

Friday we traveled back to my parent's house and welcomed in my brother, his wife, and their two little girls. We spent a great weekend together. They just left to go back home (Sunday night). Nathan and I will be heading back to Atlanta tomorrow evening.

Nathan played softball on Saturday (the highlight of the weekend). He had never played but he did very well. He hit the ball every time and got on base every time. It was fun watching him play. He was the catcher for the game.

Saturday we also attended the funeral of a friend of the family. Phyllis was the grandmother of our friends who we grew up with. It was more of a celebration than a funeral. It was great to see all of them but I wish it had been under happier circumstances.

School starts (for me) a week from tomorrow. Students come back two weeks from tomorrow. So my summer has been winding down. It has gone by very quickly! I am anxious to get started back to school and help another group of first graders learn to read, add, subtract, and write. I will probably be in at school during several of the days this week :)

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Hello! Below is my diary from our trip to Panama... you will need to scroll down to see Thursday and then work your way up.

We went to church with Ken this morning and then headed to the airport. We had an uneventful flight and are now at a hotel in Atlanta. We fly out in the morning for a week in Indiana visiting family.

Thanks for sharing our experience!


We started out this morning with a Chinese breakfast. Then we went to the locks. We took the tour that only guests of ACP are allowed to take. We were able to look up at the usual tourists, wave and smile J We watched a Panamac ship go into the locks. We were able to walk across the gate that keeps the water and ships in for each lock. We were able to tour the control tower where the lockmasters control the gates and water levels. The Panamal Canal is one of two places where the captain gives us his ship to the pilot. There are 150-200 pilots. Each one takes the ship through the entire Panama Canal with its three lock systems. The whole process takes about 8 hours. Each time a ship comes through there is also a crew of about 24 ACP people who go with the ship through the entire process. Their job is to tie down the boat onto the locomotives and other jobs like that. The locomotives steer the ship into the locks and help keep it in place. The locomotives help the ships get started and break. Tugboats are also available to help guide the ships into the locks. The whole process is truly amazing. The pilot commands the locomotives and the tugboats. In fact the radio system is a one-way system. The pilot can talk to the locomotive engineers and the tugboat captains but they cannot talk back to him. He is the ultimate decision maker.

We also went down below the locks to see how the pistons for the gates work. There were also many other gadgets underneath the locks.

After the tour we went to Balboa where Ken used to live. We visited a nice resort looking for his friend, Dave but we couldn’t find him. So we came back to the house and swam in Ken’s pool. Tonight we went to a Chinese restaurant and then to a larger mall than the one we visited on Thursday. It was huge! We did a little shopping but mostly ate ice cream! We are getting ready to watch a movie and then head to bed.

We go back to Atlanta tomorrow. This has been an amazing trip! We are going to church with Ken in the morning. That will be great!


This morning we went to a simulation where all of the boat pilots were go through the Canal have to train. There were large screens (floor to ceiling) around us… 360 degrees. The scene was the Panamal Canal. The instructor would put various obstacles in the way of the pilot in order to test how well he did in stressful situations. The obstacles consisted of other boats, which the pilot had to maneuver around; rain; fog; darkness and of course every pilot has to navigate the lock systems. It was a very interesting experience … they didn’t let us drive the ship, though! The simulator is now located in the high school where Ken went to school.
After the simulator we went to visit the APC (Authority of the Panamal Canal) administration building. We were able to see the large rotunda with murals of the building of the Canal. We also drove and walked up Cerro ancon (Ancon Hill), a large hill that overlooked the city. It was beautiful! After the hike we went to the mall and shared a platter of food. The platter was HUGE. It consisted of french-fries, ham, steak, pork, onion rings, and plantain chips. It was supposed to feed four people but it probably could have fed eight! Then we went back to Ken’s house and took a “siesta”!

This evening we went into Ken’s office where they were having a reception for a couple who was just engaged. We were able to meet Ken’s colleagues. They are a great group of people… lots of laughing! They take care of Ken very well! Nathan and Ken decided to get some mangoes out of the tree outside his office. They were able to knock down quite a few. We brought them home and cleaned them.

