Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Easter Egg Hunt 2009!

This Saturday our Las Madres playgroup is having our big family Spring Fling/Egg Hunt. Our fabulous friend S is hosting in her backyard, as has become tradition. Our playgroup does three big family parties a year: Easter, Summer BBQ, and Halloween. I love to plan these things, and when you aren't doing it yourself, it is so much fun! Above is a photo from last year. In addition to general play on the structure, sandbox, and dyeing eggs, we did the 'egg and spoon' relay, and sack races. After the kids finished their sack races we did 'dad sack races' with you-guessed-it hilarious results. We even had S's MIL do a felt board story while the adults hid eggs for the 'hunt' at the end.

This year, besides the play structure and sandbox, we will have a smallish jumphouse, parachute play, and an egg mosaic craft. Here are our two group games:

Easter Egg Relay
Divide children into teams. The first person of a team takes 2 cardboard eggs and lays one of the eggs out on the floor. The child steps on the first egg and then places the second egg in front of them. The child steps on the second egg, reaches back and picks up the first egg and then places that egg in front of them. Continue to the end of the course and then run back and tag the next team member.

Find your Egg-Match
Decorate constuction paper eggs with foam dots, glitter glue, etc. Cut eggs in half ,either in different angles, or with decorative large cutting scissors. Hand out the eggs and have the children find their egg-match!

Should be swell!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Guess I won't be winning Mom of the Year...

Last Friday Miss P and I had a marathon day of fun: picnic at the park with friends (fresh fruit and veggies....er, no....we had McDonald's), followed by shopping for a birthday gift. E called me late afternoon as P and I debated present ideas to discuss dinner options. We had a few potential options at home I'd been planning on, but we both had Red Robin (located at the shopping center) on the brain. Not wanting the day to end, we left dinner and cruised across the parking lot to the AMC for a showing of Monsters vs. Aliens. I figured Miss P wasn't likely to want to imitate either a monster or an alien afterward, and doesn't scare easily, so we went for it. (I knew it was PG, but had read the review, and thought it would be OK.) She showed a little fear a few times during the film, but mostly enjoyed it (there is a girl power theme) and asked lots of questions. At the end, she proclaimed it 'excellent.' Fast forward a few hours later....Miss P stirs and cries out in her sleep. Yikes! Yes, it was a monster nightmare. Bad mom!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Cousin Amelia visits!

Miss P's Cousin Amelia, made famous on Amelia's World, and her mommy and daddy, visited us last night en route to the airport this a.m. for HAWAII.

Miss P and Amelia share a special bond as they have the same birthday. Currently, P is 4 years and 7 months, and Amelia is, naturally, 7 months. Amelia is a sweet, happy, easy baby, and P couldn't get enough of her. As you can see she took her cousin responsibilities quite seriously.
After the kiddos went to bed we enjoyed the latest Thursday night TV lineup. I love the web version of 'In the motherhood,' but the jury is still out for me on the TV version. Happy to see Samantha Who? back! And rounded out by The Office and 30 Rock? Hello! I love my brother and sister in law and niece, and just wish they lived closer!

Saturday, March 21, 2009


So the latest bee in my bonnet is that I want to get certified to teach kids yoga!

I've been interested in yoga, specifically yoga for kids, for a long time. Miss P and I have taken a few classes and occasionally do a dvd at home together. We are actually going to start a new series of classes tomorrow after church. I did it with my students last year (with not the best results, but maybe my expectations were too high. That, and maybe 20 kids at once was too difficult for an experienced kinder teacher, but beginning yoga practitioner.) Anyway, I love the mind-body-spirt connection. I love the playfulness. I love that yoga can give you the giggles, and make you calm, depending on what moves you do. I love that it can lift kids' self esteem, and teach them to understand, name, and alter their moods and feelings.

