The Jason Conjecture

Hope you enjoyed your Halloween festivities! Our house goes all out for Halloween because

1. I’m an October baby and why yes, I am 257 years old this year.

2. I have a knack for after-holiday sales. I love cutesy decor and coffee mugs but I don’t like paying full price. 

   
 
I dressed up for passing out candy because I don’t want to be recognized! I’m in the business of educating children, not being liked. That said, I’m pretty sure there are kids and teens out there who would love the chance to take out their frustration in the form of toilet papering my house.

  
Most of the time though I had to take of my mask because I was groaning and hissing– too scary for tiny toddlers trick or treating for the first time this year. Still, I was recognized halfway through the evening: “Aren’t you a teacher at…?” Gah! Busted!

Trick or treating was dead on our street (no pun intended). Most of the neighborhood kids are now in high school and our cul de sac backs up to a busy major street. Halloween was on a Saturday this year so most families probably went to parties in other neighborhoods or towns. 

I spent the evening watching Doctor Who

  
and Pitch Perfect 2.

  
That’s not beer! That’s a Coke Zero!

I told my family that I was going to meet them at church this morning but time got the best of me. I thought I was going to be in and out of our neighborhood Target in no time flat but dammit if there weren’t already stay-at-home moms in line at the doors before they even opened! Damn you, SAHMS!

[NOTE: I love stay-at-home moms. I was one for many years and have proven that I can’t hang with you lot time and time again. The use of the term SAHM is not intended to offend but rather for humor only. No one messes with the SAHMs in my neighborhood!] 

Rather than rush in and interrupt mass, I will sit this one out and stay in the moment. 

  

The Long Term Triangulation

I have been a long term substitute teacher in a fifth grade class for over a month now and I can see how truly busy I’ve become. I have not even posted since my half marathon!

I am exhausted from teaching, planning, and correcting papers all day… then I come home to be a wife and mother. If I don’t have a staff meeting, then my son needs to go to karate, my daughters need to go to gymnastics, or I have to teach sixth graders at the church.

Even simple conversations with my husband R are far and few between. Gone are the days when the last thing we’d do at night was… well, you know. Instead we savor the quietness of the house and talk about how tired how we are.

We are okay with that.

I assigned a Saint project to my sixth grade CFF class and the students did everything on their own. Their projects were awesome! I was so proud of them when they got to display their posters in church with all of the other CFF classes, 1st-6th grade.

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The kids dressed up as Saint Anne, Saint Agnes, and Saint George. A dressed up as Saint Agnes because her story really spoke to her: Agnes was very beautiful and rich and all of the boys wanted to marry her; she, however, did not want to get married.

A has declared that she NEVER wants to get married.

I am okay with that.

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It’s a busy, exhausting life but I love it.

The teacher I’m subbing for has extended her maternity leave so I will be in the classroom until Thanksgiving week. Being a long term sub has its pros and cons.

CONS:
I have to be the TEACHER who plans and corrects papers at about a third of the pay per day.
I can’t just call in sick when I’m tired of the class or working for that matter. This was the first year I couldn’t hit the after-Halloween clearance sales. I don’t go too nuts, just buying a couple of things here and there and then putting them into storage for the following year.
I missed two field trips that I wanted to chaperone for my two daughters 😦

PROS:
I get to teach!
I get to decorate!
I get to go to school functions as the teacher!

Speaking of school functions, I was able to attend our school’s Harvest Festival, a major fundraiser for the school. I bought wristbands for my two daughters and they played games and ate candy to their heart’s content. I bought five raffle tickets for five dollars… and WON THE MOVIE NIGHT RAFFLE BASKET! The basket contained eight bags of uncooked popcorn, boxes and boxes of candy, and a gift card for the movie theater.

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Halloween came quickly. We even FORGOT TO GO TO THE PUMPKIN PATCH THIS YEAR. WE DID NOT EVEN CARVE PUMPKINS!

We did not forget to go trick or treating. I dressed as a zombie from The Walking Dead but I’m not going to spoil it for you in case you haven’t seen the latest episodes. I am not one for gore but man, oh man, I love that show!

