Monday, March 31, 2008

Opening Day

It was a glorious day in Seattle today. The sun was shinning, then it started snowing and then in the bottom of the sixth, the M's got it into gear and started playing some ball. The M's kicked off 2008 with a win!! Texas just fell apart. For some reason the M's have something against doing well offensively before the last third of the game. A couple of seasons ago, things wouldn't kick into gear until 2 outs in the 8th. We have really good pitching this year, we actually have had good pitching the last few years, but it doesn't do any good if you can't get your guys home. Oh well, a win is a win. I'm hoping for a season full of "small ball". When the M's won 116 in 2001 that is how they did it.
I'm sure Joji and I will go to a few games this year. However, I think I will wait for the threat of snow to pass. The funny thing was that while the snow was coming down in Seattle, just 25 miles south Tacoma had beautiful sunny skies. Global warming, go figure.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


Ugh, I just got my first spam comment. Bummer. Does anyone know how to delete a comment??
thanks :0)

** Updated **
A big THANK YOU to Kez and Marie for their help!!

The week that was...

Okay, so it hasn't been a full week since my last post (it feels like a month), but so much has happened. Some good, some not so good and some that make me want to scream, "Are you kidding me??"
Thanks to everyone who left a comment regarding "the grapevine". As always, never as bad as you think. It is the awfulizing that is the killer. As of now, who knows about tomorrow, but everything seems to be good. All misunderstandings and lots of good old "helping". And now that this drama has been settled for a good 30 seconds, a new drama monster rears its ugly head.
I have gotten 20 different emails regarding the purchase of white t-shirts for the end of the year. You would think I took the school budget and went to Brazil? The thing that I can't quite figure out is how the statement of "we (the school) can pay for the shirts" launched this massive outcry of parliamentary procedure faux pas. Really, are you kidding me??? I finally had to send the email: NO More emails regarding the t-shirts. It will be discussed at the next board meeting. So now I'm sure the "discussion" continues, I'm just off the distribution list.

As yucking the co-op stuff has been, other things have been quite fun. On Thursday we had dinner with the Browns and their friends Ernie and Muntsie. I hope I'm like them when I'm in my 70's. She is Italian and they have lived all over the world. So interesting to hear their stories. Muntsie also makes a killer spaghetti sauce. Now I am not the biggest spaghetti fan, but this was to die for. I even scored some to take home. I could hear Sammie from the kids table saying this was the best food she had ever eaten. Yup, it was pretty good. Ernie is quite the bread maker and he taught Matt the tricks of the trade. So to go with our spaghetti, we had fresh bread. Yummy, it won't last long, fresh bread. Oh so good.

Friday brought us snow it great northwest. Yes, you read that right snow and it actually stuck (for a few hours) Joji and Sammie rushed out to build a snowman. Of course, the weather put the kibosh on our cabin plans. Snowy roads and thought of being held up in a small cabin with 9 people, not so fun. We have decided to wait until the weather is better and the kids can run free. So instead of the cabin we spent Saturday rehanging kitchen cabinets at the Browns. While Holly was at work, the big boys rehung cabinets and tried to repair the "workmanship" of the previous owner. It is amazing how it is those little things that make all the difference. It wasn't even my kitchen I was excited to have cabinets with actual shelving and a fridge door that opens the right way. Holly was so excited. To celebrate, we made calzones and they were good. It was a long day, but a fun one.
Today, we are going to venture to the pool. Ahhhhh, I can't wait :0)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The grapevine

Ah yes, the good old grapevine. That marvelous way of getting information you may or may not want. Today, the grapevine is in full swing in good ole Browns Pt.
I have spent many hours this year cleaning up messes (if only these messes were in my home, my house would be oh so clean) I try not to creat these messes, although, I am human and occasionally I may have inedverntly stirred the pot, but mostly I'm like the clown in the parades with the wagon and shovel who runs behind the horses.
Today I think I am neck deep in "mess" and unfortunately a lot of it is just plain old BS.
I'm taking a break from my phone calls, trying to plan the best plan of attack. I'm afraid that I already know what I have to do. I must collect a group of folks to come sit in a room to discuss one topic that is not pleasant and it will most likely lead to several other issues none of which are any more pleasant. Oh the fun, it is a good thing that I get a nice fat paycheck for this...oh wait, I volunteered for this, sigh.
Oh well, I refuse to let this bring me down. Maybe I'm a little delusional, maybe I've been enjoying the smelly markers too much, but I have to believe the organizations I volunteer for are a little better off because of my efforts. Why else would I give all my time and energy (certainly not as an act of avoidance to cleaning my house??) Anyhoo, it will be an interesting few next days.
On the upside, I am heading out of town for the weekend. We are going up to our cabin at Stevens Pass. We might even get some snow. How crazy would that be? Ben got an ax from the Easter Bunny and can't wait to split some firewood. He also gets to bring a friend. Our last few outings with our friends, the Browns, has left poor old Ben odd man out. Now that his friend Joey is coming along everyone should have fun.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

