Thursday, July 31, 2008

The degradation of an eduction based upon Standardized Achievement Tests


Or, alternately titled, Pizza and the FIVE Food Groups.


We decided to get take-out for lunch at work today. I was in town for a minute to watch my little guy in swim lessons, so it worked perfect for me to just grab it on my way back to the office.


While I am at the restaurant, I overhear this conversation between servers.


Yeah, everyone always liked to come to our house, because we always had pizza and stuff, instead of, like, healthy food. But, we actually say that pizza is a total, like, healthy food, because it has all the basic five food groups.


Huh??


Well, it has bread, and then tomatoes in the sauce for fruit.


Oh yeah, and we always get like mushrooms or olives or something on there, so that's the veggies.


And then meat - of course there's always meat.


..............pause, while you can literally see her mentally calculating how many groups she's covered.


So, what's the 5th one supposed to be?


Ohhhh, poultry. I guess we don't ever really have poultry on our pizza.


But, we get four out of five!!


And, not surprisingly, when I got back to the office, there were no less than 4 mistakes in my order consisting of 5 entrees.


Yeah.


Do you think she took the WASL??

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

How long do you think it will last?


We pick Chance up from the camp bus this afternoon. I can't wait to hear all his stories.


For the first few days, Colton was ecstatic to be an only child. When Tina asked how it was to not have a big brother around, his answer was "Sweeeeeet!"


Last night, his tune started to change. Light sabers and Rubber band guns are only so fun to play with the dog - pretty soon it becomes evident that he's not shooting back.


So, on our way home, through the tears, this was Colton's lament . . .


"I just miss my brothie."


"I can't wait until he comes home. Is he coming home tonight?"


"But I don't want to wait until tomorrow, I miss him!"


"I will be so nice to him. I will always be nice to him. He's going to be nice to me, too, mommy."


"Because he misses me, too."


"Do you think he'll be nicer to me?"


"I will, I will. I will ALWAYS be nice to him. I just miss my brothie."



Fast forward about 30 minutes.



"Mommy, since Chance still isn't home, can I sleep in your bed one more night? How about tomorrow night? Can I sleep there then? Chance can just sleep on the couch or something . . ."

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Good Plan

To: YOU
Date: TODAY
From: GOD
Subject: YOURSELF
Reference: LIFE

This is God. Today I will be handling All of your problems for you. I do Not need your help. So, have a nice day. I love you.
.
P.S. And, remember... If life happens to deliver a situation to you that you cannot handle, do NOT attempt to resolve it yourself! Kindly put it in the SFGTD (something for God to do) box. I will get to it in MY TIME. All situations will be resolved, but in My time, not yours. Once the matter is placed into the box, do not hold onto it by worrying about it. Instead, focus on all the wonderful things that are present in your life now.



Great plan, dear Master - thanks!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Colt-isms for the week


As Matt and the boys were playing around, they start getting into a friendly argument. Matt poses in his best boxer's stance and says:

"You wanna brawl?"

Colton giggles.

"Daddy, that's what covers up your ni%%les!"

Is this kid watching Showtime after we go to bed, or what??




And, after he had to change his clothes this morning, he left them in a pile in his bedroom. This afternoon, he headed up the stairs and Jake followed him.

Pretty soon we heard:

"Drop Jake!"

"Jake, I said drop!"

"JAKE - Drop the undies!"

"I tooted in those, you know!"

"DROP JAKE!"

"You know I tooted right where your teeth are, don't you?"

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Am I really this old, . . . .really?


A few weeks ago, my youngest son attended Vacation Bible School with the son of my best friend growing up. We attended Vacation Bible School together about 25 years ago.


I am now on the school board at Chance's school. That makes me either a muckity or a muck - I'm not sure which.


Yesterday, on e-mail, the above-mentioned friend asked me to donate some art to a gala she's coordinating in our home town. For the ski hill we both learned to ski on what seems like yesterday - - - - - - we were 4.


I am sending my youngest to Kindergarten this fall. He is much more prepared for this event than I am.


I am sending my oldest off to camp for the first time on Saturday. It's killing me. He'll be gone 5 days and 4 nights. Do they really let babies do this?? I guess not - he's almost 9.


When did all this happen?


I'm not supposed to be this old yet.


I was supposed to have way more fun first.


I was gonna party like it's 1999. Where did 1999 go? I forgot to party.


I was going to be 27 for a really long time, because I always thought that was the coolest age.


