Thursday, June 20, 2013

Last weeks of school...or end of the marathon

The last couple of weeks of school felt like the end of a marathon.
There were a few days in a row that I took it hour by hour. After finishing one task I would look to see what was next. Along with all the things I was doing for PTA and volunteering at the school, I was squeezing in multiple church visits and meetings, baby showers, doctor's appointments, dentist appointments, kids birthday parties, activity days and mutual, a bridal shower and last minute projects for Jacob with his group coming over to the house and needing help, and of course snacks.
I can't list it all but here is a few highlights.
One of the things that took up a lot of my time was selling, making and putting together Farewell Grams to help fund 6th grade science camp for next year.
My partner was sick 1/2 the week so I would try to get to school early and set up a table to sell these grams and then get to school at the end of the day to do the same. At the end of the week I got some more parents to help thank goodness.
After selling for an entire week it was time to sort and attach candy on about 400 grams.
It ended up being a pretty good fundraiser, I will just look for more help earlier before we do it again :)

Ashley's grade decided to do something new this year.
They hosted a Colonial Days with games, classes and food that mimicked things done in colonial times. That morning I woke up and wondered if I still had the pioneer looking skirt that my grandmother made me long ago...I did. I found a shirt to match, put on some boots and my hair in a bun and I looked the part. Ashley didn't want to dress up but that didn't deter me.
I got to school and maybe 5 out of the 100+ students and adults actually dressed up. Ha ha.

They learned skills and ate snacks like beef jerky and cornbread
(I made lots of cornbread to donate as well)

I got pulled into this class after they realized they didn't have any parent helpers. I got to teach the etiquette class. I taught table manners and how to greet each other and if we had time we balanced books on our head and tried to have good posture.
Maia was a girl after my own heart and was one of the only ones dressed up :) 

I think the books on their head was a favorite.

One of the other days that week I rushed selling farewell grams and then packed up and come over to enjoy the volunteer tea.
It's a little party to celebrate the volunteers in the classroom (usually a room mom) Luckily they had a lot more to offer than tea, it was a complete breakfast.
A couple of classes from the younger grade came out and sang to us and then Ashley and I got to enjoy some breakfast together.

Along with my certificate I got a nice thank you card and a gift card to Michael's from Ashley's teacher. It was nice to work with her this year. My favorite was probably subbing for the week that she was gone in New York.

Sometimes when I'm in go-go-go mode in my life. I get a little crazy and add more and more to my plate thinking somehow I can do it all.
A month ago I was invited to join a book club by a mom from the school that I had started walking with. It sounded like fun. They get together every month and read a variety of books (I'm not into romance or a long line of mystery novels). It sounded promising, and I've been craving a good book club, but as my time was getting busier I didn't know if it would happen. The other problem was I had ordered the book on Amazon and it didn't get to my house until 3 days before the Book Club was to meet. I thought I would have to skip it but when the book came in the mail I couldn't resist and I thought I would make it happen somehow.
The book was "The Elephant's Journey" and they were meeting at Elephant Bar to discuss it, how fun. It was a written by a Nobel Prize author translated from Portuguese and very different than most books I read. I was intrigued.
I read and read though it was not an easy read. The punctuation was almost nonexistent and one sentence could run 1/2 a page. There were no quotation marks so it was often unclear who was talking. It was a little bit Man of La Mancha and had a lot of people's thoughts mixed with dialogue and not a lot of action other than traveling.
I liked that those who were proud and prestigious (princes, heads of armies and such) were often taken down a notch either by circumstance in the revealing of their weaknesses. Those who were lowly in station were exalted either by their talent, experience, superior character and in the end a heroic act.
I finished the book by a herculean effort within 5 minutes of being picked up for our meeting at Elephant Bar.  
When I got there I met a nice group of ladies who discussed children, school and gardens. They had been friends for years and knew each other well but they tried to include me as well.
I ordered the salmon salad off the "light menu" and waited for our discussion of the book.
Only one person out of the 5 had read the book.
One person hadn't gotten passed the first page. The person who chose the book maybe read a quarter of it. She had gotten it out of the bargain bin at Barnes and Noble and that was the only reason she picked it. She admitted she didn't like it and shouldn't have picked it because she never like Nobel Prize winning authors. I learned it was common for people to not read the books. If people weren't really into it they wouldn't talk about it either.
The person who did read the book said she doesn't like deep discussions or analyzing anything she just likes to read it.
Unfortunately the "book" portion of the book club was as bland as my salmon salad that night.  
I was disappointed. 
That weekend I was very happy to be able to hear these guys perform. Taylor isn't taking lessons any more but he has agreed to play a duet with Ashley.
He actually didn't start practicing the duet with her until 1 week before the recital.
It wasn't sounding so good at first and I was worried!
All it took was them sitting at the piano a couple of times to realize they needed work and they did what they needed to to get good. They ended up doing a great job!
Way to go Ashley.

