Sunday, January 31, 2010

Finally.....resolution 2010

So I actually waited until the very last day of January to make my 2010 resolution public! (Saying this, I am assuming/pretending there are people actually reading this blog!) :) Anyway, I have made a couple of loose goals this year, but my main one is to become a good cook! Since I know goals have to be 'measurable', I have made a list of about 12 cooking accomplishments that I will take on in 2010. January's is/was to make dinner 5 nights a week. (Since we moved in early November and throughout the holidays we ate out A LOT.) I met my goal this month, making shrimp along with various chicken and pasta dishes - last night a broccoli salad - along with my usual fare of tacos and chili, and yes more pasta. Felt pretty good. I'll continue this goal the rest of the year, adding other challenges each month. Here are the others, in no particular order:

*Find at least one good slow-cooker meal
*Experiment with table settings and
throw a dinner party
*Create better routines for cleaning out fridge, planning meals and going to grocery store.
*After we move (again), set up an organized kitchen
*Find a cooking mentor
* Find at least one yummy new lunch that contains lots of protein
* Learn at least 2 healthy, tasty cook-ahead breakfasts
* Learn 3 new meat -based recipes
*Learn best way to chop various veggies
*Experiment with making bento lunches for P

If you count, you'll notice there are only 10. I have a longer list of 'possibilities,' but couldn't decide on the final one. I'd also like to leave a little room to just see what comes my way. I believe February's goal will be to find some new lunches that provide some good protein, as I usually go a starchy path. In general, I'm trying to be healthier, try new foods, and increase my veggies, all while trying to be more domestic and take care of my family.

Bon appetit! I'm off to read my new book and nurse some cramps. (ow)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


People have talked a lot about the past decade leading up to 2010 being terrible for America. However, for me, it was quite eventful in a mostly positive way. Definitely the most eventful of my 30 (ahem)+ years. During this decade, I:

got married to E

quit my corporate job
went back to school for my teaching credential

started teaching kindergarten

had some 'adjusting' to being married

stress of new job caused literal twenty pound weight loss in 3 months
(no worries, weight eventually came back)

learned to ski

moved to teacher apartment complex

settled in to being married and fell more in love with E

supported E as he pursued teaching also and became high school teacher

ran a marathon

had a baby, Miss P

Miss P hospitalized after four days due to freak illness, breastfeeding doesn't work, rocky start to motherhood

suffered and recovered from post-partum depression

joined Las Madres, and eventually became co-director of my playgroup

really started feeling like and l-o-v-i-n-g being a mom

reduced my teaching schedule to part-time hours, had many job-shares

made many new friends

became a big sister, aunt, and godmother

was twice a bridesmaid and gained new sister-in-laws

bought first home

major fallout with relatives

marriage grew stronger

sent miss p off to preschool

loved blissful Thursdays and Fridays at home with my three, then four year old and our friends. Coffee, then the park, the zoo, the library or a playdate. Was the life. A unique, treasured period of time.

went back to work full-time

sold first home and purchased second home

And of course there are things that I'm sure I'm leaving out! I don't know what is in store yet for this next decade, but I'm planning for 2010 to be a year of (small) celebrations. Next up is a post of resolutions. Hey, it's still January after all!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Bit better

Who is this handsome man? I'll get to that in a second. First off, thanks to those people who emailed me and offered a listening ear (and to Hillary, my lone commenter!) I now have hope that my chances to stay at my school and in my grade level are a little better. Things are still rough on the school front though. Many of our schools in the district are rumored to have to lose 7 or so teachers. I feel a lot of concern for the kids. The population is getting tougher, the standards remain high, and now we'll have more kids and less staff next year.

On a fun note, I've had some nights out recently! We had a girlfriend night to see the cute and predictable Leap Year (I never mind a predictable movie if I know it is going to be fun and happy!) Then last night E and I tried to be cool and went to Straits for drinks, apps, and dancing. Shortly after sitting down in the 'lounge' area, E spotted Andre Carter of the Washington Redskins. The Redskins are E's favorite team. He's loved them since he was a kid in the 80's, and for his 40th birthday wants to go to Wash to see them play. Anyway "Andre" was chilling with his wife, enjoying some appetizers right across from us. E introduced himself and we even got a picture of the two of them. He and his wife were very friendly. I think they live in Santana Row in the off season. The Row, incidentally, is a great place to see sports figures. My girlfriend has actually spotted Andre before at Club One, and during hockey season, teams playing the Sharks, stay at the Hotel Valencia and can be seen hanging out at Starbucks. Close as we can get here to celebrities!!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Allow me to vent, won't you??

I'm planning a post about my new year's goals, which I'm quite excited about. Tonight, however, please, allow me to vent and maybe even feel a bit sorry for myself. Then, maybe I'll feel more at peace.

I've noticed lately that I feel somewhat discouraged. I have such high hopes for this next year, and soooo many areas in which I feel I need to improve. Yet, I feel like I'm forever one step forward, two steps back.

Recently, I lamented to E: 'my life is hard! I need a pick-me-up daily' (in reference to my starbucks habit). Now, I feel like its a little silly to call my life hard -- after all, I have a job, a home, and a husband. Three important things that many people lack. Today, though, I am in worry for my job.

I started the year with my 20 students - including 2 autistic (1 identified and challenging but 'mainstream-able,' 1 not-identified and very difficult). I spent the first portion of the year working to get help for the unidentified student. I somehow managed to get him an aide, testing, etc., and he is now in the special day class. On the heels of that issue being solved, came the next whammy. The school board voted to increase class sizes for next year. That in itself - sucks. Up to 30 kids, with no aide, and still the same high standards. In the past, we were able to do it in a staggered session, so we had chunks of time with just 15 in order to do the 'heavy lifting' academics. Now, people are talking about doing away with that and having all 30, all day. (Again, no aide, same rigorous standards). We are meeting on this Thursday afternoon.

