Thursday, June 30, 2011

Same ol', Same ol'

I have a friend vacationing in Hawaii right now.  I have a friend vacationing in Greece right now.  I have a friend vacationing in Germany right now.  And yet another friend is vacationing in Italy.


Oh, right, back to MY boring life in Washington.

Our days of vacationing are behind us. We did a lot of traveling before Alexander arrived so we are happy (only slightly jealous) spending most of our summer at home. 

We do just about the same thing every day. 
Alexander wakes up between 7 and 7:30, with his "I go pee!  I go poo!" announcement. 
I drag myself downstairs to clean him up, turn on his TV shows, and start my coffee.
We go to swim lessons, followed by daily errands that vary from grocery shopping, going to the library, or any other random event that is necessary.
If the weather is bad, we come home and I clean house while the boys work on a puzzle or play with toys.  I also go work out, which is great for my alone time.
If the weather is good, we all head outside to work on the yard with a roaring fire, burning everything we cut down.

Why all this yard work?  Well, our house is the site of the D family reunion.  That's Mom's side of the family.  And the reunion is in two weeks.  ACK!  There is SO MUCH to do to get the yard in party mode.  Granted, we kinda thought we'd have an addition on the house by now so we let a few weeds flower beds grow out of control.  I've spent the past week or so, tackling those areas, while Eric plays with fire.  Oh, and Alexander?  Well, he digs.  And digs.  And digs.  Duh.

My awesome family says they don't care a lick how the house or yard looks.  But I care.  And Eric cares.  So we work. 

Today's big project was moving the maple tree we planted a few years ago.  It kinda grew out of control (like everything else) and we wanted to move it.   It was blocking the view from my kitchen window and I was tired of it.
See what I mean?  The big purple tree is out of control!
So, Eric rolled up the Land Cruiser and pulled that sucka right outta the ground.

We were going to transplant it but decided, no matter where it went, it was going to be too big.
And WAY too much work to dig it up.
Once the area was cleared out, we moved a little rhody into its place.
This little rhody was initially planted the spring we moved in, right after we found out we were having a baby.
It's my favorite.

All we have remaining in this area is to put down bark and edge it a bit.

One project done.
About a zillion to go!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What are YOU reading?

I asked this question on Facebook last night.  I finished the Game of Thrones series (excellent!) so I needed something new to read.  The only books on my nightstand are education-related books and I am NOT reading those during the summer!  I'm a self-admitted book freak who must have at least 8 books in her library queue to look forward to and, right now, that queue needs some filling! 

Turns out I'm not the only book freak out there!  Take a look at this great list!

Darkfall by Dean Koontz
The Help by Kathryn Stockett *
The Pact by Jodi Piccoult
Pioneer Woman
A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick**
The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar
Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins *
Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls*
Little Bee by Chris Cleave
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness **
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden*
A Good Earth by Pearl Buck**
Pillars of Earth by Ken Follett*
World Without End by Ken Follett *
Captivating by John Eldredge
Two Kisses for Maddy by Matthew Logelin
Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah**
The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom **
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen*
The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf
Violets of March by Sarah Jio(local author!)
BossyPants by Tina Fey *
Boleyn Trilogy *
The Red Queen and the White Queen by Philippa Gregory
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
Shangai Girls by Lisa See **
Fortytude by Sarah Brokaw **

*  I've read it and highly recommend 
** I haven't read it but put it on my library list 


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Monday, June 27, 2011

A Quiet Weekend

I remember a time when Eric and I would wake up on a Saturday morning and make a spontaneous decision about our day.  We may end up on the mountain, hiking a trail,or maybe we'd be in Seattle, at Pike Place Market or waiting to board a ferry boat. 

Fast forward ten years.  When we wake up, our options are now cleaning the house, yard work, or watching TV - three things that never seem to get done when Alexander is around. 

It was a sleepover weekend and we had the house to ourselves.  Saturday morning, I went to the mall to return a few items (and didn't buy anything) and worked out while Eric slept in.   The day was perfect for yardwork so we built a fire and burned a bunch of trees.  Ok, Eric built the fire and burned the trees while I sat with a cocktail and watched my man work.  Sunday, I laid out in the sun all day and soaked up as much Vitamin D as possible while Eric gamed.  We did watch a few episodes of Sons of Anarchy.  Never a show I would choose for us but it isn't half bad...if you like bikers, blood, and great writing.

