March 18, 2013

open letter

Dear Starbucks,

I know the little city I live in was voted "The Friendliest City in America" after all. And, who doesn't like a cheery town?! But, I must admit when I pull up to your drive-through coffee stops, I am faced with a few dilemmas.

Firstly, I can now pseudo skype with the cashiers as I order my drink before I even pull up to the window to see their faces in real time. I'm asked "how are you?" and "what can I get started for you?" and "did you want any food to go along with that?" Frankly, I'm not really sure how I feel about this whole skyping thing. It's cute and all, but I now feel like I HAVE to smile at the computer screen. Not smiling would mean I wasn't being friendly. Not being friendly would go against everything the city I live in stands for. It would be like when Horton asks all the Whos of Whoville to make noise so the Sour Kangaroo has proof the wee society exists. Except at first that old, hopping sourpuss doesn't hear the Whos because of one small shirker named JoJo. I mean, what would happen to the friendliest city with shirkers going about without smiling?! We might lose our title!!! GASP!

But back to you, Starbucks.....when I do finally inch my way up to the window after all the pleasantries, I'm asked 'what plans I have for the day'. Here in lies my real problem, Starbucks. I am stumped with just how honest I should or shouldn't be with the doe-eyed, coffee schlepping workerbees. What plans do I have??? I mean do your employees really care what plans I have? Do they really want to know I need to go buy my kid some new underpants because the washer broke and the new one hasn't come yet. Or that I need to find an over sized sweatshirt, with just one pocket in the front not two pockets on the sides, so that my hormonal eleven year old won't wear the same stinky hoodie every fricken' day. Or that when I get home I need to do the dishes and clean the toilets but how I'm stopping at Starbucks just to prolong the miserable tasks I have on my agenda? No Starbucks. No, I really don't think they want to know that.

So then begins the battle inside my very tired and overly frazzled brain as they stare back at me with a wide grin. What, exactly, do I say in return?? My standbys? "Oh you know, trying to stay dry" or " not much" or "off to run some errands". Or do I play with them a little and announce, "Today is the day I get my head shaved and that Mike Tyson tat on the side of my face I've been wanting!!"

But Starbucks! Thinking that much and that quick before caffeine is hard! I don't have witty comebacks or intelligent statements. I. Just. Want. My. Tall. Skinny. Carmel. Mocchiato for God's shake!!!! You've already forced me to order my coffee in codewords only people of  the Pacific Northwest understand. Other than that, simple 'pleases' and 'thank yous' and 'have a nice day' is enough for me. No questions. No insights into my day. No first names basis. Just give me my drink, take my money and let me drive off into the drizzly, occasional rain showers and possible sun bursts. Because I Am That One Small Shirker in the friendliest city in America.

Best Regards!

March 14, 2013

march second

And then she was seven.
Our baby is no longer a baby anymore. She is officially a kid, full of sparkle and glitz. She bleeds glitter and has a rhythm of her own. Meaning she takes her sweet (often excruciating) time in everything she does but once she gets there, she is a solid force to be reckoned with.
True story. And, don't go thinking I'm some weird nut job. When my older daughter was born we knew what we wanted to name her and that was her name. But! About two seconds after our second little bundle slid into the world, another name came to me. A name for a girl. At that very instant I knew we would have a third baby and what HER name would be. [Insert Twilight Zone music here]

Our newly crowned seven year old announced she wanted a costume party so on November 1st, I headed out and scoured all the clearance Halloween goodies. But, because I got so sick before her birthday, we had to rearrange plans a bit. Instead of whooping it up at home with a big costume party, we celebrated with a costume bowling party. Kids came in their favorite getups and we bowled under the neon lights. All in all, it turned out great.
Being a big kid now (and because her mom feels some slight guilt for not being able to celebrate her big day) we've decided to take the baby out of her bedroom and make it fit for a seven year old. Sadly, the nursery elephants are coming down (sniff) and this girl is going glam. Which makes this little fashionista's heart skip a beat. Stay tuned.

March 13, 2013

hydration of thy soul

Costa Rica, in one word, is magical. I can't think of a better way to explain it. Everything about it fills me up and lightens my mood. Maybe I have a biased view because when I've visited Costa Rica it hasn't been as a tourist but more like a friend. And, I'm not trying to sound corny, but I do really feel like the people I visit and see and laugh with are my friends. Even if we don't always speak the same language.
You don't have to spend much time around the people and culture to quickly realize this humid, jungle runs at a different pace than Americans are used to. Things aren't so much important as relationships are.
I did my best to soak up as much of this hard working, fun loving, happy place as I could. Madre and I had the best time. We laughed a lot and wore our brains out trying to communicate with our non-English speaking pals. But enough chit chat. I'll let these photos speak for themselves.
Swinging Bridge tour

Most delish bakery

baby moo

every Tico, most often than not, can be seen wearing a pair of these

state bird

break time

ojo azul

can't you just taste the refreshing goodness







typical tico casa

anything can be turned into a fiesta

mode of transport


walking partner to the Super Kike


sleeping volcano



howler monkey

line dry

longest bridge



last day was bittersweet

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March 12, 2013

reading logs

Alrighty then....let me climb up on top of my soap box here for a minute. Sit right there and I'll tell you why I am not a fan of reading logs. Ahem! If you have children in school you might be familiar with this contraption elementary school age teachers are fond of. They are simply a log of what your child has read. And, more often than not, there is a signature required of a parental unit before going back to class the next day.

