Jun 14, 2013

Last Day of School!!

Thursday was our last day of school.
It is so hard to believe that it is already over and there is one more school year down.

Here is a photo of the boys leaving for their first day of school.
They are standing in front of our "home".  At that time we were still living in the hotel.  I don't miss the close quarters of that hotel, but I do miss the delicious coffee that was available 24/7 in the lobby.

I failed to get a picture of the boys in front of our house on the last day of school.  Darn.  
I need to be a bit better at capturing these moments.  In my head they look exactly the same now as they did then, but the reality is they don't. Eli grew out of his pants by November and now Gabe is wearing those same pants Eli started the school year wearing.  I suppose that is quite a bit of growing.
I told the boys to remind me to get their picture on the last day of school.  But we all forgot. It might have something to do with the fact that I was running late for work and so I shoved them out the door,  pointed them toward the bus stop, and threw out some "I love you" fingers as I passed them by.
It was so moving.  I'm sure they will always remember how special I made their last day.  

So I went to work and my coworkers and I spend the last few hours of the school year chatting about summer and enjoying our last day together.  One teacher is retiring and the other is looking for a different position next year.  So this was the last time the three of us will be together at work.  All kinds of craziness broke out about 10 minutes before the bell rang.  Kids were running all over the place, music was blaring from the speakers, and bus horns were blasting.  The kids all waved good bye and gave hugs and then boarded buses.  But that wasn't the end of it, the buses make some sort of victory lap around the school, come back through the bus lane and then left.  Mayhem.  Total mayhem.  
It was fabulous.

Here is a picture of Eli and his sweet friend T at their "moving up" ceremony at school.  The fifth graders never got their chance to be the big kids on campus.  This year 5th and 6th are moving on to Middle School.  They had a nice little ceremony handing the kids their diploma and then a little slide show of all the kids.  They ran out of cake before I could snag a piece.  So wrong.

This little girl is so darn beautiful.  Obviously, she is the reason for Eli's super huge smile on his face.  He asked me not to post the photo on Facebook though because he didn't want his other sweet friend M to see.  He's keeping options open on both coasts.

Although we have had a fair experience at this school, I'm glad we are out of there.  Eli and Gabe both had some fabulous teachers but the school itself doesn't have much parent involvement, the PTA does all of about nothing, the office staff must get paid extra if they conserve their words because they refuse to speak to me, and there is quite possibly the most horrid grumpy woman in the world working there. She calls herself "The Queen" which I suppose is appropriate if she is referring to the queen on Alice in Wonderland.  
So it was with great pleasure that I told the silent office lady 'peace out', and corrected the principal when he told Gabe "see you next year".  I said "nope, he is moving UP to the East Side" or something like that.
The kids and I had a celebratory dinner the last day of school and then I slept in on Friday.  
We are now packed and ready to roll as soon at Matt gets home we are CA bound!

Jun 11, 2013

The Most Ridiculous Injury Ever

So today I was hanging up some clothes in Eli's closet when I hurt my back in the absolute most ridiculous manner.
As I was leaving his closet (it is a walk-in) my belt loop got caught on the door handle and caused me to violently stop in my tracks.
I pretty much gave myself whiplash.
And since you asked...no, amazingly enough my belt loop did not tear.

Who does this?  Who has the skill to loop her belt loop around a door handle causing a back injury?
So embarrassing.

Jun 10, 2013

For the Fallen, For the Fighting, For the Families.

Running affords me the opportunity to get fit, to push myself, to clear my mind, to bond with nature, to bond with other runners, to be productive, to escape, to energize and much much more.

For a group of runners part of an organization called Wear Blue, running is also a living memorial to the Fallen, those still fighting, and to the families of both.

Here is short video explaining the story behind and the mission of Wear Blue.  Follow Link Here

I just ordered shirts for Matt and I and plan to sport them on our upcoming 8 Mile Fun Run on Fourth of July and hope to participate in some local Wear Blue events as well.