I hope everyone had a very nice Easter. Poor Ben and Sammie had to figh off the rain and slugs to claim their eggs left by the Easter Bunny. Despite the rain, they had fun. We went to my mom's for brunch and that was nice. Food just seems to taste better when it is handed to you on a plate. Of course there was the added bonus of not having a mess to clean up in my kitchen.
Late in the afternoon, it kind of cleared up and we had a little blue sky. Just enough to spark the gardening bug. Yesterday was dry so the lawn was mowed (apparently Joji reads the blog) and I was able to do a little pruning and weeding. Our back yard beds really need to be weeded, but I don't think it will be that bad of a job. There is not a lot of stuff I have to be real careful with so I can take my horseshoe hoe to it and whip it into shape in no time. If you don't own a horseshoe hoe, I totally recomend it. It makes quick work of small weeds (big ones too) and anything that makes me want to weed is worth its weight in gold. We also have a couple of weed hounds and Ben and Sammie fight over who gets to use them. How great is that. Unfortunately, Sammie is still a little too small to truly make her efforts worthwhile, but she still thinks it's fun. I'm hoping for a break from the rain so I can tap into my new found enthusasium.
I also realized that today is my one year anniversary for the blog. Doesn't seem like a year. I don't know if that is good or bad, I'll go with good. Thanks to everyone who stops by and says hi. It really means a lot and I feel like I have made some friends from all over the world. How exciting for a stay at home mom from Tacoma :0)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

"Surprise" cookies

Okay, I really enjoy baking. I am also kind of a stickler about the end product. I just can't do "bad" stuff. Not that everything I make is beautiful and wonderful, oh no. What I mean is that I take a little bit of pride in what I do. Folks seem to think I'm a decent baker and I want them to keep thinking that.
So tonight as I was wondering around aimlessly through blogland, I stumbled across a post about "surprise" cookies. They sounded good enough, chocolate cookie, marshmallow, chocolate frosting. I googled the recipe and they seemed easy enough (I even had everything in the pantry) Okay, let's bake.
They came together easily enough and since the recipe didn't make a bunch of cookies the whole shabang didn't even take an hour. So now the moment of truth. Ben decided he would be the official taster. He took one bite and I knew. I asked him to rate the cookie on a scale from one to ten. One being the worst cookie ever and ten being the best cookie he ever had. He gave these a "3". Then Joji came down and he tried one. Joji likes just about everything and his comment was, "if you are putting frosting on something, I prefer your cupcakes". Ouch
So now I'm stuck with a batch of sub par baked goods. What do I do with them?? I hate to just throw them out, but I really don't want to be associated with these cookies either. I'm trying to convince Joji to take them to work tomorrow and put them in the staff lounge while no one is looking :0)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The rain, rain, rain, came down, down, down...

