Saturday, March 28, 2009

Update on the Employment Front

Counting our Blessings

You'd have to be independently wealthy and/or living under a very large and paid-for rock to not notice the economical woes that are all over the place right now.

Thankfully, Chris and I are only affected by the fact that we're upside down in our house. Even though we want to move and build in Wickenburg, that's on hold until we can squeeze out a tiny profit from our current abode. Since it doesn't look like that's even possible right now, we're staying put for now. However, other than the house thing, Chris and I are blessed in our jobs and the fact that we have a house and upside down or not, we can afford it.

Which brings me to the subject of this entry: I was informally informed (I know, repetitive and bad choice of words) that my job is staying with the district. I say informally, because no official word is being given until April 15th. I also don't know if there's going to be pay cuts. But if there is, it's looking like 2%. Yuck. There are projected teacher cuts at each school in the district, so there are some that will not have their job come August.

Therefore, even though this is a good thing, I did dodge a couple bullets. Well, the first being that I could have lost my job, but the bullet I'm referring to is the district wanted to cut some art teachers (and other special area teachers) and make the remaining ones work 1/2 days at one school and 1/2 days at another. Thankfully the board said, "absolutely not" at that proposal. The district I work for did finally get a competent school board elected this past year. Unlike past years and unlike district admin, they're very "pro-teacher". While budget cuts and some sacrifices need to be made, at least the board has the best interests of the teachers in mind. It is quite the turn-around from the jokes on the school board that were voted out! I am grateful that all this crappola that is hitting education hard (especially in a state like AZ that often errs on the side of educational imcompetence with our elected officials!), there are some blessings within the mess.

That said, there is a part of me that wouldn't have minded if my job was cut. A part of me. I'm not being ungrateful and I am not taking for granted the blessing I have of not losing my job. But a complicated set of feelings exists that is a little difficult to put to words. I love being a teacher and I love my students. However, there are other factors that "losing my job" would have solved. Haha I am also in prayer asking for certain things and certain answers for some concerns (not specificially job concerns, but life concerns that are intertwined with job stuff), and the fact that my job wasn't cut is a little confusing as to what I am supposed to do.

Confused yet? I know, it's complicated.

However, when it is all said and done, I am happy. I also have faith that Heavenly Father knows what he has planned for me and we continue to count our blessings.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Officially 5 !!!

Even though we celebrated it officially at Disneyland, earlier this week, Christian turned 5 on March 17th. We couldn't really have the cake and ice cream on St. Patrick's Day, because Chris wouldn't have arrived home from work until between 7:30pm-8:00pm. However, we did celebrate the evening before, since Chris had the 16th (Mon) off. Since we weren't worrying about it being an official party, we decided to get one of those big giant chocolate chip cookies as the cake and we just BBQ'd turkey burgers in the backyard. Our friend's Eric and Corina and their March birthday 5yo son joined us, which was a little bittersweet, because they've been our next door neighbors for the last 3-4 years and they just moved. :-( We told them not to worry about a gift for Christian, but they gave him a bumblebee Transformer car and Christian happily added it to his collection of Hot Wheels, Transformer cars and Disney Cars cars.

Of course Ice Cream wasn't necessary to add to the dessert, but I caved and got some of that too! If you can't justify it for a child's birthday party, when can you justify it? (but I seem to manage justifying it way too often!)

Here's his YUMMY giant cookie "birthday cake"

Paradise Bakery, where this came from, boasts their giant cookie is enough to make 12-15 people very happy. And they're not kidding. But the following day, it's enough to make some of those people have regret too! Just seeing this picture makes me crave it all over again. : sigh :

And with that, the kids' two weeks of Spring Break is officially over. Mine was over a week ago, but tomorrow they get to go back to school. It'll be nice to get into the normal swing of things again. Though unfortunately, this all means it's getting warm again. Every year, I dread the next summer more and more. At least there are a few good weeks left before we really get into the thick of it. :-(

Monday, March 16, 2009

Disneyland Epilogue: Hats, Teacups and Bathroom Stalls!