In addition to all the other reasons why I run, I can also run to remember and run to remind others that freedom is not free.  It was paid for by our founding fathers who decided not to sit back and be oppressed by the rule of a foreign nations, it was paid for by those who fought in the trenches, and stormed the beaches of Normandy, it was paid for by men and women in Korea and Vietnam, and in two rounds with Iraq and our current battles in Afghanistan.  It was and continues to be paid for by the widows, the soldiers and the families of this country's mighty military.

Land of the Free, Because of the Brave!

Jun 8, 2013

First of all I must apologize for an error I made in an earlier post.  I incorrectly wrote "baseball is almost over".  I think that was two weeks ago.  Clearly, I failed to realize the seriousness of post season game play.  We are still going strong and have games all this week!  We are in a double elimination tournament and since we won our first game today, we're in for two more games.  It is the season that never ends!

A few days ago I told Eli that we might go see a baseball game when we are in Anaheim.  Matt and I enjoy visiting baseball stadiums across the country and we haven't been to Angels Stadium yet.  Since we'll be right down the street and the Angels have a  home game, it seems like a good stop on our vacation.
Eli asked who the Angels were playing and I said "the Mariners".
His eyes got really big and he said "OUR Mariners?"

He was very excited.
So was I, but for an entirely different reason.

I think there is a time in a young boy's life where he picks his team.  He picks the organization to become loyal to.  He vows to love them when they win and lose.
I wondered "has he picked his team?"

Of coarse we live here and so just about every little boy growing up in these parts is a Mariners fan.  But Eli is not the typical Seattle area little boy.  He has a lot of different influences.  His Papa and Uncle G are die hard Giants fans, his daddy loves the Mets, and his first dozen baseball games were cheering on the Washington Nationals.  He's been to home games for all of these teams.  He's felt the mood in the stands, witnessed the wins, participated in the celebrations, and most importantly tasted each and every one's signature stadium dog.  With all those teams to chose from, it would seem he has settled on the Mariners.

Recently we went to a Mariners vs Padres game here in Seattle.  We forced him to wear a Padres shirt because Uncle G's friends was pitching for the Padres and hooked us up with some sweet seats in the Padres complimentary ticket section.  We were able to meet the friend who was one of the relief pitchers for the game and get some signatures.  Since we were totally in Padres territory we decided to root for them for this game.  Eli wasn't having it.  He wore that Padres shirt, but only under his Felix Hernandez Mariners jersey!!

So when Eli said "OUR Mariners" my heart was happy.  I think this boy has found his team, and even though he doesn't have the friends that he wishes for, he doesn't have the wide open play areas he is used to, and still associates Ca as a part of who he is, he has embraced his home.

Go M's!!

Jun 5, 2013

Never underestimate the power of 10 minutes.
I know that sounds a little cliche but it is true.

Some time in March I had an interview at an elementary school with a principal named Ron and three or four other teachers in his school.  The interview went well and I felt great, not only my ability to accurately represent myself but also about the people I was interviewing with.  I got a great vibe from the principal and staff.  The interview really seemed more like a casual conversation than a stressful interview and I really hoped I would get a chance to work with these people.  The principal just simply had a way about him that made me want to be part of that team.

I got a call a few days later from Ron.  He told me I didn't get the job but he was really impressed by me.  He said that it came down to the other candidate having more classroom experience.  He encouraged me to try and get into the sub pool and continue to apply.  He also said that he emailed fellow principals in the district and let them know that I was an excellent candidate.

I would like to point out that I obviously wasn't excellent enough for him.  I was a little encouraged by the conversation and a little irritated.  But I moved on.

Fast forward to my interview with the principal at the school I currently work at.  She started the interview by stating "you came highly recommended by Ron".  I was shocked that Ron had actually done what he said he would do, and that his recommendation was regarded so highly.  Talk about added pressure in an interview.

A few days later I was at the boys' school and the principal there approached me and told me he heard I was in the running for a job at the other school.  He said "I guess you made quite an impression on one of the other principals, he emailed all of us recommending you".

