Band

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Here it is, what you’ve all been waiting for! Another installment of School Stories from Sasquatch! For your reading pleasure!

“My band has lots of ornaments and it has a trombone, and it has violins, and it has yokalaylies, it has drums, and it has dancing and singing. Angelina Ballerina plays the drums, and she sometimes dances. Everyone else dances with her. And then when the music stops, everyone eats their dinners and everyone goes home. Mary plays the trombones. Joseph is in my band, he plays the yokalaylies and Kate plays the violin. Riley kills monsters and she plays that thing with the strings that goes down and she goes like this (mimics playing the harp). They play, and then the church closes and everyone goes home to take a rest.”

When asked what happened in their story, “The Little School Bus”, Sasquatch responds by saying, “The little school bus was driving too fast and crashed into all the houses and hurt people very much.” Me, “Is that what really happened?” Sasquatch, “Uh huh, and then they all had to go to the hospital. The little school bus had to go to jail because it made a big, bad mistake.”
(link to the actual book and description : http://www.amazon.com/The-Little-School-Carol-Roth/dp/073581905X ) All the kids weren’t listening to the story. They were wiggling, playing with their shoes, giggling…they were NOT listening.” (I do notice the irony of the fact that she couldn’t tell me the actual story, but was the one listening…)

“Kendall was at my table. But no boys were at my table because it was all girls. So that’s why they called it a girl table. I also did an alarm thing. The fire thing started to go, it was on. Outside I saw the fire thing and it was blinking.”

“I did the calendar today. The number 2013 is the ear.”

Vacay!

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I know it’s been a while. But I swear, I was not playing Candy Crush! Well, at least not the entire time! But I may or may not have been planning my next vacation which is pretty big. Anyone who knows me well, knows I love planning trips. Obsessively. If vacation planning were drugs, I would be a tweaker right now. But I digress.
It all started when Sir Smiley decided to take out all the worlds angst on his toe by doing an impressive high kick against the washing machine (he was trying to catch the door before it closed and apparently the washing machine got in the way) It was thankfully not broken, but it is huge and purple and very colorful. Not knowing if it was broken, I took the washing machine ninja to the urgent care. He brought along a bunch of crazy old dive magazines and told me if I was bored to check them out and pick fun places to go scuba diving (we both are PADI certified divers…see post here about our last dive experience). I was busy keeping King Toot from destroying the lobby so I didn’t pay much attention and also didn’t do what he requested.
When we got home and after the kids were in bed I was exhausted and just sitting at the table. Sir Smiley sat down and told me that he had been thinking about our tenth anniversary which is coming up next year. He apparently has a bazillion hours stored up he can cash out at work, and so he then told me to pick any place in the world to go scuba diving and have a vacation and we would go there.
After I removed my jaw from the floor, I began pondering where I wanted to go….for about 30 seconds. There is one place I’ve wanted to go to for a long time. Back in college I went backpacking across Europe with my sister and we stayed in a hostel in Salzburg, Austria with two girls from Israel and two girls from New Zealand. Hearing them describe their homes has made me want to visit both. Not a lot of scuba diving in Israel, and New Zealand seemed to land on the safer end of the spectrum so…….I’M GOING TO NEW ZEALAND!!!!
We’re going scuba diving with all kinds of fish and possibly even sharks or whales, wreck diving, and swimming with the dolphins. We will be visiting the Shire and Bag End, and even hike through Mordor and up Mount Doom. Not to mention finishing it off by abseiling for 30 minutes down into a huge series of caves. Oh, and we’ll be camping for all but three nights. We’ve already bought our plane tickets so there’s no backing out now!
So I haven’t been writing, because I’ve been planning. Planning an itinerary that includes links to information websites, you tube videos, and is color coordinated based on activity. Like I said, I’m a vacation tweaker and I just got a huge hit on my drug. Booyah!

Note: I am not condoning drug use! Drugs are bad! Just say no! If that doesn’t convince you, then simply read almost any post I’ve written under Keeping the Peace Abroad and that will.