My goal is to get certified to teach yoga specifically for children. My target age group would be kids 3 - 6. I'm thinking I could incorporate it into my classroom (as a transition in between subject areas, and longer segments during PE), and at home with Miss P. Ideally, I would get a job as well, either through our local YMCA, or one of our local rec departments, or a health club. I'd love to teach just one class a week. Next year, Miss P will be in school full-time 5 days a week, and I'll still be working 3 days. Now, between volunteering in her classroom, prepping for my class so I can work less on my 3 scheduled days, cleaning, and grocery shopping, etc., I don't plan to have a lot of extra time. But I could certainly fit in teaching kids' yoga, or parent/child yoga, like at 10:00 a.m. on a Friday, if the opportunity presented itself! Anyway, I think the opportunities would be endless.

Does anyone have any experience with kids' yoga classes and/or certification? Let me know!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

New read!

Recently, I happened upon a new blog, Baby on Bored. It's hil-ari-ous! While I am not cutting edge, and tend to be annoyingly smiley, I
l-o-v-e snarky, sarcastic humor.

I noticed the author of this blog, is also the author of
Sippycups aren't for Chardonnay, and Naptime is the New Happy Hour.

On a bookstore visit today, I picked up those books and was laughing out loud. I never laugh out loud! The humor reminded me very much of Catherine Newman and her book
Waiting for Birdy. I definitely want to check these books out at the library. Wish I would've read them back when
Miss P was in the birth to age 3 stage!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Top of the mornin' to ya! I always like to incorporate St. Patrick's Day into the classroom. I've done 'leprechaun traps' before, but never found quite the right concoction of materials.

Last year, my teaching partner was in charge of setting them up, and didn't like the concept of 'trapping.' So we came up with the idea of 'leprechaun lures.' Similar to a trap, but more focused on enticing the little elves and persuading them to leave a coin or two.

This year, I went even more simple and 'humane,' with my leprechaun 'tip cup.' We made these with our 4th grade big buddies. I told a legend of how the leprechauns love to come and play all night in the classrooms. They then sometimes leave a token of appreciation in rooms where they had a lot of fun. I told the class if we made little 'tip cups,' similar to what you see at Coldstone, they'd be more likely to benefit. So that's what we did. I messed up the classroom later in the afternoon, and will arrive at school late tomorrow, shocked to see the craziness before me.

At home I tried a similar story with P, telling her that leprechauns might scurry through the house playing with her toys after midnight (official St. Patrick's Day), and we might make and leave out a 'tip jar,' for them to compensate us. My weary body pulled out some toys and tried to create a fun scene. I also got some Lucky Charms for breakfast. Hope she likes it!

Surprise gifts

E is still gone, but with the arrival of Monday and my 3-day workweek, the staycation is officially over. The day has brought it's own sweetness, however. Mid-morning as I was teaching, I looked out the window and saw one of Miss P's teacher's assistants walking with her to the front door of my classroom. Quickly, some scenarios ran through my head - could she be sick? I know I dropped off her lunch. Is she missing some sort of 'green sharing' again? Then, I saw them stoop down and then scurry away, and realized what was happening.

Occasionally Miss P's class visits my side of the campus. On Monday's for instance, when they attend library. P has taken to leaving me tiny daisies in front of the door. I've never actually seen her tiptoe over before, and when I open the door for recess and my 19 students break loose, her little token just doesn't stand the chance of being noticed. Then, I'm faced with a dilemma when the next day her little face looks at me and asks: "Mama! Did you get the flower I left for you yesterday outside your room?!" (I'm such a stickler for honesty, I always tell the truth. "No honey, I'm sorry, but thank you for thinking of me.)

Anyway, I was delighted when I opened the door today to find the above green drawing. She figured out she had to go a little bigger! I love you too, P!

Staycation is over!

(Miss P's new swimsuit; purchased during our 3 hour Target visit on Friday. The picture doesn't do it justice. If you look closely, you can see a sparkly anchor on the left hip)

Miss P and I had a fantastic staycation this past weekend with E in Orlando. We had dinner out with my mom and stepdad and then a sleepover at their house on Friday night. I was very cozy on the couch next to a warm fire. The next morning my mom had cinnamon rolls and coffee, I provided some magazines, and we both supplied entertainment for P. We had the best time sipping java and just chatting in our pjs at the kitchen counter. I'll tell ya, that is my way to spend a morning.

