Friday, May 10, 2013

PTA Convention

Hello all - it's me! Your super woman neighbor, friend, family member, volunteer, payroll inputer, garter making, company running blogger.

I have taken on too much - but I love it (mostly). 

Last weekend, I attended (kid free for 3 days, 2 nights) the Washington State PTA Convention. Yes, I am that nerdy volunteer. Why do I do it? For my kids. Not for the hours cutting out shapes or asking people to join PTA, but because I believe in our kids and our education system is broken. Without parents acting as a child's advocate, the legislature will continue to cut from education and put ridiculous measures in place to test a child and teacher.

I think I'll soapbox another time. I wanted to express my unbiased, unpaid opinion of the PTA Convention.

WONDERFUL! I can't wait for the survey's to come out. The 100th anniversary of Convention was held at the Hyatt Regency in Bellevue, WA. Beautiful hotel, amazing service, perfect location. Koral (the attached bar) has a great happy hour starting at 9 and wonderful staff. I was able to mingle with volunteers from every corner of the state, sit in on some great (and some boring) classes. I was in attendance when Gov Jay Inslee gave his speech about education funding.

Overall, a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

So over the politics

You may be aware that the US had a recent election. Crazy if you live here and didn't know that. The billions of dollars spent in ads to sway you with half-truths to vote. Sadly, many people voted based on these ads and not their own research about each politician or referendum. 

My daughter, Miss M, is taking Honors History this year. Her teacher is super excited that it is an election year. He had each student read about both main Presidential candidates and their stand on various topics. I told her she would be more educated going into this election than over half of the people voting.

I have been frustrated reading facebook posts from various people about their complaints over the elections. How stupid is our nation for choosing another 4 years. How it's the President's fault that our gas prices have gone up (by the way - they are incredibly low compared to the rest of the world), how it's his fault that their house is upside down (paid more than it's worth), and how it's his fault that the tax cuts extended to us over the past many years will now expire and we are all going to lose our jobs.

Get real. We are incredibly lucky. I can say this because I have a roof over my head, food on the table at any time, 2 cars to drive, my kids play sports, they attend a local school, I have shoes and a warm jacket. I know we are better off than many people. It may not be the fanciest house or biggest car, but I have the ability to stay warm, fed and get out to exotic locales (besides the local mall).

What's my point - just that I'm irritated by the complaining (though it is their right) and I would rather vent a little here then to start WWIII with my friends and family on facebook.

1. You owe $70k more than your house is worth because the housing market went insane and people fell into buying houses that cost more than you could afford? Boo Hoo. You should have thought about that one. Our Realtors constantly tried to up sell me into a more expensive home. Tried luring me with ARM's that would keep my payments super low for the first 5 years then I could refinance. No thank you. I will take a traditional 30 year loan within a budget I can afford with worrying that we need to have 2 jobs to make the payment.

2. My car is 7 years old and stinky. I have 4 kids ages 7-12. Of course it's going to be gross and stinky. What's the point of buying a new car that will get trashed again. My Honda is doing a wonderful job getting us from here to there and the maintenance has been super easy. Except needing another new set of tires, she has been a beast driving up and down the West Coast. I do have the benefit of a new 3rd car though. I work for my brother and asked him to buy me a new car instead of paying me for the work I do. I know, I'm a little shallow sometimes too.

3. The Presidents doesn't have any influence on the stock market or gas prices. That is at the whim of the oil companies and the investors. Do some research. (Please feel free to comment and correct me here if needed.)

4. Here's the big one - the one we will all worry about and that will affect millions of lives. The FISCAL CLIFF. Trillions of dollars worth of tax cuts are due to expire. The government is considering letting them. So do it. I understand my tax return will be much smaller this next year. I understand that more taxes will be taken out my paychecks. But we voted for those taxes years ago. We've been living large on borrowed money. If you are going to complain about the huge deficit in our country, here is a way to correct it. I'm not saying it's going to be easy. It's going to suck like hell for many people. You might have to have another family of 4 move into your home to help pay for the heat, the food, the mortgage. But you will be saving money and saving another family from having no home, no heat, no food. The affects of the tax hikes are yet to be seen or felt, but I'm glad that we are righting this course. We need to get back to the biggest surplus in history, not the largest deficit in history. It will not only help us, it will help the world. 

OK - I think I have it out of my system. My only political comments from the entire year besides what I have discussed with Marc. Back to the regular scheduled program of thinking of fantastic blog stories to share with you and then storing them away in my head. Sorry about that.