I vowed to check back with Ron and thank him, even if I didn't get the job, I was so taken back by the fact that he really did take the time to try and help me out.

I finally had the chance to thank him last night.  I walked up to him, reminded him of my name and said "you recommended me for a job a few months ago and I firmly believe it was your confidence in me that landed me an interview and position".  I told him how the principal I work for opened the interview and that my response was "I do hope I prove his words to be true".  He asked about what I was doing and if my position was continuing or not and then told me if I don't get hired on again with this school to check out his school because he is hiring now for next year!

This is a great little story.  But, it is about to get better.
Ron is not going to be the principal at that other school next year. Why?
He is going to be the principal at the TAG school that Gabe is attending.

I'm not gonna lie the thought has crossed my mind that obtaining an interview for a job at the TAG school may be a little easier if a position opens up in the future!
More important than that, I feel confident that Gabe is going to be in excellent hands in Ron's school.

Jun 4, 2013

This is Hard, I Can Do it!

Eli wanted to run with me this past Sunday.  I was planning to run 3-4 miles so we worked out a route that would allow him to ride his bike for the first 3 and then run with me for the last mile.
Half of the time he was riding his bike he kept asking me about the route he was going to run.
"Where am I going to run?"
"Are there hills?"
"Is is a hard path?"

I could tell he was nervous.  I just kept telling hime he would be fine.  I told him when the time come to park the bike and run, just run, do his best and he'll be fine.

He parked ditched the bike and started his run.  He looked good at first.  I continued to encourage him along way telling him he looked good, almost half-way there, etc.  By the time we reached halfway I could see he was regretting his decision to run.

Eli has never been a runner.  He has always loved his bikes and skateboards, anything with wheels but running hasn't ever been his strength.   It was never really a problem until basketball season this year.  The game doesn't wait for you to get back and forth between the baskets.  He also discovered he needs improve his running ability in order to run hard and fast to steal some bases.  Sometimes in little league the only way you can advance to the next base is to steal!  I asked Eli to ride his bike with me today, it was his choice to throw in a run too, and I was already proud of him for taking that step.

As we reached our halfway point and were heading back to the house his commitment wavered.  He started to say "I can't do this".  I grabbed his hand and pulled him beside me and told him "you can!"  I knew it was hard for him, he seriously has never run a mile before, but I knew he could do it.

I explained to him, that as soon as you let the doubt creep in, you have to either cut it off right away or you will indeed fail.  He changed his mantra to "this is hard, I can do it, this is hard, I can do it" and he finished well.

I hope that he gains some confidence in running, but more than that I hope he learns the more valuable lesson I was trying to teach him today, there are things that are hard, really really hard, but the power of our will is greater than the strength of our legs, our natural ability, and the odds stacked against us.

Jun 3, 2013

Night Out

Last Friday Matt and I went to his Battalion Ball.
These things can be enjoyable.
They can also be painfully not enjoyable.
I was feeling that this one would be option two.

Matt was the MC, which means he will be working all night and I will be left without my date.  Lame.  That little problem would be minor if I had a single friend in the Battalion.  But since I don't, that fact is huge for me.

Matt has an amazing ability of introducing me to some guy he works with and then walking away.  That leaves the poor guy to either talk with me until I walk away, or leave me and feel bad for leaving a little sad lost puppy standing alone.  I really need to talk to Matt about this date ditching thing he does.

So I arrived at the hotel and enjoyed some sweet tunes in the van for a half hour while Matt did stuff.  I finally came in, was date ditched a few times, I spent some time in the bathrooms (visited a bunch of different ones so people don't catch on) I ordered about 15 glasses of Ginger Ale at the bar (I guess looking like an alcoholic seemed better than looking like a loner?) and that passed the first 90 minutes.

Here I am....alone at the ball.

Once the formal portion of the evening started things improved dramatically.  Everyone was sitting down, so I chatted with my table mates, ate some food, and enjoyed Matt's most awesome presentation.  He completely ROCKED it!  He wrote the entire script for the evening and insured that this was a memorable event for everyone in attendance.