Jacob was the finale again. He did a great job. I am always impressed. He doesn't need Taylor to be the pedal elf any more. If he scoots to the end of the bench he can reach them himself.


I am always impressed when I watch Jacob playing. I hear him all the time at home but I don't watch what he does with his hands. There was a lot of crossing over and he did it well. Great job Jacob!

On Sunday we met for baby Zander's baby blessing. Well Jeff didn't get out of his meetings in time for us to come up for the actual blessing but we got to come for the after party. A picnic at Jenise's apartment complex.
The weather was great and we got to share food and a sampling of Jared and Vanessa's future wedding cake (yum). Their wedding was coming up quick.

Even snuggles from Jenae can't distract Taylor from his I-pod.  ha ha

Proud mama Jenise and baby Zander.

Jacob giving Caden piggy back rides.  He's got to be the easiest boy to give rides to and always happy.



On Monday we had the pizza party for 100 Mile Club. I was one of the parent coaches for 5th grade this year. Ashley wasn't able to participate as much this year because of problems with her ankle. By the end of the year we got her to her 25 miles which got her a shirt and meant she could go to the pizza party.
I found out that I could sign up as well and count my own miles. All my early morning walks with friends and I hit 100 miles this year ;)
This year we had to split the pizza party in 1/2 because of all the students who qualified.

Ashley sitting with her friends.

It was exciting to see all these runners excited to come to school early and run in the mornings. It impressed me that some would a mile and 1/2 in the 15 minutes or so that they had to run before the bell rang!

This week I had to finish up the scrapbook that I have been making for Ashley's teacher. We started it when I was subbing but it wasn't until I got home to put it together that I realized I was missing a few people's pictures here and there.

After a couple of more trips to pick up pictures it was finally done. I think she liked it. She didn't say too much about it but Ashley said everyone kept asking her "did you get your scrapbook yet" so it wasn't a surprise I guess.
There is another teacher I subbed for and we did a mini version of a scrapbook for her on the day I was there with just hand drawn pictures and letters. She ended up telling me later how much she appreciated it since her room mom hadn't done anything for her this year. She ended up liking all the letters from her students and was glad to have it.
This same teacher was Jacob's teacher in 4th grade when I used to come in and teach science lessons. When I was cleaning out his room the next day I came across a packet of letters and pictures that she had the class make for me as a thank you for doing science. It made my day! I guess what goes around comes around...even it it's years later.

This was craziness. I guess the PTA every year gets popsicles for the whole school to eat during the annual 6th graders vs. teachers softball game. One of the teachers asked me about it. I didn't know anything about it so I sent a text to the PTA president.
Well she's working full time and it ended up being "Can you go buy all the popsicles". I tried to get out of it because I was doing all kinds of other things but it ended up being either I got them or it wouldn't happen.
 OK. I just had to pick them up and then bring them back to the school so they could be stored in the freezer there. How hard could it be.
Ummmm hard. Have you ever bought 1,100 popsicles at one time??
I wasn't prepared for the logistical nightmare. First I pulled out my calculator to see how many bags of 12 I needed.
I needed 90!!
 I bought out WinCo and still didn't have enough with my cart full of them. The checker tried to call a manager to see if they had any more in the back. After calling him 3 times with no response and my popsicles melting I left.
Where to get more popsicles?
I ended up going to Smart and Final and bought them out of theirs too. At least I got all of them.
Getting them from my car to the school's kitchen freezer in the middle of lunch service was another nightmare!
Note to self. If you agree to do this in the future bring someone with you to help and order enough from the store before you show up!
I guess buying the popsicles also meant that I had to distribute them the next day during the softball game. Well I was already on campus to pass out farewell grams so it wasn't that big of a deal.
This time I was smart enough to find a couple of helpful parents to pass them out with me.

