Tuesday, 17 April 2018

A Week in Review (April 8-14)

A Week in Review (April 8-14)

Watched: Jack as QB during his team's first game.  He and another boy got to each play a half.  I tried to snap a photo of his first snap as QB.  It's from my phone so it isn't great.  I am getting some from my friend who took all the great photos for me last year.  I think instead of putting them on my weekly blogs, I might do one special one that just highlights his season.  They had some timing issues and they were frozen since it was in the low 30s and windy.  He definitely isn't perfect, but he's really enjoying it.  He missed a couple of tackles and one of them resulted in a touchdown, which bummed him out, but I think the team will have a good time together.  They did end up with a win 8-6.

Read:  I was able to finish up The Alice Network.  I really enjoyed this historical fiction that spanned both World Wars. The characters draw you in quickly and the writing leaves you wanting to know more. A great read for any historical fiction fan.  I have suggested it to a couple of people already and will be eager to know what they think of it.  I was reading it with my girlfriend and she really loved it too.  Since book club is meeting on Sunday, I had to quickly read Before I Go To Sleep.  This an good thriller with a great unreliable narrator. I was pretty close on the “what’s the big twist” concept but I still liked reading through to make sure I was right. I think it will make for excellent discussion in my book club.  I am going to try to finish up Hunted next week.

Listened: Hard sales pitch for a new car.  As you know, my car left me stranded a couple of weeks ago and I just haven't been able to find another car I liked.  On Friday, Nick spotted a Kia Optima that we both liked the looks of.  It has good reviews everywhere and so we thought we should do a butts in the seat test.  I have definitely found the next car that I will buy.  It will just be a matter of when I can get the best price.  Right now, I want more car than I want to afford.  Maybe at around Christmas or when the 2019 models come out, I will be able to find a better deal.  If my car doesn't make it before then I at least won't feel rushed into having to buy something that I don't really want.  The sales guys weren't happy to see us walk away, but it what is is.

Made: A purchase for myself for my birthday.  A fellow wrestling mom and Facebook friend posted a picture of a couple of cow paintings that she had done.  They both reminded me so much of Laurie and I just felt happy (and a little sad and nostalgic) when see them that I wanted to have them. She ended up breaking up the set for me because I didn't want both of them.  I treated myself to it and am happy each time I see it sitting in my office.

Felt: Good about the end-of-the-year wrestling party.  We had too many subs (and it was kind of comical seeing me put them all in my car along with everything else I was taking to the party), but no one went hungry.  A lot of awesome kids got a lot of awesome swag for their Champions of Character award and their hard work during the season.  This is the first season that Jack didn't end with an end-of-season award but he still did get the highest level of Champions of Character thanks to what his head coach saw in him.  I was also gifted an Amazon gift card for my work as team mom throughout the season.  It is an amazing bunch of people to work with.  We also went down to Dart Warz, which had some kinks if you were behind the scenes like I was, but was fun for all the kids, some of their siblings and parents too.

Planned: The layout of a few yearbook pages.  It is almost deadline time and its fun seeing all the pages come together.  We have a few pictures that will be coming in last minute, but the majority of should be done this week.  I had a hard time trying to get a schedule where I could equally get all the specials divided up with each classroom getting a picture taken of them.  I wasn't able to get two of them, but we will finish them up next Wednesday.  I wish I could share it with all of you, but you will just have to wait for the book to be published and see it in person if you are really curious.

Loved: My birthday celebration.  The day before my friend Mindy treated me to some Mexican at a new restaurant neither of us had tried.  It was fun just to chat with a friend.  Nick was not home on my actual birthday because I asked him to be home next week so we could enjoy the night of endless fondue that they are having at the Melting Pot.  However, he did have beautiful flowers delivered to the door.  I was shocked at how perfectly perfect they were.  Jack and I went to football practice and then out for BBQ on my actual birthday.  My friend Kelly stopped over to give me some chocolate cake and a card.  When they were here, they accidentally dropped my gift off the railing between the library and the kitchen.  He was very nervous it has broken and therefore made her nervous too.  I was sure it was fine.  Nick made it home on Thursday and we had round 2 of the celebration.  Jack gifted me a (thankfully, non-broken Alexa) and Nick gifted me a subscription to the Book of the Month club.  I went right out and picked my first book.  I am will be so excited when it comes in.  We also went out to eat again so I didn't have to cook or clean the kitchen again.  It was a pretty wonderful time.