Education: the other side

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No, this is not anything political. It’s about approaching the education system from two different perspectives. I taught for three years before I had Sasquatch. I was a first grade teacher in a Title 1 school district where all the other first grade teachers left…leaving me in charge of the entire first grade team my first year of teaching ever. I once had 33 students in my class, with no aid, while trying to put four kids through the special education process. (I even had the school psychologist come up to me after testing one of them and tell me he had psychological problems she had never seen before). I loved every one of those kids. They all had their struggles and their strengths. It taught me a lot about patience and letting a kid blossom in their own time and such. I also knew the importance of parents. They should not be observers in their child’s education and THEY are the ones who are essential…not necessarily the teacher. This is not to say the teacher doesn’t matter, because a teacher is important. But I’ve seen brilliant students struggle to pass first grade because of what was going on at home…and I’ve seen kids with learning disabilities thrive because their parents were communicating with me daily and partnering with me to teach them the same things at home. As a teacher I was truly grateful for the involved parents who would help out. Our PTA was awesome and worked hard to help out our school any way they could.
I no longer teach (in an official capacity) and now my oldest has just started kindergarten. I joined the PTO at the end of the year last year and am on the board. Today, I got to help out Urpling’s preschool teacher (yes, she is also in school…in the same building as Sasquatch even…you can read about that here) by cutting out various laminated things. I love to be able to bless teachers the way parents had blessed me.
It is weird though, having no idea what my daughter is doing for half the day. As you can see by my Stories with Sasquatch posts (I already have plenty to add to this weeks addition and it’s only day 2 of the week) that getting an accurate description of what goes on is like interpreting what a drunk man overheard a strung out guy said to his doped up neighbor (okay, maybe not really…it’s usually worse). I know enough about what goes on in the classroom to ask the right questions so I get an idea of what goes on during her day, but I now understand why parents were so keen on having so many details about what we were doing. It wasn’t a lack of trust in me…it was sheer curiosity and a need to still be part of their kids lives.
So I guess what I want to say is first…teachers: Be patient with clingy parents. We’ve been with them every step of the way and are adjusting to not having our kids lives so fully intertwined in ours.
To the parents: It’s tough letting go of our little ones…but if you really want to know what’s going on in your school…get involved! I have yet to find a PTA/PTO that says, “Naw, don’t come help…we have waaaaaaaay too many volunteers right now”. It really is the best way to know what things are happening in the school, and with your kiddos.
And so my next great adventure is beginning, with school days, set schedules, homework, friends I’ve never met, and separation from my babies. Can’t wait!

Mary and Joseph

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Sasquatch had her first week of school ever. It has been exciting and exhausting but the best part of all was hearing her stories about what happened each day. I expected a recount of what happened, but never really considered what happens when a bunch of five year olds get together and have conversations together. Randomness does not begin to describe it. So I’m starting a new series of posts at the end of each week that I’m calling School Stories from Sasquatch. I did not get as many of these gems this week because the first day or two I kept forgetting to get something to write her stories down. But I did get a few written down this week. So here is the first installment of School Stories from Sasquatch.
“I have two new friends: Joseph and Eason. Eason’s dad makes eggs. He takes the yolks and egg whites and he puts them in a container called a shell. Then he drives them to the store. Aaaaand I did something called the Pledge of Allegiance. There’s a flag in my classroom!”
“Mary was my friend. I told her ‘I want you to be my friend’ and she was. She lives very far away by Grandma Claire’s house, she lives in MN.”
“We had partners today. My partner’s name was Joseph. He’s not a grown up yet, he still needs to grow up. But when he does he’ll have a Bonny boy named Jesus.”

Hopefully next week is just as entertaining…

Give it a Tri…a follow up

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I survived my fist Olympic Triathlon and enjoyed myself immensely. I’ve had a lot of people asking me how it went, so here’s the Cliff Notes/Reader’s Digest version. The pros and cons list of my weekend (mainly this is an attempt to keep myself from rambling too much. We’ll see if it works).

Pro : Leaving the kids with the grandparents. Everything was a bazillion times easier without three children to try and keep track of in a strange place. Especially during the couple of hours between when my race finished and Sir Smiley’s race finished. Instead of chasing small children around, I was able to focus on recovering.

Con: not double checking everything on the bikes BEFORE we left. We had all our tools and such, but the night before the race my gears decided to act up and so Sir Smiley spent a good hour or two fixing them before we could head to bed.

