The Giants Excitation

Thanks to Operation Care and Comfort we were able to watch our third San Francisco Giants game for free.

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R was unable to attend the game so he rested… at my niece’s apartment while she took his place! The last game he came to was really difficult for him, especially with his PTSD and anxiety issues, but he really wanted to try just for us. I’m really proud of how far he has come but part of all of this is knowing his limits. Maybe a smaller venue for him next time. I have faith that he will keep trying.

The kids and I were ready with our fan gear… only to find that they had a huge sale going on outside of the stadium! The kid got this beanie for only $3! It was a hit!

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Also we stood in line to win more free Giants gear. I think I may be raising some Giants fans…

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The Aquarium of the Bay Reaction

Like most families, we try to stick to a budget. We will go out to eat once or twice a week but that’s our cheap fast food indulgence. Once in a while, we will splurge on a great sushi place or a nice sit-down at our favorite Mexican restaurant.

Last week I got free tickets to a San Francisco Giants game from this wonderful organization. Since we were at Disneyland only a couple of weeks ago, we decided that we would go sight-seeing at Fisherman’s Wharf but forego a visit to Aquarium of the Bay.

And then this happened.

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{In case you’re wondering, my husband’s contact name says “The Luckiest Man in the World” and also he does not have a smart phone. I do an impression of him texting and it goes like this: BOOP BOOP BOOP BOOP BOOP BOOP BOOP…}

We saved about thirty bucks by buying our tickets from MWR. Also, we packed a ton of fruit, chips, juice boxes, and water. We ate at Burger King for lunch. The boy and I picked up sushi from the comissary; vegetarian rolls for me and the boy still ate more at BK!

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Yes, I caved. The girls go back to school in less than two weeks which makes for a very short summer break. I think I made the right call.

And also, we aren’t going out to eat for a while.

The Sixth Grade Dissolution

When R and I decided to tie the knot fourteen years ago, I knew that everything was going to change for me. I would no longer be living in the state where I was born and raised and where the majority of my family resided. I would have to live in the south which may as well have been an entirely new country. I would no longer be teaching.

Not only that but my new husband would be deploying within a month of my move to Augusta, Georgia.

I would be alone in a new place for four months.

Back then we didn’t have smart phones and our internet connection made a screechy sound. Any contact I had with R was sporadic and emotional. True, we did not have to wait months for snail mail like previous generations but watching any news about the Middle East was nerve-wracking especially since I had no idea where he would be.

So it was no surprise that as soon as he came home, we were expecting a baby! An actual baby! We were excited because this child was a first for both of us but terrified because we were nowhere near our families. Though the ultrasound was inconclusive as to the gender, I knew I was having a boy. After a couple of months of morning sickness, I craved steak and eggs. Hot dogs and rice. Chick-Fil-A several times a week. Yes, I gained forty pounds! (Compared to the girls’ pregnancies where I gained 25 pounds each pregnancy.)

I remember I was hot all the time. I insisted on opening the sliding door at night while R bundled up next to me in a thick cotton comforter like a caterpillar in a cocoon. One of those evenings we started doing the math of when R retired. How old would this unborn baby be when R finally retired? Where would we be living? Would this baby remember all of the times R was gone?

Sixth grade, we determined. The baby would be in sixth grade.

Fast forward to a week ago when this Georgia-born baby promoted. My, how time flies.

Congratulations, kid. We are so proud of you!

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The Open Bar Effect

The wedding was amazing and beautiful.

The reception was a blast. There was a photo booth,

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An homemade ice cream vendor,

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Me: [wandering outside to get fresh air after dancing, notices daughters and a couple of other nieces all under the age of ten] Hi girls! Having fun?
Middle daughter A: Yes! This is our fourth time getting ice cream!
Me: What? Where are your parents? They should be keeping a better eye on you!

And open bar.

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Our family is loud, hilarious, but not without it’s problems. However any hard feelings were put aside for this wonderful occasion and we partied.

We partied hard.

My cousins from Hawaii said they love visiting to the mainland because no one parties at weddings. According to them, the only people who dance at weddings are those who have serious ballroom dancing skills to show off.

Us? The wooden floor in the pictures was not enough room for all of us so we danced all around the carpeted perimeter.

Everyone was on the dance floor, from my aunts and uncles in their seventies to all of the kids. At one point, my middle daughter A started a conga line.

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The open bar? Well, that was fun too.

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The Lasso Annihilation

When I was in third grade, I remember that I had a couple of cousins in my class.

Only they weren’t related.

And so explains most Filipino families. The sense of community in rural Salinas back in the 70s and 80s was very strong to the point where my family knew every Filipino in town. There was such a sense of pride in knowing someone from the same town or province that as a child, I was taught to call my parents’ friends Auntie and Uncle, and their children my cousins.

I didn’t question it. These kids were calling my parents Auntie and Uncle. I was always greeted like I was family, like I belonged in their homes. In fact, it was so ingrained in me that I didn’t realize I wasn’t actually related to all of these Filipinos until much later.

It gets slightly more complicated when it comes to ACTUAL family.

Both my parents come from large families. End result? I have dozens of cousins and second cousins. In the past few years, now third cousins.

