Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Still can't get it right!

So, I'm still having trouble getting photos on here. I tried uploading photos into photbucket, but then I got an error message. Maybe it's my computer. It's completely out of memory. Last time I made a new post, it disappeared. I thought I had lost it but when I checked this a day or two later, there it was! Hmmm.......

I just finished a great book - Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. I loved it! I bought it a year ago but never picked it up. Finally, between book club books, I decided to read it. It was about the circus (you'd think I might have guessed that from the cover, but no, I thought it was about Africa or something). I won't spoil it, but it's definitely one of the "good" books I've read lately. Now I'm on to "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" which is our next book club book. I also want to read that Randy Pausch book - the guy who is dying from pancreatic cancer and did "The Last Lecture" (also the name of the book).

I've been working back in the dual-language kindergarten this week. Those kids crack me up. Two of them who sit near each other often discuss religion (of all things! they are five and six!). One of them said the other day "You know, if you don't believe in God, you ride a roller coaster straight to hell" to which the other replied "Yeah, where they torture you night and day!" I was just a little bit freaked out. What ever happened to "you're not my friend anymore because you took my purple crayon!"?

In other news, I hate dieting. Not that this is any huge revelation (duh) but I really suck at it. I've been "trying" to do Weight Watchers for just over a month. I've lost, um, let's see 2.6 lbs. I mean, what is that anyway? A good, healthy crap could weigh 2.6 lbs. And I'm just so BAD at it. I eat healthy most of the time, exercise pretty regularly, but if I want to eat chocolate chips out of the bag, that craving just won't go away. So, I eat them and wake up in the morning with a guilt hangover like an alcoholic who sneaked one too many chardonnays the night before. Oh the torture! But here's how I'm looking at it - I could walk outside and get hit by a truck tomorrow and if the last thing I ate was a carrot stick, how sad would that be? Now, a toffee almond bar from Starbucks? THAT'S a last supper.

Tomorrow I'm going to make Greek lemon/orzo soup with turkey. We cooked too much orzo the other night and it made me think of this awesome soup I used to have at a Greek restaurant in Fremont that was all lemony but kind of creamy, too. I found a recipe, and chances are, it won't resemble this soup in the slightest, but the idea is good. I'll let you know how it turns out.

I think this picture thing might have worked? If so, that's Harrison, Arlie and Rylie at the first half of the talent show! Arlie and Rylie performed but Harrison wasn't so lucky as the power went out midway through the show! So, his big performance is this Friday! Let's hope we're luckier this time (snow in May? It could happen!).

Saturday, April 19, 2008

How to Dress for a Baseball/Softball Game in Western Washington (Spectators)

First, start with shorts and a tank top. Then, layer long johns over that (do this in order exactly as instructed!). Top with jeans, a long sleeved t-shirt, sweatshirt (preferably from Eddie Bauer, Abercrombie, Hollister or other "cool" place to shop), and add a North Face zip fleece jacket (from Nordstrom) on top. Finally, pull on knit gloves topped by waterproof gloves and slip on a Gore-Tex or other suitable waterproof raincoat. Wear 1-2 pairs of socks, and waterproof shoes (i.e. very expensive hiking boots from REI or "Wellies" will do). In addition, take with you to the game: waterproof stadium seat, umbrella, Starbucks coffee of choice, sunglasses, sunscreen and two blankets (waterproof on one side, fleece on the other). Fill extra bag with snacks, extra sweatshirt, extra gloves and baby wipes (for the mud). If you are "snack mom" remember to also bring large, reusable Costco bag filled with two cases of Gatorade in assorted flavors and variety packs (2) of Nabisco treats. If you are "uber snack mom" make up individual snack bags with drink, healthy snack, sugary snack, and small toy. Fold bag over, seal with decorative baseball stickers and write each child's name in appropriate decorative font with a Sharpie marker on the outside.