Instead, I only lasted at 27 for a year, and then blew right past it.


Now, I'm a 30-something mama who's crying about taking her boy to camp. Only I'm not even taking him, which makes me cry even more.


What a ninny.


Put your big girl panties on and buck up! There's work to do!


Thanks for listening.
.
.
PS - I saw a card the other day that said "I do have my big girl panties on, but they're bunching up!" Exactly . . .

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Tribute to "The Five"

Because I so appreciate Cali's writing, and I loved her letter to her blog header, I thought I'd try my hand at pouring my heart out to an inanimate object. Really, it seemed the only decent way to express my gratitude.


Dear Five-


I hope you like your new name. I sense that you do - although, most of the time we call you "The Five", it just didn't seem grammatically correct for the salutation.


I know you have spent 100% of your previous life in a pretty pampered state. You still had your 10-year-old batteries when we bought you, because you had spent your entire existence plugged in - to RV parks which always included full hook-ups, cable TV and phone.
.
Instead of a cushy, full-service RV park that your old owners would have taken you to, you spent your first night with us here:


And the second night here:


I know it's a far cry from what you're used to, but you didn't seem to mind near as much on the 2nd night, since we used our proximity to the store to buy you some new outfits and accessories.


Your 12-volt muscles are probably a bit sore since you used them after being idle for so long - but hopefully outfitting you with the new batteries helped.


With your usual cargo being 2 Harley Davidson's that never leaked a drop of oil as far as we can tell, it was probably a bit surprising to instead haul crab pots, kids, and more beach sand than you were ever aware existed. I hope the kids' laughter was a good trade-off for the mess. It had to have been a bit boring hauling around those other two, who left you alone for long periods of time while they drove around on those silly motorcycles.


And, the movie nights were fun, weren't they? I bet you never knew your patio door would make for the perfect big-screen TV. You were the talk of the camp, then, that's for sure. The kids think you are the best!


Anyway, Mr. Five, thanks for a great trip to the ocean. You far surpassed my expectations. I can't wait for all the memories we are going to make together. Hang on tight - sometimes it might be a bumpy ride - but I guarantee the view will be worth it in the end!


Love,

Your Grateful New Owner



PS - thanks for holding on to the hitch so tight when we had to slam on the brakes in that terrible traffic - I know we were both wondering whether your new pickup and hitch assembly would pass muster - and I think we're all glad that it did.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Four if by Sea

Wow - what a week. We had a most fantastic week of vacation - it took me all day Monday to recuperate. That's the mark of a good vacation - it takes going back to work to get some rest!

We went to the Pacific Ocean. Since it is a forever drive away, we drove on two separate days, stopping at a theme park along the way to break up the ride. It proved to be a good decision. The theme park wasn't fantastic, but having a break from the driving was. On a side note - if you live in an area in which the drive to Enchanted Village and the drive to Silverwood are approximately the same - choose Silverwood every time and twice on Sunday. Choose Enchanted Village only one time, so that you will appreciate how good it is at Silverwood.

Anyway, here is a photo montage of the highlights of our journey. It makes me tired just looking at all of them.

The "side trip" to the theme park.

Our first glimpse of the ocean. Notice the boys are still smiling and standing in close proximity to one another without fighting. If memory serves me correctly, this was the last time.

There was crabbing - lots and lots of crabbing. We made a "Crab Pot" style meal that you would've been so proud of, Jane! BTW - has anyone ever tried Spot Prawns before? I guess the are indigenous of the Willapa Bay. If you have a chance, they are beyond fantastic. Very similar to lobster - yum, yum, yum!!Sightseeing - including a lighthouse tour. This was one of the most interesting points of the trip.
Wreck #1. Also the mark of a good vacation - when you have to label whether you are viewing carnage from wreck #1 or wreck #2. As Colton put it, he was trying to land a wheelie on his bike, and before he knew it, the bike was heading North and he was heading East, and they separated. Ouch.

One of many photo opportunities - an old tree root washed ashore at Horseshoe Bay.

Colton getting more and more daring on the driftwood - as if he didn't already have two bloody lips.
Chance ready to dare the waves on the rocks below the driftwood. About 1 minute after this picture, the waves were crashing against the rocks and splashing him from head to toe!
Playing in the biggest waves at Twin Harbors. This also turned out to be the best treasure beach, and kept the whole crew entertained, searching for agates for hours.
The Go-Kart races.