Pro: driving the bike and run course. We got up there with plenty of time to attend the meeting, pick up our packet, and then check out the course. So the next day I knew what to expect and it was one less thing to worry about leading up to the race.

Con: making your hotel reservation for a hotel in a different city. In an attempt to be savvy I used some hotel site that pulled up the prices of all the hotels in the area and then booked the cheapest one. Didn’t realize that they randomly threw hotels from neighboring towns (and I use the term neighboring loosely as the hotel I booked was about an hour away) in with the mix. Thankfully, The hotel let me cancel. We had to check about three or four hotels before we found an opening and all they had was the king suite. So for about 10 hours we lived like kings…but instead of saving a bunch of money I ended up costing us a bunch. *sigh. Lesson learned, when you triple check the date…also triple check the location…

Pro: Eat a high quality breakfast. I felt good during my entire race!

Con: Eat a high quantity breakfast. Sir Smiley ate more than me and had such an upset stomach he ended up puking a bit during the swim. Unpleasant doesn’t begin to describe that.

Con: Not getting up early enough. We got up at 3:30am, but it still was barely enough time to get to the start line before the race actually started. I would prefer to have plenty of time to calmly set up my transition and get all my items assembled in the morning. Starting the day stressed does not help the race.

Con: Not warming up in the water. That water was a shock and when you add that to my chest cold (another con), I struggled to breathe the first few minutes. As I acclimated things went smoothly but it was freaky way to start.

Con: Having a chest cold and that time of month during a long race. Not much control over this really, but it seriously drained my energy stores for this race. By the run I was lagging and never really could push myself the way I wanted to.

Pro: practicing open water swims and sighting before the race. I knew exactly what to do, and wearing a wet suit and looking ahead of me to see where I needed to go were habit instead of hindrances.

Con: never ending hills. I climbed and climbed and climbed a hill and just when I thought I was about to die…I reached the peak. Only to see the next hill climbing up above me. I almost died.

Pro: never ending hills. I then turned around to head back and was going fast enough that I couldn’t even peddle fast enough to keep up. In my previous post here I referred to how insane it was that Sir Smiley stated he went 41 mph last year. Ironically, I glanced down and saw that on this hill I was going 41 mph. Who says God has no sense of irony? I also thank God I didn’t crash and die.

Pro: meeting new friends. There was another never ending hill on the run. I walked it. Not ashamed to admit it. During that walk I was with another triathlete and we found out we lived right next to each other. We will be running together on occasion now. I also finished a few hours before Sir Smiley so in the interim I spent the time talking to other random people. Everyone is so friendly at these events that the time went by quickly and I had made several new friends. (another pro…running back down the never ending hill).

I managed to finish in 3 hours and 36 minutes. I was 75 out of 95 ladies and 13/18 ladies in my age group. Not too bad for my first attempt while sick. I have another one in a few months and now I’m really looking forward to it!