Here are the pics for the week:

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

A Week in Review (April 1-7)

A Week in Review (April 1-7)

Watched:  A couple more Grace and Frankie shows. It came highly recommend when I requested TV shows to watch.  I don't love it, but it does pass the time when I am looking to just zone out for a little while. It's funny how I find myself such a mix between the two ladies.  I am probably more of Grace than a Frankie.  So often when I am watching the show, I think of the movie Big Business.  I'm quite certain that is my favorite Lily Tomlin movie.  I will keep watching the series, but won't be super sad when I am caught up.

Read: I kept on working on Hunted, but it was moving pretty slow.  I went ahead and left it paused while I started The Alice Network for a buddy read with my friend.  I hope to finish it up early next week since book club is the 15th and I haven't even started on that book yet!  Luckily my friend is a fast reader and she will push me to keep going so that I can discuss the book with her.

Listened: To Jack be so thrilled that the Easter Bunny bought him a Final Four edition basketball in his youth size.  I think he thinks they actually used it during the Final Four and who I am to tell him that they didn't.  I have no idea what tricks that Easter Bunny has up his sleeve.  He hid our eggs extra hard this year.  (Thanks to our good friends for taking time out of the Spring Break so that we could come back to a fun egg hunt.  It really surprised Jack!)

Made: Myself get back into cooking.  It is really hard to get back into the swing of things after having people take care of everything for you on the cruise.  It's easy to forget how much work goes into the everyday.  I let things slide for most of the week, but by Thursday, we had started to develop our groove again.  I even had to write my lesson plans for April because I hadn't done that before I left.  At least I got them in before I had to teach them.

Felt: Really cold after Jack's Friday practice.  Monday's practice was practically perfect and Wednesday's practice was pretty close but the breeze got a bit chilly.  Friday was bone-chilling cold though.  It had a gross drizzle that came down and the temperatures were below freezing.  I took a picture for Nick at a stop light half way home from practice to show the ice on the windshield.  The kids didn't love, but it seemed necessary as Saturday was predicted to be just as cold.  Surprisingly, they called the game for icy conditions and let the chess tournament still go on.  This means that Jack didn't have to end up missing a game of football after all.  He cried happy tears when he found out that news.

Planned: The layout of several more yearbook pages.  Even though I was wanting to avoid the "real world", there is a deadline for the yearbook that can't be moved.  Things are going pretty well with it. I just have a couple of pages that I still need to get up to the school and take pictures for.  It's much easier working on it for the second year in a row and having the support of a staff member makes a big difference.

Loved: That Prairie Hills got second in the ASD20 Chess Tournament.  We were hoping to knock off the long standing winners, but they got us by six points.  Jack was disappointed with himself getting 8 out of 30th.  He knows that he let a kid get him off his game in the last match and I think that it had him more frustrated than anything else.  We had an awesome team full of lots of fun people out to support each other.  I really enjoyed helping with the chess tournament and hope to continue with it next year.

Here are the pics for the week:

Look at this action shot with his new ball!

What a farmer's tan!

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

A Week in Review (March 25-31)

A Week in Review (March 25-31)

Watched: The Greatest Showman during one of the dive-in movies on the cruise.  It is an mesmerizing film.  I am not sure how close to accurate it is, but it does tell a fun show.  It is amazing how one man's drive and love for the spotlight created such a world wide phenomena.  If you haven't watched it, I would definitely recommend it.  Everyone in our family enjoyed it, including Nick who isn't a huge fan of musicals.

Read:  I started on As Bright As Heaven.  It is by an author I have read a couple other times.  It covered a family from around late 1915 to 1930s.  It talked a lot about the Spanish Influenza that wiped out a large amount of the population.  Since I read it all while we were on the cruise, I wasn't able to google as much I could have to see how much of the story was based on fact.  I did enjoy the story although the coincidences that would have to happen to make it all work seemed pretty far fetched.  Next I started on Hunted.  It is a twist on Beauty and the Beast.  I would like to get finished this next week so that I can do a buddy read with my girlfriend.  I also have my bookclub book that I will need to get to.