That title is only to make sure I finish the Disneyland saga in THIS ENTRY because it's dragged long enough.

First of all, Christian will be officially 5 years old tomorrow morning at 10:17am. My St. Patrick's Day baby will be 5. I can't believe it.

This is from last Wed (Disneyland Day 2) in Downtown Disney at the Lego Store. He just loved it.

And the following day (Thurs 3/12) wearing St. Patties Ears for a picture, since he celebrates his birthday that day:

Of course, while we're on the hat pictures, here's Mikelle sporting a Zurg hat (it's reversible with Buzz Lightyear the other way. No, we didn't buy any of the hats. It would have been fun, but no. Unless I had a lot of cash AND those foam heads to store the hats, which I had niether. But I do need to get some of those styrofaom heads to store some hats and halloween wigs. Anyone know where I could score some?)

And I'll just post this one and move on. This hat does have mouse ears, but you can't really tell. And no, the kids weren't in the hat store yet when my sister and I were messing around and taking these kinds of pictures. They arrived with Chris a few minutes later.

So while we're on some unorthodox Disney pictures, this is from the day before (3/11) when Kariann got the assignment to go on the Teacups withe kids. I'll would end up sick as a dog if I went and Chris USED to be able to handle the teacups in his younger years, but not so much anymore:

See the benefit of having a third adult go to Disneyland with you? They go on the rides with your kids that you'd rather not!

Here's Mikelle and Dumbo
(the ride! The Dumbo ride!)

And the adorable playing card bathrooms near the Alice and Wonderland stuff at Fantasy Land. If my own bathrooms had stalls, I would totally do this:

And while we did run into a family from our ward at Disneyland, here are some pictures of some friends we had to say hello to!

Mater and Lightning.
I needed to give my above picture with the Jamaican hat to Fillmore, but Mater didn't know where Fillmore was. But I showed Mater the Jamaican picture and he said, "Yeah, I don't care who you are, that's funny!"

Pluto. He's still bummed that he's now not named after an official planet. But he's doing okay.

Kariann didn't want to get in on this picture either, but we made sure she did in the next one of....
Mickey! At his house!

So now here is the ultimate Christian story. So we're all on the Storybook boat ride in Fantasyland (Wed 3/11 I think) and it was later in the day (dark) and Christian was in a mood. We see the Aladdin Agrobah castle and I say, "Christian! Look at the castle from Aladdin!"

Christian: "I already saw it"

Me: (playing up due to his attitude) "Well, excuuuuse me..."

Christian: "What? Did you fart?"

First of all, let me say that we've been trying to get that word out of his venacular for some time but not been very successful. Two, let me say that the newlywed couple on the boat with us just LOVED that. I told them I provided the birth control for free. While I'm not proud of that from a parental point of view, I do wish it was on video with the audio as clear as day.

Final tidbits:

Mikelle on the same Lego door. Just compare their height differences! Christian will be taller than her eventually, but right now, she has the crown!

A perfect one to end on, due to Christian's birthday tomorrow. Is this not completely fitting or what?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Disneyland At Last!

So finally, on Tues 3/10, after driving practically all night, we arrived in Anaheim at 3am, slept to about 8-9am and then made our way to Disneyland. It was nice and in the 60s, though the sun was way too intense. But it was still nice and cool. The picture to the left is Christian and his Daddy waiting at the tram from the parking lot. We went to Splash Mountain first because Mikelle kept begging and talking about Splash Mountain, well, since 2005 - the last time we went to Disneyland. It was a short 15 minute line and the picture below is the result of standing in that line. I'm not too thrilled about the picture, but we knew we'd buy whatever picture we had when we got an entire log to ourselves. I made the mistake of leaning forward and holding onto Christian, because that meant I would feel like I was going to fall out. Not a good feeling. And it looks like I'm screaming. I wasn't. Trust me, NO VOLUME was coming out of my mouth. And as you can see, Christian was just fine. He enjoyed every thrill and chill experience.