After you set up to watch the game, use umbrella sparingly. You don't want to look like a tourist, yet you risk complete soaking if you are not careful. When rain turns to "high mist" or "actual drops" you may use the umbrella. Otherwise, let the humidity curl (or flatten) your hair. If this happens frequently, you might consider also adding cute hat to aforementioned bag. Hold Starbucks drink of choice with both hands, thus utilizing both the warming capacity and the nutritional value at the same time. Spread one blanket over your knees, and drape one around your shoulders. Cheer appropriately. If temperature reaches 47 degrees or higher, discreetly slip away to Port-A-Potty and remove long john layer (being careful to leave shorts and tank top layer underneeath), gloves, and North Face jacket. If temperature reaches 57 degrees, and it's no longer raining (or misting), remove rain jacket and sweatshirt. If the sun comes out at all, for any length of time, also remove long sleeve shirt, adjust tank top over jeans accordingly, and don sunglasses. If temperature reaches 60 degrees, it is officially "summer", therefore you must make another discreet exit to aforementioned Port-a-Potty to remove jeans, leaving shorts and tank top. You may also remove one layer of socks if you chose to wear two, but leave one pair on and replace REI boots or Wellies. Fold both blankets and place in bag. Tuck umbrella away under bleachers. Apply sunscreen. Wait. In ten minutes, when the sun goes behind the clouds, remove extra sweatshirt and drape over shoulders. In ten more minutes when cool wind breezes through and sky darkens, drape blanket over legs. Ten minutes later, when rain droplets begin to appear, don sweatshirt and drape waterproof rain jacket over shoulders. When deluge hits, grab bag and head to the car. Wiggle and stretch yourself back into original outfit. Get back to bleachers just after child hits a double. In ten minutes, when sun appears again, and steam begins to rise from bleachers, don sunglasses. Watch steam rise from own body. Feel sweat beads begin to form on lower back, brow, and under arms. Shiver as sudden cool breeze freezes sweat mid-production. Watch sky darken. When sudden downpour hits, realize it's "snack mom" time. Distribute soggy treats to muddy children, scoop up all aforementioned gear, dropping umbrella in mud puddle on the way to the car, load gear, player and rest of family into minivan. Arrive home to find sandy, muddy cleats resting on top of remaining snacks in bag, and Starbucks nearly empty cup dribbling tan liquid into bottom of bag. Clean car, do load of laundry, knock sand off cleats. Repeat 24 times between April and June.

The Night the Lights Went out in Bothell

So, yesterday started out pretty normal. I had to work, and the school's variety show, which I'm in charge of, was rescheduled for last night (after being canceled for snow in March!). As I'm checking my email in the morning, I receive an email from the PE teacher at school saying that the 400 chairs I've had delivered from the district are sitting out in the rain and I "might want to organize towel duty". Knowing there's no way I can get 400 chairs set up and dried off in 45 minutes, I call the school and beg for someone to put them under cover for the rest of the day. I go to work, then off to Target to return something. Doug calls me and says "Can you believe this? Here we go again!" I have no idea what he's talking about, so he says "It's snowing like a son of a bitch outside again" and I'm sitting in my car, it's 47 degrees and sunny (this is less than three miles from where he is). I look outside and see a humongous mass of roiling black clouds moving toward me. It almost looked fake, like in a movie! After I run my errands, icy pellets start coming down and as I drive closer to my house, it's apparent it has snowed enough to cover the ground. I think to myself "HAH! This is nothing! The show must go on". I get home, grab some things for Hayley, pick her and two friends up at school and drop them off for cheerleading tryouts at the high school. It's snowing. I head to the elementary school, pick up the younger kids, and head home for an hour so we can change for the show, eat and I can burn a disc of the "curtain call" song. After struggling with iTunes for a while trying to learn how to burn a disc, I am finally successful. I throw chicken nuggets in the oven, make some mac 'n' cheese, cut up some apples and call it dinner. We make a mad dash and arrive at the school at 5:15. It's snowing. We set up chairs, sound equipment, video, and people start to arrive. I hear a lot of "Have you seen how much snow is out there?" and "This is worse than the first time we canceled." But the show must go on! I don't look outside (denial). Finally, just before the show, I peek outside to a wonderland of white, covering everything. But the show must go on! We begin. Everything is going great! The kids are wonderful, the crowd is entertained, and we finish the first half of the show. Everyone mills around eating cookies and chatting for ten minutes of intermission and then we set up for act two. The act is announced, the lights go dim, and then they go out! They flicker briefly and go out entirely. There is a short pause while this sinks in, then terrified screams, chaos and confusion as 400 people realize we are now in the dark. (That second act was a real show-stopper!). We regain some control, with the use of emergency lighting and a megaphone, and announce that we now have to cancel the second half of the show! It takes about 10 minutes to reunite parents with kids and get everyone out of the gym, then the rest of us (clean up crew) have to put everything away, racing against the clock as our 20 minute emergency lighting (think of lighting a few candles, that's how bright it was) quickly runs out. We exit the gym to a thick blanket of wet snow and head home. On the way we see tree branches down (that might explain the power outage!) but we are lucky to have power at home. After shaking wet snow off our playground trees and the magnolia in the front yard, we settle in for the night. Several adult beverages later, Jeff and I are laughing about the jinxed show. There were lots of dissapointed kids tonight (Harrison being one of them!) who did not get to perform, but we plan to reschedule another show for the second half. What a nightmare. We are SO ready for spring to begin. Our baseball/softball season has consisted mostly of canceled games (like today!), and the "spring flowers" we planted "after the last frost" are wilting and dying. Phoenix anyone?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Technologically challenged!

Grrr......I've been trying to upload photos. So far, I got two! I have no idea why my main photo is so huge - I checked "shrink to fit" on my options. I have been having such a hard time getting photos to upload and to figure out how to lay out the page. UGH! I am so lame when it comes to stuff like this.