Friday, May 18, 2012

May 14 - Grass

Grass? Why grass? And no, I didn't photograph "that" kind of grass for my daily challenge. I did go off the normal path though.

 This is the only kind of grass I want in my yard. Decorative and colorful. My Dad and I just re-landscaped my front yard. We tore out what little grass was left and planted ground covers and decorative plants (grass). I love the way it blows in the wind and that I don't have to mow it. Ever.. Or worry about all the water it takes to keep it green. Or that I can die from my allergies to it. OK, maybe not "die", but I am very miserable. I don't sit in the grass or roll around it (which does not make my husband happy). Even the smell of cut grass makes my lungs shudder.

I will take my easy to maintain landscape over a field of grass any day.

May 13 - mum

a letter for my Mom
My Mom has been gone 8 years
How is that possible?
It feels like a lifetime ago
and like it was yesterday
Talking about her still brings tears to my eyes
And a smile to my heart
My kids will know her love
as they know mine

A wonderful Mother's Day
My kids served my breakfast in bed
Took me for a long walk to go for lunch
Then agreed to eat Indian for dinner
It was a lovely day (thanks for letting me nap)

Being a Mom
means your heart
walks around
outside your body

I LOVE my family!!

May 12 - something that makes you happy

Watching my children play sports makes me happy. They are all enthusiastic players and try their hardest. We have become a soccer family (for 8 years now), but they are trying to branch out to new sports.

Miss M has tried outdoor soccer, indoor soccer, basketball and swimming. She loves outdoor soccer the most. Next fall she will be adding Cross Country to her resume of sports.

Mr C has tried outdoor soccer, basketball, swimming and baseball. He's my all around sports guy. He leans towards basketball and now baseball. We will try outdoor soccer again in the fall with his favorite coach and make a final decision on whether or not to continue pursuing a soccer path.

Miss R is my finicky sports player. She is all about trying different things. Where Miss M is happy to play soccer year round, Miss R says "I already played soccer, what's next". So, we have done a few seasons of spring soccer and then she's ready to go back to swimming.

Mr N is getting his feet wet and learning to focus. He's played spring soccer several times and this year we have another natural goalie. I'm bragging here - but all my kids have been fantastic defenders and goalies. It surprises me on how different and how the same they each are.

As long as sports are making them happy, I'm happy (and will continue to coach them as it's needed).

Saturday, May 12, 2012

May 11 - kitchen

I took several photos around my kitchen. 

1. The whole kitchen (in it's glorious messy daily splendor) and then I was going to post a second photo of the clean kitchen that I prefer. 

2. I took a photo of my coffee maker. It's my second lover. I'm not sure I'm saving money by making my own coffee. I use 2 pods to make my espresso and drink 3 cups a day. Plus I find myself stopping at Starbucks for my daily mocha still.

3. I took a photo of my microwave. It's been broken for 3 years. And I don't miss it at all. Strange, right? We rarely eat leftovers and what I have can easily be heated on the stove.

4. Finally, I decided on a photo I took of dinner. With our hectic schedule sometimes I have to lay dinner out for my husband to make for 3 kids while I take the 4th kid to baseball. This particular night, the kids get off the bus at 3:30 and Mister C needed to be at baseball at 4pm followed by Miss M being at soccer at 7pm. I was able to have Marc make dinner for the 3 and then take Miss M to soccer and then Mister C and I ate when we got home at 7:30pm.

It was delicious. Beef stir fly with Black Bean Paste, baby corn, water chestnuts all over rice. The corn was put away for another night. I'm so happy that we have worked out a system to keep everyone eating at home despite the crazy sports and homework nights.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

May 10 - a favourite word


Oh Mister Sun, Sun,
Mister Golden Sun,
Please shine down on me

Oh Mister Sun, Sun,
Mister Golden Sun,
Hiding behind a tree...

These little children
Are asking you
To please come out
So we can play with you

Oh Mister Sun, Sun,
Mister Golden Sun,
Please shine down on...
Please shine down on...
Please shine down on me!

This is a popular song in my house. I have never been so obsessed with weather and the sun. I think it's because it's become a rarity since moving to Washington. I didn't realize how much I love it until we came here. Don't get me wrong, I love getting a little snow every winter. I love that it's rarely "Hot", but I can do without the constant overcast. It's not the rain, we don't get as much as people think we do. It's just a constant cloud cover. Gray. Yuck.