Wreck #2. Daddy consoling Colton after another banged up lip and a mild case of whiplash. I'm sure when the Go-Kart worker guy signed in for his shift that day, he didn't plan on saying, "Remember, there's no bumping allowed. I don't need another bloody lip on my shift!"
My love letter in the sand at Washaway Beach. "I love you until high tide . . . ."
Another photo op with my parents at Washaway Beach. They got to join us for the last few days of the trip, and I think had a great time.
Matt and Colton flying the kite one last time before heading home the next morning.
And, finally, my beach sunset. This was on the last night we were there, and it was the first one we had gotten to see all vacation. This is picture 27 out of about 75 or so (ish). I'm a sucker for sunsets.


Colton's favorite part - riding my bike, catching crabs, watching movies in "The 5", and flying kites. Favorite beach - "Our Beach" by the state park, and Horseshoe Bay.
Chance's favorite part - flying kites, the lighthouse, go karts, and being with friends. Favorite beach - the beach by Wade & Kathy's on the last night.
Daddy's favorite part - catching lots of crab, eating a big seafood dinner, having good group dinners each night at camp, spending time with our family. Favorite beach - Twin Harbors and Washaway Beach.
Mommy's favorite part - the big seafood dinner, walking on the beach at night, the bonfire on the beach, spending time with friends, and eating good chowder. Favorite beach - Washaway Beach of course - it's the only one with a love letter on it! I did love how each beach was different - sand, rocks, driftwood, waves, treasures, etc. It was fun to have a new discovery each day.
Thank so much to my fabulous friends and family who made this an unforgettable vacation. We all had a blast! Can't wait for our next adventures.








Monday, July 21, 2008

Ode to Jane


I missed your birthday

Due to my vacation

I meant to do an auto-post

But much to my frustration


In the heat of the packing

I almost forgot my head

In the end, I remembered it

But forgot you birthday instead


Please forgive me

Dear neighbor and friend

I hope your birthday was fabulous

Though my well-wishes went un-penned


Happy Birthday, Neighbor Jane!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sea ya!


I'll be gone this week, doing Sun Salutations from our camp spot on the beach each morning. My Wii fitness training won't know what hit her on Monday. Have a great week!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Numbers, lists, quotas, and other happenings of preparing for vacation

I have been carrying a clipboard to work all week, to hold the 5 lists I'm keeping track of to get ready for vacation. That's gotta be as geeky as having a pocket protector, wouldn't you say?

So far, things are pretty well under control, but it may be just an illusion of check marks and strike-throughs.

We've been having a countdown when I wake the boys up in the morning. I thought it would help them want to get out of bed. Not so much. Who wants to get out of bed in the summer? They want to get out of bed on vacation day, not 4 days before!

So, this morning, I ask - who knows how many days until vacation?

Colton - ZERO!!

Oh crud. That's gonna be a downer.

Mommy - Nope, buddy, but you're close. Just one more day!!

Colton - Yeah!

Mommy - How many more days at Tina's until vacation?? (They love Tina's, but hate that they have to wake up early and go so that I can get to work on time)

Colton - One!

Mommy - Right! Tomorrow you can sleep in. Okay - how many Rice Krispy Treats do I need to make before vacation?

Colton - Ten Thousand!

Mommy - How many s'more's bars?

Colton - Ohhhhhhh, Ten Million! (These are his new favorite - thanks Cali!)

Mommy - Yikes! How many cookies?

Colton - Ten Hundred!

Told ya. An illusion of check marks and strike-throughs. Because, the job of 1,000 chefs has just been added to my plate, to be completed by tomorrow. Wish me well.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Where everybody knows your name.


You know on Cheers, when Norm would enter the bar, and everyone at the bar would shout, "Norm!" And it just felt all cozy and warm, like he totally belonged there?? Never mind that the salutation probably meant the guy had spent way too many hours bellied up to the bar drinking beer. I do not judge.
.
Because there are a couple places (not bars, however) that could possibly do that when I walk through the door. Or the drive through. Whichever.
.
The other morning, I asked the boys if they wanted to eat breakfast at home, or just have something small (like Pop Tarts - yes, we are healthy in the summertime) and eat breakfast at Tina's.
.
**Insert - Tina, my Godsend, makes the kids a full breakfast every morning at about 9:00 when her summertime sleeping in kids are up and about. Or so I'm told. Chance picks her for breakfast over my bowl of cold Cocoa Puffs every time.
.
Anyway, with eyes still 1/2 closed, Colton suggests, "Or, we could just drive through Starbucks on the way to Tina's and have a little bit of hot cocoa to last us until Tina's breakfast."
.
Oh child, after my own heart you are.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Food, Friends, Family & Fireworks - 'nuff said.