This morning, we will meet Alexander and Umma at swim lessons and make the swap.  And life will go back to normal.

The house may not get cleaned or laundry finished.  And I'm sure we won't want another episode of the show anytime soon.  That's ok.  I'm ready for the loud chatter of our son to fill the house again.  More than ready.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

One Year Ago

I did this.

And it was awesome.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Learning to love green tea

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So, I hate tea.  Iced tea.  Hot tea.  Long Island Iced Teas.  There was a phase when, out of total desperation, I choked down raspberry iced tea for a few months.  A friend told me it helped her get pregnant and after three years of infertility, I was willing to try any crazy tricks.  For what it is worth, it totally worked.  Ok, I think it was actually the thyroid meds that led to pregnancy but I like my Raspberry iced tea story better.

Eric and I are continuing to follow the 17 Day Diet.  We help keep each other accountable in the hopes of a healthier us.  We're in the second cycle and it is wonderful doing this together...probably because he does all our cooking and is much more creative than I am with food!  It isn't a terrible diet to follow but we miss eating out and having cocktails.  We certainly don't miss the weight we have lost!


By far, the worst part of the diet is drinking green tea.  Three times a day.  Blach.  Blach.  Blach.  Three times a day.  As you can imagine, it's the worst part of the day for me.  But I'm learning to like the stuff.  Ok, that's a reach.  I'm not actually liking it at all.  I'm simply drinking the stuff and trying not to dread it.  I don't know that I'll ever like it.  But a girls gotta do, what a girls gotta do.

If you drink green tea, I'd love any brand suggestions or tricks for making it taste less like dirt and more like sweet heaven.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pi, Pi, ADPI

I spent the last hour reading up on the ADPi Convention.  Oh, that is Alpha Delta Pi, for you non-Greeks.  I joined ADPi in 1989 (technically initiated in 1990, but whatev) but haven't been an active alum.  At all.  The blog has some good stuff on it and reminds me of the good ol' college days.  When life was full of simple choices.  And the consequences weren't much more than having to ask Mom or Dad for more beer grocery money or explaining that the reason your GPA dropped wasn't because you were having slumber parties at your boyfriend's fraternity but in fact, it was because the professor clearly didn't like you.   Duh.

For me, college was the stepping stone to grown-upville. For example...

I changed my major seven times.  Yes, seven times.  Now, I end up changing outfits seven times and make myself late for work.

I learned all about booze at college.  Ya see, I never drank alcohol before college.  Good ol' WSU broke me.  I learned that turning 21 after all my pledge sisters sucked ass.  I learned to like beer.  Most importantly, I learned to not mix beer and hard alcohol, even on your 21st birthday.  I'm planning to remember that rule when I turn 40.

I learned about boys too but my grandma reads this blog so I'll refrain from saying much more on that subject.

I learned that a dessert fork or spoon goes at the top of your plate and you use utensils from the inside out.  I learned that you pass the salt/pepper together, with the pepper on the outside (in case the person you are handing it to is blind).  Or was it salt on the outside?  Damn, I always got that part mixed up at formal dinners.  But at least I know what to expect for dessert, based on the silverware.

I learned how that it didn't matter how out of tune you sang an ADPi song, as long as you sang it as LOUD AS YOU COULD, just to see if you could make a sister break out in laughter.  Turns out this skill works well in the classroom, when your students need a shot of laughter..

There are days when I would gladly flash back to that time...except for that super-fat stage I had.  Blach.  Let's not go there.

I don't have many online pictures from college but I did manage to sneak one or two off of facebook.  Matching shirts.  A definite must-have in a sorority.

Over the years, we would gather for weddings, baby showers, or in support of our beloved Cougs during Apple Cup.  Again, if I knew how to work the scanner, I'd have some lovely photos for you from the past 20 years.