But this isn't the bad part. This morning as I'm brushing my teeth, I realize that my position may not be safe. Currently kindergarten through third grade classes each have about 5 classes. If we go to a full 30 kids (there is a chance we might only have to rise to 25ish), that means only 3 classes per grade. Which means of course losing 2 teachers per grade, or 8 people(!). Now, while in my own grade level I have the third most seniority of the 5 (which I thought would make me safe), in first grade, for instance, 4 out of the 5 teachers have more seniority, than me. Same thing in 2nd grade. I have 9 years at our school, but our school is one where staff are generally really happy and want to stay, and the avg person has about 12 years.

This will be the most drastic layoff situation since the 1970's supposedly. It is unknown how the 'shifting' will take place. Whether anyone with more seniority than me will be able to 'bump' me from my k position, is unknown. I am guaranteed a job. I'm sure that I'd even be able to stay at my school (by bumping someone else). But should I bump one of the awesome 4th or 5th grade teachers, just because I have more seniority than they do? When I've never taught those grades before and would have to start from ground zero? It is important to me to stay in kindergarten. Complicating the situation is Miss P. She is at school with me, which is one way I've made being a working parent, work. Do I take her with me from school to school? What if I move schools again before she's graduated 5th? Our local school isn't really up to par, and even if it was, I'd have to drop her at 7:30 and probably not pick her up until at least 4:00, with no idea of what happened at her school that day. It isn't part of my value system to have that kind of set-up.


I'm going to try and chill out a bit until I know more details. Breathe in, breathe out.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

what is the world coming to???

I came home the other night to this picture quickly drawn by Miss P. Recognize these folks? I didn't think so. They would be Tiger and Elin Woods, as copied from my latest US Magazine cover (not the one below, a more recent version, with Tiger sporting a blue baseball cap). Not sure if I'm more disturbed by the subjects, or the fact that both of them are missing body parts. (Arms? Hello!) C'mon, P, do your best. Anyway, I had to laugh!

What's next???

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Finally doing the Christmas wrap-up! One of Miss P's big 'santa' gifts was the Karaoke player/boom box/CD player above. She l-o-v-e-s to sing and 'entertained' everyone with her Disney princess Christmas CD the rest of the trip.

Below is a stocking find - dis princess lip gloss. I wouldn't have gone there, but, hey, it was Santa!

With birthday twin Cousin ACR next to our little tree. ACR was 16 months on Christmas Day, Miss P - 5 years and 4 months.

And did I share that I found the coveted zhu zhu pets! The day we left for our trip I ran out to CVS at 6:00 a.m. for more gift bags (so bummed I didn't buy the adorable ones I saw at Target or Cost Plus). Anyway, I was gliding down the aisle, and lo and behold, there they were! I had initially kind of looked for them as I thought they'd be right up Miss P's alley. However, I wasn't about to get all crazy over them, showing up at Toys r Us at ungodly hours - etc. It was a Christmas treat to find them at the last minute. Right when I realized I needed just one more thing.
The rest of the holiday we spent sledding. The house we stayed at was set on a fairly steep hill. Most days we would walk out the back door of the game room, out onto to the porch, mimosas in hand, to take turns sledding and tobogganing down the hill.

P was hard to get outside. Similar to that transition from playing to the bathtub, first they fight it, then they love it. P would have really preferred to have spent the whole time in the game room, in front of the fireplace, watching a movie and drinking hot chocolate (and she did a lot of that!)
However, mean parents that we are, we insisted that she suit up and join us for at least an hour each day. She doesn't often like trying new things, so we really have to coax her. I was actually surprised how much she ended up enjoying the sledding. She even did some sledding on her own, and she is not a risk taker.

Here she is, read to start!

The climb back up the hill was not always fun!

This photo squeaked in out of order. This is Miss P on the morning of the last day. It's snowing!
P and I sledding - house in the background.

And back up the hill we went.
And that was Christmas!

We had a blast on New Year's as well. By then we were back home and we hosted a little party with two other families. Food was yum (apps and fondue), kids behaved (old enough to all be in a big 'coloring phase' - they made some cute resolutions. Our friend B said he wants to 'learn to juggle.' Paige initially said "I resolve to learn NOTHING!" I don't know if I admire her rebelliousness, her contentedness with herself, or if I'm frustrated with her lack of drive, but that was what she came up with, and she was sticking to it! She later said that she, 'resolves to have more play-dates in 2010.' Are you getting a good picture of her here? :) ) Anyway, I'm excited with my resolutions for 2010 and will post those next!

Christmas Eve

This year, Christmas found us in Tahoe with all of E's siblings and their families. The house was definitely alive with children and busy-ness. It was a comfortable spread, three levels, built on a hill, so kind of a 'reverse floor plan.' You enter at the top floor, which is the main living area with a nice size kitchen expanding into a big great room. Go down a flight of steps and you find yourself on the floor with all of the bedrooms. One more flight down takes you to the game room that has a deck.

We spent the first evening settling in, and my sister-in-law, the cook, got P busy attempting to squeeze enough oranges to make juice. Poor kitchen-deprived P loved the activity (more on the kitchen stuff in my resolutions post.)
The next morning we woke up excited for Christmas Eve. I love the days leading up to Christmas, so much anticipation, and everyone is excited and merry. We went with E's sister and her boyfriend to Heavenly ski resort and did some ice skating.

Of course,there was some hot chocolate involved. We also made the world's smallest snow woman.
She's having a bad hair day, hence the non-smile.

The day ended with everyone cooking and/or making holiday crafts to deck the halls for Santa's visit!