Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Did ya miss me?

Here's the started so I don't have a lot of free time these days.  And I forgot to download our pictures from Chelan from Mom's camera.  She took a lot of great ones and I didn't take a single one on my camera.  I'll try to update soon. 

Chelan is really the best way to end my summer.  Three days in the sun.  Three days in the pool with my kid.  Yea, I got tan.  And I had fun.  So.  Much.  Fun.

So until that post, let's see what other random thoughts come to mind.

School is kicking my ass only because I'm so freaking tired. Apparently, I had blocked out forgotten how frantic the start of the year is for our team.  We have two new administrators so things are going very smoothly, despite their "newness" to the job.  For me, there is a huge difference because I know exactly what is coming and the learning curve is much smaller.  Instead of being told what my job is (i.e a coworker says, "hey, Michelle, you're in charge of picture day."  Me:  "Oh.  I am?  Ok.  Picture day is tomorrow?  Oh, ok...I'll get right on that."); now I know what to anticipate and am prepared and organized. And I'm not reinventing the wheel because it turns out I wrote amazing notes to myself at the end of each event last year (and completely forgot I had done so).
  The ASB students are fantastic.  Get this:  40 kids cut out paper  "Liberty L's" for 1200 students, wrote a name for EVERY student on a L, and hung them up on the main walls to welcome back kids on the first day of school.  Cute, right?  I'm super excited to work this crew.

But I'm tired.  At least this year, I committed to staying away from my emails or listen to voice mails at home this year.  So far, so good.  When I'm home, I want to be home. 

So tonight, Alexander is at my parents and Eric and I watch are The Expendables.  And I'm blogging because a movie with aging 80's action stars is NOT keeping my attention.

And blogging is keeping me from falling asleep on the couch.

Tired. Very. Tired.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Book Review - My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler

Book Review #4
Let me start by saying if you reading this blog AND you are in book club, LEAVE the blog NOW (that means you, Mari).  I'm about to share what I think about the book selection for September. 

What did I think of Ms. Handler's book? 
Maybe if I was in my mid-20's, drunk, and having sex with all sorts of strangers, I would have thought this book was hilarious.   But I'm not.  Nor have I ever been "that" girl.  I've been in my mid-20's.  I've been drunk.  And I've had my share of one-night stands (sorry, Mom Dad and Grandma).  But come'on.  I might have been a sorority girl but NONE of my sisters, nor myself, were this trampy.

I kept asking myself if these were true-stories and when I discovered they were, I was pretty much grossed out by this woman.  And decided she wrote the book once she became a celebrity in order to prempt the men who could sell their awesome stories about shagging the celebrity. 

I was grateful that the book was short.  I'm not a prude.  I love a good sex story or escapade as much as the next girl.  The stories kept repeating the same theme.   If only there was some variation to her discussion of drunken one-night stands; I might have enjoyed the book.  But truthfully, how can you dress up being a drunk skank...over and over and over again? 

So, I wouldn't suggest this book.  It's rare that I find a book with zero redeeming qualities so maybe I could suggest it as a vacation someone who I greatly dislike.  Ms. Handler and I will not be opening a bottle of wine together, anytime soon.  I don't know much about Chelsea Handler other than she does stand-up comedy, an irritating voice, and, one night after a long night of drinking, I passed out, watching her TV show. Talk about uber-irritating voice as you are passing out.

No one should spend money on this book.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

we're outta here

Tomorrow morning, Alexander and I leave for Chelan, with Ho-Ho Umma.

I would direct you to a link so you could read about last year's trip but...I didn't write about it.
The day after we returned, I had a new job and Chelan memories quickly fell by the wayside.
Or we spent so much time by the pool that I never took pictures.

Not this year.

Three days of sun.
Three days with my son.
Three days of fun.

I'm going to cherish every moment.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

random, random, random

I woke up with a headache.  I fell asleep with the same headache.  I think I felt a little stress over the Daddio situation last night.  A situation which has worked itself out.  I think.
Despite the headache, I walked almost 3 miles with my mother-in-law and my son this morning. 
My sweet husband slept in.
The walk was gloriously sunny with perfect temps and upon returning home, my headache went away.  And my sweet husband woke up.
I'm currently writing this post, taking a break from laying on my lounge chair, baking in the sun.
Did I mention it is super warm here today?  I'm in love.

The birthday-extravaganza Vegas trip is coming along quite nicely.  We have 10 confirmed "yesses", and several "maybe's" on board.  I'm thinking there will be about 15 in attendance, when all is said and done.  I love that I'll be surrounded by loved ones, who will bake in the sun with me, drink endless cocktails with me, play hours of blackjack with me, or will surround me with laughter as we do the old folk shuffle out on a dance floor.   I love knowing that the day AFTER we return from Vegas, it will be my actual 40th birthday.  By that point, I will have officially milked my 40th for 5 straight days...and I am hoping for a girls weekend following my birthday, too.  Not to mention, my ASB kids are bound to do something fun my ASB kids at my expense during the week because that's what kids do. 
 All in all, I may end up celebrating for 8 days.  That's good stuff.
I'm not sure anyone enjoys their birthday more than I do.
Even at 40.