Listened:  To some not-so-great singers on the cruise. We tried a couple different shows and didn't really enjoy either one of them.  Most of the time it just sounded like they were trying way too hard.  I do have to give them credit for being in phenomenal shape because they were able to sing and dance without running out of breath.





Here are the pics for the week:

Saturday, 24 March 2018

A Week in Review (March 18-24)

A Week in Review (March 18-24)

Watched: The Jumanji reload. It was pretty funny and enjoyed by both Jack and I. We each liked the characters and the story line. I wouldn’t call it a family friendly movie but it’s great to watch with kids who enjoy older themes. It earns it PG13 rating without pushing the R envelope.

Read:  I finished up One True Loves.  This was my least favorite novel that I have read by this author. It was still a sweet novel with fun characters that I was quickly drawn into. However, I didn’t find myself savoring every moment. I was happy for the ending and I like that I wasn’t left wondering about how anyone faired. If you want a quick and easy romance, this could be a good one for you.  Next I started The Woman in the Window.  Thanks to our flight, I was able to finish it. I had a pretty good idea of what was going on, but i still enjoyed the story.  If you like stories with unreliable narrators, then this is a must read for you.  Jack and I also finished up Bridge to Terabithia.  I hadn't intended to finish it up but it just kind of hit a point where you couldn't turn back.  It left a shockwave of emotions running through both Jack and I. He actually asked me if it was possible for your heart to break into two because he was sure his was going rip apart. I knew what was coming since that is it’s main reason for being on the Banned book list. Seeing my son bawl his eyes out for 45 minutes made me understand why someone might think it’s good to remove this pain from a child’s life. However, then they wouldn’t know how much literature can touch you so deeply.  We started on The People of Sparks as our next read-aloud.  It is the second book in the Book of Ember series.  With Spring Break and the cruise, I doubt we will get very much it done at all.

Listened: Jack lead his last fourth grade conference.  How is it possible that he will be almost be a fifth grader?  He was freshly showered, had combed his hair to the side, and then put on a polo. When you were looking at him. You could really see the teenager he was going to become.  He needs to continue to improve in his writing skills, but I think that will come with time. We’ve seen so much improvement over the last two years that if he keeps growing, I know he will totally get it.

Made: Plenty of team mom stuff this week.  We finally got the pricing for our decals and spirit wear in.  Of course, when it all needs collected, I will be out of town.  I made a nicely organized folder for Gretchen to be able to collect everything.  We also got our team schedule and found out that we are lucky enough to get six games instead of five!  I nicely highlighted the field and time for each kiddo.  I also placed our chess t-shirt order and am excited because so many students ordered there ended up being $80 extra dollars for the advisers to use on snacks and drinks for the club.  Can't wait to see how the look when I pick them in two weeks!

Felt: Proud of Jack. He was selected as the Star Student of the Month from his teacher for Perservence. I think that this is particularly true for him.  I am so glad that other people see this trait in him too.  I think that his coaches see it a lot, but I am glad to see that it shows at school too. Funnily enough, his TAG teacher was talking to me that morning about how she saw that in Jack too.

Planned: Most of my vacation wear in one day.  I know that might not sound like a lot, but at the beginning of our relationship, I would have my bag packs a week in advance.  Over time, it has shrunken down to packing the day we leave or the night before if we are leaving early.  I am taking the stuff for three people on a plane.  It ended up being a lot of work but at least nothing had to sit folded in the suitcase for too long.  It's amazing how your personality evolves over time.  I am now just hoping that I didn't forget anything I really wanted and more importantly anything that I can't easily buy if I need too!