After Splash Mountain was met with pictures with Pooh and Tigger. I'm not much of a Pooh fan, but he was part of that particular package. Unfortunately, we didn't time the trip well with Eeyore's appearance.And here we all are with Tigger. Well, Kariann didn't want to get into the picture.

Later we hit the California Adventure park, where we saw the second Goofy of the day. This one seemed to have much more personality then the one we saw on Main Street on the way out of Disneyland over to California Adventure. The Cali one even indulged the kids with comparing his shoe size to theirs.C is for Christian. The "C" in California Adventure.

"O" boy!

That first day was probably the shortest day spent at the parks, due to how tired we all were. It is hard peeling Chris away from Disneyland though. He's all about spending every waking hour there. That's great for the kids, but a little hard on wives that want to rest. lol

I would continue, but tomorrow is back to work after a week off. I get only a week off, whereas the kiddos get two for Spring Break. I don't work for the same school district that they're in.

My next entry will consist of Fantasyland and Christian's comment on the Storybook Boat Ride. If we had it on video, we would easily be $10,000 richer by sending it in to AFV. Oh well. Ce la vi!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Spring Break 2009 Part I

Getting There

I know I haven't updated in awhile. Part of it being we left for our family vacation on Monday (3/9) and returned late last night (3/13).

Christian turns 5 on St. Patrick's Day (this Tuesday) but I'm not off for Spring Break this coming week (though the kids still are) so we went to Disneyland and had an early celebration of Christian's birthday.

First of all, driving to Disneyland wasn't done in the straightforward manner that most Arizonans in the Phoenix area do it. We went by way of LAS VEGAS. No, it wasn't to hopefully finance our trip (hardy har har). It was because my sister Kariann was joining us on our Disneyland trip and she was able to find a cheap round-trip flight from Idaho Falls. But the flight wasn't into LA, Orange County or Phoenix. Oh No. It was Vegas. Oh well. Close enough. Vegas is not out of the way per se, but not exactly ON the way. If you don't own a globe and have no sense of direction, look at a map of Southern California, Arizona and Nevada and you'll see what I mean.

Therefore, on Monday 3/9 we picked her up from the airport in Las Vegas. But it took a lot to get to that point. First of all, my friend Lara (hi Lara!) came down to Vegas from Cedar City, UT to do a photo shoot of Christian and Mikelle. She was a sweetheart to do that at my request, and while Vegas is easier to get to from her abode in Utah, it was still not exactly a short drive. It was fun seeing her family again (and I found out I'm totally attached to their youngest Sophia and wanted to take her to Disneyland with me!), but even though we planned on arriving in Vegas around 4-5pm (when there is LIGHT from the SUN), it didn't happen. There was Lara and her family waiting for us, and we just couldn't get there in time for the light to still be out.

So we arrived just at sunset and the light was *poof* gone pretty fast. And even though there were some pretty spots that we chose to take the picture (right by the temple grounds there in the east part of town), it was windy. That part I can't take the blame on, but the getting there late part is where I still feel horrible about and am still upset about it. I'm not upset in a "letting it bring me down" way or "taking it out on anyone" way, but I'm still upset.

I could go on and on with this entry about my frustrations of why we didn't make it to Vegas in time, but I have to tell myself I LOVE my husband and despite the fact that he and I do not seethe concepts of TIME, the CLOCK, (and how those things are important when trying to get to a far away destination by a certain time) the same way, that I LOVE him and do not want to kill him permanently. Just on Monday I wanted to kill him. It got to the point that I saw how his, um, "way of doing things" was slowing us down, that at one point when he hopped in the passenger seat of the car, I started to move before he even got the door closed and his seatbelt on. Boy, he was mad at me for that one. But seriously, the DONNER PARTY moved faster! :sigh: So I tried to make up for lost time, and what happened? I got a TICKET trying.