Well, here I sit looking out my window at yet another dreary rainy in day in Washington. Some rainy days are easier than others. Today is an errand day and so the thought of traipsing through parking lots full of big puddles is less than exciting. I have to return a dress I had bought for the auction. When I tried it one and showed Joji his comment was "do you have anything else?" Ouch. Okay, it was kind of ugly. I was hoping it was more funky than ugly, but it was ugly. So today is my 30th day on the return policy so I have to make sure it goes back. The bonus of having to return the dress is that I now have some "found" money and there is a Marshalls at the supermall (yes, that is actually the name, but don't let it fool you) I'm hoping to find something fun and springy at Marshalls. Our local TJMaxx had been kind of bare lately so it will be fun to shop somewhere new.
The other bummer about the rain is that our lawn, although green and lush, needs to be mowed. Now I'm not the kind of girl who won't do "man's work" like moving the lawn, it is just that I HATE our mower. It is huge and loud and has "overdrive" so I feel like I'm being pulled helplessly behind it. I know that if for some reason I was to let go it would stop, but I still feel panicky. I have visions of the mad mover running everything and everyone down. We used to have a nice little electric mover. I LOVED that one. First of all it was quiet, no louder than a vacuum. it was light and easy to maneuver. But alas, it wasn't macho enough and it was given away. So now I have to wait for my husband to mow the lawn and he is of the belief that you can't mow when it is wet. If we have to wait until it is dry, my lawn won't be cut until August!! Oh well, I'm sure he will read this and I will get the "if you want the lawn mowed so badly, go ahead" speech when he gets home.
I guess I shouldn't be too hard on him. It isn't like I have been out doing my yard jobs either. I so need to cut back and divide my 'mums' and weed, weed, weed. I really hate weeds. I wish I could develop a love of dandelions, but I just can't (too bad, we have some real humdingers)
On the first of April a little nursery down the road will open and I'm sure it will provide the much needed inspiration to get out and garden. I always go and buy the same thing every year. I can't help myself, they have the prettiest flowers. Spring break is around the corner, so hopefully we will have some good weather. Although it is just a given that most rainfall to happen in the spring usually happens whenever the kids are on break.
Okay, I'm off for a little retail therapy. Wishing everyone a Happy Tuesday from a very soggy Tacoma :0)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Humble Pie

Well, we had our conference and was great. I really love Ben's teacher. She is so with it. I asked my questions and she was able to answer me without a second thought. Turns out Ben didn't turn in a spelling packet and that is what dropped his grade and the same thing for math. Totally makes sense, plus it was a nice illustration to Ben of how important turning work in is.
As I'm sitting here I'm looking out my living room window at RAIN, RAIN and more RAIN. (Kate if you are reading this, I really wish there was a way to send you some)In a little over an hour the preschool will be holding its annual open house, the Spring Fling. It doesn't feel very springy. Last year it rained as well and nothing starts the day out like having to drag toddlers through a gravel parking lot full of HUGE puddles. I don't think one kid made it through the doors not soaking wet. I hope it is fun. I volunteered to hunker down in the kitchen and sell pizza. I did this at the Harvest party and it was fun. We were busy so the time flew by. I'm all about the time flying by :0) Another bummer about it raining is that we are having a ribbon cutting ceremony on a big mosaic mural the preschoolers did 7 years ago. It is finally up and it is Dash Points firs piece of public art (I will post some pics later tonight)
I hope everyone's Saturday isn't as soggy as mine.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Yes, I have become THAT mom

Okay, so report cards came home today and I really hate that I have become THAT mom. You know the one who gets a little too caught up in their child's grades. The one who has to restrain herself from calling to speak with the teacher, because there seems to be a problem. Yes, that totally annoying mom is now me. But let me explain...
While I was teaching I was made a project manager on our districts "new" report card adoption. It was my job to oversee the implementation and transition. I liked the new reporting system because it was very specific. Instead of "math" grades the kids were assessed in different areas so you could actually see what the kids could do. Well, parents hated it, because they didn't care about what skills the kid had, they just wanted the A,B,C's. The loudest critics were parents of "A" students who were now not "A" students. Bottom line, it was a total bloodbath, I had to resign and they brought in a mediator to try and find some middle ground. It was a mess, but it did bring up some good questions like "what are the kids really being assessed on" "how important is daily work compared to assessments" "should effort be figured into a grade" "how much of a student's grade is really subjective", etc. The whole grade discussion is very interesting, but I found it is right up there with religion and politics, folks have STRONG opinions and it is best to know your audience before you start the discussion.
So anyway, this December Ben brought home his first report card with letter grades. Kind of a big deal (we are not grade Nazis, but we want him to do well, since he is a bright kid) I must say I was surprised to see a lot of "B-'s". All the papers he was bringing home were always done correctly, he might miss one problem now and then. I chalked it up to the beginning of the year and there was probably other assessments that I was not aware of. So this trimester, we really focused on school work. Spelling tests were something that I know Ben had made no effort on in the first trimester, so that was an easy fix. Ben got A's on all of his tests with the exception of 1 and he got a B. On the report card, he still had a B- in spelling. What up??? The same thing with Math. All of his work coming home showed he got everything right, so why the B?
Okay, before anyone freaks out about B's being good grades and I should lay off, here is my frustration. I just want to know on what are the grades based. If there are other assessments being done, that's fine, just let me know. It just seems a little defeating when you work hard towards something and then there is no payout. Yes, I have unresolved grade issues from my youth and I'm sure Ben could care less, but this really drives me nuts!!!
So now, I have to go into our conference tomorrow and ask the teacher (who I adore and think is a great teacher) to explain her grading system (a question I hated as a teacher). I'm hoping it won't come across as "I don't think you know what you are doing" because I really think she does, it just doesn't seem to match what is coming home and that is my concern. If Ben needs more help, okay, we can help him, but when we see perfect papers coming home how are we to know he needs more?
Ben is bright (he gets that from Joji) and he totally gets the school thing. I have no doubt he will do well. I just like to know all the facts. I've also seen too many teachers give arbitrary grades because they liked or didn't like a kid (can you believe teachers admitted this to me during my report card project, scary) I just want a true picture of when Ben is, that's all.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sammie is the big 5