Loved:  That I have a friends with a variety of skills that will support me. After Jack’s conference, I offered him lunch at Fazoli’s. Luckily, he didn’t take me up on it. Instead as we were heading home, he saw some kids shooting hoops at the park and stopped to play with them. As they were transitioning to another game, I decided I would head home and he could walk when he was done. However, when I went to start the car, I got no crank. Not even a little clicking. It didn’t appear to be the battery as all the lights and radio were coming on.  Called Nick and he said by describing the situation, it sounded like the starter or ignition switch. We knew having it towed to a shop was going to be ridiculous, but also that I can’t find a new car that I’m totally in love with.  Then I remembered that Luke’s dad is a mechanic and I called Gretchen (Luke’s mom) to see what he thought. He, too, came to the conclusion of starter or ignition switch.  He, awesomely, offered to take a look at it and help us out.  Thank goodness we pay for tow insurance so I was able to have it dropped off in the garage for him.  When we get in the process of towing, the gentleman asks to see what it is doing.  I show him, he tries to put on a battery starter, no luck.  He hooks it to the chain, goes to start it, and it starts!  I'm not kidding...it started!  I don't believe it will happen so we have it do it again and again.  It always starts.  I drive it home and am bewildered.  I try to call Nick and discuss it, but he's in a meeting.  I decide if it will start again that I will drive to the parts store and get all the possible parts it could be for Luke's dad to try and respect his time.  I decide to leave the car running and run it.  When I get home for picking up the items, I turn the car off.  I realize that I wanted to be further back in the garage to give him more room and when I go to start it, it won't start!  Good thing I didn't turn it off at the auto parts store.  When Luke's dad was able to make it over, he banged on the starter to see if it would crank and sure enough, it did.  I hypothesize that when the tow truck driver was putting the chain on, he knocked the starter with his chain causing the same reaction.  He was able to get it chained and stopped one of the reason for the oil leak as an added bonus.  I feel so lucky that he was able to take his time after a long day of work to help us out.  I know now that my car is getting up there in miles and that I need to make a serious plan about what to do for my next car.  I need to work on falling in love with something. 

Here are the pics for the week:

Sunday, 18 March 2018

A Week in Review (March 11-17)

A Week in Review (March 11-17)

Watched: A Wrinkle in Time.  It was bad.  Well deserving of it's 4.2 rating on IMDb.  They added in scenes that just weren't necessary or entertaining.  They created side stories that also just distracted from the original tale.  For example, Charles Wallace being adopted.  I would not recommend it for classroom viewing after booking reading, unless of course a teacher is trying to show how Hollywood rarely gets a book to movie adaptation right.

Read: I was able to finish up The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  This is a coming of age book reminiscent of The Catcher in the Rye. I read it as part of my Banned Books to challenge. I can imagine that some parents would be shocked to see their children reading the sexual discussions and drug usage contained in the book. However I think those are parents that have their head buried in the sand about what their children have already been exposed too. When I finished, I wished this book had been available to me in my late teens as I was dealing with some of the classic struggles that adolescence brings.  Next I started on One True Loves.  It is written by Taylor Jenkins Reid.  It have really enjoyed the other two books of hers that I have read.  I am enjoying this one too and have a feeling that I will make my way through her other of couple books sometime as well.  I should have it finished up early next week for review.  It's a good thing because I have several books coming off hold. 

Listened: To Jack’s coach be surprised on Friday that his finger is broken and he hadn't heard about it sooner.  By Friday, he wasn't using the tape 100% of the time and forgot to tape it before he headed to practice.  About halfway through practice it was throbbing pretty bad so he asked coach if he had any tape.  Coach was shocked when he showed him his finger and came over to tell me about it.  He was really shocked when he learned it had been much worse earlier in the week.  He has made pretty good progress this week.  Writing is still a bit painful but he gets there.  I am glad he only has three days of school next to not cause him such a pain.

Made: A corned beef brisket roast for St. Patrick's Day.  Jack liked the meat okay, but he didn't like any of the cooked vegetables.  He found cooked carrots to be the worse.  Nick enjoyed the cabbage and beef as carrots and potatoes aren't kept so he left those off.  My secret teacher from work also gave us some Irish Soda bread to have with it.  It was okay, but a little dry.  It is very hard to bake things here at elevation.

Felt: Bummed that I missed the first time in history knocking off a sixteen seed knocking off a one seed.  Our book club was on Friday night and we had a really good and really long (well at least for this book club) meeting.  I had left my phone in my purse so that I could make sure to focus on the people that I was with and not the games I knew were going on.  When I got my phone out of purse to text Nick that I was on my way home, I was surprised to see that it was being blown up with messages from both Jack and Nick to watch the game.  I ended up totally missing it.  Oh well, at least I was having good conversation with people I don't see very often.