Finally we had to get moving. Miss P and I headed to the YMCA to swim that (her way to spend an afternoon). Then I had to kick it into high gear to get snackies and wine from Trader Joe's, the two of us showered, and her into bed before my girlfriend get-together that night. Yes, I had seven girlfriends over for a girls' night in. Wine, chocolate-covered pretzels, and sweats. I had out tons of books for anyone who wanted to borrow a novel, and a ton of magazines for people to page through as we chatted, or take home for bathtime perusal. And of course non-stop girl talk and laughter. As always, we hit upon a few interesting discussions. The night ended with a few of us on the computer trying to plan a girlfriend getaway for later this Spring. Now, that is my way to spend an evening!

Sunday morning I rallied on very little sleep to get P to Sunday School. Upon arrival, she was asked if she had her 'green' sharing. Oops. With the time change last week we all overslept and missed church. (It was random, I am an early bird and typically don't need an alarm.) Therefore, we hadn't received the 'homework.' They had some random green items for children with similarly unprepared moms. Nuh-uh. That was not going to do. I zipped back to the car and found a green sand bucket. Also, a sheet of green St. Patrick's Day stickers from Trader Joe's (thank goodness I don't clean out my car more regularly). I quickly calculated. There were not enough stickers for P to pass them out to each child. However, she could decorate the sand bucket with them. I raced back before class started to drop off the sharing, and instead of attending church headed to Star*bucks for a quick pick me-up.

After church we continued on to my classroom, where I put in a full day's work while Miss P, angel that she is, played. A neighboring teacher was there with her dog, pet bunny, and plethora of dance costumes, so we took a break over there for awhile. The staycation ended with a 'surprise around the corner,' - a phone call from one of my best friends, who was out on the playground with her family. We ended up playing for about 45 minutes and then heading over for frozen yogurt together. The weather was great, the kids were happy. My way to end a Sunday.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

"I only have two kinds of days....

good days and GREAT days!" That was part of the speech that was given at our 'Back to School' district kickoff in the Fall of 2007. I can't remember the speaker's name, or the rest of his message, but I remember that. I remember him saying that as teachers, we couldn't afford to have 'off' or 'bad' days. The kids needed/deserved a good day from us everyday. Now, in actuality, of course we all have days that are better than others. I think the point is to look for the good in that particular (not so perfect) day, and to emphasize that. To not subcumb to the 'bad day.'

I was reminded of this after reading this post. Scroll to the bottom. It's a brief mention, but it reminded me of the title of my blog. Some of my posts lately have included vents. I know it's only human (and assume no one minds), but I want to get back to focusing on the positive.

I was grousing a little bit to my mom the other night, that I put so much effort into things, yet I feel like my life doesn't look that spectacular (on paper): part-time job teaching kindergarten, modest home, one child. E and I used to attend this annual Christmas party with a bunch of his high school friends and friends of friends. There was a part I disliked, in which everyone was supposed to share (by giving the information to the host, who would make a little speech), what was 'new in your life.' Everyone talked about their new cars, jobs, houses, additional children. My joke was always, "well, gee, I have this new hangnail..."

Anyway, I realized after talking to my mom for a bit, that actually my life is pretty much exactly the way I want. I love teaching kindertarten. Years ago, I worked hard to return to school to make a career switch. I stated from the very beginning that I didn't want to be just a teacher, but a kindergarten teacher. After my daughter was born, I felt strongly that full-time teaching would mean too much time away from her, and so I worked hard to make a job-share happen. I love having just one child. And we never thought we'd afford a home here, but both E and I really wanted to stay. And through research and luck, we were able to find something.

So, we are maybe lacking glamour, a lot of material things, and a fast pace; but in actuality, those things aren't that important to me, which is why I haven't chosen those paths....because life is what you make it.

Friday, March 13, 2009

It's Pink Friday! Pink Friday signifies the deadline for public schools in CA to issue pink slips to teachers. I believe 26,000 have been given out so far, due to the horrible budget crisis and economy. I received one of these years ago, and fortunately, it was rescinded before the year was over. Thankfully, our district voted to not issue any pink slips this year and to find other ways to cut the budget - our district is great and we are lucky. But, in general, the funding in CA for education is pitiful! We are ranked 50th!!! Something has to be done. Our schools can't afford to make classes bigger, and to cut art, music and PE. We can't afford to reduce teacher salaries. It's a little late in the day - but wear pink if you can, and think about or speak up for a teacher!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The goods!

