Friday, March 27, 2015

Hang on Til April 9

Sorry for the lack of posting lately.  School, WASC, yearbook, soccer and upcoming surgery are all piling up in my brain leaving me pretty useless in the evenings.

WASC takes place on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.  Easter break starts on Friday.  And the yearbook is due on April 9.  If I can make it til April 9, I've got a good shot of staying sane through the end of the year!

Here's some random things we've been up to lately.

Ugh!  All the pictures uploaded in reverse, and I'm too lazy to change the order. We'll start with last night!

 We were low on time and needed a quick dinner before soccer practice.  Chipotle dinner and a little super star eating with us.

Every year I take the 8th grade class across town to Holy Spirit church to attend the Chrism Mass.  It is my favorite Mass of the year where the Bishop of the Diocese of Fresno blesses all the holy oils that are used in the sacraments throughout the year by the churches.

 Traditionally, this Mass should take place on Holy Thursday (next week), but Holy Week tends to be REALLY busy for the priests and the Diocese is quite large (Bakersfield to Atwater), so this Mass is always held the Thursday before Holy Week.

 You can see all the priests in the background.  They all gather for this Mass to recommit to their calling.  I love watching them all walk in.  Some are very serious.  Some are practically dancing.  And some are waving to their adoring fans!  It's pretty entertaining!  And talk about the cell phone cameras, iPads and video taking place through all this!  It's the Diocese's leaders all in one place!

 I restrained myself from taking a picture in the middle of Mass (even though I was itching to do it), but I couldn't resist getting a shot of Bishop Ochoa as he was about to leave.

After Mass he was gracious enough to get a photo with all of our kids.  He's very much like a celebrity!

Honest moment: I was pretty grumpy on Monday and Tuesday.  I tried to be pleasant, but on the inside I was really sad.  Not sure why...just stressed and busy.  Anyhow, I tried to perk up on Wednesday, so I wore the following outfit.

 And I ended up getting many compliments!  Nothing like a compliment to boost the mood a touch!

 On Tuesday, I was grumpy and feeling down.  I took pictures of my sad grey hairs.

 And of my sad and tired face.

 We had yearbook pictures on Monday of clubs and sports.  That was two hours out in the sun trying to organize children.  It was as fun and easy as herding cats!

 Um, okay.  We are back to Thursday night dinner with Hudson the movie star.

We had soccer practice last night, and while we were sitting there, I felt a bug fly in my eye.  Eric said he couldn't see anything but my eye was irritated.  So I took a picture to see if I could see it.  I think I see black at the bottom left portion of my eyeball.  Sorry for the weird picture!

I have to go to school today, but the kids have the day off.  The teachers are doing a massive preparation for WASC that starts on Monday.  It's kind of like showing off your Easter Best.  We want everything to look perfect.  Much easier to accomplish this when the kids aren't around.  Still, I'm procrastinating getting ready to go to work right now!

Final big push to finish the yearbook is happening this weekend along with one game of soccer and getting together with my family for our Easter celebration.  We always do it on Palm Sunday.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Quick Weekend Wrapup

I'm finding it hard to get moving this Monday morning at 6:10 a.m.  My cup of coffee tastes lovely, and I didn't go to bed late, but I'm still kinda dragging.  Hopefully I'll perk up after my shower.

It felt like a really quick weekend.

I didn't feel like cooking on Friday night, so we picked up Chinese take out.  Garlic chicken is the best.  We were in bed by 8:30.  Always so tired at the end of the week.

On Saturday, we slept in a bit, I worked on the yearbook, and then Evan and I ran some errands because he needed some supplies for the diorama he's creating.  After we got home, we went to the gym.  The kids went to the daycare while Eric and I worked out.  Then they got to enjoy swimming in the gym pool.

 Taking a break from the pool and making bubble beards in the spa.

 A good workout made us both feel better.

 We were completely off our regular breakfast, lunch, dinner schedule, so after stopping at Sears for a battery for Eric, we got a pretzel snack to tide everyone over.

I don't know where the picture went, but Eric and I attended the San Joaquin Memorial's play Catch Me If You Can on Saturday night.  I had three former students performing in the play.  It was a late night that we aren't used to!  #old

 Sunday morning was an early wake up when our neighbor behind us started mowing his lawn at 6:56 a.m!  Ugh.  Yes, technically you are allowed to make noise at 7, but still, on a Sunday morning?  When you don't work?  (The neighbor doesn't work.  I think he's medically disabled.)  This is just the grumpy, being woken up too early me talking.

In any case, it got us up and moving.  I did the grocery shopping and then we were off to soccer in Lemoore.  It makes me chuckle to see Evan having to be the one to sit and watch the game.  He was so restless.

The team won both of the games.  Evan even got to jump in and play goalie for the second game.  That made him rather happy.

The rest of Sunday night was spent on yearbook and laundry.  Try not to be too jealous of the glamorous life we lead!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Book That Left Me In Tears

It's no secret that I love to read.  Sadly, over the past few years, I have not read nearly as much as I should.  For some reason that changed last summer.  I simply started making it a priority again.

