Monday, February 29, 2016

Hanging Out at the Happiest Place on Earth

I can't write today because we are very busy playing and having fun with these guys!

See you tomorrow!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Sweet Memories Sunday

I'm reminiscing about our first family Disneyland trip because we are back at the Happiest Place on Earth right now! The boys on the Teacups.

I didn't realize it had been five years since taking the boys to the Mouse House, but it has.  Last year when I was on my 8th grade Disney trip, I felt that urge to plan a trip for the kids.  Eric and I have been saving (he's been working his tail off!) for this trip and we are staying for four days!

I am at a Religious Conference two days and Eric and the kids get to play all day.  I can join them in the evenings.  Then we have two days to play as a family.  We didn't go to California Adventure last time, so that should be a lot of fun for the kids to explore.  Lots of pictures to follow this week!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Friday Favorites: Disneyland Edition

We took the kids to Disneyland for their first and only time five years ago when they were 3 and 6.  They were so little!  We had a ton of fun, but only spent one day in the Disneyland park and didn't go across to California Adventure.

This year we are spending four days park hopping.  (For part of the trip I'll be at a religious education conference at the convention center across the street from Disneyland.  I'm excited about that too!)  The boys get to play while I'm learning!

I've been thinking about our last trip.  Here are some of my favorite pictures from five years ago:

Oh the sweet memories!

Here are some of the favorite things I am looking forward to on this trip.

My absolute favorite ride of all time.  Don't get me wrong.  I love roller coasters and thrill rides, but there is just something about this ride that gets me so excited!  I could ride it 8 times in a row!

Every time I go to Disneyland (I go once a year with my 8th grade class) I get a Dole Whip.  So yummy.  So fresh. So pineapply!  This delicious treat is located right outside the Tiki Room.  My parents always took my sister and me into the Tiki Room to get out of the sun and sit for a spell while enjoying the singing birds!  

I swear I'm not 92!  I love the slow, sing-song rides!  They are some of my favorites!  Who doesn't love It's a Small World?!  I'll tell you who...8th graders...that's who!  I always threaten my students to behave while in the park on their field trip or I'll make them walk around with me and ride It's a Small World 12 times in a row!  They laugh, but they know I'm serious!

Here are some things that I hope become a new favorite since I've never experienced them before!

I've never been to the World of Color show at California Adventure.  I'm contemplating order the whole package that comes with dinner and a premium spot to watch the show.  Still thinking on that one.

I've heard about these things, I've read about them, and I even tried to get one when I was at Disneyland last year.  But I've never had a Monte Cristo Sandwich at Disneyland.  Oh, this year it will be mine! (I've already got my reservation!)

And here is one thing that I can remember from Disneyland as a kid, but isn't there anymore.

I'm not sure what their actual names were, but my family called them the people movers.  The ride that's up in the sky on the wires was so much fun.  I loved being able to see far across the park.  I'm not sure if the carts on the track are the original monorail or some other ride. But I love this old picture!

Ahhhh!  Looking at Disneyland pictures is making me want to get there right now!!! (By the time anybody reads this post, the kids and Eric will be playing at Disney!)  If you can't tell, I'm really excited to get on the road!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Life Lately

I can only describe this week as feeling like the week before Christmas with all the anticipation and no motivation!  I am so excited to leave for our Disneyland trip that I am really having to force myself to keep up with normal life.  I just want the trip to be here.  But now it is!  We leave tonight!

In other news, Hudson learned how to swallow pills!  No more liquid meds for us!  It was a struggle at first, but he was so proud of himself.

Monday night I made red beans and rice.  It was tasty. Recipe HERE.

One of of my two office mates.

She was in a less than chatty mood, so I made faces at her!  She can thank me later.

Then she made a face back and I laughed.  Because I always laugh.

I think I see her smiling!

She loves me.  I annoy her, but she's okay with it!

I cleaned off the top of my desk.  Ahhhhh, feels so much better than the clutter.

I wore a lot of pink this week.

And some burgundy.  Love this oversize heavy sweater.  It's perfect to wear right now with chilly mornings and I take it off for the warm afternoons.

He looks a bit too cozy and possessive of my bed!  #jealous

I think he thinks he's cute.

Harry likes taking a selfie with me as much as the kids do!

So that's been the week other than work, one soccer practice, dinner, and packing.  Oh, I did make ham and cheese biscuit sliders drizzled with honey...and they were really good!  I should have taken a picture, but we ate them all.  Even Hudson cleared his plate!  That is a dinner win in my book!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

What's Up Wednesday

It's time for What's Up Wednesday!  I'm linking up with Mel, Sheaffer, and Shay.