By 2005, I met up with the digital age and had someone take our group photo. 
This was a meet and greet a few years back that I couldn't attend but sorely wanted to.
 Last year, we met up to celebrate Marianne's legacy (baby M).  Notice Marianne is wearing the shirt from the above 1991 picture.  This is particularly funny because she didn't understand we weren't wearing our shirts.  Next time, Marianne, I promise.
  Several from our "group" couldn't make it and they were missed.

 Obviously, these pictures don't include everyone that I hung out with for four years.  Several of us meet once a month for book wine club and even though we end up reminiscing about something and drive everyone else batty with our stories, it's just so fun to see their faces again.  I love these girls.

These are my sistas.  They loved and accepted me when I was at the peak of insecurity. 
And they made me a better person.

Good people.

It's a good kind of sore

Yard work.  Oy.  It's nice to have a yard looking good but my muscles are feeling the two hours of holding that monster weed-eater!

Last night, we started a fire in our fire pit.  We bought the pit a year ago, maybe two, and it was the best seventy bucks we've ever spent.  Everytime we cut down trees, instead of paying to dump them at the compost place (not that this is a bad option; we're cheap folk), we burn everything. 
Before the night was over, we burned a sad, sickly lilac tree that Eric pulled out with this Landcruiser, most of a tree he cut down last week, and all of the giant rhody limbs that we cut back from a tree in the yard.  It's drizzling this morning so our plans of a repeat performance is questionable.
In the picture, you see Alexander clearing out dirt from the round that sits in the middle of the yard.  Normally, that area is nicely weeded and edged.  Not any more.  Once the peonies bloom, we are transplanting everything and leveling the round.  Eric also has grandeous ideas of another rock wall but I'm dragging my feet on that project. 

Even the cat wanted in on the yardwork business.
I wonder how I can put him to work.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What? Another post?

Two posts in one week?  Can it be true?  Yes, yes, you can believe your eyes.  I'm posting twice in one week.  I'm actually hoping to keep both blogs a little more updated during the summer months.  You'd think we'd be too busy in the summer months to stay updated but truthfully, life is very different for us in the summer months.  For example, today.  Instead of waking to my alarm clock, I woke up at 6AM to "I go pee!  I go poo!" being yelled from the bathroom.  This is how my child often wakes me up on the weekends so it is nice to see his consistency with summer months.  Lovely alarm clock. 

After several cups of coffee, an updated Alexander blog update, and an hour spent re-vamping my leadership camp presentation, Eric came downstairs.  Alexander headed to the sand box and I headed into the great, overgrown yard to weed-whack the hell out of the weeds that are threatenin to take over everything. 

Our poor yard.  It has become so overgrown. In our defense, we thought we'd be working on the house addition at this point so, the area that is the most overgrown is where the addition is supposed to lie.  However, we're still waiting for the stupid fire marshall to give approval.  I will say, cursing our architect and the fire marshall did anger me enough to keep me motivated to finish the last bit of the yard.  I totally kicked ass over the weeds.  Just hope no one needs me to lift my arms in the next day or so!  We still have a lot to do in the next couple of weeks before we host the family reunion but that's ok.  It keeps me busy.  The weather turned gross today, which definitely dampens the summer mood.  Hopefully, we won't see a weather pattern of sunny-rainy-sunny-rainy all summer long!

The boy is now napping, Eric is on the computer, and I'm about to clean a bit, read a few blogs, and then get back to reading the third installment in the Games of Thrones books.  If you are much of a reader, you probably definitely want to pick up this series.  Especially if you enjoy time pieces and sagas.  My brother is watching the series on HBO and says it is really good, too.  Maybe that will be next for me.

In re-reading this post, even I can admit that it is rather boring.  However, it's summer and right now, boredom is ok with me!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mama Bear is out of hibernation

The school year is over!  Can I get a HIP-HIP-HOORAY?  Or a great big WOOOO-HOOOOO?

Even if you didn't yelp for me just now, I know you are feeling my excitement.  And maybe a little jealousy if you have to work all summer?  Yea, that's ok.  I forgive you.  I wouldn't like me much either, if I were you.  Of course, your paycheck is probably a bit better than mine so...we're even.  hahaha

School ended in its traditional way, with a golf tournament and lots and lots of beer.  It was SO much fun and I love finishing the school year with a fun celebration.