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The Ghoulish Turbulance

If you scroll down and see two Scream characters, do not adjust your screen. We seem to pick up extra kids all the time. My husband R is the creepy dude without eyeballs. My brother, a former Marine and current dork, is Finn from Adventure Time! Hope you had a great Halloween!

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The Cumpleanos Constant

For the fourth time in my marriage, my husband was home to celebrate my birthday. Turning 38 last Monday was by no means sad or depressing for me. It felt rather triumphant, to be alive for this long, to be happy and content with everyone in my life and content with everything I have.

After R got the kids ready and dropped them off at school, we went out to breakfast at a little European restaurant in Sacramento. The last time I went my friends and I were doing research for Oktoberfest and sampled different German pastries. R and I had omlettes and indulged in croissants and macarons from the bakery. It felt indulgent to not only eat them but a bit evil since we ate them without the kids.

We went to Barnes & Noble where I chose my presents, the book The Twelve by Justin Cronin (awesome sequel to an equally awesome book, The Passage)

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and this little guy

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who says “EXTERMINATE EXTERMINATE!” and “YOU WOULD MAKE A GOOD DALEK!

On Saturday we had family come over to celebrate the October birthdays of myself, my brother, and my uncle.

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There were many who were unable to attend but we still had a great time.

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My daughter A felt the absence of her cousins but noticed that her other grandparents (R’s parents) were not there. It’s only temporary though, we tell her, because soon when Daddy’s retired we’ll be able to drive out east to see the other half of our family at least once a year.

Speaking of R’s family, we got a scrumptious care package from his parents…

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Clearly, there were more treats in the box when we opened them but somehow the treats keep disappearing…

I’ll have more photos soon. Have a wonderful and safe Halloween!

The Sugarhill Gang Isotope

With this

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a friend and I were able to get to the front of the stage. We shook hands with these guys

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last Friday.

I got this

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And we landed on this page

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My friends and I occasionally go out dancing. To avoid being “the old ladies at the club”, we look for places that play older music. After this concert, my friend C and I have decided to attend more of these old school concerts. We had such a great time because everyone was there for the same reasons: enjoy the music, dance with our friends, and have a drink or two (with a designated driver).

Remember this?

What about this?

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The Pumpkin Patch Postulate

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I took a day off to go to the pumpkin patch with L’s kindergarten class. It was bittersweet as the first time I went to this pumpkin patch was with A two years ago and today will be the last with one of the kid’s classes. (M did attended kindergarten in Virginia.)

The weather was still warm but thankfully not in triple digits like the week before.

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I did not know that pupils of the eyes occured in shapes other than a circle. The pupils of a sheep are rectangles.

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This huge St. Bernard was friendly. He leaned his huge body on mine after knowing me for about five seconds. He was like a bear, seriously. Look at those paws.

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L and a friend helped make mini hay bales.

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We saw bees. I shuddered the entire time.

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L got to pet goats and lambs.

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The highlight of her day was telling her brother and sister how much goats poop. Nice.

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The Drosophila Melanogaster Ponderance

“What are you doing?” I asked L, as we looked for hay bales in the Halloween aisle. We were at a craft store and the pair of scarecrows inhabiting our garage had no home.

“This is my scary face.” Then she posed like a Weeping Angel from Doctor Who.

“Whoa,” I said. “Really scary, dude. You should do it while we’re walking around.”

“I can’t.”

“Why not?”

“What if flies fly into my mouth?”

“Well,” I said. “If you hear them, then close your mouth.”

“But what if there are little kids here and I scare them? They will be so scared!”

“You’re right,” I said. “Please don’t scare the little kids. You might give them nightmares.”

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The Autumn Autonomy

Even though the weather is still in triple digits, I am counting down to days to fall. All of our fall and Halloween stuff is out of the garage and waiting patiently in our living room.

Don’t get me wrong. I missed these days

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but I do not like it when my t-shirt sticks to my back, always feeling like I am the only one sweating in the entire room, and not being able to run as long as I have in cooler weather.

Plants begin to wither, trees start to lose their leaves but fall represents more than the change in weather. When I taught, the season brought a new classroom of students and their families to get to know, starting fresh with rested minds. It means getting back to work after a few weeks of a restless summer. Fall brings a string of holidays that have been commercialized to no end but each year brings hope that more and more people are rejecting the material side of holidays.