The students seemed to enjoy them.
I wasn't there for the final score of the game but I guess the 6th graders won!

The next day was the last day of school for Taylor and Jacob. Finals are done and Taylor finally paid his $25.00 materials fee for his art class which meant he could actually bring his projects home. I finally got to see the mask that he made in class and was always talking about.

After delivering popsicles, we delivered farewell grams, then met at Simone's to put together flower bouquets to sell at promotion.

After having the mess of farewell grams at my house for 2 weeks I was glad to have the flower assembly at Simone's. One of the 5th grade moms, Phillip and I got all of them assembled in about an hour and a 1/2 which wasn't too bad! Simone was in and out so her son was very helpful :)

That night I made a poster for our advertising.
And we set up to sell at promotion. We ordered 120 bouquets. We pre-sold about 15 of them and then sold about 60 more or so at the promotion. The cold water was a big seller but we sold most of them when our parent helper put one of the buckets on a flatbed dolly and brought the water to the crowd.
As we were making up the bouquets my worry was about having a plan B in case we didn't sell all of them. My plan B ended up working out... 
The next day was Kinder promotion in the classroom. We got permission and set up our flower sales outside the Kindergarten gate for $3.00 a bouquet. We sold all but a few. After the bell rang people were buying them for their teachers, for their carpool rides and even for friends. If we would've been set up at both gates I'm sure we would've sold all of them.
Little man was promoting from Kindergarten. His mom is a frequent sub and her daughters are friends of Taylor.


Oh and we chalked Ashley's hair for the last day of school.

Her friend Maia came over and chalked her hair as well. I had blue chalk everywhere! Ha ha. True to it's word though it all came out in one shampoo.

Oh after school let out a bunch of the 5th graders met at the park. There were still leftover popsicles in the freezer from the softball game so I brought them home and passed them out at the park.
Last year I help plan and put on a huge ice cream party at the park. I didn't have the time or energy this year. So this was a good next best thing. Whoever happened to be at the park got a popsicle. :)

Oh and Chimi had another set of babies. We knew she was pregnant and was wondering when they would come. I was telling Taylor that he needed to clean out the cage on the last day of school and when I got home he kept saying the cage didn't need to be cleaned. "Its not that dirty mom." He kept being contrary, trying to get me to come and look at the cage but I wasn't picking up on it. Finally he said "Mom, look!"
We had 3 baby chinchillas! Taylor had already cleaned out the cage and even had to through away the afterbirth. What a good chinchilla owner.
They've been having fun pulling the little guys out.

Enough for each one to hold one at the same time :)

Once school was out it has been nice to sleep in. The first day I couldn't sleep in long because Taylor wanted to bring Kelzey rock climbing. I was the chaperone/belayer to help them. They had fun but I had to cut it a little short to be back in time for Jared and Vanessa's wedding.
(that will be on the next post)

Monday was wash and errands. Boring...I thought we need to do something summery.
So Tuesday I took the kids to the beach. Nobody else could go but that was just fine.
I grabbed my two nieces and Ashley had her friend Jenna and it was a party. They were out in the water a lot of the time and the weather was great.

I think I love the first beach day of the year the best. Everyone is happy to be back. Its like the change of the seasons. After a couple of weeks of busyness it was nice to have a few hours of doing nothing on the beach. Ahhhh.


The only downside was the first beach trip always ends up with some sort of sunburn. Taylor and Jacob were no exception. Taylor has now learned the hard way that he is not capable of applying sunblock on his back by himself.

Jenna and Ashley had fun together and I loved having Jenae and Jolene with us as wll. As soon as they got in the car they were the life of the party, singing to the radio and keeping us entertained.