But when my nasty internal clock woke me up at 5AM on Friday, I wasn't in any hurry to begin the summer celebration.  Instead, I rolled right back over and slept for several more hours. 

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For about 48 hours post-last day of school, all I have done is sleep.  Alexander has been a champ and slept in until at least 7 every morning since summer started and Eric has been very understanding of my need to catch up on rest.  Normally, I don't require this much sleep after the year ends but this was a year like none other. 

Yesterday, I finally felt human and made it to Curves, did loads of laundry, deep cleaned 1 of 2 bathrooms and helped Alexander clear books off his shelves to give to Marigold.  It wasn't the most eventful of days but it was something.

 I'm officially out of hibernation and looking forward to all the summer should bring.  Plus, the sun is shining today and that is always a good thing when you live in the Pacific Northwest!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Weekend Recap

I wish I could announce that the weekend was filled with all sorts of fabulous events. 

But lying isn't very nice.

Friday was graduation and I didn't get home until midnight.  I love graduation and watching the kids finish a milestone.  It's the accumulation of four years of work with students and, as a teacher, I love seeing their faces as they close this chapter in life.  It doesn't hurt that after the ceremony, the staff wander over to a local bar and celebrate the end of another year.  This night is always loads of fun and I look forward to it for weeks.  Beer and pizza with colleagues makes me happy.  And I was happy until my body reminded me I am on a non-carb diet and I felt gross.   Luckily, this weekend was an Alexander-sleepover at Big Papa and Umma's so a Saturday nap did occur, as well as a lovely sleep-in today.  Feeling less gross tonight.

Let's see...what else.  I took a few items back to stores and then proceeded to buy a couple of cardigans that were on sale.  What can I say?  I love me a cardigan.

One in blue and one in black.  They will be just perfect for the summer months, don't you agree?

After the finishing not-so-exciting tasks of laundry and cleaning the house, I read a bit, watched some TV, hung out with Eric, and that was that.  The weekend is now over.  Eric and I probably should have done yardwork but ya know, I'm going to be home for the next nine weeks.  We'll have PLENTY of time to work outside.  Besides, it isn't as much fun to work in the yard without a four year old's voice, babbling at us the entire time. 

The last day of school is Thursday.  This week marks the end of my rookie year as ASB Activity Coordinator and Dean of Students.  It was such a whirlwind but I loved it.  Most of it is a blur but that's how a rookie year is supposed to go.

I am super excited to be home with my boys.  It never fails to amaze me how ready I am for the end of the school year and how ready I am to start it in August.  Only a few days to go...

Have a good week!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Dance, dance, dance!!

I wish I could dance.  I so wish I could dance.  And I don't mean, "dance in the living room dance party or crazy chaperone dance moves", I mean DANCE.

As I watch So You Think You Can Dance, I am simply in awe.  First of all, the bodies are ripped.  Second, the dance moves are amazing.  Third, the bad ones are so bad, that my dancing looks good!  If you haven't seen this show, you gotta see it.

I was never the little girl who spent her days in dance recitals.  Just the very mention of it would send me into a state of fear.  Turns out shy little girls and dance recitals don't mix.  I bet I would have rocked the tutus, though.

Instead of dancing, I spent my childhood on clay soccer fields.  I loved it.  Well, I loved it when I was little and played forward.  I could run fast and score goals.  Who wouldn't love that, right?  Then my stupid coach moved me to goalie.  WHAT?   No more fun for Chelle.  Now that I am a mom who is dreading a potential future of soccer games on cold Saturday morning (pick swimming, son.  Pick swimming.)  I now understand why my mom cheered so loudly when I announced my decision to quit soccer.

About the same time that I began kicking the ball around, I started throwing and catching a softball.  And spent the next 20 years on dirt fields.  I. LOVED. SOFTBALL.  Athletically, I wasn't a superstar.  Not by any means.  I had the chance to play at that next level and was surprised to learn that the game stopped being fun.  I could hold my own physically but mentally, the pressure was too much for me.  Despite that slight blip, I learned a lot about myself and continued playing as close to year-round as I could.  High school teams.  Recreational teams.  Intramural teams in college.  Adult teams.  I hung up my glove in 2006 when I started having back pain but secretly hope to break it out again when Alexander discovers his love of baseball (pick baseball, son.  Pick baseball.)