Each year, I get excited about hitting the Christmas sales. As I get older I know it is not about spending money, not about trampling others for good deals on electronics we don’t need, and certainly not about who is going to get me what (though I would really like a new coffee mug as they tend to break over time; must be overuse from coffee and/or ice cream).

I realized years ago that if for any reason I cannot walk away from my shopping cart, then I am taking this way too seriously. And so has shaped my excursions. I enjoy people watching with friends willing to brave the crowd and talking to others in line. Oh, I’ve run into my share of rude people and ignore them as I don’t want to waste a moment of my life on people giving off such negative energy. Many are there with families and have plenty of stories to tell of past shopping trips and Thanksgiving dinners.

In many conversations with friends and family, I bring up the possibility of NOT exchanging gifts, of throwing a slumber party full of pizza and sugar that kids should enjoy once in a while. I think this idea would work with our friends and some family members. In fact, I am planning two cookie decorating and craft nights for our friends and ending each evening with bringing the fruits of our labor and the gift of song to a nearby convalescent home. I can think of no better way to celebrate the season than by sharing cookies and cards with others.

Because of the lingering summer, our welcome to fall will be delayed by a few weeks. This will give us time to remember what our traditions are and ponder what new ones we can begin. I look forward to sharing these with you and reading about yours as well.

Craft Vomit: Goofy pinecone animals for Halloween

I made several dozen of these guys for our school Fall Festival last year. They were such a hit that they were ALL GONE even before the event ended. No biggie because they were easy to make.

Pinecones, rocks, and acorns courtesy of the trees just outside our neighborhood Starbucks.

Tissue, glue gun, construction paper, scissors, googly eyes. Easy peasy.

The Day After

I woke up feeling a little dreadful of our morning routine. Exhausted but for good reason. I had too much sugar last night. Went to bed a little later than usual. If I felt a bit cranky, I did not want to see what kind of mood the kids would be in.

Ew! Pumpkin brains!

“Mommy! My eyes hurt!” Yes, your eyes hurt because we went to very late last night. Anything after 7 pm is late for the littlest ones.

“I don’t want to wear purple pants!” Okay, why don’t we choose another pair then and I’m sorry I haven’t had a chance to fold your collection of stretchy comfy pants from Target.

“You forgot to correct my math homework!” Ouch. That one hurt. Fourth grade math is no longer mommy mental math. At least, not without coffee.

I had an A-HA moment in between the youngest complaining about her vision and the middle just being cranky, amplified.

Why shouldn’t I set up my kids for a successful, positive day?

True, we could go about our routine, business as usual, because as any of my cousins would tell you, I do not spoil my children (much). I don’t follow my kids around the house with food trying to feed them. I make them eat at the table at mealtime. They clean up after themselves and ask if they can be excused from the table in public. I don’t freak out when they’re running too fast or climbing too high though I do internally freak out if they get hurt. Their public behavior is exemplary and puts their home behavior to shame. Can’t complain though. I’d rather have that than the other way around.

To the middle child, who is my sassy one and the one who was born with the word DIVA embedded in her mind, I did not say the usual, “Alright, let’s get dressed. I’m coming back in five minutes to check up on you.”

Instead I said, “Do you want me to stay with you until you’re ready?”

I had chocolate chip pancakes to make, lunches to pack, and a dishwasher than needed to be emptied. All that didn’t matter in the wake of getting A off on the right foot.

And I think she did. I did have to ask her to get her socks and shoes on twice. She was a bit contrary when I gave her two choices for breakfast and lunch in both cases she always chose option C. She didn’t even put her coat on when I asked her to for this chilly morning. She decided on her striped jacket even though it was the same jacket for which she expressed pure disdain yesterday.

I won’t be able to be this patient every morning but I should remember that I am the first person our children with whom our children will interact. If I can set the tone of their day, why not be mindful of it and quit thinking “I have to get them ready for school” and “I have to get their lunches ready” and “ME ME ME ME ME ME?” Why not think “WE” and “Let us get ready” and be on their team, their side?

I’ll let you know the score tomorrow morning.