Sammie is now 5. So hard to believe. She is such a little person now and so independent. She doesn't take crap from anyone and will tell you exactly like she sees it. She also has the most amazing self esteem. I love how when she is riding her bike she will yell, "I'm awesome". If only I could bottle this up and save it for when she is older and and feeling a little less awesome. Sam is my little buddy and we have so much fun together. She loves to cook and bake and helps whenever she can. She made the cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving and will tell anyone who will listen. She is so much fun. I'm glad I have a little girl.

We had a little family party for her on Sunday night and now our house is overrun with My Little Ponies. Sammie got lots of cute stuff and was thrilled. I'm not sure if we will have a kid party or not. Last year we just invited a bunch of friends over for a tea party lunch (no presents) and the kids had a really good time. We might do something like that this year, but she is starting to make the rounds on the birthday circuit and seeing all the presents the kids get so the the "no gift" thing may not an option. Too bad. Birthdays have really gotten out of hand.
It all started when we were invited to a 3rd bday party for a kid in Ben's 2's class. We didn't know them that well, so when it came to the gift I got something I thought a 3 year old would like, a big thing of bubbles and and scooby doo punching balloon. I know Ben would have loved these and the price was right. I will never forget walking into the house and it was already full of every toy you could think of and next to the massive pile of toys was a pile of probably 30 presents, huge presents. I began to panic, but stood by my guns that we had brought an appropriate gift. When the mom opened our gift, she had a funny look on her face and said, "oh, bubbles. That's nice" in that kind of way were you know she was thinking "are you kidding me?" And so it began...
What I find funny is that I have this conversation all the time with other moms who feel pressure to spend a lot of money on birthday gifts so they don't look cheap. What is up with that?? For one birthday I asked the mom what the kid was into and she said gift cards. Okay then. But I gotta tell ya, for the older kids (especially the ones we don't know that well) we are all about the gift cards. The kids around here have EVERYTHING!! It truly borders on obscene. Anyway, as far as Sammie's "party" I'm not sure what we will do. Every weekend this month is already "booked" with stuff so we may end up with a midweek thing, which might actually be fun. I need to take advantage of the midweek stuff while I can. Tacoma has approved free (used to be $275 a month)all day K for everyone. I'm a little torn on this. I would not have sent Sammie to all day, too expensive and NOT worth the money. I was looking forward to the routine of school everyday, but also looking forward to having some Sam and Mom time too.
It is going to be very weird having both kids gone all day everyday. I hope I can handle the "freedom". Six hours of unstructured Laurie time can be dangerous. I'm hoping to use the time to get in shape, organize the running our house, continue to freelance and volunteer at the school. These are the same goals I had when I quit work to stay home 7 years ago, maybe I will actually get to do it.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Mama Hen