So, Miss P and I dropped E off at the airport around noon, and promptly headed to Santana Row to begin our own girls' 'staycation.' We browsed borders where I got a couple of magazines (including the above 'US Weekly', featuring headlines about Melissa from the Bachelor, now on DWTS, and the latest with Jon and Kate Plus 8), and a new novel. Have to have a book going! I felt like splurging. After, we shared lunch at The Counter and then played for awhile at the park. The outing was completed with a stop at Blockbuster on the way home to load up on some movies. I am expecting a few more magazines in the mail over the next couple of days (yes, I'm a magazine who*re), and with that I think my stash will be complete!

Oh - our other excitement of the day was texting. Up until the other week, I had an old-fashioned cell phone and was fine with it. There was no texting capability and it was the most basic model you could imagine. I used to make fun of texting, but started to see the benefits when I considered how it would be nice/convenient for E and I to keep in touch during the day. After my purse debacle, we deactivated my phone. Based on my service plan I was due a new one anyway, so E picked out a fancy model for me. It was free, so why not? Anyway, long story short, I wanted it before his trip so we could easily keep in touch. We exchanged our first text this afternoon! Yes, it is a red-letter day!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Girls' Weekend

No, I'm not doing any kind of grown-up getaway, this girls' weekend will be at home with little Miss P. E is leaving on a jet plane tomorrow morning for a trip until the middle of next week. This is not commonplace here in the Riley household; it's an event. As such, I'm trying to think of fun things for P and I to do on our own. My mom's birthday was today, so we will be taking her to dinner and doing a sleepover at her house on Friday night. Any other ideas?? In the past, I haven't done well sleeping at home alone. Hopefully, I'm 'over that' now. I figure I'll either be sleepless and missing my better half, or enjoying being able to 'call all the shots,' rule the TV, and have breakfast for dinner each night.

In other news -- report cards are DONE!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

12+ hour day

Disclaimer: snarky, bratty post below....

I'm already looking forward to my Starbucks tomorrow morning.....

I'm taking a break from my healthy eating regime. Will be back on it soon. Since returning to work after being sick, I've been kicking a^%, and my feet are feeling it. I can't even tell you some of the ridiculous things I put up with at work (I partly can't tell you because I'm not sure who is reading!) It's a little bizarre to me sometimes what others expect me to do. I just scratch my head. Even more bizarre to me is when others clearly don't do their share of the job, and aren't even sheepish or embarrassed about it (the way I would be if I fell short).

Tonight we had a family fun dance night at school. It was a lot of fun and went very well. I put the event on solo (the intention was not for it to be just me, but that's how it turned out.) Even my principal was joking about how I was the only one who knew what was going on. Huh?

Prior to the dance, I spent the afternoon with Miss P in my classroom. I never made it home between teaching and the dance night. Miss P was an angel, as always. Yet, I guess I was a little distracted with her there, or just tired, because as I feverishly worked on my report cards, I accidentally entered in all the math scores in the wrong trimester. There is no way to cut and paste. So tomorrow I will have to re-enter them all over again in the appropriate place.

Fast forward to my drive home after the dance night (where I set up, 'emceed', and taught dances). I'm looking forward to putting my feet up. I'm certain Miss P will be asleep. Everyone had asked me where Miss P was at the dance night and I explained that we like to get her to bed early. You know where this is going. I get home, and lo and behold, Miss P is fully dressed jumping around and E is standing in the bathroom, half dressed, surrounded by cleaning supplies.

Seems E decided that instead of sticking to Miss P's normal bedtime routine, he would let her stay up while he did laundry and cleaned the shower. He was about to put her to bed, when he remembered we are out of 'sleep diapers.' (While Miss P has been potty trained for almost two years, she is a heavy sleeper and wears a pull-up at night.) Miss P knows it is a big deal to be low on sleep diapers, so she always shouts dramatically, "There is only ONE SLEEP DIAPER LEFT!" Unfortunately, we made note of this news the other night, but did not heed it. So as I entered our abode, the family was preparing to head out to the store to purchase this item.

