Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Recap

I thought about doing the month to month break down of 2010.  However, I think I have consumed too many glasses of red wine to think that hard about the past year.

So, I was surfing blogs and came across this idea at California Born and Raised.  It's a pretty fun blog so if you have a moment, pop over and watch the life of a recent college graduate unfold! 
p.s.  her name is also Michelle so you know she is a fun gal!

Accomplishments: Being offered the new job of ASB Activities Coordinator and Dean of Students. 

Decisions: Deciding to apply for the job in August was a big one because my principal and I haven't always seen eye-to-eye.  I truly wasn't sure he would be interested in hiring me and that can be a difficult thing to walk into.   Fortunately, he has been nothing but supportive the past few months so I'm thankful I made the decision to apply.

Moments: Making eye contact with Eric when we walked into Disneyland and saw pure joy on our child's face.  Seeing the Magic Kingdom through the eyes of the child truly is magical.  I kinda want to cry thinking about it.

Movies: I'm a little sad to admit we didn't see many movies in the theater.  The Blindside comes to mind but I don't know if it was a 2009 movie that I finally saw in 2010 (via Netflix).  I really liked it, though. The only movie we saw in the theater was Toy Story 3, with Alexander.  I cried.  I loved it.  Other than that, we've seen several movies with Netflix but nothing outstanding comes to mind.  OH!  Except Hot Tub Time Travels.  Great movie.  So funny.

Presents: Hmmm...Eric and Alexander bought a cool digital frame for me for my birthday.  It no longer works.  That sucks.

Songs:  "I gotta feeling" by Black Eyed Peas because it reminds me of Leadership camp, Alexander singing it with my high school students last spring, and it is a fun song.  Right now, the song that stands out is "Dynamite" by Taio Cruz because Alexander insists on hosting a dance party everytime he hears it.  In the car.  In a store.  In the driveway.  In the living room.  It's the best dance party song ever.  Just ask Jo-Jo and Zak.

Travels: Arizona/Disneyland in February, Disneyworld in March, Leadership camp in July, Lake Chelan in August, Wenatchee in October. 

TV Shows: We don't watch any TV because Alexander usually comandeers the TV.  However, we did watch Dexter and The Wire series via Netflix and I fell in love with The Wire.  So good.

Words to Live By: If you can dream it, you can do it."  Walt Disney

Happy New Year!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Fun Night and a Senior Picture

Tonight, I am going out with some of my favorite people. 

This picture was taken almost a year ago, when we met on the first of what would become many nights over the past year.

I have known them over half of my life.  Ok, more than half of my life if I did the math correctly.  Unfortunately, I think I did. 

  We met in 7th grade, have birthdays one week apart, and plan to celebrate our 40th in Vegas in October.  She's a member of the herd and the person I would call if I ever needed to bury a body.  She'd bring a shovel and take my secret to her grave.
Joe:  We met in 1st grade and he is the only person who I had a class with every single year of public school.  We attended college 40 minutes away from each other, too.  And he is the most genuine man I know.
Chris:  We met in high school, as freshman in history (he says PE) class.  He was my date to Homecoming my senior year.  And he makes me laugh. 

These are friends from my childhood.  Friends who knew and accepted me with long mousy hair, braces, and a really obnoxious personality. 

Circa 1989

Over the years, each of us has wandered in and out of one another's lives.  After we had our 20 year high school reunion, we started meeting once a month (or so) to hang out.  Actually, that didn't start until we hung out after the high school football game last year but whatever. Turns out we still have a lot of fun together.  They are good people who make me a better person for knowing them.

It's going to be a fun night.  A very fun night, indeed! 
Now...what should I wear??

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Dear Aunt DeeGee

Hi Aunt DeeGee,

Today, I know you are busy playing with the angels but here on earth, we are saying goodbye to you.  The family is gathered, tears are flowing, and I'm pretty sure there is laughter too.  And from your heavenly perch, I have no doubt you are laughing along and wiping their eyes, as necessary. 

It's never easy to say goodbye to a loved one.  You are the last of your generation. Oops, there is Uncle Dick but I keep forgetting him, even at his ripe age of 90-something.  But you are the last of the three sisters that defined the lives of my mother, my uncle, and her numerous cousins.   From the time I can remember, her cousins were her siblings.  This is a gift you and your sisters gave to Mom, especially once my grandma died.  Did you know what gift you were giving her to hold on to at all those family events?  I have a feeling you knew exactly what you were doing.  After all, you were one of the smartest ladies I ever knew.