Alexander and I are going to Chelan this weekend.  Temps are expected to be HOT HOT HOT!  You'll find us in the pool, pool, pool and loving it.  I will especially love it when he is taking his four hour nap mid-day and I'm back at the pool, baking in the sun.  Woo-hoo!

Kinda like today.  Without the pool.

  I was in the building all day yesterday and it was exhausting and exhilarating at the same time.  I just have to believe the learning curve won't be as severe and I'll find myself enjoying part of the year more than last year.

I've re-discovered flavored sparking water.  Love it.  I drank loads of it when pregnant and then I just stopped.
Why did I stop?  It's good stuff.
There you have it.  A random post.
Filled with love and good stuff.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

from house addition to house remodel

Lately, Eric and I have started to think the house addition isn't in our family's best interest.  Even though it pains me to admit it, Eric and I need to be uber-responsible and plan for our future.  Since the design plans were drawn up four years ago, we have spent money for the plans, a building permit (which expires in November), and widening the driveway.  At this point, we haven't felt a huge financial hit when it comes to the house because of the the investment from the sale of our first home. 

However, in the past four years, we have also lived life with one income.  A teacher's income, no less.  Living on one income is dipping deeper into our savings account than we anticipated, even with a tight budget.  If we begin the house addition, payments for the the house loan immediately go into effect.  Immediately doubling our mortgage payment.  Immediately sucking more money out of our savings account.

I am NOT okay with this scenario.  AT.  ALL.

  Losing our savings account on a house isn't a smart move.  We haven't made the final decision but the thought of letting go of the house addition feels right.  It saddens me but I think it's the right decision, based on our current financial standing. 
Sometimes, being a grown up sucks.
On the up-side, we have created a list of what we will remodel and landscape in the yard.
On a budget we can afford. 
Just like we did with our first home.

For what it is worth, I am insisting we begin with the upstairs bathroom. 
Where Eric swears he can put in my Jacuzzi tub.

I've got my fingers crossed for a walk-in closet, too.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

everyone needs something to look forward to

Flights and hotel rooms are booked.

Three days of laying poolside.  With cocktail in hand.

Three nights of gambling.  With cocktail in hand.

Three days of crazy Michelle birthday-fun.

Friday, August 12, 2011

final week of summer

Tonight, I find myself sitting on the back deck, watching Alexander play in his sand box, listening to the neighbor mow his lawn.  Hoping neither of us will be hit by any flying rocks from their riding mower.  A healthy fear.

One week of our summer remains.  Are you kidding me?  The weather has only felt "summer-ish" the past few weeks so going back to work indoors seems dreadful.  I suspect this is the last summer where my son will nap for four hours, letting me bake in the sun.  A girl needs her Vitamin D.

  I want more time with my boys.  Alexander keeps us busy and Eric is my favorite person right now.  We're in a good place.

For the first time in fifteen years, I'm not ready to go back to work.  I'm not ready to live life at a frantic, exhausting pace.  I'm not ready to field phone calls from parents about schedule changes that should have been requested last spring.  I'm not ready to think of ALL the tasks that need to be done before the first day of school.  I'm not ready to read all the emails sitting in my inbox.  Oy.
And I'm certainly not ready to start shopping for back to school clothes.

What a pity party.

I want the laziness of summer days.  I want warm sun on my shoulders as I watch the boys dig in the yard. I want to wake up at 8AM to the pitter patter of little toes as Alexander runs to our room to jump in bed with me.   I want to play, play, play and never stop playing.

I want summer to last forever.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Weekend Recap

Hmmmm...what happened this weekend that was so exciting?  Oh, I remember. 

The Cousin Reunion.  Part Deux.

My mom's side of the family has a family reunion the third weekend of July.  For as long as I can remember, the date has never changed. We've shown up to state parks, muddy water pits in Mossyrock, awesome camp sites in Oregon, Cannon Beach, and backyards to spend the weekend together. We held it at our house this year and, for whatever reason, most of the family couldn't make it that weekend. Those who could showed up at our house and we had a delightful afternoon. However, Amy and Matt had to leave early, deflating a little of the fun balloon when they left. My generation enjoy playing together so much that we decided to have another reunion...this weekend! Alexander and I packed the truck, picked up Ho-Ho Umma and drove to Marysville. 

Enjoying company...and a little bit of wine.

Amy, Kim and Kilynn.  The younger generation.

RJ and Ken happily discuss politics.

I don't think this is the tattoo Karolyn dreamed of having but she was a good sport about it!

More politics?  I sure hope not!

Lorelli and Alexander spent time coloring with one another.  For the life of me, I couldn't get my sweet niece to take photos with me. 
I tried a pouty face.  Nope.
I tried a happy face.  Nope.
So I gave up and started trying to make this little face grin instead.  And oh, how she loved the camera!
Within minutes, Sydnee and Alexander were grinning for the camera.