Sooooooo, here's what's up!

What We're Eating This Week
I actually meal planned this week, so I know exactly what we are having!

Monday - Red beans and rice. Recipe from Mix and Match Mama.

This recipe reminded me of my mom's chili.  Man, I love to come home to a wonderful smelling kitchen and dinner steaming in the crock pot.

Tuesday - Tacos
Wednesday - Ham and Cheese sliders
Thursday - We are heading out of town to a conference, so we'll eat on the road.
Friday - Rainforest Cafe with Father Robert and the rest of the teachers
Saturday - Farrell's Ice Cream
Sunday - Disneyland

What I'm Reminiscing About
This category is kind of all over the place.  I've been thinking about our previous trip to Disneyland five years ago. I've been remembering past trips to Congress.  I've been thinking about when the kids were little.  Lately, the kids have been asking me stories about the past such as the day they were born.  It's been fun to talk with them about various subjects.

What I'm Loving
I really, really, really, loved this past weekend and the relaxed vibe I felt both Saturday and Sunday.  It was the first weekend without a soccer or basketball game.  I got so much done and felt so accomplished.  This easy going weekend vibe won't last as soccer is gearing up again, but it felt nice to get a lot done without feeling time-sapped.

What We've Been Up To
Soccer practice just started up again twice a week.  I'm busy getting my Academic Decathlon team ready for the competition in two weeks. Eric had a major re-install at work with more weekend installs to come.  I've been reading a ton of books and working on my Bible study of the book of Daniel.

What I'm Dreading
I'm dreading having to buckle down and put the yearbook together.  I'm always so proud of the finished product, but it really is quite the task to put it all together.  I do have help with the sports pages, but it's so much planning, picture taking, picture sorting, and designing.  I typically gain a lot of weight this time of year because the stress of putting the yearbook together makes me want to eat jelly beans by the bucketful.  No jelly beans!

What I'm Working On
See above.  I'm also working on some major new plans for my classroom next year.  If my principal approves of the project, I'd like to create this super cool room that resembles a coffee house space more than a classroom, that offers flexible seating, comfortable chairs, and a feeling of wanting to hang out.  It has me energized for next year.  I want to get started now!  I got the idea HERE

What I'm Excited About
Disneyland!!!  One more sleep until we leave!  I can't wait!  I'm looking forward to both my teacher conference and Disneyland.  I love the fact that we are going as a family.  I don't like being apart from my family when I am attending conferences.  It will make me happy to know they are in town with me and having fun together at Disney.  Then I can join them in the evenings and all day on Sunday and Monday.

What I'm Watching/Reading
Scandal and Grey's Anatomy returned from their winter hiatus.  Hallelujah!  I've also been watching a show called Younger on TV Land.  It is not for kids...and sometimes even has my jaw dropping, but it does make me laugh. It's about a 40-year-old woman who gets back into the workforce by pretending to be 26...and all those around her buy it!

I'm reading a ton of books: my January book review is HERE and my February book review is HERE.  I do have to say something about the book Hatchet, that I didn't care for but read because my 11-year-old was reading it for his book report and I wanted to be able to talk to him about it.  Last night we started working on his report and as we were driving to soccer, he said to me, "Thank you, Mom, for helping me with my book report.  I am glad you are helping me!"  It was the sweetest sentiment and had me tearing up as I was driving.  You're welcome, Kid!  I plan to try to read many of the books he is reading just so we can converse about the topic.

What I'm Listening To
I've been listening to my Bible study on the book of Daniel by Beth Moore.  I chose to buy the audio version of the study rather than the video because I didn't want to be tied to my computer when listening to the lesson.  I can listen while running at the gym.  I've also been listening to podcasts by The Catholic SIP (Standing in Prayer).  These guys are pretty funny but have a great message about our Catholic faith.

On Pandora I'm listening to a variety: Today's Hits, Steve Tyrell, Contemporary Christian, and Today's Country.

What I'm Wearing
Reluctantly, I'm wearing this:
SHORTS, a lightweight long sleeve tee, and Skechers.  While I like my ensemble, I don't want to be wearing shorts in February.  It's supposed to be WINTER!  But we've been in the mid 70's in Central California, so I pulled out my pink shorts this past weekend to brighten my day!