My brother and I are the youngest of our generation (we are 36 and 39, respectively) on my father’s side with my oldest cousins having children slightly younger than us. Because of the generation distinction, these second cousins have become my nieces and nephews and they’ve been told to call me Auntie from a young age. By that I mean, I’ve been Auntie Alma for as long as I can remember. In a twisted turn of events, a few of these nieces have children of their own and are trying to get their kids to call me Nana!

That makes me giggle. Mostly.

Last week, I had the honor of being a part of my niece’s wedding as one of her sponsors. My husband R and I were supposed to wrap the symbolic cord around the couple during the ceremony. {R couldn’t come because he needed rest before his surgery and it is a seven hour drive to Los Angeles.}

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I teased my niece C about my duties relentlessly. Do you want me to make one? I’m sure I can find something on Pinterest. Do I need to take lasso lessons?

When the wedding rehearsal finally rolled around, traffic delayed our arrival by two hours and I rushed into the church as the wedding planner lined up the procession. I blurted out, “Where do the lasso people stand?”

She showed me where to stand… And began to call the cord a LASSO.

I laughed but suddenly I noticed other people were saying lasso as well. The deacon (kind of the assistant priest but not really a priest). THE ACTUAL PRIEST.

Oops.

Speaking of oops, my family of nurses made me realize that despite a round of antibiotics, my ear infection did not go away. I still had ear pain. I still couldn’t hear out of my right ear. I grudgingly agreed to go to an urgent care clinic the following morning. I had time. I wasn’t due at the church until 1 in the afternoon. I did not want to spend any morning, let alone the wedding morning, at a hospital.

But first, we had to party.

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P.S. Yikes! Sorry the images are humongous. I will figure out how to fix it. Eventually.

The Stroop Wafle Effect

When I first started NWC, I had no idea what I was doing. All I knew was that I needed a way to get everything that was building up in my head out and across the keys of my laptop. I soon found a community of bloggers who felt the same. We offered support, advice, and followed each other’s blogs.

Recently I won a contest run by Kiwidutch. {Please check out her wonderful blog here. Her photos are amazing!}

A huge THANK YOU is long overdue!

P.S. I would share these goodies with you but they are long gone :)

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The Second Grade Acquisition

It’s not official and a tiny part of me feels like I am jinxing it but…

I am going to be teaching second grade next year! And in teacher-speak, that means this fall.

In our year-round district, that means in the middle of July!

I haven’t signed a contract yet though the principal has already told me to plan on being at her site this fall aka July 2014. I am very excited!

I will be co-teaching with another teacher who needed to reduce her full-time contract to take care of her elderly mother. We will teach in blocks so one week I will teach Thursday & Friday and the second week I will teach the following Monday & Tuesday. Then the cycle starts again.

What does this mean for our family?

My husband R could not be more supportive. He knows that I am used to keeping myself busy on purpose. {Likewise he knows that I know how to nap like a pro to avoid stress.} He has felt guilty that I’ve haven’t been able to work as much as I would have liked but in retrospect, I think everything has worked out in the end. I’ve observed countless teachers in action, wonderful teaching in three different states {more on that later}, and made awesome and fabulous friends!

My girls, who are in first grade and third grade, are harboring ill will toward this new position. R and I think it’s because it’s been me before school and after school for all of their lives that any other routine is unsettling.

The other day L {the first grader} scraped her elbow at the playground afterschool with Daddy and even though Daddy put a band-aid over it, she still needed a hug from Mommy. She said, “Mommy, I don’t want you to be a REAL TEACHER.”

“Why?” I asked. “Do you want me to just stay at home while you’re in school and wait for you?”

“Yes.”

Of course she does. I forget that they’re at the age where they still believe {and rightfully so} that they are at the center of my world.

And they are.

But life still must go on. Mommy must, like her children, do what makes them happy.

What does this mean for me?

I’m going to be in a classroom again! For me, this arrangement is the best of both worlds. My co-teacher and I have similar personalities. As a substitute teacher I’m pretty laid-back and flexible. You have to be or you will drive yourself crazy.

I miss all of the teachers I’ve worked with over the years and look forward to picking their brain about best practices. I also look forward to getting to know the staff at my school.

The most successful teaching strategies I have used come from other teachers. How many times have I been in awe of student behavior when their teacher is absent? These kids understand rules and procedures and know they still exist even if their teacher is not there.

Likewise I’ve had pretty terrible classes though I don’t blame the teacher. I do not mesh well with some age groups, if cranky freshmen is an age group.

Is hormonal junior high an age group?

As you can see by my blog, I take pictures of successful teacher classrooms because I think what the teachers and students are doing is pretty amazing and I want to steal their ideas!

In fact, I’m thinking about writing a separate blog for my journey though I don’t think I would be able to keep up the ruse for very long.

Don’t get me wrong. Teacher blogs are so adorable and helpful. Teachers from all over the country have started blogging about what their classroom looks like, what they’re teaching, and how they are teaching.

Yeah, I don’t think I could maintain that.

I am sarcastic. I bitch. I whine. {Um, hello? Have you been reading this?} I swear a lot, even in real life but in the comfort of my own home.

Totally NOT appropriate for a teacher blog. I will happily write NWC instead.