It was on the 93 highway between Wickenburg and Kingman. Just south of the reaching I-40 and heading west to Kingman. Stupid cop nailed me going down a hill, so my already crazy speed was even faster due to gravity plus acceleration. Gosh, it was so classic. I'm going down the hill at an already ridiculous speed and I pass the cop. I'm thinking, "CRAP! Maybe he's on his way to a call." No such luck. I see him flip a U in my rearview mirror and I knew I was screwed. He wasn't going to give me a warning either. I was just 2mph off of criminal speed. Almost a year ago (gosh, about a year to the day) I got pulled over out by the Superstitions east of Gold Canyon. But I got off with a warning. But I had a few things on my side that particular time. I was by myself and got to be cute and the cop was in a good mood.

But this time, the cop came to the passenger window where Chris was, and then there were the two kids in the back that didn't make me look very good with trying to be a good mom and keep them safe. So there was no being cute to get out of it. I didn't even try.

Anyway, back to Vegas. Even though there was lack of light and added wind, we still got to get a few pictures in and we went to Applebees with Lara, her husband and the kids. It was a lot of fun talking and catching up. Mikelle and her oldest daughter are the same age and they had fun seeing each other again, though as Lara pointed out on her blog - a little TOO much fun. But thankfully none of us live in Vegas and those poor people in Applebees have to see us again. And while we were waiting for a table, Lara and her husband got to see Christian getting his jollies licking my arm up and down. I don't know WHAT that was about. I can't think of him doing that before that night. I just have one word to explain it: Boys. Enough said.

Then we picked up my sister from the airport around 9:30pm and we were off to Disneyland! If only it was that fast. Holy cow. Don't ask me how it was 3am when we checked into the motel at Anaheim, but that's exactly what happened. Also, I'll never get over how ugly and tacky the Las Vegas area is. I mean, it looks like the surface of the moon with buildings sprouting out of the brown dirt for no reason. My tired joke (but hey, at least it's MY tired joke) is "Vegas is like an ugly version of Phoenix with a G-string". Seriously - People go there on purpose? And this is coming from someone who lives in a desert. But hey, I might live in a desert, but at least I live in a pretty desert. Vegas is just....blah.

And seriously, drive to the Cali-Nevada I-15 border town of Primm (actually,
don't drive there if you can help it). It's in the middle of frickin' nowhere with a couple casinos, an outlet mall and fast food joints. The signs are huge, like all the tacky lights and signs in Vegas. If those signs and stuff were at least was surrounded with something of a scenery, it would be one thing, but it is literally what the surface of the moon would look like if we inhabited it with a bunch of drunks, gamblers, and hookers. But if we could inhabit the moon, at least it would be someplace we could send them and it would look like home to them.

And hey, I get to go back there in August!

This entry is already a little long, so I must pause before getting into the Disneyland stuff. But I'll do this the "TV" way:

Coming up next time on Unseasonably Warm, starring:

Our birthday boy goofball, Christian

Silly Mikelle and her Silly Dad

The third necessary adult that made the trip bearable, the kids' Aunt Kariann!

And then there's me. But a picture of me looks much nicer when the kids are added to it:

And you won't want to miss, the "Ode to the Fantasyland Bathrooms" near the Alice and Wonderland rides:

What's funny about this, is these bathrooms could also work in Vegas, for entirely different reasons! Interesting irony, huh?

See you next time!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Random Interview Questions!

My friend Lara gave me some questions to answer for a blog interview. I couldn't answer the same questions from her blog. I had to answer the ones she sent me. Well, okay. I can use a break from the end of the quarter craziness of getting grades together, cleaning up the classroom, preparing for walk-ins for Parent/Teacher conferences and other odds and ends.

1. What has been your greatest accomplishment? (Having children doesn't count: I think of them as a work in progress that will someday be my greatest accomplishment...don't you?)

Gosh, I don't know. Probably finishing my degree WHILE pregnant with Christian. I still don't know how I did that. And don't ask Chris. He doesn't know how I did that either. It's an anomaly.

2. What is one thing people can appreciate about you?
I'm told I make them laugh. Sometimes it's something I want to do. But other times, they're laughing AT me, rather than WITH me.
3. What is your favorite comfort food, and what is your strongest memory tied to it?
My favorite comfort food is COLD CEREAL. It's a problematic addiction for me. You know those Weigh Watchers HUNGRY commercials with that little orange monster? Yeah. For me, it's that orange cold cereal monster following me around. As far as memories tied to it - I remember how much I enjoyed cereal last time and want to do it again. I also remember when the cereal wasn't as detrimental to my weight in the old days with fast metabolism.

