Monday, May 31, 2010

On the town...

I had two very different nights of culture recently!
The other Friday, we had a 'couples night out,' and six of us traveled to Berkeley for an 'awthors reeading.' Two authors in fact - Ayelet Waldman and Micheal Chabon. Ayelet has written some fun 'mommy mysteries' and then some deeper fiction. Her current book is a series of essays titled Bad Mother. Husband Micheal Chabon is a pulitizer prize winner and has his own series of essays out that E is currently reading. They were a darling couple in person and it was just kind of an interesting night.

Last Thursday I broke away from my work, as did E, and he took the 'P baton' while I met my girlfriends for opening night of Sex and the City 2. Now, I know its been panned a bit in the press, but we loved it! For the original movie we all got dressed up and had drinks. This time around, we couldn't get it together and just showed up in our comfiest clothes and gorged on sweets. Fun night! One of my favorite lines from the movie...Samantha, who is going into menopause, comments that her new vitamin regime is 'tricking her body into thinking it is younger.' Miranda quips that she is 'tricking her body into thinking it is thinner. Spanx!'

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

How often does this happen to you?

Tuesday night was Open House. I took a break from preparing in the afternoon to treat myself to a 'fountain' diet coke at the nearby Carl's Jr. I was kind of hot, as it's been muggy, and in a hurry. As I pulled up and got out of my car, I noticed a kind of scummy looking young man who looked really unhappy leaning against the building.

As I approached the CJ's he asked me to get him something to eat. I did an automatic, 'no, I'm sorry.' He replied with, 'I promise it won't be more than $3..." with his voice trailing off.

As I was inside ordering my soda, I thought about it. I had a wad of money in my wallet. I tend to easily buy small things, like magazines, coffee (and diet soda). (That may be not the best use of my money, but that is another post....) Anyway, I thought, how could I not help him?

So when I exited, I handed him a few dollars. He asked if I was sure, and then shook my hand. Have to admit that I washed my hands right after.

How often does this experience happen to you?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Is my family growing up? or My husband earns another merit badge!

Crazy! Open House aka one of the biggest nights of the year for a teacher, is this Tuesday. I am up to my ears in memory books, which is a big scrapbook we make for each student chronicling the year in pictures, artwork, songs/poems, and sometimes handwritten memories. Presenting the books is one of the things we do. I always wait until the last minute to finish up. Although, I have a won-der-ful parent who does at least half of the work. Thank you, Colleen!!!!

This is the first year my (personal) family has uber cooperated. I've had to bring P into the classroom a few times recently (let's face it, all year) and she has been a rock star! I used to ply her with snacks and a cartoon most of the time, as most of my motherly energy and patience was back burner-ed after my day with kinders. However, my classroom tv is on the fritz, and we are now on our big healthy food kick. Therefore, P now amuses herself the whole time with books, games, stuffed animals (she brings from home) and art projects.

Here is the biggie though - E is currently obsessed with getting new wheels. His car is a 13 year old pontiac sunfire with non-automatic features and broken air conditioning (broken for a year now). AC is worth more to fix than the car itself. It's blue booking at $450! He would've bought a new car awhile back, but with our house purchase, that was delayed. Anyway, he springs on me that he wants to car shop today. 'Sure,' I joke, 'as long as you bring Miss P and grocery shop on the way home.' They are doing this.

I had started to feel guilty for both of them, and tried to convince P to come back home after a quick grocery shop. I first offered to her that I'd stop working and go bike riding with her. She passed (who was I kidding - she's no outdoor girl.) I then offered her fav - art project time. She still opted to 'help daddy look for a new car.'

I am beside myself. So now, I am in worker bee heaven. Our whole kitchen has been transformed into my workshop. Printing pictures and gluing away. Real Housewives of NY on to keep me company. Wow! Better get back to it!

Friday, May 14, 2010

My sanity saver!

Some people have bars..... I have bookstores.

It was a long week. So this is where I went to hang out on Friday afternoon to 'drown' my sorrows. It worked! I actually read almost all of this book. Good times.