This evening we went to an amazing seafood restaurant. The chef came out and took our order and came back several times to make sure we were doing okay. The food was great! We came back to Ken’s house and watched a movie.
We are having a great time!

Panama- Thursday


Hello from Panama!

We arrived safely last night about 10:00 pm. We had a rather long wait to get through customs. We met Ken, our friend, at the airport and came to his house. The driving in Panama is typical of South American countries... no one pays any attention to the street signs, or lights, and sometimes on the lines on the road dividing the traffic :) I'm glad Ken was driving! He said his quest while he is down here is to introduce as many people as possible to turn signals! No one uses them :)

This morning we woke up to a Panamanian breakfast. We had apple strudels, empanadas, and a salami and cheese sandwich. Of course fresh fruit was also on the menu. Ken prepared all of the food himself... very impressive! We took a tour of Panama this morning and afternoon. We visited the National Cathedral, the Church with the Golden Altars... no joke... real gold and lots of it! When the Spanish came through the Panamanians painted the altars black so they wouldn't take the gold... it worked! We also toured the French Plaza and got to see a great view of the city. We also were able to see the National Museum. We received a tour guide of our own because Nathan and I were teachers. Teachers are held in high esteem here. The museum gave us the history of Panama as well as the history of the Panama canal. We were able to see the Nazarene church in Panama and see the house where Jay and Jerry Winkle lived when they were here.

After the tour we went to Hard Rock so Nathan could get a t-shirt. We ate lunch in the food court of the mall. Then we traveled to the 5th largest mall in the world. It was huge! Nathan needed to find a pair of tennis shoes. After the shoe hunting we went back to Ken's house and sat and talked for a while. Then we went to Ken's favorite restaurant. I can't remember the name... I'll have him write it down... but the food was delicious! We are now back home. I'm heading to bed because it will be an early morning. We get to do a simulation tomorrow of how the boats navigate the canal.

For those of you who don't know... Ken is overseeing the expansion of the Panama Canal on the Pacific side. They are adding another set of locks and expanding the existing one. It will be a 7 year project with a budget of 7 billion (yes, that is with a "b") dollars. And Ken is in charge... wow! He is very capable, however! They have a historian documenting every detail of the project. So in 7 years you will probably see it on the Discovery channel... or someplace like that.

I'm going to sign off now... talk to you all tomorrow!

Love you,
Faithe (and Nathan)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Vacation time!

It is noon and we are getting ready to leave for the airport. Nathan is at work so Tina is taking me to meet him. Nathan and I are flying to Panama! We will be spending out time with our very dear friend, Ken. He is working on the lock-system of the Panamal Canal on the Pacific side. And although I don't know all the details... you will have ask Nathan about those... I do know that this project is history in the making. And Ken is in charge :) He is very capable!!

To catch you up... we went to the wedding of Rolinda last weekend. She and I met through a mutual friend about three years ago and we have been best buds ever since. She is also a teacher so we had a lot in common. She lived in our bonus room last summer while her house was being finished. She met Jim in October and it has been a whirlwind ever since! They got hitched last weekend in a beautiful wedding. Jim is in the army so all of the groomsmen were in their uniforms. After the ceremony they took out their sabers and made them into an arch for Jim and Rolinda to walk under. At the very end, they said "Welcome to the army, Mrs. McNight." And they smacked her on the hiney with their sabers. It was great!

Of course, Nathan was able to help them trash their car...which he loved! And trash it, they did!

My favorite part was the tossing of the bridal bouquet. Rolinda had a group of roses and when she threw it, they scattered into separate roses. There was a rose for each of the girls who were single. So sweet! Rolinda was calm, cool, and collected all day... Jim?... that's another story... jk. It was a perfect day for a wedding!

Before the wedding rehearsal last Friday, I finished my last master's class! The professor I had for this class was probably the best one I've had. It was a perfect ending to my grad program. I am so thankful that is over! I am only waiting on my grade from my capstone and then I can submit the paperwork to get my pay increase :)

After our trip to Panama we are going to Indiana for a week to see family. Then I will have one more week of summer and then start back to school. The summer has flown by but it has been a great one!