What I'm Doing This Weekend
M-I-C-K-E-Y...MOUSE!  We are heading to Anaheim for my Religious Ed. Conference and to enjoy a family trip to Disneyland and California Adventure.  I'm so excited!  It feels like the days leading up to Christmas where I don't want to do anything except count the minutes until we leave!

The kids were so little when we took them for the first time!  I can't wait!

What I'm Looking Forward To Next Month
Easter Vacation, finishing the yearbook, and the Academic Decathlon competition.

What Else Is New
Hmmmm, this one is tough because there really isn't anything new.  Things like soccer are gearing up again.  I'm already having to think about summer school and we still have three more months of school to go, but that's not really new.  In a way, I feel like my perspective on a lot life issues are new.  I've been doing a Lenten devotion each day with Matthew Kelly and the book Rediscover Jesus.  It has given me many new thoughts to ponder each day.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

February Books

I read seven books this month.  I guess I'm in quite a groove.  There is definitely more time for reading when I don't watch as much tv.  Sometimes I miss the mindlessness of tv!

To be fair, I started this book, The Grace of Yes, long before Christmas and for some reason did not finish the last chapter and a half until this month.  It is a book written by a local Fresno writer, Lisa Hendey.  She is the creator of the website I've seen Lisa speak at several different conferences over the years and she is very inspiring.  The book was a great read about saying yes to God in all of its forms.

The second book I read was The Choice by Nicholas Sparks.  I typically don't like his books, but I do like the movie adaptations.  Weird, because it's usually the other way around.  I decided to grab this book because another blogger (Mix and Match Mama) recommended it strongly on her blog.  I am so glad I read the book.  I loved the idea that we make certain choices for love.  I'm not sure I want to see the movie because I really liked the book and I don't want to see any changes that a movie adaptation might have made.

The third book I read was The List.  I bought this one at the same time that I bought The Choice.  I really enjoyed The List as well and read it in a day.  It's about a high school list that is created by an unknown person at the beginning of the school year.  On the paper is listed the prettiest and ugliest girl from each of the four classes.  The book goes on to explore how being labeled as prettiest or ugliest affected each of the eight girls.  I would not recommend the book to my junior high kids due to language, but I could see it as a good high school level book.  It explores peer pressure, bullying, the need to fit in, and holding true to your personal standards.  I'd like to read more books by this author.

My next book was Seven Miracles That Saved America.  I chose to read this book because I had read a book by the same author, The Mark of a Giant, that I talked about in my January book review.  I liked this book as well.  Just as with the Giants book, I found some chapters to be definitely more appealing than others.  This book chose seven miracles, or almost unexplainable events, that had they not happened, could have seriously altered the course of our country.  Very interesting to read.

I usually like the books I read.  I always consider myself to be decently easy to please.  I like most tv shows, most movies, and most books.  That being said, I did not like Hatchet.  To be fair, I didn't think I'd like it going into it, so I sort of turned myself against it before I even gave it a chance.  Why, you ask, did I read this book if I knew I'd probably not like it?!  The answer is simple: Evan.

My 11-year-old is not a big reader, but he is having to read more books in 6th grade than ever.  He also has to do a report each month.  He has been complaining that we don't have any "good" books at home that are at his reading level.  One day we were at Costco and he saw Hatchet and asked me to buy it.  I did!  He doesn't know this, but I'd probably buy him any book he asks for at this point.  The next week I school, I was in the 7th grade classroom and noticed that my partner teacher was using Hatchet as a class set.  I asked to borrow a copy so I could read it and be able to talk about the book with Evan.  He really likes the book, and for that, I am willing to read what I term a "boy book."

Not that the book is awful, but it is designed for a boy at the junior high level, of which I am not!  Many of the girls in my class like the book, so there is that.  I like books with lots of witty dialogue.  This book is about a boy who is the sole survivor of a plane crash.  He talks to the fish.  Not much dialogue going on here.  Lots and lots of descriptive paragraphs.  Not my thing.  Gary Paulsen is a well respected author, so I am pleased to say I have read the book.  And I also have to admit that as I reached the end of the book, I was curious as to what was going to happen to the kid in the story.  I sort of enjoyed the story!

Eric bought me One Question by Ken Coleman for my birthday.  We are going to a Dave Ramsey Smart conference in May, and we'll be seeing many speakers, and Ken Coleman is one of them!  This time around I'd like to have read several books by the speakers ahead of time!  I liked this book because it is broken up into many little chapters where the author explores one concept at a time such as integrity, failure, forgiveness, and so many more.  He starts each section with a personal story and then leads into an interview with someone who discusses the concept at hand.  Each chapter is only 2-3 pages long, so I was able to easily read several chapters a day.  I always like books that get me thinking.  This one did just that.