Aunt DeeGee with my mom and her cousins (and baby Sydnee)
I can't begin to tell you of my admiration of you.  I can picture your bright smile on your face, as you drank a beer at my baby shower.  Oh, what a fiesty lady you were!  I have no doubt I would have enjoyed hanging out with you, Aunt June, and Grandma when you were all my age.  No doubt whatsoever!  Luckily, I am blessed to hang out with the legacies and wonderful people the three of you left behind.  Greatly blessed.

So, even though I am not with my family at the service, I know you are with them. 

Thank you for being an amazing woman.   You will be missed.  And tonight, I'll toast a beer in your honor.
Aunt DeeGee with my generation of cousins (minus one or two.  And Alexander) 
We love you.
p.s.  When you have a chance, will you give a hug to my grandma for me?  And tell Uncle Bill and Jerome that Mardi is happy?  And, if you have a minute, please thank Grandmuz for being our guardian angel all these years.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Great Phone Debate

Eric and I are in discussions regarding new phones.  Since we're living on a teacher's salary, with a imminent remodel on the horizon, money is tight, to say the least.  He has found a great deal with Vi*gin Mobile service but reviews are mixed.  I think I would like the phone - it's a Samsung Intercept.  But I love, love, love my Blackberry Curve so I'm hesitant to change.  The Intercept is an Android (no clue what that means) with a touchscreen and slide out full keyboard.

As part of our discussion, he jokingly said I should post it on my blog for input from readers.  I responded with, "I don't think anyone reads my blog."  He laughed because he always says to me when I make him pose for a picture.  For the blog.

I maintain three blogs.  Why three?  Well, I'm Type-A.  I don't want topics to blend.  Makes total sense, right?  Nonetheless, despite my clean lines between blogs, there are very few followers on any of the three.  Alexander's blog is in the lead with twenty-four followers, this blog has twenty-two followers, and the house remodel has...two (thanks Jo-Jo and Auntie!). 

Like any other normal person, there are days when I wonder why I bother.  Why spend the time when no one is reading it? 
Then, I open my email and read, "Alexander is too adorable for words and Marigold is beautiful.  What a joy it is to read and see your blog.  Aunt Dotty."
Aunt Dotty is my mom's best friend.  I had no idea she followed Alexander's blog.  I guess I really don't know or can pretend to guess who reads the blogs.

What began as a way to record Alexander's life and keep loved ones updated has become one of my favorite pasttimes.  Updating the blogs is a release that I need.  From the time I was a little girl, I loved writing in journals.  I tried scrapbooking but the perfectionist in me struggled with each page.  Now, I can type out my thoughts and add pictures along the way.  I take pictures that I normally wouldn't force others to pose for and blame it on the blog.  When an event occurs, I think how I can't wait to blog it.  And in my free time, I love to surf other blogs out there, even if I don't comment.

In the end, comments from readers aren't necessary. 
Unless I want feedback on phones.
So, if you happen to have the Samsung Intercept, or Vi*gin Mobile service, or have an Android phone (and can explain what it does to me), I'd appreciate hearing from you!

Or not.  Again, the comments isn't what is important about the blogs. 
What's important is that I have found something I love doing and I'm going to keep doing it until I run out of things to say.  Or Alexander reaches an age where he no longer wants me to share his life with the world.
I figure that gives me at least eight more years.

Monday, December 27, 2010


If there is one thing this girl loves to do, it is gamble. 

Thanks to my MIL, I have discovered a new obsession.

I have to tell you a funny story about poker.
When I logged in tonight. Alexander and Eric were sitting on the couch beside me.  The minute the screen came up, Alexander pointed to it and yelled, "That's poker!  My Umma LOVES poker."
A few minutes he looked over and asked me if I was winning.  When I said I wasn't, he responded with "losing means TIME OUT for Mama!" and started laughing.

Well, kiddo, my last hand just won $500.00! 
 If this was real money, you'd SO want me sitting at your table.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

I surrender

I fought it as long as I could.  But sometimes, you just gotta raise the white flag and give in.

I surrender. 

I'm Sick.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Winter Break

The best thing about Winter Break is the excuse to do absolutely nothing at all.

It's the fact that I don't have to do anything productive in the next two weeks. 

Dishes can pile up.
Laundry can pile up.
Clutter can pile up.
And I won't care.

Ok, that's a total lie.

  I really don't start vacations until the house is clean (is anyone else that Type A?) so I spent most of this past weekend, cleaning our house.  However, with a vacation, I don't have to try to cram all that cleaning into a couple of hours, while the boys nap.  Life slows down. 
And I give myself permission to slow down, too.