When I was younger and planned my life, I figured I wanted 4 kids. You see I was going to get married at 22 and then have kids at 24, 26, 28 and 30. (I grew up in a family with 3 kids and I didn't want to have a "middle" child so 4 kids just made sense) Well, that didn't happen. Ben and Sam came along at 29 and 32. Two kids and Joji was done. I must admit that 2 seems a little small, but the thought of another girl...yeah, not a chance. If Sam had been a boy, I could see us trying for a third. Win, win either way, but 2 way. So here we are with our little happy family of 4. Sometimes when we are out and I see larger families I get a little envious.
A few times over the past couple of weeks I have had a couple of chances to sit for our good friends who have 2 little kids (4 &1). I must admit it is fun to pretend I'm a mom of 4. It is so interesting how the dynamics of this little group work. Ben takes charge, Sam and Enzo fall in line and Lily keeps me on my toes. Even still, there is a rhythm that sets in and I'm still able to get a few things done. Time flies pretty quickly when I'm watching them. They are such good kids. It is fun to pretend, but also nice to be able to return to the land of just 2 kids. At the end of the day, I got lucky with Ben and Sam, they are pretty amazing kiddos. I wouldn't trade them for anything :0)

Monday, March 3, 2008

In like a lamb (but it felt like a lion)

March is officially here and I am still recovering from my weekend. It was a doozy. On Friday, I volunteered to drive and chaperon for Ben's field trip to NW Trek. Since the bussing situation in Tacoma is a mess, the parents have to drive. I'm not a huge fan of the parents driving thing, not just because of the whole "what if there is a crash thing" but it seems so wasteful. We had a caravan of 30 cars! For the most part the group of kids I had in my van were pretty good. I forget how quiet Ben is until I'm around other little boys that are a bit more boisterous. I'm not saying they were spazzy, but Ben did offer to pay them to be quiet (it worked for a while).
One of the best parts of NW Trek is that they "put the people in the cages". They have a tram that takes you through the park where the animals are free to roam. It isn't like the old school animal parks where the animals come up to your car and you feed them. Nope, they are wild and just go about their business. We were there a couple of weeks ago with friends and all the animals were hiding, but Friday they were everywhere. We had a great time. Once again, I was reminded how much energy it takes to be around kids all day and reinforced the idea that I'm not ready to go back to teaching just yet

Saturday was our preschool auction. I went to help set up in the morning, which actually was pretty fun. It became even more fun when the mimosas and bloody marys made an appearance. The bonus for helping set up is that you get to preview all the items being auctioned off. (I made 2 of these apothecary terrariums. They were much prettier in person) Come auction time, it is just too crowded to get a good look at stuff. Even though there was a lot of items, the only thing I really wanted was a framed picture of water. It was so pretty. It looked like a Monet, but it was a photograph. Just loved it, had to have it. Lucky for me I was the only bid :0)
As part of my duty as co-president, I get to make a little speech. I have no trouble speaking in front of people, but I wasn't on the schedule until almost 8:30. The plan was not to drink until AFTER I had given my speech, but you know what they say about the best laid plans... Last year the auction chair had herself a very good time and by the end of the night she was pretty "entertaining". I did not want to be "entertaining" during my speech. I thought it went pretty well, however, when I was called back up an hour later to speak about the new signs we were are planning to purchase, not as polished. The good news, no one was really listening. Usually that is a major pet peeve of mine, but I was okay with it just this once :0)
We have been to 6 auction for the preschool and this year's was by the far the most fun. Our table was definitely the "fun" table. We laughed and laughed and the night flew by. A bunch of us ended back up at our friends house and we spent the rest of the evening listening to records (not CD's or MP3's, but actual honest to goodness VINYL!!) Nothing like a late night sing-a-long. It was so much fun.
The plan for Sunday was to go out for breakfast. However, for some reason, going out turned into me and Matt making making breakfast for everyone, hmmmmmmm. It was a gorgeous sunny day and I was looking forward to just lazing around, but my Mom called and told me Sammie was sick. So my Sunday was spent on puke watch, but lucky for me, the worst had past so Sammie and I spent the day snuggling in the big bed. She is feeling much better today, but I still kept her home (she hasn't been to school for a week). She slept around the clock, but woke up in a good mood. We will play it by ear, but I might try and eek out a quick Costco run.
Well, that was my weekend. Now back to reality. Today is laundry day and the mountain of wash isn't that bad. My real focus for today is clutter. I need clean flat surfaces. My house has turned into one huge "hot spot" and I really can't stand it. So I probably should get off the computer and start (well, maybe I will check in with a couple blogs first, hehe)
Happy Monday everyone!! :0)