Mid-life crisis

I have done lots of counting blessings lately as so far, it has been a fun 2010! We did a family trip to Tahoe for Christmas, rang in the new year with good friends, girls trip in February, Yosemite and new house in March, Black Eyed Peas concert in April, and anniversary trip this month. I've also been reflecting on milestones as the world just ended a decade, and E and I had our 10 year anniversary.

Every decade of my life so far has a been a biggie. I've ended each in a very different place then where I started.
1972 - 80 birth to third grade
80 - 90 little kid to high school graduate
90 - 00 h.s. graduate kid living at home, to engaged woman out on her own
00 - 10 married, homeowner, teacher, mother

I sort of feel like I don't have any big goals left. We aren't planning any more kids (my husband is valuing his sanity too much), we just bought a home we can probably stick with for awhile, I'm happily set in a career that won't involve any movement. So, now what? Sounds crazy, or pessimistic, but I'm almost afraid that if I don't have a big plan for something positive, then something bad will happen instead. I just can't imagine ten years passing and no big life changes, other than P becoming a teenager (Lord, help me).

Does this make any sense? What do you think?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Latest Modern Family!

Latest Modern Family was hilarious! In case you missed it, in this episode the whole clan travels to Hawaii. Phil is trying to make the trip romantic for Claire, a second honeymoon. She looks at him and says, deadpan, "I'm a mom. This is not a vacation. This is a business trip." Love it!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Teacher Appreciation Week

This week is Teacher Appreciation week at our school. I love my parents this year and my students! In fact, this is one of the years, where I actually don't want the year to end!!

I am in the unique position (beginning) this year, of being both a teacher and a parent. It has been eye opening to participate in this week as a parent, and thus, I've gotten some great ideas. I think most, if not all, the readers of this blog, already know exactly what to do (assuming you have kids in school), but if not......maybe you can file this away for next year! I know a lot of you end up being room moms.

1) It's the little touches. You don't have to spend much, or any money, but the little touches of thoughtfulness in presentation do wonders. Think things through. For instance, at our school, many classrooms select a day during the week in which every student in the class brings a flower for the teacher. One way to do this well is to have a vase or vases ready to go in the classroom prominently. Better yet, have the person in charge of flowers collect all the flowers in advance, put them in vases outside the room, and bring them in with a flourish. Extra credit, have the 'in-charge' parent water the flowers and take care of them throughout the week!

(Speaking of flowers, if you have a male teacher, you might want to consider something else. He may not need four vases of flowers stacked on his desk. Very sweet, but just saying.)

2) Tell the teacher why you appreciate them. Most (?) teachers spend a lot of time thinking about how to make lessons fun, interesting, and/or exciting. And/or how to connect with various kids. Similar to moms, it is just kind of expected, and while there may be an internal appreciation, it is nice to hear a specific one out loud. One of my friends wrote a special letter to his son's preschool teacher, and I think that is so great. I have saved every letter like that I have ever gotten. Sadly, most of them are from my principal, like at a review time. Words mean so much to us. If all I got was, 'I so appreciate you being my daughter's teacher. She likes to come to school because of you. The way you talk and connect with her helps her feel safe and comfortable.' Or, 'I am so proud that _____ learned her letters! Thank you for working with her. I can't believe all she can write now!" Or, "I know _____ can be a little challenging. Thank you for taking the time to talk with him." How about, "thank you for sharing with _____ how to use their words and solve conflicts. I've noticed a difference!"

If, as room parent, or teacher appreciation coordinator, all you did was stress to parents to write a note with as much detail regarding anything they've done that you appreciate, (have the kids make a note too, but as a K-teacher, something a little more meaty is nice, esp. since we have so much parent contact). Then, you organized all the notes in a cute gift bag with a bow, and said, 'here you go!' I would be thrilled!!!!!!

3) Have a luncheon! The highlight of my week was a delish luncheon we had on Tuesday for a whole staff. This was not a one classroom event, but a school-wide effort. If your school doesn't do it, suggest it! This year it was Hawaiian style and decorated to the max with yummy yum yum food. There was even brunch snacks (muffins, bagels). I personally am all about food! Everyone loves it. Various parents bring in a dish. Decorating divas set up and clean up. I actually look forward to our holiday luncheon and this one all year long. (Sadly) : ) See other blog for my food issues.