Fortunately (said with sarcasm), I arrived home, so E went solo, and I ended my 12+ hour work day reading That's what leprechauns do and The leprechaun in the basement.

It really wasn't a big deal. But can you see why I'm craving the junk food?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Irish Dinner Club and A Mad Tea Party!

We've had a great weekend! It kicked off with a quick, but delightful date night on Friday. Miss P had a ball with her paternal grandparents and cousins, bike riding, roller skating, Madagascar watching, and McDonald's eating. Meanwhile, my first 'date' was with my jobshare partner working on report cards until 7 p.m. Friday night. It was actually a treat to calmly talk and collaborate and think with my partner without any kids around. E got some work done at the same time. We met at home at 7:15ish, zipped across the street to Wahoo Fish Tacos for a quickie dinner, and then crossed the street again for the movie 'He's just not that into you.' Fun! I have to say, 13 years later, my husband is still as handsome and charming as ever. He has not changed! We l-o-v-e spending time together.

The next morning Miss P continued her adventures while I met some girlfriends for coffee, at Santana Row, which led to shopping. I didn't plan to get anything, but ended up with a fun wrap dress from H&M. That night, after picking up little P, we headed to our friends' house for the inaugural meeting of the Irish Dinner Club. Three families, lots of fun.

Maybe a little too much fun. We all overslept today, even the early risers, missing church and Sunday school. Ooops! I gave my fam breakfast in bed, and then they dropped me off at my Las Madres Playgroup's Annual Luncheon. This year's theme was a Mad Hatter Tea Party. They do a wonderful job of making everyone feel pampered and really just making the day an event. This year was our last luncheon as our kiddos are growing up and entering the world of elementary school next Fall. Only five of us made it this year, but we had a ball!

Full Circle

Remember this purse? The one my local barista was sooo fond of? The purse that was later stolen, then abandoned and returned to me by a sherrif? It has been replaced with the number below.

What do you think? I recently visited a different Starbucks, and received a compliment on it from the barista there. What is it with these baristas and purse commments? I guess the counter is just the right size to lay your purse on....and subsequently they've developed quite the eye and opinion.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Miss P's first book

I am so proud of Miss P's first book! She was reading some little books and was inspired to make her own! She did this all independently, except for some help from me stretching out the words.

" a duck"

" a Paige"

I can't decide which page is my favorite!

Date night!

I was playing around with the computer to see if picture posting had magically corrected itself, and lo and behold, it had!

I'm excited that tonight E and I will have a date. Nothing so formal as the above. We will be doing dinner and seeing 'He's just not that into you.' E's choice naturally : ) Date nights for just the two of us are so rare. I'm hoping to meet girlfriends for coffee tomorrow morning so I'm getting a double whammy!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Some very random thoughts...

Thanks to all who commented on my photo preservation question. I think I'm going to do the snapfish option. I'll do maybe one or two per year (going back to Miss P's birth? Wedding? Don't know yet), using the best photos and doing some storytelling. Hoping its not too pricey...excited to see the results. Then with my oodles of loose photos, I guess I'll just slide them into boxes or plain albums. Now if only I get photos to post on this blog again...

Tomorrow, I'll be heading back to the gym after being absent for two weeks (sick in bed!) Yay for me! I'll also be back on my healthy eating plan...


A big woo-hoo to our school district. After a three hour meeting, the board dramatically voted to not give out any pink slips, and to find other ways to manage the major budget cuts.

and finally, a question....how are you recognizing Lent this year? We are reading stories from various children's bibles before bed as a family and discussing.

Looking forward to a productive day tomorrow (and hopefully a more interesting post) and a date with Miss P!

Monday, March 2, 2009


I'm excited for The Bachelor tonight! 3 hours of escapism! All I need is a little contraband (chocolate) :). I'm interested to learn if the rumors are true and Mr. Jason pulls a switcheroo. Either way, a hot shower and some 'me' time is on the agenda!