Instead, we will go to the mall in the mornings to walk.  We visited Santa today.  I will shop.  And shop.  And shop.  I even threw in a yoga session today.  Impressive, I know.
Maybe, just maybe, I'll start the 30 day shred (anyone taking bets?)

I think about finishing those jobs.

I'm not ready to tackle them just yet.   

Oh, you want to see the picture with Santa?  
I think I'll spend some time thinking how cute my kid is instead of doing the dishes tonight. 


Sunday, December 19, 2010

In the Dark

A huge storm came through Friday night.  It rocked the house for hours. 

Normally, this would have freaked me out but I may or may not have taken a couple of Excedrin PM's because I may or may not have spent the evening, drinking with friends so I may or may not have slept through the entire storm.  
However, I was awoken from my drunken stupor when  Alexander woke up and realized his night light wasn't working.  He started screaming, which led to crying, which led to a puking (tricky gag reflex), which led to a trembling toddler who insisted on sleeping with us at 1AM. 

The kid has never wants to cuddle up to sleep so I didn't argue when he insisted I hold his hand and cuddle with him. If my baby wanted to cuddle, who was I to argue?

Early Saturday morning, Eric fired up the generator to warm the house up while Alexander and I bundled ourselves for a Santa Train ride.  Auntie Kimmie (coffee in hand!) and Lorelli arrived to pick us up and while we were enjoying ourselves on the Santa Train, Eric "macgyver'd" the wiring so Alexander's room could have power and a toddler wouldn't be scared of the dark.  Good Daddy.

He still insisted on sleeping with us last night.  
I didn't argue.

The power came on about 2:30 this morning, and the lights were a blazin'.
All is back to normal.

And I have two weeks of vacation to enjoy!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

An idea for the Santa pictures

One thing I've struggled with is what to do with the pictures of Santa and Alexander.  Do I frame them?  Do I create a collage of them (assuming he'll do this for me every year for the rest of his natural born life)? 
Then I saw this project at my girlfriends house and I HAD TO DO IT.

Gold holiday ribbon
Hot glue gun
Glue stick
Family Christmas cards
Holiday pictures with Santa
Glass of wine (optional)
1. Cut a strip of gold ribbon based on number of Santa pictures or length of wall where final project will hang

2. Write the year of Santa photo below the picture in silver (or gold) sharpie

3.  Sip wine
4.  Fold back the cardboard frame of holiday picture and glue the family christmas card to it as a keepsake
5.  Hot glue each picture to the ribbon
6.  Ice any burned parts of fingers
7.  Sip more wine
8.  Hang project

I was surprised at how simple and easy this project was to do.
And now I have a wonderful display for years to come!

Playing the Villain

Does anyone like the villain?

In this new job of mine, I've had to make a few changes to our high school dance culture.  We've already battled the "go drunk to the dance" era.  That battle has been waged and won.  To me, that's the harder battle so I'm grateful I don't have to step into that mess.

Now, it is the battle for appropriate music and dancing.  I'm all for a fun dance.  I'm all for good, clean fun in high school.  I'm even in support of having a little unclean fun while in high school but not AT the high school (it helps to have some experiences when one enters college so they don't go completely overboard.  i.e. Michelle circa 1990).   However, to get to the good, clean high school fun at a high school dance, I'm going to have to wage the battle.  I have to make changes to music and I have to enforce the rules.  I have to listen to parents complain about the dancing and listen to the kids complain about the music. I have to dive into the middle of the smelly, overly warm, disgusting crowd and clean up the dancing. 
Over and over and over again.
It's so gross.

I am the villain.

I have to remind myself that I'm doing my job.   I have to remind myself that it will take time for kids to adjust to the changes I'm making to the dances.  I have to remind myself that what I am doing, I am doing for the good of the school.  I'm not doing it for those who complain the loudest about "wasting money on a dance that has terrible music" simply because they don't like the music. I have to remind myself, by making these changes, there will be students who attend and take the place of those who are unhappy.  I am doing it so ALL kids at our school feel comfortable at a school event.  It isn't about making money.  It's about giving opportunities to students to be a part of something at school.

I am still the villain.

And that just doesn't feel very good.  Especially to someone who is used to feeling like a hero.

Monday, December 6, 2010

December Goals

First, let's check in to see how I did with November's goals...

Stick to online Weight Watchers for the entire month. CHECK!  And they switched the numbers on me.  And I haven't lost weight.  And I STILL stuck with it.  Booyah!

Return all the new clothes that I'm not keeping and put away the credit card until after the holidays. Mostly check.  I have a new bag of clothes to return but this month's credit card bill was lower.

Keep my cool when I arrive home to find the house looking like a hurricane ran through it. CHECK!  Eric even noticed and, unprompted, commented on it the other night.  This is progress!