I wonder if they would have let me wear a tutu on the ball field...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The day after I ran the school...

Nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  It was just another day.  So booooring.  I did start making a list of what I will do the next time they leave me in charge.  It may have something to do with having a catered lunch brought in to the staff.  On the building budget. 

At least it officially feels like the end of the year, though.  I'm not sure how life will be when I'm not going at a frantic pace, wearing many hats and living life as a master-multitasker, but I'm willing to try it for nine weeks.

We had the moving up assembly today, where we say goodbye to seniors.  I can't really say I'll miss this class of 2011.  There are some great individuals in the group but as a whole?  Eh. 

Today's assembly was the last of the year and I couldn't be happier.   I suppose I should say Eric couldn't be happier.  Assemblies are high-stakes and bring great anxiety to my world.  In other words, I don't sleep the night before or eat the day of.  Which means I'm loads of fun at home. 

At least graduation is tomorrow.  My entire alpha (A-G) made it and I'm thrilled.  Of course, I didn't have much to do with it but hey, I'll take what successes I can in year one of a new job.  This time tomorrow night, I'll be sitting on a bar stool in Seattle, cheating on my diet.  Won't be as much fun as running the school but I'll take it.

P.S.  for those who care, one week into the 17 day diet and I'm down six lbs.  Eric is down 5 after 4 days (men and their stupid metabolism).  Try it.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The day I ran the school...

Apparently, in June, they let the new kid run the circus. 
My fellow administrators ditched me spent the afternoon in a district meeting today.  That meant it was me and our building cop, with 1200 inmates (uh, I mean, students) for several hours.  While this hasn't been the first time my colleagues have attended meetings out of the building, it is the first time ALL THREE were gone AT ONE TIME, leaving me leave me to freak out in total control.  Granted, it is finals week and most kids were taking exams so the halls were relatively empty.  Granted, with seven days remaining, there isn't a whole lot of ammunition in the discipline arsenal so discipline is at a virtual standstill.   Granted, the day went smoothly and was completely uneventful.

Nonetheless, I was in charge so I took on a few tasks: 
   I completed the master schedule and gave PE teachers the best prep periods and smallest class sizes.  I switched offices so I now have the largest one, with the best view.  I wrote myself an awesome letter of recommendation and signed it with my boss's stamp.  And I left cheery notes on their July calendars (with my picture to keep them company) to encourage them while they are busy at work and I'm at home, enjoying my summer vacation.  

      They are totally going to thank me when they get back. 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Why 17 days?

My bloggy friend Kayla asked what this 17 day thing was all about so I thought I would explain it (you're welcome, Kayla!) 

Here's the deal.  You diet follow a diet for 17 days

There are 4 cycles in the diet, each lasting 17 days.  In those 17 days you shock your metabolism and keep it guessing.  And you drop weight.  Seriously.  That's all there is to it.  The book is an easy read, there are suggested meals and suggested recipes too.  And, if you think about it, you can commit to anything for 17 days, right?

In the three months of working out at Curves, I have lost inches.  But not a single pound.  And it was driving me nuts.   When a trusted someone who-shall-remain-nameless told me I would actually lose weight with this diet, I admit, I was sceptical.  Another diet?  Another fad?  Really?  But when she told me how much she had lost in such little time, I was sold.  I ordered the book on Amazon and started last Thursday.

 I wouldn't say I'm starving but, as with any weight loss plan, I do have a vicious headache.  It is a serious struggle to figure out how and what to eat with my busy work day.  And I am a tad bit crabby.   Poor Eric bore the brunt of it when he couldn't remember where he hid the scale and I spent an hour tearing the house apart to find it.  I just wanted to know if this diet was working.  And I needed a scale.  Was it too much to ask that the man remember where he hid it from me?  In the end, I found it (hidden in the desk) and lo and behold, I was down four pounds!

Four pounds in two days.  Holy Mother of Pete.  Talk about instant gratification and motivation!

17 days.  With results like this, you bet your ass I can do this.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

17 Days

starting the 17 day diet tomorrow.
wish me luck.