The next day it was back to running errands and washing the cars. But it's still fun because it's not jammed in the middle of busy schedules. Next week we are looking forward to family coming in town and then going out of town to see more family. So there will be more busyness but for now we will enjoy calm.  


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Memorial Day

 The measure of how long it takes between post is the measure of how busy I am. I just got through a week that basically I took hour by hour...and I'm heading into another so I found a little bit of time on a Saturday where most everyone is still asleep so I can update this blog. (These pictures have been sitting here ready to go for over a week and 1/2)
So to celebrate Daren Gunnel making council this year (and last year) we took them to a nice dinner. Jeff works with Daren and brought him into the business. He is doing a great job!
We went to Ruth Chris, the best steak house! The food was excellent as always.
We were still in our anniversary month so Jeff decided to work it again ;)
He wanted to go here on our anniversary anyway and we picked somewhere else and his steak was a little disappointing so this time he got a good one.

Afterward we drove down to Newport and took a walk on the pier.

It was a nice night and a perfect day for a walk on the pier.

Memorial day and the kids are off of school and we have no plans. It seems like those school holidays seem to creep up on us and then we are scrambling to find something fun to do. We were going to just take the kids to Sky Zone trampoline park that day and maybe hit a movie or something when Steve and the kids called and wanted to go to Manhattan beach so we plotted a plan to do both.
Kelzey happened to be available that day so happily Taylor was able to invite her on our day long family outing.
The cousins at Sky Zone.
This place is wall to wall trampolines!
The foam pit is always a favorite
Jenae inverted

Jacob has a love/hate relationship with the foam pit since it's so stinkin hard for him to climb back out. He learned not to jump too far out into the foam.


Jolene doing a high jump shot at the trampoline basketball court.

Jacob skying...

One of the other favorites is called 3D dodgeball where you play dodgeball on the trampolines.


Afterwards we hit a Wendy's for lunch. It seems like all my kids are set on showing us what they are eating for lunch.

The next stop was Manhattan Beach. It was quite a drive with traffic. At least the traffic didn't get too bad until we got close to the beach, once we did though it was horrendous. It seem like a lot of people wanted to be at the beach that day.
It was a nice day for it and the weather was great.
We weren't really planning to hang out in the water, good thing because the sand was packed. But we brought skate to use....after getting there and seeing the crowds we decided to save that for another day too.
We walked on the pier and checked out the street performers and let the kids go on one of the rollercoasters.
They went on this yellow one. One was enough because the lines were pretty long. Us adults were hanging out in the shade waiting for them. Since Ashley couldn't go we got her a funnel cake all to herself (until they came back of course)

Since there were so many people there was a lot going on. I thought this was a nice tribute for memorial day. Kind of it was a protest and a demonstration of the American military members that are still being killed oversees. At least it was silent and a reminder of the holiday. It was much better than...
This guy in the orange prison jumpsuit carting a seven foot bible with Jesus Saves on his back.
The problem was as soon as you got anywhere near him and his posse it felt more like Jesus condemns, hates and will thrust you all in hell. This "ministry" was accompanied by a very loud bullhorn yelling a list of sins and people who are on the list to go to hell. One guy was standing behind a booth with the list in plain site, of course being Mormon we were on the list, nice to see the Methodists were going to be right there with us. "Drinkers, fornicators you are all going to hell!!!" Over and over. It was pretty bad. I think people like this give religion a bad name and it pushes people away. Christ was loving, kind and invites people to be better. What they were doing seemed to be the opposite.
As we were leaving the beach to go check out the outdoor mall these guys were moving their spectacle right along with us. As we were walking we had bullhorn guy in our ear yelling about the kinds of actions people shouldn't be doing until they are married. Very uncomfortable...


So we sat down and waited until they passed us by.


At the outdoor mall we saw more street performers of the much more uplifting kind.
Giant transformer guy and some pretty talented singers were fun to watch.
The area was pretty too. Here is a dinosaur fountain. There were lots of dogs, people and a festive spirit.
After walking around for a little while we were ready to head back home. We hit some dinner on the way back and then got home about 8:30 or so.

One more piece of good news. Ashley got the principals award this last week for improvement this year. Way to go Ashley.