Planned: Cruise packing with Nick.  I can't really believe it but next Saturday, Nick will be driving from KC to Houston and Jack and I will be flying out of Denver to meet him there.  Then we will set sail for Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel.  It's going to be amazing.  It might be a bit stressful getting packed, the house cleaned, Nora bathed, conferences done, book fair volunteered at, music teacher subbed for, school pictures organized all day on Tuesdaybasketball watched, and football practices attended but I am looking forward to the end result.

Loved: Having Nick home for the week.  Its so great to just have a partner to share all the little things with.  He is so much better at working on the sill drills that make Jack a better quarterback.  Speaking of Jack being a quarterback.  It looks like the has won the starting quarterback position for his team.  He also asked if coach if he missed the first game for the Chess tournament, would he be able to get his starting position back and Coach said that he most likely would.  I love how many things he is passionate about, but it can make him quite busy and sometimes conflicted.  He also decided this week that he will be participating in Landsharks, his school's running program, again this Spring.  Nick loves being home to see these things.  He hopes the project is getting close to a place where he can switch every other week rather than one week here to two weeks there.  It's a design build so I know better than to get my hopes up.

Here are the pics for the week:

Sausage finger

Crazy hair day

Jack really wanted a pizza on Saturday night and Nick dared him to go in and buy it on his own.  I was surprised at how intrepid he was about doing it.  We practiced the scenario a couple of times on the way over.  He managed to get it done and to make a "friend" while he was waiting for them to cook it.  Good thing the game was on the TV.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

A Week in Review (March 4-10)

A Week in Review (March 4-10)

Watched: The Emoji Movie with Jack. I didn’t find it all that funny and didn’t see a lot of laughing from Jack either. We tried Mrs. Doubtfire the next night and that didn’t hit his funny bone either. He said it was about as equally good as the Emoji movie. Obviously, I disagree, but at least he got to see a classic.

Read: I finished up Little Fires Everywhere.  I liked this book much better than the debut novel by Celeste Ng. I was quickly drawn in by the mystery surrounding each character. I also liked that it was set in 1997, the year I graduated high school. It was easy to place many of the references to the culture of the time. As someone who loves order, I was trying to picture how I would handle living in Shaker Heights. Fairly quick and entertaining read.  Next, I started and was able to finish City of Ember. Jack is currently reading it in class and thinks he might select the second one for his next selection in our read together, so I wanted to be caught up with him. I thought it was really good for a dystopian YA book. There isn’t a love story that complicates the book or the lives of readers. I’d recommend to any family of upper elementary, lower middle school looking to do a family read.  Jack and I finished up SlackerWe  both enjoyed this story. It was funny, but still made you think about life’s priorities. I’m glad he selected it for our read together.It was my pick next so I chose Bridge to Terabithia. Not only is the Battle of the Books book, it also is on Banned Book Challenge List. When I wrote the list, this one seemed to spark a lot of reactions of shock from people. I’ve never read it and don’t know really what it’s about so I am looking forward to get to it. With Spring Break, March Madness, and football practice kicking off again, I’m not sure how fast we will progress through it.  I also got just under halfway through The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  I am sure that I will finish it up early next week and have a review for you.  

Listened: To Jack complain about being frozen after his first football practice. It was cold and windy and a bitter start to football practice. Wednesday was a little better. It was still cold, but at least it wasn’t as windy.  Friday night and Saturday were much warmer.  You never know what kind of weather you’ll be practicing in during Spring Football. On the plus side, he really seems to enjoy his coaches. Looking forward to seeing what the season brings. 

Made: A design for a chess club shirt for kids to wear to the tournament. I am hoping that they are popular with the kids and that we get enough to do an order. I chose the statement on the shirt because someone’s I feel like PHE is the pawn of the District and it’s nice to remind ourselves that the pawn does have the same power as a pawn.   Jack informed that he isn’t sure he is going because of the conflict with football. :(

Felt: So refreshed after a haircut. It just was starting to look a bit like a mop so I went in for a trim to give it some shape. I really liked the gal who I found at the SuperCuts because I felt like she listened and tried to do things how I liked them. It doesn’t look a lot different, but I think when I’m ready for a big change she’d help me get it right. 

Planned: Out several pages for the yearbook. It is really coming together quite nicely and I am excited to see it in production again. Having a years experience under my belt has made it much easier to know what I want to do and to not get as frustrated as quickly with the program. Working on a Mac has made things a bit different, but I’m coming to terms with those differences.  Hard to believe it will be totally wrapped up in a month and a half. 