Just as with movies and tv, I'm pretty easy to please and I'm easily entertained.  I usually like the books I choose to read.  Sometimes I even get so "into" the book that I am sad when the book is through.

However, every once in a blue moon, I read a book that touches my soul.  I was crying through the last 30 or so pages of a book I finished this morning.  It was that sweet.

The book is called Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.  

The book is set in Seattle during WWII.  The main character is an American born Chinese boy named Henry.  He becomes best friends with an American born Japanese girl named Keiko.  The two form a friendship and a very innocent love.

It was heart wrenching reading about Henry and Keiko's sadness when Keiko's family, along with thousands of other Japanese families, were relocated to internment camps.  In the story, the family is sent to camp Minidoka in Idaho.

As the war goes on, so do lives and loves.

This was a wonderful story about lost love, family honor, family values, patriotism and sentiments during the war.

I highly recommend it.  I finished the book this morning, and I'm still thinking about it this afternoon.  It's the type of book that you wish had a sequel just so you can find out more about the lives of the characters.

I'm sorry I finished the book.  I'm glad I discovered it in the first place.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Favorites

This has been my favorite this week:

Folgers Vanilla Biscotti K-cup coffee with Caramel Creamer and two Splenda.  There has been something going on every day this week: Monday was PDP soccer practice, Tuesday was Pumas soccer practice, Wednesday was the longest day ever on a field trip, Thursday was a First Communion meeting, and blessedly today there is nothing.  This coffee has been my friend.

That cup is also my favorite.  I love my Doxie cup that my partner teacher gave me for Christmas!

Speaking of Dachshunds, they are my favorite type of dog.  I love my little wiener dog.

I don't like it when he pees or wraps himself around my ankles while I'm sleeping, but I love him.  He's a sweetheart of a little dog.  Harry just wants to be loved!

Another favorite is the app on my phone that lets me borrow books from the library without ever having to leave my house.  I'm in the middle of this book which is about a Chinese boy during WWII who has a best friend who is a Japanese girl.  She and her family get sent to an internment camp.  I love being able to access books for free on my phone or iPad.

In keeping with the theme of learning about WWII history, we are going to visit Manzanar this July on our way to our nephew's wedding in Mammoth.  Manzanar was one of the internment camps that housed thousands of Japanese during the war.  I read a book called Farewell to Manzanar a few years ago for Academic Decathlon, and I've always wanted to see the site.  I'm excited for the visit in a few months.

Looking forward to a weekend of yearbook making, gym, and soccer.  Two more weeks until Easter Vacation!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Museum of Tolerance

Yesterday was the first day of blogging that I have missed in a few months!  I had a good reason.  I was on a field trip to Los Angeles with 49 7th and 8th graders to visit the Museum of Tolerance.

It was amazing!

It was informative.

It was under heavy security protocols and no pictures were allowed.

These were pretty much the only two pictures I took!  I's a terrible thing not to have documented my whole day.  But I was a little more worried about keeping 49 junior high kids alive than I was about pictures.  And yes, that was my breakfast at 4:30 a.m.  I needed something to put a little pep in my step.  And we were still smiling on the ride home, despite the exhaustion levels settling in.

Anyhow, I woke up at 2:30 a.m.  Yes....2:30.  I left the house at 3:20 and we were on the bus and rolling at 4 a.m.

My partner teacher and I tried to sleep, but there were several really awake and chatty girls sitting right by us.  I think I dozed a bit.  We also had a giant double decker bus that was pretty awesome.  I sat on the bottom.

Once we arrived in Los Angeles at the museum, a guide met us and explained that the museum was under heightened security because of elections in Israel.  There wasn't any danger where we were, but whenever security measures increase at any of their sites, they go up for all of the sites.  That meant the kids were not allowed to bring in back packs or cell phones.  They were sort of lost without their phones.  It was a good thing!

The museum was phenomenal.  While there was a definite emphasis on the Jewish Holocaust, there were also various exhibits focusing on personal responsibility, prejudice and other issues of hate crimes and intolerance around the world.

I was mesmerized the entire trip.  Many of the kids said it was sad, and while this is true, it was also a museum that focused on hope and change.  I am excited for my own kids to get a bit older so I can take them.  My 10-year-old is pretty mature, but I think he is still too young to tour this particular museum.  I have had talks with him about WWII and the Holocaust, but we talk about it at his level.  In my opinion, this museum is geared more towards junior high aged and older students.

There was this winding walkway that you took to the various exhibits.  The walls were lined with survivors from the Holocaust.  It's hard to even imagine.  I also kept thinking that we are coming upon a time where the survivors are not going to be alive to tell their stories in person any longer.  Thank goodness for museums such as this that honor the stories of the survivors and the dead.

One really neat exhibit had us sitting in a replica of a 50's diner.  We watched a "news" video of a teenage boy that was drunk driving.  He got into an accident and killed himself and a child in another car.  The objective of the video was to get the kids thinking about who was responsible for this incident: the boy who drank and drove, the girlfriend who bought the alcohol for him, the mother who ignored her son's drinking problem, or the store owner who sold the alcohol to minors.