My last book this month was The Tipping Point.  I found this title while reading One Question.  I was scrolling through my library app and saw the book, borrowed it, and could not put it down!  So, it was sort of an accidental book for me, but I'm so glad I read it!  The premise is discovering the reasons behind why certain products or events or ideas are successful and some aren't.  Everything experiences this "tipping point" where things go from good to bad, or from unknown to known, etc.  The book breaks down the concepts behind what "tips" an idea or an epidemic.  This book reminded me of Freakonomics.  If you enjoyed that book, you would probably enjoy this.  If you like learning how seemingly unrelated ideas come together to cause a central event, you would enjoy this book.

There you have it for the month of February.  I'm already in the middle of two more books for a jump start on my March reading.  So many books.  So little time.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Weekend Wrap Up

Holy Smokes!  This is the first weekend in FOREVER that we haven't had a soccer game or basketball game to watch.  Weird.  Wonderful.  Not sure what to do with myself!  Just kidding!  I found plenty to do!

Friday night was wonderful.  Nothing scheduled, so I had plenty of time to relax in my pajamas and slippers and start listening to Week 3 in my Bible study on the book of Daniel.  I'm loving this study.  I look forward to it each day and I think about it in practical situations in my life frequently.

Eric had planned to do a major reconfiguration of computers in Hanford this weekend, so he was up and out of the house by 7.  I got so much done on Saturday!  (Not because he was gone!  Because I had so much free time!)

I had time and inclination to run outside!

I read 10 pages in my current book, One Question by Ken Coleman. I read my Bible passages for the day. I read a chapter in another book I am reading called The Tipping Point.  I ran outside for 30 minutes. I did laundry. I cleaned the kitchen. I listened to a Catholic podcast. I went grocery shopping. I took a shower. I did all that before 2:30!

At that time, the boys and I left for Fresno State to watch the Men's Basketball team play Utah State.  It was OLPH Day at the game, so there were over 100 of us there in the section.  It was a lot of fun.  I haven't been to a Fresno State basketball game in ages.

Evan was really into the game.  Hudson was really into the food.

The fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Howard, and me.

The Save Mart Center is a really cool arena.  When Eric and I got married, he bought me basketball seats.  We only kept the seats for one season, but it was fun!

Right at the end of half time, a guy from way up in the rafters started dropping hundreds of these balloons into the crowd.  Evan caught a pink one and gave it to a little preschool girl behind us!  #proudmommoment

Hudson caught the green balloon, but was more interested in his ice cream.  Evan made it into a hat to finish watching the game.

Not that I don't love watching the kids play soccer, because I really do, but ohhhhhhh how fun it would be to watch them play basketball INSIDE!

We were able to stay for the whole game.  I was worried we'd have to leave early because we had to get to Mass and Evan was altar serving.  We cheered as the Bulldogs won and then zipped out of the stadium in plenty of time for church.

In fact, Evan ran in to change for serving and Hudson and I ran to the Hall to get some pictures of the beginning of the Father/Daughter dance happening at the same time.  We ran back for Mass, and ran back to the Hall after church to take more pictures!  The mom in charge was super sweet and packed me up several plates of rice and tri tip.  No cooking for me!

Meat and rice...two of my favorites!

We got gas at Costco and finally headed home.  I am still in shock that I can fill up my car for less than $30!  And the price went down two more cents between me filling up on Saturday and Eric filling up on Sunday!  Gas for $1.79 a gallon?  Sounds good to me!

I ate my dinner on the couch while watching tv.  Hudson snuggled up behind me.

He's a touchy kind of kid.

My little sweetheart.

Feeling pretty accomplished for Saturday!

Eric's install did not go well.  He didn't get home until after 9 at night.  A 13-hour day wiped him out. We slept in and enjoyed a lazy morning.  Once we got restless, we headed out to do a few errands.

Looking for a weed eater at Lowe's.  The front yard has no grass, but that doesn't stop the weeds from growing like crazy.  We are planning to put down a bunch of gravel in the yard and fix it up pretty in steps.

This is what I wore on Sunday, because apparently winter is over.  Ugh!  It should NOT be 75 degrees on February 21.  I felt very pink today.  You can't see my pink earrings.  And a pink purse would have completed the ensemble, but I haven't bought one yet!

Such a good weekend.