Well, it could be enough said, for someone with way fewer words than me. But, surprise, surprise, I have more to add! We had a fabulous 4th of July weekend. We had some family and friends bring their RV's to our house to camp out - no crowded spaces, no camping fees, and we hardly gouged them at all for the bagged ice.

There was some worry about 4 RV air conditioners running on our residential electrical circuits, but Mother Nature was kind to us, providing gentle breezes in the evening hours and cooling off the sleeping areas with great ease.

I think it was one of the most relaxing "camping" trips we've had in awhile. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, and the company was 2nd to none. Here are some pictures of our fun activities:


Water fights with the daddies.Water volleyball (kind of - remember that "gentle breeze" I was talking about? A bit non-conducive to the whole volleyball thing)
Making a current in the swimming pool - fun stuff!
Cousins - what a cute bunch!
Wyatt, Chance, Marshall & Colton
Homemade ice cream, relaxing on the deck, and visiting. Heaven . . .
Throwin' some shoes.
Fishin' for polliwogs & frogs.
Sleepin' in the tent (all the kids that wanted to made it all night!!)
Slip n' slidin'
Water acrobatics
Great picture, Makenna!


Chance's favorite part - sleeping in the tent and talking with Wyatt.
~
Colton's favorite part - sleeping in the tent and wrestling with Ali & Cali.
~
Mommy's favorite part - Visiting, sin dip, and watching the kids have such a ball.
~
Daddy's favorite part - Hangin' out with everyone that was willing to drive to the toulies to hang out with us, and screaming like a sissy while being chased by 5 or 6 kids during the "Daddy Water Fights". We still aren't mentioning that Steve played the baby card and didn't participate - there is no bitterness there, no, none at all :)
~
Thanks to everyone for a great weekend! Can't wait to do it again next year. We had a blast!!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The one time when a half-a** job is better than a good one

We got a swimming pool a couple weeks ago - one of those 15' or so above-ground deals - about 3 or 4' deep. It's finally hot around here, and the kids are having a blast.

A few days ago, they were getting ready to swim after Matt had picked them up. So, they all got their swimsuits on and went outside for some splashing, thrashing fun.

We have a ladder that goes into the pool - kind of an upside down V shape - so you climb up on the outside, then down on the inside to the water.

The kids love to jump off the top of said ladder.

And so, there was much jumping and cannon-balling and twisting.

Colton - Daddy, watch this! I'm going to jump from the very tippy top one!

Daddy - Okay buddy, I'm watchin'.

Colton - But, Daddy, you can't jump in from the ladder - you can only step into the pool.

Daddy - Why can't I jump from the ladder?

Colton - 'Cause you're half-chubby! It would splash too much :-)!!!!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Quote of the Day

People are funny; they want the front of the bus, middle of the road, and back of the church.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Negotiation 101 . . . .make that 099

How are you with buying used cars? Like to dicker? Walk out on the salesman a couple times to get the price down to rock bottom? Always know you've gone home with the best possible price?

Good for you - but that's not me. Not me at all. I'm more the, well, if they're asking that price, it's probably fair, and they wouldn't knowingly make us pay more than it's worth, and we should probably just pay it and move on. Strong and courageous, I know. Please, call me next you're headed car shopping, I'm a real asset.

And, you know how they say that opposites attract? Which would mean, in this instance, that one person in the marriage would be the hard-core negotiator and one would be the meeker person in the situation.

Yeah, we didn't get lucky on that part either. Matt's not too far from me on this one. Which is why our latest RV deal went something like this . . .

(Names and amounts are unrealistic, to protect both the innocent and the naive)

So, you're asking $2000?

Yep.

What's your bottom dollar - how low will you go?

$2000.

pause

pause

pause - for courage, not for effect

Well, we've looked up the book value, and noticed it's only about $1500. Can we meet somewhere in the middle?

We can meet at $2000.

Okay then, $2000 it is! Thanks for the great deal!

Yeah, we're good. And I use that we very loosely. Because I did none of the talking in the above hypothetical conversation. I am silent, even in the fake one.

I said less in the real one.

But, I was a strong supporter - an everlasting comfort in our time of need . . . . . or something.