Anyway, at least there are some changes here. I worked today, proctoring the "WASL" test which is our state's test of standardized learning. Whatever! I had to be a "scribe" for a student who is a native Spanish speaker. Now, this girl can speak English just fine, but as an ESL student, they are allowed to have a scribe. So, I wrote, word for word, what she told me. This test is such a big deal and Harrison has been a nervous wreck about it. Personally, I don't like standardized testing. I understand why we need it, but what does it really tell us? Not much. I think we spend more time and money making "standards" for the test that we could spend teaching the kids.

Just waiting for a pizza to be delivered! This is how my diet goes awry every day. I start out with the best intentions. Fruit and yogurt for breakfast, Lean Pocket for lunch and then the evil minions start creeping in........chocolate, cake, decaf tall Mocha at Starbucks. Wednesdays tend to be "free for all" nights because we only have Arlie here (the other kids are at their dad's). She has a nice Top Ramen habit going on for Weds. nights but tonight she wanted to order pizza. Now, everyone knows pizza is no good at all without a beer (or a Mike's or.......) and after that when your tummy is all full and content and bubbly, you need ice cream (specifically a milkshake) to settle things down. Alas, diet disaster!

On top of that, my husband is "celebrating" his demotion at work. He arrived home at 3 p.m., downed two martinis, ranted for a couple of hours about his job, then took Arlie outside to play softball. I feared for the wild pitches and hoped no small children would wander into his line of fire. Happily they came back intact and now I believe Jeff is sleeping off his indiscretion.

Gotta run, pizza guy just arrived! I will attempt to add more can't be this hard!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Great Wolf Lodge!

We spent the last two nights at Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound, WA. This is about an hour and a half south of here, near Chehalis (for those of you who know where that is). It's a huge new resort (just opened a month ago) that is a "lodge" theme, which includes a huge indoor waterpark, arcade, spa and restaurants. We spent most of our time, of course, at the waterpark, where Harrison and Arlie rode the "Howlin' Tornado" 13 times! This slide is a four person raft that goes down a tube and drops you sharply into a huge funnel (some kids were calling it "the toilet"), where you slide back and forth crazily, then funnel into the tube again for the end! We did it at nighttime and it was SCARY!!! You could not see a thing. The park also had a wave pool, several other slides, and my favorite, the dumping bucket! I love to just stand and watch the 1,000 gallons of water fall, closing my eyes at the last possible second (yeah, I know, weird). Our room included a real log cabin right in the room, which was the "kid cabin suite". Harrison, Arlie and Hannah had beds in the cabin, Jeff and I had a nice queen bed and Hayley had the sofabed. We visited the arcade (think, lots of money for tokens, lots of tokens for tickets, and lots of tickets for a few cheap toys!). To end our stay, we visited the spa (while Jeff and Harrison hit the arcade again - Jeff calls it "baby gambling"). I had a massage, and Hayley, Hannah and Arlie had pedicures (Hannah and Arlie's were at "Scoops Kid Spa" where they got "ice cream flavored" pedicures). On our way home, we stopped by Cabela's, the ultimate toy store for the outdoorsy, hunter, redneck type. We purchased a few items for our new camper (pie irons), a new fishing pole for me, and, for Jeff, I could not resist picking up the mini shotgun lighter (cock the "gun" for the double barrelled "flame"). You might be a redneck............

So, that is about it for spring break. Hayley and Hannah have a big movie "date" planned w/ various friends tomorrow and Hayley is making me take her shopping (poor thing, doesn't have a thing to wear!). Next week's highlights - cheerleading tryouts and the Talent show!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Camping in Grayland

We went camping at Grayland State Park over the weekend (the first half of our spring break!). The park is aptly named, because it was most certainly gray, and rainy, and cold the entire time. However, that did not stop Jeff, Arlie, Rylie and Harrison from going clamming on Sunday morning. They came home with 18 razor clams, and Jeff covered head to toe in wet sand (always fun to try and remove from clothing!). Harrison, Arlie and Rylie spent the rest of the day in their driftwood fort, complete with an old sheet for flooring and snacks. Hayley and Hannah were content to watch movies (thank God for RV hookups!), read and snack the entire time. Bonus, there was no cell phone reception so the girls couldn't text the entire time! HAHA! On Saturday, Jeff dropped us off in Westport to shop while he took the little kids to do some geocaching, and the big girls and I had a blast kidding around with this very funny guy who was working at a kite shop. I spent most of my time cooking, then cleaning up from cooking, then cooking again, but it was actually fun, and we all got along in our small camper (two adults, five kids and three dogs!). I even let Shade sleep on my bed (yeah, I know, gross!). At the end of the trip everything was damp, sandy and generally "icky" - I think we were all relieved to get home and take a shower! But it was a great trip and we'll definitely go back.