Once the speeches and ceremonial business was over, the best dance party ever broke out!  Not kidding.  The dance floor was packed, the music was awesome, the people were so fun, and I couldn't stop smiling!  Matt ditched me a few more times but I blended with the other dancers so all was good.  At one point I looked over at Matt and asked "outside of military balls, when can adults experience prom all over again?"  So much fun.

And here is what happens when Matt walks in while I'm posting onto my blog.  I was searching for a ball photo of Matt and I and then Matt just started scrolling around my computer and
accidentally uploaded this photo of Eli to my blog.

The highlight of my night might just be witnessing Matt's daring dance moves during "Shout".  There is a time in the song where the lyrics say "a little bit softer now, a little bit softer now" and everyone gets low..... .  People were scrunched down as low as they could, and then I look over and my husband is laying on the floor curled up in a ball.  So doggone funny!  Maybe you had to have been there but just trust me, it was funny.

And here we are together dancing the night away.
The entire night after the formal part of the event probably a hundred people came up to Matt congratulating him on a job well done.  He definitely made his boss proud, and he impressed our guest speaker actor Mark Valley so much that Mr. Valley actually asked Matt if his job in the Army was to MC events.  Ha!

It was the best Battalion Ball I've attended.
I so wish my pals could have experienced it with me!

Jun 2, 2013

You Spin me Right Around!

Navigating through life sometimes feels like a fun house maze.
You know you need to go to the right and so you do that for awhile until you come to a fork in the road, then left feels good so you go that way.  Then right, left, sometimes a u-turn, and on and on until at some point you reach your destination.  And even then, once you reach your destination, at some point a door will swing open and you'll start another trip down another path to yet another destination.
From ground level you don't have the perspective as someone standing above the maze does or someone with a map, so it is sometimes hard to know which way to turn and when it seems you are taking the long way around you have no way of knowing what type of obstacles you avoided by doing so.
Sometimes some really crazy stuff happens like a blast of air shoots up from the ground and blows your dirndl up over your head.  Or maybe that just happens to me?

These past few months have felt a lot like a crazy fun house.  Just when I thought I knew what my path was supposed to be, something pops up and changes it.

By April this year it looked pretty clear that I was going to volunteer for the rest of the school year and start applying for positions again next year.  Things were going well, I recognized all these fabulous benefits of not working and I was content.

Then I get offered a job.  Oh new plan.

Over the next few weeks we found out Gabe didn't get into TAG, the chances were good for me to be rehired next year at my school, and Gabe could likely transfer and go to school with me.

Great plan!  I like it!  In fact I liked it better than the me not working next year and Gabe going to TAG plan.  Fabulous!

Then Thursday I got a call inviting Gabe to TAG.  There was a student who declined their position and Gabe was next up.  
Wait a minute.  
This isn't the plan!  
I felt like I would have to choose between me working next year (if I get hired) and Gabe going to TAG because logistical problems seemed insurmountable.

After a lot of pondering Matt and I decided to accept the TAG position.  We felt like this opportunity for him was great.  We would have some time to work out the details and spend some more time trying to decide what is best for everyone, including my potential for working next year.

I talked to the teachers I worked with Friday morning and asked their opinion about TAG and explained the problem with getting Gabe to and from school if I kept working.  Holy moly! Within 30 minutes I had a ton of new information about the program, strong opinions confirming that we should have him in TAG, and some very viable solutions to my logistical problems regarding transportation.

10am I called and accepted the TAG position for Gabe.  
10:05 I was reassured that if I continue to work next year at this school, Gabe can be bused from his school to mine and then come home with me.  I don't have to worry about any type of child care for him for regular school days.  What?! 
10:15 the teacher I work for got a call from the principal asking her to double check if I want this job next year because she thinks she can just give it to me without me competing with other applicants.

And to that I took a deep breathe and said "so this is the new plan?"