4) If you want to spend some money - Gift cards are king! : ) Bookstores, starbucks, whatever your particular teacher loves.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Had the best mother's day evvahh!

It all began on Friday. Took the day off, yet spent almost the whole time at school. Volunteered in Miss P's class for a couple of hours in the morning, then headed to my room to quickly prepare for Monday. (So that my tires could screech out of the parking lot at 2:10. Just kidding. Kind of.) My sub was a recently retired first grade teacher from our school who was working magic with my class. Right on! I finished up and zipped to Palo Alto, where I got to meet my mom for lunch and give her gift. Raced back to school in time for the classroom Mother's Day luncheon. I received a paper flower and a heart shaped pillow.

The moms had lemonade and yummy cookies; the kids each shared why they loved us and sang a song.

Sweet!! After school I helped a bit with teacher appreciation week, which is this upcoming week. Got to 'hob nob' a bit with the moms. We have such a great community! Came home ready to clean the house, but sat down to cuddle with P who was have wild allergy attacks and fell asleep. I could not move for two hours.

Fast forward to today. E and P served breakfast in bed for me. Then E dropped off P and I to get mani pedis at Santana Row. After it was lunch at Pizza Antica, followed by the movie Babies. Perfect mother's day flick. Who else saw it?? We finished the day by shopping - I got a book and two necklaces from Old Navy. I love their fun, inexpensive jewelry. You can get multiple pieces and not feel guilty! We got home, and E, who had insisted I not lift a figure all day, finally threw in the towel, and let me get Missy P ready for bed. She got to bed a few minutes late, because as we relaxed I fell asleep again. Clearly, I had a hard day. ;) If I didn't know any better, I'd think I was pregnant as I've been zonked since last Wednesday.

Anyway! Had a wonderful day, and I hope all you moms did too. Happy Mother's Day!

My two sweeties

Still not seeing much spring around here. But one recent Sunday it was very warm. Despite that - we were all a little grumpy. Some weekends we start to bum out a little on Sunday afternoons due to how quickly the time flew by, and the fun that didn't happen yet. What's a family to do? We headed quickly over to Target and armed ourselves with water toys for some outdoor fun.
I currently don't own a swimsuit, so these two had most of the 'active fun.' I was squirted a lot though!
Evidenced here!

Anniversary weekend

Had to belatedly show us off, in all of our cute-ness : )

Sunday, May 2, 2010

We're back!

To reality that is. Had an awesome weekend! We were the beneficiaries of two upgrades, so we had an oceanfront room with our own fire pit and patio. We enjoyed the view, waves crashing, clear weather, fire crackling, champagne, chocolate and each others company on night one. After an in-room movie, breakfast, and more lounging on day 2, friends came to join us for a bit of our celebration. The four of biked from the hotel to here. It was eight miles in severe headwinds. We were laughing because they told us we could likely do it in about 30 minutes. 30 minutes, my arse, we were saying! It reminded me of all the 30-minute meals I cook, which in reality take my sorry self an hour! Anyway, we took kind of an odd route, as we were trying to avoid too much riding on highway one. We eventually made it, and enjoyed sliders and beer for our anniversary dinner. What can I say, that's our style! I did make the ride in a cute outfit and boots, so I was at least appropriate somewhat for the occasion! We ended up sending our one savvy rider back for the van so we could load up the bikes and quickly get home, as the hour was getting late, and our friends had to get back to their kidlings. (He took the highway and made it in under 30!)

Back at the hotel, we had waaayyyy too much dessert and coffee, and paid for it!! Not before sneaking in a little dancing and some toasts. We both had stomach aches and poor sleep that night. My new regime of fruits and veggies is paying off - I'm having a harder time eating too much other stuff!

Anyway, we relaxed a bit more today, before ripping off the bandaid and returning home. At least it is warm here! We had a nice reunion with our girl and a productive and pleasant afternoon/evening. I told E, there's something to be said when you are happy returning to your real life. While I don't always show it, I love my real life!