And I know this picture is a dumb joke, but it still cracks me up:

4. If you could meet anyone (living or dead) who would it be and why?
We've already been through that with the Jimmy Carter entry. And the explanation of WHY is on there as well. As far as anyone else I would like to meet, it would have to be Marc Chagall (artist - died in 1985 at the age of 98!). Frida Khalo (died in early 1950s) and I wouldn't mind hanging with the Depeche Mode boys for a few hours.
5. What would I find in your refrigerator right now?
At first I thought the question read "where would I find your refrigerator right now?" and I was like, " the kitchen..." But then I read it again.

You would find a box of oranges from Costco, 2-liters of Diet Pepsi, my yogurt that is in a plastic grocery bag to keep it out of Christian's sight (though he is getting better at asking), and a bunch of half full fat free and light salad dressings and other condiments.

Monday, March 2, 2009

March 2nd and 90 Frickin' Degrees Already...(aka Beware of the Ides of March!!)

Well, it's March. I've been waiting for something good to write about, and then I realized I've had plenty of things that I could have written about, but I was just in grumpy moods. Sure, the source of the title would be one of them. The outside temps is precisely why I hate this heat lamp I'm under. Sure, no crazy snow covered winters, but we get the flip-side of that. It would be one thing if the heat didn't start until, say, May, but the 80s crept in during FEBRUARY (gag!) and now March 2nd, we broke or tied a record dating back to the 1920s. Nice.

But forget that. There is still a chance of some temperature relief before we head into another heat marathon of hell that I call May, June, July, Aug, Sept and part of October. I guess that includes part of April too.

Things I could have written about in the last few days, but didn't, due to feeling grumpy for inconsequential reasons:

5 Too Fast
And since it is March now, Christian is insisting he's already 5 years old. I guess if we were rounding, he would be, but that isn't until March 17th. But since he knows it's "March" now, he's insisting he's 5. I can't believe my baby is practically 5. It just isn't fair. This is just last night when he decided he wanted to start his "re-charge" a little early than normal. DEPECHE MODE is coming to Phoenix in August! Yay! Tickets go on sale March 14th. But there is a snaffu. They're coming Sunday August 23rd. D'oh. Sunday? C'mon. Of all the days of the week, boys, and you had to schedule Phoenix on a Sunday.
So I figured, well, I've never gone to a concert on a Sunday before (well, there was one particular Social Distortion concert back in 1992 that was a Sunday, but I was under 18 so that doesn't count....) and this was, after all, DEPECHE MODE. If there is an exception to be made, it would be THAT ONE. But Chris won't go for it. I can go, and find friends and dates or what-have-you, but since his b-day is August 19th, it would be nice to celebrate his birthday that night.

So this is what Chris would RATHER do. Depeche Mode is playing Vegas the night before. Yep, you guessed it. He's rather drive to Vegas and see them on a Saturday and spend money staying the night in Vegas than seeing them on a Sunday here. So what did I say? Okay. It'll be a pain in the butt and we don't know what we're going to do with the kids, but....okay! So it looks like Chris and I are going to see Depeche Mode in Las Vegas on August 22nd. Not that I'm a fan of Vegas (I've been through there more times than I'd like to admit) but Depeche Mode in Vegas is as good as a heathen Sunday in Phoenix. And if it means a brief getaway for Chris and I, I'll take it! It would be nice to put a different city on my "places I've seen Depeche Mode" list, other than....Phoenix. Of course it would be nice to add Paris, Munich, London and Amsterdam on that list, but hey, you take what you can get!

HUMOR in Strange Places
But I found some humor in strange places. Chris isn't big on the type of humor (and e-mail exchanges) with the pictures below - especially since he's not a cat person, but he sent me these and it was refreshing to see some of this humor from a source I wouldn't expect it from:

And Chris says this next one reminds him of me. Gee, thanks, honey.