With the sun pouring down on us, the kiddie pool became Alexander's favorite place to hang out.  He'd get in, swim, and hop out.  I'd dry him off and within 20 minutes, he'd want back in again. 
We started reminiscing about former reunions where it wouldn't take much before my dad would hop into a kiddie pool.  Since Dad wasn't able to join us, John said he'd take one for the team, in Dad's honor.

Finally, Sydnee had enough of the water and cuddled up with Grandma. 

Sadly, all good things must come to an end and it was time to pack up and head home.
Within 20 minutes of the drive, this is what we glimpsed in the back seat.

Unfortunately, my body hated everything I ate and I woke up at 1AM, puking my guts out.  It turns out that carb overloading after eating nothing but salads and lean protein for two months isn't a smart move.
So, if we end up having a Cousin Reunion, Part Three...I'm packing a salad!

Friday, August 5, 2011

The faces of leadership camp

Why do I give up a week at home during the summer to attend leadership camp?
Because these people are good for me.

My golf buddy, Bryant.

Katie and Cori.  Pretty faces.

Angela.  A best friend and mentor.

I don't look 15 years older than this crew...right?

Fab Four.

Cathy.  Soul Sister.

Jen - the "tender one"
Kim Kim.  We totally would have been best friends in high school. 
Andrea, Patrick and Jo-Jo.  Need I say more?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

August Goals

Review of July goals:
1. Update blogs at least once a day.  I was doing pretty well with this goal until I went to camp for a week.  I should have updated when I returned but there are so many photos and I simply haven't had the time to sort and edit them. 

2. Update Book of the Month, with my review, the last weekend of the month. By then my book club will have met so I'll have plenty to talk about!  I have three reviews done!  I'm way ahead of the game!

3. Work out 5 of 7 days at Curves. Add 30 minute daily walk 4 of 7 days.  I did add the Curves days but not the walking.  Maybe this goal was a bit unrealistic with a busy summer schedule. 

4. Clean out old clothes and take them to Goodwill.  Not yet...but I will.

5. Give a strong presentation at leadership camp.  I was nervous because it was the first time I had given it and my heart was passionate about the subject so I didn't want it to flop.  I rocked it.  There will be the necessary tweaks but overall, I am very happy with how the presentation turned out.
August Goals:
1.  Recommit to 17 Day Diet so I can drop another 5 lbs before school starts. 
2.  Stick to my school clothes budget and be uber-efficient shopper so I can get the most from what little money I can spend this year.  Thank goodness I have the essential pieces of a wardrobe!
3.  Check my school email twice a week from home.  I have an obsession with checking my email and I need to cut back on it and enjoy the time at home instead.  I want to keep this goal during the school year.
4.  Find an affordable photographer that can do outdoor pictures for our family photos.  I didn't have pictures done when Alexander turned 4 years-old so we're way behind.  I thought it would be fun to do something different this time.
5.  Clean out clothes and take them to Goodwill. 

Book Review - Fortytude by Sarah Brokaw

Book Review #3 - Fortytude by Sarah Brokaw

It is no secret that I am struggling with turning 40.  For what it is worth, my birthday is in October and thus, I have invited everyone I know to join me in Vegas for a weekend blow-out.  If I gotta roll into a new decade, I'm going to have one hell of a time doing it!  When my girlfriend, Cyndee, said she was reading this book, I thought "I need all the help I can get; I'll give it a try."

And I haven't regretted it for a single minute.  I checked out the book from the library and after reading the first chapter, I bought a copy for myself.  I want to read it a second (or third) time, able to highlight main concepts and/or quotes.  According to the author, who interviewed over 300 women from across the nation, there are five core values for making the shift into my fifth decade of life:  Grace, Connectedness, Accomplishment, Adventure, and Spirituality.

"With grace, you rise above your difficulties with a calm wisdom, judging neither yourself nor others.  Through connectedness, you form and maintain mutually supportive relationships with other people.  When you are accomplished, you have mastery over one or more areas in your life, deriving a well-deserved sense of pride from these activities.  Adventure leads you to take on new challenges regardless of your age, making the most of the opportunities that surround you.  And spirituality brings you in touch with your innermost essence, offering you access to strength and joy through hard times as well as brilliant ones. "  Pg 258 

The author impeccably wove interviews throughout the book, giving the reader a strong sense of connection to each core value.  The author gave personal stories for each core value, as well.  Thus, as with Tina Fey, I felt myself wanting to sit with Ms. Brokaw, a glass of wine, and chat it up.  The book was laid out well and easy to follow.  And, it made me think.  I'm a big fan of a book that makes me think.  If you are someone who is struggling with change in age, then I highly recommend this book.  And if you are one who is ok with your change in age, I applaud you.  You're a better person than I.

Can I say that I'm that much more ready to turn 40 because of this book?  Hell no.  I still hate the very idea of turning 40.  But I'm going to do my best to accept it with grace, connecting with loved ones, celebrating my accomplishments, enjoy the adventure of my new job, and learn to find my innermost strengths.