Since I can't shop for myself, I'll put together holiday wish lists for us 3 and start creating lists for family gifts. CHECK!  All packages have been mailed and all my shopping is done, except for my Mom.

Figure out which pictures to use for the annual Christmas card and have the cards printed.  Kinda check.  I figured out the pictures but am waiting for card production.

Read 5 books. CHECK.  Six days of Thanksgiving break didn't hurt.

Run. Once a week. CHECK!  And I think I'm running another half marathon in May...OY!

So, onto December's goals:

1.  Write Christmas letter, print Christmas cards and address all the envelopes before December 20.
2.  Figure out what to do for additional Christmas decorations for our house.  The tree is up but the rest of the house looks kinda...blah.  And I have NO artistic ability and a weird house design so I'm kinda stuck on what to do.
3.  Mail a personal card to a family member or friend at least once a week.
4.  Stay on Weight Watcher points over the holiday break and commit to sticking to my points at every holiday event!
5.  Run 4 times over winter break
6.  Recommit to update our finances and stay on budget in 2011- using budget spreadsheet
7.  Plan Alexander's birthday party, including the purchasing of all supplies.  Since I have a tendency to go overboard as compensation for his birthday being 2 weeks after Christmas, I'm certain this year will be no different.

Here's hoping the third month of goal setting is a successful one.
Tminus 14 days to Winter Vacation.  I'm so ready.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

10 reasons to love this weekend.

1.  Eric's birthday.
He can no longer say he is younger than me.
2.  Alexander was at a sleepover Friday night. 
Thank you Kim, RJ and Lorelli!

3.  G*rlic J*m's Gluten-Free Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza.

4.  10 hours of sleep
Waking up without an alarm clock might be the best thing ever.

5.  Morning run on a cold (30 degrees), sunny day.
Pretty bad-ass, right?

6.  Pumpkin Spice Latte
A little treat while running errands

7.  The Wire
Our latest addiction

8.  Christmas gifts packed and ready to be shipped
UPS truck coming soon to Braillard's and Brown's

9.  Christmas decorations


Thursday, December 2, 2010

What is success?

Everyone needs validation.  Everyone needs to feel success.  Right now, I'm struggling to find validation. I'm struggling to find success.  I'm struggling to determine how I can possibly being making a difference.

I've been at the new job for three months.  The honeymoon is over. Not a day has gone by where I haven't learned something new about the job, people, parents, or myself.  I still love the job.  I don't regret making the decision to change jobs.  My ASB kids are meeting the expectations I set, I'm slowly changing the culture of student leadership, I have a great team who are helping me, and I do not miss PE.

All that being said, no longer am I the teacher kids run to for advice.  No longer am I the teacher kids confide in when they need an adult to talk with.  I've been blessed for 15 years with a job that has filled me with joy.  I know I have made a difference in my students lives.  For years, without even realizing it, I've associated my work in guiding kids in making the right choices as success.  However, after defining yourself as the teacher who is that person for students, switching hats is hard!  And it makes me question whether I'm tough enough for this job.

I'm starting to realize that I see the same "type" of kids, day in and day out.  I receive a discipline referral, I call the kid in, listen to their side, and give a consequence.  That's all fine and good.  Until they are back in my office 2 weeks later, for the same thing and haven't made any changes in their behaviors.  WTH?  You really did that again?  You really didn't learn from last time?   I'm really having to give another consequence for the same behavior?  Really?

Now, I'm not naive enough to think I'm going to drastically alter these kids lives after a 10 minute conversation.  I'm not going to change a lifetime of habits, family lifestyles, negative behavior or anything extreme that has shaped this child.  However, I'm a "fixer".  Since I was 16 years old and in Natural Helpers, I have helped other people when they are in need.  I've mastered how to ask questions to find out how to guide someone to discover what they need to make the right choices.  I knew so well what to say to help a kid feel better and empowered to make the right choices, in that moment.  Again, not naive enough to believe they walked away and made the right choices.  But I gave them something to think about.

In this new job?  Well, that just doesn't happen.  Like ever.   And now that I'm not helping...I'm just not feeling successful.  Or very needed.  I don't need to hear that I'm the most loved teacher, believe me.  I don't need to hear that I'm changing the world.  I'm long past needing the ego boost that comes when a student tells you that you are their favorite teacher.  I'm just asking for a little validation that I'm making a difference.  Just a little something to keep me going.

I can't help but ask myself will I find success in this job?  Will I feel validated?   Is my personality better geared towards teaching in a classroom or can I make a difference as an administrator? 

I just don't know.