We were able to listen to each person's point of view to see if it changed our minds as to who was at fault.  While I think all of the above listed had a part in the incident, I always will fall back on personal responsibility.  We all make choices that affect not just ourselves but others as well.

After the morning tour, we jumped on the bus and had lunch in a park.  Then we headed back to the museum for a special tour about Anne Frank's life.  It was wonderful.  The tour guide gave us lots of information, and the videos were interesting and riveting.

This was at the end of the tour.  All of those colored pieces on the wall are actually clothing.  Each piece of clothing represented 90,000 Jews that were killed under Hitler's regime.  There were thousands of pieces of clothing on the wall.  The visual was stunning.  They also arranged them so that the colors of the clothes were vibrant and bright at first, symbolizing Anne's happy childhood.  As you went along in the exhibit, the clothes became darker and dingier, symbolizing the sadness and despair that the family endured.

I would love to go back to this museum.  It is the type of place where you can learn something new each time you go.  You would pick up on a new piece of information that you may not have heard before.

Oh, one more thing...Anne Frank's cousin was very close to her as a child.  There was a video of him talking about their childhood.  He died LAST TUESDAY.  Such a strange thing to think that this man who was connected to her only just died.

And one more thing!  We got little cards with the picture of a child during that time in history.  Along the exhibit, we would slide the card into a computer to find out about our person.  Some of the kids were killed in concentration camps.  Some kids lived.  One of my girls in the class was freaking out because the child on her card had the same birthday as her!  I told her it just goes to show how real the children were.  They lived, had birthdays, had lives...just like us.

The kids and I learned so much at this museum.  We are exhausted.  Today was not easy to get through.  I don't think I yelled at anyone for having their head down on their desk!

One more small trip next week to the Chrism Mass and then the BIG one to the Reagan Museum and Disneyland.  Man oh man this year is flying by fast!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Pictures of Hudson

Yesterday, Hudson and I hung out at the soccer field while Evan had PDP (Player Development Program) practice.  It's an elite soccer program that Evan had to try out for.  They meet once or twice a month for in depth training.

While Evan practiced, Hudson and I took pictures and played silly games such as "slap the hand," "ride on mom's legs and fall," and "grab mom's hand and fall."  Riveting stuff.

We did laugh a lot, so there is that.

 It was a beautiful day in the evening, but it got pretty chilly and windy.  And my allergies kicked in.

 Evan is way out there beyond that soccer net.

 Contemplating life...or wondering what's for dinner.

 Hahaha!  I'm not sure what he's doing with his lip!

The picture where Hudson ran out of the frame.

Once Eric got home from work, we swapped places and I went home to cook dinner.  Cilantro rice bowls with chipotle marinated steak.  Yum!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Yearbook and Gym

Today has been spent working on the yearbook.  I don't even want to keep track of how many hours I spend on this thing, because it would probably make me cry!  I am always proud of the finished product, but it's quite the effort to get there.

An itty bitty sneak peak at a possible layout!  How's that for being cryptic?!

I went to the gym.  I'll probably have much more to say about this later, but for now, there's a lot going on between now and April 25.  I'm not claiming to be busier than anyone else (it's one of my pet peeves when people act like their "busy" is busier than mine), but I knew with all the stress of things coming up, I'd better do something to combat the stress.

Again, not trying to sound busier than anyone else, but here's what's on my plate throughout the next month and a half: yearbook designed and turned in, WASC visit, Eric's surgery, First Communion and party, soccer (like that ever goes away), science fair, and all the other regular life stuff like work, shopping for food, making said food, and folding clothes.

I forced myself to take it easy.  I walked at various paces until I hit 100 calories and then I rode the recumbant bike until I hit 50 calories.  It was about 35 minutes or so total.  Felt good.  Next step: go back!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

More Track Photos

We were at the first track meet of the season yesterday.  The boys signed up for track to stay busy after school and to enjoy a little cross training from soccer.  However, it is likely we won't make most of the meets because of soccer games.  It was nice to be able to participate in this one.

Hudson's long jump:

 For some reason, he slowed down as he got near the dirt pit.  I love it that I caught him in mid jump!

Evan's high jump:

 Evan was bummed that he didn't place in the high jump, but I had to remind him that this wasn't exactly his sport!  Still, he's fiercely competitive and wanted to shine.

Evan's long jump:

Evan did well in the long jump tying for 7th place.  Weird story: the man passing out the ribbons only had a 7th and and 8th place ribbon instead of two 7th places for the tie.  He gave our coach the 8th place and told her to give it to Evan and tell him it was really a 7th place.  Huh?  What 10-year-old wants an 8th place ribbon when he earned 7th?!  Not a huge deal, but I thought rather poorly carried out.

Hudson's 400 meter race:

Huddy ran like a little speed demon and got 2nd place!  He said his face looked like he was in pain in these photos because he couldn't breath!  He was so proud of this race.

Evan's 400 meter race:

Evan had great form and earned 2nd place in this race.

We were very proud of the boys today!