It is such a pain in the rear end. You might be thinking "it's just a signature, on a piece of paper, what's the big deal?" The big deal is I have three very active children, which on any given day feels like thirty-five children. All requiring some sort of guidance and/or help with various tasks. And, all three children read at night in their bed, for a half hour, before going to sleep. This is our routine and it works. These silly reading logs is just one more, unimportant thing, to be done which to be frank, holds no real motivational power at all. It is simply just another tedious thing that is required. I often forget to sign them. And, I often don't care I've forgotten to sign them.

I am not a helicopter parent when it comes to school work. I check in. I stay on top of important learning goals. But I hold my children responsible for their daily school work needs. I do not hover or hold hands or make sure every answer is correct. Because, people, that's not real life. I won't be sitting in their college dorms waiting for them to come in with their assignments and I won't be standing behind their shoulders when they are sitting in their office chairs. The sooner they learn to take responsibility for what is important, get themselves organized to do an assignment and follow through, the better. Can I get an amen?! Do they stumble? Hell yes! And, is that a valuable learning tool. You betcha!!

And, on a side note, 'worksheet and homework packets' is just code for busy work!

So anyway. Back to this nonsense of reading logs. Recently, one teacher decided that if the log came back to school unsigned and unfilled out the next day, students would get marked down on their behavior chart. X amount of mark downs would result in loss of recess or something like that. Sigh. I find no real educational value in this procedure whatsoever. I mean the teacher is just requiring one more thing for the parents, students and themselves to manage. And, when you have a class of thirty-two students....well, that's thirty-two reading logs. It's insane.

Makes no sense to me, especially when our school/school district has a wonderful tool that measures students' comprehension and skill level of books read in something called Accelerated Reading, or AR. Which is, in my mind, a fantastic and very motivational measure of students' reading progress. Way more informative than a paper reading log that a parent is required to sign. Basically, kids read a book and then take a five to twelve question test on a computer. Everything is student ran, giving them power over their learning, and then the computer spits out a result in which the teacher can see how much the student is reading, how much they are comprehending, and gauge reading levels per student.

The amount of silly tasks put upon us is unreal to me sometimes. It's hard not to feel overwhelmed and stressed out when feeling constantly "needled" by everyone. Less is more. Simple is better.

Stepping down from my soap box now to eat some cinnamon bears. Thank you for listening to my plight.

March 11, 2013

I'm here...

Scrub, scrub, itch, scratch, scrape, scraping off the moss over here. Seems like all the last posts up in this joint start with apologies for going so long in between posts. And, yet again, I feel the need to say "oops, I did it again!" I played with your heart and then got lost in my life. Oh Britney, what we would do with her catchy lyrics.

Truth is, my mother and I whisked ourselves off to Costa Rica and had a fabulous time. But after our return, I became very ill. I spent a better part of two and half weeks laying around and like all things in the Pacific Northwest that sits idle too long, moss starts to take over.

I don't want to go into gory details so here goes. For the last month I have been treated for an infectious disease called Dengue Fever. Don't be scared peeps. Unlike a cold or the flu, Dengue is a transmitted infectious disease, not contagious. It started with a raging sore, swollen throat and minor body aches at first. The physician assistant at my regular doctor's office concluded pretty much nothing except that I did not have strep throat.

Then it got way worse.

After suffering through four days of feeling like I was an arthritic 90 year old that just got hit by a bus and left in the ditch, my husband started doing some research on the good ole internet. He decided all my symptoms matched Dengue but I thought it all sounded too exotic and far fetched. However, not being able to use my hands and feeling like a crippled up, pile of painful goo, I decided to search out an infectious disease doctor because it was, is more painful than childbirth while running a marathon after winning the local hotdog eating contest. It hurts yo!

To date there is no cure. (I've heard they are trial testing a vaccine however) So like all viruses, you have to wait it out. Armed with some pain medications I was able to peel myself back up onto my feet. I still have some lingering minor pain mostly in my wrists and knees but it's tolerable now.

So that folks, in a nutshell, is why I haven't been around. My apologies.

I do have so much to share with you though. Costa Rica for one. Oh how I adore that little nook of the world. And, the kids' basketball season which overlapped the start of baseball season. My eleven year old's first (and hopefully last) in-school suspension. Ugh! Miss Petite's seventh fete too. Not to mention the household fun that was had when we discovered our septic tank was backed up. Oh and I'm pregnant!!!

Gotcha! I was just testing to see if you were still with me on this current ramble. I'm sooo not pregnant. Three will be the death of me, a fourth would surely kill me.