Loved: Jack and I’s fun day Sunday. We started out shopping for new cleats for football and a new baseball glove (not easy for a left handed thrower). We then had lunch at Chipotle.  After lunch we went to the  batting cages and mini golf. It was windy so there were some wild pitches from the machine. The craziest thing was that a family didn’t close the gate behind and their little 18 month old ran down the ramp and onto the hitting area. The balls kept flying and I was screaming at Jack not to hit them.  I was so afraid the kid was going to get beamed in the head with the ball from a machine and die, but luckily he managed to somehow avoid them. I kicked Jack’s butt at golf. I was on fire, golfing only 1 over par.  Next, we  enjoyed some Rita’s Italian Ice for dessert.  I’ve been wanting to try Ticket to Ride, so we stopped by Petrie’s and tried it out.   We both really liked it so we rented and played it daily for the three days that we had it checked out. I put it on my birthday list. 

Here are the pics for the week:

The undefeated Tornados. Jack doesn’t look the best because he jammed (possibly broke) his finger in the game before when he was subbing for a team that didn’t have enough players. 

Monday, 5 March 2018

A Week in Review (Feb 25 - March 3)

A Week in Review (Feb 25 - March 3)

Watched: Season finale of Victoria.  It was another really enjoyable season.  I often found myself googling different things to get the back story of what the history books said on the subject.  If you like to follow British Royalty stories, I'd recommend picking up this one.  You can find Season 1 for free with Amazon Prime.

Read:  I was able to finish up Still Me.  Another endearing installment in the Louisa Clark story. I enjoyed this one more than After You, but still not as much as Me Before You. I’m hoping we will get a fourth dose of Louisa so we can see how she keeps maturing.  Next, I started my face-to-face book club read, Little Fires Everywhere.  It is a very popular book so I had to do it on a Rapid Reads checkout.  Sadly, I think I will have to pay some library fines because I won't be able to return it within the 7 days, but it much cheaper than purchasing the book.  I didn't get very far into it, but its had good reviews from a couple of my other book clubbers, so I am looking forward to getting into it.

Listened: Boy cry with headache on Monday night.  He was up taking a shower and it just him like a ton of bricks.  He didn't sleep well and I ended up letting him sleep in and miss the first couple of hours on Tuesday.  I think if he hadn't had chess club, he might have skipped the entire day to just recover.  Then on Friday evening, I was also struck by a powerful headache.  Not sure if it was some type of virus or what, but it knocked me for a loop too.  Not fun at all.

Made: A CVS account for pictures of Nick.  We were texting and he let me know how much he was missing having pictures of his in office.  They didn't really have any Walgreens that he could quickly get to, so I created an account at CVS and uploaded some fun pictures for him.  He was quite thankful to have a good assortment of his wife and boy to adorn his office.  It was pretty sweet and one of the really tangible ways that he has shown that he misses us while he is away.

Felt: Bummed about getting a crown, but I kind of knew it was coming.  I had felt some naggling pain in my back jaw and it turns out I have a cracked tooth that the broken sliver is sitting down in my gums between two teeth.  Luckily, they could get me in right away and I should have the permanent crown seated before we leave on our cruise.  I didn't really want to take a week long journey with a temporary one on.

Planned: Details for the season ending party for wrestling.  I can't believe, but the season is official over.  I helped create fun sweatshirts for our state champion wrestlers and come up with the food details of what to feed our guests.  It is all coming together very nicely and I am sure the families will have a good time again.

Loved:  Watching Jack play with his friends.  The weather was absolutely beautiful this week, especially on Friday.  He, Luke, and Landon all decided to go the park to hit some balls to each other.  Usually when three kids get together, there is quite a bit of trouble with two of them teaming up on the other one, but this all just works out so well.  They all have similar enough personalities that they just jibe together.  We are grateful that he gets to continue to grow friendships ad many of the kids from his football team will be back together this season.  We got the call confirming things are good to go and that he starts practices next Monday!

Here are the pics for the week:

I went up on the roof to take some photos for our yearbook.  While I was waiting for the teacher to get out, I took this fun shot.

Good thing they have a lot of energy because the pitcher also had to be the fielder!