Give it a Tri…

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See what I did there? Clever huh? This post is about triathlons, and how they are awesome, terrifying, and something everyone should try once.
For a little backstory of my adventure, this is the post I wrote the day after trying to ride a bike with clipless pedals for the first time. This is also my account of first deciding to do a triathlon. Another post would be this one which I wrote just before I had my first triathlon ever.
Rereading these and it is both amusing and encouraging. First off, how normal having my feet attached to my bike has become. I sometimes have those moments where it takes a few tries to get my foot clipped back in but for the most part it’s almost second nature. Also, describing a bike as an object that goes 15 mph…as that was a fast pace for me then. Now my average is usually around 18 mph. I no longer struggle to get water bottles in and out of their holders…I even use the aero bars with quite a bit of competence. Six miles is not even part of my shorter bike distances anymore. I go between 12-25 miles during an average bike ride. The gains I have made are amazing. The thing about triathlons are that they are both competitive and not at the same time. What I mean is…when the race starts you do your best and race hard against everyone. But everyone is encouraging, and never once was I made to feel less because I didn’t have the gear, the knowledge of the body of a triathlete. I had expert triathletes come ip behind me and cheer me on, telling me I could do it or that I was looking good. It is family friendly, and many have mini triathlons for kids so the whole family can participate. Everyone cheers everyone on, I get great tips at each race from more seasoned racers, and there people at all levels competing. I’ve passed 20 year olds and then had the smug look wiped off my face as some 70 year old breezes past me like I’m standing still. It’s fantastic!
Triathlons are much more about accomplishments than competition. I do them not to impress others but because of how awesome it feels to buckle down, work hard, and see results. To see my times drop each race, to see how comfortable I have gotten both in biking and running. It’s amazing.
I have now been in at least four sprint triathlons, earned metals in all but one, and I am now packing to head off to my first Olympic triathlon. This is longer than a sprint, but shorter than a half ironman. It’s about a .9 mile swim, a 24-25 mile bike, and finishes with a 10k run. This is the same triathlon I was talking about that Sir Smiley did last year, only the Olympic distance. I’m feeling the very familiar feeling of butterflies in my stomach. When I first started swim team a million years ago, I came home crying because it was so hard. The practices lasted for three to four hours and I didn’t think I would survive. My dad told me we paid for it, so I needed to stick it out until the first swim meet. After the meet, I was hooked. The energy from competing is amazing. Trying to best your old times, pushing yourself and seeing success, there is nothing like it. It was something I missed for a long time and have gained back in this. I’ve been training hard and now am in the midst of that nervous excitement. How will I do? What little bumps will happen along the way? I’m excited because it is up in the mountains and will be significantly cooler with amazing views…but also nervous about how the altitude will affect my performance. Excited because I’ve been working hard, but nervous since there is no Athena group so I will be competing against the teeny boppers my own age. I’ve been planning out each move and transition, working through all the areas I need to work on and reminding myself of what to do (or not to do). This excitement will last long after the race is done and launch me into planning my training leading up to the next big race.
I never considered myself an athlete yet here I am. Looking back at the gal who couldn’t even jog half a block and now thinking about the 10k I just jogged for practice this week I feel empowered and good. I’m actively doing something that will improve my health both physically and mentally, and it’s passing on a legacy to my kids that isn’t diets or negative self image but health and wellness.

Okay, rambly and somewhat preachy post is now done. But I think everyone should try out at least a sprint triathlon. It is an amazing experience. I’m off to finish packing.

Online dating: should come with a Surgeon General’s warning…

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Warning: this is not for the faint of heart. Sir Smiley was not the first on scene for this lovely encounter. A co-worker arrived first to a fight call. He shows up and hears a jingling sound from behind the house. He investigates and discovers a woman who had evidentially scaled a chain link fence and was doing “the turtle”…i.e. barrel rolling down a hill. But this was not an attempt to escape apparently since she then wanders back to the house.
Sir Smiley shows up on the scene and gets the low down. Apparently, this couple met online and “hooked up” for the night. The girl (we’ll call her Ms. Hook Up) professes her love for the guy (Mr. Hook Up), and he did not reciprocate the feeling. He asks her to leave and then he himself leaves for a month long vacation. When he gets back, he discovers Ms. Hook Up has moved into his house.
So by the time Sir Smiley arrives, Ms. Hook Up was in the driveway telling the other officers they should leave. She also was telling Mr. Hook Up that she needed to stay. She pleaded with him, saying she sold her house, and that she loves him. Mr. Hook Up is pleading with the officers to remove her from his property. The officers called for a taxi for Ms. Hook Up, but the taxi got lost and took over an hour to get there. Meanwhile Ms. Hook Up continues to declare her undying love for Mr. Hook Up, begging him to let her stay. “But, Babe…” “There is no Babe! I don’t even know you!” “But what about us?” “There is no us!” To say she was drunk was an understatement and she had no concept of personal space. She spent her time orbiting between the officers that were present and Mr. Hook Up, and every time she approached someone they spent the conversation back stepping away from her. Mr. Hook Up started announcing that he would pay obscene amounts of money to the taxi driver that would get her out of there. He even called the cab company a second time and said he would grossly overpay whoever comes to take her away. The cab finally arrived and Mr. Hook Up apologized to the cab driver saying the driver could hate him for the rest of his life but just get her away from here…and then proceeded to shove a wad of cash in the driver’s face. In the end, Mr. Hook Up spent the afternoon with this unexpected roommate before she finally left.
Moral of the story: Too many to name here.